I'll take a step back and recap all the madness that led up to the holiday. As previously mentioned, I baked. I never bake. I learned that Hello Dolly bars are possibly the easiest cookie in the world to make (and also one of my hubby's favorites). I also made some chocolate mint shortbread bars and chocolate mint meringues. All of the above will stay in next year's cookie repertoire. (Read no rolling pins and minimal flour all over my counters.)
I also made several things, some successful, others not so much. For the immediate family, I made Dutch Apple Jam and Pickled Cabbage & Peppers.
I also made the gift bags that these were packaged in...
I'll stop here. Note to self, while sewing gift bags is economical, it is hugely time consuming. I made seven large bags and 17 small ones for apple jam to give to friends.
This cut into my sewing time for monster backpacks and the should have been cute stuffed horse for our nieces and nephew. I succeeded in completing one monster backpack, which became my niece Keely's birthday present. Next year Piper and Maddox are on the list for their own.
I won't even get into the horse. It should have been a perfectly sweet little equine, but came out looking like a cross between a hippo and a giraffe. I cut this from a pattern and followed instructions. Not sure what went wrong, but it became a dog toy, which was promptly slobbered on, tossed in the air, and unstuffed.
Speaking of dogs, I also made dog biscuits. We have friends and family with allergic pets and I found a super easy recipe that uses peanut butter, oats, honey, water and low-sodium bullion. These things were a huge hit, despite the fact that I had to replace the honey with molasses after exploding the honey all over the microwave (who knew 20 seconds was too long).
We came home to South Carolina on the 30th, and spent a laid-back New Year's Eve at our friends Mike & Katie's home. This year's highlight may have been Alicia's sparkler twirling during/after the big fireworks. That and the campfire. Oh, and Katie's homemade marshmallows with chocolate fondue and goat cheese crostini with pear & rosemary jam. I could have eaten them all.
New Year's Day started with breakfast in bed for me and was followed by a traditional "northern" New Year's meal (kielbasa, sauerkraut, pierogies...) at Kate and Dave's house.
If the rest of 2012 follows the way it started, we're in for another fantastic year.