Saturday, December 31, 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR..WELCOME 2012

Hello my friends and Happy New Year! I hope you had a lovely Holiday season, and wish you all the best in the coming year. I am looking forward to more blogging and meeting all my new followers. Thank you for making this past year a wonderful learning experience. Hugsxxxx

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Legend of the Christmas Tree

THE LEGEND OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE 
BY LUCY WHEELOCK
Two little children were sitting by the fire one cold winter's night. All at once they heard a 
timid knock at the door, and one ran to open it. There, outside in the cold and the darkness, stood a child with no shoes upon his feet and clad in thin, ragged garments. He was shivering with cold, and he asked to come in and warm himself. "Yes, come," cried both the children; "you shall have our place by the fire. Come in!" They drew the little stranger to their warm seat and shared their supper with him, and gave him their bed, while they slept on a hard bench. In the night they were awakened by strains of sweet music and, looking out, they saw a band of children in shining garments approaching the house. They were playing on golden harps, and the air was full of melody. Suddenly the Stranger Child stood before them; no longer cold and ragged, but clad in silvery light. His soft voice said: "I was cold and you took Me in. I was hungry, and you fed Me. I was tired, and you gave Me your bed. I am the Christ Child, wandering through the world to bring peace and happiness to all good children. As you have given to Me, so may this tree every year give rich fruit to you." So saying, He broke a branch from the fir tree that grew near the door, and He planted it in the ground and disappeared. But the branch grew into a great tree, and every year it bore wonderful golden fruit for the kind children.


* From "For the Children's Hour," by Bailey and Lewis. Used by permission of the authors and the publishers—Milton Bradley Company.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Old World Yuletide Plum Pudding



Plum Pudding is a traditional English holiday dessert. Try to start at least a week in advance for the flavors to marinade together. It's a rich dessert, and this recipe makes 3 medium cakes. If not, a couple of days will be fine.

FRUIT:
1/4 lb. citron (candied lemon peel, found with the dried fruits in the grocery store)
1 lb. raisins
1 lb. currants
1 lb. prunes
1/2 lb. dates
1/2 lb. cherries
1/2 lb. walnuts
1 pint red wine
Combine all fruit ingredients in a large bowl and stir together. Set aside and stir once a day for about a week for all the flavors to marinade together, or if set for time, two days.

CAKE:

4 cups sifted flour
2 cups. sugar
1 lb. (4 sticks) butter, softened
10 eggs
4 tsp. baking powder
3 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. ground nutmeg
2 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. grated lime rind
Preheat oven to 325^. Line with foil and grease 3 formed molded pans, bundt pans, or angel food cake pans.

Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs. Mix in vanilla, spices, sugar, and lime. Fold in the sifted flour. Stir in the fruit and baking powder. Consistency should be softly dropping.

Fill each pan two-thirds full. Place in pans in baking dishes and pour boiling water in the baking dish around the pans, so that water comes at least 1-inch up the sides. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until cakes are done by checking with a toothpick in the center.

Serve warm with hard sauce.

HARD SAUCE:

1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract or brandy
Cream butter with powdered sugar until light and fluffly. Add vanilla or brandy. Spoon over cake at serving time.

These cakes may be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator or frozen. Steam in the oven to reheat before serving.

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas......

I can't believe Christmas is almost here! Going to do some last minute shopping on Friday, which should be fun...looking forward to the hustle and bustle of the shops on 'Maine' St.! The month seemed to fly by with all the cookie and cake baking, gifts and wrapping paper, and visits from friends and family. Can hardly wait for the peacefulness of Christmas Eve..I think we will be getting snow which just adds to the magic of the season! See you soon, and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of my friends and family! Enjoy the warmth of love.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Free Printable Vintage Christmas Tags!!

Hi everyone, it has been so busy here getting ready for Christmas! We have been baking cookies and cranberry bread, and making some handmade gifts for friends and family. It snowed last night and it is so pretty...not a lot just a nice dusting to make it feel more like Christmas. Here is a sheet of Vintage Christmas Tags that you can print out for your gift giving. Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Crochet a Holiday Wreath Gift Topper

Hi everyone! Wow it has been very busy here getting ready for Christmas...I love this time of year. I thought I'd give you an easy Crochet Wreath project that is quick and nice to put on presents. Enjoy!

