Friday, December 23, 2011


that’s why it’s called “Killer Chocolate Cheesecake”

IMG_1801… see …

and this is the book I have a date with this afternoon.  along with copious amounts of bittersweet chocolate and cream cheese.  it’s going to be amazing.  again.

in an effort to expand my culinary repertoire, I usually try to find a new chocolatey creation to make for Christmas Eve dessert … but this year, even though presents were purchased and wrapped in a timely fashion, the busyness of parties, rehearsals at church, out of town family, etc … I haven’t had the time to find a new fantastic display of sugary delight.  thus, dessert this year will be a re-do. 

one.  because it was so raved about the year that it made it’s first appearance.
two. because I’ve made it a few times since, and has become relatively easy {and thus, won’t cause me the stress of wondering, “will this turn out?”}
and three.  because, hello, it’s called killer chocolate cheesecake. 
enough said.

for all those that don’t appreciate the deliciousnses that is “cheesecake”, you are missing out.

best of luck on the escapades in the kitchen this weekend! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

ready to go.

I know I’ve already bragged about how on top of things I’ve been this Christmas … and well, I’m sort of about to do it again …

I have one last present that is due to arrive on my door step this evening (so says the UPS Tracking system) … and upon receiving that one last package, all gifts will be in my possession.  shortly after it’s arrival, it will be ooohhed and awwed over for a few, and then promptly wrapped up and tied with a bow (or brown twine to be specific).  it will then be placed under our humble little Christmas tree … at which point in time, I will sit back in relaxed satisfaction.

100% done.  finished.  ready for the fun to begin.

come friday evening, I will have my killer chocolate cheesecake baked to deliciousness and cinnamon rolls ready for baking come Christmas morning …

after that, my Christmas responsibilities will include: (in no particular order and most likely on repeat)

snuggling with my cute husband in our pajamas
eating lots of good food
watching my hubs play with his christmas presents
singing with the fam
laughing (in my very full and loud laugh, as it has been described)
sipping on pepperminty hot chocolate
napping by the fire
and so on …

man, I have been so on top of things (bragging again), I even got the package sent off to the southern of the two dakotas for the benson family … get this … BEFORE Christmas.  this should not be something to be proud of, but for some reason, I am really good at buying gifts but really bad at sending them.  therefore, the fact that their package is due to arrive approximately 2 days prior to Christmas, I am feeling very proud.  so proud, actually, that it just might make me better at sending gifts in the mail … on time.  what a concept.


aside from being totally on top of things (last time, I promise), we have also been able to celebrate the season with a party or two …

one was a bit of a formal occasion … I love an excuse to get all dolled up … and thankfully, so does my hubs (although I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t use that term to describe it)

when I casually asked erik what he was wearing to the party, I presumed he would respond with: my nice jeans, collared shirt, and that black sport coat (an ensemble that I actually adore on him)

but much to my surprise, he came down stairs in a tie, a vest, a pair of gray pants and square toed black shoes. {sidenote:  ladies, if you can find a man that enjoys dressing well, it makes getting dressed up that much more fun!  i.e.}

anyways, as usual, we didn’t get a pre-evening pic, when shirts were still tucked in, hair was still in tact, and makeup was still visible … but these will do!

IMG_1784ejdancemy favorite from the night

merry almost Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

sneak peak

as in the past 2 years of my “married woman/adulthood” status, i included in our Christmas card another poem:  {call me cheesy, but the rhyming just seems to come to me}

Merry Christmas!

As raindrops turn to frozen flakes,
Ice adorns the ponds and lakes,
Peppermint and cocoa warm,
As clouds embark on winter’s storm,

To a close comes the year,
A chapter ends as new is near,
With steady haste the pages turn,
With every line, in life we learn,

This year began, at the start,
A little pup stole our heart,
So home we brought the tiny guy,
He’s grown as every day goes by,

Lost have we a sock or two,
Clothes and trees he likes to chew,
Hyper describes him not enough,
Energy wrapped in short-haired fluff,

A few more pages passed us by,
Then celebrated 2 years high,
Loving blessed wedded bliss,
Thank the Lord for gifts like this,

Summer’s page came late this year,
Spring held on to each sweet tear,
But then the heat arrived in style,
And warmed us up a good long while,

Thirty years marked September,
The decade third, he’s a member,
The Mister’s moving up the hill,
His younger wife in twenties still,

As leaves depart the trees to fall,
Thanks we give as is our call,
Embracing future pages blank,
For hope and love we have to thank,

