Saturday, December 16, 2017

Turtle Cookies, a Book About Thinking, and a Friendly Chat

[via Pinterest]

Happy Saturday, friends! Right now, I'm curled up in the corner of the couch, with the Christmas lights on and carols playing in the background and family members quietly chatting and doing their own things throughout the house. It's relaxing--which is wonderful after a week of final exams. I plan to soak in every minute of this break from school!

I've got time-specific posts planned for the next few weeks*, but nothing for today. So I thought, "Rather than hearing me yabbering on for a thousand words or so, why don't I find out how all my Adventure Awaits pals are doing?" I don't get the chance to make it to all of your lovely blogs as often as I'd like--and some of you are faithful commenters without blogs--so how about we sit down for a virtual coffee/chai/eggnog/whatever, and simply chat?

*In case you were wondering: something about Christmas on Dec. 23rd, Subplots and Storylines/yearly summary on Dec. 30th, and books of 2017 sometime in early January.

a view of the backyard


Tell me--does it look like you'll get a white Christmas? I've noticed a number of my southern friends from America are rejoicing over uncharacteristic snowfalls. It's pretty average here in Manitoba . . . We had a lovely snow just recently that dressed the yard in fluffy white goodness. It's putting me in a Narnia mood, to be honest.


Everybody's counting down the days and rushing  to finish last-minute shopping. But I hope you get to relax at least a little this holiday season. Do you have gatherings? Recitals? Other fun Christmas-y activities? What's one of your Christmas traditions, if you have any?

One of mine is getting a new tree ornament from my parents every year. This year's is a little white teapot with a blue paisley pattern, and the tag of a tiny "teabag" hanging out the top. It's properly adorable! I love tea--certain kinds, with chai being my main favorite--and this ornament goes with a different year's book ornament that's lying open with a cup propped on the pages.


Many of you are high school or college/uni students, so I imagine you're on break now, or will be shortly! Hallelujah! How did exams go? And for those of you in post-NaNoWriMo hibernation, are you recovering?

Christmas food

(Because I can't stop talking about Christmas today, apparently.)

I went over to my classmate's house one day during exam week, and we spent half the day studying, baking cookies, listening to Christmas music and Owl City, and watching Wonder Woman. Our shortbread cookies were rather epic. I brought over my family's cookie cutters, which are all normal, traditional Christmas shapes. A tree, a star, a candy cane, a gingerbread man, and so on. For some inexplicable reason, however, there is also a turtle. No idea why, but my friend and I probably made more Christmas turtles than Christmas anything-else! I also succeeded in making a snowman with a nose that stayed sticking straight up.

Do you do any Christmas baking? What's your favorite treat at this time of year? I'm currently salivating over my grandma's vinarterta she made for an upcoming gathering! It's originally an Icelandic dessert, and everybody's recipe is different, but basically it's dried plums between thin layers of cake. My grandma always tops it off with icing too. It might sound like an odd dish, but trust me--it's delicious.


What are you reading right now? Are you loving it? Hating it? "Meh"-ing it? (Shush, that is a word.) Goodreads pals, are you caught up on your 2017 reading challenge? I've got three books to go, which should be doable.

After a week of textbooks and practically zero fiction, I'm hungrily diving into The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, a quirky little book that Mary Horton sent me as a present a couple months ago. I've been saving it for the holidays, because it's one of those books you just KNOW you're going to love. You know what I mean, right?

And so far, this is a deliciously fun story with the whimsy of Alice in Wonderland, yet in a more modern-feeling world. I'm absolutely loving the wordplay and metaphors here.

"I guess I just wasn't thinking," said Milo.
"PRECISELY," shouted the dog as his alarm went off again. "Now you know what you must do."
"I'm afraid I don't," admitted Milo, feeling quite stupid.
"Well," continued the watchdog impatiently, "since you got here by not thinking, it seems reasonable to expect that, in order to get out, you must start thinking." And with that, he hopped in the car. "Do you mind if I get in? I love automobile rides."

and how are you doing?

Are you frazzled? Content? Excited? Tired? Christmastime brings with it a wide range of emotions for a wide range of people, so whatever it looks like in your little corner of the world today, just know that you are loved. Know that life (with all its bumps in the road) is pretty amazing. And know that God thinks you're worth sending His Son for.

