Month: December 2015

7 Ways To Make the Holiday Special For Your Kids

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I love this article.  So often the focus on Christmas revolves our what gifts we are getting.  What about giving to others?  And the most important gift we can give?  Our time to others.  That time will make lasting memories for us.  Much more so than the newest play station.  So here are the three ideas I love.

Bake something

I loved baking with my son when he was little!  We would really get down and dirty here.  I didn’t care about the mess.  Laughing and having fun was much more important.  Besides, we got to taste test as we went along!

This is one of the easiest ways to show your kids what a special time the holidays are.  You can teach them how to bake cookies. Maybe you can pass on an old family recipe, as you show them step-by-step how to do it. Of course, with younger children, you will need to take precautions, and show them how to be safe when using sharp instruments and doing things near hot ovens.




Help someone in need

I try to live by the idea that if I lift someone up, I also lift myself up.  This has helped me in some of my hardest times.  You don’t have to do something big or expensive.

One of the most important and valuable lessons any parent can teach a child is for them to learn how to do something to help others. Whether it is helping a friend do their homework, or helping an elderly person with yard work, doesn’t matter. What really matters is that they learn to give some of their time and energy in a way that will help someone else. They learn to give, rather than take. And, in the process, they will learn to value how it makes them feel good inside to do it.


We have been helping deliver gifts through Blue Santa.  We’re almost done.  And parents have been really appreciative.  Who wants to see their kids sad on Christmas day?


It’s not too late to do something with your children.  One thing you could do is find a nursing home in your neighborhood and bring some cookies to your neighbors there.  You would not believe how many people who live there have no family.  Just stopping by for a short time will make their day so much brighter!





Take them to a holiday movie

Going to a holiday movie with your child is another fun thing to do this time of year. There are usually a few animated Disney movies that come out in the winter time, especially for young people. Going to a movie will show your children that they can enjoy doing things with you that will benefit them. This can be one way that they learn to enjoy doing things that are fun and important to them, and not just having to always do what grownups do.

Watching a movie can spark their imaginations and creativity and show them what a fun time they can have with the family.





Go here to find out what movies are opening!


Some more ideas!

Enjoy Your Day!


3 Fast & Easy Christmas Side Dishes and More!

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I just wanted to post the recipes of the sides and dessert that I am serving for Christmas dinner.  I hope you will make one or two of them.  And enjoy them as much as we do!


Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Growing up, I had never been a fan of mashed potatoes.  They always seemed bland and stringy.  Except for the times that they bland and lumpy.  And by the time we sat down to eat, they would be cold.  Yuck!

My mom and I constantly had fights over whether I would eat them or not.  The last time we had this fight, she told me that I would have to sit at the table until I ate them.  Well, around midnight she came and told me to go to bed.  Yes, I was a pretty stubborn kid.  LOL!

For years, I would always pass up the mashed potatoes.  Then Jim and I went to Joe’s Crab Shack.  Jim got these mashed potatoes as a side.  They looked a lot different from what I was used to.  For one thing, they were cooked and mashed with their skins on.  And they had garlic and cheese in them.  Sooo good!  So when I got home, I replicated the recipe and here is how I make my mashed potatoes!



2 pounds unpeeled red potatoes, quartered
6 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
2 Tbsp. margarine or butter, softened
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp of salt or to taste
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp dried.


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes, and garlic, and cook until tender but still firm, about 30 minutes; drain. Stir in butter, cheese, salt, and oregano. Mash with a immersible blender or with an electric mixer.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes


4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch-thick rounds
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes


Preheat oven to 450°F. In large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and toss. Arrange potato slices in single layer on heavyweight rimmed baking sheet or in 13×9-inch baking dish. Place on top rack of oven and roast until tender and slightly browned, about 40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.  Please don’t leave out the red pepper flakes.  The sweetness of the potato with the heat of the pepper is incredible!

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

I have always been able to get Jim to eat anything.  One of the few exceptions were Brussel Sprouts.  He hated the sulphur taste of them.  I don’t know how I found out that by roasting Brussel Sprouts, you can get rid of that taste.  Now Jim will actually include Brussel Sprouts when he is doing the menu planning.


1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly.

And here are the links to the other recipes that I have posted in the past.

Mushroom Gravy

Biscuits & Gravy

Buttermilk Pie


Buttermilk Pie




Christmas Sticky Buns

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From Denise Balog…Grace filled devotionals!


I am always amazed by the fact that I have found such a good friend as Denise while blogging.  She is truly what Anne Shirley of “Green Gables” called a kindred spirit.  I love reading her thoughts in her posts.  If I don’t have time, I save them until I can be alone.  She feeds my soul.


Today, she posted a recipe for sticky buns, that I am going to make to feed my family on Christmas morning.  They look scrumptious!


Thank you so much Denise!



Source: Christmas Sticky Buns




Our Vegetarian Christmas Dinner

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Above is an ice sculpture from Ice Land on the Island.  It’s the coldest place here.  Beautiful sculptures!

Christmas is nearly here and I am sitting here planning what Jim and I are going to do to celebrate it.  I feel like we have been on a holiday tear since Thanksgiving.  Jim agrees with me that it is going to be just the two of us.

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11 Quotes to Help Beat Holiday Stress

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From How To Stuff Your Pig!


I am not really saying Bah Humbug!, but I am counting down the days until Christmas gets here.  I said last week that our holiday season had been a mad whirl!  It continues to get crazier each day.


This year, I decided to get out there and enjoy any thing that came my way.  And I have.  Parties.  Coffee with friends that I needed to catch up with.


I also decided that I wanted to spend more time helping others this year.  I have volunteered for a lot of groups.  Mainly ones involving children.  I start my final group today, Blue Santa.  For the next 3 days,  I am going to be wrapping gifts for kids who might not have a Christmas otherwise.  It makes me feel pretty good.


I started thinking about how many gifts that is though.  Overwhelming!  Then I read this post.  Some of the quotes are inspirational.  Others are sooo funny.  I just finished laughing off my head.


If you are feeling overwhelmed, find something that makes you laugh.  A movie?  Heck, read this post and I guarantee you will feel better!


Source: 11 Quotes to Help Beat Holiday Stress



Some Ancient Celtic Christmas Traditions

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DIY Rolling Paper Project – II : Fruit Basket

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From Creative Crafts DIY!


This is so cool!  I love repurposing things.  I go crazy finding ways to use things that might go to Goodwill.

I am one of those people who do things like make my own compost.  Use up food scraps.  I make cottage cheese and bread from spoiled milk.  Yogurt.

I use wine bottles for candle holders.  My Pyewacket was into agility training, so we also used the bottles to create her obstacle course.  I am often trying to find ways to use my old newspapers and magazines.  One of the things I use newspapers for is mulch for my garden.

When I saw this post, my eyes brightened.  I don’t have time to do this for Christmas, but January is a month that I look for things to do.  This will be it!



Source: DIY Rolling Paper Project – II : Fruit Basket