Thursday, December 17, 2015

Rudolph the Red Nosed Raindeer

Two Things I am Grateful For:

1)  Doctor's who help me sort through and get to the bottom of things. I am so grateful for all they do!  Thank you.

2)  My husband for standing his ground.  Thank you.

From the Camera:

This is a photo Lexi took last night when she went to see the Temple lights with the Youth from our ward.  Pretty good shot, right?  
I think so.  

From the Craft Room & Other Things:
I've been wanting to make some of these, but haven't found the time yet.  I think the DIY Porcelain Ornaments are so pretty.  
BUT, I really like this one.  It's a little more detailed than the average cookie cutter shapes I have seen and looks like it would take a little more effort.  I would love to give them a try.  
Here are the instructions I found below....
http://almostsanesisters.blogspot.com/


I started out by making cold porcelain. If you've ever made cooked play dough, the process is very similar, but the ingredients are much different.

Cold Porcelain

1 lb white school glue
1 lb cornstarch
2 Tbs. lemon juice
4 tsps. petroleum jelly

Get a medium to large saucepan that you aren't in love with. I was able to get everything off, but I may have been lucky. Put all of the ingredients in the pan and stir over low heat until it pulls away from the sides of the pan and looks doughy instead of gooey. Be prepared to use some muscle. It was not easy to stir this (an
d don't use a weak spoon.)

Remove from heat and let cool enough that you can touch it without burning yourself. Start kneading. Once the dough is all smooth, roll it out, again, this is difficult, because it's stiff dough. Cut out. I used a vaguely flower-shaped cookie cutter. (If you don't have a cookie cutter you like, you can always make one.) Then I punched holes in every bump with a large drinking straw. I used a slightly smaller drinking straw to punch holes inside the ring of bigger holes. If you wanted, you could use coffee stirrers to make another round of smaller holes, if you wanted.

To use a straw for a punch, the easiest way is to use the bendable straws and cut it off just above the joint section. Press the original sipping end into the dough and hold onto the contracted joint as a handle. To clear the dough out of the straw, stick a toothpick through the joint and push the "holes" out the other side. You may need a couple of each size of straw because they aren't terribly sturdy.

Once the shapes are cut, you can air-dry them for several days or dry them in a 175 degrees Fahrenheit oven for a couple of hours. Either way, turn them over once in a while, because they start to curl and you want these flat.

 I glued laser print-outs onto the ornaments and covered them with another thin layer of glue. If I'd had matte mod-podge, I would have liked to use that, but I didn't want to wait another few days to get it in the mail. I used the laser print-outs because they wouldn't smear when I put the glue on top of them like ink jet prints would.

From the Heart & Spirit:
What is life?
By: Marinela Reka
Have you ever thought what is life?
Why do we even live?
Are we alive to take from people?
Or are we alive to give

Maybe everyday is a dream
And our dreams are reality
Or all our life we are trapped in a room
And when we die we find the key

We may live to benefit others
And we aim to always make them smile
Because happy moments we live
Are very worthwhile

I think life is all about spreading love
In every move we make
Also to give everyday
And try not to overtake
From the Kitchen:


Chocolate Fudge Cherry Cheesecake Brownies ( adapted)
Ingredients
1 box chocolate fudge brownie mix
2/3 cup oil
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
Cherry Cheesecake
8 oz cream cheese (1 package) room temperature
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1 can cherry pie filling
Instructions:
For the Brownies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a 9x13 baking dish with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray
Prepare brownie mix according to package directions, using oil, water and eggs. set bowl aside while preparing the cream cheese.
For the Cheesecake
Using a stand mixer (or a hand mixer + large bowl), beat together cream cheese, egg, vanilla, and sugar on medium high speed until combined, about 2-3 minutes.
Set bowl aside until ready to add to baking dish.
Chocolate Drizzle: (opt)
¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons butter
Putting it Together
1. Pour 1/2 of the brownie mix along the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Use a spatula to spread evenly to the corners.
2. Pour the cheesecake mix on top of the brownie layer. Use a spatula or the back of a spoon so the cheesecake completely covers the chocolate.
3. Spoon cheery pie filling on top of cream cheese. There won't be enough to completely cover, so just add evenly.
4. Using large spoonfuls, add the remaining brownie batter on top of the cherries and cheesecake. The brownie mix won't fully cover the top layer - that is okay, fill in the sides and the center, then gently pull the sections of brownie toward each other. Once finished, run a knife or spatula through the mix to create more decoration on the surface.
5. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out completely clean.
6. Let brownies cool completely, then store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
7. (opt) While the brownies are chilling, make the chocolate drizzle by adding the chocolate chips and 2 teaspoons of butter in a small bowl and microwave for about 30 seconds. Stir until smooth. Microwave again for another 30 seconds if it is not melted after the first 30 seconds. Stir and then spoon over the top of the cheesecake bars before serving.