What You Need

100% mercerized cotton -- white thread: 400 yds. (366m); colored thread: 350 yds. (320m); bedspread weight
Size 2 (2.5mm) steel crochet hook OR SIZE NEEDED TO OBTAIN GAUGE
Mini pony beads (for tree and wreath)
Blunt-end yarn needle

How to Make It
With C, ch 24; join with sl st to form ring.
Rnd 1: Ch 1, work 42 sc in ring; join with sl st to first sc.
Rnd 2: Ch 1, (sc in 5 sc, 2 sc in next sc) around -- 49 sts; join.
Rnd 3: Ch 1, (sc in 6 sc, 2 sc in next sc) around -- 56 sts; join.
Rnd 4: Ch 1, (sc in 7 sc, 2 sc in next sc) around -- 73 sts; join
Rnd 5: Ch 2, (sc in 8 sc, 2 sc in next sc) around -- 70 sts; join.
Rnd 6: Ch 2, (sc in 9 sc, 2 sc in next sc) around -- 77 sts; join; fasten off.
Bow Strip
With B, ch 6, sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across; ch 1, turn.
Next row: Sc in 5 sc across; ch 1, turn. Rep last row until piece measures 9 inches long.
Edging
Sc evenly around all edges, working 3 sc in each corner; join to first sc; fasten off.
Knot Strip
With B, ch 4, sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across -- 3 sc; ch 1, turn. Work even in sc until piece measures 1 1/2 inches; work edging around piece same as for Bow Strip.

Finishing
Fold Bow Strip to form 2 sides for bow and tails. Wrap Knot Strip round bow loops and sew tog at back of bow. Sew pony beads at intervals around Wreath ring. Use piece to cut a shape from felt. Glue felt to back. Tack package ties, a hanging loop, or a pin back to the back, or adhere a magnet button.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cutting Down The Christmas Tree & Shopping In Portland

Well, it's that time again to go get the Christmas tree...we make it a tradition to go to the farm to find our tree. This year it was at Hummer Farm in Bath, Maine and we sang carols and sipped hot chocolate on the way. It didn't take us long to spot the one we wanted. 
It was bitter cold today, about 27 degrees this morning but it didn't stop us from finding our tree!! It is quite the tradition of hunting for just the right one. We got it home and set up..then took a break for some lunch then went to decorating.
                                                          I think it turned out perfect!! 


Later today we headed to Portland, Maine for some shopping and dinner...we spotted some pretty trees along the way.
                                      This one was in the window at Longfellow Square.
                                And this is the town Christmas Tree in Monument Square.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Cute Christmas Ornaments

It is time to get ready for the Christmas Season and I found this crochet craft by Linda Permann at http://www.craftstylish.com and want to give them a try.

Use up your scraps making these sweet little Christmas ornaments. They work up really quickly (and easily), and then you can embellish them to your heart's desire. 

Crocheted Christmas Ornament

Yarn/Hook: I used worsted-weight yarn (Cascade 220) and a size F (3.75 mm) hook. You can use any yarn weight and the corresponding hook size—gauge is not all that important for this pattern. The finished ornament measures 3 inches long.

Make a magic ring. (See this tutorial if you've never made one, or just work into the slip knot).
Round 1: Chain 3, 11 double crochet into ring, join with a slip stitch in top of beginning chain—12 double crochet.
Round 2: Chain 3, double crochet in first double crochet, 2 double crochet in each of next 5 stitches, (2 treble crochet, picot) in next stitch, 2 treble crochet in following stitch, 2 double crochet in each of remaining stitches. Join with a slip stitch in top of beginning chain—20 double crochet, 4 treble crochet.
Round 3: Slip stitch into the next stitch, chain 2, and half double crochet into the same stitch, 2 half double crochet in the next stitch, fasten off—4 half double crochet.
Weave in the ends.

Here are the tricky crochet parts—and trust me, they're not even tricky. These all happen in round 2.
To make a treble crochet, yarn over twice and insert your hook in the stitch. Draw up a

loop, (yarn over, draw loop through first 2 loops on hook) three times.
To make a picot, chain 3, then slip stitch in the 3rd chain from your hook.
When you're done making your ornaments, have fun with embellishing.


Try sewing on sequins, buttons, and beads—or use a contrasting color of yarn to do a little embroidery.

Insert wire hangers and your ornaments are ready to hang.




Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Send

Send "Cheer" to Military Families

Cheerios® and the USO are proud to team up to support military families
What a nice way to say "thanks" to our troops and help fund the USO for them and their families. Please go to the site and check it out. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Preparations for Thanksgiving

The girls and I were thinking of making these place cards for the dinner table for Thanksgiving...we saw this idea on a website off google and wanted to try it. I guess we should start gathering acorns this afternoon for the project!
We hope to have them done this evening and then making pies and prepping the veggies for the side-dishes. We are expecting 6 to 8 inches of SNOW tonight! So glad we decided not to travel this year! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Something For Christmas...

These lovely purses are available in Nantucket and Cape Cod and they are so unique and New England like. They are on my wishlist to get some day. I found it to be such a hoot that you can customize it also. This is the style I had in mind. 
A Nantucket Handbag
They're so beautiful! And this specific company has a variety of Old-New-England-themed designs that you can add on your bag (both on the outside and inside).
I'd like the Marblehead Harbor design on the outside.

And the carved Whale piece on the inside

Isn't it just adorable!! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cornbread Stuffing with Apples and Sausage

I got this recipe from the show Down Home with The Neelys,  and just love it so much! My family loves it too! Hope you all try it out for Thanksgiving or anytime of the year.
Serves 4 to 6 and takes about 55 min.
Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped coarsely
  • 1 teaspoon freshly minced thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped sage leaves
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1 1/4 pounds cubed and dried cornbread stuffing, store-bought
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 cups turkey or low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in 12-inch skillet.
Cook sausage for 5 to 7 minutes until browned. Add onions and celery and saute until softened. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Mix in apples, thyme and sage and saute for another 2 minutes. Add bourbon. *Cook's Note: When adding alcohol take pan off flame. Allow to simmer until bourbon is almost evaporated; 1 to 2 minutes.
In a large bowl, add cornbread stuffing, parsley, chicken stock, eggs and pecans. Mix well. Mix in vegetable mixture to bowl. Combine and stir well together. Add to a large casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOE!

Today is my oldest boys birthday! Happy 24th. Birthday Joey...We are so very proud of you and wish you all the best in the future. Love from the family! 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Being Prepared For An Emergency

I posted this on my sister blog http://dwellclosetothehearth.blogspot.com/ also.


Shelter, food, water, and security. These are the four basic elements you need to provide for. With an intelligent disaster plan, and the will to survive and a cache of food and supplies you will have what you need during the hard times.

The Basics for a 72 Hour Survival Kit
Use a backpack that you can realistically carry all the items you'll need.

Use the Rule of 3 When Making Your Kit: You could be dead in......
Three minutes without air
Three minutes from a severe wound
Three minutes from extreme freezing conditions
Three hours without shelter in severe weather
Three days without water
Three weeks without food

WATER AND FIRE:

In a major disaster, you may be faced with drinking from questionable sources. Always boil your water so you'll need to make a fire. Boiling the water gets rid of the bacteria so you can drink it. There are also water purification tablets which are effective but often bad tasting, but that should not stop you from using them if it means your life.

I suggest you carry at least three different methods: lighter, matches and a magnesium striker. Magnesium can be carried safely in a small block, but when you scrap the edge into small grit, it will ignite with a spark. The striker is a metal bar that when struck by the edge of a knife, for example, causes that high temperature spark. The wooden handles version is slightly different. The wood is oil soaked and the scraper is used to strap the wood to form tender which lights easily, even after a half hour under water.

Another tip to accelerate fire starting is to carry Cotton rubbed with petroleum jelly. I carry them in old film canisters or prescription bottles, both of which are water-resistant. The other benefits of fire are heat, cooking, protection from animals and a signal for rescue.

MEDICAL NEEDS:

In a major disaster, you will be the doctor until help arrives...harsh reality but true. You will want to know how to help yourself, family and friends with medical assistance. A good start for customizing your medical kit starts with the basics of band aids and alcohol pads and an instructive first aid manual. Of course, you will want to build on this with sterile gauze, tape and painkillers such as aspirin and Tylenol. If you have to take prescription medicine, try to have at least a 2 week supply, along with diabetic supplies if needed. Cough and cold medicines for adults and children if needed should be included in the kit. Also, extra inhalers if someone in your group has asthma. You should have finger splints, knee brace, ACE bandage and spare glasses if you or someone else wears them. Customize your kit for yourself and your families needs.

