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
    suzie ware
    November 22, 2013 at 10:14 am

    I have all my Christmas shopping done before December so that I can enjoy the holiday season throughtout the month of December not having to worry about what I have to still buy!

  2. 2
    Danielle T
    November 22, 2013 at 11:17 am

    i keep it simple by staying calm and going with the flow!

  3. 3
    Vera K
    November 22, 2013 at 11:57 am

    I do NOT go nuts giving huge gifts.

  4. 4
    November 22, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Focus on the family traditions like baking cookies and singing Christmas carols.

  5. 5
    Deena S
    November 22, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    I plan on keeping it simple this year by limiting the number of gifts I buy for my kids — something to wear, something they need, and something fun.

  6. 6
    Pamela S
    November 22, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    I get all my gift shopping/making done as early as possible (I like to be finished after Black Friday). Then I set aside one weekend in early December to wrap everything so I don’t have to stress on Christmas Eve!

  7. 7
    Stephanie Gossett
    November 22, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    I keep it simple by allowing my children to give to other children. It relieves holiday stress and makes everyone SO grateful!


  8. 8
    November 23, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Instead of cluttering up my family’s homes with storebought clutter, every year I try to think up some homemade consumables that are also shelf-stable, so they don’t feel pressured to consume them right away. This year’s best ideas: an ice-cream sundae kit (homemade magic shell topping, sprinkles, toasted nuts, and other toppings) and a popcorn kit (gourmet kernels, coconut oil, and a dozen flavored salts from toasted nori to sweet winter spice, packed up with red-and-white striped popcorn bags). They’re simple to make, fun to give, and can be used for months of simple pleasures.

  9. 9
    Stephanie P.
    November 23, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    We keep it simple by not buying too many presents.

  10. 10
    Jan R
    November 23, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    I shop super early and get my gifts boxed up and put in the mail to avoid lines and frustration.

  11. 11
    November 23, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    I do my very best to have all my shopping done before Thanksgiving so I can enjoy the season rather then add to the stress!!

  12. 12
    November 23, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    I need to do better at simplifying. I didn’t have much growing up and we had fun and were happy. I know my kids would rather I hang out with them than spend a long time creating a gorgeous meal or getting one more stocking stuffer at the store.

  13. 13
    Susan Smith
    November 23, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    I keep it simple by shopping though out the year and having my husband help with the shopping.

  14. 14
    Susan Smith
    November 23, 2013 at 2:47 pm

  15. 15
    November 23, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    I have to admit that I don’t do a very good job of keeping my Christmas simple! After reading your post, maybe I’ll be inspired to slow down and enjoy the season without all the stress. One thing our family did this year to simplify things a bit is eliminate all the gift giving amongst the extended family in lieu of a simple grab bag exchange Thank you!

  16. 16
    Jessie C.
    November 23, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    I make my Christmas season simple by focus on one thing- quality time with my family and not to sweat over small things.

  17. 17
    Jessie C.
    November 23, 2013 at 10:19 pm


  18. 18
    November 24, 2013 at 5:28 am

    A Simple Holiday Tip, PAM Cooking Spray and $100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway air jordan 13 nike http://www.aptra.com/ck.asp?module=tags&brand=jordan&tags=air-jordan-13-nike

  19. 19
    Kimberly Famolaro
    November 24, 2013 at 8:56 am

    We keep our Christmas simple by giving our kids 1 well thought out gift and a filled stocking…….(which is enough work since we have 9 kids;D)

  20. 20
    Tabitha P.
    November 24, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    I keep it simple by roasting a ham.
    It’s easy and you don’t have to babysit it for the most part.

  21. 21
    Amanda Hoffman
    November 24, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    We have a name drawing and we only had to get gifts for the person we picked out of a hat.It takes the stress of having to buy for everyone

  22. 22
    November 24, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    We draw names for gifts. We spend as much time together playing games, cooking, sledding or watching movies. Making memories.

