Monday, December 31, 2007

Wonders of Winter

Last night we decided to take a walk and tour Wonders of Winter, a local light display. With light snow falling it was a refreshing walk made even better by lattes and hot chocolate afterwards!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas Layouts

These are the Christmas layouts I created from kits yesterday. The second had to be adapted to the photos I had to use. I do find kits a great starting point to create from as they do help to get past any creative block and are a way to try out new techniques.

The first uses basic grey papers and I love the added touch of rhinestones. The sanding where I placed the title is a new technique for me, I like it!

The second uses Daisy D's papers and rub ons. And, as any scrapbooker knows, all rub ons are not completed equally. But these rub ons do rub on very easily! I love how they look on the completed pages.

An Ideal Scrapbooking Day

I spent yesterday with some of my best scrapbooking friends at Younique, an awesome scrapbookers retreat. Heather has all the latest tools for us to use and treats us to wonderful gourmet meals(have to keep our strength up for all that scrapbooking!).

We head back on the 20th for another day of scrapbooking, I can't wait!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

New Year's Cards

I spent a lovely day scrapbooking today with some friends(I'll post more details later).

While I was scrapbooking I decided to make a few New Year's cards. I used the cuttlebug to emboss the cardstock and quite like the finished look.

Here's a closer look.

I also have almost completed some Christmas layouts that I'll post as soon as they are done.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

It Wouldn't be Christmas

without the food.

Here's slide show showing some of the foods and goodies we enjoyed on Christmas Day. I didn't get pics of some before we had already dug in.

Annual favourites include the crepes frangipane, pecan pie, along with trays of various goodies. And you can't forget the turkey, stuffing and potatoes.

New this year was a raspberry cocktail made up of champagne(or sparkling wine), raspberry puree, raspberry liquour and a couple of fresh raspberries. They went down very easily!

Christmas Celebrations

Here's a couple of slide shows from our Christmas celebrations.

The first is our Christmas Dinner with Steve's brother's family.

The second is from Christmas Day and the celebrations with my parents and my sister and her family.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Twas The Frosty Day After Christmas

And its time to eat leftovers! And what leftovers we have! Not to mention new clothes to wear, magazines to browse, toys to play with, lotions/perfume to apply and tools to use.

We had great fun celebrating yesterday and I have 200 photos to sort through in order to create a slide show of the highlights! Thanks to my family for travelling to our place to celebrate and for all of our lovely gifts!

Here's a couple of pics. Now to sort through the others!

Milk and cookies left for Santa!

The one time of year we set the table for breakfast on the night before.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Twas The Day Before Christmas

And all the presents are wrapped! With the final Christmas preparations underway! I'm very much looking foward to celebrating tomorrow with my family.

So in case I'm not back to blog later today, have a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Soup and Salad

Yes, it was soup and salad for dinner tonight.

The soup I've blogged about before, Potato Cheese Chowder, a filling hearty soup! And a romaine salad with pears, apples, cashews and poppyseed dressing.

My daughter wants the computer so recipes to follow later!

Winter Fruit Salad with Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons diced onion
1 teaspoon Dijon-style prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
4 ounces shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup cashews
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 apple - peeled, cored and diced
1 pear - peeled, cored and sliced

In a blender or food processor, combine sugar, lemon juice, onion, mustard, and salt. Process until well blended. With machine still running, add oil in a slow, steady stream until mixture is thick and smooth. Add poppy seeds, and process just a few seconds more to mix.
In a large serving bowl, toss together the romaine lettuce, shredded Swiss cheese, cashews, dried cranberries, apple, and pear. Pour dressing over salad just before serving, and toss to coat.

Potato Cheese Chowder

2 medium potatoes
2 1/2 cups water
2 chicken boullion cubes
1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped green onion
1 T butter
1 cup cheddar cheese grated
chopped parsley
1 cup medium white sauce(1 cup milk, 1/4 cup butter, 1 tsp salt. Melt butter, blend in flour and salt, cook gently until bubbly. Add milk gradually, cook, stirring constantly until mixture is thick and smoooth.)

Boil unpeeled potatoes in water until semi soft. Prepare white sauce, drain potatoes saving 1 1/4 cup water, dissolve chicken cubes in hot potato water. Cool potatoes, peel and dice finely. Saute green onion and pepper in butter, add to white sauce. Add boullion mixture to white sauce, stir constantly for 5 minutes. Then simmer for 5 more minutes over low heat. Add cheese, stit until melted. Stir in potatoes, heat slowly over low heat for 5 more minutes. Serve very hot garnished with parsley.

