Sunday, November 30, 2008
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
4 to 6 teaspoons milk
Heat oven to 350°F. Combine flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside. Combine sugar and 1 1/2 cups butter in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Continue beating, adding eggs one at a time, until well mixed. Add pumpkin; continue beating until well mixed. Reduce speed to low. Beat, gradually adding flour mixture alternately with 3/4 cup milk, until well mixed. Spoon batter into greased and floured 12-cup Bundt pan. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan. Cool completely.
Combine powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons butter and enough milk for desired glazing consistency in small bowl. Glaze cooled cake.
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon each ground nutmeg, and cloves.
Art And Architecture Month
Bingo's Birthday Month
Colorectal Cancer Education and Awareness Month
Cooked Grasshoppers Month
Hi Neighbor Month
Holiday Thank You
Hug-A-Week for the Hearing Impaired Month
Identity Theft Prevention and Awareness Month
International Calendar Awareness Month
Learn A Foreign Language Month
Made In America Month
Merry Merchants Month
Most Fun Month
National Closed Caption TV Month
National Drunk & Drugged Driving Prevention/Awareness Month
National Sign Up for Summer Camp Month
National Stress-free Family Holidays Month
National Tie Month
National Write A Business Plan Month
Poor Looking Winter Month
Read a New Book Month
Safe Toys and Gifts Month
Season's Greetings: December - January
Spiritual Literacy Month
Stress-Free Family Holiday Month
Take a New Year's Resolution to Stop Smoking (TANYRSS)
Universal Human Rights Month
Winter (December 22 - March 20)
World AIDS Month
Write to a Friend Month
December Weekly Celebrations
Christmas Tree Week - Week One
Clerc-Gallaudet Week - 3-9
Cookie Cutter Week - Week One
National Aplastic Anemia Awareness Week - Week One
National Handwashing Awareness Week - 3-9
Operation Santa Paws Week
Recipe Greetings For The Holidays Week - 1-8
Tolerance Week - Week One
Human Rights Week - Week Two
Human Rights Week - 10-16
International Language Week - Week Two
Over-Tip Your Wait Staff Week - 11-17
Lipstick Week - 17-23
Halcyon Days - 15-29
International Language Week - 15-21
Tell Someone They're Doing a Good Job Week - Week Three
It's About Time! Week- Week Four
December Daily Celebrations
1 - Bifocals at the Monitor Liberation Day
1 - Christmas Club Birthday
1 - Christmas Lights Day
1 - Christmas Parade (Delaware)
1 - Day Without Art Day
1 - Eat a Red Apple Day
1 - Festival of Lights (Rhode Island)
1 - National Pie Day
1 - Phony Smile Day
1 - Pie Day
1 - Rosa Parks Day
1 - World AIDS Awareness day
2 - Business of Popping Corn Day
2 - Charles Dickens in America Day
2 - Christmas Parade (California)
2 - Christmas Parade of Lights (Wisconsin)
2 - Coats for Kids Day
2 - Glacier Bay National Park Birthday (1980)
2 - Have-a-Heart Day
2 - I Dream of Jeannie Wedding Day (1969)
2 - International Day for the Abolition of Slavery Day
2 - Mars Landing Day
2 - National Fritters Day
2 - Play Basketball Day
2 - Special Education Day
3- Flamenco Guitar Day
3- International Day of the Disabled Person
3- Let's Hug Day
3- Make a Gift Day
3- National Roof-Over-Your-Head Day
3- Neon Lighting Birthday (1910)
3- Telescope Birthday (1621)
4- Chase's Calendar of Events Birthday
4- Cookie Day
4- Day of the Artisans
4- Extraordinary Work Team Recognition Day
4- International Hug Day
4- Manila Paper Birthday (1845)
4- National Cookie Day
4- National Dice Day
4- National Grange Birthday (1867)
4- Ribbons and Wrap Day
4- Santa's List Day
4- Wear Brown Shoes Day
5- Bathtub Party Day
5- Bicycle Riding Day
5- Blue Jeans Day
5- Folding Theater Chair Birthday (1854)
5- Full Moon Day
5- International Volunteer Day
