Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bake Sale!

I stayed very busy last week! Our youth group is redecorating! We are trying to make a fun space for them to hang out so they will want to come to church. It's good when teens want to come to church! We already got a fancy tv and a Wii, now we are working on getting some furniture and accessories to go with it! We decided that a bake sale would be a good way to raise money for our cause!

We had sooooo much stuff! The other youth group leader and I did a lot of baking!

There were New Year's Cookies! And homemade bread!

And pie!

I made tons of cupcakes. 120 to be exact. I also made 18 loaves of pumpkin bread, 27 Rice Krispie Treats, 24 Corn Flake treats, 24 brownies, 48 peanut clusters, and two gallons of puppy chow. And ya know what's amazing? That wasn't even close to everything. Church ladies are the best. You mention that you need donations, and they give you so much you don't have room for it all! Homemade bread is hard work! And did you see the pecan pie? We have the best church ladies!
And I have to give C. a lot of credit. After squirting icing on about two cupcakes, my hand hurt and I threw a hissy fit. He iced a lot of cupcakes. And I still wouldn't give him free pumpkin bread.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Please Advise

I don't really like receiving emails with the closing "please advise." I'll advise if I feel like it! You're not the boss of me! Well, unless you are the boss of me. But then, if you were my boss, wouldn't you be advising? My boss would never use that phrase anyway.

Isn't it pretty well understood that if you ask a question in your correspondence, you're requesting my advice? Wrapping it up with a curt command makes it sound like you're trying to maintain the upper hand. It sounds awfully presumptuous of you to demand my advice when you're the one who needs me to help you. It's quite likely that I'll take my sweet time responding to your request if you're not sweet when you ask.

Here's my advice: be nice when you ask for my advice!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Have I ever introduced you to our dog, Yogi? He's a very special little doggy.

Blondie's mother has two miniature Australian Shepherds and has raised several litters of puppies. Blondie decided to buy a puppy from the last litter and had selected a cute little female and named her Penny. However, things didn't work out for Penny. She was a very headstrong little puppy and Blondie wanted a sweet, playful puppy. Penny was a dog's dog; Yogi loves people. He decided to take Yogi instead, and it has worked out really well.

We named his puppy Yogi because he was so fat and fluffy when he was little that he looked like a little bear. Of course, he has grown out of that roly poly puppy stage, but the name stuck. He is an incredibly sweet dog. He is pretty shy around strangers, but he gets extremely excited about seeing people he knows. Since he moved here, we have been working on the "no jumping!" command because he gets so excited when he sees people that he wants to jump up and greet them.

He loves playing and will drag out every toy in the house. His toys are in a little basket by the sofa and the moment he comes in the house, he heads straight for the toy basket and grabs his mouse. The mouse is really a cat toy. It has a string you pull that makes it vibrate. Yogi has figured out how to pull the string himself and can entertain himself all evening with the mouse.

Sunday evening he must have gotten really excited about the mouse, because I found it attached to his collar. Sometimes he will pull the string out all the way and swing the mouse around to "kill" it. Apparently, it swung just right to get caught on the clip that keeps his tag on his collar because I found him wearing a mouse necklace!

Christmas Tour of Homes

I did all of my Christmas decorating the first weekend of December because I had a Christmas cookie exchange here the following week and I wanted the house to look festive for the party. Blondie and I merged our two Christmas ornament collections and we decked the halls...well, at least the dining room, with our hodgepodge of Christmas finery.

I put the Christmas tree in that corner because there isn't a good place to put it in the living room, and in that corner there are two windows that show it off really well at night.

This pretty table runner was one of our favorite wedding gifts. It was handmade and given to us by one of Blondie's mother's cousins. I've had the crystal bowl for years, and for the Christmas season I filled it up with pine cones from the tree in the front yard. Festive and free!

Here's where we hung our stockings this year! These stockings match the table runner and are plenty big for lots of good treats. I love that they are personalized...and they reveal the mystery of Blondie's real name! Julie and Sarah bought the clear crystal goblets to use as decorations for my shower and gave them to me afterward because neither of them could think of anything they would do with them, but they knew they were just my style. I have used them more than once! This little basket is where we keep all of the Christmas cards we have received. You can see Julie and C.'s card on the top of the stack.

This is my sewing machine table, which is right next to the front door. I love these red goblets that I received from a friend years ago. They're perfect for Christmas. I received the red candle and evergreen centerpiece as a door prize at a luncheon at church this year where the ladies bid farewell to a beloved friend who is moving soon. I got to keep the centerpiece from my table and I will always think of her when I see it. If you can't see the Santa Claus photo, it is of Julie and me when we were little. Our mom gave each of us one of these for Christmas one year and she also has one on her sewing machine.

