At first glance this post looks like it’s about baking cookies; and it sort of is. But as you read you will discovered that it’s more about spending time with loved ones. That being said, these two recipes kick ass!!
In this post I will share our grandmother DesRoches’ super simple and yummy Scotch Cookie recipe. Full disclosure, there is no Scotch in them; nor was she Scottish, lol.
We also always make peanut butter balls, they aren’t always pretty, but they are always super delish! I guarantee that you will love our balls. Scroll all the way down for both recipes.
This family cookie baking tradition started a few years ago. I invited all the ladies on my moms side of the family over on a Sunday afternoon to bake Christmas cookies; because baking cookies alone is depressing, so the more the merrier!
Now lots of people bake cookies during the holiday, which is awesome, but we had to take it to the next level. Because that’s what we do…ok, that’s what I do, but they always follow me willingly!
How do you take it to the next level? Matching aprons, that’s how. I had custom aprons made for all of us; and you can too! I think this was the key to making this an annual event; because now that we have aprons, like it or not, we are kinda committed.
Having matching aprons or hats will make you feel like team; I promise, you will have more fun if you match!
Our sassy aprons have our names on them, but you could also just do matching aprons. Or get blank ones at a craft store and bedazzle them. You have lots of apron options. I am used to ordering in bulk because of my job, but I also do it for my personal parties. I always use Kadopromo, if you are buying in bulk, go with a company who does this for a living, the prices are better!! They often have a minimum number of items you need to order in order to get the best price. Here is who I use, but the internet is full of suppliers, there is no excuse not to match! lol: https://kadopromo.net/
We must have been really good this year because Santa gave us an early Christmas gift, that will help us mix it up!! See below.
What you could do, is have a group fund, where everyone gives $20 and the head elf buys the group gift; either an apron or spatula? We have had our aprons for years now, we just order more as our family expands. It’s a one time expense, so it isn’t so bad at all.
For our cookie baking, each ma tante and cousine (aunts & cousin) bring an ingredient; it’s not fair to expect the hostess to provide all the ingredients. And don’t forget your empty container to bring some back home.
We take lots of pictures, it’s fun to look back over the years. Because we are such a big family, some of us are scattered all over the place; it’s nice to have memories of those who can’t be with us this year.
Mémère DesRoches’ Scotch Cookies
2bls of Butter
1 cup of Brown Sugar
4 cups of Flour. Yup only 3 ingredients!!
Well 5 if you add the frosting and cherry for the tops.
Combine brown sugar and butter, mix till smooth and creamy.
Once the mixture is creamy, make into small balls, a little bigger than a quarter. Take a fork and gently press them down (don’t smush, just lightly press so the fork leaves horizontal marks).
Bake 350F for 18 minutes
Add pre-made frosting, I like cream cheese, but you can do vanila.
Cut up bottled red cherries and place on top
Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls
1/2 cup of butter
2 cups peanut butter (creamy)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound powdered sugar
3 cups or rice krispies
2 ounces of paraffin wax
1 package of semi-sweet chocolate chips
Melt butter and while it’s hot stir in the peanut butter
Mix well and add vanilla, powdered sugar and rice krispies
Melt chocolate chips and paraffin wax
Dip balls into melted chocolate
Cool on wax paper or parchment paper
I am thankful to you for reading and I am also so thankful for my family! There is something about belonging to a tribe that tightens around you in hard times and makes you laugh, but also let’s you cry if you need to! They say you can’t pick your family; if I could, I wouldn’t swap a single one!!!
So what is your ultimate Christmas cookie?
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you from me and the fam!!!
If you haven’t noticed yet I’m kind of into the color pink at the moment; it’s my second fav color, after black. If you think Christmas needs to be all about green and red, think again. Here are a few ways to go rogue and introduce another color to the holidays. I chose pink, but you can chose any color you like!!
You can go all the way or just some of the way, lol. Christmas trees are now available in lots of different colors. Here’s a small pink tree; I would put it in my bedroom…just because.
If an all pink three is a bit too much pinkyness; you could just do pink balls or a pink ribbon to your traditional green tree.
The tree above isn’t my tree…yet! But it will be, maybe next year? I am going to load up on pink balls after Christmas when everything is on sale.
