December 20, 2010

a little baking, a little snow, a little Christmas fun

I thought I'd share this cheesecake recipe with my readers. It's so beautiful with those luscious, red raspberries on top making it perfect for any Christmas soiree. A friend of mine posted a link to it on her blog before Thanksgiving and raved about it so I thought I'd give it a try. It's an Ina Garten recipe and I just love her. She seems to be a really classy lady with tried and true recipes. One thing I dislike are recipes that don't live up to the accolades they've been given. Rest assured this one is a winner. Visit my friends blog and check out her crafty inspirations and recipes. She's got the 12 days of Christmas-handmade gifts going on right now.

We had our first considerable snow fall last week and the kids got all bundled up and headed outside to play in the white stuff. Just look at those rosy red cheeks... so kissable!

The decorations always look so much better with a beautiful white backdrop.

Our community is hosting a tour of lights this year. They made a contest out of it and awarded four lucky homeowners with a prize and a sign for their yard. We were fortunate enough to win the Grand Prize! We are so excited!

Another topic...
So my hubby asked when I was going to give him a nickname when I refer to him on my blog. You know how Pioneer Woman calls her hubby "Marlboro Man" another blogger refers to her husband as "Sugar Daddy". Should I start referring to my hubby as "Sparky" from "Christmas Vacation"? LOL I better give that more thought. I don't think he would appreciate that.

My son sat on Santa's lap telling him all about what he would like for Christmas. He was there for quite a while and was very serious about his Christmas wishes. Adorable! This guy looked like the real deal and almost made me want to sit on his lap with my Christmas list.

The night we went to visit with Santa there were other festivities going on. We took a horse drawn wagon ride. The Belgian work horses were absolutely gorgeous. The owner had them all decked out in jingle bells and red ribbons.

Our littlest got to say hello to the "Gingerbread Man".

I hope you and your family have been able to enjoy this Christmas season.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!

Jenny K.

December 15, 2010

thy leaves are so unchanging

I do believe Christmas is our families favorite time of year. We love everything about this season. However, we have to be so careful not to get wrapped up in all the trimmings and remember the reason we celebrate this time of year. I tell my kids we're decorating for Jesus' birthday. I don't know if it really sinks in. They are so excited about the presents and the lights and all the festivities. My three year old son keeps telling me that everything is t'amazing! Awww... through the eyes of a three year old. I could just eat him up when he says things like that. The spirit of Christmas is alive and well here in our household.


We decorated a tree to look more natural. I'd like to put mounds of that fake snow on the branches but with little ones I know it would be covering my house in no time at all. I'll pass on that this time around.

 We also decorated a tree in mostly red with little toy ornaments. I think the kids prefer this one.


This photo was taken at our community Santa Pancake Breakfast. The little ones didn't want anything to do with Santa. They were a bit scared and the oldest is a little to old to participate.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections. Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

Jenny K.

December 14, 2010

mother-daughter tradition & sugar cookies galore

This happens to be the SEVENTH YEAR that I have hosted a Mother-Daughter Christmas Cookie Decorating Party. Why? Well it's a reason to gather friends that you may or may not have seen throughout the year and visit while the girls decorate sugar cookies. I mix and refrigerate, roll, press and bake and then mix some more, icing that is, in preparation for this holiday tradition. I use Martha Stewart recipes for both the dough and the frosting. They do the job every time and you can find them here and here. I add almond extract instead of vanilla for a bit of a twist on a holiday favorite. I make a triple batch of each and always have lots leftover. That's when I get to try my hand at decorating. This year I did just that and then gave them as gifts to wonderful neighbors, neatly packaged in bakers boxes. This is my first round of baking. I plan to do some more deliveries as the holiday progresses.

I set up the long table in the dining room so the girls have plenty of room to spread out and make use of the multiple icing colors and sprinkles. I really hope they remember this tradition when they grow up and become mommies themselves and maybe just maybe do the same for their daughters one day.
Here are the girls doing some of their own decorating. Their cookies are so fun and colorful. There were candy canes, mittens, Christmas trees, snowflakes, stars and bells. Next year I'm going to try and find a snowman and a little house cookie cutter.

What traditions have you started with your family and friends?

Merry Christmas and thank you for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!

Jenny K.

December 7, 2010

the gilded forest

Years ago we lived in North Carolina and in the town we resided was a plant nursery that housed a Christmas shop during the winter months. The shop had some of the most spectacular holiday trimmings and displays I had ever seen. I was told, by one of the employees that worked at the shop, that the wealthy would come in and buy entire trees already decorated for thousands and thousands of dollars. Wow! I'm still not there but back to the point of this story... Scattered throughout the store were trees glistening and gleaming with lights and laden with ornaments.

