My husband and I would love to whisk our family off on a wonderful 5 star vacation, but with another child to put through college and the restraints of our adult children’s own work schedules it was simply not possible this year.  So we, along with our kids, decided that a staycation was the way to go.  Everyone would come stay at our house for a weekend and we’d have a our own little makeshift vacation.  I originally wanted to do it in the summer, but before we knew it our summer was over and the first fall weekend our schedules would allow for an entire weekend with all of us together was in November.

So when the weekend finally arrived I got the guest rooms ready….


One for  Ryan and Katie…


And one for Daniel and Melissa….


I decided to have fun with it and put a welcome basket in each of their rooms with a couple of small bottles of wine, some wine glasses……


And a little notecard…..


Just for a little fun.Smile


(And I made a basket with water instead of wine for Alyssa, who’s only 18.)


For dinner the first night I set my table up for a buffet style meal……


And dressed it up so it would look a bit like a restaurant buffet for a pizza and salad bar.


Then laid out all the fixins


I placed the weekend itinerary on the center of the table….


As well as instructions for the pizza bar…


After each pizza was personally “decorated” each family member took a parchment paper flag (that I had pre-cut earlier)  and wrote their initials on it, then marked their slice by adhering it with a toothpick so we could bake them all together.  That way there was no wondering who’s pizza was who’s.


I had the salad bar instructions on the table as well (not that I needed it)…




The nice thing about a Pizza/Salad Bar is that most of the toppings could be used for both the pizza and the salad…….the perfect Martin family meal.


For dessert I decided we’d have a DIY Martini cake contest.


Each “kid” would create their own martini cake and decorate it with their own unique style….


They chose their own food coloring for the batter and also for the icing….


I admit this was something the girl’s were more interested in doing than the boys, but they were sweet and humored  me…..


They played along.


Turns out they actually had a little fun with it…


And they made some very impressive martini cakes!  (Find the recipe here)


I wanted to create a little game room of sorts in the garage and since I don’t have a ping pong table I bought a portable table tennis set and created one myself.


This is the table top I use on top of my marble dining room table when I need to expand it which is simply two pieces of hinged particle boards.  We keep it stored in the garage so it came in very handy for a ping pong table.  It was even regulation length – just a little more narrow.  But, it worked like a charm.


We all played, but Ryan remained the overall winner and we (I) dubbed him the King Kong of Ping Pong. Smile


I also bought this three game set…..


And set up the bean bag toss – and, we just sort of hung out and had some no frills fun in our garage turned game room….


Even our youngest little Martin man hung out…..


Then it was time for the big “treasure hunt”.


This is a fun little game my own kids grew up doing every Easter and Christmas.  I write out clues and they have to follow the clues to the grand prize.  Since this was my granddaughter, Kaisley’s (aka KK), first “hunt” I explained the game to her…..



And, the hunt was on….


The first clue led to her bookshelves……


Then the back of her rocking chair…..



Which lead her to one of my pumpkins……


And, finally the grand prize – her goody bag. One for her…..


And, one for her baby brother, Elijah.


Once the kids were snuggled up in bed…..


It was time for the adult treasure hunt…..


The funny thing is…..even as adults they still have fun with this long standing Martin tradition….


They took turns reading the clues until they made their way to the big surprise….


Their “grand prize” was individual envelopes of money for each one of them.  The only rule was they all had to go shopping together on Saturday and all the money had to be spent on something fun for them not for anyone else.  (Mimi and Doogie would babysit the grandkiddo’s and take them to the park to feed the ducks between naps)

  After shopping it was church together, then dinner (Pasta Fagioli by Doogie) – which we’ve nicknamed Pasta Fa-Doogie – and, lastly a movie.  (An oldie, but goodie by the way – “Spy Games” with Robert Redford and Brad PittGreat flick!) Dessert was Cookies & Cream ice cream with chocolate syrup.


The next morning we had a piñata for Kaisley…..



Which required a little help from Daddy and Doogie.



And, although she was happy with the goodies that poured out of it….she was none too happy she wasn’t allowed to eat it all at that moment.


Next it was time to bury our family time capsule….yes, a time capsule.

doogie and i

Inside the capsule I put a picture of Doogie and I…..

family photo

And a picture of our kids and grandkids. 


I typed up a little “document” with our names, the year, some current events and a little bit about our family.  We each signed it – including KK.  Then I rolled it all up with our pictures and put it in a jar…..


And then in this plastic container.  At Ryan’s suggestion I taped it up with red duct tape and marked it so that if someone comes across it years and years from now they won’t mistake it for trash and just throw it away.


We pitched in and took turns digging the hole….



Had a little “photo op” as a record of the event……(early in the morning before makeup… don’t judge us!)


Then Doug (Doogie) buried it.


Hopefully it won’t be discovered for twenty to thirty years or more!  Regardless… was just a fun little adventure…..


As was the rest of the weekend.  It wasn’t lavish, just simple fun….


We hung out…..


Had lots of laughs….


Enjoyed some family bonding….



And, ultimately isn’t that what it’s all about?


We weren’t on a beach somewhere…..or at a mountain chalet……but, fortunately for Doug and I our family doesn’t require all that to enjoy each other’s company and have fun…..


We just enjoy being together….no matter where we are!

And, they’ve all announced they want to do the staycation weekend at least once a year now.  And, that makes this little Mimi very happy!

Happy Family-Time….


