Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Memories & More

I'm so excited. 

School is finally over and today we head up to San Francisco with the family for some holiday fun.

Pears are good decor, no?

The past 2 weeks have been non-stop baking, shopping, Christmas card-writing, get-togethers and helping study for finals.

 I loved it, but there was literally no time to blog and so much to chat about!

I've bedazzled the house as much as I can. I prefer less glitter more greens, but I did have my moments. 

Loved our wreath from my son's Boy Scout Troop.

Got the tree home. Wonderful having big boys who can help out.

 Nutcrackers are present and accounted for.

The boys decorated the tree and it's a bit, shall we say, slapdash?

I don't have the heart to change it.

I've become a fan of good enough. Makes life a lot simpler.

That so wasn't the mom I was 10 years ago. Cards and trees had to be just so.

The best part of getting older is you get wiser!

The preschool ornaments are out and that's what matters. :)

I feel so blessed I cannot complain about any of the holiday busyness.

 Added a few bits and bobs here and there…


Got my wrapping area all set a few weeks back.. Love having a space just for that.

The kids and I made these peppermint stars and wrapped them with some ivy and twine for gifts.

I discovered a new cookie recipe that was a hit and super easy too.

White Christmas Dream Drops won Sunsets best cookie in 2011. I see why. Recipe here.

They are like baby pavlovas…So addicting!

Please don't judge my stained cookie sheets. I'm lazy and grateful for parchment…

My grandmother would never tolerate the look of them…I know they need elbow grease.

Looking through my recipe binder….

Is this a metaphor for my life and ADD or what? I've been collecting recipes for 17 years and this is what I have. I couldn't find the right recipe to save my life.

I did have a wonderful time looking through it.

 Then I opened my mom's Betty Crocker Cookie book and jumped down that rabbit hole. What a trip. I loved this book as a kid and spent hours dreaming of making the wonderful creations.

Each page and it's drawings are imprinted on my brain. Seriously.

I see now why my mom said no to some of the cookies I wanted to make. 

These bells look like a ton of work..

We did make chocolate chip cookies so many times I never need a recipe.

We also made Ethel's sugar cookies. I always wanted to make Mary's instead. 

I liked the name Mary a lot better than Ethel.  

Mary's were made with confectioner's sugar, which I have never tried.

 Ethel's are  just so good though.

Anyway, I started having holiday flashbacks..Christmas songs will do that to me.

I love so many, my personal playlist has 90, but there are tons of great new songs too.

One of the clearest Christmas memories I have must have been around 1973. My grandmother came by during Christmas break and brought us a record player for my brother and I.

 It was one of those housed in a suitcase like box with the speakers built in.  She also brought us two new Christmas albums. 

When I think of it now, that was a fun Christmas thing for her to do. 

I received this one:

That's why I know every word on this. Wonderful collection of songs too.

 Even if you are not an Elvis fan, you will love his renditions on here.

My brother Peter got this:

He ran upset to his room. I get why. 

Sorry, Elvis always trumps Perry in the cool department…

And what can I say? I was a girl and older, of course Elvis should have gone to me!

I cannot help loving many of Elvis's versions like his White Christmas and Why Can't Every Day Be Like Christmas? That one really gets to me.

Kinda  nerdy ha?

Today, my favorites are John Lennon's Happy Christmas and Sinatra's Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Elton John's Step Into Christmas, Sting's Gabriel's Message, and The Carpenter's There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays.

My kids love the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack with the Vince Guaraldi Trio. All these just get better over time.. Oh also like the Celtic Christmas station on Pandora. 

 I try not to listen until 2 weeks before. Then I make everyone sick by playing my favorites and any Christmas station non-stop.

So if you are still reading…:D, what traditions and songs are you looking forward to?

Something about the holidays makes so many memories flood back to me. 

Love that. 

Wishing you a wonderful holiday and or break wherever you are in the world!


How fabulous is this dress? 

Dress photo via Pinterest.  All other photos Northern Cal Style.

Follow my board Holiday for some fun inspiration!


  1. Kim, I thought that was MY Betty Crocker Cookie cookbook!!!! I have the same writing in mine, the same page!!!! Too funny. That's my all time favorite cookie book........every Holiday it's always the one I turn to for traditional family favorites. Have a wonderful Christmas with your sweet family.

    1. Marilyn, Isn't it the best book? I saw they reissued a version of it last Christmas and it looks exactly the same. I was tempted to get it, but it wouldn't have been as mangled as mine and I love that..

      Marilyn, I still have a Christmas book I love from you. It is From My Home to Yours. Remember that? Love it and you dated it in 1994! You always inspired me how you entertained and decorated. I wanted to be just like you.

