It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas…

beginning-to-look-like-christmas

Deck the halls with boughs of holly! I loooove Christmastime. It’s so festive. Currently the grounds around my area of life are laden with snow. My mum and I even built a snowman, a smidge taller than I am (and I’m 5′ 6″)! I’m in the midst of getting presents around and ready, singing Christmas carols, and thinking about what I’m going to make and bake for Christmas at Gram’s house. That all being said, I thought I’d dedicate a post to some crafts, recipes, and songs, all fit for Christmas. Ready?

One thing that I really enjoy doing at Christmastime is making gifts and cards. Under certain circumstances I buy them (i.e. lack of time or ability to make, or even occasionally, motivation), but there’s something really special about making stuff by hand. Here are some of the cards I made this year. Who knows, maybe you’ll find yourself inspired to get creative!

A Bookworm's Majestic Adventures

All the cards I started with a white cardstock card and used scrapbook paper, markers and stickers to achieve the look I was going for. On some of the cards I didn’t get very elaborate at all, because I was sort of on a time crunch. I found some pretty paper, slapped it on, and found a coordinating sticker. I think they turned out to be some of my best!

A Bookworm's Majestic Adventures

The Santa Claus card is definitely my favorite, and was relatively easy. I cut a piece of red cardstock to the width of the card, and then scalloped the edges so when I put it against the white card, it would look like the white puffy stuff on Santa’s hat. I did the same thing for Santa’s skin tone, scalloping the top the same way so it finished out his hat brim, and then scalloping the bottom so it looked like he had a beard. To bring it all together, I outlined everything in black, and drew his eyes, nose, and mouth. Ho, ho, ho!

A Bookworm's Majestic Adventures

Okay, so, I don’t know about you guys, but food is a huge part of Christmas in my family. It’s just delicious. There’s always an abundance of food, so you don’t need to worry about going hungry. The first thing on our Christmas menu is bacon-wrapped water chestnuts. It has bacon, so, need we say more? We always make a big batch of these this time of year, because they have the tendency to be eaten in heaping amounts at a time. It’s also good to have helpers, because if you’re making a lot…well, you’ll see why.

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts Recipe

photo credit to Food.com!!!
photo credit to Food.com!!!

Ingredients:

3 cans water chestnuts

1-1/2 lbs bacon (cut the strips in half)

1 cup ketchup

1 cup sugar (white or brown)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Drain water chestnuts. Wrap each one with a 1/2 strip of bacon and secure with a toothpick. (Here is where help is a good idea if you’re making enough for a small army.) Place in a 9×13 pan and bake for 30 minutes. In a mixing bowl, mix sugar and ketchup together. Pour mixture over water chestnuts and continue baking for another 30 minutes or until they carmelize and crisp up. Enjoy!

Extra tidbit:

You will want to drain the bacon grease before adding the sauce.


Raspberry Almond Shortbread Cookies Recipe

photo credit to Food Network.com!!
photo credit to Food Network.com!!

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon almond flavor

2 cups flour

1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam

Sugar to sprinkle

1 cup powdered sugar

3-4 teaspoons water

1-1/2 teaspoon almond flavor

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat butter, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon almond flavor. Beat in as much flour as you can with electric mixer,, then stir in rest of flour by hand. Use cookie scoop (1-inch size) and place on ungreased baking sheet. Use thumb to press indentation into center of ball. Spoon in 1/2 teaspoon jam then sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 10 minutes. Combine powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon almond flavor. Add enough water to make drizzling consistency. Drizzle the cookies with icing.

Extra tidbit:

If you like blueberries, what about using blueberry jam? I haven’t actually tried this, but I am going to this year. Or peach jam, or apricot? Oh the possibilities. An array of fruit thumbprint cookies. And I believe we got about 36 cookies out of this recipe.

(Have you heard of seafoam candy? Oh my land, delicious. I did a post about it a year or so ago that you can find here!)


The final stop on our Christmas excursion is in the music department. What is Christmas without music?

A very non-melodic Christmas, that’s what.

Anyways, here is one of my favorite “silly” Christmas songs, sung by Gayla Peevy: I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas. I discovered it about four years ago and sang it non-stop. My family loves it. (No, I’m totally not being sarcastic, hahahahaha…) Last year, my Grandma asked me what I wanted for Christmas. Because I like to talk in song lyrics occasionally, I told her I wanted a hippopotamus.

