Sunday, December 30, 2012

Quick 'n Easy New Year's Decor

This banner hangs over the china cabinet in the dining room.

I wanted to share our simple, easy New Year's decorations for those of you who might be looking for last minute inspiration. Almost everything I used I had on hand or quickly printed off on the computer.

On the kitchen table I filled glass pedestal cloches with gold & silver raffia purchased at the Dollar store. I then printed out the year 2013 on a sheet of paper, cut out each individual number and placed it on top of the raffia. It is an easy festive touch.

After I got the kiddos to bed, I came back and trimmed the excess raffia/ tinsel that was hanging out the sides of the domes….much better.

The dining room is ready for our New Year's lunch (read more here). It is going to be a tight squeeze as the table fits 8 comfortably & we will be a party of 10. I am making an effort to use the dining room as much as possible in hopes of convincing Hubby that we need a new dining table (I dream of a set that can sit at least 12). Over a cream & gold lattice tablecloth, I layered my china, monogrammed salad plates (for our Vasilopita cutting), white napkins, silver & crystal. Topped off with a champagne station and white roses, the room is sparkling & fresh….the perfect way to begin a new year.

The tray in the center will hold our Vasilopita.
While setting the table, I resolved to use my china, crystal & silver more often.
Looking at a it arranged on the table brings me so much joy.
This place setting is for Peanut…the shot glass will double as his mini champagne flute.
Champagne station: white roses are my favorite.

Champagne jello shots are chilling in the fridge, I need to pick up around here & then I'm off to bed. Tomorrow is going to be one jam packed day…can't believe it is the end of 2012!!

Linking up to: Jennifer Rizzo and Its Overflowing

New Year's Prep

It has been all business today preparing for our New Year's celebrations. We've prepared stuffed peppers, and a delish roasted chicken with veggies for New Year's Day lunch.

Stuffed peppers are easy to prep ahead of time & simply finish off in the oven.

My lil sous-chef

You dice up all these yummies, place in a dutch oven & top with chicken.
Then all I have to do on New Year's Day is toss it in the oven to roast for an hour.

Chicken is a super easy recipe from Ellie Krieger 

Once the fridge was stocked we headed into the dining room to set the table. No better way to start the New Year than with china, crystal & silver! 

We still have to make our traditional Vasilopita (New Year's bread), tidy up the house & prep Champagne jello shots for our NYE party tomorrow night with Besties B & H, their hubbies & 7.5 kiddos (B's lil man-to-be is the 0.5--hehe). Ok no more chit chat…off to work!

Friday, December 28, 2012


We have snow. Big, beautiful flakes that make you feel like your trapped inside a snow globe. After some gentle coaxing the kids put down their new iPads and rushed outside to explore and play in the snow. Not sure how much we will get, or how long it will last but we sure are enjoying it. My mom is coming over later to help me tackle the basement playroom & my cleaning lady comes at one so while Bear naps, I'm off to clean for the the cleaning lady. My house looks like the north pole and a clothing factory collided.  Happy Friday!

This door was installed by the 2 Dads & Hubby over the summer. It leads out to the deck from the kitchen & makes multiple outdoor snow trips a breeze. Last year, we had to trace over the white family room carpet to get to the backyard…this door truly brings me so much joy! 
Thanks again Hubby & Dads!!

Christmas 2012

Merry Christmas! After 30 minutes, we could stall Belle no more & at 7:00 am allowed her to wake up Peanut and begin the Christmas festivities. The kiddos came downstairs to find 3 gifts each from Santa (just as Baby Jesus was gifted by the wise men). Belle received a gum ball machine, books & shrinkie dinks. Peanut got a Thomas the Train clock, Perplexus Rookie & all the necessary tools to create his beloved Starbucks vanilla steamers at home. For Bears 1st Christmas, Santa spoiled him with a few extras including a Bearington Bear, a variety of Green Toys and set of Greek Alphabet wooden blocks.

She LOVES nail polish!

Along with stockings, Hubby & I gift each one of the kids something to read (collectible hardback book), something to wear (huge box full of winter clothing/mittens/hat) & something to do (game or toy). The kids also shop for one another. Past Christmases we've gone overboard & all the gifts actually took away from the joy of the day. Between sibling gifts & the 3 gift rule we've struck a nice balance. 
(They also receive gifts galore from both sets of grandparents, cousins & godparents so trust me…no gift deprivation going on for these kiddos.)

