Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"Yummy!" That just about sums it up.

On Sunday morning, I wanted to make breakfast.  So I started baking bacon - yes, BAKING bacon.  A friend recently shared with me that this is how she prepares her bacon.  When I tried it, I found that the clean up is SO much easier!  I then pulled out the baking mix for biscuits and decided to make cheddar bacon biscuits with sausage gravy.
For the sausage gravy, I grated fully cooked, low fat turkey sausage links.  This worked out really well and I felt it might be just a tad healthier.  There was no fat in the pan, so I had to add a little butter.
Yes, I am still using Christmas plates.  Still in the mood.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Unique Gift

More about Geri's sister who lives in Monitor, Oregon.  She (and her sisters and one brother) are always creating something and are wonderful quilters.  Geri recently showed me a picture of a gift she made for her brother-in-law.
The lantern actually works, but Mary turned it into a wind chime AND a lantern.  Very cool and unique.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Natural Beauty via Mother Nature

A friend sent me this picture, that I want to share with you...
This frost design was found on her sister's car in Monitor, Oregon.  So amazing how Mother Nature leaves her mark.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

My daughter is a genius!

Kimmy has gotten me excited again about polishing my nails.  She has probably 200 different colors of polish, the nail dryer, gel polishes, special decanters, etc.  When she recently moved back home for a brief time, I had total access to her stash.  One of my absolute favorite polishes is by OPI and it is a sort of brown glitter top coat.  Of course, they don't make it anymore and I have looked EVERYWHERE for it.  I could not find it.  So, Kimmy said I should try and make my own... so here we go...
I went out and bought a bottle of clear polish.
I then pulled out my stash of glitter, trying to figure out which color I wanted.  I used real fine glitter by  Glitter Ritz.  The colors are absolutely beautiful!
I then mixed the three colors in this little metal pot I have.  (This part makes me feel like a mad scientist.)
You can see I put tissue paper down because glitter gets everywhere.  I will probably be wearing it for a week.
This is what I ended up with.  The one on the left is the color I was going for - a little bit of brown glitter with just a tad of latte to brighten it up.  The one on the right was my first attempt.  It is a nice color, but it has more gold than I originally wanted and is definitely a lot more glitter.  So now I have my own, one-of-a-kind glitter top coat.  Love it!
Like I said, my daughter is a genius!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

My 2013 Christmas Tree

I wanted to do something different this year...
 So up goes the white tree...
Turquoise ornaments, purple lights and garland (and white lights since it is a pre-lit tree).
Yes, different ... and I am getting used to it, even liking it.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Step aside, Clark Griswald

There is a street in Chandler near the 101 and Ray Roads, where the entire street puts up Christmas lights and multiple Christmas light displays.  This picture was taken at one end...
It really doesn't look that impressive at a distance, but get close and...
... you can see the detail put into decorating their homes.  
There were many homes displaying the holiday spirit.  If there is one thing I love, it is looking at Christmas lights!  

Thursday, December 19, 2013

An Afternoon with the Vance Sisters

Diana Vance, her sisters, and more (nieces, daughters, daughters-in-law) get together for a holiday cookie exchange and SO much more - this last weekend was their fourth annual event and I was fortunate to receive an invitation.  Here are some of the highlights:
Above is the trunk of my car - cookies and white elephant gift packed and ready to go.
When I got there, they were just finishing baking cut out cookies and the goal was to decorate them.  
We definitely had some unique cookies - I hate to say it, but this one reminds me of Mr. Bill from Saturday Night Live.  I know - totally different - but I think it is the "bug" eyes.

Ahhhh.  That pink heart is so simple, and so sweet.
After the cookies were finished, Janie and Carolyn taught us how to crochet/weave a neck scarf with our hands, and NO hooks.  The scarves were beautiful but it took me several (many!) times to get it right.
You can see everyone had on their thinking caps.
Becky and Diana were doing a good deed - untangling an entire skein of yarn for Stephanie.
Next?  The gift exchange.  The "hot" item was a VISA gift card.  I didn't get to stay for the cookie exchange.  I had another commitment for the evening. I did get my cookies, though.
It is always a lot of fun to see this wonderful group of sisters get together and just enjoy each other.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Hot Cocoa Cookies - Heavenly!

