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Wednesday, December 31, 2008


As the New Year approaches, I want to wish my daughter, Karen, and her husband, Joe, a most prosperous year filled with good health, joy, laughter, success, happiness, and perhaps another baby. Karen and Joe are both so loving and caring that it makes me happy to know that my precious grandson is in such good hands. Growing up Karen was not necessarily a very patient person, however, since she had Brandt 22 months ago, I've seen her patience abound when I would have lost mine. Karen never really did any babysitting as a teenager, so I'm astounded at her marvelous skills as a mother. I see some of the things that she does with Brandt and I think back to when she was a baby and wish I had done the same. I'm very proud of my daughter and I admire her kindness, loyalty, honesty, and her ability to see things that I can't or won't see in some situations. She's objective and insightful and I value her opinion.
Joe, too, is such a wonderful husband and father...I could not have picked a more perfect son-in-law. He's so loving toward Karen and Brandt, and he always makes sure that they are safe and protected. Like Karen, Joe grew up in a tight-knit family knowing that love, support, and encouragement are important pieces of the family structure. No matter what, your family is always there. I have no doubt that my grandson will be a fine, sensitive, upstanding man just like his dad. I've already seen Karen and Joe give guidance to Brandt that is so necessary in being a grounded and well-rounded person.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Party Supreme

This past Saturday my mom, my husband and I went to a Christmas party that our dear friends, Charlie and Debbie, have every year. Debbie and her family used to live next door to our family as we were all growing up in Phoenix. Debbie is also my Goddaughter (I Confirmed Debbie) and she is my daughter's Godmother (she Baptized Karen). Needless to say, our families have developed deep bonds over the years that continue to grow and deepen as time goes on. Both of our families are Italian so tradition, memories, food, wine, laughter, family and sharing are important to us. Here are some pictures of the party that I hurriedly took...I hope to get better pictures from Debbie who is a photographer.

Debbie's entry way is always so welcoming with the cutest decorations.

The tree reminds me of the tree that Debbie's parent's used to put up every year.
You can see that the gifts are over-flowing onto the floor.

Here is a picture of Debbie's children, Annie and Jimmy, two of the best-behaved children on the planet. Annie was the flower girl in my daughter's wedding thus weaving an even tighter bond between our families.
Debbie always sets up the garage as a mini-craft center for all the kids who attend the party. Needless to say, the children are entertained and the adults are happy and free to enjoy the festivities without constant interruptions. The children can watch videos, craft (color, paint, use glitter, work with foam forms,) and just have fun.

Here is a small sampling of food that Charlie and Debbie have for the party. Debbie and Charlie are marvelous cooks so they make their our pasta sauce (sugo) and meatballs. They also included Italian sausage, rolls, turkey, stuffing, tamales, assorted cheeses, pastas, vegetable platters and dip, cheese and broccoli soup, fruit, cranberries, and the list goes on! Debbie also set up a pretty table in the kitchen for the coffee, ice and eggnog. On the patio, Charlie set up a wine bar area, and there were numerous coolers with beer, soda pop, and water. I couldn't believe the dessert table that was also on the patio! There were cookies, cakes, candy, and sweet treats of every kind.

This is a photo of Debbie's kitchen with more Christmas decorations and a picture of the "Rat Pack".

Here is a photo of my 94 year old mother and my husband, John. John always teases my mom telling her, "You're my favorite mother-in-law".

Here we have Cathy, Sue, Alex and Kathy. Cathy has been a family friend for many years, Sue is Debbie's older sister, Alex is Margie's boyfriend (Margie is Debbie and Sue's niece), and Kathy is also a close family friend.

This is a photo of Debbie's kitchen gingerbread tree. Only Debbie could think of this! Everything on and under the tree is gingerbread-related.

Some gingerbread dolls on the rocker in Debbie's kitchen

Here is a photo of Bandit, the smaller black and white dog, and Baron Bearington Bradley Jack vonBrandenberg or "Bear" for short. Bandit was a stray that came to live with Debbie and Charlie. Bear is our huge lab that is very attached to my husband. Debbie and Charlie said that we could bring Bear to the party and everyone fell in love with this big, lovable oaf. You can see that Bear was in the pool because of the paw prints on the deck. Of course, Debbie and Charlie decorated the pool fence and the entire backyard with lights and garland.

