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Showing posts from December, 2012

Still Celebrating plus Downton Abbey Excitement

I don't know about you but one of my favorite things about Christmastime is that it truly begins on Christmas Day and continues until the feast of  Epiphany  which falls on January 6, 2013.  Although, if you are like me and have jumped on the Downton Abbey bandwagon wholeheartedly, January 6, 2013 is more importantly the return of Season 3 !  (Isn't that  sacrilegious of me?)  I am already setting the DVR and planning a totally Downton evening.  I am thinking tea and biscuits or maybe something suggested in this article .  What about you? If you are somehow behind on watching this amazing show, check the PBS schedule now and catch up quickly! (You can also watch a quick re-cap episode of Seasons One and Two free on-line here . ) Keep celebrating and keep in touch!

Visions of Christmas 2012

MERRY, MERRY CHRISTMAS! I wish you a day spent with loved ones  and  time to reflect on the birth of our Savior. Oh, and lots of cookies and presents too!

Marianna's Ginger Crinkles {Christmas Cookies}

Sometimes God puts people in your path that change the course of your life.  When I was assigned as Marianna's student teacher in the Spring of 1995, I had no idea how her influence would impact my teaching career as well as my family life forever.  I was nervous. She was a formidable English teacher at the public high school and Department Head.  She was not easy on her students or student teachers.  Marianna had high expectations and something about her mix of kindness and perfectionism made me want to not only meet them but to exceed them.   We became close friends and what I learned in observation of her methods prepared me for my own classroom more than any college course I had ever taken.  When she was named Teacher of the Year for the entire state of North Dakota I was hardly surprised.  She was truly exceptional at her craft.  Another way in which Marianna changed my life was to introduce me to these cookies.  Her delightful husband, Reed,  often brought a

Soft Toffee Bars {Christmas Cookies}

There are a few regulars in my family's Christmas cookie tradition and this bar cookie goes back as far as I can remember.  One of my mom's personal favorites because she is allergic to nuts and prefers milk chocolate to dark, these toffee bars were a safe alternative to the many varieties of nut-laced toffees.  She made them crispy with a thin layer of chocolate on top.   Over the past years I have realized that my husband prefers soft and chewy cookies and so I began making the same dough but baking it in a smaller pan resulting in a thicker, softer bar. With the addition of more melted chocolate for frosting, my husband now proclaims these soft toffee bars his favorite. The best part about them is how easy they are to make.  Because they are quite rich they can be cut into small squares and therefore make many cookies in a short amount of time and effort.  I brought them to my first cookie swap last week and they were a hit.  People even comme

What's Cooking? :: 52 Photos Project Week 34

This week's prompt is to share what's cooking.  The truth is this photo is from a recipe I made a while back and shared here .  These are the cinnamon brioche rolls just before they go into the oven.  I haven't made them in a long time but will be doing so again for Christmas breakfast during our vacation. My middle son often requests them and I want to give him his treat for the holidays. What has actually been cooking lately in my kitchen are Christmas cookies.  I went to my first Christmas cookie exchange party last weekend and snapped this photo of the table of goodies which I shared via Instagram . There were dark chocolate snowflakes, pecan butter balls, linzer jam cookies, Oreo bon bons and more. I brought our family's classic soft toffee bars which I plan to post here to the blog sometime in the next week.  They are so easy and always a hit.  Keep an eye out! 52 Photos Project

Jamestown {PHFR}

The week of Thanksgiving I had the chance to go to Jamestown colony with my son's fourth grade class on a field trip.  It was a chilly gray day, adding to the history and sense of difficulty the early colonists experienced.  Throughout the settlement there are reconstructed buildings one can tour and even see people cooking over fires and musket ball guns being demonstrated.  Like my field trip to Williamsburg in the Spring, I think there is nothing better than doing a bit of time travel in such beautiful natural settings.  PRETTY HAPPY FUNNY REAL Pretty Happy Funny Real

Morning~Evening :: 52 Photos Project

                                    MORNING                                                                    EVENING             steaming espresso                                                          smooth red wine Christmas mug                                                               delicate glass sunlight                                                                         candlelight  plans                                                                                 dreams         prayer                                                                              prayer 52 Photos Project Join us!

Seeking Christ in Christmas

The windows are thrown open today to welcome in what we called "Indian Summer" back where I grew up in North Dakota.  The difference is that it is December 4th here and days this warm in North Dakota occurred in October!   There could be no better relief for me right now than this chance to hear the bird song through the screen while I reflect a bit today.  Things of late have felt heavy.  Ever since I attended Christ Renews His Parish Retreat in October and received the call that my neighbor would no longer be treating her spreading cancer and had only weeks to live, I have felt completely weighed down.  Thanksgiving was special with my mother and father in law flying in for a week long visit.  Even my dear neighbor and her husband were able to stop by for a few hours of conversation.  All I could think is how good she looked, how no one would know that inside she had no immunity, no strength, no remission.  Days later she spent the week in the hospital and