Photos from Christmas Past: The Gifts of the Season

Wishing you a renewed sense of wonder

 

 

christmas ironing

and hoping you enjoy the fruits of your labor

 

Keep those you love close

May your days be spent with those you love

 

holiday excitement

and may those days be merry

 

the joy of the holiday season

and all that you dreamed 

 

 

especially if all that you dreamed includes your teeth

 

gifts of christmas past

and may your memories be good

 

 

Wishing you and yours joy and peace this holiday season!

Happy Monday!

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The Holiday Cookie Jar: A Sprinky Dink Bakes (& Sprinkles)

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This weekend I baked.

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Cream cheese cookie dough

 

 

Chocolate dipped cream cheese cookies decked out for a Chanukah party.

 I remember my  mom making Cream Cheese Leaves for me to bring to a Girl Scout meeting way back when.  She dipped them in semi-sweet chocolate and then  nestled them in a wax paper lined coffee can.

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This is my mom’s recipe.

 

I think they are now her official Christmas cookie.  My mom says she called them Cream Cheese Leaves because of the way the dough rolled off the spoons when she first made them.  She pinched each and every one to make them look more leaf like.

My mom has great patience when baking.

Sometimes I do.  But not this weekend. I used my handy-dandy cookie scoop to make precise dough balls.

Besides I was too occupied being a moving target.

 

My apron.   

And I wasn’t stopping at my mom’s cookies.  I needed to try some new ideas for a cookie exchange party.

Next up, Compost Cookies!

 

Makes great dirt–not cookies. 

These cookies have a funny name, but they are super easy.  You start with your favorite chocolate chip cookie dough recipe.  It can be vegan, gluten-free, whole grain–whatever you like . . .

 

It doesn’t have to be homemade.  This works too–just let it soften at room temperature first.

 

Then mix and match 1 cup of your favorite add ins:

 

Candy bars, nuts, cereal, butterscotch chips, dried fruit, pretzels–whatever you want.  Even leftover cookies, although that seems a tad cannibalistic.

Then drop and bake according to your recipe.

 

 

Up next, A Sprinkle of Fortune Cookie.

You take a basic sugar cookie dough (again, your tried and true favorite) and add in some freshly grated orange zest.  After baking and cooling, dip them in melted white chocolate.

Then you can sprinkle crushed fortune cookies and colored sugar on top.

 

If you like extra sprinkles, then you’re a SPRINKY DINK, according to Urban Dictionary.

 

 

What is your favorite cookie?  Are you a Sprinky Dink?

And to all those celebrating this week, warm wishes for a Happy Chanukah!

 

 

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Moderation Gone Wild: Boys, Exclamation Points & Pie

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Moderation.

Not exactly the merriest of words during the month of December.  Especially not if your brain –and Pinterest boards–are crowded with cookie exchange party ideas, holiday menus and pie.

I like pie.

Thanks to Barbara over at Just a Smidgen for planting the idea of pumpkin and meringue in my head.  Yum.  It haunted me excessively.

Some days I think I have moderation under control.  Some.  It’s a work in progress.

Take my very first diary.  I’ve mentioned it a few times here.  I keep this diary in a place of honor in my office because it has oh so many emotions packed into its tiny gold edged pages.  Some of those words–many of which were written with a perfume pen (not kidding)–have the ability to make me laugh and cringe at the same time.

Boys are mentioned excessively.

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Rob Lowe’s crush dedication page.  There are many, many others.

Crush moderation wasn’t something I considered.  Although on one page of my diary I wrote, “I’m tired of bellyaching about it.”

But then I went back to I heart boys.

 

 

Apparently this is also true for exclamation points.  Admittedly, I still have a problem overusing them, but once upon a time, my indication of intense emotion had no boundaries.

Excessive punctuation.

In case you can’t read my handwriting, that diary page says, “Nothing spectacular happened!”

Of course, you know and I know, that exclamation points can be used in better ways . . .

Meringue topped pumpkin pie!

Cookie exchanges!

Holidays!

Love!

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What do you think about moderation and the holidays? If you could pick one thing that deserves an exclamation point this holiday season, what would that be?

Have a fantastic day! (FYI that punctuation is from the heart.)

A Toast to Fun, Food and Men in Skirts

 

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In the spirit of holiday, food and fun, I want to wish you all a happy Thanksgiving week via photos from the local Celtic festival.

 

First, a toast to FUN.

 

And to YUMMY food. 

 

And Music! 

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To dancing.

 

To hanging out and playing games.

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And to dressing in your holiday best.

 

And last but not least, to tradition!

I don’t remember my Irish grandmothers mentioning this Celtic delicacy, but I leave you with–

Ye Olde Fried Oreo . 

 

Enjoy yourselves this week!  Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to stop by. Huge heaps of gratitude. 🙂

What are you thankful for this week?  Do you have a favorite festival food?

 

 

 

 

Bowl Haircuts and Other Scary Things

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Halloween has been shifted from center stage here due to the Frankenstorm moving up the east coast (although if you asked my kids, they would say the fact that school is closed is center stage, but you can’t ask them because they’re still sleeping).

But the biggest concern in my area (Virginia) is the wind.  Because of the trees.

 

We have loads of pine trees in our neighborhood.  Now pine trees may make it possible for us to have cinnamon scented pine cones this time of year, but they also have a shallow root system that unfortunately causes them to topple like dominoes.

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Here’s a pine that took out our power for more than a week last year after Hurricane Irene (I don’t believe it’s of the cinnamon variety).

 

But let’s not think of toppling trees, flooding or power outages.

How about I taunt you with scary Halloween witches . . .

 witch coleen patrick

  Eleven year old me.  

