Friday, December 31, 2010

What Are You Doing New Year's Eve

Well, here we are, just hours away from 2011.  For many it’s a time to reflect, for others a time to plan, and yet for others, it’s just another day.  But no matter where you are or what you’re doing, it’s inevitable that the New Year will be here soon.  And as the tradition for many is to party, be safe.  Don’t drink and drive, watch out for the other guy.  And if you stay in, be warm and cozy.  No matter how you celebrate it, enjoy it!  For once midnight passes we have another 365 days until we do it again. 
On behalf of the ACJ crew, we’d like to wish all of you a very Happy New Year.  Thanks for the support, encouragement, comments, and laughs as you have followed us here.  And I want to thank the ACJ crew as well for the unique bond we share. 
And now, a song from one of the all time greats:  hope you enjoy it.    





Happy New Year one and all!
Duuude

Thursday, December 30, 2010

My mind is one big fat blank.

Ever sit there to write or talk and your mind just goes completely blank?  I know you do it so let me just ask, how often do you have brain farts?  I'm having one now so I apologize now for the brief note I shall write, but maybe you'll thank me.  (Where are the smiley face gadgets on this thing?)

New Years resolutions....good idea or just plain setting yourself up for that sense of failure?
 I think it's a little of both, but that's where getting older and wiser becomes a good thing because hopefully you'll know yourself enough by now to know what is realistic and what is "just not going to happen".

One of my goals this year is to make a daily list of things I want to accomplish that day. I always seem to start out well, but after 4 days I forget to make a list and....well, you know the rest. 

What are your resolutions for the new year? 

Be safe ~ have fun ~
and *Clink* with me with hopes for a happy and prosperous New Year!

Peggy ~ GG ~ Goodgosh ~ Brain fart girl  

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hard to believe that this year is just about over….
It has been a pretty good year.
There have been plenty of ups and downs, but that is to be expected.
All in all I really can’t complain too much.

I think I’ll keep this year just the way it was after all and will wish for a little bit  better next year. There is always room to wish for better….right?

Speaking of wishes, I found some cool old postcards specifically wishing one New Years tidings. With all the e-cards, IMing  and text messages, we have gotten away from good old fashioned hand written snail mail greetings. There is still much to be said in receiving a nice letter, card or postcard in the mail.
Maybe with all the rush to get things done, we need to slow down and enjoy simple things. 

OldeTymeNotions
  ArchipelagoVintage
              
Look how fun these postcards are, wouldn’t it make your day to get one of these in the mail?

Inspirationsnapshot 
PostcardsAround
PrettyPaper09

My wish for you all is that you get a nice little hand written snail mail note or card, which will remind you to slow down once in awhile and enjoy.

May you all have a healthy and Happy New Year.

(jj)
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!


I have a confession to make. I follow all the standard traditions for other holidays but have my own special traditions for New Year's.

I snack, watch the Rose Bowl Parade, read, nap, and just vegitate all day. That's it, nothing, nada, zip, zero, no phone calls, no company, no shopping trip.................zippo!


It may not sound like much to most people, but it's one of my favorite days of the year and I faithfully observe all of these traditions. Because they are traditions and they are all mine! LOL

I wish you all a wonder New Year's Day and terrific New Year.


pepper

Monday, December 27, 2010

2011 is Coming Fast!

It is very possible that this will be a busy week for most of us, so I  thought I would suggest a couple of EASY recipes that taste great but require few ingredients and even less time :)

The first one is a very simple sloppy joe type of hamburger...in our family it is known as  a Gumbo Burger!

                          Gumbo Burgers

1 pound hamburger 
1 can Campbells Chicken Gumbo Soup
1/2 can water
diced onions
hamburger buns

Combine hamburger and diced onions in a skillet and brown, add a can of Chicken gumbo soup and 1/2 can of water, allow to simmer on low until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Spoon onto hamburger buns, buttered or not, your choice.

Add ons to the basic gumbo burger...
chopped black olives
sliced tomatoes
sliced cheese 
or anything else that sounds good!

This makes 8 to 10 gumbo burgers, depending on how much of the mixture you spoon onto the bun...

we like to serve these with chips of some type.

A great drink to serve with them is what our sons named "Radicals"..

