New Year's Eve 2011

Saturday, December 31, 2011 1 comment
I'm a fan of reflecting.  New Year's Eve seems like a good time to take time away from making snack foods for a family game night, and sit down and look back, and then look forward to what's to come.
I usually reflect in list format....mostly because it's how I conduct 99.9% of my list form.
Today, I'm going with a few songs.
There are so many things I could go back to and celebrate from 2011.  Our family just welcomed the second member of our next generation two days ago.  My BFF had a precious little girl a month ago.  I visited the shores of Alaska on an amazing cruise with my Mom.  God's grace brought me to and through an incredible adventure on the Amazon River this last summer.  I took up running in August.  I gave up running in August.  I took up running in August.  I gave....OK....I've been running.  It hurts, but it's helping.  There are so many daily victories, and tales, amazing friends, and celebrations to share.   I've blogged about most of these things over the year, but as I was considering how to best format my list, I started thinking about the big picture.  I may not remember the dates stamped on these memories in the years to come, but the big picture from the year is clear.
First, via my pastor, I'm so in love with this song...If I could wrap up every memory good and bad, this is how the year went, this is how the next will go even as the details are fading, painful, name it, I know God was faithful through it all....
The next song comes with a video, this is not my video, but some of the first pictures I took, and I looooove this song so much.  My friend Phyllis made this video based on our trip to the Amazon, and previous trips she took.  I borrowed it from her facebook page.  I could have never written the adventures I went on this year into the plans last December 31st.    I'm looking forward to seeing where God sends me this year too....

Another song this year that meant a lot because there came a point, you know, once or a million times over the last year....scratch that 32 years where I sometimes listen to the world and don't feel like I quite measure up, and God totally speaks to me through this song...reminds me that, true, I may not be enough for the world, BUT the world isn't enough for me either...I wasn't made for this world.

And as I'm looking forward to 2012.  I'm praying the promises God gives me in the bible, and this is what He has been saying....

I'm not exactly the most patient person, but He keeps letting me know He's at work, 2012 will be every bit as great as 2011.  He has taught me to
 "....keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. Luke 11:9
 The things I would like to see happen are completely in His hands, and a work in progress, BUT I have to be as faithful in the asking as He is in the doing.  He didn't say ask once, He said keep asking.  I'm learning to pray like never before.  A year from now, I can't wait to see what doors He opens as I nightly 'knock' in 2012!

Appetizer: Tortilla Ham Pinwheels

Friday, December 30, 2011 No comments
I love tortilla roll ups.  I've made several versions I love in the past, but I decided to try this version from this sweet recipe book our PTA gave us last year as a Christmas lunch (AFTER serving us the recipes in the book). 
Tortilla Ham Pinwheels
11 oz cream cheese, softened, 1 envelope of Italian salad dressing mix, 8+ (6 inch) tortillas, 12 oz ham slices. 
Combine softened cheese and salad dressing mix.  Mix
Spread overe one side of a each tortilla.  top with ham, and roll up. 
Refrigerate for 1 hour.  cut into 1 inch slices. 
Serves 10+

Appetizer: Sausage Roll-Ups

Thursday, December 29, 2011 3 comments
This is actually my favorite breakfast.  I've had it every  year for holiday's since my memories remember.  My aunt learned this recipe in home ec when she was in school.  That was a long time ago, but I'll keep the exact number of years to myself....I have to think about future holidays after all!  It doesn't get any easier, it's not a new recipe, but I just this one! 
All it takes is two things of crescent rolls, and one tube of your favorite breakfast sausage. 
Lay out the crescent rolls, and press the seams together. 
Lay 1/4 of the sausage down each rectangle of dough, and roll length wise. 
Cut into pinwheels, lay flat,
...and then bake for 15-20 minutes (depending on your oven.  When the dough and sausage are golden/brown.  Pull them out, and pop them on a tray).  This makes a ton....40+++.

