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Archive for the ‘Holiday traditions’ Category

Mrs. Claus is Cooking Up Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta!

December 22nd, 2015 | Filed under: Holiday Recipes Holiday traditions | Posted by Elf jennifer

We’re getting so excited because Christmas is just around the corner!! Have you been following Santa lately? He’s been very busy around town taking photos with cute kids, families and even puppies, which means that he’s worked up a really big appetite. The elves were already salivating when we told them that Mrs. Claus was cooking up one of their favorite side dishes: caramelized brussels sprouts with pancetta. This side dish will definitely get the kitchen smelling amazing in no time, so today, let’s hang out in the kitchen to see the behind-the-scenes of Mrs. Claus’ latest food creation.

Read on for the recipe, you’ll love it!

Holiday Recipes

Photo credit:

·       Active: 30 minutes

·       Total time: 1 hour

·       Servings: 10

·       3 pounds brussels sprouts

·       6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

·       6 shallots, thinly sliced (1 1/2 cups)

·       2 ounces thickly sliced pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice

·       Kosher salt

·       1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped


1.     In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the brussels sprouts until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Cut the brussels sprouts in half lengthwise.

2.     In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the shallots and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until lightly browned, 10 minutes; scrape into a bowl.

3.     Add the remaining 1/4 cup of oil to the skillet. Add the brussels sprouts, cut side down, and the pancetta. Season with salt and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are browned and tender, 10 minutes. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and shallots and cook, stirring, until warm, 5 minutes. Season with salt, transfer to a bowl and serve.

This is a recipe that everyone will enjoy and if you’re vegetarian, you can always remove the pancetta and voilà! And for the baking fans out there, in the past, we’ve also cooked up delicious stuffed pumpkins and apple crisp stuffed apples. For more food ideas, we suggest this wonderful list of Christmas side dishes from Food & Wine that you can use and bring to your Christmas dinner parties.

Finally, don’t forget that you still have a few more days left, until December 24th, to get your photos taken with Santa, find a location near you. Santa’s waiting!

Now, our little elves are ready to eat, so bon appétit!

Santa!! I Know Him!!!

December 17th, 2015 | Filed under: Holiday traditions | Posted by Elf jennifer

Santa Claus is coming to town — that is, after he wraps up his rounds of Santa photos all around the Northwest and Puget Sound Region. Have you visited Santa this season yet? Here are a few of our favorite photos past and present.

Santa Photo roundup!

Santa Photos

Santa Bob and this mini Seattle Seahawks fan at Town Center at Lake Forest Park — location of the original Santa Photo set from Frederick & Nelson.

Pet Photos with Santa

“Big Kahuna” and Santa Lance at University Village in the warmth of Santa’s cabin. Don’t get too jealous Rudolph.

Santa Photos

Another classic Santa photo from Town Center at Lake Forest Park. It’s a Holi-Pajama Party!

Grand Ridge Plaza

Smiling faces while visiting and cheesing it up with Santa Larry at Grand Ridge Plaza in Issaquah.

Seattle Santa

Santa greets all his guests for the 2015 holiday season. If you have yet to get your Santa Photos, you have until December 24th. Santa waves hello from his new location this season: Southcenter Square.

Tis the Season to Get Crafty: 5 DIY Ideas for Wreaths

December 14th, 2015 | Filed under: Holiday traditions | Posted by Elf jennifer

If you’re creative and into DIY projects, the holiday season is a great excuse to work on a fun project like making your own wreaths! Whether you live in an apartment, a condo or a house, a wreath adds that little bit of holiday spirit to spruce up your home. Plus, what a fantastic way for you to express your personality and invite others to get in the spirit too! We found 5 creative DIY wreath ideas that you should definitely try.

DIY Holiday Crafts

Photo credit:

1. Joy Wreath:  This will appeal to the wordsmith in you. The holiday season is a joyful time and this wreath exactly speaks to that! The simple word, joy, can be a friendly reminder for those around you to appreciate all the joy in their lives.

2. Ribbon Wreath: If you are after something simple and absolutely bow-tiful, this is it! Ribbons, metal rings, and voila — all you need to do is put a bow on it!

3. Tea Wreath: For the tea lovers out there, this is one wreath that’d never go out of season! Get as creative as you want with various colors and for this season, holiday flavors, because they’re interchangeable!

4. Instagram Photo Print Wreath: With Instagram popularity these days, this wreath could speak to a lot of you out there. We’re biased because we love photos! You can definitely showcase your personality through your unique photos.

5. Craft Stick Wreath: For the parents out there who are looking for a fun project with your kids, this one is for you. It’s really easy and can be a family activity that you could do this weekend. We bet that they’ll have a lot of fun doing this!

