Friday, December 30, 2011

How To Do Alone: Feel Better

Liquids and Biscuits 
Let's pretend that you had a lot of fun during Christmas but also worked every day this past week and all of a sudden you wake up one morning and you feel... sweaty, phlegmy, run down. And you can't taste anything.

Yep. It's happened. You, my dear Spatulan, are under the weather. Well, let's also pretend that I am feeling the same way. (Which, I am. No pretending here.) But just to keep it interesting, let's pretend that you are still able to go to work. You just feel crappy. You don't really have a fever and your snot isn't bright green or yellow. You're probably just "breathing warm air out of [your runny] nose" and you don't have any nasal spray. This post is how to make your self feel a little bit better if you're feeling plum wore out after the holiday chaos festivities.

What You Need:
Rest. Take a nap during the day if you can manage it. Go to bed early if you can't.
Liquids. Drink up me hearties, yo ho!
Comfortable clothing. If you can go to work in your PJs and not get called out: awesome.
A scarf. I really like my neck warm when I don't feel well.
Healthy things to eat. I know, I know. But comfort food can be healthy too. You do need to eat something.
Something Soft. A cozy blanket, that giant sweatshirt you love, or your favorite stuffed animal.
Green Smoothie. Cause they taste so good and are so good for you. (I'll give you my variations)
Ginger lemon tea. A friend gave me this recipe and I love how it's Spicy, Tangy, Sweet! Almost like a TLC album!
Vitamins. Yeah, well. You knew this was coming.
Face Tissues. By the truck load. And make sure they are soft so you don't chap up your nostrils.
Hand lotion, Chapstick, a good book, a good movie, some knitting. Just... you need this stuff.
Dark chocolate. Because it's a cure-all. And it is so too a healthy food. So there. *pout*

Thursday, December 29, 2011

What are you doing New Year's Eve?

Ahh, New Year's! I love it! I might even love it more than Christmas. (Shh, don't tell on me!) But the saying good-bye to one year and the greeting of a brand new one conjures up all kinds of memories for me.

There were multiple lock-in's at church where we played foxes & hounds, video games, and watched one too many episodes of "Veggie Tales". There was the time a guy drove all the way from Michigan to hang out with me in my friend's basement. I've sat around on the couch impatiently waiting for the ball to drop so I could go to bed. (You'll all envious of that last one, neh? You should be.)

And then there was that one time when Clara and I were in the only bar on an island off the coast of Ireland with a bunch of drunk revelers singing Auld Lang Syne, and at midnight we went marching the perimeter in time to the local bagpipe bands.

I don't think we'll ever top that. But I'd love to try.

So friends & other fine folk, what are you doing New Year's Eve?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Things I Love, Christmas Edition

Is everyone else as exhausted as I am? This holiday season really took it out of me. But, between you, me, and kitchen sink, I wouldn't have it any other way. I am happy to report that all the parties were a success and all gifts were well received (worrying about that is a major source of panic for me). So after such a successful Christmas, I'm taking a little bit of a break; just a simple little post tonight. I thought I might take a page out of Miss Lucy's book and do a Things I Love post and since Christmas just whooshed by, I'll combine the two. 

  • I got to see some folks this holiday that I hadn't seen in a while and that was a blast.
  • I love Peter Jackson forever for giving us something to look forward to next Christmas with the trailer for "The Hobbit." So excited!
  • I love how well my family and friends knows me; I got steampunk and sci-fi for Christmas. Check out my new toy! He moves and when I turned him on for the first time, he made straight for the Christmas village on the piano shouting "Exterminate!"

  • I'm super delighted to know that my brother's fiancĂ©e is comfortable enough around us to wear some truly impressive leopard print pajamas on Christmas morning. And that she wasn't weired out by my family's eccentricities. Welcome to the family, Maria!
  • So much good food!
  • Performing a bit of magic with Miss Lucy; I swear those bundles worked, Lucy!
There was so much more, but that is all I can think of at the moment. Now, if you will excuse me, I'm going to get started on my New Year's resolutions; I ate far too much! I hope you all had a Fantiastic Christmas!

Monday, December 26, 2011

I think that was more "nog" than "egg"....

Greetings, Spatulans!

I hope everyone had a fun, happy, fulfilling, and yummy Christmas!  Being your Monday blogger, I have the honor of giving you your first post-Christmas blog! Yay!  Also looks like I'll be giving you the first blog of 2012 too... no pressure on the new guy! *looks at Lucy*

My Christmas was an interesting one.  I was originally going to spend it with my family going out to dinner.  But my stepmother, being the wonderful woman she is, decided to cover some shifts for the weekend for a coworker who lost a child over the holidays last year.  THAT is some Christmas spirit!  I spent yesterday with some friends instead and had a fantastic time.  Met some new people, and enjoyed the company of those I already knew.  This week was mostly spent reflecting on the company of friends, and the wonderful people I am surrounded by.

