Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

We left THIS a week and a half ago...

...and we're still on the road.

We are having a great time!  More about that if we decide to head back to the tundra when we get home.  Until then, have a happy and blessed New Year!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It's the Baby

Well, it's time for me to sign off for the holidays. Christmas is coming early to our family and lasting more than twelve days. We will be going to spend the first Christmas our kids will ever remember with their grandparents. I'd say it's about time. We are all excited. But there is much left to do. First, though, a sweet Christmas memory.
Lee and I have always sung in our church's Christmas musical. Our kids have sung along with the CDs as we've learned them, and they probably do a better job of memorizing the music than many of the choir members. Each year there is a song or two sung by the children's choir. Before our kids were old enough to take part, they always loved hearing these the best. One such song that the kids would belt out at the top of their lungs was about the real meaning of Christmas:
It's the Baby in the manger
Tiny infant sweet and small
It's the Baby, He's our Savior
Come to earth to save us all,
Come to earth to save us all.
Bethany was only 2 1/2 that year, and we thought we might be pushing our luck taking her to church on Christmas Eve. Not to worry. She was immediately enthralled by the candlelight. As the Biblical account of the events surrounding the birth of Christ was read, images from a children's book depicting the scenes were projected onto a large white wall above the platform. I was grateful that we were seated near the back, for little Bethany would not be deterred from standing on the pew to get as close as she could, and exclaiming, "It's the mommy! It's the daddy! It's the baby!" Never has there been purer, more joy-filled worship. She sang her heart out with the carols, even though she didn't know half the words. Blessed Christmas, indeed.
Now the kids sing with the choir, and it is our delight to listen as they lead us to worship the Baby...
who grew into the Man...
who would be our Savior
Christmas blessings to you and your family!
Note: Last year when only about four (dear, sweet, wonderful) people read my blog, I wrote a few posts with my thoughts about Christmas. If you're interested, you can find them here:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ho Ho HoLY Cow!

This is love at first bite. No reference to Edward here. I do not know the first thing about Twilight, except that I think I read somewhere they made it into a movie. 

No. Love at first bite. As in the kind with calories mouth-watering flavor. The kind where you think for just one minute that maybe you have a few pairs of jeans stashed somewhere in a larger size that you really liked pretty well. That kind of love.

I've made two recipes so far from my cookie exchange: Jenna C.'s Cake Balls, and Sherry's Microwave Fantasy Fudge. The fudge, well, it is just super creamy smooth yummy fudge. (I like to substitute a cup of butterscotch chips for one of the 3 cups of chocolate chips--my favorite!) But the CAKE BALLS are a totally new thing to me, and let me tell you, I am hooked!

I made "Gingerbread Snowballs" in keeping with the season, and they are almost gone, in a word, scrumptious. But you can use any flavor of cake, frosting and candy coating. Oh, the possibilities are endless.

Go make some. Seriously. You're my new hero, Jenna!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Winter Royalty

Cookie Cleanup

Wow, that was fun!  I'm up to my ears in crumbs with a cookie hangover.  Nothing a little eggnog won't fix.

I had so much fun checking out the recipes, poking around some new blogs, and following the links to even more deliciousness.  My two favorite discoveries for recipes that are not on Mr. Linky are Cake Pops and Oreo Truffles.  As luck would have it, Tara R. and I both had the same idea, so if you happened to click on her link (#6), you realized you hit the jackpot because there are so many more recipes there!

Some of you so generously loaned me your creative juices to give a name to my pretzel treats!  I loved several of them, and had tried to come up with a "button" name myself, but none quite did the trick.  In the end, I'm going with Betty's idea, Pretzel Kisses, because you get both the sweet and salty sense of them--and that is really what makes them so special!  Besides that they're cute.  (And if you've never visited Betty, you should.  She is all the way from Paraguay, and her blog is a fascinating read!!)

Thanks to everyone who has posted recipes so far, and remember, it's never too late. And now, I need to go finish one of those recipes that I'm in the middle of trying.  Can't wait to see how they turn out!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Cookie Exchange--Let the Fun Begin!

I'm so excited--we're ready to sign up for the swapping of sweet treats! (And yes, non-cookie treats are acceptable as long as they are yummy!) Please put the name of your recipe in the name space, and link to the specific post with your recipe so that people can come back and check later. It's never too late to link!

