December 31

Reflection.

This is the day that I generally reflect over the past year. Things gained, things lost, joys, disappointments, how bad my hair looks, how great my kitchen looks, and how happy I am I have a new camera, new friends, loss, and I try to forget how much chocolate I have consumed. Hershey’s and I are BFF’s.

This year will be forever etched in my memory of the Year In Which All Things Revolved Around The Girl.

What has this year been for you? The year in which…..?

December 30

Aunt Cindy was at my parents house this past week, and she brought my fudge.

This is what happens when you are in the presence of good fudge and no self-control.

Thanks Aunt Cindy. It was delicious.

Peanutbutter Fudge

  • 4 c. sugar
  • 1 stick butter (no substitutes)
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 pkg. Reese peanutbutter chips
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1-2 tbsp. peanutbutter

Stir first 3 ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat till melted, and comes to a boil. Boil for 7 minutes. Remove from heat and add rest of ingredients. Stir till chips are melted. Pour into a greased pan.

Aunt Cindy doesn’t say what size pan to use.

December 29

On November 23 I placed an order at the local lumber yard. November 23rd, peoples. The item that I ordered came to my house broken. Twice. The third order never left the lumber yard because it was broken too.

I have decided that I do not want to do any remodeling of my house. If this is any indication of the frustration that will happen during a remodel….nope.   I don’t need it thankyouverymuch! Small and dated works for me.

The 4th and final box finally arrived, and I finally quit complaining and whining and moaning and griping and muttering under my breath about it taking so stinkin’ long for the lumber yard to get it’s act together!

Everyone else was glad that I finally quit too.

I also got a hard wood maple butcher block top for it. I was able to get it for much less than I could have gotten a piece of counter top. I was really happy about that. When it came, it wasn’t what I had expected, but it is beautiful and I am not disappointed.

I swallowed hard when the boy brought up power tools and got them near my butcher block. He grinned and gunned the drill like Leatherface in Texas ChainSaw Massacre.

I hovered closely, as he put the drill bit in, and gunned the drill, again. What is it with men and their power tools?

Isn’t it beautiful? See how much darker the top is? That is from all the mineral oil we have been applying. We certainly don’t want it to warp. The boy made me chant the little ditty about the mineral oil, and how often to apply it, till I could say it in my sleep.

 

Once a day for a week,

once a week for a month,

once a month for a year,

once a year for a lifetime.

 

Or is it once a month for a lifetime. I don’t remember, but please don’t tell him that. I will be having mineral oil nightmares for weeks if he finds out.

 

Do you have an island in your kitchen? Do you wish you had an island in your kitchen?

December 28

Air Conditioning.

I just couldn’t live without it. I couldn’t. I abhor being hot.

If you went back in time to 1850, what convenience item would you take with you?

There is no stinkin’ way that I would wear a corset without air conditioning. I’m a wimp.  That corset would pick me up, throw me in a car, drive me to the brink of sanity, and kick me over the edge without air conditioning.

December 27

I woke up early the other morning.

I had been dreaming that I went back to one of my childhood homes. (yes, that is plural. Being a preacher’s kid, I had lots of homes). I dreamed that I was back at the house that we built almost all by ourselves. I say ourselves, because I helped. Yes, at the tender age of 8, I helped build a house.

I held plumb line, and snapped it. I even hammered a nail or 2 or 200. So what if they weren’t necessarily in the house. I helped chizle mud off of cinder blocks when the basement wall fell in on my dad’s birthday.

I often wonder what that house looks like now and who is sleeping in my bedroom. Are they enjoying my wonderful walk-in closet? Do the kids whisper messages to each other through the vents? Do they laugh and play where I once did? Do they sit in the basement eating candy bars with their Grams when tornado warnings come? Do they run down the path’s that my sister and I created? Is Tarzan’s mountain still there. (Tarzan’s mountain was the pile of dirt that was created from digging out the basement. My sister and I were really into Tarzan. This pile of dirt had weeds growing from it in spots, and we created a fort/play spot from it. It was better than any playground I had ever been too.)

So, if you live on Flatfoot Road, in Cable, Ohio, in a 2 story English Tudor home on 9 acres of land, let me know if you love it as much as I did.

Did you live in the same home your entire childhood?

December 26

Got up this morning with the very intention of reading the manual for my camera.

Something stopped me.

This bag is full, as you can see, of chocolate. But it was the canister of Cashew Roca that stopped. me. dead. I had to have a piece. Which would be fine, unless your loving daughter hadn’t wrapped each and every piece individually with tissue paper.

Out came the scissors, tissue paper be gone! Nothing stops me when it comes to chocolate.

As you can well imagine, I took lots of pictures yesterday. 90% of them did not turn out. I really need to read that manual.

I did manage to get pictures of everyone.

