Sunday, December 31, 2006

Blogging fool today

be sure to scroll way down to see the meal E fixed!

How well do you know me?

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Hang Ten Paper Arts' January kit is up!

I've posted a few pics in Jules' Creations and Jill has a few more available for viewing at This kit goes on sale January 2 and ships on January 10th, 2007 (boy, that feels funny to type that)! Thanks for looking!

2006's last morning in Paradise

And what a beautiful morning it is...a grand way to send 2006 on its way. This has been an interesting year to say the least. It was filled with ups and downs but luckily, E and I have had tons more SMILES than we've had FROWNS. We are blessed with interesting and loyal friends and neighbors and we enjoy the company of our families. We have our health and that says a lot for our age group.

We are heading to the beach to celebrate the end of 2006. We are not night drivers and have spent most of our New Years' Eves at home. We're picking up my sister after E gets off work and will hit a couple of spots on the beach and then head home for the rest of our day. We're having crab legs, steak and a bottle of bubbly that some one gave us. Even if we got to bed before midnight, all the fireworks here will wake us up, I am sure.

Speaking of food, E fixed us this wonderfully pretty and very tasty meal last night: Tuna steak with artichoke and tomato; can you blame me for taking pictures of this. Clare, our New Zealand friend, sent the cook book to E for Christmas...lovely!

Have a safe New Year's all. May this next year bring you love, happiness, good health and prosperity but most of all, may your year be filled with rolling on the floor, almost wet your britches, side aching, belly rocking laughter! Know someone here in Paradise is thinking good thoughts for you.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Greetings from Paradise...wish you were here!

This is our favorite time of the year (with the exception of the horrible traffic congestion from Snow Birds). The temps cool at night and warm during the day. The breezes are balmy and the opportunities for out door fun are endless.

On Christmas Eve, poor E had to work. The kids and I had intended to kayak on the Estero River which is part of the Great Calusa Blue Way (a marked canoe/kayak trail that exceeds a hundred miles)but the kayak outfitters was closing. We ended up having snack food and beer on the beach. The day was mild and the water was as clear as I have ever seen it. Unfortunately, there was a red tide surge and when the wind would blow inland, it was not pleasant. The kids and I went to the Cottage first as we love their food and then on to my sister's favorite hangout, Channel Mark.

E is working today and I am finishing up the directions for January's Hang Ten Paper Art kit, Winter Wishes. Christmas is coming down at a slow pace...the swags on railing is the next on the 'pack it up' list. The outside lights, which we leave up until New Year's Day along with the tree and village, have dried out from our Christmas rain and are back on.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

More Christmas


Kaela is very picky about the clothes she wears...the skirts must twirl and the tops be pretty. Here she is "test driving" one of the skirts her parents bought her for Christmas. Chris got a good pic of E and I. We may even use this one on our Christmas card next year. This is my oldest, Rob, in Santa's hat...I love this pic of him!

Spent the day hanging out with Kristen, shopping and running errands. We even managed some hot tub time this afternoon. She is napping now and I took a short one myself earlier. Inbetween, we have all been doing laundry and bit by bit getting a few of the 'sit around' decos ready to be packed up. We don't take the tree down until New Year's Day. We've had rain off and on for the past two days and all our outside lights are out. I am hoping that we can get them to light up for a few more nights!

We had Christmas supper at our friends', Kathy and Limon with our neighbors, Ed and Deb. Our neighborhood is filled some of the nicest people. They have been there for us during our two hurricanes, through E's hospitalization and in good times and bad. These people are not just neighbors...they are friends!

Have good evening.
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Monday, December 25, 2006

HAPPIEST OF HOLIDAYS TO YOU ALL! Both of our celebrations were wonderful. The food last night was just enough, the company wonderous and the smiles from our little Kaela set all our hearts ablaze with the spirit of the holiday. Last night, Dennis, my sister's beau, helped us maintain one of our quirky family traditions: the reading in dialect of the Cajun Night Before Christmas. This rendering is always done by the newest person to attend our Christmas Eve revelry and Dennis did himself proud. The gifts were all chosen with care and were joyfully received. Kristen surprised me with matching jammies for the two of us...what fun.

This morning, Kristen surprised Chris with a new bike so now they can go cruising together. She borrowed my bike and they took Chris' new one out for a spin around the neighborhood. E got lots of Pampered Chef goodies and I got some new earrings and more cards for my new camera. Rob and Chris worked very hard during this weekend to try and fix Harry, who is aging and not so gracefully and Minnie, who seems to have developed internal problems. While both computers are running a tad better, there is still much that has to be done...and, of course, Minnie's warrenty is up!

