Tag Archives: holiday

Hand Santa-tizer Class Goody

Hello friends!

We’ve been enjoying the holidays with Jay’s annual corporate party, soccer playoffs, shopping, wrapping and getting little goodies packaged up for those important people that bless our lives during the year.

Over the weekend the kids helped me get their classroom treats labeled, washi taped, stuffed and stapled. I stalked the Bath & Body Works after holiday store clearance in early-mid January and picked up enough pocket hand sanitizers…..ahem, Santa-tizers…..for both their classes. They were 75% off and came up to 44¬Ę a piece. That is a super small price to pay to help do my part in the germ-y hands department. ūüėČ


 I grabbed the little favor bags at Target over the summer for 70% off and the washi tape is from Dollar Tree. I just printed off a little message on a clear Avery address label, added a mini candy cane and DONE!

I will most definitely be visiting B&BW in the new year for next years’ supply.

Can’t go wrong for under 60¬Ę per classmate!


I hope you’re decking the halls, setting up nativity scenes, sipping peppermint hot cocoa, ice skating under the stars & white twinkly lights, getting frustrated when your kids waste all the Scotch tape and there isn’t any to be found when you need it {just me?}, cruising the streets to see the Christmas lights and just enjoying sitting on your couch staring at your tree!

10 more days.


Nuts For The Holidays

A couple months ago my friends Erin & Rachel hosted a little West Coast IG meet up with Canadian and Arizonian friends, Melisa & Rachel.

Seven of us sat around a beautiful gold & mint themed dining room chatting, noshing, making all kinds of hot nut jokes and giggling like a bunch of tweens.

Erin made an old Marta Stewart nut recipe and we all immediately spooned another helping on our plates after the first sample.

The flavors in this are indescribable. They mesh together amazingly.


Here is what you’ll need…

5 cups mixed nuts, such as walnuts, cashews, almonds, pecans, and hazelnuts {I subbed peanuts for the pecans and used 1 cup of each nut}

Note: use unsalted nuts

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 small shallots, thinly sliced crosswise into rings to yield about ¬ľ cup
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¬ľ cup coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
  • ¬ľ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

Here is what you’ll do…

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Arrange nuts in a single layer on baking sheet and toast until golden…8-12 minutes.

Transfer to a large bowl. Add shallots and garlic to hot olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat.

Fry until golden brown. Remove to paper towels and set aside.

Pour melted butter over nuts. Stir in rosemary, cayenne, brown sugar, and salt. Add shallots and garlic and combine well.

Serve warm. Nuts can also be reheated in a 300 degree oven for 8-10 minutes but watch carefully.

Store in an airtight container….that is IF there are any leftover.


I haven’t started my holiday baking yet, but I did make a batch of these to take to our PTA Teacher Appreciation brunch last week.

Several people asked for the recipe so I know they were a hit. I mean, why wouldn’t they be?

I served in a bowl with a big spoon with some fancy ziploc bags on the side so they could take as a snack to their classroom.

I cannot wait to make these to snack on while our house is full of holiday visitors.

They’d be perfect for neighbors or as hostess gifts, too!

Enjoy. And let the hot nut jokes begin…..

Front Of The Line

This past Sunday we went to the early mass and then decided it was a good day to go and see Santa.

Yes, we are that family that visits Mr. Claus before Thanksgiving.

But, please hear me out, I don’t put up any Christmas decorations and we don’t get our tree until the weekend after Thanksgiving. I just like to visit Santa at the mall before the crazy crowds hit and for lack of a better term, “get it out of the way”. I am also a creature of tradition when it comes to our pictures with Santa. We have been going to a Westfield mall to sit on his lap for the past 8 years. I cannot and will not break that cycle. I like to display the timeline of pictures every year during the holidays and I love that they are all from generally the same place {if you’ve seen one Westfield mall, you’ve seen ’em all} ~ obsessive compulsive, I know.

