Author Topic: Holiday Drop In Open House  (Read 5166 times)

rosemarykaye

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #80 on: December 13, 2016, 11:04:01 AM »



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 without it?
December 15-16: What's your all time favorite holiday sweet treat?
December 17-18:  What's your favorite TV holiday program?
December 19-20: - What one symbol of the season  do you have to have  every year?
December 21-22: Who is the best Scrooge in all the movies and plays you've ever seen? Why?
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!





Coming late to this party, but Barb, is that excerpt from The Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter?

I know I'm in the wrong time slot for this, but here is the Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe I promised Ginny:

Ingredients
5oz caster sugar
3oz margarine
2 eggs
6oz self-raising flour
6oz chopped dates
i/2 (half) a teaspoon vanilla essence
6 fluid oz boiling water
3/4 (three quarters) of a teaspoon f bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp coffee essence (I use Camp coffee essence that comes in a bottle, but I think you could also use very strong cold coffee)

Sauce
4oz margarine
6oz soft brown sugar
1/2 (half) a pint of single (pouring) cream

Method
1. Preheat oven to 160C;
2. Grease and lightly flour an ovenproof dish;
3. Put the dates, vanilla, boiling water & bicarbonateinto a bowl; mix together and leave to cool;
4. Cream the margarine and sugar together. Add eggs together with one spoonful of the measured flour. Beat;
5. Add the date mixture to the other mixture;
6. Gradually fold in the rest of the sieved flour. Mixture may be quite runny;
7. Pour mixture into the prepared dish;
8. Bake for 30-40 mins or until it looks like it is cooked.

Sauce:
1. Melt the margarine in a saucepan;
2. Add the brown sugar and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes;
3. Slowly stir in the cream;
4. Bring slowly to the boil;
5. Serve in a jug , hot or cold.

It's probably about a million calories a mouthful. Enjoy :)

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #81 on: December 13, 2016, 12:41:52 PM »
Yes, Rosemary - The Tailor at Gloucester - lovely little story isn't it by Beatrice Potter... Never can tell if it is her stories or her illustrations that charms so that as grown adults we are still enchanted reading her little stories.

What makes Christmas for me hmm - like Phyllis and Karen and I bet others, there is little consistency celebrating the day. Life changes it seems as the children grow - first my own maturity from childhood, than my children and now the grandchildren are all in their 20s. When there are children the magic of creating fairyland and the excitement of hiding surprise gifts, the baking, decorating, candles, shopping, cleaning - yep, cleaning - I remember when I was a child and even with my children, the house had to be scrubbed so to speak from top to bottom - like a Spring cleaning all in preparation for welcoming the Christ Child. 

Last year was the first Christmas I was alone - my good friend who in the past, if I was still in town, had me join her and her family, she had passed, and for various reasons I was alone. I did decorate some but it has been years now since I had a tree. So that is not an important need - I do still tie with ribbon the live wreath under the chandelier in the breakfast area and hang off it some of the oldest ornaments that were my grandmother's and I do put a wreath on the front door but, if I did not do that I would not feel empty -  it must be the books - I can remember back before I could read a special storybook Mom read where all the illustrations were in shades of blue - the only part of the story I do remember after all these years is they were poor and searching for what to do, decided to bake cookies.

We forget how inexpensive some basic foods were, where as today we have pricing as a result of various shortages  that when the shortage ends the price never goes back to the pre-shortage price range - so when Sugar was unavailable and we were making trips across the border for sugar we now have that basic commodity no longer an inexpensive ingredient for baking - and look how flour has changed. I'm remember there was either regular or fine where as today there is all-purpose - bread - self-rising - pastry - fine baking, and no more cloth sacks. Of course the price of fuel a few years ago really hiked up the price of all foods that again, as the price of fuel dropped into a reasonable price range the affect on food pricing never dropped and so the idea of a poor family choosing to bake would today be a middle class type of luxury. 

But back to my consistent - yes, it has to be the Christmas books - I gave to the children the books collected as each year a new one was added but I still have my stash that only comes out from storage after December 6, the feast of St. Nickolas and is packed away after January 6, the feast of the Epiphany and I have some Christmas china cups for 40 or 50 years that come out - and for me personally I have an advent book with essays and readings, poems and prayers, one a day that inevitably one hits me in a new way that there is contemplation adding richness to my beliefs and another hits because of changes in my life over the year I question and even argue with the premise till I've come to a new understanding of the words.

So that it is, as I see Christmas - a cleaning out and sorting out - keeping what is valuable to my life, rearranging some values and acknowledging the change ready for a new beginning. Yes, that is the concept I learned as a child - Christmas is about a new beginning - cleaning up, shining what I value, everything, every friendship with words in notes and celebrating family with gifts and if nothing else the phone is passed to each for a special Christmas chat and taking time to read the stories in books about Christmas. 

