Saturday, December 29, 2007
Not to mention all the blogs that I'm not reading (or commenting on). They are still in my reader, and I will try to skim through them at some point. But I can't promise too many comments.
I will try to get online a few more times in the next couple of days, but for now I don't feel like writing much. Maybe I'll update you on all the fun things we did eventually. Also I have lots of great pictures, so I'm sure I can share a few from our Christmas festivities.
Goodbye for now, dear readers. Have a safe and Happy New Year.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I had no idea. Do you?
Santa must have come to our house early.
What do you think? Is it a keeper?
It is a really hard choice between using this new KitchenAid heavy-duty 6 qt. mixer and my puny little old hand mixer.
So, out with the old, in with the new.
**No actual hand mixers were harmed during this photo session. I guess I'll keep it just in case it would be handy for something.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Easy Peanut Butter Presses
1 cup sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
Chocolate kisses (1 for each cookie; about 36)
1. Preheat oven to 350. Combine sugar and egg in bowl. Add peanut butter; mix until blended.
2. Fit cookie press with desired disk and fill with dough. Press dough onto baking pan, 1 inch apart.
3. Bake 12-14 minutes or until cookies are set and light brown. Remove from oven; cool 2 minutes on baking pan. Place unwrapped chocolate kiss on top. Remove to cooling rack; cool completely.
MD's hint: I put them on a plate and let them sit in the freezer for a few minutes for the chocolate to set. Otherwise it gets all melty on the cookie.
This was my first attempt at this kind of fudge. It turned out well. It is very smooth and creamy, but it will melt in your hands quickly. It's best to keep it refrigerated until you need to use it.
1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons chunky peanut butter, divided
2 white chocolate baking bars (2 ounces each)
1. Line 8x8-inch square pan with foil. Grease lightly.
2. Melt semisweet chocolate with 2 tablespoons peanut butter in small saucepan over low heat; stir well.
3. Pour half of chocolate mixture into prepared pan. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes to cool slightly.
4. Melt white baking bar with remaining 1 tablespoon peanut butter in small saucepan over low heat. Spoon half of white chocolate mixture over dark chocolate mixture. Drop remaining dark and white chocolate mixtures by spoonfuls over mixture in pan.
5. Using small metal spatula or knife, pull through the chocolates to create tiger stripes.
6. Freeze about 1 hour or until firm. remove from pan; peel off foil. Cut into 36 pieces. refrigerate until ready to serve.
This yummy sweet bread is easy to decorate and use for a small hostess gift. I will also make the variation, but I haven't done it yet so I don't have pictures. But I'll put the variation at the bottom of the recipe.
Double Chocolate Swirl Bread
1/2 cup sliced almonds, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup white chocolate morsels, chopped
2 packages (11 ounces each) refrigerated French bread dough
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels, grated, divided
1/2 cup white or semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Additional sliced almonds or chocolate morsels (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 375. For bread, lightly spray a mini-loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Coarsely shop almonds and white chocolate morsels; place in bowl.
2. Unroll on package of the bread dough on lightly floured surface; do not stretch. Lightly beat egg white and water in small bowl; brush dough with a portion of the egg white mixture. Grate half of the semi-sweet chocolate morsels evenly over dough. Sprinkle with half of the almond and white chocolate mixture; roll lightly with rolling pin, pressing mixture into dough.
3. Unroll remaining package of bread dough directly over first dough layer, matching edges and rolling lightly to seal. Brush dough lightly with a portion of the egg white mixture. Grate remaining chocolate morsels over dough. Sprinkle with remaining white chocolate and almond mixture; roll lightly with rolling pin.
4. Starting at narrow edge, roll dough up tightly; pinch edge to seal. Slice roll into four equal portions; place seam side down in pan. Make deep cut down the length of each loaf without cutting through ends. Brush loaves with remaining egg white mixture. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven; cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove loaves from pan. Cool completely.
