Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holiday shopping with purpose.

Tonight I got home and found this on my door step....

Seriously, shouldn't this be the motto of ALL the places we spend our money?

I found this shop Blue Q through another blog and fell in love with their philosphy and products.  They are based in Pittsfield Mass. and have been the largest private employer of individuals with disabilities in Western Massachusetts for over 10 years.  They design and manufacture all the items they sell.

This cute bag is made of 95% recycled post consumer material.


And I couldn't resist this mod-vintage cigar box to hold some of my most valued recipes.  It looks like the one my Grandma had in her kitchen back in the 1960's.


It's the perfect spot for all my handed down favorite recipes, well except for the pickles, that one is under lock and key!


I bought a few more items but they'll have to remain under-wraps as they are gifts, shhhhhh don't tell.

If you are looking for that unique stocking stuffer or a gift for someone you have no idea what to get, you may just find it at Blue Q.  

Holiday soda's from Cost Plus.
I hear corn popping, have a lovely evening all.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cookie Exchange

Today I was up bright and early in preparation for my Cookie Exchange Brunch and it was wonderful.

Guests started arriving just before 10am, my breakfast strata had just come out of the oven, Brenda Lee was belting out Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree and freshly brewed coffee was swirling in the air.


In the hustle and bustle of hosting, I simply forgot to snap photos of the parade of Christmas cookies that marched throughout my home in their holiday splendor.  There were so many wonderful cookies no two the same just like the lovely ladies who prepared them. 

We had snowflake sugar cookies, jam filled cookies, brandied chocolate lace cookies, ginger molasses cookies, fig cookies, traditional decorated sugar cookies, chocolate crinkle cookies, chocolate sable cookies, crispy salted oatmeal white chocolate cookies and many, many more. 

A plate of "exchanged" cookies all ready to go home.  The cookie exchange is great because you only bake once and you end up with so many different cookies.

After brunch and exchanging cookies we continued the merriment and enjoyed Brandied Eggnog Snowman; complete with donut hole heads, aren't they just the cutest? 

Party favors: Circle Creek Home hand poured soap, and holiday fridge note pads.

I enjoy hosting this cookie exchange and I am so happy everyone had a wonderful time. 


Thanks you ladies, enjoy your cookies.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

In the air there's a feeling of Christmas.

Ahhhhh, the Holidays are in full swing!  Our tree is up, complete with Maine Starfish Santa. 

This year our tree is loaded with memories as opposed to my usual "theme" tree. A few years ago I opted for a tree full of green, amber, gold, and a touch of leopard.   It has ornate flowers and feathers and it looks like it was on display at a fancy store.  It is a beautiful tree but this year I wanted an old school, traditional tree, the kind I grew up with. I loved decorating this year unwrapping ornaments I had not seen in a few years and remembering.

I found the first ornament my Sweetie ever gave me, ornaments from past travels and those given by family and friends. There are ornaments I bought with my Sister in Maine and ornaments I bought when Clyde and I surprised my Mom with an unexpected trip to San Francisco.

This tree is the kind that takes me back to being a kid and believing in the magic of Christmas, and it makes me happy.


Behold, the Christmas Village.


Complete with GIANT reindeer and adorable Basenji.

Oh yeah, in my Christmas fairytale village there is a Basenji awaiting a crackling fire or a warm lap.

So here it is the first weekend in December and that means it is my annual Christmas Cookie Exchange brunch.  Tomorrow at 10am my friends will arrive, full of holiday spirit, with four dozen cookies in tow to share.  We'll sip coffee, eat yummy food, chat about the year behind us, the holidays and the year ahead.  They will tease me about my Cookie Exchange rules and I'll take it in stride knowing all to well that everyone loves a challenge.  At noon everyone will pack up their assortment of four dozen cookies and return to the hustle and bustle of their day. 

Let the baking begin.

Who knew they made edible glitter?  That just makes my heart skip a beat.

Tonight I am baking, Crisp Salted Oatmeal Cookies with White Chocolate, recipe found here.


Oh my gosh, the aroma of these baking is heavenly, butter, brown sugar, oats and white chocolate.


Chocolate Sables are next........

What are your favorite holiday traditions?
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