Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

The sun is setting on 2009 ~ praying that you will be abundantly blessed in 2010!

And, yes, I am going to bed and I am not going to stay up until midnight!  If you are staying up ~ have fun watching 'the ball drop' *winks*

I am going to go watch the inside of my eyelids and listen to dogs snore =p


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Untangling the tinsel… Wednesday's Words

Are you old enough to remember your parents saying “Be careful with that tinsel or you will electrocute yourself” and knowing that they meant it? Now I spend quite a bit of time fighting static electricity in little wads of plastic tinsel… What a tangled mess!
Still, would I want to go back to the time when the tree lights got so hot that they burned my fingers and the Christmas trees got so crisp that the words ‘fire hazard’ were a major understatement? Well, maybe I would like to go back to part of it, but not all of it.

Our ‘back to basics Little House on the Prairie’ Christmas Celebration helped us all to focus on the simpler things of life. I think that’s what we really miss when we think back to ‘the good old days’ and want to return to those times. So, here are five ways that you can ‘untangle the tinsel’ and keep your life simpler all the time – not just around the holidays!

• Get moving. Don’t procrastinate. Procrastination produces stagnation and keeps us more busy because we spend all of our time trying to fix what we put off fixing because it got bigger and uglier when we didn’t fix it the first time so now we can’t possibly fix it now so we will get around to fixing it maybe next week… maybe… Get moving! Take care of it now. If you do, I guarantee your life will be much simpler.

• Get doing. Wait, I thought we were supposed to be simplifying... Yeah, but that doesn’t mean that we should simply sit in a rocker and *zone*. Do some gardening this Spring, cook things from scratch that you usually buy in a box, make a simple gift for someone, or take a walk instead of watching TV. Simply put: tend to business not busy-ness.

• Get resting. Now we’re talking! Yeah. Do you remember what sleep is? How come we stay up to midnight and get up early and then wonder why we are sick and tired and feel like a mud slide gone south? Duh. Try getting some sleep. Things will look much simpler when you do that.

• Get munching. But munch good stuff! Remember to plant stuff that you like in your garden and then cook a new recipe from scratch that is healthy and yummy. Hey – even I can do that *winks* The better you eat, the more energy you will have and the simpler life will be.

• Get praying. Yeah – I did say that! The moment that I realized that God was bigger than me and all of my problems, and that He had everything under control, my life got a lot simpler. Don’t get me wrong – lots of ‘stuff’ still comes my way, but dealing with it all is a whole lot simpler with God in my court.
Okay – there are some ideas from me – how about some ideas from you? How do you go about making your life simpler? Post your suggestions in the comments – and feel free to post any links to your blog posts about simplifying your life, too. We all can use all the hints, suggestions and Words of Wisdom about keeping our lives simpler. Thanks!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It’s all about me!

Okay – so some people want to know a little bit about me… um, not sure why because I am not the most exciting person in the world… or even in Paulden =p

But, since some of you are curious, here are a few little snippets about me that someone might find sort of interesting… maybe…

  • I love the Lord!  
  • I have the cutest grandkids in the universe. Don’t even bother to argue with me *winks* I love my family and I admit all prejudices that I have in that respect. 
  • I live near a little town called Paulden which is named for Paul and Dennis who were young boys when the first settlers came here. I do know descendents of the original town founders – hehe, it is hard not to know some of them in a town this small! 
  • I have five acres… which seems like fifteen acres when I have to mow part of it and seems like thirty acres when I am searching for Forrest, when she doesn’t want to come inside at night. Naughty kitty! About half of it is fenced off for my horses and goats. 
  • I like chocolate. Chocolate anything. Just about… Umm… I bet you already know that, though. 
  • If I want anything that I cook to taste edible, I had better have a recipe. I have burnt so many meals that I have developed a taste for charcoal. I am addicted to =) Many of their recipes burn exceptionally well.
  • I am fluffy. There. I have said it! eek. I am working on not being fluffy, but I really don’t like exercise. *sigh* and I do like food. My exercise bike is my friend – if I have a movie to watch. *rolls eyes* 
  • Sometimes I eat popcorn and cookies for dinner, get crumbs on my computer key board, feed the dogs at the table, and other gross stuff - all because I live alone and nobody complains when I do those things. TMI?
  • I have learned several skills that I never thought I would know. About 20 years of country living have taught me how to butcher a chicken, trim goat feet, raise baby chicks, sell eggs, string hot wire, train a horse (sometimes), and give minor vet care to goats, horses, dogs, cats, and chickens. I love it, even when I whine about all the work. 
  • I never buck hay. I kick it out of the truck onto the ground and wherever it lands is where it stays. Yep. Gravity is my friend.
  • I am not afraid of snakes if they are outside. Inside *shivers* is another matter altogether! I scream for help from neighbors then. Literally.
  • I am independent. And sometimes stupid. Anyone relate to that? Please?

Well. That‘s enough about me to bore anyone to tears *winks* hope you are not crying so badly that you have run out of tissues.

Now it’s your turn. Share an interesting little nugget about yourself in the comments =) I want to hear from you, too!



Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

I know what I am going to do to 'ring in the New Year' - have you made your plans already?

I will skip all of the New Year's Eve festivities and will undoubtedly go to bed early - such an exciting life I lead *winks*.  Then on Friday morning, I will dash over to my sister's house where we will carry on an ages old family tradition.  We will watch the Rose Bowl Parade!

