One Step Closer to Rock ‘n’ Roll

On the West Bank of the Nile at the entrance to the Valley of the Kings, stands the mortuary temple of Hatshepsut, one of only a handful of women who served as Pharaoh in Ancient Egypt. Excavated by Howard Carter in 1903, the temple was designed by architect and all around important advisor Senenmut, who, according to historian locker room gossip, may have been Hatshepsut’s someone special.

The rumor is far from substantiated, but there’s a little evidence that Senenmut might have caused the Pharaoh’s heart to flutter, the most overlooked of which, I think, is that fact that near his own tomb, across the river, Senenmut honored his hired musician by having him buried nearby.

Hatshepsut, a woman worth hiring a rock star to impress. Postdlf from w [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Hatshepsut, a woman worth hiring a rock star to impress. Posted from w [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

The musician’s name was Har-Mose, and his coffin can be seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But that’s not the most impressive thing found in his tomb because buried with Har-Mose, about 3,500 years ago, was the oldest preserved guitar-like instrument that’s ever been found.

The instrument has only three strings, but it has an attached plectrum (or pick) as well as a carved cedar sound box and rawhide soundboard. In other words, it’s kind of a guitar. And like most rock stars, Har-Mose must have been pretty attached to his axe, since he was buried with it. Or, really, his employer Senenmut must have been attached, I’m guessing, because even in Ancient Egypt, a man with a guitar, had a good shot at getting the girl, even if she happened to be Pharaoh.

Okay, so that might be a stretch, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t to impress the ladies that at the age of six, our oldest son informed us that he would like to start a rock band. He had it all figured out, he’d explained, providing us with a list of what he would need in order to accomplish his goal. He’d need an electric guitar, of course, as well as a bass guitar. He’d need amplifiers. BIG amplifiers. Naturally he’d also need a drum set, a keyboard, and a microphone.

We said, “How ‘bout let’s start with some piano lessons?”

He thought about it for a minute and agreed that could work. And though he’s been happily playing piano more or less ever since, he’s never really given up his dream of rock ‘n’ roll. He’s already decided he’d like to drum when it comes time to start in the school band, and he’s been dropping hints about that electric guitar.

Best birthday ever.

Best birthday ever.

I love music. I studied piano a little when I was young and played the alto sax for about nine years. I’m just not really a guitar person. By that I mean that while I certainly enjoy listening to the guitar, I don’t play it or know much about it.

But I love that my son loves music and I want to encourage his interests when I can, so when he turns ten this week, he is going to totally freak out over his new electric guitar and (not-so-big) amplifier. I have to say, of all the gifts we’ve ever given him, I’m the most stoked about this one.

I anticipate that as he grows and hopefully becomes a more accomplished musician, adding to his collection the rest of the pieces of his band, and probably a nicer guitar and a MUCH bigger amplifier, this gift will long remain meaningful.

And, yes, I realize he will likely use it someday to attract the attention of the ladies. But for now, I’m going to enjoy the fact that I’m the main lady in his life and I can’t wait to hear the first butchered chords and failed attempts as he rocks out.

Superglue, Bailing Wire, and Candy Cane Goo

If you were to walk into my parent’s house at Christmastime, you would see an artificial Christmas tree strung with lights and topped with the same lighted, multicolored star my parents have had for as long as I can remember. At this point I’m pretty sure the star contains more bailing wire and superglue than original material and still it’s held together mainly by the sheer will of Christmas spirit. Well, that, and maybe a little sticky candy cane goo.

The most precious ornaments are always made with Popsicle sticks put together by little fingers.

The most precious ornaments are always made with Popsicle sticks put together by little fingers.

I don’t remember when it happened because I had to have been very small at the time, but the story goes that as the family worked together to decorate the Christmas tree, my eldest brother, who is easily the tallest in the family, was teasing my sister, just two years younger and quite a bit shorter.

As she was always the most zealous keeper of holiday traditions in our house, I suspect she had been giving him a hard time about his tendency to clump the tinsel and to think little of the proper spacing of candy canes as he threw them randomly on the tree.

So he did what any young teenage boy might and stretched up beyond her reach to place a candy cane on the star. He expected it to irritate her. Instead, she was delighted. We all were. Somehow it seemed like the perfect touch to finish off the tree that primarily featured lumpy clay and Popsicle-stick-ornaments constructed by little fingers. And every Christmas since, the tree has been topped with the same (kind of garish) star and a single candy cane.

