Monday, December 31, 2007

First NFL game for Cole. My husband presented his father, brother and son with Cardinals/Rams football tickets for Christmas. His brother is a huge Rams fan. They planned such a fun day. The second gift for my son, was a new Cardinals tee-shirt. Grandpa planned their little tailgate party. I'm glad they did, tailgating is great fun. Because of arriving early for their tailgate, they got great parking. However, once they were inside, they realized that their box seats provided all of the food and drinks they needed. They had so much fun.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

I dreamed of a "Pink" Christmas. I'm uncovering my office today - all day. Tomorrow is my reward. I've picked up our Christmas photos and plan to scrapbook tomorrow. I thought I'd show you my new pink Christmas tree in my favorite chippy white urn. My desk is never this clean. It's just waiting for me to play.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas at Grandma and Grandpas was a big sea of wrapping paper, lots of laughs and mountains of cookies. Taylor and I baked for two days straight, bringing seven types of cookies and candies. My daughter and her cousin Laren are both big collections of Webkins. Whoever thought up Webkins is absolutely brilliant. Cole received a nautilus set from his Grandfather and Daddy. They spent the next two days cleaning out the third bay in the garage and setting it up. Now we can all get in shape. Can't wait. Taylor can't wait until her Daddy and Cole start putting together her dollhouse.
I'll keep you posted on that one. It could take months! It's also all about the WII at our house. Cole received the new wireless guitar and Guitar Hero III, the WII zapper and game, My Sims and Super Mario Galaxy. Fun, fun.
Taylor has been quiet as a mouse, listening to her new IPOD and working on this beautiful piece of art. If you're looking for a great girl gift, I found this set at Walmart and she's loving it.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas! I was so moved when I found this Christmas card that my wonderful Father sent to his parents during World War II. I was looking for something in my Grandmother's scrapbook and found this in an envelope. My Dad was 17 years old during the last year of the war. His parents gave him permission to join the war. There was such a tremendous feeling of patriotism then. Still, I can't even imagine. He was their only son, a star baseball player, super brain that had planned to move to California to live with his Aunt and Uncle to attend college. They had no children of their own and wanted to put my Dad through college. My Dad's life reminds me of George in my favorite movie, It's A Wonderful Life. My Dad did not get to go away to college when he returned. His Father had an accident and my Dad became the sole provider. He had no regrets, was an eternal optimist and also lived a wonderful life. I miss you Dad!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

It snowed in Arizona. Of course it didn't snow in Phoenix. Notice everyone's lightweight jackets. However it has been snowing in the mountain towns in Arizona. The Toyota dealership where my sister-in-law works brought in truckloads of snow for a party last night. My kids had a ball.
We couldn't get them to leave and I could not take any decent photos. They were moving too fast! My husband and I are always so surprised when they so love the activities that we took for granted as kids. Me, playing in the snow in Iowa and my husband, playing on the beach in California. Go figure.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy Mail Day! I received my order from Jenny and Aaron today. Even the box is as cute as can be. I've been wanting these ornaments since last year and couldn't wait a minute longer to place my order. I know, they're cute. Now you all want them, don't you???
I always refer to her as "Jenny Cupcake". My husband is lucky that our kitchen decor is Tuscan/French Country or we would have cupcakes everywhere. I love their work.

Friday, December 21, 2007

My friend and neighbor, Debbie, hosted a cookie exchange over the weekend. Not only did we exchange 3 dozen cookies, she served us a delish brunch and we played fun holiday games. Are these little mouse cookies just the cutest?
As if she didn't spoil us enough, Debbie presented each of us with a darling copper cookie cuter with a message attached for the real reason of the season.
Her tag read "May peace, joy and His love surround you this holiday season and always". Well said!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Just poppin in to wish you a Merry Christmas is what the little tags read are attached to a bag of microwave popcorn. I'm off to drop them off at school for all of the teachers that I substitute teach for. Some of the tags are a little off center because I omitted a word and had to reprint them. I was able to cut them a little larger and still use the red mats. That's what I get for staying up too late!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Now Dasher and Dancer and Comet and Blitzen . . .
I sewed yesterday in my daughter's classroom. Reindeer, snowmen and snowboarder fleece hats. They turned out so cute!!!! One of the volunteers brought in four machines and we sewed for three hours. The kids had to do the hand sewing. I love how they turned out.

