The Simple Life - Merry Christmas!!!
- The Simple Life
Snow is falling and hard - here in Michigan. There is less
than a week until Christmas. And, if you are anything like me,
there are still a few things I want to get done. In fact, I don't
know anyone who has it all ready, yet! If Santa is checking his
list for the second time, then we better be checking ours, too! If
we really want to get it right, a good long list is the only way to
go. And don't leave anything out. Who wants to be wrapping gifts
at the very last minute, or be putting Christmas dinner on the table
and remember you forgot to bake the rolls?
So come on. What's good for Santa is good for us. Keep that
list handy and keep adding to it, whenever you think of something
else. Make a menu list, a to do list, a shopping list. Divide and
delegate. Anything you can make ahead and freeze, all the better.
Put the Christmas Eve service on the top of your list! We all need
a quiet evening in the candlelight with carols to remember the REAL
meaning of Christmas.
* * *
Christmas is also a time of stress and pain for some of us.
Maybe we have a sad memory of another Christmas. Or maybe it's a
first Christmas without a loved one. We have lost two grandmothers
from our family in the past year who brought happiness and warmth,
and we are not the only ones who have lost loved ones.
I once met a sweet grandmother who had two young granddaughters
murdered just months before Christmas. When she told me that their
family was going to the gravesite to sing Christmas Carols, I
couldn't comprehend the pain that her family had endured these past
few years. Made my trivial problems seem pretty lame. Isn't it
amazing how we can feel sorry for ourselves until we hear of someone
who is worse off than we are. I guess it's called perspective. I
went away from her thinking how darned good I have it. Don't try
complaining to me. I won't feel sorry for you. But I hope you will
join me in being thankful for all the great things we all have in
our lives. Things we take for granted every day. Yes, even that
white stuff we have to shovel. Guess I'll just have to dig out my
And, while I'm at it, I think I'll drag my husband along, grab
the grandkids, and find the first good hill we come to! There are
so many ways to turn negatives into positives. We may miss someone,
but we can be thankful for the time we were blessed to have them in
our lives. Do a good deed in their honor. Volunteer where you are
needed. And, if you are grieving, as many of us are for various
reasons, give yourself time to heal. There is always a future but
it often takes time to get there. If you can, find a buddy to share
your grief with. Talking, and feeling understood is so important
during a hard time.
Or, maybe you know someone who needs a friend this season.
Reach out to them. Spending time with them. Try to have fun, but
if they need to cry, give them space for that, as well. Often, we
avoid people who are sad just when they need us the most.
On a personal note: I got a phone call from someone special in
my life my son Andrew the Marine, and his wife Eve! He is home on
leave until the first of the year. I have already been able to give
them a hug and welcome them home, and so have one more happy thing
to be thankful for this year.
* * *
"What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for
the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every
cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every
path may lead to peace. " --Agnes M. Pharo
"It doesn't take much to lift one's spirits: simple pleasures
abound everywhere. All we need to do is prepare the mind, look, then
~~Brian Luke Seaward
"Commitment is that turning point in your life when you seize
the moment and convert it into an opportunity to alter you destiny."
~~ Denis Waitley
"Every day we're given small opportunities to bring someone joy
that can make a huge difference in a life." ~~Delilah
* * *
If you still haven't decided on your Christmas Dinner, you
might want to try something a little, ah, untraditional! How about
sloppy joes, salads, a veggie tray and desserts? Or, like friends,
you might want to try a taco bar with all the fixings of a great
Mexican feast! Sandwich fixings and macaroni and potato salads
sound good? Maybe even steaks on the grill. MMmmmmmm. What ever
you choose it will all be good.
And, how about some hot cocoa with lots of extra fixings, such
as candy canes, red hot cinnamon candies, and chocolate chips and
* * *
Here's a great recipe that is easy and really delicious!
Simple Pumpkin Log
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine 3 eggs, 1c sugar, 2/3 c
pumpkin, 1t baking soda, 1 t cinnamon, and 3/4 c flour. Spread onto
greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn onto a towel that
has been sprinkled well with powdered sugar. Roll up like a jelly-
roll . Let cool. Meanwhile combine filling ingredients. Filling:
2 t margarine 1 pkg cream cheese (8 ounces) 3/4 t vanilla
1 c powdered sugar. When cool unroll and spread on filling. Reroll
and refrigerate. Note: If desired, sprinkle small pecan pieces
over spread filling before re-rolling. Yummy!
Simple and Warm Wassail (For after the sledding!)
6 c Apple juice, 32 oz Bottle cranberry-raspberry juice cocktail, 6
oz Can frozen orange juice concentrate; thawed, 6 oz Can frozen
lemonade concentrate; thawed, 1 c Brown sugar; packed, 2 c Water, 4
Cinnamon sticks,1 Orange; cut into slices,1 t Whole cloves
In a 6-quart electric slow cooker, or in a 6-quart saucepan
over the lowest heat setting, combine all ingredients. Cover and
cook on low heat setting in cooker 6 to 7 hours (2 to 3 hours in a
saucepan on a stovetop). Just before serving, stir in the rum, if
desired. Remove and discard cinnamon sticks, orange slices and
cloves. Serve hot in mugs or heatproof punch cups. Makes about 24
Merry Christmas to all the Simple Life Family!