Simply Noel: December 13 – Let There Be Light

Simply Noel:

December 13 – Let There Be Light

Have you noticed that Christmas has become a hodgepodge of traditions? When I set out to start this devotional, one of my goals was to learn the “why” behind some of the practices. Christmas comes along, and we break out the Advent calendars, the gingerbread houses, the decorations, the wreaths, the lights, the holly, the mistletoe… We bake cookies, special breads, and yule logs… We cook certain meats and seafoods… We sing specific songs and visit Santa at the mall… Those are just some of the traditions we carry on, because our culture has adopted them. I’m sure there are even more, especially when we add in the modern ones…

It can be overwhelming, can’t it? And while I have participated and incorporated many Christmas traditions into our lives here, I refuse to be bound to rituals, especially when I don’t understand them to begin with and it’s become a matter of going through the motions. Are you going through the motions, too?

One of the stories I stumbled upon is related to this day, December 13th – Saint Lucia (St. Lucy) Day, was about a young and devout Christian woman, who was martyred for her unwavering faith in Christ. I’m sure I’ll get part of her story’s details wrong (because I am neither Catholic, Lutheran, or Swedish), but basically, according to legend, in 304 A.D. she “brought food and aid to Christians hiding in the catacombs using a candle-lit wreath [worn on her head] to light her way and leave her hands free,” so on this day, St. Lucia (meaning light) is remembered/honored in certain ways, both in places of worship and also in private homes.

One of the practices I read about, in regards to this day, was the eating of a breakfast meal by candlelight. I started imagining how serene and lovely it would be – to serve my family some eggs and Lucia Buns by candlelight one winter morning. There’s something so wonderful about candlelight – so peaceful. Have you ever enjoyed a candle-lit meal on a date, perhaps, or at a wedding? I love the way the light only reaches so far and then fades into darkness. The soft, warm glow that touches each object in front of you… The way it flickers and causes the surroundings to dance… The warmth that it gives off… I simply love candlelight. It’s interesting to me how intimate it makes even the most mundane activity feel. I almost think it brings things into focus, because you have no choice but to only focus on the small area that you can actually see – the face of a loved one sitting next to you, the other end of a table, the page of a book…

I started to think about our candlelight service on Christmas Eve. We could easily flip the switch and illuminate the entire room. Let there be light! Ta-da! But, no, that’s not what happens, right? We start with a real, not artificial, single flame, and person by person, we watch it grow into a sea of the most warm and peaceful light. Furthermore, you and the light are one. It goes where you go, turns where you turn…

There is so much said about light in the Bible. Jesus tells us that we are the light of the world, a city on a hill that cannot be hidden… He also tells us that while He is in the world, He is the Light of the world.

“The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”

– John 12:35-36

Sons of light… light of the world… carriers of light…

“…for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

‘Awake, O sleeper,
    and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.'”

– Ephesians 5:8-15

Christ is the Light of the world, He shined His light on us, and now we are carriers of that light, making us the light of the world…

So, while we can honor and respect the selfless and sacrificial lives of those men and women, like St. Lucia, who have laid down their lives for the sake of the Gospel and for the love of others, we mustn’t get caught up in rituals that might distract from the reality that we are the light. We don’t necessarily need a feast to welcome the light to the darkness… We don’t need a ceremony… We need a breakthrough moment, a revelation, in which Christ cracks us wide open, and His light bursts from us like the sun. And then, as we are going about our daily lives, we embody the Holy Spirit’s flame, and we ignite the spirit of each person with whom we come in contact. It may look like the striking of a match, or it may be the gentle and steady transfer of Heaven’s light, but either way, we are to light the world one heart at a time.




Klover House Christmas:

While we don’t celebrate St. Lucia Day, I do love baking festive breads. If you caught my recent post, What You Do Well, then you’ll remember that I’m not the best baker, but breads, I can handle. I really enjoy the process of bread-making. I found this post for St. Lucia Buns, and they sound tasty. I’ve always wondered what saffron tastes like, so this might be a great excuse to make something with it. Let me know if you try this out, or if St. Lucia Buns are a “thing” at your house, I’d love to hear from you!

Recipe for St. Lucia Buns – click here.