Or venomous spiders . . .

 spider at natural bridge

I don’t actually know if it’s venomous, but it’s certainly scary.

 

And let me remind you of the horrors of denim on denim.

 

Spider attack broken finger 

I’d like to blame this “fashion” on delirium due to a spider attack (yes, that’s why I’m in a cast).

 

And last but not least, let me get you running scared from this bowl haircut . . .

bad hair day

 The relative who shall not be named (shamed?)

 

 And now I gotta go, before Bowl Haircut Girl finds me.

What scares you on Halloween?  What is your favorite Trick or Treat candy?

Have a great (and safe) week!

Making Change a Sweet Transformation

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Two years ago I signed up for weekly emails to train for a 5k.  At the time I was walking 5 miles a day and had just started adding jogging.  I thought it would be motivating, maybe even fun to collect 5k race t-shirts.

Of course, life had other plans and before I could even get a second 5k training email, I was at the doctor for neck pain.  I thought it was just a pinched nerve, but it wasn’t.  My doctor sent me for x-rays and physical therapy, but more symptoms arrived that landed me in a neurologist’s office.

Then came MRIs, a spinal tap and several other poking and prodding sorts of tests.  Life became a series of NEW things, including conversations about possible diseases you never think could be in your future, but were now a MAYBE.

All I wanted was a stupid 5k race t-shirt.

Forget the shirt, I just wanted my OLD things back.

The thing is, I really can’t go back.  I’ve gotten some answers.  One of which is something called small fiber neuropathy, aka the foot and hand terrorist that turns my nerves into zombies (they’re dead, but they can still wreak havoc).  Oh and it’s “idiopathic” which means of course, no one knows why I have it.  Not even Google knows (and we are very close, I’m expecting my internet medical degree in the mail any day now).

All this time I’ve been waiting for answers, but it was just this last week that I realized I’d been under the assumption that once I had the answer I would also have the solution.  But I don’t, not the kind that would make the nerve damage and whatever is causing it, to go away.

It was another reminder that we don’t always get the answers we want, or even answers at all in life.   So yea, it’s my new thing.  Maybe the old things were better.  Maybe.  But this is what I’m moving into my future with, so I have to deal.

And guess what?  I don’t think that 5k t-shirt is so stupid.  I still want it.  Yes, there is an inclination to just forget about it, even forget about the exercise I am still attempting to do (no matter how lame the old me might think it to be).

Except I’m still here and to me that means no giving up allowed.

So how does one go about moving forward after suck-tastic change?

Well, I’m all about baby steps.  You can still cover the distance that way.

And gratitude helps, but don’t beat yourself up by playing the Olympic pain games.  You know, the ones that make you feel like you can’t be mad or sad because someone else’s life sucks more than yours.

Above all, try to be kind to yourself!

Which brings me to the greeting family and friends have been giving each other the last couple of days:  “Have a SWEET new year.”  This week began the Jewish new year.  Like the new year in January, it is a time to take stock of the previous year.  It’s an opportunity for change, renewal and spiritual transformation.

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The new year challah is round to symbolize the cycle of the year, the circle of life and the opportunity for spiritual transformation.

 

You see that honey in the background of the photo?  Apples and challah bits got a good dunking in the sweet stuff.  My daughter even doused her corn kugel (pudding) with honey.

A little sweet can go a long way.  Even just the idea of it offers up HOPE.

Like imagining a future post with me in a 5k t-shirt. 🙂

So be sweet to yourself.

Or focus on the new things that are awesome.  For me that’s thinking about publishing my first book or seeing the Grand Canyon with my husband and kids in a couple of months.

With dangling carrots like those it’s easier to maintain some forward motion.

So, whatever changes you are in the middle of, I wish you a sweet transformation!

How do you deal with change?  What are the dangling carrots that keep you going?

I love it when you comment!

For the Love of Vacation: Family, Fun and Some Bison Slobber

 

 School is out.  Summer is here.

And that means vacation time!

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“Those that say you can’t take it with you never saw a car packed for a vacation trip.”

 

I love family vacation for the break from routine–and the change of scenery.

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Ireland

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 San Francisco 

 

Niagara Falls

 

I love vacation because you can sleep in–or take a nap.  Anytime.  Anywhere.

 VLUU L210  / Samsung L210

My son sleeping on an airplane shuttle

 

I love vacation because I don’t have to make dinner and travel offers opportunities for new experiences.  Curious what 55 degree water feels like?

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It’s cold, really cold.

Stony Brook State Park, New York 


And of course, when you travel, there’s always the fun of meeting new friends.

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That’s a bison.  In our car.  

Oh, the slobber.


But the thing I love the most?  Spending time with my family.

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Are you travelling this summer?  What do you love about vacation?

 

**I will be on a blogging break for the next couple of weeks (although I’m sure I’ll be blogging in my head).  See  you all when I come back–hopefully with lots of cool pictures and NO bison slobber. 🙂

 

Guest Post at Jessica O’Neal

Happy Friday!

I am guest posting at writer Jessica O’Neal’s blog.  Jessica has a fantastic site with reviews on TV, books and movies and she is a big fan of Glee and Harry Potter. She is currently writing a fantasy novel. Check out her site here.

Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Holidays. See you in the new year!
I leave you with a Christmas carol from my son’s winter chorus concert. He’s the tenor solo in the first forty seconds ;).
 

Happy Chanukah

 

“Every moment of light and dark is a miracle.”

-Walt Whitman

 

chanukah happy hanukkah

“Still ours the dance, the feast, the glorious Psalm,

The mystic lights of emblem, and the Word.”

-Emma Lazarus

The Feast of Lights