I also love this wreath, again super simple; really love, love, love the pink and green!
BTW, Gifts Galore on Main St in Moncton, is the best pink store in town…ok, it may be the only pink store? Either way, you should check them out.
I couldn’t resist taking a picture in front of Gift Galore’s pink door!!
Wrap It Up…in Pink!
I always try to pick a color or theme for my gift wrapping. Last year, everything had cute moose on them. This year I am using a touch of pink.
Pink can be cheesy, which isn’t necessarily bad, lol; but I think it can also be sophisticated. Here is my attempt at a bit of sophistication, lol.
For my wrapping paper, I went with brown craft paper from the Dollar Store. Instead of a store bought bows, I added some green Holley leaves and pink sparkly berries. I think these look cuter in person than in the pic.
I am also using hot pink tissue paper in my gift boxes and bags.
This is my way of keeping things fresh. I tend to change my Christmas color pallet every few years; but I always find a special place for my sentimental family favorites. Thanks for reading!! I hope your getting to enjoy the hustle and bustle of this time of year!!
I would like to know if you are you more of a Christmas traditionalist or do you like none-traditional colors?
Pink not your thing? What are your Christmas colors??
Muah! Merry Christmas!!! And Happy Holidays to all!
On an early…really early morning in October, my friend Sean and I ventured into the Las Vegas desert to take a few Christmas photos. Sean is a great landscape photographer and wanted to practice portraits. I needed a few shots for my upcoming Christmas card, so off we went. Here are some of the pics.
It’s always best to take pictures at dawn, dusk or when it’s overcast. Sean and I are both from the East Coast of Canada; we didn’t realize how quickly the sun rises in Vegas. Because Las Vegas is in a valley surrounded by mountains, the sun doesn’t slowly rise, it just pops up.
Sean wanted to try a few shots with the sunlight behind me. I clicked away with my iPhone while he set up.
The sun peaking out from behind me, makes me look like I am glowing…like an angel! lol. That’s not what he was looking for though.
This is the shot he was looking for. It looks like it was taken at sunset, but it was taken just a few minutes after the previous pictures above. I think it looks really cool! My head is blocking the sun, making the rest look dark. Well done Sean…well done, lol.
This is a classic Sean landscape shot. Different photographers have different ways of working. I am used to moving and the photographer taking shot after shot in quick succession. For most of these, I needed to stand still for longer periods of time…without talking, lol.
My prop for the day was a large Christmas wreath. I still think it’s odd that Christmas happens in places without snow…that seems very unnatural to me.
These shots in front of the Seven Magic Mountain sculptures were the first shots we took, before the sun popped up, hence no squinting and shadows. These sculptures are 15 minutes off the strip. There were two other photographers taking pictures while we were there. It’s a popular spot!
I have discovered that it’s hard to maintain a natural smile when standing still.
The picture below is of a Joshua trees; there are lots in and around Las Vegas.
Here is Sean and his big lens! He now thinks he needs a new camera to go with his big zoom lens. I took all of these with my iPhone; not to brag, but I am a fairly good photographer as well, lol.
And that’s a wrap!! Thanks Sean!
I will use some of these pictures for future blog stuff. Just wanted to share.
A friend invited me to a local Christmas Market just 40 minutes outside of Moncton, New Brunswick. Having been to all the fancy Christmas Markets in Germany and Austria, her expectations were high for her little hometown market of Bouctouche, NB.
We were both pleasantly surprised! Unlike craft shows where a lot of the vendors sell similar things. This Country Christmas Market had a wide variety of vendors and absolutely beautiful treasures.
I encourage anyone in the Moncton area who is looking for something to do tomorrow, Sunday Dec 2, to make the trip out to Bouctouche; it’s well worth it!
Christmas Markets are popping up in big and small cities this time of year; please make sure to take advantage. It’s a great way to get into the holiday spirit and to support local artists!! It’s a win/win.
Here are a few of the great things we found!
Nick The Dutch Baker had amazing treats!!
My fav items were these homemade wooden cutting boards, see below. I have seen them go for a few hundred dollars each in bigger cities; the large one below was $60!!! Bummed that in my excitement, I didn’t catch the name of this vendor…sorry.