The boys left for Clearwater and Palm Harbor as they both have to work tomorrow but Kristen is staying down for a bit and she loves to be the "only child". We are all invited to a dinner party at a neighbors around 3ish. K. is napping, I am getting ready for a bit of a power rest myself and E is working last Sat.'s crossword.

E and I feel so blessed by our family, our wonderful friends and neighbors, and our health. Hope your holidays are the, from Paradise!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Christmas Eve!

For a multitude of reasons, we decided to have our traditional Christmas dinner on the 23rd. instead of the 25th. E had to work most of the day so he instructed Christopher (the favorite and only son-in-law) in the manly art of preparing, stuffing and cooking the turkey the night before. When the time came, all I had to step in to assist with was cleaning out the spare parts and the internal rinse. Christopher was proud of the results. The bird was a pretty golden brown, juicy and the dressing was very tasty! Way to go Chris! Kristen and Chris are hosting Thanksgiving next year so this was a great way to practice.

As usual, nothing ever goes the way we plan it to. The tree staged another protest and still another section of lights went out. No amount of jiggling of cords, plugs etc. helped. Our dear neighbor, Deb, rode to the rescue with a string of 50 twinklers and all is ok save one area on the side where there are no lights...moving an ornament or two later to day.

Some of us in this family like our dressing cooked inside the bird and other (me) like a side dish of the really crispy dressing. I had a nice pan prepared for the oven but it never made it....we were giving Just Jack the Cat his pill for his "infection" and he spit it out. You guessed it! The pill went somewhere into the side dish of dressing. Despite much effort on the part of several of us to find the pill, we ended up throwing out the dressing rather than risk the possibility of taking Jack's pill.

E is off to work until 4 but he thinks he may be able to get away earlier. The kids and I are going kayaking this morning and will get home in time to prepare the meat and cheese platter for tonight. The cider is simmering now and the house is redolent with the aroma of cloves, cinnamon and orange slices.

Hope to post some kayaking photos later. If you don't make it back, have a great Christmas Eve and Day! Last I checked on NORAD tracker, Santa was heading for my friend, Clare's, in New Zealand.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Santa is on his way!

And one of his elves'(Miss Linda)sent me this lovely bouquet of tulips and is the perfect centerpiece for our family get togeter on Christmas Eve. Thanks so much Linda! I love it!

The kids get in tonight sometime. Rob doesn't get off work until around 6 and Kristen and Chris are working on moving the rest of her classroom from her old portable to the new one at the middle school. Her school is being torn down due to mold and today was the last day to remove things from the classrooms.

It is suppose to be rainy here for the holidays but today is beautiful. There is an refreshing breeze of the Gulf and it is in the upper 70s. You can smell the salt in the air and also the promise of rain. Since this is our drought season, I am not going to complain although Rob and I had thought about going kayaking. It will now depend on the weather. Kristen and I have kayaked tons together and I had hoped to take Rob out on the Estero River. He can even borrow some of Gene's fishing things if he would like and he can fish his way up and back.

I am in the process of updating my Jules' Creations blog with some panels from one of my current projects, an Italia chipboard book. Take a gander please.

Off to do more laundry (we sure have a lot for just two people!) and do some cleaning up in preparation for our company. More soon; I promise!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Oh Christmas tree...oh, Christmas tree

I am wondering if this tree of ours knows this is its last Christmas? When we put it up this year, there were a few lights out with one small section near the top and another just below the middle. Because there are close to 900 lights on the tree, with strategic arranging, the loss was not too noticable. However, yesterday evening we noticed that there were only a few lit on the top and more missing around the middle. These are blackened so it is not even a lose connection.

We will be weaving some strands of lights and jury rigging a temporary fix for the tree but, then it will be Hasta Luego Baby! And to think we even bought the tree new ribbon this year....such lack of gratitude! lol

The newspaper Living section is coming out to our neighbors today. Ed drives a converted mail truck (he use to work for the postal services) and it is all deco'ed up for the holidays. He and Deb spend lots of time getting his truck ready for the holidays every year. He thinks the newpaper is more interested in the signs which cover his van protesting the illegal aliens who do much of the menial labor in our state. This will be interesting to read about. Deb insisted that the reporter come look at our decorated houses too...we joke each year that we are in a compeitition but compared to some of the houses in this area, we are small potatoes. (to my children: see! We are not the Griswalds after all)!

