Saturday, November 10, 2012


   This was found at www.southernasbiscuits.com .   I've bought the sculpy clay and it's not very cheap.  Nothings better than making it yourself and saving a few buck at the same time.  Good luck!   There are many things during the holidays when this stuff will come in handy.

Homemade Model Magic
My second-grader recently had a school assignment to make a model of an African animal. Two pounds of model magic costs around $20. I thought perhaps those nifty DIYers would have a recipe or tutorial online and I wasn't disappointed. We whipped up a batch at home, using only two ingredients and water! Since I had these on hand, it didn't cost me, but I'd estimate it at around almost $3, especially if buy generic.

We had fun making the modeling clay and the model! I added food coloring to tint. It worked, but know that for strong color, you'll need stronger coloring gels. We painted our model with craft paint.

DIY Model Magic


2 cups baking soda

1 cup corn starch
1 1/2 cups cold water


Combine 2 cups of baking soda, 1 cup of cornstarch and 1 1/2 cups of cold water in a pan. Stir the ingredients until you have a smooth consistency.

Place the pan over your stove on medium heat. Stir the mixture until it boils.

Continue stirring to remove any lumps. Set a pan cover slightly askew and cook the mixture until it has the consistency of mashed potatoes. Keep a close watch on the pan and stir every few minutes to avoid burning the mixture.

Pour the mixture into a large bowl. Saturate a kitchen towel in cold water and wring out so it is damp rather than dripping. Place the towel over the mixture and allow it to cool.

Note: Do not be tempted to eat the dough! It looks just like frosting! My kids were begging to try a taste. I'm sure this is what is piped onto those great-looking demo cakes in the Dewey's Bakery window.

Sprinkle cornstarch on a clean kitchen surface and knead the mixture once it has cooled. Knead the mixture until pliable, then use as desired. Knead in more corn starch, a little at a time, as needed if the dough is too "wet". Keeping a damp kitchen towel over the extra dough, it will keep for some time. It has kept two weeks so far for us, and counting. We've been making Christmas ornaments with the rest.

Our finished cheetah model using the DIY modeling clay.


   This recipe was found at www.culinarycory.com .  A very elegant dessert.  Truely amazing!

Coconut Raspberry Cake

Coconut  Raspberry Cake Slice
Fluffy flakes of snow fell from the heavens outside my kitchen window as the mixer hummed early Saturday morning. I watched as they danced in the air from the crystal blue sky to the dormant grass of my front lawn. Each flake seemed to carry a uniquely complex design that was delicately beautiful and pure all at the same time. At that moment, I could only think of one thing. Flaky sweetened coconut.
Multi-tiered cakes are rarely baked in this household because their mass is far too much for this family of two and a half (aka Sophie). But this weekend, I wanted to make something special that would go beyond my everyday flavors. Brent loves anything that contains coconut or raspberry. So with the light dusting of snow outside to inspire my early morning baking session, I combined both flavors to create a truly special Valentine’s Day dessert.

Coconut  Raspberry Cake
Coconut Raspberry Cake

4 egg whites
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 ¾ cup sugar
1 1/3 cup buttermilk
½ cup sweetened flaked coconut

Lightly coat two 9″ round cake pans with cooking spray, paying close attention to the bottom. Allow the egg whites to come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes. This is important to create a light and tender cake.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a small bowl. Set aside. Measure the buttermilk in a liquid measuring cup and also set aside. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla over medium speed until well combined. With the mixer still on medium speed, slowly add the egg whites one at a time until completely incorporated. Add the buttermilk and dry ingredients to the batter by alternating between each until the batter shinny and white. Fold the coconut into the batter. Be careful to not over mix.
Evenly divide the batter between the two cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes or until the center springs back when lightly pressed. Remove from the pans and allow to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ tsp. vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
With the mixer on low, cream the butter, cream cheese and vanilla until well combined. Slowly add the powdered sugar until the frosting is light and fluffy. You may need to adjust the powdered sugar ratio depending on the thickness of the frosting. It should be light, airy and completely spreadable.

Raspberry Filling:

2/3 cup raspberry preserves
1 ½ tsp. water
Over a low flame, heat the preserves and water for 1 – 2 minutes until it becomes syrup. Cool slightly.


Place the first cake layer face down in the center of a small platter. Evenly spoon the raspberry filling on top of the cake layer. Be careful to not let the filling ooze over the edge. Place the second cake layer; also face down, on top of the first. Frost the sides and top of both layers with the cream cheese frosting. Lightly pat the sides and top with up to 1 cup of sweetened coconut. Garnish with fresh raspberries on the top of the cake.


   Thanksgiving Day is a very important day in the United States. There are many things that are especially related to the celebrations of the Thanksgiving Day. These include Thanksgiving turkey trivia, pilgrims, Thanksgiving proclamations, Thanksgiving as a national holiday and other things. Some of such facts are mentioned here which will not only help you enhance your knowledge about Thanksgiving Day but also make you enjoy this day with even more zeal.

1. Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States.

2. Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the second Monday in October in Canada.