My favorite vendor was Sarriette Boutique. I could have bought every single item they had for sale; and their displays and packaging were on point!! (Side note, Sarriette is French for Summer Savory, which is a spice found in Atlantic Canada).
No Canadian Market would be complete without some maple syrup products; now I may be biased, but I am fairly certain that the East Coast of Canada makes the best!!
Did you know that Maple Syrup is referred to as Liquid gold! And did you know that Canada has an emergency reserve of Maple Syrup?? It’s true!
I was surprised to discover that a lot of my West Coast friends have never heard of Maple Cream or Butter. I am bringing some back to Vegas with me so I can blow their minds! lol
I’ve seen lots of beach glass art, some are cheesy, but Sea Glass Concepts had some super cute art! Check them out online!
From cookies to cranberries, this small Christmas Market had it all!!
I had a great time at the Bouctouche Christmas Market; what a fun day! The only thing missing, as per my friend, was spiced wine! We will make that suggestion for next year.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!! Oh and be nice! Santa doesn’t visit assholes! lol
This post is a love letter to my snowy hometown of Moncton, NB. It was originally posted in November, but re-posting in honor of the big snowstorm that just hit.
Monctonians have long had a love hate relationship with snow and winter in general. We complain about how much snow we get, but then brag about how much snow we have gotten. And if Fredericton gets 25cm of snow, we are quick to pipe up that we got 35! Take that Fredericton!!!
It’s sort of like wanting to break up with your boyfriend, but then wanting him back if someone else shows interest in him. It’s twisted, yes we know, but that’s just how it is. We wear our snow storms like a badges of honor.
Most Monctonians live for those 8 weeks in the summer where the weather is absolutely perfect! But there is something to be said about living in a real live freaking snow globe!
Maybe I just appreciate it more now that I live in the desert? Last December I did my Christmas shopping in flip flops; that just felt wrong!
Some of you may be feeling a bit of hostility towards me right about now; knowing that I am back in sunny Las Vegas and will be missing January, February, March and April…oh and May…lol.
But you have to admit that there is something pretty magical about the first few big snowfalls of the winter…right??
Are we missing something uniquely Monctonian?
Each great city has it’s own distinctive building or tower. Paris has the Eiffel, Toronto has the CN Tower, the big Apple has the Empire State Building; well Moncton has the Bell Alliant Tower. I think we take it for granted because it’s …well it’s just there; we see it every day without giving it much thought. And who are we kidding, our skyline is pretty sparse and our tower isn’t super fancy. But I think we need to embrace it as a symbol of our city. And come on, you have to admit that it looks extra special surrounded by a fresh coat of snow. So look up next time you are in the downtown area and take it in.
See how pretty it looks with all this new snow!! It really is picturesque.
Moncton Comfort Food.
Do you know what else is awesome about Moncton in the winter? Lobster!! Lobster in the winter? Yes!!
Do you think people in Toronto or Paris eat lobster on a random Wednesday in November, for no particular reason? No, no they don’t. But we do (if you don’t, you really should). We don’t need a birthday or a special occasion; we eat it because we can. And it’s only $15 per pound this time of year. Ok some Maritimers reading this, like my dad, are thinking, wow that’s a bit pricey! But trust me, it’s not. It’s basically the price of a pizza.
In addition to lobster, when I come back home to Moncton, I try to make it to Pizza Delight for garlic fingers, Greco’s for a donair and Deluxe for a fish and chip. Yes there are lots of finer dining places, but I seem to crave these Moncton staples the most.
Let it Snow!
Yes winter in Moncton is long…really, really long, but that’s just all the more reason to get out there and enjoy it!!
It’s easy to take for granted that we can go snowshoeing or skating in our local parks and trails…heck, a lot of Monctonians can skate and snowshoe in their own backyards. Lol
So let’s enjoy this pre-Christmas, now post Christmas snow, in our quirky little city where people are polite and friendly; unless you are a snow plow driver pushing snow into a freshly shoveled driveway!
There will be enough time after Christmas, like now, to complain about the cold and snow when you are looking for parking at the Avenir Center; or meeting friends at Gusto’s, St James Gate or the Pump House. When the pretty snow is all dirty and frozen solid. Yes, there will be lots of time to complain then. Full disclosure, I won’t be here. I will be back in sunny Las Vegas listening to the locals complain about how “cold” it is. Please know that on behalf of all Monctonians; I will be silently judging them…pfff, they have no idea what cold is! But I do, we do, because I/we are, and will always be Monctonians.
