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9/30/10

Halloween is coming.....

Cooking w/ Grandma Set $19.99
October 1st is here! It's time for all things spooky, creepy, scary - witches, black cats, haunted houses and ghosts. Time to dig in the attic, the basement or even the goodwill racks for a great costume that no one has a chance of being able to recognize us.  

I contacted Ann Clark, Ltd about being one of our 12 Days of Christmas sponsors and she is definitely joining us!  You will find the best cookie cutters on her website, along with kids cookbooks, holiday cookies, themed and more.  Her individual cookie cutters are $3.99 - $6.99), many have these handy little handles which make it easier for little hands and arthritic hands to press down and cut lots of cookies out.

Last week's newsletter from Ann Clark's Cookie blog is up and she shared a great recipe for Halloween Cookies that are Dairy Free - perfect for those little goblins with dairy problems to enjoy.  You can sign up for her newsletter and her cookie network at: http://www.makemorecookies.com/ .  You'll get all kinds of cooking and baking tips, there's a forum to visit with other cookie-maniac's and of course, recipes!
Aren't They Cute?

DAIRY FREE VANILLA AND CHOCOLATE HALLOWEEN COOKIES

When you want everyone to be able to join in the fun, sometimes that means accommodating food allergies, and two of the most common allergens for kids are eggs and dairy. With that in mind, I created a couple of cookie recipes—one vanilla and one chocolate—that don’t use butter or eggs. These cookies are suitable for vegans as well, and incidentally, the lack of eggs means that the dough is safe to nibble. I replaced the butter with dairy-free margarine, and instead of eggs I used a product called Ener-G Egg Replacer. This is a dry powder that comes in a 1-pound box; you can find it in the baking aisle or in the special diets section of most well-stocked supermarkets. It costs about six dollars, which might seem like a big investment for cookies, but it keeps indefinitely. Better yet, you can use it to make royal icing, which dries hard and is used for decorating Christmas cookies and gluing together gingerbread houses. The standard recipe for royal icing includes raw egg whites; meringue powder is sold as a safer-to-eat substitute, but happily this egg-free powder works just as well.

If you’ve never decorated cookies with royal icing, please give it a try. Royal icing is easy to make and easy to work with, once you get a feel for how thick it needs to be. Piping a border of thick icing and then filling in with thinner icing creates nice clean edges and allows you to neatly decorate a cookie using more than one color. And the resulting cookie is much more durable than one iced with soft frosting—perfect for ornaments.

You can read a good description of royal icing as well as tips for using it here. As for coloring, here are some of my own observations:

Food coloring paste, sold in small jars, gives you a wider range of color shades and intensities than liquid coloring does. It comes in dozens of colors, but to start with, you can stick to the basics and blend your own. If you’re an avid cake and cookie decorator, it’s nice to have orange, green, and purple in addition to red, yellow, and blue—and of course you need black.

A little paste color goes a long way. Dip the tip of a butter knife in the paste and then touch it to the surface of the icing before stirring it in; set the knife aside and retouch to add more color. Keep in mind that as the icing sits, the color will become more intense (for some reason, this seems to happen with yellow in particular).

You can blend colors either by using different pastes in the same icing or by combining two different tinted icings. To tone down the orange for my pumpkins, for example, I added a tiny amount of black icing.

Even if you don’t intend to use white icing on your cookies, don’t color the whole batch of icing; set aside a little plain white in case some of your colors turn out a bit too bright for your liking.

In the weeks to come, I’ll include more cookie decorating tips. In the meantime, I’d love to see your Halloween cookie creations—you can post photos on this site. Happy haunting!

Ann  www.AnnClark.com



    


VANILLA AND CHOCOLATE HALLOWEEN COOKIES 

Makes about 18
No eggs, no butter makes this a cookie recipe that just about everyone can love—suitable for vegans, people with egg and dairy allergies, those who need to watch their cholesterol, and cookie fans in general.