5- International Volunteer Day for Economic & Social Development
5- National Communicate with Your Baby Day
5- Play Hookey Day
5- Play Hooky From Work To Go Holiday Shopping Day
5- Sacher Torte Day
5- Special Kids Day
5- Twenty-first Amendment Day
5- Walt Disney's Birthday
6- Constitution Day (Spain)
6- Give a Secret Gift Day
6- International Bad Hari Day
6- Make and Bake Day
6- Microwave Oven Day
6- Miners' Day
6- Mitten Tree Day
6- National Gazpacho Day
6- National Pawnbrokers Day
6- Special Kids Day
6- St. Nicholas Day
7- Apollo 17 Anniversary (1972)
7- Hang a Wreath Day
7- Instant Replay Day (1963)
7- International Civil Aviation Day
7- Letter Writing Day
7- Marshmallow Peeps Day (Trademark registered 1982)
7- Microwave Oven Birthday (1942)
7- National Cotton Candy Day
7- National Fire Safety Day (1979)
7- National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day (1941)
7- Teacher Appreciation Day
8- Bad Hair Day
8- National Brownie Day
8- Winter Flowers Day
8- Feast of the Immaculate Conception
8- Festival of Lights (California)
9- Ball-Bearing Roller Skates (Patented 1884)
9- Christmas Card Day
9- Christmas Parade of Lights (Oklahoma)
9- Day of the Horse
9- First Christmas Seals Issued (1907)
9- Homemade Gift Day
9- International Shareware Day
9- National Children's Memorial Day
9- National Pastry Day
9- Pastry Day
9- Weary Willie Day
10- Breakfast with Santa (Colorado)
10- Cut the Cheese Day
10- Dewey Decimal Day
10- Emily Dickinson's Birthday Born (1830)
10- Human Right's Day/Anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human rights (1948)
10- Mighty Mouse's Birthday
10- Nobel Peace Prize Awarded Each Year
10- Sister-Friend Day
11- Color Movies Birthday (1909)
11- Hi Neighbor Day
11- International Mountain Day
11- Jack Frost Day (1998)
11- National Knitters Day
11- National Noodle Ring Day
11- Radio Day
11- UNICEF Anniversary
12- Gingerbread House Day
12- Golf Tee Birthday (1899)
12- National Ambrosia Day
12- National Ding-A-Ling Day
12- Our Lady of Guadalupe Day
12- Poinsettia Day
13- Clip-on Tie's Birthday (1928)
13- Cocoa Day
13- Fishing Hatching Steamer Birthday (1879)
13- Little Yule (Festival of Lights)
13- National Cocoa Day
13- Pick a Pathologist Pal Day
13- Santa Lucia Day
13- Savings Bank Day (1816)
13- Take Your Ass For a Walk Day
14- American Revolution Birthday (The first military operation of the American Revolution took place at Portsmouth, New Hampshire. 1774)
14- Buy a Christmas Tree Day
14- Deck The Halls Day
14- DNA Day
14- First Miniature Golf Course Opened (1929)
14- NASCAR Birthday (1947)
14- Opposites Attract Day
14- South Pole Discovered (1911)
15- Bill of Rights Day (Adopted 1791)
15- Birthday of Alexandre Gustave Eiffel
15- Cat Herders Day
15- Hanukkah Begins at Sundown
15- Lemon Cupcake Day
15- National Firefighters Day
15- National Lemon Cupcake Day
15- Sleep Comfort Day
15- Thomas Edison Receives Patent on Phonograph (1877)
15- Underdog Day
16- Barbie and Barney Backlash Day
16- Beethoven's Birthday
16- Boston Tea Party Anniversary (1773)
16- Clean Air Day
16- Jane Austen's Birthday
16- Los Posada (Christmas tradition in Mexico.)
16- National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day
16- Sleep Comfort Day
16-23 - Chanukah
16-24 – Posadas
17 - Cookie Cutter Day
17- Little Bird's Birthday (Sesame Street.)
17- National Maple Syrup Day
17- Wright Brother's Day First Flight (1903)
18- Bake Cookies Day
18- Find a Friend, Be a Friend Day
18- Flake Appreciation Day
18- International Migrants Day
18- Mother Goose Day (Thomas Fleet of Boston, Massachusetts, published his mother-in-law's tales in the book, Mother Goose. 1719)
18- Play Bingo Day
18- Wear a Plunger On Your Head Day
19- A Christmas Carol Day
19- Believe It or Not Day
19- Build a Snowman Day
19- Can't Get Up Day (Commercial first ran in 1985.)
