Monday, November 30, 2009

What Does a Bayberry Candle Signify? |

Below is a link to an article on Bayberry Candles.

Thinking about all the holiday scents surrounding us and I have to say I love the smell of peppermint, sugar cookies (vanilla), christmas tree (pines), bayberry, cranberrys, cinnamon and apples :) for the holiday. Bayberry is special and goes back to colonial times in New England.

Folklore goes, To bring good luck for a year, they say, you must burn a Bayberry Candle on Christmas Day. And if the flame burns bright, and the light shines clear, then heaven will bless you all the year.

A bayberry candle burned to the socket, will bring joy to the heart and gold to the pocket." So in keeping with tradition it's time to get some bayberry candles for the holiday :)

What Does a Bayberry Candle Signify? |

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Secret Trips: Newport Off-Season - New

Newport RI During the Holiday Season:

Secret Trips: Newport Off-Season - New

This sounds so romantic and fun to do especially during the Christmas season, something about all the houses decorated with greenery and holiday lights. Walking with your special someone and getting a hot cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate to warm up from the walk brings you even closer together in spirit.
The charm of a seaside town during the holidays is just what stories are made of and can be real and a fun thing to do :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sagittarius - The Archer

All About Sagittarius

Sagittarians are classically known as the 'favorites of the gods' for good reason: These folks are famous for generosity, humor and optimism, as well as for the ability to see the best is every situation, no matter how dire the circumstances. A Sagittarius will find a real reason to celebrate each and every day -- due in no small part to Jupiter, the Archer's planetary ruler and the planet most known for benevolence.
Of course, the other side of this coin is excess and extravagance. So in addition to knowing how to laugh -- and how to make others laugh -- Sagittarians are also experts at overdoing everything. At the same time, if a Sag really does have to be restricted to just one of anything, it had better be the biggest or most impressive of its kind -- literally, a one-of-a-kind object.
Sagittarians are also famous for their love of travel and philosophy; they crave knowledge, and will spare no effort to satisfy their innate curiosity. Sag's own personal philosophy is that life is really nothing more than a series of extended vacations -- hence the reason so many born under the sign of the archer end up living in a different city, state or even country than where they were born.
When it comes to relationships, Sagittarians often find that some of their most successful ones are with four-legged creatures -- their connection to anything with fur, feathers and even leaves is legendary. Romantically speaking, if you're a human, you can only 'have' a Sag of your very own if you're willing to hold on with an open palm. Restrictions will not be tolerated. However, if you let your Sag sweetie know that you care, but allow them to live as they see fit, you'll have gained an intelligent, witty and highly impressive partner whose long-term loyalty will astound you.
One warning, though: Don't ever ask these folks a question if you don't really want to hear the answer. Sagittarians aren't known for their ability to lie. They'd much rather tell the truth, regardless of the consequences -- because that way, at least they can be sure that you know exactly who they are. So while they can get along with just about anyone, Sagittarians are most drawn to the other fire signs, who also live by the motto, 'What you see is truly what you get.' No games.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Christmas Carols

Cristmas eve singing christmas carols Pictures, Images and Photos

Christmas Carols

The tradition of carolling and Christmas carols is believed to have originated in England when wandering musicians would go from town to town and visit castles and other homes of the rich to give impromptu performances. But there also is the belief that singing carols at Christmas likely came from the group of angels, shepherds and Wise Men who visited Jesus at his birth, because they worshiped the holy child, sang and proclaim praises unto Him. And after their visit, they continued their proclamations in the street.

The origin of the word carol however, is thought to come from the word caroller, which is a French word that describes a circle dance with singers. And from the twelfth through the fourteenth centuries, the carol was highly popular as a dance song. The use of carols then evolved to festivals where they were sung as processional songs and others were used as part of religious mystery plays in Europe. Some traditional qualities of a carol were that the words expressed should celebrate a topic that was seasonal, have verses and a chorus arranged alternately and have music that was suitable for dancing.

Although many of the carols that are now popular at Christmas time are very old, there are others from earlier times that didn t survive. During the 17th century when the Protestants, led by Oliver Cromwell were in power in England, many Christmas carols were banned and consequently some were never heard again.The Christmas carols that survived the Protestant Reformation period didn t become very popular again until the mid 19th century to the start of the 20th century.Many of the Christmas carols that were banned and early Christmas carols in general, had lyrics that expressed joyous and merry themes instead of the serious sombre words found in church hymns. During the time when carols were banned, some composers and musicians wrote non religious songs that had highly varied choral music, which they called carols, for Christmas. After Christmas carols again became popular, many of those songs were re arranged with new Christian lyrics and used by the church.

