Quick and Easy Low Carb Appetizer

It’s not too late! This takes only a few minutes prep time and a bit of “resting” time. Yes, you really could mix this up before your New Year’s Eve celebration TONIGHT!

DSC00002PECAN, OLIVE, BACON CHEESE BITES

Ingredients:

2-8 oz cream cheese (softened)

1/2 cup chopped green olives (pimento stuffed)

1/2 cup Kalamata olives (chopped)

1 or 2 green onions (chopped)

8 slices bacon (fried crisp, drained, chopped)

1 cup chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS:

Mix all ingredients in large mixing bowl. I use a fork and my fingers rather than a mixer. Shape into a large ball and refrigerate. This can be made a day or two in advance. When ready to serve, scoop out a teaspoon sized heap and roll it into a ball. Continue until all mixture has been used. Insert a toothpick into each one for easy handling.

I don’t have an exact carb count on this, but all the ingredients are extremely low in carbohydrates. Sometimes, I toast whole pecans and place one half on each side of a ball…kind of sandwich style. For those not watching carbs, I add a ring of snack crackers around the plate. Your guests have options. 🙂

I have great memories of New Year’s Eve celebrations when our kids were growing up. We would have several families with kids over to eat and play games. Now, we traditionally get together with our best friends for a quiet evening of cards, snacks, and welcoming in a New Year. This year we are going to their house, and the food…well, I can guarantee there will be enough for a crowd. I’m promised there will be several low carb options, so no excuses for me! I hope you and your family have a fun celebration planned, and that you have a very blessed 2014!

Christmas on Redbud Ridge 2013

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The stockings are hung. Decorating is done.

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Gifts are wrapped. Lights are on.

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Tables are set.

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Someday I hope to have a table that will accommodate 12 people so we can all eat and laugh together. Until then, we make the best of it.

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The hot chocolate station is ready for later. The candles are lit.

DSC00222The Christmas Story is ready. We are ready for the two day Christmas celebration to begin. This will be our first Christmas with the new family members Kris added this year, and we are very excited that we can all celebrate together. Schedules are hectic and time together is precious.

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Such beauty at the young adult table. And the wisdom of the other adult table. 🙂

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unwrapping gifts is hard work!

What a fun night. Now we are ready for the Sunday celebration with the Huffman family.

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Our youngest family members…for now. Congratulations to Matt, Terri, and Owen. There will be a new addition next year. Owen and Olivia had fun with the Pinterest inspired photo backdrop, and Jackson loved the props!

DSC00012And one of my favorite red headed beauties…Miss Kylee.

 

 

 

 

 

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Our White Elephant/homemade gift exchange is always fun.

 

And all were good sports as we played Holiday Family Feud.

 

 

 

 

WWe are so blessed to have all our family together over the past two days. No, it is not Christmas Day, but we have learned to celebrate Jesus and family everyday we can. Merry Christmas to all!

 

 

Pinspiration

Winter weather advisory + sleet = a pot of chili simmering. And projects.

My morning jaunt through Pinterest led me to a virtual holiday home tour here:

Jennifer Rizzo’s Holiday Housewalk 2013!

I tried. I really did, but after 30 minutes, I determined it would take me hours to find the exact spot for the inspirations for today’s projects, so just go touring like I did. Each and every house has its own flavor, and if you can’t be inspired…well, Bah Humbug!

The first attempt came from this comfy old sweater.

DSC00171Saint has loved this sweater for years, but the cuffs on the sleeves have frayed. Plus, I cut a big hunk out of it to make the sweater pumpkin last month. 🙂

I cut one of the sleeves off to wrap around this candle holder. I intended to use the frayed cuff at the top, but it wouldn’t fit. The tutorial suggested using the ragged edge, anyway, so this worked.

DSC00173A strip of burlap secured with a piece of jute twine tied in a bow with greenery and berries tucked in complete the coziness.

DSC00178This will feel right at home in a guest bathroom.

At another site on the tour, I saw a cute old toy truck carrying home a bottle brush Christmas tree. I don’t have any bottle brush trees, but I plan on adding some at end of the season sales, this year. In the mean time, I traipsed through the sleet and cold to one of the many little cedar trees we have here on Redbud Ridge and clipped a few sprigs.

DSC00179Finally, while touring, I found just what I had been looking for to complete one of my new family members’ stocking. The hostess referred back to the source of the vintage Paris print, and I found just what I wanted here:

thegraphicsfairy.com

I have used some of The Graphics Fairy’s free printables before. This is a great site for teachers who may be looking for art to enhance a project or center activity. I printed out the Eiffel Tower, mounted it on some brown bag paper, glittered it up a bit, and added some black ribbon so that I can pin the tag to the stocking. I think it gave it just the look I wanted for this lovely lady’s stocking.

DSC00176All that before noon! And I didn’t hit all the houses on the tour, so I may have to re visit this afternoon. The chili was good, the fire even better. What did you do on your wintry day?

Step by Step DIY for your Christmas Mantel

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I love a lush, gaudy full Christmas mantel, but it isn’t always an easy thing to achieve. A few years ago, I came across a tip in a magazine that completely removed all the stress of holiday decorating streamlined the mantel project. It started with a board, measured and cut to fit the mantel.

DSC00139Saint measured and cut out the space for the electrical outlet that allows us to plug in lamps and Christmas lights without a cord hanging down. Then he hammered small tacks in a triangular pattern all across the board. There is no need to measure or fret about where to put these as they are completely covered and only serve to anchor the wire that he threaded around and between tacks.

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Now it is time to add all the greenery. I like to use several small pieces rather than one long one because you can add texture by using different greenery, and you can alter the thickness as needed.

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Sometimes I wire the greenery on; other times I simply wind a strand of the greenery around the wire. This is nice and secure with nothing taped or tacked to the wood on our mantel.

I had not planned to use this antique frame this year, but it just jumped up there and would not let me take it down.

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Next, I add bits and pieces along with lights.

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I could stop here and hang stockings, but this year I have ten stockings to hang, and they will not fit here or on the basement fireplace. We do love stockings in our family! Maybe I’ll show you that update later. I’m still working on it, now. Anyway, I like the rusty jingle bells hanging down, and on the way to the Mizzou game yesterday, I scored these perfect over sized ornaments (at Home Goods) to accompany them.

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These ornaments are rather heavy, but they came with ribbon hangers which loop perfectly over the heads of the tacks in the anchor board and attach with no extra nails, tape, or danger of becoming detached from the greenery.

There you have it. It’s really all about the anchor board that you never ever see on the finished project.

DSC00167Cozy, isn’t it?