Friday, December 18, 2009

The Photo Shoot That Wasn't

We had high hopes. I really, really wanted it to be a good little photo shoot, but it just wouldn't behave. It was a sad, exhausting attempt at wrangling Molly and Max so we could take our family Christmas card photo. There we were, under hot lights, sweating in our formal attire trying to direct our own photo shoot...with props...and dogs who don't understand direction. Half of the time, Molly and Max would split just before the camera timer would run out! Finally, Max was done. He refused to come out from under the bed. So, we gave up and are doing a re-shoot tomorrow. I am determined to get this card out before the new year!!! Please to enjoy!

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Tree is Up!

(click image to enlarge)

Christmas has finally come to our house. The tree is up! If it weren't for the Angel Party, it probably wouldn't be up for another week! The party was last weekend and although it was hectic getting it all together so soon after Thanksgiving, it forced me to get my decorations up. Now, I can sit in front of the tree with a blanket and a cup of Mexican hot cocoa!

This year's tree is red, gold and brown. It combines most of the colors of my 2007 tree, red ornaments and some metal roses from Mexico. I've had those quite some time, but it's been a while since I've decorated with them.

(click image to enlarge)

I also have a new lion ornament! Every year, I go to Neiman's and buy one fancy ornament for the tree and I was pretty excited that they had a toy lion ornament. I love that they have the signature NM butterfly and year tags on each of their ornaments. The butterfly on the tree is in memory of my Grandma Clara and the gold cross is from my sorority sister, Candy.

I'm really pleased with this year's tree and I hope you enjoy it, too.  Have fun decorating yours!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Good Chocolate

Brought to you by my daily indulgence of Dove Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate Promises.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Parade of Trees

I was recently looking at old Christmas photos and thought a tree parade was in order since I haven't shown them off before (they were pre-blog).  Soooooo, put on your woolies and mittens, pack a Thermos of hot chocolate, find a prime viewing spot and enjoy!

2006 Tree

click to enlarge

2006 was our first Christmas in our first house.  I was so excited that we finally had a "proper" Christmas tree room instead of our den/living room/dining room in our apartment! 

We bought a tall thin artificial tree so it would still look full with the few ornaments I already owned.  I had been collecting lions--my sorority mascot-- since we got married and had a handful of red heart ornaments, but that was it.  With just a couple boxes of red balls, I had enough trimmings to cover the entire tree.  So, the first tree was the "Red and Gold, Lion and Hearts Tree".  I thought it really looked nice in our newly painted living room with dark red and gold walls.  I added Michael's C3PO ornament since it matched!

2007 Tree

click to enlarge

In 2007, I decorated the tree with my lions, ornaments in shades of gold, copper and brown and animal print ribbon.  I also added 4 new lions to the tree.  When I put away my Christmas decorations, I separate the tree trimmings by color and store them in big tubs.  That way, it's easy to pull out just the colors I plan to use.  This time, the red box stayed "up stairs".

I always match my gift wrap to the tree and I found some beautiful metallic paper and flocked paper at Container Store that I mixed with different bows and ribbons.

2008 Tree

Last year, I was shopping and saw some gorgeous blue ornaments with brown and gold accents, so I decided to go with those colors for the tree and wrappings.  I used all my lions and gold ornaments and added some blue glass balls and jeweled ornaments.  It was an unusual, but very pretty color combination.  I think when I do this one again, I'll add some blue ribbon.

I also added a new lion, which I bought at the London production of The Lion King musical.  I just love it.  It gets a prime spot near the tippy top!

So, there you have it!  A parade of Christmas trees past.  Hope you enjoyed the show!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Super Chocolate Deliciousness

These yummies are always a huge hit and they're easy peasy to make. The truffles in the photo are actually peanut butter truffles that I served at Angel Party a few years ago. (Good photo, right? All professional and everything.) I made the peanut butter truffles with the same recipe replacing the Oreos with Nutter Butters. If you plan to make both kinds, put some chocolate sprinkles on one of them to tell them apart.

The chocolate can be tricky--I melt about a half cup at a time in a glass Pyrex bowl in the microwave. Keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn and don't over stir it or it will get yucky. Stir it gently only if some of it didn't melt completely. The recipe is really simple and if you use a food processor, you don't need to wash a bunch of bowls!

