Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas
By Clement Clarke Moore

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around, Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly, That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Crossword

Click on the crossword to make it bigger so that you can print it! Have fun! I'll give you the answers tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sugar Cookies

The dough is easy-to-make, easy-to-use, and the cookies taste delicious. This dough also works wonderfully as spritz cookie dough.


  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups flour
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

Cooking Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium until smooth. Add sugar. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg yolk until combined. Add vanilla. Beat until combined.
  2. Add flour and salt. Beat until combined, scraping down side of bowl occasionally.
  3. Between two sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap with a rolling pin roll the dough to ¼-inch thickness. Cut out shapes. Reroll and use scraps until all dough is used.
  4. Bake 15 to 20 minutes,depending on the size of the cookies, or until lightly browned.
  5. Remove from oven and cool on cookie sheet 5 minutes. Remove to cooling rack to cool completely. Decorate as desired.


These cookies can be made through step 3, wrapped well, and refrigerated up to 1 week, or frozen up to 6 months.

Tips & Tricks

These cookies are also the perfect consistancy for making spritz cookies.

Preparation Time:

25 minutes, not including decorating time


About 2 dozen cookies, depending on the size of the cookie cutters

Baking Time: 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Story of Santa's Reindeer

Rudolph wasn't born until more than a century later. In 1939 the Montgomery Ward company wanted to give away a Christmas booklet as a promotional gimmick. The store tapped one of its best copywriters, Robert L. May -- a 34-year old father whose wife was terminally ill -- to author the booklet. With his knack for writing children's limericks, May was the perfect choice.

For many of us, Rudolph and the rest of Santa's reindeer are as much a part of Christmas folklore as the holiday spirit itself. But these classic characters are very much a modern addition to Christmas tradition.

The legend of Santa's reindeer began in the now famous poem, "The Night Before Christmas." The poem, written by Clement Clarke Moore in 1822 as a Christmas gift to his children, introduced the notion of Santa's sleigh being magically pulled by eight mythical reindeer:

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

But where was Rudolph, the most famous of all the reindeer, in Moore's poem?

Rudolph wasn't born until more than a century later. In 1939 the Montgomery Ward company wanted to give away a Christmas booklet as a promotional gimmick. The store tapped one of its best copywriters, Robert L. May -- a 34-year old father whose wife was terminally ill -- to author the booklet. With his knack for writing children's limericks, May was the perfect choice.

May sought out to create a hero for all children, but especially for those like himself, who were taunted and picked on for being smaller and slower than his peers. His vision led him to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, an underdog champion outcast for his glowing red nose.

Printed in 1939, the booklet reached a distribution of more than 2.4 copies through nationwide Montgomery Ward stores. Paper rationing during World War II curtailed production, but by 1946, more than 6 million copies of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer had been given out. But by then, May was a widower and single dad, in deep debt from his wife's medical bills. In 1947, though, May secured his financial future when Montgomery Ward granted him the copyright over Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

May okayed the licensing of the first short animated film version of Rudolph in 1948 and in 1949, Gene Autry recorded the musical version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. That song went on to become the second best-selling song of all time ("White Christmas" is number one.)

The special place of Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer in America's Christmas culture was codified in 1964, when an animated version of the story was telecast for the first time. That beloved show has been aired every year since, making it the top Christmas show of all time.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Clean Christmas Jokes

What do monkeys sing at Christmas ?
Jungle Bells, Jungle bells.. !
Why are Christmas trees like bad knitters ?
They both drop their needles !
What's Christmas called in England ?
Yule Britannia !
What did the bald man say when he got a comb for Christmas ?
Thanks, I'll never part with it !
Why is a burning candle like being thirsty ?
Beacause a little water ends both of them !
What do you get if you cross an apple with a Christmas tree ?
A pineapple !
What do you give a train driver for Christmas ?
Platform shoes !
What did the big candle say to the little candle ?
I'm going out tonight !
Whats happens to you at Christmas ?
Yule be happy !
How long does it take to burn a candle down ?
About a wick !

Knock Knock
Who's there ?
Mary who ?
Mary Christmas !
What did one Angel say to the other ?
Halo there !
How to cats greet each other at Christmas ?
"A furry merry Christmas & Happy mew year" !
What do elephants sing at Christmas ?
No-elephants, no elephants !
What does Dracula write on his Christmas cards ?
Best vicious of the season
What do angry mice send to each other at Christmas ?
Cross mouse cards !
How do sheep greet each other at Christmas ?
A merry Christmas to ewe

History of the Christmas Advent Calendar

From the point of view of Christianity, Advent starts 4 Sundays before Christmas. Thus Advent in the religious sense could begin as early as 28th of November or as late as the 3rd of December. It was probably the German Protestants or Lutherans who invented the idea of Advent Calendar as running from December 1 - 25.

