sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

December 25, 2021

merry christmas!
posted by soe 1:28 am

We awoke Christmas Eve morning to a couple inches of fluffy snow on the ground, which was pretty, but also meant some time outside with brooms and shovels.

Inside, much of the afternoon was spent in the kitchen baking. There was also some wrapping and a viewing of The Bishop’s Wife.

Tomorrow, we’re hoping for a laid-back day. It’s just my parents, Rudi, and me, so the timetable doesn’t need to suit anyone else’s schedule.

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas however you celebrate it and that you get to touch base with those you love most.

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December 24, 2021

virtual advent tour 2021: day 24
posted by soe 6:00 am

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We made it! Physically to my parents’ house. And emotionally to Christmas Eve. I hope you’re feeling okay about your path to this moment in time and space, but even if it’s been a bit rocky to get here, pat yourself on the back that you’re here now. You deserve a Christmas cookie.

Behind our final door, we have a post from Bridget at The Ravell’d Sleave about the Christmas Eves of her childhood.

Before you run off, though, let me give a huge thank you to Bridget, chick, Rudi, raidergirl3, my mom, and my dad for banding together to make the tour work this year. I’ve enjoyed each and every one of your posts and appreciate the work and time that went into each one.

Happy holidays!

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holiday ride, bright side, and christmas toys
posted by soe 1:30 am

Sunset over the Bay

Three beautiful things from my past week:

1. Driving north, we saw a jeep draped in Christmas lights. It was the most festive car on the road.

2. We got a significantly later start than I’d hoped to (entirely my fault — PMS that I didn’t realize was PMS), but getting on the road late in the afternoon meant that we were treated to a gorgeous sunset and Christmas lights across five states.

3. Corey enjoyed chasing the balled up wrapping paper from the packages I’d opened around the living room.

How about you? What’s been beautiful in your world lately?

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December 23, 2021

virtual advent tour 2021: day 23
posted by soe 6:00 am

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In the morning, Rudi and I drive north to my parents. For a week, my living room has been littered with dozens of bags containing unwrapped gifts. Homemade things are not complete. There are also unsent Christmas cards on the table and unused baking ingredients in the kitchen. My life is still filled with Christmas potential, which is good because Christmas-yet-to-come and I are going to have to have a heart-to-heart about what’s possible in the remaining hours leading up to the holiday.

Amidst all that, I threw up the reindeer signal to my dear friend, chick at Blue-Footed Musings, and asked if, amidst her own frenetic to-do list, she had the capacity to write one more blog post. And she, being the lovely woman that she is, pushed her wrapping paper to the side and offered us up the great story behind today’s door. It’s a story of music and family and silliness and tradition and just the sort of thing that we all love to read as the hours tick by until Saint Nick’s arrival.

Her story is a bit of a balm to my soul. Because this year I understand better than ever before that Christmas is ultimately about the people. Even if things aren’t quite done or the gifts are tucked into bags instead of wrapped and bowed, we will be together to open them in the same room, where hugs can be given and laughter won’t be tinged with tears of knowing the right thing sucks.

I know the last few weeks have brought that spectre back into some of your lives, and if you’re once again doing the right, sucky thing to keep your loved ones safe, I tip my Santa hat to you and wish the next few days will be filled with new traditions and adaptations that make the best of the situation. Maybe you, too, could channel your inner opera star for a bit.

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December 22, 2021

virtual advent tour 2021: day 22
posted by soe 6:00 am

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We’ve made it through the last Monday AND Tuesday before Christmas, for better and for worse. Today is my last work day for the year, and I can’t begin to tell you how much I’m looking forward to 5 p.m. However, there’s a grant draft and a final meeting and a non-work-related flu shot (they’d run out when I went for my booster shot last week) to get through first.

One of the best parts of office Christmases in the beforetimes is getting to try other people’s favorite holiday treats. My colleague, Alex, used to make peanut butter buckeyes, which I understand are popular in other parts of the country, but which I’d never encountered before. But a non-cook, peanut butter and chocolate cookie recipe (that’s also gluten-free for those of you often shut out of the cookie exchange)? Yes, please!

When she was leaving, Alex shared the recipe with me so I could continue enjoying them. And now I’m sharing them with you:

1 cup peanut butter (I’ve only tried it with creamy)
8 tbsp (one stick) softened, unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted (plus up to 1/2 cup additional, as needed)
1 1/2 cups (1 lb) dark chocolate, melted and tempered

  1. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cream together peanut butter, butter, and vanilla.
  3. Add confectioners’ sugar slowly until the mixture forms a workable dough. (Add up to 1/2 cup more sugar if necessary.)
  4. Using a small cookie scoop or teaspoon, scoop out balls of the mixture. Place the portions on prepared cookie sheet.
  5. Using your hands, roll the portions into round balls ~1 1/4″ in diameter. Return to sheet.
  6. Chill for ~20 minutes.
  7. Using a toothpick, dip each ball into the melted chocolate, leaving a 1/2″ circle of dough uncoated at the top. Place on cookie sheet, remove toothpick and smooth over hole.
  8. Store at room temperature, tightly sealed.

*Note: Add confectioners’ sugar until the mixture can roll it up cleanly between your hands.



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December 21, 2021

virtual advent tour 2021: day 21
posted by soe 6:00 am

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Happy winter! Today is the shortest day of the year, with winter arriving late-morning EST. Let us honor the light found within each one of us.

Last week, I shared the Macy’s windows with you. Today, it’s Rudi’s turn, but with a twist. His are the Macy’s windows in downtown Salt Lake, where their Macy’s used to be a ZCMI. And while Rudi alludes to it a smidge in his introduction, it’s worth noting that ZCMI historically (and that Macy’s today) had the confectioners in their candy department build the windows. I mean those displays were impressive when you thought they were made with plastic & fluff….

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