Twenty-five Days of Christmas Cheer: December 20th

It’s been snowing since a little after 10:00 last night. We have close to ten inches (by my estimate, anyway) and there’s no sign of it stopping. I’m so happy!!! I am, though, praying hard for my dear husband, his dad, his uncle, and the other milk truck drivers on the road. Nate claims he likes driving in snow, which I believe, and he’s good at it, but at the same time, anything can happen.

Also, it’s my sister’s 22nd birthday today, and since I know she reads this…. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HEIDI!! 🙂

So.

Since shoveling the driveway at this point is a terrible idea — I’d get nowhere — I think it’s time to throw the rest of my apron together and get that Christmas baking done! And, you know, go enjoy the snow at some point. Get all bundled up and run around in it like the five-year-child that I am at heart.

White Christmas “Snow” Song

(Note: I don’t honestly know why I was able to embed a video once and now I can’t. Any suggestions?)

P.S. I really wish I had a camera because my posts would be so much more interesting. I even know exactly what camera I want, but it’s not cheap. Ah well. Soon.

Advertisements

Twenty-five Days of Christmas Cheer: December 19th (The One About Snow)

There are many reasons I love living in Wisconsin. One of them is that we get blizzards. I know, that sounds really weird. But I’m one of those rare people that would rather be enjoying snow than sitting on a beach. I hate sand. And the sun is never good to me. And beaches are so rarely quiet. The silence of a snow-covered forest gets me every time. Snow makes everything beautiful. Yes, it’s hard to drive in. sometimes impossible, and with the blizzard moving into the area tonight and tomorrow, I will be praying hard for anyone on the road, especially my husband, his dad, and the other milk truck drivers who have to pick up that milk no matter what.

But we still love snow here in Wisconsin. Most of us do, anyway. Because now it is certain that we will have a white Christmas, and we can always hope that the snow that blows in tomorrow will stay all winter long. (And that we get more!) Last year we missed out on the winter recreation. There wasn’t enough snow at any one time to do anything. Our snowmobiles sat in the garage, and the ski hill (which we’ve never used, but still) had to make snow in order to operate. I wanted to cross-country ski, but not even that could happen last winter!

So, with the blizzard on the way, with the possibility of nearly TWO FEET of snow, I’m doing some Christmas shopping today and hopefully going to be baking tomorrow. Though that may have to wait…if it’s as windy as they say it’s going to be, we may lose electricity. Good thing I have a huge supply of candles. Maybe I’ll make tomorrow into a Little House on the Prairie kind of Christmas. For that, I have the perfect recipe. (These are amazing, by the way. And because there’s no egg, you can eat the dough!)

******************************************************************

Heart-Shaped Christmas Cakes

“Mary and Laura pulled out two small packages. They unwrapped them, and each found a little heart-shaped cake. Over their delicate brown tops was sprinkled white sugar.”
Little House on the Prairie

**********************

You will need:
½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
Flour for sprinkling
Granulated sugar for sprinkling

Measuring cup and spoons
Large mixing bowl
Mixing spoon
Floured board
Heart-shaped cookie cutter, about 2 or 3″ across
Cookie sheet
Pot holder
Wide spatula
Wire rack

Heat the oven to 325%.

Beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla together until they are light and fluffy. Stir in the flour.

On a floured board, pat the dough out in a circle about 1/3″ thick. Cut out shapes with the cookie cutter. Sprinkle the tops with granulated sugar. Put the heart shapes on the cookie sheet and bake them for about 15-20 minutes, until they are lightly browned. Take them out of the oven and sprinkle more granulated sugar on the tops. Carefully remove the cakes from the cookie sheet with the spatula and put them on the wire rack to cool.

Makes about 12 cakes.

Recipe taken from The Little House Treasury by Carolyn Strom Collins and Christina Wyss Erikson.

Twenty-five Days of Christmas Cheer: December 18th (Gifting Craziness!!!)

Who is finished with their Christmas shopping? Not this girl. I mean, I ordered a few gifts from Amazon for my family (Amazon Prime is the best ever, by the way.), but that’s about as far as I’ve gotten. My friends and I haven’t really given each other gifts in recent years, so maybe I’m off the hook there, at least for those I haven’t talked to as much this year. And the rest of my family…well, that’ll get done. I’ve always been a last minute shopper. I spend so much time in the first weeks of December thinking about what I want to give to people that suddenly it’s a week until Christmas and I don’t have any gifts!

Originally, I had been hoping to make most of my gifts, using Pinterest. But time got away from me. I have a feeling that’s partly because of the above reason and partly because I was trying to do too many things at once. (This is going to be way worse when hubby and I have kids…I can just see it now…oh the horror…lol.) Note to self: Don’t try to do everything at once because then you end up staring at the computer screen (or a book) and doing nothing productive. Which happens less than it used to. I do have my own house now.

So…I guess I’d better go Christmas shopping in the next two days. And grocery shopping. And I say two days because there’s apparently a snowstorm going to hit us on Thursday. Which I am greatly excited about, but it would be a good idea to get all the shopping out of the way. Then I can spend all day Thursday wrapping presents and getting the house tidy even though I don’t think anyone is coming here. Thank goodness.

Twenty-Five Days of Christmas Cheer: December 17th

If I don’t see either snowfall or sunshine soon (preferably snow), I just might go crazy. This dreary, wet weather is no fun. It’s gloomy and just…blah. It makes me sleepy, which is no fun at all when I have so much to do. Seriously, not even coffee is waking me up today!

