Sweet Memories

Isn’t it funny how certain smells, and sounds, and music can immediately transport you back in time? I would also add “weather” to the list!

In winter, when I feel the first icy blast of air, and see my breath for the first time of the season, I’m always reminded of past days. And, in summer, in the midst of a refreshing afternoon breeze, when the lush green leaves are rustling lazily, I might suddenly find myself daydreaming of a little girl (me) riding her bike with friends to the country store for a Coca Cola, or a Popsicle, or some penny candy!

Yesterday, I was trying to think of the name of one of the brands of penny candy that we loved. I did a search and came across a wonderful website specializing in candy that was popular during the 1950s, 60s, 70s, or 80s!

You can search by decade, or you can search by pictures of the candy, itself. Talk about cool! :-D

Just for fun, I am going to list some of the candy that I used to buy as a kid. (In those days, we knew sugar wasn’t exactly a health food, but there was a little less pressure on us to avoid it.)

Here’s my list – not in any particular order, and by no means my absolute favorites – it would be too hard to narrow it down to only 10! ;-)

1. Bull’s Eyes Caramel Creams (I still love these today.)

2. Candy Buttons (Candy stuck on paper – We unintentionally ate more paper than candy with these!)

3. Burnt Peanuts (Sounds bad, but pink sugar coating on peanuts = good!)

4. Red Licorice (regular or shoe strings!)

5. Gumdrops ( I loved the purple ones!)

6. Canada Mints

7. Wax Lips, Moustaches, and Teeth! (Fun for dress up, but I can’t believe we used to chew this wax until every hint of flavor was gone.)

8. Bubble Gum (We were all expert bubble blowers!)

9. Dots (The Gummi Bears of yesteryear!)

10. Fruit Stripegum (Their slogan: Yipes! Stripes!)

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Did you have a favorite candy as a kid? :-)

Hugs,

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Red Jelly Beans

pansiestallvaseDo you have something that you’ve kept for years? Something you cherish because it brings back a lovely memory? Maybe it reminds you of someone you loved . . . or of someone who loved you . . .

When I was a kid, little girls wore dresses more often than they do now. Pants were usually just for playing. Wearing dresses to school and to church meant that a dressier coat was needed. A short little jacket wouldn’t be warm enough for bare knees or even legs wearing tights!

Growing up, I had a winter coat and a lighter weight spring coat that were replaced whenever I outgrew them by my grandmother. She made them herself. In fact, she made every coat I ever wore until I was in my teens. She recycled before it was a word in everyday conversation. Sometimes she would even use the best parts of the wool from one of her old coats to make a little coat for me. They were all beautiful. I remember most of them but there were a couple, from when I was very young, that I especially loved.


There was my little blue and white striped spring coat. It was a ribbed silk and it had pretty pink buttons with “diamonds” – at least that what I used to call them! ;-)

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And then there was the navy wool coat with the little “red jelly beans” for buttons. ;-)

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The buttons are all that’s left of those coats now, but holding them in my hand brings back a flood of memories of someone I dearly loved . . .

who dearly loved me, too. :-D

What is it that you have saved for a long time?

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Special note: The “little girl” greeting card shown above was created by etsy artist: FrenchCountry

Eggs-traordinary Keepsakes – Easter Fun

Are you sentimental?

eggsI am and it gets me into trouble sometimes. I find it difficult to let go of anything that reminds me of my family, friends, or just good times. It can be a battle for storage space between the things we need to keep and the things I’d “like” to keep. For example, I have storage boxes with cards/notes, my kids’ school papers, their baby shoes – not only their actual “first shoes”, but their first sandals, first sneakers, first “big girl” slippers – well, you see where I’m going here.

Even though I might be dubbed “overly-sentimental” in some cases, I think many would agree that holiday mementos are nice to save.

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Since it will be Easter this Sunday, I brought out some Easter eggs that the kids and I decorated years ago.

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It was our first attempt at blowing out the yolks before decorating them. We had read an article on how to do it and were very excited to give it a try. I remember that we poked a small hole on one end and then a slightly larger hole on the other end; inserted a toothpick to break up the yolk a bit, and then began to try what sounded easy in the directions . . . “just blow the yolk into a bowl”.

