Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Makayla Update ~ Praise God ~ Hosanna In The Highest~

Hosanna, hosanna,
hosanna in the highest
Hosanna, hosanna,
hosanna in the highest
Lord we lift up Your name
With a heart full of praise
Be exalted, oh Lord my God
Now this is my idea of a wonderful Christmas Gift!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

My Daughter Jamiann's DIY Snowman Party

Snow Globe Cake

Photo Moment on door

Snowman Hat Favor

Felt Mittens

Hand dipped pretzel rods, marshmallows and spoons for cocoa

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Snowflake Decorative Felt Mittens

This is an easy art project.  The adult can do the cutting and gluing and the children can decorate them.

I created a mitten template using a paper plate, I then used that to cut the mittens out of felt rectangles purchased at Walmart for 23 cents each/made 4 mitten halves per sheet.  I bought five white, and five blue.  The foam snowflakes came from Oriental Trading $6.00 for 400 of them of various shapes and sizes. 

After all the mittens were cut out I used hot glue to glue two together by running the glue just inside the edges leaving the bottom open as in a regular mitten that can be worn. I pressed the top mitten evenly on the bottom one. Then I laid them out as though the were a pair and we then placed the foam snowflakes on them. The foam snowflakes have a peel away back that makes them stick fast to a surface. 

Later today we are going to place them on a twine clothesline for the grand-kids joint birthday party with a snow/snowman theme. I will post more pictures of the party in another post. 

10 sheets of felt created 20 pairs of mittens.  Approximately 3 3/4 inches in length, and 2 1/2 inches side to thumb.

Hang them on your tree, on a clothesline garland, or use them for party favors as they can be filled with a few candies. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Longwood Gardens & Winterthur Museum Yuletide Tour ~ Pictorial Review

On December 9, 2012 we visited both Winterthur Museum and Longwood Gardens for their Yuletide Tour. I so love both attractions and have been to both many times, and still they are breathtakingly beautiful!

Longwood Gardens


Winterthur Museum

Re-post on 12/12/12 @ 12:12 PM

An Imprint On Your Heart

Some people come into our lives and leave imprints on our heart, and we are never the same. I found this statement on a picture frame a month after my mother passed on. I placed a photo of her under this statement.

My mother was one of those truly loving and caring people, and she left her imprint on many hearts. Whether it is a child, parent, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, cousin, friend, pastor, teacher, or a lady you met once in a grocery store, we all have them in our lives.

Hopefully the imprint is a loving, and positive one. Those imprints are the ones I choose to hold on to, and the ones that have made me who I am. It was because this person shared a memory, a concept, or an unconditional hug of support during a trying time that made a deep impression on my soul.

They help us form personal ideals, and help us make informed decisions about important issues that affect those who interact with us on any given day. I believe that GOD has sent them to us, as they are his eyes, ears, mouth, hands, and feet. They, we are HIS likeness here on this tangible earth.

Yes, some people come into our lives and leave imprints on our heart, and we are never the same. Let us tell those in our lives that they have done so, and we appreciate their influence, and if they are long or recently passed on, we can wear their imprint on our actions toward others, or we could simply share with one other person the story of how that person left an imprint on our heart. 

An Excerpt from John Denver's On The Wings Of A Dream: 

There are those who will lead us
Protect us each step of the way
From beginning to end
For each moment forever each day
Such a gift has been given
It can never be taken away

Though the body in passing must leave us
There is one who remains to receive us
There are those in this life
Who are friends from our heavenly home
So I listen to the voices inside me
For I know they are there just to guide me
And my faith will proclaim it is so
We are never alone

From the life to the light
From the dark of the night to the dawn
He is so in my heart
He is here he could never be gone
Though the singer is silent
There still is the truth of the song

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Latest Makayla Update

Bonnie 'German' BrownMy name is Makayla!  On Sunday, September 30, 2012, I was going to pick up a friend of mine for church while helping on my Dad's bus route.  As I was crossing the street, I was hit by a car, stabilized at Benefis Hospital in Great Falls, and then flown to Harbor View Hospital in Seattle.  I am currently in critical, but stable condition.  
My family and I really support all of your love, prayers, and support!  Please feel free to leave comments of encouragement and love.  Please share my page with every one that you can, because prayers are the most important thing that can help me right now.