Stir together:
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer
- 2 tablespoons warm water

Cream together until light and fluffy:
- 1 cup dairy free margarine room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar

Beat in:
- Egg replacer mixture
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk together and add:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt

Stir just until all ingredients are well blended; do not overmix. Chill dough for 3-4 hours before rolling. Preheat oven to 350º. Roll dough out on a lightly floured counter to 1/4-inch thickness and cut with your favorite Ann Clark Ltd Cookie Cutters, then transfer cookies onto cookie sheets that have been lined with parchment paper or silicone liners. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly colored. Let cookies cool slightly on cookie sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Dairy-Free Chocolate Cookies
Makes about 18
The chocolate makes this dough a bit crumbly. If the dough cracks as you are rolling it, let it rest on the counter until it softens up, about 10 to 15 minutes. It can be hard to tell when chocolate cookies are done; rather than waiting for the edges to turn brown, remove the cookies when the surface looks completely dull and dry.

Melt and let cool:
- 2 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate

Stir together:
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer
- 2 tablespoons warm water

Cream together until light and fluffy:
- 1 cup dairy free margarine
- 1 cup sugar

Beat in:
- Cooled chocolate
- Egg replacer mixture
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk together and add:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt

Stir just until all ingredients are well blended; do not overmix. Chill dough for 3-4 hours before rolling. Preheat oven to 350º. Roll dough out on a lightly floured counter to 1/4-inch thickness and cut with your favorite Ann Clark Ltd Cookie Cutters, then transfer cookies onto cookie sheets that have been lined with parchment paper or silicone liners. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until the surface looks dry and cookies seem firm. Let cookies cool slightly on cookie sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Egg-Free Royal Icing
The amount of sugar you add depends on what you are using this icing for. For piping fine lines, as for borders to be filled in with more icing, the consistency should be fairly thick, like frosting. It needs to hold its shape without being so stiff that it’s difficult to squeeze from a pastry bag. For glazing large areas, the icing should be just pourable, so that when spread, the surface flattens out. If you’re using the same icing for both purposes, make the thicker icing first, pipe the borders, then add water a few drops at a time to thin the icing.

- 2 tablespoons Ener-G egg replacer
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 3 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract or clear vanilla extract (optional)
- Food coloring (optional)

Whisk egg replacer powder and cream of tartar together in a medium bowl, then whisk in water. Add 2 cups sugar and stir in until smooth. Add more sugar if necessary to get the proper consistency. Stir in the extract and food coloring if desired.

9/27/10

Holiday Gift Giveaway Hop - New Sponsor!

One of our NEW sponsors signed up today for the Holiday Gift Giveaway Hop December 1-5!  Be sure to put us on your calendar that week so you can come back and read the review and sign up for the giveaways!  You can take some time and see all the beautiful gift items DaySpring has and start making up your gift lists.  When you place your order, if you would click on this handy link and order from this website I would really appreciate it as I get a little bit of a commission.  It's not much, but every little bit helps when you're not working fulltime.  Thank you so much!

The word "dayspring" means the morning light, the aurora, the rising of the sun. It is called the dayspring "from on high" because the light of the gospel shines forth from heaven. God is its Author, and through His mercy it shines upon people.  ~ Barnes' Notes on the Bible

"When you get right down to it...";                                                                    
"...the only thing that really matters is Jesus."

DaySpring is offering Holiday Gift Guide readers 
Free Shipping on $25+ orders!

9/24/10

Seeking Sponsors for Holiday Gift Giveaway Hop


Holiday Gift Giveaway Hop


I am participating in the Holiday Gift Giveaway Hop this year and will also be hosting my own giveaway on my blog as part of the event. The event runs December 1 to 5th and there’s over 200 blogs participating so far! I think its going to be so much fun for everyone involved!

The giveaway theme is cash and gift cards/gift certificates. I am currently looking for companies who wish to sponsor my blog giveaway for this event with a Gift Certificate from their business. It’s up to you regarding the amount and who can enter (US, Canada or worldwide).

How will this help your business? We are expecting this to be a high traffic event and the buzz is already building online about it. Your company will gain exposure and I am offering a Special Package to give you more incentive to sponsor my blog giveaway!

