“CHRISTMAS NOW and Then”

 Thought that I had heard something – maybe the doorbell – but, and  since I was down stairs – and no extra rings nor any  other noises – just went on with what I was doing – here at the keyboard.

Just  like everyone else, today – had to check for messages – any important ones – and see what if any thing,  that I had to do – in case I forgot all that I had planned for today or  as sometimes,  one can forget – something important – and not even realize it – till it is entirely too late!

Maybe twenty minutes later – when I was upstairs – just thought I would check to see if the “MAIL-MAN” had been around – opened the door – and what a surprise  – just with in two feet of opening the door – a package of hand cut fresh flowers – no name on package – nor a  for  or a from –  no other mail – so into the house I  go  in complete     confusement,   if ever – WHO and or WHAT day is it for  a “FLOWER” delivery to me?  WHO am I suppose to THANK – a real mystery?

   “So Christmas – Then and Now!”

Back then, when we  (kids) were little – in  the 1940s – my Dad had to go to California to do “welding work” on the ships  – and we , that is my Mother would write letters – and also enclose my “chicken-scratch” letters to DADDY and one of the important parts of the day –  was waiting for the “MAIL-MAN” to bring something from DADDY!

Maybe there  were fewer people living in the greater Saint Louis area  – and of course there was no TV – we only had the radio and usually if a couple of the families had the same radio station turned on at the same time – you could be out-side and hear the program – and now thinking about listening to the radio then – you could mentally see what was going on – and still be able to do whatever you have  to do! But today, with TV – you have to get  yourself – right in front of the TV – so that you can “know” what is going on. You have to see  “IT”   – just listening you  will miss out  – so today you are  –  trapped  –  in front of the TV – but, it was fun  for us –  back,  when you only had the  radio – as  you were free to do other things  – and never missed  out  on  anything important  in the story or  the program – something that I feel – people living now  and today –   are  locking their selves  into  another world?

I remember having  so much fun – just watching for the “Mail-Man” – when I was a  little girl –  because the “Mail-Man” came two  (2) times a day!  Something that we do not have today  – and if you were to get your letter in the “MAIL BOX” by nine (9:00 p.m.) in the evening –   that  piece of mail was delivered the next day!  Maybe because of the WAR going on  and the mail had to be moving  – so that everybody would know as soon as possible – what was  happening in the world !   Even as fast as the mail was received – there were a good many times that my DAD  would send a “Telegram” to us. My Daddy was always sending some little special things – just for me – and that is how I remember him – sending some of his-self  –  “sending little bits of LOVE – to me in the mail!”

During the WWII years – those young boys riding  on the bicycles – delivering telegrams – usually were bringing “BAD NEWS” – and I know that when the young man would be ringing your door-bell –   your heart would just sink –  especially if you had a family member enlisted in one of the different branches of service!  My DAD used the “Telegram Services” because being in California – a letter would take a couple of days  –  but,  if you paid a few pennies more you could send your letter  “AIR-Mail”  and then for a few more pennies you could have that letter deliver with  “Special Delivery” – so you were able to be in touch for pennies back then – and so fast was the service! – Remember that was yesterday  – today it is  different,  and I am not a little girl – waiting to hear from my Daddy!!!

“Today I received a wonderful surprise of fresh flowers – for no special reason – and from someone I do not know – so to “YOU” – special person – “THANK YOU”  – from me and everyone on our block – that I have checked with!”


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“With a WEEK to go – ARE YOU READY”

When It gets down to these last  few days – maybe a week – is everything  in its place – all set up – nice and  bright to “shine”   – and more than enough  to share with everyone – to make this a bright and wonderful occasion for all to enjoy and remember – forever!

 

 

 


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“The CHRISTMAS COOKIE – You Remember”

**** All most  – everyone has  had this type of cookie –  so that you can now have it more often – here are the directions – enjoy *****

