BLOGMAS 2018 – CHRISTMAS DAY – DAY 25

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Just a little trivia: From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote the 12 days of Christmas carol as a catechism song for young Catholics.

It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church.  Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

  • The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.
  • Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.
  • Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.
  • The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
  • The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
  • The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.
  • Seven swans a-swimming represented the seven fold gifts of the Holy Spirit–Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
  • The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
  • Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit–Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.
  • The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.
  • The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.
  • The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.

Merry (Twelve Days of) Christmas Everyone – and, remember, the Twelve Days of Christmas are the 12 days following December 25th. The Christmas Season runs until Epiphany, January 6.


HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 52 of 2018

MERRY CHRISTMAS sweet friends.  I know we all have tons to do today so let me get right to it.

All I can say is if you aren’t ready yet, don’t work so hard that you don’t enjoy it too!

Be sure to link up with
Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday

and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE & WHAT I’M WEARING – I know this will surprise you, but it’s raining here LOL 😀 I do pray for safe travels for everyone traveling over the holiday, but I’m LOVING that I have no where to go and can just relax and enjoy it. It’s also in the mid 40’s where it’s supposed to be all week so we won’t have a white Christmas, but as the week progresses the lows will dip into the low30’s and even the 20’s so maybe New Year’s will be white instead.  I’, wearing a comfy pair of Levi’s, a long sleeve Christmas green t-shirt, thick fluffy socks (since I don’t even have to go outside today) and a gray sweatshirt.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE – Blackberries, blueberry green tea and cheerios

ON MY MIND / THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY Just a few jokes

FAVORITE PHOTOS FROM THE CAMERA Last Saturday was baking day with the munchkins to make the Giving Plates.  We had so much fun! We made Magic cookie bars, corn flake wreathes, grasshopper brownies, peanut butter balls and peanut butter rice crispy balls to add to the Brigadeiros and salted pumpkin caramels I had already made. 

Besides the neighbor giving plates we made a couple plates for their dad’s fire station guys.  They took turns measuring, pouring, stirring and then all enjoyed decorating.  They got a real kick out of my “blue gloves”.  Mom and dad were able to get their packages wrapped while they were busy here 😀

INSPIRATION

Here’s a little holiday funny I saw on facebook over the weekend – just to make you laugh 😀

And so I made my own just for fun 😀

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE / WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS /  APPOINTMENTS

  • LAUNDRY… ALL caught up
  • LIVING AREAS… ALL clean
  • KITCHEN… ALL clean from munchkin baking day and ready for Christmas
  • YARD… nothing much
  • BLOG… some recipe updating, future post planning and even some holiday post planning
  • PROJECTS… nothing this week – this week is for relaxing and enjoying the holidays
  • APPOINTMENTS… NONE
  • TO DO… same old same old 😀

I’M READING – I’m still reading Yours after Dark, both series by Marie Force

WHAT IS ON THE DVR OR LIST TO WATCH – There are still a number of Christmas movies to watch

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

BREAKFAST

LUNCH

DINNER

DESSERT

MONDAY – FRIDAY

GREEN TEA,

BANANA & YOGURT

CHICKEN or TUNA SALAD

MONDAY

COWBOY BEANS and GREEN CHILE CORN BEER BREAD

TUESDAY

PRIME RIB, SCALLOPED POTATOES, BROCCOLINI, SOUR CREAM FAN ROLLS, CRANBERRY RELISH

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

FRIDAY

BANANA PUMPKIN MERINGUE PIE

SATURDAY

?? ??

BLACK EYED PEA CHILI

SUNDAY

?? ??

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

BLOGMAS 2018 – DO YOU KNOW WHERE SANTA IS? – DAY 24

THE HOLIDAY SEASON…
Usually the holiday season is an endless list of tasks and errands. Christmas Eve was usually at our house and then Christmas Day many times too. The last several years though the holiday season has been quiet, many times too quiet.

Personally, I love the hustle and bustle of the holidays. I’m a list writer and as a Virgo usually have my presents bought early and the Christmas cards ready to mail by Thanksgiving, many times they are even hand made. Having all this done and ready usually made it possible for me to go to the malls, get a nice cup of coffee and just watch other people hustle and bustle. Then I would go home and cook and bake and then bake some more!

