Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sunday, December 28, 2008

We're Baack!

You have to say the title of this post in the little girl "Poltergeist" voice. I loved that movie.

We trekked to see my parents in the N. Carolina contingency as my dad would say. We stopped the first night in Memphis and went down to Beale street.

Graceland wasn't open yet, but we drove by and took the requisite picture. A didn't want to be in it....

The Civil Rights museum wasn't open, either, but this building was really neat. One whole side is preserved as it was on the day Dr. King was shot. His cars, the hotel 'rooms' and the sign.

The next night we stayed in Gatlinburg. The next morning we planned to hike a trail in the Great Smokey Mountains. We went less than a mile as it was about 20 degrees, but we got some great pictures.

We added three new Hard Rock glasses to our collection: Memphis, Gatlinburg, and Nashville.

Here I am hiding my double chin texting all my peeps Merry Christmas, or Merry Navidad as one of them replied...

The quilts were a great success! Yay!

I got two new watches and a bread machine I am anxious to try out!

And A-Man loved his new coat. He also got purple pants and a new board.

I'm so glad to be in my own bed and drink my own coffee, but I left my pillow in Memphis, so I'm going to have to re-adjust....don'tcha just hate that!? I know, I'm so set in my ways.

We have relatives coming for New Years, so we'll have round two then!

I hope you had a blessed time with friends and family.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Checking In

Hi All!! We're in North Carolina and I just wanted to check in. We've done lots of great stuff...Beale Street in Memphis and fun stuff in Gatlinburg. We've lots of pictures, I'll download them when we get home.
Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Paper Piecing, and One More Cookie Recipe

Every once in awhile, I get an itch to try something new. I've taught myself to knit, play the cello, and loads of other useless skills. Well, my friend Carrie does a lot of paper piecing. Her Harry Potter patterns caught my eye, so after reading/watching about 10 sets of how-to instructions, I decided to give it a whirl. I decided to go with the "H" first, for Harry, of course. It's no masterpiece, and you can see my mess-ups (quarter inch seam allowance, what?), but I can honestly say it's a pretty good first try, don't you agree? I think I'll have to start from book one and read the whole series again! Hey, Scrappy, how's Beetle the Bard?

Ok, one more recipe. Peppermint Swirls
1 c. butter or margarine, softened
1/3 c. powered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. red food color
2 Tblspns. granulated sugar
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer. Divide dough in half. Stir peppermint extract and food color into one half of dough. Divide each color of dough in half.
2. Shape each piece of dough on generously floured surface into rope, 12 inches long. Place 2 ropes, 1 red and 1 white, side by side. Twist ropes. Repeat with remaining 2 ropes.
3. Cut twisted ropes into 1/2 in. pieces; shape each into ball. Place about 1 in. apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten to about 1/4 in. thickness with greased bottom of glass dipped in granulated sugar.
4. Bake 7-9 minutes or until set. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack; cool

We're leaving tomorrow to make a trek to N. Carolina to see my parents for Christmas. We're excited and will be stopping at the Great Smokey Mountains on the way. I'll be taking my computer, but posting may be spotty, so I'll be back in full force when I return!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hazelnut Crinkles

One come when you make cookies they never look as good as the one in the picture in the book? huh.

3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. hazelnut spread with cocoa (I'm wondering what this is at's Nutella. Why can't they just say that!?)
1/2 c. butter or margarine, softened
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tblspn. white coarse sugar crystals (again!? Sugar in the Raw) or granulated sugar

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Beat sugar, hazelnut spread, butter, vanilla, and egg in a large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt.
2. Shape dough by rounded teaspoonfuls into 1-inch balls. Roll in sugar crystals. Place about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookies sheet.
3. Bake 7-9 minutes or until puffed and edges are set. Cool on cookie sheet 1 minute. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Espresso Thumbprint Cookies

MMmmMM....these are my fav.

3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. butter or margarine, softened
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 flour
3 Tbspns. baking cocoa
1/4 tspn. salt
Espresso filling (below)
Candy sprinkles or crushed hard peppermint candies, if desired

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat sugar, butter, vanilla, and egg in a large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed. Stir in flour, cocoa, and salt.
2. Shape dough by rounded teaspoons into 1-inch balls. Place about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Press thumb or end of wooden spoon into center of each cookie, but do not press all the way to the cookie sheet.
3. Bake 7-11 minutes or until edges are firm. Quickly remake the indentations with end of wooden spoon if necessary. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make Espresso filling.
4. Spoon Espresso filling into indentations in each cookie. Top with candy sprinkles. Eat one while it's still warm. YuM!

