Wednesday, December 28, 2011

When You Get Right Down To It, I'm A Strange Girl

Now that we're past Christmas, I will be taking a crafting hiatus.  Only for about a week though... I'll get itchy if it's any longer than that.

But, I must blog.  Even if I'm not crafting, I must blog.  It's an addiction at this point.  Here's some weird stuff about me that you most likely did not know.  And you might not want to know.

1.  I time myself doing things sometimes.  Like, how long it takes me to make a peanut butter sandwich.  I don't race through it though... I really just like to know how long it takes me to do stuff.  I know... strange.

2. I love watching TV, but crafting invades the activity. For example, I was watching an episode of "The Walking Dead" and they were hunting for these zombies and they crawled over pallets and I listed four things I could have used those pallets for. My husband felt my head for fever.

3. I don't care for the saying "Say what you mean and mean what you say." I don't know why, I just don't like it.

4. I find the children's cartoon "Phineas and Ferb" immensely funny.

5. I wear socks when I sleep.  I've been informed that this is something I'm not supposed to be doing.

6. Sometimes I wake up with one sock off with no recollection of how that came to be.  My most likely guess is sock-swiping gnomes.

7. I don't like saying the words 'matchy-matchy' but I enjoy when other people say it.

8.  Symmetry is extremely important to me.  If there aren't an even number of things or something is asymmetrical, I break out in hives.

9.  I am a compulsive list-maker.  On most of my lists, I've even listed that I need to make more lists.

10.  I am a video game master.  Whatever the game is, I'm terrific at it.  In high school, the boys I dated would eventually refuse to play video games with me because they never won. Sore losers.

I post these strange facts because I know that there are strange things about all of us... leave me a comment with a weird fact about yourself so I don't feel so alone!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

25 Days of Christmas - Sigh of Relief.

The wrapping and unwrapping are done. The cooking and baking and eating (nevermind the cookie in my mouth) are done. The family visit is over and I'm exhausted.

I'm going to spend some time with my husband and kids, breaking in the Christmas toys and gadgets that Santa left for us. I will digest the sixteen meals I think I ate today beneath the glow of Christmas lights. I hope your Christmas was as wonderful as mine was. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

25 Days of Christmas - Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve.  I fully expect that no one is reading this because you're all with your families and counting down the hours until Christmas.  I really hope that's where you all are...

I am knee-deep in flour and sugar.  I have been baking since dawn.  My eyes will no longer shut on their own and are requiring assistance from my fingers which have gone on strike since I rolled eleventy thousand pinwheel appetizers and eleventy billion peanut butter balls.

I can no longer feel my feet.  There is a sharp pain in my back that is either a slipped disc or the onset of osteoarthritis.  My knees have turned a shade of blue not normally seen in nature.  It's possible that I'm bleeding from my ears after the Jim Nabors Christmas music that mysteriously appeared on my iPod.  Because of the finger strike, I couldn't turn it off.

I have cried seven times, six of them because of a Hallmark commercial and once when I realized I still had five recipes to make by dinnertime.

Please enjoy your Christmas Eve.  Sip some warm cocoa by the fire and watch "It's A Wonderful Life".  At the end of the movie, when George's brother calls him the richest man in town, I weep like a child.  Much like the weeping I am doing now.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

25 Days of Christmas - Strawberry Pretzel Salad

I would like to go on record as saying that I think this dessert is great for summer. It's served cold and it has strawberries in it... that's really all it takes quite frankly. So why is this a Christmas-time dessert for our family?

Because it's red. My mother always made it at Christmas because it's red. *exasperated sigh*

This is a simple recipe but it has a few steps. You'll need the following ingredients:

1 1/2 cups of crushed pretzels
4 1/2 tblsp white sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup white sugar
16 oz cream cheese
1 envelope of dream whip, prepared as directed
6 oz package of strawberry jello
2 cups boiling water
16 oz frozen strawberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Crush up some pretzels to make 1 1/2 cups. You can choose any method you like, I myself am a fan of putting them in a plastic bag and beating the crap out of them with a rolling pin, but that's just me.

 Pour the crushed pretzels into a bowl and add the 4 1/2 tblsp of sugar...
And then mix in the melted butter.
Once it's mixed well, pour it into the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan and press it down firmly.
Spread it evenly on the pan and bake it for 10 minutes.  Once you're done with that step, let it cool completely before moving on.

Once it's cooled, prepare your Dream Whip...
And in a different mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and cup of sugar together until they're well blended.  I let the cream cheese soften a bit because it makes for a better texture in the finished product.
Fold in the dream whip...

This stuff is amazing all by itself.  I'm going to make something where this is the main ingredient.  It will be my legacy to the world.

Pour it on top of your cooled pretzel concoction and spread it around.

Put it in the fridge to set up a bit... leave it in there for about a half an hour or so.

After some time has passed, boil your 2 cups of water.
Add your jello and turn off the heat, mixing it until it's dissolved...
Add the frozen strawberries and mix them in...
Once they're mixed in, let them sit for a few minutes until the mixture is cool.  We have to spoon this on top of the cream cheese mixture and if it's hot, the mixture with separate and look sad.  Once it's cool, take your pan out of the refrigerator and spoon the jello and strawberries over the top.

Let this chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour or until the jello is set.
I may or may not have eaten this piece. But I definitely did.  It was yummy.  Enjoy your summer in December dessert!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

25 Days of Christmas - Faux Baking

So, I have to start off by saying that this post should have been up earlier this morning. I had to go to the store and expected to be in and out in under an hour, leaving me plenty of time for leisure and lunch with the governor before my 2 o'clock tee time.

