Thursday, December 31, 2009

Killing Time

a little 2009 voodoo

The last day of 2009. Hey, there's something to celebrate, and it's not even midnight yet!

As you can tell, Mr. H and I are not sorry to see old 2009 go.

The Sweet Girl's off at a neighborhood New Year's Eve party tonight, but Mr. H and I have elected to stay home and have a special party of our own. No guests over this year. 

Best not to have witnesses.

I don't know if I can describe our 2009 without using a four (or maybe even a *five*) letter word. Tonight's all about therapy payback. The theme? Killing Time. Take that,  2009! (yeah, that would be Mr. H's pin stuck where the sun don't shine!)

We went out on a fun date earlier today, to pick our mascot for this past year. Here he is:

Official 2009 Mascot

official 2009 mascot

Oh, the things we're gonna do to this guy at the stroke of midnight. The beatings will commence. (heh heh) We will then take a special pleasure in kicking this guy out our front door,  and slamming it behind him! Goodbye forever, 2009! It's gonna be a great night. Ya think Martha Stewart will steal my party idea?

Before you think today's all about murder and mayhem, take a look at what we did earlier this afternoon:

New Years Cookies

New Years Cookies ready to go

We made giant chocolate chip cookies, wrapped them up, and delivered a round of "midnight snacks" and New Year's best wishes to some of our favorite people here in the neighborhood.

We're very much looking forward to a new year. Bring on 2010!


Best wishes to you, too --  Happy New Year!!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Words to Live By

 the beginning the end steps 2

For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.

                                                                                   -- T.S. Eliot

picture credit

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Neighbor Gift: Christmas Star


Way back in November, I asked our family about Christmas. I knew it was going to be a different holiday this year; the budget would be very tight --  so I asked them to fill in the blank: "It's just not Christmas without ______________."

One of the things that went on that list came from Mr. H -- it was really important to him to do neighbor gifts. So he and I put our heads together and came up with a couple of ideas we just loved -- a little nicer than usual -- and decided these would be our Christmas gifts to each other.

For our empty-nester neighbors, we made the Stress-Free Apple Crisp. We kept one bag/kit for ourselves and had it on Sinterklaas Day. Yummy! We had guests pop in that night, and I was able to offer them warm apple crisp with vanilla ice cream on the spot. I *totally* looked like some kind of Martha Stewart that night! Ha! If they only knew....I'm not telling! :-)

For our other neighbors with kids, we made this Christmas Star. The idea is that someone takes the star, does something nice for someone else and leaves this star on their pillow. Then *that* person does something nice for someone and leaves it on *their* pillow....get it? A whole lotta nice going on during the month of December.

I copied this idea from a scrapbooky book I found at the library. That's where I got the text for the tag. To make the tags, I picked up the kind you see in the picture at the office supply store and used an old-fashioned font for the words and then mod-podged it all to make it a little more sturdy. (Click on the picture to see the words more clearly.)

For the star, I went to Michael's and picked up some flat paper-mache star ornaments. I looked and looked for Christmas scrapbook paper to decorate the star with  that would go along with what I had in mind, but I could never find it. So... I made some myself:


Christmas words: ...believe...merry and
...good tidings of great
.... you get the picture.

I painted the stars to match the color used in my words, turned the paper over and cut out a star shape. I antiqued it a little, and then attached it and mod-podged the whole thing. Later, we packaged them up and went out together as a family early in December delivering stars and wishing all our neighbors (who were are *very* thankful for) a very Merry Christmas.

other Christmas stars

There have been many variations on this idea -- you don't have to go to the extra effort I did this year -- I've seen it in elementary schools with simple cut-out foam stars and a little note; here's one that was delivered to us a few years back. It looks like a magic wand! Cute!

This Christmas star was a fun project for me. A labor of love.


Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients
of a truly merry Christmas.

