Bring on the jolly!


I am feeling the cheer of the season all the way down to my toes! Last night we went to visit the Peanuts Christmas House on Santa Ana Avenue in Costa Mesa. Drew lived down the street from it as a boy and we try to make it over there every year. I think we only missed a couple of years when we lived in Murrieta. This giant animated display wraps the home around the entire corner. (Where on Earth do they store it all year?) I couldn't get enough flash to get a good photo so you'll have to go see it for yourself. They will have Santa visiting each night after Dec 18 for photos. The love and pride these people put into this enormous display just warms your heart.

Every morning I turn on our tree lights and sip tea by the glow after the kids are off to school. It's such a calming way to start the day. As I sit here admiring our eclectic display of ornaments I am reminded of where or whom each one came from. It makes me really sappy sometimes.

What kind of ornaments do you have on your tree? Do you have a theme of any kind? We don't have any theme but you can certainly see some trends. I have a love affair with Santa Claus so I have quite a few glass Santas. I also have more than a dozen beaded, sequined and feathery bird ornaments. I adore vintage Polish glass ornaments and just about anything that sparkles. I have a real soft spot for pretty Disney ornaments too. Right now I can see my three glittering princesses (Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty), the three good fairies (Flora, Fauna & Merriweather) and my sparkling Mickey icons. Last week I received a gorgeous 2009 Mickey icon ornament as a gift and it is twinkling front and center this year. We also have an ever-growing collection of official White House ornaments because Drew's grandmother buys him a new one every year. They are quite beautiful and they're something the boys get very excited about hanging each year.

What tops off your tree? We have a mother of pearl six-pointed star that we got before we were married, but it really doesn't suit us so this year we have decided to replace it. We struggled with what we wanted to put in it's place. A big robot was leading the race for quite a while, but in the end we decided that I would make our new topper. We bought a big wooden "C" which I still need to gold leaf and embellish with a big flower and bow. This will share the top branch with a frog prince dressed in a glittering costume complete with a feather in his cap. I know that may sound crazy to many of you but the kookiness of it suits us just right. The only problem is, I haven't had time to work on it so the top of our tree is a bit naked right now. Hopefully I can get it done before this weekend or I will have to pull out the old star one more time.

So how's your holiday shopping coming along? I don't have a ton of shopping to do because I am committed to putting my heart into our gifts this year. I am making many gifts by hand. Most of the gifts I do purchase will either support a good cause or be bought from a small business or local consultant. To be completely honest, there have been some Target and toy store purchases, but for the most part I am going to keep it heartfelt. I can't tell you about all of the different things I am making because I don't want to spoil anyone's surprise. I can say that my various projects require crochet hooks, butter, chocolate, wire and needle nose pliers. Not all together, of course.

One of my favorite things to do is wrap gifts. Each year I labor over choosing the perfect theme for our papers and ribbons. A long time ago, I made myself a promise never to use bags or stick on bows for christmas. I consider it part of the gift to make the packaging beautiful and festive. I'm not a snob by any means, heck, when it comes to birthdays and other occasions I am all about bags and stick on bows. I usually go with a lot of golden traditional papers, but last year I went with a more kid-friendly bold red and green and loved it. So this year I took it a step further and opted for whimsical red, pink, turquoise and lime green papers and glittered ribbons. It's a good thing both of my boys like pink because any other boys would probably freak out to have their gifts tied with hot pink satin bows.

Here are a few photos of favorite trees and ornaments:

The first is my new 2009 Mickey Mouse icon ornament.

I just love this little red bird. In my book, it's not a real christmas tree without a pretty red bird on it. Disco ball Mickey icon behind it.

Our boys in front of their favorite tree from the past. They got to really help decorate this one.

Our stockings all hung by the chimney with care.

This was the tree from our first christmas in our Murrieta house.

My frog prince and yet another red bird.

One of my pretty princesses.

Hey Sarah...