From the Schmidt's

Let's change things up a bit...how about a few random questions courtesy of thissideofthepond.com...

1) What's your biggest "first world" problem?

For our family, I would say just trying to juggle everything and keep Kevin healthy...as if I have any control over that.  I don't.  AND not having enough time or energy in any given day.  My first world problems are a far cry from some of the things others deal with on a daily basis.  
2) Each year Time Magazine names a 'Person of the Year', someone who has 'for better or worse.....done the most to influence the events of the year.'  It was recently announced they've named Angela Merkel Person of the Year for 2015.  Your thoughts?  If you were in charge, who would you declare Person of the Year?

I am okay with this choice, even thought I do not know much about Angela Merkel myself.  It would have irked me if they would have selected someone like Donald Trump or Caitlyn Jenner.  Frankly, I am not a fan of either one of those people.  I believe there are many others more worthy of this title and not people that just like to make a lot of noise just to get noticed. 

3) Do you have a nativity set in your home?  If so share it's history and how you display the pieces.  

We do have a nativity.  In fact, we have several.  The largest one was given to us by my BIL and SIL that live in Utah several years ago.  That set is usually displayed in a special corner in my living room each year with all the other little sets around it.  I didn't get out my nativity sets this year, I have only the one nativity ornament displayed on my mantle shelf simply because I didn't feel like getting everything out this year.  It's too much work and I'm just not up for it this year.  Sad but true.

4) Do you make an extra effort to give back in some way during the holiday season?  How do you encourage those who need encouragement this time of year?  

I would like to think I do.  There are a number of things we do all year, but during the holiday season it just seems like there are more opportunities to give back.  I find that I tend to be very task oriented, especially at work.  I want to get my work done and I tend to let the work take priority over a chat with co-workers.  I need to work on this more to develop better relationships with the people I spend so much time with.  I need to remember that people are far more important, and not just at work.  

I see little acts of kindness offered up each and every single day.  In fact, just this afternoon on the way to the doctor....I was in a hurry to make it to the appointment on time and I wouldn't let a car cut in front of me.  BUT, the car behind me did.  That reminds me to try and be better and be kind.  I can do better.  I can try to not always be in such a hurry and remember that by being more kind it will help others and ultimately help me. 

5) Who is your favorite person to shop for?  Why?

I would have to say my children!  Why?  Because they are easy and, believe it or not, they do not place high expectations on us.  They are awesome!  We are incredibly blessed to have such wonderful children!

6) What's the last delicious thing you ate?  

Ooh!  I would have to say my sister's cake balls!  OH MY HEAVENS!  My Mom sent an entire tin of them to Curtis for Christmas and she gave me a couple of the left overs.  They are so moist and so yummy.  I can never eat just one.  I think I ate 4!  So good!

7) The best way to spread Christmas cheer is__________.

I think the best way to spread Christmas cheer is to be kind and patient with others.  I love being a part of a Secret Santa during the holidays, or Christmas Caroling.  Reaching out to help someone out who is in need...all of those things that lift anothers burdens and lighten their load are the kinds of things I mean.  Small acts of or a smile.  Any of these things spread Christmas cheer.

8) Insert your own random thought here...
It is cold outside and it's cold inside too.  In fact, it's colder here in Arizona than it is in New York where our youngest son is serving his mission.  How strange is that??  I have talked to a few people that live in New York and they said the weather should change some time in January and Curtis will get to experience the brittle cold of winter.  Yikes!  I'm curious how he handles the snow, and I can't wait to see the pictures.  

So, are you ready for Christmas?  I'm not.  I have a lot to do and not much time to get it all done.  Time flies.  We usually get together with my family on Christmas Eve, but we have decided to not do that this year.  Mostly because of Kevin.  I'm not thrilled about hat decision, but it is what it is.  Kevin comes first.  We will still get together with Danielle and the kids and do something, but not with extended family like we normally do.  Hopefully we can do that again next year though.  I'm hoping to play games or something with Kevin and the kids on Christmas Eve.  That will be fun.  It will be good and we get to talk to Curtis on Christmas Day!  We are all looking forward to that, and I know he is too.  We miss him, but we wouldn't have him any other place but on his mission right now.  We love that kiddo!  

Well, I need to get going.  It's been a busy day.  I have lots to do.
Take care and we will talk again soon!
From the Missionary:

Nothing new from our Missionary yet.  More next week, and more again on Christmas Day!

Quote of the Day:

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