Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Jess the Baker

Anyone that knows me knows I'm not a big fan of baking ... sure, I've tried it and actually manage to make something delicious every once in a while, but more often than not I find it frustrating and messy!  My mom gave me a KitchenAid mixer for my birthday this year and my future sister-in-law happens to be amazing in the kitchen, I decided to give baking another try this Christmas!  Long story short - I had a lot more success than failure and ended up with over 15 dozen cookies!  This mama is trying to get her body back to shape, so there was no.possible.way I would survive with all of them in my house!  Thank you to my favorite blogger Jess from Little Baby Garvin  for giving me the idea to stack cookies in mason jars and gift them away to my family.  Here's what I made and how they turned out!

Rolo Stuffed Ritz Crackers
Christmas M&M cake mix cookies
my Aunt Julie's famous sugar cookies
Original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies w/ M&Ms
Oreo White Chocolate Pudding Peppermint Cookies
Confetti Cake Batter Cookies (pictured in mason jar)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

a BRIGHT tradition

Since I'm on a roll, I wanted to share one of my favorite Christmas traditions.  Besides Christmas trees in every room, a candy advent calendar, Christmas books every night, cutting down our Christmas tree at Williams Tree Farm (forgot that post this year!) and gingerbread houses, my favorite holiday tradition is Christmas lights.  While we look at Christmas lights multiple nights in December, we make one night extra special for Avery and now, Harper!  The girls put on their Christmas PJs, we pop popcorn and grab Avery's favorite red & green m&ms, stop at Starbucks for hot chocolate, crank up the holiday tunes and head to Rockford to check out the lights! I didn't get any picture of the lights this year, but did get some good ones of the girls before we left!

Friday, December 20, 2013

A new tradition

At Christmastime, I didn't think I could possible pack in any more traditions than we already do/have.  Tradition is my middle name at Christmas and I absolutely love it!  What I love even more is watching Avery fall in love with Christmas - she marvels at each Christmas tree in the house, is constantly requesting to watch Christmas movies and eats 2 bites of dinner when she says "I'm full, can I have my chocolate bag?" (advent calendar).  But we were at Target in the Christmas aisle (where else?!) and I saw a gingerbread house kit that was not only on sale, but on double sale thanks to a Target Cartwheel offer, I couldn't help but ask Avery if she wanted to make one.  Her eyes lit up and with a huge smile on her face she said YES!  Decorating gingerbread houses was never something my mom and I did, but my aunt and cousin do it every year as one of their Christmas traditions.  Avery had so much fun decorating and loves to show off the house to each visitor we get.  Success!  This will definitely be added to our list of Christmas traditions! 


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tree Tour 2013!

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Jessica.  Every Christmas her mommy would take her to a magical Christmas store where she would find dozens and dozens of Christmas trees, all decorated with a different theme.  Jessica vowed that whenever she grew up and had her own house, that she would put different themed trees all throughout her house at Christmas ... which brings us up to the present time.  I have been doing themed trees since we first moved into our house (so this would be year #5), but for whatever reason, they have never made it on the blog .... until now.  So without further ado, I bring you the "Johnson Tree Tour: 2013!"

Avery's room ... since Harper is still sleeping in our room, she will have to wait until next year for her tree!
 KITCHEN:  "Whoville"
 DINING ROOM:  "Burlap, Lace & Pearls"
 OFFICE - "Peacock"
 FOYER TREE - I've always wanted a white tree, and happened to stumble upon this 6' pre-lit tree on super super clearance for $8 last February!!
FAMILY ROOM:   Sparkles & Snowflakes

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas Countdown

....... and it's December!  Seriously, this year went QUICK!  I know I say that every year, but it really, really did!  Avery has caught the Christmas spirit fever this year so we have started a few traditions for her to get her even more excited for December 24/25 and the arrival of Santa!

1.  Advent 'calendar' - I attempted to string these bags somewhere in our house, but couldn't find a wall long enough so I just decided to dump them in a bowl - not as pretty, but still does the trick!  Avery will open a bag of candy goodies each night after dinner to count down the days!

2.  Christmas books - After the candy is eaten, she will get to open a book (a good mix of new and old) to take up with her upstairs and read at bedtime.  So glad my mom kept all of our Christmas books from when my brother and I were little - lots of classics in there!