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Saturday, December 22, 2018

Reuse those toilet paper rolls to make snowflakes

Toilet paper, wrapping paper and paper towel rolls
Tape measure
Hot glue gun and glue

Flatten all the rolls, and using the tape measure, mark 1¼ inches all along the tube. I ended up cutting some of these 1¼-inch pieces in half to give some of my snowflakes a bit more dimension.
Start playing. I folded some of my pieces flat the other way, creating more of a diamond shape, and I folded some pieces in half. You can see all of my designs here.
Map out your designs. I used every last roll I had, but I didn't start gluing until I had all four snowflakes completely planned out.
Hot glue your shapes together.
Add various lengths of pretty ribbon, and hang your snowflakes from windows or on walls.

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Cookie Exchange Gum Drop Cookie #recipe

Do you want to get your friends together to have a good time?? Would it also be great if you could share one batch of cookies but take away from the party several different types of cookies?? Well then you may just want to go to or host a cookie exchange party.

A cookie exchange party is where all guest bring the same number of cookies as those that are attending. It is also a great idea to bring along the cookie recipe so the receiver can make a batch of the cookies their selves.

One great recipe to share at a party like this are

Gumdrop Cookies
YIELD: 3 dozen cookies

This cookie recipe with the gumdrop pieces are perfect for the holiday.

16 ounces fruit flavored gumdrops
1/3 cup sugar to coat gumdrops
1 cup margarine, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Use kitchen shears or a sharp knife to cut gumdrops into small pieces, drop into a bowl of sugar, toss to coat. Remove from sugar, allowing excess sugar to fall back into the bowl.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream margarine and sugar together until fluffy. Mix in eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl whisk together  flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Stir dry ingredients into the wet mixture just until blended. Stir in half of the gumdrop pieces. Scoop out 2 tablespoons of dough. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Flatten cookies. Top with more gumdrop pieces.
Bake 8-12 minutes until tops of cookies look dry, but edges are not yet browned. Cool on cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days or wrap and freeze for up to a month.

This cookie recipe is sure to delight your friends and gain you lots of good response. The most important part of the party is to have fun with your friends and family.
In order to do this successfully some useful tips of the party are:
  • keep the gathering stress fry
  • the party should only be held for a short period of time
  • invite all your family, friends and neighbors to have lots of fun and get lots of cookies
Have fun and at the end of the party you may end up with a delicious plate of cookies

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Candy Cane Snowball Cookies #recipe

2 cups (4 sticks) Challenge Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups finely chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups white (vanilla) candy melts
2/3 cup crushed candy canes

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat Challenge Butter, vanilla and confectioners' sugar until smooth and creamy.

3. Add in flour, walnuts and salt. Mixing until just combined.

4. Using a small cookie scoop (about 2 teaspoons), measure and roll dough into balls. Place dough balls onto prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes – taking care not to over bake. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for about 5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. Once cookies are completely cool, melt candy melts according to package directions. Dip or spoon melted candy coating onto the tops of each cookie and immediately sprinkle with crushed candy canes.

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What About Celebrating Christmas

I was astonished as a local community leader told me that their family does not celebrate Christmas as we do and that his children are not allowed to believe in Christmas. It turns out that he is not alone. I know this gentleman and know he is a Christ believer, works hard for his family and a loyal community member. So why would he not want to celebrate Christmas??

One of the main reasons he does not celebrate is because Christmas originated as a pagan holiday. It seems that the bells, candle, holly and yuletide decorations were once all a part of the pagan holiday. This does not mean that the use of such items in our holiday celebration that paganism is returning. Since the early days many things have changed and taken on a new face.

The miracle of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem is what the bases of the grand celebration of Christmas should be about. Bells are played to ring out the news of the birth of the babe, candles are lit to remind us that Christ is the Light of the world, the star on top of the tree is there to remind us of the star of Bethlehem and the presents remind us of the gifts that the Magi brought to Jesus the greatest gift to the world. Therefore, we worship the son of God the birth of Jesus at Christmas time

Many strictly believe the bible and follow it as so. The bible speaks out about against bring trees into the home and decorating them. The main verse that these followers stand by is Jeremiah 10: 1-16 that speaks of making an idol out of a tree. To me this is not the same as I have a Christmas tree but do not bow down to worship it. Thus the tree to me is simply a decoration, no different than the pictures or knick knacks in the room just a lot bigger.

