Author Topic: Holiday Drop In Open House  (Read 4568 times)

BooksAdmin

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Holiday Drop In Open House
« on: November 28, 2016, 09:35:26 PM »


Welcome, welcome, ALL to our Annual Holiday Drop in, our 20th Anniversary Special!

Come as you are, have a glass of egg nog, and greet old friends. We hope to make this a Homecoming for old, and we hope, brand new friends, and that you will each bring the gift of sharing a memory, a recipe or a thought for the holidays.

We have a  Raffle, too,  and just by posting here you are in the contest. Winner to be announced the 23rd of December.

So come on in, and note the Topics du Jour as we count down to the 25th:



December 1-2:  Come on home and tell us the best book YOU read this year and why.
December 3-4:  Give us the gift of your favorite Holiday  Recipe
December 5-6:  What Christmas or Hanukkah do you remember best and why?
December 7-8:  Did you ever have a disastrous holiday you laugh about now? The dressing that ran, the turkey which never cooked? Tell us about it.
December 9-10: Are you giving a book for Christmas or Hanukkah? If so, what is it?
December 11-12: What is your favorite book with a holiday theme? Can be   a mystery, etc.
December 13-14: What one thing do you absolutely have to have at Christmas or Hanukkah or it wouldn't be right December 15-16: What's your fDecember 17-18:  What's your favorite TV holiday program?
December 19-20: - As a child was there an annual social event you attended and do you still attend that social event 
December 21-22: What is your favorite memory from childhood of an unforgettable  Christmas or Hanukkah which means the most to you today?

December 23: Raffle winner announced


December 26- 31: Till January we'll we'll discuss  this charming short story, an allegory of virtues, A Kidnapped Santa Claus  by  L. Frank Baum

Lyman Frank Baum (15 May 1856 – 6 May 1919) was an American author of children’s books, best known for writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. A Kidnapped Santa Claus is a Christmas-themed short story written by L. Frank Baum. It is a continuation of the story set forth in The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, telling how Santa Claus was kidnapped by “Daemons” in a plan to make children unhappy. It has been called one of Baum’s most beautiful stories and constitutes an influential contribution to the mythology of Christmas.

http://www.aesopfables.com/kidnap.html


Everyone is welcome!

bellamarie

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2016, 11:16:47 PM »
I've got my new Christmas jammies, favorite Christmas mug, a few Christmas books to begin reading, and my Keurig caramel cappuccino cups stocked up.  Don't care for eggnog.  Can't wait for December 1st!! 
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

ginny

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2016, 06:54:20 AM »
:) That sounds cosy, Bellamarie! You're all ready!

A bright good morning to you all here in our Countdown to Christmas or the Holidays, and we hope, here in our 20th year of bookclubs on the Internet, that you'll drop by, have some refreshments, and share the gift of your thoughts or memories every day this month.

Remember just by posting a message here you are entered in our Raffle for a gift card to B&N or Amazon, whichever you choose, winner to be announced by drawing December 23.

The topics for the first 4 days are:

December 1-2:  Come on home and tell us the best book YOU read this year and why.
December 3-4:  Give us the gift of your favorite Holiday (or any) Recipe

We hope you'll share a memory, a recipe, an opinion about one of the topics or a laugh with us this holiday season!

Welcome, Everybody!

I'll start off with the best book I read this year, and it's hard to say, really, I've read so many  good ones. I'm not sure how one picks the "best" of anything, but I know what I really enjoyed. The one that really stands out for me  is Bill Bryson's  The Road to Little Dribbling, I absolutely love his humor and his recounting of what it's really like to travel all the places he does, in this case he's returned to England, older, wiser and a bit more the  curmudgeon. 

It set me off on a reading jag of all his books, which has not stopped. So he'd have to be at the top of the list.

But what's YOURS?

Welcome!


Mkaren557

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2016, 12:54:08 PM »
My favorite book of 2016 hands down is The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson.  I loved this book for many reasons:  That transition from the Victorian Age to the Modern fascinates me; I grew to love the characters; and I hated to finish the book.  This book plus other books that remain with me have pointed out to me that, although plot is absolutely crucial to a novel, it is the characters that stay with me.  I guess I am drawn to so many "quiet" books and to Victorian novels.  Action books and mysteries, and I know many of you love them, make me anxious.  This December in the bookclub will be lots of fun.  Thanks Ginny.

