Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

It seems the holidays have caught up with me (and judging by my stagnant Google Reader, other bloggers too).

Merry Christmas to you - I hope you are all filled with peace, joy and love. If I could give each of you a hug, I would. *Virtual hug* And then I'd feed you a bacon cookie (which turned out pretty tasty, but super, super greasy).
Sak used his precious Slap-Chop to mince the bacon.


I used this recipe, but if you make it, add a bit more maple flavor because it cooks out a lot. If that's even a term.

Sak and I have been busy. Last weekend, Sak was baptised, and we were officially made members of our church, after attending membership classes, writing a faith statement, interviewing, and finally sharing our testimony to the congregation! (A harrowing experience for the shy, to be sure.)

I nearly cried during Sak's testimony. Which is saying a lot since I wasn't even near tears during our wedding - supposedly the most emotional time of one's life. I had been worried about him, since he had refused to prepare for his "speech", and had distracted himself the week prior to keep from worrying over it. (As you can guess - I was the one who spent the week fretting, for both our sakes.) I was especially worried since he doesn't like talking about personal matters to people other than me and maybe our Bible study. Not even to his parents, and especially not to a crowd. And one's spiritual self is a very personal thing, especially when belief in Jesus meant giving up other beliefs held since childhood.

But he was very clear with his story of how he came to realize that not all Christians were quick to tell him about his pending trip to Hell. Of how he found God's love through people that really, honestly cared about him. Of how he felt that the church we had picked out together really did feel like family to him.

I guess there's just something about a man declaring his love for the Lord with simple honesty and without reserve that really just makes me weak in the knees, because I was about to lose it. By far the best Christmas present I could witness.

The other thing we've been up to is with our Bible study group. We partnered with City Team again, who told us about Bhutanese refugees that have been steadily coming to Oakland. Due to internal conflict, they had to leave their little country, which borders India, to live in camps in Nepal. 60,000 of them have been offered a new home in the US, and about 400 of them are new residents of Oakland.

Our mission was simple - help provide the families with things they need - and to explain to them what the whole Christmas thing is about. As it is their first Christmas here, I'm sure the crazy decorations and retail madness can be quite confusing. Our family, in particular, has been here only about a year, and from that family Sak and I picked the 24 year old son. Instead of wanting videogames like a typical American boy of his age - his request was simply for a jacket or a pair of shoes. We opted for the jacket since shoes are a little more personal a fit. Sak picked it out, but I included the return receipt should he not like the style.

Anyway, we always do these sorts of "adopt-a-family" things, but I think it's especially neat when you get to know a little about the family you adopt. Makes it more personal?  There was a party held in Oakland, and several members of our group went to meet the refugees in person! Unfortunately it was a workday, so we couldn't make it.  But I hear they were all very nice, and could speak English even.  Which always makes me embarrassed.  Why is it that people (who may never come to our country at all) always know English, yet so very few of us know anything BUT English.  Or at least I don't. Bahhh.

So in any case, that's what we've been up to this season - and now we shall chill with my family for a bit! Yay! Well-stocked pantry of delicious food!

Happy holidays to you! Hope you are doing something lovely and even borderline magical!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hello Voldy!

Get it? Get it?!

It's Voldemort...meets Hello Kitty! And instead of the typical butterflies and flowers, he's surrounded by his precious horcruxes!

Anyway, I submitted this odd-looking design to a T-shirt-a-day website, so here's hoping it gets picked - because I want a cute Voldemort shirt! I am worried that the art is too simplistic - but really - Hello Kitty is all about being simplistic - right? Or maybe that's my own rationalizing?

In any case, wish me luck!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Wanted: Unique Cookies

Three years ago, when we had first moved in together and I was feeling a bit "domestic", I went crazy and made tons of different Christmas cookies for Sak's work and my work. I did the same the following year, but not last year - as I was busy working on chair cover bags instead. And Sak's co-workers COMPLAINED!

I was touched that a bunch of engineer guys would remember cookies from a prior year, so I want to do it again this year.

I have only one, "go-to" cookie recipe, which are Spritz - basically sugar cookies, but I make it with powdered sugar rather than granulated sugar.
I really love those because they aren't too sweet, and allows me to use my cute sakura cookie cutter. (Which, sadly, is the only cookie cutter I own.)

Other than that I just pick and choose from different recipe websites, and hope for the best. In the past, I think I've done Italian Christmas cookies (round chocolate balls PACKED with spices)...
...Snickerdoodles (crowd favorite), white chocolate cranberry, peanut butter with the choco kiss on top, oatmeal raisin, ginger snap, and the standard chocolate chip.

Ginger snaps, by the way, are always the last to be eaten. For whatever reason?

Anyway, I want to mix it up again this year. Sak is on duty to recipe hunt tonight, but he tends to only pick cookies with chocolate in them. Bias!

How about a maple bacon cookie?
Something pumpkin based?
Red velvet?

One lady at church made chocolate cookies, then melted Andes chocolate mints to use as frosting. It was delicious!
I know all of you are awesome cooks - so if you could - please share your culinary creativity with this girl who only breaks out her Kitchenaid once a year! Any ideas? The weirder the better, but it should probably still taste good, I think!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Favors

This Saturday Sak and I helped out at the Women's luncheon at church. Well, we made the programs and favors (because I love favors), and Sak helped because unlike the rest of the men at our church, he doesn't have children to watch for his wife. Plus he really likes sitting up in the A/V booth on his precious sound board. I don't blame him though, they have snacks up there.

Anyway, back to the favors!

I had 72 metal tins left over from my bulk order back in September. I copied PPG's idea of going to the Ghiradelli factory (something Sak agreed to whole-heartedly (we went to the one in San Leandro)), and came back with an assortment of chocolate squares. 250 to be exact, at 20 cents a piece. (We also came back with some other chocolate, but that was for personal consumption.)

I put three chocolates in each tin.

Then a little booklet of Christmas-related events going on at the church.

Now here comes the fun part. I bought a garland of silk pointsetta flowers at Joanne's for five dollars.
I plucked the flowers off the chain, and cut the backing off. Hot glue and one pin later, we have a flower pin!

Obviously these are super cheapy and will probably break pretty easily, but they are kind of cute and make for good filler in my tin box. Plus it was neat to see so many of the ladies wear them to church the day after! (The luncheon was on Saturday.)

Finally, the lid comes on and is wrapped up with a green ribbon and red tag. I'm not very fond of the tag design, which is our theme verse and an glitter-embossed Christmas-swirl stamp. I'm not sure why I don't like it, maybe because it's off kilter? Ah well.

We also made some programs in the form of table tent cards.

The church, early in the morning before the lights came on and people showed up!

I'm glad I found something useful to do with some of our wedding leftovers! Are you doing any holiday crafts this year?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cosplay With My Heart

Alright, so this is ALL OVER the internet right now, but I just have to jump on board and further the sharing, because this video is epic!

(But I do have to point out that Rei's hair is not the perfect blue shade, pfft. Her hair is light blue!)