Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Locusts...alll about food!

My little sister Virginia, describes our family gatherings like locusts. You put out the food and they come, they devour, and all that's left are crumbs that would barely feed a mouse. If you come late, somebody had better saved you a plate or you would starve!! LOL

They look kind of calm in that picture, don't they? That's concentration. Trying to decide what chow to put on the plate. We had a Mexican food feast for our Christmas celebration on Sunday.

That good looking young man in the yellow t-shirt is my nephew Greg. I'm surprised he got in line for food. He loves, LOVES, L-O-V-E-S a certain cookie I make called Santa's Whiskers. Every time I went in the kitchen, I would see him over at the baked goodie table and he'd have three or four in his hand. So cute.

So, there were no pretty dishes or fine china. There was however, tamales, enchiladas, enchilada casserole, rice, beans, carnitas, a couple of pasta salads, lots of salsas, guacamole and dip. Oh, and we went through 120 deviled eggs! Unbelievable.

This was a little table we set up to put some baked goodies on. One sister and her family came over the night before we got together and she kept wanting to sample cookies. I kept moving them and telling her "no" because I was afraid I was the only one providing sweets. That was not the case, thank goodness.

I did my baking at my sister's house, as I mentioned yesterday. We did the Santa's Whiskers (top plate on the left), sugar cookies, english toffee and peanut butter blossoms. We also made dough for gingerbread cookies but didn't bake them there. I cut out little bears and put red hots for buttons. I was running on empty by the time I had to bake them and that was all I had left in me.
The day of the party, I dipped strawberries in white chocolate and they were delicious!
This wraps up what I wanted to share about the holidays other than a cool gadget I got for one of my presents. I'll chat about that later. Until then, I hope you all have a wonderful New Year and are blessed with good health, lots of crafting time and that you have a prosperous year (so you can buy new fabric!). :o)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Lake Casitas, CA

My hubby's company shuts down every year for two weeks during the holidays. And every year he has big ambitions to do things around the house or on his hot rod but usually ends up kicking back watching tv and relaxing and *poof*, the time is gone. This year he said he wanted to do something with his time off and he wanted to rent an RV and go camping with the kids. I'll be honest, I pretty much freaked out when he said that. I like to do holiday baking and I try to make a Christmas gift or two, I don't buy bows for my gifts, I make my own. I love Christmas for so many reasons, but lets face it, leaving the house right before Christmas to go camping threw me over the deep end. I tried to remain calm though. After the shock of the idea, it started to sink in and I thought it might be fun to sit by a campfire with the kids or go for a ride on the lake in a little fishing boat.
Well, these are a few pictures of our trip. This was the view walking from the little overflow lake area to our campsite. Pretty gorgeous, huh? :o)

This is the dock that we tried fishing off of. "Tried" fishing because we didn't get one little nibble. Not one tug on any of the four lines we had in the water. Me, my hubby, my daughter Ashley and her boyfriend Dave went on Saturday after we checked in. We stayed out there a couple of hours. Richard had to put the worms on the hook because none of us could bear to cut one in half with our fingernail and then 'hook' him. Bleck! But you can see that the scenery was beautiful so there are worse things than not catching a fish. And besides, we had plenty of groceries. lol

This was the view towards the lake from the RV. Not too shabby a spot.

This is us fishing off the dock. See those short sleeves? It was around 73 degrees, sunshine, blue skies. A typical Southern California December day. My hubby's a pretty smart cookie to have us go camping before Christmas! We might have to make this an annual tradition.

And the baking? Well, here is my solution to that.
This is my sissy, Isabel in her gorgeous red kitchen. She lives about 15 minutes from the lake. When we talked on the phone about my dilemma, she said "Why don't you come over and we can bake together." She loves to bake but usually only makes pumpkin bread because she doesn't ever want to do it alone. It worked out perfectly. I tell you, it was all the best the both worlds. While sitting at the campsite playing dominoes one night, Isabel said, "Can you believe we're sitting here relaxing and having fun and there are people fighting crowds and parking at the shopping malls." Ahhhh, it's a wonder I'm not smarter since I'm surrounded by all these geniuses. :o)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas

I hope you had a wonderful and blessed Christmas. Ours was wonderful. We went camping (in a rented RV) on Saturday and came home Tuesday. That created a great big mess of unpacking but I was able to get everything done before Christmas Eve when the kids came over.

