Everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:24-25

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas 2010 - Part I

It seems as though I've been neglecting the blog lately. I have to admit I've been avoiding it on purpose. You see I've been wanting to share some Christmas snapshots with y'all, but the thought of going through all of the pictures we took over the weekend...uggh! It's hard to find the time to sit down and scroll through hundreds of pictures.

Remember the good ol' days of film photography when you just took a couple of shots here and there. You might end up with a total of 30, maybe 40, pictures of the whole holiday season. Now? More like 300-400 pictures! Or maybe that's just me trying to get the perfect shot. Anyway, it has become quite a task to get through such a large album.

So I've decided to share just a little at a time. The first installment of Christmas 2010 is from Christmas Eve. The monkeys were preparing a plate of cookies for Santa. This was really Lucy's first time to be in on the action, and let me just say that Santa is lucky he got any cookies at all. Lucy was eating the cookies as fast as we could put them on the plate. I've known for some time now that Lucy has an affinity for chocolate (something she inherited from her mother), but she made quite the little piggy out of herself this past week. We finally had to move the plate of cookies from the hearth to the mantel and out of Lucy's reach. (By the way she did NOT like that one bit! No siree!)

And as for Ty, well, he heard it straight from the North Pole that Santa prefers chocolate milk, so he mixed up a nice big glass.

What kind of cookies did we leave for Santa? Two kinds actually. First, the No-Bake Cookies I mentioned here.

And second, these...

Oreo Truffles.

Super easy, let me tell you. And oh, so good! Here's the recipe, if you can call it that. I wouldn't actually say that there was any real cooking involved here.

Oreo Truffles

1 package Oreos (I'm not sure of the weight, but it's not the smallest one)
1 - 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 - 12 oz. package chocolate chips, flavor of choice

In food processor, puree oreos until finely crushed. Add cream cheese and puree until you can no longer see white. Line baking sheet with wax paper. Form Oreo mixture into 3/4" to 1" balls and place on baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm, 30-60 minutes. Meanwhile melt chocolate chips over double boiler. Using a fork, dip balls one at a time into chocolate to completely cover and return to baking sheet. Allow chocolate to harden. Enjoy.

Tips: You can use whatever kind of chocolate you like to cover the truffles - milk, dark, white, etc. To speed up the hardening process, return truffles to refrigerator after they've been dipped in chocolate. For added interest drizzle a contrasting color chocolate over the tops of the truffles.

P.S. This is just one of the handful of Christmas recipes I intend to share with y'all in the coming week. I've selected a few crowd favorites you simply must try for yourself. I mean it. They are all easy and all good, and I sincerely hope that you will give them a try. Your family will thank you for it. Trust me!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Ever wonder what goes on in our house on a typical week night? Well, let's just say that it's more fun than a barrel of monkeys! This is what we did last night. Ty showed us his new climbing trick. Says he learned it off of a cartoon! Scary, huh?

What is even more funny is the picture that I'm not showing you. You see, Ty decided it would be just great if he mooned us while climbing. Not a full moon. Just the first quarter. Anyway he ended up looking more like a babboon than a monkey!

Not to be out done, the Tool Man decided to get in on the act.

Like father, like son. Ty seems to be in a very dangerous position here.
Who says moms can't have fun too?

And don't worry. We didn't forget about little LuLu.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Lights, Camera, Quack-tion

I don't know if you've heard about all the happenings at the pizza joint last week, but we had a commercial shoot at the restaurant. Benelli USA (that's a gun manufacturer for all you womenfolk out there) contacted us 2 months ago about doing a commerical at Fox's. Apparently they were looking for a drive-thru window for their commericial.

Why they chose us out of the gazillion drive-thrus in the US-of-A I'll never know. But let me tell you, the Tool Man was sure glad that they did. You see, the best part about this whole deal was that the stars of the commercial were the Duck Commanders - Phil Robertson and his "boys." If the Tool Man could pick any job in whole wide world to have it would be to join this hairy band of duck destroyers!
So the producer, director, and about 30 other folks rolled into town last Friday and set up a TV studio in our parking lot. You would think they were shooting a feature film. Lights, cameras, mics, booms, screens, computers, tents, wires, hoses, ladders, you name it! I had no idea what all went on in the making of a simple commercial. Tedious work! Every detail had to be just right. It took them two days to get enough footage for a 30 second commerical. Yeah, that's right. Approximately 25 hours of work for 30 seconds of TV. Of course that's not counting all of the editing that has to be done.

