December 31, 2009

Home again, home again

Phew!  That was a wonderful, fun, exhausting trip to see family.  Something I hadn't thought about happening since we arrived after the holiday weekend?

The replication of Christmas 3x over. 

Yup.  If you include the little celebration we had here on Christmas morning before Champ went to work, then we had Christmas 3 times; all of them complete with twinkling trees, scrumptious meals and bits of wrapping paper everywhere.

When all was said and done, we arrived back in our wooded (and very snowy) hamlet late last night.  Some awesome friends of ours are also here on an impromptu New Year's visit with us, so between festing with them, shoveling us out and catching up on sleep

I'll be taking some bloggy time off.  Wait though, before I go, remember this

Here's where some of those finds went...

Do you think my adorable niece liked them?
Have a great New Year and I'll see you on the flip side.

December 29, 2009

Roastest with the mostest

My crockpot (new crockpot, that is- thanks Mom and Dad!) works non stop over the holidays.  Your slow cooker isn't part of a labor union either, which is grand because it means you could make this roast for New Years and not even have to pay it overtime.  You might have to provide some sauerkraut though.

Roastest with the Mostest

a pot roast (bone in or boneless) 3-4lbs
1 jar Concord grape jelly (homemade or not)
1/2C orange juice
1t dry mustard
4T worstershire sauce
dash of ground cloves

Place roast in crock pot.  Whisk up all the ingredients to form a marinade and pour over the pork.  At this point you could refrigerate it overnight to get the flavor really cranking.  When ready to cook, set the crock pot to low and ignore it for 6-8 hours.  There's no harm in keeping the meat in a little longer since it has some liquid in there: I kept mine in for 10 hours and when I got home from work, the roast was perfect!   

If you are so inclined, you could make a gravy using the dripping in your crockpot, a pat of butter and a few spoonfuls of cornstarch or arrowroot powder.  Heat and whisk until thickened.

December 28, 2009

You can't turn down truffles

Still looking

For a quick hostess gift to whip up?  How about...

Cappuccino Truffles 
3T coffee
1t ground cinnamon
1/3C heavy whipping cream (warmed to a boil)
1C semisweet chocolate chips
2T butter, softened
cinnamon sugar for coating 

Melt butter in a saucepan, add chocolate and whisk over low heat until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat; whisk in cream, coffee and cinnamon.  Pour into a bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until easy to handle.  Shape chocolate into small balls and roll in cinnamon sugar.  Store in refrigerator until ready to give (or eat).  


December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

"For somehow, not only at Christmas, but all the long year through, the joy that you give to others is the joy that comes back to you."   -John Whitter

Wishing you the most holly jolly, tinsel bright holiday season imaginable!  I'm taking a bloggy break to be with friends and family, but I'll be back next week. 
See ya then!

December 23, 2009

Cookie Monsters X2

First off, a big shout out over to Shelly and the Lijit crew.  I had been struggling with getting a search box up on this blog that actually worked (the google widget did not, argh!).  A tip led me over to the Ljit site and now, less than a day later, I am all kinds of hooked up.  Gee thanks, Lijit!

Now you, charming blog readers, can search around my archives no problem.  Just scroll all the way down to the bottom of this blog and look for

So cookies, right?  Today we'll talk about cookies?  I have some others here with me who wanted to join in on the discussion...

Um, yeah.  Also...

My helpers and I have been hard at work baking for the holiday season: from gift giving, to snacking, to a cookie exchange party Bear and I attended last weekend, we have had Christmas cookies on the brain!  Now's my chance to dump pass along some of my cookie notes on to you in the hopes that my mind will make room for other holiday thoughts.  We'll see how well that goes...

If your pressed for time, try making these

"Lemon Sprints"
1 box lemon cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 C canola oil
1t lemon flavoring or oil (or lemon juice)
powdered sugar

Mix up all but the sugar.  Roll golf ball size pieces in powdered sugar, place on greased cookie tray and bake @ 375* for 6-9 minutes.  It makes about 2 dozen.

If you are obsessed with Nutella like Bear and I, make these...

