Little Touches of Christmas

presents4 Hand painted paper. . . with love notes.




presents1 A Tetrahedron. Take a wild guess who wrapped that present.


lettherebepeace1Chalkboard paint works on mirrors


nativity2 Nativity scene




christmaspie2 A Christmas tradition: Chocolate pie. Yum!




christmascandy1Christmas chocolates from our stockings. Which are actually felt mittens.


rosewatercoffee1 Rosewater Turkish Coffee  

Aunting is Awesome

“Aunting is Awesome”— a friend on twitter used that phrase, and I’m totally stealing it! 


Geo and I are getting ready for our Mother Son camping trip today. And after picking up a few camping supplies at Freddy’s we wandered into the toy aisle, which is conveniently located right next to the sporting goods department. Um, holy cow, baby toys have changed! I mean, baby cell phones? I don’t even have a cell phone! (Ok, in fairness, that’s me just being stubborn) After some deliberation (read: Playing with everyting we could!) we finally decided we had to buy this for his baby cousin. Because, you know, it makes noise. And is a camera. And so darn cute. 

IZ’s first response was, “Well, at least it has an off switch.” Yeah, I don’t think he’s getting this concept. He’s still thinking like a dad. Noisy toys are bad. Noisy toys are a nuisances. Noisy toys take batteries, which eventually die and must be replaced, typically while a small child is screaming his fool head off.  That’s all true when it’s your kid and your menagerie of talking toys. It’s delightfully not so when the child belongs to someone else. Embrace the noise, IZ. Besides, Aunts and Uncles and Cousins are supposed to send noisy toys. It’s in the rules.

Don’t be a rule breaker, IZ. 

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Hands down the best chocolate frosting we’ve ever had!


It’s IZ’s birthday.(Happy Birthday, IZ!! And now that we’re the same again again, would you please stop telling people that I robbed the cradle?). Since it is his birthday, I spent the day baking his favorite cake. The frosting is out of this world good. Rich, decadent, addictive. Totally not on the diet plan. But you know, you only turn 42 once, at least officially.

 Heather asked on twitter if I’d put up the recipe so here it is.

I hope y’all have an amazing weekend! I will, amongst other things, be working off cake! Happy Friday! 

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Orange Yogurt Pancakes

Orange Yogurt Pancakes. . . 


Did you have a fabulous 4th of July? We certainly enjoyed ourselves. In fact, I’m not sure we did much beyond “enjoy” ourselves. Which is “Larsen” for eating.  The weather was perfect, though as predicted, it’s much warmer today. Summer has finally arrived. And we spent the day lounging around the house, taking a few walks, and enjoying a rare down day.

I will spare you all the photos of food. (though, I might sneak in a picture of the much talked about cherry pie, because it was so pretty!) But I did manage to remember to photograph the pancakes. I’ve been meaning to share this recipe for ages. But these orange pancakes are so good, they just don’t last long enough for me to get around to photographing. 

I should say upfront, that these pancakes are a minor miracle in my opinion. I’m no fan of the beloved pancake! You would think, otherwise, since the very name involves cake. 

I loved them as a child. However, years of eating frozen bisquick mix pancakes with fake maple syrup on a semi-daily basis convinced me that if I want something to dunk into syrup, it’s not a pancake. I still shudder at the smell of bisquick mix. 

Yes, I know, those aren’t real pancakes. But it’s not just the mix. It’s also the way most pancakes seem to absorb the syrup and then turn into an unmitigated mess of maple flavored mush. IZ has never understood my distaste nor my fascination with drowning my stack in half a bottle of syrup , but I’m equally mystified at the pure ardor for mush. I shouldn’t be, I’m southern; there’s no explaining grits. 

You probably don’t even want pancakes now, right? Sorry. Let me redeem myself.

These pancakes are outrageously good. The slight hint of orange flavor and tanginess of Greek yogurt cut the super sweetness that is maple syrup. And come on, you’re not really eating pancakes if you skip the maple syrup. It’s your choice to drown your stack or not, but these pancakes are up the deluge. No soggy mess. Ever.  Just tender, yummy, goodness. What pancakes should be. 

Just one tiny request. . . if you  make these amazing pancakes, use the real deal in the syrup department. They really are too good to be smothering with fake maple syrup!  (recipe modified from FreshTart Steph

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On This Week’s Agenda

Pie!  We’re traditionalists at heart.


It’s nearly the 4th of July, but unlike most years I’m not so frazzled. My traditional schedule of deep cleaning the house right before the arrival of guests over the holiday was put on hold this year. IZ’s sister isn’t feeling up to making the drive this holiday(it is a hike out to Astoria!) because she has to work the next day. So, while we will miss getting to visit, I’m not running around like a nutty person cleaning things that no-one will ever see.

Of course, that means I’m not running around like a crazy person cleaning. Um. That might be a problem. We’ve not reached code “pig-stye” yet, but we’re on the way if I don’t get to that long to-do list.  That’s the upside to incoming relatives: I get compulsive about cleaning the house. Otherwise, I find different things to occupy my time… the yard calls, I answer. The thrift store beckons, I succumb. The lounge chair and a good book and a cup of tea, and I have a case of cleaning amnesia. Cleaning? What’s that? 

However, while the deep cleaning frenzy will be happily over-looked by the men in this house, I’m not off the hook for baking pie. It’s just not the 4th of July without pie. IZ asked if I wanted to cheat this year, but it’s Cherry Pie. I’d prefer to cheat on hard things. Like laundry. Or painting. Or exercise! No, Cherry Pie is easy. So, in addition to breathing, I’m baking. You know, sometime between that book, the lounge chair, and a cup of tea. 

It’s all on a week’s agenda.