Married to the Empire

Monday, December 17, 2007

Giving and receiving

Gifts are on most of our minds at this time of year. We think hard about what to give, and if we're honest, we think about what we'll receive, too.

I'm not usually too into gift exchanges at parties, though. To be perfectly frank, I tend to think they're a colossal waste of money. No one really needs (another) $10 trinket. But, sometimes we participate just to go along and not make waves.

The women's ministry at our church had a big Christmas party Sunday night. We were to bring a $10 gift of something that relaxes us. That was open to personal interpretation. Steven said I should give an ice pack and a heating pad, but those are migraine-survival tools for me, and I didn't think they'd really go over all that well at a gift exchange. Instead, I decided to give something that truly represents my tools of relaxation: reading and writing. I wound up making this journal:

I think it turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself! I hooked a mechanical pencil through the ribbons that tie it shut. I paired this with a gift card to Barnes & Noble so the recipient could choose her own books.

In addition to a gift for the gift-exchange game, we were to bring a gift for a baby whose mother is in need of assistance. I was told she needed some toys, but I chose to give board books instead. The English teacher in me is all about instilling an early love of reading. These are the ones I gave:

The gorilla one has become my favorite baby book to give. The illustrations are great, and it's a really cute little story. I just loved the rhymes in the other book.

And last, but certainly not least, I wanted to show off a special gift that came to my door on Saturday. I've been trying to cook more vegetarian meals for Steven's health, and I finally became brave enough to try some Indian cooking a few weeks ago, thanks to a sweet gift of spices from my blogging friend Annie. In spite of the fact that I always said I didn't like Indian food (bad restaurant experience years ago), I really enjoyed the meal I made with Annie's spices. So, because I liked that meal, my dear friend Judy in New York sent me a box positively brimming with goodies for Indian cooking!

She sent me a basic cookbook, which is perfect for me as I'm a complete novice with Indian cooking, several of her favorite recipes, and tons of spices. I can hardly wait to try this stuff out! Steven is looking forward to it, too, because he loves Indian food. A huge THANK YOU to Judy for this wonderful gift!


AnneK said...

That is so cool. Look at all the spices!!!You can cook up a storm with this. Do remember to air your house well after the cooking. :D And don't forget the exhaust fans.

Ewokgirl said...

Good advice! Thank you!

AnneK said...

Oh, and what I do is light a candle while I am cooking. Nothing heavily scented as that might interfere with the taste. If you are one of the lucky ones who have a kitchen with windows, do open it. Air circulation is important. Also make sure all other doors (especially clothes closet, bedroom etc) are closed. the clothes WILL smell, if you don't take care. I am saying this specially because I see Mustard seeds in the picture. And I just had Dosai this morning. It made me smile to see that :D