Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Getting a Hold of the Holidays

I'm the kind of person who LOVES holidays. I love holiday-themed food. I love holiday-themed decorations - especially the obnoxious ones that light up and make sounds and are generally on Earth to annoy mankind.

And the holiday-themed craft opportunities! Heart - be still!

Boy oh boy, do I love the holidays.

Except lately, they always pass before I've had a chance to notice. And then I think, "Well, boo. I'll have to remind myself to actually glance at the calendar and see what the date is next year, since this year that didn't happen until it was too late."

If you're anything like me, you can imagine I forgot to remind myself. Lame.


Check it:

That's right - not even December and we've done Christmas cookies! Woo!

Now before you go thinking this is getting a head start, I'm just going to go ahead and say there is a huge possibility this is all I'll remember to do. But that's okay. Because if the kids are like, "But Mom, we didn't even decorate a Christmas tree, just like last year! And like how you forgot to buy us a pumpkin to carve until Halloween was long over!" I can show them this:

and not feel so bad. Because surely this counts - it's a decorated tree, a holiday-themed crafty project and holiday-themed food!

*dusts off hands*

(also, we go out of town to spend major holidays with family, so if I forget to have holiday cheer, we have back up)

Hope you all had an awesome November, everyone! Mine went by so fast I'm not sure what's going on right now. Between going out of town two weekends this month and finishing the last of the book I didn't finish in time to participate in NaNo (boooo) I feel like David after the dentist and often find myself wondering Is this real life?

I hope December is more relaxing!


Monday, November 28, 2011

Free Shipping in Elegant Snobbery!

I was all set to announce FREE SHIPPING FOR CYBER MONDAY in my Etsy shop and then I thought, Let's be real for a second, Marisa. How likely is it that you'll remember to put your shipping settings back to normal when Monday is over?

Yeah, not likely.



Woo! I'll be leaving my shop, Elegant Snobbery, open until Dec. 15th so Christmas orders can arrive in time for Christmas.

My shop is getting close to empty - from over 150 listings down to under 50! Woo! But also kind of sad. It's been nearly two years since my non-stop drawing days, and I just realized today that it's been SEVEN months since I even sketched a picture, let alone picked up my colored pencils and had fun.


I might need to add "draw lots and lots" to my list of New Years resolution this year.

Have a great week, folks!


Friday, November 25, 2011

How to Have a Happy Thanksgiving, the British Vegetarian Way

My husband is British. And a vegetarian. Every year he is asked something like, "But you eat turkey, right? I mean this is Thanksgiving we're talking about."

And he replies with something like, "Yeah, but I'm British. And a vegetarian."

And they reply with something like, "Yeah, but it's THANKSGIVING."

And he replies with something like, "Yeah, but I'm BRITISH. And a VEGETARIAN."

And then begins another round of food-related questions, such as, "So... if you don't eat turkey for Thanksgiving, do you at least eat chicken?"

I am not making this up!!!

(Not everyone 'round these here parts seems to get being vegetarian)

(Especially not when good ole Texas BBQ is concerned)

So, what do British vegetarians living in America eat come Thanksgiving time? Well, okay, I can't speak for all, but I can speak for our resident Brit:


Let me just say, I'm about to share a delicious recipe. Let me also just say that when our first Thanksgiving came around and I had to find something to prepare for my hubs that would make this meal as special and delicious and once-a-year as Thanksgiving is for me and my family, I had no idea where to start.

And then I stumbled across a recipe for a cashew nut roast on the Co-Op's website (think: British version of 7-11) and I knew I just HAD to make it. Because I am easily amused and found the idea of a convenience store fancy meal absolutely hilarious.

Unfortunately, I can't find the original link, but I wrote the recipe down. My hubs LOVES it much more than any other nut roast he ate growing up... Convenience store recipe For The Win!

Also, I probably could have shared this recipe a little sooner, considering you'll all have to wait a good 364 days to enjoy a British vegetarian Thanksgiving of your own... but this makes a lovely Christmas dinner as well, so here we go.


  • 1 med onion, finely chopped
  • 1 and a half cups hot water or vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon yeast extract (I use Marmite because *cringe* we always have the gnarly stuff on hand - but look in the specialty/import section of your grocery store for this one)
  • 3 cups ground roasted cashews (actually, I just crush them a little)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons fresh herbs. (I use thyme because I have no clue what Winter Savoury is and that's what the original recipe called for)
  • 3 cups white bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 oz butter/margarine
  • 2 chopped celery sticks
  • mushrooms (optional)

(Note - sometimes, when I'm feeling cheap and cashews cost a fortune, I half the cashews and double the bread. Cashews are expensive, yo! And no one notices.)


Melt the butter in a large pan and cook the celery and onion for a few minutes. Mix the Marmite into the hot water or vegetable stock, and add this to the onion and celery.

Stir in the flour, nuts, herbs, bread crumbs, salt and pepper and mix well. Allow to cool slightly while you grease a loaf tin.

