Tuesday, November 25, 2008

With a Grateful Heart and a Song of Praise!

THANKSGIVING! To me this special day is the kick-off to a sacred season. A time to reflect on this past year, to remember God's faithfulness, to recall family, friends and special loved ones who have made your life joyful. Thanksgiving is a great time of faith, family and favorite foods. This year we are celebrating with Prince Charming's family. We are so looking forward to seeing everyone! Since I am not entertaining at my house this holiday I thought I would share with you my Thanksgiving table from 2007. My theme was PURE GRATITUDE. As you can see the table is all dressed in white and ivory with only touches of green thanks to the clippings from my magnolia tree and ferns. I pray that you have a blessed Thanksgiving and as you and your family gather together, I pray that the light of this season shines brightly upon you and that peace and gratitude flood your hearts. I will leave you with one of my favorite Psalms.
Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
Psalm 100

From our house to yours
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

40 Years of Faithfulness

Today I turned 40. I spent my morning giving thanks for 40 years of God's faithfulness. I am spending my afternoon giving thanks for:





HE is everything to me. Even when I don't have the answers, even when my heart cries for more insight, more direction, more guidance, my spirit gently reminds me that my steps are ordered by the ALMIGHTY and that I can enter into His perfect rest.

Today I will sing praise. Today I will honor His name. Today as I celebrate 40 years of God's faithful goodness I will delight myself in my God.

Praise the Lord! I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty. His righteousness never fails. He causes us to remember his wonderful works. How gracious and merciful is our Lord! - Psalm 111:1-4

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tasteful Decorations Can Be Cheap

Today's project started from cleaning out my cupboards. I was looking for a old platter that my Grandmother gave me before she passed away. This platter is special to me because it was used by my Granny every CHRISTmas. Well, while on the hunt for the platter, I found a collection of clear glass vessels. I thought I might be able to use them in some way so I gathered them up and set them aside. As I began to wonder what I could do with them I remembered a candy store that I used to go to when I was a child. We didn't get to go very often so it was a real treat when we were allowed to go and buy penny-candy. The store was filled with every type of candy you can imagine and on top of the glass cases that housed the cookies and fudge and brownies, sat these big glass vessels filled with hard candy - peppermint sticks, butterscotch, cinnamon rounds, lemon drops and on and on. So my inspiration formed - why not fill these vessels with CANDY!
With that mission in mind I set off yesterday in search of hard CANDY. I knew I would need a lot of candy and I wanted to play off of a PEPPERMINT TWIST theme. What better place to find loads of candy all for a great price than a SUPER WALMART? I stood in the aisle and was amazed at the amounts of candy stocked on the shelves. I came away with bags of Cinnamon Discs, Soft Peppermint Sticks, Candy Canes, and Peppermint Puffs and Peppermint Rounds. I spent about $9 - the boxes of candy canes were only 88 cents each!

I filled the various glass containers with the candy. Royal Prince Luke hung the CANDY CANES on the edge of one of the plain, round containers without a lid. Then we filled it with PEPPERMINT PUFFS and topped it off with CINNAMON DISCS. One of the vessels was actually a Hurricane style candle holder. What I love about this piece is that the candle is contained inside a glass holder positioned in the center. I filled the area around the inner candle holder with more cinnamon discs and placed a Cinnamon Apple scented candle in the center.

I wanted to use these pieces as a center piece or focal point in my kitchen so I decided to jazz them up a bit with added color. I tucked some HOLLY LEAF floral picks around the Hurricane, then I added a two velvet POINSETTIAS on either side of the holly for extra color. I really like the way this quick and easy project turned out. Now the key will be keeping Prince Charming and the Royal Princes from eating all the candy before the OPEN HOUSE.

Here is a shot of the finished project. A real sweet and tasteful decoration! The best thing of all is that it only cost me $9 bucks to assemble. Festive and fun holiday decor doesn't have to cost a fortune. Some of the best decorations are things you already have in your home but just re-purposed for CHRISTmas. Later this week I will show you what I was able to do with a grouping of old urns. I thought about putting them away until next spring but inspiration hit so they will make up part of our holiday decor this Winter. Take a look around your house and think outside of tradition. You might be surprised at what you come up with. I'd love to hear any ideas you have on using ordinary household things to make extraordinary CHRISTmas decorations. Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Deck the Halls...and everything else too!

