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October 2007
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December 2007

November 2007

Christmas Fun!

Merrychristmas

December is officially here tomorrow!  The temperature isn't expected to rise above about 33 degrees, and some snow is expected - perfectly appropriate for the first of the countdown days toward Christmas!  I'm so looking forward to this month.  We have so many fun products in the store, more being added to the website every day.  There are carols to sing, goodies to back, presents to thoughtfully pick out and artfully wrap, secrets to keep, big mushy sweaters to wear, crisp cool air to breath, crafts to make, and oh so much more.

There's just so much I love about this season.  Thus, I have decided to celebrate the days by doing a sort of alphabetic Advent calendar, just for the fun of it.  Each day of December, I'll write a post for a letter of the alphabet, in honor of all the things I love about the Christmas season - anything that comes to mind, including thoughts, memories, songs, recipes, craft and decorating ideas, decorations, and stories!  If you'd like, feel free to play along!  Its just one more way for me to enjoy the season, so read along with us as we go, or do it yourself on your own blog!  Let me know if you decide to play along, it would be fun to see what other people come up with...

Happy Friday!


One Day To Go

Reindeersleigh_lg

Only one more day to go before December!  Can you believe the last month of 2007 is finally here?  I am determined that this year goes out with a bang.  We've had so much happen this year - the birth of our son, purchase of our first home, expansion of the store to the internet, to name a few.  I am so excited to drink in every moment I can of December.

Reindeersleighcloseup

As such, I have decided to post every day during the month of December, to include a decorating idea, poem, song, recipe, craft, or memory, anything that sparks my interest for the month.  I'll share all our new online products, too, so stay tuned!  I hope you find this holiday season to be a very merry one.  Please feel free to leave your comments, to share your favorite things with us too!

By the way, you can find this cute little guy on our site here!


Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions

As promised!  I like to serve this with slices of fresh baguette and apple, like honeycrisp or braeburn.  Add a dish of fancy schmasy olives from the olive bar at the grocery store, and you've got a wonderful appetizer spread for a party!

Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions

1 large sweet onion, sliced into 1/4" thick rings
1 T Olive Oil
1/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped
2-3 T dried cranberries
2-3 T dried apricots, roughly chopped
Frozen Phyllo Dough, thawed (about 5-7 sheets)
1-2 T Butter, melted
1 largish wheel of Brie Cheese

1.  Make the filling:  Caramelize the onions by heating the oil in a large pan over medium high heat, then add the onions.  Cook, stirring somewhat frequently, until very soft and golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.  Add the nuts and dried fruit and cook for another 10 minutes until mixture is toasty, and fully caramelized.  You may season with some salt and pepper, but I find it tastes wonderful as is.  You might like adding a tad bit of balsamic vinegar.

2.  Prepare the dough:  Slice the wheel of brie horizontally in half; set aside.  Carefully unroll the sheets of phyllo dough, set one sheet on your work surface and immediately cover the rest with a damp tea towel to prevent it from drying out.  Lightly brush the sheet with melted butter, then lay another sheet on top, angled clockwise from the first sheet.  Smooth together with your hand, then brush with more melted butter.  Keep adding layers, at an angle, with melted butter inbetween, so you have 5-7 layers of dough loosely making a circle. 

3.  Assemble the cheese:  Lay the bottom round of cheese in the center of the dough, rind side down.  Generously pile on some of the filling on top of the cheese.  Lay the remaining half of cheese on top, cut side down, then generously pile on more filling on top.  (You'll have some filling leftover, good to eat with cooked chicken, pork, or beef!)  Bring a corner of the dough up over the cheese, and brush with some melted butter.  Keep bringing up more of the dough, all the way around, brushing with butter, until the cheese is completely and nicely covered with the dough.

4.  Set cheese on a baking sheet, and bake on the middle rack in the oven preheated to 350 for about 25-30 minutes, or until golden and fragrant.  Soooooooo yummy!


Thanksgiving goodness

Merrychristmaswords

"Welcome to my heart, Spirit of Christmas - I've been waiting for you all year!"  -Kimber Anne Engstrom.

Well, it was a fine Thanksgiving weekend, wasn't it?  The weather over here in Washington State was our family's absolute favorite - bright and sunny, but cool and crisp.  I of course was inside for all of it, however, but that is exactly where I wanted to be, as I was cooking up a storm.  I know that most people are trying to get away from the whole spending-all-day-in-the-kitchen thing, but I'm young and energetic and still want to make things from scratch, so I was very happy. 

I split most of the cooking with my mother-in-law - she made the traditional things, and I made some brand new things.  I was so proud of myself this time, I actually was staying on schedule.  See, i print out my recipes, and write down exactly what needs to be done for each, and what time they need to be done, so that everything's on the table at the right time.  Unfortunately, I hadn't taken into account the need for Elaine and I to coordinate when she arrived at our home with four dishes that needed to be heated up, and two dishes of mine that needed to be made at the last minute, while keeping the stuffing and meat warm. 

Ah well - I know better now what to do for next time, and the food really did all taste good.  We had turkey, stovetop stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied yams, green beans with toasted almonds, balsamic cipollini onions, cornbread stuffing with roasted fall vegetables, brussels sprouts with chestnuts and gorgonzola, cider glazed pork loin, then all the usual accompaniments.  I made Chris' favorite appetizer - a baked brie wrapped in phyllo dough and stuffed with a mixture of toasted pecans, caramelized onions, and dried fruits.  I was thinking of putting this recipe in the next newsletter, but then I realized that is the January/February Newsletter, so it isn't really fitting.  So, I'll just blog it, then you can make it for your guests!

