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Chocolate Crackles waiting to be eaten.

A few years ago my wonderful sister gave me a copy of Martha Stewart’s Holiday Cookies. This magazine special issue has since been given an honored place on my kitchen cookbook shelf. There has not been a single recipe I’ve tried that failed to thrill, nor have I found a single recipe that requires shortening (butter is so much healthier).

Today’s links are some of my favorite recipes from this magazine:

  • Chocolate Crackles. These are like a brownie shaped like a cookie. I would make these every week if I had a hummingbird’s metabolism, but as it is I have to save these for a once in a while treat.
  • Anise Drops. These have a deep licorice flavor and a surprising texture.
  • Lime Meltaways. I didn’t make these this year, but I include them every once in a while. The light lime taste is a nice counterpoint to the heavy spices of many holiday cookies.
  • Snickerdoodles. It’s not Christmas at the Homestead without snickerdoodles.
  • Black and White. These are an area specialty, with every deli in the tri-state area offering up their own interpretation of the classic black and white.
  • Earl Grey Tea Cookies. Hubby starts every day with a cup of earl grey. These cookies use that unique tea to create a distinct flavor.
  • Rum Balls. Hands down my favorite (outside of the family sugar cookie, that is).

This has been one of those weeks that was great for productivity but bad for blogging! Work seems to be back at a steady pace, which is welcome. I’ve also been busy with volunteer work as a youth soccer coach and also mentoring the local intermediate school’s Future City Competition team. The Vanilla Ale is fermenting away like mad, and the Chocolate Stout was also started in a mad rush one evening. I wish I could say that I’ll be getting some rest this weekend…but there’s three soccer games to attend and a house to decorate for Halloween.

Even through all the madness, I found a few gems for this week’s compost bin:

  • So Rude: “When was the last time you did something that inconvenienced 200 people.” I may have taken precious time from my life to gripe about shopping cart rudeness, but at least cluttering up Costco’s parking lot isn’t directly putting other people in danger like the behavior documented in this short film. Something about driving in Manhattan (especially Manhattan, beyond most other cities) causes people to drive like aggressive maniacs. I know that most of us living in and near the big apple are always in a rush, but there is no place any of us need to be so important that it’s worth risking the safety of others.
  • World Science Festival 2009: Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale. Mindblowing stuff. I’d explain it, but words fail. You just have to watch it.
  • Follow The Glow. Great blog post about focusing on what’s truly important in your life. For me, my children, my garden, preparing good meals, and encouraging others to think towards the future are glow points.

Sorry for the relative silence this week! Work has been busy, for a change, leaving me with little time for play. The house is a wreck, the laundry is piling up, and the kids are wondering when Mom is going to cook something wonderful. Fortunately, next week is shaping up to be a bit lighter, so I’ll have more time for fun. We’ll be bottling the Cape Cod Red and hopefully starting a new brew this weekend, and then it’s time to start getting the house ready for Halloween.

I haven’t had much of a chance to poke around the internet, but I managed to find a few offerings for this week:

  • The Awakening. Imagine how lovely a place the world could be if we all experienced an awakening while still young enough to use the knowledge to craft our lives wisely.
  • TED Talks: Rory Sutherland. Life Lessons from an Ad Man. Brilliant presentation on how we can avoid getting bored with the stuff we already have.
  • National Engineer’s Week Future City Competition. The 8th grade gifted and talented kids from my local school district are competing in the Future City Competition for the first time this year. I learned about it this week when we attended the G&T Open House for Thing 1, and I volunteered to mentor the team as an Urban Planner. I will be meeting with he kids for the first time today, and I am so ridiculously excited.

Things here at the Homestead are a little strained today, as we wait to see what the bank did with the deposits we made yesterday. Two paychecks (half the month’s budget) were deposited yesterday, but did not show up in our account. We’re not alone, though, as many of TD Bank’s customers have found that their recent deposits have been “delayed” by a computer glitch. I am shopping for a new bank, and as soon as TD Bank finds our money, we’re getting it the heck out of their hands. I think we’re going to go with a local bank that has it’s national headquarters less than half a mile up the road at a comfortably walkable location.

Here’s some stuff that caught my interest this week:

  • Zombie Subdivisions. This is James Howard Knustler’s favorite vision of the future. Incomplete subdivision projects in the greater Atlanta area are being abandoned by the developer or foreclosed on by the banks.
  • RSOE EDIS Emergency and Disaster Information Service. I am tempted to make this map my new homepage! One map shows all the disaster alerts around the globe. I discovered it while reading various tsunami reports after the Somoan tsunami this week, and I find it fascinating.
  • Change Starts at Home. This website is a showcase of women who are working towards global change, and as the title implies, they are doing it by starting at home. I am so thrilled to find a site devoted to us.
  • Confessions of a Homeschooler. I don’t homeschool my kids, but I have thought about it. My career wouldn’t allow it, and yet I often wonder if my creative, adventurous, curious children would be better off outside of the traditional school environment. This article provides some nice, honest insight into the reasons, benefits, and downsides to homeschooling.

We’re having a bit of an Indian Summer here this week, with temperature in the upper 70s and too much humidity. The mosquitoes have been out in force, driving my family inside where the air is cool and there’s less chance of being bitten. I have come down with a little cold as well, which has kept me a little too grumpy to post, but not too grumpy to poke around the internet.

I found a few things of interest to share this week:

  • Confessions of an Introverted Traveler. This bit sums up nicely how I like to travel. I like to see places and people. I like to eat local and watch the local TV. But I’m not good with people, so I don’t tend to strike up a lot of conversations, and the few that I do remain memorable for their rarity.
  • Blue is the New Black. Maureen Dowd’s column on the trend of women losing their happiness in life as we gain more freedom and independence really struck a chord with me. It’s extremely hard to find balance between career and home, and I don’t think men have the societal pressure to be perfect in both spheres. Women are expected to be the primary caretaker of their children, and yet we are also expected to demonstrate the work-first attitude that men, who expect their wives to be taking care of things at home, generally have. No wonder we’re more stressed out-we’re trying to do it all, and that’s more than anyone can do.
  • Ted Talks: Jonathan Zittrain. The Web Is a Random Act of Kindness. The structure of the internet is based on trust, and it keeps running because volunteers give their time and effort to make it work. I had no idea that the internet was a trust machine, and watching this convinced me that the future is open source.
  • The Yes Men Run a “We’re Screwed” Edition of the New York Post. New Yorkers awoke this week to find that their morning comic book had been replaced with actual factual news…the New York Post, known for it’s snark and nonsense, had an in depth look at climate change and catastrophic implications for the world. Well, the Post didn’t really run an honest issue, but the Yes Men, my favorite activist pranksters, ran a spoof 100% true issue of the Post. Watch the video! Most people interviewed don’t for a second question the truth (climate change is real and dangerous), but they are amazed to see the truth so boldly printed in the Post. The interview with the Post employee is such a characture that, as Hubby put it, you expect him to kick a puppy as he walks away.
May 2019
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About me

I am on a personal and professional quest to find a happier, healthier, greener and more cost effective way to live life in the suburbs.