December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Merry Christmas, friends.

Time to enjoy

good food,

the grand gift of giving

and, of course,


Enjoy it all.

See you next week.

As always,

for visiting, commenting,
inspiring and encouraging me.

I am the luckiest ever.

December 23, 2010

Leaping for Joy!

Leaping through this season with love and laughter,

Simply Brookes

Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

As always,

for visiting.

December 17, 2010

An Anniversary Tradition

It started in 1993.
It was our one year wedding anniversary.

I was happy, in love and giddy that
I was a Mrs. for one full year already.

Unbeknownst to me,
Mr. Brookes would start a tradition
that would last our marriage and fill our Christmas tree
with sparkle, class and sentiment.

He gave me a dated Waterford Chrystal Ornament on our
first year anniversary and has every year since.

This is the very ornament he gave to me
that first year as a married couple.
If you look closely above you can see the
etched date: 1993.

Each year he picks out another.
Always has a date on it.

He told me way back when,
"Hon, and when we've been married 25 years,
we can have a tree with just our anniversary ornaments."


I still am amazed my guy thought of this very
meaningful gift giving idea.

Love it.

Who's a lucky girl?


Here are just a few more.

This was the year we became and mom and a dad.
How fitting...

Too bad that the beautiful ornament he gave me this year,
you know, just 3 days ago, shattered into a kazillion pieces 5 minutes after
I put it on the tree front and center.

I'm just sick.

Headed to Macy's for another and perhaps a sob story.

Thank you for letting me share my little anniversary tradition with you.

Tell me what traditions you have in your marriage that have
lasted over time...

And as always,

for visiting.

December 15, 2010

Doggie Sick

Doggie Sick

Post will have to wait

December 14, 2010


How is is that I am celebrating 18 years of marriage?

Somehow I just don't feel old enough.

I guess it's true what they say.

Time does fly when you are having fun.
And at this point, I'm just thankful
the man still floats my boat.


I think everyone goes into marriage with high hopes,
but never know.
You never know if you are going to grow together,
give together, try together.
Be as committed as you need to be.
Be as forgiving and humble as you need to be.

Anyone who's been married for 18 years knows,
it's not always easy.
There are compromises involved and lessons in life involved.

Like I said, it's not easy.

I will tell you what I DO know though,

I know my man makes me a better woman.
My man shows me daily the wonderful life we've created.
He shows me what it looks like to forgive,
and be forgiven.
He shows me patience and support.
He shows me sacrifice and commitment.
He shows me pride in God, marriage, our country and our family.
He shows me deep deep love from a hardworking quiet guy.

I feel proud when I tell people I've been married for 18 years.

I also feel proud to tell people that I not only love my husband,
after 18 years, but I like him. He's still very much my buddy.

I love you, honey.

Tell me your thoughts on marriage,
anniversary's and celebrating them?

Tomorrow I'm going to tell you what my husband get me
each and every year on our anniversary.
I think you might like it.

As always,

for visiting.

December 13, 2010

Holiday Cookie Exchange/Ornament Auction...In Six Simple Steps

lIt was a long time tradition
for the gals in the San Diego hood to have
our long time standing,
Christmas Cookie Exchange/
Ornament Auction.

Well, I wasn't in my San Diego hood anymore.

What's a girl to do?

Bring it to the East Coast, of course.

So I had to get to work...

Step 1:

I opened my calendar,
picked a morning when the kiddos were still at school
and set the date.

Headed to the invitation department at

Here is one evite I could have used.
There are plenty of options to chose from.

I couldn't forget to let my peeps know their duties:

"Come with 5 dozen holiday cookies,
as well as one wrapped Christmas ornament"


Now ready for
Step 2:

I decked out my dining room table.
See this post...

Step 3:
Get my cookies ready.

Yes, that's 5 dozen.
These are my fave cookies.
Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
Recipe found here...

This is what the table looked like when all the
yummy cookies where ready to exchange.

This is us in full cookie "exchange" mode

Step 4:
Prep a simple menu
(remember we set our date mid-day sans kids)

Here was the brunchy menu

Blackberry French Toast Casserole
(thanks, Kristy!)

Sausage Egg Casserole
(thanks, Lynne!)

Fresh fruit

Sparkling Cider
Orange Juice
Cucumber Water


Step 5:
Set a place for those
Chinese Auction Ornaments

Simple Chinese Auction Rules:
3 possesions
then FROZEN!

Possession 1: Open gift
Possession 2: Stolen
Possession 3: Stolen, now Frozen!

Step 6:
Open up your home and your heart...
let the festivities begin.

Great friends.
Great fun.

Tell me how YOU celebrate friends each holiday season.
Any yearly traditions?

As always,

for visiting.