Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Holiday Joy....

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. We had fun at our house, even though my 6 year old said she didn't get anything she wanted. We got to go visit my hubby's sister and go 4-wheeling in the snow on Christmas Day. And yesterday I got to go to my parent's house for a big family party. We had a ton of fun until our ride home. My oldest daughter gagged right before we left my parent's house, so my mom gave us a ziploc bag for the ride home. Boy were we glad we had that bag!!! She threw up several times on the way home and then every 20 minutes or so for the next 4 hours. Then our 3 year old started throwing up and two hours after that our baby started too. And this morning my hubby wasn't feeling good either. So between all that and washing all the bedding in the middle of the night I am exhausted....and hoping that I don't get sick too. I hope everyone else's Holiday is going better than ours....oh the holiday joy!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Candy Recipes...

Well, by popular demand, here are my candy recipes. I still have not gotten the recipe from my neighbor. :( Hopefully I will soon, and then I will post that too. Happy candy making!

Orange and Raspberry Sticks

5 small pkgs. raspberry jell-o (or orange for orange sticks)
1 1/2 cans jellied cranberry sauce
1 1/2 cups sugar

Melt cranberry sauce in a saucepan. Add jell-o and sugar. Cook until sugars are dissolved, stirring constantly. Let cool and pour onto a well greased (I just use pam) 15 x whatever jelly roll pan. Allow to set for a day or two to set up. Cut into thin strips and dip in chocolate. You can also put this into a 9x13 pan, and then cut into small cubes and roll in sugar for gumdrops.

English Toffee
1 pound butter
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 cup chopped almonds or pecans
16 oz. milk chocolate chips

Melt butter, sugar, water and corn syrup in saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil. Boil until it reaches a temperature of 290 without stirring. Pour onto a greased jelly roll pan. When cool spread top with melted chocolate chips and sprinkle with nuts. Press nuts lightly into chocolate so they stick better. Cool. When completely cool break into small pieces.

Peanut butter cups
1/3 lb. graham crackers crumbs (I usually use 1 package and put it in my blender)
1/2 lb. butter or margarine at room temperature
1 cup peanut butter
1 pound powdered sugar
chocolate for dipping

Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, peanut butter, and sugar until well mixed. Refridgerate for a couple of hours. Roll into small balls. Dip in chocolate. Place in small candy cups.

Oreo fudge
16 oreo cookies broken into small chunks
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 Tblsp. butter or margarine
2 2/3 cups vanilla chips
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Line a 8 x 8 pan with wax paper coated with non-stick spray. Place 1/2 of broken cookie pieces on bottom of pan. Combine milk, butter, and vanilla chips in a sauce pan. Heat until chips are melted and well combined. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over cookie pieces in pan. Top with remaining cookie pieces. Refridgerate until set. Cut into cubes.

Microwave Peanut brittle
Stir together 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup corn syrup in an 8 cup glass measuring cup. Cook in the microwave on HIGH for 4 minutes. Stir in 1 cup roasted, salted peanuts. Cook on HIGH for 3-4 minutes or until light brown. Add 1 tsp. butter and 1 tsp. vanilla extract. Cook on HIGH for 1 to 2 more minutes more. Add 1 tsp. baking soda and gently stir until light and foamy. Pour mixture onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Let cool and break into pieces.

Cream Cheese Mints and Cinnamon mints
3 oz. cream cheese at room temp.
1 tsp. mint extract
green food coloring
3 cups powdered sugar (plus or minus to make them the consistancy you want)
2 crushed mint candy canes

Mix cream cheese, mint extract, and food coloring. Add powdered sugar and crushed candy canes. Roll into long snakes, and cut into small pieces.

For Cinnamon mints:
Use mint recipe, but replace green food coloring with red, and cinnamon candy canes for the mint candy canes. Add 4 drops cinnamon oil with the mint extract. Mix and roll out the same as above.

I hope these make your sweet tooth happy! Enjoy!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Something missing....

The Stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
The presents are wrapped and hiding downstairs,

The cards have all been made, labeled, and sent
To the Ward Christmas party we all have went,

but something is missing,what can it be....
Christmas goodies, for you and for me!

