Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas memories....

The stockings are no longer hanging on the mantel.  There were some nice surprises in them this year, as well as an orange and an assortment of nuts.
The bells have been removed from the door knobs.  The ringing they made when someone opened the doors was a nice cheerful sound!

The tree has been packed away until next December.  There are new ornaments added each year for the grandchildren, and our granddaughter (5) especially talked about them this year.  She pointed out that she didn't have a gingerbread man on the tree and her mother, aunts, and brother did! We'll see what appears next year.:-)

We enjoyed reading several annual family letters, as well as seeing pictures that show how much the children have grown!  The two cards on the top are actually water colors by the senders!

As I cut off the front of the card to use for tags on our gifts next year (do you do this?), I remember the connection we have to the people from whom we received a card this year.

The Christmas Memories book, designed by Susan Branch, is ready to be completed.  Friends and family who came to the house during this Christmas season have written words of cheer inside.  Our future son-in-law "raised the bar" a bit, so to speak, for the rest of us.:-)  Now, the journal awaits my words.

All because of the birth of "one small child."

Tomorrow - "Ready for the New Year!"

Friday, December 30, 2011

Growing things....

The mild weather we have been having has allowed our fall vegetable garden to continue providing
us with fresh produce.  This morning, my husband braved some cold conditions in order to pull some turnips, mustard greens, kale, lettuce, and field cress, along with some arugula.  I have tried to capture the beauty of this harvest with these pictures.  If the weather forecast is correct, we will have low temperatures in the high teens at the early part of next week, and I fear that will be the end of the fall garden.  In the spring, my husband will turn the greens remaining over into the soil, giving a bit of enrichment to our garden spot, which is largely clay.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

When I'm 93....

Yesterday we (my husband and one of our daughters) traveled two hours away to visit with their 93-year old cousin.  When we arrived, she had this skillet of cornbread already turned over onto a plate, waiting on us!:-)  When I'm 93, I hope I am able to do as well!

Thank you for reading, and I appreciate your comments as well!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas past....

There are those of you who already know that I am a retired elementary teacher.  Through the years, I was the recipient of many Christmas gifts, always appreciated, of course.  In this post I would like to share some pictures of some of those gifts.

Pictured above is a glass Nativity set, given to me by a student who just may be reading this blog at this point!  It is setting on top of one of a set of four place mats which I received in December 1967.  I have used them every Christmas since then.  While I am not known to be a person who does crafts, I have tried to find the kind of fabric that was used on these, especially since our family continues to increase in number.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Do you need another recipe?

I promised you another recipe, the one for that second birthday cake, and here it is.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 cup raisins, cut up (I omitted these)
1 cup dairy sour cream
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I omitted these; sprinkled them on top of the frosting)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 eggs

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour rectangular pan, 13x9x2 inches, or 2 round pans, 8 or
9x1 1/2 inches.

Beat all ingredients on low speed, scraping bowl constantly, 30 seconds.  Beat on high speed, scraping
bowl occasionally, 3  minutes.  Pour into pan(s).

Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, rectangle 40 to 45 minutes, rounds 30 to 35 minutes; cool.

Frost as desired.  The "birthday girl" requested caramel frosting for this one, with the nuts on top.

This recipe comes from a Betty Crocker Cookbook, 1986 edition.  What I liked about this recipe is that all the ingredients were added in at the beginning, as the top picture shows.  The resulting batter was very thick and creamy.  This was the first time I had made this particular cake, and I was certainly very pleased with the results.

I posted the Sour Cream Fudge recipe a few days ago.  This is a recipe I have had in my files for 30+
years, and I have no idea about the source.  It wasn't noted on my copy.

Thank you for following/reading/keeping up with this blog.  I appreciate you!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Birthday party....

Merry day-after-Christmas to everyone!  Did  all go well for you on Christmas Day?
Sour Cream Fudge (top) and Sour Cream Spice
Today, we finally got around to having a birthday party for our twins!  These are the cakes.

The other pictures are of our setting up for the "party."

Birthday party with Christmas china; pattern is Christmas Magic by Vista Allegre, no longer produced.
Cakes waiting to be served

We have had a good time with family visiting.  The grandchildren (ages 8 and 5) are such fun to have around.

