Monday, December 31, 2012

What's New in the New Year

I don't really make New Year's resolutions anymore, but like most people, I'm thinking back on this year and trying to figure out what to change in the new one. I've decided that there are a few things I want to work on. 

Being excited about what other people are doing (reading, talking about, trying) is a great way to show that you care about them. Whether someone needs a bit of encouragement or a whoop of congratulations, I'm gonna try harder to offer it. And remember: enthusiasm is contagious!

And maybe Mom shouldn't be doing so much scolding (Mom says to herself). Listen, no one really likes to be scolded. Something about all this social media stuff makes us think everyone wants our opinions all the time. I realized this year that people are very rarely looking for criticism. Even less frequently does anyone enjoy the kind of feedback that isn't helpful in any way. This year I'll try to offer helpful comments, and only when appropriate. 

It's a shame that the stories people spread about other people are often negative. When you know great people doing great things, shouldn't everyone know about them? Why not spread those "rumors" instead? So I'll be working on that. (Psst...pass it on.)

And then listen some more. In between the cheerleading and rumor-spreading. Hey, it's the best way to know what's going on!

Yesterday I was in the car with my whole family, clapping and singing along with the radio. (Don't worry, my husband was driving.) As we sat at a stop light, my daughter noted that the people in a car across the intersection were also dancing. I didn't see them right away, but when I glanced back along the cars (and the driver saw me looking), I noticed them bobbing their heads in an exaggerated way and smiling. Were they making fun of me? I'm not sure. I just smiled back, and waved, and kept dancing.

The way that you dance in your living room (or car), or sing in your shower, are wholehearted in a way that "audience-ready" performances rarely feel. We aren't worried about being perfect when we're alone or with people who feel safe, we're just in the moment and being ourselves. I realized this year that there's not enough time to be perfect about everything I need to "perform." So next year I'm going to focus more on trying to be wholehearted about what I do, no matter who is looking. 

Just kidding. (Kinda.) Don't you love seeing a photo so sweet that you can't help but smile? Or having someone share a story so funny you laugh until it hurts? As Buddy the Elf said, "I just like to smile, smiling's my favorite." Smiling always makes me feel better, and I'm convinced it helps other people, too. I'll try to share as many smiles as possible. 

We celebrate holidays and birthdays, milestones and events. But sometimes we should celebrate "just because." As Hester Browne said, "Always keep a bottle of champagne in the fridge for special occasions. Sometimes the special occasion is that you’ve got a bottle of champagne in the fridge."

Do you have New Year's resolutions for 2013? What are you thinking about the old year and the new one we're starting? I'd love to know!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Marzipan Chocolates with Rum

So this is how things go at the end of December: there are still a few gatherings and parties and I'm tired of baking. But I still should bring something, and wouldn't it be nice if it was something easy? Oh, and also something that people raved about? The answer is chocolate, almonds, and rum. Who wouldn't rave?

These happened by accident a few years ago. I make these Swiss biberli cookies for my husband and sometimes I have extra almond paste or marzipan left over. And I always have chocolate. These two are fabulous together (and make a kid-friendly treat), but add the rum and they are out of this world. Did I mention they're easy, too?

Here's how you do it: get almond paste (or marzipan). It comes in this little can (see the picture) or you can also buy it in a tube. Or you can make your own. Next you need to get rum. You can see the kind I used (and since this is all I use the rum for, you can see how many times I've made this candy!). To 7 ounces of almond paste, I add 2 tablespoons of rum. More than that and the candies are too soft. Less than that and...why would you ever want to use less?!

Add the rum to the almond paste and stir until mixed. Then chill until firm enough to make into balls (like the picture below). Then pop the little balls back into the fridge until you're ready to dip them in the chocolate.

Use your favorite chocolate (I recommend Ghirardelli...yum) and melt in a double boiler or in the microwave. If you microwave, do short bursts and pause to stir frequently until you get a smooth consistency. Then use a toothpick or skewer to dip each ball into the chocolate, allowing extra chocolate to drip off and placing completed chocolates on wax paper to cool. Once you've finished, transfer to the fridge again to set the chocolate. Then box up and share with friends! Or eat by the handful from the fridge! (Did I just say that out loud?)

Hope you're enjoying these last few days before the holiday madness. What are your favorite last minute holiday recipes?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Happy Holidays

We're winding down with local orders this week, but will be closing on Friday, December 21. We will reopen on Wednesday, January 2.

Have a wonderful holiday season!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Thank you

As I wrap up the final packages for this year, I want to say thank you. Thank you to my customers, who make my job an absolute pleasure. And thank you, too, for being here.

I've enjoyed sharing my work (and too many ramblings to count) at this blog. Getting to do so with such respectful, supportive, and thoughtful people is wonderful. Thank you so much for being here.

All the blessings of the season to you and those you love.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

December's Flavor of the Month

I mentioned back in October that we'd be trying a flavor of the month for a while to offer some different options for those of you who love balms in tubes!

This month's flavor is Ginger Pear, available in December while supplies last. You can get yours here and no minimums apply.


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