Monday, December 17, 2007

Oh There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays

Crackle....ssszzzz....pop.....The internet's a-buzzing today, thanks to Boomama's Christmas Tour of Homes. Everybody's doing it!

Christmas Tour of Homes
Here's where you're saying, "And if everybody were jumping in a lake, would you?" In a word, yes. WARNING: epic-length post to follow!

So, let's jump in the lake, shall we? Here are some highlights of our Christmas home (click on any photo for a larger picture):

In the post below, I shared our manger in the front yard, as well as a picture of the front of the house. We love the traditional look of the simple garlands and red bows. We also have a sled and a pair of skis (purchased at Canton), which hint at snowy Christmas traditions (something we rarely have here in Texas, though it did snow in my hometown on Christmas 2004 - for the first time in recorded history!).

Closer to the front door, you're welcomed by Tera the pig, in her holiday finery:
Christmas pig

Then you're greeted with the scent of fresh pine at the door.

Come in, come in! Don't mind the dog bouncing at your knee! To your left is our dining room. The table has been set with our Christmas dishes (on top of our wedding china), and we'd love for you to pull up a chair! (I don't normally keep the table set, but I did it on a whim this year!) Brian's grandma's vintage cardboard village is featured atop the china cabinet. The reindeer on the table boasts vintage ornaments on his antlers.
dining room

Not hungry right now? That's your appetite for the Oreo Truffles I'll share at the end of this post! Shall I continue to show you around? Straight ahead is the living room.

Our Christmas tree is a giant this year. We normally buy a Fraser Fir (similar to a Noble, but less expensive), but this year, opted for the cheaper and more fragrant Douglas Fir. It is a gorgeous, lush, very aromatic tree, but it has wimpy branches! We've been collecting heavy mercury glass ornaments since we got married, and this tree just isn't "man" enough to hold them up! I guess we'll go back to the Fraser next year. Anyway, since our ornaments weren't showing up very well, I resorted to a lot of lightweight filler. Fresh holly clippings and gaudy jeweled berry picks, velvet ribbon pieces & bows. You'll notice the colored lights. That was a big issue the first year we were married. Brian grew up with colored lights, while my family chose white lights. Our first year, I decorated the tree with white lights, and Brian was very disappointed. Wanting to please my new husband, and knowing that this issue would return every year unless we reached a compromise, I stayed up half the night undecorating and redecorating our tree! The end result was something we were both pleased with. Our compromise involves wrapping white lights around the trunk...they add depth (though, again, you can't tell as well on the Douglas Fir), then wrapping colored lights around the branches. And honestly? I'm kinda glad to buck the white light trend. True, white lights are classy and timeless (we still use them outside), but colored lights are kind of magical. I think that's why kids love them so. Anywho, here's our living room tree:

living room

See the red velvet stockings on the mantle? There's a matching tree skirt hiding under the tree. I sewed rhinestone initial ornaments to our stockings. We bought the stockings and tree skirt with a gift card after our wedding. We were married in November, so we received a lot of wedding-themed ornaments. They're a special part of our decorations on this formal tree. The stockings and tree skirt, as well as the romantic ornaments, influenced the red highlights on our tree. Speaking of romantic, that's (artificial) mistletoe hanging from the ceiling fan cord. Grab your hubby and lay one on him! Ahem....I think we'd better continue our tour!

Incidentally, while you're standing in my living room, take a look up at the nativity scene (in my header). I'm sure many of you are familiar with the Willow Tree by Demdaco nativity scene. We used to sell Willow Tree in our store. I love the simplicity of it. The "star" is one of several Moravian Star lanterns we used at our wedding reception. We just stuck white lights into it, as they last longer than a tea light!

Now, as we head back to the bedroom, take a look at our yummy fresh pine swag over the front door, and breathe deeply (unless you're allergic!).
tree/wreath/garland, just down this's our bedroom. We have always had a "lodge tree" in our bedroom. It's a skinny artificial tree, and we light it with white and amber lights. We have made this more rustic, and it showcases ornaments from our honeymoon and other trips. It features pinecones, cabins, skis, snowflakes, and even a hiking boot! I've also tucked in vintage Christmas postcards with cabins. The bows on this tree are made from ribbon used in our wedding. This tree holds so many special memories!