PeggyCasing

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #82 on: December 13, 2016, 04:20:15 PM »
Thanks Barb.  Your reflection reminded me of the importance of the "getting ready" (Advent), and the constant need for reinvention.  Thanks, again. :)

Alf

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #83 on: December 13, 2016, 08:12:46 PM »
Hello everyone! I have missed you and am delighted to see o many old friends still here.
I just reintroduced myself to SeniorLearn this week and was appalled , at myself, how much I have forgotten. I went on the in Memoriam site and had not realized we had lost so many friends since my last posting. Annie has been good at keeping me informed of many , but there have been some I did not know about. May they look down on us in love!
I'm behind the 8 ball on this site with all of the interesting chatter and sharing of Christmas memories. I have to agree with many of you . My very favorite books this year were: The  Light between the Ocean, a Man called Ove , Nightengale, and All the Light we can not See, by Doerr. By all means Bella DO read the book first before seeing the flick.  I read them all right I. A row and went months before I found anything close to mentioning. I recently (before years end) read Jodi Picaults newest novel, Big, small Things.  I love Picault due to the fact she gives every character their own voice; hate them, love them, agree or disagree, she allows you into their hearts and souls. The other one I just read was by Colson Whitehead; The Underground Railroad. Very interesting subject, to me, with a different slant.
Anyway, I'm happy to be back amongst my favorite people and will withhold my Christmas story for the time being.  Be well, be full of JOY, which ever holiday you celebrate.

ginny

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #84 on: December 14, 2016, 11:11:05 AM »


OMG! Is that really ANDREA? Welcome home, Andrea (Alf), how long it's been and how GOOD it is to see you! A real Homecoming you've made it!  I h ave missed your sharp wit and insights.

And ROBBY!!! Welcome back, Robby, this is absolutely splendid. It's just like old times. I spent a looong time this morning looking for photos copied over from my old computer  and found Andrea in Washington DC at the Capitol from the National Book Festival years ago  and Robby out walking, at the Books at the Beach trip,  and if I can, I hope get them both here.

What are you both doing with yourselves lately? SO good to see you! We've missed you.

I remember Andrea and I at, was it DC? One of our many Books  trips when she and I keep missing each other on the airport air trains and  we kept going back and forth, and we were both hollering into the phone as to where we were and what exit we saw out the windows when we ran smack into each other. hahahaa Never forget that.

And Robby said something once on our boards I have tried to put into use, he only sat 30 minutes was it at the computer and then got up and did something else. I think recent research has proven, just the other day, that it's the sitting that kills you and if you just get up and walk a bit in between the sitting it does work wonders, but Robby said it first a long time ago.

Welcome back, we are so glad to see you again!

Auld Lang Syne.

ginny

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #85 on: December 14, 2016, 11:32:26 AM »
   Speaking of Auld Lang Syne, we ought to get our Rosemary to sing it for us as she's from Scotland, welcome, Rosemary and thank you for the recipe. You must be a mind reader,  I was just singing what I THOUGHT were the lyrics to We Wish You A Merry Christmas, but I was singing bring us some sticky pudding and that's not it at all!!

It's figgy pudding! And trying to see if that's the same thing, I found this on NPR and it's fascinating:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/12/20/460488236/oh-bring-us-some-wait-what-is-figgy-pudding   

'Oh, Bring Us Some ... ' Wait. What Is Figgy Pudding?



I absolutely love Sticky Toffee Pudding, thank you SO much, Rosemary. I do have some caster sugar, Amazon can do anything. hahahaa

I can't wait to try it. I used to order it, you can order it in the US from the Sticky Toffee Pudding Company but it's not quite what you can get in the UK, so I am excited to have this real recipe! Thank you!

What wonderful reflections on Christmas, Everybody, and I agree,  Karen,  Christmas when it's 80 degrees is not quite the same as the snow. I always hope for ONE good snow, preferably for several days, just one. I have had to adjust from the snows of Pennsylvania and New Jersey to SC but I have to admit I have. :) I like a few days of sleds and  snowmen and after one is tired of hauling water to the chicken house, thaw. hahahaa

That was lovely on traditions, Barbara. I agree, Peggy, and I'm sorry your daughter won't be able to be there this year, I know that's hard. Things that happen when children get married, the other parents want equal time, too.  I like Jan Karon, too, I haven't read one of hers in years, I'll go back in the series and start again.

Meanwhile I'm loving Christmas Crimes at Puzzel Manor. It's an old hardback book so the typeface is charming, it's nice and big  in the hardback and it spreads nicely across the page (I'm interested in nice printing and type face, the way books used to be),  and the first letter of each chapter is enlarged, and it's full of drawn illustrations but I find that I could not even begin to guess at the first clue,  and I am wondering idly if it would be a good book for a future holiday read together. It would take a LOT of restraint by those who figured out the clues not to tell them and you need them in each chapter. I don't have the FIRST clue to the first one, so that bodes ill and I've read the thing about 10 times.

That's actually  a hard question about what you have to have or it wouldn't BE Christmas, etc. I think it changes over the years. I remember when my mother was in her 90's she'd sit there with a stack of presents and not open them, and  just enjoy watching everybody else open theirs. I'm kind of understanding why, now.


ginny

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #86 on: December 14, 2016, 11:47:50 AM »
Nlhome, that was such a sweet post, I meant to say that a long time ago and didn't get to it, thank you.

Peggy, I like puzzles, too. And I think, Pedln is it you or is it Adoannie who always does a puzzle on Christmas Day? New Year's Day? Or is it Settlers of Catan? I love the idea of a board game or puzzle.

I have a puzzle right now out in our living room.  The glass table which used to be so pristine and shiny  is now covered with puzzle.  (And an unfinished Monopoly game at the moment, it's a championship game which I am seriously losing to a 10  year old).

