Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Sewing Adventure Begins...

Don't get too excited, though. I am writing just to say...IT'S OUT OF THE BOX!!!:0)
See my new sewing machine? My sister recommended a Janome. I think it was a better one than the one I got but after to talking to the sewing people at the shop...and seeing the sale price, I concluded this Janome was a good enough investment for the moment. (They agreed that a janome would be perfect to learn with) Should I become a sewing whiz which, based on past experience is highly unlikely, then I will pass this on to my girls. They actually took sewing classes last spring and the teacher told me the best sewing machine to get was one they had learned on, which was around $1,000. Hellooooo...I don't think so. My cute little machine looks just fine. And yes, I did choose this one because it had the pretty flowers on it and is called "magnolia"...and I love magnolias:0) Anyway, I have read the instructions and am not freaked out at all. I think this time, I can do it!!! Wish me Luck:-)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mom's Cherry~Chocolate Cake Recipe

My Mom and Dad came for Christmas this year and my Mom made the desserts. We had her delicious pecan pie and she brought a chocolate cake that was unbelievable!!! It was the moistest, most flavorful cake I've had in a long time. It looks like your ordinary chocolate cake with chocolate frosting but it is soooo much more. Here is the recipe:

Cherry Chocolate Cake
  • 1 Box Choc. cake mix
  • 1 can cherry pie filling
  • 2eggs, beat separately
  • 1/2 bag mini choc. chips (One Cup)

  • Mix together, put in Jelly Roll pan.
  • Bake at 350 for 28-38 minutes
  • Cool, frost with can of chocolate frosting
  • Enjoy!

And speaking of Chocolate & Cherry...
I've decided on the color scheme for my Christmas tree and decorating next year. Chocolate and Cherry...with accents of creamy white...starfish, artificial snow, snowflakes and tons of white lights. These are some of the ornaments I got for CHEAP at Target and the rest are already packed away. Of course, I am counting on having a creamy white room again and a red slipcover for my sofa.:-)

Also, I saw the CUTEST idea for a wreath...too late for me this year but definitely next year. Buy a round styro wreath form. Buy a bunch of small round styrofoam balls and attach them to the wreath with toothpicks. Spray the styro balls with artificial snow and have a snowball wreath. Hang with a beautiful red ribbon and it will look awesome!

Getting Ready for 2009

What do you Believe in? That could be a great question to ask as a new year comes around. Personally, I am not big on resolutions. Probably because I break most of them within 24 hours:-) I try to mentally make a short list of things I would like to do differently but that's about it. I did read something from Hope, a friend from Mom Bloggers club, that really got me thinking. It is a quote from Kurt Warner, quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals and a wonderful Christian man. It made me think that maybe this is something to think about in 2009. Listen to what he says...

"People think that whatever happens on the football field should define me one way or the other," Warner says. "A lot of people say they can't believe I don't think more highly of myself, two-time MVP, Super Bowl MVP, but it's like whatever … It just happens to be what I do. I want to be defined by what I believe in, by who I am."

Questions for 2009:

What do you believe in?