So what did you guys get up to for this holiday season?  Any fun, interesting, and most importantly magical adventures?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Silver Bells on the Silver Screen

Less than a week to go, gang, before the big day! I hope none of you are running around with the last minute panics. With all the shopping done, and all the food planned out maybe you can finally take some time to relax and watch some Christmas cheer. I try to watch at least one of these movies every year and they are my absolute favorite holiday films.

Meet Me in St. Louis
I know it isn't, strictly speaking, a Christmas flick, but there is something about Judy Garland in that beautiful red dress singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" that gets me every time.

Bernard and the Genie
I have no idea where my family found this movie, but it is delightful and, yes, it is a Christmas movie. It stars Alan Cumming and Lenyy Henry, with guest shots from Rowan Atkinson, Bob Geldoff, and the Mona Lisa.
(And sorry for the quality of the video, the movie is from '91 and the internet doesn't appear to like it.)

A Christmas Carol (1984)
 This is, without a doubt, my favorite Christmas movie, an dmaybe even my favorite of all time. What could be better than George C. Scott as Scrooge, David Warner as Bob Cratchit, and Edward Woodward as the Ghost of Christmas Present? Nothing, that's what.

Have a Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 19, 2011

More Christmas baking.... without the baking...

Weeeheeeheeeelllll then.... seems like we're on a baked goodies trend.  However, in my previous post I mentioned how my baking endeavors have gone, so here is a delightful recipe that we would make at my house that again requires no baking.  And this time, it involves rum... and chocolate... because that's what the holiday season is all about right?  You can make your balls however you like, big, small, odd-shaped.  Personally, I like mine dipped in chocolate.  Get your mind out of the gutter... Santa is still watching and he will not hesitate to take all your presents back, you dirty perverts.

3 cups crushed vanilla wafers
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup spiced rum

1. In a large bowl, stir together the crushed vanilla wafers, 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, cocoa, and nuts. Drizzle in vanilla, corn syrup and rum.
2. Scoop scoop and shape into 1 inch balls or larger. I used about 4 teaspoons of the chocolate mixture per ball which equaled 2 level scoops from the small cookie scoop.
3. Roll Rum Balls in additional confectioners' sugar, cocoa, sprinkles or whatever strikes your fancy. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days to develop the flavor.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Cookies

Hello, Spatulans!

We seem to be having a theme here this week on FS, and I intend to continue with it tonight.

Christmas means one thing and one thing only in the Casa de Wiggins: Cookies! (Okay, there may be a few more things that Christmas means to us, but by and large it means cookies.)

Usually there is a baking marathon that goes on for weeks at the home of Mama & Papa Wiggins. Mama Wiggins' personal record was 25 pounds of fudge in. one. month. Now most of that went as gifts to friends and family. What wasn't sneaked out by me or Pops that is.

Then there's the ginger snaps, the sugar cookies, the monster cookies, the toffee, the peppermint bark, and last but not least- the red velvet cakes. Yes, plural. As in many, many bottles of red food coloring and made-from-scratch cream cheese icing. (Oh yeah, baby. Come to Lucy!)

This year I'm joining in on the fun. Most years I assist Mumsy Wiggins by licking the spatulas. (No, no, not  the fellow blog writers- the actual spatulas.) But this year I'll be making my own cookies- and they are none other than Paula Deen's Ooey Gooey Chocolate Butter Cookies. (I know, if it's Paula Deen, there's got to be the word 'butter' somewhere in the title. Fine by me!) The recipe can be found here: *clicky, clicky!* But to make my cookies a little more festive, I'll be adding some peppermint extract in along with it.

Happy baking! What are some of your favorite holiday recipes? 
Stop drooling on your keyboard. Stop! I see you! You're going to short circuit something!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Food, Glorious Food!

Greetings my lovelies! I hope the Holiday spirit hasn't gotten you down. But if it has, how about a quick pick-me-up? I have to admit that there are a few treats that my family and I make around the holidays that are perfect for lifting the spirits. They don't take too long, but even if they did, it is so worth it.

Mulled Cider
In a large glass or steel pot, combine 1 quart apple juice, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves, 1 small cinnamon stick, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Simmer on low heat 20- 30 minutes and enjoy.

Orange Balls
Mix 1, 12 ounce box of crushed vanilla wafers, 1 pound (I know, I know) powdered sugar, 1/2 cup melted butter, 1/2 cup chopped pecans, and a 6 ounce can of thawed orange juice concentrate. Roll into balls and then into fine coconut or powdered sugar. Refrigerate, or just go ahead and enjoy.