Peggy, do you ever do those puzzles on the ipad?  They are called Magic Puzzle and the software is very sophisticated. I find I am quite addicted to them.  You wouldn't think it would be fun but it is. They have one for every day in December, for instance, or you can go out and get one from anywhere, I did one of an English village that a person put up, people take photos and put them up so you can do puzzles of them, those are free. You also can make your own puzzle instantly from any photo on your device, and it's so fun. I did my grandson of course and the  red geraniums on the front porch against the white rockers, and the fall colors in the front yard.

You can choose your level and number of pieces and even if the pieces can rotate, so the skill level goes really high. I absolutely am addicted to it. I am also in the lowest level it's possible to get.  When you match a piece, they brighten up themselves and make a happy sound, you have to try one to believe it. :)

Annie

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #87 on: December 14, 2016, 01:51:16 PM »
Ginny, we have always done a puzzle on New Years Eve that must be done by midnight. Its a riot, just watching everyone working so hard to get it done.  Lots of laughter!  One year, at my daughter's home in Ithaca,NY, there were too many people there to work on the puzzle but one of Barb's friends brought a 3ft plastic hollow Kewpie doll and paints for those of us who weren't working on the puzzle had paint the doll and get it done before midnight too.  Talk about laughter and much fun.  Everyone including the children took turns switching back and forth from puzzle to doll.

Barbara, I loved your essay on favorite things (traditions) on Christmas and how they change as we grown older. Wonderful! Truer words were never spoke! :) :).

This will be our first Christmas without Ralph but we will carry on with the tradition of having Christmas here in our home.  We have been doing this every Christmas since we returned to Gahanna 18 years ago.
So my DIL and her daughters will make dinner and I will set the table.  But now I will ask one of the grans to come over to help me put in the extender for our table. The other thing we do is give out the gifts to my son and his wife plus his four children. These are the things that Ralph did.  So I will take his place that day. Maybe I will have to do the table on Christmas Eve day! :):). Just so I know its been done right!
 
We have always put up our fake big 8ft tree all these years but this year I am making a  change I wanted to start doing about 5yrs ago.  Just got tired of bringing the tree up from the basement, get its bubble lights strung,(that was another of Ralph's jobs) decorating the whole house and then  taking down the tree after Raph's BD, Jan 3rd. And putting all that stuff back in its boxes.
 
Soooooooo, this year we used a large Ficus tree made with silk leaves. It sits behind Ralph's recliner. We decorated it with some of our old ornaments even home made ones.  It already had tiny lights on it. Then My grandson, Nathan, 21yrs old, put up the Nativity scene on the mantel and strung some more tiny lights across the back of the Nativity scene.  I had already bought and put 3 huge poinsettias across the hearth underneath the Nativity scene so this all goes well together.  I have our regular big wreath on the front door and another on the porch post.  One more for the dining room, a beautiful wooden one made of pine boughs and red ribbons, and I am done!   I can't wait for them to see the tree!  Maybe if I can get a picture of it, I will put it up here!  With Ginny's help, of course!

Welcome back, Alf and Robby! What a nice Christmas surprise you both have given us.
"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 #88 on: December 15, 2016, 01:14:53 AM »
Annie, the ficus tree, nativity with lights and poinsettias sound perfect.  I'm sure it will be difficult your first year without Ralph, but his spirit will be in all the joy you are continuing on with your family.

Alf and Robby it is nice to have you pop in.  Please come in more often.

Barb, I am sensing small changes in our traditions as my grandchildren are getting older.  We skipped the annual visit to Children's Wonderland to see Santa and the beautiful light displays we have done  over thirty years now.  I am getting ready for our annual cookie bake/ sleepover this week end with the grandchildren, but it took a lot of maneuvering to get five of the six here with all their schedules, sports and friends.  I'm so happy it's going to happen!

As far as what the one thing I absolutely have to have at Christmas.... I would say it has to be Christmas Eve Mass with all my family.  Sharing our faith, celebrating the true meaning of the birth of the Christ child, singing the traditional Christmas songs, seeing all the grandkids dressed in their beautiful clothes, and watching the wonder in the little one's eyes as they go up to the altar and peek into the manger looking for baby Jesus is what makes me fulfilled.  After Mass we all come to my as Barb mentioned, sparkling cleaned house, decorated to the brim with our Dept 56 Dickens Village,  our collection of Nutcrackers, tree decorated with memorable ornaments, and stockings hung waiting to be filled by Santa is what adds to the magic of our family's Christmas spirit.  It's all of these things that I love and make my heart leap with joy every year.  I have to admit we spoil everyone shamelessly with stacks of gifts they put on their lists.  I started a tradition to wrap each child's stack in a different wrapping paper, tie the stack up with a huge ribbon and put NO names on the 6 stacks, so when the grands see them they have no ideas which stack is theirs.  Of course they must all have an equal number so no one fills slighted.  I go around with my camera as they unwrap taking tons of pictures so I can relive the night when I upload the pics to my social media site.  When they go home my hubby and I sit back and look at all the boxes, wrappings and bows strung all over the floor and simply smile at our mess.  The kids all try to pitch in and clean up but I insist we leave it just the way it is!  Since we have them unwrap in our downstairs family room, we just go up to the nice clean living room.

This is all I want and need to make my Christmas perfect!
“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

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #89 on: December 15, 2016, 10:25:56 AM »
So much fun reading everyone's celebration activities - varied and yet, not - family is the common thread -

Today we're asked about our favorite holiday sweet - Oh dear I have several - I love pfeffernusse - once I start it is another and another and oh this will be the last and that stops me for a bit, then I am back again - love those cookies - and then I also love mincemeat - pie, tart, cookies and I've been known to get the jar where it is all prepared and spoon it onto round water crackers - It is very difficult to find the non-such mince meat in the box any longer - always preferred it that way so I could doctor it up in a variety of ways - from orange slices and orange juice to coffee or rum or brandy along with golden raisins and apples cut up very small or maybe some candied cherries and citron - for pie it is always with raisins and apples using apple cider with a splash of Calvados.