                                                                    ~ Peg Bracken

The neighbor gifts, the 12-day nativity -- all of these projects were ingredients of a merry Christmas for me. ♥

I hope you and yours are having fun December days -- Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mustard Ring

A bitter cold wind is whistling around the house today, but I'm warm and toasty inside, and plotting out our Christmas dinner. We're serving ham this year, thanks to a Christmas elf sister. Thanks sis! ♥

Now, don't tell sister-elf, but I'm not a big fan of ham. Never have been. But if you serve a mustard ring with your ham -- look out! I will "pig out"!
(pun intended! heh heh)

So what the heck is a mustard ring?

It's a pale yellow creation -- very pretty, and if you see it on the table, you might be fooled into thinking it's a light lemon dessert. But this little side dish belongs with the ham, not the desserts. The few times I've seen this served, it's been done it a pretty mold (like in the picture). How does it taste? That's a little hard to describe -- there's a light, chiffony, sweet and sour thing going on there -- but the mix of flavors is a perfect match for ham. It's delicious!

Be brave! Give this recipe a try. I promise ham will never be the same at your house...

Mustard Ring
serves 4

4 eggs, beaten well

3/4 cup sugar

1 Tablespoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

...then, dissolve:

1 envelope Knox gelatin

3/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup water


Mix all together. Cook in double boiler, or a thick pan. Stir until mixture becomes thick. Keep stirring until done. Let it cool.

Add 1 cup whipped canned milk. (freeze milk to 'slushy').

Pour into a mold, or a bowl if you prefer. Refrigerate until firm and set.


My recipe is from a dear family friend, but you can also find another recipe here.


picture credit

Friday, December 18, 2009

December Days

Adventskalendar days

The advent calendar says the December days are hurrying by --
here's a peek at some of what we've been up to....

Christmas stars

Christmas star neighbor gift craft... more later on this project...

 Apple Crisp Stress Free neighbor gift

Distributing neighbor gifts...this one's the Stress Free Apple Crisp gift.

Wooden Shoes visited by Sinterklaas

Sinterklaas and wooden shoes ... and presents!

Sweet 16 balloon

The Sweet Girl turned 16 last week!

Birthday breakfast

Cinnamon rolls for her birthday breakfast...

Sweet 16 party invite

... and a skating party with lots of friends to celebrate!

Birthday girl by birthday candlelight

Can't forget cake and candles and birthday wishes...

12 day nativity Joseph

...and 12 day Nativity continues...


Wishing you happy, busy, fun December days!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

St. Nick Project 2009

12 Day NativityWe're pretty well-acquainted with a guy named St. Nicholas around here -- and December is his big month. We get to see him a couple of times in December; early in the month, and then again on the 25th. Everybody loves Santa Claus/Sinterklaas /
etc. -- these legends all spring from one man -- St. Nicholas. He was real, and a very good man.

What a wonderful legacy his good life left behind. Learn more about St. Nicholas, by clicking  here.

Mixing in a little service in Christmas is a must for Mr. H and I. It keeps our family's hearts in the right place during the season, and this year more than ever, we needed that. We call it our St. Nick Project -- why? St. Nick is pretty famous already here at our house, and it's the perfect way to celebrate this good man and follow his example of doing good for others.


This year's St. Nick project is a 12 day Nativity.  We're delivering one piece of the nativity (with a note that includes a thought about that figurine) to a family we've picked in the neighborhood. We wait for it to get dark and we deliver the next piece, ring the doorbell and hurry away. Love that part! Getting away before they can see us...

We've arranged it so that the Baby Jesus will be delivered on Christmas Eve. That night, we'll stay and deliver it in person and the note will also come with our testimonies of the Savior. Can't wait.


I love the project we picked this year. It's kept our focus on Christ; the reason for the season. We're also focusing on someone else, instead of feeling sorry for ourselves or having the "gimmees" consume us. My favorite part of the project is being together in the car and reading the nativity note together. The text I'm using for each piece is borrowed from a book I have, and the words are beautiful.

Okay, I lied. My favorite part is the running away after the delivery. But the note is my very next favorite part. ;-)

I'm going to post more pictures about our 12 Day Nativity, and the text of the notes that go with them on the Celebrate blog, but it will be *after* Christmas. If you don't have an invite to that blog, click my email button on the sidebar and send me your email address and I'll get you set up...

