Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December 31st 2013

Hi, it’s Christina –

HAPPY NEW YEAR’S EVE! It’s hard to believe this is the last day of the year. Time just seems to spin by so quickly any more. This obviously will be the last post of the year, and considering this is the 240th blog entry and I started in April (and this was supposed to be a two week exercise), I don’t think I did half bad.

Today is going to be REALLY short and sweet. I have spent the past three hours on a marketing event, and I need to return to it. Then I have to run to the grocery store (I’m making cream of broccoli soup for tonight), the bank (surprise, surprise, I actually sold several books and need to deposit the money so it shows up in the right year), and I have to run to Staples because the printer is out of ink.

I hope you have a fantastic day, a safe evening, a blessed New Year, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

Another New Year’s Eve without Dick Clark…

“A one-a and a two-a…” The first New Year’s Eves I recall were with Lawrence Welk and his orchestra; the music, the dancing, and of course, my favorite, the bubbles. The show was considered dorky and uncool by everyone else my age, but I secretly loved it.

At some point, I can’t remember exactly when, this new guy named Dick Clark started appearing on my New Year’s Eve celebration; but it was cool, because I enjoyed watching him on American Bandstand. He played music kids my generation liked listening to and he had guest who didn’t look like they needed to be dusted off in order to appear on the show. So the tradition began and it just didn’t feel like New Year’s without Times Square and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.

Several years ago, Dick was nice enough to let another new guy in on his coveted show, Ryan Seacrest. It was nice of Dick to give this newbie some air time, but make no mistake, it was all Dick’s show with him in the booth “high above Times Square” and Ryan down amongst the crowd.

Then the unspeakable happened and our now beloved Dick Clark had a massive stroke and was unable to appear. Ryan took over in his place, but it just wasn’t the same. Miracle of miracles, news came out that Dick Clark would be well enough to co-host the celebration the following year. Our hopes were high. The anticipation grew. Then our hearts were momentarily broken when we saw what a devastating effect the stroke had on our much loved New Year’s Eve staple.

 (Ran out of time.)

Your Next Challenge is:

Go spend some quality time with your family and friends, and give someone you love a kiss at midnight.

You have all night. There is no right or wrong, just be honest. Love and friendship count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize or be mean for just this one night. Start your new year off on the right foot. Be safe and God bless. Go.

Monday, December 30, 2013

December 30th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

So yesterday’s “day of sloth” didn’t go exactly as planned, but considering the title I gave it, my goal was still accomplished. I did absolutely NOTHING all day. Instead of reading, I took a nap. Instead of straightening up, I watched an endless succession of Cinderella based movies with my youngest. Heck, I was so lazy yesterday, I didn’t even put forth the effort to eat dinner, but I figured a missed meal wouldn’t kill me. Actually, I could live off the fat of the land for several weeks without issue.

For obvious reasons, I cannot make a habit of this, but I think every once in a while, a completely (and intentionally) unproductive day is good for the soul. Today I feel energized and ready to tackle a rather lengthy list of chores. 
Several of the chores I have planned coincide with a few of my New Year’s resolutions. So how did you do with yesterday’s challenge? Were you able to come up with some goals for 2014 which you think you’ll be able to see through? Did you have a funny story about a previous year’s resolution? Do you think making New Year’s resolutions is all a bunch of hooey because no one follows through?  
For the most part, I agree with the last question, but I think it is because we make our goals too broad, thereby making them easy to give up on. Example – “In 2014 I will lose weight.” You and probably everyone else, including me, have said this one. How many of you have actually succeeded? You start off strong for the first week, and then life gets in the way. It’s very disheartening when you fail, but honestly, with such a broad goal, you have set yourself up to fail. How about rephrasing your goal (yeah, you’ll see this one below – sue me). “I will lose ten pounds by _____. (insert date here).” Your goal is very specific – 10lbs – and you have a deadline to achieve said goal. Think you can do it? I know you can!

I hope you have a great day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

‘Tis the time of year for New Year’s Resolutions. You can either write your 2014 Resolutions, write about a time trying to keep a resolution, or anything else, but it has to do with either making or keeping a New Year’s Resolution.

