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Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Real Cu-Tea of a Gift!

I made this wreath in the wee hours of the morning and I think it's just adorable!


12" cardboard cake round (or a piece of cardboard that you cut into a circle)
Scrapbook paper
24 clothes pins
24 tea bags of assorted flavors (I bought a 4 box gift set from Sams Club and I have enough left to make at least one more wreath)
1 soda can tab
Scissors, white glue and a glue gun with glue sticks

The hardest part of this whole project is cutting the cardboard into the wreath shape. I'm guessing an exacto knife with a sharp blade would have made this a LOT easier but of course I only thought of that after the fact. Once you have a card board donut, then you're going to cover it in scrap book paper. Cut the circle to size and then with the center, cut a circle smaller than the hole in your wreath shape and cut a bunch of little tabs that you can fold over and glue to the back of your wreath shape. Now you're going to cut long thin strips from coordinating scrapbook paper to glue on to one side of the clothes pins. Use white glue to attach paper strips to clothes pins. Use the hot glue gun to stick the clothes pins to the wreath making sure that the "mouth" of the pin is pointing to the outside of the wreath. (Leave a gap in the pins for your bow.) Use hot glue to attach the can tab to the edge of your wreath. This will be the hanger so that your wreath can be hung on the kitchen wall. Use ribbon to tie a bow around your wreath. Put a tea bag in each clothes pin (there will be some over lapping, not to worry!) Voila!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Enough Already

This is a picture of our little Christmas tree. It's little and I've decorated and redecorated it multiple times. I seem like the kind of person who would love a giant tree that I decorate each year in some Liberace meets Lady Gaga style. I seem like that kind of person, but I'm not. I love my little tree and I love my little mantle and that's really all the decorating I do for Christmas. Something happened to me. Something very strange sank from my head into my heart and just like Cindy Lou Hoo, I believe that Christmas is in my heart and the rest of this stuff is just stuff. What the what?

That's right. I have bought a few presents and I've wrapped them. I'm waiting on a few more to come in the mail but I am really not worried about it. Big Daddy and I sat down and talked about what we're going to do for each other this year and it's completely reasonable and I'm completely okay with it. I am pretty excited about the idea I came up with for my nieces' gift and I hope they love it too, but I'm not going to cry if it's not a home run. You never know with kids and I'm okay with that.

Today I had the day to myself and I was thinking about my life and once again it hit me that I am married to the most wonderful guy I know and the fact that I found love when I did, in the way that I did and that it's all worked out the way that it has--well I don't want to toss around the word miracle willy-nilly but it kind of applies. I have friends who really really love me and I don't have any secrets with them and I absolutely adore them right back. I have a family that I can't talk about with out getting teary eyed because they are such generous and funny and sweet spirited people and I am bound to them all so profoundly. When I look at all of that with clear eyes it's hard to think of things that I want or need. Seriously. So I celebrate the birth of Christ and I celebrated the grace of God and I celebrate the transforming love that gives me the clarity to see the blessings in my life every day. Peace on earth & good will to all men!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

In Praise of the Punt!

As some of you know, I went a little crock pot crazy last year. I got a crock pot cook book called Make it Fast Cook it Slow (and subsequently several other crock pot cookbooks) and I just went a little bananas using this amazing little contraption to make dinner out of bits and pieces. What crock pot cooking reminded me (because I have always considered a recipe a template rather than precise instructions) is the it's okay to punt. It's okay to use chocolate chips instead of raisins (they're both brown after all). It's okay to use mustard, soy sauce and any flavor of jelly to make a sauce for chicken or chops. It's okay to use rotini instead of linguini or rice instead of potatoes. It's okay to leave out stuff you don't like. And above all, it's okay if it doesn't turn out amazing. Sometimes it will.

Take my dinner tonight: I have four little pork chops that need to get cooked today. I have some salad dressing that we got for free at a food show and I have some fresh pears. I'm gonna cook those things together. If the flavor works once the meat is done then I'm good and if it doesn't I'll take the juice out and add some soy sauce or some mustard or some cinnamon to give it a little more umph! I'm not afraid because as far as I know this isn't anyone's last meal. It's just dinner and it might be really delicious dinner or it might be "let's not do that again"dinner and either way, it's going to be okay. So take a few chances. Get out your crock pot and start with some easy recipes (chicken, salsa, corn, black beans--cook, shred chicken with two forks and mix in cream cheese. Eat in tortillas. So. Flippin. Good.) and after you've tried a few of those, have an adventure! Go off the grid! Mix it up a little and feel free to punt! You've got my permission.

I'll be back with the results. Happy creative cooking!