Start A Annual Cookie Bake!

Start A Annual Cookie Bake!

Hi Friends! I hope everyone had a nice Christmas. My friend and I had our Annual Cookie Bake and I can’t wait to tell you about it! I know I am posting this after Christmas but I wanted to share and I want you know that this is an activity that doesn’t have to take place just during Christmas time. You can do this activity for any holiday or special time. Valentines Day is coming up! Every year my good friend Mary and I have The Palmer-Hunt Annual Christmas Cookie Extravaganza.

My friend and I get together along with my youngest daughter Maya and her two daughters Reagan and Abby. We choose cookie recipes and agree on no more than six recipes. This time, we got together and decided to scale down a bit (we have learned over the years) so we only cooked three recipes. This is our sixth Christmas Cookie Extravaganza.  Our schedules were so busy this year but we still found time to get together . The recipes that we decide on depend on how much time we have and the ingredients that we want to purchase. Some recipes take more time and are more involved than others. Sometimes the dough has to be refrigerated overnight. If that is the case, either Mary and her daughters or Maya and I will make the dough the night before. We usually have a couple of simple recipes so that every recipe isn’t complicated or time consuming. One of my favorite things to make is Peppermint Bark. It’s simple and easy and tastes good! This time we made Hot Cocoa Cookies, Red Velvet Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting and Sugar Cookies with icing. They were so good!!! The Hot Cocoa Cookies are my favorite and an overall favorite so we make them every year. They taste soooo good warm!! They are best eaten warm in my opinion and they can be reheated. This year the Sugar Cookies were our simple recipe and Mary, Abby and Reagan made them from a Betty Crocker packet. They were so buttery and sweet. Very good!! Once we finish baking our goodies, we split the cookies and take them home. Last year we baked at my house, this year we baked at Mary’s house. We try to alternate if possible.

We have had such a good time getting together that we made an annual event out of it. We even made aprons. We thought of a name for our get together and Maya, my daughter, designed the aprons. The girls were younger when we started it and they got a kick out of our name for our get together! I have known my friend Mary for a long time, we used to work together and we were pregnant with our daughters at the same time. Now those two young ladies are 19!! This year, Reagan made cookbooks for us with our favorite recipes!

We have made so many memories; our daughters have grown so much and are growing up. We enjoy our time together; my daughter Maya and Mary’s daughters Abby and Reagan are both close in age. Maya and Abby are in college and Reagan is in high school. I know we will continue to have our Christmas Cookie get together as long as we can.

If you decide to have your own get together, here are some ideas to help you get started:

  1. Make it fun. This is a time that everyone should look forward to and enjoy.
  2. Keep it simple. If you make things too involved or too time consuming, then you won’t look forward to it as much because it will become more of a chore.
  3. Alternate houses so that the burden isn’t on one person.
  4. Share the expenses. Once you decide on the recipes, you can check your pantry and see what ingredients you have on hand and then discuss who will purchase what ingredients.
  5. We always have lunch while we are together so we cook something. Usually something simple like a Crockpot dish. Last year we had brunch. This year Mary prepared Taco Dip. It was simple and quick!
  6. Bring plastic containers like to transport your cookies home.
  7. Decide on recipes ahead of time for sure! We have improved our process over the years.
  8. Give your special day a name and make or buy aprons.
  9. Take lots of pictures!
  10. Enjoy yourselves and make memories!
  11. Remember, this is something that you can do anytime! It would be so much fun to have a Valentine’s Cookie Extravaganza and make beautiful Valentines Day Cookies! Heart shaped sugar cookies with icing,edible pearls and sprinkles come to mind! 🙂

Here is the recipe for the hot chocolate cookies. They are always a hit! We found the recipe on Pinterest. It is on the Pip and Ebby website. Megan from Pip and Ebby found the recipe in the Everyday with Rachel Ray magazine. The Pip and Ebby website has a ton of great recipes.