Simply Noel: December 9 – What You Do Well…

Simply Noel:

December 9 – What You Do Well…

Every single year, I come up with about four new cookie recipes I’d like to try for Christmas. I dream of perfecting the Peanut Butter Blossoms, attempting a biscotti recipe, and creating a from-scratch masterpiece that no one else has yet to bring to the table.

And every year, my Peanut Butter Blossoms are so-so, I never get around to the biscotti, and every new thing I try is pretty much a flop.

We celebrate Christmas early with my husband’s family, and so, we are heading there next weekend. In years past, I have tried to wow and pleasantly surprise our family with something yummy, but it never fails – I run around like a crazy lady, trying to whip up these “easy” new treats that I spotted in a trendy magazine, something goes miserably wrong, and we show up with a subpar tray that no one even touches.

My sister-in-law, on the other hand, has cornered the market on Peanut Butter Blossoms, and her cookie trays look like they belong in a Christmas shop. For real. Always a gorgeous array of festive colors… no bakes… truffles… cute ones that are cleanly decorated… And they all taste amazing to boot!

Bottom line… She is the baker. This lady (me) is not.

My Salted Caramel Oreo Truffles are pretty much the only “cookie” recipe that I have ever pulled off with ease and happy results. Everything else has sort of been a disappointment.

Breads and muffins… Now, those are my jam. Cookies, cupcakes, cheesecakes, etc… not so much.

Once I came to terms with this reality, I felt this tug in my spirit urging me to set the baking bar loooooow. Set it real low, Sister. What you do well… Do that.

What you do WELL… Do that.

I’m not saying that I won’t still try new things, but as far as stressing myself out in order to be somebody that I am not (at least not yet), it’s time to cut that stuff out.

You know what I’m good at? Cooking meals from scratch and using my instincts and senses to do so. I’m also crafty. I love decorating average sugar cookies with my creative and funny kids. I love making homemade rosemary focaccia. I can whip up some pretty stellar coconut oil brownies. I created this incredibly delicious stuff that my hubby and I call, “Peanut Butter Spoon Fudge.” I can make beautiful and sometimes unique floral arrangements for myself and others, saving us hundreds of dollars a year. I can make stories come alive for my kids when I read to them. I can design and sew dresses. I can serve others with joyful hospitality. I take very good care of my children.

I can’t bake a decent pie (unless it’s pumpkin), or make beautiful cookies, but I can do those other things, and I can do them well.

God created you to do certain things well, too. It’s not that we can’t grow, evolve, and learn new things, because we can. But I believe that there are also times in which we need to put the other 99 hats on the shelf and just wear one or two for a season.

That person that you are…be her/him well. Love well. What you put your hands to, do that well. What you love…love well.

Spare yourself the extra worry this Christmas. I’m sure you have plenty to do already. Do those things well, and let others do their things well, too. The night sky is beautiful when many stars shine together.

I am a parent who already sees certain strengths and talents emerging in each of my daughters. I would never want them to feel frazzled, less-than, or not good enough. I would never want them to waste their time striving and trying to be someone that they were not meant to be. It would break my heart to see them trying to squeeze into a mold that doesn’t belong to them, forsaking the beautiful one that bears their name alone.

That’s us. The Father’s children.

Next weekend, I am going to leave my made-with-love-not-talent cookies at home, and show up with the few things I can make well instead and appreciate the gifts and talents that I see in the others around me.

When we stop trying to be everything for everyone, we can actually be who we are meant to be. I’m guessing that if we’re honest, the one person we’re really trying to constantly “show up” is actually ourselves. I’m guessing if I have extremely high expectations of myself, you might have some for yourself, too. Time to give yourself a break. Take a moment to realize who you are, what you love, and how beautiful your personal giftings are. Take the same awe that you would give to others and give it to yourself. What you can do right now in this season is enough. You are enough. You’re just right. Know that today, and carry that truth into tomorrow.




Klover House Christmas:

You know those one “cookies” I said that I can do well? It’s true! They are so good! If you love caramel and chocolate and you own a food processor, then this is a treat for you! The trick is in freezing them long enough so that they are simple to roll in chocolate. This year, I want to use my new Pampered Chef drizzler thingy, that my sister-in-law gifted me with, to decorate them again with caramel. Then, I plan on sprinkling some raw sugar on top to give them that holiday sparkle. Simply click the link below to find your way to this decadent recipe. Enjoy! And if you can make biscotti…come and see me. 😉

Salted Caramel Oreo Truffles


::December 8::    ::Back to the Top::    ::December 10::

Fresh and Delicious Dill Balsamic Vinaigrette

You know those salad dressings that just stick with you?  You crave them…you think about them during a particular season…you make special trips to the store or Farmer’s Market just for those special ingredients?

