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Merry Christmas!

Things haven't quite been the same around here since my 90-year-old mother had a stroke on August 23rd.  I have spend many days and much time, as has my sister, Jane, dedicated to her care and recovery and making her days delightful as possible.

I haven't done much celebrating around my house, other than to have my family over for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.  I'm very blessed that I have so many dear friends that celebrated my December birthday with me in a variety of fun ways.  In January, I must seriously look into joining Weight Watchers!! :- /

I'm hoping since my mom is doing better, and things have quieted down a bit I can get back to some blogging.  I have really enjoyed viewing others blogs and the creative ideas they display.  Such creative people there are in this world.  Thank God!

 I am attaching my Christmas Newsletter for my blogsters and pray that you all have very delightful Christmas' and New Years. I hope to bring you many delightful pages in 2013.  God Bless you

What a Flop!

My friends, and some of my family, say I am a good cook.  I know I excel at Mexican food, but cakes, that is entirely a different matter!!  As you can see here, the cake I attempted to make for my mother's 90th birthday was a MAJOR FLOP!  :-(

I admit, I used a packaged lemon cake mix, and packaged lemon pudding for the filling, and canned frosting for the icing.  I think I should have known I was in trouble when the cake was already starting to crack open when I took it out of the pans and put it on the cooling racks.  

I figured a little lemon pudding paste would repair the issue and solidify the cake.  WRONG!  It really wasn't coming together well, so I piled on more lemon pudding about 1 inch thick, maybe thicker. LOL!  Things quickly went from bad to worst, but I reasoned I could save it by icing the cake and that would hold everything together.  WRONG AGAIN!  The cake began sliding off the cake plate in multiple places!  I had a disaster on and in my hands.  

I then attempted to retrieve, at least, one whole piece for my mother.  Didn't happen. ;- /  I finally couldn't face my failure any longer and threw the whole non-masterpiece in the trash.  I have vowed to NEVER try to make a lemon cake again!  NEVER EVER, EVER as Taylor Swift would say.

I ended up buying her an expensive chocolate cake.  The important thing was, she felt special and celebrated!

My sister, Jane, Lauren, Ben & Matthew

My nephew, James, & niece, Reanne
My hair and make-up didn't turn out to well either!  ;- /

 Happy 90th Birthday Mom!

Delightfully Easy Cookies

Recently I attended our Leadership Retreat with 30 women in attendance.  We all bring some sort of snack to share.  Can you imagine that?!!  Janice and I collaborated on these wonderfully easy and delicious chocolate and toasted coconut dipped graham cracker quarters. 

By dipping in melted dark chocolate pieces these are richly decadent!  The coconut just kicks it up several notches on the taste scale.  They were enjoyed by all with many people complimenting how fabulous they tasted.  I found the recipe on Martha Stewart's website

I believe that these would be amazing with a variety of toppings for any holiday or a cookie exchange party.  You could sprinkle them with colored sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, butter brickle pieces, mini M & M's, or Reese's Pieces.  The sky is the limit! 

You can make your holiday and everyday celebrations delightful with these very special treats!

The RUTH Experience

If you have not heard and seen Patty Bivens amazing presentation of The Ruth Experience, you would be blessed beyond measure to do so.  Her message of restoration, redemption and  royalty is a story that every woman should experience.  Dressed as Ruth, she speaks in the first person and makes you feel like you were actually there with Ruth.

I have experienced Patty's teaching for 20 years and this is, by far, her best teaching out of so many amazing ones.  She is presenting The Ruth Experience on January 5, 2013 at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Orange, CA.  This would be an excellent Christmas gift to give a friend! it is an all day event that includes lunch.  If you plan to attend you really must  sign-up right away.  Seating is limited to 300.  This is a DELIGHTFUL way to start your new year!

You may sign-up by going to her blog: Patty Bivens Ministries at
You may also click her picture/blog button on the right side of my blog. Please refresh this post to see the latest version of my post.

Hope to see you there!

