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Shabby Lane Shops

Merry Christmas


Editor’s Note..... From the Heart.... So much that we do is straight from our heart, including this magazine! One of the biggest “from the heart” projects, is our shop! We love the incredible welcoming from the local community. We love to be able to help other small businesses! Visit us when you are in town! Thank you for allowing us to come into your home and share our stories, favorite recipes and our “Do It Yourself” projects. We enjoy what we do! We had a fantastic 2015! Excited for what is yet to come in 2016! Thanks so much to all of our subscribers! We love hearing from you. Thanks so much for the kind notes that you send in, letting us know that you love our magazine. This magazine would not be possible without our subscribers, contributors, sponsors, dealers, and our advertisers. Thanks to all of you for a wonderful 4 years! Hard to believe we have been creating this magazine for over 4 years! Please visit all of our advertisers, contributors, and sponsors, as they work very hard to put the magazine together for you. Heartfelt thanks to all who have contributed to this lovely, holiday issue! We wish you a very merry Christmas! Catherine Monceaux Editor & Publisher Holiday 2015

Shabby Lane Shops Magazine 4th Quarter issue 2015 Published by Catherine Monceaux Shabby Lane Shops, LLC 7278 Nolensville Rd Nolensville, TN 37135 615 305-5954 many photos courtesy

Shabby Lane Shops Magazine is protected by Copyright Laws 2015 All rights reserved, Shabby Lane Shops Magazine or any content may not be reproduced in whole or part. Opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of Shabby Lane Shops, LLC

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Joy to the World...... One of my many favorite things about Christmas time are all the wonderful Christmas carols. I have so many wonderful memories of Christmas that comes to mind when I hear Christmas songs. We wanted to share some of our favorites... I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day - Oh Holy Night - - White Christmas - Il est nĂŠ, le divin enfant - Little Town Of Bethlehem - www. Grown up Christmas List - Carol of the Bells - Greensleeves - Mary did you know? Santa Baby - We need a little Christmas What is your favorite?

Holiday Traditions

Our Holiday Traditions As a child of the 50’s, I never gave thought to how other families celebrated their Christmas holidays. I think I just assumed we all celebrated the same way. No one ever had an artificial tree, I am not sure there ever was such a thing. My mother loved the color red and so each and every year that I can remember, we had a flocked tree with red lights and red balls. The small red balls were on the top third, medium red balls in the middle and large red balls along the bottom. There was a star on the top. Don’t get me wrong, the trees were beautiful, but I really wanted all different colored lights and decorations. My mother would buy cans of snow and flock the trees herself, making sure the branches were evenly coated and heavy with snow. We never had tinsel, but my grandmother did. She would place each silver strand on branches, one at a time. Extra bottles of snow were bought along with stencils for the window decorations. You would tape the plastic stencil on the window and spray away until you had Santa’s face, Frosty’s body or whatever scene you liked. All my neighbors had their windows decorated in stencils. It was magical when the lights were on and we all loved it to see what the chosen pictures were that year. Christmas Eve was a time for the family to come together, eat a little bit, enjoy some egg nog and sing Christmas Carole’s. The children would open one gift and that was usually pajamas to wear to bed that special night. We left treats out for Santa and we waited. In the morning we all headed out to the living room and began the delight of opening our gifts. There was no special breakfast that I remember, but dinner was always a turkey feast, just like Thanksgiving. An instant replay if you will. That never bothered me because I love all those delicious foods, turkey, dressing, cooked in the bird, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, clover leaf rolls made by my grandmother, and pumpkin pie. Ah yes, I love that. Things have changed in my family since then. I suppose we all take how we grew up and tweak it a bit. I am ¾ Scandinavian with ½ being Swedish. My husband is ½ Norwegian. We wanted to find a way to bring our heritage together to celebrate and teach our children where they come from.

Things have changed in my family since then. I suppose we all take how we grew up and tweak it a bit. I am ¾ Scandinavian with ½ being Swedish. My husband is ½ Norwegian. We wanted to find a way to bring our heritage together to celebrate and teach our children where they come from. We continue to open one gift on Christmas Eve and we all enjoy Swedish Meatballs, gravy and mashed potatoes. Any one can bring or add something special to the mix if they choose, but the Swedish Meatballs are the staple. Christmas Day we open all our gifts and sometimes we have a turkey, sometimes a ham, but we always include Norwegian Lefse which is a potato pancake, rolled very thing, topped with butter, sugar and cinnamon, rolled into a log and baked. Yummy!!! Our tree is artificial, (yes, it is) green, and has all clear lights. The ornaments are handmade from our children along with collected ornaments from our travels, or something that means something special to one of us. It’s diverse, but has a history of our family and tells a story of our lives together. Our children have now grown, have children of their own and have started their own traditions. Traditions never end, they just get richer as generations add their love and history to the mix. Which ever way to choose to celebrate during the holidays, I hope you have the best year ever with many more to come. Char -

My family has a favorite holiday tradition which we enjoy very much. Every year we attend our local botanical gardens Festival of Lights. It’s a stunning display with thousands and thousands of beautiful lights, formed into lovely displays which are garden themed (of course!) and includes flowers, Christmas trees, lily pads, all kinds of stunning designs. It opens in early December making it the perfect “official” start to the Christmas season. The walking path trails through the woods and it’s held after dark, making the whole experience very magical, especially when there is snow on the ground (although it can be very cold!). Afterwards it’s hot chocolate and a warm fire - just perfect! Cherie Perry -

Every year on Christmas Eve Day my Children would visit Santa and we would do pictures, then we would head out for a nice Lunch. Today we do the same except now it’s our Granddaughters on Santa’s Lap for Pictures. We still go out for Lunch afterwards. Late Afternoon my daughter makes her Wonderful Homemade Clam Chowder and then we are off to Church for the Christmas Children’s Service. It’s a lovely relaxing day before Santa arrives the following morning. Nancy -

