December 26, 2010

Christmas Breakfast

Hey, what ya got there?

Some kind of roll or log?

Well, I used these things:

Rolled it up as seen before and cut them the opposite way.

Bake them off at 350 degrees for 11-15 minutes.

These are my family's Christmas morning sausage roll-ups.

My mom always made them for me on Christmas morning, and I've continued on the tradition.

They are so yummy, but with the grease and crescent roll, it's a Christmas morning only splurge for us. 

So you bake off the sausage, mix it in a bowl with cream cheese, dill weed and dry mustard.

Spread the cream cheese mixture on a package of crescent rolls, unrolled flat on a cookie sheet. 

Roll the dough and cream cheese mixture into a long roll shape, wrap in wax paper and then foil, and place in the **freezer**.

Christmas morning, take out the log before you open presents. Allow it to defrost, slice into rounds and bake. 

Totally delicious!!!

December 24, 2010

Let's Play

Our creative friends got together for a dirty santa potluck party. Dirty Santa means as you open gifts, you can steal someone's gift they've already opened or open a new one. The theme of all the gifts had to be "play." 
We knew it was going to be a good night early on because Chris and Darrin matched! They must have called each other beforehand to coordinate. 

Everyone brought a dish, and it was a delicious meal.

Hey Jenny and Laura!

Hey Laura and Kendra!

After we ate, the gifts were opened. Darrin drew number 1, and so he got to go first. I think he was happy.

Let's pause to look at this next photo. In my opinion, Jenny, me and Laura are some cute ladies. How in the world, did each of us make such strange faces at one time, and have it captured on camera? Seriously. This may never happen again. It's cracking me up. 

Hey Brittany and Clay!

Antonio, Meghan, Stephanie and Megan made for one good-looking corner of the room. 

Chris' gift was awesome, and apparently shocking to him.

Kendra loved her gift card. 

I'm glad we're all friends so we can get together and play all the games people got. 

Megan got some lottery tickets. Wonder if she won any loot? 

Here I am opening my chosen gift. 

"Don't you take my gift cards, Allison." 

I think Jenny opened almost all of the presents that night. Hers kept getting stolen by other people. 

The girls!

The group shot, taken by Chris. 

The group shot taken with a tabletop tripod. Not terrible. Next time guys, we'll put the tripod on the actual dining room table and stand in front of the big window. Duh. 

And then Matt began Swan Lake. 

Or just mayhem in general.

They finally got it together. Some good-looking men. 

Say goodnight Megan and Kendra!


Take some time out to play with the ones you love.

December 23, 2010

Family Christmas

Just wanted to share these pretty photos from our Christmas with my family. Unfortunately, Chris took all the photos this time so he's not in them. 

It's good to have family!

December 18, 2010

Wrap it up!

Since you've read my drama about wrapping packages, let me show you my plan for wrapping paper. 

I use the same color palette for Christmas. 


Red and white. 

Let me show you why. 

I would always wind up with tons of wrapping papers for Christmas, and every year I would drag them out and find little pieces, just-short sections and leftover crazy-colored bows. Then I would go buy a few new ones, updated bows, and my storage space became quite cramped. 
It wasn't working for me. 

So I had an idea: Stick to one color palette to make it easier to blend last year's papers and bows with this year's. Also, choose paper that is multifunctional throughout the year.
Here is my collection this year. The two print rolls are from last year, and I purchased the solid red this year. I could also use the red all year, yeah!

I purchased two ribbons this year instead of a bag of bows. Those pre-made bows never last year to year; they are expensive; and they seem to always fall off if you transport the package at all. 

The white ribbon is of course very versatile, and I like the sparkly red print.

Porter likes the sparkle too. 

I also had a box of candy canes in the pantry, and discovered they made perfect package toppers!

I enjoy having the same color palette under the tree, and I think the candy canes really worked!

Now, I do have sacks that don't match. I usually grab these throughout the year when they are on sale...or on the $1 aisle at Target!

I keep all my sacks, tissue paper and accessories in a Rubbermaid box. I add to it all year, as I mentioned, and it has saved me a dozen times when I needed to wrap a quick package. 

So that's how I handle the beast of wrapping paper and materials. 


December 16, 2010

Holiday Brain Damage

Y'all, I think I have brain damage. I don't know when it happened, but it must have. 

Let me tell you about it. 

I began my Christmas shopping early this year, and I was so proud! I ordered several gifts from Shutterfly this year, and many of those were some of my earliest purchases. 

Last week I began going back through my list to see if I had forgotten anyone, and what still needed to be wrapped. 

"Hey, where is that gift for XXXX?" I thought. "Did it ever come?"

I went straight to the computer, pulled up my account information and saw Delivered next to that order number. 

"What? Where is it?"

I looked in all of my closets, hide-e-holes and random places. I had no memory of receiving that gift. 

I waited until Chris came home to question him. He's been known to put things away....I'm just saying. 

He said he had not picked up a box, nor had he moved one around the house. 

So I checked the UPS tracking number. Delivered to porch, it said. 


I spent another day searching for the package, and even asked my neighbor if it got dropped off at her house by mistake. 

With no luck, I finally decided to file a missing package claim with UPS.

I received a fast response saying they had begun an investigation into the missing package, and they would contact the originally sender--Shutterfly. 

The next day I received a phone call from UPS. It was a real live person. He was very nice, and asked me some questions about the missing package. He said they would take care of altering the sender, and any follow-up I had could be taken care of by contacting Shutterfly.

That call was Saturday. 

Monday morning I got an email from Shutterfly saying they were so sorry to hear I did not receive my order, and that they were re-producing it and sending it with expedited shipping at no cost to me.

