New Beginnings.....

It's the end of one year and the beginning of the next.

I feel so blessed to be in good health, in good company, and in good spirits awaiting 2010. 

2010, can you believe it ?

Wishing all of you only the best for 2010 !!!!!!


Love it if you would join my followers or would like to comment.


'Twas the night before Christmas - dieter's version ......

Twas the night before Christmas and all 'round my hips

Were Fannie May candies that had sneaked past my lips.

Fudge brownies were stored in the freezer with care

In hopes that my thighs would forget they were there.

While Mama in her girdle and I in chin straps

Had just settled down to sugar-borne naps.

When out in the pantry there arose such a clatter

I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the kitchen I flew like a flash

Tore open the icebox then threw up the sash.

The marshmallow look of the new-fallen snow

Sent thoughts of a binge to my body below.

When what to my wandering eyes should appear:

A marzipan Santa with eight chocolate reindeer!

That huge chunk of candy so luscious and slick

I knew in a second that I'd wind up sick.

The sweet-coated Santa, those sugared reindeer

I closed my eyes tightly but still I could hear;

On Pritzker, on Stillman, on weak one, on TOPS,

A Weight Watcher dropout from sugar detox.

From the top of the scales to the top of the hall

Now dash away pounds now dash away all.

Dressed up in Lane Bryant from my head to night-dress

My clothes were all bulging from too much excess.

My droll little mouth and my round little belly

They shook when I laughed like a bowl full of jelly.

I spoke not a word but went straight to my work

Ate all of the candy then turned with a jerk.

And laying a finger beside my heartburn

I gave a quick nod, toward the bedroom I turned.

I eased into bed, to the heavens I cry

If temptation's removed I'll get thin by and by!

And I mumbled again as I turned for the night

In the morning I'll starve...'til I take that first bite!

Merry Christmas Friends and many Blessings to all,


Let's say thanks to our troops....

I am gratefull to live in a free country that allows me the FREEDOM to live as I wish. This would not be possible without the sacrifices of the men and women of the military and especially as this time of year it is important to show our appreciation for the sacrifices they make. 

Use the bottom below and send a free postcard - no postage to our troops to show them we are thinking of them.


The Countdown begins

10 days to Christmas...can you believe it?

I live in Florida and you wouldn't know it was Christmas by the weather here, a balmy 80 something degrees.  No sweaters, no boots, no scarves - we are living in shorts and flip flops in the middle of December.  The palm trees dance.

I long to see and experience a White Christmas.  The closest thing to white is the white sand on our beaches.

From my home to yours - Blessings to all this Christmas.

xoxo, Sylvia


I'm DONE !!!!

You know the feeling, you can't wait for something, you get all excited with the anticipation and when it finally arrives it becomes a chore?  That is how I felt this year about Christmas decorating.  I couldn't wait to put away all my fall decorations and start with the Christmas stuff, but as hours turned into days I was dreading  pulling out the boxes, sorting throught the stuff and deciding on a theme for this year's Christmas. 

So, this year I am still LUCKY to have my 20 year old living at home (and going to college) and decided to let her make the decisions.  She decided on a real Christmas tree that she would decorate with all different types of ornaments (no theme this year), so she strung the lights and started on hanging the ornaments.  I think it turned out BEAUTIFUL, just like her !!!!

Welcome ......

Come on in....

Entry Foyer

Dining room mirror....the Christmas Village I posted earlier sits on the sideboard directly under this mirror.

Kitchen Tree and Reindeer Cookie Jar .... do you see the penguin and santa espresso coffee cups and mini chip clip??

White feather tree in my bedroom....

Living Room Tree...

Reindeer and Snowman tablescape in living room....

BELIEVE indeed....

Guest Bathroom....

Daughter's silver tinsel tree .....in her room.....

Family Room

Do you see the snowman and red cardinal?

Time to rest up, still have the outside to do.

xoxo, Sylvia


Oh Christmas Tree

Remember these ?

Picture isn't the best quality but got so excited when I pulled this tree out of storage that I just had to share with all of you.  I made this in the 70's in ceramic class.  I LOVE this tree.

Enjoy your decorating.