If you make these delicious cookies, please leave me a comment and let me know how you liked them! I hope you have a Happy 2018!!!

My Trip To Scottsdale Arizona!!

My Trip To Scottsdale Arizona!!

Hi There! I’m sitting in bed writing this blog post and wishing that I was back in Arizona. It is 47 degrees here. I just looked and it’s 72 degrees in Phoenix. I think I’d rather be in Phoenix. It is also going to be cold and rainy here in North Carolina tomorrow. Ugggg!! I am such a warm weather girl. I don’t like winter. I hibernated all weekend. LOL! I mean I stayed in the house all weekend. I went out once to get gas and to go to the grocery store because I was missing some of the ingredients that I needed for the unstuffed cabbage that I was going to prepare for dinner.

So, why all this talk about Arizona? Let me tell you about my trip! I went to the Phoenix/Scottsdale area in September and I had a fantastic time! I have to admit that I had no desire to go to the desert and experience all that hot weather but I was pleasantly surprised. I really had a great time and enjoyed every moment. I went to Arizona for a business conference but the conference was structured very nicely this time and they gave us plenty of time to explore. I work as an office manager for a periodontal practice and I am a member of AADOM (American Association of Dental Office Managers). It is a wonderful association that I am proud to be part of.  I really had the best of both worlds, I learned so much and I was able to explore a new place! What could be better than that!?

Cyndi Rhonda and I – Team Training

Now, back to the trip. I landed in Arizona and got a ride to the resort. I had the pleasure of staying at the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa. It is located in Scottsdale AZ. I checked in and immediately went outside to explore. It was HOT!! A different kind of hot though, it was not humid like it is in North Carolina. But hot is hot and it was hot! I was so fascinated with the plant life. And, there was no soil! Lol, I know, it’s the desert but it was my first time! I’m a beach kind of girl.  The succulents were beautiful. If you have read my June succulent arrangement blog post, you can tell that I really have taken a liking to succulents and I have planted a few succulent arrangements. The succulents and cacti were huge and so beautiful! You can read about the succulent arrangement that I made here:

succulents, cacti, plants in Arizona,

Beautiful Succulents and Plants at the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa

I was starving so I made my way to the Brittlebush Bar and Grill. It was on the golf course. They had a nice golf apparel store and a beautiful view of the golf course and a pond. There was a patio with mist sprayers also. I sat inside. The service was awesome! My waitress brought me a Prickly Pear Margarita on the house and it was so good! I ordered the cheese steak sliders that she recommended. I had sweet potato fries with my sliders. They were sooooo good! When I finished my meal, my waitress brought me a complimentary dessert, bread pudding with mascarpone cheese and caramel toffee on top. Oh my!! That lunch started my trip off right! I left relaxed and happy. I made my way back to my room but not without stopping to take more pictures of the beautiful plants.

Cheesesteak Sliders, Prickly Pear Margarita and Bread Pudding!

Cacti, Succulents, and Plants Scottsdale Arizona

The resort was beautiful. I have never been so relaxed. There is something about going out of town and just getting away that just totally relaxes you. It’s such a nice feeling. I had dinner with my colleague Cyndi and I met one of her colleagues, Rhonda. We all went to dinner one night and we had the best time. We ate at an Italian restaurant called Marcellino Ristorante in Scottsdale. They had live music and we really enjoyed listening. Oh my goodness! Our food was delicious! Beyond delicious! I had shiitake infused pasta with shitake mushrooms, lobster, lemon white wine sauce and white truffle oil. I know sounds divine, doesn’t it?! It was divine. Rhonda and Cyndi enjoyed their meals as well and we left happy. The service was very good. I would love to go back. We walked around and shopped after we ate. We laughed and had a great time.

