Wednesday, October 22, 2014

31 days to a Peaceful Holiday Season: Painted Pumpkin Giveaway

Welcome back to Almond Place! I am having so much fun with this series. I can hardly believe the month is already coming to a close! 

One of my favorite things this time of year is pulling out my fall decor. I love the things I've purchased for our home over the years. I have a spot for everything and I honestly haven't purchased anything new in several years. That being said, I had this idea brewing for a project that I wanted to try and I finally got around to doing it!


I hand painted a wooden slice into a pumpkin. I also added a wooden stem, some burlap leaves and some ribbon.  I think it turned out so cute! 



Do you have your fall decor out yet? If not, when do you get yours up? I pull mine out the first of October and decorate mostly for Halloween until November1st. Then, I put the Halloween stuff away and focus on fall. Christmas decorations usually come out Thanksgiving weekend because that's when we kick off our Christmas holiday traditions. 

I'm giving this little pumpkin away today!! This is a quick giveaway! It's simple...leave a comment with your name and city here on the blog, or on the post on Instagram. Either one will get you an entry. The giveaway will end TONIGHT at 6pm Mountain time and I will pick a winner. Spread the word! #almondplacegiveaway


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

31 Days to a Peaceful Holiday Season: Christmas Cards

Welcome back to Almond Place! This month, I'm focusing on ways of planning for our holidays so that we can be prepared before they get here!  You can find another 1600 writers focusing on their own topics for the month of October at Write 31 Days.  You can find all of this month's previous HERE.

So, do you remember when we talked about those perfect Christmas card photos?  Well, just as I imagined things would go, we've not actually gotten a photo done. But I don't want to wait anymore. There are a ton of great deals out there right now from the various card shops and I'm ready to get my card designed, addressed and ready for mailing.

Yes, it's early. Yes, I technically still have time to take a family photo. No, I'm not really in a rush. But, this is one thing I can very quickly cross off my to-do list and I'm ready to get it done!

I've ordered cards from many different places over the past few years. I used to painstakingly hand make every single card.  I LOVED that process but due to the volume of cards we send out, I just don't have the time to devote to that anymore.

Persnickety Prints Card 2013
As the years have gone on, I've gradually updated my process for Christmas cards.  I send out significantly less cards than I used to.

My favorite places to get cards now are from Minted and from Persnickety Prints.  The Minted cards are a bit more of an investment but I have loved the quality of their products and the many different designs.  The Persnickety Prints have a very fast turnaround time and I ADORE them.  I use them for all of my photo printing needs and I ordered all of our Christmas cards from them last year.

So, my action item for today?  Pick out that card and get those photos in. You'll have them back in plenty of time and you won't be scrambling to get them done!

Monday, October 20, 2014

31 Days to a Peaceful Holiday Season: Catch up Monday: Favorite Stuffing

Hi there!  Welcome to Almond Place! This weekend has been crazy with my work schedule and I've subsequently fallen a little behind in my blog. Back on track today!  This month, I'm focusing on the Write 31 Days project.  You can find all of the previous posts HERE.

One of my most favorite things about the holidays is the food. I don't know about you, but I loooove to eat. And I especially love Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. I can smell them already!

Everyone has their own traditions for the types of food they love at their big feast meals.  I already shared my recipe for Fresh Cranberry Sauce and I thought I'd give you another one of my favorites.

Stuffing.  I am pretty sure I could skip the entire meal and just shove my face with stuffing.  So delicious. I know there has been a lot of controversy with HOW to cook stuffing..do you put it IN the bird, or cook it separately?  Keeping in mind that I have a Mom who is a gourmet chef and former home ec. teacher, I tend to err on the side of her advice.....and Mom says "Not in the bird". Being someone who likes to enjoy my meal and not end it with a side of salmonella, I have to agree :-)  I've been cooking my stuffing this way for years and it's never failed me.

Here's how I do it:

I cut up an entire loaf of whole wheat bread into cubes.  I would likely use 2 if we were having company. I am not finicky about this, and I leave the crust on.  Then, I brush those pieces with a little olive oil after they've been spread on a couple of cookie sheets and I pop them into the oven with the broiler on to crisp them up.

Next, I prepare the spices:  Parsley, Tarragon, Basil, Salt, Paprika, Numeg, Pepper, Sage....and anything else that is inspiring me at that minute. I chop up a couple of sticks of celery for a little crunch.

I saute some onion, garlic and melt about 3/4 cup of butter.  mmmm. butter.  I use the really good butter for this stuff.  The kerrygold butter is divine.

Then, I toss it all together with the bread and pop it back into the oven to bake. I let it bake at whatever temp I'm cooking everything else at....I just keep an eye on it and when it crisps up on the top, I pull it out.  It's easy to pop it back in to warm it up right before the meal.




Here are the approximate amounts for the various ingredients:

1 loaf of bread chopped
3/4 cup of butter melted
2 tbps butter for sauteeing onions
1/2 onion (my family hates onions)
1 clove garlic minced
2-3 stalks of celery chopped
1/4 cup parsley
1 tsp tarragon
1-2 tsp basil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp sage

I hope you enjoy this recipe! It's tasty!

-Mandy

I'm linking up: The Modest Mom BlogA Mama's StoryGaray TreasuresOak & OatsCarrie This HomeA Bowl full of lemons