Christmas Surprises

Christmas is now less than 48 hours away! All of the last-minute shopping, wrapping, baking, and crafty pressie making should – in theory –  be done by now….in theory! Yet, there always seems to be that last-minute addition to the gift list. A relative who said that they were NOT going to be there, shows up. The unannounced friends, neighbors, friends of friends/relatives, new “significant others” you weren’t aware of, etc., etc., etc…. So, what’s a thoughtful, caring, wonderful, cash strapped, out-of-time, already overwhelmed, slightly stressed person such as yourself to do?


Whip up some quick Gift Jars!! You can generally throw some of these together in a flash with things that you already have on hand. At least this is the best I can come up with until they invent 1-800-SHOP/DELIVER-NOW. These are pressies that are always appreciated – especially by those who are “baking/cooking challenged”, and you’ll be prepared for those unannounced last-minute guests.

***TIP:   If you’re traveling to the family Christmas Party instead of having it at your house this year, pack a few extra of these to take along with you!! Just pop a blank gift tag on them, tie a cute ribbon around the top before you go, and viola! You are da bomb!! Just fill out the gift tag once you get there and know who the unannounced guest is, and you’ll never be caught without a gift for Aunt Edna (who nobody knew was coming ahead of time) again!!  But, beware – this will make you the envy of all of those caught unawares, and suddenly you will be Aunt Edna’s favorite!!! If that scenario is okay with you – then proceed as planned, and be prepared for the Kudos!!


**IMPORTANT**  Please make sure that you tie a copy of the baking/finishing directions to the jar for the recipient (or at least a copy of the whole recipe so they can know what’s in their jar)!!! You don’t want them throwing your gift away because they don’t know how to bake it!   🙂

**Quick Note**  If you don’t have the chocolate chips called for in a couple of these recipes, then substitute in M&M’s or Reeses Pieces, whatever you have on hand will work and add color to the jar!


Cowboy Cookie Mix In A Jar Recipe

 21 Servings  Prep  : 20 min. + chilling Bake: 15 min./batch
1-1/3 cups quick-cooking oats
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans (Walnuts will work in a pinch)
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar

Additional Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pour oats into a wide-mouth 1-qt. glass container with a tight-fitting lid. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; place on top of oats. Layer with pecans, chocolate chips, brown sugar and sugar, packing each layer tightly (do not mix). Cover and store in a cool dry place for up to 6 months.
Yield: 1 batch.

To prepare cookies: Pour cookie mix into a large bowl; stir to combine ingredients. Beat in butter, egg and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll into 1-in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 11-13 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool.
Yield: about 3-1/2 dozen.


Christmas Cookies in a Jar Recipe (or Oatmeal Raisin Cookies)
18 Servings  Prep: 15 min. + chilling  Bake: 10 min.
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup orange-flavored dried cranberries (can substitute raisins in a pinch)
1 cup vanilla or white chips (optional – if you delete these and replace the cranberries with raisins you have a great Oatmeal Raisin Cookie)

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a 1-qt. glass jar, layer the sugar and brown sugar, packing well between each layer. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; spoon into jar. Top with oats, cranberries and chips. Cover and store in a cool dry place for up to 6 months.

To prepare cookies: Pour cookie mix into a large bowl; stir to combine. Beat in butter, egg and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Drop by the tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
Yield: 3 dozen.


Spicy Oatmeal Cookie Mix Recipe

22 Servings  Prep: 15 min.   Bake: 10 min./batch
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup swirled milk chocolate and caramel chips
1/2 cup flaked coconut

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small bowl, combine the first five ingredients. In a 1-qt. glass jar, layer the flour mixture, brown sugar, sugar, oats, chips and coconut, packing well between each layer. Cover and store in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.
Yield: 1 batch (4 cups).

To prepare cookies: In a large bowl, beat the butter, egg and vanilla. Add cookie mix and mix well. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake at 350° for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks.
Yield: about 3-1/2 dozen.

These are just a couple of basic Jar Cookie recipes to get you started, but when you’re pressed for time you don’t want to be sorting thru 50 recipes trying to find a simple jar recipe! So – enjoy, good luck and here’s wishing you a very Merry Christmas!!



Santa, please define “Naughty”???? I only ask because according to some, I’ve been really good (nice) this year. However, according to others, I’ve been really not-so-good (naughty?) this year. In my defense Santa, the one’s who say I’ve been naughty are MUCH naughtier than I…, I’m confused!?!?