As a child, Gerhard Lang's mother had made him a basic advent calendar so that he could count down the days until Christmas. She placed 24 sweets onto a piece of cardboard and each day the young Gerhard would take and eat a sweet. When he grew up Gerhard Lang made the first printed advent calendar in 1908.

Later, in 1946, we see Richard Sellmer producing calendars in Germany. The US authorities had to grant him a license in the now post war Germany which led to his advent calendars becoming known and indeed very popular in the USA.

Sellmer's first advent calendar was called 'The Little Town'. The calendar had pictures of many buildings in the town and you would open the windows and the doors to find nice things underneath for each day of advent. Although these are not funny advent calendars, they are interesting, in particular Sellmer produced a very popular lamp shade advent calendar that would fit any lamp and would revolve under heat with 24 windows to open. These calendars can still be purchased from the Sellmer organisation today.

By the end of the 1950s, chocolate advent calendars had appeared, and by the following decade they had become widespread. People still make or buy advent calendars nowadays, with hundreds of different varieties appearing across the globe. A Carols' Calendar was created with a carol for each day of advent. In 1954 they produced the 'White House calendar' with the scenery of the White House in Washington. They then produced many varieties of pull out advent calendars.

Today, the most typical advent calendar is printed on cardboard with twenty four small doors. These calendars have many themes from religious ones with Mary and Joseph travelling to the stable, nativity scenes, church scenes, Bethlehem, winter wonderland and many more. A Santa stocking advent calendar offers a different idea. The stocking has a picture of a Christmas tree on it and you hang an ornament on the tree on each day of Advent.

Celebrating advent with an advent calendar is an ideal way to prepare for Christmas especially with children. The tradition of the advent calendars adds more meaning to Christmas for families everywhere.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Santas Smelly Socks

This is a quick and fun craft to make with many uses. You can place these smelly socks into shoes or just hanging up in a room.

Pair of decorative Christmas Socks
Elastic bands

Start by filling your socks with potpourri. If your socks are new you can stretch them out a little by placing them onto your foot.

Stuff the potpourri into the sock nice and firm. Use elastic bands to close off the top of the sock and attach some ribbon.

You can hang these in pairs or just have one smelly sock hanging up.

These make lovely gifts and fundraiser items.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The time is almost here......

I have mailed off your package. Too bad it won't look as pretty as the package in the picture but I think you'll love what's inside. =) Just a matter of time until you find out who I am!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Snowman Ornament

Here's a fun little project that the whole family can participate in. Make a bunch of snowman ornaments and your tree will be beautiful!


Clear tree ornament, glass balls
Crinkled and shredded white paper
Small Pom Pom's
Flannel, different colors
Tacky Glue
Hot melt glue

If you have a paper crinkler crinkle the paper then shred. If not cut the paper into small 1/8" strips.

Cut the strips into 1" to 2" lengths.

Remove the top from the ornament and stuff the shredded paper into the clear ornament making it look like snow. Use a pencil to shove the paper into the ball, sometimes the glass edge is broken.

Replace the hanger top.

Cut out the eyes and mouth from black felt.

Cut out the carrot nose from orange felt.

Glue these onto the ornament to make a cute face using tacky glue.

Glue a pom pom on each side of the head to cover the ears with hot melt glue.

Cut a piece of chenille to go from the top of one ear muff to the other with hot melt glue.

Glue the chenille in place.

Cut a scarf from felt to go around the bottom of the ornament. Cut slits into the ends to make it look like the fringe on a scarf.

Glue the scarf onto the bottom of the ornament using hot melt glue.

Tie a ribbon through the hanger top to hang it on the tree.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Friday, December 5, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Handprint

Your child gets to lend a hand in crafting this ultraeasy decoration, which makes a sweet gift for grandparents this Christmas.


Brown craft foam or card stock
Black marker
Red glitter glue
Gold sequins
Googly eyes
Red pom-pom
Brown pipe cleaner
Paper clip or clothespin

Time needed: Under 1 Hour

1. To assemble one, first use a pencil to trace your child's hand onto a piece of brown craft foam or card stock.

2. Cut out the shape and add black marker hooves to the fingertips.

3. Next, add a red glitter glue collar with gold sequins for bells, then glue on a googly eye, a red pom-pom nose, and a tail cut from the brown craft foam or card stock.

4. For the reindeer's antlers, cut a brown pipe cleaner in half. Bend each half in two (slightly off-center) and curl the ends. Glue together the pipe cleaner pieces, holding them in place with a paper clip or clothespin until the glue dries. Finally, glue the antlers in place on the reindeer.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Fleece Hat

This soft and cozy cap is just the gift to give for fighting brisk winter weather.