Place the mixture in the tin and press down well. Bake in the oven at 360 degrees for 40 minutes. To remove from the pan from the loaf pan, put a plate over it, then turn it upside down. Or else, you can just leave it in the pan. It is a bit crumbly, so I just leave it.

I add an optional layer of chopped mushrooms that have been grilled in olive oil and garlic to the middle of the loaf for my mushroom-loving husband. I don't eat mushrooms, but everyone else I know prefers this roast. Also, I reserve some of the mushrooms for the gravy, dicing them up and mixing in veggie stock, flour and herbs.

Slice and eat!

Also, this recipe is loved by more in my family than just my hubs, so I always make two!

Aaaaaaand..... Speaking of Thanksgiving and food..... here we have, as a special bonus: a funny sketch featuring my SUPER RAD friend Holly Medell as the brunette Salad.

(the party was obviously missing nut roast)

I hope you all had a wonderful day yesterday. Enjoy your weekend!

And if you're all about Black Friday sales, don't forget to shop handmade!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Buggy Besties

Butterfly Princess - Halloween 2011

The sassy little missy that I spend 100% of my time with has a huge thing for bugs.


I'm not really a bug person. I used to be - back in the day, the snails in my backyard and I were tight. And I went through a phase in kindergarten where I spent most of my afternoons with my hand in the drinking fountain, bawling my eyes out because I'd been stung by another freshly caught bee (they don't make the best playmates, turns out).

Of course this buggy BFFness all came to a crashing halt after the Yellow Jacket Hive Attack of 1988. I haven't loved bugs since.

Which is why I spend mass quantities of time shrieking and jumping and flapping and pointing at the door, saying, "Get those bugs out of your hair! Get them off of the kitchen table! Get them OUT of your room! GET IT OFF OF MY BACK!" and so on.

This morning, I was hard at work doing writerly things (no, not updating my Facebook status - not this time) and watching Annelie play outside from my studio window. After a while, she came back in and turned on the TV. Plonked herself on the couch to watch some Sponge Bob en Espanol (she doesn't speak more than a Dora's episode of Spanish, but that doesn't stop her from robustly singing the theme song - with lyrics that sound like something from Cirque Du Soleil).

And the rest went down like so:

Setting: Walking from studio to kitchen for another mugful of coffee. Finds Annelie cuddled on the couch, a leaf on a Littlest Pet Shop lounge chair beside her.

And on the leaf... something brownish greyish white]

ME [stops in place]: What is that?

ANNELIE [innocently]: What?

ME: That. On the leaf.

ANNELIE [puts arm around lounge chair]: Oh, this is just my BFF.

ME: Your BFF? [leans. blinks at BFF. shrieks.] EW! Is that BIRD POO?

ANNELIE [horrified]: My BFF is not bird poo!

ME [points at door]: Get whatever that is outside right now.

ANNELIE [bursts into tears]: It's a caterpillar! He's my best friend!

ME [heart panging at sight of adorable crying kid, resembling former bug-loving self]: Um... well... Okay, fine. You two can finish this episode, but as soon as it's done, he's going back outside. and then you are NEVER bringing nature of any kind, dead or alive, in the house again. Okay?

ANNELIE [joyously]: Okay.


So. They finished their show, which they both seemed to enjoy very much. Then Annelie ACTUALLY LISTENED TO ME FOR ONCE IN HER LIFE and put the caterpillar outside.


Time lapse - one Sponge Bob en Espanol episode.

ANNELIE [runs outside, calling out]: I'm going to check on my BFF!

Time lapse - one minute.

ANNELIE [running inside, wailing]: MY BFF IS GONE!

ME [patting poor child's head sympathetically]: Yeah, he probably went off somewhere to make a cocoon so he can be your Butterfly BFF.

ANNELIE [sniffs. nods]: Yeah. I think so. [smiles sweet, teary smile] Wanna see the little inch worm I found?

[waggles white maggoty-looking inchworm under my nose] This is my new BFF.

[maggoty-looking inchworm rises on back feet and prepares to attack my face]

ME [shrieks. shudders. gags]: GET THAT OUTSIDE RIGHT NOW!


Oh, the thrilling adventures of Monday. Hope you all had a great weekend, folks!


Friday, November 4, 2011

Great Explorations

It is afternoon, and all is quiet in the land of Hopkins.

It's a strange sort of quiet - a quiet that usually involves spilled paint on carpets and scaling mattresses to swing from curtain rods (approximately 92% of the time).

But not today. Today, the Source of the Quiet comes from....

Can it be? No, surely not.

It appears the Source of the Quiet comes from none other than a typically loud, often found yelling and fighting and calling her sister names, Little Girl (loudis girlis).

But wait! That's no ordinary Little Girl... No, that's ...

... Let's zoom closer...

That's a Mini-Writer Girl, hard at work on a Very Important Project.

Quiet, now. Be very still. It looks as if the Mini-Writer Girl is going to act.

Her head is turning... she's...

Firing her Evil Death Stare!

And wait - she's going to speak.

"Mom, please can you stop?"

Um. Yeah. Okay.

*walks off*


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