Archives for December 2010

Typo Tuesday ~ Pearls & Beans

Edition

Addition

Bad

Badly

Scrapper

Scraper

Whatever.

Those were my personal typos yesterday. Just calling myself out and they’ve all been corrected. Thank you Ann. Thank you Scary Baby…she caught the last one after multiple proofreadings. (Yes, I’m sure that’s a word. Or maybe I made it up.)

Saw this one today but it was really the story that intrigued me.

You can read the rest of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution story here. Or just find the typo.

PhilBillPaul talks really, really loud. Whether we are in a noisy crowd or it’s just the two of us in the car. He’s loud. I’ve called him Cellular Phil for years because he could be that guy in that old commercial.

“Can you hear me?”

“Can you hear me?”

“CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?”

Seriously embarrassing in social settings.

Now I think we need to go to the doctor and see if he has a pearl in his ear.

Kind of reminds me of when my brother stuck a bean in his nose.

Remember that game, “Don’t Spill the Beans”? Tod didn’t spill them but he took one and stuck it in his nose.

Boys are weird.

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Crazy Baking Tradition

Can I have an hour of your time?

Because this is really a 2 or 3 part post that I’ve crammed into one giant long post that may have the most words and pictures in my personal blog history. Accept my apology now. This is an important family document that I needed to write.

I’ve been discussing when this crazy baking tradition can stop.

It keeps getting bigger and bigger and I’m down to one kid’s teachers.

I’ve suggested that Scary Baby can take over next year.

She said I wouldn’t let her use the oven.

I said I would absolutely let her use the oven.

In previous years, we’ve used baskets or gift bags as the vessel that holds the baked goods.

I have to say we outdid ourselves this year and you must remember how NOT crafty I am.

That dang over-achieving crafty friend of mine inspired us to embark on a trip to Goodwill.

If I was trying to keep up with her craftiness, we would have been looking for men’s sweaters at Goodwill so I could whip up a skirt for Scary Baby.

Oh wait, I don’t own a sewing machine and am still stressed about that quilted vest from 8th grade Home Ec we had to wear to school so I’m probably not going to make a sweater skirt for anyone.

I know Scary Baby will thank me for this later.

Cake Plate Craftiness

Instead we chose a different crafty project. Scary Baby watched her video from way back in April. We actually practiced before Thanksgiving on our own plates and candlesticks from the dollar store.

Mostly I just want to brag about the cost of our little craft project because I love, love, love bargains.

We were on a search for candlesticks and some pretty plates.

We scored 5 pretty plates for $3.33. That’s .67¢ per plate for you non-math folk.

A coincidence that Scary Baby needed 5 teacher gifts? I think not.

No candlesticks so we headed to Hobby Lobby where I refused to pay retail for candlesticks but found these unpainted wood ones that I thought we could glue together to make them a bit taller.

6 pieces per bag and they were 50% off. Woo-hoo. $2.49 per bag and .50¢ for the round discs which meant $1.33 for each base. (Edit: math correction 2 bags of six at half off makes each piece .21¢ x 2 plus .50¢ disc = .92¢ per base. I know some math wizard will correct me.)

PhilBillPaul said he thought he should drive a screw through the three pieces for more stability.

Sure. That’s what I was thinking too.

And I totally requested that he countersink those screws before he spray painted them silver.

Not.

Bought the magical glue with a warning that the fumes can kill us and glued those suckers to the bottom of the plate.

The Baking

PhilBillPaul got his part done so he wouldn’t be in my way for the cookies, cake, bread, etc.

Chocolate dipped pretzels that Scary Baby needed 30 bags for the holiday party.

Chocolate and maple fudge. I swear packaging takes longer than the making.

Sugared pecans don’t photograph well. Everyone got about 3 pecans because pecans are expensive. I forget to save some for us.

Note to Granny: please send your 3 pecans back to Georgia when your box arrives in Texas.

Then we got into the serious baking…

One of Scary Baby’s jobs was unwrapping the Hershey’s Kisses.

Her other job was food photographer.

