It’s Been Said, Many Times, Many Ways…

It really is the most wonderful time of the year. There is so much to do and enjoy and celebrate and I love every single second of it. And you know what? Sometimes it really helps to take the “less is more” approach.

I didn’t get out every single piece of decor (most of it, but not everything, I promise!). I didn’t send Christmas cards. I didn’t join every link party out there. I didn’t even host one big event. And guess what- it’s still been a great season and it’s even getting better.Home Sweet Here Christmas

It’s in that same spirit that I’m going to shut down Home Sweet Here for the rest of the year. I don’t get a lot of time off from work for the holidays and I really want to just spend as much time and energy as I can enjoying what matters most.

I really encourage you to do the same. It’s ok to not bake 14 types of cookies. It’s ok to not craft every day. It’s ok to say no when you don’t have the time or energy. It’s also ok to bake 14 types of cookies, craft every day and say yes to all you want to. Do what makes the season the most magical for you but be sure to come back here in January becuase we’ve got lots to do and talk about!

Merry Christmas to you and your precious families. I don’t know all of you personally, but I know that you all have full lives and the fact that you take the time to click over here and read means the world to me. I appreciate it and am amazed by it every day. My hope for you is that you have the best Christmas ever and treasure every moment in your heart. Merry Christmas, Friends! Avery 2012

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. –Luke 2:1-20

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. –2 Corinthians 8:9


Easy Christmas Recipe: Peppermint Bark

Alternate Title: I’m too tired to bake a seven layer cake but I still want to make a special Christmas treat.

Peppermint  Bark

Christmas is hard! There I said it. I love it, it’s magical and meaningful and it really is the most wonderful time of year. But if you’re anything like me, you’re starting to feel the “it’s almost Christmas, I’ve only finished half my shopping, none of my wrapping, I didn’t even send Christmas cards, there are tons of year end things happening at work and when I come home I want to fall asleep” time of the year.

It happens. Seven layer cakes are great, but sometimes you just need a quick fix for a Christmas treat. Hello, Peppermint Bark. Easiest recipe ever, but everyone will love you and think you are a culinary rock star. Seriously, I have people who expect this every year and it could not be simpler. Christmas Cheer in a hurry=everyone is happy.

Are you ready? You need White Chocolate Bark and Candy Canes. Unwrap them and crush them up.Peppermint Bark

Melt the chocolate. You can add some peppermint extract if you like, but it’s still good with just plain old yummy white chocolate.peppermint bark

Pour the chocolate out on some wax paper and spread it. Make it thick, thin or however you like it. Then just sprinkle on your peppermint pieces on top and gently pat them down into the chocolate. This year I did the same thing with Oreos. Yum! But use whatever you have. Leftover halloween candy? No one is judging, it’s called repurposing.peppermint bark

Pop it in the fridge. When it’s set, break it into chunks.Peppermint Bark

peppermint barkPackage it cute, spread some Christmas Cheer all around and go to bed happy that you made something homemade and yummy but didn’t spend hours. Go to bed happy with visions of sugarplums peppermint bark dance in your heads.Peppermint Bark

Peppermint  Bark

 Do you have a favorite treat this time of year? Want to see some other yummy recipes? Check out the Recipe Link Party over at Shue Love. Yummmm…

Rocking Around My Christmas Tree

I shared my upstairs tree yesterday, and while I love it, it’s kind of like the JV of trees. The downstairs tree went pro. I love my tree. If I’m home, it’s on. If I could find a remote to turn it on from the street upon my arrival, I’m embarrassed at how much I might pay for it. I even overlook the fact that our house is full of red glitter for about six months.Red and Green Tree: Home Sweet Here

The trend is getting more and more away from red and green and while I think those are beautiful and have their place, there is just something about a bright red and a golden green that is simply beautiful. This is proof that traditional doesn’t have to be old and stuffy. More like bright and sparkly. Enough words! Let’s look at a tree…Red and Green Tree: Home Sweet Here

Red and Green Tree: Home Sweet Here

 With a tree like this, it’s easy to be all decor, no sentiment; however, you can easily have both if you just stick to your colors. For example, these two I got for my birthday. Red and Green Tree: Home Sweet Here

Red and Green Tree: Home Sweet Here

Sentimental: check! Fits with the color scheme: check! Win-win: check!

For me, the biggest key to a pretty tree is add lights, then lights and then some more lights. When you’re done there add some lights. Look how pretty the bokeh is when you load it up with lights! Red and Green Tree: Home Sweet HereRed and Green Tree: Home Sweet Here

And there you have it. Happiness= a pretty Christmas Tree! Red and Green Tree: Home Sweet Here

If pretty Christmas Trees are your drug of choice, too. Check out the great tree parties at Honey We’re Home (12/11) and Thrifty Decor Chick (12/13). Prepare to be inspired and glittered!

