I Can Be Taught

I've always loved Christmas. I love the reason we celebrate it, I love the giving spirit everyone seems to find deep within themselves, I love the joy, and I love the decorations.

Over the years I've collected holiday items left and right, stocking up on after-Christmas sales and snagging finds at thrift stores and yard sales. I just couldn't pass up anything Christmassy on sale. The result? My house was decorated from rooftop to basement the first year we moved in. Every room of the house had something in it, and it took me days to complete the masterpiece. (These were days of putting homeschooling aside and doing nothing but decorating.)

The next year I refrained from decorating the upstairs because, really, who saw it anyway? It still took a few days to do justice to the downstairs though. If you're going to do something, you may as well do it right.

Then last year happened. Last year people discovered my Etsy shop. This was a very good thing, trust me. I loved that it happened. But I didn't figure how it would impact the holidays. At the appointed time, I hauled box after box after fun-filled box from the attic. Then down another flight of steps, stacking boxes in the living room, dining room, hallway and on the furniture. (How did they all fit in the attic?!) But there it all sat for over a week as I was busy in the sewing room filling orders for wonderful customers. In the end, I just grabbed a few of the largest and most prominent items and tossed them around the house, hoping that it looked like the kids decorated so that I could get away with the lack of wonderment and merry.

I hated Christmas in our house last year. I vowed to do things differently this year. I have decided to simplify and ask for help.

This year I bought my Christmas cards. Normally I make them, but I learned last year that I wouldn't have time for such nonsense as that. (Although last year I did make them. What was I thinking?!) I totally had photo cards custom made just for our family at Vista Print for next to nothing. It was sweet. And they arrived in no time. It took a matter of mere minutes to put them into the envelopes they came with and slap the return address labels on that I got for them. They're waiting to be addressed and distributed.

Check those off the list as done.

A friend of mine should seriously be an interior decorator. Her home is just the most amazing thing I've ever seen. It's like stepping into a magazine. Or better. I am not even kidding. This year she lost her husband of 46 years and just doesn't have the desire to decorate her own home, but says she'll miss the decorating. She graciously volunteered to come help me. (I think she'll be sorely disappointed in the lack of bling and sheer volume at my place compared to hers, but she'll also be kind enough to not mention it.) We're getting together next week to transform the house.

Decorating the entire house in high fashion? Taken care of.

Now I just need to organize a cookie bake with some friends, and I have two in mind. They've already tried getting together for this very reason in the past so I know they'll be game.

I should have asked for help with the holidays years ago. But at least I learn slowly instead of not at all.


I had no idea that I was such an in-demand baker. Those cookies seemed to garner some attention. With a name like Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies, they really are sure bets. I'm not a recipe posting kind of person, but since so many asked here it is.

1 1/2 c flour
1/2 c. cocoa
1/4 tsp power
1/4 tsp soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c butter
1 c sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 jar marachino cherries
1 12 oz. bag chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Mix all but the last 3 ingredients together and form into mini muffin pan cups. (I use the Pampered Chef mini muffin pans because they really don't stick - really! - and the stomper that makes the shaping of the cups so very easy.) Put a cherry in each cup. Melt the chocolate and milk in the microwave and add 8 tsp. cherry juice. Fill cups with chocolate mixture and bake at 350 for 10 minutes. This makes 4 dozen if you don't eat any before baking. Ahem.

*Let it be noted that if you accidentally get cherry pie filling instead of marachino cherries it still works. But the pie filling will leak out while baking and make it appear as though they're bleeding.


Debbie in CA : ) said...

Each year I simplify and each year Christmas has more joy in it. Go figure! All my kids love to help decorate so we "do it up" in style with a new twist on the regular decor each year. I rarely sweat the details these days and it all falls into place. Just another special thing about this wondrous and miraculous time. JOY not STRESS! That's the way I like it. : )

I wondered about those uncoagulating cookes. I thought they were a late hit from halloween. The recipe sounds yummy!

Leanne said...

Ack. I can't even go here yet.

I'm glad you're on top of things though, and I'm slightly jealous too.

Michelle said...

Good job to ask for help! It's so hard to do for too many people. Just make sure you make time for the cookie bake! ;) And the sewing. I swear I'll get my act together someday. Hopefully someday soon.

The Sports Mama said...

Personally, even if they don't get eaten, bleeding cookies are sure to be a complete and absolute success at my house. And Bug would have the most fun making them, I'm sure.

We don't get Christmasy until about two weeks before. Needless to say, there is not a lot of decorating that happens here. I'm not sure what kind of shock my boys will go into if they marry girls who DO decorate.

It might be a good idea for me to add that to the "Care and Handling Of...." booklet I plan to make up for each of their wives.

Harmony said...

hi dear!u have a cute blog!tk cr!

Debbie said...

I have a friend who is so picky about decorating - each ornament goes on a certain branch. Her kids aren't' even allowed to help. Needless to say, most years the tree goes up on Christmas Eve. Me - I just plop it all down and say "Go" and they do. It's great.

Burgh Baby said...

You are obviously wiser than me, I'm realizing. Last year I didn't get everything done, either, and I really hated it. Did I think to illicit help? Of course not. You get a gold star!

Melissa said...

Yum, bleeding cookies...my favorite kind...lol!

CC said...

You have just inspired me to organize a cookie day with friends. That said, probably no one will come (always happens like that). But I've gotta try!

Thanks for the fab looking recipe!

imbeingheldhostage said...

I'd make cookies with you...

I think that's wonderful you're getting together with your newly-widowed friend. Enjoy the moments!

Kellan said...

It's definitely nice to have help. My mom often comes and helps decorate and I do the same at her house. This year I am having all the kids help during Thanksgiving break. I hope your house is beautiful this year and you are able to enjoy Christmas more than last year.

Take care, Karen - Kellan

The Mom Bomb, a/k/a Folksy Mama said...

Thank you for the cookie recipe. You're obviously out to add 10 pounds to my butt, and it's not even Thanksgiving yet.

Tootsie Farklepants said...

Since I'm not a fan of marachino cherries I'll take the bleeding cookies!

Trannyhead said...

Those pre-made photo cards are the only way to go, man. Welcome to the dark side.

Shellie said...

Oh, thank you for the recipe and if the bleeding cookies still taste good, I think they'll make a nice Halloween treat!