Thanks for joining me for another Nine Favorite Things post.
(the family Christmas tree…that my mom and Asher spent 72 hours decorating)
The countdown to Christmas is officially on. Somehow we are just four days away from Christmas Eve. I’m excited, but also so sad…I love this time of year and don’t want to see it end. Of course, I’m also running around like a truly crazy person in the scramble to try to “get everything done”. Anyone else currently doing the same? The thing I’m really starting to discover about myself is that I’m a little overly ambitious. I want to say yes to everything, but in doing so, I tend to bite off more than I can chew. Especially during the holidays. And on top of that? I have my own lofty goals and things I want to check off my list.
I 100% get this from my mother. She’s a “do it all” kind of woman, it’s amazing. But we both can also take on too much, which I’m sure many of you can relate to? You don’t need to do everything and you definitely don’t need to do it all at once. I know this lesson…it just hasn’t quite sunk in to my thinking just yet. Maybe someday soon?
Who knows, until then I’m over here cooking and baking up all things Christmas, wrapping gifts, and prepping for a Christmas sister night with Miss Asher tonight. How about you guys? What are you up to on these days leading up to Christmas?
I will say that I’m really excited for the holidays. My family will all be here together and I’m so grateful for that, this year more than ever. We have so much to celebrate. And while I know 2020 hasn’t been the easiest year, it has also brought some really incredible things/people into our lives. Like little Oslo! He’s doing amazing by the way. Growing more every single day and settling into the family. We’re all really excited for his first Christmas. My mom’s got him dressed to the nines in his Santa PJ’s, it’s the absolute cutest.
Anyway, once Christmas Eve hits things will come to a little more of a slow down with work. My main focus will then be on the fam…hanging with Asher, and I’m sure making plenty of holiday cocktails. Can’t wait!
Question: what are you guys looking forward to most over the holidays?
Coming up this week on HBH… Tomorrow we’ll be sharing an easy family dinner. Then on Tuesday, we’ll have one last sweet cookie recipe (that might just be my favorite). For Wednesday we’ve got a go-to holiday bread. And for Christmas Eve? Well, we’ve got the most deliciously addicting snack. Something perfect for munching on before dinner. There will be no post on Christmas! I haven’t decided if there will be a cocktail on Saturday, but if there is, I’m thinking something fun for New Years’! Any suggestions?
Today’s Favorite’s list is a bit like a last-minute holiday guide, which wasn’t intentional, but I feel like it’s fitting! We’ve got some stocking stuffers, last-minute gift ideas, and recipes for this week and next! Basically, I’m just trying to cram in all things holiday before the season is over.
Hoping you guys are all doing a little prepping and a little chilling today. Maybe watching a Christmas movie or two, baking up all the best holiday cookies, and mixing up the best Christmas cocktails…even if you don’t celebrate. Because let’s be honest, it’s the end of 2020 and at this point, anything goes.
And I know I’ve said this a lot this month, but…
Tis’ the season!
1. Things i’m loving, wanting, and excited to try…
Watching…All the Christmas Classics. I haven’t had time to watch many holiday movies, so I’m cramming my favorites in this week. Everything from The Santa Clause to Eloise at Christmastime. What are your Christmas week movie picks?
cooking…Mom’s Secret Christmas Eve Chex Mix. We wait for this all year. It’s the BEST.
loving…Homemade Potpourri. I make this every single year and the house just smells like Christmas. It’s my favorite.
reading…The Night Before Christmas: The Classic Edition. So excited to read this to Asher and Oslo on Christmas Eve!
ordered…this Zara hoodie. I can’t wait for it to get here. I need new hoodies to cook in and I love how cute, but also affordable this one is. Also ordered this long sleeve tee and these fun hair scrunchies too.
drinking…The North Pole Cocktail. It’s just such a favorite of mine and perfect for Christmas week!
new candle…Portable Xmas Tree Candle. This sounds incredible. Like Christmas year-round.
