Saturday, December 27

Little Brother off the Market

My little brother is off the market, finally! Here he is minutes before the wedding ceremony. I am not sure who cried more, me and my Mother or all the girls he left behind.

Here's his bride, patiently waiting before the ceremony.

And finally, here's the happy couple.....

Always a Flower Girl...

Always a Flower Girl, this time a Ring Bearer. Micaela has been a flower girl several times. When my brother announced he was getting married, he wanted Micaela to be the ring bearer.

Micaela took the job very seriously and she was thrilled to carry the actual rings on the pillow. Can you tell she's guarding the rings with her

Thursday, December 25

Got the bug...

I got a Cricut Create for Christmas from my parents. Yippee, I am so excited! Can't wait to craft when we get back home.

Wednesday, December 24

Merry Christmas from us...

Merry Christmas from my family to yours.

This was our Christmas card. It was a flat card, and measured 8.5 x 5.5. I had fun making these while watching Christmas movies. Originally I had planned to send out everyone the photocards you get printed at the store but when our portrait package included 32 wallet size photos I decided to design a handmade card instead of just inserting the card with our Christmas letter. I wish I had planned in advance so I could have made all 100+ cards (I always want everyone to get the exact same card) for our family but doing just 32 took long enough.

The Garden Green base was half of an 8.5x11 sheet and inked with Gold Craft Ink. The next layer is Very Vanilla. I printed all the wording on the computer and also inked with Gold. Our picture was matted in Real Red, placed on the the scallopped rectangle and then added to the Very Vanilla layer with dimensionals. The ribbon knotted in the center finished it off.

The scallopped rectangle was done with Spellbinders Nestabilities (I love those things) and punched with the 1/8 inch circle punch. I can't believe I punched out all those circles, it was 32 rectangles and each one had 34 holes. Do the math and it's 1088 holes!! I must admit that I punched the holes while I was driving in traffic to Irma's rehearsal. It took me two hours to cross the whole city of Dallas last Friday night, everytime I was at a stand still on the interstate, I would punch a few holes. By the time I got to Red Oak which is on the other side of the world from McKinney, all the holes were punched. How's that for multi-tasking!

Hope your Christmas was full of the things money can't buy-- friends, family, love and happiness!

Warning: Hole punching while driving on the interstate is not recommended.

Tuesday, December 23

12 hours and 550 miles

Twelve hours and 550+ miles later, we finally made it to Mission. It was nice to watch the temperature rise from the 30's windy drizzle in Dallas to the balmy 70's when we arrived in my hometown. It was a long drive but Micaela was a trooper. She was so excited to see Nana & Papo. We listened to Christmas CD's the whole way, I think I sang Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, Christmas Rock and Feliz Navidad about 50 times each! When Micaela loves a song, she wants to listen to it over and over and over and over. Daddy is flying down to catch up to us in a few days, we'll spend Christmas here, take part in my brother's wedding and celebrate my parents 40th wedding anniversary. It's going to be four full days of family celebrations, we're excited....

Sunday, December 21

One Wedding down, one to go

My dear friend Irma was married this weekend. She and her daughters were in our wedding four and a half years ago.
I was honored to be her Matron of Honor, here's a quick snapshot we took right before the ceremony and another of the Happy New Family.

Friday, December 19

Decking the Halls at work....

The HR department sponsors a Christmas decorating contest every year. This is my first Christmas with the city but from what I understand the Finance Department has ALWAYS won all the contests. The Public Works department had never even participated. Well, a few of us newbies talked some of the oldies into entering the contests. We decorated a little every day, everyone pitched in and by the time the day of the judging came the halls were decked!

We went with a red and white theme and called our office Peppermint Place. We hung ornaments and candy canes from the 14 foot ceiling, wrapped empty boxes and placed them everywhere, we had the street department make up an actual street sign that said Peppermint Place & Candy Cane Lane and placed it in the middle of our area, resurrected a Christmas tree that had been abandoned in the attic, spread peppermint candies on all the counters, and hung garland everywhere.

The day of the judging, we had one of the superintendents to dress up as Santa and one of the office ladies to dress up as Mrs. Claus, we played Christmas carols and shared Christmas cookies, hot apple cider and egg nog. It was really wonderful.

