Thursday, December 25, 2014

Twelve Days of Christmas - Part 2

I'd planned to post this part yesterday, but after working 12 hours at the hospital, I was pretty wiped, so ended up going to bed early!  So sorry!!  Here is more info though about the Twelve Days of Christmas.
Images: Google

The Twelve Days of Christmas” is a song most who are familiar with Christmas know at least part of. However, confusion exists as to when those days actually begin. Some people start their count on December 13, but this is inaccurate. The twelve days of Christmas actually begin on Christmas day.

The significance of the twelve days of Christmas is that they mark the time between when Jesus was born and when he was visited by the Wise Men. This date, January 6, is typically called Epiphany, or Little Christmas. In some countries, Epiphany is a more traditional date for giving gifts than is Christmas day. This is because giving gifts on this day symbolizes the gifts brought by the Wise Men, also called the Three Kings, or Magi.

The twelve days are often used to mark the journey of the Magi’s travel to Bethlehem for the Epiphany, the revelation of Jesus Christ as the savior and the son of God ("epiphany" is from the Greek word for "revelation").

The Magi had been told by Herod to bring back information to him regarding the birth of a child who would threaten his rule. Instead of informing Herod, the Wise Men bowed to Christ and recognized his sovereignty according to most tales.

For many, the day after Christmas signifies an onset of the blues. Christmas is over, and all the fun is done. It can be helpful to remember the twelve days of Christmas, as many Christians still consider this the Christmas season. Christmas day doesn’t end Christmas but merely begins the holiday celebration.
Though most people don't typically receive gifts for each of the twelve days of Christmas, many do have a small gift giving ceremony on Epiphany. For those who are already missing Christmas, celebrating Epiphany can extend the season. 

The Twelfth Night, often celebrated on the night of Jan. 5, is considered the end of the Christmas season, before the Epiphany the following day. ­The Twelfth Night was a time for feasting in England (partly inspired by Shakespeare's play of the same name) in centuries past. 

Some cultures, like the French and Spanish, celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany with a king's cake, a coffee cake with purple, green and yellow icing to commemorate the visit by the magi to the Christ child. In western cultures though, the King's Cake is associated with Mardi Gras, and the season of Carnival. 

Churches also vary in their celebration of the Epiphany; some Protestant churches celebrate it for an entire season, lasting until the season of Lent, while many Catholics celebrate it as a single day. 

Unfortunately, many have already discarded their Christmas trees long before the twelve days are over. (It is wise to do so if the tree has become exceptionally dry.) However, the Christmas tree is not a traditional Christian symbol, so Epiphany can be celebrated with or without one.

But just because the song is associated with the holiday season, that doesn't mean you can't sing it the rest of the year. So.....Merry First Day of Christmas!!  Many blessings to you all.

Images:  Google

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Twelve Days of Christmas - Part 1

Source:  Google Images
What do you know about the Twelve Days of Christmas?  Loving history, I did a little research........

During the holiday season, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is heard everywhere from shopping malls to television commercials to the radio. Everywhere you go, you can hear about Two Turtle Doves, Seven Swans-a-Swimming and Eleven Pipers Piping (and my favorite - five gold-en rings). But what does any of this mean? What does a song about doves, hens and geese have to do with Christmas?

The carol has its roots in 18th-century England, as a memory-and-forfeit game sung by British children. In the game, players had to remember all of the previous verses and add a new verse at the end. Those unable to remember a verse paid a forfeit, in the form of a kiss or a piece of candy to the others.
Source:  Google Images
One theory, however, connects the carol to the era when Catholicism was outlawed in England, from 1558 and 1829. The carol, it is said, was a catechism song for Catholics to learn "the tenets of their faith," as they could not openly practice in Anglican society. While many still hold the idea of a coded hymn to be true, there's no substantive evidence that this was the case, nor is there any evidence that the verses contain anything uniquely Catholic.

