Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Resolutions at the Pond

Here at the Pond, we've got critters big and small; real and imaginary (in a sense) and stories in dance halls (Twirl), enchanted kitchens (Kitchen Magic) and the world's most boring school (Miss Pickles). For my new Invisible Friends who may not know all the stories here at the Pond, I've included links to the beginning of the tales so you could check them out.

For your amusement, I present the 2009 New Year Resolutions of the Pond.

The Blond Duck: To publish as many whimsical tales in book form and blog form as my Invisible Friends can stand! And to take over the world with Blond Duck press!

Ben: More cinnamon rolls and cinnamon toast, please.

Bitty: To take over the world.

Bear: Since Santa didn't bring me a moose, I'd like a Wuffle-Mobile please: a small Chihuahua-sized go-kart that operates on battery power. And leave a seat for my friend the dolphin and plenty of tasty treats, please.

Ace the Dog: To quit letting the Babies terrorize me.

The Flying Pigs from the Land of the Flowered Bed: To munch on as much tasty grass as possible.

The GLUG (Ginourmous Lime-Green Unusual Gnat): To make people like me. Last time I got a chilly reception (sob!)

The Fuzzy Duck: To go on more dates with the Rubber Chicken!

The Cookie-stealing Bunny: (He was unable to reply due to an incident with his head stuck in the cookie jar.)

The butterflies: To offer a bit of magic.

Miss Pickles: Let's go on an adventure!

Sprinkles the Kitchen Fairy
: To teach Bizzy how to cook!
Vivi and Wade: To Twirl!

The Candy Animals: Do you have any tea and cookies you'd mind sharing?

The Land of the Flowered Bed:

Pumble: To eat more cookies with honey!
Cookies: To try to educate the rest of these morons!
Pumble: I take that back. I'm going to spend the entire year refusing to make mouse muffins.

Cookies: I love mouse muffins! You fat insect traitor!

The Seals: (Look longingly at the mouse muffins.)
Miss Moose McKinley: Can you really make a muffin out of a mouse?

The Ducks in the Spa: "Who wants a mouse muffin?" the first duck bellowed. "Those are disgusting!" the second duck bellowed. "It's simply not in our taste," the third duck said.
Hairy: To create peace in the Land of the Flowered Bed.

Princess, you will be missed.

2009 is looking to be an exciting year for the Pond!

Stay tuned, Invisible Friends! Tomorrow we have the kick-off of the New Recipe Series, which features the tastiest chicken enchiladas you've ever slurped down. Then we've got a new Twirl and more whimsical fun! We even find out what's in the box!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ode to Cinnamon Toast and How I Love Thee

**Dear Invisible Friends,

Before you think I'm obsessed with food (don't judge me), I must point out this post came as a request of Ben. You see, he's had cinnamon toast for a little night snack four nights in a row. And if that doesn't deserve an ode, what does?

Grace, this is for you.

And now...

Ode to Cinnamon Toast and How I Love Thee

Ode to cinnamon toast,
And how I love thee.

From your buttery base,
To your crispy edges,
Cinnamon laden center,
with sugar that melts on my tongue.

Oh toast of cinnamon,
you never cease to amaze me.
How a simple piece of bread with butter
can be so amazing with just two little additions.

I must admit, oh sugary breakfast delight,
I've loved you since childhood.
You're the taste I crave when I need to be babied,
The comfort I need when the world's gone wrong.

You see, cinnamon toast, I'm not sophisticated.
I don't want expensive dishes,
I don't want quail or lamb or snails,
And I thought foie gras came from a lawn.

Here in the Pond,
We believe simple is best.
And my tasty toast,
you're about as simple as it gets.

Butter, sugar cinnamon,
A little bit of heat,
I can hardly stand waiting
for that first bite.

And when I hear the pitter patter of feet,
Towards the kitchen,
it makes me smile.
For I know I'm not the only one craving your tasty wiles.

One of many, I suppose.

Load up the sugar,
And lay on that cinnamon.
Shake it, shake it, shake it, as the song says,
For I can't get enough.

