"Friendship is born at the moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one'."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ode to Buddy...[the elf]

I'll start by saying that our whole house has been sick for weeks and now mama has it. I decided to spread some Christmas cheer in hopes of lifting my spirits as well. Buddy ALWAYS makes me smile!

Sarah and I (and our husbands) quote the movie Elf ...ALL...YEAR...LONG. Among my favorites, the words 'ginormous' and 'purple-y'! I inevitably start itching to dig into the Christmas bins sometime around July to which my husband rolls his eyes. (He loves it too, but will not stand for it being inserted into the DVD player before Black Friday.)

I follow Buddy on Facebook and was thrilled to see the page "Dear SNL, please let Buddy the Elf host the 2010 Christmas Special" (190,000 members and counting!) Facebook is capable of great things...I also [liked] "Please let Betty White host SNL"...it happened and it was fabulous!

In the spirit of the season and a possible guest-hosting gig, hoping you enjoy some of our favorite quotes and some great fan pics submitted on the FB page...

"The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!"

"I just like to smile....smiling's my favorite!"

"We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns...and syrup."

Taylor Lautner...enough said!

"Did you hear that?"

"That's SHOCKING!"

"Have you seen these toilets? They're GINORMOUS!"

"I'm a cotton-headed ninnymuggins."

It's like someone created this just for us...Did we mention we love Alec Baldwin?

"Buddy the elf, what's your favorite color?"

"It's just nice to meet another human who shares my affinity for elf culture."

"I love your dress. It's very purpley!"

"Francisco...that's fun to say...FRAN-CISCO."

Too funny!

"The yellow ones don't stop"

"He's an angry elf"

"You stink. You smell like beef & cheese. You don't smell like Santa."

"I love you. I love you. I LOOOVVVEEE YOU!"

"Put a ring on it"

"What's a Christmas gram? I want one!"

"SANTA...I KNOW him!"

"First we'll make snow angels for two hours, then we'll go ice skating, then we'll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse Cookiedough as fast as we can, and then we'll snuggle."

"Son of a nutcracker!"

"I'm sorry I ruined your lives, and crammed eleven cookies into the VCR."

I actually couldn't watch this scene the Christmas I was pregnant with Carter...made me so sick!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thankful for...

Time to give thanks...this post seems a little weird (even though I know it is still Thanksgiving week) since those of us in the Pacific Northwest have more of a winter wonderland thing going on than a harvest scenario. So be it. Recently got the urge to transform the traditional preschool Thanksgiving craft into my "thankful for" list this year.

And, a couple more from both of us:

Alec Baldwin
Burt's Bees tinted chapstick
Matthew Morrison
Red Bull
Stephenie Meyer
anything with drive-thru service
girls' night
Real Simple
Curious George
online shopping
Yellowtail Chardonnay
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Carrie Bradshaw
Thanksgiving pants
forgiving bulky sweaters
dark, heat-me-up, Winter beers
Christmas cookie dough
Fall sweeps
Crayola color wonder books
Kettle Chips
Friends Thankgiving episodes
Alec Baldwin (Oh wait, did we already say that?)


Enjoy your holiday!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Stuff Your Face

Happy Thanksgiving Week!  I'm doing a lot of cooking and not a lot of blogging.  C'est la vie!  Here are the dishes that will be appearing on our Thanksgiving table this year, alongside staples like Mom's green bean casserole and famous crab stuffed mushrooms. 

Shall we start at the beginning? ...

Parmesan Puff Pastry

(I plan on working from both recipes.  Never brined before!!  Can't wait to give you the play-by-play.)
Ree Drummond's Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey
Alton Brown's Good Eats Roast Turkey

Mom's Stuffing Muffins
Cranberry, Apple and Sausage Stuffing
Paula's Southern Cornbread Stuffing

Alton Brown's Cranberry Sauce

Veggies and Potatoes
Scalloped Potato Gratin
Giada's Roasted Potatoes, Carrots, Parsnips and Brussels Sprouts

Paula's Caramel Apple Cheesecake
Pumpkin Pie (recipe on the Libby's Pumpkin can...it's the essence of Thanksgiving to me :)
Mom's Razzleberry Pie

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Green Bunny: December Daily - Getting Started

So here it is..."The one about building a December Daily foundation."

The first thing I do is gather, gather, gather...