19- Chocolate Pizza Day
19- Greetings from Space
19- Oatmeal Muffin Day
20- Dot Your I's With Smileys Day
20- Games Day
20- Go Caroling Day
20- Mudd Day
20- Sacagawea Day
21- Crossword Puzzle's Birthday
21- Forefathers' Day
21- Humbug Day
21- Look at the Bright Side Day
21- National Flashlight Day
21- Phileas Fogg Win A Wager Day
21- Pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock (1620)
21- World Peace Day
22- Abilities Day
22- California Kiwifruit Day
22- Christmas Tree Light Day
22- Christmas Lights Day (First sale in 1882.)
22- National Date-Nut Bread Day
22- National Haiku Poetry Day
22- Thermometer Was Invented
22- Winter Solstice
22- World Peace Day
23- Economists Day
23- Feast of the Radishes
23- Popcorn Popping Day
23- Roots Day
23- Two Days to Go
24- Christmas Eve
24- National Egg Nog Day
24- Sneak-A-Peek Day
25- A'Phabet Day or No "L" Day
25- Carol Day
25- Christmas Around the World
25- Dick Tracy's Wedding Day 1950
25- National Pumpkin Pie Day
25- Nativity Scene Birthday 1225
26- Awful Tie Day
26- Boxing Day
26- Coffee Percolator Day
26- Kwanzaa Begins
26- National Candy Cane Day
26- National Whiners Day
26- Recyclable Packaging Day
26- St. Stephen's Day
27- Howdy Doody's Birthday (1947)
27- National Fruitcake Day
27- Visit the Zoo Day
28- Call a Friend Day
28- Card Playing Day
28- Chocolate Day
28- Eat Vegetarian Day
28- National Chocolate Day
28- National Quilter's Day
28- No Interruptions Day
28- Pledge of Allegiance Day
28- Return a Gift for Cold Hard Cash Day
29- Bowling Ball Invented (1862)
29- Bowling Day
29- Enjoy ESP Day
29- Ice Skating Day
29- Opposite Day
29- Tick Tock Day
30- Day Before New Year's Eve Day
30- Falling Needles Family Fest Day
30- Let's Make a Deal Day (First aired 1964.)
31- Champagne Day
31- Leap Second Time Adjustment Day
31- Make Up Your Mind Day
31- New Years Eve
31- New Year's Eve Festival (Georgia)
31- New Year's Resolutions
31- One Voice Day
31- Universal Hour of Peace Day
31- World Peace Meditation Day
31- You're All Done Day
Saturday, November 29, 2008
yellow cake, sliced in 5 layers
your favorite liqueur, optional
3 pints blueberries
1 pint cream, sweetened and whipped
In a trifle bowl, layer yellow cake, sprinkle liqueur, smear with thin layer of jam, cover with blueberries, top with whipped cream. Repeat until almost top. Finish with whipped cream on top. Garnish with few blueberries.
Yields: 16 servings.
1 pkg. (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin, divided
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
1-1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, divided
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip Whipped Topping, thawed
1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 2 (9-inch) round baking pans. Beat cake mix, 1 cup pumpkin, milk, oil, eggs and 1 tsp. spice in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Pour into prepared pans.
Bake 28 to 30 min. or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 min. Remove from pans to wire racks; cool completely. Beat cream cheese in small bowl with mixer until creamy. Add sugar, remaining pumpkin and spice; mix well. Gently stir in COOL WHIP.
Cut each cake layer horizontally in half with serrated knife; stack on serving plate, spreading cream cheese filling between layers. (Do not frost top layer.) Drizzle with caramel topping just before serving. Sprinkle with nuts, optional. Refrigerate leftovers.