Hosting a Cookie Exchange

Courtesy of Taste of Home
Recipe to follow

Hosting a cookie exchange is easier than you think with these timely tips:

* Select a date and send out invitations about six weeks in advance. Weekday evenings or weekend afternoons work well because people may be less busy. Schedule the party to be about 2 hours long so guests aren't required to set aside a lot of time.

* Invite 8 to 12 people, keeping in mind that having more guests results in more variety of treats. Make the same kind of cookie or candy, allowing 1 dozen for each person participating. You might also encourage them to bring an extra dozen for sampling at the party.

* Ask what each person is making to avoid duplicates. There's no point to the exchange if everyone arrives with sugar cookies.

* Have participants bring empty containers or resealable plastic bags to collect their goodies. If the gathering is small, they may want to bring the batches already individually wrapped. Also have guests bring a copy of their recipe for each person.

* You can keep your menu to a minimum by focusing on the sweet treats. Simply serve a selection of beverages and the extra cookies and candies. Of if you prefer, offer a few hot and cold appetizers.

* As people arrive, set out the cookies and candies on a long table, leaving enough room for folks to walk around. Label the containers with the recipe name.

* Near the end of the party, have guests fill their containers with a dozen of each kind of cookie and candy.

* For party favors, gather all the different recipe cards into bundles, tie with festive ribbons and hand them out as guests leave.

White Chocolate Raspberry Thumbprints

• 38 Servings

• Prep: 25 min. + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling


• 3/4 cup butter, softened
• 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
• 2 eggs, separated
• 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup baking cocoa
• 1-1/4 cups finely chopped pecans or walnuts


• 4 ounces white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam


• In a small bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks. Combine flour and cocoa; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until easy to handle.

• In a shallow bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy. Place nuts in another shallow bowl. Shape dough into 1-in. balls. Dip in egg whites, then roll in nuts.

• Using a wooden spoon handle, make an indentation in center of each cookie. Place 1 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.

• In a microwave, melt white chocolate and butter at 70% power for 1 minute; stir. Microwave at additional 10- to 20-second intervals, stirring until smooth. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon into each cookie. Top each with about 1/4 teaspoon jam. Store in an airtight container. Yield: about 3 dozen.


Enjoy this recipe and report back if you do host a cookie exhange.

xoxo, Sylvia


Christmas Village is Bustling with Christmas activity.....

City Hall with the Candy Shop to the right and a home to the left.

Every city must have one.

Do you see Santa ringing the bell?

Candy Shop, Hotel and someone's Home - Taxi driver is in for a rest and the blue truck is gettting ready to pack up the family to shop for their Christmas tree.

The Bakery, Church and another Home - The Bakery has been working non stop producing all types of sweet breads and cakes; The Church is staying open for last minute workshipers and the family in the pretty blue house is getting ready for dinner.

The skater is taking in one last go around before being called in to dinner.

Firetruck at the ready - just in case.

Another view around the neighborhood.....

Last one ---

And to all a GOOD NIGHT.

xoxo, Sylvia


Let the Decorating Begin

OK, first thing up is the Church from my Christmas Village - True meaning of Christmas.
I love the Priest ... when my nieces and nephews were small they would hide him all over the house, my Brother -in- law would join in too (big kid that he is)  and I wouldn't find out until after they left my house.  The hunt would begin to find my Priest. He is battered, dropped, lost an arm (had to glue it back on) and someone has always suggested I buy a new one - NO WAY this one is full of memories for me.

May you create new MEMORIES this Christmas that will last you a life time!!!!



Bye Bye Fall Decorations .....

Who's packing away their fall decorations and preparing for Christmas?  I am and can't wait 'till it's completed.  Don't much like sorting through the boxes and deciding how to decorate this year but will pump myself up for the task.

Planning three trees this year, one in the living room, one in the family room, and one on the outside patio.  Not sure if I'll make it to the outside patio but psyching myself into thinking I will.

Will post periodically on my progress and wish you all Happy Times Decorating.



The First Thanksgiving

The First Thanksgiving

by Nora Smith

Nearly four hundred years ago, a great many of the people in England were very unhappy because their king would not let them pray to God as they liked. The king said they must use the same prayers that he did; and if they would not do this, they were often thrown into prison, or perhaps driven away from home.

