There’s nothing better to cure the winter blues than a hot bowl of chili. However, for us vegetarians we have to be a little bit more creative when it comes to chili. Thankfully I have found the BEST chili out there – it’s actually sweet potato chili that I adapted from this recipe.
1 large chopped sweet onion
6 – 8 small/medium sweet potatoes – peeled and cubed
1 large diced zucchini
1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
2 – 3 cloves of minced garlic
1 T of chili powder
1 T cumin
1 t salt
3 packets of concentrated vegetable broth
Combine all ingredients in a crock pot. Fill up crock pot with water. Cook on high until sweet potatoes are tender (usually 4ish hours). Use more of the spices to flavor to taste.
I love to make this during the holidays – especially when company is coming. It’s always hot and ready and non-vegetarians will eat this up in a heart beat! It also makes a ton so you have leftovers for days (that’s my favorite kind of meal)!
What does Christmas feel like in your home? Is there a warmth that envelopes you when you walk inside? Is it cozy and cheerful? That’s what our house feels like during Christmas. The lights are low and sparkling, candles are wafting cinnamon flavor everywhere, and the (electric) fireplace is making the house a cozy respite from the frigid outdoors. I think this is my favorite part of Christmas – the warmth and love, so I really decided to focus on those elements when decorating. I wanted our home to feel like the heart of Christmas: welcoming, joyful, snuggly, comforting. That is also why I decided to photograph that house in its state I love most – dimly lit and cozily inviting. I hope you feel it where you are.
The heart of our home is our living room. This is where Eric and I spend most of our time together. Naturally this is where most of our décor goes each year. Welcome to our Christmas haven.
Our room color scheme is perfectly suited for Christmas. The red wall completes all the décor and the green tree and mantle decorations all fit together wonderfully.
Our tree is a wonderful combination of memories. The ornaments represent both Eric and my childhood while also hosting a great amount of ornaments we have gotten together over our 3.5 years of marriage.
The mantle decoration is new this year. In year’s past I’ve just thrown up the stockings and called it done. This year I embraced it as part of our décor and trimmed it up with greenery and glitter (can it get any better than that?!).
I also can’t forget my favorite vintage Christmas tree that I was fortunate to get handed down to me by my parents. This was one of my favorite things each year, and I’m so glad to be able to have it in our home.
I also can’t forget to include our other tree in the kitchen. It’s so delightful and cheery!
We also love, love, love to contribute to making our neighborhood cheerful and merry during this time of year, so we completely embrace outdoor decorating – mainly lights. We think it just brings so much Christmas spirit to the neighborhood. This year we were ecstatic to see more neighbors than ever putting up lights outside of their home.
The vintage Santa is hands down my favorite outside element. He is just so adorable and happy! I love how he lights up.
Thanks for taking some time to spend in the Rapp Christmas household! If you want more you can check out our 2011 and 2012 holiday tours.
Still can’t get enough Christmastime cheer? Here are some more posts for you!
Every year Christmas seems to come earlier and earlier, don’t you think? It should be a time of merriment, love, and giving. So much of the time it can lead to stress, financial burden, and breakdowns. So I am back with my second annual stress free holiday guide (you can see the 2012 guide here). This is just a place where I share some of my best coping mechanisms to make it fun and not fretful! And please – share your own ideas in the comments so we make this a wealth of information!
1. Start a Christmas fund. This is year two of the Christmas fund and I still stand oh-so strongly behind it. It is such an easy thing to set-up at your bank and forces you to save here and there all year long until you have a little bundle squirreled away come October/November when the banks automatically puts it into your checking account. That in itself is like a Christmas present! This year my time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is jam packed, so I knew I had to get my Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving. The Christmas fund made it so easy since I could basically just take that little pile of moolah and get it done in basically one ordering spree online and one trip around town. Boom. Present stress gone.
2. Don’t let Pinterest take you down. If you are a big blog reader or perpetual pinner, you might have already been overdosed with Christmas. Does anyone else feel like it’s been the Christmas rush for months (or at least weeks)? I’m right there with you. There is so much amazing content on how to make this the best and most beautiful Christmas ever (myself included, I’ll admit). But don’t let yourself get overloaded. There is so much information out there. So many beautiful houses. It can make you want to stop before you even start. So take a deep breath and walk away from the computer (WAIT – please finish reading first). There comes a point when there is just too much inspiration and you become paralyzed in your own home. Once you’ve walked away from the screen, just start on something small, something fun, that will make you feel festive. Make some cookies, watch a Charlie Brown Christmas, decorate one zone in your house, take the kids to get a live tree this year, etc. Make your own memories – don’t try to recreate the Internet.
