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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Yummy Caramel Corn Recipe

As I was making my Christmas goodies this year I thought I should take some pictures of the process. However, it turns out I'm not so good at taking pictures of myself while I have sticky or greased up hands. So no pictures. Bummer. (I have some of the candy left so if I can find the time I'll take pictures and post the recipes.) However, I did decide to take a picture tonight of the caramel corn I made. I had it several years ago at a party I went to when I was still with Close to My Heart. It's from Denise Anderson.

Caramel Corn

8 c. popped corn (I pop up 2 bags of microwave popcorn)
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1/2 c. water

Add last 4 ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil on medium high heat. Cook to firm/hard ball stage, 250 - 260 degrees F on candy thermometer.

Remove from stove. Add 1 cube (1/2 cup) of butter and stir until melted. Pour over popcorn, stirring to coat evenly. Then you can shape it into balls or just leave it in the bowl to eat.

* Here's a picture of it. I don't shape it into balls when it's just for us.
BTW- My neighbor Clayton LOVES this. He highly recommends it!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Kids Craft- Snowman Ornaments

I volunteered to help do a craft in his class for their Christmas party. I got really busy this week so I had to scramble a couple of days ago to come up with a craft. I love the Internet! I found a site that had tons of cute ideas, and I found one I thought was cute, quick and easy.

Supply List:
small wooden craft spoons
white craft paint
black Sharpie
black and orange foam sheets
craft glue

1. Paint the spoon with white paint. Let it dry completely (2-5 minutes unless you do a thick coat).
2. While the paint is drying cut out a small piece of the black foam sheet and cut out a hat for the snowman. Then cut out a small triangle for the nose.
3. Make sure the paint is dry, then put a dot of craft glue on the top and put the hat on.
4. Draw the eyes (or put on little google eyes), attach the nose/carrot with a dot of glue, then draw the mouth and buttons.
5. Cut a piece of 1/4" ribbon and tie around the "neck". If it frays, that's okay! It looks more like a scarf.
6. To make it become an ornament simply get a 3"-4" long piece of ribbon, form a loop and attach behind the head.

* All the kids had a fun time making these and thought they were "totally cool." Every single 4th grader there made one, and several kids wanted to make more than one. Some opted not to add the extra ribbon and use it as a bookmark instead.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Hawaiian Quilt

I posted these pictures on my personal blog so you may have already seen it before. I bought this material while I was in Hawaii on the Big Island. I made it a few weeks after we got home. It's unlike any blanket I've ever seen stateside. I had to hand tie it in one evening because my two youngest kept trying to get it, and they were knocking the frame all around. My kids all want to have it.
This is the front of the blanket. I really like the hand tied look and feel... probably because it always reminds me of my "woobie" that my mother took from my room while I was at school one day and burned. This is the back side. My kids all love the texture of it and kept rubbing it.

Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween and Valentine's Crafts

This is the first LOVE board I made. I wanted it to be in pinks and browns. Not the greatest exposure, but there is a ton of Diamond Dust all over it so it would shimmer in the light.
This is the second LOVE board I made. My sister Christine wanted one for her daughter's room. This is what I came up with for hers. This is my ho, ho, ho board. It hands in my hallway. The kids love the white boa and Santa costume on it. I also have fake snow on top of each board to make it more realistic. The "snow" glistens because I mixed Diamond Dust in it.
This is my take on Pottery Barn's Christmas advent calendar. I decided not to put our last name on it because if my daughter wants it after she gets married she may not have the same last name.
This is the Pottery Barn Christmas advent calendar that I used for inspiration. I changed a few things, but tried to keep the colors close to the same. BTW, the pockets take FOREVER to line up straight and to keep totally even. That was one of the hardest parts of making this project. This is my Thanksgiving decoration. I haven't yet done an advent for Thanksgiving. Maybe next year. For now this will have to do.
Here is my Halloween advent calendar. Again inspired by the one Pottery Barn was selling. I didn't really care for the burnt orange color they used so I made mine using purple and bright orange pockets. The ric rac they used didn't do it for me either so my ribbon has little witches hats and pumpkins. The ghosts near the top are actually little bells. This is the Pottery Barn Halloween advent calendar that I used for inspiration. Cute idea, but I just don't really like the colors they used. These are my BOO blocks. (Don't say it out loud in front of people unless/until you've practiced saying it alone. You'll understand when people around you start snickering.)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My newest crafting...

OK, some of you may or may not know, but I have a little arthritis in my hands. But I have been wanting to learn how to knit. I LOVE knitted things, but it is so expensive to buy them, especially when I know I could learn how to do it myself. My mom taught me how to crochet when I was a teenager, but I can't do it very often because my hands cramp up so bad. So... I thought I would check out these knitting looms. We've all seen them and perhaps have even wondered what they're all about. Well let me tell you... They're great! You can do ANYTHING on a loom. Every regular knitting pattern can be translated into a loom pattern. I can't read regular knitting patterns yet, but I am told that it can be done. Plus there are tons of resources out there on the Internet. I joined two Yahoo! groups for loom knitting. Besides the forums where you can any question you might have about loom knitting, there are also group files where members have uploaded patterns with pictures and instructions to help even the most challenged of us! Lot's of people have blogs about loom knitting too! Plus, each loom or loom set you buy comes with a great little instruction book (in four languages for those who like that). I won't post any pictures of the stuff I've made until after Christmas (so that people on my Christmas lists can be surprised). But here are pictures of the looms. And if you do a Google search for loom knitting or Knifty Knitter you can see tons of stuff that can be made with these bad boys.

