New Year Plans

 

happy new year decorative plate
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We all do them right?  New Year Plans.  We say all the things we are going to do, and we some times get into the month of March keeping up with what we promised but the craziness of the year, keeps us from fully finishing our plans.  What is your plan? What are you promising for this next year?  Eating right? Exercising? Working on your finances?  Updating your home? Spending more time with family?  These are all things I have heard so far from friends.

What are some ways that you can follow through with your plans? How have you stuck them out for the entire year?  For myself, I am working on getting more organized.  I have started so many things but I have yet to fully finish some of them.  I start eating well, but somewhere stress picks up and I start eating what I want again.  But how can I eat things I enjoy but also not over indulge?  How can I create stamina to begin getting in shape and follow through? If I couldn’t find myself doing it for my wedding, then how can I really motivate myself?

I am reading a book called “Success Principles,” and it’s really helping me to focus on my dreams but more what I was called here to do.  Once you figure out your real purpose, things just work themselves out.  The worst part of all of this, is that I have figured out my purpose is reshaping children’s lives.  That is where I have consistently found myself.  I have other aspirations and enjoyment.  Baking and cooking, helping women feel beautiful (makeup), but these things are not going to keep me with income.  I have realized this.  I am not a good business person.  I don’t have the ability to draw people in with these things.  So I have had to figure out how I can achieve working with kids.  I can’t believe this, but I discovered the T.E.A.C.H scholarship and through this I could achieve my bachelor’s (second one)  teaching children in Early Education.  This would also give me abilities to keep a job even with my son.  Teachers are able to get substitutes and keep their jobs.  It would help me to pay off student loan debt and also after 20 years give me a decent retirement.

It took me going in the wrong direction for so long. I got off on the wrong track all to find myself back where I knew my heart was back in high school; helping children.  Young children.  I have the love, I have the patience, and I have the determination to change their lives.  I see our future, I see that impacting their life changes our future and world.  To those who don’t understand what impacting a child’s life means, I can’t make you understand.  The bank account doesn’t benefit but the ability to change a life forever, that is what it’s all about.  It takes love, it takes tough love even.  That is what God put in my heart.  It’s my fault that  I haven’t reached that.  Nothing else has worked out, because I have not stayed true to what He placed in me.

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According to the author in “Success Principles;”  when you find your purpose, everything else works itself out and falls into place.  I encourage you, no matter your age  15 or 65, find your purpose!  That is when your New Year’s plans will finally find themselves working for you.  You magically have time to work out,  eat right,  and you see everything in your life line up and working out.   Find your purpose, find your faith restored.  Listen, He is guiding you!  “Never Give Up!”

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Holiday Sweets

 

 

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Peanut Butter Balls (Also known as buckeye candy)

1 (18) oz, jar creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup butter (softened) You can use margarine but I prefer butter

1lb confectioners sugar (about 3.5 cups)

1 tablespoon vanilla

12 oz chocolate chips ( I use semi sweet chocolate and half milk chocolate)

3- 4 oz parrafin wax about a 1/4 of a block

Mix together peanut butter and butter (yes it is a bit difficult to mix but just keep at it). If you don’t like stuff on your hands, you will probably not enjoy this part. I  know it’s not my favorite, I tend to have to keep cleaning the spoon and it gets on my fingers.

Next add sugar and vanilla. Mix well

Melt chocolate chips with paraffin wax in a double boiler (I actually create my own double boiler, it’s pretty easy).

Take a toothpick and dip balls or peanut butter about 3/4 of the way covered

Place balls on wax paper

Sit in refridgerator or room temp

Finally put them in your mouth and enjoy, or if you have someone you love, share them away.  We really enjoy these with  hot chocolate and or just good cold milk.

Buckeyes_Peanut_Butter_Balls(cropped)

 

Martha Washington (old fashioned)

My great grandmother was known for her cooking and this is one that she used to make at Christmas.  My great grandfather always told me about Washington and cutting down the cherry tree. I so miss my great grandparents and I was so lucky to have known them. I still had this recipe saved from an old cook book of my great grandmother. I really hope that it can be preserved for years.

