Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve Party List of Fictional Characters

Last night I was chatting on Twitter with @WebGrrrrl. We had a fun discussion about who from history you would enjoy sitting down and talking to. We both agree Dolly Madison would be interesting and I think I'd like to have a conversation with Martha Washington. There's just something about talking to the woman behind the man. Other names brought into the conversation included Winston Churchill and Michelangelo.

Of course once you get into this train of thought, the mind begins to race and it's easy to come up with more than just historical figures that would be fun to sit and chat with (and maybe share a cup of coffee or tea.) I confess that my list of favorite fictional characters is longer than my list of favorite historical characters simply because I like living in a fantasy world. It's often a lot nicer than the real world. Anyway....

About two years ago, I wrote an article for Helium about Favorite Fictional Characters. Some of you may have seen it as I've tweeted about it in the past. It is truly one of the most enjoyable articles I've written to date. I narrowed my favs down to three for that piece for the sake of length. My top three are a Jedi, a Hobbit and a Righteous Dude; namely Luke Skywalker, Samwise Gamgee and Ferris Bueller.

Today I've been thinking about some of my most favorite fictional characters and who I would invite to a New Year's Eve. For my Fictional New Year's Party I would most definitely invite Luke Skywalker but I would also have to include his son Ben because I love the father/son dynamic they share. My favorite Hobbit, Samwise would be included along with Merry and Pippen. If we are inviting Ferris we have to include his best friend Cameron. Sloan can go find her own party.

The party list would also include The Doctor and Rose Tyler, Hercule Poirot, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy (pre-marriage), Luna Lovegood and Neville Longbottom, Shawn and Gus (Pysch), Tallahassee, Columbus and Wichita, Magnus Bane and the cast of Friends minus Ross. And I bet I could get Monica to help me clean up afterward.

My list is a bit eclectic, well actually looking at it now, it's fairly strange but these are all characters that I enjoy for one reason or another and rarely tire of. I think the diversity would make for a very interesting party. There are several more characters I would love to include but for now, I will leave my fictional party list small and intimate. 

So if you were inviting a group of some of your favorite fictional characters to a New Year's Eve party, who would be on your list? Feel free to leave lists in the comment section. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

12 Days of Christmas: Top 12 Christmas Treats

Since we are in the throes of the official "12 Days of Christmas" I thought I'd get into the spirit by compiling a few "Top 12" lists. As I prepare for a marathon baking session this weekend, I am in treat-mode. So without further ado, let's count 'em down.

Barb's Top 12 Christmas Treats

12.  Pecan pie. My husband's grandmother makes the best!

11.  Sugar plums. Yes, I listed sugar plums and I'm referring to the candied treat not the actual fruit. If you've not seen a candied sugar plum. Check it out here.

10.  Gingerbread cookies/house. Sure they're a mess to make but with a good vanilla frosting and tasty candies attached to the gingerbread it is a classic Christmas treat.

9.   Peanut brittle. Sweet, salty and ideal for sharing with neighbors when packaged in a pretty little box.

8.   Fruitcake. Plain and simple, I like fruitcake. There. Now you know, my secret is out.

7.   Carmel Corn. Another treat that is great for boxing up and sharing with friends, family, the kid's teacher, the mail carrier and the babysitter.

6.   Decorated sugar cookies. The classic cookie to leave for Santa is one of the tastiest treats.

5.   Fudge. Chocolate, white chocolate, with nuts or without nuts it's all good. This year I am making Kahlua fudge from Simply & Delicious's Dec/Jan issue.

4.   Truffles. Oooh, chocolate-y truffles! Need I say more?

3.   Sugar-dusted white chocolate-covered pretzels. This is a favorite of my son's. I have been making them for years and he requests them every Christmas. Click here for my recipe.

2.   Peppermint bark. So simple but so tasty. If anyone has any easy method for crushing the candy canes, would you post it in the comments section? Thanks!

