Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

52 Weeks of Personal History & Genealogy – My Favorite Sweet Stuff

by Sherry Stocking Kline
April 1, 2011

Week #13 – Sweets Week 13: Sweets. What was your favorite childhood candy or dessert?   
Have your tastes changed since then? What satisfies your sweet tooth today? This challenge runs from Saturday, March 26, 2011 through Friday, April 1, 2011

Deciding what my favorite Sweet Stuff was when I was growing up wasn’t easy!   Several things vie for first, but the most special sweet that I enjoyed eating at Christmas when Mom made pounds and pounds of it,was divinity! 

White, airy, sweet, melt-in-your-mouth divinity!

Mom knew just when to stop cooking the corn-syrup-rich mixture, when to pour it over the whipped egg whites, and just how long to beat it.  Mess up, and it will become a sticky caramel-like substance that tastes good, but you need a spoon to eat it.

Get it right, and it’s the food of angels.

Mom usually got it right.

A favorite with many, it was a ‘best-seller’ at the Mayfield Federated Church Lord’s Acre sale, often bringing high dollar bids.  It was also a huge favorite of my nephew’s as well.  For many years while he served in the Navy, Mom sent him a large box of divinity at Christmas time.  Once he confessed to opening the box, hiding it from everyone, and eating the entire three pound box all by himself! 

Can’t blame him for that!

Music Monday – Bing Crosby sings “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas”

It’s never too late to celebrate a little more Christmas, so here’s Bing Crosby singing “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas!”

This one is especially cool as it shows Bing himself in an old home movie taken on a movie set! Enjoy!

I had such fun learning how to embed video’s and hunting up pretty Christmas ones, so I don’t know how I missed posting this one after beginning it, but on the off-chance everyone isn’t completely sick of Christmas music, I’m going to go ahead and post it!

We went looking at Christmas lights several times over the holidays and the last time we went this song came on the car stereo, and my oldest granddaughter began to do the sign language to go along with the music that she learned in first grade last year! I didn’t know she knew how, and it was So pretty!

Have a Great New Year!

Christmas Caroling – Advent Calendar Challenge – December 21st

Sherry Stocking Kline
December 21, 2009

Thanks to Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers for today’s Advent Calendar Challenge:

Christmas Music

What songs did your family listen to during Christmas? Did you ever go caroling? Did you have a favorite song?

My family always loved music and I grew up listening to carols on the radio first, then 45 rpm records, then a stereo, then a tiny (by then standards) battery operated transistor radio.

Today, there’s music on the stereo, computer, smart phone, and  iPod!   It’s so easy to listen wherever you are.

Mayfield Federated Church

Mayfield Federated Church

Growing up near the tiny town of Mayfield, Kansas, our church youth group at the Mayfield Federated Church (a Methodist and Presbyterian combined church) always went caroling.

Our group would set out on foot (remember, it’s a tiny town) in the cool, crisp air, and it was always a fun and joyous evening of laughter, singing, and wishing the townspeople, mostly seniors, but often others who had been ill and shut-in, a very Merry Christmas.

Our pastor and his wife usually led the singing and ‘herded’ us from house to house.  There were many of ‘Grandma age’ in our town, and  many of them had grandchildren in the group, so they knew each and every one of us,  were often called Grandma by many who were not their grandchildren, and they were always delighted to see us!

A side benefit we often enjoyed was that several of them were extremely good cookie bakers, and we might be given cookies to enjoy while walking around the town.

After the caroling was done for the evening we’d gather back at the church for cookies and cocoa, and then sometime walk down to the school’s gymnasium for indoor games.

I know the seniors enjoyed the carols, but the fun and fellowship for all of us was priceless.

The Christmas Song – Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire – Music Monday

Sherry Stocking Kline
December 21st, 2009

I love Christmas songs!  There are so many wonderful ones, and there are so many great memories to go with each one!

This lovely version by Nat King Cole has been enhanced by great Christmas photographs!

I’ve never roasted chestnuts by a fire, but it sounds relaxing and fun. I Hope that you and yours have a wonderful Christmas!

Merry Christmas

Make Your Own Handwriting Font – Free Online

Sherry Stocking Kline
December 17, 2009

Have you ever wanted to have your own hand writing (or printing) turned into a font?  Say for scrapbooking, letters to family, etc., but just hadn’t parted with the money, yet?  (I sure have)

When the Legacy News e-mail newsletter came from the Legacy Family Tree Software folks a few days ago there was a link to a website that turns your handwriting into a font for free.

Woo hoo! Now I could type something up and have it look like I’d hand printed it.

Install your new font in under 30 minutes….

If you’ve always wanted your very own font, all you need is a computer, internet access, printer, and scanner, but given all that, you can pretty much have your new font installed in under 30 minutes.

So,  go read the Legacy Blog post here, where you can see more examples of fonts and read reviews.  And when you get to www.fontcapture.com, print out an extra form or two so you can practice lining up the letters within the graph  before uploading your own handwriting.  This is important.

Don’t like what you get?

Don’t like what you get?  Print out another form, and try again!   You can have a lot of fun with different and funky styles of printing!