From Eric Brown
Yesterday evening was a time of answered prayer! They transitioned her to her G tube and were able to take the NG tube out of her nose. So no more tubes in her face!!!

Not only that, but they did another CT scan yesterday for her neck to evaluate if she still needs her J-collar. They manipulated her head and neck all around while doing a CT. They came back yesterda

y afternoon with the news Jeannette and I have been waiting to hear: she no longer needs her collar! Praise the Lord God!!!

She looks so good without it! And with her hair growing back pretty fast, she's starting to look like her normal self! They are transitioning her off the dilautid pump to giving her pain meds every 4 hours through her G tube today. This will be a big step for starting rehab! We're just praying she is healed enough from the surgery to come off the pump.

She is still having trouble with vomiting. She got sick yesterday on the way back from the CT scan. This is still the "big" issue that is keeping her from starting rehab. What's funny, is the realization that this is her "big" problem. It really doesn't seem like much seeing how insignificant it is to the problems she has gone through the past 2 months. It is amazing how the Lord has answered prayer time and time again.

If anyone out there doubts that there is a God and that He loves us, then all I have to say is, go back and read each and every post Jeannette and I have shared. If you can't see God working beyond what the doctors could ever do, then you are blind and a fool. "The fool hath said in his heart there is no God" (Psalm 14:1). Even her doctors have said time and time again that there is nothing they can do to make her better. Some have even declared how her recovery, even thus far, is a miracle!

Some days bring steps backwards, that is for sure. But as she has gone along, her good days are even better than ever and her bad days are better than many of her good days 2 months ago! It is an upward trend that shows the Lord's power and goodness every step of the way. Even if she never gets any better, His goodness is still more than we deserve. But we still believe that Jesus is doing a work in our hearts and is preparing Makayla for the life He has planned for her! Again, I cannot thank you enough for your continued prayers! Much credit is to be given to all those hundreds of people praying all around the world for her!




Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Re-Post Baking Christmas Cookies ~ A Tradition In My Family

Traditionally the Christmas Cookie was the cut out sugar cookie in shapes that resemble items that remind us of Christmas. Ever since the nine-teen thirties children in the USA have been leaving cookies out for Santa on Christmas Eve.

However, baking Christmas Cookies is not necessarily a female tradition; it is a predominately female tradition. In keeping with that idea it is easy to understand how we ended up with a huge variety of recipes for cookies that are baked for Christmas. Since the United States is the melting pot of many nationalities, it is inevitable that recipes from other nations were added to the mix.

Somewhere along the time line of baking cookies for Christmas, someone decided that they would make a great Christmas gift to be enjoyed by the whole family. Many attractively decorated tins popped up in the super markets, some may even had been sold containing mass produced commercialized versions of our favorite home baked cookies.  I love to re-use tins that I have either bought or had given to me.  Recently, I received a huge box of tins that were lovingly used by one of Alpha's best bakers, Yolanda Savary. 

My Uncle Dick's wife our Aunt Jenny is of Hungarian decent and was known for her Kieflies. She called them Kieflies, but many Germans call them Kiffels. In her recipe she used yeast and sour cream, and this was the recipe our mother used for many years.

Then in 1978, we were introduced to our neighbor Andy "Gumps" Penyak's sister Anna "Anky" Moyer who was of Russian decent. She gave us the recipe for Kiffels made with cream cheese, which is much simpler than the one with yeast and sour cream.

One Christmas I gave a tin of my cookies to Aunt Jenny and Uncle Dick, and she asked for my recipe for the Kiffel with cream cheese. It was my understanding that from that time onward she used the cream cheese recipe. I think that the cookie comes lighter, more flaky, and richer with cream cheese.