I think she did a great job and this pictorial essay will help her next year when she takes over baking all this.

These are our old-time favorites ~ Illinois Soft Sugar Cookies. Scary Baby loved sprinkling the blue sugar on these for the teacher cake plates.

These are a change from an Andes mint cookie I usually make ~ Candy Cane Kiss Cookies. I coarsely chopped the Candy Cane Kisses and spread them over the top after the first dozen with the Kiss in the middle. Not as pretty but we liked them better this way.

These are our newest favorites once we tried them last year ~ Chocolate Turtle Cookies. I mean they are the favorites for those of us who love nuts which means Wizzy and Scary Baby won’t go near them.

Leftover caramel with a little coarse salt is delightful on the top the chocolate cookie base when you run out of Candy Cane Kisses. Yum!

Poppy Seed Bread is a family favorite.

Let’s not talk about why the batter is smeared all over the pan because I forgot to put the 3 eggs in the batter and had to scrape 6 mini loaf pans back into the bowl and re-mix. Or the second batch when I thought the flour scoop was a 1/3 cup measuring cup and it was actually 1/2 cup. (Recipe calls for 3 cups of flour for math folks who want to figure out how much extra flour I put in one batch.) Ahem.

The third batch was perfect.

Mini Maple Cakes were a cute addition but it’s a shame I can’t frost anything worth a darn. It’s all about the taste, right?!

Let’s also not talk about the first batch of frosting that I burned so badly because PhilBillPaul called me from Kroger about what color sugar sprinkles to buy and I lost track of time. My rubber scrapper turned gray and smelled disgusting and I made him throw it away along with the bowl of molten almost black frosting.

I am a baker, hear me roar.

I can’t forget that I also made 4 batches of Cajun Chex Mix.

Everybody needs a little salty with all the sweet.

I also made these super simple Eggnog Muffins.

No one in this house will come near eggnog. I thought they were good.

Couldn’t get these creative Truffle Hot Chocolate Balls out of my head.

I did save these for our family. I rolled half of them in crushed candy canes. Don’t tell Roger Leroy they are in the freezer.

Scary Baby arranged the first plate with me and headed off to bed.

She loved picking out the colors and fun fonts for the tags. Yes, I must label all food because I am a freak about knowing what I’m eating.

We built a kind of tower of food.

In the end, even with the countersinking of the screws, the plates were wobbly so in the eleventh hour we added a small white plate to stabilize them and prayed they would be dry for transport to school in the morning.

They were.

Scary Baby was quite proud of our creations and PhilBillPaul helped her get them delivered to all the teachers.

I changed the blue and silver tags to red and green because I found these cute cardboard trays at Hobby Lobby. Again, total bargain for two trays at 50% off of 2.99 making each tray just .75¢!

I made up trays for some people at work and we mailed off six boxes.

I’m now going to sleep until the New Year.

Right after I get done wrapping Christmas.

I’ll have to show you later what the crazy baking family did this past weekend because we weren’t tired enough from last week’s baking.

Enough about our craziness…are you ready for Christmas? What are your favorite traditions?

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Busy, Cold and Quiet

I’m right in the middle of our holiday baking frenzy week.

Photos to come to document the event.

Meanwhile, look at the picture I received on my cell phone yesterday morning.

My darling twins are stranded in the mountains in Tennessee. They are southern babies and snow is very foreign to them. We’re hoping they can get home safely today or tomorrow.

PhilBillPaul and Scary Baby were spraying our jingle gourds silver and gold on Friday and I don’t think that is a coincidence…

My dear Uncle Jack passed away suddenly on Saturday afternoon.

He was 84 and I don’t know a soul who didn’t adore him.

Including me.

I might be a little quiet this week again and now you know why…

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Friday Food Fun ~ Fall Treats

After our Pumpkin Bar Math Lab, I knew I had a few recipes stacking up I wanted to try out to see if I would add them to our Holiday Baking Frenzy in December.

So on the Monday before Thanksgiving, I got busy.

