Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Christmas in July: Last day!


Christmas in July is at an end today. I hope you enjoyed what I had to share with you this year. I wish it could have been more. I promise to make it up to you during this coming holiday season. Thank you to those who took the time to stop by and comment. It means a lot. =O)

I didn't get a chance to work on the page for Christmas in Rituals and Tradition Sunday, but I'll try to have it ready for Rudolph Day next month.

I wanted to thank Raquel for the gorgeous Christmas in July card I received yesterday. Just lovely! Thank you! I hope everyone has received mine.

And until we meet again, here's a favorite musical scene from one of my favorite Christmas movies, White Christmas. Enjoy!



Always in spirit....

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Christmas in July: Weekend Crafting

Always looking for ways to display the Christmas cards you receive each year? I came across this fun and unique idea for doing just that. Enjoy!


Christmas Card Brag Board

Materials: 
  • Clothespins Gold or Silver spray paint 
  • Christmas Fabric or wrapping paper 
  • 16" X 20" inch canvas 
  • 1/4” red ribbon or craft trim 3 
  • Christmas picks / decorative items of your choice 
  • Staple gun or hammer and nails 
  • Scissors 
  • Hot glue gun 
  • Optional: Mod Podge 
Instructions:
Spray paint each clothespin with gold or silver paint. Allow to dry completely. Cover canvas with fabric. Staple fabric to the back of the frame. Or: Cover canvas completely with mod podge. Adhere the fabric orpaper to the canvas. If using paper, mod podge over the paper. Allow to dry completely. Dismantle Christmas pick. Using your hot glue gun, decorate along the top of the canvas with your Christmas pick elements. String the red ribbon across the canvas and attach at each end behind the canvas with a staple gun or hammer and nails. Repeat every 5 inches down the canvas. Clip Christmas cards to the ribbon.

Here's a handy video tutorial too!



Read more at http://www.allfreechristmascrafts.com/Christmas-Wall-Hangings/Christmas-Card-Brag-Board/ct/1#pbCh2FEvZTjK1rZr.99

I'll finally be posting Weekend Lit tomorrow. I've been posting the series Christmas in Ritual and Tradition periodically for about two years now and I decided I would compile it into one full piece, as it was intended, and post it on it's own page. Watch for that tomorrow!

Always in spirit....

Friday, July 26, 2013

Christmas in July: Friday Baking and Movies

I came across this recipe and the green of the cake made me think it was very Christmasy. Add some type of red sprinkles, or red and green, like these...


on top of the white icing and I think you would have a very festive holiday cake.


Key Lime Cake

1 box lemon cake mix (make sure you get a full size cake mix and not those they have reduced to 10.5 oz.)
1 pkg. (3oz.) lime gelatin (Jello)
3/4 cup orange juice
2 tsp. vanilla
5 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil

Glaze
1/2 cup key lime juice (fresh squeezed or bottled)
1/4 cup confectioners sugar

Cream Cheese Frosting
12 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
6 cups powdered sugar
*This is basically a recipe and a half of cream cheese frosting, but you need this much for the three layers.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix cake mix with lime gelatin and orange juice. Add vanilla, eggs. and oil. Mix until well blended, but do not over mix. 

Prepare three 9" cake pans by placing parchment or wax paper circles cut to fit in the bottoms. Spray with nonstick spray or butter and flour them. Divide the batter evenly. Place in oven for 17 to 20 minutes. Remove to cool. If you use a 9"x13" pan, bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Combine the 1/2 cup lime juice with the powdered sugar. While the cake layers are still warm, poke a few holes in them while still in the pans with a fork or toothpick and pour the lime juice glaze over each one. Allow them to cool in the pans. 

Prepare the cream cheese frosting by creaming the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add the vanilla and the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until it is light and fluffy.

Place a layer of the cake on a cake plate and frost the top, repeating with the other two layers. 

Frost the entire cake and if you want to garnish use some lime slices! Place in the refrigerator and keep chilled until ready to serve. This is a very moist cake and it gets even moister the next day!

--cake image and recipe from Sweet Tea and Cornbread

Christmas 2013 Lifetime Holiday Movies

The Twelve Trees of Christmas

Twelve Trees is about Cheri Jamison (Lindy Booth), a librarian who rallies the residents of her beloved Manhattan neighborhood to participate in a Christmas tree contest when the cherished local library is abruptly set for demolition. Cheri finds herself up against an ambitious developer Tony Shaughnessy (Robin Dunne) who has plans to demolish the library to redevelop the neighborhood, and build a brand new, bland structure. Cheri argues that libraries are more than just a building they are the cornerstones of neighborhood, creating a special place where the modern world is left behind so that books, art and music can be read and appreciated.