Does your family do a service project tradition at Christmas-time? I'd love to hear about it!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Good Ship Christmas


So, how are your December days going? Ours have been full! Full of errands, events, to-do lists, birthdays, Sinterklaas, anniversaries, blessings, and even some changes here and there.

This last week, I felt like I was on a ship being swept along by the powerful current called December Days. The calendar I go by has gone from monthly to daily -- you know, the kind where you plot out hour-by-hour where you'll be and what you're doing? Yeah. And I bet your December days look just like mine. :-)

Our "feast of the heart" continues. I have felt content and happy, despite reality encouraging quite the opposite reaction. You could say I'm enjoying the voyage this year, despite some choppy seas. I'm wrapping myself up in the music, the decorations, Christmas books and movies, the snowy weather, some service projects, and yep, even the crazy December schedule. Being this busy must mean I have a lot to celebrate, and lots of friends and family to do it with!

Posts and pictures coming soon...

So, how's your December voyage so far?

picture credit

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Words to Live By

heart ornament 2

The joy of brightening others lives,
bearing each others burdens, easing each others loads
and filling each others hearts with generous gifts
becomes the magic of the season.

                                                                    --W.C Jones

Thank you, dear family, for your magic this weekend!

picture credit

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Countdown to Christmas

my traditional advent calendar

We're all counting days this month...the kids can't wait for December 25th, and well... the adults are counting down for a whole different reason! ;-) (can we get it all done in time?)

Every December, for as long as I can remember, I've received a German adventskalendar. The PeA brand is the one my German grandparents would send us every year. Now I make sure I find PeA's for my little family. It's just not Christmas for me without it! In fact, when we had a little family meeting about this year's Christmas, the feeling was unanimous. It's just not Christmas without advent calendars...

Since I was a little girl, the very first thing I would do every December day, is hurry down and open up the day's door and let the German chocolate melt on my tongue. I did that just this morning. LOL  Here's mine this year... complete with a German Oma! That little touch makes it completely wonderful.

 A calendar with an Oma

My very first advent calendar was also German, and from my dear Omi. Instead of having chocolates behind each door, there were beautiful pictures. The whole calendar was beautifully illustrated and glitter was on all the snowy parts of the picture. Magical.

Advent calendars add to the "magical" of this time of year, don't they? I've seen some pretty elaborate advent calendars out there -- I really like the house versions. What I really love is the idea I've seen of folks putting Christmassy activities in each door, to do each day, instead of toys or candy. What a great way to celebrate the season with your family.

How do you count down the days to Christmas? Do tell!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Neighbor Gift: Stress-Free Apple Crisp

Stress Free Apple Crisp Neighbor Gift

An important part of this Christmas season and the 'feast for our hearts' for Mr. H and I, were making neighbor gifts this year. Here is one of the two ideas we used to share with our very wonderful neighbors. Stress-free Apple Crisp!

You know the story. We all get frazzled during the holiday season. We try to do it all, and make it nice for folks that are dear to us. Well, here's a way to have your cake and eat it too! Wait. Better make that "apple crisp", not "cake". Whatever. :-) This is a nice way to share a no-stress, warm dessert with a busy friend. I got this idea from a book I found in the library. It's called Christmas Gifts of Good Taste 1998. 

Here's how you do it...


First, put together your apple crisp kit:Apple Crisp Topping

4 cans (21 ounces each) apple pie filling

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup chilled butter or margarine

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup old fashioned oats

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in pecans. Divide the topping into 2 Ziploc bags; store in the refrigerator. Give each bag of topping with 2 cans apple pie filling and serving instructions. (makes 2 kits)


Include the serving instructions with your kit.

To serve: Spread 2 cans of apple pie filling in a lightly greased 9 X 13 baking dish. Sprinkle topping over the apples. Bake in a 400 ° F oven, 19- 21 minutes or until filling bubbles and topping is golden brown. Serve warm.

About 12 servings.


Get the gift ready for giving.

