During my previously mentioned outing with the eggplant I found this vintage lawn ornament mushroom over at the wonderful shop ink & peat. It's amazing. It's got a wood base and a metal top and is about 20" high. The girls love it and are bummed I won't let them sit on it. These mossy steps are ours now. They lead up to an old play house that is in our new-to-us backyard.
I am making biscotti today to see if it will be a good contender in the cookie/holiday treat bags. Ideas for holiday gifts in my head right now are cookies, caramel corn in little baggies, biscotti, salted caramel sauce (this is a brilliant idea from eggplant—we already bought the jars) and possibly a make-your-own-vanilla-extract gift, where I supply the bottle and the vanilla beans (with recipes) and the recipient would supply the hooch (vodka.) My concern is that this might seem a little too frugal. "Here's an almost empty bottle for you with weird looking beans in it. Now go buy your own liquor. Happy holidays." I worry that people won't ever fill the bottles and the vanilla beans will sit, sadly, in the empty jar and then get thrown away in 2 months. So, I think I need to just make only a few bottles of this complete with the alcohol, so it seems more like a gift and less like potential garbage.
More about making homemade vanilla extract here. Warning, possibly too much information, but it's great to have such a comprehensive source.