Each Day A Gift ~ An Advent Calendar

I really love the idea of an advent calendar.  We didn't have one when I was little.  At least I don't remember.  They're fun to make and they help kids understand the passing of time until the highly anticipated Christmas morning!  It must seem like it takes FOREVER for Christmas morning to get here.  

(Not for us though, right moms!?)

We're heading toward a very meaningful holiday.  And if you are a Believer, then the birth of Christ is cause for celebration.  I want to teach my children that this season is about so much more than just receiving the presents that have come to represent Christmas.  I hope to share with them that we should be appreciative of every little gift AND each and every day we have been blessed with ~ as His gift to us.  

So in our home an Advent Calendar is more than just a countdown to presents...
It's a celebration of each day we have been gifted.

I found this advent tree at Goodwill for $2.99.  It was still in it's wrapping.   

When I opened it I discovered it contained 24 tiny little cards inside the drawers depicting the nativity scene.  How darling!

Similar trees at the craft store were going for $8.99 (on sale) and up.  I knew I was getting a steal.  Except...the trees in the craft store were a "blank canvas" white...and this one was finished in an exciting shade of "Christmas Tree" green...with numbered "stars of Bethlehem" on each little drawer.  Cute.  (Okay, not so much).

So, I sprayed it white!

I laid out all those cute little drawers on my work-space (otherwise known as the kitchen counter) and set to work.

It appears I'm using a glue stick for this project...and I am...but only to trace the little curve onto my scrap papers.  I cut out 24 little scraps, just slightly smaller than the fronts of the drawers, then added the little curve.

I glued them on using white craft glue.

Some embellishing was in order.  I used up all of the number stickers I had on hand, so I had to get creative for a few of the numbers.  See number 21 down towards the bottom (below)?  It's actually made with an exclamation mark instead of a one.  I cut a few capital L's to look like 1's as well.  

It works, right?  


5 minutes of spray painting
30-40 minutes embellishing (Just because I can't make up my mind when choosing papers!)
A $2.99 advent tree
All other supplies on hand already.

I put the numbered drawers back in randomly...adding a little surprise to each one...

And now Alex gets to count-down-to-the-day he can start counting down to Christmas!  

Good thing it's only two more days until December 1st!!!

Do you still remember what it looked like before???

Yeah, that was so worth the time it took!!!

I hope you find each day a gift in some special way.
Enjoy the delights of the Season.

P.S.  Speaking of Christmas Trees ~ Inspiration Cafe is sharing a sparkly, thrifty Christmas Tree project you have to see to believe, courtesy of The Thrifty Rebel.   


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Simple, Affordable Christmas Decor at the Cafe

Today at Inspiration Cafe we have inspiration for affordable Christmas decorating...Like these darling paper trees:

PAPER TREE ORNAMENTS 10 thumb Paper Tree Ornaments

To see more visit the Cafe today:

I hope you have a beautiful week!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Terrine ~ Dreamy Good!

Scott and I don't get to go out on dates very often.  Recently we were able to go to Cinetopia for dinner and a movie.  Some family had generously given us a gift card for Cinetopia for Christmas last year and we finally got the opportunity to try it out.  What took us so long???

Have you ever been to a Cinetopia theater?  It's quite a treat.  

We watched a movie in "The Living Room" which consisted of comfy reclining seats, ottomans, a full service dinner menu with waiters, drinks and dessert.  Oh, and no kids in The Living Room!  There was a man playing violin (instead of the usual commercials) before the show.  It was beautiful.  Scott ordered a grilled chicken salad and I had a Mediteranian Wrap.  They were both delicious.  We shared a dessert.  Scott chose a Chocolate Peanut Butter Terrine. 
 Wait...A WHAT???
I had honestly never heard of a Terrine before.  

And I have to admit, I always think of peanut butter as a food group for kids.    
(I am a preschool teacher by day...PB&J is kids food!) 
So...our Terrine came with two spoons for sharing.   As we took our first bite together, our eyebrows went up in pleasant surprise and we both went "Mmmmmmmmmmm" in unison.  
Then we savored every last bite together.  
It was a wonderful date night.  Everything about it was superb.  Cuddling with my honey in comfy reclining chairs, our feet up on ottomans, the absence of kid sounds, the satisfying meal and delicious dessert.  The movie.

I vowed that day I would research this "terrine" and find a comparable recipe.  I had to have it again!

"A terrine can be one of several things. Its original definition refers to an oblong, earthenware pan with straight sides, used for cooking and serving food.
The word has also evolved to mean the various dishes prepared in the loaf pan, most commonly a type of country-style pâté made with finely chopped pieces of meat.
Terrines aren't limited to meat, however, and may refer to other courses like frozen desserts. Often, ingredients are layered into the pan and the loaf is served sliced, revealing a pattern." -Yum Suga

I finally found a recipe and I've altered it just a bit.  The original recipe can be found at Epicurious

This Terrine will make you very popular at your next get-together.  I promise.  

And you could have a 'Walking Dead' marathon or get all your Christmas presents wrapped during the cooling phase of the recipe!  Have fun and think how proud you will be when everyone Oooohs and Aaaahs over your Terrine!

