Sunday, December 27, 2009

on animal movies and christmas trees

I'll admit it... I have a fake Christmas tree. Yep, I don't do real Christmas trees, while that seems like a mockery of authentic Christmas decor, I am not entirely ashamed. Because as I see it, it's really more practical and economical.
1.I can set up before Thanksgiving, should I so desire (as i did the year I was pregnant with my #3 son who was born the day after Thanksgiving)
2.It requires no special trips to get other than a jaunt up the pull down stairs to the attic.
3. I can go on vacation and when I return after 2 1/2 weeks it's not a mess of dried up needles.
4. One time purchase
5. Easy set up/consistent size.

You see the list of pros goes on. But really the biggest reason is, I get depressed by real Christmas trees. Don't get me wrong they can be pretty, I sometimes envy my New England neighbors who go to our local town farm to chop their own it see so quaint and quintessentially Christmas. While I marvel when they are majestically lit up and decorated and steal piney sniffs from their presence in neighbors homes. I hate nothing more than the day after Christmas scene -- unbought trees in those "set up just for December tree lots" all sad an unused, unwanted, and waiting to be disposed of. Maybe i'd feel better if i wrote a list of 100 things to do with unused christmas trees? (I know they get recycled) But they worked hard for years to grow big and pretty and then their best wasn't good enough. I feel for them like the last kid picked in PE class.Seriously, it makes me want to cry. I have to turn away. The waste of the trees, it's sad to me like injured animals. (I know, I know, I am anthropomorphizing the trees too much)
Which brings me to the second thing I don't do which is animal movies- yep no Benji, Black Beauty, Lassie for me, even Land Before Time or An American Tail, despite being fictious and animated, they make me cry. I know the animals don't really get hurt in production but it's knowing that somewhere there are other animals in the world that are cold, lost, hungry, or suffering that makes me sad....this is probably also why I cannot commit to any pets beyond brine shrimp.
So Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from me and my fake tree while I always welcome gifts...just don't give me any Benji movies.

Monday, December 14, 2009

sometimes things surprise you

-like my 4 year old saying he really wanted "white paper" for Christmas. Really if there is we thing we don't lack for in this house it's paper in all it's varieties.

-that encouraging youth/young adults to explore careers is actually a controversial topic? (my recent segullah post)

-that when parents bring their kids to "a decorate your own sugar cookie" table they feel absolutely no urge to help their children use reasonable quantities of toppings or feel any obligation about the mess they leave behind. (yes I manned this table for 2+ hours at the school ornament day- encouraging creativity is one thing but downright wastefulness is another)

-that my husbands meeting got cancelled last night a delightful 4.5 hr reprieve

-that you actually want to eat vegetables instead of treats at the ward party (Yes I am that old)

-that someone in Tehran is "google-ing" me? (I really don't think I know anyone in Tehran)

-or how hard it is to clean tracks of glue stick off your dining room table

any surprises for you lately?

Friday, December 04, 2009

Gingerbread Star Wars Ewok Village

Every year our quaint New England town (pop 8000) does a Christmas festival, trolleys take you through the town and stop at all the local farms, businesses, and churches. For some festive local food and activities. The schools do a gingerbread house display. The last two years I've been too busy but I promised the boys we'd do something fun this year.

As an artist, I am not the type to do the regular gingerbread house (I will readily admit a love of kitschy edible things). Honestly though, how fun is it to go to a gingerbread house show where they all look the same. I just can't do the matching candy canes by the door and gumdrop roofline. So I brainstormed with my three boys and they decided it would be fun to do an star wars gingerbread entry so we made an edible Ewok village from Return of the Jedi.

We wrapped a wooden base in drk green wrapping paper and cellophane. The trees were made from rice krispie treats (formed in plastic cups) coated in chocolate. The bunker is made from hershey bars, andes mint cookies, and oreo straws. The trees are made of mini cones and fruit loops. The green candies gummy frogs, Mike and Ikes, spearmint mints, green m&m's, watermelon gumballs, green lifesavers. Also included tootsie rolls, pb cups, black licorice.

The edges are done with mint oreos. The ewoks, R2D2, & C3PO are made of fondant. (C3PO's chair is made or pretzels lashed together with fondant and has a graham seat.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

How to Make Edible Oreo Chocolate Mice

Some of our favorite Christmas stories involve mice. Like Gingerbread Mouse, T'was the Night Before Christmas, and Santa Mouse. So we decided to make some edible mice. I have seen them made with maraschino cherries before but I knew my kids would not like how the tasted so I made up these.
How to Make Edible Chocolate Mice
Wilton premium candy melts- I like the dk chocolate (but you could make a cute family of mice using the white and milk chocolate)
Double stuff Oreos (or the holiday ones)
Hershey kisses
Sugar eyes (I get the icing eyes from Country kitchen Sweet art and use them for lots of projects (or you can pipe on frosting dots)
Sliced almonds

1. Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl.

2. Cut the licorice into small tail length strips

3. Carefully cut the bottom 1/4 of the Oreos.

4. Affix the tails by sticking the licorice into the frosting between the two cookies.

5. Use a small spatula or knife to coat the two sides and top curve of the Oreo. Place on waxed paper to set

6. While the chocolate is still melted. Attach Hershey kiss at the base.

7. Place on almond ears.

8. Use a dab of frosting to attach eyes.

They would also be fun for a nutcracker themed party (the mouse king) or Twas the night before Christmas reading or as an homage to our favorite Santa Mouse. We also made mouse cupcakes to go in some T'was the night before Christmas themed designer cupcake sets. We placed them on cupcakes with Santa cupcakes.