Friday, December 30, 2011

{four.for.friday} melancholy & neutrals

Last Friday of the year, and what a year it has been. 2011 has greeted me with new challenges, new perspective and lots of giggles and tears along the way.

I tried my hand at being more creative and even tried to piece together a job outside of the home. The jury is still out whether or not I succeeded or failed, but I can say I tried.

So I am taking time this weekend to reflect back while looking forward at the future.
And who knows what it will bring?!? (I am assuming more of the same: great family & friends, great food, creative outlets and three of the damn cutest kids around making me so proud and so frustrated daily) 

happy weekending and thanks for sticking around through this little prop styling/stay at home mom project!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

from our home to yours...

 ...merriest of days. I hope everyone is happy and healthy. (and that no kids are crying)

Friday, December 23, 2011

{four.for.friday} ott holiday joy

Having so much fun with outings and activities with the kids. Every season, I start to feel like I have had enough, and them suddenly it hits me (the Christmas spirit, I guess?) And joy and happiness prevail, and it becomes another year for the books.

We have hung our stockings with care. Even our newest family member, Banner, gets a stocking.
I made, rolled out and baked six dozen sugar cookies and had little friends over to decorate.
We headed south and enjoyed the San Diego Bay parade of lights for the first time, and it was great.
And we made graham cracker candy houses.  Do you see the gumball snowman?

I am so excited for whats next, days of family gatherings... tamales, mexi-style chicken soup, butterscotch pudding and turkey dinner. And all the merriment that comes with it.

Merry Everything to you all.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

the annual sandy santa: let's build a sand-man.

Oh how I love Cardiff.  A few years back, some parents got together and decided that we needed an annual sand snowman building contest. And a beloved tradition was born.

(Our entry: we called her the pineapple princess)
It just doesn't feel like Christmas until we spend a chilling afternoon at the beach sipping mulled wine and eating holiday cookies with other Cardiff families. This was our third year competing. (And we didn't win, again) But we did have a great time. 

It was so much fun to hang out with some of my favorite families. And all their creative holiday themed sand sculptures.

And after the judges viewed all the entries (there were so many this year!), prizes were given. And guess what, my sister & mom's 'Snow School' won second place! So proud.

It really is such a wonderful life. And one day, I hope our name is on that (damn) trophy.

Friday, December 16, 2011

{four.for.friday} hope your holiday is sparkly.

Simply having a wonderful Christmas time. Today was a Santa visit to Malley's preschool, the annual international fourth grade food festival & Finn had pajama day. I am tired, but heart happy.

Happy weekending. xoxox

Thursday, December 15, 2011

our christmas card 2011

There is nothing I like more than holiday cards. Making them & receiving them. Tim and I began making our own cards in 1998, which was the year we sent our first together card. And I have been crafting them out ever since.

There are many times each season when I try to talk myself in to simply ordering a nicely done photo card, but for some reason I just can't. Christmas cards are sort of my thing, I guess.

And becasue I know all our cards are in the hands of our dear friends and family, I'd like to share our card.

Wishing you all a very merry holiday.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

host a cookie party.

{clockwise: Lauren, Oceana, Laura,  'put a bird on it', Abuelita's oatmeal cookies, and very yummy almond joy to the world}

This weekend, I attended our annual Holiday Cookie Exchange. It's a little tradition I started 10 years ago when I first moved back to my hometown. (We didn't move to Cardiff until 2004)  I had few friends still in town then, and wanted to bring everyone together. I love that the tradition continues...but the guest list has really grown and we rotate hosting duties.

This year, my friend Mikayla opened up her cool cottage to the gaggle of ladies. And when I say exchange, I should state it's more bake off than anything else. It's all about the taste and texture, creating a display and crafting up an original name. There are even prizes!

{clockwise: the cookie spread, my mom's holiday broach, the winners- yup, I won best name -, Christmas decor}

Nothing says Christmas more than a great sugar high/coffee buzz first thing it the morning. I hope everyone else had a jolly weekend.

Friday, December 9, 2011

{four.for.friday: mad for plaid}

Well, the holidays are rolling along. I am so pleased that our Christmas cards are in the mail, hopefully arriving in our dear friends and families hands today.

This weekend will be filled with shopping, holiday celebrating and hopefully caroling. (I kid, but a girl can dream, right?!?)

I have had some serious plaid on the the brain lately. I guess its just this season or all this freezing weather?!? Either way, I present my plaid picks.

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

(wreath on the door, crocheted mistletoe, photos with Santa, burrito delivery)
Don't you think the kids and Tim picked the most perfect Christmas tree? 

(yo-yo garland on our mantle, our little snowy village, paper snow, little train)
The house it looking great, I am just about done make it look festive. I am busy running around town like a crazy person, trying to get things done. And loving every minute of it, or at least trying to.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

whew! December is busy.

Whoa! Life got super busy the second I turned the page on the calender. But you know, I love December and the holly jolly goodness it brings.

I have been really neglecting my blog and even missed {four.for.friday} on Friday. I meant to get to it, but I was way to busy preparing for the artist market, shopping, decorating and visiting friends. The weekend was a windwhirl, too. We went to the first holiday party of the season (thanks Nixon!) and had a great time. We even squeezed in the annual Cardiff Kringle Mingle, always so much fun to visit with our friends and neighbors.

The highlight of the weekend was participating (& shopping) at Karin Grow's Artist Market and the yummy cookies I baked to share at the show.

A huge THANK YOU to the lovely Karin, for hosting such a great show. And thank you to all you happy shoppers and friends. It was wonderful to chat with you all!

And here is the recipe for Chai Shortbread, from Sunset Magazine November 2011 issue. They were fantastic!

Chai Spiced Shortbread:  

1 cup butter, softened 
1/2 cup sugar 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
2 cups flour 
1 tablespoon cinnamon 
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger 
1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds (I ground these & the cardamom is my cleaned coffee grinder) 
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom 
Leaves from 1 English Breakfast tea bag 
1 cup white chocolate chips

1 Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a large bowl with a mixer until smooth. In another bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, ginger, fennel, cardamom, and tea. Add to butter mixture and beat on low speed until blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set 1-tbsp. balls of dough 1 in. apart on sheets and flatten slightly with a floured glass.

3. Bake until cookies are light golden on undersides, 15 to 18 minutes.