Saturday, December 22, 2012

Green Pickle

It is almost Christmas!  And it is almost the birthday of Jesus!

Have you heard of the Green Pickle Ornament?  Until last year, I had never heard about it.  Pauline, my new daughter-in-law this year, told me about it.  She gave us one last year.  Thus a new Christmas tradition started last Christmas in our home.

I wanted to learn more about this Green Pickle.  I had heard it was a Polish tradition.  I liked that as I am of Polish descent.  But in my research, I learned it is really a German tradition.  That is okay as my husband is of German descent.  But, wait a minute!  I also found it is an American tradition.  It is said that the Green Pickle ornament had it's beginning in the deep south of the U.S. of A!

So I put "Green Pickle" in the Google search engine (don't you just love Google?  Where would we be if we couldn't use Google?). Here are two things I found.

John Lower was a German who was born in Bavaria in 1842.  He emigrated to the United States with his family.  He fought in the American Civil War and was captured and sent to a prison in Andersonville, Georgia.  He fell ill given the poor conditions of the prison.  Starving, he begged a guard for just one pickle before he died.  The guard took pity on him and found a pickle for John.  The Lower family lore says that the pickle, by the grace of God, gave John the mental and physical strength to live on.  After being reunited with his family he began the tradition of hiding a pickle on the Christmas tree.  The first person who found the pickle on Christmas morning would be blessed with a year of good fortune and a special gift, just as John Lower had experienced!

Now I found another theory. The people in Berrien Springs, Michigan, which is the self-proclaimed "Christmas Pickle Capital" of the world, hold a festival and have a Grand Dillmeister.  Their story claims Medieval origins and traces two Spanish boys who were on their way home from boarding school.  When they stopped to stay at an Inn, the mean Inn keeper stuffed them into a pickle barrel.  When St. Nicholas passed by, he touched the barrel with his staff and set them free.

Now I am originally from Michigan, born and raised.  But, I have to say that I tend to think that the German story of the Green Pickle seems more believable to me.  Just saying.

So now this year I will hide the pickle really good in our Christmas tree.  All four of our children and families will be here for Christmas. And this year, there will be a special gift for the one who finds the Green Pickle.  And there are new rules this year.  No throwing items off the tree while trying to find the Green Pickle!  One son got a little carried away last year when he couldn't find the pickle.  But it was all in good fun!

Do you hide a Green Pickle in your tree?  If you do, I would love to hear about it.  Please leave me a comment below.

I wish you all a Very Blessed Christmas!!!

                    MERRY  CHRISTMAS!!!!

As Always,  

Friday, December 14, 2012

Party Mix

Now I know you know what Party Mix is.  You can buy it in the grocery stores and convenience stores by the bag.

But my Party Mix is different than what you can buy in the store.  The recipe is from my mother and is around 60 years old.  I grew up on this Party Mix.  I looked forward to my Mom making it around Christmas every year.  I love this Party Mix!

Here are the ingredients you will need to make my Party Mix.

1 box of 10 oz. Cheerios.
1 box of 12 oz. Rice Chex.
1 bag of 16 oz. pretzels.
1 32 oz. container of cocktail peanuts.
5 sticks of oleo.
1/2 tsp. of celery salt.
3 tsp. of garlic powder.
2 Tbsp. of Worchestire sauce.

I use a big deep roasting pan (it is to the left of the bag of pretzels above).  Pour the rice chex, cheerios, peanuts into the roasting pan.  I add the pretzels, but I break them up into smaller pieces.  Stir all the dry ingredients with a long wooden spoon.

Melt the 5 sticks of oleo (you can use butter if you want) in a saucepan over medium heat.  Once the oleo is melted, add the celery salt, garlic powder and Worchestire sauce and stir.  Take this mixture and pour it over the dry ingredients in the roaster.  Stir until all the dry ingredients are completely covered with the oleo mixture.  Bake it for one hour at 250 degrees.  Stir the mixture every 15 minutes while baking.  When the Party Mix is done, remove it from the oven and set it on the cupboard to cool.  Stir it about every 10 minutes for about 30 minutes until it is fairly cool.

Here is the completed Party Mix.  After it cools, I store it in tupperware like containers.  I also put some in Christmas containers to give away as gifts for Christmas.
It is hard to believe that Christmas is almost here!  Once again we will celebrate the birthday of Jesus!  I also look forward to singing my favorite Christmas song, Silent Night.  Do you have a favorite Christmas song?
As Always,




Saturday, December 8, 2012


As I was driving back home today, I saw a sign on a local business.  I love those signs, especially the ones in front of the churches. 