1 pkg. (1 lb. 2 oz.) OREOs, finely crushed (use a food processor- it's much easier)
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened (really important that it's softened, but not melted)
2 pkgs. BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted

1. Mix cookies and cream cheese until well blended. (I use a food processor.)
2. Shape into 1" balls. (I refrigerate them for about a half hour before dipping.)
3. Dip balls in melted chocolate; place on a waxed paper-covered baking sheet.
4. Add chocolate sprinkles to make them all fancy-like.
4. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Store leftovers in tightly covered container in refrigerator. (I usually put waxed paper between the layers of truffles.


Click on image below to print out your very own recipe card!

Season's Greetings, A La Mel & Mike!

Every year since we moved into our new house, I've sent out photo Christmas cards featuring my coocoo bananas take on fancy traditional family portraits.  I wanted to share them with you since the first two photos were taken before I started my blog.  I've had friends tell me that they look forward to getting our card each year and others who display them on their refrigerator for the whole year! You can see last year's card here, inspired by the Most Interesting Man in the World. Click on the photos to enlarge.

Season's Greetings from our new home to yours
Melissa, Michael, Molly and Max


Season's Greetings from The Garza-Allens
of the Houston Garza-Allens
Melissa, Michael, Molly and Max

Saturday, November 28, 2009

At Least The Filling Was Good

This is the smooth, rich, yummy pumpkin filling that I used for my pies.  In light of the pie crust fiasco instigated by the Pie Gremlin, you may want to find your own crust recipe.  If you have an awesome one, I'd love to try it!

1 c sugar
3 T flour
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 pkg (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground nutmeg
1/4 t ground ginger
1/4 t ground cloves
3 eggs
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree

insert pie crust ingredients here
1.  Bake your pie crust, show off.
2.  Heat oven to 375° F.
3.  In large bowl, beat sugar, flour and cream cheese with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. 
4.  Add remaining ingredients to mixture.   Beat on medium speed, scraping bowl constantly, until smooth. Pour into pre-baked crust.
5.  Cover edge of crust with foil to prevent excessive browning.
6.  Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
7.  Cool completely before serving.   Store in refrigerator.


Click on image below to print out your very own recipe card!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Pie Carumba!

So, here's how it all went down...

Wednesday, I decided to make a few pies. Just a couple. No big whoop. The pie fillings are awesome. I've used them plenty of times before. But, I don't have a go-to recipe for pie crust. That's where it all went south. I blame the Pie Gremlin. He hangs out with that other punk, the Great Pumpkin.

I wanted to make my pumpkin pie all fancy-like, so I rolled out some dough and used the little leaf cutters that I bought with Christy at Sur La Table.  Because I was going to add them just before the pies were done baking, I decided to place the little leaves in the fridge. I didn't have any cellophane, so I pulled out some heavy duty foil.  While laying a piece of it out on the counter, I got a giant aluminum paper cut. Fantastic.

Even More Thankful!

This year's place setting was very similar to last year. I just added an orange clove pomander. They smell yummy. Of course, my dad being my dad, pulled all the cloves out and ate the mandarin orange, peel and all. He's crazy like that. You know, most of the vitamins are in the peel!

I made the paper "thankful leaves" bigger this year because our blessings are more and more every year!  I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend! Now, I have to pull out the Christmas decorations! Angel Party is a week away!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Gingerbread House

Once upon a time, I made a gingerbread house for a contest only to find out that Wilton decided not to host a gingerbread house contest that year! Pooh! Anyway, contest or no, I still have an awesome gingerbread house and love to show it to friends.

Well, imagine my delight when I found out that Martha wants to see our gingerbread houses and she's having a contest for the best one. So, of course I uploaded my photos to her site and am hoping she'll love them.

Everything on the house is edible, only in theory, and all the decorations are made of fondant. They are pretty much rock hard now and the house weighs a ton!

Update: Not sure whatever became of the Martha contest, but my little house was featured on the Food Network Canada blog!  Awesome, eh?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Picture is Worth...

...A Thousand Swan Rides

Remember my sorority sister, Candy, who had the SMU Homecoming engagement last year? Well, her sister is a phenomenally talented and well known wedding photographer in Dallas. She took Candy and Tom's engagement photos at the State Fair and they are so AMAZING that I just had to share. Stacy is also shooting Candy's wedding in May. I can not wait!

Another note: If you are in the mood for your own leisurely swan ride, head on over to Fair Park. They're available year-round, not just during the State Fair, for just a few bills. Ahhhhh!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

For Your Viewing Pleasure

Another video of my favorite little pixie, Georgia Grace at the Oregon Garden and at the home of her little buddy, Lukas. Music: 'The Bird and the Worm' by Owl City. Enjoy!