Here is another photo of the gingerbread tree and the gingerbread-related things that are under it.

Debbie's father used to own and operate a restaurant so she had a menu framed to hold on to that memory. Notice the "Mangia" sign above the menu....we all have one in our kitchens.

Here is Santa "Gracie", Sue's dog. She greeted everyone and kept everyone in line especially Bear. Bear tried to be friends with Gracie but she wanted no part of it. Thank goodness that Bandit and Bear got along so well.
We all had a marvelous time at the party and we look forward to next year's celebration. I want to thank Debbie and Charlie for sharing their home and memories with us....we love you.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Well it's that time of year again to hear "Happy Holidays", "Happy Hanukkah", Happy Kwanzaa", and everything but "Merry Christmas"! Maybe I'm overly sensitive to this national omission of the two words "Merry Christmas" every Christmas season. I'm well aware that we must be politically correct now, but if the newscasters are going to wish people a Happy Hanukkah and Happy Kwanzaa, which I hear ALL the time on the national news, local stations, CNN, or whatever, why can't they just say Merry Christmas as well? It makes my blood boil when I hear the blanket "Happy Holidays". I'm a Christian and I would like my holiday recognized with two little words. I wish my Jewish friends a Happy Hanukkah and most of my black friends don't celebrate Kwanzaa, but if they did I would certainly verbalize that holiday to them. I don't care who celebrates what or what other religious holidays are called, just don't wish me "Happy Holidays" as I only celebrate ONE holiday this time of year and that is CHRISTMAS!


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

VOTE! So proud to be an American

"I voted" button from Delaney Gates' blog. Thanks for the lovely choice! Her blog is

I woke up today with great anticipation knowing that it would be a historic day. Histoy would be made on many levels, i.e. there is the possibility that an African-American man will be elected president, the oldest man to ever run for president might be elected, a woman could possibly be elected the nation's first female vice-president, and a record number of American citizens will be voting. From all accounts, polling places have NEVER seen so many people in line to cast their vote. When I voted today, I was in line for about 5 minutes. The whole process took about 15-20 minutes including marking my ballot which took up most of the time. I was so proud to walk out of my local polling place with my "I voted today" sticker on, and I was happy to see so many more people in the short lines waiting to vote, too. I went shopping after I voted, and I saw so many people with their stickers on as well. What a good feeling! I've been voting for many years, and I don't ever remember another time when so much emotion has been stirred up and so much has been at stake. Our local propositions have also proven to be hot button issues for so many involved. I'll watch the national and local news coverage tonight awaiting the outcome of yet another major historic American event. God bless America and may we all be at peace with our decisions.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween, 2008....what a difference a year makes!

Brandt just kind of went with the flow when he was 8 months old for Halloween, 2007.

Brandt wants no part of being a frog for Halloween, 2008.

Karen, Brandt and Joe celebrating Halloween, 2008. My daughter, son-in-law, and my darling grandson take in the neighborhood festivites on Halloween night.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Saturday morning specials.....

This past Saturday wasn't a great day for going to yard sales. There were several community sales in my area, but I didn't find too much that interested me except for the following treasures.......

Elmo slippers for my grandson who happens to like the Elmo character very much. They were all of a $1.00 at a yard sale and they were never used.

The tissue holder was $2.00 and it will look lovely in my new bathroom.

The truffle dish was .75 and the candle holders were $1.00. I'm very happy with this yard sale find, but I probably should dust the candle holders!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bounty galore.....

I made this flower pot candy holder with gauze, orange paint, "eyes", ribbon, and candy corn inside the green tissue paper.

I found these two Christmas night lights at an estate sale for $1.00. I'll use them during the holidays and switch out the decorative fronts so I can use them throughout the year.

These four spoons were $1.00 at an estate sale. The first spoon is a Hop-A-Long Cassidy spoon. I'll use these for swaps by adding glitter, ribbon, and pictures.

These two laundry plaques were a total of 50 cents. I love the"vintageness" of each.

This vase is a Lefton and I bought it for $1.00. The doll's face is so pretty but I don't understand the wooden body. The doll was 50 cents!