This is silly, I know, but my family always gets together at my house for dinner and then we play “dirty Santa” or “white elephant” (people call it different things), and we always have a lot of fun with it. It’s something my mom used to love doing, so we’re continuing to do it. It’s still fun, but not as much as when she was with us. Kathy

Our holiday family tradition...which we do at Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and New Years Eve is to pray together thanks the Lord for the many blessing on us and our family of the year and asking Him to do His will in us and conform us to the image of His son Jesus in the time/year. Been doing this for 42 years Ruth - -

Our holiday traditions include piling in the car and driving through the neighborhoods, looking at all the Christmas lights (we’re like a bunch of kids no matter what our ages!); decorating trees for every room in the house (themed ones); making family favorite recipes like my Gran’s Jam Cake and my Mom’s shortbread; and gathering as many of the family together as we can Christmas Eve to celebrate all our blessings and being together. But my “personal” favorite tradition is walking outside late on Christmas Eve, alone, looking up into the heavens and marvelling at God’s precious gift to creation....His precious and holy son, Jesus Christ. It’s so peaceful and quiet after all the hustle and bustle of the whole helps keep me grounded and very humbled, knowing what His love for me cost Him. May God bless, Jan -

Thanksgiving has always been at our house. Our ‘kids’ married and presented us over time, with six grandchildren. Our oldest son is a professional chef and the other just loves to cook, I have plenty of help and daughter and daughters-in-law always tend to the clean up. Up until recent years we would pile into a couple of cars to go see the lights in neighborhoods and at a local farm with a spectacular display. When the little ones were of an age to enjoy it, they always fell asleep before we even got to the lights! We’d drive through the pretty park-like setting with beautiful light displays with only the adults ooh-ing and aah-ing and all the kids sound asleep. We always wondered if it was all worth it but the grandkids all swear they loved it! What they remember I couldn’t tell you. At least they have good memories of Thanksgiving Day. Now the grandkids are all young adults and Pop and I wait for great-grandchildren to share ‘going to see the lights’. Kathy - www,

In our household we have a Christmas morning gathering with a fancy breakfast. Out comes the pretty Christmas china and stemware set out on a beautiful lace tablecloth. Thick fluffy baked french toast, bacon, sausage and eggs along with mimosas for the adults and sparkly orange juice for the kids. The kids wiggle with anticipation and lots of chatter of what might be inside those gifts Santa left under the tree on Christmas eve. Debbi - It is never too late to start a new holiday tradition, if you do not already have one! You do not have to have little ones to have holiday traditions. A holiday movie in front of a fire is a great one to start. Make special memories this and every year!

Scentimental Moments with Mimi

One thing Mimi inherited from her grandmother was a love of perfume. Mimi’s Granny had worked for years at the perfume counter in the Bonwit Teller store on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. The love of perfume ran in the family; Mimi’s mother had followed in Granny’s footsteps. She had worked in the mega cosmetic store which opened just steps away from where Bonwit’s had been located. It wasn’t just the scent that fascinated them; it was everything about perfume. The bottles sparkling in the light on a mirrored tray, the aura it could create, and most important the way it made a woman feel. Even the history and lore of some perfumes appealed to Mimi and her mother. They always looked forward to spending an afternoon with Granny as she sat in her blue velvet chair talking about her day at the perfume counter. Now that Granny’s gone, Mimi and her mom still spend time in the velvet chair talking about the power of perfume. Paul’s Story After years of long, hard work, Paul had made it. Born in Nice, France, he had worked his way up in the restaurant business. When, as a teenager, he first stepped into a café as a busboy, Paul knew that his life would be spent cooking. He was now the proud owner of his own café, just off the Cours Saleya, Nice’s open market. Paul liked the vibrant atmosphere of the market; it was a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. For Paul, that meant a steady stream of customers for his café. Paul was happy with his success, but it came with a cost. Nearly 40 years old, he was still single. He knew restaurant hours made it difficult to meet someone. However, as with so many important events in life, it would happen when he least expected it. One day, just as Paul was opening for the day, a woman ran in seeking shelter from a cloudburst. He served her cappuccino himself and chatted briefly before getting to work in the kitchen. A week later, Paul had repeated the routine with his new customer every morning. He found himself opening the café earlier so that he could chat with her before getting to work in the kitchen. Her name was Amy and she was an American. Paul was intrigued; Amy seemed shy, but she always had a warm smile for him. Paul quickly realized it would be up to him to take the next step. When he found that Amy would soon be returning to the States, he insisted she spend Monday with him. The restaurant would be closed, and it was her last day in Nice. They spent a memorable day in the village of St. Paul and took a tour of a local winery. Neither Paul nor Amy believed in long-distance romances, but they agreed to keep in touch. Their longdistance romance ended 8 months later when Paul sent Amy a one-way ticket to Nice. She used it almost immediately.

Six months later, they were happily married and loving their life in Nice. They continued their routine of morning cappuccino together. One rainy morning, Paul said, “Every time it rains, I think of the day we met. If it weren’t for that cloudburst, we might never have met.” Amy said, “ I have a confession to make. I was following you.” Paul was stunned. “Why?” “It was your cologne.”

“You mean it was that strong? That is not good.”

“Oh no, not at all. I noticed when I almost bumped into you at the market. I just had to follow you. I can’t explain why. Maybe it was because my father and brothers never wore cologne. But I just wanted to follow that scent ” “Why didn’t you say anything? You seemed so tentative, almost as if you didn’t want to be there.” “When I sat down, I realized I was soaking wet from the rain. My hair was a stringy mess, and I even had mascara running down my cheeks. I must have looked awful. Then I realized I had literally chased after a man because he smelled so good. I’d never done anything like that before.” “I thought you were adorable.” “I’d heard about the power of scent, but never thought much about it until I met you. When I got back home, I searched for that scent.”

“L’homme,” they said in unison.

