Monday, December 27, 2010

Trying to Find the Beginning

Sorry to drop off the face of blogger-land. Life and death gave us the one-two punch and it clean KOed me. Now I don't know where to begin. Or if I should scrap it all and start with a clean slate. I am going to attempt to play catch up with a flurry of posts this week, I think. I am afraid all those DIY posts for before the holidays are a lost cause. I'll just have to show a few of the results and then we'll try for the actual "how to" posts next year.

Instead of making our goodies slowly over a long week and taking pictures, we made them all quickly in one day to get them out of the way before Uncle Mike's burial and memorial. We wanted to get our neighbor gift bags assembled and passed out early. I was planning on sharing these recipes with you...I still might.
Salted caramels...a good gift to get out of the house...dangerous to keep around!
Pecan fudge. Same goes for this one.
Iced gingerbread men and other shapes, compliments of a Mrs. Fields recipe. These cookies are soft instead of crisp and crunchy. Paired with the simple powdered sugar icing they are the perfect holiday treat. They are also a blast to make with the kids. I think this is the recipe I'll goes:

Mrs. Fields Gingerbread Men

3 1/4 C all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 C salted butter,
3/4 C dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 large egg
1/2 C unsulfered molasses
1/2 C raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 325. Whisk together dry ingredients--flour-cloves.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer cream butter and sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add egg and molasses, and beat on medium speed until smooth. Scape bowl and add the flour mixture.
Separate dough into 2 balls and flatten into disks. Wrap each disk tightly in plastic wrap or bag and refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.
On floured surface with floured rolling pin, roll dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out men and place on ungreased cookie sheet 1/2 apart. (Put raisins on now if you wish).
Bake 9-11 minutes being careful not to brown. Transfer to cool flat surface with a spatula.

2/3 C confectioner's sugar
1-2 tsp. milk
Whisk sugar and milk together in a small bowl until mixture is smooth but liquid. If it seems dry, add 1/4 tsp. more milk. Spoon icing into a pastry bag fitted with a small piping tip. Decorate men as desired.

*Or, you can do like I did and make double the icing and simply spoon it onto the entire cookie. It is much quicker, easier and tastes pretty yummy.

Below you will see the results of my homemade garland. It stayed up on the stair railing for one week. One week--and this is how many needles were covering the carpet and floors below.

It was pretty and it was fun to make (and not that hard) but I don't think I'll be repeating that with real branches next year.

I much preferred this mantel in the family room. I simply piled on the branches and added some cheap clip-on poinsettia flowers and a red candle. It was my favorite decoration.
Evening jam/dance sessions with daddy's guitar are a big hit around these parts.

Little Miss Developing Personality.
She looks a lot like her big evidenced. She says what we think sounds like "Ezra" quite often.
On Friday, December 17th we buried Uncle Mike with family only at the graveside. What an incredibly hard thing to do. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, Mt. Rainier and the Puget Sound were glistening. His grave is very near to his dad's. Burying a loved one gives me a panicky feeling. I hate it. Everyone hates it. The finality of it just about crushes your chest. And yet, we know it's only a finality for his frail earthy body. Forever is yet to come. In Heaven. The rest of the story will be so much better.
The next day, December 18th we had the memorial service. They estimate 850 people came. It was a lovely memorial. I struggled through hearing my dad and his siblings tell about their memories of their brother. Friends and co-workers talked as well. Everyone who was ever coached by him stood at two different points in the ceremony as a lovely tribute. And then there was the photo slide show that did me in. We are thankful to all who helped pull that day together--and there were many of you. Thank you also for continued prayers.
Unfortunately for Ezra, December 18th also happened to be his 5th birthday. He put on a brave face and didn't even get mad that we canceled his party. He had a blast with his cousins in the nursery during the memorial. We let him open some presents before we left for the memorial. And we had cinnamon rolls for breakfast at his request...except they were the kind you buy in a roll at the store rather than the good homemade kind. Oh well.
A baseball mitt and a fishing pole from his daddy and his Grandparents Idaho, respectively.
When we woke up he came down the stairs from his room laughing. He says with sparkling eyes "Do you know why I'm laughing??? Because I'm FIVE!"

Kurt did a great job of sitting quietly and playing with his i-touch in the nursery.
Our kids had a blast in the church nursery during the memorial service. We weren't expecting to leave them there, but ended up being so thankful that we did as the service went about 2 hours.
Ezra took this photo of Tadd and I...even got both of us in the frame.
Ezra and Caroline love playing with Kira and Kurt. We were thankful the cousins had a chance to be together.

Hopefully there will be more to come tomorrow...


Anonymous said...

salted caramels huh!!!! :D NICE!! curious as to your recipe... LOVE the garlands on the staircase and your mantle looks just like how Becky did our mantle, and it's my fav deoration too, I could just sit and sit in that room and look at it lol. Dying over the pic of Ezra with the guitar and cowboy hat pulled lowwww haha!!!!!!!! Ezra and Nora together are soo sweet, awww!!!! Very cute pics!! And a very good pic of you and Tadd, best lookin couple out there!! ;p ~Cath

NaomiG said...

Yummm... salted caramels. So good. I have some from Mrs. W from our meeting in my fridge right now, they are deeeeelightful.

We have evening guitar jam sessions here too... it's one of my favorite parts of the day.

E and N DO look alike-that's so fun! Great kid pics. And, that's a most excellent picture of you and Tadd, way to go Ezra! Happy birthday to him, what a little man. So bittersweet to see those moments of maturity peeking out from behind the expected childishness.