That's the Christmas tour of our humble abode. Other than using festive towels in the kitchen and burning evergreen and cider scented candles throughout the house, I don't bother to decorate the other rooms since no one ever sees them. I do love having guests, though, so if you know me in person and you're free some evening, stop by for some apple cider or hot cocoa!

I'm participating in the Nester's Christmas Tour of Homes. Follow the link below to see other Christmas houses!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Science Fiction Christmas

I got my Christmas tree on sale the day after Christmas several years ago. It was cheap and you can tell. I try to compensate by covering it with really awesome ornaments. We have a little bit of everything on our tree, from special ornaments from our childhoods to nerdy action figures. The star at the top of the tree was made by Blondie in Sunday School in 1983. I have ornaments from my alma mater for each year I was in college there. The large glass ball hanging right next to Captain Kirk is a souvenir from our honeymoon--we bought it at the Tulsa Glassblowing Studio.

We have Blondie's and my first ornaments. Blondie's is a cute little mouse and mine is an embroidered teddy bear. You can see where I added my own decorative flair with a red pen.

Each year when Julie and I were growing up, our babysitter gave us a special handmade ornament. She was a very special person. Shirley was more than just a babysitter; she was like a member of our family. Our parents would tell you that Shirley raised us just as much as they did and we were very blessed to have her in our lives. Her ornaments are precious to me. Here are just a few of them.

And this year I have added Blondie's ornaments to the mix. We're having a science fiction Christmas this year, with Darth Vader from Star Wars, the crew from Star Trek, The Original Series, and some characters from Star Trek, The Next Generation. Frodo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey are also on the tree, but they're near the back and I couldn't photograph them.

My novelty ornaments are also on the tree. I love Peanuts and I have several Snoopy ornaments.

And, of course, we have to have the traditional "our first Christmas" ornament. This one was given to us by one of my friends as a wedding gift.

I am participating in Thrifty Decor Chick's Christmas Tree Party. See more festive trees here:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Cookie Exchange

It has become a tradition with some of the ladies in my church to have a Christmas Cookie Exchange early in December. I host the party at my house and make lots of dainty snacks, Karola makes her special cheese fondue, and all of the guests bring several batches of cookies to share with each other. This year I invited some ladies from Blondie's church, so we had a diverse group.

First, Karola gave a sweet devotional on how we should seek Jesus first. Then, we ate our dainty snacks and played a fun game. Finally, we got to the good stuff--the cookies!

This year, cake mix cookies were very popular! I think three ladies brought three different variations. Karola and I stuck with our tried and true standbys from last year. She made German Vanillekipferl, known to English speakers as Almond Crescents, and I made Snickerdoodles. They're Blondie's and my favorite cookies and I rarely take the time to make them, so this was a good special occasion for them.

Last year when we had fondue, Karola tried to be healthy and use a low fat cheese, but we ended up with a very stretchy fondue because it didn't melt! It was unexpected, but still fun. This year she had perfected her recipe and the cheese was creamy, as it is supposed to be. Here are Teresa, Carina, and Karola getting ready for the party.

Here are Carina, Brooke, and Mandi enjoying the fondue and other snacks. Brooke is not a fan of cheese, so she did not partake. We offered to pray over her in hopes of curing her sickness of cheese aversion, but she declined.

After we ate, we played a Christmas version of Apples to Apples. Like Sarah did for my bridal shower this summer, I used Christmas-related words to create game cards to replace the regular Apples-to-Apples cards, then we used the actual Apples-to-Apples cards to match up. There was lots of laughing, so I think everyone had fun!

Mandi is concentrating very hard on the game:

Here are just some of the cookies different people brought. Some went all out and packaged theirs in cute Christmas bags or tins, others just used Ziploc bags. I had some cute penguin snack bags leftover from another event, and after I used them I realized why they were leftover. When I twisted the tops of the bags to close them, the penguins' heads got all smashed, so my cute little penguins look decapitated. Oh well, the cookies still tasted good.

Here is everyone choosing the cookies they wanted to take home:

Carina and Karla with their loot:

Julie's basket was one of the few that was actually big enough to hold all of the cookies she acquired!

My basket wasn't quite big enough! The best part about having the party at my house: I got to keep all of the leftover cookies! Some people made more cookies than there were guests, so there were a couple of cookie packages left on my coffee table after people left. Score!