Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Last Minute Wrapping

It's the 23rd...if you are in the midst of wrapping gifts and need some help, look no further.

Whisker Graphics has some super cute download-able gift tags available here. Other gift tags are available via one of my favorite design blogs, How About Orange, and The Long Thread.

Also, for wrapping inspiration, check out all of the images on these two sites:

Happy wrapping!!

Christmas Rewind

Here are a few photos taken in our house back in the early '60s. 

Short and fat -- cute tree! I think I see a few Shiny Brite ornaments that are a lot like mine. And isn't it nice seeing wrapped boxes under a Christmas tree instead of gift bags? Call me a traditionalist -- I prefer boxes to bags.

Our tree is in the same corner of the living room right now. This is my Aunt Sharon. What a cutie.

Okay, this is great. For all of you Christmas crafters in 2010 -- here's a reindeer made out of dishwashing detergent bottles. My mom made this in 196?. I think it's kinda cute. I believe it's sitting on top of a television or hi-fi (Google "hi-fi" if you don't know what that is).

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

7 Days of Rain

Wet clothes.
Dirty floors.
Stinky car interior.
Cabin fever + toddler = not fun.
Rainbow. Breathtaking.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Santa -- Still Bad

He was excited before we got there.
He was excited as we waited in line.
He was excited at the 6-foot mark.

Then he wasn't excited anymore.
Ha! Sorry, but it makes me laugh.
I was hoping Ruby the Bear would help. Nope.
 Here are a few more...

If you're keeping score at home, 
that's 3 Santa, 0 Nate (proof here).

Have a nice weekend -- only 8 shopping days left!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Simple App

We took this appetizer to a party last night and everybody seemed to enjoy them. My only gripe is that I went by the recipe in the Pioneer Woman's cookbook and not by the recipe on her website. She neglects to tell you in the cookbook to buy small jalapenos -- I just picked out what was at the store and they were too big. So big that we ran out of filling before we were halfway done filling them up. She's also made a few modifications in the cookbook by adding cheddar cheese & green onion to the filling and brushing BBQ sauce or apricot jelly on top of the bacon before putting them in the oven. Can you say yum?? Click on the recipe name below to see PW's glorious photos.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

DR Dolls

After making this doll, I kept going. Here are four more....I couldn't help myself. It's addicting. Anyway, these little ladies are on their way to the Dominican Republic. My mom's work is sending a huge box of toys to a school in a remote area of the DR. These kids have never had a Christmas party before so they're in for a special treat. I'm so happy that four little girls are going to have these dolls! Eeek, it's so exciting I can hardly stand it. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ahoy Santa!

We've already seen a train covered in Christmas lights so what's next? Boats! Lots of boats during the Christmas boat parade in Marina del Rey on Saturday night. Nate danced and ran around in between looking at the boats (he said he liked "the ones with music and guitars"). That kid has an abundance of energy. He entertained many of the parade attendees and I think most of them were thinking "wow, that is one crazy kid. Good luck to his parents." I used to think that too when I was single and now I AM that kid's parent. Oh boy. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Home Tour

Our Vintage Christmas in 2010
Let me show you around (ps -- if you're new to my blog -- I live with my husband and 2 1/2 year old son in the house my grandparents built in 1941 in Southern California).
Welcome to our home! Here is our tiny entry way. A couple Christmas birdhouses sit atop my Grandmother's childhood desk.

 The entry takes you directly to our living room. We have a 6-ft. Noble Fir in the corner covered in vintage '50s Shiny Brite ornaments I've collected the last few years. And, yes, we store toys in our fireplace. We're strange like that.

 A close-up of our fireplace mantel.

 This is one wall in our dining room. I love Christmas cards but have never found the right way to display them. This seemed like a simple solution -- draping a garland around a framed print and tying on the cards. That way I get to look at them all the time.

 My '60s Santa light purchased for $5 at a thrifty store. He sits on the hearth. Nate was scared of this light last year (go here for the story) but this year, he's done a 180 -- LOVES Santa and kisses him goodnight.

 A little Christmas vignette on our built-in china hutch.

 The Man Cave needs a little decorating too.  
Go Santa! Go Saints!

It's going to be a very Merry Christmas for us
and, we hope, for you too!

If you'd like to continue the home tour, click on the links below and keep the party going!


Saturday, December 4, 2010

It's Santa! -- Choo Choo!