Naughty or Nice?

You Were Nice This Year

You Were 40% Naughty, 60% Nice

Okay, so you weren't *entirely* nice this year
But Santa doesn't expect a modern girl to be perfect
You were good enough - and you'll be rewarded for it

Brittany's Space

Brittany has created a blog on her MSN space.

Check it out here.

To view you do need to get permission from Brittany.

Before and After

Well, its been a busy few days around here. Getting ready for Christmas of course, wrapping gifts, madly trying to finish the albums I make my daughters every year(pics to be posted after Christmas!) and kitchen redecorating phase 2, new flooring!

Here's the before:

And here's the after:

I'm very happy with how well the wall paint colour compliments the new floor! And its in in time for Christmas! How awesome is that!

But even with this busyness, I was able to experiment with a new floral arrangement using candy canes. I saw this idea on an HGTV show and was able to recreate it. I picked up a vase at the dollar store, used an elastic to hold the candy canes in place around the vase,covered the elastic with ribbon,added the carnations and voila,a cute, affordable centrepiece!

Last night I did take time out from Christmas preparations to scrapbook with my friend Kathryn. And her husband Dave came over too. After enjoying a dinner of yummy hors d 'oeuvres, Steve and Dave watched an old Columbo set on a cruise ship from 1973, while Kathryn worked on her niece's wedding album and I made some cute ornaments using Cosmo Cricket chipboard and dies cuts.

You never know where these ornaments will turn up, perhaps on some presents!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Food and Drink

Our liquor stores issue a free magazine called Food and Drink every couple of months or so. Its main purpose, of course, is to promote liquors and wines but it also includes great recipes and entertaining ideas.

My friends, family and I eagerly await it and hit the store to pick a copy on the first day of its release. The holiday issue has lots of great recipes and I decided to to make one to take to a work potluck tomorrow; Pear, Cranberry, Pecan and Coconut Crisp.

It smelled so good while it was cooking, I'll let you know tomorrow how it tastes.

Here's the recipe:

6 to 8 large pears, ripe but not mushy
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, cut in half
2 T granulated sugar
1 T cornstarch
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup whipping cream ,softly whipped

Heat oven to 350. Peel and core pears, cut into 1/2 inch chunks. Place into an unbuttered 8 by 8 glass baking dish. Stir in cranberries. Fruit should fill dish to top. Stir granulated sugar with cornstarch, mix into fruit and smooth top. Stir oats with flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir in butter so crumbs form and all is moistened, mix in coconut and pecans. Evenly spread over fruit. Bake uncovered for 40 to 45 minutes or until fruit filling is bubbling. Serve warm garnished with softly whipped cream and a whole pecan.

Serves 6 to 8.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Favourite Family Recipe

Well on this stormy,blustery day I'm continuing Christmas preparations,extra cleaning and laundry as well as making the potatoes so I don't have to do them next weekend.

I also made our favourite Christmas treat, Coconut Peaks. My Mom has made these for as long as I remember, she got the recipe from her Mom. And my girls love them, it wouldn't be Christmas if I didn't make them. Here they are all lined up while the chocolate hardens.

And here's the recipe:

2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1/4 cup cream(I use milk)
3 cups flaked coconut
1/4 cup butter
3-4 oz. chipits
2 T shortening

Heat butter, stir in sugar, cream and coconut. Cool, shape into peaks, place on waxed paper, refrigerate. Melt together chocolate and shortening. Dip bottoms of peaks in chocolate or drizzle over tops. Refrigerate until set.

And a few pics from outside our home today.

Looks like Christmas!

And the snow piled up on our BBQ just ouside our back door!(yes we do BBQ year round, but won't be today!)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Poinsettias 2007

Every year Steve goes to our favourite nursery and picks out two large poinsettias for the house. And he always gets a darker coloured one for the family room and a mixed lighter coloured version for the living room.

Here they are:

Christmas Kits

Its coming down to the crunch, only 10 more days until Christmas and I still have a few scrapbooking projects on the go as well as my wrapping to do!