Round looms. Not just for hats!!

Spool Loom. I don't know why it's called that. I made a big flower with mine. First I made a long rope, then used the blue round loom to form the petals. I think it turned out pretty cute.

Here are some more tips if you decide to get into it: I have a project bag that I keep the pieces
I'm working on safe. It also holds the looms that don't come in re-sealable bags. I keep my hooks and needles in a small pencil box that I can just slip inside my project bag. And because I am working on a lot of projects for Christmas presents, I have 3 or 4 different colors of yarn. Those yarn balls (otherwise known as skeins) can get confusing. Let me tell you the genius idea I saw on a forum for keeping them straight: Have you ever seen those smaller reusable grocery bags at Basha's? They are for alcohol. The inside is divided up into 6 spaces to put wine bottles, etc. into. Well, I bought a couple of them when we were still living there, thinking I would use them for sparkling cider and stuff during the holidays. I haven't, but they are prefect for keeping all that yarn separate and tangle-free. So, go try loom knitting, you'll love it too! (And it makes you feel like you're not totally lazy when you're watching all that t.v. you watch - well that I watch.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I'm interested in a little challenge, NOT

Finally a picture of Soren's baby blanket made my mom. I like it and hope that he will keep it as long as I've kept mine - my whole life.

Here is the blanket that my mom made for Michelle's baby.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Anyone interested in a little challenge?

Okay. So here's what I'm thinking... I know that December is totally crazy, but I want to get some ideas for upcoming crafts. I am challenging everyone to post an idea (with a picture if possible) of their favorite craft that you have made. I have a few that I'll take pictures of and post later to get things started. It doesn't have to be anything wild and crazy, just something fun. I have a few crafts that I've started and never finished. These are things I took classes for because I wouldn't do these things on my own anyway. Who has the time? Anyway, I need to get the creative juices flowing again. Who's game?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

PTO Christmas cards

I volunteered to make 60 Christmas cards for the staff at my kids' school. The only thing I was told was that we needed 60 in red and green and have them done by December 2. I went to the store and bought the supplies I needed, then proceeded to mass produce these.
All done! I really like the last one. It doesn't show up so well in the picture, but there are red and silver snowflakes on the ribbon. Now I need to get started on our Christmas cards. Too busy!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mom's Quilt

My mom is making this quilt for my sister Michelle's baby boy that's due at the end of the week. She came over this morning to hand quilt it. Impressive! And so cute!

Katie's crafts

I copied these from Katie's blog. She's been busy crafting lately. I think she's caught the crafting bug!
Here is the Santa and Reindeer lanterns she and John made for Melia and Sydney. Here's Katie's snow house. I'm surprised the lights actually made it on there. Melia really wanted to make them into a necklace.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

White Chili Recipe

This is a very tasty, somewhat spicy, variation of chili that uses chicken that I got from a friend. I served it with sweet corn bread.

1 T. vegetable oil
1 lb. cooked & shredded chicken
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
1 (7 oz.) jar salsa verde
1 (4.5 oz) can shopped green chiles, undrained
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. coriander seeds, crushed
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
2 (16 oz) cans cannelloni beans or other white beans, drained.
3 Tb. lime juice
1/4 tsp. pepper
shredded cheddar cheese

Saute garlic in oil in large pot until tender. Stir in tomatoes, chicken broth, salsa verde, chiles, oregano, coriander, & cumin. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, & simmer 20 minutes. Add chicken & beans, cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Add chicken & beans, cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in lime juice & pepper. Ladle into bowls & top with cheese and sour cream (optional).


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pie Recipes - Apple & Pumpkin

Just in time for the holiday season. I actually made this apple pie and it was delicious and I'm not a pie person so that says a lot. I learned how to make these pies and it is actually not that hard or time consuming. Here's the recipe if you want to try for yourself.
Pie Crust
2 cups flour
1 cup Crisco
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold water

It makes enough for the lining and top coat.

Apple Pie
6-8 Macintosh apples peeled and sliced
1 cup sugar
3 Tbls flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 Tbls butter cut into pieces

Apple Pie Directions
Combine sugar, apples, flour and spices (Be generous with the spices). Toss to coat fruit. Using your hands might be easier. Pour into a pastry lined pie dish. Dot with butter. Top with crust. Seal and flute edges. Wet top with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Don't forget to make your vents so you don't get a soggy pie. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Pumpkin Pie
(same recipe on Libby pumpkin can)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 cloves
2 large eggs
1 15oz can pumpkin
1 12 fl oz can evaporated milk

Pumpkin Pie Directions
Combine ingredients and pour into pastry lined pie dish. Be generous on the spices. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes and then 350 for 45 minutes.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Baby Frame

Here's a frame that I made for my friend to give to her mom. She found out that she was having a baby girl. She wanted to tell her family what her new little girl's name was going to be.
I painted the wood frame black, then cut out the baby's name of sparkly silver paper with my Cricut. I then went over the entire frame with glossy Mod Podge to seal the paint to it, and to make it look uniform.
Next I glued a 1/4" hot pink polka dot ribbon around the frame with a tiny silver buckle. When that dried I used my Mod Podge to adhere the letters to the frame.
While I was waiting for that to dry to the frame I cut a piece of decorative paper to 4" x 6", then put the ultrasound picture in the upper right corner. After I was done doing that I did another coat of Mod Podge over the letters to make sure they would stick well.
I put the glass back in the frame with the paper and ultrasound picture and this is the finished product!