Moving On to a New Collaboration

     I have been frantically working on my New Year’s resolutions since I last posted.  Not surprisingly, some are going better than others.  At least the house seems to be better organized than during the holidays.  Most of the flurry of activity, though, has been leading to this one big Collaboration:

The Launch of

Gracious Posse Banner

     Starting now, The Gracious Posse is a new lifestyle website celebrating the art of living in an emptying-nest.  This site seems the natural progression from the me-center of Avad Fan to the we-focus of the Posse who share our life journey.  Join my dear friend Ellen and me, along with a growing Posse, as we use our blessings to create our way into a gracious life that no longer is almost completely devoted to raising children.

     The Gracious Posse will be posting everyday with a weekly round-up on Sundays.  Posts will range from inspirations to recipes and how-tos to good and beautiful works happening around town, as well as across the country.  We will also soon begin offering unique and hard to find products that we believe will appeal to our Posse.  We hope that The Gracious Posse will become the one place that you want to visit with your cup of coffee in the morning or your glass of wine at night.

     Avad Fan will remain on-line so that you can get to the Recipes (it’s one feature of this site that I use all the time, especially in the grocery store), as well as the Archives.  I have loved building Avad Fan with your wonderful support.  This blog has taught me so much about the on-line world.  Now I feel ready to embrace my new career as a creative entrepreneur in collaboration with my smart, fun and practical friend, Ellen.  I sure hope that you will come share the journey at The Gracious Posse.

     Thank you for everything!

With grateful love,
Alison
a/k/a
Avad Fan
 

 P.S.  Definitely stop in at The Gracious Posse tomorrow to find out who in the heck the Gracious Posse is after all.

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Happy 2013: The Year of Living C

     How is it 2013 already?  Annually I inevitably ask,  “Why does the end of year have to come at the same time as Christmas?”  There’s just too much to do and plan in such a short amount of time.

     I do have some big plans for 2013, and the resolutions that go with them all happen to begin with the letter C.  Hence “The Year of Living C”.  By posting these resolutions, I am now accountable to you for putting them into action.  Please help me to remember them.

Condense

     This is the healthy living portion of my annual “Lighten Up” resolution.  This year I want to focus on condensing (a/k/a reducing) my consumption and my stuff.  We all know that too much of anything (except love) is not good.  I hope that the word “Condense” can become my mantra

condense

for shrinking this 50-something belly fat (thank you, menopause) and leading me to a more organized life with less clutter in my home and in my brain.

Consider-ate

     I really want to “Consider” all others whom I meet.  Years ago, I was part of a DOCC (Disciple of Christ in Community) group at my church.  One of the many wonderful results of it was the renewed conscience awareness of Christ’s presence in every human being.  The awakening of what should not have been a revelation helped me begin to really try to make a connection with each person whom I encountered.  Over time since that year-long course, I have gotten lazy in my efforts, but the recent wave of “Random Acts of Kindness” have reminded me that it is time to start refocusing on others.

Free Printable from Thumba-Lea

Free Printable Random Act of Kindness cards from Thumba-Lea

Free printable cards from Justina's Random Acts of Kindness blog

Free printable RAOK cards from Justina’s Random Acts of Kindness blog

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness form MOMumental Savings

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness from MOMumental Savings

More RAK'ed printables from Make Them Wonder

More RAK’ed printables from Make Them Wonder

     Ironically, this wave of kindness, sometimes accompanied by a cute little card like the ones above that I spotted on Pinterest, has arisen from the ashes of the horrible tragedy at Sandy Hook and has reminded me that the light of God dwells in each one of us.  How then can I not be considerate of each person whom I encounter?  I also need to remember that consideration starts at home, and then I can carry this practice out into the world.

Collaborate

     My son’s school has been telling us that the buzz word for education in the 2010s is “Collaboration”.  Without collaboration, our children will not be able to navigate the global economy that they will face as adults.

creative-collaboration-6-22-2012

2013 is the year that I embrace collaboration.  Much more news on that will be coming soon, so please stay tuned.  I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

     In the meantime, what have you got planned for 2013?  I look forward to seeing it all unfold.

     The happiest of New Years to you and your loved ones!


Have Yourself a Funky Little Christmas

Spotted this decorated tree on a walk in an adjoining neighborhood last week, and it brought a full-blown smile to my face.

May your home be filled with full-blown smiles this Christmas Day!

xoxo,

Alison


Share Your Sweet Side with Peppermint Cookie Trays

     While baking Christmas cookies is always a tradition around our house, the kind of cookies that we bake is not.  Every year something new comes out of the oven, and this year is no different.  Not surprisingly, this year’s inspiration came from Pinterest and a post from the blog, Joy the Baker, forwarded by my dear friend who had also forwarded on the letter from the Newtown PTA about the Sandy Hook snowflakes.

