Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

Wishing you all a Happy Healthy 2012! I am having some old friends over this afternoon....staying in to snuggle with the family by the fire tonight and having family over tomorrow. I hope you are doing something that makes you happy this holiday.

P.S. If 2012 is the year you start your health food diet...I have one of my brother's famous healthy recipes for you tomorrow.  And yes, it is delicious.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

I heart coats!

Some gals are shoe people.....(like my 2 year old) Me...I'm a coat-kinda-girl....

Happy Winter!

I know you are all getting sick of Christmas posts buuuuuuuut.....

I know you are all getting sick of Christmas posts buuuuuuut...... last night I tried to explain to Maddie that I would soon have to take down the Christmas trees and she burst into tears! So I thought I would share with you one last Christmas post. 

"Look hands!"   No the gingerbread house did not make it to Christmas Day...

On Christmas Eve the girls and I baked some cookies to put out for Santa when he came down the fireplace. (I apologize in advance for the poor quality of these pictures, but it was Christmas Eve and I was too exhausted to set up the tripod.) Maddie carefully transported the glass of milk for Santa all the way from the kitchen to the family room.

And here are the girls before we left for Gigi's house on Christmas Day...

And Maddie using some of her new Christmas gifts...

My mother gave Maddie a beautiful vanity desk for her room that she repainted and put new nobs on. Also, the day after Christmas we switched her crib into the toddler daybed. These two things have inspired me to do a little room make over for her...I am just in the brainstorming phase right now. Trying to find the perfect paint color. More on that later.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Chandelier Make-Over

I hope everyone's Christmas was amazing! I will hopefully have time to edit some more pictures of the girls for you all soon. Usually by this time after Christmas I am well into my seasonal depression....having to take down all of the pretty decorations. But this year I am looking forward to getting started on  a bunch of projects around the house. Hopefully, the kitchen will be first. For now I am going to enjoy a few more days of Christmas lights and yes, Maddie and I are still watching Christmas movies!

Here is a quick old project I can share with you...
When we moved into our house two years ago I decided to replace the existing light fixture with one we kept from our old house. I then did a little make-over on the old dining room light to use in our kitchen. Here is a really bad picture of it before. 

I then scratched it up with some sand paper and sprayed it with Rustoleum spray paint. The color is called heirloom white and the sheen is satin. I purchased the small lamp shades from Lowes and viola!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

 Happy, Happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home!

-Charles Dickens

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Cookies

The other day I asked my mom for a SMALL sample tray of her Christmas cookies to share with you all. This is what I had in mind...(everyone who knows my mom knows why that would be a ridiculous request)

...what I actually received was a tray large enough to feed a small village of people. I would have taken a picture of that tray but sadly it is not quite as large anymore haha! 

My mom used to order an entire case of these Italian rainbow cookies from a bakery in their hometown in NJ around Christmas. My father and I used to fight over them everyday until they were completely gone. They are my FAVORITE. My Aunt Chery brought them to me in the hospital for the birth of both of my daughters. (Let's just say none of them lasted long enough to make the trip home from the hospital haha) Then one day my mom just figured she would experiment with making her own and they are amazing!

These are my great grandmother's butter cookies. When my brother Matt and I were still living at home with my parents we used to sneak these from all of the trays that were already made up for friends and neighbors. Finally my mom caught on and knew to make extras of these for us. My mom also dips some of them in melted chocolate instead of sprinkles....and guess what I ate them all before I could photograph them. And no, I am not ashamed to admit it!!!! Christmas comes but once a year!

And these bad boys... I can't even finish one of them-that's how rich they are!

Merry Christmas! Wish I could share with you all.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Our Mantle

Our dining room. (Notice the little Maddie footsteps on the carpet - she loves spending time by the tree)

Maddie snuggling with me by the fireplace in our bedroom...

Santa Baby

Other random decorations....

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Silver and Gold

Maddie's love of shoes (especially sparkly ones) is rubbing off on little Claudia.

Good thing Santa is bringing Maddie lots of shoes this Christmas...

Friday, December 16, 2011

6th Annual Sibling Dinner

Six years ago my brother, sister and I decided that instead of exchanging presents at Christmas we would get dressed up and go out to a nice restaurant, just the three of us. Every year we pick a different restaurant and the first order of business at dinner is trying to remember  all of the restaurants we have gone to over the years. Shouldn't be that difficult considering we haven't been doing this very long but this year we decided to write out the list ahead of time so we could skip straight to the good conversation. Can I just say that I absolutely LOVE this tradition. I love knowing that however busy our lives get, we carve out this time every year to reminisce about old times and even learn new things about each other (this year we learned about each other's pet peeves.) Matt hates people who overreact, Heather hates when people tuck in shirts that aren't meant to be tucked in and I hate when people use the phrase "six to one-half dozen the other." (Not sure why that phrase bothers just does. My husband knows this and ALWAYS uses it just to annoy me!)   I feel so blessed to have Matt and Heather as my siblings. I always like to look back at our past Christmas dinners and remember what was happening for all of us at that point in our lives. We've been through colleges, career changes, new houses, engagements, weddings and babies. If you are fortunate enough to be able to start this tradition with your siblings I highly recommend it. But don't be like us and forget your camera almost every year!!!!  

