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