I had previously been known in my circle of friends as the person who makes wedding cakes. My dear friend Georgia called me to make her brother Jimmy's wedding cake. At their wedding reception I was introduced to Mrs. Georgia Kustopias Crouse's delicious, melt in your mouth Greek Crescent Cookies.

When I was about eighteen my cousin Paula Jessamine "DiRisio" made tons, and tons of Christmas cookies for her family on their farm in Karrville, NJ. One of my favorites of Paula's cookies was her powdered sugared pecan sandy balls that looked like a snow ball. They too would just melt in your mouth. The recipes were quite similar to the Greek Crescent Cookies so I incorporated the two. I separate the Greek cookie dough into two parts, and add pecans to one part for the "snow balls".

Three years ago my daughter Jennifer gave me a Christmas Cookie book. In the book was a recipe for "Mice Cookies", they were so adorable looking and so easy to make that my grandchildren helped me make them. They are now a whimsical addition to the many cookies our family enjoys each Christmas season.

There was a day many years ago when I made thousands of cookies and gave them as gifts. Well, those days have hit the skids for me. Physically I am not able to bake so many cookies, and the cost of ingredients have sky rocketed since the seventies and eighties.

I now wrangle the help of the granddaughters and even the grandsons if they would like to learn how to bake. My father was an excellent baker and candy maker. His cream puffs, Danish, and bread were scrumptious. My friend Georgia would take them to her Aunt's former restaurant in Easton to be sold at the counter. He also tried his hand at making homemade sauerkraut, horse radish, and pickles. So as to not leave the gentlemen out of this tradition of baking Christmas cookies, I think that I should see if Jacob and Gabriel would like to try their hand at baking.

As to not make this blog any longer, I will now add my first Christmas cookie recipe, and will post the rest of them next week.

I think if I took a poll in our family the Kiffel would win the first choice of the cookies I bake. Therefore it will be my first recipe:


4 c. flour "You may need more if dough seems too wet."

1 lb. butter

1 lb. cream cheese

Mix well. Divide into about 4 large round balls. Refrigerate overnight; however, if there is not enough time to refrigerate overnight, the dough may be worked immediately after mixing. Roll dough in powdered sugar/flour mixture into a large round circle to about 1/4 inch in thickness. or on parchment paper. Cut 5 inch squares with a pizza cutter or crimper. Fill with apricot, lekvar, etc. (many fillings can be store bought at the deli section). Don't be afraid to fill. You may make them smaller if you want. I have also used a pastry bag to put the filling on the dough. Fold sides inward to pinch and seal in the filling. Bake at 350 degrees starting at 13 minutes and watching until kiffels are golden on the surface. (This time will vary on the size of the kiffels. 5 inch kiffels with filling will turn out somewhat large.) Use cookie tray. Remove when hot. 1 batch makes about 5 1/2 dozen kiffels. These freeze very well.

2 c. ground walnuts 12 tbsp. condensed milk 8 tbsp. sugar My mother added black walnut flavoring, which is hard to find, but really enhances the flavor.*

LEKVAR FILLING: Lekvar is sold in the jelly section of the grocery store, it is prune filling, and my personal favorite. Back in the day I would purchase Lekvar in a white paper dish, wrapped in the white meat wrapping paper, at the meat counter in Alpha's well known, Central Super Market, which also sold black walnut flavoring, and the little silver balls that Mom used for the eyes on her Mirror Cookie Press Peanut Butter Camel.  The Pados family and their Central Super Market are surely missed by everyone in Alpha.

APRICOT FILLING: I use Apricot Jam that I get at Aldis, and would also be found in the jelly section at any grocery store.

*After the nut filled kiffels are cool, I place them in a zip lock bag with some powdered sugar, lightly shake, and remove from bag.

If you happen to be too busy to bake and live in the Lehigh Valley, you may want to take a trip to the Kiffel Kitchen on Route 512 in Moore Township north of Bath, south of Wind Gap. They also ship! Here is a link to their website: The Kiffel Kitchen   I have had their kiffels, nut cups, and cream cheese brownie cups and they are delicious. The store is really nice too, and they sell country craft gift items, and play Jimmy Durante background music, definitely worth the trip.