We are well on our way now! The dinning room has been readied along with the Media Room and yesterday I finished our family room. I decided to use a color scheme of Green, Gold, Silver and Ivory with brown accents. Last year the colors for this room was Bronze, Orange, Gold and Brown. I shared in an earlier post that I was having the family room painted pear-green (thanks Mel for the color suggestion) and so with that in mind I decided that our CHRISTmas decorations needed a fresh update. See the ANGELS on the mantle? Each one is 25" tall and made from tin. The angels have been painted in a fashion that makes them look "aged" and rustic. They are part of the my Home Interiors CHRISTmas line. I just love them. I had them pointed with their trumpets turned in, but Prince Charming liked them better this way so... Here (pictured above) I've created another reflections tablescape to go along with our Open House theme. I plan to add some fresh magnolia leaves to this arrangement as we get closer to the party and to CHRISTmas.
The mantle is always fun to decorate. I usually keep my mantle dressed for each season but CHRISTmas is when I can go all out. This year I started with an evergreen garland and wired it with clear twinkle lights. Next, I wired in ornament balls in green, gold, silver and white. I finished the garland by tucking in ivory velvet poinsettias and gold spray-painted elm leaves and twigs from the yard. Magnolia leaves will be tucked in as we get closer to the Open House and to CHRISTmas

Here is another close up of the coffee table-scape. I think it needs a little more gold. What do you think? I'd love to hear your input.
I collect SANTAS. Below is a picture of just a few. This started the first year Prince Charming and I were married. I usually try to get one per year. Now that family and friends know that I collect these jolly souls, I usually receive one or two as gifts. That works for me...the more the merrier. I have 9 SANTAS displayed in the family room this year. The rest will be on display throughout the house. Well, we have only 37 days to go! My goal is to have all of my CHRISTmas decorations and shopping finished by November 25th! That will give me a full month to enjoy family, friends and to reflect on the real reason we celebrate at this time of the year - JESUS! Don't forget to wish Him a Happy Birthday. I think I might bake Him a birthday cake this year. That might be a new family tradition.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Saturday Reflections