Making changes to Christmas carols continues in a different way today with pop artistes singing the carols to different tunes and melodies to give them a style that characterizes the particular artiste. The carols are more likely to survive because of this due to younger listeners being interested in hearing any music that is done by their favourite or other popular singers.

The popularity of Christmas carols in the United States increased in the 19th century, as it did in England, because many of the traditions related to Christmas came to the United States from England. The United States and England also have closely linked religious observances, which also accounts for the popularity and similarity of Christmas carols that are enjoyed in both countries.

Today, radio stations are the first to play Christmas carols, usually starting toward mid November, to signal the coming season. At the start of December when the Christmas season official begins, mall stores and other retail establishments will begin to pipe Christmas carols and songs through their places of business.

The singing of carols at churches, schools, and by groups performing at malls usually will be a common sight starting in early to mid December. Carol singing as a part of Nativity plays and concerts at churches and schools is usually in full swing by mid December as the Christmas season gets into high gear and the countdown to Christmas Day begins.

Whether it s the traditional tune or popular makeovers of Christmas carols that you enjoy, listening to them is part of an old Christmas tradition. And any version of a Christmas carol that is played will serve the purpose of putting you in a festive mood for Christmas that you may even want to dance, just like the music of original carols was meant to do.

Jayne Waldorf lives in Cheshire,England.She has been an internet marketer for over two years and she loves all things related to Christmas.If you would like more information on Christmas,Christmas Activities,Christmas Food and Drink or great gift ideas please visit

Christmas Plants

Poinsettias Pictures, Images and Photos

Christmas Plants

Want to keep your Christmas plants around for a while? Here are some tips from various Web sites:


Keep in bright light but not direct sun. Mist if your home is dry. Let soil dry between watering. Poke holes in the foil wrapper or remove it. Keep away from drafts, either cold or warm.

Want it to bloom next year? This is tricky but fun to try. As your plant begins to fade, gradually reduce water until all the colorful leaves drop. Allow it to dry completely, and store in a 50-degree setting until spring. Then repot it and resume watering. You should get a beautiful and fairly large plant by fall. Around August or September, cut it back by a third. If you want big flowers, cut the plant back to three to five stems. Ten weeks before you want color, put the plant in a place of total darkness for 12 to 14 hours each night and a bright, sunny spot by day. You can put it inside a large box, cupboard or closet. People say this works. It never has for me.

Christmas cactus:

Water thoroughly, and again when the top inch of soil is dry. Give it as much humidity as possible, perhaps with a container of water nearby. Avoid drafts. Keep in a well-lighted location.

Want it to bloom again? Also tricky, but doable. In September or October, put the cactus in a room where the temperature stays around 50 degrees. Pick a spot where there is no artificial light at night. Give it indirect but bright light during the day. It’s much the same as caring for a poinsettia except the cactus needs cooler temperatures. Many families keep these going for generations.


This showy bloomer is easy to care for. Even I have luck with it. Keep it in a sunny spot all winter, and it’s OK to take it outdoors in summer. It will only have leaves by then. Bring it indoors in fall and reduce watering gradually, stopping by Oct. 1. When the foliage dries, remove it. Allow it to rest (I put mine in the basement) until you see new growth. Bring it back to the light, water and fertilize. Mine seldom bloom right at Christmas, but their color is even more welcome a month or so later.

Cyclamen: Water whenever soil feels dry, but don’t get water on the plant. Give as much light as possible; indirect sun is best. As flowers fade, gradually allow plant to dry out for two to three months. You should see new growth around fall. Resume watering and fertilizing. It’s OK to put outdoors in summer, but temperature should never go below 50 degrees.


A reader asked how to save her Thanksgiving mum, which appears to be dying. It was probably forced to bloom and now needs a rest. Allow mums to go dormant. Some sources say you can put potted mums outside. I know they do fine in the ground but I think I would try the garage for those in pots. When you see new growth in spring, give it lots of sun, water and some fertilizer.

Cut back to 1 to 2 inches once in spring and again in late June. That will give you a fuller, sturdier plant with more blooms in fall.

