A New Christmas Poem


‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the house,

The kids were heard yelling, “Please cover your mouth!”

The Kleenex were piling up in the waste bin,

And all were avoiding them, even their kin.


See, the parents were ailing, in their blanket covered chairs,

Dreaming of when the next Nyquil dose could be theirs.

Hot tea and cough drops gave temporary relief,

Healing before Christmas was their fervent belief.


The kids did their best to take of the ‘rents,

But they did consider pitching some tents.

All in a bid to protect their own life,

From the plague they were watching wreak such strife.


From Costco to Target and even Trader Joe’s

The eldest dashed around on her toes,

While the boy could be found picking up in the kitchen,

Making sure he helped his sister pitch in.


As the mother sat down to write up her blog,

The coughing and snuffling making her sound like a hog,

She couldn’t help but notice her kids’ hard at work,

And they did it while smiling with nary a smirk.


And though she was feeling like a pile of manure,

And probably looked like she lived in the sewer,

The mom could not have been any prouder,

Of her kids’ and their efficient use of soap powder.


That mom knew that no matter her health,

She was blessed with the best kind of wealth,

Children that knew how to care for another,

Without any squabbling between sister & brother.


As she settled back into her chair with her sweater,

Battening down for the upcoming weather,

She smiled to herself and said a prayer of thanksgiving,

Because her kids would make sure she stayed among the living.


Now Dasher and Dancer may land on the roof,

And maybe even Rudolph, as her dog bellows woof,

But no gift they could bring her would give her more joy,

Than the love displayed by her girl and boy.

By the valiant effort of one son and one daughter,

There would be healing and health for the mother and father.

And when Christmas morning arrives in mere days,

Santa will surely gift them with praise.


As the illness we’ve suffered bids us adieu,

We have one very big wish for you,

That your Christmas is filled with love and cheer,

And that you are blessed in the new year.

























No Elf on My Shelf


Dear Santa,

I thought I would take a minute to thank you for holding off on the whole “Elf on a Shelf” phenomenon until my kids were too old for it.

I know that you and your fellow holiday dignitaries rely heavily upon parental participation to complete your holiday related tasks. After all, employing enough workers to fill all those stockings, Easter baskets and even tooth pillows, has got to be cost prohibitive. And considering most parents want their children to be happy, it’s safe to assume that they would be willing participants in your holiday hijinks and tooth collection duties.

I wish that I could assure you that I would have been up to the task of assisting your elves during their December visits, but I must, ashamedly, admit that I simply wasn’t. Nor am I now. Nor, I doubt, will I ever be.

Seeing as you are the keeper of the Naughty and Nice list, I assume you know this already, but I’m not a very good helper. Just ask the Tooth Fairy. I honestly tried to help her collect my kids’ teeth and then leave them a small token of her appreciation. I did remember to do it a couple of times, but eventually my kids learned that if they wanted to get paid, they had to come downstairs, tooth in hand, and request compensation. Finally, out of frustration for my lack of Tooth Fairying skills, they gave up and decided to hang onto their own teeth. Perhaps they decided to deal with her directly? I’m not certain as I informed them to take their complaints about her helpers up with her. Not one of my better moments, but it got them out of my hair, so I call it a win.

Of course, the fact that you are privy to all our activities, you may have suffered some trepidation at the thought of the kind of influence I would have been on your elves. I’m all about new experiences, even if they sometimes involve questionable choices, so while I can’t guarantee your elves would have always partaken in purely innocent adventures, they would have returned to the North Pole with plenty of stories having thoroughly enjoyed themselves. And, for the most part, having suffered no life altering injuries. (Yes, I know you’ve watched us hang Barney in all sorts of precarious positions on our Christmas tree each year, but come on, it’s Barney. If anyone deserves to be given a hard time, it’s that purple dinosaur – annoyer of parents everywhere.)

