Merry Christmas to all



May your holiday be a special time with friends and family!!


Merry Christmas from the Arnold’s.   


I’m going to be in so much trouble next year….


One of my favorite things about Christmas is planning and buying the gifts.  As the kids have gotten older, they often want cash instead of presents and I HATE to just hand cash over!!

As the years have gone on, I have stuffed cash inside rolls of toilet paper, taped 10 dollar bills to cans of chili and even folded it up and rolled it into bubble gum wrappers.

Last year was a great year as Brian’s money was inside a bank and he had to roll a small ball thru a three dimensional maze to unlock the bank, Amber had to unroll yards and yards of crepe paper to find her presents inside and Jenny’s money was stuffed inside balloons that she had to pop.

So, this year Michael decided that I needed a bit of my own medicine!!  He bought me three packs of  Tsueniko Fabrico Markers and wrapped them in an ENTIRE roll of toilet paper!!   I unrolled for about 5 minutes!!!!


Jenny and Amber both received plastic containers filled with candy, finger nail polish and hard cold CASH…….



But the one that stole the show was Brian’s gift.   It started when I found this lunchbox for my Star Wars crazed son….


Then I started thinking about the lunch that he took every day for 4 years of High School.  It consisted of one peanut butter sandwich, a bag of Spicy Nacho Doritos and 2 mini Butterfinger bars. 

I decided to fill his lunch box with an actual lunch, but where would I put the money……in the Doritos bag….no, too easy……in the Butterfinger pack….no, too hard.

That leaves the sandwich……..


……just right!!!

Brian was a trooper and played along with the entire gag!!!!B1

…..first checking out the lunch…..B2

….then hopefully checking the Doritos bag…..


…..finally conceding that he was going to have to at least open the sandwich, although at one point he thought that he would have to actually eat it!!B4….after much laughing and finger licking……

b5…..the cash was liberated…..b6 

As we all laughed about the gag gifts, Jenny noted that next year it will be all-out war.  I will have to be VERY watchful when opening my presents next year and will have to up the ante.    Any suggestion?????

Christmas Cactus Craziness!!


I am sure that most of you have heard of the Christmas Pickle…..


Traditionally, it was hidden on a Christmas Tree, with the finder receiving either a reward or good fortune for the following year.

Well, many years ago we decided to add this tradition to our Christmas mornings except there was one big problem…..I couldn’t find a pickle.   I searched in store after store but could not find one and this was prior to the days of internet buying.  Then one day I stumbled on to this ornament…..


…..and thus the Arnold family tradition of the “Christmas Cactus” was born!!!

Now to the story of this Christmas……

The kids (ages 26, 28 and 28)  had left the room so that the Cactus could be hidden.  While Michael was trying to hang it on the tree he accidentally dropped it and couldn’t find it.   So he told the kids to come on in and look for it…..


Almost at the same time, both Brian and Jenny yelled “there it is” and the scuffle was on….


You notice that Amber used her head and got out of the way!

Well, this year, the cactus got the worst of it…..


But both Brian and Jenny emerged with a portion of the cactus and both claiming victory.…


Notice the ornament that was pulled off of the tree and got stuck in Jenny’s scarf!!

Typically the Cactus Gift is some sort of kids game that they play for money (everybody wins something), but this year my efforts were foiled by the lack of one Size C battery…..


Oh well, the money was awarded anyway and this will be put back for next year…..with batteries!!!!

Snowman Mug Rugs

As I was getting ready for my small group gathering, I started thinking how much fun it would be to give each one of them a small gift.

About the same time, I was reading the blog of Jennifer Jangles and she gave a free pattern for a CUTE snowman mug rug…..

Click HERE for the full size pattern……

Since I didn’t really get started on them until the morning of our get together, they had to be fast, fast fast!!!   I finished the last one at 5:05pm when I had to leave the house at 5:30….cutting it a BIT close!!!


Here is a family portrait……DSC08972

A great, easy, fast and fun project!!!

AND, fortunately, I didn’t run out of thread……


…..but it was close!!!!

What do you do on Boxing Day??

When we lived in Australia, we were surprised by the custom of celebrating Boxing Day…..the day after Christmas.   It was a wonderful day off to help transition from the holiday to the work week.   While there, we would often watch the start of the Sydney – Hobart Regatta….such a fun tradition.

Now here in the US, I normally celebrate the end of the holiday season by un-decorating my house.  Face it, I decorate on the day after Thanksgiving which means that all of this stuff has been up for over a month and I am ready to clean it up and move on!!

This year I had a wonderful time taking everything down and packing it up in my new boxes, in my new house. 

The problem arose when it came time to take down the Christmas Tree….you remember it…..the TWELVE foot tree!!!   After much discussion, we decided that the easiest way would be to saw it in half so Michael climbed the ladder and started sawing…..



Half of it goes out the door……


Followed by the lower half……


Hooray….that was VERY easy!!!!

Christmas Celebration Time

At Christmas time, we love to make lots of Christmas goodies that we carry to various friends on Christmas Eve… of Jenny’s friends calls it the “Arnold Sleigh”   This year, Michael is going to be in Scotland from the 15th thru the 22nd of December, so we were worried that there wouldn’t be time to cook and deliver.

Instead, we decided to have an Open House to invite friends into our new home and enjoy some Holiday cheer!!!

I spent two wonderful days making fudge, cookies, Truffles, Peanut Brittle, Peppermint Brittle, Chocolate Pretzels…….DSC07442

and baking a delicious Hummingbird Cake……DSC07468

On Saturday, I added the savory items to the menu including this wonderful idea that I saw in a recent magazine…..


…..skewered tomatoes and marinated Mozzarella cheese balls….YUMMMMMM!

We took a few photos just before the guests arrived…..


….and then enjoyed a wonderful 4 hours of talking, laughing, eating and generally having a  fun time with some very special friends…..


The trouble with blogs….


… that you have to write them!!!  Lately, things have been happening at such a fast pace, I haven’t had time to sit and write about the small things.  Then, when I have time to write, I am completely overwhelmed with where to start.  SO, let’s get started…..

First of all, I  GOT TO SEW LAST WEEK!!!  I was working on another piece that was originally started to give my Mother some hand work to do.  She is 89 years old and does wonderful hand work.  Anyway, I found this pattern….


….and thought it would be good for her to work on.  I put together the applique and embroidery blocks and left them with her on October 31st, thinking that it would keep her busy for a long time.  Exactly 10 days later, I had them in my hand and she was ready to move to the next task!!!  AAACCCKKKK!!!!

So, my first project was to piece the alternating blocks, and I did not get off to a good start.  I was able to make all of the half-square triangles without much effort, but when I starting putting the blocks together, I kept doing things wrong.  For a few minutes, I thought that I had forgotten how to do patchwork!!!

After a bit of ripping and re-sewing, I got into the groove again and was able to enjoy feeding the fabrics into my machine, pressing the seams and arranging the blocks. 

I finished the top on Wednesday…….


….just in time to move the tables against the wall, move in the Futon mattress and turn my studio into a bedroom for our daughter as she arrives for Thanksgiving. 

My Mother-In-Law will carry the top back to my Mother and she is planning to hand quilt it.  I am looking forward to having it to hang on my wall next year.  Of course, as fast as my Mom works, I may have it this year!!!

…..OK…..the blog floodgates have opened…..more posts to come VERY soon.