Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bee Ornaments

Since it's the last day of December (already!), I figure I should post my little bit of the Weddingbee blogger ornament swap.

Here's one I made out of clay for Bunny:
I'm still not that good with clay, as evidenced by my fingerprints all over it.  Do people normally wear gloves while sculpting? Originally I tried to make one true to her actual bee icon, but in the end, chibi-forms are the only thing that works for me. As long as it's cute, right? Also, to make the ears stick, I put little pieces of wire in each to press into the   head.  Works quite well!

And here's the super cute sewing machine I received from Frenchie!
I always feel bad for those that draw my name, seeing as sewing machines aren't the easiest things to find/make ornaments of! But both Frenchie and Cardigan (from last year!) did such a great job. I'm super impressed!

Now, to hunt for a "our new home" ornament, since this was the first Christmas-season in our house! I'm not the only one that buys ornaments on sale after Christmas, right?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday with your loved ones!! And may...
"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace." - Numbers 6:24-26
...during the celebration of His Son's birthday!

We're doing a little (literal) chilling with my side of the family, though poor Sak probably wishes he was warm in Hawaii right about now!
Orange rolls will warm you up!
  Be merry, be safe, and be extra-stuffed-can't-eat-another-bite-without-throwing-up full!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cookies are for Christmas

Every year, Sak and I send packages of Californian food to his aunts, uncles and grandmothers in Hawaii.  And by "Californian" food, I mean Trader Joe's.  If there's one way to put a smile on a local's face, its TJ's.  I have no idea why. But for the sake of my future present-giving-possibilities, I hope they never ever, ever put a TJ's on the islands.

Anyway, as we were checking out with a cart full of pistachios, dried meats, cranberry butter, candy cane Joe-Joes and the like, the checker leaned over and whispered to us, "If you really want to blow their minds, try the cookie butter!"


Anyway, Sak said we had to try it first before we send unknown food items over, so here we are with a jar of cookie butter.

Yes, do you read that? It's made from crushed biscuits.

The taste was instantly nostalgic.  Like when I was little and had graham crackers.  And I'd eat a graham cracker, chewing it until it was nothing but saliva-paste.  Then you'd undoubtedly stick your tongue out and and show someone before swallowing it.  You know what I mean?

Well, cookie butter tastes like creamed up graham crackers.  Not a bad thing at all.
Though I need to find the perfect thing to pair it with. Bread just isn't really cutting it.  The jar suggested a waffle, which I could totally get on board with.

Anyway, if you like graham crackers and don't like to chew, cookie butter is for you!

And in other cookie news, I made some of Sak's favorite Italian Meatball cookies from Allrecipes.  They aren't overly sweet, and include just about every holiday-esque spice imaginably! Christmas in a little chocolate ball!

I think I eat ten times the amount of cookies in December than in any other month.  What about you?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Origami Christmas Garland

Due to the craziness of December, I haven't been able to do many Christmas crafts.  But in any few moments I could find, I would fold these cute little stars:
I learned to fold them from this website.  It's fairly simple and many of the steps are the same as folding a crane!
Eventually I ran out of red and green origami paper, so I glued them to a ribbon!
 And hung the garland up on the fireplace mantle!

There's something so calming about folding paper during a TV show or other minute of downtime.  Plus it makes such a cute result! 

And for another super cool origami Christmas craft, check out Jennifer's crane ornaments! So cute!
Thanks Jennifer!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Shoujo: Vampire Knight

Vampire Knight
Anime Year: 2008
Vampire Knight, as the name suggests, is not your typical shoujo (i.e. normal highschoolers doin' the high school thing). It most definitely involves vampires and most definitely is made for women.  *Cough* Women like me...
(source) Doki doki!
Yuuki, the heroine, is your average female high school student, only she's tasked with keeping the vampy students (night class) and the normal students (day class) safely away from each other.  It's more a dramatic, brooding anime rather than the rom-coms I tend to favor, but I still ended up blasting through all 26 episodes.
(source) Day students in blue, Night class in white.
Anyway, Yuuki's got a thing for head vampy Kaname ever since he saved her life as a little girl.  To make things interesting, Zero, vampire hunter with problems of his own, happens to have a thing for Yuuki.  Can he ever get out of the friendzone?  That is the question!
(source) Zero, Yuuki and Kaname!
I liked the series quite a bit.  Mostly in the same way I like Twilight and True Blood.  Sometimes you just need a hot guy sucking on your neck. Ha!
But I will say that the hint of incest thrown in unsettled me.  I don't know what it is but there are a good number of anime where incest or almost-incest ("oh, we've lived together for the past 18 years as siblings - but guess what! I'm not really your sister!") is a theme.  Sometimes a perfectly acceptable theme. Ick. 

But, hot vampires? Yes please. And I just love the series opening songs by On/Off

Other Shoujo Series:
Lovely Complex
Kaicho wa Maid-sama
Itazura na Kiss
Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Arare Chex Mix

One of my absolute favorite snack foods is arare, or rice crackers.  I especially love the super soy-sauce drenched kind they only make in Hawaii.

So when I found a recipe for makeshift arare in our church cookbook, I had to try it!  It uses rice Chex cereal as a base, which is perfect!

Other ingredients are: oil (it called for veggie oil but I only had olive on hand), soy sauce, corn syrup, furikake (I used plain salt and nori kind), sugar and butter.  Here's a very close recipe I found online, though ours didn't include corn Chex.

Melting the butter and mixing up the ingredients was pretty nasty.  Butter and soy sauce don't normally go together!

Pour the sauce over the cereal...
And mix it together with the furikake!

Then we toasted the cereal in the oven at a low heat for an hour.  Every fifteen minutes we'd take it out and mix it up again to keep it even.

