Thursday, December 24, 2009

It Wouldn't be Christmas Without..

Snowman Mints
They will put a smile on any Grinch or scrooges face! And they are so easy to make!

I found this recipe in the November/December 2000 issue of American Girl Magazine. I used to make them all the time but its been a few years so I'm a little rusty on all the tricks. Here's the recipe (the comments in italics are my add ons):

  1. Wash hands. In a bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon softened butter (do not use margarine, it's too greasy and they won't stay together), 1 tablespoon light corn syrup, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon mint extract with a fork or spoon. Gradually add 1 cup powdered sugar (really really do it gradually if you add it all at once it won't mix together, also if you have to little the dough will be too soft and "melty") When dough becomes too stiff to stir, knead with hands. (it should be the consistency of play dough or a little stiffer)

  2. Make 12 snowmen with 3/4 of dough by forming 2 or 3 marble-size balls for each one. Stick balls on wax paper to make bodies. Really just have fun with the size of them and I use all of the dough to make the bodies and whatever is left over I use for step 3. The heat of your hands will make the dough softer so just keep adding a little powdered sugar to keep it stiff, or put it in the fridge for a little bit to keep it stiffer.

  3. Divide rest of dough in half. Knead 1 drop blue food coloring into one half. Wash hands. Knead 1 drop red and 2 drops yellow food coloring into other half. Wash hands. You really only need a little bit of orange dough (for noses) so I do less than half. Also I put the food color on an end of the spoon to control how much color goes into the dough.

  4. For each snowman, press on candy sprinkles for mouth, eyes, and buttons. (do this first its easiest when the body is soft also, putting the face on and then sticking it to the body works well and using tweezers (clean ones!) to put the face on works well too) With the blue dough form a scarf, hat or earmuffs. With the orange dough form a nose. (like with the bodies the dough will get softer so just add more sugar or put in the fridge for a little bit) Store in fridge. ( they will harden in the fridge but I know afterwards I used to leave them out on the counter or table covered in plastic)

They are really fun and easy to make! You can change up the colors, sprinkles or features to fit your fancy. You can even just roll out the dough and cut it with small cookie cutters or make plane balls to use it for another season.
Here are some that I made yesterday :)

I messed up a lot and they still came out cute, they just look like they're melting!

Merry Christmas Eve! I hope your celebrations are wonderful!
I tried rolling the mints out and they get really sticky so just sprinkle powdered sugar on top as you roll. Its also easier to move the mint cut outs if they are thick-ish. I think you can see my thicker mints verses the thinner ones in this picture. (these rolled mints are going in a jar as part of my grandma's present)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas is Coming

And Amber's getting fat! Well not really but she's about 7 pounds now. Its more like and the momma is very busy! I've taken all our Christmas pictures, finished Christmas shopping, made tags for the presents, made a gingerbread house and sent Christmas cards! Now all I have left to do is wrap presents (that's today's goal) and do some more baking!
Wednesday night I was up till 12am making the pieces for the gingerbread house and yesterday my cousin's wife and I attempted to make the houses. HOLY CAT FIGHT is that hard!! My shapes weren't exactly straight (this is very important lol) and the frosting wasn't getting hard enough (we were too close to the heater lol). It was frustrating but we had a lot of fun, and were very entertaining to everyone watching. My cousins house was beautifully decorated but sadly fell apart before I got any pictures of it. I was so done with the whole thing that I kind of just slapped some things on it to be finished lol. Here it is.

the other side the hearts are actually in some kind of a pattern

I spent this morning making tags for our presents (because I usually wrap first and then forget what present goes to which person) It didn't take me too long and was really pretty easy. I cut some squares of card stock, stamped it, colored it in, added some glitter glue and wrote to and from. Here they are:

I'm very proud of the fact that I actually sent cards this year :) I think it came out pretty good

I've made quite a mess lol I have wrapping paper, gifts in bags and just Christmas-y things all over the place! I really need to go wrap those presents now, while Amber is happy. I've got two little helpers too!
Can you see Boo sleeping on the gifts and Mr Pickles doing something (probably along the lines of eating them).
Christmas is coming soon!! I have some very cute and festive pictures of Ambergini I'll upload later! Uploading pictures from my phone is fast and easy but, the quality is a tad crappy lol like the ones above :/
btw sorry I said lol about a million times in this post!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Feline Friend

I'm done with Christmas shopping! Today I'm supposed to be wrapping presents, getting a Christmas card picture done and baking. Well that's not really happening because Amber was (emphasis on was) having a good morning and wanted to talk to and be played with. I ran upstairs for the Boppy and came back down to find this:
She was telling Jada some big story (they're very good friends)

Then she realized I was there and told me some big story (I talk back)
This is some of our conversations...please ignore my ridiculously high pitched voice.