Please note that no disrespect was intended towards Fredericton, just a bit of NB teasing.
Sorry if you were offended by the word bitch…oh wait, not sorry. Lol
Oh and feel free to give me a hard time when I start posting hiking or kayaking pictures on social media of all the outdoor things I am doing in February; while your tears are freezing on your cheeks because it’s day 7 into the -30 something cold snap that will inevitably falls upon, not only Moncton, but all of New Brunswick. I will deserve your snarky comments, lol.
Until then, you can find me outside snowshoeing with friends or drinking hot chocolate at Clémentine or Café Archibald. Because I really love this little city, it’s people and this early pre-Christmas snow!!
I will be back in Moncton in February, please save some snow for me! Sorry, I am not being very nice, lol.
Here are a few helpful hints that may take a bit of stress out of your Christmas shopping.
I believe everyone is born with a talent or super power. Some are great singers, others are great at math; I am a shopping super hero!! This super power has been passed down from my mom; and I am willing to share some of my secrets with you in this post…you’re welcome! Lol
Hostess Gifts (all under $20)
Some may think that host/hostess gifts are old fashioned, but I think that you should never, ever show up to a party without a gift, like ever!!!
The easy go to hostess gift is a bottle of wine; which is perfectly acceptable. But here are a few other ideas.
1. Festive Serving Trays
This is my personal go to hostess gift. You can get pretty serving dishes anywhere; Target, Homesense, Walmart, Super Store….. litteraly everywhere. And this is an item that your host or hostess can re-use at their next party and for holidays to come.
Super hero hint: Buy in bulk, if you wait until the day of the party to pick up your hostess gift, you will feel stressed. Example: if you like the idea of these serving trays, buy 5. They won’t go bad, lol. And while you’re at it, buy 5 gift bags at the same time. That way, the night of your party, you can grab and go!!
2. Booze! (Not wine)
These ideas are great host & hostess gifts; and you will get extra points for originality!!
How freaking cute are these!!! If you know your host or hostess like beer, this gift will be a hit! This is also a great example of how packaging can elevate your gift.
Now I don’t have kids, but this could be an acceptable craft for them right??? “Tommy and Sally, come help mommy make reindeer for uncle Bill’s ugly sweater party.”
This coke and mix idea is brilliant! I promise if you show up to a party with this gift you will get invited again and again!!
Now if you live in the US, this gift idea is a bit more affordable; it’s a bit pricier in Canada because of the higher cost of alcohol. Fun fact, in Canada, we call these little bottles mickey’s.
Also the value of the gift should be guided by the type of party you are attending. If your hosts are cooking you a 7 course meal, spring for a pricier gift.
3. Christmas Ornament
This is a super easy idea, again when shopping don’t just buy one; use my superhero hint and buy 4 or 5 and have that be your go to hostess gift for the season. No one will judge you for giving the same gift at multiple parties; no one will even know.
Go for a theme, I love me a theme!! These above are nautical, but you could buy a bunch of snow people or Santa’s. Get a few and get nice bags and tissue paper and bam!! All your parties are covered.
What I love about this idea is that, you are adding a little piece of you to their future Christmases. Each time they decorate their three, they will think of you!! Unless they don’t really like you, lol. If that is the case, it will just be a cute snow person (trying really hard to be gender neutral…but it’s hard!! Lol)
Super hero hint: After Christmas, buy a bunch of ornaments on sale for next year. Just don’t forget where you put them, speaking from experience.
Super duper easy!!!
These can be paper or fabric, they can be Christmas themed or for every day use; it’s all good!
If going for fabric, I would stay with a neutral pallet. If going for a paper cocktail napkin, go for fun!!!
5. I was going to give you 5 hostess gifts ideas, but the 4 above are such kick ass gift ideas, that you are only getting 4, lol.
Christmas Gift Ideas
A lot of people stress over buying the perfect gift. This takes all the fun out of giving; so let’s give ourselves a freaking break here.
