Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas from the Roost!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a joyous Holiday season!

The flock of course also wishes you a Merry Christmas, although they did not like their Santa hats very much. Do you know how long it took to get this picture?!? This poor girl finally gave in fighting the hat and sat in exhaustion on the railing, completely defeated by the humans that were making her play dress-up.

As a reward Santa brought them lots of yummy chicken treats :)

With Peace and Joy,

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Treats

My heart is still mourning for the victims and their families of the tragedy in CT last Friday. It has been hard to wrap my mind around the horrific events, especially seeing pictures of the faces of those precious little children lost. Please join me in continuing to keep the community and the families affected in your prayers.

                                     "I have told you these things, so that in me you may
                                     have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But
                                     take heart! I have overcome the world."  -John 16:33

Sometimes when I am feeling really down it helps me to do something therapeutic, such as gardening or baking. I love to bake but do I always have time for baking? Definitely not. I try to squeeze it into the weekends when I can. I always seem to have high ambitions that go unreached or only partially fulfilled, as in the case of my un-decorated and un-iced gingerbread men. Oh well, they are still yummy all by themselves :)

I like chewy ginger cookies, so I found a recipe located here that makes a chewy ginger cookie. They are certainly good, but not as good as the infamous gingerbread cookies at Burke's Bakery in Danville, Kentucky. Oh my goodness they have the best gingerbread cookies I have ever tasted and I plan to pick up a box while we are home for Christmas. They are a locally-owned family business that has been serving up sweets in Danville for decades.

Another nice Christmas treat available during the season is pomegranates. These beautiful rosy fruits have scrumptious seeds that can be enjoyed in anything from salads to fancy cocktails. We made buttermilk pancakes over the weekend using Christmas cookie cutters for molds, and drizzled the pomegranates and their juices on top. It was delicious- the perfect compliment to the pancakes.

after pouring and cooking the batter, turn over and push out of mold with knife to cook the pancakes fully

I also let my chickies try a few of the pomegranate seeds and they showed no restraint or hesitancy over little rosy rubies after they discovered how sweet and tangy they are.

nom nom nom...... 

The chickens devoured them in seconds from my hands and looked up at me for more with pink juice dripping from their beaks. Sorry babies, no more seeds for now.

I know they may be spoiled, but I like to give my flock extra treats during the Holidays- mainly leftovers from whatever we have been cooking :)

What have you been baking up this Christmas? Anything special for your family?


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

2012 Christmas Wrapping: Recycled Materials

I like to vary my wrapping a little bit each year. I think I must get this trait from my Mom, who seriously could be a professional present-wrapper if she wanted to, with perfectly tied bows and accessories and paper that never has any awkward creases or looseness around the box. She varies her wrapping theme each year--one year she did all of the wrapping and trimmings in shades of blue, silver and white, another year everything was holly leaves, and other year it was all red and white, much like a candy cane.

Last year I tried to wrap most of my gifts in natural wrapping, mostly of brown craft paper with accessories like fresh greenery, twine or raffia ribbon, and burlap as embellishments. It looked similar to the empty 'presents' I put outside on the bench in our front porch, as shown in this post. I really liked doing that and am sure to repeat the natural wrapping again, as it made everything so simple.

However, this year I thought I'd try something new and fresh, and decided on wrapping with old newspapers, using red or red and white ribbons as the finishing decoration.

I even made little 'flowers' out of the newspaper and pinned them to the box with a red-tipped straight-pin. We have so much trimmed greenery leftover from our tree that I may tuck some little sprigs of evergreen into the packages as well.

I shredded newspaper to use for stuffing when bags were required instead of boxes!

I really like how it turned out! So much so, that I'm tempted to do it every year just to save on wrapping materials. An added bonus is that it's the greener option too! I have quite a bit more wrapping to do, so I better get going :)

Happy wrapping, 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (around the Roost)

Can you believe we have less than a month until Christmas???

the kitchen table looking into the den/family room

I don't know about you, but I still have quite a bit to do to prepare- it always seems to sneak up on me and before I know it we are traveling home for the Holidays. We pulled boxes of our Christmas decorations out from the attic the Monday after Thanksgiving. This past week I have been decorating the house with our collection of Christmas decor as well as fresh greenery and pine cones found outside. Decorating always gets me really into the "Christmas Spirit." I love to decorate with Christmas music playing in the background, a good cup of hot cocoa to sip on while working, and a warm fire going.

my giant pine cones from the Sandhills region of NC longleaf pines

I like to keep it pretty simple and use lots of fresh greenery, and therefore it's no surprise when last year I went with a "Plain and Simple" theme using mostly natural materials. To see last year's Christmas decor, click here. This year I am using some of the same decorations from our collection, but in different ways, and of course fresh greenery, as shown in last year's post on exterior Christmas decor.  My husband and I also decided to get rid of (or keep in the attic) some of our older decorations we used when first married that we either just don't use or don't want to fuss with getting them out. It makes it so much easier without all the knickknacks, nutcrackers and such.

Here are some little bits of Christmas around the Roost so far:

my dining room table is ready for the Holidays

Usually these vintage glass bottles sit in my bathroom window sill, but I brought them out with the julep cups to hold fresh greenery and pine cones. I like the simple look of it.

I like the calming colors of white, silver, green and brown for Holiday decorating

My kitchen table got dressed up with this vintage poinsettia tablecloth (I have a matching apron too!) and I filled our bread bowl with pine cones and a hand-blown glass ornament my husband made

Santa mugs on my jadeite cake stand on our open shelving in the kitchen

Little gingerbread men peek out the kitchen windows

This is my tin angle collection made from traditional tinsmiths at Old Salem.
They are holding Moravian Christmas candles. If you have not ever been to visit Old Salem at
Christmastime, it is a wonderful experience and one of my favorite destinations during the Holidays.

I try to remember that above all else this season, this is a time for celebrating the birth of Christ and the life that he gives us. Reflection upon this great gift is key and I have to remember to focus upon Him through all the shopping, stress, and entertaining. Last year I made a simple advent wreath with candles and greenery, and this year I had every intention of making a full Advent calendar, but just have not quite had the time to tackle that project. Maybe next year!

How has your "tree trimming" and Christmas decorating gone this year? I do wish it would would make everything inside and out that much more beautiful!

With Peace and Joy,

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