Thursday, December 29, 2016

Cozy Fondue Night

Hello my Dear Friends!

 I hope you've been feeling nice and cozy as this holiday season continues - and that you are even yet keeping some Christmas in your heart! It comes and goes so quickly doesn't it? I like to savor it all a bit longer. And now we're looking at New Year's fun right around the corner. We're having a gathering at our house and I look forward to more treasured time with family and friends. Time for slowing down, catching up, laughing a lot, and eating more yummy food! (before those New Year's resolutions need to kick in!) ;)  

We had the yummiest and most fun meal late this Fall - and I forgot to share it with you all then, so I thought I'd share it with you now. Partly, because it's just too fun not to share - and partly because it would be a really fun idea for a New Year's gathering. 

As you can see, I'm referring to a fondue night! So again this was late in the Fall time so please excuse the pumpkin and Autumn decorations. Lol  It all started because I found some fun individual fondue mugs when I was on amazon shopping. And I thought how much fun would it be to have a fondue themed dinner - or even sometimes a fun dessert - where we, as a family of 4, each get our own mug. A cleaner and easier way to do fondue!

See - we each had our own tealight candle to keep our mug of cheesy goodness warm! 

I then went about setting the table. I set us each a fun little dessert plate where we could keep a few nibbles at a time for dunking away. Each mug came with 2 little forks for grabbing bites to dunk.

I then went about getting some yummy nibbles together that were worth dunking and we liked with cheese! We went with some yummy crunchy fresh veggies, apple slices, toasted bread cubes, and soft pretzels we could break apart. We also had some cubed ham, but I forgot to get pic. Some meat like that helps it feel more like a meal too. I then kept the cheesy part really easy on myself and found these yummy and high rated cheese packets that come from Switzerland!  It was worth ordering as they were really tasty and had a very traditional fondue flavor. 

The directions were easy to follow. Rub a pot with a garlic clove. Put the cheese contents in the pot. Heat to a bubble and then simmer a bit and add some nutmeg. Then I ladled it into our mugs - lit our tea light candles and we dug in! The mugs worked perfectly!! They kept the cheese really hot. It was easy, yummy, and a fun treat. My kiddos thought it was really cool and we'll definitely be doing it again and again.  Sorry I forgot to take photos when we ate so you could see the dunking in action - but we were too busy enjoying!! 

If you didn't want to do individual mugs there are many recipes for cheesy fondue online and on pinterest where you can make a big pot and keep it in a slow cooker or one big fondue pot. Here's an easy one by Betty Crocker you can find here. I recommend having a fun cozy fondue night with your family this winter. It's so much fun! I'm now looking up some chocolate recipes to try out a fun chocolate fondue dessert night. Stay tuned!  

**And on a side night  - speaking of cozy - I just wanted to mention that my sweet Hubby and I are celebrating our 21st anniversary today! I loved being a December bride and remember everything like it was yesterday. We were married on a Friday night because you had to have your wedding at such an early time if married on a Saturday. And we wanted the candles and Christmas tree lights in the church glowing in the evening light. We had a beautifully ceremony surrounded by our friends and family. After doing photos after the service we walked out to the limo with our bridal party while gorgeous huge snowflakes fell.  Everything about that night felt magical. Here's a shot from when we got in the limo:

We've now been married for 21 years, but together for a total of 29 years (since we were 16). I wouldn't be on this ride with anyone else. I feel pretty darn blessed. ;) 

 I'm sharing this with Andrea of Scrapality for Scraptastic Saturday and with Sherry of The Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home.

Scraptastic Saturdays every Saturday @ 8 PM EST.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Happy Homemaker Monday

Happy Monday Friends! 

Well another Christmas in the books. All the anticipation and preparation and it comes and goes so fast. But it was a fun and wonderful time with family and I treasured every moment. I hope you had a wonderful and blessed weekend as well!

We actually still have some Christmas time ahead over here. We're getting together with lifelong family friends soon to do our Christmas with them this week. And I have a girlfriend Christmas coming up, that we have done each year since we were all in high school!!! That will be happening at the end of the week. So more fun ahead for me - yippeee! ;) 

My Hubby is back to work today, but I've had a nice relaxing morning and enjoying kiddo time and putting the house back in order after the gathering here yesterday. Now I'm ready to do HHM and focus on the week ahead. 


