Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year's Eve

Happy New Year's Eve to my readers out there!  Just dropping in to wish you a safe and fun evening whether you are going out on the town or a gathering with friends, or just staying in!  Thank you for choosing to spend a little of your time with me this year.  

Around here, we are having steaks and smashed baby red potatoes for supper with a salad.  I am making a DELICIOUS artichoke dip that I got from one my my stamp club members--it's soooooo good!  (Thanks Julie!!)  I will be sure to share the recipe here in the next couple of days.  The boys have decided to have a gaming sleepover in my youngest son's room, and my husband and my tradition is to watch It's a Wonderful Life on New Year's.  So---it will be a cozy night in at our house.

Whatever you are doing, I hope it's great.  Cheers!  Wishing you a happy and healthy 2014 filled with bright successes!

PS...stop in tomorrow....I will be revealing my One Little Word for 2014 as I kick off my year long class with Ali Edwards.  I'm REALLY excited about it.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Beautiful tree with family ornaments at my in-law's house this year
Just stopping in amongst the festivities to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, successful 2014.  Thank you so much for being a part of my blog family and stopping in to see what's going on here in the Northwoods!

I have taken a little hiatus from blog posting over this holiday season, but I am going to be back on January 1st with a post announcing my One Little Word for 2014.  I am SO excited for this class to begin, and to see where my word takes me this year.  If you are interested in seeing what all the excitement is, and joining me, check it out here.  If you sign up by 12/31 (like I did...) you can take this class along with me for 50 CENTS a week.  I'd love to have you.

I couldn't leave today without sharing this recipe with you.  Ham is the traditional Christmas food in my house, and I am trying a new glaze this year.  It's in the crockpot right now and it smells SO good.  I can not possibly wait 2.5 more hours to eat it!

Crockpot Christmas Ham
Ham Glaze:
1 tsp. ground mustard
1 tsp. prepared horseradish
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
2 T plus 1/4 cup Cola (divided)

Mix together all ingredients in a bowl except for the 1/4 c. cola.  Rub on a pre-cooked 5-6lb ham.  Place ham in crockpot and pour remaining 1/4 c. cola over the top.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Enjoy!

PS--didn't Alex and Grandpa do a beautiful job on their family tree this year?  My in-laws own a sweet Victorian B&B in town.  It is such a great place to experience, and we feel lucky to have it in the family. You can check it out here.  Look him up if you find yourself in town and needing a place to stay.  He opens back up this spring

Monday, December 16, 2013

More Cookie Traditions

Good Morning Readers!

Yesterday I shared one of our family traditions--making Molasses Sugar Cookies with my Gram.  You can read more about that here.

In addition to those cookies, I was part of a new tradition this weekend, too.  My Grandpa Willie (my Dad's Dad) was a teacher at trade school for several years.  He is an excellent auto mechanic, and if he had his way would still be hoisting transmissions out of cars even at 89 years old. While teaching auto shop, he met his friend Dexter who taught baking and they forged a life long friendship.  For the last couple years my aunts, my uncle,a couple of my cousins, and my great aunt and her granddaughter have gone and baked cookies with Dexter and his wife Joanne at their in-home business/bakery.

Here are a few pictures--they are not the best quality, but it was something I will look forward to doing again next year if we have the opportunity.  We made cut outs, thumbprints, fattigman and krumkake (traditional Norwegian cookies), rosettes, pecan blondies, gingerbread men, and cinnamon sticks.  We got to take what we'd like for our holiday baking, and helped Dexter be able to freeze some for his holiday orders.  We baked between 200 and 300 dozen cookies!  It was really fun and a great way to get in the holiday spirit.

Enjoy the pictures.  I'd love to hear what some of your favorite holiday traditions are, or new ones you are looking forward to starting.  Thanks for stopping in!

Cookies waiting to be wrapped

My great aunt Dorothy and her granddaughter Jessica



Auntie Patti making cinnamon logs

Phil manning the Krumkake while Uncle Dave washes dishes

A look at one end of the kitchen

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Fun Christmas Tradition

Oh the weather outside is frightful....  That about sums it up for those of us here in the Northwoods. It has been bone chilling cold for the last week and a half or so, right after we got almost 3 feet of snow. It looks like a winter wonderland outside, and inside, at least here,...it smells like cookies!

