A Simple Holiday Tip, PAM Cooking Spray and $100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway

A Simple Holiday Tip, PAM Cooking Spray and $100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway

My daughter Anna (age 5) on Christmas Eve 2002, getting ready to participate in a Nativity re-enactment. 

I am going to admit a little something to you today.

Sometimes I get a big fat pit in the bottom of my stomach when I can see another Christmas season rolling into view. It’s not that I don’t love holiday cheer. I do! I really do! But sometimes I assign myself a few too many holiday projects of wonder, and by the time the jolly day arrives I am down right exhausted, frazzled and full of grinch-itus.

One year, when my oldest three kids were just tiny I decided to tackle several DIY projects as gifts. On my to do list where…1) Re-finish and paint a wooded doll house as a gift for my then 4-year-old daughter Anna, complete with homemade curtains, linens, bed spreads, and some doll clothes. 2) Sew matching robes and pillow cases for all my kids. 3) Make homemade caramel, fudge and toffee for all of my neighbors. 4) Make heaping plates of Cinnamon Rolls for all of my siblings and their families (I have 12, including both sides!). 5) Cross stitch a beautiful Christmas Stocking for my then 8 month old daughter Emily.

Needless to say, it was too much! What was I thinking!  To top it all off, several days before Christmas MyHandsomeHusband got super sick with the flu, and wasn’t able to help me finish up the doll house, deliver goodies to neighbors, or any of the many other tasks of Christmas. With three small children to care for, the doll house half done, none of my presents wrapped, and zero plates of Cinnamon Rolls complete… I showed up at our extended families Christmas Eve party pretty worn out, and frustrated. Fortunately for me, my sweet brother and sister came home with me that night and helped me finish up the doll house and wrap all of the presents. (What would a girl like me do without brothers and sisters!)

I’ve learned a few things since then.  The most important being…keep it simple. Sometimes we women try to complicate life by making things Super Spectacular and Grand, and then feel “less than” when we can’t make it all happen. Did you know my 8 months old daughter had no idea her cross stitched stocking didn’t get hung that year! Crazy, right. 🙂 The doll house we worked hard on ended up being used by Anna to hang her frilly dress ups on. Now that I have driven this motherhood train for 16 years, when I see Christmas on the horizon and I feel that familiar pit in my stomach…I remind myself to simmer down, girl. I don’t want to get so caught up in all of the rush, that I forget to enjoy the simple, fabulous things the holidays can capture. I love snuggling with my kids next to the Christmas tree while we read a story.  I love the beautiful lights shining through the snow. I love hearing MyHandsomeHusband play Christmas songs on the piano. I love the generosity that appears in so many. Keeping my Holiday plans simple, really allows me to enjoy it all so much more.

That is my advice to you.

Plain and simple.

pam cooking spray

Those of you have read my blog for a while, know that cooking spray is pretty much my best friend. I don’t know that I have ever written a recipe post with out typing the words “cooking spray” at least once within it. Truly, I couldn’t function in the kitchen without it. Not only do I use it to coat the bottom of baking dishes and pans, but I often spray it all over my hands when I am working with bread/roll dough. I also spray it on my rolling-pin, and on my counter top to help when I’m rolling out cookies.

PAM Cooking Spray is especially fabulous and works so much better than the generic brands. Did you know that it leaves up to 99% less residue than bargain brands, and has zero calories? Isn’t that great! PAM Cooking Spray is a simple, fabulous way to add ease to your holiday cooking and baking. I highly recommend it.

Below, there are links to 4 fabulous recipes from my archives that are SIMPLE to put together, but taste fabulous and will make any Holiday Breakfast or Brunch a breeze to put together. Pam Cooking Spray plays a big part in all of them. Enjoy!

resized at 9 the one

Cinnamon Roll Cake

This Cinnamon Roll Cake has all the flavors of Cinnamon Rolls…without all of the work. 🙂

IMG_0417Easy Overnight Sticky Buns

These babies can be put together the night before you need them.