Tape measure
1/2 yard fleece fabric
Needle and thread
Buttons, appliqués, or felt pieces for decoration
1 yard decorative cord

Time needed: Under 1 Hour

1. First, determine the size of the hat. (To avoid ruining the surprise, measure the head of someone who is similar in size to the recipient.) Now cut a piece of fleece that?s 16 inches wide and as long as the measurement you took plus 2 inches.

2. Fold the fleece in half, right side in so the 16-inch edges match up. Sew a 1/2-inch-wide seam along this edge, stopping 5 inches from the bottom (see A). Just below the last stitch, make a 1/2-inch cut in from the side. Turn the material right side out. Now sew a seam along the last 5 inches of unsewn fleece (see B).

3. Roll the bottom of the hat up two turns, so the cuff conceals the bottom part of the seam. To keep the cuff from unrolling, sew on a decorative button, an appliqué, or a felt cutout.

4. Finally, gather the top 3 inches of the hat and tie a colorful cord around it.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hot apple cider

I love hot apple cider! All the spices and the aroma make my head swim with delicious thoughts!


2 quarts apple cider
1/2 cup brown sugar
Dash of salt
1 teaspoon dried ginger
1 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
cinnamon sticks

Combine cider, sugar and salt in a saucepan. In a small piece of cheesecloth, combine spices, and tie off. Add spice packet to cider mixture, and slowly bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 18-20 minutes. Remove spices.

Serve hot cider in mugs with cinnamon sticks.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Egg Nog

Egg Nog! I think this is a drink that you either like it or hate it. Personally, spiked egg nog is better. =)


3 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 egg whites
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Using a mixer, beat egg yolks, then gradually add 1/3 cup of sugar until dissolved. Add the salt and stir in the milk and cream. Add mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. When mixture reaches about 160 degrees F (or coats spoon), remove from heat, pour into glass bowl and set inside a refrigerator to chill.

Using a mixer, beat the egg whites until they are foamy. Then, gradually add 3 tablespoons sugar until soft peaks form. Add to chilled mixture and whisk, mixing thoroughly.

Serves 6-8 people.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas Facts

– Each year, 30-35 million real Christmas trees are sold in the United States alone. There are 21,000 Christmas tree growers in the United States, and trees usually grow for about 15 years before they are sold.

– Today, in the Greek and Russian orthodox churches, Christmas is celebrated 13 days after the 25th, which is also referred to as the Epiphany or Three Kings Day. This is the day it is believed that the three wise men finally found Jesus in the manger.

– In the Middle Ages, Christmas celebrations were rowdy and raucous—a lot like today's Mardi Gras parties.

– From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was outlawed in Boston, and law-breakers were fined five shillings.

– Christmas wasn't a holiday in early America—in fact Congress was in session on December 25, 1789, the country's first Christmas under the new constitution.

– Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the United States on June 26, 1870.

– The first eggnog made in the United States was consumed in Captain John Smith's 1607 Jamestown settlement.

– Poinsettia plants are named after Joel R. Poinsett, an American minister to Mexico, who brought the red-and-green plant from Mexico to America in 1828.

The Salvation Army has been sending Santa Claus-clad donation collectors into the streets since the 1890s.

– Rudolph, "the most famous reindeer of all," was the product of Robert L. May's imagination in 1939. The copywriter wrote a poem about the reindeer to help lure customers into the Montgomery Ward department store.

– Construction workers started the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree tradition in 1931.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Christmas Candleholder

Cast a glow on children's faces with this simple, charming hand-painted candleholder. Follow the winter theme by turning the snowman into a snowflake or a Menorah.

What you'll need:

  • Baby food jar (emptied and rinsed out)
  • Paint
  • Ribbon
  • Tea light candle
  • Paintbrush

How to make it:

  1. Empty out and wash jar.
  2. Tie ribbon around the top, but back from the edge so the flame can't reach it.
  3. Paint any kind of design you wish on the jar. Try snowflakes, hearts, tree ornaments, etc.
  4. Put small candle inside.
  5. Light and watch how pretty it is.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Festive Polka Dot Ornaments

These are so easy to make you will be amazed. Grab some glass ball ornaments and some paint and decorate these pretty and festive tree accents!

What you'll need:

  • Glass ball ornaments
  • Red and green acrylic paint
  • Paint brush
  • ribbon
  • empty egg carton

How to make it:

  1. Turn the empty egg carton upside down. This will serve as your stand as you decorate.
  2. Place ornament upside down on egg carton, resting it between egg cups.
  3. Using the handle end of a paint brush, dip the end of the handle into paint then dot onto the ornament. You will need to re-dip after each dot.
  4. Dot all around the ornament and let dry completely.
  5. Once dry, tie a piece of ribbon through the hanger hook on the ornament.