CallieinOK

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2016, 04:36:44 PM »
One of my favorites this year was The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton.  Set in pre-WWII England through a bit beyond the 60"s, the plot development kept me interested all the way through.
I also enjoyed some biographies including:  Hissing Cousins (Eleanor Roosevelt and Alice Roosevelt Longworth) by Marc Peyser , Sisters In Law (Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Sandra Day O'Connor) by Linda Hirshman and First Ladies (Jackie Kennedy through Michelle Obama) by Kate Anderson Browen.

nlhome

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2016, 05:31:15 PM »
One of my favorites this year was A Man Called Ove, which I bought as a joke for my sisters (I usually get them a book to share back and forth and then pass on to my aunt, and the blurb said something about a grumpy old man, which would fit certain people in their lives) but which they both enjoyed so much then insisted I read it next. And I did enjoy it.
But a second is The Seventeen Second Miracle, which a casual friend insisted I would like. I thought it would be soppy sweet, but it isn't really. Both are books I'd recommend.

bellamarie

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2016, 10:31:13 PM »
I have read a couple of books that just simply made me never want them to end, but since I have to pick one as a favorite, I choose the book that sat in a box of books a very sweet friend gave to me years ago I forgot about, and decided to look in the box just this summer.  My choice is... Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah.  This was simply one of the best books I think I have ever read.  It is about two girls who share their secrets, hopes and dreams with each other, and bond like sisters.  I did not want this book to ever end.  I laughed, cried and related to so many of the things these two girls shared as teens, and then into their adult lives.  It really made me cherish my best friends even more than I thought possible.  Oh heavens forbid, I just saw there is a sequel to this book called Fly Away!  How did I not know this?  That is going on my Christmas wish list!
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

Annie

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2016, 04:30:57 AM »
Hello, everyone!  Couldn't fall asleep tonight so i decided to look in on our Holiday Homecoming.  So,unable to remember the title of one of my favorite books read this year, I jumped out of bed to look up the title and while I was up, I decided I was hungry, so had to have a bowl of cereal and I just got back in bed.

 My favorite book for 2016 was "All The Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr. A book that Ella mentioned many times here on SL.  The author entwines two totally different stories about a blind girl growing up in France and a poor boy but brilliant, growing up in Germany before WWII and of course, how they meet during the war.  Doerr has a magical genius for telling a spellbinding story. I can't wait to read more of his books. He has won many awards for his writing.  I can't understand why I've never heard his name before.

Oh, I wanted to say that I too am in my p.j's but unlike Bella, I am not ready for Christmas!  Gadzooks, Bella! When do you find time to sleep?? Guess I better get crackin'! We have always hosted that day with a bring-a-dish-to-pass dinner.  My son's wife and two daughters always make
up a menu and they choose the meat and whatever goes with it!  The rest of us just choose one or two things from the menu!  Jane's dad bakes cookies but I always choose pies.  Fruit pies!

Good grief! Look at the time!  Nitey nite!😄😄😄

"No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth." Robert Southey

bellamarie

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2016, 08:46:26 AM »
Annie, I was just looking at that book on Amazon trying to decide if I want to buy it.  This is what I read about the book: It won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. Wikipedia  I'm trying to decide if I should read the book before seeing the movie.  I generally like the books better

Here is the movie trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALjnZ0F9Pow

I think I may have been sleeping while you were up having a bowl of cereal!  Hope you finally got a good night sleep.   :)
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

PeggyCasing

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2016, 09:58:59 AM »
My favorite book of THIS year is an odd favorite, of sorts.  It is Blood Brothers, by Elias Chacour, with David Hazard.  It is autobiographical, but written in a way that conveys the story of Israel and Palestine from the "inside."  Chacour has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times, and it is easy to see why.  For me, this is one of those books that opens new ways of seeing the world, and it makes me acutely aware of the fact that I need to learn more about world history.  I think the thing that will stay with me the most is all about perspective.  A freedom fighter can be called a rebel, depending on perspective.

Mkaren557

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2016, 12:07:56 PM »
Peggy
I did teach World History to high school ninth and tenth-graders and current world problems to twelfth graders for several years.  I loved these classes because of incidents such as this:  I can't even remember what I was trying to teach at the time but up went freshman Sam's hand.  "Oh no," I thought, "another interruption."  Sam did ask a question unrelated to what I was teaching at the time, "Mrs. Hayes, would you explain the Middle East to me?"  This is what we called, a teachable moment.  Gulp!  I can't remember all of what I said but, I started with, "Sam, I am not sure  anyone can explain that but I will try."  And in the twenty minutes left in the class, I explained several thousand years  to Sam and a group of fourteen year olds.  I really want to read your best book of 2016 to add to all the books I have read since that day to better answer the hardest question I was ever asked. By the way, I now follow Sam on Facebook where he is still provoking discussion by asking loaded questions.

PatH

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2016, 01:00:02 PM »
Peggy, welcome to this side of the site.  I hope we'll see lots more of you.

Wow, Karen, you must be good at marshaling your thoughts quickly.  I bet some of those students still remember your explanation to this day.