Well, I have one of those dressings.  I tried it for the first time while I was working with some incredible Italian women and putting myself through college.  These sisters had big hearts and amazing cooking skills.


One day, they insisted I have some of the salad they had brought in from home.  I did.  Friends, that’s all it took.  I was hooked and had to know how I could make it for myself.

All these years later, I am still making this amazing vinaigrette.  I admit, it’s not the same recipe, because time has tainted my recollection and I probably cut the salt by over half, because salt is a current member on my don’t-even-go-there list, but I think it’s amazing still and my ids seem to agree.  When you’ve got a four and a six year old who actually fought over slices of cucumber for dipping, because they couldn’t get enough, you know you’ve got a winner.


Friends, here is that winner for your own enjoyment…

Dill Balsamic Vinaigrette

3 full sprigs of fresh dill (more to taste) – remove the fronds from stems and finely chop

1/4 c. balsamic vinegar

1/4 c. olive oil

1/4 c. honey (can also be split as 1/8 c. honey, 1/8 c. sugar)

1 tsp. sea salt & 20+ cracks black pepper (more or less to taste)

1 Roma tomato, chopped

1/4 c. yellow or red onion, chopped

*Even if you don’t care for onions and tomatoes, incorporate them into the dressing, because they are crucial in developing the proper flavor.

Finish with one cucumber, chopped, and 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese (fresh is best, but shredded works well too!)

Pair with a delicious pasta dish or top with grilled chicken for an amazing, stand-alone meal.

That simple.


Connect with us on Instagram to keep up with all the latest happenings in the Klover House Kitchen!  Also, if Meal Planning is something that interests you, check out my in-depth article explaining my tried and proven process on the incredible site, Money Saving Mom.

Check out more of our Klover House Favorites:

Honey Citrus Grilled Chicken over Black Beans and Rice

Deliciously Sweet and Creamy Pumpkin Pie

Raspberry Almond Sugar Cookie Pie

Salted Caramel Oreo Truffles

Delicious Crockpot Lasagna


Cream Cheese Pumpkin Bread

Last night, as I burned the late-night oil watching Cake Wars on Food Network, I caught the #BakeItForward challenge presented at the close of the show.  I am a huge fan of the #PayItForward lifestyle, so this seemed like a lot of fun coupled with a wonderful cause – fighting child hunger. Food Network is donating $1 for each original post on social media using the hashtag #BakeItForward.

As I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and sipping my morning cup of coffee, I came across the video below, featuring banana bread with a cream cheese filling.  I was all out of bananas, but I remembered that I had a can of Organic Pumpkin Puree from Trader Joe’s, so I immediately decided that a swap was in order, since I had everything else I needed to make the bread.


Cream Cheese-Filled Banana BreadPIN IT FOR LATER:

Posted by Tasty on Sunday, November 8, 2015


I followed the recipe shown in the video:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch of salt

I used the following additions:

  • 1 tsp. Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pie spice
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • HALF of a 15oz. can of TJ’s Organic Pumpkin Puree

and the following variations:

  • 1/4 c. Coconut oil (in place of butter)
  • 1/2 c. half n half (in place of sour cream)

I followed the Cream Cheese Filling recipe as given:

  • 4 oz. softened cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 3 TBSP flour

Bake at 350 for 50 minutes.

So that was it!  It turned out well (I think, anyway), but I kept having to remind myself with each bite, “This is NOT a Pumpkin Roll…this is NOT a Pumpkin Roll.” LOL  Because it isn’t nearly as sweet, although it resembles one!  It DID however, make me feel a whole lot better about having three slices!  🙂  Enjoy and please jump on the #BakeItForward train!  It is such a great cause!  We are all baking during the holidays at one point or another, and the challenge is running until December 31st, so as you bake and gift your goodies to others, tag your photos with the #BakeItForward #NoKidHungry hashtags and keep the goodness going!  Tag me too, on Twitter and Instagram, if you heard about it here, because I would be so thrilled to see what you are baking and to see that the love is spreading!

