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Saturday, December 12, 2015

The First Motel of the World

With all the traveling that we do and the fact that many are traveling during the holidays I thought it might be interesting to find out where the first motel was located. I was very surprised to find out that the first motel in the world was located in San Luis Obispo California. It is nothing for our family to travel to far destinations spend the night somewhere and continue on or return back home. This comfort and convenience was new in those early days to those on vacation and could afford vacation in the mid 1920s. There were no SUV or RV's as of yet and folks had only the choices of the traditional hotel or to camp out

The motel at San Luis Obispo California has a plaque that shares it's rich history. The term motel was created by architect Arthur Heinemen. A motel was two words put together motor and hotel. Guest could stay in a two room bungalow with a kitchen and garage for $1.25 a night. The motel shared with its guest a swimming pool and picnic tables where social gatherings could take place.

Today this early days hotel has company along the road that also caters to those traveling by car.


Caring for your Poinsettia

The traditional flower of Christmas is a poinsettia. In fact December 12th is also Poinsettia day. Poinsettia Day was declared by an Act of Congress in 1851 to honor Joel Roberts Poinsett who was the first Ambassador to Mexico. Poinsett had brought the colorful plant to his plantation in Greenville South Carolina. The plants were commonly given out as gifts to friends.

Mexican folklore shares a story about a poor little girl who had nothing to bring to church for Christmas. One her walk to church she picked some plants by the side of the road. When she entered the church the leaves at the tips of the branches turned into bright brilliant red flower. These flowers were poinsettias.
Caring for your poinsettia plant
Starting with a healthy plant is the best if you are wanting to keep the plant for the next year. Examine flower before purchase, look for plants that have dark green foliage along the entire lengths of stems with leaves that are not wilted. The red leaves should be completely colored and bright. Ensure there is no insect infestation
Replanting your poinsettia into a larger container is a normal step. Transferring to a larger container will give the plant more room so that it can expand. It is best to use fresh high quality potting soil to give your plant a hand up which the rich soil will offer.
Poinsettias have a reputation of being very dangerous. They are not as toxic as many think they are but are mildly irritating to people's skin and stomach if ingested. It is best to keep pets and small children away from the plant to avoid unwanted contact.
Poinsettias love sunshine but are sensitive to extreme temps. So they do best if they are not directly in sun but ensure they are not next to the heater or drafty window. A temp between 65 and 80 degrees during the day and around 60 at night are the temps that help poinsettias to thrive and decrease shedding of leaves.
Watering poinsettia's correctly help ensure a long lasting life. Poinsettias are native to warm temp areas such as Mexico and Central America. To help poinsettias thrive in a dry home mist your poinsettias with water from spray bottle. Let the soil dry out between watering and then water thoroughly with watering can. Check soil moisture by sticking your finger into the soil every couple of days. When soil is dry down to the first knuckle on your hand it is time to add water but ensure that you do not add to much. Layering pebbles at the bottom of the tray helps keep the plant out of water and increases the humidity around the plant
Fertilize the poinsettia plant every 2 to 3 weeks. A general all purpose liquid houseplant fertilizer used at half strength is a good choice

Ambrosia salad

Ambrosia is a greek word meaning immortality. Ambrosia is often considered the food or drink of the Greek gods. Often thought to offer longevity or immortality. Mythology talks of ambrosia being brought to the gods in Olympus by doves.

I recall completing an assignment with my oldest son in his advanced English class in high school. The goal was to create a dish to share with the group that was related to Mythology. Being one of his fathers favorite dishes he decided he would create Ambrosia salad. After all ambrosia was the food of the gods.

Ambrosia is a variation on the traditional fruit salad. Most ambrosia recipes contain fresh or sweetened pineapple, mandarin oranges or fresh orange sections. Mini marshmallows and coconut are commonly found in ambrosia recipes. Maraschino cherries, bananas, strawberries, grapes, pecans are all ingredients that may be found in the salad as well. There is also a creamy ingredient such as whipped cream, sour cream, cream cheese, pudding, yogurt or cottage cheese. The salad is normally chilled several hours or overnight before serving.