Breakfast Casserole Breakfast Casserole with Potatoes, Ham, Eggs and Cheese

This savory casserole can also be made the night before you need it.


Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast with Strawberries

I am going to sound like a broken record here…but this fabulous recipe is made the night before as well.

Here’s to a super, fabulously simple holiday season, guys. 🙂 My best wishes to all of you and yours.

PC240007My daughters Anna (age 6) and Emily (18 months) and many cousins, on Christmas Eve 2003

PS…PAM Cooking Spray and BlogHer would like to give one of you wonderful readers $100 Visa Gift Card! Super nice of them, right?! To enter all you need to do is leave a comment below telling me how you keep your Christmas season simple.

Sweepstakes Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner  will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 11/20/13 – 12/29/13.

Be sure to visit the PAM Cooking Spray page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!


Post a comment!


  1. 1
    Rebecca Hyer
    November 20, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Love staying home in pjs Christmas Day.

  2. 2
    November 20, 2013 at 8:37 am

    This year I have started a Christmas folder with all my recipes, menu and Christmas list all in one place. I am hoping for a more organized simple Christmas this year, because I am like you were in the beginning… trying to do too much.

  3. 3
    November 20, 2013 at 8:37 am

    I’m a church choir director and worship planner so Christmas is my busiest time of the year. This year however, my son has to have surgery right in the middle of prep time so we are not doing a choir and asking individuals and groups to prepare something on their own….huge reduction in responsibility. And actually I’m looking forward to see what people bring…change is nice sometimes. I also love to go overboard with food prep, but this year we are going to succeed at being simple and celebrating it. Thanks for your post.

  4. 4
    Janet Friend
    November 20, 2013 at 8:38 am

    My friend shared her directions for cooking a turkey ahead of time and freezing it. You can divide the servings so you can defrost and heat only what you need. When heated it is very moist and flavorful.

  5. 5
    November 20, 2013 at 8:39 am

    I would give up everything but the Turkey for that “Cinnamon Roll Cake” at the top . Oh Yum


  6. 6
    Kristina Lewis
    November 20, 2013 at 8:39 am

    We usually keep it simple, use crockpots to take care of most of the work, and focus on the family time!

  7. 7
    Cathy =)
    November 20, 2013 at 8:40 am

    any meal that is a 1 dish meal is A-OK. The answers the best-needed all the above =)

  8. 8
    November 20, 2013 at 8:41 am

    We do pull a parts christmas morning. We only go visit immediate family (parents and siblings) now for christmas and save extended family (aunts uncles, cousins) parties for later in the year 🙂

  9. 9
    DeDe in OK
    November 20, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Shopping online for gifts and then on Christmas Day keep the meal simple by just making the meat and each family members favorite dish. Spending time together is the best!

  10. 10
    Bonnie Hepworth
    November 20, 2013 at 8:44 am

    We stay home all day on Christmas Day and enjoy every second of family time.

  11. 11
    Terri C
    November 20, 2013 at 8:46 am

    I’ve learned the hard way, simple is better. For years I worked so hard to make it special. Turns out the kids and adults only want a few of the special things that make it Christmas. Now that I have two sweet granddaughters I keep the meal simple and just enjoy them being here.i think pizza will be on the menu this year. Then they can enjoy the special treats I’ve made.

  12. 12
    Cheryl Newton
    November 20, 2013 at 8:47 am

    I try to keep it simple by not leaving everything until the last minute. Even if I’m at the grocery store, I keep an eye out for stocking stuffers.

  13. 13
    November 20, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Since we have young kids, we keep it simple by not travelling at all during Christmas – if our family wants to see us, they come stay with us – it’s too hard to think of travelling with all of the Santa gifts, etc. Luckily I have wonderful parents, and mother-in-law, and they travel down and spend Christmas Eve with us every year so we are all together Christmas morning. (They all live out of town – luckily we have room for all). 🙂

  14. 14
    Colleen Cabanaw
    November 20, 2013 at 8:53 am

    We keep it simple by getting together with other family members for a day of mass baking and then we all my our gifts for friends together. It’s always a blast as well!

