Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Little Story about A Little Girl and A Little Chair

Once upon a time there was a sweetheart of a little girl named Ella Josephine. She had curly locks and bright blue eyes and the prettiest little smile you ever did see.

Now one day a while back, Ella's grandmother Judy found a teensey-weensey chair, just right for a cute little girl. It had a sweet puppy on it, and Judy knew that her granddaughter, who at the time was only a peanut that couldn't yet walk or talk, would adore it.

She swooped up the chair and took it and kept it so that one day it would be a special gift for her little granddaughter, whom she affectionately called Lu-lu.

Now it just so happened that Ella was to grow into that chair before her grandmother would have the pleasure of giving it to her in person. But, Ella's Grandpaw Chuck, remembered that the chair had been tucked away in a safe place all those months ago, and he brought it with him when he came to visit on Christmas Day.

Now, Miss Ella can sit on that chair all by herself, and swing her legs, and sigh, and sing, and daydream, just like her Grandmother knew that she would.

Thank you, Grandma. And thank you, Grandpaw!


Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Little James and Mommy Time

James and I have been enjoying a little time, just he and I, playing Go Fish after Ella goes to bed.

The cards are from 1951 and were a gift from my Dad. I love the fishy illustrations, the aged colors and the little box that has seen many, many years of use.

I love how James' eyebrows seem to go sky-high when he realizes he has a match. I love how I still have to tell him everytime to tell me to "Go Fish."

I love how he first learned to play in a hand with his Aunt Gini and Uncle Bill, and how he loved it so much that it has become a regular pastime for us.

When I was younger, my sister and I received an Atari for Christmas--and now James has a Wii--and that same childlike excitement that comes with a new toy is consuming him.

I am glad though, that he is interested in this little deck of cards that is now 60 years old. Sometimes the simple quiet of a card game is better than anything in the world.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Beautiful Day, for So Many Reasons

Christmas is one of my favorite holidays, and this year I really, really enjoyed it. I got to share it with my little boy at a time when he really GOT IT for the first time, and he was SO EXCITED to come downstairs . . .

and look for that CERTAIN SPECIAL GIFT . . .

hoping and hoping that when he told Santa that he wanted one and ONLY ONE gift would it really be under the tree . . . and it WAS.

Sharing Christmas with my girl, watching her rip into everything, pull everything apart, chew on everything and have so much fun . . .

This Christmas felt very warm, very intimate, and very much about family.

Dad and Amy drove down from Maine and walked in the door at 10am. They brought many gifts, and the best gift of all THEMSELVES. The kids laughed, played, loved and I basked in the glory of all of it.

Oh yeah--and we had 8 adults and 7 young ones over for a traditional holiday meal. I must have been cooking or hostessing or something of the like, as I don't have a single picture of any of my guests. But, I assure you, it was memorable and fun. I hope your Christmas was just as beautiful as ours. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Anniversary and Merry Christmas Eve!

Look at where we are, 6 years later.
Our love, our partnership and our family are so strong.
You are my best friend, babe.

Were we nuts to get married on the spur of the moment,
on Christmas Eve,
in Las Vegas,

You bet we're nuts.
Crazy nuts.
And I wouldn't want it any other way.

Happy Anniversary to you!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ultimate Ginger-ific Cookies!

Wow, folks. Yes, I am still baking. I've been baking for days and am still loving every messy minute of it! Of course there are rewards, you know--like watching my son lick the beater, hearing my daughter giggle when handed her first-ever Gingerbread man and of course my own tasting of this and that. YUM!

I was making these Ultimate Ginger Cookies today, recipe courtesy of Brown Eyed Baker and in turn from Ina Garten. I had just made some Gingerbread men, angels and reindeer a few days ago, and Chris told me he thought they were a little hot. So, as I was pouring the spices into my bowl for the Ultimate Ginger Cookies today, I thought to myself, "Oh Babe. You ain't seen hot YET!"

So, here is the photo that gives you an idea of what made me want to start to write this post. There are A LOT of spices in this recipe. I mean TONS. Can you see the layer upon layer upon layer in the bowl? Don't they remind you of those colored beach sand sculptures you made as a kid?

There was a point in the recipe where it called for beating the brown sugar, oil and molasses for 5 minutes. 5 MINUTES??? That's a long time for someone who is whipping these things out during naps and prolonged baseball sessions on the Wii! But look at the ooey gooey result!

And yes, after all those spices, the cinnamon, the nutmeg, the cloves, the ground ginger, there is one of my most favorite ingredients in all the world: crystallized ginger. MORE THAN A CUP OF IT, chopped up and added into the mix.

I was surprised at how dry the dough seemed, and in fact I did add a little more oil at the end, right before forming the cookies.

Formed into flat circles, dipped in sugar on both sides, slid into the oven and . . .

KAPOW!!!! Ginger-ific amazing-ness!!!

And yes, these are HOT. Not for the faint of heart. And yes, I LOVE THEM. For those of you getting them in your cookie baskets for Christmas gifts, I hope you love them too!!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Up to My Arms in Flour


I'll be taking a break for a few days while I bake myself silly!

Here's a short list of what I've got in the oven:

Giada's Anise Biscotti

Army Wife Toddler Mom's Gingerbread Men

Naptime Chef's Egg Nog Cookies

Bread and Honey's Sugar Cookies

Cast Sugar's Peanut Butter Balls

My Mom's Snowballs
(not giving that one out--some things must be kept sacred).

Thank you ladies for the fabulous recipes!



Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Glimmer of Christmas' Past

I have been fortunate to have been given a number of precious ornaments from my Dad over the years. These are the ornaments that I hold my breath while unwrapping!

Don't you wonder how something so fragile and beautiful could have lasted so long? Passed from family to family--these baubles have seen many, many Christmases, at least a half-a-century worth.