Monday, December 15, 2014

Taking a Break


Good morning, friends. My visits, comments, and posts will likely be sporadic-to-nonexistent in the next few days. We picked up our Texas daughter and SIL at the airport yesterday and more family will be arriving tomorrow. Today is set aside for Christmas cookie baking. On Wednesday, family will be here, games will be played, too much food will be eaten, gifts will be given to the weeest ones, and I hope to get a few pics to share later.

Have a wonderful week.


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Sunday, December 14, 2014

O Come All Ye Faithful



Birth of Jesus Foretold

 "In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary.  And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.

"And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,  and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

"And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”



 "And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.  And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.  For nothing will be impossible with God.”   

"And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.  - Luke 1:26-38


Gabriel tells Mary:
from desiringgod.org
John Piper


"His name will be Jesus. In Hebrew: Joshua, which means Savior or Deliverer. Gabriel loves to highlight grace. Before he tells Mary of Christ's greatness and dignity and power, he tells her how he is going to use this greatness and dignity and power. He is going to use it as a Savior. So don't be afraid, Mary, your child will be your Savior. He will be Jesus.

He will be great. (v. 32). Jesus is great. He is very great.

 "A Christian who feels ashamed of Jesus 
is like a candle feeling ashamed of the sun."

A Christian who feels ashamed of Jesus Christ is like a candle feeling ashamed of the sun. Our Lord Jesus has been "appointed the heir of all things. Through him God created the world. He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe with the word of his power." 



***
 
God of God
Light of Light
Lo! He abhors not the virgin's womb;
Very God,
Begotten, not created...
 
Glory to God
In the Highest
 
O come let us adore Him!

***
 
 
Have a blessed Lord's Day!


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Friday, December 12, 2014

Florentines Christmas Cookie Recipe and a Christmas Cat


 Florentines, ready to serve

This is a repeat of a recipe I posted in December of 2011. These are crisp, light, and delicious, a good enough reason to repeat the recipe today.

***

I don't know why I'd never made these before. They're mostly almond, something I eat a lot! And then you add dark chocolate to the top. What a spectacular combination!


Florentines: Recipe
This recipe is from www.foodnetwork.com

5 oz. finely ground almonds (You can buy them that way, and they're a lot cheaper than whole or sliced almonds)
3 T. all-purpose flour
Finely grated zest of 1 orange (Appx. 2 T.)
1/4 t. fine salt
3/4 c. sugar
2 T. heavy cream (I used heavy whipping cream)
2 T. light corn syrup
5 T. butter
1/2 t. vanilla extract

Chocolate Topping, optional. (Optional??)
2-4 oz. semisweet chocolate (I used 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
I think that silicone baking mats work just as well.

Combine almonds, flour, zest and salt in a large bowl.

Put the sugar, cream, corn syrup, and butter in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally (I didn't take any chances. I stirred it constantly) until mixture comes to a rolling boil and sugar is completely dissolved. Continue to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour mixture into almond mixture and stir just to combine. Set aside until cool enough to handle, about 30 minutes.

Scoop rounded teaspoons (I made dough balls that were the size of shooter marbles and got a dozen balls on each large baking sheet. They will spread out, so leave plenty of space around each dough ball.)

Just out of the oven

I had a dozen cookies on each of two baking sheets. It worked well to place one on the middle shelf and one of the shelf above that. I baked them for 5 minutes, switched pans to the opposite oven racks, and baked another 6 minutes. I let them completely cool on the pans before spreading chocolate on top.

In a double boiler, melt the semi-sweet chocolate pieces. I couldn't manage to drizzle this, but spread a spoonful onto each cookie, then sprinkled additional ground almonds on top.

These cookies need to be chilled to help the chocolate set up. Then they're ready to serve or store. Right now, I have a box of them sitting outdoors on the deck where it's -5 degrees F. (That was in 2011. This weekend we're supposed to see temperatures in the mid to upper 40s!)


EASY and DELICIOUS
FLORENTINES

on one of my mom's Christmas plates. :-)

I think that another time I would try a little harder to get the chocolate thin enough to drizzle a zigzag pattern on the cookies, rather than have chocolate on the entire top. They would look prettier that way. So then we have to decide if we're going for pretty or for more chocolate. It's a tough one, isn't it.

One more thing:
Guess who came downstairs to check out the Christmas tree. Later, I found her lying under the tree next to the Santa Lucia doll. 


Tuppence - 
Snoopin' around the Christmas Tree

***

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Although I usually forget to do it, there is a chance that this post will be linked to one or more of these great linky parties:  Amaze Me Monday and Inspiration Monday and Mosaic Monday and The Barn Collective and    Treasure Box Tuesday and Vintage Bliss Tuesday and KatheWithAnE and Rubbish Tuesday and Our World Tuesday and Tuesdays at our Home and Tuesday with a Twist and  Knick of Time Tuesday (vintage)  and   Tweak it Tuesday and Vintage Inspiration Wednesday and Ivy and Elephants Wednesday and Adorned From Above  and Artsy Corner Thursday and  All Things With Purpose and Home & Garden Thursday and Good Fences on Thursdays and  Time Travel Thursday and Freedom Fridays and Vintage Inspiration Friday and Saturday's Critters

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Decorating the Christmas Hodgepodge


Christmas Star
The star didn't fit on the tree, so it's resting on the old accordian case. Can I play the accordian? Well, enough to frighten the grandkids. I can play a couple things in a minor key and the theme song to Maigret, but that's about it. Oh. And I can play, 'She'll be Comin' 'Round the Mountain.' That's the extent of my repertoire.