Monday, December 17, 2007

My dear friend Carmen came to visit me this weekend. We met twice over the weekend which was so much fun, but way too quick. She and her boys stopped by to visit us Friday so that she could see all of my holiday decor. When I started decorating, I cleared off my shabby chic table in our living room and filled it with brown paper mache and cardboard villages ready to be painted and glittered. I still have a few more to do, but I'm getting there. She surprised me with this incredible white glittered JINGLE sign. I love it. It's perfect with all of my glittered village pieces and shabby decor. The sign is leaning against the cute white metal snowflake that she gave me last Christmas. I've also included the white glittered barn star that she gave me for my birthday. Last but not least, is this adorable vintage and glittered little girl, also from Carmen, in my glass vignette. Carmen you have exceptional taste! Thank you and I loved seeing you and your handsome boys this weekend.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Karla is hosting what we love about our holiday home. I love my red and white kitchen table at Christmas. I'm always on the look out for more red and white candy ornaments and adornments.

Our dining room is just a tad more formal. I love the ornaments and garlands on the chandelier and my new glass jars filled with berries and silver stars from Pottery Barn.
I found this fun children's cabinet from a thrift store earlier this year. I brought it inside from my daughter's play house to match my red and white kitchen decor.

My Grandmother's "Cooky Book" is displayed there. I'll never forget the years I spent staying over night at her house once each Christmas break. She let me choose a recipe from this book and we would bake cookies together. I cherish this cookbook.
I hung my new "Glitterville" candy garland and my daughters handprint wreath on my pantry door. Love them both.
My family just started me on this Department 56 North Pole series. It is so fun to add more pieces to.
My grandmother's chair that was my favorite as a child next to the collection of angels my sweet mother gave to me.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I've been collecting paper mache houses all year to sugar them up for Christmas. This is my first one. They are so much fun. I can see why Michelle thinks they are addicting. My daughter and I have two more in progress. I met my friend, Angie, for lunch this week. She said, "Cindy, you have glitter on your face." We both laughed and said "What's new" at the same time. My scrapbook room is covered in glitter and snow. Tis the season.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Holiday traditions are a wonderful way to create wonderful, warm memories for your children to remember. Today Jill is hosting "Celebration of Traditions". I have a list of traditions. Creating our annual candy train is my children's favorite. You start with 3 Musketeers candy bars. They are easy to poke into to link your trains together. Some years we use red rope licorice and others mini candy cane pieces. I've been collecting candy for years for this project. We keep the foil wrapped pieces year after year. We also use a tube of white frosting to use as "glue".
The following is a list of candy items to consider for your own train.

Candy Train
3-4 Three Musketeers candy bars
1 tube white frosting
starlight mints
M & M's
foil wrapped santas
mini candy canes
red rope licorice
2 sizes of gold foil coins
gum drops
mini tootsie rolls for Santa to stand on as he drives the train
1/4th of a roll of fruit flavored Lifesavers for the engine light
foil wrapped presents
foil wrapped bells
Hersheys kisses
Gummy bears
Andes mints
Necco wafers

I first made this train at a party. This woman invites several women every year, makes a big pot of chili and provides her guests with a list of what to bring and then everyone shares their supplies. She makes several every year to give as gifts. We started making a gingerbread house every year. However, the candy trains have proven to be a "no stress" tradition that is much more enjoyable.
Have fun making your own!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

On our last day in California, my family indulged me by driving me to my two requested locations. The first was the fabulous Roger's Gardens. I could have spent hours exploring their grounds and gardens. The Christmas decor was incredible. It was difficult to exercise any self control. I turned a corner and found an entire armoire of crowns. How fun is that? I brought home a doll-sized silver crown.

