Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

 (Clip art "Santa & Company" by Shelly Comiskey)

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I really do love my "blog friends" :)

May your holidays be warm and bright, full of all the wonderful things that make this time of year so special.
And may we always remember the reason we have cause to celebrate.

(Printable by Colette @ My Computer is My Canvas)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Favorite Things Christmas 2011 Edition

This Christmas Music:

This nail polish
(More specifically, toe nail polish.)
China Glaze: Ruby Pumps
Available at Sally Beauty Supply

I kept the Christmas decor a little simple this year, only putting out the things we absolutely LOVE.

Love this cute little stitchery that a friend made for me a few years ago:

Table Centerpiece:
(The ornaments may be from the Ornament Wreath...I'm not sayin')

This year's tree:
Gingerbread Men ornaments with Red & Chocolate Brown balls.
Turned out very pretty.

I think this area was decorated by Shane. :)
At least it was a good set up for a picture to include all the ornaments.

My fireplace:
I love my fireplace! Love the mantle, and the fire is actually really pretty and looks "real" when it burns.

Christmas Mantle:
I haven't been able to get a good picture of the mantle. It has been kind of dark...and if I use the flash there is too much glare.
I was really happy with how it turned out. I just threw it together.

Christmas earrings:
Every single pair was given to me by my mom.
There's a little bit of everything; snowmen, santas, trees, wreaths, poinsettias...

These are a few of my faves:
I love the pearl snowmen. I have 2 different pairs.

These tiles:
I made these as Christmas gifts.
I love, love, love the cute little snowmen!
Shelly is one of my favorite artists. Her designs are always adorable!

All packaged up and ready to go!

Aren't they just so cute?
I. Made. These.
I think this pretty much redeems me from my Wreath debacle, right?

Friday, December 16, 2011

My Take on the Ornament Wreath

Way back in October, Rick & the boys went on a little camping/hunting expedition.
That left me to my own devices.
Emily came over for the weekend and we decided to try our hand at making Ornament Wreaths.
I know you've seen these all over the Internet the last few years. There are lots of handy tutorials (Cherie's Tutorial) & some very lovely wreaths that have been crafted.

These are a little different though. I hope you enjoy!

First of all, you start out with a wire hanger.
You untwist the top where the hook is...blah,blah,blah (I'm getting to the good part)
Then you shape the wire into a roundish shape & begin stringing the ornaments on.
This is after, of course, you have hot glued all the tops to the ornaments so they don't pop off.

Part way through, you notice your daughter's wreath is looking pretty good.
Your wreath, however, is looking pretty...ummm...interesting.

Just forge on! It will be fine. It will look so pretty when it's done.
There's nothing glitter and a bow can't fix.
(These are the things you repeat to yourself in your head)

If the ornaments need to be repositioned a bit, very carefully move them around.
No matter how carefully you do this, you will still hear this lovely sound:
"Snap! Plop! Wobble-Wobble-Wobble!"
(That's the sound of the ornaments popping off, and then rolling across the floor)
The little cap thingies stayed firmly attached to the glue kinda does that, but the hole where the hook/wire goes kept snapping open.

Once you have the ornaments all on the wire, and you have it looking like you want it (whatever),
twist the two ends of the wire together. This will be somewhat difficult. More ornaments will pop off.
Do not curse!
Just laugh. Laughing is good.
There will be glitter and broken ornaments strung everywhere.
Your daughter's wreath will look much better than yours.
The more you try to fix yours, the more you curse laugh.
Daughter will laugh too.
See...good mother/daughter bonding moment.
I'm all about creating memories.

Add a pretty red and gold ribbon, then hang it on the door so you can admire your beautiful handiwork:

What the??? 
I know, right?

I have found a couple of things that make it look better.

 See? Pretty.

2. Lighting:

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Best Laid Plans...'s everyone doing?
Are you like me? Up to your eyeballs in Christmas projects & preparations?

