New Year...A New Mantel

2013 is almost here...and not a moment too soon. It's been a great year in many ways, but sadness has mingled with joy, especially in this last month. I don't know about you, but I am ready for a new beginning.  So, for this New Year...A New Mantel is in place and ready for the clocks to strike midnight. Well, except for the mantel needs "C" batteries.

I seem to have a theme of "time" on the mantel this year. I know I have wasted a lot of it and want to make the most of what I have left. While that may sound morbid to some, it has become crystal clear that our days are a gift and we need to make them count.

My mantel has looked like this for a long time, except for some seasonal tweaks. It was time for something new. My favorite picture will find another place in my family room, but I haven't decided which wall to move it to. It may go where the large round clock once resided. Still working on the rest of the steps of change.

I shared about the mantel clock here when I took you on a tour of our family room. The gold anniversary clock was given to us my in-laws when they sold their Music Box and Clock Shop years ago. The heart shaped iron clock was a gift from my SIL. I'm really liking how this arrangement has come together. I think I'd like to find an hourglass to complete my "time" vignette, so I'll be on the hunt for that.

This sign with the bible verse, "Be still and know that I am God," finally found a home. I have had it in my decor closet for quite some time. I'm excited to have it on my mantel as a constant reminder of Who is in control of all things. So, the Christmas decorations are put away (a record for I am quite a procrastinator) and we look forward with hope into the future.
Happy New Year to you and yours!

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Food for the Soul ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Sweet friends, I just want to wish you a Happy New Year. May you know the peace and hope that comes from having a relationship with the Creator of the universe and may He bless you richly in 2013.

Taking a Look Back at 2012

Can you believe the year is almost over? In many ways, I'm excited about 2013 making its appearance next week. There is something wonderful about the blank slate of a new year.  There are resolutions and plans to make yet. Before we go there, let's take a look back at some favorite posts.
I love cooking and baking for my family. From the heirloom recipes to the quick and easy dishes,  here were the top 5 according to your views:

I also enjoy crafting for the seasons and changing up decor. Top 5 according to you:

Occasionally, I work in some household tips to help my house and yours run a little smoother. Here were a couple of cleaning tips that peaked your interest:

That about wraps it up! I have thoroughly enjoyed my first several months of blogging and I look forward to all that 2013 will bring! I've got lots more recipes to try, plenty more crafts to do and I even hope to tackle some household DIY projects.

I am so thankful that you spend part of your day with me. I hope you'll join me in the New Year too!

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Easiest Mac 'n' Cheese

With the cold weather we're having, all I can think of making is warm, delicious comfort food. One of our favorites is macaroni and cheese. I learned to make it as a kid with Velveeta, but when I came across this recipe for the Easiest Mac 'n' Cheese the other day, I just knew it was going to be my new BFF. It is 3 ingredients, people. Three ingredients! (Unless you add the cracker topping, then it is 5.)
Here's what you need: box of pasta, jar of Alfredo sauce, cheddar cheese.
Cook pasta according to package and drain. In the same pan, heat up the Alfredo sauce.
Add in the shredded cheddar cheese. Stir until melted.
Return the pasta to the pan and thoroughly mix with the cheese sauce.
You can serve it just like this or add a topping and bake.
For the topping, crush 10 Ritz crackers and mix with 1 teaspoon melted butter. Pour the pasta with sauce in a greased casserole dish and sprinkle with the cracker topping.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until topping is golden.

Easiest Mac 'n' Cheese

1 (12 oz.) box of pasta ~ I used shells.
1 (15 oz.) jar of prepared Alfredo sauce
10 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

Cook pasta according to box directions; drain and set aside. In same pan, heat the Alfredo sauce for a few minutes. Add in the cheddar cheese and stir until melted. Return the pasta to the pan and stir to coat. Salt and pepper to taste. Place in casserole dish to serve or sprinkle a mixture of cracker crumbs (about 10 Ritz) and 1 tsp. melted butter over the top and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the crumb topping turns golden.

