Tuesday, December 31, 2013

GOODBYE 2013 ...... WELCOME 2014 ....

We sit on the eve of a New Year ..... Full of possibility and expectation.

I for one am glad to see the back of 2013. For our Family it has been the worst year I can remember. We know unemployment too well. We've experienced just how ugly human beings can be, even those from whom we least expect it. We as parents have guided our children through betrayal and bullying, and we've dealt with issues, we never expected we'd ever have to. I've sat under a heavy, dark and oppressive cloud for most of this year. It's honestly the closest I have ever come to just giving up.

Highlights have been few, but there have been some.  For me THE highlight of this year, was being able to spend a month back home with my family. To take in the sights and sounds of a land so familiar, and just stop and breath, was food for my soul.

I've spent a lot of time over this Holiday period thinking. Thinking about how best, to climb out from underneath this heavy, dark and oppressive cloud, regardless of the situations we find ourselves in. The answer I've come up with ..... To intentionally look for the positive in each situation we find ourselves in, no matter how small it is. So, this is what I've resolved to do .....
- At the end of each day, I'll find something positive to focus on, and be grateful for.
- I want to grow in my faith.
- It's time to put me first sometimes (and I've realized it's OK to do that). I intend to learn how to say "no"!!!

So I pondered on how best to keep up with all of this ....... Journal !!! (Yes, y'all knew that I'd throw something crafty into this mix !!!). I have created 4 journals, that now live on my nightstand, together with a cute pen pot, filled with fun pens and stationary. They're labeled, and at the appropriate time each day, I'll write my thoughts into each one. Nothing long winded, just a short little something that reminds me to look for, focus on, and be thankful for the positive things each day.
I used 6" x 6" hardcover sketch books that I got at Hobby Lobby. I prettied them up with scrapbook paper, and some quotes I found and liked. I think they'll fit the bill :-)

I've also taken on the challenge of doing Project Life this coming year. I thought about it last year, but decided to look over other peoples work during the year, and then decide whether or not I thought it was doable. I'm excited to get started. It was my Christmas present from Hubby.

I think it'll be wonderful to look back, this time next year, and see just how much our little family accomplished. One of my little journals is for me to jot down day to day happenings, so that when I get to the end of the week and work on the weeks layout, I don't forget any of the finer details.

All that's left to do now, is wish you all a Happy New Year. May 2014 be full of love, laughter and dreams come true. Thank you for taking the time to stop by my blog for a visit this year, and for all your sweet comments and kind words - I appreciate it more than you know.

Friday, December 13, 2013


What would Christmas be, without the opportunity to put on that apron, pull out a cookie recipe or two, and bake? Christmas Cookie baking, ranks right up there, as one of my favorite Christmas activities. I bake tons, all through the year, but Christmas Cookies are - well - just special !!!

Our Middle School PTA hosts a Staff Cookie Exchange each Christmas. Parent volunteers bake cookies of every shape, size and variety, and the staff members get to choose a dozen to take home to their families. It's a sweet idea, and a nice way for us to show our appreciation for all that these people do for our kids.

So yesterday was the day ..... flour flew, butter was beaten, and boy, was it fun. Both recipes I used were new to me, and both were extremely delicious !!!
First up ..... Decorated Sugar Cookies.
I used a recipe that called for 1/4 cup Almond Paste ....... Absolutely the best sugar cookies I've ever made !!! I kept it simple ...
This magazine cover was my inspiration ...... Simple, but gorgeous at the same time.
I had 3 different Christmas Tree cookie cutters. I used 3 different colored green icing colors, and I used white and red as my accent colors. The result ..... A Christmassy feast for the eyes ...

Such Christmassy perfection.

My second contribution - Peppermint Cookies .... Hmmm, how would I describe these .... quick, easy, no bake, and the closest thing I've ever tasted to Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies.
Even the non bakers amongst us could make these, they're THAT easy.
Here's what you do ..... Melt Andes Mint baking chips, Drop Ritz Crackers into the melted chocolate, and coat them. Place on a baking tray in the fridge for 10 minutes until the chocolate sets. Melt a little white chocolate, crush a peppermint candy cane or two. Drizzle white chocolate over cookies and sprinkle with crushed candy cane. Return cookies to the fridge for a few minutes to set again. Enjoy !!!! You see, I told you they were easy !!!

As the big day approaches, I will get a second opportunity to bake .... this time it'll be for us, and our neighbors. It's sure to be fun !!!

Saturday, December 7, 2013


These would be great gifts for your neighbors, teachers or mail carrier. They're cute, quick to make and inexpensive.
As I mentioned in my previous post, these were all made for the Christmas Faire I was taking part in tomorrow, but as a result of Icemeggedon (that is how infrequent events like this happen in Texas), the Faire has been cancelled. It's the right call .....roads are treacherous, and we couldn't even get out of our driveway if we wanted to.
So I'm here today to share these cuties with you, and maybe spark some of your creativity.
All of these ideas came off pins I'd seen on Pinterest. I just worked with what I had (paper punches, Cricut cartridges and good old cardstock and scissors !!!), to create my version of what I'd seen.
 These are my Hot Chocolate For 4 Santa Boxes. I filled each box with 4 sachets of hot chocolate, 4 peppermint candy canes and 4 marshmallows. The box only required one 12" x 12" piece of red cardstock to make. I fiddled around with the dimensions and shape, until I was happy with it. I finished it off by decorating it to look like Santa's belly !!! The little dangling mug, I turned into a gift tag.
 Next up, Santa and his Snowman sidekick !!! The Santa is a Dove Milk candy bar, and the Snowman is a Hershey's airy, bubbly bar.
 Santa Rolo tube, and Santa candy cane.
Believe it or not, this is constructed, box and all, using just one 12" x 12" piece of cardstock, that I cut to size. The acetate for the window came from an old chocolate box. Again I just fiddled around with the dimensions and construction method, until I was happy with it.

If anyone wants me to write up my dimensions and construction method for either of the boxes, just let me know. I'd be happy to oblige.

Until next time ....... Keep crafting !!!!

Friday, December 6, 2013


I've always been told that it seldom snows in Texas ....... Well it certainly came down last night.!!! Not snow but ice !!!
Schools are closed today (always a happy day in our household), and what was to be a jam packed busy weekend, has become clear. We'll all be spending the weekend house bound, as the ice is thick and treacherous. We wont see temperatures above freezing , until Sunday afternoon, and then only briefly, before they plummet below freezing again for the night.
 There's no denying it's beautiful .... This is the view from our front door.
 The holly bushes, are clothed in their icy, winter coats.
The ice is piled high (above the window sills in some places). This ice pile must be at least two and a half feet deep.

We were to have a community Christmas Bazaar this weekend, which I've been busily making items for, for a while now. That has been cancelled ....... I have a lot of Christmas items hanging around now !!! Oh well, that's the way the cookie crumbles I guess :-)
As soon as I get a moment, I'll take some pictures, and write up a post ....... there are some very cute and affordable gifts you may like to try for yourself.

Until then ..... We'll be trying to keep warm :-)

EDIT: I just had to add these pictures I took later today (I'll need to remind myself of this, when we're sweltering at 110 Deg 6 months from now !!!) ....... It's 10:23pm, and I've just stuck my head out of the front door ....... It is sooooo cold, I could barely even catch my breath !!!
 Ice piled high ...
 We did our Family Christmas Card photo shoot ....
 The ice cast of a leaf ...... have I mentioned that I find ice absolutely, exquisitely, beautiful ...
 Frozen down spouts ...
And Mom's solution to the cold ..... Hot chocolate, complete with whipped cream and sprinkles !!!