Monday, December 31, 2007
We had an awesome time at our Annual Friends' Get Together on Saturday!
Check out the rest of the Family & Friends pics in the slideshow on the right.
As always, we enjoyed way too much food, even though we tried to keep it light this year. Everyone brought "leftovers" from the holidays, most of which were sweets. We also had a few appetizers, some great breads and 3 delicious homemade soups, absolutely amazing Seafood Bisque (thanks Michelle), Jay's wonderful Chicken Vegetable, and a great new recipe for White Chicken Chili (Thanks Betty Crocker).
Then some of us played a new game (to us) called Traveling Pictionary (thanks Kevin). It's tons of fun and all you need is paper, pens and a decent-sized group of people (like 6 or more). There are no winners or losers, just lots of laughing.
The rest of the gang sat by the warm fire outside and caught up on the latest in each other's lives. I'm kinda sad that I didn't get a chance to get out there by the fire. I was enjoying time with the "kids" and never got outside to enjoy the "grown-ups". That's one of my favorite times of year, slowing down for a few hours to catch up with some of our dear friends. What a blessing to have these people in our lives after over 30 years and seeing our children grow up together too! We love being back in town so we have more chances to enjoy these precious friendships.
Sadly we missed a few of the kids and regulars from the group, but we hope they get to join us next year. We really need to set a date now so we can all block it for next season.
We also stopped before the gathering at ASU to take some family photos in front of Grady Gammage, the beautiful auditorium designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. They're in the slideshow as well. Enjoy!
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Just a little glimpse of photos from yesterday. We tried to do a family photo shoot. I'm not sure there's any particular one where we can see everyone's face that someone doesn't have a funny look (on purpose). The kids didn't really get serious about it, but that's understandable.
I'd like to try it again before Kevin leaves on the 2nd, but not sure that's going to happen. We also got together with some of our lifelong friends for our annual holiday gathering, but I'll write more about that later.
Off to have a picnic in the park with our Home Group! The high today is 60 degrees and sunny...a nice day for a picnic.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
I don't usually advertise for others, but Crate and Barrel is just such a fun store and they don't have sales very often. They're now in the middle of a store-wide sale which includes some awesome and reasonably priced Christmas items! Many of them can be found online, but if you're fortunate enough to have a store nearby, I'm sure there's more selection there. I picked up several gorgeous ornaments the other day, some were under a dollar and looked like they cost much more.
If you have a chance, it's a great time to do some shopping for next year!
You may have also heard of cb2 (CB's sister store online) I haven't shopped there much, but I'm told they have lower prices and a "younger" look and feel (whatever that means). They're having a sale too. Check it out here.
Friday, December 28, 2007
(Be sure to look at all the posts today - I'm finally getting a few minutes to catch up.)
In looking at my photos and thinking back over the flurry of activities spanning the last few months, I realize that I have quite a few events to catch up on. I truly hope to get to them, if for no other reason than to post the photos so those who attended the events can enjoy them and download if they wish.
So, I know it's kind of random, but I'm starting in the middle of the season. I've been wanting to post some pics of some new decorating at the house, just because I was excited about doing them. I really love the process of taking out all my decorations, rediscovering the few treasures that I bought the year before (on sale after the holiday) and maybe even adding a few more items for the new year. I'm sure that I've never decorated the same way twice. You see, I really do love change and variety, but I don't start from scratch each year either. It's a gradual progression from one year to the next. Now that Christmas is over, it's not as relevant, but still may spark some creative ideas for you.
The photo at the top is the winter version of my branch in the living room. I'm having a lot of fun with this latest addition to the room. You can see the Fall version here. I decided on crystal, gold and white for the branch, which gives it a formal, yet natural and "sparkly" look. It includes, snowflakes, icicles, gold ornaments, stars and tassels. I like how it turned out! I found the gold ornaments and tassels at Ikea for a steal and I'll bet they're all half off now. If you're lucky enough to have an Ikea nearly check out their Christmas decorations. Lots of awesome stuff for less than you'd pay almost anywhere.
For anyone who's interested, I did see some similar Manzanita branches (not quite so big) for sale at a local decorating store that's going out of business. If you want more info on the store, I can look it up. It's at Shea Blvd and the 101. The store used to only be open to decorators, but apparently they weren't doing well, so they opened it up to the public while they're in the process of selling all their inventory. They had some nice items and decent prices, but it will probably be pretty picked over soon.
I added a grapevine garland in the family room (bought at the store I mentioned above). The whole house is pretty casual, but this room is especially, so I chose more natural & rustic items, like pine cones, icicles, shells, and a few of my bird figures. I added some soft flannel to the bench cushion and pillows to make it feel a little more cozy for winter. (you can see the Spring version of the bench here too, to get an idea of the seasonal changes.) Good thing is that since the family room is in blues and greens, we don't need to take down much for winter. The nativity, stockings and the tree will come down soon, but much of the rest can stay up for another month or so.
The bathroom got some sprucing up as well. I really love that the buttery yellow on the walls can be adapted to any season! A few years ago I found the sage green, maroon and pale yellow shower curtain that goes well with fall or winter. It's fun to decorate that small room because a little goes a long way.
In the dining room we have icicles on the chandelier, and Rejoice & Wonder on the window sill. Not too much there since it's a busy room when all the family is over.
