Monthly Archives: December 2011

I’m staying in.

We’ve had quite the weather here today, and I was lucky enough to get groceries and get home before it got too nasty. Of course, carrying bags in while snow is blowing in your face isn’t my idea of a good time in general, but it could have been worse.

This weekend I stayed in and worked on Christmas gifts. My goal this year was to make all of my gifts for others, and I’ve mostly kept to that. There were a few secondhand purchases made, but I think that’s still in the spirit of saving money and giving people well-thought-out gifts with good intentions.

I have a few things made and wrapped up already, but I’ll try to get some photos either before they’re given away or as they are received. There are just a couple of people left on my list, and I must get their gifts finished!

Do you ever have that feeling of needing to finish up your gifts but still not having just the right idea for someone? I’m stuck on that right now. I’m not sure what I’m going to do about it, but I’m sure I’ll come up with something before the big day.

Do you have all of your holiday shopping done? (If so – good job!)

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Another baking project.

This is another product of my winter baking weekend from a couple weeks ago. This one took a bit more time and effort than the cupcakes in the previous post, but they were just as delicious — and they were in honor of a friend’s birthday, so even more worthwhile!

I used the sugar cookie recipe from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s The Joy of Vegan Baking, and a tutorial from Sprinkle Bakes that I found on Pinterest. I did not create such flawless spirals, which I think was mainly because I ended up rolling my dough too loosely. I’ll try to roll them tighter the next time. The thing I really liked about this process was that the cookies were slice and bake. Once the dough is rolled out and layered, you can cut them as thick as you want before you bake. I used AirBake pans, too — I swear by these for making soft, unburnt cookies.

What’s your favorite holiday cookie recipe? Do you have a traditional one you use, or do you change it up every year?

I made cupcakes!

A couple of weekends ago, it was perfect baking weather. The snow was falling, holiday music was playing, and it was so cozy in the kitchen with the oven going.

This was a super easy recipe: Funfetti cake mix + one can of Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash. Mix together, then put in lined muffin pan and bake as directed on the cake mix package.

I used the Funfetti frosting that comes with sprinkles. The Cranberry Splash soda makes the cupcakes a fun pink color, and they total around 100 calories — plus, they couldn’t be easier.

Of course, they look especially impressive topped with drink umbrellas.

Now Ryan is inspired to try this with Mountain Dew; I’d like to try a white cake with Orange Crush. What fun combinations would you make?

No running …

I was all geared up to run the Thin Mint Sprint on December 5, but ended up not going. The winter weather advisory we were in followed through with freezing drizzle and snow on top of that. I would have loved to do the 5K, but I did not love fishtailing just a couple of blocks from home and the fear of not being able to make it back home a couple of hours later. So … I stayed in and baked, which I think is a fair alternative.

However, I did have my outfit put together — another reason I was so disappointed about not going. You can tell that Gus, the cat, was thoroughly perplexed by my running back and forth to the camera to set the self-timer.

I made mittens.

I am on a roll with Pinterest crafts! I have several old wool sweaters that I’ve picked up over the years at Goodwill, and I was finally motivated to do something with them when I saw a project on Pinterest (original source). Leave it to Martha to make a project so obvious that I should have thought of it a lot sooner.

Her project suggests making a pattern from paper and pinning it to the sweater, but who wants to do that when you can just get a Sharpie and trace your hand/mitten shape directly on the sweater? That’s what I did, anyway. The wrist area is the waistband area of the sweater. I cut through both layers of the sweater for the front and back, then stitched them together. One turned out a little wonky, but not bad for a first try. I think they took about twenty minutes from start to finish.

I  have a great sweater I’d love to do this with (the waistband is quite long, which would make for very long mittens!), but unfortunately I still want to wear it for a while.

Do you prefer mittens or gloves? I love gloves for their dexterity, but nothing beats the cozy factor of mittens!

We’re making memories.

Ryan and I were inspired to start taking a photo together every day. I’ve always wanted more photos of the two of us, but it wasn’t until we watched The Next Three Days (not-so-great movie with Russell Crowe trying to free his wrongly accused wife from prison). What does this movie have to do with taking a family photo every day? Well, there was a 5-second scene that inspired Ryan to do the same thing. (After I called it “not-so-great”, I see that the IMDb rating is 7.8 — really?)

So now we are taking a photo together every day! We usually do this in the morning, as that’s the only consistent time we are together. If it’s nice enough, we go outside; this time of year, we do most shots inside. When we have more time on the weekends, sometimes we get really crazy and set up the tripod and use the self-timer! And sometimes we make silly faces at each other or look half asleep from the flash burning our eyeballs. BUT — we get some really great shots sometimes too, like the one above. And here’s a silly shot:

We had a bottle of wine but no corkscrew, so we learned from the internets how to open a bottle using a screw and a hammer. Success! (And this was one of our rare evening shots, just for the record.)

How do you keep track of memories? And are you more a serious or silly photo person?