Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas at the Toland's

Sorry this is so late today. It was my first day of work at the Red Cross and I didn't have time to post before I left this morning!

One of the first traditions that Mike and I started when we got married, was this: Every year before we put up the tree we would go to Hallmark and buy a Christmas ornament. Then when the kids came along, we would buy one ornament for them and one for us. Now, the family goes and each person picks out an ornament!! We have so many now, there is barely any room on the tree. But we just keep adding them!! You can't tell from the picture, but our tree is covered with blue lights. They are the epitome of Christmas for me.

This year Mike was SO pleased with Chad's choice: It is a TV with ESPN on it. When you hit a button on the top, it plays the theme from Sport Center!! You can tell he is getting older. We started out with Woody from Toy Story, then went to Storm Troopers from Star Wars. Then it was football players. Now ESPN!!

Bella....ever the Diva....this year choose the Barbie Fashion Ornament!! The girls are so much more predictable than Chad. We have Disney Princesses and Barbie!! This one is really cute. She even has her shopping bag!! Yes, I know I'm in trouble with this girl!!

And Ana, my angel and girl after my own heart, always goes for Pooh!!! This year, we have Pooh and Eeyore.

Christmas Eve is always my favorite night of the year. We go to Early Mass with the in-laws. Then we go back to their house for a Prime Rib dinner, complete with all the fixin's!! Finally it's a showing of one of my very favorite Christmas movies....Christmas Vacation!! (What can I say?? We are rather warped!) When I FINALLY get the kids to bed, the real work begins. All the last minute wrapping and stocking stuffing. And putting the presents out. I always send Mike to bed with the kids, just to make sure they don't slip downstairs. So it's really peaceful. Especially when Christmas morning is a blaze of kids running and presents being torn open!!

Finally, I will leave you with my favorite Christmas cookie recipe. Peanut Blossoms!!

1 bag (8oz) Hershey's Kisses

1 egg

1/2 cup shortening

2 tablespoons milk

3/4 cup peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

additional granulated sugar
Heat oven to 375F. Remove candy wrappers. In large bowl, beat shortening and peanut butter until well blended. Add the 1/3 cup of granulated sugar and all of the brown sugar; beat until light and fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to peanut butter mixture. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in the additional granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately place kiss on top of each cookie, pressing down so cookie cracks around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

Don't forget to visit the others on the blog tour!! And have a wonderful Christmas holiday!!

18 December - Dev (Good Reads)
19 December - Callista (S.M.S. Book Reviews)
20 December - Tiny Little Librarian (Tiny Little Librarian)
21 December - Carla (Carla Nayland Historical Fiction)/ Susan (Reading, Raving, and Ranting by a Historical Fiction Writer)
22 December - Carolyn Jean (The Trillionth Page)
23 December - Booklogged (A Reader's Journal)
24 December - Kailana (The Written World) / Carl V. (Stainless Steel Droppings)


chrisa511 said...

I like Christmas at the Toland's :) Christmas Vacation is me and my sister's favorite movie too! Not a year goes by without us watching it. We live for Aunt Bethany, lol! She cracks me up!

I love the evolution of Chad's ornaments. He has great taste! And I have to agree that you're in trouble with Bella! Don't let that girl get a credit card, lol! And Ana sounds like a mini-Stephanie :) All of your kids have great ornament taste and sound like they bring so much warmth and joy to the season!

And thanks for the can bet I'll be trying those ;)

Stephanie said...

Chris - Christmas Vacation is the BEST!! Personally, I'm partial to Cousin Eddie!!

Chad kills me!! And there is NO WAY Bella is EVER getting a credit card. That girl is 7, and she loves to shop!

Those cookies are my all-time favorites. They rock!!

Melody said...

I enjoyed reading your post, Stephanie. And I hope you have a great day on your first day at work!!

I grinned when you mentioned Bella loves to shop, because as we know majority of the gals/women love shopping, hehe...

Ooh, and thanks for the recipe! :)

Stephanie said...

Melody - Truth be told, I'M not that big of a shopper. Maybe it's because I have spent the last few years on such a tight budget. But Bella. How cow. I'm in trouble with her!

The cookies rock!! I hope you try them and like them!!

1morechapter said...

I love these cookies! Seriously, it's not Christmas for me without these. It's been a family tradition ever since I was small.

Stephanie said...

Michelle - Me too! I used to spend the weekend before Christmas with my Grandma, and we baked the whole weekend. Cookies, cookies, cookies!! Love them.

Nikki in Niagara said...

The recipe looks delicious stephanie! I've saved it and I'm definately going to be making them. Thanks!

Kailana said...

Great post! This calendar is going by so quickly, and it has been really great this year! It's the best way to count down, I really think. I am starting to think I need some Christmas traditions when I get older because I don't really have any with my family...

Literary Feline said...

I hope everything went well on your first day, Stephanie!

