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EVERY POST SHOULD HAVE COOKIES & BOOKS
I just wrote down a list of every day between tomorrow and the day we leave for the States and nearly every day has something scheduled. I don't feel ready for the holidays at all. I've barely bought any presents and we still have to figure out when to celebrate with Anders' family...it will probably have to be beforehand, but it feels too early and I'm not ready! How will I find time to do Christmas cards and a Christmas letter and presents and then we have to pack! Eek!

Everything is zooming along, every day zooms from start to finish, especially mornings that start off like this one did, with my alarm not going off and me shooting out of bed after cracking my eyelids open to see that it was 15 minutes past the time I needed to be in the shower already. Work is still crazy and I have had so much to do this week that I actually had to tell 2 people no. No, I couldn't help them. No, I didn't have time, and they were going to have to figure it out themselves or live with their stuff as it was. Not a good feeling, but had to be done, since both of them came with their requests at the last minute. Even with a team of people, it feels like we can't always keep up.

Our Thanksgiving dinner last weekend was lovely, full of laughs and hugs and funny conversations. We had so much fun that I never managed to get a camera out at ALL. Posterity FAIL. And right after that I had to bake 54 cookies for the AWC holiday cookie exchange. I was actually quite happy about that because there were TWENTY people signed up, and we bake 6 cookies per person (not including ourselves) which would have meant baking 114 cookies (!) and dang that's a lot of baking. The most we've had to bake in the past was 96 and that was too much, too.

So, I emailed the group and said we'd split into 2 groups and made everyone choose which group they wanted: with or without nuts. I was in the no nuts group (girl cookies!), because I'm not a huge nut fan, but realized later people included almonds and there were sure some tasty sounding cookies in the nuts group. But I have the recipes so I can try them myself sometime if I get motivated. Anyway, I made up a cookie recipe and they turned out fabulous. My mom had sent me a couple of bottles of Peppermint Sugar and I made spritz/sugar cookie dough, rolled into balls and then dipped into powdered sugar icing and THEN dipped into the Peppermint Sugar. NOM NOM: De-lish. Here's the recipe, if you're interested. If you can't get Peppermint Sugar, crushed candy canes or peppermint candies will do just fine.

Iced Peppermint Sugar Cookies
  • 1.5 cups margarine or butter
  • 3.5 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract (optional)
  • crushed candy canes or Peppermint Sugar
Icing
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp water or milk
Preheat oven to 375F. Beat margarine with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add 1 cup of the flower, sugar, egg, baking powder, vanill and, if desired, almond extract. Beat until thoroughly combined. Beat in remaining flour. Roll into 1-inch balls, place on ungreased cookie sheet, flatten slightly. Bake for 8-10 minutes until edges are firm but not brown. Cool cookies on a wire rack. Dip tops into icing, then sprinkle with crushed candy canes or Peppermint Sugar. Makes about 60.

***

This week, I've read two fantastic books, very very different from each other, and I was extra pleased because they were serendipitious finds at the bookstore on Oxford street when I was in London. I have a mile-long booklist that I usually try to stick to pretty well, but these two just jumped off the shelves into my hands and they certainly didn't disappoint. The first one I read was The Vanishing Act, a first novel by a Danish author, Mette Jakobsen. It's an ethereal, nearly-plotless, magical story set on a tiny snow-bound island, narrated by a 10-year-old girl whose mother disappeared a year earlier. In the opening sentence of the book, she finds a dead boy in the snow on the rocky beach and her story of the present and the past is told over the 3 days of waiting for the delivery boat to come in to pick him up. Don't be put off, it's a wonderful book.

Then I read City of Thieves by David Benioff, which more than made up plot-wise by zooming off into the also snow-bound landscape of Leningrad (St. Petersburg) during the Nazi siege at the end of WWII. In the book, 2 young men, both imprisoned by the NKVD secret police for the separate crimes of looting and desertion, are ordered into the countryside, on pain of execution for failure, to find and bring back a dozen eggs within a week. In a city that has been under siege and starving for more than 2 years, food in general is scarce and literally worth more than its weight in gold. The book is fast-paced, cinematic, troubling, moving, funny, tragic and exhilarating. I highly recommend them both.

***

In other news, we managed to use up all our monthly Internet by yesterday and trying to do anything online at home is SO SLOW. *twitch*
 chipper
mood: chipper
music: Kina Grannis—In Your Arms


Comments

You mentioned using up your internet and I was kind of confused. You seem to still be online, are you just going through your phone? And how can you use it up? Do you have a plan of X# of MB per month or something? I know that's common with mobile data plans here but not home accounts. In any case, one more day to go!

I can be online but everything is just really really slow and times out. We have some sort of plan that Anders has increased twice but still we go over.

Are you in MI for Christmas??

Yes! Are you? Where will you be?

Sooo trying that recipe (I'm a sucker for anything peppermint)...

And I'm adding The Vanishing Act to my list Right. Now. because it sounds fabulous. Thanks for the rec!

Hope everything comes together splendidly for your holidays and travels -- and I have no doubts that it will, as you always seem to get more accomplished that humanly possible. ;-)

It's delicious! I've had rave reviews from the friends who got them in the cookie exchange, too.

And I just read ANOTHER good book: The Ghost's Child by Sonya Hartnett.

(Anonymous)

Oh Goody - just what I needed..A delicious recipe for Snickerdoodle Sunday!(The cookie exchange with my Buddhist Meditation group) May I recommend that you stop reading until you're on the plane - and get packing. I'm ready(NOT)for all of you! My to-do list is too long also!

Stop reading?? BLASPHEMY!

Thank you for book recommendations! :D

(Anonymous)
From Megsie

I haven't finished reading Cutting for Stone that I started in August. I haven't read it since August. I CAN'T WAIT until next week when I am DONE!

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