We saw Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive tonight by train..... 

Lots of lights. Lots of people.

I know most women don't want to hear this, 
but she looks like she could be his mom.  
Couldn't they find an older santa??

Soap bubbles in the air
Snow -- California-style.

One last shot of the train before heading home for dinner.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Shoes that Shine (in my mind)

Nate's first real pair of shoes.
He wore them practically every day as he learned to walk.
I just tossed them in the trash because, seriously, 
they're gross (and I never want to be on that Hoarders show).
But I love these shoes for what they represent. 
I had to take a picture of them.
Aren't they beautiful?

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Ugly Side of A Toddler

It's such a pain being a rock star and having people always wanting to take my picture. Maybe if I hide behind these glasses, they'll won't recognize me and I can go to preschool like a normal kid and be left alone. Wait, am I wearing these right? Mommy, help me! Help me but don't touch me because I also want to do it by myself. I said help me! No, don't help me! Ugh, why is it so hard for you people to figure this out??

Saturday, November 27, 2010

CSI - Plymouth Rock

What happened here? You make the call.
 Meet Myles and Rose Standish.
As the only Thanksgiving decorations in the Cook house, Myles and Rose take their roles seriously. They represent their fellow Pilgrims with great pride. But behind those gentle expressions lie a dark secret...

Good Gracious Rose! What happened to your head? Was it:

A) Myles became violent and whacked her with a turkey drumstick after she asked if he would kindly hold her basket of fruit too;
B) She's allergic to tryptophan and her head exploded;
C) She got tired of listening to Myles talk about "those Native people" and bashed her own head against a wall;
D) Nikki dropped her in the garage while rearranging her holiday decorations.

If you answered D, well, you're wrong. It's B. Poor Rose. She should have stuck with the Tofurkey.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Thanksgiving Day Prayer

We take so much for granted
of life and liberty,
and think tht we deserve it;
that all was done "for me."

Think how they must have struggled,
new pilgrims in this land.
So many died from hardships
yet still they made a stand.

When all the work was finished,
new crops sowed in the ground,
they gathered with their neighbors, 
asked blessings all around.

Oh, God, help us be grateful
for gifts you've sent our way.
For these we want to thank you
on this Thanksgiving day.
- Kris Ediger

Monday, November 22, 2010

Scarry World

I was thrilled to find this 1968 book a few weeks back:
Richard Scarry was a BIG part of my childhood. I didn't have this particular book but I had others and I can recall vividly how much I loved pouring over every page and every illustration. This story book has been a real hit with Nate. Some of the poems and tales are a little old for him so I can see how this book will grow with us for years to come. Currently, Nate has his favorite 4-5 stories that we read over and over. One of them is a lesson in numbers/counting and I have to share one part of it with you to give you a laugh:

The first time I read this and saw the handsome husband sitting on his behind while he was suppose to be doing housework, well, I thought that just sounded like someone else I know....ah-hem. When we get to number 7, the handsome husband is trying on his wife's hats. He's kind of an odd duck, this handsome husband. Not unlike, uh, you-know-who (who has never tried on any of my hats, as far as I know).

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Holiday Favorite: Christmas Cards

Christmas cards are one of my favorite holiday traditions. Period. I love receiving cards and I love sending them out. On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, you'll find me out in the garage, digging through my Christmas decorations until I get to a large tin box. This box holds every photo Christmas card I've received. Yes, every card. It's so much fun to see how people have changed, how babies have grown into big kids, how everyone looks so jolly and happy. I've been enamored with photo Christmas cards since I was a kid myself.

This is the week I'll start thinking about our family Christmas card for 2010. We've tried a few different vendors over the years and have been pretty pleased with all of them. But I consistently go back to Shutterfly because of their large selection of designs. This year's crop doesn't disappoint. (how do I decide on just one?!?) Here are a few of my favorites:

I'm a sucker for plaid.

I like the message on this one.

Hey, we're a 3-stocking family so this would work, right?

I really love this card. The design is modern and the message is true: Every good gift is from above.

Now for the big news: this year, Shutterfly is giving away 50 free Christmas cards to bloggers. That's a great deal -- 50 cards is a lot! If you're a blogger and you're interested in participating, go here.

