I’m a lumberjack and I’m okay

This year was the first time the Price and I did Christmas cards together. You know the ones with photos, the ones where the whole family is dressed in white shirts and jeans sitting on the beach… Well since it’s just us I figured it would be best to have a little fun with the whole thing. I decided we needed a theme, and what theme best describes Christmas and freezing Boston weather…. LUMBERJACKS!

The folks at Gap also made it their mission to throw as much paid at the general public as possible this season. A few weeks ago when shopping around for Christmas presents Price found the most amazing (he thinks annoying) hat ever!  Since buying it I try to wear it whenever possible, even on the ‘warm’ days and it is not really needed. So with hat in hand I had to think of a way of incorporating it into the Christmas card… which is how a theme of lumberjack came about. Emily suggested props to make the photo more authentic (and hilarious) which is why there is an ax. Plus we would just be weirdos wearing plaid, and me with my hat.

So Price was a good sport setting up the camera and timer to take a bunch of photos with us. There were so many outtake photos since I was not sure if I wanted the picture to look American Gothic like. So at the last-minute we would crack up when trying to look serious. Enjoy…

 

  

Photos were adjusted using Maggie Holmes’ Photoshop Actions. Love them!

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Wii love Christmas!!!

 

Christmas was fantastic this year. It is great every year but I got some great gifts from a pressure canner and canning kit, mermaid stuff, necklaces, a big scrapbooking kit, tickets to see Stomp (5th time!), books, movies, etc. This summer better be last summer because I need some good tomatoes so I can break out the canning kit!!! In general it is hard to be home because I am out of my routine and I have to pack up the rabbits to bring them down and they are quite pissed to be in a different place. Plus the froze every time Cobi barked and Piper laid outside the room crying at the door to get in.

On the plus side I get to see my family and get to sleep in since I have nothing to really commit to. I slept like 11 hours on Saturday… pure joy.

This year was great because we had a great Christmas Eve… including a present with a $58 wrapping job. Hilarious story about my mom going to get a gift wrapped, thinking it would be like $15 max. Well the woman comes back with this crazy wrapping and bow, the woman tells her it is $48, including her $10 store credit. So the box was carefully removed, presents removed from there, and box carefully put back into wrapping. This is going to live under my mom’s friend’s tree every year now just to earn its value.

On Saturday my dad, his girlfriend, my brother, and I drove to New Jersey to try these sliders that my dad saw on CBS Sunday morning. They were supposed to be the best sliders in NJ. So we drove though crazy traffic, in the rain, to get to Hackensack to try them. First we went to White Castle to get their burgers to be able to compare them with the famous ones from White Manna. So after waiting in the rain for a bit, then like 40 minutes in the place for sliders we figured that White Castle’s were better, plus no wait. At  least we tried them. Always an adventure.

 

Emily and I went to Cracker Barrel on our way back to Boston since we have been talking about it for the past 2 years. It’s always been like ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to go to Crackle Barrel!?!?!?’ Well it was but also horrifying. I had some Country Fried Steak- the gravy was more like wallpaper paste- and Emily had Chicken and Dumplins. She said if she started to should “dumplins!” it ment she had to throw up in the car. Luckily that did not happen, but we both will be paying for that dinner for a while.  

So now I’m home preparing myself for another 3 days work week 🙂 Price is playing with the Wii my mom and step dad got him. I sense some very long nights of tournaments in our future!!!!  So glad we don’t have any plans for New Years!!!

Some Seriously Amazing Cinnamon Rolls

 

Two weekends ago I ventured into the territory of baking with yeast. I learned how working with yeast can be a pain in the ass but if it works you get great results. My first attempt was a miserable fail with a sticky, dense, dead ball of dough. I figured out my milk was at 112 and the was way too hot for my yeast so I tried again at 100 and SUCCESS!!!

I went through all this trouble because I saw these amazing Peppermint Bark Buns at Fake Ginger. I could have gone for the peppermint and chocolate filling but I am not a big fan of white chocolate so I decided to stick with a cinnamon roll and this would be a springboard into making the cinnamon rolls.

 

 

 

These cinnamon rolls were worth the trouble since they were an amazing treat for the weekend. Plus I felt like I conquered a big fear with using yeast. I made an orange frosting for them which was good- a nice complement to the cinnamon but standard milk based frosting is more my thing. I think eggnog would be fantastic!

Seriously Amazing Cinnamon Rolls

makes 12 rolls

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 cup warm milk (skim works)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter melted
  • 4  cups bread flour, 1/2 cup reserved
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 packet dry active yeast

 Filling

  •  1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened

Glaze

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • milk or orange juice until you have reached your desired frosting thickness
 

Process

  1. To prepare the dough, start by heating the milk per yeast instructions (between 100-110F). Melt the butter, set aside. Beat eggs in a very large bowl, set aside. Once the milk has reached the right temperature add the yeast and let proof per instructions. Mix in the sugar and melted butter into the eggs. Gently mix in the milk/yeast to the wet ingredients. In half cup intervals mix in the bread flour until 4 cups has been incorporated. With the remaining 1/2 cup, dust a clean smooth surface and coat your hands. Kneed the dough into a ball incorporating the remaining flour. Place into a greased bowl, cover, with plastic wrap and let double in size (several hours).
  2. While your dough is rising prepare the cinnamon sugar mixture by combining the sugars, cinnamon, and the softened butter. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 and grease baking pans.
  4. Roll out dough into a 16 by 21 inch rectangle. Spread butter mixture evenly over dough. Roll up dough jelly roll style and divide into 12 rolls. Arrange evenly in pan(s), cover and let rise until doubled.*
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. While rolls are baking combine the cream cheese and sifted powered sugar. Add milk/oj to the cream cheese until it reached the desired consistency. Spread frosting over warm rolls before serving.

*I did not do this since I wanted them right then and they turned out fine. So this extra rise is up to you.

Getting Inspired Again

While architecture school requires you to be creative I always approached my projects pragmatically. I like grids, rhythm, and realism. While I could have gotten a bit more wild and free with these I liked to imagine them as real projects, with structure, budgets, and codes. The last class I really felt creative in was a C (third) level studio when I sewed a majority of my project. It was a horrible pain in the ass and it required the sewing machine (that my dad designed when he worked for singer in the 80’s) to be serviced. I had shades of red to pink to represent users and the feeling invoked related to those users. It’s not to say that I did not like my other classes but that was the most hands on creative one.

Now that I am getting out of school I am determined to try every crafty thing I can get my hands on. Even if I try and fail or hate it I am going to try it. Different mediums, different techniques, different classes, etc. Up next is learning to crochet.

Over the weekend I made a wreath using a  12″ foam form. I wrapped the whole thing in the majority of a skein of yarn. Then I wrapped it in ribbon, from Stampin’ Up! Broke it and then stuck it back together with toothpicks. You would never know I cracked it but dumb move on my part. Then I decorated it with holly leaves that I diecut using Stampin’ Up! papers and a sizzix template. The berries were buttons, also from Stampin’ Up! Lastly, I added some wire (SU!) to add some depth to the wreath.