I think our girls (and guys) enjoyed everything they got for Christmas. I got some small homemade goodies done for the girls, like potholders in their kitchen colors and got a simple quilt done for my boss.
My daughter Kelley, the starving artist :o) also got some homemade gifts made for everyone for Christmas. This first one is for her sister Stephanie, who can't have enough pink!

She drew little outfits on decorative paper, cut them out and put them on a clothesline. Adorable, don't you think? Me too.....and Stephanie LOVED it! I told Kelley she should get some things like this made and put them on etsy! I don't think she would be starving anymore. I might need to be her agent. Agents nag their clients to get things done, don't they? LOL
This was my gift and it almost made me cry. I just see so much potential in Kelley, and creativity. I am in awe with what she comes up with. Maybe I'm a biased momma.
I don't know if you can see it, but the button that the little girl is bending over to pick (or smell) is a rose.
Below is Richard's gift. When they were younger, he coached all of the girls when they played softball. That always makes a good subject matter for a picture for her Dad. Kelley's spitting seeds, Stephanie's drinking from a sipper bottle and Ashley's got her glove, ready to play. :o)

Kelley also drew two other pictures for our other daughter Ashley and her boyfriend, Dave a little portrait but the pictures were too dark or out of focus. I'll try and get a picture of those and post them.
My family of about 30 are coming over tomorrow to celebrate Christmas and give our mama lots of presents. She's 82 now and time with her is precious. That will be the last of our Christmas celebrating. I've got to go finish baking a few batches of cookies or cupcakes to add to the baked goods I've got done already. And those that my husband hasn't eaten!!! :o)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Little Snowbuddies

About a week ago, Neena, my friend the Stampin Vixen, sent me a link to this blog with the cutest idea ever for a little favor or classroom gift! And that blog mentioned this blog with the free download in a pdf. I guess she downloaded it at some point and shared it. How great is that! So off I went to print, print, print. I just used regular paper, not cardstock. I figured anyone who got one was just going to rip into it and eat it so why waste my good paper. :o)

Neena and Sherrie came over last night for a little TNT and these are the result of a little production line.

Cute little dudes, don't you think? Of course, besides the printing and cutting the paper, I also had to hit Costco for Hershey bars (about $17 for a box of 36) and dug in my stash for a piece of fleece because I didn't have any little kid socks. My kids aren't little anymore! Had I seen this pattern a while ago, I could've hit up a thrift store or something but the fleece worked good enough. Thank goodness it wasn't camouflage or something worse than the red and purple I had. Although, I don't own anything camouflage so I don't even know why I mentioned it. LOL

Here's a close up of the graphic. I just cut a strip of fleece for the scarf. On some of them, when we pulled it tight to tie it, it curled right up.

Each of the girls took about 10 home and I'll put the rest in a small basket on the table when my family comes over for Christmas next Sunday. I think they'll either take them and keep them or tear their cute faces off and gobble them right down. hehe

And if I didn't post this, I would be living up to my Ogre name. Neena got a new doggie. I guess you wouldn't say he's a "used" dog but since he's not a puppy, maybe he's a hand-me-down. :o) His name is Charlie but she wants to call him Chopper. That's this week. She's already come up with a couple other names she likes. Her hubby thinks Charlie's name is just fine since he's had it for about a year. He's a good boy and Neena is smitten with him. I don't get it. LOL

We are off to RV for a few days and come home before Christmas. My hubby is renting the vehicle as we speak. I still don't know what he was thinking by kidnapping me a few days before Christmas. The man obviously has no idea how much work is left to do before we celebrate the joy of Christmas. But we're working it out. Our kids will join us for one night and I'm going to my sisters to do some baking. I might live through this!! :o)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


My daughter Kelley was going to do a "pay it forward" on her blog in October. She had seen it on another blog and liked the idea but she only got a few responses and two of those were people who didn't have a blog (a requirement). So she decided to cancel it but still do an exchange with the interested ladies. There were six of us - Kelley, Stephanie (my daughter and Kelley's sister), me, Isabel (my sis), Neena the Stampin' Up! chick and a friend of Kelley's, Jackie.
Kelley swapped out the goodies last week but I'm just getting around to post about it. Tis the season to run around like a headless chicken!!! :o)
These are what Kelley made. Little kids dressed up like Humpty Dumpty like one of her drawings. The only thing missing was a crack in the shell and a little bandaid. I thought she did really good especially since she doesn't sew that much and they had little tiny arms to get turned out!

