Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Cooking on Wednesday

 I usually do my recipe posts on Thursday, but after today I'm going to take a break until after Christmas.  However, I wanted to share this recipe with you in case you were looking for an easy candy recipe to try for a Christmas event.
This is a recipe for English toffee. I was surprised by how easy it was. The toffee turned out to be really good, dissolve in your mouth type toffee! I made it without nuts, because we are not nutty people!  But you can add chopped nuts on top if you like.

English Toffee

1 cup white sugar
2 sticks salted butter (1 cup)
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 Hershey chocolate bars
chopped nuts, optional

Butter a baking sheet and set aside.
Combine sugar, butter, water and vanilla and bring to a boil. Stir constantly until mixture turns a light, golden brown.  The original poster said it took hers 8 minutes, others said 10.  Mine was ready in 8 minutes.
Remove from heat and pour onto greased pan.
Unwrap candy bars and place on toffee mix. Wait a minute for chocolate to melt, then spread evenly over top.  If you are using nuts, sprinkle them over the top.
Allow to cool, or chill in refrigerator.
Break into small pieces, store in the refrigerator.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, giving thanks for the greatest gift, our Savior!  See you in January!

Monday, December 18, 2023

It's a wrap!

 I have a few wrapping ideas for you today.  I often do little gifts for co-workers or neighbors, and sometimes just because it's fun!  If you have something that's just a small gift, wrapping it cute makes it so much nicer.  So here's a couple of ideas.

We have a small group from church. We usually all go out for Christmas and some of us bring a little gift along.  This year I got some hand soap from Bath and Bodyworks and this is how I packaged it.

I wrapped it in tissue and put it in a lunch bag.  I punched the top of the bag to give it a lacy look.  Then I punched little holes in and strung cord through, tied it and tied a tag to it.

The tag says "We wash you a Merry Christmas."  I use this site from Avery tags, to make the tags.  It gives you a lot of decorative options and then you can personalize it.  I use cardstock to print them off - they print 12 to a page.  Then I punch them out with this circle hole punch.  The options are endless!

This is something I did for my co-workers.  I put a little bag of home-made caramels in this food quality bag, put a doily over the top, punched holes and put twine through them. Then I put on another tag I made and tied a bow.

Here's a close-up.

Here's another version of that.  For this one, I cut the paper doily in half, folded the top over it, punched it and used red and white twine to tie it.  This one is for neighbors so I made another tag for it.

Here's a close up of this one.
These are all easy to do, the hardest thing is getting the cord through the holes!  The food bags, twine, cord and doilies are all available through Amazon.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Christmas Home Tour

 I'm joining with some of you in sharing how our home is decorated for Christmas.

We'll start with the front porch:

We have a porch pot on the porch by the steps.

By the front door I have two little trees, and this old sled which is new to me this year.  I saw it in a store this fall and thought it would be great for the porch.

This big wooden snowflake hangs in the peak of the roof on the porch.

Inside the back door is this cute little wreath.

In the dining room I have a little tree that just has white lights.  The little star banner was given to me by a blog friend quite a few years ago.

This is on the table

and this hangs from the light over the table.  It was given to me by a patient about 10 years ago.

I even have a few things in our main bathroom.  

Near the living room is this card rack.  I love getting cards from friends and loved ones. Some dear blog friends have cards hanging there too!

In the living room is our tree.  We got a skinny tree as we don't have a very big living room.

This bell was made by a patient of mine who passed away about 10 years ago. Her daughter remains a friend and gave it to me.  It's a special one.

Another special ornament; this one has my moms writing on it.

These are all Santa ornaments that Bob carved.

This is a mini nativity; I made it when I was a MOPS leader.  They are toddler friendly!

Here's another nativity, one that our daughter Laura made when she was about 16.

Here's a close up of the shepherds and sheep.  She put a lot of detail into this.  There are even chickens!

Last is this shelf in the living room that stockings are hung from. Until this year, there have been a bunch hanging; one for each family member, but it was too heavy, and they fell off last year.  So, this year there are just the 3 granddaughters.

I could show you more, but I think that's enough!  Hope you enjoyed the tour!

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Cooking Thursday

 Do you like those soft, chewy, salted caramels you can buy?  Well, I have a recipe for you!  They are called 10 minute caramels, and that's really how long it takes to make them.  They are so good, and a great addition to your Christmas goody tray.