I took the video on my phone (can you see the other cat in the background)
I was able to get some cute pictures for our car and some gifts before she started fussing and fell asleep again. I still need a few more pictures and I think I might post them tomorrow, they really are adorable! Well I'm off to make gingerbread pieces for house making tomorrow!! Wish me luck I've never done it from scratch before!!
BTW we have 4 cats...sometime I'll introduce you to them :)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Some of my favorite things and being random (a favorite thing)

I don't know about you guys but I'm loving the fact that I have not had to do any serious blog posts lately!! In case you haven't gathered from the scatterbrained posts that I do I love to be random (probably because I can't keep myself on one subject and/or focused)

Our church's Sunday school Christmas program was today and it got me thinking about my favorite Christmas things. So here is a list (in no great order) of my all time favorite winter things!

  1. Sunday School Christmas Programs ~ adorable
  2. Gingerbread Houses ~ !!!!
  3. Christmas Lights ~ need I say more?
  4. Nativity Sets ~ how different and special each one is
  5. Ornaments ~ each one has a story to tell
  6. Singing Christmas Carols ~ anyone can sing them
  7. Christmas movie specials ~ I can not miss one!!
  8. Watching the snow fall
  9. Hearing the snow crunch under foot ~ two reason I won't leave New England
  10. Baking Christmas cookies ~ yum
  11. Getting Christmas Cards ~ better than bills!!
  12. Babies in snowsuits ~ I love how they can hardly move
  13. Wrapping Christmas Presents ~ bows and shinny paper :)
  14. Getting together with friends and family ~ always seems extra special this time of year
  15. Christmas Morning ~ exciting!
  16. The Candlelit Christmas Eve Service ~ amazing and probably my favorite thing of all time, its beautiful and powerful! I look forward to it all year long.

I could go on and on!! This is probably why I collect snow globes :) I hope you're all enjoying your favorite things about this time of year too!!

Can't believe she's 3 months now!! (1 month in a tree at Diana's Bath in North Conway NH)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

snowy days and minty cookies

Well it finally looks like winter in New England thanks to a snow storm on Wednesday! The hubby brought me home some Holiday Minty M&M's, they're great by themselves but are heavenly in these cookies and perfect on a cold winter day with some cocoa! I found this great cookie recipe in my moms cook book. Its from you have to be a member to get they're recipes online. I think that's kind of lame, since its such a good one I'm going to try to copy and past it here :)

Makes 1 1/2 dozen 3-inch cookies. Published January 1, 1996.

These truly chewy chocolate chip cookies are delicious served warm from the oven or cooled. To ensure a chewy texture, leave the cookies on the cookie sheet to cool. You can substitute white, milk chocolate, or peanut butter chips for the semi- or bittersweet chips called for in the recipe. In addition to chips, you can flavor the dough with one cup of nuts, raisins, or shredded coconut.

2 1/8 cups bleached all-purpose flour (about 10 1/2 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly
1 cup brown sugar (light or dark), 7 ounces
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 - 2 cups chocolate chips or chunks (semi or bittersweet)

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions. Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Either by hand or with electric mixer, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Mix in egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients; mix until just combined. Stir in chips.

3. Following illustrations below, form scant 1/4 cup dough into ball. Holding dough ball using fingertips of both hands, pull into two equal halves. Rotate halves ninety degrees and, with jagged surfaces exposed, join halves together at their base, again forming a single cookie, being careful not to smooth dough’s uneven surface. Place formed dough onto one of two parchment paper-lined 20-by-14-inch lipless cookie sheets, about nine dough balls per sheet. Smaller cookie sheets can be used, but fewer cookies can be baked at one time and baking time may need to be adjusted. (Dough can be refrigerated up to 2 days or frozen up to 1 month—shaped or not.)

4. Bake, reversing cookie sheets’ positions halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes (start checking at 13 minutes). (Frozen dough requires an extra 1 to 2 minutes baking time.) Cool cookies on cookie sheets. Serve or store in airtight container.