These were some of the other treasures I received. Jackie has a Yulu printing machine so she printed us a tote bag to drag around our unfinished projects. (Hopefully to get them finished!) Isabel was on the ball and made little Chinese take-out boxes. Since this swap was announced in early October, she made some out of Halloween fabric. Who knew they'd be swapped out in December?

This adorable little ghost was tucked inside the Halloween take-out container. Isabel crocheted it from a free pattern from Lyon Brand Yarn website.

And Neena made these fabulous personalized stationary boxes for each of us. They contain a post-it note, a spot for stamps, three greeting cards, gift tags and gift cards. They were all so pretty. The decorative paper she used was gorgeous and they were all different.

A little close up. I turned the flash off of my digital camera because it was too bright and overexposed. Without the flash, the pictures look orange but believe me, the cards and box are a gorgeous cherry red. Yummmy!

Aren't my friends talented. My daughter Stephanie's project isn't shown here. She needed to finish up one last step so I told her I'd photograph it later but wanted to share these for now.
I went to my friend's house last night and quilted a quilt for my boss. I just did a big meander all over. It's just a piece of fabric with borders on it. I showed a picture of it here from the trip to the condo. It's the one with deep red borders. Anyway, I just did a big meander all over it and will get the label made tonight and sew on the binding. Sooooo much to do, so little time!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Cards

My friend (and Stampin' Up demonstrator), Neena, invited me over for card making today to get a start on some Christmas cards. There were just four of us there, another friend Nora and Neena's daughter Meghan. I guess I wasn't on top of things because I didn't think to take pictures of the cards the girls got done. Nora did a beautiful red tree with glitter sparklies. These were the three I did, trying to keep things simple but a little creative.

The decorative paper and ribbon I used were from Michaels and everything else is Stampin' Up!
Nothing fancy but at least I made an attempt for a little something homemade.

Off to check my list, make up some labels and check my stamp supply. I guess I better find my store bought cards too because I only got 12 cards made. Another thing to check of the to-do list. :o)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Body parts and Lookey-loo's

My daughter Kelley....the artsy-fartsy one, Kelley Bo Belley, was over last night to work on some projects for a little swap we are doing. She saw a "pay it forward" swap and was going to do that on her blog but didn't have enough people sign up so she just asked friends and family to do it. She had her 'body parts' cut out and borrowed my sewing machine to sew them together.

I came in the room with my camera because, well, we HAVE to have pictures for blogging, right? After I snapped the above photo, Kelley asked to borrow the camera for a minute. Her little partners in crime (an unfinished Halloween project) were watching her sew from the pile of paint bottles.

Kelley didn't tell me her little friend's names. They're awfully cute sitting there so PATIENTLY waiting for a coat of varnish and some stain to dirty them up a bit. Maybe they'll be next in line after the body parts get put together. Sheesh, I sound a little grusome talking about body parts and vampires. :o)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It felt like we fed the masses!

I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving. We served 30 at our house! We were busting at the seams but we got to visit and laugh and enjoy the family. All reasons to be thankful!!
I started the morning with these two buddies. :o) They went into the oven at 8:45 a.m.

The family showed up one group at a time. Little by little we had a houseful from San Diego, Orange County, Ojai, Lancaster.....and nobody was empty handed! I do the dinner and they bring the snacks. Oh my, as if the big birds and ham weren't going to be enough, we had a cheese ball, veggie platter, fruit and dip, chip and dip, nacho cheese, salami/pepperoni and cheeses. I'm glad they had all those cheese dishes. It helped me to not overeat that day. Cheese = blech!!!

THE BIRD IS DONE!!!! Don't you just love that last hour before the meal? Stuffing out, check. Rolls in, check. Taters mashed, check. Gravy made, check. Let's eat!!!

With 30 people, there is no way we were having a sit down dinner. We set the food up on the counter and lined up for buffet-style. Hey, we're a big family and nobody would be impressed by a sit down dinner with china. Just put a plate of food in front of them and they're happy campers.
Of course, after all that food, we took our annual walk. My streets are kind of long and we walked around two of them. Would you be scared if you saw us coming around your corner?? hehe

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. Maybe some of you spent a nice quiet day at home. (Lucky dogs!) LOL
Me and my hubby were slugs all weekend, watching movies and eating leftovers. Working so much on turkey day wore-me-out!!! I did have him help me get the bins of Christmas decorations down from the rafters. I don't get many volunteers from my girls to help with the decorating. They complain that I'm too picky about where things go. Can you imagine? hehe I can't help it if they put stuff here or there and when they come back to visit, it's in a different place!