Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Yeah!!!!!!!!! SNOW!!!!! I'm sooooo happy to have a bit of the white stuff!! It hasn't been too snowy around here yet...but I'm hoping this is the start of it. I just love to watch it coming down, to play in it, to feel all tucked in and let the quiet and stillness of it surround me....to see every tree branch loaded up with the beauty of it....I'm heading to Buffalo, N.Y. for the week to visit family and they have a TON up there. I just looooove a good storm and all of my people up there know it. They all keep me updated with phone calls, texts and pictures so I can almost feel like I'm in it!
Thursday, December 24, 2009
The Soul Sisters celebrated Christmas this week....We had to re-schedule a few times...but us Sisters couldn't let Christmas slip past without celebrating with each other...Here we all are...and a big THANK YOU to Ms. Joy for sharing her super cute picture of us...the Treatgirl didn't bring her camera :( Anywho...last month we decided to have an ornament exchange...homemade of course!!! We like to do this kind of thing....but I have to say, I must have made ump-teen trips to Michaels and Joannes and I wasn't THAT pleased with my results....
We took this picture on our weekend away in November...and it just cried, "Christmas ornament" to me!...well, it did for a few other sisters too :)
Ms. Joy over at Joybeadworks crafted the MOST EXQUISTE little bird houses for us....complete with tiny glittered pinecones along the bottom. I may just have to find a spot for it for the rest of the winter...it's too pretty to pack away next week :)
Our very own Girl in the Sticks was sooooo sick last week, but her creativity must have been clicking away while she was having chicken noodle soup, because look at this!!!! She printed our picture on the back of glittery paper and created this amazing ornament.
Look at Frosty!!! Jennifer Juniper teased us all week by announcing she linked up to a linky party with our ornaments....but didn't want us to look!! She made this cutie patootie out of a light bulb!!! Isn't he the cuteset??????
Marzipan had no issues with her idea....she used to make these as a little girl with christmas cards....but she embellished ours with pictures from our year of fun! FAB.U.LOUS!!!!!!
I included a little something extra in my treat bag for the girls....I saw this on a blog over the summer and switched it up a bit....just printed out 365 little slips of paper with things to make you happy...each day you can pick one out and smile. Merry Christmas Soul Sisters......You're the best!!!!!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
This Wednesday it's Christmas cards!!! I love getting cards from all of our family and friends....the messages of special wishes, the pictures of families and kids, letters with updates of all of the fun things they did in the past year... it makes me happy to to know we are all so loved.
I get my cards done in November because we always seem to travel the week of Thanksgiving and when I get home the weekend after I always feel overwhelmed with so much to do....so this way I can already cross the cards off my list. This is the picture I used for our card this year...I CAN'T BELIEVE Cindylou is 14!!! and T. is going to be 13 in 13 days!!!!!!!! Cubby is 6 and soooooooooooooo excited!!! Wowza this season has flown by fast!! I wish we had just one more week to have more fun :) Merry Christmas!!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
ummm....I really wasn't planning on getting myself a treat...I've been trying to be good as I've shopped...but I couldn't resist! I was actually looking for a Santa my girlfriend coundn't find at her TJ Maxx.....and look what I found!
This super adorable gingerbread house...I just had to share it with you in all of it's cuteness....
....from every angle! Did you see the cupcake for the chimney????! And that it says, "treats" above the door??! This treatgirl couldn't resist!!
The roof comes off and you can tuck your favorite little treats inside....oh, and did I mention it was 25% off...so it was only $5 dollars!!!!!!! I think it just may be one of my most favorite little things of the season....Thank you, me...for my little treat!
Monday, December 21, 2009
Tonight is the night I'm settling in to watch my most favorite movie.....It's A Wonderful Life....I watch it every year without fail....It just isn't Christmas unless I do!
So picture me with just the glow of the tree and sipping a mug of hot Christmas tea.
Alrighty then! This is the third cookie I wanted to try....just because. Because they sounded interesting and they were a bit more involved and I wanted to see if I could do it. They turned out amazing and weren't hard at all......I know you'd like them...give them a try!
3 cups flour
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup butter
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. molasses
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow cream
4 oz. (1/2 pkg.) cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. lemon extract
1 cup chopped peppermint candies
Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. Beat 3/4 cup of the butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add molasses and egg; beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture until well mixed. Press dough into a thick flat disk; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. ( I flattend the balls a bit so they made more of a disc when they baked.)
Bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies just begin to brown. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.
