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When the holidays get close and the weather gets chilly, it seems like people either LOVE or HATE the holidays.  I’m one of those Lovers.  I can’t wait to get out all of the Christmas decorations I spent so much time carefully putting away last year ever-so-carefully.  I can’t wait to go through all of our ornaments, some sentimental and some that are just fillers until we’ve been married 25 years and are considering 2 Christmas trees because we have acquired so many ornaments.  Last year, it was the hand-painted race horse/Kentucky ornament I bought for especially for us because we were moving.  Of course, it was an eventful year last year so we also have the beautiful Lenox wedding cake ornament we received as a gift and I love.  Then there’s the special array of ornaments Marsha spent forever collecting for us.  It’s a tradition to give newlyweds this collection of ornaments to kick start their own collection and each ornament represents something special that blesses our marriage and our lives.  I can’t wait to get all of those our and look at them again!

And then there’s the cooking.  What better to do when it’s cold outside than lock yourself inside and make spicy and sweet treats for friends & family?  I just LOVE making fun stuff, sometimes I get carried away.  We’ve got to make muddy buddies, chocolate covered potato chips (believe it, they’re unreal), spicy chex mix, cookies galore (anything I see that inspires me to grab some sugar and make something!).  And Mark and I were SOO excited to see that Coffeemate had came out with their holiday flavors.  Last year, we stocked up and tried to enjoy the goodness as long as possible.  Nothing makes me happier than waking up to peppermint mocha creamer in my coffee, or hot chocolate or spiced apple cider.  This year, I’m going to try to make a lot of this stuff on my own, no packages…homemade.  I also found this recipe for peppermint marshmallows that I’m going to make this week.  We’ll see how that goes!!!  Sounds YUMMY.

I’m also super excited to make this sandwich Mark and I had in Disney world the day after Thanksgiving.  It’s simple, but so fantastic you find yourself wondering, “Why didn’t I think of that?”  It’s a bun with turkey, stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce…YUM. 

To me, there is nothing better than a Saturday with nothing to do, your most cuddly blanket, a furry four legged friend that is willing to nap whenever you want, a husband that is agreeable to watching a hokey or funny holiday movie, and HOT cocoa or tea.  It is the BEST part of the cold season.  Of course, the only thing that makes it more relaxing is the sight of falling snow.  *sigh*

I love being filled with the giving spirit of the holidays, too.  Unfortunately for my family, I usually prefer to give handmade gifts which I’ve realized don’t make the top of the list with some people.   Last year, instead of giving each other gifts for Christmas, Mark and I adopted 2 angel tree kiddos and had a blast shopping for kids we didn’t even know.  Something about a kid that requests a coat for Christmas makes me just want to skip out on all of the selfish things that make my Christmas list.  I mean, I did give in and buy Mark the movie 300 as a gift (which he LOVES and watches a lot).  Actually, I’ve seen Mark react with much more joy when I surprise him with a hearty hot dinner or baked goods than with a sweater I spent an hour trying to decide between blue and green.  And even though we bought it with gift cards,  Mark did make me wait until Christmas before I could open my KitchenAid Mixer (it was FUN).

So tonight we cuddle up with our little Annie we’re bringing to Atlanta for the first time and open all of our ornaments one by one and hang them in special places on our little chubby 3 ft. tree.  (Remind me to buy a bigger one on clearance this January.  We’ve totally run out of space on that little thing!)

Anyhow, we’re headed to Sam’s club right now.  I’m thinking with all the baking I’ll be doing in the next month, I might as well get a big 10 lb. bag of sugar, flour, chocolate chips, brown sugar….well, you get my drift.

Happy HOLIDAYS!!!

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