Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Fairy places, fairy things
fairy woods where
the wild bee wings.
Tiny trees, for tiny dames.
These must all be fairy names.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Christmas

From; The Buzzing Bee

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Its Not Christmas for me without Dickens..

Merry Merry to all, As a child and as a adult it is just not the Christmas season without the works of Charles Dickens. I Love the novels, as they sweep me away to a world that is so colorful and descriptive. . It lets you enter their world and make you feel as if you are really there..
The movies of course. I love the old black, and whites the best!! The actors character explorations in those movies are superior to any of the present days redo's as far as I am concerned..
I have blogged some history, and biographic info here for you about Dickens that I thought was interesting.. Please enjoy..

Happy Christmas

Charles Dickens (1812-1870), English Victorian era author wrote numerous highly acclaimed novels including his most autobiographical David Copperfield (1848-1850);Charles Dickens has probably had more influence on the way that we celebrate Christmas today than any single individual in human history except one.

At the beginning of the Victorian period the celebration of Christmas was in decline. The medieval Christmas traditions, which combined the celebration of the birth of Christ with the ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia (a pagan celebration for the Roman god of agriculture), and the Germanic winter festival of Yule, had come under intense scrutiny by the Puritans under Oliver Cromwell. The Industrial Revolution, in full swing in Dickens' time, allowed workers little time for the celebration of Christmas.
The romantic revival of Christmas traditions that occurred in Victorian times had other contributors: Prince Albert brought the German custom of decorating the Christmas tree to England, the singing of Christmas carols (which had all but disappeared at the turn of the century) began to thrive again, and the first Christmas card appeared in the 1840s. But it was the Christmas stories of Dickens, particularly his 1843 masterpiece "A Christmas Carol", that rekindled the joy of Christmas in Britain and America. Today, after more than 160 years," A Christmas Carol" continues to be relevant, sending a message that cuts through the materialistic trappings of the season, and gets to the heart and soul of the holidays.

Dickens' describes the holidays as "a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of other people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys".

This was what Dickens described for the rest of his life as the "Carol Philosophy. Dickens' name had become so synonymous with Christmas that on hearing of his death in 1870 a little costermonger's fruit and vegetable) ( girl in London asked, "Mr. Dickens dead? Then will Father Christmas die too?".

Some of Dickens Novels;

A Christmas Carol
The Pickwick Papers
Great Expectations
The Mystery of Edwin Drood, unfinished novel

unique glitter graphics

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bah Humbug! The Importance of Christmas Stories?

How did A Christmas Carol evolve into a classic -- and why does it still emotionally touch thousands every year?
Of all the Christmas stories, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is undoubtedly second only to the Nativity story in terms of historical and literary significance. Ever since its publication, readers have returned to this story in droves, finding comfort and joy in the story of the miser Ebenezer Scrooge and his conversion to the fullness of Christmas joy through the Christmas spirits of the Past, Present, and Future.
A Christmas Carol is so famous that the word "scrooge" has come to define a miser or killjoy even in non-English speaking countries. Rarely do Christmas stories reach so far and have such a significant impact. An interesting note is that people seem more interested in the pre-conversion Scrooge. Most of the novel tells of his transformation, but the word is never used in that sense in popular language.
"Ebenezer" is actually a Hebrew name which literally translates to "stone of help." Many people have interpreted the name in different ways, and legends abound as to where Dickens gathered the surname Scrooge -- including the notion that he misread the word "meal" for "mean" on a tombstone and stole the man's name.
Like many Christmas stories, A Christmas Carol has themes far beyond that of Christmas. Dickens was extremely concerned with the social and economic status of the poor in his time. In fact, a famous legend tells of Dickens challenging a doctor to walk through the poorest district of London without becoming ill. The man laughingly took the dare and wound up making it ten feet.
When we think of Victorian times, we don't realize the incredible poverty hidden behind the upper and middle class veneer. Many Victorians also preferred to sweep those individuals under the carpet, and Dickens used Scrooge as an embodiment of that attitude.
It doesn't take much effort to see the importance of A Christmas Carol as a literary work -- after all, it has influenced countless spin-offs, parodies, and tributes -- but even a quick reading also reveals the social and historical significance of this most famous of Christmas stories.
Years to Come
It seems clear that Dickens' immortal tale won't be going anywhere fast. Already there have been dozens of film, television, and stage interpretations, and more are scheduled for the near future. So never fear. This most beloved of Christmas stories looks like it's here to stay!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Legends About Silent Night

There are obscure Christmas legends, and then there are the legends almost everyone remembers. Silent Night is a Christmas carol that has evoked a powerful response, and people seem compelled to shroud it with stories and mystery.

Some Facts

These are the facts we know for sure about Silent Night despite the various stories surrounding the famous Christmas carol.
--An Austrian priest by the name of Father Josef Mohr composed the original lyrics to Stille Nacht in German.
--An Austrian headmaster, Franz Xavier Gruber, composed the melody, which differed slightly from the version we use today.
--Mohr wrote the song in 1816, but it wasn't performed until Christmas Eve of 1818 at the Nicola-Kirche (Church of St. Nicholas) in Oberndorf, Austria.
--Gruber's original melody was written for guitar.

