Simply Sweet Home

Recipes, Decor, Crafts, Product Reviews, Giveaways and more.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Menu Plan Monday for December 29

This past week has gone by so fast. On Christmas day (Thursday) I felt like it was a Wednesday, and on Friday, it felt like a Thursday to me, and so on and so on...

Luckily due to the holidays and everything, I didn't get a chance to make some of the things I had planned on last week, so they're getting moved to this week. (which makes for some easy meal planning.)

I did get the chance to make one of my new recipes last week. I made the bacon cheeseburger skillet, which turned out very well. I'll try to post the recipe and picture later on in the week. Till then, here is this week's menu. Happy Monday!

Breakfast - cereal, pancakes, eggs/grits/bacon

Lunches - sandwiches, beef stew (from the freezer), leftovers from dinner

Monday - Roast beef & gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans
Tuesday - Chicken Tetrazzini (didn't get to make last week)
Wednesday - appetizer night: finger sandwiches, buffalo chicken bites, chips & dip, nuts, and leftover christmas candy
Thursday - ham, black eyed peas, cornbread, and boiled cabbage or salad
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - Chicken Tortilla Soup *new recipe*
Sunday - not sure yet

Go to to participate in MPM.


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Christmas Thanks

Now that Christmas is over I wanted to send out some thank yous. First I want to thank everyone who's visited my blog throughout the holiday season, and I want to thank you for all your lovely comments. And I hope you will all visit again soon.

Next I want to thank everyone who submitted their food or crafts to the Christmas festival and everyone who gave me permission to use their ideas for the festival.

I'd also like to thank everyone who hosted holiday events on their blog. I had a lot of fun participating and visiting with other participants.

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas, and I wish you all the best in the new year. Thanks again!



Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wishing You A Joyous Christmas!


Monday, December 22, 2008

Twas The Tour Before Christmas

I'm really enjoying attending all these blog parties and seeing all the lovely Christmas foods and decorations. It's really inspiring actually. I've gotten so many good ideas for next year, more than I could ever actually use!

I've seen so many lovely things, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorites with you. There are so many beautiful things, it was hard to decide which items to feature, but I managed to narrow it down to about a dozen.

Thanks to everyone for inviting us into your homes. I hope that everyone else will enjoy and be as inspired by these decorations as I was.

This yard at Chris's Corner. I haven't seen a lot of light displays on these tours, but I thought this was very festive! The inside of the house was very pretty too. Even the bathroom was decorated nicely!

This wreath at Our Life As We Wait for Lilly Rae. Actually the entire front of this house was just beautiful. It's my favorite architectural style, and the decorations make it look just stunning.

This banister from Take 90 West...and Set this Circus Down. I love this garland! My mom has some little red pajamas hanging on her tree, but I would have never thought to use them like this. This page had a lot of other cute decor as well, but this was my favorite.

This mantle from Imperfectly Beautiful. I just love this! It's so fun & colorful and very unique! I just love mantles! And I saw a lot of elegant mantle decor, some simple decor, and a lot of other things, but nothing like this one. In fact all of her decor is just beautiful and unique! You should check out her door wreath as well. Very cute stuff!

This mantle from Creations from my Heart. I thought this had a real elegance to it, and it goes very well with the tree. Just lovely! The garland on her staircase was beautiful as well. Great home!

This tree at Fiddle Dee Dee - Our Sweet Southern Life. I love--LOVE this tree. One thing I've discovered from looking at these tours is that I love peppermint stuff! I like this tree because it looks very elegant, but it's also fun. And look at the topper! Great colors too, and a beautiful home!

This dining room from Beveral "Sand"hills. Her whole house was great, like something you'd see in Country Living magazine. I love the bright colors here, and it looks so cozy! The chandalier is beautiful, and I like that the table is decorated rather simply with the wine glasses and the bowl of balls in the middle. It's a nice touch. (and also, I want to say that I have a red bird pouring picture just like hers, which I thought was kinda neat.)

This beautiful doorway from All Occasions by Cynthia. I like all the different colors used here, and I especially like the little ornaments dangling down from the garland above the door. This is a really stunning home, and all her trees and decor are so beautiful.

This doorway at Southern Fried Dreams. I just love this doorway. I like the material used, and the way the light green and dark red blend together. Very festive.

This topper at Tiaras & Tantrums. Now that is a topper! I loved the whole tree, but the topper was just the best! I love the gold butterflies, and the red balls give it a really good base. The little "chutes" that go up are cute too. I'm thinking this must be the latest style in toppers, because I've seen several with the chutes at the top. I wish I could find one for my tree.

This scrappy tree at Marleyblog. What a fun craft! Again, I love the colors of this, particularly all the different designs in the scrap pieces and how they all blend & contrast with each other. I simply had to feature this, not only because it's so cute, but because it's unique. I haven't seen anything else like it.

This tree from A Picture is Worth A 1000 Words. You would have to see the post to fully appreciate this tree. This tree had very few ornaments on it, but she livened it up with some ribbon and some embellishments. I could hardly believe it was the same tree. The best part is the little white feathery things, and the little red bead-looking things. Again, not sure what these are exactly, but I wish I had some for my tree.


