Friday, November 21, 2008

Trim the Tree Thursday offical signup-Week Recap

I want to say THANK YOU to all of you who have been a part of Trim the Tree Thursday. It is so much fun to look at everyones holiday decor and to share my own. This event has quickly taken off!

Trim the Tree Thursday Official Signup

If you would like to remain on the list every week through december please comment with a link to your blog and say 'December'

If you would like to remain on the list indefinitely please comment with a link to your blog and say 'Indefinitely' (this would mean you share your Easter, St.Patricks, Valentines, etc. decor)

If you just want to be added on a weekly basis you will need to tell me on Wednesday the day before you join with a comment telling me to add you and with a link to your blog.

Thanks ladies!

Due to Thanksgiving we will not have a Trim the Tree Thursday next week. We will restart on December 4th. this give all of you ladies plenty of time to get your decor up!

Week Recap
Well, I finished everything! I even finished a few other things as well. :)
Yesterday I:
  • vacuumed our downstairs hardwood floors (i love my dyson attachment!)
  • mopped the downstairs floors
  • dusted everything downstairs
  • made extra room in the parlor closet for guests coats. Quick Tip: Clean and Organize your "drop off" space. This may be a hallway closet, coat tree, boot tray, etc. Make sure there is room for your guests to feel at home in your home!
  • set up appetizer area in living room. Quick Tip: Want to keep people mingling throughout your home instead of hovering over you in the kitchen? Put the appetizers in another room!
  • Cleaned downstairs guest bath
  • Burned Pumpkin Nectarine scented oil by The Body Shop Quick Tip: The day before a party make sure your home smells wonderful. Burn something that is quite strong. This way you don't have to worry about burning anything while you have guests. Your home will already smell wonderful!
  • Set up dessert area in kitchen complete with flatware, dessert plates, napkins, & the desserts that I made.
  • Set up drink area in kitchen complete with-only glasses! I will warm up the cider when I get home and put that out along with a pitcher of ice water. My brother in law is bringing the best sweet tea in town! Thank you Red Pig!
  • Set out all serving dishes, serving utensils, jplates, & flatware. I now know everything will fit on our kitchen island. Our island will be serving as the buffet.
  • I also set out all dry ingredients on it's fitting serving dish. Now when I go home and have limited time to finish everything at least all of my dry items and recipes are already out!
Now all I have to do is bake the ham (it's already been cooked-smoked actually, so I will add the glaze and warm it up!), make the stuffing, and make the topping for my romaine salad. Then, enjoy all of my hard work, and my company of course!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! I am going to leave this post at the top until Monday so that everyone will have time to respond about Trim the Tree Thursday.

My weekend will be filled with Christmas decorating downstairs, parents jewelry show, kidstuf at church (I am an actress in the skits), and working in the nursery Sunday morning. A busy weekend for me! My goal-finish the living room tree and living room decor. Put all fall decor up. I should be able to reach that goal!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

2nd Trim the Tree Thursday!

This week I am posting my upstairs hallway and stair landing. I like to keep like items together as a collection. If I have a favorite item, like a specific pottery snowman pictured, they stand alone. Quick Tip-rule of design is 1,3,5 or a collection. Following this rule can help give your space an organized, less cluttered look.

My mother made me the snowmen family sitting on the antique sled.

This chair was my great grandmothers and I recovered it using a curtain panel that matches those in my living room. The table was bought at an antique store for only $14-it looked terrible! My step-dad lovingly refinished it for me.

This is my favorite snowman out of my pottery snowmen.

Please be sure and visit these lovely ladies blogs and see some of their holiday decor! Thanks for joining ladies!

Melissa @ Melissa's Heart & Home

Cary @ A New Path For Me

Terri @ Terri & Bob


Ellen @ The Happy Wonderer

Kathy @ Mimi's Garden

Cami @ Creating Myself

Nancy @ Southern Lady

Gypsy's Corner

Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch



Katie @ The Hyper Homemaker

Jan @ Jan & Tom's Place

Tesoro Fino

Abby @ Abby's Sweets

Pat @ Back Porch Musings



Tuesday Recap-Pumpkin Dump Cake Recipe-Trim the Tree Thursday Reminder

Tuesday Recap
I did go to the gym yesterday, but that's about all the extras I got done! I ran into an old friend at walmart, went to the gym (hooray!), and even watched a few show with my hubby. And of course I blogged too!