  15. 15
    Stacy H
    November 20, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Focusing on time spent with my family helps me gain the right spirit. This year, I’m planning on doing a larger donation to the food bank, rather than goodies for all the neighbors, which I think will “simplify” and also benefit those who may need it a little more.

  16. 16
    November 20, 2013 at 8:56 am

    ~I have to be honest…over the past several years I haven’t been able to keep it together and simple…life’s stresses, illness, family passings, unemployment etc. have tried to take the joy away. It’s been hard but what I bring to the table is love & faith, and discovering sites like this brings back the inspiration to bring back tradition.~

  17. 17
    Kelly D
    November 20, 2013 at 8:59 am

    We keep the Christmas season simple by not exchanging gifts with everyone in our family, just for the kids. We all enjoy a nice dinner together, and everyone chips in.

  18. 18
    November 20, 2013 at 9:00 am

    I try to have presents wrapped early. And I stash everything for each person in individual large boxes. Makes the set up Christmas Eve night go much faster.

  19. 19
    Kelly D
    November 20, 2013 at 9:01 am

  20. 20
    November 20, 2013 at 9:03 am

    We keep our children’s gift buying simple by purchasing 3 gifts for each child….a toy, an educational gift, and something to wear.

  21. 21
    Stormy F.
    November 20, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Kepping the holidays simple and enjoyable my family lives to create homemade gifts and and traditional family recepies. We always try some sort of new dish as well, to build new traditions!

  22. 22
    Andrea S
    November 20, 2013 at 9:12 am

    This year I am taking a new approach and getting a plan together to have all presents bought, made and wrapped by the 15th of Dec. I want to be able to enjoy my kids, family and friends during the busiest part of the holidays. I am looking forward to achieving this! Then, I can relax!

  23. 23
    November 20, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Not traveling from house to house this year, just staying home in our pjs, spending time together.

  24. 24
    November 20, 2013 at 9:16 am

    Not baking pies from scratch, ordered them from a great bakery.

  25. 25
    November 20, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Passing over the torch & having my daughter cook this year. I’ll get to sit back & relax with my grand daughter for her first holidays.

  26. 26
    Peggy Gibbons
    November 20, 2013 at 9:23 am

    We cut way back on gift giving so the stress of shopping is not nearly as bad. The kids get gifts, but not adults except for husbands, wives and adult kids of our own. No one needs or even wants all those expensive gifts. It’s all about spending time together as a family.

  27. 27
    November 20, 2013 at 9:24 am

    I try to start early so the last few days I can sit with my daughter and watch Christmas movies and just do things to enjoy the season. So much more relaxing!

  28. 28
    Lisa Brown
    November 20, 2013 at 9:24 am

    i keep it simple by shopping early and eating at a relatives house 🙂
    jslbrown_03 at yahoo dot com

  29. 29
    Lisa Brown
    November 20, 2013 at 9:25 am

    my tweet – https://twitter.com/LuLu_Brown24/status/403197327797526529
    jslbrown_03 at yahoo dot com

  30. 30
    Debbie Causey
    November 20, 2013 at 9:30 am

    We draw names and try to start shopping earlier in the year. We also donate money to different charities in honor of older family members. I try to keep my focus on what Christmas is all about- our Savior!

  31. 31
    Phyllis Hatalski
    November 20, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Going back to basic,meat potatoes,gravy,stuffing and a vegetable.then dessert.

  32. 32
    November 20, 2013 at 9:47 am

    I keep Christmas simple by not going all over the place, I try to plan things so on the day, I can just stay in one, or maybe 2 places.

  33. 33
    Salem Smith
    November 20, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Pam cooking spray is a life saver. What really helps though is enjoying the time, the family, the food. We do not spend tons of money on gifts and try to focus on giving back.