We have an absolute fascination with the creation, construction, and mechanics of these amazing floats.  Of course, I also really like all of the horses!  My sis and her husband watch all of the bands with great interest and applaud those who had to raise their own money to attend and march in this great parade.

And then there are the munchies.  Our traditional breakfast is the cinnamon buns that our father loved.  If you like to make your own cinnamon buns, try this great recipe for Clone of a Cinnabon - it got rave reviews from my son-in-law when my daughter made them!

Another simple celebration with family - my favorite!  We will also celebrate Christmas that day, since we decided to wait until then to open our presents.  hehe - we really know how to stretch out a holiday!

What are you planning to do to celebrate the New Year?  Hope your New Year's Day is full of lots of fun, too! 

PS  This is part of the EtsyBloggers Blog Carnivals - The subject was to tell either what you will do this year to celebrate the New Year, or what you have done in the past.  hehe - I have done both in one post =D  since we are doing what we have always done! 

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Little House on the Prairie Christmas

This year we started a new Christmas Tradition.  Like so many other 'traditions' it just sort of happened.  We were looking for a way to make our Christmas celebration fun for kids and adults,  keep the true meaning of Christmas, and not cost a lot of money.  We had so much fun planning everything, that, even before Christmas was here, plans were forming for next year's celebration!  This is such a fun tradition, I thought I would share it with you all.

Our Christmas theme this year was "Little House on the Prairie".  The menu, which included parsnips, turnips, pot pie, creamed carrots, cookies and candy, was based on recipes from "The Little House Cook Book".  We got to try some new (to us) foods that we all prepared and cooked as a family.  The grown-ups had as much fun making butter, as the kids did!  And, I have to say, I will plant parsnips and turnips now that I know how good they are.

While we did exchange gifts, they were more simple and many of them were things that would have been made and/or shared in The Little House.  Timothy's Dad made some really cool shelves with coat hooks for the girls. 

As part of our 'family cooking' the girls made gingerbread cookies - with a little help from Timothy's Dad.

The girls are all dressed up in costumes that Cynthia made.  They are the little girls from The Little House on the Prairie - complete with braids!

I helped the girls make Christmas angels.  They had a lot of fun creating these.  And, yes, we did fudge and let them use markers to color them =p  We decided that 'historical accuracy' did not need to extend to coloring ;-)

These angels are a variation on the 'pew babies' that Mamas used to make from their hankies.  Kathy, Timothy's mom, made a very clever creation using the same idea ~ she created the Holy Family - Mary, Joseph and Jesus. 

This was a wonderful, memory making Christmas Day!  It was nice to keep our celebration focused on the birth of Jesus and to enjoy simple pleasures as a family.  Our "Little House on the Prairie" Christmas was a great beginning to a new family tradition. 

Next year, you wonder?  Well, it just might involve Turkish Delights and scones with tea...  can you guess which literary classic might be our theme?

God bless,

And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."  Luke 2:10 - 11

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Boxing Day!

If you are celebrating Boxing Day, I know that you had a bit of fun today! 

Me?  I am still trying to recover from all of the festivities of Christmas, so no Boxing Day shopping for me.  Maybe if you are shopping, you can find a cute little something like this tiny Christmas Tree that Mikayla made - out of a grape stem!  Isn't that fun?!

Anyway, I couldn't have joined in all the Boxing Day fun, because I had one of those funny country days where things start out one way, and then change course rapidly.  Guess if you are 'country minded' you sort of get used to that...  So, anyway, here's what happened ~

I started out the day with a lovely phone call to my neighbor, Lorie, and we caught up on all our 'Christmas' and 'neighbor' news.  Included in the news was the sad fact that a cat got one of the neighbor's birds.  This spurred me into instant action.  Now, for most people that is a sad situation; however, in the context of where we live the equation is a bit different.  Something like this...

cat = cougar
bird = emu
news = go put up the rest of the hot wire NOW!

So, I spent my day stringing (untangling and stringing!) wire for my electric fence.  Needless to say, everyone is all locked up tonight and the fence is all electric - just waiting to zap any unsuspecting kitty who might be eyeing my critters!

And, now, I am going to go recover from all my festivities - hehe - again!  Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a great Boxing Day!


PS Just a side note - this was the first time that I actually got a section of hot wire done without a short somewhere, so I didn't even have to go back and fix it =)  woohoo!  Rather amazing since it had to be strung a little 'wonkie' in a couple of places =p  (no surprise about that,  huh?!)

PPSS  Um... and this did delay the post that I was really going to do today, so you will get all the news about our fun Christmas celebration tomorrow.  We did something really different!  Stay tuned for details tomorrow!  (ah, unless I have another interesting country detour =p)

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Are you excited that tomorrow is Christmas Day?  I am!  I will spend the day with family ~ and that is the most fun part of any holiday for me!

Another thing I like to do during the Christmas season is watch old movies. 

I am part way through watching "It's A Wonderful Life" with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed - what a good reminder of how our lives can impact others and how others bless us - especially our families.  In the movie, George Bailey finds this out and wants to get back to his life - trials and all.  Bet he would have liked that 'backspace' key, huh?! 