I bought this Itso bin [pictured below] from Target and started collecting new & old embellishments, papers, stamps, etc. Anything and everything I think might be included. At this point, I don't stick too closely to a single theme or color scheme. I am open to the creative process and ALL my options. Once I have a pretty good pile of stuff, I look at what I have and start to narrow it down a bit. (But, I keep all items out in a pile just incase December 22nd rolls around and I need that perfect little piece that may have been rejected during round one.)

For this year's album, I decided to go with a 6x6 Doodlebug Designs Plain & Simple Chipboard Album. It comes with front & back cover, 10 pages, and 3 silver rings (I ended up having to use my own two-inch rings because it got a little bulky).
I know what you're thinking:
"But Lindsay, 10 pages isn't enough for the whole month of December".

You're right. I bought this album knowing that I was going to get creative with some variation of page size and type. I'll point out the pages I added as we go. I decided to do only 25 days this year. So, here's a look at some of my foundation pages. Once I start filling in the blanks in December, I'll show you more!



Day 1: I added this Kraft 4x6 file folder. It has been in my stash for a while and I have no idea what brand it is. Couldn't find anything similar online, but if I come across something I'll let you know.

Day 6: Zutter Bind-it-All 4x4 acrylic cover

 Day 9: This was just a piece of cardboard from a paper pack I purchased that I cut down to 4x6 and covered with patterned paper.

Day 10: Heidi Swapp 5x7 transparency.

Day 11: This is something new for me...Funky Flock! LOVE it. I just laid down two strips of double-sided tape to create my number eleven and covered it with red flock from The Rubber Cafe.

Day 13: Found this over-sized Christmas tag at a stamping store after Christmas last year. It measures 4x6 and fit perfectly in the book!

Day 18: Another Heidi Swapp transparency. They were originally 5x7 and I cropped them down for something a little different.

Day 22: Zutter Bind-it-All 4x6 chipboard cover.

 Day 25: This was a piece of thick cardstock from a pack of page protectors. I made a folder that will open out to the right for those extra special Christmas morning pictures.

I used the We R Memory Keepers Crop-a-Dile punch tool to add the various page types. I lined the pieces up using the pre-punched holes of the original album pages and marked where I needed to punch. The Crop-a-dile can punch through pretty much anything. It also sets brads and eyelets silently...no more pounding with a hammer...This was a must-have tool for a mommy whole typically works while the children are sleeping!

If you have any questions about the embellishments used, post a comment below (or click on 'chatter' at the bottom of the post from the main page)...there are so many different pieces involved that creating an entire list seemed daunting!

This project was so fun to create. I headed upstairs armed with a glass of wine and my favorite 'not-technically-a-Christmas-movie' movie, The Family Stone. Dan checked on me once, saw the twinkle in my eyes, and left me alone for the next couple of hours. Seems he knew we wouldn't be catching up on the DVR that night!

I'll post an update once I start to build the album in December!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Green Bunny: To Infinity and Beyond

There is just something about this layout that I love. It is always one of the first ones I think of when asked what my favorites are. Maybe because it takes me back to a certain time in our family's story. Maybe because it is SOOOO Logan:

This is called a 'hybrid' layout combining traditional and digital scrapbooking elements. The entire photo with white border and white journaling was created in Photoshop Elements. Simple print and paste. I added a silver chipboard 'L' on top of the digital print for some dimension. The stars are embossed. I used a clear embossing stamp pad & silver powder with foam star stamps. Drew in some circles and added silver brads for a bit more sparkle.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Joyeux Kitchen: Favorite Fall Soups

"Soup is to the meal, what the hostesses smile of welcome is to the party. A prelude to the goodness to come." --Louis P. De Gouy
I've been sick all week!  I'm going to let a couple of my favorite ladies do my work for me today.  Here's a list of my five favorite fall soup/stew recipes to warm you up.

Rachael Ray's Tortilla Soup
Pioneer Woman Corn Chowder With Chiles
Pioneer Woman Roasted Vegetable Minestrone
Rachael Ray's Uptown Down-Home Chili
Beef and Guinness Stew

The corn chowder is Doug's favorite, spicy and savory and delish.  With all these recipes, I leave out the mushrooms because they're on Doug's "I'm not eating that!" list.  I have no idea if the mushrooms would significantly impact the flavor.  I puree the tortilla soup (Mom's favorite) with the hand blender to prevent he-who-shall-not-be-named from picking out all the vegetables.  For the chili recipe, I never keep gouda on hand and usually sub in some sharp cheddar or monterey jack cheese.  Enjoy!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Kids' Silhouette Display Gift Idea

The original example from kaboose.com.