The date of the birth of Jesus is not defined by the bible. December 25th may be a date that man has chosen to celebrate rather than the true date of the Saviors birth. There are some that believe we should not be celebrating the birth of Jesus at any time. Others say that Christmas has been changed so much that now it is "the holidays" Personally I see Christmas as a time to celebrate his birth the true "reason for the season"

The choice to celebrate Christmas is one that we all make on our own. There is no biblical mandate to celebrate or legitimate scriptural reason not to celebrate. The choice to celebrate or not should be respected. Like all aspects of life we should respect one another and love each other as Christ would love each of us.

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Friday, December 21, 2018

Enjoy a Bit of Eggnog

large eggs, separated
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup whole milk
1/2 to 3/4 cups cream* (see notes below)
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 shots Bourbon whiskey (optional)

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until pale yellow and tripled in size. I do this by hand with a big balloon whisk, and it takes about 1 minute. Whip vigorously.
Meanwhile, in a 1-quart saucepan, heat the milk, 1/2 cup of cream and 1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg to boiling. Remove from the heat.
Very slowly stream the milk mixture into the egg yolks while whisking continuously. Go slowly to avoid cooking the eggs.
Next, pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan, and place over medium heat. Stirring occasionally, heat the mixture to 160-degrees F.
Optional: If you want to be traditional and fold egg whites into your egg nog, go ahead and whip the two remaining egg whites to stiff peaks. When the egg nog reaches 160-degrees, remove it from the heat and gently fold in the beaten egg whites.
Chill the mixture thoroughly if you want to serve it cold. Before serving, divide it between two mugs, add Bourbon to taste, and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg.

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Winter Bucket List

whats on your list\

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Last Minute Christmas To Do

It's the last weekend before Christmas,,, In just a few days St. Nick will be visiting. Are you ready for him to come for his annual visit?? Some of the last minute tasks you will want to be sure gets done include:

  • Finish shopping for gifts.  (They likely do not need that one more thing that is on your list.) 
  • Wrap presents.
  • Round up stocking stuffers.
  • Clean house (to prepare for guests and get-togethers).
  • Finish planning Christmas meal menu.
  • Create grocery list from menu. Go grocery shopping for items.
  • Bake cookies for Santa plus more to give to neighbors.
  • Take gifts to friends.
  • Offer assistance to someone this season: pick something off the angel tree, buy supplies off the wish list for a local shelter or humane society, visit a nursing home and chat with the residents.
  • Curl up on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa, play some soft Christmas music in the background, and watch the lights twinkle on your Christmas tree.
Are you done with Christmas prep?? That is awesome if not it will be here before you know it so get prepared

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Forefathers Day

December 21, 1620 Plymouth Rock the Pilgrims land. They had reached what they thought of as the New World. For them it was a chance to escape religious persecution. The Mayflower had set sail in late fall from England. Another ship, The Speedwell, left at the same time but had to return to England. Thus making the Mayflower very crowded as the passengers of both boat crowded onto one.

The first year forefathers day was celebrated occurred in 1769.

King Charles had granted a charter to the Pilgrims to land where present - day New York is. The rough seas pushed the ship off course causing them to reach their destination. Winter weather was coming on strong and swiftly so the passengers and crew made the decision to remain in Plymouth While the Mayflower actually landed in Provincetown Harbor on November 21.

The group stayed on the ship for quite some time before moving inland to a more protected harbor. Reaching Plymouth December 21st. At this time of year the land was more than likely freezing. The ship supplies were likely low and many of the passengers were getting sick. Because of these reasons the Pilgrims knew they had to find shelter soon.

December 21st will always be a date to remember. The Mayflower voyage and founding of Plymouth Colony changed the course of the history of the world. That small ship carried 102 passengers and sailed to a new world. The search was for a better life and that search helped create America. In addition, the act of honoring their ancestors as  pioneers of democracy and freedom has long been a New England custom.