I decided to take this challenge literally and write my New Year’s Resolutions as opposed to telling a story. I figure by putting my goals out there, I am kind of being held accountable for maintaining my goals.

1) I will redo my visual goal chart by January 31st. Remove the items I accomplished (my deadline on the last one was 12/31/2014) and add at least 4 new items.

2) I will lose ten pounds by my birthday.

3) No junk mail will enter the house. It will be sorted in the garage and only items which need to be addressed will enter our home.

4) The kitchen will be cleaned every night before I go to bed as opposed to first thing in the morning – I think waking up to a clean kitchen will set a better mood for my day.

5) While my coffee machine is warming up, I will throw in a load of laundry.

6) I will stretch or do some form of physical activity for fifteen minutes every day (when you are home writing, it is very easy to become inert).

7) I will spend 2 days a month preparing food for the entire month, so it can just go from freezer to either crock pot or oven.

Over the next few weeks, this list will undoubtedly grow, but I think this is a pretty good start. #3 is going to be hard to control because I’m not the only one who brings in the mail, but I am just so fed up with the clutter, I may combine #3 with #6 and make the trip to the mailbox part of my fifteen minutes of movement.

Did you notice I have resolutions as well as goals? You probably think they are the same or at least interchangeable terms, but for me, they are slightly different. Numbers 1 & 2 are technically goals – extremely specific which need to be accomplished by a set date and then they are done, complete, probably never to be revisited again; whereas 3 – 7 will be ongoing lifestyle changes – I have “resolved” to change my life in this way. I probably should have made the challenge what are your goals for 2014, because chances are, that’s what you probably thought of anyway.

Oh well, goals or resolutions, either has you moving forward, so they are both a good thing.

Your Next Challenge is:

Another New Year’s Eve without Dick Clark…

You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

December 29th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Happy Sunday! It is a cold and wet dreary day in NJ, but at least it’s not snowing! I guess we’re paying for the 60° and sunny day we had yesterday.

Yesterday’s memorial service was very nice. Steve and several other folks said a little something about Steve’s mom, and then Steve’s ten year old daughter attempted giving a speech, but couldn’t get through it. Bless her heart! She had the whole room in tears. Even at only ten, you could tell what an amazing woman the child will become when she grows up.

After the memorial service, my husband and I went to visit two of his favorite clients; two brothers who live about ten minutes apart from each other. They called before Christmas to tell my husband he had to stop over because Santa had left something for him. I had been hearing about these folks for years, so I insisted coming with him so I could meet them. Let me just say, my husband’s stories did not do these folks justice. I absolutely LOVE both couples! We spent about an hour and a half with one brother and then another hour with the other.

We would have probably stayed longer, but the girls were back from Great Wolf Lodge and we needed to go pick them up from their aunt’s house. They had a blast and said it was the best Christmas present ever. 
(In the photo: Holly, Lys, Grace, Dani, & Max)


Today is going to be a lazy day. All I plan on doing is straightening up a little, throwing a load of laundry in, and then curling up with a book (well, as much as I can curl up with a computer, because that’s where the book is). My friend Linda Rawlins sent me the next book in her series, and I have been chomping at the bit, but with the holidays, I just haven’t had time. Then, as soon as I finish that one, my other friend, Dorothy May Mercer, sent me her new one too. (I’m not playing favorites – Linda sent me hers about half an hour before Dorothy, so I thought it only fair to read in the order received.) I’m sure I’ll be posting review and information on the books in the next few days.

Okay, I’m off for my day of sloth. I hope you have a wonderful day, and happy writing!


Your Last Challenge was:

You are straightening up the presents under your Christmas tree when you find one last wrapped gift. There is no tag on the package, and you do not recognize the wrapping paper.


“What’s this?”

Gary bent down the edge of the newspaper and peered over the rim of his glasses. “A Christmas present,” he stated dismissively and went back to reading his morning paper.

“I realize that, but where did it come from? Who’s it for?”

“What’s the tag say?” Gary asked without even bothering to look up.

