Thursday, December 31, 2009

Winding Down

Knitting is more than two little sticks and a ball of yarn.
Life Lessons from the little saggy beret that snood.....

Sometimes, we make a bigger deal out of things than we should.
Sometimes we over-compensate for issues.....
and things get really blown out of proportion......
Sometimes things can feel like they are coming unravelled,
and are a bunch of loose ends.....
That's what I like about looking forward to the New Year.
It's like getting a chance for a giant "do-over".
Well, maybe we'll skip that "giant" part ;)
Happy do-overs in 2010, everyone!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Snow days in the Orangerie

We didn't get the snow like the rest of the fam, so these are the only flakey pictures we have.

It does make for nicer driving conditions, gotta say. It's cool enough to make this seem like a yummy winter evening supper dessert:

A pan of gingerbread, cut out with a star shaped tin, like a giant cooky cutter.
Sarah and I discussed this candied orange rind at Christmas. Since we had lots of oranges, it seemed like the time to do it. And it does take time.

You need the rind of 3 oranges, removed in nice segments.
Cover with water, and simmer for 30 minutes.
drain, cover again with fresh water, and simmer again.
This is done a total of 3 times. This removes the bitterness. Then lay them out to drain and cool.

Slice into little strips 1/8" or so wide.
Place into mixture of 1/4 c. water, 1/4 c. honey, and 3/4 c. sugar.
Bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
Let cool in syrup for a couple of hours. Warm again.

Place out on waxed paper to dry.
Roll in sugar, and store in a tight container.

Bella's Story

An afternoon siesta, to recuperate from exploring, and lots of kiddo attention:

Thank you everyone, for your kind comments, welcoming Bella.
Bella was named by a caring, loving, "mom", who due to a change in her financial and living situation, was forced to let Bella go. She was a young woman, and had to return to her parents home, where there was unfortunately no room for another dog.
Bella is two years old, and "potty-trained". She is very loving, and already shown signs of being a good protective, watch-dog. She doesn't seem inclined to bother the chickens, though she is interested in their scraps, and seems to feel a bit left out in that department. She could care less about the cats. Brandon; the girls cat, was less accepting and tried to take a swat at Bella, catching my leg in his nasty little clutches, instead.
When we brought her home last night, I took her behind the barn to go potty. Unbeknownst to me, our "resident" doe and her 2 babies were back there. Bella took off after them, about dislocating my arm with the leash in the process! She is very curious about all of the new sights and smells and sounds of her new home.
She does not respond well to any commands. "Supposedly" she knew sit, come, stay....but it doesn't seem so. I think she received much more love than training, but she's smart and sweet, and with a little work, I think she will be a great fit, with us.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Our newest family member:
Miss Bella Dandelion
Those of you that have been reading this little blog from the beginning, know that we experienced the tragic loss of our little border collie Mac, this summer. We have missed having a dog and the girls talk about him, a lot. Today, we found a border collie in need of a home, and we are happy she is content to make ours.....hers.
**To family members.....does she remind you of anyone?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Midway through the Christmas Eve Family Festivities, there is a time out, a quiet time to remember and reinterate what we are celebrating. We all gather around the kitchen island, and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. All of the children get to help blow out the candle. Happy Birthday Jesus!
Thank You God, for the precious gift of Your Son.

Tidings of Comfort & Joy

God rest ye merry gentlemen,
let nothing ye dismay.
Remember, Christ the Saviour,
was born on Christmas Day.
To save us all from satan's power,
when we have gone astray,
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy,
comfort and joy,
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy.
Merry Christmas Dear Ones, God bless you.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Today is going to be an errand day. I and every other person on the planet.
There are celebration meal groceries and a few stocking stuffers to buy, presents to deliver to family and friends, and a short stop at the library.

I need to return this book, which I enjoyed.
It's about 3 Swedish sisters coming to America. It was pretty predictable and at times, repetitious, but a relaxing, clean read.

Our Christmas always has a sort of Swedish woodland feel to it.
The pom pom garland used to stand alone, but got some embellished help this year with a bottlebrush garland. Some of the poms are a bit bedraggled, some little girls thought it made a cool jump-rope.

Instead of plain pillar candles in these hurricanes, I put prayer candles, cedar greens, and beaded berries.

Dot has often blessed us with decorations. Like this cute little jewel. I hadn't even told her I liked these little paper houses. Sarah has a little church I've often admired.