That’s my everyday hand printing below, and yes, it’s that bad!

Have Fun!

Merry Christmas!

P.S. I had to re-boot my computer after I installed the font for it to work.

Advent Christmas Challenge – Grab Bag

Sherry Stocking Kline
December 17, 2009

Geneabloggers’ Advent Christmas Challenge – Grab Bag
Author’s choice. Please post from a topic that helps you remember Christmases past!

Reading Geneabloggers post from a few days ago (and I’m sorry I didn’t keep the link to just which post) Thomas was talking about the “Batman” version of “Jingle Bells”.  Until we went caroling this past week, I’d never heard of the Batman version of Jingle Bells.

Here are the words we used to sing when I was growing up!

Jingle Bells, Shotgun Shells, rabbits run away,
Oh what fun it is to ride in Grandma’s Model Aaaay,
Jingle Bells, Shotgun Shells, rabbits run away,
Oh what fun it is to ride in Grandma’s Model Aaaaaayyy!

You get the idea!

While caroling the nursing homes and shut-ins this past Monday, December 14th, our minister had a Texas version which went like this:

Jingle Bells, Shotgun Shells, rabbits all the way,
Oh what fun it is to ride in Grandpa’s Chevrolet,
Jingle Bells, Shotgun Shells, rabbits all the way,
Oh what fun it is to ride in Grandpa’s Chevrolet,

Caroling with our church’s youth group when I was growing up (and with older church members today!) is one of my favorite things to do!  No one will ever accuse me of having a good voice but it just doesn’t seem like Christmas till we’ve bundled up and braved the cold to go caroling!

And no good caroling party is complete without hot chocolate and sugar cookies!

Here are a couple of photos from this year’s caroling party:

Sherry and Savvy Christmas Caroling with the church

Sherry and granddaughter Savvy Christmas Caroling with the church

And here is one of our little group:

Church Caroling Party

Church Caroling Party

The daughter of the woman we were visiting took the photographs of us, and was kind enough to e-mail me copies.

Normally, our group is much larger, but this year, the temperature was 18 degrees, and we had a much smaller group!

Christmas Advent Challenge – Christmas Pageants!

Sherry Stocking Kline
December 16th, 2009

Thanks to Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers for his daily blogging (and memory) challenges…

Christmas At School

What did you do to celebrate Christmas at school? Were you ever in a Christmas Pageant?

Oh, my gosh, the Christmas pageant. How could I forget?  (Maybe because I’ve tried hard to?)

I attended a fairly tiny little school in a small town in Kansas. Eighty kids in the whole school, grades one through eight. That’s right, no kindergarten, and no middle school.

We had roughly 12 to 14 in our class at any given time, four classrooms, and two classes in each school room.

My very first experience in the program was when the folding wall dividers of the school were folded up, and parents poured into the school to watch us on the stage.  A couple of years later, there was a stage in the gymnasium, and we held our programs there.

Everyone was in the Christmas program…

Everyone was in the Christmas program.  Everyone.  Even people who couldn’t sing, people who couldn’t act, painfully shy people, and people like me who couldn’t sing, act, and were painfully shy.

Do I have horrible memories of the Christmas pageant?  No, but it was a long time ago, now, or seems like it, and the memories are all jumbled together.

Memories of waiting on the steps up to the stage, every kid full of Christmas excitement and too much Christmas candy, teachers threatening everyone within an inch of their lives if they didn’t quiet down, didn’t behave, or didn’t remember their lines.

He ran to the bathroom to ‘toss his cookies…’

Of course, the older kids got the more responsible, leading roles, and so the older we got the more responsibility we held.  One year the excitement got to one boy, and he ran to the bathroom to ‘toss his cookies.’   I felt his pain.

My one (and only)  shining moment as a lead in a play came when they needed someone to play the part of the daughter who honors Santa Lucia, the Swedish saint. (Read about that tradition here.)  Celebrated on December 13, the oldest daughter dresses in a long white dress with a red sash, and a wreath of leaves and candles (or battery powered tiny flashlights in my case) white socks and no shoes.

Because I had long, nearly waist length blond braids, I was a shoe-in for this part. It was my job to serve bread cubes to the others in the part of the skit.  Whether I was good or was lousy I can’t say, but it was my last leading role…

Advent Christmas Calendar Challenge – Charitable – Volunteer Work

by Sherry Stocking Kline
December 13, 2009

The following is part of the Advent Calendar Challenge, thanks to GeneaBloggers Thomas MacEntee!

Charitable/Volunteer Work

Did your family ever volunteer with a charity such as a soup kitchen, homeless or battered women’s shelter during the holidays? Or perhaps were your ancestors involved with church groups that assisted others during the holiday?

When I read this challenge, my conscience was pricked.  Pretty hard, too. Ouch.

Do we do this during the holidays.   No, not that I can ever recall did we, nor do we now during holidays.

I felt terrible.  And then a little voice inside me reminded me that throughout the year, we do ‘things’ that make other peoples lives a little bit easier.