Gram's Molasses Sugar Cookies
And, not just any cookie.  Quite possibly my favorite Christmas cookie, certainly in my top 5, are my Gram's Molasses Sugar Cookies.  They are crispy with the flavor of molasses rolled in sugar.  Perfect with a cup of coffee.  I have been making these with my Gram for as long as I can remember, and I feel so fortunate that she is still able to make them not only with me but also with my boys.  Bup (my Grandpa) is also still here to teach them the merits of quality control.  ;)

Here's the set up:
The decorations-just missing the raisins

The dough all set for our creations
I love that these pictures of the decorations and the dough could be in every album for as far back as I can remember.  We have always had all the sprinkles, the red hots, the holly leaves, and the various colored sugars.  There is also a bowl of raisins, which were here today, they just didn't make it in my picture.  Gram brings out the dough--it smelled SO GOOD even before it was baked.
My cousin Elsie and my Gram

Gram helping Jack get his spot lined up
One thing about Gram--she is a perfectionist.  She does beautiful sewing, I have never met someone who irons as well as she does, she's an excellent cook, she is artistic...I don't think there is anything she can't do. She doesn't just do it, if she's done something, you can count on it being just so.

Having said that, she always lets the kids do their creations however they want to--whether they have a mess of sprinkles and ALL the decorations on the cookie, or just a simple sugar, raisin and red hot combination.  All are beautiful to her, and she praises you for your good work.  Here are some pictures of the finished products:
A&J with their finished cookies

Alex's cookie on the left, Elsie's on the right

Jack's cookie (Gram really liked his red scarf in the middle)

I love this tradition almost as much as I love eating the cookies!!  Thanks for stopping in today.  I hope you and your families and friends are enjoying the holiday season.  See you soon!

Monday, December 2, 2013

December Daily/Journal Your Christmas

Stampin' Up's! Daily December Album I'm using to journal

Hi All!

Mondays after a long weekend are hard aren't they? I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving!  I polished off the leftover sweet potato casserole that my Mom made today.  YUM!  I don't even like sweet potatoes, but I L.O.V.E. the sweet potato casserole.  Thanks Mom :)

How many of you are doing a December Daily/Journal Your Christmas type album?  I signed up for the Shimelle Journal Your Christmas class a couple years ago.  It is so much fun to get her writing and photography prompts each day.  Go check out Journal Your Christmas.  The best part? You buy in the class one time and then you are a lifetime member!!!  It's like getting as many classes as you want for the price of one.  Another place I plan to check out for inspiration is Ali Edwards' blog.  Ali has such a fantastic gift for getting to the point of the story.  She is relevant and her style is clean, simple, and beautiful.  You can do your album the traditional way, in a notebook, completely digital, or hybrid as I plan to do.  I plan to add some clear pocket/page protectors to mine to capture the memorabilia of this special time that I can't capture with a picture.

So, for today our photo assignment was about the beginning signs of Christmas/Holiday Season approaching.  The journaling assignment was to write your manifesto for the season.  I haven't finished my manifesto yet, but here are some pictures I snapped today while I was out and about running errands.

I love that it's the "start of the Christmas season" when the calendar turns to December 1st.  It's such a magical time.  The air is crisp.  The Salvation Army bell ringers are out ringing the bells, spreading Christmas cheer, and reminding us to share our fortune with those less fortunate.  The stores and storefront windows are decked out in their holiday best.  The special songs of Christmas are on the radio, in stores, in my CD player in the car and on my laptop as I type this. (Much to my husband's delight)  I look forward to the cartoons from my childhood coming on TV during the weeknights even though my children don't get why that's so special when you can get it on DVD.  This week my family and I will be dusting off the decorations and putting up the tree.  I can hardly wait!!

I hope your week is off to a great start.  Thanks for checking in with me today!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Getting Ready for Cyber Monday

Thanksgiving table beautifully set

Hi Readers!

How was your Thanksgiving?  We had a really good time with my mom and dad this weekend.  We went to my parents' house this year for Thanksgiving weekend.  Not only did we have a delicious fresh turkey dinner (thanks Mom and Dad), but we helped them set up their Christmas tree, the boys, my Dad, and Mitch got to go see Frozen, and my Mom, Sister, and I even got to do some shopping together--on Saturday :)  The kids baked a new Christmas treat with Grandma, and our Elf on the Shelf, Jimmy, brought an elf friend for my niece.  Can't wait for the years of shenanigans that will come from that!

Here's a few pictures from the weekend.  I did get some crafting done, but it was in the form of Christmas cards that I will mail out to family and friends.  Once those get mailed I'll share them here with my blog friends, too!

I hope you enjoyed a fun and relaxing holiday weekend!  Back to reality now.  Tomorrow, I'm hoping to share some of my December Daily/Journal Your Christmas album.  Thanks for stopping in!

Dad opening his new Muppet ornaments :)

Mom opening her box of vintage ornaments
(she loves them, and my great grandma threw the
ones she had away that my Mom always wanted)
The Gonzo ornament I blogged about in my last post-FOUND!