Appetizer: Olive Bites

Wednesday, December 28, 2011 1 comment
This is a really simple way to dress up some olives.  We have a local restaurant called the Pantry, and this is (supposedly) their recipe for this appetizer.  I've seen variations (since I started making these) that add onion powdered, paprika etc to the mix.  I figure you can't really go wrong adding carbs to an appetizer.  It would be cute to serve these in a martini glass....
1/2 c. flour, 3 T. butter (softened), 1 c. grated cheese (I used cheddar), 20 olives. 
Instructions:  Mix butter and flour like a pie crust, add cheese.  This is pretty flaky at the beginning.  Take an olive, and wrap the dough about the olive, the butter will help mold the other ingredients to the olive. 
Bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees. 

Appetizer: Neiman Marcus Dip

Tuesday, December 27, 2011 1 comment
What's a party without a dip or six?  I like to throw cheeze out simply so I can purchase Wheat Thins....a true CRACKer!
I found this recipe last year in a cookbook I purchased while visiting Madison County, Iowa.  The irony is that Neiman's was birthed in Dallas, so it spoke to me on several levels. 
This is a simple one to toss together, but a fun combo of ingredients. 
Neiman Marcus Dip: 
Mix 2 c. finely shredded Cheddar cheese, 1/4-1/2 c. real bacon crumbles, 3 green onions (chopped), 3/4 c. mayo, 1/2 c. slivered almonds (toasted). 
Chill.  Serve with Wheat Thins or assorted crackers.

Appetizer: Dolores' Bacon-Tomato Cup

Monday, December 26, 2011 1 comment
I found this recipe via a cookbook we put out last year at work.  Dolores contributed this, and it was a great addition.  These were really easy to put together, and they had a real 'pizza' flare, with a little more gourmet twist. 
This recipe also makes a ton! 
8 slices of crisply cooked bacon, 1 med tomato (diced), 4 oz mozerella cheese (shredded), 1/2 c. mayonnaise, 2 t. italian seasoning, 1 t. garlic, 1 can flaky layered refrigerator biscuits. 
Instructions:  Mix all ingredients together, except biscuits. 
Seperate biscuits into 3 sections and press into mini muffin cups.  Press along the bottom and up the sides. 
Spoon mix into each cup. 
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes (until bubbly and golden). 
*This makes 24-30

A Week of...Appetizers

This week I'm posting a bunch of appetizer recipes for New Year's Eve.  Below are some previous links, and the links scheduled.  Click on the words for recipes and sources.  New Year's Eve has always been a holiday for appetizers in my family.  I'm not sure why...the bite size makes it possible to consume more calories before 12 o'clock and new resolutions begin?  Whatever the reason, each year brings about an opportunity to try out new ones, so as these post, I'm sure I'm pulling out some of these tried and true, and trying a few more as well!  
1.  Parmesan Bites
2.  Cheese Pops (One of my favorite.)
3.  Pizza On A Stick
4.  Bacon Tomato Cups (Monday's Post)
5.  Neiman Marcus Dip (Tuesday's Post)
6.  Olive Bites (Wednesday's Post)
7.  Sausage Roll easy, so delicious. (Thursday's Post)
8.  Tortilla Ham Pinwheels (Friday's Post)

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 25, 2011 No comments
"I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on Him and receive eternal life."  1 Timothy 1:16
I love Paul's story in the bible.  I love that the longer God lived in His heart, the more undeserving of this gift He knew he was, but he accepted it, and never stopped sharing the story.   
I have received more gifts and grace from the friends and family God chose to bless me with this Christmas, but I am certainly not forgetting the ultimate gift of His son Jesus.  I did nothing to earn it...I am truly undeserving, but whole heartedly serving today and each day after the ultimate Christmas gift.  John 3:16

Wrapping: Candy Packaging Technique

Saturday, December 24, 2011 2 comments
 Sometimes it's less about the gift, than it is about the package.  I packaged up a blanket I made awhile back like a big sucker.  I made anott for my friend Regan's little girl.  Regan loves penguins, so I could not pass up this pattern.  I also coul making the blanket for blanket it is!  The sewing could use some work, but it's seasonal, but I made up for it by wraping it up like a big piece of Christmas candy. 
Clear cellophane wrap rolled around it, and tied at both ends. 