The boy, happy that I loved my camera.

The girl, happy with her booty in the chair.

Superman, happy that he had a day off work, and that I finally bought him a robe.

Me happy that I had time to put on makeup.

Then off to the parents house we went.

Mom, you might want to close your eyes now, or close the browser, or just decide to forgive me now. I have heard that it is easier to ask for forgiveness, than permission.

So, I am begging forgiveness.

I love this picture of my parents. Ma wanted me to crop it, but I just couldn’t. Forgive me.

I just couldn’t crop out my dad’s hand on her knee. That loving gesture deserves to be captured.

Secondly, and much less important is that if I had cropped the picture where ma had wanted it cropped, we would only see my dad from his nose up.

When I think of my parents, this is what I see.

Hi Grams. I love you.

My parents got me a tripod. I was so excited that I just had to try it out. Right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of fixing Christmas dinner, I set it up. Right. In. The. Way.

Again, please forgive.


Ma made pork roast.

It tasted better than it looks.  I will do a recipe tutorial on it later, for now, I have a can of Cashew Roca,  wrapped in tissue paper that needs some attention.

December 25

I interrupt  this blogging break to show you all what was in my gold box.

I am so excited to show you all my new…

camera!!!

And here is my first picture taken….a really good picture.

I am so excited.

I will have more to say later.   I have much reading to do.

December 23

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Merry Christmas
I want to wish each and every one of you a blessed Christmas. I will be taking the next couple of days off to spend time with my family. I know that you will too.
I pray that you will find Christ at every turn, and remember that we celebrate for only one reason.  Him.
I will be back on Wednesday when I will have lots and lots to say.  I don’t know if I can go this long without saying something, but I will do my best.
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December 22

It is Saturday before Christmas, and I know that many of you are out shopping or traveling, or eating or spending time with family, or all of the above.

In the small sphere in which I travel around the internet, I came across a really cute idea.

I made these for the girls in my AWANA class for this past Wednesday. I think they are the cutest things, and they taste good too.

Reindeer. Aren’t these the cutest things?

You can nuke your white coating non-chocolate stuff, but I did mine on the stove because, well…the girl and I were watching “What Not to Wear” on the internet, and I was killing 2 birds with one stone. Every commercial break, I would get up and stir.

By the end of the show, it was ready to use.

After we were finished seeing that I do indeed dress like a slob, I went out to the kitchen and dumped out my M&M’s. The girl thinks that they look all fun, and happy like this.

I, however, am a bit OCD and like to do this to M&M’s.

It doesn’t hardly take any non-chocolate stuff to fill the inside of the pretzels.

I had some extra non-chocolate stuff left over, so I made

Eggs and bacon. Aren’t they cute?

So, if you are looking for something fun, quick and easy to do with your kiddos over the weekend, make these.

December 21

‘Twas the night before Christmas

And all through the house,

Every creature was stirring,

Including the mouse.

The stockings all hung,

Above the heater vent with care,

In hopes that stuffers had not been forgotten this year.

Do you do stocking stuffers?  Do you wrap your stocking stuffers?  Do you fill it to the brim or do you put in a lump of coal?

Do you wrap your presents frilly-fru-fru, do you slap a bow on it and call it good, or do you put all your gifts in gift bags? Do you use expensive paper, or do you go to the Dollar Store?

Please share your stocking stuffer ideas too.

December 20

I make my own vanilla.

Many people ask me how to make vanilla, so I thought I’d show and tell.

It is so simple and easy. Takes all of 1-2 minutes.

First you need to make sure that you have all your ingredients. 1 quart blue ball canning jar, 2 vanilla beans and (don’t look ma) Vodka or Rum. Vodka is what I have on hand at the moment.

Slit your beans, but not all the way through.

Drop them in your jar.

I put my home made vanilla in my blue ball jars. Why? I have no clue. I just like the way they look. They look antiquey, and old fashioned, and it makes me feel old fashioned and antiquey, and kind of pioneery.

Fill ‘er up.

Put this jar in a dark cabinet for 6 weeks to forever. The longer it steeps, the better the flavor. I always have 2 jars going. That way, the new jar is steeping while we are using the old stuff, the good stuff, the antiquey, pioneery, old fashioned that is way better than store bought stuff.

Why is the Rum always gone?

December 19

Conversations with the boy.

Monday morning. First day of Christmas holiday.

Boy~”I’m bored.”

CC~~”Bored? What time is it?”

Boy~”6:50 am”

Now, the boy is 17½ years old.   Doesn’t he know what I have, had, may, might, must, can, will, should, could,  would do?

They’re not called helping verbs for nothin!

December 18

We finally put up our tree.

I don’t know how it goes in your house, but in the Chocolatechic house, it goes something like this.