Happy Baking and Giving, Friends! xoxo


Strawberry French Toast

Sweet, delicious, and unbelievably simple Strawberry French Toast!

Nothing says summer like strawberries, and nothing says breakfast like French Toast! (In my humble opinion anyway!) Put them together and you’ve got a pretty satisfying start to your day!

My entire family looooves French Toast, so I am always trying to adjust and perfect it so that it is closer to restaurant-quality and delicious. I think you’ll be pleased with this latest version. It’s golden and crispy on the outside…it’s warm and soft on the inside…and it’s sweet and flavorful. Plus, it’s SIMPLE! And we all love simple, right?!

Start out with a good quality bread, like a rustic Italian loft from Trader Joe’s. (Note: I have also made this with regular store-bought sliced wheat bread, and it’s just as yummy, but you do not have to let the bread soak in the egg mixture as long.)

In a shallow dish (I use my glass pie plate), combine the following with a fork or whisk:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 c. strawberry-flavored Kefir (see photo)
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. raw honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract (optional)

Slice half of the loaf into 1/4 in. pieces.  This recipe will coat 10-12 slices, depending upon thickness.

Allow each slice to soak in the egg mixture on each side.

Pre-heat your oven to 400* and prep a stovetop griddle on medium heat (if you have it, use coconut oil on your pan in place of butter…it will be divine!)

Place 3-4 sliced at a time on the oiled/buttered griddle, flipping once, and removing once lightly browned on each side.

Line the toast on a wire rack over a baking sheet (so the toast is raised above the pan).  Bake for 3 minutes, flip and bake for an additional 3 minutes.  

Remove and serve!  Garnish with fresh berries and/or a light dusting of powdered sugar.  Voila!

(Because Kefir comes in a variety of flavors, you could easily make new and interesting versions of this recipe!  Kefir is a fermented milk beverage.  My kids refer to it as “yogurt milk”, and it is lower in lactose, for those of you with lactose intolerance.  Here’s the wiki link for more info…  I also like to use it in the muffin recipe found in this post.  Enjoy your Kefir creations!)

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Delicious and Simple: Honey Citrus Grilled Chicken over Amazing Black Beans and Rice

Hello, y’all!

Wow.  It’s been a looong time since the last post, and I’m starting things back up with a recipe!  We had this one for dinner a few nights ago and, to be perfectly honest, I was a bit unsure as to how the family would react.  My hubby is NOT a fan of beans of any kind.  In fact, I usually puree them when I am making a Mexican dish or chili.  Saves me an earful, if you know what I mean.  😉

But…he loved it!  Yay!  So here it is:

Grilled Chicken with Citrus Honey Marinade over Cuban-style Beans and Rice:

For the marinade (place in a large Ziploc bag with 5 chicken breasts):
3 small, ripe oranges, quartered (I used Cuties / Halos)
4-5 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp sea salt
1-2 tsp cracked pepper (your preference)
** Seal bag securely and press oranges well, massaging into chicken.
** Store in refrigerator 1-2 days prior to grilling.

For Rice and Beans:
Brown 2 cups of rice in skillet with 2T olive oil and 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
Once rice is a golden color, add seasonings
1 heaping tsp oregano
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp cumin
Stir in seasonings until thoroughly distributed
Add 2T red wine vinegar
Add 2T favorite pasta sauce (our’s is Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce, 24-Ounce (Pack of 4))
Add 1 Bay leaf
Add 2 cups water
Finally, stir in one 10-ounce bag of black beans

Cover and simmer 20-30 minutes, until rice is tender and fluffy.

Serve with grilled chicken breasts.
Garnish with cilantro, fresh lime juice, sour cream, etc.

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superbowl sunday: stuffed soft pretzel rolls

good morning, friends! today is the first day of fabulous february! (fabulous b/c baby is due this month!) and it’s also superbowl sunday!

okay, i confess…i don’t really care about the superbowl. the only team i enjoy watching is the steelers, and they aren’t in it, so basically, all i’m concerned with is the food!

