Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ground Hogs Day Cookies

I saw these on Tip Junkie and just HAD to make them myself! My brother, Vaughn, was born on Ground Hogs Day - so I always feel it should be Celebrated much more than what most people do!
I did change them a little bit from the instructions on Tip Junkie - because I nearly always change things from whatever the original is. I guess I'm just always trying to make things a little better - from MY point of view.

To make these cookies you will need:
Cookie dough: sugar cookies, chocolate chip, or peanut butter - choose ONE - which ever you like best - all would work.
"Grasshoppers" or a similar store bought cookie that is covered in Chocolate (Girl Scout thin Mints would work well too).
Small marshmellows, chocolate chips, Hershey's chocolate Kisses, peanut M&Ms (or gum drops), dark chocolate icing and green icing.

So here's how I made them:
I was short on time, so I bought cookie dough. For the base - they suggested sugar cookie dough , but I like chocolate chip cookies much more, plus, since it represents "the ground" I figured the color was better and the chips could be rocks or whatever in the dirt. The instructions said to form the ball of cookie dough around a Hershey's kiss (unwrapped - OF COURSE!!), so I used a little more dough than you normally would have and did that. As the cookies bake, this leaves a lump or "hill" in the center of the cookie, which is the groundhogs den or hole. Bake the cookies according to the normal directions, being sure to leave plenty of room for them to spread out as they bake (2 to 3 inches).

HOWEVER, BEFORE you put the cookies in the oven, do this next step, because you need to have these ready when the cookies come out of the oven. I would have said to do this first, but you wouldn't know how many to do until you see how many cookies you can make with the amount of cookie dough you have. So count the number of "base" cookies you have made. Take that same number of "grasshopper Cookies" (or whatever you have choosen) and cut a small semi circle out of one side of them with a paring knife. I wish I had a picture for you - it looks like a small bite has been taken out of the cookie - which would be a faster way to do it than using a knife - but not nearly so sanitary!!! I guess if you were ONLY making them for yourself - you could do it that way!!!! (teehee) Anyway, when you have prepared the Grasshoppers, then go ahead and bake the "base" cookies. And Yes, you can eat the "bites" - because we won't be using them for anything else!

When the cookies come out of the oven, let them cool a few minutes, but not completely. Then push the Grasshoppers into the cooling cookies - bite-side down - at the back of the "hill" in the cookie. The Grasshopper cookie should "stand up". If it falls over when you let go of it - the cookies may still be too warm. Simply hold the Grasshopper cookie in place for a few minutes as the cookie cools a little more and it should stay. If that still doesn't work, you can put some icing behind the cookie to help hold it up - but I did not have to do this for any of mine.

Now it's time to turn the Grasshopper cookies into Ground hogs. I added the noses first because if you add the eyes first - you might not have quite enough room for the noses. I used dark brown Peanut M&M's for the noses, becasue I thought they looked more like noses than the gum drops on the original cookies. You could also use regular M&M's or any other candy you might choose. Attach or "glue" them in place using the dark brown icing. Then add the marshmellows for the eyes - also attaching with the brown icing. Then add the ears - AGAIN - attaching them with the chocolate icing. The flat part of the chocolate chips, face forward, to become the ears. The final step for the Ground Hogs is the centers of the eyes - using the brown icing and a #4 tip, give the eyes pupils. Have fun with this, you can give them expressions and personalities by how you place the pupils. They can be looking to the right, or left, up or down, even crosseyed!!!!

The final step is adding the "grass" - I used what I call the "grass or fur tip" - it's #233. You can add a little or a lot, depending on what you want. If I had had more time, I might have added a little flower or two for fun as well.

Someone asked about the color of ground hogs - I always picture then a much lighter color and after I made these I wondered about using a Ginger Snap cookie as the Ground hog and Carmel Chips or even Cinnamon Chips for the ears. My ex-Mother-in-law makes fabulous homemade Ginger Snaps, They're a TON better than store bought - which I'm not at all fond of- and I bet she would be glad to share the recipe!!!

I want to Thank Gormet Mom on the Go for sharing this idea. Check out her blog, she has a great tutorial for these - with pictures of the steps - and lots of other cute ideas as well!
Try making these - they're really fun and your kids would have a wonderful time making them too!!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Winter Play

For Christmas, Mike got me WARM clothes for playing outside in the snow! We had planned to go to Idaho, to visit my parents, for Christmas, but those plans were cancelled at the last minute due to our bank account being "compromised" and emptied by someone. The bank was very good about it and we did get all of our money back - but it took some time. Anyway, so we stayed at home for Christmas, but went up to play in the snow the day after!

Here I am, just before we headed up to the mountains, I'm wearing my new ski jacket, ski pants, boots and gloves. Barry and Bonnie gave me a hat, scarf and gloves set and I'm wearing the scarf from them too!!

My new ski gloves are "Kore" Brand, but it's in cursive and looks like "Kare" so I am going to add an "n" and then they will say "Karen". (tee hee)

I fixed my gloves today !!!! 12/29/2009 - Seemed like a good thing to do !!! Now my name is on them if I should loose or misplace them!

