Monday, December 18, 2017

Cooking Tuesday!

I usually do my recipe posts on Thursday, but I plan to take a break after today, so I thought I would share one more recipe for the year.  After this, I'll be taking a break and will see you in the new year.
I wish you all a blessed Christmas and thank you for your friendship here!

If you're anything like me, you are quite busy this time of year.  On top of the shopping, wrapping, cooking and cleaning, you have parties to go to; and sometimes you need to bring goodies to share!  Well, I have the perfect recipe for you today.  This is a fudge recipe that is beyond easy, plus it looks very pretty and it tastes good!

Peppermint Fudge

3 cups chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
crushed candy canes

Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper.
Place chocolate chips and condensed milk in a bowl.  Microwave for 2 minutes.  Remove from microwave and stir, then add peppermint extract and stir.
Microwave for another 30 seconds, stir and pour into 8x8 pan.
Smooth out fudge and sprinkle crushed candy canes over top, then use back of spoon to press them slightly into fudge.
Refrigerate for several hours, then remove and cut into small squares.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Oh Christmas Tree...

Several years ago we got a new Christmas tree. Our old one was looking shabby, and I was ready for a smaller one.  We got a smaller one, but when we got it up, it looked so much smaller in the room than it looked in the store.  We used it for several years, but were always bothered by how small it seemed.  Last year we saw one on sale shortly before Christmas and thought it looked just right for us - 5 1/2 feet tall, but skinny, so it would fit into our living room better.
This year it's up and I really like it. Not too big, not too small!

Here it is, in the daylight with the lights off.

And here it is, all lit up!

I wanted it to have an old, natural feel, so it's decorated with white lights and lots of white ornaments.  Here's a few pictures showing what's on it.

 This is an ornament that I helped Bob's sister make when we were first dating.  It was a kit, and she was doing them for a sale. We both thought they were so ugly, and I really laughed when she gave me one for Christmas that year.  It's hung on the tree every year since then.

 This little angel is one I made for Sunday school teachers when my kids were young, and I made one for us too.

This was made by one of my former residents.

The same lady made this bell. She was very talented and I enjoy remembering her whenever I see these.

 I have several of these cute little birds scattered around the tree.

I have a set of the vintage looking ornament.  They aren't very big and look so cute on the tree!

These are more favorites - some of Bob's carved Santa's.

I have floral picks tucked in all over the tree to fill in empty spots.  Some are the burlap curls and some are these mini pine cones.  I really like the natural look it gives.

We have one more tree in our house. This one is in the family room downstairs.  It doesn't get decorated - it already has pine cones and berries, so it's very easy to set up!  Bobs old family nativity  set sits next to it.

What about you? Do you have a real tree?  Is it a big one, or have your downsized too?

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Cooking Thursday

Tis the season for making goodies that we don't make often!  I have a few of those to share in the next couple of weeks.  Todays recipe is a mix that makes a big batch, so it works to give away or to bring to parties. I brought it to Bob's family party last week and everyone liked it!
This can be made 2 ways - one is messy and chewy, the other is crispy.  I did mine the crispy way because I was taking it to share at a party, but I'm told the other version is quite addictive!

Christmas Crack

6 cups Corn Chex
6 cups Golden Grahams
2 cups pretzel sticks
2 cups sliced almonds
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup butter

In large bowl, stir together Corn Chex, Golden Grahams, pretzels and almonds.
In medium saucepan, stir together corn syrup and sugar, add butter and cook over medium heat. Bring to slow boil, stirring occasionally until mix reaches 234 degrees.
Pour mix over cereal mix in bowl and stir to cover cereal.
If you want the chewy version, pour it out onto wax paper and allow to cool, then break into pieces and store in airtight container.
If you want the less messy version, pour into a large pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Place in 250 degree oven, bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Then pour out onto wax paper and allow to cool.  Break into pieces and store in airtight container.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Monday, December 11, 2017

Looks like Christmas!

My Christmas decorations are all up and I thought I would share what it looks like here.

I hang a wreath on the gate to the side yard, but it's getting covered in snow!
We also have two small trees with lights on them, on the front porch.

This milk can has a new sign for the season.  It's in the garage by the back door.

A cute sign in the back entry.

This is the dining room.

This kissing ball is hanging in the dining room.  It was a gift from one of my residents a few years ago and always makes me think of her.

This is on our table.

 This little grouping is in our living room.  I made the tiny nativity set in MOPS a few years ago.

