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