Sunday, November 30, 2008

My Gift To You ...

Are you ready?

I have a birthday box ... I'm filling it with a few of my favorite things:

Want to know what's in the box?  Let's see, I've counted at least 10 items.  
They all come off of my favorite things posts:  
I'll take a photo of the box and post it in the next few days.

Wanna win it?
All you have to do is leave a comment and answer the following questions:

1) What is my current favorite flavor of tea?
2) How many Creative Memories scrapbooks have I completed?
3) Where is my favorite vacation spot?
4)  What book am I currently reading?

Bonus Entry #1:
Name one of my other favorites, just pick any one,
but your answer can't be the same as the previous commenter.

Bonus Entry #2:
Tell me one of YOUR favorite things!

Bonus entry #3
Can you guess the name of my favorite piece of See's Candy?
You can look at them all here, just don't drool on your computer!

Ok, there ya go.  Enter away!  
Contest will end on Dec. 3rd at Noon, PST.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The last of it ...

Do you ever dream of getting away?

Wanna go here?

Then you have to read this ...
That's all I have to say.  No way I can explain the journey you'll take just by reading this book.  And I bet you'll want to pack up and move to Provence.  No kidding.

I have subscribed to this magazine for almost 14 years.

I have made some cool crafts, cooked some awesome recipes, duplicated decorating ideas, and tended some beautiful gardens.  All inspired by Martha.  On the other hand, I have also felt like a huge underachiever at times.  All because of Martha.  But it doesn't stop me from loving this magazine.

If Provence doesn't float your boat ... how about this ...

Doesn't this look like pure bliss?  But I'm thinkin' ... if you're relaxing on that beach you'll need a book to read.  Like the one mentioned above.

I'm just thinking out loud.  It's a great book is all I'm trying to say.

And you'll need some of these too ...
I practically live in flip flops.  Almost year round.  I take the months of December and January off.  It does get a little cold, at least for a little while, here in the Central Valley of Cali.  But the rest of the year, yeah, I'm wearing flip flops.

So where am I going with all this?  Check back on Sunday. 
 The official Happy Birthday 
Giveaway will begin!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Favorites 4 ... With a Twist

Ready for another installment of my favorite things?  Remember to keep track ... a giveaway is coming after Thanksgiving.

Kat, over at Sunshine and Lemonade, had a list with a twist.  All of her favorites had to start with the letter "O".  She challenged me to make my list with the letter "C".

Remember, we covered the Letter C with my 3-year old not too long ago.  Chocolate and Cupcakes were a big hit.  Pretend those are my list too.

Here's what I came up with for my very own list.  I was thinking of these things while I was making pie dough this afternoon.  Didn't even have to ask my kids to help at all.  With the list, or the dough.  Not that they would.  They're officially on Thanksgiving vacation.  And that means 2 of them are outside playing with about 6 other kids in the 'hood, and the other one is in her room reading a book.  I'll let you guess who's where and doing what.

In no particular order ...
(and I have more than 10, I hope there aren't rules to this)

1.  My cat

She insisted on being included.

2.  Cookies

I can't wait to start my holiday cookie baking marathons!

You know what goes great with cookies?
3.  Coffee

Can't start my day without it.  2 sugars and a splash of cream.  Hey, cream starts with C too!

4.  Chocolate + Cake = Contentment

Although pie is my number one choice in the dessert world, cake is very worthy and will always make my list.

5.  My Camera

It's just a simple point and shoot digital camera, but it does the job.  I use it practically every day!

6.  Classic Literature

This is what I'm currently reading.  I have a list of "must reads".  I will probably be 80 before I finish the list, but at least I have a goal.  And I'll be classically educated.  Old, but educated.

7.  Color

Color makes me happy.  Like the color of my kitchen wall.  It's Granny Smith Apple Green.  And the colors in the school room.  Schoolhouse brick red and buttered corn yellow.  Or my bedroom ... sailboat blue.  Happy happy! 

8.  Comedy

If I don't laugh every day then it's a pretty lousy day.  Luckily I have a very funny husband and silly children and entertaining pets.  Life needs laughter!

9.  California

I really do live in a wonderfully beautiful state.  There is so much you can do here.  I don't have anything to compare it to since I've never lived anywhere else.  But why fix a good thing?

10.  Cambria on the Coast

One of my favorite places in California is Cambria.  We have a small cabin here on the coast and it's our favorite vacation spot.

11.  Chickens

I'm still trying to convince hubby to let me have a couple of chickens in the backyard.  He hasn't totally said no.

12.  Cows

I doubt I'll convince hubby to let me have a cow in the backyard.  So we may need to move to the country.  Country starts with C too!  I love the country, I miss the country.  Maybe some day.

13.  Cheese

Cows make milk.  I love milk.  Milk doesn't start with C but cheese does!  Cheese makes me happy too.  Seriously, I think I eat cheese every day.

14.  CSI Miami

This is such a good show.  I love how David Caruso does the head tilt thing.  And he can solve any crime.  He's just too cool, and he knows it.