Needless to say, the place was festive and there was alot of excitement in the office. The best part was not only did we have a great time but we WON both contests!!!
Here are a few pictures...

Hope you've decked the halls at your work....

Thursday, December 18

Holiday party favor

Here's a cute little bag made by Denise Sullivan, my upline. She had one for each of us at our Christmas party. To make this, she used a plain paper bag, cut it down to 3 inches, then used the Top Note Die for the front and back. She used the Oval Punch to create a handle.

Sunday, December 14

Do you know...

Do you know....what happens when a 3 year old squeezes a dog's neck? It's eyes turn blue!
Here's a cute picture of Maxi and Micaela by the tree. Hope you are having a good day! Please no letters from animal activists-- I am just kidding...

Saturday, December 13

40 Years of Love....

I am very blessed to have wonderful parents. This December 28th, my Mom and Dad will be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. We're planning a small reception for about 125 people.

I made the invitations.... My Mom wanted to order them but I wouldn't have it! After much discussion about color schemes we went with Ruby Red because Ruby is the tradional color for a 40th anniversary. The invitation is pretty simple, just a simple white card in a petal sleeve.

I have to admit that I sorta cheated on these. These are half handmade. The Ruby Red sleeve was premade, I printed the white card myself and just added the gold scallopped circle and plain circles in the center. I really wanted to pierce each scallop petal but when I calculated 70 times 15 petals per card I went the simple route.

Here are all 70-something inviations on our dining room table!

Coming Up for Air....

Oh my goodness have we been busy. It seems like Thanksgiving was ages ago. We have alot going on in our family. Not only are we juggling the usual stuff like work, preschool, etc; It's a little more hectic than usual since DH works for UPS. It's kinda like I am a single parent during the month of December every year. Be nice to UPS men, they work hard to get your packages to you. On top of all the regular holiday stuff, we have two weddings in the next two weeks, one of my dearest friends Irma is getting married on Dec. 20th and I am the Matron of Honor and the day after Christmas my brother is getting married PLUS my parents are celebrating their 40th anniversary with a reception on the 27th. Just finding the perfect outfit for each event has been a difficult task... not to mention the regular Christmas shopping and task of doing work for KA.

I'll be happy when Jan 1st gets here!

Andes Chocolate Chunk Cookies

We've been so busy lately and I haven't had much time to bake like I usually do this time of the year. Needless to say, I am playing catch up. I am a big fan of chocolate mint so this afternoon Micaela and I experimented by making some cookies using the Andes Mint chips. I've had this bag for a while and everytime I opened the pantry, they were screaming "bake me, try me".
Micaela is always happy to "help me" in the kitchen, here she is proudly holding a sheet full of cookies before we put them in the oven.
I am happy to report, these cookies got a thumbs up from the whole family. Micaela even let Maxi sample them.

The recipe can be found on the package, here it is for your reference.

Andes Chocolate Chunk Cookies

2 sticks of butter or margarine
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups Andes Baking Chips

Beat butter, sugars, egg and vanilla in bowl with mixer. Mix in flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in Andes Baking Chips. Drop by spoonful, 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes-- til golden brown. Makes 5-6 dozen.

I hope you will take time out of your schedule to try these! Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 5

Another Festive Project

Here's another project from the exchange at our Upline's Christmas Party.

This fabulous box was by Mary Gardina. Mary needs to start her own blog to share all her wonderful projects.

This is what it looks like when you take off the lid....

And then you can flatten the box and have a 12x12 scrapbook page!

Thursday, December 4

Festive Projects

My upline Denise Sullivan had a Holiday Party for her downline. It was a wonderful evening, we all brought dishes to share and exchanged projects. There were six different desserts and they were all delicious. I plan to share some of the recipes here soon. In the meantime, here are some of the projects, I will upload a few at a time.

Sunday, November 30

Fun Times with Mimi

Micaela woke up the other morning talking about how Mimi (MIL) was going to take her to the carousel at the mall when she came to visit over Thanksgiving. I don't know where she got that idea, maybe one of the other kids at school. Well of course Mimi had to make that dream a reality when she arrived. Here they are! Micaela is blessed!

