Saturday, December 14, 2013

Perler Bead Yoda

I needed to make Hubs his yearly Christmas ornament.  I found the pattern for Master Yoda on Pinterest and changed it a hair.  Now, all I have to do is to string some ribbon through his head and we'll be good to go! His clothes glow in the dark, but wouldn't you know, his light saber doesn't.  Rrr!

The Girl Party: K's birthday party #1.

Birthday party #1 is done.  We have survived.  Everyone came out happy and well-fed.

We had just your average at-home girl party with some crafts in the basement and "bars" of several in the kitchen.  We started out with a make-your-own-pizza bar.  I bought some pizza shells, pizza sauce, pineapple and pepperoni (name brand!) at the Dollar Tree.  I mean, two personal shells for a dollar (the size of a salad plate) is not a bad deal!  We had a salad bar, partially compliments of the Christmas Tea of Sunday.  We also had a Sundae Bar.  The Sundae Bar was filled with all sorts of movie theater boxes of candy, some homemade brownies, a couple of syrups, sprinkles, marshmallows and Cool Whip.

The kids crafted, they ate and we re-acquainted ourselves with how to fold the blasted cootie catchers.  (I had to excuse myself and consult Pinterest.  None of us could get it flipped the right way, but now we know.)

Most. Laid. Back. Party. Ever.

Now, if we can only keep that tradition going.  My house wasn't even trashed!  Even Hubs was thrilled!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Taco Soup-- A recipe that I don't want to forget.

I served Taco Soup at my Christmas Tea.  It may not be a very tea-like soup, but it was danged good.  It was so good that I'm going to write it down here before I forget.  You see, I went to one of those female obligation parties where food is had and sold and whatnot.  I purchased the Taco Soup and the Sea Salt Caramel Brownies.  Now, I could live without the brownies for a few different reasons.  First off, they had no actual sea salt.  Hmm.  I'm thinking that the name suggested and all.  Thankfully, my MIL just gave me a sea salt grinder.  Secondly, the caramel provided was nearly impossible to work with.  Thirdly, the brownies didn't wow me.  The soup, however, wow'd everyone.  I was disappointed when I opened the soup mix and thought, "I paid $7 for that?  I have the ingredients in my house!"  Besides, I had to add an extra taco seasoning, because the original package didn't have enough flavor.  With all that, here is my version of a more affordable Taco Soup.

Taco Soup 
A cup or so of holiday soup mix beans, soaked overnight.  -- You know the kind with 12-15 types of beans in there.  Too lazy to count the beans listed out on my bulk bean label.
A pound of 93% fat free ground turkey.  You could use beef if beef is your thing.
1 can of whole kernel corn with water
1- 14 oz  can of diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 bag of matchstick carrots
2 packages of taco seasoning
3 cups of water
A couple of cranks with the sea salt grinder and of the pepper grinder 
Pre-cook your meat, then add the rinsed beans (that you left soak overnight,) a regular size can of corn with the water (don't drain,) the diced tomatoes (don't drain,) the carrots, 2 packages of taco seasoning, water and salt and pepper.  Bring it to a boil, then simmer for 1-2 hours.  Do not cook in a crock-pot or slow cooker.  
Voila!  Done!

People raved.  Not that I mean to toot my own horn, but it was dang good!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The friends and family Christmas Tea

Today K and I hosted our Friends and Family Christmas tea.  This past week has been a whirlwind of way too much stuff.  I had a realization, confirmed by a best friend and my husband, that I had grossly overbooked myself.  

Never fear, my peeps were here. My husband and K kicked in and helped. 

The whirlwind started Thanksgiving week.  My sister and I entered the bowels of holiday retail on Black Friday (12 midnight, so it was FRIDAY) and came out victorious.  That lead to home, a nap and onward to the tree.  I admit that I was a wee swidge tuckered and since Hubs was still playing with lights hours later, K and I decided that Saturday would be a better day.  We spent all day Saturday decorating.  With a tree as full as mine, you can't bust it out in an hour and breaks are most definitely NOT an option.  We chipped away at it all day, as well as Thanksgiving leftovers and we had the house complete by the end of the day.  Sunday took us on a road trip to Frankenmuth, MI to Bronner's Christmas Wonderland.  We also stopped by Bass Pro in Toledo and Cabela's in Dundee, Michigan.  I worked M-W.  I also had a PTA board meeting on Wednesday morning and one on Thursday morning.  I had a date with my book fair chair/best friend to go to the Scholastic Warehouse sale to purchase books for the Birthday Book Club at school.  We had 66 books or so to purchase and they all needed to be hardbound.  We were able to bust that out and rock our way back to school.  I was at school for the day, because -- well, it just worked out that way.  Friday started with me and my weekly cleaning, but a bit more pressed to do so because of the tea.  I worked the Scholastic Warehouse sale breakdown, and was paid in a sweet pile of books.  Never mind that I rolled one of the big ole fat case carts over the inside of my book.  :S  I went back to school and helped set up Santa Shop until 8 PM.  I ended up back at school Saturday morning at 7:30 AM and was there for Winter Wonderland/Santa Shop until 2 PM.  I ran home, baked Sea Salt Caramel Brownies for Hubs' work Christmas party, cooked up the meat for the soup, got ready and hauled out for said party.  We got back and I started setting up for the tea, but decided that curling up on the couch with my cell alarm set for early was a better option over pressing on.  On came this morning.  Hubs was kind enough to bring my giant haul of Christmas dishes up from the basement and we readied for the tea until it was time to get ready for church.  We were the Advent readers this morning, we listened to the Cantata and skipped Sunday School in order to come home and continue with preparations.  

My people are so kind to help me do this.  Truly kind.  

I realize that I had the option of ironing the table cloths, but had no time.  Ignore that, please.  

The table that my sister and I sit at.  My niece gave me a cookie jar last year and the poinsettia looked so good next to it, that I decided that putting it into it wasn't such a bad idea. 

The kid table.  I found them wonderful foam craft house kits last year at Michael's for 90% off.  K has enjoyed putting hers together tonight.

The mama table.  The boys across the street loaned some table linens to me and I thought this one was a delightful touch.  My dessert stand was waiting for the other desserts to arrive.  You see, I make a soup and a giant salad, while the guests bring a small dessert.  Believe me when I tell you that we had more than enough dessert.  

Everyone had a delightful time.  We ate.  We talked.  We all sat and relaxed.  

After the tea K took my MIL to see her hamster and he had become a dearly departed.  While yes, her fundraiser prize hamster had taken his last breath some time before.  She asked that I call Hubs to let him know.  (He was at his parent's house watching football with his dad.)  "Do you want me to come home?"  "Yes, we need you."  We had a proper burial for him in the backyard.  He's in now what has become our pet cemetery.  :(  He was a good little hamster and again real soon, we'll have another.