Well, considering I promised not to yabber, I did a lot of talking! Let's hear from you now! Sit down, grab a turtle cookie, and chat away.


  1. This whole post is the most cozy, comforting thing! I literally feel like I'm sitting with you having a calming conversation about the holidays with tea and cookies (if only we really were!). I love all of this!

    All our snow is long gone. *sniff, sniff* But it was so fun while we had it! It has still been deliciously cold though. Just give me alllll the cold weather! The view of your backyard with all that snow is so gorgeous. <3 I've only ever been to Canada once and it was during August (and I was 9 years old at the time o.o). I'd looove to be there during the winter!

    I was hoping December would be relaxing after the rush of NaNo. That was my plan buuuut it hasn't exactly proven to be that. XD I seemed to have forgotten there are actually Christmas things that need DOING during December and I can't waste it away on Netflix and reading. Eheh... So, erm, now we're nearly a week away from Christmas and I'm anything but ready and a leetle stressed. O_O I'm making progress on things though. I think I'll make it! i just realize I should have done all this stuff at the BEGINNING of the month instead of here a few days before Christmas. *COUGH* Buuuut I do this basically every year so what's new? XD I AM excited about Christmas though. It's cold and there are decorations everywhere and my dad will soon be getting time off from work and just KDJSLJFLJSDF. I LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR.

    Your teapot AND book ornaments sound so perfectly gorgeous! What a special tradition! ^_^

    We really haven't done much baking... I'm not one to spend much time in the kitchen. *COUGH* Eating is my favorite. Doing the thing that requires eating (a.k.a cooking) is not my fave. XD But that sounds like such a lovely day baking with a friend! And I'm grinning so hard at your turtle cookies. That's so funny! I love it!!!

    I NEED to read The Phantom Tollbooth. NEED. It sounds just up my alley! I just finished The Stroke of Eleven and LSDKJFLJS:KJDF. SO GOOD. I'm gonna have to get a review of it up sometime soon because I MUST FLAIL ABOUT IT! My next book will hopefully be the 2nd Out of Time book. A Time to Speak, I think? I'm excited!

    ANYWAYS. I need to stop. I took your invitation to chat a little too seriously it seems. XD (Of course, what's new?) But I just loved this post!

    I hope you have the most lovely Christmas break! <333

    1. That's the sweetest, Christine! It would be WONDERFUL to sit down for a real cup of tea with you someday. <3

      Nooo, all of your snow is gone? *holds a funeral for winter* At least the temperatures are low. Oh! Just yesterday at work, I had a customer from your neck of the woods--he and his kids had such a great southern drawl. XD But yes, COME HERE DURING THE WINTER. Or anytime, really, because it's all gorgeous (except March and November are grey and bleh and often slushy)...but if you want a real winter, that's the time to come. :D

      Mehhhh, my Christine's still busy! *hugs* I hope the Christmas rush slows down for you soon, though, so you can at least get a week or two of relaxation in. I finally caught up on shopping today, but I know what you mean. After finishing exams I thought my break could be spent reading and relaxing and doing family time, but I actually work a fair bit. (And there are way too many social things that happen this time of year. XD I want to introvert, please.) But I'm not complaining. I don't have to study, so that is a fantastic thing!

      I love looking back over all the ornaments! Our tree is getting full.

      Hahaha, eating is my favorite too! A baking mood strikes me now and then, however. XD The turtle cookies were the absolute best part of the baking!

      NEED is right! I suspect you'd adore it immensely. But ohhhh let me just flail for a second because I NEED THE STROKE OF ELEVEN RIGHT NOW. I read Deborah's review and it just made me want it more! Can't wait to hear your thoughts too! Also cheering because of A Time to Speak!!!

      Ha, great discussions are just YOU, Christine, so don't ever stop! <3 Have a merry Christmas, my friend!

