Monthly Archives: December 2010

Unsuspecting Wood Sprites

Hard to believe, I know, but these charming Fairy-folk were magically captured in the meadow one day, while romping…

and playing…

taking sweet calmness…

and wild animal behavior…

in flitting, gentle turns.

So, my dear friends–if you find yourself in the woods, or the forest, or the meadow, any time soon–and it seems to you, unusually quiet…

we know why.

I’ll give you a hint…

We…

have captured…

all

the

Sprites.

~More Than Memories Photography by Marta Smith

 

New Year’s Past

When my children were little one thing that was always a part of Christmas and New Year’s was the “cracker.” Not a cracker-cracker, like you’d eat with cheese, but a cracker like the paper ones you’d break open with a “crack” and find small prizes inside. One of the trinkets that was always a charming part of the cracker was a paper crown. They were quite fragile–being made out of tissue paper and all, but the kids loved them. Best part about them was that it was a fun tradition that they came to expect and love.

So, years later, when they were grown–we got really brave and decide not only to make our own crowns, but to hand make the crackers as well. We had a blast finding just the right loot to fill the crackers with for each family member.

And it was even more fun to force all the grown-ups to wear the crowns! HA!

If you’d like to make your own crackers or crowns–it’s so easy and there’s still time.

Click HERE for crowns

and HERE for crackers.

I hope you’ll come back and show us how they turn out!

 

Amish Friendship Bread

If you’re lucky enough to have a friend or neighbor bring you over “the bag” and the instructions for what to do with it–then you already know this fact…

Amish Friendship Bread is absolutely scrumptious! So scrumptious, in fact, that whenever we eat it, I’m tempted to shoot the van and buy a horse. We positively love it-LOVE it around here.  But what if—the bread isn’t being passed around your circle right now and you have a hankering for some hot, cinnamony friendship bread right this very minute? Huh? What can you do?

Here’s the answer. Nothing, that’s what.

Well, almost nothing.

Truth is, that the whole process does, indeed take some time. But now you’ll not only have the instructions for how to start your own “starter” but what to do with it all after that, as well.

You are certainly a lucky duck. A very patient, lucky duck.

And it’s so well worth it.

The first thing you need to know is that it is very important to use plastic or wooden utensils and plastic or glass bowls when making this. Try not to use metal if you can help it–it messes with the live yeast and if it’s in contact with, say, a metal bowl for too long it doesn’t tend to rise properly, sinks in the middle. Consider yourself warned!!

Amish Friendship Bread Starter

Starter Ingredients:

1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup warm milk

Starter Directions:

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water for about 10 minutes. Stir well.  In a 2 quart glass or plastic container, combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly so the flour won’t get lumpy when you add the milk. Slowly stir in warm milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Pour into a gallon Ziplock bag. The mixture will get bubbly–don’t be afraid. Consider this Day 1 of the cycle.

 

Amish Bread Instructions

Day 1 – receive the starter–or make the starter from the recipe above.

Day 2 – smush the bag

Day 3 – smush the bag

Day 4 – smush the bag–I really like the word “smush” don’t you?

Day 5 – Add 1 cup each flour, sugar and milk—and smush the bag.

Day 6 – smush the bag

Day 7 – smush the bag

Day 8 – smush the bag

Day 9 – smush the bag

Day 10 – Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Divide into 4 gallon bags, with 1 cup each for three of your friends and 1 cup for your own loaves. Give friends the instructions for Day 1 through Day 10 and the following recipe for baking the bread.

After removing the 3 cups of batter, combine the remaining cup of Amish Friendship Bread starter with the following ingredients in a large bowl:

2/3 cup oil
3 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 to 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Using a wooden spoon, beat by hand until well blended. You can add 1 cup raisins and 1 cup nuts if you want, but why mess with perfection?  :}
Grease two loaf pans with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour, remove from pans–and allow to cool. Makes two loaves of the most amazing Amish Friendship Bread in the land…

and I can prove it.

hee hee!

Amish Friendship Bread
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pkg. active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup warm milk
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water for about 10 minutes.
  2. Stir well.
  3. In a 2 quart glass or plastic container, combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar.
  4. Mix thoroughly so the flour won’t get lumpy when you add the milk.
  5. Slowly stir in warm milk and dissolved yeast mixture.
  6. Pour into a gallon Ziplock bag.
  7. The mixture will get bubbly–don’t be afraid.
  8. Consider this Day 1 of the cycle.

 

 

 

One More Christmas Carol

A few days before Christmas, our family waltzed on over to the Hale Center Theater to see the play “A Christmas Carol.” When I’m independently wealthy, I intend to take my family every year–as a new and glorious Christmas tradition. (Emily–look up, look up! April, Jacob–smile.)

Of course, we weren’t allowed to take pictures of the actual performance, still, it was all there and positively perfect!

There was the ghost of Christmas Past….sad, sad, sad—

the Ghost of Christmas Present…quite an eye opener—

and the creepy Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come. While this spooky dude was on the stage, Lyndi leaned over and whispered, “Expecto Patronum!”

We. Lost. It.

So, yeah–at the most solemn part of the whole show–weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth–and we’re completely engulfed in a preposterous, hysterical giggling fit.

Sheesh.

If we could only learn to behave.

Not holding my breath. (PHILLIP! For the millionth time—no sticking your tongue out in the family picture!)

~sigh~

Someday…someday…

 

Christmas Day Heaven

Do you remember waking on Christmas morning before it was even light outside, and shaking with excitement as you saw the front room that had been transformed into a sparkling, positively magical place? Boy, I do.

It was so wonderful watching Chompy open her presents, and love them…

even the clothes! What a good sport of a baby.

Jillian could hardly believe the lovely gifts she received from her dearest friend Sarah–all the way from England!

The bald kid was thrilled with his Russian vocabulary book. Pretty sure that’s going to come in handy–real soon.

Then our April and the “second wave” arrived. Sounds like the name of a band–don’t you think?

The babies were sweet to take turns and tried very hard to wait patiently until their turn to open a present…

but they never understood why we would ask them to come open something else–when they were happily playing with what they already had. Perhaps next year, we’ll take things a bit slower and maybe take a full week or so to unwrap. Don’t know if anyone will agree with me, but wouldn’t a couple of presents every day be great fun–instead of all at once?

Ok, it’s true. We did have our share of meltdowns here and there, simply because…

we didn’t know that a toy drum would be the hit of the land…and there are three kids…and one drum.

Do the math.

But the day was, by farrrr—a mystical, magical thing, with enough squeals and giggling to add a hundred years to this grammy’s heart.

“All of the music
All of the magic
All of the family home here with me.”

I do hope your Christmas was everything that brings you joy!  Thanks for being with us!

:}

 

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