The state of Massachusetts tried to make Forefather's day a national celebration and the pilgrims the founders. The states of New England helped to bring the revolutionary struggle to reality. Forefather's day allows Americans to be seen as the underdog that fights back and wins.

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National Short Girl Appreciation Day

December 21st is not only the shortest day of the girl it also salutes the short girls
Girls that are under 5'5" belong in the short girl category. I stand 5'3" so I celebrate right along the other short girls in the world. Most of the girls in our family stand around this same height with many including my daughter and nieces being even shorter. Perhaps this would delight my mother in law who barley stood 5' but at times being short can be a bit challenging.

Challenges that short girls face are numerous. To start with clothing never seems to fit correctly. Pants nearly always need shortening as they are created with a 5'5" woman in mind.  There are some positives to being short

  • most males are taller 
  • legroom is achievable in tight places
  • there is some evidence that short people live longer
  • short women have been seen as ambitious, independent, and fiesty
If you are a short girl be proud and celebrate the shortest day of the year

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Winter Solstice

For everyone living in the Northern Hemisphere today, December 21 , is the shortest day of the year. Known as Winter Solstice it was first celebrated as a pagan holiday. The day signifies the first day of winter. While today is the day that the Winter Solstice will occur the truth is that the event will take place at 5:23 pm Eastern time.

Two solstices occur each year, the winter and summer. The solstices help determine seasons and length of day like hours. The phenomenon occurs because the Earth spins on a tilted axis. Perhaps, the tilt is caused by a massive object hitting Earth billions of years ago or at least that is what scientific minds think.

The North and South Poles are directly impacted by the tilt of the Earth Depending on the tilt either the North or South Poles will be in more contact with the sun. One half of the year will see the South attract more sun than the North and the second half of the year will see the reverse Thus creating seasons that we experience.

Those living near the Arctic Circle will barely receive any daylight today, during winter solstice. The amount of hours of sunlight you will get can be found on

Stonehenge is an interesting scenario in the seasonal changes. It is thought that it was built to help mark solstices and equinoxes. Stonehenge is aligned directly toward the sunset during winter solstice. During summer solstice the sun rises directly over the Heel Stone However, what was the reason that it was important to mark the solstice??

The winter solstice may have been an important time in ancient times. It may have been a time when cattle needed slaughtered before winter, it may have also been important in the aging of wine and beer. Even today, Stonehenge is imortant to the gathering of modern technology. .

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Nutty Caramel Brownies

1 and 1/4 sticks unsalted butter 140g
1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar 300g
3/4 cup cocoa powder 75g
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs cold
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain/all-purpose flour 60g
1/2 cup chocolate chips 90g
10 oz chewy caramels or toffees 280g
1/4 cup evaporated milk 60ml
1/2 cup salted peanuts 65g, chopped

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line an 8x8-inch square baking pan with foil or parchment paper, and set aside.
Place the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt into a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 1 minute, then stir to combine. Heat for another minute until the mixture is very warm/hot to the touch. Mix in the eggs and vanilla until fully combined, then fold in the flour. Fold in the chocolate chips, being sure not to let them fully melt into the batter. Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan and spread out evenly.

Place the caramels and milk in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat in 30 second intervals, stirring after each one, until melted and smooth. Allow to cool slightly and thicken up in the fridge - about 20 - 30 minutes. Fold in the peanuts. Spread the caramel evenly over the brownie batter, then top with the remaining batter.

Bake for 30 - 35 minutes. The centre will still be jiggly, but will firm up as the caramel layer cools. Allow to cool completely in the fridge or freezer before cutting into bars.

Brownies stay fresh stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. They also freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.

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Thursday, December 20, 2018

Will the Real Kris Kringle Please Stand Up

Kris Kringle is a custom derived from Christian traditions. It is a ritual that may sometimes be referred to as Secret Santa. Kris Kringle is defined by Wipkipedia as:

  • Christkind or Christkindl, the Austrian and German Christmas gift-bringer, the Christ Child
  • Santa Claus, by assimilation in the United States of the separate German tradition Secret Santa, a gift exchange deriving from the Christkindl tradition
  • Kris Kringle, the lead character in Miracle on 34th Street
  • Etymonline mentions Christ-kinkle from Pennsylvania German and Christkindlein from German and doesn't relate to Santa Claus.