      Wishing you and your beautiful family a lovely Christmas together!
      Love xx

  2. You have some cute decorations and your delicious stars look so festive wrapped with ivy and twine - that's such a good idea! I enjoyed reading about your Christmas flashbacks. I was remembering past Christmases as I decorated the house with favourite items. I hope to find time to post a few photos soon too. That tree dress is just amazing. People are so creative at this time of year!

    1. Miss b, I can't wait to pop over and see how you are decorating in the U.K. I bet it's charming there now. Thanks so much. Have a happy Christmas! xx

  3. Baking with kids is always fun? It makes great memories, love that Xmas ornament with the pic of the boys...I realise I am seriously lacking in the Xmas tree ornament department! Bet you will have a great Xmas with all that prep xx

    1. Thanks Naomi! So far, we are on track, but one boy has taken ill and the other twisted his ankle. To make matters worse our Guinea Pig got his head caught in his feeder today, and had to be cut out! We were in San Francisco, but came home early! Oh well. xx

  4. I recently found your blog via The Rich Life (on a budget) and so far I like reading all your stories and especially these flashbacks. I was born and grew up in Oakland and have some great Christmas flashbacks from the 70's. I also received a record player one Christmas along with David Cassidy's single, I Think I Love You. Played that thing over and over until everyone hated that song!!! I also love your tree decorations and fyi: my mom also said no to certain holiday desserts that were too much work. Happy holidays...

    1. Lamar,
      Your note made my day. Seriously. Love to hear from readers who are the same generation and can relate! Love that you got a record player as well. So funny I also had that Partridge family song, album and worse yet, David Cassidy colorform, if anyone remembers those! I still have a crush on him!

      Sounds like our moms were the same. So glad you found my blog through Adrienne. Thanks for the note and wishing you a very happy Christmas!

  5. Kim, so worth the wait! Though my environment is chaos still, your photos are keeping me in the spirit of Christmas.


    1. Linda Happy Christmas!! Going to try one of your holiday cocktails from your blog tonight! xx

  6. I love that dress. Too cute.

    Merry Christmas to your beautiful family.

    1. Leigh isn't it cool? Wishing you a Merry Christmas with those cuties too! xo

  7. Ethel's Sugar Cookies:) ..we make them every year. What fun recipes!! Your home looks so festive and I'm loving all the glam:) I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year ahead.

    (not sure why I'm not getting updates from you posts so I'm re-adding you to my blogroll)

    1. Leslie are they not the best? I could use no other recipe!! Thanks for including me on the blogroll. I'm honored. xxoo

  8. Merry Christmas Kim! I am with your boys, I do love a tree that is not perfect! I live in a very small place and my friends make fun of my "Charlie Brown" trees as I prefer the natural look of branches sticking out all over and not shaped like a cone. I seem to have a talent for picking out the worst trees, but as my husband says, "Charlie Brown trees need a home too". Happy Holidays everyone!


    1. Kelley I have to have a natural tree too! No fakes here. Of course you would get the Charlie Brown. That is the best! Hope you had a great Christmas! xx Kim

  9. White Christmas Dream Drops indeed! You just stop it right there, how am I going to get my beach body beautiful if you introduce me to delicious soft centered chewy meringue cookies dipped in chocolate!....OK I'll grab my mixing bowl!
    We had the Christmas soundtrack going for the past couple of weeks to keep the spirit alive in the workshop. Fairytale of New York seems to be the favourite individual track with Buble, Elvis and The Andrews Sisters as Album favourites.
    Love the tree and the decorations, I think the boys did a great job!
    Have a very Merry Christmas and here's to new adventures in 2014.
    Paul :)

    1. Paul lol! I was at the beach today and am seriously worried for my sugar intake! I'm going to be like those soft chewy centers (or already am!) Love those Xmas tunes too. Thanks for you kind words dear Paul! Happy New Year! xo

  10. Merry Christmas Kim to you and your family. Enjoy the Holidays!

    1. Thanks so much Pam. Hope you have a lovely Canadian Christmas. xx

  11. Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year too!

  12. I so enjoyed reading about your memories of Christmas past. I LOVED reading my Mom + Grandmother's cookbooks as well...and dreamed of the days that I could make my own creations in my own kitchen! My earliest memories are listening to Evie's "Come on Ring Those Bells," and rolling crescent shaped cookies in powdered sugar. I loved our church's Christmas program as well because all the children left with a little box of Christmas goodies. Darling photos of your boys in the ornaments! Cheers to 2014!

    1. Amy what a nice memory, making those crescent cookies and listening to music. Love that. I agree that the cookbooks of moms and grandmother's are the best. Seriously the heirlooms of the future as I so many get their recipes online now and even fewer cook.
      Thanks so much for your note! Happy New Year!

  13. Finally catching up on my blog reading! Your attention to detail is amazing!