Blessed To Give

The other day I was all, I am so on top of Christmas this year! I only have to do this one thing and then I'll be ready! Oh, and this thing. And also this thing. And I forgot about this thing. And next thing you know I had a list of "things" the length of my arm and I wasn't so on top of Christmas after all.

If you are having the same sort of trouble, here are some things that might help.

For one, our friends over at Have A Cute Day have put together a few gift guides, including this vintage gift guide.

And if you are thinking of staying up every night between now and Christmas to finish lovely handmade gifts, maybe this array of already-made handmade gifts over at the Nie Nie Dialogues will convince you to buy some instead. (You can totally still tell people you made them. We won't tattle.)

For those of us who prefer straight up consumerism, complete with adorable gift wrapping, Anthropologie is offering an additional 25% off sale items, both online and in stores. Plus free shipping on orders of $150 or more. Might as well get some gifts for yourself, too, right?

For those of you who believe that the best gifts come from the kitchen (as well as the heart), I offer a delicious recipe for homemade caramels. I am not a domestic goddess by the stretch of anyone's imagination and I managed to pull these off.

2 cups light corn syrup
1 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cup milk (whole)
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup butter
4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

Butter a 9X13 inch pan. Stir all ingredients over medium heat until it boils, use a wooden spoon and a big stock pot. If you notice crystals forming on the edge of the caramel, wash it down with a wet pastry brush. Clip on a candy thermometer and stir until 240 degrees/soft ball stage. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and pour without scraping into your buttered pan. Don't scrape the edges of the pot! Or, if you must, scrape the pot into a bowl so you don't crystalize your whole batch. Allow to sit for 24 hours and cut into 1 inch cubes, wrap in wax paper or caramel wrappers.

I recommend making caramels with another person who will share the work of stirring the pot for an hour non-stop, but who won't mind when you tell people that you made the caramels all by yourself.

Feeling more prepared? I hope so. As for me, I just have one more thing on my list. For real this time.


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