Espresso filling:
1/4 c. whipping (heavy) cream
2 tspns instant espresso coffee (dry)
1/2 bag milk chocolate chips (1 c.)
1 Tblspn. coffee-flavored liqueur, if desired. And if desired, take a big swig for yourself!
Mix whipping cream and instant coffee in 1-qt. saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until steaming and coffee is dissolved. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate chips until melted. Stir in liqueur. Cool about 10 minutes or until thickened.

Funny, I don't think I actually read the directions for the Espresso filling. I just dumped it all in the pan until it was melted and spooned it right onto the cookies!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Making Cookies!

I spent my weekend making cookies for Christmas gifts. I made about 11 different kinds.
Here's one of the 'before' pictures.
Here's 'after.' I made enough for 17 tubs, 2 plates, and 14 bags!
Recipes to follow...
So, what did you do this weekend!?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Second Congratulatory Gift

Here is my second congratulatory gift (the first was a CD of 'inspirational' music from a friend). It's from my secret pal at school. Isn't this a nice pen set!? And the OU stickers....awww.
Not *quite* there yet, maybe when I start going to class the OU crazy-mania will hit me.

On another note.....something has been bothering me. I think this calls for a vote. At work, a school, mind you, would you rather get an email asking you a question or a phone call? Cuz, see, the whole phone call thing just annoys me. I have kids to work with! I can't come take your call right now, and then later during my precious 15.2 minutes of lunch (kidding) I have to find time to call you back only for you to say "Hey, if you talk to so-and-so today, would you tell her I'm leaving her a key in her box?" Um. Yeah. Why don't you just leave her a note?! (The person doesn't have email yet, so she couldn't email her, not that she would've anyway, because she's obviously a *caller*.....) But I can check my email about 20 times a day because it only takes a second, and I can even respond a lot faster because I don't have to leave my room! Ok, done ranting, go vote!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Quilting, Quilting...

I stole this pattern from here. She calls it the Disappearing Nine Patch and her picts are a little clearer because of the materials she chose.
I had to draw it out to wrap my mind around it. The scratch paper I grabbed was leftover from my son's math homework. I'm beginning to wonder why I disliked math as a kid. It's fairly logical. But I digress...

OK, so you pick your colors and make a nine patch. I made my squares 3.5 by 3.5 in.

Then, cut it in half.
And again.
Here's what it will look like. It's a little scary making that first cut, but you'll get over it.
Then rotate quadrant 1 and 4 180 degrees.
And sew it all back together. I haven't squared it up yet.
I'll show you a pict of the finished product. Hopefully soon as it's a Christmas gift.

Monday, December 8, 2008

If At First You Don't Succeed....

Try, try again!
I did it!! I have been accepted to the PhD program in Special Education at the University of Oklahoma!
Yep, I guess I have to be a Sooner now.
I am beyond excited!!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Happy Birthday!

I have a funny picture I was going to use for Wordless Wednesday today, but I can't quite figure out how to get it out of my phone yet, so maybe it'll be Wordless Thursday. Well, no that doesn't sound right. Anyhoo, a recipe instead!!
My friend Chris's birthday was Monday and he likes Peanut Butter cookies, so I found this fun recipe:

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

1 c. butter flavored shortening
1 c. creamy peanut butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tps vanilla
2 tsps baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
3 c. confectioners' sugar
1 tspn vanilla
5-6 Tbsps milk

1. In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening, peanut butter, and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well.
2. Shape into 1-in. balls and place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten to 3/8 in. thickness with fork. Bake at 375 degrees for 7-8 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.
3. For filling, in a large mixing bowl, beat the peanut butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and enough milk to achieve spreading consistency. Spread on half of the cookies and top each with another cookie.

Don't you love recipes? Like you're going to get your ruler out and make sure each cookie is flattened to 3/8 in.! I know I did....make sure you do! Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My Crazy Kid

This is my crazy kid in his Halloween costume doing skateboard tricks. My cameras not that fast, but you get the gist!
Hope you're having a great week!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Movin' On Up....

Yep. Full keyboard, musical ring tones, and it even takes pictures. Decided it was time to join the rest of the world.