There is a local business that posts his thoughts on a sign on the side of his building.  He comes up with some good ones.  He had this one in 2009 after Ryan Newman crashed in the Nascar Talladega Race and Ryan's car slid upside down.  Ryan didn't get hurt, which is a good thing.
But I digress.  Back to the sign I saw today.  It said "Real heroes don't wear capes, they wear dog tags".  I absolutely love that sign!  It is so true!! 
Real heroes are our military, who sacrifice to protect all of us!  I believe that we don't give them enough credit.  Do you know what you can do to help recognize what they do for us?  The next time you see a man or woman in a military uniform, please stop and thank them for all they do.  It is not a lot to ask and I am sure they will be grateful. 
And, I have another hero.  He is our grandson, Ronnie, who is 9 years old and just earned his first degree black belt in karate.  For 3 years now he has been working hard to earn this black belt.  This is what hard work and determination can do for a person. 
Way to go Ronnie!
Do you have a hero?  I would love to hear about him or her.  Leave me a comment below.
Until next time.....................
As Always,

Monday, December 3, 2012


This is probably my favorite time of year!  It is the birthday of Jesus which is what Christmas is all about!   It is a very busy time, but I look forward to it every year.  It takes a while to put up all the decorations, but I love it!

Probably my favorite decoration is the nativity set that I made 40 years ago.  I hand painted each one.  One of the wise men has a chip in it from when our 18-month old son at the time grabbed it and ran through the house with it.  Of course he fell with it and that is how the chip happened.  The most important thing is that our son was not hurt.  The chip is a cherished memory. 
See the big chip out of the base of the wise man?  I didn't want to fix the chip as I wanted the memory.  I hide it well when I set it up.

I set the nativity set on one of our tables.  I have always used angel hair and some plastic "hay".  I arrange it around the different statues.  I add a string of 50 white lights and that is our nativity set. 

I always try to come up with something different every year in the decorating department.  Last year I saw one similar to this on a Christmas ad on television and then created my own.

I bought the Christmas bulbs at Walmart and attached thread to each one and then attached each thread to a large paper clip.  I then opened the paper clip to "hook" over the parts of the chandelier.  As you can see each bulb is a different length so the bulbs hang at different levels.  I love it and have received a lot of compliments.  Just be careful when you take it down and pack it away.  When I took it out this year, I had to untangle several of them.  And I took care in storing them away so they would not tangle!  It's those little gremlins that went in and tangled them up!

This year I saw another idea on Pinterest (did I tell you that I am addicted to Pinterest?).  I have seen several ideas of putting Christmas bulbs in a glass container.  I have seen bulbs in vases, wine glasses, etc.  I had a glass vase that I used for this centerpiece.  I went to the local dollar store and bought four tubes of Christmas bulbs.  Some had 12 medium sized bulbs in them and others had 15 small bulbs.  I bought two tubes of red bulbs, one tube of green bulbs and one tube of red, green and gold bulbs.  I put the red bulbs of both sizes in the glass vase.  It was pretty, but I wasn't satisfied with it.  I wanted something more.  I had this red plastic plate that I bought last year from Walmart.  So what I ended up doing was putting the glass vase full of the red bulbs on the red plate.  Still, I wasn't satisfied.  So after thinking on it for a while, I took the bulbs that I had left and just put them around the vase on top of the plate.  Here is the result.

It is the centerpiece on our coffee table in the living room.  So for about $6 (not including the vase as I don't remember the cost of the vase), we have a nice Christmas decoration. 

I would love to see and hear some decorating ideas you have.  Leave me a comment below.

And remember, if you are looking for a unusual gift this Christmas, please visit my web site and pick from several selections.

Thank you for stopping by.....................

As Always,


Sunday, November 25, 2012


I did tell you before that we would have different guests stopping by every now and then.  I want to introduce you to Mr. Moose Mills of Moose Mills Products.  He has graciously agreed to an interview.  So let's begin.........

First of all, thank you Moose for stopping by to visit us.  Where and when did you start Moose Mills Products?