No matter the reason you delayed dispatch of those creepy, child surveillors, I appreciate that I never had to deal with them. From what I hear Pinterest is an elf helper’s best friend, so I also thank you from the bottom of my heart for saving me from disappearing down that rabbit hole. Because of your wisdom in elf deployment timing I can sit in my chair, with my nightly cup of tea, and enjoy the Christmas lights hung throughout my home, free from the stress associated with the little red guy on the shelf.

I hope that you have an incredibly successful Christmas season and bring joy to lots and lots of children. I will do my best to help spread holiday cheer, as long as I remain free from the obligation of elf-helping.

I promise you I will try to remember to leave cookies out for you this year, and if at all possible, not eat them before you get here. Sorry about last year, Mr. Brown and I got the post candle light service munchies.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Please give my regards to Mrs. Claus and, of course, Rudolph.


One Grateful (and maybe a little lazy) Mom

Reality Can Be Delicious

mm-cookies-recipe-1024x576Ever have your day planned out and then unexpected things happen? Yeah, me too. And today was one of those days for me. Thankfully my day was filled with pleasant surprises, including a visit from a friend I rarely see, but even so it threw me off a little bit and put me behind schedule. Even good things can leave us with derailed plans.

Our desires and reality are often at war with each other. In today’s busy world it’s easy to become mired in the disappointment of unrealized desires. Sadly, we often allow something as simple as failing to check off items from our To Do List to ruin our day. I know I’m guilty of that at times. Just ask my husband what I’m like to live with when I haven’t gotten my chores done.

The truth is, it is up to us to decide how we handle reality when it so rudely interrupts our life. We can choose to be angry and stay mad at the world, eventually dragging ourselves into a deep depression, or we can choose to put a positive spin on it. After all, I could very easily be upset that I’m just now sitting down to write, but in reality, I’m still getting a post up today. It’s just a little different than the one I had intended.

While I may have a good attitude today, I know that the next time I have a day like this, I may not be so happy about it. One sure fire way I’ve found to combat an impending foul mood is for me to bake a batch of cookies. And one of my favorite recipes is aptly named Reality Cookies.

The original recipe for these cookies comes from a restaurant that used to be in Juneau, Alaska called The Fiddlehead. Because I’m rarely good at following directions I have made some alterations to their original recipe, but I love the name, and I loved the restaurant, so I kept it.

The Fiddlehead focused on providing healthy, whole foods. They were known for using whole grain flour, few preservatives and low-fat ingredients. The Fiddlehead was as crunchy granola as they come. Even most of their baked goods fell on the healthy end of the culinary spectrum. Now there’s no good argument against a healthy diet, but sometimes you just want to indulge in a sweet treat. And even the bakers at The Fiddlehead knew that:

“In spite of our best intentions, the fact remains that granulated sugar and white flour make really good cookies. These celebrate that reality with brightly colored candies sprinkled like confetti through the dough.” – The Fiddlehead Cookbook pg. 167

The next time you feel like reality is only out to get you I hope you think about these cookies and it reminds you that reality can be delicious. Even better, take an hour and bake a batch of these for yourself and to share. That way you not only sweeten your reality, but you bring joy to someone else.

Reality Cookies

3/4 pound butter                                                   1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar            1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon brown sugar           1 cup finely ground almonds                                      2 ½ cups unbleached white flour                      1/2 cup M&Ms

  1. Preheat oven to 275 and arrange racks so thy are evenly spaced in center of oven.
  2. Beat butter until fluffy. Add white and brown sugars and continue to beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Add almonds and flour. Stir gently until almost completely combined.
  4. Add M&Ms and stir just until dough comes together.
  5. Shape dough into ping-pong size balls and place on cookie sheet. Lightly flour bottom of a small glass, or palm of your hand and flatten each cookie to about ½ inch thick. Place an M&M in center of each cookie and bake until very lightly golden brown and beginning to puff slightly in center (about 20 minutes).
  6. Remove from oven and transfer to racks to cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Makes about 32 cookies

*I modify this recipe by using almond M&Ms instead of the regular ones.

*For an even chocolatier version, use ground almond M&Ms in place of the ground almonds. You won’t regret it.