Mix marshmallow cream, remaining 1/4 cup butter, cream cheese and lemon extract until well blended. Place about a tbsp. filling on the flat side of one cookie. Top with a second cookie, pressing gently to spread the filling. Repeat with remaining cookies. Roll edge of cookies in chopped candy. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
I have loved these cookies since my sister in law introduced them to me over fifteen years ago. They are not very sweet, and have a hint of almond to them. She knows how much I love them and one year she even made them for me for my anniversary....It's on February 13th and she connected two of them together and made them into hearts. Of course I have tried to make them in the past...and you guessed it... no luck! But YIPPEE for me!! I have to say they taste exactly like my SIL's and I couldn't be happier!!! There's still time to make a few......here's the recipe:
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
1c. powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla
Stir in 2 1/2 cups flour and 1 tsp. salt. Divide dough in half and add 1/2 tsp. red food coloring to one half. Chill for 1/2 hour. Roll out ropes of each color dough and twist together. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 9 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar on top. I doubled the recipe.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
I know for many of you making sugar cookies is easy-peasy....but for the treatgirl...not so much! I've tried several times....and like I've complained before, I've had NO SUCCESS in the baking department until my sister got me Minnie (my pink Kitchen-Aid mixer) for my birthday. Weeellll...things are different over here! I'm soooooo happy!!! It was a huge success for me to have them turn out! I can't believe I was so stressed out about BAKING COOKIES!! But as I crossed things off on my master Christmas to-do list....it kept getting me closer to "baking day". I hadn't even settled on what recipe I wanted to use for my cut out cookies. I kept asking all of my dear friends for their recipes...I know this sounds strange, but I felt like I had to hit on the perfect one the first time...kinda like when I go to a restaurant for the first time and agonize over what to order...because I have this weird hang-up that I will order that same thing EVERY time I go there....anywho...after days of deliberation I settled on my friend Amy's sugar cookie recipe...I haved loved these since the first time I tasted them over 20 years ago! She was my first inspiration when it came to baking and I'm just so happy my cookies taste the way I first remember hers to be. I remember her walking into Cindylou's 2nd birthday party with a whole tray of "2's" frosted in pink. They were scrumptious and it made me cringe to see all of my little nieces and nephews gobbling them up! With no appreciation!! I wanted them all to myself! She wrote this recipe out for me years ago and I've never made them...until now.
Cubby couldn't wait to help! Can you believe I didn't even own a rolling pin or cookie cutters???! I had been using the rolling pin and cutters from our play-doh kit! No wonder my cookies weren't turning out...so I got us a big assortment of holiday cookie cutters...40! to be exact, at Joanne's....and we got busy. Of course he had to put his apron and hat on. Chip freaked out when he saw the hat...but Cub got it out all by himself... And I think he looks too cute :)
I was starting to get really excited at this point....I didn't burn them either...just the frosting and decorating yet to go....
Jennifer Juniper shared her recipe for her frosting glaze...just 3 cups powdered sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla and 3 Tablespoons of milk. The glaze hardens so the cookies don't get stuck together. Cubby noticed that frosting them and putting the sprinkles on is like "gwittering"....he's right! As you can see we made a delightful plate full. He knows Santa Claus will love ours the best :)
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
This week I was inspired by my collection of nativity scenes...here is the one that Cubby has in his room at Christmas time. It's just from the Dollar Store....but I think it is just perfect for him.
This is the small child size nativity that Cindylou and T. have had in their rooms since they were babies.....
Cubby got this set for his first Christmas. It is from Fisher Price and I just looove it....we still put it under our tree even though it is quite juvenile. I'll keep it always.
This is a delicate hand blown glass ornament that I got on a vacation to Myrtle Beach years ago when Chip and I were first married.
Chip got this for me when we were first married. It means so much to me.....every year when I unwrap the pieces and set up the manager it reinforces to me the real meaning of Christmas....that it all started with a child.
It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the shopping, parties, cookies and cards....but I love these nativity scenes in every room of my house to remind of the true meaning of the season. Merry Christmas!!!
Monday, December 14, 2009
It's getting very near to the end of the year...and I'm reflecting on the memories of this past year and looking forward to the new year...and decad with excitement. I wanted to share with you this growth chart I made for the kiddos when we moved into our house seven years ago. At our old house I kept track of Cindylou and T's progress with a Sharpie marker inside the closet in my laundry room....I was sooooo sad to leave that behind for the new owners, so I wrote down all the measurements. When Cubby was born I made this chart and I look at it every day when I'm in there and it just reinforces how fast they are growning up!!!