Bedroom - Lodge tree bedroom tree

Over our bed is a fresh pine swag (made with free clippings from Lowe's). The pine cones are from our store. We have a nearly identical set on our lodge tree that we bought on our honeymoon. I just this weekend added a sprig of fresh mistletoe, but I took the picture last week, so you'll just have to imagine it!

swag in bedroom

I normally put a few more Christmas touches up in our room, but I didn't get that far this year! Our bed is decked in Christmas finery, but the day I was taking pictures, it wasn't made up, and I didn't want to stop to make it pretty! Oh well! I also usually put up small trees in our guest room and craft room, but that didn't happen this year either. So....

Let's move on to the kitchen, shall we? Remember I said something about Oreo Truffles? Back through the Dining Room...forgot to show you Brian's Grandma's Christmas plates (Johnson Bros., and a hand-painted plate that I made for her several years ago). And the aluminum plate on the plate rail sits next to our first Christmas card of the season. I display all of our Christmas cards on the plate seeing them up there. Oh, and here's another peek at the vintage village!

plates first card
old village

In the kitchen, I've added several things since taking these pictures (and cleaned up a bit, I might add), but I'll show you what was there last week. I've tucked little Christmas treasures into my pie safe, and I've hung the stockings made for us by Brian's grandma. I love having a little kitchen tree...Oops! I forgot to turn on the lights! The kitchen tree has antique and modern cookie cutters and ceramic cookies. It puts me in the mood to do a little Christmas baking.

kitchen hutch kitchen tree

Well! You must be exhausted from this tour of my home...and my incessant chattering! Why don't you sit down now for some coffee and Oreo Truffles. This deliciously easy recipe was shared by a church friend, who for some inexplicable reason, calls them Pelican Balls. I prefer the more elegant title of Oreo Truffles! You must try these for yourself. But I warn you, you may only make them at Christmas. Oh, and maybe Valentine's. And your birthday. But that's all. If you make them any other time, you'll hate yourself for it. Because you will eat.the.whole.batch!

oreo truffles

Oreo Truffles

1 pkg of regular Oreo cookies
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
1 pkg chocolate melting bark - I use Ghirardelli when I can find it.

Set out the cream cheese to soften. Crush the Oreo cookies to coffee ground consistency ( I usually crush them in the food processor, several at a time). Place the crushed Oreos in a bowl and add cream cheese. Use your hands to mix the Oreos and cream cheese until it is one large ball. Then shape into smaller balls of desired size (about 1"). Place them in the refrigerator until ready to coat with chocolate. Melt the chocolate bark as pkg directions suggest. Dip the Oreo balls into melted chocolate until coated then set on wax paper until hardened. Refrigerate.

Yummmmmmy. Hope you enjoy them.

Thanks for visiting our Christmas home. It's been a pleasure having you! Merry Christmas! And remember, Jesus is the reason for the season!


Jessica said...

I love that pig! Everything looks beautiful! Have a merry Christmas!

Nadine said...

Oreo truffles has me hooked. Yummy. Everything looks great. Have a very Merry Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Everything looks amazing and cozy!!! I LOVE the dining room!!! Thanks for sharing!

Tamara said...

Thank you all so much for visiting!

Lauren said...

Oreo truffles?! I skipped right to the end to get that recipe!

Susan said...

Beautiful decorations! Your pig is too cute! LOL

KC said...

your place looks beautiful.. you can tell you took alot of time and love in decorating it. I have to say yours is the 1st decorated pig I have ever seen :)
Thank you for the tour
Merry Christmas

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

Your home looks so lovely, I especially love those plates on the wall in the dining room!
Blessings and merry Christmas to you,


Cale and Kate said...

Yes, it's three days after the tour, but it's taken me this long to look around! You have a beautiful home. Thanks for sharing the recipe, too!

Tanya said...

Wow, you have a beautiful house that is beautifully decorated. Want to come over to mine?

PS. I came over from FrumMama's blog.

Becky said...

Everything looked beautifully set up for Christmas. Warm and inviting, too. I LOVE your plate rail in the dining area with those plates and those colors of wall. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing, and yes...Jesus IS the reason for the Season!

I've seen that Oreo recipe a couple of places now...I'm thinking I need to try it! Yum!

His Doorkeeper said...

Everything looks lovely. Thanks for the tour and the Oreo recipe is perfect: very few ingredients!!Blessings to you and your family!

Mabiana said...

You have a very beautiful home! Lovely decorations. :-)