There was a mix up with the mall website and Santa and his elves….website said 11:00am and Santa had noon on his schedule. We were in line minutes before 11:00 and when it hit quarter after, I called the concierge and complained. She sounded surprised and got someone on it. At 11:30, Santa’s helpers casually strolled in and by this time several kids and their parents had lined up anxiously awaiting the man in red. They explained to us that they weren’t supposed to open until noon. UGH! We were not going to lose our front of the line privileges, so we waited.

I present to you this year’s adorable photo…

I went through their closets a week before and plucked these out instead of buying anything new this year.

Red and black plaid in her closet.

Red and black plaid in his closet.



We also have a tradition where we get an annual family ornament and the kids choose one and have it personalized with their name and the year. This way, when they are grown up and out on their own {don’t want to think about it} they will have a collection of ornaments from throughout the years to hang on their trees and be a reminder of childhood Christmases.

This year I {made} them both get soccer related ones since I like to try to have them pick something reminiscent of the past 12 months. Sometimes I cave and let them choose, but this time I put my foot down and they didn’t seem to mind since they both loved their first season of AYSO.

{photos of their ornaments to come}

Here is 2012’s glitterrific choice…


Even though we were eagerly in front of the line six weeks early, we still haven’t forgotten about Thanksgiving!

The turkey is in the brine, the pantry and ‘fridge are filled with side dish ingredients, the table is NOT set, but it will get there and the wine is chilling.

A very Blessed Thanksgiving from our family to yours.


List Making, Etc.

Hello friends and Happy Wednesday!

I don’t know about you, but I have several lists going on right now…

1. Next week’s grocery list

2. Thanksgiving Day grocery list

3. List of holiday goodies to bake

4. List of folks to deliver the holiday goodies to

5. List of gifts to buy and send


I’m a list making fool these days.

Trying to pin down the treats I’m going to make this year for neighbors, teachers, office ladies, yard duties, lunch ladies, pediatrician’s office…


I think I’ve come up with a few contenders and I wanted to share them with you in case you have NO idea what to bake, either…

{cake batter fudge}

With red, green & white nonpareils, of course!

 {lumps of coal ~ no-bake Oreo/marshmallow bars}

Not that anyone has been bad this year…..

{peppermint sugar cookie bars}

And you KNOW I’m going to make these!

How’s that for narrowing down all the gazillions of holiday treats on Pinterest?


Have you entered my blogiversary giveaway yet? Tomorrow night at midnight is the cut-off, so please take a peek and enter before it’s too late!

Have a wonderful, blessed, productive, {Etc.} day!


Makin’ A {Pinterest} List

The last 10 weekends of the year are already filled on our little calendar…I am already beginning to panic and wonder when I am going to fit in Christmas shopping, homemade gifts, sweet treats and wrapping.

I’ve picked up several little goodies for Christmas gifts here and there and have made a list of tasty little morsels that I want to deliver to the special people in our lives. I figure you can never start too early…..if I know myself, I know that I will wait until it’s too late and stress about it. So with that said, I am planning ahead this year, getting things done so that when December 1st rolls around all I need to think about is picking out our tree, decorating the house, Jay’s birthday,¬†visiting Santa, touring the lights, holiday parties, dance recitals, gift wrapping party, baking and cooking for the family and enjoying the dazzle of the holidays.

{obviously the food items will be made closer to Christmas, but at least I can shop for some supplies now}

For the neighbors:

Yellow Pepper Relish jarred in quilted Mason jars with a little tag that reads something like, “Relish in the magic of the holidays ~ spread this on your favorite sandwich or burger and enjoy!”

For the doc’s office, hairdresser, dog sitter, school office staffs, etc.:


Gift tag: “Naughty & Nice pretzel bites ~ a little salty, a little sweet! Merry Christmas from The Aspiras Family”

For Elliott’s classmates:


Gift tag: “Here are some “bookworms” to enjoy during your holiday reading! See you in 2012!”

For Holden’s classmates:

{his preschool is totally ANTI sugar so I thought these would be perfect}


Gift tag: “Have a COLORFUL holiday! See you in 2012!”

