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Archive for December, 2011

The day before a New Year

 

It doesn’t seem possible that another year has gone by and we are once again looking at starting a brand new year tomorrow.  When I was younger, each year seemed to stretch out forever, and now they seem to slip by in a heartbeat. 

But despite the speedy passing of each day, I look towards the new year, like so many others, as a “fresh start.”  A blank slate where I can redesign my life, make new things happen, shake off some of the bindings of the past year and begin again.

Which is a lot to put on the turning of a page on the calendar, and yet each year I do it with a hope that there are exciting things waiting for me in the months to come. 

And there always are.  Quite mixed in with the lumps and bumps in the road there are always those moments of excitement and change, the glimmerings of dreams turning into realities.

And it is these moments that I want to dwell on at the end of the year.  There are always the negatives.  But the positives are what we celebrate – and in the strange way that our world and minds work, the more we celebrate the positives, the more positives we find!  (maybe THIS will be the year I become a full-fledged optimist??!! )  I have many hopes and dreams for 2012, but just for today, I am going to quell the dreamer in me that always wants to looks at what’s next. and for once savour and enjoy the joys that have already come to pass.     

Although I have not spent as much time here this year as in the past, I feel blessed to have this place to share my thoughts and ideas, to swap recipes, to share the joy of creating something new with others, to watch our gardens grow, to document the things that happen in my little corner of the world.  I am thankful for each one of you who has shared this year with me, both old friends and new, and look forward to whatever 2012 will hold!

Happy New Year!  Wishing you all the best in 2012!

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A Special Order for Christmas

Someone must have put in an order for Christmas snow, because on December 23 we woke up to this:

 

 

We enjoyed this snow (and more!) right through Christmas until this morning, when I woke up to green grass and rain.

Oh how I love a white Christmas!  Everything just looks prettier when it is covered by a layer of fresh white snow!

Did anyone else enjoy a Christmas that was white?

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Giveaway Day Winner!

The winner of the corduroy purse is darbishar! 

Thank you to all who entered!

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It’s Giveaway Day!

Happy Giveaway Day!  And welcome to all who are visiting today!

Today I am giving away this corduroy satchel. 

It is upcycled from a pair of corduroy pants, and lined with new fabric.

To enter, let me know what great books you have read lately! (This could be anything from fiction to a cookbook to the book you read to your kids before bed last night.)

The giveaway is open to anyone in the U.S. or Canada.  (Please check out my other blog for an international giveaway!)  The winner will be announced the evening of Dec. 16.

Thanks for stopping by!  And have fun entering all of the giveaways!

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Yummy Yogurt Waffles

The other day I was perusing one of my Christmas books, looking for yet more items to add to my ever-growing to-make list, and I discovered a recipe I just had to try.

I do not know why it is that I love breakfast foods so much, but I do.  I could eat pancakes, waffles, muffins, eggs and oatmeal for breakfast, lunch and dinner and be a happy girl.  So I couldn’t resist trying another waffle recipe.  And I’m glad I did.  Compared to some other waffle recipes I have made, these were light, not heavy, more like a pancake in texture than a waffle, staying soft and moist even when fully cooked.  With some fresh fruit, a dallop of yogurt and a drizzle of syrup they were perfection!  Here is the recipe:

Yummy Yogurt Waffles (formerly Sour Cream Fruity Waffles)

  • 1 1/4 cups whole white flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used a thick Balkan style)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (I think I put in a little more than that and I loved the vanilla smell as they cooked!)

Combine the flour, baking powder, soda and salt.  In a separate bowl, beat eggs and mix with yogurt, milk, butter and vanilla.  Stir into the dry ingredients.  Bake in a waffle iron until done.  I got six waffles out of this batter in my waffle-maker. 

Enjoy!  They are also good reheated in the toaster!

 

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Last year I shared with you how my mother-in-law taught me how to make an evergreen wreath.  This year we gathered with the whole family (my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, too!) to make them again.  We started our outing at our land to gather the evergreen boughs, and after a long (and somewhat wet!) hike we finally found the perfect branches.  After lunch we had a wonderful time creating our wreaths, and then going through the bags of flowers and pinecones that my mother-in-law has kept for just this purpose in order to decorate them. 

Creating an evergreen wreath is super easy and fun!  Here’s how:

1.  Gather a bucket of fresh evergreen boughs.  We found fir trees to work best for this because their needles lie flat and aren’t prickly.  I think other branches would work, but you might want to wear gloves to keep from getting poked by the needles. 

 

2.  Find or make a wire wreath frame.  You could make one out of a wire coat hanger, and the bonus is you will already have a hook for hanging!  You will also need some florist wire.

3.  Cut your boughs into lengths about as long as your hand.

4.  Gather these “hands” into a group of three or four (depending on how full your boughs are).

5.  Secure your wire to the wreath frame.  Wire the greens onto the front of your wreath frame by wrapping the wire around the wreath and greenery several times.

6.  Gather another group of “hands” and wire them to the back of your wreath frame, a small distance away from the group you just wired to the front.

7.  Continue to wire groups of branches alternately to the front and back until your whole wreath is covered.

8.  Twist the end of the wire to secure, and cut it off.  If you need a hanger, twist the wire into a hanging loop before cutting.

9.  You now have a beautiful evergreen wreath!  If the shape is a little wild, trim the boughs until you are happy with it. 

10.  Decorate as you wish!  When I purchased wreaths in years past I only ever decorated them with a long velvet bow that I reused year after year.  I can’t resist my mother-in-law’s collection of decorations though, and love the way the flowers and pinecones look on the greenery.  These are attached with a glue gun, and they pull easily off the wreath at the end of the season to reuse next year.

Happy wreath making!

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