Friday Five: They Say It’s Your Birthday

3dogmom writes:

In my family, February holds the most birthdays across the generations: my father, my grandmother, my brother and my son were all born this month. Throw in the presidents (and other friends) for good measure and there’s lots of celebrating going on! That got me thinking about birthday customs and traditions, and I’d love to hear about yours. For today’s FF share with us:

1) Are you a cake or pie person? What type do you savor on your big day?

I’m a person who likes both but I really prefer cake for the bday. I typically go for yellow cake with chocolate frosting, but I do like a white cake with white frosting as well. And chocolate. So much chocolate. They key is frosting. None of this whipped cream nonsense. It’s buttercream or nothing.

2) Growing up, did you have a favorite “birthday meal?” How about now?

Not so much a set meal, per se, but just got to request what we wanted or where we wanted to go. I really just want to have dinner with friends, and I don’t care what it is.

3) What birthday traditions or rituals from younger days have followed you into adulthood?

We never wrapped birthday gifts. We only wrapped at Christmas. Birthday gifts were laid out on display on the couch. I suppose that I continue this tradition by ordering gifts online and not requesting gift wrap. It seems odd to me to wrap birthday gifts, but I realize it’s normal for the rest of the world.

4) What’s the most memorable gift or celebration you ever received for your birthday?

Age 6: I got a purple bike with a white banana seat and a white basket on the front with plastic daisies on it, because, 1978. And I got to see my very first movie in the theater which was the original Star Wars. Major cool points.

Age 7: R2D2 ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins. Amazeballs.

Age 16: Trip to San Diego with the family

Age 30: Went to Disneyland with a friend and then had a big make your own pizza party at another friend’s house

Age 40: Spent the weekend in Bodega Bay with a bunch of friends

Age 42: Spent the weekend in PDX with friends

Age 43: approaching…I have ideas….

5) How do you like to celebrate others on their day?

However they want to be celebrated. Unless they have no preference, then I’ll cook for them.

Friday Five: Besides

marybethbutler writes:

Hello, all! It’s the end of January…how did that get by so fast!? Here’s a Friday Five for your amusement and our edification. If you play, please be sure to paste the URL of your blog post in the comments. Or, you can just play right here in the comments. Onward:

1. Besides cookies, muffins, and ice cream, what’s something chocolate chips are good in?
Ummm…what are they not good in? I like to put them in banana bread. And you know that whole Amish Friendship Bread thing? We we would have one of those, I’d put cherries and chocolate chips in that. Brilliant.

2. Besides official holidays and your birthday, what’s the best day of the year?
Any day that I can curl up in bed and do nothing or whatever I want and still get paid.

3. Besides toilet paper and pantry items, what’s something in your house you make sure never to run out of?
Chocolate chips (see: above)

4. Besides relatives, teachers, and coaches, who gave you the most memorable advice growing up?
G.I. Joe – knowing is half the battle.

5. Besides junk mail, subscriptions, greeting cards, and stuff you ordered online, what’s something great that came in the mail recently?
I got cards and gifts for the virtual shower I threw myself for my hysterectomy. I have great friends.

Friday Five: Recovery Edition

deb writes:

That was the air rushing out of our collective pool of energy. Whether you led one small service or 5 huge ones, let’s talk about recovery mode. In less than 48 hours, there’s another Sunday service, or a weekday ministry starting up again. So, tell us:

1. What’s your “chill out” foot gear? Slippers or socks? Or Birkenstocks? (Poem not intentional)

I totally don’t believe the poem was unintentional. But I love it, so that’s good. I prefer barefootedness regardless of temperature, but I will don the cozy socks if I’m feeling chilly.

2. A holiday treat or beverage that just makes you say “AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!”

Granny’s Egg Nog. I know, egg nog is a polarizing beverage. First, let me say that the sludge they sell in cartons at the grocery store is a hate crime. Nasty. My Grandmother’s recipe is almost like a vanilla shake. It’s made with eggs, sugar, milk and a package of vanilla pudding mix (NOT instant – you can imagine the result). Then you pour it in a glass and top it off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Heaven. I also love me a peppermint mocha.

