I love all the holidays. I am a sucker for food, family, costumes, decorating: anything that has a party vibe. However, the Christmas holidays are by far my favourite. It may have something to do with growing up with the ‘Griswolds’. My parents would decorate the house from top to bottom, inside and out. There would be an EPIC back yard hockey game. My mother and my grandmother would bake enough Christmas cookies to feed a small city, or two. In all this ‘It’s a Wonderful Life-isms’, by far my favourite is the tradition of my parents hosting the neighbourhood open house every Christmas Eve…I LOVED IT! My parents had the cheesy fake wood veneer bar in the burgundy carpet-adorned basement. My dad would mix drinks and spin the 8 tracks. That was until I became a bartender and the cheesy bar became all mine. All in all, the holidays growing up for me were all about us kids.
It is not surprising that all my family’s traditions are the ones I grew up with.
I love my home and I so look forward to dressing it up for the holidays. I just can’t wait until Halloween and Thanksgiving are over so I can get into the basement and dust off the Christmas decorations. Finding a home for all the sparkle and family treasures, it is like my own special Christmas morning.
The cookie baking tradition is by far my favourite, although it means a lot of mess. As messy as this tradition is, my controlling, neat-freak OCD side goes nuts. Two of my four children have November birthdays so ‘Christmas Cookie Baking Parties’ have always been a staple in our home. Sprinkles, icing and flour OH MY! All worth it to see the sticky finger licking kids, covered in flour and green sprinkles smiling and laughing while learning in the kitchen. This tradition encompasses so many amazing things I would never trade it for a perfectly clean house. And the best part of all is the amazing smell of cookies baking! I love how just the familiar scent of holiday cookies in the oven can instantly make me feel like I’m right back there in my childhood home, helping my mom and grandma bake dozens upon dozens of cookies.
Following in my father’s footsteps, my husband and I have always opened our home every Christmas Eve to our family and neighbours. On a ‘pop-in-if-you-can’ type of invite, it is always an amazing night. I love to have fun with it and do a ‘naughty and nice list’ table cloth; it’s a simple and very inexpensive way of making your guests feel special and adding whimsy to your party. This night is full of joy, sharing, anticipation and the best part – it ends early. People start coming by around 4:00 and all are gone by around 9 to get ready for the big guys’ appearance. I have met so many amazing people because of this tradition. There is something very special about sharing your home with friends and strangers alike.
Finally, the season really is all about the kids. We all know the kids love the ‘Big Guy’ so why not make him the star of your party? Every Christmas Eve my computer transforms into the NORAD Santa Tracker and it is a HUGE hit with the kids. They love to check in and see where he is delivering his toys, watch the videos and see how long before he works his way into our time zone. This way all the kids can scurry home, leave out their cookies and carrots, and make sure all the Elves are nestled in their beds. On Christmas morning my favourite tradition is the single mandarin orange in the toe of each stocking. The smell takes me back to my childhood and brings back so many wonderful holiday memories.
Regardless of how you celebrate the holidays or what holidays you celebrate, the most important thing is to surround yourself with those who matter. That is truly the greatest gift.
In keeping with the holiday spirit and gift giving, to help you make more wonderful holiday memories. I am giving away a weekend at Olde Bridge Place, my country Inn in the heart of Mennonite country beside the last covered bridge in West Montrose, Ontario. Known as the Kissing Bridge.
Your weekend of memory making will include 2 nights in the Kissing Bridge suite. A fabulous 2 room suite with king size bed , full kitchen and living room. A Cozy fireplace and your very own private porch over looking the Grand River and so close to the Kissing Bridge you can almost touch it. Also included is a delicious farm style breakfast for both mornings that you prepare at you leisure in your suite.
Good Luck …and I can’t wait to be part of your holiday memories.
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This post is sponsored by Pine-Sol. With a strong heritage and long legacy, Pine-Sol is a long-standing tradition in many Canadian homes. Apart from the classic pine scent, Pine-Sol is also available in a variety of long-lasting scents – mandarin sunrise, lavender, lemon and sparkling wave. The smell of pine and mandarin always remind me of the holidays! So, you can use different scents throughout your home to change the mood too.
Over the past 8 years I have had the pleasure of working on some amazingly cool and fun projects. I have worked with incredible brands, celebrities and in many different places all over the world…As many people tell me… I have a pretty cool gig…
This past spring I received a call from an unlikely source. A couple of engineers from the University of Waterloo wanted to talk to me.