Here are the verses of the song, along with their supposed symbolism:
A Partridge in a Pear Tree - Jesus Christ
Two Turtle Doves - The Old and New Testaments
Three French Hens - The three virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity
Four Calling/Collie Birds - Four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
Five Golden Rings - First five books of the Old Testament
Six Geese-a-Laying - Six days of creation before God's rest on the seventh day
Seven Swans-a-Swimming - Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit
Eight Maids-a-Milking - Eight Beatitudes
Nine Ladies Dancing - Nine fruits of the Holy Spirit
Ten Lords-a-Leaping - Ten Commandments
Eleven Pipers Piping - Eleven faithful disciples
Twelve Drummers Drumming -Twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed

Even though the verses to this song are what most of us associate with the "Twelve Days of Christmas," the phrase refers to an actual 12-day period. The 12 days of Christmas, in fa­ct, are the days from December 25, celebrated as the birth of Jesus, to the Epiphany, celebrated on January 6 as the day when the manifestation of Christ's glory was realized.

While sects of Christianity celebrate the 12 days of Christmas differently, certain ones, such as the Eastern Orthodox Church, consider the Epiphany to be the most important day of the Christmas season. Some exchange gifts on each of the 12 days instead of only on Christmas day.
Source:  Google Images                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
I wouldn't mind 12 days of presents - how about you? 
Come back tomorrow for more info on this song & tradition. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Creative Blog Hop: Festival of Trees

***Sorry this is late. I thought I'd scheduled this to post on Monday but I must have missed a step!!  Hopefully you will enjoy....

Happy Monday!!!

I was nominated by my upline, Susan LaCroix to participate in this Blog Hop, and of course I accepted.  How much fun!!  I chose the stamp set Festival of Trees because I LOVE Christmas trees.  They are a great way to show your individual creativity, and add so much to the joyous holiday season. 

Sorry about the lighting - it was late at night in my craft room.

This is one of the cards that my Stamp Class did last week.  I had seen something similar in the Silhouette Cameo Design Studio, then I saw a card done by another stamper, Paula Reid, on Pinterest, that was also very similar.  I decided to make mine a little easier though since we had several projects to complete in the class. I just love this set and the coordinating punch, and I've used them quite a lot since they came out in the Holiday Mini Catalog.

The card went together very quickly, with one piece of stamped, then embossed Whisper White at the top of the folded card front, and a smaller piece of DSP (from the Trim the Tree Designer Series Paper Stack), at the bottom of the card front.  I originally left the Whisper White plain, but it seemed too flat, hence the embossing.

The next step was just to stamp three trees and punch them out.  The tree stand did have to be "fussy-cut", but it didn't take long and no one complained.  LOL  

The trees were adhered to the card front with Stampin' Dimensionals, and for added interest, the stars were punched out of Glimmer Paper.

Love my stamps - can you tell?? That's what the Cherry Cobbler ink did!!

Ta da.........easy peasy!!  Try it.  I'll list all the products used at the end of the posting.

For the Blog Hop, I have to answer a few questions, so don't leave they are:

What are you working on?
Currently, I'm working on Christmas gifts.  I decided that I would make gifts for many of my friends & family.  Once I got started, I couldn't stop, and I'm having a BALL.  I'm just not sure who I'll be giving all these gifts to!  LOL  
I'll show you what I've done in later posts.

How does your work differ from others in your genre?
I have realized - much to my surprise - that my favorite style is Shabby Chic.  NOT Vintage - there is a definite difference.  I love Shabby Chic because I LOVE layers and textures, and bits of this & that.  My dad said when I was little, I had to touch everything; I'm still very tactile.  I guess that's where my love for textures comes from.  While Shabby Chic is my fave, it doesn't mean that's the only style I enjoy doing. I love a good clean, unstructured project too - sometimes (smile).

Why do you create what you do?
Honestly?  I create what I "feel" at the time I'm working on a project. Does that sound strange?  I just know for me that if I'm not "feelin' it" - it's not going to work.  So, whether it's a card, a scrapbook page, a painting, sewing or cooking, I'm in tune with what I'm creating.  But aren't all creative people like that?

How does your creative process work?
I'm inspired in many different ways.  I may see something that was created by someone else, and think, "I'll try that - but do it this way".  Or, I may see a picture in a magazine with a certain color combo, and work that into a card.  When it comes to sewing I will often see the price of an item, and KNOW that I can create it - better & cheaper!  I usually do some tweaking along the way before I end up with my final "proto-type"; that's all part of the process - which I love.