Cake Mix Cookies
Pick out your favorite cake mix (strawberry is my favorite), and mix with 2 large eggs, 1/2 cup shortening, and 1 tablespoon water. Roll into balls and bake for about 8 minutes at 350°.

Toasted Pecans
There hasn't been a Christmas yet that my parents didn't make toasted pecans, and it has been a favorite of our guests for years. In a large bowl, mix a bag of pecan halves with about 1/2 cup of melted butter and worcestershire sauce to taste. If you like bold flavors, add a lot, or just enough to coat the pecans if you'd rather have a more subtle taste.

Of course, I have tons more holiday recipes, but these are my favorites. And I don't think anyone else would want to hear about our Braunschweiger on toast. It's delicious, but I'd rather not think about where it comes from.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Greetings, Spatulans!  So, for some reason, Seattleites seem obsessed with lights.  Like, moreso than normal for Christmas.  Construction cranes, radio towers, sky scrapers, and of course the Space Needle, all decked out in lights.  I do NOT want to get the city's light bill this month.  Just sayin'.

Speaking of things lighting up, my first attempts at Christmas baking ended up with quite a bit of carbon left over.  In retrospect. lining my oven with aluminum foil for easy cleaning and to save energy probably wasn't a good idea, since they are designed to vent heat anyways.  Lesson learned.  I will stick to a favorite no-bake treat that I will share with you here.  Do not ask for nutrition advice.  I don't have any as I don't want to know myself.  I'm not here to make health food.  I'm here to make Christmas magic, dammit.

Yum-yum Dessert (no, really... this dessert is called a Yum Yum)

1 carton Cool Whip
1 1/2 c. graham crackers, crushed into crumbs.
1 can cherry pie filling
1/4 c. butter
3/8 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
1 (3 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
Mix flour, crumbs, and butter and 1/8 cup sugar in 8x8 inch pan.  Bake at 350 until golden brown.  Basically make your own really buttery pie crust. Beat cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar. Add Cool Whip and mix well. Pour cherries over crumb mixture. Pour cream cheese mixture over cherries. Sprinkle with leftover crumbs. Chill overnight before serving.  My mom and I like to add some chopped walnuts and/or pecans to the crust too.

Let me know if you try it and how it turns out!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Not Quite How To Do Alone: Christmas Tree

I didn't exactly do this alone. I did the ground work alone (alone because it was a surprise for someone and I didn't want them knowing about the tree) but I drove with someone to the Christmas tree place, and another someone else put a stand on the tree. But basically this is how you're going to do it alone. Or with the help of others.

What You Need:
A place to get trees (This can be a nursery, tree farm, back yard, wilderness. Finding your place of choice will require some ground work like Facebook stalking, internet browsing, or newspaper reading)
A vehicle to get paid for/cut down tree from one location to the home in which it will stand and look pretty and smell good (This is where another person with a big car will come in handy)
A Cat (This is not necessary but it is highly entertaining to watch a cat pounce around under a Christmas tree. It's also highly annoying to try and put lights on tree while cat is attacking the tree branches and running between your legs.)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Compassionate Christmas


There is a lot going on in the world right now that is disturbing. Another senseless act of violence on a college campus, more news of an ill friend, the steady decline of others. The past six months alone have brought nothing but news of trouble in one form or another.

There seems to be a lot of compassion fatigue going around. Our nation as a whole is suffering, and it's hard to put a positive spin on things when all we see around is so negative. No matter how much of ourselves we poor out into caring for others, sometimes it doesn't seem like it's enough. Other times it's easy to lose sight of everything we have to be grateful for, and we take advantage of all the good we have in our lives.

For me, being grateful means looking around my apartment. Almost everything, from furniture to kitchen wares, to books and computers has been given to me by friends and relatives. I have a phone full of numbers that connect me to people I love and trust. Being online I can stay in touch with those who I can't see everyday. Reminding myself of all of these things is how I stay connected and grounded. Yet I realize this might not be so easy for others.

Being as how it is close to Christmas, I'm going to extend a little offer to each of you. My gift this holiday season is to be a Professional Listener. (As a middle child, this sort of thing comes natural. ;) ) Simply put, if you are feeling more than a little down about the affairs of the world, or if the stresses of holidays is weighing too much on you, I'm here to listen. As a disclaimer, I am not a professional counselor or anything of the sort. What I know how to do, and am good at, is listening. And sometimes that's all we really need, isn't it?

If you just need to vent/ get something off your chest/ want some advice, contact me: lucydylanwiggins(at) Or, fantasticspatula(at) 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Time Has Come

The Season is upon us! Run, run for your life! Flee!

Ok, ok. It isn't as bad as all that. It's Christmas time! The trees are up, the wreaths are hanging on doors, and things suddenly smell of cinnamon. And for some reason the AMC channel is showing The Addams Family movies...