1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
4 ounces sour cream
1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
1 cup freshly grated coconut
1 cup toasted, chopped pecans, optional
1/2 cup drained maraschino cherries
1 15 oz. can fruit cocktail drained
1 8-oz. can pineapple chunks,  drained
1 11-oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
3 C. miniature marshmallows – optional

Place the cream and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and whip until stiff peaks are formed.
Add the sour cream and whisk to combine.
Add the marshmallows, fruit cocktail, mandarins, pineapple, coconut, pecans and cherries and stir to combine.
Transfer to a glass serving bowl, cover and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours before serving.

recipe source here

Friday, December 11, 2015

Gingerbread Recipe Greeting

The baking continues with this gingerbread village. Her sweet smile tells the whole story of how much fun this all is. The decoration is left up to the artist imagination. So very fun try your hand at I and Enjoy!!!!!

Family Christmas Day 11 ::: Host a Movie Night

One of my favorite songs is Joy to the World. Not only one of my favorites but most likely the first one I learned to not only sing but play on the organ. So why not have a bit of fun and bring Joy to all with a bit of a party a movie night.

With so many great Christmas movies out there this should be an easy night. Make it fun by dressin up the eats so they match the movie night theme

shared at

Quince for Dessert

I hope you have had a chance to read the earlier post where the answer to do you know quince was answered. If so then you may be ready to move forward to this yummy sounding dessert recipe.
Baked Quince Recipe with Honey-Roasted Almonds and Marsala

several quince fruits cut in half
maple syrup or honey
roasted almonds, pestle ground and covered in honey.

Cut each fruit in half and bake in the oven on a low heat with a glass of Marsala and a large tbsp of maple syrup or honey. After a couple of hours of slow cooking, you have the most delicious (adult) desert. Sprinkle honey toasted almonds over each fruit and then only a small helping of cinnamon-topped vanilla ice cream is needed, to create a melt-in-your-mouth taste sensation!

recipe source here

Snowman Bagels

Snowman Bagels
Makes 24

1 dozen mini bagels
16 oz. whipped cream cheese
1 can large pitted California Black Olives
24 baby carrots

Cut the bagels in half
Spread with cream cheese
Insert carrot nose
Chop olives in small squares for the mouth and in large squares for eyes (I used a pair of kitchen shears to get the nice round shape).  
Put eyes and mouth pieces in place.

recipe source here

shared at tots and me

International Mountain Day

December 11 is International Mountain Day. Established to encourage the international community to organize events at all levels to help highlight the importance of sustainable mountain development. International Mountain Day has been observed every year since 2003 to create awareness about the importance of mountains to life by highlighting opportunities and constraints in mountain development and to build alliances that will bring positive change to mountain peoples and environments around the world.

Mountains cover about 22% of the earth's land surface. There is around 915 million mountain people around the world. More individuals than that living down stream benefit from the mountains even more. Mountains provide freshwater, energy, and food. While high in resources the mountains do not provide very much financial means though. Most that live in the mountains live in poverty. Likewise, the mountain people find that they have little way to fight back with factors that destroy the mountains they live in. Whether it is climate change, deforestation, land degradation and natural disasters. The mountain people living in developing countries are even more vulnerable to food insecurity as they face poverty and isolation.

Mountain Day this year aims to highlight Mountain Products. Mountain people primarily earn money from their farms. They have developed unique, resilient and sustainable production systems adapted to their local environments. Producing mountain specific products and services is how they have learned to live. The demand for quality, high value and traditional foods and crafts produced in mountain areas, such as coffee, cheese, herbs and spices as well as handicrafts and medicines is on the rise. While not being able to keep up with the larger farms the mountain agriculture life taps into organic, fair trade, or high end quality.


National Noodle Ring day

December 11th is National Noodle Ring day. Ok you may be thinking exactly what I was what exactly is a noodle ring? A noodle ring is made by mixing eggs and noodles together with ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, cheese and then molding the ingredients into a ring mold to bake. The center of the ring can be easily filled with creamed chicken, peas, or other ingredient of your choice.
While noodlering recipes were common to be found in mid century cookbook it has lost its popularity since then. Now the common cook does not make a noodle ring. Most cooks of today simply cook noodles and serve them separately or with a sauce.