OK - that's it.  Please make sure you check out the next stop on the Blog Hop next Monday, December 22nd.  The person I nominated is....

Gloria Pollack who was my very first recruit, and a wonderful friend.  She's also very talented.  Love this lady!!

Here is the supply list from my card. You can order all of these items thru my store here.

  • Festival of Trees Stamp Set   135059
  • Endless Wishes Stamp Set   136829
  • Trim the Tree DSP Stack   135824
  • Mossy Meadow Cardstock   133676
  • Whisper White Cardstock   100730  
  • Gold Glimmer Paper   133719  
  • Cherry Cobbler Ink Pad   126966
  • Mellow Moss Ink Pad   133645
  • Early Espresso Stampin' Write Marker   119680
  • Decorative Dots Embossing Folder   133520
  • Itty Bitty Star Punch   133787
  • Tree Punch   135859

Well - thanks for stopping by today.  I hope that you have a wonderfully creative week.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Do You Have the Christmas Spirit?

I must say that Christmas has ALWAYS been a big deal in my family ever since I can remember. My mom and grandma (she lived with us after my grandfather died) would bake/make all kinds of goodies, and we'd always have a real, freshly cut Christmas tree (that was dad's big thing).  The entire holiday season was a joyous time of getting together with friends & family, church activities and celebrating the birth of Baby Jesus. 

My sister Heather made these this weekend......along with a bunch of other stuff!

My mother was a baker & crafter from way back, and I know I got my love for it from her - as well as some talent.  Many years we made decorations and also presents for each other.  I have continued some of the traditions I grew up with, including my love of making gifts for people I care about.  There is nothing that gets me into the Christmas spirit like making presents - unless it's baking Christmas cookies!  LOL  What gets you in the spirit of Christmas?

                                          Yep - sister made these, too!! 

I'm going to share a quick, and actually very yummy recipe for a cookie I made last week.  I call them, Santa's Favorite Cookies because I don't know if they have a name.  They are SO easy to make though.   Here we go...start with this (I told you it's an easy one).  You could use another brand of course but this was on sale!! Just make sure it's a red velvet cake mix.

Pour it in a mixing bowl.

To the cake mix, add 1 egg, 1 stick of almost melted butter, and 2 TBSP. vegetable oil (I forgot to take a picture of this step).  Stir this up.

Now....take about 4 Milky Way bars (I used a couple small bags of the bite size ones), cut them up and add to the mix!

Wanna see that again?? Here they are getting stirred in.

As if that isn't decadent enough, at this point, add 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips - and stir.  Holy Moley!!

You're  going to make little balls (you should get about 3 dozen cookies), and drop these babies on a cookie sheet about one inch apart.  As you can see, I used my Silpat because my cookie sheets need to be replaced!  If you don't have a Silpat liner, use parchment paper.  Flatten the little balls, and bake them for 11-13 minutes at 350 degrees. That's it!

For some cookies, I cut marshmallows in half, and placed the half cut side down on the hot cookies when I pulled them out of the oven.  Sadly, they didn't really melt - they did stick really well though, and tasted WONDERFUL!!

One thing I discovered though is that you need to make sure the Milky Way pieces are inside the dough ball, or they will melt, and spread on your cookie sheet.  So, you will be really sorry if you don't use Silpat or parchment paper.

So give this recipe a try if you need to whip together a quick batch of cookies.  I wonder what other flavors of cake mixes would taste like......hmmmmmm.  

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Special Thanksgiving

Caution:  this posting is a little long........
We have always looked forward to Thanksgiving in our family like I'm sure many of you do.  It's usually celebrated with a huge group of family & friends with lots of noise and chaos in the house.  This year though, things turned out to be a LOT different from Thanksgivings past.  When our son Jack, was unable to make it to the Thanksgiving festivities last year due to his work schedule, and the distance he lives from us, I decided that I will never spend another holiday without my only child if I can at all help it.  So the hubby & I decided to take Thanksgiving on the road this year, and take it to Jack!!

As you have read before, my son is an artist and a student, and single - so he doesn't take time to cook for himself very often.  That being said, he loves his mother's cooking (moi), and I love to cook for him.  I decided to make all of the family traditional foods for our Thanksgiving feast (except for Lita's torrejas).  I'd also cook enough to enable Jack, and us of course, to have some left-overs.  (My hubby eats left-overs, in fact he loves them, so I'm blessed.) 

