Monday, December 20, 2010


The Master Bedroom "Mama's Tree"
I have two trees in my home. A formal one in my family room (see Bitsy Bling Books) and my precious "Close To The Heart" tree in my master bedroom. This is a very special tree because it is decorated with all the ornaments my kids have made for me over the years. Also, on our honeymoon in Hawaii my husband and I purchased our first Christmas ornament. Since then, we've made it a tradition to buy an ornament from every place we visit on vacation. We've gathered a fantastic collection and each year that I put them up I think about all the good times our family has shared. They weren't perfect vacations, but that is what made them so special. I've got some great and side-splitting stories, most of them involving my mom. Yes, grandma went along with us on several adventures. As I hold the hockey stick ornament from Whistler, I think about the time grandma decapitated the kids snowman on skies.

This year's ornament was purchased just last month during a get-a-way in San Francisco. I bought a handmade fish from a small store in Chinatown. I didn't realize until after I shot the photo that behind it is the ornament we purchased from the Hotel Coronado when we vacationed in San Diego. So far the farthest I've journeyed to buy an ornament is Venice, Italy. Yep, I bought a tiny carnival mask in memory of the trip.

Artist styling of Gabe
As I mentioned, the memories on the tree aren't just from places our family has visited, but also include all the adorable handmade gifts my children have made for me over the years.  I cherish the school projects and we giggle every time we hang them.  My daughter inherited the artist gene, while my son is athletically gifted, he is more challenged in area of crafts.  We still love him, even though we laugh at his expensive!  This year was special because it was the first time I've decorated the house without him home.  He is a freshman student and football player at the University of Nevada.  I miss him terribly, but am very proud. He comes home Thursday and to celebrate I decided to post a special creation he made for me during first grade. I'm certain he had a little help.  OK, he had a lot of help!

What's On Our Table:  Christmas Favorite

Cheesy Potatoes
1- 2lb. pkg. southern style hashbrowns, thawed
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 chopped onion
1- stick of butter, melted
16 oz. sour cream
salt (optional)

Mix all ingredients together and spread in a 9x13 pan.

Bake 350 for approx. 1 hour or until potatoes reach desired tenderness

Homemade White Hot Chocolate  
Easy slow cooker recipe
Prep time: 5 mins.

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 6 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 (12 ounce) package white chocolate chips

  • Garnish:
  • Whipped cream
  • Candy canes


  1. Stir together the whipping cream, milk, vanilla, and white chocolate chips in a slow cooker.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until mixture is hot and chocolate chips are melted. Stir again before serving. Garnish with whipped cream and candy canes, as desired.

Servings 10
Big thanks to Melissa at Through The Looking Glass and Jen at Unedited for hosting the 
Be Jolly By Golly Blogfest!

To see my "Patriotic Christmas," and get another yummy recipe, visit my book blog:


  1. I really enjoyed this post! I usually have two trees as well. I would have the real tree in the family room, which was our family tree and my artificial, pre-lit 4 footer in the library with more artistic and fancy ornaments. This year, since we are moving during the holidays, we decided to just put up the 4 footer and decorate it as a family tree. This will be the first time I'm without a real tree in my life! Next year, we will have two trees again.

    I had no idea that you had a son named Gabe. That is my oldest son's name! He's 9 years old. Don't you just love their homemade ornaments? My boys have made some really cute ones!

    Thanks for sharing the recipes too!

  2. Love the tree and ornaments. Thanks for the recipes. They sound yummy.
    Have a wonderful holiday!

  3. You have some very special ornaments and a very beautiful tree.
    Yum. I think cheesy potatoes are the only thing more delicious than cauliflower cheese.
    Happy Christmas to you all.

  4. Mmmmm cheesy potatos!!!!! Have a great holiday :)

  5. What a gorgeous header you have! Ok, that has nothing to do with the blogfest, but I'm just sayin'. I love your decorations, especially your fish ornament. Very cool! And yup, those cheese-laced hashbrowns sound quiiiite delish.Merry Christmas!

  6. I love cheesy potatoes! We make a similar recipe. And I am so going to try that white chocolate hot cocoa!! IT sounds sooooo good!
    Merry Christmas!

  7. What a great idea - buying an ornament at each place you travel. I like that. Also, love your while chocolate hot cocoa recipe. Yum. Gonna give that a whirl. Def!!

  8. Great ornaments. What a tradition!

  9. Cheesy potatoes are so yummy! Merry Christmas!

  10. I love the idea of more than one Christmas tree. And the recipes sound awesome! Merry Christmas!

  11. I wish that I could get my Hot Chocolate to look like THAT. Maybe if I try harder this year! Have a Merry Christmas!!

  12. I love that fish ornament! And I could use some of that hot chocolate right now...

  13. White Hot chocolate?? That sounds absolutely divine! And those potatoes *drool*.

    I love that your tree is full of memories and I love that fish!

    Thank you so much for participating in our blog fest!

    Merry Christmas!

  14. White Hot Chocolate sounds delish!

    Happy Holidays.


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