Apple Crisp Serving Instructions

I printed up a  couple of little tags with a frazzled Santa clip art and fun font. I then packed each gift bag with 2 cans of apple pie filling, the Ziploc bag filled with the topping (making sure I labeled it "keep in the fridge" and "contains nuts"),  and the instructions.
<------------  Here's the instructions tag.

I attached the friendly tag with warm holiday wishes from our family on the outside of the gift bag, and voila! All done. A neighbor gift that comes completely from our pantry, computer and printer? Priceless.

Well, okay maybe not. But frugal, for sure!


Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Feast for the Heart

Omi's Lebekuchen-1

AFK stands for 'away from keyboard' -- and that's what I've been for the last little bit. Life took over my blog time for a while there. Some good times, some bad.

The good times included a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday -- full of family, fun, food and and football. A good holiday always has those "f-words", in my opinion.  :-)

My whole family came to town, and together we talked, laughed, ate, shopped, cooked...bliss!  The Thanksgiving feast was completely wonderful, with every cook outdoing himself or herself. It was a feast for my tummy, but also a feast for my eyes and my heart. It just felt so good to able to have everyone there together. I needed that.

Life in general has not been too fun lately. Despite a several interviews, we still have not found work. (always the bridesmaid, never the bride) It's a year TODAY that Mr. H was laid off. Not a happy anniversary. So far, I've been able to make things stretch and somehow pay our bills, but it won't last much longer, and hard decisions are being made now.

I hate unemployment/underemployment trials with a purple passion! I hate this recession. I hate how this goes on and on and on! I hate the stress, the worry, the loss of dignity, the "loser" perspective that everyone around has about you (sometimes even family members!), but most of all, the loss of control and power over your own life. I could write a laundry list of all the things that are out of the question when a job loss happens, but having the power over your own choices taken from you is one that I'm having an extremely hard time with right now. But...

...women are steel magnolias. We do the hard things. We roll up our sleeves and "do", even while our hearts break, or we are stifling the urge to run away. So, the next two months will be a bend in the road for us. We'll see what the days ahead will bring.


In the meantime, this time of famine is not going to stop me from continuing this idea of a "feast for the heart".  Gratitude has been my watchword for the past few weeks (perfect for November, huh?) and I think that trying to live that word has kept me from going off the deep end a time or two.

Now the Christmas season's upon us. I refuse to curl up in a corner and bah-humbug out! My family needs Christmas. I can't deliver presents, but I can deliver the season -- everything else that makes Christmas...well, Christmas. I can give my family a feast of the heart.

So that's what I'm gonna do! I've already seen the Lord's hand in this, as He's blessed me with inspiration and creativity when it came to projects I wanted to do, problems I wanted to solve, and plans I wanted to make. I know He will continue to do that. He's also strengthening me and sustaining me to be happy and upbeat -- to have the Christmas spirit despite some very Scroogey realities.

I'll be posting some of the things we're doing here in the coming days.

Can't wait to share them with you!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Words to Live By


Let us give thanks for what we are
and for the circumstances God has given us;
for our personal journey through mortality.

                                         -- Dallin H. Oaks

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Butternut Soup

Autumn Butternut Soup 2

Nothin' beats warm soup and homemade bread on a cold, blustery day. We're talking comfort food, baby!

I'm finding out that soup is pretty souper super -- it's healthy, low-point eating, and better yet -- great for a tight budget. So, we're trying to incorporate soups into our menu planning a little more these days.

Here's a little autumn soup we tried not too long ago. Loved the flavor of the roasted butternut! Perfect for the season. Give it a try and tell me what you think...


Butternut Soup

2 points per serving

1 medium butternut squash (about 3 lbs.), peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes

2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 large onion, chopped

3 celery ribs, chopped

2 Tablespoons minced fresh sage, or 2 teaspoons rubbed sage

3 cans (14.5 oz. each) reduced-sodium chicken broth

cooking spray


Place squash in a 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan lightly coated with cooking spray. Drizzle  with 1 Tablespoon oil; sprinkle with pepper. Toss around to coat. Bake uncovered, at 425° F for 30-35 minutes or until tender, stirring it every 15 minutes.