This our Christmas Angel. Dot.

The cute stockings she sent last year....

Well, I better get going here.
After errands, I need to get back home again, home again, jiggety-jig .
Everyone had been out of the yarn I needed,
Finally found some the other night, so the race is on....
I've got a scarf to get done for a Christmas gift.

Monday, December 21, 2009


"The children are snuggled all down in their wee little beds
While visions of sugarplums danced in their wee little heads....."

This was supposed to be a birthday activity yesterday, but we postponed it to this evening.

She really got it into it, saying she wanted lots of "detail". She even made a firepit in the backyard with candy corn flames.

And Mama helped little sis get going on hers too.........

She enjoyed all of those lovely bowls of candy being so accessible!

As I was turning out the lights downstairs,
I heard the little kerplunks of dots
and hard candies falling off.
We may have to call in a restoration crew in the morning.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I couldn't help but notice the one little lamb.....attention elsewhere.....unaware of all that God was doing in it's midst.

I love the serene feeling Kate strives for, in her home.

Joe was ever present. Talking, teasing, hugging, cuddling, drawing and being "hungry".
Love that little guy.

Tink's tutu

We wondered what she was up to.....
very quiet....
We found her in the boy's room
doing one of the things she loves best.

She loves girlie stuff,
and is so cute in her little bracelet she wears all the time,
from her great grandma Lorraine.

This was the project du jour.
We just got frames in place.
Can't wait to see it all filled with their smiling little faces!
(All i can do to not jump into my computer and do some "picture straightening"....
so OCD that way)

No pictures of Liam this time.....he was keeping a low profile, watching Ninja with Papa.
Loved spending time with 'em.

Birthday Countdown......

You might have thought we lived near the Cape or had an advent calendar going, with all of the counting down that's been happening around here this month. But nope....just a little girl's birthday. Remember that anticipation you had as a child for that one day of the year that was your special day alone?

She had noted the big top 'cupcake' pan on TV, and thought they were cool, but I wondered how many of them would we ever want? Like after one, it would be "been there, done that". So cheapskate that I am, did an improvisation. Used an old scalloped edge tube pan to bake the bottom part, and a bowl for the top. Unfortunately, I frosted over the scallops, until you couldn't see them, so piped lines. Should have used that flat tip with the saw teeth on one side, all the way around or combed it instead, but oh well, she loved it. Yes it has 9 candles in the picture above and eight in the one below. The top one was "one to grow on"....but was afraid in years to come, we would look at pictures and wonder why she had two 9 yr. birthdays
and no #8. genius that I am.....there is one that doesn't show up, so it looks like it was birthday #7!

There was actually a time today, when she pointed her button out to me that it was her birthday, like MAYBE I hadn't seen it. :)

May all of your best wishes come true.

GiRL !

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bleak House

This past Saturday we were housebound with freezing rains making the roads too hazardous to travel. We even received a phone call from the county admonishing people to stay off of the roads. The girls were all gone, and Jim was engrossed in his music list on his computer, so I took advantage of the quiet and empty house and watched "Bleak House". It was wonderful.
Cold and nasty outside, huddled under a faux fur/velveteen throw on the sofa, sipping hot English tea, a bite of fruit cake, my knitting, and a Charles Dickens series. How great is that?!
The bad part was, I got to the last episode....and it wouldn't play....Waaaaaaaa...wha happened?

The next day, the weather was better and we ventured out to dinner with Bob and Sarah and the Kiddos, and went to the Kiddos program....a different spin-off of Dickens' "Christmas Carol", at their church. The kids did such a good job and we really enjoyed it. (Thanks you guys!)

Today......I gotta tell ya....Mrs. Cratchit's plum pudding, had some heavy competition in the yummy department. We had some "Outdoor Buns" leftover from making sloppy joes on Monday. They were a bit dry, so decided to make them into a bread pudding. Buttered a 8x8 pan, tore a couple of the buns into pieces, whipped some 1/2 & 1/2, cream, eggs, sugar, and nutmeg up and poured over, topped with some pecans swiped off and out of a store pie we didn't like, and baked. Made a yummy vanilla sauce to serve with..... y u m.
Jim doesn't even like bread pudding, and he wanted seconds.

Nothing bleak about that. (Except cholesterol #'s)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Comments Welcome Peeps!

