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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Morning

Christmas morning is always special.  Especially after only a few hours of sleep.  The excitement in our children's face and voices is priceless!

They usually wake us up and are anxious to go out and look at their "stash".  However, I torture them a little.  I make them wait until we get the cameras ready and we put the same Disney Christmas CD we've played since my son's first Christmas twelve years ago.

It usually goes the same way.  They run out look at the presents, look for notes from Santa, start playing and putting things together, etc.  It's a great day!  They stay in pj's all day long, until its bedtime again.  We make a special breakfast for the four of us and usually my brother (single and without children) who normally stays with us on Christmas Eve. 
Then we prepare an all-day brunch/lunch/dinner.  Our family comes over, grandparents, aunts, uncles, second cousins.  We spend the day with family, playing with our new gifts and loving every minute.

What are your Christmas traditions?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Decor

I have been accumulating vast amounts of decor for every holiday at ridiculously low prices since I discovered "after-Christmas" sales a few years ago.  The only problem is that it is a large contributing factor to our not "fitting" in our current casa.  We have too much stuff!
My husband says I'm a hoarder, but my kind friend says, no.  She says I am not a hoarder because I actually use all the stuff I have.  I don't have it put away.  I think I have to agree with her. 

I constantly give away things I don't use.  The only things I don't like to give away are furniture and household items because we own vacation rental properties that must be furnished and I like to keep things in case I could possibly use them there and not have to buy again.

Besides, I love entertaining and decorating for all holidays and events, and in order to do that inexpensively, you must own the things you are using.  I own round tables with their corresponding tablecloths, chairs, dinnerware, glassware, flatware, chafing dishes, serving platters, and the list goes on.
I use them constantly and enjoy having friends and family over.

I don't like to share my items...and its not because I am selfish.  It's mostly because if I lend my items, even to family, they don't come back in the same condition.  Since most of my things were purchased in sets, if I start lending them out,  I will have incomplete sets, broken items and my tables and events will not look the same. My tablecloths will get become worn out and ugly.  I really do like to have my tables and decor looking perfect and beautiful.

I have purchased so many different holiday accessories over the years, that I think I've reached my limit.  With what I bought this year, I think I will have to give away or keep some of my older things away next year, unless we buy a bigger house.

Another thing I discovered this year, from Ina Garten of the Barefoot Contessa, is to put light strands in vases and wrap them around tree branches.  For many years during this time I collect Christmas tree branches and put them in vases as my natural foliage.  This year I added the lights and they looked spectacular!!! I received many compliments on those.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


I love the holiday season.  Although as a parent of young children it is stressful, we manage and have a great time in the process.
I ordered several craft projects for my daughter during the holiday. 

Our favorite was the wishing ornament.  I ordered it from Oriental Trading.  I don't remember the cost, but the kit includes 6 clear ornaments that open.  It also includes glitter, slips for wishes, bows and bells. It's very cute and we did it as a family.

Each of us got an ornament.You can write as many wishes as you'd like.  The idea is to write your wishes for the next year on the slips and put it in the ornament.  All the ornaments are hung and put away at the end of the season.  The following year, you open your ornament and reflect on whether your wish(es) came true.  Then you do the same thing again.  You write your wishes for the new year.
It's a cute activity and I look forwarding to hearing what my children wished for and whether their wishes came true!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tree of Thanks

As you may have noticed, I have not posted in awhile. 

We were not able to purchase the "new casa" and that was very depressing for me.  As you know, I've been counting on  it and dreaming about it for one year.  The house is under contract with another buyer right now.  I still think that sale will fall through and the house will be ours, but in the meantime, my husband thought it best if we looked for another house and jump right into another purchase to help us forget this one.

We found a couple however, we decided to wait until January before making any decisions, as this is a very hectic time of year.  Although we want to jump right into buying a home and moving, we think we should be more clear about the decision.  We wouldn't want to make any mistakes!

We did take the time to have a wonderful Thanksgiving day and prepare for our family meal.  We created a Tree of Thanks with a branch from a tree.  My daughter cut out construction paper in the shape of leaves.  We put them out for everyone to take as many leaves as they'd like and write one thing they are grateful for on each leaf.  It was a beautiful idea, it gave everyone a chance to really think about and actively give thanks for the important things in their lives.

I wish we'd thought of this years ago, but so glad we finally figured it out!!!

I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving and may you have many things to be
 happy and grateful for next year!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!
Hope you have a wonderful, fun and joy-filled day!

About three years ago, I started the tradition of hosting a pumpkin-carving party.  My children are twelve and eight, so they were nine and five back then.  We host it every year and our friends look forward to it and have even gone as far as saying, "It wouldn't be Halloween without it".   We also paint and/or decorate the pumpkins with funny parts.
These are some of our creations...
Our family portrayed as pumpkins.

One of the tables with appetizers.  The spiders really enjoyed this dip.

Frankenstein Jello and meringue ghosts...

The dessert table...

Ready for the action...all necessary supplies at their fingertips...

Hard at work...

Ghostly designs...

...a tiny jack-o-lantern

How creative!!!


Our funny little pumpkin, Coco!

Halloween decor...

and more...

and more!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I've discovered a wonderful new tool...Pinterest.  I love Pinterest!  It's a website where you can create "boards" of things you are interested in from the Internet.  You "pin" photos of things you like when you are surfing the Internet.  When you pin the photograph, the site also keeps the web address of the photo on file.  When you click on the photo, you link back to the original page. 
Pinterest is such a time-saver!!!!  You can bookmark everything you like and you can keep it organized by topic, etc.  You don't have to cut an paste to your harddrive anymore.  Everything is stored for you on your boards.
I am really enjoying this...check out my boards and feel free to like or repin my finds on your own boards!!!
If you need an invite to join Pinterest, let me know and I'll send one to you.

