Friday, December 25, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Final Stretch


Last night I finished up several teacher baskets filled with homemade goodies like fudge, minty almond bark, and cookies-and-cream truffles.  They are all wrapped and sitting on my counter waiting to be delivered.  (You know, cellophane wrapped baskets are really hard to photograph!)  But they will keep until tomorrow while we enjoy (?!?) a snow day today, and try and scoop out from beneath the 12 inches plus of snow we received yesterday!  We had some of the lower totals, too!  Thanks goodness the storm hit before we left and not during our drive!!! 



Beyond the snow, today is filled with packing and cleaning and list-checking.  Blog-wise, I will be off until after the first of the year.


With Many Merry, Merry Christmas Wishes to you and yours, 


Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Cracker Candy

A sweet and salty treat!


2 sticks butter (no margarine)

1 cup brown sugar

12 oz. chocolate chips

Saltine crackers

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with heavy duty foil.  Cover with a single layer of saltine crackers (about 4 across by 6 down).  Melt the butter and brown sugar together over medium heat.  Bring just to a boil.  Pour over saltines.   Place in oven for approximately 3 – 5 minutes.  Watch closely!  When brown sugar mixture begins to bubble around edges, remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Place back in oven for one minute.  Remove and spread softened chocolate chips over top. 

DSCN5121 Place in refrigerator until chocolate is hardened, then break into pieces.  Store in cool place.  ***You can easily halve this recipe if needed.

Sweet weekend wishes,


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Keep on truckin’


There are a lot of great blogs throwing all sorts of holiday parties right now -The Nester and Thrifty Decor Chick just to name a few.  It’s been fun to pop in here and there to check things out.   But mostly around here, I just keep on truckin’ – sewing and baking, attending parent/teacher conferences, school band concerts and field trips, wrapping and hiding presents, and probably the biggest:  getting ready for our six state drive-through next week to get to our family in Illinois!  Life is full…and blessed.

I’m getting close to having all my sewing done.  My self-imposed deadline is Friday night.  Finishing the binding on my sister’s quilt is on tap for tonight, and tomorrow I will finish some ornaments I am making for my grandmother, parents, and aunt.  DSCN5118

I am stitching some hexagon flowers onto various wool scraps, and then simply making a stuffed circle with a ribbon hangar.  The hexagons are made from my grandfather’s ties.  He passed away almost two years ago, and I’ve been meaning to make a memento from them for some time now.  The biggest trick was stabilizing the slippery polyester tie fabric! 

Saturday and Sunday will be spent baking up a storm for some more family and teacher gifts (in between loads of laundry!), and Monday is packing day.  And then…we head out Tuesday after school…whew!

With Christmas merriment and “busyness,” and the embracing of it all,


Monday, December 14, 2009

And the baking begins…


  Peanut Butter Kisses

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 package of chocolate kisses

extra sugar to coat cookies

In large mixing bowl, mix peanut butter and butter.  Add half of the flour, both sugars, egg, baking soda, baking powder, and vanilla.  Mix in remaining flour.  If dough is too soft, chill for one hour or more.  Shape dough into balls and roll in white sugar to coat.  Bake at 375 degrees until lightly browned.  Immediately press chocolate kiss in middle of hot cookie.

DSCN5108Eggnog Bread

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 cup eggnog

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/4 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Beat eggs in large mixing bowl, add sugar, eggnog, butter,  and vanilla – mix well.  Add flour, baking powder, and spices.  Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 50 minutes.  Test for doneness with knife or toothpick.  Let rest in pan for 10-15 minutes, remove, cool, and wrap.