this year, we’re staying true to tradition, and hubs is making a good ole faithful: buffalo chicken dip (2 large cans of chicken, rinsed well; 1 block of cream cheese, 1 c. cheddar cheese, 1/2 c. red hot pepper sauce, and 1/2 c. ranch dressing) under normal circumstances, i would gladly devour spicy dips all night. they have been one of my pregnancy cravings (my sis-in-law’s jalapeno bacon dip is the best!), but alas, i finally took myself to the urgent care center the other night (you know you’re a mama of many when the only time you have to get to the doctor is 7:30 pm on a thursday night), b/c i have been battling a wicked sore throat since new year’s eve. luckily, it is not strep throat, but the doctor did say that it’s tonsillitis. her reaction when i opened my mouth…”oh my! i really wasn’t expecting your throat to be that red.” yep. looks like i waited a little too long. so anyway, with a raw throat and constant heartburn… looks like i’ll be forgoing the yummy dips tonight.

all that to say, i had to decide on a delicious alternative for my snack of choice, and i knew immediately what it was that i would make: stuffed soft pretzel rolls

i receive email updates from a food blog: what megan’s making. i trust her recipes, b/c nearly every one that i have tried out has been delicious.

a few weeks ago, i received this one: soft pretzel rolls

it sounded interesting, and i was out of dinner ideas. i remembered that we had ham and cheese in the refrigerator, and dinner was born.

i’ll be honest, i was a bit nervous about the boiling part. i knew that if the dough wasn’t sealed well, the stuffing would ooze out into the water, and i would have a huge mess on my hands. fearing that, i made sure that each dough ball was secure, while trying not to completely squish the air out of them. i didn’t want them to turn out like bricks.

i followed megan’s cooking/baking process to the letter, and i was so, so, so pleased with the results. the ham and cheese worked perfectly in them! the cracks you see in the pics didn’t show up until the baking step, and they weren’t major, so all of that yummy goodness stayed tucked neatly inside.

(big tip here!!!  set your timer for the 30 seconds in the boiling water, b/c if you don’t…they will be flat!  still yum, but flat.  if you do…they will puff up nicely in the oven and will achieve that sweet, golden brown color!  trust me.  i screwed that up for you in advance.  😉 )

i also whipped up a little sauce for the top using yellow mustard, lots of honey, and paprika. hubs said that the sauce took them from yummy to delicious.

so, that is what i am happily making tonight for the big game. 

you can enjoy them with a hearty serving of steamed green beans or salad, and you have a little meal!

what about you? what are you making tonight? and if you’re not making anything for tonight…what’s your favorite appetizer / go-to party food? i would love to hear it!

go steelers! lol

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raspberry almond sugar cookie pie

I’m getting this post up later than I had originally wanted, but sick kiddos and mama puts everything behind schedule, right?  At least they look like they are returning to health.  If I could kick this sore throat, things would be golden!  I know the last thing you need when you’re feeling under-the-weather is sugar, BUT this pie is delicious.  I’ll blame pregnancy hormones.  I go to my pantry these days and think, “What unhealthy thing do I have in here??”  Pudding – check.  Sugar – check.  Sweetened condensed milk – check.  Okay, let’s find them some friends…  And I go to the refrigerator and the wheels start turning…  I see cream cheese and immediately think of Pioneer Woman’s mock cheesecake.  Yum.  Then, I see fresh raspberries.  Natural sweetness and would be AMAZING with these other things.  Then, I start thinking about my friend Jill’s out-of-this-world almond torte and remember that I have almond extract.  Crust…  Crust…  This thing is gonna need a crust…  SUGAR COOKIE!  Bingo.  Done.  And thus, an unhealthy but wildly good recipe is born.

Here it is, friends!  It’s not quite a cheesecake, not quite a pudding, kind of has the consistency of a custard (even though it’s not one).  It’s just special.  Thick, rich, sweet, and special.  I hope you like it.  I have admittedly eaten it for breakfast.  It’s so rich that you will only need a sliver to satisfy your sweet tooth.  It goes perfectly with coffee, and it’s pretty.  We like pretty.  Don’t skimp on the berries either.  They are insanely good in this pie.  Enjoy!