Geri Nikolai writes about home and garden for the Rockford Register Star. Contact her at 815-871-6850 or

author: Geri Nikolai

Christmas Garland

Classic Evergreen garland was 26.99 Now 20.80 Pictures, Images and Photos

Christmas Garland

The Christmas garlands tradition in America was brought from Europe by the early settlers. Ropes of garland were usually made after the fall harvest. Making and selling Christmas greens brought enough income to furnish many suits of Sunday clothes and a new bonnet when there was little else to do after harvest. Staples, like pine, spruce, and cedar trees that were used could be found in the nearby woods. Greens were gathered by day and in the evening the greens were twisted into garlands around the fireplace. Usually someone could complete twenty to forty yards in an evening.

In the 1800’s wagons and boats filled with aromatic Christmas greens announced the beginning of the Christmas season. Boxwood, hemlock, mountain laurel, holly, cedar blue berries, myrtle, and princess pine were used as highlights for the Christmas ropes. Other materials used to decorate were corn husks, dried grasses, the orange and scarlet pods of bittersweet, moss, dried fruits, and the red berries of black alder. Churches, business, hospitals, and florist purchased the majority of the woven decorated greens and other Christmas decor. The abundance and price range of the Christmas greens allowed everyone to participate in the hustle and bustle of the Christmas event as we do today with Christmas shopping.

In the early 1900’s natural Christmas foliage and Christmas greens became less abundant in the countryside. With the introduction of plastic artificial Christmas foliages and Christmas greens we could now make Christmas decorations without endangering nature. Plastic holly and evergreen were the most realistic of these early reproductions. With the introduction of silk (polyvinyl) flowers and greenery the quality and realistic looking reproductions of Christmas decor was greatly enhanced. In 1963 the first polyvinyl or PVC artificial Christmas trees, picks and greens hit the market. Technical advances in the manufacturing process have created the most beautiful Christmas decorations to date. Today, with the production of the artificial Christmas foliage, Christmas poinsettias, and Christmas greens, the colors and variety of the Christmas decor is endless.

Christmas Poinsettia Flower History.

The Mexican poinsettia, known as the Christmas flower in North America, is used in most Christmas decorations, due to its red color and because the Christmas poinsettia blooms mainly in December. Native to Mexico, it is called Flower of the Holy Night there. The Mexican poinsettias are commonly bright red and now the Mexican poinsettia comes in pink, white, and other colors. The bright petals of the Mexican poinsettia, which look like flowers, are actually the upper leaves of the plant, called bracts. Some say these star shaped bracts symbolize the Star of Bethlehem. These beautiful Christmas poinsettia flowers, which have become a symbol of Christmas, are used to decorate festive holiday decor for the Christmas holidays.

Outside of the Mexican territory this beautiful red leafed Christmas flower that is used to decorate for Christmas is known as the Poinsettia named after the former US ambassador to Mexico, Dr. Joel R. Poinsett who became the first United States ambassador to Mexico in 1825. Dr. Poinsett of Charleston, South Carolina introduced the poinsettia to the United States when he returned home in 1835 from his ambassadorship. History has said that Dr. Poinsett liked the flower so much that he dedicated the last years of his life to making the “poinsettia”, the symbol for Christmas, throughout the rest of the world. Today the Christmas poinsettia is the most popular Christmas flower for Christmas decorating in the United States. The poinsettia is also a popular household plant often used throughout the Christmas holidays. Other common names for the poinsettia include the Christmas flower, lobster flower, and Mexican flame leaf. Even though the poinsettia is a beautiful holiday flower you should be aware that the poinsettia’s hollow stem contains a milky sap that can irritate the skin and eyes and the poinsettia stems should be handled with caution.

Decorative Christmas Garlands are a Wonderful Christmas Accent!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bread Stuffing/Homemade Hot Vanilla Cocoa/Honey Butter

Bread Stuffing

3/4 cup butter or margarine
2 large celery stalks, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
9 cups soft bread cubes (15 slices)
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Melt butter in 4-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook celery and onion in butter 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Remove Dutch oven from the heat.
2. Gently toss celery mixture and remaining ingredients, using spoon, until bread cubes are evenly coated.
3. Use to stuff one 10- to 12-pound turkey. Or to bake stuffing separately, grease 3-quart casserole or rectangular baking dish, 13x9x2 inches. Place stuffing in casserole or baking dish. Cover with lid or aluminum foil and bake at 325°F for 30 minutes; uncover and bake 15 minutes longer.