I told her dad that he needed to send it to the Owl City fan page. It would make the best music video!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cute as a Button

Hi, chickadees! Have you noticed that I have a fun new button to share? It's over there on the right sidebar. Feel free to grab it and when you do, please let me know so I can visit your blog, too! And I can't wait to add your botton to my blog faves!

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Mexican Masquerade

I know it's way past Halloween, but I wanted to share some pics of the masks I made for the Museum of Cultural Arts Houston Masquerade Ball. We dressed as a Dia de los Muertos couple. I made the masks out of papier mache and embellished mine with silk flowers and Swarovski crystals. I made the little skulls out of polymer clay. Michael's mask got just a touch of fine black glitter on the cross. I love the way they turned out. They are going to be awesome Halloween decorations next year!

I love this shot because it's so dark and spooky and the background reminds me of The Shining. At the time, we thought the picture wasn't any good because we took it with an iPhone and it didn't have a flash, but I think it's awesome. Very film noir.

I also made these wicked awesome masks for the founders of MOCAH, Rhonda and Reginald Adams. Don't they look great? Reg is verrrrry tall and Rhonda is teeny tiny. I hit at right about his nose! Leave it to me to make a foot-tall mask that made him even taller!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Good Chocolate

Brought to you by my daily indulgence of Dove Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate Promises.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Grade School Charm

I love charm bracelets. There's just something about being able to wear your milestones and hobbies and favorite doodads on your wrist. When I was little, I loved playing with my mom's chunky gold bracelet with the state charms she collected while travelling with her youth choir. I thought it was just beautimous. Whenever I see someone wearing a charm bracelet, I am instantly drawn to it. But, only if I know the person wearing it. I've had strangers accost my arm in the mall and it's just plain weird.

In grade school, THE gift for girls' birthdays was a James Avery charm. The bracelet you just HAD to wear it on was the plain one with the hook clasp, so all the charms clumped together in one bunch at the bottom. Fantastic. It really hurt when you were writing and I used to get in trouble if I wore it to my piano lesson. When I took it off, I had little dents all over my wrist from all the clumpage. The unicorn was the worst; it always speared me with its magical horn. Darn you, fantastical creature! Once, one of my friends lost a bunch of charms on the field when her bracelet clasp unhooked. The whole class was out there searching for the rest of recess for little ballet slippers. I'm surprised they weren't banned from school!

I bought my hook clasp bracelet and my first charm in 3rd grade. The charm was an itty bitty cowboy hat to represent riding horses with my cousins at their farm in Teneha, Texas. My best friend who has since passed away, gave me a 3d piano charm which was MUCH cooler than the flat one. The little ichthus was actually a dangle ring (another must have accessory) that one of my mom's best friends gave me for confirmation. The ring must have been size 0, it was so tiny. It had to be cut off from my pinky finger! After that, it soon found a spot on my bracelet. There's a little megaphone for my jr. high cheerleading days and a roller skate to remind me of all the awesome Friday night skating at the roller rink...couples skate! (I was never "going" with anyone to do that.) See that monkey next to the music note? It was a Girl Scout cookie selling prize. I peddled those cookies like nobody's business to win that!

After 5th grade, I put away my James Avery bracelet. It hung around waiting patiently for many years. Then, after college, I gently coaxed it out of the James Avery signature blue felt bag. The bracelet no longer fit and I couldn't bear to lose any charms, so I bought a silver link bracelet and had them soldered on.

I've added a few charms to my original bracelet since its rebirth, including the Noah's ark from my mother-in-law and the little girls from one of my sorority house roommates. But for the most part, I've managed to keep it suspended in grade school. Do you have a charm bracelet? I'd love to hear its story.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fiesta Friday- Fast Times

Last month my girl Christy had a totally tubular birthday roller skating party. Talk about a blast from the past! I had not been in a roller rink since high school (for a "retro" roller skating party) and I was rushed back like Martie McFly to Izod shirts, Vanderbilt jeans, grosgrain ribbon belts and penny loafers! Wow. The look of the concession stand, the smell of the old carpet, the sound of wheels on the rink, the hokey pokey totally brought me back. The only difference was this time, the keeper of the skates asked "roller or inline?" I suppose not many kids use roller skates anymore, because they were, like, practically brand new! I was totally relieved because I was not at all interested in putting my foot in some nasty 30 year-old skates. Gag me with a spoon!

