Friday, December 18, 2015


taken at the Golden Lamb, Lebanon, OH
The countdown begins... are you enjoying the

Thursday, December 17, 2015



PERHAPS... because I was born in December? because I share my birthday with my brother (who was born on my first birthday)? because RED & GREEN are cheery colors? because of the traditions from my childhood? or the traditions I created with my daughters? because it means time with family (games, laughter, seeing the Nutcracker, movies, eating, decorating cookies...)
Actually, it's difficult for me to explain... certainly, one reason I can share is my LOVE of ornaments... well, to be specific, SANTASI've been collecting SANTA ornaments (or decor) since the mid-nineties! (makes me sound OLD, huh)... as word of this LOVE "spread like wildfire" among my family, friends & the kids I mentored, the number of my SANTAS exploded... into a delightful collection.

Several years ago, my grand-niece, Katie, tried to count the number of SANTAS in my collection.

Actually, my SANTA collection probably numbers in the 100's??
But, let's return to the MAGICAL! a "gifted" SANTA has been marked with the year & initials of the person who "gifted" the jolly, ole chap! 

Many of my SANTAS were "gifted" by my Camp Fire girls... they are also marked with the year & initials or name of the giver. Jackie (now the mother of 3 girls) gave me this red-glass tummy SANTA in 1997 (the year she was a junior in high school).

Unwrapping my SANTAS each holiday season brings back a "flood of MAGICAL memories"...

Oh... the story behind the glittery SANTA at the top of this post? One Sunday, during a drive through Ojai, CA (a delightful place that oozes artistic talents), JPE found this SANTA & gave it to me our first CHRISTMAS together. That CHRISTMAS he also gave me a beautiful "COAT of MANY COLORS"... ummm, that's another story to share... and reveals a flaw in my character that I'd rather not share right now!!!

How are your holiday traditions MAGICAL for you???

Monday, December 14, 2015


Sunday, December 13, 2015 - rain beading up on roof of my car
As I mentioned in my blog post yesterday, the Central Coast of California got a bit of rain! Californians get EXCITED about rain due to our multi-year drought. So, anytime we get ANY rain (we had less than 1/2 of an inch yesterday)... that is the "talk about town". A GOOD reason to celebrate!

Monday, December 7, 2015 - Bunco party treats
Last Monday, I hosted our Bunco Holiday celebration. No, we still don't play BUNCO, in fact, we don't even know who has the box (with dice, scorecards & pencils)??? but, we DO love to EAT & TALK about what's happening with our families... All of us are at different stages of our lives. A few are retired, most have grandchildren, a few have grown children who are getting married or defining their career paths, and almost all of us have creative interests (gardening, sewing, painting, decorating, baking or entertaining)

JPE made dinner for us - lasagna, fresh olive bread and I added a kale salad (prepackaged from Trader Joe's). As everyone arrived, we munched on dried apricots, nuts, crackers & cheese. 

If you haven't tried this cheese, run (yes, run, because it's a seasonal treat) right out to Trader Joe's for a chunk of STICKY TOFFEE Cheddar Cheese. It's not a very pretty cheese (color, bleech!) but it's filled with toffee bits, raisins & dates... a RANDOM tidbit to add to your holiday eating!

Arroyo Grande Village Holiday Party - store window
I'm first to admit I cannot draw... but I do like to try my hand at lettering signs. I created a chalkboard drawing for Allison's and Stephanie's wedding. It was an opportunity to add my personal, FUN touch to their very unique weddings. If you haven't tried chalk lettering, Pinterest is the place to search ideas, or better yet, visit Lily & Val to order a copy of this book... The Complete Book of Chalk Lettering, by Valerie McKeehan

Well, must get to my house cleaning! then run a few errands before meeting JPE in San Luis Obispo for dinner with friends. YEAH! 

posting with Tamar at Random-osity!!

give her blog a peek! & tell her I sent you!!

Sunday, December 13, 2015


 Sunday December 13, 2015

 chimes a' singing

a crossword puzzle word for MOM!

PLUVIOPHILE describes ME! 

Sunday, December 6, 2015


When my daughters were in preschool, we started a tradition of baking cookies the Sunday before the last day of school. Over the years, it became known as "COOKIE SUNDAY" and involved lots of flour, butter, sugar and sprinkles. Now, if you know me, I love a "tidy" kitchen so having these ingredients in the hands of 3-5 year olds required patience! BUT, this tradition has continued into adulthood for my daughters... 
Of course, the favorite cookie cutters are those that yield LARGE cookies (boot, mitten, bell, tree) that can be decorated with green frosting & colored sugar sprinkles. See those little cutters? the mitten, snowflake & stars... those are usually handed out to the adults (they're small, so you don't feel like you are eating TOO many - in reality, you can't just eat ONE!).

As I mentioned.... we DO cookies.... Lots of them!
For the past 5 years, I've rolled & baked the cookies... Then, Christmas afternoon, we have a "decorating station" so everyone can put together a plate for themselves to take home. It gives everyone something to do when the meal is eaten, the gifts are open & holiday spirits are starting to fade.
I'm a bit of a control-freak (no comments from my
family, please), so there are some RULES... 
1. Decorate only the cookies on the wax-paper or 
paper plate in front of you.
2. NO licking your fingers or the end of the frosting
3. Try NOT to smash your frosted cookie into the plate of sprinkles (don't forget, NO licking your fingers).
4. Place your decorated cookies on a plate &
clean-up your work area. I MUST say... this is the
most difficult to monitor... because EVERYONE wants to start shoving the cookies in their mouth!!

Family members ooohs! & aahhs! over everyone's creativity. There are lots of offers to decorate a cookie for someone else! Ummm... the power of the frosting gun & all that frosting & sprinkles! 

A plate of the finished product!
Creative artistry by Katie (at age 8)

Thursday, December 3, 2015


urrghhh! I was looking at my photo archives for the past few Decembers... and I just remembered something I wanted to "attempt" making.
So, my plan is to make a list of supplies to buy
(since many of them are seasonal) & head to Michael's tomorrow! I have a GIFT card from my colleagues (retirement gift from last May) + several coupons that are expiring!

WHAT do I want to make, you ask??

a glittery village of houses with fir trees, snow & Christmas ornamentation! Of course, this would be my "dream house"...

Oh... don't you love these! check out the adorable church!

some more "dreamy houses"
I certainly have my work cut out for me! Am I attempting something too difficult?

perhaps one this size should be my first attempt!
with a sloped roof to prevent the snow from building up!

Wish me LUCK shopping for my supplies tomorrow!

Working on several other projects right now!
so, this will have to wait until a "rainy day" in 2016!


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