Sunday, October 21, 2012


Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt

“What do you want for your birthday?  Gift card?” I instant messaged my nephew, let’s call him Zeke. He replied, “No. Something good, better than the flying squirrel.”  Well, all right, I love a challenge. It’s kind of hard to top a flying squirrel, just like it has been hard to top my annual summer adventure since the whole sky-diving thing. (Link to the flying squirrel tale .) My first thought was a copy of the book, “A Prayer for Owen Meany” by John Irving, accompanied by the best taxidermy armadillo money can buy. Unfortunately, the best specimen money can buy proved to be leagues out of my Birthday Boy Budget.

So that is how I came up with the Chinese Cricket Cage, imported all the way from China – of course. Mostly because that is the only place I could find one. Then came the dilemma, how to stuff a cricket in it, long distance?  Turns out you can buy the suckers on-line, one small detail, the smallest amount of crickets you can purchase is 500. Yes, Zeke’s Mom sent me a flaming text message about the crickets, AND told my Mom. It was worth it though, when Zeke admitted to me that the cricket gift was better than the flying squirrel.
I think the most memorable gifts are experiences. An experience is better than a thing. Once I surprised Dear Hubby with the opportunity to fly a Navy fighter jet*. The co-pilot promised there was nothing DH could do in the air that he couldn’t correct. Hubby flew from Santa Fe to Los Alamos, buzzing the volcano caldera, even got to do loops and barrel rolls, and he only stalled the jet once. There was oil all over the side of the craft when they landed, but land they did. DH can now tell you exactly what it feels like to pull G’s so hard that your navel meets your spine. He really wasn’t in the mood for southwestern food afterwards though, averted his eyes through my guacamole consumption, but I’m pretty sure he really liked the present.

Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt

The Gorp you see above is homemade granola. I make a batch every Autumn for DH and Zeus. By make I mean I assemble it, which is dangerously close to baking. Last week I did bake a cake to give as a gift, used my Gram’s old-fashioned Poppy-seed cake recipe. It involves all those time-consuming baking maneuvers like separating egg whites and beating them, making sour cream, etc. Taking time away from writing to bake is not something I often do. But this was a special gift for monks at a local monastery. It may or may not have been to appease my guilty conscience after the whole lamb-questing deal in the spring. I am not admitting anything that I may or may not have done in pursuit of fulfilling that quest. (Some guilty lamb quest details here .) Yet bake that cake I did, even timed the cooling process so I could flip it out of the pan at the right time, and it didn’t even fall apart. Score.

Then Angel stopped by. “Cake!” her eyes lit up. “No, it’s for the monks,” I explained, and we started to chat. It wasn’t until she used exaggerated gestures, dropping bits of cake into her mouth that I realized she was pinching off bits of that cake and eating it. When I protested, her eyes got really big. “You were serious?  You’re making a cake for monks?  For real?”  Sheesh, doesn’t everyone?  Well, they would if they’d…never mind. Anyway, the monks ended up with a pumpkin cranberry cake – made from scratch. So I did double penance and used up two years worth of baking energy in one day.

Photo Credit: Stephanie Karfelt (Monk Cake, the one that survived)
The Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans giveaway here at The Glitter Globe was a huge success. Honestly the stories about people actually eating those beans slay me. Bring on the gory details of when you ate the vomit one. I literally get nauseous just reading them. I only have a couple boxes left, so share a story with me if you’d like one. Have you ever received or given a memorable gift?  Have you ever baked a cake (doesn’t have to have been for the monks) and someone ate it with their fingers?  (By the way, that wasn’t the first time that happened.) 
Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt


Speaking of giveaways, The Epic Slinky Dog giveaway continues. Leave a comment below if you’d like an Epic Slinky Dog, and tell me why you need one, and I’ll give one away this coming week if it moves me or makes me laugh. (You also have to follow my blog.)  The Epic Slinky Dog giveaway has been my favorite. I’ve ended up with some really epic photographs of Slinky Dog. As a matter of fact Slinky even hit the beach. 

* (If you want to send your Dear Hubby, or yourself, to learn how to do barrel rolls!)
Photo Credit:  LaDonna Cole/Slinks & iMonk


Julianna Doerres said...

An epic slinky dog is fun for hours. It will follow you wherever you pull it. I had one similar as a child and it was a favorite. I even had my sons each have one. They of course went the way of all things we out grow or play with until they are gone. I thin it is a clever idea for a contest and what would I do with one just enjoy its funny way of following me around like I did as kid. Just a clever contest. My best for your page.