 Here's another nativity set in our living room.  This one sets on top of a cabinet where it stays safe.  Laura made it for me when she was 16.  It's got lots of pieces - even little chickens!

Here's a closer view of the shepherds, sheep and a few cows.

I've got some fun pillows out!

 Bob carved this cute Santa several years ago.  Doesn't he make you smile?

We don't have a fireplace, so our stockings hang from a shelf.

We have another nativity set in the family room downstairs.  This is an old one, it belonged to Bobs family when he was growing up. We inherited it when his mom and step-dad moved into an independent living facility a few years ago.

One more room!  For the first time, I decorated the bathroom!
 I found this cute little tree at Michaels and thought it fit just right in that spot!

This spot needed a sign and the Joy to the World sign was perfect.

I'll share the tree another day.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Star

Every year around this time, Bob goes out shopping with Laura and Heather.  He takes them out for supper, and then they do some Christmas shopping.  I don't think they do much for themselves, they help Bob shop for me.  But it's really more about spending that time together!
Aaron has been working long days lately and Laura wasn't sure he would be home on time to watch the girls so she could go along.  I had been thinking of taking them out to see a movie, so I decided this was a good time to do that, so Friday evening when Bob picked Laura up, I picked up Alaina and Ruby and we headed to the mall.
First we had to get supper.
Chicken fingers, fries and milk!


Since we were right there, we had to ride the carousel!

Then it was time for the movie.
We saw The Star.  It was an animated movie about a stubborn little donkey from Nazereth who didn't like what he was doing, and kept trying to join the royal caravan to travel with the king.  He ended up traveling to Bethlehem, carrying Mary on his back and was able to see the new King, baby Jesus.

Eating a little popcorn before the movie started.

Alaina was enthralled by the movie - not a peep from her.

Ruby was much more wiggly, and at one point in the very quiet theater, she told Alaina in a loud voice that she loved her.  That was very sweet, but I was glad the theater was filled with mostly kids and not adults!  She was also quite worried about the donkey and the other animals in the movie.

They both had fun and enjoyed the movie.  I did too!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Cooking Thursday

The recipe I'm sharing with you today isn't really a recipe, but a cute decorating idea for a fun Christmas food.  It's easy to make and kids love it!  Alaina and Ruby helped me decorate these and were pretty proud of the end project.

Rudolph Brownies

1 brownie mix for a 9x9 pan
pretzel twists
red M&M's
candy eyes
chocolate icing

Prepare brownie mix as directed and bake.  I made mine in a scone pan, but you could also use a pie plate and cut the brownies into 8 triangles.
Place small dots of icing at tip of brownies and place red M&M's into it.
Then place more dots of icing in the middle of the brownie and place candy eyes.
Break pretzel twists in half and poke into the top of the brownies.
Enjoy your reindeer!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

I love seeing fountain grasses this time of year.  This was a large grouping of them near a business.  They were very fluffy and blowing in the wind!

Monday, December 4, 2017

A Day in my Life

It's December!  Here's how I spent the first day of the month.

I started work at 7am. The hall where my office is, was still dark - no one there but me!

 I added the little joy sign to the cubby in the office, just a little Christmas decorating at work.

It was a busy day, with 2 meetings thrown in.  I'm not a fan of meetings.  I know they are necessary, but too often there is time wasted that I could use for other things!

Laura dropped Alaina and Ruby off at 3:30.  She and Aaron were going to his work party that night and the girls were spending the night with us. She left, I finished a few things and the girls and I went home at 4pm.

We saw this cool old truck on the way home.

 The girls had fun playing with this musical dog I had bought for them. It played Jingle Bells and danced.  I must admit that we were happy to send it home with them, and had to apologize to Laura and Aaron for what they were going to have to listen to!

We had a Christmas party that evening with my Dad's family.

 Excuse the blurry picture, I took it as we drove.  The sunset was pretty that night.

My Dad comes from a family of 10, so there was a big group at the party!

 The girls had fun playing with some games after supper.

Ruby thought it was great fun to play with the balls.

 They were excited to show their presents to Great-grandpa and great-grandma.

 On the way home, we admired the Christmas lights.

After getting jammies on, we checked out Ruby's new game.

After the game, they played with some photo-editing on Grandpa's I-pad and thought it was hilarious!  Then it was time for bed.

Shortly after their bedtime, it was bedtime for us too.  It was another good day!