Picture Makeover for Holidays

I am constantly looking for ideas that provide functionality and decor options as we continue to settle into our smaller home. 

I’ve wanted something to put over the buffet that had a Christmas theme but haven’t come across the print, size or dollar amount I wanted.   Plus I didn’t want another picture to store.  Then  I got the idea of covering the existing picture that hangs in this area with holiday gift wrap to provide a blank slate.  I’m pretty happy with how this project came out.


This is the picture I removed from the wall.


I used a good quality wrapping paper and blue painters tape to adhere.


My goal was to be able to use the bow and letters over each year and also not damage the picture  underneath.  Using a piece of jute in the corner (I glued with a bit of hot glue on each end) allowed me to tie the bow onto the jute instead of gluing the bow directly onto the paper.


I purchased 3 wood letters from Hobby Lobby and a $1.99 bottle of red chalk paint.  

Two coats of red, then a clear wax and finally a dark wax layer and they were ready to be adhered.  


I chose this product to adhere the letters to the paper.  They worked great.


Bow and letters attached.

Why I love this idea?

  • The roll of wrapping paper can be used for many years to come.
  • The only storage will be the bow and letters.
  • The motif can be easily changed up,
  • JOY – Jesus Only You is perfect to sit above the manger scene I’ve had since childhood.
  • It’s easy and fast.
  • Can be used for other holidays
  • It’s frugal.
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Egg Bites

 

This morning I tried a recipe that resembles the Sous Vide Egg Bites Starbucks is now selling.  My husband had them and liked them so I tried my best to make him some from our kitchen.   They are very light a fluffy – between a quiche and a soufflé.

I haven’t used my Steam feature on the Instant Pot and was excited this recipe called for it.  

My goal in writing this post is more of a review of the recipe and share what ingredients I used, which I might add next time, what containers worked, what containers worked best and any insights I discovered while I gave it a whirl.

The Ingredients I Used

  • 4 Organic Eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups Organic Mexican shredded cheese
  • 1/4 cup Organic Half and Half
  • 1/2 cup Low Fat Cottage Cheese
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

Containers and How I Prepared Them

  • I baked in ramekins, a short mason jar, a pint mason jar.  All were cooked through but I like the ramekins best because it provided consistent distribution of the bacon and egg.
  • Sprayed each container with coconut oil from Trader Joe’s.  This is not mentioned in the recipe and is essential for releasing the egg.
  • After cooking per instructions, remove from Instant Pot, take off the foil and let rest for 10 minutes.  Run a sharp knife around edges.  Place a dessert/salad plate on top and flip over.  Gently tap bottom to help release the egg bite.
  • I had one for lunch – 30 seconds in the microwave warmed it nicely.

 

Things I Might Do Different Next Time

  • Saute chopped mushroom, green pepper.  Press a paper towel to remove excess moisture and add into the egg mixture along with chopped green onion.
  • Serve with salsa
  • Try using 2 whole eggs and 4 egg whites
  • Try stacking my ramekins so I can make more
  • Serve these as a brunch or light lunch with a green salad and muffin.

What My Husband Thought of Them

  • Great
  • Tasted Good
  • When am I making more with mushroom and green onion?

The Recipe I used can be found HERE

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Gingerbread Kit – Beware

When my children were small, we used to make Christmas gingerbread houses out of graham crackers, clean meat trays and small milk cartons.  But in today’s world gingerbread kits are widely available for most holidays as “convenience products”.  My daughter loves gingerbread so the marketers definitely have her attention.  In fact this past Sunday as my husband and I watched the grandchildren (ages 5, 3 and almost 1) while their parents attended a training at church, there on the kitchen counter sat this box promising a creative masterpiece – the turkey kit that my daughter had provided for something to do after dinner and Grandma would help them.   I remember looking at the kit with a bit of concern because construction isn’t an area I’ve been gifted with.

