Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year Everybody!

A light to shine through the darkness.
A light to guide us home.

May this new year bring much happiness, joy and love to all.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Solstice

The longest, darkest night of the year.
The shortest day of the year.
From now on, the days become longer.
Yippeee - I will celebrate.

The longest night of the year was always greeted with a feast; singing, dancing and much drinking. In ancient times, this was their way of enticing the Sun to come back; ensuring that it would continue to rise in the morning, set in the evening and bring life to the world for another year.

Gradually it became a celebration of of the sun's return, a festival of thankfulness that the cycle of seasons would carry on through another year.

Evergreen plants were all that grew at this time of year, and so came to be revered as a symbol that life could survive the winter.

Holly with its prickly leaves and cheerful red berries represented protection from evil spirits, and was used to decorate walls and doors.

Mistletoe was a sacred plant and may have been distributed to each family by Druids to hang in their homes for protection.

I have evergreens in my yard. A tree in my home decorated for Christmas or Yule. I will light my candles as soon as it is dark and give thanks that the sun's light will become stronger - each day a little bit longer.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas is coming......

Father Oak is waking up from his deep sleep.
Once a year he comes to life on Christmas Eve.
If you listen closely, he has secrets to share.

Little elves are busy getting the house ready for Christmas.

I wonder if this little red bird has been eating all my sunflower seeds.

What's happening at your house?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

World Treasure Party at Ceilo's!

Thank you Cielo for hosting the World of Treasures Party today!
My treasures are my plants. They are my passion whether indoor or outdoor.
And this little elf found his way into one of them.

I've had this elf Christmas tree ornament since I was a little girl. Each Christmas my 2 brothers and I hung our special elves on the tree. Mine was red. The other two were green and white.

This is the only ornament to survive childhood, adulthood and two marriages. I'd say he was magic!

Enjoy the Treasure Party everyone!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Somewhere in the world it's summer

This hibiscus vase comes compliments of Bob Rivers-Smith in New Zealand. I belong to the Canadian Hibiscus Society. An online group, we exchange growing tips and tricks and send pics back and forth of our beloved hibiscus flowers.

Since it's winter in this part of the land, we Canadians are not sending many pics. Some people send pics of their indoor hibs, but most of them are resting now until February or March when the light is longer and brighter.

There are a few members who live South and I, for one, am very grateful that they send pics of their prize hibs to cheer us up. The above Vase was made as a table display.

Update on the front walk: One of the pics in the slide show (last post) was taken from inside my front door, where I tried to show everyone that the walk was finally shoveled. I must admit, it was a little hard to see, since practically everything was covered in white powdery snow.

We asked our lawn service if they knew of somebody who shovelled walks (for a reasonable rate). They put us in touch with a young fellow who will come for the heavier snowfalls. I will shovel the lighter ones.

The electric snowshovel I wanted is still backordered. Will probably have them in abundance in June. LOL!
The others were either too big and expensive, or too small and useless-looking. So, I've given up on that idea for the time being.

Keep warm everybody.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dancing Babies

Click on the link below to see my dancing grandbabies.
You don't have to press anything else.

Do not press "download".
Just wait - it may take a few minutes - and then you will see the "show". Jasmine has a lollipop in her mouth - if you're wondering.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Traditions

Every year my mother and my grandmother would exchange Christmas Cakes.
Each November as far back as I can remember, my mother would buy candied cherries, fruit peel, almonds, raisins, and whatever other ingredients she needed to bake her Christmas cakes.

She followed an old recipe, carefully measuring all the ingredients into the biggest mixing bowl in the kitchen. The batter was golden with sugar, butter, eggs and flour. Mom's cakes were "light fruit cakes".

As was the tradition at that time, we children were called into the kitchen one by one to stir the batter. Each of us took a turn with the big wooden spoon stirring the cake batter - for good luck. My mother was from Holland, so this might have been a European tradition - I don't know.

Mom had very old baking tins which came apart for washing. These pans weren't greased with butter wrappers, but lined with some kind of brown paper. Then the cakes were put into a very low oven to bake.

Once cooled, Mom would wrap them in cheesecloth soaked in sherry and put them away until Christmas.

Every December the mailman brought dozens of Christmas cards to our home. There were oodles of cards from friends and family. It was such an exciting time of year! Packages would arrive and Mom would whisk them away upstairs to her bedroom and close the door. We were not allowed to peek!

But when Granny's Christmas cakes arrived, they were opened right away. After travelling half way across the country, they deserved to be opened and enjoyed. And were they delicious!

Those cakes were "dark fruit cakes", made with molasses and lots of nuts. I secretly liked them best.

I went to look for my mother's Christmas cake recipe this year and I couldn't find it. Will have to do some research on the net and see if I can find an old-fashioned cake like Mom's.

What about you? Do you have memories of Christmas traditions?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I won some Weleda Body Wash!

Yippeeeeeeee! I won a travel size sample of Weleda Body Wash from Allie over at Allie's Answers.

Allie mailed it out to me a week or ago. Yesterday when I went to the mailbox, there it was. Thank you Allie for mailing it all the way up here to me in Canada.
Inside the package were 2 sample sizes of Sea Buckthorn Creamy Body Wash, to revitalise and nourish the skin. It smelled faintly of oranges and felt silky smooth. Ummmmm. Nice way to start the day.

Allie has a "green blog" chock full of information on our environment, from baby bottle woes to rain forest awareness. She recommends stainless steel water bottles, organic coffee, and natural beauty guides as Christmas gifts. Oh, and don't forget to re-use your Christmas gift wrap, as well as making turkey soup from the left-over turkey bones.

Sensible tips to take us back to basics, preserve our environment and save a little money too. Reminds me of growing up, when Mom would grease her cookie sheets with "butter paper" instead of throwing the wrapper in the garbage. Or tearing kleenex tissues in half if we only had a little bit of a drippy nose. No sense in wasting a whole tissue if you only need half.

Mom cut up brown paper grocery bags to use as book covers for our school text books. And she sewed curtains and dresses for us.
But I'm getting way off track.

A condition of winning the Weleda Body Wash, I was to tell people about Allie's friend Neil, who is raising money for the Cambodian Childrens Fund.

Neil is a professional writer, editor and yoga teacher, who is putting his skills to work to raise money to end extreme poverty in Cambodia.

Such a worthy cause. He's got my support.