1.   Candy canes. Traditional, sweet, pretty and tasty, the candy cane is my top Christmas treat. I love the classic peppermint ones as well as all the fun, fruity flavors that can be found. The Jelly Belly candy canes are delicious as are the Jolly Rancher candy canes. And...they all look lovely on the Christmas tree!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Yes, I've been a naughty little blogger...actually that should be non-blogger. I know one of the big rules of blogging is to continue to update posts, engaging your readers. Um, well apparently I've got a major fail going on.

No new posts from me because I've simply had to choose to work on paying writing jobs these days. It IS Christmas, you know. So, bear with me and my blog will grow and change as we move into the new year. I promise, really.

I wouldn't tell a fib this close to Christmas, would I? What would Santa say?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wed. Wish List

Since I had fun writing last week's Wed. Wish List, I thought I'd do another this Wednesday. And it's actually still early in the day, so I'm ahead of the game...well, maybe not ahead, but at least I'm not behind.


I can't be the only one feeling like they are totally behind with everything right now, am I? I'm trying to keep up with NaNoWriMo, complete my writing assignments for which I'm actually paid and stay on top of my everyday domestic duties. Balance, balance, balance. It's not easy and then a quick look at the calendar and I'm freaked to see that Thanksgiving is one week away. After that it's a flurry of holiday hectic-ness.

With balance and a crazed schedule in mind, here is my Wed. Wish List for November 17, 2010.

Oh, wait I almost forgot the rules...Only 5 wishes per Wed. are allowed. The list must be created in one sitting, no contemplating, just type it all out as it comes to mind. Randomness is allowed and encouraged.


  • Wishing someone else would take the initiative and wash the kitchen & bathroom floors for me.
  • Wishing the frenzy over Prince William's engagement slows down...but I know that it won't. I mean, I'm happy for them, but seriously there are other news stories that can be reported.
  • Wishing our local food banks are filled to capacity so everybody that needs help gets it.
  • Wishing everyone dreading the holidays for whatever their personal reason, is able to find some peace and happiness instead of despair.
  • Wishing I was planning a vacation to Disney right now as I would welcome a bit of an escape from reality.
Do you have five wishes? Go ahead and share them.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Having a Very Harry Day

I am currently re-reading "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" in anticipation of seeing the new movie when it arrives in my area this weekend. I admit to being caught up in the excitement with the new theatrical release although I know that it will probably not do the book justice...since most book-to-movies do not live up to the book. Can we say "The Lightening Thief?"

Regardless, I am still looking forward to seeing the movie and am enjoying my re-read. I can get totally lost in J.K. Rowling's series. I've written several articles for Helium about various Harry Potter things including party ideas, gift basket ideas for HP fans and of course reviews. However one of my favorite pieces was a title that appeared on the site, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and its relevance 10 years after publication."

I think about the young readers that are just beginning the series for the first time and smile. Remember how much fun it was to read each book as they came out? How long did it take you to read The Deathly Hallows? I read it on a vacation trip out to Colorado. It was a long car ride, but I never saw any scenery as my head was buried in the book, occasionally scaring my family as I would cry out at an unexpected death or other turn of event. My son, who was going to read the book on the trip back kept reminding me not to give him any spoilers.

I love having a series of books that I can pick up any time and simply start in any order or even just sit down and read a few random chapters. It's like visiting old friends. I like to check in on them occasionally. When I'm feeling in a funk, reading a bit of Luna Lovegood dialogue makes me smile. Wrackspurt, got ya?

So this weekend I will make my way to the movie theater with many others and indulge in a couple of hours of Harry Potter magic. I may even make some homemade butterbeer to have beforehand. As both an avid reader and movie-watcher it's so much fun for me to be able to see some of my favorite fictional characters brought to the big screen.

I leave you today with one of my favorite quotes from the Harry Potter books.

"Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?" spoken by Albus Dumbledore in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" by J. K. Rowling.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wed. Wish List

I have not been a good little blogger. In fact, I’ve been very remiss. On Monday, I swear I was going to write a very meaningful post about my NaNoWriMo project…but…well, that didn’t happen. The words have just not been there this week. 