Ode to cinnamon toast,
And how I love thee.
From your crispy crust,
to your soft buttery center,
every bite is pure joy.

Oh Cinnamon Toast,
And how I love thee.
Do this crazy duck a favor,
And promise me one thing.

Stay away from the cookie-stealing bunny,
And his quick paws.
For not even he,
Can love you like I can.

Stay tuned, Invisible Friends! Tomorrow we have the Pond's New Year Resolutions and the kick-off of the New Recipe Series Thursday! Then we have a new Twirl and more whimsical fun!

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Gift 2

Wait! Did you read the newest Twirl? What about the End of Kitchen Magic? You did? Ok, proceed.

To read the previous part of this story, go

As Samantha stared at the tiny box in her apron pocket, her friend Ashley breezed into the kitchen. She peeked over Samantha's shoulder.

"What's that?" she asked, nodding toward the box.

"I don't know," Samantha whispered, pressing a hand to her lips. Her cheeks were warm and hurt from smiling. "I found it hidden in the hutch. Look at what it says. 'To Samantha; love, me.'"

Ashley gasped. "Do you think Jeremy"--

"It has been three years," Samantha replied, grasping the box so hard her fingers turned white. "And he did tell me I'd love it and it would change my life."

Ashley squealed and grabbed her shoulders. "Oh my God, I'm so excited! You'll be Mrs. Jeremy Johnson!"

"I know!" Samantha screeched, jumping up and down.

"And it'll be so perfect," Ashley simpered. "You can get married right after you finish grad school and then buy a house and then have a baby"-- She bit her lip and wiggled her eyebrows. "Oh my God, I have to tell Cleo. Start thinking of your colors!" She rushed out of the kitchen, her empty glass forgotten on the counter.

With fresh batteries in her camera and a cookie between her fingers, Samantha slid the tiny package in the back pocket of her jeans and sashayed into the living room. Her friends passed around cookies, brownies and golden pastries, laughing and talking.

"Samantha!" her friend Cleo cried. "There you are! Are you sure your parents don't mind us staying up here in their cabin?"
Samantha snorted.

"It's not like they don't have others," she grinned. "Besides, it's not like my graduate-school apartment measures up to this."

"Who cares about school?" Jeremy interrupted, peeling his lips off the bottle of wine he was holding. The red liquid inside was disappearing rapidly. "It's time for presents!"

The small group of friends buzzed as they pulled out small bags and boxes and exchanged them. The next few minutes were a flurry of flying paper, giggles and shouts. Samantha beamed and thanked her friends for their kind gifts, placing them next to her in a plush velvet armchair. The tiny box stabbed her in the tailbone as she sat back, a not-so gentle reminder. Trying to stay focused on the others, it took her a moment to notice Jeremy tapping his foot next to her.

"Here, darling," he slurred, shoving a gold bag overflowing with white tissue paper at her. "Merry Christmas!"

Samantha sucked in her breath as she picked up the golden bag. Of course he would have gotten her two gifts. This had to be exceptional. She bit her lower lip as she shook it gently. The bag rustled, teasing her to open it.

"You're going to love this," Jeremy boasted, rocking back and forth on his heels. "This is going to rock your world, honey. This is going to change your life forever. You'll love it."

"I'm sure I will," Samantha murmured under her breath. She exchanged glances with Cleo and Ashley, who simpered knowlingly. A giggle bubbled from her throat and she tried to stop her hands from shaking.

"You're so sweet honey," she cooed, flinging the tissue paper in the air with two fingers. "That was so kind of you to--The Ab Blaster Super Pro DVD set?" She pulled the offending box out of the bag and cocked her head. "You got me an Ab Blaster set?"

"There's more," Jeremy urged, beaming.

"I should hope so," Samantha muttered. She reached into the bag and pulled out an envelope. Wrinkling her brow, she slid out a card and read it. "A year -long gym membership? With free personal training?" She glared at Jeremy. "What are you saying? You think I'm fat?"