{I have already experimented with making the crayons…when Popsi was here visiting in September, he and the kids unwrapped all our old, broken crayons. I picked up a dozen silicone cupcake liners {square & triangle shaped} and did a trial run the other night ~ 200* oven for about 20 minutes. When the crayons are all melted, turn off the oven AND LEAVE THEM IN THERE TO START TO COOL. If you attempt to remove when they are still too liquid, you will mess them up! Take them out after about 30 minutes and set on your counter for another hour or so…then they will be ready to pop out of the liners. This was such an easy process…going to pick up some brand new crayons and make another batch so each of his classmates gets 3 or 4 crayons. Will post a pic in about 2 months {ha!} before we go and deliver them. Here is the tutorial that I followed}

I see LOTS of little clear cello bags, ribbon and gift tags in my future, but I am excited to put my Pinterest finds to work instead of them just looking pretty on my virtual boards!


What are you eyeing for your holiday goodies this year?

If you need an invitation to Pinterest for some inspiration, I can certainly help you with that ~ just say the word {insert evil laugh here}. However, I cannot be held responsible for all the time you will waste spend browsing and pinning.

Happy Humpday!


Skating into the holidays…

…one tradition at a time.

Turkey & cranberries, mashed potatoes & gravy, sweet potatoes & marshmallows, green beans & fried onions and apple crumb pie & whipped cream have all been consumed.

Sat in front of the fireplace sipping coffee and admiring the holiday decor in this month’s Coastal Living {drool} and jotting down oodles of festive recipes and beverages.

Annual family ornaments have been purchased.

And, yes, Santa has been visited……TWICE!

We’ve already had SO much fun and it’s all just started.

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.


I’ve learned that if you don’t scurry, take it all in early and enjoy EVERY minute, it’s gone.

Not gonna let that happen.

‘Tis the season!

Almost, But Not Quite

Elliott and I had a little TJ Maxx date this morning while Holden was in school.

I was on the hunt for something for Jay’s Holiday Party.

I found a gorgeous, fully-lined black & silver houndstooth belted pencil skirt for $10.00…

I envisioned wearing it with tights and possibly some low boots ~ a look that was completely opposite of what I originally had in mind, but all of a sudden excited about ~ more of a classic look this year.

{similar to this, but the black houndstooth print was silver on a black skirt}


It would’ve been so festive.

But it was one size too small…

Would’ve been fine if I didn’t sit down the whole evening. You know, just stood in one place.

Who needs to sit?

Made me wish I hadn’t eaten those peanut butter cookies and espresso brownies last week!

The hunt will continue.

God forbid I wear something already in my closet.

But for $10…..

Almost, but not quite.

House of Mouse

Jay surprised us and is taking the day off on Friday. We’re heading to Mickey Mouse’s House! It’s the first day with the halls decked, the stockings hung, the trees trimmed and the lights strung. I love, love, love Disneyland during the holidays! It’s even MORE magical (if that’s possible).

Last December we had our maiden voyage to D-land as a family. We went on a Friday and it was packed. We only made it on a handful of rides. However, Jay came across a website that tracks attendance patterns and supposedly this is a “good” time to go. Who wants to go to D-land on Friday the 13th? We may be the only ones there. We will let you know!

Our first visit was interesting. We didn’t get into the park until after 2:00p.m. The parking lot was full and we parked off-site and walked into the park as there were no shuttles. We arrived at the front gate, waited in line for tickets and finally made it into the park. It was magical…seeing the expressions on the kids’ faces was, for lack of a better term, priceless. We immediately headed to the newly re-opened It’s a Small World. Eyes wide and dropped jaws the whole ride. It was precious. Elliott and Holden were finally under the Disney spell and it was beautiful.

It got dark and cold quickly.  We swiftly forked over $70-something for sweatshirts. Followed by personalized ears and ice cream while we watched the parade. We stayed to the bitter end Рmidnight. We changed the kids into their jammies and brushed their teeth before we headed home. The following day I felt like I was hit by a train. But of course it was ALL worth it.

This time I’m hoping we end the day at the Happiest Place on Earth with SMILES instead of this:


This is NOT the picture Disney Marketing wants you to see!