Last week Cubby helped me get our packages ready to be sent to our friends and family that live out of town....I always like to leave myself plenty of time at this time of the year. So we packed the boxes and made a trip to the post office.
And these are some VERY special packages....Cubby went shopping at Santa's Secret Shop at school last week. He was sooooooooooooo excited for days!!! He made out his list and we sent his money and list in an envelope that day. He ran in after school and went right up to his room to hide the presents. Then the next morning he worked very hard on wrapping them all.
If you look closely you can see the YARDS of tape he used....so there would be "NO PEEKING!!" He also spent several hours making his own cards for everyone. And ever since he's been shopping he is keeping very close track of who is being "naughty"....You don't want to get on that list!!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Dubai is situated on the Persian Gulf coast of the United Arab Emirates. It is directly within the Arabian Desert. It has a very hot and dry climate...the summers are hot and windy and the winters are warm and short.
Their economy is built primarily on the oil industry. Arab food is very popular...and Arabic is the official language. I have to admit...unitl about three and a half years ago I knew nothing about Dubai...That is when my sister started a project there on a 30,000 square foot Villa. She has been travelling there every month... spending a week to ten days a month working on this project. She has her own interior design group in Vail, Colorado. With an offices in Vail, London and one opening soon in Dubai....click HERE to check out her website.....she has some amazing pictures of some of her work in her portfolio. Anyhoo, in her travels she has been kind enough to bring back some fun things.......
....like this super cute camel tree ornament!! Who knew???
At Thanksgiving she was returning from Dubai and brought some of our Aunts and Uncles coffee mugs!!!
Those people in Dubai think of everything!!!
She brought me this cute little wooden bowl and scoop....I'm not quite sure what to use it for....but if you have any ideas...let me know :)
And what about these fruit picks??? Every girl needs a set of these!!
Can you guess what these are????
Pens!! She sent these for the kiddos when they went back to school. Nobody else hade the same ones!!!
Last year at Thanksgiving we were in Florida when she came back and met us and brought all the guys baseball hats from the country club there.
Another quiz....can you guess what she brought me???
A super cute tape measure for my knitting bag!!!! What a thoughtful sister she is!!! She works soooooo hard 365 days a year making sure every detail for her clients is accounted for.....and still finds time to make all of us happy too...thanks for all of the treats sister!! :)
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
This week I have some of my treasured ornaments from my Gram. I love that they are safe and sound in my pretty canister.....because they mean so much to me I don't really put them on my tree anymore. I know it sounds crazy...but several years ago when we lived in our old house that had all hardwood floors, our tree fell over and some of my most favorite and sentimental ornaments shattered. It took me days to get over it...so many of my ornaments mean so much to me....so every year I set these older ornaments from her in a pretty glass hurricane....so hopefully they will remain safe and sound forever!!
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
This is one of Cubby's most favorite things about Christmas...our Lionel North Pole train. The second thing he does every morning is to turn the train on....the first is to get his chocolate out of the advent cabinet :) When Chip was away all last week while I was decorating I saved this one thing for him to do....it about killed me to hear Cubby go on and on about when he would be home to set it up. Well, he's happy now and I love that it is part of our family's tradition. What are some of your favorite traditions.....I'd love to hear!!
Monday, December 7, 2009
My snowman family that is!! Did you know I'm a huuuuugge snowman collector??? Loooove them!! They are the cutest. I leave them out until it's time to decorate for Valentine's day. Let me just show you around and introduce you to a few of my favorites.....
These cutie patooties remind me of my three kiddos.....when I get snowman ornaments for my tree I always get three....one for each of them...which is probably why I'm running out of room on my tree!!!
Look at these super fun hot cocoa mugs I got at the Dollar Store!!!!! How could I not??! A dollar! soooooo cute! And of course, one for each of the kids!
I got him at Target a few years ago...he holds a little tealight candle. I sit him on my mantle.
And this little guy is like a bean bag....the way his scarf is up in the air like it's windy cracks me up.
Of course I had to feature some "Cubby" art. He created this masterpiece last year...and you know I will treasure it always.
Click HERE to see my cute Frosty that my soul sister Girl in the Sticks made for me last year for the gift exchange we had at our Christmas party. And here is my latest little Frosty. A dear friend surprised me with him last week. She filled him with Twinnings Christmas tea that is just perfect on these cold evenings....AND she even knit him the cutest little scarf! Only her second project....can you believe she googled how to knit and taught herself???!! Now that is impressive! Thanks again Miss! I love him!