This recipe was clipped from a magazine and found in a large collection, date unknown. I’ve typed it below along with a scanned copy.

Vintage Noodle Ring Recipe Clipping

Noodle Ring
3/4 lb. noodles (3 cups uncooked)
3 eggs
3/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
3/4 cup milk
1 tbsp. butter, melted
Cook noodles until tender (about 15 min.) in 3 qts. boiling water to which 1 tbsp. salt has been added. Drain. Beat eggs until light, add remaining ingredients, and noodles. Place in well greased 10-inch ring mold, set in pan of hot water. Bake 45 min. in a mod. oven (350°).

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Recipe Greeting for a Merry Christmas

Family Christmas Day 10 Host a Smores and Hot Cocoa Party

Tonight is a great night to get the gang together and have a party. Why not have a smores and hot cocoa party for the entire family to have fun.

Tropical Fruit Parfait

2 cups nonfat vanilla yogurt (recommended: Dannon Lite and Fit)
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 (15.25-ounce) can tropical fruit salad, drained (recommended: Dole)
1 banana, sliced
1 cup cinnamon granola cereal
Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish
In a small bowl stir together yogurt, lime juice, and cayenne pepper; set aside.
Spoon 1/4 of drained fruit into the bottom of 2 wine or parfait glasses. Add 1/4 of the banana. Spoon 1/4 cup yogurt mixture over fruit and top with 1/4 cup of granola. Repeat layers.
Serve immediately garnished with a sprig of fresh mint.

Traffic Light Day

December 10, 1868 the first traffic light was installed outside of the British Houses of Parliament. It was installed to control traffic on Bridge Street, Great George Street, and Parliament Street. The original idea came from railway engineer J.P. Knight and was constructed by the railroad signal engineers Saxby and Farmer.

The first traffic light resembled a railroad signal. There were two gas lamps, a red and green lamp that were used for night time use. The gas lamps were held by semaphore arms on a pillar. Because they were gas lanterns the needed to be operated by a police constable. The constable would turn a lever for the gas lamp to fac the right direction of traffic

The first electric traffic lights would make their appearance by 1912. The electric light would be invented by Lester Wire. The first only used red and green lights. It was James Hoge that would design the traffic light that would have both red and green lights but with a warning buzz that would alert the drivers of changing light. It was a police officer by the name of Potts to create the first four way three color traffic light in Detroit Michigan. Now there a great variety of traffic lights.

helpful resource here

Dewey Decimel System

Melville Louis Kossuth Dewey was born December 10, 1851. Dewey was an American libarian and educator, inventor of the dewey decimal system or library classification. Dewey was born into a family of six children. He attended rural schools and decided early on to reform education. Melville earned both a bachelor's degree as well as a masters. While a student he founded the library bureau which sold high quality index cards and filing cabinets and established the standard dimensions for catalog cards.

The Dewey Decimal System is a way of organizing non-fiction books based on category. It is the dewey decimal system librarians would have to organize their libraries based on either publisher, title, date, author, or other factor that only a few books of the many out there would have in common.

Under the dewey decimal system non fiction books related by category are found adjacent each other. So if you are looking for a specific topic that you happen to be researching whether I be anything from art to sports you will be able to find them all easily.

My personal first lesson about the dewey decimal system was in literary class. It was the first year of junior high, the same year I joined the library club. I would use the dewey decimal system many times that year and never forget it.

Was you ever involved in a library??

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

National Handwashing Awareness Week

Our children get their hands into many things. Mine have always liked making mud pies as they play pretend. Anything from rocks, pennies, and rabbit foots have been kept in pockets for good luck. Not to mention the many cats, dogs, pet frogs and other animals they have touched before. All of these are common childhood actions but these can also be main way to come in contact with million of germs.
The age old rule we teach our kids about is to wash their hands before eating, after using the bathroom or when they come in from playing. With everything they get distracted and they may forget. So it is a message that needs repeating. Hand washing is by far by the best way to prevent germs from spreading and to keep kids from getting sick
Good hand washing protects against spread many illnesses. The common cold to more serious illnesses such a the flu, meningitis, hepatitis A and more. All of which lead to missed school days and loss of work days not to mention dr. visits and financial cost.
Germs spread in many different ways. 
  • touching dirty hands
  • changing dirty diapers
  • through contaminated water and food
  • through droplets in the air released during a cough or sneeze
  • on contaminated surfaces
  • through contact with a sick person's body fluids
Coming into contact with germs is something that we do easily. Simply the touch of eyes, nose, or mouth. Once someone gets sick from germs it will normally spread through the whole family. The first line of defense is go hand washing.

