Sunday, February 03, 2008

Miss Me?....and December's Recap!

Wow! It's been almost 2 months since I've posted! The only excuse I can offer is LIFE! Thank you to all of you who have checked in on me. It's nice to know people care...especially when things got tough. I love you all!

Now just because I didn't post, didn't mean I didn't take pics! Here's my attempt to recap the events of December least the highlights.

While looking at my pics from December, I found this picture of a prize from a contest, my friend, Kim ran on her blog. Kim, I am SO sorry that I didn't thank you earlier. It was my intention to do a blog post and thank you properly. It's a little blurry but she sent some cool things for my scrapbooking and a cute angel craft for Allison.


Curtis bought me a Cuisinart Food Processor for my birthday and to thank him, I made Oatmeal Raisin Cookies for him. I probably should have mixed the raisins in by hand because it kind of chopped them up too small but he said they were the best he ever had. Even though I think he said that so I'll keep making them, they were good that way!

My Goddaughter, Maria, has a birthday just days before Christmas. She likes to watch movies so I bought her a gift card for Giant Eagle movie rentals and wanted to do something cute and fun for her. Have you seen the plastic popcorn containers that Target has in their "Dollar Spot" sometimes? Aren't they cute? I have been just itching to buy them and use them for something creative. Yay! This was my chance! I picked up 3 (because they have 3 in their family) and taped them together at the bottom and the top with white electrical tape. I chose electrical tape because the color blended in, it was strong and it is easy to remove. Next I filled it with shredded basket filler, packages of microwave popcorn and fun candy in boxes that you get when you go to the movie theater.

Here's the finished gift. I just wrapped it in cellophane and tied on some red curling ribbon and it was done!

I had so much fun putting together Maria's gift that my creative juices kept flowing. I adapted the idea for the Christmas gifts for Allison's classmates. I always like to do a little something for them from her but I like to keep it reasonable in price. I went to Sam's Club for the treats. I got a big box of microwave popcorn, Twizzlers which were individually wrapped and little bags of M & M cookies. I avoided chocolate because I didn't want to sugar them up for the teacher. I loosely stuffed a sheet of tissue paper in the bottom of each container to fill in the bottom. I didn't use the shredded filler because I didn't want the teacher to have a mess all over the classroom. Allison's favorite Christmas special is "The Grinch" so I used that for the tag. I slid them into cellophane bags and tah dah! An easy gift for under $2.00! The kids loved them!

Here's a close up of the tag. It was Allison's idea to alternate green and red for the Merry Christmas. She's so creative!

I volunteered to make the cupcakes for Allison's party at school. I've mentioned before that I love Family Fun Magazine. I keep all of my issues and have them organized by months. I went to my shelf and pulled out the ones for the Christmas ideas and saw these ornaments. Too cute! I knew I had to make them!

Here's a better look. Of course it's an upside down miniature Reese's Peanut Butter Cup for the top of the ornament. The hardest part was breaking the preztels just right for the hook. By the way, Thanks Curtis for unwrapping all the candy for me!

Allison and I make a homemade Hot Cocoa Mix for her teacher. I got the recipe from Family Fun Magazine. I put it in a quart canning jar, added ribbon and a homemade label. I decided to do a whole theme and put it in a basket with 4 snowman mugs and a bag of miniature marshmallows. I used the shredded red filler and snowman ribbon for the bow.

