Tag Archives: holidays

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni?

23 Nov

“As the holiday season approaches, may your home be filled with lots of love, laughter and yummy smells!!” ~Jesse Joseph


OK, as I was looking up cute quotes for holidays, I saw this one about “As the holiday season approaches, May your home be filled with lots of …” AND THEN my strange bizarre brain filled in the rhyme with lots of roaches. I know, right! My brain is goofy. It’s a gift, it’s a curse.

“It was a dark and gloomy day… I didn’t leave the house, as I had to wait for the Pest Control guy… but that’s another story. Maybe that’s why my brain went there. No roaches, but mice and rats in the attic. Story for another time. After Mr. Joe left with my estimate of $1,100, I dug I to some of my projects.

I put together some containers of my “Bad Ass” brownies. Some to take to Helen’s tomorrow and some for Friday for our Towne Creek art group.

Funny story. I offered Mr. Joe from Barrett’s Pest Control a couple of brownies with the yummy peanut butter cheesecake topping. He took them with him when he left. 5 minutes later, I got a call, “This is Joe from Berrett’s Pest Control. You were right, those are Bad Ass brownies. Thank you.” I just laughed.

After cleaning up the kitchen, i went up to my crap room to finish up my ornament project. I always make such a big mess. Then, I was getting ready to put on my shoes To go to the Dollar Tree to look for some containers and more crafty things to do with my senior artist friends Friday, when I decided to look in my closet in that big mysterious Christmas bin. Maybe something is in there. I found a bunch of containers, crafts, stickers, bags, etc. Then I gathered up some of the goodies that will go in the bags. We are celebrating our Christmas this Friday at Towne Creek. I’ll have to wait till Friday morning to put that all together, because I like to make my famous popcorn, pretzel, cereal, snack bags fresh.

So, I’ve been a busy gal. But, I’m going out to dinner with my neighbor friends at 6, so that will be a nice break from the clutter.

Happy Wednesday, my friends.

Tuesday:) Toni’s Timeless Christmas Treasures

23 Dec

“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.”

– Bob Hope


With this Crazy Covid Christmas, I’m staying home the first time in five years. I’m normally in Chicago, (back home) visiting with family and friends. Not this year. I pray that we all stay safe and healthy and when next we meet, we can celebrate life and hug each other until our arms get numb.

Even though I was sad not to be going back home, I was able to put up my little tree and decorate for the first time in years. My TOTS tree is my favorite Christmas decoration. The TOTS are my artist friends… Table Of Talented Sisters. Just about all of the ornaments on my tree were lovingly hand-made by my special talented friends over the past dozen or more years. I am so blessed. And this year, placing each ornament on the tree was a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas, friendship, and love.

Being sentimental and a traditionalist, I have received several gifts that remain unopened until Christmas Day. This way I can have something to look forward to that morning. I hope Santa climbs down the chimney and leaves me some homemade tamales. Wouldn’t that just be the best!

My TOTS tree, my many gifts waiting to be opened and my beautiful angel mother basking in the glow, sharing her beauty to the season.

Wishing you and yours a beautiful and blessed holiday season and and Merry Christmas.

Friday:) Fun at the Arboretum~ Twelve Days of Christmas

1 Dec

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”

~Calvin Coolidge


It was a dreary, cloudy, gray and misty morning. But, a fun trip to the Dallas Arboretum made the day festive and bright. They were featuring the Twelve Days of Christmas. Each gazebo was over the top gorgeous. I tried to imagine how many hundreds of man hours it took to set up the intricate holiday themed display.

This was my favorite…the ladies dancing. The dresses were all beaded or brocade with lace and trim. Just gorgeous. The life sized ladies danced around a tall tree in the center that was decorated to rival any I’ve seen. The figures in all the displays were so life-like, I had to look very closely to make sure they weren’t real people. Very cool.


Something fun to do in Dallas this holiday season.

Saturday:) Celebrating on the Square~ Home For the Holidays

27 Nov

“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.” 

