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I have to be honest, not everything about this Christmas turned out as jolly as we had planned. There were a few huge Grinch-like moments and several other smaller disappointments, but I tried not to let those things bring me down too much. After all, I got to spend time with my family and everyone is healthy and well, so I’ve done my best to focus on those more important things. There were some great moments too: like hanging with the nieces, coloring, playing, and taking silly photos; eating some awesome Mexican food with my dad and step-mom; and bowling while drinking Coors tall boys at a South Sioux City bowling alley with the whole family. Good times.

I didn’t do a very good job of photographing the handmade things I gave this year. I was pretty crunched for time towards the end of things, especially since we bumped up our travel plans in order to beat the nasty weather. So unfortunately I don’t have much to show you. I did manage to snap a few pics of the box I put together for my little sis. She’s sixteen and likes to alter her clothes, so I figured I’d give her some tools to do so.

katiesgift

I found a book on altering t-shirts that I thought she’d like, then included a felt pincushion (the handmade part of the gift), some funky fabric, and a sewing kit (which isn’t in the picture). The book teaches a few basic hand stitches, so hopefully she’ll be able to do even more with her clothes than she has been. I made another pincushion for my mom (who also sews), but I didn’t get a picture taken of it. The rest of the family got handmade ornaments, hot chocolate mix and mugs, gift cards (for the boys – they’re so hard to buy for), and other assorted small gifts. There was nothing too extravagant this year; I really wanted to keep everything simple.

I think we’re all still recovering from the last few weeks around here. Even the pups have been more sleepy than usual. As soon as I get everything unpacked and settled back into normal, everyday life I’ll share a few of the gifts I received…and some of the birthday gifts I never got around to sharing. But for now, I think I’ll take the rest of the week to relax, finish the rest of the holiday treats, and enjoy the time off with J and the pups. I hope you all have a safe and happy New Year. See you in 2009!

cupcakes

I was hoping to post a few more pictures of our holiday decorations, but weather has us bumping up our holiday travel plans and corners must be cut. Thanks to all of you for your lovely comments on my last post! I’m so glad you enjoyed my little gingerbread house! And I hope each and every one of you has a wonderful holiday!

Merry Christmas!

I’m so excited about this little guy…I couldn’t wait to share it with you.

I was totally inspired by this little house. In fact, when I saw it I thought, “How is it possible to stitch something so tiny?” I knew I had to try it for myself. And it being Christmas-time and all, I thought a little gingerbread house would be appropriate. I have to admit that I’m rather proud of myself for pulling this off…and not just one, but two of them. They were so much fun, I couldn’t stop!

Look what I won from Yvestown:

yvestowncoasters

I won these gorgeous coasters on my birthday and received them in the mail this week. Aren’t I lucky?

yvestowncoasters2

Thanks again, Yvonne!

I spent most of last week on the couch trying to recover from a horrible head cold, and when I’m not feeling well, I’m pretty picky about the food I eat. And I don’t mean picky in the way that I’ll only eat super-healthy things in order to boost my immune system and bring on a quick recovery, oh no. I mean picky in the way that I only want the mostly horrible-for-you food that I ate when I was younger: mac-n-cheese-n-corn (mixed together), frozen pizza and cream soda, hamburger helper cheeseburger macaroni, and sloppy joes (or sloppy cheeses). J likes to refer to these meals as my trailer trash menu, but to me they just mean the comfort of being home with a mom to take care of you.

Growing up, there were only two meals that my mom made that I detested. One was economy burgers (basically meatloaf patties that she cooked under the broiler) and tuna tetrazzini (usually from a box). It’s funny how tastes change as you grow older, because last week all I could think about making was tuna tetrazzini. Since we didn’t have any tuna (and I was in no shape to go to the store) I decided to try making a turkey tetrazzini (turkey being something we had lots of post-ThanksMas). It turned out great. Oh the joys of a casserole! So easy to throw together using whatever you happen to have on hand. Here’s my thrown-together recipe; feel free to make substitutions based on the contents of your pantry.

turkey-tetrazzini

Turkey Tetrazzini

2 c. cooked turkey, diced

8 oz. pasta (I used macaroni, but any pasta will do)

1 small onion, diced

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 c. sour cream

1 c. shredded cheddar (or your cheese of choice)

1c. French’s onions

Preheat oven to 350*. Boil pasta according to package directions, drain, and set aside. Heat 1 T. oil or butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion (if you choose to add any other vegetable, such as mushrooms or celery, do so now) and cook until tender. Add turkey, soup, and sour cream to skillet. Stir to combine and remove from heat. In a large casserole dish mix pasta and turkey mixture until well-combined. Sprinkle cheese and fried onions on top, and bake for 30 – 40 minutes, or until top is lightly browned and contents are bubbly. Enjoy!

turkey-tetrazzini2

thewinner

Congratulations! Check your email for details.

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On another giveaway note, have you heard about Design Mom‘s 12 Days of Christmas giveaway? I was a little late in learning of this one, but you have until midnight tonight to enter, so go check it out! She’s offering some amazing products.

I’ve had so much to celebrate lately: the opening of my etsy shop, many kind words from you dear folks out there, my 30th birthday, ThanksMas, and this is my 99th post here at the ole blog. What better way to celebrate all of those things than to host a giveaway? So, I’m offering a set of my handcrafted ornaments to one lucky reader!

The winner will receive everything pictured above: a one-of-a-kind cuckoo clock and a set of two log ornaments. All you have to do to be entered to win is leave a comment here on this post telling me your favorite holiday song (or why you can’t stand holiday music). Comments will be open until midnight (est) on Sunday, December 14th, and the winner will be announced first thing Monday morning. Good luck to all of you!

I’m taking the day to recover from the weekend’s festivities. Things didn’t go quite as planned, but overall I think we all had a good time. I’ll give more details and share some pics later. And as promised the giveaway details are in the works too. I hope you all had a great weekend!

Tomorrow is the big day…the ThanksMas party and the big birthday. I’ve been crazy busy getting ready, so I can’t stay here long. I just wanted to stop by to tell you that I have a little celebratory giveaway planned for sometime next week…as soon as I recover from all the festivities…so stay tuned. I also plan to take plenty of pictures to share with all of you, assuming I actually remember to keep my camera handy. So, have a great weekend, and I’ll see you back here Monday!

I’ve been busy, busy, busy getting ready for our ThanksMas party this Saturday. Today I made sugar cookies using my new cookie cutters. Sadly, they didn’t turn out as beautifully as I’d imagined them. Why is it that I always over-estimate my icing abilities? Yesterday I made party mix, using my Grandma’s recipe, and then I made these:

They’re puppy treats. I made them for the other family member with dogs. The recipe is from this cookbook and is so ridiculously easy…just 4 ingredients! And our dogs love them.

With what’s left of today I still need to finish sewing a couple gifts and decorate the tree. If all of this wasn’t so much fun, it would feel like a lot of work! 🙂

Oh, by the way, one of my log ornaments was featured here. Thanks, Delia, for the mention! She also posted some great tips for making the holidays a little less stressful. Check it out.

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