Behind My Red Door

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Whatcha Working on Weekend

Happy Weekend before Christmas!!
Can you believe Christmas week is here? With all that has gone on Behind My Red Door in the last few weeks, I feel like I missed half of December. I got up Saturday refreshed from a great night's sleep and ready to resume where I left off before my dental surgery (it started to feel better yesterday - 10 days post op) and the ice storm's after math. It was a great day Behind My Red Door.

I opened my front door to talk to DH as he was cleaning up the 11 or so inches of snow we got overnight Friday and all day Saturday, and I thought the wreath looked so pretty covered with snow. I think the neighbors thought I was crazy snapping pictures as the snow flew into the foyer. Only a fellow blogger would appreciate that scene.

These pics below were taken just as my sweet guy was done with the snow blower, shovel and snow thrower. Our driveway is pretty wide and for half of it the snow can only get thrown to one side. Then we have sidewalk that goes all the way around the house across the back to the deck off the kitchen. That deck is elevated and is our emergency egress in a fire so he has to clear all that and more. It's a pretty big job so I usually go out and help him but I needed to stay in and get other things done being that Christmas Eve is just days away. It snowed another 3 inches after these were taken and today we are in for 6-10 inches with high winds which may bring snow laden power lines back down. I don't even want to think of it.....

I love how dark and shimmery the brook looks right after it snows. You can see some of the trees that fell in the ice storm last weekend.

My boxwoods are smushed! Poor things - the ice last weekend and now all this snow. They are not having fun. I usually cut some to place around with my greens just before Christmas Eve but I guess I won't be doing that this year. This is what I see out my bathroom window. Some bunnies have a den under the shrub on the right. I love to watch them come out and graze in the morning - as long as they stay back here away from my perennials in the front.

So what's a Prim girl to do when the cold wind blows?? First she puts on Christmas Carols, then she puts on her apron and then she gets busy!! Here's my version of Leslie's Whatcha Working on Wednesday a few days late.

My first project was these gifts for some special people in our life. I made 6.

Yes it says Budget Rice Mix, and yes there is rice in the jar, but there is a secret too. Readers of Char's blog may remember her tutorial on these. I can't spell it out now or link to it because the receiver's of these may be reading this and I need to keep them guessing after all. If you remind me after Christmas, I'll share it with you then.

And then I made A LOT of these chocolate dipped pretzels - there are more on the other counter. Some lucky folks will get 1/2 dozen of these in little cello bags tied up with raffia and my home made tags. My original intent was to get cinnamon oil to flavor the red ones, but due the events beyond my control (like an ice storm, power outages and a blizzard) I didn't have the time to run around and find it. Somehow I don't think it will be missed.

And then I FINALLY got to finish cooking my Shortbread cookie dough. I have never left it refrigerated so long and I found I had to work it in my hands to warm it up before I could roll it into logs. (see previous posts for the recipe and instructions). Sandy - maybe that was why yours was crumbly - maybe you needed to work it a bit to warm it up too- I am sorry I didn't realize that when you asked me. It can't be too warm or it won't hold the log shape and it can't be too cold or it crumbles. I pretended that I was back at my preschool playing with play dough with the kiddos and I got it just right. This is how I set up...
I use my special Carl Larsson tray that my dear friend Chris gave me many years ago. I spread sugar on one side of the tray, and after dividing the dough into manageable pieces, I roll it into a log on the other side of the tray and then in the sugar. Once the logs chill a little, I slice them into 1/4 inch coins and bake them at 350 for 12 minutes.

This is the first batch that I baked. I put a piece of paper bag on my cooling rack because they are so small and because it helps contain the sugar that drops off. You can see the 3 in front of the plate are turned over. You don't want the bottom any more brown than this - just golden.

After they cool, I make up a small container for DH to keep him happy while saving enough for entertaining. His Nana always gave him a small container for his birthday (December 12 th) and she would look at ME when she told him he not allowed to share - and she wasn't teasing. I would never do that but I make sure he gets his special stash. If he wants to share it, that's fine with me. I then keep with tradition and put the rest in my old Whitman's Chocolates tin so they stay fresh. DH always waits to see how many are left because after all our Christmas entertaining is done, he gets the rest. You can see how tiny they are. They are like those brand name potato chips, you can't eat just one!

On today's agenda, I will bag the pretzels and DH and I keep another tradition and we will roll 6 pounds of Swedish Meatballs to bake off for Christmas Eve and to have leftovers. Because they are about half the size of regular meatballs, that 6 pounds makes several dozen. We'll put a Christmas CD in and roll and roll. My recipe - for each pound of extra lean ground beef- 1 beaten egg, 2 slices of white bread moistened with water, finely minced onion, salt, pepper and a few dashes of ground allspice. I bake them on my non-stick cookie sheets and freeze until needed.

And once that is done, I hope to relax and do some reading while DH watches football. Even the keeper of the home needs to relax sometimes. I have piles of books waiting for me but the Patriots game should be interesting in the snow, wind and frigid temps. Our Jay was a League All Star in high school and played when he was away at college too so I learned to love the game. So who knows which will draw me in more - the game or my books or the freebie stitchery from Primitives Betty's I started before the ice storm or the needle punch I want to start OR your fun blogs!! So many good choices - so little time. Most of my friends questioned how I would fill my time when I retired 3 years ago. They told me 50 was too young to retire and that I would be bored being home all day after running a school and working on community grants and being active in professional groups. And at first, I really missed it all but now, but slowly I I found rewarding activities to add to my agenda and now I feel blessed to be able to keep our home, do volunteer work from home and I don't have ENOUGH time for all the other things and projects I want to do. I am blessed!

Whatever you are doing this weekend, I hope it is a good one and you are safe and sound in a warm home with loved ones around you enjoying the spirit of the Christmas season.

Until next time - hugs, Linda