This kit from Colorbok is helping with the wrapping as it makes the cutest pillow boxes and favour boxes. I plan to use them for gift cards as well as small place setting gifts!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas Quiz

I've received this quiz from a few different friends and decided to post my answers here. I'd love to hear how you would answer these questions, please feel free to comment on some of all of them.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both!

2. Real tree or Artificial? Real!

3. When do you put up the tree? Second weekend in December

4. When do you take the tree down? New Years Day

5. Do you like egg nog? Yes, the real stuff not fat free!

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Record player

7. Do you have a nativity scene? No

8. Hardest person to buy for? My Dad

9. Easiest person to buy for? My daughters

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail

11.Worst Christmas gift you ever received? None

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? A Christmas Carol(the orginal with Alistair Sim)

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Coconut Peaks

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Coloured

17. Favorite Christmas song? My Favourite Things

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Staying home this year.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixon, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and Rudolph

20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas Morning

21. Most annoying thing about this time of year? The crowds

22. Favorite ornament theme or color? Gold

23. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Turkey with all the trimming

24. What do you want for Christmas this year? To celebrate with family and friends

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Tree is Decorated

Finally, the tree is decorated and the cards written and sent. On to wrapping next! And I have a few more scrapbook projects to finish up......will blog about them in a day or so.

Oh and I liked this pic of one of my new ornaments

Monday, December 10, 2007

Another Christmas Recipe

A friend asked for the Peanut Butter Slice recipe that I had a picture of in a previous post but for which I didn't include the recipe. So here it is:

1/2 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
2 pkg. butterscotch chips
2 cups miniature marshmallows

Melt butter, peanut butter and chips, cool and add marshmallows. Put into 8 x 8 pan, refrigerate.

Christmas Decorating

The stockings are hung, the outdoor lights and garland are up and the tree is almost ready to be decorated. We were going to decorate it yesterday but it needed more time to thaw so that the branches drop. Tonight the lights will go on and then tomorrrow night the final decorations.

I'm pretty much done the rest of the indoor decorating. And it was as I looking at these pictures that I realized how many of these decorations I've made over the years. Here are a few highlights:

This is a Father Christmas I made over a bottle several years ago with some ladies from work. I still love him!

This is the wreath on our front door that I made a long time ago at a crafters weekend in Stratford with my Mom, Grandma and sister. It really is showing the wear. I'll have to update it next year or create a new one!

These are a centrepiece and wreath I made a few years ago at a college craft course with my Grandma. I added my own hurricane glass to the centrepiece.

And a couple of decorations I didn't make:

A lovely feather tree given to me by a friend a couple of years ago.

A mini-tree decorated with snowmen!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

More Christmas Cards

As I mentioned in a previous note, I scrapbooked on Friday night with a fun bunch of ladies. And we have all been sharing our Christmas card ideas. Here's three I made compliments of Noel(yes her name really is Noel!).

I think they're quite cute.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Christmas Baking Part One

The girls had the day off from school today so we started our Christmas baking.

Brianne made her speciality, shortbread. She doubled the recipe but found it was dry so adjusted it by adding more butter until it got the right feel.

They turned out great and she iced some with almond icing, so yummy!

While she was doing that Britt and I made truffles.

These are an easy Eagle Brand recipe but look like you've slaved over them!

Truffle Recipe

3 pkgs(175 g each) semi-sweet choclate chips
1 can regular eagle brand condensed milk
1 T vanilla
various coatings(we used colured sugar, sprinkles, coconut)

Melt chocolate chips with Eagle brand. Stir in vanilla, chill 3 hours or until firm.

Shape into 1 inch balls, roll in any of the coatings. Chill again until firm.

Then I made magic cookie bars(a favourite of Steve's), peanut butter slice(butterscotch chips, peanut butter and marshmallows) and chocolate fudge.

Brianne also made an awesome looking Breton Brittle, one with chocolate topping and the other with almonds, peanuts and pecans.

Britt and I also made another favourite, Puppy Chow, a simple recipe that makes a lot and could be packaged up and given as hostess or teacher gifts.

Puppy Chow
1/2 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
1 pkg milk chocolate chips
1 box crispix

Melt butter, peanut butter and chocolate chips in large pot. Stir in Crispix until evenly coated. Toss with icing sugar in paper bag(I use a large tupperware bowl with lid) until evenly coated, needs a lot. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Still on the list to make are Coconut peaks, Gingerbread cookies and Chow mein clusters!