Sunday, December 22, 2013

Another Family Tradition

Our kids (although all grown up)
will still do this every year!
We get milkshakes, and ride around
looking at Christmas lights...

I never get tired of it--love it!

It was kind of weird this year as the temp is near 70!
But, we had fun anyway!

What traditions do you have in  your family that
are favorites?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Annual Christmas Baking Day

Yep, 70 degrees and all, we had our annual
Christmas cookie/candy day!

So privileged to have my Mom here with us,
and adult kids that will still do this
with us! :)

Above, all the candy is rolled and ready for the frig

The Lemon Raspberry cookies are baked, and ready for icing

Chocolate Chips are ready

Bri dipped all the candy in chocolate herself
(the job no one else likes)
She's a whiz at it!

All finished, and put into tins.
Love our family tradition!

Christmas Cookie Recipe

Today was our cookie day, and we made this recipe.
Yes, I've posted it before, but people are always
asking me for the recipe.
So, here it is again!
Raspberry-Lemon Thumbprint Cookies
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam or jelly
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon  lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of white chocolate (I melt mine in microwave)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 large baking sheets.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy.
Beat in the egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla. Add the flour mixture in 2 additions and beat just until moist clumps form. Gather the dough together into a ball.
Pince off the dough to form 1-inch balls. Place on the prepared baking sheets, spacing 1-inch apart. Use your floured index finger to create depressions in the center of each ball. Fill each indentation with nearly 1/2 teaspoon of jam.  Bake until golden brown, about 14 minutes. (You don't want these brown) (the ones in the pic above are too brown) (My mistake!)
Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Drizzle with melted white chocolate. makes 48 cookies.


Let me know if you make these!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

More Fun Christmas Food Ideas!

Add an unexpected detail of festivity to your Christmas fare. Other cheese trays cannot compare!
Hot Dog Stocking Appetizers


  • Hot Dogs, Cooked
  • Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
  • Diced Red Bell Pepper
  • Parsely
  • Appetizer Picks


  1. Cut the hot dog as shown in the diagram.
  2. Insert the long toothpick into the hot dog, making sure to pierce both cuts of the hot dog.
  3. Place the cream cheese into a Ziploc® plastic bag, making sure the bag is securely closed. Cut a small hole in one tip of the plastic bag. Decorate the top of the hot dog with the cream cheese to form the stocking cuff.
  4. Place a sprig of parsely and a diced piece of red bell pepper on the cream cheese cuff for a festive holly garnish.

Easy one to make - just use store-bought doughnuts, gel icing, and candy to "decorate".

Candy Cane Cheese Spread

Even if you don't have a sweet tooth, you will still love this candy cane cheese spread. Beat 2 packages (8 oz. each) of cream cheese and 1/2 stick of softened butter in a large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add 2 tablespoons of chives, 2 tablespoons of parsley flakes, 1 teaspoon garlic pepper with red bell and black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of dill weed, and 1/4 teaspoon of thyme. Beat well. Spoon cheese mixture onto plastic wrap and form into candy cane shape, then fold plastic wrap over and refrigerate at least four hours. At time of the party, garnish with chopped red peppers and serve with assorted crackers.

appetizer wreath

This appetizer wreath was easy to make ahead.   This recipe will make 28 or more servings.

3 tubes (8 oz. each) refrigerated crescent rolls
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons dill weed
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped fresh broccoli florets
1 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
3/4 cup finely chopped sweet red pepper ~ Reserve enough of the red pepper to create a bow for the wreath. I made the bow first and diced the remaining pepper for the wreath.

I’m guessing on the amount of broccoli, celery and diced red pepper. I just diced and sprinkled it on until it looked full enough.
Remove crescent dough from packaging, but do not unroll it. Cut each tube into ten [rather than eight] slices. Arrange in a circle on an ungreased 16-in. pizza pan. I lined my pan with parchment paper. Arrange the remaining crescent rolls in a smaller circle just inside the first one.
Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing to a serving platter; cool completely.
In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, dill, garlic powder, dry onion, Worcestershire sauce and salt until smooth. Spread a little under the wreath to keep it from sliding off the platter. Spread mixture over the wreath; top with broccoli, celery and sweet red pepper. Create a bow with sweet red pepper to garnish the wreath. If I had had some cherry tomatoes handy, I would have dotted some of those on the wreath, as well.
Slice into 28 or more servings.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cute Party-Food Ideas for Kids (Or even adults!)

Saw these adorable ideas and thought I'd share them with you! Aren't they cute?