Main Entry: 1rogue
Pronunciation: \ˈrōg\
Function: noun
Etymology: origin unknown
Date: 1561

1 : vagrant, tramp
2 : a dishonest or worthless person : scoundrel
3 : a mischievous person : scamp
4 : a horse inclined to shirk or misbehave
5 : an individual exhibiting a chance and usually inferior biological variation

Main Entry: 3rogue
Function: adjective
Date: 1872

1 : resembling or suggesting a rogue elephant especially in being isolated, aberrant, dangerous, or uncontrollable
2 : corrupt, dishonest
3 : of or being a nation whose leaders defy international law or norms of international behavior

Main Entry: 2rogue

Function: intransitive verb
Inflected Form(s): rogued; rogu·ing or rogue·ing
Date: 1766

: to weed out inferior, diseased, or nontypical individuals from a crop plant or a field

(definitions courtesy of Merriam-Webster )

Ask for "The Insider Special"


Have you been to Prime Cut Cafe & Wine Bar yet? It's a great restaurant that Drew and I have enjoyed many times. The have a terrific lunch menu and the prices are very reasonable. I love their comforting tomato bisque and refreshing granny smith apple salad. Drew likes their prime rib burger a lot. Their hot chocolate cake is supremely delicious. It has a toasted marshmallow center and they serve it in a mug with vanilla ice cream and a little cup of melted chocolate to pour over the top. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Today I found out about this great dnner deal and I want to share it with you. It is available by request only, so ask for "The Insider Special". Enjoy!
"Hot Chocolate"...Cake

Indulge Your Taste Buds with this "Insider Special" for $29.95

Starter ~ Choice of Salad or Soup:

  • BLT Salad ~ Prosciutto, Wild Arugula, Cherry Tomatoes & Fresh Burrata Mozzarella Cheese
  • Granny Smith Apple Salad ~ Candied Pecans, Point Reyes Blue Cheese & Dried Cranberries
  • Hearts of Romaine Caesar ~ Parmesan Croutons and our Roasted Garlic Dressing
  • Soup of the day or Tomato Bisque

Entree ~ Choice of Prime Cut Filet Mignon or Fresh Fish of the day:

  • Prime Cut Filet Mignon ~ Aged 21-28 Days with Potato Gratin and Roasted Garlic
  • Fresh Fish of the day ~ Olive Oil & Citrus Marinated Cherry Tomatoes, Fresh Herbs & Whipped Potatoes

Dessert ~ Choice of any Dessert:

  • "Hot Chocolate"...Cake ~ A Decadent Molten Chocolate Cake Baked to Order with a Marshmallow Center served with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
  • French 'Jelly' Doughnuts ~ Hot Fresh French Pastry prepared to order with an Assortment of Jams and Preserves to make your own "Jelly Doughnuts"
  • Cookies & Milk ~ 3 Fresh Baked Homemade Cookies, served Warm with a Glass of Ice Cold Milk for Dipping
  • Seasonal Fruit Cobbler ~ Fresh Seasonal Fruit individually baked in Skillets with a Sour Cream & Brown Sugar Crust, served warm with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Wine Flight Pairing Available for an Additional Charge

  • Filet Mignon Flight $16 : Zaca Mesa, Syrah, Santa Barbara, '05 ~ Bodega Colomé, Malbec, Estate, Salta, ARG '07 ~ Freemark Abbey, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa '05
  • Fresh Fish Flight $12: Bottega Vinaia, Pinot Grigio, Trentino, ITA '08 ~ Kim Crawford, Sauvignon Blanc, NZ '08 ~ Ventana, Chardonnay, Arroyo Seco '07

[beverages, tax and gratuity not included]

Available through Sunday, November 29th.

I Want Out!


I have had a nasty flu since Saturday and I am ready to be well. My fever finally went away yesterday afternoon and I was feeling pretty darn good. I enjoyed the day playing with my kiddos and slow-cooking a delicious pot roast. As we sat down to dinner it hit me... a full blown allergy attack. (I haven't had a real allergy attack since last Thanksgiving and that one sent me into an asthma attack so I spent the night in the ER.) OK, I figured it was a minor set-back so I took two Benadryl and went to bed. What a crazy night of dreams that was! This morning I slept through my alarm for 15 minutes or so. When I finally woke up I was feeling pretty darn good.

Not so fast! By 8am it started again so here I sit. I am getting stir crazy being stuck in this house. {insert sad face here}

About me

  • I'm Karen (Cupcake) Carter
  • From Orange County, California, United States
  • I am happily married to my best friend and proud to be the Mommy of two sweet little boys. My world revolves around these three handsome guys. Everything I do is for or because of them. I am happy to the core!
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