Friday, December 18, 2009

Let it snow....

About a week ago it was 70 degrees. Now it's 18 degrees. And, oh yeah, there's a blizzard forecast for the next two days. Time to bake Christmas cookies.

My mom used to make these cookies every year when I was a child. They are my all-time favorite Christmas cookie. I think about her when I make them and when I eat them. She passed away 20 years ago when my youngest sissy was only 16 and I was 25. We still miss her.

Mom's Christmas Butter Cookies (printable recipe)

1 1/2 level cups flour
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together. Roll out and cut out shapes. Sprinkle with red and/or green sugar. Bake for 8-10 mins or until edges begin to brown.

My daughter and niece making Mom's cookies, taken many years ago when they were much younger. It would not be good if they found out I posted this pic. Shhhh....don't say anything.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Bag

These are my two favorite Christmas things right now - my Christmas bag and the Christmas nisse. I carry that bag EVERYWHERE. I love it. I found a bag like it in the December 2007 issue of Marie Claire Idees (the bag is pictured in the magazine above) and scoured the internet trying to find it. I was willing to purchase it at almost any price, that's how much I love this bag. Well, not really any price. I do have limits.

But I couldn't find it anywhere. Of course, the fact that the magazine is published in France made my search a wee bit difficult. I finally gave up and resigned myself to "I'll make it someday." Fast forward two years and I'm still thinking about that bag. Kind of like the Man talking about the fish that got away. This bag got away from me. Well, no sirree, I'm not letting that happen. I had to have this bag and decided to try and re-create it. And so I did. I. love. it.

So does my sissy. She keeps trying to steal it. I have to watch it when I 'm with her. I don't like the look in her eyes when she spies it. She's sneaky. She picks it up and pretends to admire it as she mutters things like, "This should really come home with me," and "You should give this to me." I'm onto her tricks. I'll just have to make her one of her own. I'll work on a tutorial as I
do it in case anyone is interested.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

NYC with the Knitwits

I have the BEST knitting group ever. Ever. They are the funniest women I know - they make me laugh so hard it hurts. We meet every Wednesday night and knit, eat, talk, laugh, and sympathize when needed. We talk about our husbands, kids, co-workers, friends - anything and everything. But mostly, we laugh. And live in fear of the Queen. She's the leader of the pack and we all know it.

Twice a year, the Queen puts together a bus trip into NYC. We went on Sunday and had a blast. We rode to the top of the Empire State Building, whined a bit at how cold it was up there, got a cheap tour of what we were looking at by the Queen, and then came down so we could go eat. But first we went by Macy's and looked in their windows. That's me reflected in the window. It was filled with letters to Santa.

We ate really good pizza at John's Pizzeria, a deconsecrated church turned into pizza parlor. My fave was the bruschetta pizza and the margherita pizza. They were so good we almost cried. Of course, we had had a couple beers at that point and could have been emotional. Either way, it was good pizza. You should go get some. Now. If you live in NYC.

Tummies full, we wandered around Times Square, shopped for a while, then headed to Rockefeller Center and the tree. And Anthropologie. I like love Anthropologie. This was the mother ship of all Anthropologies. Way too much stuff to look at and not enough money to buy it all. But I brought home an ornament for one of my trees. I'm a happy girl.
By now, the beer we drank at lunch meant we had eight women needing to find a water closet (doesn't that sound much better than restroom or, uck, bathroom?) Naturally, we found a few more shops while looking for the water closet. It's amazing how long you can hold it if shopping is involved. We finished the day by browsing in a "going out of business" gift shop near St. Patrick's Cathedral. Funky stuff in there, like $32,000 paintings and porcelain tea sets for $9.99. Huh?
After spending a few quiet moments in St. Patrick's Cathedral, we headed for the bus. But first we stopped and got a hot pretzel. It's all about the food with the Knitwits.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas picture : done

Whew. It only took about 90 shots to get this one. That's pretty quick for these two. There's usually some a lot of cajoling, begging, and then raised voices and threats of withholding Christmas presents before I get a smile out of them. But it's done and can be sent out with the Christmas cards. The cards that are not done yet. The cards I can't even find because I packed them away somewhere SAFE so I wouldn't forget where they are. They're probably playing hide and seek with me, laughing when I walk by.
I thought I was done Christmas shopping. I'm at a point right now where I don't have to buy a lot of presents. I only have to buy for three younger nieces. My teens wanted cash and the Man and I decided not to exchange this year since we buy what we need throughout the year anyway. Plus we went on a Mediterranean cruise in April that took all of our money. All. Of. Our. Money. But my son keeps saying things like, "Hey Mom, I found a pocket knife I'd really like. Can you get that for me?" and "What do you think about these jeans at J.Crew? I could use some new clothes," and "Can you and Dad get me the watch I've been wanting for Christmas?" So I do what any good mother does - I walk away and pretend I'm hard of hearing. I'm getting older, you know.