Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year!......


Happy New Year everyone! We wish you joy, good health, and tons of blessing in the coming New year!
With warmest regards, Carol

Monday, December 28, 2009

Sometimes the best gifts come in small packages!....


Sometimes the best gifts come in small packages!


My hubby and I really went all out this Christmas! We decided the sky was the limit as far as gifts were concerned and we had loads of fun doing our Christmas shopping. I have to admit the things we got our family were outrageous and frivolous, but hey, Christmas only comes once a year. When I first told my hubby what I wanted to do for Christmas and how much money I wanted to spend he thought I had finally flipped out but when I came home with these cute little Christmas tins he knew I was serious. That's when he decided to get involved. I honestly have to say I don't know which one of us had more fun, him or I.

My hubby and I have known for a long time how much Anne has always wanted to go to Italy so we decided to send her on an all expenses paid vacation to the country of her dreams.







We found a very cool looking tree house and decided it
would make a wonderful Christmas gift for our great-grandson
Aayden.
Since Kurt was a little boy of maybe seven or eight years old, and
used to go on sailing trips with my brother and sister-in-law,
he has talked about owning a Marina one day. We found one
for sale on the Internet and gave it to him.

Now what little boy wouldn't want to go to Disney World? My hubby and I decided this would be the perfect gift for our grandson Ryan.

We have all heard the term 'it is better to give than receive.' Well that statement is so true! We have always felt that
way but this year even more so. My hubby and I had so much fun trying to decide what would be the perfect gift for everyone in our family. After we were finished picking out every ones gifts we picked out a gift for each other. We talked about these gifts for days. We taunted and teased each other all the while trying to guess what the gifts could possibly be. All of this was pretend of course but just think about how much fun it would be to give your family something you knew they had always wanted, or you thought they would absolutely love to have for Christmas, but never in a million years would it be something you would ever be able to afford.
On Christmas Eve, prior to our regular Christmas exchange, we told our family how much we wished we could give them the world for Christmas, but since it wasn't possible, we were giving them these much thought out pretend gifts instead. We told them not to open any gifts until everyone got one. Then they took turns, sharing pictures, and reading aloud what each of them had gotten from us and why. Our family absolutely love this idea! In fact, it was the hit of our Christmas party! They couldn't wait to open they're gifts. They were very excited to see what we had picked out for them. They couldn't wait to see what my hubby had given me, what I had given him, and what the others had gotten. They had so much fun, and liked it so much, that they decided they want to draw names next year and give some pretend gifts of their own. My brother and sister-in-law loved the idea so much that they are going to do it for our nieces Christmas party later this week. I can't wait to see what gifts they have chosen for us and them. I wish I had words to begin to express how much fun this was and how much all of us enjoyed it.
I'm unable to take credit for this idea myself. I happened to turn on the TV one day and something similar to this was being done in one of the Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel. It was presented a little differently in the movie, in that the family was unable to afford any gifts at all, but basically it was a similar concept...
It's the thought that counts.....
And It's really true..... Sometimes the best gift do come in smallest packages!.......
With warmest regards, Carol

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ringing in Christmas!


Ringing in Christmas!
This is our great-grandson Aayden helping our family to ring in Christmas by putting the baby Jesus in our manger ♥
Thank you Aayden! What a blessing and joy you are to all of us. Besides that you are a real cutie pie ♥
Love, Great-Grammy G

Saturday, December 26, 2009

We should not forget about Trenton........


As we celebrate Christmas we should not forget about Trenton.....






One of my favorite history blogs posted a subject worthy of note this week about Washington crossing the Delaware. You can read the article here http://americanrevolutionblog.blogspot.com/
We are reminded not to forget about Trenton which was a pivotal point in the American revolution. In 1776, during the early morning of December 25th, Washington led his troops across the treacherous Delaware river through freezing waters, raging winds, snow and sleet to win the battle that is often called 'the battle that lost the war for Britain'. Washington's army was ill-equipped and a great percentage of his men did not even have shoes. We should not forget these brave men who gave up so much so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have today.
The town of Trenton hosted a Patriotic week celebration in honor of this event and some of the highlights can be seen in the following video.
With warmest regards, Carol

Friday, December 18, 2009

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!....



We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!.......

I really wanted to share with you the story of Reindeer Village and how it got it's name.










And I especially wanted to tell you about the lovely Polish tradition of 'Oplatki'
which is celebrated on Christmas Eve.








I wish I could invite all of you over for some Christmas cookies, coffee, and tea.