“Do you think, if there was a tag, I would have asked you if you knew who the gift was for?” Gina snapped. “Seriously, can you get your nose out of the paper for two minutes and take a look at this?”

With a heavy sigh, Gary folded his paper, laid it on the coffee table and placed his reading glasses on top of it, then held out his hand. “I won’t get any peace anyway until I do, so let me have it.” Gina placed the box into his hand, and Gary studied it.

“Don’t shake it!” Gina screeched. “What if it’s breakable!”

Gary handed the box back to Gina. “Oh for Heaven’s sake, just open the damned thing already.”


Your Next Challenge is:

‘Tis the time of year for New Year’s Resolutions. You can either write your 2014 Resolutions, write about a time trying to keep a resolution, or anything else, but it has to do with either making or keeping a New Year’s Resolution.


You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

December 28th

Hi, it’s Christina –

I’ve been up for four hours already, but I just didn’t have the energy to do the blog. Yesterday’s sore throat calmed down considerably, but I’m still feeling blah. I need to snap out of it though because I have a memorial service to attend at one. A friend’s mom passed away several days ago, and they are having the service for her today.

When he sent me the email telling me about what happened to his mom, I asked him if what he sent was a story he was working on (he’s a writer and I review his work from time to time), but he said no, it was all true. I was shocked. Here is an excerpt of what he wrote:

I received a call from my mother’s neighbor that she had been gone for at least 7 days. I called friends and neighbors who didn’t know where she was. I spent the day in her house where hundreds of fruit flies swarmed over rotting fruit and searched for clues with the police. They looked for witnesses, ran APBs, tried to ping her car, filed for financial record warrants, discussed DNA and much more. At the end of the day the police informed me that she was taken to a trauma center 9 days earlier after being struck by a car. It was not a local hospital that I thought of calling, and her brain damage prevented her from getting in touch with family and friends.”

The whole situation was a total disaster – the hospital where she was taken never bothered notifying next of kin, however they did manage to have the bill for the TV in her room charged directly to her home cable bill (so it’s not like she was a “Jane Doe”). I won’t go into details, but I think the attorneys are going to have a field day with this one – I’m talking smack yourself in the forehead over the stupidity. Why is it that common sense seems to be in such short supply these days?

Since I am still feeling kinda icky, I think I’ll hold off on the writing challenge until tomorrow. So go enjoy your Saturday!

Friday, December 27, 2013

December 27th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

I have come to the conclusion that having an abundance of baked goods in my house is not a good thing. I have absolutely NO willpower!! But all the things took a lot of effort and time to make, plus they are really yummy, so it would be a sin to let them go to waste, right? I have decided to wrap up ¼ of the crumb cake and stick it in the freezer, but I’m not sure if the nut rolls would freeze well, and I’m pretty sure the cookies and the Christmas bread wouldn’t, so… Perhaps if I just counter with some fresh fruit and veggies… lol.

I forgot to tell you a cute story yesterday. Every year we end our Christmas day with dinner at my sister-in-law Cindy & brother-in-law Frank’s house, then go over to my in-laws where all the grandkids open their gifts from Grandma & Grandpa. So we were at Cindy & Frank’s, and my 23 year old son and my 15 year old nephew are chasing each other around with these Nerf type guns my ten year old niece Holly got for Christmas.
We are all ducking for cover to avoid being hit in the cross-fire, and Holly grabs my hand and pulls me into the hall so I don’t get beaned by flying bullets. We get into the hallway and she stops me and points up. I look up and noticed we stopped under a ball of mistletoe. So I laugh and give her a big kiss on the cheek. I thought it was the sweetest thing that she wanted a kiss from Aunt Chris.  That small gesture really made my night and I wanted to share it with you.

Last night Dani decided she wanted to see exactly what she got for Christmas. So she goes and gets a blanket and lays it on the living room floor. Then she proceeds to place EVERY gift she received (from us and everyone else) on to the blanket, and then takes a picture of her haul. That is the only way to describe it, a “haul”. Almost the entire blanket was covered with stuff, and this was the Christmas where we “seriously cut back”.
Perhaps if one of the kids had done this same exercise when we did Christmas in full swing, we would have cut back years ago. I’ll admit, I was feeling guilty, because money was tight this year and my Christmas budget was about 1/3 of what it used to be; but then I saw Dani’s display, and now I’m not feeling so guilty anymore. I am feeling a little silly that it took me this long to realize how overboard we used to go on Christmas.