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2016, 04:02:23 PM »
The book I enjoyed reading the most this year was The Misanthrope by Molière -  actually a play - I do not read that many plays but this was fabulous - the quips and the line of thinking and the small scenes, some as if a sword fight of finesse using wit - I loved it - it was prompted by my seeing a French movie with English sub-titles Bicycling With Moliere If you have Prime it is free and would heartily recommend viewing it.

Karen, your Sam sounds like the kind of happening that helps us all grow - what a blessing to have such a student.

This year I almost feel as if to find any Christmas I need to block out most of the news - my head feels as if it will explode and I do not watch TV except on the weekends - need to get my Cds going - Been reading my book of daily writings for advent but all I seem to do is argue with the sentiment that I am not seeing as connecting to so much of the world's pain.

Please, what tricks are y'all using to get your heads wrapped around the holidays.

I hope, I hope, I hope, Joan joins us because I am hoping she can share her memories of living in Israel and tell us about Hanukkah and how she celebrates the days that I believe starts the same day as the Christian Christmas this year.  I wondered if there is any lead time of traditional preparation as Christians have Advent. 

Annie

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2016, 08:34:59 PM »
Welcome, Peggy.  Loved your story about teaching the curious student and that he is still asking challenging questions on Facebook.  Is he old enough to join us here on SeniorLearn!  We always enjoy curious folks!😊😊
"No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth." Robert Southey

bellamarie

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2016, 09:23:34 PM »
Barb, I don't need any tricks to get me into the Christmas spirit, I am filled with it each year as we draw close to Thanksgiving when I begin decorating my entire house inside and out, and wait for the kids and grandkids to come for Thanksgiving dinner.  I love the excitement of the grands big & small.  I also started The Elf on the Shelf a few years ago, so it's lots of fun watching my little grandkids Zak & Zoey run around searching for the Elf on the Shelf. 

The funniest story, last year I got out all my decorations and no where could I find that Elf.  So of course I had to buy a new one to keep up the tradition.  I bought a girl one with a baker's cap and apron and a matching one for the grands.  When they came for the annual cookie bake/sleepover the Elf was in the Christmas bowl of flour.  Oh what a burst of joy came from Zak & Zoey when they found her in the flour bowl.  So this year lo and behold I was unpacking my Christmas sweaters and there lay the missing Elf I could not find.  When Zak & Zoey came for a sleepover they squealed when they found two Elves.  They named them Andrew & Annabella or as they said Andy & Annie for short!  I'm having so much fun sneaking and hiding them elves for them to go hunting to see where they are and what mischief they are in.  Apart from all that.... I teach CCD third grade and we are in full swing of Advent projects and discussing the reason for the season, Jesus' Birthday!  Of course they do get sidetracked with Santa. 

Here is little Zak & Zoey
https://scontent-iad3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/12342436_10208504771120172_7792719337601054578_n.jpg?oh=3e82343ac0ca48be9476ceadc872684d&oe=58B57837

My little elves busy making cookies
https://scontent-iad3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/12346375_10208504778920367_3986387660082020626_n.jpg?oh=969ce5de1ae74d8ed8d3f8545764440d&oe=58B47F83

We usually end up with more flour on us than on the counter.
https://scontent-iad3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/12341210_10208504782200449_2144611518916804191_n.jpg?oh=d37b27b2d0f4fdda6089f62fb0afec8d&oe=58B7C165

Hope this helps bring some Christmas joy & spirit to you all! 
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

PatH

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2016, 10:39:16 PM »
Looking back, my reading this year seems unusually nondescript.  Some things do stand out, though.  One is Ovid's Metamorphoses.  We read a few portions of it here, and I read some more on my own, though nothing like all of it.  There is an element of cruelty, and violence toward women, that I don't like, but the power of the old myths, and the beauty of the poetry (as much as comes through in translation) and the spinning of a continuous skein of stories through time, from the creation to the present time (Ovid's present) make it worth the effort.

A science fiction book I liked a lot was Elizabeth Moon's Remnant Population.  I thought of it when we were reading Two Old Women, and it turns out that Moon had heard of Wallis' book, but not yet read it, when she began her book.  When a colony is forced to leave its planet, one old woman decides to stay behind.  She finds a new set of personal resources and abilities, as she fends for herself and interacts with the native alien population.

A nonfiction book I liked a lot was Svante Paabo's Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes, which describes the author's successful attempt to elucidate the complete DNA sequence of Neanderthal man from the few, often poorly preserved, existing samples.  It's rather technical, though written for laymen, but it makes a very good story if you're willing to make the effort.


mabel1015j

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2016, 01:20:00 AM »
This is a difficult task. I usually have a stand out in my reading with others being just o k, but I have three this year that are in between those two categories -  ;) - not stand outs, but better than just o k. And they are all equal!