Giada de Laurentiis Nutella Cookies

I had failed to mention I had a third helper in the kitchen recently.  Those hands up there?  Yeah, they're connected to...

My good friend J.  As far as the bag on her head?  I'm just gonna have to keep you in the dark a little longer.

December 22, 2009

Have a sweet tooth?

Good, because tomorrow we're talking cookies! 
See ya then...

Montessori Moment: A glass half full


May your day be going splendidly. I hope that you are just lounging around, filling up your coffee mug ready to devote at least a half hour to exploring this blog.

That's my hope, anyway.  Whether or not it's true...

so back to the filling up of your coffee mug.  Have you ever really thought about when you learned to pour drinks?  No?  Well me neither, but I do know that Bear learned at 17 months because we've been having to clean up a lot less spills lately.

Transferring and pouring are an important part of practical life and therefore an important component of Montessori education.  What better way to practice than with pouring cups of water?  I introduced Bear to water at about 6mos using a shot glass and modeling how to fill it with water. 

A few months later, he began to show an interest in pouring, so I'd put only a drop or two of water in his small pitcher and then let him practice pouring it into his cup.  As he became accustomed to the feel of it, I'd add more and more water into it each time until he was actually pouring himself a glass.

I would also model how to clean up any spills as part of the learning process.  Bear and I continue to practice transferring with water, rice, beans and even dog food and I am beginning to fill his meal pitcher with more liquid than he needs so that he will learn to stop pouring.

With the way things are going, maybe in a few weeks time, Bear will be the one refilling my coffee while I relax and read my blog.

I just discovered a great Montessori shop here.
I finished my Christmas shopping there and I've gotten rave reviews from my small friends who received the gifts I had sent! 

December 21, 2009

Not Me Monday

Oh how I love Mckmama, especially when she hosts "Not me Mondays" as it provides me with a way to deny all that has happened in this final rush of the holiday season. If you too need a good therapy session, go check out her blog. I insist.

Welcome to "Not Me Monday" a place where I can turn Murphy's law into something wonderful- by denying it.


I most certainly did not put a diaper outside of Bear's pants during nap and then keep it on him while I finished baking Christmas cookies.  No indeed!  I would have estimated that he would fall asleep driving home from errands and I would have traded out his underwear for a diaper before he caught a little shuteye. 

and while baking said cookies; I would never, I mean never ever allow Bear to entertain himself by decorating and then playing peek-a-boo with handfuls of cookies.  That would be improper table manners not to mention the MESS it would create!!  I would not need a few moments to finish up a baking project that desperately.  No way.

Bear and I would not then deliver some of those cookies as a thank you to our local diner.  Seriously, there is no way I would get caught in a snow squall without snow tires on the car yet and have to find refuse in a public restaurant.  Not me!  Certainly not for upwards of 5 hours including nap time because that just wouldn't be fun.

Not me for sure.  I am way more aware of weather patterns than that- especially ones that come out of nowhere.  

My friend and I would not have wrangled our way into a Yankee swap game at a work holiday party even though we did not even bring our own gifts to swap

We absolutely did not fight to the finish to score a heirloom squash as our gift.  With choices like wine, candles and books who in their right mind  would

want to take a squash?!

I am a good mama.  Really.  If Bear is scared of Santa this year, I wouldn't even think of having him meet the jolly man for the third time this season.  I would certainly not disrespect my child like that all in the name of a photo opportunity.  I mean come on, who does that?!  

Not me, that's for sure and while I could go on telling you of my virtues, you'll need to excuse me as I still have some holiday baking to do...

December 18, 2009

Will blog for comments

As promised, I'm winding down the week with a final tutorial for all my new blog readers out there.

The long and short of commenting on blogs is this:
the most awesomest thing you could do for a blogger is to comment on their blog - like a gazillion times!

The thing is though, that most of us are terrified to leave a comment, or at least terrified to leave our very first comment.  

Enough's enough.

Lets get this whole commenting thing straightened out because leaving comments is actually quite fun.  It also makes me happy and I know you don't want me to be an unhappy blogger, now do you?