This year I am in two cookie exchanges.  The first one was last Saturday with the Vance girls.  What a day!  I have more pictures to share on that tomorrow.  I made Hot Cocoa Cookies and you can find the recipe here:  pipandebby.com.  They are so, SO good!  They are best right out of the oven - let them cool a little so you don't burn your mouth.
I made my cookie dough the night before and then put it in the refrigerator.  In the morning it looked and tasted almost like fudge.  So I used my ice cream scoop to scoop out the dough and made 1" balls.
 I placed them on a cookie sheet, slightly pressed the center, and baked for 12 minutes at 350 degrees.
While the cookies were baking, I cut a marshmallow in half and put a 3/4" square piece of chocolate (Hershey's chocolate bar) on the sticky side.  Then place them upside down (chocolate side down) on top of the baked cookie.  They are then baked for an additional 5 minutes.  When they came out, I gently smashed them with my cookie spatula - I felt they needed to be flatter.  Then I drizzled a tiny bit of chocolate icing over the white marshmallow.
All under wraps and ready to go.

P.S. To get that warm, fresh baked taste, I zap them in the microwave for 5 seconds.  Again, they are heavenly!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I just LOVE this card design...

I have most, if not all, of my Christmas cards already made this year, but I was messing around on Sunday night and was inspired by a card I saw on Pinterest.  Here's what I came up with:
I used a stamp that I have had for a long time - one of a winter country scene.
All stamping was done with a dark brown stamp pad.  Anymore, dark brown seems to be my "go to" stamp pad.  I rarely use black anymore.
Just for fun, I made 5 cards.  I popped up different parts of the scene and mounted it on a kraft colored card stock, to give it some dimension.   The entire card is mounted on red card stock.
You can't see it well, but I also used Platinum Stickles on the tree to give it a little shimmer.
"In the meadow, we can build a snowman."  Perfect for a winter scene.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Another very cool item at my parents' home

My parents' house is full of old stuff, and lots of treasures.  Some of the items I have never seen.  This is one of those things:
This is an old box with personal letters from the late 1800's.  It belonged to one of my dad's relatives.  I don't know the story of how it got in the hands of my dad, but I started reading some of the correspondence and am looking forward to getting back to it.  The box, itself, was interesting to see how it locked - we had trouble figuring it out.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Remember these?

As my dad goes through the stuff in their house, he puts stuff aside for each of us.  We each have a box with our name on it.  So of course while I was home, I went through my box.  Remember these?
A plastic rain bonnet!
I totally remember my mom wearing these when I was a kid.  
Well, I found two in my box.  The other one was so old, it tore apart when I tried to open it.  
Gail and I got to laughing so hard, we had to sit down.  
Another great day.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Rachel's Christmas Lights

My niece, Rachel, spent the day Saturday after Thanksgiving, putting up her outside lights.  So after dinner at Loyd Have Mercy (a very southern restaurant), we did a drive-by to see her hard work...
No close up shots, but you can still see all of the work put into her lights. 

Now, I need her to help me.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Remember my dad's quilt?

I personally delivered to my dad at Thanksgiving...
Perfect fit.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

My Family Thanksgiving

This year my girls and I headed to Florida to spend Thanksgiving with my dad, and my sister and her family.  On my flight down, I can't remember a trip where the clouds were SO thick!  These photos don't do them justice, but the clouds looked just like cotton balls - as far as you could see.

Coming down through the clouds was amazing.
My pictures are rather random because I was either tired from the trip (and not thinking about taking photos) or helping Gail fix dinner.
The festivities have started - we are getting the food ready.
Jen gives her niece, Addy, a good morning kiss.
We start serving our plates.
Sweet Miss Addy is content with her "lovey."  She doesnt' seem too concerned about eating.
My great-niece, Raleigh, wanted to make faces for me...
The lineup:  Raleigh, Caleb, Nate.. and my niece, Rachel, supervising the little ones while they eat.
Gail's grandchildren are 2, 3, 4, and 5 years old so you can imagine how busy it is when they all get together.
After lunch, the little ones made their own desserts - I am not even sure what they were supposed to be, but the kids had a great time.
My sister, Gail, also known as "GiGi" had cookies, icing, chocolate kisses, and candy corn to make their own dessert.
Nate and Addy get started.
Caleb is happy with his creation.
So is Nate.
Wait... Caleb wants to add more to the top of his.
It was a long day and someone just had to take a nap!  There were a few of us who wanted a nap but didn't get one.
It was a busy day, and I didn't get pictures of everyone - just the little people.
As always, I enjoyed being with family!