'Twas the Friday before Christmas

Friday, December 19, 2014

Holy moly - I am in disbelief that Christmas is less than a week away! I'm not even tired of Christmas music yet! And I'm definitely not done with my shopping. Looks like it's going to be a mad dash to the finish line this weekend along with the rest of America!

But truly, there are so many wonderful things about Christmastime. I'm trying to soak it up over the next few days and enjoy the sights, smells, sounds and love all around. Awwwwwwwww.

ONE. I hosted a cookie swap a few nights ago for some Junior League gals. It was so fun! The best part about going to a cookie swap is that  you only have to make one batch of cookies and end up with dozens of different kinds. Love it!

TWO. I just LOVE opening the mailbox every day to see beautiful faces of friends and family smiling back at me! I've got all the cards on display above our kitchen window, and I'll probably leave them up through the end of January to keep Christmas going just a little longer.

THREE. My new Erin Condren Life Planner has arrived!! This is my fourth planner from EC, and there's a reason I keep going back. The organizer in me loves the functionality; the creative in me loves the colors. I'm hooked! Can't wait to fill it in and get prepared for the fabulous year that 2015 is going to be!

FOUR. Holiday baking! Aside from the cookie swap, I haven't done as much baking by now that I've usually done. But I did whip up a batch of these Peppermint Melt-Away Cookies for our neighbors this week. I made them last year on a whim and my neighbor raved about them - so if it ain't broke, why fix it? Here's the easy-peasy recipe:

Peppermint Melt-Away Cookies
1 8-oz package of cream cheese
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup peppermints or candy canes, finely crushed (tip: put them in a big plastic bag, wrap it in a dishtowel, and beat the daylights out of it with a hammer on your driveway)
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 box Duncan Hines Classic White Cake Mix, divided
1 cup white chocolate chips/morsels

Preheat oven to 350. Place parchment paper on 2 large cookie sheets. Let cream cheese and butter come to room temperature. Mix with electric or stand mixer until barely blended. 
Add egg, vanilla, and one-half of cake mix. Mix for 1-2 minutes or until thoroughly blended. Stir in remaining half of cake mix, morsels, and 1/2 cup of mints until blended. 
Place remaining mints in a shallow bowl. Shape dough (which will be soft and sticky!) into 1.5 inch balls and roll tops in the mints. Place on cookie sheets mint side up, 2 inches apart. Bake 11-13 minutes or until golden and center is barely set. Let stand 3-4 minutes then cool on wire rack. Makes 2-3 dozen cookies. 

FIVE. Alex and I have been so blessed by the flowers, notes, texts and prayers from our loved ones over the last 10 days. It has been a rough journey: hard to believe the journey started only one month ago and it's over, for now. {Read about our loss here} I'm taking each day one at a time and know that great things will happen. We have so much to be thankful for and so much to look forward to! The best is yet to be! 

Have a lovely weekend, everyone! My wish for you:
May you find that perfect last-minute gift you've been searching for;
may you enjoy extra Christmas cookies without worrying about calories;
may that quintessential Christmas song come on the radio at just the right time; 
may you escape your family for a breath of fresh air when it's needed most;
may you enjoy the magic of the season through the eyes of a child; 
may you remember the reason for the season: Jesus is born!


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