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It is already December 15th and I am just now getting around to posting about advent calendars. Better late then never, right? If you, like me, didn’t get around to creating a 25 day advent calendar this post is written just for you.

Amy and I got together after our fabulous trip to Hobby Lobby (sorry Christy) and created the “12 Days of Christmas” advent countdown.  Amy, being the paper diva she is, had some adorable white boxes on hand that were the perfect size to hide an advent treat. We folded those up, printed off the numbers 1-12 in red ink and tied them all up with an adorable red gingham sash. Amy’s mom let us borrow this amazing red vintage sled which I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! We tacked the boxes up onto the sled using double sided tape and Amy used her magic in creating the perfect “12 Days of Christmas” sign. It has such an adorable vintage Christmas feel that I just had to share it (even though I am two day’s late).


Here are some other inspiring advent calendar’s. I hope it is all the inspiration you need to begin your count down to Christmas.

Enjoy!

Special thanks to all those who inspire me:

http://julieree.blogspot.com

http://www.splitcoaststampers.com

http://medicalprepster.blogspot.com

http://themcclenahans.blogspot.com

http://sewmanyways.blogspot.com

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I love to decorate especially when the holidays are upon us. I try to add something new to my collection each year to ensure a fresh and exciting look.
This year I purchased a few red cardinal ornaments and lots of fake snow to create a red, white and green winter mantel. I also recycled the bottom branches off my Christmas tree which added a natural woodland feel. I really love how my mantle turned out this year. The red birds tie into my existing decor and the fake snow sparkles when the fireplace is burning. I enjoy bringing outdoor elements inside and my snowy woodland mantel ensure that we will enjoy a white Christmas no matter what occurs outside.

Enjoy!

My grandmother made the poinsettia stockings along with a tree skirt for my husband and I as a wedding gift.  I always thought that it was such a great homemade gift idea as most newly weds don’t have matching holiday decor.  We have used those stockings for the past 13 years and they are a treasure because my grandmother hand-made them for us.  My mom made the green plaid stockings for my two boys and I love the contrast of the green plaid and the floral poinsettia print.

I have mixed white glitter branches with the greenery from my Christmas tree to give it a whimsy outdoor feel.

This has always reminded me a bit of a Cuckoo clock It fits in perfectly with all the red cardinals and white snow.

 

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Every December my neighbor hosts an amazing cookie exchange. I typically scramble to come up with an easy, but tasty treat to share as baking just isn’t my thing. Since we have to bake 8 dozen cookies, (yes, I said 8 dozen cookies), I am always searching for a baking shortcut. I found this cookie recipe on the Picky Palate (http://picky-palate.com) and since I LOVE cinnamon rolls, how could I go wrong with a cinnamon roll inspired sugar cookie. I will admit that I took a major shortcut as I bough pre-made sugar cookie dough- Bah! Humbug!!  I personally cannot tell the difference as they turned out pretty darn tasty in my opinion. I hope this quick and easy recipe helps you get to your next cookie exchange on time with all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies

2 Cups sugar
1 Cup butter, softened
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Cup sour cream
6 Cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

-OR-

Pre-packaged sugar cookie dough like I did:)

12 tablespoons softened butter, (slice 2 Tablespoons 6 times totaling 12 tablespoons)
1 1/2 Cups packed light brown sugar, divided into 1/4 Cups
1 1/2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon, divided

Frosting
8 oz softened cream cheese
1/2 Cup powdered sugar
2-4 Tablespoons milk, to thin icing

1. In an electric or stand mixer, cream the sugar and butter. Add eggs, vanilla and sour cream until well combined. Slowly add in the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until well combined.

2. In 2 batches, place in plastic wrap in a disc shape and chill for at least 2 hours for best results -Or- just roll out the store-bought dough and skip all the fuss.

3. Once chilled, cut each disc into thirds and roll into a 1/8 inch thick oval, about 12 inches X 5 inches.  Spread each rolled pieces of dough with 2 Tablespoons softened butter, 1/4 Cup packed brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.  Start rolling from the long end closest to you, rolling into a log shape.  Using a sharp knife, cut 1/2 inch pieces of dough then placing onto a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes before removing from baking sheet.

4.  To prepare frosting, beat the cream cheese until softened and smooth, slowly add powdered sugar and milk until desired consistency.  Frost cookies then place in refrigerator until ready to serve.  These are 100 times better chilled, trust me!!

Makes at least 6 dozen

This recipe is courtesy of: Picky Palate (http://picky-palate.com)

Roll out the dough into a large oval shape

I cannot believe I am typing this part as I always try to eat healthy but it is the holidays,  right?

Spread softened butter on top of dough

Cover the top with brown sugar, cinnamon,  and a bit of sugar (Yum!)

Roll the dough up in Parchment or wax paper, then refrigerate for 1-2 hours

Slice them evenly and place on a lined cookie sheet

Baking in the oven (the entire house smells like cinnamon rolls)

Umm ,Umm, Good~

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What’s the saying, if you are lucky enough to live in a small town, you are lucky enough? (OK, maybe that’s a liberal interpretation). We really are lucky enough because we live in a small town outside of a very big city, so we get the best of both worlds. But, no time do I appreciate where I live the more then at Christmastime.

The first week of every December, our Town has an annual celebration called “Gumdrop” Square. Folks from the town and surrounding areas bundle up and parade down Main Street  trailing behind Santa’s magnificent horse-drawn carriage accompanied by local children dressed up as Elves. Santa is transported down the spectator lined street to his special seat at Gumdrop Square where children can visit him and his kid-friendly “Secret Shop” throughout the month of December.  That night, Main Street is lined vendors offering wonderful goodies like hot chocolate and baked goods, and local musical groups perform carols along the way. It’s a truly magical night, one that I hope my children remember fondly for the rest of their lives.  This year was all the more magical because it started snowing shortly after Santa’s festive arrival! A rarity in Virginia early in December.

Despite the cold, the crowds and the millions of holiday “to-do’s” on the list, it’s a night that ushers in the Christmas season like no other.  It was truly a night to for all of us to treasure.

Local Children's Choirs Perform

Santa's Elves

 

Gumdrop Square

The Town was even more beautiful this year as our store owners are participating in a Window Decorating contest, I wanted to share a few of my favorites. It’s so nice to have local retailers who not only carry lovely things, but are also so nice to shop with.

Definitely a contender to win the decorating contest!

A gorgeous and creative window

A stop in the Wine Bar would cap off the night perfectly...(if only)

Yes... I would like one of everything here please...

Hope your holidays are also off to a magical start!


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We are thrilled you have come by! In our home in the (cyber) world, we offer inspirational ideas for your life, home, family and self. Here you will find three full time residents, Terry, Christy and Amy hanging out and sharing ideas, recipes and great finds. Plus our wonderful visitors stop by to bring you their expertise in all sorts of interesting subjects. We hope you will come by Magnolia lane often, and hang out with us for awhile.

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