How do you want to be defined?

~~~Happy New Year~~~

Sunday, December 28, 2008

"Tutu" Cute!

I promised my girls I would put their latest project on my blog. For Christmas, they made tu-tu's for the little girls in our life.
They turned out adorable and they had a blast making them. I have to admit I was impressed with their work, regardless of how well they hold up.

Taylor, my oldest who has been in ballet forever, has visions of being a dancer and then opening a girly ballet shop someday. (at least, that's one of her many ideas.) I love that one...maybe she can give me a job!

Woulda...Coulda...Shoulda... seems I say that alot! If only I knew then what I know now...I say that alot, too. When I got married...even before that when I thought wanted to live some ultra-glamorous life, I picked out a China pattern from Royal Doulton that was classic, simple, elegant...BORING!!!! I snubbed my nose at my Mom's china which was pink, floral...old lady-like. So not my style! How wrong I was!!!! Now, I love everything Shabby Chic and vintage. I wrote in an earlier post that I am collecting random, vintage pieces of mismatched shabby/vintage china to use instead of my basic cream and gold china. I found a few pieces but the other day my Mom and I went to my favorite little antique shop and JACKPOT!!! We about fell over ourselves getting to a little stack of china and sure enough, it was my Mom's pattern from Homer Laughlin, "Georgian".

It was a bundle of plates...3 dinner, 1 soup bowl, 1 dessert bowl and six saucers. The price...$15.00. We didn't even ask "Is this your best price?" because we knew we would have paid more than that and were so excited!!! Now I have 6 dinner plates, 3 soup bowls and a number of other pieces of my "new" china. Yippee!!!
I was also looking on ebay and found another Homer Laughlin pattern for *cheap* that I might get. These are soup bowls and plates that would look awesome with my plain cream/gold-rimmed china to give me that vintage feel.

The pattern is called "Nautilus Gold". I might not mind my china once in awhile if it had some character added to it. What was I thinking back then??? I thought I loved clean lines...not in a million years would I want that now:-)

Oh, my achin tooth...

Well, it's finally happened. I woke up at 2 in the morning with a toothache. Either that or I fell out of bed and whacked the right side of my face as that is what it felt like!:-) It is my own fault, too. I hate going to the dentist so much that I put off what was inevitable. Waaaaaaaay back in August I broke a tooth while stuck on a plane for 11 hours on the way to NYC. (I broke it on a horrid airport sandwich. If only it had been on something good, I wouldn't have felt so bad:-) I thought for sure our trip would be ruined because of my tooth but I never felt a thing. I stupidly thought the tooth must be dead if it wasn't sensitive so I could get it fixed whenever I got my courage up. Boy, was I wrong! It has come to life so now I will be bringing in the New Year at my least favorite place. Boo hoo...
I've often said that if I won the lottery, I wouldn't be buying jewelry,clothes or getting plastic surgery. I would go to the best dentist I could find and pay him to fix every tiny little thing and every big thing, like those old silver fillings, all in one shot. (While I was sleeping, if possible:-) No facelift, tummy tuck or boob job here...just new teeth!!!:-) Since we don't ever remember to buy a lottery ticket, we aren't likely to win the lottery so I will have to do it the old fashioned broken tooth at a time.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Beautiful Goldendoodle Puppies For Sale!

Maui...The Goldendoodle
Meet Maui, our 7 month old goldendoodle. He is as cute as cute can be! We bought him from wonderful breeders in Illinois and I recently heard from them that they have a new litter of goldendoodle puppies for sale. I told Leslie, the owner of Maui's parents and the puppies, that I would tell everyone I know about her pups. Buying from them was a wonderful experience. Leslie walked me through each step and reassured me he would be fine during shipping. It was just as hard for her to put him on a plane as it was for us knowing our baby was getting on a big plane but he did great and Leslie and I communicated the whole time he was traveling. Maui got to us as happy as could be and the vet said he was "perfect".

Today, he is the most easy-going, lovable big dog you could ask for. He knows basic commands and was a star in his kindergarten class. He doesn't not have accidents as he goes to the front door and lets us know it's time to go for a walk. He does not destroy things around the house although he will chew his toys to death:-) He does not shed and for some reason, unless he just went for a run outside in the rain, he doesn't smell like a dog. He gets bossed around by Freddy, our 5 year old cockapoo, who rules the roost and he patiently lets Freddy be the boss, most of the time. He seems to love everyone in the house equally and is not protective or defensive at all. We have crate trained him but also leave him outside of the crate already at night and when we leave for a few hours and he has never chewed up the furniture or a shoe...yet!!!:-)

