Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Comfort Food

Have all the ups and downs of the holidays left you craving comfort food? Actually, for me it is comfort food and a BC!  LOL  The wonderful Christmas season is now past, but now we are left to get our houses back in order.  I have a "to-do" list that seems to be a mile long...... take down, pack up and store all of the Christmas decorations, switch out my closets (cold weather arrives so late in south Alabama that I am able to wait until after the holidays to do this chore), gather items to take to Goodwill, balance the checkbook.... the list goes on and on!  So today I felt the need for the ultimate comfort food - homemade vegetable soup and cornbread.  I love the smell of soup simmering on the stove.  There is something so soothing about preparing soup just like my mother made so many times.  It truly is comforting!  As I puttered around the house today, my spirits were lifted by the smell of the delicious soup!!

The clothes are washed and sorted, most of the Christmas decorations have been put away, and we have eaten  a steaming bowl of yummy soup and cornbread!  Now I have to tackle the tree.... this is always the last step in "de-Christmasing" my house.  

What are your favorite comfort foods?  What delicious food is guaranteed to pick you up? Homemade mac and cheese?  Cheesy Enchiladas?  Roast and gravy?  Homemade onion dip and a big bag of chips? Homemade fudge?  Are you noticing a pattern?  All of my favorite comfort food includes the word homemade in the name.  Is that true for you too?  What food will cheer you up in a heartbeat?  I would love for you to share your favorite comfort foods with me :-)

Today I am joining the following:

What's It Wednesdays @

Come and join the fun!! 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

May we never forget the true meaning of Christmas!!! 

Luke 2: Verses 1 - 14

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. 

And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round them: and they were so afraid. 

And the angel said unto them, fear no: fro, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 

Seth memorized these verses and recited them for my Papa, Nini, Paige and Spencer (and Jon and me) on Christmas Eve.  He did it perfectly!  (I tried to video him with our camera, but the poor child has been so sick he sounds totally "stopped up".) Nonetheless, I was so proud of him!!!  I may try to link the video later.  We will now add this to our yearly family traditions.  We also sprinkled reindeer food in the front yard, left a petit four for Santa, and read The Night Before Christmas.  I love simple traditions.  

Now, I pray that Seth gets well.  He has had fever for four straight days.  My sweet daddy insisted we come home for Christmas anyway.  We were very careful, but we didn't want to risk making anyone sick so we did not go to my grandmother's house with Papa and Nini, my sister, to see our extended families.  The three of us just hung out at Daddy's today.  We definitely had a low key Christmas.  It just goes to show, that no matter how hard you try, something may not go exactly as planned.  In my mind, I was so sad..... here I was planning this Norman Rockwell Christmas and we ended up alone at Daddy's with no fancy Christmas dinner.  And that is ok... we are home safe and sound and Seth is happily (with the aid of lots of medicine) playing with his new toys.  All is calm.... all is bright!!!

Again, Merry Christmas from our family to yours.  May all of your dreams come true!! 
Friday, December 23, 2011

Cooper, The Elf, writes the first ever guest post on Buttercup Bliss!

Welcome to Buttercup Bliss!!  My name is Cooper and I am so excited that Lisa asked me to be the first person to "guest post" on Buttercup Bliss!!  My little elf heart is beating rapidly with excitement!  You can understand that this is pretty big for an elf who lives most of the year at the North Pole!  So... you are wondering how this came about?  Well you see, I came to live with my new family the first week of December. They had never had an elf in their family before and boy was Seth excited when he saw me perched on their mantel that first night.  He was thrilled and jumped around like crazy for a little while!!!  Let me tell you I have had some fun with them and they have treated me just like family (which, of course, I am!).  Seth gave me special treats that made my tiny tummy so happy!!! They have all had so much fun looking for me each morning.  Seth and his mommy are the ones who usually find me first.  I have hidden all over the house.... in the stockings, in the wreaths, in the tree, and hanging from the chandelier (that kind of scared me, because I didn't realize I was afraid of heights). One night I was trying to get a snack and I fell in the holiday tin that holds all the Christmas candy!  They laughed and laughed when they found me holding a Hershey bar!  The next night, they found me in the bathroom - I was trying to brush my teeth. :-)

It was a little chilly in here!!!  

