Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I had big plans to do a whole year look-back kind of thing, but then I got all caught up in setting up a Facebook page for our school & there went the afternoon! Maybe I'll be back this evening, but maybe not. We are staying in for New Years, got some fun movies, food, drink & the live-in son is gonna be gone till tomorrow so................:0

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I Love Kohl's!

My Hubs & I are horrible at gifting each other. All our money is in one account anyway so it just feels silly to buy him stuff he is not crazy about with his own money. And that is fine with him.....but it isn't fine with me! I adore gifts. I love the idea that someone thought about me & then went out & bought or made me something. He really does not care if he receives anything at all & that has been tough for me to get used to. For years I kept trying to surprise him with a wonderful item & it always fell short. Sometimes it even backfired badly for me. I got him a desired (or so I thought) book one year & wrote a loving letter in the flyleaf. OOps! Couldn't even return it & get the one he really wanted!

So for the last few years we have chosen something together for the house. We love our huge chocolate brown leather couch we got for ourselves one year, & new laptops another year. That works just fine....but I still want to open a gift with my name on it, ya know? And being the perfect hubby that he is, I always find at least one small package with my name on it from him, usually it is my favorite perfume, can't go much wrong there buddy.

This year I told him I wanted a silver, extra long, chunky necklace. His response? "I could never find the right one for you, I just know it. And you would say you love it but it would not be right. I can't do it." Arrg!

Our solution was to go to some fun, artsy small towns around here after Christmas & find me my gift! So yesterday we enjoyed a great, rainy, misty day driving through the beautiful Napa, Calistoga & St. Helena areas! Great, fun day of wandering through shops & galleries. Every time I have gone through those same shops before, I have consistently fallen in love with at least 2 pieces of jewelry that we could not afford. But this time, when he is ready to "go big", I see nothing at all! Just ugly, strange items that I would never wear.

I did find a sweet silver bracelet with a butterfly on it for about 10 bucks & we bought that & headed back home thankful that we could spend our day just enjoying each other & the beautiful place we get to live & work. But just before we got home my sweet man impulsively pulls off the freeway & into the Kohl's parking lot. He knows I love this place a lot! So in I go, & what do I see immediately? The cutest, prettiest, most lovely silver, chunky, long necklace.....& it's on sale! I snatched it up along with two pacs of sox that I wanted the last time I was in there. Am I easy or what?

And my gift for him? About 10 minutes ago I gave him permission to go ahead & get the leather motorcycle jacket he's been looking at online for about 3 weeks. Actually I had to beg him to just get it & stop looking at it, please! Now we are both happy with our new stuff & no one has to go to the "RETURNS ONLY" line at the store! Yay!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Three Men For Christmas!

I have given my heart to 3 men. You can only see the hand of one of my men, but Rocker Son & Writer Son are pictured above on Christmas Eve as we opened our gifts for one another. I am sure you can easily figure out who is who from this photo. And yes, Writer Son is wearing a t-shirt that says WWBD, as in "What Would Batman Do". And we wonder why he is not married & giving me some cute little grandbabies!

My men are really fun to listen to as they catch up with each other & laugh at each others jokes & spend a lot of time talking in what I call "Movie Speak". You know how it is when you are sitting around quoting movie dialogue to each other? That's what they do a lot because they are both crazy about movies & TV shows on HBO etc. I am usually totally lost in these conversations & often feel pretty foolish if I try to follow it at all.

One conversation on Christmas Eve had me wondering what some of you young mothers of sons would think if you heard it. Somehow they got into a discussion concerning that age-old controversy of boxers versus briefs. One of them had discovered a wonderful creation described as "boxer in shape but briefs in material"! Shall I tell you how this topic came about? (I am so very glad they do not read this site!) One son gave Hubs his gift wrapped in one layer of Christmas paper over one layer of boxer! Apparently they had been loaned to him at some point when he needed them, due to forgetting to do laundry for himself! He said, "I was getting ready to put them on this morning then remembered they were yours so figured I'd use them to wrap your gift." Nice huh?

I love my 3 men! They keep life very interesting!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Shepherds Played Maracas?