To this day, on the anniversary of the day they met, Amy gives Paul a bottle of L’homme, Yves St. Laurent’s woody fresh, and elegant scent.

Marie Rodgers

Wining with Cindy This past summer we visited the country of Hungary for a two week family reunion. We stayed in the city of Gyor with relatives in the lovely country side. We toured several vineyards and castles, and we took day trips to many towns and cities. Lake Balaton was a favorite of ours, a gorgeous lake with quaint shops and restaurants, and pristine beaches. Known as the “Hungarian Sea”, is the people’s name for the 50-mile long lake with silky greenyellow water in the middle of Transdanubia. Lake Balaton is one of Hungary’s most precious treasures and most frequented resorts. It is also the largest lake in Central Europe. The summer water temperature is around 80 °F, which is warmer than the average air temperature in the morning and in the evening. The water and the sleek mud of the lake are excellent remedies for nervous complaints, anaemia and nervous fatigue. Picturesque vineyards in the region produce an assortment of excellent wines that go very well with the delicious local food. This is when we tasted the wine Tokaji. It is known for its ripeness and power along with flavors of lime, pear, bread and nuts. and a hint of spiciness. We had this wine with a seafood soup, then grilled local fresh water fish, biscuits and local prepared cold cuts and food. The weather was 110 daily, limited air conditioning, broke all records so dining was a bit challenging.

Cindy Houot

Holiday Baking Tips The holidays can be hectic! Designate a couple of days or a weekend for a baking frenzy... and freeze the results! It’s so nice taking cookies or bread out of a freezer when company or visitors are expected. Leave off the embellishments like frosting when freezing...then finish before serving. You can also make scones ahead...but when shaped and cut, before baking, place on wax paper or parchment on a cookie sheet or tray in the freezer until frozen, they seal in a bag. When they are needed, take what you need out of the bag and pop them on a baking sheet, and into a preheated the oven allowing a few extra minutes because they are frozen, and...voila! Fresh baked scones! Ruth - To lighten up the calories a bit I use the “half rule”. Substitute 1/2 the sugar in recipes with Splenda. Half the eggs with egg substitute, and half Coconut oil instead of butter or shortening. Debbi - Use room temperature ingredients Be sure and replace your spices, flour, etc - Many baking ingredients do not have 5 year shelf lives! Invest in good bake & cookware Make sure if it needs to cool completely that you let it cool.

Sweet Treats

Pumpkin Nut Bread 2 cups flour (sifted) 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 cup solid pack pumpkin 1/2 cup milk 1 cup sugar 2 eggs 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Combine pumpkin, sugar, milk and eggs in a bowl. Add dry ingredients and the butter or margarine; mix just until moistened. Stir in the nuts. Bake in a greased, 9 x 5 x 3� loaf pan for 65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes then remove from pan.

Pumpkin Spice Cookies with Lemon Icing 1/2 cup shortening 1 cup sugar 2 eggs, beaten 1 cup solid pack pumpkin 2 cups of sifted flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 1 cup of raisins 1 cup chopped nuts Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream the shortening and gradually beat in the sugar. Add eggs and pumpkin and mix well. Sift flour, baking powder, salt and spices together; add to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Add raisins and nuts. Drop by heaping teaspoon onto greased cookie sheets and bake about 15 minutes or until firm to the touch. Remove from cookie sheets and cool. Makes about 4 dozen. Lemon Icing: Combine 2 cups confectioners sugar with 1 tablespoon each lemon juice and lemon zest (grated lemon rind). Add just enough heavy cream to making the icing spreadable. Cherie Perry

Gluten Free Decadent Chocolate Cake With Celiac Disease the one thing I missed the most was chocolate cake. One day, by chance, I stumbled upon Arrowhead Mills Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Mix and decided to give an old recipe one last try ! The result was a cake that was enjoyed by everyone, even those who do not have celiac disease ! Being an expensive cake to bake it is reserved for very special occassions, a blessing in disguise. Cake Ingredients ( All need to be Gluten Free ) 2 ¾ sticks of butter 1 ¼ cups white sugar 1 cup brown sugar moderately packed 5 eggs 4 ounces of dark baking chocolate melted (Dagooba is an excellent choice!) 4 ounces of semi sweet baking chocolate melted (Dagoba!) 2 ½ cups Arrowhead Mills Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Mix ½ teaspoon salt 1 cup yogurt NOT the lowfat variety, I used sheep yogurt. 2 teaspoons vanilla Cream the softened butter and add the two types of sugar a little bit at a time, beating until thoroughly creamed. Add the eaggs one at a time and thoroughly beat them in the creamed mixture. Add the melted chocolates and mix well. Blend the dry ingredients and add them alternately with the yogurt and vanilla. You can bake the batter in three pans or two. It seemed to work best in two pans for me. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until you can put a toothpick in the middle and have it come out « clean » Frosting Ingredients ( All need to be Gluten Free ) 2 sticks of butter 4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate (Dagoba) 2 lbs of powdered sugar milk You will have enough frosting to frost a two or three layer cake. With this cake instead of using frosting inbetween the layers I use Bonne Maman Raspberry preserves. Melt the butter and chocolate together. Add to the powdered sugar and slowly mix. Beat in the milk a bit at a time until you have the desired consistency. Spread the frosing on your cooled cake ! Alexa - Blue Swallow

Christmas Cocoa There s nothing more soothing in the winter than cocoa. This recipe is sure to warm you up! Ingredients: 4 cups whole milk 1 tsp vanilla extract 1/4 tsp Cinnamon 8 oz. white chocolate, chopped into small pieces Whipped Cream or marshmallows for topping Directions: 1. Stir together milk, chocolate, cinnamon, & vanilla in small saucepan. 2. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the white hot chocolate comes to a simmer. (Do not let it come to a boil.) 3. Remove from heat and serve immediately, topped with whipped cream or marshmallows if desired.