The Myths

Out of these simple facts came many Christmas legends of Silent Night. Including some of these myths and some legends where the truth is simply unknown.
--The organ broke and Gruber and Mohr quickly composed the melody for the song on guitar instead;
Truth: The first mention of this legend doesn't occur until 1909, long after the song's debut.
--The carol was performed to a magnificent reception, but promptly forgotten. In 1825, an organ repairman found the long-lost manuscript and brought it to the attention of the public once more.
Truth: Mohr and Gruber published several versions of the song throughout their lifetimes.
--Mice ate through the organ bellows, necessitating the use of the guitar.
Truth: There is no evidence of this, just like the other organ myth. Some have theorized that Gruber used his guitar just because he was looking for an excuse to play it in church. Unlike many Christmas legends, this one might actually be true.

Silent Night in War

Silent Night has had a profound impact on people around the world, and the Internet gives you access to many soldiers from a variety of battles who found peace in its melody.
The most famous, of course, is the temporary truce shared by German and American soldiers during the Christmas of 1914.
Unlike many Christmas legends, this story has been downplayed, not exaggerated, as years passed. Military officials disliked the truce, and they doubly disliked the fact that soldiers on both sides refused to resume firing at one another for some time afterwards.But while Silent Night was the song that started soldiers on both sides singing together, the following days saw soldiers playing soccer, exchanging gifts, and meeting behind enemy lines, all in the name of Christmas.
So while many Christmas legends are silly, sentimental, or just plain nonsense, keep in mind that not only are some true, but that they can be the most inspiring of all.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Traditions: The Advent Calendar

The Advent calendar is one of our most beloved Christmas traditions, right up there with trimming the tree and laying out milk and cookies for Santa Claus. But where does it come from -- and in our busy 21st century world, where is it going?

In the Beginning

The term "Advent" is actually a religious term referring to the four weeks leading up to Christmas (or the "advent" of Christ). That means Advent usually doesn't begin on December 1st but at the end of November. In practical terms, though, people have used December 1st as the beginning of their countdown for over three hundred years.
People have always enjoyed having something to look forward to, and even before the frenzied commercialism of gift giving, Christmas was a season to remember, and Christmas traditions helped people count down the days. As early as the 17th century, families would mark chalk lines on the walls to give themselves a visual reference as to how many days remained until the holiday.

Oh, Those Victorians....

We often associate Christmas traditions with Victoriana with good reason. Christmas really enjoyed itself in the 19th century! Long before Queen Victoria's husband brought the German tradition of the Christmas tree to England, German families had marked the days to Christmas with wreaths, pictures, and various other physical actions.
In fact, it was shortly after the turn of the century, in the early 1900s, when the first Advent calendar was actually printed commercially.

Now and Beyond

Of course, most people nowadays associate Christmas traditions with getting something, and that's why so many Advent calendars have chocolate treats hidden behind their doors. There have been many criticisms of these modern Advent calendars, which some believe buy too strongly into commercial Christmas and move away from what is essentially Advent.
Other countries have opened their own Christmas traditions to countdown. In Scandinavia, for example, there is actually a television show that begins on December 1st and ends on the 24th. These shows give the entire country a method of counting down to Christmas together.
But for the true Advent calendar, the place to be remains Germany. Many communities transform buildings in their towns (or in one memorable case, a town hall with twenty four windows) into living Advent calendars, with beautiful Christmas scenes illuminated one by one as the days to Christmas pass by. Most believe that the Advent calendar originated in Germany, but like so many Christmas traditions, it has spread to the entire world.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sweet Treats Can Bring Some Good Christmas Luck.

Ever wondered if you should pay attention to those Christmas food superstitions? Is there a simple yet traditional dish you can whip up and throw a little luck into the mix?

Let's not Mince Words

Do you like mince pie? (NO) Never had it? Mince pies were once known as mincemeat pies. The actual meat is left out of the now completely sweet British Christmas pastry filled with dried fruit. You should give it a try if you want to encourage luck in the New Year.
There's more than mince in mince pie. Eat as much mince pie as you can from the start of Christmas Eve until the end of the Twelfth night to bring heaping amounts of good luck into the New Year!
Put away that knife! An important note to make regarding Christmas food superstitions and mince pie is that cutting it will slice through your luck in the upcoming year. Better to just pick up and bite right into these delectable sweets.
Prefer using a utensil while gaining good luck? Here's another Christmas food superstition that requires a wooden spoon to mix the good luck into your treat.

The Proof is in the Pudding

Traditionally, all people in the household must stir the pudding with a wooden spoon and view the bottom of the bowl three times. Make a wish with each swirl. Even the youngest baby partakes to help to ensure the entire household prosperity in the coming year. Much like wishing on a star, however, you cannot reveal the content of your wish until it comes true.
Finally, a silver coin, a thimble and a ring are dropped into the pudding before serving. Christmas food superstitions dictate that the recipient of the coin on his Christmas dinner plate receives luck, whoever gets the thimble gains in prosperity, and finally the ring represents a wedding in the future.
For Christmas dinner here are a couple of lucky notes to make for your luck's sake. Make sure you set the table for an even number of people even if you have an odd number of guests (just make sure to round up, not down). Stay at the table until everyone's finished, because leaving early brings bad luck (doesn't that one sound like something your mom made up?).

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Nutcracker

How did The Nutcracker come to be one of our most beloved Christmas traditions?

It's one of the newer Christmas traditions, but it's still had time to become near and dear to our hearts. Every year, usually at the beginning of December, many families attend the only piece of ballet or live theatre they'll see all year: The Nutcracker.

