Saturday, February 25, 2017

Yard Sign #2, Xmas 2016, Recipe Roundup

I made a second yard sign with the scraps from the auction quilt, with an excellent Maya Angelou quote: "In diversity, there is beauty and there is strength."

Diversity Yard Sign in Situ

And on the other side: YOU ARE NOT POWERLESS. (It helps me to be reminded of this fact every so often, and I figured it might encourage passersby too)

Yard sign #2

Yay, freezer paper stenciling! And yay, special little craft scissors that my Auntie Nance gave me years ago.

Yard sign in progress

My first fabric yard sign, from November, is holding up well. I washed it a few weeks ago, as it had gotten dirty from being splashed with rain and mud all winter. The hem had frayed, so I re-sewed it. The color has faded a little, but it's still doing its job.

Two months belated, but here's a little bit about Christmas, since I always find this kind of thing useful in subsequent years:

We did the advent calendar activities again this year. Here's the 2016 activity list:

  1. Drink hot cocoa w/ candy canes
  2. Donate knit hats at grocery store
  3. Umbrella parade and tree lighting in Milwaukie - This was a new one, and it was fun. Low-key, and we were able to take the MAX there
  4. Put up Xmas lights and hang stockings
  5. Donate toys at fire station
  6. Read a holiday book (Silver Packages - first time reading it, made me cry)
  7. Get holiday ice cream at Salt and Straw
  8. Go to Arlo's school holiday show
  9. Read a holiday book (An Orange for Frankie - also made me cry)
  10. See kids' choir performance at Central Library/Xmas tree in Pioneer Square
  11. Make treats for birds/teachers
  12. Bake and eat panettone
  13. Make cinnamon-applesauce ornaments
  14. Zoo Lights - This was our first year visiting Zoo Lights, and it was so cold but beautiful. We rode the MAX and got a good discount on our tickets. I'd go again next year, but hopefully on a warmer night
  15. Give money to charity
  16. Drink hot cider / Decorate Xmas tree
  17. Caroling with Felix's preschool - He opted not to go, which was fine, since we've done this for the past three years, and the boys have refused to sing along with their classmates every time (except maybe to Rudolph that first year). We've established that 3/4 of our family does not enjoy singing in public (I am the remaining 1/4)
  18. Make graham cracker gingerbread houses - Another new activity this year. I bought a bunch of candy at IKEA (of all places). I made royal icing with meringue powder and had a hell of a time getting the graham cracker houses to stay together (I don't have much patience for that kind of thing), but the boys still enjoyed decorating their ramshackle graham cracker lean-tos and eating the candy. Next year, I might buy a gingerbread house kit from IKEA too.
    Graham Cracker Gingerbread Houses
    Graham Cracker Gingerbread Houses
  19. Make and send Christmas cards - Thanks to an early suggestion from my sister, I had some photos printed, and the boys made cards to send/give to family members. I loved their envelope decorations!
    Arlo-Illustrated Envelopes
  20. Make paper snowflakes
  21. Watch a holiday movie (Elf, and we also watched The Grinch somewhere in there)
  22. Red and green pedicure
  23. Make gifts for family - This year we made chocolate-coated truffles. We made a ganache filling (half of this recipe) using flavored chocolate bars, then poured it into a 24-piece silicone candy mold I bought years ago. Once they'd set, we dipped them in chocolate (a 4oz coating recipe gave just enough chocolate to coat the 24 truffles by rolling them in my hands, not dipping), let them dry, and put them in little hand-folded paper boxes. It sounds like more work than it was.
    Family Christmas Present: Truffles
  24. Make sugar cookies (accompanied by Auntie Li and Aunt Kate this year)

Our 2016 family ornaments were knit doughnuts with embroidery floss sprinkles. Pretty cool pattern!

Family Ornament 2016: Doughnut
Family Ornament 2016: Doughnut

A long-overdue recipe roundup (I'm still loving our Instant Pot!):

And finally: Spring is coming! It has been a cold, rainy winter, and the daffodils are a few weeks later than usual, but the crocuses are doing their best to bloom anytime the sun peeks out.

Spring Crocuses!
Happy Goldilocks Crocuses