Two things.

my new favorite indulgence

1. Do you know about these cookies? I found them at my local grocery store and bought them impulsively because they were seriously dirt cheap, plus I’ve learned recently that sometimes “almond” doesn’t mean “filled with nuts” so much as “almond extractish” aka “marzipan” aka “one of my favorite things ever in the universe” and you know what?

These cookies are amazing and I didn’t find a single nut in any of them. I’m maybe possibly horribly addicted, as in, bought a second package this week and when I couldn’t find the package in the pantry yesterday I actually accused my husband of leaving them at the grocery store (whoops, sorry sweetie). Yeah, I’ve probably got issues. And might be blind, because they were right there. You know that magical place in the pantry where you cannot seem to look even though it’s like right under your nose, literally.

Now I am thinking that I need to learn how to make these babies myself but searching for “almond cookie recipe” yields a lot of different results and to be honest, I just don’t know exactly what I should be looking for. Also – Google, please yield more fantastic food blogger results when I search for “such and such recipe” and less e-how articles and other assorted lame resources. The blogging circles are rich with resources and need to be better searchable – pronto. I want my recipes to have pretty pictures and lengthy explanations and also they should be easy and use ingredients I already have on hand. Don’t you think?

So, in closing, is anyone else in the universe obsessed with these cookies and can anyone tell me how to make them myself? Come on, people, save me two dollars, puh-lease?

my pretty christmas wreath

2. This is my pretty Christmas wreath (find a make your own tutorial here at Katydid and Kid). It seems like just last week it looked like this:

my pretty christmas wreath one week ago

I remember thinking, “Wow this looks a little like Charlie Brown’s Christmas Wreath. Maybe this idea was a little harebrained and not well thought out.”

But I have to say, a week later, I’m pretty impressed. It actually kinda looks like a wreath now! I got a few more Christmas cards today after taking that first picture (like a super cute card from Jen @ Stuff Jen Says, love her!) so it looks even fluffier now. I actually am sort of worried that we’ll get even more cards and I might officially run out of room on the thing. Maybe I’ll make a bigger one next year.

Either way, I am loving the fact that none of those cards are taking up space on our refrigerator and moving around and falling off and irritating my Scrooge-tendencies husband. It’s like this wreath has kind of Saved Christmas! Also, cookies. Cookies save Christmas. And bad moods. And sugar crashes. But they don’t save diets at all. You’ve been warned.

Fall into Reading 2010: The End

Fall Into Reading 2010 @ Callapidder DaysAccording to the calendar, today is the first day of winter, which means the Fall into Reading Challenge hosted by Kat @ Callapidder Days is officially over.

So how did you do? Did you read all the books you set out to read?

I picked out 7 titles to read at the beginning of the challenge and successfully read all of those books. There were a few other “maybes” that I mentioned I might read, and I did read two of those as well, but the original 7 were read so in my mind, I finished this challenge on November 18th when I finished The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry. Since then I was also able to finish reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (my first Kindle read) which was a pretty big accomplishment in and of itself.

So in total I read 9 books this fall and started a 10th, First Among Sequels (Thursday Next, Book 5) by Jasper Fforde which I wasn’t able to finish before the end of the challenge (no big surprise there, Fforde’s books are fantastic but never a quick read for me).

Here are a few things of note about those nine books and the challenge in general (questions prompted by Kat):

FAVORITE BOOK READ THIS FALL: Definitely Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. I read a lot of good books this month, but this was by far the best. (click here for my full review)

Runner up: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montogmery – this book just blew me away and I am anxious to read the rest of the series on my Kindle soon.

LEAST FAVORITE BOOK READ THIS FALL: This book wasn’t on my original challenge, and technically I abandoned it before the challenge began, but my book club discussed how terrible it was a few weeks after I abandoned it, so I feel compelled to state: That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo sucked so bad, so so horribly bad. Really, it was awful.

DISCOVERED AUTHOR OR GENRE: Brunonia Barry I think deserves a shout out here. It was mentioned at our book club meeting discussion of her book, The Lace Reader, that she actually self published this book originally because nobody would pick it up (I’m not certain this is true but it does seem plausible given the really complex plot). The story is a little out there, but really I thought it was just excellent, terrifically well written and it even had a plot twist (or several) that I didn’t see coming until the end, which is always a nice treat. I really recommend this book, it was enjoyed by the majority of my fellow book club members, too.

WHAT I LEARNED THIS FALL: I’m really tired of trying to force myself to read a book just because of some sense of obligation to finish it, or because it was a Best Seller or has a Good Message or whatever. I’ve read a lot of amazing books this year and some not so great, and unfortunately some terrible. Somewhere along the way, I stopped trying to force a book that wasn’t picking up for me and I have to say, it was a good change. There are so many amazing books out there, I don’t want to waste my time reading something that I’m not enjoying.

FAVORITE THING ABOUT THE FALL INTO READING CHALLENGE: I really like that this challenge helps me to organize my reading goals and get through the books on my nightstand and some high priority books that I’ve maybe been putting off up until the challenge starts. It’s a little extra kick to read more and stick to the stuff I’ve set out to read more.

How about you?