Archive for the ‘baking’ Category

What’s My Line?

A good name can get you far in life.  Apple.  Elvis.  Madonna.  Nike.  But, a great tagline can get you remembered.  I am not a crook.  You like me, you really like me!  I’m lovin’ it.   Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.

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In the Blog-O-Sphere, you need to have a great title to attract readers to your sight.  Even with posts, you must be creative, witty, and informative when labeling each and every article.  “A Post About Doctors” is not nearly as fun and enticing as “Turn Your Head and Cough.” A great title can help or hinder a sight from rising to great heights.

When thinking up a moniker for your site, however, there is a sub-title which can be applied, as well.  This is called the tagline, and it serves to offer another label to define your blog.  The taglines I’ve seen have typically been humorous, or even straight to the point.  A blog about travel.  A site for mothers.  Straight from the horse’s mouth.  Over the river and through the woods. A few more words to leave you with to give the blog more character.  Simple and effective.

For the past 2 months, Miracle on 32nd Street has exhibited a very festive holiday theme, which was retired for the season this past Monday.  I also updated my blog picture, opting to also store away the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree logo until next November.  I’m beginning to take down the rest of the holiday remnants, which will be completed by the end of the week, but there is one item that leaves me scratching my head:  the tagline.

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Tag(line)! You’re it! Keep on reading…

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Crossing the Finish Line: RAC Challenge Wrap-Up

October 31st: Reflecting on holiday seasons in the past, I wonder why Thanksgiving and Christmas have lost the magic they used to hold many years ago.

November 1st:  Seeking to re-establish that “spark,” I come up with a wacky idea to encourage a more festive holiday attitude within myself and others, as well.  I run it past two people, they give me a vote of confidence, and an idea is born.

November 2nd:  I decide to make the leap and chronicle my experiences on a blog somewhere in Cyberspace.  I research popular blogging sites, ultimately pick Word Press, and create Miracle on 32nd Street.  The idea for RACs (Random Acts of Christmas) is born out of my very first post.

November 2nd, 6:46 PM:  My very first comment arrives in my email inbox.  Heidi becomes my very first poster.

January 1st, 2011:  The first ever RAC Challenge officially wraps up its first season, and goes on hiatus until November 2011.


What a difference a day makes.  One minute, I’m on my way to rehearsal, daydreaming about Christmas and how the holiday spirit has been elusive in years past.  The next day, I’ve gained the title of “blogger”, along with a screen name, website, and one comment.

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What a difference a month makes.  Compare November to December:  in the latter month, I had around 1150 views.  In the former month, I had 2500.  I gained more posters, but more importantly, I gained faithful posters:  people who, like clockwork, continually comment on my writing…people who I now consider as “friends,” although we’ve never actually met face to face.

You can read all about how blogging has changed my life in this article, but this post is dedicated to the RAC Challenge….the idea that started it all.  Now, two months and two days after I initially began my blog, I pause for a moment to reflect on my journey with the RACs and how they have had an amazing impact on who I am and my life in general.

How the RACs changed me…

Crunching the Numbers

Another year down, and another year of possibility has just begun.  It’s weird to think that this blog began “way back” in 2010, and even weirder to receive an email from Word Press giving me the low down on my site stats “for 2010.”  My blog only saw two months of 2010.  Don’t they know it was only yesterday when I endured a difficult birthing process, full of ice chips, epidurals, and breathing exercises, to produce Miracle on 32nd Street?!?

Still, it is pretty neat to see some analyzed site statistics, even though my blog’s just over 2 months old.  And, as you, my readers, are the responsible ones for these stats, I thought it only proper to share them with you.  You are the people responsible for turning this little “project” into a fully blown blog, so I bow down to you, ever so humbly.

It’s interesting to note which posts were the top attention grabbers (maybe they had sequins or glitter or aluminum foil on them to snatch your focus…who knows?).  Perhaps you saw some of those posts yourself, and perhaps they passed you by.  At any rate, have a look at “what you did,” and know that I’m appreciative of each and every one of you.

In the meantime, while you’re feasting on this little appetizer of sorts, I will be readying my final post centered around RACs and my holiday challenge, which ended on New Year’s Day.  Fear not, though!  Miracle on 32nd Street will still remain open for business!  The RAC Challenge, however, will take a hiatus until next November, when it shall return for it’s second run.

