Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Look Who Had a Birthday!

 Not only was this her first sweet ever, it was the first time she'd been given a fork. Kristin gave her the fork because she was reluctant to touch the cake.
 But she did get over her hesitation. This shot is Elli looking at her lap full of cake.
Elli's skills include opening packages with her teeth!
She did such a good job that Zach tried it, too.
Elli is one. Zach is seventeen. It was a double birthday.

Zach loves his gift - and Erin cracks up.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Charlene Sands Shares Her Christmas Tree

Charlene is happy to be sharing a Christmas novella with Cheryl and Jenna Kernan. 
She loves Christmas and decorating her tree with ornaments from places she's been and her favorite things. 
She wishes everyone a holiday filled with joys and wonder!

Mickey made from Italian Murano glass (from Epcot this year)

Angels - Her favorite baseball team

Mom and Dad's Wedding Day

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Tree Tour: Karen Templeton

As the holiday grows nearer, it's a good time reflect on the importance of love and family as well as the Christmases we've shared with loved ones. Karen Templeton's tree is touching in a way none other has been this year. Karen, thank you so much for sharing with my readers. I wish you peace and many enjoyable memories this season.

Karen says:

Doing the Christmas tree had always been a big deal for my husband and me -- in fact, he made several of our tree toppers over the years, and would always tweak the ornaments for days after, LOL. Last year, he was in hospice, and while I was determined we'd still have as normal Christmas as possible, I had no time to decorate a tree, so a friend and our youngest son did the honors. Jack pronounced it the prettiest tree we'd ever had. Which it wasn't, but we also knew it would be his last. And in March, he passed away.

Surprisingly, I found myself more full of Christmas spirit this year than I'd felt in ages, and was determined to get the biggest tree I could fit in my living room -- even though, once the thing was in its stand, I was on my own decorating it. And *this* tree I determined *would* be the prettiest tree, ever (for us, anyway). The project soothed my soul in a way I'm not sure anything could have -- almost as though Jack was there with me. And when I sit in front of it late at night with a cup of hot chocolate, I'm not sure that he's not. :)

It truly was a labor of love.

Eli’s Garrett’s last encounter with Tess Montoya involved her chasing him down Main Street, wielding a sponge mop. Aimed at his head. Twelve years later, Tess is a next-door-to-bitter divorcee with a pair of little kids, and Eli’s still a bachelor with – word has it – a baaaaad reputation for hooking up with anything with hooters. So naturally that makes him the perfect choice for a bout of drunken, angry sex, right?

Mortified after her wild ‘n’ crazy night, all Tess wants to do is put her indiscretion behind her and resume her quiet, safe, uncomplicated life. Loving people has never ended well before, so why should it now? Especially with Eli? Except sometimes bad boys are “bad” for reasons the gossip mill never gets wind of. And sometimes a bad boy turns out to the be the best thing ever to happen to a gal who’s given up on love.
Especially if that bad boy has marriage and family on his mind…

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Tree Tour: Tracy Garrett

Tracy Garrett is my sister filly over at Petticoats and Pistols. She's sharing her Christmas tree with us today.


Tracy says:
Growing up with a mother who loves Christmas meant traditions were important in our home. They still are. Our tree goes up right after Thanksgiving and stays up until January 6 – that’s Epiphany, the twelfth day of Christmas, when it is said the Wise Men visited the Christ Child.

The ornaments on my tree each hold a precious memory. Some my Grandmother painted, many my husband and I collected, others came from friends over the years. Each year, we turn on Christmas music and remember our friends and loved ones as we put the ornaments on our tree.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Christmas Story With Today's Technology

Christmas Tree Tour: *lizzie starr

My critique partner, *lizzie starr, is among the ranks of purple lovers. She shares her tree with her brother John and sister Jen, and their blend of ornaments is striking!

Here's what *lizzie had to say:

"We finally got a tree up and decorated with a variety of ornaments--from some of our folk's and grandparent's traditional glass to Looney Tunes, Batman and Fairies. Add in a bunch of Santas and Stars and that's the tree for this year. The other pics are of blown glass ornaments my sister made a couple years ago."
~*~romance with a sparkling twist~*~

Sunday, December 19, 2010

photo shoot outtakes

Okay, so I always show you my very best photographs. The ones that made the grade and have been cropped and look really really good. Well, any photographer will tell you that you have to take hundreds more pictures than you will ever keep in order to get those really really good ones. I probably delete about 3/4 of the photos I shoot. Digital photography is amazing for that reason, and many other reasons as well.

