Monday, December 29, 2008

a wicked storm

Every year my Dad comes from Buffalo to spend Christmas with us and then leaves the next morning....and for several years he has been taking the kids home with him and then my husband and I go up a few days later.....well, Sunday morning when we were getting ready to leave my Dad called to say they were having a wicked storm and their power went out....not to we didn't ....and when we got there this is what saw.........lots and lots of candles!!!!! actually was quite nice to sit and watch the fire and have conversation....if only the snow was coming down.....I love to have that snowed in trapped feeling!....we'll be here all week and we're hoping for snow!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

This may be one of my all time favorite christmas photos...the room was darkened and I blindly snapped my camera....and I luckily captured Cubby peeking out the window to see Santa walking by with his bag of toys....every year I feel like Christmas day is like my wedding just flies by...every time I look at the clock I want it to slow down.....I want it to last.......
Christmas eve after everyone is in bed I like to sit and admire the piles of presents....the weeks of wonder how all of the lists, running around....finding it on sale somewhere else....putting it up the attic...getting it out....wrapping..putting it all BACK up in the attic...getting it down in the middle of the night...amounts to the three piles of presents and three stockings hung by the chimney with care...????....I love to enjoy the tree and the mood all to wonder what present will be their favorite....usually something obscure from the dollar store... :)...I always like to take a picture to capture it all...

....and then another the next morning to catch the wreckage!!!!....the smiles, hugs, oooohs, aaahhs, squeals and thank yous make it all worth while......I just love to soak the day in...we don't go Dad always comes down from Buffalo in time to see it all....and we spend all day putting stuff together, playing games, eating and drinking......

....I always crave a white you know I LOVE a good storm....and as the week progressed and we knew it wouldn't be ....AGAIN...we at least wanted the rain to stop so Cubby could cruise the neighborhood!! Here's to another wonderful Christmas.....I hope yours was merry and bright!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

cut out cookies

Well.....I just have to say this is THE first time my cut out cookies even remotely turned out half way decent.....and I think it's because Cubby helped!!!....I was soooo tempted to try Ms. Joy's cutout cookie recipe....but I went with the standby Betty Crocker pre-made pouch.....I called my expert cookie baker niece to see if she could come help us...but she was Cub and I got busy.....the dough seemed like it was never going to become a ball.....and when I first tried to roll it out it was sticking to my rolling pin....but I floured it and it worked out.....we made two aunt called during the midst of it.....and I got a little stressed as Sissy walked through the door at the same time....I forgot about the early dismissal......this is where I tend to over bake...because I stick them in the oven and move on to other things....but I stuck with it and checked them every minute!!....I strived to get them super thin....but they didn't turn out that way....and I can see how one can become obsessed with cookie that I've had a batch turn out...I may make them more than once a year....they could become a new favorite baked treat over here!! Next time Ms. Joys recipe!! Merry Christmas!!...we hope Santa likes his cookies :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

just three weeks

I just have to make note of the fact that we only had three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year...I have worked hard and had fun...but I haven't had any free evenings to sit and enjoy my favorite movie of all time...It's a Wonderful Life".....or watch all of the Christmas classics...yesterday Cubby and I settled in to watch the Grinch and Rudolph and none of them worked!! dear cousin had them burned for us several years ago and I think they just got worn last night I ran into Best Buy...hey T. did you exchange that video game???? :) buy the limited keepsake edition of the original Christmas Classics and the Grinch so we could make our Christmas season complete!....for the past several days I couldn't figure out why I have felt so rushed....I've been done shopping and wrapping for 10 days now....but there have still been little things to middle son's birthday is 11 days after Christmas and my sister celebrates her 40th on January 4th...we'll be seeing her up in Buffalo next week, so I've gotten all of that organized as well.....being away the week of Thanksgiving didn't help either...returning December 1st put me a little behind schedule...but everything just feels rushed...and then it dawned on me ....just three weeks!! all gets's all fun.....but staying up until 1am every night makes me a smidge cranky!....but tonight I will dim the lights and cherish my favorite movie and enjoy my tree.