So after dinner, my husband took the baby over to the carpet to watch and we broke the box open.  In front of me lay several gingerbread cookie pieces, some gummy type of candy, a package with a few m&m’s and a packet with the smallest round candy balls I’ve ever seen.  I was looking for the frosting, thinking there would be a can of ready made but instead there was a small bag of powdered sugar with these directions – whip an egg white until firm (what? are you kidding me), add sugar and a few drops of vinegar.   I needed to find the mixer and the beater, I needed to divide the candy in two bowls (already foreseeing the future of those little ball candies all over the place).  But there was no way I could tell two children looking expectedly at me that we weren’t going to make the turkey gingerbread.  

The mixer was found and two chairs were pulled up to the kitchen counter, safety instructions were given and my grandson became the power source of the Kitchen Aid Mixer while my granddaughter was in charge of the lever that locks the  machine down.  Two roles they were delighted to take on; this was happiness for them.  We talked about how important it is to start out slow when working with powdered sugar because it can go everywhere.  They were very good listeners and soon Caden was asking me if he could increase the speed to 4 miles an hour (the four on the speed control) and Maisie was ready to unlock/lock so we could scrap the sides of the bowl.

For me the day had already been filled with baking and decorating the baby’s birthday cake for later in the week; and I’d cleaned up several colors of frosting in pastry bags.  But the frosting we made for the turkey was similar to thick cement – I kept looking at the front of the package thinking how did they get the outlining of frosting around the pieces so the tiny ball candy could adhere to it.  If you’re a grandma and have been in a similar situation, I know you’ll understand how sometimes you miss essential pieces like the pastry bag – although I don’t think the frosting would have come out very easily – when managing a project with two little ones.  I found a butter knife and started loping frosting on the turkey cookie pieces only to discover those little candies just rolled off onto the floor.  Then my grandson’s elbow caught his bowl (yes, full of the little rolling devil candies and off they went on the floor.)  Caden glanced over for my reaction.  By this time, I laughed the laugh of a person knowing that this would soon be over.  The only thing left was for the limited gummy and m&m candy to be pushed into the unattractive gobs of icing I had sloped onto the turkey because what the children really wanted to do is eat the 12 pieces of candy the kit had allotted each of them.  While they pushed the candy into the drying cement frosting, I was still trying to figure out how to brace the bird so it would quit toppling over.

Finally the candy that was adhered  5 minutes before had been picked clean by the children’s hands and was sitting in their little tummies, sticky hands had been washed, teeth brushed and Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving was on the tv.  I gave my husband the option of getting the baby ready for bed which included a diaper change or cleaning up the turkey fiasco which had left the dining room and kitchen a disaster.  He chose cleaning up the destruction the now naked turkey had left; and I wrestled with a wiggly precious boy getting clothes off – pjs on.  While diaper changing I noticed Jesse pushing something back and forth with his tongue and discover a small piece of gray lego in his mouth.  I am able to remove this and look forward to sitting in a dark room in a comfy rocking chair feeding him a bottle.

In the dark, I am in awe of my daughter and son-in-law – how do they do it day in and day out?  I wonder how could a simple turkey gingerbread kit make me feel like I’ve been to battle and lost?  In a brief moment of self pity, I even think why would my daughter do this to me?

Soon all the children are asleep in their beds, their grandpa has headed home because he has an early bedtime; and I hear the garage door open.  My daughter sees the turkey on the counter without any adornment except the splotches of frosting that look more like a bad skin condition and asks how the project went; the turkey mocks me.   I told her from now on, I can’t do these type of projects with the children – it’s too much.  These people who design these kits can’t have tested them out with real children and tired grandmas.  No one in their right mind has you mixing up frosting with eggs – don’t get me started on the raw egg in edible frosting for children and those ball candies that are barely visible to the naked eye and then have the audacity to not stick to the frosting – there are no words.  

My daughter smiles at me and the turkey; then looks at the back of the box and explains when she has bought the kits in the past they always came with ready-made frosting and bigger sprinkles.  We laugh as Tamara begins breaking off pieces of the turkey cookie and saying how good it tastes. While her eyes glaze over from the gingerbread happiness, I repeat there will be no more gingerbread kits for this grandma.  A note to the wise – if you see this kit in the store or in your adult child’s home – run!

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