Monday, December 20, 2010

The Games People Play

I have been absent for a while!  Like everyone else this time of year, I have a really good excuse!  I have been sewing like mad getting things ready for Christmas!  I now have all the "have to's" out of the way and can just relax and sew for fun.  I can't show you what I have been sewing since they are gifts, but will blog about them at a later date!

Saturday night my husband and I had our best friends over for our annual Christmas dinner.  We sit and visit, eat a fabulous dinner (even if I do say so myself) and usually play a game or two.  I do all the cooking and we eat in the dining room and use my best china and crystal.  It is a magical evening and we have so much fun.  We really do have the best friends!

For dessert this year, I made a Toffee Chunk Cheesecake!  It was to die for!  I just have to share the recipe with you all!

Toffee Chunk Cheesecake

2 c. vanilla wafer crumbs
6 Tbl. butter, melted
14 oz. individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (5 oz.) can evaporated milk
3 (1.4 oz.) bars chocolate covered English toffee
4 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese
1 1/2 c. white sugar
4 eggs
2 egg yolks
2 Tbl. flour
1/3 c. heavy whipping cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 (1.4 oz.) bars chocolate covered toffee, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).  In a medium bowl, combine wafer crumbs with the melted margarine.  Mix well.  Press onto the bottom and half-way up the side of a 9 inch spring form pan.  Bake for 10 minutes in a preheated oven.  Allow to cool.  Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).  In a saucepan over low heat, melt the caramels together with the chocolate chips and evaporated milk; stir until smooth and pour into crust.  Break 3 candy bars into small pieces.  Sprinkle over the caramel layer.  Beat cream cheese until smooth.  Add sugar and flour; beat until smooth.  Add eggs, then yolks, one at a time.  Blend in heavy cream and vanilla.  Pour over caramel and toffee layers.  Wrap outside of pan with heavy foil.  Set in large pan that has been filled with 1 inch of hot water.  Bake at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) for 15 minutes; reduce oven to 225 degrees F (110 degrees C) and bake 1 hour.  Remove from water.  Cool to room temperature, then chill overnight in the refrigerator.  Top with 3 more Heath Bar candy that have been chopped.

*I had to bake this about 1 1/2 - 2 hours.  It is done when the middle is set.  Do not take out of oven until done.  Usually the top will crack slightly when it is done.
**I melted more caramels with cream and put on top of the cooled top.  Then I added the Heath bar chunks.  I also melted more chocolate chips and drizzled over the top of the candy chunks.
***This is very rich and creamy!

After dinner, we played "Pictionary Man"!

We had so much fun and laughed so hard that tears were coming out of our eyes.  The game is a lot like "Pictionary" except you draw on the man and his props.  We played the girls against the guys and, of course, the girls won!  At midnight, we finally decided it was time to quit!  It was a wonderful evening!

This week isn't going to be too busy for me.  Like I said, I have all my sewing done that has to be done.  I have my Christmas menu and grocery list planned and all our parties are over.  This is our "off" year, so our two daughters and their families will be with their in-laws for Christmas.  Thankfully, our son and my dad will be here with us.  It will be a quiet Christmas, but I am determined to make it a great Christmas!

I hope you all have a very Blessed Christmas!

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Family traditions are the rituals, practices and beliefs of a family that are handed down from one generation to the next.

They can enrich families,

promote a feeling of closeness,

strengthen family bonds.

They create emotional safety, security and fond memories.

Family traditions counter-act alienation and confusion. They help us define who we are; they provide something steady, reliable and safe in a confusing world.
- Susan Lieberman

Family traditions will also promote a sense of identity and feeling of belonging. They will enrich your family life and create love and harmony in your home. I love family traditions!! We have many as an extended family, our immediate family, and our children are now forming their traditions. Families are fun as they grow. My daughter-in-laws have introduced many new traditions into our family and have included us in the new traditions that they starting with my grandchildren!! I love it!!

Many years ago Jackie and I made a Christmas Quilt. It was one of the first large quilts we made together. We made it to put on the bed at Christmas time and whoever slept under it got to sign it on the back. Because my children live close, none of them have ever slept under it!! So sad!! We have put it on our bed this year and we will sign it when the season is over. Derick's family is coming for Christmas and they will get to sleep under it while they are here. They will have to give it up for a night or two so Tiff can use it too. It will be full of signatures for this year and I hope many years to come. (Jackie already has her's full of signatures!!)

Maybe someday we will sleep under Jackie's and they will sleep under ours!

We had so much fun making this quilt together!!

Three years ago a friend and I made disappearing nine-patch quilts. We both needed a table cloth for Christmas so we decided to use this quilt for that purpose. We had fun planning, finding fabric, measuring each of our tables, and putting the quilt all together. We took the tradition that I was supposed to start with my Christmas Tree Quilt and decided to use it on the tablecloth. I have many signatures on the back and for years to come I will enjoy seeing who has shared a Christmas meal at my table.

Because I made it so long ago I don't have any step by step pictures. The pattern is very simple. You make a nine patch. In my table quilt I put dark green in the center of the nine patch. Once your nine patch is made you cut it down the middle horizontally and then again cut it in the middle vertically. You can arrange your smaller squares in any pattern you would like. This is where a flannel board is great for planning out your quilt!!

A close up of the quilt!

I am set and ready for spending time with friends and family!!!

What are some of your favorite traditions with your quilts? We all have special stories!
Have a Merry Christmas Season with your holiday traditions!!

Luv ya, Jodi

Friday, December 3, 2010

My Dog Niqui

This post is not about quilting...but IT is about my quilting buddy.  My black miniature poodle, Niqui.

Niqui turned 10 years old on Nov. 4th.  My husband gave her to me as a surprise birthday present in 2001.  I was a little upset with him, because we already had 2 other dogs and I really didn't want another puppy to deal with.  It didn't take long for me to fall in love with her though.  Niqui was so tiny and snugly and she loved to sit on my lap.  She has become my constant companion, always following me all over the house, and especially into my sewing room.  In my sewing room, her favorite spot is under the table I have set up, by my sewing table, for my little iron.  If I was sewing, she was ALWAYS there!

Today we had to have her put to sleep.  Niqui began to get sick last weekend and we found out on Wed. that she was going through kidney failure.  My dear husband (knowing how much I love Niqui) agreed to try dialysis on her!!!  Today we were told that it didn't work, so we made the only decision that we knew was right.

Niqui has been at the vet since Wed., so I went there this afternoon, held her for the last time, and petted her while the doctor was giving her the medicine to make her "go to sleep".  Of course I was crying, but frankly, I didn't care.  Niqui was my shadow and a good and loyal dog.  I will miss her.

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