Now, I can't lie, December has kind of sneaked up on me, so I needed a little help getting into the swing of things. I've been making lists of my favorite Christmas things and this week I want to share the music that gets me into the proper spirit.

The first thing I listen to, always, is The Chieftains "Bells of Dublin" album. This is a mix of the carols we all know and love mixed with traditional Irish Christmas tunes. I recommend the whole album, but this one song is my favorite.

"O Holy Night" is my favorite carol, and I love to hear Lou Christie sing it.

And, of course, it really wouldn't be Christmas with this little gem from Bing Crosby.

But the ensemble wouldn't be complete without the marvellous Eartha Kitt.

Of course, there are many more, but these are the ones that really jump start the season for me. What do you guys listen to? I'm always looking for new music!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Let's Be Friends

And I want to feel bitter but I can't
Because I know it's all my fault
I loved you with all my heart
But didn't say anything until it was too late

And you gave me every warning
Of where it all was going
And I just wasn't seeing
Exactly what was happening

But now I've lost your warm embrace
And though I know what we say it is
It kills me to think of the future of us
When you want to still be friends

Sunday, December 4, 2011

How To Do Alone: Holiday Edition

"Christmas" and "Alone" are two words you typically don't hear in the same sentence. Usually "Christmas" is accompanied by words like "family" and "in-laws" and "relatives". Well, lets say you just moved somewhere away from all of those words and you're spending you're first Christmas without "family" and "relatives".

There are actually a lot of things to do at Christmas alone. Also, it's a nice reprieve from the hustle and bustle the season has come to bring. But here is my problem. There are only a few days in the Christmas season and only a few times I post. So, I need you're help. I'm going to try this "You Choose the Adventure" thing again. So, Spatulas, you choose what the HTDA: Holiday Edition will be.

1. Shopping. Alone. At Christmas.
2. Making Holiday Cards/Cookies
3. Going to a Christmas Party.
4. Picking out the Christmas Tree.
5. Caroling. Alone. HAHA! No. This really isn't an option. Because that would be creepy.

Choose, Spatulans, by Saturday (That's December 10th). That way I can actually do this before December is over and you, should you find yourself alone during Christmas Season, can be prepared. Cheers!

How To Do Alone: Going To A Movie

A while ago I asked readers to pick the next HTDA outing for the series. Out of a few choices, “Going To A Movie” was the winner. So here it is readers. Finally. It’s been a long while, I know. But I did it. Just for you. How To Go To A Movie Alone.

What You Need:
 A movie in mind.
A theater playing said movie
Some movie cash. The price of movie outings have really increased since I used to go to movies as a kid (listen to me talk like I went to movies when they were a quarter or a nickel). You’ll need at least $20. I know, I know. You’d think that if you’re going to brave something alone you could at least do something that was kind to you’re wallet. Well, tonight you're being kind to yourself. Beat up that wallet and fish out the dough to take you’re self out to a nice movie. This "niceness" may or may not include popcorn, drink, candy. It depends on how nice you can really afford to be.
A big purse. If you’re not someone who carries purses, try a messenger bag or back pack. But, I’m not sure how suspicious looking a big back pack is in the theater. You’re just carrying you’re wallet and money in it after all. Right? I mean, you're not bringing outside food or beverages into the theater in the giant oversized purse able to fit a bag of mini Twix and two bottles of cream soda. No, sir. Nope. Not you. Ahem.
A sweater or jacket because it sometimes gets pretty cold in the theater.  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

White Wine in the Sun

Ah, December, we meet again! Your cold is settling in beneath the layers of our jackets, we can smell the snow on your breath, and taste the gingerbread and wonder. Welcome back. Welcome home.

I don't mean to put a damper on the spirit, but it looks like this winter is going to be a rough one. Weather aside, we all seem to be a little low on morale. I can feel it where I work, I can feel it on the way to and from home, I can feel it when I lay down at night, and lord knows I feel it at Wal-Mart.

Then again, that might just be the general funk of the place.

But it's Christmas season, and that means we carry on. Oh sure, the pocketbooks and wallets are heavy with guilt and light on cash. Yes, the stocking won't be quite as bulging as they were last year. Yes, we'll have to steer clear of the idea that Happiness comes prepackaged and was probably assembled in China. And yes, our crazy aunt will once again spike the eggnog at the Christmas party. But there are trees to truce up and treats to decorate! There are wreathes to hang and lights to teach us patience! There's Mama's fudge and peppermint candy! There's Dad singing twisted carols slightly off key! In fallceto! There's nothing that the scent of pine can't cure! Tis the season!

It's easy to get down. The Holidays will do that to you. So to ward off the blues, huddle around some folks you cherish. Sip comfort, consume calm. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Raise your glass, and drink white wine in the sun.