Thursday, December 22, 2011

making some crafty plans...

I'd love to start this table runner from Revoluzzza after Christmas - it would be perfect for the winter months!

To sneak one of these in with the kids help before Christmas would be fun! Pattern and directions at the Wild Olive blog.

A pair or two of these Outsider Mitts (from Susan B. Anderson) for the girls would be nice. 

And something from the latest issue of "Mollie Makes" - which hits the news stands today would be 

Wishing you all a happy Winter Solstice and Very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Just in time for last minute get-togethers! [cheeseball and a reuben spread & favorite cookie links]

my family's favorite sugar cookies.

and another sweet favorite would be peppermint bark (made with the microwave). sorry, no photos of following recipes, I guess we ate them to quickly...

And for something on the not-so-sweet side... sorry, no photo of the reuben spread recipe, next time I make some I will try to remember to take a photo. 

Terry's Ranch Cream Cheese Ball

(Serve with crackers)

-2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
-3 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
-1 package Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing mix
-2 cups chopped pecans, toasted In a large mixing bowl (or kitchen aid bowl with paddle attachment), mix together the cream cheese, shredded cheese, and dressing mix. After beaten, form into a large ball. Roll in toasted pecans to coat to surface. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

*To toast pecans, bake in oven at 350 F. for 10 minutes.

Reuben Spread

(Serve with crackers or a round loaf of rye bread. Scoop out the center and fill the "bowl" with the heated spread. Have an extra on hand to cut up into chunks to serve around the bread bowl.)

-8 oz. cream cheese, cubed
-16 oz. swiss cheese, shredded
-5 oz. corned beef, chopped
-12 oz. sauerkraut
-3 tablespoons thousand island dressing

Mix all the ingredients together in a crock pot, let heat threw for 2 hours. Keep warm until ready to serve. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Putting on the perfect Christmas"...

I recently was going through a very past issue of "Country Living" when I read that on the cover... "Putting on" the perfect Christmas. The article name got me thinking about what exactly are the stressors of this most lovely month. It didn't take me until December 3rd to feel some of the stress of the month. Between property taxes being due and the overwhelming thought of Christmas preparations- on top of all the normal happenings of the month - I was secretly saying ''ba hum bug". Until I read that title and it kind of put it in perspective. It isn't my job to "put on" Christmas. Christmas was not my idea, and all my ideas were part of the cause of my struggle.

So I did what I often have to do. I took a step back, made a new list of the priorities. l decided to donate my hair to locks of love, I decided that a little laundry each day would probably be all I could fit in, and the reflection of the Christmas lights on the pile to the right of the tree is really ok - with the overhead fixtures turned off.  I decided to take a bit of time here and there to fit in writing down some of the things we have done this month. I still fit in some fun Christmas gift creating. And I still have some I would like to do and some presents to finish wrapping up.  But the pressure was and is off, and like the laundry, a little bit is worked in to each day, some days more then others, and that is much more joyful. And like it should be, the focus in my heart has been on the thankfulness of Christ's birth, and not all about myself.

Wishing you all a joyful remainder of the week before Christmas. And tomorrow - a couple of quick recipes to share in case a surprise gathering arrives. ;)

Friday, December 16, 2011

moments in between everything else...

I have been working on getting some patterns ready for release. I'm not quite there yet... but making handmade Christmas gifts is worth the lack of progress. Our Christmas celebrations begin this weekend. Tonight will be busy baking and making!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

free printables available.

Up above in the list of pages, I've added a "printables!" page with some of the printables I've made past and present. Instructions (and some PDF links) are there as well. :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

chocolate gingerbread recipe.

Growing up, I don't remember eating many baked goods with ginger. We had plenty of traditional Norwegian goodies like rosettes, krumkake, sun buckles, my Grandma's special mint chocolate chip cookies and always lefse. I especially loved the rosettes (which one day I hope I learn to make, along with the lefse). For now, I am creating some of my own - which includes the ginger. 

chocolate gingerbread bars
from December '08 "Everyday Food" 

These bars are almost brownie like - moist and delicious!

-4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan
-1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for the pan
-3/4 cup all-purpose flour
-1 teaspoon ground ginger
-1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
-1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
-1 large egg
-1/4 cup sour cream
-1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
-powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter an 8 inch square baking pan. Line the bottom with a strip of parchment paper, leaving overhang on two sides; butter paper. Dust paper and sides of pan with cocoa; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together cocoa, flour, ginger, pumpkin pie spice, and baking soda.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together butter, brown sugar, molasses, egg and sour cream until smooth. Add the flour mixture. Stir just until moistened and add the chocolate chips. Do not over-mix! Transfer batter to prepared pan; smooth the top.

3. Bake 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center of bars comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack, let cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar. 

To store, keep in airtight container for up to 3 days (at room temperature).

Saturday, December 10, 2011

crafting at Christmas time - love it!

If you like to knit, this weekend, Carrie at Swatch Diaries is hosting a give away including some Quince, a sweet pattern and pompoms, head over and leave a comment. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

"The best Christmas decoration of all 
is a smile." 
- quote found in my dove chocolate wrapper yesterday-

Have a wonderful weekend! (Coffee cup cozy idea from November '11 "Mollie Makes"

Thursday, December 8, 2011

More mini sweaters to go, and some hand warmers, and ornaments. However, I have at least finished making a bunch of Christmas tags. Some I printed from my last year's list.  I hope your December's are off to a grand start. I have been working still on my digital scrapbook for december. All I can say on that is I am a wee bit rusty-but the memories are getting recorded. [happy sigh] 

Friday, December 2, 2011

December. recording the memories the digital way.

I have not done any scrapbooking in a very long time. I think I managed one page last year. So, as all the emails have been coming in with announcement for Winter/Christmas digital supplies. And then the reminder of Ali Edwards December scrapbook, well that did it.

I gave myself 10 minutes to decide on what digital supplies I wanted to use for the month. I found the supplies I want to use at Jessica I still have some unused 8 x 8 inch SEI albums, so that is the size I decided to scrap with.

To make this work, I also have to set a time limit per page. So, I'm aiming for the same 10-15 mark. We will see if I can complete this or not. (Make it through the month, not the time limit. ;))

Thursday, December 1, 2011

a knitted sock monkey hat - with buttons for his eyes. :)

So, I'm working on a couple of new patterns while finishing my Rustling Leaves Beret... this sock monkey hat was way more fun then I thought it would be to knit and stitch up. This sample is knit as a toddler size but does have some nice stretch to it. The pattern will hopefully be ready by the beginning of next week.