Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Table Settings.

I'm hosting a couple of Christmas shin-digs at my house this holiday season.  Christmas, afterall, IS my favorite time to entertain!  Better Homes and Garden is always one of my favorite go-to places for inspiration.  Here's a look at some of my favorites:

Small tree name tag

LOVING THIS at each place setting!


Closeup hot pink & burlap napkin

Still such a huge fan of burlap!  Who'd have thought to use it as a napkin ring!?


Clear rock candy on plate


This white rock candy looks so CLASSY on the plate.  LOVE.


Closeup place setting




white hydrangea flower table centerpiece


Brilliant.  Red and Green apples on display!!  They say to dip the apple wedges in lemon juice to keep them from browning.


Candy Canes and Carnations Holiday Centerpiece


I'm a big fan of the Red and White color scheme at Christmas time {you should see my house right now!}  This table setting makes me smile.



Christmas centerpiece



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Love the possibilities of a glass dome.  My mom has a big one that I always borrow.  Can't borrow it this Christmas though because she has all of HER mother's vintage glass ornaments in them.  It looks stunning.

green ornament table arrangement





































Quite possibly my favorite idea OF ALL.  Ornaments used as vases!!! Just remove the little hanger and pop your favorite blooms in!


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mexican Hot Cocoa recipe.


Since my last post all about THIS, I received several inquiry's as to the recipe for this yummy cinnamon-ey chocolate-y goodness.  I verified with my original source {a girl I grew up with in VA whose Mom used to make it for me!} and got the AOK to share it with you.  Lucky you.  Because it is dee-lish.  Enjoy!!!

MASTER MIX of Mexican Hot Cocoa


10 2/3 cup non fat instant dried milk

1 6oz jar powdered non dairy creamer

2 cup powder sugar

1 16oz can instant chocolate drink mix (like nestle quick)

1/2 cup ground cinnamon 


Add 3 Tbs of mix to 1 cup of hot water


Friday, November 25, 2011

It's a Wrap.


Thanksgiving has come and gone....can you believe it??  I don't know if it's my age or what...but yesterday's turkey + late night Black Friday + cough and lost voice has contributed to me being incredibly exhausted!!!  I've almost been zombie-esque with my little energy today.  

We spent a fabulous afternoon with Joe's side of the family.  Had I have remembered to bring my camera {duh!} I would've been able to show you Marilyn's beautifully decorated table, the kids' DARLING Pottery Barn turkey hats, the yummy spread of food {there was SO much!} and an outside picture of the entire fam {minus Jenny and Will...we missed you guys!} with the lovely weather that we appreciated SO much yesterday.  Forgetting my camera really gets to me!  

Since I am pretty much a day late and a dollar short on doing any such type of 'Thankful' post....here ya go.  Things I am thankful for this holiday season in no particular order:

* My easy-going, go with the flow, FUN LOVING hubs.  He lets our family have SO MUCH fun together.  He allows us to create memories that we are SO grateful for.  Most wives would cringe at the the thought of their husband working full time from home.  Not me.  I feel completely blessed.  We get to see him A LOT.  And that's a good thing :) He 'gets' my weird quirks....and still loves me all the more for them!

* My energetic three kids.  They wear me out during the day, but dang are they cute.  My very favorite time of the day is at night time when we ALL gather in the boys' bed and 'snuggle'.  We talk about our 'favorite things of the day', laugh, someone usually bonks their head from acting silly, we say our prayers, give kisses, and it continuously reminds me of how much I love them.

* Our families that BOTH live close to us.  How lucky are we??   Again...some might cringe at this idea....but not us.  We LOVE seeing both sides of the fam on a regular basis.  Our kids have the BEST grandparents around!!!

* Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi and Diet Dr. Pepper.  Yes, all three.  I'll take what I can get when I'm in a pinch.  Thank you carbonated goodness for keeping me sane.

* Sunny AZ.  Man I love it here.  We are SO lucky to have such NICE weather.  Yes, the summers are brutal...but the rest of the year seems to always make up for it.  While the rest of the country is freezing their nads off, we have our windows open and are playing at the park.  Lucky indeed.

* Grateful for my beliefs.  It keeps me strong and gives me faith.  Not to mention...I get to work with some pretty amazing and talented teenage girls who are such a light in my life.

I could go on.  But I'll spare you the gushiness.  Just feeling incredibly blessed.  And so are my kids right now as I've lost my voice and can barely talk! {Wink!!}

Monday, November 21, 2011

Christmas 'Neighbor' gifts.

