The Christmas Challenge Post – 12 Things of Christmas 2020

My friend and fellow blogger Amelia P made a request in the Facebook group Sharing, Inspiring, Promoting Bloggers to collaborate with other bloggers to do a “Christmas Challenge” post.

How it works is we come up with 12 Things about Christmas, write a post on our own blog and insert links to our fellow bloggers. The second I read about it, I knew I was going to participate. Afterall, the name of the group is Sharing, Inspiring, Promoting Bloggers.

I’m thrilled to be collaborating with the following bloggers:

Amelia P @ YouCanAlwaysStartNow

Ellen Best @ https://ellenbest24.wordpress.com/

Courtney @ http://lifeapprovedsimply.com/

Esme @ https://esmesalon.com/

Brittany @ https://everydaypbj.com/

Here are my 12 Things “traditions” of Christmas:

  1. For the last 7 years (since the very beginning of my blog) I have been doing a 12 Days of Christmas Series. It is something I truly enjoy doing as it challenges me to dig deep and find easy, budget friendly, gift worthy things people might like to make, bake, decorate or create. I just wrapped up these posts on November 30, 2020 – I will put links to all of them at the end of the post.
  2. I will admit I have an infinity for Santa Claus and for Nutcrackers. I add to my collection every year and proudly display from November 12 to January 06. I also, rarely, if ever, purchase new items for my collection. If at all possible, I search and buy vintage. Here is a picture of the additions I made this year.

3. I like to make (and sometimes sell) Christmas tree decorations. This year I decided to make tree ornaments using wood slices. This one, I thought, was particularly fitting;

We Survived 2020 Ornament

and this one went to my daughter in Texas.

4. I make my own Christmas Cards and try to ensure they are mailed out by December 10th. This one was one of my favorite cards I made this year.

5. I LOVE buying local and especially from local artisans (usually at Christmas Craft Fairs). I did not get to any in person craft shows this year but because there are so many creative beings out there, who were still making and creating their wares, I did purchase items through “on-line” stores so win/win!

6. I am from the East Coast of Canada and even though I now live on the West Coast of Canada, some traditions just never change. On Christmas Eve the evening meal is a feast of some form or seafood. For me this year it is going to be pan fried Digby Scallops. I’m already looking forward to that.

person holding stainless steel cooking pot with food
Photo by Tanya Gorelova on Pexels.com

7. Watching Hallmark Christmas movies. I just love watching a good cheesy predictable Christmas movie :O) – I am not sure what the draw to watch these movies is; maybe it’s the music maybe it’s the happy ending, maybe it’s just the magic of Christmas.

8. Speaking of movies – without fail on Christmas Day I watch the movie “A Christmas Carol” – the black & white version starring Alastar Simms, right after the turkey feast, the dishes can wait!

Humbug to all the rest: Why the 1951 Scrooge film is considered 'the gold  standard' | CBC News

9. On Boxing Day, it’s go to the Movie Theatre for an afternoon matinee, again, not sure what that will look like this year. We will have to wait and see.

10. Traditional Christmas baking for me includes whipped shortbread, sugar cookies, ginger sparkle cookies, gingerbread men, cherry balls, coconut balls and pork pies(not what you think – these are shortbread bottom tarts with date filling and almond icing).

top view of gingerbread cookies laid flat on a wooden table
Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

11. We like to drive around and look at the Christmas lights (we walk around our own neighbourhood though). This year we are going to go to something called the Magic of Lights at the Castrol Raceway -it is sponsored by Canadian Tire and provides you and your guests an opportunity to celebrate the holidays #togetherapart; comfortably maintaining social distancing from the comfort of your own vehicle. We are really looking forward to this and who knows, this could become our “new” yearly tradition. All money raised from the entrance fee goes to the Edmonton Food Bank – a very worthy cause.

12. Making anonymous donations to local charities that are near and dear to my heart. The Salvation Army, the local food bank, and the angel tree being my top three.

Wow, I was worried I didn’t have 12 Christmas Traditions but I bet if you really think about it, you do too. Hope you enjoyed these and don’t forget to visit my few bloggers and see what they came up with for their 12 Things of Christmas Challenge.

As mentioned earlier in this post here are links to my 12 Days of Christmas Series 2020.

Day 1- 12 Days of Christmas 2020 – Papercraft Angel

Day 2- 12 Days of Christmas 2020 – Painted glass jar candle holder

Day 3 – 12 Days of Christmas 2020 – Macrame Keychain

Day 4 – 12 Days of Christmas 2020 – DIY Holiday Straws

Day 5 – 12 Days of Christmas 2020 – No Bake Energy Balls

Day 6- 12 Days of Christmas 2020 – DIY Christmas Bulb Napkin RIngs

Day 7 -12 Days of Christmas 2020 – DIY Nutcracker Place Card Holders

Day 8 – 12 Days of Christmas 2020 – DIY Honey Lavender Sugar Scrub

Day 9 – 12 Days of Christmas 2020 – Sweet & Salty Holiday Candy

Day 10 – 12 Days of Christmas 2020 – DIY Twig & Washi Tape Card

Day 11 – 12 Days of Christmas 2020 – JOY Vertical Sign

Day 12 – 12 Days of Christmas 2020 – Coconut Lemon Loaf

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Thanks for stopping by….until next time.