Diamond Package - Donate a Gift Certificate 0f $100 or more. You will receive:
·  Company or Product Feature Post (300+ words, 2 keyword links of your choice, pictures, links to your site and Social Media sites).
·  Sidebar Button Ad for the month of November up until December 15. You must provide me with the picture for the button.
·  1 Year Link to your website on GivingNSharing.
·  Facebook Post about your company on the TheBookLady Facebook Page and I will suggest your page to all my Facebook friends (well over 1000 people, I belong to several groups and pages).
·  Tweet to over 1000 Twitter followers about your company and a link to your site.
·  Description of your business with a link to your site and a picture on the Holiday Gift Giveaway Hop post.
·  Advertising Space on the 12 Days of Christmas Event (Nov 24 - Dec 8) and in the 2010 Holiday Gift Guide on my Holiday blog.

Sapphire Package - Donate a Gift Certificate 0f $50 or more. You will receive:
·  Sidebar Button Ad for the event (December 1 to 5). You must provide me with the picture for the button..
·  Facebook Post about your company on the TheBookLady Facebook Page and I will suggest your page to all my Facebook friends (well over 1000 people, I belong to several groups and pages).
·  Tweet to over 1000 Twitter followers about your company and a link to your site.
·  Description of your business with a link to your site and a picture on the Holiday Gift Giveaway Hop post.
·  Advertising Space in the 2010 Holiday Gift Guide on my Holiday blog.

Ruby Package - Donate a Gift Certificate 0f $49 or less. You will receive:
·  1 Year Link to your website on GivingNSharing.
·  Facebook Post about your company on the TheBookLady Facebook Page and I will suggest your page to all my Facebook friends (well over 1000 people, I belong to several groups and pages).
·  Tweet to over 1000 Twitter followers about your company and a link to your site.
·  Description of your business with a link to your site and a picture on the Holiday Gift Giveaway Hop post. 

Please email me at contact.thebooklady@gmail.com if you are interested in becoming a sponsor or if you have any questions.  Thanks!  Tina "the Book Lady"

9/21/10

Gift Giving with Arbonne

Today, I received an Arbonne catalog from my good friend Jennifer Powless. She sent me a copy of the new holiday catalog and it's chock full of neat gifts and ideas for celebrating the holidays.  These gift sets would make your shopping for someone who LOVES to be pampered feel so very special throughout the holidays and after!


For those of you who don't know, Arbonne offers skincare, anti-aging, cosmetics, baby products, aromatherapy, vitamins and weight loss products that are pure, safe and beneficial.  Arbonne products are formulated in Switzerland and made in the USA.  Arbonne's product formulations are: pH correct, vegan certified, hypoallergenic, dermatologist tested, never tested on animals and formulated without animal by-products, mineral oil or chemical fragrances/dyes.


Do you need fun ideas for gifts for your sweetheart?  Maybe some stocking stuffer ideas?  How about these?


Jennifer Powless can be reached at:
www.jenniferpowless.myarbonne.com  ID: 15081695
Email: jennifer(at)powless(dot)ws








9/19/10

Giving to Others





You know, buying presents and gifts for those in our family is a fun thing to do but how many of you have kids that are really disappointed when they reach the end of their particular MOUNTAIN of presents.  They of course don't have to give presents from their own wallet and just don't understand that Christmas (or other holidays) isn't about them.  I've been thinking of ways that families can make the holidays FUN and still teach the concept of giving to others.  Here are a few charities you might consider sponsoring.  Be sure to encourage your kids to help in choosing what to give and maybe if you can afford to - let them each choose a "present" or gift to give to others.
Adopt-A-Classroom invites the community into the classroom in support of teachers and their students. By adopting a classroom, donors form partnerships with specific classrooms providing financial and moral support. The result is a meaningful contribution to education in which donors experience the impact of their efforts and celebrate in a classroom's success.