Reflections - I love reflective surfaces. Especially at CHRISTmas. The way light bounces off of shiny ornaments. The way lights twinkle on the tree. The way candles flicker and glow. The way a perfectly placed mirror reflects double beauty. With this inspiration in mind I set out to create a "reflections" vignette for the island in my kitchen. Each year we host a CHRISTmas Open House. This has been a family tradition for a long time. Usually my mom-in-law, Ann, helps me with the preparations, menu planning, baking, cooking and welcoming all the guests. This year 600+ miles separate us so I figured I better get an early start if I am to pull off this massive event on my own. (Mama - how would you like to visit NC again this CHRISTmas???) I started by planning a decorative theme. Each year the Open House has to have a theme. One year it was a "Down home CHRISTmas" complete with homemade Chili, loaded baked potato bar and homemade candies and cookies. This year I decided the theme would be "REFLECTIONS". I have A LOT to reflect up on this holiday. God has done so much. So many changes, so many new mercies, so much faithfulness. So to bring this concept to life I began to play with decorative accessories that would "reflect" light. I pulled together my collection of mercury glass - some vintage glass trees, pillars and candlestick holders.
Next, I gathered a group of shatter-proof CHRISTmas ornaments in silver, white, champagne and gold. Some were shiny, others covered in glitter. To add texture, I uncovered some Snow Flakes from last year's decor and tucked them around the base of the mercury glass. Then it was a simple task to lay the ornaments around the base in various configurations using different sized balls. The scroll-work panel in the background was added for depth and additional Snow Flakes were hung from the metal scrolls. At the last moment I tucked in a white Snow Bird (That's in honor of my pal Mel who likes birds). Lastly, I scattered some acrylic diamond shaped beads around the ornaments. This just added a little extra glitz.
(See the glitter covered ornament resting on the candle stick holder? Pictured below. There is no law that says you have to put candles in them. I turned the ornament upside down and tucked the hanger down inside the candle recess. Easy!)
I am pretty pleased with my "reflections" vignette. I might find a way to tuck in some white twinkle lights and plug them in at the end of my island. As I finished this little project I began to reflect on my week. One particular instance flashed in my mind. Thursday morning during my devotional I read Luke 10:25-37. This is Jesus teaching on the Most Important Commandment - You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind. And you must love your neighbor as yourself. Those of you familiar with this passage know that the expert in religious law stood up to question and test Jesus. He then asks Jesus, "Who is my neighbor?". Jesus goes on to tell the parable of the Good Samaritan. When Christ had finished with his parable he asks, "Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?' The religious law expert replied, "The one who showed him mercy." Jesus then replies, "Yes, now go and do the same."
As I finished my study and began to pray, I asked God to help me "go and do the same". I asked for opportunities to be a good neighbor. To be used in some small way to extend Christ's hands and heart especially in this holiday season. Later that day I stood behind an older lady at the check out line. I watched as she carefully counted the items on the counter and calculated their cost. I watched as she slowly began to take things away and sit them on the side shelf. Suddenly it occurred to me that she may not have enough money to purchase all the items. Just as this thought developed, the cashier completed her order and accepted the lady's payment. Immediately the cashier started ringing up my items. Then suddenly the elderly lady noticed that one of her items was stuck on the side of the belt and the cashier didn't ring it up. Realizing that God had given me a chance to be a 'good neighbor', I quickly grabbed the item, asked the Cashier to ring it on my order and handed it to the lady. Of course she wanted to pay for it but I wouldn't let her. Why? Because when I prayed and asked God to give me opportunities to "go and do the same" I became accountable to act when those opportunities were presented. As I walked out of the store the older lady was waiting for me outside.
With gratitude she began to thank me and tell me how much she appreciated the gesture. It is so humbling to know that the Almighty God of the Universe hears and answers when we pray. It is even more humbling to know that possibly dozens or maybe even hundreds of opportunities are presented every week which go unnoticed because we are not sensitive to the Father's leading. My prayer this season is to have ears that hear and eyes that see the work of the Lord and that in some small way, I can show God's love through a "neighborly" act of kindness and that each of you will "go and do the same".

Yes, we have much to reflect up on this year. I leave you with the words of Jeremiah.
"The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!" - Lamentations 3:22-24 NLT

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Fahionable Holiday - Part 2

I LOVE Hot Pink at CHRISTmas! Magenta, Fuchsia, or whatever you call it, this hot color really adds pizazz to the holidays. I've paired it with my favorite color duo - BLACK AND WHITE! The bold pattern of this hounds-tooth coat is just the ticket when coupled with a hot pink merino wool turtle neck sweater. The coat hits just above the knee and I am showing it here with the black wide-leg pants from A Fashionable Holiday - Part 1. I have a fetish for wraps in case you haven't figured that out yet. Pull this ensemble together with a pair of "bubble gum" pink gloves, a black patent leather clutch and a fuchsia wrap. I know it's hard to see but I used a braided black leather belt with a chunky silver buckle and silver initials that dangle from a leather strap. The belt is from Michael Kors and I found it at Marshalls for $10! This outfit has just enough holiday cheer for a CHRISTmas Open House or holiday lunch with a group of best pals.Almost everyone has at least one special occasion during the season that calls for "dressing" up! Because I am only 5 feet tall, I usually opt for separates instead of dresses. It's just easier to get the perfect fit. We have a formal CHRISTmas dinner to attend this year and I've decided to be the "lady in silver". This top is a satin and chiffon creation with sheer 3/4 length sleeves. I love the big portrait collar and the pretty bow that ties slightly off center. The top features "ruching" (sp?) which is great for "minimizing" areas that are not as toned as we would like them to be.
I will pair this shiny silvery top with a black velvet skirt. The skirt is shorter in the front and dips in the back. A great alternative for a petite lady who wants the formality of a longer length but doesn't want to feel overwhelmed with a full length gown. I found a great pair of GUESS shoes at ROSS last week. Slingbacks - my favorite. Makes my legs look longer and at 5 feet tall I need all the help I can get! The heel is 4" but because the front of the shoe sits on a 1" platform, it's like wearing 3" heels - much more wearable!!! Soft, subtle leather will ensure comfort while you circulate your holiday party or stand for long periods catching up with friends and acquaintances.