It was some weird weather yesterday! It was kind of warmer so it didn't snow but was sleeting a lot yesterday and the roads got pretty slippery. Today it's been snowing and blowing and the temps are supposed to get really cold tonight (down in the teens) and be cold for the next few days. 


A leftover holiday bun with butter and jam and a cup of coffee.


I'm listening to my daughter play in the other room with her friends. It sounds like they're playing some version of "school" - so even though they have a break from school they're still including it in their day I guess. Lol! Annie had one girlfriend over earlier today and they were out in the swirling snow sledding on our hill. I'll share photos at the end of this post.    


I can still see gusts of wind swirling the snow in front of my window now and then. It's not snowing as much as it was this morning though. Looks wintery and pretty out on my bay.


For all the fun and action here yesterday it's much cleaner today. My Hubby helped me get a head start on cleaning last night when everyone left. I still have one more load of dishes to get in the dishwasher and then I'm pretty caught up on housework.


Finish house chores today. Tonight we'll snuggle in and rest and enjoy leftovers. Busy week ahead though. My son has a hockey tourney over the course of this week - so I'll be going to a few games! Christmas with friends as I mentioned. Grocery run at some point. Christmas with girlfriends. Fun time with my kiddos - maybe take Annie to a movie one day this week. 



Currently reading a fun Debbie Macomber book called Dashing Through the Snow. (still finishing this book)


Watched the Holiday Baking Championship holiday special with kid bakers. Annie and I watched some of A Christmas Story last night, but still need to finish it. I have the Call the Midwife Christmas special to watch yet. A few other movies taped.


MONDAY: leftovers (ham, cheesy potatoes, salads etc)

TUESDAY: may do an egg bake or breakfast dish to use up last of ham leftovers (or Xmas with friends night - may be tonight or Wednesday and may go out to dinner)

WEDNESDAY: sloppy joes, chips, veggies 

THURSDAY: baked stuffed pork chops, salad

FRIDAY: Christmas with girlfriends - still discussing menu 

**For New Years weekend things still up in the air. We usually go to my BIL and SIL's house, but they're out-of-town this year so may be doing a date night with good friends of ours...or our families hang out over here and come up with a fun menu.


I'm working on a wreath for my daughter's room that will match her new bedspread. I'll share in the near future. 


Not sure about any new recipes this week - it will depend on if we entertain over here for New Years Eve. 


What this time of year is all about. ;) 

Opening gifts early at my in-law's magical big old historical home.

Always piles of presents with this family (although they live for the goofy ones most of all). My FIL got my MIL from her facility and she was with us all day and did great!

Annie and her BFF cousin.

My SIL, Annie and cousin. 

What did I tell ya - they live for the goofy gifts! Lol My Hubby got this for my BIL as they have 2 german shepherds at home.

Door prize game in full swing!

The in-laws having fun. ;) 

You never know what you'll open during this game. It's the most fun to steal the good gifts though! At the end of the night I ended up with an oven mitt, tupperware containers, bags of rubber bands, and an applebees gift card and a french fry pillow. Those were all very tame and mellow compared to some of the other things folks won!! Ha!

Annie and her buddy sliding down our hill in the wind and snow - with Ruby running at their heels! Happy Christmas break!! 

Image result for holiday inspiration quotes

I'm linking with Sandra of Diary of a SAHM for Happy Homemaker Monday.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Greetings from my northwoods dear Friends! Sorry life got too full of...well life, and I wasn't able to keep up with blogmas. We've already been having some family gatherings and Christmas is in full swing over here! 

Love this picture and the real reason for the season of course. ;) 

We went to Christmas mass earlier tonight and since we've gotten back we've been prepping some final dishes and setting the tables for tomorrow's Christmas gathering over here with the in-law's side of the family. We already had some family time and gift exchanges with my sides of the family. 

My Dad and step Mom. 

And with my sweet Mumsy. 

I wanted to support a new local florist, and thought it'd be fun to have real flowers on the dinner tables this year.  So I ordered these arrangements, basically describing how my bridal bouquet was all those years ago...and she did a gorgeous job! I just love them!!

And now the tables are set and it's time to snuggle in...maybe nibble a Christmas cookie, and enjoy this final sleep before Christmas day tomorrow! 

