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PostHeaderIcon New Year’s Eve Facts and Traditions

  Written By: Melainie

New year traditions and facts

Are you getting ready to write some New Year’s resolutions and have fun ringing in the New Year? Before you do, I wanted to share some fun and interesting facts about New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day celebrations. You might be surprised at what you find out.

New Year’s Eve Traditions and History

Resolutions – Ringing in the New Year is not a modern day concept, and was even documented in Babylonian times as a period of great celebration. Along with the feasts and celebrations in Babylon came the custom of making New Year’s resolutions, the most popular of which during that time was returning borrowed farm equipment.

new years facts traditionsSince then, the date of the New Year has changed quite a bit, until it became established that January 1 would be the beginning of the New Year. The name January is derived from Janus, the name of the Roman god of beginnings. He is portrayed with two faces, one looks toward the future and the other looks back on the past.

Baby New Year – This tradition was begun in ancient Greece to celebrate the rebirth of their god of fertility. They would parade a baby around in a basket during their New Year’s celebrations.

New Year’s Song – Everyone has heard “Auld Lang Syne” played or sung at New Year’s celebrations, but how did it become the official New Year’s Eve song? Auld Lang Syne is a Scottish phrase that is translated as “old long since,” meaning “times gone by” and the words are reminiscent of remembering good times and good friends. It was a popular Scottish song and was even published in a book by the poet Robert Burns. Guy Lombardo of Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadiansheard the song being sung by Scottish immigrants and played it at the New York City New Year’s Eve party in 1929, making it famously popular as the New Year’s Eve song ever since then.

Auld Lang Syne
Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot and days of auld lang syne?
For auld Lang syne, my dear, for auld Lang syne,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld Lang syne.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot and days of auld Lang syne?
And here’s a hand, my trusty friend and gie’s a hand o’ thine
We’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet for auld Lang syne.

new years eve day traditions factsGood luck foods- If you want good luck in the coming year, then you should eat black-eyed peas (a tradition for good luck here in the south), ham (a symbol of prosperity), and cabbage (for prosperity and wealth) on New Year’s Day. But eating lobsters or chicken on New Year’s Day will bring a year of bad luck.

New Year’s Eve and Day Facts

312 Million- approximate population of people in the U.S. to ring in the New Year of 2012.

7% of those people will choose not to celebrate New Year’s Eve / Day.

62% will stay home to celebrate the New Year.

750 Million photos were uploaded to Facebook during the New Year’s Eve weekend in 2010.

Car Theft- More vehicles are stolen on New Year’s Day than on any other day, so keep your car locked and safe.

1907- year of the first New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square. It was 700 pounds and consisted of iron, wood and 100 lights.

new years facts traditions11,875 pounds- weight of the Waterford crystal New Year’s Eve ball that is dropped in New York City’s Times Square.

More than 30,000 lights adorning this huge crystal ball.

“Let there be love”- the crystal ball theme for ringing in the year 2012.

Born on January 1 - Paul Revere, J. Edgar Hoover, Lorenzo de Medici, Betsy Ross and Pope Alexander VI

25% of people will abandon their New Year’s resolutions after only two weeks!

50% will give up their resolutions halfway through the year.

Wearing red underwear on New Year’s day is supposed to bring you good luck.

{sources: FactMonster.com, 2020 Site, Woodridge Patch, U.S. Census Bureau, Hallmark, History.com, Wikipedia.org}

PostHeaderIcon Family Christmas Fun With a Baby

  Written By: Melainie

cute babyHaving a 16 month old baby running around at Christmas time was the most fun ever! Anneliese was adorable, hyper, and very excited this past Christmas weekend. She had received so many wonderful gifts and loved every single one. I couldn’t stop snapping cute photos of her, so I am going to show everyone our fun Christmas celebrations using pictures.

{*WARNING* The following pictures may induce snuggling and fuzzy feelings- it may be too cute to watch.}

My Baby’s Second Christmas

We couldn’t wait til Christmas before opening the packages received from distant relatives.

Anneliese loved the DVDs.

baby opening Christmas gifts

Yay, a toy that makes noise!