If I could, I would get another of the puppies but 2 dogs are all we can handle...for now, anyway:-) Since I can't, I would love to know just as much as Leslie would that these new puppies go to the best homes possible, so if you know of anyone looking for a doodle, please contact me and I will forward your information to Leslie. She is also listed on Look under goldendoodle puppies and the state of Illinois, for Langford's Goldendoodles.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The BEST Salmon Recipe Ever!!!!!

I got my new Taste of Home last week and as you would expect, it was stuffed with cookie/candy/dessert recipes for Christmas. However, Taylor and I saw a recipe for salmon that looked so easy and delicious, we just had to try it. Last night, we made the salmon and it was AWESOME!!!!! It's a lot like many salmon recipes but super easy, tasty and KID APPROVED. And my girls don't eat salmon!:-) I will definitely make this again!!! We have friends who visit who love seafood and this is what I am making for them this year. (Although I have to say, the easiest salmon recipe ever created is Dishwasher Salmon, where you cook it in the dishwasher. Yes, it works...we just saw it on the food network, too...and it is delicious! But this is still really easy:-) Anyway, here is the recipe in case you or someone you know loves salmon, which is also one of the best foods for your body:-) It has a sweet glaze that isn't overdone at all.
Brown Sugar Glazed Salmon
1 Tbs Brown Sugar
2 tsp butter (I accidentally used 2 Tbs:-)
1 tsp honey
1Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 Tbs soy sauce (low sodium)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 salmon fillet (2 lbs or so)
In a small saucepan over med. heat, cook and stir the brown sugar, butter and honey until melted. Remove from the heat; whisk in the oil, mustard, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Cool 5 minutes.
Place salmon on a large foil-lined baking pan. Brush with glaze. Bake at 350, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes or until fish lakes easily with a fork.

Christmas Traditions...Sleeping by the Tree

Christmas is coming so fast so and we are now trying to fit in the things we do every year, like sleeping by the Christmas tree. Last night the girls, the dogs and I spent the night looking at the tree lights as we went to sleep. Once again, I am reminded of how it is the simplest things that seem to be so much more meaningful to them than I could imagine. We started the night baking and watching The Nativity Story. (although today is our real baking day) Phil needed to bring in some treats for his office party and wanted me to make the Pecan Crisps from Southern Living. They are sooooooo good. (When I sold Southern Living at Home, I used to make these and put them in small packages with the recipe for party guests. Dumb me...they were supposed to BUY the cookbook:-) Once we finished that, we watched The Christmas Shoes. Yes, we bawled our eyes out...again!!:-) But I guess it's kind of like watching Brian's know you will be a mess and crying your eyes out but you love the story so you can't help yourself. Last year we didn't watch it because I felt like I never had a night where I could afford to be sobbing like that. This year, like I said, much more laid back. I still have wrapping to do but that's okay and I just remembered I have a layaway to get out today...yikes! Good thing I didn't forget that one:-) If only today were Christmas. It's kind of cloudy and we have a "cool" spell of 7o degrees...yippee!!!! Christmas is going to be bright, sunny and 81. Boo... Anyway, time to get the cookbooks out and the gingerbread house ready to decorate:-)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Cute gift wrapping ideas