In a Dutch oven pan, saute the onion, the celery and the sage in the remaining oil until tender. Stir in broth and reserved squash. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. Cool slightly.

In a blender, puree the soup in batches until smooth. Return to the pan; heat through if needed. Serves 8.


This recipe comes with Parmesan croutons to go with it. We chose not to make the croutons when we served it, but here's the recipe in case you do! Adding the croutons makes the soup a 3 point dish.


Parmesan Croutons

2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 Tablespoon minced fresh sage or 1 teaspoon rubbed sage

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups French bread (1/2 inch cubes)

additional grated Parmesan cheese, optional

cooking spray


In a small bowl, combine the cheese, oil, sage and garlic. Add bread cubes and spritz with cooking spray; toss to coat. Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° F for 5-8 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Serve with soup and sprinkle additional Parmesan cheese if desired.


recipe credit: Healthy Cooking magazine, October/November 2009, p.40

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day

Margraten Cemetary Veteran's Day remembrance 2

Margraten Cemetery, Netherlands 

To all those fallen and in harm's way ... thank you.


photo from Flickr

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lion House Rolls and Honey Butter

Lion House Bakery Book cover




Oh yeah, Mr. H --
this one's for you!







Lion House Dinner Rolls
4 points per roll

2 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
2/3 cup non-fat dry milk (instant or non-instant)
2 Tablespoons dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup butter, shortening or margarine (butter is best for flavor)
1 egg
5 to 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, or bread flour
oil for bowl

In bowl of stand mixer with flat attachment combine water and milk powder; stir until milk dissolves. Add yeast, then sugar, salt, butter, egg, and 2 cups of the flour. Mix on low speed until ingredients are wet, then for 2 minutes at medium speed.

Add 2 more cups of flour; mix on low speed until incorporated, then for 2 minutes at medium speed. (Dough will be getting stiffer so switch to kneading attachment at this point). Work in the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough is soft, not overly sticky, but workable and not stiff. (You probably won't use all the flour).

Scrape the dough off the sides of the bowl and pour about a tablespoon of vegetable oil down the sides. Rotate the dough ball so that all sides are covered. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise til double in size (about 45 minutes).

Flour a surface for rolling out the dough and turn the dough out. Roll and cut as desired and place in a greased pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise again until double in size, about 1 hour.

Lion House Rolls rising

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place the rolls in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Brush tops with melted butter immediately when removed from the oven. Serve warm with honey butter.

NOTE: The Lion House cookbook suggests rolling the dough into a rectangle that is 8 inches by 12 inches then cutting that once down the middle the long way, then cutting that into two inch wide strips (to make 12 2 inch by 4 inch strips). Then just roll the strips up from their short end and place into the pan seam side down. It will look like you rolled individual cinnamon rolls and placed them in the pan on their sides.

Makes 1 to 1 1/2 Dozen Rolls


Lion House Honey Butter 

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup honey

Whip softened butter. Add vanilla and honey gradually. Beat for 20 minutes or until light and fluffy. Makes 1 cup.



Lion House Bakery book cover

Lion House rolls rising

Lion House rolls recipe

Monday, November 9, 2009

King for a Day

Mr. H and the Sweet Girl 

Mr. H had a birthday last week! Despite a terribly tight budget, the Sweet Girl and I were determined to show our favorite guy a good time! The day started out with a small coronation -- complete with a kingly crown,  and a breakfast made to order -- "shipwreck". Shipwreck is all the breakfast foods out there (scrambled eggs, bacon or sausage, hash browns) all mixed together. It looks like a shipwreck. Get it?

King for a Day 

After cards, a gift and the birthday song, we gals got 'purtied' up for a trip to Salt Lake. Lunch was at one of Mr. H's favorite spots to eat -- the Lion House Pantry right on Temple Square. Oh my heck; the food there is to die for! The next time I'm going, I'm gonna pass all the delicious entrees and desserts, and load my plate up with nothing but Lion House rolls and their famous honey butter! Yummers. Everything was soooo good. Good choice, Mr. H!

