Be Jolly By Golly Blogfest!

A big thanks to Jen and Melissa for hosting this wonderful blogfest. Can't wait to visit all the other blogs involved and add some great ideas to my holiday lineup. Hope you enjoy...

When the kids were born, we switched from an artificial tree to a real one. It's always a Douglas fir and always needs trimming to fit into the living room.

The ornaments are a mix of family heirlooms and ones given to me over the years.

The popcorn strings are new this year. The kids thought making them sounded like fun and it was until they realized how long it took, which is why we only ended up with three.

It wouldn't be Christmas at our house without my mom's Persimmon Pudding.

2 cups persimmon pulp
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups buttermilk with
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 stick butter
1 1/4 cups evaporated milk
9" x 13" baking dish

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
Melt 1/2 stick butter in the baking dish in the oven.
Mix sugar and persimmon pulp together, add beaten eggs and stir well.
Add soda to buttermilk and stir until foaming stops, then add to persimmon mixture and mix well.
Add sifted dry ingredients and beat well.
Add cream and pour butter out of 9 x 13 pan into the batter, leaving just enough butter in the pan to grease.
Beat mixture well to remove all lumps.
Bake at 300 degrees for one hour.

My favorite drink to make this time of year is Crockpot Wassail. It's easy, and after it simmers throughout the day, your house will smell heavenly.

2 quarts apple cider
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup honey
3 sticks cinnamon
2 whole cloves
1 whole orange, cut in rings
brandy or rum, optional

Put all of the ingredients into the crockpot (except the alcohol). Wash your orange well and slice into rings. Float the rings on top of the juice.

Cook on high for two hours, or on low for four. You want the juice hot and the flavors of the cloves and cinnamon to permeate.

Ladle into mugs. If you want to add alcohol, put a shot into each mug, then top with the hot wassail.

Delicious and soothing. This is great for a cough or sore throat, so when you're on your third glass, you can tell everyone it's for medicinal purposes.

Thanks so much for taking the time to share some of our Christmas traditions. Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays.

Christmas Traditions

Every year, the kids and I venture out into the cold for our Family Fun Day. This usually takes place the week before Christmas after the shopping is done and the cookies are made. We always go out to eat, take in a movie and then head over to one of the mega-malls in our neighboring state of Kentucky to people watch (meaning laugh at those last minute shoppers who are running around desperate to fine the thing their spouse, child, parent asked for six months ago which is now sold out everywhere. Hey, don't judge.).

Any other year, I would know exactly what movie we were going to see, when it starts and where I'm going to park. But this year has been different, for various reasons, and I haven't kept up with the movies that are out or soon will be. So I need your help.

Bear in mind my kids are ten and thirteen so R rated movies are to be avoided, although I'm dying to see Love And Other Drugs. I've narrowed it down to three choices:
So if you've seen any of these movies, let me know what you thought. If you haven't, let me know which one you want to see. And if I've left something off of the list that you highly recommend, please tell me about it.

In other news,
Soon to be single! *drool*

10 Ways To Know You Might Be A Writer

First, let me say I'm not a fan of Jeff Foxworthy. I don't know why, he just bugs me. But this popped into my head today and I've learned to write it down when that happens because you never know, ya know?

10. If you constantly tell your kids to "show not tell" when they begin to relay their daily adventures...you might be a writer.

9. If you're often seen mumbling to yourself or beating your head against the desk while staring at a stark white Word document...you might be a writer.

8. If you correct the grammatical errors in your supervisor's email and send it back to her as a critique...you might be a writer.

7. If your trip to the bookstore has at any time lasted more than five hours or involved squeeing or crying...you might be a writer.

6. If you stare into space trying to think of a word to describe that tree branch up there while the person you are with attempts to carry on a conversation...you might be a writer.

5. If you secretly hope your blind date goes horribly wrong so you'll be able to submit it as a flash fiction piece to that humorous magazine you found last week on Duotrope...you might be a writer.

4. If you cut the fingertips off all of your winter gloves...you might be a writer.

3. If you spit on your friend's copy of Snooki's new novel, not only because trees were harmed unnecessarily in the making of it, but because your first attempt at a romance novel, which now sits covered with dust bunnies under your bed, is better...you might be a writer.

2. If you've dated a librarian, not because you particularly like him, but because you see him more than anyone else...you might be a writer.

And the number one sign that you might be a writer...

1. You immediately look for U,E,R and Y when you discover you've drawn a Q during your family scrabble game.

I may or may not have done one or all of the things on this list. As my daughter used to say, "I'm not telling and you can't make me."

Until next time...

Wednesday Bits And Bobbles

I've declared Wednesdays my days for making sure you are aware of awesome contests going on around the blogosphere and being silly.

We all get spam every day (not that nasty stuff in the can that my mother used to fry and tell me was ham) and some of them are too entertaining not to share. So straight from the junk folder, I picked out three really nice ones this week. I hope you find them as enjoyable as I did.

Did My New Guy Give Me An STD?
OK, I know it's a serious subject, and one of the reasons I haven't gotten back into the dating scene since the divorce was final, but what bit of wisdom could you glean by reading this except that maybe it's time to see your doctor.

How To Help A Hoarder
I had to peek at this one. First sentence, Do you know someone who blames a messy home on being too busy? Well great. I'm a hoarder and so are all of my friends. How about you?

 This one was my favorite, because, as my daughter says, it's so "random". It's from someone that calls himself Burger and is simply titled, poiskovoe-prodvijenie-saytaooostrekoza. To which I say, gesundheit.

And now to the contests...

The Badass Bookie is having a Debutante Ball on her blog for twelve debut authors with books having birthdays in 2011. This is the best part - she's giving away the books! You don't want to miss it and you can enter through December 31st.

The League Of Extraordinary Writers is also having a wonderful contest where they are giving away all five of their books (XVI, Across The Universe, Memento Nora, Possession, The Eleventh Plague) plus swag, but you must enter before the 19th because they're announcing the winner on December 20th.

Until next time...

Writing For Yourself

I watched an interview this weekend with Steve Martin about his latest book, An Object Of Beauty, where he said,
No matter how many people say it - 'Oh, I'm just writing this for myself', 'Oh, I'm just doing this for myself' - nobody's doing it for themselves. You're doing it for an audience. So whether I'm performing or writing a book or playing music, it's definitely to be put out there and to be received in some way.

When I heard it I scoffed. After all, I know people who are just writing because they love to do it. It's a hobby, and they will live happy lives even if they never find an agent or publish one word. I thought I was one of them.

Let's face it, we all know the odds are as high as our wobbling stack of to-be-reads that we'll ever get our novel on the shelves - astronomical, in fact. So surely most of us are doing it for the pure joy, right? WRONG.

Writing has always been a way to share feelings and memories; the key word here being share. Whether it's fiction or non-fiction, a short story, a novel or a recipe, even if you only plan on your friends and family reading it, it's still written for someone else.

This blog has become a place to share my dreams, my little accomplishments and my many setbacks with people who are like me and "get" it. For that reason I am eternally grateful to all of my followers and the wonderful writer/bloggers out there that I've been able to connect with. But now I realize the true reason I started this blog was to share all of those things with my kids. No matter how close you are with your children, you can't have full disclosure for a lot of different reasons. And right now, they don't want to hear me blabbering on about my life when they're busy with their own. But I'm betting someday they'll be ready to share.

Do you know anyone who writes purely for themselves? Can you think of any circumstances where you wouldn't want to eventually share your writing with even one person?
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