  • 1 (14 ouncesweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 (14 ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 heaping cups of powdered sugar, more if needed
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1-1/2 cups of chopped pecans or walnuts
  • Dipping Chocolate (old recipe under the instructions) 

Combine everything but the dipping chocolate and mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Roll into balls about the size of a large marble and place onto parchment or wax paper lined baking sheets. Place into fridge while you melt the chocolate.Creating batches of about a dozen, leave remaining balls in the refrigerator, quickly drop the balls, one at a time, into the melted chocolate and toss with a fork.   ( I usually take my time and use a long wooden stick) Lift out, letting excess chocolate drain off, and scraping bottom of fork across bowl rim before transferring back to the wax or parchment paper to set. Makes about 6 to 7 dozen, depending on how large you roll them.

Dipping Chocolate recipe

Old School: Combine 2/3 cup of grated cooking paraffin (like Gulf wax) with one (12 ounce) package of semi-sweet chocolate chips, instead of the candy bark. You can find this at Publix or order off Amazon.

(this picture is from yahoo public or commercial use files and also closest to what they look like) 🙂

Saltine Cracker Candy
  • 1 sleeve Saltine crackers
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
  1. Line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil and spray foil with cooking spray.
  2. Lay crackers evenly over foil, salted side up.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  4. In a small saucepan, bring butter and brown sugar to a simmer over medium heat. While the butter is melting, stir frequently to mix evenly. Once mixture simmers, let simmer without stirring for 3 minutes.

  5. Remove from heat and pour evenly over crackers.
  6. Place in oven for 5 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Return pan to oven for 30 seconds to help melt the chips.
  8. Use a spatula or knife to spread melted chocolate evenly.
  9. Sprinkle pecans on top. Cover with aluminum foil so that foil doesn’t touch and place in refrigerator for 2 hours.
  10. Break into pieces.

This is candy is so easy and one of my favorite ones to do when I just need something simple to make and take to a gathering or even give out as little gifts.

 

I have enjoyed sharing so many of the recipes that we have found fun and that we do around the holidays.  As I have gotten older I find the joy is cooking and sharing laughter and love with those closest to me.  My sweet guys love to eat, but my little man has a milk allergy, so I have to think of things to include that don’t have milk in them.  Sugar cookies is usually my go too, because they can be made with his special butter.  I truly hope that you have enjoyed our really awesome recipe blog hop and that you will check out some of the other great authors and their recipes! 🙂  They are listed again below.

Here are the links as promised! But they do not become active until the day of! 

I hope that you enjoy these recipes and find something for the holidays to sample at your own table.

FRI, Nov 30: Holiday Appetizers – Tracy Ruckman
SAT, Dec 2: Holiday Beverages – Rachel Hartsfield
MON, Dec 3: International Holiday Foods – Peggy Cunningham
TUES, Dec 4: Holiday Breakfasts & Brunches – Betty Thomason Owens
WED, Dec 5: Holiday Main Courses – Sheryl Holmes
THURS, Dec 6: Holiday Sides / Potluck / Buffets – Tracy Ruckman
FRI, Dec 7: Holiday Sweets – Rachel Hartsfield
SAT, Dec 8: Holiday Recipes Master List – Tracy Ruckman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Recipe Blog Hop

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There’s nothing quite like this time of the year.  The crisp winter air, fires going in the fireplace, beautiful lights shinning in the darkness from every home. Not to mention the wonderful smells, tastes, and love coming from the kitchen.

The next few weeks, I am participating in a Christmas recipe blog hop, started by my wonderful friend Tracy Ruckman. We are starting this series off this weekend, so please join us!

What beverage do you think of when you think of Christmas? For myself and family it is Russian Tea. Now we have a new twist on Russian tea, we use pineapple juice!  But man is this twist ever tasty! Below is the recipe we have been using and my hubby loves it cold.  I have always preferred mine hot. You decide though.  P.S This recipe makes the home smell divine!

photography of blue ceramic coffee cup
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Russian Tea 

2 cups granulated sugar

1 1/4 cups pineapple juice

1 cup orange juice

1/4 cup lemon juice

5 black tea bags

12 whole cloves

4 cinnamon sticks (divided)

2 cups boiling water

2-3 quarts hot water (to taste)

Instructions

  1. In a large slow cooker combine the sugar, pineapple, juice, orange juice, and lemon juice.
  2.  In  a large measuring cup, place tea bags, cloves, and cinnamon sticks
  3. Pour hot water over the tea bags and let it steep for 5 minutes
  4. Strain tea into the sugar and juice and mix. Discard the cinnamon sticks and cloves that you strained out.
  5. Add 2-3 quarts of hot water to taste. Add 2 quarts in immediately, then add more water until you get the taste you’d like.
  6. Add 2 remaining cinnamon sticks to the tea, and cover the slow cooker. Cook on low until  heated all the way through.