Sometimes those pics that don't make the cut are pretty bad. And sometimes they're pretty funny. The lighting was wrong and there's nothing you can do to improve it, maybe the subject blinked or turned...or crawled away. Kristin and I laughed so hard at the bad photos I took the other evening, that I decided, rather than deleting them, I had to share them with you.

So here are the outtakes from our Christmas photo shoot.

 Are you sure I'm related to him?

 He doesn't need those glasses for this shot, does he?

 If you think I'm wearing this, you're nuts

 Where are the snacks?

 You people are BORING!

 This is just plain humiliating. I'm outta here.

 Watch out! The giant baby is going to destroy the city!

 Do you people know how foolish you look making all those noises and dangling toys at me?

 Elli is a little too happy :-)

 Elli is sad  :-(

 Get serious, Mom. I look just plain silly in this hat

 This elf didn't bring snacks!

Did you laugh??

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Tree Tour: Patty Underhill

Patty has an unusual tree, and is once again kind enough to share it with us. Her tree is decorated with Rudolph and other characters! And she even has a Rudolph Village. It is the cutest ever.
Thanks for sending us pics!

Here is our Christmas Tree of 2010. 

I have some new Rudolph ornaments this year (my fave Christmas movie of all time!) and of course, all our older favourites (Star Wars, Disney, etc...) are still prominently featured.

Also, I’ve added a pic of the cute little tree my husband, Brent, has in our home bar. 

I hope your Holidays are wonderful this year! 

Happy Holidays!
Patty Underhill

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Tree Tour: LeighAnn's Tree

This is my daughter LeighAnn's tree. It's a pretty little thing, and with two big dogs in the family, it's very conveniently located off the floor. Those stockings cleverly used as a tree skirt are the original stockings that each of her four kids have had since their first Christmases.

LeighAnn and I are total opposites in our homes and our decorating. She is a minimalist and likes things with clean lines and no embellishments. One of anything will do, and if something isn't used, it's not needed. Their home is lovely and well-organized, even with a houseful of teenagers.

She has a Rumba that comes out of its dock every day at mid-morning and vacuums the entire main level while LeighAnn is working downstairs. She specifically bought furniture that the Rumba could get underneath.

And I'm especially impressed with this lovely tree, because in 2008 when the dogs were still pups, this was their tree.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Tree Tour: Phyliss Miranda

My sister Filly, Phyliss Miranda sent me photos of her two favorite Christmas trees! Here's what she has to say:

I’m happy, yet sad.  My five grandkids moved back to the Texas Panhandle from San Antonio, Texas, this spring.  I’m thrilled to have them so close, but also kinda sad that I wasn’t down on the plaza for the lighting of the Christmas tree at the Alamo this year.   

The tree if sponsored by the H-E-B grocery chain and it’s a white fir, hailing from the Shasta Mountains of Northern California, and is 55 feet tall!  Big, just like Texas!  The ornaments consist of strings of over ten thousand environmentally-sensitive LED lights and children’s book.  What a sight to behold!  Over to the north of the Alamo you can see the old Crockett Hotel sign. 

My second favorite tree is in New York City at Rockefeller Center.   I had to pleasure of being in NYC during the Christmas season with fellow author, Jodi Thomas, and our then Kensington editor, Hilary Sares a couple of years ago.  This tree is absolutely breathtaking.
Hope you enjoy two of my favorite Christmas trees. 

A native Texan, Phyliss Miranda still believes in the Code of the Old West. She enjoys sharing her love for antiques, the lost art of quilting, and the magnificent sunsets of the Texas Panhandle with her readers.

Born to protect and serve, these rugged lawmen are the stuff of Texas legend. 

Phyliss Miranda, teams up with Jodi Thomas, Linda Broday, and DeWanna Pace to bring you four red-blooded Rangers and the women who tame their hearts ...
Give Me a Texas Ranger 
            Kensington 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Patty's Back Yard

Patty Underhill send me this photo of her back yard, which proves winter can be pretty. 
I don't know if the residents of Buffalo would agree right now.