I did add a few more things to my "Blessing Mix" treat bags for all of our guests. I have to cut the cards describing what each item means. You can see these at There is a pic of these, I have them at my entry way so our guests can take them as they leave.
  • Tuesday
    • clean entire downstairs-this was too easy, I am waiting on the downstairs floors though until Thursday
    • clean dining room table & parlor table-check! There are pictures of these tables. I may change these a the dining room table centerpiece, if I have time.
    • set the tables with linens, chargers, centerpieces, & salt and pepper shakers-check!
    • make tent cards with all menu items. I use place cards for this. Quick Tip-having the name of what is what will ward of alot of questions-leaving you to enjoy the meal with everyone else!-check!
  • Wednesday
    • make apple pie & pumpkin upside down cake-I am working from home today so I got up early and finished both of these, the pumpkin fluff & the ham ball!
    • set out all serving dishes with serving utensils
    • set up dessert area with dessert plates, napkins, and utensils
We are going to see the new Bond movie tonight so hopefully I can finish this mailing I am working on, send all of my emails, return a few phone calls, and be done with work by around 4-then I can get everything finished and have time to go to the movies!

Aunt Janet's Pumpkin Dump Cake
I made this for my husbands birthday last month and it was quite the hit. I will say I think it takes a little longer to bake than the recipe says. I just watch it and when it gets brown and seems to be done in the center, I take it out. This seems to be about 10-15 minutes longer.
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can nonfat evaporated milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, sugar, salt, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and cinnamon. Stir in the milk, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Pour pumpkin mixture into the prepared pan.
  3. Sprinkle the yellow cake mix over the pumpkin mixture, then sprinkle on the pecans. Drizzle melted butter over all. Bake in the preheated oven for 55 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Allow to cool.
I used walnuts because I accidentally bought them instead. I think both work fine.

Trim the Tree Thursday
If you want to be listed on my blog please let me know before 8pm tonight. Please also let me know on this post. If you have already told me you want to be listed through a post, please re-post. If you told me through email please tell me again! I am away from my main computer and those emails are there. So-if you want to be listed let me know today before 8pm, post the Trim the Tree Thursday pic on your blog, post your favorite holiday decor photos, and post a link to my blog. Thanks!

I think I will be sharing pics of my hallway decor. No tree this week. I still need to pic up some grey ornaments for our Ohio State tree, I will post it next week!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday Recap-Thanksgiving Menu-Best Apple Pie Recipe

Monday Recap

I finished my Monday list and I even got started setting out the dishes, recipes, and non-refrigerated items for the appetizers. They are ready to make! Quick Tip-set out your ingredients, serving pieces, and recipes ahead of time. When you go to make your ham ball all of the non-refrigerated items are already together and you are ready to go! This saves alot of time.

I also went through all of my scarves, belts, & purses last night. Getting rid of what I don't use. Quick Tip-Organizing your hats, gloves, scarves right before it gets really cold will help you not only know what you have and what you need but will help to stock the second hand stores with what others need too. We all know we also need room for all of those new scarves we always get!

I have to brag for just a minute. I even went to the gym! Hallelujah! My body hates me right now, so a trip to the gym is much needed.
  • Monday
    • clean entire upstairs-finished!
    • finish Christmas decorating upstairs-finished!
    • finish organizing office (this is my husbands space and always needs a little extra help before company comes)-as much as he would let me, LOL!
  • Tuesday
    • clean entire downstairs (mega clean was just a few weeks ago-so this should just be a good basic cleaning)
    • clean dining room table & parlor table
    • set the tables with linens, chargers, centerpieces, & salt and pepper shakers
    • make tent cards with all menu items. I use place cards for this. Quick Tip-having the name of what is what will ward of alot of questions-leaving you to enjoy the meal with everyone else!
Thanksgiving Menu
  • Appetizer
    • Butter Mints (left over from a baby shower I hosted)
    • Pumpkin Fluff w/graham crackers and shortbread cookies
    • Ham Ball w/ritz crackers and another thin square cracker-can't remember the name
    • Chex Mix (CVS had this on clearance so why not?)
  • Relish
    • Cranberry Salad-delegated to my mother
  • En tree
    • Ham (ordered in advance from a wholesale food distributor-Kelly Foods)
    • Quick Tip-check with your local food distributors. Alot of times they will let you order from them and they will give you a better price than you can get anywhere else!
  • Side Dish
    • Frozen Cranberry Salad (already made!)
    • Mac & Cheese-delegated to my mother
    • Stuffing-anyone know a good recipe?
    • Deviled Eggs-delegated to sister
    • Gravy
    • Mashed Potatoes-delegated to my mother
    • Green Bean Casserole-delegated to friend of the family
  • Bread
    • Rolls-delegated to another friend of the family
  • Salad
    • Romaine Salad-a family favorite, I will post the recipe soon. This is my go-to salad recipe
  • Dessert
    • Pumpkin Upside Down Cake
    • Sweet Potato Pie-delegated to family friend
    • Apple Pie-see pics of one I did last week below!
    • Something Desserty-a friend of the family
  • Beverages
    • Red Pigs Sweet Tea-delegated to brother-in-law (the best sweet tea in town!)
    • Spiced Cider
    • Various soft drinks I have in my fridge :)
    • Water
There you have it! I think we will have enough food, LOL!