Because regardless of what religious symbolism a Christmas tree may hold (a hundred different sources will provide a hundred different interpretations), it should represent childhood and good Christmas memories.

At least that’s what Queen Charlotte, the German wife of England’s King George III, seemed to think. When she married in 1761, Charlotte spoke no English (though she learned quickly) and brought with her several German customs, one of which was the setting up of a decorated yew branch at Christmastime.

Christmas trees, or some version of them, had been part of German tradition since at least the 16th-century, when legend credits Martin Luther with the first. The claim of the legend is almost certainly false, but historians do generally agree that the first Christmas trees emerged from the general vicinity of Germany.

Queen Charlotte was certainly fond of the tradition and quickly transformed the private family yew branch celebration of her childhood into a spectacle like none the English nobility had ever seen. Then in 1800, she took the tradition to a whole new level, inviting the children of Windsor to a party featuring at its center an entire yew tree loaded with, according to one contemporary biographer, “bunches of sweetmeats, almonds and raisins in papers, fruits and toys, most tastefully arranged; the whole illuminated by small wax candles.”

He makes no mention of Queen Charlotte topping the tree with a star or a candy cane. Of course since there’s no definite evidence that the candy cane was invented until a hundred years later, I can give her a pass on that one.

Queen Victorian and Prince Albert gathered with their family around the Christmas tree.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert looking very stylish around the Christmas tree.

What is clear is that the tree was a hit and Christmas trees started popping up in some of the noble households over the next few years, until in 1848, The Illustrated London News featured a woodcarving of Queen Victoria and her family gathered around their Christmas tree. After that, everyone wanted one. When the picture was run two years later in the American publication Godey’s Lady’s Book, the tradition caught fire (sometimes literally) in the United States as well.

Ours is not yet held together by bailing wire and hot glue, but give it time.

Ours is not yet held together by bailing wire and hot glue, but give it time.

Queen Victoria and her Prince Albert often get the credit for popularizing the Christmas tree, but the honor may more appropriately belong to Queen Charlotte, who knew that there are some traditions worth preserving.

So if you were to walk into my house at Christmastime, you would see an artificial Christmas tree strung with lights, decorated with lumpy clay and Popsicle-stick-ornaments, and topped with a (kind of garish) multicolored, lighted star and a single candy cane.

What weird little traditions do you follow and wouldn’t dream of celebrating Christmas without?

The Truth about Streaking in December

In the Early 13th Century, Roger Wendover wrote in his Latin history Flores Historiarum of a very generous 11th  Century noble couple. Leofric, Earl of Mercia, in modern day Great Britain, was one of a few powerful Anglo-Saxon noblemen leading up to the Norman conquest. And his very pious wife the countess Godiva liked to give away his money. Largely at her urging, the earl founded and supported a Benedictine Monastery at Coventry in addition to giving great support to five or six other monasteries throughout the countryside as well as to Old St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Seems to me there are worse ways a lady could be remembered.

Seems to me there are worse ways a lady could be credit: yuankuei via photopin cc

That’s all pretty well-documented in contemporary sources, but what is missing from those earlier accounts of the countess is mention of her stark naked horseback ride through the streets of Coventry that she’s come to be known for (well, that and fancy chocolate). According to Wendover, writing almost 200 years later, when the earl grew tired of Godiva’s pleas to lessen the tax burden on the peasants under his authority, he remarked that he would do so as soon as she rode naked through the town.

The countess took him at his word, commanded the townspeople not to peek (and they didn’t, until the 17th century when the original “Peeping Tom” crept into the legend), and set off on her horse in nothing but her birthday suit and some seriously long hair.


I think she could use more hair.

As you may have guessed, this story is likely not 100% historically accurate. In fact, most historians would be quick to point out (and please forgive the professional jargon here) that it’s complete and utter hogwash.

In addition to the story not surfacing until long after the countess’s death while remaining conspicuously absent from contemporary accounts of her, historians support their accusations of fraud with evidence as weak as the fact that Leofric never actually levied taxes on the people of Coventry outside of a horse toll and that according to the law of the day, it would have been Godiva herself who had the authority to either tax the people or not.