Guess what my Grandma got me for Christmas? A stuffed hippo. It was awesome. Hippa the Hippo is one of my favorite Christmas gifts. So if you haven’t heard this song before, here you are!

 

Second up on the favorite list this year is a brand-new one put out by one of my favorite singers, Beckah Shae. It’s called Smile. I love it because, like Buddy the Elf, smiling’s my favorite.

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!

Love Emma xoxoxox

 

 

 

 

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A Little of This, a Little of That…

A Little of This, a Little of That... | Majestic Adventures

Hellohellohello! It’s me again. Hehe. It’s fun to be random and whatnot, so I thought I’d share with y’all what I’ve recently discovered.

And when I say that, I don’t mean I discovered that the moon is made of cheese (I do quite enjoy that episode of Wallace and Gromit though) or I have successfully discovered how to take a picture of an atom. I’m talking things like a new song or a new verse in the Bible. Just random little things that make life happier all around. 🙂

Wallace and Gromit on the Moon made of Cheese

A little of this, a little of that, you might say. And who knows, maybe you’ll find something you think is kinda neat too. 🙂


First up…

New Song

I actually discovered this song while reading a book. The song I Go to the Rock was the book’s theme song, and I just had to listen to the words instead of reading them.  It’s such a great reminder that God is always there and…yes, I love it. Dottie Rambo wrote it, but I personally enjoy Whitney Housten’s version. 🙂

Where do I go…when there’s nobody else to turn to?

Who do I talk to…when nobody wants to listen?

Who do I lean on…when there is no foundation stable?

I go to the Rock! I know He is able, I go to the Rock!

 

New Bible Verse

I was browsing Pinterest the other day and came across some picture and the caption was Amos 5:4. Upon Googling it, I found this verse:

Amos 5:4

Isn’t that verse lovely? And, haha, I’ve found I’m like Aunt Clara from Bewitched–we both like doorknobs. While Aunt Clara collects them, I don’t have the room, not with all my books, so I just take pictures, like the one above. Still, you can’t tell me that a doorknob doesn’t make an interesting photograph!

New Drink

Teacup and Saucer

TEA! Yes, yes, I know that tea is a popular drink and some of you may be wondering why I haven’t ever “discovered” it before just now. So here’s my excuse! I never liked tea before. In past tea-tasting experiences, I just didn’t really care for it. It was eh. That is until Mother Dearest bought this “fruit sampler” box of tea–a whole bunch of different flavors, all in a box! That box of delicious sipping goodness has changed my perspective on tea forever. I’ll have a cup of blueberry please, with a buncha honey!

New Book

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My grandma gave me this book for Christmas, and I just finished the fourth and final book, and it is AMAZING. This is actually the book where I heard of the song I Go to the Rock! Even though it’s fiction, it’s engaging, encouraging and full of God’s truth! The characters make me laugh, drive me nuts, and…yeah! And I can’t mention Neta Jackson without saying that her Yada Yada series is also stinkin’ amazing. Not to sound redundant or anything, but if you take this paragraph ^^ and apply it to Yada Yada, you’ll get a pretty good idea! 🙂

New Recipe

I’ve found two new recipes lately. One for a delicious lemon sour cream pound cake.

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And one for soft pretzels!

Majestic Adventures Blog
my fat little pretzel sticks

 

The cake, I just dumped most everything in, flipped the KitchenAid on, called it good. (Recipe calls for bowl #1 and #2 and egg yolks here and whites there. Yesh!) Anyways it turned out great! So did the pretzels. First time I made sticks (or logs if you prefer since sticks are generally…thinner) and had to use regular salt since I didn’t have any pretzel salt. Second time I got brave and whipped those babies into ze classic twist–and I had pretzel salt! Without or without the twist, with or without the pretzel salt, it’s easy and yummy. 🙂

New Movie

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We watched this movie a few months ago maybe? Oh my gosh, I will admit that I was tearing up during this movie…maybe a little. It follows a bunch of different people going through very different stories, and each one of them is approached with the question: Do you believe in what God did for you on the cross? And even though the movie itself is fiction, just seeing the work of God in each of the characters lives is such a powerful thing. A good reminder that God is at work in our lives too!


