I love making these pretzels. It was a big thing for me back in the day when I was very active in volunteering every very last single minute of my waking hours at Abby's school and for her activities as recent as five years ago.. But that's another post. These are simple, don't require a lot of ingredients and are easy to store and transport. I actually find it very relaxing to make them but then again anything that takes very little effort is a real pleasure for me. Actually, Emily is having a group of her friends over (the Wild Eleven as they are called), her school friends that also were bridesmaids at her wedding, and I offered to make these since I had 3000 pounds of almond bark here. Now that is the key: almond bark. It sounds worse than it is. White chocolate always seems to burn on me, so almond bark it is.
I heat it very, very low in a pot on the stove. I've also made a "double boiler" of sorts since I don't have a real one...just a small pot on top of a larger pot with water in it heating slow. Just melt about 2 packages of almond bark and use about 2 1/2 packages of pretzel rods (any other shape is really difficult and is best left to the pros). Have your station set up...parchment or wax paper to lie them on, an assortment of sprinkles. Hold the pretzel rod over the pot of melted almond bark and with a large spoon, just dribble it on, about 3/4 of the way down. That just gently shake the extra off. I'm really lucky that my sink is right next to the stove, but you can use paper towels or newspaper...shake your sprinkles on the sticky almond bark nice and evenly and then lie them on the parchment paper to harden...about 20 minutes.
There are all sorts of ways to jazz them up. I put mine is a vase with a twiny tie. You can tie up bundles of them with ribbon or even store a few in mini stockings. Display them on trays or in a mason jar. It's endless. And believe me, they are fun to make!
I made this little holiday sign last week. I wasn't going to show it to all of you...a certain someone, who shall remain nameless, said it was pretty bad. I sort of like it. In the spirit of all saintly DIY'ers, I used a piece of extra wood from Jeff's new floor at his new home. I had the paint from the living room and of course stencils and little paint bottles and brushes lying about (I'm so very crafty, you know). I even used some newspaper from 1986 that I had in my big stash of scraps. Okay, is it really bad? I added the little snowflakes from the Dollar Tree and you can't see, but they sparkle. Should I continue? I was thinking of, "Let It Snow", and "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.".
If you can't tell, I'm using my new IPhone for these pictures. I really have a hard time getting night or dimly lit pictures with my big fancy camera (but then again I've never read the manual or the "Dummy" book I received last Christmas, probably from the same idiot that didn't like my sign). And by the way, this is our den. Say hello to Milo, my constant companion! Rarely photographed or shared because it is a mismatch of books, dishes, baskets of out of season shoes, Nina the parrot and her humongously big cage for a little parrot (and a lot of seed on the floor), and a very bad choice of The Husband and I of buying really fancy, formal white furniture that we won't let anyone sit on. ANYWAY...the red basket holds my stash of wrapping paper, bows and bags. Tonight I picked up more gift wrapping paper at CVS...I'm obsessed with it. Every year I say I am going to go with a certain color and make it look like a menagerie of gifts under the tree for a magazine. So I started with red plaid and then saw some silver and blue paper, and then tonight saw sweet white snowflakes on red. Happens every year. The old 27 personalities thing. And some ribbon and tinsel and blah, blah, blah. SO...I was at the checkout.and "Andre" nonchalantly asked, "Getting ready to do a little decorating tonight?" I laughed, "No. I don't even have a tree yet." Silence. "So" Andre said, "You gonna do a little wrapping tonight?" "Nope, no gifts yet." We stared at each other for a second and then burst out laughing! "What the hell" he said, "You ARE ready for everything!!"
Now, I'm going to show you a little trick that I leaned when I first started blogging and I can't remember who shared it. I also bet many of you ladies know it but I'm going to tell you all about it because it saved me a lot of grief and mess.
See the gift wrap above and the empty roll? Pretend the rolls are unwrapped and you've used some. The edge is flying away and you use a sticky piece of tape to hold it closed and then it rips your paper the next time you want to use it.
Save those empty rolls and cut them in pieces of your own desire as I have with the one on the left.
Wrap it around a roll of paper you've been using that needs to be secured. Wow, what a simple and useful idea. You can also use a paper towel or toilet paper cardboard roll. Genius!
I had to leave you with this funny picture of Emily and Rusty lying on the kitchen floor together. What I really like about my IPhone is that I can download text pictures. Ha! I wonder if she knows it!! Not only does my Rusty Baby look squeezable, Emily is wearing her glasses and looks just as she did when she was twelve and had yet to discover the freedom of contacts.
So...we had the cute plumbers on Monday. Sigh. The cost was not sighable. I went to my doctor appointments. I have a lump on one of my lymph nodes that was also there last summer. I am a super positive person health wise and I am taking antibiotics for 10 days to see if it is an infection. I'll keep you informed. I'm sure everything is fine. Pauly and his personality showed up Thursday. It took him 20 minutes to do an excellent job on popping that double closet door in, but he stuck his head around the corner every five minutes to participate in Abby and my conversation. It really came to a head when Abby and I were in the living room watching a performance of Flo Rida on The View and Pauly bounced out and started rapping and dancing to the song. Oh, Heaven. How do I get people like this? Why is my life so insane? Need I add that I can't even watch one more Hallmark Christmas movie because they are all about orphans or widowers who have children and can't marry the perfect girl because of these children (even though they very oviously love said girl to the point of licking her feet?)
Okay. Tomorrow...off to get tree/or cut it down. Hopefully the former. And hopefully Abby will do the lights with The Husband as he alwats gets super irritable doing the lights. Abby has promised to help me carry up the decorating bins and then hopefully I can spend tomorrow night in my very own mental winter wonderland, hanging ornaments and making House Tour worthy vignettes (and hey, how do you get your house on one of those tours? Besides of course having a stag head over your fireplace?)
Happy December 6th!! :)