Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve 2014 - Party time!

My eldest daughter decided to throw a small New Year's Eve party with a few friends this year, and the menu will consist of  a variety of "small bite" appetizers.  Some of the favorites we'll be serving: Mac 'n Cheese bites (homestyle mac n cheese baked in mini-muffin tins), Sweet & Savory Cocktail Meatballs (frozen cocktail-sized meatballs heated in the crockpot with a can of cranberry sauce and a jar of chili sauce), and Cranberry Brie Phyllo Bites (pre-cooked phyllo cups with a dollop of cranberry sauce and a small slice of brie, melted in the toaster oven for a minute or two).

Wishing you a Happy & Prosperous 2015!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

DIY Mini-Caramel & Chocolate Apples

Mini-caramel apples, using crab apples and toothpicks!  So cute and delicious. 

We followed the recipe on the Kraft caramel candy package to make the caramel apples, and then waited 15 min for them to harden a bit in the refrigerator before dipping them again in melted chocolate. Then a quick dip into the toppings: peanuts, cashews, candy canes, pretzels, sweetened coconut flakes, and sprinkles.  We crushed up the candy canes with a mallet, but ended up doing it again in the food processor to make them fine enough for the tiny apples.  

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Tree Napkins!

A friend posted a video on Facebook on How to Fold Christmas Tree napkins, and I couldn't resist trying it. They came out great, probably because my daughters did them.

The how-to video appears below:

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Time Well Spent

Now that the holidays are almost here, I have all three of my girls home, including the two college students who normally live two hours away.  It has been wonderful having them back under the same roof again. I find myself thinking back to when they were little, and how much our lives have changed since then.

When I got pregnant for the first time, there was no shortage of people offering "helpful" unsolicited advice, such as "You'd better sleep now, because all that ends once you have kids" and "Your time is not your own anymore. Get used to it!"

Yes, there were plenty of 2am feedings and 6am wake-up calls during the years when my girls were babies. But I can tell you that now, with more than 20 years' worth of perspective, those middle-of-the-night feedings and early-morning wakeups were the some of the best, most treasured moments of my life.

I get personal satisfaction from my work, and from helping others, and I enjoy having time to myself just as much as the next person. But the times I spent just being there for my children were the most worthwhile.

As I type this, early on a Sunday morning, all three girls are upstairs fast asleep. The house is quiet, and I've been able to sit here and enjoy an entire cup of coffee without any interruptions. This is the kind of morning I remember thinking wistfully about all those years ago, but I would trade it in right now to have even a few moments back with my little ones, in their onesie pajamas, bright-eyed and giggling and smiling a toothless baby smile at sunrise.