Today felt like I turned a corner. I completed three articles for Helium and I’m very pleased with how they turned out. I’ve written bits and pieces on my NaNo project (yes, I’m still reluctant to call it a book) but I just don’t feel like I’ve made REAL progress this week.

Which leads me to the meat of this post, wishes. Actually, Wednesday Wishes.

We all have things we wish for each day, each week and so on. I thought that on Wednesdays I might write a post highlighting some of my most current wishes. Be forewarned, randomness may occur. I also encourage anyone else to chime in through comments with their own Wed. Wish List.

So here are my self-imposed rules. Only 5 wishes per Wed. are allowed. The Wed. Wish List must be created in one sitting, no pondering, just the first 5 wishes that roll from inside to typing fingers.


  • Wishing my muse pays a long visit tomorrow so I can get my characters moving again in my not-yet-a-book NaNoWriMo project.
  • Wishing this whole Major Fail gets resolved quickly and that it never happens again.
  • Wishing my Jack-cat doesn’t climb the Christmas tree this year.
  • Wishing I hadn’t wasted an hour earlier playing CafĂ© World on Facebook.
  • Wishing I will learn quickly how to plan out my posts so there is some coherency from day to day and not just random ramblings.
My first Wed. Wish List is complete. So what is your wish?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Today is not yesterday

The Oxygen Channel was showing Cycle 3 of America’s Next Top Model (ANTM) yesterday. It’s a show I have watched since the first cycle and I enjoy having the reruns on in the background while I go about my day. Yesterday was exceptionally busy and draped on top of the BUSY were distractions and frustrations.

I felt like I was swimming against the current all day. Then I saw Eva Pigford. For those of you who have never watched ANTM or maybe don’t remember the feisty little contestant, Miss Eva “Diva” won Cycle 3. The smallest model in that cycle, Eva also holds the distinction of being in the bottom 2 two weeks in a row, which means twice she was almost eliminated from the competition.

I watched Eva and the others off and on as I cooked, cleaned, edited and wrote articles, oh…and fought with the cable company, but that’s a story for another day.

More than once during the hectic day I felt like I had hit bottom. By the time I was slogging through a sink full of cookware too large to fit in the dishwasher, ANTM had progressed to the final episode of the Cycle. I watched Tyra announce Eva as the winner. Eva's reaction is one of my favorite moments of ANTM.

Thanks Eva, for making me smile and reminding me that you can climb back up from the bottom.

Oh, and today? MUCH better than yesterday.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Flexing Creativity: NaNoWriMo

Writing comes naturally and it is something I enjoy doing every day but I’ve not stretched my creative writing wings for a long time.

I have spent the majority of the last two years writing informative articles. When I began writing online it was as an exercise to hone my writing skills. Then I was sucked in. I love writing articles at, it gives me great pleasure and satisfaction. However, the itch to delve into something creative hit last year.

On vacation to South Carolina an idea sparked. Two characters began to take shape in my mind as we drove and drove.  I could begin to see a world, a purpose and a story. For the last year, this story with its unique world and characters has been rattling around in my head. I’ve taken some notes, actually done a bit of technical research and have begun character outlines.

Now NaNoWriMo is about to begin. I’ve seen so much about it on Twitter and other blogs. It intrigues me.

Today I took the plunge and signed up. Yep, I’m going to do it.

I’m taking my story and setting my characters loose during the month of November. I may not end up with anything worth saving at the end of the month but at least I will have committed to getting the words recorded.  

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It's all new

I had always thought my first blog post would be something monumental. I thought about sharing a perfect quote that would be the perfect summary of who I am and what I’d like to share with the world. Popping words, insightful observations and offbeat humor were sure to flow effortlessly.

Alas, not so much.

It’s a good thing actually, because today you get me, just talking to you. It’s simple, kind of like me.
I’m looking forward to sharing the daily puzzles and mild chaos (and sometimes not-so-mild chaos) that is my life as a Writer-Mom. It’s going to be fun, challenging and I’m certain it will never be boring.