Time to Reflect Practicing self-care means something different to everyone who reads the words. What does selfcare mean to you to as an artist? Are you making art for a living or is it a supplemental income to help keep your business afloat? My sales from artwork is purely supplemental because I work fulltime as I am the sole income in my household. Artists create because they can’t help it. It’s a force from deep in the soul that is longing to be shared. The artists who are creating every day may be caregivers. Caregivers can be working to assist family, friends, or strangers who are needing services and somehow we ended up on their call list. What a blessing to be in the position to serve others whether family or strangers. We wouldn’t be in this business if our hearts weren’t made of gold. So when we are busy taking care of others who is taking care of us? Many of us are single mothers or married to men who really don’t have the time or energy for equal participation in children’s lives…if we do that’s a wonderful blessing…be grateful. So what exactly is self-care? Self-care is what we engage in on a regular basis to reduce stress and enhance our health and well-being. Self-care is necessary for success in managing our commitments and responsibilities. Most of the time we are really bad at this. We put everyone’s needs ahead of our own, I don’t know a woman who doesn’t do this. We think it’s not that important, that we will be fine but in reality it matters. A lot. In order for self-care to be effective six areas in our lives should be addressed, emotional, physical, spiritual, healthy expectations, healthy boundaries, and relationships. For positive life balance we must be willing to accept help from ourselves in these areas, only we can do the work. Our emotional state is where happiness, joy, anxiety, and depression reside. Some of us can experience all of these emotions in one day! Our emotional health is the most important in my eyes. Our thoughts can ruin our days if we let them. Sometimes we make mistakes and we can’t stop feeling the shame or remorse and it can literally make us sick. Let it go. Today is a new day we are blessed with a fresh start every morning. If you are experiencing a bout of anxiety or depression take a self-imposed time out to regain control of your emotions. In other words give yourself a break. Go wander in a bookstore, an antique shop, or take a walk in nature. Take in all the beauty around you and be blessed.

Our physical state is what allows us to walk, bend over, do yard work, clean our houses, and breathe and see and smell and taste. Our bodies are miracles. We have to take care to eat good food, drink water, take walks or join a gym, and sleep well. We need to be vigilant about our mammograms, pap smears and yearly physicals to check our bloodwork for any hidden problems. We only get one body, we must take good care of it. Our spiritual state is where we find God, our higher power, or a plethora of other names for the one who guides us. My days start and end thanking Jesus for every blessing in my life. I am in constant gratitude with the abundance of nonmaterial wealth he has placed in my life. Our spiritual life can help us get through the worst of times and the best of times. He is always waiting on us. Maintaining healthy expectations means we are not going to be or do things perfect. Also people we love will not do or be perfect. If our expectations are not healthy we are setting ourselves up for disappointment time after time. Sometimes things will go wrong but we will get through these times just like we do the good times. We may need to talk with a trusted friend, pray more, and remind ourselves that this too shall pass. Healthy boundaries are one of the most self-preserving things we can establish to remain well. We must identify who we can trust and who to allow in our family or circle of friends. Sometimes family members are cruel and must be loved from arm’s length. If someone is making you feel taken advantage of it may be a cue that they are violating or crossing a boundary. Be firm and stand up for yourself, we all matter. Relationships come in all shapes and sizes. Relationships are not just romantic. We have relationships with our families, hairstylist, mailman, favorite grocery store checker, and anyone else we engage with on a regular basis. Relationships make our life beautiful and are an essential part of our daily routine. If a relationship changes and it is not serving us anymore we have two choices, have a difficult conversation to try to mend it or gradually place distance between yourself and that person. We all deserve to have healthy relationships with people who do not hurt us intentionally. Be mindful of every choice and the consequences of the end result. Do your best every day to care for yourself and to avoid burnout and illness brought on by stress. Life is beautiful from many angles. If you are challenged and can’t find your way out of a mess or darkness find a therapist who can help you on your way. Be well my sweet artist friends…be well.

Susie Swartz

Biscuits n Gravy By. Shelly Gail Morris

It’s Not All About You We all have our moments. We all get to shine and revel in the glory of our successes. We definitely should bask in our amazing-ness each and every day. But wallowing in self-centeredness has its limits. I’m sorry but, it’s not all about you. You must think about those around you—their feelings, their joys, their lives. Don’t harp on yourself, sister! I love ya, but I don’t want to hear a list of every single thing you have to do today. Think of the person on the other end of the phone. Sure we all need to vent and girlfriends deserve valuable ranting rights. But constantly being selfish and self absorbed is not attractive or endearing in anyway. It’s obnoxious and irritating, not cute and funny. It really isn’t. Think of Paris Hilton. Are our hearts endeared to her? I think not. Talking about yourself for hours on end will not benefit your friendships. I do tend to go on and on about my kids sometimes, but I strive to turn around and ask the other person on the end of the line about their kids and their problems. I actually blike to listen as well as talk. I try to be available. You have to. I’ve found that most people are only interested in their own worlds—their family and close friends. Sure folk’s gossip but that doesn’t mean they give a crap. It’s just gossip. If you attend a party and require a particular brand of wine or alcohol—bring your own. Do not expect hosts or hostesses to cater to you. If your husband will only drink Jack Daniels—bring it with. Seriously. I hate listening to party goers complain about lack of this and that. Damn, it’s a party. Let’s have fun—not complain! Ladies, if you are getting a facial or a massage or a pedicure or a hair cut— please do not treat your service providers like a lower life form. They are not. Most are sweet, young mothers trying to make ends meet. Recognize their efforts. Remember you need terrific, nondamaging color and they need you to return time after time. Be gracious. Make a new friend. Ask about their lives. Tip them nicely. It’s a win win situation.

Biscuts n gravy by Shelly Gail Morris, will be a regular feature each issue. I hope you enjoy her southern look on life!