But how did The Nutcracker become such a popular tradition? What sets it apart from other Christmas stories and makes it special? And where, exactly, did it come from?

The story itself is quite old, and the one we see onstage isn't even the original, but a popular adaptation by the French author Alexandre Dumas, best known for writing The Three Musketeers. Once the story made the leap (no pun intended) from page to stage, though, history was in the making.

From the Ashes of Disappointment...

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the famous Russian composer also known for the 1812 overture, composed The Nutcracker as his final and least satisfying ballet, taking on the project with a marked lack of enthusiasm.
How ironic that it should become one of the most beloved Christmas traditions of the twentieth century while many of the composer's other works fell by the wayside!
The ballet premiered in Russia in 1892. The famous "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy," now well known for its lilting, somewhat exotic melody, made Tchaikovsky the first composer in history to use the celesta, an instrument similar to a group of tuning forks. Most people thought the instrument too subtle for symphonic use.

First Russia, Then the World!

The Nutcracker didn't exactly make an instantaneous leap from Russia to the archive of American Christmas traditions. In fact, not until 1944 did an American ballet company decide to perform the entire ballet. But that year the San Francisco Ballet took on the task, performing the ballet as an annual tradition.
But it was George Balanchine who really started The Nutcracker on the road to Christmas traditions. In 1954 he choreographed the ballet for a New York company, and not a year has passed since when the ballet wasn't performed in New York City.
Balanchine was the first to have the roll of Clara danced by a child, necessitating a much simpler choreography. By the late 1960s, other ballet companies across North America had jumped on the bandwagon, enthusiastically performing The Nutcracker to a receptive annual audience.
One wonders whether the ballet's great posthumous success would have changed Tchaikovsky's opinion of his final ballet, but unfortunately he died in 1894, long before The Nutcracker became one of the nation's most beloved Christmas traditions.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Historical Christmas Stories: Yes, Virginia!

If you love historical Christmas stories -- or even if you don't -- you can probably finish this sentence: Yes, Virginia, there is a....
The most famous of all historical Christmas stories has to be ;
Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus. -->>And better still, the story is true.

In spite of the fact that almost everyone has heard of such historical Christmas stories, surprisingly few people know the full tale behind them. It's kind of like going Christmas caroling and discovering you don't actually know more than the first verse of your favorite songs. Most people don't know more than the most basic of Virginia's story.But that basis is incredibly famous.
An eight-year-old girl, doubting the existence of Santa Claus, wrote a letter to the New York Sun in 1897 and received a public answer in the form of a now-famous editorial entitled ;
"Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus."
Virginia (actually Laura Virginia O'Hanlon Douglas) wrote to the New York Sun after her "little friends" told her there was no such person as Santa Claus. Interestingly, that phrase -- "little friends" -- has caused many to question the authenticity of the story, as some argue that no eight year old child would ever use that phrase.
In 1998, though, the original copy of the letter appeared on The Antiques Roadshow and received professional authentication (receiving a value, incidentally, of about $50,000).
Virginia went on to become a school teacher and died in 1971.
The Author
Like most historical Christmas stories, this one has an author -- or in this case, an editor. Francis Pharcellus Church was a war correspondent during the American Civil War, an assignment which took a serious toll on his stores of hope, joy, and faith in humanity.
No one expected much from Church's editorial -- in fact, they placed it seventh on the editorial page beneath an article about chain less articles. The editorial, however, became a symbol of belief for a generation and who would have known all generations thereafter.
In the years since, Church's article has become the most reprinted editorial ever, and has found a permanent home in the heart of many Americans.
Like so many historical Christmas stories, this editorial touches on meaningful philosophical issues like the Christmas ideals of belief, faith, and hope.

Monday, December 08, 2008


Hi to all you Potter fans.... While putting up my Christmas tree yesterday I was watching ABC family cable TV station. It had a all day Potter movie marathon.. During commercial breaks they showed previews of the new movie " Half Blood Prince" And it gave a movie date release of "July 17th" 2009.. So hopefully this date will stick this time!!!!

Anyway thought you would want to know???

Hugs & pumpkin juice


OH Christmas Tree , Oh Christams tree

With Christmas & Yule's fast approach, And -->I just put up my tree yesterday. I thought I would blog a little info on the Christmas tree. It is such a part of the traditional Christmas festivities and such a center piece. My tree is artificial.. I walk in the woods the week before Yule, and find a proud grand fir, and ask for a a small sampling of his beautiful branch's so I may smell the scent of Christmas past, and partake in a small way in the celebrations of the ancients....

Happy Hoildays

Traditions: Christmas Trees

The fir tree has a long association with Christianity, it began in Germany almost 1,000 years ago when St Boniface, who converted the German people to Christianity, was said to have come across a group of pagans worshipping an oak tree. In anger, St Boniface is said to have cut down the oak tree and to his amazement a young fir tree sprung up from the roots of the oak tree. St Boniface took this as a sign of the Christian faith. But it was not until the 16th century that fir trees were brought indoors at Christmas time.Germans and Scandinavians placed evergreen trees inside their homes or just outside their doors to show their hope in the forthcoming spring. Our modern Christmas tree evolved from these early traditions.

Top ten christmas trees sold in the united states .