Friday, December 19, 2008

soul sisters first annual christmas party

The day was finally here!!! I felt like a little girl waiting for christmas morning!!....the soul sisters christmas party!!...we were greeted by our lovely hostess...who offered us quiche, amish friendship bread, cookies and fruit..mimosa were passed around as anxiously settled in for our gift exchange....last month I mentioned about us drawing names for a secret santa and the rules were we had to make our gift from things we had in our home or spend no more than $10 ......WELL!!!! WILL BE amazed at all of our talents!!

from a gourd!!!... First, our very own jennifer juniper created a chalkboard out of scrap wood, spent a dollar on chalk and an eraser and fashioned a CUTE apron from a leftover curtain and hand stamped little recipe cards for the marzipan mom!....fabulous!

I got busy knitting ms. Joy a pair of mittens in her favorite shade of green!...and look! she is wearing the identical color shirt....hmmmmmmm...was she peaking????

Our lovely Ms. M made me...the crazy snowman collector who vowed, "not one more"...THE most adorable frosty she grew it in her very own garden!!....drommeled out snowflakes and electrified it!!!!......that is sheer talent!!!! Next up was the coziest pair of jammie bottoms and WHAT??!!! another gourd??....marzipanmom grew them this year too...did I miss the memo???.....she hollowed it out and made it into a bowl, then filled it with homemade soap and baked treats....all for under TEN dollars......

Ms. Joy may have found herself a side business when she crafted this travel coffee mug for jennifer j.....she picked her favorite color fabric and embellished it with her etsy shop
name...hopestudios.....added tea and cocoa....voila!!!......a heartwarming was truly wonderful to see the excitement and talent as we ooohed, ahhhed and heard the stories behind each gift....we even had time to create a little present for ourselves a keepsake with a message to tuck in the branches of our tree...and not to forget the cookie exchange as well........something I treasure, as I do not leave with dozens of cookies was wonderful!!! was over way to soon, I felt all cozy and tucked in for the morning soaking up the sisterhood.....Thank you, thank you so much girlies...

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I can't believe I haven't contributed a post to one of the most important members of our family....PUP!!!!!......she has been with us since Cubby was born...sent as a gift from a dear friend in Harrisburg.....we didn't know she was so important until Cub was 2 years old and a few months before his 3rd birthday I got on ebay and found a replacement to give to him JUST IN CASE something happened to the original.....but she is his best friend....she goes everywhere with us.....his life revolves around her....she has birthday parties with a pup sized cake....she has clothes and toys....I make her a halloween costume every year and she has her own voice too!.....on the christmas CD we made last year for friends and family she even got interviewed!...she goes to school with Cub in his backpack...I could go on and on.......but I did want to make note of the fact that she got her ears!!!....she of course went with us on our first trip to Disney.....Cub said she needed new friends, and as you can see she picked Mickey and Minnie.....then when we saw these cute little ears...just pups size!....they have EVERYTHING in Disney.....she had to have them!!!....even pup got a treat from Disney World!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

coma caramel popcorn

'Tis the season to make coma caramel popcorn!!!....I make it occasionally throughout the year when I get a hankering for it.....but over the next few days I will make 4-5 batches!!....I cannot put into words how good it is when you give it a stir and snitch a piece while it is piping hot!!....I give it to favorite people through the holiday season and include the recipe because I know it's that good, that people will want it! :)'s a bummer for my people up in Buffalo who cannot get the Snyder's Hulless Puff'n I take it to them whenever I's the recipe...and I'll warn you now not to burn your mouth when you sample it while stirring!