Seriously consider that fact that the world does not revolve around you. Don’t be a pain in the a%&. If you want to be admired —think of others—compliment others—sympathize with others. Have a heart. Be a caring friend, an interested sister, a sympathetic daughter. That’s what makes you truly special in this world and others will love you for it. And kids are almost another article. It’s not all about them either. How often do we stop whatever we are doing because our kids are screaming? They really can wait one second. And oh, let’s get a coach fired because my kid didn’t get to play the position I wanted him or her to play. Let’s get a teacher fired because she reprimanded little Susie. If you teach your kids it’s all about them, you are doing them a huge disservice. Lordy, I could go on and on. I’m just sayin’

Your House Does Not Have to be Perfect Some women spend hour after hour after hour cleaning. It’s scary. When I go into a home with three children and there’s not one crumb on the floor, or one toy in sight, or one shoe lying in my path, I truly feel there’s an obsessive, mentally deranged freak behind it. Don’t you? It’s not normal. Families are busy and messy and everywhere. They leave trails of crap. It’s unavoidable. Years ago, I had a good friend whom I admired greatly. She was a smart, well-dressed teacher with two high school aged boys. Her husband coached my son. She possessed a lot of wisdom about school issues, sport parenting, and the male psyche. She kept her cool no matter how many players were on base or how many outs there were. She talked knowledgably with my two-year-old about gardening and the pumpkins and vegetables she grew. She had it goin’ on! I went to her home and upon entering, she declared, “please don’t look at the place, I’ve been running all week.” Of course, my eyes grew wide then. Two gigantic dogs attacked me; crumbs littered the floor beneath the kitchen table. The roll of toilet paper in the bathroom was on its last square. Glasses and plates lined the counter. I was truly in awe. I admired her even more than ever. She was working full-time, attending sporting events constantly, organizing rides, and tending her garden. She was a great parent, and bread winner, and she refused to live her life freaking out over a few dog hairs on the carpet. And I swear, the house wasn’t yucky, it was just lived in. At the time I knew women who dropped everything two days a week to clean. She was just over it. She was above it. She was my hero! For me it was like seeing The Great Oz behind the curtain. If her house didn’t have to be perfect, my house didn’t have to be perfect. Does perfect cleanliness really reflect who we are or how much time we have on our hands? Cleaning takes time. Think about it. If you come into an immaculately clean home, maybe it’s just because that person has too much time on their hands! Yeah—it’s a new concept. If you invite me over, I will not be inspecting your mirrors for fingerprints. I will not be judging you on the cleanliness of your life. Relax. If you come to my home, don’t bring the white gloves. Sure I tidy up constantly. I can usually get the dirty clothes into the basket. And I try like crazy to get my boys to pick up after themselves and get their food into their mouths. But we actually live in our house, and by golly—it shows! Thankfully, my dogs leave no crumbs on the floor because they are complete pigs. Ask anyone who’s been to my home, my dogs have no manners. I’ve tried, but they just won’t listen. Anyway, I’m not going to scream and yell and moan and groan and constantly bit%& at everyone. I refuse to lose my mind over my house. Life it too short. Try it yourself. It’s very freeing! I’m just sayin’.

Vintage Bauer Pottery I always thought the Bauer dishes my grandmother used while I was growing up were considered “retro” style. Yes, in some ways. She used them during the 1950’s and 60’s, but they actually date back to 1930. They were very popular with housewives well into the late 50’s. I loved that grandma had so many different colored plates and would get to choose my color if I set the table. It was also fun to mix and match. Wikipedia states that in 1930 Bauer Pottery introduced California Colored Pottery and by 1933 they added the ruffled or “ring” line of Ringware. During this time there were many companies that were producing similar colored potteries most notably “Fiesta” that still is very popular today. When grandma passed away in the mid 80’s her set of dishes were divided up among the kids and grand kids, so I did get a few pieces. At that time Bauer was lesser known and not as collectible as Fiestaware. Bauer ceased production in 1962 when the owner decided it was best to close to settle a labor dispute. Bauer Pottery was revived in 2000 by collector Janek Boniecki in a small ceramic studio outside Los Angeles. The new company introduced a new line, Bauer 2000, featuring pieces based on original shapes and colors from the 1930s and 1940s. Unable to locate any original Bauer dies or molds, Bonecki created his own molds for the new line from pieces from his own collection and other vintage purchases. Pictured here a few of my favorite serving pieces. The star, one of my favorite pieces is actually something I use as little vase to hold tiny fresh flowers. The gravy boat and salt and pepper shakers are often used at our table too! Debbi Oeltjen Marionberry Cottage

Christmas Past..... Some of our favorite articles and recipes form our past holiday issues - Enjoy!

Stress Free Holiday Party Ideas When we think of the holidays, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the anticipation of spending time with our friends and family. For many of us, this thought is quickly followed by one of dread -- for as much as we love the holiday get-togethers, hosting a party can be very stressful, especially during the already busy holiday season. Much of this stress is caused by the thought that we must throw an elaborate party or that everything must be absolutely “perfect.” As a result, we often decide to just forgo that stress and skip the party. Isn’t that a shame? With that thought in mind, I decided to rethink the holiday party, keeping everything as simple as possible while giving you time to truly enjoy that which is most important – your loved ones. Forget perfect, the holidays should be a time of fun and enjoyment! The following are my thoughts on keeping things simple.

The Menu The menu is usually the most daunting aspect of planning a party. Deciding what to serve and how to get all the cooking done (without ending up too exhausted to enjoy the party) can be a challenge but there are several options. One of my favorites is do-ahead cooking. Thanks to the power of the internet, finding such holiday recipes is a breeze -- simply search under “make ahead holiday recipes.” You will find recipes that can be made well in advance and frozen, or those you cook a day or two prior to your party. There is an added bonus to this idea – many foods taste better the next day, once the flavors and spices have had a chance to mix and mingle. If this still sounds like too much work, consider your local deli. I was pleasantly surprised to find out how reasonably priced this option can be. When you compare the cost per person and factor in that you will not have to do the grocery shopping, cooking, or clean up, it is quite cost-effective. Finally, reconsider the idea that you must do an all-out dinner. Why not plan a simple brunch or set up a buffet table of hors d’oeuvre type snacks – veggies, crackers, dips, etc.? Mix up a bowl of punch and you are all set! Whatever you decide to do, here is a tip that will make clean-up a bit easier – pick up some take-out containers or those inexpensive food storage containers that come four to a pack and send the leftovers home with your guests.