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Hmmm, well it didn’t seem easy! I huffed and puffed and finally did one – but whew!!! It was tough! Next my older daughter tried and she had about the same experience that I did. I began to think we’d only have a few blown-out eggs to decorate – since there was no oxygen tank on hand to revive us. ;-)

eggsBut then, up steps my younger daughter to give it a whirl. Incredibly, she does it in seconds!!! We are amazed! She does another and then another – all quick as a wink. She smiles and says that she’ll finish the dozen. Her sister and I look at her in awe. After she finished the 12th egg, she suddenly felt a little queasy – poor kid!!! Luckily, the feeling passed quickly and the three of us had a great time decorating these eggs.

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We used plastic sleeves for the middle part of each egg, but we got a bit creative painting and dyeing the “ends” of each egg.

As I say, it was a long time ago. Since then we’ve had a good laugh about how it took the help of the youngest one to get those eggs ready for decorating! They’ve held up well over the years, though. Storing them in an egg carton has probably helped. I do still love to pull them out and be reminded of the fun we had that day. :-)

Do you have things you just can’t part with?

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Cookie Lady

Have you ever known a cookie lady?

bakingscene1 I’m talking about someone who not only loves to bake cookies, but also loves to share them with others!

Maybe you had an aunt or grandmother who always had a plate of cookies waiting when you went to visit, or a neighbor who would make cookies for holiday gifts every year. Perhaps it’s your best friend . . . or could it be you, yourself, who likes to keep the cookie jar filled with delicious homemade cookies?

“Cookie Ladies” are especially precious these days because there aren’t so many of them around anymore. Life is so hectic now; most people don’t have the time.

I believe that cookie ladies are actually born that way. You either are, or you are not, a cookie lady! It takes a special kind of personality to have the patience for making cookies. It’s so different than baking a cake. A cookie lady joyfully takes on the time-consuming tasks of mixing, shaping, rolling, and often decorating large amounts of cookie dough, and then she needs even more patience to stay near the oven to literally “babysit” trays and trays of cookies. It’s an art and a science, but mostly it’s a labor of love. The world is a better place for having cookie ladies!!!

kitchenutensilsIn my life, the Cookie Lady was my husband’s Mom. I met her shortly after I began dating her son, and on that first visit, she presented me with a little tin of two kinds of her homemade cookies – applesauce raisin and chocolate chip. I was so touched by her thoughtfulness. They were absolutely the most delicious cookies I’d ever had. As the years went by, she always had cookies waiting for my husband and me, and eventually for our daughters – her grandchildren! She had about 6-7 different kinds that she liked to make and none of us could ever choose a favorite. They were all “the best!” She’s gone now but the love she served with those cookies remains in our hearts.

I hope you have known a cookie lady, or will know one in the future. They are the warmest of people.

I thought you might like the recipe for those Applesauce Raisin Cookies. I’ll include it here and also put it in the Bead Happily Ever After Recipe Box. :-)

Edited to add: You’ve got to see my P.S. at the end of this recipe!!!

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Ida’s Applesauce Raisin Cookies

1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup sugar
½ cup butter
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 cup of chopped or whole raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
¼ tsp salt

Sift flour with baking powder, soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.
Combine butter with sugar until creamy, then add the egg.
Next add flour mixture and applesauce alternately.
Add raisins and nuts.
Drop from a teaspoon onto a greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 375º for 8-10 minutes.

P.S. Now here’s the incredible part of this post . . .

I’ve had the idea that I would write about this topic for several weeks now. I keep a little list of things that I’d eventually like to use for blog posts. Why I chose today to talk about “cookie ladies” and my sweet mother-in law, I’ll never really know.

I just looked at my list and grabbed one of the topics. I could have written about it weeks ago, or I could have chosen any other topic from that list for today.

The irony is that as soon as I finished this post and told you about our family’s cookie lady and her recipe – it hit me!

Today is her birthday! She’s been gone for 12 years, but she would have been 100 years old today! I hadn’t remembered that until this very second!!!

It seems so appropriate and also an amazing coincidence that I would write about her today! I think she must have somehow “wanted” me to share her recipe! ;-)

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Christmas Quiz

Here’s a fun Christmas questionnaire that I saw last week on caroleknits. Because there are twenty-five questions, my initial idea was to split it into two separate posts. But then I thought you might like to decide whether you want to read it all at once or not. Maybe you’ll read part of it now, and then return tomorrow to pick up where you left off! :-)

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Your answers to any of the questions would be very welcome, too! Use the comment form if you like. Or if you have a blog and want to post your answers there, please let me know so that I can visit.

OK, here we go . . .

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?

