Aunt Norma

My Aunt Norma died last week. She was my Dad’s youngest sister and the last living sibling at 92. Norma brought out the best in people. One of my cousins remarked on this. It was definitely true regarding my father, her big brother, who could be crabby, gruff, silent…you name it. Norma managed to smooth out those emotional wrinkles and made many a Christmas day and time spent at the cabin in the Adirondacks a sheer joy.

Today I took a shot at baking a German Chocolate Cake, one of Norma’s signature desserts; it looks a little odd but it tastes pretty good. Not as good as Norma’s but I wanted to remember and feel close.

 

Asheville, North Carolina

An amazing Thanksgiving is a memory and we soldier on… My nephew (via LA), his mom (who drove from Oak Ridge, TN) and my partner and I met in Asheville, NC for the long holiday weekend. Photos first…stories later :). Christine

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The Kazoo Band, Christmas Eve
The Kazoo Band, Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is the time when everyone gathers at Grandma’s house.

My partner and I are the instigators of the annual ‘gag gift’- this year, funny glasses and kazoos. I thought this grouping of nieces looked especially ‘cool’!

Two Cents Tuesday! SWEET!

I love this challenge! Dashed off to grab the camera and do some “food styling”. I recently caught some grief from friends for cutting baked chocolate chip cookie dough in to holiday shapes. “Those aren’t Christmas cookies!” was the chorus of voices.

Hey, wait a minute, we LOVE chocolate chip cookies :)! tct-header

Chocolate chips

Second Hand Shopping and Santa’s Feline Helpers…

A few blog posts back I mentioned Practical Goods and Sophie Joe’s Emporium in St. Paul, MN. Our household is shopping local and vintage this year and today I stopped by Sophie Joe’s. I discovered a treasure trove of cool stuff.

My list:

1. 8 picture frames so the Esther-ettes swim group (also blogged about!) would each have a photo in a cool frame. Check!

2. Hostess gift(s). Check!

3. A few ornaments: a bag of 3 handmade sheep for a dollar. Check!

4. Two lovely scarves. Wow!

Oh and must mention, the cats “helped” organize…

 

Holidaze

Happily, there are alternatives to shopping malls and ‘big box’ retail experiences in the Twin Cities. I have blogged about one such place, Practical GoodsToday I dropped by Sophie Joe’s Emporium. SJE is chock full of vintage and designer clothing, jewelry, art, dishware, ornaments, toys, tchotchkes…well, you get the idea. I found some lovely frames that will work well for photographs-

Window DressingFragileHolidaze

While checking out, I met a young man browsing with his mom. He turned out to be Connor Barth, the 13 year old actor touring with the national road company of Elf the Musical. Connor plays Michael, Elf’s human brother. According to his bio, Connor has “been singing and dancing his whole life and performing in front of audiences for 3 years.” Regionally he has performed in Teddy & Alice in the role of Roosevelt’s son, Archie. We had a brief chat and I learned he is having fun with the tour experience. 🙂

Connor
Connor

Lovely afternoon!

Stina