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Showing posts from 2016

Wrapping Up Christmas

It is hard to believe that Christmas is over and the New Year is upon us.  And with that comes one of the most dreaded chores of the year- taking down the Christmas decorations!  


Each year I try to come up with more ideas to make this task easier and to make decorating more fun the next year.  You may remember my post last year where I told you about my Christmas notebook. You can find that post here, as well as pages that you can print out for your own notebook.  


Here is the updated cover page for 2017.



I will be reprinting the pages and updating the information for my own book as I take down the decorations.  I can't tell you how helpful the section on box location was this year! 

Here are some other things I will be doing this year to make next Christmas easier and more fun for me. Maybe they will help you as well! 


All of the Christmas boxes have numbers on them to correspond to the pages of the book as discussed here.  This year I noticed that some of the pages with the numbers …

A Colonial Christmas

We have been blessed to live in a very interesting area of the country.  Within a couple of hours of our home we have world renowned beaches, beautiful national and state parks and historical sites- all of which are vacation destinations for the rest of the country, if not the world.  

One of our favorite destinations is Colonial Williamsburg.  I believe every school-age child learns about this colonial capital during the elementary school years (4th grade if you are a Virginia student). Every year over a million visitors travel to this historic site, many during the Christmas season. 

The Yuletide begins with a bang in Williamsburg. The first weekend in December marks the Grand Illumination.  The town lights up with fireworks, bonfires and candles burning in the windows of the historic buildings. Each home and shop decorates with natural resources and creates such a beautiful setting for carriage rides, costumed characters and even ice skating! 

We made a quick trip up there on a cold, …

Happy 50th Anniversary Mr. Grinch!

Dr Suess'  How the Grinch Stole Christmas first aired on December 18, 1966.  Since then, it has become a Christmas Classic- a "must see" every Christmas season.

Of course, we cannot let such an occasion go unnoted, so my family and I decided to take some time out of these hectic last few days before Christmas to relax and enjoy this holiday favorite with some special treats. 


This candy is a takeoff on a favorite Pretzel bite that I have shared with you in the past.  If you look for Grinch treats on Pinterest, this one pops up quite often. Unlike my usual pretzel treats, this one can be microwaved.  Here is my take: 
Grinch Pretzel Bites
Pretzel Snaps (Not butter flavor!)  Light or Dark Chocolate Candy Melts (I used Wilton Light Chocolate)  Bright Green Candy Melts (Again, I used Wilton) Red Fondant hearts or Heart shaped sprinkles
Place pretzels on a microwave safe plate.  Place a candy melt on the center of the pretzel, flat side up.  Microwave at 50% for 30 seconds, check to …

Peppermint Presents, Part Two

On our last blog we talked about how to make Peppermint Sugar Scrub.  I have really enjoyed using -mine and today's Peppermint Soap is the perfect accompaniment!


We first made soap back in October when we made it in Pumpkin Spice scent.  I enjoyed making it and using it so thoroughly, that I am afraid that I have picked up another little hobby- soap making!  Here's how to make the Peppermint version for the holidays.

Peppermint Soap
1 lb. of soap base (available at Michaels)  Peppermint Essential Oil (NOT Peppermint Extract) Red Soap Colorant (optional)
Chop soap into one inch blocks (or smaller). Place in a microwave-safe bowl with a pouring spout. (I used an old Pyrex measuring cup.) 
Microwave for 30 seconds, stir.  If not yet melted, microwave for 10 additional seconds, then stir again.  Repeat until completely melted.  Quickly add 5 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil.  Smell.  Add additional oil by two or three drops until desired scent is reached.  Pour into molds.  

If color is …

Peppermint Presents

Just in time for a cold blast of winter air, I ran out of my Pumpkin Spice Sugar Scrub.  It really helped moisturize my skin, a must with the cold outside and the dry heat outside.  So what's a girl to do? Well, make another batch- this time with seasonal favorite- Peppermint! 