I finally got a little decorating done around here yesterday. We've always had a real Christmas tree, and there is a real tree on the front porch, but I found an artificial tree for the living room, one that was so cute and standing there with a big red tag that read, 'Last One.' It was half price, so I bought it. Why didn't anyone tell me years ago how much easier it is to decorate an artificial tree??  I could actually hang ornaments on it without the boughs drooping.



Vee had a wonderful idea of putting her small Christmas tree in an old trunk and putting toys around it. It's SO cute. I didn't get my trunk emptied out, and my tree was a little too tall for that anyway (6'), so I just surrounded the tree with toys and books. This is the first year I've had a skinny tree, and I love it!

Now, on to the Hodgepodge!

Join Joyce and the Gang
at From This Side of the Pond
for

She writes the questions,
We write the answers.
Come join us!

1. What is one new holiday tradition you'd like to establish, or one you've established recently, say in the last year or two?



That all gifting, except for the youngest children, would go to underprivileged families, rather than more money spent on people who have everything they already need.

2. It's the second week of December. Have you sipped a cup of eggnog yet this month? Wrapped a gift? Opened a gift? Kissed someone under the mistletoe? Lit a candle? Eaten a Christmas cookie? Seen Santa in person? Watched a Christmas movie or special? Read scripture relating to the birth of Jesus?

No to all of the above except the Scripture one. Celebrating Advent keeps one in the Scripture and mindful of what this season is all about.



3. Do you think it's better to be an adult or a child at Christmastime? Explain.

As an adult, one can have a slight glimmer of what the Christmas season is about and reflect upon Christ setting aside the glories of Heaven in order to become a human, born in a manger., to save His people from their sin. For kids, it's magical with the lights, candles, garland, tree, etc. But if kids are celebrating Advent with their families, the whole season  has real meaning, rather than just being another big party.

My dad made the icicles

My dear cousin Bobby gave me the Santa Lucia doll
and many of the tree ornaments.

4. It's often said, 'Good things come to those who wait'...agree or disagree? Why?

I think that with the plummeting price of oil, airfare will drop, so in that sense yes, good things, like cheaper airfare, may come to those who wait. On the other hand, I didn't wait for the sale on Christmas trees because the one I wanted was labeled as 'LAST ONE' and I bought it while I could. If I had waited...   I think that saying was invented by a mother who didn't want her kids eating before dinner. Not every saying has merit, like the one, 'You have to step out of your comfort zone.' Says who?? Sometimes, stepping out of your comfort zone can get you run over by a truck! These things need to be thought through, not just adopted because someone thought it sounded clever. I try not to be a lemming.

I think this tin originally had Walker shortbread in it.
Do you think he uses Colgate whitening strips?

5. What's the last sweet thing you baked? Did you keep it, take it to a party/event, or give it away?

The last thing I baked was brownies with lots of chocolate chips and walnuts. I took some to a party and put the rest in the freezer. They'll be at the dinner table tonight when some family are here. I don't dare just leave them lying around!

My mom made the Christmas tree skirt.

6.  This question comes to us courtesy of Jhona who blogs over at The Red House at the End of the Lane. Everyone hop over and say hi to Jhona this week!  Here is her question... "I heard an actor talk about how he makes a conscious choice to talk to people in elevators.  He chooses to connect, make eye contact, and converse. Do you talk to people/strangers when you're in an elevator or any other place where you might have to wait together? Why or why not?"

I love talking to strangers. I'm not too likely to strike up a conversation in an elevator, but I am very likely to strike up a conversation while shopping. I'll ask someone their opinion on something or if they know where the Ritter Sport is shelved, etc.  I'll often talk to strangers while waiting.  And why do I do that? Just to be annoying? No, actually, it's because sometimes people simply need a little cheering up, a little humor, a kind word, and getting them out of themselves. I am pretty good at knowing which people can be approached.


7. Are you on the naughty or nice list this year? What put you there?

I don't think I'm on either list this year. Can't think of a thing that would have sealed my fate either way.

The candle ornament was purchased on a trip to Mexico years ago.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

a) Why is it that my desk gets to a certain degree of messiness and then just stops. If I cleaned it tonight, within two days it would look the same as it does now. I will clean it by the time the family comes for Christmas, but otherwise, it seems so pointless. I know where everything is (almost) and at least I know 'It's on my desk...somewhere.' The desk is only about 4' by  2.5', so it doesn't take too long to find any hidden object.

b) One more random: Every time I take Misty out on lead on the slippery driveway (acutely aware of my artificial hip), the Scripture verse, 'Now unto Him who is able to keep you from falling' pops into my mind. Okay, I know that's not what the verse is about, but still it's just one of those things my brain does. I'm so glad God gave us humor. And if you ever wonder about that, read The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton. Chesterton is full of wisdom, full of the love of God, and full of humor.

My sweet sledding penguin

Some of our family will gather here on the 17th. Now all I need to do is make some food, make up some beds, clean the house, clean this desk!, and I'll be all set.

So are you all ready for Christmas?

***

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Although I usually forget to do it, there is a chance that this post will be linked to one or more of these great linky parties:  Amaze Me Monday and Inspiration Monday and Mosaic Monday and The Barn Collective and    Treasure Box Tuesday and Vintage Bliss Tuesday and KatheWithAnE and Rubbish Tuesday and Our World Tuesday and Tuesdays at our Home and Tuesday with a Twist and  Knick of Time Tuesday (vintage)  and   Tweak it Tuesday and Vintage Inspiration Wednesday and Ivy and Elephants Wednesday and Adorned From Above  and Artsy Corner Thursday and  All Things With Purpose and Home & Garden Thursday and Good Fences on Thursdays and Daily Cup Mrs. Olson and  Time Travel Thursday and Freedom Fridays and Vintage Inspiration Friday and Saturday's Critters

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