ShareFest boy

My church participated in ShareFest over the weekend. I took photos and wrote an article for the church newsletter, focusing mostly on the fact that the adults weren’t the only ones working hard. Lots of kiddos showed up and got busy cleaning out the flowerbeds and the classrooms of the neighboring elementary school — work that wore the adults out.

The little boy in the picture belongs to a family I’ve known since his parents were newlyweds. Here is an excerpt from the newsletter article (with names changed at the parents’ request):

“Three-year-old Eric could be seen helping his dad, Tim, rake leaves in a flowerbed. Tim and his wife, Sarah, have taught their children to volunteer since they were tiny. Even before there was an Eric, there was a big sister, Annie, now 7, and her parents took her along on days when their community group gathered for its monthly service projects – picking up trash at Burns Park or visiting the elderly at a nursing home, for instance.”

What that says to me is that helping others is important to this young couple, so much so that they want to leave the legacy of volunteerism to their children. And they realize the importance of starting these lessons early, when the children don’t know any other way. Tim and Sarah are two of the young parents at my church who have gotten it right.

There are many others, and I am so proud to be a part of this group of pilgrims. I see them every Sunday morning, but also during the week, reaching out in so many ways.

When I get lazy and self-centered, it helps to remember these faces.

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Baseball blues

I may be wasting words by talking about the World Series. It’s not like my Dodgers (or even my family’s beloved Cardinals) even came close, so I shouldn’t be commenting on four teams that I had previously given so little thought to. But it’s baseball, so I must comment.

When the playoffs began, I didn’t much care who won, but I still had to choose a National League team and an American League team. In the AL, I actually rooted for the Red Sox until the Indians started whooping them, then I switched allegiance (can you say “fair weather fan”?). Besides, the Indians eliminated the Yankees; gotta love ’em for that! Then the Sox made a comeback and routed the Indians. Oops.

In the NL, I picked the Diamondbacks over the Rockies, but the Rockies were on a roll and I was impressed. So when the Series started, it was Colorado or bust! But Boston was on a roll, too. By the end of Game 4, I was yelling at the Sox: “Just hurry and put them out of their misery!”

And they did. Swiftly.

I guess I have to hand it to the Red Sox. They just couldn’t be stopped.

Way to go, Sox.

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Arsenic and Old Spice




My close friends will not be surprised that my inaugural post is about baking cookies – one of my all-time-favorite activities.

Tonight’s bakefest coincided with another favorite pastime: watching a classic movie – specifically, my favorite Cary Grant movie, Arsenic and Old Lace. My husband and I watch it every year at the end of October (the movie is set on Halloween).

Now that I’ve revived this old recipe for Spice Cookies with Pumpkin Dip, it has GOT to become part of the annual ritual! I hadn’t made the cookies in several years, and I don’t know why. They were so yummy, I could have eaten all 164 (yes, 164) of them. They’re great just a couple of minutes out of the oven, still warm and chewy.

Saturday is our community’s ShareFest, and I was asked to make two dozen cookies for our church’s volunteer crew. I didn’t remember that this recipe made so many spice cookies. Looks like there will be plenty to share.

Which is another of my favorite activities … sharing baked goods straight from my oven.

Spice Cookies with Pumpkin Dip
From Taste of Home magazine, October/November 1995 issue

NOTE: Dough must chill for several hours.

Spice Cookies
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup molasses
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon salt
Additional sugar for rolling

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add molasses; mix well. In separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Chill dough overnight.

Preheat oven to 375º F.

Shape into half- to one-inch balls; roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 6-9 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool 2 minutes before removing to wire rack.

Pumpkin Dip
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
15-ounce can pumpkin
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Beat cream cheese in mixing bowl until smooth. Add pumpkin; beat well. Add sugar, cinnamon and ginger; beat until smooth. Serve with cookies. Refrigerate leftover dip. (Makes about 3 cups.)

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