Apple Pie by Grandma Ople
  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 8 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.
  2. Place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work of crust. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off.
  3. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft

I used the Pampered Chef Apple corer/slicer/peeler and it worked great. I baked it a little less as the slicer slices the apples a little thin. Quick Tip-If you want one of these handy gadgets look at your local hardware store ours sells them for $15! Alot less than the pampered chef ones. (I borrowed this from a co-worker)

I also used apples from another co-workers tree. The apples were almost gone so I had to do alot of trimming.

As you see below I poured most of the mixture on the apples before I put on the lattice work. I saved enough to baste the top with.

Quick Tip-A quick and easy way to make lattice work from a frozen pie crust-use your pizza cutter! After the pie is baked you can't tell the difference!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Weekend Recap-Another Recipe-Weekly Prep List

Weekend Recap

This weekend was fairly productive at our house.
  • I cleaned up my craft table which requires alot more than just "cleaning". I wrapped the 10 or so gifts that were waiting for me, organized all that ribbon, bagged up donate items, and packed up Thanksgiving gifts.
  • Went through my closet. I bagged up all the clothes I no longer need or want. Quick Tip-at the beginning of each season turn all of your coat hangers around backwards. This way, at the end of the season you can easily tell what you have worn and what you haven't!
  • Put out more Christmas decorations upstairs.
  • Made my Thanksgiving dinner action plan.
  • Went through magazines. This happens every few months, I sit down with my husband and we go through all of our magazines and say "keep" or "toss". Quick Tip-going through your magazines in November will save room for all of those magazines and catalogs we all get bombarded with during the holidays!
Ham Ball Recipe

We have served this for most holidays for most of my life. My mother always made this and since I love cream cheese so much-it has become a staple in our home as well.

2 8oz packages of cream cheese
1 T worcestershire sauce
1/4 t garlic salt
2 packages of sliced ham

Chop ham fine. Mix cream cheese, garlic salt, worcestershire sauce, and 1/2 of ham. Form a ball. Cover ball with second 1/2 of ham. Refrigerate until you serve!

This recipe is super easy and it always gets gone!

Weekly Prep List

Here is my action plan for Thanksgiving! (I am hosting Thanksgiving this Friday night)
  • Monday
    • clean entire upstairs (mega clean was just a few weeks ago-so this should just be a good basic cleaning)
    • finish Christmas decorating upstairs
    • finish organizing office (this is my husbands space and always needs a little extra help before company comes)
  • Tuesday
    • clean entire downstairs (mega clean was just a few weeks ago-so this should just be a good basic cleaning)
    • clean dining room table & parlor table
    • set the tables with linens, chargers, centerpieces, & salt and pepper shakers
    • make tent cards with all menu items. I use place cards for this. Quick Tip-having the name of what is what will ward of alot of questions-leaving you to enjoy the meal with everyone else!
  • Wednesday
    • make apple pie & pumpkin upside down cake
    • set out all serving dishes with serving utensils
    • set up dessert area with dessert plates, napkins, and utensils
  • Thursday
    • make pumpkin fluff, ham ball, & romaine salad
    • mop floors downstairs
    • a quick clean of the bathrooms
  • Friday
    • make ham, stuffing, & gravy
    • serve & enjoy!
Wow! I am so excited about Thanksgiving!

Check back tomorrow for a list of my full menu. I am so proud of my delegating!

Friday, November 14, 2008

It's Friday! A checklist for you and me=less stress

I first want to thank all of you for joining in on Trim the Tree Thursday and for commenting on each others blogs-this was so much fun! I loved looking at all the decor-I still have some to look at today! We will be having this event every Thursday.

If you have been following my blog you know I have been working on Christmas and Thanksgiving for a while now. I have several goals this year and I would like to tell you why I have these goals. I know many of you can relate.