All done!

This stuff is seriously addicting.  Salty and sweet and crunchy! Yum!  We made a batch at Thanksgiving, and since it makes such good party food, we'll be making more for Christmas I'm sure!

Do you have a favorite Chex cereal recipe? I have one more box to use up!

Monday, December 12, 2011

O Christmas Tree!

This weekend, Penga-Sis and Dad came up to help us find a Christmas tree! We wanted a real one since it's our first year in our house - something of a special occassion?

We headed to 4-C's Christmas Tree Farm in Half Moon Bay. Originally I wanted to buy one from a non-profit charity, but since I couldn't find a lot, we figured a locally grown tree was the next best thing.
Though it is a little late in the season, there were still plenty of trees still growing!  They give you a saw when you drive in, and you cut down your own tree.  Any tree for only $40! Not bad.
But that's probably because they are Monterey Pine Trees, and not your typical Fir.  They are cut into the shape of a Christmas tree, and are rather bushy.  But they still smell lovely, and that's the whole point of a live tree!

Eventually we found a good one...

And everyone except for me took turns sawing at the base!


The guys hauled it into the back of the truck, though we saw lots of people with trees strapped to the top of their cars.  I'm not sure if our bean-shaped Prius could have handled it though.

Back at home, we had to use the chainsaw to clean up the base.  Then we had to figure out how to get the tree to stand straight.
The leaning tower of pine!
Then the fun part! Ornaments and lights!

I have a couple collections worth of ornaments, namely Star Wars...

Yep. Slave Leia on my tree..oh my.
And penguins...
A lot of these cute Hallmark ones.
Though I've started also to collect some Hawaiian ones too! There's a lady at the Dole Pineapple place on Oahu who makes custom ornaments, so Mom's gifted me a couple from our previous trips.  I need to go again and continue my collection!

Anyway, now that the tree is up, I'm 100% in Christmas season mode! Yay!

Have you ever cut down a tree before? It looks like hard work!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Can I tell you want I want for Christmas?

Tiger & Bunny Bedsheets!
(source) Mmm..Barnaby..
Totally kidding.  I wonder what Sak's reaction would be.  Though I seriously applaud the industry for thinking about the ladies more.  If they weren't so expensive I think it would make a great bachelorette gift for my friend T. So funny.

In other news, the K-ON movie was released in Japan.  That means limited edition paraphernalia at the local Lawson's convenience stores. Anime goods + cheap convenience store pricing = good.  Hopefully the in-laws  can find a few small things for Sak's Christmas present. K-ON's probably on his top ten favorite anime list.
Phone pic from the in-laws. The tins are cute, yeah?
And in more relevant news, the winner of last week's giveaway!
That would be you, Kim!  *throws confetti* Yaay!

Thanks everyone for participating! Next time I find a fun item and a decent reason to celebrate we'll do another little giveaway! :3

And..bonus question..who would you like to see on some bedsheets? Huu Huu Huu!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sushi Christmas Card

Okay.  Late in the game, but I finally finished my Christmas postcard design! Yaaay!

Christmas sushi!  Hehehe.  The hand roll is my looks so...painful! Or maybe the wasabi Christmas tree, that'd be pretty easy to make in real life maybe?  Sak wrote the equivalent of "Merry Christmas" in katakana on the chopstick shapes on the bottom.  I'll have to take his word for it since I don't know Japanese.  Maybe it really says "my wife is a big weirdo".

Anyway, last year I finished my cards in mid November, so I had to pay for express shipping this year since I was so late.  I ordered through Vistaprint's free postcard deal again.  I love, love love that offer.  Hopefully they arrive in the mail soon! Then I can send them out! Whee!

Will you send Christmas cards out this year?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Salt Dough Ornament Favors

Just like last year, Sak and I were on party favor duty for our church's annual women's luncheon.

It took me a long time to figure out a good idea this time, which became a problem last week when we were trying to crunch them all out a few days prior! But the inspiration I ultimately found was this:
I didn't have a cool fancy cookie cutter, so I used a plain star.  With the help of Sak and my aunt (who came to visit me, yay!), we made over 100 salt dough stars.

Though I'm sure most of you are familiar with salt dough, it's a simple and effective mixture of salt and flour and water which, when baked, hardens.  I used this recipe, only with maybe a 1/4 cup or more water added since my dough was really dry.

Baked stars.  This particular batch we forgot to poke holes in for string, so Sak had to drill through them.  I was surprised that it worked, but it did!

Next I took all the leftover scrapbook pens from the wedding and any fine-point Sharpies I could find, and abused the heck out of the nibs by drawing on the cookie surfaces.

Many, many cookies...

I tried to add the theme verse to the middle of the star, but it was just really long.

So instead we went with a shortened version, and if people want to know what the whole verse is they can look it up. :P
They are also shiny because Sak added a coat of polyurethane to each one.  That stuff smells really bad, so make sure you do it in a well-ventilated area if you use it.

The verse is on the back, and some are painted white because of..certain burn marks due to overbaking. Shhh.  It's our little secret, okay?

Anyway, we added a string to the ornament...
And wrapped each one up in a square of wax paper.
I tucked the little booklet of Christmas event reminders into the back of the package...
And wrapped the whole thing up with a bit of green ribbon.

Honestly I think last year's favors were a whole lot more impressive for less work, but these..these have that uh, home-made charm!  That's important! Hehe.  The ladies at church seemed to like them, though more than one thought it was a cookie to eat.  Not edible! Definitely not edible!

Have you ever used salt dough?  Before this, the last time I made them was as a kid!  So much cheaper to made salt dough than to buy Play-Doh.