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Archive for the month “December, 2006”

Wishing you the BEST in 2007!

new year

Here’s hoping that 2007 is more peaceful around the world. Happy New Year!

I was recently reading about a “Burning Bowl Ceremony” which is done at Unity churches among others. I haven’t yet attended one of these, but from what I read: You write down the negatives of the old year (habits to banish, slights to forgive, thought patterns that are holding you back). Toss them into the bowl (fireproof, like cast iron) and set them on fire. Then you write a letter of prayer or intention for the New Year. In some cases, these letters are kept and mailed back to you mid-year so you can evaluate how you’re doing.

I also read a ceremony having to do with setting intentions for the New Year by writing the notes and placing them under candles. You let the candles burn down then keep the notes in your journal, again to evaluate later. In this ceremony, the multicolored candles represented different areas of life and so you wrote down items to correspond, such as green for career intentions (if I remember correctly). The article mentioned that this is a form of active prayer. In other words, it doesn’t matter what you call your spirituality/religion. Doing a ritual simply solidifies it in your consciousness and let’s the universe know you’re intentions.

I like that idea. I usually do something less formal–journal writing. I’ve already begun reviewing the past year and considering what I would like to accomplish/change for 2007. I have also, in the past, typed up a solid list of career goals (big and little steps) and placed them in the front of whatever novel notebook I’m working in. I don’t think I did that this past year because I was working with more than one notebook.

Then there’s the really informal way I celebrate the New Year. This has nothing to do with goals, but it has much to do with friends and family. I add in a dab of creativity by hitting the ABC store for a variety of spirits, which I plan to blend into various concoctions and drink before and after midnight. *g*

Shara

http://www.sharalanel.com

New contest and blogging at SEx…

I’ve posted a New Year’s contest on my News Page at www.sharalanel.com, so drop by for details. I’m giving away a hunky calendar to keep you inspired throughout 2007. And tomorrow–December 28th–I’ll be blogging at Silver Expression (aka SEx), so I hope you’ll drop by and join in the fun.

Shara

Congrats to…

Jodi S! You’re the winner of my Christmas Day giveaway. You win the “10 Nights of Passion” mini box, but for me to mail it to you you’ll need to email me at sharalanel @ comcast .net (without spaces) with your snail mail addy. Congrats and enjoy!

Shara

www.sharalanel.com

Today’s the day…

AnaMerry Christmas to everyone who celebrates it! Here’s my 14 year-old Cocker Spaniel Ana sniffing the gifts. Since we’re off to my mom’s house, I won’t pick a winner yet (see the last post). I’ll be back this evening to choose!

Shara

Excited yet? Comment and WIN

treeOkay, how many of you are like me and still get excited waiting for Santa? Not actually Santa, but Christmas morning when I get to open my presents. And I’m talking about my presents, not the vicarious thrill of watching my son opening his presents, though I do enjoy that part; however, it’s my presents that I can’t wait to see. It’s gotten a bit less fun recently, because I wind up buying some of my own gifts that get wrapped up, supposedly from my hubby. Well, that’s no fun because I know what I’m getting. On the other hand, I make sure I get just what I want, like the one-button back-up hard drive. I didn’t even bother wrapping that one. Too many friends’ computers have perished–the stuff of nightmares–so I wanted the back-up hooked up asap.

It’s probably a terrible thing to admit, right? The unbridled avarice. My Christmas list is generally quite long and my Amazon wishlist is seven pages at present. And the price range is WIDE. From the 32″ LCD HDTV that Santa keeps scoffing at to any number of books for $6.99. I have seen a couple of Amazon boxes under my husband’s arms. Apparently he had them delivered to his work so I wouldn’t peek. I wouldn’t do that…or would I? Nah! That takes away the anticipation. Of course, the parents said the items on my list needed to be $5 or less this year…say what? Is that even possible?!

What are you hoping Santa will bring you? Post a comment here between today and Christmas and I’ll choose a winner. What will you win? Something that could be quite fun on New Year’s Eve: Ten Nights of Passion mini box set. It includes “three tubes of flavored Motion Lotion, a brush, a satiny scarf” and 10 sexy idea cards. So take some time out from the Christmas rush and tell me what you’re hoping Santa brings you!

Shara

www.sharalanel.com

Yuletide and More

The December issue of my newsletter has been posted and with it, you’ll find the link to my FREE Just for Sizzle read. The newsletter is monthly and each issue includes a free Just for Sizzle. I’ve been working on a serial story, but this month I took a break from that and posted the most recent story I’ve been working on which has a touch of Christmas to it. It’s very new and I’m having fun writing it. Once I realize that I have no idea what my plot is, that’s when it will switch from fun to procrastination bait.

So I thought I’d post a couple of links here that you might find interesting this holiday season:

Yuletide Customs of Old Scotland

Yuletide York

Yuletide Cartoons

The Yule Tide Blog

Christmas Traditions

So if you’re feeling burnt out in the last minute rush, drop by, check out the links, and say “hi” to me. I totally relate!

