Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

New Year's Eve has never really been a big celebration night for me but since little people have joined our family, we celebrate!  The kiddos are 3 and 1 so we stick with the east coast time zone and do our countdown early. We always keep things simple, as Christmas zaps us.  Here is how we rang in 2013...


Wee One wanted to wear a party dress with jewelry.  After her bath, Daddy helped her put on her Minnie Mouse dress since it had the fullest skirt.  She promptly added beads and a sparkly hair bow.  She was on Cloud 9.  Let the fun begin!


We did a small buffet of treats which was open for the kids.  They thoroughly enjoyed getting to visit it as much as they wanted, without having to ask for help.  The table included:
  • Cracker, cheese and salami tray
  • Ham, cream cheese and pickle roll-ups
  • Warm dip with toasts
  • Fruit salad in champagne flutes and topped with whipped cream
  • Monkey Bread with cream cheese frosting (recipes follow)
  • Hot air popcorn
  • Juice & milk

Monkey Bread

1 loaf Bridgford frozen bread
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
4 tsp cinnamon

Thaw and rise bread according to package directions.  Preheat oven to 350. Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray.  Use kitchen shears to cut the dough into small chunks of dough.  Place half into the bottom of the pan.  Mix the melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon together, then spread half over the dough in the pan.  Add another layer of dough chunks and spread the remaining butter mixture over the dough chunks.  Cover with plastic and allow to rise again for an hour.  Remove plastic and bake for 25 - 30 minutes.  Promptly remove from oven and turn over onto a pretty plate.  Top with cream cheese frosting and serve immediately.

Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz softened cream cheese
1/4 cup softened butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

With a mixer, combine all ingredients until smooth.


We knew we were going to have some special treats for NYE but we did not put much thought into anything else.  About 3pm, I decided decorations were needed.  I quickly printed a fun "Happy New Year" banner from Spoonful, cut it out and had it hanging in no time!  My girl and I added a few streamers and balloons to crank up the fun.

I also printed numbers onto 8 1/2" by 11" printer paper and hung them around the room.  At the countdown, the family walked from number to number and counted together.  It never hurts to include academics at a party!


Rather than asking the kids to think about resolutions, we asked them their wishes for 2013.  We used this wishes template from Spoonful.

We also did a short scavenger hunt for "NYE" items.  The children were given a list of items and a bag to collect them once found.  Being so young, they needed a little assistance but it let the whole family play together.

Balloon Drop

To add some excitement to the evening, I chose to do a small balloon drop.  Having never done one before, I reviewed this short video tutorial.   I did not have a fishing net, and didn't wish to run all over town looking for one, so I used kitchen garbage bags.  I cut along one side seam and the bottom seam of two bags and taped them together to make one long sheet.  Then, I taped the corners of the  plastic sheet to the ceiling, forming a hammock.  I filled the hammock with balloons and taped two strings to one end of the hammock.  At the end of our countdown, I pulled on the strings and wallah... balloons everywhere!  The kids went crazy!!

We also pulled streamer pops, wore party hats, and blew our party horns.

We let the kids play in the balloons for a bit but it didn't take long until they were tired out. We ended the evening with a sparkling cider toast and a prayer for our family for the new year.

Best New Year's Eve EVER!!!

Happy 2013!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Dinner

We had a quiet Christmas this year... we stayed home.  The entire family has colds and we are a sight (and a sound) to behold.  This November, my mother celebrated her 11th anniversary with her transplanted kidney and liver.  We still try to do all we can to keep our germs to ourselves and protect her as much as we can.  Although we missed our extended family, it was nice to tuck in rather than make the 3 1/2 hour drive with two little ones and a dog.

We also got to do a non-traditional Christmas dinner.  We chose to have homemade lasagne (which turned out better than it ever has), strawberry salad and Italian pull-apart bread.  We enjoyed a divine chocolate cream pie for dessert.

I saw a recipe for Italian pull-apart bread on Pinterest a few weeks ago.  It looked pretty good but I thought, "How easy! I don't need to pin that!"  Well, it seems I did because I failed to buy all of the ingredients and we didn't have any parm, romano or asiago on the premisis.  Rather than skip it, we improvised and I am glad we did.  This is our version of Italian pull-apart bread... and it is pretty incredible.

Italian Pull-Apart Bread

1 loaf frozen bread (like Bridgeford)
1 Tbsp Italian herbs (oregano, basil, rosemary) - fresh, chopped is best so double if using fresh herbs
1/2 tsp garlic powder (could use fresh, minced or crushed)
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/2 - 3/4 tsp sea salt
pepper to taste
Olive Oil

Remove bread from freezer and allow to thaw in refrigerator overnight.  Coat a bowl with olive oil and place bowl inside and cover with a piece of plastic wrap.  Place in a warm spot and let the bread rise until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Use a pair of kitchen shears and cut dough in small chunks, about the size of a small meatball.  Mix herbs, salt and pepper into melted butter and dredge the small bits of dough into the butter before placing evenly into a bundt pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Drizzle dough with remaining butter mixture.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise a bit longer.  Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until the top is golden.  Remove from oven and turn out onto a large plate.  Serve immediately and be prepared for the little rolls to disappear quickly!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

It's the Holiday Season!!!

In lieu of a long post, I will just leave you with a fantastic recipe I will be trying out this weekend...

Wow... I think my taste buds just went into overdrive.  They are dancing with anticipation upon my tongue.  Mmm.... maple bacon.....

Doesn't this look ridiculously incredible?!  

 Photo Courtesy of

T-12 Days until Christmas!