10  Minute Microwave Caramels

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
sea salt

Butter an 8-inch square pan, or for thicker caramels, a 9x5 inch loaf pan. If you like, you can then line the buttered pan with foil and butter the foil.
Melt butter in a large microwaveable bowl (microwave for about 1 minute).
Stir in the corn syrup, both sugars and sweetened condensed milk. Continue stirring until most of the sugar is dissolved.
Microwave on high for 3 minutes and 5 to 15 seconds. (* I recommend starting with the shorter time of 3 minutes 5 seconds, since I'd rather have my caramels too soft than too hard). Remove from microwave and stir and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Return to microwave and cook on high for another 3 minutes and 5 to 15 seconds. Stir in the vanilla. Pour immediately into the buttered dish.
After about 15 -30 minutes, sprinkle sea salt crystals over the caramels.
Allow to sit for several hours until cooled and set. Cut into squares and wrap in waxed paper.

*I've ended up doing 3 minutes, 10 seconds each time.

I found it was easier to cut the caramels with kitchen shears than a knife.  Also - I used these wrappers I found on Amazon for $8.99, so much easier than cutting all those squares of wax paper (and there are 300 wrappers so they last forever!)

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Happy Birthday Cassie!

 We celebrated Cassie's birthday this past weekend.  Her birthday isn't until Sunday, but with the busyness of this time of year, her party was a week early.

Here's our almost 3 year old!

Playing with her cousins

Eating pizza and noodles

Some cute cards made by Alaina and Ruby

Checking out a present

Time for a cupcake!

And then time for some clean up!
Happy Birthday sweet girl.  You are so loved!

Monday, December 11, 2023

Christmas Programs

 It's the season for Christmas programs!  Last week we had two of them.
One was Ruby's school program.  Alaina is now in 6th grade and doesn't have one, so it was only Ruby in it this year.

Here they were lining up on the stage and she saw us.

The third grade, singing and waving ribbons.

Ruby was excited about a special part she had this year.  She got to go up front with 11 other 3rd graders when they sang a special version of The 12 days of Christmas.  Her part was playing cowbells, on the third day - so she got to play them quite a bit.  She did great!

We got to hear the 4th grade too, and one song they sang was 'Shalom' which was interesting because parts of it were in Hebrew and they did sign language with it.

Here's Ruby after the program was done.

The other program we had was Cassie's first Sunday School Christmas program.
She was so excited about it, and told her parents she was going to stand straight and tall and sing loud because Grandpa and Grandma were coming. She was part of the youngest group, the 2 and 3 year olds who were just singing one song and then going back to sit with their parents,
Of course, we ended up sitting on the wrong side and couldn't see her well, but here's a few blurry pics that I got.

Lining up in front

Starting the song....

Singing is tiring, better sit down.

Getting really tired - I better lay down!

The song's getting done, better sit up again.

Full of smiles, back by Dad and Mom.  

Here's Cassie, after the program was done.
She may not have stood straight and tall, or sung loud, but we were proud of her anyway!

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Gone Home

 Last week we lost my sweet stepmom.  She's had a hard 8 months since my Dad passed.  Her dementia had gotten worse, she had several falls and fractured both her shoulder and her arm.
A few weeks ago she went on Hospice (and had the same wonderful Hospice nurse my Dad had).  On Tuesday, her daughter called and said they thought she only had a few days left. When I saw her, she wasn't responsive and she passed away a few hours later.
I'm happy she didn't linger, that I know she is in heaven, and the issues she was dealing with here on earth are no longer with her.
They were married for 15 years and she was such a blessing to my Dad and to our family. 
Here's her obituary and a few pictures of our Ann.

With Alaina

With Ruby

And with Cassie.  She loved them and they loved her back.  They never knew life without her.  Because of her age, Cassie doesn't realize it, but Alaina and Ruby are very sad.

With my Dad about 5 years ago

She and Dad loved bowling and this was a time out bowling with all the grandkids and great grandkids.

Here she is with Ruby on a boat ride.  She was a grandma, who even at 90 plus years would be on the floor playing with the kids.

With my Dad

And a family picture taken about 10 years ago with all the grandkids and Alaina.
Ann lived a good life and was 94 years old.  I'm so thankful I got to know her for the last 16 years of it and am thankful I will see her again!