Friday, December 19, 2014

Peanut Butter Blossoms Are Just The Best Cookie

I know, I know...there are lots of "Best Cookies" but I just love
Peanut Butter Blossoms!

I think Santa would love to find a plate of these waiting for him on Christmas Eve!


I bought the traditional Hershey's kisses and then...whoa...is that a caramel kiss in the bag?
Yep!
It adds a whole different taste to those Peanut Butter Blossoms!


Here's the recipe I always use...it makes a lot, but it's a great cookie for the kids to help with.

Peanut Butter Blossoms
One big bag of Hershey's Kisses (unwrapped, of course), about 100 of them
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup of butter, softened (that's two sticks)
1 1/2 cup of peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
2/3 cup white sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tablespoon of milk
2 teaspoons of vanilla
Extra white sugar to roll the cookies in

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Beat the butter and peanut butter until combined.
Add white and brown sugar and beat until fluffy.
Add eggs, milk and vanilla; beat until well combined.
Gradually beat in the flour.
Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and roll in white sugar.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet an inch or so apart.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Remove from oven and immediately press a Hershey Kiss in the center of cookie.
Let the cookies sit on the pan for a couple of minutes before removing them to a wire rack.
Cool.
Eat.
Yum!

I think my sewing machine is lonely. Too bad! I'm baking for Christmas!

What do you think is the best cookie ever?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

An Ammo Box Holds Treasures

Last year the Monkey Boys and I talked about having a treasure box to store the special items they
would accumulate throughout their childhood. Plastic boxes tend to break, cardboard can get soggy if
it gets wet, but an AMMO BOX...now that's solid! It's the perfect place to keep treasures!

Ace Hardware had just the right size ammo boxes and a little stenciling personalized each one with
their name and the word "Treasures." The Monkey Boys are gonna love these!
Shhh...it's one of their gifts for Christmas...in 7 days!


I have fond memories of an ammo box my parents had while I was growing up. 
It was really special! 
No, it wasn't filled with any ammo, just first aid items.

Linda at Food Storage Moms made one that looks just like the one my parents had.
Love it! She said I could use her pic. Thanks, Linda!

 That ammo box was always filled with band aids, gauze, and antiseptic like that orange stuff.

Who remembers Mercurochrome or Merthiolate

Those cuts or skinned knees burned so bad when that stuff was put on it! 
Of course, you had to blow on the Mercurochrome to make it dry and to stop that painful feeling,
plus the orange color on your skin definitely displayed the injury for all to see!

Treasure boxes or first aid kits...ammo boxes work great for both of them!

I can't wait to see what treasures the Monkey Boys will put in their ammo boxes!
I'm sure they will fill it up quickly!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Let The Christmas Game Begin

Every year on Christmas Eve my family gets together to play a gift exchange type of game.
Sometimes the gifts are a bit unusual, but it's great to get together and have a good laugh.


This year we'll be playing a different game, but hopefully it will still be fun and memorable.

The game is called "What's In the Stocking?"

For this game I'll be using 18 numbered Christmas stockings, each with a small item inside.
The stockings will be passed around for each person to feel and guess what's inside.
They will then write their answers next to the corresponding numbers on a paper.
The adults can help the little monkeys write things down.

The person who guesses the most correct amount of items will get to pick the stocking they want.
After that, the youngest person in the room will pass out the remaining stockings to everyone.
The items are inexpensive so I doubt there will be much fighting over any particular stocking.
They can trade them around if they want to.
The stockings could have been either store-bought or homemade.
I went with homemade because I had lots of felt waiting to be used for something like this.

Using a stocking pattern I found online (there's lots of them out there), I cut out 10" felt stockings. 
Note to self: Next year make them a little bigger to accommodate larger objects. 
 I needed18 stockings, but any amount could be made depending on the size of the crowd.
Using stencils I purchased at a craft store and some craft paint, I added numbers to each stocking.


I just dabbed the paint on, removed the stencil while it was wet, and then let it dry.
I love that blue painter's tape! It's great for so many things!


Here they are all lined up and ready to be sewn together.


I did a simple straight stitch around them and pinked the edges...easy and fast!


My hubby and I had a great time finding inexpensive items to fill these bags.
We wanted things that were not too easy to identify, but would be fun for all ages.
Toys, tools, candy, gift cards, and whatever would fit in the stockings were perfect for us.
Once the item was in the bag, I just straight stitched across the top to close it.
Next year I'll add Velcro or a drawstring to the opening so they can be used over-and-over.