Give Me an “S” {Christmas Tree Topper}

The weather lately has been anything but Christmasy (just ask my neighbors who rode four-wheelers up and down the street all.Sunday.long) but at least the trees are 100% Christmas. I have the big one downstairs in the living room (you’ll see that later this week, but there was a sneak peak here) and a slightly smaller one upstairs in the Bonus Room. That’s what we’re talking about today.

It’s all black, white and silver and was actually the tree from my old little bitty house. It made the move with me and is even prettier here. It just needed a little update this year and when I saw this in HGTV magazine, I knew this was just what the doctor tree ordered.HGTV

Anyone who read about my gloves/button cookies huge failure saga might be a bit scared for me taking more inspiration from a magazine, but this was one I could actually handle. Spoiler Alert: There is a happy ending.HGTV inspiration supplies

I got a cardboard letter from Joann ($2.99) and a can of metallic silver spray paint. You can guess what happened next.Letter Tree Topper: Home Sweet Here

Tada!Letter Tree Topper: Home Sweet Here

A custom tree topper easy update. It worked! We really lived happily ever after.

Just a little extra information…

* You can find letters a plenty out there today (I should do an inventory of my house and see how many different letters I have. Rough estimate: TONS!) but for this I think the hollow cardboard ones are the best. You don’t want something too heavy up there so this is perfection.

* I got these little paint pyramids for my birthday. (I also got my very own air compressor-  my daddy really knows the way to my heart. I love tools!) They made this job so much easier! I highly recommend them for little paint jobs like this. They keep your object from sticking to the paper beneath. Amazing!DSC_0102DSC_0103

* And a disclaimer- I don’t decorate my own trees. I just can’t do it. I have someone who comes to my house and does it- I call her mama :) She is so good at it so I just set them up, put on the lights and just let her work her magic. I did actually place the “S” up there myself. And thankfully she even did both trees without falling off the ladder this year. Guess where I get my gracefulness from? Love you mama and THANK YOU!!

I’m sharing with the final (sniff, sniff) Dare to DIY Party of the season. Please check out Newly WoodwardsDecor and the DogMaybe Matilda and Two Twenty One to see how everyone Dared to Deck the Halls and thank you so much, ladies for hosting such an amazing party!!!Letter Tree Topper: Home Sweet Here

Canvas Turned Christmas Card Holder {Upcycle}

Once upon a time, I was a little girl with a big dream: to get the mail. mailboxYou see, we lived on a super busy road and the mailbox was on the opposite side. You basically got a driver’s license before you crossed that road unsupervised. One of my “when I grow up” goals was to live somewhere that I could freely go get the mail. I don’t know if you think that is cute or sad or a little of both, but it is very fitting to tell you this story to explain how much I LOVE mail. This may be why, or my love for mail could be why I dreamed of an easily accessible mailbox.

I eventually got my wish, so you can imagine how much I LOVE getting Christmas cards. It pretty much makes my day every time I open the mailbox. I wish I were exaggerating. Sad but true. I want to hug each and every Christmas card and enjoy it all season.

But that can get messy in a hurry so a nice way to display them is a must. Last year I used the pantry door.  While I liked it and it worked, some would fly off if you opened the pantry door too swiftly. This year’s solution needed to be stationary (pun completely unintended, but I really like it!) Enter this guy:Christmas Card Holder Before

A ginourmous canvas I got at Ross when I was desperate to get things with color on the wall. It has been sitting in the garage but not any longer! Do you get where this is going?

I just stretched some pretty fabric across and used a staple gun to attach it to the frame. Spray adhesive makes this much smoother, but I didn’t want to permanently destroy the painting. I may need ginourmous pansies again someday! christmas card canvas staple

Looking better already!

Christmas Card Holder CanvasThen I just added some really thick velvet ribbon.Christmas Card Canvas

Followed by rick rack and cording to keep it interesting and so it didn’t look like a circa 1997 French Memo Board. I loved those, but not the look I’m going for.Christmas Card I can’t wait to fill it up with cards (hint, hint- HURRY and send them to me, please!) The canvas is actually pretty large so I placed it upstairs in the little reading nook where I had a free wall to give that space a little dose of Christmas cheer.Christmas Card Canvas

What have you been crafting this year and how do you display your Christmas cards? Please share and make sure you check out the tons of fun crafty Christmas projects over at Hi Sugarplum! and Centsational Girl  for the Christmas cheer link party. Merry Christmas Crafting!