Friday, December 30, 2011

Due to a bit of overeating this past few weeks, this is now our official snack of choice for a few weeks.
Thanks to the dear lady at "", I discovered this easy, inexpensive, and low in calorie snack.

One bag of Jolly Time Pop Corn from the local grocery store. 
One lunch size brown bag.

Layer pop corn kernels in the bottom of the bag, just to cover the bottom of the bag.
Fold down the top one time.
Sit it in the microwave.
Set the microwave oven for 2 minutes.
The popped corn will fill the bag.
Pour into big bowl, drizzle with extra light virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with salt.  Stir thoroughly.  If you want, you can sprinkle it with parmesan cheese too, and toss.
If it lasts until the next day, it tastes good too.
For now, this is our snack of choice.

But, just in case you prefer...I made these cookies over the holiday and they were delicious!
I found the recipe on " - 232088".  They are "potato chip chocolate chip cookies".  Oh my are they good, salty and sweet!  Hence the "pop corn" choice for us this week:)  Right now, I have a platter of them in my freezer.  If you happen to be in my area of the country, stop in for some cookies and milk.

Another year is almost over.  I read that Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) made five resolutions in his youth.

1. Live with all my might while I do live(he died at 55).

2.Never lose one moment of time, but improve it in the most profitable way possible.

3.Never do anything I should despise or think meanly in another.

4. Never do anything out of revenge.

5. Never do anything which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.

I am thinking that is some good advice to live by, in this coming year.

I wish you a Happy New Year ahead!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

By itself it is a sight to behold, fresh, ripe, cut-up fruit, especially in the cold, winter months.

But, when it is served in this style, it is worth sharing with the blogging world.
My neice bought a watermellon, carved it out, cut up the fruit, and produced a gorgeous creation.
For her first attempt at this project, I think she deserves recognition, especially since she is a busy mom to three young children, including a new baby.

Cake pops instead of a decorated cake or cupcakes...what a fun idea!  Cake pops baked and decorated by another mother of young children.

The sister of the watermellon creation, did these beautiful chocolate covered strawberries.  What a perfect way to display them on the food table.  What talented neices I have been given!

The mother-to-be's good friend did the cute pink favors.  The tiny pink pacifiers completed the look and made a lovely presentation as it sat on the table by the door for everyone to take.

The pretty mother-to-be was a warm, gracious recipient of the evening's festivities.

I saw this saying recently and I thought of myself as a new, young mother, and how often I needed to call my mother during those first few years.  She may find herself doing that too.   Thank God for mothers!

Thanks for stopping by.  Hope you enjoyed seeing a glimpse of another family baby shower.
Thanks also to my dear neice for sharing her photography skills with us.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hi everyone!  I am back from my break, and I would love to tell you that I am well rested and ready to go.  But, that would not be the case.  It has been a busy Christmas season, but I wouldn't have traded it for anything.  I thought I would share a few of my favorite things from the last two weeks with you.
Speaking of..."These are a few of my favorite things" photo holder that my creative friend made for me this Christmas.  It sits on my desk and holds pictures of a few of my very favorite people.  What a perfect diy gift.

The laughter and excitement in the little one's eyes, certainly helped add fun to my Christmas memories.

The warm, caring hugs from two special little girls.

Our daughter and son-in-law came home from the midwest to celebrate with us.

Another adorable little one and her parents paid us a surprise visit on Christmas day evening. Her sweet smile brightens every occasion.

I always like setting my table, and especially for Christmas.  Simple, yet festive was the tablescape I chose.

With tiny lit globe snowman as favors for each one.

Centerpiece...holly from my large holly bushes, and fresh cranberries in water.

I hope and pray that each one of you hold some treasured Christmas memories in your heart, from the last week.  The older I get, the more the people around me, mean to me, and the less all the material aspects of Christmas mean to me. 

Thanks so much for stopping by after my long break.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The candles add a festive glow to our kitchen table.
Most things are completed.  What isn't done will be.
I am taking a blogging break for the next few days.

Some of my family will be here to celebrate with us.  We will miss the ones who are not.

When your good friend's dad is a part of the local Fire Company, you just might get to see Santa in person before Christmas.  Fun moments to remember for this little guy.

