And I quote

In other words

Christmas copy


Santa’s Workshop is Closed

Santas_Workshop (01483621xA270B)

Around November of each year, my home office becomes something of Santa’s workshop. Only rather than making a list and checking it twice, I tend to lay out all my goods in neat little lines. That way, anytime I enter the office (multiple times, every day) I get a visual reminder of what I have, what I haven’t.

Well, I’m happy to report, for the first time in over a month, I can see the floor. That means I’m quite finished with shopping and wrapping and shipping.

Merry Christmas to me!

That also means I can get serious about enjoying the holidays, which I fully intend to do this weekend. With nary a party to be had, I plan to eat my weight in sweets . . . watch old Christmas movies . . . take in some Christmas lights. I may bake a little; hopefully I’ll read a lot. In short, I’ll be soaking in the good stuff.

With that, I wish you a weekend filled with smiles, filled with peace. May the days wrap softly around you, and remind you of what makes this seasons so great . . .

Merriest of weekend wishes to you, dear friends!


Family food

Last Friday marked our first annual family cook-off.

The rules were simple: each family brings two dishes, each serving 8—anything from soups to breads, appetizers to desserts. Food items will be judged according to the following categories—children (up to age 16) and adults.

Initially I planned to make Swiss potatoes: shredded potatoes, lounging about in a sea of Gruyere, heavy cream, whole milk—a splash of butter, a hint of garlic and nutmeg, all baked to a golden perfection. I’d made something similar years ago . . . then promptly lost the recipe.

So Friday morning of the big to-do, before rushing off to work, I reviewed the new recipe. And that’s when I saw it: Serving Size: 2. Two!

Just as well.

As the day wore on, shredding 4 pounds of potatoes sounded about as appealing as gnawing off my own digits. Since I already spent half my paycheck on gruyere cheese, I found a mashed potato recipe that called for that particular item. Simple fix, that.

Explaining my choice proved a bit more difficult . . .

Co-worker: So, what are you making for the cook-off?

Me: Mashed potatoes.

Co-worker: *blank stare*


Uncle: What’s under those mashed potatoes?

Me: Mashed potatoes.


Cousin: What did you bring?

Me: Mashed potatoes.

Cousin: *hysterical laughter* You weren’t kidding when you said you were low-balling it this year!

For the record, they were fancy mashed potatoes. Specifically, they were Rachael Ray’s Potatoes with Gruyere and Dijon (pronounced with a French accent, naturally). If you’re curious, they are creamy and quite delicious. They are a grand accompaniment to red meat. They are even an innovative addition to shepherd’s pie.

They are not, however, winners.

E. and her crab dip won the title of grand champ-een . . .

winner (2)

Not only did she win the children’s category, she received the most votes overall.

By the way, choosing a winner proved entirely too difficult—too many delectable dishes, too much variety. Next year we’ll do a side + dessert, or maybe a soup + dessert.

And we’ve an entire year to decide what we might contribute . . .

Who knows? Maybe next year I’ll go with carrots. After all, you best not show your hand at the start of the game . . .

And I quote

In other words

Santa_Giving copy


Winter wonder


Would you believe, this is what our December looks like?

You should see it from the front. It’s as if the early cold snap freeze dried leaves to their branches. Our plum tree, for instance: its leaves may be dried to a golden crisp, but they’re holding on for dear life.

Of course, look it or no, Christmas is inching ever closer. That means my weekend is filled with festivities, beginning this evening. This evening marks our first annual family cook-off. Could be fun, could be unfortunate. Truly, it could go either way.  Still, I’m hoping for fun–after all, it’s a cook-off: such a lovely idea!

Other than that, more celebration on Saturday; in between it all there are cards to finish, gifts to wrap. You know, the usual shenanigans.

And you?

Whatever your plans, I hope they include sunshine of one sort or another . . .

Warm wishes for a bright weekend!