Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Better than Tim Hortons...

M and B love Timmie's Peppermint Hot Chocolate, but at $2.00 for a medium, we've found a perfect alternative. And it uses up the pounds and pounds of candy canes they get from the Santa Claus parade!

For the Hot Chocolate:

Mix up your favorite instant hot chocolate and add a tiny dribble of pepperment extract.

For the Pink Whipped Cream:

In a blender or food processor, pulverize some candy canes. Red and White ones work best for a pink topping, the green, red and white ones give a muddy sort of color to the whipped cream. Once you have a pink powder, use 3 tbsp to 1 cup of whipping cream and whip it up.

To put it all together:

Top the mug of hot chocolate with the pink whipped cream and sprinkle with additional crushed candy canes.

Yum! (and if you get everything on sale, about $0.30 per mug!)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

We've had a lovely Christmas Eve day. Sleeping in followed by baking up a storm (clockwise from top: gingerbread, angels, cinnabon clones, shortbread). The kids had such fun cutting out gingerbread and the house smells wonderful. They must have been at it for about 2 hours - they filled almost 5 baking sheets!

I love the gingerbread angels (centre right). A few years, M wanted to make gingerbread angels and I told him I didn't have a cookie cutter in that shape. Undaunted he said, "that's OK, you'll think of something." With such hope in his mommy, I got creative and figured that hearts cut in half, with a gingerbread boy on top would be OK. He thought they were great and this year, he dipped the "wings" in sugar before placing the gingerbread boy on top to give the wings sparkle. The one with the heart in the centre is "just for me" because he says he loves me so much.

Tonight we'll have pizza and then sing a few songs, light our advent wreath candles and read the Christmas story from the bible. After that more relaxing while eating cinnamon buns and watching Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I just love the stop-motion animation. I think Yukon Cornelius is my favorite character!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

No Fail Fudge

Yesterday was the last day of school for the kids before the Chrsitmas break. After a week of thinking to myself, I'll make the teacher's gifts tomorrow, I was down to one day left. I promised to drop off the packages at lunch so B & M could distribute them before they went outside for recess. We'd planned to make butterscotch candy and color half of it with black food coloring to make "coal" for some Naughty and Nice candy.
However, once the kids were on the bus, I couldn't find my recipe and realized that for the amount of candy I needed to make (enough for a goodly amount for 12: teachers, EAs, secretary, principal, bus driver...), I was going to need more than a morning anyways.
So I gave it a bit of thought and decided mother-in-law's No Fail Fudge recipe would be perfect. It has never failed me since she gave me the recipe. 4 batches would cover it nicely. I decided to boil up two at a time, and pour them into a sheet pan, since I don't have four 8" square cake pans. All done in 40 minutes - one sheet pan plus a bit in a loaf pan. Feeling very proud of myself, I got the little dishes and cellophane bags out, found some green yarn for tying it altogether and made some tags on the computer while the fudge cooled outside in the garage (-30 degrees C yesterday!)
After about an hour, I checked on the fudge which was now very cold, but unfortunately still quite gooey. It had failed. For about an hour an a half I occasionally poked it, hoping to find it's consistancy miraculously changed. I had lunch with hubby and expressed my utter frustration to him in a myriad of ways until he finally said, "If you keep shooting down all my suggestions, I'll stop making them." Admitting defeat, I drove him back to work, and headed to the school to tell my girl that I was going to let her down, that we had sludge - not fudge, and that I couldn't package it with spoons as it looked far to unappetizing.
Once home again, and still not quite willing to give up, I thought that maybe a different corner of the pan would have different chemical properties. Remember I made 4 separate batches? And what do you know! Only the batch belonging to the corner I had poked (and the bit in my loaf pan) had failed. All that frustration for nothing. I quickly cubed up the good parts, packaged them at lightning speed and raced off to school just as the kids were coming in from recess! Cries of "thank you, mommy, you're amazing" echoing in my ears, I went home, had a cup of tea and vowed to start on next year's teacher gifts in July.
And I finished a Happy Frog!

Friday, December 19, 2008

What could be better...

I got together with some friends last nights for crafting and appetizers. Here's what I brought:

Mix together:
250 g cubed cream cheese
1/2 cup sundried tomato and oregano dressing
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tbsp peppercorns
1 sprig's worth of rosemary leaves, finely chop half of them
1/2 a lemon's worth of lemon zest, finely chop half of it

Serve with bagel chips, crackers, mini toasts, etc...

And this is what we made, clockwise from left: lime pomanders, decorated christmas balls, ribbon candy ornaments , and felt poinsettias.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


A few years ago, B did a project on Koala's and discovered some interesting facts. Did you know... that koala's call sounds like belching.

Hence, this koala baby's name. I finished him up last night. He was quick and fun. Instead of working flat and seaming, I worked his pieces in the round.
And I started more secret Christmas knitting. M loves froggies and the pattern for Happy Frog by Crafty Hedgehog caught my eye on Lime & Violet. Here's the start:
M will love this little guy, who will easily be finished tonight.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bits & Pieces

I've been enjoying the holiday busyness with my family. But there has been a wee bit of holiday knitting.

Raynor Gellatly's Koala Baby is on my daughter's wish list.


Monday, December 8, 2008


My daughter has claimed the Midnight Magic Yarn. I decided to make her a pair of Fetching mitts. They will be perfect for skating. The first is done. Number two is waiting on the needles with only two rows completed.

Christmas has arrived and with it all the fun business. Here's what I was busy with this weekend: (clockwise from left) skating tests on Saturday and Sunday, putting out my snowmen, decorating the house and supervising the tree decorating. B put up the tree herself! but asked me to do the lights. When we had time, we dipped into the boxes of Christmas decorations and put them on the tree. Still a few more to put on - the one's the kids made in kindergarten and other handmade and sentimental ones.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Couldn't wait for Monday

So much for "Mondays are for Spinning", Wednesday's are too. I couldn't wait to finish off these singles. I Navajo plied these on my wheel. Took a bit to figure it out, but I think I got the hang of it. I'm quite happy with this yarn. It's well balanced and has a lovely sheen.

Midnight Magic 80% Merino/20%Silk
from Aurelia Wool & Weaving
~ 100g worsted weight

Hopefully I'll have enough for a pair of mittens (maybe fingerless?)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Midnight Magic

I've spun up the 100g of merino/silk roving. I've got about 1.5 bobbins. I think I'll try Navajo plying this. I've been successful doing that on my spindle, but this will be a first on the wheel.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Crazy Weekend

It started after school Friday and didn't slow down until Sunday evening! Just a few activities that overflowed our weekend minutes include: figure skating, hockey games, gingerbread house decorating with friends, church, kid's Christmas party, a baptism service and a church potluck.
What a whirlwind! I'm glad it's Monday!

Here's a sampling of our fun - the kids enjoyed decorating their little houses. Some of them ate more icing and candy than ended up on their houses, but it was a great time. I think the peanut butter ball penguins are my favorites.

George, a garden variety earthworm

The pattern is ready. I hope you enjoy this quick and easy knit.

George isn’t too bright – but he’s a loyal friend. His best friend Bookworm and him often discuss the practical versus the academic aspects of composting.

This pattern is suitable for someone who can knit in the round on double pointed needles. The size of the project combined with the worsted weight wool, make it a great, quick project. Other skills required are increasing and decreasing, embroidery, making I-cord, and seaming.

Available as a FREE Ravelry Download.

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