Anyhoo... back to the story.  As I have gotten to know my family, I heard lots about Lisa's blog. (I did have to ask Jon about what exactly is a blog, but he explained it really well.)  He said it is Lisa's hobby.  She loves to share about her family and her home and all sorts of other things.  She is having such a good time and is so happy when people leave comments or follow her blog.  One night I heard her mention that she had never had anyone write a guest post on her blog.  Let me tell you, I was paying attention to her and all of a sudden, my little hand just leaped up and I said "I can do that for you, please, please, please".  Now first of all I have to tell you  that Seth was asleep when I did this, because all elves know that if kids heard them talk it would spoil the Christmas magic.  Seth was safely in his bed when I begged Lisa to let me write a post.  Imagine my delight when she said yes.  I mean, what an honor!!!  So here it is:

What Christmas means to me by Cooper:

Christmas is not just about presents, although as an elf, one of Santa's chief helpers, I know people love getting gifts.  But it is so much more than getting presents.  It is about the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. 
I wish you could hear Seth each day as he practices the Christmas story from Luke 2.  He is memorizing it as a special surprise for his Papa. I told Santa all about it and that made Santa smile! I know Papa is going to be so proud of Seth too! 

I love the special smells of Christmas!  Lisa has been busy cooking special cookies and other goodies. It is a good thing I am here now though, because apparently after Christmas, Lisa and Jon are both going on diets!!  

The lights on the Christmas tree and all of the pretty decorations make me happy!!! My new family is so happy in their cozy little house!  The tree is filled with special ornaments that make everyone happy and bring back good memories!  

Right now I am happily sitting on top of the Snow Village watching my family enjoy a wonderful Friday night together.  Clarabel is snuggling in the big chair with her favorite person in the world, her "daddy", Jon.  Seth, Lisa, and Bentley are all sitting together on the sofa enjoying a Christmas show on television.  I've heard them talk about making hot chocolate.  Goody!  More yummy treats!!!

Tomorrow evening I will go back to the North Pole, but I will be back next year to live with my family. (Maybe next year it won't be so warm in south Alabama!  Whew!  Can you say humidity?? I had never heard that word before, but, it must do something to Lisa's hair!)  I will miss Jon, Lisa and Seth and their furry babies, Bentley and Clarabel.  (I have always heard that only children are spoiled, but I will tell you honestly that Seth is a good boy with a super big heart!  His mommy and daddy are so blessed!)  I am sure that Santa is going to bring him some special presents picked out just for him!   

Before I end, I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas!  My you feel the joy of the season in your hearts!!!

Cooper (Santa's sweetest little elf!) 

Oops!  I was checking out Lisa's coffee station!  
It is hard to get out of a creamer :-)
I had fun looking at all the presents!!  

This week I am linking to the following parties:  

At The Picket Fence

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Made with Love!

It is that time of year when we are scurrying around trying to find just the perfect gift for our friends and family! I know we all spend countless hours (and money) searching for the present that will bring a smile to the faces of our loved ones. To be honest, though, to me, the best, most perfect presents are those that are homemade - gifts made with love! Nothing makes me happier than when I receive a gift that someone has made themselves. The fact that someone took the time to cook or sew or paint or create something in a unique way, is so special to me!!!

This year I have been the happy recipient of oranges grown by one of our sweet teachers. She is very creative so, of course, the way she wrapped them was just darling!! They are delicious too! One of my friends made German spritz cookies - yummy! They looked so cute in a Christmas tin! Still another friend left a precious container on my desk that was filled with the most delectable goodies. She is an awesome cook! The tiny Ritz Bits dipped in white chocolate and covered in tiny sprinkles were gone in a heart beat!! She also included fudge, homemade cookies, and chocolate dipped pretzels. Still another friend made homemade Wedding Cookies. It was probably one of the best cookies I have ever eaten!! I may make them soon and share here recipe. They were so light and delicate and, oh so sweet!

Hmmm... I should have taken a picture before I ate most of the goodies!!!

Last year my friend, Lynda, painted me a special, whimsical Christmas picture. It is proudly displayed in my den this year! My friend, Diane, gives many of her friends an original pen and ink Christmas drawing that she has made into a card each year. We all look forward to seeing what she has created as each Christmas
season rolls around!

So cute and whimsical and made just for me!

At one of our work related meeting/brunch/gift exchanges this past week, one of the teachers gave the most adorable t-shirt scarf that she made. I regret that I didn't get a picture! It was so cute! She said she found the idea on Pinterest. I can not wait till I can make one too!

Of course, the most precious homemade gifts I receive each year are those made by Seth! I treasure each item that he makes at school. How wonderful that the teachers take the time to help their students make their parents a one-of-a kind present! These gifts will bring joy each and every Christmas!!

Made with love, from Seth this year!

What a special treasure!

So much time, effort, and LOVE went into these wonderful gifts! That, to me, is what Christmas is all about - not stressing out over finding the ideal gift in a store.

What do you like to make as special "happies" for your friends? I gave Christmas treat bags filled with Firecrackers - hot and spicy (and salty, too!) crackers. (I forgot to take a picture - and the treat bags were SO cute!) They are simple and easy to make. One of my friends said "you didn't tell me that they were addictive!" I have also made homemade pies, batches of fudge, and other goodies.

