Thursday, December 31, 2009

We don't need no stinkin' fridge.

RI party

Happy New Year!

English Gingersnaps


I thought I was all done making cookies for awhile.

I really did.

I made quite a few for Christmas.

I was finished I tell ya.

Then I saw a recipe for English Gingersnaps on
Caviar and Codfish and it was back to the kitchen with my bad self.

I am so drawn to all the winter spices. Cloves, cinnamon, allspice, molasses, and ginger. Oh ginger might be my all time favorite. Just the word alone conjures up happy thoughts for me.

My friend Eva had an Australian Shepherd named Ginger. She was the sweetest pup you ever met. There was a hamster in my 3rd grade classroom that Sister Marie named Ginger. I love that the Brits call people with red hair "gingers". They could call them redhead like we do, but I think ginger sounds so much better.

Oh and I almost forgot, ginger ale is my favorite drink. Honest. It's a happy word to me, and a tasty word too. Fresh ginger, crystallized ginger, pickled ginger, it's all good and it's all extra good when the ginger is in a ginger snap cookie.

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This is a classic recipe for large, dark, semi soft gingersnaps from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Cookies.

English Gingersnaps
recipe from Caviar and Codfish
Printable recipe
2 ¼ cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
6 ounces (1½ sticks) butter
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg
¼ cup molasses
Granulated sugar (to roll the cookies in)

Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice and black pepper and set aside. In the large bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter. Add the brown sugar and beat well. Add the egg and the molasses and beat for a few minutes until the mixture is light in color. On low speed gradually add the sifted dry ingredients, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula and beating only until incorporated.

Refrigerate the dough briefly (in the mixing bowl if you wish) until it can be handled; 10 to 15 minutes might be enough.

Adjust two racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat to 375 degrees F.

Spread some granulated sugar on a large piece of wax paper. Use a rounded tablespoonful of dough for each cookie. Roll it into a ball between your hands (rubbing your hands with a bit of canola oil helps keep the cookies from sticking ), then roll it around in the granulated sugar, and place the balls 2½ to 3 inches apart on cookie sheets.

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Bake the cookies for about 13 minutes, reversing the cookie sheets top to bottom and front to back once during the baking to insure even browning. The cookies are done when they feel semi firm to the touch.

With a wide metal spatula transfer the cookies to racks to cool.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

This picture says it all.....


That word describes what my kitchen looked like for about 12 hours yesterday.


I don't like a mess.

I don't like clutter.

I like things clean, clean, clean.

My kitchen was a mess.

It was so cluttered I was almost having a panic attack.

Why the big mess? I got a new kitchen counter top!! I've been wanting one for so long. My old one was a pukey beige. I wanted a dark top to go with my barn red cabinets. Yeah, there not barn red yet, but they will be. Soon.

The entire contents of my kitchen was sprawled around the living room and the computer room. I spent hours going through drawers. I cleaned every single one of those suckers out completely. Sometimes I was in there scrubbing with a toothbrush! Yup, I'm sick like that.

I purged. Oh did I purge. Do I really need 4 identical wooden spoons? 36 sets of corn cob holders? 6 million toothpicks??

I ended up with 3 big bags of stuff. Some will go in the trash, other stuff will be passed on, as long as it's out of my kitchen I'm a happy girl.

Every single surface of my kitchen was covered in a fine layer of sawdust. Ugh! I cleaned till I was ready to drop.

It's all neat and organized now and when I walk into the kitchen I see this counter top:

countertop after

Not this horrid old one:

countertop before

I got a shiny new sink too. Poor Papa made 3 trips to Lowes and spent half the day covered in a dust. He's taking it easy today.

Next up....a few new recipes. I'll resume cooking and baking very soon, I promise but right now I have a game of Uno waiting on me!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

T'was a merry little Christmas.

We had a perfectly lovely Christmas.

We ate. Oh did we eat.

We spent time with family.

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There were huge boxes opened, that contained little notes.

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Christmas morning came and we exchanged gifts.

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I think I got the best gift of all. The boys (with help from Papa) made me a beautiful new cutting board.

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It doesn't get much better than that. Well, ok, I have to admit I did get one other gift that has me a little excited.

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This one wasn't too bad either.

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The most special of all was a beautiful painting from my in-laws that has little led lights in it. So adorable. It will now be a Christmas tradition that we hang it each year.


Christmas Day we had Nana over for dinner.

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She was in good spirits, especially after eating a lot of sweets.

Then we all kinda chilled out for the night. Including Moose.

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It really was a peaceful Christmas.

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Hope you enjoyed yours.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


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Wrapping up the last bit of cooking and baking and looking forward to spending time with my family and friends over the next few days.

I really enjoyed preparing for Christmas again this year. Since I vowed not to get "caught up in the hype" I've found myself with a real sense of calm and peace.