Cranberry juice
orange juice
a 7 Up type of soda

fill glass 1/2 full of soda, add 1/4 glass of cranberry juice and 1/4 glass of orange juice...Radical!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

VE

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Meaning of Christmas as told by Linus



(Don't forget to mute the playlist so you can listen to the video)

Everyone is familiar with “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.  It has been around for a long time and I’m sure we have all watched it more than once.  I love this monologue by Linus and it sums up Christmas for me. 


I hope you are spending Christmas with loved ones, making memories, sharing laughter and enjoying the season.  It’s not about presents or decorations or cookies (though those things are fun).  It’s all about LOVE!  Help spread that love around today and always!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Julie  (aka Duuude)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Amazing! Christmas Canon -Trans-Siberian Orchestra (Full )


I love this song! The sound of children singing is so pure and beautiful that it makes my heart feel 10 times bigger.  I sit and listen to this and all my troubles disappear for a bit. I hope it does the same for you.  

Remember to pause the music on the blog so you don't get frazzled.



Merry Christmas everyone!

Peggy ~ Goodgosh ~ GG 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.
~Norman Vincent Peale~

I would like to take this time and wish everyone happiness and joy for this time of year. No matter what you celebrate, one can spread the love, kindness and good spirit of the season.
When my girls were younger they came to me and told me that they wanted to get some gifts for children that were in the hospital over Christmas. We called our local hospital to find out if any children were hospitalized, what their ages were and if they were girls or boys.
I then took my girls shopping and they spent their money picking out gifts for these kids.  We picked up wrapping paper and ribbons and then took all of it to the nurse’s station where my girls handed over the gifts to the nurses to wrap and distribute. My girls wanted the gifts to be anonymous.
Each year we try and do something for someone else. Many years we go shopping for food items and take it to our local food pantry. Instead of a gift exchange one year with some of our neighbors, we all agreed to donate to the food pantry instead.
At our grade schools they had mitten trees. This was where you could bring in hats and mittens to donate and hang them on the tree. Every year my mom would knit enough hats and mittens for each grandchild to take to school. 
Sometimes just a simple little gesture can spread the goodwill. As hurried and harried people may be this time of year, there is always room for a little kindness and patience. 
So, take a deep breath....count to 10 and hold that door open for somebody with their arms loaded with packages, or let the person getting one item go in front of you and your overflowing shopping cart. Smile while waiting in line at the Post Office. And when someone cuts you off while driving, wish them a Merry Christmas instead of flipping them the bird.


  Enjoy what you have, appreciate the simple and spread the love.


Merry Christmas to all

(jj)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

MERRY, MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas. Remember, take time to relax and just be cool.....enjoy your family, friends and the best holiday of the year. At least that's my humble opinion.


I think I'm ready, maybe only a couple of things to do, then I begin the cooking. Christmas Eve will be summer sausage, meatballs, cheese, crackers, cheese spread, chips, dip, cole slaw, and relish tray. Then for Christmas day I'm keeping it simple this year with a ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, salad, vegetable tray with dip, and pie for desert. I think that should do it.

Okay, ready or not, here we go...................LOL

pepper



Monday, December 20, 2010

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I know this is a busy week for most people so I want to make this a short and simple post :)

Wishing everyone a very blessed Christmas celebration with family and friends, take the time to enjoy the moments with the people who are special in your life...and don't stress over the details because being together is what matters the most!

Merry Christmas!


VE

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Funny Cake



What is funny cake?  It's part cake and part pie.  It's a light cake but it's baked in a pie crust.  You pour the batter into the pie crust, cover with a chocolate sauce, when it's done baking, the chocolate sauce is on the bottom of the cake!  With just a few swirls of the chocolate throughout the cake.
 
I don't bake much, but this is one recipe from my Grandmother that I can do!  It took me a few tries but I finally got it right!  I like to make a tad bit extra sauce for the bottom so it has more chocolate sauce. 
 
Funny Cake Recipe
(makes two pies)
 
Part 1:
1 cup sugar          1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla         1 cup hot water
 
Part 2: 
1 1/2 cup sugar          1 cup milk
1/2 cup margarine (I use Imperial margarine, I tried others, this one is the best)                           2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs                         1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour          2  9" ready-made pie crusts
 
Mix ingredients from part 1 over low heat and stir until sugar dissolves.
 
Mix together sugar from part 2, margarine and 2 eggs.  Add flour and milk, alternatively with baking powder and baking soda.   Mix until blended.
 