Wednesday, November 26

Turkey Taragon Spread

I've been doing demonstrations with attachments at Williams Sonoma this month. We're promoting using the Stand Mixer and Food Grinder attachment to make a Turkey Taragon spread.

This would be a great recipe to make with left over turkey.

Turkey Taragon Spread

2 cups cooked turkey or chicken cut into strips
1/4 small onion1 rib celery, cut into pieces
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons milk
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Use fine grind plate on Food Grinder attachment, turn Mixer to speed 4. Grind turkey, onion and celery into mixer bowl placed beneath the FGA remove grinder. Add all remaining ingredients to bowl. Mix everything for one minute. Serve spread with Triscuits.

Sunday, November 16

Pumpkin Harvest Loaf Pan

Enabler Alert.

If you are a baker, you need this!
Williams Sonoma has the cutest loaf pan for Pumpkin Bread, check this out! It even fits in the toaster oven! It was $29.99 but now it's $14.99.

Saturday, November 15

Dickens of a Christmas...

If you are local and want something to do Thanksgiving weekend, Dickens of a Christmas will be going on at the McKinney Square. For more information, check out

Wednesday, November 12

Reusable Bags...

In the Dallas metroplex there is a Wal-Mart at every corner it seems. We actually do a fair amount of our grocery shopping there, since there is one fairly close to our neighborhood. I noticed the other day that Wal-Mart is now selling reusable bags. These bags are only $1 and a great size for groceries. I did a little bit of research and read they are committed to reducing their plastic bag waste by a third by 2013, Yippee! Read more about it here.

Monday, November 10

Thanksgiving Card

Fall is definitely here. I finally planted my pansies last week. Here's my first Thanksgiving card of the year. Yes, I am behind this year. The card base is Always Artichoke stamped with the Stiched background in Artichoke. The fancy rectangle is the Stampin' Up Top Note die; the first layer is Pumpkin Pie and the second is Juntos DSP from the Celebrando Creatividad Spanish Catalog. The Pumpkins are from the Autumn Harvest stamp set; I stamped them in Chocolate Chip craft and embossed with clear powder. The Happy Thanksgiving sentiment is one I had cut out of a $ stamp bin at either Michael's or JoAnn.

Thanks for stopping by....

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving...

We're getting ready for Thanksgiving at our house! We're having the entire Fipps gang over for dinner here... 10 people total. DH will handle the bird and I will help with side dishes, make desserts and get the house ready. I am excited!

I've been trying to decide on some new side dishes and dessert. Tonight I decided to try out the Truffles recipe featured in the lastest issue of Kraft Foods magazine. The truffles turned out okay, but they are pretty labor intensive. I want to try a second batch with a white chocolate outer layer because I didn't like dark chocolate inside very much.

Here's the recipe I tried.... It's super easy to put together, the hard part is making the balls.

Simply Sensational Truffles


2-1/2 pkg. (20 squares) BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, divided
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
decorations: chopped PLANTERS COCKTAIL Peanuts, multi-colored sprinkles


  • MELT 8 chocolate squares. Beat cream cheese with mixer until creamy. Blend in melted chocolate. Refrigerate until firm.

  • SHAPE into 36 balls. Place on waxed paper-covered baking sheet.

  • MELT remaining chocolate. Use fork to dip truffles; return to baking sheet. Decorate, then refrigerate 1 hour.

Recycling PSA

Back in September during our Environmental Kick Off with the school district, we met some kids from the C.U.T.E. Club at McKinney High School. CUTE stands for Clean UpThe Environment.

During a recent meeting that I attended, they brainstormed about getting the message of recycling out to fellow students. I suggested PSA since many of the students are involved in journalism. Well, they took the idea and just produced their first video.

I am so proud of these kids. Here is a link to the video which is featured on MHS1

Our Family is Growing

Meet "Maxi" the newest member of our family. Maxi is a Jack Russell Terrier and oh so cute! She is Micaela's new best friend. Now DH is outnumbered 3 to 1, poor guy!