I promised another recipe for the Sour Cream Spice Cake.  Never fear, it will be here.

Blessings to you!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve....

For this Christmas Eve posting, rather than give another recipe, I just want to leave a couple of pictures that indicate our approach to this very special holiday.  Along with the cookies, cakes, festive meals, buying and wrapping gifts, and decorating, at the heart of our thoughts is that of honoring the birth of the Christ Child.

Merry Christmas to everyone, and thank you so much for reading!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Birthday cakes....

As I mentioned yesterday, this is the day for birthdays in our family.  We had planned to meet at a location that is about midway between where we live and Daughter #2 lives, and Daughter #3 would meet us there as well for dinner.  Unfortunately, that ornery "stomach bug" reared its ugly head, and our grandson isn't quite "up to par."  Consequently, the celebrating has been delayed.  We had not planned to have cake today, anyway, so what I will show you is the process of baking the cakes.

One daughter requested chocolate with white frosting, and the other requested spice with caramel frosting and nuts sprinkled on top!  The cake layers are baked, but I will do the frosting tomorrow.  Today, I will share the recipes with you.  Not too sure about this process of getting the picture quite where I want it.  One day one method seems to work, and another day it doesn't.:-)  That's about the story of my experience with technology.;-)

Sour Cream Fudge is what I chose to bake for the chocolate.  This picture (at the top) shows it as the shortening and sour cream are added into the dry ingredients before the mixing begins.  The second picture shows the batter after the other ingredients have been added to it.  Doesn't it look good, rich, and chocolatey?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wrapping up....

How are you coming along with your "to do" list?  Do you feel like you are making good  progress, or are you feeling "swamped?"  Chris the Christmas clown looks like he's ready for Santa to come.:-)
Rudy the Reindeer says he's been in the dark long enough!
Santa is ready to give  out candy!         

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Two weeks ago, we enjoyed spending time with my nephew and his family at his in-law's home about 10 miles or so from where we live.  It was a rainy day, and the temperature was dropping throughout the day. As we were returning home in the late afternoon, we found ourselves in the midst of snow showers that had been predicted.  As we neared home, however, we discovered our area had escaped the beautiful, white, wet snow.  Nonetheless, I used the "first snowfall" as the reason to enjoy this for supper.  What is better than tomato soup and grilled cheese on the occasion of the first snowfall of the season?:-)
Tomato Soup with Grilled Pimiento Cheese

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Around the house....

Hello, friends!  I want to take a little time and show you something from around the house.

Some of you know that I have a "do-it-yourself" kind of husband.:-)  This is a picture of his latest project two weeks ago.  He decided to replace the carpet in the hallway with hardwood, using wood that had been leftover from a flooring project at our other house about 10 years ago.  This is something he had never done before, and I am really pleased with his efforts.  The second picture shows the hallway as he finished it last week, doing all the work by himself!  Quite an accomplishment, in my opinion.  He more than met his goal of having it done by Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011


I have had this recipe for several years and have longed for an excuse to make it.  Birthday cakes are always around at Christmas time, so there hasn't been an opportunity - until this week-end!

One of our daughters, with her beau, came on Sunday, and I jumped at the chance to try my hand at this!  I copied the recipe from the website of a local television station after the owner of a dairy in our area had given it on an afternoon program.  I failed to write the proper name for it, so the name is my own creation.


1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
4 eggs, separated
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 quart softened peppermint stick ice cream

Grease and flour a jelly roll pan.  Stir the first four ingredients together in a small bowl.  Set aside; beat egg yolks and vanilla on high speed five minutes.  Gradually add 1/3 cup sugar, beating another five minutes.

Beat egg whites to soft peaks; gradually add 1/2 cup sugar until stiff peaks form.  Fold egg yolk mixture into whites.

Sprinkle flour mixture over eggs, folding until combined.

Spread batter into pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes.  Turn out onto a powdered sugar covered towel; roll up cake; cool on rack.  Unroll; spread softened ice cream over; reroll.  Wrap; freeze at least four hours before serving.  Slice ice cream roll; place slices on dessert plates, garnishing with chocolate sauce and candy canes.