Holiday Waissal 4 cups hot brewed tea 1 cup sugar 1 - 32 oz bottle cranberry juice 1 - 32 oz bottle apple juice 2 cups orange juice 3/4 cup lemon juice 2 sticks of cinnamon 24 whole cloves, divided 1 sliced orange In a large pot combine tea and sugar. Add the cranberry and apple juice, cinnamon sticks and twelve of the cloves. Boil for 2 minutes. Serve warm or cool. Garnish punch bowl with orange slices studded with remaining cloves. Makes 16 servings

Decorating Decorating is the fun part of putting together a party! Keep it simple by focusing your efforts on one area, for example, the dining room table. Dress up the chairs by tying a simple, festive colored ribbon around the back in a bow and adding a sprig of pine or a silk poinsettia. Tablecloths are inexpensive and a great way to add instant elegance to a dining table. Check the store holiday displays for fabric tablecloths in festive colors. To add a romantic touch, layer a lace tablecloth underneath the fabric tablecloth. For even more fun, get the kids involved by having them make placemats out of construction paper. Choose colors to coordinate with the holiday and the tablecloth. Let them have fun decorating the placemats with seasonal doodles (add names to each and they will double as place markers.) Cut some small paper snowflakes or fall leaves and scatter them around the table. For the romantics, purchase large round paper doilies and use them as chargers under the plates along with smaller doilies for coasters. A simple Christmas centerpiece can be made by filling a pretty glass or crystal bowl with glass ball ornaments in pretty colors. For a Thanksgiving theme, you could fill the bowl with small gourds (mini pumpkin gourds would be perfect) and mix in a few fall leaves for a burst of color. Finally, place small glass votive cups with colored candles around the table. Choose fragranced votives and your table will not only sparkle with the candlelight, but it will also smell great! By keeping the décor simple, clean up is easy, too and you will not end up with a lot of decorations that must be stored all year.

Cleaning If menu planning is the most difficult part of hosting a party, then I think cleaning has to be the most dreaded. Unfortunately, unless your budget includes maid service, cleaning is inevitable so we might as well roll up our sleeves and make the best of it. One method that will make the task a little less overwhelming is to break it up over several days – for example, bathrooms one day, kitchen another, etc. Then you will just have to hit the high spots right before the party, a quick once-over and you will be all set. The real secret is eliminating clutter. Not only will your home look better but it will be so much easier to do a quick cleaning when the time comes. Invest a few weekends now purging your home of unnecessary items and you will reap the rewards again and again! Donate your unneeded items to charity and you will not only be helping someone in need, but you will also receive a tax deduction (and tax time is not far off!) Finally, get the kids involved with the cleaning – turn on some peppy music, sing Christmas carols, and dance while dusting – have fun with it and they will, too! I hope these tips will help you enjoy a more relaxing holiday with family and friends. Remember to “forget perfect.” No one is going to remember that your sinks and floors were extra-sparkly clean and they probably will not even remember what food was served. What everyone will remember however, is the precious time spent together, creating memories and traditions that will last a lifetime! That is priceless. Happy Holidays!

Cherie Perry

Vintage Holidays

Confessions of a Serial Collector Yes, it is true, I am a Serial Collector. I am always on the lookout for something I can’t live without. Christmas is a wonderful season for collecting. The local thrift stores always have a large section of gorgeous Christmas items to add to any collection. Each year, I like to create a new look for my Christmas tree as well as, a different look for my home. The theme for the tree depends on what collection I am favoring that year. It is an easy way to make your holiday decor special. With just a little imagination and a special collection, your tree can look like it is right out of a magazine. It is amazingly simple to do, if you follow a few simple tricks. This year I am decorating with vintage, Madame Alexandra Dolls. These are dolls my daughter had when she was a little girl. I have combined the dolls with vintage, German ornaments and pink poinsettias. It really did not take much time and the look was spectacular. Always look for after Christmas sales for those special flowers for your tree. Last year I did a Disney, Eeyore tree from my second daughter’s large collection. She collected them as a teenager. I added some glass violet bulbs, lots of twigs and a beautiful tree was created. Glass color bulbs can be purchased inexpensively at thrift stores. I have done Muppets trees, Star War trees, elf trees, angel trees, tea cups trees, and train trees. What do you collect? Maybe it is tea cups. You can attach a pretty bow on the handle and there is your ornament. Use the same color ribbon to bring them all together. I like to put Christmas pins in the cups for an extra sparkle. The possibilities are endless. Creating Christmas vignettes with collectibles is also easy to do. I like placing old, glass, tree toppers on candle sticks. I think they look amazing. Do you have a collection of lovely glass Christmas bulbs? Try placing them in a crystal bowl. Old punch bowls work great for this. With a pretty ribbon and some garland, you will have a home that is ready for all those special events this Christmas! This Christmas, why not surprise everyone and create a tree that is unique to you and your family? You will find out that once you have done this, the next year everyone will be waiting to see what you will do next! Christmas Blessings,

