Saturday, December 31, 2011

A few photos to share...

My bday!

Oh no he didn't!! Actually, he did. Hubby gave me a Kindle Fire!

New Year's Eve!

Sunset over the Pacific from Birch Aquarium
Does it get any more gorgeous than this?

Almost gone....
Scott's birthday dessert at Black Angus. Note the other spoon sneaking into the photo. LOL

I read 70 books this year!!!!

Holy cow, that's alotta books.

Looking back over the ever-lengthening list in the right-hand side bar, I have to say that I enjoyed most of the books, but only truly loved a couple.

What does it take for me to love a book? Truly amazing writing, unique and believable story line and characters that become real, honest-to-goodness people within the first two chapters.

While We're Far ApartHere's an example of great characterization: About half an hour ago, I finished reading While We're Far Apart by Lynn Austin. If I mention too many specifics right now, I'll give away something crucial, so forgive me for not being more verbose. But at one point, upon reading some wonderful news regarding a character, I actually said out loud, "Thank God!" Yes, I praised God for a fictional character. Now if that doesn't represent strong characterization, then I don't know what does.

Okay, so While We're Far Apart is definitely one of my favorites for the year. How else do you explain reading 416 pages in about 32 hours? (Not that it took me 32 straight hours to read it, mind you. I did have to sleep and all. LOL)

I also adore the Rather series by C.A. Belmond and had the pleasure of reading two of them for the first time this year.
Love, Ruby LavenderAs for children's books, one of my very favorites of all time is Love, Ruby Lavender. Seriously, how can you go wrong when the opening scene involves a daytime raid by a grandma and her nine year-old granddaughter on a nearby ranch to rescue three soon-to-be euthanized chickens? Talk about creativity in writing! I love it! (BTW, the author is Deborah Wiles.) Read all her books, you won't be sorry. In fact, you may end up joining me in a daytime raid on her house to demand more, more, more!!!

I just glanced back through my list of Books Read and don't see any others that I feel compelled to write about. So there. Just wait till I get my own novel published. Then all of you Delicious Readers will feel your own deep compulsion to write about how wonderful it is! ROFLOL!

Our 2011 ABC list...

If you've been reading Delicious as Pie for any length of time at all, you know that I inject creativity into just about everything I do. So when it comes to the annual Christmas letter, I can't just dash of a few paragraphs, can I?


Instead I write the D___ Family's ABCs of 2011 (or whatever year we happen to be finishing). Now I can't take complete credit for the ABC's. I have to get the family involved so that if anything significant is forgotten, it's not my fault alone! (LOL)

And so, Delicious Readers, here are the D___ family alphabetical highlights from 2011!!!

Awarded! Scott received 2 Hustle Awards and a Regional Outstanding Engineer Award
Bronze Award (Girl Scouts)—Emma made blankets for Project Linus to earn this award
Confirmed at church in May—Hayley
Disney the Dog (a sheepadoodle) is our newest family member
Emma made Honor Roll and ATC (Above the Crowd) in her first trimester of middle school!
Finding Truth is Kate’s first novel. She finished it in October and is now looking to publish it.
Girl Scouts! Hayley and Emma are both in a multi-level troop which Kate leads.
Hayley started high school this year and loves it! She, too, made the Honor Roll!
In July, Emma went to church camp for a week and Hayley went camping with friends.
      January found Kate in Chicago visiting two of her BFFs for a few days   
Kate manages the middle school student store
Long drive up north three times this year to spend time with Kate’s family to celebrate brother Will’s 40th, Matthew’s baptism and Thanksgiving
Music in the house—Hayley continues to delight us with her piano playing
November was National Novel Writers Month—Kate wrote 50K words and Hayley wrote 20K
Oh what joy to find a 100% hypoallergenic dog!
Presidential Award for Academic Excellence—Emma received this award last June
Quite the trip—Hayley spent 5 days in Philly, NYC and DC with her eighth grade class in April
Regarding said trip, Hayley raised almost $800 with her card-making business to help pay for it
Sea kayaking—Scott and Kate tried this in La Jolla Cove. So fun!
TV-Emma made her TV debut while singing with her school choir this year
Upgraded (for free) to the Presidential Suite at the Hollywood Marriott—3200 sq. feet of fancy!
Visitors: Barbara, Ken, Will, Gillian, Sophia, Melanie and Gabrielle
Wicked—Hayley saw her first Broadway show in NYC
    Xciting that Disney graduated from Puppy Training 1! (And he, too, made the Honor Roll(over)!(Hahahaha!)
     Year’s favorite book (according to Kate): Love, Ruby Lavender
     Zowie! We saved thousands of dollars this year by couponing



Can't believe the year is turning over already. Did it just do that like two months ago? LOL

I hope all of you have a deliciously safe, happy and productive 2012!

