Sunday, November 30, 2008

Black Friday

This year was another successful Black Friday for me. Even though I’ve been feeling icky, I went out early to stock up on some good deals.

At Kohl’s I got a Christmas sweater and slippers. That started at 4 a.m. I then came home and climbed back in bed for about 30 minutes.

At 10 until 6 I headed to JoAnn’s. They had flannel on sale for $1.49 a yard. $115.08 later, I came home with 16 different new flannels, a new 15” square ruler for rotary cutting, a scissor sharpener, new scissors, 4 bags of fiberfill, some new bobbins, and some basting gun tacks.
My darling husband went to Target while I was at JoAnn’s. He snuck up behind me after he was through with his shopping and says, “Excuse me miss. You dropped this.” Normally I would have recognized his voice, but since my head is pretty congested, things don’t sound the same. I turned around and looked at what this man had in his hand for me, and knew that I could not have dropped that pack of Reese’s. I didn’t have one to begin with. Isn’t he wonderful? He stopped by to make sure he didn’t need to stick around to guard my cart while I continued shopping.

I had already been through the flannel aisle and had a number for the cutting table. We walked the store together to shop for any other things we needed and then he left me to head home.
After 3 hours of shopping and waiting in line, I was done. While waiting in line for the check-out with my cart filled with stuffing and flannel, I had this conversation with the woman behind me.

She asked, “What time did you get here this morning?”

I responded with, “I was in line a little before six.”

She said in a fairly rude tone, “Was it worth it.”

My response was, “Yes. For me it’s worth it. I got 16 different flannels for $1.49 a yard. I plan on making several pajamas and lots of baby quilts. Three hours to stock up for cheap once a year is worth it to me because all the time I would spend later choosing the right flannel would add up to more than 3 hours. It would also cost me a lot more money later on, too.”

It always amazes me how annoyed people seem to get on Black Friday. I love the rush I get from trying to compete with other people for that really special sale item I got up super early for. I’ve been doing this shopping since I was sixteen and able to drive. I love going out with all the “crazies” on this day. It is always amazing to me that on this day while waiting in line, you can listen to everybody complain about how annoying it is that the store isn’t prepared for the number of people there, the line is too long , or how early it is. It’s funny to me that these people chose just like I did to come out for the deals, but try to make it sound like an inconvience to them. This society never seizes to amaze me.

I love Black Friday. I was only out for 5 hours total and was home by 9:30 and got everything I wanted. I now have a fully stocked studio closet.

*A little of the flannel in the photos is left over from last year's Black Friday sale.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Recap

Sorry, this is a few days after that event, but I’ve been pretty under the weather lately.

This year Jason and I hosted Thanksgiving at our apartment for his family. It was a lot of work to make this feast, but an awesome time, none the less.
We started cooking early. Jason made the cider for my mom’s cider ham Wednesday night. He made more than the recipe called for, so we were able to drink the extra. It was fantastic!
This photo of Jason is at about 6:30 in the morning. He was a little scared to start on the turkey.
You can just barely see the sun coming up over the building. We finished setting up the table in between the turkey and other food preparations.
Since we only have 8 place settings and Ella got her special green plate, fork and spoon.
I made these placecards on the computer. The turkey is the same turkey that we used on the invites.
Jason made these coasters Thursday morning. He did an ink transfer onto basswood squares. Pretty cool, eh? A few of them soaked in a bit too much water and warped, but for a one day use, they worked beautifully.

Thursday morning at 4 a.m., Jason climbed out of bed to put our ham in the crock pot.
We both got up somewhere around 6 a.m. to start the rest of the cooking. This is when we discovered that despite pulling Mabel, our turkey, out of the freezer on Saturday, she was still slightly frozen. We tried to stick her in some water to thaw her a bit more, but since it was our first turkey we were a little nervous. We decided it was time to call for help about 7:30 when we couldn’t figure out how to get Mabel’s feet out of her rump. It took a little bit of work to decide which end was up, but eventually we got it. Mabel went into the oven about 15-20 minutes behind schedule.
These photos are probably 2 hours after Mabel went into the oven. Jason is putting the glaze on her.
Or maybe he'll eat it instead. We're not quite sure.
At some point during the morning, I went for a walk and brought back these branches. I thought it made a neat little arrangement. The Christmas cactus was a gift from Mel (Jason's sister-in-law) that day.
Jason’s mom (momba) came over around 10 o’clock to help us cook. She brought her thanksgiving turkey apron. Is this not pure awesomeness?

Everyone else started coming over around 11ish.
We had some munchies sitting out on our sideboard for people to snack on. Sorry, I forgot to take pictures of these before they got eaten on. The deviled eggs weren’t put out until later, so there are quite a few left.

We made a feta and pine-nut roll-up. It was quite tasty. It was garlic and herb feta cheese and pine-nuts rolled up in a pre-made pizza dough. They were quite tasty.

Momba made deviled eggs. I don’t like deviled eggs, but they seemed to be eaten up quickly.