This is a great movie - I think that everyone I know has seen it.  If you have somehow missed it, grab a copy from the library and enjoy! 

Here are a few fun facts you may not know about this movie ~

*The story was originally on a Christmas card sent by a writer named Philip Van Doren Stern.  He couldn't get the story published, so he mailed it to friends.
*"It's a Wonderful Life" was the first post WWII film that both director Frank Capra and actor Jimmy Stewart made.  Stewart had a clause written into his contract forbidding the studio to use any publicity regarding his amazing military service during the war. 
*The snowstorm was filmed while temperatures were in the 90's using a new technique to simulate the snow.  This was the first time that live dialogue was recorded during fake snowfall because the previously used white coated cornflakes were too noisy to record dialogue.
*It took two months to build Bedford Falls and it covered over four acres.
*The dance scene in the gymnasium, where the floor has a swimming pool under it, was based on an event that actually happened.

Check out this ---> link <--- for lots more fun trivia about "It's A Wonderful Life" and have a very MERRY CHIRSTMAS EVE!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Look what I woke up to this morning!

Ah, so pretty!

Billie Jane loves the cold weather and she has been extra frisky since it started snowing.  She is originally from Colorado, so I think she remembers the cold and snow.  The hills all around our little valley were all covered with a light dusting of snow this morning.  Pretty, isn't it?

And, by afternoon...

Ah, so pretty!

The snow had respectfully melted into the ground with only a few icy patches remaining in the shadows.  Nice!  Now I can drive to town without a case of the 'brrrrr slushies'!  hehe - yep, this is just about as white as I want my White Christmas to be!  LOL!



PS ~ for those who are wondering, all of the buildings that you see behind my horses belong to the neighbors.  It's a nice big area for the horses to wander around in, but not so huge that I have to go hunting for them =p

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Proof that I am not a weather wimp!

No.  I was totally and completely suffering from temporary insanity.  I am sure of it!  Gadfry - look at all this snow and *shivers* SLUSH!!!

Oh - and, ah - yeah - well, ignore the fact that I did actually take this picture while sort of driving in the parking lot.  Hey - I was going so slow that I was almost stopped.  And don't tell my daughter that I did that.  Again.  Hey - I said that I was suffering from temporary insanity!  I am sure of it.  Can any of you think of any other reason why I would be out when it was cloudy, snowy, wet, cold, and with slushy roads???  well, okay - the weather report said in the low 40s F.  But it was snowing!  ah...  sort of...  part of the time...  a little...

Well, look here ~

See!  That is real snow!  Really!  Has to be about ten feet deep there, wouldn't you say?

Well, maybe not. 

I would have taken pictures of all the snow at home, too...  but, well... there wasn't any, okay.  I could show you some fun pictures of mud, though - would you like that?  Well, actually, there wasn't much mud either.

Okay, so I am a weather wimp.  But I did get a cool picture of the snowy tree at Costco... and I did pick up my prescription that I needed...  And now I am warm and cozy at home!  Hope you are, too =)


Monday, December 21, 2009

Well, sort of a working well... sort of... *oh, well*

Sometimes life just seems like an uphill climb... 

But sometimes you just have to work a little harder to get where you want to be!

Honestly, I did not know that a cat could climb a six foot chain link fence.  Did you know that a cat could climb a six foot chain link fence???

See, the deal is that Forrest and Benny are buddies.  They love to play together, but Benny is inside a fenced in garden/yard so that the coyotes won't make a meal of him.  He likes the garden so he stays there.  Also, if I don't plant my garden inside a fence, the chickens eat all the tomatoes.  Of course, if I plant the peas and beans inside the fence, then Benny eats them all.  Squash seems to be fairly safe from everyone - except the bugs.  But I digress...

Back to my story - I did not know that Forrest could climb a fence that tall.  Apparently she does it anytime that she wants to play with Benny.  Well, anytime she wants to play with him without a fence between them (see the second picture...).  I was inside the fence with Benny when Forrest climbed over the six foot chain link panel to join us inside the "yard" (see the first picture!).  Fortunately I followed rule #1 that day and I did not leave the house without my camera.   But, I digress...

Back to the story:  Forrest worked really hard to get inside the garden so she could play with Benny.  And she had a really good time playing when she got there.  All the effort she put into climbing the fence was worth it!

So... now to the Daily Paulden Headline:  "Well sort of well but not quite well but may be well in the future when, well, there will be time to fix the well."

Clear as mud?  hehe!  No doubt.  Living in the country has its ups and downs and you just have to take the hard work with the fun.  My well is partially fixed now so I do have water in the house... some of the time.  I can't leave the well on all the time, so I run out and throw the breaker on, then run inside and do all my 'water stuff'.  I can leave it on long enough to do the dishes and laundry - woohoo!  And, most importantly - to fill up all the water tanks for the critters.  And then I run back outside and turn off the breaker to the well.  When I have time, I will fix the three (thank you very much!) leaking frost free faucets and then drain the pressure tank and recharge it.

And then, knowing that I have climbed the six foot chain link fence, I am going to sit down and have some fun watching my sink fill up with water =p  I'll send out invitations - we can have a "Wel - come back party"!  Potluck, of course - I'll supply the drinks - plenty of fresh well water ;-)


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Just a little lopsided... maybe... Maybe not!