3. What sight or sound moved you during the season? (This can be good or bad.)

Unfortunately, this year it was the report on the CIA torture techniques and the protests against police brutality. It reminded me that the Advent and Christmas stories are not only filled with warm fuzzies, but has a powerful story to tell about the slaughter of the innocents, injustice and abuse of power.

4. With whom did you enjoy sharing time with over the Christmas season?

Biological family as always. I love that I don’t have to travel during this season. Church family, which is new to me but quickly becoming important. Chosen family, which is also new, but really great. It’s been a fun holiday season.

5. Was there someone missing from your festivities? How are you doing with that?

While this year brought the end of some friendships, I feel like I’m in a good place with regard to the friends I do have. Not all friendships or relationships are intended to last for long periods of time and it makes me appreciate the ones that do all the more. I’m fortunate to not have lost anyone close to me through death this year. I know way too many people who have, however, and my heart was heavy for them this season.

Friday Five: Christmas Soon!

Margaret Fitch's nativity set

janintx writes:

This was the first Nativity scene I ever had. My cousin Margaret sent it to me from France when I was in first grade. I still put it out every year, a tradition I love. (Notice how Mary is holding baby Jesus!)

For today’s Friday Five, choose any five things about this upcoming Christmas that comes to mind, such as memories, traditions, plans, worries, whatever you wish. Add a favorite recipe, song, or tradition that you would like to share as the bonus category.

1. Christmas on Christmas Eve

So, we’re German-ish. And a lot of Eastern European. Mennonite, really. (see below). My mom always thought we did Christmas on Christmas Eve because my dad’s family doesn’t do delayed gratification but there is some cultural justification. My dad has a mental block against opening presents in daylight. True story. Our routine has become that we spend the day together, kids playing, making stuff, watching cartoons, etc. Then we all part ways and go to our respective churches and reconvene for dinner around 7. After dinner, it’s all presents all the time.

2. Food

As previously mentioned, we are ethnically Mennonite, which involves specific foods. We also have lived in the desert southwest for over 40 years. So, as you might imagine, there’s some overlap. For a long time, we were in the habit of having chili, tamales & Mexican Coke for Christmas Eve, but then the retail years came and I wasn’t home on Christmas Eve. My brother is not particularly fond of tamales (I know. Tragic.) so those years when I wasn’t home, he wrangled Mom into making vereneke, a Mennonite dumpling concoction that I absolutely loathe. It’s disgusting, but he’s all about it. Now that I’m local and here on the holiday, we’ve had to combine the two traditions into what I like to call a Mexonnite feast. It’s all really good and everyone is happy.

3. Buche de Noel

I know I just talked about food but this cake gets its own entry. The first year I was home (now 3 Christmases ago – eek!) I was reading through the local food blog and came across an entry for the best holiday desserts. I decided to order this Buche de Noel cake from a bakery in Scottsdale. Oh. My. Gosh. This thing is ridiculous. Just the most delicious dark chocolate, and there are dried cranberries inside. So freaking delicious. 133561_10151174980227201_1262346161_o

4. Movie on Xmas Day

Since we do Christmas on Christmas Eve, my brother is free to go to his in-laws for Christmas Day and it’s all good. This means, the rest of us have nothing to do. We’ve never had anything to do on Christmas Day, now there are just fewer of us with nothing to do. I personally like to sleep in, see a movie, and then join our Jewish brethren for Chinese food. Last year I went do a horrible movie with the parents, but since they created me, I acquiesced. This year, I may actually have a FRIEND with whom I can go to a movie. Alert the media. I’m getting a life.

5. The Children on winter break

I love this time of year because I get some extra time with the kids since they’re out of school. I can’t take a ton of time off this year, but the way the holidays naturally fall I get some good time. Hopefully we’ll work out a sleepover or something.

Friday Five: Oh! Christmas Tree!

3dogmom writes:


It’s been a week of wrangling with the Christmas tree at our house. Multiple strands of new lights were strung carefully on the tree for big impact, but here and there malfunctions and blackouts occurred. On the third day we still don’t have fully functional lights, which is problematic mostly because until that is resolved, nothing else goes on the tree.

