Sunday, September 2, 2012

Hope is:

  • The faint, yet epic, crescendo of an instrumental composition. 
  • A breeze on a still and silent day.
  • A glimpse of blue sky peeking through gray clouds.
  • The look of amazement in a child's face.
  • A nuzzle and innocent stare from a furry friend.
  • Rain finally bursting through the clouds.

Friday, January 13, 2012


These cupcakes are tasty looking! Too bad they're not for eating. I think it's about time I try to do some crocheting, although attempting to make a 3 dimensional object might be quite a leap. This is a freebie pattern from Knit Picks.

Image found at Knit Picks.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Glitter and Glue Time!

I know. For some people glitter is their worst enemy. It's messy, and sharp, and it sticks to everything. I get it.

But when it comes to festive season crafts, glitter adds sparkle. The light from the tree bulbs bounces right off those little shards of plastic. So bust out the old or new ornaments and some glue because here are some easy peasy glitter ornament tutorials!

Valley & Co.: Silver Glitter Ornament
Take plain glass ornament balls. Dip them in glue. Sprinkle some glitter. And voila! Instant shiny thing!

Valley & Co. and Elle G. Photography

Craftzine Blog: Glitter Vintage Bulb Ornaments
Spruce up some old, giant holiday light bulbs with a sparkly coat of glitter. Take an extra step and turn them into ornaments using twine and hooks.


Cook~Love~Craft: DIY Glitter Ornaments
Keep the glitter inside the ornament if you're finicky about it getting all over the place. Use floor finish inside glass ornament balls, rather than glue on the outside, to get a clean and glitzy finished ornament.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Muppet Holiday Movies

Did you know there are 8 Muppet holiday movies/specials? And that doesn't even include the Seasame Street ones. I decided to do a little research and found that I've only seen about half of these specials. Things get a little hopeless near the end, BUT despite the decline in Muppet greatness in the past decade, The Muppets movie makes amends for it all. The new movie brings back all of the sentimental Henson humor and rainbows.

The Great Santa Claus Switch (1970)
This is the first Muppet holiday special made and not many folks seem to know about it. Even I haven't seen this special. The Great Santa Claus Switch was created by Jim Henson and Jerry Juhl as a TV special. Ed Sullivan produced and narrated it.  According to MuppetWiki, a villain named Cosmo Scam plots to kidnap Santa and take his place. Cosmo also plans to abduct the elves and replace them with his own workers (which includes some nifty looking Frackles).
* Psssssst! The Great Santa Claus Switch can be found on Just type in the title and it pops up as a 6 part video series.

Some of Jim Henson's Frackle doodles.

Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas (1977)
Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas is about Emmet Otter and his mother Alice. Each tries to find a way to buy a Christmas gift for the other. In the end, they both enter the local talent contest which has a winning prize of $50. Emmet performs with his buddies in the Frogtown Jubilee Jug Band, and Alice sings solo.
* Jim Henson always wanted to be in a rock band and therefore lived vicariously through the villains, Riverbottom Nightmare Band. (I can't recall where I learned this, but perhaps it was from the extra features on the DVD.)

John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together (1979)
Admittedly, I don't recall seeing all of this, even though it is one of the more popular Muppet specials. Perhaps I never gave it much thought in the past because John Denver never really appealed to me. This special was based off of the Christmas album of the same name. The Muppets and Denver combined to perform multiple holiday songs and sketches. From this mix, we get the original Muppet cover of the "12 Days of Christmas."

A Christmas Toy (1986)
The Jones' toys come to life when no one is around, and every year on Christmas Eve, the toys prepare to welcome new toys into the playroom. One toy in particular, Rugby Tiger, attempts to get under the Christmas tree as a gift once again.
* Netflix currently has A Christmas Toy streaming for free right now, so I plan on checking it out before Christmas.

 A Muppet Family Christmas (1987)
Perhaps one of the biggest Muppet specials ever, A Muppet Family Christmas combines the casts of the Muppets, Sesame Street, and Fraggle Rock. It is also the last Christmas special Jim Henson ever worked on. In a nod to all of his creations, Henson even makes a guest appearance at the end, noting to the dog Sprocket how nice it is to see them all together.
* This special was released on DVD in 2001. Unfortunately, A Muppet Family Christmas is difficult to find and it is obviously highly desired due to its extreme prices (up to $79.99!) on e-Bay.

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
Jim Henson died in 1990. Despite this, I believe Brian Henson and the other fine folks who worked on The Muppet Christmas Carol did a beautiful job maintaining Jim's style. This was the fourth full-length feature film starring the Muppets. Much like the other full-length Muppet movies, the cast was a combination of Muppets and humans. The main role of Ebenezer Scrooge was played by actor Michael Caine rather than one of the Muppets.

It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie (2002) 
I don't recall seeing this one at all. According to various summaries, the movie is a Muppet-like take on It's a Wonderful Life. The Muppet Theater is going to be lost to a greedy banker who intends on turning it into a nightclub. Fozzie loses the loan money and Kermit loses hope, thus taking on a the role similar to the character of George Bailey.