The FABULOUS thing about BLACK and WHITE is flexibility! Pair it with a punch of any bright color and you are sure to have a winning combination. This time the coat is shown with the ivory sweater from my previous post and a canary yellow wool skirt. The "wrap" is thrown around the neck of the coat in a casual way and the outfit is complete with black leather loafers and a quilted micro-fiber handbag. A perfect ensemble for attending the holiday program at your child's school.
I am sure you've noticed the absence of red and green. I truly love the traditional colors of CHRISTmas. I just don't wear them very often. This year I wanted to explore the options I have in my closet before spending money that I could invest in a more useful way. Once you have taken inventory, you may find that with a little creative pairing and a few well chosen accessories, you are ready for any and all fashionable holiday events. If you absolutely find nothing lurking in the dark recesses of your closet, don't despair! Many stores like TJ Maxx, Ross, Marshalls, and Steinmart have lovely and affordable holiday wear for a fraction of what you would spend at the mall or a department store.

A Fashionable Holiday

Parties, Cantatas, Christmas Plays and Winter Concerts, Cookie Exchanges, Open Houses, Candlelight Services and the list of special occasions just goes on and on during the holidays. My calendar in December is ALREADY filled with a plethora of events and functions. Of course, you want to look festive for each occasion but still honor the KING with your fashionable yet modest attire. As Shari Braendel (sharibraendel.blogspot.com) tell us "modest is hottest" and "skin is not in". I decided to "shop" my closet this week and take inventory. What could I put together for that festive holiday look? Hmmm.Here's my first option shopped from my own closet. Featured here is charcoal gray pencil skirt paired with a pewter satin top. The top is so versatile and the bell shaped sleeves are very "in" this season. I picked this up at ROSS for under $15. The sunny yellow wrap and yellow leather clutch with silver chain add just enough punch to make this outfit holiday worthy. Topped off with a necklace of white and clear lucite beads and finished with my beloved black slingbacks and I'm ready to attend my son's Winter Concert. Don't be afraid to break from tradition and wear colors other than red or green. I love to pull something together that is fresh and different. I buy a lot of solid colors vs. prints. I like options so mixing and matching is the name of the game.
This simple ensemble is ALL about the accessories. Using the same charcoal gray pencil skirt but paring it with an ivory fine gauge sweater and topped with a amethyst purple "swing" jacket, I've created a foundation to highlight some of my favorite Winter White accessories. All of these pieces have been "collected" through the years. Half the fun is deciding how to use them with a new color scheme for the next season. Gray is a wonderful neutral. A lot of ladies tell me they don't like to wear gray because is washes them out. I say you haven't found the "right" gray yet. Grays usually have an "undertone" of another color. I prefer a gray with a blue undertone. If you buy any single piece of clothing this winter, invest in a good quality ivory sweater. A super fine or fine gauge sweater works great as a layering piece and layers are the thing this winter. It will work great under jackets, suits or sweaters. Nothing is more classic than Winter White and pearls and silver. A wonderful choice for a Candlelight Service on Christmas Eve.

Here is that fabulous pewter top again! Featured with black, wide-leg pants (sorry you can see the entire pants), bejeweled black satin slides and a silver silk clutch. This time I topped it off with a pewter & crystal bead necklace. Add some "sparkle-y" earrings and style your hair away from your ears and you are set for any holiday party on your agenda!

My friend Adrienne hosts a Cookie Exchange each year. It's usually on a Saturday afternoon and the girls have a great time sampling homemade cookies and hot tea or cocoa and exchanging recipes. It's a very relaxed holiday occasion so I want to be comfortable but festive. I pulled together this cute little ensemble featuring a holiday sweater that welcomes the first snow fall. Again, I've used that ivory sweater, my favorite pair of dark-washed jeans and brown leather flats. The sweater has enough embellishment so I will keep my jewelry to a minimum - perhaps just a pair of silver earrings. And of course a roomy brown leather tote carries everything I need for winter - chap stick, hand lotion, a bottle of water, hand sanitizer, more chap stick...

