If you're ever in the market for a gift for a foodie, this is a sure hit.  For just about $4 and some patience, you can make homemade real vanilla extract. 




Christmas is coming! Well, sure, it's a few months away, but I like to get an early start on
things. I'm a little crazy about Christmas. Okay, a lot crazy about it. It's one of my favorite times of the year and it's filled with such memories and sentimental feelings. Memories of the smell of the warm plastic of the color wheel light shining on our aluminum tree, making christmas cookies while our faces are smeared in flour and we're calling ourselves "The Great White Hunter" tribe, and the year my brother read a Hardy Boys book that told him how to cut out a square of wrapping paper to see the contents of your present and then carefully tape it back up so no one knew. That last little shennanigan inspired our poor Mom to start using a carefully guarded code on all the presents instead of names. It's a wonder she didn't stop at just one kid. Then again, by the time she found out how crazy we were it was too late.

I need to start on these things early because my family has started to only give homemade or thrifted gifts. We decided to do this after we realized the spending was getting out of control and we were all getting old enough to just buy whatever we needed. Although Mom's annual gift of socks never fails to incite gasps of joy from all four of her grown-up children.

One year I tried to make my poor brother-in-law some slippers. I don't have a picture of them, but I can tell you that he used them to chase their kids around the house because they were terrified of them. Funny presents, yes.

A pillow with the coordinates of important places transferred onto it for my brother and sister-in-law. They were married last year and, as most newlyweds are sentimental, I think they'll like this. It has the coordinates of the city where they met, the town where they were engaged, the city where they were married, and also their current home. 


Note: When I say "almost" spoiled, I mean, past it's due date, tasted-a-bit-funny-when-you-put-it-on your-cereal-this-morning "almost" spoiled, not the kind of spoiled where its already made the curds for you.  I promise it wasn't doing you a favor.