Voted #1 - Fraser Fir
Voted #2 - Douglas Fir
Voted #3 - Balsam Fir
Voted #4 - Colorado Blue Spruce V
Voted # 5 - Scotch Pine -
Voted #6 - Eastern Red Cedar -
Voted #7 - White Spruce -
Voted #8 - Eastern White Pine -
Voted #9 - White Fir or Concolor Fir
Voted #10 - Virginia Pine

( Where I live in the Pacific NW--> it is; Douglas fir, Blue spruce, Grand fir and Noble fir.)


King Tut never saw a Christmas tree, but he would have understood the tradition which traces back long before the first Christmas.
The Egyptians were part of a long line of cultures that treasured and worshipped evergreens. When the winter solstice arrive, they brought green date palm leaves into their homes to symbolize life's triumph over death.
The Romans celebrated the winter solstice with a fest called Saturnalia in honor of Saturnus, the god of agriculture. They decorated their houses with greens and lights and exchanged gifts. They gave coins for prosperity, pastries for happiness, and lamps to light one's journey through life.
Centuries ago in Great Britain, woods priests called Druids used evergreens during mysterious winter solstice rituals. The Druids used holly and mistletoe as symbols of eternal life, and place evergreen branches over doors to keep away evil spirits.
Legend has it that Martin Luther began the tradition of decorating trees to celebrate Christmas. One crisp Christmas Eve, about the year 1500, he was walking through snow-covered woods and was struck by the beauty of a group of small evergreens. Their branches, dusted with snow, shimmered in the moonlight. When he got home, he set up a little fir tree indoors so he could share this story with his children. He decorated it with candles, which he lighted in honor of Christ's birth.
The Christmas tree tradition most likely came to the United States with Hessian troops during the American Revolution, or with German immigrants to Pennsylvania and Ohio.
But the custom spread slowly. The Puritans banned Christmas in New England. Even as late as 1851, a Cleveland minister nearly lost his job because he allowed a tree in his church. Schools in Boston stayed open on Christmas Day through 1870, and sometimes expelled students who stayed home.
The Christmas tree market was born in 1851 when Catskill farmer Mark Carr hauled two ox sleds of evergreens into New York City and sold them all. By 1900, one in five American families had a Christmas tree, and 20 years later, the custom was nearly universal.
Christmas tree farms sprang up during the depression. Nurserymen couldn't sell their evergreens for landscaping, so they cut them for Christmas trees. Cultivated trees were preferred because they have a more symmetrical shape then wild ones.


Did a celebration around a Christmas tree on a bitter cold Christmas Eve at Trenton, New Jersey, turn the tide for Colonial forces in 1776? According to legend, Hessian mercenaries were so reminded of home by a candlelit evergreen tree that they abandoned their guard posts to eat, drink and be merry. Washington attached that night and defeated them.
The Christmas tree has gone through a long process of development rich in many legends, says David Robson, Extension Educator, Horticulture, with the Springfield Extension Center.
Some historians trace the lighted Christmas tree to Martin Luther. He attached lighted candles to a small evergreen tree, trying to simulate the reflections of the starlit heaven -- the heaven that looked down over Bethlehem on the first Christmas Eve.
Until about 1700, the use of Christmas trees appears to have been confined to the Rhine River District. From 1700 on, when lights were accepted as part of the decorations, the Christmas tree was well on its way to becoming a tradition in Germany. Then the tradition crossed the Atlantic with the Hessian soldiers.
Some people trace the origin of the Christmas tree to an earlier period. Even before the Christian era, trees and boughs were used for ceremonials. Egyptians, in celebrating the winter solstice -- the shortest day of the year -- brought green date palms into their homes as a symbol of "life triumphant over death". When the Romans observed the feast of saturn, part of the ceremony was the raising of an evergreen bough. The early Scandinavians were said to have paid homage to the fir tree.
To the Druids, sprigs of evergreen holly in the house meant eternal life; while to the Norsemen, they symbolized the revival of the sun god Balder. To those inclined toward superstition, branches of evergreens placed over the door kept out witches, ghosts, evil spirits and the like.
This use does not mean that our Christmas tree custom evolved solely from paganism, any more than did some of the present-day use of sighed in various religious rituals.
Trees and branches can be made purposeful as well as symbolic. The Christmas tree is a symbol of a living Christmas spirit and brings into our lives a pleasant aroma of the forest. The fact that balsam fir twigs, more than any other evergreen twigs, resemble crosses may have had much to do with the early popularity of balsam fir used as Christmas trees.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

First Christmas without Harry

Christmas without Harry ?

Wow, this is the first Christmas when I was not enjoying a new book, or movie from our dear J.K. Rowling story "Harry Potter".. It will not be the same. Although I am reading "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" (I just got my copy yesterday.) But I really wish I had a movie.. Funny how one gets use to something, and all of the sudden there is a hole in the festivities because it is missing..

I am really enjoying the new edition to the Harry Potter collection.

But I miss Harry very much !!

Sparkling Christmas lights.

Bee :^)

Monday, December 01, 2008

The first Christmas Card

The first known Christmas card is printed on the front cover with a date of 1843. The original was in muted colours, hand painted, printed and sold for 1cent each (5p) - a lot of money in those days. Despite the date on this card, encyclopedia's say that Christmas cards were first sold in 1846!By the 1860s the idea of sending cards had caught on as they were able to be produced much more cheaply with the invention of less expensive colour printing. The first Christmas cards had lace and flowery borders, but then they changed to more familiar designs. The robin became very popular as were Victorian snow scenes, religious pictures, holly, Christmas trees etc. Many similar scenes are reproduced in our cards today.
Thought this was interesting..
Hugs a lots of sparkling Christmas cards to all

Friday, November 28, 2008

26 days??