― Laura Ingalls Wilder


The city of McKinney puts on an amazing Home for the Holidays festival. Yesterday was the tree lighting ceremony. I didn’t make it out for that, but I went down to the square tonight. It’s always great bumping into friends, watching the families laughing and celebrating, everyone in a festive holiday spirit. Arriving in the late afternoon, I was able to watch the sun set, changing the daytime mood into a nighttime festive glow.

    Who’s that with the Grinch?

    Bumped into friends Kelle, Lynda and Mary.

    My friend Brad Donaldson was showing his wonderful work in front of LAST Gallery.

    Kelle and I stopped at Sweet Spot Bakery for some hot chocolate and coffee. It was so busy, I barely had a minute to say hi to Kathy and Elizabeth.

    I’ll just share a few pictures.

    Nighttime magic.

    McKinney does it right, day and night. A fun day on the square.

    Friday: From Chaos to Calm

    3 Jan

    “Life is nothing without a little chaos to make it interesting.”
    ― Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, Demon in My View
    The holidays can be bitter-sweet. I loved the preparation, decorating, baking, cooking, and anticipation this year. The kids were coming to visit. I was over the moon with excitement. We spent days just sprawled around the TV, eating snacks, watching movies and watching massive quantities of football. Just like the old days. I was in heaven.

    My tidy, organized little house was now piled high with shoes, coats, bags, boxes, suitcases and blankets. The counters were crammed with crackers, cookies, fruit, veggies, and clutter. The fridge was so packed that the pecan pie tried to fly out every time I opened the door. It was wonderful!!!

    I smiled every time I saw all the shoes strewn about. I missed the mess that comes with family and kids running around, even big kids.

    The kids are gone, the house is quiet, and the chaos is now cold and calm. I DONT LIKE IT!!! Who’s going to eat all this food?


    Tuesday: Time to Trim the Tree

    3 Dec

    ALWAYS REMEMBER : The greatest gift you ever own is not found in the shops or under your Christmas tree. It is found in the hearts of your family and your true friends.
    I was all set to decorate my Christmas tree On Sunday. I dragged in four or five big plastic bins labeled Christmas from the garage into the a dining/piano room. When I opened them up, none of them contained my special handmade ornaments. My little tree is my TOTS tree. I decorate it only with my special ornaments made by my TOTS (Table Of Talent Sisters) girlfriends. I found dozens of store bought or old family ornaments, but no TOTS ornaments. So, I put the nutcrackers around the fireplace and sprinkled some holiday items around the house.

    Monday, I searched the garage again for more Christmas boxes. I found two more, dragged them in, and sifted through the items. Nope!

    Last night, I gave it one last try. IT’S ALWAYS THE LAST BOX, ISNT IT? Buried in the bottom of the last possible bin, were the long searched for ornaments.

    Each item holds a special memory. The special tree topper and base were made by Sherry, along with several Santa items.

    I really enjoyed placing each ornament on its special branch and turning on the lights. I’ve painted thousands of ornaments in my artistic journey, and I hope people get as much enjoyment when they place each hand-painted ornament I’ve created on their own tree. Nothing says Christmas and the holidays like HOME MADE.



    Montage Monday

    2 Dec

    “I find it inspiring to actively choose which traditions to celebrate and also come up with new ideas for traditions of my own.”
    ― Sara Sheridan
    It’s been a busy week, even busier than my usual whirlwind weeks. Tis the season, the season that I start painting my Christmas ornaments. Then, this past weekend was Home for the Holidays on the Square. So, painting, partying, festivities, and more painting. I truly love the holidays. I keep busier than a horse fly at a rodeo. Busy is good!

    Here’s a week in a peek.

    My old traditions of creating hand-painted ornaments, decorating and massive baking will never change. Now, to create some new traditions in my new home, in my new life. Any suggestions?

    This year’s creation.


    Montage Monday: A Christmas Week in a Peek

    31 Dec

    Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.”
    Peg Bracken
    I certainly hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! In between the stress and bliss, the heartache and the heartwarming aspects of life, we need to give thanks for the blessings we do have. I’d like to thank the many friends and family members, old and new, (some pretty darn old, you know who you are) for being that special spark in my life.

    A week in a peek.