And finally, Sopapillas slathered in honey - everyone loves their Christmas Tamales which really isn't a sweet but the same grandma who makes Christmas Tamales also for Christmas Eve through King's day makes Sopapillas - with thick hot Mexican chocolate hm - talk about calories - thank goodness it is usually warm enough to walk or run it off.

Wet Wet Wet today - did not go below freezing thank goodness - close but did not get there - the wet is a very very heavy fog that glistens on everything as if it were ice - it is already high 40s and will be in the 50s but just looks nasty out there - no walk for me today and no way will I drive - had a few errands but I will re-arrange tasks - no way am I getting out in this.

Mkaren557

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #90 on: December 15, 2016, 01:15:44 PM »
OK,  It is confession time.  I LOVE FRUITCAKE.  Sometimes I feel very alone and other times I just feel lucky because if there is fruitcake in the gift swap or if a client or patient gives one, eventually it will find its way to me.  I always order one and I eat the whole thing because no one else  likes it.
Now, I also love penuche.  In this I am not so lucky.  My father was a small town doctor.  At Christmas he would receive homemade everything and my mother never had to worry about dessert.  I could always count on one or two fruitcakes here.  But the motherlode was when Dad would arrive home with one or more packages of penuche.  Problem:  My dad also loved penuche and the order went forth. "You may eat anything in this pile, but I am the only one who can eat the penuche"  It almost sounds like the First Commandment.  However, I found it very un-Christmaslike and an occasion of sin.  Yes, in the dark of night I would sneak into the pantry and steal one or two (or even more sometimes)and slither off to my bedroom.  Then my father retired.  I have tried to make penuche and buy it in one of those fudge shops on the pier, but nothing tastes as good as my father's penuche.  I have now given up all hope that my doorbell will ring and it will be a friend bearing one pound of penuche.  And in the same spirit I learned at my daddy's knee, I will hide it and offer no one a piece.

rosemarykaye

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #91 on: December 15, 2016, 01:41:55 PM »
What is penuche?

Mkaren557

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #92 on: December 15, 2016, 02:12:07 PM »
It is a fudge made with brown sugar, butter, cream, vanilla.  When its made right, it is creamy and smooth.  Mine always comes out dry and hard.

nlhome

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #93 on: December 15, 2016, 02:57:31 PM »
Favorite sweet:  Anise cut-out cookies based on my grandmother's recipe, with ground hickory nuts for some of the shortening and real anise oil for flavoring. The frosting is a boiled white frosting. Unfortunately, these don't get made every year. They are best made a few weeks in advance, for the flavors to meld. We don't always have the hickory nuts, and often there is no time. They are great with a latte or a cup of coffee.

CallieinOK

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #94 on: December 15, 2016, 05:35:36 PM »
Favorite sweet:  the gingerbread boys my mother made every year for my school class - They were very simple - with raisins for eyes and a red hot candy for the mouth.  She used real country sorghum molasses.
At class reunions through the years, I was always asked to bring them - and I used the same cookie cutter that she used, as well as real sorghum molasses..!

rosemarykaye

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #95 on: December 15, 2016, 07:10:31 PM »
Aha - maybe penuche is like the Scottish tablet? My daughters love it. I avoid it as I know I wouldn't be able to stop until i was sick...

mabel1015j

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #96 on: December 15, 2016, 08:14:16 PM »
 Ahhhh yes, penuche! My Mother used to make it, sometimes with peanuts and her's was very much like a peanut brittle.

Jean

Annie

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #97 on: December 15, 2016, 08:58:16 PM »
Oooohhhh, Penuche Fudge and also Penuche icing on chocolate cake!! Hmmmmm, gooooood!!  I have made it for years! It's my kids' and my grans favorite, too.
"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

PeggyCasing

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #98 on: December 16, 2016, 08:52:52 AM »
Going all the way back to Ginny's post... I'd love to try the puzzles on the iPad... but I don't have an iPad!  Hahahaha. Maybe Santa will be sweet this year and get me one!  It sounds fun though. As far as sweets go... I am shocked that I've never heard of penuche. I thought I knew every sweet that ever existed... on a deep and intimate level! Seriously, I'll need to research it! -my favorite? It really would be too hard to decide. I am an equal opportunity eater and once I start I have a tough time stopping!  Sweet and salty, yummmm.  Sweet alone, pretty good too. Chocolate - HELLO!  You get the idea! So, long story- short, I do my absolute best when I don't have anything in the house. I used to have tons of sweets and special foods in the house for Christmas and would covet the leftovers. Now, I buy plastic storage containers and give out care packages to guests as the leave. My husband hates it!  Some sweets that just remind me of Christmas and my childhood though would be ribbon candy and colored popcorn balls. Neither are particularly tasty, but they remind me of my wonderful grandma who died when I was about five. SHE knew how to cook and decorate for holidays. Her house was like a big, warm, festive hug. 

rosemarykaye

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #99 on: December 16, 2016, 01:15:10 PM »
I don't really have a favourite sweet but I do remember being thrilled when i was given a toy replica of a Cadbury's milk chocolate vending machine - it gave out miniature bars. In fact, what happened to Terry's Neapolitans - those boxes of mixed tiny bars in different flavours? They were yummy.

ginny

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #100 on: December 16, 2016, 03:34:35 PM »
I am absolutely LOVING everything you are writing, we ought to make a book of these memories and thoughts.  We will keep this discussion, it's a wonderful read.