Over the years I have created a number of crafts.  At one time, I made and sold handmade nativity sets.  My mom also was involved in creating and selling handmade nativity sets when we were kids.  Recently, my sister and I found a set of hers and I finished it up and gave it to her for Christmas.  When I was searching for something in the garage, I found one of my sets and decided to put it out for Christmas.

There is just one little problem...

There seem to be a few missing parts to the scene... and some extras...  ummmm...  We have Mary, Joseph, the Angel...  ah...  two wise men...  and, ah...  three baby Jesus.

Okay, well, one of the baby Jesus was an extra from Mom's nativity set that I painted for Mary.  Somehow both of our sets had two little baby Jesus in them and no shepherds.  I figure that the shepherds are busy telling everyone about the fantastic things they saw.  And, well, maybe we need a little extra Jesus at this time of year.

So, if you seem to be missing Jesus at Christmas this year - just let me know.  I may know where you can find him!

And she gave birth to her first born-son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Luke 2:7

Hope you are having a wonderful week getting ready for Christmas!

God bless,

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The simple country life... or is it?

Ah, the simple pleasures of country life! 

It's so nice to pull my chair up to the hearth and grab a good book and a cup of hot chocolate.  It's a great way to end a simple country day.

Over the years, I have simplified several aspects of my life.  I enjoy my days outside taking care of the critters and doing work in the garden.  I have mentioned that I would rather watch my chickens than watch TV - and it's very true.  I don't have cable TV.  I don't even have a TV that you could hook up to any cable service.  I do watch movies, but usually only when I am riding my exercise bike.  I don't have caller ID.  I kept answering the 'unknown caller' because I was curious who it was.  Even my computer is a moderate and slightly old laptop and my internet is a bit slow since there is no DSL out here.

There are, however, some things that I really like to have.  Electricity.  Yeah, and having the back up gas heat is very nice.  Oh, yeah.  and water.  Yeah.  it would be nice to have runing water in the house right now.

I am guessing that my well pump has expired...  Not a happy thing.  I didn't like turning the tap on and getting nothing.  Lots of nothing.  Not even a drip.  *sigh*  Having lived on a well for many years, though, has taught me to be prepared.  All the livestock tanks are topped off every day.  I have six gallons of water stashed in the house.  And the neighbors will gladly supply me with any water I may need.  So, that relegates this to a minor inconvenience and not a catastrophe.  Monday (yeah, I am too cheap to call the well guys today and pay for weekend rates!) I will call and see who can come and fix this.

In the meantime, my thoughts will turn to the many women and children in third world countries who will get up and walk four, five, even six hours just to get enough clean water for one day.  The next day, they will do the same thing again.  and again.  and again.  Yeah, I am totally not going to whine about this at all because I am usually blessed with clean, good well water from my tap.

Now the refrigerator - that's another matter.  Not so happy about the temperature climbing inside there *rolls eyes*  Merry Christmas to me - a new fridge?  *sigh*  Of course I usually do have a fully functional refrigerator complete with a nice selection of food and the electricity to keep it working.  I don't think that those women who are carrying all that water even think about refrigerators...

Maybe my life isn't as simple as I think it is.  I am suddenly feeling enormously rich.  Indeed!  How about you?


Thursday, December 17, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things ~

One of my favorite things about Christmas is going through all of the ornaments that I have collected through the years.  Some are ones that have been passed down in the family for several generations.  Some are handcrafted ornaments that were made by family members or friends.  Some are the fanciful creations of little fingers - and these are my favorites.

I have ornaments that my daughter created when she was  very young and now I am collecting ones that my grandchildren are making. 

Lookie!  There are two generations of paper angels!  How fun is that?

I am so glad that one of the EtsyBlogger carnival's for December was to show a favorite gift that you received for Christmas.  Well, mine is just about anything that is handmade with love.  How about you?  Do you have a favorite gift that stands out in your mind?  Share with us!


PS  Yeah, it is a well known fact that I keep just about everything *rolls eyes* hehe - but I do have some pretty fantastic creations hanging around here!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Look what I found!

Etsy Bloggers' featured blogger for December is CalKat - two gals, Kathy and Carrie, who make one of a kind handmade jewelry.  I fell in love with this!

Gee, I wonder why I like this so much????  They have lots of really fun things in their shop!  Be sure to check out CalKat's blog and catch up on all their news.

EtsyBloggers is a great place to park on etsy - we all love blogging and sharing our creations in our etsy shops.  Search the 'forums' for the latest EtsyBloggers Team thread and join in the fun!  A new thread is started each week, but they are easy to find if you search for them in the forums under "EtsyBloggers Team".

Okay - I am off to grab a cup of hot chocolate and get caught up with all the news from my fellow bloggers =)  Catch you all later!


Monday, December 14, 2009

Winner of the Spirit of Chirstmas Treasure Hunt!

*tada*  My spirited winner danced through the winter wonderland of our Spirit of Chirstmas Blog to Blog Treasure Hunt and posted at least once on each blog!

Thank you angelandspot for joining our Treasure Hunt!!!

You have won an original watercolor ACEO!

Thank you to everyone who joined our Blog to Blog Treasure Hunts over the last few months.  Watch for some new fun things happening next month!  Never fear *winks* I will let you know when to come and play =)

In the meantime throw a log on the fire, grab some hot chocolate and hunker down with "The Chirstmas Carol" by Charles Dickens.  That's what I am going to go do!