Here is my version of the Chocolate Peanut Butter Terrine:


11 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used Guittard chips)
6 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large egg whites
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate 
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons light corn syrup

1/4 cup Honey Roasted Peanuts
Whipped Cream optional

Spray a 4 1/2  x 8 1/2 loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.  
Line loaf pan with Saran Wrap, leaving enough extra hanging over the sides to cover the top of the terrine once it's added.

To Make the Filling:
Combine bittersweet chocolate, peanut butter and butter in a stainless steel bowl.  Place the bowl over a pan of simmering hot water.  Do not allow bottom of bowl to touch the water.  Heat and stir mixture until melted.  Remove from heat and whisk until smooth.  Let sit while you finish the next steps.

In another bowl whip egg whites and sugar (with hand or stand mixer) until thickened.

Using a wooden spoon, fold egg whites into chocolate mix in three equal portions.  
Mixture will be thick.

In mixing bowl whip heavy cream until thickened.  
Fold whipped cream into chocolate mixture in four equal parts with a spatula ~ just until blended.  
Do not over mix.

Spoon filling into the plastic wrap lined loaf pan and spread evenly.  
Pull extra plastic wrap over the top to cover.
Place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours to set.

{Here it is in the fridge with all of our other necessities:
 Eggs, lemon juice, whip cream, beer, pickles and  boxed wine, lol.  What do you keep in your fridge?
Remove loaf pan from refrigerator and pull the terrine out of the pan using the sides of the plastic wrap.  
Place atop wax paper on top of a metal rack.  
Recover with plastic wrap and return to refrigerator until glaze is ready.

To Make the Glaze:
Place bittersweet chocolate, butter and corn syrup in stainless steel bowl over pan with simmering hot water.  Do not allow bottom of pan to touch water. Heat and stir until melted completely.  Whisk until smooth then let sit for about 30 minutes to cool and thicken.  You want it to be pour-able but not so much that it just runs off the sides of your terrine.  Pour over the top of chilled terrine trying to get it as evenly covered as possible.  Some will most likely run off and pool at the bottom. 
Using a small spatula, spread glaze over the entire terrine as evenly as possible.  Lift the glaze that has pooled at the bottom and spread back onto the sides until covered evenly and as smooth as possible.  
The glaze will start to harden and set fairly quickly.  

Refrigerate until ready to serve.  

Transfer to serving platter or dish and top with peanuts. 
You will need to use a hot, dry knife to slice.
If you cut into fairly thin slices, approximately 1/2 inch, it will serve quite a few people.  Mine served at least 12 people easily.
Add a dollop of whipped cream if desired.

Shared here:
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Inspiration Cafe Features Fox Hollow Cottage

I want to wish you all a warm, safe, love-filled Thanksgiving shared with loved ones. 

I'm inviting you over to the Cafe today to meet Shannon of Fox Hollow Cottage.  Shannon has been decorating her home with thrift store finds and we love what she's accomplished! 

You will definitely want to meet Shannon!

"And since Christmas is quickly approaching, we are loving the great ideas shared in her 'Decorating with Thrift Store Finds {Christmas Edition}' post." excerpt from Inspiration Cafe

Just pop on over to Inspiration Cafe today for more and be sure to say HI to Shannon while you're there.

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"Cheeky" Industrial Window Box

If you know me well you know this means I love you a whole "LATTE".  

There are a few things I love as much as my morning coffee...chocolate, wine and most importantly my family and friends.  Those would be the top ranking contenders anyway...not necessarily in that order.  

I guess it kinda depends on the day, wink wink!

We've had this plain wooden box forever.  It's a cd holder.  I'm not sure where we got it.  I think Scott may have had it before I came into the picture.  (I know...how did it even survive the "we-can-live-without-this-purge" that happened to Scott's stuff when we moved in together???  Scott is still searching for some of his bachelorhood belongings.  Sorry Honey.)

I painted it black.  Distressed it a bit.  I  only need to distress A BIT because everything ends up distressed in our house.  

I printed this saying on regular printer paper using several different font sizes then traced it onto the box with a ball point pen.  The wood is soft so that made this the easiest method.  Tracing left indentations for me to follow with my paint pen. I gave it a quick sanding to roughen it up a bit more.  I could have cut the words out on my Cricut to create a more polished look but...hey...I kinda like imperfections.  ;)

Added a couple of rusty old hinges I found in Scott's shop.  (Yeah, he'll be looking for those later too.  I'm sure lucky he loves me!)

Threw in my freshly cut wheat grass.

It seems an appropriate message sitting right here in the window next to my coffee station.  

And if it's a morning when I'm not feeling the inspiration so much...I'll just turn it around and have it say this...

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Pre-Feast Activities for the Kids...Inspiration Cafe by Heather

It's Monday Everyone...you all know by now what that means, right!?

Time for another Inspiration Cafe.  So come on by the CAFE, grab your favorite beverage and get settled into a comfy seat for some INSPIRATION with Heather, from The Beating Hearth.  

Heather has some great ideas for keeping the children entertained while the cooks are busy cooking and the feasters and fans are all busy watching football.  Here's a teaser but hurry over and join us...


So....you know the drill...Click Here For More... and thanks for reading!

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