Here's the whole basket. I probably should have made a floral bow for the top but I wasn't sure how much ribbon was on the spool. By the way, if you have read my blog, you know I love going to Goodwill and Salvation Army. Well guess where I got the basket? Yup, for $1.99! This basket would have been around $10 at Michael's. I always check out the baskets with the idea of gift baskets in mind. You never know when you might need one for organization too. My tip for picking out baskets is to smell them before you buy them. Some of them are adorable but have a musty smell to them. Like they've been stored in a basement or something. Sometimes they are dusty and need to be cleaned or are just loose and worn. If that's the case, don't shy away from buying them. Just fill your laundry or stationary tub up with soapy water and put the whole basket in the tub. Use a soft bristle brush to lightly scrub them. Rinse them good, reshape them and let them dry in the sun or in front of the furnace register. As they dry, they will tighten up an be good as new. Seriously friends, don't spend all your money on the basket for the gift. Spend it on the gift.
Four co-workers and I always do something really small for each other for Christmas. I usually do something put together or homemade. This year I made them each a dozen of chocolate covered oreos. I put them in tins that I found at The Dollar Tree. They also had this adorable plastic tissue paper. It worked perfectly!
Of course, I couldn't stop there! I put the tin in a cellphane bag and tied it off with raffia.
Allison gave the secretary of her school this petite candle from Home Interiors. She is a nice lady that helped us immensley when we transferred schools. I wanted to let her know that we appreciated her. She was so touched.

By the way, most of the Home Interior candles are 20% off this month. Let me know if you need any. They make great little gifts to have on hand. I can ship anywhere. Wow! How about that shameless plug?

A while back on Sophia's blog, she wrote about a book called "Christmas Jars." It sparked my curiosity. I bought three of them. One for me, one for my best friend, Susan, and one to give away for someone who I felt could benefit from it. After reading the book, I've decided that I will give one book with one jar away every year. If you haven't heard of it, you should check it out.

Someone liked my bead garland on my tree a little too much!

This is how I like her... behaving. She was actually "talking" to the birds outside. Isn't her coloring beautiful. UGH! I hate that fluffy tail!

OH NO! Here she is in trouble again! I wonder how many times I said "Princess, get out of the tree!" this year? Oh, if I only had a nickel for each time....!

Here is the ornament Allison made for us this year. Look closely, it's made out of puzzle pieces.

One of my favorite pics of the season.

This is us on Christmas Eve. It's when we celebrate and open gifts. Our neighbor stopped by so I asked her to take a pic of us. All of us in red may have been too much.

Allison and our family tree. I changed this year and used the lace angel that was my Aunt Carole's. It is just beautiful. She's holding lights and there are lights all underneath her gown. It was such a warm reminder of my Aunt Carole to be using her angel. I'm sure she was looking down from heaven with a smile on her face.

Another favorite pic of mine.

I bought Allison and Curtis the dvd sets of "Planet Earth" and "Blue Planet" from the Discovery Channel store. They are amazing. They are on sale right now...go check them out!

Here is what Princess got for Christmas. Had I known it was this big when built, I would have rethought the gift. UGH!!! There's that fluffy tail again!

Santa came!

The three cousins. This is at my parent's on Christmas day. Mya is 4 days younger than Allison and Derek is 2 years younger than the both of the girls. Every time I see a pic of the three of them, it reminds me of us three kids. Mya resembles my sister when she was little, of course Allison is a mini-me and Derek is a spitting image of my brother. I'll have to look for a pic of us when we were little and share it with all of you.

Aww, Ginger, my sister's dog, loved the Snugga Wubba we bought her!

A few days later Allison and I got together with my second best friend, Susan's family. Stephanie had been in England for 3 months as an exchange student for college. She brought Allison home a damsel hat from a real castle. Too cute! She also brought home a sterling silver cross from "The Vatican" for her. It is gorgeous! I had a little moment when I realized that my Aunt Edith and Uncle Tony brought me home a gold cross from Italy when I was in first grade! It brought tears to my eyes. What can I Mom calls me her sentimental Cindi!

Also while in Europe, Stephanie got a tatoo on the top of her foot. She got it the last week when her Mom met up with her for the last leg of her tour. They were in Ireland. She revealed it to me that night. It's pretty (yes Steph, I said pretty) but I agree with Aunt's BIG! HOWEVER, THIS is what my little one did the next day when she got home! THANKS STEPH!!!!!
That's all for now! I'll be back soon! I promise!

Have Fun!

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