Friday, November 28, 2008
4 oz sweet dark chocolate
1 cup butter, room temp
1/4 cup warm milk
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
5 medium egg whites
2 cups sugar
5 egg yolks, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup sugar
4 medium egg yolks
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
10 oz fresh or frozen and thawed, grated coconut
1 1/2 cups finely ground pecans, walnuts or almonds
Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler until smooth. Add 1/4 cup butter and stir until it is melted. Add 1/4 cup milk, stir until smooth. Set the chocolate aside to cool.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottoms only of three 9" round cake pans with shortening and dust with flour.
Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Whip egg whites until stiff. Transfer the beaten whites to a bowl and set aside.In bowl, cream the remaining butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the yolks, beat well. Add the chocolate and vanilla, mix well. Stir in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Fold and stir in the beaten egg whites into the batter until the batter is smooth. Divide the batter among pans and bake 40 min. or until done. Cool layers in pans 8 min. Then turn layers out.
Combine the sugar, yolks and milk in top of the double boiler. Stir until the yolks are incorporated. Add the butter. Place over simmering water and bring to a boil. Simmer 15 min. longer or until mixture thickens. Add the vanilla, coconut, and nuts. Cool.
Place 1 layer on a cake stand and spread with frosting. Frost each layer completely, top and sides, as it is added to the cake. Top with coconut and garnish with pecan halves, if desired.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Yield: 20 servings
2 pkgs (8 oz) each cream cheese
46 vanilla wafers
5 tbs butter, melted
1/2 cup + 2 tbs sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs, room temperature
1 large orange, zested and juiced
3/4 cup heavy cream, scalded
2 bars (4 oz) each semisweet chocolate, chopped
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bring cream cheese to room temp. In food processor, pulse wafers, butter and 2 tbs sugar 10 times. Press into foil lined 11x7 dish. Beat cream cheese, sour cream, vanilla, eggs, 1/4 cup orange juice, 1 tbs zest and remaining sugar for 2 minutes. Pour into crust. Bake 1 hour.
Chill, remove from dish. Cut into 2" squares, place on rack set in pan. In bowl, combine hot cream and chocolate. Let cool for 1 minute. Stir until smooth and then pour over squares.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
3 eggs, well beaten
1 can condensed milk
1 jar (28 oz) mince meat
1 cup chopped nuts
2 cups corn flake crumbs
1/2 cup regular flour
1 tsp baking soda
36 candied cherries, halved
In large bowl, combine all ingredients except cherries. Line cupcake pans with liners. Spoon mixture 2/3 full into paper. Top each with a cherry half. Bake 300* for 20-25 minutes. Cool.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
1/2 C. shortening
1 1/2 C. sugar
2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 ripe bananas
3/4 C. buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Cream sugar and shortening; add eggs. Stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mash the bananas with the buttermilk and vanilla and add to mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes for cupcakes (or about 30 minutes for 9 x 13 pan).
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
1 (10 inch) angel food cake
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (5 ounce) package non-instant chocolate pudding mix
1 (1.55 ounce) bar milk chocolate
Tear angel food cake into bite size pieces into a 9x13 inch cake pan, preferably glass. Prepare chocolate pudding as directed on package. Gently spread over the top of cake pieces, spreading to edges of pan. Carefully spread whipped topping over chocolate pudding, spreading to edges of pan and taking care not to mix with pudding. Using a cheese grater or vegetable peeler, grate chocolate bar over the whipped topping. Chill until ready to serve, at least one hour.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup honey
2 cups powdered milk
1 1/2 cups crushed cornflakes
1 1/2 cups finely chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup powdered sugar
Mix peanut butter, honey, and milk together in a large bowl to form very thick mixture. Roll mixture in small balls about the size of a walnut. Roll the balls in either the crushed cornflakes, finely chopped nuts, or powdered sugar. Place on waxed paper and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Yield: 82 cookies.
1 C butter or margarine
1 C white sugar
1 brown sugar
1/2 C peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 C oatmeal
3 C Cheerios toasted oat cereal
1 (6 oz) pkg chocolate chips
Mix the butter, both sugars, peanut butter, vanilla and eggs thoroughly. Sift flour, salt, soda and baking powder. Fold into the first mixture. Add oatmeal, Cheerios and chocolate chips. Drop by tbsp onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake at 375° for 10-12 min.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Yield: 15 servings
1 package (1 pound) creme-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 gallon peppermint stick or mint chip ice cream, softened
1 container (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
2 cups sugar
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1/3 cup crushed peppermint candies or candy canes
Mix crushed cookies and melted butter. Press mixture firmly in bottom of ungreased rectangular pan, 13x9x2 inches. Stir together ice cream and 2 cups of the whipped topping; spoon evenly onto chocolate cookie crust. Freeze about 3 hours or until firm.