Coma Caramel Popcorn:

2 bags Snyders Hulless Puff'n Corn
1 cup butter
1/2 cup dark corn syrup...I use Alaga
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Boil butter, corn syrup and brown sugar gently for 5 minutes. Add baking soda. Remove from stove to allow baking soda to dissolve ...this will make the mixture foamy...Spray a super large roasting pan with cooking spray. Pour popcorn into roaster and cover with the caramel mixture evenly. Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 you try not to burn your mouth :) Enjoy!!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

shake! shake! shake!

Martini anyone??? cute are these glasses????....and really super easy to make!....the perfect little gift...I just got the glasses at my local Dollar Store and beaded them up!....take some very thin silver wire....the kind that comes on a little spool...about 3 feet long.....wrap it around the bottom of the stem once and twist it into place....then just thread your beads on....I do about 6 or 7 inches and then wrap it around, then take the wire and wrap it around the beads a little bit to hold it into place....then load some more beads on and continue until you get to the top of the stem.....when you're finished wrap the wire around a few times and secure it...Voila!!!...the possibilities are glasses, serving utensils, the handles on a pretty tray.....a treat for you or a friend!......and here are a few scrumptious martini recipes to get you started......

Key Lime
2 oz. Vanilla Vodka
1 oz. Malibu Rum
a splash of lime juice
and a splash of pineapple juice
....combine in a shaker with ice.

Snowman Martinis
Same amounts of Vanilla Vodka and clear Creme De Cacao. Add half and half to taste--shake! shake! shake! over ice :) sprinkle with cinnamon

2 oz.Citron Vodka
1 oz. Cointreau
3 oz. pomegrante juice
Shake with ice and enjoy!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I came up the stairs...

....and this is what I two boys settled in all nice and cozy reading one of Cubby's favorite christmas books!!......I can't tell you how many times we have read that book or watched the dvd....sometimes three times in one day!! .....whoops!...I know...what a bad mommy! :(...but if it makes him happy and I have stuff to do??....oh well!...we have the ornament from Hallmark....the silver bell that Santa gives out as the first gift of Christmas.....I just wish I could freeze them....keep them believing.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

more than just ornaments

I hang almost anything on my tree....and I love it!! empty mini trial size bottle of Chambord from my SIL for my birthday cause she knows I love it in champagne...and it just screamed "hang me on your tree"....a little blue box from Tiffanys that my dear friends gave me a few summers ago.....but when all of those christmas cards kept coming from year to year with adorable pictures of families and friends I'd just put them in my ornament box....then several years ago I strung them all on ribbons...each family has there own and every year I slide the new picture on.......we all love to look through them.

then there's the mittens I knit for my daughter for her first December....the kind with no thumbs and a string....

Oh.....and here are her first pair of Keds!.....I couldn't resist!!....what was I going to do put them in the Goodwill bag??? then I made sure the boys had cute little slippers when they were newborns....not just to keep their piggy wiggys warm....but you guessed it!!! hang on the tree...

I think it was the first year we were married my husband and I had a huge Christmas party and these little guys were tied around a bottle of champagne from his brother and my friend Lease....I'm sure she never would have guessed they would have ended up on my tree for the past 16 years!!!

These are actually a new addtion this year...I got the idea from the December Better Homes & Garden magazine (I missed the angel wings that inspired Jennifer Juniper!)....but a woman hung her childrens baby rattles on her could I have not thought of that???! My sister made sure she gave one to all of the, of course I dug them out...the year my tree fell over onto my hard wood floors I will NEVER forget.....some precious antique ornaments that were my Grams and several other ones were lost......but I love to sit with the tree all aglow at night when everyone else is in bed and soak in the, you never know what I may add from year to year......anything that can dangle is an ornament in my book!

Monday, December 8, 2008

gingerbread house

We've taken a break from making gingerbread houses over here....I always went in to school with the big kids and made them in the cafeteria with milk cartons and graham crackers...but it started up again when a little girl brought one into Cub's preschool for her share day....he wanted to make one too!!!....and didn't stop yammering about it until I brought a kit home.... well, yesterday was the day!.....he couldn't wait, as you can see from the condtion of the box..... we got started......things were going pretty good.....

