Ring In "The New Year" with "Dark Chocolate, Peanut Butter Fudge"

I've been invited to an early New Years Eve gathering for our neighbors on Saturday, and everyone was asked to bring something simple.  Finger foods, both savory or sweet.
"Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate Fudge"  
Now that sounds good to me!

The recipe is very simple to make.  I used little paper cups, rather than a pan for the Fudge.  
A bag of Dark Unsweetened Chocolate Chips, a cup of Peanut Butter, a stick of Unsalted Butter, a large teaspoon of Vanilla,  a half cup of Powered Sugar and just a few tablespoons of half and half. Place sauce pan into a double boiler. I used a larger pot with about 5" of water.   Bring all to a roaring boil.  Remove from the heat and in about 5 minutes  stir in as many nuts as you like, I used about a half cup of chopped walnuts.

I also put a few mini marshmallows in  the cups before spooning in the Chocolate Fudge.

These little single serving portions make it so much easier when giving as a gift.  No fuss and no mess, especially at a party.

I'm a lover of Peanut Butter cups and this recipe is really wonderful.
I've been thinking how fast this past year has flown by.  It's going to be a New Year soon.  I for one am so pleased 2012 is coming.  After three years, in middle of  the So. Pacific, my daughter and her family will be coming back to the states to live and this makes grandma so happy!  A  3 or 4 hour flight to visit them is so much better than 22 hrs on 3 planes. 
(and that does not count lay-overs)

It will indeed be a
"Happy New Year"

I'd like to wish all my bloggie friends a wonderful New Year ahead.

I'm linking up to

Saturday Night Special


Looking Back To All My Projects In 2011 . . .

Looking back, I sure was busy in 2011.  I must have had home projects going on 10 of the 12 months.

The Kitchen was completely re done,
Built a Faux Fireplace,
Built two Desks,
New Flooring for the entire downstairs,
Created a Front Porch,
Numerous crafty projects.

I look at the photos of the "Before Kitchen" and still ask myself, "Did I do that?"

The kitchen today.

Then both Mr. N and I needed a desk for ourselves and the lack of space caused me to get my creative juices flowing.  I could not find two desks to fit anywhere in the house, so I simply built both of them.  My laptop desk was built in an odd space behind the kitchen dishwasher cabinet.  It's now my favorite space to do my PC work and I have somewhere to store my purse each day. 
Mr. N is very happy with his space. Now he can find 'his' stuff and not insist "I tossed it".


Then there was the Fireplace and new Flooring I've been wanting forever.

My final project for 2011 was my new Front Porch.
That was a fun messy project.
Now I can sit and watch the world go by and no longer have the snakes and puddles in the mud.



Thinking back to 2011 puts a smile on my face for so many reasons.   My Cardio Doc is  happy to see me each 3 month check up, when he really did not expect me to live this long.

This was indeed a busy, happy, healthy year!

"Bring on 2012" 
It's going to be even better!
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 I'm linking up to



"How to Salvage a Holiday Disaster"

Did you ever have to choose from 'tossing it' or 'fixing it'?
My Christmas Pumpkin Pie was one of those disasters that was very upsetting to me, but I chose to 'fix' it rather than put it down the garbage disposal.  It took two cans of pumpkin and other ingredients and would have been such a waist!
I'll tell you what I did, or rather, did not do. 
I forgot to put in the sugar!
I started out as a Chef years ago.  It got to where I cooked and baked so much I had no need to read a recipe or measure the ingredients.  Well,  I forgot the Sugar and luckily I was the one to take the first bite of my bitter Pumpkin Pie. After making my apologies for not serving the pie, (I did not offer a reason to my questioning guests)  I put it aside and offered a substitute dessert.
That night I did the repair work needed to the pumpkin mixture and added the missing sugar.

All I did was whip a cup of sugar into the pumpkin mixture.
The crust had to go.  

My sister asked "why are you tossing the crust"?  Well, I can't really put the updated Pumpkin in that soggy crust and rebake it.  The Chef in me needed to make a new one.

I baked the new pie for about 30 minutes, just long enough for the sugar to incorporate into the mixture and gave the crust time to get flaky.
It worked!
I was able to salvage this Pumpkin Pie after all.
I wonder how many people had such a disaster happen during their Holiday Meal?

Tomorrow I'll be making a really good cheese cake to bring with me to a New Years party and I'll be sure to list the ingredients on paper before I put it into the oven.

New Years 2012 is just a few days away. 
Where did the 2011 go?

I'll be linking this post to



A Few of my Christmas Gifts, and my First (and only) Gift Exchange. . . .

One of the wonderful Christmas gifts I received.  
What could this be?
(more on it later)

Although Christmas was pretty quiet this year, I had a great time talking to the kids on Face Time and the phone.  My sister and I both spent most of Christmas Eve tracking Santa on the Norad site. I know it was all fairy tale but
when Santa was delivering  his load of gifts to my grandsons in Guam I had tears in my eyes!

 My thanks to all the military men and women who manned the computers to allow us to use this great tool!

On Christmas morning, I lit  the fireplace, turned on the Christmas tree lights and put on Christmas music.  It really felt nice to be celebrating with my sister and husband.  Then we exchanged gifts and opened those sent from the kids.
When I opened my gift from my sweet sister all I could do was say, "What is it"?
then when I looked further into the paper work a large smile came upon my face.

It's a solar light for the garden.
I hung it on the front tree and waited for the darkness to fall.  
Wow, is all I could say. 
Now I want more for my back yard!

How cute is this!

Thank you Dolly, I so love this beautiful light

My Son and Daughter-in-law in Juneau sent me another great garden toy.  A light house wind chime, from Maine.  
It actually sounds like a buoy.

Thank you Tom, Michelle and my sweet grand daughter Eve.