I made gifts from the heart, I baked and cooked with love and most importantly, I didn't let myself get stressed out. I've done lots of cooking and baking in preparation and didn't take a single picture of any of it, lol. Sometimes blogging what I make is just not on the top of my list.

I'm sure I'll be back after Christmas with some new recipes....I'm hosting New Years Eve after all.

Enjoy your celebrations. You can't do everything, so don't even try, lol. Keep this in mind - no one will remember if you over baked the cookies, if you sent a card this year, if your roast wasn't perfectly done or how many gifts you gave, but they will remember the time you spent together, and after all, that is what is most important isn't it?

Let go and really enjoy the holiday.

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Wishing you and those you love a peaceful Christmas.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I got blisters on my fingers!!!!

Was Ringo's voice just ringing through your head?

If not, you need to go and buy some Beatle CD's. Might I suggest every one they ever made?? No? Can't swing that right now, well then just go pick up a copy of the White Album, then listen to Helter Skelter, all the way to the end, ahhhh you hear Ringo???

Now you understand.

I promised I would show you what I was doing with all those little clay noses.....and lots of wood, sandpaper, paint, stain, mica flakes, glue, felt, peppercorns, and hot glue, can't forget the hot glue.

I spent a good month making a lot of homemade gifts.

My hands have paid the price for it. They are cut, they are blistered, they are dry, my nails look like hell, my cuticles are shot. Ahhh the price of crafting.

John was my carpenter. I did the "finish" work.

We made these table toppers.

Table Topper

This is the one that sits on my table. It's a bit more primitive than the others I am giving as gifts. It usually hold our salt & pepper, something decorative and a napkin holder. Very handy to have on the table and very cute I think.

Table Topper CU

We made at least dozen of them, in 4 different colors. I already gave some of the other colors away as gifts. These are what I have left, plus one more that's still not painted.

Table Toppers stacked

There were snowmen.

Lots and lots of snowmen.

35 in fact.

Some small.....

Snomen small

Some medium size....

Snomen med

Snomen med front

Some with a frosty hat. You can't tell from the picture, but he's extra large. I made two of these and burnt my finger so bad with the hot glue gun that I still have the scar to prove it.
Nothing worse than hot glue gun burn.

Snomen biggie

There were miscellaneous wood projects thrown in the mix. I found this wooden chest for $1.50 at an estate sale. It had hideous flowers painted on the top so I sanded them off, painted it black (my favorite accessory color) and distressed it.


Now it holds the remotes.

There were a few of these. Bowls cut in half and mounted on a board, painted and distressed...


...then hung up in the bathroom with some soap I grungified along with some Sweet Annie and some cinnamon sticks.

Wall hanger
Now I want to paint the bathroom over, lol. See ya change one thing. Mitch who is my official painter buddy offered to help me, so the bathroom should be a new color before this year is over.
Now all I have to do is actually choose a color.

Wall hanger CU

I made a half dozen of these too.

Candle LS

Grungy candles mounted on some distressed wood. They smell so good.

I have LED tea lights in them now, but sometimes I throw a regular ole tea light in them too.


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I have 5 more projects waiting in the garage, so the grunging will continue on, just like the mica flakes and pine needles I'll be picking up until June!

Have you been crafting anything for Christmas this year? If so I've love to see it. I'm always looking for inspiration for next year!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tree Trimming

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When John pulls the ornament boxes out of the attic each year, I'm filled to the brim with excitement. There is nothing quite like the feeling I get when I pull back that tissue paper and a thousand memories come flooding back to me.

I "ohhhh" and "ahhh" and say "remember this??" a lot.

I get teary eyed, I reminisce, I recollect and "awwww".

In that box there are bits and pieces of my life.

Pieces of him....

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and him.....

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and places....

like John's first visit to New York City....

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or the town of Bled, where Tati's sister lives....

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....and the land of chocolate, other wise known as my mecca!

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A teeny tiny sweater from Iceland, where John lived for some time....

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and New Mexico which was his home for so very long.

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There's reminders of the very little boys whose used to stand on a step stools to hang ornaments. Those same little boys now tower over my head.

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Handcrafted ornaments for my favorite dog in the whole wide world, the one who snuggles with me when my teenagers don't have the time.

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There are many, many handmade ornaments that I've made over the years.

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Lots and lots of time spent creating.

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My favorite ornaments of all are the ones that were carried home in lunchboxes and backpacks....

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...presented with fingers still sticky with glue, toothless smiles beaming up at me.

"I made this for you Mama". I can still see those moments.

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The hours spent at the kitchen table with paint and yarn.

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Some from right where we live.

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This one melts my heart. John's nickname for me is Sweet Pea, which he says with a over exaggerated southern accent. It makes me smile every time he says it. I almost cried when I saw this sweet pea ornament. Just perfect.

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Like him.

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