Tag Archive | Christmas

Thanksforgiving : A Poem

 Orange, yellow, sage, brown and mauve…..
these are the colors of fall that I love.

Pumpkins, leaf kicking, and costumes for fun….
gathering the family, yet missing someone.

Drying leaves and air so crisp….
the fog, the breath, the floating mist.

Goodbye swimsuits, beach balls and floats….
time now for mittens and those big bulky coats.

Hot chocolate, football, let’s cheer for your team….
Stuff the turkey, set the table, make wine glasses gleam.

Thankful each day for the shoes on our feet….
while praising the Lord for the food that we eat.

A blessing from Heaven, for all those on earth…..
for doing good deeds and proving their worth.

Our puppies, our kitty’s our parents our kids…..
Thank you dear Lord, for the reasons we live.

Teaching, learning and helping us grow….
to be better people from all that we know.

Forgiveness for the asking each day if we must….
remember our God, in him we can trust.

Be honest, be faithful, be giving and kind…..
be all you can be or you’ll be left behind.

Be thankful each day, morning, noon and at night…..
say your prayers often, and your future will be bright.

We shouldn’t just pray but one day in November……
but rather each day in the months through December.

Thanksgiving is coming, and Christmas is near….
we can all thank our God, for our living this year.

-Pamela Kinney

doughbowl fall14

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Christmas thoughts

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Christmas as an adult, when our kids were little, was very exciting. Full of hope, and promise. Full of anticipation, of wonder. Seeing the eyes light up of both my boys when they were very small, meant more to me than any gift I could receive.

My first year, as a “Mom” was more for my Husband and I, than my oldest son. He was just nine months old, and I hardly think he could focus on more than just his Gerber peas and carrots. Yeah, It was mommy and daddy whose gift was abundant from the joy of their first born son. God himself,  gave us that gift.Unwrapping all the presents that our young baby would soon learn from,  just made our hearts beat happily. Beating to tunes, like that coming from a  drummer marching in a parade down main street on the fouth of July!

Our “second” Christmas, well, that was amazing for our little boy (and of course, us)! He had some of the biggest eyes you could ever imagine. He had a bounce in his step (just like Santa), and a sparkle in his eyes as he gazed upon all the lights, garlands, hanging tinsel and other decorations adorning our tree.He raced, to pick up and open packages of stuffed animals, cars and early learning type toys. Mostly Sesame Street. I guess he knew instinctively, that he was to tear off the pretty, colorful paper adorned with ribbons & bows and curly strings that wrapped the gifts.  I don’t recall telling him. His favorite present, a stuffed silly looking character, was “Elmo”. Man, he carried that thing everywhere. It’s wobbly limbs all fuzzy and soft. It’s big hard plastic white & black eyes. The bright, fire engine red fur. He loved that thing. For a year it was his favorite friend and toy. Carrying it around, with his cuddly blanket (his first true love). His favorite, that is, until I shared with him MY favorite toy from when I was a baby. My Teddy bear, which he gave the honoring name of “Mow”. To this day, I have no idea how he came up with it, or what it meant. I never did have a name for him (Mow) when I was little. To me I guess, “My Teddy Bear”, was his name.

By the time our third Christmas rolled around, our second  son that we were blessed with, was s only a month and a half old. The season pretty much went unnoticed by that little guy. His eyes could barely stay focused on the lights. No matter though, his “Bub” got the cool stuff, while again, the new baby gets the softie toys, blankets and books! Plenty of clothing for the upcoming months, the necessities. The things older folks would call, the boring stuff.

This newly born baby was raised on Disney, and therefor, he got all Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck type toys in his first few years. That is, until he showed an interest in Football. Then he became a New York Giants Fan. (Like his father). To this day, over 20 years later, he Loves the Giants. He always starts out the football season with a strong attitude. All pumped up with excitement for his team.  Gathering fun facts about the latest players. Conversations with dad daily, about stats from all the teams in the nfl.
Then, slowly as the weeks pass, his interest starts to fizzle. By the end of the season getting him to sit on the couch for a game is like pulling teeth. That is unless, unless his team is in the playoffs or better yet….the Superbowl. Between the two of them, no muzzle can contain the noise of billowing excitement that comes from their mouths. Nor would I allow it. I enjoy hearing them sharing football time.