Happy Decorating!!!

Prom Time Prep!


An eventful spring to say the least with all the wedding prep for my son and his fiancé, but also for my daughter who is a senior in high school this year.  Lots and lots of “last times” and one of them was the prom.  Last year I set up my bathroom so she and her friends could get ready “in style” and decided busy or not, I was doing it again this year. 


Alyssa had several friends coming back this year to get ready together for the big event and I wanted them each to feel pampered and special.  So I made them each their own tray with cloth napkins, fruit, cheese, deli meat and crackers.  The crème-de la-crème was the Fresca in the wine glasses with a little orange slice added for color.


Each girl had their own and I brought up a platter of meat and cheese and a bowl of fruit for them to replenish as often as needed. 


One by one they started arriving….all in t-shirts and shorts for the “make up and hair” experience.


My daughter, Alyssa, who has amazing hair (she’s the one giving me the snarly face for snapping this picture) literally worked on her hair for five hours.  No exaggeration.  She changed it up five or six times till she landed on the right one.  Between you and me it looked great the first time…..flowing down like this in waves.  But, like most teenage girls my opinion wasn’t the one that mattered….not for something as important as prom.  Here she is with Natalie, friends since kindergarten.



Long time friend, Jaime, there for the event, too.  They became friends in the seventh grade.


(Here you see after my daughter curled her hair, she then decided to straighten it!)


For the overflow of girls I set up a table in my bedroom with mirrors and trays, too.  I could only fit four in the bathroom comfortably.


And it worked like a charm for Jordan and Sydney, friends of Alyssa’s since the seventh grade. 



Finally ready she gets a hug from her proud dad.


All dolled up and ready for the special night.


Such beautiful girls…..such a special memory.  And, yes, in case you didn’t notice the final hair do – after curling it, then straightening, then curling it again she ended up wearing back in a loose pony tail!  Go figure!

But, such is the life a teenage girl.  Sweet, sweet memories.

Happy Decorating!


Cupcake Cocktails: Easy, Cute And Yummy!


If you saw my blog post here you saw the pictures and reference to the cupcake cocktails I got from the queen of all things cupcake…….that were so cute.    (If you haven’t already checked out her blog you need to make it a point to do so.)   After doing the post I got motivated and decided to make them myself for a small New Years Eve gathering with a couple of friends.  They were super easy and they turned out great.  And, yes, the saying “If I can do this anybody can do this” holds very true.


You just use a simple boxed cake mix – preferably white, but all I had on hand was yellow so I used that instead.


You mix it up per the directions in the box and then add a little food coloring to create whatever color of “cocktails” you want.  I split mine into three bowls and added three different food colorings:  green, orange and yellow.


Then you pour them directly into your martini glasses (after you grease and flour them) just like you normally would a cupcake tin. Place the filled glasses on a baking sheet and place the baking sheet in the oven.  Yes, the glasses can go right in the oven!


Next take your ready made icing of choice and add the food coloring just like you did with the batter.




When the cupcakes are done wet the rim of the glass and dip into the sugar or sprinkles of your choice.  (Normally your glass would have the baked cupcake in it – I just forgot to take a picture of that part.)


Then they’ll look something like this.


Top them with the colored icing and decorate each one with whatever sprinkles, candy, etc. you have on hand.


And, voila’!  Here’s what you end up with……cute, huh?!



I’m not much of a baker so I was quite proud of my cocktail cupcakes thanks to Hoozier Homemade.  (I actually added my own touch later by cutting Twizzlers in half and inserting them in each one to look like straws.  It was very cute, but I didn’t get a picture. Grrrr!)


My granddaughter, who partied with us for a while, thought they were quite cute and tasty!


She was there to celebrate and preferred everyone have on some sort of ears or headband.  Our sweet friends obliged her request with fervor.  Cute, Steve!


Earlier, when the kids dropped off our granddaughter, we were given strict orders to have her in bed at a decent hour since she missed her nap.  So we thought it would be funny to freak them out by sending these pictures to them at midnight!


But, of course, we actually took them at 7:45p right before we put her down to bed. (Sorry for the lack of quality in these pictures.  My husband used his cellphone.) We just waited till midnight to send them the pictures to give them a little scare! And scare them we did. Too funny!  (I know….a little mean….but you have to admit it’s kind of funny.)

Cupcake cocktails, grandbabies and good friends…….I’d say that’s a very good way to ring in the New Year!

Happy Decorating!!!

Tips For Your Next Pre-Rapture/Wedding Celebration


Okay, so I know we all had a good laugh and lot’s of fun with the whole rapture prediction.  A few of my friends were getting together for cocktails before attending a wedding for a dear friend of ours daughter so we decided to combine the pre-wedding moment with the pre-rapture moment.  It made for a great theme actually so if you’re looking for tips for your own pre-rapture party at the next crazy “prediction” here you go.


First Becky made these fabulous cranberry/raspberry martinis that we newly named our very own: Rap-itinis  May I just say they were FABULOUS!


And, what’s a pre-rapture party without – you guessed it – rappetizers!  Kathy brought basil homegrown from her own garden, fresh tomatoes and goat cheese.  She layered them on slices of baguettes.  They were to die for… pun intended.


So once the designated doomsday time – 6:00p – came and went we had a toast.




Happy that we still had a wedding to attend and that the young bride and groom would soon be able to tie the knot instead of dealing with the end of the world.  

Happy Decorating!


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