I would love to tell you about the 'Candy Cane Christmas' at the local Historical Museum and Village here in our area but instead I have left you with the following video.
The Troy Historical Museum and Village presents a Candy Cane Christmas. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaNIU7MMD0E

I also wanted to tell you about the funny mishap involving my ginger bread men which happened years ago. It's one that my family will never ever let me forget, but Christmas is upon us, and I wanted to take the remaining time to visit with all of you ♥ Perhaps all of these other things can be shared another year.
I wanted to take this time to thank all of you for being the lovely group of blogger's you are. Each of you is truly an inspiration! All of you speak from the heart and that is a rare and wonderful quality to have. I have enjoyed all of your beautiful blogs and your lovely company these past two years. Thank you so much for the e-mails and heart felt comments you leave here on my blog. You lift me up, make me laugh, and you make our world an all round better place because of your kindness, gentle spirit, and love.
From the bottom of our hearts, my hubby, Charli, and I would like to wish each of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Many blessings to you and your families this holiday season and always ♥
With warmest regards, Carol

Hopeful Friday.....


Welcome to Hopeful Friday now hosted by Charli and me. This is a post dedicated to positive thoughts and inspirational messages. It is a place to celebrate God! If you would like to join me, just pick up a button, write your post, and then leave a comment here. Otherwise, thank you so much for stopping by. I hope your day is beautiful and blessed in every way ♥





A couple of e-mails have been
circulating in our area that I thought
were poignant and wanted to share
here......

"A couple moves into a new
neighborhood. The next morning
while they are eating breakfast, the
young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside. 'That laundry is not very
clean', she said. 'She doesn't know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better
laundry soap.' Her husband looked on, but remains silent. Every time her neighbor
would hang out her wash to dry, the young woman would make the same comments.

About a month later, the woman was surprised to see a
nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband: "Look,
she has learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this'. The husband said, 'I got up early this morning and cleaned
our windows'.
And so it is with life. What we see when watching others
depends on the purity of the window though which we
look."

"Don't worry about who doesn't like you, who has more, or who's doing what. Instead, let's cherish the relationships we have with those who love us. Let's think about what God HAS blessed us with. And what we are doing each day to promote ourselves mentally, physically, and emotionally."

This last quote was written by Robert Fulghum......
"If there is truly peace on earth,
goodwill to men, it will be because of women
like Mother Teresa.
Peace is not something you wish for;
it's something you make,
something you do, something you are,
and something you give away!"

Happy Hopeful Friday everyone!
Peace be with you ♥
I hope all of you have a lovely day!
With warmest regards, Carol

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dogs On Thursday... From service dog to SURFice dog.....


Welcome to Dogs On Thursday at http://dogsonthursday.blogspot.com/ A weekly post where dog lovers like myself get together to share news and stories about our most precious little four legged friends. If you would like to join our group, or you would like more information about us, just click on the above link to reach the official Dogs On Thursday web site...

Good evening everyone. I hope all of you and your darling little canines are doing well. I'm sure you are busy getting ready for the holidays. We have been very busy at our house baking cookies, making candy, and wrapping presents. There is an excitement in the air. Even Charli has the Christmas spirit. I have been reading all of our Christmas cards to her and she loves listening to Christmas music. I have even caught her snooping under the Christmas tree.
Now I know this post is supposed to be about Charli, but instead, I wanted to share an amazing video with you about an incredible dog. It's a video I'm sure you won't want to miss ♥ It's very moving and I'm sure it will touch your heart in much the way it has mine.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGODurRfVv4
All of us have a purpose in life even animals.
I hope all of you are having a beautiful day ♥
With warmest regards, Carol

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Christmas Eve Toast.....



The Christmas Eve Toast........