Through the years, the growing boys both went through many phases of interests. There were trucks, micro machines, GI Joes and Matchbox. Wrestling figures, Star Wars, sketch pads & paint. Fieval, Indian in the Cupboard, Skateboards & bikes. So many things that came and went. An abundance of bills left our wallets through the course of two childhoods, yet I bet, neither could name one thing they remember playing with for any length of time. Pack rat that I am, I saved a few things over the years that I hope to pass on to each of their (highly anticipated by me) children.

I looked forward to decorating our Christmas tree each year, with newly made crafts that the boys each would make in class at school. Paper plate wreaths, or macaroni noodle chains. Pipe cleaner candy canes and clothespin reindeer. Cute ornies from cute kids. The memory of  kids crafting days stays with me. I enjoy the thought of their tiny hands cutting through construction paper, while awkwardly holding the miniature plastic, dull edged scissors.  White glue sticks, leaving sticky patches of marks on the crafting tables that picked up lint or teenie tiny paper scraps. Assorted Crayola paint and marker colors that I worried would not wash from their clothing (but did). Thinking about how hard it must’ve been, as a toddler, to keep their handmade gifts a secret, and how smart they were, to remember them on Christmas day to give them to us.

Sadly, With the curse of time, mice & our move across the country; some crafts and ornaments they made were destroyed and can no longer grace our tree. But I always put something on our tree that they made.  Something, is a stretch. If anyone knows me well, they know that barely a green limb of tree is showing. I pack that baby with lots of stuff. Rubbermaid bins were a great invention. The old adage “the more the merrier” was intended for people like me, and their Christmas trees, and I have a LOT of bins to prove it 😉

Christmas morning gift giving is a little different now, with grown children. A little sadness enters the room. Gone is all that excitement, the fast ripping of colored paper. They are all grown now and he toys aren’t toys anymore. The gift matter has changed quite a bit. Technology has gotten way far advanced for my liking. But, always being our children, we want to get them things they “want”.  Most of it is however, beyond our pocket depth. So, we seem to be resorting to necessities ( you know, those boring gifts they don’t want to waste their own every day money on), and a few small things on their lists (yes, we still ask for ideas of what they want, their wish lists lol). We keep stressing to them, that they need to hurry it up and bring us our Grand kids, and they will see for themselves. That the gift of Christmas, is seen in the eyes of a child.That’s where real pleasure will fill their hearts.  Then as Grandparents, we can shower them again, in toys…..for “their” children.  Oh, how I can’t wait!

At some point in time, it’s only natural for an adult to dream about far away places to travel. White sandy beaches riding bareback on a gallant Stallion.  Flights to Rome, sipping wine and floating down city streets made of river water. Treks across the desert to meander through pyramids where Pharaohs lived out their destiny. Walking through Castles in England  where Kings and Queens once ruled, or the rolling green hills of Ireland where my ancestors come from.There was a time my dreams “might” have been bought at a ticket counter in an airport. A time when I may have scheduled or planned a vacation of a lifetime.

Now, and more frequently as I am growing older and more sentimental; my dreams are purely to remember a time that was so simple and right in front of me all along. A time that can no longer be brought back, except in those dreams behind closed eyes. Dreams that no money in the world could buy, nor replace. Thoughts that drift into my mind when the room is silent. Memories of the best years of my life. Time spent with my family,  of raising my own children, of growing and aging with them and with my sweet husband & lifelong friend, of all our pet family who shared our lives throughout the years. Times also of my own childhood, with my own brothers and sister and mom and dad. Dreams of  all my Christmases. The time out of each year that we all come together, and dedicate our thankfulness of Jesus’ birth, our birth, theirs. And for all the Lord has blessed us with. Our dreams are, our memories. Our memories, our Love. That is what Christmas, and this life is about. Love.

When fall rolls around, I plan, in my mind,  on starting the holidays a bit early. The cookies, the meal planning, the decorations, the lights, tree, wreaths, cards, gifts, the get togethers. Right up until the last minute, my mind is a whirlwind. Nothing gets done until, just days before. When it’s all said and done, I wish I had stopped planning and just did things. After I put the Christmas tree up, I never want to take it down. I want the warmth of Christmas to last forever. The memories to stay alive in my mind.  The family to be together, the happiness to last.