In light of that (no pun intended) I thought The Christmas Tree might be a good launch pad for today’s FF. So…

1) Real tree, or “fake?”

Real. Fake trees make the Baby Jesus cry.

2) White or colored lights?

I prefer white. I feel like colored lights steal the thunder of the ornaments. However, I prefer colored lights for the exterior.

3) When do you put up and take down your tree?

Mmmm..I’ll probably do it this weekend. In these parts, trees quickly become fire hazards, so we don’t have them up too long.

4) Tell us about your favorite ornament (share a picture, if you can).


5) What goes on the top of your tree (again, share a photo, if possible)?

I have both an angel and a big red bow. This year, the bow wins.

Be sure to link to your blog page where we can visit your Friday Five and say hello!

Friday Five: Sweet or Salty

Deb writes:


Beggars Night.

Harvest Party.


Trunk or Treat.

All Hallows Eve.

Call it what you want, there’s plenty of holiday love for sweet treats on October 31st. (Consider this your one week warm-up.)

Ain’t gonna lie… Even though there are no Trick-or-Treaters in our home, I still eye the candy aisle with undisguised lust.


What shall it be? Can I resist? Maybe you have a craving for a little something from time to time… join me for this week’s Friday Five!

1. First, Sweet or Salty? Or both? Describe that gotta-have-it treat. (It can be healthy or paleo-friendly, or decadent. We won’t judge!)

Totally depends on my mood. Lately, it’s been more salty, but I certainly don’t turn down a sweet. My favorite candies are Twix and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Unfortunately, we’re entering endless candy season that begins with Halloween and goes through Easter. Whenever Reese’s does a jumbo version of the cup, like a pumpkin, a tree or an Easter egg, I have to indulge. And, not going to lie, I will jump over fire to get to a Cadbury Creme Egg. What were we talking about? *wipes chin*

2. Self-control: How do you help yourself stay strong with the temptation of All That Sugar?

The only way I can stay strong is if I don’t even have it in the house or near my desk. And if I stay away from the Target when I’m in an emotional tailspin, which is happening a lot lately. Vacation in 13 days.

3. Have you successfully cut (or decreased) sugar out of your diet? How did you do it?

I’ve done pretty well decreasing it but if I eliminate it completely, I’ll binge. It’s about setting up my environment. If it’s not available, I have to come up with something else to eat. Fruit helps.

4. What’s one sweet you won’t do without. Ever.

Chocolate. There will always be chocolate.

5. Just for fun: if you were a candy bar, which one would you be?

I’d be a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Kinda sweet, kinda salty, all fabulous.

Friday Five: Random

revkarla writes:

Hello gals and pals,
It’s the second Friday of the month, and you know what that is~~~Random Friday Five! Have fun, and enjoy! (as always, let us know that you played in the comments–whether you play in the comments, link to your blog, or on Facebook!)

1. How do you sign off in your emails, professional and personally? For example, you say “Blessings”,
“Take Care”, “Remember, the Devil is watching you” (o.k. just kidding on that one.) Let us know and why…

I just say “Thanks,” which is kinda lame. I might adopt the devil watching you thing, though. I’m a big fan of shame as a motivator

2. If you were an animal TODAY, what is it and why?

I’m not an animal person. But, clearly, if I were going to be an animal, I’d be a honey badger (NSFW).

3. If you get snarky, what triggers it? If you don’t get snarky, please, what is the secret?

IF I get snarky? That’s cute. It’s sort of my M.O. I can’t think of a time when I wasn’t in a place of inner snark. However, with age, I have learned to situationally limit the snark to the inside.

4. Look up from your computer/tablet/phone screen. What is the first favorite thing your eyes land on. Describe it. (For example, I just did this, and my eyes landed on a little angel made out of multicolored wires whose head and wings are quite askew because of being chewed upon by my puppy. That aside, I love it because it was a gift from two little girls who came often to my office in my last call to play with all the tshotke on my table. They wanted to add to it.)


There are a number of things I like from this view. First, the fact that I am (once again) watching Pitch Perfect. This is kind of a current favorite. Also, love my SF map picture that was  a going away gift when I moved back. My Dali clock from PDX also makes me very happy.

