2010: year in review

January 2010
- 2nd homecoming at PCA
- Turned 25

February 2010
- Mom&Dad and the girls came to visit.
- Doug's grandpa passed away & we went to Missouri for the funeral.

March 2010
- I organized my 1st field trip.
- Victoria had a baby: Colden David!
- Cut bangs again.

April 2010
- Hosted Easter dinner for the Parton family.
- Went on a road trip to N. Dakota to visit Robert.

May 2010
- Chaperoned & took pictures at prom.
- Started looking at houses.
- Doug's grandma passed away.

June 2010
- Finished my 2nd year at PCA.
- Hosted a baby shower for Debbie, despite having no power!
- A former student committed suicide.
- Completed 3rd annual jamming tradition with Victoria.
- We bought a house!

July 2010
- Visited my grandparents' farm.
- Went back to Jamaica for our 2nd mission trip.
- My grandpa passed away.
- My cousin Alex passed away.
- Dad Parton & Elizabeth came to visit with their foster child.

August 2010
- I went back to Africa.
- We closed on our house!
- Robert moved back home!
- Alan & Guin got married.
- Sara & Dave moved to Chicago.
- Debbie had a baby: Lincoln Kress!

September 2010
- I started my 3rd year at PCA.
- We visited Dad Parton & Elizabeth at their new house in Indiana.
- My grandparents celebrated 70 years of marriage!

October 2010
- I became mildly obsessed with baking cupcakes.
- Doug & I took a mini vacation to NYC/NJ to visit friends & family.

November 2010
- My parents & the girls came to visit our house! & we went to Frankenmuth for the first time.
- We had a housewarming party.
- We hosted Thanksgiving for the Parton family. I made my first turkey.

December 2010
- We hosted the 3rd annual C.S. Lewis party.
- Doug turned 28 & we visited Dave & Sara in Chicago to celebrate.
- We hosted Christmas dinner for the Parton family.


christmas morning

Merry Christmas.
the Partons


33 days of hope, pt. 2

A recent 33 Days of Hope email from World Orphans highlighted Moses. Here's an excerpt:

"Before his birth, Moses was already an outcast to his family in Nairobi, Kenya. Because he was conceived by an incestuous relationship between siblings, Moses' mother was faced with a difficult decision. If she agreed to abort her child, she could remain with the family, but if not, she and her child would be disowned. Moses' mother decided to go ahead with the birth, but after a short time, she realized she could not care for him. Moses' mother took him to Fountain of Life, where he has a loving family. After seven years at Fountain of Life, Moses attends school, loves to dance, sing and play soccer. His brightsmile brings joy to his family and his fun personality keeps them all entertained."

World Orphans partners with churches in 14 countries, helping thousands of children. Help give hope to these children with just $33/month.


a culinary christmas!

The Christmas season involves a lot of food. There are a lot of get-togethers & parties, which require even more food. Over the past few weeks, I have done a lot of cooking! Most of these endeavors have been successes, but there have been some interesting moments along the way as well.

- Our 3rd?4th? annual C.S. Lewis Party (a.k.a. college buddy reunion) was at the beginning of December. I made my mom's cocktail meatballs (amazing), chicken bites with honey-mustard sauce, and of course, chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes.
Here's a pic of the gang - minus Heather! We missed you!
- Our staff Christmas party was the next evening, and as I wrote about before, I made "Ford Cupcakes" for the "Michigan-Made" theme (click the link for a picture, too).

- Some people at our church got together to wrap gifts for our food pantry, and we decided we needed some desserts for that gathering as well. So, I made MY FIRST CHEESECAKE! And I didn't even document it with a photograph! I know, what the heck was I thinking? Anyway, I made Annie's Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake and it was pretty much awesome. I did not use any pecans, because I wanted my husband to be able to enjoy it, but I can only imagine how wonderful they would be with this. Doug said it was one of his favorite desserts that I've ever made... and friends, I make a lot of desserts.

- For the same gathering, I made Oreo Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies (also by Annie). Didn't take a pic of these either. Um, they tasted great. But... I did not cook them long enough. So only the edges were able to be served... and the rest could have been eaten with a spoon. Whoops.

- Monday we had a snow day! That has nothing to do with cooking, but needs to be documented.