26 days till Christmas? Black Friday, The 30th anniversary of the movie the "Christmas Story?" Wow times does fly...
I have barely got my mind set to get my windows washed. I was hoping I could just wish my decorations up in one swift movement! I must admit I did do a tiny bit of online shopping yesterday but nothing major. I have given up present purchases for my family as it seemed unreal to buy gifts for people you never see, or who are ever home when you call. One never knows if they liked the gift, or if they even received it--> unless I put delivery confirmation on the packages, or UPS tracking! So it is just Christmas cards now, and a unanswered phone calls.. Oh do not get me wrong !! I love Christmas !! Always have.. I have just been unfortunate to have a family that do not at least when it means to include me.. I decorate, and make Merry every year. I create my own Fairyland filled with mystery, and magic. I never believed that Christmas was every about the gifts anyway I believed it was always about the mystic.. I must say it is my number 2 holiday in the year.. I begin the decorating this weekend.. Starting with the white fairy lights.. As my Fae await their twinkle!! And so do I!!

Eat well today my friends, and make merry!!! The magic is just beginning..
"God Bless us all, everyone"

Sparkling Bee


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Turkey Day

by Eudora S. Bumstead 1919

THERE once was a restless boy who dwelt in a home by the sea,
Where the water danced for joy and the wind was glad and free:But he said,
"Good mother, oh! let me go;For the dullest place in the world, I know,
Is this little brown house,Under the apple-tree.
"I will travel east and west;The loveliest homes I'll see;And when I have found the best,Dear mother, I'll come for thee. I'll come for thee in a year and a day, and joyfully then we'll hasten awayFrom this little brown house,This little old brown house,Under the apple-tree."
So he traveled here and there, But never content was he,Though he saw in lands most fair The costliest homes there be. Till he turned again with a wistful sigh to the little brown house,Under the apple-tree.
Then the mother saw and smiled,While her heart grew glad and free,"Hast thou chosen a home, my child?Ah, where shall we dwell?" quoth she, and he said, "Sweet mother, from east to west,The loveliest home, and the dearest and best, Is a little brown house,Under an apple-tree."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Pie's the Limit!!

Fast approaching IS the day some wait all year for.. The smell of roast turkey the sweet delights that mom, and grandma have prepared for decades.. Well with that said there are always new things to try, and maybe for me as I grow older a little healthier look, for the traditional turkey dinner..


This recipe may seem to have a lot of ingredients, but don't let that fool you. The variety of ingredients only makes this dish complex, not complicated. It's actually fairly quick and easy to prepare while creating a LOT of food


Seitan Stuffed Squash

3 acorn or delicata squash
6 - 8 oz. seitan, minced
1 green apple, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
5 or so slices stale bread
1/2 cup tvp
1 small carrot, diced
3 - 5 mushrooms (opt.)
1/4 cup raw cashew pieces
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
4 Tbsp. margarine
1/2 cup apple juice
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
Sage, thyme, oregano to taste
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Roast cashews in oven for 5-10 minutes at 350 degrees (no preheating necessary). Cut squash in half, clean, and remove seeds. Cut bread into small chunks. Roast in oven until brown and crisp. Set aside. Soak tvp in 1/2 cup hot water to rehydrate. In a skillet, melt margarine. Add onion, mushrooms (if using), seitan, celery, carrot and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes. Add bread, tvp, apple juice, spices, cashews, sweetener, and 1/2 cup water. Keep stirring and adding more water as it gets absorbed. When the stuffing is fairly moist without being soggy, add the apples. Cook for 3-5 more minutes, then remove from heat. Pack squash with stuffing. Cook in 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes, until a fork easily pierces the skin and flesh, with only a slight resistance (watch out for overcooking - delicata cooks very very quickly).

Twice baked squash

1 butternut squash
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
3 tbsp vegan sour cream
½ tsp paprika
1 ½ tsp dill
½ onion
1 tsp bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. (You can actually bake this at any temperature, such as if you are baking any other foods - it will just take longer for the squash to cook.)
Cut squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds and fibers. If you have a roasting pan large enough to accommodate the squash, place them face up along with 1/4 inch water in the bottom. Cover and bake until squash is tender (pierce with fork to test). If you do not have a roasting pan, placing them face down on a cookie sheets will also work. Note: Make sure the pan has sides, even if they are low, as the squash will release liquid as it cooks. Remove squash from oven and let cool.
If using onion, saute in water (or margarine) until translucent. Let cool and add to other ingredients when mixing.
Scoop out flesh from skins, using a spoon. Leave a 1/4 inch border around one of the halves, so that it will hold its shape. In a bowl mix all ingredients (except for the breadcrumbs) thoroughly, until well incorporated. Transfer back to the squash half and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Depending on the squash you bought, you may find it difficult to fit all the squash into the skin (I usually end up eating any "leftovers" at this point) - good luck! Alternately, you can bake the blended squash in a casserole pan and discard the skins completely.
Return squash to oven and bake until warmed - about 20-30 minutes.