Better Homes and Gardens had some cute wrapping ideas for Christmas this year. I know, I know...who has time. But I actually wrapped beautiful packages for my daughter's dance teachers this year and it was so worth it. I went with a pastel snowflake theme and wrapped the boxes kind of like a Tiffany's box. We placed the gifts in a pastel bag with ribbons and attached a small glittery snowflake ornament, which I buy every year!!!!! It took only a few minutes more and they loved the packaging. Look at this photo...bright, solid colored wrapping paper with contrasting wide bright ribbon. Adorable! If you shop at Swoozies, one of my all-time favorite stores, you will appreciate bright and cheery packages!!! I have always been a fan of great packaging. Sometimes I'm sure the outside was better than what was inside, which is sad but true:-) You can find awesome stuff to wrap with through the year, like cute favor boxes, paint cans, plain paper, cool's amazing what you can do. Check these out... above is a photo of paint cans and below shows a package wrapped in family photos scanned from the computer. I went through my paint can phase last year. Home depot has great silver ones and Joann's and Michaels sometimes have white or clear paint cans. Tie tons of ribbons on the handles for another look. One of my other favorites is to attach flowers to a package, like this red flower. And white paper is the BEST!!! Every year I say I am only using white paper all year and then get carried away with other wraps, but you can change the look for great packages. Colorful polka dot ribbons, white paper with black toile ribbon, stickers and stamps on white paper. It truly is all you need and they always look great! See for yourself... And my number #1 favorite for this year...Is this gorgeous? Here is what I'm thinking. My husband has to give a few ladies who work for him a gift. We are doing the super-easy American Express gift card and a few treats. I think I'll wrap the card and treats in the box and add a cute pin to the outside that will be part of the gift. Happy Wrapping!!!!!:-)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sometimes it pays to have a child who is a perfectionist...

...especially if they also have an artistic flair. Jordie made santa hat sugar cookies today for her tennis class and coach. I think I am officially handing over all cookie decorating from now on! Ho,Ho,Ho!!!:-)

The "Boring" life of a hurt puppy...

Poor Maui...being a puppy is supposed to be about playing fetch as much as you can and going for lots of long walks, chasing every leaf that blows by! Not lying around the house with everyone trying to keep you quiet. BORING!!!! Poor little boy. Even Freddy misses the bouncing boy, although he much prefers resting on the couch with Maui. That makes it easier to keep an eye on him!:-) This is what happens when you are a puppy who grows faster than your bones can handle...sore shoulder!

Diet Ice Cream Cones

This is what we get for deciding to have ice cream cones for lunch. Taylor and I rode our bikes to the store to get the cones...working off the calories before hand, of course. Little did we know that we had bought "mini" cones. At this rate, we could actually eat 5 and it would be the same as one...but we didn't. We did put away about 3 though! Hahahah...jokes on us!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tips for Moms everywhere...

Today, I thought I would share some of my favorite "mommy wisdom" tips.
1. Eliminate the phrase "perfect mother" from your vocab.
2. There is no training for being a mommy so when you screw up, forgive yourself and move on.
3. Remember the word "MOM" is WOW" upside down;-)
4. Make a gratitude list and post it. Then, look at it during those trying, stressful moments and smile...or try to!
5. If you are a stay-at-home mommy or a career mom...feel good about your choice and make the most of the time with your kids. Women can be so hard and judgemental towards each other when there is no need for it.

and now for my favorite quote about parenting...
"If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do matters very much."
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Super Sweet & Easy Cookie Recipe

Okay, here is an oldie but goodie for sure! One of our former babysitters reminded me of this one. It's crazy simple but yummy! I don't even know if they have a name but I'll call them Tali's Treats, after our babysitter whose grandma made them for her:-) The ingredients are ritz crackers, peanut butter and white chocolate. Spread peanut butter on one of the crackers and make a sandwich with another cracker (or maybe use the mini pre-made ones???) Then you coat the entire cookie in melted white chocolate and let dry on a rack. Sooooooooo yummy and easy, too! Take the pretty ones to someone else's house but keep these for you...they are that good! They keep for weeks in the fridge and are good cold, too. Enjoy!
P.S. I think some call these the "hillbilly cookie" but whatever you call them,they're still good:-)!!!

On the 12th day of Christmas...

