35 Heavenly Homemade Food Gifts

35 Heavenly Homemade Food Gifts

I enjoy giving gifts to all my friends each Christmas. Unfortunately, my budget doesn’t seem to enjoy it as much as I do. Homemade gifts to the rescue. Homemade gifts, especially food gifts, allow me to show my love & appreciation to everyone on my list without straining my budget. I really do believe that it’s the thought that counts. Homemade gifts show that we thought enough to take the time to make something very special for those on our gift list. Stumped for ideas? Midwest Living can help you out with their list of 35 homemade gifts & fabulous ways to wrap them. Enjoy the season, share the love & fill your life with Simple Joy!

Homemade Gifts

50 Easy Christmas Centerpiece Ideas

50 Easy Christmas Centerpiece Ideas

Two fabulous things about a great centerpiece: its simplicity & versatility. Once a centerpiece is done doing its job on the table, it can be moved to a new location! A centerpiece done right can serve you as a beautiful decoration long after your special event. As I said, a great centerpiece doesn’t have to be complicated. The example in the photo show the elegance of a very simple centerpiece. Midwest Living share this cranberry centerpiece & 49 more with us for the Holiday season. Time to fill our homes with the Simple Joy of beauty!

Christmas Centerpieces

Thanksgiving Countdown Challenge T(hanksgiving) -6 Tip

That’s it! Take the turkey out of the freezer & put it in the fridge. I always put a big towel under the turkey to catch any liquid that runs off as it thaws. You need a break if you did your shopping already. If you plan to do it over the week-end, get up really early! Everyone else is going to be at the store too!


You might also create a schedule of the items that need to go in the oven & things that need to be cooked in the microwave. You want to get all the food on the table & have it all HOT! Take time NOW to determine the cooking time on your dishes & schedule their cooking time.

The 12 No-no’s of Thanksgiving #12 Never Forget Gratitude

Thanksgiving can be incredibly stressful. So much to do & very litle time in which to do it, no matter how late it is in the month. You can take much of the stress out of the season when you avoid these 12 No-no’s for Thanksgiving. In this series, Jean Ann points out some of the things we do that create our stress, then offers ways to make the Holiday more joyful.

In this episode, Jean Ann reminds you it’s not Thanksgiving without gratitude.

31 Easy, Homemade Christmas Ornaments

31 Easy, Homemade Christmas Ornaments

When I decorate our Christmas tree each year, I am filled with memories as I hang various ornaments on our tree. The pin & white knit stocking made by a co-worker for The Child on her first Christmas. The bicycle ornament I gave Mr. D. when we were first married. The ornament the church gave me when I was a toddler. And especially, the wax filled ornaments my great-grandparents brought with them from Germany.

As beautiful as those ornaments are, the ones I love the most are the handmade ornaments from friends & made by The Child as she was growing up. Do you have handmade ornaments on your tree? If not, it’s time to add some! If you do, you can always make room for more!

Country Living shares their selection of 31 easy to make ornaments. Many can be made with & by your kids. Prepare them for your tree this year. Then, enjoy the memories they stir up each year as you decorate your tree!

What is your favorite ornament on your Christmas tree? Tell us about it! Share the history & why it means so much to you!

Easy to Make Ornaments

Thanksgiving Countdown Challenge T(hanksgiving) -7 Tip

One week until Thanksgiving. Take breath. Everything is great. Today I want to talk to you about grocery shopping. The stores are very busy right now. I think the best time to shop is early, early in the morning. Most stores do stock work overnight. This means things are often well-stocked first thing in the morning. Stores also tend to be quiet early in the morning. Try to get there when they open so you can avoid the crowds.


Now, a word of warning: tempting as it is, try to refrain from doing your grocery shopping on your way home from work. I know how it is. You’re already out. You don’t want to make a special trip. You just want to get it done. Yes, you and hundreds of other people! The stores are PACKED during rush hour with people stopping to pick up a few things on their way home on a regular day. At Thanksgiving, it is just a mad house. Save yourself the aggravation by getting up very early & heading to the stores. In a few short hours you can be done. Then you can relax & take a nap!

50 Gorgeous Holiday Mantel Decorating Ideas

50 Gorgeous Holiday Mantel Decorating Ideas

Decorating the mantel in your home adds such a brilliant touch of elegance to your home. While we don’t have a mantel in our Simple Joy Cottage, so I use ideas like these on our sideboard, dresser & bar. It takes so little to decorate a flat surface like a mantel or sideboard. They aren’t very wide so I like to work with height. A touch here, a touch there and TA-DA! Christmas beauty abounds! And such a Simple Joy!

This tips & decorating ideas come to us from Midwest Living.

Christmas Mantel

The 12 No-no’s of Thanksgiving #11 Never Overestimate Your Abilities

Thanksgiving can be incredibly stressful. So much to do & very litle time in which to do it, no matter how late it is in the month. You can take much of the stress out of the season when you avoid these 12 No-no’s for Thanksgiving. In this series, Jean Ann points out some of the things we do that create our stress, then offers ways to make the Holiday more joyful.

In this  episode, Jean Ann warns you about biting off more than you can chew.

Holiday-Inspired Outdoor Decorating that Lasts

Holiday-Inspired Outdoor Decorating that Lasts

Many of us like to decorate early in the season for Christmas. The problem then is: how do I make sure my decorations last that long? No one wants a wreath that begins to droop before Christmas. Or a display that just begins to look tired & worn a week or so later. We want our home to look as fresh & beautiful the last day as it does the first. BHG shares a selection of outdoor displays that stay fresh looking throughout the season. Give your guests a warm welcome this Holiday with these beautiful, and lasting, ideas!

Lasting Decorations