We took a few pictures on Temple Square afterward, and even though the fall weather looked absolutely gorgeous, the cold wind chilled us to the bone!  Brrr.  We didn't stay out too long.

Mr. H enjoyed being "king-for-the-day" for the remaining hours of his birthday. No honey-do's. No chores. No errands. No nagging about hours on World of Warcraft or computer time. He was the King. And kings don't do nothin' they don't want to. :-) He proclaimed to his Queen later that evening that it had been a very good day.

Happy Birthday Mr. H

Happy Birthday, Mr. H!
We love you!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Words to Live By

heart cloud

To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant,
to enact gratitude is generous and noble,
but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.

                                               -- Johannes A. Gaertner


Photo: ‘Tree Against Sky With Heart-shaped Cloud’
Photographer: Henryk T. Kaiser

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

PB Cookies with Chocolate Kisses Get these cookies away from me. For reals.  These are so good. I can't think of a better way to get me off my weight watchin' plan.  It's the whole peanut-buttery, milk-chocolatey kissy, slightly crispy sugary thing that gets me. Every time. I'm gonna type out this recipe for you, and then go get my workout clothes on. See ya!

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

makes 37 cookies


1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1  3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 9 ounce package milk chocolate kisses, unwrapped


Preheat the oven to 375° F. Cream the peanut butter, sugar, butter, and brown sugar. Add the egg and vanilla. Sift the salt, baking soda and flour together. Combine with the wet mixture. Shape into balls; dip into additional white sugar.

Flatten balls with a fork. Bake 8 minutes, remove from oven and press a chocolate kiss into each cookie. Return to oven; bake another 3 minutes.


♥  We put the additional sugar in a ziploc storage bags and toss 3-4 dough balls around in there at a time.

♥  Flatten the dough balls with a fork, but not too flat! Barely flatten the cookie. Makes for a better peanut butter cookie...

♥  We keep our chocolate chips and chocolate kisses stored in the freezer...(must be a thing leftover from our Texas days) and it works well for this recipe. We unwrap the frozen kisses and plop them on the cookies. They keep their shape and don't melt.

♥  Stick to this recipe. Click here to see what happened when I tried to substitute candy corn kisses for the chocolate ones! LOL

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Words to Live By

churchsign get rich quick count your blessings


Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty.

                                                                                         –Doris Day

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Trick or T(r)eat!

PB Cookies with Chocolate Kisses

  I'm a big fan of these...

and I flipped when I saw these!

 Kisses Candy Corn Style!

So I made these.

 Peanut Butter Cookies

... and added these ...

 Candy Corn Kisses

... and immediately saw a problem.

Peanut Butter Cookies with CC Kisses

Of the mammary variety.

 craving milk for some reason



Trick or t(r)eat, everybody!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

First Snow

First Winter Storm

Our golden weather couldn't last forever... {sigh}


What makes these fall days so poignant 
is my keen sense that each one is a gift,
maybe the last before winter storms blow in.

                                                                      -- Claire Hagen Dole

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Easy Witch Hat Cookies

Easy Witch Hat Cookie

Aren't these little witch hat cookies  the cutest? They are my new favorite Halloween treat. Saw this idea over at No Fuss Fabulous.

We made them last night for family night -- it was our turn to be the "neighborhood spook" (where you leave a treat on one of our neighbor's doorsteps, ring the doorbell, and run like heck disappear like a phantom into the night....).

These witch hat cookies are easy enough to make that your kids could do it, but still cute enough that you can bring them to your grown up Halloween party...

Witch Hat Cookie ingredients

Here's how to make them: buy a package of Keebler Fudge Stripe Cookies, and Hershey's Chocolate Kisses. Put a little dollop of orange icing on the bottom of a Kiss, and stick it to the chocolate side of the Keebler cookie.  As you can see, I used ready-made orange frosting. I know, hate me. I'm Martha...

Ready for Spooking!

That's all there is to it! 
Okay... we're ready for spooking!

