Friday, December 30, 2011

Apparently there's an Angry Birds board game... our almost-four-year-old's cake will be easy! I'm not the best at decorating (my mom is--she's amazing with making frosting do what she wants). But give me toys to stick on top of a cake and I'm good! Last year his cake looked like this:

See? They're building a marshmallow tower! Uh...yay!

And this is what my boys looked like:

We'll see how it goes this year! But I can totally stick toys on top of cakes.  Just so you know.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Game Night!

We went to the Children's Museum in Salt Lake today. 'Twas fun, but busy. Between grading, beta-reading, trying to edit my own books, tickling children, cleaning up piles of baby-thrown floor food, making sure people eat, sleeping...well, is it any wonder that today all I want to do is post this picture?

This is a bit later than Christmas, but it's from our local Festival of Trees. Isn't the beard impressive?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Angry Birds Cake

My parents arrived last night, so, in the interest of playing games, I present to you the birthday cake my son wants for his fourth birthday:

Monday, December 26, 2011


I love Christmas. We woke around 6:30 (courtesy of three-year-old--at least it wasn't sooner!), got dressed, ate breakfast, and looked at gifts from Santa. After a few minutes of putting together Lego Star Wars sets and Hungry Hungry Hippos, we went to an hour of church. When we came home, we opened the rest of the presents under the tree.  It was a wonderful year, even though I didn't spend anything on my husband and he didn't spend anything on me. We bought a new computer, you see, and it was expensive, so...we didn't buy extra presents.

Instead, my husband gave me a morning to sleep in and eight hours (!) of daddy-children time I can spend on anything from writing to baths to jaunts around local bookstores. I gave him some wrapped library books (tee hee!) that he can read quickly, and coupons for various things, including movie rentals (we haven't seen Super 8 yet!) and time I can watch the boys while he plays games (football, ping pong, Diablo III when it comes out...). Anyway. If you know someone, gifts don't have to cost anything.  Time, service, clever collections of The Far Side you check out, cookie dough--all sorts of ideas can make great presents without costing anything!

So. I loved our Christmas, and so did all my boys.  As for our pets...if you have cats, I would suggest giving them shrimp.

Nothing makes cats happier than a tasty Christmas shrimp.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Sorry about the silence yesterday.  Apparently there is a horrible Death Germ that wishes to destroy our Christmas merrymaking, and it is sweeping through our household.  (Except for the cats. Apparently cats are immune to the Death Germ). But I am popping in to say that we are not beaten! We are mending, and we will still sing carols, and watch the animated Grinch smile, and blink blearily at the twinkling lights...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Rejection is a fearsome beast.  I always told myself I was querying in batches of ten (or so) because I wanted to wait and get feedback on fulls and partials. And I've gotten valuable feedback on fulls, so I suppose that's worked for me. But there's also the whole 'gah-if-I'm-submitting-rejections-will-come!' fear.  I did not admit to this fear, not really. After all, every time you bake cookies you could burn them. Every time you have a party, someone could end up sad because you didn't have enough cookies because some of them got burnt. The point is, I knew that it takes risk to do anything worthwhile, but I do think part of my waiting had to do with nerves.

I recognize that, though. So now I am submitting! I see my procrastination-brought-on-by-fear, and I am vanquishing it! Although I am taking a break tonight. Today was my last day teaching in 2011, so I think tonight I deserve some nice eggnog. Or popcorn and root beer.  And...maybe I'll watch Muppet Christmas Carol.

Best. Adaptation. Ever. Makes me want to read the book every time I see it!

Yay Muppets!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Is it break yet?

I have to teach tomorrow. And, while I love my job, it is sort of crazy whenever Christmas falls on a Sunday--people have to work through the 23rd, often enough, which doesn't give as much time for eggnog and gingersnaps as I would like.

 Speaking of cookies, here is a recipe for some delicious ones.  If you like molasses (and I do), and if you are in a cookie-baking sort of mood...I shall live vicariously through you!

Molasses Sugar Cookies

¾ c shortening
1 c sugar
¼ c molasses
1 egg
2 t baking soda
2 c sifted all-purpose flour
2 t cloves
½ t ginger
1 t cinnamon
½ t salt

Melt shortening in a 3 or 4 quart saucepan over low heat.  Remove from heat; let cool.  Add sugar, molasses, and egg; beat well.  Sift together flour, soda, cloves, ginger, salt, and cinnamon: add to first mixture.  Mix well.  Chill.  Form 1-inch balls, roll in granulated sugar, and place on greased cookie sheet 2 inches apart.  Bake in moderately hot oven (375 degrees) for 8 to 10 minutes.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Deja Vu Blogfest

Today's The Deja Vu blogfest, which means I shall post sooner than later! I'm supposed to go back through my archives and re-post a forgotten tidbit that is awesome.

Hmmm...I don't even have much of an archive, but this is hard! There's the first post where I set up my rules so I could enjoy blogging, the post about my family, and my not-very-informative post about em-dashes and otters.

Finally I settled on one that didn't insult semi-colons or talk about hobbits.  I chose it because I am currently finding the charts very useful in motivating my three-year-old (and myself) to do those ever-friendly chores.  There's something satisfying about checking off a to-do list--or putting a tire on your very own Might Machine Chore Chart.'s the original post:

Chore charts

I spent a few hours this week putting together chore charts.  I'd like to say it's because I'm finally becoming responsible and adult-like, but actually it's because I like an excuse to paint.  If our house stays a little neater...well, that's just awesome bonus sauce.  There's one circle on each chart for every day of the week, and they're attached with Velcro so we can add/detach them.  Good idea?  We'll see.

Anyway.  Pictures.

