Day 271: Aquarium Tickets

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We finally made it to the ticket office.The line wasn’t long but it felt long enough because, as you may recalled, it was still freezing outside!!

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The lobby really fascinated me because someone took the time to Christmasify their huge hanging sharks, seahorses and whales.

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I really wanted to ask an attendant if the seahorse was to scale but I held back because I wasn’t sure if the coat check lady would have a sense of humor.
I have a feeling that whale was too small for a real one too.

Have you seen a cooler looking lobby area? I was quite impressed. We moved on quickly because we desperately had to pee.
Lola and I were disappointed the classifications were Mermaid and Trident. Those are not opposites, boys and girls.

This trip to the aquarium was a wedding gift (we we’re so late to cash it in!) From Lola. One year and three months after the big day we finally enjoyed our wedding present. We also made this part of our Adventivities.

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Day 267: Bacon Ornament

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Kit and I have accidently started a Christmas tradition where we get a new unique ornament every year–mostly if we go somewhere special. We started it on our first vacation together to Florida. It’s a good plan because we had zero ornaments when we got together.

This year we decided to save a little cash and make some crafty ornaments. It was so much fun! We found directions for making these felt bacon ornaments on Pinterest and I really simplified them.

I only did a single layer instead of sewing them back to back and I didn’t sew anything. I used hot glue to piece the white, red felt and brown ribbon.

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We also didn’t print off the patterns. We just measured and eyeballed a lot. They look sweet and homemade. We gave a few of our bacon army away at Christmas and I hope they enjoy them.

Part of my December Adventivities.

Day 265: Golden Brownies {Recipe Revealed!!}

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Wrinkles!! There is something oddly pleasing about this picture of the Golden Brownies I made for my Mother in Law (MiL).

There isn’t much that my MiL needs. She is comfortable and enjoys shopping so why take that away from her? I do know her weakness. Sweets. Practically anything sweet.

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I know she likes blonde brownies and we have purchased some from the bakery for her in the past. I thought to myself, how hard can they be?

I was pleased to find that the recipe was pretty simple. I followed this recipe exactly because I don’t know what they are supposed to taste like. I think it is somewhat of a sin to remove the chocolate from.brownies–but this is good to know for Mah Gurl who is allergic to chocolate.

Apparently I did a pretty good job, because I had to fight Kit off of the pan full of brownies until I was sure I had enough to pack up for his mum.

Please note my Christmas paper plates double stacked and put into plate gift bags. This is as fancy as I get.
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I am officially renaming these GOLDEN BROWNIES. I think it sounds prettier.

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (I adjusted the salt as recommended by reviewers and it was perfectly)
2/3 cup butter
2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Recipe yields 2 dozen

Directions

Melt butter or margarine. Add sugar and mix well. Cool.

Add eggs and vanilla, blend well.
Add the rest of the ingredients except the chocolate chips.

Put into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.

Day 264: Candy Cane Cookies {Recipe Revealed!!}

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Now you can see where I get my hamming-in-photos face.

My mom got inspired by my December Adventivities that she made her own list of activities. She did a lot of pay it forward types of adventivities. Which included volunteering at her church, ringing and singing for Salvation Army and getting a little nostalgic about cooking.

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How do you get nostalgic about baking? Mom hunted down the Betty Crocker Candy Cane Cookie recipe that her mother made one Christmas when she was a little girl.
Like many people from Mom’s generation her mother cooked for the family and didn’t want help in the kitchen. So, to be specific, my mother has fond memories watching and eating these cookies.

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We had a touch of trouble making the cute candy cane shapes because the dough is mostly butter and it got soft very quickly.
we made weird squiggles,  and round button shaped ones.

I forgot to copy the exact recipe my mom used that day but I found this one online and this seems pretty close. You may think these are a peppermint cookie but in fact they are a buttery vanilla and almond cookie. Super yummy.

I found the recipe on Cake Spy.
If you’re the type of person that hates following links then here ya go:

Candy Cane Cookies
-makes about 4 dozen –

Ingredients
1 cup butter 
1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
Red food coloring

Procedure
Heat oven to 375 F. Mix butter, sugar, egg, and flavorings thoroughly. Measure flour by dipping method or by sifting; mix flour and salt; stir into the wet mixture.
Divide dough in half; blend red food coloring into one half.

Roll a 4-inch strip from each color. For smooth, even strips, roll them back and forth on a lightly floured board. Place strips side by side, press lightly together and twist like rope.
For best results, complete cookies one at a time–if all the dough of one color is shaped first, strips become too dry to twist.

Place on ungreased baking sheet. Curve top down to form the handle of the candy cane.

Note: If you want a variation, you can also place strips side by side and roll them into a spiral and affix small triangles of white dough on either end, to have the look of starlight mints like in the picture on the top of this post!

Bake about 9 minutes, until lightly browned. While still warm, remove from baking sheet with spatula; if desired, sprinkle with a mixture of sugar and/or crushed candy canes.

Day 262: Coin on Cat

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Visited my parents’ house and couldn’t help but pester my old cat. My brother and I raised this cat and poked at her so much that she really doesn’t mind us now.

Before you get your panties in a twist, we didn’t do anything to hurt Apple. We were teenagers but we weren’t inherently mean.

She will not put up with other people trying to fool around with her. She barely tolerates flea medication from my parents.

When me or my brother tease her or balance things on her—she endures it. She closes her eyes and thinks of England.

In the spirit of Christmas, I balanced a gold foil coin on her head. She sat like this for about 15 minutes just sleeping on my lap.
Love my old grouchy cat.

Day 261: Tree Shots

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The hilarious thing about all the dozens of tree pictures I took last month are that I have a half dozen pins about how to take great Xmas tree photographs. As you can see, I pinned them and completely forgot to read the tips.

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I really had to capture this moment despite my cell phone not taking the best pictures. My cat curled up tight as a ball and some of our Christmas presents nestled under the tree.

Day 260: Popcorn & Cranberry Garland

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Popcorn air popped and ready. Cranberries rinsed and drained. Thread, scissors and needles poised.

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Making cranberry and popcorn garland. I believe this was an idea that was popular in Victorian times. I don’t know of they had garland parties but Kit and I had lots of fun stringing everything.

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If you’re interested in doing this with your family or Boo. Here is HOW we did it:
Embroidery thread (six strand), separate into two parts. I cut the length quite long–double the length of my finger-tips to elbow. Double knot one end of the thread so the popcorn won’t come off the end.
Thread your needle and go to town. We alternated two pieces of popcorn to one cranberry and we still had about half a bag left of cranberries.
When you come to the end of your thread tie it off and tie multiple together if you want more length. Hang it on the tree!
Very cheap date for us.

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Tips from our household:
Don’t be discouraged if your popcorn falls apart. Pierce the fattest part of the popcorn to help avoid splitting and if you can pop the popcorn a day ahead and let it get a little stale.

Be careful when picking up your garland. It will be more fragile than a storebought ornament.

We’re adults and had no issue with the occasional needle prick. However, this may not be the best activity for smaller children. It requires patience and honed fine motor skills. Depending on your child’s abilities, I might recommend it for youth 10 and up.

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Part of my December Adventivities.