My baby was so excited about opening these presents, she was running around and practically bouncing off the walls.

baby second christmas

All these gifts made her hyperactive.

family Christmas fun

Gifts under the Christmas Tree.

On the morning of Christmas Eve, we like to open all of our gifts together as a family before getting ready and driving to my parents’ house. This year, we bought Anneliese a beautiful sofa chair that she absolutely loved. She has been obsessed with find seats around the house to sit in, so we finally got the hint and bought her one. She loves sitting in it to watch cartoons or read, or just climbing on it while screaming her “war cry.”

baby christmas fun

Grandma’s house is so much fun, especially when Anneliese’s cousins come over to play with her.

christmas fun with baby

Poor Grandma's cat was chased all over the house.

adorable christmas with baby toddler picturesAfter all of the Christmas Eve excitement, Anneliese was exhausted and getting a little moody. She was ready for bed with her Christmas pajamas (thanks Uncle Bryant) and new robe (thanks Grandma and Grandpa). She slept like a yule log until I woke her up at 9 o’clock Christmas morning, while poor Uncle Bryant had to wait to open his presents since he had woke up at 6 that morning.

 

cute baby toddler at christmas

"They've got me surrounded!" My baby was super excited about her presents.

baby christmas dress picturesAfter opening the gifts it was time to head to church and Anneliese was not ready to quit playing. She did look adorable in her beautiful Christmas dress even though she was pouting a little. After church we had lunch at my Grandparents house and got to open more gifts. Anneliese had so much fun playing with her cousins and opening presents that she skipped her nap time.

cute baby pictures

My baby loved all of her new gifts and had so much fun!

Christmas memories with baby

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

After having fun at my Grandparents’ house, we were all ready fora nap, especially Anneliese. We went to visit with my husband’s family while Anneliese took a mini nap. Then she played with them all evening until we drove home at bed time. It was a fun-filled exhausting day and we all slept well that night. I hope everyone else had a wonderful memorable Christmas with their families!

PostHeaderIcon The Reason to Have a Merry Christmas!

  Written By: Melainie

merry christmas bible reason

What is Christmas all about? I wouldn’t mind if I did not receive a single gift for Christmas. The most wonderful thing about Christmas is the joy that fills the air, the love that people show to one another, the gathering of family and friends who love you, and remembering that the LORD came down from heaven to take away the sins of the world.

This Christmas I have already been blessed from reading the stories of goodwill here in the U.S. and how people are coming together to help our less fortunate neighbors all across the country. Along with that, more soldiers will be home with their families this Christmas and I will be spending time with my family for Christmas.

birth of Jesus ChristJust remember, as you go about your Christmas holiday season, to enjoy your blessings and pass that joy along to others. Let’s have an entire nation of cheer and goodwill for Christmas this year. Also, don’t forget the One who is the perfect example of love and goodwill, whose birthday many people around the world will be celebrating.

Birth of Jesus Christ:

Luke 2

1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

PostHeaderIcon Guest Post: 9 Ornate Christmas Desserts from Easy to Expert

  Written By: Guest Blogger

{The following is a wonderful guest post by the budding food writer, Sue Colburn. These recipes will be great for homemade Christmas gifts. Thanks again Sue, for this delicious article!}
christmas dessert recipes guest

9 Ornate Christmas Desserts from Easy to Expert

Have a blast making these oh-so-divine Christmas cookies, cakes and other sweet treats that suit any skill level.

Whoever said a fresh start begins on January 1? When it comes to making Christmas desserts, try a new and improved recipe—something that takes you out of your holiday comfort zone. Make Christmas cookie balls instead of sugar cookies; add some peppermint flavoring to a plain cheesecake; and dress up traditional cupcakes using holiday decorations. No matter your skill set in the kitchen, there are many ways to cook outside the box this holiday season—all you need are a few ingredients and a lot of Christmas cheer!

The Easy Christmas Desserts

With all the obligations that accompany the holidays, not everyone has time to fiddle with making over-the-top treats. And let’s face it: some people just don’t have the knack for baking. If your ability-to-bake level is somewhere between Dessert Take-Out and Easy-Bake Oven, the following recipes are right up your alley. In fact, round up the kids—these Christmas desserts are easy and fun for the whole fam!