Wednesday, November 5

Turning a New Leaf

Last month one of my girl friends turned a new leaf.... she turned 40! Her husband hosted a little party for her and I volunteered to make the invitations. She hinted about wanting something simple with fall colors and leaves so this is what I came up with. In the end I used the second design.
Both were made using Chocolate Chip and Very Vanilla card stocks. I used the two different Paper Shaper punches for the leaves on the first one and a Cuttlebug die for the More Mustard leaf on the second one.

Monday, November 3

Voting Green

Voting Green….Car pool to the polls tomorrow.

If 10,000 people share a 5-mile ride with three friends to the polls (round-trip), we'll avert the same amount of CO2 produced by almost four Americans in a year.

Organize a carpool with coworkers or friends, so nobody, forgets to vote, and to reduce traffic.

Saturday, November 1

Pasta Demo @ Dillards

Today I had a KitchenAid demonstration at Dillard's in Firewheel Mall in Garland. Here's my tiny little display in the middle of their Housewares Department.

I demoed the KitchenAid pasta roller attachment. If you have never made pasta, it is truly very easy especially when you use the KitchenAid. Normally I make the pasta from scratch but KA recently partnered up with Ecco La Pasta. Now it's even easier because as long as you follow the instructions precisely, (only add water) you really can't mess up. I highly recommend thier mixes. You can find Ecco La Pasta products at Williams Sonoma, Whole Foods and many grocery stores.

Thursday, October 30

Wedding Card

Here's a simple wedding card I made the other day. I took several pictures of this card but I couldn't get the silver to photograph well. The striped paper is from the DCWV Christmas Glitter Stack, I thought it was perfect for a simple wedding card because the the subtle sparkles (which you really can't see). The cake image is from the Fun & Fast Notes. I stamped in VersaMark and embossed with silver embossing powder and used markers to color. I used the Circle and Scallopped Circle Nestabilities for matting the image, the scallopped layer is Silver Metalic paper (sorry it looks grey). A simple knot in white sheer ribbon to finished it off.

Tuesday, October 28

We had the party....

This week Micaela and I hosted a little Halloween Party for a couple of her friends and their Mommies. In keeping with my effort to be green I wanted to share what I did our Halloween Party to have zero waste.

Here's Micaela and one of her little friends enjoying a morning snack served in my BOO letter dishes-- Gold Fish and Trix cereal looked cute.

Instead of filling the trashcan with paper plates, plastic forks, cups, tablecloth and decorations after the party was over, here's what we did.
  • I set a little table for Micaela & friends. It's one of those inexpensive kid size card tables with folding chairs. Instead of using a paper or plastic table cloth, I made one out of two one yard remants of seasonal fabric. I made the tablecoth reversible one side black, the other with a jack-o-lantern print.

  • Instead of buying Halloween paper napkins, we used cloth. (Don't freak). I have always liked to use cloth napkins for parties, I usually just buy fabric by the yard, cut out squares 17x17 and sew a simple hem. I thought my black ones would be too morbid for kids and didn't have orange... thank goodness I had some yellow gingham ones from my Pink, Blue and Yellow stash for Baby Showers.

  • We used real forks--- no plastic

  • All the decorations outside and inside were from my stash--most I've had for 6 to 10 years.

  • I used re-usable plastic pumpkin shaped plates for the girls... Got them at a discount store on clearance 2 for $1 when Micaela was a baby-- glad to finally have used them for the first time this year.

  • Used reusable cups for their drinks, made one pitcher of Kool-Aid and refilled the cups as needed (eliminated juice boxes/pouches). The pumpkin cups were one of the favors.

All in all, zero waste and the girls had a great time.

Wednesday, October 22

Witch Shoes

Here's a simple card I made using the Witch Shoes stamp from Stampendous. Some little fingers got ahold of it while it was drying, please excuse the smudges. The dotted background was done with the Polkadot background stamp from SU. The sheer Orange ribbon and Happy Halloween sentiment is a $1 stamp are from Michael's.

Have a Green Halloween!