When she realizes that the developer is unmoved by her protests, Cheri targets Rosaleen Shaughnessy, the head of the foundation that owns the library building. The widow of the man who built the neighborhood in the 1950s, Rosaleen loves the building and the community but is under the sway of her grandson who is urging her to sell. Cheri comes up with the idea of a tree decorating competition to bring the neighborhood together to save the library and to convince Rosaleen not to let her grandson sell the library. However, Tony is on to Cheri’s plans, signs up for a tree and hires Cordelia (Melanie Brown), a famous designer, to decorate his tree so he can win the competition and his grandmother will still agree to sell the library.

CAST:
Lindy Booth
Robin Dunne
Melanie Brown
Casper Van Dien

Papa Noel

“Emotionally scarred by a failed marriage, KATHERINE has plunged into her successful career as a NYC marketing executive, but her workaholic ways are taking a toll on her 7 year old son, ZACK. Concerned over Zack’s increasing disaffection, Katherine decides they will spend Christmas in her home town in Louisiana’s bayou country, where her mother, LILLY, is soon match making with a vengeance. When CALEB, Katherine’s old admirer, tries to convince Katherine to marry him and move home, Katherine is torn between the bright lights of the big city and the quiet, gentler rhythms of her Southern roots. A ravaging storm seems to point the way back to Manhattan, until a Christmas miracle, orchestrated by the mysterious PAPA NOEL, convinces Katherine that her heart belongs back in the bayou where she was raised…”

CAST:
Hilarie Burton
Tyler Hilton
Markie Post
Randy Travis
Ed Asner
Brody Rose

Information obtained at http://itsawonderfulmovie.blogspot.com/  Be sure to visit their site for all the upcoming Christmas programming and the Christmas TV Schedule 2013...coming soon over there!

I hope you've enjoyed Friday Baking and Movies during Christmas in July. Stay tuned for Christmas season 2013 when it will back during the season long Sharing the Joy event!

Always in spirit....

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Christmas in July: All I Want for Christmas is You!

I saw this on YouTube and thought it was so cute! I love Jimmy Fallon.



Pardon the dust. I'm experimenting with a new header. I've already changed the layout. Hope you like it!

Always in spirit....

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Christmas in July: Weekend Crafting


This is a very easy craft and a good one if you have children. Enjoy!

I-Spy Ornament

Materials:
- ornament--clear plastic if you have small children (alternatively, I've seen this done in mason jars for a more difficult and time consuming game)
- Filler beads (or rice in mason jar - for mine I used plastic pearls and plastic metallic beads)
- items to find (you can get pretty creative - I used charms and other miniature items I had laying around in my crafting supplies for mine)
- Hot glue gun and glue

Directions:
Step 1: make a list of what items you are going to put in your ornament or jar before putting everything in it.
Step 2: Take the top metal part off ornament (or lid off jar) and add beads and items.
Step 3: glue metal piece (or lid on jar) on to ornament using hot glue. Be careful! The metal will be hot.
Step 4: give to child, stuff in stocking, play a quick game yourself.... it's up to you!

~from Cook Love Craft (if you want to see pics of the process, click over)

Always in spirit....

Friday, July 19, 2013

Christmas in July: Friday Baking and Movies

I apologize for the lack of posts this Christmas in July. My life has changed quite a bit since last year. Now pretty much a single mom due to my marriage ending and working A LOT (not complaining, mind you) as a Virtual Assistant. So, not as much time on my hands to devote to my "hobbies" and "labors of love." Anyway, I hope you enjoy today's recipe and some news about Christmas movies coming to The Hallmark Channel this Christmas season.

Image is just for a general idea of how it should look

Apple Cranberry Bread

2 eggs
3/4 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 salt
2 c. peeled and chopped tart apples
1 c. fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 c. chopped nuts

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar, and oil. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; add to egg mixture just until combined. Stir in the apples, cranberries, and nuts. Pour batter into a greased 8x4x2 inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack to cool.

-From my personal cookbook shelf--Holiday Cooking with Willowbrook

Christmas 2013 Hallmark Channel Original Movies

Christmas Share
Owen Harrison (JT Hodges) and his sister Ryan (Tricia Helfer) have bad luck in their romantic lives. Owen just found out his first and only love is now engaged and Ryan is too busy being a single mom; balancing parenthood with her career. Sean Tucker (Mark Lutz) is the owner of a successful advertising company, but cannot enjoy the same fortune in his love life, as his girlfriend asks for a break when he decides to ask her to marry him. His assistant Mia (Cristina Rosato) suggests that he sign up to a house swap website that will give him a chance to get away and regroup.

Sean finds Owen on the website and they decide to switch homes for the holidays; both needing a break from love and work, and that the magic of Christmas will find them both their true love.