...until it collaped :(....3x!!!....I was sooo ready to call it quits...but the little guy insisted to keep went kinda like this:
Mommy: I think we're done, it's falling apart doesn't look like the picture.
Cub:It's looking good now....
Mommy:'s looks pretty good....
Cub: No!! it's not done until ALL the candy is on!! we made some more "gardens" in the front yard.....I can't believe it bothered me that it was crooked and there was a huge hole in the roof....but to him it was beautiful.....I was ready to throw it out and I'm sooo glad we didn't.....then he couldn't wait to eat it!!..yikes!!!..his sister was picking at it a bit and he barked, "Don't touch the baby!!".....I said it was just a decoration and that it had probably been in the box on it's way from China for 2 years....but again, I was wrong......apparently it was delicious!!!......and remember the big 3/4" gap along the roof???.....well, apparently that's where you put extra treats for the inside! ....after you eat the house then you get the extra candy in there!!! added woo-hoo!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

advent calendar

I love my advent cabinet!!...this one is actually my second one that I got last mom gave me my first one the kiddos were was really big and didn't really fit anywhere in my home, so I sent it out to my sister in Vail and she is starting the tradition in her office.....this one has a much bigger compartment for the 25th to be able to put a few bigger treats, gift cards etc. for christmas grandma always gave us those cardboard calendars with chocolates hidden behind the I have always put a chocolates in mine.....but friends that have these cabinets get very creative with different treats and coupons for every day.....a little treat for every day of the christmas season!

Friday, December 5, 2008

almond crescents

These are one of my favorite cookies of all many of you know...I am not a baker.....I try and try and more often than not my stuff doesn't turn out...I have a lot of talents, but sadly baking isn't one of them.....I even buy my cookies at the bakery for cookie exchanges!!....but these little numbers are scrumptious!....I can remember eating tons of them when I was a kid and the tradition carries on! kiddos love them too.....who cares if I didn't bake them.......only thing is I have the same problem as with the pumpkin shakes I crave from McDonald's.....they are only available for a limited, I overdose on them for the Christmas season and then I'm good for another year...treat yourself to a box!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


....there are a lot of Tonys, but only one Tony Bennett!!....and he came out with his first Christmas album in 40 years.....It's called A Swingin' Christmas...featuring the Count Basie Big Band....he was on the Today show a few weeks ago featuring songs from this CD and I had to have it...I can go weeks without turning on any music while I'm driving...and I hardly ever do a home...but I do love Christmas music....and this CD is awesome!...I got one for my Mom in Florida because we were celebrating Christmas the day after Thanksgiving and we played it all's perfect to set the holiday mood!!......go ahead treat yourself :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving from Florida!

We're spending Thanksgiving away from the snow and the cold.....a week with Gigi in Delray sounds perfect!!! sister came in from Dubai and her boyfriend made it from Vail....we were all excited to meet him....the first day we made it down to the beach to enjoy the waves and the sun.....

....then Monday we headed for Disney....Gigi treated us to our first visit!! was wonderfull!!!!!....the first night we headed to downtown Disney to wander around and have dinner...we dined at Wolfgang Puck's cafe...scrumptious......and then browsed through the shops...I just can't get over EVERYTHING Mickey!!....Tuesday morning we arrived at the Magic Kingdom........just as I remembered it from the seventh's like stepping back in time...I was even wearing the earrings I got during that trip...I saved them all these years :)...the whole place was decorated for Christmas.....and we all got goosebumps as they lite the castle for the holiday season....

Wednesday was just the perfect day to visit Epcot......we ran in and got our fast passes for the Soarin' ride and then visited the Nemo ride...a few texts from my friend Lease while were were wandering around put us in the right direction so we didn't miss anything....who says you need a tour book???..we've gone high tech!.... we all loved visiting the different countries and sampling food and drinks...