I keep my tree up for a few weeks. Well into January. Each and every night, I stare into the twinkling lights and glistening tinsel. I think about each ornament on every branch. The beautiful scent grows with each passing day.  I see the star atop the tree and think back to the day, when the first star shined. When the warmth all started. It wasn’t in my lifetime, but rather when Jesus was born. If everyone in the world could hold onto that thought, that feeling, that reason for our season. It would be Christmas every day of the year.

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SANTAS BOOTS

I’m always trying to add a little something extra each year to my Christmas decorating. This year I decided to make  “Santas Boots”  In addition to decorating, these WILL be worn by “Santa”  one day when we have Grand kids!!!

You will need:

Boots ~ with black sole

Roll of painters tape

Can of “Red” Spray paint. I used Krylon Dual Paint & Primer in Banner Red (Gloss)

1 yard of Black Felt approx 1 1/2″ wide.  (you will have  some leftover)

Scissors

Heavy Cardboard (I used cardboard from an old oatmeal canister)

1 yard of Gold Ribbon approx 1/2″ wide.

Glue gun and Glue Sticks, and school glue or Elmers glue stick.

How I did it:

I started with a pair of my hubbys worn (and hopefully, no longer needed) work boots. (rounded toe, cowboy or farm boots…..no lace up type boots). You can also hunt for old boots at your local Thrift or Goodwill store if your hubby doesn’t want to part with his!

  • I took the boots outside, and used a brush to remove all dirt from them.
  • Using painters tape (the blue kind), tape off the rubber sole of the boot getting as close to the seam where the shaft of the boot meets the sole. Covering all of the sides of the black sole. You do NOT want any paint on the black sole.
  • Shake the spray paint for about 2 minutes (or according to their directions) and evenly spray the boot shaft The leather or material part of the boot. (NOT the rubber sole). You may have to use 2 coats, like I did.
  • Let dry for several hours .
  • Next, measure around the ankle of the boot, and your black felt, and cut to strips. One “strap” for each boot. And glue the straps around the ankle with  the seam to the front of the boot (you will be covering it up with the buckle).
  • Cut a 2 1/2″ square for your “buckle” and then carefully cut a square hole in the center.

Now  you will glue your gold ribbon onto the buckle evenly, and lastly, glue the buckle onto the black felt strap.

***Note*** All measurements are approximate due to different shoe sizes. My husbands boots are a size 13, so obviously, my boots needed more materials!

Santas Boots

Santas Boots

 

CANADIAN BRIDELS

Another recipe handed down to me from my Mom, is CANADIAN BRIDELS. I have been eating these all my life~mostly beginning at Thanksgiving and  through the Christmas season (keeping them special), but these are so quick and easy to make with very little ingredients, for anytime throughout the year. Goes great with hot tea!

CANADIAN BRIDELS

You will need:
7 oz bag Coconut
1/2 cup butter (softened)
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour

Directions:
Cream butter and sugar
add egg yolk
add flour ( a little at a time)
add vanilla
Roll into small balls (about the size of a quarter)
roll balls into coconut
place onto baking sheet
make a dent in center with fingertip, then fill with Strawberry jam (or your favorite jam or nuts)

Bake 15 minutes in 350* oven
Makes approx 3 dozen cookies. (will vary depending on size of balls)
I usually double recipe to yeild 6 dozen.

Tip: These do not need to brown. A slight color change is to be expected, but not required. Can be frozen in seal tight container. Also, I personnally like to melt butter, as it is easier to mix.

Enjoy,
Pam

Canadian Bridels

My Canadian Bridels. A Family Recipe

My Recipe for Canadian Bridels was Published!

My Recipe for Canadian Bridels was Published!

Simple Christmas Crafts for the Dinner table

Here are three cute ideas for decorating your holiday dinner table. Real quick, real easy, and fun to do with the kids!!!

Chenille Letters
Instead of place cards, guide guests to their seats with chenille~stem letters. Twists together red and white chenille stems, then shape the stems for each letter into guests’ first initials. Use one of two stems for each letter, cutting small pieces as needed to finish the shapes. Display the chenille letter on a simple cloth napkin and embellish with a sprig of evergreen.

chenille letters

Rustic Burlap Napkin
Fashion these charming no~sew napkin rings by gluing together the short ends of a frayed strip of burlap. tie a single thread of burlap through the buttonhole of a button; then glue the button in place.