- Monday evening was my junior girls' small group Christmas party. We usually get pizza, but we decided to do a potluck meal this year. I made Giada's chicken parmesan and it turned out really well. For dessert, I made Snickers Cupcakes with Chocolate Mousse Filling - with a couple of modifications. First of all, I didn't have chocolate cake mix, so I used vanilla. But I didn't have any instant vanilla pudding, so I used butterscotch, which was a fun flavor twist. They were really good! But sweet mercy, they were so rich. I can only imagine what the chocolate cake/chocolate pudding addition would have done to intensify that decadence! Yikes.

- Last night we had some of Doug's friends from high school over for dinner. I made Apricot-Ginger Pork, which I haven't made since Christmas 20o8. I have no idea where the recipe came from, so I'll just give all the credit to my dear friend Sara (if you click that link, give her a hard time because she hasn't updated her blog in a ridiculously long time). I LOVE this recipe. Thankfully there is a lot of leftover sauce, so I'll be making it again before 2 years go by.

- For dessert last night, I made Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake (Annie's!). SWEET BLISS. Doug may like the pumpkin cheesecake, but this confectionary delight is right up my alley. Annie's recipe calls for instant espresso powder - I used a little of Starbucks' VIA (caramel & vanilla) mixed with some finely ground instant coffee and it was awesome.

- Tomorrow night is our small group Christmas Cookie Bake-a-thon. I am going to make Annie's Candy Cake Biscotti.

- We are hosting Christmas for the Partons here this year, so I need to start planning that menu too! Hooray for holiday foods!


my dream...

Radvent Day 11: Dreaming...

What is your personal dream?

My biggest dream is to glorify God with my life... and to hopefully do that through being a Christ-like wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, etc. I've always been a little hesitant to say my dreams out loud. In college, the desire to be a wife and mother wasn't quite lofty enough. Now? I'm afraid that my life will turn out differently than I hope. Or that people will think I'm settling. Or that I'll get too fixated and not be open to God's leading.

All that being said, what I'd really like to do? Is buy the house across the street from my parents & raise a family there.

There. I said it.

There are a lot of other little dreams & goals, but that is the one.


33 days of hope

World Orphans has a project called 33 Days of Hope, in which they are trying to get 300 families to donate $33 per month to support orphans. Each day they send an email to their mailing list with a different story about one of their kids across the globe. Today's email was about Martin. Here's an excerpt.

Martin hopes to use his love for math to become an engineer. His dream is to help build airplanes... But Martin, like the 47 other boys at the Fountain of Life children's home in Kenya, did not always have hope for his future. Martin grew up in the slums of Nairobi. As a child on the streets, he learned to beg, scavenge and even steal for food. Without a family to care for him, Martin had little reason to consider his life valuable until he met the pastor at Fountain of Life. Now Martin has a home, a family, education, consistent emotional support and dreams for his future.
This season, as we enjoy the comforts of our homes and family, let's give just a little so that projects like Fountain of Life can continue to impact children around the world.

Click here to donate to 33 Days of Hope.

Martin, on our 2009 trip.


creative inspiration

Radvent Day 8: Creativity!

Have you ever astonished yourself by what you created? What did you learn from it?

I like to think of myself as a crafty person, yet I'm constantly surprised when something turns out well... mostly because I have so many incidents like this. But I do love all sorts of crafts & baking experiments & what not. Here are some...
-Our staff holiday party was "Michigan Made" - so I made Ford cupcakes.
-I made cafe curtains out of a shower curtain.
-For baby Lincoln, I made felt appliques for onesies.
-I've baked some other goodies as well.
-For baby Colden, I made jungle finger puppets.

Yes, I like to be crafty!

Radvent Day 9: Inspiration!

What inspires you?

(Could it be? Am I actually up to date for the moment?)
I decided to put a little spin on this and share some things that inspire me.

-Design*Sponge: I.am.obsessed. with this blog! I'm so impressed by people who are wonderful with design & color & crafts & refurbishing & what not.

-Annies-Eats: Amazing recipes. Beautiful pictures. Delicious results. In addition - this woman is a doctor & a mother?? How does anyone do this?!

-Jalexander Photography: Yeah, he's my cousin-in-law. No big deal. Justin is a phenomenal photographer & I often find myself perusing his work in awe. It helps that he has a hott model (& a new adorable mini model!) to work with.

-Homemade by Jill: This girl is ridiculous. I'm beyond jealous. The things she creates out of felt are out of control. Like this.

-Less Ordinary Designs: Sara Luke's custom-made cards. She's awesome & I really want to learn how to do this stuff!

-Carl Kleiner: this guy is sweet.