My first goal is to have ALL Christmas shopping finished by November 30th. I want to finish the day after Thanksgiving, but I will give myself a couple extra days. (we might be going somewhere special on the 30th and they have a giftshop-more on this later) Do know that I start the day after Christmas every year. I have done this for several years now. Our family is ginormous and I absolutely could not afford Christmas if I didn't start that early and shop sales throughout the year. I refuse to have a credit card and pay for Christmas 08 in 09!

My second goal is to scale back on the parties. I am still hosting Thanksgiving, my annual cookie exchange, & Christmas Eve Brunch. However, instead of hosting a different group of each of our families on a different night I am having an Open House. All of our family is welcome and so are our friends and neighbors. This Open House will take 3 parties I hosted last year off of my list!

My third goal is to enjoy Christmas. This may sound funny for a person that lives for December, but last year both my husband and I simply gave out on Christmas Eve-it was miserable! So this year less=more!

I will include that last year we moved into our home on August 3'rd and had 3 bedrooms, living room, kitchen, dining room, hallways, & entry way painted. The painting lasted until Thanksgiving! So I was definitely behind schedule!

In order to reach these goals I have finished the following:
  • Most gifts are bought
  • Gifts are wrapped
  • Christmas cards are done
  • 1 tree is finished-upstairs of course
  • 1 tree is almost finished-upstairs too
  • Christmas linens are washed
  • I have started washing my Christmas dishes
  • My holiday recipes are organized and sorted together
  • My fall cleaning is finished-thank you Katie
  • I have started buying holiday baking essentials
  • My Thanksgiving menu is planned
  • I bought almost all items for Thanksgiving Menu
  • I DELEGATED several side items, desserts, bread, & even the sweet tea!
  • I finished Thanksgiving gifts
  • I started making Thanksgiving dinner-Frozen Cranberry Salad
This weekend start on a few of your to-do's. Doing a little now will save you from having those always present midnight wrapping sessions and freak out moments we have all had!

Only have 5 minutes? Start stamping your envelopes and addressing them for your Christmas cards-don't seal them-you may become real festive and include a pic or a newsletter at the last minute!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The 1'st Trim the Tree Thursday!

It's here!
Our first Trim the Tree Thursday!
The following ladies are all joining us so be sure and visit their blogs for some beautiful holiday decor!

If your interested in joining us simply comment and let me know! All you will need to do is post pics of your favorite holiday decor from any holiday, post the Trim the Tree Thursday pic, and post a link to my blog so your guests can see all the beautiful holiday decor!

Pat @ Back Porch Musings

Linda @ Behind My Red Door

Rita @ Tesorofino

Carrie @ Oak Rise Cottage

Katie @ The Hyper Homemaker

Nancy @ -Southern Lady-

Miss Janice @ Etiquette with Miss Janice

Ceekay @ Thinkin of Home

Karen @ A Day In The Life Of Karen

Susan @ Between Naps On The Porch

April @ Abby's Sweets

Connie @ Laughter By Lakeside

Terri @ Bob & Terri

Kathy @ Mimi's Garden

Jan @ Jan & Tom's

This is my yellow room. We use this room as a guest room and I watch tv in here when we don't have guests.

This tree was started last year. All of the ornaments were "retired" from our living room tree-hard to believe there were that many "left-overs"!

The snowflake tree topper is a combination of 2 large snowflake "ornaments" from Dollar Tree. I hot glued them together and attached pipe cleaners to attach them to the tree.

If you have any questions feel free to ask! Enjoy the pics & see you next Thursday!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pumpkin Fluff Recipe-Trim the Tree Thursday

I told you all a few days ago that I would be sharing my recipes for my Thanksgiving day menu. Today I will share a recipe that my sister in law made last year as an appetizer and everyone just loved it.

Pumpkin Fluff
1 (16 ounce) cool whip
1 (5 ounce) box of instant vanilla pudding mix
1 (15 ounce)can solid pack pumpkin
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Mix all of the ingredients together and serve with graham crackers. The graham cracker sticks are my favorite!

Don't forget-thursday is Trim the Tree Thursday-can you tell I am excited?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

URL Change & Trim the Tree Thursday

Due to trademarks that are out on the name "hostess with the mostess" my url has now changed to

This Thursday is the 1'st Trim the Tree Thursday! I am so excited! I even went ahead and put up my first tree, upstairs of course. My Christmas linens are washed, my Christmas cards are finished, and I have started washing my Christmas dishes-so I was definitely ready! I will be posting my snowflake tree. What will you post?

