Sunday, December 22, 2013

Advent Calender Blog Hop Day 22.....

Welcome to Day 22 of the Advent Blog Hop hosted by Jo of Serendipitous Stitching,

When I received notice that I was included in the Advent Calender Hop, I thought and thought what ornament am I going to include???  I had stitched ornaments for my friends, family and for my husband and kids this year.  My husband and kids ornaments are already wrapped and under the tree but oh no.....I had forgotten to stitch one for myself.  So I pull out my Just Nan Whimzi's charts, a whimzi frame, fabric and DMC threads and got to work immediately.  I chose an ornament from JN Christmas Wishes chart and how appropriate since I am wanting to send Christmas Wishes out to Jo's Advent Blog followers and my followers as well.  This ornament stitched up soooo quickly and I had fun stitching it because I knew it was for specific purpose......Jo's Advent Calender Blog Hop Day 22.  Here is my JN Christmas Wishes ornament.

I love Just Nan whimzi's and one year I did her Twelve Days of Christmas.  I have a small tree that I display them all on.

Our tradition for our Christmas meal growing up was always ham.  I think that is why I love it so much!  I have carried this tradition on with my family as well.  Our Christmas meal is always matter what.......mashed potatoes, green beans, (deviled eggs sometimes), and brown and serve rolls.  Our dessert would always change in my family growing up but I started a new tradition when my children were really small.  My mom gave me a Wilton tree cake pan to use for decorated cakes.  My children decided one year that we should make a cake and it would be a Happy Birthday Jesus birthday cake.  So since then, we've always made a tree cake and it was the Happy Birthday Jesus birthday cake.  My children loved the fact that they got to "decorate the birthday tree cake" any way they wanted.  We even include candles and sing Happy Birthday on Christmas Day.  I unfortunately don't have a current picture of any our past cakes because the pictures are all on the old computer that died this past June.  So now that my children are ages 18 and 13, they still want to have the Happy Birthday Jesus birthday cake. 

The cake that I make is not from a box either.  It is Hershey's Deep Dark Chocolate Cake, and I ice it with buttercream icing.  We put food coloring in to make the icing green like a tree and they decorate it with candies such as Skittles, M&Ms and different kinds of sprinkles. 

Here is the recipe for both the chocolate cake and buttercream icing if you want to make it.

Hershey's Deep Dark Chocolate Cake
1 3/4c unsifted all purpose flour                           1 tsp salt
2 cups sugar                                                          2 eggs
3/4 cup Hershey's Cocoa                                       1 cup milk
1 1/2 tsps baking soda                                           1/2c vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsps baking powder                                       2 tsps. vanilla
                                                                               1 cup boiling water

Combine dry ingredients in large mixer bowl.  Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.  Beat 2 minutes at medium speed.  Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).  Pour into greased and floured
13"x9"x2" pan.  (I use the Wilton tree pan and use Crisco shortening and then flour the pan to keep it from sticking.)  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40min (or whatever time your decorator cake pan suggests listed time for baking) or until cake tester inserted comes out clean.  Let cool and then frost.

Wilton's Buttercream Icing recipe
1/2 tsp Wilton Butter Flavoring
1/2 tsp clear vanilla flavoring
2 1/2 tbsp. water
1 cup of shortening (I use the Crisco sticks but not the Crisco butter sticks)
1 tbsp. Wilton Mereinge Powder
1 pound powdered sugar sifted

1.  Mix powdered sugar and mereinge powder together in medium bowl.
2.  Cream shortening, flavorings, and water together in large bowl.
3.  Gradually add dry ingredients until all have mixed thoroughly in large bowl.
4.  Blend additional minute until creamy.  (Additional water may be added to make it creamy but only tiny bit at a time.)

Since my daughter was off to college this year and my husband had been deployed for 6 month, I knew all the Christmas decorating would be left up to me and our son.  So instead of putting up 2 trees this year, I just decided to only put up the smaller 6 1/2foot tree and put all the hand made ornaments on it as I do every year.  The 8" tree just wasn't going to get put up this year.  I decided simplicity was this years theme for decorating since I had 2 less people to help decorate.  But that is ok.  Sometimes we just need simplicity in our lives.  But.....I also knew I wanted it all decorated by the time both my husband arrived back home from his deployment and my daughter from college.  Yes....both were surprised and glad that they did not have to come home to do that this year.  LOL  I just had to laugh because I kept it a secret from both of them as a surprise and boy were they surprised.  Here is what our tree looks like this year.  I think I did a pretty good job decorating it.  My son did help me with the lights and the garland!!!  This is the first tree my husband and I got when we were first married 21years ago. just enjoy our time being all back together as a family! We will go to a Christmas Eve Service at our Air Force Chapel this coming Tuesday night.  When we get home, the kids have started a new tradition in the past several years of choosing one present from under the tree to open.  I had never done this growing up as a child but my husband had and once our kids found out, now they want to continue that tradition as well. 

I hope you and your family have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS! 


  1. Pretty tree Brenda! Love the Just Nan ornament too. Hope you and your family have a great christmas!

  2. Such a pretty ornie! How lovely your family will all be together this Christmas. Thanks for the delish recipes too.

  3. Your tree is beautiful--glad you and your son got it done before the reunions! Once less thing to worry about! I think I can make that cake--it sounds delightful and I love buttercream frosting! Have a Merry Christmas! Thanks for sharing the recipe for the Blog Hop!

  4. Hello Brenda,
    So glad I found you through the Blog Hop! I love your ornament..You did a wonderful job..What a sweet surprise for your husband and daughter..The cake sounds delicious and I will put it with my other recipes to try..Your tree looks beautiful..I love the fact that you keep your dinner traditional..It sounds similar to what we always had growing up..Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Safe and wonderful New Year!

  5. Hi Benda, I too found your blog through the blog hop. A lovely post and so nice to see a proper recipe rather than boxed cake! I love the ornie and the tree looks amazing. A fantastic post. Happy Christmas!

  6. I love the idea of a birthday cake for Jesus, as we celebrate his birth. Love the ornament too.

  7. Lovely tree! I had to do one by myself one year...and we always get a fresh tree...I managed to lock myself out of the house when I got home with the tree, too, but it all turned out all right. =) We also had a birthday cake for Jesus this year...nothing so fancy as yours. =) We sang "Hark the Herald Angels Sing". I wanted to sing "Joy to the World" but I got out voted!