It's one of my VERY favorite weeks of the year.  THANKSGIVING week!  Tonight we deck the Coombs halls.  And trim the tree. {Ok...not really....we have a pre-lit artificial tree that we put up every year}.  The kids will help put on ornaments {well...as much as I'll let em until my OCD kicks in and I have to rearrange everything after they go to bed!} Baking is involved this week for Thanksgiving, of course.  And....my heart is all a-flutter for BLACK FRIDAY.  Yup...my very favorite week indeed!

I also like to get a head start on our neighbor/friend gifts, this time of year.  I have some ideas  up my sleeve...excited to get going on em.  Last year we handed out these:


Homemade Mexican Hot Cocoa {my absolute FAVORITE!}


And our very own Coombs Christmas Carols cd...a mix of our very FAVORITE Christmas songs!



We wrapped em up cute in gable boxes and we were good to go.  The kids had SO much fun delivering them to friends and neighbors.


Two years ago we handed out these:



Christmas gumballs!


What ideas do YOU have up your sleeves this year for gift-giving???

Sunday, November 20, 2011

YW Thanksgiving goodie.

I wanted to give my cute Laurels a little gesture of something or other today, to show them how GRATEFUL I am for them....with Thanksgiving coming up and all.  So here's what I came up with:



The bags were filled with Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies.  

{I think bakers twine is my new best friend....LOVE using it!}

Repentance handout.


***I have an updated version of this printable for free that you can now view HERE.

Today our lesson in church was on Repentance. Here's what I came up with for the hand outs:


Lucky for me...Bath and Body Works had all of their 'Summer' fragrances marked down 75%!  I scored these hand sanitizers for 37 cents!  I told the girls to keep them in their purses or backpacks and that every time they went to 'clean' their hands...they had to think about our lesson on 'cleansing' their souls through repentance.  The 'Soap' saying was found on Sugardoodle.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

{Cafe Rio} Creamy Tomatillo Dressing.

Photo via Google.

Last weekend my cute nephew received his Eagle Scout Award.  {It's kind of a big deal!} We had a big family dinner at my sister's house on Sunday night to celebrate and I was asked to bring a salad.  I've been wanting to try this recipe for a copycat Cafe Rio dressing, for quite some time now.  I'm proud to say....it was right on target.  DEE-LISH.  And not only did people use it as a dressing for the salad {which included corn, black beans, red onion and cucumbers}, but they used it on their tacos as well.  It was THAT good.  And don't let the FRESH tomatillos intimidate you.  You simply just peel them and then slice off the top.  That's it.  

1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Buttermilk Dressing
1 cup Buttermilk
1 cup Mayonnaise
3 Tomatillos
2 cloves Garlic
1 cup Cilantro
1/2 t. cayenne pepper {I omitted this}

Blend everything in the blender.  Refrigerate.  Shake before serving.

As Yo Gabba Gabba would say {talking about fruits and veggies}.....'Try it!  You'll like it!'

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Black and White Evening in Excellence

Last night was our Young Women's Evening in Excellence program.  This was our first real BIG EVENT as a new presidency and I'm proud to say....the evening turned out remarkably {thanks to my awesome counselors, secretary and advisors!}  And of course....our young women....who are about as darling as it gets!  

For those of you who care {or are serving in Young Womens....here are the details}:

WE BELIEVE in BLACK and WHITE

We chose this as our theme.  We got the idea from HERE.  {Pretty much everything having to do with the evening: refreshments, decorations, favors, our outfits.....were all BLACK and WHITE}. The idea was to explain to the girls that .....what we BELIEVE in is black and white. There are NO gray areas to our beliefs.  We are either FOR these things....or we are not.  And the 13th Article of Faith tells us just that.  


Lucky for us...one of our very dear friends dabbles in the 'decorating' business.  She let us borrow all her 'loot.  Don't you just LOVE the chair covers?  I thought they made things look so elegant.


We lined up about 4 long tables and displayed the girls' projects on this.  With each girl's project, we had their picture {taken on Sunday} and a name plate.  There was some NEAT stuff on these tables.  Such talented young women I get to work with I tell you!




I think the very favorite thing that we were able to 'borrow' were the chandeliers.   Don't they make our podium look nice and cozy? {My friend says you can purchase these at Hobby Lobby.  With your 50% coupon they come out to be $25.  I want, like....10}.



Remember how I {sorta} have an obsession with water bottles matching my themes?  This was no exception.


So simple to do...Just cover in scrapbook paper!



