Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Celebrating America's 394th Thanksgiving

Just as the Plymouth Colonists gave thanks on that first Thanksgiving proclaimed by Governor William Bradford in 1621, and our country rallied in the midst of the Civil War to give thanks following President Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1863, may we, on this special day of thanks in 2015, pause to acknowledge God's continued blessings on our great nation with grateful hearts.

While the Plymouth Colonists were celebrating Thanksgiving in 1621, the Netherlands granted a charter to the Dutch West India Company giving it a monopoly to trade and found colonies along the area of America's Hudson River, designated as New Netherland.  Peter Minuit was appointed governor of the small colony in 1624.  He purchased the island of Manhattan from Indian Chiefs and named it New Amsterdam.  By the time Peter Stuyvesant arrived as governor in 1647, records of household inventories indicate that tea was very popular among the settlers in New Amsterdam, and their tea-drinking habits were equal to those of their native Holland.  I'm so grateful the Dutch [followed by the British] brought tea to the United States for us to enjoy in abundance today!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tea, Friendship, and Glad Hearts

I recently received a phone call from an out-of-state friend telling me someone dear to her had recently moved to an assisted living facility in Michigan not far from where I live.  She wondered if I'd be willing to pay her a visit and have a cup of tea with her.

I told her I'd be delighted to, and last Friday I packed a traveling tea party basket and set out for the assisted living facility.

A traveling tea party doesn't have to be elaborate - tea, tea cups, napkins, and cookies or scones.

Tea is such a great connector. We chatted and sipped tea as though we had been long-time friends.

As I left the assisted living facility, I smiled knowing a cup of tea and a little bit of kindness had brought gladness to both our hearts, and the seed of friendship had been sown.  

"...Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed."
Proverbs 11:25 NLT

Monday, November 23, 2015

Turkey Cookies and a Winner!

We had our first snow fall on Saturday.  It didn't amount to much in our area, but I decided to admire it from inside my house rather than going out in it.

Knowing I was scheduled to present the program at the monthly tea at Shorepointe Village assisted living facility on Sunday afternoon, it was the perfect day to make Thanksgiving treats for the residents who'd be attending the tea.

I've been making these turkey cookies for many years, and they take only four easy steps, but look like you've spent hours on them.

Since this is Thanksgiving week, I decided to share them on the blog.

You will need chocolate candy coating disks [amount depends on how many cookies you're making] for the "glue" to assemble the cookies.  Melt chocolate in a double boiler, then transfer into a squeeze bottle.

Lay chocolate stripped shortbread cookies on parchment paper, and "glue" two candy corn feet onto the cookie with melted chocolate.

Glue chocolate marshmallow cookies onto additional stripped shortbread cookies.  The marshmallow cookies are the turkey's body and the stripped shortbread cookie is it's tail/fan.

Glue a piece of candy corn onto the top-center portion of the chocolate marshmallow cookie for the turkey's beak.

Lastly, when the chocolate glue has hardened in the steps above, you're ready to attach the body to the shortbread cookie with the feet.

When completely set, place in cellophane bags [available at cake decorating stores] and tie to close.  Set one turkey aside for yourself to enjoy with a cup of tea!

Children and adults alike love these treats, and if you recall I used them as place card holders on the dining room table for my luncheon last week.

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Congratulations, Laura Lee!  You are the winner of the giveaway.  Please send me your address and I'll get your Norman Rockwell plate mailed off right away.

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Today I'm joining Rose Chintz Cottage for No Place Like Home

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sunday Reflection...

Are you thankful?

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead, and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of the world.

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more fortunate than the million who will not survive the week.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace, you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can attend a religious meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death, you are freer than three billion people in the world.

If your parents are still alive and still married, you are very rare, even in the United States.

If you can read this message you are ahead of two billion people who cannot read at all.

If you can hold your head high with a smile on your face and be truly thankful, you are blessed because the vast majority can, but most do not.

"Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord!"
Psalm 150:6 NIV

May God bless your Thanksgiving! 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Mission Accomplished!

I left home yesterday morning in search of a vintage ceramic Christmas tree for my granddaughter, Tiffany, and after several stops at resale/consignment shops and antique stores, I finally found one.  

The person who made the tree engraved the year on the base - 1974.  I'm glad it's going to Tiffany and John's home where it will continue to illuminate the Spirit of Christmas for many years to come.  Special thanks to those who offered suggestions on where to find one.

Do you have a ceramic Christmas tree?  It will soon be time to get it out.  They make the coziest night lights.

On another subject... John recently got Tiffany a golden retriever puppy they named Oliver, but will call Ollie. I thought you would enjoy seeing Tiffany and Ollie.

The two loves of Tiff's life - John and Ollie! ;-)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Giveaway

I like Norman Rockwell's work, and quite some time ago I purchased the numbered, 1983 commemorative plate "Gossiping in the Alcove" to hang in my dining area.  Each lady is holding a teacup, and a teapot sets on a table off to the side.

It's been a long time since I've offered a giveaway, and when I saw a plate like mine in a resale shop recently, I decided to purchase it for a giveaway.  

~ It's the 6th issue in the Rediscovered Women Series ~

U.S. residents interested in entering the giveaway may do so by leaving a comment between now and Sunday night, November 22nd.  The winner will be announced on Monday.  Good luck!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Freedom from Want

This Sunday afternoon I'll be returning to Shore Pointe Assisted Living for their monthly tea and program.  Since it's the Sunday before Thanksgiving, the theme will be Celebrating Thanksgiving.

I'll be talking about things associated with Thanksgiving - songs, movies, parades, foods, and Norman Rockwell's 1943 Saturday Evening Post painting, Freedom from Want, also known as The Thanksgiving Picture, and sometimes, "I'll be Home for Christmas."

I ordered a print [below] to display on Sunday.

The research on this painting was very interesting. It's the third painting in the Four Freedoms series, that were inspired by Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1941 State of the Union address, also known as the Four Freedoms, delivered to the 77th United States Congress on January 6, 1941.   

The painting [along with the other three in the series] gave a tremendous lift to American morale during a critical point in the war.  It was Rockwell's gift that he translated into positive terms the very principles for which the war was being fought, and is one of his most famous works.  The painting is permanently displayed at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

And speaking of turkey... I'm providing the recipe for the turkey casserole in puff pastry that I served at my girlfriends' luncheon yesterday. It's perfect for leftover Thanksgiving turkey. I usually make it as a casserole instead of individual servings in puff pastry, so that's the recipe I'm providing, but you have the option of preparing it either way. 

Turkey [or Chicken] Casserole

4 cups diced turkey 
2 boxes Uncle Ben's "Country Inn" Rice Mixes 
[Chicken & Wild Rice, Rice Pilaf, or Chicken & Broccoli]
2 cans Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup [undiluted]
3 heaping Tbsp. Cheese Whiz
1 bunch green onions, finely sliced
1 cup finely diced celery 
1 small can of water chestnuts
[I substitute a small package of slivered almonds for water chestnuts]
1 can mushrooms, drained
Topping: 1 stick butter or margarine, melted
2 cups crushed Ritz crackers 

Cook rice according to package directions.  Mix first eight ingredients together, and pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish.   Mix cracker crumbs and melted butter together and sprinkle over top of casserole. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, uncovering the last 15 minutes of baking.  Enjoy!

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I'm enjoying the bouquet of autumn flowers the girls brought me yesterday. Aren't they beautiful? Thanks, girls!