Christmas has Come.

Today we celebrated our first Christmas; with sweetie’s two daughter’s and his oldest’s boyfriend. We spent most of last evening and this morning chopping, preheating, cutting, washing dishes, icing, glazing, baking, mixing, washing dishes, stirring… (the dishwasher is running yet again as I type; not to mention all the dishes we washed by hand).  My sweetie does not cook, but he takes direction well, and he’s good at sticking with it until the job is done. Together, we made this lovely brunch, and the Christmas cookies and candy:

Brunch

A fruit compote (pineapple, bananas, strawberries, and apples)

Chocolate Dipped Fruit kebabs

Pecan Swirl Cinnamon Rolls

Sausage and Apple Quiche

Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Saltine Toffee

Christmas Wreaths (Holly Crackles)

I ate entirely too much — but it was all so good.  Incidentally, should you decide to make that Dark Chocolate Cookie recipe, I recommend using your own common sense when it comes to cutting them out and baking them.  Martha Stewart must be on crack if she thinks anyone in the real world (read: anyone without a sizeable staff) has that kind of time to devote to one damn batch of cookies.  Read the recipe, you’ll understand what I mean.  I didn’t spend any of that time freezing rolled out dough, I don’t possess parchment paper, and my cookies turned out great.

Sweetie’s youngest loves to bake (and is GREAT at it); she brought a large tray of cookies to add to mine.  I don’t even want to admit how few of those cookies are left on the plates this evening. His eldest brought a gift basket of flavored popcorn, chocolate dipped pretzels, cookies she baked, and some wonderful smelling William-Sonoma hot cocoa. I’m going to need to fast for a few days after the festivities are over…

We gave each of the kids a stocking full of goodies, exchanged a few goodies and lots of conversation; the afternoon was gone before we knew it.

The youngest gave us a “Box of Dates”; to be opened one at a time, any time we decide we need a “date night”.  Some are marked for “winter”, “spring”, etc., and others are marked “anytime”.  Clever gift, huh?  It’s kind of fun to think we get to draw Christmas out by having delayed gratification of one of our gifts…

Box of Dates

Winter arrived this week, as well.  With a vengeance, I might add… Wednesday and Thursday, we got hit hard with a true, honest-to-goodness blizzard.  Trees and wires were felled under the weight of the snow and ice, highways were closed for much of Thursday, and travel was almost non-existant.  The result was roughly a foot of snow, and on Friday, some beautiful sights…

White Christmas

Tomorrow is a celebration with my side of the family, more eating, conversation and laughter.  It also happens to be the due date for grandbaby girl (our first grandchild).  She doesn’t seem to be in a big hurry to join us, but you never know… we’re hoping we get to meet her sometime this week!

A Very Merry Christmas to you and yours…

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I stole this post.

True story.  I stole this post from my brother’s blog without asking him for permission.  Sorry, Ted.  (I’m not really that sorry).

Family Night… or day.

(written by my little brother, Ted)

Greetings and salutations!  Going back a little more than 7.5 years now, we decided early on when Robby was a baby, that we would have an open invite to family members, once a month where we would cook up some good (hopefully!) kibble and just enjoy each other’s company.  That way, Robby grows up with a good support cast around him and knowing the family from the immediate surrounding area.

As time has gone on, we’ve missed a few months, but for the most part, we’ve been pretty consistent.  We’ve also added a few “traditions”, if you will.

That brings us to the subject of this post. It’s December 2012, and we’re decorating gingerbread houses.

This time, the boys picked who they wanted to be partnered up with.  Robby and Aunt Doris (I got picked FIRST for a team!  First time EVER!!!) were a team, as were Samuel and Aunt Molly, Caleb and Aunt Dianne, and last but not least, Jonah with his Aunt Lesley.  Not one boy picked his Mom!

A shot of the troops at work, getting dirty and having fun.
Molly, Sammy, Robby, and Me….

Team Lesley/Jonah modeling their creation; ]onah with a mouthfull of candy.

Team Molly/Samuel.  Sam, unlike his brother, could show teeth in his photo.
Team Dianne/Caleb with their house o’ candy.  Caleb hopped up on sugar.
And team Doris/Robby with their crafty craft (note the rainbow doorway!).
After the gingerbread houses were done, we had lunch, then decorated cutout sugar cookies.
3 of the lads at work.
The Four Horsemen pose with their creations.
…and again, just to relieve a little sugar pressure.  And thus wraps up another family night!

