Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hot Chocolate

A friend of mine sent this to me and it's just too good not to share.

A group of graduates, well established in their careers, were talking at a reunion and decided to go visit their old university professor, now retired. During their visit, the conversation turned to complaints about stress in their work and lives. Offering his guests hot chocolate, the professor went into the kitchen and returned with a large pot of hot chocolate and an assortment of cups - porcelain, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the hot chocolate.

When they all had a cup of hot chocolate in hand, the professor said: "Notice that all the nice looking, expensive cups were taken, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. The cup that you're drinking from adds nothing to the quality of the hot chocolate. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was hot chocolate, not the cup; but you consciously went for the best cups... And then you began eyeing each other's cups.

Now consider this: Life is the hot chocolate; your job, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life. The cup you have does not define, nor change the quality of life you have. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the hot chocolate God has provided us. God makes the hot chocolate, man chooses the cups. The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything that they have. Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. And enjoy your hot chocolate.

Speaking of Thanksgiving

A few years ago my friend Lainie and I went to the Apple Butter Festival where I bought this little bag of Thanksgiving Blessings Mix.
I do this for my guests at Thanksgiving, I put it in clear bags with gold stars and tie it with gold ribbon. It is a simple reminder of how far we have come and how much we have to be truly thankful for.
You can find pre formatted cards at Organizedchristmas.com or email me and I will send you my word file.
Here are the instructions.
Thanksgiving Blessing Mix Recipe

2 cups Bugles brand corn snacks
2 cups small pretzels
1 cup candy corn
1 cup dried fruit bits or raisins
1 cup peanuts or sunflower seeds
1 cup M&Ms-brand chocolate candy
16 Hershey's-brand chocolate kisses
free printable blessing mix gift tag


In a large bowl, gently mix all ingredients except Hershey's Kisses.

Place 1/3 to 1/2 cup Thanksgiving Blessing Mix in small cellophane treat bags. Add one Hershey's Kiss to each bag. Close bag with chenille stem or twist-tie.

Print 4 copies of the Thanksgiving Blessings Mix printable gift tag or hand-write your own tags with the following wording.

Cut out tags, and attach one to each bag.

Makes 16 Blessing Mix gift bags.


Thanksgiving Blessing Mix

Bugles: Shaped like a cornucopia or Horn of Plenty, a symbol of our nation's abundance.

Pretzels: Arms folded in prayer, a freedom sought by those who founded our country.

Candy corn: Sacrifices of the Pilgrims' first winter. Food was so scarce that settlers survived on just a few kernels of corn a day.

Nuts or seeds: Promise of a a future harvest, one we will reap only if seeds are planted and tended with diligence.

Dried fruits: Harvest gifts of our bountiful land.

M&Ms: Memories of those who came before us to guide us to a blessed future.

Hershey's Kiss: The love of family and friends that sweetens our lives.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What is your favorite Holiday Recipe?

I am going to attempt to participate in Momdot's Blog Party but please remember, it's 5AM and I am still on my first cup of coffee.
The question today is what is your favorite holiday recipe?
If my husband were answering this question he would change it to "What is your wifes' favorite thing to make?" and that would be reservations but....I do have a favorite recipe for Spiced Nuts that you make in the Microwave that is a huge hit with everyone, so I will share that.
And to be honest I CAN cook.
I just don't.

Microwave Spiced Nuts

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons water

3 cups pecan halves

1 Melt butter in a 4 quart glass casserole dish in the microwave.
Stir in the
brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and water.
Microwave on high for 1 minute.
Stir in the nuts so they are well coated.
Microwave for 4 to 5 additional minutes on high, stirring every minute. Spread cooked nuts out onto parchment or waxed paper to cool.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Turkey Puppet

This is a little puppet I made with my now 9 year old when she was 4. When she was 4, she went to Pre School 2 days a week but Monday was always craft day for us and even now when we get together we love to be Creative.

This puppet is perfect to take an on airplane or in the car or just about anywhere and we enjoyed using it with lots of Thanksgiving fingerplays and songs.

I bought cheap little stretch gloves for $1 ( You can find these at most discount stores or Dollar Stores. I made a pattern with card stock and then I just cut two sets of feathers out of felt and fringed the edges a little.
My gloves came with little cardboard inserts and I just covered them with aluminum foil and slid them back inside so that the fingers didn't get glued together.
Then we glued the feathers on. You might even be able to find felt that already has the sticky backing on it so all you have to do is stick them on but I used a hot glue gun. I am sure you could also use any kind of fabric glue. I used clothespin clips to hold the feathers in place until they were dry and then we flipped it over and did the same thing on the other side.
Don't forget a beak and a gobbler.
Then I drew on details and let her use the glitter paint to decorate.

We finished with a googly eye. There is nothing like a googly eye to bring a project to life.
Here is a fingerplay and a song to get you started. A google search for "Turkey Fingerplays" will give you lots more!"

I have a turkey, big and fat.(Make a fist with one hand-thumb Out for turkey's head)
He spreads his tail and walks like that.(Attach "tail" by spreading Out fingers of other hand and join together)
His daily corn he would not miss.(Poke with thumb at floor)
And when he talks, it sounds like this:Gobble Gobble Gobble
My favorite Turkey song that I remember from my childhood:

A turkey sat on a barnyard fence and he sang this sad sad tune.
Thanksgiving day is coming gobble gobble gobble. I'm afraid I will be eaten soon.
Oh gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble gobble gobble. I would like to run away.
Gobble, gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble, I don't like Thanksgiving day!

Too busy to be creative

Well, I am realizing that blogging is a time commitment and when life gets crazy, I forget to do it.

Since the Holiday season is upon us, I thought I would share the Christmas trees I did for our Holiday Party last year.

One is vegetables and one fruit. I had this idea in my head after seeing and falling in love with the Edible Arrangements. Much to my surprise they went together very easily and they were a big hit at the party.

I bought 2 big Styrofoam Cones at Michaels and completely covered them with green Saran Wrap.

Then I bought bags of vegetables that were already cut. (It was definitely worth the extra money to buy the cut veggies, it saved me a lot of time) I used one Broccolli, one Cauliflower, one Snap peas and a bag of baby Carrots. Then I simply put them on foo foo sticks (those little toothpicks with frilly cellophane on the end) I started at the bottom with snap peas and worked my way up filling in space and trying to keep things even ,alternating broccoli, beans and carrots. Then I went back with cherry tomatoes and stuck them around to look like ornaments.
For the top of the tree I used a star fruit.
For the Fruit tree, I used Clementines, Pineapple, Red and Green grapes and Red and Green Maraschino cherries for the ornament detail.
After the trees were assembled I dropped them down into one of those XL Ziploc bags and put them in my car in the garage over night because they would not fit in the frig.
I have to say that my 9 year old charge, and all my nieces and nephews loved them and they were definitely a conversation piece.
Seldom do the ideas that come to me at 3 AM actually work exactly the way I envision them but this one did!