"No, not fat honey," Jeremy chuckled. "Just kinda curvy. I mean you've been having to study so much lately and you're always complaining that you hate the school gym"--

"So you think I'm totally huge?" Samantha screeched. Tears filled her eyes and her black pants suddenly looked as though they were encasing sausages. Wrapping an arm around her stomach, she pushed the DVDs away. "I thought you were going to propose!"

Jeremy coughed and turned red. "Uh, honey, where'd you get that idea?"

"From this!" Samantha wailed, pulling the tiny box out of her back pocket. "It was hidden in the hutch!"

Jeremy shook his head. "That's not from me."

Samantha looked at Cleo, then Ashley. They shook their heads. She looked at her other friends, who also shook their heads.

"Then who is it from?" Samantha asked, her wounded pride forgotten for a moment.

"Open it," Ashley urged. She glared at Jeremy. "Maybe it'll be something to make you feel better."

Jeremy threw his hands up in the air and huffed in exasperation. "I thought girls liked to work out. Sorry."

Ignoring Jeremy, Samantha peeled the paper off the small silver box. Lifting the lid, she gasped. "Oh my God."

To be continued...

Stay tuned, Invisible Friends! Tomorrow, we have an Ode to Cinnamon Toast and how I love thee. Then we have New Years Resolutions for the Pond, the first post of the New Recipe series and a new Twirl! Get ready for some whimsical fun at the Pond!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The End of Kitchen Magic

For the previous Kitchen Magic, go here.

Bizzy stared at the closed door. The doorbell rang again.

"Who could that be?" her mother wondered aloud. "We're all here. Bizzy, did you invite anyone?"

"No," Bizzy answered sourly. She didn't mention that not inviting people didn't stop strange things from coming into her life.

The doorbell rang a third time. Grumbling under his breath, her father shoved through her brothers and uncles and pulled the door open.

Mrs. Patterson blinked up at him through her over sized cat-eye sunglasses adorned with rhinestones at the corner. She waved an arm draped with a purple scarf and adjusted her enormous orange handbag.

"Bizzy, darling!" she cried. "Did I make it in time for dinner?"

Everyone looked at Bizzy. She swallowed, feeling like gravel was scraping her throat. "Kinda," she croaked.

"Wonderful!" Mrs. Patterson, cried, clapping her small hands together. She reached into her giant bag and pulled out a pie and jar of wine. "Happy Thanksgiving!" she shouted with a gleeful smile. "Let's eat!"

"Yes, indeed," her father bellowed, rubbing his stomach. "After that dinner the other day, I've been waiting for this meal for a long time." He started towards the kitchen and Bizzy felt her stomach drop to her toes.

"No, please," she stuttered, flapping her hands as her father and brothers dashed into the kitchen. Her voice was barely above a whisper but it felt like she was screaming. "You don't understand. You see, I didn't really cook anything."

"Oh, I doubt that dear," Mrs. Patterson laughed, latching on to Bizzy's arm as her relatives trampled by into the kitchen. "After what you've learned, you can probably cook better than a chef at a five star restaurant." She winked at Bizzy and waved her pie in the air. "Six star, even."

"That's just the thing," Bizzy replied in an exasperated tone. "That's what I'm trying to tell everyone. I can't cook and I didn't"--

"Holy crap!" her older brother shouted. "Mama, come take a look at this!"

"I can't believe it!" her father shouted.

Bizzy muttered a word that made Mrs. Patterson cackle. With the old woman clinging to her arm and Mrs. Patterson's bottle of wine in her other hand, she rushed into the kitchen. "Now listen, I can explain"-- she began.

Her family was gathered around the dining room table, their tables painted with expressions of rapture. Her mother dabbed at her eyes and beamed. "Oh, Bizzy."

"Now, Mama, please just listen"-- Bizzy looked at the table and gasped. "Oh."

An extravagant turkey dinner lay spread out in front of her. A golden bird glistened next to a lush bowl of cranberry sauce and a dish of stuffing. There was mashed potatoes, salad and Southern green beans that looked like they had been scooped out of her favorite restaurant. Marshmallow-dotted sweet potatoes lay next to a big bowl of macaroni cheese and a bigger bowl of rolls. Steam rose off of steamed asparagus and her brothers were sucking down bacon-wrapped shrimp appetizers like it was going out of style.