Can garnish using orange slices and cinnamon sticks if you like.  But we usually just drink and enjoy.

 

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Christmas Punch (My son’s favorite) 🙂 

5 cups Tropical Punch

1 cup cranberry juice

1 cup pineapple juice

1/2 cup lemon juice

4-5 cups of Ginger Ale

1 pint Raspberry Sherbet

Make sure all ingredients are chilled. Combine all juices into a large punch bowl. Add ginger ale slowly to keep as much fizz out as possible. Then add raspberry sherbet and let sit for a little while then serve.

My son loves this punch and this version was made at our wedding, but we used lime sherbet. His drink can’t have the sherbet because he is allergic to milk. It’s a beautiful and tasty drink for the holidays! 🙂

 

 

Here is my sweet son! 🙂  He loves everything mommy makes, now only if he would understand that he is allergic to milk!  ❤

 

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Now I have a special recipe for hot chocolate from my friend Tracy! Plus links to all the other amazing blogs to catch more recipes! ❤

Italian Hot Chocolate

By Tracy Ruckman

 

Growing up, my grandmother came to visit us each Christmas. On Christmas Eve, Nanny would tell us to get into our pajamas and slippers, then come back to the kitchen. We had a big eat-in kitchen with a sliding glass door, and our Christmas tree always stood in the corner. When we came back to the kitchen, she’d turned off all the lights except for the Christmas tree and the one over the stove, where she stood, stirring her magic elixir of hot cocoa. She told us to put two marshmallows into our Santa mugs and when the chocolate was just hot enough, she poured our cups.

We piled around the table and speaking in whispers, we talked about Jesus and Santa and presents. It’s one of my sweetest memories.

When I was an adult, I asked Nanny for her special hot chocolate mix and was disappointed to learn it was Nesquik. (And although I loved it then, today, it just has a different flavor!) I thought I would never have delicious hot chocolate again.

Until I went to Italy and discovered Italian hot chocolate. It ruined me for any other kind.

The stuff was so rich and creamy, I could almost stand my spoon upright in the cup. I came home, determined to re-create it.

Not sure I’ve mastered it yet, but not for lack of trying. (For those concerned: Italian Hot Chocolate has no calories, carbs, or fat. You still believe in Santa, don’t you?)

Tracy’s Italian Hot Chocolate

One 3.5 oz. Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate Bar, chopped or grated

2 Tablespoons sugar

2 Tablespoons cocoa

1 cup whole milk

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream (sometimes I add more and reduce the milk a little)

Put the milk and cream into a saucepan and begin heating over medium heat. Mix together the sugar and cocoa, then whisk the mixture into the heating milk. Gradually add the chopped chocolate bar and continue to whisk until melted and mixed.

Delizioso!

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Here are the links as promised! But they do not become active until the day of! 

I hope that you enjoy these recipes and find something for the holidays to sample at your own table.

FRI, Nov 30: Holiday Appetizers – Tracy Ruckman

SAT, Dec 2: Holiday Beverages – Rachel Hartsfield

MON, Dec 3: International Holiday Foods – Peggy Cunningham

TUES, Dec 4: Holiday Breakfasts & Brunches – Betty Thomason Owens

WED, Dec 5: Holiday Main Courses – Sheryl Holmes

THURS, Dec 6: Holiday Sides / Potluck / Buffets – Tracy Ruckman

FRI, Dec 7: Holiday Sweets – Rachel Hartsfield
SAT, Dec 8: Holiday Recipes Master List – Tracy Ruckman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why do people ignore small businesses?

