Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Arch Rival

I love a good board game. On Christmas night, that game was Arch Rival. It's a "game of balance...nerves...and suspense." And it is awesome. The gist of the game: you don't want to be the one that makes the arch fall.

My mom got Arch Rival at a garage sale or consignment shop years ag
o and I'm still not sure why someone would want to get rid of it. Buy your own set on eBay; you won't regret it.

Becky, attempting to place a plastic piece in the keystone. Plus, look at all the neon pieces in the lower left corner of the photo -- that's a lot of 1992 goodness.

Blake, attempting to remove a plastic piece from the arch.

Me, rockin' it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Uncle Wayne = So Awesome

This is what makes my uncle Wayne awesome: He has thirteen siblings, nearly that many in-laws, approximately 40 nieces and nephews, roughly 10 great-nieces and nephews, plus aunts, uncles, cousins and friends, and he still manages to send birthday, anniversary and Christmas cards to practically all of them. Plus, for birthdays, he makes the card extra special by mailing a pack of Trident gum with it (it's flat, so no extra postage).

Now, here is what makes Wayne
so awesome (This is the back of the envelope of the Christmas card he just sent me.):

Here's a close-up of that stamp.

Ohmigosh, isn't that just so sweet? When I read the stamp (
The Christmas Seal People - Season's Greetings - 1988), my heart just about busted in two I was so happy. I want to hang the envelope on my fridge all year round because it's impossible not to smile when you see something like that.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Some Sibling Dorkery

I love me some sibling dorkery. And this year, I think we've really outdone ourselves. First came Brian's sibling Christmas gift exchange name selector program, and now we have Becky's coolest sibling poll. The poll in and of itself isn't that exciting; the hilarious bit is that Lola's coworkers have rallied around her and created a program to continually vote for her. Now that Lola has a commanding lead, I've learned they are now working to help Ben and me boost our numbers. Isn't that so nice?

There's less than 12 hours left to vote, but if you want to get in on the fun, visit her blog and vote in the left navigation (and by vote, I mean select the radio button next to Jennifer).

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sending Good Cheer

Done and done! After a marathon night of writing, addressing and stamping, my Christmas cards are ready to wing their way to friends and family, old and new. Keep an eye on your mailbox for the tell-tale silver envelope with Sharpie scrawl.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Smallest DIY project

This might be the smallest DIY project ever. It took all of five minutes to transform these trinket magnetic letter openers into little works of art with paper and stickers (left over from my long-abandoned scrapbooking hobby). Here are the finished products.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

City Sidewalks

It snowed today -- a nice thick dousing that required the good people of this fair city to do their part and clear their sidewalks. Lucky for me, I have no city sidewalks, just sidewalks that run from the street to my door, so should I so choose, I could skip shoveling entirely. I shoveled anyway, but it's nice knowing I don't have to if I don't want to.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Merry Little Christmas

Here's my humble little tree in all it's glory. I'm trying to stick to a budget this holiday season, so I decked the tree in homemade paper ornaments and candy canes. I think it is sweet.

P.S. If you know where to find more strands of red wooden bead garland, let me know. I'm looking for at least one more strand. I had to rely on optical illusions to make the garland span the tree this year.

Truffle Brownie Cups

I spent my raucous Friday night baking truffle brownie cups at 11 p.m. I have a killer sweet tooth, and there's no stopping me until it's satisfied. The brownie cups were really easy and really delicious (they were really high in calories too, but never mind the details)!

Recipe (yield = 24)
(from The Pampered Chef Fall/Winter 2007 Season's Best Recipe Collection)

Nonstick cooking spray with flour
1 2/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
2 T butter (do not use margarine)
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream


  • Preheat oven to 325° F. Spray wells of mini muffin pan with cooking spray.
  • Place 2/3 cup of the chocolate chips and butter in microwaveable bowl and microwave until melted.
  • Add sugar and egg and mix until blended.
  • Add flour, mix just until flour is incorporated.
  • Spoon the dough into the muffin pan wells, filling each well about 2/3 full. Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are set (do not over bake).
  • Meanwhile, create the chocolate ganache filling. Microwave the cream for 1-2 minutes until it is hot (but not boiling). In a medium mixing bowl, add the cream to the remaining chocolate chips, stirring with a whisk.
  • Place the bowl in the freezer for 10-12 minutes to cool the mixture, stirring every five minutes.
  • Once the brownies are done, let them cool in the pan for a couple of minutes. Using a tart shaper or your thumbs, indent the middle of the brownies. Use a paring knife to trim around the edges of the brownie cups, then carefully remove them from the pan.
  • Spoon the ganache into the brownie cups.
  • Let the cups stand until ganache is firm. Enjoy!

NOTES: I let my brownies bake for 15-17 minutes because they were way too gooey otherwise. The brownies were very difficult to remove from the pan (even with trimming around the edges). I ended up banging the pan upside-down on a wire rack. Perhaps spooning them out or using paper baking cups would help. I think the ganache would be extra delicious with bittersweet chocolate chips. I stored my brownie cups in the fridge.