Saturday Small Talk

I just love the holidays. The change of routine, the lazing around, the family time, the lazing around, the food, the lazing around. Subtext: we’ve done a lot of lazing. And it’s been amazing.

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Today, we are going to Frankenmuth with my side of the family, and then spending tomorrow with Bob’s family. Bring on more Christmas celebrating. And a bunch of snuggles with the niece!

Links for your very own weekend lazing:

Michael Hyatt says being grateful makes you a better person. I wholeheartedly agree.

As someone with a music degree, I’ll be the first to tell you: getting a degree in the arts is not the most practical move. That said, I don’t regret my decision. According to an article from mic.com, arts degrees pay off.

It’s not too late to make some egg nog. Do it.

I can’t get enough of Cup of Jo. I just keep hopping around her archives, going from post to post. Start with this one–you won’t regret it!

Peanut Butter Buckeye Cheesecake. Oh my.

I’m fascinated with My One Word. The premise is this: choose one word for your year, and letting that guide your goals. I’ve picked my word for the year (stay tuned!). What will yours be? (…with thanks to The Orange Slate for posting this first).

Finally! Make next Christmas even better than this one with these 5 tips.

Enjoy your weekend, friends!

Egg Nog!

Happy Christmas Eve, friends!

A couple of weeks ago, we were invited over to help some friends procure a Christmas tree. Side benefit: egg nog. I confess, I wasn’t particularly excited. I didn’t think I liked egg nog. Oh boy, was I wrong. The second the creamy, cold, boozy deliciousness hit my lips, I knew I had to try my hand at the homemade variety.

20141224_140843 I can just hear you now, “But Rachel, raw eggs?” Yeah, yeah. This is the cooked version. No salmonella here!

Egg Nog

Based on Alton Brown’s recipe. Serves: 6 (1 cup servings)

You’ll need:

  • 4 eggs, separated into yolks and whites. Tutorial HERE.
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup of spiced rum or bourbon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 Tbs. sugar

1. Separate your eggs into whites and yolks. Put the egg whites in a small bowl, and put them into the fridge for later. Put the egg yolks in a medium bowl, and beat them with a mixer until their color changes from a shiny and bright yellow, to a duller, more-like-cake-batter cream. Add 1/3 cup of sugar and beat until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

20141224_1251032. In a medium pot over medium high heat, combine milk, cream, and nutmeg. Bring to just a boil. Remove from heat, and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

3. Add a small bit of milk mixture into your eggs as you beat with a mixer. Once combined, add another small bit. Continue until all of the milk is incorporated into the eggs. You add it bit by bit to avoid scrambling your eggs. Which is to say, you just tempered eggs. Congratulations!

4. Pour the eggs and milk mixture from the bowl back into your pot. Over medium heat, bring the temperature to 160 degrees (not higher!), and remove from heat.

5. Add 1/4 cup of your booze of choice, and put mixture into the fridge to cool.

20141224_1316406. After it is sufficiently cooled, whip your eggs whites into soft peaks. Add the remaining tablespoon of sugar until stiff peaks form. Whisk the whites into your egg nog. Serve whenever you’d like! If you want it a bit more boozy, feel free to play bartender and add as you go, customizing drinks based on the tastes of the person.

croppedMerry Christmas!

Christmas Cards (and an idea for displaying yours)

I have officially arrived in the land of being a grownup. Or something like that. For the last several years, beautiful cards and photos arrived in my mailbox, and I’ve thought, “Next year is the year. I’m sending Christmas cards.” And the next year came and went, and no Christmas cards were sent. Well, friends, that magical year has arrived. I sent Christmas cards.

Before you’re too impressed. I purchased cards from a box at the store and printed a quantity of a snapshot we had from one of our winter adventures last year. Plus, Christmas stamps, simply because they’re adorable.

20141216_085435Handwritten note on the inside, addressed on the outside, and to the mail they went. Done and done. Maybe next year, I’ll advance a human level and make them crafty. Then again, maybe not.

Now, what are you to do with all of these beautiful cards and photos you receive? Turn them into an art installation, of course!

You’ll need:

  • Christmas colored ribbon—I used the kind you can curl, but it’s completely unnecessary. Any ribbon or raffia will do.
  • Scissors
  • Packing tape (or masking or gaffe)
  • Scotch tape (or photo tape, if you want to protect photo cards)
  • Christmas cards!
  • A door–any door in your house will do

Unspool some of the ribbon, and tape it to the top and back of your door. Run the ribbon all the way down the outside of the door, slide it under the door jam, and tape it to the bottom and back of your door. You now should have a taught ribbon on the outside of your door with no tape visible.

Grab your cards, and tape them with scotch tape or photo tape to to the ribbon. Done and done! As the cards arrive, add them to your door. Like so:

20141216_085405I wanna know: Do you send Christmas cards? Are you crafty? How do you display the cards and pictures you receive?