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broodings from the burrow

December 6, 2019

virtual advent tour 2019: day 6
posted by soe 6:00 am

Virtual Advent Tour 2019

Welcome to Day 6 of the Virtual Advent Tour. Happy St. Nicholas Day! I hope he filled your shoes with treats!

Behind today’s calendar door we have a treat from raidergirl3 at an adventure in reading. She has a post for you about the fun ways she and her family are adding a little pizzazz to their holidays.

Thanks for stopping by and do come back tomorrow. If you’re interested in doing a post as part of Virtual Advent Tour, just leave me a note in the comments and I’ll get you set up. We still have some unclaimed dates available.

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December 5, 2019

virtual advent tour 2019: day 5
posted by soe 6:00 am

Virtual Advent Tour 2019

Welcome back for Day 5 of the Virtual Advent Tour!

I thought today I’d share a recipe for cookies you could make at Christmas or at any time of the year, really. They make a tasty snack while writing Christmas cards, a quick dessert to take to a party, or an informal gift for the officemate who waters your plants while you’re on vacation.

May I Offer You a Cookie?

I grew up with these cookies in regular rotation with chocolate chip, but after bringing them to an office potluck earlier this year, it occurs to me that they may not be as common as I’d always believed.

Oatmeal Scotchies

1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla

3 cups oats (I use old-fashioned; my friend Sarah opts for quick. DO NOT use instant.)

1 2/3 cups butterscotch chips (or whatever constitutes 1 11-12-ounce package)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. (When I am in a hurry, I just make this all in a single bowl and add these individually after the next step. It comes out fine either way.)
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract.
  4. Beat in flour mixture gradually.
  5. Stir in oats and butterscotch chips.
  6. Drop onto an ungreased baking sheet by the rounded tablespoon. (Do people actually measure their cookie dough this way? I do not. I either use a regular spoon or the small scooper my mother gave me for this purpose.)
  7. Bake for 7-8 minutes for chewy cookies or 9-10 for crispier ones. (I tend toward the 9-minute mark, personally, but your mileage — and oven — may vary.)
  8. Let rest for a couple minutes on the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool the rest of the way — or to your mouth to eat hot. (I often try to skip the resting step because space is at a premium in my kitchen, but it really is necessary if you don’t want your cookies to fall apart as you’re shifting them.)

The recipe makes about 4 dozen cookies.

See you back here tomorrow, when we’ll have a new author!

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December 4, 2019

virtual advent tour 2019: day 4
posted by soe 6:00 am

Virtual Advent Tour 2019
Welcome to the fourth day of the Virtual Advent Tour!

Putnam Gingerbread Trail

Every year my best friend, Karen, and I get together the weekend after Thanksgiving to catch up and do a little Christmas shopping in Putnam, Connecticut, which is roughly halfway between her house and my parents’.

Putnam Gingerbread Trail

For the past three years, the town has gone all in on being a destination for holiday merriment, adding many events to promote their Main Street businesses. One of which is their Gingerbread Trail, where businesses vie to create the most impressive gingerbread structure.

These range from traditional North Pole villages to Victorian mansions.

Putnam Gingerbread Trail

Some make good use of confections, such as this house’s marshmallow snow:

Putnam Gingerbread Trail

While others depict whimsical scenes, such as Santa and Mrs. Claus relaxing in their hot tub:

Putnam Gingerbread Trail

Then there are the more eclectic entries:

Putnam Gingerbread Trail

And those that skirt the traditional definition of gingerbread house by using a more mixed-media, but visually arresting, approach:

Putnam Gingerbread Trail

Putnam Gingerbread Trail

Putnam Gingerbread Trail

Putnam Gingerbread Trail

There can be casualties:

Putnam Gingerbread Trail

But in the end, with a lot of elbow grease — and even more sugar — beautiful things can be made.

Putnam Gingerbread Trail

Putnam always puts on a good show, and Karen and I enjoyed wandering the Gingerbread Trail once again this year.

Thanks for letting me share it with you.

Would you like to share some of your holiday festivities as part of the Virtual Advent Tour? Drop me a note in the comments, and I’ll get you signed up.

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December 3, 2019

virtual advent tour 2019: day 3
posted by soe 6:00 am

Virtual Advent Tour 2019

Welcome back to the Virtual Advent Tour, where I’m today’s host.

Whether you’re looking to chill while addressing Christmas cards, mindlessly get in some knitting, or actively enjoy some family time, Christmas-themed films can be a nice way to get into the holiday spirit.