I wanted to go to the pool but I had forgotten my swimsuit cover-up. When we had a lunch break, I took the hotel shuttle across the street to shop for a cover-up. I went to a lovely store called Everything But Water. I met Erica and Beth and they were so helpful and nice. I had such a nice experience and we laughed and had great conversation. They helped me pick out a cover-up and I love it! I actually didn’t have time to go to the pool during my trip so I didn’t get to wear my swimsuit cover-up. I went to the beach later in September with my hubby and I wore my cover-up. I got three compliments! It’s very soft and flattering. I love the color! Here is a picture of me on the beach (Pawley’s Island, SC) wearing my cover-up. Once again, I’m so relaxed and happy. Vacations and trips do that to me.

Everything But Water, swimsuit cover up

Swimsuit Cover-Up. Everything But Water

Swimsuit cover-up from Everything But Water

Swimsuit Cover-up from Everything But Water


I did not get to see the Grand Canyon, it was about three hours away from where I was staying and there just wasn’t time. I went to a Butterfly Museum and I really enjoyed that. I love taking pictures of butterflies so this was right up my alley! I saw some of the most beautiful butterflies and it was nice to see that butterflies come from a chrysalis that doesn’t look the same. I saw some that were silver, gold, bright green, had spots and all sorts of colors! I love this picture of butterflies in a dish eating together.

Butterflies eating

Butterflies Eating


I went on on a desert tour! I once again have to be honest. I didn’t want to go on a tour of the desert. I am really afraid of snakes. I was content to stay at the resort but my friend and colleague Cindy kept harassing me J I finally agreed to go on the next to the last day and I am very happy that I did. It was really the best experience. We had the best tour guide, Jake. He was just the nicest man and he had so much knowledge. We took some beautiful sunset pictures in the Sonoran Desert and I’ll never forget it.

Sonoran Desert Tour with Jake

Sonoran Desert Tour with Jake

Cyndi taking a picture of Brie taking a picture of me

Beautiful sunset in the Sonoran Desert

Sonoran Desert Sunset

I love making memories and there were some very good memories made in Arizona. I would definitely go back. I could tell you more about my trip but this post would be so long. You would get tired of reading! I shared the highlights.That just proves that you really don’t know what to expect until you try something. I really wasn’t excited about going to the conference in Arizona and I ended up making new friends, meeting new colleagues, making wonderful memories and experiencing something new. I can’t wait to do it again!

Until next time ya’ll. Go make some memories!


Painting Party At Pinot’s Pallet!

Painting Party At Pinot’s Pallet!

Hi Friends! I was recently invited to Pinot’s Palet for a painting party. I had a wonderful time! Paul the owner was so nice and our teacher was so nice and patient! **I was not paid for this blog post however, I was allowed to paint for free as a guest of Chelsea’s**.

I drove to Apex for the party and I didn’t have any trouble at all finding Pinot’s Palette. I got there and was welcomed with lots of smiles. Chelsea Vanderpool, a fellow TriFabb blogging group member invited me. I was happy to meet her in person! I received an apron to wear to protect my clothes and I ordered a glass of Moscato. It was so refreshing and I enjoyed sipping my wine as I painted. Paul, the owner, and Denise, our teacher were so nice in making sure that we had everything we needed whether it be wine, snacks or more food. Denise gave us an overview of what we would be doing and we proceeded to paint our pictures step by step with her guidance. It was so much fun!

You can purchase refreshments and snacks. Wine served by the glass.

Paul the owner was so nice!

Thanks for the invite Chelsea!

Here you can see my vase taking shape. We followed our teacher, talked, laughed and had a break every now and then. Next, we added the flowers and then the leaves. I like the fact that this was a free-flowing picture and not too structured. At first, things didn’t look like they would take any sort of shape and then our teacher would have us do the next step and whoa! Our pictures started to take shape and pop! Everyone did such a great job on their pictures. Every picture turned out good!! I was so relaxed and happy and I couldn’t wait to show my family my picture!! They were very impressed!!

My vase

Coming along nicely!