Enjoy these few creative ideas to get in the holiday spirit and check out Pinterest for more fun ideas. You will definitely make the people in your neighborhood smile when they walk by your place. Happy crafting!

Holiday Wreath

A Family Tradition Going on Fifty Years

December 4th, 2015 | Filed under: Holiday traditions | Posted by Elf jennifer

Santa Photos

We are in the business of keeping the family tradition alive. The Santa Photography business was first established in 1943 in Seattle by Art French, followed by the Viydo family purchasing the Santa photo set and business in 1962. When the Viydo family bought into the Santa Photography business, their vision was to keep the classic Frederick & Nelson Santa photo set alive for many years to come. Since the foundation of the company, the Viydo family set forth to create what is now the longest-running Christmas tradition in the country — Santa photos.

One might think that once a child grows up and becomes an adult, the tradition of having Santa photos taken ends — if you believe in the magic of the season, then this is not true.

We had the pleasure of hearing the story of one family who has kept a remarkable tradition alive and going strong to this day. Karla Evans shared her story with us and also shared her trip down memory lane. For the past forty nine years, Karla and her family have visited Santa and followed the Frederick & Nelson set from its’ original downtown Seattle location, to where it currently resides, Town Center at Lake Forest Park.

Santa Photos

This weekend, Karla and her family will celebrate their 50th year visiting Santa and having photos taken. Karla had these words to share with us:

“It’s fun to see the Santa’s who have remained faithful to Arthur & Associates for so many years”

“Me and my two sisters are going to take our 50th photo. My two kids are going to take their 29th photo this year. My sisters will be taking their kids for their 23rd and 17th time this year”

“I know almost every year in the Everett Herald they do a story on a family taking Santa photos. A few years back, some children were on their 64th year taking photos.”

Hearing these stories is truly magical and heart-warming. Arthur & Associates is committed to keeping the magic and mystery of Santa alive, and this is a case in point where we are doing the job.

Enjoy Karla’s trip down memory lane with a few of her photos from the past.

Santa Photos


Begin the Holiday Season with a Tree Lighting

November 20th, 2015 | Filed under: Holiday Events Holiday traditions | Posted by Elf jennifer

The Landing in Renton celebrates the holiday season with a Tree Lighting on Saturday, November 21st. The Tree Lighting celebration commences the holiday season and is jam-packed with fun activities for the entire family. This is what you need to know:

The Tree Lighting takes place on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. LIVE Reindeer, train rides for the kiddies, face painters, balloon artists and holiday carolers will take place between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. All activities on this special night are free for all. Santa Claus is making an appearance at the Tree Lighting, so make sure to capture a photo and share your time with us on Instagram or Twitter by tagging @MySanta, or share on Facebook and tag Arthur & Associates, Holiday Photographers.

With Thanksgiving approaching, and so many reasons to give thanks, and give back, one way you can spread a little joy and cheer for someone in need is by donating to the Toys for Tots drive by donating a new, unwrapped toy.

If you cannot make it on Saturday for the Tree Lighting, your family can still enjoy the train rides on December 5, 12, and 19. Santa Claus will be in his festive cottage available for Santa photos up through December 24th.

Take time to enjoy the season with friends and family — it’s time to bring on festive cheer!

Santa Photos Renton

Holiday Fun at the Country Village Shops

November 13th, 2015 | Filed under: Holiday Events Holiday traditions | Posted by Elf jennifer

The holiday season is upon us and Country Village Shops has transformed into a magical and festive destination for families and friends to visit all season long. Country Village Shops has so many fun events and festivities to celebrate the holiday season, so grab your calendars, and plan out your holiday.

The Reindeer have arrived at Country Village Shops. Beginning Saturday, November 14th, you can visit Rudolph and all his friends from 10 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. through December 24th. The Reindeer will be lounging in the grassy area near Jantee Bistro.

Reindeer in the Northwest

On November 21st, visit Country Village Shops for their 2nd annual Gingerbread House Day! Join for one of three Gingerbread House workshops where you can craft and create your very own delicious Gingerbread House. Make sure to RSVP because classes will fill up. You can either call, (425) 483-2250; or email

Gingerbread House WorkshopGingerbread House Workshop

Drum roll please: Santa’s workshop opens on November 27th at the Country Village Shops. Santa will be in his workshop anxiously waiting for families to visit and take this year’s holiday photo from November 27th, through December 24th.

Hours and information can be found here:’s-workshop-0

Santa at Country Village Shops

We’re so delighted for the holiday season to get underway. Santa is extra jolly this year and looks forward to welcoming families from near and far for photos and for children to share their holiday wishes.