This is my new favorite cookie dough recipe! Just to let you know it still comes out really good if you make a few mistakes. Amber was having one of her days were she must be held at all time or she cries I was a bit frazzled when I made them. I ended up not melting the butter first, I didn't bother with the fancy shapping, I cooked them on a stone and I put 1 egg and 1 egg white in instead of 1 egg and 1 yolk. They still came out amazing and to prove it I have no pictures of the cookies to show you! I'm going to try the recipe again and follow the directions a little better to see if they come out any different and I'll let you all know!!

Happy Holidays and Happy Baking to you all!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Showing off :)

I know I promised some holiday posting and yes it will be coming soon but we had such a good day today that I just had to share it!!!
Today our regular early intervention therapist came with a nurse who specializes in development to discuss some of Amber's setbacks and what the Dr's have told us so far. It was my turn to impress them first sharing my knowledge of medical terms, explaining her conditions and my super binder skills! Not to pump up my own ego but there is such a stigma associated with young parents that it was nice to finally have someone recognize that I actually know whats going on :)
Amber's turn was next she totally aced today's session! She did everything cognitively that she's supposed to be able to do right now. This is a recent accomplishment and it really wow'd the nurse and her therapist. She did great eye contact, turned her head to the side and up to look at me and her Grammpy, was being very vocal in a bunch of ranges and talking back and reacting to the talking around her! Her neck control is getting a lot better even in just a week! Her therapist even commented on the remarkable improvement she's had this week, even in her hands! I know its still going to take some time before she's all "fixed" but I'm so proud of her accomplishing so much already! Thanks again for all your prayers I really believe Amber couldn't have come so far without them!
Here are some pictures of Amber and her PA Grammy enjoying some time together!

I'm proud to say her face making ability is one of the few traits she got from me :)

Friday, December 4, 2009

What a Week! Everyone needs a Med student :)

What a week it's been! We started a little rough but it seems like we're back to better than normal! Its been quite some time since I've seen Amber smile but she gave me a few today and a pretty good attempt at a laugh! She also slept completely through the night last night!! She went from 9 ish to 7! It was probably due to a stressful day but fingers crossed it happens again tonight... she just fell asleep :)
To start Tuesday we had Amber's 2 month appointment. She is now 6lbs 11oz (13oz on Thursday) and 21 inches! That puts her in the 10th percentile for height and the 3rd percentile for weight. The good news is she went from the 3rd to the 10th percentile for head size! She has a little impetigo around her mouth but thanks to some antibiotics its almost cleared up.

At our appointment we met a med student, as part of her training she needed to follow a family who has a child with a on going condition. So she got to come with us to all of our appointments on Thursday. It was nice she asked a lot of questions we wouldn't have known to ask and they told her "Dr things" they wouldn't normally say around us.

We had our joint appointment with our geneticist and orthopedist. It went ok we really didn't find out anything new except that they both really think its Beals syndrome (which they had mentioned from the beginning) Beals is very rare but our orthopedists has had one other patient with it who turned out fine (yay!) They told us was her bones are very very brittle (more brittle than someone with brittle bones disease) a startle could break her thigh bone :( they were very surprised she hasn't had a break yet. By looking at the x-rays she had they could tell the Vitamin D has been working, the bad news is it's making the top of her leg bones ossify (this is bad because ossifying doesn't happen until the bones are done or almost done growing).
The other bad news is she started with very low levels of vitamin D and now she has very high levels of it. So her endocrinologist stopped her vitamin D and calcium treatment. She'll have her levels tested again in January and then in March after that we'll go from there. Its hard news to hear because we came from one Dr's appointment where they said the treatment was working but we still had a long way to go to another Dr who says no she can't have the treatment anymore but hadn't even looked at her x-rays yet. The good news is the orthopedists thinks that since we started Early Intervention and the stretches so soon the joint and muscle problems she has should be fixed without surgery or splinting! The other good news is the ultrasound on her soft spot came out perfectly normal! So I'm not sure but I think that means we can cancel our Jan. neurology appointment!

We won't see the geneticist or orthopedist until February and we'll continue to see them together. Our geneticist is conferencing with other geneticists this weekend about Amber so hopefully at our next appointment we'll get some better answers, I don't think we'll get any diagnosis until Easter at the soonest.

I'm so thankful that we have the holiday season off from Dr appointments so we can focus on spending time with our family and enjoying the holidays! You can expect some cooking and holiday fun blogging coming soon! Lol I was supposed to start some cookie making tonight but sadly that hasn't happened....I'm not even sure this post makes sense! Yikes I really need to upload some new pictures of the peanut too!