Exciting news on my Purple Elephant project -- I've approved sketches of the illustrations and am eagerly awaiting the color versions! In the next few weeks, I hope to share a preview. Stay tuned...
In anticipation of publishing my book, I'm also making a small change in my blog. For the sake of privacy, I've changed the blog name of my son to "Munchkin." It was either that, or publish my book under a pen name. Maybe I'll do both, but in any case, you'll now be reading "cute Munchkin stories." It's the same little boy and he still loves those tools. :) I'd ask that those of you who know his previous blog name please don't use the old name in your comments.
When I began this blog, I never dreamed that anybody except a few friends and family members would read it. Now, I get almost 500 hits every month, and growing. The average self-published book sells 150 copies, mostly to the author and friends of the author. Maybe that will be my luck, too, but this morning I learned that a friend of mine sold 60,000 copies of his most recent book! I have no idea how he did it, but believe me I intend to ask! I'd be thrilled with 10% of those sales numbers! Anyway, I have no idea how popular (or obscure) my book will be and what numbers of readers it will attract to my personal blog, so I decided to do what I should have done from the beginning and give my son a layer of anonymity.
It's been a royal pain to have to go back and edit about 300 posts since Blogger doesn't have a "search and replace" function (does it?). I also had to delete comments that mentioned Munchkin's name and I'm very sorry about that since I had to get rid of some really good ones by some of my best blogging buddies! As time consuming as it was to go back and read everything, it was really wonderful to reread all the comments. I'm so grateful to all of you who leave me comments as it makes blogging so much more fun. So please keep reading, and keep those comments coming! I appreciate them all!
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Better late than never, I finally have a contribution to Abbie's recipe exchange. I'm afraid that the old family favorites I was going to post about didn't get made this year. Might be because I had so much on my to-do list...
Anyway, I did make my grandma's candied walnuts. I saved enough to give away, although this picture is all I have left. :) I'm posting her original recipe, with my comments in italics.
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
5 Tbsp water
2-3 cups walnuts They taste better if you use local nuts and shell them yourself. :)
Cook sugar, cinnamon and water slowly until dissolved then boil until syrup threads. (I use a candy thermometer and cook until 236-240 degrees.) Remove from fire. (I just take them off the stove.) Add vanilla and nuts and stir until nuts begin to sugar. (They still taste fine if you goof and put the vanilla in at the beginning.) Pour on buttered sheet to cool. (Separate quickly with a fork or they will all stick together.)
I followed Joyce's post to Arduous's blog for this little meme. It's a good one. You bold the things you've done and italicize the things you'd really like to, but haven't, yet. I'm amazed at how much of what I'd like to do on this list I've already done! If anyone wants to pick it up and use it on your own blog, please do!
1. Started my own blog - obviously! 2. Slept under the stars 3. Played in a band 4. Visited Hawaii 5. Watched a meteor shower 6. Given more than I can afford to charity - one year in college I gave more than I made. Obviously, it was my parents who were paying for my expenses. 7. Been to Disneyland/world 8. Climbed a mountain 9. Held a praying mantis 10. Sung a solo 11. Bungee jumped 12. Visited Paris 13. Watched lightning at sea 14. Taught myself an art from scratch 15. Adopted a child 16. Had food poisoning - worst night of my life! The next day wasn't much better. 17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty - back in 1977 when it was still open! 18. Grown my own vegetables 19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France 20. Slept on an overnight train 21. Had a pillow fight 22. Hitchhiked 23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill 24. Built a snow fort - Can't remember, so I'll say no 25. Held a lamb 26. Gone skinny dipping 27. Run a Marathon 28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice 29. Seen a total eclipse 30. Watched a sunrise or sunset 31. Hit a home run - yeah, right! 32. Been on a cruise 33. Seen Niagara Falls in person 34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors 35. Seen an Amish community 36. Taught myself a new language - sort of. I tried to teach myself both Russian and Chinese, but I didn't get very far with either. Spanish I learned in school. 37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied 38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person 39. Gone rock climbing 40. Seen Michelangelo’s David 41. Sung karaoke 42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt 43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant 44. Visited Africa 45. Walked on a beach by moonlight 46. Been transported in an ambulance 47. Had my portrait painted 48. Gone deep sea fishing 49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person 50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris 51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling - in the Caribbean! 52. Kissed in the rain 53. Played in the mud 54. Gone to a drive-in theater 55. Been in a movie - I was in a friend's college project. We spent so much time waiting around that it was one of the more boring experiences I've had. 56. Visited the Great Wall of China 57. Started a business 58. Taken a martial arts class 59. Visited Russia 60. Served at a soup kitchen 61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies 62. Gone whale watching 63. Got flowers for no reason 64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma - not that I didn't try, I just was never eligible 65. Gone sky diving 66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp 67. Bounced a check 68. Flown in a helicopter - see #4 69. Saved a favorite childhood toy 70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial 71. Eaten caviar 72. Pieced a quilt - lots of them! 73. Stood in Times Square 74. Toured the Everglades 75. Been fired from a job 76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London 77. Broken a bone 78. Been on a speeding motorcycle 79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person 80. Published a book - stay tuned! 81. Visited the Vatican 82. Bought a brand new car 83. Walked in Jerusalem 84. Had my picture in the newspaper 85. Read the entire Bible 86. Visited the White House 87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating 88. Had chickenpox 89. Saved someone’s life 90. Sat on a jury 91. Met someone famous - Jimmy Carter, Madeleine L'Engle 92. Joined a book club 93. Lost a loved one 94. Had a baby 95. Seen the Alamo in person 96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake - I think that's where it was! 97. Been involved in a law suit - Sort of. The crook who built my house tried to solve his legal troubles by letting his lawyer put a lien on my house 6 months after I bought it from him (!) and I had to get rid of it. 98. Owned a cell phone 99. Been stung by a bee 100. Ridden an elephant - at a fair :)
I'm planning to take part in Abbie's Christmas Cookie Recipe Swap later this week. Actually, I was planning to post a favorite family recipe today, but Munchkin reminded me on Monday that I had promised to let him bake gingerbread cookies.
