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Archive for December, 2009

You know ladies, I can not stress enough how important it is for us to be peace keepers.  Please know this is an area that I often do not do so well in, but I do strive to keep harmony in my home.  I know of so many women who have challenges within their family and extended family who are not willing to forgive.  For me, life is so much better if I just let off and move on.  I am referring to relationships within your family that need to be mended –  caused by common misunderstandings.  Life is so much better for everyone when there is reconciliation rather than bitterness.  It is so much nicer and healthier to live in peace.  With everyday misunderstandings/miscommunications  the issue will most likely be resolved sometime, so why not just make it right – now. I was recently reminded of how important it is for me to overlook or resolve issues with my daughters. The other day we were just sitting around chatting and I realized that I am truly blessed by their presence. A calm relationship comes from the love we have for each other and the desire to keep peace.   Why not initiate healing today?

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This morning I was reading in the book of Luke about Mary and Martha.  I was reminded at how important it is to have our priorities in order.  To summarize the story, Jesus was visiting Mary and Martha (sisters). Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening to all that he had to say. Martha was distracted by the preparations that had to be made. She was worried and upset about many things. She came to Jesus and said ‘tell her to help’.  Jesus told Martha that Mary had made the better decision.  What struck me this morning is that I am easily distracted by preparations.  I become frustrated, worried and upset. The meaning of the celebration is often clouded over by the work. I need to be certain that the reason for the celebration is clear in my mind and then all preparations will fall into place in a healthier manner.

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One of my favorite cake recipes is Easy Black Forest Cake. I acquired the recipe many years ago while volunteering at a children s summer camp. I have just started making the recipe again as it is so easy. It freezes well too. I like to have one (or part of one) in the freezer for convenience. My daughter Erin just loves this cake. I make this for all occasions.  Enjoy. Here is the recipe…. (more…)

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In the midst of the excitement of the Christmas season, I like to experience calmness. These two prayers help to keep me focused on the true meaning of the season. I like to take time regularly to reflect on these prayers written long ago.


Christmas Prayer by Robert Louis Stevenson (1800’s)

Loving Father, Help us remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of angels,the gladness of the shepherds,and the worship of the wise men.

Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world.

Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.

Deliver us from evil by the blessing, which Christ brings,and teach us to be merry with clean hearts.

May the Christmas morning make us happy to be Thy children,and the Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts,forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus’ sake, Amen!

Nativity Prayer of St. Augustine St. Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-440)

Let the just rejoice,
for their justifier is born.
Let the sick and infirm rejoice,
For their savior is born.
Let the captives rejoice,
For their Redeemer is born.
Let slaves rejoice,
for their Master is born.
Let free men rejoice,
For their Liberator is born.
Let All Christians rejoice,
For Jesus Christ is born.

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I thought I would share this easy entertaining idea that I have tried and really enjoy preparing for and serving to my family and friends. I like it because it is easy and stress free. It is a chili bar. I read about this first in Real Simple magazine last year. Start by making a large pot of chili (you can make this ahead and freeze). Then fill small bowls of toppings to put on the chili. I have used: chopped romaine, chopped radishes, chopped scallions, chopped black olives, chopped tomato, avocado, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, and other similar items.  I also fill a bowl with tortilla chips. My guests first put tortilla chips on their plate, then chili on top, then whatever toppings they like on the chili.  By using tortilla chips you can eliminate cutlery.  I am not able to fit everyone around a table.  Therefore I provide each guest with a decorative t-towel for his or her lap.  To decorate my buffet table I first put down a white tablecloth, then I scatter cards/photos  (or whatever theme you like) on the table. I then cover the table with a clear plastic table protector. This keeps the tablecloth clean and the cards in place. I put a center piece in the middle. Next I put the chili on the table in a nice serving dish with the toppings around it.  I keep dessert simple – an apple crisp or easy black forest cake.  We invite 3-4 couples over for a casual evening – usually on a weeknight. We also play a game like jeopardy (homemade and theme based).   This evening is so simple and stress free. It is also easy to tweak. I hope you give it a try. Linda

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Keepsake Heirloom Ornament

I love to put these heirloom ornaments on the tree every year as they remind me of my heritage. The photo you see here is of my sister and me when we were young.  I am holding the baseball glove. I made several of these keepsake ornaments a few years ago. I gave them to my siblings as gifts.

I am once again making these with my girlfriends tonight.

Here are the instructions.

Scan old photos

Paste to a Word document.  (I can usually get about 12 or more photos on one page)

Save as PDF.

Print on 8 ½ X 11 decal paper (or any paper with an adhesive back).

Trim each photo to fit on glass bulb. Leave a white border. I like to use scissors that leave a jagged edge.

Peel off backing.

Stick photo to the bulb. You may need to make small incisions around the border of the photo in order to fit on a round bulb.

Spray very lightly with spray varnish  (or you can use Mod Podge Gloss on and around photo edge)

Attach a ribbon.

Enjoy!

(I learned about these keepsake ornaments in Better and Homes and Gardens December 2003 magazine)

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The Christmas season can be so full at times. I encourage you to make a point of taking care of yourself.   When we are busy with work, family and extra activities, our needs can go by the wayside. We neglect the things that rejuvenate us like exercise, restful sleep and contact with nature. Guard the time you need to refresh yourself.

Also, as women we can misjudge the time we have available. A little extra planning can be useful. Take the time to plan a couple outfits. Write these down. This will help you avoid a possible disaster when you need to get ready in a hurry.  This can be as simple as one pair of pants, or a skirt, and a couple different tops. Include shoes and accessories in your plan.  Always kept these items clean and neat. When my girls were young and our days were busier, I pre-planned a few outfits and wrote these on blank cards. I found this extremely helpful – I hope you do too. Linda

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