Pour part 2 equally into the two pie crusts, pour part 1 over that.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 mins.  Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 30 to 35 minutes.
RWS

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Baking, Time Honored Traditions and Memories

In keeping with this week’s apparent theme, I will share a couple of time honored favorites from our kitchen as well.  My Mom was a great cook and baker.  I don’t know if her recipes were her own or handed down or from other family members.  But Christmas time at our house was nothing short of a cookie factory.  She had maybe 10-12 of her favorites to make, my sister had 2-3 of hers, and I had mine (though some of mine were breads).  And there were NEVER enough containers to put them all in until ready to be given away.  (did I mention that each recipe was at least doubled and sometimes tripled?)   It was almost like “take a number” to reserve your time in the kitchen.

Well, here are a couple of her favorites.  I wish I had some photos to share, but I don’t.  So here is the first one:

Bon Bon Cookies
(this gives Reeses a run for their money on taste ~ IMHO)

1 lb, 2 oz jar of peanut butter (I prefer chunky)
1 lb confection sugar                              
1-1/2 cubes of melted butter
3 cups rice krispies

Mix and form into small balls.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.  Meanwhile, melt ½ slab paraffin and a 12 oz package of chocolate chips.  Dip the refrigerated balls in the melted mixture and place on wax paper.  (she always used a skewer)  When set, keep in the refrigerator or a tightly closed container until ready to serve.  These are very yummy!  (haha, her words not mine ~ but I totally agree)

I know this next cookie is gonna make you say “no way”, “gross”, “I don’t think so” or some other phrase of questionable thought.  But trust me, until you try them, don’t knock them.  They are a very delicate cookie so once made, handle with care.  (or break them on purpose so you can sample more)

Potato Chip Cookies

2 cups margarine                     4 cups sifted flour
1 cup sugar                              1 cup crushed potato chips
2 tsp. vanilla                            1 cup chopped nuts

Cream margarine, sugar and vanilla.  Add flour and mix well.  Stir in potato chips and nuts.  Combine thoroughly.
Form into 1 inch balls, roll in colored sugar (or sprinkle later).  Place on ungreased cookie sheets and flatten with fork or bottom of glass dipped in sugar.
Bake at 350 degrees for 14 – 16 minutes or until lightly browned.
Makes 6-8 dozen

From my kitchen to yours ~ enjoy all your Holiday baking.  Bakers privilege in our home:  baker gets to sample each new batch just to be sure they’re good enough to share. 

If you have little ones at home, let them help with decorating.  You’ll be creating some Christmas traditions and memories that will last a lifetime.  That’s how I learned to cook/bake!  And the memories made with my Mom and sister will be treasured forever.

“Duuude”

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Baking and cooking Peggy style

We all have our own talents and hobbies.
Mine does NOT include cooking or baking! Well, I do love sweets so I do bake, but this is my idea of baking and I'm okay with that.

First go to the grocery store in the refrigerator section where the butter and yogurt usually are.  This time of year they are almost always on sale so stock up. They look like this....
I have no shame.
The time consuming part is if you want gingerbread men or sugar cookies shaped like something, you have to actually roll the dough out.  That reminds me I forgot to get a rolling pin for this year ~ I used mine to roll clay at work a few years back and never replaced it.

Enough about baking.
For cooking all you need is this... 
  
 and a crock pot. Actually, I like to use the "Golden Cream of Mushroom soup", but didn't have a can of it handy.  Put this in the crock pot with chicken, pork, vegetables etc. and when you get home...Waalaa!


Making life a little easier. :)

Peggy ~ GG ~ Goodgosh

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Some of my Favorite Christmas Cookies

I am going to follow what VE and Pepper started this week and give a couple more recipes.
These are two of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes. The first one was my Grandmothers recipe and the thinner they are sliced the better.

Luckily My Grandmother had written down measurements instead of just a pinch of this and a dash of that. 

Mother’s Icebox Cookies:
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup white sugar
1 cup melted butter
2 eggs
2 ¾ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup chopped nuts (we use walnuts, but you can use your choice)

Mix together.
Form into a long loaf shapes.
Chill in refrigerator until stiff.
Slice thin and bake in moderate oven until brown.
(moderate oven= about 325.  being so thin they don’t take long to bake.)

The nice thing about these is you can bake as many or as few as you want at a time.

The next recipe is a simple cookie but stands well on its own.  This is not your common shortbread cookie, these are actually rolled out and cut.