As you listen to Christmas songs you most likely hear the message that young children should be careful as to not pout, shout or cry. We are led to believe that Santa will judge who is bad and good as well as naughty or nice. Perhaps you should be aware that those that are good will receive presents but those that are bad will receive something much worst. 

During the 1600s the Dutch arrived in America with a grand story of Sinterklaas, a man with a long white beard and red coat. Sinterklaas was based on a Greek who lived in Turkey during 300. He was a priest by the name of St. Nicholas and was not as many would think of having santa claus characteristics. Rather, he was a bit of a bad boy and would brawl when needed. However, he did have a soft spot for children and would often bring them gifts. 

During the early 1800s American Christian leaders many of which were Protestant Reformation types had banned religious celebrations of Christmas as unscriptural and paganish. People still wanted to celebrate Christmas. Midwinter saw many sitting at home with the crops harvested and sailors at home waiting for better weather. Therefore many looked forward to December 25th for a party that would leave them under the influence drunk and looting began. 

Christmas during the 1800s was very much different than today. It was one of the biggest parties While many had lots of fun there was a group from New York that decided that they wanted to bring Christmas indoors, an and have a focus on children. While many could consider the group grinches for stopping Christmas grand party they were the same group that formed the Saint Nicholas Society of New York. The group would change the world 

Rumors of the past had St. Nick as a hermit of sorts but this was not the case. In fact he kept long detailed list of people, places, churches and Christian groups. The group from New York desired to bring back the sinterklaus of yesteryear and make Christmas more family friendly In addition they wanted to get the drunks off the street and how better to do it than to turn Christmas into a family event

Sinterklaas would be part of the basis of how Christmas would become popular and families would want to celebrate. The American author Washington Irving wrote a series of sketches featuring St. Nicholas soaring high above New York house, smoking a pipe and delivering presents to well behaved children. Clement Clarke Moore wrote a poem for his big brood called "A Visit From St. Nicholas" or what many have come to know as "The Night Before Christmas" By the early 1900s Santa was popularized as the white bearded, red suited, twinkle eyed grandfather type. However, this would set up for another dilemma. Merchants would try to prey on those who celebrated Christmas. Santa was used in all types of ads 

I hope this helps you learn a little about Kris Kringle, and maybe even believe in the magic of Christmas
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    Wednesday, December 19, 2018

    Lets Go Caroling

    One Christmas tradition that has been passed down through the years is the act of going caroling. It is a way to spread the happiness of the season. All are blessed through the action of caroling, those that have fun and spend time together as well as those that are visited.

    Note of Safety:
    Be sure to check the weather before leaving home. Windy, rainy or snowy conditions will want to be noted. If the weather is not in cooperation perhaps the event should be rescheduled. Some other notes of safety to consider while caroling:

    • take along a flashlight
    • say on sidewalks as much as possible
    • stay together as a group
    • young children should have parents with them

    Carols were first sung at winter solstice Carols were then wrote and sung at each season. The tradition of singing carols at Christmas time is the only tradition that has survived time. Christians would take over the caroling tradition at Christmas time The music was changed to Christian songs as well. One of the earliest Christian Christmas carols was "Angel's Hymn" However, because many Christian carols were written and sung in Latin they were not liked by all.

    St. Francis  of Assisi changed the tradition when in 1223 he would introduce the world to his nativity plays. During the plays songs would be sung and the words were often in the language of those in the crowd. 

    In 1647 when the Puritans and Oliver Cromwell ruled in England the celebration of Christmas and carols was stopped. The carols did survive as they were done in secret. It would not be until Victorian time before carols would be sang again. However it would take some time before caroling was popular again.

    Official carol singers known as 'waits' composed of groups of individuals led by important leaders who held power in the towns would sing the carols In return for the carols money would be taken without being charged as beggars. 'Waits' only sang on Christmas Eve which was also referred to as 'watch' or 'wait' night. It was the night that the shepherds were watching over their flocks when angels appeared to tell them about the babe in the manger. 