- Beneath This Starry Spinning: Okay, so I'm a little biased. But just because Victoria is one of my best friends, doesn't mean she's not amazing. Her home decor is wonderful, her poems are adorable, her food is delicious... she's just awesome.

-World Orphans: What a remarkable organization & a beautiful picture of what Christ has done for us.


make believe

Radvent Day 6: Adventuring!

Abandon your to-do list and go somewhere else. Somewhere new. Somewhere you have wanted to explore. Bring a camera and take a picture to celebrate the moment when you abandoned anxiety and insecurity, embraced imagination and opportunity, and let life unfold.

I'm barely able to keep up with this Radvent project, so I'm still putting this one on hold. I know, I know - I'm defeating the purpose of the adventure! I keep wanting to venture over to the Canton Library, and I still haven't even been there! If that's not pathetic for an English teacher to admit, I don't know what is (other than the fact that I don't like Wuthering Heights... another thing I don't think I'm supposed to admit as an English teacher!). Some awesome adventures I've had this year: road trip to North Dakota, Jamaica, Africa, NYC/NJ, and of course, several trips to WNY. Plus, next weekend Doug & I are going to visit Sara & Dave in Chicago! So I've done a lot of adventuring this year... but I'll try to get to the library this month.

Radvent Day 7: Playing!

What were your favorite games as a child? What did you like to do with your classmates or the neighborhood kids?

Um, obviously I love this topic & have a ton of material from my childhood days. I loved playing cars & trucks and creating Lego kingdoms with my brothers. I played house with my fair share of Barbies and dolls. I forced my little siblings into hours of "school". However, some of my fondest memories involve the slew of make-believe games my cousins and I played every time we got together, the most beloved of which was...

Run Away From the Orphanage, a.k.a Uncle Sam
In this charming game, all of us were oppressed, parent-less young women who were stuck at a horrendous, cruel orphanage, run by the tyrant Ms. Hannigan (hm, sound familiar?), most often set in Grandma's basement. We were fortunately able, by some series of events, to escape, running to the wild, unknown territory surrounding the orphanage (Dad's apple orchard or the hay mow). The details here get a little fuzzy, but somehow we'd end up captured by a group of rough but incredibly handsome men. They forced us to work as their maids, but of course, there were a few of them who had kind hearts and took pity on us poor girls. Eventually these men, whose names, incidentally, were the same as our elementary-school crushes, declared their undying love for us, helped us escape and reach our only living relative, our fabulously wealthy, generous and loving Uncle Sam. Then we all had a combined wedding and lived happily ever after.

Man, we were awesome.


2010 soundtrack

Radvent Day 4: Rocking Out

Write down the soundtrack of your year so far. Play it for someone who loves you.

I adore playlists & soundtracks & mixes!

My 2010 Soundtrack... alphabetically.

1. Andrew Bird "Fiery Crash" - love this live version. Absolutely love this man's music.
2. Avett Brothers "Kick Drum Heart" - saw these guys in March with my friend Vanessa & they've become one of my favorite artists to listen to while driving.
3. Black Eyed Peas "Imma Be" - many a dance has been done to this song. Plus, the robots dancing about halfway through the video is hysterical.
4. Elvis Costello "Pump It Up" - whoa! Throwback! Totally random, but I've been listening to this a bunch throughout the year.
5. Horse Feathers "Curs in the Weeds" - I shared this before, but I love these guys. Folksy & orchestral bliss.
6. Jonsi "Go Do" - Honestly, it's hard for me to pick one song off this album. I'm sharing a live version of this song because I'm obsessed with the piano in it.
7. Kayne West & Bon Iver "Lost in the World" - current favorite off Kanye's new album.
8. Mandi Mapes "I Already Know" - maybe the song that has meant the most to me in a long time. Beautiful voice, beautiful lyrics, beautiful message. The link is to the Brook Hills website - the song occurs about 14 minutes into the video, but it's worth your time to just watch the first 20 minutes.
9. Rachele Eve "Skydiving" - this is my friend's little sister & she's a terrific performer & has a phenomenal voice.
10. Regina Spektor "Two Birds" - typical Regina, so what's not to love?
11. The Swell Season "Two Tongues" - Doug got me this album for my birthday and I don't think I've taken it out of the cd player in my car since.
Hm, I feel like I should pick a 12th, since there are 12 months... but this post has already taken me two days to finish, soooo... I'm calling it quits at 11.


real life conversations, pt. 10

Radvent Day 4: Forgiveness

Practice forgiving about small, everyday things. Who and what are you ready to let go of resentment toward?