Wild Rice and Mushroom Stuffing

1/2 lb. mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 cup wild rice2 large onions, chopped
1 cup long-grain brown1 cup celery, chopped rice
2 cups stock or water
1 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped1/4 cup parsley, minced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. each: sage, marjoram, savory, white pepper
2 tsp. celery seed
3/4 stick margarine

In a large heavy skillet or stock pot, melt half the margarine over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for 5 min set aside
Melt the remaining margarine over medium heat. Add rices, onions, and celery. Cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the stock or water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 25 minutes or till the stock is completely absorbed and the rice is tender.

Southern Baked Tofu

Stir in the pecans and seasonings, and mix thoroughly. Bake about 45 minutes covered at 350 in a casserole dish.
A bit rich, but oh, so tasty! I apologize for the lack of quantities. Generally, start with a bowl of 1 - 1 1/2 cup corn meal with some kind of flour mixed in a smaller amount, 2:1 ratio. Seasonings should be added so that there are enough in the coating to suit your tastes. Try 1 tablespoon of each to start, and add more if you'd like. If I make this in the future, I'll try and be more specific with amounts but remember, there is no "wrong" way of doing it. It's a very forgiving recipe.

1 lb. extra-firm tofu
1 cup cornmeal
1 stick margarine
Nutritional yeast
Pinch of salt
Celery salt
Corn flakes
Brown rice flour or garbanzo flour

Cut tofu into 1/4-inch thick slices. In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. In a small skillet, heat up 1/2 - 1 stick margarine. When completely melted, dip tofu in margarine; make sure you coat all surfaces. Dredge tofu to dry breading, and cover both sides. Transfer breaded tofu to a lightly greased tray or cookie sheet. Bake until crunchy, about 8-10 minutes.

Pumpkin pie

1 unbaked 9" pie shell
3/4 lb. firm tofu
1 (16 oz.) can pumpkin puree or2 cups fresh-cooked pumpkin
1 cup Sucanat or brown sugar
2 Tbsp. oil
2 Tbsp. molasses
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt3/4 tsp. ginger powder
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until very well mixed. Pour into the pie shell and bake for 1 hour in a preheated, 350-degree oven for 1 hour, or until cracks start to appear in the filling. Chill for at least 2-3 hours before serving. Serve with Whipped Tofu Topping for a decadent finish.

For best results, use fresh pumpkin - it will vastly improve the flavor and make the texture more interesting

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Credit Card Fraud

Today I blog about a serious subject, I have recently been effected by the increasing crime of Credit Card Fraud. Although I got off so easy compared to others, non the less it has taken its toll. It is so discouraging! If life is not hard enough,this crime just adds to the pile.. Luckily I watch my accounts, and keep up with what I spend.. I caught it early.. So now, its closing accounts, reopening and reissuing! This is a pain in the ass!!
So I have done some digging, and I will post some information here about helping yourself not to be a victim of CC fraud..
Hopefully this NEVER happens to any of you!! In my case the card number was being used in Saint Kitts & Nevis in the Caribbean!!
When you use a credit card, you can be vulnerable to fraud, whether you pay online, over the phone, or even in person at your neighborhood grocery store.
If you think you've been the victim of fraud or a scam, immediately follow these steps. The faster you contact the proper authorities, the more likely you are to minimize the damage a scammer can do to your identity, your credit, and your bank account.
Close any affected accounts

Contact the genuine company or organization if you believe you've given sensitive information to an unknown source masquerading as that real company or organization. If you contact the real company immediately, they might be able to lessen the damage to you and others. Then:

Speak with the security or fraud department about any fraudulently accessed or opened accounts at every bank or financial institution you deal with, including credit card companies, utilities, Internet service providers, and other organizations that have your personal information
Follow up with a letter and save a copy for yourself. When you open new accounts use strong passwords, not passwords such as your mother's maiden name, along with a new account number.

Change the passwords on all of your online accounts
When you change your passwords or open new accounts, use strong passwords.
What makes a strong password

To an attacker, a strong password should appear to be a random string of characters. The following criteria can help your passwords do so:
Make it lengthy. Each character that you add to your password increases the protection that it provides many times over. Your passwords should be 8 or more characters in length; 14 characters or longer is ideal.
Many systems also support use of the space bar in passwords, so you can create a phrase made of many words (a "pass phrase"). A pass phrase is often easier to remember than a simple password, as well as longer and harder to guess.
Combine letters, numbers, and symbols. The greater variety of characters that you have in your password, the harder it is to guess.

How to verify a site certificate

Always verify the security certificate issued to a site before submitting any personal information. Before you submit any personal information, ensure that you are indeed on the Web site you intend to be on.
In Internet Explorer, you can do this by checking the yellow lock icon on the status bar.
This symbol signifies that the Web site uses encryption to help protect any sensitive personal information—credit card number, Social Security number, payment details—that you enter. The lock only appears on sites that use an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) connection, which is typically used only on sites where you enter sensitive information.
Secure site lock icon. If the lock is closed, then the site uses encryption. Double-click the lock icon to display the security certificate for the site. This certificate is proof of the identity for the site.
When you check the certificate, the name following Issued to should match the site you think you are on. If the name differs, you may be on a spoofed site.
If you are not sure whether a certificate is legitimate, do not enter any personal information. Play it safe and leave the Web site. If the site does not require you to enter sensitive information, it probably won't display the lock icon.
Place a fraud alert on your credit reports
In the United States, contact these three credit bureaus
Equifax (800) 525-6285
Experian (888) 397-3742
TransUnion (800) 680-7289

Get a copy of your report (victims of ID theft can receive copies of their credit reports for free) and ask that no new credit be granted without your approval.

