Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Nemo Tree

A friend Nemo painted these little paintings. I bought them over the summer and decided to use them for the office Christmas tree. I think it is so fun. Go over and say hi to Nemo at The Soon-To-Be-More-Famous Artist Named Nemo. I really love the idea of taking non holiday items and making them festive.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Virtual Christmas Cookie Exchange 2008

Thanks so much to Tracey for hosting the Virtual Christmas Cookie Exchange.
Let's go over and get some yummy recipes.

Whew! I Am Busy This Week

My holiday time in Virginia is winding down and I will be spending the remaining season in Texas with my family! I am so excited and will be posting from the road.
Today and Wed will be so crazy with a huge project at the office and the fact that I still have not packed (or washed) a thing. I am finding myself in a semi self induced panic state.
So... even with all the craziness I will take a few minutes tonight and sit in the dark watching the Christmas lights. I will take a chance to remember that the Holiday Season is meant to be about peace and joy and the hustle and bustle is a huge contradiction to the whole thing. I hope that you are taking the time to do the same for not only yourself but for all the ones that you love.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I Like To Stir The Pot

Not the bad dance move where you rotate your arms in front of you clockwise, as if holding a big spoon with both hands and stirring a pot. Nope... not that stirring.
I mean this stirring I find it relaxing as anything. I have all these questions about why.
What is it? Is it some genetic throw back to the days when my ancestors spent most of the day cooking and stirring? Is it only a female thing? I want to know what you think. Tell me all about it. Anyone out there feel the same way?

Holiday Treat

Growing up this treat was a must for the holidays. It has a light fudge taste and then the texture of the oatmeal is great. If you have never had this cookie you must give it try, you family and friends will be impressed.


1 stick butter
1/2 c. evaporated milk
2 c. sugar
3 tbsp. cocoa
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. oats (uncooked)
Melt butter. Add to evaporated milk. Pour over sugar mixed with cocoa. Stir. Boil over low heat for 1 minute. Add peanut butter and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Pour uncooked oats in the pot and stir until Incorporated fully. Drop by tablespoon on wax paper.

We also had something called potato candy. If you have ever had it you know that is it just about the sweetest thing under the sun, the thought of it makes my head hurt a little. Potato candy is my sister's specialty since it is tricky to make and I am not willing to fool with it. Maybe she will do a demo for us when I get home :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Holiday Home Tour 2008

Tracey at Notes From A Cottage Industry is hosting a Virtual Holiday Home Tour. Come along and let's have some fun seeing what everyone has done to make the season special.

Monday, December 8, 2008

My 2008 Holiday Theme is...

Do It Yourself Darnit!

Yesterday was design your own cupcake and today is make your own snowman.
Next thing you know it will be wrap your own present.
I came up with idea for these little snowman cuties for the company Christmas party.


"Hello" (x2)

"Hello" (x3)

They are super easy to put together. Here are the materials.

White card stock

Multi-color card stock for hats (patterns are fun)



Embroidery floss for the scarves

Pom-poms, buttons and felt

I think sticks for arms would be super fun if you have kids or the time to search out perfect tiny snowman arms.

They make great cards if you make them small enough to fit into envelopes.

Cupcake Bar

We had our company Christmas party on Saturday and I planned to make cupcakes. After reading the latest issue of Southern Living I stole the idea for a design your own cupcake bar. I made four types of cupcakes, vanilla, spice, dark chocolate and milk chocolate. Three types of frosting, vanilla, chocolate and peanut butter. I put sprinkles in small mason jars and decorated them with ribbon. It was a fun activity and I did not have to frost 70 cupcakes!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

2008 Holiday Home Tour

I reused all of the decorations from 2007 but changed them up just a bit. I spent $6 for new lights for the trees , $12 for fresh greenery and $12 for 6 new mercury glass ornaments.

I bought these birdies last year but they all had red eyes and beaks. They looked like Satan's little evil pets. I thought about buying a few more for Halloween, they were really scary looking. I replaced the eyes with black beads from an old necklace and painted the beaks black, all better.

