Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Gift-Guessing Kid


Aaron and Shannon

Growing up, Aaron always had a hobby that he engaged in 200%. (He still does!) For example, when he was ten or so, he started building model rockets, then started designing them, then won a national design contest for his age group with Estes Rockets. Somewhere along the line, he had a bunch of catalogs and circled all the rocket kits he hoped to get for Christmas. Supportive mother that I am :), I chose several, bought them, wrapped them, and put them under the Christmas tree.

One day, Aaron came into the kitchen and thanked me for all the kits he was going to get for Christmas by name. I was stumped! How did he know which ones I’d picked? When I questioned him further, he pointed out that all the entries in the catalog listed dimensions and weights for the kits, so all he had to do was measure and weigh the packages to know which ones were there. Smarty-pants!  But being fooled came in very handy years later when I needed to write a funny Reader’s Theater script. Thanks, Aaron!

Mini Bolster Pillows? No . . . Cinnamon Roll-Ups!


Because you can make this recipe ahead, freeze it, and bake a few at a time, it’s perfect for holiday houseguests as well as book club, finger-food parties, and any other occasion that calls for a sweet treat. Click on the recipe for a printable page. Enjoy! ♥  P.S. I use wheat bread.

‘Twas the night before Thanksgiving …

If you really want to know someone, go to his house and eat with him…
people who share their food share their heart.  (Cesar Chavez)
Yay . . . our kids are on their way! Tonight’s meal will be simple so we can relax, chat, laugh, and play before tomorrow’s big day:
sloppy joes
corn on the cob
deviled eggs
brownies and ice cream
But I’m bumping up the brownies a bit with a trick I recently read in a magazine: Make your regular recipe. Pour half into the greased pan. Lay peppermint patties over the batter. Pour the rest of the batter on top, then bake as usual. Reviews to come! ♥

Thanksgiving Memories


Thanksgiving is the big holiday around our house. We love having our kids, grandchildren, parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, and friends join us. Besides catching up on each others’ lives and eating (alot!), we usually end up doing something crafty in the afternoon. Last  year it was playdough! I’m including my no-fail recipe for homemade dough, which got us through hundreds of rainy days and school projects through the years, but our guests made the ones in the gallery below with a 24-pack of the storebought brand.

Homemade Playdough: Mix 1 cup flour, ½ cup salt, 1 cup water, 2 t cream of tarter, 1 T cooking oil, and a few drops of food coloring in a pan. Cook on top of the stove, stirring constantly, until everything pulls together. Dump onto counter and knead. Store in covered container. ♥

Tea Towels (Literally!)


When my mother-in-law Vida gave me a big box of fabric and notions, I discovered a hidden treasure . . . a set of tea towels all stamped and ready for embroidery, each with a different teapot pattern. Although Dave and I are mostly coffee drinkers, I love our small collection of teapots handed down from family members, so I had a lot of fun choosing the floss colors to use for this project. Here they are . . . one for each day of the week. ♥

Musical Pillows


When I was in kindergarten, I got a toy xylophone for Christmas. I LOVED that thing and played it nonstop.  Soon, my parents enrolled me in piano lessons  . . . probably so they could take the xylophone away! 🙂

Long story short, piano grew to be a huge part of my life. I was even able to make a living accompanying, teaching piano lessons, and playing for weddings when I went to college to get a teaching degree, so THANK YOU, Dad and Mom! ♥

I made this pillow with embroidery a-la-mode in honor of the little music book that came with my xylophone, which has colored notes matched to the colors of the bars.  The finished size is 12 x 12.

Pillow Gift Baskets


Here are the finished gift baskets for the Art and Mission Market this Saturday!

(Click on any photo in the gallery for a larger view.) ♥