Tuesday, December 28, 2010


We still have two more Christmas celebrations, but in the meantime...

I've been spending a lot of time here...

...and here...

...and here...

...loving these...

...and even doing a little of this...

I love a good, relaxing Christmas break.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Klaassen Christmas

On Sunday, instead of coming straight home from the north country, we made a nice, long stop in North Newton.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Kohlman Christmas

We went north on Saturday. Way north. So far north it snowed...

All the way north for Kohlman Christmas...

(it was worth the drive.)

Kipfel (Pecan sticks)


This is a recipe that both my grandmas make. Instead of rolling them into sticks, I made balls like my Grandma Lu. When shaping the cookies, smaller is better... you have to be careful not to burn the bottom of them.

Peanut butter bon bons

Peanut Butter Bon Bons

I remembered after I finished that Grandma sometimes used crunchy peanut butter. Darn.

You can see in the picture of the recipe that I've started making some notes...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Toffee Squares

These are amazing. I'm usually a dig-a-piece-out-of-the-middle kind of girl, but the edges are the best - they're crunchy and taste a lot like real toffee.

It doesn't say to grease the pan, but I trusted my instincts - thankfully, because it needs a good layer. These didn't grow as much as I thought they would, so next time I'll spread them a little thicker around the edges so the middle can get crisp. That's my only complaint, though. They're delicious!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Canterbury Jumbles

Another of Grandma Donna's cookie recipes... I have to admit that Sarah and Brad really made these. I just scooped the dough onto the cookie sheets.

These are really yummy if you like the extras, like coconut and cranberries and nuts. I do. Brad doesn't.

Dump Bars

One of the goals on my new list (by the way, I've kind of abandoned my 25 list and just made a life list without a deadline... did I forget to mention that?!) is to bake all my Grandma Donna's cookie recipes found in our family cookbook. Here's number one...

Dump Bars
(the name is unattractive, but the result is great!)
super easy + super chocolate-y = super good

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

From Donna, with love...

I've always loved decorating for Christmas. When we were kids, we would each pull our box of ornaments out, unwrap them carefully, and hang them on the tree. I remember, as we grew up, trying to force my siblings to join in the tree decorating; they would do so reluctantly, long enough for mom to snap the obligatory picture. (I'm sure I was not nearly as good about putting the decorations away.) For many years, we were also included in (and in the last few years at the house, took over) the decorating at Grandma Donna's house, hooking the ornaments onto the tree branches, exchanging everyday wall hangings for the jewelry Christmas tree and the embroidered holly branches.

When Grandma and Grandpa moved, she chose one special thing for each of her granddaughters, gifting it to us with a handwritten letter. Mine was a ceramic nativity that she made 40-50 years ago with her sisters. She handed it to me last Easter as we were leaving dinner.

On top of the characters wrapped in yellowing newspaper and cushioned with shreds of the same, was an envelope with my name written in Grandma's familiar scrawl.

The letter explained why she selected this for me.

It was always the first Christmas decoration out, and the last to be put away, but I've  never put it up! For many years, you were right there putting it out very carefully, sometimes by yourself and sometimes with help (Daniel). I can see you now with your long golden hair bent over, studying each piece as you removed it and asking yourself "Now where shall I put this?"

Remember the year Baby Jesus was put in front of the stable and everything else was in a neat circle around him? It was so cute I left it that way all season!

The donkey no longer has ears. The cow is missing a horn. The stable is a bit rickety. And that is what makes it special.

This I will cherish.

"From Donna, with love..."
The House
Santa mugs