Archive for December, 2010

Hickory Farms

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

My grandmother was a food nazi before being a food nazi was in vogue.  She was replacing oil with applesauce in recipes back in the 70’s and 80’s.  She ordered fish when we ate out (and always asked “Is it fresh fish?” “Fresh frozen ma’am.”)  She took vitamin supplements and sprinkled wheat germ on our cereal.  Obviously, she wasn’t the cookie and candy toting grandmother.  Perhaps that is partially why a box full of Hickory Farms goodness brings back such a rush of memories.  There was always one at my grandparents’ home during the holidays.  I have no idea where it came from.  It could have been a gift or something they bought themselves.  But I remember digging through the fake grass to find the little strawberry candies.  I don’t recall eating much of the meats or cheeses but those little strawberry candies were like gold in her candy-less house at the holidays.  (Well not entirely candy-less…there was always a hidden box of turtles but those were only for the grownups.)

As an adult, I’ve received boxes of Hickory Farms goodness at the holidays as a gift and I’ve given it as a gift.  I always enjoy the meats (summer sausage – yum!) and cheeses (always something smoked which I adore but never buy) but there is just something about the mustards.  I love me an interesting mustard.

My box was the party planner box ($40). It included 2 beef summer sausages, 1 turkey summer sausage, a smoked cheddar blend, mission jack blend, creamy swiss blend, big barn cheddar, cheese ball (drool), sweet hot mustard, cranberry mustard, and sesame, caraway, and sea salt crackers.  And of course, the little strawberry candies (which as an adult – really not something I love).  I wasn’t a fan of the crackers but that is my own personal preference – caraway seeds are blechy to me.  But everyone else liked them.  And the rest of it was YUM!  I especially enjoyed the smoked cheddar with the turkey summer sausage and a little cranberry mustard all perched on a club cracker.  Sigh…a little bit of heavenly indulgence at the holidays is good.  We haven’t eaten it all yet because did you see of the stuff in there?  We have at least 2 more football games worth of goodies to try.

Hickory Farms would also like you to know that for every Party Planner box sold:

you’ll be joining Share Our Strength®, the leading non-profit organization working to end childhood hunger in America. This holiday, we’ll donate $5 to their No Kid Hungry Campaign for every Party Planner you order. Visit to learn more.

Personally, I think a Hickory Farms box is a thoughtful gift to send to folks you won’t get to see at the holidays – they can put it out for their guests over the holidays and think of you.  Or it is a great general office gift.  Put it in the kitchen area and watch how quickly it disappears.  It also makes a nice thank you to someone you don’t know well personally – a teacher, a doorman, a dog sitter, etc.  Small samplers start under $20. I’ve recently learned that many teachers won’t eat food gifts made by the parents of students for fear their home isn’t clean or the kids helped and didn’t wash their hands (I think this is sad…but not my point today).  This would allow a thoughtful food gift that is all sealed up so they could enjoy it without worries.

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Hickory Farms and received a signature gift box from Hickory Farms to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Apparently she can be bribed

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

I mentioned early this week that Tessa rarely allows photos right now.  All bets are off if mommy gives her her first donut.  She started furiously gesturing at chocolate covered donuts in a display case so I decided I would let her try one.  She might have been a fan.  First, she licked all of the icing off.  Then she devoured the donut.  And she smiled while I documented the occasion.

Advent Tree

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Remember last year’s advent tree project?  I put it up again this year with different branches (the ones I stole from fallen trees grew too brittle to use again).  Still love this project – so cute and the girls were so excited waiting to get their first little treat after dinner.

Tonight’s treat were little $.50 stuffed toys I picked up at Ikea this summer.  The rest of the boxes, bags, and stockings are filled with leftover Halloween candy, trinkets from the dollar section at Target, and a few coupons to stay up “late” and watch Holiday specials.  The girls get so excited.  Sabrina asks a dozen times a day when she can open her surprise.

The original project that I based this on used manzanita branches.  I haven’t found any in local shops and most that I have found online are pretty pricey and/or the shipping makes me gasp.  At Old Time Pottery (which strangely has little in the way of pottery – just big pots to plant things in), I found these bleached willow branches which gave the same effect for $1.99 per 3 branches.  Score.  The original used foam to stabilize the branches.  I used an unopened bottle of salad dressing to keep it from being top heavy.  Some of my gift boxes from last year aren’t holding up well so I will have to replace a few next year.  But this fun tradition is here to stay.

Cute kids are my kryptonite

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

A little more cute thrown together and masquerading as a blog post.

Sabrina has suddenly decided that cocking her leg up = posing.  I have no idea where she got this idea but it cracks me up.  It is like a bad JCPenney catalog shot.

“Look how easily the skirt moves! Comfort and value!” (Can I just say this is a 5T outfit?!?! Yes I have the waist cinched about as tight as it will go and the sleeves are rolled up a little but gah!  What happened to my baby?)

Sabrina is doing cheesy poses and Tessa has decided the camera is evil.  She will hide her face anytime she even hears me turn it on.  She runs and hides if I try to take her photo.  Or she just gives me a scary look that makes me want to lock my bedroom door while I sleep.

Occasionally, Steve is able to distract her and she forgets to hide.

Completely unrelated – I won a cookbook on a blog a couple weeks ago.  Sometimes it is the little things – Better Homes & Garden could have just thrown it into a box and I would have been happy.  But they wrapped it up and included a little note.  I thought it was sweet.  And somehow I don’t own this cookbook in any form.  I remember my mom using it when I was a kid so I’m looking forward to going through it.

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