7 Quick Takes: The Vay-Cay Edition

1.  (I’ve set the timer for 20 minutes.  These will be, in reality, quick takes.)

2.  It’s good to be back!  My blogging vacation couldn’t have come any sooner and couldn’t have been planned for a better time.  We had been spending too much time at my new favorite office…

…and not enough time with the Famn Damily.

(Don’t worry, he’s drinking milk.  Only so much McDonald’s food one can stomach for the price of free wifi and a surrogate babysitter.)

3.  And, just to prove that we spent Quality Time™ together, I took pictures of something I normally do, do, do not do:

I don’t bake cookies.  Invariably they come out flat, overdone, and stuck to the cookie sheet.  But my mother-in-law’s claim that the secret ingredient to all good baking is love has been proven true.  We made these for fun and to spend time together, and they were the very best cookies I’ve ever made.

It also helps to follow the recipe exactly.  Just saying.

4.  (See, Grandma?  We made cookies.  For the cookie jar you mailed, all the way from Oregon. Aren’t you impressed?)

5. My sister-in-law decided to make an impromptu visit this past weekend to Casa Northern Ortiz:

I know she wants a picture, but, yo, I’m meditating here.

We did the Holland, Michigan tour – downtown, farmer’s market, Windmill Island, and, best of all, the VanRaalte Farm – best, because they have trails cut through a little woods with a little stream. I miss hiking.

6.  Want to see Ben’s Halloween costume?

You know you do:

It’s a toddler’s stocking hat. Put that with some brown clothing, little face paint, and voila! Brown Bear.

Yes, I’m that lazy parent.  But you have to admit, it’s better than going as Mark Sanchez for the second year in a row.  Have you seen the Jets play this year?

7.  (My timer just went off.  Need to wrap this up.)  I also spent this week working on giving my friend Colleen’s blog a face-lift. So fun to do!

Everything looks great except for a few Blogger-related glitches, including one that keeps changing the font face of the text of her posts.  Poor Colleen couldn’t figure out why it was doing it, and neither can I.  It’s fixable with a few extra steps each time she posts, and, well, that’s annoying for her, and annoying for me, the graphic designer extraordinaire, who’s inordinately attached to her creations looking. perfect. all. the. time.  Dang Blogger.

(In fact, her blog has a few strange quirks – the “comments” button won’t show up on the posts of her home page, even though I’ve set it to do so – this isn’t about the idiot sitting at the keyboard, I know what you’re thinking – and an old automatic template won’t go away, even though we’ve sent it packing.  Dang Blogger.)

On the plus side, my quest to make her a nice banner paid off in my discovering Xara Xtreme, an Open Source program that’s similar to Adobe Illustrator, but, being Open Source, free.  I have no idea if one can use it with Microsoft (I’m running Ubuntu), but those of you who love graphic design but have zero desire to pay Adobe prices, it’d be worth checking out.

And, speaking of graphic design, don’t be surprised if my own blog goes through several changes in the near future.  This is sort-of a placeholder.  I also reinstalled WP yesterday and need to finish adding my plugins, changing the widgets. etc. etc. etc.  I also need to fix the links on my Favorite Posts page to match the ones here.  Plenty to do, plenty to do.

Time to stop.  My babysitter will be here in 45 minutes.  Have a great Friday and a blessed weekend!

p.s. I love my new Keen boots.  Don’t you?

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18 thoughts on “7 Quick Takes: The Vay-Cay Edition

    • Have to say… I LOVE my boots. After much discussion with various Michiganders about what I’ll need for the winter (other than snow boots, which I have), and after much shopping around, I settled on these, the first boots I looked at. Plus, they’re Keens! Very comfortable, great for walking all over town,and well-constructed. With some TLC they should last me several seasons.

  1. I am impressed, and I knew you could do it! It probably helps that you used lots of love and actually followed the directions this time :)


    • Sheesh, you think they put the directions on the back of the Toll House bag for a reason? ;-) They were tasty – Ben can attest to that.

      • I’ll have to try making some with my new oven to see how chocolate chip cookies turn out. I did make Jared’s bread recipe this week and it was tasty as usual.

      • Mmm… bread. I’m seriously thinking of seriously giving up on my gluten-free diet, instead of half-seriously, mostly-guiltily cheating on my GF diet.

    • Thanks! As for candy, I’m doing my darndest to finish off all our Halloween candy myself before Wednesday’s trick-or-treaters. :-D

  2. LOVE that you baked cookies and liked it ;) LOVE also the new look of your blog…I have to say, I didn’t know you did “blog makeovers.” Ummm…..are you open for business? ;)

    Also, I can’t stop by and not say that I didn’t just love the picture of those boots. Gorgeous!

    Is there too much love in this comment?? I’m thinking I might be bordering on ‘yes.’ Have a great rest of your weekend!

    • I’m loving the love! :-)

      Re: blog makeovers – I’m not a terribly techy person, but I can fake the funk on the graphic design thing, and I know enough HTML and CSS to sort of kind of make a blog do what I hope it’ll do. Is that recommendation enough? Not sure! I do what I can. :-) If you’re serious, though, feel free to email me.

  3. ah, I miss Michigan in the fall. Enjoy it! p.s. those boots are amazing. I mean, I already have a perfectly respectable pair of tall boots, but these ones are calling my name.

    • Thanks! And they’re comfy, too. I get to have my cake and eat it, too. (Sort of wish the Keen shoe company was paying me to say all this, because I *mean* it! :-))

  4. I feel the same way about cookies. I really hate baking them, or anything, really. By the time I’m finished there really is no love!! :) Yours look yummy, though!

    I can’t wait to see pictures of your little guy in his costume! I think it’s super creative and not slacker at all! Want to hear about a slacker mom? We get hand me downs from my kids’ cousins and that’s what my kids get to be!!

    • I totally get hand-me-downs! Ben’s the oldest and only, and we just moved to a new state, so I need to go on the hunt for friends with older boys (totally self-serving, I know).

      We made cookies the other night, again! And they came out okay. I was rushed making them for a party, so I started before the butter was fully softened. I suppose that “Love + Follow Directions” is the *real* secret.

  5. I found you on 7 Quick Links. I’m so glad I did. I’m lurking here today. I love your office. I’ve done that myself in the library and Mikee Dees. I’ve written too novels during nap times but the third one is on hold because I am enjoying blogging too much and finding blogs like yours. You’re going up on my blogroll.

    • Anabelle, I’m so glad you stopped by! I’ll be sure to head on over to your blog in a hop, skip, and jump. Welcome!

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