Gifts, thank you for having me.  It feels good to be in warmer weather down here in Florida.  It is a bit cold up in New Hampshire where I live.  Moose Mills Products is going on two years old.  The company that owns Moose Mills is Product Quest a manufacturing company with locations in Peterborough, New Hampshire, and in Daytona Beach, Florida.  Product Quest was started by an entrepeneur in 1995.  Some of the employees of PQ got together and came up with the idea to make skin care products that appealed to men as well as women.  My graphics and designs are the result of one Awesome graphic artist and her department at PQ.  EJ is the best artist around and I can't thank her and her crew enough for all they do! 

From reading about you from your earlier blogs on, you are a single dad raising a daughter.  Tell us about her.

Oh, you are talking about my pride and joy, Minny Moose.  As you know from reading that blog that you mentioned, my wife left me about two years ago and she left Minny for me to raise.  I absolutely love raising Minny, and with the help of a great family, Minny has the best of care.  When I have to travel on business, it is good to have such support from my family.  Minny is 4 years old and she travels with me every now and then.  She went with me recently on a business trip to North Carolina and got to see all the fall colors.  North Carolina has some beautiful mountains like New Hampshire.

What are some of the things you do to help promote Moose Mills Products?
I do several things. As you mentioned earlier, I have a blog.  I talk about my travels and my products, highlight various gift stores that carry my products, and do fun things on my blog.  I also have a Facebook page, and I get on Twitter and talk to my followers. I go to Gift Shows. I did a show in March in Portland, Maine. And I just did a show in September in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. These shows are for buyers from gift stores and we show our products to them and they place orders. I love meeting all the nice people at these shows. We are doing a few more shows next year. I also travel around helping promote my products with my "adopted mom" and sometimes with her family.  If you go and read my blog you can see some of the trips that I took this year. 

You told us that your products are for men and women.  Do you have a favorite?
I like all my products.  I do have some that I really like.  One is my Magic Hand Therapy?  Do you like that name?  I have a cool creative team and they came up with that and the other cool names of my products.  The reason that it is called Magic Hand Therapy is because your dry, tired skin on your hands becomes soft and touchable after using my hand treatment.  Magic!!!  And you know that they say that "mud" is good for your skin.  Really?  Well I know that my Mud Foot Balm is AWESOME for your poor tired feet!  It contains this cool ingredient that brings your feet back to life!  And I absolutely LOVE my Butter Cream for all over your body!  It contains shea butter and if you smell it you will want to eat it.  But I don't recommend that!  And I think the coolest named product I have is my Cool Hand Moose Hand Sanitizer.  Don't you just love that name?  You can check out all my products at

As you know, Moose, I am selling some of your Moose Mills Products in gift bags on my website  Can you describe one of the gift bags for the readers?
Yes, I see that you have really made some cool combinations of my products and you have put my moose plush doll in each gift bag.  The Hand/Foot/Lips Gift Bag is probably the most popular one as it has my Magic Hand Therapy, Mud Foot Balm, Aloe Lip Balm along with the plush moose doll.  You have a total of 5 different gift bags which I think is a very nice selection.  One of my gift bags would be a great gift for that special someone in your life.  Please check the gift bags out at her website.
How was your Thanksgiving, Moose?
I had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Minny Moose and I spent it with family up in New Hampshire.  Lots of food and Minny and her cousins had a blast playing together.  It is great for families to spend quality time together.  I am all about Family!
I  hear you are getting ready to take a trip overseas?  Are you traveling to the Far East?
Yes, there is a crew from Product Quest going over to Japan, China and the Philippines.  We will introduce some of the products we make here including my Moose Mills Products.  I am so looking forward to going over there.  I will take pictures and do a blog on my trip when I return.  Who knows, maybe I will do a blog while I am over there.  Make sure you follow my blog to see what happens!
Well, Moose, I know you are very busy and have to run.  I want to thank you for stopping by and giving us a few minutes of your precious time.
Yes, I am busy getting ready for my trip to the Far East.  And I am also busy marketing for the Christmas holidays.  You know, "A Moose's work is never done"!  I want to thank you for having me stop by, and Merry Christmas everyone!!
That's all for this time.  Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and Happy Shopping!!
As Always,





Monday, November 19, 2012


Can you believe that it is almost Thanksgiving?  A time to thank God for all you have.  A time to get together with family and eat too much!  .

