May this be a truly blessed and beautiful New Year "2013" for all of you!

Hugs and happy wishes one and all!

Thanks to The Graphics Fairy for the fun graphic.


A Walk Through 2012!

Hey everyone!  With the New Year just a few days away, everyone seems to be doing some kind of "wrap-up" of their accomplishments for 2012, and I just had to join in.  Before I begin, I want to thank two bloggers who are kind of neck-in-neck for being my top "traffic sources" -- Dawn at Creative Cain Cabin and Toni at A Bowl Full of Lemons.  Thank you both so much for having awesome blogs that everyone wants to visit!  Anyway, I'm keeping this post super simple -- each pic has the link below that will take you to the post with all the details.  One of my New Year's resolutions is to do simpler posts with fewer photos and less wordiness.  HA!  HA!  That's so not going to happen; well, except for this post.  I'm truly keeping this one simple.


Merry Christmas To All, and To All A Good Night!

Merry Christmas, dear friends!  The Man and I wish you all joy, safe-keeping, health, happiness, and fun for your Christmas celebrations!  Hug a little tighter, laugh more, and love deeply!

From our family to yours,




A Little Baking & The Final Preparations!

Hey everyone!  I know everyone, including myself, is super-busy getting ready for the big day; but I just wanted to share some of the last-minute preparations that have been going on in my home as I get ready for our Family Christmas Eve celebration.

Betty Crocker finally showed up on Saturday, but didn't spend as much time here as in past years.  She knew we had been following a very strict low-carb diet and didn't want to throw too many obstacles in our way.
These are Rolo Pretzels -- YUM!

Banana Bread!

Toffee all ready for the almonds.

Everything fit onto one serving dish -- plenty for our family gathering, but not too much
left over to create temptations!


Rolo Pretzels

Banana Bread

I love the island for buffet-style serving.

First we had our hors'd oeuvres. 

Stuffed Mushrooms

Hot Artichoke Dip

Little Smokies -- the kiddos loved these!

This would be the "Star" of our dinner -- Lasagne!

Italian Baguette

With four children and four adults, I decided we would eat "family-style" in the breakfast room.

I hung the Grands' stockings on their chairs.

Following my "keep it simple" plan, I used my Fiesta china layered on

Chalkboard chargers that I made.

All of our Grands have nicknames, and I used those on the chargers.

I layered my quilted table runner over an old white tablecloth that has words and stars printed on it in gold.  Even though it's white, it washes up very easily and doesn't seem to stain.

I found this Nordic Christmas Sock patterned stainless at World Market yesterday.  I was there to buy coffee -- all their Christmas blends were 50% off, and they are all so good.  Anyway, I just happened to walk past this stainless display, and these pretties were 50% off!  
They just jumped right into my basket!

The stainless looks so cute in these little stockings that I found at the $Store last year.

So cute, but I plan to use the stainless for more than just Christmas -- the colors match a lot of
my Fiesta china!

This is a set of the chalkboard chargers that I made for my sweet DIL.  

I found these pretty plaid napkins at Home Goods last week, and I've had the cute napkin
rings for almost thirty years.

I love how the table turned out.  It's cheerful, simple, and festive for young and old alike!

I had been wanting to set up a "Cocoa Bar," and finally pulled that together.

It's set up for both dieters and non-dieters!  I think it's so cute!

As I sit here finishing this post, our home is again quiet after an afternoon filled with the laughter and excitement of children.  Gifts have been exchanged, lots of food and plenty of goodies have been consumed.  We played games, and we enjoyed sitting out on the patio while the children ran around burning off some "Pre-Santa" energy.  Everyone is on their own for Christmas Day.  The Man and I 
will exchange our gifts to each other tomorrow morning, and then we are going out to breakfast.  Later we are planning on going to a showing of Les Miserable.  