Meanwhile, melt butter and chocolate in 2-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. (Substitute 3 cups of prepared hot fudge sauce and omit baking chocolate). Stir in sugar; gradually stir in milk. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring constantly! Cook and stir 5 minutes or until slightly thickened; stir in vanilla. Cool completely, about 2 hours.
Pour 2 cups of chocolate sauce evenly over ice cream. Freeze at least 8 hours but no longer than 2 weeks. Cover and refrigerate remaining sauce.
Reheat reserved sauce until just warm. To serve, cut into 5 rows by 3 rows. Top with sauce and remaining whipped topping; sprinkle with crushed candies.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
1 9 inch graham cracker crust
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs. peanut butter, divided
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 3.9 oz box instant chocolate pudding and pie filling
Place 1/4 cup of the peanut butter and the chocolate chips in microwave safe container. Heat on 50% power for 30 seconds. Stir. If not melted repeat until melted. Pour into pie crust. Cool and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, dissolve the chocolate pudding mix into the cold milk and beat with a whisk or an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute.
Pour into pie shell. Refrigerate 1-2 hours until set.
Place remaining two tablespoons of peanut butter in a microwave-safe container, and heat on 50% power for 20 seconds. Drizzle over cooled pie just before serving.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Yield: 24 servings
32 gingersnap cookies, crushed (about 1-1/2 cups)
1/4 cup butter, melted
5 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 eggs, lightly beaten
Dash ground nutmeg
In a small bowl, combine gingersnap crumbs and butter. Press into a greased 13-in. X 9-in. Baking dish; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the pumpkin, cinnamon and vanilla. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Pour over crust; sprinkle with nutmeg.
Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of baking dish to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight.
Cut into squares; serve with syrup. Refrigerate leftovers.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Yield: 42 cookies
1 3/4 C all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 C sugar
1/4 C butter, softened
1 Tbsp corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375°.
Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar, stirring with a whisk.
Combine 1 cup of sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add the corn syrup, vanilla, and egg; beat well. Gradually add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, beating just until combined. Cover and chill for 10 minutes.
Combine 3 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon, stirring with a whisk.
With moist hands, shape dough into 42 (1-inch) balls. Roll balls in sugar mixture. Place balls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Flatten balls with the bottom of a glass.
Bake at 375° for 5 minutes (cookies will be slightly soft). Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Yield: 2 1/2 dozen cookies
1 C packed brown sugar
6 Tbsp malted milk powder
5 Tbsp butter, softened
3 Tbsp chocolate syrup
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C milk chocolate chips
1/3 C semisweet chocolate mini chips
Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk.
Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture, beating at low speed until well blended. Stir in the milk chocolate chips and semisweet chocolate mini chips.
Drop dough by heaping teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Cool on pans 2 minutes or until firm. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.
Express my love in more direct ways than gifts.
Examine my holiday activities in the light of my deepest values.
Be a peacemaker within my circle of family and friends.
Rededicate myself to my spiritual growth.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients
You don't have to be rich to share lavish gifts. Gifts created are usually he most treasured.
Buy a plain shirt and print/paint on it. Or make a iron-on via an ink jet printer. Create your own design on the computer or use a favorite picture.
Use the sewing machine to create a monogram using the recipient’s initials and add the monogram to a set of bath towels.
Give cookies and breads. Buy or recycle seasonal containers -- boxes, tins, etc. -- and package your homemade goodies.
Offer to make one meal a month for a single-parent family. Double your recipes for a few days and put the extra in the freezer. When needed, unthaw the dinner and deliver to your friends.
Give some of your time. Offer to drive an elderly neighbor to an appointment. Offer to shovel the sidewalk for your grandfather. Offer to help with the Christmas decorations for a handicapped friend. Offer to read a story or two at the local library. Offer to teach a class at your local church.
