Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Gift Ideas for the Senior Citizen

Well, certainly not a room full of kids but here are some practical ideas:

Gift certificates at a restaurant, grocery store, gas station

A collection of birthday, get well, sympathy cards and stamps
( It can be hard to stand and search for cards and now there are so many sections that older people may have a hard time with this)

A certificate for yard service, cleaning service, handyman service (make sure they would be comfortable with someone around their house)

Basket of goodies that include cans of tuna, chicken, soups, chili, coffee, tea bags, crackers, fruits

Your time - offer to take them to the store, to church, to see the Christmas lights, to doctor appointments, to visit family
Offer to help clean, wash clothes, rewrite address book to more readable print

Here is a great item that I think most seniors would love:
A lotion applicator to help get creams and lotions on their back. It is a long wand with a pad where you put the lotion and it reaches down the back. $19.95 plus $6.95 shipping and handling at skinfinityproducts.com
(Older people usually need lotions for dry skin or itchy skin)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas cookies

These are my special cookies that all of my family love. I make them for a lot of the holidays and just use a simple cookie cutter and butter icing with sprinkles. The kids love to add the sprinkles when they are around and usually the whole kitchen gets sprinkled.
Sugar Cookies
Cream together:
1/2 cup crisco and 1/2 cup of softened butter or margerine
1 and 1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. almond flavoring
2 tsp. vanilla flavoring
4 and 1/2 cups of sifted flour - may take a little less
Combine all ingredients; roll into 2 balls and wrap in wax paper; chill
When ready to cook remove from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature until it feels soft enough to roll out with a rolling pin ( a smooth glass makes a good rolling pin) Roll to approximately 1/4 inch or less thick. Cut out the cookies. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes
Butter icing
1- 1 pound box of powdered sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter or margerine
4-6 tbsp of milk
2 tsp of almond flavoring
1 tbsp. of vanilla flavoring
Cream butter and sugar; add milk as needed to make icing consistency
Add other ingredients. Spread on cookies and add sprinkles
Artificial coloring is made from coal tar and could be the cause of a variety of health issues.
I usually use white icing and then a small amount of sprinkles.
I recently tried a natural coloring but it did not much for the white icing. It did however make a very soft nice looking sugar when mixed with plain white sugar. That is not used in this picture. I ordered the natural flavoring from seelecttea.com

Friday, December 5, 2008

Snowman Craft

A cute and quick craft for the children on a rainy or snowy day.

1 sheet of 12" x 9" white and 1 sheet of 12" x 9" blue construction paper, colors, markers, glue and tape.

Cut the white paper in half lengthwise. Cut off 2 1/2" from one of the lengthwise strips. This will be the head. The longer one is the body. Roll the stripes and join them behind with tape, overlapping 2-3". Try to keep a rolled look without flattening them. Let the children color the face and body Let them color snow on the ground and snowflakes falling. Attach the snowman to the paper with glue or tape. Draw arms and a shovel if desired. Have fun!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Organize Christmas Plans

It is so easy to get out of control with spending around the holidays. This year there are sales everywhere and it looks like we are getting a deal but think about need before you purchase.
Are we buying more because we think we are getting a deal?

Think about focusing on the birth of Christ over the gift giving.
Keep everything simple. Don't get stressed!

Definitely set a budget and stay very close to it.
As far as your children go, think about what grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc will give them. You can cut back from what you give if they are getting a good bit from others.

If you are craft oriented you can make gifts. You can always make cookies or treats and package them in an attractive way.
I often do that and put them on a festive holiday plate. This year I found some really cute and colorful plates at CVS for $2.99. They had a snowman and Santa style. I will put my special bar cookies on them and give as gifts to neighbors, aunts, etc.

Look for fun, free activities in your community where you can take your family. My area just had "Dicken's Downtown."
It is a small, quaint, old fashion downtown and about 10,000 - 15,000 people crowded in there for Christmas activities. It is
really a fun evening.

By all means find some way to get your children involved in doing something for someone less fortunate. Take a toy to Toys for Tots, choose a angel from the salvation army angel tree or just put $1.00 or so in the kettle. Teach your children that it is important to help others.

Make this a year to keep Christ the center of all your activities.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A 1st Corinthians 13 Christmas

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautiful adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.
If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata, but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug a child.
Love sets aside decoration to kiss the husband.
Love, is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can't.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust.
But giving the gift of love will endure.
Merry Christmas.