Alternative to Autumn Wreath

Rather than the traditional Autumn wreath, I placed this framed picture of leaves I purchased last season on sale at Tai Pan for $10.  I hot-glued two autumn sprays to the front of the picture and it makes a beautiful entry way piece.

Just For Fun Halloween

When I was a child, and when my son was a child we had fun PRETENDING!  We celebrated Halloween by carving pumpkins, acquiring the most candy we could, and indulging in home-made chili, popcorn balls, caramel apples, apple cider, and dry ice experiments. We did a variety of crafts and enjoyed the togetherness time. We celebrated Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and St Patrick's Irish legends. We had FUN year round.   Last year I hosted this party to indulge in the ART of FUN again.  If you HATE Halloween, you may just wish to skip to the bottom and read the ending.  It is my hope that you'll have fun viewing the whimsey I tried to create here.

I could be wrong, but I think creative people are made by experiencing the joys of active experiences of "pretend" as a child. When we celebrated Halloween, we never ever concentrated on demon worship and the like. We concentrated on the SWEETS! This party was a fun treat in the ritual of PRETEND.

These items were picked up in a variety of my favorite stores.
It's such fun to be creative with the Halloween items that can be found.  

I am particularly fond of the things that add an element of whimsey to a party. 
Many items were found at Michael's and Home Goods.  
These fun, and actually delicious, wines were purchased at World Market.

A fabric table square was crafted from "Boo" fabric found at Jo-Ann's and placed atop the spider web tablecloth found at HomeGoods.  Purple, green, and orange plates were purchased at Crate & Barrel.  Do you notice the plastic spiders placed upon the wine glasses?  ;-)
This table is ready to set the Martha Stewart Bat Chips and a fun mix of appetizers and beverages.  I love how the skeleton hand was battery operated and came down on the person who reached for a chip! The guys especially like that one.
These darling wine bottle covers added a particularly spooky appearance to the table.  Beneath the Count Dracula cover was a bottle of Vampire wine, found at World Market.
The ghosts and sign attached to the chandelier were purchased at Michael's.

Halloween celebrations aren't for everyone!  
I loved the many creative concoctions we conjured up  as children
We MOSTLY loved the CANDY!! 

Some people consider Halloween to be an EVIL HOLIDAY. 
 I just like to reminisce of happier childhood days and all the fun we had pretending and seeking to have some fun with that which is CREATIVE,  WHIMSICAL, and very DELICIOUS!

The friends I had over for this party had a lot of FUN, 
and that's what I am seeking when I have a party. 

 I don't give the demonic aspect respect, 
although I know there are evil spirits out there that do!

Thought provoking picture
(Flicker Picture)

Now that I am no longer a child and am a Christian I know:
JESUS doesn't really wrestle with the devil!  PEOPLE wrestle with the devil.
JESUS has overcome the EVIL one and his followers, ONCE for ALL!
The VICTORY is already WON! 


Whatever you do this HALLOWEEN or ALL HALLOWS EVE, have FUN, 
and take some time to contemplate the ONE who is victorious over death.

Believers have a DELIGHTFUL future waiting in HEAVEN, with JESUS. 

Tropical Waffles

My son was just here for a visit. :-)  
He LOVES waffles (and bananas) so I created this super yummy recipe for him.  
it was really great!  Kind of like Bananas Foster ;-)

Here's the recipe:

Tropical Waffles

Toast about 1/4 cup coconut on parchment paper on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes, set aside.

Make waffles according to the Bisquick box directions.
Add 4 drops coconut extract
Bake according to your waffle makers directions.

In a saucepan, caramelize:

3 slices chopped fresh pineapple
2  bananas, sliced
1 tablespoon butter 
1/4 cup brown sugar

When it has cooked down, pour the mixture over baked waffles, top with toasted coconut.

You could ad maple or coconut syrup.  I did not.

 I think it would taste amazing topped with whipped cream prior to sprinkling with toasted coconut, with or without a drop or two of coconut extract.

If you try this recipe, I'd be curious to find out what you think of it :-)

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you have a delightful day!