SHELTER GEAR:

Each kit should have an Emergency Survival Blanket, it can retain 90% of your body heat. They come in many sizes and qualities and can also be used for rain and shade protection.
A sturdy Poncho is also a must. It will keep the rain off of you and provide shade. A tarp is a good idea, as you can put it on the ground then cover it with a wool blanket to keep the chill from the ground off of you. Be sure to include some 550 Paracord. This will come in handy for a quick tent when tied between two trees or some kind of post..you drape your poncho over it and you have some shelter. You should also include hand warmers and feet warmers that are available through many websites or hardware stores.

THE RIGHT KIND OF CLOTHING:

You should have pants, t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, and underwear packed as a spare. Try to dress in these types of clothing too. Pack a sock hat and baseball cap for cold and heat, and wear good boots that support your ankles and are waterproof. Each kit should have three types of gloves...non-latex for treating wounds, work gloves to protect your hands and weather appropriate gloves for insulation or sun protection. Try to carry at least three pairs of extra socks, and dry all clothes by a fire or in the sun to keep them from causing you any problems.

FOOD AND PERSONAL HYGIENE

there are so many choices in survival foods today. You can buy MRE meals like the military uses or energy bars that provide 3500 calories for energy need. I like to choose my own types according to my tastes and my families tastes. This is where our kits get very customized. We always add, tea bags, hot cocoa and dry cups of soup packets. You can make trail mix with nuts, fruits, m & m's, crackers and cereal and store in ziploc bags. Cheese and Peanut Butter crackers are also good, along with hard candy and gum. Pick what you want, but make sure it will give you the energy you'll need. We also supplement these items with vitamins. It is a good idea to every once a month to go through the kits and replace any of the food that has expired. If you have a baby with you, be sure to add formula or dry milk and baby food.

In a survival situation, your 72 Hour Kit should have everything you need to handle all normal biological functions. So, to this part of the kit you should add toothpaste, toothbrush, comb and brush, a mess kit for eating (can be found in camping goods at a department store.) You will also need tissue, feminine products, shaving cream, razors, Q-tips, hand sanitizer, wet wipes and shampoo. Of course, add your own personal products as needed for each family member. Another wonderful thing to have is LED flashlights and extra batteries, Glow Sticks and Emergency candles which will help for lighting and reassurance when it is dark. It is a good choice too, to have a set of Walkie Talkies with fresh batteries. You will also want to have some cash on hand, suntan lotion, a folding knife and can opener. Be sure to customize your kit for YOUR needs and the people you are with. It is a good idea to store water and more food at home too. Along with sleeping bags, blankets, lanterns, axe and shovel and anything else you think would come in handy if you are lucky enough to stay at home. Always be prepared for the unexpected.

In the event of a national emergency, you can almost count on a food shortages, rationing, and potentially even food riots. You really need to prepare as much as you can, while you can by stocking up on what you will need during this time. Don't try to sustain yourself indefinitely, just enough to get you through the crisis. It will help you to think more clearly when there is a crisis knowing that you prepared ahead of time. Because of how long it may takes it get the situation under control in the community and nationwide, I suggest you make provisions for at least 30 days with enough food and water for each person in your household. Ideally, you should have a 6 month supply, but this may not be realistic for most people.

Water....10 bottles of water per person each day at 12 ounces each. So, 50 cases of this water would supply a family of 4 people for 30 days. That's a lot of cases of water! Of course, you can also fill clean containers and store them for flushing the toilet and sponge bathing. You can add iodine drops to sterilize the water for drinking or boil it and this is a safe way of using water from ponds, streams, lakes, hot tubs, and swimming pools. You can invest in 5 gallon water bottles to store your water and use and refill them on a regular bases ensuring that they are fresh. In the first minutes of the disaster if you have the chance, fill your tubs with water and any containers you have left in the house. This will come in handy for many uses. Continue to use the tap water as long as it is available, but never use it if your community is flooded since it will be contaminated by overflowing sewage and make it unsafe to use. Be sure to store as much water as you can, and have back up plans on accessing water for long term survival from many different places. You need to plan for 3 meals a day, which is 90 meals per person for a 30 day period. You can much information from many good sites for preparedness, one of my favorites is www.BePrepared.com they have many of the items you can use for your kits. Stay safe!






Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy November

Well, it is November and we are gearing up for the coming holidays. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, I love cooking for the family and all our loved ones gathered together. Would love to go to the Macy's Day Parade in New York City one of these years. My 7 year old son just loves the balloons and Santa! It doesn't take long to go there from here in Maine and we could have Thanksgiving dinner the night before and left overs when we return! Oh, how I love this time of year. What are all of you doing for Thanksgiving? I would love to know.
Good Ole Snoopy!
Awww...the Turkey! Love this Parade

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Love These Kitchens

I want to change the look of my kitchen and with all the ideas that are available I am having a hard time choosing....one thing for sure, it will be pretty and functional! These are some of my favorites:
This is the Blue and White
Then there is the 1930's look...
One of my favorites is the Country Kitchen.

It will be a long winter of catalogs and photos to look at to make my choice. Smiles.


How do you choose?

I just love the simplicity of this craft room...shows you don't have to do a lot to get the space you want.
Then there is the craft room with everything you could possibly want at your disposal. Nice!

Either way, it's your space...have fun with it.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Carving Pumpkins and Roasted Seeds

We will be carving pumpkins this weekend for All Hollow's Eve!!! My kids get such a kick out of Halloween and the pumpkins are a big part of the fun. We always roast our seeds afterwards also, so nothing goes to waste. I though I'd share a recipe for Roasted Pumpkin Seeds with you all. Enjoy!


photo thanks to Taste of Home

8 Servings Prep: 20 min. Bake: 50 min.
Ingredients

2 cups fresh pumpkin seeds
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Directions
Line a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan with foil and grease the foil. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients; spread into prepared pan. Bake at 250° for 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Increase heat to 325°. Bake 5 minutes longer or until seeds are dry and lightly browned. Serve warm, or cool before storing in an airtight container. Yield: 2 cups.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New England in the Fall!!

Jack O'Lanterns, woodsmoke, corn mazes and Haunted Houses...Pumpkin spices, rustling leaves, candlelight, caramel apples and scary movies! Bonfires, spooky stories, flannel shirts, candy corn and ghost and goblins. Foliage, festivals, hayrides...Oh, how I love New England in the Fall!!































Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pretty Pastels

I just had to post these beautiful pastel pretties! Aren't they lovely? Oh, how I love pastels.




Saturday, October 15, 2011

Autumn Beauty

We have an abundance of pumpkins this year, despite the bad weather we had this season.
I found this idea for a centerpiece on another blog...(forgot the name)..but it is so great I wanted to share it.
Isn't fall one of the most lovely seasons to be experienced? I think so too!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Comfort and Simplicity

I have been looking at pins on pinterest.com and found some very beautiful images! Like this lovely bed and quilts...you should go check the site out it is wonderful!

Aww...such beauty!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Beautiful Porch Scene

I know, I know, it's not winter yet....but this is such a wonderful and relaxing photo! I always love the wintertime here in Maine, and this is just so lovely I had to share it. Smiles :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Happy October!


I just love the fall, don't you? Here in Maine we get the beautiful colors from the leafs and the crisp, cool nights before winter sets in. The kids are busy deciding on their costumes for Halloween and I am picking out fabric. It is one of my favorite times of year! I know we will be making caramel apples soon too. Enjoy your day everyone.


I think we will try these out this year!

Caramel Apples (refrigerate apples overnight before dipping so caramel sticks)

6 apples
1 (14 ounce) package individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped
2 tablespoons milk

Directions

Remove the stem from each apple and press a craft stick into the top. Butter a baking sheet.
Place caramels and milk in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave 2 minutes, stirring once. Allow to cool briefly.
Roll each apple quickly in caramel sauce until well coated. Place on prepared sheet to set.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Sewing for Fun

Well, I have decided to make myself a lovely plaid skirt. I have enough fabric to make a matching beret too. I love to wear black tights in the winter and the skirt will go great with them since the fabric is black, red, and white. A sweet white blouse and black cardigan and I am ready to go!



Sunday, September 25, 2011

Time For Apple Picking and Halloween Goodies!!

Well, it's that time of year again when the kids grab their baskets and off we go to pick apples. We really enjoy this time together and we get to make so many yummy things with our apples. This year, we are making homemade applesauce. (I'll be adding the recipe soon!) We also hunt for our pumpkins now too with all the lovely harvests that are coming in, it should be fun.
Aren't they beautiful!
We always get cornstalks too for decorating!
Here are a couple of photos I found and thought I'd share with you. They are really old-fashioned and vintage.