They had a beautiful display of Nicol Sayre's work. The one with the cloche is my favorite.
Our second stop was total eye candy. By this point, I was over stimulated. A girl can only take so much. I'm so glad I didn't miss this. Paris to the Moon in Costa Mesa is over-the-top fun. You can't miss this gorgeous tree in their darling shop. I hope I get to go back.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Downtown Disney has the most fabulous shops. A few years ago, my family surprised me by starting me on a collection of Department 56 villages from the North Pole Collection. I had never even considered starting a collection and consider them among my most cherished gifts. The Department 56 store at Downtown Disney had an entire room of them on display.

I love this village in the glass jar. I found some really clever ideas.
We moved our village to a larger area this year. I hinted that we needed another village piece. My family went Christmas shopping early last week and surprised me with this new sugared piece. I love it.I was ordered to wait outside the Department 56 store so that they could do more shopping. I can't wait to see what they selected. This Department 56 business is addictive.

We also went to the new Anne Geddes store. She has the most adorable lifelike babies. These cute little eggs would make great Easter gifts.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

We had so much fun playing hooky and spending four days in Calfornia experiencing Disneyland at Christmas. It was raining cats and dogs the morning we arrived at Disneyland which in retrospect seems like the best time to go. Most of the rides had only 10 minute lines. We bought Mickey ponchos and spent the next 11 hours racing between Disneyland and California Adventure. The next day we stayed for 12 hours and only were able to go on about 1/5 of the rides with 45-60 minute lines.
The two rides that were completely transformed were It's a Small World and The Haunted Mansion. The Haunted Mansion became The Nightmare Before Christmas. Main Street was decked out in garlands with Mickey wreaths and Christmas Carols were playing through the streets.
Cinderella's castle was frosted with snow and looked so beautiful at night. As we approached the castle I saw a young man get down on one knee and propose to his girlfriend. I told my family what was going on. A nearby Disney employee said she had helped him plan out the details because she was on the committee that helps make magic happen.
California Adventure was decorated with a Santa Beach theme. We always have to go on our favorite ride - Soarin Over California. We found a new fun activity at the Animation Studio. They offer character drawing classes. We went three times. It was extremely entertaining for my husband to watch me draw. We were laughing so hard I'm surprised they didn't ask us to leave. I am soooo bad! The highlight for me was watching this amazing Christmas Chorus production featuring a living Christmas tree. While we were waiting for the program to start, they announced that Jane Seymour would be narrating the Christmas story from the Bible. It was incredible and we were lucky being at the right place at the right time.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Pizzelle Italian Cookie
1 3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugaar
1/2 cup canola oil
3 eggs
1/2 oz of vanilla, lemon, anise or orange extract
Mix eggs thoroughly. Add all other ingredients and mix well. Drop by spoonfuls on the iron and close top. Cook approximately 1-3 minutes until golden brown. May add powdered sugar at the end if desired.

I'm taking part in Jessi's fun cookie exchange. For several years, my dear friend, Annie, made these beautiful cookies from a cookie iron called a brazeli from Switzerland. Her mother had brought the cookie iron back from Switzerland. I love her beautiful, delicious and elegant cookies. I have tried for years to find one on ebay. Roberts European Imports carries them for the incredible price of $300. I would rather go to Switzerland myself and plan on doing just that someday. In the mean time, my daughter and I went to a Girl Scout cookie event and learned how to make these Pizzelle cookies which are very similar to my friend Annies. I'm going to treat myself to a Pizzelle iron and make these delicious cookies. I wrote on the bottom of her recipe that she quadroples the recipe during the holidays. Yum! Thanks Sweet Jessi for hosting this festive event.