A Holly, Jolly Christmas …

“It’s the best time of the year!” 

This Christmas season we had an enchanting, never to be forgotten time when the “the fates allowed” … and our whole family spent a week together in Branson, Missouri. 

We went to Silver Dollar City’s “An Old Time Christmas” the first day of our vacation and we were “dazzled” with over 6.5 million lights, walk-through tunnels, a 5 story special-effect Christmas tree, and the most stunning Christmas lights and displays we’ve ever seen!

Christmas tunnel.jpgThe entire amusement park was “bejeweled”and the trees were wound and draped in lights.
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We drank Christmas wassail and hot chocolate and wandered the pathways strewn with lights and Christmas decorations …

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Watched Rudolph’s Holly Jolly Christmas Parade.

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Saw Santa and Mrs. Claus in a Christmas sleigh loaded with toys.

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And PaPa and Grandma even rode some of the amusement rides and roller coaster’s with both our children and grandchildren! (:

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 Each day of our week was filled with memories … Christmas movies, shopping, a visit and pictures with Santa Claus … bowling, go-carts, lazer tag, bumper cars, and wall climbing … and a magical evening aboard Branson’s Scenic Railroad on The Polar Express, complete with book reading, elves hopping on the train between stops, sugar cookies and cups of hot chocolate, and at last … a visit from Santa!  He surprised us when he suddenly appeared in our train car with a “Ho, ho, ho!  Our grandchildren were spell bound and he spent some time with each child, solemnly telling them when he handed each their shiny, silver, bell  … “that they would always here it ring, as long as they believed.”

Fun Mountain collage

“Christmas memories of happy years gone by/They come back to me and keep me warm inside/Oh they mean so much to me/Those Christmas memories make me cry.” ~ “Christmas Memories” by Alabama

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 And now … a simple treat that looks like it came straight from the North Pole!  Chocolate covered marshmallow pop with a peppermint handle and lots of sprinkles … perfect for dunking and melting into mugs of hot cocoa while waiting for the New Year to arrive! 

closeup mmallows

So simple and fun to “assemble.”

Ingredients needed:

    • Large marshmallows (I used Campfire Giant Roasters)
    • Milk chocolate Almond Bark
    • Peppermint sticks and/or peppermint and chocolate peppermint sticks
    • Assorted sprinkles
    • Cellophane bags with ties
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Directions:

  1. Cover kitchen counter or cookie sheet with wax paper or foil and spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray
  2. Melt chocolate according to directions on package
  3. Insert a peppermint stick into center of each marshmallow
  4. Dip marshmallow into melted chocolate and swirl to cover bottom half of marshmallow with melted chocolate
  5. Sprinkle nonpareils on the chocolate before it hardens
  6. After chocolate has hardened, place marshmallow pops into cellophane bags, or place unwrapped marshmallow pops on a tray or candy dish to serve with cocoa.

“Have a holly, jolly Christmas

And in case you didn’t hear

Oh by golly have a holly jolly Christmas”

This year”

Burl Ives

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

“Retreat” to Cabin Life and Recipe for Honey Bun Cake

During the cold months of January and February we love to snuggle into our winter nests, warm and cozy in spite of  “the wind and the weather.”  After a 2 week vacation in the Ozark Mountains our love for all things “cabin” was reaffirmed.  Cottage and cabin decor appeals to our sense of comfort by using lots of warm woods, layers of rugs and blankets, and mellow lighting.  Whether or not your style is “cabin” you can decorate a nook, cranny, or a wall in your own home that exudes the coddled feeling of the cabin.

Our welcome to the Ozark Mountains, just as the day was slipping into nightfall.Big Cedar LodgeI love using cabin and lodge decor in our cottage.  According to the dictionary, another synonym for cabin is cottage.

cab·in ˈkabən/noun a small shelter or house, made of wood and situated in a wild or remote area.

synonyms: cottage, log cabin, shack, chantey, hut;