"Glad tidings herald
the Christ child's birth-
"Joy to the world"
and "peace on earth,
"Glory to God,"
let all men rejoice
And hearken once more
to the angel's voice.
It matters not who
or what you are,
All can behold
the Christmas star,
For the star that shone
is shining still
In the hearts of those
of peace and goodwill.
It offers the answer
to everyone's need,
Regardless of color
or race or creed,
So joining together
in brotherly love,
Let us worship again
our Father above,
And forgetting our own
little selfish desires
May we seek what the star
or Christmas inspires."
~Helen Steiner Rice

Merry Christmas to each and every one of you in the blogging world!  Many of you I have never met in person and yet I feel like I know you from your blogs, your visits to mine, and your kind comments on mine.

  I wish Joy, Peace, and Love to you as you celebrate(however that may be), this truly meaningful Christmas Season!

Monday, December 19, 2011

I thought you might just want to see what the dessert I made on the last post, looks like when sliced.  It seemed like everyone enjoyed this old recipe.  It was fun hearing from many of you, who also remember making this in earlier years.  It will probably be a long time until I make it again because my husband finds it too tempting.

This afternoon they stayed with me.  We painstakingly, and with so much anticipation, wrapped their mother's Christmas gift, the snow globes we made earlier in the month.  They wrapped the snow globe in tissue, put it in a box, wrote their names on the box(at least two of them did), and all helped tie the bow.
We talked at length about Christmas secrets, but when their mother came to pick them up, they just could not help themselves.

No...they could not.  Before I knew what happened, they handed her the gift and said a hearty "Merry Christmas".  Why not?  How precious that they just could not wait until Christmas morning.  What fun to see her excitement and reaction.  They were thrilled!

I guess it is better that could not wait to give, instead of not being able to wait when it comes to opening their gifts.  It is better, right?

Meanwhile, these two were happy sitting at the kitchen table eating their yogurt.  The holiday season has not phased them at their age, but they will learn soon enough.

Me...I am feeling behind in all that I have to do.  I will get it all done, but until then, I am hoping to enjoy the moments of each day.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I needed a dessert for a Christmas dinner tomorrow evening.  It had to be something I could make ahead and it had to be a quick, easy, and delicious recipe.  I remembered a dessert my mother used to make for some of her dinners years ago, and it was always a hit with her guests.
The two ingredients were Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers and whipping cream.  The recipe is on the bottom of the box.

I stored this mixing bowl in the freezer for a few hours before whipping the cream.  I whipped 2 cups of whipping cream in the bowl with the mixer on high speed.  When it started to thicken, I added 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla.  I continued whipping until peaks formed.

I spread 1 1/2 teaspoons of whipping cream onto each chocolate wafer.  I then stacked them on edge on a platter forming rows.

This is an easy process.  It has a yule log look when it is finished.  I covered the whole thing with more whipped cream until all chocolate is covered. 

To add a festive touch, I cut red and green gumdrops into pieces with my kitchen scissors.  I cut up little chocolate bars and alternated the candy down the center of the log.

At this point I lightly covered it with plastic wrap and will refrigerate it until needed tomorrow evening.
The key to having this dessert taste amazing, is to make it at least one(or two) days ahead of time.  The longer it sits in the refrig, the better it tastes.  When ready to serve, I will slice it horizontally.
It is a delicious recipe for the holidays.  Now, instead of making a dessert tomorrow afternoon, I can take my nap instead.  Happy me:)

This is my beloved manger.  It was in our home when I was a little girl, and every year my mother would set it out in our living room.  Everything about it, including the straw, is the same as back then.  I treasure this quaint little manger.  Seeing the lit star at the top of it, reminds me of one of my very favorite Christmas carols..."Beautiful Star of Bethlehem"
by Christmas Song

I want to share the special words to the song;

"O beautiful stare of Bethlehem
Shining far through shadows dim
Giving the light for those who long have gone
Guiding the wise men on their way
Unto the place where Jesus lay
O beautiful star of Bethlehem
Shine on

O beautiful star the hope of life
Guiding the pilgrims through the night
Over the mountains 'til the break of dawn
Into the land of perfect day
It will give out a lovely ray
O beautiful star of Bethlehem
Shine on

O beautiful star of Bethlehem
Shine on us until the glory dawns
Give us a lamp to light the way
Unto the land of perfect day
O beautiful star of Bethlehem
Shine on

O beautiful star the hope of grace
For the redeemed, the good and the blessed
Yonder in glory when the crown is won
Jesus is now the star divine
Brighter and brighter He will shine
O beautiful star of Bethlehem
Shine on

O beautiful star of Bethlehem
Shine upon us until the glory dawns
Give us a lamp to light the way
Unto the land of perfect day
O beautiful star of Bethlehem
Shine on

O beautiful star of Bethlehem
Shine on" little star continues to shine from the wooden manger, on my living room end table. 
This evening I am so thankful for that star, and that it continues to shine in our world today.

