Friday, December 4, 2020

Cookie Exchange, Blog Hop and GIVEAWAY!


Welcome to Day 4 of the Virtual Cookie Exchange and Christmas Blog Hop. Today is my day!

First of all thank you to Carol of Just Let Me Quilt for hosting. I'm sure everyone has enjoyed visiting the blogs for cookie recipes and Christmas ideas. 

My recipe is one my daughter found a few years ago. It's a cookie bar and a Starbucks copy cat and let me tell you they are delicious.

The picture shows it on the right and is called Cranberry Bliss bars. 



Cranberry Bliss Bars
Cake

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
2 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries
4 ounces white chocolate, cut into chunks

Frosting
4-ounces cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries

Drizzled Icing
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vegetable shortening





1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Make cake by beating the butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the eggs, ginger, vanilla, and salt and beat well. Gradually mix in the flour and baking powder until smooth. Mix the chopped dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks into the batter by hand. Pour the batter into a buttered 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Use a spatula to spread the batter evenly across the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake is lightly browned on top. Allow the cake to cool.

3. Make the frosting by combining the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. When the cake has cooled, use a spatula to spread the frosting over the top of the cake.

4. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of chopped dried cranberries over the frosting on the cake.

5. Make the drizzled icing by whisking together powdered sugar, milk, and shortening. Drizzle this icing over the cranberries in a sweeping motion with a squirt bottle or fill a small plastic storage bag with the icing and cut off the tip of one corner.

6. Cover the cake and let it chill out in the fridge for a couple hours, then slice the cake lengthwise (the long way) through the middle. Slice the cake across the width three times, making a total of eight rectangular slices. Slice each of those rectangles diagonally creating 16 triangular slices.

Makes 16 bars.


http://www.topsecretrecipes.com/Starbucks-Cranberry-Bliss-Bar-Recipe.html

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Let's get down to the Blog Hop. Today I'd like to share Scrappy Cards. You can see all the directions on my sidebar. But I made different Christmas trees for your to see how you can incorporate scraps for your cards.






These are from the original post.


You can be as creative as you want. 
You can find the directions HERE and HERE.

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OK for the Christmas Blog Hop I am hosting a GIVEAWAY for three of my US readers. These will be surprise packages but I can guarantee it will be worth it. Just leave a comment on this post and be sure I have a way to contact you if you are a no reply blogger. 

For a second chance,  I would love for you to FOLLOW my blog! Leave a second comment and let me know HOW you follow. 

And if you want a third chance, you can FOLLOW my Instagram (happycottagequilter), then leave a third comment. That's right. You have three chances if you follow along.

This will be a quickie giveaway, so I will close the comments on Sunday Dec. 6. Because of the cost of mail, the giveaway is for US readers. 

Please note, if I can't contact you I will draw another name

One last thing. I have a Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen for sale. You can take a look HERE.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Be sure to stop by the others that are posting today.

December 4

Just Let Me Quilt

Quilt Fabrication

Seams To Be Sew

Happy Cottage Quilter

Pumpkin Patch Patterns & Quilting

The Darling Dogwood

Kathleen McMusing

Scrapdash

DesertSky Quilting   

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Saint Nicholas/ Santa Claus

 


Saint Nicholas was a real historical figure of the 4th Century. He was a wealthy Christian pastor who became famous for his generosity. On Christmas he would anonymously deliver gifts to orphanages. 

The modern American Santa Claus was named by early Dutch Settlers in New York. Saint Nicholas Sinterklaas, thus became Santa Claus. In 1822, Clement Moore described Santa in a fur trimmed suit leading a sleigh pulled by reindeer in his poem, Twas the Night Before Christmas. Thomas Nast produced a series of sketches that showed Santa as a jolly, plump visitor, leaving toys for children.

Leaving treats for Santa dates back to Norse mythology. One of the first literary references to milk and cookies on Christmas in America appeared in the 1870s in the short story Polly: A Before-Christmas Story. During the Great Depression, parents wanted to inspire their children to share with others and as a sign of showing gratitude for blessings even in times of hardship.

