Friday, December 24, 2010

Top Ten Things I Love This Christmas Eve

1.     I love this crazy tree in front of my house.  Can you believe that?  Cute little rosy pink flowers blooming on Christmas Eve.  Makes our little fourplex, with its yellowish brown Air Force issued paint job, look a little tiny bit better.
2.     I love my tea bag angel ornament.  My best friend Becky made this for me and I always hang it so everyone can see.  After 10 years though, it has started to poop out tea leaves.
3.     I love to look for funny cars in Japan. I could do a whole blog post about it ....I probably will someday.  I am pretty sure that this Toyota not only has a bar in it, but also a dance club.
4.     I love the Christmas stockings my Grandma made us.  They give me warm fuzzy family feelings, even though we are far from home.
5.     I love Sugar Cookies….for breakfast, for lunch, for dinner, AND for Santa’s midnight snack.
6.     I love this giant present under the tree because it is MINE all MINE!!!  It is bigger than any one of the kids’ and they are totally jealous.  Does a Kitchen-Aid come in a box this big?  I hope so!!!
7.     I love this Sake.  It is sweet and warm.  I envision a romantic and quiet Christmas Eve together with my hubby….kids nestled in their beds and us cuddling by the blazing fire while glittering snowflakes fall outside in a whisper.  I’m sure it would work that way if only we had a fireplace.  And if it was snowing.  And if I didn’t have 1000 more gifts to wrap.
8.     I love my Japanese umbrella.  It is so pretty with all its spokes (28) and I always get complements on it.  Who ever gets compliments on an umbrella? 
9.     I love my husband and all his quirks.  He makes me laugh and roll my eyes when he brings home things like giant wooden carved lions.  When we are old, American Pickers will LOVE going through his shed! 
10.   I have two words for the tenth thing I love about this Christmas Eve…… Baby Jesus!

Happy Merry Christmas!!! 
Lynnie

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The President Likes My Cheese Ball

Living on an Air Force base overseas is pretty exciting.  For instance, Air Force One could land on the flight line two blocks from our house, and President and Mrs. Obama could stop by for some appetizers.

Okay, maybe that isn’t exactly how it could happen.
Regardless, the tradition at my house is to always have a Cheese Ball at the ready for any neighbors, Christmas parties, emergency gifts, and random people who stop by on their way through……to things like the Asian Economic Summit in Tokyo.
Okay, no one stopped at my house before they went to the summit meeting either.
My mom has made Cheese Balls every December for forever.  I do not recall a life without this cheese ball in it.  It is so much a part of me that I refuse to try anyone else’s.
Roxie’s Cheese Ball

 
Ingredients:
·        2 eight ounce packages of Cream Cheese
·        2 teaspoons onion or garlic juice
·        2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
·        1 teaspoon lemon juice
·        1 teaspoon dried mustard
·        ½ tsp Lowry’s seasoned salt
·        ¼ tsp salt
·        2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese
·        Parsley flakes, chopped dried beef, or chopped nuts
Put everything but the last two ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Mush it all up with your hands until it is all mixed together.  It’s kind of messy but it gets the job done.  Now dump in the shredded cheese.  Mix that with your hands too.
Shape into balls and roll in parsley flakes, chopped dried beef (that's the beef in the jars in the canned meat section of your grocery), or nuts.  I almost always do the dried beef, but my mother does the parsley.  It looks more festive all green.  Nuts are gross so I don’t use them. 

One batch will make one very large cheese ball, 2 medium balls, or three tiny ones.  Serve with crackers (Ritz are best).  Veggies are good too.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use or give as a gift.
NOW WAIT!  Remember the President is coming over……in my dreams.  So this year, my daughter Abbey helped me make my plain old cheese balls a little fancier!
Follow recipe above until you have a giant cheese wad….
With your very cool painted fingernails…..
Shape cheese into a cone…..
Cut some cherry tomatoes in half……
Peel some orange or lemon rind into long skinny strips….
Cut a star out of some cheese or a yellow bell pepper….
Cover cone with parsley……
Arrange your tomatoes, orange rinds, and cheese star on your cone (we got help with some toothpicks), then garnish beneath with crackers meat and veggies.  This is what you get......
A Cheese Ball Tree!!!!
Thanks Abbey for your help!  I think we did a pretty good job, don’t you?