  1. Begin by going to the Classroom Locator and find a classroom in your community that is participating.
  2. You may donate any amount you desire, with a minimum of $25 per classroom.
  3. You can adopt as many classrooms as you like.
  4. You may visit the classroom, chaperone field trips, sponsor a career day, and support other activities that you coordinate directly with the teacher.
If there isn’t a class/teacher in your community that’s part of this great program, find a school, library or maybe there’s a family in your church that needs some help (ask your pastor) and find out what they’re needs are and help with those.

Zoe Ministry: Giving Hope to Orphans in Africa
This Christmas, give the gift of a new beginning.

In Africa, a cow, pig, even a goat can be the first step toward transforming the life of an orphan who is left to care for younger brothers and sisters because the AIDS pandemic claimed the lives of their parents.

The ZOE Orphan Empowerment Project equips these children with essential life skills such as farming, animal husbandry and small business training while sharing the good news of Christ’s love. 

An animal provides income, fertilizer for fields, and nourishment as orphans journey through ZOE’s Empowerment Project. Thanks to your gift, within three years, orphans escape the cycle of poverty and start living lives of dignity.



 

Children participating in this program receive the following based on their needs: hoes, gardening tools, seeds, animals, cereals, potatoes, mentoring and these in turn provide school fees, uniforms, food and supplies.  They also have a mentor that teaches them how to clear their fields, take care of their animals, teaches them basics that most of us have learned from our parents such as financial needs and the love of Jesus Christ.  


This would be a fun activity for a family to do through out the year.  Perhaps you can do a car, garage or bake sale to raise money to supply some of the children with basic needs. You can be a monthly partner, a prayer partner and ZOE has a number of other seasonal resources including a family devotional for Advent, Hope for Christmas Animal Project, special weekly prayers for Lent, a litany for World AIDS Day as well as VBS curriculum and Alternative Giving Fairs for churches to participate in together. Make a donation to Zoe Ministry HERE.

9/14/10

Ten Ways to Share the Heart of Jesus Is The Gift this Christmas





For God so loved the world that He gave….
JOHN 3:16 NIV

1. Give the Gift of Encouragement. 
Instead of writing letters to Santa, have children write letters to someone who needs encouragement this Christmas. For example, soldiers, nursing home residents, or hospital patients.

2. Give the Gift of Hope. 
Adopt a needy family in your church or community. Bless them with Christmas presents or a special dinner.

3. Give the Gift of Joy. 
Find simple ways to bring a smile to someone’s face during the Christmas season. For example, pay for the car behind you at a drive-through.

4. Give the Gift of Kindness. 
Offer your time or energy to someone in need. Hang lights for an elderly neighbor or wrap presents for an overwhelmed new mom.

5. Give the Gift of Words. 
Speak words of affirmation and affection to your friends and family. Take time to write a special note in your Christmas cards.

6. Give the Gift of Faith. 
Read the Christmas story with your family. Talk about what Christ’s birth means for your lives today.

7. Give the Gift of Peace. 
In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the season, set aside one “silent night” to be at home. Light a fire, curl up with a cup of hot chocolate, and take a few moments to rest.

8. Give the Gift of Hospitality. 
Invite someone to your home who may not have family close by or host an open house for your neighbors.

9. Give the Gift of Time. 
Help nursing home residents write Christmas letters, offer to baby-sit so busy parents can go on a date, or spend a few hours at a shelter.

10. Give the Gift of Love. 
Whatever you do, ask God to help you reflect His heart and share the love that inspired Him to send us the very best gift of all.

This article is from a pdf on http://www.incourage.me/
Would you like a copy of the original pdf?  Click Here
www.JesusistheGift.com

9/12/10

12 Days of Christmas event coming up!

Hi everyone, have some news about the 12 Days of Christmas.  I have about 1/2 of the sponsors lined up and am starting to iron out the details.  Are you curious about WHO is joining us?