2. My Favorite Holiday Appetizers.
3. Last Minute Stocking Stuffers…
Tip: as the hand sanitizers get low my mom refills them with a regular, value refill bottle, of hand sanitizer. This keeps the scent going!
4. Favorite Questions of the Week.
q: Are there times when you’re like…I’m not cooking today, frozen dinners it is.
a: Haha! Um honestly, no. Yes, I have days when I don’t feel like cooking. On those days I’ll usually just make something super easy like the Creamy Chicken Marsala I just shared! Or I will make something I know my family will get really excited over. I LOVE doing this because it’s fun for me to create recipes with others in mind. It’s why I began cooking! The other night I was dead tired but needed a quick dinner. Knowing that my oldest brother LOVES butter chicken I decided to make a new butter chicken recipe. I had fun creating it and even more fun serving it up. He was so excited!!
q: What has been the most difficult learning curve to overcome in running a blog/business?
a: For me, it’s been learning how to manage a team and delegate. I am so used to doing everything on my own. Delegating and managing others has been really hard for me! But I’m learning day by day!
q: Favorite Holiday Song?
a: So cheesy, but my mom and I would dance around the kitchen to this while baking Christmas cookies when I was a kid. They’re my favorite Christmas memories. I’ll always love this song 🎁🎄☃️ Oops, I forgot to add the song! Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas Is You
5. 25 Days of Christmas…
14. Roll your dough out, Cut, then chill
Instead of chilling sugar cookie dough before rolling, I always roll the dough out first, cut the cookies, and place them on baking sheets. I then freeze the cute cookies before baking for 10-15 minutes. This saves so much time and I always end up with perfectly shaped cookies
I found this to work with any type of cut-out cookie!! It honestly never fails and is sooo much easier than rolling out chilled dough.
This is my favorite Christmas tradition. I’ve been making cookie boxes for the last 4 years and they’ve become my favorite holiday gift. Everyone LOVES a cookie box…and let’s be honest, I REALLY love putting them together. This year’s box is my biggest and definitely my favorite.
Tip? I’ve found a variety of 4-6 cookies to be perfect. BUT even just gifting a single batch of cookies does the trick…especially if that batch of cookies is extra delicious.
Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many cookies. Do what feels manageable to you! It’s all about having fun and gifting someone some delicious cookies. The number/amount of cookies doesn’t matter.
Find all my tips and tricks for creating the best cookie box here.
12. Make Christmas Cocktails!
I shared all my favorites with you guys last week, but in case you’ve missed any, you can see all past Christmas drinks all in one place right here. And, if you missed yesterday’s Frosted Mistletoe Margarita, I recommend you give that one a try tonight. I actually think it’s my favorite drink yet!
11. Randomly Do Something Nice For Someone Today
Because Tis’ the Season for Giving! You never know what something as small as giving a helping hand at the grocery store or buying a cup of coffee for the person behind you in line could do to their day. Sometimes it’s the smallest gestures that can make all the difference.
10. Homemade Hot Chocolate Mugs
Everyone loves a mug of hot chocolate on a cold and snowy day, right?! Yup! These mugs are the perfect last-minute gift and they always turn out so cute!! I make these mugs pretty much every single year. Each year I have fun finding new holiday mugs to stuff with my homemade cocoa mix. This year’s mugs are my favorite!! Here is how I make these cute gifts!
What You Need: cute mugs, a roll of cellophane, ribbon, gift tags, and homemade cocoa mix.
Dry Cocoa Mix (makes about 4 cups)
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chip
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon flaky salt
Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
To Complete the Mugs: cut the cellophane into large squares, then fit the square of cellophane inside each mug. Fill the mugs up with cocoa mix, top with marshmallows or candies, and then tie a cute ribbon at the top to seal the mix inside. Decorate as desired!
Be sure to include a note on how to mix up the perfect mug of hot chocolate. I simply write out the directions on a notecard and gift it alongside the mug.