Plantation by Dorothea Benton Frank; The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier; The Nightengale by Kristin Hannah. Totally different environments. Plantation is, of course, South Carolina in the present and is Frank's typical discussion about family relations. Chevalier writes about 1850s Ohio and a young English Quaker woman who discovers that having an ideal about abolition as a concept is very different than being in the USA and faced with the consequences of aiding escaping slaves. The Nightngale is about two sisters who face the Nazis in WWII France in very different ways.

Good reads all three. Why? They are all good stories; they are all good authors, over and over again; the characters' dilemmas all gave me pause to think about what I would do in their shoes. Those stories always grab my imagination.
.....Jean

bellamarie

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2016, 08:11:22 AM »
Jean,  my second choice for a favorite this year was The Nightingale.  I simply was amazed at the risks the two sisters were willing to take to protect the soldiers and the children in France during WWII.  It left such an impression on me, it made me wonder if I could ever be that brave in war time.  I would like to think I would be more like Vianne because of my passion to protect children.  I don't think I would be capable of doing the trekking through the terrains as Isabelle did to help and hide the soldiers. I know these two sisters made me stop and really think about their heroic acts of bravery during the war.

PatH., I think Ovid's Metamorphoses was my least liked book I have ever read, for the reasons you pointed out,
Quote
There is an element of cruelty, and violence toward women
  I did read The Odyssey by Homer after reading  Metamorphoses and liked Odyssey much more. 
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

dean69

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2016, 08:30:20 AM »
I don’t post often on this site, however, I read all the posts and enjoy learning what others are reading.  It would be difficult to name the book I enjoyed most during the year so here is a list of some of the books I have enjoyed in 2016.

George Washington’s Secret Six by Brian Kilmeade (non-fiction) the beginning of the Culper Spy Ring
Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope-(fiction) a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s book.
Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn (fiction) the Queen feeling out of sorts remembers a train she loved in her younger days and finds her way back to it.
When Books Went To War by Molly Guptill Manning (non-fiction) The story of how books supplied to American soldiers during WWII helped to relieve the boredom and as a result of their reading many were able to excel when the G.I. bill became available.
Strange Gods by Susan Jacoby (non-fiction)  the cultural and political reasons why many people convert to a religion other than the one born into.
Casino Royale by Ian Fleming (fiction) Ian Fleming was one of the subjects of a biography class I taught.  Never much of a James Bond fan, however, I rather enjoyed this book as well as others and several movies I watched in preparation.  I also read a biography of the fictional James Bond by John Pearson.

PatH

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2016, 10:17:55 AM »
I still have one of the books my husband got in the South Pacific.  He was very grateful for them.

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #20 on: December 03, 2016, 01:07:24 PM »
Goodness from books to recipes - I really do not have so much a favorite as enjoying the adventure of preparing food for a group again when I visit my daughter over the holidays. I like to cook and cooking for one where it can be an adventure at times it is not near the fun as cooking for a group.

My daughter makes the best pie crust that everyone raves over and with that she attempts all sorts of apple pie versions - Once she packed whole apples with only the core removed where the butter and brown sugar and cinnamon was placed - Years ago I used to do a fruit cake that required I soak dried fruit in rum for 6 weeks before assembly and then wrap the baked cake in a rum soaked towel for another 4 weeks - and with all that it did not taste of rum - just a warm feeling after eating - of course it was so rich you could only eat a small bit that we usually topped with a dollop of whipped cream.

Now my favorites are soups - like going back to childhood when there was always a pot of soup on the back of the stove. I usually get a whole chicken and while raw remove the breast leaving the carcass also, remove the legs and thighs as one piece but leave the wings and cook that in water with celery and leeks. After cooking for hours I strain it and throw out the spent meat, celery and leeks. I often put the carcass back in a small fresh pot of water to leach out anymore that is hidden in the bones.  Then I have my pot of stock - In another big pot I soften some cut onion, (but not minced, they burn too easily) cut carrots and celery add the breast cut in half, legs and thighs that I removed earlier, add about a third of a cup of wine cover for about 5 minutes and then add the stock with a couple of bay leaves and a ground mixture of dried herbs from the garden that include rosemary, thyme, marjoram, parsley and savory. I add some whole black pepper and some ground pepper.

No salt till I add the veggies. However, at this time I add a cored apple to sweeten the pot - let it simmer about an hour and a half then add either whole or cut in half carrots, potatoes, small whole onions, cuts of celery, a leek or two some salt - let that simmer another half hour then add some mushrooms cut in half and if the green beans look good or maybe some kale and let that simmer till the mushrooms look soft and then the pot is kept just below simmer and becomes the go-to pick-me-up all day.  It is great to have on the day when there is a lot of in and out, setting up a tree or decorating in and out.

I do frig what is left in the pot after supper to be on the safe side and I do get my chickens locally to assure they are not filled with growth hormones or penicillin although, I can no longer find anyone that feeds their chickens with scrapes and local corn - all commercial corn for livestock has at minimum been sprayed and various bug retardants are included in the fertilizer and some feed is gown from altered seed.