Peeping Tom of Coventry. He does look a little pervy.

Peeping Tom of Coventry. He does look a little pervy.

It seems then that Godiva’s story was resurrected and buffed to a nice heroic sheen by a well-meaning, if highly inaccurate, chronicler of history long after her death. And with the exception of all the Toms in the world, whose name for the last four hundred years or so has sounded kind of pervy, no one seems to mind too much. It’s a great story about standing up for the little guy even when it means stepping way outside of your comfort zone, because really, I don’t think there’s much that sounds less comfortable than riding on the back of a horse in your altogether. And it’s a story that has made “Lady Godiva” the most famous streaker in history.

It’s because of this that I bring her up. About a week ago, I was invited to go streaking this December. It happened because a friend of a friend posted on Facebook that she was going to start a group committed to a December “streak” of running (or walking because I don’t run unless I’m chasing a penguin) at least one mile every day in the month.

My walking partner, always ready to help me add a couple more miles to my total, and, it should be noted, always without a stitch of clothing.

My walking partner, always ready to help me add a couple more miles to my total, and, it should be noted, always without a stitch of clothing.

That doesn’t sound like a lot, and it doesn’t have to be because it’s the streak that’s important. And considering this is the month when the temperatures begin to plummet where I live and I’d rather sit on the couch wrapping presents and eating Christmas cookies than do about anything else, I think this is just the motivation I need to get moving.

I’ve set my goal (and my extra early alarm) and so far so good. But it’s cold here in December and you can rest assured that just like the noble lady Godiva before me, I am not going to streak naked through town. I may, however, eat some fancy chocolate in her honor.

A Shocking Turkey Recipe

The holiday season is nearly upon us, beginning here in the US with Thanksgiving next week. And if, like us, you’re hosting family for the big day that means it’s time to make plans for your turkey. We tend to prefer the Alton Brown brine method at our house, but I bet a fair few hosts are thinking of getting up at the crack of dawn to continually check and baste their birds until they are roasted to golden brown perfection. Other more adventurous sorts may be considering rigging up a deep fryer and spending the holiday at the hospital being treated for third degree burns.

Benjamin Franklin, reviewing his collection of turkey recipes.

Benjamin Franklin, reviewing his collection of turkey recipes.

But history suggests there may be an even better (and possibly more dangerous) way.

In 1750, before he famously tied a key to a kite string and invented the lightning rod, Benjamin Franklin hosted a Christmas dinner party. Interested as he was with exploring the properties of electricity, Franklin decided to educate and entertain as well as feed his guests. His theory was that by electrocuting his roasting turkey, he could produce a more tender meat.

And he wasn’t wrong. In fact, his discovery is still important to the meat industry today, but it did come at a the expense of some personal pain and humiliation. As he was setting up an electrical jack he had designed specifically to meet all of his poultry electrocution needs, the plucky inventor received a pretty good shock himself. The gathering of witnesses to the experiment-gone-wrong reported a flash of light and a loud crack.

Whereas I would have tried to pretend the incident never happened and certainly would never mention it again (okay that’s not true. I’d totally blog about it), Franklin wrote about the failure to his brother just two days later. In the letter, he describes in detail how the event made him feel, which was, more or less, bad. Numb in his arms and on the back of his neck until the next morning and still achy a couple days later, Franklin seems to have decided that electricity, though hilarious, is not necessarily something to trifle with (chalk up one more important discovery for Franklin). He makes no mention as to whether or not he felt tenderized by the experience.

Benjamin Franklin, determined to carry on despite his shocking turkey set-back.

Benjamin Franklin, determined to carry on despite his shocking turkey set-back.

Now I can hear the objections already: “But, Sarah, that can’t be right. Benjamin Franklin was a friend to the turkey. He had great respect for it and even fought for its adoption as the symbol of the United States of America.” I hear you, Dear Reader. And I understand your concern. I, like many of you, was an American school child so I am familiar with that story. If you don’t wish to have your image of Benjamin Franklin as the great turkey advocate shattered, then feel free to stop reading at this point and assume that I’m just full of it.

But for those of you who want to know what’s what, I’m going to share the real story with you. Even though Benjamin Franklin was a part of the original committee charged with choosing a design for the Great Seal of the United States, he recommended a rattlesnake to represent the young nation. Not once did he suggest a turkey.

