Archive for December, 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Dear Readers,

Christmas Eve finds me in Raleigh, NC awaiting Santa’s visit to my two granddaughters.  I know they can’t wait for his arrival and neither can I.  I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and healthy, Happy New Year.  And may the peace of the Christchild find a place in your hearts.

Mimi’s on vacation until after New Years.  Stop by after that and hopefully I’ll have some interesting posts in 2011.  Oh dear, where did the last 10 years go???

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

Christmas Eve, 1969 was a noteworthy night in my life.

Mike and I had been dating a couple of years and he was busy throughout most of 1969 establishing his retail business of selling stuffed toys in large malls in the Northeast.  Christmas was the busiest time of the year for him and he was traveling a lot, visiting the various store locations.  But he did manage to get home to Louisville for Christmas.  I invited him to my house for Christmas Eve.  Our family tradition was to open our presents on Christmas Eve.  He came by around 7 P.M. but said that he wanted me to go out with him on a short errand before we opened presents.

It was a beautiful, cold evening.  We drove for a while past a lot of homes all decorated with Christmas lights and then he parked the car near Tyler Park.  I couldn’t imagine what the errand was but I knew Tyler Park was a special place for us.  He had taken me there one warm autumn evening, shortly after we began dating.  We strolled to the children’s play area and sat on the swings, talking all the while.  In a few short minutes we were swinging and laughing like two kids.  It was all so comfortable and nice.  I knew then that this guy was special.  When we jumped off the swings, he hugged and kissed me and told me he was going to make me happy.  At the time, I wondered about that remark.

So here we were again sitting on the swings in Tyler Park on Christmas Eve.  He reached into his pocket and pulled out a sparkling, diamond engagement ring and proceeded to ask me to marry him.  Of course, I said yes and he again told me he was going to make me happy.

My family was so pleased to celebrate our engagement on that special night.  Of course, the engagement ring was no surprise for my Dad.  Mike had asked him for permission to marry me a few nights before.

It was a Christmas Eve I will never forget and yes, he has made me very happy!

Keep smilin’!

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Festive Deviled Eggs

Dear Readers,

Have you been asked to bring something to an office or church Christmas Party?  This recipe puts a new twist on traditional deviled eggs.  They can be prepared up to 2 days in advance and are easy to tote to the party.  Almost everyone loves deviled eggs!

Festive Deviled Eggs

12 large eggs

1/2 cup mayonnaise

8 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

3 tablespoons capers, drained and chopped

2 tablespoons milk

1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1.  In 3-quart saucepan, place eggs and enough cold water to cover eggs by at least 1 inch; heat to boiling over high heat.  Immediately remove saucepan from heat and cover tightly; let stand 15 minutes.  Pour off hot water and run cold water over eggs to cool.  Remove shells from eggs.

2.  Slice each egg lengthwise in half.  Gently remove yolk and place in medium bowl; with fork, finely mash yolks.  Stir in mayonnaise and remaining ingredients until blended.

3.  Line 15-1/2″ x 10-1/2″ jelly-roll pan with damp paper towels; place egg-white halves on top of towels.  Spoon yolk mixture into decorating bag fitted with medium star tip (about 1/2-inch diameter).  Pipe about 1 tablespoon yolk mixture into each egg-white half.  (Or, use spoon to fill egg whites with yolk mixture.)  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 2 days.  Makes 24 stuffed-egg halves.

Each egg half contains 75 calories and 7 grams of total fat.  This recipe came from the December, 1997 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine.

Enjoy and

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

December 25, 2010 will be my 65th Christmas and I have many grand memories of the holiday.  Let me tell you of a few I recall this day.

On the last day of school before the dismissal for the Christmas holidays, all the students at St. Therese Grade School marched into the gymnasium where we anxiously sat on metal folding chairs lined up in front of the stage.  Father Nieters, our pastor, along with Father Uphaus, his assistant, sat in chairs of honor in the center of the front row.  The gymnasium lights were dimmed and a Christmas movie was projected on a large screen for all to view.  After the movie, Santa Claus suddenly appeared from behind the stage curtains and quickly pulled out small boxes of candy from his sack for all the students.  This Christmas program was a gift to us from Father Nieters.  It was a magical way to begin our Christmas holidays.