It is important to wash those germs away and teach the correct routine to kids. You can even wash your hands with the little ones. 

  1. Wash your hands in warm water. Make sure the water isn't too hot for little hands.
  2. Use soap and lather up for about 20 seconds (antibacterial soap isn't necessary — any soap will do). Make sure you get in between the fingers and under the nails where germs like to hang out. And don't forget the wrists!
  3. Rinse and dry well with a clean towel.
To minimize the germs passed around your family, make regular hand washing a rule for everyone, especially:
  • before eating and cooking
  • after using the bathroom
  • after cleaning around the house
  • after touching animals, including family pets
  • before and after visiting or taking care of any sick friends or relatives
  • after blowing one's nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • after being outside (playing, gardening, walking the dog, etc.)
Don't underestimate the power of hand washing! The few seconds you spend at the sink could save you trips to the doctor's office.

Family Christmas Day 9: Christmas Carol Challenge

I so love the little verse above. I found it while traveling around the great www. I love the fact that it rings so true no matter how old we are at Christmas time we all feel warm and cuddly and just like a child. Giving gifts or getting gifts from others makes us feel warm inside.

Great idea for tonight have a bit of fun. When I was younger I loved all the great game shows on T.V. one of our favorites was the Name That Tune. If you are not familiar with it the game is between two teams or individuals where they continue to guess what tune is played.

Name that Christmas Carol
version one:
Group and everyone plays at once: Create a song playlist from your favorite Christmas carols and songs for your party. Then make sure you write down the song and artist. If you are using an iPod you can create a playlist and if using a cd player be sure to note the CD and track number of that song. Tip: Use a cd with various artists then you can play a few from that cd during your game. Also avoid instrument music and be sure to include a mix of easy and difficult songs. In version 1, you play the first 5 or 10 seconds of the of the Christmas carol / song and if someone’s hand goes up they are they first to have a shot at guessing the name of the song. If no one’s hand goes up after 15 seconds after the song was played, start the songs again and play until a hand goes up. - You can play Christmas title only or you can make it harder by asking them to give you the title and artist. My recommendation is to do 1 or 2 rounds of title only and then add a round of title and artist. (If you do a title + artist round increase the points for an answer during that round.) Scoring - If the person correctly names the Christmas song they get 1 point, if they can get the title of the song and the artist 2 points - If the person answers incorrectly they get -1 point and they cannot guess again on that song.

Version 2:
Create your Christmas song list and gather history of each song, Year of release, information on the artist, and clever clues that give hints of the title 2. Instead of notes, contestants will bid on seconds to here the Christmas song before having to Name that Christmas Carol (use 3 second increments rather then 1 second and so the first bid can be 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, or 21 seconds) 3. Instead of piano players taping out notes you will need to use a cd player or computer and have someone turn it on and off at the correct moment. Make a cd or playlist of songs to be used for the game and research the song, year released, artist, awards, etc… be sure to know the order of the songs. We suggest having 15 – 20 songs ready to go.

Version 3:
Divide the guests up into 2 teams, but if it is a large group 3 teams. Each team will send up one contestant at a time and 1 clue about the song will be read. The First Contestant (Alternate the first bid between each team) will then be asked to say how may seconds they need in order to identify that song. Starting at 21 seconds and counting down (Remember bids are in 3 second increments). Ie – I can name that song in 12 seconds, 9 seconds etc… If there are no bids then a second clue is given and a third if needed. Once the bidding has started, each bid must be lower then the last bid, the bidding ends when one contestant challenges the other by saying, Name that Christmas Carol. Then the song is played for the amount of seconds that the person bid. The contestant then has 15 seconds to Name that Christmas Carol. Scoring for Teams (Adjust as needed) 1. Correct Christmas song guessed 1 point 2. Incorrect guess -1 point. 3. If there is no guess by person who had to Name the Christmas Carol, then the opposing player has a chance to earn 1 point if they can Name that Christmas Carol. Based on how many players you have and songs you have recorded, you can declare a team winner after one or two rounds. We recommend two rounds as people get into the game during the second round.