Franklin also proposed this image of Moses and Pharaoh at the Red Sea for the Great Seal. Imagine the controversy that would have caused!

Franklin also proposed this image of Moses and Pharaoh at the Red Sea for the Great Seal. Imagine the controversy that would have caused!

The idea that he did comes from an unrelated letter to his daughter written some years later when he was serving as an American envoy in Paris. To give some perspective, this was two years after the official adoption of the Great Seal, and six years after Franklin had served on the committee, again, making no mention of the turkey. He wrote the letter in response to his daughter’s question as to his opinion of the newly forming Society of the Cincinnati, a fraternity of officers of the Continental Army.

The society, founded in May of 1783, adopted for its symbol a bald eagle, claimed by some to look somewhat more like a turkey. Though Franklin didn’t oppose the society and eventually accepted an honorary membership in it, what he did not approve was the desire of some to make membership hereditary. This, he claimed, established an “order of hereditary knights,” which contradicted the ideals set forward by the newly formed republic.

But to openly mock or question the intentions of the brave men whose leadership had won the United States its freedom was simply not Benjamin Franklin’s style. Instead he focused on the turkey-eagle:

I am…not displeased that the figure is not known as a bald eagle, but looks more like a turkey. For in truth, the turkey is in comparison a much more respectable bird…He is besides, though a little vain and silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red coat on.

I'm kind of partial to the bald eagle myself.  photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

I’m kind of partial to the bald eagle myself. photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

I have to assume that despite his reference to the farmyard, Franklin would not wish the symbol of our nation or its high ranking officers to be the comically large-breasted domesticated flightless bird that graces our Thanksgiving tables. Perhaps he meant to suggest wild turkey, which is a full flavored, barrel-aged, American original that tends to give one courage. Or perhaps he meant the wild turkey, which hunters suggest is a slippery foe, difficult to sneak up on and evidently tricky to electrocute.

Whatever his true intentions, I think it is clear that though Benjamin Franklin was certainly a great American who helped to shape the United States and provide all of its half-blind citizens with bifocals, he could also, at times, be a bit of a turkey.

“Throw Away Your Razor” November

In 1895, a young man named King Camp Gillette stood in front of his shaving mirror contemplating some recent advice he’d received from work at the Crown Cork and Seal Company, manufacturers of bottle caps. The advice was this: “Invent something people use and throw away.”

King Camp Gillette sporting an impressive mustache for the month of Movember.

King Camp Gillette sporting an impressive mustache for the month of Movember.

That seemed like a sound idea to Gillette who thought about it so long and so hard, he nicked himself with his razor. He grabbed a towel and cursed as he attempted to stem the bleeding and clean himself up. Then he grabbed the strop he used to sharpen the blade so he could get good clean nicks the next time he shaved too. That’s when it hit him. What he’d really like to do instead is just throw the darn thing away.

And maybe, he thought, just maybe, other men, men who were tired of tearing up their skin for the sake of a fashionably close shave, might feel the same way. He wasn’t wrong, because about a hundred years later, men stood up in great droves to throw their razors away for an entire month in an effort to tell the world that men’s health and well-being matters.

Evidently babies don't participate in No Shave November. photo attribution:

Evidently babies don’t participate in No Shave November. photo attribution:

It was in the late 1990’s that “No Shave” November (or “Movember” if you prefer a mustache to a beard) began to emerge. The idea is that for a whole month, men (and sometimes women) agree not to shave in order to raise awareness and, in some cases, research funds for health issues specific to men.

I should say, I certainly have nothing against the beardless, even in
November, but I do like the event. I think it’s a fun way to talk about some serious stuff, because, though I really don’t care whether the men in my life sport whiskers or don’t, I do care very much whether or not they look after their health needs. And I realize that too often, men don’t. So, please, Gentlemen, visit your doctor occasionally (or get a doctor, if that’s where you’re at) and take care of business.

razor patent

A great November 1904 leap forward for men’s health.

Now, to be fair, Gillette didn’t think the answer to his problem would be to throw away his razor forever and just stop shaving at all. Instead, he got down to business, found himself a knowledgeable partner (William Nickerson), and applied for a patent for his disposable safety razor in 1904 on the 15th of “Throw away your razor” November.