The chapter’s full of memories,
Pages filled with histories,
Laughter painted pages bright,
The chapter new is turning right,

So as your story turns it’s page,
And blank becomes the coming stage,
May love & laughter be your song,
And joy define your story long,

And in between each line and word,
May every carol be truly heard;
For the story told is more than trees,
More than snow and Christmas things,

More than decking halls around,
It’s angel’s harking heaven’s sound,
In the breathe of infant sweet,
Beside the King, we bear a seat.

my Christmas tips

Hello again.  The season has got to me!  It’s taken time {and my writing} away from me.  But, I am pleased to announce that I am 95% finished with my Christmas shopping {including the wrapping}, I have helped not only my parents with gifts for their friends, but am also in the process of running around the little town of Folsom {thank you Mr. Cash for putting this place on the map} to help my grandmother with her gift for my mom.  Whewww.  I’m worn out just thinking about it.  Ok, not really, because most of it is finished!  {Sorry for bragging, but I’m a little proud of my “on-top-of-things-while-working-a-full-time-job” status, right now.

In light of my Christmas-To-Do-List being almost completely marked with checks of completion {that’s pretty metaphorical, because I’m not really the kind of person to make lists and actually cross them off}, I thought I’d share a few of my money saving tips for this season. {Only because I am really exited about them!}

Christmas cards: 
Ordering Christmas cards from Shutterfly or My Publisher {or even Walmart} with all those cutesy pre-made templates {though fun}, can be expensive.  I’m talking $1-$2 PER-card-expensive.  My tip:  design your own {I used photoshop this year, but last year, I used the power duo: picasa and picnik}.  Save it as a picture and then simply order them as 5x7 pictures … for an even better price, do it through Costco.  I purchased 45-5x7’s for $18 {printed in one hour} … and I didn’t even have to twist any arms to get them to throw in the super nice silver-lined Christmas envelopes for free.  Yes.  I said FREE.


Wrapping paper: {this idea was stolen borrowed from another crafty thinker off of pinterest}
Paper bags.  Total cost: FREE {with the purchase of groceries of course}
Make cute labels out of scrapbook paper
Tie with twine: Walmart for only funf {or cinco, is you are more familiar with espanol than german} dollars. 
Saves moola on paper and bows.
I am extremely pleased. {I’m all about themes … I like it all looking the same.  Is that weird?}


Lastly, an uber girly gift idea: {also stolen borrowed from pinterest}
Lemon sugar scrub {contents already in my cupbards}: lemons, sugar {I used brown & white}, & olive oil
Glass jars: $1 each from Cost Plus {or World Market … whichever you prefer to call it}
More twine and a cute label designed on picnik.
Super cute … and it makes your hands {and even your lips} feel softer {and sweeter!}than you know what.


So, there you go.  I can be crafty … every once in a while! 

I hope your Christmas lists aren’t distracting you from enjoying the season and the gift that is Christ’s birth!

Friday, December 2, 2011

the hunt

last saturday morning, we greeted the sun as it rose to light, and we began our hunt while the mist still laid low to the ground.  we loaded up the gear necessary for the hunt, and we set out in the quiet.  we sifted our way through the brush and the branches dampened with dew.  we stayed low to the ground as we whispered under our breathes.  the sight of our breath, thick and heavy, reminded us of the cold; while adrenaline and excitement permeated our bones.  the hunt lasted a short while, as we quickly embraced the beauty revealed in what soon became our very own …

Christmas Tree.

aaaaand cut …

just kidding.  sort of.

this is what we did last week, but maybe with a little less drama {though exciting, was it not?}

so, yes, last weekend, we embarked upon the hunt that basically symbolizes the beginning of the Christmas season.  while the Benson household began listening to the music that defines the first 25 days of december {go ahead, laugh at me.  but, I like it too much to only let it grace my speakers for only 25 days out of all 365 in the year … and erik likes it too, so I’m not the only one to blame}; Christmas seems to become official once Thanksgiving has passed and the tree has been hunted.


… as you can see, my brother shares in my enthusiasm for Christmas …

and let me just say, apple hill proves to the best {my biased humble opinion, mind you} location for the hunt.  check out that view {I realize this photo fails to actually show the view, but just imagine the the sierras behind those tree tops}. 
it’s not too shabby. 


erik had an affection for the charlie brown Christmas trees.  I’m not sure if he felt bad for their lack of attention or whatnot, but this was the first of many that he suggested.


don’t we look like rugged hunters?  I thought so. 


the final product. 

I hope you are enjoying your Christmas season as much as I am!