New House to Home: December 2012            

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Top Ten of 2012

It's been an interesting year for me when it comes to blogging.  For those of you who don't know, I've actually had this blog for two years.  I started journaling my thoughts when I first found out that my family and I were moving.  I kept the blog to myself, and actually stopped writing after I moved due to lack of time.  In June of this year, I started writing regularly again, but still kept the blog private.  After about two months of feeling like I was writing for no one, I decided to make the blog public.  That was in the middle of August, and I've been overwhelmed by the response I've received from the blogging community over the past four and one half months.  The support, suggestions and help I've received are more than I could have hoped for.  Thank you to all of the wonderful bloggers out there who have featured me, my site and my projects, and thank you to everyone who has taken the time to visit!  Without you, I'd still be writing for an audience of one (me - lol). 

In order to improve the blog, I've been reviewing my most popular posts from the past year, so that I can give you more of what you want.  I thought that those of you who are new here might appreciate a roundup of posts you may have missed.  Here are the top 10.










NUMBER 1 - Drum roll please...

Wow, what a great year!  Because I only put out a few months worth of posts, I was just going to do a top five list.  Imagine my surprise when I had ten posts with traffic significant enough to be mentioned in a year-end round up!  You may have noticed that all of the top ten posts were either fairly simple DIY projects (with the exception of that cable box cover, which wasn't exactly easy) or glimpses into my home.  I'm hoping to bring you more tours (you've seen almost my whole house, so I may have to hit up some friends to photograph their homes) and projects that you haven't seen anywhere else before.  I hope you'll follow me on my journey in 2013 as I continue to turn a nondescript McMansion into a cozy home for my family...

Linking to:

Funky Junk Interiors

shabby creek cottage

Friday, December 28, 2012

Transitioning from Christmas to New Year's Eve

Christmas came and went in the blink of an eye, and now it's time to get ready for the new year. Do you have any big plans for New Year's Eve?  We aren't doing much here. Our little family of four will spend the evening together, and it's possible that we may be joined by a few teenage girls. Despite the small group, I want to make things special.  So that I don't have spend a lot of time, money and energy getting things ready, I kept a few Christmas decorations out and spruced them up to welcome the new year.

This little console table will serve as a snack bar for the evening.  The white dishware works well with the metallic accents. The silver stars came from my July 4th decorating stash.

My apothecary jar was filled with colorful glass ornaments for Christmas.

For New Year's Eve, the colorful ornaments were replaced by gold and silver balls. 

On December 31st, the cake platter that we used to serve our monkey bread on Christmas morning will be used to serve sausage, cheese and crackers.

New Year's Eve

All things shiny are appropriate on a New Year's table. This glittery pine cone tree transitions well from Christmas to New Year's Eve.

Candy wrapped in gold and silver foil is in keeping with the metallic theme of the table. I know the teenage girls will love the chocolate, although I will not love cleaning up the wrappers they are sure to leave all over the house. :)

Adding cookies to the table instantly takes the day from ordinary to extraordinary.  Naturally, I'll put a few out for our intimate celebration.

On our kitchen table, I gave the floral centerpiece a makeover by removing the red (and dying) flowers, adding gold ornaments and ting ting, and replacing the red candles with gold candles.  I also replaced the red ornaments in the hurricanes with gold and silver ornaments.
New Year's Eve
One last great idea for a New Year's Eve party is to have each of the guests write their resolutions on a chalkboard.
Notice how I say that we will "have" a healthy dinner five nights per week.  I intentionally avoided saying that I would "cook" five nights per week.

I plan to take pictures of our resolutions so we can see how we did at the end of 2013.  We may be reveling in our successes as we usher in 2014, but more than likely we'll just have a good laugh.

I hope I've given you a few ideas to easily make New Year's Eve a bit more special at your house.  Do you have any quick, simple or inexpensive ways to transition your décor from Christmas to New Year's Eve?  We still have a few days to prepare, so I'd love it if you would share your ideas.