5. For chocolate drizzle, place chocolate morsels and oil in small microwavable bowl, microwave, uncovered, on HIGH 30-40 seconds or until chocolate is melted and smooth. (Do not overheat.) Drizzle over loaves; sprinkle with additional almonds or chocolate morsels, if desired.
Variation: White Chocolate Cherry Swirl Bread: Substitute 1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries for the grated semi-sweet chocolate morsels; proceed as recipe directs. Drizzle finished loaves as directed in Step 5; garnish with halved maraschino cherries and sliced almonds.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Matt and I decided that we would sell some baked goods as a fundraiser towards his trip to Mali, West Africa. (I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but I can't find a post to link to, hmm.) Anyway, we got some orders for cookies from people Matt works with. In addition to that I've made fudge, candy, and other things to sell too. I hope that this works out well for him. I know I've put a lot of time and energy into it. It's worth it to be a part of his trip.
And I promise when I have a chance (and the motivation) sometime I'll post recipes that I used for things. Yummy, yummy goodies.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
I'm doing a happy dance!
He's pooped once and only once...it was about a month ago.
Today, he sat on the toilet before bath time (which he usually asks to do) and he PEED! I was so excited. He missed the toilet, but that's only a minor detail. When he sat, he was facing the side a bit and he wasn't protected by the little shield. But he purposefully peed just a little bit. YEAH! We came out and told Daddy and had a little treat. Zachariah was pretty proud of himself.
I have been thinking we'll start more potty training after the first of the year. I wanted to wait until we're settled and done with all our Christmas travelling. But now I'm thinking maybe we need to start this week. And I can take the mini-potty with us.
For now I'll just enjoy the fact that he went in the potty! WOO HOO!
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I have officially started my holiday baking. I have about 10-12 dozen cutout sugar cookies in the freezer now. All I need to do is decorate them before next Friday. I also made about 5-6 doze peanut butter kiss cookies. And today I plan to make pressed butter cookies. That will probably turn out at least 12 dozen of those. And I still have plans to make several different kinds of fudge and other candies. Whew! I predict a break-down about mid-week next week. Be prepared for complaints.
Luckily we have all our Christmas gifts bought and wrapped. Well, I still need to pick up a little something for our 3 brothers-in-law. That will be easy to get finished.
There's still the little matter of what to use Matt's gift card on now. I have told him that I'd love to have the stand mixer, but he's still looking at other things. It's not so much that or wait for the Wii now. He's thought about buying me jewelry for Christmas (mostly because he likes spoiling me), but I have told him I'd much rather have the mixer. We'll see if I can talk him into it. I was sure wishing I had it already when I started my holiday baking.
Tomorrow Matt took a personal day, because he still had an extra one to use up before the end of the year. We decided to go for lunch and shopping in Columbus. It's been 2 years since I've done that, and I miss it. We used to go several times a year and have a fun time. It will be nice to shop in stores we don't have around here.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Matt got a gift certificate recently for a work-related thing. He was supposed to be getting a Wii instead of the gift certificate, but they ran out. So, he was thinking about using the gift certificate to buy one. The amount is enough for what the Wii retails for, but we cannot find one for that price. They're going for double if/when you can find one. We could still wait and try to get one for a lower price in a few months.
OR we could get a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer for me. Matt just found a great deal on the one I want. It retails for $499.99, but we can get it for about $210. I would only have the choice of "Meringue" or "Licorice", but I think I could live with that. In fact, if I had 30 colors to chose from I'd probably go with a black or white, because I couldn't chose one over all the other colors.
I have wanted a stand mixer for years. It would get a TON of use in my house, because I LOVE to bake. I'm not real sure that I have counter space or cupboard space for it, but I would find somewhere to put it in the kitchen. And the clincher is Matt is willing to buy it for me instead of getting the Wii.
The problem is I feel really guilty thinking that he'd use his gift certificate on something mainly for me. But he already has several gaming systems and a new one would mean spending more money to buy games for it. Plus it would be more time he'd spend in front of the TV or not spending with me.
Here's where I want your opinion. What do you say?
#1 It's his gift certificate, let him wait on the Wii he wanted in the first place.