I learned much of this from my folks. My folks would have the majority of their shopping done before Thanksgiving and then because of their hectic schedules dad would sit me down with all the gifts, a card table, wrapping paper, tape, bows and tags on the day after Thanksgiving and that was where I would spend the Thanksgiving weekend watching football and Christmas movies, eating leftover turkey sandwiches and wrapping gifts. When the gifts were done, I would start on the Christmas cards. Now this wasn’t an abuse of any child labor laws, it was how I earned a chunk of money for my own Christmas shopping. And dad was a generous employer.

Christmas Eve was spent at our house with the immediate extended family – grams and gramps, aunts, uncles and cousins and many times neighbors too. We would do a big buffet and then open all our gifts to each other and have a party.

We’d go to sleep happy and sated while waiting for Santa and then start Christmas day with stockings and brunch. By afternoon the turkey and ham were smelling great and we were ready to start all over. Oh it was the same bunch of people, but we would add a great aunt and uncle. Remember me telling you about Looney Louise?  😀 LOL we didn’t call her looney to her face, but it is what made her such fun mainly because she made us her cornflake wreaths with red hots and fudge! All of us cousins would sit on the front porch waiting for her and Uncle Herb to arrive and for our wreaths of course!   It wouldn’t have been Christmas without them!

Looney Louise MANY MANY years before she made us our wreaths!

As always I’m looking forward to the next holiday season just after this one ends, but knowing that the next one will be spent around family makes it already more special.

It’s Christmas Eve and Santa Claus is coming to town tonight. If you have kids, or are just a big kid at heart, you can track Santa’s progress as he travels around the world on NORAD.

Merry Christmas everyone!

May Christmas bring you joy, happiness and everything else you deserve!

PEANUT BUTTER BALLS

PEANUT BUTTER BALLS
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup QUALITY honey
1 cup JIF creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 cups rice krispies
Almond Bark (optional)
Sprinkles for decorating (optional)

  • Combine the sugar, corn syrup, honey, peanut butter and vanilla in heavy saucepan, stirring constantly until mixture begins to boil.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Add rice krispies.
  • Using gloved hands lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray roll into small balls and place on wax paper.
  • Let cool completely.
  • You can eat them as soon as they cool or decorate them if you choose.
  • Melt almond bark and dip each ball in chocolate before placing on wax paper.
  • Immediately decorate as the almond bark dries very quickly.

NOTE:

  • This recipe is COMPLETELY versatile – change out the cereal for ANY cereal of your choice, cheerios, corn flakes, chex etc… AND/OR you can change out the peanut butter for another nut butter, almond butter, cashew butter…
  • Sprinkles can be anything of your choosing.  I also like using mini chocolate chips and finely chopped honey roasted peanuts.

COWBOY BEANS ala SLOW COOKER and GREEN CHILE CORN BEER BREAD

It’s cold, wet and windy up here in the Pacific Northwest as a series of winter storms have been moving through one after another.  It’s the kind of weather that wants to make you turn over, pull the covers over your head and go back to sleep – the kind of weather that makes me crave serious comfort food.  One of our favorite comfort foods for this weather is Cowboy Beans. The best thing about this recipe is that it cooks ALL day in the slow cooker and the aroma makes the house smell cozy and homey. BE SURE AND SOAK YOUR BEANS OVERNIGHT THE DAY BEFORE YOU WANT TO MAKE THIS RECIPE.

As this recipe cooks your beans will start absorbing the flavor AND the color.  They actually become more and more tasty in the days that follow.  I usually make BEER Bread with this and it’s a HUGE hit.

COWBOY BEANS serves 6
1 pound navy beans
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 pound ground beef
4 slices thick bacon, chopped
1 cup water
3 cups beef broth
1 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s Original BBQ sauce
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup Bragg’s liquid aminos

  • Rinse your beans and drain.
  • In a large skillet brown bacon pieces over a medium heat until browned and ALMOST crisp. Remove bacon pieces with a slotted spoon to drain on paper toweling.
  • Add beef to bacon grease browning and crumbling to small pieces until cooked through. This adds are flavor! Drain well of excess grease.
  • In slow cooker whisk together the water, molasses, apple cider vinegar, liquid aminos, brown sugar and beef broth with garlic powder.
  • Stir in beans, ground beef and bacon pieces until well blended.
  • Cook covered on high 6 hours.
  • Stir in BBQ sauce,
  • Cover and cook another 2 hours or until beans are tender.