Simple Things #4

I have to give credit where credit is due for the idea of posting about “simple” things.  Amelia from YouCanAlwaysStartNow and I collaborate regularly on ideas for posts like travel, life, monthly challenges, as well as many other things.

I love to bake, it’s one of the things that relaxes me so today’s “simple things” are all about baking.

1. Easier Cookie Cutting

Once you’ve made your cookie dough and have it rolled and ready to go, dip your cookie cutter in flour before cutting out your cookie shapes. The flour helps the cutter cut through the dough so you can cut your cookies out faster and with less frustration!

2. Ripen Bananas Quickly

Here’s a great tip if you want to make a recipe like banana bread and your bananas are not ripe.  To quickly ripen underripe bananas, put them on a cookie sheet and bake them at 300°F for about 40 minutes. You’ll end up with perfectly ripe bananas for your cakes and breads!

3. Warm Up Eggs Quickly

Starting a recipe that calls for room temperature eggs, but you just barely took your eggs out of the fridge? You can quickly bring those eggs to room temperature by placing them in a glass or bowl of warm water. Let them sit in the warm water for a few minutes, and they’ll be ready to use!

4. Grate Your Butter

One of the keys to making perfectly flaky biscuits and pie crusts is having small pieces of butter evenly distributed throughout your dough. The easiest way to achieve this is to use grated butter! Grate your butter on a cheese grater then stir the butter pieces into the other ingredients.

5. Instant Powdered Sugar

If you’ve made a batch of cookies or cake that requires frosting and you check the cupboards and you could have sworn you had icing sugar, fear not!  You can actually make powdered sugar if you have white sugar and cornstarch on hand. Just add 1/2 cup of white sugar and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to a blender or food processor. Just pulse the sugar mixture a few times until it gets to the right powdery consistency.

6. Mixer Splash Guard

I’ve been baking a long time and only figured this out recently.  I use a KitchenAid stand mixer and every time I mix dry ingredients in it, even on the slowest speed, it still sputters out over the side. I now put a dish towel over the top of the mixer which drapes down over the sides and no more sputters. For eight more brilliant KitchenAid Hacks (and where I found this picture) visit the crazy coupon lady .

6 Simple things to help when you feel like baking,  It’s A Wandaful Thing!

What is your favorite baking “simple thing”?

Thanks for stopping by. I hope to see you back soon.

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Day 9 : Christmas Shortbread Bars

Christmas Shortbread Bars

Shortbread is a wonderful thing. It is so full of butter and simply melts in your mouth. It is my all time favorite cookie at Christmas and a ‘must bake’ every year.

shortbread-day-0

This recipe is so easy, no cooling in the fridge, no rolling, no cutting. You just need to combine all the ingredients and pat into an ungreased baking pan. The hardest part is waiting for them to come out of the oven.

The colored sugar gives these cookies the perfect festive look and they are immediately ready for the holidays. This shortbread is Barbara Bush’s recipe from the “White House Cookbook” and can be found online here at Bake Space along with some other delicious recipes.

day-9-shortbread-bars

This recipe makes lots, it filled this vintage cookie tin, this tin wasn’t this pretty blue to begin with,  a can of spray paint can work wonders. 😉

Here is what you need to make these melt in your mouth shortbread bars: Continue reading Day 9 : Christmas Shortbread Bars

Day 7 : Peppermint Bark Oreos

Peppermint Bark Oreo Cookies

cookies-2

These make great neighbor gifts. They are easy to make and take no time at all. Christmas and peppermint seem to go together and when you combine peppermint with white chocolate and Oreos you have a winning combination.  If you give them to the neighbors they are going to love them, I promise.

jar-cookies

Here is what you need:  Continue reading Day 7 : Peppermint Bark Oreos

Day 1: Hershey Kiss Christmas Cookies

Welcome to Day 1 of my 12 Days of Christmas 2016.

Over the next 12 Days you can look forward to posts that will include things to make, things to bake and easy ways to decorate.

I’m starting off with these Hershey Kiss Christmas Cookies (that’s my name for them).

I had a good laugh when I read the instructions to remove the wrappers from the candy as the first step in the baking process.  Take it from me buy a big bag….a lot of them ended up in my belly – very, very smart move on the part of the Hershey company…lol

cookies-1The pictures below the recipe show the step by step process after the dough is made.

recipe from Hershey’s
1 bag Hershey’s Kisses brand Candy Cane Kisses (I used Hershey’s Hugs)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons milk
Red and Green colored sugar
Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove wrappers from candies (approx. 35)
Beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and egg in large bowl until well blended. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add alternatively with milk to butter mixture, beating until well blended.
Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in red and/or green colored sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 8 – 1o minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cookies is set. Remove from oven; cool 2 to 3 minutes. Press candy piece into center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Yields approximately 35 cookies.

Continue reading Day 1: Hershey Kiss Christmas Cookies