One of my favorite books on “cabin living” is by Bill Holm, “The Cabins of Minnesota” with beautiful pictures and photography by Doug Ohman.Cabin book“Cabins are of many kinds …”
Cabins are of many kinds ...“There’s always the possibility of magic …”Magic“Everybody feels at home right away.  A cabin’s furnishings are simple, often treasured family hand-me-downs.  Its sleeping lofts, tucked under the eaves, evoke memories of childhood.  Its fireplace or wood stove provides physical and emotional warmth.”cabin final A peek inside our own cottage/cabin walls.  Tartan plaid walls topped with crests and a trio of Loon Duck plates “nest” on the walls of our home on the lake.  Lots of wood, books and collections exude that cabin-y feeling.crests.jpgThe mirrored cubby in our German “schrank” which loosely translated means cabinet, holds another collection of “treasured family hand-me-downs” from the years we lived in Germany … a German music box, crystal decanters and mugs, pottery, a stein from Oktoberfest, hand painted glasses, a wooden “Smoker” and a special gift from our landlord and friend; a decorative piece that says “Stammtisch” which denotes a table reserved for the regulars.mirrored schrank“In a cabin retreat, pleasure overcomes duty for a little while.” ~ Bill HolmdownstairsA rustic blend of frames imbibes that “cabin” feeling … “Home Sweet Home”Home Sweet Home grayIn this bedroom the Adirondack decor, warm colors, and the quilted bedding adds cabin charm.  A little tree “glows a welcome” and stays up all year decorated cabin-style … wooden bobbers, lures, hand-carved canoes, fish stringers, and twinkle lights adorn it’s boughs.lodge bedroom.jpgCabin decor … Boat Rentals 1/2 MileBoat rentals.jpgA desk with lots of cubby’s and glimpses of “the outdoors” is tucked away in a little nook, perfect for writing or musing.open deskA sweet reminder of our own little fisherman.<3fishing boy.jpgWarm woods and shelves always add cottage and cabin charm.upstairs afternoonA little twilight and cottage glow …upstaris twilightThen, what better way is there to add a bit of cabin coziness to a home than to have a Honey Bun Cake baking in the oven; the smells alone conjure up cabin luxury at it’s best!  This recipe is an old standby adapted from a favorite Betty Crocker recipe.  Our rainy, cool, foggy day in February seemed the perfect time to get out my mixing bowl.  Just as the last of our day was slipping away, the fog lifted and the rain stopped in time for a beautiful sunset!

Ingredients needed:

  • 1 pkg yellow cake mix
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream or 1 cup buttermilk (*or 1 scant cup milk w/1 Tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar added)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • 1 cup heaping brown sugar  “… good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over …” (;  Luke 6:38
  •  3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For Glaze:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 Tablespoons milk (more if needed)

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease 13 x 9 pan with butter or shortening and dust with flour or spray with Baking Pam
  3. Mix cake mix, vegetable oil, eggs and sour cream or *buttermilk
  4. Add chopped pecans (optional)
  5. Stir together, about 50 strokes, and spoon 1/2 the batter into the 13 x 9 greased pan
  6. In a separate bowl, mix brown sugar and cinnamon and spread over batter in pan
  7. Spoon and spread the remaining batter over the sugar and cinnamon mixture in the pan
  8. Use a knife to make swirls in the cake mixture
  9. Bake in 350 degree oven 25 – 30 minutes or until edges began to pull away from pan
  10. Remove cake from oven and cool
  11. Prepare glaze using 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 teaspoon vanilla, and 4 or more Tablespoons of milk
  12. Poke holes in cake using the end of a wooden spoon
  13. Pour glaze over warm cake and serve when cool enough to cut.

After the flavors have a chance to meld, Honey Bun Cake tastes even better the 2nd day!  To serve warm, heat in microwave or oven.

Microwave directions … place sliced cake on a microwave safe plate and moisten a paper towel.  Squeeze out the water so the towel is slightly damp.  Cover the cake slice with the moist paper towel.  Heat the Honey bun Cake for about 8 seconds, or “just “til warm.”  Do not overheat … bread products can become tough in the microwave.

Oven directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place the number of cake slices desired on a cookie sheet or baking pan.  Warm, uncovered for about 5 minutes.  Serve warm cake, immediately.

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 With the spicy goodness of this Honey Bun cake filling the house, we couldn’t wait and had a piece as soon as it had cooled enough to cut!  However, the cake actually tasted even better the 2nd and 3rd day!

cake.jpgHope your last days of February are warm and cozy in your own “version of the ten-foot thatched hut.”(:   Last blog on “all things winter!”  In 2 days, it will be MARCH and the season for all things SPRING … sunshine and shamrocks … bunny’s and The Lamb! scripture.jpg

From my cottage to yours ~  Trenda

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