Conversion Diary hosts 7 Quick Takes Friday. I highly recommend checking out the video she has linked to a family of (almost) 4 who live in a 500 sq. ft. home. Fascinating and humbling at the same time.

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Christmas Eve is 1 week away. I haven’t even attempted to do a Christmas card or a Christmas letter. It’s looking like folks will be getting a New Year’s card…maybe…

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IMG_0377I finally caved and busted open those Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s. And, um, yeah…they were even better than the Peppermint Pretzel Slims (which are no longer available at my TJ’s). Way better. Like, probably the tastiest boxed cookie I have ever tasted. Seriously. If you have a Trader Joe’s nearby, I highly suggest you boogie on down there and pick up a box. Or twelve. Whatever you think will satisfy your need for chocolate peppermint goodness throughout 2011.

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My friend Beth hosted a wine-tasting event at her darling  home Monday night. Winemaker Robert Van der Vijver and his wife cooked for us and discussed details of winemaking. I must say, it was one of the most interesting and fun events I’ve had lately. I really had no idea what to expect as the only wine tasting I’ve done has been in a store that sells wine. The evening was 2 hours of made-from-scratch (right there in Beth’s kitchen) hors d’oueuvres like spinach and feta mini-quiches, an incredibly tasty barley-type soup, a few other items and even a dessert of pear and chocolate cake. With a new appetizer also came a new portion of wine. It was absolutely delicious. Hubbs wasn’t able to be with me (he was the babysitter!), so while I was the only one without a “partner” at the event, it was still a fun night. I highly recommend the Tempranillo or the Cabernet Franc.

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My friend Melissa came by on Tuesday. The first time I walked into Melissa’s home, I knew she had “the gift.” It’s a gift I most certainly do not possess and I can freely admit it. That would be the gift of interior decorating and organizing. Melissa is the kind of friend that got excited when I asked her to come by on Tuesday to offer me some much-needed help with my little abode. It was fun having my own personal interior designer listen to my thoughts about things and do something creative with it. It’ll take some time. It’ll take some money. But I can’t wait to get started on some of her tips and ideas!

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I’m excited to attend the Women’s Christmas Tea at church tonight. All proceeds go to help Courage to be You, an international organization that has a local safe house where rescued victims of sex trafficking can become empowered to “discover and fulfill their God-given purpose.” Last year’s event brought in $6,000 and from what I hear the event is nearly sold out again this year. Desserts, delicious tea, fine china, Christmas carols and being a small part in helping children begin a new life. All good stuff!

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Still needing an easy but useful gift idea for the neighbor, the postman, or the teacher? How about a homemade cookie dough log? My cousin Tami makes chocolate chip cookie dough logs so she and the hubby can enjoy a few cookies whenever they like; just slice a piece from the log, thaw in the fridge and bake away! No need to do the whole cookie dough prep & have 3 dozen cookies all at once. The folks over at Make and Takes show you an easy way to wrap up a cookie dough log as a quick Christmas gift that pretty much anyone with a freezer, refrigerator, and an oven can enjoy this gift.

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And, in case you haven’t had the joy of watching people burst out into song, here’s a treat. I could watch this with my eyes closed over and over – it’s so beautiful.

Hallelujah Chorus in the food court
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