Image Slider

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Friend Or Foe?

As I returned from brunch with Debbie and errands with Callie, I discovered a very distraught Emmi. She was barking, running back and forth in the house, and in and out of the doggie door repeatedly. She obviously was very scared of something in the back yard and when she finally became too frightened to go back outside, I knew it could only mean one thing---a trespasser was there and trying to get inside.

I opened the back door to find a huge, scary beast this very tiny, miniature dachshund puppy from next door.

As I stepped outside, Emmi, with renewed courage, ran straight out to the puppy. Now Emmi only weighs 8 pounds, so you can see how tiny this puppy actually is compared to her.But, as they say, "Dynamite comes in small packages", and Emmi wasn't taking any chances as I picked up the little dog and carried her into the yard.
Of course, curiosity got the best of her when this little critter began rolling around on the ground begging me to scratch her tummy.
Yet, that bravery completely disappeared and terror set in again as the little dachshund began chasing Emmi through the yard. Emmi ran into the house and only peeked out through the doggie door until I had put her back into her own yard and boarded up the crack under the fence.

Christmas Memories

Seems that whenever family gathers, memories are shared, and this holiday was no exception. One evening, Jana, Rob and I started talking about children writing Christmas lists and I pulled out a variety of Christmas projects from my girls' school days. The pictures were masterpieces, of course, and the writing was priceless. We laughed till we cried over some of them and others were just plain sweet---like the letter to Santa where Jana asked for her 3rd grade teacher's son to be able to come home for Christmas so that it would make her happy. (I got all choked up just trying to read it)

On Christmas afternoon, some of the "Jamars" came over for dinner. After dinner, we sat around catching up on each other's lives and then later, as we sat in the living room after we ate, we began reminiscing about Christmas traditions in the 60's and before. The two grandmothers remembered having the rare treat of oranges, apples and nuts at Christmas time, often in their stockings. We went around the room and asked everyone to tell a memory about a childhood Christmas present:

me - I remember wishing for a bride doll that was being advertised on TV that year. I don't remember her name, but I remember that the commercial claimed that if you pushed a button on her back, she would throw her bouquet. Apparently she was pretty expensive and my parents warned me that I might not get her, but when we entered the living room on Christmas morning, there was a beautiful bride doll under the tree. Upon closer examination, I discovered that while it wasn't the one advertised, my mother had dressed my Barbie in the prettiest, handmade bridal outfit, complete with a tiny bouquet.

Callie - remembers getting a small accordion and making paper ones for all her dolls. Then she lined them all up against a cabinet and had a concert.

Jordan - didn't have a specific special toy, but remembers the year his older sister got a Nintendo that he thought was way cool.

Dan - said his favorite Christmas gift as a child was a yellow Tonka truck-probably a dump truck that he loved driving on the edge of his bed.

Tim - got a BB gun when he was about 7-8 years old.

Kay - remembers the year that her big sister got a beautiful princess doll, complete with beautiful dress and tiara. She couldn't wait to open her own present and have such a beautiful doll, too, but instead, her doll wore glasses and had on a little green, checked apron. While she might could have been "sold" on how special she was, instead her sister immediately proclaimed "I got a princess and you got a maid!". Kay was crushed and didn't want the doll after that.

Jana - remembers the year that she and Callie and their cousin, T.R. all got roller blades for Christmas. She said that they had so much fun skating on the driveway and sidewalk that afternoon.

Rob - said that he most remembers the year he got a go-cart from his mother's boyfriend. Sam had made it himself and had painted Rob's name on the side. However, he spelled the last name incorrectly!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Past

With all of the hustle and bustle of the last few days, it's hard to believe that Christmas Day is now past. I had a great time with both of my girls and their husbands here, as well as Dan. Here are a few pictures from our Christmas morning together.

Our brunch buffet (with yummy "monkey bread", compliments of Jordan and Callie --you can see we've already eaten some of it)
My amazing daughters, Callie and Jana . . . Dan counting the bills in his new "money book" . . .Jana and Rob huddled under their new, cozy blanket . . .Callie and Jordan opening their "pop-top cans" . . .. . . and Emmi and I enjoying the festivities . . .
and looking forward to a wonderful 2010 . . .

Adding My Signature

I've added something new to the end of my posts. See, it's a signature. Blue Cricket posted a how-to this morning, and I decided to try it out. It was so easy! Maybe someday I'll spring for using my actual signature, but that costs money so then again. . . maybe not!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Marshmallow Goodness

Sunday evening, Callie came back over and we decided to try making the homemade marshmallows I'd seen over on Heather Bailey's blog last year. Hers were so pretty and she said they were easy to make.

Of course, our cooking experiences rarely go as planned and right off the bat we realized that I'd forgotten to buy parchment paper, but I decided to try the teflon baking sheets out instead.
As instructed, we mixed the water and gelatin in a bowl and waited for it to "blossom."
Meanwhile, we turned out attention to the mixture of water, sugar and corn syrup on the stove and fretted over what exactly the "soft ball stage" looked like. Finally after dropping several spoonfuls into cold water, we finally consulted an online video and made the decision that we were there. We mixed the two concoctions together and poured them into the baking pans to sit overnight.