Some Christmas Carol Ideas

Christmas Card Day : Make Splattered Christmas Cards

Today is the day to get those Christmas Cards ready and in the mail. We love to get Christmas cards they are always a treat in our mailbox. So what would be better than helping our children create their own cards to give to those they love.

You will need
one large sheet white watercolor paper
watercolor paint
acrylic paints of black, silver and gold
large sheet black lightweight cardboard
utility knife
double sided tape
blank cards and envelopes
bone folder (optional)

Splattering paint is a lot of fun, but tends to go all over the place. If you can’t do this outside, make sure your work area is well covered with newspaper or tarps. Select a large sheet of watercolour paper that is at least 90 lbs in weight, so it absorbs the water and paint without too much buckling. Using watercolour paint and a large brush, cover it with a variety of colours, making sure some areas of the white background are left unpainted. Allow to dry.

2. Prepare acrylic paints for splattering. Some water should be added to them so the consistency of the paint is good for splattering, but don’t dilute them too much or the colours will not be as intense.
Three colours I would recommend using are black, gold and silver, along with a variety of other ones of your choosing. The black tends to bring out the best in other colours, and the gold and silver are very festive this time of year. Different sized paint brushes will create different sized splatters, so it’s a good idea to experiment on a piece of newspaper to see what you prefer. Cover the paper with splatters by dipping a brush in the paint, removing some of the excess, and using a throwing action with your hand across the paper. If you leave too much paint on the brush you’ll end up with lots of big blobs…which actually don’t look too bad combined with the splatters. Allow to dry.

3. Blank cards and envelopes can be found in many places such as art supply stores, stationary or business supply stores. Mine came from Business Depot. A cheaper way to do this is to purchase envelopes, and buy large sheets of lightweight card stock that you cut into the appropriate card size. A bone folder is helpful when scoring them to fold them in half. Once the card size has been determined, you can decide how big you would like the artwork to be on the front of the card.

4. Cut the large sheet of splattered paint into the size you will be using on the cards. It makes measuring and cutting so much easier. Remember to also mount them on another color. I used black because it brings out the colors nicely. Once the artwork and black backing have been cut, your assembly line can begin. Kids tend to love this for some reason. Small pieces of double sided tape first need to be added to all four corners of the back of the artwork. They also need to be added to the back of the black backing. Stick the artwork onto the black cards. With the artwork on the black card, stick it onto the greeting card. At this point they should be looking pretty impressive, and you’ll be amazed by how many you can make from just one sheet of paper. We ended up with 50 cards and some artwork to spare.

craft resource Art Blog

Root Vegetable Augratin

This cold weather dish is perfect for everyone. It is gluten free, healthy eating, vegetarian recipe. Best of all it is very tasty brings a lot of your summer garden veggies that you may have harvested into a beautifully yummy dish.

1 ½ pounds turnips, kohlrabi, rutabaga, large parsnips or a combination, peeled and sliced thin 
freshly ground pepper            
½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
¾ cup grated Gruy√®re cheese (3 ounces)
1 ½ cups low-fat milk (1 or 2 percent)                                                             
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 2-quart gratin or baking dish. Place the sliced vegetables in a large bowl, and season generously with salt and pepper. Add the thyme, and toss together.
Arrange the vegetables in the gratin dish. Add the milk, season with more salt and pepper if you wish, and place in the oven on the middle rack. Bake 45 minutes; every 15 minutes, press the vegetables down into the milk with the back of your spoon.
Add the cheese, and stir in carefully to incorporate. Return to the oven, and bake another 30 to 45 minutes, stirring or pressing the vegetables down with the back of your spoon every 10 minutes until the gratin is nicely browned and most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat and serve, or allow to settle and serve warm. (You can make this several hours ahead of serving, and reheat in a medium oven.)

recipe source here

Danger Alert : Imaired Driving ;;;;;; Dont Do It


According to the CDC nearly 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol impaired driver. One death every 30 minutes is entirely too many. Not to mention the financial cost of crashes which is estimated at $59 billion. Thus, the problem of drinking and driving is major for everyone.