My very favorite part of the evening was the content of course.  Second runner up?  The food table.  

Chocolate cupcakes, Homemade Oreos, White Chocolate dipped Marshmallows.


I've discovered that if you make a plain old box of chocolate cake...you can WOW people with the frosting and they'll think the whole darn thing was homemade.  I have a YUMMY cream cheese frosting that I like to use for cupcakes.


Ginormous marshmallows were found at Wal-mart. 
{Man that place is such a hit or miss}.
I dipped them in white chocolate, added sprinkles and a lollipop stick.


White chocolate dipped pretzel rods

Yummy Oreo Truffles.  {Hint...buy the MINT Oreos.  They are DEE-LISH!}


As for the favors {because yes...every party needs them!}...


We had a table on display with a copy of the September New Era {this issue is focused ALL ABOUT Personal Progress}.  Each girl was to take one home with them as well as the TRUE to the FAITH books that each family should have in their homes.

Then....as a little special something...we gave them these necklaces...





Bottlecaps were purchased HERE.  Circular printable was purchased on etsy and temple charm was purchased on Charming LDS Gifts.  


Dorie, Rachel and myself....Our presidency {minus my cute secretary Sonia who was not there yet}.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I'd like to make a request....

I heard that line MORE than any other line while working as a dee-jay at a local radio station.  And guess what?  Radio stations don't even PLAY requests.  They pretend like they do.  But they don't.  They just tape your voice and if the song happens to come on.....they play your 'request' over it.  Don't tell em I told you.

Today, I'm wanting to REQUEST some pretty good Christmas tunes for your listening pleasure.  They are some of the VERY BEST Christmas Cds out there. My tree and Christmas decor starts to go up a week from today. And you better believe I'll have these tunes cranked up while I'm 'decking the Coombs halls'.  Here are my favorites:


Mariah Carey Merry Christmas.  A classic....a must have in every household.  THIS song just never gets old.

A few years ago I bought her SECOND Christmas Cd....


Mariah Carey - Merry Christmas II You [Audio CD]

This one is just alright.  There are a FEW hits.  But it's not one I listen to on repeat.

Another classic and must have:


Amy Grant Home for Christmas.  Love every song on here.  Especially THIS one.  No matter WHO seems to re-do it....her version will always be the best.

Her second Christmas cd....

Christmas to Remember

Equally as good.  Worth purchasing.

More of my Classic Favorites include:












Yes...Christina Aguilera.  Surprisingly good!

This year I purchased two NEW Christmas cds.  {I like to add to my collection each year}.  


Justin Bieber Christmas Album Cover


The Biebs.  Love it.  THIS song is Grant and Carson's favorite.  {No surprise really...because if Busta Rhymes in the background doesn't SCREAM 'holiday mood'....I don't know who does!}



You gotta love Michael Buble.  You just have to.  This cd is WONDERFUL!


As for my ALL TIME favorite Christmas songs?  It's THIS one and THIS one.  Hands down!

What are YOUR Christmas music classics???


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thanksgiving ideas.

Thanksgiving is one of my very favorite times of the year.  The weather gets crisp, we share our GRATITUDE with others, Paradise Bakery starts selling their Ginger Molasses cookies, I start listening to Christmas music......  

Here are some ideas to inspire you this turkey season:



I'm pretty sure I want to make these cookies for the boys' school classes.  Found on the Pillsbury website....they even use refrigerated cookie dough...how easy is that?!? Add some candy corns, frosting and mini m&ms and you've got yourself an original Turkey Tom!



I just happen to LOVE Reese's PB cups.  {They are my FAVORITE!}  Which is why I think these Pilgrim hats are a MUST!  Spotted on Taste of Home {LOVE them!}....they are made with those fudge striped cookies and icing.  How simple is that?


How about these leaf shaped 'pats' of butter.....


Drizzled in honey...cut with a cookie cutter...I am in love. Who needs the roll?

And these napkin rings?


Acorns.  Missing Virginia and the trees in our backyard...

These ideas were found over at Better Homes and Garden.  Talk about eye candy!

How about centerpieces....



diy decorating 15 Thanksgiving Centerpiece Ideas

This is one of my favorites.  Wine glasses tipped over to cover mini pumpkins.  The base holds your votive candles!  Found on Tip Junkie HERE.


For Thanksgiving morning breakfast?


Turkey Banana Pancakes via Little Nummies

And for lil Miss Londy.....I'm thinking she needs THIS to accessorize her Thanksgiving Day outfit:



Although....I don't see it lasting too long :)