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Menu Plan Monday for December 22

I can't believe Christmas is this week. This year has flown by so fast! At first I wasn't really going to plan a menu for this week, because our plans are kind of in the air this week, but last night I decided that I needed a plan anyway, even if it's just a tentative plan. That's better than no plan at all. And it saves me from having to panic about what to cook.

So here is the tentative plan. I have a couple of new things to try this week. I'll let you know how they turn out. And I have a few links here for you too.

Hope you all have a great week and a Merry Christmas!

Breakfasts - cereal, pancakes w/ bacon, oatmeal

Lunches - Left over Potato Soup, Chicken Noodle Soup, ham sandwiches, hot dogs, and one day we'll be having Christmas lunch with my mom.

Monday - Bacon Cheeseburger Skillet (something new I'm throwing together--I'll let you know how it turns out)
Tuesday - Paprika Chicken w/ Sour Cream Gravy (new recipe)
Wednesday - Christmas dinner at my aunt's
Thursday - Christmas dinner at my dad's
Friday - Beef Stew (from the freezer)
Saturday - Chicken Tetrazzini
Sunday - not sure what we're having yet, possibly left overs

I'm also making some candy/cookies for Christmas gifts this week. I'll be making Rice Krispies Treats, Rocky Road Candy, Cake Mix Cookies, and Chess Cake Bars (recipe to be posted in the future). And I'll be making Dream Pies, which will also be posted later on.

Go check out other great menus & ideas at I'm An Organizing Junkie.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Cake Mix Cookies

A lot of the times when I want fresh-baked cookies, I just buy cookie dough and bake it, because it's so easy, especially now that they have the break-and-bake stuff. But for gift baskets and parties, I like to have cookies that I can truly say were made by me.

Here's an incredibly easy cookie recipe that I just tried for the first time the other day. These are so sweet and delicious, I could hardly wait to share them! This recipe is so good it should be taught in cooking schools! The best thing about this recipe (besides the taste, of course) was that I had all the ingredients on hand already. I just hate finding a new recipe and not being able to make it because I'm lacking ingredients. As soon as I found the recipe, I got up immediately and had them made in minutes. Perfect!

I'm planning on making cookie & candy gift baskets for people, and these are definitely going in the baskets! I'm also submitting these to the following carnivals: Cottage Magpie hosted a cookie exchange this week, and My Kitchen Treasures is hosting a Homemade Christmas Gifts event. I'm also posting these on The Happy Housewife for the dessert portion of the Bloggy Progressive Dinner and to the Eat Christmas Cookies event at Food Blogga.

Happy Baking!

Recipe for Cake Mix Cookies:


1 Yellow Cake Mix
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup oil
1 egg
candy sprinkles (optional)

Directions: Mix eggs, water, oil, and cake mix. After well mixed, add sprinkles. Roll into balls and place on greased cookie sheet or cookie sheet covered in parchment paper. Place about 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. (Makes 2 dozen cookies)

Tips & Suggestions:

-After baking, cover with additional sprinkles or dust with powdered sugar.
-If you've got a real sweet tooth, upon cooling, cover cookies with your favorite icing.
-Try this recipe with other flavored cake mixes, or change it up by adding nuts or chocolate chips.
-To keep dough from sticking to your hands, cover your hands in powdered sugar.


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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Spreading Christmas Cheer With Less Money

When money is tight, you have to adjust to those circumstances. A lot people find this difficult, especially around the holidays. But you don't have to spend a lot of money to be happy this Christmas. Here's a list of activities that you can do and your family can do for little or no money, along with some other ways that you can spread Christmas cheer without breaking the bank!

Fun Christmas Activities:
-Go to Christmas concerts, plays, and pageants at a local school or church.
-Decorate the tree or house as a family.
-Go look at Christmas lights. Usually you can find whole neighborhoods with great light displays, and some places hold large light displays that you can walk or drive through.
-A lot of people have a "Santa's Village" set up where kids can participate in different Christmas games and activities.
-Read Christmas stories.
-Watch Christmas movies.
-As a family, sit around and tell stories about favorite Christmas memories.
-Make Christmas cookies, candy, or gingerbread houses with the kids.
-Make ornaments or crafts with the kids.
-Listen to Christmas music.
-Have a cookie exchange.
-Encourage you kids to put on their own Christmas show, either singing Christmas songs or putting on their own little play.

Save Money On Gifts
-Rather than buying gifts for each other, get together with friends for some kind of charitable activity, like making Christmas boxes, or adopt-a-family.
-Instead of exchanging gifts, agree that you'll volunteer your time to each other. You could help each other out on specific task like baking Christmas candy or wrapping gifts or cleaning out the garage, or you could agree to go out and do something fun together, like go shopping or go out for lunch.
-Focus less on the amount of money spent and more on the thought behind the gift.
-Draw names or play some kind of gift swap game.

Saving on holiday food:
-Serve appetizers and desserts rather than a big meal.
-Have a potluck.
-Think of how much food you had left over last year, and try to downsize if you can.

