Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ugly-Awesome Christmas Trinket Tie

A few weeks ago in the foyer at church, I overheard a friend's dad say to another guy, "You're so conservative!"

He was referring to the other guy's festive tie. And then I took a look at his! It was what I call "ugly-awesome," an adjective reserved for only the ugly-awesome, meaning it is so ugly that I love it. And ever since then, I have been waiting excitedly for an after-Christmas bauble-buying fest!

Here's the loot:
I tried to find some larger, flat ornaments to fill in big spaces, as well as some smaller filler items. These were all 75% off at JoAnn, and most were 60 cents or less.

First, I had Dallas put on an old red tie I decided to use so that I could measure how much space I had to work with. Luckily, Dallas already owned an old red tie, AND he didn't care if I glued things all over it, AND he even said he would wear it next year, (AND I hadn't even made it yet when he said that)! Then I laid out the larger pieces and began hot gluing.

Here are the larger pieces ready for adhesion.

Then I filled in all of the spaces with little doo-dads. Funny enough, I think it's missing something still. Maybe something white here and there? This tie may evolve between now and next Christmas.

"You're so conservative . . . "

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Soup That Saved Christmas

I first tasted this soup on Thanksgiving Eve down at my parents' house after a very stressful day. It was so soothing and satisfying (as are most things made with a mother's love)! I made this soup over Christmas break just before the sickness settled in on our family, and it lasted us through the weekend.

Some recipe hints for novices like me:

Slow-cook boneless-skinless chicken breast in the oven on 250 degrees in a foil-covered casserole dish for a few hours instead of boiling a broiler/fryer. Then add a couple of bouillon cubes to the recipe (to make up for the lack of broth).

Also, roll out the noodle dough as thin as you possibly can. Mine were a bit thick, but they were still so good. It will take some work to mix all of the flour in, but it is so worth it! And really, just use half of the homemade noodles as the recipe suggests.

Thick Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Noodles
(from Denise's Recipe Stash)

1 broiler/fryer, about 3 1/2 lbs.
2 quarts water
2 tsp. salt
3 large carrots, sliced
2 large celery stalks, sliced
1 onion, chopped
3/4 c. flour
1 can evaporated milk
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 tsp. sage
1 tsp. celery salt
1 Tbs. parsley
3/4 c. butter

In large stockpot combine chicken with 2 quarts water and 2 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and cover. Cook until tender, about 1 1/2 hours. While cooking, make noodles. (See recipe below.)

Combine flour and milk for thickening. Set aside.

Remove chicken from liquid and cool. Set aside.

Add prepared vegetables and seasonings to the hot liquid. Cook about 12 minutes. Drop in homemade noodles (use only 1/2 of recipe below) or purchased; cook 8-10 minutes.

Add butter to hot soup. Reduce heat. Add flour mixture and bring to slow boil, stirring constantly until thick. Add chicken and serve.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Homemade Noodles
3 egg yolks
1 egg

Beat well. Add:

3 Tbs. cold water
1 tsp. salt
2 c. flour

Mix together well. You will need to use your hands. Divide dough in half. Roll each portion out very thin on floured surface. Let stand for 1 hour to dry. Cut into whatever size you prefer. Use immediately or freeze. Can be frozen for 1 month before using.


Wishing You a Merry Virus and Happy Our Nasals are Clear

Our holiday season this year began as what Dallas called "our best ever." We enjoyed so many festive events together as a family and with our wonderful friends and extended family. We enjoyed Raleigh and Madeline's piano recital at an assisted living center, attended the Festival of the Nativity, ate dinner with a few different friends, watched the Christmas Devotional together, had festive family nights decorating the house and eating holiday desserts, skyped with loved-ones near and far, made some awesome new Christmas decorations, attended a few Christmas parties, and even spent a whole Saturday in December painting a mural as part of a service project for church. It was all "magical" and Christmas-y!

Dallas and I, along with another couple, painted this mural for our service project. We were happy with how it turned out! Go here to read the Church News article about our fun day!

We had a special dinner with Grammy and Grandpa Bear before they left for their long trip to Utah for Grandpa Van's big 80th birthday-bash:
Grammy is wearing a "cape" that Raleigh made for her that said "Birthday Girl." She wore it all night - what a good grammy!

Choobies fell asleep on the "pink chair" in the middle of dinner, so we swept her off to bed and enjoyed the other girls. Grammy and Grandpa Bear brought special presents:
Custom-made American Girl Doll sleeping bag and pillow sets by Grammy . . .

. . . which have been put to good use already, and some Baby Legs for all! All of the kids, that is. Here's Madeline in hers:

She wanted to wear them to bed with her pajamas.

Thanks, Mom!

Even Emery has enjoyed them!

Here are some pictures from a party with lots of great friends:

And finally . . .

Christmas morning!

(How would you like to meet up with Madeline in a dark alley with that look on her face?! She looks like a scary cat!) The girls must have been good this year because Santa brought them some pretty neat things!

I stayed awake for most of the festivities . . . unfortunately, I came down with Strep two nights before and still had a fever. By Christmas night, three out of our four kids had high fevers, I was still sick, and the worst part was that Emery was sick and not breathing well. We had some very scary late-night moments with her, and by Monday we were able to get everyone in to see the doctor and brought home one of these for Emery to help her breathe:

I love how she's looking at Dallas. He took mighty good care of us. What a way to spend his precious days off, though! As Raleigh got better and her appetite increased, I found signs like this around the house:

We ate soup all weekend (and it was divine), but she was ready for a real meal! She was also compelled to make this "pharmacy" out of all of our spices and a creche:

I guess this picture is a metaphor of Christmas Day at our house!

And we're sure glad this little plump-kin is better, so we can kiss her little toes under the mistletoe (which still happens to be hung, along with all of our other Christmas decorations)! (FYI - I overheard Dallas calling Emery "Miss Butter McFrumple Knuckle." Thought you should know.)