In 2013, there were 10,076 deaths caused by alcohol impaired driving crashes. That was nearly 1/3 of all traffic related deaths in the U.S. In 2012 over 1.3 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.

Young people have more of a chance of being involved in a crash than older individuals. I believe this must be something about the experience they may have behind the wheel It is also younger drivers who between 21 and 24 that the stats from CDC show drive the most under the influence. Motorcyclists killed in fatal crashes in 2013 more than 1/4 of them were driving with their blood alcohol level at .08% or more. Drivers over the age of 40 have the greatest percent of deaths and have more blood alcohol levels than younger drivers.

Our own family on one more than one occasion has been met fatally with car crashes that were results of drinking and driving. So my golden rule as the kids got older was no matter where they were if they did not feel safe come and get me. Driving while drinking was something I always took a stand on I would express my opinion very loudly and remind all that listened that it could result in death.

Some of my children have since married and my middle daughter married a fine hard working man but he does like a drink or two on his day off. My daughter a hard worker herself went to bed with her husband and brother drinking. I have no idea which one had the bright idea but they decided while drinking to take a ride across town to go to another party. Unfortunately for them it did not end the way they wanted to. Fortunately for me it was something that resulted in a car crash but no deaths and being in the middle of the night they hit a truck with no passengers simply parked on side of road instead of another car with passengers. I say fortunate because they could all walk away the truth is it changed lives forever. My son in law went to jail, court and now pays a large fine, had to fix his vehicle, did several hours of community service and now attends class and makes payments on a large fine

Please think about drinking and driving, hand those keys off to someone who will not be drinking it may save your life and a whole lot of problems.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Saety Alert

December is Safe Toy and Gift month. I love the fact that it comes in the same month as the big gift holiday of Christmas. I thought I would share with you a few tips that will help you with both the awareness of safe toys and gifts and get great gifts for your family at Christmas


  • Inspect all toys before purchasing. Missing parts, parts that fly off, toys with sharp edges or points, or toys that are not sturdy enough to withstand impact without breaking, being crushed or being pulled apart easily are not the toys that I would consider buying
  • I am the mother of special needs children, and now the aunt of special needs nephews. When choosing toys for them I look for toys that have more thing that they do such as sound, movement, and / or texture. The size of the toy or how the toy is meant to be played with makes a great difference as well. One resource your may want to check is
  • When your child is given gifts be sure to take your time and inspect them. Make sure they are age, skill and developmental appropriateness.
  • Label on the toy "ATSM" is great. It means the toy has met the American Society for Testing and Materials standards.
  • Do Not give toys with small parts, magnets or button batteries to a young child. All of these are choking hazards and have the potential to cause serious injury or death. Good rule of thumb if I can fit in a toilet paper roll it can fit in the childs mouth.
  • Do not give toys with ropes, cords, or heating elements to children
  • crayons and markers should be marked nontoxic if given to children for gifts

Tropical Fruit Salad with Honey and Lime

Tropical Fruit Salad with Honey and Lime

3/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons fresh mint
Zest and juice of 1 lime
2 kiwis, peeled and sliced
1 banana, peeled and sliced on the bias
1 small bunch red grapes
1 mango, peeled, pit removed and chopped
1/2 large pineapple, peeled, cored and chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread the coconut out on a baking sheet. Toast until golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from the baking sheet to a small bowl to cool.
Whisk together the honey, mint, lime zest and juice. Add the kiwis, banana, grapes, mango and pineapple and toss, making sure all the fruit is coated with the dressing. Sprinkle with the coconut before serving.

Recipe Greeting From Our House To Yours

With all the Christmas gifts that will be coming from the kitchen we wanted to offer you a special recipe greeting from our house to your and we hope you Enjoy!!!

Family Christmas Day 8: Make a Spcial Dish : Swedish Tea Ring recipe

As we get closer to Christmas do not let the stress of work, Christmas Pictures, wrapping gifts and the rest get in your way of Celebrating Christ at Christmas. Today take time and make a Christmas list of gifts that you would give the world See how different your list is compared to your child. Discuss as a family what you think is an important goal and how much better the world would be if you had time to love one another as the one that was born on Christmas day loves us.