Mrs. Claus Loves Baking Apple Crisp Stuffed Apples

November 3rd, 2015 | Filed under: Holiday Recipes Holiday traditions seasonal recipes | Posted by Elf jennifer

When Santa and the elves are busy preparing for the holiday season, I like to treat them to all their favorites for all their hard work. An all-time favorite is anything and everything apple! I stumbled upon this Apple Crisp Stuffed Apple recipe by Creme de la Crumb, and it looks so apple-so-lutely divine!

Holiday Baking


8 apples (shown in picture, fuji apples)
4 tablespoons butter
⅓ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Crumble topping

½ cup flour
¼ cup oats
⅓ cup brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into cubes


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
First, prepare the crumble topping. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, oats, brown sugar, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Cut in the butter with a pastry knife, or two forks, or with your hands until mixture is crumbly. Set aside.
Peel and chop 4 of the apples. Add chopped apples, butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon to a medium sauce pan and sauté over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until apples are tender. Remove from heat.
Chop the tops off of the remaining 4 apples and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh. Discard the flesh or save it for another recipe.(See Note) You don’t need to get every little bit out, just enough to make a “bowl” for the filling.
Fill scooped-out apples with apple filling from the sauce pan. Top with a generous amount of crumble topping.
Place stuffed apples on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until crumble topping is crispy. Serve warm and top with ice cream and caramel sauce if desired. Enjoy!

Family Holiday Recipes

With only 8 ingredients — apples, butter, sugar, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, flour, and salt, I could surely whip these up in a cinch! Adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream will give it that little something extra. I cannot wait to try this recipe and see Santa and the elves’ faces as they dig into this delicious fall treat!

If you try this recipe too, I’d love to see how your Apple Crisp Stuffed Apples turned out. Instagram @MySanta or tweet us @MySanta your yummy desserts!

Warm Wishes to My Santa Moments in 2014!

December 24th, 2014 | Filed under: Holiday Events Holiday traditions My Albums | Posted by Elf jennifer


First Christmas!

2 Girls

Secret Santa


Santa’s fury friends


You’re never too old to see Santa!

Straight face Santa

Serious Santa

Fury Friend

Santa’s fury friends 2

Happy Santa

Happy Santa!

An Elf’s Favorite: Ooey Gooey Chocolate Cookies

December 18th, 2014 | Filed under: cookie recipies helpful hints Holiday traditions seasonal recipes | Posted by Elf jennifer

These little bites are the perfect escape for your taste buds this holiday season! Mrs. Claus makes these delectable treats for us elves when we’ve had an exceptionally busy day. They have a light crisp exterior and a gooey melty interior, and not to say they are most pleasing to the eye on any holiday table!


To make these charming treats all you need is:

3 tablespoons butter, melted

½ cup sugar

1 large egg

½ teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

½ cup flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

⅛ teaspoon salt

¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips

Powdered Sugar

– In an electric mixing bowl combine the butter, sugar and vanilla until smooth.

– Crack the egg in and mix until smooth

– In a separate bowl whisk together the cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt.

– Add the flour to the wet mixture sifting little by little, mixing between each add.

– Then fold in the chocolate chips.

– Now cover the bowl and allow to chill in the fridge for at least an hour, until the dough is firm enough to handle.

– While the dough is chilling prepare your baking pans by lining them with foil. This helps to prevent powdered sugar from sticking to your bakeware.

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare ½ cup of powdered sugar into a small bowl (you may need more but this is a good start).

– After the dough is chilled, use a spoon to form 1 inch balls and roll them in the powdered sugar until coated all around.

– Bake for 12 minutes.


Getting to Know Arthur & Associates

December 17th, 2014 | Filed under: Holiday Events Holiday traditions | Posted by Elf jennifer


The family that runs and operates Arthur & Associates truly love what they do. Hillard, the owner and father of three boys, remembers as a small child experiencing the magic of photography and how memories are made. Hillard’s favorite part of the holiday season is watching others receive joy, knowing that they are making lasting memories of happy moments. Other tokens of joy throughout the holiday season for Hillard are the Christmas treats always around and the heartwarming music. Hillard’s favorite tune is “I’ll be Home for Christmas”, a song with lyrics that really state what Christmas means for him.

Now we all know how Hillard will be spending this holiday season; palin’ around with Santa, eating lots of goodies, and taking a moment to reflect every time he hears “I’ll be Home for Christmas”. What are your favorite aspects of the holiday season?

Share pictures and words with us on Twitter and Instagram! Be sure to use the hashtags #MySantaMoment and #PNWClaus.