The Christmas Cat

Buster Kitten wasn’t quite sure what all the fuss was about but enjoyed his first Christmas. He found the Christmas tree to be an endless source of colorful, shiny balls to bat around and when, inevitably, they fell down, they were even more enjoyable to chase through the wrapping paper.

In the picture, the worn out cat is taking a brief break from all his cat duties of Christmas morning. Another thing about Buster is that he is a born model. WE get out the camera and he loves to pose for us.

Dung on a Twig or Christmas Romance?

Growing up, I failed to see the allure of hanging mistletoe and then possibly being grabbed and kissed by people I ordinarily wouldn’t shake hands with for any reason. I didn’t find is a particularly great addition to the holiday season. However, I recently came up with some interesting facts about the beloved Christmas weed.

For some reason, the fact that mistletoe stays green all winter, has earned it value as having a ‘stolen kisses power’. It is most noticeable in Winter because the leaves of the host tree are gone and the bunches of mistletoe show up on the bare branches.

There are 1,300 mistletoe species in the world. Canada and the United States are home to over 30 of these species. Hawaii has an additional six. In the world, more than twenty species are endangered.

Face it, the ‘magical’ mistletoe is a parasite and can only survive on the branches of trees and shrubs. In Greek, the mistletoe is called Phorademdron which translates to ‘tree thief’.

The ancient Anglo-Saxons made note of the fact that mistletoe grows where birds leave their droppings. Thus, in Anglo-Saxon, “mistel” translates into “dung” and “tan” means “twig”. Draw your own conclusions!

The custom of stealing kisses under the mistletoe dates back, possibly, to the 1500’s in Europe. Washington Irving mentioned it in “Christmas Eve” a story from his 1820 literary collection. In Mr. Irving’s day, the tradition was that each time a couple kissed under the mistletoe, they would remove one of the white berries. When the berries were gone, so was the kissing spell.

Charlie Brown . . . And a Tree?

For the last almost eight years, there has been an effort to reduce the significance of faith and religion in our country. Home owner associations have been known to ban religious Christmas decorations on private property because they might offend someone. We have to be tolerant. We have to force religious communities to pay for contraceptives and abortion in mandated health insurance because we have to be tolerant. Symbols of faith such as crucifixes around our neck or tee shirts proclaiming our faith are frowned upon in work places because not everyone is in line with that. We have to be tolerant. The president even tried to prevent Christmas trees in government-run hospitals. More tolerance? The country was founded on Godly principles by people escaping societies that felt that anyone who was different had to be hushed. If the erring people wouldn’t comply, they had to be punished for . . . not being tolerant.

This is the 50th Anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmas. An ever-popular, meaningful animation that, for years, has help put the Christ into Christmas. Until this year . . . The Christian Post pointed this out:

Mr. and Mrs. Obama appeared during the 50th anniversary airing of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” During the show, Linus explains to Charlie Brown that Jesus is the reason for Christmas in one of the best scenes of the special.

Unfortunately, the Obamas seemed to have completely forgotten that part, because they utterly changed the line to leave out Jesus, as The Christian Post pointed out.

“They teach us that tiny trees just need a little love and that on this holiday we celebrate peace on Earth and good will toward all,” President Obama stated, and Michelle Obama added, “Because — as Linus knows — that’s what Christmas is all about.”

Actually Linus drops his beloved blanket and recites Luke 2:8-14 to explain what Christmas is all about: the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

All these years of enjoying A Charlie Brown Christmas and no one realized how intolerant the show was and the people who enjoyed it. Go figure, huh? Do you suppose obama used the tiny tree scenario to get a plug in for his ‘religion’ of saving the world, one tree at a time? Yes, Michelle, Linus knows what Christmas is all about . . . it is you and your husband that missed the boat.

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Christmas Cookie Recipes!

Instead of fighting the crowds on Black Friday, start your Christmas baking! These recipes are relatively easy to accomplish and freeze well. In fact, one year, I had prepared gift tins of cookies for several friends. As happens in life, one ‘friend’ decided Christmas was the good time to suddenly start ignoring us, even in person, so we didn’t meet and greet during the holidays. Around February, my son discovered a happy surprise – the huge tin or cookies I had prepared to give to the ex-friend who now had some kind of issue going on entirely in her own head. He wanted to know if he could have them but I warned that after three months in the freezer, I wasn’t sure how good they would still be. He happily opened up the tin and the scent of Christmas baking immediately scented the air. They were just about as good as when they were packed for gifting. A funny result of this find was my husband’s expression when he came home from work that evening. He watched my son come back from the freezer in the garage, followed his passage through the kitchen to his room with a very quizzical look on his face. He turned to me and asked, “Was I seeing things right. Did that kid just walk by with a handful of . . . Christmas cookies?”

Butter-Rich Butterscotch Cookies
3 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup very finely chopped pecans or walnuts
½ teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups butter (You need it for taste here. Margarine just won’t do!)
1 cup packed, light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the first four ingredients in a bowl and set aside. In a pan over low heat, melt the butter, letting it simmer but avoid burning. Add the sugar and beat it until well-mixed. Let cool before adding egg, beating vigorously until smooth. Add vanilla and flour mixture until well combined.

Form dough into two rolls, about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate until firm, minimum of an hour or overnight.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove rolls from freezer and slice into 1/4 inch thick cookies. Place about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie
sheets. Bake for approximately ten minutes or until just golden. Cool and store in covered container for one week or freeze for as long as two months. Make approximately five dozen cookies.

 

Fiesta Cookies
1 cup butter
½ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 heaping tablespoon instant coffee
1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
½ cup chopped, drained, maraschino cherries
1 cup powdered sugar for coating

Beat butter until light; gradually add sugar. Continue beating until
light and fluffy. Add vanilla and beat to blend well.

Sift together flour, cocoa, coffee powder. Gradually add to creamed
mixture. Blend in nuts and cherries; chill until easy to handle dough.
Shape dough into one-inch balls and place one inch apart on ungreased
baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove cookies to
cooling racks and while still warm, roll in powdered sugar. Makes
approximately 4 to 5 dozen cookies..

 

Holiday Roll-Out Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
4 teaspoons baking powder
4 ½ cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar.
Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add baking power and flour, mixing well. The
dough will be stiff so you may have to blend the last bit by hand.

Don’t force it. If the weather is dry, less flour may be needed. Do not chill dough.

Roll out a portion of dough to about 1/8-inch thick. Cut out desired
shapes and bake on ungreased baking sheets for about eight minutes or
until lightly brown around the edges. Remove from baking sheets
immediately and cool thoroughly before decorating.

Christmas Cookie Icing
2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons milk or light cream
4 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons almond extract
Mix sugar and milk thoroughly. Add corn syrup and incorporate well. Icing
may be divided up and tinted according to your creativity. Colored sugar,
sprinkles, bits of crushed candy cane, candied fruit or nuts will
brighten up your cookies.