#2 Buy the Mixer, you deserve it.
#3 Other advice.
Monday, December 10, 2007
*Friday night was rough. Zachariah is normally a great sleeper at night. He has always been this way, and we know we're pretty lucky for that. Friday evening we were out late, so it was about 9:30PM before Zachariah got to bed. Plus he had woken up with a cold that morning, so I know he wasn't feeling great. I heard him fussing at about 2:30AM. I went in his room to see what the problem was. He seemed pretty wide awake. I noticed right away that he felt warm, so I got him up to take his temperature. He had a low-grade fever, and I gave him some infant motrin then tried putting him back to bed. I went back to bed and could not sleep. I tossed and turned and couldn't relax. About half an hour later Zachariah was crying again. I went and rocked him for a bit and tried putting him back to bed. This continued off and on for the next hour. Then Matt finally woke up and asked what the problem was. I told him Zachariah just won't sleep at this point. So he got up with him for a while. Umm, I think he tried for about 20 minutes to get Zachariah to sleep. Then he brought him into our bed! Ha! This child hasn't co-slept with us since he was a little baby. Once he started sleeping through the night, he slept in his crib in another room. He laid with us in our bed, wide awake, for about 1/2 hour. He finally started getting squirmy and was not going to lay there any more. (Matt is asleep again by now. Me, I've been laying there awake the whole time. Ugh.) So at 5:00AM I got up with Zac, came to the living room, laid on the couch, and let him play with toys. He wanted to eat breakfast, but I refused to let him. I told him it was too early for breakfast. He played quietly for a while. (Quietly, because I hid any toys he drug out that made noises.) He started getting pretty grumpy after an hour, so I told him it was time to go back to bed. I put him in bed, and he slept. I was afraid to go back to bed, because I figured he wouldn't sleep. So I ended up sleeping on the couch for 3 hours while he finally slept. What a night! Luckily he was pretty good the next day. After lunch he took a 4 hour nap. And I took a 3 hour nap while he was sleeping. Matt stayed up, so he could take care of Zachariah if he woke up before me. And he slept well Saturday night too. I was sure hoping that was a one-time thing.
*I didn't mention that I've been sick too. I have a stuffy/runny nose. And now Matt has a bad cough. He didn't sleep well last night (and kept me awake with all his coughing). But Zachariah's cold seems to be going away.
*This morning the kid woke up too early. He was wide awake, so we got up. I fed him lunch really early and put him down for a nap. He got up earlier, so he didn't notice that it was an early lunch. Now I'm hoping I can get a shower and pull myself together. I have to take my car in for an oil change, and I'm really looking forward to chasing my son around the car dealership for an hour with they do that. Woo Hoo, don't you wish you were me today? No, oh, I guess I understand that. It's a good thing I have pictures like this around the house to keep my sane (and a cutie running around being adorable ... most of the time).
Friday, December 7, 2007
Do you do stockings? We didn't really do them when I was young. (Mom tells me we did for a short while, but I don't remember.) But I always thought it was neat that my cousins did it. They got "extra" little gifts in addition to the other things Santa sent them.
Now, in my parents' new house with fireplaces, they have stockings for all of us. And my mom fills them with candy, chap stick, and other small things for us. It's a fun thing to do.
Matt's family did not have a fireplace growing up either. But they did do stockings every year. In fact those we the only gifts that were hidden. (His mom didn't wrap gifts. They each had a pile of presents on the living room floor when they got up Christmas morning. We enjoyed the fun of sorting through all the presents under the tree and handing them to the person who's name was on them. We still do that. My sisters and I end up passing out all the gifts at Christmas. It's fun. I digress.)
Matt's family always had these awesome customized stockings. An old family friend had knitted these stockings when the kids were young. They met this lady on a group tour trip to Israel. Matt's mom was pregnant for him at the time, but they didn't know that yet. They've kept in touch with her over the years. At some point she knitted stockings for them (I guess she has made them for other families she knows too). I always loved seeing these green and while stockings with Santa on them. They hung them on the wall in order with dad, mom, then the three kids.