my Mommy gave to me...Silly Socks!!! One of our favorite traditions, which I imagine we will try to do in some way forever, is the 12 days of Christmas gifts. Every day, starting the 12th day before Christmas, I gave my girls a tiny little gift in the morning. It started when they were little and I would have a gift (wrapped, of course:-) by their breakfast plate when they came downstairs every morning. They LOVED this...and still do. The gifts were always small and inexpensive...maybe a cute pair of earrings, candy, stickers, festive socks, bubble bath...stuff like that. Today, their gift was a pair of "SILLY" socks. You would think they won the lottery. They've never had socks with toes and love sliding around on the hardwood floor. (The dogs are having a blast trying to pull them off, too!:-) Their friends always thought they were so luck to get a tiny gift for 12 days leading up to Christmas morning. This reminds me that it is truly the little things, because these were dollar-store items that were a big hit.

The other tradition we had, before they got so busy with school and activities, was to make paper rings and tear one off each day. The chain would hang in the kitchen and each morning they would take one off and be surprised with a special treat for that day. Maybe one day it was to make cookies, one might be to go to the Nutcracker, another day was a walk through the neighborhood at night with a hot cocoa while being pulled in their wagon to see the pretty lights. It took a bit of planning with a calendar but was always SOOOOOO worth it! If I could pass on any fun, festive ideas, these would probably be it as they loved them and they made the days leading up to Christmas so very special.

A Simple Christmas...

I read a book this year by Sharon Hanby-Robie called A Simple Christmas. It was probably one of the best books I read all year, not only for the content but because I know I tend to complicate my favorite Holiday. The book is filled with ways to celebrate the Christmas holidays with some sense of calm and peace. There are so many ideas on how to choose what parties to say yes to, decorate the house and what traditions to keep and which to let go of. Re: decorating, I know I followed her advice and simplified. The decorations are simple, bright and cheery. The house looks festive without feeling cluttered which, for some reason, always bugged me. I still did 'my thing' outside and that's okay...if it isn't something that stresses me or my family out, it's okay to keep. (I wonder if my husband will ever figure out that my only criteria when buying a house is how good it will look decorated for Christmas...which explains my berry-red house!:-)

One of the things she suggests doing in the book is to ask each family member to fill in the blank to this statement: Christmas wouldn't be Christmas if I (or we) didn't_________________. I was so surprised with some of the answers I got from my family. My girls filled the blank with baking Christmas treats and delivering them to friends and neighbors, listening to Christmas music and watching old Holiday shows and movies and driving around town to look at lights with a hot cocoa. One more, which I'll write about next, is our "12 days" tradition. My husband wanted a relaxing home to come home to, Christmas music playing and just some fun family moments. Not one mentioned any gift on a wish list! Yippee!!!

Anyway, I can't recommend this book enough...for it's great tips and beautiful writing. Here it is 2 weeks until Christmas day and I feel so good...not stressed out. My family has noticed, for sure. We've done some baking, watched a lot of favorite Christmas shows and play music non-stop. The cards haven't gone out yet but they will tomorrow. Wrapping is started but not done, but that's okay. Shopping is mostly done and I'm hoping to start a new project just for me tomorrow.

I got lucky and found this book at T.J.Maxx for $3.99...and by the way, ALWAYS check the books at that store. I usually walk away with at least one!:-) Happy Sunday!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My new favorite quote...

"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Maya Angelou

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Few Cheap, Quick & Easy Holiday Decorating tips ..

This year, I tossed out some of our old, broken decorations. I then found I didn't have quite as much as I would have liked, although we did decide to scale back on the amount of decorations, too. I don't want to buy more decorations as I don't plan on having the same color scheme in my next house so we had to be creative. Here are a few ideas...not terribly original but what can I say!:-)
First, ornaments always make a great decoration. I bought a bunch of bright and richly colored ornaments everywhere...Target, Wal-Mart, Dollar Tree...even Goodwill. A few are glass ornaments but most are beautiful ornaments that look like the real thing, complete with beautiful designs painted on them. I bought packs of 6 ornaments for $1 & $2. Next, I filled every glass vase, jar and bowl I could find and placed them through the house. It's not overdone, looks pretty and festive and will be easy to clean up. We also tied some to stair-rails, from ceiling fans and a chandelier. On the coffee table was a large bowl of seashells. I like that look so we just added a few ornaments to the bowl.