For One Mug of Cocoa: combine 1 1/2 cups warm milk and 1/3 cup cocoa mix together until steaming. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.
9. Make Dried Oranges.
These are so easy and they make such a festive addition to garland, wreaths, and even holiday cocktails!
Here is how I do it:
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange very thinly sliced orange slices in a single layer, and generously dust with sugar, if desired. Bake until the peels are dry and the flesh is translucent, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Use them however you would like! My favorite is for decorating and cocktail making!
It’s just day’s till Christmas Eve, if you haven’t already plan what you are cooking for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Sharing both my menus plus a few other options as well.
Our dinners are complete with cocktails, appetizers, sides, mains, and, of course, sweet desserts too. And I decided to share what we’ll be having for breakfast too…there’s never too much food at Christmastime!
Grab both menus right here.
6. Special Angels Donation.
As you guys all know, our family recently grew with the adoption of my new little brother Oslo. I’ve talked about this a little in previous posts, but just to refresh, my parents worked with, Special Angels Adoption to help him join our family. They have helped so many children, with all types of backgrounds and needs, to connect with families. We wanted to be able to help them raise money this December to continue to be able to do all the incredible work they’re already doing!
We hosted a giveaway this week on Instagram to encourage our HBH family to donate to Special Angels since it’s so near to our hearts. The giveaway is now over. BUT I’m so excited to share that together we helped to raise over $30,000 which we will now match. INCREDIBLE! I just want to thank everyone who was able to give and who supports us daily. We really do appreciate you! And if you missed the giveaway, we have one last holiday giveaway that’s currently live on Instagram. If you have not entered yet, it’s a fun one!
And of course, if you’re able to, we’re still partnering throughout December on the Special Angels donation page. Anything you can do, little or big, will help – THANK YOU! My family and the team at Special Angels are so appreciative.
You can donate here.
7. Favorite Links I’m Loving…
What’s New on Netflix in January…because all the Christmas movies will be gone 🙁 Sex and The City 2 for me (I’ve never seen it).
Christmas Book List…all of the books are so sweet. My favorites are Eloise at Christmastime, Madeleine’s Christmas, and of course, The Night Before Christmas. Oh! And the Polar Express. Wait, and How The Grinch Stole Christmas, and I love the Nutcracker too. What’s your favorite?
15 Christmas Nail Designs…I’m really not a nail person, but some of these looks are so pretty.
Gluten Free Baking Tips…for anyone who needs to bake gluten-free this year, read this.
7 Kitchen Organization Hacks That Make the Most of the Storage You Have…if you need to organize before or after the holidays, these tips will help.
How to Wear a Berry Lip Like a California Girl…all the best tips on wearing red lipstick.
The 72 Best Holiday Movies You Can Stream Right Now…I’ve never seen Noelle, do I need to watch it?
The Internet Made Me Try These 15 Trader Joe’s Items…these are the ones to buy again.
Inside a Charming Fifth Avenue Home That’s Big on Personality…so cute. Hard to believe this is in the heart of NYC.
Spend New Year’s Eve With Mariah Carey in Times Square…well that is quite the offer.
America’s Best Bar Sets Up a Winter Wonderland in Aspen…hmm, might have to stop in next time we’re in Aspen.
It’s Not Too Late…60 gifts you can get on Amazon Prime.
6 Tips for Spending Your First Holiday Season with Your Partner…if you’re meeting the parents this year.
8. Cozy Slippers…for staying inside this week.
9. this week’s dinners…
Saturday: Frosted Mistletoe Margarita
Sunday: Easy Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls
Check out all the past Nine Favorite Things posts here.
Lastly, if you’re catching up on blog posts from the week, be sure to sign up for our daily newsletters. They’ll help you to stay up to date with everything that’s happening here, as well as fun content you’ll only get via email. If you’re meal planning today, don’t forget to check out my menu below (it’s # 9 on the favorite’s list). You can grab the full grocery list for this week’s menu in our special Sunday newsletter.