Monday, December 29, 2008

Doll Clothes

I love to make doll clothes and wanted to make my four year old some new doll clothes for Christmas. I thought it would be a fun quick project but what I did not expect was how hard it was to keep it a surprise! She rarely takes a nap and by the time she was in bed at night, I was ready to call it a day myself, or at least enjoy some adult conversation with my husband! But it was a fun project and since I enjoy seeing others' projects, I thought I'd share some photos!

Denim jumper with a reversible bucket hat.
Plaid jumper.
Dress to match daughter's favorite dress.

And daughter's favorite - a flannel night shirt.

Jess shared numerous McCalls patterns with me and a great book Sew the Contemporary Wardrobe for 18-inch Dolls by Joan Hinds. There was lots more that I would have loved to make but I think this doll has enough clothing options for now!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

From our home to yours...

May you have a wonderful Christmas in worship of our Savior!

Have You Any Room for Jesus?

Have you any room for Jesus,
He who bore your load of sin?
As He knocks and asks admission,
Sinner, will you let Him in?

Room for pleasure, room for business;
But for Christ, the Crucified,
Not a place that He can enter
In the heart for which He died?

Room and time now give to Jesus;
Soon will pass God's day of grace-
Soon your heart left cold and silent
And your Savior's pleading cease.

Room for Jesus, King of Glory!
Hasten now; His Word obey,
Swing the heart's door widely open;
Bid Him enter while you may.

The song on my mind this Christmas - especially as I think of planning for the new year.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sticky Buns

I've really fallen off on sharing bread recipes, but I just had to share our favorite sticky buns! My mom made these every Christmas morning, but, of course, they are treats any time of the year!

First, cook and mash potatoes to make one cup of potatoes. Save the water from cooking your potatoes. For some reason, yeast loves potato water! (That is a tip to remember any time you are cooking potatoes.) Allow the water to cool until warm.

1 1/2 cup warm potato water
1 T yeast
Mix together.
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup mashed potatoes
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp salt
Mix together. Add yeast water. Mix.
7 to 8 cups flour
Mix in flour one cup at time until you have a soft dough.
Knead for several minutes. Place in greased bowl. Raise. Punch down.
Roll out half the dough. Spread with melted butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar.
Roll up jelly roll style.
Slice in about 2 inch slices.
Place in greased pans.
Pour goo over the top.  Allow to raise until doubled. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.
While still warm, dump rolls onto a cookie sheet.
This makes two 9x13 pans or four 9x9 pans.

Goo -
2 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
4 T molasses
4 T butter
Boil for one minute. Pour over rolls before raising.

Variations -
If you like nuts, sprinkle chopped nuts into the greased pans before placing rolls.
If you prefer cinnamon rolls (not sticky buns) omit the goo. After baking you may add your favorite caramel icing.

These rolls our awesome and truly the best I've tasted. (Though if you think you have a better recipe, I'd be glad to accept any rolls to do a taste test!) But sometimes, I just don't have the time this recipe requires.

So, if you want to make sticky buns the next day, mix up the above recipe. Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover tightly and place in refrigerator. About 2 hours before serving sticky buns, take the dough out of the refrigerator, form into rolls as written above, and bake.

Make It Yourself - Eggnog

Did any of you see the recipe for homemade eggnog in the newspaper last week? According to the article, there is no comparison between commercial eggnog to fresh homemade eggnog. Ed loves eggnog and the idea intrigued him enough to bring the article home from work and try it out that very night!
I know some of you, maybe all,  will look at this recipe and shudder at the thought of consuming raw eggs! I've done a bit of reading about raw eggs the past years and truly don't believe you are playing the Russian roulette by eating them! For centuries, raw eggs (and raw milk) were considered powerhouses of vitamins and the ideal nutrient dense food for good health. It is only the last number of years that we of the industrialized world have become fearful of anything that hasn't been sterilized, fumigated or processed beyond recognition of the God given food it originated as.

Since eggs play such an important role in eggnog, I would seek out the best source possible. Ideal would be eggs you've raised yourself, or if you  personally know the person who did. If that isn't an option then at least find free range, organic eggs. If you've only had factory farm eggs that have been in cold storage for weeks before arriving at the grocery store, you'll be amazed at the difference in the rich yellow yolks and superior flavor of a real farm fresh egg!

Our thoughts on homemade eggnog? It certainly was different then bought eggnog. The flavor was more delicate and not as sickeningly sweet. The drink was foamy but not as thick. The over all flavor was similar and we greatly enjoyed it! And the children thought it was great!!!