First you must survey the room and figure out where in the world are you going to cram a tree into such a small space. Do you see that yet another gold box has appeared in my pile. One sounds like there is a pair of socks in it, and the other one a box of screws.

It is decided that Superman must dismantle his recliner. Superman doesn’t seem to mind…the boy however, isn’t happy. I think that he really likes Superman’s chair, or maybe it is because we are not putting the recliner in his room.

Send them off to go pick out the tree. While they are gone, you can begin to prepare snacks, or you can sit down and check your email, blog stats and play Bejeweled. Not that I would do that sort of thing, I’m just sayin’.

About an hour later, they come home with a tree that might fit in the White House, but is 10 times to big for your house. You tell them this, but they do not listen. While the men are finally realizing that I was right that the tree is way to big, I begin in earnest to make the snacks.

It is at this point where we deviated from the norm.

A man from church who had just got his very first deer, a 10 point buck, decided to bless us with all 4 legs. He butchered it himself, and gifted us the entire legs.

So, snacks were put on hold while I became elbow deep in venison.

This hunk’o’meat weighed a good 35 pounds. I have never chopped meat like this before. My meat comes nicely packaged on a styrofoam tray and wrapped in shrink wrap. Right around this time, I really began to appreciate my butcher, and began to wonder how Ma Ingalls did it. I just know that her knife had to have been sharper than mine.

Finally, after about an hour and a half I declared myself done, washed my hands, the counter, the walls, and the floor, wiped the sweat from my brow, and went back to making the goodies.

I was ready for them after wrestling raw meat for 90 minutes.

While the chips and I snarfed goodies, Superman checked to see if the lights were all working.

Then the wrapping of the tree begins.

Once the tree has been lit, and the gold beads applied, it is time to decorate.

We do not put a star or a Santa for the tree topper,

we have a frog angel. This is my most cherished ornament. The boy made this for me when he was 5. I can just imagine his chubby 5 year old fingers picking out green for the face of an angel.

What you can not see is that underneath this beautiful angels dress he drew chicken legs in red. Frog angel will always top our tree. Always and forever.

My second favorite ornament, ~~which was my first favorite ornament till Frog angel came along~~ is this wonderful picture of the boy when he was 3. He made me many ornaments when he was little, but these 2 are the ones that I would grab if the house were to catch fire.

We are party animals here, peoples, rabble rousers, the ones that people stand in their house and shake their fists in the air at because we are just. to. loud.

Isn’t it lovely? and large?
What time do you think the last picture of the girl was taken.

December 17

This past week, our ladies fellowship had a Christmas get together, so I made cupcakes with a marshmallow frosting.

I have never made marshmallow frosting before, but it looked so good, and I just had to try it. You can try it too. It is easy. I’ll show you how!

First you need to simmer some water on your stove.

Then take 3 eggs whites. Please pay no attention to the fact that there is just a small bit of egg yolk in there. Pretend that it never existed. I did.

To that, add 480 grams of sugar. After I took this picture I realized that I was 1 gram off, so I did, indeed make it 480. If you do not have a scale, 480 grams of sugar equals 2 cups. I love using a scale. Scales make it so much easier to accurately measure your ingredients, ’cause I’m all about accuracy.

You will also want to add 150 ml of water. 150 ml of water is 1o tsp. or there abouts.

1 tablespoon of light corn syrup. There is also a picture of me adding  cream of tartar floating around somewhere in my computer, but I have yet to find it. Pretend. It works.

Set your metal mixing bowl on your simmering water, making sure that your bowl does not touch the water. Set your mixer on mutiliate and keep it there for at least 12 minutes.

Make sure that you take off your gold bracelet. When steam comes in contact with metal, metal begins to heat up. When hot metal touches skin, it burns, causing the skin owner to do a jig. This is not productive when said skin owner has to stand there holding a mixer for 12 minutes.

This is after 7 minutes of mixing. See the bracelet is still dangling in the steam. Obviously the skin owner has not learned her lesson yet.

This is after 12 minutes. Aaahhhhh Miss. Skin owner has now learned her lesson and had someone else take the picture. By this time, soft peaks should have been achieved. Unfortunately, someone ignored those small bits of egg yolk, so we stood there mixing for a good 3 more minutes.

Finally, soft peaks. Not good ones, but my one arm was burnt, and the other one was tired. So, I called it good!

Take your bowl off the heat and add 1 tsp. vanilla and food coloring. I added 6 drops of red.

Goodie…more mixing. Stiff peaks are supposed to form, but it never happened. I mixed for another 10 minutes and got medium peaks.

Now you can decorate. Please don’t get in a rush. Don’t try to lift your cooling rack with one hand. Accidents happen. Clean up was a breeze though. I just finger licked down to the sticky on the table and then wiped it up. This icing is delicious. Light, fluffy, not to sweet, but a perfect combination to the coconut cupcakes I made.