I am still working on my Christmas apron. At the rate I’m going, I might be able to wear it next year… The pattern isn’t that difficult, but I somehow manage to do everything backwards and then have to rip it out and start over. I have the skirt part done, but the bib and straps are giving me a lot of trouble. Maybe tomorrow will be a better time to try. Maybe even tonight, I don’t know. I hope it’s done soon so that I share a picture of it!

Beyond that, I have nothing really good to share today. The Hobbit was excellent, and now I have this itch to write my own fantasy adventure tale involving dragons and magic rings. I’ve always wanted to write a story like that; even started a few times. Hmm. Maybe that’ll be one of my New Year’s Resolutions — to begin writing again. 🙂

It’s a week until Christmas Eve and I hope everyone is ready!

I’m definitely not, which is why I’m going to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. Oh wait…I don’t have that one. Maybe I’ll watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer instead. And drink a cup of hot chocolate.

Twenty-five Days of Christmas Cheer: December 16th (Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!)

In lieu of Sunday Serenade today, I am instead celebrating Jane Austen’s 237th birthday! She is one of my favorite authors. Her novel Northanger Abbey is my favorite, with Persuasion coming in at a close second. Any of Austen’s novels are good to curl up with under a cozy blanket with a mug of steaming hot tea. They are excellent winter novels. If you don’t know all of them, a list follows. Go to the library and treat yourself. Better yet, go buy a copy of one as an early Christmas present. 🙂

1. Pride & Prejudice

2. Northanger Abbey

3. Persuasion

4. Sense & Sensibility

5. Mansfield Park

6. Emma

 

And because England is beautiful when covered in snow, here is a picture of Bath in the winter time.

http://austenonly.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/10576_image_file.jpg

Twenty-five Days of Christmas Cheer: December 15th (The World’s Best Toffee Recipe)

I would like to express my sadness and grief about the school shooting in Connecticut yesterday. I cannot imagine how those families feel now, so close to Christmas. I am praying for them, so hard. We all should. Our world is sinful, and it seems that this fact becomes more and more obvious each and every day.

****************************************

Today, I am going to share with you what I think is the World’s Best Toffee Recipe EVER.  My mom has been making this at Christmastime for years, and the anticipation of this sweet treat is always wonderful. Seriously. I’m not kidding. This stuff is amazing. It’s called English Toffee, and it comes from the cookbook called Mystic Seaport’s Moveable Feasts.

English Toffee (makes 4 lbs of candy)

2 cups butter (4 sticks)

2 cups sugar

3 cups slivered almonds

6 tablespoons water

12 ounces chocolate chips, melted

1 cup walnuts, chopped

 

1. Grease 11 1/2 x 17 1/2 inch jellyroll pan.

2. In large saucepan, cook butter, sugar, almonds, and water on high heat to boiling.

3. Lower heat to medium high, stirring constantly. Continue to boil until mixture becomes a caramel color. (About 15 to 20 minutes.) (Note: Pay close attention…it is all too easy to burn this.)

4. Immediately pour mixture onto greased pan and spread evenly with spoon or spatula. Mixture will harden.

5. Spread melted chocolate on top of caramel.

6. Let chocolate harden slightly. Sprinkle with walnuts and press nuts into chocolate with hands.

7. When cooled and hardened, break into bite sized pieces.

8. Store in airtight container. (If you don’t eat it all right away!)

**********************************

This is a recipe that takes time and patience. If you don’t get it right the first time, try again. Maybe not immediately, but give yourself a chance. I made it on my own for the first time last year, and it wasn’t perfect, but people still told me it was delicious. I hope to make it again in the next week, once I pick up some more butter. That’s the one downside to this recipe…SO MUCH BUTTER! Not that it isn’t yummy or anything…that’s just a lot of butter in one recipe, haha. Especially if you plan on making more than one batch.

Twenty-five Days of Christmas Cheer: December 14th (Stylin’ It: Holiday Inn)

https://i2.wp.com/2.bp.blogspot.com/-QN7vZb-Yj9w/TvTSCE7oXEI/AAAAAAAADk4/mUN1QrgHIo8/s1600/Holiday+Inn+03.jpg

Though I didn’t get to go see The Hobbit at midnight last night, I did stay up pretty late watching Holiday Inn. This is a lovely and funny film. People compare this one and White Christmas, but I find that rather unfair. My favorite is White Christmas, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love Holiday Inn almost as much. Besides, the stories really are completely different; they have their similarities, yes, but no matter. Also, I always watch Holiday Inn in black and white. That’s how it was originally and that’s how I’ll keep it. Same goes for It’s a Wonderful Life.

As I was watching the film last night, I kept thinking that I absolutely loved the clothes that both Linda Mason (left in the above photo) and Lila Dixon (right) wore. So today I’m attempting a fashion post of sorts. Welcome to Fashion Friday, everyone!

Awards Banquet Presenter DressUpgrade to Grand HeelNever Too Jaded Earrings

For Miss Linda Mason’s look, check out this beauty from ModCloth, the Awards Banquet Presenter Dress. Pair it with the Upgrade to Grand Heel and Never Too Jaded Earrings for a gorgeous vintage-inspired look! A red lipstick wouldn’t go wrong here, either.

Running Circles Around You EarringsBreakfast Epiphanies DressDoo Bee Doo Bee Shoe Heel in Black

For Miss Lila Dixon’s look, the Breakfast Epiphanies Dress seems delightfully perfect. Pair it with nude stockings, the Doo Bee Doo Bee Shoe Heel and these glitzy Running Circles Around You Earrings to complete the look.

******************************************

Okay, for my first Fashion Friday post, this looks a little messy. I was going to use Polyvore to arrange the sets, but for some reason, not all the pieces I wanted to use were on there. If anyone who does these posts on a regular basis has any tips, please please let me know!