Happy Easter!

April 20, 2019

He is risen!

I apologize for all the ads that may appear with this video.  I wanted to share the story that started at Christmas and gives us hope at Easter.  I hope you share this story with someone today.

Happy Easter!

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Leprechauns and Christmas

March 25, 2019

Here is another Rankin Bass Christmas show I hope you will like.  This time they combine the leprechauns of Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day with Christmas.

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

 

Christmas Trains

February 25, 2019

For many years, trains have played a big part in Christmas celebrations.  Big or small, it is difficult to not smile and enjoy the look and joy of a train decorated and run for Christmas.

Many homes display trains going around the Christmas tree or weaving their way through a Christmas village.  Stores and malls across the world run trains in their Christmas displays.  Tourist trains run Christmas-themed trains in the weeks before Christmas.  Even big railroads like Canadian Pacific run Christmas trains touring areas served by the company.

I have started a small Christmas-themed layout.  It will progress slowly as I get the money and the time to work on it.  One side of the layout will show a small town at Christmas time; the other will be the North Pole complete with Santa Claus.  I hope to have trains running this Christmas, but the layout will be far from complete.

Until we celebrate Christmas again enjoy these Christmas trains.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Carols

January 25, 2019

Every year, usually around October and November though I have seen them all year round, we are inundated with memes telling us it is too early to listen to Christmas music.  Personally I listen to Christmas music whenever I feel like.

When I was growing up radio stations did not play Christmas 24/7 in the weeks leading up to Christmas like some do now.  The radio station I frequently listened to would play 1 Christmas song at the top of the hour the first week of December.  The second week of December they played 2 Christmas songs, one at the top of the hour the other at the half hour.  The third week of December Christmas songs were played every 15 minutes.  Then came my favorite time of the year.  Starting at 6:00 p.m. Christmas Eve the station began 30 hours of Christmas programming.  It was wonderful.

When I was a teenager I usually listened to Christmas music using cassette tapes I owned or copied from the radio for at least a month in June or July.  One year not too long ago using headphones so I would not bother my coworkers I listened to Christmas music every Friday throughout the year.  I reasoned since Friday is the happiest day of the week I would play the happiest music I could find.  I think there is no music happier than Christmas music.

Now I no longer limit my listening to Christmas music.  I have added Christmas episodes of old-time radio programs.

I love listening to Christmas music.  I still listen to it anytime of the year whenever I feel the need for a quick pick-me-up, a boost to my Christmas spirit.

My favorite Christmas songs are Twas the Night Before Christmas by Fred Waring and His Pennsylvanians and Silent Night by Mannheim Steamroller.  I also must hear songs by Andy Williams, the Ray Conniff Singers, and Mannheim Steamroller.

What are your favorite Christmas songs?  Let’s start our own list.  Perhaps we can use that list to make a great Christmas playlist.

Merry Christmas!

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2019

May the coming year be filled with many blessings, few disasters, many memories, few break ups, good health, and fulfillment in your daily life.

Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2018

Luke 2:1-11

1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Stressful, Expensive Christmas Traditions

November 23, 2018

Are some of your Christmas traditions are causing you more stress or are costing you more than you wish to spend?  Early on those traditions were very enjoyable.  You looked forward to doing them.  But now you may be dreading the tradition that you once enjoyed.

If that is the case with you consider modifying the tradition so it will become enjoyable once again, come up with a less expensive version of the tradition, or drop the tradition all together.

Case in point, when my children were younger (and there were fewer of them) I dedicated one Saturday in December to making cookies for Christmas.  Each child would choose a kind of cookies to make, and we would make it together.  I really enjoyed making cookies with my children. But, as our family grew and three kinds of cookies became five or six kinds of cookies, the tradition became a chore; and I dreaded doing it.  So I decided some changes should be made.  My oldest daughter loved Chocolate Mint Snow-tops so I told her if she wanted them she could make them anytime before Christmas.  Also, instead of every child choosing a kind of cookie, we chose as a group what kinds of cookies we would make.

This year I’m planning to make just two kinds of Christmas cookie, frosted sugar cookies and spritz cookies.  I no longer dread Christmas cookie day.

 

Chocolate Mint Snow-top Cookies

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 10-ounce package mint-flavored, semi-sweet chocolate morsels, divided
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
2/3 cup powdered sugar

In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  In small saucepan over low heat, melt one cup morsels. In large bowl, cream butter and granulated sugar.  Beat in melted morsels and vanilla; beat in eggs.  Gradually beat in dry ingredients.  Stir in remaining morsels.  Wrap in plastic wrap; freeze for 20 minutes or until firm.  Shape dough into 1inch balls; roll in powdered sugar.  Place on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until sides are set but centers are still slightly soft.  Let stand for 2 minutes.  Dust with powdered sugar.  Cool on wire racks.  Makes 3 dozen cookies.

 

 

 

Anticipation – the Start of the Christmas Season

October 24, 2018

At this time of year I really start looking forward to Christmas.  As Halloween nears I find myself getting excited about Christmas, wanting to listen to Christmas music, and looking forward to putting up Christmas decorations.  In some ways I think Halloween is the beginning of the Christmas holiday season.

The producer of some of my favorite Christmas movies and TV specials is Rankin/Bass.  Here is a Halloween video that Rankin/Bass produced.  I think you will enjoy it.

Christmas Crafts To Make (As Gifts)

September 25, 2018

Here are links to two Christmas crafts.  One of them I have made; the other I hope to make soon along with my children.

Coat Hanger Christmas Treescoathangertree

These are a delightful Christmas craft that makes wonderful Christmas gifts.  I made a number of these several years ago and gave them away.  At least one of them is still being used.

http://customsofchristmas.com/crafts/coathanger_christmas_tree.pdf

 

Marbled Christmas Tree Ornamentsmarbledornaments

Hopefully I will be making some of these with my children this year.  They may be used as Christmas gifts for teachers and friends.

http://customsofchristmas.com/crafts/marble_ornaments.pdf

 Happy crafting for a merry Christmas!

We need a little Christmas…

August 25, 2018

 

Christmas Eve by Laura Hope Wood

The snow began to fall as twilight deepened
And swirling flakes fell far into the night.
A fairyland soon covered hill and valley
As drifts piled high in silence deep and white.
There was no sound to break the evening stillness,
But just the feel of Christmas all around.
Somehow the joy and peace that comes with giving
Came with each snowflake as it settled down.
A tall tree trimmed with bright and shining tinsel,
Through frosted windows such a rosy glow
Of presents wrapped in green and crimson tissue
And firelight dancing on the floor below.
A holly wreath with bright red, frosted berries
To greet me as I near the waiting door.
I seem to hear the sound of sleigh bells ringing;
It’s Christmas Eve, and I am home once more.

 

Oven Caramel Corn

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.  Divide 15 cups popped popcorn (unsalted) between two 13-by-9-inch baking pans; set aside.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine ½ cup butter or margarine, 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar, ¼ cup light corn syrup, and ½ teaspoon salt.  Stirring constantly, bring just to a boil.  Remove from heat.  Stir in ½ teaspoon baking soda.  Slowly pour mixture over popped corn, tossing to coat.  Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Makes 15 servings.

 

Poem and recipe from Ideals Christmas magazine 1996

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