Next time you are making cupcakes, make this icing.  I dare you!

Marshmallow Frosting

Makes enough frosting for 24 cupcakes, Does not keep, use immediately

3 egg whites

480g white sugar

3 teaspoons light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

150ml water

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Food coloring

In a metal bowl combine the egg whites, sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar and water. Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water) and beat continuously with a hand-held electric mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy and forms soft peaks. Take the bowl off the heat and add the vanilla and a few drops of desired food coloring. Whisk the mixture until it forms stiff peaks.

December 16

Last week, Superman’s mom invited us over for snacks. So I made some simple, easy and tasty Mexican Pinwheels.

Since they are so easy to throw together, I didn’t bother to photograph the process, but the daughter thought that it would be fun to photograph me instead. Oh..why? oh why? oh why?
I just do not like this picture. Not because you can see my double chin, not because you can see the mess on my counter, but because you can see that I am totally unable to do my hair in a proper manner. Did my blow dryer get stuck on ugly?

Mexican Pinwheels

  • 2, 8 oz. bricks cream cheese
  • 1 small can green chilies, undrained
  • 1 packet dry ranch
  • 1 package 8″ flour tortillas

Mix first 3 ingredients together and take a spatula and slap some on the tortilla. Roll up jelly roll style. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.

After that hour is up, take them out. Cut off the ends. Eat them for sustenance whilst you are cutting up the rest of the goodies. Have your daughter take a picture of you whilst you are swallowing.

You couldn’t pay me enough money to put that picture on here!

Cut your little yum-yums into 1 inch pinwheels and artfully arrange them on a platter. If you want to make it coughcoughhealthycoughcough, then you could use fat free cream cheese. This recipe should make about 8-10 tortillas depending on how much filling you slap on. Don’t skimp. The reason you eat these little gems is for the filling, not the tortilla. I generally put 1/3-½ c. of filling on each tortilla.

I need a new blow dryer!

December 14

The other day, Superman recaulked our bath tub, and whilst I was on my knees scrubbing it clean, I wondered… what do ‘they’ use to clean their tubs with.

So…what do you use? Do you have a particular product that you just won’t do without? Do you get on your old decrepit knees and pray that you can get back up again or do you use a mop? Do you scrub it every day? Every week? twice a month? once a month? ever? make your slaves children/husband do it? Hire it out?

And please tell me how you get your shower liner clean. I am sick of scrubbing mine. I tried washing mine in the machine, and it came out in shreds.

Inquiring mind wants to know. Inquiring minds need to know.

December 13

I finally did it.

I finally decorated for Christmas. You know how I decorated for fall. Well, for Christmas I go all out, peoples. All. out.

Lights and garland went on the banister.

For the table, I chose a simple wrought iron tree and 2 wooden gingerbread men.

Even the antiques get gussied up for Christmas.

The nativity scene, complete with my box. Another box has appeared since I snapped this photo, and since I am rather OCD about things being crooked, I fixed that bow.

Last, but certainty not least, my 2 snowmen and 2 houses. Yes, folks, this is the sum total of my Christmas decorations. I told you I go all out.

Please tell me you do a much better job at decorating…please.

December 12

I am in a deep state of mourning.

Why you ask? Why would I  be bereft, saddened, moaning, sobbing and ripping at my clothes?

This.

This most wondrous product from Bath and Body no longer exists. My ma got this for me about 3 or 4 years ago, and I instantly fell in love.  I use this stuff twice a week in the wintertime. Not only does this smell heavenly, which in turn makes me smell heavenly, it scrubs and buffs and lotions my dry winter skin all in one…well, 2. It also has this sparkley stuff in it that makes me sparkle.  And I like things that sparkle almost as much as chocolate.   Unless we are talking 1 carat sparkleys and then  chocolate definitely takes a back seat!

My bottle on the left is completely empty. My bottle on the right has about 2 more uses. I need replacement ideas ladies, or in the middle of January, I will begin to look like an alligator. It won’t be pretty folks. It will be downright disastrous.

December 11

I learned something new. I am so excited. It really doesn’t take much to excite me. Truly. As I have said before, I am easy!

Last week, I looked out the window and saw this reverse sunrise. Isn’t it glorious?

I got a book from the library to help show me how to use my Photoshop better, so I did this.

Isn’t it great? I know…I know. You are totally speechless, dumbfounded, gobsmacked that I could do something so amazing as to put a fuzzy circle around my picture. Please, no fan mail. I don’t think my letter carrier could handle anymore. He already visits the Chiropractor 3 days a week.

I rarely, rarely, rarely purchase books. If I can borrow them from the library for free, why go purchase a book? This book, however, I think is going to be a necessary purchase.