Merry Christmas 2012

December 28, 2012

A tenacious stomach bug held 75% of the household captive over a span of about 8 days, so things weren’t quite as put-together or photographed as they might have been.  But, boy, did we do a lot of laundry!  And enjoyed Aaron’s sick leave as if it were an extended vacation.

But here’s a little glimpse of things around here.

Getting ready to leave for a family Christmas Eve gathering (sorry for bringing the germs!  We thought we were done at that point!):

Enjoying some new gifts:

Lots of resting:

Some eating:

Fleeting snow the day after Christmas:

Posing for mom’s new lens:

And a teensy bit of making:

Sadly, those cookies just had to be tossed, as the decorator was quite contagious.  But the dough had already been made and tradition must go on!  The good news is that gingerbread cookies made with honey instead of molasses, and covered in vanilla frosting, aren’t really a winning combination.

Mini Minty Yumminess

December 15, 2012

So, I’ve been feeling a little competitive this holiday season.  Disappointingly, my glittery eggs-as-Christmas-tree-light-bulbs garland didn’t pass muster for the Washington Post Holiday Craft Contest but I did garner these accolades:

Miniature Peppermint Cheesecakes!

I can’t claim originality.  I followed this recipe, with a few exceptions.  Those exceptions being the omission of peppermint extract in the cheesecake (thanks, Giant!); the addition of peppermint candy pieces in the crust; and homemade vanilla whipped cream for the top.

It seems like cheesecake has a reputation for being a difficult dessert to make, but every time I’ve tried (about once every 2 years, or so), it always surprises me by its ease of assembly.  The major downside, of course, being the enormous amount of time you need to factor in for the baking, cooling, and chilling before serving.  A new trick I learned this time was the “water bath” technique of setting the pan (or muffin tins, as the case may be) in another pan of water.  I definitely noticed that helped keep the edges firm but not crisp or overcooked.  In fact, the picture above actually represents a second batch I hastily made a few days later with less attention to details and a belated water bath….I think the browning on the sides is a consequence.

I’ll leave you with a shot of the glittery eggs.  Sigh.

Fancy Pants

December 9, 2012

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again….my children are total goobers.  Which, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, we use lovingly to refer to people who are goofy and endearing.

They are also preemptively wearing their Christmas pajama pants.  What can I say?  I needed to see if they even remotely fit.  A.’s inseam is a tad short, but his diaper was also about to explode, so maybe they’ll be OK.  Tutorial here.

Mirror, Mirror

November 20, 2012

I’m constantly on the hunt for awesome frames or mirrors at the thrift store (mainly here), but rarely successful.  Recently, I found one just up my alley:

Well, except for the gilt (faux gilt?) finish.

Ran out of spray paint primer, but I think I got enough covered.

And, done.  I probably (no, definitely) would have picked a different color but I had decided to adopt the “use what you have” approach for this paint job.  Here were my choices:

Now, on to tackle that blah blah blank wall you see reflected in the mirror.  Yes, that’s a microscopic cross hung on an existing nail in a random spot on the wall.  Why?  I have no idea how these things happen and we’re too lazy to take it down.

Christmas Card Outtakes

November 18, 2012