Native Texan Livin': December 2015

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Monday, December 21, 2015

Operation: Hostess with the Mostest

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser.  All opinions are mine alone.  #HostingHacks #CollectiveBias

Every year, we host our Annual Mother-Daughter Ornament party & this year was going to be our biggest yet!  Not only is the daughter or mom we're friends with invited, but all of their other daughters are welcome as well.  It's really important for me to make everyone who enters our home feel as welcome as possible, so I needed to get some dishes made & my house in order!

First things first...I was out of some cleaning essentials so I went down to our new local Costco to stock up.  I could totally get lost in this place!  Not in the "help me I'm lost" kind of way but in the "there's so much stuff in here & I want to look at every single item" kind of lost!  Costco has so many P&G necessities but this time, my list consisted of a 12 pack of Bounty paper towels & Swiffer Sweeper refills.

Once I got home, the clock was ticking so I got to work on the deviled eggs so they had time to cool before the party.  Deviled eggs are one of my all time favorite recipes to make.  They're easy, they don't take a ton of time or ingredients & if there's a family holiday gathering, you can guarantee I'll be bringing these!  Making deviled eggs is as easy 1...2...15! :-)
[1]  Cover eggs in water by 1"  [2]  Heat water to a rolling boil; continue boiling for 10 minutes  [3]  Drain eggs & hot water  [4]  Place eggs into an ice bath
[5]  Break out the Bounty & get ready to roll  [6]  Place boiled egg into a damp Bounty paper towel, crack on each end & roll lightly to crack  [7]  Carefully peel off egg shell  [8]  Shell should easily peel off in a large piece  [9]  Cut egg in half lengthwise  [10]  Yolk should have a clean cut & pop out easily  [11]  Gently break up yolk with a fork  [12&13]  Add 2-3T. mayo, 1/2 tsp. mustard, a dash of salt & a pinch of pepper  [14]  Fill a resealable bag with yolk mixture  [15]  Squeeze yolk mixture into the empty boiled eggs & refrigerate until ready to serve
[*sprinkle with paprika when ready to serve]

It wouldn't be me in the kitchen unless there was some sort of mess.  BUT as fast as the mess got there, the Bounty paper towels cleaned it up in 1 swipe!

With the eggs cooling, it was time to get started on the house.  The Swiffer Sweeper is so simple to use & even better that they can reach into those low areas like under the couch!  (Please don't ask how much dust came out from under there!  I told you I was out of Swiffer refills before going to Costco.  The important thing is that it's gone now!) ;-)

The party was a success!  I was able to feed my guests, keep things clean as I went & felt comfortable letting the kids sit on the clean floor to do their ornament exchange.

What are your go to Costco P&G essentials for party prep?  I love when things just come together & I'm able to cook, clean & prep without any fuss!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Halls are Decked & We're Ready for Christmas

We're over a week into December so I guess it's time to show you what we've been up to. :-)

The day after Thanksgiving we visited our local Christmas tree farm, Holiday Acres, to chop down our Christmas tree...Griswold style!  This Christmas tree farm is only 30 minutes away which makes it WAY more convenient than going out to Spring, which is where we used to have to go before finding this place.

They take you on a tractor trailer hay ride out to the Christmas trees where you're dropped off with a saw & a giant PVC measuring stick.  Each colored mark on the stick represents a different height, which represents the different prices.

We walked & walked & walked until we found a couple trees we liked.  I stood by 1 tree while the others kept hunting, but in the end, we chose the first tree we found.  Isn't that always the way!!!

We even found a Maggie sized tree!

Lotta sap in here!

Aaaahhhhhh!!!!  We found our tree!
"The most enjoying traditions of the season are best enjoyed in the warm embrace of kith and kin. Thith tree is a thymbol of the thpirit of the Griswold family Chrithmath."

Bec & Izzy tried their hand at sawing the tree down but it's obviously harder than we think!  Bo finally got it down & dragged it to the pick up spot.

Once we got dropped back off up front, Maggie & Izzy enjoyed some hot chocolate & had fun sledding down a hill of hay while Bo & Bec strapped the tree to the roof...of my Highlander...that doesn't have luggage rails!  He rigged it up there & I watched it the whole way home through the sunroof while holding onto the ropes that were running thru the car, hoping it wouldn't fly off! :-)

The tree made it home!!!  My niece & nephews came over to help us decorate while my sisters & mom went shopping.  (Aren't I just the sweetest Aunt EVER!) ;-)

The girls also got their very own tree in the gameroom this year!  Izzy put it up all by herself! :-)

The gingerbread houses are always fun...for them. ;-)  We finally finished them after 2 days & they are now the centerpiece of our table.

Bo & the girls decorated the yard & I am loving the new archways Bo made this year.  PVC, red duct tape to make it look like candy cane stripes & wrapped in lights.  It's like driving thru the Trail of Lights when we come home in the evenings! :-)

All of our Nutcrackers found their spot on the mantle!  We get at least 1 new one each year (sometimes more) & I try to write the year on the bottom of each one so we can remember when we got it.

These are a few of my favorite ornaments.  Most of the clay ones came from The Nutcracker Market.  My super favorite is the starfish Bo & I got on our honeymoon in Maui that says, "Mele Kalikimaka"  You's Hawaii's way to say Merry Christmas to you! ;-)  I swear it still smells like the ocean but everyone else seems to think I'm nuts. ;-)

Well, that's all folks!  Nothing left to do but fill the bottom of the tree!