Archives from December 2009

Stay Out of the Boxes

Photo: Sheri Berger
Friday, December 18th, 2009 in Sheri's Recipes

not-out-package-noteWe get a lot of boxes here every day. Big boxes, little boxes, all kinds of boxes. Usually the Elves unpack the big boxes (because those always contain yarn orders). If there are any smaller boxes of undetermined origin, they usually leave these on the counter for me to open later. A while back, I wandered up front to check on something, and while I was talking to the Elves, I opened the small box sitting there (obviously waiting for me. Obviously.). I flipped back the flaps and pulled out …. a sleep mask? Huh?  That’s when Elf Karen said, “Oh my gosh – that’s not for us. The Fed Ex guy left that box here for the Sleep Center people across the hall!” Well heck. That was the end of me opening up boxes just because they were sitting there waiting for me. Obviously. We carefully taped the box back up and I’m pretty sure you couldn’t even tell that it had been opened. (And fortunately none of them are knitters and read this blog.) However, Karen has started leaving me notes on boxes that I ought to just leave well enough alone. I guess she still doesn’t trust me. (Although if those Sleep Center people kept regular daytime hours, we wouldn’t be storing their deliveries. Just sayin’.) Are some of you getting boxes at your house that you need to leave alone and not open up? In fact, I know you are, because we’re shipping a lot of them out there to you as gifts. Don’t snoop. :-)

Today’s recipe is something that Photo Elf Wendy brought in to contribute to the Loopy Kitchen. It’s called Three Hour Granola because if you eat a handful of it, you can stave off your hunger for three more hours until dinnertime. And it’s delicious! A good alternative to all of the holiday sweets. (It’s not low-cal, but it IS healthy, in moderation.) Or a quick gift to mix up and give to friends and neighbors.

wendy's-three-hour-trail-mixWendy’s Three Hour Trail Mix

2c. old fashioned rolled oats
3 c. cashews, whole
3 c. pecans, whole or halves
3 c. walnuts, whole or halves
3 c. almonds, whole
2 c. unsalted sunflower seeds
(plus any other nuts you want to add)
1 c. flaked coconut, unsweetened
1/4 c. canola oil
1/4c. honey
2c. dried cranberries (set aside)
2c. golden raisins (set aside)

Mix dry ingredients in a large, foil, turkey roasting pan. Add oil & honey,  stir well to coat. Toast in a 350 degree, stirring every 15 mins. until browned.  (Approx. 60 mins.)  Allow to cool completely.   Add dried fruit & store in a closed canister on the counter (with scoop).  Store extras in air-tight containers or Ziplocs.

I absolutely love reading your Random Acts of Kindness comments. I keep jotting down things that spark my imagination, and am continually bowled over by the incredible ways in which you have helped those around you. I hope you all find something to do for someone this weekend, so that we all have a whole new batch of things to read about over coffee on Monday’s blog post. I know that these December contests require you to DO something in order to enter (unlike most of our contests), and you continue to rise to the occasion. You all are amazing.

Sheri whonowhasbothkidshomefortheholidays

Manage Your To Do’s?

Photo: Sheri Berger
Monday, December 14th, 2009 in Finished Projects

Do you ever feel like you have too much to do and not enough time? (Silly question. I’m sure most of us feel that way. Especially at this time of year.) Here’s a fun little app that might help. I put a link on my toolbar so that I can click it and check it out each day. I think the best part is crossing things off the list, but I may just be weird like that. Watch the 1 minute video to see how it works, then off you go. I like that I now have ONE To Do (TeuxDeux) list to work off of each day, instead of the little post-it notes that I continue to write for myself. Think of the money I’ll save in post-its. They may just go out of business.

DSC03279I finished up another pair of fingerless mitts last week. I had Elf Donna model them (by giving Loopy a big hug) and then I wrapped them up and gave them to a good friend. She said that just that morning, she had seen them talking about fingerless mitts on Good Morning America, saying that it was “the” gift to give and get this year. (We are so WITH it, aren’t we?)

We got so many boxes in today that we could’ve built a fort. You know, if we were so inclined. Nothing too exciting. Just boxes of boxes from the post office. About 2000 of them today. But we DO have boxes of yarn on the way, too. Madelinetosh called today to say they were about to “inundate us with boxes”. Ditto with the String Theory gals and Hand Maiden, who has Mini Maiden enroute to us. So hopefully the next box delivery from the post office will bring fun yarn, and not just boxes of boxes. That was a rather disappointing (although necessary) delivery.

Can you believe that Christmas is next week? How did that happen? (I still have one knitted gift to finish up. More on that next week.) Just as an FYI, our in-person shopping hours will be different during the weeks of Christmas and New Years. We’ll be open WEDNESDAYS, 12/23 and 12/30, from 10 am – 1 pm. Closed Thursdays and Fridays, 12/24, 12/25, 12/31 and 1/1.  We’ll be here answering phones and packing and shipping orders M/T/W of next week (Christmas Week) and M/T/W of the following week (New Years Week). Back to our regularly scheduled shopping and working hours the first full week in January.