Reference : American Holidays - Bill Perry

History

NPR

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Christmas Trees

 Germany is credited with displaying the first Christmas trees. By the 1500's people began using fir trees for their celebrations. German Lutheran immigrants brought the custom to the United States around 1710. The first US Christmas tree lot opened in 1851 by a New York woodsman named Mark Carr.

Christmas trees are grown in all 50 states, including Hawaii and Alaska. IN New York City, Rockefeller Center displays a giant Christmas tree each year. The first tree was placed in 1931 by construction workers. The tallest tree displayed was in 1948, a Norway Spruce which reached 100 feet. The modern tree displays 25,000 lights. 

In 1923 President Calvin Coolidge began the National Tree Lighting on the White House Lawn.

Most trees are cut weeks before they are sold.

Christmas trees take between six to eight years to mature.

98 percent of all Christmas trees are grown on farms.

In the first week, the Christmas tree will consume a quart of water a day.

California, Oregon, Michigan, Washington, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and North Carolina are the top Christmas tree producing states.

The best selling trees are Scotch Pine, Douglas Fir, Frasier Fir, Balsam Fir and White Pine. 

What kind of tree graces your home? Is it real or artificial? 

Reference: History 

American Holidays - Bill Perry

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

American Christmas Traditions

As we start the Christmas season, I thought I would share Christmas traditions that are typical for our country. 


Christmas is the holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Although it is a religious holiday, many modern American customs were brought about from other countries.The Christmas season usually starts the day after Thanksgiving. 

"Christmas" comes from the phrase Christes Masse , the name Roman Catholics used for worship service on December 25th. Another name is Advent, meaning "coming", awaiting the Messiah.  In A.D. 336 the Roman Emperor Constantine declared December 25th to be the celebration of Christ's birth.   When the Empire split between east and west, the church in the east recognized January 6th as the celebration date. The time between December 25th and January 6th forms what has become known as the "12 Days of Christmas."

The Advent calendar started in Germany as a way for children to count down to Christmas by opening a door revealing a small gift. The tradition of the Advent calendar has become a favorite with children. Not only for the treat, but for the anticipation of Christmas day. The whole Advent experience represents hope and anticipation.



The advent candles are lit each of the four Sundays before Christmas. The first one represents hope. The second represents faith.The third joy and the fourth represents peace. The optional fifth one represent light and purity. It is placed in the middle and lit on Christmas day.

refrence - American Holidays - Bill Perry 

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Reflection

As we will soon enter yet another new year, we pause for reflection. Remembering the years that have past. I'd like to share with you about a very special lady. One who filled a hole in our lives.

She was my teacher, friend, and soul mate in treasure hunting for over 30 years. I used to tag along with her to yard sales, antique shops and all kinds of second hand stores. She loved paper weights, and she also loved vases. She had quite a collection of both. I have several of her paper weights displayed in my home.

But more importantly, she loved my children and was a huge part of their growing up years.

My own mom passed away many years ago, before my children were born. She stepped in as an auntie, but more like a grandmother. Her generous and loving spirit filled us with her unconditional love.

Every Christmas my children and I would descend on her house and decorate for the season. It was a tradition we held until she no longer was able to live by herself. Our memories of her prick my heart, missing her laughter and generous hospitality.

Very rarely does someone come into your life that has left such a deep imprint on your heart. I am most thankful to have known and loved her.

 

Before the year is out, take time to tell someone you love them. For some people, it can be a very lonely time of year.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving


So once in every year we throng
Upon a day apart,
To praise the Lord with feast and song
In thankfulness of heart.
~Arthur Guiterman, The First Thanksgiving

Wishing you a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2020

Memories

 Do you remember the days when entertainment centered around people?

You invited people to your home, fellow-shipping and singing around the piano In the days before my time, before radio and TV, we entertained ourselves. I love to read books by authors Jane Austen
 
and Maud Montgomery and glimpse into times past when an evening of entertainment consisted of a skit, or a play or someone filling an evening by playing the piano or singing an aria. Since the days of electronics, we have even lost the art of correspondence of letter writing.
 
