Thursday, December 29, 2011

Getting Ready For Santa's Arrival

It's Christmas Eve and time to get the cookies and carrots ready for Santa and the Reindeer! Oh, look my Nana has brought us a special Santa plate. And.......I am so cute here!

Wynter is picking out the special sugar cookies that she and her Grandma Cindy made. She is getting a little help from her baby sister River and of course mommy and daddy.

Christmas morning! Wow.....did Santa's sleigh tipover?

Santa and his reindeer were very hungry! Too Cute........I see one small carrot and a few crumbs leftover!

Wynter is just in "awe" of the missing cookies and carrots!

Really Nana? Come see.......

She loves flamingos and so of course her Nana got her one!

Wynter and Grandma Great playing store.

She loves her new camera!

Same Ole...Same Ole...

Are you sick of making the same resolutions year after year and yet you never keep them?

Here are some resolutions that you can actually accomplish!
Enjoy! :-)

10. Read less.
9. I want to gain weight. Put on at least 30 pounds.
8. Stop exercising. What a waste of time.
7. Watch more TV. I've been missing some good stuff.
6. Procrastinate more.
5. Drink more soda pop...cause your kidneys filter it so easily! (not)
4. Start being superstitious.
3. Spend more time at work.
2. Stop bringing lunch from home: I should eat out more.
1. Play around on Facebook more! Get addicted to Farmville!

Feast and Family

On Christmas Eve Day we were invited over to Barry and Cindy's for a fabulous dinner! Of course I gorged myself on mashed potatoes, gravy and dressing! I am still dreaming of another plate full! I am so glad we took this four generation photo. My Mackenzie is so blessed to have two moms that love her so much! So this would be Cindy and her mom Pauline and then me and my mom. Thank you again Cindy for the invite! We love you bunches and tons.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Long Live The Spirit of Christmas!

Repurposed pumpkin idea for next year!

Next year! What? How can that be?

Where did the time go?

Are you already thinking about packing up your Christmas decorations? I am not quite ready to tackle that project just yet. I have company coming for the New Year! However, I have been thinking about a few things…Keeping the Spirit of Christmas with me through the year…Long live Christmas!

I have been thinking about how much I love this time of year and what it would be like to keep Christmas close at hand every day of the year.

What might that look like?

Long Live the Spirit of Christmas!

Christmas lights up on the house for the 4th of July…Christmas decorations sitting dusty in every room of the house…and jingle bells playing on the radio at Halloween. I guess there are people who love the Christmas Holiday so much they would consider embracing these ideas. But I think NOT!

However, what I am thinking about is the Spirit of Christmas…the Spirit of love and laughter, the Spirit of giving…the Spirit of Peace on Earth and goodwill toward mankind.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Eve Day

My sweet daughter Mackenzie is trying to start some holiday traditions for her little family. Wynter is now 2yrs. old and loves Santa and Frosty. She loves singing the Frosty the Snowman song. She doesn't really connect Santa bringing presents yet but is well aware of who "Santa" is!

So mom and I picked up some craft supplies at Michaels and we decided to make snowmen. It was a super fun time with the holiday music playing in the background.

Baby River wanted to just hang out with Grandma Great.

Joe got crazy with his snowman.......Very high tech for paper and foamies!

Chocolate Pinwheels

Keep a box of buttery pinwheels in your freezer for that time when you really need them.

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/4 cups butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
3 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Betty Crocker® chocolate candy sprinkles, if desired

In large bowl, beat powdered sugar, butter and egg with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in flour and salt. Divide dough in half. Stir cocoa into one half. Stir chocolate sprinkles into other half. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.

Roll half of plain dough into 9x8-inch rectangle on lightly floured surface. Repeat with half of chocolate dough; place on plain dough. Roll doughs up together tightly, beginning at long side. Repeat with remaining plain and chocolate doughs. Wrap and refrigerate at least 8 hours but no longer than 24 hours.

Heat oven to 400ºF. Cut rolls into 1/4-inch slices. Place slices about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.
Makes About 4 dozen cookies

Monday, December 26, 2011

Being Together For The Holidays

Ethel M Chocolates’ Holiday Cactus Garden

For the 18th consecutive year, Southern Nevada residents and visitors from around the world will celebrate this holiday season by strolling through a chocolate wonderland with the official public opening on November 15 of Ethel M Chocolates’ Annual Holiday Cactus Garden. This super fun event goes until January 1st.

So... Friday night we bundled up and headed to the Ethel M. Factory. It was amazing and so much fun and let me say there were zillions of people there! At times we were just elbow to elbow. Needless to say......we really had to keep our eye on Wynter. We even ran into relatives and got to catch up and of course we had the $5.00 cup of hot chocolate! What???? It was totally worth it.

Nana Brooke and her adorable Wynter Brooke!

Mommy and daughter........

Super cute penguins... There must have been over 30 to 40 of these cute blow ups placed throughout the gardens. Santa was there of course, and then there was beautiful holiday music being played throughout the venue.

Joe, Kenzie, Wynter and my mama, Claire.

Wynter is so cute.....She loves calling her Grandma great!
OOPS....Baby River is here just can't see the stroller!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas To All

My Christmas wish is for everyone to have a safe and happy holiday!

My Newest Addition

Oh MY Heck! I am crazy for Christmas music and yes.........I start playing it in August!

I know, your saying "she is one of those people".

It makes me happy!

I have a collection of over 40 holiday CD's.

I saw this one at Walgren's the other day and grabbed it for $9.99 and let me just say this!