The small second pot of bones - after a couple of hours I remove the carcass and add an onion and an apple each cut in quarters, pepper and salt after about a half hour I usually end up adding rice or noodles and here of late after the rice or noodles are cooked I add some frozen mixed veggies so that it is a thick soup that is more like stew without chunks of meat.     

One of my grands likes to cook so last year I gave him some of my cookbooks that I used during the early years of my learning to be a homemaker. I still have far too many cookbooks but I enjoy reading them for ideas - I prefer the ones that have lots of photos of the area and tell something about the food or how the food was served or the experience of preparing, even stories that include a recipe along the way.  Since I seldom if ever use a recipe like a science project but rather, get the balance of foods in the dish and the math formula for the ingredients except, for a few cakes that require an exact measurement of ingredients, I am off adding and smelling and tasting till it is ready.

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #21 on: December 03, 2016, 03:56:24 PM »
Found this - Interesting... Each country (or region) has its own traditional Christmas gift-bringer.


PeggyCasing

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #22 on: December 03, 2016, 08:51:09 PM »
Mkaren557, Wow!  Thank you for sharing your story.  I am an educator, and I fully appreciate the wonderful gift that an insightful and inquisitive mind can provide for a teacher and ALL of her learners.  When you get "one of those kids" in your room, it makes the year a joy... even if it is a huge challenge!

Thank you, all, for the warm welcome!   

As far as a favorite Christmas recipe goes... I am of German (and Polish) descent, and so one of my family's favorite traditions is baking (and eating) Springerle cookies at Christmas.  They require special molds, or a special rolling pin, but if you like the flavor of anise (black licorice), you'd love them! 

4 eggs
1/2 tsp anise oil (I usually use more)
2 C granulate sugar
4 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder

Lightly grease 4 cookie sheets. Set aside until needed.
beat eggs until very light.  They should be the consistency of cake batter. Gradually beat in the sugar.  Beat until the mixture is creamy (at least 15 minutes if using an electric mixer!)Stir in anise oil.  Sift together the flour and baking powder.  Fold into the egg mixture bu hand. 

Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until 1/2 inch thick. Lightly sift four over the dough. (some people use confectioner's sugar instead to "flour" the molds.) Place springerle molds onto the dough; press down, or roll, firmly and evenly until the mold's design registers in the dough. Remove the mold. Use a small knife to cut around each cookie, and place on prepared cookie sheets. Repeat, until all dough has been used. Let stand uncovered, and allow to dry 8 hours, or overnight. I leave them on top of my stove. -I don't have cats!  Bake in a 300 degree oven about 20 minutes.  They shouldn't brown.  They are done when they are firm and you start to see the slightest browning on the underside of the cookie.  This recipe makes about 30 cookies, depending on size.  Enjoy!

PatH

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2016, 10:58:33 AM »
Peggy, I love springerle, but haven't ever tried to make them.  Unless the egg-sugar mix is touchy, it doesn't look too hard, with a sturdy mixer.  I dislike black licorice, but like anise very much.  Whatever it is in the licorice I don't like isn't in anise.

PatH

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2016, 11:19:20 AM »
This recipe for spiced, sugared nuts is very easy and VERY good.  We used to make it for presents.  Warning: it's easy to eat quite a lot of them.

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2-1 tsp allspice
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 pound nuts--pecans or walnuts

Put everything but the nuts in a saucepan big enough to hold the nuts later, cook to 238 degrees (medium soft ball).  Remove from heat, stir in nuts, mixing well so all are coated, and spread out on wax paper to dry.

Mkaren557

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2016, 11:35:16 AM »
Christmas Eve in my family has been the time the whole family gathers.  I have three brothers and their wives, two sons, and eight nieces and one nephew, two grandchildren, and two grandnieces.  We decided long ago that we would not make a meal for this occasion, but we would each bring favorite hors d'ouvres and desserts. I loved my sister-in-law's chipped beef dip, the cold shrimp to dip, and my brothers steak fondu best, but of course sampled everything.  I always tried to bring something different every year.  So one year, I made brie en croute.  O.K. I confess that I used the recipe I found on the Pepperidge Farm puff pastry package.

Ingredients

1 sheet of puff pastry, rolled out to go around brie
i round brie
raspberry jam

Place brie in the center of the puff pastry
Cover the top pf the brie with raspberry jam
Fold the pastry around the brie and seal
Bake on cookie sheet at 400 for 30 minutes and let cool slightly
Serve on a plate surrounded by triscuits or any cracker you choose
I also heat some raspberry jam and place in a dish near the brie.  My family likes to spoon this on the brie


After the first year, I made this each year by popular demand

After having the first helping of one or more of my sister-in-law's pies and/or some of the Christmas trifle, we adjourned to the living room for a gift swap.  Now I spend Christmas Eve alone watching Christmas movies.  This year I am going to bake Brie for myself and sip on my favorite drink, Baily's Irish Cream.