We had some baby carrots with veggie dip.
We couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a cracker tray with some pub cheese and sausage.
I made my Aunt Joanie’s specialty, a cheese log.
Finally, around 2 o’clock it was time to eat the feast!

Mabel turned out to be fantastic. She was done up with a cranberry-orange glaze.
Our ham was the best dish in my opinion. It was so tender and so sweet.
Momba made us some cranberry sauce. It was very tasty.

This is one of Jason’s specialties. His Three-Potato Gratin is fantastic.

The crescent rolls weren’t all that good, but they are very pretty.

Momba also brought two different stuffings. I don’t recall what was in them. I think one had some fruit; maybe peach, but I don’t know about the other.

Our green-bean casserole was delicious as always. My mom got us this casserole dish a while ago. It has the green-bean casserole recipe written on the inside. It’s very cute, but somehow doesn’t work all that well when you put the ingredients in on top of the text without reading it completely.
Real mashed-potatoes. Nice and creamy.

Jason made these spiced carrots. They were not kidding on the spiced part of the name.

Everyone is enjoying the meal except for Momba (Jason’s mom) and Ella. Momba got up for something in the kitchen and Ella was taking a nap. Josh (Jason’s brother) seems to be making a goofy face. I am not sure I’ve ever seen a picture of him not making this face.

Luke (our nephew) tried mashed potatoes for the first time. He wasn’t so sure about them.
Terry (Jason’s step-dad) is trying to get Luke to calm down a bit. I think he was probably excited about it being his first Thanksgiving.

Lily liked the ham as long as the sweet stuff was sucked off of it. She prefers Black Forest Ham, though.

Ella is up from her nap in time to catch the tail end of dinner. She came dressed as a pumpkin fairy.
Forgive me for being a poor photographer, but I forgot to take pictures of the deserts before they got cut into as well.

This Bundt cake was amazing. It was a Pumpkin-Spiced Bundt cake with Buttermilk Icing.

This was the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever had. Jason and I made it Wednesday night and then drizzled the third and final chocolate on right before serving. It’s a Triple-Chocolate Pumpkin Pie. It was so rich and creamy.

All in all, it was a good day. We had a lot of fun cooking. I had a lot of fun coming up with how to display the food and how to arrange the apartment to get everyone to fit. We ended up moving Jason’s desk into the living room and moving the couch into our bedroom. We shoved the dining room table against the wall to use as a buffet. Our sideboard was used as the appetizer table.
I had got a pair of gold curtains from the goodwill I was going to cut up and make fabric napkins out of. We decided a while ago that it was more work that what it was worth. So, instead the curtains ended up being tablecloths. You can see one of them on the food buffet. The other went over our coffee table that was used for our beverage table.

It was a lot of fun and I look forward to hosting another holiday soon.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gingerbread house contest?

Yes! That's right! A gingerbread house contest. This year is a the 2nd annual gingerbread house contest at my parents' house. Last year we all brought supplies, baked the bread, and built the houses on Christmas day. It was awesome! Here's some photos to introduce you to the idea. I'll be sure to post photos of this year's contest after it's over. Hope you enjoy!

The only real rules for this contest were that the main structure of your house had to be made from gingerbread. Everything except the tray you built it on had to be edible.

This was the house I built. It's a beach house. The address, #519 is the numbers of our wedding date.

I used gum for the roof. Dry, blue Jello for the water. Goldfish crackers for the fish. The driftwood is pretzels. My door is made from the chunks from a hershey's bar. My windows are melted lifesavers. My shutters are scored tootsie rolls.
The purple triangular thing is my boat.

This is the house that Jason built. He made a tudor style home.

This is my sister hoping her swing set will stay up.

Yes! It did.

We developed a scoring method, so that we could rank each house based on different things. If I remember correctly, it was on a scale from 1-10, 10 being the highest. We scored each other on craftsman ship, creativity, and favorite overall. There may have been a few more categories, but they have escaped me for now.

All five houses are lined up.

This is my beach gingerbread house.

This is Jason's tudor house.
This is mom's "Woodcutter's cabin". I don't have a good photo fo the woodpile she stacked on the left side of the house. There is the ax on the bottom left side of the tray. She had a bird bath on the back left side. It turned out very cute.

Dad made himself a solar house. Two cars in the garage. He even figured out what kind of angle was necessary on the overhang by studying the sun using the mini-blinds. He tried to convince us that because the dog went to his house first, he should win. he used beef sticks for his trees, so of course the dog is going for the meat.

My sister, Katie is studying to be a teacher. Her house was a school house. She had a table with books lined up on the inside. There was a chalkboard on the wall. You can see her swing set didn't make it very long. I loved her roof. I think it was Chex mix.

My parents were being goofy about something during the judging.

After the scores were tallied, mom won. Congratulations again, mom on your win at the First Annual MacDonald Gingerbread House Contest. Please note, I did make plans for my house. How could I not? It's what I do.

This year's theme for my house is going to be "Santa's Workshop." If you have any suggestions on things I should be sure to put in and edible supplies I should use, share them with me!