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Christmas/ Holidays/Parties

How To Fold Napkins Into Christmas Trees + Tips To Keep Holiday Gatherings Simple

How To Fold Napkins Into Christmas Trees

Christmas is almost here! If you are like me, you are aching for simplicity this Christmas season. I want simple, meaningful, festive and cozy and don’t want to break the bank or spend a ton of time prepping for guests! However, I want them to feel loved and special.

I recently had some friends over and was able to create a super warm and welcoming holiday feel.

I didn’t spend much money or time, but by being purposeful and thoughtful with just a few simple details, (like napkins folded into Christmas trees!) I was able to reach my goal of making my guest feel welcomed & my home feel festive.

In this post I will share with you how to make these cute folded napkin Christmas trees, and also share tips on how to keep holiday gatherings simple so you can greet your guests feeling refreshed and ready to connect!

How To Fold Napkins Into Christmas Trees

These folded napkins take just minutes and add a wonderful touch to the holiday table. It is amazing how one festive element (like these folded festive Christmas Tree shaped napkins) can make a very simple table feel super festive!

The technique is super simple, but the process is shown best in a video. I used the one below and found it to be informative and very easy to follow.

Like I said above, I like to keep my holiday table basic but festive. I use the same everyday dishes we use during the week, add some special touches like these napkins which created a super festive, special table for my guests! A fun detail like this takes just minutes, and the napkins can be reused, unlike holiday paper napkins, which I love.

I’ve been wanting some nice cloth napkins for a while now. I purchased these napkins from HomeGoods right before Thanksgiving. They were 6 napkins for $9.99. I was careful to choose a print that would be appropriate for all occasions and holidays. I was tired of paying money for paper napkins but didn’t want several sets of cloth napkins sitting around for different seasons or holidays. One set is perfect and all that I need.  A simple, minimal mindset is so important when shopping, and I was very happy to find these pretty cloth napkins.

How To Fold Napkins Into Christmas Trees + Tips To Keep Holiday Gatherings Simple

TIPS TO KEEP THINGS SIMPLE

Use What You Already Have On Hand

I did this by using our everyday white dishes, glasses & mugs. I buy very plain dishes & mugs so they will look great in my kitchen, and on my table no matter what the season.

With minimal being my goal, I do not want to store different sets of dishes for different seasons. I want to be FREE of having to store anything extra! This is a personal mission of mine and the closer I get to my goal of “minimal everything,” the more time and freedom I have. I just love pursuing simplicity, but I want to go even further in this area. A minimal 2018 is my goal!

The majority of food and drink that I served at my holiday gathering also came from the food I already have on hand in my pantry and refrigerator. The key was setting them out on my table in a way that is attractive, allowing guests to help themselves. Again, white dishes serve me well. The food pops from the white and looks beautiful.

Food I Already Had On Hand:

Hot Tea

Coffee

Nuts

Popcorn

Clementines

Berries

Crackers & Cheese Slices

Tip: Have a variety of healthy and not so healthy foods.

How To Fold Napkins Into Christmas Trees + Tips To Keep Holiday Gatherings Simple

How To Fold Napkins Into Christmas Trees + Tips To Keep Holiday Gatherings Simple

Have Key Festive Touches

I found some spiced star-shaped cookies at Aldi for a couple of bucks. I knew they would look adorable an a little white platter. Well worth the money and they were delicious!

Another key festive touch for food were my Andes Mint Cookies. These 4 ingredient cookies whip up in minutes. I made them just a few minutes before my guests arrived. They are a shortcut cookie that uses a Devils cake mix, and a quick swirl of the melted Andes mint on top of the cookies make them extra beautiful! Click through to this post to see how festive they are!

The folded napkins in Christmas Tree Shapes were the star of the table and a key festive touch.

Bring in Nature

Cut some twigs from your evergreen bushes and put them in a mason jar. Add a cinnamon stick from the pantry. Even a wooden cutting board adds a natural wood touch and makes a great base for a cheese board, and also adds a touch of warmth when placed under a white platter or to gather smaller dishes.