I posted about last year’s Gingerbread House day here, which was in November, and before my brother, his wife, and Robby travelled to China in December 2011 to adopt Caleb.  See how well he fits into the family already?!?

Merry Christmas!

Love,

Doris

What a Tangled Web We Weave – Spiderweb Block Tutorial

BLOGTOBERFEST, Day 31

Today is the last day of Blogtoberfest, and my day on the Wicked Blog Hop.  Also joining in on Bloggers Quilt Festival with this fun Halloween quilt!

My “wicked” quilt block is the spiderweb block used to make my What a Tangled Web We Weave quilt, which received an honorable mention in the Des Moines Area Quilters Guild show this October.

The finished size of the quilt is Twin Size, and it takes 20 spiderweb blocks.  Here it is spread out on our Queen Size bed:

To make the blocks:

  •  Cut randomly sized strips of fabric across grain by width of fabric (wof) and sew into strip sets at least 6 1/2 ” wide.  (for one block you will need 1 or 2 strip sets, for the Twin size quilt you will need 18-20 strip sets)
  • Using a 60-degree ruler, cut alternating triangles from your strips sets in this fashion:

  • From background fabric, cut one 5 7/8″ square, cut in half diagonally into two half-square B triangles.
  • Also, from background fabric cut two A template pieces, and two Ar (A-Reverse) template pieces.  Template is provided here: SpiderwebTemplate
  • Add a B triangle to the flat end of two of your strip wedges, and add two A triangles and two Ar triangles to the flat ends of your other strip wedges like this:
  • Sew three wedge pieces together to create half a block; repeat:
  • Join your two half block pieces together and then square your block:

I fussy cut the inner border from a stripe fabric, it reads “Halloween” over and over…

And the outer border is an Alexander Henry fabric (from 2006, I think) called “Halloween Lane”.  And the backing is another fun Alexander Henry print called “Unhappy Hour”…

Trina’s long arm quilting made the quilt…the spider web details are fantastic, and I adore the cluster of spiders in the square areas of the background:

Thanks for stopping, I’d love to hear your comments on my quilt… and please go pay a visit to these Wicked Bloggers and see what they have to share today:

Candy Corn Crazy

BLOGTOBERFEST, Day 30

It’s true, October 30th is National Candy Corn Day… I’m not sure why we have National “Days” for everything under the sun, but there it is.  And, I admit it, I have a weakness for this stuff.

Candy corn is a sweet confection, made to look like dried corn kernels. It’s considered a “mellow cream,” a type of candy made from corn syrup and sugar that has a marshmallow-like flavor. Although candy corn tastes rich, it’s actually fat-free.  But keep in mind, that does not mean calorie free!  And if you are like me, one handful is never enough…

There are any number of Candy Corn inspired recipes out there, such as Candy Corn Cheesecake:

Candy Corn fudge:

Candy Corn truffles (which look pretty darned tasty):

There are even recipes online for making your own Candy Corn, though I’m not sure why you would bother when Brach’s does such a wonderful job of it for you.

There is no shortage of candy corn inspired crafts either.  I even posted one of my own last year, a Candy Corn themed favor bag, tutorial here.

I might have to make one of these to celebrate next October 30th:

I’m sure you’re hungry by now so go treat yourself to some Candy Corn in honor of Natioanl Candy Corn Day, October 30, 2012…

God’s Jack

BLOGTOBERFEST, Day 28

Most everyone who knows me, knows I have a thing for Halloween.  But I also have a thing for God.  While I do have fun celebrating a holiday that has pagan origins and ties to the occult — I celebrate it as a time to be a kid again, a time to express creativity, and a time to be silly and be “someone else” for a bit, even if only for a few hours.  Even as a kid and a teenager, I never did anything evil on or around Halloween.  Most people don’t, do they?

One of my favorite emails received (that I repost every year) is this:

It’s called “God’s Jack”


Being a Christian is like being a pumpkin.
God lifts you up, takes you in,
and washes all the dirt off of you.
He opens you up, touches you deep inside
and scoops out all the yucky stuff–
including the seeds of doubt, hate, greed.
Then He carves you a new smiling face
and puts His light inside you to
shine for all the world to see.

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.  –Chronicles 2: 14