Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Potpourri in a jar.

12/10/13 UPDATE:  I know have FREE printable tags for these jars HERE!

The other night we had Coombs Party numero dos at our house.  Here's what I handed out as party favors:



Super simple.  You'll need:  

1 pint jar
3 cinnamon sticks
3 bay leafs
2-3 Tbs. whole cloves {these will cost you the most}
1 lime slice
2 lemon wedges
2 orange slices

Place ingredients in jar and fill with water.  Attach a label or tag that reads:  

Pour contents into saucepan on stovetop and simmer on low heat.  Add water as needed.  

Growing up, my mom always had a pot of this simmering on our stove during the holiday season.  The smell still brings back fond memories.

One of my favorite things about these jars are the lids.  Did you know you can purchase decorative lids like this at Wal-mart?  For cheap?  Well...now you do!


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas 'Neighbor' gifts.

I've been up to my eyeballs in COOKIE DOUGH lately.


I present to you....the Coombs family 2011 Neighbor gifts:




Because who doesn't like to receive cookie dough to be baked and served WARM and FRESH? {Cookies fresh from the oven are my weakness.  I have the hips to prove it}.

The original idea was spotted HERE.

I'll let you in on a secret.  I purchased the smaller containers HERE for $1.10 a piece.  When I got them in the mail though, I thought....how on earth am I going to give a good sized family, this small of a container?  {I don't like to be chin-cey around the holidays}.  So I went to my local Basha's grocery store {LOVE!} and asked them for some of their large soup containers.  And guess what? They sold em to me for 25 cents a piece!!!  Score!  Now I have the perfect sizes for both big AND small sized families!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

12 Days of Christmas.

This year our family is doing a 12 Days of Christmas for both Grant and Carson's teachers at school.  The plan was to do it 'anonymously'....we had high hopes of actually going to their houses and ding dong ditching them every night.  BUT...Joe and I were quickly reminded of how our boys are the worlds WORST secret keepers and so....they just bring in their 'surprise' each morning to their classroom before school starts.  They love it!  Here are some ideas if you are doing a '12 Days' yourself.  

Keep in mind:  I am the world's WORST rhymer.So don't laugh.

Movie passes

a 12 pk of of their favorite soda.





Cute subway art and idea copied from Little Birdie Secrets.
Frame from Hobby Lobby

My favorite part of this whole thing:  the bunting I made out of scrapbook paper.  Super simple! I {heart} bunting!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cinnamon Honey Butt-ah

As promised...here is the recipe for my Cinnamon Honey Butter.  It's very similar to the kind used over at Texas Roadhouse.  MmmmmMmm.  Plop some into a cute little jar, tie with a festive ribbon and you've got yourself a cute little hostess gift for the holidays!



1 pound butter, softened
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Mix butter in a bowl at low speed.  Increase speed to medium and add honey, cinnamon and vanilla and beat until well combined...about 3-4 minutes.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Recipe Club.

You know you're obsessed with details when.....you take pictures of ONLY the details....and not of any of the people attending.  I really need to work on this! Especially when we have such a good looking bunch of friends....wink!

Last night we hosted one of my most favorite events of the year.  Our Annual Christmas Recipe Club.  We have been hosting this now for....gosh...maybe 5 years?  And we love it.  Good friends.  Good food.  Good fun.  What more could you ask for?  

Here are some of the 'deets':


Table Setting.



Wreath yarn ornaments purchased at Target in the $ bins. {LOVE these!} 
Name cards purchased through The Tomkat Studio. I added alphabet stickers to spell out the names.


Mini buckets purchased at Michaels and filled with red & green M&Ms.  
Plastic Silverware purchased at Costco.




Tablecloth purchased last year AFTER Christmas on clearance for $2.99.  Score!

As for the food, we devoured: 




Spinach salad with swiss cheese, bacon and red onion.


Stuffed and loaded baked potatoes.  I'll let you in on a little secret.  These were purchased from Costco in their 'Holiday' frozen section.  And they are divine.  Add some butter and salt and pepper and you are good to go.  What a time saver!


Sliced strawberries with honey, lemon juice and fresh mint.


Fresh rolls.  Here's another secret up my sleeve.  I never make homemade rolls.  I don't know how.  Gasp!  I always go to the Deseret Book store {over by Chandler mall for all you local peeps} and buy their frozen rolls....bring them home...set them out to rise about 4 hours before I need them...and then bake!  They are to.die.for!


Homemade Cinnamon Honey Butter.  Will be posting this recipe soon.  It's a must.  It's even fun to make up and put in little jars and deliver with fresh rolls as a little holiday gift!  