Homemade Hot Vanilla Cocoa

1 quart milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon vanilla (or 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon)
whipped cream for topping

In saucepan, combine sugar and cocoa. Add a few tablespoons of
milk and heat over medium high heat, stirring constantly. The
heat will make it easier to dissolve the cocoa. When the sugar,
cocoa and milk have formed a paste, add the remainder of the
milk plus the vanilla or cinnamon and heat until steaming.
Pour into mugs, top with a bit of whipped cream and serve

Yield: 4 servings


Honey Butter

"Softened butter is creamed with honey for this favorite spread. Add cinnamon, if desired. You may just have to whip up a batch of fresh biscuits to serve with this!"


3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup honey

1. In a small bowl mix butter and honey until smooth.
2. Store, covered, in the refrigerator.

Thursday, November 12, 2009



in Summerland, beyond the western sea,
your soul has rested for a timeless time.
you've walked beside
the God and Goddess, free
to share communion subtle and sublime.

then something plucks
and beckons at your mind__
a call, a summons you cannot ignore.
you turn from your campanions,
and you find
a Gate where there was never one before.

Now gather up the memories and skills
you'll need in this new life that draws you through.
choose lessons, tests and goals: choose bells and frills.
they'll sleep inside, till magic wakens you.

leave Summerland behind, and pass the Gate
to Beltane's glen where loving parents wait.
--Elizabeth Barrette
Llewellyn's Witches' Datebook 2009

(I found this quite beautiful and a nice way to think about the afterlife and how our souls get re-bored to awaiting parents.)

Pumpkin-Spice Muffins/Pumpkin Pound Cake/Cheese Biscuits/Pumpkin Bread/Applesauce Raisin Cookies

Pumpkin-Spice Muffins

Sweet and spicy and loaded with pumpkin-pie flavor, these muffins make a great snack with coffee on a cool autumn morning!

2 cups Original Bisquick® mix
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg
1/2 cup raisins

1. Heat oven to 400°F. Grease bottoms only of 12 regular-size muffin cups, or place paper baking cup in each muffin cup.
2. Stir all ingredients except raisins just until moistened. Stir in raisins. Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full.
3. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from pan.



** Cake
2 cups plain flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons soda
4 eggs
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups pumpkin (16 oz can)

** Cream Cheese Icing
8 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 box confectioners sugar
1 stick butter

Mix ingredients well. Grease tube or Bundt pan and bake 1
hour and 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool completely and frost.

Let cheese and butter soften and mix with sugar and vanilla
and spread on cake.

YIELD: 1 Cake



1 teaspoon garlic salt or powder
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
2 cups Bisquick
1/2 cup cold water (or gingerale)
3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 c Butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix Bisquick, water and cheese.
Drop by large spoonfuls onto greased baking sheet. Bake for 8-10
minutes. After baking, (while hot) brush on melted butter or
margarine mixed with garlic powder, parsley flakes and Italian
seasoning (a little seasoning goes a long way.) Serve hot.

YIELD: 12 biscuits


Samhain Pumpkin Bread

Quick and easy yields two loaves.

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
15 oz. canned pumpkin
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves

Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl. Stir in sugar, pumpkin, oil and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and spices. Mix well, pour into 2 bread pans that have been greased only on the bottom. Bake at 325 degrees for 60 to 80 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and then remove from loaf pans and allow to cool completely. -- Ellen Dugan Llewellyn's Witches' Datebook 2009


Applesauce Raisin Cookies

These seasonal cookies are soft and puffy. They go great with a glass of milk or hot cider on a chilly autumn evening.

1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
2/3 cup applesauce
2 1/2 cups bisquick baking mix
1/4 cup flour
2 tsp. allspice
1 cup raisins

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together butter, sugar, and eggs by hand.
Stir in remaining ingredients and mix well. Drop dough by spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. (Cookies will puff up so space them apart.) Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown. Yield: about four dozen cookies. --Ellen dugan
Llewellyn's Witches' Datebook 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Make a Sleep Pillow

Sleep Pillow

This makes a really nice gift. I've made a few to give as gifts to friends. You can use any material you'd like - I prefer cotton so it breathes. Pick out celestial patterns or anything that suits your fancy :) satin or silk will give it the classy look. You can even embelish the pillow by embroidering an initial on to it, or tie a ribbon around the pillow.