"Why don't you put the pie down for me," Mrs. Patterson murmured, handing her the plastic covered dish. Numbly, Bizzy turned to the counter and felt like she'd been hit by a brick wall. Dozens of golden topped pies and creamy cakes lay next to rich cookies and pastries. An espresso machine hissed next to a jar of creamy egg nog.

Bizzy stared at the counter, the pie still in her hand. Her father clapped a hand on her shoulder as he grabbed a chocolate pie and headed back to his chair. "I don't know how you did all this darling, but this is the best Thanksgiving ever," he said, kissing her on the forehead.

"But you don't understand," Bizzy murmured. "I didn't do"-- She stepped forward and looked closer at the pie boxes in the trash. "Sprinkles' Catering," she read, running her finger over the embossed pink wand on the white cover. "Sprinkles!"

"Who wants more stuffing?" a voice bellowed behind her. Bizzy whirled around to see Sprinkles holding a large dish of stuffing, dressed in a black dress and heels.

And she was the same size as Bizzy.

"Sprinkles?" Bizzy choked, taking a step back. Sprinkles winked at her and set the stuffing on the table.

"Thanks, doll," her uncle's lesbian ex-wife cooed, blinking her tattooed-eyeliner lashes up at her. "You got anyone to spend the holiday with?"

Sprinkles just laughed, throwing her golden curls back. She gave Bizzy another wink and took her arm, smiling as she watched Bizzy's uncles attack the stuffing. "If you'll excuse us, I'm just going to settle up my billing with my client," she told Bizzy's family. Bizzy gaped at her as Sprinkles pulled her outside on the porch.

"How"-- she gasped, gesturing to Sprinkles' clothes and size. "I don't understand. You said you wouldn't help me."

Sprinkles threw her head back and giggled. "I told you I'm full of surprises," she chirped.

"But I don't get it," Bizzy stuttered, rubbing her forehead. "How did you get so big and make all that food and "--

"You know, after all this time, you would think you would understand magic," Sprinkles interrupted. "When the Head Kitchen Fairy saw what you had done for me, she was impressed. Really impressed. She knew how badly I wanted to help you, so she gave me a special gift, if you will." Sprinkles twirled around, wiggling her hips. "I even got to keep my magic. And I can go anywhere I want for the next 24 hours. I'm thinking Amsterdam, or Vegas," she said with a coy grin. "Someplace wild with tasty kitchens."

"What's the catch?" Bizzy croaked. "You can still go back to the World of the Kitchen Fairies, right? And have your magic from now on?"

"Sure I can," Sprinkles said, waving her hand to dismiss Bizzy's concern. "The catch is you're indebted to me."

"I'm indebted to you?" Bizzy snapped. "What do you mean?"

Sprinkles grinned. "I told you that I wouldn't do anything for you, that you needed to learn. You got out of Thanksgiving dinner, but you didn't get out of lessons. You owe me three weeks now of cooking lessons, three times a week."

Bizzy growled and stomped her foot. "And why am I being punished? I didn't take your magic. How is it you and the Head Kitchen Fairy thought this up? I told you--I can't cook. If it's not glaringly obvious now, it should be. Why won't you just let me be?" She whirled around to slam back into the house.

"What if it's with magic?"

Bizzy turned back around. Sprinkles nodded, her eyes twinkling. "I told you. She was very impressed." She held out her hand, handing Bizzy a small vial of powder.

"Wow." Bizzy swallowed hard, looking at the vial pressed in her palm. She cleared her throat and looked up. "Want to join us for dinner?"

Sprinkles shook her head, her golden curls bouncing. "I've got 24 hours to go wherever I please. I can eat any time--I got some flying to do! I'll see you on Sunday!" With that, Sprinkles faded into the air, leaving only a few leaves stirring in her path. Bizzy grinned and looked at the vial in her hand.

"Damn kitchen fairy," she muttered, climbing back up the porch. She slipped back into the house and straight into Mrs. Patterson, who was peering through the window.