Thank you for stopping by tonight!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It was almost 6:00pm.  I had my three little grandchildren over for dinner.  Dinner with extra young ones is a busy time.  My day started at 5:00am and I had been going strong all day.  I was tired, the noise level was higher than our quiet empty nest usually provides, and the demands of the season were on my mind.  The doorbell rang.  As I hurried to the front door, I expected a delivery from the friendly UPS man.  Instead, there stood a neighbor holding a gorgeously wrapped box out to me.  Here he said, "my wife and I want to give you this, for being our wonderful neighbors".  He talked briefly, he smiled, said good-bye, and he was gone.  I stood there looking at this beautifully wrapped gift box, and let me tell you, I would'nt
have cared if the box was empty, because my spirits had already been lifted, no matter what was inside the box.  I can't tell you what a boost that was in my day. 

I took the wrapped box into the kitchen, and three little ones swarmed around us, as my husband and I opened the small, square box.  There arranged perfectly were tiny, festively decorated truffles from a pastry shop.  What an extraordinary surprise in the middle of an ordinary day in December.  I share this with each of you, so just incase you feel prompted to share a gift with your neighbors, you will be made aware the joy it could bring to them.  Size and price do not matter.  What does matter is that one takes the time to care, whether you know your neighbors well or not.

As the sun set after dinner last evening, I felt a deep gratitude in my heart for the many gifts I have been given, and for the great privilege we have to give to others this Christmas season, however small that gift may be. 

"We can give without loving, but we cannot love without giving." 

"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."

Both quotes by Roy B. Zuck

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

In order to spread some Christmas cheer this holiday, we paid a visit to the local retirement village.  We wanted to say "Merry Christmas" to the little one's Great Grandma and her friends.  We are so happy we went, because the village was so beautifully decorated for Christmas.  In the chapel this gorgeous pointsettia tree was at the side wall in the chapel.  It's vibrant colors must have caught everyone's attention, as it did ours.

Great Grandma was thrilled to have these little ones visit her. 

The Santa collection was donated by one of the residents, and they fascinated these children.

How nice it was of her to share her collection, to be displayed in the various visiting rooms of the lobby.

The ornately done Nativity sets were also viewed with quiet admiration, by each of the children.  I saw at least four different sets on display.  I wondered what was going through this little one's mind as she stared at the precious manger scene?

"Frosty the Snowman" smiled from his seat on the old wooden sleigh, and was happy with the kisses he received from the children.

The winter wonderland display,  with skaters and sledders also captivated them.  The temptation to touch was almost more than they could handle:)

The old train circled the stone wall.  Round and round it went.  Each car was filled with different products, including loads of small Christmas trees. 

I can't imagine the joy it brought the residents as they heard these little ones wish them a "Merry Christmas"(at my instruction, of course).  They told this lady that Santa might come to see her:) 
Young ones and older ones in the same setting, at two totally different points of life, sharing together for a few hours on this day, less than two weeks before Christmas. 

Hope you enjoyed their festive visit.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Yesterday I stopped at my friend's home.  Her front door offered me a warm, country welcome.  I tell her often, that she is a gifted decorater.  She can take some of the simplest things, put them together, and have it look beautiful.  When I have a few extra minutes late in the evening, I enjoy seeing the amazing ways that bloggers decorate for the Christmas holiday.  Each and everyone of you have an unique style.

I have seen the silver tray by her kitchen sink, decorated so many different ways.  Here cranberries  and greens create a festive vignette.

Bright red poinsettias grace the family room window, creating a perfect way to frame the American flag waving in the background.

A simple, yet so elegant centerpiece on her wooden kitchen table, placed on a white wool scarf.

The three faux Christmas trees with tiny white lights have an elegant look, placed by their side window.  She chose not to place ornaments on them this year, and I liked the simplicity of it all.

Years ago, her husband gave her this Lenox plate as a gift.  Displaying it with this bowl of old ornaments and leaves, makes another lovely vignette.

Each year she changes the decor of her mantel.  This year she chose to display one of the paintings in her home, along with her crystal candleholders and some touches of nature and glitter.

I think it would be so cozy in this room, with the candles lit, along with the wood burning in the fireplace.  I appreciate her letting me share this with you.  I also appreciate all of you who share your style of decorating via your blogs.  It is like a free Christmas house tour for all of us, and we don't have to stand in long lines.  When one goes to the work of pulling the boxes from the attic and decorating, it should be shared with others. 


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