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the shortening and sugar together on medium-high speed until soft and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  4. Add the sour cream and vanilla and blend together until creamy.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients (I add it 1/3 at a time) mixing just until incorporated and evenly mixed.
  6. CHILL THE DOUGH FOR AT LEAST 1-2 HOURS.
  7. Divide the dough into two portions. Roll out one section at a time. It’s easier to work with a smaller piece.
  8. Roll out with plenty of flour on your board to avoid sticking issues. But don’t work the dough TOO much or it will get tough. Also make sure to flour your ROLLING PIN and COOKIE CUTTERS as well.
  9. Once you have cut out as many shapes as will fit, scoop them off the board with a spatula and transfer to a cookie sheet. It helps if you nudge a little bit of flour under the cookie as you lift it off the board.
  10. Bake the cookies for between 10 and 12 minutes at 350 degrees.
  11. Allow the cookies to cool completely before frosting.
Powdered Sugar Frosting Recipe
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk.
  • food coloring (I usually use about 4 to 5 drops of just the regular kind you buy at the grocery store)
Instructions
  1. Start with 2 tablespoons of milk and keep adding about a teaspoon at a time after that until the frosting is at just the right consistency. Not too thick, but not too runny.
  2. Spread on cookie

**************************************************************************

Sour Cream Cookies
It never fails, this time of year I get requests from friends and neighbors for my recipe for “those delicious soft sugar cookies”. I have probably made thousands of them over the years for special occasions and as Christmas gifts for neighbors and co-workers, etc. It is one of those recipes that never fails to delight.

 

In our family they are called “Sour Cream Cookies”, although the name hardly does them justice. Think Granny B’s or Lofthouse Cookies…..but WAY BETTER!

The main appeal being how thick and soft they are and the fact that they are covered in a thick layer of yummy powdered sugar frosting!

So if you’re a fan of big, soft, frosted sugar cookies…this recipe is for you!

Sour Cream Cookies
I made these cookies today because a couple of neighbors I have made these for in the past were asking me on Facebook for the recipe. I thought as a bonus I would post the Step-by-Step instructions for them (and for you), because while they aren’t HARD to make…there are some definite tried and true TIPS that make them turn out PERFECT!

First…the recipe:

My Mom’s AMAZING Sour Cream Cookies
Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
(I usually DOUBLE this recipe when I’m making for gifts. A single recipe will make approximately 24 BIG cookies.)

Sour Cream Cookies
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Sour Cream Cookies

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the shortening and sugar together on medium-high speed until soft and fluffy.

Sour Cream Cookies
Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Sour Cream Cookies
Add the sour cream and vanilla and blend together until creamy.

Sour Cream Cookies
With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients (I add it 1/3 at a time) mixing just until incorporated and evenly mixed.

Sour Cream Cookies
You will have a very sticky dough at this point so it is very important to CHILL THE DOUGH FOR AT LEAST 1-2 HOURS. This is the hardest part for my kids! When they see I making their FAVORITE cookies, they want instant gratification! (Who doesn’t???). I find setting the timer on the stove saves me from answering the question “has it been an hour yet?” at least a million times.

After the dough has chilled the rest is about technique. Here are the tips that will ensure your cookies come out PERFECT.

Sour Cream Cookies

Divide the dough into two portions. Roll out one section at a time. It’s easier to work with a smaller piece.

Sour Cream Cookies
Roll out with plenty of flour on your board to avoid sticking issues. But don’t work the dough TOO much or it will get tough. Also make sure to flour your ROLLING PIN and COOKIE CUTTERS as well.

Sour Cream Cookies
Don’t roll the dough too thin. I shoot for just a little over 1/4″ thick.

Once you have cut out as many shapes as will fit, scoop them off the board with a spatula and transfer to a cookie sheet. It helps if you nudge a little bit of flour under the cookie as you lift it off the board.

If you have silicone baking mats use those. You can also use parchment paper or aluminum foil. Cooking directly on the cookie sheet works too…it’s just more clean up.

Sour Cream Cookies
Bake the cookies for between 10 and 12 minutes at 350 degrees. Timing is CRUCIAL…so keep an eye on them.

Sour Cream Cookies
You are shooting cookies that are just BARELY, BARELY starting to brown on the edges.

Allow the cookies to cool completely before frosting.

Sour Cream Cookies
My Powdered Sugar Frosting “Recipe”
I mostly “eyeball” these amounts.

2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons softened butter
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 tablespoons milk.
food coloring (I usually use about 4 to 5 drops of just the regular kind you buy at the grocery store)
Sour Cream Cookies
I start with 2 tablespoons of milk and keep adding about a teaspoon at a time after that until the frosting is at just the right consistency. Not too thick, but not too runny.

Sour Cream Cookies
Then I pretty much GOB it on the cookie…and spread.

Sour Cream Cookies
Top it off with the decoration of your choice (I’m a sucker for these multi-colored nonpareils. They remind me of TINY little ornaments! I wish I could find plain white ones. I’m sure they make them…just haven’t found them yet.)