I can't believe that I found this darling Jim Shore Santa at a yard sale for $1.00 ! This is the second piece of Jim Shore's masterful art that I've managed to buy at a yard sale. I just love his work and I'm always looking for a bargain. This retired piece retailed for $34.99.

This is the very beginning of my "BOO" banner. I've never made a banner before but my friend, Cindy, from So Inspired guided me through the process. Thanks, Cindy.

I found this trio at a yard sale for $1.00 ! I love the cute fabric on the pumpkins and the scarecrow.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Nana on a "mission" for the new Elmo Live or The Thrill of the Hunt

Mission: buy the newly released Elmo Live for my grandson~~the "it" toy for the season!
This "mission" was BORING! Being the "pro" that I am, I was soooooo disappointed that there wasn't even a line in front of Target. I got up early and drove to my local Target (arriving at 6:50 A.M.) fully expecting there to be some people milling about but, alas, no one was in sight. I checked to make sure that I was, indeed, at Target and called Karen, my daughter, to make sure that it was Tues. Oct. 14, the date of the Elmo release. I was correct on all counts but I was the only one in the parking lot except for an occasional employee arriving for a grueling day of work. I passed my time in the car listening to the radio and talking with Karen and my husband via my trusty cell phone. Finally at 7:45 A.M. a man in a pickup pulls into the parking space next to mine and gets out and walks to the entrance of the store. Hmmmmm, hadn't I been there before him? I wait 5 more minutes and then I casually walk up to the entrance and the two of us engage in conversation. While standing there, an employee makes eye contact with me and holds up a ticket regarding the Elmo "treasure". I nodded that I wanted one so she passed me a ticket with the number 2 on it. I told her that the man needed one too, so she passed me another ticket with the number 3 on it. Score for me!!!
Shortly after that, the doors opened and I walked over to the electronics dept. to get the Elmo. I handed the cashier my #2 ticket (never could figure out what happened to the #1 ticket), she handed me the Elmo, I paid for it and left the store. Very uneventful and quite boring. For a pro like me, this wasn't even worth getting out of bed. I need a challenge and this certainly wasn't one! Now the whole Cabbage Patch doll craze was right up my alley. I was right in the thick of things and I made numerous trips to various places just to see if I could get the coveted doll. My daughter ended up with 3 Cabbage Patch dolls for her third Christmas and that was after I sold several "extra" dolls that I managed to buy along the way. Today's hunt/mission turned out to be a bust....I need excitement, thrills, competition, yelling, screaming, pushing, shoving, occasional swearing, etc. I need help!!!!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I can't believe that it's been 7 years since that fateful day in September, 2001, when our country was changed forever. It started out normally for me as I went about my usual routine getting ready for another day of teaching 5th grade on a rather warm day in Arizona. Suddenly Matt Lauer announced that a plane had hit the World Trade Center! Hmmm, the pilot of that small aircraft must have been asleep at the wheel.....or so I thought! I really kept thinking of the time a small plane hit the Empire State Building and I just assumed that something similar happened. Boy was I wrong! When I realized that a second plane hit the other tower, I knew something far more serious was going on. Another teacher from school called me and asked if I was watching the news. My response was, "Is our country under siege?"
All the teachers managed to get to school early that day and our principal hastily called a meeting requesting that we NOT have our classroom televisions on while the students were in the room. Can you imagine not knowing what was happening throughout the day? Of course we put our TVs on during our preps and lunch to learn more about the horrific things happening in NY, PA, and at the Pentagon.
I was in contact with my husband who happened to be working at our local airport that day and he told me that all flights were canceled. He also told me that everyone in the terminals was glued to the TVs and that life just seemed to be standing still.
My daughter was a few hours away at college but I knew she was okay from our frequent phone calls. Her classes were canceled so she sat at home with her roommates watching the coverage of the tragic events. I seemed to be the only one who was out of touch with reality that day.
My students asked questions....I had no answers. I kept asking myself questions....still no answers. I wanted to know why, how, who.....what exactly was happening to our country. The word "terrorists" kept being repeated on TV but I really didn't know who the terrorists were or why they wanted to cause so much destruction and grief. What had the USA done and to whom? In the days that followed, we learned who was responsible and how the plan was carried out. I was still puzzled and a bit confused by everything that was happening, but I never realized what an enormous impact 9/11 would have on our lives. Things changed drastically that fateful day. many people were fearful to fly and fearful of more attacks, Hope....many people suddenly had more hope that our country would bounce back from this tragedy,....Patriotism.....I've never seen so many flags flying in defiance of misguided ideals, Courage....courageous souls offered aid and comfort to the injured, bewildered, dying, weeping, and masses searching for help, Anger.....the enemy had to answer for the innocent lives taken due to fanaticism.
I reflect and I know how our country has changed because of what happened. I, too, have changed. I hold loved ones dearer, gives thanks more often, speak with God daily, and look for peace amidst turmoil. God bless us and our country.....we have experienced and witnessed much.....but we will prevail.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Here is a beautiful picture of my mother taken sometime in her 20's. She will be 94 on Sept 4, and we happily share our home with her. This is for SHADES OF INSPIRATION (PLUM).My mother always dressed very fashionably and I've always really liked this picture of her. I love the way she matched her hat and gloves with the suit. The watch pinned to the left side of her chest is the watch worn by my grandmother for her wedding in 1913, by my mother for her wedding in 1943, by me for my wedding in 1978, and by my daughter for her wedding in 2006.