Have a great last few days before Christmas...try to find some time to sit, play a few cds of seasonal music, look at the lights on your tree and have a glass of wine on me (or, at least with me)!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Holiday Greetings...

Linda and Kip took the best pictures of our decorations while they were here and I want to give them full photography credit!

This is our new vintage Santa ornament. We try to get one of these beauties every year. This year, I bought a lovely Santa head and E picked out this one. We got both at the Flower Peddler in Old Town St. Charles who shipped them to Fl. for us!

This is our Christmas village. The houses are tiny as they are really suppose to be ornaments for a tree. My kids started tis village for me when they were young with 3 thatched roof houses and it has grown over the years as you can see. We have a traditon: each year we each pick a different home and call it ours for the season. When Kip was down, we kept finding one of the ladies who 'walks' outside one of the town's two bars face down in the snows. Funny, that only happens when the Kipster visits!

Kip took this great shot of Lucille lit up the night of our Holiday Open House. Isn't Lucille just the cutest? And finally, here is my Peppermint it!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Kip and Linda got in around noon yesterday and we played 'shop til ya drop' until about 3. We hit 2 lss, William Sonoma, World Bazaar and one more store I can't remember. The first guests arrived a bit after 4 and, before too long, our house was filled with E's wonderful foods and our neighbors, friends and family. The cider and wine flowed as did the fellowship!

After the last guest left, Kip, Linda and I toured the decorated houses in several of the neighborhoods around here. Kip's wonderful little convertible, Florence Darling, was the perfect way to ride and ooh and aah!

E had to be at work this morning at 6:45 but the girls and I had a more leisurely wake up. Around 9 we headed out to the beach and had breakfast in Times' Square at Plaka's Greek Restaurant. For a bit of time, we had to fight the birds for our pita bread and hash browns but we prevailed. We took a walk on the pier and shopped a bit then headed to Home Goods for some last minute Christmas gifts. The girls head back Tampa way about an hour and a half ago and this ol' gal is heading for a nap and a movie on tv. More pics tomorrow.

Kip and Linda took the pics and did a great job...thanks gals for sharing!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Surprises in the Mail

My friend, Cheryl, sent me the most wonderful Snow Person for my collection. This little guy is riding on my bike, Hank! and Cheryl also sent two of the cutest little beach chairs with photo inserts.

There are people out there whose lives touch ours whom we may never meet. These people become our friends, our confidants, our shoulders to cry on in time of sadness, our cheering squad in good times and someone to just say, Hey! How are you?
I have met some of the most incredible women via scrapbooking message boards. Some I have had the opportunity to meet IRL and virtually all of them have touched my heart one way or another...not just because they send me something or because they bought one of our kits or took one of my classes but because of their thoughtfulness in all of life. I would hope I could be there for each of them the way they have been here for me. To all of you...thank you!

Slide Show

Perhaps you already know that to view the individual photos all you have to do is click on it as the slide show continues. If you hold your mouse over the pictures, the caption for each will appear. I found out these things by trial and error!

Our Lady of the Snows light display

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Chihuly in the Garden

Once again, I have no clue which pictures are being posted or in what order. I really dislike blogger and blogger beta is even worse. I tried to upload a slide show of the amazing Chihuley glass in the garden works but blogger beta refused to accept the upload. Hope to get my account established with typepad ASAP but, when I attempted to do this the other day, I was refused. Seems Kip had uploaded to her typepad from here and for some reason, type pad now thinks I am Kip. Ya know...nothing is ever easy, to paraphrase Edith Anne!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Amidst the poinsettas

at the Botanical Garden was the most amazing small train display. This covered a huge space and even had the Village People outside of the Hollywood sign. The theme was St. Louis: Gateway to the West. There were farms and ski resorts and old time motor home courts. The fishing village was one of my all time favorites!
Here is one of the many trains; this one going through the Rocky Mountains. What was so very cool was that all the bushes, shrubs, flowers etc. were real...very tiny but real! This must have taken months to set up!
My son use to have an N gauge railway and I loved hooking it up. He and I would spend hours creating new ways for the tracks to run and finding models for him to build for his train town. He still has the train set but I believe he needs a new engine. Amazing isn't it, what memories something like this can trigger.
E has been inspired he says and thinks he can redo our Christmas Island (tiny houses and shops all lit) and work in an N gauge train that runs through out! YEAH!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Holiday flowers in the Garden

The flowers at the Missouri Botanical Garden were breath- taking. This pale pink poinsetta stole my heart. Its velvety leaves were so sweet and the display had it nestled among brilliant red blooms which set it off so perfectly.
I've straightened this one about 3x so far and it insists on being published sideways. The waxy petals and the yellow stamen made this plant an attention getter! And I seem to have two of it!
I have had continued problems with this blog. I've tried to post 3x in the past hour and this one may not post either. Watch for a change in blogs soon.