A Muppets Christmas: Letter to Santa (2008)
In this television special, the Muppets find a few children's letters that need to get to Santa Claus, thus they take a journey to the North Pole. I did not watch this all the way through when it aired because it was so disappointing. It felt cheap and skeevy. There were too many celebrities and the humor was horrible. I remember thinking that kids would not get it and adults would not watch it. The Muppets were struggling, and the Walt Disney Company (who had taken them over in 2004) were doing a horrible job. Mind you, I was in my "Disney has become a money-grubbing company and just ruins everything wonderful" phase.  So that could have something to do with my take on it.

Research Sources:
Muppet Wiki

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Turkey Day Baking!

(Ahem) one week later.

Thanksgiving was last Thursday. It's now Wednesday night, the following week. That turkey came and just ran away with time. But in it's stead I have some mighty fine baking results. 

I had to make an early-morning run to the store for some last minute ingredients. Lucky me I stumbled upon this nifty dish from Duncan Hines. 

Check out those red handles! Rubber, removable, and oh-so convenient.

I stumbled upon Cooking Light magazine's Salted Caramel Brownies and I made that for Turkey Day dessert. The recipe is broken into three different parts--the brownie batter, the caramel topping, and the chocolate syrup. Everything was simple to make, but cooling time was necessary in between each section. 

Brownies before the frosting. You should've seen them before the baking

Caramel frosting, bad chocolate detailing, and a sprinkling of sea salt.

Decorating baked goods is not one of my strong points. Part of me would love to take some lessons. Another part of me looks at it and realize its the taste that really counts, so why bother with the fine details.

Soon after this, I was reminded of another one of my not-so-strong points--making pie crust. I should know better by now than to try and make it from scratch. This time I bought a boxed mix and added water. It still rolled out horribly and broke apart. I ended up patting the dough into place and then poured the pumpkin pie filling into it. (Thank you Libby's for a simple recipe!)  But out of the depths of my oven came this heavenly scented pie. 

Just add some Cool Whip and consider it done.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Untitled" Mac 'n Cheese

This mac and cheese remains untitled at the moment. It can't simply be "mac and cheese"--too much love and cheese went into it. Believe me, this mac deserves its own name.

I came up with this concoction on my own after longing for an easy-but-delicious adult mac 'n cheese. There are so many fancy-pants recipes out there, but many of them require more ingredients and time than I am willing to put into a simple dish. Thus, I improvised using recipes I've read and some hints from my mom's Mac and Cheese recipe.

The combination of Sharp Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Swiss, and Mozzarella cheese made this a stick-to-your-ribs dinner. I made it just for my husband and I, but there is at least enough left over for one or two bowlfuls (depending if someone wants a heaping serving). To make it a little more heartier, I added some diced chicken. And I made myself some broccoli to toss into my own bowl since I have a picky eater on my hands.

Since I was making it from scratch, I eyed the measurements for the ingredients. I ended up with some extra sauce that was not included in the baked dish. You can always save the extra and add it to the leftovers, or just adjust the amount of cheese to milk ratio. 

"Untitled" Mac 'n Cheese

12 oz sharp cheddar cheese
  8 oz monterey jack cheese
  4 oz mozzarella cheese
  2 oz swiss cheese
  2 cups whole milk 
  2 tbsp butter
  2 tbsp flour 

Additional ingredients:
1 to 11/2 cups broccoli florets, boiled or steamed
1 to 2 cups pan-cooked chicken tenders
1 box noodles, boiled

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Shred all of the cheese. If you think you want more, go for it! Adding either the swiss or mozzarella gave the sauce some extra gooeyness. (Just think of the possibilities had I added more!) 
  3. Pour 1 cup of milk into saucepan. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and allow to melt. Add 2 tablespoons of flour* and whisk together. *I'm not sure the flour really did anything. This was something I took from my mom's recipe. Flour is supposed to help create a creamy base I think, but with so much cheese and milk, it didn't seem to matter.
  4. Stir cheese into the milk/butter mix. Do this in handfuls. Let the cheese melt a bit in between handfuls. If need be, use the remaining milk to even out the mixture. You don't want the sauce to be too runny, but you don't want it to be a solid blob of melty cheese either.
  5. Pour your noodles and chicken into a baking dish. My dish was and 8X8 Pyrex. 
  6. Once cheese sauce is at the right consistency to pour, evenly pour it over the noodles and chicken. Stir things up a bit to make sure the sauce oozes in and between the noodles. (At this point, if I were making this just for me, I'd stir in the broccoli too. Instead, I just stirred it into my own bowl.)
  7. Place dish in oven for 20 minutes. 
  8. Remove from oven and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Turkey Day Weekend

Hey... HEY! What's Swedish Chef planning on doing with that 'torkey'?!?

This is rather fitting considering "The Muppets" is just being released to theaters. Now there's something to be thankful for!

Things to love about this video:
  • 'Bork! Bork! Bork!'
  • Only the Swedish Chef can make 'torkey' sound cool.
  • Notice the love Swedish Chef gives to the turkey, even though he's about to skew it. See that chin scratchy, kissy thing? That's the kind of affection I bestow upon Gerber. 
  • Slapping a turkey isn't the nicest, but Swedish Chef adds such humor to it.