  • You can use clear glass ornaments for this easy project, or if you prefer, use frosted or colored bulbs, adjusting the paint color accordingly.
  • Glass ornaments are available in abundance at most stores that carry holiday decorations. You may even have some packed away in your Christmas boxes!
  • Change the size of the polka dots by using different sized paint brushes.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Best Christmas Movies of All Time

The Christmas season wouldn't be complete without watching our favorite Christmas movies while sipping a cup of hot chocolate, hot tea or cider. So kick up your feet, pop in a DVD and get ready for some great holiday movies!

It's A Wonderful Life (1946) - We watch it every year, and it just keeps getting better.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947) - Definitive proof that Santa really does exist.

A Christmas Story (1983) - I double dog dare you not to like this one.

White Christmas (1954) - Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye head up this Christmas classic. But the real star of the show is Irving Berlin's score.

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965 - TV) - Generations of kids have grown up on it.

Elf (2003) - Will Ferrell drives this great-for-the-entire-family Christmas comedy. Of course the uncredited appearance of Peter Billingsley is a special holiday treat.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966 - TV & 2003 cinematic) - It's fun to watch the TV version and the movie version back-to-back.

Home Alone (1990) - The first one, not the sequels! A really good family film for the holidays, except there's no family! Funny gags, hilarious antics and truly feel-good moments as well.

A Christmas Carol (1938) - The best version of the well-worn Dickens literary classic. At only 70 minutes in runtime, it's short but sweet classic. Beautiful set designs and powerful acting performances put this one of the must-see holiday film list.

The Santa Clause (1994) - Features one of Tim Allen's few successful big screen performances. So full of heart and charm it's becoming a holiday season staple.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989) - Gotta love the holidays with the Griswalds. Watching Clark's ineptitude makes us all feel a little better ourselves.

Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus (1991 - TV) - Richard Thomas, Ed Asner and Charles Bronson star in this cheerful and uplifting version of the 1974 original. Will challenge you to look at things a little differently.

Holiday Inn (1942) - Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire bring this oldie-but-goodie to life. Bing Crosby does Christmas so well! Crescendoes to the magnificent debut of "White Christmas". "I'm dreaming of a ...."

The Polar Express (2004) - Adapted from Chris Van Allsburg's Caldecott Medal winning children's book of the same name. If you can look past the creepy computer-generated characters, this one's pretty good. The animation is spectacular as it features a rousing song and dance number in the train's dining car as well as a truly harrowing runaway train sequence.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Hope you enjoy your day with family all around! Don't eat too much turkey! Need to save some room for dessert!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Popcorn Squares

Popcorn and granola add a healthy crunch to these peanut-buttery treats.


1/2 cup honey
2/3 cup peanut butter
1 cup granola cereal, with larger chunks broken up
1 cup roasted and salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
3 cups plain popped popcorn

1. Line an 8- or 9-inch square pan with foil. Heat the honey in a large saucepan until it boils, about 2 minutes. Add the peanut butter and stir until mixture is well blended.

2. Remove the pan from the stove and stir in the granola, the peanuts, and the popcorn until everything is coated.

3. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Refrigerate the pan until the mixture is cool, about 30 minutes.

4. Cut the mixture into small squares (we got 25 from our pan). The treats will be a bit crumbly, so you may want to serve them in paper candy cups.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Turkey Tracks

Wild turkeys have been known to run up to 20 mph, but that might not be quite fast enough for these tasty appetizers to escape being gobbled up. This fun snack recipe will have everyone making tracks for more.


crackers (your family's favorite)
cheese spread or softened cream cheese
crunchy chow mein noodles

1. Spread the crackers with cheese, then arrange chow mein noodles atop each one to resemble a 3-toed turkey footprint.

2. Tip: The tracks look particularly good if you choose some of the curvier noodles that don't lie flat in the cheese.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tepee Treats

Historically, an Indian tepee was made from a cone of long poles and a hide covering that appeared shiny white until the hearth fire cured it. Construct a village of similarly handsome -- though edible -- tepees with this food craft.


Sugar cones
Confectioners' sugar
Unsalted butter
Vanilla extract
Cake-decorating icing
Decorative candies

1. In a mixing bowl with an electric beater set at low speed, mix 2 cups of sifted confectioners' sugar, 1/4 cup of softened, unsalted butter, and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract until smooth and spreadable. Stir in a bit of milk, if needed.

2. Use the icing to lightly frost eight ice cream sugar cones, then place them in the freezer for a few minutes until the icing hardens.

3. Now use tubes of cake-decorating icing to draw linear patterns and images and glue on decorative candies. For lodgepoles, insert toothpicks into the tip of each cone.