For me it's maple sugar leaves.   I like the real sugar maple candy better than the one which is a compromise and is softer.  The little pure maple sugar leaf shapes OR the Santa shape (which is a hybrid).  I used to put them in the children's stockings. BOY are they  good. Pure sugar. I can taste one now. Reminds me of my childhood and the gorgeous sugar maple trees where I lived.

There was no "sugaring off" where we lived,  that I know of, and I was somewhat disconcerted to see recently that they actually apparently now use miles of tubing  of some sort now instead of a bucket and horse drawn sleigh (some of us live in Fantasyland) but that's the way it used to be so I figure that's the way it should be now. hahaha

When we moved here to South Carolina I planted one sugar maple a year here to line the driveway. The woodpeckers? or borers? certainly know it's a sugar maple, the poor things are full of holes, but the glorious LEAVES. I have a photo this year of my grandson in the gigantic piles of red leaves they make. As children in Pennsylvania we used to make leaf forts from those leaves which stay colorful on the ground SO long. PILES of red. PILES of yellow or tri-color, (red, yellow and green), depending on the variety.

Well that was then and this is now but when I see the little maple sugar leaves now it reminds me of all of that.  I heard my oldest explaining to his son what they were not too long ago but they are hard to find here. You can get them mail order and you can get them before they sell out in the Fresh Market but they do go fast in this area.
  Ho ho ho




bellamarie

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #101 on: December 16, 2016, 10:04:02 PM »
I absolutely love gingerbread cookies or snaps at Christmas time.  My 11 yr. old granddaughter Hayden shares my love for them so now it's become an annual tradition for us to bake them together.  I found this neat pack with the gingerbread man cookie cutter, small tubes of black and red frosting to draw on the cookie and candied eyes.  We are having our annual cookie bake/sleepover with all the grands tomorrow and Hayden can't wait for us to make the gingerbread men. 

My hubby was a mailman for forty years so he would bring home so many different kinds of cookies from the elderly ladies baking for him that I stopped baking so many cookies myself.  I came across a chocolate peanut butter oatmeal cookie that I fell in love with!!  I looked forward for him to bring them home every year.  The lady knew how much I loved them and would had him the goodies and say your wife's favorite is in there.  I love oatmeal raisin cookies, and chocolate crinkles.  I allow myself the pleasure of these cookies for about two weeks, then stop after New Year's Day. 
“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 #102 on: December 17, 2016, 11:40:44 AM »
  I have got to stop reading this discussion, it's making me eat like there is no tomorrow. :) What a charming story, Bellamarie, like  your one with the stacked presents: priceless.

Rosemary, I would not be able to resist a toy vending machine, how CUTE that concept is! As a child my favorite part of any trip on the subway  in Philadelphia were the chocolate vending machines on the platform. You needed a penny. It was the only place I could get those little wrapped Hershey dark chocolates, (naturally it was Hershey, Hershey is a Pennsylvania legend)  and they were bitter, wonderfully bitter.

 I don't know if those machines are still there, but I bet it's a quarter now, or even 50 cents if they are,  what IS it about the holidays that makes one remember all these delights of the past? There's a store and it's online, too, with all the old candies we used to be able to get, hard candies, like Peggy's mention of ribbon candies, and  those little dots on the waxed strips...... what is it called,  Vermont something? They specialize in "old fashioned" things you can't find any more. Vermont Country Store? I occasionally get their catalogs, full of the delights of a childhood long gone. Flannel nightgowns, who on earth can wear those things, tell me you don't all wear them, don't your legs freeze?

:)

All of you talking about Penuche, how do you pronounce it? I bet it's different in different parts of the country., What lovely memories, nlhome,  and Callie, anise cookies, gingerbread,  and Karen with the fruitcake, and Jean with  a peanut brittle like penuche. Peanut brittle is something we used to have here, too, but don't any more.  My husband is from The Fruitcake Capital of the World, Claxton, Georgia, and is related to the people who make it.  I never liked it, I always liked Benson's Fruitcake (do they make it any more?) but now I wouldn't have any other than the Claxton, so much FRUIT, I do like fruit in a fruitcake, better than the cake. I wonder why fruitcake has become a joke in today's world? Do any of you make it from scratch, or has it, too, gone the way of the Dodo what with Claxton's in every supermarket? 

I used to have a wonderful recipe for fruitcake cookies that everybody liked and it disappeared.  Every year I think I'm going to make mincemeat cookies and substitute the mincemeat for the fruitcake recipe, but every year I don't.  It makes a million cookies, too.

PatH

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #103 on: December 17, 2016, 09:06:37 PM »
Christmas sweets: first, I'm with Ginny about loving maple sugar candy--the real stuff, not diluted, and I don't even want to admit how much of it I can eat--but that's not really for Christmas.  It's not a strong favorite, but I'd vote for pfeffernussen.  And like Karen and Mabel, I actually like fruitcake a lot.

