19 December 2008

gingerbread crinkles

Maybe you can't call them gingersnaps because they're not hard. I don't know, but chewy ginger cookies is a boring name. I need a better one. These are my neighbor gifts and Dan's favorite cookies. (Thanks to Pam, I'm changing the name of these cookies to gingerbread crinkles.)

The recipe (which I got online from someone named Judd Antin):

2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup dark molasses
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375. Whisk first 7 dry ingredients together, set aside. Beat shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, molasses, and vanilla to shortening sugar mixture and mix until just combined. Mix dry ingredients into wet one cup at a time. Form dough into 1 inch balls and coat balls in sugar. Bake for 9 - 11 minutes. Golden and cracked is a good sign. Makes 2 1/2 - 3 dozen.

gingerbread contest winner

Thanks Marianne for reminding me. Combined with the results from the facebook poll the winner is . . . me and Dan! Ours was the one with the red and green roof.
Jamie and Katie did the pink and brown one, which actually has a very cool roof (though not water tight because the shingles started from the bottom) and a lovely rock veneer wall ala 1972 made of skor bars.
Dad and Andy did the gumdrop one. It started out pretty bad, but then Dad fixed it all up while Andy watched TV. Plus the chimney is super cool (not to mention the gumdrop facade, which you all fell for.)
Mom and Emily did the purple and green one. Emily was a tiny bit of a perfectionist and wasted lots of candy scraping off and starting again. But they had a very lovely roof, a very cool chimney, and a very cool green m&m thing going on (I'm sorry I don't know the architectural house part name.)
I think we should do it again next year! Thanks Em for the idea.

18 December 2008

peach pit jelly

I think you use 25 peach pits. Apparently you can also use the skins of the peaches. You just put them in a pan and cover with water 2 inches over the pits. Then you bring to a boil and continue to boil for 10 minutes or until water becomes red. Strain pits and skins and use the juice for jam. I just followed directions for peach jelly on my pectin instructions. The first time I made these they were an even prettier red on the top and gradated to orange on the bottom.

17 December 2008

neighbor gifts

I like doing neighbor gifts, but I don't do it every year, depending on the craziness factor. This year (and last year) I had the ingenious idea to make peach pit jelly (you steep the pits in water and get this lovely tasting peachy juice). I never got to it last year but I bought all the jars. So I did it the other day and it only made 6 cups! My list is a little larger than 6 so I need some more ideas. I was thinking cookies, since they're easy and the kids can help too. What are some of your neighbor gift ideas? I think the kids will like to get in on the packaging and giving too.

Gifts I've done in the past: my own salsa, my own shortbread cookies, and my own caramels.

16 December 2008

another giveaway

This time Molly from My Favorite Things is doing a giveaway for me. How nice. Again I'm giving away 2 pairs, so if you didn't get to win last time, make sure to go on over and enter to win! Also I put a few more necklaces and bracelets in the store as well as a Merry Christmas Banner. So go over and check it out!

15 December 2008


You know how I mentioned that ornament exchange? The one where I made the penguins? Well, so far I've received about 5 or 6 (of 10) ornaments and I just got this one in the mail.

Really? I have no words for this. I am seriously offended that someone would spend the time to make it and then send it to an actual person.

12 December 2008

another one of charlie

I think all my videos are of Charlie, but I was going through the archives and found this. It was right after we got the new camera, right before Luke was born. (Charlie was 3). Charlie didn't realize Dan was taking a video so he kept smiling for the picture. It's pretty cute.

cute brothers

Sam spent a good part of the afternoon pushing Luke around in the laundry basket. They had a great time until I had to crack the whip and make Sam clean his room.


Today I crossed a few things off my list (the list from a few days ago.) I also made something that wasn't on my list. (I may even put one in the shop next week.)

Here's the front.

Here's the back.

green Christmas idea

I love Ready Made magazine. This month they had a whole page on green ideas for Christmas. I can't find it right now, but the best one was this:

Instead of using those new clothing boxes to wrap clothes in, just use a cereal box. I've already put 2 sets of pjs in 2 big cereal boxes and they work perfectly. Reuse baby.

11 December 2008


How does it work out that I like to be busy and have lots of things to do, and I also go crazy when I have lots of projects and am busy? I'm feeling the stress these days. All shopping is done for the boys and Dan. All extended family gifts are purchased (except for one, but I know what it is, I just need to go get it.) Some of them are even wrapped! I was hoping for a lovely holiday time with the boys, making cookies and doing fun Christmasy things. But instead I find myself yelling at everyone and feeling like there's no way I'm going to get it all done in two weeks! Definitely not the Christmas Spirit I was hoping for. That's why I'm posting my Must Do Before Christmas List here. To cut out the things that really don't have to be done, and to get done the things that are important to me.

Finish making something for Dan (it's going to be good, but it's taking WAY longer than I originally thought - maybe it will just become a birthday present.)

