Merry Giftmas

I the spirit of the season, winter that is, I’d like to wish you all a happy and wonderful whatever thing you celebrate.

I say whatever thing because because I know a lot of my readers (and friends) and Christians who are celebrating Christmas. Merry Christmas ya’ll. Also I know some of my Jewish friends will be celebrating Hanukkah. (And by the way isn’t it ironic that if Jesus were alive he’d actually celebrate Hanukkah too? GO ahead, ponder that. Weird.) Well Mazel Tov folks. If you celebrate Kwanza, then happy that. Hopi? Neopaganistic? Druid? Enjoy. Yule? Alrighty then. Festivus? Super. Solstice? Hey, how about that full moon people? Bodhi day for you Buddhists? Ok. I’m sorry that already passed. My apologies form missing it. Saturnalia? Well, if you celebrate that that you’re from ancient Rome. As far a I know, none of my readers are from ancient Rome. And some of my readers don’t believe in the Christian God or any other god for that matter. Well enjoy the day off anyway people. It’s all good. Atheists get to celebrate too. Who doesn’t like a celebration?

I think you get what I’m saying.

Even if a lot of my readers are celebrating Christmas in it’s traditional sense, they’re still only making up 33% of the world. In the traditional definition of “Christian” 75% of Americans identify themselves as such. OK so twice the world population. And most of my readers are American, except for a couple of Russians and one great lady from Iceland (you know who you are) and some Germans. In any case, by the American “born again” definition of Christian only 25% of Americans are such. As for the rest of you, I can’t say.

I’m calling it giftmas. Because, let’s get real, in most celebrations that’s what is happening. We are giving each other stuff. And sometimes lots of it.

This is our tree:

It has gifts under it. Not as many as in years past, but gifts none the less. And you know what I’m not trying to hide behind the fact that Christmas is a lot about that. And family. And cookies. And occasionally someone getting intoxicated and making a real jerk of themselves. Hey, it happens.

So whatever you believe or don’t believe, merry happy that thing (or not).

It’s one world folks. We all live in it.

celebration , Christmas , giftmas , religion

Better than bloody Sunday.

We still aren’t done with the baking. But we are dangerously close.

I swear I had the best intentions yesterday to be done. I really did. But it just did not happen. We made a lot of goodies. Translation: I made a lot of goodies. The Hub did dishes. The Big Kids helped some, but mostly sat around basking in the glory of the first day of winter break and the Wii. Ella ate. And napped some. That’s what she does best. She’s a professional eater.

This is what we ended up with (thus far anyway):

Peanut Brittle:

I slaved for HOURS on this. I mean it’s CANDY, people. Do you now how hard it is to make candy correctly? It’s HARD.

(It took 15 minutes. Including clean up.)

Peppermint Bark:

Three layers of it.

This has ganache. In the middle. Ganache is one of the best things. Ever. It’s ridiculous.


Um… Yum. That is all.


This is what is in buckeyes.

Butter and peanut butter.
Powdered sugar.


(By the way, that is my ghetto double broiler. Dutch oven + glass bowl. That’s how I roll. Don’t judge me. )

Don’t ask me what the recipe is. I can’t tell you. It’s secret. What I can tell you though is that mixed in the right proportions those 4 things make a candy so good you might want to just go ahead and die after you eat it.

(It’s not really secret.)

This is what they look like when they are done:
That one doesn’t look like that anymore. It slightly more *ahem* pureed? In my stomach.
They look like an actual buckeye. Get it?
Only mine are delicious.
I confess: I was born in Ohio. Even though I moved when I was 10 days old I still like to say I’m from Ohio. I don’t know why. Who really wants to be from Ohio anyway? My dad is from Ohio. He moved to California as soon as he could. He says the people who live in Ohio only do so because they haven’t figured out how to get out of Ohio yet. No offense to those of you who live in Ohio. (Family: I love you all. Despite you living in Ohio.)
I digress.
Just as an aside… You should always have a wearable helper when baking. She doesn’t look very happy but I promise she is. I look like I’ve been in the kitchen all day because I have and additionally like I don’t own a hairbrush. My apologies. I do own a hairbrush. I’m like 98.7% sure.
Note: Don’t worry I’m not going to set the Baby on fire. The stove isn’t even on. The water was preheated to a boil, then shut off for safety. I haven’t caught the sling on fire yet.
Back to business: We are putting the finishing touches on the sugar cookies and g’bread peeps. They aren’t done because I am the Mother and I insist that all the children be present for the decorating. Non-negotiable. One of said children just left for a sleepover. Inside I’m secretly glad because I don’t feel like making frosting right now. I do eventually run out of energy. Tomorrow is a new day my friends.
My couch and my behind are about to get reacquainted.
Like now.
But only for 15 minutes… then I have to go back into the kitchen and make dinner. I wonder if any mother has ever just put her bed in the kitchen?
Happy Holidays ya’ll.
the lady covered in various powdered ingredients
baking , Christmas , kids