First, a tutorial on how to leave a comment on this blog.  When you scroll down to the bottom of any of my posts, you will see some text that says 

save to /Digg this!/ Share on Facebook/ Stumble it

 if you are a part of any of those social networks, then by all means, go ahead and click on them (but you'd better come back later and comment, or else!), but for the rest of us, look directly underneath them for

and it's true, you should do exactly that.  Because it's fun and it doesn't even hurt.  Here's how:

click on the bird icon.  It will take you to a little form where you can type in your own comment or just enjoy reading others comments.  Underneath the text box are the words "comment as".  To comment, click on the scroll tab and you can decide if you'd like to use an existing account of yours, like Google.  If you find that complicated or don't have a gmail account, you could use the "name/URL".  Just type in your name, add a URL if you'd like and then post your comment.  It will appear on the screen as "(your name) said..." and then your comment.   

Easy. Peasy. 

so hop to it and leave me a comment some time. Please, I'm begging you. 

Have a great weekend everybody and ignore this:

December 16, 2009

You Capture: holiday decor

Today I am participating in a 


hosted by Beth over at I should be folding laundry.  Her blog is quite fabulous and you should go see for yourself.

This week's "You Capture" is all about holiday decor.  Let me warn you folks, the whole reason I'm doing this is to get better at using my point and shoot so that

a) I learn to take better pictures
b) I become less obsessed with wanting to own a DSLR

now which of these things do you think will actually happen as I begin to participate in "You Captures"?

yeah that's what I thought, too. *sigh*

A typical decor around here any time of year is Bear, but today he's got his Christmas sweater on, see?

Our nativity set holds a place of honor in our house
and this year...

Bear has his very own set, too.  In this little corner

carolers sing and the prized advent mug that St. Nicholas brought earlier this month is kept out of the reach of curious hands.  Hey, she said holiday decor not earth shattering pictures so there!

We have a place to hang our Christmas cards

and a centerpiece (as well as a child) on the table.

When Champ and I were first married (way back in 1998 in case you needed an answer to a trivia question) he started a very special Christmas tradition.

We keep a copy of "The Night Before Christmas" on the bed stand and he reads it to me every night (well, almost every night) of Advent.  

We hang our stockings on the mantel and enjoy the natural decor of snow on the lake and

for the first time ever since moving to New England...

We have an indoor Christmas tree.  It's only about 2 feet tall and it tips, but hey, we broke down and actually brought our Christmas tree inside this year.

I'd show you our amazing outdoor Christmas tree, but you know since I don't have a DSLR and all... 

Thanks for stopping by!  Come back next week as my "You Captures" can only improve from here.  I hope.

December 15, 2009

The coffee pot is empty

Wow, the pot of coffee is empty- have you been exploring this blog since I gave you the tour yesterday? Well now, I am impressed.  Way to go, you awesome reader, you!

Let me brew up another pot for us while you make room in that chair for me.   

Scutch over some please... 
a little more...
ahhh, perfect.

Well, since I have you here let's chat about how to subscribe to my blog.

Direct your caffeinated eyes over to the right of this blog.  Look for  

underneath it are all the ways you can stay in touch with ANY GIVEN MOMENT.  

Under the coffee cup picture is a way to subscribe to this blog through e-mail.  If you enter your e-mail address and click on the subscribe button you will automatically get my latest posts sent to your inbox.   This is a great subscription tool especially for those of you new to blog reading.

Click on the piece of toast and you will be able to subscribe to my RSS feed through a reader of your choice.  Same deal: every time the blog is updated with a new post, your reader will be updated.  RSS is one of those things that you either love or know nothing about.  

Until recently I was in the know nothing about it group.  Then I smartened up about it here and here.  Now I'm all aboard the RSS wagon. 

well, kinda...

I still get e-mail updates from some blogs (as well as their RSS feeds) and I still like to visit the actual blog whenever my reader shows that a new post has been added.  The nice thing though, is that it's easy to do just that.  I click on over to the blog through my reader and then I can view the post, admire the blog layout and comment to my heart's content.  Love it.