Brown Sugar Shortbreads:
1 cup softened butter (or margarine)
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2½ cups flour
Cream butter and sugar until light,
add flour
Refrigerate if necessary.
Roll out and cut. 
I keep these on the thin side also.
I use small cookies cutters and sometimes I top them with chocolate sprinkles.
Bake 10 minutes, until light golden brown 300- 325 degrees
decorated brown sugar shortbreads
This link gives a little history about Christmas cookies.

My mom always used to try and bake a least a dozen different kinds of cookies each Christmas. So a lot of the cookies she would bake also freeze well.
We always love when my mom brings us a plate of her cookies. There is always something everyone likes.

Happy Baking
jj

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cocktail Meatballs, Another Family Tradition

Here is the easiest recipe for the best cocktail meatballs. They are a favorite of our family for any special occasion and sometimes even "just because. 



1 16 oz. bag of frozen meatballs (about 30)
1 jar of chili sauce (This is the sweet chili sauce)

Thaw the meatballs, heat them in the slow cooker, add sauce and coat the meat, heat through stirring occasionally.

See, I told you it was easy. Let me know how you like them.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:Add one jar of chili sauce for each 16 ounce bag of meatballs. If you don't want to use a slow cooker you can use the oven, microwave, cassarole, or a large pot on the stove top.

pepper

Yummy Christmas Treats

I think most families have some special treats that are created every Christmas or special holiday.

In our family I always bake Butter Balls, a cookie recipe from a 1955 Woman's Home Companion Cook Book.  I have seen these cookies called by other names, one that comes to mind is Mexican Wedding Cookies.

                              Butter Balls

Butter, 1 cup (2 cubes of softened real butter works best)
Powdered sugar, 4 tablespoons
Vanilla, 1 teaspoon  (real vanilla extract please)
Flour, sifted, 2 cups
Nuts, chopped, 1 cup ( I use walnuts)

Cream butter; add sugar and continue to beat until light.  Add vanilla.
Add sifted flour and mix well; fold in the chopped nuts.
Drop by teaspoonfuls on an ungreased cookie baking sheet, (gently shape with a spoon into a ball shape).
Bake in a moderate oven (350 degrees F.) 10 minutes or until a very light brown on top.
Roll in powdered confections' sugar while hot.  (I take a flour sifter and sift the powdered sugar over the cookies).
Makes about 3 dozen cookies. 

  
My husband is a diabetic and he cannot have the butter ball cookies anymore :(

He does love chocolate chip cookies however and I found a wonderful recipe on a diabetic website that I bake for him :)  I eat them too, as a good wife I believe in supporting him,  especially when it comes to cookies!

Just-like-Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies

2&1/4 cups all purpose flour (I am old fashioned so I sift it first)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt (I use 1/2 teaspoon)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter or margarine (I use cubed real butter, softened)
1/2 cup SPLENDA Sugar Blend
1/4 cup SPLENDA Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 (12 ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate morsels
chopped nuts are optional but my husband wants them in this cookie.

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl, set aside.
3. Beat butter, SPLENDA Sugar Blend, SPLENDA brown sugar and vanilla at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Scrape sides of bowl.  Gradually add flour mixture, beating until blended.  Stir in chocolate morsels.
4.  Spoon rounded tablespoons of cookie dough onto ungreased baking sheets.
5.  Bake cookies 9 to 11 minutes or until lightly browned, Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack....
6.  Pour a cup of coffee or a glass of milk and eat a cookie!

Since there is sugar in these cookies a diabetic should not eat more than 2 at a time.  We put 4 cookies into a plastic freezer bag (we divide all the cookies this way) place them in a freezer and when we want a cookie we take out the number we want, you can let them thaw or place them in a microwave and warm them...yummy!

I love noticing the subtle differences in the way recipes were written in 1955 and now, it seems like now requires a lot more specifics....LOL!

Hope everyone has a Blessed Christmas and eats lots of goodies!

VE

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Button Collecting

Black Glass Button with Luster
Many years ago, I was into collecting buttons so much that I'd collect any type.  I was a member of the National Button Society and still own all my bulletins!  I can't part with them, they are a wealth of information!  
I had decided to cut back on my collections and the buttons went to other homes.  Well, I couldn't stay away too long.  I started collecting again but now I'm more selective.
When trying to decide what to write about in this post, it became very apparent I could go on forever and take up pages of this blog.  In order to cut back, I'm going to show some links and at the end of this post, you can open a slide show to see just a few buttons from my collection.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact me!