"Let us go away from this country," said the unhappy Englishmen to each other; and so they left their homes, and went far off to a country called Holland. It was about this time that they began to call themselves "Pilgrims." Pilgrims, you know, are people who are always traveling to find something they love, or to find a land where they can be happier; and these English men and women were journeying, they said, "from place to place, toward heaven, their dearest country."

In Holland, the Pilgrims were quiet and happy for a while, but they were very poor; and when the children began to grow up, they were not like English children, but talked Dutch, like the little ones of Holland, and some grew naughty and did not want to go to church any more.

"This will never do," said the Pilgrim fathers and mothers; so after much talking and thinking and writing they made up their minds to come here to America. They hired two vessels, called the Mayflower and the Speedwell, to take them across the sea; but the Speedwell was not a strong ship, and the captain had to take her home again before she had gone very far.

The Mayflower went back, too. Part of the Speedwell's passengers were given to her, and then she started alone across the great ocean.

There were one hundred people on board - mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters and little children. They were very crowded; it was cold and uncomfortable; the sea was rough, and pitched the Mayflower about, and they were two months sailing over the water.

The children cried many times on the journey, and wished they had never come on the tiresome ship that rocked them so hard, and would not let them keep still a minute.

But they had one pretty plaything to amuse them, for in the middle of the great ocean a Pilgrim baby was born, and they called him "Oceanus," for his birthplace. When the children grew so tired that they were cross and fretful, Oceanus' mother let them come and play with him, and that always brought smiles and happy faces back again.

At last the Mayflower came in sight of land; but if the children had been thinking of grass and flowers and birds, they must have been very much disappointed, for the month was cold November, and there was nothing to be seen but rocks and sand and hard bare ground.

Some of the Pilgrim fathers, with brave Captain Myles Standish at their head, went on shore to see if they could find any houses or white people. But they only saw some wild Indians, who ran away from them, and found some Indian huts and some corn buried in holes in the ground. They went to and fro from the ship three times, till by and by they found a pretty place to live, where there were "fields and little running brooks."

Then at last all the tired Pilgrims landed from the ship on a spot now called Plymouth Rock, and the first house was begun on Christmas Day. But when I tell you how sick they were and how much they suffered that first winter, you will be very sad and sorry for them. The weather was cold, the snow fell fast and thick, the wind was icy, and the Pilgrim fathers had no one to help them cut down the trees and build their church and their houses.

The Pilgrim mothers helped all they could; but they were tired with the long journey, and cold, and hungry too, for no one had the right kind of food to eat, nor even enough of it.

So first one was taken sick, and then another, till half of them were in bed at the same time, Brave Myles Standish and the other soldiers nursed them as well as they knew how; but before spring came half of the people died and had gone at last to "heaven, their dearest country."

But by and by the sun shone more brightly, the snow melted, the leaves began to grow, and sweet spring had come again.

Some friendly Indians had visited the Pilgrims during the winter, and Captain Myles Standish, with several of his men, had returned the visit.

One of the kind Indians was called Squanto, and he came to stay with the Pilgrims, and showed them how to plant their corn, and their pease and wheat and barley.

When the summer came and the days were long and bright, the Pilgrim children were very happy, and they thought Plymouth a lovely place indeed. All kinds of beautiful wild flowers grew at their doors, there were hundreds of birds and butterflies, and the great pine woods were always cool and shady when the sun was too bright.

When it was autumn the fathers gathered the barley and wheat and corn that they had planted, and found that it had grown so well that they would have quite enough for the long winter that was coming.

"Let us thank God for it all," they said. "It is He who has made the sun shine and the rain fall and the corn grow." So they thanked God in their homes and in their little church; the fathers and the mothers and the children thanked Him.

"Then," said the Pilgrim mothers, "let us have a great Thanksgiving party, and invite the friendly Indians, and all rejoice together."

So they had the first Thanksgiving party, and a grand one it was! Four men went out shooting one whole day, and brought back so many wild ducks and geese and great wild turkeys that there was enough for almost a week. There was deer meat also, of course, for there were plenty of fine deer in the forest. Then the Pilgrim mothers made the corn and wheat into bread and cakes, and they had fish and clams from the sea besides.

The friendly Indians all came with their chief Massasoit. Every one came that was invited, and more, I dare say, for there were ninety of them altogether.