Sour Cream Cookies
Now go and pour yourself a tall glass of ice cold milk and ENJOY the fruits of your labors! No doubt these aren’t the easiest cookies to make…..but OH SO WORTH THE EFFORT! I know you will agree.

Oh…if you make these and give them away at Christmas…or any other time…don’t be surprised if the recipients come knocking on your door wanting the recipe.


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“Can NOT say NO – to Little Kitty”

         It is “Freezing COLD” – outside! “Meow- Meow!”

img231

“I feel so good  – now, that I have this “OLD BOOT”  – to keep WARM in!”   

Early this morning, as I was looking out the glass doors, saw a wild animal, something like a “Ground-Hog” – as he was running back to his  “main” hole in the far end of our property,  and just  disappearing for a few minutes, as I just had to continue to watch – to see what all was going on, and then,  he scampered so fast back up the incline to where,  I could  now,  really see him, and then he hid on the other side of  our deck – probably knowing that – he was being watched!

After awhile, he ran, right back to his under ground hole, I could almost watch forever,  since  this is where,  he was getting something, maybe something that he had  hid in  secret,  and  in an under ground hole,  very  near  to our house, maybe some  kind of special food stuff,  and just for his family,  this I have to continue to watch as he was  so very careful with his stash of food stuffs, it may have been,  a real LIFE or DEATH situation for his family, those  that could not dig as yet, maybe just too young and or even crippled,  could be stuck in the hard ground, as he sure was working hard and fast,  as time could be running out and no matter what else –  his family needs him to help them – and every second counts, since  I was watching,  I must continue to look, as I look too little, nothing  matters now,  why or  how –  could  I ever try to stop him, his needs for his family were  so much  greater than mine – and I do not know,   how to really be,  maybe  more of a little bit of a special kind of helper!

All of our  animals, especially  those on the wild side, have to learn that in this  COLD weather,  we all need to help each other,  and number one is,   with the getting  of food to and for  our hungry     family, and we all should help, each other as best as we can. 

 As I continue to  look out the glass doors, I  only wish,  that I could give  more to those animals – that stop by  – by way of my backyard – as I give “Food  Treats” to the “BIRDS” and to the stray “CATS”  and even put out “Corn for the DEER” – as that is what they like  –  and some of the old boots, that I may have – since some young “CATS” love to have their very own home – in a nice “dark un-laced-up boot”  – that,  they and only they can fit into,  an extra special  little place to keep  nice and WARM – and only when in the mood to play – will decide to POP up their nice little funny face – ready to play more “Hide and Seek!”


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“Good Memories of CHRISTMAS – Past”

       “Christmas Memories” from 1942!

ME 1942 001

More people like this  old picture of me in 1942 – than so many others – that they send messages – just wanting more information –  – in fact saying that I do not write enough?  So, I thought that,  I would post this picture again, and tell about some of the Christmas activities,  that were good and fun for us – and remember  – this is during the WWII years!

In the living room of this house – there was a working fireplace and in some of the colder weather – my Father would start a fire. As a young child watching the fire  was exciting just to see how the logs burning and the flickering flames – and there was a cozy atmosphere in the room – that our whole family enjoyed. Some times – just for more excitement in the fire  – my Mother would sprinkle some granules from this round can  – and just so fast the fire would dance with all different kinds  of colors – it was almost like watching the “fourth of July – fireworks” shooting up and into the sky –  but,  everything had a way of flying up the chimney – and we would kinda fall asleep,  just watching the fire dance as my Mother would be reading some stories,   as only she could – as she could change her voice – for the different types of people in the story!

One the best things, that I remember  – this is again by the fireplace – my Father had a special pan – which had long handles  – seems that the top had small holes in it   – and there was a hinge –  to open it, and somehow – something that kept it from opening when Daddy would flip it around. – By now – you guessed what this was  – a “Corn-Popper” – …..

My Father was a “CHEF”  by trade and did most of the cooking in our home. One of the amazing things we all remember is to watch him cook and he would always have a cigarette in his mouth – he never took it out and as he would be cooking – we  would all watch – just to see if any of it would fall into the food – as it all stayed in tack – curling over and just looking like any moment  – there would soon be a  big mess!  – Getting back to the fireplace, going on’s –   we would be enjoying the “POP CORN”  just as fast as Daddy would make it –  we were eating it! Just before Christmas my father would bring home a fresh Christmas tree – that would be thick and full – because the lights that he would  be putting  on it –  were a much larger size “lite”  – than  those  that  we use for the inside tree,   today – and the size would really light up the tree and the whole room – just  had a very special “CHRISTMAS”  look.