There are a lot of recipes for Peppermint Scrub on the internet. Based on these recipes and what I learned when I made the Pumpkin Spice Scrub,  I decided to start from scratch and adjust the recipe as I needed.  Here are the ingredients: 

1/3 cup Coconut Oil
Peppermint Essential Oil (NOT Peppermint Extract!) 
1-2 cups sugar
Red Food Coloring (Optional)


Melt the coconut oil in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl (I just used my glass measuring cup) for about 30 seconds, Stir.  If not completely melted, microwave for another 10 seconds and stir again.  Pour oil into a medium sized mixing bowl and stir in 1 cup of sugar.  Sample the mixture by rubbing some of it between your fingers. If it feels too oily, add mo…

Happy Birthday Mr. Kraft!

This morning I was watching "CBS Sunday Morning" when their Almanac piece came on. They announced that on December 11, 1870, James Lewis Kraft was born.  Now this might not mean anything to you (it certainly did not to me!), but they went on to discuss his contribution to the food industry.  It seems that Mr. Kraft patented " an improved process of sterilizing cheese” which would allow it to keep longer without spoiling.  They went on to discuss how this invention helped to feed our troops in World Wars I and II.  This is very important, but what I want to celebrate is his invention of this: 

That's right, Mr. Kraft invented processed cheese, which led to the invention of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Put together by a Kraft salesperson in 1937, it was originally designed as an inexpensive prepared food to feed people during the Great Depression.   But, if we are all honest with ourselves, and putting all nutrition statistics aside, we all can remember a time when this …

A Few of My Favorite Things!

Wow!  I can't believe that it has been so long since my last post!  My apologies- the holidays and the end of the semester come together in a perfect storm and for some reason, it takes me by surprise every year! 

To get me through this hectic season I have gathered together a few of my favorite things. This list, which I began last year, is inspired by Oprah's Favorite Things, but is again a little more practical and affordable than her's. Nonetheless it includes some pretty cool things that make me happy and hopefully will bring a little joy to your life as well. 

My favorite new music this year comes from some old favorites. 




Garth Brooks recorded his new c.d. (I still want to call them albums!), Christmas Together,  with his wife Trisha Yearwood.  It is a nice blend of old standards and fun new songs. The beautiful "What I am Thankful For" with James Taylor, will bring a tear to your eye and remind you what this season is really about.  Garth Brooks' music i…

Thanksgiving By the Sea

For as long as I can remember we been celebrating Thanksgiving together in the family home on the banks of a Chesapeake Bay tributary.  The water has been the backdrop to many celebrations over the years, but none so treasured as Thanksgiving.  


Even though we are expecting about thirty people to join us this year, way more than I have turkey place settings, I couldn't resist setting up a little tablescape on the porch, just for fun. The porch is a favorite place for many of us to eat- it is usually warm to sit comfortably enough even in November.  You can tell how bright the sun shines by the glare in the photo.
I found these turkey plates years ago at TJ Maxx. I used them in my "Al Fresco Thanksgiving Tablescape" blog last year, along with the pumpkin napkins.


I am still enjoying this beautiful little pumpkin I found at a little farmer's market in early October.  It has such a great shape and beautiful color.  Perfect for this table.  I just love these turkey napkin …

Pumpkin Spice- Still So Nice!

Here at Glitter and Gardenias we are still enjoying the fall flavors and spices, especially Pumpkin Spice.  But it's not just in our desserts- after I made the pumpkin spice soap I posted here, I found a Pumpkin Spice Sugar Scrub recipe.  



This is a great treat in the shower or bath, especially if your skin is getting dry in the cold, blustery weather we have been having lately. And it couldn't be easier! 

Just like the pumpkin spice soap that I made last week, I started with a recipe from www.happinessishomemade.net.  You simply mix a quarter cup of coconut oil with 1 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice and 2 teaspoons of vanilla. This makes about 8 ounces.   The recipe that I used didn't say anything about melting the coconut oil, but it is easier to mix when it is a liquid.  You can melt the oil in a microwave safe container for 15 seconds before you blend in the spice and vanilla and that should help.  This is the first time that I ever used coconut oil and I did…