We now correspond instantly around the world, where it used to take weeks, sometimes months to hear from people in other states and countries. Now we text the person sitting across from us at the dinner table.

We have forgotten how to entertain ourselves. Perfection has wedged its way into our thinking.

It's a lost gift. During the days ahead, when family and friends gather around to celebrate the upcoming Christmas season, I hope the spark of fellowship and enjoyment will help us to remember how to entertain ourselves and relish time with others.

Friday, November 20, 2020

The Escape

 

I love a good suspense novel and this one certainly did not disappoint.

The Escape by Lisa Harris takes you on a journey with US Marshals Madison James and Jonas Quinn. Assigned a routine transport of two prisoners, the plane they were traveling in crashes. With only three survivors, Madison and Jonas head out to track the dangerous prisoner in the thick of the National forest. This is an action filled adventure that keeps you on your toes. 

The first book in the US Marshals series will keep you captivated as Madison and Jonas bond together through their joint effort to stay alive and find the deadly killer. 

The book is well written, clean in language and content with an unexpected ending. The element of faith was definitely present.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from Revell. All views expressed are my honest opinion.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Travelers traveling home

 Ok I am sure you are ready to be done with my traveling stories, but I do have one more thing to share.

I have mentioned in the past that my hubby is a very good cook. He has excelled in cooking brisket. So when we travel we like to try different barbecue places. Especially if they have won awards. Many times we go in and come out very disappointed.

Our plan was to go to Valentinas in Austin, but they were closed the day we were leaving town. So as we make our way east, we stopped at City Market in Luling, Smitty's Market, and Krewz Market in Lockhart. TX.



We were not able to go inside, but they take your order and cut the meat right then. We eat it in the truck pretty much right away. We thought the City Market was okay. It had flavor and was somewhat tender. Smitty's Market in Lockhart was not good at all. The meat was tough and even looked whitish. Kreuz Market was also okay. It was the most tender of the three. But none of them compared to the meat we got at Franklin's in Austin. By far the best barbecue we have ever eaten.

As we were traveling we kept seeing signs for Pecans. So we found a place in Georgia called Gibb's Pecan and Shelling. 





Boy did they have pecans. I never knew there were so many varieties of pecans. 



We bought some shelled and some in the shell. Great for Christmas eating.


This little lady, Jane, shelled a couple for us to taste.

I had a hard time loading pictures. Has anyone else been having problems with the NEW Blogger?

Monday, November 16, 2020

Travelers traveling in RV's

We have been fortunate to stay at some really nice RV parks when we travel. When we find one, we mark it for when we return.

In San Antonio we stayed at the Admiralty RV Park. 

Very clean. Nice laundry facility. There is a pool if you are so inclined. It was very close to shopping, and Sea World. There were tags from lots of different places.





and of course ...

It appears a lot of people live in these RV parks full time. 

This one was a small house. The man was a traveling nurse.

Another very accomodating RV Park was in Wendy Oaks RV Resort in Florence, Mississippi.

On our return trip we were trying to go around the hurricane. So we arrived late one evening. We had tried to call ahead but was not able to connect. But the owner was a wonderful young lady, and with the help of her maintenance man found a spot for us. She has a sweet little Airstream that she rents out for anyone interested. 
During our last leg we returned to our favorite RV park.



This is such a lovely park.

 I hope you are enjoying the ride as there are a couple more to come :-)  

Friday, November 13, 2020

Travelers traveling the River Walk

 When we arrived in San Antonio, we decided we would find the River Walk.  It was a little different than we expected.


I think I always thought the River Walk would be out in the sunshine and there would be shops along the way.  What we found was what felt more like being underground, with buildings surrounding the river. There were some pretty areas, but it mostly felt dark and a bit gloomy. 




We think the trees must be over 100 years old.


The boats were not running because of Covid. But we did see a police officer navigating the river.

There were numerous restaurants, none of which were open during the time we walked. But after a while my hubby started not feeling well, so we navigated our way out. 

San Antonio is a pretty big city. Highways going every which way. There were some very pretty subdivisions and it seems like it had grown ever since we visited six years ago.

More to come.....