Everyone’s painting

We had a great teacher

I highly recommend Pinot’s Palette. The people are nice and the classes are so much fun. When we took a break, Paul took me on a tour. They have a glow in the dark room! It was so neat to see the pictures glowing! You can book that room for parties and team events or even a night out with the girls! Pinot’s Palette is great for date night, my husband and I will have to go there soon. I loved the gallery walls that showed examples of pictures you could paint. The artwork there is beautiful! Here are some of my favorites:

Glow in the dark painting!

Glow in the dark art!

Sample art

Three ladies. Sample art. I love this one!

I love my painting!

I will definitely go back. I might even try glow in the dark painting!

Enjoy your day today and go do something fun!

Deck Makeover On A Budget. DIY Deck Furniture Project

Deck Makeover On A Budget. DIY Deck Furniture Project

Hello Friends! I am excited to share my deck makeover with you. This is a deck makeover on a budget! I have been preparing to makeover my desk/work table but I had to switch gears. Friends of ours were so kind and gave us their deck furniture. We are so grateful to our friends for giving us their deck and patio furniture. What a blessing they are to us!  The set consists of a loveseat, one chair, coffee table and a side table. It is made out of wood and it just needed a little love. I knew that I wanted to go from the reddish brown stained wood to a white washed sort of distressed beachy look. I went to Ace Hardware (this is not a sponsored post) and asked about chalk paint. A very nice manager there helped me pick out some paint. He assured me that I would love it. He said that customers have been very happy with it. When I went to the counter to pay for my items, the cashier said that she had painted several pieces with the paint and that she was very pleased with it. I wanted to try chalk paint and I have been reading about it and watching videos on YouTube about it for awhile now. The manager told me that the person who makes the paint recommends that you clean the furniture with Greased Lighting first.  My son helped me clean the furniture. Once we cleaned and rinsed the furniture, we let it dry. It was a hot day so it didn’t take long.

Here is a picture of our old deck furniture:

Our old deck furniture.

We moved to our house three years ago and we got rid of a lot of the things that we had. We kept our metal gliding love seat but gave the matching table and chairs away. We really needed to have the table welded and decided that we would get new furniture instead. Our Pod was full and we couldn’t pack another thing. We had so much stuff after being in our other house for eighteen years. It seemed like the more we packed the more stuff we had left to pack! I don’t miss most of the stuff that we gave away or trashed. There are some items that I wish I had kept but just a few. Well, you know the quote; the best-laid plans….. We planned to buy new furniture for the deck and have the deck screened in but college tuition for two kids put a halt to those plans. I was also focusing on the inside of the house because of course, I wanted to change the furniture and décor. So, we just used what we had on the deck and that has worked fine. Until my kind friends asked if we wanted their deck and patio furniture. They are actually giving me their patio table after they build their own table. I already have the six chairs. They are made of metal so I will be able to clean them and wax them and they will look like new. Once we get the table, I will wax it and then show you the makeover before and after pictures but that is another post. Now, back to the deck furniture.

Here is a list of the materials I used:

  • Amy Howard At Home One Step Paint from Ace Hardware (Color-Bauhaus Buff)
  • Greased Lightning Spray Cleaner
  • Paint Brushes – I bought the ones that Amy Howard recommended.
  • Plastic Drop Cloth

Deck Furniture Before We Painted It

We cleaned the furniture and let it dry, and then we painted the furniture with the Amy Howard paint. We only used one coat and like the people at Ace Hardware said, a little goes a long way. I still have paint left. I only painted one coat and I did not buy or use wax because I read that waxing outdoor furniture could cause the paint to bubble up. I do not know if that is true or not but I did not want to take any chances. I wanted the brown color of the wood to show through so one coat is all I needed. I like the distressed look. I think it looks beachy and very pretty. The paint not only goes a long way but it dries very fast. It did not have much of an odor either. My son and I were outside painting and sweating the first day because it was very hot and humid. The next day was cool and sunny and beautiful. We had two more pieces to paint. We got the last two pieces of furniture painted pretty quickly and we were done. By the evening, we were able to put the cushions that we had cleaned back on the furniture. It was a cool, sunny beautiful evening and we were able to sit and enjoy the furniture. It was so nice and it totally changed the look of the deck.