Create Atmosphere

Light candles & plug in the twinkly lights! I might go a little overboard in this area, especially during the winter holidays, but I just can’t help myself! I love strings of battery-operated lights and have them all over my house!

Music is a great way to create atmosphere. It is fun to know your audience and play music that suits their tastes. I love Spotify. I used the below playlist from Beverly of Bev Cooks (take a peek at her blog! Love her!!) at my holiday gathering.

Crank the heat for a cozy atmosphere. Make sure your guests are comfortable. Being cold makes your guests tense up, and that is the opposite of relaxed and cozy. Have soft blankets around for guests to grab for even more comfort.

Have a fireplace? Light a fire! No fireplace? Search Netflix for “virtual fireplace” and turn your tv into virtual warmth! My sister-in-law came over for a cup of tea last night and I had the virtual fireplace going. She just sent me a message telling me she enjoyed our “fireside” chat last night. Ha!

Keep Things Inexpensive

I bought German mulled wine from Aldi for around $5. It was yummy! The cookies I made used very few ingredients. I used a lot of what I had on hand and I didn’t buy disposables but used our everyday dishes.

It kept our gathering very affordable and it made room in our budget to have more people over another time!

Mulled German Wine

Let Guest Self Serve

Have things sitting out for guests to help themselves– blankets to grab for themselves, buffet-style food & drink–this frees you up to be present instead of constantly busy serving your guest. Make sure they know they have the freedom to help themselves to more food and offer more to drink if you see glasses low, but also remind them to help themselves.

No Perfection Allowed

Don’t worry about the house being perfect. It doesn’t have to be white glove clean. Shut doors to messy rooms and keep the lights low to hide dust bunnies if you have them! Having people into your less-than-perfect home gives them permission to do the same for you.

Care about your guests. Hear them…listen well! Be present. Sit & don’t worry too much about everything being perfect. Slow down, sit down, breathe and enjoy them!

How To Fold Napkins Into Christmas Trees + Simple Holiday Party Tips

{for your pinning pleasure!}

I hope this post gives you the inspiration to have simple holiday gatherings, reminds you that it only takes a few touches to make things feel festive, and gives you permission to let go of perfect and just be.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas everyone!


What are your biggest hurdles in having holiday gatherings?

Do you have any tips for keeping things simple?

What do you think of these adorable Christmas Tree Shaped Folded Napkins?

Christmas/ Holidays/Parties/ HOME/ Simplifying

How to Slow Down & Cozy Up While Online Shopping

Ways to slow down and cozy up your space while online shopping

I have a cozy chair in my bedroom that I have found myself sitting in quite a bit lately. It is a new experience to be sitting so much during gift-giving season, but online shopping has given me the gift of slowing down and cozying up in my chair, while buying for those I love. It has been so wonderful!

You would grin at all the things I surround myself and my chair with while I shop. The chair is up in our bedroom and my Todd will peek his head in and just smile at me sitting comfy in my chair surrounded by all the things I love. He knows I am all about marinating in good atmosphere!

Ways to slow down and cozy up your space while online shopping

{view from my cozy bedroom chair}

Ways I Slow Down & Get Cozy While Online Shopping

~comfy chair (of course) with feet up

~twinkle lights hung on our bedroom window, lights low so they can show off

~a small table next to my chair to hold all- the- things within arms reach

~a bluetooth speaker for ambient Christmas music

~a warm drink by my side, always!

~an electric mug warmer to keep my drink warm – a birthday gift from my Avery and I love it!

~ journal & favorite sharpie pen to jot down notes & check my Christmas list

~my laptop

~ phone close and on the charger, to keep the world at my fingertips

~ a soft, fuzzy blanket & fuzzy socks on my feet!

~my favorite new diffuser from Frankie & Myrrh to bring a calm scent to the room.

Ways to slow down and cozy up your space while online shopping

Online Shopping with Frankie & Myrrh

I generally buy gifts for others while online shopping, but I did find just a couple for myself along the way! One of my favorite purchases was from a little shop called Frankie & Myrrh. How great is that for a shop name?