Shara

www.sharalanel.com

12 Days of Kissmas at Loose Id

LI XmasLewis and Loosey are celebrating the holidays in style with the 12 Days of Kissmas on the Idbits loop. This involves great discounts, special releases, free sensual art, etc. Only 6 days left though! You can join the Idbits loop here.

Shara

Baking today…

I delivered the teacher gifts this morning, since they wouldn’t fit in my son’s backpack. My son had a harmonica concert for the other students. This apparently involved the entire third grade playing “Jingle Bells” on their harmonicas. God bless the music teacher! I can’t imagine. I’m reminded of the years I played violin. How did my parents deal?

Meanwhile, I’m trying to get some baking done today. I’m cheating on the sugar cookies, because the fun part is letting my son attack the dough with the cookie cutters and spread the frosting, so I’m using refrigerator dough. But that’s for afterschool–and can you believe this is the last day of school until Jan. 2? How am I going to get anything done?!

Right now I’m working on Treasure Balls. My mom has been baking these since the ’70s when she got the recipe in a Welcome Wagon cookbook. Now I bake them usually 2 or 3 times during the season, quadrupling the original recipe. Here it is if you’d like to try it out–don’t forget the last step, which is shaking the cooled balls in confectioners’ sugar. If they don’t come out round, don’t worry, they still taste good!

TREASURE BALLS

1 stick butter or margerine

3 tbsp. brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 c. walnuts

1/2 c. choco. chips

1 c. minus 2 tbsp. flour

Roll into balls on pan, bake at 350 degrees for 15 mins. The bottoms should look golden brown. Let cool completely then roll in confectioners’ sugar (either by shaking in a bag or sprinkling over top).

Another recipe from the ’70s is, I think, from Girl Scouts. I don’t know if they leader made it up or what. Could’ve been from school, but I have this vague memory…might have been Brownies actually, when we made out situpons. This is so easy for kids to make to give someone:

SPICE TEA

1 lb. 2 oz. jar Tang (when’s the last time you had Tang?)

1 lb. 8 oz. jar instant tea with lemon

1 1/2 c. sugar

2 tsp. ground cloves and 1 tsp. ground cinamon

On tag, say “Use 2 tsps. per cup water.” And it smells really good.

Okay, hopefully the butter sticks are softened enough to stir now. One day maybe I’ll own a stand mixer, which would make the whole “creaming” process much simpler.

Shara

www.sharalanel.com

 

A Holiday Greeting…

doll window

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

Seasons Greetings

FELIZ NAVIDAD

Merry Christmas

HAPPY YULE

Joyeux Noël

HAPPY HANUKKAH

Enjoy the Season of Light and the Winter Solstice

HAPPY KWANZAA

 

to one and all…

(And this is a photo from one of the “tacky” houses on our annual lights tour. They have a room full of dolls, some animated, some not. It’s an amazing house that we go to every year. However, I pity the neighbors…seriously!)

–Shara

Junked out!

cakeIt’s only halfway (or not even) until Christmas and I’m totally junked out! I’ve drunk so much eggnog, not to mention the open bar at hubby’s work party last night. There I was more creative, trying some kind of martini’d concoction of the bartender’s made with Dewars. Later I tried scotch and soda–yuck–and finally stuck with vodka and cranberry. It’s not like they had a huge selection. No tequila or amaretto. And the work party was mere hours after my writing chapter’s holiday party. Good food there, good gracious! Hubby baked his monkey bread for me to take as my dish to pass. There was pumpkin pie, shrimp, ginger snaps with some kind of gooey goodness to dip. The orange punch was apparently spiked, though I mostly drank coffee. And I came away with a major stash that included bourbon balls and TWO–count them–TWO B&N gift certificates. Happiness is spending a few hours in B&N with gift certificates burning a hole in my purse.

I ate leftover monkey bread for lunch and Belgian chocolates for dessert. Plus I have caramels and sour cherry patches sitting on my desk, daring me to eat more. I can’t be trusted with these sort of sweets around! Help me! And yes, I even have a small stash of hard maple candy. I’m holding off on that–it’s the good stuff–100% maple.Williamsburg

My pal’s mom makes Williamsburg cookies every year and we usually get a stash along with our presents. However, I’ve been informed that she’s already made a test batch and my supposed pal didn’t bring me any–can you believe it? And we haven’t even discussed my other friend’s specialty: rum cake. I myself have learned to make a rum cake and the best part is dousing it liberally with rum-spiked syrup. And once the syrup drips to the plate, grab a spoon and pour it back on, really get it soaked in there. Only then may you cut a piece and bite into heaven.

If only I’d get as excited about other things as I do about food, huh? I do! I just save that for my fiction. Wink wink nudge nudge. By the way, click here for a Pumpkin Pecan Rum Cake recipe. And here is a site on Christmas in Williamsburg with a wassail and a gingerbread recipe. Enjoy!

So what was the point of my little recounting of these foodie indiscretions? Only, that my pants won’t fit and that I sooo need to get back on my diet! (And I will…starting Jan. 1.)

Shara

www.sharalanel.com

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