1) Oreo Snowman Cookie Balls

Easy Christmas DessertsServings: 48

What You Need:
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1 pkg. (16.6 oz.) Oreo Cookies, finely crushed
2 pkg. (8 squares each) Baker’s White Chocolate, melted
1 tsp. black decorating gel
2 tsp. orange decorating icing

 How It’s Done:
Mix cream cheese cookie crumbs until well blended.
Shape into 48 (1-inch) balls. Freeze 10 minutes. Dip balls in melted chocolate; place in single layer in shallow waxed paper-lined pan. Decorate with remaining ingredients to resemble snowmen.
Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.

2) Festive Mint Thins

Easy Christmas Desserts

Servings: 12

What You Need:
1 pkg. (8 squares) Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted, slightly cooled
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
1 sleeve Ritz Crackers (36 crackers)
1 candy cane (6 inch), crushed

How It’s Done:
Mix chocolate and extract.
Dip crackers in chocolate mixture, turning to completely coat each cracker. Carefully scrape off excess chocolate. Place crackers in single layer on waxed paper-covered baking sheets; sprinkle with crushed candy.
Refrigerate 30 minutes or until chocolate is firm.

3) Holiday Poke Cupcakes

Easy Christmas Desserts

Servings: 24

What You Need:
1 pkg. (2-layer size) white cake mix
1 cup boiling water
1 pkg. (3 oz.) JELL-O Gelatin, any red flavor
1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip Whipped Topping, thawed
Red or green food coloring
Suggested decorations: colored sugar, colored sprinkles, crushed candy canes and/or holiday marshmallows

How It’s Done:
Prepare cake batter and bake as directed for cupcakes. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Pierce tops with fork.
Add boiling water to gelatin mix; stir 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Spoon over cupcakes. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Remove from pans.
Tint Cool Whip with food coloring; spread onto cupcakes. Decorate as desired.

The Intermediate Christmas Desserts

So your baking skills are somewhere in the middle of super cinch and ridiculously difficult—that’s no problemo! Look at it this way: there has to be a middle class in every group, including baking. If you’re looking for middle-of-the-road recipes, these Christmas desserts will provide just enough challenge without causing frustration. Sweet!

4) Merry Cherry Dessert

Christmas Dessert

Servings: 18

What You Need:
1 can (21 oz.) cherry pie filling, divided
1-1/2 cups boiling water
1 pkg. (6 oz.) JELL-O Cherry Flavor Gelatin
1-1/2 cups cold water
4 cups angel food cake cubes
2 pkg. (3.4 oz. each) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
3 cups cold milk
1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip Whipped Topping, thawed, divided

How It’s Done:
Reserve 1/3 cup cherry pie filling for garnish; set aside. Add boiling water to gelatin mix in large bowl; stir at least 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Stir in cold water and remaining cherry pie filling. Refrigerate 45 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Place cake cubes in 3-qt. serving bowl; cover with gelatin mixture. Refrigerate 45 minutes or until gelatin layer is set but not firm.
Beat pudding mixes and milk in large bowl with whisk 2 minutes. Stir in 2 cups Cool Whip; spoon over gelatin layer in bowl. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm. Top with remaining Cool Whip and reserved cherry pie filling.

5) Angelic Apple-Cranberry Pie

Delicious Christmas Desserts

Servings: 8

What You Need:
1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1 ready-to-use refrigerated pie crust (1/2 of 15-oz. pkg.)
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 Golden Delicious apples (1 lb.)
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

How It’s Done:
Heat oven to 425ºF.
Bring cranberries, water and 6 Tbsp. sugar to boil in small saucepan on medium-high heat; simmer on low heat 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.
Place pie crust in 9-inch pie plate, pleating edge as necessary to fit. Beat cream cheese, 1/4 cup of the remaining sugar, egg and vanilla in bowl with mixer until well blended; spread onto bottom of crust. Cover with cranberry sauce.
Peel apples; cut in half and remove cores. Place, cut-sides down, on cutting board; cut into thin slices, keeping slices for each apple half intact. Arrange over pie. Mix remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over apples.
Bake 28 to 30 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown.