Wrapping paper, ribbons, tags, package tie-ons! I really enjoy wrapping and love to create a beautifully wrapped gift!

2. Real tree or Artificial?

Real for many years – up until the youngest went off to college. After that we bought an artificial tree and I love the fact that I can now put it up early without worrying that it will be a needle-less stick by Christmas. ;-)

3. When do you put up the tree?

See #2. Actually, right after Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take the tree down?

Usually by Jan 1st. I love having it up for a month or so, but there’s nothing as “over” as Christmas, so I’m usually pretty anxious to put it away by the first of the year.

5. Do you like eggnog?

No, not really. I’ve just never developed a taste for it.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?

Without question – a Shirley Temple doll when I was about 6 yrs old. I remember running into the room of my sleeping parents at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning and breathlessly exclaiming to two very sleepy adults: “Santa brought the doll I wanted!” They didn’t seem all that surprised. ;-)

7. Hardest person to buy for?

My Mum & Dad. They have 6 kids buying them gifts, so it’s a real challenge to come up with original ideas for Christmas, birthdays, and mother’s and father’s day presents.

8. Easiest person to buy for?

My daughters – for everything except clothes, that is.

9. Do you have a nativity scene?

Yes, a few of them. One from when we were first married, another one made of plastic that the kids loved to play with when they were young (They’d spend hours arranging and rearranging all the figures!), and finally a beautiful one that my parents gave to us a few years ago. We alternate among them from year to year.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?

We mail them. It’s becoming quite expensive to send cards – between the cards and the postage – but I don’t think I will ever email them. There’s just something special about sending a paper greeting.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?

Hmmm . . . Can we say “most disappointing”?
When I was in my late teens, my girlfriends and I were all expecting friendship rings from the guys we were dating. On Christmas Eve, we 3 couples were all together to exchange gifts. Both of my girlfriends received sweet little rings and I got a wool hat with matching scarf. It was very pretty, but not quite what a teenage girl was dreaming of. ;-)

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?

I love “A Christmas Carol”, the version with George C. Scott as Scrooge. For years, we watched it every Christmas Eve. I also love “The House Without A Christmas Tree” which is a 1972 made-for-TV movie. It’s such a heart-warming story and the actors are perfectly cast. I never get tired of watching it.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?

I try to be on the lookout all year, but don’t usually get really serious until November.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?

I don’t think I have ever given a gift that I received to another person on my gift list. But I have donated unneeded gifts to charity.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?

When I was a kid it was that hard Christmas Candy. Each year, the pastor of our church used to give a little box of it to every school child. These days, I would have to say Christmas cookies.

16. Lights on the tree?

Yes – colored lights! Our outdoor lights have been white/clear for several years now, but we hold fast to the tradition of color on the Christmas tree.

17. Favorite Christmas song?

Oh, I don’t think I can choose just one! Even though the radio stations and all the stores overdo it with Christmas music, I still love several Christmas songs. As a kid, it was “The Little Drummer Boy”. Hmm, lets see, for a hymn, it’s “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” which we sang in Latin years ago. But I also love “O Holy Night” and White Christmas and Winter Wonderland and . . . well, you get the idea!

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?

Usually travel, but by car as most of the family is in New England.

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?

Why, yes I can – thanks to another favorite Christmas song!

20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?

We open one on Christmas Eve, and usually it’s a small one so that the best is yet to come on Christmas morning.

21. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?

No parking spaces and long lines at the malls. Each year we promise ourselves that “next” year we’ll be all finished with our shopping in September!! Hasn’t happened yet, though.

22. Favorite ornament theme or color?

I love Christmas in all themes and colors and have experimented with different ones over the years! For example, some years our tree is decorated only with handmade ornaments (Most of them were made by my daughters and me). Other years we’ve used just glass ornaments. Then there are years when we use only the Hallmark ornaments that we’ve been collecting since the kids were babies. We do have a tradition that maybe could be thought of as a “theme”. We call it “The Scene”. It’s a little Christmas village that we put together piece by piece, year by year. There are tiny houses and figures and cute Christmas miniatures. Nothing is from a set – it’s all just a collection of individual little pieces that we’ve had great fun searching for and adding to every year.

23. What do you want for Christmas this year?

A new stove. Mine is over 25 years old and it’s just about to croak!

24. Angel on the treetop or a star?

An angel.

25. Favorite Christmas dinner?

I’m flexible. I do like to have shrimp on Christmas Eve though!