Month: December 2013

My Daring New Year’s Eve Venture

Fortune cookies.

Fortune Cookies

They’re notoriously tricky to make, but such a fun treat. I used the fortune cookie recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe which yields 24-30 cookies. I ended up with 10. It took me a good dozen tries before I got a handle on the technique. (Tip: Parchment paper with a coating of cooking spray.)

I dipped them in chocolate and sprinkles to hide some flaws make them look pretty and to differentiate the kid fortunes (the rainbow sprinkles) from the grown up fortunes (the blue sprinkles). I can’t wait to share them!

And now, a fortune for you: This year be filled with adventure and sweet surprises.

Happy New Year!

15 days until Christmas

Christmas is coming and we’re counting down to it, as you know, and that’s taught me two things: 1. It’s very hard to take photographs indoors and at night that don’t look like crap. And 2. Phoebe never wears clothes.

I still haven’t successfully taken a photo for our Christmas card.

We’ve slowly been decorating for the holidays. This morning, I added some Santa hats to a few of our family photos.

Santa hat - Lucy

Santa hat - Julia

Santa hat - Phoebe

The girls went wild over it. Who knew something so simple could bring so much joy? They were bouncing and squealing as they each found the picture where they were the one in the Santa hat. They can’t stop giggling about it.

(By the way, I need to do a MAJOR overhaul of my walls. I have so many beautiful pictures of the kids to frame and hang. Currently, only Julia has school photos up, there aren’t any pictures of Phoebe past age one and NONE of Jack. It just feels so daunting. And with four kids, I’ve got a lot of photos. How do you organize your photos? What do you have on the walls? How often do you update? Do you have any tips? Someone, please. HELP ME!)

Jackson is crawling now, so the primary task of my day is picking things up off the floor and cleaning the floor and oh my goodness HOW DIRTY IS THE FLOOR?!?! And where did all this tiny stuff come from? Barbie shoes. Bracelet beads. Coins. Light Brite pegs that I swore I got rid of back when Phoebe was crawling. I’m finding it all as these are the things Jackson most desires, you know besides shoes and anything else that’s gross. I’d be annoyed if he weren’t so pleased with his newfound mobility and completely delighted with everything he finds. He’s just so happy about it all and that makes me happy, too.

So, I’m almost afraid to ask, but I really want to ask, did you watch The Sound of Music Live? Did you hate it? We watched it and I’m not afraid to tell you that we LOVED IT. There’s been a lot of criticism for the show and mostly Carrie Underwood, but I thought she was Just Fine as Maria – lovely, even. What she lacked in acting chops she more than made up for with singing. But, I think it was Audra McDonald as Mother Abbess that delivered the stand out performance. She was AMAZING. “Climb Every Mountain” brought me to tears. It was the climax of the show for me, and I would watch it again just to experience that moment. It was beautiful.

I’m doing the 12 Days of Christmas for Dave again this year. I’ll be starting it this Friday, which also happens to be the last day to enter my little giveaway. Have you entered yet? I think you should.

A Special Gift for You

Julia and Lucy have had a number of fundraisers so far this school year. I’m not big on asking family, friends and neighbors to support them as most people we know have children who are also participating in the same sort of stuff. But Dave and I are always sure to purchase something. Recently, Julia was selling Random Stuff in a Catalog to raise funds for her school. I bought a flexible cutting board and some magazine subscriptions – one for me (Family Fun Magazine!) and four gift subscriptions to give for Christmas.

A special gift for you

I realize magazines may seem sort of needless these days. You can find magazine content and so much more online. But there’s something about a magazine in your hands that’s just so satisfying! And I remember how much I enjoyed a cooking magazine gift subscription a friend gave me one year. (Well, I enjoyed it after I learned it was a gift subscription. When it started showing up and I knew I hadn’t ordered it, all I did was worry about getting billed and insist, “I didn’t pay for this! I shouldn’t be getting this! I NEED TO SEND THIS BACK!” Once I was assured that it was paid for and, indeed, mine to keep, it was a lovely experience.)

Anyway, I thought the magazine subscriptions would be a sweet, small gift idea for some faraway loved ones, especially since they were to come in the form of a voucher that allows the recipient to choose their magazine. But then I got the vouchers. The cover is pretty clear. This is a PAID magazine subscription just for you! it says. Once you open it up, there’s a list of magazines to choose from.


Then there’s a subscription certificate to complete, detach and mail that I think is a little confusing.

Sample subscription certificate

Specifically, it’s the $12.00 Value + taxes & handling fees charged as applicable that does it for me. (There’s also a spot on the back of the part you don’t send in to write in the magazine you “purchased” along with the date for your records.) If I received that, I’d wonder if I was going to be charged. I wouldn’t feel sure it was free. Then I’d be too timid to ask to clarify and too stingy to risk $12.00 plus taxes and handling fees to just send it in, so it’d probably go unused.

I’d hate to give a gift that goes unused.

I guess I could make a note in a card or indicate in some way that YES, THIS IS REALLY A PAID MAGAZINE FOR YOU. REALLY. I PROMISE. But that seems like a lot of attention to draw to what is supposed to be a small gift anyway and it just doesn’t feel like the great idea I thought it was before. So I’ve decided not to give them to my faraway loved ones. Instead, since YOU understand my dilemma and realize that these vouchers are real and true paid-for magazine subscriptions, I will give them away to four of you!

Here’s how to enter the giveaway: Leave a comment* here by Friday, December 13th. Be sure to enter a valid e-mail address in the comment form as this is how I will notify you should you be chosen. Winners will be selected with the help of a random number generator. The voucher will be shipped to the U.S. mailing address provided by the winner.

*You can comment about anything, but if you’re not sure what to say, you can always share a holiday movie/show/song quote and I’ll try to guess the source, you know, for added fun.

A Countdown in Pictures

I really enjoyed the challenge of posting a photo each day last month. It motivated me to carry my camera with me everywhere – which is a habit I hope to keep – and it encouraged me to look for beauty. There is so much beauty in the world around us, even on our worst day. Sometimes the act of seeking it was all I needed to turn a bad day around.

You can view last month’s set of photos here at my Flickr account. And here are a few favorites that didn’t make the set.

The Barn Next Door

Ice cream after school

Frost on a leaf

November Rain

This month, we’re counting down to Christmas, as we do, and I’ve decided to document our activities with a daily photo that I’ll be posting in this set at my Flickr account, if you’d like to follow us there.

I’m going to try and keep the daily photo thing going. We’ll see if it works out.

Are you doing a Christmas countdown? I’d love to hear about it.

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