Happy 2021!

Here’s to a happy, healthy, fulfilling New Year to you and yours!

All the best,

Carla

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Merry Christmas!

Wherever you are, whether you’re on your own this year or with family or friends, I wish you a merry, merry Christmas!

All the best,

Carla

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A recipe for hot chocolate

When we were growing up in small-town New England, my six brothers and sisters and I would spend hours sledding on the hills behind our 18th-century house (a work-in-progress!). We’d come in pink-cheeked, usually with snow in our boots and cold, and inevitably our mother had a big pot of hot chocolate simmering on the wood stove. What a way to warm up!

I’ve made lots of hot chocolate since then, for adults as well as children. I’ve used mixes but prefer to make it from scratch. Since my father was Dutch, I’ve tended to use Droste cocoa. King Arthur Baking Company, its head… Read More

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A recipe for mulled wine

On a chilly winter evening, Joe and I love to have a pot of mulled wine simmering on the wood stove. Not only is it delicious as we read or warm up after snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, it fills the house with wonderful scents.

Here’s the recipe included in my Swift River Valley novella, “Christmas at Carriage Hill.”

Ingredients

2 bottles of dry red wine
1-2 orange(s), sliced into “circles”
1/3 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup brandy
1/4-1/2 cup sugar (to taste)
8 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 nutmegs, cracked into pieces

Preparation

Combine all the ingredient… Read More

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Happy St. Nicholas Day!

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

It’s a festive holiday celebrated December 5-6. It’s popular in many places, perhaps especially the Netherlands, where my father was born and raised. Here’s a quick article that explains a bit about its origins: “The tradition of receiving small gifts from St. Nicholas began with Dutch children, who put out their shoes the night before so St. Nicholas could leave the gifts in them.”

When I was growing up, my father would make spritz cookies throughout the Christmas season. My six brothers and sisters and I  all loved to help him (th… Read More

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Welcome, December!

December to me means family, friends, afternoon tea, reading by the fire and reflecting on the past year. And writing. Of course, writing! It’s rare a day that I don’t write. Right now I’m in “monk mode” with new projects, a great place to be on these short, chilly (cold!) days.

My granddaughter and I are planning St. Nicholas Day (December 6) festivities. She’s in the second grade and loves to draw and do art projects, especially ones involving glitter. I love her cheerful rendition of sunflowers, below, that she did for me last week. I can’t help … Read More

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Happy Thanksgiving

My best to friends in the U.S. this week. We are staying home on our hilltop in Vermont and looking forward to a quiet day, giving thanks and enjoying a nice dinner and a good walk in the hills.

Happy Thanksgiving!… Read More

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“Traveling the World with Mom”

“On Tuesday, we flew over the Great Pyramid…”

Wouldn’t that be something to do even if we didn’t have travel restrictions? A.L. Renna’s delightful children’s book Traveling the World with Mom shows us how it can happen, with a little imagination and our local library.

Growing up in small-town New England, I loved my visits to my local library. The library in my Swift River Valley series, set in small-town New England, is modeled after my hometown library, with a touch of other libraries I’ve enjoyed. Nooks and crannies, history, perso… Read More

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Daffodils…need I say more? :-)

Our daffodils are poking up out of the mud, a sign of spring on our Vermont hill. I’ll post photos once they’re in bloom. In the meantime, I gathered these photos of daffodils in the Cotswolds (top, near where I placed Oliver York’s fictional country home!), the Netherlands (middle) and Ireland (bottom). They make me smile and I hope they will you, todao, as we go forward into the rebirth of spring. Take care!

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An Irish castle walled garden in spring

It might be mud season on our Vermont hilltop but elsewhere spring flowers are in bloom. Like so many of us, I’m an armchair traveler at the moment, but a few years ago we arrived in Ireland early on an April morning and wandered in a walled castle garden filled with spring flowers. It was snowing in Vermont when we took these photos. It snowed here last week, too. Hm. Enjoy!

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