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
    barbara n
    November 21, 2013 at 2:56 am

    I keep my Christmas season simple by enjoying the simple pleasures…listening to Christmas carols, piling in the car to see the neighborhood lights and staying out of the malls!!!

  2. 2
    Melissa D
    November 21, 2013 at 3:59 am

    I keep Christmas season simple for my family by listening to a ton of Christmas music (starting the day after Thanksgiving), keeping my kids busy outside if we have snow and warm them up with hot chocolate. We always find the drive through Christmas light displays and of course taking my little ones to visit Santa several times before Christmas.

  3. 3
    November 21, 2013 at 4:30 am

    We don’t buy any Christmas presents during December they are all done and so I don’t keep worrying if they kids are even or have gotten what they wanted or have ‘enough’ and I stay out of the stores, they only bring stress for me.

  4. 4
    courtney b
    November 21, 2013 at 5:25 am

    getting lots of help and not inviting the ENTIRE family over!

  5. 5
    courtney b
    November 21, 2013 at 5:26 am

  6. 6
    Andrea L.
    November 21, 2013 at 5:38 am

    With a full-time job, two girl under 6, and going to school for my MBA, I’m keeping Christmas simple by cooking what I can ahead of time and freezing and making presents three weeks ahead.

  7. 7
    November 21, 2013 at 6:26 am

    I keep Christmas simple by doing anything I can ahead of time and not over planning. I try to remember to enjoy the little things with the kids.

  8. 8
    November 21, 2013 at 6:34 am

    this year, i’m trying to remember i do not need to recreate Christmas-of-their-youth for my adult children… and, my husband and i are staying home for the first time in many years…because we want to. 🙂

  9. 9
    November 21, 2013 at 6:42 am

    I’m keeping it simple by allowing others to pitch in and help with all the “stuff” that must be done: decorating, cooking, shopping…I DON’T have to do it ALL!

  10. 10
    mary fanara coleman
    November 21, 2013 at 6:53 am

    Putting up the tree and decorations together. Visiting family, playing board games, nightly fire.

  11. 11
    mary fanara coleman
    November 21, 2013 at 6:55 am

  12. 12
    November 21, 2013 at 6:57 am

    We keep it simple by having Christmas Eve snacks and playing games and a pancake breakfast Christmas morning. No big dinner.

  13. 13
    November 21, 2013 at 7:07 am

    I have three little ones so I keep Christmas simple by making sure naptime is a part of every day!
    Also, have you tried Pam’s Baking Spray? It is the BEST smelling (smells like cookies and happiness)! I really think they need to make it into a perfume, it’s that good.

  14. 14
    November 21, 2013 at 8:20 am

    I keep it simple by doing my Christmas shopping early, so that I can just sit back and enjoy the two weeks before Christmas without having to go to the stores, or wade through the frenzy or traffic of the holidays!

  15. 15
    Letty C.
    November 21, 2013 at 8:59 am

  16. 16
    Letty C.
    November 21, 2013 at 9:01 am

    I keep Christmas simple by planning ahead. My card are ready to be posted on Dec. 2 and I have purchase have of the presents on my list. 😉

  17. 17
    November 21, 2013 at 9:23 am

    I try to do my shopping early. After Thanksgiving hits, everywhere seems to be busier! Thanks!

  18. 18
    November 21, 2013 at 9:42 am

    I keep Christmas simple by enlisting the help of my family. For instance, my son-in-law hung my Christmas lights for me. What a sweetheart!!

  19. 19
    November 21, 2013 at 10:13 am

    I keep it simple by not accepting every invitation for parties, which means I have more time at home, less to buy/make, and less holiday eating!

  20. 20
    November 21, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Thanks for the giveaway! I keep it simple by asking everyone to contribute a dish. Helps me out a lot.

  21. 21
    November 21, 2013 at 10:37 am

    i plan ahead

  22. 22
    November 21, 2013 at 10:38 am

  23. 23
    Kristine Gardner
    November 21, 2013 at 10:57 am

    I am trying to get all my presents purchased and homemade done by Thanksgiving. I am pretty close. My plan for December is to sit by the fireplace and drink hot chocolate while listening to Christmas music. Is this even possible?