I am usually all over making Christmas and raspberry sticks (yes, homemade!), cream cheese mints and cinnamon mints, fudge, english toffee, peanut brittle, peanut butter cups, cinnamon hard candy, oreo fudge, and candied nuts are all usually made by now. However, for some reason this year I am not excited about making any of it. Maybe it is because my daughter is off track and I am trying to keep all the kids entertained and happy, maybe it is because of those pesky 13 pounds I put on since this same time last year, or maybe I am just tired of making the same old things. I think it is probably the last one on the list. My neighbors always give us a goody platter every year of homemade candy....homemade caramel, fudge, and these fabulous little chocolate balls. They have a white soft middle and are coated in chocolate, and then rolled in chopped almonds. They are so good. I have been craving them since last year. They are the only candy I want this year. My hubby asked them for the recipe yesterday for me. They said they would sent it with our platter of goodies. I am so excited!!!! I can't wait....I hope they don't forget. Please, please, please don't forget! I just have to have them! (Can you tell I am totally addicted to sugar!)

What goodies are a must at your house during the holidays? I would love to find out what other people make. Maybe it will get me excited to make some goodies afterall.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Favorite Christmas Decorations Part 1...

I wanted to share some of my favorite Christmas decorations. Blogger doesn't seem to like me to post more than three pictures at a time, so I had to make two posts, so make sure you check out my previous post too.

This is a Santa that we made in R.S. one year. I love that it is big. Most of my decorations are smaller table top decorations, so it is fun to have something bigger to set on the floor.

I purchased these gingerbread men at the craft store I use to work at. I love them because they are so cute and they have glitter all over them. I usually have them on my stove top bent around a scented candle. They look like they are out having a bonfire.

This is one of the first Christmas decorations that I made. The santa is holding a chalk board that we leave various messages on or count down the days until Christmas on.
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My favorite Christmas Decorations Part 2...

My good friend Becky gave me this one year for Christmas because she knows I love frogs. It says, "Kisses under the Mistletoad".

I was fortunate to work with a super creative and crafty woman in young women's a long time ago. She made this (and several other adorable decorations I have around my house). She was so talented, and I learned so much about making crafties from her.

I found this little treasure at Deseret Industries for $1.00. I don't know why anyone let this cute thing go.
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Thanks for stopping by to check out a few of my decorations.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The sweetest thing....

On Saturday I took each of my girls shopping to buy Christmas presents for their sisters. This was the first time they have ever bought gifts for each other. They have been collecting spare change from doing their chores for months. They each had enough to buy each of their sisters a $1.00 gift. They loaded up their money into their play purses and took turns going shopping. They both went skipping and dancing into the store with their little purses swinging on their arms. It was the sweetest thing! They were absolutely adorable trying to figure out the very BEST present for each of their sisters. I didn't think that the decision would take so long, but they certainly had fun shopping. They were so excited to pay the saleperson, and put the receipt in their purse. They were even more excited to get to wrap their presents with dad and put them under the tree. They were actually nice to each other the rest of the day! I think giving their sisters presents might be the most special part of Christmas for them this year. This is definately a tradition that we will do again!

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Holiday Home Tour

Nettie is having a Christmas open house. Here are a few pictures of my holiday decor. Blogger isn't liking me too much, so I was only able to post these 4 pics. I might have to put up another post with a few of my favorite holiday items that are not shown here, but that will have to wait for another day. Thanks for stopping by!

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care....At least they are really hanging this year. The first year I made them I forgot to attach loops to hang them from! I still need to embroider our names on them in gold of these days I will get around to it.

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, how lovely are your branches. We love our tree. It is so pretty and sparkly when the lights are all on at night. Note the Moroni on top!

Here is our nativity scene. We purchased it in Guatemala after haggling a guy for it. It came with an elephant, but I thought that was strange, so we talked the guy into exchanging it for an extra camel. It also came with a HUGE baby Jesus. We had him give us a smaller one that went to another set, but it was still about as big as the donkey...luckily it got broken on the way home. I found the new baby Jesus, the manger, and the sheep at a local ceramics shop.

This is our entry way table decked out in holiday decor. My husband made the table last year for me for Christmas.
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Friday, December 1, 2006

Christmas Meme...

UTMOMMY and SUZANNE recently did this meme on their blogs. I thought it looked like a fun one so I decided to try it to. Here goes:
1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? I love them both. They are two of my favorite beverages. I just saw an ad in a magazine that had a picture of egg nog in a can...can you really buy the stuff in a can? I need to start a year's supply if they do.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? It depends on if they are easily wrapped. Mostly he wraps them, this year the toys are not getting wrapped, but everything else is.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Definately hubby loves the colored though, so maybe we will have to do that sometime.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Yes. It is in the archway to my living room, and on the wall by it is a little quilt sampler that says, "Kisses under the Mistletoad" with a frog on it. (Rather fitting don't you think?)

