Happiness for the Holidays

Wreath

This December, I’m really working on two things: mindfulness and stress reduction. This follows on the heels of a Whole30 we did in October, which increases awareness of how everything you eat makes you feel physically, and a recent flare-up in my chest that has impacted my breathing and at times hasn’t been all that fun. So, for me, mindfulness and stress reduction has meant the following: Mindfulness: Paying attention and maintaining awareness of how everything I ingest — food, media, conversations, emotions — makes me feel and adjusting my mindset and/or actions accordingly. Stress reduction: Taking steps to slow down, breathe more deeply, and take more time to digest everything without feeling rushed, pressured, anxious, or otherwise overwhelmed. So it was a great pleasure to watch the latest Powerfullyou video posted on Facebook a week or so ago. Patrice, as usual, has an uncanny way of hitting the mark … Continue reading…

Celebrate the Season

Maple Bar Sugar Cookies

I have recently been called a “party pooper” because, when asked in early November, When should I start playing the 100+ hours’ worth of Christmas music I’ve got on my iPod? I flippantly remarked that December 23rd seemed like a good day. Truth be told, I don’t really care when people begin and end their celebration of any holiday. Feel like Christmas in November? Go for it. Fireworks and hot dogs to kick it all off? Sure. I am not, my friends, the Holiday Police. Personally, though, I do like my holidays undiluted, so you won’t hear me singing seriously about roasting chestnuts on an open fire in September and you won’t see my Christmas tree up in any months of the year not beginning with the letter D. You can credit (or blame) my parents for this. In my day, back before all these young whippersnappers took over, Christmas … Continue reading…

Project 52.51 – The Horses of Christmas Past

With Christmas just two days away, I can’t help but think of Christmases past and some of the most memorable gifts received on those blessed days. There was a massive Webster’s dictionary, the “I want chocolate and I want it NOW!” mug, and a Kindle Fire – all of which I not only still have but which I use regularly, if not daily. And there were these: I have forgotten how young I was, probably seven or eight, but I’ll never forget the Christmas when my brother, sister, and I were gathered around the family tree and my brother was passing out the gifts. He scooted a mountain toward me. My eyes must’ve looked like glistening blue saucers. A whole pile of presents, for me?! It turned out, the presents were for everyone, but they were hiding something special underneath for me: a red and silver handmade, three-stalled stable that … Continue reading…

Project 52.42 – Better Homes & Gardens

BHG New Cook Book 1965

Gingersnaps. It all started with gingersnaps. In a happy confluence of opportunity and means, I had a craving, the ingredients, and the time to make them. I haven’t made them in years, so I reached for my go-to manual, my cooking bible, the holiest of holies. I reached for my Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book. To be clear, I have three BHG New Cook Books. I have a fascination with them, in fact, and would read them like coffee table books if Mike would just let me leave them lying around. However, when it comes to cooking and baking for the love of food, there is just one: the worn and beaten edition that rises above the others, the one that was written when food was given sacred time and forethought instead of being eaten as a passing afterthought. There is my 1965 6th printing of the classic 1953 edition, given … Continue reading…