"Didn't you get a plate, Mrs. Patterson?" she asked, shoving the vial in her jean pocket. Her hand winced as the rough denim scratched against her cut hand.

"She's a hoot, isn't she?" Mrs. Patterson nodded to the empty porch.

"Who's a hoot?" Bizzy asked carefully.

"I know she can drive you crazy, but she's good, isn't she?" Mrs. Patterson whispered, stepping closer. "After all, she taught me everything I know."

Bizzy gaped at the old woman as she scuttled back into her kitchen. Shaking her head, she looked at the empty porch. Then she looked at the full kitchen, listening to the sounds of her family laughing and forks clinking against empty plates.

"Happy Thanksgiving, Sprinkles," she muttered.

For some reason, she had a feeling the adventure wasn't over yet.

Stay tuned, Invisible Friends! Tomorrow we have the second part of Samantha's story, where we find out what's in the strange box. Then we've got a New Recipe Series, New Year's Resolutions at the Pond and all sorts of whimsical fun!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Twirl in a new light

To read the previous edition of Twirl, go here.

Pressing her face tightly to Wade's muscular shoulder, Vivi breathed in his scent as the horse barreled through the brush and around the rustic oak trees. The mixture of sweetness and sweat always made her stomach do back flips and toes tingle. Sometimes when she was on the phone with him late at night, the scent would suddenly fill her chest. Between his husky voice and the memory of twirling in her arms, it was all she could do to not dive through the receiver to him.

With her arms wrapped around him, Vivi had never felt safer. With every thump of the horses' hoof against the rocky ground, her worries over Mrs. Angelson and her father and her ballet career flew further away. With Wade, she wasn't the world's next greatest ballerina or her father's daughter. She was just Vivi. And she liked finding out who Vivi was without the toe shoes or last name.

Vivi noticed the trees thinning and a thin gravel path in the distance. "Where are we going?" she shouted over the noise of the horse.

"I told you," Wade drawled. "We're going on an adventure."

"Yes, but where is the adventure at?" Vivi asked.

"If I told you, it wouldn't be any fun," Wade informed her. She could feel him grinning and shook her head with a smile. Wade directed the horse to the gravel path, the steel horseshoes ringing against the tiny rocks. Vivi watched as they strode into a small clearing with a few buildings. A large, handpainted wooden sign proclaimed they were entering Starsville, town of 300 people.

The horse slowed to a walk and Wade slid off the horse, leading him to a hitch post in front of a long wooden building. Vivi shaded her eyes from the late afternoon sun and squinted at the sign.

"Starsville Dance Hall?" she read, looking at Wade. "There's a dance hall out here?"

"Well, darling, in a town of 300 with a bunch of ranchers in the middle of nowhere, what else are you going to do?" Wade's smile was bright as he fed the horse some grain cubes. Vivi laughed and slipped off the saddle as if she had been doing it all her life. Her ponytail slapped against her neck and she touched her hair self-consciously.

"Wade, I'm not dressed for dancing. I mean, I'm in jeans, a leotard and tennis shoes. I haven't taken a bath since last night." She suddenly felt like a giant grease ball and eyed the horse trough. Any bath was better than no bath at all.

Wade pulled the reins securely and walked around the hitch. Wrapping his arms around her waist, his blue eyes locked into hers. "You've never looked more beautiful to me."

"Oh stop," Vivi murmured, turning her head. His callused fingers gently guided her chin so her eyes met his.

"I mean it," he said. "Your curls are shining in the sun, your cheeks are pink and your eyes haven't stopped dancing. You could smell like a dead skunk and you'd still be the most beautiful girl here."

Vivi burst out laughing. "I'm not sure whether to swoon or gag."

Wade grinned and grabbed her hand. "Let's get you on that dance floor instead."

"But it's five in the afternoon," Vivi protested, pulling back and digging her heels into the ground. "I thought dancehalls didn't open until night."