As I said here, I love Kids Christmas Programs with all my heart! Joseph, stumbling across the platform in his daddy’s bathrobe, with a dishtowel wrapped around his head. Mary, serenely holding her baby by his feet. Nothing can really go very wrong in a children’s nativity scene. Everything they do is just so cute that it is loved and enjoyed by all, no matter what happens.

Well, maybe not entirely enjoyed by ALL! I have a very vivid memory of a certain Christmas program that I did not enjoy watching. My oldest son was three at the time, and he was an adorable little shepherd in a blue robe, carrying his white stuffed lamb all over the stage. He sang brightly and smiled widely, standing there among the angels. I was so proud of him! He was doing better than I had expected! Yay!

Suddenly, flash bulbs began popping as other parents started taking pictures. At home he had a cute habit of saying, “Cheeseburgers!” whenever his picture was taken. But this time he left off the cheese and yelled out his version of “burgers”, which came out sounding a lot like “boogers”!

Well, surprise surprise, this got a great response from the crowd of 300. So he then proudly and loudly repeated his newfound crowd-pleasing word exactly six more times!

I was sitting in a pew way in the back along side people who did not know me, so, I admit it, I pretended I did not know my son, and laughed at the cute little boy on the front row. Unfortunately my cover was blown when an old friend sitting in front of me turned around and said, “Sooz, he’s just like your brother!”

God did not answer my prayer to have the gift of invisibility just this once. But everyone else enjoyed that Christmas program. In fact, just to let me know how much they enjoyed it, I was to hear the “B” word whispered to me in passing for several weeks to come!

The photo above is that same morning. As you can see he has abandoned his cute white lamb & found some maracas to play. didn't know the shepherds played maracas?

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays Everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Santa Clause Graveyards.....

Let me begin with a warning & mild disclaimer ok? If you have a yard full of the soon-to-be-mentioned Christmas decorations; I am very sorry & do not wish to hurt your feelings. I am normally not a "ranting" kind of person & have often been described as kind & sweet. But please let me voice my opinion on something which may make me unpopular but I just cannot keep it to myself any longer. (Of course my husband knows I haven't been keeping it to myself at all!)

Here is the view in my own neighborhood today & everyday for the last few weeks!. It can only be described as a Santa graveyard in every direction I look.

All of these photos were taken of completely different homes within 2 blocks of my house. I mean, really, it looks like some crazy serial santa sniper has been driving around my neighborhood! What does this sight do to the little kids around here? Everywhere I go in my town I am seeing this disturbing scene!
But the truly saddest part is that even when these plastic characters are standing up, all tall & healthy...they are still hideous! Just sayin'.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Case of The Stolen Fudge! or Linen Closet Secret

As mentioned in my post about making my first fudge, I have a bit of a history with the yummy stuff, which may be what kept me from attempting to make it for myself all these's the story........
Ever so quietly I reached my skinny little eight-year-old arm deep into the back of our linen closet and found what I desired most. Cold, crackly foil. Under the foil were pans and pans of wonderful chocolate fudge. My mom began her Christmas baking early in the month and knew that in order to have any goodies by the special day; she would need to hide it somewhere safe from our little hands.

What can I say? I don’t recall how I found my favorite brown nutty treat in among the towels and sheets, but once I discovered the secret place, I returned there very often. I only took a couple pieces at a time and then had to stick it in my pocket until I found a spot to enjoy it by myself with no danger of little brother or sister following and telling mom.

The only problem with my system, other than the crumbs in my pockets, is that I never actually looked at the pans. I just let my fingers grab a few chunks of candy at a time. It felt like a never-ending secret supply at my finger tips. Well, I guess the other snag in the growing addiction was finding a place to eat the forbidden treat. Sitting in the dog yard behind our house was really not the most pleasant place to savor my stolen fudge. My dog was my best secret keeper though.

Chocolate has been my weakness for as long as I can remember. I even shared cocoa powder with my goldfish when I was under three. They actually survived, but coughed up little brown clouds for several days!

My eighth Christmas Eve did not have a happy ending. When my mom pulled her carefully prepared pans of fudge from the linen closet, they were strangely light. I had eaten almost all her supply of Christmas fudge and she was not happy. Her punishment was perfect; in a house where every flat surface held a fancy dish of candy, bread, pie or cookies, I was not allowed to have any kind of sweets all of Christmas Day!