Here it is. I’d like to say it’s much anticipated but I know it’s not.
That’s ok.
Here it is anyway.
Watch us turn this pile of stuff from Michael’s….
into decorations:
Note: I took these photos with my iPhone 4. They aren’t as good as photos takes with the Nikon D90 but they’ll suffice. As an aside: the iPhone 4G is A-MAZ-ING. If you don’t have one, I’m sorry.
Part one: Making bunting (for dummies):
This is easy. Like too easy. I would prefer to use fabric and sew bunting but, as I have previously mentioned, my sewing machice is tragically broken. Moving on.
1. Take some paper. Whatever kind you like. I bought this at Michael’s for $11 and change. It was on sale from $19.99. I would have still bought it if it weren’t on sale, cause, well, I liked it, and I’m a glutton like that. We used less than half the paper by the way. The rest of it will go into “that” place. You know the place. Where craft supplies go to die. Then: Add to your paper, some ribbon (or twill tape like we used), scissors (or papercutter) and a stick of glue. Oh don’t forget a beat up ol’ ruler that your husband has had for like a billion years. You should always have some beat up thing of your husbands for crafts.
2. Now, disclaimer: There are several ways to do this. Hubs has a degree in mathematics. Therefore, you know the process of determining the most efficient way to cut a diamond was fun. Because I wanted to let the Big Kids be helpful and we only have one paper cutter, we opted to do it this way… Using the papercutter, cut your paper into strips of whatever width you’d like your bunting to be. Ours is 3 inches wide. Then cut it to double whatever length you’d like it to be. Ours will be 4 finished inches so the cut is 8. Like so:
3. Then mark the center of your paper on the 3 inch side (at 1.5 inches. Cause that’s half). Like this:
4. Then either take your paper cutter and cut from the top corner to the mark like this:
OOOOOR use some scissors and eyeball it and cut it. Whether or not your scissors have been chewed up by your jerk of a dog because your kids left them outside is up to you.
Those are my hands. I need a manicure. Please forgive me for the abysmal state of my nails.
4. Once you’ve cut out what will surely feel like a zillion little flags, fold them over onto themselves. I’m not including a photo of that because, well, it’s just folding. I had the kids do this part. They didn’t like it.
At all.
I am including a photo of the aftermath though. Don’t forget to recycle so you aren’t consumed with guilt because all the paper you just wasted.
It’s a lot. I’m thinking about inventing a craft just for this paper.
Nah. I’ll just recycle it.
Ok. I feel better.
5. After that you just glue them over a ribbon or piece of twill tape. We used twill tape by Martha Stewart cause I’m a snob that way. Somehow something costing twice the price because it has her name on it just makes it feel special. (Not really, I just liked the cloudy blue color.) Also, be sure to put glue all the way to the bottom. This seems logical and kind of a given but it’s worth mentioning because if you don’t, all your work will be for naught as your flags pop open.
And this is what you end up with.

Bam. Bunting. Kindergarten style.
Good luck.
Tomorrow we will be putting this, and the rest of the ornaments we are crafting today, on our tree. Not today. I’m tired. Tomorrow.
Up next Part 2, 3 and 4: Beaded initials, dried oranges, cranberry garland and Pom Pom snowmen.
AKA fighting over who got the most beads, he got more beads than me, why did he get more beads than me; UGH why does it take 4 hours to dry oranges in the oven, this is taking forEVER; how come I have to string all the cranberries, these don’t even taste good. GROSS; and MOOOOOOOMMMMMM, I want to use the Pom Pom maker first.
Stay tuned.
the lady with the wool pom pom fuzz all over her pants.
Christmas , crafts , decorations
Watch as we turn this…..

Into a tree full of ornaments.
AKA… we don’t have any Christmas decorations.
It’s a long story. I’d rather not go into it.
Suffice it to say, it’s better to be happy than to have a house that looks magazine worthy.
In that light, and in light of the fact that I’m now unemployed (*See below) and trying to be frugal, we are making all of our Christmas tree ornaments. Or most of them anyway. I think. As long as we all survive the crafting process.
Here’s what’s messed up, I could have bought cheap ornaments for less.
But whatever.
Beautiful bunting, wooly snowmen, shiny beaded initials, dried oranges and cranberry strands forthcoming.
Stay tuned…
*Yes. For those who haven’t previously heard (or read) I did actually quit my Job Thursday. My boss looked a little like I hit her in the face with a 2×4, but it’s done.
No going back.
I am again among the ranks of the At Home Mothers.
YAY! :)
Christmas , crafts , decorations , mothering