They are a small business who is known for ‘aromatherapy made fun.’ Yes, they know fun and showed on their website, in their products and in the packaging. I am just now getting into aromatherapy, so I just couldn’t resist making a purchase for myself.

a·ro·ma·ther·a·py | əˌrōməˈTHerəpē | noun. The use of essential oils and natural plant essences to achieve balance, harmony, and psychological and physical well-being.

essential-oils-frankie-myrrhh

Products

I bought their Bamboo Diffuser and 3 Essential Oils –Cinnamon, Serenity Now Blend, and Frankincense.

I sprinkled some of the cinnamon essential oil on pinecones in our enclosed porch, to welcome my holiday guests. It smells so festive! ‘Serenity Now’ is a calming blend that has spruce, orange, and frankincense is amazing when diffused my new Bamboo Diffuser and makes our home smell like Christmas! I’ve been mixing the Frankincense oil with some grapeseed oil and using it on my face as a moisturizer. I love it!

Frankie & Myrrh  have what they call ‘rollies’ (essential oil mixed with a carrier oil and in a small glass jar with a roller–so convenient to just roll on!

They also have aromatherapy sprays with really witty names like:

“Serenity Now” with frankincense, spruce and orange for silent, restful bliss

“Study Buddy” a peppermint and rosemary spray for mental focus

“Hello Sunshine” a citrus and rose -a feel good spray

Their shop name and fun product names and offerings had me, but when the box came in the mail the packaging make me fall for them even harder. This is something I love about a small business shopping. Their attention to detail and their appreciation for each and every costumer really is priceless. This sure was the case with Frankie & Myrrh.

Ways to slow down and cozy up your space while online shopping

{HOW DID THEY KNOW?! (snicker)}

Packaging

I opened the box and the sticker on the bubble wrap made me laugh. It said “Reduce Your Stress, POP ME!” I then saw a note that was signed by hand. While I was admiring the note, a wonderful scent hit me. I pulled a little sachet full of dried lavender out of the package, a free added touch that made me so happy! Everything in the box was packaged carefully and cute; it just felt so personal. The labels on each essential oil made me smile, as did the witty little suggestion on their bubble wrap. All of these touches made me eager to send an order from Frankie & Myrrh to one of my friends so they could experience all of these touches, too.

Frankie-myrrh-lavender-package

PayPal

Frankie & Myrrh made it super easy to shop them. One thing I’m always looking for when online shopping is PayPal paying option, and of course, Frankie & Myrrh had it. They seem to think of everything! When I’m online shipping, the last thing I want to do is get up and get my wallet or credit card, so I especially love it when small businesses offer PayPal.

PayPal has an option called One Touch that allows you to pay for items in your shopping basket without having to enter credit card or billing details. Do what I did, and activate it here, then you won’t have to get off the couch, out of bed or out of your own comfy chair to find your wallet!

My Todd and I have been using PayPal for years now. It is easy to use, fast, painless and has always been a safe way for us to shop online, send money and receive money. We love it! PayPal always goes the extra mile–example? This holiday season, PayPal is offering free return shipping called Return Shipping On Us on its up to $30 for up to 11 purchases. So convenient!

frankie-myhhr-aromatherapy

How About You?

Did you do your Christmas shopping online? Do you have any small businesses that your love to support? Did you buy anything for yourself? Have you tried aromatherapy? Are you a PayPal fan?

Share with me in the comments!

easy-online-shopping

{FOR YOUR PINNING PLEASURE!}

 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Christmas/ Holidays/Parties/ Kids/Family/ Seasonal

Gift Ideas For Teen Girls

Gift Ideas for Teen Girls

I have 3 teen girls.

WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN?

It is crazy unbelievable how fast my girls have grown up. I am so thankful to be here to witness the growth! I think of these teen years, and I’m pleasantly surprised with how much fun we are having.

Don’t get me wrong, we have our share of dramatic moments, but we are growing as a family and learning how to love & accept each other even when it is hard. Sometimes this takes an exhaling of self and an inhaling of acceptance that we are all a bunch of imperfect humans learning to live closely with one another. I am Mom, learning and growing right along with my teens, and loving every moment of it!