....and before too long the day was coming to a close.....we will visit again in May for a week and I think going back to Epcot may be at the top of our list....we headed back to Delray to celebrate favorite dinner of the year!!....Blessings to all!

Friday, November 21, 2008

so much to be thankful for

This is a picture that Cub made last year at preschool..........he brought it home and I had to frame it....I love framing stuff the kids make me makes it so much more special and important......the blessing on it says:
We fold our hands,
We bow our heads,
We thank you God for daily bread.
I have so many wonderful blessings to be thankful for every year and I always like to stop and think about them at this time of the year....our lives always seem so crazy, and getting crazier by the day....and sometimes I feel like I just can't keep up....but the other day as I was rushing around making lists for my dawned on me what a blessing that all is......I have such a wonderful family and such treasured friends....we are healthy and happy.......and so much of what I do every day is for all of them.......if it weren't the doing and helping of others what would my day be like?????.......very solitairy and boring are a few adjectives that come to at this time I'm very thankful for the most important, friends and health.....thank you all for keeping me crazy busy every day!!!! :)
.....also,I want to share a new favorite recipe ....a friend shared it with us a few years ago.....and now I can't imagine Thanksgivning without it!!!...Cranberry Relish.
4 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup chopped oranges
1 cup chopped apples...I leave the peels on
1/4 cup raisins
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
2 cups sugar
Bring all ingredients to a boil, stirring a lot....simmer 30 mins. Let cool. Chill in container.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Baldingers is a landmark near our has been featured on the Food Network and the CBS morning show...when friends and family come to visit from out of town we always try to fit in a visit has been in business since 1933 when Allan Baldinger sold his stamp collection to open a fruit stand...he added a restaurant and was famous for his pies....His wife Dorothy helped him out and they lived behind the store....a friend told me how she remembered her sitting at the card table when you came in the door and how she had sewed her mother's prom dress for her!!! time a lot more restaurants opened in the area and Allan turned it into a general store that sold bulk candy...

There are tables full of penny candy....bulk candy.....novelty items you can't find anywhere put things in your basket and when you go to check out they dump everything into a pan and either weigh it or count each piece out by hand....these totals then get written on a little white notepad and are added up by hand with a electronics involved here!!!....the cash register is more than a hundred years old , the kind you crank by hand.....

...well over the summer the building and its 10 acres were sold to a real estate development company who plans to develop the site....and Monday all that remains is this pile of rubble and two dumpsters full of junk.....fortunately a local businessman is giving Baldingers a new chapter in it's 75 year legacy....after petitions were circulated by email last year begging them not to close Pat Boylan stepped in and bought the store and has erected a replica of it!!...there are some improvements, but the store has wooden floors and they have tried to make it as much the same inside as they could...all of the old cash registers, Coke case and tables have been moved....everyone is truly happy they are moving and the traditions will continue.....and for the record...even though much of the candy is just a can rarely get out of there for under $20!!!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

had to get out there!

The yammering started first thing this morning about going out sledding!!!....the grass is barely covered, but we got all suited up and headed out to enjoy the snow!!......Cubby picked out his new hat over the weekend when we were in's his new favorite!

This is the snow covered branch that I would love a bright red Caridinal to land on so I can get his picture...I've been trying for a few winters now to get that perfect shot....but it hasn't happened.....blurry, too dark, looked the other way at the last second.....I may have to break down and get one on etsy!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

wonder fall

It is nearing the end of autumn here......and I feel like I enjoyed it to it's fullest!!! week we travel to this is the last weekend of my favorite season...we started out the weekend with seeing this 8 point buck crossing through our back husband travelled 3 hours away to camp and missed out on my son's football banquet so he could finish out the archery season....when he could have just sat on our patio!!! ...I like the whole banquet's such a nice finish to the season and a fun night for the kids....until next season Warriors!!