Super hero hint: This idea will change your life forever; you can buy multiple people the same gift!! As long as it is nice, who cares?? This year I bought the same gift for all of my friends and family. I ordered in bulk, I will customize each slightly, but everyone is getting the same damn thing, done..fini! I wish I could share what my gift is, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but I will share in my post Christmas post.
1. Hats or gloves
Now you may think how boring! But hear me out; let’s say, you have to buy for 5 of your girlfriends, your sister in-law, brother and coworker. And your daughter wants something for her 3 bffs from school. That is a lot of running around; my solution, get everyone a hat!! Buy a few different styles, but everyone gets hats!!!
There are so many cute hats out there. Now if you’re thinking, my brother won’t be excited to get a hat…well isn’t your brother a super Bruin’s fan? Then get him a Montreal Canadian hat, just for kicks!! Ok, fine, get him a Bruins hat. He will love it. (for non hockey fans, the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadians are mortal enemies).
Super hero hint: now I would color coordinate them; maybe a pink theme? My gift bags would match my theme of course..duh! But that’s just me, I am a bit of a freak.
2. Party Pack
You may be thinking, what’s a party pack? Let me show you!
A party pack is a group of things that can be used to entertain. Above, I have a color coordinated serving tray, side plates and napkins. The plates and serving trays were on display together. I found gold and silver napkins a few aisles down. One stop and done!
During my university years, my mother gave my cousin and I a spaghetti themed gift. It included a big pot to boil the spaghetti in, four big bowls and a pack of spaghetti noodles. It was so well thought of yet so simple and original. We got a lot of use out of them!
The idea here is to group a few things together; it’s like making your own gift basket.
2. Super Fan Pack
Do you have a super sports fan on your list? Why not get them a few items from their fav team? You can get them online, so you won’t even need to set foot in a mall if you don’t want too.
What spots fan wouldn’t enjoy a jersey or a hat? Oh, look more hats!! Wrap em up and stick a team Christmas tree ornament on the top of your package instead of a bow. I thought this Vegas Knight getting stuck in the chimney was cute.
A sports hat would also make a great stocking stuffer, FYI.
Yes repeating this idea in my gift section! But taking it up a notch!!
To take this idea to the next level, let’s follow the same gift basket idea from above and pair it with something else.
See what I did here? I added four nice glasses and an ice cube mold. I have the round glob ice molds and I love them. For Halloween, I bought these sculls, they are super cute, but a bit harder to get out of the silicon molds.
4. Monogrammed Anything
I love getting monogrammed things so I am assuming others will as well. With all the online shopping available, getting items monogrammed has never been easier. My Christmas gifts that I bought for friends and fam this year, may be monogrammed???
If you have a traveler on your list, a monogrammed passport holder and luggage tag are great ideas. You could also use my hint to buy multiple people the same gift from above. Get all the friends on your list monogrammed luggage tags; it really is that easy!! A few clicks on your computer and done!!
Bathrobes are another great monogrammed idea. I did these a few years ago. You could also pair them with slippers and a sleeping masks.
Super hero hint: There is nothing wrong with buying a gift to you from you! I do it all the time, lol. I deserve it and you do too!
Here is an example of monogrammed sleeping masks. You could add these to the robes or even to the the passport holder and luggage tag!
Or these would also be a great bulk gift. Order one for multiple people on your list; add some bath salts and voila! You have a mini at home spa/relaxation themed gift.
5. Sticking with only 4 gift ideas here as well, because you should have enough ideas by now. If not, you are hopeless and may need to stick with a gift card? Lol.
Oh wait, I do have one more idea for your wife, mother, husband… Go with the monogrammed bathrobe and put a spa gift card in the pocket!! Ok, now I am done!
Santa’s helper is beat and needs a nap!! Lol. Thank you for reading and for those who share, like and comment; I will make certain that you end up on Santa’s nice list!!!
Have you ever thought, this was the year that you were going to get your shit together and send out the perfect Christmas card? You would find the perfect picture, go online and create something, get it printed and send it out to friends and family…before Christmas?
The thought was there, but weeks later, as you start getting cards in the mail from others, you realize that you have missed the boat again. Aw well, there is always next year right?
Well I happen to be an expert planner and am here to help you if you want to get your cards ready to go this year. Here are a few helpful steps and timelines to keep you stay on track!