Enjoy the analysis work done by the folks at Word Press, and I’ll get moving on my own analysis of the past two months and my RAC Challenge.  Thank you all for a wonderful (albeit brief) 2010!  I am all a-twitter with what’s to come in the New Year!

Just the Facts…

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

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A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,500 times in 2010. That’s about 8 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 54 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 624 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 40mb. That’s about 2 pictures per day.

The busiest day of the year was December 14th with 190 views. The most popular post that day was The 12 Movies of Christmas.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were WordPress Dashboard, wordpress.com, My Comments, stumbleupon.com, and naziaiftikhar.wordpress.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for miracle on 32nd street, miracleon32ndstreet.wordpress.com, uncle lewis christmas vacation, aunt bethany, and christmas vacation uncle lewis.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

The 12 Movies of Christmas December 2010
21 comments and 1 Like on WordPress.com,

2

Two Hours November 2010
28 comments and 6 Likes on WordPress.com

3

About this blog… November 2010
7 comments

4

Random Acts of Christmas November 2010
13 comments

5

And there’s that line… December 2010
24 comments and 5 Likes on WordPress.com

8 Things I Did on New Year’s Weekend

1.) Baked white chocolate cranberry/cherry cookies with the help of my new Kitchen Aid Mixer

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After a lively debate via comments and suggestions to moi, I have declared a name for my lovely new, knight-in-shining-armor Kitchen Aid mixer…and that name is Lancelot.

Bob came up for such a name, and expertly defended his idea:

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“I’m going to go with the obvious and say that you should name your fabulous mixer…Drum Roll Please….Lancelot! Lance rhymes with dance and celot looks like it rhymes with zealot. If I had a mixer that is what I would be. A dancing zealot. Whirling and twirling and dancing and singing and baking cookies galore. My kitchen would be a Broadway musical.”

Of course, every knight needs a full title.  Fellow blogger Pegoleg also suggested a moniker of “Sir Mix-A-Lot”, so, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen:  please welcome Sir Lancelot Mix-A-Lot to the family.

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2.) Travelled to Pottery Barn (no, an ACTUAL pottery barn…full of pots)

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My highlight of New Year’s Eve Day was a trip out to a local potter’s warehouse, which comprised 3 floors of pots, pots, and more pots.  Most of his wares ranged somewhere between $100 and $400, so I settled on a nice, single flower vase for about $20.  And a $7 magnet.  I’m a big spender.

3.) Sang and played oboe in a New Year’s Eve Broadway Gala

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At our local playhouse, there is a traditional New Year’s Eve Gala held every year.  For the 2010-2011 crossover event, they presented a concert full of Broadway music, presenting over 100 performers who were all volunteer.  The event featured a full orchestra and a 70-member chorus, as well as several individual soloists.

I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off between the hours of 6-10 PM.  I had served as vocal director for this event, guiding the chorus with their material, and also subsequently became a member of their ranks come showtime.  I also played my oboe in the orchestra (correction, I squawked on my oboe in the orchestra), and I was lucky enough to have a vocal solo as well.

If anyone is familiar with musical theatre, a few of the pieces presented in the show included West Side Story Highlights, Phantom of the Opera Medley, “Agony” from Into the Woods, “I Know Where I’ve Been” from Hairspray, and my song, “Astonishing”, from Little Women.

Now, for #3…

I’m a Bread Winner! or How I Pinched a Loaf

*ta, ta ta ta*  HEAR YE, HEAR YE!  All ye lords and ladies, gather around for a momentous tale of adventure, wit, skill, and kitchen appliances!  Hear ye, hear ye!  *ta, ta ta ta*

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And now, without further ado, I present to the court your own Royal Highness’ first episode with her knight in shining armor, her Kitchen Aid Mixer!

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I admit…my first interaction with the yet-unnamed Knight was risky and bold:  I planned to make two loaves of cinnamon bread in a machine I had never worked with before.  PLUS, I also wanted to bake 3 dozens cookies while the loaves were rising.  Pretty ambitious for a Kitchen Aid virgin.

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I rolled my sleeves up, donned my apron, and set to work.  I was all a-twitter with excitement.  After carefully melting a butter/milk/sugar/salt mixture on the stove, I added that to some dissolved yeast, waiting patiently for me in my brand new mixing bowl.

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I happen to love that picture, because it combines two of my loves this Christmas:  my new camera, and my new appliance.  So much love in one photo…I can’t bear it!

Make with the cookies!