3. The Plymouth Pilgrims were the first to celebrate the Thanksgiving.

4. The pilgrims arrived in North America in December 1620.

5. The Pilgrims sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to reach North America.

6. The pilgrims sailed on the ship, which was known by the name of 'Mayflower'.

7. They celebrated the first Thanksgiving Day in the fall of 1621.

8. They celebrated the first Thanksgiving Day at Plymouth, Massachusetts.

9. The drink that the Puritans brought with them in the Mayflower was the beer.

10. The Wampanoag Indians were the people who taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate the land.

11. The Pilgrim leader, Governor William Bradford, had organized the first Thanksgiving feast in the year 1621 and invited the neighboring Wampanoag Indians also to the feast.

12. The first Thanksgiving feast was held in the presence of around ninety Wampanoag Indians and the Wampanoag chief, Massasoit, was also invited there.

13. The first Thanksgiving celebration lasted three days.

14. President George Washington issued the first national Thanksgiving Day Proclamation in the year 1789 and again in 1795.

15. The state of New York officially made Thanksgiving Day an annual custom in 1817.

16. Sarah Josepha Hale, an editor with a magazine, started a Thanksgiving campaign in 1827 and it was result of her efforts that in 1863 Thanksgiving was observed as a day for national thanksgiving and prayer.

17. Abraham Lincoln issued a 'Thanksgiving Proclamation' on third October 1863 and officially set aside the last Thursday of November as the national day for Thanksgiving. Whereas earlier the presidents used to make an annual proclamation to specify the day when Thanksgiving was to be held.

18. President Franklin D. Roosevelt restored Thursday before last of November as Thanksgiving Day in the year 1939. He did so to make the Christmas shopping season longer and thus stimulate the economy of the state.

19. Congress passed an official proclamation in 1941 and declared that now onwards Thanksgiving will be observed as a legal holiday on the fourth Thursday of November every year.

20. Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird of the United States. But it was Thomas Jefferson who opposed him. It is believed that Franklin then named the male turkey as 'tom' to spite Jefferson.

21. The annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade tradition began in the 1920's.

22. Californians are the largest consumers of turkey in the United States.

23. When the Pilgrims arrived in North America, the clothing of the Native Americans was made of animal skins (mainly deer skin).

24. On December 11th, 1620,  the first Pilgrims (or Puritans, as they were initially known) landed at Plymouth Rock.

25. By the fall of 1621, only half of the pilgrims, who had sailed on the Mayflower, survived. The survivors, thankful to be alive, decided to give a thanksgiving feast.


   Decorating Christmas trees became popular in America in the early 1800s as immigrants from Germany brought hand-made ornaments to America with them. In 1880, Woolworth stores began carrying ornaments although Mr. Woolworth was not too sure about the prospect of selling ornaments. Within 10 years, his stores were selling $25 million dollars worth of five and ten cent ornaments.
    It was around 1973 when Hallmark decided to try their hand at the ornament business. It all started with some yarn ornaments and six glass bulbs. Hallmark now has more than 100 ornament series in addition to approximately 3,000 other ornaments that they have introduced over the years.
    The Hallmark ornament designers are true artisans and design ornaments with subjects that have special meaning to them. Many Hallmark artists design ornaments that bring back heartwarming Christmas memories or design something current they love. Therefore, the consumer can relate to many of these charming Hallmark ornaments.

   If you have ever seen a Hallmark ornament, you will agree that they have exquisite craftsmanship and the quality of the ornament is great. The small detail in Hallmark ornaments is amazing and contributes to their uniqueness and ability to capture unforgettable moments. There are ornaments for special occasions such as First Christmas Together, Baby's First Christmas, Mom-To-Be and New House. There are ornaments that are dated making them great keepsakes. In fact, Hallmark calls their ornaments Keepsake Ornaments.
   Hallmark ornaments quickly reached collector status and collectors rush to their favorite Hallmark store in July of every year when the new collection premiers. Then in October the rest of the line comes out to keep collectors coming back. Hallmark has an Ornament Collectors Club that you can join for a reasonable fee. Your membership entitles you to choose two free ornaments that are collector-club-only ornaments. There are usually four and Club members have the option of buying the other two. All ornaments are coded so that collectors know by the symbol on them what year they came out.

Vintage Hallmark Norman Rockwell ornaments

    Besides decorating the tree, Hallmark ornaments can be used as gifts. There is so much variety in the over-all collection that you ought to be able to find an ornament for anyone on your gift list.
    Another use of ornaments is as decorations. Ornaments are cute added to a ribbon that is tied around the napkins or just as part of your centerpiece. You can set a pretty round ornament on top of a glass candlestick holder and it makes a lovely table setting. You also can hang them on a wreath for decoration. In fact, several years ago, Hallmark came out with a wreath that had hooks already on it to make it easy for you to decorate your wreath with ornaments.
    Not all of the ornaments are Christmas related so you can use them as decorations or use them in shadow boxes all year round. Many of the ornaments are child-related so you can use them as decorations in your child's room. Themes such as Thomas the Train, Winnie the Pooh, Super Heroes, Athletes, Trains, Star Trek or Barbie are just a few of the selections you can make. They are not toys, though, and may have small parts. You may also find an ornament relating to different professions among the Hallmark collection.

    Of course, you could not have Christmas without Nativity ornaments, creches, angels and other religious ornaments to commemorate the Christmas season. They, too, are lovingly crafted and wonderful reminders of the true meaning of Christmas. If you have never seen a Hallmark ornament, you might want to check them out. They will surely bring a smile to your face.