My finished product for Mom.  I added metal sticker embellishments to look like flowers in their hair, in coordinating colors.
Looking for an easy, affordable Christmas craft?  These would work for any holiday; I made them for my mom for her birthday and she loved them.  Getting their silhouettes was easy!  Turn on a movie they really like and stand off to the side to photograph their little faces  while they watch.  The website gives tips for the sizes the photos should be.  I finished these in 20 minutes during lunch time, start to finish.  Shopping was easy too--I found the plates at Target for $2.99 each and got cardstock and metal stickers from the local scrapbook store.  Happy crafting!

Full instructions here:

Uncommon Goods

This catalog makes me happy. SO happy that it has become my mission, come November when it arrives in my mailbox, to find something I MUST buy for someone...ANYONE!

From jewelry to art...from toys to travel goodies...it is filled with unique gifts for everyone on your list. Here are some of my favs from the current catalog:
Mother/Daughter Aprons

Ceramic Compost Containers
Feelings Flashcards

Copper Wall Flowers

Lingerie Bag

Tissue Pots

Last year, I purchased the Ticket Stub Diary for my concert-going cousin. It was a big hit. Have fun shopping!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Joyeux Kitchen: It's All About The Frosting, Baby

This weekend was crazy.  We had an Under The Sea themed joint birthday party for the girls; good food, great friends and family.  The culinary highlight of the evening, I think, at least for the grown-ups, was the Swiss Meringue Buttercream on these cupcakes.  Ooooooh Martha it was good.  I wanted to swim in it, like that old gal on Patch Adams whose life dream was to swim in a pool of noodles.  The cupcakes themselves were great too, all Martha of course, (click here for all the recipes--side note: I added the seeds of one vanilla bean to the Vanilla Cupcake recipe) but I really want to focus on the frosting.

I had no idea how many different preparations of buttercream existed--thank you Wikipedia!  The Swiss is magical, and not for timid beginners.  It took a lot of mixing and I don't know how you would do this one without a stand mixer.  It would be wonderful on any cake, or on sugar cookies, or in a bowl accompanied by a hot cup of coffee... I'm having strong feelings for this frosting.  I'm in love.  So what if the recipe takes two  entire  boxes of butter.  Throw caution to the wind!  Your happiness depends on you tasting this frosting.

From MarthaStewart.com
You'll need:
  • 2 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 10 large egg whites
  • 4 cups (8 sticks) of unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Sheer joy.  This frosting (which isn't even an adequate word to describe it) is perfect for mounding on top of cupcakes or smoothing thin layers on a cake.  Because of the preparation it will never 'dry out' or form a crust on the top layer--it will remain glossy and sticky to the touch.  These directions are straight from the woman herself--I took no liberties with Martha's buttercream.
Place sugar and egg whites in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, and whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; it should feel completely smooth.

Transfer bowl to mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks, about 10 minutes.

Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. Don't worry if the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with continued beating. Add vanilla, and beat just until combined.

Switch to the paddle attachment, and beat on the lowest speed to eliminate any air pockets, about 5 minutes. If using buttercream within several hours, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature in a cool environment. Or transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Before using, bring buttercream to room temperature, and beat on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until smooth, about 5 minutes.
I do have a couple things to add.  As it says in step 3, the buttercream WILL appear curdled after you get all the butter in.  You will panic.  Have a glass of wine and step away from the mixer.  Everything's going to be fine.    It's magic!  Culinary magic!  Also, if you're preparing it ahead of time, there will be more moments of panic.  I pulled it out of the fridge the morning of the party and let it 'come to room temperature' for two and a half hours.  It wasn't long enough.  In the mixer, it turned into something that looked like aqua blue cottage cheese in blue milk.  Gasp.  Not the canned stuff....  I had a Plan B but I wasn't eager to use it.  In Martha I Trust.  I turned the Kitchenaid on Medium/High, put my hands around the bowl of the mixer to warm it, and closed my eyes.  Six minutes later all was well--smooth, creamy perfection. 

I hope you'll try it.  Leave me a note if you do.  It will be a looooove note, I'm sure. xo