Sunday, December 27, 2015

A belated Christmas Wish

I was on top of things this year. The post office run (except for one small package) was made very early in the month. I ordered Christmas cards and then ordered more Christmas cards and still didn't have enough. I am doing the guilt free every other year Christmas card wish.

So, belatedly, from our home to yours .....

we hope that your Christmas was blessed, healthy and happy.

We were able to spend Christmas Eve with our daughters and their families at our home. Traditions are important to me, yet the ability to adapt to changing lives and new traditions is also important. And as much as I'd like to have all of my children under my own roof at Christmas ... Skype is our new friend. 

This Christmas Anna had suggested that we share Christmas morning breakfast at one of our childrens' homes. I said "you're up!" She was a bit confused. Alyx and Tarron were going to Chino Valley to spend time with his family and that left her. Our boys are across the country and not easily reached for Christmas morning breakfast.

And I think that a new tradition was born.

I love cooking and feeding people. Don't ever think it is because I have to. I want to. I love to.

I'll gladly give up the Christmas morning breakfast making to just bring the orange juice.

Even that tradition may evolve into something else as the years go by. As long as I can have Christmas Eve dinner served at my table on the china dishes that I ate off as a child .... we are very adaptable!

May the rest of your time off this holiday season, if you're so fortunate, be as peaceful as my Christmas evening was. Bathed in the soft light of the season. Feet warmed by the bestest ever slippers (thanks kiddos!) a toasty cup of coffee at your side.

May your New Year be filled with days of beauty and gladness.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

in one blessed day

my phone needed to be charged twice. 
Probably cause there were so many sweet people around my world.

I spent the day in the kitchen all day Friday. Baked and baked and baked. Ready for some cookie decorating help on Saturday afternoon. And did I have the best help ever. 

Alyx and I were of the same opinion. The bottom right of the photo above won. Hands. Down.

The boys love music as much as their auntie does!

Our sweet daughter had a celebration of her birthday last weekend with friends while we were gone. Today she joined her parents for a lunch date ... and a celebratory birthday cake. I'm so very glad she is back in our home. 

About 1 minute of quiet book contemplation. 

Quickly followed by some investigation. They certainly have their favorites on Nana's tree. 

Jammies on and ready for a car ride to go look at some Christmas lights. But first .... a stop to see Papa outside. 

And where there are boys .... 

and a Papa who has tires .... clean went out the window. 

Alyx and I packed them into the car and headed out to look at lights. First stop was at a coworkers home. Wait 'til I see him on Monday!! Quite a grand display! Not.

The boys might be a little short to see out the car window and maybe not as excited as we thought they'd be. We did find one place that actually was making snow! These little desert dwelling boys don't have a clue what that stuff is!

The weren't nearly as thrilled as us bigger girls were. 

Tomorrow it is off to enjoy Christmas programs.

Saturday, December 19, 2015


This was suppose to be on here last week so you could run out and buy some air drying clay and get busy before Christmas.
My computer has been acting funky and I just haven't had daylight (because I don't like flash photography at all) to take a photo of the little ornaments I made this year.

Many years ago someone suggested that I send my godchildren Christmas tree ornaments each year at Christmas. And I started the tradition. In the beginning (1996) I made all of them each year. Some years when life was a bit more chaotic, I purchased them. This year, with Pinterest as my fount of ideas, I made them again.

If your household hasn't opened their gift yet ... oops! Stop reading or move away from the kiddo!

I purchased a good size hunk of air drying clay at my favorite Hobby Lobby. I was going to just make a few and tuck the clay away. Then I thought, "why?" Do them and be done with them. So I made a pile of them. Most were left without the year stamped on them, but all of them were imprinted with some type of design.

To begin with, I just rolled out the clay (trying first to do them on parchment paper and finally opting for the counter top itself). Then I added texture to the rolled out piece of clay. Finally, a cookie cutter met the clay. A straw was used to punch holes for hanging. The ornaments sat on cookie sheets drying for a day or two and were then ready.

For this one I used a scrapbooking stamp. The stamp itself it just a single piece of stamp so it was stamped numerous times across the piece of clay.

The same with this one. Criss-cross designs out of another single strand stamp.

This one was a piece of burlap. Lay the burlap on top of the clay and take the rolling pin to the top of it. Lightly press the design into the clay. The edges of this one could use a bit of touching up.

