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As usual, for this year's gift-giving charity the library is going with a local organization for children's advocacy. The Christmas program provides the names and wishlists of kids in the system, and we buy presents for them which the organization delivers to the parents(s)/guardians so that they can wrap the gifts and give them to their kids. The same names are given to multiple offices/workplaces, so I don't need to worry that these are the only presents the kids are getting.

I usually try to grab the names of girls with geeky interests, but there were none in this year's selection. So who did I pick this year? Two brothers, Jesus (11) and Angel (8)*. Their wishlists are:

Jesus: "Drawing, colored pencils. Cars, balls. Favorite color: blue."

Angel: "All superheroes, transformers. Dinosaurs, basketball. Drawing."

I GUESS I'M GIVING THEM ART SUPPLIES, HUH? :D Suggestions welcome! I'm going to take a look at how-to-draw superhero and car books, but don't want to limit myself to that as it's obvious enough they may get multiples. I usually buy local and always include the receipt anyway, so that the parents can exchange the gift if there are duplicates or the kid already has it.

(BTW, Monster High is apparently the in thing-there were multiple kids asking for it!)

* Not their real names, from what I understand. The center preserves their anonymity.

edit: Ooh, this car-design kit looks pretty spiffy!
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At work we usually partner with a local charity that gets gifts for kids in crisis--either taken into care, or they and a parent are escaping from a domestic abuse situation, etc. We get cards with a fake name for the kid (to preserve anonymity), their basic info, and some gift wishes.

I went through the cards on the board and got the geekiest one I could find. "Nathaniel" is a 12 year old boy, who has listed under the Gift Wish section:

Bookstore gift card
Magician items
Legos (Lord of the Rings)

I have no idea if "Magician items" means a magic kit, or if it means he like Gandalf a lot, or if there's something out there in the 12-year-old world that fits that description. At the very least, I'll get him a Barnes and Noble gift card, and something from the LEGO LotR line, along with a receipt in case he's already got it. But perhaps a couple of books that he might like in addition to this? That I can get at my local B&N so I can enclose a gift receipt, as he may not be able to return them to Amazon, as I have no idea what his situation is.

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At Mom's place for Christmas, and I started poking through the big accordion file of recipes that used to belong to my grandmother. Mom told me I could keep it, woo!

There are some excellent things in here, like the recipe for Orange Balls, which were cookies that my grandmother was known for, and which people asked her to make, and the recipe for Luci's Chocolate Cake, which I believe is attributed to Luci Baines Johnson (but which is not her wedding cake, which wasn't chocolate).

And then, many of these recipes having been collected and developed from the 1930s through the 1970s, there are quite a lot of not-so-excellent recipes. My grandmother loved to put margarine, or oleo, as she termed it, into everything, although I'm surprised at the relative lack of Velveeta, and there is a plethora of Jell-o and other gelatin salads.

So, in honor of these and other mid-century awful foods, I present to you Perfection Salad, transcribed from my grandmother's handwritten recipe card, a salad of which Mom says she has many very bad memories.

Read more... )
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If y'all remember the Secret Santa thing I posted about a short while ago, where I got two girls, one 13-year-old Twihard (a nickname I use with love: I remember being proud to be IDed as a Durannie, being addicted to Duran Duran at that age!), and one 9-year-old science & Lego-loving girl, I turned the presents in on Monday.

For the Twihard: a copy of Fang Girl (with a signed bookplate supplied by [personal profile] helen_keeble! Yes, it arrived! Thank you! :D), an omnibus of the Den of Shadows Quartet, by Cecilia Atwater-Rhodes, Darkangel by Meredith Ann Pierce, because I loved it as a teen, Garth Nix's Sabriel because ditto (but as an adult, when it came out!), and Sarah Rees Brennan's The Demon's Lexicon, in case she likes dark-and-brooding (I enjoyed it; I still keep meaning to pick up the sequels!).

For the science girl: Potato Chip Science: 29 Incredible Experiments, which comes in a bag the size and shape of a potato-chip bag (filled out with air,e ven, so it really feels like a large bag of chips!) stuffed with a book and items to use in experimenting on potato chips and potato chip bags, which I figure she can probably get her hands on, a Klutz Press book abut building little machines with Legos, Lego Crazy Action Contraptions, that includes the necessary Legos, Pratchett's The Wee Free Men, as Tiffany Aching is the same age as her (might be a little old for her prose-wise, might not; I was reading Lord of the Rings at her age so you can't tell. She doesn't have to like it!), and Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me.