"During the week," Wade acknowledged. "But a lot of small town dancehalls have a Saturday and Sunday family dance. Grandmas and babies will be dancing." Leading her to the door before she could protest, he shoved it open. Hundreds of people were dancing in what looked like an old barn. Sunlight and dust streamed through open windows as ceiling fans buzzed overhead. A local band was shouting songs from a wooden stand that looked like a bunch of beer boxes stacked together and a couple of hard-looking waitresses were serving hamburgers and drinks. As Wade had predicted, Vivi saw old couples two-stepping next to little girls twirling with their dresses held high over their head. Blinking, Vivi could hardly believe what she was seeing.

"It's like something out of a movie," she murmured, her hand limp in Wade's. "Or a country music video."

Wade slid a few dollars into the big box at the front and swept Vivi up in his arms. "Quit thinking," he ordered as the band burst into a rowdy number. "Just dance."

Vivi had no problem with that. As they stepped across the floor filled with grandmothers and babies and young couples, the only thing she could see was Wade's blue eyes twinkling as they twirled across the floor.

To be continued...

Stay tuned tomorrow, Invisible Friends, for the end of Kitchen Magic!

Friday, December 26, 2008

We're back!

I have a confession to make.

A secret I must share.

Please don't hate me, Invisible Friends but.......

I think I'm actually tired of sweets!

I know, I know. But when you combine this....

And these...

And this tasty cobbler...

With more hello dollies/ magic cookie bars....

And pecan pie....

You get a Blond Duck who needs to get on the treadmill. Stat.

Of course, I did more than just eat myself stupid while on the second destination of the Christmas Shreveport/ Austin Invasion '08 (but not much.)

While my mom and sister baked cookies for the neighbors on Christmas Eve, I escaped outside for a run and later took the Babies for a walk with Rascal, the Pike family dog.

Then I listened as my Dad grumbled and groused about Christmas and growled "Bah Humbug!" every time I put on Christmas carols. Scrooge and Eeyore are his idols.


After I stuffed myself with chicken fried steak (I inhaled it too fast to get a picture), we opened presents. While I was thrilled with all the lovely things I got, including great new clothes, some kitchen stuff and Christmas stuff for next year, the Babies were not amused.


Not amused at all.

The next day, we opened our stockings and Mom cooked a lovely Christmas lunch.

And just in case you ever thought we here at the Pond were classy folks, this is how we drove back.

The Grizwalds ain't' got nothing on us. We're spoiled rotten from the generosity of our folks.

We're both very lucky to have such wonderful, kind, generous families.

We've also got lots of new kitchen toys you kitchen queens and kings will be enthralled with. Such as a new panini press, stew pot, Le Creuset pot...

A ton of new cookbooks that I spent all last night drooling over...(and a bunch of Southern Livings I stole from Shreveport....thanks Mama K!)

A pancake Christmas pan... Have I mentioned I love pancakes and waffles?

And a PINK frying pan! Elle Woods would perish in jealousy! And pink ice cube trays, pink tongs, pink refrigerator clips....

It's good to be pink. And it's good to be home. I hope ya'll had as great of a Christmas as we here at the Pond did!

Stay tuned, Invisible Friends! We have a new Twirl tomorrow, a new Kitchen Magic Sunday and the second part to Samantha's mysterious gift. Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Pond!

Merry Christmas from the Pond!

We wish all your Christmas dinners to be delicious,
Your families to be healthy and safe,
Your pies to be tasty
and your days filled with joy.

Invisible Friends,
you mean the world to me.
Thank you for filling my days with laughter and joy.

And now, a Christmas story from the Blond Duck's past...

Once upon a time,
the Blond Duck wanted to celebrate Christmas with Ben. They had been dating a few years, and she wanted their apartments to look festive rather than the wastelands they usually became before the Christmas holidays.

So she went to Wal-Mart and bought a $20 tree.

With a few boxes of cheap glass ornaments and tube lights, they transformed the tree into a tree the Who would be proud to call their own.

The next day, Ben awoke to a terrible horror.

The tree, the perfect $20 Wal-Mart Christmas tree, was covered in spider webs.

From millions of tiny spiders.

When the Blond Duck trotted up that afternoon, the perfect $20 Wal-Mart Christmas tree was on the lawn, most of the ornaments with it.

