December 24, 2013

wintery nails

I think I've spent almost as much time in my parent's driveway as anywhere else today. The snow from a few days ago has drifted and blown across the road. First thing this morning I headed in to meet a friend for java and it took me 45 minutes to drive the quarter mile driveway. UGH.


Eventually I made it in to town and was able to sit down and have a latte, hooray!

Then my mom and I drove back in for rehearsal [we each had a 15-minute last practice for Christmas Eve service tonight] and it took us awhile to get down the drive.

Last we came home and the snow had drifted more. That took awhile.


Now, we head back to town in an hour for the service tonight. WHEW!

Merry Christmas Eve, friends!

December 20, 2013

my 12 favorite instagrams from 2013

I know the year isn't done yet, but these are my 12 favorites from every month in 2013. (-:

It was a big year! New city, new niece, new friends, old friends [love y'all], loss of a kitty [so sad], and a ton of learning.

I love life!

December 16, 2013

slow cooker peanut clusters

When I went to Kate's to bake our hearts out, I had no idea she'd bring these salty-sweet-peanutty-chocolate treats into my life.
I don't know if I should be grateful or not since I can't stop eating them.

Can.not.stop. Hold me back.
The thing is, they're easy-peasy to make too, so you can introduce their tastiness to all you know.

I made mine on Sunday and by the time everything was ready to scoop my mom had four ladies out making Christmas cards. They can attest to the sweet smells coming from my direction. (-:
It's only four ingredients: three kinds of chocolate and peanuts.
Just throw all the ingredients in your slow cooker and then ignore it for two hours, give it a stir and scoop out your clusters on some wax paper. The awesome thing about the slow cooker is that it keeps everything warm while you scoop, you don't have to rush like you do when you microwave.

Slow Cooker Peanut Clusters
-1 1/2 lbs Almond Bark
-1 4oz bar Baker's German Chocolate [are there other brands of this?]
-1 bag Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
-1 16oz can Salted Peanuts
-1 16oz can Un-Salted Peanuts

Place everything in your slow cooker [I like to put the peanuts on the bottom so all the chocolate stays on top and gets melty without being along the sides where it could potentially scorch] and put it on LOW for two hours. Set it and forget it!

Once the time is up give everything a really good stir and start scooping your clusters by the teaspoonful on to wax paper. Allow the chocolate to harden and start giving them away!

Don't say I didn't warn you.

December 15, 2013

etsy love [Christmas edition]

GAH! I love giving gifts for Christmas! The hunt for the perfect gift is my idea of a good time. Sometimes some people [my father] are crazy-hard to shop for because all they ask for are socks and underwear. Real cool, Dad, real cool.

Here are some ideas I've gathered from the creative people with rad shops over on Etsy:

This sweet doll is $58 from aprilfoss, she's adorbs. April has a 30% off coupon active right now too.

I'm totally digging all the apparel out there with cats on it. Crazy Cat Lady is the new nerd. I love it. This is the women's cat sweatshirt for $29 from skipnwhistle. Today (Dec. 15th) is the last day to order for Christmas delivery.

BOWLING!!! How much would a kid in your life love this? YES. 10 Pin Natural Bowling game set for $39 from KeepsakeToys

I WANT THIS BAG. She's glorious. The leather bow bag for $285 from stacyleigh

Check out this this sweet TiNTOWN Nativity Set for $60 from thebrownpearl

Do you know what druzy quartz is? Yeah, I googled that. SPARKLY! This shop specializes in wedding jewelry, but I'd take it even when I'm not bridesmaiding it up. Silver Druzy Personalized Initial Necklaces for $42 (each) from WrennJewelryWedding

ROBOTS AND ALPHABETS. I want this for my bedroom, but it'd probably go better in a little boys room. Large Robot Alphabet Art Print for $48 from RobotMama.

Cufflinks with letters. If only I knew a man who actually dressed up. The men in my life wear a)wind pants to work b)khakis and golf shirts and c)sweater vests. Ok, so the sweater vest wearing brother could wear cufflinks, but he only ever asks for fishing store product gift cards. Laaaaaaaame. These Custom Initial Cufflinks are $42 from TheWeekendStore.

 I LOVE COFFEE and I LOVE MUGS. So, these mugs? Not for your single friends, but they're still pretty great. Pair of Hubba Hubba Husband and Woo Hoo Wifey Mugs for $38 from simplyprettyprints

**None of these places know me and I don't know them, I just spent a few minutes perusing etsy and found their rad shops. I tried to put things on here that you can still order before Christmas [because what would be the point if their dates have passed?]**


December 10, 2013

sometimes I'm a baby

Family pictures!