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Looking for Christmas?

Do you sometimes feel that Christmas gets lost in the rush and tumble of the events that crowd our celebrations.  After all, there are people to visit, shopping to get done, food to prepare...

Sorry, I don't have the magic button to make December have twice as many days as any other month.  I know - what good am I?  hehe - well, maybe I do have a couple of ideas for you though...  (You knew that I would!) 

First, make the decision to reclaim the Spirit of Christmas. You can do it! Here are some ideas for you - pick one (or more) and do it!

#1.  Stop and have some fun.  Here's a little diversion.  You know how you look for shapes in the clouds?  Well, here's a fun picture I took of the ice.  What do you see?

#2.  There is nothing like giving a gift to lift your spirits.  Check out Project Angel Tree or give a gift to honor a friend or loved one at World Vision.  You will be twice blessed when you do that.

#3.  Have a feast - at a shelter.  Help out at a food bank.  Donate an hour or two where people help people and it will lift your spirits and give you a new outlook on life. 

#4.  Share your smile with someone else and see how fast it will spread around a room full of strangers.  Try it in a crowded store.  It really works and it weaves a little joy into the lives of others.

#5.  There is nothing quite like singing a song to lift your spirits.   So, share a song with some folks in a nursing home.  Can't sing?  Then just go visit!  You will be amazed how their smiles will raise your spirits.

Yes, you can make the decision to reclaim the Spirit of Christmas. You can do it!  And, look back and see all the joy that you spread by doing a few simple things - then remember that you can do them all year long.

I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13

Hey, do you have some other ideas of how to share the Spirit of Christmas with others?  Share those ideas with us!

God bless,

PS  The winner of the Blog to Blog Spirit of Christmas Treasure Hunt will be posted on Monday, December 14th ~ provided that the rain does not wash away my internet =p  *again*

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Freak Snow Storm Covers Paulden!

Wow - I went out to my little hay barn and *gasp* LOOK at ALL this snow!  I mean - that is one HUGE snow drift there!

What do you mean, you can't see the huge snow drift????

Okay - here's a close up of that lower left corner of the door!  I mean, we are talking huge here!

Woah!  just a few feet away and there's another huge snow drift!  I mean, this baby is about to take over the world there.

And, look at this!  My little door is practically frozen shut with all that ice!

Huh.  Was that you laughing?  Hey, I am not feeling the sympathy here.  It was like really cold out there and like all those huge snow drifts and all...  Hey - where are you going?  Wow - I don't think I have ever seen anyone laugh that hard over a huge snow storm before....  huh.

Think I'll go grab some hot chocolate and warm up.  Wow, it's got to be about 40F out there...  at least....  I think I need another cord of wood.

Hope you are toasty and warm!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Silent Night ~ Spirit of Chirstmas Treasure Hunt

Well...  what I wanted to do for the last post for my Spirit of Chirstmas Treasure Hunt was something similar to what I did --- here --- but I am having a bit of trouble locating what I wanted to show you. 

*argh*  However, it will not turn me into a "Scrooge" and I will just share what I wanted to show you!

I have seen the Christmas carol, "Silent Night" sung in sign language and it is beautiful.  If you do a search, you will come up with a bunch of videos that are really neat.  However, I could not find one that featured a deaf choir.  Those are incredible! 

I did find a really fun little video of  the Carol Festival Christmas Medley from the Evangelical School for the Deaf Handbell choir  - these kids are so cute.  It's amazing to me that they can play music that they can't hear - and have fun doing it!

Hope you have enjoyed our Spirit of Chirstmas Treasure Hunt.  Remember - today is your last day to comment for a chance to win!  How simple is it to win some treasure in our Treasure Hunt? This simple!

Comment at least once at each of the 6 blogs by December 11, at 12am EST to be eligible to win one or more ACEO's. One winner will be chosen from each blog.

Kathy (me) ~
Allie ~
Christine ~
Pam ~
Carole ~
Marlene ~

Happy Treasure Hunting!
Allie is your next stop on the Blog to Blog Treasure Hunt ~
Visit Allie's delightful blog here:

and then stop by Allie's wonderful etsy shop here:

Hope you all have a blessed Advent Season and that you are enjoying all of the fun that the holidays bring.  Just so that you can have a song echoing in your head all day *winks* here is the last verse of "Silent Night".
Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

And, as Tiny Tim said ~ "God bless us every one!"  Have a 'Merry Christmas' kind of day!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Dickens Christmas ~ The Spirit of Chirstmas Treasure Hunt

Welcome to The Spirit of Christmas Blog to Blog Treasure Hunt!

Want to know a secret? I love the “Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens! It is probably my favorite story of all time - and I mean the book, not Hollywood’s many versions! Wicked old Mr. Scrooge - haunted by three spirits on Christmas Eve sent by his dead business partner - all for his reclamation. It’s a wonderful, well written story full of Charles Dickens wit and humor.