I'll leave bread crumbs so you can find me. The other problem that has resulted is I can't comment on anyone else's blog that uses blogspot (don't ask, 'cause I don't know!). Just know I am reading madly all the ones I've always read and getting more and more upset about not being able to a)post b)I've lost all my links!

Poinsettas in the Garden

All around the miniature train display were the most amazing poinsettas. I took pictures with and without the labels so I could remember what my favorites were called. The ones in the first picture are about the size of a half dollar and in full bloom! The pale pink ones were so delicate looking and velvety! The last ones were painted with Dutch dyes and glitter and were certainly festive. E and I were fortunate enough to find a Peppermint Poinsetta at a nursery here in Ft. Myers and I'll have to get a shot of that to add to the blog later.

Todays agenda has us unpacking and doing laundry. We also have some steam cleaning of the carpet in our bedroom on the list in preparation for our Holiday Open House on Sat. and our out-of-town visitors, Kip and Linda!

We also have some of our last shopping to do for Christmas. There are still 3 presents to buy and then we are done. Of course, we always think we are done when we are not!

More poinsettas later, I hope!
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Monday, December 11, 2006

Sat. with Santa

Sat. in Old Town St. Charles was so much fun: I got to hang out with St. Nick and a bunch of our friends from our old Hazelwood Central teaching days! We were so excited to see so many people show up for the happy hour and had such a good time getting caught up with everyone. DeeDee and I had lunch the day before and had done some major shopping but does one ever get enough? Ah, no. I managed to drag poor E into a couple of our favorite stores: Figuaro's (a specialty coffee shop where we bought lovelies like Chocolate Raspberry and Macadamia nut supreme) and the Flower Peddler where we bought one of our vintage hand blown and painted Santa ornaments and a holiday Kerr plate.

The only down side of the day was that my dad had some problems with his pace maker and what may have been some food poisoning and was in the hospital for tests so we didn't get to meet up for our yearly "I buy you a beer, you buy me one" get together. He was home that evening and doing fine.

Sat. night we ate with our friends, Nick and Kay and Steve and Dee Dee at Rizzo's, an Italian restaurant favorite of ours...had the veal picata and it was to die for.

I'll give a sneak preview of Sunday's fun: the Chihuly exhibit at the Botanical Garden. Amazing!
I could have stayed all day but poor E has thrown his back out and the muscle relaxers were not kicking in very well at all. Brave man put in about two hours total at the Chihuly, the poinsetta and the miniature train exhibits before his smile became more and more strained.

We are home now and I hope to get him into the hot tub a bunch over the next few days! He also has a head cold which has not helped...poor fella. More Chihuly tomorrow plus some of the poinsettas and the miniature train show! Then...the Our Lady of the Snows lights!!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Winter Wonderland

I got some great shots yesterday out at Old Town St. Charles. It was about 27 degrees and I had worried about my batteries freezing. Nothing of the sort happened thank heavens. I love the simpliciy of the window with its wreath of evergreens and the lush beauty of the the gazebo in the center of town. The snow was deceptive as under the think coating of pretty white was a sheen of pure ice!

DeeDee and I had a wonderful reunion and lunch at Lewis and Clark Restaurant, one of my favorites. E and I twice had dinner here (once with Steve and DeeDee) on the night of Las Pasadas. From our vantage point on the heated balcony we watched the reenactment of Mary and Joseph's journey to the birth place of baby Jesus. The stores were all lit by luminaries and, in turn, would tell the reenactors that there was no room for the couple. The evening (which we missed this year by one weekend) culminates with the carolers who follow candles in hand, singing around the huge tree down by the riverfront.

I found lots of fun goodies during our shoppng time and can't wait to get back today for a bit more. There is also a Santa Parade scheduled for 1:30pm today and a visit with my dad at 1. Around 2pm, several of our friends are joining us all for a happy hour. It will be good to see everyone again! More tomorrow!

sign me,
Cold in St. Louis!