  34. 34
    Lady J
    November 20, 2013 at 9:54 am

    We set a budget

  35. 35
    Carly R
    November 20, 2013 at 10:01 am

    I have to remind myself what the Christmas season is really about and not get wrapped up with having all the right decor, gifts or treats.

  36. 36
    November 20, 2013 at 10:02 am

    We simplify by having Costco’s frozen quiches for our Christmas breakfast. I also try to have everything wrapped and done by the end of November so we can just enjoy the fun things in December.

  37. 37
    Debbie Cline
    November 20, 2013 at 10:07 am

    I am so glad to read this post. One of the things I am most sorry for is spending all of the holidays in the kitchen preparing meals while missing the parades, etc. on tv with my girls. You young mothers — pay attention. If you have to serve dinner a little later or even leave something off the menu, it is WELL WORTH it to spend that extra time with your children. Now mine are grown and gone and this is the one thing that I really wish I had done.
    To simplify Christmas, we have decided to limit the amount of spending we do for each person to $50. Sometimes, you have to be very creative to keep your gifts under that amount. It definitely halts picking up “little” things throughout the year! I’m also starting my cookie baking and making all those that freeze well very early.
    I can’t wait to try the cinnamon roll cake! Might do it this very day. Thanks for such a wonderful blog!!

  38. 38
    November 20, 2013 at 10:11 am

    I like to keep Christmas simple by spending time with family and friends, baking and listening to Christmas music.

  39. 39
    November 20, 2013 at 10:13 am

    I keep this season simple by shopping throughout the year so I have a selection of affordable gifts already available. We also do pot luck kind of dinners so no one person is cooking everything. We mainly try and remember the real reason for our celebration and that is Jesus!

  40. 40
    November 20, 2013 at 10:17 am

    I definitely try to keep it simple by limiting the things I commit to.

  41. 41
    Amanda H.
    November 20, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Simple?? It’s never been simple with 4 kids (a set of twins) all born within 5 years. I crave a simple, laid back Christmas every year and I think if I could do my shopping early it would help tremendously. I am anxious to read the other comments.

  42. 42
    Sherry B
    November 20, 2013 at 10:20 am

    We draw names within the family. We have to bake something special. Using your recipe will make my Christmas simple this year. The cinnamon roll cake looks delicious. Thanks alot. May God Richly Bless You

  43. 43
    November 20, 2013 at 10:21 am

    I have scaled down on the number of desserts and goodies I do for Christmas day

  44. 44
    Leah Wright
    November 20, 2013 at 10:24 am

    Shop early!! Get it all done before Thanksgiving and the holidays are soooo much more enjoyable. In fact, we buy neighbor gifts and other bulk gifts at the after-Christmas clearance sales the year BEFORE. I just store them with the decorations when I put them away and BAM! There they are when I’m decorating the next year ready to go!

  45. 45
    November 20, 2013 at 10:24 am

    We are keeping it simple this year by not spreading ourselves too thin. As new parents, we are realizing we cannot attend everything, so we are learning to be okay with “not pleasing everyone”.

  46. 46
    November 20, 2013 at 10:24 am

    Take a vacation so the decorating can be minimal!

  47. 47
    Shauna Burton
    November 20, 2013 at 10:25 am

    I try to keep Christmas simple by planning ahead. I also scale down on all of the projects I would love to do.

  48. 48
    November 20, 2013 at 10:26 am

    We keep it simple by planning ahead. I try to wrap as I buy, cook and freeze what I can and just try to relax and enjoy the holidays for what they are.

  49. 49
    November 20, 2013 at 10:27 am

    I split the duties of cooking and shopping with my parents. That way they don’t have to run all over town and I don’t have to spend to much time in the kitchen.

  50. 50
    November 20, 2013 at 10:28 am

    With our son’s birthday on Dec. 23rd it has been a challenge. His birthday has ALWAYS been kept his own special day. But since we now have grandkids, we celebrate Christmas Eve so that the kids can be in their own beds to see what Santa has brought them Christmas morning. We have scaled back on the food prepared and cut back on gifts to the adults.

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