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2016, 03:41:49 PM »
Karen your brie sounds grand - here instead of the raspberry jam we use a combo fig and jalapeno jam - we also make a sandwich we all call the Barton Creek after a local swimming hole made with a 12 inch piece of baguette split and a light smear of butter on the bottom - fill with folded slices of both Chicken and Ham then the brie and combo fig and Jalapeno jam topped with young loose lettuce and sprouts - it is so good and so filling even the men are full with one sandwich.

Last year I too spent Christmas alone - my only error was going to the old downtown Church for Christmas morning Mass - it was ever so disappointing for several reasons - I would have enjoyed attending Mass in my local parish even if after the fire they rebuilt an ultra modern building - at least I would have known folks to chat with for a minute after Mass - ah so... Although it was a nasty rainy day there was a break and I did get to take my Christmas walk - With everyone in their homes and the roads practically empty it was so quiet it was like the memory I have of my childhood Christmas, before highways when just the main streets were paved. The only thing missing were the boys shooting fireworks off at each other. 

Pat those sugared nuts sound perfect - a bumper crop of pecans this year so that would be perfect rather than pralines.  Perfect neighbor gift.  Yes, remember when liquorish sticks were flavored with anise - it has been years since I have even seen a long liquorish stick - the last time I did see them they were red not black. 

Peggy where do you get your Anise Oil? Mom used to bake them when I was a kid and someplace I still think I have a few of her old wooden molds - I should try your recipe but is it too late - as I recall Mom made them before Thanksgiving so they could age - I do not think you are talking about Anise flavoring that can be purchased in those small bottles from Adam's or other brand names of spices and flavors. 

Kristen

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #27 on: December 04, 2016, 06:37:13 PM »
BarbStAubrey: "Years ago I used to do a fruit cake that required I soak dried fruit in rum for 6 weeks before assembly and then wrap the baked cake in a rum soaked towel for another 4 weeks"

I love fruitcake and I don't care if almost everyone I know makes fun of it.  We used brandy, wine, or fruit juice in the fruitcake and then dribbled whiskey over it before sealing it in waxed paper and foil for 6-8 weeks before Christmas.  Even as a child, I always went by the idea of "if some is good, more is better."  One year, my mom let me dribble on the whiskey.  We did it when the fruitcake first came out of the oven, so it sizzled when it hit the cake and soaked in.  I didn't just use the amount my mom had measured out.  I got more out of the bottle and kept going till she came back into the kitchen to find a very soggy fruitcake.  She managed to fix the problem by putting it back into the oven till it dried out enough.  I don't think anyone who ate it realized what had happened but I still remember that whenever I think about making a fruitcake.

bellamarie

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #28 on: December 04, 2016, 06:57:44 PM »
I host the annual Christmas Eve family get together, so after we all meet at church for 5:30 Mass, we return to my house for dinner.  As far as a favorite recipe, I would have to say it is a chocolate cookie called Chocolate Crinkles, I got the recipe from a friend of mine over thirty years ago and have baked them every year since.  I see Betty Crocker has the recipe and a picture of them at this link: 

http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/chocolate-crinkles/941e22b3-9a48-4fb1-bdb0-27479e76d484



 
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

ginny

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #29 on: December 04, 2016, 07:07:34 PM »
Goodness, I think this is one of the most interesting discussions I have ever read, I am loving everything everybody has said, it's like opening presents. First the best book you read this year, now the recipes! And tomorrow....


December 5-6:  What Christmas or Hanukkah do you remember best and why?

Meanwhile Ann Alden has sent me her recipe for creme de menthe bars, and I want to get it in, in time:

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/11369/creme-de-menthe-bars/

She says: Using a jelly roll pan(11x15) is the way to go!  Not so much in each piece gives you a perfectly sized piece. Have been baking these since 1991.

I always think I'll try something new every holiday. I don't know what it IS about my ability to cook but I ALWAYS always mess up the recipe, today being no exception.  And it's not even a holiday.  haaha

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #30 on: December 04, 2016, 07:49:52 PM »
hahaha Kristin you sound like as a child you were in imp - love it that your mom could repair the soggy swampy distillery you created - hahaha - oh oh oh.

Bellamarie do you serve fish for Christmas Eve dinner? I had friends who were Polish and they served a large meal on Christmas Eve but it was always fish done in a long fish pan and they had a starter set out before they sat down of a salmon recipe that was prepared in a copper fish mold and un-molded in a bed or sprouts they grew on the window sill.