3. Wrap and ship early. My sister lives in California. Need I say more? Probably not, but I will. I’ve missed getting her Christmas package to her in time before. The post office is slammed and mail takes even longer this time of year. I try to send way early so there is no “I promise it’s coming!” phone call on Christmas morning. It also clears out those piles waiting to be sent before company arrives.
4. Keep food simple and make ahead. Now some of you will scoff at this. Food may be the BIGGEST part of the season for you. If so, please skip ahead. I totally respect that. For me, I love the fun seasonal dishes and delightful baked goods. But they take time! So I like to keep things simple when I have to do cooking around the holidays. Or, I like to try to stockpile food ahead of time: canned in cabinets or frozen in the freezer. No, you can’t do this for everything but for simpler dishes or easy freezable dishes, this frees up more time to make just one or two delightfully complicated items or at the least makes your whole day not about cooking when company comes.
5. Give back. Nothing makes you feel better than giving back. This time of year can be so consumed with buying, baking, cleaning, decorating, that we forget about the people who don’t have a household to prepare for the holidays. People whose lives become sadder when they don’t have enough to feed their family or put gifts under the tree. There is nothing like volunteering in the community this time of year or spending time preparing an Angel present to make little boy or girl’s Christmas. It reminds you what it is really all about and that what seems to be oh-so important to you right now (light gosh golly there are dust bunnies under the guest bed and my lights outside burned out again!) maybe isn’t the end of the world like it seems. It’s about perspective.
6. Slow down. This kind of piggy backs onto #5 but I want you to repeat after me, “It’s not as big of a deal as I’m making it.” Because 9 out of 10 times it is us stressing ourselves out just because. Try to think of what you will remember or more importantly what others around you will remember. They won’t remember all the beautifully placed decorations. They will remember the random joke around the dinner table that made someone snort food out of their nose. Or something else decidedly silly or thoughtful. Those are the memories that count! It’s about being in the moment and enjoying the natural moment – not planning perfect memories ahead of time. You’ll just be too stressed out to enjoy it.
So that’s my little list of ways to make the holiday season a little more enjoyable and a lot less stressful. What are your ways that you keep the stress level low and spirits high at Christmas?
Oh no! That holiday party has just snuck up on you or you forgot a little gift! Or wait – you’re supposed to give teachers a gift?! Or how about your hairdresser or the post person or another oh so important person in your life. Enter: a beautiful, living gift that you can make in bulk and hey – if you don’t give them all away you will be happy to spread them throughout your home – the gilded succulent gifts!
Yes, I’m going a little crazy over here and recommending you give something alive as a gift. But hey, it’s not like a goldfish, right?! The great thing about this gift is that it is incredibly affordable and able to be made in bulk ahead of time.
It starts with this $1 glass from the Dollar Tree and this $0.50 sale succulent from Lowe’s. Put them together and it’s already beautiful – add some gold and we’ll all go gaga together.
Before I started assembling the planter, I decided to gild up the glass. I taped out a section of the glass using painter’s tape and then literally rub ‘n buffed the bottom portion with my finger.
Warning: it’s not a perfect look. If you are going for perfect and for speed, grab your spray paint. However, I really like the slightly imperfect gold look. It looked a little more antiqued to me.
After that was dry I scooped in some dirt and then planted my little succulent. That’s it!
Isn’t she a darling? I’m in love. I wonder what lovely person in my life will get to keep her? We shall see.
Do you store gifts in case you ever find yourself in need at the last minute? I’d love to hear your ideas!
It’s been a long journey, this sun room and I. I’m so glad that you have been there for the whole ride. Just in case you missed one bright, colorful, and fun DIY project along the way, I thought I would give a recap of just what I’ve done and where we started.
Then I got to thinking about why we never use this room. The main purpose was that it felt cramped and uncomfortable. All I wanted to do is go in there and relax and read. Too bad those chairs were too uncomfortable. So I decided to make a plan on what to do with the room.
Rappsody in Rooms is a DIY home décor and lifestyle blog devoted to helping you be inspired in every inch of your home! Come be inspired with me as I work my way from room to room, creating an inspired living space in our previously uninspired 1960's ranch house.