6 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
3 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated if possible

Place a large bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill.
Separate your egg whites and yolks. Refrigerate the whites.
In chilled bowl, beat egg yolks with electric hand mixer for several seconds. Add sugar and continue to mix for 1 to 2 minutes.
Add milk, heavy cream and nutmeg and beat until well mixed. Place bowl in refrigerator until ready to serve. (These steps can be done up to a day ahead.)
Immediately before serving, place egg white in a second bowl and beat with electric hand mixer until stiff peaks form.
Gently fold whites into the yolk/milk mixture. Gently whisk until eggnog is smooth.
Serve immediately. Garnish with a little sprinkle of nutmeg.
This makes about 10 servings but you can easily make a smaller batch.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


This unusually named recipe contains no pepper or nuts and came from Europe. This old fashioned treat is meant to be slightly hard and it is a good traveling snack. Children love helping as it is almost like play dough!

3/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup corn syrup
1/4 milk
1/4 cup butter or oil
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp anise extract
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cup flour

In large sauce pan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, milk and oil. Bring to boil, remove from heat.
Stir in remaining ingredients except flour. Stir in flour to make a very stiff dough, using your hands to mix in last addition.

Shape dough into 1/2 inch rolls.
Cut each strip into pieces about 1/2 inch long. Arrange on ungreased cookie sheeet.
Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.
Cool 1 to 2 minutes before removing from sheet.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Monster Cookies

These aren't fancy cookies but are always favorites, especially with men-folk! It makes a huge batch and I love having a large number to freeze for later! These are favorites to take hunting!

1 cup butter, softened
3 cup peanut butter
2 cup sugar
2 cup brown sugar
Cream butters and sugars together.
6 eggs
Mix well.
9 cup oatmeal
4 tsp baking soda
Mix well.
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup M&Ms
Stir in.
If you don't have a large mixer, the last ingredients will need to be stirred in by hand in a large dish pan. Or you can divide the recipe in half.

Peanut Butter Critters

Our children ask for these cookies more then any other cookie, so we see these far more often then just Christmas time!

1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
Beat well.
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
Add and beat until fluffy.
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Add and beat well.
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
Stir until all combined.

Shape dough and arrange on cookie sheet. You can make anything you desire but here's how I do it.
Make a small ball of dough. Flatten the ball onto the cookie sheet for a bear head.
Make a tiny ball for a nose and two more for ears. Lightly press chocolate chips for eyes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Cool for one minute before removing from cookie sheet.
If you wish you can decorate with icing after cooling.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Lemon Strawberry Swirls

These cookies look more difficult then are. Sugar cookies are not my favorite but these are really good! You can use any kind of fruit jam.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 T milk
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice
2 cup flour

Beat butter and sugar. Beat in egg. Mix in other ingredients. Cover and chill dough for 2 hours.
1/3 cup jam
On floured surface, roll dough to a 12x10 rectangle.
Stir jam and spread on dough. Roll up dough starting from the long side. Pinch edges to seal. Cover and chill for 1 hour, turning dough occasionally. Slice dough into 1/2 inch slices.
Bake on cookie sheet for 12 minutes at 375 degrees.
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 T lemon juice
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Stir together sugar and lemon juice to make a thin icing. Add a tiny bit of water, if too thick to drizzle. Drizzle over cooled cookies and sprinkle with almonds. In the pictures above, my icing was too thin, but I had no more sugar! I'm sure yours will turn out better! This is best done before serving. If you plan to freeze the cookies, ice them after thawing.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Gingerbread Boys!

I thought I'd share a few of our favorite Christmas cookie recipes! It certainly would not be complete without my aunt's gingerbread boys!

1/3 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup table molasses (King Syrup)
Mix together.
1/2 cup cold water
Stir in.
1 tsp salt
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda dissolved in 3 T cold water
3 cup flour
Add and mix well. Add 3 more cup of flour. You may need to mix by hand. Chill dough for 8 hours.
Roll 1/2 inch thick. Cut. If you prefer a crispy cookie, roll out 1/4 inch thick.
I like to add chocolate chips or M&Ms for buttons before baking. I'm into simple decorations! And it is easy for children to help! If you prefer, you can decorate with icing after the cookies cool.
Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Unless you roll them out thinly then only bake for 8 minutes.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Book Review - Hearth and Home

Hearth and Home

I've been enjoying this warm cozy book by Karey Swan. The book combines recipes, homemaking tips, mothering wisdom and family memories all in one encouraging volume.

I was struck by her observation that she needed to protect her time at home in order to get beyond the maintenance part of homemaking (cleaning, ironing, laundry) and get to the creative part of homemaking (which for her was crafting, sewing, and hospitality). In her opinion, the creative side of homemaking was what kept her from getting burned out - but only happened if she was home for long stretches of time and avoided time on the road.

This was a book that had me copying down recipes and considering ways I could improve my homemaking skills. Her "from scratch" cooking style is just down my line! It gave me new thoughts as I train my children and strive to become a better wife and mother. It is one of those books that I could turn to every year and probably learn something new. And if not, then I'd at least be encouraged afresh in my role as a homemaker!


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