Our elf Jimmy with  my niece's new elf friend Eevie.  They brought new
books for the kids to read or have read to them.

Opening/enjoying their new books

My sister showing my niece her new elf Eevie

My niece in Alex's old walker-she loved it and had lots to say!
Jack loved the Christmas tree lit
Love these 2 in their matching sweaters!!
Such a beautiful little family--and isn't baby B's hat ADORABLE?
Elf shenanigans

My parents with all of their grandkids :)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!! (And, a gift share--Dad, spoiler alert, don't read this post yet!)

Hi Readers!

Just wanted to drop in and wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you are able to spend the day with family and friends and enjoy a delicious meal.  We have lots to be thankful for in my household--and you readers are definitely on my list.

I also had to share a great gift find I found for my Dad.  (My Dad doesn't do much on computers, so it's likely that if he is reading my blog, it won't be until after he opens these little gems, so I think I am safe sharing them with you all!)

My Dad has had this Gonzo ornament on the Christmas tree as long as I can remember.  It was always special to find the Gonzo ornament amongst the box of ornaments when we were putting up the tree each year at my Mom and Dad's growing up.  Of course, my sister and I always wanted to hang it somewhere prominent on the tree, but with it being so heavy, he always got moved to the bottom branches.

The Muppet Show was a huge memory of my childhood.  It used to be on TV on Sunday nights and the treat at our house was to have Dave's Pizza, and we'd get to eat on TV trays in the living room with pop in our Tupperware sippy cups after our baths and watch The Muppet Show.  Even as a grown up, I still love that show, and the movies, and have shared them with my boys as well.

Last year, my Mom, sister and I had gone out for some after Christmas shopping for things like tags to add to our gift tag boxes (another tradition I'll talk more about this holiday season), calendars for the new year, and anything with the gift cards we had just gotten.  When we were at Target going through their holiday section for the tags, I came across these beauties:

I couldn't pass them up.  I can hardly wait to see the expression on my Dad's face when he opens them up. Another bonus, they aren't as heavy as Gonzo, so perhaps they will get to have a place a little more eye level on their tree.  You can bet that I will have my camera ready to capture my Dad's expression when he opens them, and, I will stop back in and share where they go on the tree once I see it decorated.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cookie Exchange Recipe Cards

Hi All!

Just had to pop in real quick and share the recipe cards I made for one of my girlfriends for her cookie recipe exchange.  She asked me if I could make her "something Christmasy" I think these fit the bill!  

I will be away from the blog for the rest of this week celebrating Thanksgiving with my family.  I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for each of you readers!!  Safe travels if you are traveling.  Enjoy the time with your family and friends and I'll look forward to chatting with you after Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Share Recipe--What's in YOUR Freezer?

Happy Sunday Readers!

Today, I am going to share some recipes we've made lately on the weekend to have during the week.  We have a freezer in our garage, so it makes it real easy to make these things and then put them out there to store until we need them again during the week.  For our family it works best to make 4 different things and that is enough for a meal, lunch for Mitch and I, and possibly a night of left overs.  It usually takes me 1/2 of my day to get these things put together and packaged.

You will need this cast of characters:

Here are the favorites we've made so far:

Chicken Spaghetti--this is a good comfort food.  In Ree's recipe, she cut up a whole fryer chicken, we just used a couple cans of shredded chicken to cut down on the time it took.  It almost has a chicken pot pie taste to it.  It was a keeper.

Mexican Stuffed Shells- my kids love any type of Mexican food.  This was great with some fresh guacamole and a lettuce salad. Works perfect for lunch the next day, too.  

Crock Pot Beef Tips- I prefer this over mashed potatoes since I'm not a huge fan of egg noodles, but my husband and kids like the noodles.  (The boys were outraged there are mushrooms in here...but they are so delicious)

Lasagna-I love a good lasagna,  and I thought mine was pretty good.  I tried this one and I am converted forever.  I really like that the sauce lets the meat shine, and is basically just meat, seasoning and tomatoes.

Lastly, Chicken Andouille Casserole   This was DELICIOUS.  Although, don't tell Emeril, we substituted fake butter for butter and Greek yogurt for heavy cream.  Still delicious.  We are definitely adding these to the rotation.

So, we make these all up, put them in the disposible (recyclable) foil pans, cover with Saran wrap, then heavy duty foil.  Once wrapped up tight, we write the cooking instructions on top of the pan and in the freezer it goes.  Dinners and lunches taken care of for a week.  I hope this helps you and your families as much as it has mine!  Have a great rest of your Sunday!