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Full Week

Life brought a lot to us this week. I think I've experienced nearly every emotion I could feel this week! While still feeling heartsore, and attending high school band performances and memorials for band leader Heather Christensen -- news comes that a very dear neighbor's daughter passed away. Then, before the day was out we got the news AGAIN. Another dear neighbor's daughter had lost her life, in a totally separate circumstance! These were two girls that grew up in this neighborhood, roamed all over and visited as teenagers and grew up and made their way in the world.  So, they were well known and much loved.

So, so sad.  News then came down that a young father in the neighborhood was rushed to the hospital sick as could be. Another hour we were told, and he wouldn't have made it. He's still in the hospital now, on his 4th surgery. Hopes are high, though.

Oh my goodness, my little Nob Hill neighborhood is reeling! We are a close bunch that take care of each other, and this has been hard.

In the midst of heartache for others, Mr. H and I have had a little ourselves. He interviewed for a job I can only describe as *golden* not too long ago. We were so hopeful.  He interviewed with an old colleague, and the benefits and perks were dreamy. Super-stable company...and all of this only 5 minutes away from our home. No commute!  We found out this week that Mr. H was the bridesmaid, and not the bride, to coin a phrase. They chose someone else.

We were both SO disappointed. We were so very ready to lay this unemployment burden down and have some safety and security! Mr. H's contract has kind of dried up the past couple of weeks, too, so the insomnia nights and crushing worry is back, especially as we look forward and see the holiday season looming.  :-( (heavy sigh) It looks like that autumn gold in my last post is the only gold we're gonna see...

I hope you'll forgive me for not updating this week, as you can see a lot has had my attention. I also hope you'll forgive my little moan today -- I know there are so many others that have it much worse than we do. I'm trying to count my blessings as much as possible, and trying to stay positive and support Mr. H. I can tell you that our little family is weary, weary, weary of this, though....


On a happier note, I had a birthday this week, and my dear family and friends did their best to help me forget my troubles and have a very happy day.

It started with waking up to the Happy Birthday song being sung somewhere in the dark. Mr. H and the Sweet Girl were waking me up to breakfast in bed with all kinds of yummies and cards on trays (and had no more hands to flip the light switch on, LOL). Awww, they both got up extra early to cook me breakfast and have a little party with me before school started. Mr. H tweaked a french toast recipe to make it more point friendly for me. Isn't that sweet?

birthday cards

The cards were so great, and the Sweet Girl got me a scarf that I love  -- it  will go with my pretty winter coats. Love it! Mr. H laughed as he presented me with a pink "Snuggie" -- you know, like from the infomercial?  LOL

The thing is, I get cold easily and this will be the perfect thing for cozy movie nights in the family room in the basement! Thanks, Mr. H! I tried it out, and when my family saw how much I genuinely liked it, they started to crow about wanting their own Snuggies! Hilarious.

My sister Jen, stole me away for a girl's day out and we shopped and lunched and laughed our heads off together. It was the BEST time, and I forgot all my troubles. Jen got me a wonderful perpetual calendar that I just love. I *adore* the number fonts!  Jen, I will be living off that decadent brownie we ordered for the rest of the year! Thanks for the spoiling!perpetual calendar

the 5000 point brownie 

I got lots of calls and messages throughout the day, and needless to say, I felt loved and special: I am blessed with wonderful friends and family members. And, can I just honor my husband here? He put aside his own sore heart and went to all the effort to spoil me and give me a happy day. What a guy. ♥ You are my hero, Honeyman!

It was just this girl needed. Although still soul-weary and sad, I do feel buoyed up and ready to keep fighting the good fight. How can I lose with such blessings all around me? I know the Lord is mindful of our little family and wants us to succeed. He is sending help in many ways already:  another interview today at 2pm, and friends and family flocking around with prayers, good thoughts, help and concern.

Autumn in Provo Canyon-1

autumn in Provo Canyon, 2009

...and this year's fall here has been so beautiful!  That also feeds my soul.

I'm blessed. ♥

picture credit