Thursday, December 9, 2010

Snowman: Unassembled

Snowmen fall from heaven unassembled.

One of my favorite things to do while shopping is wander around the Dollar Spot at Target looking for treasures I can use for gifties.  Gifties are small packages to let my friends know I'm-thinking-of-you, I'm-sorry-your-heart-hurts, or You're-special-to-me. 

Oh, how delighted I can get over these tiny finds.  Along with the gifties, I can get just as excited over packaging for my gifts.  Whether something to tie onto my gift, present my gift in, or give me a new idea, I get so much joy over these dollar ideas.

One day last month I came across a tiny tin pail.  Actually it was among the new Christmas offerings and it was Callling. My. Name.  I only bought one.  What could I have been thinking?  I went back for more, but they were GONE!  That's the problem with the Dollar Spot.  It's a get-it-now-or-be-sorry kind of place.

Well, you have to remember, it was November and the beautiful leaves were covering the ground so I knew I needed to wait for snow. I didn't, however, need snow to ponder on the purpose of my little tin.  And then it came to me.  A Snowman Kit!
I waited for the white stuff to cover the ground.  Today it snowed lazy flakes and I knew it was THE DAY.  I texted Emily, "Please stop at the store and get carrots.  Not the baby ones we like to eat--get snowman carrots." 

For 51 cents I bought fleece (1/8 yd) and fringed the ends.  I used unbreakable blue tree balls for the eyes, tinsel for the smile and buttons for the, well, buttons.  I'll add a tag and some ribbons, and viola--Build a Snowman is done!

So, price breakdown is:

$1.00 for the pail
51 cents for the scarf

This past weekend we were in a bookstore in Gatlinburg and I found Alice Schertle's "All You Need for a Snowman."  It was 3.99 and it needed a home.  After all, every giftie sparkles with a book.  Buying a book sometimes tips the scales in the allotted $$ department and really, the gift is enough.  But I just have this book gene in me that can't pass them up.  So don't feel like you have to add the suggested book.  It truly is the thought that counts.   And this is a $1.51 + carrot thought.

Never think sheltering children isn't as important as adults.  Jesus loved children, used children for illustrations, and reminded us in Deuteronomy 7 the importance of teaching our children about God.
And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 
And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children.
Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again.
Tie them to your hands as a reminder, and wear them on your forehead.
Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
That's why I'll be tucking a Scripture verse into my tin:  Take away my sin, and I will be clean. Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow  (Psalm 51:7).

In Bedford, where Melanie and Emily were born, we were blessed to be with people who took time to shelter our "little" girls.  Their love helped mold them into who they are today.  So think of it...who can you shelter with A Snowman Kit?  I already have a sweet little girl in mind for mine.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

$20.00 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

The girls and I have a $20.00 Amazon gift card just waiting for one of you to win it.  If you know me, you know I'd like to mail one out to all our followers.  Since I don't have an extra $4,000.00, I am adding two Christmas books to the givaway, too.  So three of you will be winners.

First name

Second Name
Christmas Cookies Are for Giving: Recipes, Stories and Tips for Making Heartwarming Gifts.

Third Name
The Christmas Kitchen: The Gathering Place for Making Memories

Become a follower (and leave me a comment to let me know) to have a chance to win.  If you are already a follower just tell me so.  To earn another chance, tell me your favorite Christmas book (in a separate comment). 

I'll announce the winners next Tuesday.

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Monday, December 6, 2010

More Fun with Two

A jolly afternoon spent baking and making treats yields an abundance of tasty joys to share with dear ones throughout the season. 
                                                                                      ~Southern Lady

Don't you think it's more fun to create with a friend?  The Bible tells us,
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work" (Ephesians 4:9).  Throughout the years, I have found joy in working and creating with friends.

When RB was in college, a friend, Joy, and I decided to make Christmas cookies together.  Being new brides, we planned to use all our favorite recipes.  I don't remember what all we made (after all it was 30 some years ago) but I do know we made cut-out cookies.  Now these weren't just any cut-out cookies--they were peanut butter cut-out cookies--a HUGE batch --and used 8 cups of flour.  Whew...we rolled and rolled and rolled. We baked and baked  and baked.  We iced and sprinkled, iced and sprinkled... and finally resorted to just sprinkles. 

Not that I don't like sprinkles... Remember this book,   "The Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher" by Robert Kraus?  If you'd like the book, you are fortunate.  1969 copies are going for $99.00 - $225.00.  But good news! In March of this year it was reprinted and you can purchase it for $12.89.

Christmas cookies without sprinkles
are like raisins without wrinkles,
and like sleigh bells without tinkles
are Christmas cookies without sprinkles.

Well for sure, our dozens and dozens had sprinkles, and they were delicious.  Most importantly, Joy and I had fun just being together.  We still laugh about it all these years later.

The year I learned to make toffee was the year Janet, Beth and Vonnie and I decided to make cookies and candy together.  It was a laugh a minute.  Again, I don't remember all we made, but Beth did buckeyes and Vonnie taught us to make toffee.  Janet made homemade yeast doughnuts.  Oh, my--best ever!  I think it was the last time I've had them.  Isn't it funny I don't know what I made?  Maybe I was having too much fun watching and tasting.

This year's baking will probably be done solo...snuck in between writing and cleaning.  Daddy and Mom will be with us for Christmas.  Mom is making the traditional date bread for Christmas breakfast.  Daddy is making the monster cookies -- and a small bird (or was that a sister?) told me they were already made and tasted.  Emily will make puppy chow. 

Puppy Chow

Puppy Chow Recipe: The Kuhn Way

 9 cups crispy rice cereal squares
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter
1 12 oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 or more cups confectioners' sugar

 Melt the chocolate and butter (I do it in the microwave); add peanut butter and mix until smooth.
Add cereal and stir until coated.
Pour powdered sugar* into large paper grocery bag, add coated cereal.
Shake until well coated. Store in airtight container.
*We use a lot of powdered sugar because it's pretty when very white.

Here's my list to make:

Shawn's favorite: Toffee
Emily's favorite: Chocolate Covered Bon Bons
RB's favorite: Date Pinwheels
Cut-out cookies with the Grands (not peanut butter!)
Old fashioned Sugar Fudge: Chocolate, Penuche, Vanilla Pecan
Expectant mother, Melanie, will decide what she likes on any certain day.  Changes expected!

I'll leave you with my toffee recipe.  So easy, no fail.  Just use a heavy bottom pan.

 English Toffee

2 cups sugar (I suggest Domino)
2 cups butter (not margarine)

Boil on medium heat to hard crack stage.
Pour on buttered cookie sheet.

Place 4 Hershey bars on toffee until shiny.
Spread chocolate and sprinkle with pecans.

When cool, break in pieces.

Some of my goodies will find their way back to Pennsylvania.  Too many will be consumed right around our table.  I'll package some up for friends. I remember some of the food gifts I've received through the years.  Ed made the best chocolates, and although he's been celebrating Christmas in Heaven for many years, I can still see him, standing at the counter, wearing his chef hat while filling boxes with caramels, fudge and chocolate cherries.  Philip boxed up deer jerky for us.  JoAnn made us a pan of cinnamon rolls -- a welcomed not-so-sweet dish that was a special breakfast treat.

 Do you have a favorite way to make a gift out of your goodies?  I'm stuck in a rut, using glass and crystal, and would welcome some fresh ideas. 

If you have time to bake with a friend, I'd urge you to try it.  Life may not allow repeat baking experiences but you'll make memories to last a lifetime.  And as Lucy Maud Montgomery said, "True friends are always together in spirit."

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