NOTE: BE SURE AND SOAK YOUR BEANS OVERNIGHT THE DAY BEFORE YOU WANT TO MAKE THIS RECIPE!

These beans make for wonderful leftovers too.  We really like them over hamburger patties like the old chili sizes from Bob’s Big Boy.

GREEN CHILE CORN BEER BREAD

3 1/2 cups self-rising flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 small can chopped green chiles, drained WELL
1 can Green Giant white shoepeg corn, drained WELL
12 ounces Beer
1 stick butter, divided 6 + 2, melted

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Whisk together flour, sugar and salt.
  • Add 6 ounces melted butter and beer.
  • Add green chiles and corn.
  • Knead together uniformly, but DO NOT OVERWORK.
  • Form into a well oiled loaf pan.
  • Pour remaining 2 ounces of butter over top.
  • Bake 50-60 minutes until cooked through.

BLOGMAS 2018 – TREES & DECORATIONS – DAY 22

Before I start this post, let me just say THESE TREES ARE JUST WRONG!!

And I love how a neighboring town always does their tree right in the middle of main street. Carlie and Cady thought it was pretty neat.

Now on to our trees and decorations.  How I decorate each year changes based on my mood, weather, where we are living, etc… so it will never be the same twice!

We PREFER real trees, but last year we decided with the remodel and my surgery that we would break down and buy an artificial tree.  SHHH don’t tell hubby, but I really love this tree.


This year we have a real tree again and while it smells real I’m missing the artificial tree.   We’ve reached a compromise for next year – artificial tree with real wreaths and garlands. 😀

This is my Snowman Family arranged from 2 different years.
We made candle yule logs for Advent craft night at church one year and they were a HUGE success and soooooooo easy to do.  The decorations below are a few of my newer favorites.
My cousin that passed away in 2014 made this ornament for me.  From now it will always be hung by my shooting stars in her honor even though I’m still  mad at her for leaving the mess called A HOUSE FROM HELL for me to deal with.
And our handmade ornament by Design Chick Creations.

SALTED PUMPKIN CARAMELS

I was recently hunting for a gift idea for a friend and thought she might like a digital candy thermometer (she’s a baker and makes the most wonderful cupcakes). So I sent her a quick text to start the conversation. It went like this:

ME: Do you have a candy thermometer I could borrow?
H: No I don’t… if a recipe requires me to use a thermometer, I find another recipe 😀
ME: LMBO 😀 😀 😀 😀 That’s great unless you’re actually making something that needs to be a specific temperature to set up.
H: You’re more adventurous!… if it requires a certain spice or ingredient, I just won’t make it.

LOL I had to come up with another idea 😀
SALTED PUMPKIN CARAMELS
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
FLAKY Sea Salt
finely Chopped nuts (optional)

  • Line 9 x 9 inch pan with foil.
  • Spray foil with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a 3 quart pan melt butter over medium heat.
  • Whisk in sugar, pumpkin pie spice, allspice and cinnamon until well blended.
  • Whisk in corn syrup, sweetened condensed milk and pumpkin.
  • Attach your candy thermometer to the side of the pan and get ready to stir for quite awhile.
  • Stir constantly until you reach 248 degrees a.k.a. firm ball stage.
  • Remove from heat and quickly add nuts if your using them.
  • Pour into prepared pan.
  • Immediately sprinkle with salt.
  • Let stand 2 hours or until firm.
  • Use the foil to lift the caramels from the pan.
  • Using a BUTTERED knife cut into 3/4 inch squares.
  • Wrap in individual non-stick foil or waxed paper and twist ends.

NOTES:  If you want a bit of a change up stir in some chopped honey roasted peanuts or pecans at the last minute before poring into cooling pan.

BLOGMAS 2018 – PRESENTS – DAY 21

When does your family open their presents?

This category has changed a lot over the years for me as I got older. 

My family traditions as a kid were of a BIG Christmas eve open and that carried on through college, but as we (cousins) all got older and began getting married with families of our own, our grandparents passed on, blended families (with their own traditions) were formed, etc… getting together for both Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day became harder and harder to do. 

Eventually Christmas eve became a much smaller event for immediate family for a small dinner and to open our gifts to each other.  Christmas morning was for being at our respective home with kids opening presents and then the larger family get together much later on Christmas day for dinner at just one place, usually my mom and dad’s house which became our house after my dad passed away.