Whether you celebrated tonight or you will be celebrating tomorrow, I wish you and your families a 
most Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


I enjoy partying with these lovely bloggers:

Cheri at  It's So Very Cheri for Party Time
Cindy at Skip to My Lou for Made by You Monday
Susan  at Between Naps On The Porch for Metamorphosis Monday
Dawn at Creative Cain Cabin for Christmas on a Budget
Toni at A Bowl Full of Lemons for One Project at a Time
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life  for Table Top Tuesdays
Patti at Ivy and Elephants for What's It Wednesday
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Jenny at The NY Melrose Family for Whimsy Wednesdays
Richella at Imparting Grace for Grace at Home
Gina at The Shabby Creek Cottage for Transformation Thursdays
Pamela at From My Front Porch to Yours for Treasure Hunt Thursdays

Katie at Katherine's Corner for Thursday Favorite Things
 Kristen at Kristen's Creations for Share Your Creations on Thursday
Heather & Vanessa  At The Picket Fence for Inspiration Friday
Jody & Stan at Rooted in Thyme for Simple and Sweet Fridays
Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday

Courtney at French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday

Karen at Sew Many Ways for Find a Friend Friday
Amanda at Serenity Now for Weekend Bloggy Reading
Traci at Beneath My Heart for Best DIY Projects of May


All Through the House

Hey everyone!  As we wind down to the big day, I hope you have all found time to decompress and just enjoy this wonderful time of year.  Today I thought I would give a little "Christmas Home Tour."  You've seen most of the rooms and decor already, but I just thought I would highlight some of my favorites.  Would you care for some Russian Tea or maybe a cup of cocoa?  Later I could serve you some fresh-from-the-oven Banana Bread......yum!  Shall we begin?


A Little Christmas Something from Nothing!

Hey everyone!  Every year it seems that this last week before Christmas flies by a little quicker, doesn't it?  I'm spending a lot of time getting all ready for our "Family Christmas Eve" celebration here in our home.  Lots of last-minute grocery shopping and tweaking of menus seems to be occupying my days, but I'm loving it!  I haven't felt the need to do too much tweaking to my decor, except for our breakfast table.  I've tried a couple of different centerpieces, but they just weren't what I wanted, so I went to my box of "leftovers!"  Do ya'll have one of those -- all those odds & ends of bits & baubles & just "stuff?"


Keeping It Simple at the Front Entrance

Hey everyone!  Are you all ready for Christmas?  Have you finished your shopping?  Are the presents all wrapped?  Are you tired of everyone asking those questions?  Yeah, that's what I thought, so you won't find me asking those questions, nope, you won't hear me asking any of those questions!  Ha!  Ha!  Ha!  or  Ho!  Ho!  Ho!  Okay, sorry, I'm just being silly.  Seriously, I hope you are ready or at least close; but more than anything, I hope you are thoroughly enjoying this wonderful season.

I'm just winding down with a few more posts.  Today I wanted to share our outside decorations, which are very, very simple.  The Man put the lights up before Thanksgiving, and before I even asked him -- WHAT?  I know, he's the best!

This was just after dusk, but the night sky was still so blue.

This door leads into The Man's shop.  I got the idea of wanting to add wreaths from seeing so many blog friends who have 2-story houses and put wreaths in all their windows.  I just love that look, and this was the best I could come up with.

This is our main garage.  I really like the wreaths!

I bought these little 4', pre-lit trees during the after Christmas sales last year, and simply used a box to give one of them a bit of height.  These are little trees, so it didn't take much to give them some Christmas cheer. I used red & white deco mesh, $Store snowflakes, & a couple of little $Store snowmen ornaments at the top.  I just wrapped a snow blanket around the bases.

Here is my "ever-present" wicker chair and just wrapped the cushion with some Christmas fabric and added one of my homemade Teddy Bears.

The Man wired all the lights into this light fixture, so we can turn the lights on with the switch inside our house.  I used that little quilted wall hanger to hide most of the wires, except for that one -- just pretend you can't see it, okay?

I didn't plan it this way, but our big living room tree is directly in line with the little window.  
I love seeing that!

This is the same wreath I had last year, but I added a battery operated string of lights.

The view through the window!

See, I told you it was simple, but I hope you enjoyed it anyway!  I'll be back during the next couple of days to share a couple more posts, and then I'll be taking a short break to simple enjoy the 
rest of the holidays.



Christmasy Guest Room & Bath!

