Friday, December 22, 2017

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

This Sunday is the last Sunday in Advent AND in the afternoon it's Christmas Eve!  How much better can it get, I ask you!

I remember when the kids were small...

And when we had snow (this is not that year!)

This year our tree looks a lot like it did last year... Thanks, Miss A for decorating!

No Santa sightings yet...

Last year's musical in downtown Milwaukee was so much fun!

The live nativity at Peace Lutheran is at 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. this year.  Please come!  17651 W Small Road, New Berlin WI - all are welcome!

Blessings to all this year and into the new one.

Rock on 2018!!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Holiday Preparation 2018

I love the holidays, and I hate them at the same time!  I know lots of people feel excited about the holiday shopping season, but I dread with every fiber of my being the crush of shoppers in stores and the long lines at the checkouts.

I'm not sure when I started feeling like that.  I guess it might have been while the kids were in high school.  I went to a graduation ceremony for one of them and there was such a crush of people, I started to have a panic attach in the stairwell.  that day I decided I might be just a touch claustrophobic.  There was also an episode at a sale where there were lots of tall people packed front to back and everyone was taller than me and I decided that there wasn't going to be enough air in the room to support us all.

I much prefer to shop early in the morning or late at night, when there aren't as many people in stores as there are during the day.  One night on the way home from somewhere I stopped at a Kohls Department Store and shopped nearly alone for an hour!  It was heavenly!!  When I got to the checkout there were four employees who could not have been more welcoming and friendly.  I looked at my watch and it was 11 p.m.!  (Kohls is now open 24 hours a day until Saturday... in case YOU need to shop.)

My shopping is done.  Now I need to wrap, but that's a whole different ball game.

This weekend I did some baking.  The girls wanted to make cut out cookies, but I wasn't looking forward to standing long enough to do the rolling and cutting.  While stopping at Joann's on Friday night, I noticed the Bake store in the same mall.  If you don't have those where you are, they sell bags of frozen cookie dough of all kinds.  In December they have cut out sugar cookies and gingerbread people and Mexican wedding cookies and lots more.  I think they always have bags of icing and sprinkles. 

I picked up a few bags.  I ended up baking all by myself on Saturday because there was a Sunday School program rehearsal and shopping on their schedules.

Hubster helped with the frosting, and with his level of artistic talent, some of the snowmen looked rather like space aliens.  Might have been the M&Ms I used for eyes, and buttons, and mouth.  Too much the same size??  Oh well.

DH's first pass at icing... he
said "kinda looks like an alien"

More filled in, still kind of odd.

Add caption

They had mini sugar cookies,
and many types of sprinkles!

Mexican wedding cakes.
By the time I had baked all those cookies and iced them I was tired and my back was feeling it.  But I was not happy with the variety -- there wasn't enough!!

Sunday afternoon I pulled the chocolate cookie recipes together because those required greased cookies sheets.  I made toffee squares from the Betty Crocker cookie book.  That poor book has seen better days!  The pages are falling out.  It's one of the first cook books I bought early in my marriage, I don't know the exact year but I know that I used it when my son was small.  Somewhere I have a picture of him helping me bake!  Big smile, covered with flour... I shold find that!

Here's the Sunday line up:

Toffee cookies, cut into squares
while warm.  Yum!

OMG these fudge cookies are
just the best if you like

Fudge cookies are from this
cookbook, a legacy from
Aunty Francee, the Christmas
cookie queen!

You cannot go wrong with
chocolate and sweetened
condensed milk!
I have about seven or eight feet of bookshelf in the kitchen, and most of it is filled with cookbooks.  Many of them are from organizations that collected recipes and published a book.  I like those because you can be pretty sure the recipes work and that they're good, because they were someone's favorite.

There are two more things I want to make:  Pecan tassies and potato chip cookies.  Auntie Francee and Shirley made potato chip cookies on the Christmas cookie platter for years and I hope that the recipe in the Gordon Hinckley book is the one they used.  I love the extra crunch in these cookies, and I think the salt on the chips cuts the sweetness just the right amount.

One week to Christmas Eve.  We did the rehearsal for the live nativity at church yesterday.  There is one more Advent supper this week, and then one more Saturday to shop.  Correction, for YOU to shop, since I am done!

On to the knitting...