This one might just be one of my favorites. I used a doily to imprint the design in this one. Maybe I like it because it looks a bit more feminine than the others. Depending on which part of the doily hit the piece of clay and where the cookie cutter eventually cut determined what the final ornament would look like.

The year stamp was made with rubber number stamps. Although I really like the white, I wanted some color. I happen to have these metallic brush pens that were handy and didn't require a trip to the craft store, so I used them. Which then required me to make a trip to pick up ribbon to match. Silver would have looked good too, but I've obviously had a fondness for the silver pen ... it had run dry.

For a kiddo project ... empty out all of those cookie cutters and just let the kids have at it.
Let them roll designs into the clay or leave them plain.
Add paint or leave them white.
There are some seriously fun cookie cutters out there.
Or, stamp the children's hands onto them.
Make jewelry with fingerprints or simple messages.
Fun stuff!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

supposed to be

finding fifty on a friday.
forget it.
i really don't have time for that.
if it requires too much thinking ... it ain't happening.

the silver lining in this particular cloud is pure silver.
i imagine being bored and having nothing to do.

that gives me the downright shudders.

so last weekend jari and i went to california.
we spent the afternoon on friday at the mall instead of the beach.
i even convinced him to go to a massage place inside the mall.
he was hurting (in a good way tho') for several days after that.
the wind was blowing in such a way that i thought we took a detour and found alaska with its glacial winds.
downright chilly.

i spent two days in class.
the first day was painful.
i don't sit well or long.
and i sat.
and i learned.
and i can't wait to put it into practice.

otherwise, we just spent the rest of the moments together and enjoyed it.
no beach.
maybe next time.

the christmas tree finally got trimmed.
at one point i decided that i didn't care if the ornaments joined the tree this year.
sebastian decided to help me out a little bit.

he was of the opinion that all ornaments belong underneath the tree.
perhaps he thought they were suppose to join the gifts.
who knows what goes on those little minds.

check out the hand action ... things were flying ... literally.

it is thursday evening.
one week to christmas eve.
the oven is cooking up some pulla.
the fridge has cookie dough chilling.
a run to the grocery store in the morning for a few more baking items.
and it will all be done in the next few days.

in the meantime, christmas music has been filling the air this evening.
i'm typing by the light of the christmas tree.
well ... maybe by the light of the screen on my 'puter.

it feels so good to just sit a spell.

Friday, December 11, 2015

twirling cords

Last weekend while I was wandering from one little project to another, I finally got the lint cleaned out of the blow dryer.
While I was at it, I remembered this little cord tip that I saw on Pinterest or somewhere equally time consuming.
I have several cords in my life that drive me nuts. One in the bedroom that plugs into my Bluetooth and another in the car that hooks my audio books to the car's sound system. Both have incredibly long cords that just get in the way all the time.
Blow dryer to the rescue.
I took the cord and wrapped it tightly around a spoon handle. The first one I did around a smaller diameter plastic spoon worked better. I don't know if it was the diameter of the spoon or that of the cord. After the cord is wrapped you hit it with some high heat from the blow dryer. I don't know how long I did it, probably several minutes. Both sides were heated, while wishing I had just one more set of fingers to work with! When it was nice and warm, I set it on the counter with my ever present coffee cup to weight the cord ends and keep the coil. Let is set until cool.

And after it cools ... voila!!
You have a completely different color and texture of counter top!
Quickest and cheapest kitchen remodel you ever did see in your life.
Actually, you have a coiled wire that will hopefully stay that way!
I'm a much happier driver now. I can find my plug without diving under the seat to look for it.
I sense a much more peaceful drive to work and home.
I might even cease to care that it is snowbird season and they have added at least 10 minutes onto my starving, dinner time, end of day commute.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

blonde caring bridge on a wednesday

I got my hairbrush out this morning to do its usual work. Actually, I have three of them. I keep buying more at dollar store because they keep disappearing. There is nothing like getting ready for work at 4:30 in the morning and not being able to find a brush. This time, as most times, it looks like this.

I really don't spend time getting too annoyed about things that aren't worth it, but sort of thought this could qualify as Pet Peeve 7,767.

After I was done using the brush, having removed all the offending blonde strands, I headed to the kitchen to grab a quick bite of something before leaving for work. I am fortunate enough to be able to go in on Wednesday whenever I feel like it. As long as the work gets done, it doesn't matter what time I show up.  So, while I mowed down a piece of pizza left over from last night, I started going through the most recent posts I follow on Caring Bridge. 