Hey everyone!  I know these last several days have been filled with so much sorrow and heartache over the horrific event that took place in Connecticut.  I'm sure we have all been hugging our children and grandchildren a little tighter, and feeling such deep emotions for those dear parents who can no longer do that.  We will continue to hold them close in our hearts and prayers as we try to move forward in some semblance of normalcy.


Poinsettias Every Where!

Hey everyone!  The Man and I took another little excursion this past Saturday to a Poinsettia Festival.  There was a write-up in our newspaper about this  group who had been holding a Poinsettia Festival for many years, but this was their last year due to a financial crunch, and Saturday was the last day.  Well, I don't know about ya'll, but I love Poinsettias and simply must have one every Christmas, so we decided to go see what it was all about.

The Festival part of it was a bunch of vendors selling food and their various goods, but the main attraction was all inside one big tent.  I'm displaying my photos in collage-format, because I suspect everyone is on picture overload these days with all the Christmas pretties to be seen all over blogland.  I also took the photos with my iPhone, so not the best quality, but I think you will get the idea.  Here you go -- enjoy!

Yep, I'm a traditionalist about Christmas, so this is the beauty I chose!

Thanks for stopping by!  Hope you are enjoying this time of year as much as I am!  
Have a great rest of your week!



The Flair of the Skirt!

Hey everyone!  Hope ya'll have been having a great weekend, and are gearing up for a brand new week to come!  Some people really dislike Mondays, but I love them -- that fresh new start to a whole week of possibilities.  Well, on to the subject at hand.  I've really been looking forward to doing this post, and knew it would be the perfect post for Debbie at Debbie-Doo's Holiday Knock-Off Decor Extravaganza Party; and because this project was very budget-friendly, I knew it would also be perfect for sharing at Dawn's Creative Cain Cabin for Christmas Decor on a Budget Party.  I'm so excited to share!


More AZ Exploring!

Hey everyone!  Sure hope ya'll are having a wonderful week doing all things Christmas!  The Man has been working hard on an outdoor project and wanted to take a little break, and we just love continuing to explore our surroundings.  This time we were off to Old Town Chandler.  Our newspapers, as I'm sure all of your papers also, are filled this time of year with interesting things to do and see.  This particular item caught our eye and we had to check it out.

Yes, it's a Christmas Tree, but can you see what it's made out of?

You're getting warmer!

Yes, those would be hundreds of tumbleweeds!  Where else but Arizona, right....lol!

The tree is 35 feet tall and totally strung with colored lights.  This is the 55th year
they have put this baby together!  If you've ever seen a tumbleweed up close, they are
kind of stickery, so my hat is off to the worker bees who work on this.  

This is the internet pic of what it looks like at night.
                                            Chandler Tumbleweed Christmas Tree

This whole downtown area of Chandler is filled with history, and is very quaint and charming.
There are lots of little shops and several restaurants with plenty of outside dining.  There is even a brewery cafe that seems to be doing quite a bit of business -- stresses of the season, maybe?
Anyway, I was intrigued when we were walking around and discovered this old hotel, so I had to do some internet searching on the history.
This is the courtyard of the Crowne Plaza San Marcos Resort.
It seems that a certain Dr. Alexander Chandler founded this small town east of Phoenix in 1912 and bestowed his name on it.  He was a visionary, apparently with a lot of money, and dreamed of building an oasis in the desert (he stole my blog name....lol), a resort that would bring the rich and famous from all over the world to the little town of Chandler.  He teamed up with the infamous Frank Lloyd Wright, his good friend, and the resort opened in 1913.  

Then......it did bring the rich and famous as Dr. Chandler had envisioned, such as Fred Astaire, Joan Crawford, Bing Crosby, Clark Gable, Gloria Swanson, George Gobel and Cher.  Even President Hoover and his family stayed here.  They were seeking sunshine and warmth!
and Now.  It has undergone many updates and additions over the years and is currently for sale.  There is talk that someone is interested in buying it and turning it into condos -- sniff, sniff :(.

Well, it's still gorgeous.  This is a courtyard just outside a large dining room.

The dining room also boasts this beautiful covered outdoor dining space.  The Man and I hope to come down here for dinner one evening, just to experience the ambience.

Well, that concludes my little "Exploring AZ Tour" for this time.  Thought you might need a break from all the Christmas stuff going on.  Hope you enjoyed!


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