I found three beautiful lanterns at Pier One. They were on sale! I had a hard time finding a rug. I ordered one online which I never do and it did not look good at all. We went to At Home and at first, we didn’t really see anything. It is the end of the season and most of their rugs were gone. We went to look at the indoor rugs and then we circled back around to the outdoor rugs again. My son told my daughter and me to wait and he disappeared under the first shelf!! I thought what in the world is he doing?? Well, he emerged with an aquamarine rug! I could not believe it! He later said that something told him to go under the shelves and that if someone wanted to hide something that’s where it would be.  Well, he hit the jackpot! At first, I was a little doubtful as to whether or not I wanted it because the designs were off white instead of white. My son and daughter thought I should try it and I decided that they were right. Well, guess what?! When we got to the register, the cashier informed me that the rug was on sale for 50% off!!! I was so happy and I said “now I know I’m getting it! I will make it work!” The cashier thought I was funny. Glad I could make someone smile! J We got the rug home and it looks very nice! It matches the lanterns and the rug has the same design that two of the lanterns have. The rug that I ordered online that didn’t work was $110.00. The rug that we like was on sale for $39.99. That’s my kind of deal!

I plan to get wall art to hang up and I also plan to try to find another chair. Next hubby has to stain the deck again and then we hopefully will get it screened in.

Even though it is not screened in, we have enjoyed it so much more with the furniture and atmosphere that we have created. It’s relaxing. The first evening we sat outside after dinner and when it got dark, we ate ice cream sundaes and lit the lanterns. It was cool that evening and a nice breeze was blowing. It was so nice. I’m glad that we were able to complete the deck makeover on a budget. That makes it all the better!

Until next time!


Abstract Art Inspiration

Abstract Art Inspiration

Hi There! I can’t wait to tell you about the abstract art that I painted! I have been so busy making lists of the projects I want to start and the things I want to talk to you about.  I want to share some abstract art inspiration with you. I hope this will motivate you to try something new if you have never painted. Painting is a great way to express your creativity! All you need is a few paint brushes, a canvas, some paint, gesso and a little creativity.

I was inspired to paint the picture after seeing an artist’s work on Instagram. The picture that I saw matched my living room perfectly!! However, I could not afford to buy the artist’s painting. I have two children in college and whatever I do needs to be done on a budget. Believe me, I would if I could!! I wondered if I could create something of my own and my son encouraged me to try. I have to tell you that I am not artistic in that way. I have taken one Bob Ross class and the instructor basically painted the picture for me. It’s a step by step type of thing and I could never recreate the painting that I left with. I am creative and crafty. I make jewelry, crochet and can do other creative things but I really am not a painter. I cannot draw at all! My three children can but they get that from their father. This is why I am so excited to tell you about the abstract painting that I made!!!! I am an artist!! Well sort of lol! 🙂

My Abstract Painting

My Jewelry Studio/Office. It is a work in progress!

I went to Michaels and the canvases were actually on sale!! Some of the brushes were on sale also. I bought some paint, gesso and modeling paste from the paint department. I had a coupon also and that came in handy. I went to Wal-Mart and purchased more paint the next day because I needed more colors. I made my first two paintings and tried to get the same blended soft look as the artist whose work I admired but they turned out awful!!! My children had to break it to me that they weren’t very good. I knew it anyway. That’s when I realized that just because the art was abstract did not mean that it was easy to make. I thought it would be easier. I had two canvases so I stayed up late that night and I let my creative juices flow. I painted another picture and it was awful but maybe a little better. Maybe a little. Well, I thought that I might give up but I decided to paint one of the canvases with gesso. Then I put some modeling paste on with a spackle knife that I bought at Michaels; just the cheap plastic kind. I had texted two of my artist friends the day before to ask them how they thought I could get a similar soft effect like the artist that I admired. They told me how they thought I could achieve the look. I also watched some YouTube videos of people painting abstract art. I tried again and the painting wasn’t so good but I had the other canvas that I had prepared. I started to paint. My son watched me and coached me a little… he even let me use his sponges. Oh ya’ll, this picture turned out great!!! I was so excited and I proudly signed my picture once it dried!  When my husband got home that evening, I showed him and I was beaming with pride. He hung it in my Jewelry Studio/Office. I just love it! I made a YouTube video about it. Click here to watch it.