15.  Cookbooks

Here are my favorite cookbooks.  They deserve a post of their own.  Maybe I'll get around to that later.

16.  Creative Memories

Last post I mentioned that I loved to scrapbook.  Creative Memories has some great products.  I have completed 17 CM albums.

17.  Candy

Specifically, I love See's Candy.  I buy myself a box of See's Candy every year on my birthday.  That's good news for you too.  Stay tuned.

18.  Christmas

I love Christmas.  I love the preparations, I love the food, I love the family time.  But most of all I love the reason we celebrate.

Finally, this is actually #1 on my list ...

I cannot imagine life without Christ being #1.  Simple as that.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Faves ... #3

I scrapbook.  Or at least I used to.  I also have a 3-year old that likes to get into stuff.  Especially Mommy's scrapbooking supplies.  So I don't get them out very often.  And therefore, I am way behind in my scrapbooks.  But for some reason that doesn't stop me from shopping for supplies.

Look at this stuff ...

And don't get me talking about paper.  When I walk into a scrapbook store and see this ...

... my heart races!  I think I have an addiction to paper.  It's a goal of mine to have paper in every color possible!

And where will I put all this paper and other assorted scrapbooking supplies?  
How about here ...

Or here ...

I don't know who's rooms these are.  But aren't they cool?  I would love to have my own scrapbook/craft room.  Not that I'd have the time to actually use it.  At least not right now.  But it would be fun to have nonetheless.

I also don't have time to play computer games.  But if I did, this would be my favorite ...

Mah Jong is also very addicting.  And quite fun.  I like to think that it keeps the brain sharp.  And those little tiles are just so cute!

Do you have a favorite hobby?  A favorite game?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Who Doesn't Love a Snickerdoodle?

I know exactly how I captured my husband's heart.  It was more than my stunning beauty, amazing wit and charming personality.  It was my incredible talent and creativity in one certain room of the house.

You know what I'm talking about ...

Um ... the kitchen, of course.  

What were you thinking?  Sheesh.  My parents read this blog, not gonna go there.  heehee

Early on in our relationship it became quite clear what a catch I was.  If it wasn't my broccoli casserole that won his heart, it was surely my Snickerdoodles!

Snickerdoodles are my husband's favorite cookies.

And guess who else loves these cookies?

All I have to do is start getting the flour and sugar out and my 3-year old knows it's gonna be cookie time.

The key to Snickerdoodles is Cream of Tartar.  You can't make them without it.  It just won't be the same.  It just won't be a Snickerdoodle.

Did you know Cream of Tartar is a by-product of wine making?  It's an acid residue that someone, somewhere, somehow, at some point figured out might be useful.  Google that and see if you can find out who that genius was.

  When you combine it with baking soda you get baking powder.  True story.  In baking, it helps to make for a nice creamy texture.  It also makes your egg whites all nice and fluffy and stabilizes them so they don't fall flat.  Good to know next time you're making a lemon meringue pie.  Consider this your free chemistry lesson o' the day.  

Do you see my 3-year old sneaking bites of dough?  She doesn't know I see her.  And she's totally oblivious that I even took a photo.  Just look ...

My Snickerdoodle recipe is identical to this one.  So you can just click and check it out.  

Be warned ... if you bake these ... assorted husbands, children and fathers-in-law will smell them and come running!

Here's a photo of quite possibly the most perfect Snickerdoodle.  Ever.

That one is special ... I baked it just for hubby.

Plus all these too ...

I'm wishing you many happy Snickerdoodles in your future!


Update:  My neighbor won ...

That's my tree in the foreground.  Clearly it still has green leaves.  Neighbor's tree, in the background, is solid reds and oranges.

I don't get it.

I'm gonna eat another Snickerdoodle and ponder this wonder of nature.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Favorite Things ... part 2

I love crayons!

Think about it ... it's a just a box full of wax sticks.  But all those colors, the choices, the creative possibilities.  Do I pick Jungle Green or Forest Green?  Atomic Tangerine or Mango Tango?  Purple Pazzazz or Razzmatazz?  

Crayons just make me happy.

I have so many favorite movies.  I seriously cannot pick just one.  But I will.  Here's my current most favorite movie ... 

Don't be mistaken ... it has to be the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice.  I've seen the other versions.  They're ok.  But this is THE one for me.  I could watch it over and over.  I have.  And I do.  I love this movie, I love Elizabeth Bennett, I love Mr. Darcy.  I love Colin Firth.  What can I say?

I had a previous post about my standing date with the espresso machine.
That's my morning wake up call.  But in the afternoon I like a cup of tea.  In the summer it's iced.  The rest of the year, it's a nice comfy warm cup.

I keep an assorted stash of teas in an old jar.

My current favorite is Earl Grey.  I also like chai, if I'm in a chai mood.  Or even good ol' Lipton hits the spot on most days.

Ok, here's a good idea ...
A nice warm cup of tea ...

and this ...

That just makes me happy.