I had a bunch of fringe left over from a project a few years ago so I decided to hang it up around the house, not traditional but if you know me at all it is not surprising

I took wire baskets and piled a ton of lights in them, It is the lazy girl's way to decorate with lights. You never need to untangle them and they give an artsy look to any surface.

I took LED lights and put them in this container.. make sure you do not use lights that put off heat in a enclosed container, can you say fire?

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

2nd Grade Art

My oldest painted this when he was in 2ND grade he is now in 10Th. Each Thanksgiving since this has been proudly displayed on the fridge. You ask why this is so precious to me? Well he was never the type of kid to enjoy group art activities. If they were coloring in class, he would do what he called scribble scrabble and be done with it. He thought he was to cool for baby art like coloring and finger painting. If they had to write a story and draw pictures to go along with it. It would go like this.... "Army guys killed the vampires and they all had guns, war war war, bombs and fighting". The pictures he would draw would be of scary monsters, vampires and explosions. I was usually mortified when he brought home his homework. I was a no toy guns, be nice, love each other, vegetarian mother so when he turned into Mr. fight war kid I was shocked. He drew an entire war scene, with tanks, on the dining room wall (twice) when he was 4 . He would eat toast into the shape of a gun. I was worried about him. I started talking to the other moms at playgroup and it turned out that many of them were dealing with the same thing. I just kept him from going too far into the dark side and always refused to let him have toy guns and he has turned out to be a good kid.
Anyway, all I am saying is "I love this" and I am going to have it framed.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Too Good For The Apple Butter (updated)

I have always wanted to make apple butter but it scared the heck out of me. After seeing it on another blog I realized the crockpot was the trick. Yay! A customer came by the office and gave us these apples. They are really wonderful. I talked to the customer and and she told me that they are not from Arlington but are actually from West Virginia. My mistake...
I got started peeling and chopping while listening to a radio program. I peeled the first apple and the smell was so wonderful I could not help taking a bite. It was at that moment that I realize it would be a terrible waste to use these super tasty apples for apple butter. So these babies went in a bowl on the table and try to refrain from chomping them all in one day.
Ok... let' start all over with these .69 cent a pound apples from the grocery store. They are not organic, I know that is not good. I really figured it would be a total flop the first try so I went with the cheap ones.
Peel, peel, peel, chop chop, chopity,chop, chop chop, measure and then measure again...Time for the crock pot. Six hours on low with the the lid on. G' night apples, night crock pot. I wake up to the best smell ever. At 5am I jumped up and ran to the crock pot just like a kid on Christmas morning. I was too groggy to take any pictures but the apples had turned a light brown and were very soft.
Next was the crock pot's field trip to the office to finish cooking.
After Four hours of cooking with the lid off and stirring often. I pushed the apples through a strainer to remove seeds or skin that might have been left behind. Added the cinnamon, cloves and Maple syrup and back it went in the crock pot for 2 more hours.
I then scooped the apple butter into 8 ounce jars that had been boiling in a pan for about 5 minutes. Placed the lids and rings on the jars and inverted them onto a clean towel to seal everything. This is not an official method of canning so the jars had to go in the fridge after they had cooled completely.
I got the main recipe from the The Farmers Wife and I did a little changing to suit my taste buds.
16 cups peeled and cubed apples
1/2 cup B grade maple syrup (you can get this at the health food store)
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon

Of course I took the nice customers that gave us the tasty apples a jar of the apple butter.

Happy Birthday Puppy

It is the dogs 1st birthday! She is having squirrel shaped dog treats. Let me tell you they were a big hit, she jumped up and took it out of my hand, guess they are tasty or something.

Peanut Butter Puppy Treats
2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons shredded cheddar

Preheat oven to 350'F.

In a bowl, combine flour and baking powder and cheese. In another bowl, mix peanut butter and milk, then add to dry ingredients and mix well. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. Bake until golden brown 15-20 min. Cool on a rack, then store in an airtight container.

I got the basic recipe from but I totally changed it.