I would love to hear your ideas for homemade gifts.... Do you paint, cross-stitch, knit, or cook? Please share your ideas! I know you will inspire me with your creativity!!

This week I am linking to the following parties:
Thursday, December 15, 2011

Oh, Christmas Tree!

Today I am sharing our Christmas Tree. I wanted to have it ready for last week's Christmas Blogger Block Party, but, good gracious, I couldn't get it all done! There is just so much going on and I love it, but blogging got pushed to the back burner :-).

Over the past years, I have occasionally done a themed tree. I have a huge storage box filled with everything for a beautiful tree in which all the ornaments are silver or pewter. For a while I alternated: one year the "silver" tree and the next year my "real" tree. The silver tree is lovely, but, for me nothing says Christmas like a traditional Christmas tree! Mine has evolved over the years. At one point I had a few quilted ornaments and some that seemed a little "country". For quite a few years I added small bunches of dried baby's breath placed randomly throughout the tree as the finishing touch. It was so pretty! Probably the funniest one I ever had was the year I decided to have a "depression" tree. It was the year I moved to Hattiesburg, MS and I bought the sweetest little house you have ever seen! It was a little cottage that was built in the late thirties or early forties with tall ceilings and hardwood floors. Anyway, I got this idea to have a tree from that era (in my head this all made sense!). I still laugh as I think about my mom telling me "Lisa, in the depression, please probably didn't have a Christmas tree! Nonetheless, I went ahead with my plans. I got a large cedar tree and added huge old fashioned colored lights. I used my sweet, simple ornaments and added vintage looking, shiny, very breakable, glass ornaments. I even added tinsel! My sweet Daddy got me a little red wagon to put underneath the tree and I also added teddy bears around the bottom. I wrapped all the presents in plain brown paper. It was adorable! Sadly, this is the only tree in my twenty something years of having my "own" tree that I don't have a picture of to keep as a memory. The poor cedar dried quickly! When my parents came to see me right before Christmas, my mother insisted that we take it down before I went to their house for the holidays. Somehow I had neglected to take a picture! I can still see it though!

Today our tree is filled with traditional red and green ornaments. I try to add a few new ornaments each year. Some years I treat myself to a new Radko :-) I always look forward to choosing my wrapping paper. This year I couldn't find paper that I loved, so, thinking back to my "depression" tree, I decided to use brown paper with simple red and green ribbons topped with red berries. Sweet and simple is best!

My mother made this little felt ornament many years ago!
I love Radko!

I made this little ornament in Sunday School when I around 7 or 8 years old.

I love this poinsettia ornament because it belonged to my mother.

This blue Radko cross is so pretty!!

Brown paper packages - love them!

I can not get a clear picture of the tree! This is just included so you can see the entire tree instead of just bits and pieces!

What are your favorite Christmas tree decorations? Traditional family favorites? Fun and trendy? Themes? I would love to know which is your all time favorite!

As always, thanks for visiting Buttercup Bliss!

This week I am linking to the following:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas in the Kitchen

This week has been so much fun! I am loving the blogger block party! Today is the Christmas in the Kitchen party. I almost didn't write a post about our kitchen. It is small and it is the heart of our home - lots of action here each day! But because of that, it was decorated very simply for Christmas. I read a blog post from one of my favorite bloggers and she mentioned that she kept things simple in her kitchen because it is the hub of their home. She went on to say that her family does everything in the kitchen so she needed to keep it functional. That is so true at our home too! Seth does his homework here, our little family eats at the bar each night, I blog here.... you get the picture! So, I decided to take a cue from this very talented blogger and show my kitchen as it really is at Christmas. It is not over the top, because there is so much going on here and it is a cozy galley kitchen. I didn't want it to be overwhelming or have to move things around while I am packing lunches or cooking dinner. Part of blogging though it showing how things really are so.... here it is :-) Sweet and simple, but it is home!

My "dressy" Christmas dishes are Gail Pittman's "Hollylulah". I didn't use it for my Christmas table, but I did use a few pieces in the kitchen.

During the year this is filled with spatulas and other cooking utensils, but for the Christmas season I added fresh holly and other greenery.

I love this metal cross that I bought this year at the cutest little florist shop. It is made in Mississippi so of course that made it even more special.

I have had this platter for several years. You can tell by now that I really like traditional red and green for Christmas.

I enjoy pulling out my Southern Living Christmas books each year.

(Hmm... looks like my fruit basket is running a little low. I should probably be at the grocery right now. :-)

Aren't Command Strips just the greatest invention??? So useful during the holidays!

Just for fun - I got these at Hallmark recently.

As always, thanks for visiting Buttercup Bliss. I hope you enjoyed our very simple Christmas Kitchen.