Perhaps 3 recipes in one evening is too much but I really do like to bake in batches.

I probably could have made the meatloaf and the mozzarella-stuffed meatballs (two separate meals!) on a different day but why make a giant mess two days in a row?

Granny was here to help and all this cooking obviously did not help change our minds about our decision to not cook on Thanksgiving.

Granny and I made:

Mini caramel apple bundt cakes
Cranberry eggnog muffins
Carrot muffins with white chocolate cream cheese frosting

This was a “Leigh Anne medley” of three recipes she had recently posted.

Granny and I agreed that our favorite recipe was the cranberry muffins. Loved them! I told no one about the eggnog.

We referred to the carrot muffins as “spice” cupcakes with pineapple because you know how my family feels about vegetables. Such babies.

And I don’t think frosting a muffin is legally acceptable but Scary Baby loves to add frosting to anything.

Side note: She’s taken to wearing her new favorite hat that Granny bought her in the house and not just outside.

The caramel apple cakes were also delicious but I wouldn’t do the mini thing again. Too much extra work even though they were cute.

The missing cake was removed by Granny for taste-testing purposes. I saw her eating the caramel with a spoon.

I thought all this baking was perfect justification for our not-going-to-cook-on-Thanksgiving decision.

Thanksgiving Day

After our gourmet meal at Cracker Barrel, we arrived home to take a nap. Or so I thought.

PhilBillPaul said he was going to make his pumpkin pie for tomorrow when The Grunter could join us for his belated Thanksgiving meal because he had worked a double shift.

Pie Pressure

I was planning to make Wizzy’s favorite apple pie since she doesn’t like pumpkin. But I thought taking a nap after the meal was an important tradition I didn’t want to break. Nor did Wizzy who was sprawled out on the couch with me.

But Granny and her darling son had other ideas and asked when I was going to make the pie.

“Not now.”

Then we heard them plotting to cut the apples.

And get things ready to help with the pie.

I encouraged Wizzy to get up and learn how to make her favorite pie with her dad and Granny.

She wouldn’t budge.

As they talked quietly about peeling and slicing apples and how to keep them from browning, I generously suggested that they just go ahead and make the pie themselves.

How sweet of Scary Baby to take pictures of them baking together.

Thank goodness PhilBillPaul was there to assist and check Granny’s work with his final pie pat.

Both pies were delicious.

We had Honeybaked Ham and I also made strawberry pretzel salad and baked beans and the Friday-after-Thanksgiving-meal felt like Easter with pumpkin pie.

Weird but we all enjoyed it.

I also whipped up a double batch of Cajun chex mix before we went to Cracker Barrel. It’s another favorite holiday snack especially when we are playing euchre.

20+ years of making chex mix and this is the first year I can tell you with some authority that you do not want to broil your chex mix.

The top layer turns black very, very quickly and makes your kitchen stink.

Someone Scary Baby mentioned it was a blogworthy cooking photo op but PhilBillPaul had already thrown the blackened cereal into the backyard for the birds.

Fun times. Holiday Baking Frenzy begins this weekend!

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Pumpkin Bar Math Lab

Perhaps I didn’t feel like cooking for Thanksgiving because I was pretty busy cooking for two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.

Who knew you could turn pumpkin bars into a math lab?

Leave it to Scary Baby!

We ended up baking 4 trays/pans of pumpkin bars. And didn’t take a picture of a single finished product.

It was nice to have Granny here to help. She washes dishes sometimes faster than I was getting them dirty.

Not sure who decided the week before Thanksgiving is a good time to ask for home-baked desserts for a teacher appreciation day but since we were already making them, it wasn’t that much trouble to make one more batch.

Then PhilBillPaul whined that we couldn’t send them all to school and he wanted a tray for home.

And Granny and I were driving up to see the darling twins at school so I thought we should bring a tray to them.

It was a math project about fractions and increasing or decreasing recipe ingredients. It worked out quite well.

She made two batches all by herself.