Want to be included in the Trim the Tree Thursday event-just comment and let me know!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Trim the Tree Thursday -and an update from last night

I love to look at everyones Holiday decorations and I know I'm not alone! So starting next Thursday I am going to host Trim the Tree Thursday. You can post pictures of your Christmas tree, your fall wreath, whatever holiday decorations you choose!

If you would like to be included simply post a comment and let me know and I will list your blog! Ooh, I am super excited!

Last Night
After talking with my several family members, several times each, we have decided on a date that will work. (this was way too hard) November 21'st @ 5:00, yes we are having Thanksgiving on a Friday night. This simply was the only day that would work! Good news is that I will have an extra week to get ready.

I also decided against the buffet table. I had it in my head that I had to put it up. I always have for big get togethers. However, last Christmas I got my oh so loved island, and now I don't need a buffet table! Hooray!

I did have a scavenger hunt in the basement and still cannot find my chair covers! I hate to see a folding metal chair without one. Maybe I will find them by the 21'st-we shall see!

The guest list has all been called, the parlor table has been set up, the menu has been finalized, my list was finished!

Tonights To Do's:

Go to the Gym

Don't forget that during this busy time we still need to take care of our bodies!

Finish Laundry
Put in a load this morning, when I get home I will finish it. I also need to clean the laundry room-spick and span!

Make Frozen Cranberry Salad
You can make this ahead of time and have it ready to go! I just pull it out about 5min before we serve dinner. I am going to make a few tonight and have them ready!

Frozen Cranberry Salad
14oz can Eagle Brand Milk
16oz can whole berry cranberry sauce
20oz can crushed pineapple, drained
8oz tub of cool whip
Mix together, pour into 9x13 dish & freeze

Those "cranberry haters" in our family even love this! Although it is called a "salad" it is much like a dessert. I don't really tell them otherwise ;)

*A special thanks to mrspaz who created the trim the tree thursday photo for me*

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thanksgiving Is Coming Early!

Because of our busy schedule and my mother's busy schedule our TN Thanksgiving is going to be on November 15th! This date was just decided!

(I call it TN Thanksgiving because we go to Ohio on Thanksgiving to celebrate with my in-laws)

So now I have about a week and a half to finish getting ready!

It's time for a game plan!

Call all guests (no time for invitations)
Set-up buffet table in dining room
Set-up round table in parlor w/chairs
Finalize menu

Calling Guests-

Follow up-The date may change, I will find out tonight at around 8 o'clock! If it changes, well, TN Thanksgiving may have to be on a Friday night! Stupid busy schedules! When calling guests make sure and set a time that will work for everyone. My stepdad is diabetic so we have to make sure we eat on a schedule, some of my TN in-laws are always late-so this year we are setting the time at 5:00. This is all in hopes that we can eat by 6:00!

Buffet Table-

I have to take home a 6ft folding table from work. (Thankfully my work has tons of tables and chairs that I can use for free!) Don't have space for all the food? Don't want the dining room table to be covered and not have room for people to breathe? I put a 6ft folding table in my dining room along the wall for big parties. This works out great for us as it provides buffet style without having furniture there year round. These can be rented for as little as $5 a day! Well worth it if you ask me!

Round Table-
Also borrowing a folding round table for the parlor and 8 folding chairs. All of my linens are washed-except for chair covers. I 'think' I packed them up with Christmas, why oh why did I do this. I didn't find them yesterday when I got out all of the Christmas linens and washed them. Time for a basement scavenger hunt!

Don't forget to place food, appetizers and such throughout your home, this will encourage mingling. Also, if you have a dining room that comfortably seats 8-10, don't force 15 people in there! Set up another table in another nearby room. This will keep everyone nice and comfortable.

Finalize Menu-
Pumpkin Fluff w/ Graham Crackers-Brett
Ham Ball w/Crackers-Brett

Main Dish-
Turkey-Brett-call & order

Cranberry Salad-Mom

Side Dish-
Frozen Cranberry Salad-Brett
Mac & Cheese-Mom
Mashed Potatoes-Mom



Cranberry Romaine Salad-Brett

Pumpkin Upside Down Cake-Brett

Sweet Tea (we are in the south)
Soft Drinks-Brett
Spiced Apple Cider-Brett

Alot to do today!

One final tip-DELEGATE! Don't try and do it all yourself! It is simply too much for one person to do without letting it run all over them. Your family and friends can help. When that ask what they can bring, be armed with what you need!