Saturday, December 10, 2011

How to survive Holiday Hell!

For various reasons the holidays are hard for many people. Family traditions are wonderful until a key member of your family dies. You know things will never be the same. You know your holiday traditions will never, ever be the same. You know the holidays are going to be hell.

When my dad died I began to dread the upcoming holiday season. Christmas was the worse. I was still mourning and I couldn't even imagine being able to get through the holiday.

We had always had the traditional Christmas dinner with a large sit-down dinner Just the thought of it made me want to crawl in bed and cover my head and not come out until the groundhog saw his shadow.

My husband came up with a fabulous idea. Instead of a sit-down dinner, how about doing a bunch of finger foods buffet style, and everyone could eat whenever they wanted. That was just what I needed.

So the kids, my mother and I began to plan. We decided to get an get a shaved ham and assorted sliced cheeses, sliced for sandwiches, rye and white bread, a sandwich spread cream cheese with chopped black olives in it, chips, a hot cheese dip, a clam dip, numerous relish tray items, deviled eggs, and several desserts. It was fun, easy, and more relaxed than if I had to stand and cook all night.

TIP: If you want to serve deviled eggs, or take some to a potluck, here's a great way to serve them. Take a large plate with raised sides, cover the bottom with dried green split peas. Then place your deviled eggs on the peas. It's beautiful and they'll stay in place and won't be slipping all over the place.

The other side of the story is if you're going to have a wonderful Christmas, share it with someone less fortunate. Here are some ways you can help:

Donate blankets and pillows to the homeless.
Give of yourself by helping out at a soup kitchen.
Make it possible for some family to have a Christmas
Find someone who is ignored by their family and do something special for them.

And you can help all of us if you'll buy MADE IN AMERICA items.

Remember what Christmas is all about and giving Him a gift is the best ways to honor the one whose birthday is being celebrated. I know just what He wants for each other, forgive those who have offended you, love the unlovable, provide for the less fortunate. Don't be seduced by materialism. Remember: JESUS is the reason for the season.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holiday drinking takes a turn for the better

Holiday party time is quickly approaching If you drink alcoholic beverages you have no problem finding recipes for fancy cocktails. But what do you do if you're having a holiday party with no alcohol?

Here's what you do. If you have an easy punch recipe, you mix it up and toss it at your guests. If you don't have a recipe, you call one of your friends and request a recipe. At this point they will give it their best shot and give you that punch thing where you float orange sherbet crap in it.

That particular recipe is fine if you're giving a baby shower or even a wedding shower for someone you barely know.

But be reasonable guys. This is the holidays we're taking about. Do you really think your recovering alcoholic friends are going to be thrilled drinking something with a big orange blob floating around in it?

There are lots of people who don't drink because of religious beliefs, or are on medications where they can't drink alcohol. There are thousands who are recovering alcoholics and can't drink. Too many of these abstainers think the only alternatives, unless they serve the above floating stuff,  are milk, water and coffee. Not true.

Almost any drink becomes elegant when served in stemware. Don't rule out drinking some of the mixes for drinks and just leaving out the alcohol.

Another option available for those of us who cannot tolerate alcoholic beverages:
Virgin Mary:
3 oz. tomato juice
3 oz. cranberry juice
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
1 teaspoon lime juice
and a little black pepper.
Mixed and served in a highball glass with a stick of celery and a lime wedge.

If you want to really wow your guests, put together an old English tradition, the Wassail!

There are many recipes out there. Many use pineapple juice, apple juice, even grapefruit juice. For a number of years I fixed wassail every Christmas. It's a delightful drink that's served hot in mugs. Very nice for cold nights during the holidays.

Here's my favorite recipe. You can adjust it if you're having a large crowd.

Start by juicing 2 oranges, 2 lemons, and 2 limes. Set juice aside.

Into a large stockpot bring about a quart of water to a boil. Add to the boiling water: 8 teaspoons allspice berries, 10 teaspoons whole cloves, 4 cinnamon sticks, and all the peels from the fruit you just juiced. Bring back to a boil, cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes.

Dip out the spices and peels. Then add to the pot: 1 gallon apple cider, the juices you set aside, 1 large cranberry juice cocktail, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar. Heat it up and you're ready to serve. If you have very many people, I suggest you double everything, because they're going to want refills.

Put a cinnamon stick in each mug and fill with wassail. You can float thin slices of oranges, lemons or limes on wassail. If you don't want the cranberry juice, add pre-mixed lemonade, and/or orange juice. Make it to your taste and your guests will love it!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

WHEE! Bless me Jesus, Walmart is having a sale. Amen."

I always think it's lovely as people sing about holidays, plan holidays and share how excited they are about an upcoming holiday. We read about their recipes, their family, and their long time traditions. The magazine photos get everyone enthusiastic about the way the holiday is going to happen.

Our family used to have traditions. We valued them and looked forward to all the fun we were going to have. It worked for several years.

Then a new tradition appeared. Somewhere between autumn and the holidays, a family member would either die or get killed. Seriously, it became a family joke. As the holidays approached, one of the kids would remark,  "I wonder who's going to die this year."