Thank you all for the suggestions! I picked and chose partly depending on whether I'd read and liked it, and partly whether or not it was available in paperback at a reasonable price (for the ones that I hadn't read). XD
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I got to pick up the paperweights Toby and I made in the glassblowing workshop this weekend.

cut for pic )
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Right! So once again my workplace is doing the Secret Santa thing for the Alliance for Kids, which is where they deliver a bunch of cards to us, each one with a kid's name, age, clothing size, and gift wishes, and we pick one or two and buy a few gifts and hand them over. The parents/guardians wrap them and give them to the kids. (These are kids who are in the system somehow, often because they're escaping from abusive situations.)

Anyway, nobody wanted video games this year, but these are the two I picked. I'll need suggestions from you guys! (They're not related this time. I think I picked sisters last time.)

Note, these are not their real names. The AFC people assign them these names for anonymity.

MADISON. Madison is 9 years old, and her wish list is, and I quote: "Science, Legos, arts & crafts, books." SCIENCE! AWESOME! I'll have to shop around and see what I can get her that involves science. Possibly some good science-related books? Parents of science-interested 9-year-olds: what books and other toys do your kids like?

MARIA. Maria is 13, and wants "Anything Twilight" and books. Yes, yes, I know, Twilight. I will probably purchase her something Twilight-related that is small and is not the books, as I assume she's already read them. What I would like to do also is get her BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS that are BETTER THAN TWILIGHT. What would YOU recommend for a 13-year-old Twihard that doesn't have the skeevy relationship dynamics, but still might speak to her id in the same sort of way that Twilight does? Vampires & werewolves a bonus, as I have no idea if she's Team Edward or Team Jacob (or, perhaps (if only), Team Bella).


Dec. 2nd, 2010 10:03 am
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...related to my post about the gift-giving thing my work is doing: what clothing stores are currently cool for teenage girls? They're 14 and 15, and wear junior sizes. I'm not getting them clothes, but am thinking about throwing in a gift card for some store they can go to and pick out something they like.
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Work is doing that thing again this year where a local child abuse advocacy center gives us the names and Christmas wishes of kids in the system, and we buy presents for them*, deliver them unwrapped to the center along with wrapping paper, and the parents or guardians wrap the presents up for the kids.

I grabbed two, because they were sisters and gamers, who both want PS3 games. The 15-year-old wants Call of Duty: Black Ops which, er, no. She may well already own and play Call of Duty, but I am not going to be the one responsible for determining if she's able to play an M-rated game or not. But I'm sure I can find some sort of less-than-M first-person shooter or something to give her, along with a receipt for exchanging it for Call of Duty something she likes better, or just wimp out and get her a Best Buy gift certificate. Her 14-year-old sister wants Little Big Planet. Which I will also gift with a receipt, and perhaps instead with a gift card, as I note that Little Big Planet 2 is coming out in January, and I don't know if she wants or would prefer that one.

* They put the kids' names out at multiple locations, so we don't have to worry about supplying *all* of one kid's presents.


Dec. 26th, 2006 06:20 pm
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What did YOU get for Christmas? I got

Cut to build the suspense )

I'm on my mom's laptop with its horrid laptop keyboard and dialup connection right now, so I probably won't read LJ until tomorrow evening after I get back up to Fort Worth and see how much the cat has destroyed and what crack-addled things the TiVo has suggested for me, and won't make a more substantial post about lactose-free pumpkin pie and doppelgangers (experienced twice in one day, even!) until then.

Although I should remind you that my birthday is the 29th and if you just happen to feel like giving me presents, I am totally there for you.
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and therefore I'm nesting: getting the urge to make stew and chicken stock. At the store yesterday I noticed baking hens going for $ .99/pound, so I bought two, intending to make double stock - i.e. you make stock with one chicken, then you make stock with the other, using the stock that you made the first time round for the water the second time. It's a good way to make a flavorful stock when you can't get your hands on a good, tastly roasting chicken and are stuck with the flavorless hunks of flesh that pass for chicken nowadays. (And beef. I am sorely disappointed in most meat nowadays because what makes it to the grocery store is bland and flavorless. I'm really going to have to hunt down a traditional butcher to find something with flavor.)

Anyway, since I really don't have time to let it simmer for 8-10 hours today and then 8-10 hours tomorrow, I'm experimenting: I've got one chicken going in the stewpot, with onions and garlic and carrots and celery and ginger thrown in (I swear by ginger. Mmm.), and one cut up in hunks and thrown into the slow cooker with much the same vegetables and much less water. I have no idea how I'm going to combine them tomorrow, but it's going to be fun finding out. :)

Cut on the off chance Mom decides to come by here and read this, because it's about her Christmas present. )

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