Martha M. Cook

Holiday Berry Trifle A lovely holiday dessert and good for you too! 2 10 oz packages frozen strawberries, thawed and strained. (save the juice) 1 12 oz package frozen raspberries thawed and strained. (save the juice) 1 12 oz package frozen blueberries or blackberries, thawed and drained 1 ¼ cups powdered sugar 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch ¾ cup heavy whipping cream ¼ teaspoon Almond extract (optional) 48 oz non fat or low fat vanilla greek yogurt (no substitutions) (such as Chobani or Fage) 36-40 ladyfingers In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together raspberry and strawberry juice with ¾ cup powdered sugar and cornstarch. Boil until thickened. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until cool. In a medium bowl, whip the cream to stiff. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, almond extract, and remaining sugar. Fold in whipped cream. Place a double layer of ladyfingers at the bottom of a pretty clear glass bowl, next layer 1/3 of the yogurt mixture. Then spoon half of the berries, with a drizzle of the berry sauce. Layer another 1/3 of the yogurt mixture, followed by a double layer of ladyfingers, remaining yogurt, and the rest of the berries. Drizzle 3-4 tablespoons of the berry sauce to finish. Refrigerate 2 hours before serving. Serves 10 Variations include frozen mixed berries, vanilla instead of almond extract. Angel food cake slices or vanilla wafers instead of the ladyfingers.

Debbi Oeltjen

A Pinch of This I can close my eyes and remember many, many Decembers past and the wonderful smell of Christmas cookies baking in my grandmother’s kitchen. We had mixed a pinch of this and a dash of that, rolled out the dough, cut the cookies into delightful shapes, put them in the oven and then watched the clock as we impatiently waited for them to finish baking. I eagerly helped remove the heated cookie sheets from the oven (with assistance). They looked and smelled wonderful—I had to sample one even though they were still hot! After the cookies cooled we all went to work decorating each cookie as a work of art. There was icing and sugar sprinkles all over the place—but we had a great time and spent hours talking, laughing, and decorating. We saved the 3 best and prettiest cookies to put on a plate for Santa on Christmas Eve. In the US since the 1930’s, children have left cookies and milk on a table for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve We were busy making irreplaceable Christmas cookie baking memories that would last for years to come. Christmas cookies are a magical thread to Christmases past. Modern Christmas cookies trace their history to recipes from Medieval European biscuits which contained many ingredients such as cinnamon, ginger, and dried fruit after they had been introduced to the west. By the 16th century Christmas biscuits had become very popular across Europe. The earliest examples of Christmas cookies were brought to the US by the Dutch in the early 17th century. The word cookie originated from these Dutch settlers in North America during the 1700’s to 1900’s. Koek is Dutch for cake, so koekje, means little cake. Due to the wide range of inexpensive imported products from Germany between 1871 and 1906, cookie cutters became readily available in American markets. These imported cookie cutters depicted various subjects designed to hang on Christmas trees. As the availability of cookie cutters increased, recipes began ortening h s p u c ½ to appear in cookbooks designed to use r ur a g u s them. Thus began the art of making cut 1 cup 3 cups flo of tartar out cookies. milk cream


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Family Friendly Eggnog This recipe is great for all ages. This is a safer cooked version, that is also delicious! 3 cups whole milk 1 cup heavy cream 1/2 cup sugar 4 large eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla extract Freshly grated nutmeg Whisk together the milk, cream, sugar, and eggs in a medium-sized nonreactive saucepan. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Do not let it boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Serve immediately, topped with freshly grated nutmeg to taste. Or you may refrigerate it, serve it cold, or reheat it before serving. If it thickens with refrigeration, simply thin with a little extra milk.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins 3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 cup canned pumpkin

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup water

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

3/4 teaspoon baking powder Grease and flour muffin tin or use greased paper liners. Mix sugar, oil, eggs. Add pumpkin and water. In separate bowl mix together the baking flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt.. Add wet mixture and stir in chocolate chips. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake in 400 degree preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. makes 12 muffins

Spicy Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Soup Ingredients: 1 tablespoon coriander seeds 2 teaspoons cumin seeds 2 teaspoons dried oregano 1 tablespoon fennel seeds 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns 1 clove garlic 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided 1 medium sugar pumpkin 4 orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (small or 2 -3 large) 1 large onion, chopped 1 1/2 quarts chicken broth

Preheat oven to 400 degrees . In spice grinder, or mini food processor, grind coriander, cumin, oregano, fennel, red pepper, salt and peppercorns into a coarse powder. Blend in garlic and 1 tablespoon olive oil to form a paste. Wash pumpkin, and cut into 2-inch wide wedges, make sure to scrape away seeds. Peel sweet potatoes and cut each potato lengthwise into 6 wedges. Place the potatoes and pumpkin in a baking dish. Spread the spice paste onto the pumpkin and the potatoes. Roast potatoes and pumpkins in preheated oven 30 to 40 minutes, until tender when fork inserted. While they are roasting in the oven, place the chopped onion in a large pot, cook the onion in the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Once the pumpkin & potatoes are finished roasting, chop them into smaller chunks and puree in a blender or food processor with some of the chicken broth until smooth. Be sure to scrape the roasted spice paste off the baking dish and include it in the puree. Pour the pureed vegetables into the pot with the onions, and stir in as much additional chicken stock as needed to achieve the desired consistency. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

Festive Brown Bag Journal SUPPLIES NEEDED: Paper bags, lunch size Scissors Glue Scrapbook Supplies Ribbon Hole Punch Cardboard, such as a cereal box.

