Friday, December 13, 2013

I'm melting, I'm melting...........Oh, I mean the snow is melting....not me

The rains came today and warmer temps and with that the melting began...........

 but it's good because we don't have snow removal or sanding equipment to speak of so it has kept people off the roads and stores were low if not devoid of the basics.  I need to mail packages but I have to drive to the next town and my Walmart supplies are getting low too. 

 These storms came at a busy time of year for all of us............Mother Nature may be trying to get our attention.
 But it does make one "Use it up, make it do, throw it out or buy it new(on the internet)".
I promised myself this would be a frugal handmade Christmas this year and I've decided that instead of the 12 days of Christmas I might have to change it to the 12 months of Christmas since nothing will be done on time! LOL!
I did manage to make my cinnamon ornaments last night and they are really easy if you don't have to mix the dough by hand.  Buy the cheapest ingredients you can find as they are not going to be eaten.
I went to the Dollar General here in town and got the applesauce, cinnamon and cloves.
The recipe is as follows:
1 cup of applesauce
1 1/2 cups of cinnamon
2 tablespoons of ground cloves
string for hanging
heart cookie cutters (or whatever you want to try)

Mix 1 cup of the applesauce with 1 cup of the cinnamon and mix it well!  This is where a mixer comes in handy.  Add the additional 1/2 cup of cinnamon and the 2 tablespoons of ground cloves and mix again.
The dough should hold together when you squeeze it but not be too sticky.  If it's too dry add some more applesauce and if it's too wet then add more cinnamon.  Make sure it's well mixed before you add any more of anything as mine turned out perfect and I did not have to add anything extra.
Sprinkle some cinnamon on the surface where you'll be rolling out your dough.  Then just treat it like you would any rolled cookie dough....except don't taste it or lick the beaters!  I put parchment paper on my cookie sheets and went to town. 
I tried a few other shapes but they were difficult to work with or were too large plus it was getting late so I just stuck with the hearts this time.

I ended up with this full sheet and a part of another.  I think I ended up with 40-45 altogether.  DO NOT FORGET to poke holes in them.  I actually used one of my DPN knitting needles to get a big enough hole to be able to get a string through. Preheat your oven to 200 and cook for an hour.  Check and make sure they are hard and then turn off your oven and leave them overnight.  They need to be hard as a rock.  If they're not hard, bake them an additional 1/2 hour.  Either way, after you turn off your oven leave them in there overnight.  Mine were great this morning when I checked.  The whole house smelled great and I thought..."I bet this is what Santa's house smells like all the time!".
Enjoy!  Ho! Ho! Ho!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Diamonds are a girls's best friends....and Christmas books!

 I I go again with the snow pictures but when I looked out this morning it looked like a diamond field!  I get ecstatic over nature's beauty and always take it as a gift from above.  I wasn't sure I could capture the "sparkliness" but I did; from several vantage points.  These are my kind of diamonds....I've never cared for the others.  I did nothing to the pictures either.....this is just how it looked;  amazingly beautiful!
I dragged out my Christmas you have special books you bring out at Christmas? 

I probably have more but these were what I ran across.  The top left hand corner book is my all time favorite at Christmas.  It is written by 4 sisters who grew up in Ames, Iowa and talks about their traditions growing up and recipes their Mom used to make and how they have kept those traditions going through the next generation.  It's a heartwarming book to read over the holidays and contains some great midwestern recipes!  The top right book is a book of lists for organizing your Christmas by  Mary Emmerling.  None of the lists have been written on.....that explains a lot!  The bottom book on the left I bought last year, used and I'm just now reading it.  It's got a little bit of everything in it from the Christmas Story to vintage illustrations and Christmas Carols plus who knows what's a big book!  The lower right hand book my daughter gave me in 1995 and it is by Mary Engelbreit entitled "It Doesn't Hurt To Ask"'s a popup book for adults with her gorgeous illustrations.
These 2 books I haven't read yet, although I've had them for several years....I can't even remember how I came to have them.  The Christmas Letters by Bret Nicolaus (coincidence?) and The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by Frank Baum who wrote The Wizard of Oz.  He wrote this book for his little boy in 1902.  It was reprinted in 1983.  I haven't read it either but it contains reprints of the original illustrations.
 Where would Christmas be without lots of recipes especially for sweets?
 I love the tree on the front of this book.  It's like the perfect Christmas tree.  This contains the whole ball of wax....decorations, recipes, craft instructions for gifts.
 And of course where would Christmas preparations be without at least one Gooseberry Christmas book?  This is book many were there?  Are they still making these?
 I managed to get the ingredients for cinnamon hearts, chex mix and a few items for the birthday boy so tomorrow I'll have pictures of some Christmas progress, I hope!  We have another freezing rain, sleet, bag of tricks coming tomorrow and Saturday so please pray we don't lose power....although if we did I might get that scarf finished! LOL! I hope you are all proceeding joyfully through the holidays!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas dreams............

 The storm is over and we are left with beauty that is overwhelming at times.  We don't usually get snow like this and if we do it's gone in a day but this has felt just like being up North.  My plan was to be moved back up North by my 65th birthday which is January 4th but I'm not going to make God took pity on me and brought the North to me. 

It's so gorgeous I couldn't stop taking pictures!  I apologize if you're tired of it.
Nature is so lovely even my cheapo camera couldn't tarnish it......
Okay...I'll stop...but I have more!  I did manage to bake some banana nut bread and took a suggestion from Anita over at Aunt Nubby's Kitchen and added cream cheese to the batter.  You can find the recipe for it over on her blog.  It was VERY tasty and I think I'll be making it with cream cheese from now on.  Also, if you don't have the amount of bananas called for in the recipe just add some applesauce to replace the moisture that the bananas would give.

Speaking of Christmas dreams.........I spent yesterday trying to finalize my gift making and baking plans (which should have been done eons ago).  I went to the files, patterns and pictures I've saved over the year(s) and of course, Pinterest and realized there's so much I want to do and I am already behind!!!!  So, I have decided instead of the 12 days of Christmas I will make it the 12 months of Christmas thereby giving me more time.  Problem solved.....whew...I feel better now.  But I still need to come up with this month and a birthday for one in December.  Breathe deeply............
Here are some of my ideas and if you have any that are quicker please let me know.  This post will go on all week month so check back in and let me know how you're doing.  Maybe if we cheer each other on we'll get it all done...ya think?  Well, it can't hurt that's for sure.  So here's my ideas.......
Hats for the grands as the Big Snowy Owl is definitely not going to make it this month.  It takes 1 skein for each hat and I've ordered more yarn.  2 skeins for the adult hats which I have 2 to make. 

The gray scarf is almost done and then there's another to make like this one from Purl Bee (free pattern) that is for a birthday in January.........

I ordered a hat pattern from them that I paid for but it has every size and style I need in one pattern so it was well worth it.  If you order from them do not expect to download as they do not have that working.  Sadly, I found this out AFTER I paid for it.  It will be coming by snail mail.
I have much more to show you but it will have to wait until tomorrow.  They will be more "craftsy" items that will be quick but precious little items to tuck in.  Hopefully I'll get by to say hello as I want to see what you all are up to at this exciting time of year!'s the tally, like my friend Connie up in Minnesota does:
Gifts finished:  1
Presents Wrapped:  0
Cards sent: 0
Presents mailed: 0
Decorations up:  a few outside but that's it!
I hope you're in better shape than me!  TTYL!