Today I am linking to the following:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Casual Christmas Dining

I am having so much fun participating in the Christmas Blogger Block Party. Today's party is Christmas Dining. My Christmas tablescape is cheerful, whimsical and fun! Since we no longer have a formal dining room, I kept my "fancy" Christmas dishes in the cabinet. I decided to just do something different this year. I think it is a happy table - if dishes can be happy, and I think they can! This is most assuredly not stuffy :-)

I started with shiny, somewhat "blingy", placemats that I got several years ago at Target. You can barely see them in the finished tablescape, but I thought they were a great starting point. I topped these with layered red and silver chargers (also purchased at Target). I alternated the red and silver depending on the placemat. Next I layered Wedgewood Strawberry and Vine dinner plates. This simple white plate is so versatile. The salad plates are 4 different whimsical patterns from Radko. I got these a few years ago at Dillards. They are too cute! Finally, I added a little felt stocking flatware holder. I hated to cover the design on the salad plate, but it seemed to be the perfect place for the silverware.

I love these plates!!! Just like Radko ornaments, they make me smile!

I shared the centerpiece a few days ago so I won't bore you with all the little details. I do think it goes so well with the rest of the tablescape. To me, you just can't go wrong with vivid red and green for Christmas!!!

Today I am linking to the following parties:

Come join in the fun!!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Warm Christmas Welcome

I was so excited the other night because I made new wreaths for our front doors. I had mesh wreaths the last two years and, sadly, they didn't survive our move this summer. I tried to "fluff" them but to no avail. I had looked at several places that had gorgeous wreaths for sale, but I was trying to be thrifty AND I knew I could make some myself. Being creative and frugal in the same project.... what could be better? I will tell you that I chickened out and didn't attempt to make mesh ones. Partly because I wasn't sure I knew exactly how to begin and also it seems everyone is out of mesh! Instead I went for cheerful and festive traditional wreaths. I really like all the trendy colors but when it comes right down to it I prefer red and green for Christmas! (However, if I could have two sets of wreaths I would love to have the lime green, pink and silver ones that my friend Lynda made the other day. They are adorable!!)

I went to Michael's and filled a buggy with wreaths, ornaments, picks, stems, and ribbons!! With Lynda along, it didn't take long to decide what I wanted - if I had been alone, I would have been there for hours!
I took everything home and piled it in the middle of the floor and just jumped in! :-) My husband said "I think you may have to much". I just smiled and kept working! If I bought it, it went in the wreath! I am not much of a bow maker, but Lynda helped out in that department. Boy, am I lucky to have her as a friend!

Hmm..... can I turn this pile of stuff into something that can go on our front door without the neighbors thinking I am goofy??

Another close-up.

My favorite part is this happy little lime green glittery bird! Precious!!

Here is the finished product! I love them! I also love the price!
Most of the wreaths I looked at cost a minimum of $55 each.
Since I have double doors, the cost would have easily escalated.
These cost a fraction of the price!!! So happy!!!

Our home is small and cozy, but I think it is very welcoming :-)

This week I am linking to the following:

A Tale of Two Mantels

Today's post is a tale of two mantels. You see, I wanted to participate in today's edition of the Blogger Christmas Block Party - The Mantel Party that is going on at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia. Here's the deal though: My mantel is topped with a "humongo jumbo" TV. This hardly leads to an amazing mantel decoration! But what can I say? It's really the only place in our great room for the TV to reside. Most of the year it doesn't bother me, but at Christmas, I really would like a stunning mantel. (With our fireplace in our new home, I can't even "hang the stockings by the chimney with care" because we actually use the fireplace and I am very cautious. Anyway..... back to the story. How do you participate in the mantel party without a beautiful mantel to share? Why you ask one of your dearest friends if you can share her mantel, that's what!!

My friend, Lynda, who is like a sister to me, agreed to let me show you her gorgeous mantel. It is so pretty all year round! The coolest part is that her son, Blake, who is now 24 and literally a "rocket scientist" designed the mantel when they built their new home 7 years ago. They wanted a reclaimed mantel from an old home, but it wouldn't work in the new build. Blake decided to sketch out the mantel that his mom was yearning for in their new home. They took the design to the cabinet builder and the rest is history! I hope you enjoy the pictures of this wonderful mantel all decked out for Christmas!

This is my mantel.... I love my home, but this is hardly a
mantel worth blogging about in a post that is suppose to show
off our gorgeously decorated mantels. LOL

I love Lynda's collection of Nutcrackers. They have been collecting them for many years.
All have been marked on the bottom with their son's names
and the year they were added to the collection.

So pretty!

The double mantel is so amazing!

Lynda made all of their stockings!

Thank you to Lynda for letting me share a part of their beautiful home!

This week I am linking to the following parties:

Holiday Home Mantel Party @