Finish Luke's and Jack's pjs. (Sam's and Charlie's are already done, wrapped, and under the tree.)

Get that one gift at the store(This would require me to leave my house, which is difficult for me sometimes - like when I have a billion things to do around here.).

Send gifts to 3 different people.

Finish stockings for refugees (one of those things I volunteered for and now I'm kicking myself for).

I've wanted to make a tree skirt for the past 10 years and have never even started. Last week I started, but I probably won't be done before Christmas so maybe I should just forget that one.

Make cookies with the kids.

Make gingerbread houses with the kids.

Make penguin ornaments for the kids. (or maybe I'll just give them the ones in the shop.)

Hem Dan's pants. 2 pair. (trying to save money you know.)

Man. I thought that list would have been shorter. I even cut out at least a third of my other list. Maybe I just need to take a few deep breaths in the morning (maybe more than a few), make sure to say my prayers, and remember what Christmas is all about.

08 December 2008

sale sale sale!

Hey all you gift givers out there. I'm having a little sale in my etsy shop starting right now. All jewelry is %20 off! That means all earrings are under $15! I will also be adding some bracelets this week, so keep checking back. You might even find something to stuff in your own stocking!

07 December 2008

I have a cold

Not a man cold, mind you, just a regular old cold. But I hate it.

p.s. Dan doesn't act much like this man when he has a cold. He just sleeps and ignores everyone.

03 December 2008

holiday mix tape

I've added a new holiday mix on the sidebar. This new one has some of my favorite Christmas music. I couldn't find a few really great ones (White Christmas by Ella Fitzgerald, Jingle Bells by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, or Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer by Kenny Wayne Shepherd) but I did get some other really great ones. Hope you like listening to it!

ps - the old one is still there it just doesn't start automatically.

02 December 2008

david sedaris

I love David Sedaris. Usually. We heard him on NPR a few weeks ago. I almost peed my pants.

To listen go to the link, which should be This American Life November 21. Click on "full episode" and let the episode load. Drag the timer to start at 6:00.

gingerbread house contest

we need YOU, the unbiased readers, to vote for your favorite.

rock band elmer style

here's the jeff elmer family band. casey has to be the best screamer/singer we've ever had in our house (with dan a very close second). also, check out the drumstick twirling by dan in the second one. amazing.

sorry you can't hear the songs very well, the TV wasn't very loud. the first song is ballroom blitz the second is sabotage. (if you don't know what either of these songs sound like i put them at the top of my playlist so you can hear.)

photos from last week

Sam and Mimi made the rolls. They made knots and the whole alphabet.

Rainbow jello. The most beautiful thing on the table.

How could I forget that we went to the Tumbling Gym with a bunch of the E family. (Lots were in town for my cousin Robby's wedding.)

This first one is Jamie and me on a teeter totter of sorts. It would appear that I sat down and made Jamie fly up, but really, she's trying to get some momentum to get back down. Though she does weigh less than me, we were even enough to stay on it for 5 minutes or so. At which point we got tired and took a rest.

This next one is some kind of teeter totter (maybe called something else?) for 4 people, 2 on each side. So it's my mom and Jamie on one side and Katie and me on the right. We never got it figured out. We must not be strong enough.

They also had one of these human hamster wheel things

and a foam pit you could jump into from a trampoline. Jack and Sam both did flips into it. How did they learn how to flip? I have no idea. Luke even loved it in there. But beware if you ever get into one, it sucks off your socks and even your pants if you're not careful.


Today we were at the grocery store when an old man asked if I curl Charlie's hair. Really? He even said "his" so he knew Charlie was a boy even before he asked his name. Maybe there are moms who curl their sons' hair, but I'm sure not one of them.

Etsy shop. I had one sale before I told anyone about it. Since my big giveaway and announcement no one's bought anything. I don't really need to sell the jewelry in the etsy shop, I just thought it would be fun. Turns out it's difficult to market. Maybe I should forgo etsy and take them back to the consignment store down the street. Any thoughts? I'm ready for criticism.

Thanksgiving. Was fun and busy! We got to see our good friends Eric and Josie while they were visiting family, we had a gingerbread decorating contest, had the first ever Indians agains the Pilgrims relay races, got to see aunt peggy (and lots of other E family members), and played Rock Band with Casey and Dan (if they were born just 10 years earlier, they would have been in some famous hair band, I'm sure.)

Christmas. No I'm not done. Of course I thought I'd get a bunch of things done last week, but that's impossible when you're visiting and playing and baking and sleeping (though Dan and I did clean and organize most of the garage in record time one morning.) I still have a few hand made things to do (pjs mostly), stocking stuffers, and a few other odds and ends so I'm not worried. Which is nice. And what I was trying to avoid when making plans to finish Christmas before Thanksgiving.

Penguins. They are now in the etsy shop. Which no one shops.

The end.