They brought five deer with them, that they gave to the Pilgrims; and they must have liked the party very much, for they stayed three days.

Kind as the Indians were, you would have been very much frightened if you had seen them; and the baby Oceanus, who was a year old then, began to cry at first whenever they came near him.

They were dressed in deerskins, and some of them had the furry coat of a wild cat hanging on their arms. Their long black hair fell loose on their shoulders, and was trimmed with feathers or fox-tails. They had their faces painted in all kinds of strange ways, some with black stripes as broad as your finger all up and down them. But whatever they wore, it was their very best, and they had put it on for the Thanksgiving party.

Each meal, before they ate anything, the Pilgrims and the Indians thanked God together for all his goodness. The Indians sang and danced in the evenings, and every day they ran races and played all kinds of games with the children.

Then sometimes the Pilgrims with their guns, and the Indians with their bows and arrows, would see who could shoot farthest and best. So they were glad and merry and thankful for three whole days.

The Pilgrim mothers and fathers had been sick and sad many times since they landed from the Mayflower; they had worked very hard, often had not had enough to eat, and were mournful indeed when their friends died and left them. But now they tried to forget all this, and think only of how good God had been to them; and so they all were happy together at the first Thanksgiving party.

All this happened nearly four hundred years ago, and ever since that time Thanksgiving has been kept in our country.

Every year our fathers and grandfathers and great-grandfathers have "rejoiced together" like the Pilgrims, and have had something to be thankful for each time.

Every year some father has told the story of the brave Pilgrims to his little sons and daughters, and has taught them to be very glad and proud that the Mayflower came sailing to our country so many years ago.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone !!!!!!


Tortellini Vegetable Soup

This recipe is so easy and yummy. It is one of those soups that is also filling. Hot soup and some homemade bread - now that's comfort.

Tortellini Vegetable Soup


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 small zucchini, diced

1 medium carrot, peeled and diced

5 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 teaspoon dried basil (more if fresh)

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 to 9 ounces fresh or frozen tortellini

(cheese or meat filled)

2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Black pepper, to taste

1. Heat the olive oil in a medium soup pot or large saucepan. Add the onion, zucchini, and carrot. Saute over moderate heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until the onion is soft and translucent.

2. Add the stock, basil, bay leaf, tomatoes, and salt to the pot. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a low boil. Add the tortellini and bring the soup back to a low boil. Cook it for 2 minutes, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5 to 6 minutes longer. Gently stir in the parsley and pepper during the last minute or so. Makes about 5 servings.

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Cookie Exchange

It's Cookie Exchange time and I was looking for a simple recipe that didn't take too much of my time.  Found this recipe on the Taste of  Home Recipe site and made it.  It was so EASY, did I say easy?
Peanut Butter Cups Cookies

From: Taste of Home

• 36 Servings
• Prep: 35 min. Bake: 15 min.

• 1 package (17-1/2 ounces) peanut butter cookie mix
• 36 miniature peanut butter cups, unwrapped

• Prepare cookie mix according to package directions. Roll the dough into 1-in. balls. Place in greased miniature muffin cups. Press dough evenly onto bottom and up sides of each cup.

• Bake at 350° for 11-13 minutes or until set. Immediately place a peanut butter cup in each cup; press down gently. Cool for 10 minutes; carefully remove from pans. Yield: 3 dozen.

Editor's Note: 2-1/4 cups peanut butter cookie dough of your choice can be substituted for the mix.

Oh, and eveyone LOVED it.



Simple Things

Sometimes it's the simplist things that put a smile on our face and for me it was this Silver Tray from the Dollar store.  My friends have been talking about this silver tray for some time and I searched high and low for the tray and couldn't find it.  I spent so much time and money in the hunt for a item I would eventually pay $1 for but I knew I had to have it !

Finally 40 miles away from home one day I visited a Dollar store and low and behold the ELUSIVE SILVER TRAY. Jackpot ! had to have it and bought four (which is all they had left) in different sizes and shapes.

Immediately had to put one on the bedside table and will use the others to decorate for Christmas - we'll see.

One of the Silver Trays I purchased.

With Flash.

Without Flash.

Still Smiling :)

Please post a comment to let me know you visited.


Reindeer Statute

These reindeers were purchased at Marshal's and are a matte silver with a mosiac glass  blanket.