Now, that’s not to say that I don’t like any of the Christmas Carol movies at all! Here are a few from my collection *winks* and, yes, I usually watch them all during the Christmas season. It’s really hard to pick my favorite Christmas Carol movie because there have been some really good ones. I think that George C. Scott made a great Scrooge. But you should check out the Muppet Christmas Carol - hysterical and still pretty close (by muppet standards! lol!) to the book - and it has one of the most creepy Spirit of Christmas past ghosts. I have versions dating from 1938 forward including both British and American productions. Alistair Sims makes a very good Scrooge in the 1951 Christmas Carol movie. That movie has some special effects that were pretty amazing for the time.

It’s true! My Christmas Spirit is raised and fed by this wonderful story by Mr. Dickens. It’s a short little book – check it out from your local library and enjoy a Spirited read during this holiday season! I’m off right now to find out what Scrooge thinks of the Ghost of Christmas Present as I curl up with Mr. Dickens’ book and a cup of hot chocolate.
On your way to the library, be sure to pause and comment on our blogs for a chance to win some great artwork.

How simple is it to win some treasure in our Treasure Hunt? This simple!

Comment at least once at each of the 6 blogs by December 11, at 12am EST to be eligible to win one or more ACEO's. One winner will be chosen from each blog.
Kathy (me) ~
Allie ~
Christine ~
Pam ~
Carole ~
Marlene ~

Happy Treasure Hunting!

Allie is your next stop on the Blog to Blog Treasure Hunt ~
Visit Allie's delightful blog here:

and then stop by Allie's wonderful etsy shop here:

Just in case you did not know, ACEO stands for Art Cards Editions and Originals. They are small works of art that are 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches (6.4 cm x 8.9 cm), roughly the size of a standard playing card. Check out my blog post for more information about ACEOs and why I like them so much!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Fruitcake Recipe ~ The Spirit of Christmas Treasure Hunt!

Welcome to The Spirit of Christmas Blog to Blog Treasure Hunt!

I promised that I would share that great – once secret – 150 year old fruitcake recipe – and here it is!

This is the recipe with the ‘modern measurements’ for the ‘9 egg fruitcake’ ~

Please note the very large wooden spoon - I mentioned yesterday that you would need that!

9 eggs

2 cups of butter (real butter, not margarine or shortening!!!)

2 cups of sugar (regular white sugar – not brown sugar!!!)

4 cups of flour (I like unbleached white flour for this fruitcake – no one has ever used wheat in this recipe)

4 pounds of fruit and nuts – use Candied pineapple, cherries, citron, orange and lemon peel; golden raisins (not dark raisins), pecans, and currants (if you like them – my sis and I don’t use the currants because we don’t like them =p). Just make sure that all of the fruit and nut amounts add up to 4 pounds. Doing the math is the hardest part of making this fruitcake. Take a calculator. Totally!

1 cup of molasses (we use unsulfured dark molasses – yummy!)

1 cup of brandy or fruit juice (I like orange juice in the fruitcake – Mary likes brandy. Just make sure you use the same brandy to soak the fruitcake. We usually use peach or apricot brandy. Oh, and don’t soak the cakes in orange juice even if you did put it in the fruitcake – yuck! Just pick one of those brandies and use that to soak the cakes.)

You will also need one tablespoon of each of these spices (don’t omit any of them!!!) ~ allspice, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, and cloves.
Okay – here come the directions. Remember that this recipe came with very few instructions! Nana wrote it out and then I made notes through the years…

Messy job number one: Grease the pans. Line the pans with paper. Grease the paper. Nice. We use shortening to do this (we, Kimosabi? I use shortening to do this… although we did swap jobs this year. Mary did the pans and I did the fruit… Pans are nice – the shortening makes your hands soft *winks*) So for the 9 egg fruit cake you will need a herd of small loaf pans, or three small loaf pans and a tube pan. I like the tube pan because I think the cake is really pretty even if it is harder to get the paper in there. Hey – it’s what Nana used *smiles* But, if you use the tube pan be prepared for it to cook a looooong time…

Messy job number two: Wash the raisins and pick out all of the stems. Do the same with the currants if you are using them. Nana used to do this the night before and leave them all to dry overnight. She liked currants so she always used them, too. Take your candied fruit and prepare to get really sticky. Cut all of the candied cherries and candied pineapple pieces in half. After you have all of the fruit cut and the raisins and currants are dry, mix them all of the fruit and nuts together.

Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add eggs one at a time and beat after each addition. Add molasses and mix well. You can use a mixer for this part (newly added to the instructions… hehe – but this is the only time to use the mixer!)

Sift flour and spices together. Combine the sifted flour/spice mixture with the fruit. This is very important because otherwise your fruit will all sink to the bottom. Ugly and not so good. It’s okay if you have a little flour left – or you can just add it all to the fruit. I told you the instructions were a little sparse in the original! I have done it both ways, though, and as long as the fruit is totally coated with the flour mixture it will work okay.

Now you can put your mixer away unless you are not at all attached to it and you don’t care if it’s little motor burns up… (newly added to instructions due to life experience of a recent recipient of this recipe…)  Note, again, the huge wooden spoon!  The wooden bowl is the one that Nana used all the years that she made fruitcake.

Now is also a good time to pre-heat your oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. And – VERY IMPORTANT!!! – put a big pan of water in the bottom of your oven. I use a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Make sure that this is always full of water or your fruitcake will be really dry.

