We had quite a big event this week in the family. My grandson has been wanting to do some kind of "business". After some discussion, the idea of a Hot Cocoa Stand at the company where his Daddy, his uncle, and his Gramma Cupcake work came up.
The idea was not to sell hot cocoa, but to give it away, along with cookies, while sharing information about a charity organization that is near and dear to our hearts.
As you may know, one of my precious grands was born in Ghana, Africa. Feeding The Orphans is a wonderful non profit group that cares for orphaned children in Ghana and it's neighboring country of Togo.
The orphanage in Togo had a terrible fire one day shortly before Christmas while the 23 children living there were thankfully not home. Feeding The Orphans is raising the $30,000. to rebuild.
This past Wednesday our little philanthropist was set up and serving up cocoa and charming chit chat with employees.(I took charge of creating the marketing poster for this sweet event....)
He made the little signs for the cocoa toppings himself....
....and it was wildly successful.My two favorite moments from the day? Very early into the cocoa party, I watched Carter carefully add the Swiss Miss to the hot water and stir it for a nice lady employee. as his mom and I looked on, he slowly began to put the chocolatey spoon to his mouth (to lick the spoon!) and his Mom shrieked and said, "oh no, Carter. You cna't lick the spoon!" to which he casually replied, "Why not? I liked it after the last cup."
And later on,his Mom shared with me that he was asked how he had come up with this idea. His response, "I didn't." The customer said, "Oh, who did?" (His Mom said she then held her breath, thinking, "Oh dear, he's going to say it was my idea!") He replied, "God did."
I'm working on a big project at work, (...and loving it! Using my creative side and it's a lot of fun!) gearing up for a very heartwarming event scheduled for this Wednesday morning, (I'l be sharing...just wait!)as well as having half of the grands over this Saturday morning for a Valentine making breakfast.
We will finish off the week with the big fat Superbowl Party, of course.
I told you I had a busy week.
Anyway, I wanted to take a minute to share my latest treasure. Isn't it sweet? I'va always loved this gal's style, and when I saw this charm, I couldn't pass it up.
The sweet little charm proclaiming "She has faith" reassures me, just looking at it. It's how I get through busy weeks like this. For the life of me, I don't have half a clue how folks without faith get through life.
I know I couldn't.
Now that I've shared, it's time to get back to work on some of these projects. Hope you're having a good week, too!
Last year I made some pretty fun Superbowl Party decorating kits for my etsy shop, and I wanted to share them once again. (updated of course, for Superbowl XLVIII.)
Grilled hot dogs (kept warm in a chaffing dish)
Sloppy Joe sliders:We're calling them 12th MANwiches (...Thanks to my friend Carin, and her facebook friend. It was their idea, and I shamelessly stole it.)
Boneless Buffalo Wings
Variety of Chips
Ralph's Aaah-mazing Potato Salad
Veggies and Ranch Dressing (well, something on the table needs to look healthy)
Seahawk Jello Shooters
Itty Bitty Cuppy-cakes ('coz, you know...that's what I do.)
We also always, always have a giant bowl of popcorn on the coffee table with plastic football tumblers to scoop up an individual serving of popcorn between trips to
the dining room for more food.
Besides the food, I've got all of my papergoods handled. All I have to add this year is one more "I" to my banner, and I'm set.
Oh yeah, we're more than ready for some football around here.
The entire Pacific Northwest is giddy over the Pro Football Championship win last weekend. People that don't even know what a field goal is are sporting Seahawks shirts and high fiving each other in the grocery line as they wait to check out.
It's a complete crazy town here.
(And I mean that in a way too-cool-for-school way, not a keep-Portland-weird way.)
As you may be aware, we are all about our football in this house, and as such, we throw one wicked Superbowl fiesta. It may not be the biggest party in town, but it's the best.
We invite only our true football fan-atic friends, because we want to focus all of our attention on the game, and don't want any background chit chat going on about the latest Ryan Gosling movie. (Not that I don't love a good Ryan Gosling movie, I just want to have all of my attention on this game.)
Wait...Has he got a new movie coming out?! I heart him, big-time.
The Notebook is far and away my most favoritest Ryan Gosling movie to date.
But I digress.
Where was I? Oh yes, the Superbowl.
I have my invites nearly ready to give out (tomorrow, people!) and I am ecstatic about the way they turned out.
I got a little obsessive-compulsive when trying to decide exactly which size footballs to use, and so I made prototypes in both sizes.
(I said I was a little obsessive...do you do that too?)
(Say you do.)
I ended up going with the smaller footballs. (from here.)
I printed the party details on my chalkboard-looking background in my little print program, and cut squares of turf, which I had saved from last years party decore.