I was so impressed with this simple, but delicious recipe. Everyone in the family liked this cheesy dish...even the one who insists on having the blue box of mac'n'cheese. ;-)

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Christmas Home Tour

Before I take down all the Christmas decorations and move into our usual decor, I thought I'd give you our quick Christmas Home Tour.
When you walk up to the door, you are greeted by this Names of Jesus Wreath. This idea was inspired by a little Christmas book by Karla Dornacher that I pull out each year.
Next is our entry table. Here, I display my favorite nativity surrounded by greenery with DIY Snow Frosted Pine Cones.
Off the entry is our dining room, which I'm sad to say, didn't get a lot of attention this year. However, I did manage to put together this little nativity tree to remind us all of the Reason for the Season.
Our Christmas tree is probably the next thing you'd see as it sits between our family room and the kitchen. I posted about our Christmas Tree Full-o- Memories here.
I gave the kitchen a little Christmas cheer with my Gingerbread collection.
In the breakfast nook, I've set a festive table complete with colorful balls and chocolate coins.
Our family room is where we spend lots of time in front of the fireplace. The mantle is decked out with our Snowman collection and snowflake stockings.
We've even got some nutcrackers standing at attention watching over our merry making.
There is more Christmas cheer throughout the house with little trees in the kids' rooms and a small tree in the tv room. Unfortunately, it's hard to get good pictures in those rooms, as they are always in various states of disarray order ;-)
Thanks for stopping by during this wonderful season of joy. I'm so grateful for your visits!
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Monkey Bread ~ A Christmas Tradition

Christmas is a wonderful time to make new traditions and preserve some of the old ones. Besides baking cookies every year, we have the same breakfast every Christmas.  Since the kids were itty bitty, I have made a quick and easy version of Monkey Bread to serve for our Christmas breakfast.
Here's what you need: biscuits, sugar, cinnamon, butter, and brown sugar
Here's how you make it: mix cinnamon and sugar together in bowl.
Thoroughly coat each biscuit piece with the mixture.
Meanwhile, melt butter and brown sugar together in small saucepan on stove top.
Place 1/2 of the biscuits in a greased bundt pan.
Pour 1/2 the butter/brown sugar mixture evenly over the biscuits.
Place the rest of the sugar/cinnamon coated biscuits in pan and sprinkle some or all of the remaining sugar/cinnamon mixture over the top.
Pour the rest of the butter/brown sugar sauce over the top and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and turn onto plate. Best served warm.
 This is cinnamon sugar heaven on a plate.
Monkey Bread
3 cans of regular biscuits, cut or torn into quarters
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar

In a bowl, mix white sugar and cinnamon. Roll the torn biscuits in the mixture. Spray a bundt pan or tube pan with Pam. Melt butter and brown sugar together on stovetop. Layer 1/2 of the coated biscuit pieces in the pan. Drizzle 1/2 butter/brown sugar mixture over the biscuits. Repeat layer of biscuits and sprinkle remaining sugar/cinnamon mixture over the top. Pour the remaining butter and brown sugar sauce over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Turn pan onto plate and serve warm. You could drizzle some icing over the top if you wanted to make it fancy.

I save this Monkey Bread for Christmas, but it would also make a great addition to a brunch table or an easy weekend breakfast. Enjoy!

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Merry Christmas

"God grant you the light in Christmas which is faith; the warmth of Christmas which is love; the radiance of Christmas which is purity...the all of Christmas which is Christ. " 
~ Wilda English
Thank you so much for stopping by each day to say hello. I am so grateful for your visits. Your sweet words of encouragement make my heart smile. Your creativity inspires me to try to new things and to push myself in ways I haven't in years. Thanks for joining me on this journey.
From our family to yours, we wish you a blessed Christmas with those you hold most dear. May you know the joy that comes from the One whose birth we celebrate...Jesus!