I used to think of my sweetest times of worshiping God as a taste of forbidden dessert meant to be saved for later; only to be enjoyed after a soul searching time of travailing prayer. Only after confessing everything I could think of and praying all the way down my prayer list; then and only then was it okay to wallow in the love of God for an extended time. The intimate, exhilarating moments of abandoned worship were the sweet dessert after the prayer work was done.

And again; what can I say? I was wrong! God offers me a never-ending secret supply of His sweet presence, in the closet or out of the closet...where ever, whenever! Now my intimate times with Him are powerful times of wonderment and warfare, tearful and ticklish, happy and heavy. Now…I eat dessert first!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My Town

My town does not have picturesque
snow scenes
to share with you,but I did get a shot of this lovely
treat for the eyes in front of our favorite restuarant last night!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My First Fudge!

I am so proud of myself! I made my own fudge this year! I have always been crazy about the stuff & loved my mom's especially. ( I'll tell you a funny story about that chocolate addiction sometime.) So I've been reluctant to try it myself because I really don't like doing anything in the kitchen other than eating, visiting & drinking coffee. Do not like to cook at all! But this was so easy!

So I divided up my very first batch & took it to all 25 of my co-workers this morning! Yay for me. Some were probably hesitant to try it, remember I am the one that gets asked to bring the rolls to dinners. When I told hubs I was worried about it coming out all right, he said, "How can you go wrong with those ingredients?" But I have tasted some before that was grainy & dry so I was pleasantly surprised that these came out creamy & yummy!

Tomorrow is a Christmas party at work & we are going to play the "Pirate Game" where we get to steal each others $1 gifts!! Oh yeah!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wordless (Sorta) Wednesday!

This is still one of my favorite recent Christmas Pictures
and I am going to shamelessly link you back to
to get the story behind the pic!
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


It's Christmas Home Tour Time over at Boo Mamas! So come on in & get warm in my home for a bit & then head over to her site to take a tour of many, many other homes all decked out for the holidays!
Now that we do not have little ones in our home we display our favorite ceramic nativity under the tree. My boys were allowed to play with a plastic set at Grandmas house & I loaned that set to my oldest son this year for his apartment with instructions to return it to me so that his future kids will be able to play with it at my house when he makes me a grandma someday!

I love my homemade angel, she was very easy to make. So easy that I actually made several for all my neighbors one year! And I am not very crafty at all!
I love what the lights did when I took this pic of the nativity angel hanging under the tree.

I bought the wooden heart ornament in Hawaii, it's a treasure of the best vacation in my life so far!
The glass candy is part of a set that I received years ago & I always put them in a candy bowl & had to be real careful of the kids fingers grabbing them & having a taste. This year I got some wire & was going to figure out how to make them into ornaments & discovered that they had tiny holes in them & were supposed to be on the tree all along! Duh!

The lollipop was found at one of the hundreds of craft fairs I attended with my mom over the years. It was our tradition to start the season off with a weekend of hitting all the fairs we could find, very fun!

When I looked at the first version of this photo I wondered if anyone would be offended by it because it could be viewed as irreverent. But the more I am getting to know about Jesus these last few years I have a feeling He would favor this version below.

In fact, I can easily imagine Him looking up at that goofy cousin picture & laughing out loud! I believe He's like that!

There's a pot of hot cinnamon cider on the stove, you can help yourself to the mugs in the cupboard up above. I'm a pretty casual entertainer & it really doesn't happen very often, other than huge, quiet, long-haired friends of my sons stopping by for minutes at a time. :) (Hello Mrs. Cleaver!)

I hope you enjoyed the tour of my home, it didn't take long because my house isn't very big, but it is totally bursting with thankfulness & joy this Christmas! And now I am anxious to get on over to see all of your amazing homes too! Knock, knock!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A December Weekend

My Saturday morning ritual, a wonderful cup of coffee in front of the tree, listening to beautiful Christmas music! Yay for December!

Here is some of my favorite Christmas music.