Sheri knittingonthe-never-ending-scarfandreadytobedonewithit

Random Acts of Kindness, Week 1

Photo: Sheri Berger
Monday, December 14th, 2009 in Contest, Random Acts of Kindness

DSC03292It’s time! Time to share the lovely things that you’ve been doing this month to help others. Each December we run a few Random Acts of Kindness blog contests, to encourage you to keep your eyes open for ways that you can help others. I know that many of you are aware of this all year long (just because you’re nice like that.) For others, this is always a good reminder that it doesn’t have to cost a lot of extra time or money to help make someone’s day, and to be an encouragement to them. On Friday’s blog, I gave you links to the contest from last year, in case you wanted to read some of the comments for ideas.

What am I doing? This year, our church has been talking about encouraging people to give more, spend less, worship more, and love all. I like that idea. How do you give more, but spend less? Give your time. Give things that you no longer use. Give encouragement and support. Have you knit some of your gifts this year? Then you’ve given time to each of the people who will be getting those gifts. I’ve made several gifts this year, and hope to do that each year. I’m also going to go through the overabundance of scarves that College Girl and I have knit up, and we’ll be washing those up and taking them to a local homeless shelter.  While we’re at it, we’ll go through our winter coat closet and see what else we can add to the pile. While I love cold weather, I don’t like to BE cold. I like to be all bundled up. There are plenty of people in all of our communities who don’t have the luxury of being bundled up, so hopefully a few warm items will help.

What random acts have you done to spread holiday cheer and encouragement? Leave it in the comments and we’ll do a random drawing for prizes that we’ll announce next week. (Do you do these things for the publicity and the drawings? No, of course not. But your comments help to give ideas to others, and the drawings make it a little more fun.) :-) We’ll do a second Random Acts contest next Monday, and the last contest the Monday after that, so keep looking for ways to commit some acts be a blessing to others. Speaking of contests – have you joined our Facebook and Twitter pages? I put up one of our 24 Hour Quick Contests this morning, so it runs through tomorrow morning. Pop over and enter. The prize is a Loopy Ewe Gift Certificate!

Sheri justaddinginafewre-stocksandupdateslatertoday.

Cake and Kindness

Photo: Sheri Berger
Friday, December 11th, 2009 in Contest, Sheri's Recipes

road-construction-in-st.-louisThis is what is going on today. Still. FPS. You may be tired of hearing about how the jackhammers make our building shake, but not as tired of it as we are. I mean seriously, just HOW much concrete is out there to break up? This has been going on since this summer. Today is a particularly high jackhammer-making-the-building-shudder-and-shake day. I think it would be an act of kindness (to our whole building) if I were to go out there and take the spark plugs out of the engines while they are off on their lunch break. (Can someone – as an act of kindness – tell me where to find those spark plugs?)

Speaking of acts of kindness, here’s a heads up on our December blog contests – for the next three Mondays, we’ll be encouraging you to do and share Random Acts of Kindness. This is the third year that we’ve encouraged extra acts of kindness in the month of December (because we know that many of you do them regularly, all year long). By putting the spotlight on it via a blog contest, you’ve told us that it helps you to be more conscious of the little (or big) things that you can do to make a difference to someone this month. Here are the blog posts with Kindness Comments from last year:

Week One
Week Two
Week Three
Week Four

If you’re stuck for ideas, read some of the comments on those posts and it will get you motivated and moving forward on the things that you can do. That, of course, is the purpose for sharing your random acts via a blog comment. We know that you don’t do these things to brag about them or to win a blog contest (although we’ll be sending out fun prizes!). When you share what you did, other people get some great ideas of things that they can do as well. So get out there this week/weekend and find someone to bless. Then come back to the blog next Monday and leave a comment to let us know what you did. I love reading all of your comments in these contests. It’s just such a reminder of what an incredible bunch of people you are. :-) Thanks for playing along with us in our December contests from year to year.

Today’s recipe is the moistest, most delicious chocolate bundt cake that I’ve had in a long time. I hope you enjoy it!

Sinfully Moist Chocolate Bundt Cake (I can never say “Bundt Cake” without thinking about My Big Fat Greek Wedding. The movie. Not my own wedding. That wasn’t Greek. Or big. Or fat, for that matter.)

sinfully-moist-chocolate-bundt-cake1 yellow cake mix
1 large box of chocolate instant pudding
1 cup of oil
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup water

8 oz. container of sour cream

1 bag of mini chocolate chips (I couldn’t find minis, so I used the regular ones)

Mix the first 6 ingredients together and beat for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Fold in the sour cream and  mix well. Add in the chocolate chips and stir until well blended.

Pour into greased bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees for 60-80 minutes. (The original recipe called for 60 minutes. I have made it twice and had to bake it for 80 minutes before a knife inserted into the middle came out done. So just check on it as you go along.)

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy! (Or make the chocolate glaze from this bundt cake recipe that I shared last year. Today’s recipe came out moist-er, but the glaze on that other recipe was really good, too.)

Sheri enjoyingtropicaltemperaturestoday.40degreesandsunny.

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