Can’t really think of anything else to add…of course, once I press PUBLISH I’ll think of something. Ha! Doesn’t it always work that way? Anyway, what new things have you discovered lately? 😀 I hope you have a superwonderfulfantasticamazing rest of your day. Until next time!

Love, Emma xo

 

 

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Baking Flops = Funny Stories

Baking Flops = Funny Stories

I love to bake. It’s fun! (It also has its benefits. Eating. Sampling. Taste testing.) Spending time in the kitchen is fun to me. Unless it’s doing the dishes, in which case I will be the farthest one away from that overloaded sink full of peanut buttery spoons. (Does anyone else feel me on that peanut butter spoon thing? Ew!) I’ve loved to help Mama make cookies when I was little, and later decorate cakes for family events. Pies, cookies, cupcakes, ice cream sandwiches. Well, I guess the last one isn’t really baking per se, but I baked the cookies I used for the sandwiches, so it still counts. (Two chocolate chip cookies + ice cream + wrapped in plastic wrap, foil, and frozen = deliciousness)

(OH. BY THE WAY. IT’S SEPTEMBER PEOPLE!!!!!! Happy September! I love fall, so I am looking forward to this. sweatshirts, hot chocolate, doughnuts, apple cider, colorful leaves. Are you?! :D)

I’ve made many delicious things! Anddddd also many not delicious things. I’ve had a few flops. A few of which has damaged my baking reputation. But I am pleased to tell you my baking has since improved, therefore my reputation as a baker has been restored to its former glory.

But today I am not here to talk about the many successes I’ve had. Because really, what fun is that? It’s much more fun to laugh at ridiculous mistakes, so that is what this post is about. My baking mistakes. You can either sympathize with me or laugh at me.  I will tell you though that I will be chuckling throughout the entire writing of this post, so if you want to laugh, there’s no need to feel badly about it!

Shall we continue? 😀

1. the snickerdoodle incident

One lovely afternoon I was hanging out with my beautiful friend for the day. We thought “Hey, we should bake snickerdoodles in the shape of a giant gingerbread man!” (A chocolate chip version of a giant gingerbread cookie man is shown above.) We pulled out my favorite recipe for snickerdoodles and set to work.

When it was time to put the baking soda in the bowl, I couldn’t find it. I went to the pantry and looked there, and then I rechecked everything just to be sure. No baking soda. I wasn’t sure if you could replace the soda with the baking powder or not. I couldn’t contact my wonderful baking-savvy mother, so what did we do? We Googled it.

Turns out–according to a group forum–that you can replace baking soda with baking powder, you just need to triple the amount and add more sugar to offset the bitterness. With that in mind, I read the recipe, misreading the two teaspoons for two tablespoons…times three. Yes. I added six tablespoons of baking powder into our cookies. *nervous chuckle* And then we added four cups of sugar (as opposed to three) to “offset the bitterness.” Let me tell you. This forum is wrong. Just do the recipe as you would normally do the recipe. Period. It will save you a bellyache due to the consumption of excessive baking powder and mocking (well, not mocking, but good humored laughing and then questions about your future as a baker) from your family. Although now it makes a good joke, so if you’d rather….

We pressed it into our gingerbread man cookie tray and sprinkled with cinnamon/sugar and stuck it in the oven. When we took it out, it had risen at least half an inch over the side. I don’t remember exactly how thick it was, but. O_O It was huge.

Needless to say, it took me months to regain the trust of my brother again, as far as baking went.

And you want to know what the best part was? When Mother Dearest came home she found the baking soda. It was in a huge box under the sink. Go figure.

2. the oatmeal cake incident

It was a bright lovely morning in our household. I was helping my mother out by drying and putting away the dishes she was washing. Not too long ago my mom had baked an oatmeal cake and was letting it cool on the countertop before we delved into its deliciousness. Now, I know that I wasn’t the one who baked the cake, but just wait, you’ll see where I goofed things up.

I took a glass custard cup from the drying rack and wiped it with a towel, and then I went to put it in the cupboard. The cupboard that happened to be right above the cooling oatmeal cake. I don’t remember what happened exactly, all I know is that I went to put the small glass cup on its rightful shelf when it slipped and fell down, crashing into the 9×13 pan and smashing into a zillion pieces…all over the oatmeal cake. And seeing how consuming glass isn’t exactly safe, we had to throw the whole cake out. Oops!

