Thursday, December 20, 2012

New Favorite Christmas Cookies

I thought I had all of the Christmas cookie recipes I would ever need.  My standards include Raspberry Candycane Twists, Chocolate Almond Parson's Hats, and those really easy and cute round pretzels with melted Hershey's kisses and M&Ms.  That's enough, right?  I thought so... until the lovely Jessica posted this recipe.  I have now made it three times, and many of the delighted recipients have asked for the recipe.  Move over, parson's hats! 
Andes Mint Chocolate Cookies
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. butter at room temperature
2 Tablespoons water
2 eggs
12 oz. chocolate chips
2 1/2 c. flour
1 1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3 packages Andes mints
  • Cream sugar & butter.  Add water & eggs.  Melt chocolate chips and add to creamed mixture. Add dry ingredients.
  • Roll into 1" balls. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. After baking, immediately top each cookie with a mint. Allow to melt, then spread like frosting.
  • Then for the most difficult step:  Allow the candy layer to harden and cool completely before enjoying.  Tough, but worth it! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Struckmeyer Elves

Karl and I are so lucky to live close to a lot of family members, including his grandmother, Helen.  She is very dear to us, and we try to do something special with her every Christmas.  She came to our house on Sunday for cookie decorating and dinnner. 

Karl and I made the cookies ahead of time...

And we put Helen to work sprinkling and sugaring them! 

 We sent her home with a big container full of her handiwork... hopefully enough to hold her over till Christmas!
After dinner, cookies, and more cookies, we had some time to relax by the fireplace.  Karl got out his guitar and we sang a few songs.  Sometimes I can't even believe how darling my husband is.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012


I don't know how it is where you live, but here in Madison, anytime there's a large gathering of people doing something kind of out of the ordinary, we like to add "Con" to the end of the title.  There's TeslaCon, GeekCon, OdysseyCon, WisCon, and, yes, SantaCon.  Last weekend, Karl and I put on our Santa gear and joined hundreds of other Santas downtown for some holiday bar hopping.   
There was a Badger game on during the first couple of stops.  Some Santas were more interested in the game than others. 

 Me with my friend and SantaCon organizer, Molli.  As you can see, I wore way too many clothes.  I'm already planning next year's outfit.  Probably not as lingerie-oriented as Molli's, but not as pajamaish as this year's get-up.  Which, by the way, I made while living in Alaska, and every time I've worn it (which has been like twice) not in Alaska, people have asked me if I'm dressed up like Mrs. Claus.  You can understand why I thought it was a good choice for SantaCon.
Also, it has been ten years since I lived in Alaska.  Perhaps it's time for me to say good-bye to that garment, now that I think about it.  But then there's the matching headband to deal with, too...
Just a bunch of Santas walking down the street.  I loved seeing people's reactions.  You're out for dinner and all of a sudden a huge group of Santas walks by.  Normal, right? 

Santas on the dance floor at a German bar/restaurant.  You can see people in the foreground trying to enjoy a nice wurst or two in peace.   Think again, diners!

My wedding photographer (but mostly now she's my friend), Sharon.  She was wearing a more appropriate amount of clothing than I was.  Not lingerie, but also not pajamas.  Must remember: no pajamas for SantaCon 2013.   

Santas on the Capitol steps, eating cupcakes being handed out by some strangers.  The woman in the front of this photo is wearing a unitard with a belt.  And rocking every inch of it.  I may have informed her that she was an inspiration to us all.  What I meant by that was "I wish I could wear a unitard."  And "I wish I weren't wearing this stupid dress/pajama thing that I made ten years ago." 

The hottest Hawaiian Santa in the crowd!  Those sunglasses originally belonged to his grandmother.  Everyone loved them.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

O Christmas Tree

 We got our Christmas tree last week!  We went with my mom to the UW Forestry Club's annual tree sale in the old stock pavilion on campus. 
I tried to get Karl to smile like a normal person for a photo.  First he hid...

Then he made a lot of goofy faces.

 Finally I got a secret photo of him comparing two seemingly identical trees.

 My mom picked out her tree!  It was all wrapped up, like a suprise. 

Our tree wasn't wrapped up, but we still managed to fit it in the back of the Miracle Yaris.  It's already up and twinkling in the living room!