6) Winter Wonderland White Chocolate-Peppermint Cheesecake

Yummy Christmas Desserts

Servings: 16

What You Need:
1-1/2 cups Honey Maid Graham Cracker Crumbs
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 pkg. (8 oz. each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
1 cup sour cream
4 squares Baker’s White Chocolate, melted
4 eggs
1 cup thawed Cool Whip Whipped Topping
16 miniature candy canes

How It’s Done:
Heat oven to 325°F.
Line 13×9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides. Mix graham crumbs, 3 Tbsp. sugar and butter; press onto bottom of pan. Bake 10 minutes.
Beat cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and extract in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Add sour cream and chocolate; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust.
Bake 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 4 hours. Use foil handles to lift cheesecake from pan before cutting to serve. Top each piece with a dollop of Cool Whip and candy cane.

The Show Stoppers

Pull out the red carpet and let’s get glamorous—it’s showtime! These advanced-level recipes include the festive bells and whistles of baking. In other words, you need to know your way around the kitchen, blindfolded. The following Christmas cakes are so incredibly ornate that they may be better served as holiday decorations. Move over Julia Child—it’s time for [Your Name Here] to take center stage.

7) Very Vanilla Snowflake Cake

Fancy Christmas Desserts

Servings: 16

What You Need:
1 pkg. (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
2 pkg.  (3.4 oz. each) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding, divided
6 squares Baker’s White Chocolate
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup cold milk
1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip Whipped Topping, thawed
1/4 cup raspberry jam, warmed, strained

How It’s Done:
Heat oven to 350ºF.
Prepare cake batter and bake as directed on package for 2 (9-inch) round layers, blending 1 pkg. dry pudding mix into batter before pouring into prepared pans. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes; invert onto wire racks. Gently remove pans; cool cakes completely.
Meanwhile, draw 3 or 4 snowflake shapes on paper, ranging in size from 1 to 3 inches in diameter. Place on tray; cover with waxed paper. Melt chocolate as directed on package; cool 5 minutes. Spoon into small resealable plastic bag; cut small corner off bottom of bag. Trace over snowflake patterns with chocolate, rearranging patterns as needed to make a total of 35 chocolate snowflakes. Freeze 10 minutes or until chocolate is firm. Carefully transfer snowflakes to plate; refrigerate until ready to use.
Beat remaining dry pudding mix, sugar and milk in large bowl with whisk 2 minutes. Stir in Cool Whip. Place 1 cake layer on plate; spread with jam, then 1/3 of the pudding mixture. Cover with remaining cake layer. Frost top and side of cake with remaining pudding mixture. Decorate with chocolate snowflakes. Keep refrigerated.

8 ) ‘Tis the Season Starlight Mint Cake

Christmas Desserts

Servings: 16

What You Need:
1 pkg. (2-layer size) white cake mix
1 cup boiling water
1 pkg. (3 oz.) JELL-O Cherry Flavor Gelatin
28 starlight mints, divided
3 squares Baker’s White Chocolate, melted
2 Tbsp. sour cream
2 drops red food coloring
2 cups thawed Cool Whip Whipped Topping

How It’s Done:
Prepare cake batter and bake as directed on package for 2 (9-inch) round cake layers. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes. Pierce cakes with large fork at 1/2-inch intervals. Add boiling water to gelatin mix; stir 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Pour over cakes. Refrigerate 3 hours.
Heat oven to 350ºF. Reserve 5 mints for later use. Place 12 of the remaining mints, about 4 inches apart, on parchment paper-covered baking sheet. Bake 5 minutes or until mints are melted and each spreads out to 1-1/2- to 2-inch circle. Remove from oven; cool completely before removing from parchment paper. Meanwhile, repeat with remaining 11 mints.
Blend 5 reserved mints in blender until finely crushed; place in small bowl. Stir in melted chocolate, sour cream and food coloring.
Dip bottom of 1 cake pan in warm water 10 seconds; unmold onto serving plate. Spread cake with chocolate mixture. Unmold second cake layer; place on first layer. Frost with Cool Whip. Decorate with melted mints. Keep refrigerated.

