No meal plan this week, but lots o'stuff

This is going to be a bit of a jumbled post because I have so much to talk about!

1) I got a 4.0 in my fall class!
2) I'm DONE with Christmas stuff.  WOOT!!!!  My sister and brother-in-law are idiots angels, and offered to take Jack overnight for not one, but TWO days.  Friday I made food presents for the neighbors, 8 loaves of bread and started a Christmas present for my mother-in-law (see below).  Saturday I spent ALL day finishing up my mother-in-law's present, and making cloth gift wrapping (more about that below), and finishing up other last minute gifts.

My in-laws have a small beach house at Ocean Shores, and they have a guest bedroom that is blue, cream, and yellow.  I decided it needed a quilt for the end of the bed from their favorite daughter-in-law (I'm their only daughter-in-law).  The quilt is my new favorite style from Patchwork Style.

This photo shows the back.  Love those little boats!
3) Food for neighbors.  I made two super easy things to give to the 10 families on our street.  Peppermint Bark, and a treat so ugly that my sister and I named it "Reindeer Poop".

Reindeer Poop
-2 cups of barely chopped walnuts (you want chunks)
-2 cups of mini marshmallows (try making your own!)
-1.25 lbs of dark chocolate (I use the huge 1 lb Plus bars from Trader Joes)

1) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and sprinkle the walnuts and marshmallows on top.
2) In a double boiler, or in a microwave bowl, melt the chocolate, stirring often.
3) Pour the chocolate over the walnuts and marshmallows.  It's going to get really ugly, really fast.  Mix it all up with a spoon until there is a huge pile in the middle of the parchment.  Spread it out a bit (it will NOT cover the whole surface of the baking sheet), and then freeze it for 30 minutes.
4) Break in to chunks

It is seriously super ugly, but extremely tasty.

Also, Troy mashed up the candy canes this year, and did such an efficient job that the peppermint were like shards of glass.  Breaking up the bark after it came out of the freezer cut my hands up pretty badly.  Peppermint Bark injuries.  So lame.

4) Without Jack around, Troy and I went to dinner and a movie last night.  It was so nice!
5) Who needs toys?  Jack played with some chopsticks we had around the house for 30 minutes the other day.  He said he was Wolverine.

This is the only photo we own where Jack looks like Troy instead of like a male version of me.
6) Troy's family takes Christmas to a whole new level.  Picture an insanity filled present orgy.  Now multiply that by 1,480, and that is Troy's family's Christmas.  I can't keep up with all of those presents, so I don't even try. The ones who really get in to it, enjoy it, and we don't dare try to tell them otherwise.

Every year they fill multiple huge garbage bags with wrapping paper, and then in-between the present opening (it takes about 4 hours) and eating, the boys head out and burn all the wrapping paper.

Last year I decided that this year, I would try my best to not contribute to that burn pile.  Except for a very few presents, everything under our tree is wrapped in cloth bags.  I collected a yard here and a yard there over the year, and then went a little crazy when JoAnns had their 60% off snuggle flannel sale.  The cost and time involved will hopefully be just a one time thing, because I plan to collect these bags and reuse.

Here is how things will go:

Giftee: "Oh Sarah, thank you so much, I love this xyz!"
Me: "You're so welcome!  You can keep the bag if you want to."  That statement will be made in a way that it is very clear that I'll cut a bitch if they try to keep the bag.  Merry Christmas!

I know it seems like a big undertaking to make all the wrapping, and while it was time-consuming, it was much less painful than watching me wrap with paper.  My old roommate once watched me try to wrap Christmas presents.  After about 5 minutes, she said "do you want me to show you how to do that"?  I'm helpless with wrapping.  Cloth bags at least are stupid easy.

1) Lay down some cloth after it has been doubled (folded in half), and put the present over it.  You're gauging how much fabric you need.

2) Cut a few inches or so past how much you think you'll need.

3) Find the part that will be the top of the bag.
The tip of the scissors is pointing to the top of the "bag".
4) Then fold a seam over where you've identified the top.  Pin.

5) Sew a simple hem.

6) Fold the bag in half so that the pretty side of the fabric is facing itself, and sew so that only the "top" of the bag isn't hemmed.  You're making a pocket.

7) Fold it right-side out, and voila, a gift bag.

Tie a pretty bow, and decorate with a homemade gift tag.  We used a cut up grocery bag.  I made these snowmen, but only had the patience to make 8 of them.  We primarily used the "To: From" Sock Monkey Stamp from Red Heel Revue.  Want to win your own?  Sign up here!
8) Still a few days left in the giveaway from the immersion blender!  Enter here.