For crust:

  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temp.
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
Prepare crust:

  • chill dough for about 30 mins
  • roll flat on floured surface
  • spray pie dish with cooking spray (i use coconut oil spray) 
  • place dish upside down on crust and quickly flip over (i flipped my entire cutting board over.  it was messy, but better than trying to pick up the dough and move it by hand.  dough will want to fall apart, since it’s cookie dough and not a typical crust.)
  • press dough into shape in dish (aka make it pretty)
  • bake at 350 for 20 mins.  
  • press down immediately to recreate a well for the filling (crust will rise significantly while baking)

For filling:

  • single 3.4 oz package of instant vanilla pudding
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 4 tbsp. milk (more if desired for a less dense filling)
  • at least pint of fresh raspberries, chopped (more if desired)
Prepare pie:

  • spread with chopped berries
  • fill with mixture
  • chill overnight for best results / flavor

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Deliciously Sweet and Cream Pumpkin Pie

Well, the hubs thought that I was nutso for baking a pumpkin pie in January, but truth be told:


1) It’s my all-time favorite pie.
2) I still have 2 cans of Trader Joe’s Organic Pumpkin (15 oz) in the pantry.
3) It’s my favorite pie.
4) I had the other ingredients.
5) I’m very pregnant and it’s my favorite pie.

None of the recipes that I came across really struck me as perfect (and I didn’t have any evaporated milk or whipping cream), so I decided to just skim over a few trusted sites and kind of make things up on my own.

I am happy to report: It turned out perfectly!

Here’s the very simple recipe. (It took literally 5 minutes to whip up in the KitchenAid mixer.)


Deliciously Sweet and Creamy Pumpkin Pie

1 15 oz can of TJ’s Organic Pumpkin
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 c. half n half
1 c. soy milk (or coconut or almond)
1 tbsp. honey
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (I use TJ’s)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. corn starch
1/2 c. brown sugar

Mix well. Pour into prepared pie crust. (I had a pre-made one on-hand and thawed out.)

Bake at 375 for 65 minutes. I covered the crust edge with a pie shield for the final 15 minutes.

Check for doneness by inserting a kitchen butterknife into the center. (It will still wobble, but if it comes out clean, it’s done.)

Chill in refrigerator overnight, and devour way too much with your kids during breakfast.  😉


Merry Christmas (and a tradition/recipe roundup)

Merry Christmas, friends!

I can’t even count the number of posts that I’ve written to you in my head this month, but, wow, did December just fly, or what?! Crazy to think that tomorrow is Christmas Day. New Year’s is right around the corner, and before we know it, it’ll be Valentine’s and this new baby will be here. Where does blogging even fit in?!

Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about that and I miss writing, so 2015 will come with a few changes…

Anyway, each year in the past, I’ve been able to share with you our favorite Christmas recipes and traditions. I’m sorry that I didn’t get to that again this year, but here’s a little summary of each, and hopefully next year, I will have the chance to create more in-depth posts. (I am especially looking forward to next year’s Advent calendar/activities.)

Our family’s Christmas traditions include:

  • Christmas Tree decorating
  • Trip to see Christmas lights in neighboring WV (complete with pjs worn by all and a carload of Christmas cookies.)  If you follow us on FB and Instagram, you know that this year’s trip was a major flop.
  • Cousin Cookie Baking Day – The girls had SO much fun and are STILL talking about this one.  What’s cuter than little three and five year old cousins baking?  Not much!
  • Gingerbread House making – Also a great time, and I already have some new ideas for next year’s houses!
  • Visiting Santa
  • Christmas Eve services
  • Christmas Eve dinner at Pap-pap’s and Nana’s
  • Christmas pj and books to be opened on Christmas Eve
  • Christmas breakfast with my in-laws (at our home)
  • Visiting family Christmas afternoon/evening
Traditions that I hope to improve on and add next year:
  • Delivering cookies to our neighbors (b/c I’m not brave enough to carol!)
  • Visiting the local conservatory (I hear it’s spectacular!)
  • Breakfast with Santa event  (A lot of our friends go to this each year, and it seems like a wonderful little tradition!)
  • Family movie nights (More of them, since this year we only had one.)
  • Trip into Pittsburgh to see something…anything!  (lol  That one is for the hubs.)
  • Advent Calendar (Going to improve on this year’s.  The Mom Diggity has majorly inspired me.)
  • Hosting a cookie exchange / friends’ night (We kind of did one this year, but it was actually a surprise “Sprinkle” for a dear friend.  I’d like to start hosting a real exchange in the years to come.)
Our Christmas morning menu:
Merry Christmas, everyone!  Our prayer for you is that the Prince of Peace reigns in your hearts and the favor of God rests on your lives in the coming year.  May God bless you with health, faith, and hope today and always.


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