I love the Hallmark ornaments. Some of them are amazing or cute and others are downright amusing. :-)

Thank you for letting us glimpse Christmas at your house!

tanabata said...

Hope your first day went well. You've got some fun traditions. I used to work at Hallmark many years ago and it was fun to see all the different ornaments each year. And those cookies sound delicious!

Chrisbookarama said...

Love those ornaments, especially the Barbie one. Great post, Stephanie. Merry Christmas!

Stephanie said...

Nicola - I'm actually surprised there are people out there who HAVEN'T had these!! I hope you like them!

Kailana - My family never really had big holiday traditions. That's why Mike and I are trying to make some for the kids. I can't believe how fast Christmas is coming this year. I still have a lot to do to get ready!

Wendy - Thanks. My first day was a whirl-wind of paperwork and training. Truth be told, the training is going to last a good three months. But it's really going to be a good job, I think! Besides, the Red Cross is just so....noble, ya know?

Tanabata - Hallmark ornaments are the best, that's for sure. But DAMN...they've gotten expensive!! These were almost $16 each!

Chris - Yeah...that Barbie one is pretty cool!!

Carl V. Anderson said...

A wonderful Christmas tradition! I love the ornaments that your kids picked out this year, they are all very fun. We used to buy new ornaments every year and still probably manage to do so every year but it is not an intentional thing. This year we added the Serenity ornament from the Firefly television series. We also got some personalized ornaments from friends which we really enjoy.

Great post Stephanie!

Dev said...

I love your Hallmark tradition, Stephanie. Your tree is really beautiful ~ I bet even moreso with the blue lights.

My family does Prime Rib for Christmas also ~ I think we look forward to it all year long.

Ladytink_534 said...

I adore Hallmark Disney ornaments!

Debi said...

I love your ornament tradition! So cute to see Chad's tastes ESPN ornament, now that is just too funny! Every year we buy each of the kids an ornament that they open during the week before Christmas and put on their own little trees in their bedrooms. We pick out something that reminds us of their year. It would be really neat though, to see what they would pick out for themselves each year! (Of course, then Annie would probably just end up with a tree full of book ornaments.)

Christmas Vacation is definitely one of the best! We finally got to it over the weekend. Yep, you just gotta love Cousin Eddie, huh? We also finally got to Die Hard...for us it's not Christmas without that one!

Bookfool said...

I'm rather fond of Pooh, myself. Ana has good taste. I was a big Winnie-the-Pooh fan (Tigger was my character).

Okay, so your header shrank, too! What's up with that?!

Booklogged said...

It's been years since I've made those cookies and I love them so much. I am not a cookie maker, tho, so I really have to push myself.
Merry Christmas, Stephanie!

raidergirl3 said...

Love the blue tree; please tell me you have Elvis on repeat, singing Blue Christmas to go with the tree.
I haven't made those cookies before, will add to list.
Great post, kids are so funny.
Merry Christmas! and glad you survived the first day of work.

DesLily said...

Ohh a blue tree! My favorite!!!

dang it woman, those cookies sound great!.. I haven't baked in eons and that recipe is making me want to! lol I might give it a go!

Stephanie said...

Carl - OK. You sold me. I have to have a Serenity ornament!! That one will be for ME!

Dev - I'm with you. My mouth has been watering for that Prime Rib for literally weeks now!!

Tink - Me too!! I even have a Tinkerbell one!! Disney is my favorite!!

Deb - Yeah for Annie and a tree full of books!! Yep, Cousin Eddie is the best!! I laugh ever time I see him! Nothing wrong with a little Die Hard at Christmas. I just watched it the other night!!

Bookfool - Although I heart Pooh, there is a special place in my heart for Eeyore!! Yeah...Blogger has messed up my header and I'm having a horrible time trying to get it fixed!

Stephanie said...

Booklogged - Those cookies are a tradition around here. My favorites!!

Raidergirl - You got it!! I do have an Elvis CD with Blue Christmas. (hate to admit that one though!)

Deslily - As soon as I saw your post about the blue lights, I knew we were kindred spirits! have to try the cookies. They are great!

Em said...

I love the tree! Blue tinsel is awesome. :-)

Ana S. said...

What a nice tradition - everyone picking their own ornament. Christmas at your house sounds like great fun!

lisabea said...

Stephanie: I love your blog. TOok me a while to get here! 3 kids, 2 dogs, likes Nine Inch Nails, reading where the red fern grows and has To Kill a Mockingbird listed as fav book?

Get outta my head, girl!


Anyway: Love the ornaments. Do your kids make them too? I have a bunch of artfully spraypainted macaroni with thumbprints and such and I LOVE them.

Iliana said...

Oh those peanut blosssoms look so yummy! Your tree is great and I think that's a great tradition of having everyone select an ornament each year.
My poor tree is still in the box. sigh.
How is work going? Hopefully great!!

ErinPaperbackstash said...

That recipe looks delicious. Who can't love chocolate and peanut butter together? I'll have to try it out soon.