The Pond has had an artificial tree ever since.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Shreveport/ Austin Christmas Invasion '08

My mother-in-law is a very patient, kind woman.

You see, not only did she let me invade her kitchen, but she let me make these.

Grace calls them Hello, Jollies. Folks in the South call them Hello Dollies. My mom calls them magic cookie bars. Others call them Texas brownies. (Recipe at bottom of post.)

I call them delicious.

I made traditional ones--pecans, coconut, chocolate chips and a graham cracker crust soaked in condensed milk goodness and Blond Duck friendly ones (since I'm allergic to chocolate) with peanut butter chips.

They're gone now, just in case you were wondering.

I also made an entire pile of my mom's pumpkin bread for everyone down there.

They're also almost gone.

And just in case I have eaten enough, with the hello dollies, pumpkin bread and peanut butter pie, but our Shreveport Christmas dinner consisted of beef tenderloin, boursin potatoes, bbq green beans, Mandarin orange salad and dinner rolls. And grilled catfish, macaroni and cheese and banana pudding from the Southfield Grill, my father in law's restaurant.

Yoga pants, Chihuahuas and apron chic.

I've spent the rest of my time on the treadmill, just in case you were curious.

In the Pond, it rarely gets below 70. But here in Shreveport, it's been 30 degrees.

The Babies were not amused when I tried to drag them on a walk. My logic was if they had lots of exercises, they'd have less time to pee on the carpet, terrorize Ace the Dog and get up in everyone's business.

It was a lovely Christmas.

I might even sneak another dolly. Or two. Or three.

Today, we're on the road to Austin to go terrorize my parents. The car is loaded almost to the ceiling with gifts received and to be given and the Babies are full of nervous energy.

My parents aren't going to know what hit them.

Stay tuned Friday for the recap of the Austin invasion! And Merry Christmas, ya'll!

Magic Cookie Bars/ Hello Dollies (from

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (or butter, peanut butter or white chocolate. Or both or a mixture!)
  • 1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F (325 degrees for glass dish). Coat 13x9-inch baking pan with no-stick cooking spray.
  2. Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter. Press into bottom of prepared pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture. Layer evenly with chocolate chips, coconut and nuts. Press down firmly with a fork.
  3. Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Cut into bars or diamonds. Store covered at room temperature.


  • 7-Layer Magic Cookie Bars: Substitute 1 cup (6-ounces) butterscotch flavored chips* for 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and proceed as directed above.
  • Peanut butter flavored chips or white chocolate chips may be substituted for butterscotch flavored chips.
  • Magic Peanut Cookie Bars: Substitute 2 cups (about 3/4 pound) chocolate-covered peanuts for semi-sweet chocolate chips and chopped nuts.
  • Magic Rainbow Cookie Bars: Substitute 2 cups plain candy-coated chocolate candies for semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Stay tuned, Invisible Friends! We'll have a fun Christmas post, a recap of the Blond Duck's Austin Christmas, a new Twirl, the end of Kitchen Magic and the reveal of what is in Samantha's box...Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

I've been good this year.

Pretty good.

Somewhat good.

I'm a queen. I can do whatever I want.

So anyway, I know it's the night before Christmas Eve, but I have a few requests.

Grab a pen. This may take awhile.

1) I require lots of new toys.

2) Some tasty treats.

3) Three or more human servants to do my will.

And now, Bear has a few things he's hankering for.

1) Some fish for my friend, the Dolphin.

2) More toys to rip the arms off of.

3) A moose to ride on in the backyard. I've never met a moose, but they look like the perfect travel vehicles to go bark at the dog next door.

So Santa, I'd appreciate whatever you could do for me. I'll make sure you're reimbursed with cookies and all sorts of tasty things. I'll be nice to Ace, stop blowing my breath in people's face and quit peeing on carpets.

Well, I'll try.

After all, I am the Queen of the Pond.


Bitty and Bear

Stay tuned, Invisible Friends! We have the Shreveport/ Austin Christmas Invasion 2008 post tomorrow and a fun Christmas post. After Christmas, we've got Twirl, the end of Kitchen Magic and Samantha discovers what's in the mysterious box...