This is one project I am G.L.A.D. to have finally finished...
and it's not even Christmas related!
(Why do teachers plan big projects for students in December? I know school must go on...but why not wait until say...March for this one, hmmm?)

Last week was Wax Museum for Shane's class. He's been working hard since early November on this project.
We finished the report (he wrote, I typed) and I simply had to make a Michael Jordan/Chicago Bulls Jersey for him. ('Cause the only ones you can buy are very expensive).
T-shirt, Iron on's. Easy Peasy.

Attempt # 1

White shirt is scorching a bit. Grrrr! I realize I should have used a pressing cloth. Too late now!
Some "minor" scorching can be overlooked, right?

But wait~ not only did I scorch the shirt...I also put the wrong word on the back. The back of the Jersey should have the player's name..."Jordan".... Dang!

And there is just that minor incident of the backwards "B". I like to call it artistic. I was hoping Shane wouldn't notice. Frantically run to JoAnn's to get more iron-on's.

Which brings us to attempt #2:

Emily had a black t-shirt that she let me use. I had to pick out the sleeves and then wash and dry it.
By this time, it's about 1:00 in the morning. Then I get to work with the iron-on's. And I use a pressing cloth this time, just to be safe.
The numbers would not stick. It was a mess! They adhered to the backing paper...not so much to the shirt, though.
 So much for the easy peasy project. It's gonna be an all nighter.
Emily & I run to Wal-mart for more shirts and more iron-on's. I hate iron-on's.
I have to unpick the sleeves, then launder the shirt. This is getting ridiculous!

Finally! We have a winner. It only took me until 3:40 AM to get this easy project done.
Here's the front of the shirt. At 3:20 AM I realized I could only do the red outlining on one side of the shirt, since it had to dry for 4 hours. So only the front got outlined.

And here's the star of the Wax Museum

He looks exactly like Michael Jordan too.
Except he's short
He has hair
And, uh...he's white.
But other than that, he looks exactly like Michael Jordan, right?

All that matters is that the project got done. On time. And Shane had fun & was happy.

Christmas projects? Not going so well.
I've decided to give up baking~ so now I have to come up with another Neighbor Gift idea.
(I am really thinking it might be the altitude here. I made Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies last night. I've been making these for years. They are sorta my specialty. They came out thin & baking confidence is shattered!)
Can't find the stuff to make the teacher gifts I wanted to might be a mug/ornament/candle gift after all.
Have a few people that are difficult to buy gifts for (mom & dad...I'm talking about you!)
But...The tree is up, I hope to finish up the shopping by Saturday...and I have not been sick (hope I didn't just jinx myself)!

Hope everything is going fantastically in your neck of the woods!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving Bloopers 2011

This year’s bloopers didn’t involve any Jell-O. 
No, the disasters this year all focused on baking.

Earlier in the week, I went to pull my file of Thanksgiving recipes…and they were nowhere to be found! I panicked. I cried. I ranted. Then I searched for a while online and finally…finally found the recipes again!
My pie recipe (which is nothing spectacular~ it involves Jell-O Pudding & Cool-Whip!) is pretty yummy & it’s my husband’s favorite of all the Banana Cream Pie recipes I’ve tried over the years…so I was pretty upset that I had misplaced it.

The next disaster involved rolls. Homemade rolls. I do not consider myself a novice baker. I used a roll recipe that I’ve used dozens of times…but the dough would not raise. I made 2 batches of rolls. Both with different yeast & different flour, neither batch turned out.
The picture makes them look much better than they were. They tasted fine~ but they were really small.