And I have to say… 
Who cares if my brush has errant blonde strands in it? 
Maybe I should be grateful for them. 

weekend in review

Score of the weekend was reading glasses. Mister is very picky about his reading glasses. He won't go in for an eye exam and as fast as he goes through these buggers I'm not sure he's ready for the permanent fixtures on his face. I do eye coverage on my insurance policy every other year. He is running out of time this year. Very. Fast. He lost another pair last week, so we ran to Walgreens to pick up new ones. And ... buy one get one free!! I ran through 3 Walgreens stores picking up what they had. We should be good through January.

He made it home from his weekend jaunt to Minnesota. I had a moment of panic attack this morning while he was in the air. Haven't had that happen for a long time. He landed safe and sound ... right back home where we want and need him.

Coins got rolled. In years past the bank required that rolled coin have your name and account number on them. It has been a while since I rolled money. In the past week ... we have rolled. As long as I don't have to pen information on each roll, I'm not giving money to Coinstar this time around. Coins are rolled, hotel reservations are made and I can't wait to breathe the ocean next weekend! I was sort of hoping for a further away ocean, but the close one will do just fine.

The Christmas tree went up and it doesn't even look like it needs decorations when it's dark and the tree is lit! I'll get to it. Sebastian helped a little bit on Sunday when he was over. It will get done before Friday.
The cinnamon ornaments are hanging again and it isn't as aromatic as last year was. Photo coming ... I hung them differently this year.

Christmas cards are done. Can you say hiphiphooray?!
My list needs some updating and am missing addresses and know that I'm missing folks. This every other year plan of mailing out cards has its challenges. People just keep getting married and moving and all that. Of all the nerve! They're out there living life and messing up my neat little organized lists. It's so fun!

Part of the Christmas pulla is in the freezer.
Another batch of zucchini bread is baked and in the freezer for a bake sale.
Christmas gifts are wrapped, packaged and waiting for a Wednesday morning post office jaunt.
I think I am done Christmas shopping.
This is the first time in forever that I am not hanging one Christmas stocking in my home.

My lunch is packed and the coffee pot is ready for morning.
I start work an hour late tomorrow. However, if I go in an hour late then traffic becomes a nightmare.
So, the tripod and camera are going with me to maybe capture some lights on Mill Avenue in Tempe.
If I sleep in ... then I'll go without them.

Have a great week.
I'll be back with some ornament crafting ideas for the kiddos later this week!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

cinnamon ornaments

Another little Christmas ditty that has probably been hanging out in my book of
Ideas & Dreams for a long time.
The idea is from Pinterest or some fun magazine page.
Love. Love. Love.
Combining the above picture with a recipe from Martha Stewart,
I gathered my supplies.
Those 50 cent bottles of cinnamon, applesauce from the fridge and
some Elmer's Glue.
1 cup of cinnamon
1/4 cup of applesauce
1/2 cup glue
Mix the cinnamon and applesauce together first.
Add the glue and mix well.
Refrigerate for one hour.
Sprinkle more cinnamon on some kind of flat surface and start rolling out dough,
a small amount at a time.
If the dough gets sticky, sprinkle more cinnamon with the rolling.
Haul out the fun cookie cutters and start cutting.

Place the ornaments on a baking pan covered with baking paper.
Using a straw, poke holes in the ornament from which you'll hang a string later.
Fill that cookie sheet with enough cinnamon to scent your house through to Valentine's Day.
Bake at 200 degrees for 2 hours.
Flip them halfway through the baking.

Get creative with the hanging.
I wanted something like the Pinterest photo, but had problems finding something like that.
So, I purchased a dowel from Home Depot and cut it to fit inside the kitchen window
and then painted it brown.
Taking apart some garland that I really don't use, I wrapped one strand of it around the dowel.
Hanging was accomplished by wrapping a piece of twine around each end and
stringing it to the blinds that hang hidden behind the curtain valance.
Using a variety of threads and twine, the baked ornaments were hung from the garland.
I added a few cookie cutters into the mix as well.

I think my nose is already immune to the smell of cinnamon,
but others can smell it wafting around in my kitchen.

This post has been hanging around since last Christmas.
I don't know how that happened.
Being as Christmas is around the corner, lights are strung all over homes,
Christmas trees are scenting the air ...
it is probably almost time to haul out my cinnamon ornaments and see if they smell divine.

I haven't started decorating yet.
My living room doesn't even fit a tree at the moment.
I am serious about that.
Hopefully this weekend sometime we can start that process ....

Happy Baking!