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Friday, December 17, 2010

It Happened at Daycare

It was barely even daycare.
Two days a week I would take my 22 month old to an in-home preschool program for two hours.  I guess I was trying to “socialize” her or something.  (Poor kid...the things you do with your first born.)
Abbey was a good girl.  She was gentle with her 4 month old sister and rarely threw tantrums.  There was one time she was frustrated because the wheel on her doll stroller wouldn’t turn, so she took a bite out of the handle.
Looking back, I possibly could have taken this as a sign, but I was too busy taking her to library story hour and swim club. 
I guess I was her enabler.  I should have talked to her about biting the stroller. Then, she could have learned to deal with the responsibilities that go with growing up and becoming a responsible adult.  Right?  Because a 22 month old can reason like that.....ummm yeah.  (Remember she was my first.)
Back to daycare…..or as it was called by the lady who ran it, The Home Preschool Program.
There was a girl named Highleigh.  Yep, not Hayleigh…..HIGHLEIGH.  That name explains a lot right there.  Her brother was named Chappmon.  Their mom never had to change a diaper because her kids didn’t poop, and if they did, they pooped gold nuggets.
I never did really get the story straight.  It involved Highleigh, Abbey, and another plastic baby stroller.  When I came and picked Abbey up, I received this letter....


To the parents of Abbey:
Today Abbey, showed a lot of aggression toward another child, in my care.
She was in a dispute, with another little girl over a stroller, and she bit the other
little girl, and it broke the skin.  She was taken to the ER.
I am giving Abbey a two week probation, if in these two weeks, Abbey still shows signs of this type of aggression, she will no longer be able to attend this daycare.
Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.
Sincerely,
Sandra Usestoomanycommas

I was humiliated.  I lectured my 22 month old on the drive home explaining how her behavior reflects on our entire family and how disappointed I was in her actions.  I waited impatiently for her apology, sure that she was regretting her conduct from several hours ago.
She was looking out the window strapped into her five-point harness and said, “Mommy I see playland McDonalds!  I love that town!” 
And what mom wouldn’t pull over, besides Highleigh and Chappmon’s mom?
We never had another biting incident but in the first grade Abbey punched a girl.  Even the teacher’s say the girl deserved it.  Her name was Avareigh.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I Want Candy

 
This necklace says it all. Isn't it cute? I need to buy it for myself and put it in my stocking for Christmas.  I might possibly try to chew the candy out of it though.  I like candy that much.
A little ironic that I married a dentist then, don’t you think?  He’s cool about my candy obsession.  He only gets mad at me because I hate to floss.
I also hate it when he walks into the room and he just hands me a string of floss.  Leave me alone already with the flossing.
Anyway, I made some homemade butterscotch. It is caramelly and smooth and just perfect to set in a pretty little candy dish for a Christmas get together. (Except I couldn't find my candy dish.)
Butterscotch Hard Candy

 

Ingredients:
·        ½ cup butter
·        2 cups sugar
·        ¼ cup light corn syrup
·        2 tablespoons water
·        2 tablespoons white vinegar
·        1 teaspoon or so DeKuyper ButterShot Liquor (optional…I made up this ingredient because it sounded good, but it turned out the candies are just as good without it…but possibly really really good with it.)
Line a 15 x 10 inch baking pan with foil.  Grease foil with butter.  In a heavy sauce pan combine the ingredients, with or without the liquor, and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Stir occasionally.  When it begins to boil, cover and cook for 3 minutes to dissolve sugar crystals.  Then uncover and cook without stirring until a candy thermometer reads 300 degrees (hard crack stage).  Remove from heat.  Pour into buttered pan without scraping the pan and do not spread the mixture.
Cool for several minutes….until a fingerprint holds its shape.  Before it gets too hard take a knife or a pizza cutter and score in 1 inch squares.
When cool, candy will easily come off foil and break apart in perfect little pieces.  I popped the pan in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to cool faster.  From start to finish it only took about 20 minutes to make these yummy candies. 
The pictures however, took a lot longer.  Please Santa, bring me a new Canon Rebel Sx SLR camera for Christmas.  I figure if I plug this on each blog post, my husband is bound to notice.  If not, I guess I will just enjoy my candy and once again, forget to floss.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Craft and Cookie Showdown Winner is......


