It's the Most - Busiest Time - of the Year!

Despite the magic of the season, the holidays are always fraught with busyness and stress for most moms, and I am not the exception. The entire month of December tends to go by in one big - "oh my God did I forgot to do that again!!" - blur for me every year. Since my daughter was born almost *gasp!* 6 years ago, Christmas has lost a little bit of it's luster. Don't get me wrong, I still love the holidays... spending quality time with family, eating great food, and savoring every moment of the kids unwrapping their presents on Christmas morning. What stresses me out the most during this time of the year are all of the events that tend to be crammed into just a few weeks. December is a hellaciously busy month for my family. Along with the usual gift-buying and food-making craziness comes my brother in law and grandpa's birthdays (Christmas Eve) and my daughter's birthday (Jan. 4th.) This year add to the list that my husband and I are hosting a New Year's Eve get together - which is something I've always wanted to do (which is great, but you know what I mean about "adding this to the pile"... and ... oh great - now I'm rambling...) :)

At any rate, even though Marissa's birthday is in January, it sneaks up on me EVERY YEAR! It usually hits me two or three days after Christmas, when I start thinking about New Year's and all that entails... and I think - "Oh crap!!! Marissa's birthday!!!" Then the craziness ensues.... I try to find the time to go shopping (didn't I just get DONE doing this??), once I'm finally at a store I stare in bewilderment at the empty shelves (did I really think they were going to restock Dec. 26th?) and then send the party invites out about two days before the actually party is to take place (if the guests are lucky, anyway.) So this year, in order to try and prevent all of this mayhem from happening for the sixth year in a row, I've been trying to plan ahead. And where has this gotten me? Well, let's see.... the two birthday gifts that I had already bought ahead have turned into Christmas gifts because Jake's pile of gifts looked to be about three times the size of Marissa's.... and when I asked Marissa what she would like her party theme to be this year she has gone from Jasmine, to Pocahantas, to Strawberry Shortcake, to American Girl (you get the picture)... so needless to say, invites have not been started and party supplies have not been purchased. Ugh.

To save my sanity, I am actually thinking of only getting Marissa two gifts for her party this year and then taking her to our annual birthday Build-A-Bear store trip a couple weekends after her birthday. This would give me a HUGE chance to just b-r-e-a-t-h-e after the holidays. It's not like she needs to get ten presents for her birthday right after Christmas or anything. I guess the goal for my holiday season this year is to try and stress-less, and then hope that my family can pick up on that and I may not turn into the almost gray-haried monster I usually am by New Year's Day. I want to be able to take the time to stop and smell the pine -- to be able to enjoy Christmas this year without have to think of a million birthday-related things in the process. However, now that I think about it, I guess the invitations aren't going to do themselves...and Marissa has yet to pick a party theme. Oh, poop. :P


Gifts from My Christmas Kitchen - Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments

This week, my friend Tricia over at Onceamonthmom.com invited a guest post focused on creating unique Christmas gifts from your very own kitchen. This post reminded me of some wonderful smelling ornaments I made a few years ago. Each year I have kept telling myself that "this year will be the year I make them again!" Yet, I never seem to get around to it. :(

Five years ago, I was (very) pregnant with my daughter and was desperately looking for things to keep myself occupied. Because it was the holiday season, I was definitely busy, but the later stages of pregnancy tends to cause many sleepless nights and there were many nights that I couldn't fall asleep until 1:00 a.m. or so. On these late nights, I would find myself busily preparing Christmas goodies in my (then huge) kitchen.... oh how I miss that kitchen. At any rate, one of the "goodies" I made in abundance that year was a big batch of Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments. I was amazed at how amazing my entire house smelled for weeks after making these things! To tell you the truth, they're very simple to make. I gave a few to my mother for a small gift that year.... when I walked into her home this past weekend after her tree was up and the decorations were hung (including those ornaments) I could still smell them!

I'm planning on making the first batch of ornaments since that year this coming weekend, and my daughter will be helping me this time! :) Here is the recipe:

Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments

1 cup ground cinnamon
1 cup store-bought applesauce (homemade tends to be too runny)

Mix both ingredients in a medium mixing bowl until well blended. Form into a ball and roll flat on a flour-covered surface or wax paper-covered surface. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Poke a small hole in the top of each ornament with either a plastic straw or toothpick. Place each ornament on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Let air dry for 4-5 days. This seems like a long time, but the wonderful aroma that will fill your house will be worth it!

Once ornaments have dried completely, string a pretty ribbon through each hole and tie at the top. If you are giving these as a gift, wrap a few in wax paper before putting in another type of packaging. Brown paper and ribbon would suite this type of homemade gift well!

Voila - beautiful, fragrant ornaments that will last for years! :)


The Seger Virtual Christmas Card for 2009!

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Savory Seger Sunday - Sweetly Devilish Eggs

One of the appetizers I always seem to make this time of the year (because of endless requests) are my version of deviled eggs. When I was younger, I never really cared for the traditional deviled egg recipes... they seemed to leave a bitter taste in my mouth for some reason. So, once I was old enough to cook and tote my own food creations to family get-togethers, I started experimenting with different deviled egg recipes. The second recipe I tried was an instant favorite of mine and boy, has it stuck! Now my eggs seem to be a staple at the "Good gatherings." If you have a sweet tooth - these are the deviled eggs for you!

Sweetly Devilish Eggs

- 6-12 eggs
1/3 cup Miracle Whip (or similar generic brand)
- 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
- Paprika
- Parsley flakes (fresh or dried)


- Boil eggs until done. Peel eggs and cut in half length-wise. "Pop" yolk out of each egg half into a mixing bowl. Place each egg half onto a deviled egg serving tray or similar. After all eggs have been cut in half, add Miracle Whip and pickle relish to yolks. Mix well with a spoon or whisk. Spoon into egg halves. Sprinkle eggs with paprika. Garnish by sprinkling with fresh or dried parsley flakes.

*Miracle Whip and sweet pickle relish should be adjusted to desired amounts - the amounts given are simply an estimate. :)


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