Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Melty snowmen

A week or so ago, hubs' aunt posted this link to the cutest cookies EVER on Facebook.  And I just had to try them!  So I made some sugar cookie dough on Monday and stuck it in the fridge.  It seemed rather crumblier than usual for dough, and sure enough, when I went to make the cookie bases yesterday, I couldn't make it stick together to save my life.  So I grabbed the remainder of a stick of butter, about 1/3 of a cup, threw it in the dough, and beat it for a few minutes.  It was easy to form then, but I crossed my fingers that the cookies would hold their shape and not be too tough.  It seemed to work.  So if this happens to you, give adding more butter a shot.

Anyway, here are some (too many!) shots of our melty snowmen.  Which reminds me that, although it's frigid out there now, by Friday it's supposed to be warmer and melting for real!

Note that, although we were making this evening right before supper, Adam has not been out of his jammies all day!  It's the hols, man!

Julia's---with pink snowballs, of course!

It was fun playing around with the gumdrops left over from our gingerbread house making frenzy.

One of my faves.  Love her little tam-o-shanter.

Anyway, you ought to try these!  They're really fun.  It's nice not to have to mess around with cookie cutters, and the cookies are big enough for the kiddos to decorate without much in the way of assistance.  Yippee!  And did I mention again how dang CUTE they are?  But how can we eat them?  How, I ask you?  How?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

glimses of Christmas

A few quick peeks into our Christmas:

Julia's school winter concert.

Belle, looking worried.  She usually doesn't look this way, and one day I'll take a photo that proves it!

Grandma Char's sticky buns.  Adam eats it like a bun-cicle.

Julia reading the Christmas story this year for the first time.

The Gift.  He has been wanting this game ALL YEAR.

 Puzzles, puzzles, puzzles.

In other news...

Had roast beef and yorkshire pudding for Christmas dinner.  May I say that the roast was perfectly cooked and everything came out at the same time and NOT sound like I'm bragging?  Maybe if I ammend that by reporting that I completely forgot to bake the pie and the house smelled like burnt butter from where it overflowed the pudding tins and burned all over the bottom of the oven, leaving the house very un-Christmassy smelling!

But that's what candles are for, right?

Hope your Christmas season was full of happiness.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

RIP Popcorn

Remember the popcorn we strung on our tree last week?


Alas and alak, it is no more.

Who's the culprit, you ask???

Nuff said.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Haute Cuisine at its finest

Or not.

I mean, I can make the tastiest, prettiest dishes and my kids put up their noses.

But mix some ground turkey and half a can of mushroom soup and smoosh it in a pan, take the rest of the soup and mix it with some water.  Put tater tots over top of the turkey and pour the watery soup over top then bake it until the meat is done.  And they can't get enough.

I give up. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bella Belle

Neither my husband or myself have ever considered ourselves dog people.  He's had cats, I've had cats, we have cats. Neither of us wanted to own a crotch sniffing, door rushing, jumping, barking, begging, pulling dog--and those are the kinds of dogs that we mostly know.  I like animals, and in the company of such dogs, I'm happy to be with them.  I just never wanted one of my own.

But the last couple of visits with my sister and mom and their dogs made me really think that having a dog would be a good idea, and that maybe dogs CAN have good manners.  Mom's dog, a beautiful golden retriever named Tango, is inside much of the time, but is so good that he doesn't take up the room, when you ask him to take a hike, he goes away, and he was successfully taught not to jump up or mess around.  Lisa taught him, and her dogs are the same.  Really well mannered.  And it was so fun to see the kids with them.

So what with one thing and the other, Meryl and I talked about it.  I was thinking about a border collie/lab cross, both being smart and one breed perhaps cancelling out some of the problems of the other.  So I would look at the Humane Society listings every once in awhile, and finally a young borador came up.  So we went to look.  Oh, she was beautiful---but absolutely crazy.  She jumped up, nipped, and almost turned herself inside out.  Made Adam nervous, and I didn't think I had it in me to housebreak if necessary and deal with the potential damage such a dog would cause.  But the lady at the shelter said they had another dog that had just come in, a 2-1/2 year old boxer/collie mix, and she was still a bit scared, was really good, had been in a family with kids, and did we want to see her?  At first, I said no but then decided that it wouldn't do any harm.

And in came Belle.  Shivering from fright.  Her family had moved and didn't bring her with them, and she was pretty scared.  So we played with her for awhile, and she loosened up a bit.  Adam fell in love with her because she was so gentle and teachable.  She knew a couple of commands, and when we brought her for a walk, she quickly learned not to leash pull.  I didn't make a decision then, wanting to talk it over with Meryl again.  But I couldn't stop thinking about her.

The next day, Adam and I went back.  She remembered us and we had fun.  We walked her through the cat room, and she was completely uninterested--an important consideration, seeing as how we have two cats!  And then, even as I wondered what I was saying, I heard the words, "We'll take her," coming out of my lips, and the next thing I knew, we had a dog, and Belle was coming home.