Crockpot Hot Chocolate and these little marshmallow sticks dipped in white chocolate and smothered in crushed candy cans.  Both were a new try for me and both were a hit!

We had our traditional White Elephant Gift exchange.  Surprisingly...it was kept fairly clean this year!



Joe scored a day old hotdog from QT.  Anyone who knows Joe, knows why it was so fitting for HIM to receive this gift.  

Fun was had by all.  Molly - we missed you!!  So lucky to have such GREAT friends in our lives!!!


P.S. Yes...I gave out 'party favors' but you'll just have to wait and see what those are. They're doubling as my 'neighbor' gifts which have yet to be handed out.  And I'm all about 'surprise'!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I don't like eggnog BUT...



...I have two YUMMY holiday crowd pleaser recipes to share and guess what?  They include eggnog.  And they are DEE-LISH!  Promise.  Even if you turn your nose up to eggnog like me....You'll like em. You can thank me later.


Holiday Eggnog Punch

1/2 gal. eggnog
1/2 gal. peppermint ice cream, softened
2 liter 7-Up

Mix eggnog and softened ice cream until well blended.  Add 7-Up just before.  Mixture will be foamy.  Can be served with a candy cane in each cup for decoration!

Eggnog Bundt Cake

1 yellow cake mix (preferably with pudding in the mix)
3 T. flour
2 c. eggnog
1/4 c. butter, softened
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 tsp. rum extract
1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Beat until smooth and creamy.  Pour into greased bundt pan.  Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes.  Dust lightly with powdered sugar.

Caramel Sauce

1 1/8 c. brown sugar
1 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 T. cinnamon
2 cups rich vanilla ice cream

Melt together.... (yes, that includes the ice cream...I think that’s what makes it so yummy)......over medium heat (couple of minutes).  Pour warm over individual servings immediately before serving.  I served mine with Peppermint Ice-cream and it was dee-lish!

This caramel sauce I could pretty much eat by the spoonful.  It's sinfully delicious!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Polar Express {or P to the E as we like to call it}!

Christmas Jammies!

Side Note: Joe and I have nicknames and abbreviations for just about EVERYONE and EVERYTHING.  {Just ask our friends.  They make fun of us for it}.  For instance.  The OG = The Olive Garden.  A soda fountain DRINK = Sqwa-zink.  Floridino's {our favorite Italian spot} = Nino-Nino's.  Disneyland = The DL. I guess it's kind of like our own secret language.  As lame as that may sound.  Which is why we call THE POLAR EXPRESS....the P to the E.  There really is no other justifiable reason.  

Now...back to our regularly scheduled blog post...Here is our HIGHLIGHT picto-reel from our fun filled visit to the North Pole:

It SNOWED while we were there.  HUGE Highlight!

Carson made snow angels.....


Grant made snowballs......



And London FROZE while looking EVER so cute in her new knit hat while prancing around as a walking advertisement for Pfizer.  What the?! 

We ate at quite possibly my favorite restaurant in the ENTIRE state of AZ....


Everything there is homemade.  Including their PIES.  Oh.....their pies.  This place is a MUST if you are ever in the Williams, AZ 'hood.



The kids got to visit with Mrs. Claus....


...and write letters to Santa.


Oh yeah....and the actual train ride itself?  A HUGE hit!



The 'chefs' served us HOT CHOCOLATE....


We 'spotted' the REAL NORTH POLE!.......


London zonked out 5 minutes into the ride.....



And Mr. C. himself made his grand debut.  Popular to contrary belief...he thanked the kids for being so 'good' this year.  Boy do they have HIM fooled!


Carson, yellow slimy booger and all {see nose} claimed it was 'The BEST Vacation EVER!'  

Mission Accomplished.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Deck the Halls.

Our house is in full Christmas bloom.  Care to take a gander at some of my favorite spots?


Buying a pre-lit tree is worth every penny.  That said..make sure and do it the day AFTER Christmas so you get a smokin deal.  






Notice the bottom left corner of this picture.  Yes...that would be a half eaten chocolate chip cookie.  I can always tell when London has been admiring the decor.    



Stockings are hung...


Love my Willow Tree nativity.  Each year I tell myself I'm going to suck it up and buy the remaining pieces that I so long for.  Then...I am reminded of their price....and I wait again til 'next year'.  Sigh.  Notice on the lamp:  our new pal 'Buddy the Elf on the Shelf'.  He does wonders.



He even leaves the kids notes from time to time. {According to Grant...Buddy really needs to work on his handwriting!}





Now...onto addressing my Christmas cards.