 

Goodbye Littles, Hello Shopping For Teen Girls

Christmas with teen girls is so much fun. Gone are the days of shopping at Toys R Us during date night with my hubs. Gone are the days of shopping at the dollar store for stocking stuffers, tutu’s and plastic glittery heels & princess tiaras.

I still have my princesses, but they are now growing up at ages 17, 15 & 13.

 

Amazon Gift Ideas/Wish Lists

My teen girls now make Amazon wish lists, as requested by Mom & Dad, and send us a text to let us know when their lists are updated.  Granted, they do not get everything on the list, but these wish lists sure makes “Santa’s” job by giving a heads up to what they would like, and even the reindeer get a break thanks to free shipping from Amazon Prime!

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Christmas/ Decorating/ Holidays/Parties/ HOME/ Homemaking/ Sponsored

Easy Simple & Functional Holiday Decor

IMG_7488

The holidays are a busy time, especially for Moms preparing their homes for kids winter break or out-of-town guests. Every year, I strive to make this time of year a simple and slow as possible, especially once my kids are on break from school.  This year, that has meant paring down my holiday decor and keeping only the things that are simple, efficient, practical, functional & bring us joy.

Here are a few ways I’ve kept holiday decor functional but still beautiful:

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Christmas/ Drinks/ RECIPES/ Sweets

Peppernuts Recipe Tradition & Almond Nog

Silk-Almond-Nog-Peppernuts

Every year around this time, I find myself crunching on Peppernuts made by my Grandma Thelma’s sweet hands, and thinking about how I MUST share this great recipe and meaningful family tradition with you! Well, this year I’m doing it, and you are going to love it!

Silk-Almond-Nog-Cinnamon

I took the photos for this post, then sat down with my tiny tree dish full of peppernuts & my mug of almond nog.  I’m a happy camper as I type away at this post with my delicious little snack.

Peppernuts-Tree

Have you seen that Silk now makes Silk Almond Nog? They have original and pumpkin spice and they are SO good.  They are both so creamy that you won’t believe they are dairy-free, and there are no eggs in either of these nogs!  I’m drinking the original Almond Nog & it is full of nutmeg and cinnamon, & has the smooth velvety flavor of classic eggnog.

Peppernuts-Stacked

Tradition

The peppernut cookies are a family tradition that I just love.  My Grandma makes them every year for everyone in the family, and has for as long as I can remember.  I have such fond memories of helping her roll and slice the long, thin rolls of dough when I was a young teen.  It means the world to me to receive them as a gift from her each year, & it is so fun to see my girls grow up and enjoy peppernut cookies, too.

Peppernut cookies are a tiny spiced holiday cookie that are popular in Germany, Denmark, & the Netherlands.  The cookies are roughly the size of a nut, and can be eaten by the handful, hence the name.  They have anise oil in them, but it is not overpowering & adds just the right unique spice. These little crunchy cookies are so addicting! I love that they can keep indefinitely & are great for snacking and for sitting around in covered dishes for your guests to enjoy.

We celebrated Christmas early with my Mom’s side of the family, which meant getting these little peppernut cookies early, too.  The cookies pictured are made by my Grandma, but one of these days I’m going to make them myself.

Silk-Almond-Nog-Window

I’m feeling quite sophisticated eating my peppernuts and drinking my almond nog.  It is like having cookies and milk, but way more special because it is peppernuts and nog! I can drink a mug or two of Silk Almond Nog without feeling naughty because it is made without eggs, dairy or saturated fats & there are only 80 calories or less per serving! I especially appreciate that there are no artificial colors or preservatives in Silk products.  Grandma’s cookies, on the other hand, are a bit naughty, but I can’t bring myself to mess with a recipe that has been handed down & that is so, so good.  I will keep it as it is written, and enjoy every little cookie as we only have them once a year.

Peppernuts-Slider

Recipe:

Peppernuts

1 16 oz bottle dark corn syrup

1 1/8 cup sugar

1 cup of oleo (margarine or butter) (melt in hot syrup)

1/2 tsp. anise oil

~Boil this mixture until the sugar is dissolved.

 

2 eggs (well-beaten)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 cup sour cream

~Mix together, then add to hot mixture.

