Thursday, December 23, 2010

Snowball Emergency Kit and Tree Skirt

Can you tell life has calmed down a bit? I finished the sprint to Christmas and now have time to post a few things. I'm also stuck in take-out boxes. For a few neighbor gifts I made more divinity, rolled it into balls and then made snowball emergency kits like this one.

The sticker label across the tops says: "Snowball Emergency Kit:
We're dreaming of a white Christmas, but in case it isn't white;
These little baby snowballs are ready for the fight!
Hope your Christmas is heavenly and that you enjoy this snowball divinity!" Then I attached a more religious message with a bow on top. Take-out boxes are so much fun.

 I also needed a tree skirt. Since we moved, we couldn't find the one my MIL made me about 10 years ago that we have used every year. We have searched every Christmas bin and still no luck. I swear, we always lose things when we move! I still can't find my silicone hot pad that I lost 5 years ago in our move to the East Coast. I'm still a little sore about that. But, anyway, I digress. Tree Skirt: We got this ginormous tree this year! (Never doing that again!)  Since we couldn't find our traditional tree skirt, we had a tarp wrapped around the base. UGLY! So, I bought a little one from Target. Now, my allegiance to Target remains steady, but the little tree skirt just wasn't big enough. It was 48" diameter and solid red, and just NOT big enough for this tower of a tree. Seriously, I think it's 17 feet tall. It touches the vault. I digress again.
So, being unhappy with the little red tree skirt that couldn't, I thought bigger. And I see potential in things beyond what they're intended for. I didn't want to spend $50 on a big tree skirt, so I found a round tablecloth instead. $15 and a pair of scissors later, this is what we have!

I cut a slit down the back and a circle in the middle, hemmed the edges and wrapped it around the trunk! Took a whole 20 minutes. And the tablecloth was 70" in diameter, so quite a bit bigger.

I must also say that I like the print of the tablecloth-turned-tree skirt. It has the 12 days of Christmas printed around the edges and a great round red border. Made it easy to cut the circle out of the middle.
So until we find the tree skirt of yore, this one will fit the bill. Happy Christmas!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fortune Cookies! And Divinity. Remember that?

For teacher gifts this year, I dipped fortune cookies in chocolate. Made a ton, and really fun. I had  11 teacher gifts to make this year. Why, you ask? Because my Lady has a whole crew of wonderful people who support and teach her. And I wanted to thank them because they put a lot of effort into helping my Lady progress.

So, I bought a few bags of chocolate chips (only used 2), and one large bag of fortune cookies from a restaurant supply store. It made probably 100 cookies.

This is my double boiler. A pyrex on a pot. Medium low heat, 2 inches of water in the pot, make sure glass doesn't touch the water. Simmer. Chocolate melts as you stir it, and don't cook it too long, because chocolate will change it's consistency permanently if heated too long. We found that out the hard way.

Then we dipped them in candy sprinkles! Aren't they cute?

Put them in take-out boxes that I got from that same restaurant supply store.
Then tied these tags on that say: "We feel so FORTUNATE to know you! Thanks for all you do! All the Merriest!" Hope our Teachers like them.
And this is random, but I made divinity for a cookie party I went to last week. I hadn't seen divinity is probably 20 years. But I remember my mom making it in her big Bosch mixer (you know, the never-say-die mixers that can keep on trucking through an atomic bomb!). My Kitchenaid had to do for this one, but it was a rough task for my machine. (Wishing I had the Bosch right about now.) Seriously, the motor on my Kitchenaid was HOT from all the beating. Anyway, the divinity still turned out wonderful, in spite of a hot mixer and a cloudy, very cloudy, overcast, did-I-mention-foggy?, day. I'd forgotten how DIVINE this confection is. And I introduced a whole new generation to the treat of the gods. (My kids got to lick the bowl and beater. Happiness on a spoon!) Very sweet and heavenly. The treat truly lives up to it's name.
Here's the recipe:
Perfect Divinity:


Prep Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 35 mins

  1. 1Line 2 cookie sheets with wax paper, and butter the wax paper. Set aside. In a 2 quart saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt.
    2Cook, stirring, till sugar dissolves. Wash sides of 
    of pan with a brush dipped in water to remove any sugar crystals. Boil, without stirring, until mixture registers 260 degrees on candy thermometer. This makes the syrup.

  2. 3Meanwhile, as temperature of syrup reaches 260 degrees, beat egg whites on high speed till stiff peaks form, at least 5 minutes.
  3. 4When syrup reaches 260 degrees, very gradually add the syrup to egg whites, beating at high speed with electric mixer.
  4. 5Add vanilla and beat until candy holds its shape and begins to lose its gloss, about 4-5 minutes.
  5. 6Stir in the chopped nuts, if desired.
  6. 7Quickly (work very fast!) drop candy from a buttered teaspoon onto buttered waxed paper, swirling the top of each piece.
  7. 8Let cool. Yield about 1 1/2 lbs.