This is "Countdown Week"; Sunday is Christmas!!..... and if you're starting to look for shortcuts to make sure that you get everything done in time, join the club! Here are some shortcuts:
-Pillsbury refrigerated cookie dough is just as much fun for little ones to cut into shapes as homemade dough
-You can make gingerbread houses using graham crackers "glued" (with icing) to a cardboard base and a waxed milk carton. Let kids put on frosting and place candies, as usual
-peanut butter refrigerated dough also rolls into balls that can be topped with a Hershey's Kiss
-Candied dills can be made by draining a jar of dill spears, dumping in a cup of sugar and putting the lid back on the jar; set in the fridge for a day
-you can wrap packages with comic papers, old maps, or pretty dish towels if you run out of wrapping paper at the last minute
-kids loooovvveee to receive money!!!
-pets would enjoy extra playtime (or one of your well-worn throws or blankets with your scent on it!) rather than "things" from the pet store
-give your favorite college student a jar of quarters (trust me on this one!)
-give anyone who's extremely busy, or just has a hard time getting to the post office, a roll of Forever Stamps
-No time or energy for a tree? string tiny lights on a large potted houseplant
If you're thinking, "wow, Marcia, really?!" Don't be so quick to judge, sometimes the clock is running out and it's much better to keep your composure and your smile on than to be perfect....and stressed-out. Not preaching here, just sharing a lesson-learned :0)
Here's one more for today, fix your ham in the crock pot to save oven space for Christmas dinner:
Christmas Ham in the Crock Pot
1 boneless fully cooked ham (3 to 4 lbs.)
1/2 C apple jelly
2 tsp prepared mustard
2/3 C ginger-ale, divided
1 can (21 oz.) cherry pie filling
2 TBSP cornstarch
Score surface of the ham with a knife. In a bowl, combine jelly, mustard and 1 TBSP of ginger-ale; rub over scored surface of ham. Cut ham in half; place in a 5 qt. crock pot. Cover and cook on low 4-5 hours, or until meat thermometer reads 140 degrees and ham is heated through. Baste with juices toward end of cooking.
Put cherry pie filling in a sauce pan. Combine cornstarch and rest of the ginger-ale. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 min. Pour over the ham to serve.
Please remember, as you go about completing your finishing touches this week, that Christmas doesn't have to be perfect to be memorable. Children, family members, pets, neighbors, fellow shoppers and store service people will remember the time and courtesy that you afforded them long after wrapping paper and bows have been thrown away. Enjoy your exciting week-before-Christmas!
-Miz Helen's Country Cottage
-This Chic Cooks
-Ani's Favorite Things
-Life as Mom
-Dining with Debbie