You won!

Holiday Treats!

Okay, only one person won the give-a-way, but I really wish I had a bunch more stuff to give you! Thank you for taking the time to enter my little contest.

A big hearty congrats goes to:

Jennifer Phan

Yay, you’re the winner! Be sure and check your inbox ūüėÄ

I do have a “sort-of” ¬†present for everyone though, a recipe! I love to bake, especially, as the weather gets colder. This is one of my favorites. I’ve made a few different variations, over the years. Here’s the basic recipe, and a few fun twists.

Snowballs (aka Mexican Wedding Cookies aka Polvorones)

Yields about 5 dozen cookies

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Additional powdered sugar (you’ll be rolling the cookies in it)

In a large bowl combine 1/2 cup powdered sugar, salt and butter, mix well. Add the vanilla. Gradually stir in the flour, and work nuts into the dough. Cover and chill until firm, about one hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Form dough into one inch balls, and place one inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until set, but not brown. Roll in powdered sugar immediately. Cool on wire racks. Roll in sugar again. Store in an airtight container.

Some fun variations that I have tried are:

Add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of mini chocolate chips to the dough

Add 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder to the dough

Add 1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon to the dough

You can also use any type of nut you’d like. Walnuts, Almonds, even Pistachios.

Time to fire up those ovens, Enjoy!




I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I would give something away in October, but obviously that didn’t happen. My bad.¬†¬†Since we are heading into, but are¬†not quite in the wild frenzy that is the holiday shopping season,¬†I figure this is as good a time as any, to make good on my promise.

I did a little craft show over the weekend at my nieces’ school, and I was forced to actually make stuff! Ahh the horror…. It’s one of those things though, when you are creative for a living (or are trying to make a living at being creative),¬† that creativity¬†sometimes takes¬†time off, without your permission. My creative mojo had been gone for a bit, but it’s back, baby!

So, I am giving away a hostess apron/towel combo. It can be something custom, or you can choose from the ones I currently have listed in the shop. You can keep it or give it away, whatever you like. This would make a great gift for your mom, your sis, your sis-in-law, your mother-in-law, your kid’s teacher….I could go on, but¬†I’m sure you get my drift.

How to enter:

Leave a comment on this post = 1 entry

Leave a comment on facebook  HERE = 1 entry

Tweet about this giveaway = 1 entry

You need to let me know, by posting here or on the Facebook “Giveaway” post if you also tweeted this giveaway. I will randomly choose a winner on Tuesday 11/16/10, so you have one week to enter. Tell your friends! Good luck my peeps ūüėÄ

I’ve had my Halloween decorations sitting¬†in¬†the kitchen for about two weeks. I fully intended to put them out. When Sabrina asked last week if we could start decorating, I told her yes, by all means, go to it. After sticking a couple of¬†Halloween yard stakes in¬†some pots of¬†rapidly deteriorating¬†¬†mums, it turns out that her idea of “decorating” and mine, are not quite ¬†the same . Then¬†I realized a couple of days ago, that Halloween is next week, and well, call me lazy, but I really don’t feel like taking everything out, just to put it away again….so soon, I mean.

I couldn’t resist¬†pulling out my favorite decoration though. Oscar says this little pair looks like they’re watching you. It kinda does, but I like them. Heck, I love them. As much as one can love an inanimate object.¬† So, they are pretty much the extent of my Halloween decorating this year. There’s always Christmas right?


I’m a pretty upbeat person, and try to live by the philosophy that positive energy begets positive energy, and being negative serves no purpose. My little family has faced many challenges over the past seven years, but¬†we have also received many blessings. Not so much those that are tangible in nature, but intangible. Love, understanding and support, lots of it. Sometimes, though, I get to feeling like¬†a giant loser. I can’t help it, it just happens.¬†

I look at my husband, and see how hard he works, his painfully long commute, the amount of hours he puts in, all to keep our little family going.¬† Sometimes we struggle. Sometimes we’re okay, and so it goes, ebb and flow. I wish I could contribute more, wish I could do more, and it gets to me. I can’t help feeling this way, I just do.

I am mostly surrounded by good people. Hardworking, deserving, honest people. There are some though, that are not deserving. They are dishonest. They are thieves and liars, yet they constantly succeed, receiving accolades and kudos, that they do not deserve. People that are too selfish to comprehend the eventual consequences of their deceitful actions. This is merely my observation, my opinion, and I am entitled to it. 

I look at “them” and I look at “us” and I think to myself, ” Why does Life¬†have to be so¬†so unfair. Why do these dishonest people¬†not¬†get what they truly deserve?¬†”¬† What I have failed to realize one too many times, is that dishonest people, are just that, dishonest, without honor. ¬†They have been this way for so long, that the line between what is true and what is false, is blurred. It is no longer evident, and these falsehoods become their new reality.¬† It is after finally¬†recognizing this truth, that I have gained perspective.

Perspective can be defined in several ways, one of which is “the ability to perceive things in their actual interrelations or comparative importance.”¬† That has been my problem all along. My emotions have not allowed me to perceive things in their “actual interrelations.” I have beat myself up for things over which I have no control, failing to realize that I am in control of something critical, ¬†my own destiny. Mine, my husband’s, our girls’, Ours. We are not bound by obligation or guilt, but by each other.¬† We are committed¬†to the success of our family, and though it¬†can sometimes feel¬†like we’re falling,¬†it is our duty to¬†not be discouraged,¬†and¬†to embrace perspective with open arms.