Next week I will dedicate another post to "A Fashionable Holiday". Before you blow your budget at the mall trying to find that perfect party outfit, shop your closet. Or better yet, shop the closet of your mom or daughter or best friend for fabulous "accessories" that are new to you and will add punch to your festive attire!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cherry Cordials

Today's colors were RED & BROWN. So you don't think it's a traditional color scheme for CHRISTmas? What about Chocolate Covered Cherries? Well, that was my inspiration for my dinning room table decor for this season. I previewed the table on an earlier blog but I felt that it needed something. So today I decided I would play with it until I figured it out. I wanted to play off of the new window panels which are gold, brown and deep red.
The damask table cloth is red with a subdued gold and brown thread woven together to make the pattern. I picked the table cloth up at Marshalls for $6.99!! I tried several napkin rings but settled on these big velvet roses. What better to couple with chocolate than roses??? I doubled my napkins - a ruby red satin and a brown herringbone-weave silk. Both came from Home Goods. I love the way the gold charger and ivory china plate present an elegant background to display the napkin.

Here is a close-up shot. You can see how the brown napkin plays up the brown thread in the tablecloth. So pretty.

For now I am using two small urns filled with velvet roses. As CHRISTmas approaches, I will replace these with fresh red roses and magnolia leaves from the tree in my front yard.

I placed the salad plate on a stand just for this picture. I wanted you to see the color and detail. All the colors used on the table - red, brown, gold and green are pulled together in the salad plate. Tomorrow I am moving to the family room. The tree is up but not decorated. I like to let my artificial trees "relax" for a day or two before I begin to decorate them. This allows the branches to settle and spread out. The family room will take a couple of days to complete so check again on Saturday for the "tour". What's on deck for tomorrow's blog? A FASHIONABLE HOLIDAY. Join me as I piece together a holiday wardrobe for everything from a Cookie Exchange to a formal CHRISTmas dinner....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Coastal CHRISTmas

The Colors of CHRISTmas come in all shades. I'm working on a beach house project so I took a trip to a neat little shop here in Charlotte. They specialize in all things coastal. One section of the small shop is all "gussied" up for CHRISTmas. I love the use of aqua, green and soft yellow-gold in the ball wreath over the framed prints. I like the way the wreath is hung on top of the prints. Very stylish! Playing off the aqua walls, the silvery blue garland and shiny ornaments set the stage for a cool coastal CHRISTmas.
Love the tree! See the little fish ornaments?? The darker blue ornaments really contrast with the pastel color palette and the wispy grasses tucked into the boughs of the tree give the impression of sea oats. I really liked that! Prince Charming is a Florida native and until 2 years ago we lived just 2 1/2 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. In all those years I was never inspired to decorate using a coastal theme until I move to land-locked Charlotte! Go figure! Too bad my color scheme is all gold, red, brown and green or I might be inspired to add a little beach vibe to my holidays. I really liked the way ocean objects such as large shells were used to display extra ornaments. The fresh white accessories and home accents give a nod to sandy white beaches or snow covered hillsides. Just use your imagination and anything is possible.

Here is another vignette set against the background of soft buttery yellow. Soft gold and champagne colored decorations just glow in this setting. Very elegant. The vintage mercury glass finials, candle holders and votive cups add just the right amount of holiday splendor. A liberal dose of pearly white ball ornaments and silver-leaf accents
welcomes the first snowfall of winter.

How ever you color your CHRISTmas, enjoy the season by accenting the things in your home that make it personally yours!

Yesterday I mentioned that I would have pics of the Media Room. Well the Royal Princes and I decorated all day and still have a few touches to add before it is blog worthy. Stay tuned...

Monday, November 10, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like CHRISTmas...