While Daddy was doing the big and heavy type of work – My Mom  was helping us kids make long chains of decorations  – mixing all the colors of the construction papers that she had cut in just the size and lengths for us to glue little circles and  to keep  on adding to the chains and then, my Dad would put  the long finished chains on the tree. We also made some other little decorations  – these were small and had each of our own special designs – some of these – probably no one –  would even know, just  what we were thinking of –  but,  each one was given all the highest of praises from my MOTHER – she  always thought  that we were doing, “TOP” prize
–  pieces of art! When we were done – our Christmas Tree was a “First  Prize Winner”
 – that is if anyone was giving out prizes?

Sometimes for Christmas – our Grandma  – who lived in OHIO – would come and stay with us for a week  with an  UNCLE and AUNT that would do the driving  –  during those HOLIDAY VISITS – we sure enjoyed having lots of fun and a whole lot of different things to do and see.  That’s what really makes Christmas – just having  “Out of TOWN” “FAMILY  – living with you for a week!

Sometimes I wish – that I was still that little girl  – everything was new and FUN – and so exciting – and we were always praying for those that had it worse than us and for an  end of WWII – and the Almighty did help us to WIN – putting an end to WWII –  and the whole world was HAPPY to be working to make things better for everyone! Thanks be to the Almighty for prayers, answered!


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“EVERYTHING that I tell my favorite, “Chihuahua” – she believes”

When you tell  “someone”  or even your own,   very special  little doggie   some  “tall” tales –  – they sound so true – that just maybe – they are believable  –  because you LOVE each other – and  my little “Miss Beebee” – is just  so cute – and I also  know – that  she believes every word I speak to her – and also,  in her  own language!  “Bow -WOW!” –  and an extra  – “WOW and a WOW”    

 

     “Little Bee-bee Baby – celebrates CHRISTMAS”

This PHOTO of my little “Bee-bee Baby”  – – is without a doubt – -just the cutest little  –  miniature  “German Shepherd” – – that you will ever see.

Whenever we were taking a walk in the “SUNSET PARK” – -there would be other “OWNERS” of dogs – – walking their dogs – – and I just have to tell this one story – – on one of my “walks with Bee-bee – – as she would always  receive admiring  looks and comments.

On one of our  after-noon walks – – we were near to  the top area in the PARK – – where you could see forever- – up and down the Missouri River – – and  there  was another couple with their dog – – it was a “Jack-Russell” – – if I am remembering the correct name of that  dog-breed – – and they were just watching us – – that is my little “Bee-bee Baby”  – – and me talking to her… as we walked – – and they just had to stop me – – to ask “What kind of dog is that?”

This was one question that I just had to give a silly answer too – – as  the size  of little “Bee-bee” tells you – – what breed she is – – but…  I just had to play the “GAME” – – and I answered – “SHE is a “miniature  German Shepherd” – – just one of a very specialize breeds – – that I was LUCKY to have received.”

Well…  we stood there as they looked and whispered to their-selves – – in dis-belief – – that they just never thought suck a thing possible. So they then…  just had to tell  me … that they have a special breed of the “Jack-Russell” – – of which I knew nothing – – and  I just was not impressed with.  – – So… this was just too good – – I just never thought that someone would half believe me – – when I said … “MISS BEE-BEE” WAS A MINIATURE “GERMAN SHEPHERD” 

Well – – I could not keep from laughing – – so I had to tell them – – that when I look at “Miss Bee-bee Baby” – – to me she is so cute and sweet – – and with her coloring and features – – she sure looks like a miniature GERMAN Shepherd – – and I just love to talk about her – – and tell everyone – – how terrific she is – – that sometimes – – I do get carried away – – with telling “TALL” tales – – and after awhile – – I sometimes start to believe the stuff – – that  I tell about the cutest and sweetest little “Chihuahua” – – and when we take our daily walks – – “Little Miss Bee-bee”  walks – – just as if she is “ten foot tall” – – which would bring her up to the size  – – of a full grown German Shepherd – – in her mind – – after all … that is what I tell her – – so it must be  true and  by all means… correct!


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