Ummm…do they know that I don’t do MATH?
Turns out this odd voicemail has turned into one of the funnest (it’s a word)…Most creative projects I have every had the opportunity to work on.
Co- Founders Bryan and Jason were a world away in China with an idea, an ugly prototype and the dream of creating a single serve cocktail machine… There was only one problem…
They had no idea how to create a delicious cocktail…
I don’t do Math and they didn’t do Cocktails…
After many 4 am texting, email and skype sessions…At this time we had never actually met and they were a ‘day away’ in China with sketchy internet so it made for some fun brainstorming sessions…..Along with the lovely Nadia our flavor development guru…we have created something FABOOSH and unique.
Combining the world of technology (the ‘Math’ doers) with the world of Mixology we created Bartesian… The Ultimate Cocktail Machine…
Bartesian is a single serve cocktail machine that makes a fresh, FABOOSH tasting cocktail every time…
For the record..I did A LOT of MATH…
Nadia and myself worked in the Lab for weeks, measuring, mixing, tasting, tweaking, perfecting the flavor profiles for these cocktails…
It was a tough job but somebody had to do it. Let’s just say that we were very popular with her co-workers …It was not hard to find tasting volunteers…
In the end…We created 6 FABOOSH Bartesian cocktails…all of which I am proud to put my name on and would serve to any of my guests. If you know anything about me or what I do…If they tasted like ASS..I would have no part of it.
It was really important that each cocktail tasted fresh and “REAL” every time. We used all fresh juices, the capsules are NOT powder. We sourced all natural flavors and premium bitters. Don’t believe me? Come on over and we can do a blind taste test…We may have to do it several times to make sure we get it right and it’s always more accurate with Disco music playing in the background…
Just ask Amy one of our many taste testers…
If you want to know more about this FABOOSH new project I am a part of..feel free to email me or comment below. Check out Bartesian on Kickstarter !! You will find all the information there along with some more really cool videos and how to become a backer…
HUGE CONGRATS to the amazing Bartesian Team… Everyone , math doers and cocktail doers alike are so very excited and proud of everyone for all their hard work..
A couple years ago I tweeted a pic of my wine with a bowl of chips and stated it was my perfect wine pairing…The response I received from people, telling me their favorite Wine & Chip combo was CRAZY! Who knew so many people loved to drink wine with their chips…? Turns put about 50% of them…MY PEOPLE !!!
So let’s get fancy shall we…
Cabernet Sauvignon + Original Recipe
This delicious full bodied wine…coupled with the simple flavor and unique crunch of Original Recipe …Is the perfect pairing for a night of ACTION…movies that is. Weather your Mission is Impossible or you are ready to be Bourne again…This will be the perfect match for an evening of excitement on the couch….
Sauvignon Blanc + Lime and Black Pepper
This white has crisp tropical notes…So fly to a beach IMMEDIATELY!! Or..Pair it up with an evening in and a good drama…Then you can be The Judge on whether or not this is the pairing for you…
Merlot + Balsamic Vinegar Sweet Onion
This wine is bright and fruity…So they are perfect to be paired with the tangy sweetness of these chips. The fun vibe of this pairing is perfect for a night of laughter. So call all your Bridesmaids over for a girls night in and figure out exactly when Harry did meet Sally.
Pinot Grigio + Seal Salt and Malt Vinegar
There is a crisp nectarine and peach flavor to this wine which pairs so well with the acidic tang from the salt and malt vinegar. This yin and yang is the best companion for a night of reality television. So you can bet that Big Brother is watching your Amazing Race to the bottle of the bottle and the bag.
Whatever your taste have fun with these pairings, mix and match and let me know your favorite pairings. If you are on Twitter or Instagram be sure to snap a shot of your pairings and hash tag them #UnwindTogether ..Would love to see what you are enjoying, also what you are watching these days, I am always looking for new TV show to obsess over.
And to sweeten the deal…On specially marked bottles of Woodbridge wines by Robert Mondavi you can get $2.00 your next purchase of Miss Vickie’s chips.
CHEERS LET’S #UNWINDTOGETHER !!
*Full disclosure I was given free wine and chips…Fuller disclosure…I would do just about anything for free wine and chips…*
**Dealer coupon expires December 31 2015**