These people are amazing!!

My worries were over. 

Monday, I received another package from UPS, unrelated to this incident. The UPS man asked if I had any luck with my missing package. His computer pad said it was still under investigation. I told him Shutterfly was sending a new one, and I was very happy. 

Tuesday night I wrapped the remaining presents, and placed them under my tree. As I was moving packages around to make room, I saw a package that I didn't recognize. 

I turned it over and read the label, which was in my handwriting, "To RECEIVER OF THE PRESENT THAT I THOUGHT WAS LOST"

uh oh. 

My lost package, the one that UPS was investigating and the one that Shutterfly was reproducing was UNDER MY CHRISTMAS TREE. Wrapped, no less, with my handwriting on it. 

{{{enter brain damaged moment}}}

I sat there staring at the package as if it were an alien. How had I forgotten all about it? I tried to remember holding the items inside and inspecting them, as I must have done when I received it, but I couldn't remember!

I confessed to Chris that night that I must be losing my mind. 

Yesterday, the UPS man came back to my house to deliver another package unrelated to the missing one, and he asked again about the missing package. He said his computer-sign here-thing said the package was still under investigation. Then he explained that "being under investigation" meant UPS was running reports on all the packages delivered in my neighborhood that night by my very nice UPS man. If they found more than one missing package, they would assume it was a thief. BUT, he said, there were no other packages missing from the night. uh oh. Then he said that he had been to my neighbors and to homes with similar house numbers to see if he had misplaced it. 

The guilt sets in. 

THEN he said that if UPS determines, through their investigation, that my package was the only one missing/stolen, UPS has the power to flag my house as a target for thief. uh oh. IF my house was tagged, it would mean I would have to sign for EVERY package UPS delivers to our address FOREVER. 


I wanted to hit my knees and beg for his forgiveness, and promise under oath that it was a mistake, and that I was just brain damaged.  

Instead, I stood in the cold, nodded and said, "Interesting." 

He said he would let me know how the investigation goes, and happily left my front porch. 

Seriously, I shrunk about 5 feet with guilt when I went back inside. 

How had I managed to make all these people work overtime, and do things like "investigate" and "expedite" on accident??

I called Chris to report that my brain damage had set off all these consequences, and that we were about to be black balled by UPS FOREVER. Not to forget, Shutterfly was sending me more merchandise FOR FREE. 

Darn the guilt!

I headed straight for my computer and started shooting off emails. 
First to UPS: "I need to cancel this lost package claim. It has been recovered. I'm so sorry for this, and truly appreciate your helpful customer service."

Then to Shutterfly: "I filed a lost package report with UPS regarding a shipment from you. I have since canceled that claim because the original package has been recovered. Your customer service has been so wonderful, and you are in the process of re-producing my order. I'm happy to still accept this second order, as I assume it's too late to stop production. If there are any fees associated with this updated situation, I'm happy to pay them. This was a mistake on my part, and both Shutterfly and UPS have been wonderful to resolve this issue."

Can you feel the guilt?

After confessing my sins, I slept okay, knowing that I had come clean and confessed to my accidental lies. 

And, guess what? 

This morning I received a personal phone call from UPS, from a live person, saying how excited she was that I found my package and how much she appreciated me letting them know. 


Then, an email from Shutterfly:
"Due to the highly-automated nature of our system, it is impossible to change or cancel an order once it is placed. Please keep the second order as gift from Shutterfly."


These people are wonderful!

I still have some guilt for causing so much trouble, but I feel a ton better that I came clean. 

Even if it confirmed I have brain damage.

December 10, 2010

More Christmas

I let my build-up to our Christmas decorating wane, and now you probably don't care. But, here it is anyway. 
I moved somethings around this year, and added a few new pieces. 
This is our sideboard in the dining room this year.

I put all of our glass pieces together, and purchased a few new ones from Hobby Lobby, and made a collection. That's the biggest Martha Stewart lesson: instead of having glass items (or whatever) all over the house, put them together to highlight a collection. It's Martha Dramatic. 
You can also see that I used ornaments we already had. My grandmother had given me a set of all clear and gold ornaments and balls. Some years I put them on our tree, but this year, I decided to use them as a collection. Martha Dramatic. 

The red fabric is actually napkins. I used them last year for Christmas dinner. Put them all together! Martha Dramatic.

Here you can see a few of the glass items. The center piece is a vase, to the right a martini glass and to the left is a piece I bought at Hobby Lobby for 60% off. And, yes. That's glitter. Red glitter that I filled the glass with. Did you know Martha loves glitter too?

Here you can see my Christmas People? It's not Christmas without them, and you can see a few other ornaments I included. The gold balls of course, and that's a snowman sitting on the red fabric. It's difficult to see, but there's also a snowman in the small glass. Collections, people!

Oh there he is! And yes. He's sitting in glitter.

Behind our front door is a nook, and this year I put our little tree there. Last year it was on the sideboard.

With the tree is a ceramic Santa Clause

And a set of carolers.  All from my grandmother. 

On the little tree, I put some of our smaller ornaments, and my all-time favorites: my gnomes. Yes. Also from my grandmother. I LOVE them and their personalities.

How can you resist that belly?

And our big tree. Right in the window where everyone can see it. 

These are two of my favorite ornaments on our big tree. Again from my grandmother. They are both the nativity scene, but I mostly love the details. You can't find ornaments like that anymore.

And our mantel with stockings. The Allison and Chris stockings were made by my grandmother!
hi Grace. 

So that's the inside of our Christmas house. 

I think I have to say thank you to Jenny. My grandmother!!!

It would be pretty bare without all her stuff. 


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