Disclosure: This post is part of my participation in the Shutterfly 50 free cards promotion.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wedding Bells

Royal wedding on the horizon.
I'm excited.
PS - Kate, love your blue dress!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

21st Century Child

Last night after bath time, Lee and Nate played peekaboo with his bath towel and this was their conversation:

Lee: "Where did Nate go?"
Nate: "Gramma's house!"
Lee: "Now where did Nate go?"
Nate: "Ruth's house!"
Lee: "Now where did Nate go?"
Nate: "Target!"

And here's this morning's response after I woke up Nate and told him about our day's activities:

Nate: "Nate excited see Ikea! Yea Ikea! Go Ikea now!" (I heard this over and over for 2 hours. We got to Ikea and within 5 minutes he says "Pay. Go home now." Figures....)

Is he a child of the 21st Century or what?!? Little Man can't identify his colors all that well but he knows what Target, Ikea, Trader Joe's, Von's, and Fresh & Easy are. Umm, am I doing something wrong here???

Friday, November 12, 2010


One of my mom's closest friends has a new granddaughter and, since I've been itching to do a little sewing, I decided to finally tackle the Black Apple doll. So let me introduce Miranda:

I love that the photo doesn't reveal any of her flaws. Oops, did I just say that out loud? Scratch that.  For this sewing novice, she wasn't too difficult to make. I figure I learn something with every project  I attempt so that's a good thing. I am a little disappointed in how her face turned out; I'm a lousy artist. Lee recommended leaving her face blank like a true rag doll and I'm now kicking myself for saying "Silly Lee, she HAS to have a face!" 

Anyway, I named her Miranda because I was watching Miranda Lambert on the CMA Awards this week as I finished sewing her up. Now, I'm sure you're wondering why I'd call her Miranda if there's an "L" on her dress. That would be for Louise, her soon-to-be playmate. So Miranda will soon be relocating to Orange County -- we'll miss her around here. But she got me thinking about how I could adjust the doll pattern to make a boy doll for Nate or make cute little Christmas elves. I'm leaning toward the elves...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Brrrrr, it's 60 degrees

Typical Southern Californians -- 
bundled up for the *cold* weather. 
(said with GREAT sarcasm)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Fun...The Finale

A whole week of spooktacular activities for the Cook family:

Picking out a pumpkin at the patch.

Toddler Halloween party at our local park.  
It was SO fun!!

Pumpkin carving lasted about 5 minutes.
Nate decided he'd rather put a puzzle together in his room. 
Maybe next year...

This trick-or-treater is ready to hit the neighborhood.
Bring on the candy!

Story: Nate liked handing out candy to the kids at our door the first 2 or 3 times, then he saw a teenager dressed as a scary skeleton and he burst into tears. After that, he'd cry when the doorbell rang. Later on, after we finished handing out our candy and he was taking a bath, Nate kept saying "no kids." I had to convince him the kids were at home, in bed, and the costumes were put away. Poor little guy. By the way, if you're a teenager and you can afford your own cell phone, I think you can buy your own candy at the store and leave trick-or-treating to the little kids. Just sayin'.

We hope you had a fun and safe Halloween!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Five Years Strong

Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. 

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween Fun...The Beginning

Nate's pre-preschool class had a Halloween party today. The kids came in costume and we walked around the recreation center and "trick-or-treated" at various classrooms. Then we had a mini-party with cookies and juice.

Old MacDonald is all ready to party! I was so happy that he kept his hat hanging on his back...I knew he would never wear it so this was a good compromise!

They don't look very excited, do they?? This was right after we went trick-or-treating so maybe they were tired -- or bored.

Moms taking pictures of the little goblins.

I hope Nate likes his costume because he's got to wear it 3 more times BEFORE Halloween!!  It's already a little worn out after today's excitement -- the farm animal patches are coming off the legs -- boo hoo.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Veggie War - We're Losers

What did parents do 25 years ago 
when they had to feed their children ACTUAL vegetables?  

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Picture a World without Picture Books

 Can this article be true? The New York Times is reporting here that the popularity of picture books is diminishing and that more younger children are reading chapter books. Sad but not surprising once you factor in the rising pressure of younger children to be more advanced in their studies by Kindergarten. I think we'll still be a picture book pushing family. I have really, really enjoyed the books we've been reading with/to Nate. It's almost like having a second childhood -- for example, I only discovered Don Freeman's gem, Corduroy, this year (I know, what rock have I been hiding under?!).  What is your favorite picture book?