21 December 2008

C'est Noel...It's Christmas

Friends and Family,

The snow is here, the spirit is in the air. It feels like Christmas. My thoughts are turned to you and everyone that I love so much.

Here is a beautiful and unique take on decorating one's front door for the holidays — "c'est noël" spelled out in gilded papier maché letters.

(Photo from a vintage copy of Marie Claire Maison)

17 December 2008

Christmas Cards

These are some of the most beautiful and unique Christmas cards I've ever seen. The photographer, Caroline Simmons, will do a sitting fee, give you a CD, and custom make your very own Christmas cards for only $75.00!! Next year I'm giving her a ring!

15 December 2008

Oscar et La Madame Rose

Ma chere Amie Lark introduced me to the book, Oscar et La Madame Rose. I read it in one night. I cried and laughed and cried some more. In English the title is Oscar and the Lady in Pink and I'm so thrilled it has been translated!! Perfect for a Christmas gift for a family or friend. I hope it can become a big hit here in the States.

It is about terminally ill child who writes letters to God and lives each day as someone wiser and kinder. It's a beautiful Christmas story. It is amazing the things he accomplishes in his short life here and it's so funny. I would love to see this be made into a movie someday. I LOVE IT SO SO MUCH! Make sure if you give it to someone for Christmas that you give them a box of Kleenex too. It is a beautiful BEAUTIFUL book.

UGGly Phenomenon

I saw a girl in Costco wearing these 'HI I JUST KILLED AN APE' boots!
My co-worker made me promise to NEVER EVER wear them even though they are running rampant here in Utah.

No worries. I reassured him that I would NEVER EVER wear something that looked as if someone had chopped off the legs of a gorilla and made them unto some UGGly boots.

Talked to my BFF in Oklahoma about it. Just dont get the Ugg boot Phenomenon. They sure are comfy so just make sure you dont stomp around in the PRIMATE kind. Someone might thing you got them at your local ZOO!

Time to ROCK AND ROLL out some goodies!

Check out these creative cupcakes and cookies. I love the coconut snow flakes on the chocolate cupcakes and the packaging is so Christmasy and classy! Can't we just have Christmas all year round?

Sleepy ME

Andy was at drill with the Marine Corps.
One weekend a month, two weeks a year.
When he's gone I miss him....

But then I remember.
He's not in Iraq, just a few miles away.
I feel better! He'll be home soon.

08 December 2008

Spread the Word...I mean JOY!

Check out these darling additions to your giving this season for FREE! All you have to do is find some cute paper, select the ornament of your choice, print, cut, and GIVE!!!
Kates Paperie is offering these free Elegant Handmade Ornaments that you can print off directly from home and add as an awesome embellishment to any holiday gift giving. I think I'm going to add the little peace partridge to a little bag of homemade marshmallows (see post below for recipe)

05 December 2008

Christmas BonBon for the Neighbors!

I am trying to think of something unique and fun to give to my awesome neighbors for Christmas. I was hoping it could be homemade, but I'm not very crafty when it comes to making things out of wood, paint, or ribbon (you get the idea)...HOWEVER FOOD that's another story. I believe I found a fun idea! If you'd like to do this too just click on the link to canelle-vanille.blogspot.com under my favorite blogs or I posted their recipe below. You'll have to do some conversions cause they're all in grams. I'll let you know how they turn out.

Here's a little cup to gram converter for those interested to helper:

Peppermint Candy Cane Marshmallow thanks to this awesome post from Cannelle et Vanille

This recipe makes one layer of the marshmallow, so you will need to make it times two if you want to just make one color, or two times for the bicolor effect; one recipe with food coloring, the other without.

I used a 14"x14" square frame

320 grams sugar
12 grams glucose or corn syrup
130 grams water
40 grams powdered gelatin
130 grams water
45 grams egg whites
pinch of cream of tartar
20 grams sugar
1 tsp peppermint oil (optional)
5-6 drops of natural red food coloring (optional)

In a small saucepan with tall sides, combine the sugar, glucose or corn syrup and water. Cook to 126C.

In the meantime, whisk the powdered gelatin and 130 grams of water together and let the gelatin bloom.

Place the egg whites and the cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer and start whipping in medium speed. When the egg whites are almost fully whipped, add the 20 grams sugar and continue whipping in slow to medium speed depending on how far the sugar syrup is from reaching the desired temperature.

When the sugar syrup reaches 126C, turn the heat off and add the bloomed gelatin (will be a solid mass) to the saucepan. It will bubble up so be careful. Whisk until the gelatin dissolves completely in the syrup.

Add the syrup with the gelatin into the whipped egg whites while whipping in low speed. When all has been added, turn the speed up to high and let it whip until ribbons start to form. Add the flavoring and food coloring at this point. We don't want the marshmallow to cool completely because we want to be able to spread it. Remove from mixer and pour into the square frame that has been placed over a silicon mat. Let it harden.

If making the bicolor marshmallow, repeat the recipe and pour on top of the first layer.

If it becomes sticky, sift together half cornstarch and half powdered sugar and lightly dust this over marshmallow. Roll in crushed candy cane powder.

04 December 2008

My Lamp is Full of Gratitude and Love!!

This Tuesday I sang in a musical performance at church called the Parable of the 10 Virgins. It was one of the most spiritual and powerful experiences I have done in a long LONG time. It was empowering and enlightening. The 11 (because we had a narrator) went away from it with tears in our eyes because it was such a moving performance from everyone. When they announced that they were having auditions back in September, something inside of me said, 'Do it!' So I did with apprehension and I am now so grateful.

We practiced every week for six weeks, often on Saturday mornings, and throughout the week. I was cast as the part of Ashira, one of the unwise. As I learned my part and memorized my lines, I couldn't help but think how much I felt connected to this character. She was the one always running around doing things and never having enough time to fill her lamp. I thought often to myself, "THIS IS TOTALLY ME!" This last month and a half I kept telling myself that if I could make it to Christmas I would survive. Then it hit me that I need to not look at life that way. I need to make time for the most important things:

My Savior
My Family
My Friends
The Gospel

The night of the performance came and my nerves were definitely as raw as they could be. I was informed that I would be given a wireless mic because they wanted me to move around more. I mean it was all I could do to sing standing in place, NOW THEY WANT ME TO MOVE AROUND?!! ha ha ha haaaa.....During the practice ONE hour before, we blocked the song and tried making it with the mic. I did horrible, and I think that the changes threw me off. I was nervous and shaky and couldn't calm down. Melanie, an AWESOME performer, gathered a few of us together to sing Christmas songs to warm up. That helped a bit, but then we all gathered in a circle and said a prayer. The nerves lifted and I felt at peace. Then at the count of 3 AmyJoe suggested we all shout, " GO VIRGINS." Ha ha, I needed that laugh. Shoot we're all married so go figure. The music started, the narrator narrated, my part came and it went a million times better than I could have imagined! I got a little nervous, but I know that when I sang I felt more strengthened than ever before. EVERYONE did awesome. It was an incredible performance from everyone. The song at the very end was the most powerful, those that were foolish virgins (myself and 4 others), came in through the audience with our lamps lit and we sang, "We are all invited to the feast, each of us from the greatest to the least." Tears were all rolling down our faces because the performance became real. It was awesome! Then we all walked out as the lights were dim, through the audience with all of our lamps lit. We all hugged and laughed and knew that that night was not our own. Our prayers were heard. I will always make sure that I make time for those important things. Nothing Matters More