So the girls will be up shortly packing for their trip to Great Wolf Lodge. It was their Christmas gift from their aunt and uncle. They are leaving at noon and won’t be back until late tomorrow night. What a perfect gift! It doesn’t take up any space, and the girls get something much more important than a soon to be forgotten “thing”. They are having bonding time with their cousins and making a memory they will have forever.

Okay, I didn’t get much accomplished yesterday, so I really need to get some work done around the house today. I hope you a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Oops, almost forgot. Jason sent over the pictures from his phone. Take a look at this handsome group.



Your Last Challenge was:  

Write a story containing the following three words: brush, mirror, shadow.

Katie sat down at her vanity table, removed the pins from her hair, grabbed her brush, and began raking it through her long tresses.

“Could tonight have gone any worse?” She asked her reflection in the mirror. “I have never experienced such a string of disasters. If I didn’t know better, I would think someone had purposely set out to sabotage the event.” She laid her brush down and scowled at her reflection. “What if someone did?”

“Meow!” was the only warning Katie received before her cat pounced onto her lap.

“Oh. Hey there Shadow. So what’ your opinion? Do you think someone purposely caused the food table to collapse, or the ice sculpture to topple, or the power to go out?”

“Mee Oww!”

“You’re right. You add those to the teleprompter acting up and the weird music starting to play, it’s just too much to be a coincidence. But who would have wanted to ruin the charity event? It doesn’t make any sense.”

Your Next Challenge is:

You are straightening up the presents under your Christmas tree when you find one last wrapped gift. There is no tag on the package, and you do not recognize the wrapping paper.

You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

December 26th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Happy Boxing Day! So have any of you actually received a gift from your employer today or has that tradition completely gone by the wayside? Since I’m from the US, we don’t celebrate Boxing Day. But because I write historical fiction, I’m pretty good on what went on two hundred years ago; however, I’m a little foggy on the modern traditions. If any of you would like to chime in on your Boxing Day traditions, I would love to hear about them.

Perhaps next year I should run my book promo through December 26th. What do you think? Would a book be an appropriate gift to give/receive on Boxing Day? This year’s promo went well. There were over 400 people who took me up on my free book offer for Taking Chances, and seven of those folks also downloaded A Second Chance as well. Now if just 2% of them would post a review, I’d be over the moon.

My Twitter account is buzzing again. I have eighteen new followers in the past few days. I really wish I could figure out what causes these spikes in followers so I could continue to cause them, but I still haven’t a clue.

Although I am very happy I did not wake up at 4:30 again this morning, I was still up at 6:30, and after a second late night in a row, I am seriously dragging this morning. Since the girls are spending the day with their cousins, I think I will straighten up the kitchen, throw in a load of laundry, and then settle down for a long winter’s nap. I can tell I’m getting run down, so if I want to avoid getting sick, I think a day of rest is in good order.

On that note, I shall bid you a fond farewell until tomorrow. Wish you a glorious day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

Okay, I have been pondering this photo since I posted it as a challenge four days ago; and to be honest, I still have no clue what this creature is, but I have narrowed it down to three possibilities. Because of the nose and mouth, I thought it might be a cat, but then, although they are not really long, the ears made me think it could be some type of bunny. As an afterthought, I thought it could be a camera trick and the animal is not really as large as it appears, so maybe it is some type of guinea pig.

The intent of this challenge was to give you a photo of some real, but unusual, animal and for you to make up a story about a unique pet you have or gift you gave/received, something, and I was going to do the same; but I got so distracted by trying to figure out what this thing is, I can’t even think of a story to tell. So if any of you out there has a clue as to what this thing is, please enlighten me.

Your Next Challenge is:

 Write a story containing the following three words: brush, mirror, shadow.

