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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Snow Here!

It's exciting, because we hardly ever get snow. Here in the Willamette Valley snow is rarely seen. The climate is usually just too mild. But every once in a while, we wake up to discover snow on the ground! It's only a half inch, but it makes everything so beautifully white. While it is mostly raining now, off and on we get big fat snowflakes coming down. School openings are delayed. Drivers are being extra cautious, because many have little experience driving in these conditions, and the town does not have much equipment to deal with the snow. It's early, but soon I'm sure I'll see neighbors out and about walking in the snow, maybe a few of the younger children will build snowmen. It is so nice to have this reminder of the beauty in the world.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Top Ten Reasons Why I Write

 ...and why you should too, if you've ever "thought about writing some day."

10. I have stories to tell.
  9. My head is so full of ideas, characters, etc., that they'll leak out of my ears if I don't write them down.
  8. If I don't write, I'll kick myself in the morning.
  7. It's a wonderful escape from politics!
  6. Having written feels good.
  5. It's a simple and easy way to work out all kinds of issues.
  4. Writing is way more fun than housework.
  3. I know how to write!
  2. My books will (I hope) still be around even after I no longer am!

And the #1 reason is:
  1. People actually read what I write and sometimes even let me know they enjoyed it/learned something/laughed/cried/had fun.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Holiday Cookie Memories

Cookies are one of my favorite things about the holidays, and they bring back so many memories...

My grandmother used to bake several kinds of cookies for Christmas (along with several kinds of candy!), and I loved to help her make them, eagerly awaiting the first batch. Candy-cane cookies were my favorite, but I also liked Pinwheel cookies (vanilla and chocolate rolled together, sliced and baked). Dream bars were also delicious as were sugar cookies, lemon bars, etc. My grandmother made plenty for the family, and also made batches that she gave to the neighbors on plates that she made from old Christmas cards.

I have special memories of making cookies with my mother too, though the funny thing is the two that stand out were both "disasters."

One year we made cookies where we had to press the dough into the cookie cutters so that when we slammed them down on the board they came out with 3-demonsional shapes of Santas, sleighs, stockings filled with presents, etc. We decorated them carefully with all the sprinkles, chocolate bits, etc. They looked so pretty when we took them out of the oven--and they tasted so bad! I think now that it was probably a recipe for cookies made to hang on the tree, but we didn't know that at the time. :O

Another year we made some chocolate cookies. They were totally delicious! Crispy, yet melt-in-your mouth and just so, so tasty. The disaster part of these cookies? The next year when we decided to make them again we couldn't find the recipe! We looked everywhere, but never, ever found it!

I made cookies with my daughter when she was growing up, using some of the recipes my grandmother used. Now that my daughter is grown, I make only the Candy-cane cookies, my favorite. Every time I do, I think of the Christmases when I baked with my grandmother, my mother and my daughter. And then I sit down and have a nice, warm cookie.  :)