This year, I suggested to the husband the he and I try our hand at making gingerbread houses (or in his case, a gingerbread Jeep. More on that later).
We'd never made them before, but decided to give it a go anyway. I took a complete leap of faith by using a recipe for the gingerbread and icing that I found on the internet. Since sometimes internet recipes can go very, very wrong, I was a little bit nervous.
This one required a whopping NINE CUPS of flour, and when I reached about the halfway point in mixing up the dough, I was sure my poor Kitchenaid mixer was about to die a slow and painful death.
Luckily though, my mixer survived, and after three days of refrigeration, and 45 minutes of dough rolling, the gingerbread was ready to go in the oven.
While the dough was baking, I got all my supplies ready, including the most important, hot chocolate- a required companion to each and every Christmas craft in the Daughters household.
After an hour of cooking, my five cookie sheets worth of gingerbread was ready to go.
Since we didn't use any sort of pattern or kit, we just decided to wing it. We started with paper templates to prevent us from totally screw up, and then started cutting.
While my husband decided to cop out and use glue to put his Jeep together, I stayed legit, and used only royal icing for mine. Lots of it. Like a couple pounds worth.
It was worth it though, because for my first effort, I think I cam out with a fairly awesome house. I bought a ton of different candy to use on it, but ended up becoming rather obsessed with the red hots. Something about just having the red against the white of the icing made it seem extra Christmas-y.
So there you have it. My fledgling attempt at gingerbread art. If you think you'd like to try your hand at it, you can find the recipes I used here.
Word to the wise: This dough is not for mixers that are faint of heart. If you have a small or less powerful mixer, I would highly recommend dividing up the dough and mixing it in sections. Also, the directions are very vague about cooking times and temps. I did mine at 300 degrees for about an hour, and they turned out just fine. Last but not least: try to cut the gingerbread within a half an hour of it coming out of the oven. After that it becomes much harder to cut, and tends to want to crack.
Remember when I said that the hubs was making a gingerbread Jeep?
Since it's been about six months since I did my last book review, I'm not really sure I can in good conscience keep calling these posts "book of the month." But I'm probably not going to stop. My blog. My rules.
I'm a sucker for a good series. Always have been. I think it started around the time when my second grade teacher started reading "The Boxcar Children, to our class, and my mom gave me a stack of old Nancy Drew books to read at home. Since then, I've been pretty much hooked. I guess there's just something about knowing that you are going to run into the same characters over and over again in every story, that just gets me going.
When it comes to young adult fiction though, I get weird. This is how things usually play out: My sister will read the newest teen/young adult book series, tell me it's great, and that I must check it out. I, since I am no longer a teen, an barely a young adult, will refuse to read it, on principle. Then, my sister will become persistent to the point of being absolutely intolerable. I will break down and go to my favorite used bookstore feeling like an idiot, sneak into the "teen" section while none of the employees are looking, grab said books as quickly as possible, and rush back up to the counter as fast as I can, handing my card over to the person at the counter, while refusing to meet their eye, and pretending that I'm actually buying the books "as a gift."
So it went with the Hunger Games series. My sister has been fanatically bugging me about reading them for months, so a couple of weeks ago, I finally picked up the first two books in the series, and got to work.
As per usual, she was right. It's been less than two weeks since I've started reading them, and I'm already halfway through the second book. They. Are. Awesome.
If you haven't read them yet, you need to. They are a great blend of sci-fi, and adventure, and because any good teen series worth it's grit has one, a love triangle. Yay!
My favorite thing about this series has got to be the main character, Katniss. It's so refreshing to have a heroine who is a life risking, bow slinging, boot wearing huntress, as opposed to one who tries to end her life because her weird, sparkly boyfriend ran away. No offense to Bella, but I think we can all agree that she's really rather pathetic, right?
So now that you have read this ringing endorsement, go buy the whole series, and read it. Right now. Take off work if you have to. Just get it done.
I decided that I needed to make these immediately.
I did, and they are pretty much as awesome as the picture implies. They also get bonus points for being super easy.
One of the best parts of these brownies, is that instead of using milk or water in the batter, you use ice cream. It makes them SUPER moist, and because the recipe calls for cookies and cream ice cream, a little extra flavor.
The other day I took a break from listening to "A Very She & Him Christmas" on repeat, to go and look for some new Christmas music. Quite by accident, I stumbled accross a band called "Folk Angel." These guys are uh-mazing. Seriously. They have one full length Christmas cd, and two EP's, and all three are unbelievable. If are into stripped down, folkified versions of "normal" Christmas songs, you will love these guys. They are so cool and mellow, and do awesome collaborations with all sorts of other artists.
Needless to say, She & Him have been temporarily ousted, and these guys are now on constant repeat.
I have about ten million of these at my house. I have so many that they not only end up on my tree, but filling tea cups, hanging from the fireplace mantle, and decorating window sills. Looking for some fun and unorthodox uses for them? Check out Dream Book Design, and Say Yes to Hoboken for some super fun ideas.
These can get pretty crazy, but I think I like the simplest ones the best. The husband and I attempted making them for the first time this year, and I love how they turned out! I'll be posting pics, and a little tutorial next week, so be sure to check it out!
What are you up to this weekend, friends? Tomorrow, mom, sister and I are having a craft day that will be filled with the drinking of eggnog, the watching of classic Christmas movies, and the making of those Anthropologie-inspired snow globes that have been floating around the internet as of late. Then, the whole family is going out to celebrate my dad's birthday. I can't wait!
About a month ago, I signed up to take part in the Pretty Package Exchange over at Hello Friend. It was the first time I had ever signed up for it, but since I love both giving and getting beautifully wrapped packages, I really had nothing to lose.
I was paired up with the delightful Stacey from Plaid Poppy, and after reading about her interests and tastes on the information sheet she filled out, I got to work on my gift.
We mailed our gifts to each other last Saturday, and mine arrived on Tuesday. I couldn't be more excited about it. Not only was her packaging absolutely beautiful, but the gifts inside (earrings and a handmade journal) were pretty great too:)
We started this blog as a way to keep in touch when our lives took us in different directions, and to different parts of the country. We aren't growing a brand, building a social media empire, or setting our to become full time "lifestyle" bloggers. We simply want to share our lives, and the stuff we love with all of you.