Today, I thought I’d share ten short reviews of Christmas features from the 20th century I recommend. (I’m your Virtual Advent Tour host for several days this year, so you’ll get some recommendations for 21st-century Christmas movies later.)

These are in no particular order:

  1. Miracle on 34th Street (1947): Retiree Kris Kringle takes a job as Macy’s Santa Claus in part as a campaign to change the hearts of a seven-year-old nonbeliever and her disillusioned working mother. When he ends up committed, an idealistic young lawyer must convince a judge to free Kris in time for Christmas Eve.
  2. The Bishop’s Wife (1947): An angel is sent down to New York to help answer the prayers of an Anglican priest who is working to build a cathedral — and also his wife, who misses spending time with her distracted husband. While on assignment, though, he may blur the line in protocol. Superbly acted by Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven.
  3. Christmas in Connecticut (1945): America’s favorite domestic columnist gets an unexpected surprise when her media tycoon boss invites himself and a heroic soldier to her Connecticut farm to celebrate Christmas with her family. The only problem? She lives in a walk-up in Manhattan, isn’t married, and can’t cook. A mismatched boyfriend offers her an out — she (and her chef friend, who’s been giving her his recipes) can decamp to his country home, but only if she agrees to marry him once there.
  4. White Christmas (1954): Two soldiers (played by Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye) become hit vaudevillians. After checking out a sister act (Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen) at the start of the Christmas season, they end up on a sidetrack trip to Vermont, where they encounter their beloved former general, who now runs a failing inn.
  5. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946): A mild-mannered pillar of the community despairs of his life after a mishap with legal implications, and a hapless angel must be dispatched to help him.
  6. The Thin Man (1934): A young woman begs Nick, a former gumshoe-turned bon vivant husband, to find her missing inventor father just before Christmas in Depression Era New York City. Nick’s heiress wife, Nora, hopes to help, but is routinely thwarted as both the elite and the criminal elements of society barge repeatedly into their hotel room. This film, which I like to describe as slapstick film noir, is the first in a series of seven.
  7. Christmas Eve (1986): In this remake of a 1947 film, a wealthy widow helps the homeless of contemporary New York City, but her bitter son wants to protect the family fortune. When a judge grants her until Christmas to present another member of the family who will attest to the soundness of her mind, she hires a down-on-his luck P.I. to find her three estranged grandchildren.
  8. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992): Gonzo as Charles Dickens presents an adaptation of his most famous holiday tale. Starring Kermit as Bob Cratchit, Robin as Tiny Tim, and Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge, the movie includes songs by Paul Williams, but they are less of a draw than
  9. While You Were Sleeping (1995): A Chicago “L” toll-taker saves the life of a man she’s been crushing on just before Christmas but then, through a misunderstanding with a nurse while the guy’s in a coma, gives his family the impression that she’s his fianc√©e.
  10. The Santa Clause (1994): A divorced dad accidentally startles Santa Claus, who falls to his death. After his son, who has witnessed this event, convinces his dad to step in to keep toy delivery on schedule, the man learns he must permanently assume the role in order to keep Christmas functioning properly.

See you back here tomorrow for our next holiday surprise!

Want to join in the fun of Virtual Advent Tour? Leave me a comment and I’ll help you get signed up!

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December 2, 2019

virtual advent tour 2019: day 2
posted by soe 6:00 am

VAT 2019

Welcome back to the Virtual Advent Tour!

Day 2 will take us to The Ravell’d Sleave, where Bridget has a post for us about honoring tradition.

We’ll see you back here tomorrow!

Want to join in the Virtual Advent Tour fun? Leave me a comment and I can help you get signed up!

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December 1, 2019

virtual advent tour 2019: day 1
posted by soe 6:00 am

Welcome to this year’s Virtual Advent Tour!

If you stop by my blog every morning (~6 a.m. EST) between now and Christmas, much like a traditional Advent calendar, you’ll find there’s a door to open for a holiday scene of some sort. Many of them will be links to other folks’ blogs, where they’ll share a bit of holiday fun with you — maybe something about how they celebrate Christmas or their winter holiday of choice or a selection of favorite holiday movies or the like — and the rest will be shared here. We hope you enjoy them, and welcome your participation, should you want to join in the fun. You can find signups here, or leave me a note in the comments.

Without further ado, let me send you off to your Dec. 1 Virtual Advent Tour destination: Compassionknit, where kathy b has some suggestions for easy holiday cooking for you.

And I’ll see you back here tomorrow.

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