Another fond memory concerns my Mom’s housecleaning before Christmas.  She wanted every inch of our home to be “spic ‘n span” clean for Santa’s arrival.  The cleaning process was started about 3 weeks before Christmas.  Windows were cleaned, furniture was polished and clean curtains were hung.  The last function of Mom’s housecleaning was performed on Christmas Eve afternoon.  It consisted of waxing the linoleum floor in the dining room on her hands and knees with Johnson’s “Glo-Coat” liquid floor wax.  It was applied with a rag and had to thoroughly air dry before the floors could be walked on.

During this process my younger sister and I patiently sat on the stair steps to keep out of Mom’s way and off the wet, newly waxed floor.  It was during this time that we curiously speculated about our Christmas presents.  Would we receive that new doll we dreamed of in the Sear’s catalog from Santa?  Maybe we would each get a pair of ice skates with matching skating outfits.  It was so much fun trying to predict Santa’s presents and we were extremely excited because we knew he would be arriving in just a few hours.  This building anticipation of opening our gifts was the best part of Christmas.

Every Christmas Eve my sister and I call each other and relive the thrilling time we spent on those stair steps so many years ago.  It is truly one of my fondest Christmas memories.

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

First of all, see if you can say “chilly, cheery Christmas drink” 5 times in a row without twisting your tongue!

Anyway, this is a delicious frozen drink to keep on hand for holiday entertaining.  You can serve it as a slushy or add it to ginger ale for a light wine spritzer.  It is so simple to concoct and could easily be part of your holiday parties.  This recipe came from the 1977 issue of Better Homes and Garden’s “Holiday Cooking and Entertaining Ideas” magazine.

Portofino Frost

2 cups white grape juice

1/2 cup cherry brandy

1/3 cup ruby port

Fresh mint

Combine grape juice, cherry brandy, and port.  Pour into freezer tray.  Cover and freeze at least 5 hours or overnight.  Place stemmed glasses in freezer to frost.  Break up grape mixture into chunks; place in blender container.  Cover; blend till slushy.  Spoon into frosted glasses.  Garnish with mint sprig.  Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Enjoy and

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

My daughter-in-law told me about an advent calendar of activities she crafted for our granddaughter.  It contains lots of fun things to do and make.  Some of the undertakings scheduled on her calendar consist of:

1.  Making tissue paper stars to hang in the windows

2.  Drinking hot chocolate with Daddy

3.  Singing Christmas carols

4.  Buying the Christmas tree

5.  Eating dinner by the Christmas lights

6.  Baking cookies with Mommy

7.  Making handprint paper ornaments

8.  Learning the “Angel of God” prayer

And the list goes on and on.

I thought it was such a clever idea.  It keeps the little ones occupied performing the daily activity, while it takes the focus off the seemingly endless wait for the arrival of Santa Claus.  Danielle got the idea from www.artfulparent.typepad.com blog entitled “A Christmas Tree Advent Calendar”.  Check it out and maybe you can start making Christmas traditions with your little ones.

My second “Toddler Tip” is a safety tip.  Saw this tip on the evening news.  It concerns the small button-like batteries in many toys.  Be sure that the battery does not drop out onto the floor where crawling toddlers can grab them and put them into their mouths.  Swallowing one of these batteries is very serious.  The acid from the battery leaks out and damages tissue in the esophagus.  The damage can be permanent.  An x-ray is the only way to know for sure if a battery has been swallowed.  Keep an eagle eye out for any of these loose batteries.  After all, I want you and your toddlers to have a safe holiday as well as a happy one.  And remember to always

Keep smilin’!

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Holiday Fruit Salad

Dear Readers,

This fruit salad is a great accompaniment to a holiday meal; it goes especially well with baked ham.  My family enjoyed it for many years.  I cut it out from the Better Homes and Gardens’ October, 1976 issue.  The recipe was submitted by Mrs. Susan F. Bonney of Greencastle, Indiana.

Orange-Cream Fruit Salad

1 – 20 oz. can pineapple tidbits, drained

1 – 16 oz. can peach slices, drained

1 – 11 oz. can mandarin orange sections, drained

3 medium bananas, sliced

2 medium apples, cored and chopped

1 – 3-3/4 oz. package instant vanilla pudding mix

1-1/2 cups milk

1/2 of 6-ounce can (1/3 cup) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

3/4 cup dairy sour cream

Lettuce cups

In large bowl, combine fruits; set aside.  In small bowl, combine dry pudding mix, milk, and orange juice concentrate.  Beat with rotary beater till blended, 1 to 2 minutes.  Beat in sour cream.  Fold into fruit mixture.  Cover and chill.  Serve in lettuce cups.  Garnish with additional mandarin orange sections, if desired.  Makes 10 servings.

Enjoy and

Keep smilin’!

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