But there's no question about what's the most memorable Christmas sweet.  In 2009, I spent Christmas with daughter Cathy and SIL Erick, and they decided that we should make a Buche de Noel from Julia Child's cookbook.  This is an elaborate recipe:  you have to make the cake base, using ground almonds as much of the flour; you have to make a meringue, which is used in icing and for mushrooms, you have to make the icing and filling, which are different.  The cake base is baked in a jelly roll pan, and rolled up with a chocolate filling.  The chocolate frosting is made with part of the meringue, and spread roughly over the roll to imitate a log.  The rest of the meringue is used to make cute little mushrooms, which are placed appropriately (those that have survived the cooks--they're yummy).  The whole thing took the better part of a day, and we had a total blast, learning new techniques, admiring each other's efforts.  Fortunately, the result was delicious, and we feasted on it for several days, but the important thing was how much fun we had doing it.

ginny

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #104 on: December 18, 2016, 11:38:36 AM »
Good  heavens, what a complicated recipe, Pat! No wonder people talk about it like they do, it sounds a wonderful memory!

I watched Mary Berry last night again make a Pavolova, and how easy it looks when she does it and how hard I know it must be. I need something to go along with the pecan pie I always make because they like it. I don't like pecans, so am always looking for some other dessert and had settled on a coconut cake.

And then Paul made a Christmas tree out of what looked like cinnamon buns, that's a thought, I never considered that, you could (he didn't, he made it from scratch, it wasn't cinnamon buns but it looked like it,  and it was beautiful) but you could take a cinnamon bun thing in a tube,  and make the same looking thing a lot quicker. Cover it with icing and coconut...hmmmm.

You could, couldn't you? And how quick and easy that would be... hmmmm....

HMMMMM. hahahaa



Now here's a good one for today:

December 17-18:  What's your favorite TV holiday program?



  Ho ho ho!





Mkaren557

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #105 on: December 18, 2016, 12:21:21 PM »
Remember back when there were so many variety shows hosted by stars like Carol Burnett, Glen Campbell and my favorite at Christmas time - - Andy Williams.  There was something very warm and comforting about this soft-spoken man in the red, v-neck, button-down sweater crooning old favorite Christmas songs that made it Christmas.  Then, as my children grew, there was a show called "Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas that they and I loved.  It had muppet like characters and lots of music and a super message.  Now I will admit that I love watching the Hallmark Channel Christmas movies. They are not long on substance, but they all have such happy endings, which I am in need of this year.


This just posted the first time. 

ginny

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #106 on: December 18, 2016, 12:41:38 PM »
YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS! Super Marcie to the rescue it's FIXED!

I remember  Andy Williams, Karen, and what a lovely program that was!  And he had brothers as I recall? A good looking family.

rosemarykaye

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #107 on: December 18, 2016, 01:29:29 PM »
I know it's a film but we watch it on TV every year - Love Actually. I also like The Snowman but nobody else in my family can bear it, so I only see it sometimes!

We are looking forward to the Christmas specials of Last Tango in Halifax, Call the Midwife and the late, lamented Bake Off.

Rosemary

rosemarykaye

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #108 on: December 18, 2016, 01:37:13 PM »
Ginny, I don't make the Christmas fruit cake any more - too much time, effort and expense, especially when hardly any of us like it. My daughter would like to make it but I'm afraid I preempt her and buy one from Aldi before she starts. I do however make a much less rich fruitcake from time to time during the rest of the year - the recipe is on an old card that Tesco must have distributed years ago (many of my recipes are on cards picked up from the butcher or the supermarket, and I was just noticing the other day that the supermarket ones no longer give you recipes to make from scratch - it's all 'take a jar of pre-prepared sauce and pour it over something', which to me isn't cooking.)

Anyway, the simple fruitcake recipe tells you to include some walnuts. The first time I made it I didn't have any but we did have a glut of apples from our (then) garden, so i just grated half of an apple into it in place of the nuts. This has proved so popular that I always do it now - it does seem to make the cake moister.

Most British families do, I think, still have the traditional Christmas cake every year, whether home-made or bought - but I do wonder how many people actually eat it and how much ends up in the compost. 

Rosemary

bellamarie

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #109 on: December 18, 2016, 01:42:12 PM »
Sorry for my absence the past couple days.  We are dog sitting, having our annual cookie bake/sleepover with the grandkids and trying to keep up with all their sports. 

Since it is almost Christmas and we are all avid readers of all sorts of stories I have a short story to share with all of you.  I posted it over in the Library section as well for those who are going there but not here to see.  As you all know I am an aspiring author, and love to write, so when our lives got a bit turned upside down Friday I decided it's something that must be shared.  This link will take you to my blog to read "Daisy's Getaway"  Hope you all enjoy it!!  Please feel free to leave a comment in the section at the very bottom of the blog page.

https://ciaobellamarie.wordpress.com/2016/12/18/daisys-getaway/

Oh, and feel free to read any of my other stories on the blog page if you like.
“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

bellamarie

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #110 on: December 18, 2016, 02:00:48 PM »
I think my favorite TV Holiday program is probably the Country Christmas show they have every year.  I love Country music and all the new singers as well as the old ones.  They sure to know how to put on a show!   I have also submerged myself into the Hallmark Christmas channel this year.  I have set my DVR to tape tons of them and at night when I am ready to snuggle down I shut off all the lights in the living room except for the Christmas tree lights, get my hot caramel cappuccino, a biscotti, my comfy throw blanket, my remote control and settle into the couch with my dog at my feet and begin watching all these wonderful Christmas movies.  I know they are as predictable as a Harlequin Romance novel, or Danielle Steele book, but I just love the good feeling about them.
“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

rosemarykaye

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #111 on: December 18, 2016, 02:37:58 PM »
I wish we had this channel! I think it may be available on Sky but we don't have that. Our free channels do show a lot of old Christmas films though - my main problem is not being allowed to watch them. Daughter is working her way through Wolf Hall (which we still had recorded although younger daughter and I watched it all when it was first on) so I am rewatching that with her and I must say it is just as brilliant on a second viewing, even if not exactly Christmassy. Mark Rylance and Claire Foy are outstanding, but every single cast member is superb.