Make sure your account is flagged with a "fraud alert" tag and a "victim's statement," and insist that the alert remain active for the maximum of seven years.

Send these requests in writing and keep copies for yourself
Review the reports carefully. Look for things like inquiries you didn't initiate, accounts you didn't open, and unexplained debts.

Record and save everything
As you complete all these steps to clear up the wrongdoing, always make print copies of documents for yourself, including e-mail messages, written correspondence, and records of telephone calls, and file them somewhere safe.
For telephone or in-person conversations, follow up with dated confirmation letters to the organization, and save a copy for yourself. State in the letter what was covered in the conversation, and list any follow-up items that you or the representative have committed to in the conversation.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

42 day til Christmas???

unique glitter graphics
Today the first day of the "Beaver Moon" and 42 days til Christmas.. My how fast the wheel turns . I have begun working on my Christmas cards and making my decoration plans for the house.. I bought three new fairy ornaments this year, and can not wait to see them sparkle. No Christmas shopping really this year already done what I am going to do. So that's a plus.. I cannot believe I actually was frugal enough to have anything to spend at all? But I got little surprises for the ones that are closet to me.. The first wind storm hit last night -->not to bad, but beat up on my green house.. More rain too! Although we have been making head way on tie downs and such for the green house.. There is still more caulking to do and a plan "A" for tying it down, & a plan "B" for emergency situations.. We get hurricane force winds here more often than I like during winter.. Gusting 70 to 90mph.. SO hopefully we have thought this through.. We are very resourceful when need be.. Thank goodness ! Maybe that comes from being poor our entire life..? See, there is always a positive in every aspect of ones life!
Well off to clean my oven.. Yep, how boring is that!!!!

unique glitter graphics

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Never Forget

Window in Heaven
Dedication To Marine Mothers

Embracing the bitter chill of emptiness,
As summer turns to twilight,
The rhythm of life revolves.
July presses whispers farewell,
Blue Stars weep for the fallen,
Gold Star tears search the sparkling night sky,
For a heavenly promise.

Teresa McNair

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Happy Birthday USMC

The United States Marine Corps was founded November 10, 1775 in (shockingly enough) at a bar found in Philadelphia named "Tun Tavern". It was decided over beers and bravado that if the colonies were to stem the invading hordes of bears, they would need to take the fight to straight to the bear’s lairs. Serving on land and at sea, early Marines distinguished themselves in a number of important operations, including their first amphibious raid on foreign soil in the Bahamas in March 1776, under the command of the Corps’ first commandant, Capt. Samuel Nicholas. Since then the Marine Corps has contributed to virtually every conflict in our nations history. 294 Marines have been awarded the Medal of Honor. The first recipient was Corporal John F. Mackie, who during the attack on Fort Darling at Drewry’s Bluff, Virginia, "fearlessly maintained his musket fire against the rifle pits on shore, and when ordered to fill vacancies at guns caused by men wounded and killed in action, manned the weapon with skill and courage."
The term "flying Sergeant" has all but dropped from the Marine Corps lexicon. But in the early days of Marine Corps aviation, it was not uncommon to see a grease-stained mechanic working on an aircraft engine one minute and climbing into the cockpit or navigator’s seat the next. One such Marine was Robert G Robinson. Gunnery Sgt Robinson who was an observer in the First Marine Aviation Force was wounded 13 times in the chest, abdomen, legs, and nearly losing his left arm cleared a jam in his gun and fought off the 9 enemy scouts while his pilot Lt. Ralph Talbot was able to get the aircraft back across friendly lines. In mid-1919, Robinson was discharged from the Marine Corps and entered the Marine Corps Reserve as an officer. He retired four years later as a First Lieutenant and moved to St. Ignace, Michigan. He died at home on October 5, 1974, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Talbot, a native of Weymouth, Massachusetts, who himself shot down a German aircraft during the battle and evaded the numerically superior force, also was awarded the Medal of Honor. But Talbot, a one-time student at Yale University, was killed in a plane crash 11 days after the daring aerial battle. The pair were the first Marine aviators awarded the nation’s highest award for battlefield valor.
You can not talk about Marines without mentioning one of the most decorated Marines that ever served. Lieutenant General Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller was a colorful veteran of the Korean War, four World War II campaigns, and expeditionary service in China, Nicaragua, and Haiti. He was the only Marine to win the Navy Cross five times for heroism and gallantry in combat.
A Marine officer and enlisted man for 37 years, General Puller served at sea or overseas for all but ten of those years, including a hitch as commander of the "Horse Marines" in China. Excluding medals from foreign governments, he won a total of 14 personal decorations in combat, plus a long list of campaign medals, unit citation ribbons and other awards. In addition to the Navy Crosses, the highest honor the Navy can bestow, he holds its Army equivalent, the Distinguished Service Cross.

Here are some of Chesty Puller’s more notable quotes..

"We’re surrounded. That simplifies the problem."

"Don’t forget that you’re First Marines! Not all the Communists in hell can overrun you!"