We did a little homeschool extra credit work about how to convert the box of powdered sugar from servings into cups. Glad we don’t have that scene on video. In Scary Baby’s defense it was 3 adults against one 6th grader. By the 4th tray, I admit my patience was wearing thin.

It was one of those rare times where mom really jumped in and helped with the printed part of the project. We actually did this part two nights before the baking.

Seemed like a good time to show her the joys of digital scrapbook kits. She’s pretty impressed with the saddle-stitch stapler I’ve owned for years and years. All the kids take for granted that every house should have all kinds of office supplies and scrapbook supplies at their disposal. Go figure.

Her Pumpkin Bar Math Lab booklet complete with a pocket to put recipe cards for the taking looked pretty darn good.

I loved that we actually ended up recreating a moment of baking with mom that was just like her big sister helping 10 years ago.

We got to include both photos in her booklet since she wrote a sweet little story about having pumpkin bars every year.

I put the digital paper in the computer program and she typed everything she had written out in her beyond-her-eleven-years amusing style.

We’re still waiting to hear our grade on the Math Lab.

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Typo Tuesday ~ The Animal Edition

Before we start, can I get a collective big sigh from everyone that DWTS is over?

I also want to proudly declare that I am NOT watching that falling down on ice skating with the stars show.

Okay, now back to Typo Tuesday…

Refresher about how this works. It’s more fun to let you all find the typos than for me to point them out. Leave a comment about how quickly you find them or if you get stuck. Don’t reveal the answers in the comments so there will be no cheating.

On our trip up to the North Georgia Mountains this Fall, we did more than watch rugby and eat cheeseburgers.

We didn’t buy a donkey. Just turned the car around to take a picture of the sign.

Even though we didn’t pay to see that giant 4 foot rat at the fair, we did see lots of other animals for the price of admission.

Love this blog comment that was in my spam last week.

Don’t try to click the link to help you pick out a puppy. “Lisa” doesn’t get a link when she sends a spam comment.

Have a great week!

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Blogworthy Moments

Yes, I did take a week off from blogging, thank you very much. Guess I needed a vacation after the vacation. Thanksgiving with everyone home is a new adjustment after the darling twins have been gone awhile.

I can hardly believe it’s December which typically does begin soon after Thanksgiving. Go figure. I think I just need to do another month-in-review with a look back at November and share some blogworthy moments.

Do you think blogworthy is a word? If not, let’s make it one today.

Because Scary Baby made it one when she came downstairs and said “Mom, this is definitely blogworthy. You might want to take a picture.”

So in no particular order, here are some…

Blogworthy Moments of November


Granny getting to visit the darling twins at college. We drove up and had lunch with them.


Granny getting to experience five college students and us in a tiny dorm room. She said it was loud.

We wanted to take Granny to have one of those amazing cheeseburgers but because of a horrible accident, the road was closed for hours so we went to the orchard for one last visit and then found Mike’s in Ellijay. Pretty good cheeseburger. All kinds of festive decorations around town and all I get is this one sad little picture.

A shopping trip (not on Black Friday) made Everett and Everina quite tired. I think this picture was snapped before we even started shopping.

The sissies playing checkers.

Granny & PhilBillPaul enjoying a quiet moment at Cracker Barrel while we waited for our table for our gourmet Thanksgiving meal.

Lots and lots of euchre.

Not pictured but present: Everett and I took no prisoners and whomped Granny & PhilBillPaul. Not gloating. Just recording for posterity.

Also recording for our family history: PhilBillPaul is no fun to play with when he’s losing. Just ask poor Lizzie.

PhilBillPaul made these for us on Sunday. So sweet that I send him emails with recipes that say, “Let’s make these!” which really means You make these and we’ll eat them.”

Lordy, lordy make these gingerbread waffles. Visit the blog, Annie’s Eats with the recipe for much better photos than my half-eaten one. She’s an Indiana girl so we knew they’d be good!

Does she have too much time on her hands or…

…is she a budding nail artist?

Toothpick art at its finest. The detail is crazy.

‘Tis the season…

…to reveal Santa’s secret other brother.

Hope you are enjoying this December holiday season!

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