Growing up on a farm and a rural community the farm families’ were close.  If your neighbor (and that includes people miles away) were ill, suffered a family loss, had surgery, died, etc., the word would go out, and food began to arrive. Almost immediately.

Prayer chains were begun and good, home-cooked meals were made and delivered with caring, concern, and love. Funeral dinners were provided, and funerals were well attended.   “Can we help?”  What can we do?”  These questions were asked and meant.  If the husband were ill, fields were plowed, cows were fed, or cows milked.  We were a part of the giving.  And when my dad passed away, of the receiving.

Growing up, I never heard of battered women’s shelters or food banks.  Did they exist?  Surely they did, but not in my tiny town, and maybe not even in the nearby one I now  live in.     But they do now.

My inner voice reminded that now we donate to a battered women’s shelter in Oklahoma where my cousin works, to a Christian group here that helps pregnant teens and other mothers with supplies when they are faced with a surprise pregnancy, to the food bank here in town.

Because we’ve had three family members die from leukemia and lymphoma, I volunteer and walk with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s “Light the Night” walk.  The money helps families with information and  expenses when someone gets a leukemia diagnosis. You can click here, and find the chapter near you, links to donate, and information if you or a family member needs it.

And when the health and wellness company that I’ve been a part of for nearly ten years began the “Save a Child” program to save the lives of children who were dying from malaria I began donating every month.

For every $10 bottle of silver I purchase, the company matches it with another.  And ships them to Africa, where each bottle saves the lives of at least two children.  Interested? E-mail me at Sherry@familytreewriter.com for more info.

But my conscience still pricks me because there isn’t anything special I do just at Christmas time.  I hope to make next year’s post different.

Music Monday – Mary Did You Know?

by Sherry Stocking Kline
December 14th, 2009

The first time I heard Kathy Mattea singing this song written by Mark Lowery and Buddy Greene, it became one of my new Christmas favorites. And this version, sung by Mark Lowery himself and accompanied by Guy Penrod and David Phelps is beautiful.

Mary, Did You Know?

Lyrics by Mark Lowery, music by Buddy Greene

Mary Did you Know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary Did you Know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you delivered will soon deliver you?

Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby, you’ve kissed the face of God.
The blind will see, the deaf will hear, and the dead will live again
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the Lamb.

Mary, Did You Know that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary Did you Know that your Baby Boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your Baby Boy is Heaven’s Perfect Lamb
This sleeping child you’re holding is the Great “I AM…..”

After watching “The Nativity Story” this past weekend with my family, it made me want to ask Mary some questions myself.

Mary, what did you think when shepherds began showing up at the stable? How amazed were you when the wise men came and brought gifts? And such expensive ones?

Did you use those gifts to keep Jesus safe from Herod when you had to hurry away from Bethlehem and stay in Egypt?

Did you ever think “oh, my gosh, what if I hadn’t listened to the dream that told Joseph to take the child to Egypt” to keep him safe?

What did you see when Jesus was young that made you certain he could turn the water into wine?

Mary, What Did You Know?

Merry Christmas to you and yours….

Advent Calendar Challenge – Fruitcake – Friend or Foe?

by Sherry Stocking Kline
December 14th, 2009

Thanks to Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers for today’s Christmas Advent Calendar Challenge!

Fruit Cake – Friend or Foe?

Did you like fruitcake? Did your family receive fruitcakes? Have you ever re-gifted fruitcake? Have you ever devised creative uses for fruitcake?

(Note: you can also post about a “fruitcake ancestor” and use it for Madness Monday!)

We didn’t receive very many fruitcakes when I was growing up…

Just lucky, I guess!

But my mom professed to love them, so occasionally she would buy one.  It usually never got finished, so how much could she actually love them, right?

Me, I tasted one or two, didn’t care for the rubbery candied fruit, and considered myself a Fruitcake hater.

Many years later, after I was grown and working at a federal government farm office the local grain elevator who always gave our office Christmas gifts of one sort or another, usually food or candy, gave us some fruitcakes.

“Oh, great,” I thought,  “They usually give us good gifts, and this year  -  Fruitcake!”

They seemed to be filled with a little extra Christmas Cheer…

Everyone else dived in (except for me) and exclaimed how good it was!   It also seemed they were traveling back to the break table just a little extra often to grab a piece of that fruitcake, and maybe it was my imagination, but they seemed to be filled with a little extra ‘Christmas Cheer,’ too.

Finally, not wanting to miss out on anything I decided to give the fruitcake a one-time try.

Mmmmm?  This can’t be  fruitcake, I thought.  The fruit wasn’t rubbery and tasteless and what in the world was this stuff marinated with?

It wouldn’t have passed the “Southern Baptist” test…

Mmmmm….  Whatever it was, it wouldn’t have passed the teetotaling “Southern Baptist” test that Whitney Clare writes about in her Advent Calendar Challenge!  And whatever it was, it was worth a second piece, and a third.

It was a pretty ‘cheery’ Christmas around there till the fruitcakes were gone, and  doggone it, I never did find out where the elevator bought those fruitcakes ….

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