Between making the dough, baking the gingerbread men and frosting the cookies, it turned into a two-day project -- perfect for a snowed-in week. Many thanks to green bean for her recipe and inspirational picture. I'll post one of our other recipes later.
After my most recent post, the marble guy shared how Munchkin so impressed him. He was installing some molding, which he needed to cut, and Munchkin asked what kind of saw he was going to use. Marble guy said, "A chop saw."
To which Munchkin responded, "You mean a compound miter saw.
Today is Marble Day and, as I write this, Munchkin is "helping." The marble guy is so charmed by him that after he gave Munchkin his own roll of green tape, he asked me to take a picture of the two of them so he could show it to his wife.
So how do we break it to Munchkin that we're not going to do this every year for Christmas?
(Yes, I know Munchkin has his shirt on inside out and his jeans on backwards. I can't talk him out of it -- he says he can reach his pockets easier. Not quite sure of the advantage of the inside-out shirt.)
Choose floor & marble colors for bathroom Choose neices' Christmas presents Bake Christmas cookies with Munchkin Grocery shop Laundry Prepare final project for work Keep Munchkin from getting in bathroom contractor's way Shake printer cartridge until it prints final project Work Borrow painting supplies for bathroom Purchase primer, supplies & pick up paint chips for bathroom Return incorrect fixture for bathroom Arrange childcare before deadline at work Keep Munchkin from getting in contractor's way Do research on one Christmas present Run household errands Download picture sketches for my book Keep Munchkin from getting in contractor's way Paint primer in bathroom Turn in final project at work Work with illustrator to approve sketches Choose paint color for bathroom Purchase paint for bathroom Get plumbing thingy for bathroom Keep Munchkin from talking the ears off of contractor Phone consultation with doctor Paint bathroom Keep Munchkin from getting into wet paint Review insurance options before deadline Be here for marble installation guys Keep Munchkin from getting in marble guys' way Attend work Christmas party Be here for floor installation guys Keep Munchkin from getting in floor guys' way Work on homemade Christmas presents Mail neices' Christmas presents Get Christmas tree Decorate for Christmas Paint molding for bathroom window
I don't know if I can do this one justice, but I'll try...
This evening I made my family's favorite "Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta" (recipe to follow). Scott normally claims the leftovers for his lunch the next day. This evening, I planned to save the extras for my sister, who will be babysitting Munchkin tomorrow night and might want something for dinner. Even with that, there would have been plenty except for the fact that our growing boy really likes this meal.
At the end of dinner when Scott eyed the remaining pasta, I told him of my plans. He tried begging with his most pathetic face, but it didn't work, so he asked Munchkin what was the best way to get someone to do something. Munchkin put on his cutest expression and sweetly said, "Please?" Scott tried it, but couldn't get the cute little expression quite right.
Then Munchkin suggested Daddy try crying. Scott asked how, so Munchkin gave a perfect one-second demonstration before he broke into a big grin. We all laughed so hard that Munchkin almost choked.
Scott tried the "cry," but he's not nearly as good as Munchkin, who suggested, "Keep crying!" Poor Daddy just didn't quite have the technique. At the end, Munchkin took my side and insisted that Daddy couldn't have the pasta because it belonged to his aunt (who didn't call back to confirm tomorrow night, so the fate of the pasta is still undecided...).
Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta (I'm sure the original recipe had quantities, but I lost them long ago. Put in amounts of ingredients to suit your own needs & taste.)
Pasta (I use tube pasta but macaroni or rotini is fine) Ground beef or pork Bacon, diced 1 can tomato soup (sorry, locavore friends, I've tried substitutions and nothing tastes as good!) Cheddar cheese, grated
Cook pasta in boiling water about 10 minutes. While pasta is cooking, fry ground meat in a frying pan until brown. Remove to another bowl. In same pan, fry bacon until done. Drain on paper towels. Drain pasta. In same frying pan, combine tomato soup, pasta, ground meat and bacon and heat through. Sprinkle with grated cheese and cover until cheese is melted.
For those blog followers eagerly awaiting my upcoming book, I just wanted to tell that Kim Sponaugle is beginning sketches and will be drawing the illustrations in the next month or so. I can't wait to see how my characters look!
I am still planning to print the book sometime this spring or early summer, and in anticiptation of that, I am working on a website for the book. As soon as I have mug shots of the main characters, I hope to get the site up and running. Stay tuned...
Our contractor suggested we send a copy of this picture to the crook who built our house. You think I'm exaggerating? A couple hours after I signed the papers, the police were here looking for him. Anyway, he apparently didn't know how to properly build a bathroom. But, hey, Munchkin's watching and learning how to use a crowbar. :)