    During the victorian era large orchestras and choirs in England and other cities began to sing Christmas carols. The custom of singing carols in the streets would become popular again. New carols were created at this time as well. The tradition of carolers singing Christmas carols continues today.

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    Importance of Hand Hygiene

    One of the easiest and most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others is to wash our hands. Many times the reason that diseases spread are because individuals do not wash hands with soap and clean water. In the event that soap and water are not available use an alcohol based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to clean hands.

    When should you wash your hands??

    • Before, during, and after preparing food
    • Before eating food
    • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
    • Before and after treating a cut or wound
    • After using the toilet
    • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
    • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
    • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
    • After handling pet food or pet treats
    • After touching garbage

    Wet Wash and Dry

    Washing your hands does not take forever but it is a process that should be done right in order to help prevent illness or spreading germs. The following process is recommended by the CDC:

    • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
    • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
    • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
    • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water. 
    • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
    It is important to first wet hands under running water. A basin of water may have been previously used and contaminated. If there is no running water then use non-potable water. Unlike previously thought the temperature of the water does not matter in killing germs. However, warmer the water the more skin irritation may occur. 

    The use of soap is more effective in cleaning hands than water alone. Soap has properties that help lift soil and germs from the skin. Scrubbing hands helps remove germs and occurs more when using soap as well. 

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    Tuesday, December 18, 2018

    Crafting Perfect for the Family

    For many many people crafting is a popular hobby. For some it is even a way of life, a chance to make some money. Some even like to get the younger generation interested in the world of arts and crafts. Handmade crafts are out there for every skill level from exceptionally gifted to the ones not able to draw a straight line with a ruler. Perhaps, more than anything it is having the right motivation to try that with a bit of patience added in will help one become a craftster.

    In addition to crafts being a fun and useful hobby it is through making crafts that you may be gain other benefits. Creating works of art can be useful in fighting stress. Painting, sketching, sculpting or other artistic ability helps many relax. Crafting helps both the mind and body to relax. Through creating something of beauty from scratch the issues that lay in our thoughts are eased. One frugal ways to relieve some of the stress in our lives may just be crafting.

    Crafts can be very cheap to produce. Use recycled items, junk items and discarded things is one way to keep the cost of making crafts down. There is no need to purchase expensive art materials and tools to make crafts.

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    O Holy Night

    The song "O Holy Night" one of my favorite Christmas songs was composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847. Based on French poem written by Placide Cappeau. In 1843 Cappeau had been asked by the church in Roquemaure to write a Christmas poem to celebrate the church organ recent renovation. While Cappeau had been an outspoken atheist he did what the church asked. In 1847 Adams put music to the poem and was sung by Emily Laurey as part of the opera

    "O Holy Night" was the first song to be played live on a radio broadcast.
    It was on December 24, 1906 Reginald Fessenden broadcasted one of the first ever AM radio programs in Canada. The station featured entertainment and music for listeners.

    It is hard to believe this song was written by an atheist The touching words that tell the story of a babe being born. That babe the son of God. While wrote as a French poem the song has become a favorite around the world during the holidays.

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    Always something to Write About

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    Is Your Home Ready for WInter

    For many of us winter has arrived and for others it will be there soon. The sub-zero arctic like temps are only helped out if you are prepared for them. Ice and snow have potential of damaging homes Smart thinking ahead of time may help you better protect your home. If you have not all ready done so then you need to quickly:

    • For heat's sake have your furnace professionally serviced. 
    • Inspect all windows and doors for leaks. 
    • Sweep the chimney. 
    • Clean out your gutters. 
    • Turn off any faucets outside.
    • Trim your bushes and trees.
    • Pad exposed pipes in unheated areas.

    Having furnace and the a/c unit professionally serviced will help you prepare the home for seasonal changes If you live in an older home check the thermostat to ensure it is working properly. 

    Windows and doors should be checked for leaks. Leaks and gaps can cause heat loss. Weather stripping around doors and windows should be checked and replaced if needed. If drafts are present a little caulk may be all that is needed. The goal is to keep the heat in and cold out. 

    If your home has a fireplace be sure to prepare it for the cold weather season. The chimney and vents should be clean and in good condition. A professional is often needed for this task. Making sure your chimney is in good condition and ready to use will help prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide build up. 