Next, we wrapped a bunch of boxes to use as decorations. Some were empty, some had things in them that wouldn't be used through the Holidays. For the cost of wrapping paper (which has been really inexpensive this year), we made instant decorations. I have a ledge above my wall unit that I usually place a garland. I needed the garland for something else and thought this could be cool. The photos don't do it justice but when my husband thinks it looks "great", we did something right. The fact that he even noticed is amazing:-)
Our copper ornaments are coming in handy. We used to hang them from trees in the kitchen but with the layout of our house, we don't have a "kitchen" tree. They look awesome in a bowl with pinecones and cinnamon sticks.
Guess that's it for now but we're still working on it.
Next finds. (Hint...Vera Bradley has desk and stationary sets now...and at Marshalls, they are DIRT cheap!:-)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving from the beach!

Happy Thanksgiving!
We spent part of today at the beach. What a gorgeous day!
There was a sand scuplting contest and some of the creations were amazing. We even made a few of our own...clearly not like the pros, t
First up is a castle, followed by a scene from Paris with tourists and the Eiffel Tower. Then a beautiful turtle and a fish. Finally, Jordie helping to make our works of art...Santa and a Christmas tree.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Vintage Shabby Beaded Christmas new favorite project!

Today I finished my Christmas tree. It is made from old, broken jewelry pieces or ones that I was missing a match to. I then used various pearls, again mainly from old necklaces I have gathered and finished my tree. I only wish it photographed better because it is truly beautiful. I saw one similar but bigger for almost $500. As I stood there looking at it, I realized I could make my own version, which I will be listing at my etsy shop It is soooo pretty. Now I'm going to have to offer to buy old, broken pieces of jewelry from everyone I know!:-)

Operation Christmas Child

Today, the girls packed their shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. We have to drop them off at church tomorrow. They were so excited to use their allowance to buy gifts to fill their shoeboxes. What a wonderful program...we are going to be sure to do this every year!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Goodbye Fun, Cute, Groovy Car...

...hello SUV. It's been so much fun cruising around town, going to the beach, driving around looking at Christmas lights...with the top down. Great memories...but time to make some new ones.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Maui the Goldendoodle for President...

Okay, so the title is a little bit misleading. However, I have found something I agree with the Obamas on. Apparently they will be getting their girls a puppy to bring to the White House and they want a goldendoodle. (although the pressure is on to find a rescue dog so maybe not) My goldendoodle is awesome...and huge! He loves to do 4, play fetch, go for walks and cuddle up as close as he can get to you. Who can resist this face???

Thursday, October 23, 2008

62 days unti Christmas...

...and I'm sooooo ready!!!:-) I know, it's only Fall. Maybe if we had a true "Fall" in Florida I would want it to slow down more but we don't. The weather is nicer but that's about it. As my girls get older, Halloween is a little more laid back. Thanksgiving is a wonderful Holiday but has never been my "favorite" so for me, I'm ready to give in and start getting ready for Christmas. On that note, I found a picture of a mirror I want to make. I've seen wreaths like this but I want a mirror for my foyer. How cute is this??? I saw it somewhere online and fell in love with it! I may only get a small one made this year butI definitely want to hunt for a cheap mirror and get started! If only I had more vintage ornaments...something to work on for next year, for sure!

China & Cameos

Look what I found at my favorite little antique shop...a few beautiful PINK pieces of Limoges China!!! I have hated my boring (yet very classic) china for years. What was I thinking??? Ayway, in my effort to replace it i have been scouring shops for awhile now, looking for odds and ends pieces to make a set of china. (I think I first read about this in Shabby Chic, by Rachel Ashwell) Anyway, it's kind of fun to grab a few pieces here and there. Even though all of the pieces may be different, they will definitely have that "shabby" pink feel.

I also found this beautiful cameo. It was hard to get a closeup shot but it's a copper color with swarovski crystals around it and a gold base. Now I can't decide what to do with it!:-)

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