You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

December 25th

Hi it’s Christina –

Merry Christmas to all! There won’t be a writing challenge again today, because I am functioning on about three hours of sleep. By the time everyone left last night and I got everything ready for this morning, I didn’t fall asleep until after 1:00, and then my internal clock had me up at 4:30. It’s going to be a very long day, but for once I really don’t mind. Hopefully I’ll be able to sleep in tomorrow.

Christmas Eve service at our church last night was beautiful. It was nice having my oldest daughter singing with me in the choir. I did have one strange thing happen though. In our first song, the last note we had to hold out a high “G”. We had an “E” to a “G”, then took a breath and back to the “G” for twelve beats. I took a breath, opened my mouth, and nothing came out. Thankfully I was only one of three on the note, so hopefully no one noticed. After, I was still able to sing the rest of our songs, but I wasn’t able to project very well. I think I may be coming down with a cold or something.

My son, his girlfriend Alex, and one of his best friends Jason, were at the house when we came home. They had gone to Alex’s church this year instead of coming to ours. It was strange not having them at our church, but I’m going to have to learn how to share holidays. At least I still got to see them on Christmas Eve.

 Ages ago, my husband’s parents started a tradition of Christmas jammies for the grandkids, which they receive on Christmas Eve every year. For the second year in a row, the tops for the jammies have had funny expressions on them. The girls’ (there are four granddaughters) shirts read, “Joke’s on you Santa, I wanted coal”, and the boys’ (two grandsons) shirts read, “Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas are the phone #’s of the girls on the naughty list”. Needless to say, the shirts caused more than a few chuckles.

Even though I charged my camera battery for a couple of hours before I needed it last night, after only a few pictures, my camera died. I plugged it back in and let it charge overnight, so hopefully I will have better results today. The pictures posted are the few I managed to get before the camera pooped out. When Jason wakes up, hopefully he'll email me the pictures I took on his phone. I got a really cute one of all five kids.
Everyone will be gathering here at ten, so I need to finish getting ready. I need to run the dishwasher again with all the stuff that didn’t fit from last night’s dinner, then slice and plate all the bread, nut roll, crumb cake, and cookies. Our friends are bringing frittata, and my mom is bringing an egg and sausage casserole, so I don’t have any hot dishes to make this year. YEAH!

Okay, I had best get going. I wish you all a blessed day, and the writing can wait until tomorrow! Go enjoy your family!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

December 24th

Rushing around, my heart all a flutter
Cooking and baking, dang where’d I put the butter?

The house is a shambles, I am in distress
I seriously don’t have time to deal with this mess!

The cats and dog are wrestling, there’s dust bunnies galore
And the list is getting longer of what I forgot from the store

I’m starting to stress, I’m beginning to twitch
But because of the season, I refuse to be a *****

In a few short hours, everyone will be gathering here
And I just know I won’t be ready…this is my fear

The kitchen needs cleaning, the vacuum needs to be run
Oh how I long for the days when holidays were fun

The house is now stirring, the kids are alive
With a “Hi Mom” and a kiss, reinforcements have arrived

Suddenly there’s  laughing and singing, one kid’s baking, one kid’s cleaning
Can I finally breathe, or am I dreaming?

No, it’s real, and my turmoil can now cease
Just having my babies home puts my heart at peace

They are my reminder of what this holiday should be
A time for love, and for faith, and for family

Wishing you all of the blessings of the holiday, from our family to yours…

Monday, December 23, 2013

December 23rd Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Been up for over three hours and I’m just starting my blog now. I REALLY can’t afford for it to be one of THOSE days. I didn’t sleep well last night. Believe it or not, I think it was because it was too warm. The heat is set at 68, but it is 78 in our house. What I should have done was open the windows, but I was too lazy to put up the storm window and pull down the screen. I looked at the weather report and it’s supposed to be back in the 20s by tonight, so it really wasn’t worth the effort. I do wonder about the accuracy of the weather report though. It says our high today is supposed to be 57, but then it reports the current temp as being 58. You’d think they would want to adjust that… I’m just sayin’…

Anyway, all I have left to wrap are the three presents I can’t find. I’m starting to get really bummed about it, because I was looking forward to seeing the girls reactions to the Monty books. The preserves for my mom would have gleaned us a chuckle, but I think the little ones would have loved their books. Well, I have about 50 hours left to find them, and I haven’t given up hope just yet.