The next morning, I worked for what seemed like an eternity to turn the mixtures out of their pans. They had stuck to the teflon linings and were quite tedious to release them. However, eventually I got them out and was able to cut them with a pizza cutter, as described in the recipe. I totally forgot to add the red food coloring the night before (which was so pretty in the pictures), but they did indeed look and feel like marshmallows after dipping them in sugar & rice flour. Tasting them proved them to be like Altoids---"curiously strong"--but I think they'll be fine in hot cocoa! And once I put them into jars with labels, they made a really cute gifts!

Last Minute Gifts, Part Two

The other gift I made for Dan this evening is a Birthday Card Organizer. I could have purchased one, but they all seemed so "girly" and just didn't quite fit what I was looking for. So, I made my own. I wanted it to have a calendar for each month and a pocket of some sort to store cards in. In addition, I wanted an area to store Get Well and Sympathy cards. So, here's what I came up with.

I purchased a colorful three ring binder and a package of manila envelopes and set to work. First, I removed all the clasps from the envelopes. You don't have to do this, but Dan would have some difficulty managing these, so I just took them off and replaced them with velcro. (this is what I do with lots of my teaching games) I debated laminating the envelopes, as I do with teaching games, but decided against it since I just ran out of time I wanted Dan to be able to write on the calendar . I designed my own calendar pages and after printing them, trimmed them and mounted them on colored cardstock. I added a strip of patterned paper to the top and used my Cricut to cut out the letters of each month. I punched holes in the envelopes. . . . . . added file tabs to the sides (these are Post-It brand) and inserted them into the binder. I filled the envelopes with a variety of greeting cards that he can send to family and friends. I have been uploading the full tutorial over on Scribd, but it's taking forever, so I'll have to post the link later. Here's the tutorial if you want to download it here.

Last Minute Christmas Gifts

This evening, I finally put together a couple of last minute gifts for Dan. I actually have had them planned for quite some time, but just finally got around to making them. First up, a "book of money". Like most of us, Dan LOVES money and is always tucking a dollar bill in birthday cards for his nieces and nephews. So, it seems like the perfect time to give a few dollar bills back to him. I loosely followed these instructions. Here's my version: (If you'd like to download my tutorial, click here)
(If the lettering on this looks crooked, it's because it is. Oh well---Dan won't care!)
Monday, December 21, 2009

Elf On The Shelf Silliness

Last year, I purchased a box of tiny vintage elves on a trip to the Canton Flea Market. There are only about 2 inches tall each and are made of pipe cleaners. I've kept them neatly tucked away in the box until this year. And now, as I look around, I see that there's an elf on my shelf . . . and on my desk . . . and on my plant. There's one on my flower pot . . . on my piano . . . by my teacups . . . With my glassware . . .and on my coffee table.And as I take a closer look at my vintage Santa collection, I see that one elf is now "down". . . but there's another in the jar!
Friday, December 18, 2009


School is out for the holidays and I finally made it to the grocery store. Not to get anything healthy, but get this:Callie and I began baking last night. I have several gifts I want to make and Callie is going to a Baby Shower today and just learned that she is supposed to bring a "holiday dish" and a "personalized gift for baby Sophia". First up, Toffee Crack. I've had it before and it's so yummy, so when I saw the recipe on Joy's Hope, I decided I definitely needed to make some. We heated the butter, stirred in the brown sugar and then wondered exactly what was "slightly carmelized"? Taking a wild guess we began pouring it over the saltines only to realize that we were using the extra-large, mega huge cookie sheet and there wasn't nearly enough toffee stuff. Quickly we threw another stick of butter into the pan and, without thinking, we also dumped in the brown sugar. (Let me assure you that is not a good idea---there is a reason you are supposed to let the butter melt first) After spreading it, adding the chocolate and popping it in the fridge, we couldn't wait to taste it. But, first we needed to jump in the car and dash over to Callie's apartment because the "cable guy" was supposed to be on his way (after not showing up earlier). Unfortunately, he never showed up again, so after Jordan and Callie both made calls to figure out what was going on, we gave up and headed back to the house and to the tasting of our Toffee Crack. Ummmm . . . Well, the flavor was kind of nice. . . if you like grainy, sugary stuff. Obviously we didn't have that "carmelization thing" right. We decided to try again, this time with much more success! However, we had very little chocolate left. Moving on, we decided to go ahead and heat the remaining chocolate and dip peppermint sticks in it. Easy enough, right? As the chocolate melted in the microwave, Callie commented that she was sure we were supposed to add a little bit of butter to it to make it more creamy. So I did. BIG mistake. Apparently dropping the butter in, burned the chocolate. YUCK! So we once again jumped in the car and this time headed to the grocery store to buy more chocolate chips. It worked better this time and as we dipped the peppermint sticks, I popped some popcorn. We drizzled white and milk chocolate on it, too---Yummy!--and shelled pecans that my next door neighbor had given me.

As we filled gift bags with goodies and arranged them on a tray for the baby shower, Callie commented that perhaps we should do a cooking show--definitely something the common woman could relate to. Just thinking about this idea sent us into fits of laughter, once again.

Callie used my computer to assemble a CD of lullabies from some of her favorite violinists and her own concerts and sometime way after midnight, we finally called it a night. So much for a clean kitchen---it looks like a war zone again, now. Sunday, maybe we'll tackle the Christmas cookies.

Custom Post Signature

Custom Post  Signature