Here's a fun and super easy appetizer idea for a Christmas party. This cheese reindeer is made from Laughing Cow cheese wedge, pretzels, olive and red pepper.
(You could use a maraschino cherry for the nose)
Mini chips for the eyes :)



  • 4 flavored or plain pita folds or pita (pocket) breads (about 6 inches in diameter)
  • 16 thin pretzel sticks, halved
  • 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1/2 cup guacamole
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic-pepper blend
  • 1/4 cup very finely chopped red bell pepper


  • Cut each pita fold into 8 wedges. Insert pretzel stick half into center of bottom of each wedge to form “tree trunk.”
  • In small bowl, mix sour cream, guacamole, parsley and garlic-pepper blend. Spread about 1 teaspoon sour cream mixture on each pita wedge.
  • Blot bell pepper with paper towel to remove excess moisture. Sprinkle about 1/4 teaspoon bell pepper on each wedge or arrange to form a garland. If desired, cover and refrigerate up to 8 hours before serving.
Notes: For variety, use cilantro in place of the parsley. If you have time, make your own guacamole. Simply mash a ripe avocado and throw in a dash of salt, lime juice and chopped garlic.

Be sure and let me know if you try them! :)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Easy little pretzel snacks for Christmas!

Lay out your pretzels in a single layer on a sheet pan.  Place an unwrapped kiss on each one.  Pop them in a 300* oven for about 2 minutes until the kisses are softened but not melted.  Squish another pretzel on top (make sure a little of the softened kiss comes up between a few of the pretzel panes so everything stays together) and call it delicious!!  Let them set up at room temperature for a while and chill them in the fridge if necessary.
(If you don't like peppermint, you could use hugs, or reg. chocolate kisses)

Easy and kid friendly treat. Pretzels, white chocolate and a couple of candy canes…
presto…a yummy snack or neighbor gift.
Here's another picture of a different version:

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Governor

And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Matthew 2:4-6


The Sound of (Christmas) Music!

Just letting you know that if you usually view my blog with your sound off...I loaded some beautiful Christmas music on my blog for you to listen to! The music player is at the bottom of the page.
So, turn your volume up...&

Cute Snowmen Doughnuts! (EASY-and, you can use up left over candy corn from the fall)

Snowman doughnuts :) Just decorate store-bought powdered ones.
Such a cute idea for a party where there will be children!
Use store-bought doughnuts, a piece of candy corn for the nose, (you
can also cut up orange gumdrops)
large chocolate chips for eyes, and mini chips for the smile.
Let me know if you try these!


Or, you can try these...
Small powdered doughnut bottom, doughnut hole top,
thin mint and peanut butter cup hat, use toothpicks to put together,
and black decorator gel for eyes, smile and buttons.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Floral Idea

Someone posted this great Christmas floral arrangement idea
on facebook--thought I'd post it in case
you aren't on fb, or didn't see it.
Pick a jar that fits the size of the candy canes. You can use a baby food jar with small candy canes. For larger candy canes you can use any jar you already have, even empty spaghetti sauce jars. If you want several arrangements to look the same you’ll need jars the same size for that. If you prefer Mason jars check your local thrift shop for them. You are much cheaper there than brand new in stores.
Use masking tape to hold the candy canes onto the jar. Place the tape where you want the ribbon. Then cover it with a ribbon wide enough to cover the masking tape. Tie the ends of the ribbon in a bow for a finished look.
Add water to the jars when you add the roses (or other flowers). Add greenery as you like.
I thought it was adorable! :)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Another Farewell to a Dear and Faithful Friend

During the night we lost our sweet Muffy. He had been
struggling with health issues for a few years now, and we
are glad he no longer suffers.
I sometimes say that we rescued Muffy--but, the fact is
he rescued himself! lol

We took Bri over to Red Lion when she was about 5 to teach her to ride
a two wheel bike w/out training wheels.
It was Labor Day, so no one was at the school, the parking lot and fields empty.
Out of the blue Brad says...there's a cat under our car...
Lo and behold, Muffy showed up out of literally nowhere.

He was a stray, abandoned along with his sister and brother.
One of the teacher's took his sister, but his brother was too wild to catch.
Now Phil and I are not huge cat fans, and so he said--we'll keep him only until
the shelter opens on Monday...:)
On the way home in the car Briana announces...I named him "MUFFIN"
Phil says--No, Don't name it!
Btw, when he passed, Muffy was about 18 years old LOl

I'm not a huge cat fan, but I loved Muffy! He was more dog than cat.
He had a laid back personality, and he loved people--especially us.

From the day we got him, he walked in, and sat regally in the kitchen as if
to say..."It's about time you found me and took me home"!

Muffy loved to sit under the Christmas tree! One of his fav things!
We are glad we had ours up in time this year for him to sit under
it one last time.

Brad mentioned how ironic it is that Muffy
was that Muffy and Shadow died so close together...
but, we shouldn't be so surprised, they really loved each other.
After she died, he would stand at the door and call for her.
Shadow died November 2, 2013-just a little over a month ago.

Bri and Muffy

Part of our family.

Always curious

Here's Muffy helping out Brad in the ol'
homeschool days

The picture taken above was the first day Muffy
came home with us

Both kids have always really loved him!

Muffy, we miss you already--you left a big hole
when you left us!
We love you.