Don't forget I'm going to be giving away a few of my favorite things when I'm done rambling on and on about them.  My birthday present to you!  So I hope you're taking notes and I hope you check back for more to come.

Do you have a favorite movie?
One that you can you just watch over and over?
One that makes you happy?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things ...

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens ...
I love this movie!

Now you'll want to pay attention ... there will be a quiz ...

In just a couple of weeks I will be 41.  I know, shocking isn't it?  Somehow I'm not terribly bothered by this fact.  I happen to love birthdays.  Not the actual age thing that happens.  No, I just like celebrating.  Mostly when I am NOT the center of attention though.  I'd rather throw a party than be the party.  Know what I mean?

But when you have a blog, well, you ARE kinda the center of attention.  So I thought, what the heck.  Let me tell you about a few of my favorite things.  I will post 2 or 3 things every day or so until my birthday. 

 And it's all so totally random.  No one thing really relates to another thing.  The only thing all these things have in common, is ... well, me!  

And then ... when my big day finally arrives, I just might share some of my favorites with a lucky winner, or 2, or 3!  Oh yeah!

Here's A Few of My Favorite Things ...

I love Fiestaware!

Here's a photo of my own personal collection:

I try to add a few new pieces each year.  I have most of the colors.  I think I'm missing white, black and cobalt.  Not sure I even want those colors though.

Pencils ... I have only ONE type of pencil that I like and use.
It's the Ticonderoga Tri-Write Pencil ...

I discovered these pencils last year and I will never use a regular pencil again.  These are triangle shaped, meaning only 3 sides (duh!), which makes them so comfortable to hold.  I always keep one with My Reading Journal and the current book I'm reading so I can take notes.  Love these pencils!

Now in the kitchen I have lots of favorites.  Here's one ...

(besides the cool new glass tile backsplash ... that's also a favorite!)
Newman's Own Balsamic Vinegar.  Why do I like this one out of the dozens of balsamic vinegars on the market?  2 reasons, it's very tasty and it's reasonably priced.  There are some outrageously priced vinegars out there.  But this one is affordable, tastes great, does the jobs I use it for, and I happen to love Paul Newman, God rest his soul.

My favorite thing to do with my balsamic vinegar?  I make romaine salad boats.  Take a leaf of romaine lettuce, sprinkle some chopped pecans, grape tomatoes cut in half, and shavings of Parmesan cheese, and then drizzle with some balsamic vinegar.  That's it!  Shoot I should have made some and taken a photo for you.

Ok, there ya go.  The first installment of My Favorite Things.  There will be more to come.  And pay attention, a giveaway is on the horizon!  Woohoo

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Don't get me wrong, I like to shop.  But only under certain conditions, as follows:

I must have money, lots of it

Stores and parking lots must NOT be crowded

If I'm trying on clothes the dressing room must be air conditioned

If I'm trying on clothes they must fit perfectly in the size I wish I was

If I'm trying on clothes the price tag must show drastic price reductions

If I'm buying a gift for someone else I better be able to find exactly what I'm looking for, even if I don't know what that is

I really don't think these terms are asking too much, do you?

So you must be wondering how I get through the Christmas shopping season.  Because, I mean come on, those conditions don't exist in the real world!

So I try to do a lot of my shopping online.  No lines, no hassles, I can shop at midnight if I want, and in my pajamas!  And so far this year, I've already scored a gift for my 3-year old and I can cross her off the list.  She is going to love this.  

And here's the best part ... I got it for a huge discount.  I won another one of the Bloggy Giveaways.  It was an Amazon gift certificate that I used to apply towards the purchase of my 3-year old's gift.  I feel really bad that I can't remember the name of the blog that hosted this great giveaway.  But I do remember it came from Rainy ... so Rainy if you're out there, THANK YOU once again.

I just love the idea of creative pretend play toys.
Here are a few things my 3-year already has that she can use with her new gift:

Have y'all heard of Melissa and Doug toys?  They have to be one of my favorite toy companies.  We have a few of their wood puzzles.  But my daughter loves the wooden food sets the best.  She plays with these every day.  They are so cute and very durable.  And I like the quality, old-fashioned appeal of a wood toy.  I'm just like that.

So one kid down ... 2 more to go.  Any suggestions for something non-electronic for a 12 year old boy?  I have nothing against the electronic stuff, but he has plenty of it and I refuse to buy more.  

How about ideas, besides clothing, for an almost 15-year old girl?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Look What I Won!

First off, let me just say that I rarely win anything.  So imagine how thrilled I was when I won this:

How cute is this tote bag?  It comes from Malinda at Saratoga Rose Designs.
Stop by and check out her other cute bags.
Thanks Malinda for the great giveaway!

Here is my oldest daughter.  She is available for modeling.  She does an exceptional job, as long as you only photograph her from the back, showing only shoulder, an elbow, maybe some of her hair, and occasionally the back of her head, if you're lucky.  It's in her contract.

I already have a use for my tote.  This is how I plan on carrying my magazines to the beach or the pool next summer.

That is ... if I can get it away from my 3-year old.