If you would’ve come to visit me a few years ago on October 1st, you would have found my house appropriately decorated, inside and out, for Halloween. I was really annoying like that. These days, I just hope that there’s not a pair of shoes or twenty, waiting to greet visitors at the door. There’s no need to call the people at¬†“Hoarders” or anything, but I’m just not as diligent as I used to be with important stuff like holiday decorating.¬† I’m trying to change though, really I am.

Everytime I see those wreaths made out of black feathers, at Michaels, or Target, I want to buy one, but I can never bring myself to shell out the $25-$39 they usually cost. I’m not exactly what¬†you would call frugal (though I should be), but I don’t think I could adequately justify that purchase to my lovely and patient husband.¬† At least not without lying about how much I spent on a feather wreath that¬†I will only use for¬†one month every year.

I decided to make a little Halloween-ish wreath that’s quite festive, and easy on the pocketbook.¬† I spent about $5.00, on the wreath form,¬†crepe and tissue papers.¬† I had the rest of the materials on hand.¬† You want to make one too? C’mon, it’s easy, I’ll show you.

Your supplies, minus a couple.

Okay, you’ll need a foam wreath form. This one was fairly small, about eleven inches in diameter. I also used black crepe paper, floral wire, tissue paper, stick pins, and a piece of scrap fabric I had laying around for the bow. There’s a glue gun in the picture, but I ended up not using it.

Step 1: Cover the wreath form in the black crepe paper. Just take a long streamer piece, and wind it around the entire wreath. Secure the loose end with tape or a dot of hot glue. It will look like this:

Covered wreath form.

Step 2: Make the tissue flowers that are the¬†main decorative element¬†for¬†the wreath. I used Martha Stewart’s tutorial. I used smaller pieces of tissue paper, than they did. Mine were 5X5 (inches), and I used four pieces to create each flower. I made eleven (don’t ask why such a random number, I have no idea), so that’s forty-four 5X5 pieces of black tissue paper.

Here are the completed flowers.

Here's one up close.

Step 3: Take your covered wreath form, and place your tissue flowers all around the perimeter, until you run out of flowers. I used stick pins to secure each of them in place. You can also use hot glue, either way will work fine. I left a space at the bottom center of my wreath, for¬†a bow. I sew, so I have lots of fabric lying around. I chose a bright orange damask fabric, cut it to size, made a bow, and secured it to the wreath with floral wire. You can also use¬† hot glue to attach the bow.¬† If you don’t have any fabric, no worries, ¬†just use ribbon. A nice orange satin would be nice, or really anything that floats your boat will work.

Damask bow. I like shabby.

A close up of the tissue flowers.

You're done!

That’s it! Honestly, the most time consuming part, is making the tissue flowers. After that, everything is easy as pie. The neat thing about this type of project is you can customize it for almost any occasion. Christmas, Baby Showers, Valentines Day, whatever you want, go nuts!

Almost nine months ago, Araceli¬†announces she¬†is expecting a baby.¬†She is technically my¬†cousin, but we have grown up together, and she is as close to a sister as I’ve ever had.¬†Though I know¬†the shower is my Aunt’s¬†to plan, I volunteer my mom and myself, as willing party co-planners. My aunt agrees, and the planning begins.¬†

I am kind of a decorating “free spirit.” What I mean is that I really don’t have a set “style,” but lean towards a bunch of different aesthetics. ¬†I love shabby chic, ruffles, flea market finds, vintage/nostalgic pieces, and color, lots of it. I also have a weakness for polka dots. If you peek into my house, you’ll find them in almost every room. It sounds crazy, but that’s me, and except for a few things, that a lack of funds prohibit me from buying (ie: new floors, which I desperately want), there’s not a whole lot I’d change about my home…well, maybe the size, but that’s it…really.

How does this relate to planning a baby shower? Well, it says a lot about the type of shower I’d likely plan.¬†

¬†Araceli, however,¬†has her own style. One she jokingly refers to as the “Latin Flair” style of decorating. Not really a lot of room for the “free spirit” school of party planning, if you know what I mean. We decide to use the “latin flair” theme¬†as a jumping off point for the shower, and run with it.¬† I have to say, that my mom and my aunt¬†are really good sports. They never question any of my crazy ideas, which I like!

The day of the shower was this past Saturday, and would’nt you know, after a week of cool, crisp, fall-like weather, Saturday was slated to reach about 100 degrees. The party was held at my house, as¬†I live on a large “rancho” like property, very “latin flair-ey.”¬† Huge tissue paper pom-poms, papel picado,¬† lots of mexican food and desserts¬†produced a sweet baby shower, for a super sweet girl.

Here are a few pics:

The Mexican candy and dessert buffet.

Guest Sign-in book, candle party favors, tissue flower pins, and mini diapers.

Diaper cake made by my cousin Peggy, such a cute idea!

Felicidades banner.

Calm before the guests arrive.

Flowers nestled in a rusty old watering can beckoned the guests inside.

Araceli and a few of the guests.

The pretty mama-to-be a friends.

The book basket. We asked each guest to bring a book for the baby.

My mama, the game emcee.

Parties are fun, but I am still suffering from a bit of a shower “hangover.”

Until the next one ūüôā


I spent several unecessary minutes trying to cleverly name this post, but realize that simplicity  is usually the best way to go, so without further delay, the new owner of my random goodie assortment is:


Yay Theresa, you won! Please send me an e-mail (customerservice@vanessaandcompany.com) with your mailing address, and I will get the package to you straight away.

Thank you all for participating! I will be hosting another give-a-away sometime in October, so keep your eyes peeled.