Click on the final icon in this box, the book, and a contact form will appear.  Use it to e-mail me about anything you wish.  Once you hit "send" you little message will arrive in my e-mail inbox.  Now how cool is that?  When you are done, click on the "x" up in the right hand corner.  The form will close and you will be directed back to "Any Given Moment".   

In the second turquoise box is Google's "friend connect" follower widget and it looks a little like this


once again, I had no idea what this was all about so I learned about it here and hereIt's kind of like a little social party for "Any Given Moment" going on right there, on the sidebar.  

Click the follow button and you will come to a page that sets you up to follow this blog.  You can choose to follow it publicly and add your own little picture to show the world that you are a fan of "Any Given Moment" or you can choose to follow privately without a picture, but no less a fan!  If you have a Google account (g-mail, blogger etc) it is a teeny bit easier to sign up as your info is already on record, BUT no matter where you are coming from - even Facebook-this tool is simple to master and the social networking it provides is pretty cool.

Just imagine...  wherever you go in this big blogsphere, you will be able to carry "Any Given Moment" right along with you.  Think of all the people who will thank you for bringing this amazing blog gift to them!

or something like that.  When I don't fully understand reality, I just develop my own daydream around it. 

Any questions, class?

do I need to follow you in more than one way?
while I would be flattered by that, no, you don't

can I bookmark Any Given Moment and visit the blog that way?
yes.  In fact, if you bookmark the blog you'll be able to see the cool bluebird favicon I made.

I just want to type in your blog URL if I want to visit.
Sure.  Just be aware that until my blog is ranked (and ranked well at that) you probably won't be able to find "Any Given Moment" using search engines.

Will anyone else see what I e-mail you?
Nope.  It's just like sending a normal e-mail. 

If I sign up using any of these methods am I committed to it for life?
yes there is no way out, sucker no problem, you will be able to unsubscribe with a click of a button.

Tomorrow we will explore the wonderful world of commenting.  See ya then!

December 14, 2009

I don't bite...

so come on in and have a look aroundBlog reading is fun, see...

and these next few posts are gonna prove it to ya.

As my "official" blog launch date -Christmas (yippee!)- draws closer, it seems only right to put in a few how-to posts for those of us who are a little more bloggy challenged than others.

First of, congratulations dear blog reader.  If you are here reading this, then you found my site so hip hip hooray! 

Maybe your thinking "great, I'm here, now what?" well, let me give you a look around.

At the very tipy top of this blog, you will notice this.  It's called a header.  What's that you say?  Why that particular design?  Well I'm so glad you asked.  Those pictures represent my life.  Just as some birds collect interesting and beautiful things for their nest; at any given moment, I'm collecting interesting bits of my life to blog about. 

Over to the right is the sidebar.  Pull up that chair there and have a seat.  Could I offer you some coffee?  toast?  Do you want to read a little?  Once you feel relaxed, this is the section where you can become my bff subscribe to my blog.

Further down the sidebar is the "about" section where you can meet Champ, Bear, Sterling, Trot and little ol' me.

below that is "labels".  Click on any of those words and it will bring you to all my posts included under that subject.

next up is "archives" and this is pretty much self explanatory.  It is where all my previous posts are archived by month/year. I dare you to read them all.

on other blogs, this area might be labeled "blog roll".  These are all the blogs that I read and adore.  Click on any of the links to be magically transported.

This blog wouldn't be readable, much less beautiful without the help of these amazingly talented people!  I also place ads here because pennies can add up.

Now click all the way down to the bottom of my blog until you see this.  You are in the "footer" section.  A bunch of my blog data is kept here, some fun surprises and a reminder to tour around older posts.

   The last round of introductions is for the post section.  The space you are in right now, reading these words. 

There you have it-a quick tour of the place.  Tomorrow I will give you move details on how to subscribe, but in the meantime, stay in that chair as long as you wantCan I get you any coffee?  How about some buttered toast?

© Any Given Moment
Graphics for Website Background by Sassy Designs