As promised I am giving you a peek of my windows "dressed" for CHRISTmas! The picture above is of my living room window. I spent the day with some help from Prince Charming hanging drapery rods and brackets. The red chiffon window scarf was already in use as were the red panels. The tapestry panels and valance along with the antique gold swag valance and panels are new additions to this window ensemble. Now I am ready to begin clearing way objects to make room for holiday decor. I think I will place my tree in front of the window. In the past, I used a slim Frasier Fir that is about 7 1/2 feet tall. I've been thinking of using a 6 foot Balsam Pine and placing it on a 2 foot decorative riser. I got the idea from Southern Living Christmas At Home (in stores now). Check out page 28 if you have a copy.
This is a picture of my dinning room window. These two rooms are open to each other, separated only by two large white columns (see last picture in this post). I wanted the window treatments to complement each other without being exact. I am very pleased with the way the windows turned out. The patterned panels really add some punch to the dining room.

I had a little extra time at the end of the day to unpack a few CHRISTmas decorations. I just purchased these Holly & Ivy Reindeer from my Home Interiors line. I am playing around with some arrangements. I am not sure where I will use them or how I will display them but here they are standing among a forest of Red Mesh Glitter trees. I also purchased stocking holders that match these deer. Just darling!

I worked on some place settings for the dining room also. This is just one option. I love these ornament themed salad plates. I am using them with ivory china and a matte gold charger. I have a couple of other ideas for the dining table so I am not sure which way I'll go just yet. I like the red damask tablecloth but it feels like it's missing something....

Lastly, I found a little time to work on a couple of floral arrangements too. I have two tall black & brown vases. I usually make identical arrangements for each and use them on either side of my fireplace mantel in our family room. This year I want to use them in the dinning room or formal living room. I really like the "limey" green floral stems with the ruby red poinsettias. Very fresh. It's definitely looking like CHRISTmas around here. Just 44 days to go!
Tomorrow is Veteran's Day. The Royal Princes are out of school so the plan is to add a little holiday flair to the upstairs Media Room. Check back tomorrow to see how we made out.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Sisters, Sisters, Don't come between me and my Sisters!

Meet Amy and Christina. These two lovely, godly ladies are my sisters. Not by birth but rather by re-birth through our faith in Christ Jesus. I was thinking of that old classic holiday movie White Christmas starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen. Well the ladies play the part of sisters and during the movie they sing a song about sisters. Do you remember the song??? "Sisters, sisters, don't come between me an my sisters -----God help the mister that comes between me and my sister and God help the sister that comes between me and my man." A catchy song and tune and after all these years and many "re-runs" I still recall the scene, the song and the sisters. I was born into an earthly family with all boys. Two older brothers and two younger brothers but no sisters. How I longed for a sister as I was growing up. Somehow I just thought my life would be better in some way if I had a sister. But for whatever reason God gave me brothers.
Now, meet Lenora, Ann, Gayle and Judy. These ladies are truly sisters. Beautiful ladies inside and out. Good friends as well as sisters. Gayle (white blouse) is also my "Mama Pastor" or rather my Pastor's Wife. Ann is my partner in crime. Well not really crime but we both have a PASSION for hospitality, decorating and entertaining. Judy is my choir buddy and Lenora is my wonderful, beautiful friend of triplets who ALWAYS has a smile on her face! How she does that and keeps up with triplets plus another son is beyond me but she manages!
Say hello to Livian and Teddie. More sisters!!! Teddie is always the life of the party and can manage to make me laugh even when I don't want too. Livian (Lenora's mom-in-law) is another choir buddy and maker of "out of this world" hot dog chili, BBQ sauce, you name it - she can probably cook it! Love them! Faithful women of God.

This is Shelley, Ashley and Diane. Even more sisters! Shelley and Diane are actually sisters and Ashley has been "unofficially" adopted as Shelley's daughter. You should hear these ladies' testimonies! God is a good God!

This is Paula (a.k.a Donna - LOL) and Amy. Another set of "real" sisters but also more of my sisters! So why all the bloggin' about sisters? Today, I was thinking about blessings and family and friends and God's eternal goodness and thought about my sisters. Ladies whom I worship with each week. Ladies who I work beside when there is a need. Ladies who are wonderful examples of the Shulamite Bride - the bride that is in a covenant relationship with the Bridegroom. Women of faith that are beautiful because of who they are in Christ, because of the covenant they have made to be faithful, to love only the Bridegroom, to wait patiently until he comes. As we approach the CHRISTmas season make sure you let all of your sisters, either by birth or marriage and by faith, know you LOVE them. Let them know they are beautiful and don't be afraid to tell them how they make your life better. Oh, I also have been blessed with two sisters when I married Prince Charming; Teresa (Momma TT) and Linda Charlene. Then after what seemed to take forever, my brothers were actually lucky enough to find some wonderful ladies to marry. God has also given me one especially close sister - Bella-Mella. Another PK born into a family of brothers and no sisters.
Now I have 5 family sisters, 1 special G0d-given sister by choice and scores of faith sisters!
Ladies, I love you all! May this season be as bright and beautiful as each of you.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Shop till You Drop...Just do it Comfortably!