"Paper-work will ruin any military force"

When an Army captain asked him for the direction of the line of retreat, Col Puller called his Tank Commander, gave them the Army position, and ordered: "If they start to pull back from that line, even one foot, I want you to open fire on them." Turning to the captain, he replied "Does that answer your question? We’re here to fight."At Koto-ri in Korea

"The mail service has been excellent out here, and in my opinion this is all that the Air Force has accomplished during the war."Chesty Puller in a letter to his wife while in Korea

"They are in front of us, behind us, and we are flanked on both sides by an enemy that outnumbers us 29:1. They can’t get away from us now!"- Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, USMC -This quote was made during the 1st Marine Divisions break out from Chosen Reservoir. When the Marines were cut off behind enemy lines and the Army had written them off as being lost because they were surrounded by 22 enemy divisions. The Marines made it out inflicting the highest casualty ratio on an enemy in history and destroying 7 entire enemy divisions in the process. An enemy division is 16500+ men while a Marine division is 12500 men.

Happy Birthday to Bee!!

November 10 - Old November Eve Old November Eve was celebrated on this date in olden times throughout the Scottish countryside. The Goddess Nicnevin as an aspect of Diana was honored with prayers and feasts, and it was believed she rode through the air with her entourage between the night hours of 9 and 10, and made herself visible to mortals on this night.Famous Hermetic philosopher and alchemist Paracelsus was born in Einsiedeln, Switzerland on approximately this date in 1493 (some sources list his date of birth as December 17, 1493). Paracelsus enjoyed exceptional healing powers and believed in a universal natural magic. Contrary to many writings about him, he was not a sorcerer or a practitioner of ceremonial magic (in fact, he was known to be somewhat skeptical of the so-called Black Arts); nevertheless, he did believe in astrology and often used magical astrological talismans (inscribed with planetary symbols) in his medical practice. He died a mysterious death in Salzburg in 1541.

unique glitter graphics

Monday, November 03, 2008

Get Out the Vote?? Really??

Every four years, on the Tuesday following the first Monday of November, millions of U.S. citizens go to local voting booths to elect, among other officials, the next president and vice president of their country. Their votes will be recorded and counted, and winners will be declared.
But the results of the popular vote are not guaranteed to stand because the Electoral College has not cast its vote.
For some of you, this might be a bit shocking. You could be thinking, "Whoa, seriously?" But for many of you, you're probably immediately thinking of the 2000 U.S. presidential election -- Gore won the popular vote (more Americans voted for him), but Bush actually won the presidency, because he was awarded the majority of the votes in the Electoral College.

Definition of;

Electoral College: When American voters go to the polls to vote for president, many believe that they are participating in a direct election of the president. Technically, this is not the case, due to the existence of the electoral college, a constitutional relic of the 18th century. The electoral college is the name given a group of "electors" who are nominated by party members within the states. On election day, these electors, pledged to one or another candidate, are popularly elected. In December, following the presidential vote, the electors meet in their respective state capitals and cast ballots for president and vice president. To be elected, a president requires 270 electoral votes.
Courtesy of --All American Patriots

The Electoral college (the body of electors who formally elect the United States president and vice president)
Courtesy of

The Electoral College consists of "538" popularly elected representatives who formally select the President and Vice President of the United States. In 2008, it will make this selection on December 15.
The Electoral College is an example of an indirect election.
Rather than directly voting for the President and Vice President, United States citizens cast votes for electors. Electors are technically free to vote for anyone eligible to be President, but in practice pledge to vote for specific candidate and voters cast ballots for favored presidential and vice presidential candidates by voting for correspondingly pledged electors.

Courtesy of Wikipedia

So you say, WHAT.. My vote does not count? So how easy is it to buy off 538 electorates? Well just think about how much money these candidates and their backers are putting in to their campaigns? Being a electorate sounds like another government position to be in if you want to get rich!! Out of 300 million American citizens .. This bunch is all this country can come up with?? Nope ! they were hand picked by those that control this country!!

Hard to believe there are laws to protect us SO trusting compliant citizens from this RIF RAFF.. Too bad they will never be prosecuted!!

"A faithless elector" ; is one who casts an electoral vote for someone other than whom they have pledged to elect, or who refuses to vote for any candidate. There are laws to punish faithless electors in 24 states. In 1952, the constitutionality of state pledge laws was brought before the Supreme Court in Ray v. Blair, 343 U.S. 214 (1952). The Court ruled in favor of state laws requiring electors to pledge to vote for the winning candidate, as well as removing electors who refuse to pledge. As stated in the ruling, electors are acting as a functionary of the state, not the federal government. Therefore, states have the right to govern electors. The constitutionality of state laws punishing electors for actually casting a faithless vote, rather than refusing to pledge, has never been decided by the Supreme Court. While many states may only punish a faithless elector after-the-fact, some such as Michigan specify that his or her vote shall be cancelled.
As electoral slates are typically chosen by the political party or the party's presidential nominee, electors usually have high loyalty to the party and its candidate: a faithless elector runs a greater risk of party censure than criminal charges.

Tomorrow is the big day right? I think it will be a day this country will never forget that's for sure..


Saturday, November 01, 2008

Another Magical Halloween

Alls Hallow Eve, was a great night.. It turned out to be very interesting.. I had a great meal as well. Including cupcakes , -->devils food with coconut frosting, and applesauce cake-->My orange rosemary bread came out divine!!! I sported a new dress this year as well. I think I got to bed at around 2 am, and fell asleep watching the old horror classic " The Fog".
Here are a few pictures from the evening..

BB the New Year