From our home to yours  - wishing you Christmas blessings my dear Friends. xo

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Blogmas Day 21: Favorite Family Tradition


Day 1 - The Christmas Tag 
Day 2 - Christmas Movies on the Must Watch List
Day 3 - Christmas Wishlist
Day 4 - Christmas Playlist
Day 5 - Pictures and Memories of Christmas Past
Day 6 - Pot Simmer Recipes
Day 7 - Cookies to be Baked (can be a recipe you make every year, or some you want to try)
Day 8 - Favorite Family Christmas Recipe
Day 9 - How do you decorate?
Day 10 - Real Tree or Artificial Tree
Day 11 - Stocking Stuffer Ideas
Day 12 - Quiet Christmas or Family Filled Loud Party Christmas?
Day 13 - Christmas Cards (do you send them, show us your favorites this year, or tells your favorite cards to send whether vintage, or bright and colorful)
Day 14 - Advent Calendar
Day 15 - Christmas Party Food Ideas
Day 16 - Winter Tag
Day 17 - Christmas Wishes
Day 18 - Homemade or Store Bought (What are you giving this year)
Day 19 - Recap of Christmas 2015 in pictures
Day 20 -  Christmas Decorations Reveal (show us your tree, your home decor, your mantle, anything you want)
Day 21 - Holiday Family Traditions
Day 22 - Preparing for the big day (show us your wrapping skills, are you making lists, getting the house ready for guests?)
Day 23 - Post whatever you wish
Day 24 - Christmas Eve (Are you opening presents tonight, is this your big celebration, what are you doing)
Day 25 - Christmas Day 

I'm joining in with my Friend Sandra from the blog Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for the Blogmas of Christmas this season. You can check her out here and come play along! Here's day 21:

Day 21- Holiday Family Traditions

We have many wonderful family traditions that we have continued throughout the years....from certain things we cook or bake, to certain decorations we put out, from what time we go to Mass, to even what community holiday events we like to enjoy.  But the most fun tradition I think we all look forward to is the "Door Prize" game we play on Christmas day. I did a post about it when I first started blogging and joined Sandra that year (2014) when she did blogmas. So I'm sharing it again now:

Today's blogma is about a favorite Christmas tradition.  I was thinking on it and we actually have a lot of wonderful Christmas traditions from always going to Christmas Eve mass and driving around and looking at Christmas lights always baking with my Mom before the holidays and making fun food gifts.  But the one tradition I thought would be really fun to share today is called the "door prize Christmas". 
In my husband's family his great Aunts started a game long ago where they would bring a door prize to the family Christmas gathering.  This would usually involved each of them bringing either something nice or funny for the host/hostess. Well the great Aunts are no longer with us, but this tradition continued and over time it's completely grown into its own animal all together! Lol
Now the Door Prize Game (as it's still called) involves all the guests/families coming to the gathering Christmas day and each bringing anywhere from 5 to some have brought up to 20 or more gifts (all shapes and sizes and usually the goofier the better)! After Christmas dinner all the gifts are piled up in the middle of the room.  They usually take up the whole floor! Then everyone is handed a playing card and that is their "number".  Everyone takes turns drawing out of the matching pile of numbers to pick someone.  If your number is picked you can either take a gift from the middle or choose to steal one that's already been opened by someone. If someone steals your gift then you get to take a new one from the middle. The game is continues like this until all gifts are opened and what you're left with you get! Lol The biggest rule is that you have to take your gifts home at the end, no matter how goofy or awful. No leaving them for the host/hostess to deal with it! ;)
Through the years we've had some pretty crazy stuff. From giant paper mache animals, to one year I won a 5 pound bag of rubber bands!! You just never know what will be in there. Usually there are a couple good a gift certificate to somewhere or $10 taped to the goofy gift. These always get stolen back and forth many times in the hope that you'll be the one to end up with something good to bring home. Some years I have laughed so hard at something someone received I was in tears!! 
It's a lot of fun and passes the time so fast. Even the kiddos in the family really get into it. Then when the game is done everyone can spend some time trading for a bit so you might still get to go home with something you might want. Then we set up a big dessert buffet and sit and visit and laugh, especially over the really goofy items that year.

Here's a few pics I found in my scrapbook from one year of the Door Prize Game. My husband's uncle won a weird giant pig. And for some reason it was the year of the goofy hat in the game. The game is usually 3 hours or so long and SO much fun!
Maybe you want to start a new tradition in your family? I highly recommend it for a lot of Christmas laughs along with your togetherness.