Me: Who's someone that I need to forgive? Who am I harboring bitterness toward?
Doug: *someone that rubs me the wrong way* ?
Me: Hm, I don't think I need to forgive her. She just annoys me.
Doug: What about *someone who said something offensive to me* ?
Me: I don't harbor bitterness toward her. I don't really care about her.
Doug: Well. This was an awesome exercise.

Clearly I've got some work to do in this arena.

First of all - - I know that there are far more people that I should ask for forgiveness, so I'm not trying to be hypocritical in this entry. I have hurt many people in my life - if I haven't asked you for forgiveness and there's something I've done to hurt you, please talk to me about it.

I forgive my former student who told me I'm not a good teacher.
I forgive people who speak without thinking and hurt my feelings.
I forgive my three best friends from freshman year of high school who consistently left me out.
I forgive my best friend from college who stopped hanging out with me after she got a boyfriend.
I forgive Ashley from my kindergarten class for tattling on me for talking while Mrs. Burgio was on the phone and subsequently making me miss 10 minutes of recess.
I forgive the boy who criticized my physical appearance and caused me to be plagued by insecurities for years.
I forgive the man who told me I was laid off from my first teaching job.
I forgive Zooey for chewing up the little apple & peach that Jayne carved for me.



I saw that my friend Erin is doing this project, and thought it sounded um, rad.

Radvent Day 1: Remembering

What were you doing five years ago today? As the holiday season began? Where were you? Who were you with? What did you want? What did you have?

Five years ago today, I was 20 years old and a junior at SAU. I was actually having a really difficult time staying at Spring Arbor - I had been friends with a lot of upperclassmen, including Doug, and they had all graduated. Plus, I had a really difficult summer and a lot of family stuff happened, so I just wanted to be near my family. About this time I would have been cramming for the end of the semester, I'm sure. I was planning on surprising Doug in Brooklyn for his birthday. I was living in a suite with my friends Kacie, Erin (different from the aforementioned) & Kate. I was probably hoping that Doug would propose at Christmas!

Radvent Day 2: Organizing

Focus on one drawer, table, or surface today and spend 15 minutes making it pretty! (And take a pretty picture afterward to motivate yourself!)

Well, I'm kind of cheating for this one. We put together our spare bedroom right before my family came to visit, but I didn't get a picture of it. However, we had friends spend the night last night, so I did wash the sheets & spruce up the room to prepare for them. So not totally cheating, right? Also ... the "comforter" was a sleeping bag... so I didn't post a full pic of the room, but when I finally get around to taking our comforter to the cleaners so we can put our quilt on the guest bed, I'll post another picture.

Radvent Day 3: Love Letter

Write a letter of love to yourself to read in one year.

Um. Hm. Not totally comfortable with the idea of writing a love letter to myself. I've written the "time capsule" letters a few times before, but a love letter is a little different. And I've never shared one publicly... sooo... here goes.

Hello... Self,

It's been a pretty great year! You haven't killed anyone, you haven't stolen anything, and - most importantly - you haven't broken any limbs or gotten any cavities. Solid.

School is, overall, going fairly well, despite the fact that you doubt your abilities almost daily; although, you do feel like you're communicating better in American Literature.

You're loving your house & making it homey for the holidays & having visitors.

You & Doug are pretty busy, but when you're able to spend significant amounts of time together, you have so much fun & your heart feels so full that sometimes you worry it might just explode.

All in all, you're so ridiculously blessed & need to remember that every single day. Have fun in 2011. And don't kill anyone.


Yay! Happy Advent season!


2010 mastheads

January 2010: a new hope
As it turns out, this is actually the name of Star Wars: Episode 4, but I honestly didn't know that when I made this. I was just voicing the way I feel at the beginning of each new year...

Februray 2010: a little more funk, a little less jive
I'm not really sure where this came from. The depths of my bizarre mind, I suppose.

March 2010: It's a party in the USA!
Yes, that's Miley Cyrus. You'd better click "unfollow".

April 2010: full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse
From "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot

May 2010: ya'll can't match my hustle
From "Spaceship" by Kanye West

June 2010: the pox of such antic, lisping, affecting fantasticoes
From a line by Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet

July 2010: out wandering the world...
Just an accurate summation of that particular month

August 2010: Do I dare disturb the universe?
Also from "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

September 2010: hide your kids, hide your wife
From the Antoine Dodson video that swept the web

October 2010: queen of the phonies
A line from The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Inspired by our school librarian, who questioned my faith because I encouraged students to read this novel.