Friday, December 11, 2009

The Rooster Crows at Christmas


I had just  a small piece of this vintage chicken print, and I had been saving it for something for my mom.  (She collects chickens and her kitchen is red.)  I found some “mystery” cotton fabric at my local fabric store, and thought it might work up well into the dish towels that were popping up everywhere last Christmas.  It is similar to waffle-weave, but has a much softer hand.  Whatever it is, I’m glad I prewashed, as it shrunk up considerably, but it also came out super soft.   So, with a little olive green binding and some scraps of batting for the potholder, I’ve got a nice little set for my mom.  I’m working on a Christmas-y set for my mother-in-law.

We escaped much of the snow that barreled across the nation, but the wind is howling and the temps are the coldest we’ve seen this year.   I think the coffee pot and the kettle will be going for most of the weekend!

Warm weekend wishes,


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Come on in…

DSCN5087 Feeding four ever-hungry kids and a husband during busy times isn’t always easy.  I’ve said before that the crock pot reigns queen around Morning Glory Lane, and during Christmas time, I sometimes have two of them going at once.  Prep time also has to be minimal for me as I usually don’t have a lot of extra time in the morning before heading out the door.  This gumbo is a favorite, it will be on our table soon…

Chicken and Ham Gumbo

1 1/2 1bs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped

1 Tbsp. oil

10 oz. package of frozen okra

1 cup chopped ham (use leftovers, deli meat, even canned)

2 medium-sized green peppers, chopped

3 (10 oz.) cans cannellini beans, drained

6 cups chicken broth

2 (10 oz) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies (or just use reg. tomatoes and add a small can of chopped green chilies)

Salt and pepper to taste, if desired

1/2 cup rice, uncooked (you can omit this if you don’t have any or don’t like rice)

1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

Cook chicken in oil until done (you can do this the night before and store in refrigerator).  Rinse the okra in hot water so that it does not stick together.  Combine all but cilantro in the crock pot.  Cook on low 6 – 8 hours, or high for 3-4.  Add cilantro just before serving.

Come on in and sit a spell – the tree is lit and the soup’s a bubblin’,


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Peace amidst the hustle and bustle

           Every year along about early October, I start praying that the month of December will be a month of peace for my family.  That the enormous, never-ending list of to-do’s will somehow be accomplished before the turn of the November calendar page.  Every year I harbor deep-rooted fantasies of simply floating through the month of December, slowly savoring Christmas activities with my family and friends, free from the pressing demands of the the hard work of the holidays.  Some years I feel closer to this than others. 

          This year has been no different in my wishes for a stress-free December.  I have organized, pre-planned, and multi-tasked my way through November, but my list is still there – and I’m not sure it’s getting any shorter!   However, what has been different, is my conscience effort to really think about each task as I’m doing it - trying to find the peace in the “doing.”   I know this isn’t a new concept, but it has given me a new way of thinking about peace.   I easily get overwhelmed, and I have to truly work to center myself in the moment.  But the gift that I experience when I truly do let go and allow myself to be fully engrossed in the task at hand, has taken me a little bit by surprise.  It’s such a common sense type of conclusion, yet it’s one of those things that just doesn’t quite “click” until it happens to you.  


I have found one of the easier activities for me to find my center, has been sewing or knitting/crocheting.  So…instead of trying to reduce my number of handmade items this year, I have actually raised it!  And incredibly, this is working for me!  Maybe this won’t always be the case, but for the here and now, I am thankful.   This quilt has been in my ufo pile for a few months, and as I looked at it with new eyes, I decided it would be perfect for my sister’s Christmas present.  The top had been finished,  so now I’m quilting it up and hope to put the binding on this weekend.


  I’ve also knit up a good-sized pile of washcloths for various gifts - I am going to bundle two of them together.  I’ve used various patterns found mostly on-line, but the most popular one has been the easy, diagonal knit pattern of the cast on 4 and increase each row until you have 45 stitches, then decrease each row until you have 4 stitches left, and then finish with a bind off.  Super, super easy and fast.  I may be making more, but I am still keeping it simple!  (btw, the red and green afghan in the background is a favorite thrift store find from a few years ago)

More to share soon.

Sending wishes of peace,