I received so many nice gifts from family and friends but there is another that put a big smile on my face... this one I'm in love with.  Single serve coffee pot from my daughter Cyndi.  She took the hint way back in November and really heard me talking while we were shopping one day.
(don't you love it when they listen to you?)

Thank you Cyn!

Mr. N gave me something very special.  I've been wanting a good, right hand, middle finger ring and he really took the hints way back when.  The ring he pick out was a beautiful white gold,  imbedded with diamonds and quite lovely.
I needed to take it to be sized.
Of course my sister and I had to go to see all the sales the day after Christmas, but first I made a stop at the Jewelry store.   As I was talking to the Jeweler all his rings kept coming into view and I spotted  one that really made me happier.

Blue Sapphires are my favorite stone, and there it was just begging me to exchange Mr. N's ring for it.  "What do I do", is all I could say to myself?  Then the Jeweler told me it was $200.00 less than my new ring.   
I tried to rationalize my decision by telling myself how Mr. N would love that I saved him that much money.
My ring will be ready in a week or so and I can't wait! 

Christmas is such a wonderful time.  It's amazing how we Christians hustle and bustle around trying to get our gift shopping finished.  Oh, the pressure we put on ourselves.  But, when Christmas day arrives and we see the joy and pleasure on the faces of our loved ones, it's all worth it!
Well, except when we spend much too much money!  
I'm one of those women who shops for Christmas all year long.  Today I went to Michaels after Christmas sale and stocked up on wrapping paper, ribbon, a few new ornaments and craft kits for my grandsons, for next Christmas.  70% off all, and that is how I save money.  The gifts, I shop all year.  When I'm in a store in February and see something for one of my family members, at a good price, I buy it and store it in the back of my closet.  By the time November rolls around, I'm just about finished.

Now it's all behind us for another year.  We will ring in the New Year in a few days and start anew.  
I wanted to close by thanking all who thought of me this Christmas and to let you all know how much I love you!

(Just to let you know, when I came home and told Mr. N what I did, he was fine with it.  
"If it made you happy then it's ok"  Thank you Mr. N.)


I'm linking up to the after Christmas party


Reindeer and Owls for Christmas, Oh My !

Since my children were young we all loved to make Christmas ornaments together 
Once the kids grew I thought I'd be making  ornaments with my grandchildren.  Well, my grandchildren live in the middle of the South Pacific and in snowy Alaska, but that has not stopped me.  This week I got two of the sweetest kits for Reindeer and Owls and have been having such fun making them.

The Reindeer are made of felt, stuffing, buttons, pipe cleaners and tiny bells.  I used a bit of glue and some DMC floss for stitching and they turned out so cute.

The Owl's are my favorite.
They, as the Reindeer, came 4 to a pack and took only about 45 minutes to complete.

I've been sewing for years but this is the first time I've seen sticky ric-rac.  How easy it was to put these little decorations together.  I purchased the kits from Michaels  and I want more.  Maybe tomorrows sales will have them marked down. If there are any left?
Do I dare go shopping on Christmas Eve?

Now tell me, how can you resist "Reindeer and Owl's" ?

 ^ I have no idea why that safety pin is in the photo? ^

The pressure is on!  
Only one more day to shop for Christmas!
Are you ready?  I'm so happy to say, 
"I am"
Just one more thing before I go into "Christmas Eve" mode, I want to show you all, these cute stockings.

While I was in "Pier 1" today I found  knit stocking that were so beautiful. I love the animal print fur, but for the kids I may choose white fur?  This will be a knitting project  this summer, for next Christmas. I can see their mantel all lined up with a stocking for each family member.


* * * * *

I would like to wish all my blogger friends a very
"Merry Christmas"
Enjoy your loved ones.  Give them all a big hug.   
Remember those who can not be with us only with kind thoughts.
Especially the 
"Brave Men and Women of our Armed Forces"

"Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night"

I'm joyfully linking up to




"A Live Christmas Tree from my Boys"

This time of year I get so excited when the UPS or FED EX guy knocks at my door.

Today a box came from my Grandsons in Guam.
Inside was a sweet  live Christmas Tree with lights and ornaments.

All I had to do was take it all out of the box and decorate!  
How cute is this!

I think this wonderful gift is going to grace my kitchen counter for the next few weeks.
A big ((huggg)) to my Grandsons and their Mom and Dad for sending such a sweet gift.

Once the Holidays are over I'll be searching for the perfect pot to plant this little Evergreen in.  It's going to live in my home for years to come.

Three more days until Christmas. 

I love the Holidays!

I'm linking up to



" Air Plants " and a bit of Christmas Trivia

The Botanical Gardens here in my area had their traditional Christmas Fair and there were many plants and gifts for sale.  The area was filled with holiday shoppers and I fell in love with the display of Air Plants.


I have had several over the years and some lived and some died.  I really had no idea how to care for them but the man selling them told me, "They need to be outside".  As most of us want them indoors, the plants need the fresh air, heat and sun.

I purchased 4 of the baby air plants. Each should grow into the beauties you see in my photos.  My plan is to put them on the large tree in the front of my house.  Right now I have 5 Orchids growing on the large limb that falls across my yard and the Orchids are loving the spot.
Normally I wire the plants to the tree or keep them in the house but he said NO!  Use liquid nails on the tip of the root area and stick them on the tree branch.  Nothing else needed but a spray of water every two weeks if it does not rain. 
Ok, I can do that!

My 4 little baby air plants are now in place on the large Oak Tree out front.
My fingers are crossed for their survival.

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A bit of Christmas trivia.

Who was the United States’ first ambassador to Mexico and what is his connection with the holiday season?

(Joel Poinsett who was also the developer of the popular Christmas Poinsettia flower.)

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