Monday, November 5, 2012


   Christmas is all about gifts, snow and Santa Claus. However, there are certain facts about the holiday that you don’t know and probably wouldn’t even want to!

1. The Myrrh Tree
    Everybody is aware of the fact that Jesus received myrrh as a gift from the magi which is basically tree sap that is dried out. What people don’t know is that the first myrrh tree came into being because Myrrha was indulging in sexual activities with her father and once her father realized it, he tried to kill her. However, she escaped and was turned into a tree.

2. The Defecating Caganer
    Every nativity set consist of Mary, Joseph and their baby Jesus. The family is often surrounded by animals, shepherds and other figures. In places like Italy and Spain, one figure will be that of the caganer who will be placed away from the manger and will be seen defecating.

3. Saint Nicholas
    Saint Nicholas, also known as Santa Claus, is known to have brought three children back to life. These children were staying with a butcher who murdered and pickled them. He then tried to serve the meat as pork but good old Santa came by and resuscitated the poor children. There are several paintings of Saint Nicolas wherein some children will be seen standing around in tubs- now you know why!

4. Christmas Used to be Banned
    During 1659 to 1681, the holiday was not celebrated in Massachusetts and was banned. This is because it was believed that 25th December was not a day to be celebrated as God had not mentioned it in the Bible.

5. Knecht Rupercht and the Christmas Cat
    Knecht Rupercht is among the many companions of Saint Nicholas. He is known to punish those who have been bad by taking them to a forest in a sack and eating them. Another legend says that if you do not buy new clothes on Christmas, the Christmas Cat will come and eat you alive.

6. The Caga tió
    The Caga tió is a tree which is native to the Catalonia region. It has a hollow log which is fed by the local families after which it is covered with a warm blanket. On Christmas day, these families come together and sing songs while they beat up the poor tree. The tree then throws up figs, candy and nuts.

7. Wassailing
    Wassailing is the term given to those who knock on doors and sing traditional Christmas songs. The hosts then give them some cookies and warm milk. However, many people don’t know that the original wassailers were aggressive and would forcibly enter homes and compel the hosts to give them food. If you find this difficult to believe, just go through the lyrics of We Wish You a Merry Christmas-
”Now bring us some figgy pudding, We won’t go until we get some”

8. Mari Lwyd
    This is basically the skull of a horse covered with ribbons and bells. It sits atop a stick and is carried around under a sheet. It has green glass instead of eye socket and its jaw has the ability to ‘snap’ at those who pass by.

9. Leo V
    In 820, Leo (the Byzantine Emperor) was at the alter on Christmas Day, praying when some conspirators headed by Michael the Amorian tried to assassinate him. The poor emperor gave in and Michael was made the emperor.

10. The Coventry Carol
    The Coventry Carol originated in the 15th century and is quite popular even today. The song was first sung in a play called “The Pageant of the Shearman and Tailors”. The song talks about King Herod who asked all male infants to be killed.


   This diy was found at www.chatelaine.com .  Who doesn't want to learn to tie better bows for those holiday packages or wreaths?   I know I do.   I hope this helps, good luck!

The Secret To Tying The Perfect Bow, Just In Time For The Holidays!

bow, ribbon, gift, wrap
I recently received a gift from a talented artist and while the book they chose was great, the bow they tied the gift with was amazing. Now I consider myself a bit of a ribbon expert. After ten years in the magazine business, I've done my fair share of ribbon styling, but this particular bow had an extra touch that made it worthy of its own blog entry. And here's the secret:
It's all about what I call the ribbon tail. Here are the how-to instructions with photos:
Start with good quality ribbon- like fabric, expensive ribbon falls better than cheap ribbon. A double sided satin ribbon works best as you don't have to fuss with the good side and bad side. Also, you'll need about meter of ribbon to tie a good bow, plus however much ribbon you need to wrap around the box/flowers/new car.
1. Depending on how thick your ribbon is, you might or might not be able to tie a double knot before starting your bow:

2. Reach way back in your kindergarten memory, when you first learned to tie your laces, and that's how you tie a bow. Make two loops and tie them together in a simple knot:

3. Smooth the knot cover over and pull tight, making sure both loops are the same size. *leave a long tail on both ends.

4. Now here's the magic part. Take the "tail" of the ribbon and fold it back in towards the centre knot. Add a dot of glue (right where you see my fingers are holding it down).