But I think we may have made something else to replace it, though I’m not exactly sure. It was a long time ago. But it’s nice to think that we didn’t lose everything when I broke the custard cup over the cake, and that we got something else out of it. But I really don’t know. All I know is that if I want to eat cake I better be careful when putting dishes away.

3. the cake incident

Baking Flops = Funny Stories | Majestic AdventuresOne summer evening we were invited over to a friends’ house for dinner and a campfire. We brought dessert! (I love dessert.) And I volunteered to bake and decorate two delicious cakes. EEEE! I was so excited. I spent two hours decorating the two cakes, and they turned out gorgeous. There they are, these two pictures I’ve pasted here. Baker Flops = Funny Stories | Majestic Adventures

See them? Are they not gorgeous? I was very please with how they turned out! Sometimes things don’t go the way I planned with cake decorating…I once made a turkey cake for thanksgiving and all the frosting fell off on our way to grandmother’s house. But, that is another flop for another time. Continuing on, as I was saying, I was very pleased with how they turned out. I had baked them, made the frosting, colored, piped…worked my little baker’s heart out, I did!

When it came time to go we covered them and drove over, and they made it without incident. We even enjoyed its deliciousness after dinner. We brought them out onto the picnic table and served them up and everyone got a nice sized piece to eat around the campfire.

You want to know where the flop is, right? Well did I mention that our friends have a big black lab? I was happily enjoying my cake around the campfire with my family and friends when my father called everyone’s attention to the picnic table a little distance away. And there, standing with its two front paws planted on bench, was that dog. And it was eating my cake.

I felt my eyes go wide and my jaw go slack as I watched the dog eat my cake. Her face was right in there too; she wasn’t holding back. She dove right in and helped herself. All that time I spent on the cake…and we didn’t even get to eat it all! I was mad. Now, it’s funny. But then, I was mad. My cake! My beautiful cake!

I know it’s only a cake and it’s not a big deal, but if you were an artist (or maybe you are) and you had just spent two hours drawing this really great picture of a…I don’t know, whatever you like to draw–we’ll just say a pencil. You had just finished drawing this really great picture of a pencil, it had wonderful detail and color–and then your dog came over and ate it. Ate your picture. How would you feel after that? It was only a picture. But it was your picture. That is how I felt. Until a few days later when I was finally able to laugh about it. I no longer hold any grudges against that dog.

The moral of this story: Put your cakes where dogs can’t get to them, or give them a piece before they feel the need to serve themselves.

The end!


Ta-da! And there you have it!

Three of my baking flops have now become public knowledge, all for you, my wonderful readers. 😀 I hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them, and that they made you laugh, or smile at memories of your own baking (or cooking!) flops. 🙂 If anyone has a funny baking or cooking flop they’d like to share–I’d love to hear! It would give me a sense of peace knowing that I’m not the only one in the world who adds 6 tablespoons of baking powder to a batch of cookies.

 

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I Wrote a Guest Post!

I WROTE A GUEST POST!

I’m very excited.

As if you couldn’t tell.

The other day I was asked by the very lovely Koko Down Under to guest post on her blog, His Little Elephant. 🙂 The post went live last night, so I am going to redirect you all here, where you can read it. The post itself is about a couple Christmas traditions of my family: Seafoam candy and the game called Dirty Bingo. If you like my blog (which you must if you follow it) you’ll like Koko’s, I am sure. 😀

So, my followers, I want to thank you ahead of time!

Merry Christmas! (again.)

**UPDATE**

Because His Little Elephant is currently undergoing changes to the blog and such, I’m going to post what I wrote for the guest post below, for all of you who would like to hear about seafoam and dirty bingo. 🙂

HELLO ALL! Emma! That’s my name. I love to write and looooooooove to read. I also love to watch movies and listen to music, among other things. I blog at A Bookworm’s Majestic Adventures about anything that interests me – and that could be anything from books to hand lotion. You never know. 😀  This is my first guest post, and I am very excited to be here with you all!