Here's my husband's.  He ordered a pizza, with ONLY pepperoni (although in real life he eats lots of toppings--I think he was being sweet and keeping it simple for me):

And here's my three-year-old's.  He didn't care about difficulty level (or Mommy's lack of interest in construction vehicles), but his was still fun to paint:

Mine...well, all the initials on the spines of the books correspond with real authors.  Ooh!  And there's a raven!  I like ravens...

The initials are G.C., T.P., M.R., R.D., E.B.W., W.S., and E.S.  Make your guesses in the comments (if you dare...)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

'Tis the Season

I started submitting again this week.  I know, I know--I said I was going to submit a while ago, back when I posted my query (which is better now, by the way), but I sort of kind of hate querying and only submitted a few more. Which upped my total queried agents to about 25.  Anyway, to make a long story short, I am actually happy with my query (finally! those things are difficult!), so I started sending it out this week. A lot.

And I'm getting partial and full requests! Multiple ones! It is a strange and exciting thing (I sort of expected silence in December, but this is better.  Yay!)

I've been waiting on a couple of other agents for a while, which is one of the reasons I wasn't submitting to new ones.  But it feels good to get some more pages out there (Writer's House?!?), and there's the plain fact that I need to find the right reader for my book.  I don't like every book I pick up, even ones that come with enthusiastic recommendations, and it makes sense that agent's tastes will also vary.

Here is a fairly long video of Holdman Christmas lights from 2010. This year their lights are at a mall (which makes sense, given the amount of traffic they must attract), but here's some songs and snow at their house. 'Tis the season!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Apparently, if you get more sleep, sometimes you wake up with your right eye glued shut by gunk. And then, when you get it open and wash your hands a gazillion times, you notice that your eyes are all Christmas-colored--red where they should be white and greener in the iris because of all the contrast. Hooray! you think as you go about your day. I have pink eye, and I look festive.


Now I am getting glasses for the first time in ten years! They don't look like this, although I could probably scare a few people if they did. Hmm...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


You know what is most important during the holidays? I love my family. There's books, and church, and lights, and cocoadecorationspresentsgamessparklyfun.

But you can't enjoy any of it without sleep.

So here is my resolution: even though I'm in the middle of grading the longest essay of the semester, and shopping for my friends and family, and editing my second book while querying my first book (which gets confusing), and trying to find time for various lights and holiday magic things, I will still go to bed. Before eleven. Sleep can be a writing and holiday goal, too!

I couldn't find a picture of Cindy Lou Who sleeping, but this is what she would look like if she, say, got up at three in the morning wanting breakfast like certain three-year-olds in our house (he fell asleep in Mommy's arms instead, thank goodness).

Monday, December 12, 2011


Sometimes I reward myself.  Usually I use books, but when we're poor (like now, 'cause of the new computer), I can use things like Skittles.  I just finished reading my second book and planning out revisions (I drew up checklists and everything). I got Skittles!

Here is a commercial celebrating my success.  I feel bad for this guy.  But it makes me laugh anyway. And, hey, some Skittles are red and green, so...uh...holidays? Huh. I guess today just hasn't been the most holiday-y day.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Well, we're working through our Christmas shopping, but since lots of my friends and family live other places (yay Washington! and Oregon, and California, and New York...), I've got some cards and packages to get ready for shipping.  Next year I should be smarter and buy everything online! Anyway. Here is my favorite six or so seconds from one of the two Christmas movies I own.  I love the wrinkles! And those eyebrows, and the way his hair unfurls...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

House lights

So we  haven't exactly put up our outdoor lights yet.  It is cold out there, and we have two boys who would try to climb the ladder, and...yeah, I'll just watch this video and pretend like our house-in-a-coul-de-sac is this awesome.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas wreath treats

I have never shared a recipe, right? Well, besides this one, which doesn't really count.  But I have lots of Christmas recipes, and today we made Christmas Wreaths.  They are quite easy, and tasty, if you like Rice Krispy Treats.  You make them as follows:

32 big marshmallows
1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Green food coloring
6 cups Corn Flakes

Put the marshmallows and butter in a pot, and turn the stove onto medium heat.  Stir occasionally until they melt.

While the marshmallow/butter stuff is melting (mmm), put the cornflakes in a large bowl.  Set aside.

After everything in the pot is melted, add the vanilla and green food coloring.  Pour it over the cornflakes and stir them up until the cornflakes are all covered (and green!).  Pull out some waxed paper (or something equally non-sticky), put two-inch lumps (or so) of the cornflake mixture on the paper, and use buttery hands to shape those lumps into donut-wreath-shaped treats (basically, just poke a hole in the middle).  They firm up as they get cooler, and you can add some little red hot candies along the sides if you want them to look pretty.

Okay, after typing that up, it sounds more complicated than it is.  Really, the wreaths only take about fifteen minutes, maybe twenty, if you have a three-year-old and a baby to "help." And they are tasty! Trust me.

Don't you love how these wreaths both make Santa's beard look sickly and prevent him from talking/smoking/breathing through his mouth? Sort of creepy, except this is what the candies look like, usually. Huzzah for Santa-face plates!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Oh, I missed having a computer.  See, Geekbox, which was building our new computer, called on  Thursday last week and asked for our laptop to transfer data.  And we didn't get it back until today.  I didn't realize how much I'd miss blogging--or how very impossible blogging would be on my phone--and I found that I got behind on all sorts of critiquing and blog reading.  But it's all worth it now: I'm typing on a new computer, with keys that don't have the letters worn off, and it is exciting.  Also, we can play Portal 2 co-op.  Also, I am rereading my second book, and it is better than my first book, which is super-exciting.  Also, it is Christmas!  So here is a Christmas song I grew up with.  (What do people who didn't grow up with Manheim Steamroller think of them? This is something I do not currently know.)