....but thinking ahead to Florida and Thanksgiving has been keeping me busy as well....I saw this felt leaf runner at the YMCA and thought, "I have to have that!!!"....I inspected it closely and was all ready to bring tissue paper and scissors to make my own template, and then go to Joanne's to get felt and create my own...well the girl at the desk said she got it at Joanne's and can you believe I was heading there that day anyway??!.....well, everything "fall" is 70% off and I got it for $5!! can't even get the felt for that price!...but it would be easy to make! :)

...and then at 1am last night I had to make jennifer junipers shrinky dink wine charms....see for the tutorial and template for the leaves.....super duper easy and they are adorable......a wonderful treat to pack in my suitcase and take to my Mom's for the Thanksgiving feast!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

two hours......

...two hours with the girls today and I'm totally refreshed! was the day we picked names to find out who our seret santa is!!.......jennifer juniper warned of us our obligation.......the present is to be hand made, with items that already exist in our craft room and if any supplies are needed they are not to be more than $10....of course we couldn't just write our names on a slip of paper......we needed to fill out a survey and read them aloud....some of the questions included were.........favorite color, music, food, store, sound, drink....if you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you take with you? and what is your secret indulgence??....then we folded them up and our lovely helper princess picked them out for us......I have sooo many ideas......we may need to get all of our birthdays on the calendar and do something similar!!!....The Soul Sisters Christmas party is also a cookie exchange......but since I don't really bake I either hire my niece or order them from Dudt's bakery need to miss out just because I have not baking talent!!! marzipanmom treated us to her Mary Kay beauty regime and a scrumptious piece of cake...that I initially declined (trying to be good!) but I'm so glad I came to my senses!!!!

joybeadworks and I walked in together......she was loaded down with the supplies for a suprise project!! always......we pack it all in!!!.....she brought white paper bulbs from her uncle and we picked a lovely vessel and got busy.....

In six weeks we should be blessed with a beautiful treat.....Smith and Hawkin watch out!!!....girls...I think we should consider nominating a secretary as well........someone with a notebook and a sharpie to take down all of our ideas for future endevours.......we seem to have several swirling around!! was a lovely two hours! thank you!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

fall, leaves, fall

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.

I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night's decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

Emily Jane Bronte


Saturday, November 8, 2008

my new best friend

I'd like you to meet my new best friend Pat Catan!!!....I'm still friends with Joanne and Michael :)....(I didn't realize all craft stores have real peoples names!!!) ...but Pat has become my BEST friend!!!.......I had never been to Pat Catan's and if you haven't either you haven't lived yet!!....I heard about her at a crop last Sunday...a girl had the cutest Christmas paper from I recruited my scrapbooking mentor and we took off on a field trip....I think the term OMG is very abused........but it was all that was going through my mind!....I couldn't breathe right and I was shakey.....I felt like I had entered a universe created all for me!!!

I walked in the front door and looked to the left and this is what I friend and I took off and started exploring....the smiles beaming on our faces as we crossed paths in the different aisles said it all!!!

I just couldn't get over the variety and quantitiy.....if there is anything left on this earth related to crafts it is in here!!!!.......jennifer juniper there were 4 aisles of wood crafting items....boxes, frames, letters ...EVERYTHING!!!!....3 or 4 aisles of that brown paper mache type stuff too.....see the picture above.....

....baskets anyone????.......these look JUST like the Longaberger ones!...only a fraction of the price.....every aisle and section I explored had my head swimming with ideas....I was writing notes and throwing things in my cart like crazy!!!.... I didn't want the day to end!....but after almost 3 hours of exploring.....I even checked out the wedding and baby shower sections!!?? was time to check out....I had a feeling of I had missed some very important things and that I didn't know when the next time was that I would be I just need to say, "fellow crafters, UNITE"!!!!.....this is a definate field trip destination....a treat to, until next time Pat...I won't forget you!