Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's that time of year...

Christmas-time is here! 

My Business Man and I had a wonderful family-filled Thanksgiving break. We traveled back to Illinois, and got to visit lots of family and friends. We squeezed in a lot of eating, some shopping, and even a 4-mile road race! 'Twas a great time of rejuvenation and cheer. 

Before we left the Bean Town, we went ahead and put up our Christmas tree, so it would be all ready for the Christmas festivities when we returned. While we were home, we picked up all our ornaments and decorations that had still been living with our parents so we could decorate!

Last night was the perfect cozy night for some tree trimming. We started off with a comforting casserole for dinner, Company Casserole. My mom used to make this for me growing up, and it's the perfect winter meal. The recipe actually came from her aunt, I believe. I changed it a little by adding the spinach. (Gotta get those veggies in somewhere!)

I think it is virtually impossible to take an attractive picture of a casserole. Just sayin'.

Company Casserole


  • 1 ½ lbs. ground beef
  • 8-oz. cans tomato sauce
  • tsp. garlic salt
  • dash pepper
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 10-oz. package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 8-oz. package egg noodles, cooked and drained


Preheat oven to 350*F. Brown ground beef; drain off fat. Stir in garlic salt, pepper, and tomato sauce. Simmer 5 minutes. Mix with onion, cottage cheese, sour cream, and spinach. In large dish, mix noodles and cooked mixture. Cover with grated cheese. Bake 35-40 minutes in preheated oven.

After filling our hungry bellies, we got to work putting on the ornaments. It was so nice that the tree was already up, and lit, so we just got to do the fun part!

My Business Man is very particular about how ornaments should be hung. I got many a discerning look from him as I placed the ornaments on the tree. I also would not be surprised if some got re-placed while my back was turned... or while I was guzzling Diet Mountain Dew. (My recent beverage of choice. And yes, I can drink DMD at 8pm and still sleep like a baby all night long.)

What are we waiting for? Here's the tree!

All finished! Check out our neat-o new tree skirt from T.J. Maxx. Love that place! Now it's just waiting for presents underneath it!

Here's a few of our favorite ornaments...

This teal ball is simple, but has always been one of my favorites. It's huuuge! (Think bigger than a softball!) And it's just so glittery and swirly and so nice to look at.

This Chinese-themed ornament is special because my Business Man's two younger sisters are both adopted from China. They were both in our wedding. Sarah Beth was a bridesmaid and Emma was our flower girl.

[Side note: While home over T-break, Emma was totally chillin' around in her flower girl dress. So precious and fun! I'm thinking I might need to do that with my wedding dress. Might as well get some more use out of it! ha!]

Obviously, this ornament represents our love for java. (aka coffee!) Lately I have been all about the pumpkin spice creamer in my morning cuppa jo. Speaking of Christmas and coffee, I have yet to get my Starbucks' Christmas cup! Every year when the Starbucks' red Christmas cups come out, I can't wait to get my first Gingerbread Latte or Peppermint Mocha in that special red cup that brings such joy. Hasn't happened yet! (Goal for this weekend perhaps.)

If you know me at all, then you know that I am absolutely the cupcake queen. This is only one of several ornaments dedicated to cupcakes. There's not quite as many cupcakes on this tower as there were at our wedding!

And finally, an ornament with a painting of Wilson's... the place where my Business Man and I got engaged a year and a half ago! It's an old-fashioned ice cream parlor in Door County, Wisconsin. It's so cute and fun and holds such great memories.

That's just a glimpse of our tree and its beautiful ornaments! I will be posting more pics of the rest of our Christmas decorations as the season progresses.

And....... on a completely different note, for the month of December, I am doing a BLOG CHALLENGE!

"What type of challenge?" you may be asking yourselves.... Well of course, it is baking-related.

"25 Days of Christmas Cookies"

This means, that every day from December 1st to December 25th, I will blog about a different cookie recipe. In total, I will be baking 25 types of Christmas cookies over the month of December. Good thing I have co-workers who love baked goods! And there might be some lucky recipients of Christmas care packages as well. ;-)

I am also putting a shout-out to anyone who might want to guest-post and share their own Christmas cookie recipe here on the blog. You don't have to have a blog to do so, and I would love the extra participation and new recipes! Just leave a comment or send me a facebook message.

Now I'm off to research some new and exciting recipes! Can't wait!


Kristin said...

Love the tree!! I'm jealous, we can't have a big one or one with breakable ornaments because of a certain mischievous kitten.

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