It was certainly tasty, and there is a little left for our first "wave" of Christmas "company" on Wednesday.:-)


I want to thank those of you who are following this blog and reading what I post.  I truly appreciate you!

Another greeting....

We have another style of greeting which we are sending this year.  If you look closely, you just MIGHT be able to see that there are some French expressions in the background.  That will probably please one of our daughters.:-)  I have attempted to turn it around in my files, with no luck here.:-(

Now, I have only to finish addressing them, and get them in the mail!

Our Sunday was a very busy, full day, and there will be lots going on here in the future.

I send wishes to you for a good Monday!

Saturday, December 17, 2011


From our house to yours, we send along these Christmas greetings!

There is a little girl I know who will LOVE these polka dots.:-)

While I don't have our cards in the mail yet,  I have made progress on our letter for this year.   We'll have to work on those cards another day.:-)

This has been a busy day here.  Presents have been wrapped, and some cookies have been baked!  It has been fun!

How have you spent YOUR day?  I hope you are enjoying this beautiful season!

Have a blessed Sunday!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Designed by Susan Branch

This may appear to be a little out of focus, but I think the message is clear - ten more days until Christmas!   This is one of Susan Branch's designs, and the blocks can be changed each day as we "countdown to Christmas!

Be sure to give yourself time to relax with a cup of tea in one of these lovely mugs!  They will help get you in the Christmas spirit!:-)  Add a cookie, or two, and that should really "do the trick!"

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Susan Branch Christmas....

I have been a fan/follower of Susan Branch for a number of years.  She has designed several things for Christmas, and I always enjoy being able to set them out during this time.  Pictured here are some of the them.

The flags serve as a welcome at Christmas!  They are the first to be displayed as soon as Thanksgiving is over.

The Christmas Memories book is placed in a convenient spot, and any company is encouraged to add comments when they visit.  The book is designed with space for entries for five years, and this is a new one for this year.  In order to have it, I had to shop on eBay last year.

Christmas Joy is a book that I have given several times - to our daughters as well as to friends.  It is just the thing to read at this time of year.

Christmas From the Heart of the Home has some recipes that have become favorites of family members.  It is one of my favorite past times to read through it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Christmas tradition....

Yesterday I spent time baking a Red Velvet Cake, something that has become a Christmas tradition.  I baked it for a luncheon today with fellow retired teachers from my school.  The first picture shows the cake after it was finished yesterday.  The second picture shows it after it was cut today for serving.

Incidentally, this cake has been awarded a blue ribbon at our local fair for the past two years!:-)

There were nine of us who gathered at a fellow retired teachers home.  We had a lovely time together.  It was definitely one of the bright spots in the season.

Tomorrow - A "Susan Branch Christmas."

Monday, December 12, 2011


As promised yesterday, I am posting my first recipe on my blog.  This is the Cranberry Casserole
that I served to the bridge group for breakfast last Friday.  It is a recipe that I have had for about 23 years, printed in a cookbook from a school where I once taught.  The recipe was submitted by someone in the community, celebrating the opening of a new school addition, which had been greatly needed.   Enjoy!


2 cups cranberries
3 cups diced unpeeled red apples
1 cup sugar
1 stick melted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Mix first three ingredients; put in casserole dish.  Mix remaining ingredients together; spread on top of first mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

I assembled this the night before, covered it, and refrigerated it.  Then, took it out of the refrigerator for several minutes before it was time to place it in the oven.

This can be a good dessert, as well as a good side dish.  It is best served warm, but I like it cold, too.:-)

Until next time......

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Good Sunday evening to you!

I just wondered if  you are making progress on your "to do" list.  Has your tree gone from this first photo to the second one?  Or - maybe the third one?

No, none of these are  our tree.:-)  We are, however, making progress on that "to do" list.

Today, the 3rd Sunday of Advent, was another wonderful day at our church.  Once again the music was an outstanding portion of our service.

I hope your Sunday has been a blessing to you!

Tomorrow - will it be a day for a recipe posting?