Wooden Stocking Hanger

Friday, December 23, 2011 2 comments
 I'm sharing this project on Good Morning, Texas this morning.  I'll be on live sometime between 9 and 10.  I saw a few ideas floating around online, and I decided to try it out.  Not only was this super easy, it was uber cheap.  I put this guy together for well under a dollar.  True, I had some supplies on hand,but even if I had bought each item, it's an incredibly affordable project the family can get involved in....
Step one, I went to the scrap bin at the home improvement store.  I guess people have wood cut, and they leave the pieces they don't need (too long etc) at the store.  They sell these for 50 cents-$1.  I bought two large pieces that will make at least 6 of these stockings.  One thing I didn't do, that I usually do, is have the store go ahead and cut the pieces for me.  I had to do this when I got home, which left for some crooked cuts.  It looks like I had a little too much egg nog, but I assure you that is not the case, I just won't quit my day job in pursuit of carpentry anytime soon....
 I cut out one piece (the base) at about 6 inches....I was going for a square, close enough....The top piece I made about 8 inches. 
 I painted up the block to match the scrapbook paper I was planning on using.  I had the paint, but even at the store you can get bottles of paint for 50 cents (full price), and it would paint up all the blocks, and a few other projects as well. 
 I used one piece of scrapbook paper to cover the wood.  It's two sided, and I wanted the contrast.  It also makes the paper a little thicker which it's double sided, which makes Mod Podge easier to work with.  You could just glue the paper onto the blocks, but I chose to use Mod Podge, and I put a sheen over it as well just because I like to use Mod Podge on days that end in Y.  One side note, Mod Podge likes to wrinkle, so I spent some time smoothing it down to make sure it didn't bubble.  The thinner the paper, the more it likes to bubble.  You could use wrapping paper etc instead of scrapbook paper, or just paint it, I just decided my life needed a little bit of scrapbook paper. 
 To hang the stocking you could use cup hooks (you can get 10 for 99 cents), or some of those sticky hooks.  I decided to use this old door pull.  I drilled a hole. 
 I also added a little clothes pin to the top with hot glue.  I'm going to place a picture from the year to this clip, or you could attach your letter to Santa.  I made this for my new little Goddaughter, Micah.  She's two weeks old.  The stocking is little, but it's big enough for diamonds, and a little feed for the unicorn we will be requesting on her behalf. 

Roly Poly Christmas Creatures

Thursday, December 22, 2011 1 comment
 I made these roly poly guys over the summer.  I've made the Santa's a long time ago via the tutelage of Terry, but I decided to branch out.  I was planning on going even further down the Christmas path but I found I only had three in me for the time being.  These are pretty easy to make, but I made the mistake of mass production, and I remember quickly why I don't 'do' mass production. For the head I cut out circles (the body is about 4 times the size of the head).  I guess you can call this a circle....that's kind of offensive to the circle family.
 I created a loose stitch around the sort of circle.  Pulled it and stuffed it with old shirts.  You could use stuffing too....but I was feeling frugal.  I stitched it together...I use the term 'stitch' kind of like I used the term 'circle' before.  The stuffing showing doesn't really matter b/c it's going to be glue down to the feet. 
 I sewed some feet using a heart shape and stuffed them with rice, and then I made glove shapes and a cylinder of fabric for 'arms.'  I stuffed all of these as well. 
 I then assembled each character.  I used my glue gun to attach all the pieces.  I added these 'sleeve' things to cover where the gloves met the arms.  I added hats as well, and used more misc fabric to cover where it met the head.  Again, I used a glue gun to do this, it's so much easier than the sewing machine, and my home ec teacher wasn't checking my work afterwards :wipes brow:.
 Santa and his elves got beards.  Take yarn and go back and forth creating loops you then tie in the middle.  I brought out my trust glue gun and slapped these onto the faces. 
 Attach nose, and then add some rose colored cheeks using Mary Kay blush circa 1993 or something.
 Meet Santa.
 His elf.
 ...and uh...their drummer boy.
 ...and this photo reminds me....I don't do mass production it's not fun for me!