Rosemary

Kristen

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #112 on: December 18, 2016, 05:05:23 PM »
My favorite Christmas movie has become "Silent Night" starring Linda Hamilton and Matthew Harbour.  "On Christmas eve 1944, in an isolated cabin in Germany's Ardennes forest, three American soldiers and three German soldiers are forced to confront the realities of war face to face.  What they discover is the real meaning of courage and the true spirit of a blessed night."
I first saw it on TV several years ago and liked it so much I bought the DVD so I can watch it every year.

Ginny, thanks for suggesting "Christmas Crimes at Puzzel Manor.  I stayed up very late last night reading it.  I was only able to figure out one clue completely and half of another one.  Luckily, the answers appear in the book.  I was too interested in finding out who did it, to spend days on each puzzle. And I had to google the last puzzle.  I had guessed right on the culprit but wasn't sure how to actually work out the answer. 
I was disappointed that some of the puzzle clues were in such small print.  I didn't even try on a couple of them because I didn't want to use a magnifying glass to read them. 
Thanks again for recommending it.  It was fun!

Have any of you read any of Parnell Hall's  Puzzle Lady books?  When I googled the final answer, I found mystery websites that recommended them.  I'm going to check out both more of Simon Brett's books and the Parnell Hall books at the library.

pedln

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #113 on: December 18, 2016, 11:21:21 PM »
Rosemary, your family feels about fruitcake much the way mine does about mince pie and canned plum pudding.  I was the only one eating them.  All the others wanted was the hard sauce that went on top of the pudding and pie. And they liked to flame the pudding, but not eat it.

One of my favorites films for Christmas is Christmas without Snow with Michael Learned and John Houseman. Learned is a newly-relocated to San Francisco mother, Houseman is the choir director of a downtown church trying to prepare his group for a Christmas performance of Handel's Messiah.  I had lost track of it for several years, but see now that it is available, along with the necessary captions, with Amazon Prime.

ginny

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #114 on: December 19, 2016, 09:14:31 AM »
  LOVE the comments here, they are  marvelous, as good as a book!  Better than some.  Thank you all for them. Thank you Bellamarie for your own lovely original story, and what a pretty site!

Rosemary, your story about the walnuts called for and the apples substituted, put me in awe, that's the difference between me and a REAL  cook. I have the same leanings, oh it calls for walnuts, I'll use apples...but I wouldn't have thought of  apples and whatever I DO  concoct instead makes the most horrid disaster it's possible to imagine and I'm not kidding. I think cooking is an art, I really do, and I watch these cooking shows where they oh here's the "mystery basket," and you now make a dessert and the contestant says  I'll just add xXX and YYY and XXX and a touch of QQQ and voila. So I do that too, and the result is absolutely ....er...well, it is the holidays.  I'll be charitable.

I believe the problem IS I eat too much junk so unless it's all junked up I can't cook it. I like strange things. I love mincemeat. Love Herring in Sour Cream with onions, have to have it at New Years.  Love that type of thing. Red pepper jelly on cream cheese.

Holiday movies, I am taking note of what you all are saying, and writing them down as I am not sure I've seen any of them. Pedln, that sounds lovely and I have not seen it, I'll see if I can find it, perhaps on Netflix.  I  am astounded none of you have recommended the Jimmy Stewart thing, what is it? The one with the perfectly awful commercial clip, the sing song  every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings? Or something. It's a Wonderful Life? Not sure of the title.

That commercial alone sounds like nails on a blackboard to me, it makes me shudder. I've never seen the movie, not once.  I like Jimmy Stewart and the female lead.  But I can't get thru it.

For Christmas movies I need A Christmas Carol, and not any old Christmas Carol but the old black and white  Alistair Sim one. I think I can recite it like the Rocky Horror Picture Show, along with the characters. I  like Albert Finney's old musical on Scrooge, (the only movie I ever saw where the theater goers exited singing into the streets the song " Thank you very much,"  which itself was a miracle), and I like George C Scott's Scrooge, because I like Scott's work and the scenery was wonderful. But the old black and white Alistair Sim movie with the best Marley I ever saw is IT for me. I don't really like Bill Murray's modern version but I like his work anyway.

Aren't movie actors lucky, that they can live forever on the screen? Their best work captured forever as they were.  I have a feeling that's one reason that our modern selfie is so popular, it preserves what must eventually decline in a period forever.

Kristen, your batting average with Puzzel Manor is better than mine!  I'm more than half way thru and have yet to solve even one. The print of the text is lovely and large but some of the reproduced little letters, etc., ARE small. Makes no difference, even when I get them to where I can read them I can't do them and I wonder if I have slipped that much OR if possibly the next one I will conquer. hhahahaa Not so far!

