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,