If I can paint, so can you. I just had to try a few times. I am most proud of the fact that I didn’t give up. I am enjoying experimenting with ways to express my creativity and that makes me happy. Next, I want to paint a large canvas for my kitchen or living room. Hubby isn’t so sure about that. LOL! There is a picture that I bought for the living room and he loves that picture. But, I’ve decided that it doesn’t go so well with the room. He will not want me to take it down. I’ll have to work on him. (Wink wink) 🙂

Until next time. Do something creative!

Talk to you soon 🙂

How to Plant a Succulent Arrangement

How to Plant a Succulent Arrangement

Hi Friends! I made a succulent arrangement for my deck! I am so happy and proud to say that I have made my first YouTube video! I’m a little scared too! Yikes! It isn’t easy putting yourself out there for everyone to see. The video shows how I made the succulent arrangement. I made it about a month ago and it took me awhile to upload it to YouTube. My daughter Maya, who is home from her first year of college (whoop! whoop!) gave me an editing lesson and I see that I have so much to learn! She did a wonderful job. Thanks Maya!! Now I just have to practice.

Succulent Arrangement With Sand

Succulent Arrangement

There is so much to learn! I would like to say that I have such an appreciation for all the people that take the time to make videos. Anyone that takes the time and makes the effort to be creative with a video, teach something and entertain us has my respect!! This is not easy and there is so much to it. My video is simple and I think they will be that way for a while lol! It will be interesting to look back in a year and see how I have grown and how things have improved. I thought blogging and the technical aspects of blogging were hard! It’s all hard so I must say that you have to love it. I am enjoying the journey and I love exploring new and exciting ways to express my creativity.

In the video, I show you how to make a succulent arrangement and I use sand and aquarium gravel. It turned out really pretty and I have it on a table on my deck.  Here is a list of materials that you will need:


  • Succulent or Cactus potting soil (I used Miracle Grow).
  • Sand, use any color you like. I used white sand and I purchased it from the pet department at Walmart.
  • Aquarium Gravel, I used black but you can use any color. This was also from the pet department at Walmart.
  • Activated Charcoal, this was also in the pet department at Walmart. (I spent a lot of time at Walmart! J
  • Pick out the plants that you like. After searching around, I found a good variety at my local Walmart. I purchased a Hen and Chicks plant at Lowe’s but it turned out to be too big for my arrangement so I placed it in a pot with some flowers and it is doing well.

To make the arrangement, I placed activated charcoal in the bottom of my container. Then, I placed the soil on top leaving room to plant my succulents. I played around the arrangement of succulents until I liked what I saw. Next, I put more soil around the plants. After I was sure I liked the arrangement and had enough soil, I brushed the soil off of the leaves of the plants. It was time to place the sand on top of the soil. I put white sand on top of the soil and lastly, I put black aquarium gravel in the places that I wanted gravel. It turned out really pretty and it is doing quite well.

Water your arrangement once every two weeks. I purchased a soil moisture meter from Lowe’s for about $10.00. You don’t have to have a moisture meter; I just thought it would be helpful for me to have one. I have a lot of plants in my house and I am really starting to take an interest in succulents.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this blog post about making a succulent arrangement and I hope you will watch and enjoy the video! If you like what you see, please like, share and subscribe to my new YouTube channel, Angela-Monica. Here is the link to the video:

If you make an arrangement, I would love to hear from you! Until next time! Be creative, be happy and be you!

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