1. For this project I used 6 paper bags, but I have used 8 in a project before. You can use 4, but remember, the more you use, the thicker your finished book will be. I like to cut the rough edges of the bags off before I begin. It gives a cleaner look, but this is up to you and is not necessary. You could also use decorator scissors for the edges. (cut the open end of the bag only) 2. Fold the bag in half making sure the open end is even with the bottom edge of the bag. Do this with all your bags. Using something flat, like a ruler, press the fold on each bag. Measure along the fold line in three separate places, and using the hole punch, punch holes in one of the bags. Putting a new bag inside the bag you just punched, mark where the holes should go and repeat with all the bags. You should be able to place each folded bag inside the other, layering like a book. The holes should line up giving you a place to add your ribbons. (I like to layer the bags so that each page has an open end and the next is a bottom end.) 3. Using ribbons, tie off the holes so your bags stay together to create a book. You can be very creative with this step, using multiple ribbons and colors, as well as embellishments. 4. You can create a theme of your book by using decorative papers and embellishments. Starting with the front cover, measure the size of the folded bag and cut out paper, glue and place on the bag, making sure not to cover the ribbons or holes. Open each page and do the same. You may want to add different papers to journal on, or add pictures too. You can also make pockets to add photos or notes. 5. Every other page of your brown bag book will have an opening that was created from the top of the bag. Using the cardboard from a used box, such as a cereal box, cut out and cover a square that will fit into the opening, thus creating another avenue to use for journaling or placing photos on. 6. When I create the pages that will be inside the pockets, I like to add ribbons or something that can be used to help “pull out� the page. 7. Above all, have fun with this. I think this would make a great project to do with children. Just keep in mind, the more bags you use, the thicker the book becomes. 8. ENJOY!

Char Peterson

Sweet Gingerbread Memories One tradition, and sweet holiday memory we have added to our family holiday traditions, is making gingerbread houses. You do not have to have children to add this tradition to your family. This is so much fun for all ages! There are many different types of gingerbread houses. They can be as simple or as extravagant as you wish. For the true gingerbread enthusiasts, you can make your own gingerbread house pieces from scratch. There are fun kits you can purchase that has everything you need including the frosting and candies. Some kits are even pre-assembled, which I feel as a mother with small children, works best for our family. A house already put together, all you have to do is add the frosting and place the candies. Kits that are not pre-assembled, have the walls, roof, etc & you place them together. Placing frosting in between to hold them together. Another cute mini gingerbread house can be made with a small milk carton or creamer carton & graham crackers. You can actually hot glue the graham crackers onto the carton to look like a gingerbread house. Then little ones can easily decorate with frosting & their favorite candies. This is a fun project hosted by my son’s preschool every year. They invite the mothers to come decorate with their little ones. They have the small gingerbread house (graham cracker & milk carton) glued unto a heavy duty paper plate and have bowls of candies, marshmallows and frosting on the tables. We are able to work with our children and create this fun memory at their school. They make snow scenes on the paper plates also, building snowmen from the marshmallows. I look forward to this fun project every year with all the parents & preschoolers. The mini gingerbread house could be a fun adult workplace project. You can host a gingerbread decorating contest at work, maybe at the lunch hour or holiday party. This would even be great to host at your own family holiday get together. Great way to add some holiday fun to a busy schedule. Slow down for a moment and enjoy the gingerbread making moment! Catherine Monceaux

In Everything Give Thanks...

Gratitude Challenge Please join us in our gratitude challenge. Thanksgiving is a day set aside to be thankful. But we have so much to be thankful for, that we want to be thankful everyday. I am personally thankful for.... The love of family The support of friends, The very basics..... the warmth of a fireplace a hot cup of coffee sharing that hot coffee with my mother and father (added bonus) snuggling with my children every night my husband who supports and loves me and our children a hot shower the exhaustion at the end of the day as I know I worked hard bad days, as they make the good days so much better!

Blessing Jar A tool to help you be grateful every day - Get a jar, basket or container. On a small slip of paper, write a simple word. One thing that you are grateful for. Place it in the jar each day. At anytime you feel badly or having a down day. Reach into that jar and read a few reasons that you are grateful. Can turn that day around!

As we strive to be grateful everyday, we share our daily “attitude of gratitude” I am grateful that I have been able to realize my lifelong dream of being able to have my own business creating beautiful treasures that please others. So thankful for my loving families support. Debbi at Since I have had health issues for years, I am just so thankful to be able to walk and be as healthy as I am now. It’s not perfect, but it could be so much worse. Also, my family is very small in numbers now, but I hate to think what I would do without them and my dogs that make me get up and keep going every day. Very thankful for all these things. Lois at Vintage Treasures by Lois I am grateful for the love and support of my family and so blessed to be able to do what I love in creating timeless keepsakes. So many people to be grateful for each day, Thank You!! Charlotte at I am grateful everyday to be able to continue in the antiques and collectibles business my husband and I shared for many years, although I am now the caregiver for him as he now has Parkinson’s Disease. I am so blessed for every day we have together and our wonderful friends and family! Ruth

I’m thankful for good health, good friends and loving family and the time and freedom to pursue my art and my handiwork.. And, the good fortune to share with so many new group friends and to never stop learning something new each day.. I’m also thankful that, at my age, I can still remember where I put my keys. That’s no small thing! Kathi So much to give thanks for this year. My son was injured fighting a fire and he is improving daily. We are so lucky he is still with us. I injuried my back and each day I feel less and less pain. I have always wanted to have my own online collectibles shop and today it is a reality. I am so grateful for the love and support of my family, with out them, things would be so different. Most of all, I am grateful for God’s faithfulness to me. He has never left me, but always been right there to help me through each trial. Martha I’m grateful for finally beginning to see the light from a very long, dark tunnel. - Lisa I count my blessings every day. I am so grateful for all that I have, my friends, my family, and my creative business. In the journey of life I strive to be the best I can be, and pay it forward daily. Cindy Houot I am grateful for my family. I am also grateful for a talent that has allowed me to work while raising my children (now grown.) I am grateful that I still find such joy in my work that I can’t wait to get into the studio each morning. I am grateful that I have more than I ever expected. Sharon I am grateful that God has blessed me with a wonderful family,the ability to do what I love everyday and the talent that he has given me to do it. - Jonie I am grateful for my family, my sweet boys, and that I have the courage to push past all the obstacles I have overcome. - Susie I am Grateful for my health, as each new day I am able to make more memories with my family!!- Nancy I’m so grateful for my husband. He works hard to make sure we’re all taken care of. He’s my true hero. - Jan

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Christmas 2015  
Christmas 2015