We were blessed to enjoy several holiday celebrations at our house this year. Not intended to be timed this way, but it ended up to be quite a marathon actually. My side of the family (around 23 people) were here on Sunday the 23rd, Terry's family (about 18) were here on the evening of the 24th, and our immediate family of 5+1 on Christmas Day. Terry's mom got to spend the night and opened presents with us on Christmas. We were so thrilled to have her here instead of being home by herself in Prescott. I know she loves it up there, but I hate that she doesn't have any family in town to keep her company more...of course, maybe she likes it that way, but I doubt it after raising 6 kids of her own. It must be so quiet!
I'll post more on the actual holiday celebrations soon. I promise!
I think I'm going to change my banner soon, if I can remember how to do it. Even though I love the photo, I get the idea that people must think its a photo of us and think that we're "really" old. I don't want to give that perception, so I'll probably update it when I have a chance.
How would you like to have this guy looking at you?
These cartoons were sent to me early last year, but I decided to save them to post for this winter. I just LOVE the creativity! For those of you who live in the snow, have you ever created snowmen like this? I remember as a kid that we built many snowmen, and tried to build igloos and snow blocks for forts, too. Sometimes they even worked! We would also sweep and stomp the snow into floor plans for big houses...living room, kitchen, bedrooms, etc. What a blast we had...until we got cold.
Being in a family of six children, I remember many times that we would have to wear little plastic bags over our hands with socks instead of gloves or mittens because we had either lost them or they were wet from the last time out or mom just couldn't afford to get us more at the time. We didn't have all the fancy waterproof fabrics like they do now, so no matter what you wore, it was usually wet and icy within minutes. There were many days when we'd come in from the snow barely being able to feel our cold little fingers, toes and noses...I'm sure it wasn't as bad as it seemed, and it was all worth it!
Click on the pictures if they're not big enough for you to see them well on this page. Enjoy!
Snow sharks. That guy's a goner.
Calvin! I'm late for work!
Eggplant Casserole tonight?
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Terry and I had dinner at Cartwright's in Cave Creek. They have great fireplaces everywhere. These candles were right next to our table too. I'll post more pics of the room soon. We had an excellent meal and topped it off with this creme brule! mmmmm...delicious! What a wonderful husband I've been blessed with. He's always looking for ways to treat me special and dinner out is just one of those.
More anniversary details to come.
Monday, December 10, 2007
HAPPY 30TH ANNIVERSARY TO US!!!
I'm on my way out the door, but wanted to post something quickly. This is Terry and me and my parents on our wedding day.
Don't you just love the polyester suits? Andrew thought about wearing Terry's suit for their wedding, but then found one that was just perfect...probably a good thing.
I'll post more tonight...
Thursday, December 06, 2007
So, I'm way behind on my posting...not sure where I've been...catching up after my event, I guess. We still don't have Christmas decorations up. Hoping to do that this weekend. We'll also celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary on Sunday. More on that later...
I still need to go back and post from Katie and Ivan's wedding because there are some priceless pics from that one, but I haven't had a chance to go thru them yet. Today, I'll post about Randy Thompson's Christmas Concert. Last Saturday, our dear friends, Randy & Linda Thompson and their family, plus some other friends, performed an awesome concert to usher in the holidays. I love this night and I hope it continues for many years. I know it's hard on their family, so we'll understand (but be sad) if they decide to stop, because it's such a blessing to everyone who participates and those who comes to hear. We would really miss it! I'm thankful that Terry has had a chance to participate and I've had a chance to attend them for the last few years after missing the first 10 years or so of concerts, since we were living in California.
I've posted a few pics here, but the rest of my favorites are at Picasa here Take a look and enjoy! Too bad I don't have a recording of the music. That would make it even more like you were there!
Oh, I also came across those great little gold wire trees at Crate & Barrel last year and I was excited to see that they have them again this year. They have some great prices on some of their holiday ornaments and knick knacks. These can be used as place card holders, but I used them as a little thank you to our staff for the work they did on our last event, along with a few other goodies.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Saturday, December 01, 2007
I had the opportunity to read this book, and I have two more copies that I will send out FREE in the next week. If you comment on my blog on this post, between December 1st and 4th, I'll draw two lucky names and send you each a free copy of this book. Tell your friends...especially those with preteens, teens and even younger kids who'll be moving into these stages in the coming years.
I found the book to be very informative and have some practical insights, especially for those years when things seem to be highly emotional and it's easy to lose perspective in your relationship with your kids. This is the time when you'll wonder who the child is living in your house and where that little angel went.
Shaunti Feldhahn is known for unlocking the mysteries of relationships for men and women. Now she turns to a parent’s relationship with a child, particularly preteens and teenagers . Drawing on the results of a nationwide survey of kids and teenagers, she explores questions such as:
What do dads need to understand about a child's need for affirmation?
Why even your "good" kid may sometimes go crazy to gain personal freedoms.
How to establish a "safe" place for your kids in their sojourn into adulthood.
Understanding the answers to these and other important questions can help parents make the holidays a time of celebration and unity, not strife and friction.Shaunti Feldhahn is the author of For Women Only and numerous other books, with sales totaling nearly one million copies. A nationally syndicated newspaper columnist and public speaker, Feldhahn earned her master’s degree at
I can't wait to hear from you and will look forward to sending out two early Christmas presents in the coming week.
And if you don't happen to win the drawing and want to buy the book, go to Amazon.com : For Parents Only