As Halloween approaches, here are several ideas for trick-or-treaters and treat-givers to add more green to the orange and black holiday.
  • When planning a Halloween monster bash, use reusable utensils, plates, napkins and tablecloths instead of disposable ones.
  • When you are shopping for Halloween goodies, buy candy that uses the least amount of packaging. Kids may clamor for chocolate and candy corn, but after Halloween's over, wrappers may be as common as tummy aches.
  • Look for the recycled content in items you buy and carry reusable bags to put your groceries in," Krupp said.
  • Walk or ride a bike for Halloween parties or trick-or-treating. If you have to drive, carpool to help reduce traffic and air pollution.
  • Try to re-use Halloween decorations in the same way that Christmas ornaments are used from year-to-year, instead of throwing them away each November first.

Most of all, use this holiday to think about your everyday habits and actions to reduce waste 365 days a year. The scariest aspect of Halloween may not be the ghosts in the attic, but the waste on the floor. Individual actions can make a huge difference for our future.

Information from Environmental Defense Fund 10-21-08

Monday, October 20

Simple Monogram Cards

My friend's SIL wanted some very simple Save the Date cards for her wedding next year. Her colors are Chocolate & Sage. Here are the three cards I came up with using the Lovely Letters alphabet set from Stampin' Up!
I used Chocolate Chip craft ink, Chocolate Chip and Sage Shadow Card Stock and Chocolate Ribbon. We plan to use chocolate envelopes and use a gold pen for addressing.
This one has 1" wide Sheer Chocolate Ribbon. The medallion is from the Wanted stamp set.

I used 5/8 inch wide Chocolate Chip Ribbon and just circle punches on this one. I used the 1-1/4, 1-3/8 and 1-1/2 circle punches for the circles.

I used 1/4 inch wide Chocolate Chip grosgrain ribbon and the first two circle punches from above on this one.

Sunday, October 19

Witch Party Favors

I made these the other night using the Witch punch from my 'pal' Martha Stewart. The punch is so intricate, I love the detail in the witch. I used More Mustard to make the top layer look like a moon and Basic Black for the scalloped circle. These containers are from Wilton and you can find them in the wedding favor section at any craft store. I used 1/4 inch ribbon from Stampin' Up! to dress up the container but it really looks fine without it. Thanks for stopping by.

Witch Hat Treats

In keeping with the witch theme, here's another EASY recipe to try. This one is from Betty Crocker.

32 Hershey®'s Kisses® milk chocolates, unwrapped
1 package (11 1/2 ounces) fudge-striped shortbread cookies (32)
1 tube (4.25 ounces) orange or red decorating icing

Attach 1 chocolate candy to chocolate bottom of each cookie, using decorating icing.

Pipe decorating icing around base of milk chocolate candy. TaDa, how much more simple can it get?

You can access the recipe at the Betty Crocker website by clicking here.

Green Tip

Did you know that two weeks of daily newspapers equals one full grown tree?

Please think about that the next time you're putting your newspaper in the trash.

Saturday, October 18

Owls & Matching Kitchen Linens

My MIL has collected owls for a long time and last month sometime I was at Target and saw these cute fall themed kitchen towels and pot holders. I immediately thought of her and picked them up to send in a care package from Micaela.

Then a few weeks ago I was checking out Dawn's blog and saw this cute owl card made out of punches! Ta-Da! I knew what I had to do.

Here's the card I came up with to send with the kitchen linens. I tried to match the colors and patterns, notice the Aida Cloth background on the Old Olive circle (just like the towel) and I added an additional circle punch on the owl's belly to match the pot holder.
I generated the sentiment on the computer and did layers on the inside. This was a really fun card to make. I am not sure who came up with the owl originaly but I applaud them for having a brain that puts random shapes together to make totally cute things. Dawn has a video tutorial on how to make the owl, you can access it by clicking HERE.

This Friday was my in-law's 49th Wedding Anniversary, I hope they enjoy receiving the card & tiny gift. Thanks for stopping by.

Pumpkin Seed Brittle

I visited Williams Sonoma last week and they were sampling Spiced Pumpkin Seed Brittle. OMG, it's delicious! I've tried making brittle before and it didn't quite turn out, buying it is definitely the way to go.

If you have a Williams Sonoma in your area, definitely buy some-- you will love it. Or you can always order online and have it shipped to you!