    A Special Saturday:Sharing A Special Tree For Christmas

    20 Jan

    I shared this special story with my Facebook friends at Christmas, and thought I’d share it with my new blogger friends. Perhaps you have a “Pay It Forward” story that you’d like to share. I’d love to hear it.


    It is believed that the tradition of the Christmas tree spread across America during the 1800s with the arrival of German immigrants, a reminder that the dark grey of Winter would soon bring the green renewal of Spring.The Germans would bake fancy ornaments for their trees and then eat the decorations when the trees were taken down. Fruits, nuts, flowers and lighted candles also adorned the first American Christmas trees, but only the strongest could support the weight without drooping. So, German glassblowers began producing lightweight glass balls to replace heavier, natural decorations. These lights and decorations were representations of the joy and light of Christmas, with the star on top of the tree a symbol for the “Star in the East.”

    This is such a wonderful American tradition, but what about those who don’t have a Christmas tree, ornaments, toys and freshly baked cookies? The thing I love about America, Texas and the marvelous city of McKinney is, when there is a need, there is a way to fill that need.

    One of my own personal holiday traditions is giving my hand-painted ornaments to friends, neighbors, and family along with homemade cookies, cupcakes or brownies, because “nothin’ says lovin’ like homemade.” This week, when I stopped at my neighborhood McKinney Fire Station 5 with my ornament and a dozen chocolate cupcakes, as I have for the past eight years, I was greeted with the usual smiles and appreciation.

    As I was escorted back to the kitchen, I asked, “Can I see your Christmas tree?” I remembered how beautiful the tree was last year, and how all my ornaments from the previous years were carefully displayed on the branches. The young firefighter just smiled and said, “Well, it’s not much of a tree, but come on in.” He turned on the light in the dimly lit space, and there to my amazement was a bare five foot metal pole with a red light on top.

    I asked, “Where is your Christmas tree?”

    “This is it,” was the only response.

    I knew there had been a big change in personnel this past year when the new fire chief took over, and a lot of the guys relocated to other stations, but I didn’t think that would effect Christmas. I asked, “Where is your beautiful tree and all your ornaments? I’ve been bringing ornaments for years.”

    The perplexed fireman responded, “I don’t know. Maybe they took them over to the other station.”

    I shook hands with everyone on shift that afternoon and wished them a Merry Christmas, walking out with an unsettled sadness. Not quite the feeling I was expecting.

    When I got home, I went to my handy iPad and posted a picture on Facebook of the ornament and cupcakes that I had taken to the fire station. My message retold the story of the sad looking “Festivus” looking metal pole that took the place of a traditional Christmas tree at the fire station.

    To might delight, when I checked my page an hour later, there were so many comments from friends and neighbors appalled at the situation. There were several offers of Christmas trees from neighbors. My friend, Kim McCraw, said her son Shane was working at Christmas Traditions on US75 and they said that they would drop off a freshly cut evergreen tree the next day. Wow!

    Saturday afternoon, I drove over to Station 5 with a box of newly purchased blue ornaments for our friends in blue and their new tree. When I arrived with my gift, a gorgeous nine or ten foot tree adorned the space where a sad metal pole stood the previous day. I explained that I was “the ornament lady” from yesterday, and that I had posted on Facebook that Station 5 didn’t have a Christmas tree this year. They were all smiling and honored when I told them that just one Facebook post had inspired a dozen offers of trees and goodies to brighten their holiday.

    When I looked at the beautiful tree, there was a single ornament on a branch, and it was one of mine from 2008. They were waiting to decorate the tree until they purchased some new lights. Off to the side was a box with decorations and ornaments that they must have found in a storage room somewhere, many of which I recognized from my signature matching hand-painted boxes. I was delighted, humbled and grateful. The old “Festivus” metal pole was off in a dark corner. What could have been a dreary space for a group of gallant firefighters, was now a bright and cheery room better suited for a group of kind men and women who are always nearby to serve and protect.

    I returned New Year’s Day and found a beautifully decorated tree. Fire fighter David Crump, wife Barbara, and young son Coleman were enjoying some family time at the station. I asked if I might take a picture, and they happily obliged.

    The tradition of the Christmas tree is alive and well in McKinney. “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.”