Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dear Diary...errrr, I mean Blog

Well, today was not as efficient as I had hoped. I had to roll some things over to do tomorrow that I would have liked to have gotten done today. I made my oatmeal/chocolate chip/toffee cookies today and that's about all that got done towards the Christmas cooking besides the normal day to day meals and clean up.

I spent a little more time working out my budget for 2009. I really revved up my spreadsheet to include each month of the year, include percentage of income for each catagory and it will automatically inject the remaining balance of income after all bills, expenses and funds are paid towards my debt snowball (the bill I'm currently working on paying off, the one with the smallest balance) While that took up a chunk of my day and should really have been done on a day that my goal is at the desk, I went with it because the Excel juices were really flowing! lol

Tomorrow is normally my cleaning day, but with Christmas coming, I'm changing the days all around. Tomorrow will be my baking and desk day. I need to finish up some shopping on Tue and I try to make only one trip to town, so to get my menu's and grocery lists ready I'll need to have them done tomorrow. Then Tue will be my errand day. I will go to town and finish the last minute shopping, get some groceries and run them home. Then I'll go to my hairdresser to get Abby and my haircuts. Wednesday I'll clean the entire house, get the cornbread cooked off for the dressing, pack for our trip out of town and finish any pies or baking that hasn't been caught up by then.

We are having Christmas with the inlaws on Christmas Eve/Wed. We will travel to Oklahoma for Christmas with my Dad on Christmas/Thurs. We will have Christmas with my mom and her husband on Friday and then back home on Saturday. Sunday, friends and family that live close by are invited to our Christmas party here. I cook a big dinner (Turkey, dressing, etc) and that's where all this baking comes into play. Since I will only be home hours before that event, I'm getting all the baking done these last couple of weeks so that all I will have to do Sunday is cook the dinner.

I'm tired already! lol

Well, on second thought, I guess I will try to finish some more of those cookies tonight before bed...I don't know when else I can get them done.

Jello Cookies
(red and Grn sugar cookies to pretty up the cookie platters)

and if I'm feeling ambitious, I will make the dough for my pinwheel cookies. That's just red dough layered onto white dough, flavored with peppermint extract and made to look like peppermint candy. I can roll them out tomorrow if I get the dough ready tonight.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

To Blog or Not to Blog

I have so many friends and acquaintances that are now doing the "blog" thing, that for some time I've thought "One day I'll start a blog too."

Well, as I'm looking over the past year, appreciative of the things that are so right and evaluating the things that need improvement in my life, I've decided that "one day" is here. It's now or never.

I have so many interests that I would like to blog about. Gardening, Cooking and canning, my frugal lifestyle, motherhood, my goals and accomplishments while doing the TMMO, losing weight this next year (hopefully), housekeeping and organization, self improvement, politics and other things that interest me.

The main obstacle that has kept me from blogging before is, "What do I have to say? and who the heck cares?"

Well, I've decided that even if I don't really have anything important to say, it might be a fun experiment anyway and what do I have to lose? Stating things in a diary type of format might be fun for me. I have an excessive love of spreadsheets, I use them for budgeting, grocery shopping, home inventory, etc. I was thinking that as much as I love putting things on paper (or computer) for planning and goal setting, already, that it is just a natural progression to blogging. So I might as well give it a try.

So I guess the format that I will try is just following my weekly plan. Whatever I'm doing that day is what I will be blogging about.

Today I've canned some Christmas presents (a cinnamon apple jelly and a jalapeno jelly for my DFIL) and I'll be making a few of my candies and cookies for my cookie platters that I will also hand out as gifts.

To make the Jelly:

8 cups apple juice
1 pkg red hots (about 8-9 oz)
2 pks pectin (powdered kind)

mix and bring to a boil

Add a bit at a time about 8-9 cups of sugar and boil for another good two minutes or so.

Add to your 8oz jelly jars (with new seals/lids) and then flip. If you flip the jar while it's still hot you can get a good seal and can skip the water bath canning step. On such a high acid food like jelly, a water bath is not really necessary. You can do a water bath if you choose but I've found it's not necessary with these types of recipes.

For the Jalapeno Jelly

I am making some modifications on this base recipe. I don't have the liquid pectin so I'll be making some out of the powder. I believe half a package of the powder dissolved in 1/4 cup boiling water will make the liquid. Add enough COLD water to make 1/2 cup. (I will only use half the mixture and will hope to find another recipe I can use for the remainder's good for a week)

I'm also mixing up my cut out cookie and gingerbread recipes today to chill until tomorrow.

The candies I'm making today:

Peppermint Bark

It's merely 1cup crushed candy cane, 2lbs of white chocolate melted and peppermint extract (just a touch)

Baked Fudge (this recipe comes from my Aunt Sharon)

4 eggs
2 c sugar

add in:
1/2 flour
1/2 cocoa

Then Stir in:
1 c melted butter
1 c pecans
2 t vanilla
1/4 t salt

pour into 9x9 pan and put that pan into another pan of boiling water. Bake @ 325 for 45 mins or until set. (center will still be soft but it will set up)

Then I'll be making my Grandmother's recipe for Bon-Bon's and a new recipe that I saw on a forum that I read ( for Chocolate Mice. I can't wait to try these!