I'm hoping the Monkey Boys (and the rest of the family) will enjoy this game.

Just 7 more days to game time and 
8 more days until Christmas!
I can't wait!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hold That Potholder!

I really need new pot holders, but making them has been at the bottom of my list.
There's not a lot of need for them anyway...not much baking going on here!

Then I saw that Crafty Gemini made a pot holder oven mitt that was so easy.
Just what I need right now!


You can find her post about it HERE and she also included a template to make it even easier.
You could even trace around your hand or your favorite mitt to get the size you want.
I used her pattern...it fit me perfectly and I don't have tiny hands.
It took me about 30 minutes from start to finish, not including baking the chocolate chip cookies.
A great quick gift for any occasion! 


I like rolling the inside lining out to create a cuff...gives it a different look.
What's great about this oven mitt is the length (if you don't roll out the cuff.)
No more burned wrists!

I was so inspired by the oven mitt, I made those chocolate chip cookies.
Hmmm...what else can I go bake?

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Christmas Mood Winner


Congratulations to Mary at Needled Mom!
(An email has been sent to her.)

I hope this helps her get in the mood for Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Creepy Bunny And Cute Monkeys

Creepy Bunny just finished his Christmas card and he wanted to share.
He also wants me to remind you about the Christmas giveaway that ends tomorrow...HERE.


I've been hanging out with the Monkey Boys so no sewing going on for me.
Lovin' every minute of it!

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Christmas Card Is Ready To Mail

My Christmas photo has been printed and stuck in an envelope to be mailed.
Whew! With only a short time until Christmas I'm cutting it a little close!


Almost every year of our married life we've taken a photo for our Christmas card.
I have all my Christmas photos in several red albums that I drag out at Christmas time to get all
of us mushy and sentimental. Right now they are somewhere in storage and have yet to be found.
I'm sure they are there somewhere!

Here's a couple Christmas cards that I managed to find on my computer.
Fortunately, my photo taking has improved over the years thanks to a better camera.

All the pets HAD to be included in this one...Wanda, my iguana, was there too!
(Some info was removed to protect the not-so-innocents.)


This one was created using my newly learned, but not so good photo editing skills.


To continue this crazy tradition, my hubby and I went on an adventure to take our 2014 photo.
We didn't take along a professional photographer, just my camera and it's handy little timer.

To get to the place for our "photo shoot" we had to walk miles and miles...it took hours!
My hubby said it wasn't that long.
Really?
He said it was only about a half mile and it took 15 to 20 minutes.
Are you sure?
It seemed like such a long walk uphill the whole way there and back!

There was some beautiful scenery along the way...



This small mountain of rock has some nests embedded in it. Can you see them?


They look pretty cool on this rock! I counted at least seven, but I'm sure there were more.


Swallows can get pretty determined where they build their nests and will rebuild even if you knock
them down or try washing them away. It can be crazy and whole neighborhoods can be taken over!
 It's no fun if they pick your house to build them on!

We found a great spot on the boardwalk to take pics.

Sunglasses on...no.

 A little romantic tilt of the head...no.

The strangle hold...definitely no, no, and more no.

Is the camera done taking pictures? Silly timer!

Seriously, is it still taking pics...dang that timer!

I'll check the camera.

Where'd she go?

Let the hubby check the camera.

Finally...success!


Do you send photo cards at Christmas?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Quilt Group Makes A Birdie

I met with The Quilt Group the other day and we all attempted to make a birdie pincushion.
I think we needed some professional help with this one.

Maybe it was that we were talking too much.
Maybe it was the lack of cookies or too much sugar from all the Christmas goodies.
Whatever it was, we ended up with some pincushions that were...uh...interesting.

They weren't even close to being as cute as the birdies Deonn from Quiltscapes made.
Oh, sweet, sweet Deonn, I wish you had been there to help us!
She made the most beautiful birdie pincushions...you can find the instructions 
over at Riley Blake HERE and trust me, they are adorable! 
I'm definitely going to try to make these at home on another day!

I used Deonn's folding method to make these three trees for the giveaway basket.
Putting them in a clear gift bag and tying them up with some tulle makes them so much more fun.


