Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Greatest Gifts

What a wonderful Christmas it was – I have so much to be thankful for.  
Aside from exhaustion J, the three days I spent with family brought laughing, storytelling, singing and dancing, eating and drinking, and some of the greatest gifts I have ever received. 

Here are some of the best…

My niece dancing in front of the fireplace to Jingle Bell Rock

Watching the annual Christmas movie

My nephew strumming Metallica and Pink Floyd… and my grandma
“Spanish style” to it

Cheesy potatoes and beef tenderloin

My husband smiling at me from across the table

The after-dinner napkin folding contest

Dad and The Beatles

The dog “helping” us unwrap presents and the cat "testing" the cheesecake

Me and Mom giggling at Jimmy Fallon

All truly great presents this year…....isn’t that what Christmas is all about?
I’m ready for a nap…

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Most Wonderful Time

So, here it is…

After weeks of shopping, wrapping, decorating, baking, planning and just plain fluffing - in a little under 24 hours from now, Santa Claus will be making his way down our chimneys and into our hearts.


And oh, what fun it has been.  It is in the mist of all of this chaos that I realize how very blessed I am to have...
A wonderful husband, an amazing family, great friends, coworkers and a job that I love.
And I would be remiss not to mention my fluffy children.  
All of this has truly made all of the fussing worth it.

As I write these words of gratitude, I wish for you and your family the very best and brightest Christmas and a very joyful and healthy 2015.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from my Cowgirl heart to yours.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Celebrating Christmas in a Stately Manor

Our annual tour of The Manor House is one of my favorite holiday traditions.  Touring the area’s most iconic mansion serves as somewhat of a red carpet opening to our region's Christmas season and has grown into one of its most beloved events. 

The glorious 30,000 square foot Georgian Colonial Manor House was built in the 1930’s by Robert and Page Stranahan. 

Once known as Stranleigh Manor to its family, the estate rests upon 750 acres that are now known as Wildwood Preserve Metropark.

Here are some highlights from our tour.


Candy cane stripes and elves adorn kitchen shelves.

Collections of ceramic teapots and crystal stemware are seen through beautiful open cabinetry. 


An Americana theme is carried throughout the dining room.
Equestrian art and ornaments bring handsome warmth to the study.

Beary special guests enjoy a party all of their own.


A wreath with natural elements and woodland creatures dresses a second floor sitting room.

An arrangement of twigs and greens adorns an outside urn.

Until next year, Stranleigh...
Have a wonderful week!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Very Merry Holiday Gift Giving

Every holiday shopping list has one… that impossible-to-buy-for friend or family member.  But there’s really no need to despair - just think outside of the box.  Spending a few minutes thinking about the person’s interests will help you come up with a very merry and clever gift.

Embellish wine bottles with pretty ribbons and tie on wine-related accessories.


For the arts and crafts lover, give tickets to a local museum exhibit, art supplies, or craft idea books and magazines.

For the wine enthusiast, slip a bottle into a wine bag and embellish with wine-related baubles like pretty stoppers, wine charms, cocktail napkins or a fancy corkscrew.  

For the sports fan, choose game-day memorabilia, clothing and accessories in favorite team colors, or tickets to an upcoming sporting event.

For the out-of-town relative, create a gift basket filled with local specialties, make a scrapbook of vintage family photos, or gather beloved family recipes and present them in a festive container or tin. 
Fill a vintage basket with locally-made soaps, candles or chocolates for a unique presentation.

And who says gift cards aren’t personal?  They can be extremely if you keep the recipient in mind – a round of golf, a pedicure at a favorite spa, or dinner at a special restaurant.

Remember, whatever you decide to give your loved one, it’s the thought that counts. 
Have a great week!