Happy pinning...

Monday, September 5, 2011


As I've mentioned before I love HGTV and my family loves HGTV.  I would love to be HGTV'd by Jamie Durie and have applied for our new casa to be on the show.  The space I feel has the most potential in the new casa is the outdoor area.  You've seen in previous posts, that I am planning to add an outdoor kitchen and outdoor living area.  I would love for Jamie Durie to help me do this!!!

The yard is in a scary state right now.  The trees are overgrown and it's just a huge mess.
Please follow this link and look at the pictures of the current state of the yard and also vote for:
 " Our Big, Bad Mess " on HGTV.com:

Please go to the HGTV site with this link and vote to have our space HGTV'd.
Thank You!!!!!

Rate My Space: Outdoor

I've recently posted more photographs on the HGTV website.  Please click on this link to "patio with a bed" on HGTV.com and rate the outdoor space in our current casa:

I'm very excited about the feedback I have received on the site.  Visit and leave your comments and please Rate My Space!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Our Casa's Kitchen on Rate My Space

HGTV is my favorite network.  The entire family  is hooked.  WE watch just about everything on the network but we do have our favorites.  We love to watch Jamie Durie, Sarah Richardson (all her shows), Bang for your Buck, House Hunters on Vacation, House Hunters International, HGTV'd and Design Star.

My twelve year-old son is encouraging me to try out for Design Star so I can have my own show.    I would love to, but I couldn't live for so long without my family.  Therefore, for now, I will not attempt it.

I did find another way of showing the world my design skills, or lack there of.  This blog is one, and  yesterday I posted photos of the kitchen of "my current casa" on HGTV's Rate My Space.  I'm curious to know how my space will do.

The kitchen was not staged for the photographs.  I wish I would have put away some of the small appliances and accessories.  Also, I used my cell phone camera because my "real camera" was sent away  for repairs.  The pictures are dark and not great quality.  You can still get the idea and see the components of the room.

I'd love for you to check out Our Casa's Kitchen on HGTV's Rate My Space and rate it.

Post your comments and let me know what you think.

I wish you a relaxing and enjoyable Labor Day weekend.

Friday, September 2, 2011


As soon as we receive the letter stating that the lender has agreed to our purchase offer, we will start doing the inspections at the property.  We will start with the mold inspection ($750.00), because it concerns me most.  I have young children and want to be sure the home is free of mold.  We should be having that inspection very soon. 

Depending on the outcome we will decide whether or not to continue with the purchase.  If we decide to continue, we plan to get estimates from pool companies, a/c companies, electricians, window companies, contractors, etc.  We want to have a very clear and accurate picture of exaclty what expenses to expect.
I would also like FPL to provide an energy efficiency analysis.

I will be extremely busy the next few weeks so please forgive me if I don't post for a few days.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


I've been "window shopping" online and actually have gone to a couple of stores in person.  I am extremely anxious to start this process.  We still don't have the written approval from the lender, although we were told it was approved, we haven't received the letter...  Surprising right?????  

In order to sort through my anxiety and depression over the whole thing, I turn to retail therapy on a regular basis.  This always helps me.   I can't really purchase anything because I have nowhere to keep everything, however, I take notes, pictures and have many files with ideas for what I want for the new casa.

I went to look at  furniture  recently.  I used to own a furniture store.  I love furniture and decorating.  Although having a store was not much fun, I sometimes toy with the idea of doing it again.  The style of the things in my store was very similar to the style we currently have in a store here in Miami.  I went to see  what they have to offer.  Of course, I loved everything I saw.  They have beautiful pieces and the prices are very reasonable.

I will not buy a lot of new furniture because most of my furniture is less than 5 years old and in perfect condition.  However, I am planning to buy furntiure for the new family room, my son's room and the outdoor room(s).

Here are some of my favorites:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Happy "early" Birthday to me!!!!!!

Yesterday, I left a message for the short sale negotiator who works with my attorney and asked him to get me an approval as an early birthday gift.  My birthday is next week.  He just left me a voicemail that said, "Happy Birthday!"
WE HAVE AN APPROVAL!!!!!!!!!!  Almost 11 months later, the lender agreed to sell the house for the price we offered.
It's not a done deal yet.  We still have to have the inspection and appraisal.  Hopefully all will go well!!!
I'm so happy!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

My Daughter's Room

I have been ashamed of my daughter's furniture and room for a while.  Last year for her birthday we fixed it a little, changed the bedding and curtains and she wanted hot pink lamps so we got them.  Actually, she chose all the new accessories in her room.

Since it was not possible to start decorating the room in the new house yet, I decided to work on her current room as a birthday gift for her.  I tossed around the idea of buying new furniture for her right away, but decided against it.

These are the pieces she had or has in her room:

Her dresser, which never matched the rest of the white pieces in the room. 
It was more of an antique white.

Her dollhouse bookcase.  I'm not sure that we will definitely keep this, but for now it's there.

Her chifforobe.  We bought this when she was born for her first bedroom.
I love this piece.  We had taken it out of her room for about 3 years.

My nightstand when we first got married.

The armoire in our first bedroom as a married couple, 17 years ago.
I love this piece, but didn't like the finish for her room.  Although I didn't like how it looked I
kept it in her room for 3 years, while debating what to do.
I finally decided to paint it white.

I did not like the fact that all the white pieces were noticeably different
shades of white.

We purchased a paint with primer at Home Depot that worked fabulously.  I am extremely pleased
with the ease of applying the paint and the end result.

I will not keep all of these pieces in her room at the new casa.  I have them together
here because I don't have any other place to keep them in the mean time.