When I was living at home my parents always played some Walter Brennan records every Christmas that were ballads, some fun & cheerful, some sad & lonely. The main one I remember was about an elderly couple getting letters in the Christmas mail from each of their grown children. Each one is saying that they will not be able to come home for the holiday, assuming that the other siblings are going to be there. So the grandpa slowly walks back to the house from the mailbox dreading telling his sweet wife that no one will be home for Christmas. Unfortunately this particular song always runs through my mind when I have to email my mom that we won't be able to make the out-of-state trip this year. ugh! (Hmm, me thinks she may have known what she was doing all those years ago! Ha!)

We go "home" for Christmas every other year & this year is the stay home year, so it will be the four of us. We'll go out to a nice restaurant on Christmas Eve & open gifts around our tree, then sleep in on Christmas morning. It feels weird to do that after so many years of getting up early for the kids & their stockings etc. But for now we are an adult family & this works right for us.


Speaking of adults, I noticed some blogs about how hard it is to capture good photos of small children for Christmas or whenever & thought I might share my attempt to get some candid shots of my BIG KIDS the other night.

I didn't want them to pose & give me the obligatory smiles so I just caught them while they were talking about movies, but soon they were being all goofy for me. At least when they were little boys I could actually boss them around & they would do what I said! No such luck anymore! Ha! Gotta love 'em though! (Have no idea why the font changed on this section!)

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tag, I'm It!

Amy (who has a wonderful site, you should check it out!) has tagged me & tells me that I need to share 7 random facts about myself. Hmm, this is gonna take some thought..............I know you're waiting breathlessly for any random piece of info about me....just like Brangolina or Brittney huh?.......Ok here goes:
1 - I just now added more ornaments to my tree only because (and this part is kinda embarrassing!) of the bloggers Boomama Christmas House Tour ! Isn't that silly?
2 - I met my hubby in high school but rejected him & then came back to him 3 years later.
3 - My big toes curl up, perfect for elf shoes!
4 - I used to wear out the TOPS of my canvas tennies!
5 - I'm in menopause & so glad to be done with you know what.
6 - I buy a big box of Jujy Fruit every time I grocery shop, then open it in the car.
7 - I am jealous of the young moms on here who have a place to vent when I did not! :)

OK now I am supposed to tag someone else, I'm not very good at this linking stuff , if you have already been tagged then just disregard. Ok here goes:
Moody Blue
Grey Like Snuffie
2nd Cup of Coffee
Coffee Slut

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Show Off Your Christmas Tree Day!

I wasn't going to do this "Show Off Your Tree" thingy over here because my tree is FAKE as you heard me rant about a while ago! But it is what it is. My question now is "Where were all you fun internets people back when I used to spend all day organizing my hundreds of ornaments & then having a fun decorating party night with my hubby & boys & hot cocoa & White Christmas playing?"

We used to get a REAL tree & absolutely smother it with ornaments, lights & ribbon. Now, my sons are out doing other stuff & hubby is on the cumputer & it's me & my cocoa & music & ornaments on a FAKE TREE! (Sounding kinda bitter here, sorry.) I don't feel terribly bitter, just nostalgic I guess. Buying gifts for 20-something age men is not nearly as fun as it used to be. Gift cards...ugh!

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Book Review for Thomas Nelson Books

A Review of My Little Girl, by Tim McGraw
December 8, 2008

This brightly colored & eye-catching children’s’ book is a fun one to read aloud to your daughter. It is meant to be read aloud by daddies because it is all about a little girl who gets to spend a fun day with her daddy. At first she thinks they are going to do something spectacular & she feels a bit disappointed when she finds that he has no big exciting plans for their day together. But her loving, playful dad knows how to make even ordinary errands into an unexpected adventure.

The illustrations by Julia Denos are my favorite part of the book! The little girl in the drawings is dressed silly & realistic in a tutu over a shirt along with a play tiara & hiking boots. The characters in the illustrations are very fluid, colorful & positive. My Little Girl is a cute, inspiring book by country music singer, Tim McGraw who has three daughters. Any fan of his or his wife Faith Hill would really enjoy having this book for their children in the house even though it is a bit over priced in my opinion.