I have gotten several comments and e-mails inquiring about our Christmas Eve toast so I thought I would answer them here.
In our family, Christmas was always celebrated on the Eve, and we always had a special toast during our celebration. Before my beloved paternal grandmother died in 1959, the traditional drink for the toast was always Mogan David wine. Why that particular drink was chosen, I have no idea, but that's what we had every year for as long as I can remember. My brother, sister, and I were always allowed to have a sip of wine and partisipate in the toast.
After my grandmother died my mother switched the traditional drink to a signature drink of her own. Leave it to my mother to serve a signature drink years before signature drinks were ever heard of. She put glasses in our freezer to get them really cold and frosty. Then she dipped the rim of the glass in a very light coating of powdered sugar. To that she added several maraschino cherries, cherry juice, ice, gin, and squirt. These drinks always looked very pretty on a serving tray at Christmas time.
When I married my hubby I wanted to switch back to the Mogan David wine of my childhood but no one seemed to like it so I decided to switch to champagne. Through the years we have tried many different brands of champagne, but again, they never really appealed to anyone. Then we started using what my brother refers to as 'poor man's champagne.' Pictured below is a champagne that we have used in the past, but since my brothers introduction of this wine, our family now agrees that our favorite champagne is Korbel's. It isn't that expensive and it really is quite good. Just ask the President of the United States :>) Did you know that Korbel champagne was served at the last five Presidential Inaugurations? Apparently Korbel champagne is made very similar to the way the fine French wines are made.
I use champagne flutes because the flutes are supposed to capture the bubbles in the champagne which enhances the flavor.
I started using sugar years ago because it is supposed to sweeten the wine. I use one sugar cube and one maraschino cherry per glass. I like how pretty everything looks when the candlelight bounces off of it.
According to the Internet, there are other reasons why sugar is added to champagne. Some people believe the sugar is supposed to add sweetness to ones life. I also read where some people add sugar to the champagne because of an old Italian wives tale where you are "never supposed to let the devil know your happy." The sugar apparently is a way of sharing happy wishes and not letting the devil know your doing it? I do remember them using a sugar cube in the movie 'Moonstruck' but I have no idea why.
I used cherries in my champagne cocktail because that's what my mother used in her Christmas Eve drink but you can use just about any type of fruit you want, from strawberries, to lemons, cranberries, or even blueberries. Some people add a drop of Angostura bitters to the sugar cube before placing it into the flute. I haven't tried that before but it does sound interesting. I also read where some people stain the sugar cubes a different color with fruit juice or food coloring dye.




What ever you decide to use for your Christmas Eve toast, whether it be non-alcoholic, alcoholic, added fruit, or sugar, I hope your toast is as special in your family as it is in ours.
My toast to all of you is that your Christmas and New Year is over flowing with love, hope, joy and peace ♥
Thank you so much for visiting here. Thank you for all of the lovely comments and e-mails you send and leave on my blog.
Many, many heartfelt blessing to you and your family this beautiful Advent season and New year.
With warmest regards, Carol

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tea and friendship Tuesday's.......


Welcome to Tea and friendship Tuesday's hosted by Charli and Me. This is a fun post that can be filled with pretty tablescapes, teapots, teacups, recipes, poems, personal stories, and interesting facts related to tea, friendship, or both. It is a place to share anything you would like with a friend! If you would like to join me, just pick up a button, write your post, and then leave a comment here so my dear friends and I can pop over for a visit. Otherwise, thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you have a beautiful and blessed day ♥



"Among life's precious jewels,
genuine and rare,
The one that we call friendship
Has worth beyond compare."
-Author Unknown-


One of the things that I like to do during the holiday season is make molded chocolate candies. It's very easy to do and they always look pretty and festive on the table. There are tons of different types of candy molds available. I have Christmas trees, wreaths, Santa's, and sleighs. Although I sometimes make a variety of different kinds, I always make reindeer suckers. Our grandchildren especially love these little guys.
Basically all you have to do is melt chocolate, fill a mold, and then refrigerate until firm. Then pop them out of the molds, cut the excess chocolate away, and sear the edges of the candy with a warm knife to make them smooth.
This is a great project to do with children. I have made chocolate candies with my children, grandchildren, some of my niece's and even one of my nephews in the past. They used to like to paint the molds with different colors of chocolate and then decorate them with colored sugars and sprinkles.
When our nieces and nephews were small I would sometimes make them their own special box of candy and give it to them as a gift on Christmas, Saint Patrick's, or Valentine's Day. I used to get my decorative boxes at a baker's supply outlet but today you can get them just about any where.

After I'm finished making the candy, I usually wrap them individually and then seal them with a twist tie. Again, all of the supplies can be found at a baker's supply outlet. Then I sometimes add a pretty ribbon of some kind. When I use them for a lunch, or tea, I have also added a charm, jewel, or even a bell. These items can be purchased at Michael's craft Store. Molded chocolates make great party favors! Can you imagine how pretty they would look at an individual place setting or on a special Christmas tea table?
Recently I attended a baby shower for one of our nephews and his wife. The shower was done in a lamb theme. Sitting on each of the plates was an adorable white chocolate lamb wrapped and tied with a pale yellow ribbon. They were so pretty and what a special touch!














My mother always had a beautiful treat table at Christmas time for all of her many family and friends who often stopped by. On this table she always had festive napkins, some of the wonderful Christmas cookies she baked, candies, nuts, and even a gum drop Christmas tree. I wish I would have thought to take pictures of it, but at that time, who had heard of a computer much less a blog. My reindeer suckers will not be on either of the plates shown here on Christmas Eve. Instead, they will be scattered about on the special three tiered plate dish my mother handed down to me ♥
Well, I have to get going. I have to wash my champagne flutes for our Christmas Eve toast. Now let's see. Did I remember to get the cherries and sugar cubes?
Happy Tea and friendship Tuesday everyone!
I hope all of you have a wonderful day ♥
With warmest regards, Carol

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Blue Monday.....