When Matt and I were about to spend our first Christmas as a married couple, Matt's mom took down his stocking and gave it to him to hang at our house. The problem was that I didn't have a stocking to match his...or even one at all. We hung onto Matt's stocking for several years. Then out of the blue one year, Matt's mom gave us a surprise. This sweet, old lady had made a stocking for me too. I was beyond thrilled and couldn't wait until Christmas to put both of our stockings up.
Last year I put both of our matching stockings up, then I bought Zachariah a "Baby's First Christmas" stocking. I hadn't heard whether or not this family friend was going to make one for him, and I didn't want to ask for one. This year I wasn't sure what I was going to do about a stocking for Zachariah. A few weeks before Thanksgiving while we were at Matt's parents' house, his mom told me she had something for us. I peeked inside the bag and squealed. Their friend had knitted a stocking for Zachariah with his whole long name on it. The color is a bit different on each one, because it's hard to get the same yarn after so many years. But I could care less about that. I love that we can continue this tradition that Matt's parents started. We don't have a fireplace to display our lovely stockings on, but they look just fine hanging on the wall (I like how they look on our one wood wall in the living room). I just hope that the family friend will be around long enough to make the rest of our kids stockings to keep our collection complete. If not, that will be OK, but it would be awesome.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
*He has started trying to sing. This morning he sat in his glider rocker in his bedroom and was trying to sing a song. I realized that he was singing “Rock-a-bye Baby”, which I like to sing to him when we’re cuddling in that chair.
*I’m thinking that Zachariah has outgrown his highchair. See photographic evidence below. He has his feet resting on the footrest, which means his knees are pressed against the tray above. This kid is tall, really tall. (I ran into an old friend the other day, she said she doesn’t think her son was that tall until he was 5! Ha.) I don’t know what to do with him next. He’s not quite (pretty darn close though) tall enough to reach the table just sitting in a regular chair. I don’t know if the chairs we have will hold a booster-type seat. I feel like he may still need a buckle, so he doesn’t constantly get up and down while eating. Any advice? When did your kids stop using their highchair? Where did you put them next? Any fantastic products out there that I don’t know about yet? Help me.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
This morning I went carolling with the church choir. We get dressed up and go to all sorts of downtown Christmas festivities. There are lots of things going on such as visiting Santa and Mrs. Clause, cookie decorating, craft fairs, ornament making, free coat give-aways, and a parade to wrap the whole day up. We went from place to place singing and wishing people a Merry Christmas. It was fun, but it was VERY, very cold. Brrrr. Matt came out later in the morning with Zachariah. They followed us around a little, then watched the parade. We sang from a horse-drawn wagon in the parade. Here is something I love about this parade. In most holiday parades Santa comes last. He's the grand finale. Not in our parade. He leads the parade here, and Santa and his missus are pulled in a sleigh by a 4-wheeler driven by Brutus himself. It's really neat. Then at the end there are Joseph and Mary walking donkeys. I love it. The true reason for Christmas right there for all to see.
We rested this afternoon and went to run a few errands later. Then tonight Matt and I watched college football games. If you haven't noticed already, we are big Ohio State fans. Our Buckeyes are ranked #3 currently and their season ended 2 weeks ago. This meant that there was a possibility for us to move up in rankings if teams above us lost. Well, last week we went from #5 to #3. Tonight there were 2 big games on that could mean a spot for us in the National Championship game. If either of the top 2 teams lose, then we will pretty much be a shoe in. Both of those games were on at the same time tonight. #2 West Virginia lost to their big rival Pittsburgh. This was a shocking upset. We figured our only chance was for #1 Missouri to get beat by their big rival Oklahoma. But West Virgina lost giving us a chance at the big game. And right now I'm watching the end of the Missouri game and they are going to lose also! This will quite possibly make us #1. I think we definitely will play a championship game when they both lose. Wow! We didn't think we'd get THAT lucky. But we couldn't be more excited. Maybe this year we can win the National Championship.
Have a great weekend!