Call Me Heretic said...

I spent one summer at a college experience program (where you live in a dorm, have a room mate, and stay up all night trying to finish your home work). One of the activities they had us do was an easy bake oven contest. Only the mix they gave us was apparently not formulated for the tiny pans that fit in the thing. First attempt got EVERYWHERE. Enter the microwave. We mixed it up popped it in and they came out beautifully. ^.^ We didn't win, but the other guys totally cheated.

Call Me Heretic said...

Oh, and it wasn't a birthday gift but my hubby gave me a katana for Valentine's Day once. ^.^

devinberglund said...

Hello Stephanie! I have made a cake before haven't ever eaten it with my fingers! :P hehe... OH BUT I HAVE AN AMAZING GREAT SURPRISE FOR YOU... try greek yoghurt cake. I just made it awhile ago and it was the best cake ever. All you need is 1 cup of Greek Yoghurt, cake mix (I've only tried chocolate) and 1 cup of water. Stir them together and cook like normal cake. :) Enjoy when done... It is sooo moist and yummy! :) Mmmmnnmmmm!!!

Kelsey-plain and simple said...

The dangers of baking in my house is that my family likes what I bake. I recently made a quadruple batch of scotcharoos for my best friend's wedding. I had to hover over my brother for lack of trust - he always takes my baked goods.

My dad is the worst though. I swear, I can make something, walk away for a quick break, come back and several of whatever it is will be missing.

Stephanie Pazicni Karfelt said...

Julianna - You had a real, genuine Slinky Dog as a child? These are a bit different than the classic, but just as fun. :D Welcome to The Glitter Globe, thanks for playing along.

Stephanie Pazicni Karfelt said...

Heretic - How did they cheat on the Easy Bake Oven contest? Did they use a real oven? You left out the most important detail, was the cake chocolate? And I think you deserve a box of Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans just because it is too cool that your hubby gave you a katana for VALENTINE'S DAY! Not every girl would find that romantic.

Stephanie Pazicni Karfelt said...

Devin - Must try that cake. Thank you for the tip! I have a big girl's night out planned soon, and that could be just the thing. Will get back to you...or maybe I'll make it for the monks next time. Hmmm.

Stephanie Pazicni Karfelt said...

Kelsey P&S - Need the scotcharoos recipe asap. Emergency. It is good though, that only several of them were missing. Dear Hubby's BFF is a genuine giant and he would eat them all. We don't even argue if he does it in front of us, we're just so glad that he isn't grinding our bones to make his bread, you know? Scotcharoos might be just the thing for him.

Kathleen said...

For the past several months I been waking up as night smudges into ashen daylight feeling a general malaise. I roll over in my bed dreading the day. I wrestle with my thoughts. Why do I have no zest for life? No desire to Carpe my diem? Mid-life crisis? Low blood sugar? No Doctor Who until Christmas?
And then it hits me. No wonder I don't face the oncoming day with wide-eyed excitement! I don't have a slinky dog!
Bring life back into my day! Send me the coiling cur!

Stephanie Pazicni Karfelt said...

Kathleen! Carpe Canine, right? You justify your need quite eloquently. Private message me an address and I will send an Epic Slinky Dog. Will give him explicit instructions to add zest to your life. At least until Dr. Who returns to provide it. Or chocolate, you might try chocolate for those dry spells. It usually provides the necessary energy to give you an edge when wrestling with your thoughts.

rhollidaywrites said...

I bake a pretty mean cake. And by that I mean, I'm good at following directions.

Memorable I'm that person that goes and finds something for myself and says, "Look what you got me!" I do pride myself on finding unique gifts for folks. I bought a friend of mine who was going to another job (though he returned later) a custom made sock monkey- yes it was blue. It was a software coding monkey; if you're not aware, software developers are lovingly or derogatorily referred to as "code monkeys".

For the record, I need gorp and scotcharoo recipes ASAP. They've been on my mind since Monday...

Stephanie Pazicni Karfelt said...

GORP RECIPE: Your favorite granola cereal. Add as you like: Almonds, peanuts, shelled sunflower seeds, banana chips, yogurt cranberries, yogurt nuts, raisins, craisins, any other dried fruit you like, mini-M&M's, peanut M&M's, and Reese Pieces.
Modify according to your tastes, and amounts depends on how much you want. I use three boxes of granola cereal and mountains of the other stuff, but I'm feeding a giant.