Month: December 2015

Christmas Cookie Catastraphy

When it comes to baking, my hubs rocks.  He’s my own personal pastry chef.  No store bought pie crusts for my guy.  He makes his own.  His pumpkin pie can’t be beat.  It could have something to do with the fact that he doesn’t use canned pumpkin.  Nope. He picks out a pumpkin at the grocery store and goes from there.

It probably goes without saying that when my children wanted to bake cookies – it was their father who answered the call.

Now don’t misunderstand the situation – I can bake.  I’m a freaking pro when it comes to those refrigerated options – you know the ones where you break apart the squares of cookie dough and drop them on a pan and 13 minutes later – Viola!   And don’t forget turtles – they are my specialty. A pretzel, a Rolo and 3 minutes in the oven!  Top it off with a pecan!  I’m like the star of my own cooking show!

So – as Christmas approached and Hubs was up to his elbows in our bathroom remodel, I stepped up to the oven.  After all, I’m a team player and if Hubs could tear out drywall than I could throw together a few ingredients for some holiday treats.

chocolate-snowman-pretzel-craft-sticks-popsicle-crafts-I visited pinterest and found the cutest chocolate dipped pretzel snowmen. I mean seriously, aren’t they just the best?  (For instructions, click here)

InstagramCapture_d2ec9fe6-ac84-4b92-8625-d2f905d44c61Only mine didn’t look so cute. In fact, it was suggested that I make them for next year’s Halloween – something about them channeling Freddy Krueger.

I accepted the truth – Chocolate dipped pretzel snowmen were beyond my abilities.  I moved on to cookies.  No – I didn’t open a recipe book.  I don’t have the patience for that. Instead, I purchased those giant rolls of cookie dough.

I pulled out the cookie cutters, choosing the candy cane shaped ones and explained my plan.  No rolling out the dough – nope.  Instead, I made little logs and dropped them into the cutters, lightly pressing them to fill the canes.  Easy-peasy…

Only not so much…

That batch of cookies were interesting to say the least.  Hubs said he’d never seen candy canes look quite like mine.  Needless to say, I’ve accepted that some people (me) are baking challenged.  And that’s okay because Hubs has promised to man the kitchen next year.

Finding Christmas in a Store

Grinch

She stood in front of me, her groceries moving towards the scanner, one child in the buggy, the other standing beside it.

Hotdogs, chicken pot pies – nothing extravagant – not for this family.

She focused on the monitor like a hawk watching prey and that is what caught my attention.  Because I can remember watching prices – adding them in my head – making sure I had enough money.

“That’ll be $70.68,” the cashier said.

The young woman swiped her card.

The cashier frowned.  “Hmmm.  Declined.”

The young woman checked her phone, her finger sliding across the screen.

“Try swiping your card again,” the cashier encouraged.

Looking up, she shook her head.  “I need to put some things back.”

“It might be a malfunction,” the cashier insisted.

“No,” the young woman answered.  “I checked my balance.  There’s just over $50.00.” She glanced back at her phone.  “I had $97.00 when I left home.  My husband must have used his debit card.”

 

“Excuse me,” I interrupted. “I’ll pay the balance if that’s okay…”

The young woman was appreciative and I was thankful –  thankful for the blessings I’ve been given, thankful for being able to share those blessings (if only in a small way), and so grateful that in the hustle and bustle of a busy afternoon – I found the Christmas spirit in my local grocery store.

 

 

Memories

I can’t hear John Conlee singing Rose Colored Glasses that I don’t think of my Uncle Frank.  That song carries me back to the early 80’s when CMT was new.  I sat on the sectional in his living room – listening to John sing as my family sat at the dinner table.  I can see my uncle sitting there. He was loud and somewhat irreverent and oh so funny.  He wore British Sterling and smelled like a million bucks.

He loved listening to Floyd Cramer and on Christmas Eve – after dinner had been served – he’d pop in a CD.  Some of us would find a comfy spot and talk; others danced.  It was wonderful.

I miss him.

My father misses him.  Somehow, that makes the missing a little worse.

And during this Christmas Season, we will recall the the epic Christmas Eve Roman Candle Fight between my dad and uncle.  We’ll laugh and joke around and we’ll listen to old songs and remember.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bruce Stuart – The Lightening Round – Virtual Book Tour

I’m delighted to participate in the Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tour for Bruce Stuart, author of The Lightening Round

 
Literary / Women’s Fiction
Date Published: November 1, 2015
 
 

Did you ever wonder what it’s like to dare to fall in love with someone who literally isn’t on your level?

 

The Lightening Round is a fast-paced novel brimming with colorful characters, sinister plots of intrigue and revenge, and over-the-top antics.

Hannah More, a single mom with weight issues, assumes that her longtime boyfriend, Luke Havitt, is about to propose marriage to her. Instead, he proposes that in order for Hannah to take their relationship to the next level, that she needs to join a gym and to lose weight. Hannah soon finds herself entering the Ultimate Level, a highly controversial yet incredibly sought after San Francisco “fitness experience” known for not only having the latest in technology and fashion, but also segregating all of its members based solely on their weight and fitness levels.

This snappy novel ultimately questions whether true love can survive two individuals from different levels. Even if those levels are only found at a gym.

Meet the author:

Stuart imageBruce Stuart is the founder of five previous books and is the founder of the popular serial fiction website, SerialTeller.com. The Lightening Round was previously seen in part as a serial on SerialTeller.com under the pseudonym K.T. Newman.

Bruce lives and works in San Francisco.

 

 

Excerpt:

“Can members on different levels interact inside the club?”

“Yes. And outside as well. But there are time limitations.” Missy smiled and looked at them both supportively. It was time to kick the sales into high-gear.

“And they are?” Levreece and Hannah couldn’t help but be completely awed by Dante as he strutted by the office in an outfit that showed off his incredible physique. Hannah was taken back when she realized that he was even better looking in person than he’d appeared on TV.

“Fifteen minutes for each individual who is on a different level every two weeks.” Missy gave Dante a passing glance. “It helps incentivize you. Also, if you are only working on your own level you won’t be as distracted towards achieving your fitness goals.”

Levreece smiled at Missy’s rigid face. “Damned. Even the Little Mermaid got longer than that to land her prince.”

“But she didn’t have her voice. Now, did she?” It took Missy by surprise that he had alluded to one of her all time favorite movies. She often cried at the end over Ursula, the Sea Witch’s, tragic demise.

“I guess you have to talk fast around here.” Hannah hadn’t been in sales for most of her adult life without realizing that Missy was simply selling a dream that very few can obtain. Although she had heard a few of her friends say that if one was able to hold on through the grueling process, Ultimate Level got amazing results.

“If you both join today. I am prepared to give you a very attractive membership package.” Missy ignored their skepticism.

Levreece thought about Dante. “Well, I do like packages.”  

“Both?  I’m sorry, Miss.” Hannah could feel her chocolate buzz crashing.

Missy addressed Hannah as she would a first grader who lacked proper discipline. “The name’s Missy.”  

“Okay, Missy. I’m sorry if you misunderstood. I’m just here to support Levreece. I am most certainly not joining a gym.” She tightened the head-to-toe black raincoat she had draped around her body.

Missy felt the blood boiling in her veins at the mention of the word “gym.” She held her seething anger inside as she spoke. “This is not a gym, Hannah. It is a health and fitness experience.”

“I’m not signing up for one of those near-death experiences either. Whatever you want to call it.”

To purchase, click here.

Thanks for visiting!