There was one tree in particular that stood out to me and it was tagged "The Gilded Forest". What a whimsical title. The tree was not your typical run of the mill Christmas tree variety. The branches were spare and spindly but the tree itself was large in scale, at least 12 ft. maybe taller. Adorned with woodland creatures, glittered pine cones, gold lights and sophisticated in every manner it left an impression on me.

It wasn't the decorations per se but the entire mood of the tree. I could just imagine being in the middle of a freshly snow covered forest and happen upon this whimsical creation. Like the mice in "Cinderella" the squirrels, the birds and all the other little creatures adorn a tree in preparation for Christmas.

In my efforts to begin recreating that mood I moved our original tree into my office space and added crystallized garland from top to bottom along with a few bulbs in muted tones of green and gold. I found some beautiful, faux, mercury glass, acorns and large beaded snowflakes and then hand glittered eight large pine cones. There are also gold/silver plumes and a lit star adorned with topaz colored gems at the very top. I will add more ornaments in the years to come but for now this is a good start.

My house is quiet right now because it's quite late. The tree lights are glowing as I write and I have set the tone that I wanted with this tree with just a few embellishments.

The pine cones are drying after being hand glittered. I used some twine that I attached to each pendant over my kitchen bar and a stick to hang the pine cones. Looking at them all hung so nicely in a row I thought that this would make a really pretty window display. You could go really crazy and do a row of glittered pine cones for each window in your house. I know, I know.... who has the time? for now it's only a thought.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections and Merry Christmas!

Jenny K.

December 3, 2010

almost finished - bathroom remodel

Bathroom Before:
Ugly... I know!

For some reason when I chose the color "aloe green" I thought it would be soothing. It was nothing of the sort. It's taken me a long time to get over that decision. Years in fact. I tell myself that it might have been soothing in a large space with lots and lots of natural light and that's what made me choose that color in the first place. Whatever the reason, I am older and wiser now and that color has been banished from my repertoire.

When I last posted I had high hopes that our little bathroom remodel would be done in a jiffy. Four days to be exact. Well that didn't happen. You see when you've never done something before you run into little hiccups to which you must find answers to before moving forward. Some of those hiccups were having to run to the home improvement store 2 and 3 times a day to pick up things we either didn't have or returning things we purchased because they weren't the right product. Then of course there were two more little hiccups. Hiccup 1 and Hiccup 2... they were in the middle of it all as much as they possibly could be. What's the fun in a DIY project when there aren't little "Hiccups"?

Hubby looks pretty happy in spite of all the chaos.

Water damage was the catalyst to this DIY and I am thanking the "Good Lord" above right now for that water damage even after the stress of having things torn up in our house for a bit. Mostly because the results are so much better than what was in that space originally and also because my hubby probably wouldn't have agreed to this remodel. :~) See honey, God does answer my prayers! LOL

Bathroom After:
First up are the new fixtures. We replaced all the cheap, builder grade, fixtures with these beautiful. oil rubbed bronze pieces. What a difference that made. Now I want a granite sink but that's for another post. Because this room is mainly used by my tween daughter it needed a little glam. I found this pewter framed mirror at Kirklands for $29.99! Bonus Buy! It was on sale. Then I found this little silver dish that reminded me of the beach. I don't know why, but it did. I found it at Ross for $3.49. I also found a pair of bath rugs in a cream and pale blue stripe for $6.99 at Ross. They were on clearance. I'm a bargain hunter when it comes to home goods. I'm a bargain hunter when it comes to everything I suppose.

I painted the top half of the walls a deep colonial beige which happens to be the same color in my tween daughters bedroom. Bead board covers all the walls 60" up and then it's capped off with a nice trim. I found this beautiful paisley print shower curtain at Target for $29.00. The "Bath" sign was a purchase from years ago for $12.99 at Marshall's, the jar of shells was a gift from a dear friend of mine and the towels were a purchase from Target a while back.

All in all, my hubby did a wonderful job laying tile, hanging bead board and installing trim. It's because he really, really loves me and it was that love that drove him to finish. LOVE is a powerful thing! It had nothing to do with me nagging him. I don't nag!

The crown molding still needs to be installed and the transitional piece between the hallway hardwood and the tile bathroom needs to be popped into place. I also need to purchase some vanity hardware and a few more decorative items.

Up next the Master Suite. The bed has been ordered!

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections.

Jenny K.
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