My parentals. Aren't they lovely? I love the colors in this.
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The old bro.
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The young bro, the SIL, the Nephew, and the Niece.
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Oh, and me.
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I'd show you the family picture, but I'm being a whiny baby about it because my scarf isn't tied properly and it annoys me every time I look at the photo. You can see it in the one above, but it's not as noticeable.

Yes, I'm being completely shallow and irrational. [I don't want you all to think I'm one of those my-life-is-perfect--I'm-so-nice--blah-blah-blah people. (-;]

I tried to talk myself down off that ledge, and I just can't. Give me after my final tomorrow [when my mind may be more clear?] and I'll let you know if I can come down.

December 8, 2013

butter, sugar, and chocolate

Sometimes there are no words.

Sadness comes in and snatches up your real life and takes to to a place you didn't want to go. Last week was a crappy times 1000 week for one my good friends.
I didn't make this, I found it on Pinterest, but the link is broken. 
We spent a lot of time texting throughout the week. I offered to come and spend the weekend with her. She wasn't sure, so I told her to let me know. Then I got a text, " wanna bake this weekend?"

"I'd love to."

And bake we did.

Cookies of the chocolate chip variety.
Cookies of the turtle variety, except we simplified by stirring it all together.
Cookies of the sugar variety.
Cookies of the chocolate mint variety.
And Peanut Clusters.
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We watched the original Sound of Music starring Dame Julie Andrews while we dropped our peanut clusters.
We watched Home Alone and Home Alone 2.

Then we made snow angels for two hours, went ice skating and ate a whole roll of Toll House cookie dough before we snuggled...or we watched Elf while I anal retentively meticulously sorted m&m's and decorated sugar cookies.
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This weekend her sorrow was covered in the smell of butter, sugar, and chocolate.

I wanted to provide distraction for her racing thoughts and to be there to talk about the sadness when she wanted to. I keep thinking about this article from the LA Times called How not to say the wrong thing. If you haven't read it, take five minutes and do so. We all know someone who's going to have some crap come into his or her life and we're not going to know what to say or do. I sure as heck don't know 99.9999% of the time. [The 0.0001% is when I come up with some gem, but it's probably not something I actually came up with those are words from Above.] Even if you don't have words, this article gives you a good place to start in how to think before verbal diarrhea comes out your mouth.

This weekend I went with listening, movies, and baking.


December 7, 2013

Momlene's Sugar Cookies [repost]

Have you read The Thanksgiving Letter over on Awkward Family Photos? Have you seen the follow-up video with Marney? HILARIOUS.

I'm baking with Kate today. We're mixing up Momlene's Sugar Cookies as I by "we" I mean, Kate. They are wicked-good sugar cookies.


Maggie's mom's name is Marlene, but Maggie always calls her "Momlene" so I do too.

It's only right.
Momlene made these cookies for Maggie's senior recital a couple of years ago and it's my new favorite sugar cookie recipe.

Instead of granulated sugar it contains...powdered sugar. It's both the best dough you can eat--silky, soft and sweet and makes a tender, delicious cookie.


I doubled the recipe since we have an enormous family and my dad is a bit of a sugar-cookie monster.

Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or overnight. Then get to rolling and cutting and baking.


So, I have a thing about measuring. Especially when it comes to frosting. I should probably be better about this, but as of right now, I'm just too cocky. I know my icing tastes good whether I measure or not. Please don't hold my arrogance against me.

Buttercream is my favorite flavor-wise. It doesn't exactly harden well, but it just tastes SOOOO good.

And you naked cookies will need some cover-up.

Momlene's Sugar Cookies

2 1/4 C powdered sugar
1 1/2 C butter, softened
2 eggs
3 tsp. vanilla
3 3/4 C flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cream of tarter

Cream sugar and butter. Mix egg with vanilla and add to creamed mixture. Mix in dry ingredients. Chill 2-3 hours. Roll out on a floured surface. Cut in desired shapes - 1/4 inch thick. Bake 8 - 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Amy's Make-It-Yourself Buttercream

3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
2-3 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tsp almond extract
3-4 Tbsp milk
2 lbs powdered sugar

Cream butter and extracts until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time until desired consistency and taste is reached. Add milk to thin frosting if necessary.