I know people see my posts.  I hear the same stuff, “well someone else sells something and I can’t leave them out ” or “I just don’t get into all that stuff.”  (ok well buy from them, don’t tell me you don’t want to leave someone out or maybe read about an item before you call it stuff!).  I don’t care what you are selling, you could be selling baked apple pies with a small cooking permit out of a van, and I would commend you!  This is seriously a straight forward, honest post!  I might already be buying stuff from someone or I might be just liking your posts, but I will never make someone feel that what they are doing is not important.

If you are trying and you are getting up every day with a purpose, you could be selling toilet seats and I will applaud you!  Be an encourager, not a Debbie downer! Just because my destination and walk aren’t the same as yours, your kids, or your family member; doesn’t mean I deserve to be ignored or sadly even worse made fun of!  I don’t say any of this because I want someone to buy from me, I say it because your network should be supporting you regardless.   I will keep saying it and saying, you don’t have to buy anything from me to support me!  But you can say something positive, “I am happy to see that you are continuing to work at something!” or “Hey, what is so good about your product, I might not want to buy it, but I can suggest it to someone else!”  Being positive and encouraging has many faces and ways.  You don’t have to feel like you have to buy something from someone to support them.

Honestly, one thing that has hurt me over the years is my own family putting my dreams or likes down.  My grandmother, God I loved her so much, it was was on her death bed t that she apologized to me.  She told me,  “Rachel, I am sorry that I put my judgement on some of your dreams, like being a cheerleader; I really shouldn’t have done that and I ask you to forgive me.”    That really set my soul free!  I think we all need to be encouragers to one another, instead of questioning why someone is doing something.  It might not be something we understand, but as far as I see it, if it’s legal and it’s giving someone hope…. GO FOR IT!

Just some thoughts…

Are We Really Thankful?

Looking back I think as a child Thanksgiving was not my favorite holiday.  I didn’t eat then, like I do now. I was so excited that Christmas was coming! Then I believed in Santa and I believed in the magic of the season.  However, I also believed in the real story of Christmas too, so my family did instill in me, that Christmas was about the birthday of Jesus.  I still looked forward to receiving gifts under the tree more than anything else.  Now that I am a grown adult, I wonder if this is truly how I want my son to grow up believing.

As we speak I am enticing people with Black Friday ads for my makeup business and partaking in some of the sells myself, while yesterday I ate with family and discussed all the reasons we were thankful this year.  How is it that we are the only country that celebrates being thankful on Thanksgiving and then are running into the stores a few hours later?  This thought does over whelm me.  A part of me feels guilty that we were able to cash in on a few things, yet there are millions of people in this very country that couldn’t even afford to eat.

This is truly where my confusion comes in with life in general.  We are told that we need to make a certain amount to afford to live on this earth, but yet there are people that are trying so hard and they can’t even afford a roof over their head.  We are told that if we work really hard we will be blessed and gain a quality life, but yet there are many who do these very things and it doesn’t find them.  Have these people done something wrong? Have they just been overlooked in life and blessings?  This is the struggle and thought that is going through my mind today.

I may come across as harsh and even rude some times, over whelmed with opinions; but I have a soft heart, one that wants to really help others.  I just know there are people truly need help and others that just want to take from you. That is where life gets so tricky.  There are sadly a lot of unselfish people that are doing without, while the ones who can’t get enough are taking it all away.  For what though?  What do you achieve if you gain the whole world but lose tough with God? With what is really important?

I had to learn at a very young age that those riches that my mom was desperately after, didn’t make it into her grave.  The people that she had set aside to gain these riches including me (her own daughter), were the ones she wanted by her side when she realized at 44 she was dying.  People forget when they are caught up in the moment, that life doesn’t play favorites. We don’t get to take our cars, houses, riches, or anything else with us when we go. All of our graves are the same size.

So cherish your time with family. Don’t look so hard at all the sales (yes even mine) and truly take into account the moments with loved ones.  There are so many that don’t have that and are not being given these gifts. There are so many that are truly doing without and many people who are working hard, but can’t make ends meet.  Remember thankfulness doesn’t come with being greedy.  I truly wish black Friday would just disappear. Yes, you heard me say that.  I think as a society we have forgotten what is more important, and it’s not found in any store.

Happy Thanksgiving Friends.