The first thing I did was ask Jack & Earl (he's the hubby) what they'd like me to make.  The list was kinda long....LOL!! Here is what I ended up making:

  • roasted turkey
  • cornbread dressing (not stuffing y'all)
  • mashed potatoes
  • sweet potatoes (like my dad used to make)
  • greens (sister Heather's recipe)
  • green bean casserole
  • mac 'n cheese (like my Kelly used to make)
  • Mish Mash
  • pumpkin pie
  • pecan pie (my own tried & true recipe)
  • Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits (OK - they came from a box- LOL)
And Earl made his ever requested Jello Pie!!

Of course I was not crazy enough to try to cook all of this after we got to Jack's apartment Wednesday evening!  NOPE - I was prepared!!  Tuesday, I made the pumpkin & pecan pies (which I forgot to take pictures of - what!!??).  I also picked, cut up, washed, washed, washed and bagged the greens so they just had to be cooked (at least 5 hours) on Thanksgiving morning at Jack's place.
 Greens have to be washed numerous times to get the sand/grit out. 
 Back & forth from sink to sink until the water is clean.
Finally clean & draining.
 I rolled them up and sliced away.
A mixture of mustard & collards.
Bagged & ready to pack.

To cook these babies, I brought to boil a quart of chicken stock and the remainder water - enough to cover the greens.  I tossed in some salt, pepper, a few red pepper flakes and a big turkey leg (we don't eat pork).  Once boiling, I added the greens, brought them to a boil again, covered the pot, turned down the heat and let them simmer away! This is only the second time in my life I've made greens (yeah - I'm not a southern gal), but they were on point!  My sister Heather makes great greens, and she told me how to do them.  According to her, you need one bunch per person - so I made three, but I think that's if you want left-overs because three bunches made a good size pot!

All the meat fell off the bone of that turkey leg!!

Tuesday night, I also did Step 1 of the Mish Mash.  Are you familiar with this?  My cousin's wife used to bring it to all the family dinners, and I love it.
Here's what you do:
Take a bag of fresh cranberries (mine had been frozen then thawed), put them in a blender with a little water, and chew them down.  Mix this with 1 cup of sugar and refrigerate at least over night.  To finish the dish the next day, drain a can of crushed pineapple then mix it with the cranberries, 12 oz. of cool whip and a bag of mini marshmallows.  Cover & refrigerate a few hours.  That's it - and it is soooo good!

Wednesday evening when we finally got to Jack's (rush hour and holiday traffic are a bear), I finished the Mish Mash, made the mac n' cheese & cornbread dressing - which I didn't get pictures of either!!  I'll try to remember to post the recipes for those at a later time though because they are both scrumptious!!  Then I relaxed, and spent time talking with my guys.

Thanksgiving morning I put the greens on, and got Tom ready to roast.  To do that, he got a bath, then I slathered him with butter and sprinkled him with poultry seasoning, salt & pepper.  He was stuffed with chunks of oranges, apples and onions.  We have been using a roaster for our turkeys for the last few years and love the results.  I was concerned this time because I usually use a baking bag, but forgot to bring one - so he was just naked in the roaster.  The results were wonderful though.  Here are before & after photos:

Ready for a bath.
Getting carved up!

Next, I put the potatoes in the crock pot to try out a new recipe (from Pinterest) for slow-cooker mashed potatoes - I thought they didn't turn out that great, but my guys liked them.  I won't make that one again though.  I made the sweet potatoes - with marshmallows on top (that's how dad did it!!), and the old stand-by green bean casserole.  Just before dinner, I sliced jelled cranberries (my fave), made the gravy and whipped up the biscuits (not sure why I have a photo of these and not other items). 

Finally we were ready to eat - and eat we did.  Can I just tell you that we were stuffed when we finished!  But everything was SO GOOD!!! 

The best part of the holiday though was being able to spend it with Jack & Earl; my favorite guys in the world.  It was strange not being with the rest of the family, but we enjoyed each other's company so much, and this special time with just the three of us. We are so blessed in so many ways, and have so much to be thankful for - not just on this holiday, but every day.  God is GOOD!!

Love & blessings everyone.......

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