Daily Tidbits

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Angels We Have Heard on High

This is beautiful. Please take a moment to listen to it. I love The Piano Guys and this version of Angels We Have Heard on High is gorgeous. I absolutely adored the live nativity, too!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Blueberry Turnovers

1 Pie Crust
~2-3 T sugar (to taste)
1 T cornstarch
~1 t. lemon juice
1 egg, beaten
Additional sugar for sprinkling
1 can blueberry pie filling

In a sauce pan combine, blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer until thickened. Remove from heat. Divide pie crust into 6 pieces. Roll each crust into a small circle. Place some blueberry mixture on one side, fold the pastry over to cover the fruit and make a half-circle. Crimp the edges, brush with egg and sprinkle with sugar. Place on baking sheet.

Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes or until golden.

Serves 6.

Holly's Note:
Turnovers are a quick, easy treat or dessert. With pie crusts in my freezer, it's easy to pull one out and make this delicious dessert.

You can use any fruit pie filling. I prefer using raspberries and I just substitute a couple of cups of frozen raspberries in place of the blueberry filling.

Like all my pies, my turnovers look rustic, not perfect. :) 

Vosges Haut-Chocolat

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Weekend Reflections 12/13

Looking outside....it's sunny, but cold. But, when the sun is shining, I don't care how cold it is!

Listening...it's quiet. The Doctor is at work and the boys are just getting up.

Loving...that my Christmas shopping is done. I just need it all to arrive so it can be wrapped.

Thinking...that the new bifocals aren't working and will need to be returned. When I wear them, I get angry and swear, I have headaches and get nauseous. I do like the bifocal contacts though.

In my kitchen...a cup of hot chocolate right now and my early family birthday dinner at my Mom's tonight.

Wearing...red penguin pajamas, a black turtleneck and red and white striped fuzzy socks.

Needing...to do a load of laundry and take some time with The Brother to get his room cleaned.

Reading...No idea. I need to start a new one. It's been a slow couple of weeks for reading.

Today...odds and ends and family time.

Hoping...the Doctor won't have to work long this morning. 

Planning...to attend a live nativity with all the family after my early birthday dinner. We did that a couple of years ago and my boys loved walking through the replica of Bethlehem, the inn, the stable. It was such a great way to remember the reason we celebrate Christmas and it was all at the level of children. I think my nieces will really enjoy it this year. 

Gratitude...for a teenage boy who decided he wanted to learn to play the violin, has diligently worked and practiced and who performed amazingly well at his first recital after only 2 1/2 months of lessons.

From my world... 

Shiny! The newest addition to our Christmas tree this year. 

Holiday Gifts from Chocolate.com 
This post has been shared at No Rules Weekend Blog Party, Best of the Weekend, Weekend Retreat

Friday, December 12, 2014

Пятница Ponderings: Do You Believe in Santa Claus?

Ponder: to consider something deeply and thoroughly; meditate 
Пятница (PYAHT-nee-tsuh): Friday in Russian

A friend of mine posted on Facebook recently asking when she should tell her children that Santa isn't real. The comments to her post were interesting.  My response was pretty much that in our house, if you don't believe, you don't receive, even now that my boys are teenagers. My kids figured it out on their own that Santa wasn't real and when they did, we talked about how Santa represents all that is good and wonderful about giving to others. I never perpetuated the Easter Bunny, because it was so farfetched, but Santa? Absolutely.  I suggested that my friend let her children figure it out on their own.

My children know why we celebrate Christmas. Oh, they do get caught up in lists and wants like any kids, but they understand the reason for Christmas and that our focus is on the Savior. We read Christmas stories all month, including stories about Jesus' birth. We talk about Christmas and try to put the focus on what they are giving to each other, rather than what they are receiving. But then, Jesus Christ is also a part of our lives all year long, not just at Christmas and I think that is important. If your children have a belief of or faith in Jesus Christ, Santa Claus won't take anything away from that.

I did what I could to perpetuate the belief in Santa Claus when my kids were younger. I don't think that believing in Santa Claus takes away from celebrating Jesus' birth. The legend of Santa Claus is based on a real person, St. Nicholas, who was very generous and giving. Santa Claus is magical. When The Brother got to "meet" Santa when he was about 6 years old, he was so excited. It was truly a special moment and very magical for him. It took nothing away from Jesus Christ.

We have tried to teach our children the importance of giving and helping other people all year long. A couple of times, we have chosen a family to anonymously do the 12 Days of Christmas for and it's always fun to plan and pull off. I have cooked and served lunch at the Salvation Army and I each time I do, I take The Boy out of school so he can serve with me. It is at his request: he loves doing it. He is now a member of our Mayor's Teen Council and this year they are doing an adopt a family. It's so great to see these teens focused on helping others. Each year we go shopping and they choose something they can give to the Toys for Tots organization. They understand that while we don't have everything, we are very blessed and we have opportunities to help those who might be in need.

My boys are as excited about the gifts they are giving to each other this year as they are about the ones they will receive. The Brother is always the first to put his gifts under the tree and they are always, always, something he has created himself. They are given purely out of love. I think that as my boys came to realize that Santa isn't a real person, they came to understand that he represents all of us and the gifts we give and the good things we do for each other. That is what I had hoped they would learn.

Christmas is special: it's magical. It should be. And, for us, Santa Claus is part of the Christmas tradition. It's very easy for me to honestly tell my children that I believe in Santa Claus.

My opinion is that if you focus on Christ as the reason we celebrate Christmas, then belief in Santa doesn't take anything away from that, but instead brings that element of Christmas magic we all love. It's very easy for me to blend the sacred with the secular.

May your Christmas be magical, merry and sacred. Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

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This post has been edited.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Blogging: The Why and What

I was going back through some posts and found this old meme from 2007. It was fun to revisit.

How long have you been blogging? 

Since August of 2007 on my personal blog, October of 2007 at my book blog and January of 2008 here. Weird to realize it's been 7 years.

What inspired you to start your blog, and who are your mentors? 

I had a couple of friends who had blogs and I enjoyed reading them. I love to write and I'd missed having opportunities to write. So, one day, I just created my personal blog. Our extended family is worldwide so it was also a way to share our daily lives and pictures with them. The book blog grew out of my desire to remember what books I read and what I'd thought about them. The cooking blog grew out of my desire to have some fun. 

Are you trying to make money online, or are you doing it just for fun? 

In the beginning, it was only for fun. This last year, I've made more of a concentrated effort to learn about the earning potential and experiment. Jury's still out on whether it's worth it or not.

What 3 things do you love about being online? 

Meeting people and making friends. I love getting to know other people and sharing and learning from struggles and experiences. I've made some wonderful friends. I've found a lot of new books to read and some great new recipes to try!

What 3 things do you struggle with online? 

Spending too much time online is the main one. Especially with wanting to make some money at it. It takes concentrated effort. What to share and not to share, and privacy issues. I made my personal blog private after a while because I didn't like the idea of strangers downloading my personal photos and I watermark anything that has my kids in it for this blog. I think there is a fine line between putting yourself out there as a blogger and still maintaining some privacy.

Knowing what to say and making it come across well is also a challenge. Not feeling like a stalker when you realize you enjoy someone's blog and comment a lot, but they don't seem to reciprocate or want to visit yours.


I don't tag people, but if you want to play along or answer the questions in your comment, please do!