Sunday, August 31, 2008


Well this past week our color assignment for Shades of Inspiration was turquoise. Here are some photos from my contribution to this color.

I bought this beautiful vase at a yard sale for $1.00. It was late in the day and they were closing so I got a real bargain. The gold really sparkles in the light.
This gorgeous Aynsley cup and saucer were found at an estate sale for 50% off. They are in perfect condition.

I've lost my mind.....this time I'm sure of it!

Yesterday I had my husband haul the Halloween/Autumn/Thanksgiving/Harvest stuff in from the garage! I was going to wait until after Labor Day to put the stuff up, but I just couldn't wait. You see, I live in Arizona and lately it has been hot and humid due to our monsoons. The dew point is up so it has been miserable outside! I figured if I put up my Autumn/Halloween/Harvest/Thanksgiving stuff early (very early) then maybe the weather would cool off! Do I sound like a person who has a college degree with a ton of post-graduate hours in education????? I think not!!!! At any rate, I started to decorate the house yesterday, and I finished today. I need help...I know it!

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Ah, our next color for the SHADES OF INSPIRATION challenge is "rust" which is a huge problem for me as I don't like anything rusty! When I was a child, I was with my next door neighbor swinging in her back yard. Her neighbor, Joe, was mowing his yard and hit one of those wicket things that people used to put in a circle around plants, trees, shrubs, etc. The wicket thing went sailing through the air and landed in my leg which hurt like crazy. I pulled it out and went home to put some peroxide on my bleeding wound which I thought would take care of the matter. WRONG! Enter my mother who asked me what I was doing. I told her what happened and she made me march right back to the scene of the accident and bring the gross, rusty wicket thing to her so that she could see it. I thought that was odd but I obeyed and brought the mangled mess back to her. When she saw what had stuck in my leg, she freaked out thus causing me to cry and freak out with Italian family was like that. I ended up at the doctor's office for a shot and some powdery stuff that had to be applied at regular intervals to my leg. The doctor was upset and worried because I had a puncture wound which seemed to make matters worse. I think I was put on an antibiotic as well....that is if they had such things way back in the 50's! At any rate, I survived the ordeal without lockjaw or worse, but I had a round scar on my leg forever. Due to my encounter with that rusty wicket, I won't even touch anything with the slightest evidence of rust. Can anyone say OCD? I know that some people are really into rusty (vintage) chippy things......I'm NOT one of them. I think that I will just have to wait until the next color is posted to participate in the SHADES OF INSPIRATION color challenge. I'm just not into painful memories or anything with rust on it!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

SHADES OF INSPIRATION (RED AND WHITE) This is a beautiful Valentine hankie from my collection.

A Pictorial Review cover from September 1932. This is included in the SHADES OF INSPIRATION (RED AND WHITE) week.

My Vogue Ginny doll from the 1950's. She is included in the SHADES OF INSPIRATION (BLUE AND BROWN) theme.

She is an original bent-knee walker with all original clothing.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Great Yard Sale Find

I can't believe that I found this fabulous Jim Shore Harvest/Thanksgiving figurine at a yard sale for $1.00 !!!!