Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wasn't it just Summer?

My house has been decorated since before Thanksgiving.
I have baked and wrapped and shopped.
We have driven around looking at lights (many, many times).
The doors have been opened on the Advent house.
We've made paper snowflakes and angels and cotton ball snowmen.
And yet...
It still snuck up on me!
How does that happen?
I found myself the other night turning to my husband and saying,
"Wasn't it just summer?"
It went too fast!

Anyone else feel that way?
Anyone? Anyone?

Well, if you are finding yourself doing some scrambling for any last minute gifts for friends and neighbors, let me offer you an idea that I tried this year.
I always see those beautiful jars of Mulling Spices at the specialty kitchen stores but they tend to be kind of pricey. And we LOVE our Mulled Cider around here, so I thought I would try my hand at making it myself this year.
It was very simple...

Now, there are many different variations of this but I did the one that was the least labor intensive.
You need:
Whole Nutmeg
Whole Cloves
Whole Allspice
Cinnamon Sticks

Put the nutmeg and the cinnamon sticks in plastic bag and lightly mash them with a hammer or mallet. You still want them to be in fairly big chunks. Cut squares of cheesecloth and make sure they are at least 2 layers thick. Pour some of the mashed nutmeg and cinnamon sticks into the middle of the square and then add 2 Tablespoons of cloves and allspice.
Tie up the ends of the cheesecloth and wrap with twine or ribbon.

Add a simple tag and you have a nice little gift!
On the back I wrote "Place in a simmering pot of Apple Juice for a delicious, aromatic beverage."

I even tried them myself when we had a party the other night and had folks say that it was the best Mulled Cider they had ever tried.
I think it was because the spices were so fresh.
Or maybe it was just the extra love that went into it!

Hope you are all enjoying this week!


Val said...

The older I get the faster life flashes before my eyes. Before you know it Spring will be here. I CAN"T WAIT. I love your spice bundles. I hope you and your wonderful family have very Merry Christmas!!! Hugs.

Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

I love Mulled Wine. I have a recipe for Mulled Cider that I've never tried...but this has inspired me! I'll have to dig it out!

Merry Christmas, gorgeous girlie.


Sherry said...

Handmade is heartfelt. They will love your gifts!

Janine said...

What a lovely gift to give! As for Summer ... I will soak some up for you on this side of the world =0) But I hear you girl ... time flies by far too quickly! I really want to savor this precious season.

Katerina said...

What a lovely gift idea, I haven't thought of that. I love all the spices you put in those little duffel bags.

michelle said...

It went FLYING by my friend! The older I get the faster it goes which doesn't seem fair!
great gift ideas, I love mulled cider!!

Merry Christmas my friend!!

Lori said...

Well, it was 85 yesterday in Dallas. Broke a record. Cold again today though. Merry Christmas!

NanaDiana said...

Cute idea, Vanessa...quick and love that it is handmade...
You mean summer is over? Is THAT why all that white stuff is on the ground here? seems like just yesterday it was Spring! Hugs-Diana

Sailing Simply said...

Wonderful idea Vanessa! I am done shopping but this sounds like a great gift for me! LOL! Thanks! I really appreciate your comments and have really enjoyed blogging with you as well! I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas!

Pamela said...

Yes very much so Vanessa! I am actually wondering where the past 5 years went. My baby will be five on Monday and it seems just like yesterday when we brought him home. It all goes by soo very very quickly.

Lynn Richards said...

I cannot believe how fast time has gone eldest leaves to study abroad in four weeks!!!!!!
Thanks so much for your sweet, sweet comments. AND for checking for a Rudolph. You are awesome!
I can't wait for Christmas morning...I'd better get busy with the last minute stuff!!
love the spice idea..

Tricia - A Rosy Note said...

I wish time would fly by and winter would be over. I can't wait for summer. Your mulling spices sound wonderful. What a sweet little gift. Best wishes ♥ Tricia

Debbie said...

I aboslutely LOVE mulled cider and would love to be on the receiving end of this gift for sure.

That being the case, I am going to put this down in my list of ideas to make and give for next year.

I agree with you that it came sneaking up on me. Until Tuesday, I barely had a moment to sit. I don't know HOW the busy bug got to me, but it did. UGH!

Betsy B said...

I agree that time just flies by and the older you get the faster it goes. Christmas has snuck up on me this year. I have been so engrossed with my mother's care that I just didn't realize it was here. said...

I can almost smell those spices. Great gift idea!

I agree about how fast time flies. I am one of those people that would love to have summer year round ;)

The Cozy Cape said...

I love this idea! It's great! I'll need to bookmark this for next year! And as far as the time is concerned, YES! I don't know where the time went. It seems like Christmas sneaked up before I knew it!
Hope you had a Merry Christmas!

Traci said...

What a great idea!