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Good Morning All!

Well, we have returned from all of our wonderful travels and will be staying home for a while! We’ve had the best time visiting family and friends, eating great food, and treating our eyes to some wonderful sights, but it’s always good to be home.

We’ve been to the Biltmore before and even at Christmas before, but it’s always a delight and a glorious way to kick off the holiday. My camera battery was basically 0%, but I did snap a shot of the Gingerbread Biltmore in the kitchen.

And we also had the opportunity to attend the Van Gogh Experience; I walked away eager to find some good books about the artist. If you have some suggestions, please send them my way! We had to snap a picture in the Sunflower room!

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And (insert me patting myself on the back here), in spite of all the great travels and the food coma I’ve been in, I actually managed to publish a couple of posts for you this past week! I Know! I’m pretty amazed as well.

Some of these are affiliate links, and I will earn a small commission off of the sale of these products, but the price you are charged is not affected. You can see my full disclosure policy here.

  • I am pretty smitten with these Gingerbread Button Cookies! I mean, what’s not to love? Gingerbread + Pretty Darn Cute! If you give them as a gift or take them to a cookies swap, definitely thread them with some baker’s twine…it really ups the cute factor.
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  • On the other end of the food spectrum, consider making this Christmas Salad for your Christmas Eve or Christmas Day dinner. It’s a welcome and delicious respite from all the indulgent and sweet treats you may have been enjoying over hte season.
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  • And, thinking ahead to the new year, sign up for the 2022 Decluttering Challenge. Over a six-week period, you will recieve one email a week focusing on specific areas in your home. Checklists tailored to those areas help prompt you to consider and look for items you may have overlooked. You can sign up for the challenge here.

  • What books have you been reading? I’ve been a busy reader of late. I enjoyed Jonathan Franzen’s writing and humor in The Corrections, though it was a sad glimpse into a dysfunctional and unhappy family. In a Dark, Dark Wood was the first Ruth Ware book I had read and will read more. It was an entertaining WhoDunnit. Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal was the autobiography of author Jeanette Winterson. It is often said that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and Jeanette is a prime example of that adage. Finally, I am currently reading Anthony Horowitz’s The Word is Murder. It is a very entertaining crime novel, made unique by the fact that the author has inserted himself as a fictional main character. I didn’t realize that Horowitz also wrote Foyle’s War, a TV show we enjoyed on PBS. I always get excited when an author I enjoy has a list of books he or she has written, it makes my queue easy to fill!

  • For a fancy-ish Christmas-y dessert, consider these Cranberry Curd Tarts. They look fancy, but each element can be prepared ahead of time, for quick assembly when needed.
Mini Chocolate Cranberry Tart
  • And related to these treats, I’m on record as being a fan of the mini-dessert! You are able to satisfy your sweet tooth without overindulging. For more mini-desserts, check out these mini pecan tarts and these mini mincemeat tarts.

  • And don’t forget to tuck in one of these knit care tags when you gift your blanket (or any of your knitted gifts!)

Well, my friends, I am signing off for the last time in 2021. I have gifts to wrap and cookies to bake and blankets to knit and a house to clean and…well you get the drift. My nestlings will be home soon and I plan to soak up as much time with them as I can.

But before I head out, I wanted to wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah and Happy whatever ever else you celebrate this time of year.

As you are reading this is Cinncinati or Iowa, someone else may be reading it, at the same exact time, in Israel or South Africa. And that’s a really cool thing about this blog world…the inter-connectedness of us all.  

In the words of some of my favorite little mechanical people, ‘it’s a small world after all’ and our digital devices have made it even smaller. So, I send all my friends from around the globe special greetings this time of year.

As much as I cherish this season for the religious significance it holds for me, I also treasure it for the time we set aside to just be with those we love, to relish in our traditions, to reflect on our blessings, and to welcome in a new year…oh, and let’s not forget…to consume all sorts of home-baked goodies with abandon. So, my wish for you is to soak in whatever this time of year makes special to you and your family.

Many Hugs,

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Thanks for making my day by SHARING!!


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