Been playing it in the vehicle ever since.

LOVE IT..........

The Wise Men Come

Matthew 2:1
Now when Jesus as born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men fom the east of Jerusalem...

2. Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews, for we have seen his star in the east, and have come to worship him....

3. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

4. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.

5. And they said unto him, it is written by the prophets, that he should be born in bethlehem of Judaea, for thus have they said.

7. Then Herod, when he had privately called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.

8. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also [ Herod is lying and he secretly wants to kill the child.]

9. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

10. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.

11. And when they came into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him. They presented unto him the gifts of frankincense, gold, and myrrh. These costly gifts helped pay expenses for the trip to Egypt.

12. Being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

13. And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

14. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt.
[this would be a long and difficult journey, of about 200-300 miles, depending on where they stayed in Egypt, but Joseph and Mary were obedient].

15. And was there until the death of Herod.

By the time the wise men arrived in Jerusalem, enquiring about the birth of Christ, Jesus was already a young child. Joseph and Mary had apparently decided to stay in Bethlehem for awhile, after the Savior's birth, and had settled in a house there. You can see that this implied in verse ll, which informs us that He was now living in a house in Bethlehem. Thus, the pictures we see of the wise men and shepherds visiting baby Jesus in a stable are a composite of two separate events.

A Mother's Love

It is hard to imagine the flood of tender feelings which must have been in Mary's heart, as she looked at her newborn baby, realizing that this was the Son of God, the Promised Messiah, the Savior of the world. Yet, for the moment, it was her tiny, helpless baby boy, to hold and snuggle, to comfort and take care of, for her and Joseph to rear.

The Annunciation to The Shepherds

Luke 2: 8-20

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them,and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sponge Candy....What?

This is my friend Jeri and her hubby Billie. She and I grew up together back in southeastern Iowa and we even share the same birthday. In the fall of 1976 she and I left Iowa and headed for the big time......Vegas! We loaded up her little blue pinto with all of our most important treasures and keepsakes....our bell bottom pants, platform shoes and our record albums. (giggles)...............

She makes the most wonderful sponge candy and I have asked her if I could share her recipe.

I haven't had sponge candy since I was just a wee one. My grandma Opal always had it around her house at the holidays and I remember her buying it, by the pound at the little local store called Helen's Variety. You could buy anything there and you could wander around both floors for hours.

The other memory I have of sponge candy is that at Christmas at the Methodist Church when Santa would give us our little brown paper had one orange, ribbon candy, peanuts, a few gum drops and of course just a couple of pieces of sponge candy. What a warm and fuzzy memory for me.

What is Sponge Candy?
Sponge Candy is a succulent piece of candy with an inside that tastes somewhat like molasses and caramelized sugar. It’s texture is very unusual in that it is crisp at first and then melts away in your mouth. And of course, don’t forget the creamy blanket of milk chocolate or dark chocolate that covers that tasty inside.

Here is Jeri's recipe:

1 cup dark Karo Syrup.
1 cup sugar.
Mix and bring to hard crack stage (350). Pour 4 teaspoons baking soda all at once into mixture. Stir quickly then pour onto cookie sheet. DO NOT TOUCH AFTER YOU POUR ONTO THE COOKIE SHEET.
Let cool then break into pieces and dip into melted almond bark. Make sure you start in a big enough pan, once you put the baking soda in it expands.

Lighter General Tso"s Chicken


1 1/4 cups long-grain brown rice
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 pound snow peas, trimmed and halved crosswise
4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated and peeled
3 tablespoons light-brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
2 large egg whites
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as safflower

Cook rice according to package instructions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water until smooth. Add snow peas, garlic, ginger, sugar, soy sauce, and red-pepper flakes; toss to combine, and set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together egg whites, remaining 3 tablespoons cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken, and toss to coat.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Lift half the chicken from egg-white mixture (shaking off excess), and add to skillet. Cook, turning occasionally, until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate; repeat with remaining oil and chicken, and set aside (reserve skillet).
Add snow-pea mixture to skillet. Cover; cook until snow peas are tender and sauce has thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Return chicken to skillet (with any juices); toss to coat. Serve with rice.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Christmas Story

Luke 2

This chapter is probably one of the most famous in the Bible. It has the "Christmas Story" about the birth of the Christ Child and shepherds who came in from the fields to see baby Jesus. It also contains the account of twelve-year-old Jesus teaching in the Temple.

1. And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world (everyone in the Roman Empire should be taxed).

2. [And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.]

3. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own town.

This was actually a process of registration or taking a census of all the people who were subject to the Roman government. Based on this census and registration, taxes were later assessed and then collected. The roman government allowed people to register in the towns where they currently lived, but Jewish custom required that the Jews go to their hometowns to register and be counted. Thus, Joseph and Mary had to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem, a distance of some one hundred plus miles.

4. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem [thus fulfilling the prophecy in Micah 5:2 that Christ would be born in Bethlehem]; (because he was of the house and lineage of David).

5. To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

Note: Mary was indeed "great with child", for the Savior was born while she and Joseph were in Bethlehem. It is highly likely that Mary was in labor during the long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem.

6. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7. And she brought forth her first born son, and wrapped him in swaddling cloth, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

"Swaddling clothes" were bands of cloth in which a newborn baby was wrapped. The baby was placed diagonally upon a square piece of cloth. The bottom corner of the square cloth was folded up to cover the baby's feet, and the side corners were folded in to cover the baby's sides. Then bands of cloth were wound around the baby to make a warm, comfortable bundle.