The Best Things in Life…

Having three small children means I don’t always have as much time as I would like to do art for myself. Just because I want to. But I managed to grab time recently, and it was so wonderful! There is nothing more wonderful than getting your fingers smudged and the side of your hands black from charcoal and graphite. “The best things in life are generally messy”; that’s what I like to tell Sackett Man.

I had so much fun that I made a new pact with myself: that I would make time to do art for art’s sake much, much more often. I pinterest way too much, anyway!

The day I made this decision was the day that in the morning, after a two cups of good hot coffee, I did an hour-and-a-half portrait of my baby girl. I sat down on my living room floor, hauled out my sketch-pad and my box of pencils, and got to work. I don’t know why I like to sit on the floor when I draw; but more often then not, that’s where I find myself, cross-legged and bent over. Maybe it’s leftover from my ballet days and doing all those floor-stretches. Either way, that’s where I was for the next hour-and-a-half, drawing my little Rose’s portrait.

She refused to sit for me, the little 8-monther! She preferred to roll around and sit up and chew on things. Imagine that!

Rosemary, Portrait

Rosemary, Portrait

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A Fudgy Christmas

Christmas Eve was magical… in a snowy, swirling, hold-your-breath kind of way. We were traveling to visit the Grandparents, and it began to snow. It was dark, and in the dark the wind swirled the falling snow all around us. The highway was eerie; we were the only car that we could see for most of the drive. Once in a while other cars would appear, their red taillights glowing hazily around us, and then in a swirl they would disappear, coming and going in the gusts and flurries like ghosts.

As I said, magically eerie.

We made it, and spent a wonderful Christmas with the inlaws. Good company, delicious food, talk and games and laughter. We video-chatted with some relatives living oversees right now, and loved and missed them all the more.

Now the cleanup begins.

My house is a mess; it always is in the aftermath of packing for a trip. But that’s okay. Refreshed from the holiday and nourished with a large mug of steaming coffee I am ready and armed to tackle the house and the gremlins that messed it up!

For those of you that don’t know, I am fully convinced that every house has gremlins. They’re the ones that take and hide things you put in a ‘safe’ place, and they like to collect socks. Just one of each pair, because they have no sense of decency or polite manners.

Hawkeye & BurstThe boys have been reading their comic book constantly since they got it. My eldest, who likes to tell me he has ‘super eyes’ when I ask him to look for something (and then he goes around the house, bug-eyed, looking for it) was thrilled to find that his hero-self had the power of Super Sight. And my second son (who runs around the house as fast as possible saying “I’m Fast Man!”) likes the fact that his hero has Super Speed. He now has an excuse to run like crazy through the living room and the hall!

I have made two large batches of fudge. One was enjoyed at the inlaws’, and the second is waiting to be enjoyed with my side of the family. It really is the best recipe ever, and it’s SO easy.

You can do any flavor extract you like, but my favorite is the almond. It pairs beautifully with the dark chocolate!

First, put a piece of wax paper or tin foil in your 8×8 pan, enough so you have some coming up over the two sides. This will be how you get your fudge out of the pan.

Next line it all with plastic wrap.

Dark Fudge — Recipe Dark Fudge

1 can (14 oz) Sweetened Condensed Milk

3 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet or dark)

1 1/2 tsp Almond Extract

Put all the ingredients into a double boiler (or a pot, as I do) and over low heat. Take a wooden spoon and mix, mix, mix. Stir constantly to keep the chocolate melting evenly and not sticking to the bottom. It will be somewhat stiff. Once it is mostly melted turn off the heat and then mix like crazy to get the last few pieces of chocolate to melt.

Pour into your prepared pan. Put it in the fridge to cool. After two hours, grab hold of the foil/wax paper and lift it out of the pan. Remove the plastic wrap, cut into square, bite-sized pieces, and thoroughly enjoy!

I did. 🙂

Next in the Adventures Of…

I know I’ve mentioned that I’m an artist, and this week I get to fully indulge, to my great joy and excitement! (The laundry and dishes can wait, right?) I love homemade gifts, and a tradition I set with my own siblings is carrying over to my own children and nephews. Thrillsville! I love it! I make personalized superhero comic books. Each boy has a super hero created just for him, and then, either for a birthday or Christmas, they get a comic book adventure about “them”.

Comic_Book_RoughSo this year I’m making some combo comic books (since they’re for siblings), and all the great heroes will get to adventure together!

No, this photo is not the finished product. This is the Final Rough, before I do the final book.

Some Christmas adventures are in store for this year’s installment. Watch out, winter baddies!

 

Rosemary_Eating_BreadMy daughter is (somewhat) content to watch me while she gnaws on a piece of bread. As long as I have a camera for her to smile for. (What did I tell you about her blue eyes?)

So that is my plan for the week. Creating two superhero adventures. And putting up the last of the decorations before we put up the tree; I even found my Christmas dishes! (Thank you, Sackett Man, for organizing the boxes I haven’t unpacked yet into something completely neat and tidy and navigable.)

Also making some extremely yummy suppers, which means I need to dive into my recipe box today, too.

Stay tuned!

~ Mary