Ginny are you saying you would not do well as a contestant on the British Baking Show  ;)

Had a surprise - my next door neighbor came over with a box of homemade tiny cakes - small like miniature cupcakes upside down coated with a jam and then heavily sprinkled with no empty space white Nonpareils - so good I have been eating them all day instead of saving them to eat slowly during the week - my excuse it is Sunday and during Advent I curb my sweet tooth ;) of course if you believe that I have a bridge I can sell you.

PatH

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #31 on: December 04, 2016, 09:01:59 PM »
Sorry, Barb, I've already got a bridge I'm trying to sell.

bellamarie

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #32 on: December 05, 2016, 12:23:08 AM »
Barb, Egads!  NO traditional fish in my house.  First off there are no Polish ancestors on either lines in my family or my hubby's family, and secondly, we do not have a liking for much fish in our family.  I cook a ham, my daughter in law makes a delicious Rosemary potato dish and the other daughter in law makes green bean casserole.  Then we have hubby's favorite appetizer cold shrimp and sauce, and a ton of other finger foods.  (The shrimp is the closet our family gets to seafood being eaten in our house.)

Speaking of snacking on some sweets, my friend brought me two boxes of biscotti last night as a thank you for watching her five children while she went with her husband to his company Christmas party.  They are Nonni's dark chocolate almond, and the other box is salted caramel.  I had a couple with a cup of caramel cappuccino made from my Kuerig.  Oh were they ever delicious and only 110 calories.  I giggled when I saw Nonni's as the brand name since I am Italian, and all my grandchildren call me Nonni!  She said that is why she chose them.  No bridges to sell!  😉
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

PatH

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #33 on: December 05, 2016, 09:23:36 AM »
Nonni's biscotti are truly delicious.  I buy them whenever I see them, which unfortunately isn't very often.

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #34 on: December 05, 2016, 11:21:35 AM »
December 5 and no more children in our family - everyone is grown - this was the night to write letters to St. Nickolas since tomorrow is the feast of St. Nickolas - there was always some small token left exactly where the letter was left, most often in their shoe and sometimes on the fireplace mantel - things like a couple of new pencils for school or a new set of bows for my daughter's braids but best of all a new Christmas book AND the box of Christmas books collected from years past was set by the Fireplace along with a box of some of the house decorations - nothing for the tree because that was put up by Santa on Christmas eve after everyone was in bed.

Today Kindle or not there is something wonderful about the pages of a book filled with illustrations and words spinning out a satisfying story. A few years back I distributed the collection for their celebration of the holiday month.

OK the question of the day is - What Christmas or Hanukkah do you remember best and why? hmm Remember better things we did more easily and various happenings or miss-adventures - need to think and get back later...

bellamarie

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #35 on: December 05, 2016, 12:33:45 PM »
Oh Barb, I absolutely love your family tradition for St. Nicholas Day!  I bet your kids could not wait to wake up to those special little goodies.  We did not ever hear of nor celebrate that day of the season growing up, so it was not a tradition for my children either.  I love the things you left them in their shoes.

The Christmas I best remember as a child is being awakened by the sound of jingle bells.  My siblings and I all slept in the upstairs bedroom of a very tiny house my father had built years before being killed in a train wreck.  We were seven siblings with very little income or food, so Christmas was our magical time of the year.  We heard the bells and got out of bed and peeked through the floor heat register to get just a glimpse of Santa's red furry suit.  We heard a Ho! Ho! Ho! and the front door opened and off he went.  We all scurried back to bed for fear our Mom would hear us.  That Christmas has stayed with me for my entire life, because when you come from a very poor fatherless family, you hang on to anything that gives you hope and joy for waking up on Christmas morning finding the tree surrounded with toys, stockings filled with candy, fruit and nuts & food for your dinner.  When I was married and spoke of that night to my mother she said, "That Santa was from the Salvation Army bringing toys and Christmas dinner." To this very day I am thankful for the bell ringers at the red kettle in front of the stores, and make sure I donate to them and many other organizations to help make other children's Christmas a very merry one.
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

ginny

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #36 on: December 05, 2016, 12:59:02 PM »
I remember one special Christmas when I was quite young but I'm afraid it is  nothing noble or inspiring to hear about, but rather had to do with a ratty little mechanical dog which had been on the filthy streets of Philadelphia back in the late '40's.

I used to get to go into Philadelphia to see my father at his work, once a year,  and then we'd go out  to eat at one of the restaurants he liked and this was a big occasion for me, as a child. I'd get all dressed up in my Sunday best. He seemed larger than life on these occasions, and very important. I can see his long black overcoat to this day.  His office building was the old one, downtown, which later was replaced by a building so architecturally important my husband actually was sent there as an engineer from South Carolina in the late 60's to study it, (small world) but this was the  old one in the old neighborhood and it seemed gigantic and sparkly to me.  The mind of a child.

And it seemed the waiters all knew him (and of course I am sure they did, since it was not that far away, and he had to eat) and they were properly deferential, sweetly for my benefit, and so to a child it took on a certain magic, I guess.