As I told you in my last blog, my hubby and I have been married almost 49 years.  Yes, a very long, long, long time!!  But you know it really doesn't feel that long.  We have four children, three boys and one girl.  And we have one grandson who is 9 years old.  We are fortunate that all our children live in Florida, so we can see each other fairly often. 

This is the time of year to be thankful.  Thankful for what?  I am sure you have a lot of things to be thankful for. I am thankful to God for how good he is to me.  I am thankful for good health, for a loving husband, for a loving family, for good friends and I could go on and on.  What are you thankful for?

When we get together at Thanksgiving, our daughter-in-law always brings a card for each of us to put on that card what we are thankful for during the year.  It has become a tradition each year.  Most of us groan about what we should write and we have one son you always puts some "smart" answer.  But most of us put what we are so thankful for.  Do you have a "Giving Thanks" tradition?  If so, I would love to hear about it.  Please send me a comment below.

I have a confession to make.  I am addicted to Pinterest, thanks to my daughter-in-law.  She warned me and she was so right.  I am on there a lot grabbing "Pins" and most of them are for desserts!  Now I am sure I will never be able to make them all.  (I have over 600 pins on desserts alone!)  But I am going to try at least one of them for Thanksgiving.  If you haven't tried Pinterest, you should at least give it a look.  You will probably get "hooked" just like I did.

I am sure that some of your family will be in front of the television for the Big Game after or before your meal.  It is a tradition for the Detroit Lions to play the first game on Thanksgiving as well as the Dallas Cowboys play the second game on Thanksgiving.  Our family is originally from Michigan.  We moved to Florida in 1985.  Now you would think we were Lions fans.  Nope!  We are fans of the DaBears!!!  That's right, the Chicago Bears!  But that's for another blog.............

Now after you are done preparing everything for your Thanksgiving dinner, everyone has eaten, you have cleaned up the kitchen and everyone has left, do you have a headache from it all?  Probably.  Why not use one of my Vintage Ice Bags to help that headache go away.  I love how you can use ice or hot water in the bag.  So why not pick one up for yourself.  The Vintage Ice Bag would also be a perfect gift for some of your names on your Christmas list.  You have a choice of 27 different designs.  Visit my web site here.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!  God's Blessings to you all!!

As Always,


Monday, November 12, 2012


Welcome to my new blog, Gift Bags n More.  I am glad you stopped by to visit me.   I am a semi-retired grandmother living in Florida.  I can't stand to not be busy, so I am always doing something, thus the "semi-retired".  It helps me keep young!
Gift Bags n More developed from requests for Gift Bags of different products.  I have done the gift bags for shows and they were a great hit.  So I decided to offer them on my own web site
Now I do have a guest "star" that will visit from time to time.  She is our very own cat, Punkin.  She has been with me at work since 2002 and lived at work until I semi-retired last year.  You can say that Punkin retired with me.  Now it wasn't easy getting her to retire with me as my husband of 49 years (yep, 49 years as of 12/28/12) does NOT LIKE cats.  It took 2 of my bosses to talk my hubby into it.  So hubby decided to go ahead and let Punkin come live with us.  Well, needless to say, Punkin now has my hubby wrapped around her little paw!  He Loves Punkin.  Now he won't admit to that, he will just claim he likes her, but he is constantly talking to her and she meows back to him!  She talks more to him than to me and I have taken care of her for 10 years

Here is Punkin at work.  She was always helping me get my work done.  She is a little cat.  When most people first see her, they think she is a young kitten.  They don't believe me when I tell them that she is 12 years old.  She is a small cat and I like that about her.  She is very independent as most cats are. 
On my web site, I offer Just Fur Pets®, a new pet line.  Just Fur Pets is not like any other pet product.  It is a trendy line of products designed to pamper and tackle any furry situation.  The exclusive FURSURE Blend, which is trademarked, is made with only the best, most natural ingredients.  All Just Fur Pets® Products are free of Alcohol, Phthalates, Petroleum Derivatives, Sulfates and Parabens.

You can buy Just Fur Pets in 4 different gift bags or each product individually.  Take it from Punkin, "This is the best pet product out there" and "Don't forget your pets!".

So in the future, I will have Punkin visit quite often.  I will also have guest pets visiting.  I heard that Mr. Moose Mills is quite the traveler, so I am sure he will be stopping by also.

Look for me on twitter @giftbagsnmore.  I also would love you to stop by my Facebook page here  and I would appreciate it if you would "like" my page.  Thank you so much!