Drop off the kids' extra toys and books to the library, doctor's office, or Head Start classroom.
Donate It Again
Make a donation in someone’s name. If the person you would buy for has plenty and does not need or want more, give a donation in their name.
Get a few friends or family together and set up a time to go to the local hospital or senior citizen's center and sing Christmas carols. The patients/residents don't care if you sing off-key.
There are many crafts to make and create. Below is a very brief list from the 1000s of sites on the Internet.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
What is your favorite Christmas food?
What is your favorite Christmas activity?
What is your favorite Christmas song?
What is your favorite Christmas memory?
When you compile the answers, it will give you ideas about what is important to those closest to you. You might just be surprised at what makes the holidays special to those around you. With this information you might want change some things. For example, if it is important to the children to have a movie night as a family activity and not go ice skating, save the money and rent a Christmas movie and enjoy the evening together as a family.
By asking the above questions you can create a Christmas celebration around things everyone in the family enjoys and not just what you think they want to do.
What can your family help you with? Have the kids help make the Christmas goodies with you -- will they be perfect -- no, is that OK -- yes. Have the teenagers help with running errands. Have your husband help with wrapping gifts. This is one way to help reduce your Christmas stress . . . just let go and involve your family.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Traditions provide great value. Family traditions provide great value, and the value lasts far beyond the moment. The value of a tradition isn't in completing the ritual; the value comes from what it provides for those who participate.
Traditions provide stability. Activities that are observed year in and year out become a means by which family members can build trust and security. Regardless of what else may happen, the traditions will not change. So much in our lives these days is temporary. Family traditions provide something for every person to hold on to and to rely upon.
Traditions give us a sense of identity. They are one of the things that make us unique to other families. I remember reading about a person who recalled his childhood Christmas traditions. The writer was clearly moved by thoughts of his mother's Ambrosia Salad that was served every Christmas Eve. In this article, he commented that he experienced a "normal American Christmas." For him, Ambrosia Salad was the crowning glory of Christmas.
Although our Christmas traditions may have some commonality with other families, each household still has their own way of living out those traditions. That is what is so special about them. Each family's unique twist is what gives that family its identity and helps the members bond with one another. Ethnic foods, decorations, special activities, all help families become distinctive.
Traditions provide continuity between generations. It can be difficult to keep up with extended family members these days, and, of course, it is impossible to touch those who are long gone. But traditions create a bridge between the young and the old, between the past and the present. We have some Christmas decorations that have been passed down through the years. What better way for the generations to mix and mingle than over a table laden with foods made from well-loved family recipes?
Traditions provide goodness for families. We can build memories and share stories so that we draw near to one another.
With everything there is to do these days, how can a family determine which activities ought to become traditions?
Here are some tips to help you figure out what will work best for you:
- Recognize that some traditions just happen. When my children were young, I started Christmas morning by singing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus. I hadn't planned on this becoming a tradition; it just happened.
- Traditions need to include everyone. We usually have a quiet Christmas morning with the children and I. Grandparents visit and friends drop by. Activities that can easily accommodate different numbers of people are more apt to make for good traditions. One tradition we observe is reading The Night before Christmas by Clement Clark Moore on Christmas Eve. It is a good time for everyone to quiet down, enjoy being together, and everyone can participate.
- Choose activities that reflect faith. We also read the story of Jesus' birth from the Gospel of Luke on Christmas Eve.
- Choose activities that will serve others. Christmas is a great time to practice generosity. Over the years my children have bought gifts for disadvantaged children, donated books to the local library, baked cookies for the local firefighters, collected hats and mittens for disadvantaged children, provided holiday foods for others, and participated in the Samaritan's Purse program.
- Choose activities that are fun and will relieve stress. This may seem obvious, but sometimes we get caught up in the idea that we need to provide a perfect Christmas for our families. We don't. We need to give them homes that are happy and filled with love and joy. One of the best decisions I ever made was when I decided not to travel from parent to parent to grandparent to grandparent's house (up to 7 houses) on Christmas Day. Every year I panicked as I travelled snow-filled roads to see every family member ON Christmas Day. I finally realized that I was the only one who cared about all of that.