 

10 cups flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon nutmeg

a handful or two of walnuts, cut up fine

 

~Pour above mixture into flour & mix.  You will end up using your hands–just like Grandma!

~Form into long rolls, about the diameter of a quarter. Wrap in plastic wrap & let it get good and cold, or you could freeze at this point until you are ready to bake.  Cut into fairly thin slices, and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Each cookie should be about the size of a quarter.

~Bake 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

~These get better with age, so don’t be afraid to bake a bunch!

………………..

I love sharing such simple joys of the season with you!  I hope you can find a quiet moment or two to cozy up, slow down, sip on some nog, & savor recipes that have been passed down.  It is amazing how something as simple as the cinnamon flavor of a creamy nog or the spicy hint of anise in a crunchy cookie can cause one to pause and find comfort in meaningful memories of seasons past.

…………………

Visit Silk Holiday to learn more about Silk Almond Nog & find more simple joys of the season, like recipes, a free digital holiday recipe book, a coupon & more!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Silk . The opinions and text are all mine.

Christmas/ FUN/DIY/ Holidays/Parties

Christmas Shopping & Gift Wrapping For Tween Girls

JUSTICE-COLLAGE

Christmas shopping for my girls is in full swing! My girls are growing up so quickly, and I have only one tween left.  Teagan is 16, Colsie is 14 & Avery is 12.  Thank goodness I still have my lil’ Avery!

Even though she is not a teenager yet, she has a distinct style and her own opinions when it comes to the clothes she wears. I really love her style.  She is sporty with a touch of girly sparkle.  I wanted to buy her some clothes for Christmas but needed to her to point out a few of her favorite things so “Santa” will get it right– if you know what I mean!

Justice-sign

mirror-justice

I took her to the mall and straight into Justice.  Justice is definitely a destination for stylish tween girls this holiday season. Whether shopping in-store or online, Justice makes it easy and hassle-free for anyone with a tween girl in their life to find some special holiday gifts.

Justice has got you covered no matter what style your tween is embracing at the moment. Whether you have a sporty athlete like my Avery, or a girly girl, or a fashion trend setter; Justice makes shopping for every girl easy and fun. The store was even organized into fashion types and we of course, headed right to the sporty section.

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Christmas/ DIY/Crafts/ FUN/DIY/ Holidays/Parties/ Homemade Gifts

DIY Wine & Snack Gift Basket

WINE-SNACK-GIFT-BASKET

I love showing up to a holiday party with a little hostess gift. Usually I keep it small and simple, like a homemade snack in a mason jar. During the holidays, it is fun to get a bit more generous and creative, so I did! I made this this festive DIY Wine & Snack Gift Basket. Wine is the perfect simple, sparkly & sophisticated hostess gift.

2 bottles of Gloria Ferrer Wine & a sparkly gold ornament

Gloria Ferrer wines is the star of this DIY Wine & Snack Gift Basket. Gloria Ferrer caves and vineyards opened in 1986, is Carneros’ original sparkling wine house, owned and founded by the Ferrer family of Spain. Exuberant and fruit-forward, Gloria Ferrer wines go perfectly with today’s diverse and flavorful cuisine, and have earned over 400 gold medals and 50 90+ scores in the last 5 years. Needless to say, they are the perfect wine choice for my gift basket.

I chose the Sonoma Brut & the Royal Cuvée:

Sonoma Brut –91% Pinot Noir, 9% Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: Delicate pear and floral notes backed by toasty almond.  On the palate, one finds lively citrus, toast and apple flavors overlaid with persistent effervescence, a creamy mid-palate and toasty finish.

Royal Cuvée Brut –67% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay

Winemaker Notes: The wine opens with green apple, citrus and honey on the nose.  This continues into the mouth adding black cherry and brioche with Asian pear.  The mousse is fine textured and creamy.  Light mineral character and Meyer lemon continue into a long crisp finish.

After typing that, I am tempted to keep the basket for myself! They sounds so delicious!

Glittery feather, reindeer candle and wine for a gift basket

I wanted a few fun things in the basket along with the wine. I wanted the basket to have a simple, classy and elegant feeling, to compliment the Gloria Ferrer Wine. I wanted a touch of glitz without being overdone.

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