At any rate, I have been asked by this very lovely friend here to share a couple Christmas traditions, and they are called seafoam candy and Dirty Bingo. So, if you’re interested in learning about chocolate covered crunchy stuff and a game where you can win a bunch of prizes, read on!

Alright, first up is the candy. The recipe is really very simple, but it takes time and patience to get it just right. And the results? Delicious.

Ingredients:

1 cup white sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1 teaspoon vinegar

4 teaspoons baking soda

Chocolate bark candy coating

Andddddd, here is how you transform those ingredients into candy:

In a heavy pan, add sugar, corn syrup and vinegar. Slowly cook to 290 degrees Fahrenheit (we use a candy thermometer for this), stirring constantly.

Once it reaches 290°, take the pan off the burner and add baking soda. It will foam up, so work quickly mixing it in.

After this, quickly pour into a 9”x13” well greased pan.

Wait for the candy to cool, then cut with a knife. The cuts don’t need to be uniform, it’s just so you can dip it in the chocolate and create a nice little piece of candy.

Now melt the chocolate coating according to the package directions. Dip the sea foam pieces into the chocolate, and place on wax paper to dry and harden.

The recipe says it serves eight. 🙂

And that is it! Easy, right? 🙂 This is a Christmas candy must in our family. 😀 Unfortunately I have no picture of seafoam, but if you put ‘Seafoam Candy’  in the Search bar on Google, you see a bunch of delicious pictures.

Dirty Bingo is the second subject for today, and it’s really quite simple. Game play is as regular bingo: everyone is given cards and some way to mark the cards when they have a number that was called out. We use paper bingo cards and markers. When someone gets a five in a row, across, up, down or diagonally, they call out BINGO! The thing that sets Dirty Bingo apart from regular Bingo is this:

Have everyone bring a small gift/prize. To keep it affordable we keep it $5 or less. This could be candy, pop, blankets, flashlights – there are a lot of cool $5 items out there! Place all the gifts in one central place. This is the Bingo prize table. When someone gets bingo, they go up and pick a prize off the table, then return to their seat and continue playing.

And this, this is where it gets interesting: Once all the gifts are gone off the table, people are now allowed to steal other people’s bingo gifts that they have won. But! They may only steal after all the presents are gone off the table. Not before.

So now. Imagine this. All gifts are off the table and in the possession of bingo players. Someone (or someones gets a bingo. That someone will look around the room for a gift that he wants, and then they will take it for their own. If they get a two- or three-way bingo, they can take two or three gifts. The only rule with stealing is this: You can’t steal something on the same turn someone else takes it.

What does that mean? It means that you and another buddy of yours both have a bingo. You both spot that awesomely huge bag of peanut M&M’s sitting at the feet of another player. You both make a mad dash to the bag to snatch it first, but your buddy grabs it just as you get there.  (If this happened to me, that person would no longer be my buddy. M&M’s. Mine.) Now, since the M&M’s were just taken, you can’t take it. You would have to wait until the next time you got a bingo in order to take that bag of candy – that is, assuming it isn’t stolen during that turn as well. Are you with me? It gets pretty intense when everyone’s going for that big bag of M&M’s, believe me. Peanut M&M’s are a thing to be cherished. Of course, maybe you’re not am M&M’s person, but rather a Twizzler’s person. Either way, you get the idea. 😀

The game keeps going on until someone gets a full card – when all their numbers have been called and filled. When that happens, the person who got the full card gets to pick out one last gift (or two or three if he had a two or three way bingo), and then the game ends, and people take home what prizes they could keep from being taken. (You can’t actually keep somebody from taking anything, though. Just to be clear. ;))

And that, my friends, is seafoam candy and Dirty Bingo in a nutshell. Are there any questions about either I can answer? (If it’s ‘What does seafoam taste like?’ I can’t help you. Seafoam has a very delicious taste, and neither I nor my family members quite know how to describe it. I encourage you to make it yourself and tell me what you think it tastes like in the comments!)

Thank you so much, Koko, for letting me be a guest writer on your blog! I had a ton of fun and hope to be able to do it again in the future. Thank you, readers, for reading this post, as well! I hope you got some new ideas for a family get-together or party, or enjoyed reading about mine. 🙂

Merry Christmas! I hope you have a wonderful celebration of the birth of our Lord!