- Choose activities that are easily reproduced year after year. The Lord Himself created the idea of traditions and yearly festivals. In Numbers 28:6 and Deuteronomy 16:1-17, He commanded the people to observe specific holy days and rituals every year. What is important is not that the traditions be elaborate, but rather that they be lived out repeatedly.
All of us have holiday memories. Some of those memories are hard and painful. If a loved one is no longer living, Christmas can be something that is dreaded rather than anticipated. Some of our memories are good as we remember a special gift, a fun event, or a moment when it seemed that all of life came together and we held it in our hands. We cannot plan all of those moments for our families. Through creating and maintaining family traditions, we can offer stability, identity, and continuity to our loved ones. We can look to the past and not be afraid of remembering those who are no longer with us. We can enjoy the present, knowing that we are building strong families. We can look forward to the future, when our children will sit by the fire in their homes and tell stories of their Christmas traditions.
Writing letters to Santa Claus is an age-old Christmas tradition for children all over the world. Macy’s is collecting these letters in a special Santa letterbox at all Macy’s stores. For each letter received, Macy’s will donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The Believe Meter (see sidebar), will measure America’s belief, based on our collective spirit, including the amount of letters received and other current events that reflect the season’s generosity.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Remember that if you are late in getting that package mailed you still have the option of Express Mail (overnight) and Priority Mail (1-2 days) and it is guaranteed from the post office to be delivered on time, including Saturday and Sunday. They even deliver on Christmas day but it will cost you more. Check out United States Postal Service site for more information.
Consider condensing gifts into one box if multiple people are going to one location during the holidays. For example, if you and your siblings all go to your parents' home during the holiday season (even if it is not at the same time), send all the gifts to your parents' home instead of each individual family's house. This will save you time and money on shipping!
Purchase your Christmas stamps for cards now before the post office gets busier.
Save on postage by hand delivering cards to friends and others you see on a regular basis. If you still want to send something in the mail consider mailing Christmas postcards.
I've done several tag posts before so please go to my main blog -- All Things Cherished -- to see all of my tag posts and many more posts.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Many cookie doughs, cakes, pies and candies can be made ahead and frozen. Even if you do not want to freeze some items you can mix up the dry ingredients ahead of time and they will be ready for you to mix with the wet ingredients and bake. There are definite time savers that you can put into action for your holiday baking with just a little planning.
It is important to plan. What items do you want to give? Narrow it down to one or two items for person/family to help make baking your gifts a little easier. What type of packaging will you use? How do you plan to deliver the gifts? Add your notes and ideas to your notebook.
When do you plan to deliver/mail your baked gifts? Mark your calendars now.
Plan a day or two to do all of your baking. Schedule an extra day or two in case of scheduling conflicts.
Think about organizing a day devoted to this task and involve your family and friends followed with a dinner from the crockpot and a few "samples" from your baking gifts for dessert.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Now is the time to start planning what you want to make and who to make it for. To help get a handle on your crafting for the holidays here are several steps to follow:
Examine your gift list and mark the people you think would appreciate your handmade gifts from the heart. Be honest with yourself about the people you mark -- not everyone appreciates or values the time and dedication it takes to handcraft a gift.
As you go through your supplies use two boxes to sort your craft supplies. In one box put items you want to use for this year's holiday crafts. In the other one put items you will not use. Take the second box to a senior center, day care center, public library, Girl Scout troop, or preschool where those supplies will get used. It will also clear out much needed space in your house while serving a useful service for a group who could put them to good use.
Make a list of things you would like to make for the holidays. Add this list to your notebook.
Make a list of needed items to complete each craft. Make a notation indicating which items you need to purchase and which you have on hand.
On your calendar select days to work on different crafts to ensure you have your gifts completed by the needed date. Give yourself an extra day or two in case of scheduling conflicts.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Shop now for any accessories you might need during your travel.
Write down your packing list so you don't forget anything. Take the
list with you in your luggage so you remember everything to bring
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Whether you are photographing the symbolic subjects of the holidays or your friends and family, get creative. This means paying special attention to how you organize the various elements in each photo. There are two main concepts to keep in mind when composing the scene artistically:
(1.) Off-center your main subject.