We had soooo much fun. I wasn't brave enough to get on the rink, actually I was smart enough to stay off the rink. Note the picture of Diane in the middle-- she started with roller skates, but quickly figured out that she was safest on inlines. I wonder if in roller skating you are liable for pile-ups that you have caused accidentally like in snow skiing. Anyway, back to the party...

I was amazed at the number of wicked partiers who took to the wood like they slept with skates on. Then there was one poor guy who could barely stand up and kept falling over and over and over again. But, the dude was determined to "shake it all about!"

I helped Christy out by making the invitations and party favors. I looked all over for some roller skating party invitation ideas, but came up without a one. So, I found a photo of some rollers skates online and used that as a template to make a pattern. I added some legwarmers with different neon papers and a cute pom. I probably would have gone with a bigger one, but the invitation still had to fit into the padded envelope. Remember the giant poms that had a jingle bell in them? Those were totally kickin'.

We saved money by using some of my decorations from my 80s prom party. We created a photo booth with balloons and mylar curtains from the party. (Note to self, blog about 80s prom party.)

Christy wanted to give out a party cd with rad tunes to all her guests, so the hubster made them for her and used a scan of the invite for the cd sleeve. I was super excited to find these pencil pouches at Target in tubular colors and knew I had to have them for the cds. Then, I saw the pencils and the candy and before I knew it, we had wicked party favors!

The roller rink referee/dj played the greatest big hair and new wave hits and everyone looked so fine in their 80s gear. It was a regular Breakfast Club: the prep, the stud, the valley girl, the Square Pegs and the Jersey girl (direct from New Jersey in all her rad Lita Fordness!) I put together an outfit complete with slouchy black suede-ish ankle boots, white leather studded belt, black legwarmers and fingerless lace gloves. I bought everything but the lace gloves, not in a thrift store, but at Target, on the shelf, brand new in 2009. That's scary. I also found some really cute Betsey Johnson jewelry and narrowed the choices down to the animal print cross necklace and animal print heart and bow dangle earrings. I had a pair of earrings very similar to those when I was in jr. high.

It was a laaaate night, well past curfew, but Christy pumped us up with Mountain Dew, Capri Sun, Fruit Rollups, Sushi (calling Molly Ringwald!), giant pickles in a jar (a la roller rink concession) and tons of delicious candy and snack cakes! I personally enjoyed a PB&J Uncrustable, a pickle, some California rolls, Capri Sun, a Mountain Dew and some Pop Rocks. Let's just say I ate like a bird the next day!

Happy 35th, Christy! You're like totally rad and 2 cute 2 be 4 gotten! LYLAS!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Good Chocolate

Brought to you by my daily indulgence of Dove Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate Promises.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pretty in Pink Tops

Remember my post about shopping smart when you buy pink products? Well, I thought I would share a couple really cute ones that really do make a difference.

This top is just adorable. I saw this one live in person at an Ann Taylor store and almost got it, but I was on a timely mission to find an outfit for a gala at the eleventh hour. Isn’t it cute? The price is a bit high at $50, but 70% of it goes to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. I think if you’re going to buy a pink top, buy this one and know that you just donated $35 to fight breast cancer!

On the other hand, Lacoste also has some awesome pink items, but these only offer 10% of your donation to BCRF. Still, they are super cute. Just consider that this pink croc polo, while totally awesome, is $85. That means only $8.50 of your purchase goes to breast cancer research. But, how cute would this be with jeans, flats and a string of pearls?

So, frilly and girly or classic and sporty? I think they’re both fabulous and are dying to be in my closet!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Silly Bee's Chickadees is Fab!

Exciting news! I have been featured in Fabulous Friday on the cutie patootie blog, The Fabulous Finds! Fabulous Friday highlights one or two female entrepreneurs and this week it's me!

In honor of the awesomosity of the occasion, I am also having a Sweet Spoonful (the very one in the picture above) giveaway on TFF! Just scoot on over to Heather's blog and follow her giveaway rules:

Add the TFF button widget to your blog.
Leave a comment on today's Fabulous Friday post and list any of the following that you have done to share the love and you will get extra entries:

1. Sign up as a subscriber. (2 entries)
2. Become a Fab Friend. (2 entries)
3. Purchase something from Silly Bee's Chickadees (10 entries) (my personal favorite)
4. Spread the word (8 entries)

Please keep Silly Bee's Chickadees in mind the next time you need a little pressie.  Remember, Christmas is just around the corner!