Thank you for your fruitcake comments! Yay Jesslea for going forth with fruitcake traditions!
Boo kitchey doorstops! :)

Dot mentioned the Seafoam, and I had planned on sharing about it....waiting till everyone had received their mailed parcels; so here goes:

When I was in high school, we lived in the country, and were the epitome of little country mice.

We would venture to the city only a few times a year. We would go for our school-shopping, and again before Christmas, for that special dress for the Christmas program at school. The highlight of those trips was to the downtown Sears store. It was not the appliances, TVs, and lawn tractors venue that it is today. Back then, they were relocated to the basement, I think. This was a "department store". It was probably built in the 1950's or so. There were a few wide stairs after you entered, and then a magical land of clothes racks, and.......the CANDY COUNTER.
We would always stop at the candy counter and Mama would select sugar coated orange slices for Dad, chocolate covered fondant bon-bons, (hated the maple ones), chocolate peanut clusters, and......SEAFOAM. We loved it.

Since then, the downtown Sears closed it's doors, and moved to "mall land". No more candy counter.

After that unfortunate turn of events, it became a tradition to stop in to the candy shoppes on every trip to the coast. There is a token piece or two of seafoam purchased; but unfortunately...
the cost of it has sky-rocketed. I have seafoam taste on a saltwater taffy budget.

This Christmas, there has been a scaling way back on the goodie repertoire. With a decision to make fewer items, and to concentrate on things with special memories and fondness, for those I love. I finally made seafoam in my kitchen, and included in the Christmas parcels, we took to the post.

If it has special memories for you too, or you'd like to start a new tradition;
here's the recipe:

1 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 Tablespoon Baking SODA

1 pound chocolate almond bark

Butter a 9 x 13 pan, set aside.

In a heavy saucepan, combine corn syrup, both sugars, and vinegar.

Cook over medium heat, stirring continually, until sugars dissolve.

Stop stirring, and cook until candy thermometer reaches 300 degrees F

(hard crack stage) (Watch closely, it starts out slow and then rises quickly at the end)

You don't want it to overcook.

Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the baking soda.

Pour into your prepared 9x13 pan.
It won't fill your pan. Don't yield to the temptation to spread it...
it will only deflate, and ruin it.

When the candy is cool, break into chunks, and
dip it in melted chocolate almond bark (follow your pkg. melting instructions)

Place on waxed paper, chill till firm.

Make sure to store in tight container, guarding against humidity (and heat).

I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

Do you have any family favorites?

Comments welcome here peeps! I look forward to hearing from you, Comment!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Deck the halls with fruitcake follies, fa la la

Hittin' the fruitcake again, sweetie?

Poor little thing. No one even knew she was tired,
and she fell asleep drawing a picture in the library.

Americans, and our fickle tastebuds.....
We don't seem to have the strong sense of tradition that the Brits do,
Four-score and seven years ago our fore-fathers brought forth on this continent,
but through the years, it has become nothing more than a source of holiday ridicule.
Jane Brocket is busy baking up more, because they've finished theirs off....

and I made ONE to SPLIT with my parents.

I found this recipe the first Christmas Jim and I were married, and have been making it ever since.

It uses mincemeat (I use brandy and rum, apples and raisins one) and condensed milk.

Aren't these stained glass colors pretty?

Through the years, I've tried eating lots of different fruitcakes.
Some are like eating fruits stuck together with karo syrup.
Some are too dry, cakey, not enough goodies.
This one is perfect to my liking.

After it's baked,
I always give it a good soak in "White Christmas", which is a rum and brandy mix.
I wrap it in a muslin "imbibed" cloth.

One of my sisters doesn't like the fruit-cakey stuff at all. I do.
I REALLY love Martha's recipe for Christmas Pudding and made it for several years too,
Have made Italian Pannetone, and Dundee Cake,
but am trying to simplify things these days, so am leaving it at this.
Fruitcake brings back goofy memories:
When I was a little girl, I spilled the beans to my teetotally grandma, that my mama used wine for her fruitcakes. Oops!
It was not cool in Jr. High School, having fruitcake in my sack lunch for dessert,
when anybody who was anybody, had twinkies and Hostess cupcakes.
I'm so glad I'm grown and don't give in to peer pressure anymore!
People can make fun of my fruitcake all they want.
It might not cut it in the school lunch room,
but it sure tastes good with a hot cup of English tea!


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