We're gradually cheering up our home with bright bits and white lights. Here, I'm listing a few of our favorite (seasonal) things. Our goal was to add a little extra brightness to our home in this season, without adding excess clutter that we would need to store year-round, and we wanted to avoiding spending a lot of money. So, maybe simple and bright is our theme? :) These are the items we enjoy the most*
around our home
- Pure Clean Soy candles, in the Cinnamon Berry & Clove scent. I buy these candles year-round in other scents, and I just so happened to love this Christmasy scent. Also, for soy candles, they're the cheapest per hour of burn time that I've found, if you're geeky like me and get out the calculator in the candle aisle ;)
- A fuzzy red blanket for our couch—we might have it out year-round, but for now, I'm referring to it as our "Christmas blanket." We bought the full/queen size for extra coziness.
- Washi tape in bright colors, and I just bought a matte gold roll. I like to use it to dress up gifts or envelopes, and for a residue-free (and cute) way to hang up a photo or seasonal print on the wall.
in the kitchen
- Striped red and green tea towels, from Williams-Sonoma. (I couldn't resist the subtle Christmas feel these have)
- Mrs. Meyers all-purpose cleaning spray in Cranberry scent, but the Iowa Pine version is great too!
- Dark chocolate hot cocoa mix. I like to make stovetop hot cocoa, but this is nice for company or when we want to make a quick mug of cocoa. Plus, unlike other hot cocoa mixes which can be too sweet, we like mixes that are less sugary tasting. I also like that it has a short ingredient list.
- for him: his favorite hair pomade from American Crew. He's not into hair gel, but he likes to use something with a little hold that doesn't flake or make his hair feel hard. I love the scent of this too!
- for me: bright lipstick. Who knew Anthropologie had lipstick? I actually got this as a birthday gift (thanks, Lauren!) but I'm really loving it for the holidays. I have it in persimmon, a warm, bright red that's not too blueish or too orangey (avoiding those two undertones is a must with my fair, pink coloring), but I like the looks of ruby, azelea, and peony for a little color in the winter months to come. Side note: I'm usually a lip balm (tinted or not) person, since most lipstick makes my lips feel dry, but this one doesn't feel dry even after wearing it for several hours.
- for me: Herbacin hand cream. As a nurse, I wash my hands a ton, and I always struggle to keep them moisturized. This handcream is not greasy, absorbs quickly, and makes my hands soft. So, three for three! A little goes a long way.
- Christmas movies still on our to-watch list: Home Alone 2, Love Actually, and The Family Stone.
- Knitting (but this is nothing new!) Still working on some Christmas gifts :)
- Any and every life activity (eating, napping, etc.) and life in general right by the Christmas tree
- More walks, just the two of us to take advantage of our cooler, but still mild weather.
- The Oh Hello's Family Christmas album. The best. It's on repeat right now as I type this.
- The Sleeping At Last Christmas Collection 2014. Mellow and mild and festive.
Christmas baking & dessert-making
- simple Rice Krispie bars: Rice Krispies + marshmallows + butter. (side note: Rice Krispie treats might be the more widely-accepted term, but I grew up in Minnesota calling them "bars" :) We like them unadorned, but dress them up with sprinkles if you like.
- Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (gf, df) from Summer's blog. I've yet to meet someone who didn't enjoy these, and I've made them countless times!
- Almond cake (gf, df). Subtly sweet, and totally breakfast-appropriate (at least in the DeVries household). I made it for my birthday, and I've made it multiple times since then. You can't taste the olive oil, and it gives the cake a great texture.
- I'm on a quest to find two more Christmas baking recipes: a good bundt cake recipe, and a good gingersnap/molasses cookie recipe. If you have a good one tucked away, please let me know!
What are your Christmas season favorites? Any clever traditions you abide by? I'm curious!
*I do not use affiliate links. Any product listed here is included simply because I enjoy it and we use it in our home. :)
There's a lot of heaviness in the world right now.
Now that we're well into January, I'm sitting down to write and glance back at the last year. I'm not much of a resolution-maker (not fundamentally opposed, just not for me), but I do find it's healthiest for my heart and mind to reflect and then continue on into the next year. Like every single year, there are good, hard, and in-between snippets and seasons.
I did it. I hopped aboard the sourdough train. I've made exactly one loaf of sourdough in my life, once last year, just a few months before we moved across the country from Texas to Indiana. I've long been interested in fermented foods, and tried my hand at a few, namely, kombucha, yogurt, and sauerkraut. And sourdough has been one on the want to try again list. Necessity is the mother of invention, right?