  24. 24
    Gail Reed
    November 21, 2013 at 11:08 am

    We include friends and family with singing, decorating the tree and honoring Christ.

  25. 25
    Ashley C
    November 21, 2013 at 11:34 am

    We keep our Christmas season simple by keeping Jesus the focus and trying not to get wrapped up in the gifts and the self-entitlement that seems to come with the holidays


  26. 26
    November 21, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Online shopping makes christmas simple for me.

  27. 27
    sarah aldred
    November 21, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Christmas is my favorite holiday! I keep things simply by trying to enjoy the lighter side of the holiday, such as attending the town Christmas tree lighting and baking Christmas goodies with my son for our family and friends!

  28. 28
    November 21, 2013 at 11:58 am

    I keep my Christmas simple by organizing. It helps to have everything in order.

  29. 29
    November 21, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    I have finally learned that my mind can build up a vision of a Christmas that nobody could possibly produce. I have learned to start early, simplify, not over stress myself, and keep God and spending time with family and friends the main focus of the holiday. 🙂

  30. 30
    November 21, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Avoiding the malls at busy times, refusing to listen to the hype on TV and radio and keeping everything simple.

  31. 31
    November 21, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Because I usually have to work on Christmas, I try to plan ahead to keep things organized and simplify things.

  32. 32
    November 21, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    To keep the holidays stress free and simple, I try to get most of my shopping done before December, and utilize online shopping. I also always remember what The Christmas season is really about.

  33. 33
    Suzanne Smerdon
    November 21, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    The way I keep my Christmas simple is getting things done early. Preparing my food as much as possible the day before. And use plenty of PAM. And then just enjoy the day with family & friends.

  34. 34
    Stacie Callahan
    November 21, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    I keep the Christmas season simple by enjoying my family and trying not to get to wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of the Holidays.

  35. 35
    Lee Anne
    November 21, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    I used to get up early and make cinnamon rolls. I had the bad feeling it was becoming a tradition. Now I make Cinnamon Roll Cake!! Everyone loves it.

  36. 36
    November 21, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    I found out that last year to make things more simply is to ask for help. I don’t need to do it all by myself. My kid and husband can help.It made things more enjoyable for all.

  37. 37
    November 21, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    I keep it simple by not sending out christmas cards every year and by having my kids make a list of things/activities they want to do together instead of things they want.

  38. 38
    Deanna F
    November 21, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Online shopping and baking early.

  39. 39
    Shanda Sleater
    November 21, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    I try to buy presents I know my kids will like all year, getting as much as I can done early… including baking 😉

  40. 40
    nancy bowers
    November 21, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Very little shopping, store bought gifts. Focus on family, faith.

  41. 41
    jennifer gasper
    November 21, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    I keep Christmas simple by taking a week vacation from work the first week of December. I am able to get all my shopping done, the tree and decorations get put up, and I make all the cookies and goodies. When I get all this done it allows me to enjoy the rest of the season without any stress. I relax and enjoy the music, decorations, and festivities without a worry.

  42. 42
    November 21, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    My family will keep it simple by focusing on Christ and how blessed we are.

  43. 43
    amy pugmire
    November 21, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    I like to cook early and freeze my cookie dough. My kids love to help and we also deliver them to our friends and family so it saves a bunch of time having the dough already made.

  44. 44
    amy pugmire
    November 21, 2013 at 5:51 pm

  45. 45
    November 21, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    I haven’t tried this idea but it was recommended by a friend yesterday. She said for Christmas they let their kids pick three things. A church item, a need item and a want. She said it completely changed her Christmas last year.

  46. 46
    November 21, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    We keep it simple by singing Christmas carols with the kids in the car. Fun family time:) My kids LOVE Christmas carols!

  47. 47
    November 21, 2013 at 8:49 pm

  48. 48
    November 21, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    I haven’t figured out how to keep it simple yet. Each year I resolve to be more prepared, shop early etc. And it seems that each year, I fall behind, rush, rush, rush. However, on Christmas morning, I just sit back and enjoy. Simple meals, family and enjoy the spirit of the day.

  49. 49
    November 21, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    I prioritize and plan ahead.

  50. 50
    November 21, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    Remembering that Christmas isn’t about presents it’s about presence. Family is all that matters!

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