So one day we were walking to the restaurant  and a man was selling motley  little mechanical toys on the sidewalk, and  had assembled quite a crowd around him.   Cheap things but spoiled as I was I really wanted one.  I may in fact have outdone myself in expressing a desire for one. My father was not amused,  especially when I would not take no for an answer, they were cheap and I could not understand why he would not buy everything I wanted on the spot. But he wouldn't.

As I recall he had lots of good reasons why not, it wasn't  my birthday or any celebration, it was cheap, it would probably break the minute we bought it, why would anybody want such a thing anyway, we really  can't buy every single thing we see,  and so forth. I see this happening every day at the supermarket, today, he was nice about it but firm and of course I was an only child, and rotten so I sulked and he said maybe after lunch we'll see if the man is still out there, and have a closer look and  think about it then, but  we have reservations now, the crowd is too big,  and we  can't be late,  so we went on in,  and of course when we emerged the man was gone.

So that was the end of that. So I thought.

But later that  Christmas,  in opening presents, I opened a small box, and there was  the very toy, a little mechanical white and brown  dog which walked and sat up and sort of barked/ squeaked. I don't know how my father  did it, he did not do it when I was there and the man had gone, perhaps the man was a staple on the street, and appeared later on,  I don't know. My father never would say.

But there it was, and I have never forgotten it and I have done it in memory ever since. For my children, friends,  and now my grandson, too.  Something is seen and admired and, if not purchased, for whatever reason, turns up as a huge surprise on a later  special occasion (I've checked with my grandson's parents of course). We have had some interesting adventures doing these clandestine purchases, most recently in Charlotte NC at some special kind of toy store, it took both parents to lure him off away from the...item, whatever it was...which was hurriedly conveyed to the cashier, but suddenly my grandson was spotted running back excitedly  to show his mother this thing he had discovered.....and when the cashier heard my hissed  "here he COMES!" she literally threw herself on the floor because she was holding IT in her hand, and instantly disappeared from sight behind the counter in front of the astonished other  customers.

hahaha

THAT one I'll never forget, either.

Ho ho ho!


ginny

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #37 on: December 05, 2016, 01:04:23 PM »
What a lovely memory, Bellamarie, we were posting together, it takes me SO long to type. I love it!

bellamarie

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #38 on: December 05, 2016, 02:02:55 PM »
Thank you Ginny, your story is what a girl like me growing up would have dreamed of!  A father, and getting that chance to have lunch with him sounds perfect.  I never knew my Daddy since he was killed when I was just 2 yrs. old.  Not one memory to cherish, you were very blessed. 
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

Mkaren557

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #39 on: December 05, 2016, 02:21:48 PM »
     The worst Christmas ever started on Christmas Eve. It had started to snow about mid afternoon, and by the time we were ready to leave for the family gathering, it was blowing horizontally and we probably had eight inches on the ground.  My ex-husband went out in the garage to start the car, and discovered we weren't going anywhere: the roads hadn't been plowed and there was a huge drift at the end of the driveway.  The kids and I were heartbroken but my husband was happy to stay home and fall asleep on the couch watching tv.  So I read a book called The Worst Christmas Ever while we ate cookies and drank hot chocolate.  After putting the boys to bed, I sat in the living room in the glow of the Christmas tree and cried.  In truth I had not felt very good all day: sore throat, running nose, and sore throat.  After the headache set in, I went to bed expecting that a good night's sleep would cure me.
     Christmas morning the boys were up at a reasonable hour and after a special breakfast, we opened presents .  I had done all the shopping, wrapping, and decorating, so it was fun seeing the boys with their new "stuff."  I left the living room and headed to the kitchen.  I had invited my best friend and her husband for dinner so I had planned a very extravagant meal with many components.  So as I put together the meal and set the dining room with my good China, I felt worse and worse .  My headache had returned and I was so exhausted that by the time my friends arrived that they took one look at me and led me to the couch.  So my guests took over:  they finished cooking the meal,  carried the conversation at the table, played with the boys and cleaned up the whole mess.  The whole day from presents to dinner ,and as soon as he finished eating, my husband sat in the den watching sports on tv.  My guests played with the boys and got them ready for bed, and struck out for home.  I went up the stairs, said good night to my sons, and crawled into my bed.
     The only Christmas gift I got from my husband that year was a cheap iron which he bought at the drug store because he didn't shop until Christmas Eve.  That was the moment I decided to return to college and finish what I needed for teacher certification. I knew I needed to be able to make enough money to support my two sons, so I lived in the marriage for three more years.  Then the morning of Valentine's Day I told my husband that I was through with the marriage. 
     So I remember that Christmas as my worst, but today I see that finally making that decision was the beginning of a rebirth for me. 
     I have had seventy other Christmases that were full of joy, warmth, and love but this one was most memorable.