Happy New Year!

Good afternoon, blog readers! I apologize for being absent for so many days. I have had many get-togethers with family and have been busy playing with my kids and their new toys. To me, this is what the holidays are about. Family!

So while I have been absent, I have not been here to wish you all a very happy holiday! Happy Hanukah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, and a very Happy New Year! I apologize if I’ve missed your holiday on the list.

I have several friends who do not celebrate anything, and to them I hope they’ve had a lovely break from work and have still managed to see their friends and family while they’re off.

This has been a very eventful year for me. While it is the first year in many (and the first in many to come) that I have not been pregnant, had recently given birth, or was still recovering from having a baby (or babies), it was still one of many wonderful years.

Each year comes with its ups and downs and this year was no different. I, however, choose to focus on the good in my life, for I am one of those people that will be quickly consumed with dark grief from the world around me if I allow it to overtake me. It is for that reason that I brighten my life with happy thoughts, joyous laughter, and cheerful people.

This year we celebrated my husband’s 30th Birthday by going on a trip with our friends, we bought our first house, my eldest son started his first year of school, I have been picked up by a publisher, and I received the gift of my first office/library. Each of these things will forevermore make this year stand out in my mind for the rest of my life. Each of these things made this year remarkably special.

Next year, I resolve to take more home videos of my children. I took many while my sons were younger, but as the past 4 years have gone by, I scarcely take the camera out of its bag any longer. I aim to change that this year. What is your resolution? Do you make resolutions?

I look forward to the year to come. I hope that you all have a wonderful New Year and 2015 treats you well, indeed.

Thank you for reading!

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The Office of an Author (Part 2!)

Happy Friday morning, everyone! This blog is an exciting continuation of my previous blog with the same name.

My office is on its way to being completed! I would be perfectly happy if the project took time now, for as long as my books are up and out of their boxes, I am happy! I still have a few more boxes to unpack, but I am beyond pleased with how it’s turning out.

I’m overjoyed that I’m able to share these photos with you!

These pictures show the progress of putting up the cases and shelves. The men in my family have my utmost appreciation for all the work they did for me.

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I am so happy with how things turned out! As I mentioned previously, I have yet to finish unpacking and my books aren’t yet in order, but that is one of the best things about having so much space for my books. I like to organize my novels by author and subdivided by series and numbers within that series. I’m so looking forward to getting organizing!

This is what my office looks like currently:

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I have several antiquarian books, keys, and fashion plates/artists’ renderings in my collection, all of which I would be pleased to discuss, but I’m afraid that will have to be saved for another blog. These photos are a little teaser:

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Thank you all so much for reading! I hope you all have a lovely weekend! (I know I will!)

Salty But Strangely Delicious Cookies

Good evening, everyone! Today I’m writing about the batch of cookies that I made last night for my son’s Kindergarten class’ party today. It was kindly suggested/requested by my son’s teacher that parents bring goodies if they wished. So of course, I couldn’t refuse.

This is the recipe I followed:

– 2 1/4 cups flour
– 1 teaspoon salt (Hubby commented that this and the baking soda was too much while we were baking, but I was adamant that the recipe called for it, so it must be put in…)
– 1 teaspoon baking soda (same comment as above)
– 1 cup unsalted, room temperature butter
– 3/4 cup white sugar
– 3/4 cup brown sugar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 2 eggs
– Chocolate chips (recipe called for “1 bag” but as we buy huge bags, this wouldn’t work. So I estimated)

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The directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Pre-mix dry ingredients. I mixed this with a whisk just for fun. Note: This is when my husband said that there was too much baking soda and too much salt. I was adamant that I was correct because it said so in the recipe.

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3. Smooth/soften butter by mixing. I would ordinarily use my hand mixer for this, but Hubby insisted that he could do it himself.

4. Add white sugar to butter and mix.

5. Add brown sugar to sugar-butter mixture and mix.

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6. Add one egg at a time and mix.

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7. Add vanilla extract.

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8. Slowly incorporate flour mixture.

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9. Add chocolate chips. As you can see, we had helpers. My kids added the ingredients and Hubby stirred.

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10. Roll into balls and put on cookie sheet. We used parchment paper, which really helped with getting the cookies off the sheet afterward.

11. Bake for 9-15 minutes, depending on how hot your oven cooks. Ours tends to be on the low side, so ours took 15 minutes to bake. This recipe made four cookie sheets of cookies.