November 2010: it's so intense
From the Youtube sensation, "double rainbow"

December 2010: making spirits bright!
From "Jingle Bells"!


why i love(?) teaching, exhibit b

Throughout the course of a day, I hear a lot of strange things and get asked a lot of weird questions. Kids are always awkward about the way they ask to use the bathroom. Many times girls will mumble something inaudible or give me a knowing look accompanied by a side glance at their purse. Boys often try to take a humorous approach: "May I go piddle?" or the classic "I've got to drop off some friends at the pool."

However, I have one student who I think is genuinely trying to be polite, but still wound up asking me, "Mrs. Parton - may I go take care of some excrement?"


six real quick

1. The good news is that I feel like my long weekend lasted for about 2 weeks. The bad news is that all my freshmen turned in papers today.

2. The best news is that there are only 3 weeks until Christmas break.

3. Why is my Christmas Wish List always so much more extensive than Doug's? Why are boys so hard to buy gifts for? And, why are all my thoughtful gift ideas for Doug so expensive? Furthermore, why is Doug's birthday the week before Christmas?

4. I told a student recently that I couldn't keep "spoon-feeding" him or he'll "get to college and starve". Today he told me he had finished two of four assigned essays and proudly announced, "Look at me feeding myself!"

5. Someone once told me (probably my mom): "Anyone can be cynical and complain. It takes character to deal with things positively." I am not very good at applying this principle to my life, but I really want to improve... In my small groups, we always share praises along with prayer requests - I need to make that a daily practice.

6. Today's praise: I felt genuinely rested and prepared to come back to school. My long weekend was amazingly relaxing and fun. Plus, I get to have dinner at Katy's tonight, and it's been a long time since we've hung out!


getting holly & jolly

this has maybe been one of the best weekends known to mankind. exaggeration? probably not.

this morning: freezing cold romp with zooey
afterward: coffee with peppermint mocha creamer
late morning: christmas tree! (while listening to christmas music, obviously!)
arrive home: homemade hot chocolate - WOW.
for lunch: butternut squash soup made from thanksgiving leftovers
afternoon: watch plymouth football play in the state finals at ford field & feel famous because 2 boys in our youth group are on tv. watch michigan lose to ohio state - boo. put up garlands - yay!
evening: get out ornaments & put lights on tree!
also, put tree skirt on zooey.

dinner: cheese, bacon & ranch quesadillas
after dinner: planned our countdown to christmas! - 25 things to do before christmas. update blog.
still to do this evening: make gingerbread ornaments.

have i mentioned yet that i'm so excited for christmas?



One more step toward adulthood: successfully cooked my first Thanksgiving turkey.


not even 10 minutes after the previous post...

Walked back into the kitchen after writing my previous post, went to put pumpkin pie in the fridge, didn't stop to think that it would disturb the balance of the cooling rack, sent buttermilk coconut pie plummeting to the ground.

Now, I know it's no use crying over spilled [butter]milk, but I did have the mini-est of meltdowns. I may have texted Doug just to say, "I just dropped a pie on the ground. I'm sitting on the kitchen floor crying." And then texted him 3 minutes later to say, "I'm better now."

The good news is that I got to steal a bite of the pie, and it tastes freaking awesome. So, yeah, I will be serving this disasterpiece tomorrow.

in the works...

Thanksgiving meal is one of my all-time faves. I love hearty food & you sure can't beat Thanksgiving for that! Also - it has come to my attention, ever so gently, that I forgot to list MY MOTHER as a source of help in my Thanksgiving meal planning. Sorry, Mom - you are definitely my number one go-to source for all things cooking!
My menu for tomorrow:
Turkey ala Alton Brown, pan gravy, regular ole mashed potatoes, homestyle green bean casserole, cranberry-apple stuffing, Mom's squash puff, buttermilk rolls, and cran-cherry salsa. For dessert: the classic pumpkin pie, buttermilk coconut pie and pecan pie.

One of my students was surprised today when she discovered that I'm cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my in-laws. She said something to the effect of not seeing me as "the Suzy Homemaker type." . . . Clearly my students know nothing about me.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!


recently i'm... (10)

Nervous About: this guy.
Have never made a real, whole turkey before. Thank goodness for Food Network & Alton Brown & the internet.