  2. *jumps in a pile of imaginary snow because that's the only kind I have*

    I'M BAAAAAAACK! *cough* For now. Who knows when I'll drop off the face of the earth again? :P

    I'VE MISSED COMMENTING HERE SO MUCH. *hugs you and your blog* This post was so much fun to read!! I always love hearing what's going on in your life, and the Christmas-y things are making me so happy. ^_^

    Still not over the fact that basically everyone has gotten snow this year but me...ugh. xD It got pretty cold (well, for us) over the past week or so, but it's warming up again. Just in time for Christmas. *glares at weather*

    Ahhhhhh, you get a new ornament every year, too? That's one of our annual Christmas traditions, and it's SO FUN. This year, I got this nativity ornament that's carved into a piece of wood from Bethlehem...which is just AMAZING and beautiful and I love it. <33

    WINTER BREAK IS HEREEEEEEEEEE. Just gotta say that again. *grins*

    Baking is always one of my favorite parts of the holidays! I made homemade snickerdoodles the other day (can you say delicious?) and there are more cookies and treats to come. *goes into a sugar coma at the thought of it all* xD

    And of course, you know how I feel about The Phantom Tollbooth. LIKE OH MY GOODNESS YESSSSSSSS. It gives me so much joy to see my friends enjoying books that I love. <3

    Well then. This comment is getting monstrously long so I best be on my way before you kick me out. xD SO HAPPY TO BE COMMENTING AGAIN EEP

    1. *is laughing so hard*

      MARY, YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW HAPPY I AM TO SEE YOU RETURN! *glomples* And I'm really glad you enjoyed the post too--Christmas stuff is so cozy and happy-ful.

      How rude of Winter, to discriminate against my Mary and not send her any snow. >:P Warming up is NOT what's supposed to happen at Christmas!

      You do that too? :D That ornament you got sounds absolutely gorgeous. You mean the wood actually came from Bethlehem??? :O :O :O

      HOORAAAAAAY! *collapses in a pile of confetti*

      Okay, you need to stick some of those snickerdoodles in the mail because they sound scrum-diddly-umptious. ;)

      Of course I do! ;D Isn't it the bestest when your pals are fangirling over your favorite books? It brings me such joy! Reading has been slower than I'd like the last couple of days, but at least I get to savor this sweet little book one chapter at a time. I'm at the part where Milo visits Reality, right across from Illusions. All the philosophical bits are my fave!

      *shock* *horror* *disbelief* MARY, I WOULD NEVER KICK YOU OUT. Your comment made me so happy! <3 Have a very merry Christmas!

  3. This is such a cozy post- feels just like a coffee chat.
    Aaaw, turtle cookies! There's nothing quite like Christmas baking. I love this sweet tradition. Last Christmas I was given the highest compliment when told my lemon squares were just like Tante M's.
    I'm currently reading The Spirit Well, a Biography about Martin Luther, and the last of the Wingfeather books- all of them fantastic! The Phantom Tollbooth is a book I've been meaning to read for some time. Someone recommended I read a book called Ireland, by Frank Delaney. I'm told it includes a shennachie!

    1. I'm glad! I started out not really knowing what to post this time, so I'm happy it was enjoyable. ^_^

      Christmas baking is somehow just a wee bit more special than rest-of-the-year baking! Lemon squares are delicious--and what a high compliment to be compared to a family baking hero!

      THE SPIRIT WELL!!! Bright Empires is such a marvelous series. The biography sounds interesting too, and I neeeeed to read the Wingfeather Saga soon! (They keep cropping up in the Simarillion Awards.) Oooh, any mention of a shennachie is intriguing, and definitely appropriate for you. ;) Merry Christmas!

  4. I like the style of this post. :D

    We have buckets of snow here.

    Have done a little shopping, but since I'm the one home for the holidays. I have been getting spoiled with food and special outings. Most of my time is spent trying to spend time with each of my siblings and parents.

    That ornament sounds adorable!

    My mom has been doing baking here and there, I help when I can. Christmas turtles sound so cute.

    I have been reading Dragon Slippers and loving it. The Phantom Tollbooth sounds cool.

    Frazzled sums ups my mental state pretty well.

    1. Thanks! ^_^

      All that snow sounds positively lovely. It sure looks like Christmas around here, but I wouldn't mind another foot of snow. Makes sledding more fun--which I haven't done yet this year.

      Awww, how sweet that you're being spoiled and making time with each of your family members! I love that. <3

      Baking with someone else is more fun, isn't it?

      Dragon Slippers--I love that one too! Shardas the dragon is my fav. I think you'd enjoy The Phantom Tollbooth.