You were asking about Parnell Hall? You may be interested to know that when he began that mystery series he contacted one of our Latin students to help/ collaborate with him on it. Our Latin student was already famous, his name was Manny Nosowsky, he did the NY Times Saturday and sometimes Sunday crosswords. Manny was a retired physician, and did a lot of firsts: he did the first crossword for the  Wall Street Journal (which now has them online and they are a lot of fun), and he did a crossword puzzle to a certain pattern which has never been equaled, which he explains in the bonus material of the movie Word Play. Any bio of Manny will show his love of Latin, he absolutely loved it and continued with us and it  till his health did not permit.  Dear Manny, a  brilliant, lovely man. I miss him here a lot.

It's amazing, over the years, the people we have encountered on this website who have enriched our lives. Auld Lang Syne.

So NONE of you watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation? I know people who have to see it annually. :)


Kristen

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #115 on: December 19, 2016, 11:00:51 AM »
I'd forgotten about A Christmas Carol.  Years ago, I saw a musical version with Mr. Magoo, the cartoon character.  I thought it was great and always wanted to see it again.  A few years ago, I checked it out from my local library and only lasted about 5 minutes before turning it off.  Sometimes, things aren't as wonderful as we remember.

Your information about Manny Nosowsky was very interesting.  Wow!

Puzzle #9 was easy for me.  I watch a lot of crime show reruns on TV and had recently seen one that solved a clue in the exact same manner.  If I hadn't seen that show in the last month, I would not have figured that one out either.

I too love mincemeat.  I don't care for pie crust and so I make mincemeat cookies.  One year we bought some very good mincemeat and  ate a spoonful or two every day out of the jar.  We never did make anything with it.  Unfortunately, it has gotten very expensive and I always hesitate to buy it just for a batch of cookies.

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #116 on: December 19, 2016, 12:07:42 PM »
Just a slip dash run today - getting out of here in the morning which means getting up at 4:30 ouch ouch ouch - I am NOT a morning person - my tummy is actually turning in worry over this early start of an active day... There is joy though - my grandson is flying to Austin on the Nerd shuttle between Seattle and Austin that runs back and forth 3 times a day and then meeting me at the curb and that the two of us together will fly onto Atlanta this time, where my daughter is driving in the over 3 hour trip to pick us up.

Last night was brutal for us - 23 - have not seen temps like that in December for years and years - January we get a cold blast that lasts a few days but not in December. Curling up covered with a quilt was all I was up to and so much to do - well double march today...

Favorite Christmas movie - so many - but only one - like the Christmas books and sweets and everything else to choose just one is just too hard - Cannot imagine Christmas without hearing Jimmy Stewart calling out, "Merry Christmas, movie house! Merry Christmas, Emporium! Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan!"

Or Lucy, bless her heart, saying, "Look, Charlie, let’s face it. We all know that Christmas is a big commercial racket. It’s run by a big Eastern syndicate, you know." Or sweet Linus saying his long soliloquy that starts with, "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night." The wonderful,  Charlie Brown's Christmas.

Or all the shenanigans in "Home Alone" and finally, the color and strange looking characters, oh what a story "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" hahaha "Blast this Christmas music. It’s joyful and triumphant." - Jim Carey was not my favorite but he did himself proud in this one. 

Well I'm off to shut down the house - do my little packing since Paul and Sally were here on Saturday and took everything to send Fed Ex - but one gift I forgot needs packing - get to the bank - change the sheets - on and on - it may be a few days before I'm on again... Happy Holiday!

PeggyCasing

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #117 on: December 19, 2016, 03:08:12 PM »
I've loved reading the posts. :)  As far as a favorite program is concerned... I'd say, "It's a Wonderful Life." I do, however, remember those old TV specials.  Our family had a Christmas album that was from the TV show "Sing Along with Mitch." What a warm, and folksy memory... singing songs in front of the TV. 

A symbol of the season that I "have to have?"  I could say snow.  I do love a white Christmas, but it's not something we can count on for Christmas in southeast Michigan.  I guess I'd really have to say that I "have to have" a nativity set on display.  I'm a "church lady" so I've been known to have one in every room of our house-- bathrooms included. :)  The one set was from Avon, and it's made of a soft plastic.  They are the cutest figures and my girls were known to play with them in the bathtub.  They are 29 and 27 now, so they haven't done THAT for at least a year, or two.  :D

bellamarie

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #118 on: December 19, 2016, 03:26:34 PM »
For today's question, what symbol "Must I have is easy for me....Christmas is about Christ in the manger for me and my family.  The nativity is what I must see at Christmas time.  I absolutely love how we get to church early Christmas Eve for the 5:30 p.m. Mass, and I take my youngest two grandchildren Zak & Zoey up to the altar so they can peek in the manger where baby Jesus will be placed during Mass.  I take their pictures with all the awe & wonderment in their eyes as we talk about Jesus' birth.  I will miss this special time when they grow up, but by then I just may have a great grandchild to begin it all again. 

[img] https://scontent-iad3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/10325685_10208591710013590_4017123456754548788_n.jpg?oh=a94c5395fd24052671ac77ddab8e9f51&oe=58DE5AE9 [\img]
“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 #119 on: December 19, 2016, 03:31:05 PM »
This is a difficult one. I have parted with all of my Christmas "stuff" and have given up decorating.  I guess I don't have any symbols that I look forward to anymore. I am feeling sad  :'(  and energy-less but the rolling snowball that Ginny posted earlier made me smile :D . I think I am going to climb to the top of the closet and find the stocking my mother made me and put on some Christmas music.  I need a happy laugh-out-loud book!