9) Totally Fabulous Turtle Cake

Christmas Cakes

Servings: 16

What You Need:
1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip Whipped Topping (Do not thaw.)
1 pkg. (2-layer size) devil’s food cake mix
1 pkg. (3.9 oz.) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding
38 Kraft Caramels
1-1/2 Tbsp. water
6 oz. (3/4 of 8-oz. pkg.) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
5 squares Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate, divided
16 Nilla Wafers
16 Planters Pecan Halves

How It’s Done:
Spoon half the Cool Whip into bowl; refrigerate to thaw. Return remaining Cool Whip to freezer. Prepare cake batter and bake as directed on package for 2 (9-inch) round layers, adding dry pudding mix to cake mix before mixing with liquid ingredients. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes; invert onto wire racks. Remove pans. Cool cakes completely.
Meanwhile, microwave caramels and water in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1-1/2 minutes or until smooth, stirring every 45 seconds. Cool slightly.
Beat cream cheese in large bowl with mixer until creamy. Add caramel sauce; mix well. Blend in thawed Cool Whip. Stack cake layers on plate, filling and frosting top with cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Microwave frozen Cool Whip and 3 chocolate squares in microwaveable bowl 3 minutes or until well blended, stirring after each minute. Cool 10 minutes. Meanwhile, melt remaining chocolate squares as directed on package. Dip half of each wafer in chocolate; place on waxed paper-covered baking sheet. Top with nuts. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Spread Cool Whip mixture onto top of cake. Garnish with wafers. Keep refrigerated.

About the Author:
Sue Colburn believes in new beginnings… For her “retirement” from teaching 7th grade Social Studies she set her sights on breaking into the Food Media industry. Just like she taught her students: “ain’t nothin to it, but to DO IT.” If you’d like a food article for your site please email her: SusanColburn@gmx.com. When not writing or cooking, Sue spends time with her 2 granddaughters, 3 children, 8 cats and her high-school sweetheart, who by the grace of God she also married.

PostHeaderIcon Fun Christmas Facts and Stats

  Written By: Melainie

Now that I wrote all about the history of Christmas and origin of Christmas symbols, it’s time to find out the fun facts and stats about our modern Christmas holiday. I have found some pretty crazy and interesting information, so I know you will enjoy it.

Christmas Facts

Christmas Fun Facts

The city called North Pole is in Alaska. There are 2 cities named Santa Claus, and one named Noel.

Apollo 8 – Did you know that the crew of Apollo 8 orbited the moon on Christmas Eve of 1968? (During the orbit, the crew read the creation story from the book of Genesis, which was broadcast for all to hear and later became controversially famous.)

December 16- Busiest mailing day for packages, making the 19th the busiest delivery day for packages.

December 20- Busiest letter mailing day, so you might be better off mailing those Christmas cards early.

Christmas Facts and StartisticsWhite Elephant- The term “white elephant gift” came from the King of Siam. He would give a white elephant as a gift to any courtier that annoyed him and, because of the upkeep expenses, the gift would ruin them.

Mistletoe is derived from the Anglo-Saxon words “missel” and “tan” and is translated “dung twig.”

Gemini 6- On December 16, 1965, the astronauts of Gemini 6 sang “jingle Bells” for all the world to hear, possibly making it the first song sung in space.

World’s Largest Christmas Gift- Statue of Liberty, given to the U.S. from the French in 1886.

Crazy Christmas Statistics

5340 number of times a visa card is used every minute during the holiday season.

3- number of times the average Christmas shopper will be elbowed this Christmas shopping season.

$1.25 Billion was spent on Cyber Monday for the 2011 holiday season, which gives a 15% increase from last year.

Gift Cards are the top gift this year, just ahead of electronics.

fun Christmas Facts and stats801 Million pieces of mail will be processed on the 20th of December.

1.5 Billion cards sent for Christmas in the U.S. It is the largest card sending holiday.

2 Billion- approximate number of candy canes that will be sold this Christmas season.

30 Million- approximate number of real Christmas trees to be purchased this year for Christmas.

113%- Jewlery store sales increase for the 2010 Christmas season.

Christmas Facts$27.2 Billion- spent in department stores alone for Christmas in 2010.

10% of Christmas gifts will be broken before New Year’s Day.

 

{sources: U.S. Postal Service, U.S. Census Bureau, PR Newswire, Wikipedia}

Christmas Facts and Stats

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