Friday, December 1, 2017

Rebecca's HEARTH AND HOME Newsletter - December 2017


Greetings, Dear Ladies! HAPPY DECEMBER!

Back in January of 2017 I had the best of intentions in getting back on track with my monthly HEARTH and HOME newsletter, but, as most of you know, that didn't happen. I've put out a grand total of THREE issues, thus far. This issue will make the fourth of 2017. 

Now...that being said...four issues put out in 2017 compared to ZERO issues put out in 2016 isn't bad, but that's still a far cry from the days when I faithfully, and without fail, put out a new issue (or two!) each and every month.  Perhaps 2018 will show a marked improvement. We shall see! 

Oh well! Enough of that! On with the holiday at hand...CHRISTMAS! Grab a cup of tea and join me...won't you? 


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HOUSEHOLD HINTS ðŸ 

* When stringing popcorn for garland, let it set for a couple of days to get stale. Stale popcorn is easier to string.

* Decide what table linens you will be using for Christmas and Scotchguard them now. It's a great fabric protector and spills will be easier to remove.

* For a pretty centerpiece put some vegetable oil on a rag and polish red and green apples. Place in a bowl and fill in the spaces with greenery.

* Go to your carpet store and ask for the cardboard cores that carpet comes on. Wrap them with white plastic trash bags and twist red ribbon around them. Viola! Instant giant peppermint sticks for outside decorating!

* For a fresh smelling bathroom during the holiday season, apply essential oils to the inside of your toilet paper rolls.

* When candles drip on your pretty tablecloths, fear not. Lay paper towels on the ironing board over and under the drips and iron the wax spots with a medium-to-hot iron. Keep moving the paper towels until the wax is absorbed into them. Presto! The wax is gone and the cloth is saved!

* Use leftover eggnog for French toast. Just add a little cinnamon and it works beautifully!

* Save used coffee grounds, tea leaves, and crushed egg shells and feed them to your poinsettias and other houseplants. They love the nutrients.

* Plan several baking days and put these on your calendar. Have at least one day with the children to make those special Christmas cookies and gingerbread men. Let it be fun for them. How proud they will be when they serve a plate of their own creations!


* Make holiday pancakes by lightly greasing heavy metal cookie cutters in the shape of Christmas trees, etc. and placing them on a hot, lightly greased griddle. Pour pancake batter (approximately 2 tablespoons) into each cutter. Using tongs remove cutters after 1 minute; cook pancakes two more minutes, then turn over and cook until done. Serve as usual. The children will love them! 


Simple Craft Idea
Use candy canes as dinner place card holders.

DOLLARS AND SENSE ðŸ’µ

* Don't toss odds and ends of veggies when you cook. Save those small bits of pepper, onion, and other vegetables to make vegetable stock or use in omelets.

* Preplan your holiday menus to avoid over-shopping.

* Don't toss gently used wrapping paper, tissue paper, and gift bags. Save, store, and reuse next year.

* After the holidays donate any unopened, non-perishable food items that weren't used (canned cranberry sauce, boxed stuffing, packages of gravy mix, etc.) to your local food bank.

* To avoid being haunted by the ghosts of Christmas credit past, use cash or debit card only. Using cash slows down your spending and forces you to weigh your purchases more carefully.

* If you do use a charge card, clip half an index card to the back of the credit card. Each time you use it, enter the amount of your purchase on the index card and keep a running total. That way you are continually aware of how much you will have to come up with when the bills start rolling in during January.

* Ensure that you will be able to do next year's buying in cash by estimating how much your Christmas spending will be, dividing that amount into 12 monthly allotments, and then setting aside that amount each month in a Christmas club, savings account, or by using Dave Ramsey's envelope system.

* Visit EveryDollar's "12 Budget Tips of Christmas" by clicking HERE. They've got some great ideas!



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FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE 

These are two of my absolute favorite Christmas-story videos! Out of the mouths of babes! 😄

Christmas According to Kids - Southland Christian Church



The Christmas story as told by the children of St. Paul's Church, Aukland, New Zealand...





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RECIPES ðŸ²

HOLIDAY WASSAIL RECIPE

1 gallon apple cider
1 large can pineapple juice (unsweetened)
3/4 cup strong tea

In a cheesecloth sack put:

1 tablespoon whole cloves
1 tablespoon whole allspice
2 sticks cinnmon

This is great cooked in a crockpot. Let it simmer slowly for four to six hours. You can add water if it evaporates too much. Your house will smell wonderful and friends and family will love it!

CHEESE SALMON BALL

1 7 3/4 ounce can salmon, drained and flaked
1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated onion
1 teaspoon horseradish
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
chopped parsley

Combine all ingredients except parsley. Shape in to a ball. Roll ball in parsley. Serve with crackers.


CHICKEN AND BROCCOLI RING
(It's been a few years since I've made one, but this recipe has always been a favorite at family holiday gatherings.)

2 cans crescent rolls
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 to 1 cup broccoli, chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups shredded Monterey cheese
1 can of chicken or 1 to 2 cups cooked chicken,
chopped

Leaving a 3-inch circle in the center, form a sun with crescent rolls on a pizza stone. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Place on rolls around the center. Tuck points of rolls over meat mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, or until rolls are brown.

BECKY'S SUGAR COOKIES(This sugar cookie recipe is the best that I've ever tasted and it is the one that our family has used for generations. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my mother and I making these cookies to give and share with others at Christmas. Now my children and their children are carrying on the tradition.) 

1 c. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
2 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking powder
5 c. flour

Cream butter and sugar together. Add milk, baking powder, salt, eggs, and vanilla. Blend well. Add flour a little at a time until all the flour is mixed in. If dough is sticky, extra flour may be added. Being extra generous with the dusting flour, roll dough out about 1/4-inch thick and cut with cutters. Bake at 375 degrees until cookies are slightly browned on the bottom and are a little spongy on top. Ice with Wilton's Buttercream Icing (below).


WILTON'S BUTTERCREAM ICING

1/2 c. solid vegetable shortening
1/2 c. butter or margarine
4 cups powdered sugar
2 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Cream butter and shortening with an electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add coloring if desired and beat until mixed evenly. Yield: 3 cups. 

TEDDY S'MORE BARK

2 pkg. (16 sq.) Baker's Semi-Sweet Chocolate
1 cup Teddy Grahams
1 cup miniature marshmallows

Microwave chocolate in microwavable bowl on HIGH for 2 minutes or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring after 1 minute. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in 3/4 cup each of Teddy Grahams and marshmallows into bowl with chocolate. Spread on waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Decorate with remaining grahams and marshmallows. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Break into
pieces. Make 15 servings (4 1-inch pieces per serving)



Reindeer Crack
I made this last year for Christmas and it was a huge hit! Get
the recipe HERE
Well, Ladies, that's it for now! Here's wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Until next time...
~Rebecca

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