Each of the kids received a Keepsake gift: Lenox 2012 Christmas Tree Plate. This year happened to be Greece.

Once the kids opened all their gifts, we enjoyed a light breakfast of crock pot french toast & vanilla steamers. I had prepared breakfast the night before, spooned it into bowls & placed in the fridge making serving a snap.

After refueling, Hubby & I exchanged our gifts (we also follow the 3 gift rule) and prepared for brunch. YiaYia, Bopi & Theo N joined us for a brunch spread of eggs, bacon, ham, sausage, pancakes & strawberries. Can you tell that everyone has a favorite breakfast meat? It's Christmas so you have to have all your bases covered.

First bite of strawberry

After a leisurely brunch, we lounged on the coach while the littles played Kinect. Then we grabbed some quick family shots before piling into the car & heading to Hubby's sister's house for Christmas dinner.

Yes I am aware Peanut is barefoot & I've got a zombie thing going on but after 20+ shots, this was pretty much the best we could get…like I said here we're a good 5 years away from getting a nice shot.

The required baby's 1st Christmas bow shot.

Hubby's sister & brother in law always host Christmas dinner & do a fabulous job. We dinned on prime rib, crab, shrimp, antipasto, chocolate ganache cake, cookies & more until our stomaches hurt. The cousins played the night away and ended up gathered around the piano playing carols.

It was a relaxing, family filled day. Sad to see it fly by…still soaking in all the magic of the season. Around here our Christmas decorations stay up until after Epiphany so let the celebrating continue!
Hope you had the Merriest of Christmases!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cookie Party 2012 Edition

This year's cookie party theme was The North Pole. I was able to execute about 85% of my original plan until the following occurred simultaneously: I came down with a killer sinus infection, Bear got his 1st ear infection, Belle developed a sinus infection, Peanut's allergies became bronchitis, and Hubby ended up with all of the above. But by the time the party rolled around we were powering through our antibiotics and were ready to go.

I quickly snapped this picture before all the food was in place.

The Dining Room was home to the North Pole buffet & bar. Candy cane stripe wrapping paper made a great backdrop & tablecloth. I tried my best to keep the food bite size since both our main dining spaces were being utilized for the party. Along with crudités and cheeses, we enjoyed meatballs, a spiral ham & mini sandwich bread, tiropitas (cheese puff pastries), crescent wrapped mini sausages & an assortment of pretzels/chips/nuts.

Red tulle is gathered over a white tablecloth on the bar.
While the china cabinet is dressed with large silver snowflakes.

The table centerpiece was a candy cane themed, tiered tray holding North Pole Cupcakes.

The bar was my favorite vignette. It featured coffee, cocoa, eggnog, punch & a host of "Big Elf" beverages.

I wrapped the framed picture and attached a quick printout to let guests know  to help themselves.

I loved the whimsical woodland feel these evergreens added to the decor. 

An assortment of cocoa or coffee toppings.

The North Pole font worked perfectly to round out the theme.

Mini candy canes make tasty swizle sticks and look festive on the rim of a glass. 

The kitchen table was where the cookie decorating occurred.

Snowflakes cascade from the island chandelier and a themed banner hangs over the dining space.

Candy cane stripe wrapping paper made the perfect tablecloth for cookie decorating…
covering your table makes clean up a snap.

Once our guests arrived, cookie decorating was underway. This was our first year using squeeze bottles for the icing and it worked fabulously!!! I found them at Gordon's Food Service and for $6.00 a 6 pack.

People rotated between grabbing a bite to eat, visiting with one another & cookie decorating. Having the buffet in the dining room rather than kitchen made for a very workable flow.

Bear decorating his first Christmas cookie

Once all the cookies were decorated (can you believe I forgot to snap a picture of them) the adults played a lively game of Taboo while the kiddos burned off their sugar rush in the basement.

A heartfelt thank you to all our friends and family who helped us put the party together & most of all came to celebrate with us. Hugs to you all!!!

Linking up to Savvy Southern Style