Instead of placing your main subject in the center of the scene - with a lot of dead space around it - move your camera until this subject is off to the side. This works especially well if you can balance your main subject with something in the background, on the other side of the picture. For example, if you are photographing a beautiful candle, try placing it on the right with the Christmas tree (or an equivalent supporting element) blurred softly in the background on the left. This will result in a photo that both records the candle in all its beauty and does so in an artistic, creative way.
(2.) Move in close.
Moving in close is the one thing that will make the biggest difference in the success of your picture-taking. The simple fact is the audiences are always more impressed when the subject is huge and impossible to miss. Therefore, you want your subject to fill the frame. Say you are photographing the candle mentioned above, but don't have a Christmas tree (or its equivalent supporting element) in the background. In this case, you might want to instead move in as close as you can. Causing the entire frame to be filled with your subject will inevitably result in a photo that has true impact on your viewer.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
In your notebook, make a page for homemade gifts, whether it is a plate of cookies, homemade cinnamon ornament, a craft you make, a homemade Christmas card or other small gifts. Under each gift write the names from your gift list that you want to give this special homemade gift to. If you know you want to give 20 people homemade jelly but only have 10 jelly jars you can put the word out to friends that you need 10 jars or be on the watch for them at yard sales.
There are many Internet sites and cookbooks with recipes for homemade mixes/dry mixes to make everything from bean soups to bread mixes to hot chocolate. Put in a jar, fabric gift bag, or cellophane bag.
- Dry Soup Mixes at All Recipes
- Bread and Muffin Mixes at CD Kitchen
- Beverage Mixes at About.com
- Dry Mix Recipes at Bitsey's Kitchen
- Hot Chocolate Mix at Cooks.com
There are 10os of Internet sites and craft books with step by step instructions on how to make ornaments with the kids help.
- Christmas Crafts at Christmas Craft Freebies
- Christmas Ornaments at Kaboose
- A Homemade Christmas at Family Fun
- Christmas Crafts at AmazingMoms.com
Give of Yourself this Christmas
Do you have someone on your list who could use a night of baby sitting, a ride to the grocery store, snow shoveled, or other gifts of time? Many people today would love to have something like this.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Ornaments from your own childhood, ornaments the kids make, photo albums and journals from grandparents, scrapbooks, bags full of things from around the house my children collected together . . . all of these are treasured gifts. When you put a little thought behind your gifts -- most people will be honored no matter what the cost. Christmas should not be about how much money you can spend on someone, but rather how much love is poured into the gift.
Take a look around your house and think about the things that mean a little extra to you and why it has that sentimental value to it. Is there items in your house that people on your gift list would cherish because of a memory they have with the item that you have? If so, consider giving it as a Christmas gift to that person, especially if you are not currently using it. That gift will probably be one of their most cherished gifts this Christmas.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
If you want to try something new for Thanksgiving or Christmas Day, try it now to make sure the family will like it.
Name That Christmas Tune Answers
- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
- Wee Three Kings
- The First Noel
- The Little Drummer Boy
- Silent Night
- Do You Hear What I Hear?
- Joy to the World
- What Child is This?
- O Little Town of Bethlehem
- O Holy Night
- Angels We Have Heard on High
- Away in a Manger
- I Came Upon a Midnight Clear
- Deck the Halls
- We Wish You a Merry Christmas
- O Come All Ye Faithful
- Silver Bells
- Jingle Bells
- Hark the Herald Angels Sing
- Adeste Fidelis
- Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
- The Twelve Days of Christmas
- I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas
- The Christmas Song
- O Tannebaum
- Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
- Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow
- I'll Be Home for Christmas
- White Christmas
- Santa Claus is Coming to Town
- Winter Wonderland
- I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
- All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth
- Here Comes Santa Claus
- Jingle Bell Rock
- Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree
- Carol of the Bells
- Here We Come a Caroling
- Good King Wenceslas
- O Come O Come Emmanual
- Go Tell It on the Mountain
- Have a Holly Jolly Christmas
- Frosty the Snowman
- Feliz Navidad
- I Got Nothing for Christmas
- I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas
- Where are You Christmas?
- My Grown Up Christmas List
- Welcome Christmas
Congratulations to all of you who got all the song titles correct! Unfortunately, no one got all correct. Thanks, everyone, for playing.