Tag Archives: holidays

Mom Stuff & the Holidaze

So fun all this Christmasing and shopping, and wrapping…and still having laundry to fold. Sigh. The nerve. My kids are on chore duty for sure this last week of work and school, as I ramp up to crazy-town, with all the shopping, baking, cleaning, putting stuff away… but this is the good news. They are learning that with celebration comes the preparation. The ready-making.  The tidying up. And then finally the cleaning up. It is all good for them. Good for all of us, though if you are listening, dear Santa, I wish I had bigger closets to shove things into!

I actually love every living bit of this, as I know we all do, and we all feel the crazy. My ceiling is intact this year [you can read about that in this older post], and my kids (knock wood) don’t have any major germs or bugs that will infest us…yet. So bring on the fun, my friends! The visits, the wine, the music, the laughter, the fun food, and presents to share! Bring it on, my lovely family, as I am so ready to celebrate and share some quality time with you all!

Here’s what I have been up to all weekend:


Gingerbread Cut-Outs

Hello Dolly’s

Cherry Bonbons (from Averie Cooks)

Sugar Roll-ups (from Salt Tree)


Absolutely nothing. Who has time to read?! Are you kidding me?! But I do have my 2016 Book Riot Challenge sort of finished! The only book I didn’t read was a non-fiction book about science, unless you consider “library science,” which is not even close to a science. It’s more a theory and practical trade. Anyhoo…I read a lot of weird stuff this year because of this challenge (italics are the category it fit into on the list):

  • Amityville Horror was the horror book that I chose that also was a book first published in the decade I was born. It’s about poltergeists and exorcism started a crazy fun conversation with my in-laws about a story they just read in Vanity Fair about a priest who solely does exorcisms. Different point of view of life entirely. Super interesting
  • Relish, by Lucy Knisley as a food memoir, but also is a graphic novel was so nice to read as though I was 10 again. Comic book style memoir is sort of interesting as a concept, but I liked reading it quickly but in chunks.

  • Wild Seed
    , by Octavia Butler is a classic, and also the first book in a series by a person of color, and science fiction, with gender-identity issues. So weird, but in an unexpectedly good way.
  • Zealot, by Reza Azlan was so interesting, like in the way, college was interesting. It opened up a scholarly point of view on the Bible and Jesus as a man, not as a Christ. I learned a ton. He is a very  interesting author, and I was very happy to have picked this one up. It fit into a book about religion. Duh. Of course it did.

Those aren’t super weird, but I like the Book Riot Challenge, because it’s like choosing books that you wouldn’t choose for yourself. Sometimes those are the best…what you need isn’t always what you choose. And then, some things I read off list have been awesome too, so I like to follow a list and then also just read to read, so it doesn’t feel like a job! (said the librarian-me!)

The new Book Riot, Read Harder 2017 Challenge is up…and it is weird too! I love it. I am definitely going to be reading outside of my comfort zone this year- as long as I am reading!


New England Patriots by theglobalpanorama, on Flickr
"New England Patriots" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by theglobalpanorama

The Patriots/Broncos…but really just eating dinner and folding laundry, WHILE watching the game… I am queen this week, of this well known, crazy-making-mom-phenomenon, some call multi-tasking…like that makes it okay. It’s not. I should just sit down.

The new season of Ray Donovan. I binge watch, so I am doing this one first. Then the Affair, then Billions, then…

And as I type, my husband is reminding me to get teacher gifts this week….gift cards my friends. Never candles or mugs. Just saying. That’s what my teacher friends tell me- “Get gift cards.” So I listen. No more playtime, mom has to get crackin’!

Have a great and wonderful Monday, and stay crazy. But calm. xo

Carving Twin Pumpkins & Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin carving

I love holidays, and Halloween is one that has slowly grown on me over the years.  I have never been one to dress up for the holiday…It freaks me out to see people with gory or graphic masks, sexy outfits, that they otherwise wouldn’t be caught outside in, and paying lots of money for an outfit you wear once. Once.

Now that I have kids though, Halloween has so many other great aspects to it, and seeing my kids love to dress up and trick-or-treat is just fun! I love to decorate the house a little, with pumpkins, paper bats, and spiders that they all made in school. The mums, are a welcome flower, when everything else is shriveling in the cold weather.fall flowers

We have a nice tradition of carving pumpkins, and also roasting the raw pumpkins seeds. This is the most normal aspect of the holiday to me: preparing the food and decorations. But the funniest part about this “kid” tradition…I always carve the pumpkins. The kids direct me to cut along the lines they’ve drawn, telling me, to “carve more” or “that’s wrong!” all the way through the process!Pumpkin carving Can you see the lines?! They were very strict this year!

And, just like that, these little lovelies are carved. Not quite Pinterest loving, but loving to me! And similarly, as soon as they reached in to get the seeds…mom took over. My guys are not crazy about the pumpkin-goo. It is too “es-gusting.” Oh well!

To make pumpkins seeds, which they DID want to do, we had to rinse the seeds first, under water and picking out the slimy bits:

Pumpkin carving

Put them in a bowl, add 1 tablespoon of oil, and mix until they are all covered with a little oil. Lay them out on a sprayed, rimmed sheet pan:

Pumpkin carving seeds

Salt generously.

Bake in a 400* (F) oven, and roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring mid-way. They should be a toasty-brown:

Pumpkin carving seeds

Cool in the pan. Taste and salt again if needed.

Pumpkin carving seeds

These are delicious. So much so, that they are gone. I am not sure that I can face carving more pumpkins, just to get the seeds! I guess, it’s good that I know Halloween will come again next year. And now I have that to look forward to…

Pumpkin carving seeds

What traditions do you have for Halloween?

Have you ever made roasted pumpkin-seeds? Let me know in the comments!

I am linked up today with Full Plate Thursday, What’s Cooking Love, Thursday Favorite Things.

Gift Giving Websites

So I recently mailed out some late Christmas gifts…ummm, two months late, but no less heart-felt, right?!  So I had the occasion to peruse my list of gift sites for some wonderful finds.  Further, with the impending Valentine’s Day this Friday, I thought it was a good idea to share some of my favorite Great Gift Websites for you to bookmark for later or use now:

Orange and Pear
For men and women, but mostly women, this site has jewelry, scarves, bags, and all sorts of unique gifts from very expensive, to very on sale.

Pine Cone Hill Outlet
Great prices on the regular stock of Pine Cone Hill, which includes ridiculously soft and beautiful fabrics for pajamas, bed linens, table clothes, rugs, and accessories.  Feminine.

Double Up Books
For Twins and Multiples, or their caregivers really. This site has great twin-books that are wonderful gifts for parents and grandparents to share with littles.

Third Day Naturals
Honestly I have never bought from them, but their stuff looks so pretty and natural and I can almost smell it through the computer screen. Stuff for moms, home, and baby.  On my list.

Beekman Boys
So these are the winners of the 2012 Amazing Race television show on CBS.  They are smart, stylish, and best of all live in Sharon Springs, a small little town in central NY and reviving it, which is a small business dream-design come true.  Love, love, love their gift selections, and the goat products are LUX!

Food site that sends gift bags by theme, or you can customize and pick item by item to suit your foodie-friends or family. Pretty, and different that your average food basket choices. And, the nice thing is you can go very small or large if you need to.