I was in that store for three hours.

THREE. HOURS. Sweet Moses.

Since the 'guv' (as his close friends call him) will have to wait and tee time is cancelled since I actually don't golf, I decided to do some baking to make the house smell all pretty.

I forgot half the baking ingredients while I was in the store. FOR THREE HOURS. IF YOU THINK I'M GOING BACK THERE, YOU'RE OUTTA YOUR MIND.

Instead, I'm going to make the house smell like I've been baking without all the work. I sliced up an apple...
These pictures have not been edited because I was in the store for three hours and have lost my will to live.

I grabbed my cinnamon extract...
I didn't even have the strength to rotate this one.

And I put the apples into a pan with some water.  I have a pan that I only use for potpourri because I don't want my soup to taste like cinnamon.
I poured in some cinnamon extract (about a tablespoon I think)...
I boiled it for a minute or so and then set it to simmer... mmmm, it smells yummy in here. After the morning I've had, I need some aromatherapy.

You could use cinnamon sticks for this but I didn't have any.  And I already told you, I'm not going back out there.  I'm a big peppermint fan around the holidays, so some peppermint and vanilla in a pan would be great too.  And it was all in my cupboard!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

25 Days of Christmas - Christmas Cookies

I have to start this post by telling you that this was supposed to be yesterday's post.  I had planned to bake cookies with the kids on Sunday, so I would have a Christmas cookie post to start out the week.  And then our house was hit with a plague the likes of which we've never known.

I was in bed all day Sunday with chills.  I couldn't sleep.  I was miserable.  I told my husband that we most likely contracted some tropical parasite except we never go anywhere.  The parasite would actually have to be vacationing in our house in order for us to get it and as far as I know, we aren't a hot tourist spot.

Moving on, I was feeling better yesterday, so the kids and I celebrated that I survived my vacationing parasite by making cookies.
Jonathan rolled them out.  Yes, he's still in his jammies.  It's Christmas break.  To be frank with you, I was still in my jammies, too.  No judgment.
He cut them out, too.  This is the same recipe we used here, so simple and basic but tasty.
Noah woke up from his nap cranky until he found out that cookies were in the works.
Noah laid out all the cookies for frosting.  I was very surprised that they all ended up on the wax paper and not in his mouth.
I frosted and they sprinkled.  Jonathan told me a story about what happened to him in school last week and Noah just kept saying "oh for goodness sake".  I don't know why, but the whole thing was very cute.
Tell me that you've made some cookies with the kids this year.  Tell me that you enjoyed it.  Tell me that your kitchen looks like a war was waged between pastry chefs just like mine.

Monday, December 19, 2011

25 Days of Christmas - Make Your Own Gift Bag

So, it's cold outside. Also, I'm cranky. I need a gift bag for a present but I'm not going out there. And you can't make me.

I'm going to make my own gift bag. And it's going to be awesome. I did mention that I'm cranky, right? You have to disregard any of my sass... well, not 'normal' sass, just the extra sass.

I needed the gift bag for my silhouette ornaments. They didn't come with a box and I couldn't find one the right size. And I'm not going out there.
I grabbed some pretty wrapping paper and a small shoebox.  The shoebox was dusty.  I think it worked better that way.  I used some ribbon too...
What I did was make-believe wrap the box.  It was make-believe in the sense that I am only wrapping one end and I'm not taping the wrapping paper to the box.  But I don't do that anyway.  I don't like it when the tape rips the box.  So... yeah.  Anyway, moving on.
I cut out enough wrapping paper to fit around the box...
I folded down one side of the wrapping paper.  It is the side that will be at the top of the bag.  Then I started wrapping...

If you have double-sided tape, that would probably be better.  I stocked up on tape earlier this year when there was a super-duper sale and a coupon that made it free but I didn't get any double-sided 'cause I'm a cotton-headed ninny-muggins.
Wrap the end of the shoebox... this will be the bottom of your gift bag.
I ran my fingers over the edges so they'd have a nice crease.  Then, I pulled the box out.
We're almost done...
Look how cute.  I took a length of ribbon and cut it in half...
And I taped the ribbon to the inside of the bag.
Kaboom.  Done.  And I didn't have to go out there.
Isn't it great when laziness makes you MORE productive? :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

25 Days of Christmas - Quilled Paper Ornament

The post title is a bit misleading, I think... the paper is quilled and put into an ornament. But that doesn't roll of the tongue as easily. Anyhoo, let's get started!

You'll need some Christmas-y scrapbook paper and a clear plastic ornament. You can get these at any craft store... I got this one at Michael's.

Get out your handy-dandy paper cutter.  If you don't have one, put it on your Christmas list.  They are relatively inexpensive and I LOVE mine.  Pop the top off the ornament and measure the opening to know how wide to cut your paper.
I cut my paper into half-inch strips.  Cut a whole smattering of 'em.  You heard me.  A smattering.
After you have your smattering, grab a bamboo skewer or paintbrush.  Use the end to wrap the paper around to make a quill-like roll.
As you're rolling them up, toss 'em into the ornament.  Don't try to put them in any order because they just go wherever they want to anyway.  They are like children that way.  Plus, you can shake the ornament around a bit and they'll readjust to your liking.
Fill 'er up!  Once you are done, put the top back on and put a little ribbon through the top to string it up! It will take you longer to drive to the craft store to buy the items than it will to complete this project! And it's so cute!
(Please forgive the picture. I did this project earlier in the year before our tree was up and had to put it on our ficus.  I keep Christmas lights on them all year round 'cause that's how I roll.)

I hope you're enjoying my 25 Days of Christmas series! Only one week left 'til Christmas!

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