Author unknown

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Years ago I bought a rectangular shaped basket to use for holiday table decorating.
Actually I got one for the kitchen table and one for the dining room table.
They have been used over and over because it is an inexpensive way to have a very
attractive table arrangement. Usually I use Nadina cuttings with some of their
red berries and just stick them in the basket. It is quick, easy and very attractive.
Be careful with berries if you have young children since some of the berries are
poisonous. Another idea is to use small pots of pansies and put them in the
basket or any other small potting plant that is in season and later you can put
them in your yard. Just a note - deer eat pansies so don't put them where deer
can get to them. I use these baskets all year for any holiday or special meal.
Hope you holiday plans are headed in a smooth direction.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Banana Muffins

Things are somewhat stressful right now with my mom in the hospital and I never seem to catch up. Here is a quick and easy recipe that might be good for holiday guest to munch on or to serve with breakfast.

Banana Muffins

1/2 cup Crisco
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large)
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cups toasted chopped pecans (optional

1. Beat Crisco at medium speed with mixer until creamy. Gradually add brown sugar beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time beating just enough to blend after each addition.

2. Stir together mashed bananas, buttermilk and vanilla. Stir flour and next 3 ingredients. Add to sugar mixture alternating banana mixture and flour mixture. Do not overbeat.

3. Spoon batter into 12-18 greased muffin pans (you can use the paper muffin cups to line the pan to save on cleanup). Sprinkle with toasted chopped pecans.

350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center is clean.

If you don't have buttermilk stir 3/4 tsp lemon juice or vinegar into 1/4 cup milk.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thanksgiving table favors

Let the kids help you make these cute turkey favors for the table. You can also put a name on each one as place cards.

You will need fall colored construction paper, large tongue depressors, 9 oz. paper cups, marker, scissors, ruler, glue

Cut cups to be about 2" tall. (I use a gold colored cup). Cut a tongue depressor in half making 2 heads. Cut 5 pieces of various colored construction paper that are 5 inches by 1 inch for feathers. Make one end rounded.

On half of a tongue depressor make eyes with a marker. Cut a yellow beak and glue it under eyes. Glue the tongue depressor to the cup.

Cut two wings that are 1 inch by 1 inch (make one end round) and glue them on each side of the tongue depressor (rounded end facing back)

Glue the feathers to the back making them fan out.

Fill cups with candy maybe candy corn.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Holiday Corn Casserole

For the past 24 hours I have been sitting in the hospital with my 88 year old mother who was in a little car accident. She has a broken clavicle and hairline fracture of the hip. She's very sore but will be fine after some rest and recuperation. Here is one of her wonderful holiday vegetable recipes. It is loaded with calories but feeds a lot of people.
Corn Casserole
2 cans of Shoe Peg* (white) corn, drained 1 Tbsp. grated onion
2 cans of French style green beans, drained 1 can cream of celery soup
1 cup sour cream 1 stick of butter, melted
1 cup mayonnaise 1 package Ritz crackers**, crushed
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
Place corn and beans on the bottom of a large casserole dish.
Mix all other ingredients together except crackers crumbs and butter.
Spread over the top of the corn and beans.
Mix cracker crumbs with the melted butter.
Spread over the top of the casserole.
350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes
* Corn may be labeled white corn with shoe peg in small print.
**1 pkg. is from a box that has 3-4 individual rolls of crackers
I use low fat where possible (sour cream, mayo, cheese, soup)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Kids craft - Thanksgiving napkin holder

Thanksgiving napkin holder - fun and easy for the little one to make.

Supplies: washable children's paint and brush, small piece of red construction paper,
9" lightweight paper plates with the ruffle edges,
scissors, marker and tape.

Paint the plate's edges with fall colors. Let dry. Cut a 2 1/2 inch long piece from the red
construction paper. Round one end for the head. Make eyes with a marker and carefully
cut a beak below the eyes in a "V" shape.

When the plate is dry bend the plate at 3 1/2 inches from the front edge and the back edge.
Bend the lower edge of the head piece 1/2 inch and tape it to the bottom of the center front.
Add napkins

Have fun!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Creamy Cranberry Salad

Here we are in the Thanksgiving season. I will be adding some favorite family recipes thorough out the month that can be used for Christmas also. This cranberry salad is very good, quick and can be prepared the day before. That is always a plus when you are having guests.
Creamy Cranberry Salad Serves 12
1 (3oz) package of cream cheese, softened
1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 cup of whipping cream ( you can use something like Cool Whip but remember it will have a lot of artificial additive)
1-2 tbsp sugar
1 (8oz) can crushed pineapple in its own juice, drain
2 cups whole cranberry sauce
1/2 cup slivered almonds
Whip cream adding 1-2 tbsp sugar to taste
Set cream aside and blend mayonnaise with softened cream cheese. Then add the whip cream into the cream cheese mixture.
In a separate bowl combine drained pineapple, cranberry sauce and almonds. Pour whip cream dressing over it. Cover and refrigerator overnight. Before serving mix together.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wisdon and Strength through the Spirit

