Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Secret to a Happy Life

I always say that the secret to a happy life is achievable goals. Here are my goals for this week on the island:

  1. Eat a crabcake. (Done and done!)
  2. Visit the local toy shop. (Check!)
  3. Fly a kite.
  4. Visit the lighthouse.
  5. Get some saltwater taffy.

Totally doable.

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Beach Curiosities

I am on Long Beach Island, NJ for Thanksgiving.
Here are the results of today’s beach-wandering session.

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A Blanket for Elli

My friends Sarah and Colt recently had a baby girl, named Elliana Rose, who was diagnosed at 26 weeks with hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
For them, these days since her birth have been filled with anxiety and fear, but also with joy and thankfulness for Elli’s life. I am honored to call these amazing, strong people my friends, and I can’t wait to meet little Elli.
In the meantime, I sent them this blanket, for warmth in hearts and limbs.


I made Elli’s blanket with the softest acrylic I could find, so that it would be cuddle-able but also durable and easy to care for.
The pattern for it came from here. It was just challenging enough to not be boring, and the result is lovely.

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Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

The wonderful Russanna is having a tiny baby boy. He is destined to be a Cubs fan and to be extraordinarily pop culture-savvy.
For the baby shower, Beth, Pinterest, and I got together to make the decorations. Baseball themed, naturally!


I didn’t make the cupcakes, but I think they’re very clever. The stitches are made of red hots!
Everything is made of affordable, easy materials: felt, paper, yarn. I love the way a bit of tissue paper can become an object of beauty, when folded and teased in just the right way. Like a small sort of everyday magic.

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Jack and the Beanstalk Chili

I invented this chili for a chili cook-off. It didn’t win, but I was still pretty happy about the chili.
It’s named for all the beans, of course–five of them! The recipe is rather approximate, because chili is a rather approximate food.

Jack and the Beanstalk Chili

One (~15 oz) can of:
– Kidney beans
– Pinto beans
– Black beans
– Great Northern beans
– Butter beans
– Corn

Two cans of:
– Tomato sauce
– Diced tomatoes

One little can of tomato paste. You can add another one (or half of one) later, once it’s cooked a bit, if you want the chili to be thicker.

One onion, chopped as fine as you like.

Spices/flavors to taste:
– Garlic powder
– Crushed red peppers
– Cumin
– Salt
– Barbecue sauce (I like KC style; I used about 1/3 of a small bottle.)

There’s no chili powder! Because I didn’t have any. But, you could add some if you want.

Put everything in a crockpot and cook until done. That’s whenever you decide, really–mine cooked for 5-ish hours, but it didn’t really need that much time.

Serve with your favorite chili garnishes: cheese, sour cream, crackers or tortilla chips or Fritos or fresh bread, and be sure to offer extra red peppers to the dragons in your life.

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The Island Come True

We built a little Wendy House, in a fit of Harvest-time inspiration.
All the Neverlanders were invited.


Tinkerbell came, and she was even nice to Wendy.
Everyone thought that the make-believe roses were just lovely.
There was a little bit of fairy dust and a lot of magic.


Wendy was very pleased with her little house.
Peter was very pleased with himself.
Hook was also in attendance, but he has taken up a new hobby and was too busy taking pictures to be in any.


Photos by Caleb Atkins.

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