Though not the first encased blade razor on the market, it was the first with a replaceable head and within a few years, men were sold. Gillette had successfully invented something that people use and throw away and had become a well-shaved millionaire in the process. The company that bears his name, though now owned by Proctor & Gamble, continues to move forward behind the mantra, “There is a better way to shave and we will find it.”

This November, millions of men have come together to declare that at least for a couple more weeks, that better way is not to shave at all. But my hope is that long after November has run its course and a lot of menfolk have returned to their regular shaving routines, they will remember how their manly plight was made better by King Camp Gillette. And I’m hoping that every time they throw away their razor blade, the men in my life, and the men in yours, will remember that it’s important to the people they love that they look after themselves and take care of business.

Writing My Hyde Off: A NaNoWriMo Adventure

One fall night in 1885, Mrs. Fanny Stevenson was awakened by the terrified screams of her dreaming husband. Concerned, she quickly roused him, to which he responded, “Why did you wake me? I was dreaming a fine bogey tale.”

What Scottish-born writer Robert Louis Stevenson had been conjuring in his dream was the transformation of the upstanding Dr. Jekyll into the monstrous Mr. Hyde. When he put pen to paper to tell the story, his wife claimed it took him just six days to complete it.


Robert Louis Stevenson looking a little haggard. Like maybe he has TB. Or a cocaine problem. Or nightmares. Or maybe he just wrote a beloved classic novella in SIX DAYS.

Probably suffering from undiagnosed tuberculosis for most of his life, Stevenson was quite ill when The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde came tumbling out of him. Some have suggested the feverish pace with which he wrote the novella came from a cocaine binge, but his family insisted that it was simply the frustrated workings of bedridden genius.

Whatever spurred him, Stevenson seems to have mirrored his characters, stepping outside of himself for those six days to indulge the part of him that had a story to tell, maybe a brilliant allegory of addiction, and certainly a classic story of the capacity for both good and evil inside each of us.

I’m sure you’re at least somewhat familiar with the story, but even so, it’s a quick read and well worth it if you’ve never opened it up. Maybe knowing that the initial draft was written in only six Hyde-like days makes it all the more chilling. And maybe inspiring.

Because it’s November, which means that it’s that time of year when writers of all walks of life, some experienced and some not, step outside of themselves and write a novel.

I swear I'll get started on those 50,000 words as soon as I make this really important sign for my office door.

I swear I’ll get started on those 50,000 words as soon as I make this really important sign for my office door.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) began in 1999 with the decision of 21 friends in the San Francisco Bay Area to set themselves a ridiculous goal to each write a novel within a month. It sounds crazy at first, because, well, we’re talking about a novel here. It’s a long project full of research and imagination. Some of the greatest novels ever written took years or even decades to complete. And some of the worst novels did, too. Snoopy wrote for fifty years and never made it past his opening line.

But it turned out there was purpose in the madness of the plan, even if the original participants didn’t realize it at first. The group had such a good time with the challenge, they opened it up to a wider community the next year and 140 people participated. The year after that it was around 5,000. In November of last year, 310,000 adult writers and 89,000 young writers, from all over the world, participated in NaNoWriMo.

Not all of them completed the 50,000-word goal, but 400,000 people stepped outside of themselves to indulge that part of them that had a story to tell. What started as a silly little writing challenge has blossomed now into a huge network of encouragement, with resources for writers at every stage of the game before, during, and long after that initial, probably terrible, first 50,000-word draft.


The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is around 26,000 words, initially written in just six days, which gives me 24 days to write my additional 24,000 words. No problem.

I heard about NaNoWriMo for the first time a few years ago through my local library that was sponsoring a series of “write-in” events in conjunction with it. I’ve since had lots of friends participate in the event. So, this year, I’m finally doing it. I’ve researched, planned, and outlined what I hope will be become 50,000 revision-worthy words. In December, I’ll have to drink my potion and let Dr. Jekyll take back over to do the real work of revision, revision, and still more revision. But for now, I am stepping outside of myself and indulging my Mr. Hyde (minus the cocaine) because he’s got a story to tell.

Good luck to all my fellow NaNoWriMos out there! Obviously I’m glad you stopped by, but seriously, stop reading blog posts and get to work. You have a novel to write!


