Sunday, December 23, 2012

Stumbling Upon The Spirit of Christmas on a Sunday Afternoon Walk

A candy cane wrapped in the
Spirit of Christmas
The holidays have us enjoying decadent foods laced with enough guilt to get us off our haunches to walk off a calorie or two. On the Sunday before Christmas, there are pretty decorations and lots of happy neighbors greeting each other with smiles, waves and, “Merry Christmas!” If the neighborhood was like that all year long, everyone would be out walking every day and we’d all be quite healthy.

As Hubby and I hiked up and down the hills of our neighborhood, waving and smiling, we felt exhilarated by the feelings of good cheer and cool winter air. We were enjoying each other’s company while we burned the calories of pancakes topped with leftover Brie, honey and berries. We were glad the indulgent meal had us out and about enjoying the afternoon, oblivious to the fact that someone was about to deeply touch our hearts.

Most folks that went by in their cars simply waved and smiled without slowing down. But one lady not only slowed down, she stopped. Her window was rolled down. She offered us a candy cane—in memory of her father.

She held a beautiful antique bucket filled with little candy canes. She went on to explain that every year on the Sunday before Christmas, her now-deceased father used to fill up the bucket with candy canes and give them out to all the children at church. The bucket will soon be donated to the Ramseur museum. But before she could donate the bucket, she explained she needed to fill it with candy canes one more time and give them out to honor the memory of her father.

When she drove away, Hubby took out two handkerchiefs. He gave one to me and used one for his own damp eyes. To say we were choked up would be an understatement. We were deeply touched and humbled to happen upon such a beautiful tradition and a daughter’s bittersweet remembrance of her father.

Weeks of people pushing and shoving, honking and being generally rude in the name of holiday preparations tends to squelch the Spirit of Christmas. But for Hubby and me, receiving one small candy cane revived that Spirit, warmed our hearts and filled us with joy.

As we each took a candy cane, we were reminded of the true meaning of Christmas, of being neighborly and of life. The things we get for Christmas are just not important. What we do for others during Christmas and all year long is what really matters.

Merry Christmas and may the true Spirit of the holidays brighten your New Year.



Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, writer, and content strategist is the author of Thurston T. Turtle books. 

Connect with Micki on Google+
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WINE WHINERS

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

No-Name Pumpkin Deliciousness...HELP!

While helping out at a fundraiser this week, I was asked to bake a dessert. The coordinator handed me a recipe and told where to find all the ingredients. After reading through the recipe, I decided to snap a picture of it with my phone so I could replicate it at home, as it sounded amazingly delicious. It was also relatively easy.

A pan of pumpkin deliciousness.
After five hours cooking, cleaning and otherwise helping out, I left to pick up my son. We then headed to the store, where I picked up what I’d need to make the dessert. I thought it would go well with the stew I’d brought home from the fundraiser. When we returned home, I unpacked our groceries and pulled out my phone. I looked for the picture of the recipe, but it was gone.

This was not the first time my smartphone had eaten one of my pictures. I took a picture of the amazing cheesecake I made for my mom’s birthday last week, but when I uploaded all the images from the birthday lunch, the cheesecake photo was the only one that had disappeared. In place of each missing picture in my media folder was a placeholder icon. The icon looks like a gray box with a drawing of a Polaroid snapshot of mountains next to a sketch of a piece of film. It’s as if my phone was saying, “Here’s where that picture you wanted would have been located had I not eaten it.”

What is the name of this
amazingly yummy dessert?

Considering the two pictures it ate were dessert related, I’m thinking my smartphone has a bit of a sweet tooth. Once I realized I no longer possessed the recipe, I panicked. I began rushing around from room to room looking for paper and a pen. When I finally found my writing utensils, I started scribbling everything I could remember about the recipe. The only thing I was unsure about was the name. So, if this sounds familiar, please share the name of this delicious, calorie-laden, melt-in-your-mouth, scrumptiousness of a dessert.

I mixed one can of pure pumpkin—the small can, not the big one—with one can of condensed milk, three eggs, one and a half cups of sugar, half of a teaspoon of salt and three teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice. Once that was mixed together, I poured it in a greased lasagna pan. Then I sprinkled a box of yellow cake mix evenly on top of the pumpkin mixture. On top of that I sprinkled a little over a cup of chopped pecans. Then I drizzled two melted sticks of butter over everything. I carefully placed the lasagna pan into my oven, which was preheated to 350 degrees. I let it bake for 40 minutes. Then I let it sit and cool just a bit, so as to not burn the roof of my mouth.


My kitchen smelled like an autumn bakery. And it wasn’t all that difficult. I made it after a day of cooking, cleaning and running errands. But I’m at a loss. I have no name for this great tasting dessert. Please, someone must know what it’s called. If you are that someone, I’d be thrilled and honored if you could share it.

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, writer, and content strategist is the author of Thurston T. Turtle books. 

Connect with Micki on Google+
Like Thurston T. Turtle on Facebook
Visit Micki’s website: http://www.inspiredscribe.com
Follow Micki on Twitter: @TurtleAuthor

YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY READING:
WINE WHINERS

Monday, December 3, 2012

SAHM I Am


Throwing Ma a luncheon was the perfect activity
for my first SAHM day, considering she was one of
the best SAHMs ever. She taught me well.  
Today is my first official SAHM day. My intent was to make a homemade breakfast for my son. He loves pancakes, so my intention was to whip some up as soon as the coffee brewed. But when I went to the fridge to get eggs and milk, I remembered I used the last of the eggs for my mom’s birthday luncheon dessert. When I cracked that last egg, I thought to myself, “No problem. I can simply go grocery shopping Monday afternoon.” So rather than pick up eggs and other groceries over the weekend as I’ve done for decades, I waited. We also had to give my son lunch money, because we were also out of bread and other bag lunch necessities.

Mom’s luncheon was also planned for my first official SAHM day. Prep work was done throughout the weekend, including baking the cheesecake, which required the last of the eggs. I spent my first official SAHM day cooking. Thankfully, Hubby was scheduled to go to work at noon. He graciously took on the cleaning and errand running. He had to run by the store because in addition to eggs and bread, we were also out of mozzarella cheese. My chicken parmesan just isn’t the same without the cheese.

After lunch, I had just enough time to run another load through the dishwasher and grab a shower before heading out to pick up my son. Since he needed practice driving, we swung by the grocery store on our way back.

It’s actually great being at home. I’m home because a recent event in my son’s life illuminated a crossroads in my life. Walking home from school one day, he was mugged. It was 4 p.m. He was less than a block from our home. He called me after it happened. But it was 4:10, the time he usually calls after school. I was in a meeting. I didn’t take the call. I waited until the meeting was over and then I called him back. Upon hearing what had happened, my emotional bottom dropped out. The working-mom balance I’d negotiated for twenty years went askew. My priorities changed. Everything changed.

We have a child in high school and two in college. My mom lives with us. There is much I need to do at home. But I was still working. For years I had to work. But driving to the office the morning after the mugging, I called my husband and choked out through tears, “I can’t do this anymore.”

We talked. We crunched numbers. We made changes. Then I submitted a two-month notice. Now, I’m home. That horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that has been plaguing me since the mugging has finally subsided. I’m a SAHM for the first time in my life and I believe it’s going to be the best job I’ve ever had—once I get the hang of it. I may be reaching out for help. 



Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, writer, and content strategist is the author of Thurston T. Turtle books. 

Connect with Micki on Google+
Like Thurston T. Turtle on Facebook
Visit Micki’s website: http://www.inspiredscribe.com
Follow Micki on Twitter: @TurtleAuthor

YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY READING:
WINE WHINERS