Monthly Archives: November 2011

And the Stockings Were Hung…

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here!

The kids spent a good part of last weekend cleaning and putting up Christmas decorations. Even the guys helped – although I think they weren’t as excited about the decorating as they were about eating our traditional chocolate fondue while they did it!

To me, decorating for Christmas is a special time when we share the memories of Christmas’s past and pass on traditions.

Traditions like our red Christmas stockings.

When we were born, my siblings and I each received a handmade red Christmas stocking from Grandma Griner.

Since we never had a fireplace mantle to hang them, every year Mom would hang those 5 stockings on the wall until Christmas Eve.

(Okay – something I’ve wondered for years – how in the world did Mom get them to stay on the wall all month?)

Then – just before bed on Christmas Eve – we would take our stockings and safety pin them to the couch – most of the time using diaper pins (you know the ones with little pastel duckies and bunnies on them!)

Little Mom

And we would sit, in order of age, in our handmade jammies, with excited faces, and take a picture.

Every year.

Even the year we had mumps.

Trust me – some of those pictures are really embarrassing! Especially when we got into our teens.

When each of us got married and started our own families, my sister Teresa continued the tradition. She presented each of our children with their very own red Christmas stocking, just like the ones Grandma made.

Since I also don’t have a fireplace to hang them, our stockings get hung on our open staircase until Christmas Eve, when – you guessed it – we take them down and hang them on the couch!

And I bet you’ve figured out what we do next!

Christmas stockingsThat’s right – we sit the kids down in birth order and take a picture of them  – in their jammies with excited faces just before they go to bed.

Every year.

Even the year they all had the head colds and bright red chapped noses.

Trust me – some of these pictures are really embarrassing, too!

crazy Christmas stockings

Especially now that they are in their teens!

But what a special memory!

It’s a tradition that ties us together, past and present.

A special bond we share together as a family.

And as my kids start leaving the nests to set up their own households, their red Christmas stocking will go with them.

Then, in December when they pull out the Christmas decorations, they will see their bright red Christmas stocking and remember.

Chocolate Peppermint Poke Cake

Poke 2I must confess that we didn’t even wait until after Thanksgiving was over before we opened the first box of candy canes.

It is a little embarrassing.

But at least it went into something really yummy – a chocolate peppermint poke cake.

You remember the original poke cakes made with colorful jello poked into a white cake? This holiday version features a chocolate cake poked with a yummy peppermint simple syrup.

It’s rich and minty and most of all – super easy!

Chocolate Peppermint Poke Cake

1 – 9 x 13 chocolate cake (you can use a mix – or make your own from scratch)
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 tub of Cool Whip
1 or 2 crushed candy canes

Bake cake as directed.

While the cake is baking, combine the water and sugar in a saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture boils. Add the peppermint extract.

Reduce heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, use a fork to poke the entire top and slowly pour the peppermint syrup over it all.

Let it cool completely.

Frost with the Cool Whip and garnish with the crushed peppermints.

Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

The cake just gets more minty as it sits!


I’ve linked this post with Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed With Grace and Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.

My Black Friday Shopping

I hope many of you are out today hunting down bargains – but I’m not.

I am not a Black Friday shopper.

I don’t do crowds. I don’t like to wait in lines.

My idea of Christmas shopping look a little more like this –

Christmas musicMy favorite Christmas music on the CD player…

mug of hot chocolateA mug of creamy rich hot chocolate with whipped cream…

laptop…and my laptop!  It’s amazing the deals you can find on-line while sitting at home  – fuzzy slippers optional.  🙂

Happy shopping everybody!


For the Beauty of the Earth

ColoradoFor the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.

Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

sunsetFor the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon, and stars of light.

Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

K&MFor the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild.

Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

crossFor Thy Church, that evermore
Lifteth holy hands above,
Offering up on every shore
Her pure sacrifice of love.

Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

May your hearts find much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!

Have a blessed day, dear friends!

Buddy’s 11th Birthday

Buddy's birthdayIt’s hard to believe that my “baby” is 11 years old!

We celebrated this momentous occasion with a very unique birthday cake designed by the birthday boy himself.

I asked him what kind of cake he wanted and I was asked to bake a plain vanilla cake with a Cool Whip frosting.

He would take care of all the decorating.

And of boy – did he ever!

When the cake was baked, cooled and frosted, He brought what looked to me like a pile of Lego pieces into the kitchen.

As he methodically began to place them on the cake, I realized that he had designed a Lego platform for his stuffed pica, Trent, to sit on.

Yes, you read that correctly.

We had a birthday cake with a rodent on top.

(Although Buddy insists that a pica is not a rodent – he is actually a member of the rabbit family. But seriously people – he looks rodent-like to me!)

That wasn’t all – he also designed a catapult to swing M & M’s directly into Trent’s mouth. Now that’s one lucky rodent! (Oops! I mean – pica!)

Thankfully Trent survived his moment of fame without getting any frosting on his fake fur or going up in flames.

Makes me wonder what next year’s cake will be like? I mean, honestly – how can you top a stuffed pica with a flaming M & M catapult?!

Happy birthday, Buddy! We love you!