      *hugs* Been there, girl! I'll pray for peace and strength as you finish Falling Snow and then settle back to enjoy the holidays! <3

  5. Such a fun post idea! :D

    We've only had a very tiny bit of snow so far here in Minnesota, which is SUPER UNUSUAL. Like, usually we have like four feet of snow! (Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration) I'm actually kind of liking it. Too much snow does not make for a fun drive to work. :P

    I STILL CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S ALMOST CHRISTMAS. LIKE HOW. O_O Me and my siblings just finished up our Christmas recitals yesterday, and now we just get to enjoy the holidays. ^_^ We're going to see my family in the cities on the 23rd, and then we have Christmas Eve to ourselves, and then we visit my grandparents near by on Christmas day!
    And I've thankfully gotten all my gifts bought, and am now waiting to wrap them up. :)

    My friend IRL just finished all her exams and is on her break now! She's super excited about it, and we'll probably be doing some meeting up this week. :)

    We actually haven't done a whole lot of cooking/baking this year! For Christmas Eve, we order some treats from Swiss Colony and that's about the extent of our baking. XD Although, we did make some sugar cookies. So there's that. :)

    I'm reading Cold Cereal by Alex Rex right now and I'm really enjoying it! It's been at my library for a while now, and I thought I would finally give it a go, and I must say it is so delightfully strange. XD

    I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed, but now this week is totally free of any events, so I hope to have a little down time. ^_^

    Have a loverly Christmas break, Tracey!! <333

    1. Thanks! It was a bit out of the blue!

      What?? Minnesota with only a little snow? :O THE WORLD IS ENDING. XD But you're right, less snow makes for easier drives. Last winter, there were some crazy icy highways on my drive to school. One night was a real struggle to get home...we were crawling through blowing snow the whole way.

      RIGHT?? Time is moving along so fast! That sounds like such a wonderful holiday, though--family visits, home time, grandparents. So cozy! <3 And look at you, getting all your gifts on time. ;D

      How fun! Some of my friends are on break too--I just don't have time to visit them all because of work. :( Ah well, at least there's summer break not THAT far away...

      Mmm, yummy! :)

      I've never heard of that one before. It certainly has an unusual title--what's it about?

      You enjoy your down time, Madeline, and have a wonderful Christmas too! <333

  6. Love this post! :) It seems like Christmas has come so fast--I'm hoping that this week will slow down so I can relax :).
    Exams are done! I still have one class tomorrow, but it's a fun class (forensic science!) so I don't mind. But so glad that exams are all done!
    We had snow on Friday (only a little, and I had BTW training driver's ed, so that was fun:). I don't know if we'll have a white Christmas, but I'm hoping we will! Virginia isn't really known for white Christmases, so we'll see.
    I still need to finish up some Christmas gifts--I'm knitting a Gryffindor scarf for my brother and we're making a parody movie for my dad. :)
    We've made lots of cookies--my mom made gingerbread cookies with my little siblings last night, and every day it seems we decide to try a new recipe. :)
    I'm rereading the Harry Potter series, and I'm absolutely loving it. :) Also, I have five books that just came in at the library that we're going to pick up today, so I'm so excited. For me, Christmas break means binge-reading, sweatshirts, and lots of tea/coffee.
    I hope you have a wonderful, relaxing Christmas break, Tracey!

    1. Oh, I know what you mean! This month is positively flying by, and I wish it would slow down so I could relax longer before the second term of college starts up! I hope you get to relax too.

      Woop woop! Doesn't it feel so GOOD to be on break? Forensic science...oooh, that sounds interesting.

      I've never been to Virginia, but I hope you get snow too! LOL, driver's ed in winter can be a memorable experience, that's for sure. When I was in driver's ed, it was autumn, which meant that much of my practice driving between getting my learner's and getting my license was in the snow. XD

      Those sound like EPIC presents! What kind of parody movie are you making?

      Mmmm, gingerbread.... ^_^

      You know what? I've actually never read HP. (gasp!) But I really want to give them a try sometime! Ahhh, I am in love with your definition of Christmas break. Have a fantastic Christmas as well, Allison!

    2. Ahhh--winter break has officially started for me! Yea, forensic science is so much fun! It's something I'm considering as a possible career :).

      We're making a parody of a TV show--"American Pickers". It's on the History Channel, and my dad loves it. It's actually a pretty interesting show--about two guys who travel around the US looking for antiques to purchase and resell.