Here I am - surrounded by snow.

We drove up to Shafer Lake, just 45 minutes to an hour away.

There was lots of white stuff to play in.

There were a lot of other people up there who had the same idea as we did! It's nice to be able to drive up to the snow in a short period of time - but not have to deal with it - or the cold - or the road conditions on a daily basis.

Mike loves the cold. There I was in long johns, a thermal shirt AND a sweater, ski pants, ski jacket, gloves, headband, scarf, and hood; while Mike had on a long sleeved t-shirt (I had to talk him into long sleeves), jeans and a jacket. Oh, and he did wear gloves while we were playing in the snow.

Mike hid behind a hill to throw snowballs at me. The snow was so dry it was not packing together, so the snowballs wouldn't stay together.

Mike made several pretty good ones but he never hit me because I was too far away & they had fallen apart before they reached me.

HELP !!! He's after me !!!!

Now it's MY TURN !!!!

In all my life I have never had such a hard time trying to make a snowball. The snow was just so dry that it wouldn't stay together at all. I tried and tried, but never dit get a decent snowball!

I sure had a lot of fun trying though!

After any fight, it's always important to "Kiss and Make-up" - even if it's just a snowball fight! So here we are smoochin' in the snow!

It really was a fun day and we had so much fun together playing in the snow.

It was so beautiful up there, you could have taken a picture everyfew seconds. It was just one picturesque scene afer another as you rounded corner after corner! The snow on the trees, and the views were just gorgeous!

Heading home, the sun was just starting to set.
Here is Shafer Lake. Isn't it pretty all rimmed with snow !

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Wedding Pictures

When we got to the Church to set up for the wedding,
my son, James, was there with his family.
Tiago and Tiffany looked so adorable and were so excited
to be there. They ended up being the only grandkids there,
so it was extra special to have them.

Everyone pitched in to help get things set up and decorated.

My cousin ,Ellen and my sister-in-law, Renee really worked
hard to get everything looking just right.

I hadn't had time to do my hair yet and we only had about an hour until the time for the wedding - so I asked Renee, at the last minute, if she would finish decorating the cake for me by putting the roses and babiesbreath on it. She is a fabulous artist and Interior Decorator and so even though she doesn't do cakes, I knew she would do a fabulous job. And, of course, she did!!
Thank you, Thank You, one and ALL !!!!!
Doesn't everything look nice!!!! Everyone got their flowers and things were ready
- but my hair wasn't finished yet!

Mike was ready! Here he is with my Mom and Dad,
Bert and Carma Garner.

Meanwhile, I'm in the bathroom getting my hair done!
I knew exactly how I wanted it to look,
but I couldn't do it by myself.
My sister Ellen, had never done such a thing before,
but with a few tips from my cousin, Ellen,
she did a Fabulous job!!!!
I really appreciate everything she did for me and for my wedding!

My hair has never looked so elegant before!!!

And so finally, everything and everyone was ready!
The ceremony was sweet and simple.
My Dad and Mike's brother, Dan, were the witnesses.

The Kiss!
It's Official Now!!!!

Here we are - the new Mr. and Mrs. Micheal Walker.
Bishop Crouch, who married us, is off to the side.

We were (and ARE) Very Happy !!!!

We had a little party afterwards to celebrate.
Cutting the cake.
It was homemade carrot cake, very yummy, and yes, I made it.

Doesn't it look good!!!!

I was soooooo brave!
(We were both very nice to each other!)

Layne and Renee sang "The Circle of our Love"
They both have such gorgeous voices!!!!

My cousin, Ellen, me and my sister, Ellen.
I'm in an Ellen Sandwich!!!
Both of them have been such a huge help and support to me.
I am so lucky to have them in my life!
Mike with his brother, Dan.
Dan was the only one from Mike's family who was able
to attend the wedding,
due to some last minute emergencies,
so we really appreciated them being there for Mike!
Here we are with Dan and his wife Debi.

Derrick, Ellen, Karen and Micheal.

There was visiting . . . .

eating . . . . .

dancing . . . . .
I believe a good time was had by all.

This is my cousin, Louise.
She came all the way from Phoenix to be there.
We were so happy to have her share this special day with us.
She knew us both when we were teenagers!
It did get a little wild for a few minutes there!
We had a lot of very good dancers in attendance!

Ellen and Derrick in a lovely dip!

Layne and Renee always look so happy together!

Here they are dancing too!

James, Cecilia, Tiago and Tiffany
James was my only child who was able to attend.
It meant so much to have them there.
James also did the music for the wedding.
Thank you James!!! And Cissa too !!!
Ellen and Jerry.

Ellen, Jerry, Allison (baby), Blair, and Amber.
They all did soooooo much for me that week!
Thanks guys!!!!!

Dad, Mom, Karen and Mike.
My parents came down from Idaho.
It was so wonderful to have them there!
Karen's Immediate Family
(those who were able to attend)

The whole Gang!!!!!
Thank you to everyone who helped make this such a special day for us. For the many friends and family who wanted to be there, but couldn't, we thank you too. Your love and support means the world to us! We love you all!!!