My girls made gingerbread houses yesterday. We had a kit left over from last year which was never touched (since no one was planning on eating it anyway, I didn’t see the harm in using it), and my mom got us one for this year, so the girls spent all afternoon making them. If I can find my phone, I’ll take a picture to show you. I think they did a great job. The two houses are so different. Dani, my youngest, made her house whimsical with lots of colors and even a little Hershey kiss dude; and Lys made hers more elegant, using only red and white, and detailed scroll work.  Two completely different takes, yet both exactly how you would picture a gingerbread house. (Just found my phone, but it’s completely dead. I’ll post the photos later.)

Today we need to run around a bit. We have things to pick up at the grocery store, at Michael‘s, and while we’re there I have to run into BB&B for coffee filters – my Shoprite still hasn’t gotten them in stock, and then I have something to return to Kohl’s. We also need to fit the chiropractor into the mix, get the congo bars and the crumb cake baked, straighten the house, figure out dinner tonight as well as what I’m making for Christmas eve and Christmas brunch, find the remaining three gifts and get them wrapped. DANG, when you write it all out, I still have a TON to do. YIKES! I better get going.

Wish you a marvelous day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

Just smile and say thank you.

Come on, you know you’ll need to do it at least once this season. If you just smile and say thank you, it gets you out of having to lie. Hopefully your “thank you” won’t be followed by “Do you like it?”, then you’re stuck. Do you spare the gift giver’s feelings and say you love it, or do you tell the truth?

I remember the very first time I was put into this situation. I was three or four and a relative got me a doll, a scary looking doll. When she asked me if I liked it, I told her “no thank you, please take it back”, to which I received a spank from my mother and told I was being rude and ungrateful. Yup, over forty years later, I still remember the incident quite clearly. Lesson taught to a toddler – lie to avoid getting spanked.

In an effort not to repeat that fateful day, I have played with some pretty horrific toys and worn some hideous clothes in my time (of course only when the gift giver is around to see). I simply smile and say thank you when I receive a gift.

I did come up with a better approach with my children, I forewarned them so they weren’t caught off guard, and had their smiles at the ready – now you know Aunt Bitsy will probably knit you something, just thank her and put it on. You can take it off as soon as you get home and stuff it in a drawer. We don’t really have an Aunt Bitsy, but you get my meaning.

Your Next Challenge is:



You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

December 22nd

Hi, it’s Christina –

Good Morning! There won’t be a writing challenge today folks, because, quite frankly I’m too tired to come up with a new challenge. We didn’t get home from my husband’s Christmas party until midnight, and I am seriously dragging this morning.

Yesterday’s bread making went well, but it almost didn’t. Remember I said for the bread to come out right, the weather conditions needed to be ideal and how, even when they are, because there is no recipe, I still mess it up sometimes? Well yesterday I had everything churning in the Kitchen-aid when I hear this little voice in the back of my brain say “yistaw” which in Slovak means eggs. I look around and sure enough, there on the counter and not in the mixing bowl are the five egg yolks waiting to be put into the batter. In went the eggs, and the bread was saved. Thank you Baba!!

So, after seven hours of work, I ended up with six crustanik (nut rolls) and one Cratchunik (Christmas bread).


The one cut in the picture didn’t pop, I just had it too close to the one next to it in the pan and they baked together. It wouldn’t have been Christmas if they had all come out perfect. LOL

My girls slept over their brother’s house on Friday night. When he and his girlfriend brought them home yesterday, and they walked into the house, my son’s said, “It didn’t feel like Christmas until I walked in here. Now it smells like Christmas.”

I so get what he means. I remember my first Christmas in my own place. Money was really tight, and all the extra, I spent on getting gifts for my family and friends. I had nothing left to get a Christmas tree or any decorations for my apartment. I figured I was never home anyway with going to school and working two jobs, so what difference did it make. Yeah, I was putting on a brave front; one which my boyfriend (now husband) saw right through.