     When the flour and powdered sugar dust had settled over the weekend, we had Peppermint Trays filled with these:

Peppermint Meltaways

Rosemary Clementine Thumbprints

Blueberry Banana Mini-Muffins

Red Velvet Black & White Cookies

A few filled trays were gifts to neighbor students studying for exams.  The rest of the cookies are being inhaled right here at home.

     The Black & Whites are definitely this year’s favorite, no doubt because they are the most time-consuming to make. I really like the grown-up, not-so-sweet flavor of the Thumbprints. The Meltaways were super-simple and are egg-free, while the mini-muffins are an old Southern Living recipe that I have been making in a variety of sizes for years.

     Next up on the baking agenda:  Christmas Morning Scones.  In addition to Cheddar and Canadian Bacon Scones, I’ll be trying Cranberry Pumpkin Scones using the basic scone recipe but substituting ½ cup pumpkin for the sour cream.  What are you baking this Christmas?

P.S.  The Rosemary Clementine Thumbprints and the Red Velvet Black & White Cookies were prepared for a blogger cookie swap with Ina Garten for Better Homes and Gardens.  Can you imagine being one of those lucky bloggers?  What a Christmas gift!


Christmas Floraspirations

I prepared this post to be published before yesterday’s unfathomable tragedy.  As we all mourn for the innocence lost and made even more painful by its occurrence during this season of hope and light, we know that we cannot let evil stop our preparations for the coming of Jesus.  With unbound sympathy for the parents and families of the victims in Newtown, Connecticut, I pray that these Christmas decorations and traditions will comfort and remind us how much we need the grace and comfort of Jesus Christ not just during this incongruous holiday season but all the year long.

     The annual Christmas decorations are finally up, and all but a box or two has been returned to the attic.  Now it’s time to find and arrange the flowers and greenery that will hopefully take us past Christmas Day.  My Three Chopt Garden Club has been my source of floral inspiration (hence “Floraspiration”).  These designs that a small group of us created for the Kent-Valentine House, as well as the elegant green and white arrangements created by some talented ladies for our Club’s annual Christmas party, have inspired me to try some new looks this year.

(Drooling over this mirror-top. It’s a perfect idea for my dining room.)

     Are you feeling inspired to get arranging yet?

All photos by Avad Fan on iPhone.


Let the Christmas Decorating Begin

Better Late than Never

     After twenty-five years of collecting Christmas decorations with the Hub, I am up to my eyeball in red and green boxes.  Of course, we don’t use all of the items contained inside them, but I do take a walk down memory lane with each box opened.  Like everything else, I should lighten up and let many of these go to Goodwill, but then will the memories of Christmases past go with them, too?

boxes

     I can’t risk that.  Nevertheless, while I am digging through this pile to create our 2012 Christmas, I will keep reminding myself of the simple beautiful of this stunningly executed tree.  It is such an inspiration to lighten up.

St. Catherine's Christmas House Tour 2012

Tinselled tree spotted on the St. Catherine’s School Holiday House Tour last weekend.


#thankfulfor Tweet trend

Are you on Twitter?

     If you are anything like me, you probably don’t know the difference between a tweet and a trend.  Several months ago, I asked a twenty-something to explain the Twitterworld to me.  After three hours I still didn’t get it, and my tweet-free world remained unchanged.

     Recently, however, a good friend encouraged me to join her on this social medium, and in my ongoing effort to remain relevant in the 2010s, I decided to give it a try.  Signing up was a breeze.  Then I tried looking for people to follow.  Well, but for my previously mentioned friend, it doesn’t look like my posse has jumped into Twitterdom.  Hey ladies, it is time to figure out what your kids already know.

     Just sign-up here.  You will be prompted to look for friends and interests to follow (don’t forget to follow me, listed as Alison Fauls).  Then help me try to get a trend going.

     You know how you hear Natalie Morales on the Today Show always mention what is trending online?  With Thanksgiving only five days away, let’s get a trend going about what we are thankful for (I know that I shouldn’t be ending a sentence in a preposition, but it just doesn’t work otherwise).  In the box on Twitter where you can add a Tweet, type in what you are thankful for and finish it with #thankfulfor.  Then hit the blue Tweet button that shows up.

     Can’t wait to see if we can get a positive trend going.  How cool would it be to hear it mentioned on the Today Show?  Listen to that little blue bird calling to you to take the challenge and get tweeting.