And oh, how glad I am!  The past week has been fabulous.  We brought her home on Wednesday, and that night a friend came over.  And Belle barked.  And I thought, "We can't have this.  A warning bark is fine, but she needs to know proper door etiquette."  The next day was a cookie exchange at our place, so I put a sign out letting people know we have a dog, great with kids, but she'll bark, so give us a few minutes to train her at the door before coming in."  And within two people, she had learned to stop barking, sit, and wait.  Great!  No problem with visitors.  There were kids aplenty, fauning all over her, yelling in her face--it was a bit of a zoo.  No problem.  She happily laid around.  Julia can walk her, because she doesn't pull (much!), and it's fun to try teaching her tricks, because she's so quick to learn.  I'm so happy that we brought her home, because, quite frankly, I don't know whether we would ever be this lucky in a dog again.  I wanted a dog that could really be part of things, one that we wouldn't have to lock up when people came by, one that we could count on--and we found her.

It's funny how quickly she has become a member of this family.  Can't imagine it without her, now. 

And all this from a girl who isn't a dog person!  Ah, how quickly I fell.

So, I'd like you to meet Belle.  Looking a little bit worried in this shot, seeing as how she'd just come home.  No license or anything on her, yet.  Now she's bedecked with the Humane Society tag, licence tag, and a Christmassy bauble that Julia tied on to make her all festive.

So far she has endured dressing up, wrestling, a bath, the vet, Petco, cat hisses, loads of kid kisses and hugs, and I don't know what all, and she has happily gone along with it. 

She's a doll.  And she's ours!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cookie Cookers

So, we're making these cookie cutouts and all I could think about was this blog post:

You're welcome.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Stringing popcorn for the tree.  So far?  One strand!  Eep!  One of those things I'm supposed to do when the kids are in bed, but you know?  I have too many other things to do!  Perhaps I'll get the rest done before Christmas.  If so, I'll post the tree.  Our beautiful Craig's List tree, for which I am a happy, happy camper.

OK.  Popcorn.  Someone asked me yesterday how we did this without breaking the piece apart, which is what happens to her.  The trick is simply not to go through the kernal.  Use a fine needle and go just to the side of the kernal, into the white fluffy stuff.  Goes fairly quickly that way.

I took these photos, and a few others, and then chanced to look at my lens.  EW!  Dusty!!!  Lesson:  Dust lens before taking photos! 

Do as I say, and not as I do. 

Happy popcorn stringing!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ornament de year

Every year, the kids and I make homemade ornaments.  Over the years we've made the cutest sheep ever, little felt mice, reindeer, and mittens.  This year, the kids chose from the Family Fun magazine and made these little cupcakes.

I can't find the link to it, but all you do is stick a small pompom on top of a large white one, run a thread through, leaving enough to hang.  Put glue into a candy cup and stick the white pompom inside.


Monday, December 6, 2010

They're baaaack!

My little feathered family.  Need to venture out into the blizzard today and get some more mixed seed, though.  I didn't really have to crop these pictures much, and I didn't have my long lens on the camera.  They let us in really close.  How we love these little guys.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Snow, part 1

Where did Autumn go?  I mean, really.  It can't possibly be winter.

I refuse to believe it. 

I'm getting my rake.

There still must be some leaves out there somewhere.

Argh.  Guess I'll just have to face reality and dig out the snow gear, coz it doesn't look like this guy is planning on going anywhere soon.

What's the saying?  Fish and visitors start to stink after three days?

Better dig out those guest towels...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A little sweet and a little sour

Corner View today is about raindrops.  HA!  Here's the thing.  It has been absolutely bucking down for three days.  Flood warnings and everything.  Then it went straight from rain to snow, and it's still kind of snowy out.  Not the nice kind, though.  The slushy, then sleety, then feeling like you're hit by ice pellets kind of snow.  The kind of weather that makes a person want to pack their camera safely away.  Far away.  So that's my CV.  It's rainy.  There are lots of raindrops.  The end.

But that just won't do.  So I'm giving you a recipe perfect for when there are lots of raindrops outside and it's chilly and you just want to curl up.

Sweet and Sour meatballs.  Or whatever.  It's the sauce that's great.  Sweet and sour whatever you'd like.  Just brown the whatever first.  Then make the sauce.  Then pour over.  Serve with rice. 

The recipe as is doesn't give you much in the way of sauce to spoon over rice, so I double the sauce recipe.  Or I only make half the meatballs, since it calls for two pounds worth.  Still makes plenty.

OK. Enough.  Printer ready?  OK.  Here it is:

2 pounds lean ground beef (I used turkey here)
2 eggs
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp seasoning salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp sugar

1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained with juice reserved
1/3 cup water
3 Tbsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp seasoning salt
1 large carrot, diced
1 large green bell pepper(I used red coz the kids will eat it) cut into 1/2 inch pieces.

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a large, shallow baking sheet.

2.  In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs and onion.  Sprinkle with ginger, seasoning salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and sugar.  Shape into one inch balls. 

3.   Place meatballs in a single layer on prepared baking sheet.  Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes.  Set aside.  NOTE:  My oven has been out for a month.  Yes, it's true.  *hand wringing here*  Anyway, I just browned the meatballs on the stovetop.  Worked just fine.

4.  To make the sauce, mix enough water with the reserved pineapple juice to make 1 cup.  In a large pot over medium heat, combine the juice mixture, 1/3 cup water, vinegar, soy sauce, and brown sugar.  Stir in cornstarch, ginger, and seasoning salt until smooth.  Cover and cook until thickened.

5.  Stir pineapple chunks, carrot, green pepper, and meatballs into the sauce (or do as I did and just add the sauce to the meatballs in the family sized skillet on the stovetop).  Gently stir to coat the meatballs with the sauce.  Simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, or until meatballs are thoroughly cooked.

And you'll have this: 

Perfect for raindroppy days!