In the Middle Of: baking a pie for Doug's office party tomorrow. Buttermilk Coconut, to be exact. One of my personal favorites. Although, chances are good that if it's pie - it's one of my personal favorites.
sneaky self-portrait, too.

Annoyed With: I cut my thumb on an egg shell whilst baking said pie. Seriously?! Who cuts their finger open on an EGG? Anyway, I didn't even realize that I was bleeding until I went to yell at Zooey for barking incessantly, rubbed my fingers because they were wet, and realized I was smearing red all over. Of course, then I panicked, thinking I had bled all over this pie (um, hope none of Doug's co-workers know I have a blog). Thankfully, all ingredients were fine, but my towel had blood streaks all over it. You're welcome for that mental image, Internet.

Excited About: Other than Thanksgiving Day, NO PLANS this loooooong weekend! Maybe getting our Christmas tree?

Thinking: Can not WAIT to listen to Christmas music. And decorate for Christmas.

Reading: Still working on Scandalous, by D.A. Carson, about the power of the crucifixion and resurrection. Also still reading character diaries for The Crucible. Which were turned in weeks ago. I am a terrible teacher.

Watching & Listening To: I've watched & listened to the "Singing in the Rain/Umbrella" mash up from Glee last week way too many times... and still can't get enough.

Cooking: see picture above. Pretty pumped about my Thanksgiving menu. Minus the turkey. Although, if Doug can install a dishwasher by watching a DIY video, I can cook a stinking turkey.

Eating: Recently loving cilantro leaves in Caesar salad.

Missing: Becca - finally caught up last night. Hoping to see her & the other D.C. girls in March!

Wearing: walk-a-thon shirt

Heading Off: to check my pie...


piece de resistance

This past spring, Doug was part of the search committee for our new youth director at church. When the search committee had a choice they were fairly confident about, they decided to invite this individual and his wife to Michigan to undergo an intense "interview weekend". This consisted of this couple staying with a family at our church, sitting through an "informal" group Q&A session, working on construction the next morning at the CDC warehouse, attending a youth group party (giving a brief talk there and doing praise & worship), attending church, undergoing a "formal" panel interview with the search committee, and meeting with the current youth director. Phew. Thankfully for this candidate, he was hired.

All that to say - I was invited to the "informal" group Q&A session and asked to bring a dessert. Obviously my favorite kind of invitation.

It's safe to say that I am obsessed with Annie's Eats. So I headed to her blog right away to look for dessert options, where I stumbled across this bad boy: triple chocolate mousse cake.

The cake has, not surprisingly, three layers, 2 of which require some refrigeration - the middle layer needs at least 15 minutes while you're preparing the top layer, and the top layer needs about 2 hours. So I baked away, giving myself plenty of time for the top layer to set.

I got to the gathering, started to open my spring-form pan... and the top of the cake began to spread. Not good. After putting the cake in the freezer for about half an hour, the top layer still hadn't set, but was at least somewhat firm enough that I could get the pan off. Within 10 minutes, the top layer was sort of a gooey mess on top of the other 2 layers, but let. me. tell. you. That was a delicious gooey mess. Enough so that it was the only dessert gone at the end of the evening, despite its lack of visual appeal.

Well, last night we hosted a "Parton Place Party" - celebrating our new home with our friends. And I decided to tackle this decadent dessert again.
Ta-da! (To be on the safe side, I would modify Annie's recipe to a whole teaspoon of unflavored gelatin.)

Oh, I also made margarita cupcakes (modified from Annie's recipe) and cheesecake cupcakes (you guessed it, Annie's!).
Plus a bunch of other snacks.
What a fun evening! Plus, there's some of the triple chocolate cake left, so I know what I'm having for breakfast today.


auction abasement

My school has an annual auction fundraiser. Teachers are always encouraged to auction off, um, "themselves", so my dear friend & co-worker, Patti, and I decided to participate. We offered an "Evening of Christmas Cookies with Mrs. Parton & Mrs. Snyder".

We were quite surprised when we saw our item in the catalogue and noticed that we had a DIAMOND next to our item description - - indicating our estimated value of $200-$400. As Patti wrote in an email to me, "Apparently someone thought our baking skills are worth a lot! [...] We should open a bakery."

Well, at the close of the Silent Auction this evening, we had unfortunately fallen $150 shy of the mark, earning for our school only $50 (still 2x the amount of the starting bid, though).

So, for now I guess the bakery will have to wait.