(These are my back-up plan)
I was going to blame the mishap on the altitude here…but the back- up rolls (Rhodes) raised just fine~ in fact they raised more than I wanted them to…so I guess that throws the altitude theory out the window!
Either way, we had plenty of rolls to go around! And my family had plenty to harass me about~ so I guess the rolls were a success after all.
And finally…the piecrusts…(yes, they are Marie Callender’s Frozen pie crusts….don’t judge me!) For some reason I thought I could bake them without using pie weights….yeah, no.  They puffed up in the center.  I gave in and substituted Keebler’s Graham Cracker Crusts instead~ which everyone liked better than the traditional pie crust that I usually use.  So, now I know.  Next time, I’ll make my own graham cracker crusts though…
Disasters aside, it was a great day! We had 16 people here to celebrate Thanksgiving. There was plenty of yummy food to go was a perfect day!  I love Thanksgiving!!!
 I started the day off by making Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins for breakfast.  They disappeared in a hurry! 
 For Thanksgiving Dinner, we served:
Turkey, Mashed Potatoes & Gravy, Sage Dressing/Stuffing (my grandma’s recipe), Candied Yams (my mom’s recipe) Green Beans w/ Bacon & Onion, Rolls, Stuffed Celery, Pickles, Olives.
And for dessert: Pumpkin Pie, Mincemeat Pie, Banana Cream Pie, Chocolate Cream Pie.

My dad was at his all- time funniest. He had been sick the week before, so I think he was just happy to be feeling better. I did tell him he might need to lay off the Nyquil.  :)

Shane was our official photographer.  Here are a few of his better shots:

 I guess he likes taking pictures of the backs of people's heads?

These are interesting...

 At least he got a picture of the puppy!

Other Thanksgiving Weekend fun included:

*A partially flooded basement.
No one will confess to plugging the toilet & then letting it overflow. All. Night.
We suspect is was "Blaine" (name has been changed to protect the not so innocent.)

*Season 4 of "Prison Break"
The whole entire one day! (That's for you, Vern).

*Breaking husband has declared it the stupidest movie he has ever seen. Even worse than "The Polar Bear King" (I know it looks like a good movie...I chose it as a rental years ago & have never lived it down.) 

Now we are switching gears for the Christmas season.
I love the Holidays!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Give Thanks

Taking a break from prepping and baking and cleaning
to wish all my wonderful blog friends~

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a wonderful, joyful day as you Gather Together.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Halloween 2011

It was a very busy Halloween weekend around here!
We started off with a last minute family party with Rick's family. Not a Halloween party, just a family get together.
I made these Sugar Cookie Bars and frosted them with my

They were a big hit!
The icing recipe is quickly becoming one of my most asked for recipes.
Sadly, my family still scraped the icing off!!!
I don't know what's wrong with them...

Then it was time for our 3rd Annual Halloween Party!!!
This year, I decided to do a
"Mystery Menu" Dinner:

 (I had a cute graphic at the top, but it's not one I can share...)

 We had so much fun!!!
Everyone was a good sport and played along.
My dad was the best at choosing his menu items~ he pretty much had it all figured out & was the only one who ate a mostly normal meal.
There was much laughing!
Everyone has commented on how much fun it was.
A great night, for sure.
I almost didn't do a Halloween Party this year...
So glad I did!

The Slimy Red Goop salad actually turned out for me. That's 2 Jell-O's that I've actually had work!
It was not very appetizing though. It had kind of a yucky texture. Hey~ but if you want the recipe, let me know!
The punch was also weirdish. It tasted great...but also involved Jell-O...which I don't think I dissolved enough before I added the cold it set up a little and had an unpleasant texture as well.
So another Jell-O failure!
I'm happy to share that recipe too... :)
(Hey~ it was Halloween, so failures were funny....not distressing!)

On Halloween, I helped out with Shane's Halloween party at school.
I was in charge of the craft.
We made these cute mummies~
The kids loved them & so did the parents!

The kids did a great job, and they all turned out so cute.
It was fun to see how creative some of the kids were.
I used a 1x4 cut into 5" lengths.
Rick cut and sanded the boards for me & then spray painted them with an ivory paint.
I bought some muslin and ripped it into strips about an inch wide.
I had the kids tie 2 strips together and then they just wrapped it around the board.
Then we glued on the eyes...
And they were done.
Super cute!
Super easy!