  23. 23
    November 24, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    Getting Christmas presents out early and creating a gift exchange to lessen the number of gifts we have to buy really frees up my time in December to do the things with my kids that they love, like making gingerbread houses and decorating cookies.

  24. 24
    November 24, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    Breathe. And focus on the real meaning of Christmas. I like to take a family picture and send out an update on how we’re doing to all the extended family.

  25. 25
    November 25, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    We are exchanging names this year and emphasizing family time, rather than money spent.

  26. 26
    November 25, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    I keep it simple by making a shopping and to-do list & getting it done early! I don’t want to be shopping & running around the week of Christmas.

  27. 27
    November 26, 2013 at 11:20 am

    We always set a budget and stick to it. No sense in going broke for Christmas!

  28. 28
    Rachel E.
    November 26, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    I just have to remind myself that Christmas isn’t about getting the best deal on the best gifts and that it’s okay if everything isn’t perfect. Just being together is what it’s all about!

  29. 29
    November 26, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    I keep things simple by STAYING OUT OF THE STORES! Online shopping is just fine for me, thank you very much :+)

  30. 30
    November 26, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    I keep the season simple by staying away from most of the shopping areas and stay at home, instead, baking with my family. It’s fun, relaxing, and then we have delicious treats.

  31. 31
    candy kratzer wenzel
    November 26, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    I try to shop before Dec., I make meal plans to keep cooking easy and simple. And prepare my pantry so I do not run out of anything.

  32. 32
    November 27, 2013 at 10:40 am

    I keep the Christmas season simple by shopping yearround for presents

  33. 33
    November 27, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    My parents, brother’s family, and I stopped buying presents for each other. It simplifies Christmas greatly. Instead, we pool our Christmas money toward a family vacation that we’ll all take together in the future.

  34. 34
    November 27, 2013 at 5:22 pm

  35. 35
    Heidi F.
    November 27, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    We limit the number of gifts and try not to travel.

  36. 36
    November 29, 2013 at 9:38 am

    We keep it simple by only doing gifts for my son and my extended family draws names for gifts.

    acartwrightmorell at gmail dot com

  37. 37
    November 30, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    I keep it calm with to-do lists.

  38. 38
    Margot C
    December 1, 2013 at 12:31 am

    We try to keep it simple. Fortunately my husband is an artist at getting everything early and boxing it up to mail off (bless his heart!); me iT would put it off I know.

  39. 39
    Margot C
    December 1, 2013 at 12:34 am

  40. 40
    Alexis K
    December 2, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    I make a shopping list, & I stick to it. Makes my gift buying easy and I can stay on budget.

  41. 41
    Natalie yeoman
    December 3, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    I keep it simple by doing Christmas shopping early

  42. 42
    courtney b
    December 4, 2013 at 9:29 am

    we only do one gift per person, and keep it very simple – very simple rules

  43. 43
    courtney b
    December 4, 2013 at 9:30 am

  44. 44
    December 4, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    We don’t go over our budget!

  45. 45
    amy pugmire
    December 4, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    My mom and sisters and I make our neighbor and friends gifts together. we do a variety of cookies and we each work on a different recipe It saves a ton of time.

  46. 46
    amy pugmire
    December 4, 2013 at 4:57 pm

  47. 47
    December 5, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    I ordered pizza one Christmas. Yep, one of those Moms. Kept it too simple.

  48. 48
    karen medlin
    December 6, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    we keep it simple by giving gifts that have a meaning and a purpose. We don’t break the bank while shopping. When it comes to our cookie baking, I get together with the kids that are married and we each choose one cookie recipe to make. We each make a few dozens and exchange them.Keeps me from going overboard on making 5 different holiday cookies, less stress and mess in the kitchen

  49. 49
    December 8, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    I have family coming with dishes of food, so that I don’t spend my whole holiday cooking

  50. 50
    Gail Reed
    December 9, 2013 at 8:56 am

    trying to go non tech this year, and simple, much loved food for meals

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