Monday, December 27, 2010

Some new favorite goodies this holiday season

Homemade peppermint marshmallows  - Who knew? In hot chocolate...ymmmm...Next I may try these

Folding little Christmas trees - addictive. 

Caron Simply Soft yarn - Feels so good running through your fingers.  Read the reviews - I am not alone in this opinion.

Loops and Threads Country Loom yarn - I finished two-thirds of an afghan today.  No, not kidding. I may finish the rest tonight.

Chainless foundation  - These tutorials, here and here,  taught me how to make a whole line of single crochets without starting with a long chain stitch.    Therefore, the afghan.

The movie Tangled - The scenes featuring Maximus the horse were worth the price of admission. All over the theater I could hear adults as well as children laughing out loud. (We haven't seen Voyage of the Dawn Treader yet, but I'm sure it will be a favorite, too.)

A simple 4-in-1 cookie recipe that has been in my recipe box for years, but I never made it until this year.  My favorite version: lemon flavoring with dried Craisins. The recipe originated from McCormick.

Did you discover some new favorites this Christmas?

Vanilla Butter Cookies
4 cookies from one recipe
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 t salt
Flavorings/spices(see below)
Add-ins(See below)
Preheat 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add egg and beat well. Blend in flavorings and spices.  Combine salt with flour; add to creamed mixture. Stir in add-ons.

Drop by rounded teaspoons, or roll into balls.  Flatten slightly with bottom of a glass dipped in flour or powdered sugar. Bake 10-12 minutes until slightly golden.

Flavorings and Add-ons:  
1. Vanilla Butter:  Add 1 T vanilla extract

2. Lemon: Add 2 t lemon extract plus 1-2 t. ground ginger

3. Cranberry Almond: Add 1 t. almond extract.  Stir in 1/2 cup driend cranberries ("Craisin") and 1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds. (Note I skip the almond and almond flavor, and make these lemon-cranberry)

4. Chocolate Mint: Add 1 t. mint extract along with 1 T. vanilla.  Add 1/2 cup cocoa to flour mixture.  Stir in 2/3 cup chocolate chips (I used chocolate mint M&Ms)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

December in St. Augustine, FL

Remember the cape I was making for a Spanish maiden in historic St. Augustine, FL?
When we read Felicity - An American Girl, we learned that the caps they are wearing are called 'mob caps.'  I don't know why. 

The tall handsome British Redcoat is her brother. 

When he was only about 6 years old, the first time they went as a family to an event in St. Augustine, his parents looked around and realized he was gone!  Someone pointed out that their son had joined the reenactors, who motioned that it was OK.  He marched along with them, very serious, having a great time.  Afterward, they invited him to join them next time.  He has been reenacting history ever since!

You never know when an encouraging word to a child may ignite a passion.  Those men, who could have shooed away a little boy, instead welcomed him and began to build a young man who would carry on their traditions.

Our next project:  gaiters!  The dress white gaiters he is wearing in the picture (white button-on canvas that runs from shoes to above the knees) are loaners - he needs his own black ones and white ones. We'll be working on those in 2011, and I look forward to posting pictures in uniform.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Holidays Will Never Be the Same

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving trip up to south Georgia.  We enjoyed spending some time with my parents, feasting, and visiting a bit with other relatives.  Then we traveled home safely on Saturday afternoon.

Our route took us through Thomasville, Georgia on U.S 19.  As we approached Thomasville, we began to notice people spread out along the northbound lanes.  They were all looking south.  We speculated about what they were waiting for.  Maybe we'll see their Christmas parade...but no, a Christmas parade wouldn't come this far out of town.  We noticed they were all holding flags, some small, some large.  I said, "I think this might be for a soldier."

When we stopped at an intersection, my husband rolled down the window and asked a lady waiting in the median with her flag.  Yes, a local young man had died in Afghanistan, and the community was honoring his service and supporting his family, waiting for the funeral procession to arrive.  She was gratified to hear that people were waiting at every intersection for the next 2 miles.

I have thought often and prayed often for the family of Army Specialist Shannon Chihuahua since then.  A combat medic, he put himself in danger to help wounded comrades. Brave. Dedicated. Selfless.

Now as these holidays approach, I pray for his family.  This will be their first Christmas without him.  Lord, please pull them close to your heart.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Old Math Joke

My good friend Science Geek posted a Cool Math Lesson today, and it reminded me of an old joke:

The young man comes home from college to his less-educated Daddy.  Daddy says, "Well son, whadya learn at that fancy college you're goin' to?"

The son replies, "Pi R square!"

Daddy shout, "Ya idiot!  Pie R round; cornbread R square!" 
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