Happy weekend!

I’m not going to ask you if you’re ready for the holidays…

I don’t want to add any more pressure to you if you’re still scrambling!

Because I’m not ready.

Not only do I still have a lot of things left to do, but I’m also not ready for the holiday season to be over any time soon.

I mean, we call it the most wonderful time of the year, right?

So why, oh why, does it have to pass so quickly?

You’d think I would have my act together since my job is to decorate early, but Christmas still always seems to take me by surprise…

This is Anne writing to you this week, by the way!

I have so much to share with you this week.

We Decorated The Family Tree!

Okay, so that shouldn’t be news at this point in the month, but it is!

Usually, we decorate the tree over Thanksgiving weekend, but the kids’ schedules didn’t align so we had to wait until my daughter got home on December 13th.

If you’ve been part of our community for a while, then you know that AnnMarie and I both have a tree in our homes filled with sentimental ornaments that we’ve collected since our own childhoods.

So even though I decorate everything else for Christmas without the family’s help, the tree in our family room is a family event.

A few years ago, decorating the tree ended with me crying in my bedroom because my young teens made the experience miserable…

Since then, they realize just how important this tradition is to me and participate much more willingly.

To be fair, we have a ton of ornaments and it can get a little boring to hang all of them.

But this year, I decided to do things a little differently.

I turned tree decorating into a whole evening of fun activities.

We started with a family-favorite recipe (pizza fondue) for dinner.

And then, there were games!

After about 15 minutes of hanging ornaments, I had everyone break for a little bit of fun.

Family of teens playing a game around a kitchen island

This game required each player to toss ping pong balls into that plaid bucket.

The twist: everyone at the other end of the island got to throw “snowballs” (actually cotton balls) at the ping pong ball to try to knock it away from the bucket!

Those cotton balls were shockingly effective.

I’ll have to share all the rest of the games with you in a blog post.

The best part was at the end of the evening, everyone said it was so much fun and they can’t wait for tree decorating night next year!

Mission accomplished.

My Kitchen Counters Arrived!

This fall I shared my plans for giving my kitchen a makeover.

We’ve been waiting for the new counters since the beginning of September but supply chain issues have slowed everything down.

My husband has been busy!

He replaced the old brackets on the island and added the table legs and trim.

The old backsplash is gone!

He installed cement board because the old drywall didn’t survive the backsplash removal.

But everything else is waiting on the new counters.

Kitchen with cherry cabinets and white quartz counters during a renovation project

Friday was the big day!

The white quartz counters make a huge difference in brightening up the space.

Unfortunately, two of the pieces of quartz were measured incorrectly so they had to go back to the warehouse.

And one of those pieces is where our kitchen sink is located.

So as I type this, I have no sink.

I’m really hoping this gets resolved early in the week so we can still get a plumber in to redo the plumbing for the new sink before Christmas!

Otherwise, I’ll be using the utility sink in the garage to wash pots and pans and we’ll be using paper plates until January…

First-world problems, right?

I keep reminding myself that I’m so fortunate to have a home and a kitchen after so many people lost their entire homes this past week.

I’ll keep you posted about the progress!

I’m also still trying to decide what color to paint the island.

I’m wavering between a light greige, a soft white, and a green (like Benjamin Moore’s Winding Vines or Guilford Green).

What would you do?

Simple Gift Wrapping Idea

This week on Instagram we joined up with five friends to share ideas for wrapping gifts.

Christmas package with red and white striped paper and yarn bow

I shared my daughter’s affordable and pretty idea to use thin yarn as a bow.

You can easily customize every package, and a skein of yarn will last for years of gift wrapping!

You can get all the details about how she does it in this video.

New Year’s Eve Inspiration

This week on the blog we got together with our virtual dinner club and shared some ideas with you for ringing in the new year.

Did you see AnnMarie’s sparkling tablescape?

close up of gold flatware next to place setting

Isn’t her centerpiece idea so creative?!

Wait until you see the amazing low carb dessert I came up with! (You can easily make it with sugar if you prefer).

6 tall shot glasses filled with Low Carb Salted Caramel Cheesecake Shooters on a wood tray with gold Christmas ornament balls

Our blogging friends put together a simple cocktail party menu that is ideal for celebrating the end of the year.

And that’s it!

O Holy Night lyrics on a sign by Between You and Me Signs decorated with greenery and hung above a nativity scene

We hope you enjoy this last week before we celebrate Christmas and keep the reason we celebrate close to your heart.

Until next time, friend!

another new signature block for AnnMarie & Anne

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