This Thanksgiving was one of my more meaningful ones, I think.  I am so thankful for so many things, and I love a holiday that centers around gratitude.  Gratitude must be rather important to have an official, government-declared holiday dedicated to it, don't you think?  I am so thankful that I was able to celebrate Thanksgiving in our new home.  I realized that at 29 years old, we now have a business, a home, a son, friends and family, even a cat.  I've had some less than wonderful days lately, but when I look at the big picture, I realize that we are truly richly blessed.  Currently I'm reading a series of books I haven't read since I was a child, which is set with a family of pioneers who have traveled west to stake their claim in uninhabited territory.  We take a lot for granted here in America.  I can open a refridgerater full of food and complain that there is nothing to eat.  I could complain that our house needs a paint job, new carpet, or a bigger kitchen, but I have running water, a roof over my head, and warm bed to sleep in.  My child is not only healthy and happy, he sleeps through the night!  And now we welcome in the first Christmas season in our new home, with our new son, and I am just tickled.  To see Christmas through the eyes of my child...I can't imagine any higher privilege in life.

Happy Thanksgiving, and welcome Christmas Spirit!


Checking In

Believewindow

Sorry I’ve been so quiet of late.  As many of you know, my maternity leave ended at the beginning of October and I had to return to my full-time job at Children’s Hospital in Seattle.  The good news is that my portion of the Human Resources team moved to a new office located in Canyon Park, just minutes away from the store.  This means that during the day, Chris, Ben, the store, and I are all within 15 minutes of each other.  This has helped greatly, as our commute is 10 times quicker and easier than when I was at my old office located near the hospital.  Unfortunately, the means that I haven’t been able to spend as much time as I want to with Ben, and at The Weed Patch.

In other news, however, right around the same time we fought and bought our first house!  We found it on our second day of looking, and closed in just over a month after making an offer.  So, in the last 6 weeks I returned to work, we bought a house, we moved into said house, and converted the store over to Christmas.  Whew!  We’re glad that’s all over. 

Vintagetree

So, the store is indeed fully in to Christmas now!  I am so thankful that we expanded last year, as this means we have the entire old section of the store taken up with Christmas, leaving the rest of the store, all the newer portion, dedicated still to our everyday.  This means we still will continue to carry home décor, linens, pottery, and more in our usual themes of house, chicken, apple, Americana, crow, and lots more, but we’ll also have Christmas linens, pottery, ornaments, figurines, candleholders, and other décor in a variety of Christmas themes, such as snowman, vintage, retro, gingerbread, and glitter.  We even have a tree dedicated to Gooseberry Patch, with all kinds of Gooseberry Patch food and cooking related ornaments, as well as their Christmas in the Country Cookbook.  This reminds me that I need to put that online…

Truly we have TONS of gorgeous Christmas (and everyday) stuff, and I’m working as fast as possible to get all of it online for your shopping pleasure.  In the meantime, if there is something you are looking for, please feel free to ask, either via email, or just comment on any of our blog posts.  If we don’t have it, chances are we can get it!  Currently we carry items from Seasons of Cannon Falls, KD Vintage, Park Designs, Ohio Wholesale, Blossom Bucket, Honey and Me, Tenderheart, Primitives by Kathy, Ragon House, TAG, Demdaco, Wendy Addison, Lori Mitchell, and lots more!  And we do indeed have Lang and Legacy calendars this year, we just haven’t had a chance to get them online.  Let us know what you’re looking for, we’re happy to help!  Some folks have even seen things they want in the photos of the store, and called us up to order them.  Anything works!  Right now it is just Chris and I working on the site, and with the store, a full-time job, a new baby, and a new house, it has been difficult to get stuff online quickly.  If there is something you’d like me to get on their sooner rather than later, just comment on the blog or email, and I’ll make that theme or item a priority.  So don’t be shy, jump on in, you have first dibs!


"Giving Thanks" Hopelink Benefit Participating Shops

Great news! We have a total of 16 participating shops this year (up from the last year's 5!) Be sure to check out all the shops that are participating when you come in to the Village - who knows, you may just find something new to love!


Hopelink Benefit Weekend

We're so excited to be hosting the 2nd Annual "Giving Thanks" Benefit Event here at Country Village this weekend! This year we've got 14 shops participating and donating towards Hopelink, and we're hoping to raise a minimum of $5000! How can you participate? Simple - just come do your Christmas shopping this weekend at one of the participating stores!

There's raffles, donation stations, Gary The Magician (at The Patch from 1pm - 4pm on Saturday), and more!

Participating stores have a sign in their window, so it'll be easy for you to shop where it will make it back to Hopelink. We've also got donation stations for everything from food to children's items, pet food and toys to new clothing - so raid your closets and your pantries and come on down!

Friday Nov. 9 & Saturday Nov. 10th: 10am - 6pm (The Patch until 8pm)
Sunday Nov. 11th: 11am - 5pm

For more information on Hopelink, visit their website at http://www.hope-link.org

For full details, including which shops are participating, please visit our website at http://www.theweedpatchstore.com and check out our events page!