Cast
Tricia Helfer ... Ryan Harrison
JT Hodges ... Owen Harrison
Mark Lutz ... Sean Tucker
Cristina Rosato ... Mia
Jessica Phillips ... Halo
Dani Kind ... Courtney
Christian Distefano ... Caleb
Brittany Gray ... Kimber
Scott Wickware ... Dennis
Dov Mickelson ... Chappie

Merry Mix Up
After travelling to her fiancĂ©'s house to meet his parents for Christmas, Alice (Alicia Witt) falls in love with his family, only to discover that she wound up in the wrong house admiring stories of someone else’s son. While Alice basks in holiday cheer with this family that she believes are her future in-laws, Alice meets Matt (Mark Wiebe), her fiancĂ©’s supposed brother. As she gets to know Matt better, Alice begins to question what she knows about fate, passion, and true love.

Cast
Alicia Witt
Mark Wiebe
Scott Gibson

Information obtained at http://itsawonderfulmovie.blogspot.com/  Be sure to visit their site for all the upcoming Christmas programming and the Christmas TV Schedule 2013...coming soon over there!

I will share some upcoming Lifetime Christmas movies next week.

Always in spirit...

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Christmas in July: Music...flash mob style

I really love the idea of Flash Mobs. I can't help it. This one is especially lovely because it incorporates the singing of Christmas music. Enjoy!

On November 25, 2011, the American Festival Chorus (http://www.americanfestivalchorus.org/ ) debuted a holiday Christmas music flash mob featuring a new original version of Merrily On High and bringing together 150+ choir singers, Irish Dancers, bell ringers and over 1000 onlookers. Please spread the Holiday joy and share! (YouTube)

Click HERE to watch the larger video on YouTube.



I've added a video in the footer of the blog with a 3+ hour medley of Christmas songs if you'd like to play it while you're browsing my site.

Always in spirit....

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Christmas in July: Weekend Crafting

I have been wanting to make one of these for a long time. Maybe this year I will finally get around to it.


Christmas Ornament Tree

Materials needed:
Styrofoam cone
Tinsel garland
Medium and small (plastic) Christmas balls
Glue gun and LOTS of glue
Ribbon bow

Method:

I wrapped the Styrofoam cone with Dollar Store tinsel garland and glued it down as I went. I have tried to spray paint the styrofoam before putting the ball on, but it doesn't work. The tinsel really hides any gaps and imperfections..definitely worth the $1. 

I then started to glue the balls onto the tinsel, starting with the medium sized ones at the bottom and then filled in the gaps with the smaller. The ornaments just seem to be hanging from tinsel but they stick.

Keep turning the tree around as you go or it will topple over.

Finish off the top with a ribbon bow (or come up with a topper idea of your own).

To see full images of the steps, visit the blog linked below.


If you've ever made one of these, share your experience. I'd love to know if it was easy or difficult. =O)

Always in spirit...

Friday, July 5, 2013

Christmas in July: Friday Baking and Movies

I realize that it's a summer so the furthest thing from people's minds is probably hot chocolate, but I cam across this recipe and it reminded me of recipes I read about in Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate so I thought I would share what I found. It's not really baking, but it is a dessert so...enjoy!


Mexican Hot Chocolate Pudding

1/2 cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/3 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 Squares (1 Ounce Each) Semisweet Chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 Tbsp Cornstarch
1/8 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Salt
2 cups Reduced Fat Chocolate Milk, divided
1/2 cup Reduced Fat Sour Cream
1-1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
Garnish:
Additional Sour Cream
Additional Cinnamon, for sprinkling

DIRECTIONS:
In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, cocoa powder, chopped chocolate, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt. Place on stove over medium heat and whisk in 1 cup of the chocolate milk. Cook and stir until chocolate melts.

Gradually stir in the remaining 1 cup of chocolate milk and the sour cream. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick and smooth and bubbles pop on the surface, about 8-9 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla.

Pour mixture into serving dishes and immediately place a piece of plastic wrap directly touching the surface of the pudding. Cool slightly, then refrigerate until cold, or overnight.

To serve, place a small dollop of sour cream on pudding and sprinkle with cinnamon.

~from betterrecipes.com

******************


Get ready for Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel next week! They are celebrating Christmas in July by airing Christmas movies July 8 - 14. To see a full schedule of what's going to be on, visit It's a Wonderful Movie and check out the schedule HERE.


Have you signed up for the Christmas Card Exchange? Deadline for sign-up is July 10. You can do that HERE. Hope you will!

Always in spirit...

Monday, July 1, 2013

Christmas in July Kick Off!


Today is the official start of Christmas in July! I'm a little late, as usual, but we have the whole month, right? I'm hoping to share some Christmas fun with you this year, but bear with me because I'm working a lot more this year than I was last. I'm planning on listening to Christmas music and watching some movies too. The Hallmark Channel will be airing Christmas movies from July 8 - 14. Yay!

Don't forget to contact me (link at top of right sidebar) if you would like to contribute a guest post. And don't forget about the Christmas Card Exchange. Deadline to sign up is Wednesday, July 10 by 11:59pm CST. Get all the info and sign up here.

Happy Christmas in July!

Always in spirit...