Oh yeah, you knew that some family member would die just in time to screw up the holidays. After all, it was a family tradition.

That brings to mind the one whose birthday is being celebrated on Christmas. Even though Jesus was really born more towards the springtime, people have chosen to acknowledge his birth on December 25.

We put up sparkly trees. We bake cookies and have parties. We drink loads of cocktails. We buy expensive toys for ourselves, going into more debt. We run over each other on black Friday and punch the old lady next to us.

WHEEE! Look Jesus, I just put a dollar in that bell-ringer's kettle." Now I feel all warm and fuzzy because I've made someone else's holiday brighter. As we walk by, we don't see the little boy and girl sitting on the curb, huddled together because they don't have coats and they're freezing. They see us though and they're wondering what the fuss is all about.

As we sing "Santa Clause is coming to town if you're good you' ll get toys", they wonder what they've done so bad that he never leaves them anything. This is their family tradition. If they're lucky, someone will give them food so they can eat on Christmas. They won't have enough food the rest of the year, but "bless them Jesus. Amen".

I wonder if our perception of the holidays would change if we took a week off from our materialistic crap, and slept outside on a piece of cardboard or in a cardboard box with nothing but a blanket. One night would put a stop to that, but some Americans are having to do that every single night. If they're lucky, they might find a shelter. But, alas, most of the shelters are suffering from lack of donations.

WHEEE! "Guess what I just did for you, Jesus. I just gave another dollar. Amen."

"What? Okay. I just added another dollar to help the poor, Jesus. Amen."

Our local Department of human services is not having their angel tree this year. Maybe they just can't take care of all the hurting children.

You say you don't know any children like that? Ask a teacher, a social worker, a pastor. Watch the news. Did someone's house burn down? Do unto others as YOU would like for them to do for YOU if you were in that situation.

If you know someone trying to get through their first holiday season after losing their spouse, please help them through it. That first holiday season after a tragedy is a case of forced fun at best. You just want it to all go away. If they have always had family traditions, they just went out the window.

Fill up a Christmas stocking with fruit and give it to a widow who is alone at Christmas. Surprise some kids with nice presents. Invite someone who's homeless for Christmas dinner and make sure to give them a present to open. IF YOU WANT TO BE BLESSED, BE A BLESSING THIS CHRISTMAS!

Matthew 25: 43-45
Jesus said "I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not."

Then shall they also answer him, saying, "Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?"
Then shall he answer them, saying, "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me."

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dastardly things result because women drive

According to an article from the BBC News, "A report in Saudi Arabia has warned that if Saudi women were given the right to drive, it would spell the end of virginity in the country."

Women in Muslim countries have been fighting for the right to drive for some time now. There is no ban but, of course, they can be arrested and then suffer a severe lashing.

The report was presented to Saudi's legislature by "well-known academic Kamal Subhi". The warning continued graphically, "letting women drive would increase prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and divorce".

WHO KNEW! Following this to it's obvious conclusion, we can solve most of America's problems by removing women's drivers licenses. Just look at what we could accomplish! With one move we can stop all brou-ha-ha about birth control because it would no longer be needed. We all knew that men's obsession with porn was caused because we could drive.

I'm not convinced it would stop divorce except women couldn't get to an attorney as easily, but it wouldn't have stopped me. I would have walked if necessary. Maybe the brilliant Mr. Subhi should have included a ban on telephones for women.

There would be no more homosexuality. I just never knew my driving a vehicle could cause that. I will have to suggest to my lesbian friends to stop driving. IMMEDIATELY! If you stop driving, all of my gay and lesbian friends will become straight.

Think about it! No more worries about trying to find a cure for AIDS. No more illegitimate babies. No more AIDS testing, or testing for sexually transmitted disease. The monitory effect on our welfare system would be significant.

And King Obama, as he would like to be called (his words not mine), would no longer have to worry about the job situation. If women couldn't drive, they couldn't get to work. Remove that half of the work force and all men would have jobs.

I have a few questions about the theory Mr. Subhi, who seems to have the brain of a pinto bean, has put forth. I'm sure, given the opportunity, he will come up with an explanation.

The last time I looked, prostitutes didn't drive, they walked. It always seemed to be a man driving. The exception, and possibly has something to do with Mr. Subhi's reasoning, is the wife driving behind her husband, watching him pick up the prostitute, and then driving to an attorney. Or a pawn shop for a gun.

Most gays and lesbians were that way before they were aware that women were driving.

The acceleration of the porn business appears to be demanded by men not women in their cars. The women involved are making copious amounts of money while staying home.
contacted by some male, his name escapes me,  who screwed an African monkey. Holy crap. I'm almost positive that no woman drove him to THAT little rendezvous.

Academic: a member of an institution of learning.  The well-known academic Kamal Subhi, either needs to have his teaching credentials removed or possibly he's in the wrong kind of institution. Someone please get him to a doctor and put on the appropriate medication because whatever he's taking right now obviously isn't working.

By the way, Mr. Subhi, I'm not particularly an expert on these issues but when it comes to MY virginity, I'll admit to being in the car, but I was NOT the one driving.