Last of all was the Trick-or-Treating
These are the ghouls that made the neighborhood rounds this year:

Punk Rocker, Captain America, The Ghost of Lou Gherig, Gangsta

They spent the whole afternoon & evening together & had their own little party.
They cracked me up! They were so funny!!!
So glad for my neighbor who helped me get the boys together. It was great for Shane & really helped him make form some great friendships.

Now, Halloween decor is down and Thanksgiving is UP!
I'm hosting my extended family at my house this year.
So excited!
I might even make Jell-O!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Happiest Place on Earth! (Wordless Wednesday)

(There's just somethin' about That Mouse!)

(Churro Face)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Well, Hello!

Hey there, October! When did you get here?
Perhaps while we were enjoying sunny, warm (snow-free) SoCal?
(Disneyland Highlights, anyone?)

This is typically my favorite time of year...
But not this year~ no siree!!!

I'm digging in my heels! I'm not ready for it to be Fall yet!

And why is there snow? Where is Fall anyway? And in that same vein...where the heck did my summer go? 

School year has not gotten off to a good start...(17 year old Not. Doing. Well.)

I don't want to deal with another cold and flu season. Or really, life for that matter (I mean, while I'm complaining, might as well get it all out there, right?)

And who is supposed to be in charge of the unpacking?  (Ann?)

I want my mommy. Or Summer. Or both!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Witch's Hat

My mom and I made these cute Witch's Hats last year & I never got around to posting them.
I know Halloween is still weeks away, but I wanted to post the instructions so you have plenty of time to make some cute hats of your own!

I don't have step-by-step photos, but these are pretty easy.
You can also see a photo tutorial here:

You'll need the following:

A witch's hat (I found mine at Target, in the dollar bins, I used the child size)
Plastic Grocery Bags or paper for stuffing
Ribbon or Tulle
Other embellishments if desired

Start by stuffing your hat with bags or paper, so you have a stable, workable form.
Then size the ribbon/tulle that you want to use for the band and the bow.
Mod-podge the area where the band and ribbon will sit, and then put the band & the bow on the mod-podge.
Now, the fun part! Apply mod-podge over the entire surface of the hat, including the band & bow.
As it dries, you can fluff and reshape the bow.
This is a good time to sprinkle with glitter if you would like to make it sparkly!
Now~ scrunch the hat down, and use clothespins to hold the scunches in place while everything dries.
When the hat is almost dry, remove the clothespins and the bags/paper stuffing.
When completely dry, add other embellishments, if desired.

I love how these turned out! I might make some more this year.
Happy Crafting!

Now, back to your regularly scheduled September~

Friday, September 16, 2011


Last weekend, I had the great opportunity to
With some awesome women.
So glad I didn't chicken out and turn the car around!
It was great to meet some new blogging friends~
And to get to know other blogging friends a little better.

Back Row: Left to Right

Front Row: Left to Right

Thanks to Hands Full Mom for the photo.
I still haven't located the USB cord to my camera, but I'm sure it's around here somewhere...
Still in a box!

Thursday, September 8, 2011


We've been battling spiders at the new place.
Lots and lots of spiders. We think they might be Hobo spiders.
They are big!
They are In. The. House!
Everyone is a little freaked out by them!

 Rick has killed relocated several.
We bought some spray and sprayed inside and out. Hopefully it works!!!

A few days ago, we were all a little jittery because of the little critters.
We all felt like we had spiders crawling on us. And if something happened to brush against any of us...we'd be doing the "I have a spider on me" dance~ which involves flailing your arms in the air and swatting at whatever it was that you mistook for a spider. Screaming and turning in circles can also be added once you have the beginner moves down.

An errant stream of water from the shower head got me. Glad no one was around to see that.

Later, I was fumbling for the light switch in the garage, and a box brushed my arm. Screams and swatting started all over again.

Rick was assailed by a bush...which he thought was a spider. He screamed like a girl.
Not really.  He did swat the bush though!

Yeah. We don't like spiders so much around here.
I guess I won't be using fake spiders in my Halloween decor this year?