Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry (day after) Christmas!

Hoping you and your loved ones had a Merry CHRISTmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Teacher Gifts

This year, I was stumped as to what to give Macieo's teachers for Christmas. There's a silly Iowa law that states that government employees cannot accept any gift worth over $1.99. That includes teachers. I doubt this is very closely monitored, but it kind of eliminated gift cards and the like.

What on earth can you buy for less than $1.99?

So I decided to go the homemade route. Candied Pecans are my gift of choice this year.

Granted, I probably spent more than $1.99 on ingredients and jars, but no one will every prove it :)

Candied Pecans

1 large egg white
1/2 T. water
1/4 t. vanilla extract
1/2 C. sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. salt
2 C. pecan halves

Preheat oven to 300. Line a baking sheet with foil, and spray the foil with nonstick spray. Whisk egg white, water and vanilla in a lage bowl until foamy. Add pecans to bowl, and stir until pecans are coated.

In a large ziplock bag, mix sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer pecans from bowl to bag. Seal bag, and shake well, until pecans are coated.

Spread pecans on baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes, stirring once.

Let pecans cool completely, then package and share!

Dear Santa

On Saturday night, I realized we were getting down to the wire! Less than a week until Christmas, and my parents STILL hadn't taken me to visit the big guy. So we headed here... I could see him!

I had to give him a closer look. I know Santa's not real, but this guy really looked a lot like him!

I even got to ride the train. These three girls jumped into the first car (the one with the bell) before I could get to it. Good thing I'm not shy! I jumped right in with them!

This bear was pretty cool. Maybe I should ask for one of these for Christmas. Do you think it would fit in my room?

Dear Santa,

This year, I would like a Wii, a Nintendo DS, and another dog.

Sure hope you get this list and can help me out with my requests, because my parents have already assured me there's no chance I'll be getting all three of the things I really want.

But I'm still holding out hope that I'll find at least one of them under the tree!

Love, Macieo
After visiting Santa, we decided to make a night of it, and headed down to Brenton Plaza for some skating. This was my first time skating, but I wasn't scared.

My mom kept trying to hold my hand, which was really embarassing!

Seriously mom! Why won't you just let me skate?

Hmmmm....maybe I should have let her hold my hand after all. This ice is not soft!

Merry Christmas! Hope you all are having as much fun as I am!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Name That Cookie

I tried a new cookie recipe tonight that I thought was really good.

When my son ate one, he told me he thought he might throw up. So I guess that means the recipe is not kid-friendly.

The original recipe said they were called Pecan Meltaways.

My mom came over, ate one, and said "these are really good Russian Tea Cakes."

I don't know what they should be called, but I think they're yummy.

And they were easy, which is always a bonus.

Pecan Meltaways
1 C. butter, softened
1/2 C. confectioners sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
2 1/4 C. flour
1/4 t. salt
3/4 C. chopped pecans
additional confectioners sugar
In a large bowl, cream the butter, confectioners sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and stir well. Stir in pecans. Refrigerate until chilled.

Roll into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until set. Roll wamr cookies in additional confectioners sugar; cool completely on wire racks. Roll cooled cookies again in confectioners sugar.


**If you're like me, and like to eat the dough while you're in the process of making cookies, don't. It was terrible!!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Meet Merle

Meet Merle, our resident squirrel.

He cavorts about our yard, scurrying up trees or burying acorns under our lawn.
He is in or around our yard all day, every day, rain or shine.
When we would eat dinner on our deck during the summer, he would climb up into the apple tree that hung over the table, and snack on apples while we ate. The only downside to this was that when he was done, he would toss the apple cores right into the middle of the table! It was funny until one landed on Macieo's plate, and he refused to finish his dinner because it had "squirrel germs" on it. I assume this behavior for Merle's passive-aggressive way of telling us he wished we'd invited him for dinner.

But overall, we get along very well, and have enjoyed sharing our yard with him.

Macieo wants a new pet for Christmas. I think he's going to have to be satsified with Merle.
**Merle is named after the title character in one of our favorite children's books.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

O Christmas Tree

This year, we decided to continue our one-year-old tradition of having a real Christmas tree. We were determined to cut down our own, so we headed out early in the season (the Saturday after Thanksgiving). We had lots of luck at a beautiful tree farm, and it also turned out to be a gorgeous day! Sunshine and 60 degrees doesn't exactly make it feel like Christmas, but we were thankful that we weren't freezing cold!

I think we may have even topped last year's tree. Merry Christmas!

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