Monday, December 14, 2009


Morning kiddies! How are you doing this morning? Are you excited yet? A new week, a smaller countdown, and a tired blogger here! We had the High School Band Christmas Concert and Tea yesterday and the kids did so wonderful! They made me cry! Then of course, I didn’t look forward to socializing with the stuck up moms or the moms that just don’t care during the year but try to make a good show on this day. I can’t stand hypocrits really… aggravates the tar out of me cause I know what these kids go through all year cause they are all at my house! And you could tell too! I had 5 platters on the snack table LOL and the kids were hanging out with me and calling me mom! Had a couple of glares from the other adults but its ok… that crap doesn’t bother me! I find it kind of humorous actually. My DD is the one on the end in red LOL looking so festive!

Then when we got back, we had about 10 minutes rest before I forgot I had an order due THIS MORNING! Sew, I stay up sewing til late into the night to get this order done. Guess it just slipped my mind until I saw the material sitting on the end of the sewing table! It doesn’t happen that often though… guess I may be trying to spread myself too thin lately.

I found an article online a while back that gave some ideas for gifts under $10 but I think most of them were pretty lame on their own but could maybe be cute dressed up/paired with other things… I don’t remember the site though. “There are hundreds of great gifts that can be purchased or made by hand for under $10, gifts that are both thoughtful and frugal at the same time. Put them in an inexpensive basket or wrap them with a pretty ribbon and you'll truly have a beautiful gift--without breaking the bank!”- I couldn’t have said it better myself! “I know you've probably heard it before but it's really true that you don't have to spend a lot of money to find that perfect gift for someone. Just be sure to put some time and thought into it and your gift will be well received”... Our family and friends usually appreciate our time and love more than anything, so something to show how much time and effort we put forth on them is a precious thing. I found this out many years ago, and I for one love handmade Christmases! Here's a few of my favorite inexpensive gift ideas that they had on the list... followed by the way I would make them “better” LOL!

Child's artwork, framed- there is no way to improve on this one!

Holiday serving bowl or platter- better be puttin’ some homemade goodies in/on it LOL! YUM!

Makeup brush set- make a fabric makeup tote bag to hold the brushes/makeup to accompany this!

Set of dish towels- sew some pretty fabric strips across the ends and make it special!

Locally made or homemade BBQ or steak sauce with basting brush- Add some other sauces or BBQ tools or a grilling cookbook found at like the half-price book store or with a coupon at other stores!

Handwritten copies of your favorite recipes in a spiral to make a Specialty cookbook- cover the spiral with some pretty paper or fabric and you have a very special gift!

Christmas ornaments- what can you say here? Not much as the possibilities are endless on what kind of ornament you can make! We painted puzzle pieces one year and glued them together to make an Autism Christmas Wreath… and gave those that year! People loved them!

Any of these items are cool if you put them in jars or a pretty basket:
Homemade special jams or mustards
Homemade cocoa mix in a pretty jar
Home baked bread, include recipe
Homemade cookie mix with instructions for baking
Variety of bread mixes
Home baked cookies!
Homemade Pancake or waffle mix and a bottle of syrup
Homemade Muffin mixes with muffin pan
Homemade baking/sweets mixes along with a special baking pan

I hope you will be inspired by this list, after all, it's not the amount of money you spend for a gift that matters the most, but that you cared enough to give something special.

Craft Idea of the Day: Gift Baskets
Take any of those ideas up there and place them in a pretty basket and you have a great gift that people think you spent hundreds on! Have you seen some of those places where you can buy those? They cost hundreds sometimes for a decent basket! So what’s better than taking your homemade creations and sprucing them up a bit!? And it doesn’t have to be a “basket”… lots of containers will work! Example- for a gardener, get a plastic pot, or a road trip just cover a cardboard box with an old map! Auto detailing, buy a wash bucket, baby, get a cheap small laundry basket, cooking/baking/kitchen- use a colander, pot, pan, skillet, you name it! See, the possibilities are endless! All you need is a little imagination.

So, are you ready for the relay race we call holiday cooking? LOL Well strap on your boots and spurs and hold on for the ride, cause its gonna be a fun one! I promised you 1 craft, 1 dinner, and 1 sweet each day until Christmas Eve so you could adorn your tabletop, under your tree, and your life in general with unique ideas! And as you have seen, there are days where you have received a lot more than one idea or food… just cause the mood hits me LOL! I’ve put on a big pot of “garbage stew” to cook all day LOL that will be served with cornbread or dinner rolls. I called it “Garbage Stew” not to gross anyone out, but because if I didn’t use up the ingredients, they would have had to become garbage. So this is a good way to use things that might soon spoil… hense…


Round steak cut, stew meat, or whatever beef you may have cut into cubes and browned with butter, salt pepper and garlic powder in a skillet for about 5 minutes or so. USE THE JUICE in the pan after cooking too for flavor!

1 bell pepper, onion, carrots, potatoes (raw), and other veggies cut up in chucks or diced (your preference)- basically whatever you have that will soon be going bad!

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 jalapeno or hot pepper for "kick" (make sure it is fresh and deseeded- omit if you don’t want too much spice)

1 can of kernal corn, drained

seasonings: (I use) garlic powder, salt, pepper, parsley... just use whatever you want...LOL put them in on top of everything in the pot.

broth: you can use a can of beef broth or I use the juice from cooking the meat, 1 cup water and 1/2 cup flour.

Once you brown the meat throw everything in a crockpot/slow cooker, mix well, and cook on high for about 1 hour, then lower heat to low and cook for about 8-10 hours. Then yummy stew! and your house smells good too! Make cornbread or an accompanying bread with it... this freezes beautifully too! See it’s a fun recipe that gives you the basics, but you can adjust to your liking! Now, I got a hankering for somethin’ sweet this morning! Here is the baking for the day (courtesy of Taste of Home):


1 cup butter, softened
2 cups packed brown sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger

1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons half-and-half cream
Green food coloring, optional


1. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and lemon peel. Combine the flour, baking soda and ginger; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or until easy to handle.

2. On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with lightly floured 2-in. cookie cutters. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.

3. For frosting, in a small bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, vanilla and enough cream to achieve spreading consistency. Add food coloring if desired to some or all of the frosting. Decorate cookies. Yields: About 6 dozen.

Now don’t go freaking out on me… I know I didn’t frost the ones in my picture!! I simply sprinkled colored sugar on them before baking. Still yummy… you can do either, or just eat them plain. They are really good!

Ok my dears… I’m off to bake, Bake, BAKE (and sew and clean in between LOL). Hope you enjoyed this rather winded blog and I will see you in the morning! HUGS!

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