      You should read HP! They're amazing :). My books came in from the library, so now I'm beginning my binge-reading, absolutely loving it. Also, I was inspired by your bullet journal post, so my 2018 New Years resolution is to do a bullet journal :).

      Merry Christmas! I hope your break is relaxing and fun :):).

    3. Hooray for winter break! *shoots confetti cannon* That sounds super interesting! Forensic science makes me think of the BugMan novels by Tim Downs, and also the Flash. xD

      Haha, I'll bet your parody will make him smile! I've never heard of that show, but it does sound like there'd be a lot of unique stories involved.

      I SHOOOOULLLLD. Ah, binge-reading sounds positively perfect right now. Awww, thank you for telling me! I hope your foray into the BuJo world is successful! :)

      Merry Christmas to you as well, Allison! <3

  7. At the moment, I'm just exhausted, haha. The end of the semester was tiring, but I think everything went well. I'm just crossing my fingers on a 21-page rhetorical criticism methods paper that I used the method properly. How was your semester? I'm about to start reading Children of the Fleet by Orson Scott Card.

    1. I know the feeling! Hope you get to kick back and let your brain relax for a week or two. My semester was quite busy, but it went well. I think I'm learning how to balance homework, my job, and everything else a little better. XD I still need to try Orson Scott Card's books--I haven't forgotten! Enjoy your break!

  8. Confession: our family doesn't do Christmas. Never have... we were raised believing it's a pagan holiday.

    Snow is everywhere! But then it is Montana. But that doesn't keep us from going where we need to.. shovel the drive, go slow on the icy roads... pray you stay alive ;p

    I'm reading a biography about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. So good!

    I took a week off from writing anything major after nano, and now I'm back to it! My stories are coming out so nicely.

    And such a cute post :)

    1. Really? Wow! I've done a bit of research into Christmas, and I know some of the traditions stem from pagan events (like Christmas trees, for instance). But I love using the holiday to remember Jesus's birth. ^_^

      Montana will always make me think of Bryan Davis's Dragons in Our Midst books! LOL, sounds like you don't let snow stop you either. I have to chuckle at some places that shut down when they get just half an inch of snow. XD

      Right, I think I saw that on Instagram! Cool!

      Just a week to recover--whew, girl, you're a superhero. So good to hear that the writing is going well.

      Thank you! ^_^

  9. It really doesn't feel like Christmas. We don't have snow. None of the siblings are coming home this year. There's a sickness going through the ranks, and besides two wooden snowmen, we have no decorations up.

    I've finished my Christmas shopping, except for the people far away. The evening after tomorrow we'll go Christmas carolling, but other than that and a Christmas eve service, there are no plans.

    1. *sigh* I've had some Christmases like that--where none of the usual accompanying things are lining up--so I know it feels odd. Even sad, sometimes. May you and the family get better before Christmas!

      *hugs* I hope that, even if this Christmas is a quieter one, God's peace would envelop you in a special way. <3

  10. Hi :) you have a lovely blog. Mmm Christmas is so close now I can hardly believe it. I live on the east coast of Canada so a sweet tradition we have is cooking a large seafood chowder on Chrismas Eve :)

    I just finished a YA fantasy I've been working on and now I'm trying to take a break from it. I'm ip early this morning and it almost feel lost :) I have a few other ideas in the back of my mind though so will begin there. Writing is so much fun and always you learn something new during the journey.
    Blessings <3

    1. Thanks so much, Loie! Can you believe Christmas Eve is TWO DAYS AWAY?! *shakes head* December seems to move faster every year. Ooooh, I would absolutely love to visit the east coast someday! That chowder sounds delicious.

      Congrats on finishing your story! :D That limbo between writing projects feels odd, but I hope you have a relaxing holiday before jumping back in. You're right, it's such an amazing journey! Have a great Christmas, Loie. :)

  11. Yay for relaxing Christmas time! It won't be white Christmas this year thanks to the rain. *shakes fist * But it'll be cold but sunny so I'm okay with that. ^ ^ I'm pretty relaxed. I'm finishing some stuff up today then tomorrow I'm driving to Callaway Gardens to see a Christmas lights show and enjoy some of the park including the indoor butterfly garden beforehand. ^ ^

    1. It rained? Noooo! D: At least it's cold!

      Glad to hear you have time to relax. Those Christmas plans sound so fun! Lights and butterflies--lovely. ^_^ Have a merry Christmas, Tori!!