5. When do you put your decorations up? We took all the fall decorations down the day after Thanksgiving and cleaned the entire house and then decorated for Christmas that night. We were going to waith until Saturday, but the kids were too excited. I will be sick of them before Christmas is over though. And for some reason, I wasn't all that excited to put them up this year. I didn't even put out a lot of things I usually do.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? I LOVE finger foods....crackers and cheese, artichoke dip, cheeseballs, little smokies, sliced meat, olives, cut up fruit with creamy fruit dip, etc. Yum Yum Yum!! Maybe I will have to serve that for dinner tonight!

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: I remember one Christmas (I don't remember how old I was) and we came out Christmas morning to open presents and there was a row of stuffed animals (one for each of the kids) lined up by the tree. I remember a Christmas when I was a teenager when my Dad surprised me with a pair of Girbaud shorts. I jumped up and down screaming I was so excited. (I would do the same thing today if I could fit back into them!)

8. How and When did you learn the truth about Santa? I don't remember how old I was, but I learned it from my neighbor Angie. I don't remember being sad about it. I just thought, "Oh."

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? My family never did growing up, but my husband's family always got new pajamas, so we have started doing that with out kids, except for this year (since they didn't need pajamas) we bought them all snow pants instead.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? We have 2 trees. One is an artificial full-size tree with white lights, gold, burgundy, and ivory decorations. We have a small artificial "kid" tree with colored lights that has my kid's ornaments and the ornaments I got when I was a child on it.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? I seem to dread it more and more the older I get. I am perfectly happy inside watching it snow, but I would rather not have to be in it. Sledding with the family is pretty fun though.

12. Can you ice skate? Yes...I can even go backwards. Don't ask me to do any jumping though.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Mine would have to be a Barbie that my husband gave me in 1999. His sisters had been going through all their Barbie stuff and it had made me sad. I had given away (stupid, stupid, stupid!) all of my Barbie things when I thought I was too "old" for them, and I have regretted it ever since. My hubby's sisters even had a Barbie that I had when I was little. It made me miss them even more, so that Christmas my hubby bought a Barbie for me because he knew I was sad about mine (we didn't even have any kids at the time). It was very sweet.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Remembering the birth of my Savior, and spending time with family.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? My homemade orange and raspberry sticks, which I am not going to make this year. I will miss them.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? I have two.
One is from when I was little. My mom made a little nativity scene with stuffed people. There was a wooden manger under baby Jesus, and everytime we did a good deed we got to put a piece of straw under baby Jesus. It is something I would like to start doing with my own kids. My other favorite is from my husband's family. When him and his 5 brothers and sisters got to be a little older and were waking up too early in the morning to find out what "Santa" brought his parents came up with a little plan to keep them in their rooms longer. His parents set up booby traps all down the hall to try to keep the kids in bed...we are talking major traps here! They would tie yarn all around their bedrooms with bells on it so they couldn't even get out of their beds without making a lot of noise. They taped wrapping paper over the end of the hall, rigged up marbles so when a door was opened they would fall into a metal bowl. They did all kinds of things. They said they would stay up laughing their heads off trying to think of new booby traps. I think most of the kids enjoyed trying to get out of their rooms as much as they did the Christmas presents. The kids would even gather up supplies the night before....scissors for cutting string, a flashlight, candy (in case they were hungry), a cup (in case they couldn't get out to go to the bathroom). It is so funny to hear my hubby tell all the stories. I would like to try that with our kids, the only problem is that our bedroom is at the end of the hallway.

17. What tops your tree? A gold statue of Moroni...what better topper is there than that!

18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving? I actually prefer receiving (I know I am just a big kid!). I do love giving things to people that I have made though.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? Silent Night, and I can't think of the names of any others (I never know the names of songs!).

20. What is your favorite Christmas story? The story of the birth of Christ of course, but I have always loved the story of the Match Girl. I remember listening to it on a record when I was a kid. I wonder if my parents still have it.

Well there are some of my Christmas memories. I would love to read yours, so let me know if you decide to do this meme as well.