Monday, December 29, 2008

When 20 below is a beautiful thing....

Temperatures at 20 below zero are rarely a beautiful thing. Good for freezing all the bugs and keeping them at bay during the summer, yes, but good for getting out and playing in? No.

Unless you're making peppernuts.

Every year I make peppernut cookies for the holidays. My grandmother always did and I'm happy to carry on the tradition. Our recipe makes a ton of cookies, and if you're going to run the oven for half the day making them, it's best to do it on a cold day when you can enjoy the warmth.

But that's not why 20 below is beautiful on peppernut day. This is:

Holiday Gift Making

You see, you have to freeze the ropes of dough after you've formed them so they are solid enough to cut into cookies. I'm usually fighting to find enough space in my freezer for a few cookie sheets full of dough and it takes a long time for them to freeze. When it's 20 below out, though, you can just pop them outside in the snow and they freeze pretty quickly! It's sort of like flash freezing, I'd guess. It's great!

And then it occurred to me (well, actually it occurred to my brother, but he was nice enough to share this thought with me...) that the good German peppernut tradition probably predates the electric freezer. So I'm guessing putting the dough outside in the cold to chill is not something I am the first to do. Perhaps that's why they're winter cookies after all.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Holiday Ornament Making

This year Eliana got into the holiday spirit with hand crafted gifts, too! She and her little friends made some salt dough ornaments and painted them to give as gifts to the grandparents. Nothing like seeing your little girl get excited about crafting to make a mama's heart proud! =D

Holiday Gift Making

Holiday Gift Making

Ellie and J flattening out the salt dough.

Holiday Gift Making

Painting the ornaments at home the next day... Eliana painted them all by herself!

Holiday Gift Making

I think they turned out very nicely for ornaments made and hand painted by a 2 year old! I hope they were appreciated by the grandparents. I kept a couple for her to have as keepsakes, too.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Holiday Self Portrait

With Leif's new D300! =D


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Fill in the Cake

I just have to put in a little plug for my friend Dana's blog, Fill in the Cake. I don't get to talk to her or see her very often, so I basically keep up with her through her blogs. (Yes, she's another crazy like me who has blogs plural...) Anywho, she's cute and crafty and has 4 kids and homeschools and I have no idea where she gets all the time or energy, but this is the kind of crazy cuteness I have come to expect when she updates her blog:

Seriously. Isn't it the cutest cake for a kid's birthday?? You should go take a peek at some of her other cakes. It's crazy impressive!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Perpetual Calendar Brilliance!!

I am not making perpetual calendars this year, but if I were (and if I ever do in the future!) THIS is sheer brilliance from the good old people at Purple Onion Designs.

Check out the website for more specific instructions on how to use the set, but it can be used year after year after year (until 2025!!). Seriously. Sheer brilliance. And.... true to Purple Onion fashion, the whole set is only $26! Pretty cool, huh?