25 November 2013


The past two weeks have been crazy. Of the ten business days, I was in the office for half of them. For the other half, I was on a bus with dozens of students. Two days with freshmen; three days with juniors. We visited seven college campuses and watched several movies. Because what else do you do for hours at a time on a bus? We traveled well over 1000 miles. But now? I'm home. And we're on Thanksgiving Break! Yesterday I desperately wanted to decorate for Christmas, but I forced myself to do nothing. Well, except for a visit to the grocery store, barn sale and salon. So here's what I'm up to:

I participated in a couple of adoption fundraisers on Instagram (same family, two fundraisers). Each time, I paid $5 to send and receive a gift from someone. Most recently, I received my Christmas Exchange package. And OH MY GOSH. It was wonderful. I received on a day that was just crazy. And I hit the exchange jackpot! My super sweet exchange partner went above and beyond! Katy scoured my IG feed, noticed a few repeated themes and ran with it! I received my first coffee cozy (knitted by Katy) (or maybe crocheted?), the most adorable mini-dachshund hoop, felt donut ornaments (with supplies and instructions for me to create a couple more!) and a frame with several coffee prints to be changed as often as necessary (though that one seems quite perfect). 

I decided that I should be able to cook lots this week. I planned a few meals and grabbed groceries. First up? Chicken & dumplings.You should know that I make really good chicken & dumplings. But I found a new recipe that I wanted to try.

If you grew up with a grandmother who made chicken & dumplings, then you know there are two teams: Team Fluffy Dumpling and Team Slick Dumpling. Grandmothers make only one version. Mine made slick dumplings. She had no use for fluffy dumplings. And I didn't either. (Because I'd never had them.) But I found a recipe that piqued my interest. The picture from this blog made them look not-too-fluffy. So I decided to give them a go. 

OH MY WORD. Y'all. They fluffed up nicely, but then they started to dissolve. Dissolve! For a pot of dumplings, there were only about a dozen semi-cooked dumplings when I pulled them off of the heat. 

Never again. Never. again. I'm sure my grandmother rolled in her grave when I decided to make a fluffy dumpling. I was left with a pot of dumpling broth, 12 semi-cooked dumplings, a huge mess of a kitchen and takeout from Jason's Deli. I vow to never stray from the recipe I've always used.

The Funeral Dress | Susan Gregg Gilmore
I've enjoyed Gilmore's The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove and Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen, so I was excited when her next book released. I'm only a few chapters in, but so far, I really like it.

The Lumby Lines | Gail Fraser
The Mitford Series is one of my all-time favorite series. I found the Lumby Series and hope that it is as enjoyable, though it's been a rough start. (I've actually read the first three chapters several times, as I let so much time lag between readings.)

As part of the adoption fundraiser (mentioned above), I created something Christmas-y to send to my Christmas Exchange friend. Here's the deal, I consider myself to be creative. But I don't create regularly, so it leaves me with a lack of confidence. So I mulled over what I would make. (The gift had to be handmade.) I decided to recreate felt hand-stitched ornaments that I made in college. I also did a very simple calendar and found some cute chalkboard tags. I'm sending it out tomorrow. It's a week late, so I hope she's super gracious. And that she loves her exchange.

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