Making your home look festive without spending a fortune:
-Wrap the front door in wrapping paper.
-Purchase an expensive one or make your own.
-Place a string of lights over the mantle, a buffet, entertainment center, or other furniture.
-Or dress up these same areas with a little garland.
-Make a simple flower arrangement with poinsetta & berry sprigs.
-Place Christmas balls in a bowl or basket.
-Display all of your Christmas cards.
-Dress up your table with some placemats or a festive table cloth.
-Place a small Christmas tree in the middle of your table or buffet.

For other great ideas, visit Rocks in My Dryer.


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Monday, December 15, 2008

My Easy Creamy Salsa Dip

The holiday season gets a little crazy, with all the extra social events, cooking, baking, shopping, card sending, gift wrapping, decorating, and countless other activities. In times like these it's always good to find short cuts and simple solutions. So to go along with this week's simplicity theme, I decided to post my recipe for Creamy Salsa Dip. This was actually the first recipe that I ever posted on the blog, but at the time I didn't have a photo of it. So when I made the dip last week, I decided to get some photos to share.

I'm also posting this on the appetizer portion of the Bloggy Progressive Dinner. The appetizers are being hosted by A Simple Walk on Tuesday.

Recipe for Creamy Salsa Dip:
8 oz. Cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 1/2 cups salsa
Directions: Cream together the cream cheese & sour cream. Add salsa gradually and mix well.

Tips & Suggestions:
-Serve with tortilla chips, Fritos, or potato chips.

-It would also be great with crackers, vegetables, crescent rolls, or even other appetizers like chicken fingers or Southwestern eggrolls.

-Here's something my husband & I came up with: Chop up one or two cooked chicken breasts, and add to mixture. Use for dipping or bake inside of crescents or tortillas.
-This recipe is great for a big party or a quiet night at home.


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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Tour of Homes 2008

Hey everybody! Welcome to the Christmas tour of my home. If you'd like to show off your Christmas decorations too, you can head over to BooMama, Tip Junkie, Hooked on Houses, A Soft Place to Land and Southern Hospitality. They are all hosting Christmas Tours of Homes this week, and it's sure to be good fun!

If this is your first visit to Simply Sweet Home, Welcome to my blog (and home). I hope you'll take a look around my site. I've been hosting a festival of Christmas posts this month, and there's a lot of great stuff to see. And please leave me a comment so that I can come and visit with you too.

A lot of my Christmas decorations are buried in the attic at my dad's house, so I didn't get to decorate as much as I would like. I was most looking forward to setting up my Christmas villages in the new place, but it was too much trouble to dig everything out. (Hopefully I'll get it all out next year.) But I did manage to get some good pictures of the stuff I did put out. I had the post finished and then I added a few more...hopefully I didn't go overboard too much w/ the pics! I hope you enjoy!

Here's the front door (obviously). I know a lot of people despise colored lights. But I love them. They remind me of my childhood, and they're just fun.

And here's our tree, filled with mice ornaments and other fun things. My pictures don't really do it justice, but it's really cute. If you'd like to see more of my tree and some of my favorite ornaments, you can go to my Christmas Tree post.

Making the stereo a little festive here. I've been calling this the silver & blue corner (even though there are a couple of red things at the bottom). You can't really see it too well, but there's a couple of snowmen, some figures from "Rudolf & the Island of Misfit Toys", and some wintery flowers & ribbon thingys. And the silver tree was actually the center piece for our table last year, and the bear & penguin came from Kay Jewelers last year. I just stuck it up there b/c it matched.

I decided to hang our stockings over the china cabinet. There's also flower arrangement of poinsettas. And up top is small red/gold Christmas tree, and placed some little gift boxes and bags around it to make it a little more festive. And to the left, is my mouse wreath.

Another picture of the tree & stuff on top of the curio.

And here's my mouse corner.

This is our coffee table. I just put a couple of snowman place mats on each end. And in the middle is a Christmas bowl, and it just has some little garland arrangements with pinecones & apples on them. (I wanted to get a pic from a better angle but the cat kept jumping in.)

The kitchen. The stuff is described below.

I strung some garland above the cabinets. And on the counter is a snowman cake pedastal (left). And on top of it is a homemade-antique Christmas tree that my greatmother made. Next is a Santa box tin, Christmas salt shaker set, a Christmas tree platter that my husband bought me, a couple of Christmas bowls, like the one from the coffee table, and an arrangment of poinsettas. And some snowman pot holders are hanging from the drawers.

Christmas Candy dishes.

Snowman Cake Plate.

Christmas Tree Plate.

Salt Shaker Set.

On the window sill above the sink is a snow man plate that my stepmom painted. And on either side of it are some snowman figurines and some s'more figurines.

And this is the dining room.

Here's our table.

This is a close up of the flower arrangment on the table.

And this is a close up of the flower arrangement on top of the antique sewing machine.

Well, that's it. Let me just "show" you to the door here.

Thank you for visiting my site and home. I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope you'll leave a comment and come back soon! Merry Christmas!


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