Christmas 2010
Craft and Cookie Showdown
And the winner is……
Veronica at Life In The Thrifty Lane!  She posted Hot Cocoa Cones and will get a $25 Visa gift card!
Aren’t they cute?  Top choice among the judges….easy to make, cute to give, and yummy to eat!  My kids can’t wait to make these for their teachers!
I would also like to thank Veronica for entering my first blog contest. (Be sure to grab my “featured” button on the sidebar.) I noticed that she was fairly new to blogging (like me) and she needs her own button….so I made one! I kept it simple because I’m not sure what she’s into, but I hope she likes it!
Please be sure to check out some of the other cute things she has on her blog.  Like Christmas Cappuccino kits…..mmmmm.
Thanks also to the other contest entries….missed them? CLICK HERE

So.....what should I do for my next blog contest?????

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Everyday is a Holiday....Christmas Sugar Cookies 1951

One of the last times I was at my grandma’s house she was purging a bookshelf of old cookbooks.  Way back when, places like the bank and the electric company would give out little recipe booklets to their customers for Christmas when you came in to pay your bill.   Now we don’t even get a “thank-you” email when we use Web BillPay….how rude.  Wouldn’t it just light up your day if a happy lady from the water department came knocking with your Christmas cookbook? 
My Grandma got this one from the gas company….
It is positively delightful.  Women like Esther Weber, Edna Kniffen, and Louise McDill created and perfected the recipes within.  The booklet says they are “home economists”.  They look like they know their stuff. 
Jelly Tots, Snow Caps, and Christmas Coffee Logs are neatly organized on the pages.  Hmmmm.  Coffee log?  I think I’ll pass on that one.  But right below the Raisin Spice Yummies, were Golden Refrigerator Sugar Cookies
I made them.  I made them just like Thelma Bly told me to, and then she wished me a prosperous 1952. 
Golden Refrigerator Sugar Cookies
(Recipe also adapted from Our Best Bites)
 


Ingredients:
·        One cup real butter
·        One cup sugar
·        One egg
·        1 ½ tsp vanilla extract ( I used almond extract because it is much better)
·        3 cups of flour sifted
·        1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
·        ½ teaspoon salt
Beat the butter and sugar together with a whisk.  (If I had a Kitchen-Aid I could just turn it on here….PLEASE Santa…bring me a Kitchen-Aid!)  Add eggs and almond extract.  Mix.
In a different bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.  (Don’t whine, just sift it.)  Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and combine until you have a soft dough.  At this point, you are supposed to chill it for 2 hours.  I roll out the dough between parchment paper to chill, (for just an hour) and then it is just ready to cut when I take it out.   Either way, you roll it and cut it in whatever shapes you want.  This time I used small stars for my vision of cute Christmas stars.
Bake for 8 to 11 minutes or just until the sides begin to brown.  You may need to cook them longer if you make the cookies thick.
These cookies are buttery and delicious all by themselves.  Or you can use icing on them like I did.  Don’t make your own icing or frosting or whatever….use this one!
Toba Garrett’s Glace’ Icing
Ingredients:
·        One pound powdered sugar
·        3/8 cup milk
·        3/8 cup white corn syrup
·        1 teaspoon almond extract (the extract is optional but I think it makes the cookies gourmet!)
In a mixing bowl, mix the sugar and milk first. Add corn syrup just until combined.  You could add a different extract for a different flavor if you wanted.  Add color if desired.  I ended up adding about one teaspoon more of milk to get it the consistency to dry flat on my cookie and make it easier to pipe on.  If you add too much it will ooze off of your cookie but, just add more powdered sugar if you need to.  Once dry, you can stack cookies on top of each other without them sticking together.  I first iced my cookies with white, let them dry overnight, and then the girls and I decorated them the next morning.  It was some work but well worth it! 
A message from Christmas Recipes 1951 to you:
Why not keep the Christmas spirit all the year by baking a new Christmas cookie recipe for your family each week?  They’ll love it!  We, in home service, hope you will have as much fun in making our recipes as we have had in preparing them.  A Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
 
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