The Tool Man had a great time hanging out with all of the Duck Men. He even got an invite to their new warehouse. I hope they were being serious, because he just might show up!
We took quite a lot of pictures of all of this. I hope you enjoy them!
Custom tags for the Cadillac...

We were told that one of the HD lenses for these cameras cost over $100,000. You read that right...over one hundred thousand! Yow-za!

"Would you like fries with that?"
The director was watching every shot on this little monitor. It looked just like real TV! :)
This is Willie a.k.a. Boss Hog. I think he's the brains behind this whole Duck operation.
The car looked nice. Unfortunately, it didn't run so well.
Jep, Phil, Willie, Dad, Me, Tool Man, Jase, Ty and Lucy. We took this picture to send to my little cousin, Mark...just to make him jealous!
Fox's got rave reviews from the boys. I'm not making this up. The Duck Commander himself, Mr. Phil, said that we had Johnny's pizza beat!
Jep is the camera man for the Duck Commander show. He was a super nice guy. He and the Tool Man palled around.
Now, the Tool Man didn't say this out loud, but trust me, I could read it in his eyes...

This is Si, having some fun with a rubber duck. These poor guys must have sat in that car for 6 hours.

She's no Duck Man, but she is a little bit cuter, don't you think?

Free from the Cadillac, Willie took a rest right in the middle of the drive-thru. Doesn't look very comfortable does it?

You know these guys...

We actually had a customer pull up to the duck and try to place an order. Ha!

The commercial should be airing on the Outdoor Channel some time in late January. I can't wait to see how it turned out.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sweet Tooth and Sweet Memories

Eight days ago, our family suffered a great loss. My uncle Andy died early last Sunday morning sitting in his deer stand. I suppose if hunting is your thing, then there's no better way to leave this life. :)

Many stories have been shared this past week about Andy. One memory that kept popping up was that of his "sweet tooth." Particularly his fondness for chocolate. More specifically his fondness for some good old-fashioned no-bake cookies. There was a story about him toting around a tupperware boxful of these at a 4th of July picnic. Then there was the time he stowed a box of them under his truck seat (out of reach of his brothers) for "safe-keeping."

So in honor of uncle Andy I thought I would share this recipe with all of you. Christmas is the perfect excuse to get into the kitchen and cook up some guilty pleasures, so go try your hand at some of these cookies. I know I will, and when I do I'm going to be thinking about Uncle Andy.

Andy's Favorite No-Bake Cookies

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 stick butter
3 Tbsp cocoa
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 to 1 cup chopped nuts
3 cups quick oats

Mix sugar, cocoa, and milk in saucepan and bring to boil. Boil for 1 and a half minutes or until softball stage. Add butter, vanilla, and peanut butter in that order, stirring after each addition. Stir in oats. Drop by spoonfuls on wax paper. Let cool. Enjoy!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Trimmings

Well, thank goodness I got a head start on my Christmas decorating, because I still "ain't" finished! Of course it may have something to do with the fact that after I got all the ornaments on my tree I had stroke and decided to completely un-decorate it and start over.

Here we are decorating the tree the first time. Yes, those are reindeer antlers on my head. Gimme a break, it's Christmas!

So why did I un-decorate my tree? Maybe I shouldn't say this without showing you a picture, but I decided to forgo the traditional Christmas colors in lieu of neutrals.
"Neutrals?!" you ask.

Yes, neutrals. I can't help it. I'm in love with white and all of his cousins. : )

So now instead of the usual suspects, red and green, my tree is covered in silver snowflakes, various white ornaments, a few magnolias, some brown and silver balls (Did she say brown??) , and my personal favorite, sewing pattern flowers. Yeah, I made the flowers. Wanna see?

I'm pleased with my new tree, but I couldn't bear to pack up all my other treasured ornaments. So, I had to come up with a new way to display them.

It's kinda hard to see them in this picture, but my increasing collection of "fancy" glass ornaments went here.

And all the ornaments I've collected from family vacations found a home together on a wreath. (Sorry, but my picture of this wasn't blog worthy.)

I've also been working on a few Christmas crafts. Neutral, of course.

First is my paper wreath made from pages cut from an old Reader's Digest condensed book. The cute Christmas Fairy is an image from the Graphics Fairy.
And here's a cute way to improve a dollar store find. I bought these ornament frames at Dollar General for, you guessed it, $1.

Brassy bad.

But white? White good!

A little painting. A little antiquing. A Christmas phrase (printed on Christmas music)...

And Voila! The perfect addition to my tree!

Merry Christmas!