    A job that I can clearly recall my dad and his list of to-do's each fall. On the list was cleaning the gutters. Clearing out any debris, leaves, dirt and sticks that could clog gutters and stop the drainage of rain and melting snow. If the water does not drain through the gutters it will go out of the house some how. This could mean home leaks While you are up cleaning the gutters take a look at your roof as well. Are there any missing or damaged shingles?? 

    Have you ever had an outside faucet to freeze?? Simply not remembering to turn them off or leaving water undrained can cause pipes to burst. One issue that may cause outside faucets to freeze includes not disconnecting outside garden hoses. 

    Rain, Ice and Snow can accumulate on trees, bushes and power lines. Making sure to cut overgrown bushes or trees back away from your house and electrical wires. The simple chore of trimming trees and shrubs will help to decrease the risk of property damage or interference with power lines. 

    Any pipes that exposed should be padded. This is most important in unheated areas. Placing a bit of pad around pipes is easier than having to pay for water damage caused by frozen pipes later. This should include pipes in the basement, attic and crawl space. 

    These tips are valuable and much less expensive to prepare than to have to pay for damage caused by winter woes. In addition you may want to stock up on sand, salt and other winter essentials you use at the house.

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    Monday, December 17, 2018

    Jingle Bells .... Jingle Bells ....

    The song was wrote in 1822 by James Lord Pierpont. He both composed the music and wrote the lyrics for this traditional song. Pierpont also happened to be related to the millionaire J.P. Morgan. This sign commemorates the well known song and the writer. It is located in Savannah Georgia

    Pierpont's father was an abolitionist Unitarian minister. The father and son duo would would travel away on adventures. Pierpont the composer ran off from boarding school at the age of 14 and joined a whaling ship crew. For the next 10 years he would stay at sea. Eventually it would be the gold rush in California that would lead him off in another grand adventure.

    Having no more richer than when he left he would not be done with adventures. In 1853 Pierpont became the organist at the Unitarian church in Savannah Georgia. His brother was the pastor of the church However, he did not share the same views as his father or brother.

    Pierpont was a supporter of the Confederacy. In 1859 the church he was at was forced to close due to abolitionist preaching. His brother would head north but Pierpont would stay in Savannah enlisting in the 1st Georgia Cavalry. He would serve as company clerk while his father served on the Union side as chaplain with the 22nd Massachusetts Infantry. Following the war he would stay in the south retiring and living out his remaining years in Florida

    The song was first printed under the title "One Horse Open Sleigh" Later the song's title changed to "Jingle Bells"

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    Peppermint Cookies #Recipe

    Mix together:
    2 3/4 C. sugar
    1 1/4 C. butter
    1 C. less 2T. evaporated milk

    4 C. flour
    4 t. baking powder
    1/2 t. black pepper
    1/2 t. cinnamon
    1/2 t. ground cloves
    2 C. ground pecans (grind in blender)

    Mix together, adding enough additional flour to make a stiff dough.
    Roll into pencil like strips, cut about 1/2″ long. Place on baking sheet and flatten each cookie a bit w/your finger. Bake at 350 degrees for aprox. 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

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    The Llama

    It may seem odd but one of the animals that is part of Christmas is not one that was found at the manger scene or a reindeer. The Llama is the hump-less relative of the camel and is a popular piece in Christmas festivities.

    The llama is a domesticated animal originating from South America. Raised to be both a pack animal as well as for its meat by the Andean cultures since the Pre-Columbian era.

    Llamas normally are around 5.6-5.9 feet tall from head to hoof. They can weigh between 290 and 440 lbs.  That is a long way from their birth weight at around 20 t0 30 lbs. Their wool is very soft and lanolin free. A life line of around 20 years with some living as long as 30 years.

    Llamas live in herds and are very sociable. Their intelligence can be shown as they are able to learn simple tasks after just a few tries.

    Llamas may have originated in the central plains of North America about 40 million years ago. From their they migrated to South America about 3 million years ago At the end of the last ice age about 10,000 years ago they may have been extinct in North America. Today there are over 158,000 llamas and 100,000 alpacas in the United States and Canada.

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