Thus, I’m pleading my case for the “Good” category this year, and hoping that you see it the same way.  🙂  Therefore, here is my Christmas Wish List – just in case you agree:

Dear Santa,

Please bring me a Live-In Maid/Assistant, so that I can accomplish some of the things that I would like to do for me (selfish, I know, but it IS MY Wish list). She needs to be responsible for, and able to, take care of all of the everyday needs/requirements/demands of all of the crazy people living in my house. The care-taking, the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry, the errand running, the mess-containment and removal of the messes left in their wakes (this is different from regular cleaning duties), the refereeing, etc., etc., etc….. She must be on a first-name basis with the vacuum cleaner, and so friendly with the dishwasher that their relationship makes her friends jealous! The washer and dryer are considered her two bestest friends, and the broom and dustpan invited her to their wedding. She must have more energy than the “Energizer Bunny”, be able to operate on minimal (if any) sleep, and – ohhh yeah – she MUST look just like me so that “THEY” don’t know that I’m actually M.I.A.!!

This Blessed gift would free me up to actually have enough time to get my Christmas Cookies baked (and delivered), the final quilts finished up for Christmas gifts, take care of the Christmas Cards (not even started yet!!), and MAYBE sit down long enough to watch my Christmas movies (Annabelle’s Wish, Miracle on 34th Street, etc.). She would be SOOOOOO appreciated – at least by me!!  🙂

If, by some chance, you are unable to locate such a perfect gift I do have a couple of other suggestions. Perhaps, a 24 hour snowstorm that drops 5 foot of snow so that NOTHING – esp. those dadburned Mail Trucks – can move. Then I could just sit on the couch under a quilt watching movies, and baking cookies (gotta multi-task doncha’ know)! However, the snow has to all melt in 48 hours so that I don’t have to shovel it, or drive in it.  🙂 

Now, if you’re feeling REALLY generous, a new laptop and a plane ticket to the Caribbean (one-way please, or at least one with a 6 month return date!) would be most welcome too!!  🙂

I hope this helps you in your gift-giving decisions, and I’ll be anxiously awaiting your arrival! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go start packing, and I’ll try to bake you a few cookies before you get here. However, I might have to substitute in a Fruitcake instead!! 😉

Merry Christmas.

Love, Shady



My Elves have run away!! Far, far away with their arms waving wildly above their heads, and screaming all the way. They have abandoned me. 😦 

 Reportedly, according to the other quilters I have spoken with, all of our Elves have flown the coop!! Allegedly, they are all congregating at some Super-Secret Elf Party at a beach Tiki Bar somewhere in the Bahamas, the Caribbean or Hawaii – we’re not sure since they wouldn’t tell us EXACTLY where they were headed!! In fact, the last time any of us saw them, they were shouting “NO MORE!!!” and running for dear life. No destination details were divulged during this mass exodus, for fear “We” would follow them, and drag them back to finish their chores!!


Blasted Elves!!! 


I wonder if there is still time to request replacements for the little buggers??? Probably, not…not to mention that the replacements probably wouldn’t come if they have had ANY contact at all with our Renegade Elves… Drat!!! 


What are we going to do now?!?! There is shopping still to do, presents still to wrap, cookies still to bake, Christmas cards still to address and mail, tops still to be quilted, errands still to run, deep cleaning still to do….AACCKK!! 



I wonder if there is still a free table at that Tiki Bar…I’m Thinking Hawaii – Who’s with me?!?!?! Watch out Elves, here we come!!!!!! 


See ya There!! Y’all bring the sunscreen 🙂 


Busy, Busy, Busy……


The Sunrise and Sunset Photo Album is uploaded, Crock-Pot Recipes have a page, probably 20 more Christmas Cookie recipes have been added, and last but not least – the Quick Breads/Cakes/Muffins page has been added for those who asked!! 🙂 The “candy/treat” page is good to go, and a few more “body scrub” recipes have been added. Hopefully things will now be easier for you to find and enjoy with less searching (however, I do have the “search” button on the upper right of the pages if you need it), and several more pages are in the works to get more of the quilty/crafty things uploaded for you to peruse. I know that this is not one of my normal posts – I’ll do that later today – but I needed to let everyone know, who asked for the above changes, that it has been done. 🙂 Enjoy, and I’ll talk to you more later today!! 

Happy Sunday! 

Shady, and Company (Muckrunners)