5. Cut on a bias or with a v-notch. Now that's a pro-looking bow. Doesn't matter what the gift is, this will wow'em:


   This recipe comes from www.blogs.babble.com .  Every man, woman and child loves some kind of Hostess cupcake.  Why not try and make some of these delicious treats yourself?

homemade hostess cupcake line 200x300 Homemade Hostess Cupcakes: Copycat Recipe

It occurred to me the other day as we walked through our neighborhood Target that my son had never had Hostess Cupcakes before. Not only has he not had Hostess Cupcakes, but he hasn’t had a single Hostess brand treat. We just don’t buy them.
We try to avoid processed food whenever possible, but additionally, we don’t eat sweets all that often. I figure the kids get sweets often enough at school and church events to make up for my lack of everyday baking. Really, though, my newly 6-year-old son refused to eat cake or go near frosting. It’s only recently that he’s had a change of heart.
Seeing as it was his birthday and he was asking me all about the Hostess Cupcakes on the end cap at the store, I agreed that we could instead make them together, our very own Homemade Hostess Cupcakes.
After considering several recipes the internets offered and not seeing exactly what I wanted, I chose a few things from here and there and constructed the seemingly perfect Hostess Cupcake for my boy. I did go with the full-sugar version, which, I have to say, was quite overwhelming when you’re used to a low-sugar diet, but we all ate just one, and both my husband and I judged the cakes based on how authentic they were.
I went with a modified version of Zoe’s favorite Devil’s Food Cupcakes. They are soft and airy, and the coffee really brings the chocolate deeper, perfect for filling with cream. The most worrisome part for me was the filling, and my husband said it was right on. I have Bridget to thank for that one. I modeled it after her own cupcake filling along with the icing. The ganache is simply my favorite recipe, adjusted to a smaller portion size.

homemade hostess cupcake middle small Homemade Hostess Cupcakes: Copycat Recipe

In the end, my birthday boy got his cupcake experience. He accepted it with a smile and ate it right up, smiling all the way.

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup hot coffee

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, Dutch process cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla and then add into the dry ingredients. Whisk in the hot coffee.
Fill lined muffin cups 2/3 full and bake at 350 degrees F for 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

For the filling:

4 tablespoons butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup marshmallow creme

In a medium bowl, beat together all filling ingredients. Fill a large piping bag. When cupcakes are cool, press tip into the center and squeeze 1-2 tablespoons of the cream filling into the center. Repeat for all cupcakes.

For the ganache:

3/4 cup cream
7 ounces chocolate
Heat the cream in a saucepan over medium heat stirring frequently until the cream is hot and just starts to boil. Immediately pour the cream over the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Spread warm but slightly cooled ganache over the tops of the filled cupcakes.

For the icing:

1/2 stick butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2-1 tablespoon milk
Once the ganache is set, whip together all icing ingredients until smooth, adding more milk if necessary. Fill a piping bag and pipe on the curls or write fun messages on your cupcakes.

Makes 12 homemade Hostess cupcakes.


   This diy comes from www.greylustergirl.blogspot.com .  The holidays are just around the corner and these in different sizes would look great during the winter holidays.

3-D Cardboard Star

I have one thing from my Fourth of July mantel done, wahoo! I better get cracken cause the 4th is just around the corner! If you are in a Independence Day mode too, why not make one of these fun 3-D cardboard stars!

Here is what I did: Grab an empty box of cereal. Trace and cut out two stars. Score both stars from their tips to the indented parts (5 times each star). Push the stars out on the score lines by the tips and push in by the indented parts.

If that doesn't make sense to you, head over and follow this tutorial.

Glue the stars together. I used hot glue.

Once dry, spray paint them your color of choice. Distress with ink if desired.