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12. Let cool and enjoy!

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Final thoughts: This recipe definitely had “too much” salt and baking soda. Needless to say, the cookies had an odd, salty flavour to them. But strangely enough, they ended up delicious. The salty taste contrasted the sweet, which could be dangerous in that one could easily eat too many.

They were a big hit with my family. I’m not sure how my son’s classmates enjoyed them, though, as I had to pick my son up early from school. He fell on the playground at recess and chipped one of his teeth. But don’t worry. He’s seen the dentist and is a-ok for tomorrow’s school day.

Thanks for reading, everyone!

The Office of an Author

Good morning, everyone! Today I am very excited. The work on my office has been slow moving for some time for various reasons, but as a Christmas gift from my Dad and brother, my bookshelves are finally going in!

Last February, we moved out of our townhouse and put all of our things in storage in order to live with family and search for a house. In May we moved into our beautiful new house and began renovations/minor updates throughout our home. But this blog is about my office.

It can be difficult to explain how very important my books are to me, but let it be known that I feel lost without them. They have been in boxes since February and their absence has taken its toll on my emotions. But alas! I am finally seeing some shelves go up!

My husband has been working extra hard lately and I thought I’d take some pressure off of him by hiring someone to take care of putting the shelves in my office in. Well, the quote came back a little higher than we’d anticipated, so that fell through. One day we may put in some solid built-in wood shelves to make it a more “professional” library/office. But I can honestly say that I don’t care what the material of the shelves, I just want to put up my books!

Needless to say, I am ecstatic that my Dad and brother have decided to gift the shelves and their time for a Christmas present for me. They were over here yesterday putting the shelves together, but they have yet to be put on the walls. They’re coming back over today, at which time I will take more photos and put it in another blog.

Here are some photos of the progress:

We added a closet for my art supplies. It also adds resale value into the house because it makes my office into a “bedroom”.

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This is my big window that looks into our backyard.

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The room near the beginning of the renovation.

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The closet and my feature wall painted a light purple.

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The laminate flooring that Hubby put in.

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This is my desk. The remaining walls are a pastel green.

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We added a day bed. It pulls out to be a king size bed.

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I wanted to get a picture of the ceiling and the light fixture that was there. Hubby’s an electrician, so this was an easy fix for him.

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The ceiling is mostly done. I’m very pleased with the light now!

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This is one of the walls that will have shelves on it.

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These two photos are what my office looks like currently. I love organizing and I love books, so this is an absolute dream come true for me! I am so excited to start emptying my boxes of books!

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I already know precisely what I’ll be doing this evening… Putting books away!  While I was writing this blog, my Dad and my brother arrived. Now they and Hubby are downstairs working on getting things set up for me. I’m trembling with excitement! I can hardly contain it!

I will post another blog with further updates on the progress of my office and likely the books that I’ve collected. I received many antiquarian books for Christmas last year but I have yet to remove them from their gift-wrapped boxes. I am so looking forward to seeing what I have!

Stay tuned and thank you all so much for reading!

It’s Been a While

Good evening, blog readers! Wow. It’s been almost two weeks since I’ve written a blog post. Sorry! We dealt with the kids being sick with nasty colds and other issues, all of which have been taken care of. My children are all well recovered and running about like little monkeys once again.

I just finished reading two great books, which I’ve reviewed on Goodreads. They were Fried Windows: In A Light White Sauce by Elgon Williams and Sitnalta by Alisse Lee Goldenberg. I confess that excluding J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, I have never read anything akin to fantasy before these two novels. I read Historical Romance nearly exclusively (though I intend to remedy that). But I must say, that I truly enjoyed both of these novels.

Sitnalta was a light and calming read while also adventurous and interesting.

Fried Windows: In A Light White Sauce brought me into an entirely different world. It was wonderfully and magically entertaining.

Things got rather busy for me once I signed the contracts with my publisher; there were a lot of behind-the-scenes things that were required of me and I needed to re-edit my five novels. Things are just now calming down, so today I began the process of re-absorbing myself in my next novel. As I am already a quarter of the way through writing it, I must re-read what I’ve already written before I start writing again. I must say, I am rather excited about this one! Of course, I’m always excited about my current novel!

I plan to continue writing blogs, though I cannot say how many of them will be about new foods that I try. Each time I try something new, however, I promise to take photos. For now, you will likely hear about the progress of my writing, books, or other of my hobbies.

Thank you all for reading!