Today make a gift for a special family, next door neighbor or someone who could use some pick e up. The Swedish tea ring was a customary gift that my grandmother would give to every family in our family tree as well as special friends during the holiday season.

Swedish Tea Ring

Swedish Tea Ring

1 cup chopped candied fruit

1/2 cup raisins

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom


1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast

1/3 cup sugar, divided

1-1/4 cups warm water (110° to 115°), divided

2 eggs

1/4 cup shortening

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

4-1/4 to 4-3/4 cups all-purpose flour


1 cup confectioners' sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon milk

Candied cherries, optional

In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Cover and refrigerate. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast, 1/4 cup water and 1 teaspoon sugar in 1/4 cup warm water; let stand for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine remaining water and sugar; stir until dissolved. Add yeast mixture, eggs, shortening, salt and 3 cups flour; mix until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down; divide in half. Roll each portion into a 16-in. x 9-in. rectangle. Sprinkle filling over dough to within 1/2 in. of edge.
Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seams to seal. Place on greased baking sheets; pinch ends together to form a ring. With a scissors, cut from outside edge two-thirds of the way toward center of ring at 1-in. intervals. Separate strips lightly; twist to allow filling to show. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes. For icing, combine the confectioners' sugar, lemon juice and milk; drizzle over tea rings while warm. Decorate with cherries if desired. Yield: 2 tea rings.

Willie the Clown

Emmett Kelly , the man behind the clown character weary willie was born this day in 1898. Weary Willie was a sad faced clown who carried around a sack on a stick. Weary Willie was inspired by the hobos of the Depression era. Weary Willie is the clown that came to sweep up the three rings after other circus acts, and try as he would he was always unsuccessful in sweeping up the pool of the light of a spotlight.
You may want to embrace the spirit of Wear Willie by appreciating the art of clowning, paint your face, learn to juggle or wear big shoes or really big pants

Here are some clown faces to color and a clown snack to fix and eat. 

Learn about famous clowns here


Holiday Brownies


1 box brownie mix
water, oil, egg called for on brownie mix box
2 or 3 drops of green food color
2/3 cup vanilla frosting
decorating decors red and green candy sprinkles or mini candy coated baking bits
mini 2 inch candy canes, unwrapped
Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Line 9-inch square pan with foil so foil extends about 2 inches over sides of pan. Grease bottom only of foil with cooking spray or shortening. 
Make and bake brownie mix as directed on box. Cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove brownie from pan by lifting foil; peel foil away. To cut brownie into triangles, cut into 3 rows. Cut each row into 5 triangles, see diagram. Save smaller pieces for snacking.                               
Stir food color into frosting. Spoon frosting into small resealable food-storage plastic bag; partially seal bag. Cut off tiny bottom corner of bag. Squeeze bag to pipe frosting over brownies. Sprinkle with decors.
Break off curved end of candy cane; insert straight piece into bottoms of triangles to make tree trunks.

recipe source betty crocker

Monday, December 7, 2015

Tips for Stress Free Holiday

Don't allow those holiday crowds to destroy your holiday spirit. Avoid the malls, store sales and rush by shopping at home online. Just be sure that shipping charges and insurance won't end up costing you more.

Holiday Dinner:
Hosting a holiday dinner? Don't do it all by yourself. Make it a potluck party and you want everyone to bring two dishes. One their favorite and  the second dish to be assigned by you. Ask for help if needed.

As hard as it is for me to say as it is one of my favorite seasonal activities skip the baking if needed. If the time and energy are simply not there then bake at a later time when you will enjoy it more. Another idea is to host a cookie swap with some friends. Decide how many friends will be participating then have each friend make a different type of cookie. That way each friend will have a variety of cookies.

Wrapping Gifts:
Save time and money and keep your sanity by skipping the wrapping. You can do this by purchasing gift bags in assorted sizes and styles. Still festive just not as much work

Party Invites:
Been invited to several parties? It's o.k. to say no. Attend those you really want to and graciously decline those you can not.

Have other ideas to save sanity during the holidays? Please share them