 One of the birdie makers, Sharon, had one of these to use for making her corners look perfect.
This is absolutely going on my to-do list to make for myself and for gifts. 
A skewer, glue, and some beads...easy and so useful!
What a great gift this would make for anyone who sews!


I'm off to write Christmas cards...just a few...less than 20, and some of them will be hand delivered.
I remember the days when I would send out at least 50 cards.
Those days are gone, gone, gone due to the price of postage, plus I don't have THAT many friends!

The hubby and I took a long walk in the wonderful weather to take pictures for our card. 
I'll show you a few pics later and which one we picked to send out.
Are you sending Christmas cards this year?

That Christmas Mood Thing

I think I feel it!
Yep, there it is...the "Christmas Mood" has slowly arrived along with lots of memories.

The Three Sisters on Christmas morning
(I'm the little one)
Look at those black patent leather shoes...I loved them!
My mom sewed all our Christmas dresses...she was amazing! 


Oh, the excitement that was happening on Christmas morning!
Usually, the sun wasn't even up and my sisters and I were not so patient waiting for my 
parents to get out of bed so we could rush into the living room to see what Santa brought.


We each had a stocking filled with small items and of course, there were oranges to fill in the 
toe of the stocking. Once those were dumped out and spread all around, it was on to the presents.

There were only a couple gifts for each of us...underwear was almost always one of them.
Then there was the BIG gift. Just one and it was always so special.

We didn't have much money, but I don't remember feeling poor. The doll, a clock radio,
new pajamas, whatever. It was always so exciting and we were so grateful for each gift.

One sweet bloggy friend mentioned in an email to me that she's giving her grandchildren three gifts,
only three because that's "how many Jesus got."  What a sweet idea and three gifts are plenty!


Here's how she figures out the three:
  1. "Gold was an indulgence...wealth...that's their toy or something they just want."
  2. "Frankincense was a perfume...something their hearts liked....so something from my heart to theirs, usually made by me"
  3. "Myrrh was used to anoint people when they died, something useful, needed....I get them pajamas every year."
Thanks, Marlene, for sharing this wonderful way to make Christmas so special! I love it!

Sometimes it's just something shiny that makes us smile and feel the spirit of Christmas.


With only 15 days left until Christmas (yikes!) I'm glad I'm feeling a little more in the mood!

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Christmas Quilt With Mandy

Thanks to my friend, Yelena, I hear Barry Manilow singing in my head this morning...

"Morning just another day
Happy people pass my way
Looking in their eyes
I see a memory I never realized
How happy you made me

Oh Mandy..."

This is the other Mandy, all the way from Puerto Rico!
Her mama posted it on Facebook.

!

She's laying on a table topper quilt I made in 2010 for a Christmas party gift exchange.
Yelena won the quilt. I think I won a broken toy at that party.

I used the quilt-as-you-go method using a jelly roll.
Perfect for a quick and easy gift!


This is Yelena at the party. She doesn't always look like this,
but a little party food and drinks can do this to a person.


She's moved far, far away, but we have a lot of fun memories of our work time together.
Some stories are better left in our memories, but there's one that keeps us laughing.

Yelena calls me Joann, I call her Sue. That's because...
A long, long time ago we went to Starbucks during our lunch hour.
She told the barista her name was "Sue" which is what he wrote on her cup.
I told him my name was "Carol"...because that's my name. 
"Carol" was CLEARLY written on my cup.
We chatted while we waited for our drinks...mine was a green tea latte (I don't like coffee...gasp!)
Sue's drink came up on the counter and then another cup was set next to it.
I picked it up and drank a sip of it to make sure it was made right...UGH!
What the heck! It was coffee!
And then I saw it! Uh-oh.
Right there in big bold letters it said, "Joann".
Whoops!
Joann wasn't very happy that I was drinking out of HER cup.
Really she wasn't!
I think there were real daggers coming out of her eyes and they were aimed at me.
Sorry, Joann!
When my drink (with "Carol" written on the side) was ready, I grabbed it and we quickly left.
As often happens with good friends, we laughed hysterically about my mistake
and continue to do so. Thanks, Sue, for that fun memory of you at Starbucks!
Joann misses you a lot!

P.S.
I've had more no-reply bloggers than ever on my giveaway HERE.
If you didn't get a reply to your comment from me it was because I couldn't find you.
Check your settings to make sure you show your email address when you comment,
or just include your email address when you comment.