2017 total: $1260.35


On the Eighth Day of Christmas Crazy ...

... I wished for the ability to know when I'm about to hit on something magical. Just once. Okay, so it might be nice to always know when an idea that's about to fly out of my mouth is a good one, but I'll settle for sometimes knowing.

That's to say, I had no idea it was a good idea when I did it. I said the words mostly out of annoyance; not because of any sort of agenda. AND YET.

It started with Mila digging in her Halloween candy for the 1359835193rd time. The kid will live on junk if given the choice. That much has been clear. I thought that if I gave her open access to her candy, she would grown tired of it quickly.

A mere mortal would grow tired of candy. Mila is not a mere mortal.

So I eventually told her to stop. In my hurry to say something threatening that would make her quit already with the candy nonsense, I said, "You have to give your Halloween candy to Santa or he won't deliver toys."

You guys. YOU GUYS.

Mila packed up every last drop of her Halloween candy and put it in a Christmas-themed candy dish. She then set it beside the weird Santa figure in our dining room.

It's still there.

It's been ... more than a week.

Mila has seriously checked to make sure the candy was where it belonged, but then left it there. Not eating it.

I really wish I had known the whole thing was a good idea. I would have done it sooner and with an even bigger flourish.


I still need your help to make sure that kids at Center for Victims have a little joy at Christmas. You can help by doing a little shopping on Amazon or  throw a few dollars into the game.

On the eighth day of Christmas Crazy,

my true love gave to me

balls for kicking,

blocks for building,

games for playing,

things kids need,

lots of animal fiends,

crafts, paper, and pens

STEM toys they'll love

and all the things for baby.


On the Seventh Day of Christmas Crazy ...

For as long as Christmas Crazy has been going on, I've always wished I had a way to show you who we're helping. While I've never met the kids who will wake up to a little Christmas joy this year, I know a bit about them because I've seen the data that describes them. Data can be cold and unfeeling, but it can also tell a story. And the thing about the victims of domestic violence is that the data doesn't change. Year after year, kids from all walks of life have their worlds destroyed by violence in their homes.

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) publishes an annual report that tells a lot about those kids. The Fatalities report won't show you the faces, but it will tell you the stories.

In 2016, 8 children under the age of 12 were murdered during a domestic violence incident in Pennsylvania. 8 children. The youngest of the dead was just 1 year old. 56% of Pennsylvania's domestic violence fatalities involved a gun. Other deaths involved stabbing and those are the less violent of the official causes of death.

I stop looking at the data when it becomes that tragic.

Pennsylvania's youngest victim was 1 year old, but it's oldest was 83. Domestic violence doesn't discriminate based on age. Its victims are of every race and ethnicity. Their economic situations vary greatly.

The only thing the fatalities have in common is that they could have been prevented. Organizations like Center for Victims work in our communities to educate, break the cycle of domestic violence, and support legislation that will make children safer.

Let's help them break the cycle.

On the seventh day of Christmas Crazy,

my true love gave to me

blocks for building,

games for playing,

things kids need,

lots of animal fiends,

crafts, paper, and pens

STEM toys they'll love

and all the things for baby.

You can help by doing a little shopping on Amazon or  throw a few dollars into the game . Either way, I'll deliver a whole lot of Christmas Magic to Center for Victims.


From the 2015 delivery


Pumpkin Spice Muffins

There was a point in my day when Mila decided she was a cat. For a full hour, she spoke only in meows as she crawled around the house. That kid knows how to stick to a theme, that's for sure.

So does Alexis. It must be genetic or something because I told Alexis to go bake whatever she wanted and she was all "PUMPKIN SPICE!" I swear that every thing she has eaten for the past several weeks has had pumpkin in it.

Which, whatever. If she wants pumpkin everything, that's fine. I will happily munch on pumpkin snacks while Mila-the-Not-Cat meows at my feet.

November17 111

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

3 cups flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups granulated sugar
1 15-oz can pumpkin (not pie mix, straight-up pumpkin)
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1 cup instant oatmeal
1/2 cup butter, cubed (and still cold)
1/2 cup instant oatmeal
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinammon

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place cupcake liners in cupcake pans. You're making 30 muffins, so plan accordingly.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda.

3. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, pumpkin, eggs, vegetable oil, and water using an electric mixer.

4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the other stuff, mixing as you go. Stir in the oatmeal last.

5. Fill the cupcake liners with muffin goop until they're about 2/3 full.

6. It's topping top. In a small bowl, combine butter, oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Mush it with your hands until you have a chunky streudel like topping. Then sprinkle some on top of each muffin.

7. Bake the muffins for 35-30 minutes at 350 degrees. They're done when a toothpick comes out clean.

8. Warm. Try one warm. Alexis is really onto something with this whole pumpkin obsession she has going on.