A few days before Christmas, I come home from work, flip on the switch for the living room light, and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a completely decorated tree filled with love and holiday cheer. While I was at work, he got a tree and lights and set them up and then went and got all of my ornaments from my mother’s house, plus some other Christmas decorations she gave him, and he decorated my apartment for me. It was the best gift EVER!

Okay, I only have a few minutes to get ready for church, so I’ve got to boogie. Hope you have a wonderful day, and happy writing!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

December 21st Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Good Morning! 95 presents wrapped, and around fifty more to go. Before you all think I go completely overboard, let me say, we wrap all the stocking stuffers as well – so that means even the 3/$1 packets of flavored hot cocoa the kids are getting in their stocking, get wrapped individually. Even though I hate to wrap, I know how much fun it is to unwrap a gift, so we wrap EVERYTHING.

I should have wrapped 96 gifts yesterday, but somehow between Thursday night and Friday morning, I lost the box of jumbo muffin liners which were supposed to go in Lys’ stocking. They were sitting on the kitchen table and then they were gone. I asked the folks who were at the cookie exchange if they put them in their bag by mistake when they were packing up, but they said no. It’s a mystery.

Now I need to remember to pick up another pack of muffin liners when I’m out shopping or the stockings won’t be even. Here’s where you will think I am crazy, but it’s just the way I have always done it. Each of my children has EXACTLY the same amount of gifts to open, and I can usually get the value of said gifts within $5 of each other. This year I did really well and got the gifts within $1. Granted it does take a little finagling – one kid might have each $0.33 hot cocoa wrapped separately and one might have either two or three of them wrapped together to make my numbers even.

This year each of my kids, including my son’s girlfriend, will have nineteen stocking stuffers to unwrap. It’s funny, I have been doing this for so long, I don’t even count while I’m shopping. There’s no way I possibly could since I literally shop all year, picking up little things here and there. Yet when I finally get downstairs and sort everything out, the gifts are usually pretty even (and when they’re not, it’s because I have forgotten where I hid a gift).

So do you think I’m certifiable? What holiday quirk do you have? What one thing has you worried about the men in white coats carrying the butterfly nets coming to get you?

Today, since it is supposed to be sunny and in the sixties, I will be baking the Christmas bread. In order to do it, I will need to channel my Baba’s spirit, because every year something doesn’t go quite right with the bread. It’s usually the weather which interferes – if it is raining, snowing or too cold, the bread won’t rise properly. Last year we had a day much like today, where the weather was perfect, so the bread should have come out perfect. Well it didn’t. Wanna know why? Because dingy me forgot to add the sugar. I’m still kicking myself over it. In my defense, there is no exact measuring or even a written recipe for the bread. Well today I have the opportunity to redeem myself. I have ideal weather conditions and I intend to lay all the ingredients I need out on the counter BEFORE I start the process. Wish me luck!

I hope you have a wonderful day and happy writing!


Your Last Challenge was:

You are sent back to earth as one of the seven deadly sins in human form. You can pick whichever sin you would like, but you must describe yourself without actually saying which sin you are – let us try and figure it out.

So this is the punishment for a less than stellar life is it? Well I’ll show them! I don’t need their help or approval; I can do this all on my own. I’ll just go and find everyone on this Earth who was far worse than I ever was. That’ll show them.

But wait. If I do what I was instructed to do, wouldn’t that damn me to just more of the same? Seal my fate for all eternity? What if I still find those people, but instead of egging them on, I show them the error of their ways? No, I couldn’t simply show them, because then they wouldn’t learn anything. I need to make them realize what they are doing and let them want to change themselves.

Hah, if I can accomplish that, it would thwart the master plan. The soul quota would seriously be under met, for I can only approach the folks suffering from the same sin as I had when I was alive, but it is a start. I wonder if I have the ability to find my six counterparts. If I could enlist their help, we could obliterate the plan altogether.

So who was I?

Your Next Challenge is:

Just smile and say thank you.


You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.