Friday, December 6, 2013

Homemade Christmas Ornaments Are The Best

Every year when I take out the Christmas decorations it brings back memories.  Every ornament makes you remember where and when you got it.  When our daughters were young, we made a lot our ornaments.  They would also make ornaments in school.  Even our friends would exchange home made ornaments using bottle caps, popsicle sticks, yarn and thread.  Back in those days we didn't just make a trip to Hallmark and load up on ornaments.  My daughters just took it for granted that is how we decorated the Christmas tree.  When they got married and left home, they took their ornaments with them.  For a few years I had to accumulate my own ornaments in my own style.  We live in a cabin and I tend to go with woodsy items.  I have used dried hydrangea flowers, we dried oranges, apples, lemons and limes and of course pine cones.  I have made gingerbread man ornaments from cinnamon and applesauce.  Back in 1995, my aunt passed away.  I won't say she was a hoarder, but she had a lot of stuff that needed to be disposed of.  I lived nearby, so day after day I would go to her apartment and go through things.  There were many things that were thrown away and donated to charity.  I bring this up because there was an old tin of cookies in the kitchen.  I opened them up and there were some old gingerbread man cookies.  I took them home and varnished them.  Then I poked a hole in the top and strung a red ribbon.  They are still being used to this day.  You have to wonder what they were made of in the first place.  We probably don't want to know.

Applesauce cinnamon ornament and 18 year old gingerbread man cookie ornaments.

Another favorite ornament was made by my oldest daughter when she was just starting school.  When the girls were little and decorated the tree, Sarah would always put her homemade ornament front and center…Heather hated it and would move it. Sarah would move it back.  They would go around and around.  Then when they were grown adults, Sarah made Heather one nearly identical to hers so she could have one of her very own.   Now every year Heather places her own ornament front and center on her tree.

I actually made some for myself.  Here it is, hanging on my tree.  It makes me happy.

This is the perfect project for kids of all ages.  All you do is find a plastic lid.  It can be any size as long as it is flat on the bottom.  Pour some school glue to cover the bottom of the lid.  Sprinkle with any kind of seeds.  I used lentils and yellow  and green split peas.

All you need to make an ornament.

After you put everything in the lid with glue, it has to dry.

Pop it out of the lid and tie it with ribbon or string.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Three Weeks Until Christmas 2013

Santa's watching us to see if we are naughty or nice.
It's exactly three weeks until Christmas, but it sure didn't seem that way.  It was a very dark, dreary, foggy day.  Other parts of our state of Wisconsin had a lot of snow, but we had rain.  The temperatures will be falling drastically in the next 24 hours, and I imagine the snow will be reaching us soon.  I hope so, we like it when we have a white Christmas.

The temperature was around 44 today, so some of the ice has melted.

A damp, dreary, foggy day.

Gun hunting season ended last Sunday.  Monday there was a doe and two small bucks on the trail camera, but I haven't seen any since.  I hope our deer made it though the hunting season.  It has been raining, and the deer aren't as active in this kind of weather.  Hopefully I will see them soon.

We went to a local health food store today.  With all the talk of shopping locally I wanted to give them some business.  It was sad.  I doubt if he will be able to stay in business for very much longer.  The shelves were almost bare.  He said his business partner had already left, but he was trying to weather the lack of business.   I felt obligated to buy something.  I won't bother with any photos of the place because I imagine he will be gone before the end of the year.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a nicer day for the deer, for the small business owners and for getting into the swing of the Christmas season.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oatmeal

Every Sunday night my daughter makes this slow cooker oats recipe.  On Monday morning she has warm oatmeal and there is enough left over to heat up every morning for the rest of the week.  It's a good way to have a nice warm breakfast quickly.  She has a dairy allergy so she uses Almond milk, but any milk would work.  The recipe calls for steel cut oats.  That is necessary.  Regular oatmeal doesn't work as well.  Steel cut oats are the the inner portion of the oat kernel. Rather than being rolled flat like rolled oats, they are hulled and cut into smaller pieces.  Because they aren’t rolled, they undergo less processing. We have a Mennonite store nearby which sells Steel Cut Oats for a very good price, but they are available in every grocery store.

Ingredients for making slow cooker steel cut oatmeal.

This is her slow cooker oats recipe.
She omits the butter and brown sugar, but I think that would be a great addition.   She sprays the slow cooker with Pam and doesn't add the raisins or craisins because they get bloated and she thinks they look yucky.  She has some texture issues.  I would put craisins and almonds in.  Set a timer to turn on the slow cooker so it cooks for 7.5 hours on low.

1 cup steel cut oats
3 1/2 cup water or milk (I use Almond Milk)
1 cup apple, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Nuts, craisins or raisins optional

I think this looks delicious, and I can't wait to make it myself.  I make oatmeal almost every morning and this would add a little variety.  Thanks Heather for the recipe.