Christmas at ‘My Yellow Farmhouse’

I’ve always loved Christmas, which is why there’s an entire corner of my barn stacked with boxes of Christmas paraphernalia! This year, because we ‘lost a week’ – I didn’t go crazy digging through all my boxes – I just took whatever was on the top of the Christmas pile.  And, I must say, my house looks pretty darn festive!

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The snowballs are actually special Styrofoam balls which have a slightly glittery surfaceBoth the snowballs & snow can be found at craft stores like Michael’s. Remember to sprinkle some of snow inside your glass container to add to the snowy look!

Snowmen and Snow - 2013

I love the architectural details in my living room, although the beams etc. most likely aren’t original (1888). I imagine the beams etc. were put in during the 1930’s or so. Underneath the oak parquet floors are the old, wide floor boards, which are still present on the second floor. (Just like we had at our old farmhouse in Quebec.)

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We’ve had a tradition for several years – my oldest granddaughter gets to put the angel on top of the Christmas tree. She considers it an honor and my sons and I just love that old moth-eaten angel. (Actually, it’s actually been ‘mouse eaten’ – but we still love it.) Meanwhile, my daughter-in-laws ask, “Why don’t you just get a NEW angel?”  They just don’t understand….  

Our Traditional Christmas Angel

I know, my Christmas Tree isn’t straight… but that’s OK !

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I think I’m beginning to see a theme here…. snowmen…. One of my sons told me, years ago, I couldn’t buy anymore snowmen for their house…

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My dear neighbor, Frank, made me the best Christmas gift/surprise ever and delivered it to my house the night my sons and their families were here.  (He rang the bell and left the package on my back porch.)

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Can you begin to guess what was in this enormous box?  If you’re at all familiar with the movie A Christmas Story, you may have a good idea!

We had so much fun trying to figure out who could’ve delivered it and what could POSSIBLY be inside. My guess…. after some thought… It’s a lamp…. but not any lamp. It’s the lamp that ‘shines forth in all it’s glory’ from the Parker Family’s front room. Made just for us by my dear friend Frank.

In truth, the lamp Frank made is even better than the Major Award in the movie. And, if Ralphie thought the lamp his father won was electric sex – it was nothing compared to MY lamp, with it’s curvaceous calf and bent knee.

  Happy Holidays to All of You from My Yellow Farmhouse ! 

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Christmas/Winter Simmering Spice Mix – Makes Your Home Smell Wonderful !

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I truly wish I could include a ‘scratch ‘n sniff’ icon for this post – my house smells wonderful right now ’cause I’m simmering a mixture of spices and fruit, all of which I usually have around the house.

There’s really no directions needed. You just need some spices and fruit and several cups of water, which you’ll simmer on the stove. (You will have to replenish the water every so often – so don’t forget!)

++  After and hour or so you may want to sprinkle in a bit more of the spices and rum flavoring.

As you may know, we used to move A LOT, and because each house has it’s own smell, as soon as we’d moved in, I’d start a pan ‘brewing’ with this mix. Within a very short time the house smelled like home …our home! In fact, you’ll have people who visit asking if you’ve been baking cookies.

Here’s what I use for my Christmas/Winter Simmering Mix

++ If you include fruit – I would refrigerate the mix so you can use it again.  If you only use the spices, then you can leave the pan out on your stove to use again. (I use the mixture for a few days and just add a dash more of the spices when needed.)

  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. ground cinnamon (Use cinnamon sticks if you have them – 1 or 2.)
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. ground cloves –  – or Allspice, or both, which is what I do
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • This year I’ve add the following – simply because I had them….
  • — 1 cut up apple
  • — 1 cut up lemon    (I found some rather dried-out lemons in my veggie bin!)
  • — A bit of Rum Flavoring, for that good old Yuletide ‘Nog Essence!

Christmas or Winter Simmering Spice Mix .JPGThat’s it !  I know the lovely smell of this mixture will make your heart happy – no matter when you use it!

Plus the simmering water adds some much-needed moisture to your home, which is nice during these cold, wintry months.                                                                                     Enjoy!!

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies with Peanut Butter-Filled M & M’s

Looking for a quick and easy recipe for Christmas cookies, perhaps for a cookie swap or as a gift – how about making these Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies with Peanut Butter-Filled M&M’s?  (Of course – these quick, easy and delicious cookies aren’t just for the Holidays !!)

All you’ll need is a package of Peanut Butter Cookie Mix, a package of Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix, a cup of butter, a package of (red & green) peanut butter filled M&M’s, 3 eggs and some quick cooking oatmeal.  It doesn’t get much easier than that!

Oven at 375 F       Bake cookies for 11 – 12 minutes, until they’re lightly browned

++ Tip  I recommend using at least 2 cookies sheets and two cooling racks, so you always have one cookie sheet in the oven and another being prepared for baking.

++ Tip  It’s a good idea NOT to use a hot cookie sheet when baking cookies. Doing so can make cookies flatten out too much.

Ingredients & Method               Yield – about 4 dozen good-sized cookies

  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened    Tub margarine is NOT recommended.
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats       Not instant oatmeal !
  • 1 (1 lb. 1.5 oz.) package Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
  • 1 (1 lb. 1.5 oz.) package Betty Crocker Peanut Butter Cookie Mix
  • 1 bag  (11.40 oz.)  peanut butter-filled M & M’s    (I used red & green colored M & Ms.)

Place 1 cup softened butter or margarine, 3 eggs and 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal in a large bowl and blend together on medium speed. (Takes less than a minute…)

Add a package of Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix & a package of Peanut Butter Cookie Mix. You can try to mix it all together with a wooden spoon but I used my freshly-washed hands because it’s easier. (The dough may seem to dry at first – just keep smoshing it with your hands and it’ll come together.)

Now add the  bag (11.40 oz.) of peanut butter-filled M & M’s.  Again, I recommend using your hands because the dough is very stiff.

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On an ungreased cookie sheet, using a 1/8 measuring cup, drop dough about 2 inches apart.  (I found that ‘knocking’ the measuring cup against the side of the bowl helped the dough fall out….)  You’ll probably be able to bake 12 cookies at a time, depending upon the size of your cookie sheet.

Bake cookies at 375 (F) for 11 – 12 minutes, until your cookies are lightly browned. Cool cookies about 2 minutes before removing them from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack.   Enjoy !

My Yellow Farmhouse Peanut Butter Cookies with Peanut M & Ms Cookies - My Yellow