Praying for KitKats

I don’t know how it is in your neighborhood, but mine is starting to get pretty spooky. Mummies, skeletons, and witches peek out from behind trees jumping, unwelcome, into my periphery. I love my neighbors, and they love Halloween, so I won’t really complain, but I admit, I’m not a big fan of this holiday coming up tomorrow.

As far as I can tell, fear isn’t a particularly enjoyable sensation. I have never understood the point of haunted houses or scary movies. I don’t like being startled. And I really don’t like nightmares.

Aren't you a little old to be Trick-or-Treating?   photo credit: abbynormy via photopin cc

Aren’t you a little old to be Trick-or-Treating? photo credit: abbynormy via photopin cc

But even though all of that is true, my family still observes Halloween, because I really do enjoy handing out candy to all of the creatively costumed kids and to the crowds of tiny Disney Princesses. As long as they don’t ring the doorbell past bedtime, I can even appreciate the clearly-too-old-to-participate teenagers that cut eye holes in their moms’ best sheets and show up on my doorstep.

My kiddos are all set, too. Their costumes have been pieced together and we’ve developed a plan for warm layers underneath because, of course, the meteorologists tell us that Halloween night may be bringing our first freeze of the season and I have worked too hard on these costumes to simply have them wear their coats.

I mean, I don't want to brag that I'm the best mom in the world or anything, but an awful lot of love went into that mask.

I mean, I don’t want to brag that I’m the best mom in the world or anything, but an awful lot of love went into that mask.

All that’s left is for me to figure out what the heck we are going to do with all that candy. Because, as I mentioned, my neighbors seem to love Halloween and I love my neighbors, so I will not refuse their generosity.

But trick-or-treating is kind of a strange tradition, isn’t it? It’s generally assumed that the practice is derived from the Celtic festival of Samhain. Observed as far back as at least 2000 years, Samhain marked an important seasonal transition and a time when the spirits of the deceased were believed to walk the earth again.

Since it’s probably not smart to presume all wandering spirits are friendly, gifts of food (mostly KitKats, I assume) were often left for them by the living who also cut eye holes in their moms’ best sheets or donned Disney princess dresses so any unfriendlies might not notice them.

800 years later, when the Church decided to Christianize the Celts, Samhain became a problem. It’s really difficult to overcome superstition and the desire to give KitKats to tiny Disney princesses. What the Church decided to do was commandeer the holiday and transform it into Hallowtide, a festival encompassing All Hallow’s Eve, All Saint’s Day, and All Soul’s Day, from October 31 to November 2.

Because what wandering spirit wouldn't appreciate this?  photo credit: Andrew _ B via photopin cc

Because what wandering spirit wouldn’t appreciate this? photo credit: Andrew _ B via photopin cc

Instead of fearing evil wandering spirits, the holiday became about honoring and praying for the departed. By the 11th Century, the Church had come to be pretty cool with the idea of dressing up as angels, demons, and Disney princesses as a part of the celebration and soon the tradition of “guising” emerged. Children (and probably a few neighborhood teens who were clearly too old to participate) knocked on doors, often with a song, to beg for food or money in exchange for prayers offered up for the dead. The beggars became known as “soulers” and the treat most often given was called a “soul cake.”

Soul cakes were small and round, often with crosses marked on the top. I can’t find a recipe, but rumor has it they were sweet cakes with things like ginger, raisins, and not nearly enough KitKats in them. I’m betting that’s why the tradition has evolved from “if you give me a treat, I’ll pray for you” to “if you don’t give me a KitKat I’ll egg your house.”

Where's my KitKat?  photo credit: katerha via photopin cc

Where’s my KitKat? photo credit: katerha via photopin cc

But the soul cake does give me an idea of how I can deal with the massive amount of candy that will be entering my house tomorrow night. I’m going to take a lesson form the early Christian Church and commandeer my children’s candy bags (after letting them eat A LOT of candy on Halloween night, I promise) and re-purpose as many of the sweet treats as I can into baked goods that I will serve to friends and neighbors during the coming, more cheerful holiday season.

I have been scouring the Internet for recipes that will help me do just that. My favorite so far is this one for KitKat Cookie Bars. If you know others, please feel free to share. And keep in mind that if you don’t, I just might egg your house.