By Brenda Susan at

This is my first book review & I do not know how to get a picture of the book on my post. Any helpful tips would be appreciated from others who are doing reviews for Thomas Nelson Products. Thanks.
****Thanks for help bloggy friends, I did it!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Memory Lane - One Minute Writer Prompt

The writing prompt today is about a memory. Because it is Christmas, my thoughts immediately went to one of the first memories my husband & I share together. I can so clearly see us sitting at my mother's big dining room table with little wooden ornaments spread out all over the place waiting for paint. I had ordered this seventy-five piece kit from some company by mail that came with pre -printed ornaments on thin pressed wood & little pots of paint & skinny brushes.

I was so nervous to have this tall 6' 3" boy in my home for the first time without a whole group of other friends around. He came by while I was painting & agreed to join me in this silly venture. We small talked & laughed a lot, probably mostly from nerves but he was so easy to be with & full of jokes. My mom made carmel popcorn balls. I remember he was so skinny that he was all hunched over while he carefully put paint on these goofy figures. We didn't finish them all that night, but the dozens we finished are still part of our tree each year & we smile at each other as we pull them out of the box. We had no idea over 30 years ago that we were preparing the Christmas decorations for our future tree. But we did have an idea that our evening around that table moved us from "good friends" to something a lot more.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Cali Girls Don't Like to Be Cold!

After only 3 days of being cold (below 50).
I am fantasizing about this lovely moment
in Hawaii.
My hubby & I returning to shore after
some wonderful snorkeling!
I know,
I'm a weather wimp!

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Modern Way To Share Photos

Remember when sharing pictures with your family
at Christmas time
meant handing each other little rectangle shaped
peices of paper with pictures on them?
I kinda miss those.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Few Strands of Colored Lights

....I wrote & posted this 2 years ago on Myspace......
One Christmas it came to me while I was in the middle of a crowded shopping mall. The air was filled with Christmas carols and I saw a line of mommies with their small children in various moods waiting to sit on the lap of Santa. The decorations of gigantic, brightly wrapped gifts and candy canes added so much color that my senses were verging on overload.

Another time it surprised me during a Christmas Eve service when I was feeling melancholy about having our first Christmas as a new family in our own home. As my husband served our little family communion I knew that it was going to be alright. Some years it happened while I secretly wrapped dozens of carefully chosen presents in my bedroom after the kids were asleep. I will never forget the year that it came while I was on the floor of our tiny cinderblock church cutting up sheets and curtains to make shepherd costumes for eight little boys. Most often it happened as I sat in the darkness of my living room with only the tree lights glowing, enjoying a hot cup of cider in my favorite mug.

Every year for as long as I can remember I have waited expectantly for the special moment when I would feel something sweet and overwhelming about Christmas. That inner surge of joy and excitement that was so easy to find when we were children. Christmas carols can bring it, live nativity scenes almost always do it, bright lights on houses, and school-made gifts are all ingredients that add up to that delicious sense that all is right with the world, even if it isn’t.

There have been some years when I never felt it at all. I just did the stuff that made Christmas happen for us without ever really stopping to sense much of anything. I thought that this year was going to be a “Let’s get through it” kind of holiday.

But I was wrong! On Wednesday, December 6, 2006 at 9pm I was hit with what I now call ‘The Spirit of Christmas’! Everything about this years Christmas changed for me in a moment. We had been gone all day and as we turned into our cul-de-sac, my mouth flew open and I looked around the neighborhood to be sure we were at the right house. My home was decorated with Christmas lights! We have never put up lights, just never bothered even though I really liked to see them around us every year.

My son Peter had surprised us by putting up some colored lights while we were at work. He does not even live with us anymore! Even as I write this, I realize it does not sound like a very big deal. Lot’s of people have lights on their houses. But my son Peter did this for me. That act has just filled me with a wonderful overwhelming sense of joy and excitement that I call ‘the Spirit of Christmas.’

The ‘Spirit of Christmas’ can come in many forms; music, Christmas programs, special gifts, even traditional aromas, but this year, for me it came with just a few strands of colored lights. Thank you Peter.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

I made her a few years ago.

I heart her a lot!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Double Digit Followers!

Woo-Hoo! I now have "Followers" in the double digits! I just knew there had to be more than 9 people reading me. :) Not, of course that I take those faithful 9 for granted at all. They are some lovely, warm & encouraging women who I enjoy reading every day. Hi Ladies!
The new header picture & the one in this post are from last Christmas in my moms yard out of state. Pretty huh?