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Yield: 1 pillow

Essential Oils Needed: Lavender
Other Ingredients / Materials: Cloth (8 inches square), hops flowers
(strobiles) dried, chamomile flowers dried, lavender flowers dried,
rose petals dried


Sew 2 pieces of 8 inch square cloth together on 3 sides, leaving 1
end open.
Blend 1/4 cup hops flowers, 1/8 cup chamomile flowers, 1/8 cup
lavender flowers, 1/8 rose petals together. While stirring the dried flower blend add
15 drops of lavender.
Spoon herbs into the pillow and sew the open side.

Place your sleep pillow under your normal pillow or inside the pillow

Here is a list of Oils and Herbs you can use to make your own dream pillow. *Note do not ingest oils or herbs.


BERGAMOT: (not the mint kind!) soothes the nerves, gives relaxing sleep.

HYACINTH: stops nightmares.

JASMINE: helps increase psychic dreams, lifts depression, quiets the nerves; is calming.

LAVENDER: relaxing deep sleep.

LILAC: recalling past lives.

MIMOSA: prophetic dreams; getting to the truth; making decisions.


ANGELICA : prophetic dreams and visions.

ANISE: use just a little to repel nightmares.

BAY LAUREL: inspiration; repels negativity.

CEDAR: helps to repel bad dreams.

CLOVES: use just a tiny amount because of the strong odor. Retrieving buried memories.

HOPS: restful sleep and healing.

MARJORAM: relieves depression.

MUGWORT: visions and prophetic dreams.

MULLEIN: repels bad dreams.

ROSEMARY: use just a little as it is very strongly scented. Avoid nightmares and headaches.

ST. JOHNS WORT: banishes spirits.

VALERIAN: deep rest. Some cats love this herb as much as catnip so keep it out of their reach

Hot choco/Hot Spiced Apple Cider/Herbed Pork Chops/Pecan-Pie Bars

Hot Chocolate

3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate or your favorite bittersweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup sugar
dash of salt
4 1/2 cups milk

Heat the chocolate and water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Stir in the sugar and salt. Heat to boiling then reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered for 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the milk. Heat just until hot, do not boil because skin will form on top.

Beat with a hand beater until foamy or stir until smooth, then serve immediately.

Makes 6 cups.


A Lighter Version:

Substitute 1/3 cup baking cocoa for the chocolate and use skim milk. Mix the cocoa, sugar and salt in the saucepan. Stir in the water and bring to a boil. Continue as in the recipe above.


Hot Spiced Fresh Apple Cider

6 cups fresh apple cider
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 sticks cinnamon

Heat all the ingredients to boiling in a 3 quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Strain the cider mixture to remove the cloves and cinnamon, if desired.

Makes 6 cups.


Hot Buttered Rum-Spiced Cider

Hot Buttered Rum-Spiced Cider:
Prepare the cider as above. For each serving, place 1 tablespoon of butter, 1 tablespoon of packed brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of rum in a mug. Fill the mug with hot cider.

If you want the rum taste but not the alcohol, simply replace the rum with just a few drops of rum flavoring.


Herbed Pork Cutlets

1 egg
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound fast fry pork cutlets
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

In a shallow dish, lightly beat egg. In a separate shallow dish, stir together bread crumbs, basil, oregano, parmesan cheese, thyme, pepper and salt. Dip pork into egg to coat well, then press into bread crumb mixture, turning to coat all over.

In a large skillet, heat half of the oil over medium heat. Cook pork, in batches and adding remaining oil if necessary, turning once, for 8-10 minutes or until just a hint of pink remains inside.

Makes 4 servings.


Pecan-Pie Bars

1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar, divided
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 eggs
1/2 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt

In a small bowl mix flour and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. With fingers, work in 1/2 cup of butter until the dough begins to hold together. Press onto bottom of greased 9 inch square baking pan.
Bake in preheated 350°F oven 12-15 minutes or just until firm.

In a medium bowl, lightly beat 1/2 cup brown sugar and the eggs. Add corn syrup, pecans, melted butter, vanilla and salt. Mix well. Pour over crust.
Bake 25 minutes or just until edges are lightly browned.

Cool in pan on rack.
Cut into 3x1 inch bars. Makes 27.

All recipes this post source:

Homemade Egg Nog Recipe

The holidays are coming and what better way to get you in the mood and greet your friends with this homemade egg nog recipe. I know it's easier just to buy the store brand carton ones, but this really would hit the spot and show your love to all who taste it :)

Eggnog | Homemade Egg Nog Recipe

For Holiday recipe ideas check this link out:

Holiday Recipes | Thanksgiving Recipes and Christmas Recipes