Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I recently had a coffee at my house.  The things I look forward to when I plan a coffee....
1.  Creating the invitation
2.  Deciding what goodies to make
3.  Who will show - will anyone show?
And my husband's favorite...
4.  Having a clean home

Sometimes my husband will ask if I'm having a coffee any time soon because the house needs a good cleaning (I'm the first to admit, and my husband is the second, that I'm not the world's best cleaner.  Actually, I'm not the anything's best cleaner).  So, sometimes I decide to have a coffee just to get me to do some extra cleaning - and it always works.

I enjoy having a coffee get-together in December because the house is festive with Christmas decorations and there are so many dessert ideas to choose from.  This time I had shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate (some sprinkled with crushed candy cane) and seven layer bars.  My daughter loved the seven layer bars. 

This time I only had one person show and it was a sweet neighbor lady.  I don't know this woman very well, so it was a treat for me to have her all to myself for an hour and get to know her better.  This is what's so great about hosting the coffees.  I prepare for ten but expect none.  With these expectations, each coffee is always a success.  Refer back to the four items above.

I only have three or four coffees a year - I don't do any during the summer months.  I'll be planning another as Spring gets closer.  By then my house will need a good cleaning.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

December 25th

Merry Christmas everyone! 
Enjoy your loved ones today.  I am so thankful for my family and the true reason for Christmas - my Jesus.  I pray each and every one of you know the love and saving grace of Jesus as your personal savior. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011


I hope your Christmas season has been filled with merriment, or at least the chance to attend a few parties.  To keep the festivities going even after the new year, here are a few ideas to use as excuses to host a party (like we ever need an excuse to have a party). 

One idea that stands out first and foremost, obviously, is to host a coffee.  Invite neighbors, friends, or co-workers and provide coffee and enjoy each other's company.  I like to send out the invitation and then I wait for the appointed hour with anticipation to see who shows.  It's always the perfect number and the exact people that should be there. 

Here are other ideas that are all "exchanges".  Each idea has a theme to it, a specific purpose for the get-together.  Of course, the main goal of the party is to have time with others, but sometimes it's fun to have a specific reason for the time together.  Some of these exchange parties I have attended, others are ideas that I would enjoy.  The idea is that each person who shows brings the theme item and all who show exchange their items with what the others brought. 

~ Book Exchange.  Everyone brings a book, or more, and takes home new ones to read.  Great way to recycle and enjoy a new read.

~ Christmas Ornaments.  Perfect for this time of year.  What a fun way to end the Christmas holiday.

~ Kid's Clothing or Toys.  Once your little one is tired of his/her toys or outgrown that cute outfit, share it with other moms who could use some new-again items.

~ Recipe Exchange.  You can leave this one open or choose what type of recipes (i.e. appetizers or dessert).  Have everyone bring enough recipes to share as well as the item so it can be sampled by all.  Yum.

~ Accessory Exchange.  Do you have necklaces, scarves, handbags, etc. that you just don't wear or use anymore?  Now this party is the perfect one to have to clean out the closet or dresser and then replenish with great items others will bring.

I saved one of my favorite parties I've gone to for last.  My friend that hosts this annual party (at Christmas time) puts on such a festive party.  Her home is impeccably decorated.  She makes the most delicious goodies.  But the reason I enjoy this party so much is because I enjoy her company.  She has the biggest heart and is just a joy to be around.  So her party is one of my favorites.

~ Mug Exchange.  This exchange is misleading.  The guests usually provide a gift basket filled with other goodies to go along with the mug.  Sweet treats, lotions, coffee or cocoa, and other festive items complete the mug exchange gifts.  We exchange via the white elephant system - each person picks a wrapped gift or "steals" an already opened gift.  Much fun and ruthless stealing ensues.  And all walk away with smiles.

So there you have it.  Ideas and excuses to host your own party.  Party on my dear friends.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Toy Tree

After Christmas four or five years ago I found my 5 foot tree at Target for about $5.  How could I resist?  The tradition of bringing back a toy tree like the one I had growing up was now inevitable.  I now had the smaller, skinny tree.  I had my childhood ornaments.  I had the fun ornaments I had been given throughout the years and the ornaments I had for my kids.  The toy tree was back!

Here are a few of the ornaments I have on the tree. 

This first one is mine from my childhood that my Grandma made with my picture on it.  Grandma would make an ornament like this for all six of her grandkids.  What a woman.  The detail with sequins is amazing.

This other picture is an example of random ornaments that go on the tree.  Anything that doesn't fit with the "formal" blue, silver and purple tree gets its place on the toy tree.

I have started a tradition that every year my kids get an ornament (sorry Grandma, mine aren't home made).  Some years it is just a fun or nice ornament; other years it has meaning - a football helmet with my son's name and year on it or the matching ornament my daughter and her best friend both got.  Once the kids move out, I can box up their ornaments and at least they will have a few fun ones, hopefully with meaning from their childhood, to put on their own tree.  Or with any luck, they will eventually have their own toy tree to share with their kids and keep this tradition alive.

What traditions from your childhood do you carry on in your family? 

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Our Toy Tree

I can't belive it's already December.  My daughter said she wanted all the Christmas decorations up this year.  Last year I cut back on what I put up so I promised I would do a better job this year.  Thanksgiving weekend I usually get the decorations up.  I did manage to decorate with the outside lights and get the living room decorated (this includes the tree).  Half way done. 

Today I finished the rest of the house, which includes our family room that has another, smaller "toy" tree (the small tree with all the kids ornaments) as well as the fireplace mantle with the stockings.  I actually found a new spot to decorate and new items to include this year.  The house is very festive and looks like Christmas, and Santa, are ready to come. 

The next item on the get done before Christmas list are the Christmas cards.  I send picture cards and actually have the cards on order.  I even have most of my shopping done.  No snow but it is getting cold, so I guess December really is here and I guess I really can believe it's December.

Hope your Christmas planning is going well and you don't get bogged down on the little details.  It's not the shopping or the tree trimming, or even the snow that makes Christmas so wonderful.  No, it's the birth of our Lord and everything else is just decoration.