Linking To:

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Tables

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!  We certainly did here.  A few days before the holiday, we drove to Pennsylvania to spend a few days with family.  The kids and I like to wake up on Christmas morning in our own beds, so we left PA on the twenty-third, and arrived home just in time to start preparing for an intimate Christmas Eve dinner for our family of four.  Like I mentioned in an earlier post, our Christmas Eve traditions involve attending church services, snacking on cheese and crackers, enjoying a nice dinner in our seldom used dining room, having yummy bread pudding and assorted cookies for dessert, and opening pajamas from Santa Claus.  Since so much of the evening revolves around food, I try to make the dining room look special.  This is how the table looked this year:
Tablecloth, Candles, Napkins - Bed, Bath & Beyond
Gold Chargers - Hobby Lobby
Plates - WalMart (2009)
Sleigh in Center of Table - Old Time Pottery (purchased empty)
Artificial Greenery and Picks in Sleigh - Hobby Lobby
Candle Holders - Wedding Gifts
Real Greenery on Table - Neighbor's Yard
Wine Glasses - Stein Mart
Flatware - Tuesday Morning

We also have a nice but easily prepared breakfast on Christmas morning.  It always consists of a sausage and egg casserole that I prepare the night before, fruit, and some sort of sweet treat.  This year the sweet treat was a delicious monkey bread that my 11 year old daughter (AKA mini-Martha) prepared on Christmas Eve.  Isn't it pretty?

Let me tell you, it tastes even better than it looks!  It looked so nice on our kitchen table that was set for Christmas.

Hurricanes, Candles, Ornaments, Glasses - Target
Centerpiece - Gift sent from 1-800-Flowers
Place mats - Home Goods
Plates - WalMart
Napkins, Flatware - Tuesday Morning
What special Christmas traditions does your family have?  Do you make the day extra special with a special tablescape?  I'd love to hear about it.

shabby creek cottage

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bread Pudding Recipe

If your family is at all like my family, many of your Christmas traditions revolve around food.  From the candy we use to embellish our gingerbread houses to the cookies my girls decorate each year, food is constantly present during the holiday season.  I even have set Christmas and Christmas Eve menus complete with a master shopping list saved on my computer so that we don't forget to make any of our favorite holiday foods.  We enjoy a pre-prepped chicken and wild rice casserole, steamed vegetables, and yeast rolls after Christmas Eve church services.  On Christmas morning after all the presents are opened, I pop a breakfast sausage casserole and some monkey bread into the oven.  For Christmas dinner, we always have ham, potatoes, rolls and roasted asparagus.  One of my personal favorite dishes that makes an appearance on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day is bread pudding.  It's recipe that takes every fattening and delicious ingredient in your kitchen and combines them into this one decadent dessert that all your guests will love. 

1 cup sugar
8 Tbsp (1 stick) butter, softened

5 eggs, beaten
1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream
Dash cinnamon
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup raisins
12 slices, each 1 inch thick, stale or fresh French bread
Whiskey sauce (see recipe below)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cream together sugar and butter in a large bowl. 
  • Add eggs, cream, cinnamon, vanilla and raisins, mixing well.  Pour into a 9 inch square pan 1-3/4 inches deep.
  • Tear bread into medium-small chunks and place in egg mixture.  Let stand for 5 minutes to soak up some of the liquid.  Turn bread over and let stand for 10 minutes longer.  Then push bread down so that most of it is covered by the egg mixture.
  •  Set pan in a larger pan filled with water to 1/2 inch from top.  Cover with aluminum foil.
  • Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, uncovering pudding for the last 10 minutes to brown the top.  When done, the custard should be soft, not firm.
  • Serve with whiskey sauce.

1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
Dash of cinnamon
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp corn starch
1 Tbsp bourbon
1/4 cup additional water

  • In a saucepan, combine sugar, cream, cinnamon and butter.  Bring to a boil.
  • Add the cornstarch mixed with the water.
  • Cook and stir until sauce is clear.
  • Remove from heat and stir in whiskey.

I got this recipe from a neighbor when I lived in Louisiana.  It originally came from the Commander's Palace restaurant in New Orleans, so you know it's authentic.  I like it because I can prepare it in advance, store it in the fridge until just before dinner time, and then put it in the oven so that it's ready when we're ready for dessert.  Leftovers can be refrigerated and quickly warmed in the microwave. 

Thank you for allowing me to share one of our many Christmas traditions with you.  Whatever your holiday traditions are, I hope you and your family get the opportunity to spend some quality time together during this very special time of year.  Merry Christmas!


shabby creek cottage