Wednesday, December 08, 2010

It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas!

I thought I'd share a quick recipe with you for a stovetop potpourri that will have your house smelling like Christmas quicker than you can say, "Oh no, my Scentsy bulb is burned out." This evening, I was planning on making a pumpkin custard from a recipe I got from this brilliant woman, but I botched the whole thing. And when I say botched, think broken glass botched. Not salvageable. And I wasted 9 egg yolks from my dear sweet chickens that took about a week to collect because they're not really feelin' it right now.

I needed a double boiler because I was attempting to make custard, but the double boiler I got from IKEA was too small and that's all I had. So....I put a glass mixing bowl over a pot of boiling water, added my custard mix and walked away. But only for a minute. When I came back I saw a big crack and then I tried to pick it up and the cracked piece gave way splashing hot custard and water everywhere and blah, blah, blah. I just need to stick to things like stovetop potpourri.

Here's what you need.

An orange, some whole allspice, a couple of cinnamon sticks and some scrap branches from your cheap Allsup's Christmas tree. I did a batch that included apple, too, but I don't care too much about the smell of apples. I'm more of a citrus kinda girl. So if you want to add a cut up apple, knock yerself out.

Fill a small saucepan or pot with water and add all the ingredients. Turn on high and bring to a boil. Let it boil for about 5 minutes, making sure it doesn't run dry, and then turn down to low and keep on as long as you want. Just be sure to add water periodically as it gets low. I've let mine boil dry twice. Not fun to clean. This mixture will last several days on the stovetop and then you can just dump it in the compost and start over.

If you're having people over, or you just need a great big whiff of Christmas cause you basically just threw out 9 precious, free range, organic eggs, make this stuff. It'll make your day.

***Update*** I totally forgot to mention another great benefit of the stovetop potpourri is that you will be putting much needed moisture back into the air during this very dry season. Helps with dry skin and nosebleeds.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

My evening

I'll warn you right now that this post is probably going to get a little bit rambly, but I need to see something besides a variety of compost containers when I pull up this page.

I attended a benefit tonight. It was for a sweet, little 18 month old girl who was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. She just got to come home from Cooke's a couple of days ago and the benefit was tonight at the Oplin community center. What a great event. In case you're not familiar with it, every month, at the Oplin community center, there's a dance. It's called the Grand Ole Oplin. There's a band that plays while everyone dances and during the band's break, everyone shares the snacks they brought. It really is a neat place. It's actually the gymnasium from the old Oplin High School and it was built in 1930something. For a minute, I thought I was in the movie Back to the Future.

This picture was supposed to be waaay bigger than that. Sorry for making you squint. Plus, I took it with my i-phone. I know, so unprofessional.

Anyway, this was a barbecue, dance and silent auction. I saw a sign for it in town about a month ago and when I saw the last name, I recognized it. When Elliott and I first moved away from the metroplex, we bought a 100 acre place in Belle Plaine. It actually isn't called anything anymore, it being one of the many towns that dried up when the railroad decided to be built 7 miles north of there. But everyone around here still knows it as Belle Plaine. I'm convinced it is the most beautiful piece of property in the area. It had an area with woods, pastures, a tank, and a low area that, during a really wet year, has produced and artesian well. I was in love with that place. The house on the property was a 100 year old farm house with lots of, ahem, character. For a while, we referred to ourselves as the Ingall's because our 4 year old son and newborn daughter shared our room so we could conserve heat during the winter. We stayed there for almost 3 years and then we had to face the fact that we were becoming very lonely. We came to a point where we knew we either had to build our dream house on that property, where we would seldom get drop-in guests or find a place closer to town where our church and friends were and build there.

Again, sorry.

We decided on the latter, put our house on the market and seven days later had two offers on it. The couple that bought it only stayed there a year and then they sold it. To the people who had made the other offer on it the first time. And that brings me to the benefit. These are the people who bought our perfect place in the country. I felt a little connected to them somehow. I've seen satellite pictures on google of the place and they've really done a lot with it. It had barns and pens and all that stuff you need to have an actual working cattle ranch, but evidently, they are actually using it for that purpose. It makes my heart happy that they love the place as much as we did and are getting much more use out of it. So when I realized who they were and then I realized what they were going through, I had to get involved with this.

I told Elliott about it and asked him if he could donate anything to the silent auction. (knowing full well what I wanted him to donate ;) He said he'd donate what he had already donated to another fundraiser in town - a live performance of "I Loved Her First" at an upcoming wedding reception. (Bingo!) I contacted the person in charge of the auction, filled out the necessary paperwork, and took one of the framed awards Elliott got at the #1 party to display next to the sign up sheet. Just in case people weren't familiar with the song. I won't know who won until tomorrow, but I have a sneaking suspicion I know who it is. The mother of the little girl told me that her sister was getting married soon and she loves that song. I think they may have been pushing dad to bid on it! Whoever it is, it will be fun to be a part of. I love weddings and even more than that, I love watching my husband sing. And I also love watching the crowd respond to his music. It's an amazing thing to see.

Last time, I promise.

So, I left a little early (don't know if I won the 40" LCD tv raffle) so I could get the girls in bed at a reasonable time. We have to get up early to attend the baptist church for a Christmas production the girls are in. Ever since we started having Sunday evening church, I've grown a little too accustomed to having two days to sleep in. This is gonna be a challenge. Plus, I still have a thousand things to do to get the house "Christmas ready" before Elliott and John get back from Fredericksburg. I want them to walk through the door and into Christmas. Actually, it won't take that much to impress Elliott. He'll be shocked if he walked through the door and into a clean house. Yeah, maybe that's what I should shoot for.

To bed I go. Goodnight.