Flea markets, antique shops and online are all great places to look for buttons.  I still sit for hours and scour eBay for Bakelite, realistics (aka goofies), buffed celluloids and glass buttons.

And now, some useful links:
Button Identification and Cleaning
OGosh Buttons and Beads
Antique Button Collectors
Button, Button Onie
Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?
Button Sampler
I Want Buttons - Winning Trays
Button Bug
Button Country
CC's Vintage Buttons

And now onto the show!

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Friday, December 10, 2010

A Whole New Experience

Before you say anything yes, things are a little different today.  For those of you that have been following us for a while now, Friday has become a series called “A Day in the Life”.  But with the holidays sneaking up on us, I’ll be taking a break for the new few weeks so folks can focus on their businesses, Christmas and family & friends.

Today might still be called a day in the life though, as I share my latest experience with you.  My best friend and I have a greeting card business and we did our first ever craft show last Saturday.  Once we registered, I invaded all my friends here that have shops and businesses and gave them all the 3rd degree on “what do I do now?”  They were all so patient with me.  Lol   And the greatest advise they gave was "don't stress, just have fun".

Hubby's display 
Almost touching the ceiling










She had her husband make a nice display stand to “show” our cards.  And she did a great job in making a sign, hung high above our heads so people could find us.  
We took a wide variety of cards as well as some of our other fun little items.  

Our organized mess
The day before, I made my checklist to make sure I wouldn’t forget anything.  

For those that know me, they know I don’t do mornings.  So, the car MUST be loaded the night before.               
Some fun little items

Anyway, we were thankful for friends that stopped by to show support, make a purchase and help pass the time away.  At the end of the day, we came up with some new ideas to prepare for our next show.  

When is it?  Don’t know yet, but we’ll be ready!     
Our artist, (doodle) Bea








Thanks for letting me share a little of my "other" self with you today.  
See ya next week, with another surprise Friday!!!

 "Duuude"

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

Every year my son and I trudge out in the cold to find our Christmas tree, but this year my sisters church was selling them to raise money so out of charity (or guilt) I went ahead and ordered our tree. Did I mention they were going to deliver it too? Well, I felt mighty privileged and decadent having a tree delivered to my door so when my brother in law got here with my tree I flung the door open with smiles and welcome arms.....and then I saw our tree.
I should have known by the sheepish look on his face when he held it in front of him, but I was still giddy from thinking I was cool for having my tree delivered.  Once I got a gander at my tree though I busted out laughing.  The poor little tree!  He offered to take it back, but by then I was in love with my little Charlie Brown tree and told him he dare not trade it for the other in his van.  
I lovingly set it up in it's stand and gave it water while thinking how this tree was like life ~ not perfect, not always what we expect or want it to be and maybe not the biggest or best, but that's not really what it's all about is it? 

I think I love this tree more than any others I have had because it was probably not the "pick of the litter" or considered desirable with it's imperfections. 
  It reminds me of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" which reminds me of what the true meaning of Christmas is all about.

p.s. I haven't put ornaments on yet. I'm afraid it will fall over. Ha!
Peggy ~ GG ~ Goodgosh

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Red, White and Blue Christmas

hopeandjoystudios
I would just like to take a moment and ask that you remember our soldiers and their families at this time of year. Having a family member or friend deployed anytime of the year is difficult, but it is even harder throughout the Holidays.  
MermaidsPalette
   
fancyfigleaf
We have to remember that it is not just the soldiers that are affected by these deployments, but their families and loved ones too. Meaning, mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, girlfriends, boyfriends, (all family and friends) and of course most of all the children.
They are hit the hardest, but they are also the proudest.
wendysorigami
gingerbabies
FishInTheAtticStudio
While my husband was deployed I worked actively with the FRG (Family Readiness Group) we worked very closely with both military personal and the soldier’s families. We all tried to help each other and keep things sailing smoothly on the home front so our soldiers did not have to worry so much about us and they could focus on their job. 
holidaylegacies

DeadSerious2010
          

There are plenty of ways and places that you can show support of our soldiers. Any local VFW or American Legion, if there is an Armory nearby you can even contact them.
This site has lots of information;

TheShabbyChicCottage

susanbrack
Sometimes a simple acknowledgment or a Thank you is all it takes to let the soldiers and the families know that they are not alone this time of the year and that they are in our thoughts and have our support.

doodlebeacards
To all of our soldiers and their families, I thank you and will be keeping you all close to my heart through the Holidays

(jj)