Then I added ribbons and homemade tags....and they were ready to give to all of our football-loving pals.
Don't hate me because my bag is adorable.
(It is, isn't it?!)
My Rock n' Roll Buddy surprised me with this fabulous-and-oh!-so-me Kate Spade bag for my birthday last month.
I had seen it the season it came out, and couldn't justify the purchase with my budget. Time passed and I kept my eye on the bag on ebay, but still couldn't justify it.
I was beyond thrilled to unwrap it, and love, love, L-O-V-E all the oohs and ahs, and squeals of delight it draws whenever I carry it. (My favorite spot so far was when I set it on my harstylist's counter while getting my hair-did. So many kindred spirits, lusting after my yummy bag!)
Could anything be more perfect for me?
The pro football playoff games have been extra exciting this year for those of us living in the Pacific Northwest. (Go Hawks!) Last Sunday's games had us all on the edge of the sofa, and we are now anticipating an even more exciting game this Sunday.
Not only do I like watching the game (and my Rock n' Roll Buddy's touchdown dances when the Seahawks score) but I like planning the menu, and setting the stage for half-time snacks.
I make team cupcake flags by googling the teams names and looking at "Images" rather than web pages. I copy and past the log into a word document and make the images the size I will want for a cupcake flag (smaller than a postage stamp) I print them, cut them out, and then glue them to toothpicks. Voila'!
Here's a picture from last Sunday, when we had friends gathered to cheer for their respective favorite teams that made it to the playoffs. It was as easy as that.........unless I ask the sewing queen to help, and she glues the Saints logo on upside down.
We got things corrected last Sunday when this happened, and all was good in Seahawks territory.
Oh yes, football season has created a whole new frontier in my entertaining world, and I'm loving that part of it as much as the games. This Sunday's final playoff game is gonna be huge.
My daughter and I stumbled upon eight of these ginormous framed and matted prints at Salvation Army a couple of weeks ago, priced at $15.00 each. (They must have been from a hotel or something...?) It was supposed to be a half off day, and when we arrived at opening time, they had changed the sign.
So, we didn't buy them.
A few days later when half off day finally did arrive she went back and miraculously, they were still there! She got them all, and I bought two of them from her.
I reinvented the first one last week, and I was very happy with the way it turned out.
I used my signature old book pages as a matt behind the chalkboard print I designed and printed on my computer.
The longest part of the entire project was getting the matt and old print out of the frame, 'coz they had used some serious tape all around the back, as well as those little tacks holding the matt board in place.
I was completely thrilled with the outcome, and if we had room on awall here at home, I would replace the smaller framed copy of that quote that I have in our entryway now.
Instead, I took it down to my case at Camas Antiques, and it will find a place in someone else's home.
Next time you're out thrifting, look a little closer at the frame and matt job on pictures, and you just might find yourself a treasure in the making.
Now you say, "Hi Tracey."
(Anyway, that's how I picture it would work.)
Are you surprised to see a new post here at last? (You are. You had all but given up, seeing that last Weekly Words To Live By post there for...weeks.)
I know. It's been a while.
And I had such grand plans for 2014. I had even planned to create and use a blog post calendar, so I could stay ahead of the curve with my holiday ideas and such.
But then, life is so full. I'd love to blame it on the fact that my days start early and end late, and then I looked at my calendar and it was officially mid-January...but that's really only an eensy-weensy part of it.
I'm gonna have to come clean and blame my unplanned sabbatical on Pinterest. After a long busy day at work, and then home to cook supper, and whatever all else, I seem to have fallen into a nasty pattern of plopping down on the sofa, fully intending to blog, only to be sucked into Pinterest-land.
One click leads to another and the next thing I know, the Bachelor is ending and I have 54 new pins.
(The God's truth is that I have well over 6,000 pins on 94 Boards, and that even boggles my mind.)
There must be a twelve step program out there somewhere for girls like me. (I can check tonight, someone may have pinned one.)
The good news is that life is so full, and so busy, and...well, so good these days, that I can't get everything fit everything I want to do into my day.
Today I am mailing my homemade Christmas cards. I realize that I am dreadfully late slightly behind the mailing curve on them, and the ridiculous thing is that, for the past two Christmas seasons, I have used the adorable Santa hat photos of my grands as the inspiration of our Christmas cards.
The photo shoot (when my son and his family were visiting!) was in November.
As I said, life is busy and good, and full of happy. Next year I plan to get on these sooner!
Just watch me.
Let them be little.
Oh, they are little for such a very, very...very short time. So precious. So innocent. So honest, and pure, and good.
Let's let them be little.
I do believe that I love looking at the pictures of my little grands tussling and rough housing and giggling even more than the everyone-is-smiling-at-Gramma-Cupcake's-camera-and-no-one-is-poking-someone-else shots.