5. Do you have a favorite pair of socks? Tell us about them!

No. I live in the desert. It’s still in the 90s. I have always been a barefoot girl. Shoes and socks come off first. I avoid footwear as much as possible.

Friday Five: Surprising Finds!

janintx writes:

Only afterwards, do we realize that we have “found” something that we like–like a new way to look at something; a new (to me) author; a new song or hymn; a new food. Today share with us something that you like that seemed surprisingly “new” to you sometime in the near past. It could even be a RE-discovery.

Here is a list, but you can choose your own five items you would like to share! Please join us today in playing FF.

1. author

I’m late to the Jonathan Tropper bandwagon so in anticipation of the film (which actually released today), I’m reading This Is Where I Leave You. I’m really enjoying it.

2. shampoo

Alas, I have been a loyal Aveda customer for nearly 25 years. I am a slave to the Color Conserve collection and cannot be dissuaded, despite the best efforts of many a salon professional.

3. food

Oddly, it’s cotton candy. Last weekend I went to dinner at a swanky restaurant downtown and as my friend and I were pondering dessert, we were offered home-made cotton candy. A bit incredulous, we were told that it’s really delicious and a regular part of the meal service. Our server brought us a beautiful pink pouf of cotton candy and it was so whimsical and fun. We ate the whole thing. He told us that people have very polarized reactions to the cotton candy – they either love it or get angry and ask that it be taken away. Wierd.

4. activity

One of the new things that’s going around as a fun activity is painting studio classes. You pay around $30 for 2 hours and all the materials and instruction. You can also bring wine. The teacher guides the class through a painting class and you copy either a painting the instructor has done or a classic masterpiece. I went to a class and did a version of Starry Night. I found it really relaxing and engrossing. Something I’d definitely like to do again.

5. music

I’ve gone back and watched Pitch Perfect a few times. It’s even better than it was when I first watched it. I just finally got the soundtrack and have been rocking it non-stop.

Friday Five: Random

revkarla writes:

Hello Pals~~
Random Friday Five is back!

1. If you could sneak away anywhere this weekend, right now, all expenses paid, where would you go and what would you do?

Easy – San Francisco. I would jump at the chance to be back home in the beautiful Bay Area. Since expenses were paid, I’d probably do some spa time at the fabulous Burke-Williams, and eat at the best restaurants in the world. I’d also run up to Napa and do a little tasting.

2. What is for lunch today? (one of the very first FF I ever played asked this.)

I’m going with a salad because I sort of sinned at dinner last night. Totally worth it, though.

3. Along that first-FF-I-ever-played theme, what are you wearing today?

It’s a day off for me, so some yoga pants and then a bathing suit and then some going out fabulousness.

4. Along the Today Theme, what are you doing today?

Today I am FINALLY getting the hair did. Egads. It’s a disaster. Then I have a friend coming over and we’re going to spend significant time by the pool. Finally, I’m dressing up and getting sassy to go out to dinner with a friend. It’s going to be a good day.

5. Along the random theme, what is your favorite scent, and why?

I love lavender because it’s beautiful and relaxing. The scent I wear, however, is China Rain, an exclusive of Body Time in Berkeley. Love it.

Friday Five: Random End-of-Summer Edition


There’s no real theme today, just some random topics. Have fun and don’t forget to post your link in the comments!

1. True or False: You can wear white shoes after Labor Day*. (Please explain to me why!)

Trick question. The answer is you should NEVER wear white shoes. Unless you’ve taken a time machine back to the 80’s.

2. If “the dog days” are in August, when are “the cat days”?

Another trick question. There are no cat days, because cats are evil.

3. Share a memory from your life of going back to school.

I always loved the shopping aspect of back to school, both clothing and school supplies. I don’t think I have anything specific beyond loving shopping. Because, shopping.

4. My dad had a rhyme he used to tell us: “I eat my peas with honey; I’ve done it all my life. It makes the peas taste funny, but it keeps them on my knife!” What’s the strangest use for honey you’ve ever heard of?

Ummm..that one.

5. Post a picture from this summer that shows us one of your favorite memories.

I’m trying but there are technical difficulties. I’ll try again later.