Today I want to share interesting thoughts from Paul's prayers in Ephesians 1 and 3. I think they are uplifting to all of us but especially for stay at home moms.
Pray for the Spirit of wisdom and the revelation in the knowledge of Him that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so you will know the surpassing greatness of His power towards us who believe. Pray that He will grant you according to the riches of His glory to be strengthened with power through His Spirit. Pray that you will be able to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge. To Him be the glory forever and to all generations because He is able to do far more than what we ask or think.
Pray at all times in the Spirit.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

websites for shopping deals

websites for shopping specials

This a time that we need to be as thrifty as possible and with the holidays coming we need to plan our shopping and cut back. I think we need to think hard about what we really need.

The Proverb 31 women in verse 16 considers the field and buys it. One Hebrew meaning for considers is "purpose." So lets think of the "purpose" we are buying something. In verse 27 of Proverbs 31 the woman looks well to the ways of her household. She is our example for managing the household and we should watch our spending as well as teaching our children to do the same.

Here is a list of some websites where you might be able to find a deal, get coupons, rebates and other special offers. I know there are many others but these are good places to start.

avvo.com (free legal advice)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I have been trying to decide what to do with my blog but since I am new at this I will continue with this plan for now. I have added a shopping tip section and my first post there is a list of pesticide levels of some foods. One day my 5 year old grandson grabbed an apple and started eating it and I said wait, let me wash it because it could have bug spray on it. He said "I like bug spray." That is funny now but we don't know what many years of eating pesticides, preservatives, flavor enhancers and who knows what else that is in our foods. So I think it is best to keep it simple. Here is a simple main dish that is easy and my sons loved it when they were growing up.

Onion-Beef Macaroni Casserole

preheat oven to 400 degrees 6 servings
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 envelope of onion soup mix (Hain's is a natural brand or you can use Lipton's)
1 - 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
1 tbsp. of flour
2 cups of water
1 cup of raw macaroni, cooked according to package directions
1/4 cup of grated cheddar cheese
In large skillet brown meat, drain off fat. Stir in onion soup mix, flour, tomato sauce and
water. Simmer covered 5 minutes. Stir in macaroni. Turn into 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.
Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 15 minutes.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Yesterday we had a first birthday party for my 5th grandchild - Sweet William. He had a couple of bad weeks just after he was born and was in intensive care for several days. Now he is the picture of health and we are all thankful for that.

"Children are a gift from God." Psalm 127:3

Praise the name of God.

William's brothers enjoyed helping him open presents and helping him play with them.
William was overwhelmed but seemed to enjoy it all.

My 5 grandchildren are the sunshine of my life!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Whoooo its Boo!

Its a cool,damp day here so maybe some can use another Halloween craft for the wee ones.

How about Boo the owl.

Materials needed: brown construction, scraps of green and yellow construction, scissors and glue.

Directions: draw pattern, cut out, fold wings, glue on eyes and nose. If children are old enough let them do the cutting with children scissors.
It may be hard to read the sizes:
with brown paper
the 2 long edges are 8 3/4",
next edge to the left is 3 1/2" - there are 2 of these, opposite each other
next edge is 2 3/4" - there are 2 of these, opposite each other
the flat edge on top is 5 1/2"
also cut 2 - 2" eyes of green and 2 - 1" eye centers of yellow
1 triangle nose about 1" long and 5/8" wide that tapers to tip this is yellow

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I like the idea of eating healthy. It is not always easy to do but just look at an ingredient label on some of the packaged food and you may began to wonder "what is all that stuff?" Tonight I made some baked french fries. I wanted to get them kid tested but I don't think that my two grandsons who were at the table even tried them. (They are picky) My daughter-in-law and I both loved them. For those interested the recipe for 4 servings is:
Oven Fries
2 baking potatoes 1 tablespoon of olive oil salt
Preheat to 425 degrees.
Cut potatoes in half and then slice halves lengthwise into 3/4 inch strips by 1/2 inch. Toss with olive oil and salt. Place on a nonstick baking sheet in a single layer. Bake 30 minutes. Turn over with a spatula and bake the other side for 10-15 minutes. Fries should come up easily or cook a little longer. Remove with a spatula and serve

Olive oil is a healthy oil that has monounsaturated fat that is good for the heart.