Truly, my heart swells up and overflows.
After our marathon baking day, I packaged up some of my yummy baked goods and shared them with friends, and I thought I'd share a few of my little not-so-secret tips for adding a little bit of "wow" factor to my gifts of food.
I collect containers all year long (yard sales, thrift stores...) so that I always have something on hand to hold treats to give away. You know, small crates, tins, vintage plates or bowls, and baskets that are just the right size for creating a cute hostess or holiday gift, and that I don't need to have returned to me.
I dolled up this little crate for my hairstylist a couple of weeks ago. By adding a substantial layer of white shred (I keep white, and cream shred in my arsenol at all times, as well as using my handy paper shredder to shred old book pages when I need a more vintage look.) it takes less cookies or whatever baked good you are giving, and it makes it look so much more appealing. I then added a vintage ornament tied with a homemade tag, and I was already halfway there.
I added a few of Trader Joe's dark chocolate star cookies in with my sugar cookies and snowballs to add a little dimension. (Candy canes are a fun added item too!) The unexpected item for her lil' cookie gift was a pair of turquiose and white striped mittens. ($1.00 at WalMart, and about the cutest mittens I've ever seen!)
Another tip about the mittens: Since I love adding mittens to winter-time baked goods gifts, so I keep my eye out for end of the season clearance mark-downs and keep them in a small wire crate in my workroom.
Other fun items to add in with your baked goods are Christmas ornaments, candled (votives in glass holders, or tapers tied with a pretty coordinating ribbon) or even a little framed quote that goes witht he season. (The Dollar Store has some great little frames...)
So there you have it. MY way of taking the expected and (yawn) ordinary baked goods as a gift, to the next level. I'd love to hear what kinds of little extras you do when giving gifts of food.
Coming from California,(earthquake country) shelves with lots of little trinkets kind of freak me out, and artwork sometimes looks too busy for my taste, so what's left?
At the risk of having one too many signs, or framed quotes in the house, I decided to recycle an old folk art piece.
(Please don't hate me for losing the pig couple.)
The frame was exactly the size I was after.
I printed my quote on my cheesey little Printshop program, using old dictionary pages, then I taped them together to make the size I needed. I used the glass from the frame as my guide to cut the quote out, and put it all together.
In less than 10 minutes I had it printed, assembled, and hung above the bed.
What do you have hanging above your bed?
It was our usual chaotic, loud, lots-of-belly-laughs-mixed-in-with-eye-rolls-rip-roaring time. I did manage to remember to snap a few pictures and...well, some of us seem to have entered the let's-make-silly-faces-and-ham-it-up-for-Gramma-Cupcake's-camera stage of life.
Can you tell which ones?
(I'll give you a hint; it's not the cute little 80 year old red-head in the apron.)
Mmmm hmmm...the boys.
These particular boys (The one that will be five on Christmas eve, and his almost four year old brother as well...) were almost too busy hamming it up for the camera to actually help make the cookies.
Remember this post I did last year?
My son and his family came for a visit right before Thanksgiving, and we attempted a repeat performance this year, with all six little ones in the bed.
It was very much like herding kittens.
For some reason, I pictured it being easier with numbers five and six being a year old now.
I was mistaken.
They were on the move.
Some left the bed entirely.
Some of them were not happy to wear a hat.
We had three Mama's and one Daddy wrangling and wrestling them.
Lots of hollering, and giggling, and squirming and belly-laughing.
I can hardly wait for next year, when we will have eight little smiling faces in the annual Christmas photo shoot!
But this year, for some reason, I just can't seem to contain my enthusiasm for the most wonderful time of the year.
While many of you were out hitting Black Friday sales, I started opening the tall pile of rubbermade tubs loaded with holiday decorating items first thing Friday morning, at oh-dark-thirty. (As I told you...I am very enthusiastic about Christmas this year.)
The dining room is peppered with touches of my current favorite Christmas color scheme (Which I used last year, and still am loving...) Grey, red, black and white, (with hints of green in boughs and branches) along with silvery mercury glass baubles and glittered gold stars...(Remember, a few years back, when I was all about the silver, gold, and robin's egg blue? That was a pretty look too.)
The living room foofifying is underway as well, with my linen shams replaced by soft woolly plaid ones, and the twinkling lights are on the Christmas tree. It waits patiently for bows, and ornaments to be added to it later this week.
How about you? Are you feeling the Christmas spirit yet? Do you change up your colors every so many years, or are you a purist who loves, and never tires of the traditional red and greens?
Do you decorate your entire home, inside and out like me, or do you like a more minimalist approach?
I'd love to hear what you do!