Welcome to Blue Monday, hosted by our friend Sally, at http://smilingsally.blogspot.com/ This is a weekly post where some of us blogger's get together to share something blue. Thank you Sally for hosting this fun post! If you would like to join our group, or you would like more information about us, just click on the above link to reach the official Blue Monday web site........

Today I am sharing my Nativity with you. I think there are some pretty blues here. I might have even shared this with some of you last year. It is not our original nativity. The one we had for many years was much smaller and all of the figurines were made of ceramic and painted gold. It was very special to me because my hubby and I bought it the very first year we were married way back in nineteen sixty five. I can still remember the snowy night we purchased it. That Nativity survived our three son's, many nieces and nephews, and three grandchildren. Then our lab Mandy took it upon herself to bite off one the wise men's heads. Unfortunately it could not be repaired.
I do love this nativity too but I often find myself thinking of our other one because of all the memories it held. This one is musical and plays 'Silent Night.'









Happy Blue Monday everyone!
I hope you have a wonderful week ♥
With warmest regards, Carol

A Christmas lunch with Ryan and Aayden.....




A Christmas Lunch with Ryan and Aayden.......




One of the things my husband and I have always done with our children, grandchildren, and now great grandchildren is plan a special day just for them during the Christmas season. We like to do it after the tree is up, the house is decorated, and the presents are wrapped so there is nothing pressing. That way
we can truly enjoy the day with them. We have taken them on excursions to the mall, Greenfield Village, to plays, to build bears, out to lunch, Christmas shopping, and had many, many parties at our house.
This year we decided to have a Christmas lunch, (kids only), with the exception of my hubby, myself, and Charli. We invited our grandson Ryan and great-grandson Aayden to spend the day with us helping grandpa put up our train and me do crafts. I really don't know who has more fun at these get togethers, me, my hubby, or them. I wish I could show you pictures of our precious grandchildren in they're sweet little elf hats but you will just have to use your imagination and come along to the party with us.

As you can see up above the first thing I did was make cupcakes. Yummy! We all love cupcakes at our house.
Next I made some Jigglers which most children just love. Jigglers are fun, easy to make, and believe me they caused a lot of giggles as out little grands tried to pick them up and eat them. I also made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches which are always a hit with the younger crowd. I cut them out in the shape of gingerbread men and I have to say our grands just loved these little guys. Aren't they just the cutest things?









I would have felt guilty had I not served something healthy. Fruit and veggies always go over big in our family.













I was looking through a magazine that had an article about dressing up the ordinary during the holidays so I added a ribbon to my very ordinary and plain pitcher.


Ryan and I found some great little Christmas tree Ice cube makers when we were shopping at the dollar store one day. I decided to made the ice cubes out of fruit punch Kool-Aid and put lemonade Kool-Aid in the pitcher. As the ice melted in the pitcher it looked so pretty. I loved it and just may use something like this for my next tea party.



I placed an elf hat over the back of every ones chair. They really looked festive and added another fun element to our party. I also placed some crafts and a cane filled with candy by each of our grandchildren's place settings. I made napkin rings out of a reindeer pez container and filled Christmas boxes with some goodies from the dollar store to use as favors. I had some left over glitter foam cut outs of trees, stars, and snowflakes that I scattered around on the table. Of course we had children's Christmas music playing in the background. Our grandchildren loved it all! Aayden, who is three years old, after eating a cupcake said, "This lunch was very delicious." It was so cute the way it just sort of came out of the blue.


After lunch my husband and Ryan put the train together. Then Ryan taught Aayden how to run it. They had a ball taking turns running the train, as well as, loading and unloading the box cars. They were so proud of the crafts they made and couldn't wait to show them to they're mothers. They also had fun playing with our musical soldier, reindeer, and talking tree. As I sat watching them, seeing the smiles on they're faces, and listening to them talking and laughing, I couldn't help but think of Christmases past when our children and older grandchildren were little just like them. I think it was a very special day for all of us. I know it is one I will remember for a long time to come.

And where was Charli while all of this was going on? She was mooching treats at the table, sitting in the middle of the train tracks, laying on the back of the sofa watching all of the activities, and chasing all of us around the house with her squeak toys.
































































We hope all of you are enjoying this wonderful Christmas season ♥


With warmest regards, Carol


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