Happy Holidays!

Retro Christmas Kitchen

I found this adorable retro Christmas kitchen on Pinterest. Wouldn't you love to have this kitchen this time of year?

p.s. fireplace is finally up hooked up and running...tonight might be the perfect snuggle up to the fire and watch a Christmas movie night! yay

Monday, December 12, 2011

Anticipation and some more xmas decorating

Anticipation. I remember my father teaching me what the word anticipation meant on Christmas Eve as a little girl. I couldn't fall asleep because of the excitement and he told me that the sooner I fell asleep the sooner Christmas morning would come. I automatically think of my dad almost every time I hear that word. This picture of Maddie reminds me of that word and feeling....

And I love this picture because it looks like Maddie is letting Claudia in on some Christmas secret. I love how sweet Maddie is with her little sister...and Claudia loves her so much too. Claudia is always smiling at Maddie and I swear they are developing their own secret language.

Love Sisters!

Oh and p.s. I finally got some discount Christmas balls for my dessert dishes in the kitchen window. (50% off at Micheals)

And I put some extras in our dining room...

Christmas Scents

Even though we have an artificial tree, I still think it is important to have a house that smells like the real deal. I usually like to use sprays, candles, air fresheners and whatever else I can get my hands on to fake the scent of a real Christmas tree. My mom and I are always on the hunt for which candles really do the trick. This is a spray that we both use from The Mountain House Country Store in Saylorsburg ( my favorite red barn) that works really well. 

The only problem this year is that "Christmas tree scent" reminds me too much of this time last year when I was heavy into the "morning-noon-and-night sickness" of my pregnancy with Claudia. Every time I even get a wiff of this I am immediately transported back to that time. But I found a solution for this time of year. I got this peppermint oil that is a perfect alternative and still reminds me of Christmas. It was $8 for a really small bottle, but luckily you only need a couple drops in a ceramic candle diffuser. It is also great in a bath or for a massage. 

And the best doesn't make me sick!!!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Baker's Twine

I am a total sucker for packaging. I absolutely adore when gifts are wrapped with baker's twine and have been meaning to get some for the longest time. The other day  I went to Micheal's for some artsy-craftsy Christmas gifts for Maddie. As I entered the store I made a quick be line for the Martha Stewart isle in an effort to avoid the lady trying to sell everyone a  newspaper subscription (how annoying are they, I mean I know it is their job, but seriously.) Not only was the crisis averted but I ended up right in front of these babies and I took it as a sign that I had to have them....

How cute are they????? Don't know why I love them so much. Maybe it's because they remind me of my childhood days. Whenever we would go to New Jersey to visit family, my mom would stop in one of the many AMAZING bakeries and pick up goodies to bring to whoever we were visiting. They always came in perfect little white boxes wrapped with baker's twine. Sometimes I like to dream up packaging ideas in my head in case I am able to open my own business one day and I'm sure it would involve baker's twine.

Gingerbread Extravaganza

For the past few days the girls have been so sick, so we have been doing what we can as far as Christmas activities. Last night we took them to see Lights on the Parkway or as we called it "Christmas Town." Maddie really enjoyed seeing all of the lights, especially the "Wizard Of Oz" portion of the park. 

Tonight we decided to stay in and make a gingerbread house. I purchased the kit from Micheal's and probably should have thoroughly read the instructions before beginning. Then perhaps our house would not have had as many "structural issues" as it did. Either way, Shaun had some creative engineering ideas and we managed to make it work. She may not be the prettiest gingerbread house on the block, but we sure had fun trying! Claudia had fun watching and fell asleep during the process, but Maddie enjoyed making the house as much as she did tasting it! She took a few bites out of each side of the gingerbread before handing them to me to put was so cute! Here are a few shots of the night. (This is definitely something I'd like to continue for years to come with my girls!)

 Some of the structural issues I was referring to...

Claudia before deciding to doze of during our Gingerbread Extravaganza!

 Maddie 'forcing Shaun against his will' to taste the icing.


 Orange slices are holding up the roof...good idea Shaun!

 More taste-testing...

 Love this time of year. Hopefully Maddie and Claudia will be feeling better soon!