(FYI – I am sharing my personal Christmas cards from the past few years, they are at the bottom)
Figure out what you want? Timeline: Now! (ideally before the third week of November).
You need to start by figuring out what you want? Do you want a picture of your kids, family, pets? Or do you want a store bought card? One is not better than the other; you just need to decide and since we are already the second week of November you need to decide now!
Custom – If you want to send a picture with a holiday greeting, you need to select the photo. Take a moment and go through your phone or your Facebook. Find a picture that makes you smile or that reflects a happy moment. And voila! That it, you are done! It’s that simple, you don’t need to plan a photo shoot. That could be a goal for next year? I highly recommend you not try to fit in a family photo shoot the second week of November for your Christmas Card. It will be too stressful and rushed. Give yourself a break and find a nice picture that you already have. My blog is about helping not making you more stressed BTW.
Once you have your picture selected you can use a variety of different online tools and apps to write a message on them. Or if you want a printed version you can place your order online via Cosco, your local drugstore, Vista Print…. So many options that have templates that you can use; they will print and you can have them sent to you or you can pick them up. I would allow at least 2 weeks if you are getting them printed and sent to you.
If you place your order this week, you should have them in hand by the last week of November, which is perfect! If you decide to send via email, you are ahead of the game. Kick back and relax a bit.
Store bought – If you are going the store bought route, you have a bit more time. Go get yourself a fancy warm drink; feel free to add a shot of something in it. I suggest adding a shot of Fireball to your hot chocolate. It’s chocolate and cinnamon, trust me it’s yummy!
Take your time browsing the card section alone or with a friend and select the card that speaks to you. And BTW, I said one shot, no drinking and driving!
2. Who is on your nice list? Timeline: third or forth week of November.
Make a list and check it twice. If you mail out cards, this may take a bit more time the first year, but once you have your list with addresses, next year will be a breeze. Last year I sent out text messages to all my friends and asked for their mailing addresses. Those who didn’t reply, were automatically put on the naughty list.
If you are emailing or even texting your custom cards, you probably already have all their emails and numbers, so again, you are ahead of the game. Have another hot chocolate and fireball! Mmm, I think I need a name for this drink?
3. Get them out! Timeline: first or second week of December.
If you are mailing them, try to get them out by the first week of December; if you miss the cut and send them out the second week, no biggie. I have found that Canada Post is a bit slower than if you are sending within the US. If you are emailing, I would hit send the second week of December.
My Christmas Cards
I only started sending out cards three years ago. Every year I had great intentions, but didn’t properly plan it out. And I felt that I could never find that perfect card. Then I realized; hey I work with designers who apparently can be bribed to help me! I now taking advantage of my them, I rotate so that I am not always asking the same people for help, lol. FYI, I am not a horrible person, I treat them very well! They get special treats for helping me.
In the past two out of three cards I used pictures taken at Halloween. My strategy had been to find a funny picture first and then create funny text to go with them. My Meowy Christmas is a perfect example.
I obviously don’t take myself too seriously. The following year was my first full year living in the desert, so I found a wintery, snowy picture.
I think I felt a bit of pressure to maintain the same level of cheesyness from the prior year and I feel liked I choked! Lol. My “moose” card was ok, but it was too safe, lol
I should also add that in my attempt to be inclusive, I misspelled Hanukkah, nothing but class here! Lol, my apologies.
This brings us to last year’s card. It is my most controversial card to date!! Lol. So for Halloween 2017 I was a deer; actually I was a dead deer…twisted? Yes, but I thought it was funny.
I then had an amazing idea to use that picture for my Christmas card, the dead one, not the cute live one. Ok see below, then we will discuss, lol.
So there you have it, I killed Rudolph in last year’s card. I stand by that card, even though it was a bit dark; ok, a lot dark, lol.
And that brings us to this year’s card. I looked through my iPhone pictures and couldn’t find anything inspiring. So I came up with the wording first and my friend, who is an amateur photographer, and I went to the desert and shot a few different things.
As per my guidelines above, I am on track and will have my cards in the mail by the first week of December.
Let me know if you are curious about this year’s card, leave a comment below. If people want me to share I will right before Christmas.
It’s currently snowing here, I am feeling very festive! Thanks for reading!