Rustic Burlap Napkin rings

 

Evergreen Napkin Embellishment
Sometimes Mother nature knows bests, as in this simple table setting that features a napkin accented by a single pine sprig. Less is more!

pine sprig napkin

 

CRANBERRY OAT SQUARES

Sharing a recipe that my Mom has been baking for as long as I can remember. These Cranberry Oat Squares are delicious.

I made them for the first time ever this holiday season. And made several batches since! Everyone gobbles them up!

cranberry oat squares1

CRANBERRY OAT SQUARES

You will need:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 3/4 cups oats
1 can cranberry sauce (jellied)

Directions:
Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, & salt.
Blend in butter, slowly, working in until it crumbles.
Add sugar & oats. Mix well.
Spray 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray. Layer 1/2 oats, then layer with cranberry sauce. Then layer with remaining oat mixture.
Bake at 325* 35-40 mins.
Let cool before cutting into squares. Makes approx 15-20 squares.

Cinnamon Ornaments

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Cinnamon Ornaments  
Making Cinnamon Ornaments are a perfect holiday fun activity for kids. The ornaments are easy to make and their aroma lasts long after the holidays are over.

 Makes 12 to 20 ornaments.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 1/2 hours in oven Or 1 to 2 days drying time

Ingredients:

3/4 cup applesauce
1 bottle (4.12 ounces) McCormick® Cinnamon, Ground

***(While I personally use McCormick seasonings for most of my day to day cooking, if you are on a limited holiday budget, Dollar Stores sell a 4.25 ounce bottle of Cinnamon which is perfect for this project. Or, any brand & measure 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cinnamon).

Supplies needed:
Cookie cutters
Drinking straw
Colorful ribbon
I suggest you also wear either a mask, or a handkerchief over your mouth and nose, as this is very dusty and can take your breath away or make you gag.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 200°F. Mix applesauce and cinnamon in small bowl until a smooth ball of dough is formed. (You may need use your hands to incorporate all of the cinnamon.) Using about 1/4 of the dough at a time, roll dough to 1/4-inch to 1/3-inch thickness between two sheets of plastic wrap. Peel off top sheet of plastic wrap. Cut dough into desired shapes with 2- to 3-inch cookie cutters. Make a hole at top of ornament with drinking straw or skewer. Place ornaments on baking sheet.

2. Bake 2 1/2 hours. Cool ornaments on wire rack. (Or, to dry ornaments at room temperature, carefully place them on wire rack. Let stand 1 to 2 days or until thoroughly dry, turning occasionally.)

While your ornaments are in the oven or drying, you can prepare your ribbon. I started with approx 1/4 yard of red Gingham fabric. I feel it best represents an old fashioned Christmas spirit, but you can choose any color or style ribbon you wish. I also like the “frayed” look, as it adds to the rustic charm.  You will need at least 12-20 strips, 22-24″ long and about half the width of a finger. 🙂

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3. Insert ribbon through holes and tie to hang. Decorate with opaque paint markers, found in arts and crafts stores, if desired.

nutritional_information:
DO NOT EAT

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Lastly…..

If you are anything like me, you first attempt you are bound to make mistakes, or get too impatient, and rush a little when removing the ornies from the pan. They are very fragile, and make break.  Out of 24, I ended up with exactly HALF, that broke to pieces!

So…..what to do with the broken bits? Well, I re-purposed those as well! Which leads me to my next simple craft.

Potpourri

Broken cinnamon ornaments

Cloves

First, if you are fortunate to have a food processor, toss them in until they are crumbs. Or, just put them into a paper bag and roll them . That will work too. 

Next, crush cloves as well as you can, and mix both the ornie crumbs and the cloves. Now, you have a long lasting homemade potpourri, that you can boast about making (not by accident of course lol)Caution: Be sure to place out of reach of children.

You will need a decorative bowl to put your new found potpourri in. I used an old pottery crock. I cut  fabric to my desired width and length, and glued it, using a simple Elmer’s glue stick (mine was leftover from my much younger children~~I hang on to “everything”). Then create a bow. This can be as simple, or as sophisticated as you prefer. Enjoy!

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Courtesy of & Original Recipe for the Cinnamon Ornaments was obtained from The McCormick.com website. I made a few changes with a few of my own contributions and photos etc. For Their version, please visit http://www.mccormick.com/Recipes/Other/Cinnamon-Ornaments.aspx