Then, go visit the other recipes (be sure to say hello while you're there!), and pick one to try!! Don't forget to tell your friends--they can join the fun anytime!

P.S. Hello to all of you 2010 visitors. I've noticed an influx of you visiting from over at June's place. Sorry the linky is outdated, but if you click on the link above, it looks to me like the links are still good. The recipes are too! Trust me. ;-)

Sweet and Simple Treats

We're baking up a storm here, getting ready for Christmas.  Bethany just whipped up a batch of these little beauties, and she's all set to show you just what to do.  All you need is a package of holiday pretzels (the rectangular waffle ones are cute too), a package of Hershey's Kisses, and some M&Ms.  

Place pretzels on a cookie sheet.  Unwrap Kisses.

Place unwrapped Kisses on pretzels.

Now they're ready for the oven.  Bake at 170 degrees for 3-4 minutes (probably closer to four).

Remove from oven, and quickly place an M&M on each kiss.  Press down gently but firmly.  If you find that Kisses are still solid, place in oven for another minute (before putting the rest or the M&Ms on).  Otherwise they will not attach to the pretzel.

They are ready to eat, and special enough to give as gifts.
Cute, quick, yummy!  It doesn't get any better than that!

Note:  These things deserve a real name.  Any suggestions?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Mint Meltaways


Ben and I share a love for chocolate and mint.  We have a favorite recipe that totally melts in your mouth!

You need:
4 egg whites
1 1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mint extract
1 cup chocolate chips (or chocolate mint chips if available)
green food coloring

Preheat oven to 35o degrees.

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Gradually add sugar and salt a little at a time, dissolving completely.  Beat until fairly stiff peaks form.

Add mint extract and food coloring.  Fold in chips.

Drop by spoonfuls onto greased baking sheets.  If you want them to look a little fancier, put the mixture into a plastic food storage bag, and close.  Cut off a corner and use as a decorator tip.

Sprinkle with a few remaining chips if desired.

Place in oven and turn it off.  Leave in oven for six hours or overnight.  Do not open!

Remove from oven and serve!

"I'm Ben P. and I approved this recipe."

Remember, our "Cookie Exchange" is coming on Monday.  Come back and link up a recipe of your own, and then go find some inspiration from others.  If you're not ready by Monday, no problem!  Come back and add yours anytime.  Invite a friend!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Adventure in the big city

Note:  To view photos full size, click here.  Use the arrows to scroll through the album.

And don't forget, we're gearing up for the big "Cookie Exchange" coming up on Monday.  Get out your favorite recipe to share, and join in the festivities!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Cookie Exchange!

We are getting in the Christmas spirit at our house, and it occurs to me that I could use some good new, but tried and true (by someone else) cookie recipes. Pretty easy ones that I can make with the kids.  Then it occurs to me that maybe someone else could too. And I happen to have a few good ones!  

So then I thought, HEY!  Let's share!

Here's what we'll do:  

Pick your favorite recipe or two to post.  They should be relatively easy to make. Step by step photos make it extra fun, but are not necessary. Next Monday, December 8, I will put up a Mr. Linky so you can link to your post.  And then you can zip around to find some other quick inspiration. It's that simple!

Here's one to get started:  See those heart sandwiches up there?  They are refrigerator cookie dough, rolled out and cut into hearts.  Sandwich together with raspberry jam and decorate with tube frosting.  (I've tried with the canned frosting, but it killed my hands!)  Obviously my kids didn't do the decorating...but you could certainly come up with an easier way to decorate them. A green dab of frosting with Christmas swirl chips or white chips (yum with raspberry!), M&Ms or something like that!  These little gems are as tasty as they are pretty--enjoy!

Update:  We're all set to go...the fun starts HERE!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Merry "SITSmas!"

Today they're having a Christmas party over at The Secret is in the Sauce. What a fun day to say hello to some friends (old and new) who have brought me much joy in 2008. May you and your families enjoy a season filled with wonder!

If you'd like to meet some of my favorite SITS girls, go herehere, here and here. You'll find some amazing reads and some new friends!

If you'd like to win some fabulous prizes (other than the $200 Target gift card, because I want to win that!), head on over to SITS!

And for the next Merry SITSmas post, head over to the Juicy Alligator!