Beach Themed Party

Going "Under The Sea" was the theme of this party prepared for the winners of my blog contest.

Because I was once told, "Life is uncertain, you better start with dessert first"  
I have decided to implement that quote by starting with dessert first!

Dessert was a Molten Chocolate Espresso Cupcake topped with a decadent chocolate whipped cream and sprinkled with espresso powder, adorned with white chocolate sea shells.  Recipe found on Pinterest from Something Swanky The dish was sprinkled with brown sugar to resemble sand.  I love to add these little details that make a big difference.

 I got so excited when I thought of inviting this cute little fella and five of his best friends!

Every once in a while I come across a GREAT deal.  This was the case for the Morgantown Peacock Crinkle Glass sherbet dishes I found at a really junky thrift shop!  I was able to pick them up for $1.00 each!!!  What really made them even more beautiful was the delicious salad of Romaine lettuce, fresh strips of mango, avocado, strawberries and candied almond slices topped with poppy seed dressing. Umm, umm good!

If you don't look good in blue you are in trouble! Everything about this party centered around the color blue and reflections of it where found everywhere!  

Attached to the chandelier were strips of glittered blue tulle, cute feathered fish and glitzy seahorses hung from fisherman's wire. Diminutive round mirrors were glued together on the wire to mimic bubbles. This created an element of whimsy and made it feel more like you were under the sea.  Candles purchased from Pier 1 had sea shells melted within.  Glittery turquoise blue candles were discovered at Michael's.  (They usually have a 40% offer on their iPhone app ;-)

 Each table setting hosted a unique and different vantage point of a seascape.

By design, there was glitz, glitter and shine everywhere. 
 Broken shells lent a more authentic appearance.

 Place cards were formed as messages in a bottle with sea shells and raffia attached atop. One of the snail shells was embellished with opalescent blue sequins. 

 Turquoise napkins added a splashy look.

A starfish and blue sea glass took cover inside the safety of  a  really glamorous sea shell!

Delicate blue water glasses, shiny crystal wine glasses, and bubbly high ball glasses embellished with whimsical blue fish were ready to serve refreshing drinks within.

 Oh, how I would love to collect sea shells along the seashore!  I had to purchase mine. 
 They can be found in all shapes and sizes everywhere in the summer, including online.

 Another view of the hanging fish, seahorses and glistening water.

One thing that added the most amazing impression of water to the table was the scalloped Mylar blue sheet laid atop the paint drop cloth that gave the added impression of sand on the beach. Once again, I used two floor tiles attached to each other to resemble ocean rock.  At $2.00 per  place mat, I found them to be an excellent investment.

 The crystal resembled splashing water as did the napkins wrapped within cut out sea shells.

Scrumptious Lobster Bisque, Sea Shell Rolls and Butter Pats, & Cracker Fishes
Hibiscus flowers always lend a tropical look.
Above is a great picture of the plastic film that was inserted into the windows to make it appear like we were "Under The Sea". 

Beach Themed Party Decor

 A simple, relaxing table awaits guests to sit and enjoy a Blue Hawaiian Punch.

 Party favors are prepared for the guests ;-)

I could hardly wait for my guests to see and experience the feeling of actually dining 
"under the sea" with this window decor.  
Sold in 40 foot long sheets, you can purchase at Party City.
The table is dark in this picture because I'm not ready to show it to you. ;- )
I promise, it's worth waiting to see in beautiful, bright color.

 Candles set to give a glow in the dark after dinner.

Flowers, appetizers, and Starfish bubble glasses were anxiously awaiting welcoming my guests with refreshing Blue Hawaiian punch. Ahhh!

 This simple arrangement adds a tropical feel to the kitchen table.

 Seashells and driftwood paired with small ceramic fish dishes.

 Driftwood, candles, and sea treasures were waiting to greet my guests with the beachy feeling.
If you have been a blog follower of mine, you may remember my "Welcome" sign from last year's beach themed party.  It's a surprising idea that always garners compliments.  ;-)