Pour the creamed mixture into a huge bowl (trust me – big is not big enough) and add the fruit mixture a little at a time, alternating with a little brandy. Blend well after each addition. Continue adding the fruit mixture and the brandy until they are all in the creamed mixture. This is kind of like making ice cream in the old hand crank ice cream makers. If you have kids helping you, let them stir first - unless you are really mean. However, beware! if you are really mean, your fruitcake will change before your eyes and taste like a nasty door stop.

Okay – now fill all of those greased little and big pans about two thirds full of batter. You can bake them all at the same time, but make sure that there is a little space between them. Wowser!!! can you imagine my sister’s oven with two racks of these babies baking??? Sure smells good!
Your fruitcakes will take between one and two hours to bake. Listen to them – they make a happy sound when they are cooking. When they are done, they are silent (mostly). Test with a toothpick, too, but remember that they are moist. Also, look for them to pull away from the edge of the pans just a teeny bit when they are done. Doneness timing is tricky – you may have to experiment until you find the right timing for your oven. Little loaves take about an hour; tube pan takes about two hours. Heavy on the “about”…

When they are done, let the little yummies cool completely. Now, grab that brandy – you do have some left, don’t you? Pour a bit of it in a bowl and then dip cheese cloth pieces in the brandy. You can also use the old kind of ‘flour sacking’ cotton dish towels for this if you would like. Squeeze it out a bit and then wrap your fruit cake up. You don’t want too much brandy on the cakes or they will get squishy on the outside and you won’t have any brandy left to sip on New Year’s Eve. After you have them well doused, wrap them tightly in heavy aluminum foil.

*laughs* Here’s the hard part – store the fruitcakes in the fridge for about a week before you eat it – for the best flavor that is. My brother-in-law says he has to sample it the day it is made just to make sure it is okay and fit for human consumption. He is my sister’s official food taster =p
Here’s another variable, too – my sister prefers to store her cakes in the freezer. I prefer to store mine in the refrigerator. They seem to keep well both ways as long as they are tightly sealed. Get careless with that aluminum foil, and your cake will get dry.

Well, this has got to be the longest blog post that I have ever written! If you have any questions, post them in the comments! Not only will you have a chance to win a free ACEO from me (if you comment before December 11, at 12am EST) but all the questions and comments will be there for anyone who wants this recipe =)

Thanks for passing on one of my treasured family traditions!


How simple is it to win some treasure in our Treasure Hunt? This simple!

Comment at least once at each of the 6 blogs by December 11, at 12am EST to be eligible to win one or more ACEO's. One winner will be chosen from each blog.

Kathy (me) ~
Allie ~
Christine ~
Pam ~
Carole ~
Marlene ~

Happy Treasure Hunting!

Allie is your next stop on the Blog to Blog Treasure Hunt ~
Visit Allie's delightful blog here:

and then stop by Allie's wonderful etsy shop here:

Just in case you did not know, ACEO stands for Art Cards Editions and Originals. They are small works of art that are 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches (6.4 cm x 8.9 cm), roughly the size of a standard playing card. Check out my blog post for more information about ACEOs and why I like them so much!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Fruitcake ~ The Spirit of Christmas Treasure Hunt!

Welcome to The Spirit of Christmas Blog to Blog Treasure Hunt!

One of the ‘spirited’ things that my sister and I do for our Christmas celebration is to make our annual batch of fruitcake. Not just any fruitcake – but the one that our grandmother always made.

Nana received the recipe as a wedding present from her first landlady in the apartment where she and my grandfather began their lives together. This recipe has been passed down through generations of fruitcake lovers since about 1860. Back then, treasured family recipes were rarely shared and the secret ingredients were carefully guarded. One of Nana’s secret ingredients was her homemade brandy. She would make her own peach brandy to use in the fruitcake and also to soak the cloth that wrapped the fruitcakes. I told you that this was a ‘spirited’ thing!

The original recipe only listed the number of eggs and the pounds of the other ingredients with not a lot of instruction on how to make the cakes. Nana (when she had decided that she would share the recipe with us!) wrote out the recipe in ‘modern’ measurements and then wrote the directions on how to prepare the fruitcake.

Of course, there are a few things you need to know if you are going to make this fruitcake. One is that you will need the biggest wooden spoon that you can find. The batter is very thick and if you don’t have a hefty spoon, I guarantee that it will break. If you make the 18 egg fruitcake, you will also need a bowl about the size of your kitchen sink. Yep. No kidding! Do NOT try to make this in a bowl that is smaller than that or you will be hunting for a bucket to finish the mixing of all those ingredients. Yes, that is the voice of experience. And, yes, we did find a bucket that was big enough. Mary and I now make two 9 egg batches of fruitcake… not the 18 egg batch.
Well, all this talk of fruitcake has made me want a nibble of it. Tell you what – you go check out all the other blogs on this great Treasure Hunt and I will go and have a little fruitcake. I’ll share the recipe – with instructions! – tomorrow...


How simple is it to win some treasure in our Treasure Hunt? This simple!

Comment at least once at each of the blogs by December 11, at 12am EST to be eligible to win one or more ACEO's. One winner will be chosen from each blog.

Kathy (me) ~
Allie ~
Christine ~
Pam ~
Carole ~
Marlene ~
Happy Treasure Hunting!
Allie is your next stop on the Blog to Blog Treasure Hunt ~

Visit Allie's delightful blog here:
and then stop by Allie's wonderful etsy shop here:

Just in case you did not know, ACEO stands for Art Cards Editions and Originals. They are small works of art that are 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches (6.4 cm x 8.9 cm), roughly the size of a standard playing card. Check out my blog post for more information about ACEOs and why I like them so much!