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Girl Scouts ROCK!

I am so gosh-darned proud of my Girl Scout troop!

Last week, my scouts combed through their homes for any extra toiletries. With a big ol' tub full of goodies, they filled 20 stockings for the homeless.

Then they spent a few hours at Barnes & Noble gift wrapping people's purchases and made $223!

How awesome is the generous public, right?

Well, I have to let you know how my scouts used their funding. They decided to donate goods to San Diego Youth Services. I took them to the dollar store and armed each of them with $20. My amazing girls bought clothing, toiletries, non-perishable foods, baby items, toys, art supplies and so much more!!

We drove it down to SDYS and let me tell you, the director was so excited! All of the items my girls bought will so totally help all the youth they support.

Take a look...

Oh, and did I mention? My girl spent some time on Monday evening caroling at an assisted living facility.

Now don't you agree? Aren't these girls just the best ever???


Christmas Carma!

No, not a misspelling there. Just had to take a minute to show you evidence of my fantastic parking karma!

First stop... Target. Got the first spot right after the handicapped spots.

Second stop... Albertson's. Again, right next to the handicapped spot.

Third (and final) stop... Barnes & Noble. Second spot two aisles over from the door.

Gotta love parking karma at Christmas!!


Monday, December 19, 2011

Thank you, Christmas Spirit, for making yourself known!

You'll remember that last week, I wasn't feeling the holiday hoo-ha.

Well, it took a couple days, but the spirit found me and I've been hoo-ha-ing for Christmas ever since. I think it took a night out with Scott for dinner and some gift shopping to kick start the mood.

Take a peek at the holiday joys of the past week...

Emma sang "Silent Night" at with the church band. (The guy next to her playing the guitar is Billy. He was in our wedding.)

Emma also sang in a concert at school. I won't upload the entire thing 'cause unless your her grandma you probably don't care to sit an watch it. (And quite possibly, she doesn't either! LOL) But here's a photo of Em and her "twin", Hannah.
My Girl Scouts sang Christmas carols at an assisted living facility.
My Girls Scouts also raised money by gift-wrapping at Barnes & Noble. They're planning to use the money to buy supplies to donate to a local homeless shelter. They already donated a ton of toiletries from their own homes and divvied them up among 20 Christmas stockings that we're going to hand out this week.
We hosted a cookie exchange today. As near as I can figure it, we had about 25 people and a table full of cookies. Naturally, it didn't occur to me to photograph the cookies (or the people-LOL), so I just snapped this one of some of the remaining cookies...
Disney. Just Disney. He's so darned sweet and adorable that even when he makes me crazy, I love him to death. Today, Hayley was holding him as we were saying goodbye to some party guests and Disney looked over at me and REACHED FOR ME! I am not kidding about that. It was just like a baby reaching for his mama. And it was just about the cutest thing EVER!
I hope that you are having a similarly auspicious beginning to Christmas! (And if you're Jewish, Happy Hanukkah!)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Where art thou, oh Christmas spirit?

I can't find my Christmas spirit anywhere.

I've looked under the couch. I've looked behind the washing machine. I've peeked in among the stealthily hidden Christmas gifts and in the filled cookie tins and in the branches of the sweet-smelling and ornament-bedecked tree.

No spirit.
It's not dangling from the pretty lights around my desk. It's not hiding inside the cute triangular elf tissue box. It's not curled  up inside giant rolls of candy cane wrapping paper.

Christmas spirit, where are you? Only twelve short days remain before Jesus' birthday, yet you elude me. I can't find you, so please, please, please come find me.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lengthening the "Deliciously Read" column

I realized a couple weeks ago that I was behind on my reading for the year. Each year, I read right around 70 books and as of the end of November, I was only at 59.

Time to get crackin'!!

So I made a trip to the library to pick up some books, both regular and audio. My neighbor invited me to her book club and I needed that book, as well. (The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck.)

Naturally, it wasn't on the shelf but I did find several books by Elizabeth Berg that I hadn't read before. Yay!

Berg's story lines are, well, rather depressing. Grieving prevails in several of them, be it a death or something else. So I'm not wild about the stories, but Berg's writing is just so beautiful. Lyrical. Magical. She sees things in ways that I can only dream about and I love reading her books because it helps me looks at things in my own world with clarity and distinction.

*sigh* I adore wonderful writing.

Now flip that coin over, please. Let's talk Janet Evanovich.

I adore her stories. They are hysterical and I laugh out loud throughout each of her books. And her characterization! Evanovich is a master!

Her writing, though, is anything but lyrical. It's basic. Fluent, but basic. It's like stepping firmly across concrete, whereas Berg's style makes me feel like I'm gliding across smooth ice.

At any rate.... 

I've finished several books in the past week and am feeling more confident in achieving my 70(ish)-book goal.

What book have you enjoyed most this year?