Okay ladies, we have 47 days 'til CHRISTmas! That's NOT a lot of time!
You know what that means...POWER SHOPPING! And you just have to be comfortable when you shop. If your feet hurt, it ruins your whole shopping experience. My BFF, Bella-Mella inspired me this week with her blog about the fashion show and the comments about her new "flats" which I was rather shocked to see on her feet (same size as mine - 7 to 7 1/2). As long as I have known my dear friend I can't say that I have EVER seen her wear flats unless you count the time we went to Blizzard Beach. Heels just weren't practical that day but if they would have been you can bet she would have worn her beloved wedges. Any who, I have been on the lookout for a chic pair of walking, shopping, standing, styling shoes for a while now and decided to take myself to the mall in search of the perfect pair. After two and half hours and endless possibilities I came across these lovely brown suede and cream mesh Aerosoles.
Don't you just love the way the sole is slightly "wedged"? Gives a short girl like me a little lift but still feels like I'm walking on air. More stylish than tennis shoes / sneakers and WAY more comfortable than heels. They even have GREAT arch support and that's important to me because my arches look like the Sunshine Skyway bridge! Prince Charming has always said I'm rather high in the in-step! Whatever does that mean???

Here are my way-too-cute shoes on my not-so-cute feet! Is that a little puffiness I see in my right foot? Oh, I better prop my feet and way-too-cute shoes up for a spell.

Ahhhh! That's more like it! Shopping for shoes can be hard work but remember Cinderella's wise words. "The right shoe can change a girl's life."
Oh - see the bag in the background? Well I couldn't leave the mall without swinging by the local ROSS store. Talk about FAVOR! I have had my eye on some new window treatments at Bed, Bath & Beyond but to buy everything needed to redo my windows in the living room and dinning room would cost more than I care to pay at this time. As I breezed through the aisles at my favorite ROSS, I found the EXACT thing I wanted for only $9.99 per panel! The valance was only a whopping $3.99!!! An incredible savings of over $250!!!!!
Stay tuned to see my windows get "dressed" for CHRISTmas!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

'Tis the Season to Bake

As we count-down the weeks till CHRISTmas we are often called upon to attend a Cookie Exchange or Dessert Party. I have one tried and true recipe that I turn to over and over again. This year my son's school is sponsoring a Holiday Shoppe. This is a gift shop where parents can bring their children to shop for affordable gifts for those special people on their CHRISTmas list. Along with the the gift shop they have a Sweet Shoppe. This is where the baking comes in. I was going through my son's backpack and found a note which was sent home days earlier requesting my assistance...the Sweet Shoppe is in desperate need of well, sweets! So out comes my recipe for DOUBLE FUDGE BROWNIE BARS. They are SO easy to make. EVERYONE loves them and they are simply DELICIOUS! Now, who could you ask for more? Only 8 ingredients and 40 minutes and you have warm, ooey-gooey fudge brownie bars.

Just mix your DUNCAN HINES double fudge brownie mix according to package directions. Use the instructions for cake-like brownies. Spread in the bottom of a greased 9x13 baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 18 minutes. Once you have baked your brownie, top with 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 cup of peanut butter chips, 1/2 cup of chopped pecans and 1 cup of sweetened flaked coconut. The pour 1 can of EAGLE brand condensed milk over the top. Pop back in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Someone hit the EASY button please!

Completely cool then cut into bars. Makes about 24 snack-size bars.
Perfect for a bake sale at an elementary school's Sweet Shoppe! Next time you're looking for something to fill your sweet tooth, this just might to the trick. Beware bloggers if you have a peanut / nut allergy.