Monday, December 7, 2009

***Pearl Harbor Day*** The Spirit of Christmas Treasure Hunt

The Spirit of Christmas Treasure Hunt begins today! Today is also Pearl Harbor Day.

A little bit of history about Pearl Harbor, 1941 ~
On the morning of December 7, 1941, Japanese bombers staged a surprise attack on U.S. military and naval forces in Hawaii. As a result of that attack, the United States suffered 3,435 casualties.  Today is a good day to remember both those dedicated service people, and the dedicated people who serve today.  It is a good day to remember that freedom is not free.

Here are a few blog posts that honor our veterans ~

Thank you for serving our country so that we may enjoy freedom.  May your celebrations be full of the true Spirit of Christmas!


How simple is it to win some treasure in our Treasure Hunt? This simple!

Comment at least once at each of the 6 blogs by December 11th, at 12am EST to be eligible to win 1 or more ACEO's. One winner will be chosen from each blog.

Kathy (me) ~
Allie ~
Christine ~
Pam ~
Carole ~
Marlene ~

Happy Treasure Hunting!

Allie is your next stop on the Blog to Blog Treasure Hunt ~
Visit Allie's delightful blog here:
and then stop by Allie's wonderful etsy shop here:

Just in case you did not know, ACEO stands for Art Cards Editions and Originals. They are small works of art that are 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches (6.4 cm x 8.9 cm), roughly the size of a standard playing card.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Spirit of Christmas is....

... the wonder in a child's eyes...

... sharing time with family ...

... giving gifts - especially ones that are not expected! ...

... the smell of spiced cookies in the oven ...

... sparkling lights on the tree ...

... candlelight church service to honor Jesus ~ the reason for this season!

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government will be upon his shoulder,
and his name will be called
"Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

Isaiah 9:6

God bless,

PS - Our fun filled Spirit of Christmas Treasure Hunt starts tomorrow!  Explore the wonders of Christmas as you travel through our Blog to Blog Treasure Hunt.  Comment along the way for a chance to win some great artwork!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Spirit of Christmas Treasure Hunt starts Monday Dec. 7!

Take a spirited romp through our blogs for the Spirit of Christmas Blog to Blog Treasure Hunt! 

At this very festive time of the year, we have designed a Treasure Hunt so that you can enjoy the beauty, wonder and fun of Christmas.  As always, you have a chance to win an ACEO from each of the blogs - just for posting comments.  Be sure to comment at least once on each blog to qualify to win.  The more you comment, the more times you are entered in to win!

Check my Monday blog post - that's when the Spirit of Christmas Treasure Hunt begins!  All the directions will be posted then, as well as links to each participating blog.  I have lots of Christmas fun in store for you!

Have a blessed weekend!

Friday, December 4, 2009

*whew* Oh, my - Glad to be back online!!!

Ahhhhhh.....  yes, this is what my monitor should look like!

A computer screen should not be black.  It should not be white.  It should have pretty pictures and lots of nice words.  *ahhhhh*  My Etsy shop is back!

*fans self*

Okay.  I think I am fine now.  I really missed my cyber friends!  Thanks for playing along on my blog while I was awaiting the repair of my computer.  Congrats to Pam, who came the closest to the time I was actually able to post on my blog again.  She will win a fun little original creation from me.  Don't worry - I will post pictures!

Now, for a few thoughts and suggestions for those of us who are online more than once or twice a week *winks*
  • Life will go on without a computer!   Several friends have said they spend too much time on line and they want to spend less time in the cyber world.  Hey - go for it!  Yes, it is a wonderful place to be - but there are LOTS of wonderful places to be!
  • Back up everything!  All the time!  Have an online file storage (I use Carbonite) and have an external back up hard drive.  I praise the Lord that I did not loose any files, but I know others who have.  No fun.  However, I was prepared to loose very little with the back-up systems in place.
  • Do not stress over the lost computer time.  ROFLOL - do you remember life before computers?  We never had trouble finding stuff to do.  Read a book, take a walk, or do lots of artwork for your etsy shop *winks*
  • Be patient with the tech help.  I had some great help from the Dell techies.  They even resolved the problem several days before they said they would.  But, hey, all techies are human (pretty sure about that one) so don't get grumpy with them even if they are less than perfect.
  • Resist the temptation to take your computer apart by yourself.  Unless, of course, you are a techie.  There is lots of stuff in there and left over parts are a major "no bueno"!
  • Relax.  Breath.  and repeat after me - "this is only a computer, this is only a computer, this is only a computer..."  Nope, not rocket science or major surgery.  This is just a little hiccough in the great expanse of the cybernation.  Wander off and enjoy some fresh air.  The cyberworld will be there when you get back.
So, what did I miss most?  My online friends.  I missed chatting with them and I missed keeping up with their news via the blogs, forums and social networking.  When it really came down to it, that is what I missed.  Yep, I could live without my computer - but I would really miss all my cyber friends!  I am glad that I have this tool to use so that I can keep in touch.

So, "HI" to you all!  *waves* so glad to be back online with you!


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