The 12 Days of Christmas!
November 24th - December 8th
Little Shepherd by Cheryl Malandrinos  To Order
The Spice Hunter  To Order
Discovery Toys  To Order
Memorable Children Books & Gifts  To Order  
Scentsy  To Order
Calendar by Add More Color  To Order
1-2-3 ... Get Organized  To Order
Dinner is Ready  To Order
The Wild Soccer Bunch   To Order
Usborne Books  To Order
Ann Clark Cookie Cutters!  To Order
Arbonne w/ Jennifer Powless   To Order

Did You Know?   The 12 Days of Christmas refer to the twelve day period that starts with Christmas day and ends on Epiphany (6th January). The song begins, On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me... The 'true love' was meant to represent God, the true love of the world. The 'me' in the carol is the Christian man or woman who receives these presents. The meanings given to the 12 Days are:
1The 'partridge in a pear tree' is Jesus who died on the cross. In ancient times a partridge was often used as mythological symbol of a divine, sacred king.
The 'two turtle doves' are the Old and New Testaments of the Bible - another gift from God. Doves also symbolise peace.
The 'three French hens' are faith, hope and love - the three gifts of the Holy Spirit. (See 1 Corinthians 13). The French hens can also represent God the Father, His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
The 'four calling birds' are the four Gospels in the New Testament of the Bible.
The 'five golden rings' are the first five books of the Bible also called the Pentateuch, the Books of Moses or the Torah.
The 'six geese a-laying' are the six days of creation.
The 'seven swans a swimming' are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. (See 1 Corinthians 12:8-11, Romans 12, Ephesians 4, 1 Peter 4:10-11)
The 'eight maids a milking' are the eight beatitudes, Jesus' teachings on happiness. (See Matthew 5:3-10)
The 'nine ladies dancing' are nine fruits of the Holy Spirit. (See Galatians 5:22)
The 'ten lords a-leaping' are the Ten Commandments in the Bible. (See Exodus 20)
The 'eleven pipers piping' are the eleven faithful disciples of Jesus.
The 'twelve drummers drumming' were the twelve points of the Apostles' Creed.
Thought I'd share!

9/9/10

Isn't she a doll?




DIY Costume Wings Instructions

I'm doing a little Blog Hoppin' and came across these darling instructions to make wings - ya know Halloween is comin' up!

9/8/10

Would you like YOUR business in the Holiday Gift Guide?

Hi everyone!  I've had several people ask me for details on how to be in the  Holiday Gift Guide.  I've set the price at $20 per spot from now until Christmas.  That's about 2 1/2 months.  But you do have a couple of options if you'd like to help me with advertising this blog and the Holiday Gift Guide.


1) You can sponsor a review/giveaway for FREE space on the Holiday Gift Guide
2) You can guest post a "guide" article - it can be on decorating, planning, holidays with kids, traditions, cooking, etc - for FREE space on the Holiday Gift Guide.

What are the details?

---> A.  Place the Holiday Gift Guide button on your blog in a prominent spot in the top 1/3 of your homepage sidebar. I would also appreciate your adding my button on linky's, facebook, twitter - whatever you think of.  


 Holiday Gifts and More


---> B.  Reviews/giveaways: The item must be a FULL-SIZE item from your            business.  Giveaways can be the same item, another item or a GC from your business.  Items must be family friendly.  Please note: these will be done on both givingnsharing and holidaygifts&more.



---> C.  Guest posts: I would LOVE to have some help with posts on decorating, planning, holiday traditions, eating healthy during the holidays, etc.  I'm also toying with the idea of doing something along the line of the 12 days of Christmas.  

If you have any ideas or suggestions I'd love to hear them. 

Thank you so much for all the kind words and encouragement with this new blog.  

Tina "The Book Lady"
http://familyliteracyandyou.blogspot.com
http://givingnsharing.blogspot.com
http://holidaygiftsandmore.blogspot.com

9/4/10

A Baby Changes everything & recipes

Hi everyone, I got to thinking as I was adding this blog to all the Friday Blog Hops tonight, that MAYBE I should explain what I'm doing here. This blog is all about Holiday Traditions, Gifts and Recipes. Please share YOUR family traditions and if you have a favorite family recipe posted on your blog and would like to share it, please do! The recipe page is a linky. You will click on the Your Next link and add the link to the post where YOUR recipe is posted. This can be a salad, main dish, dessert, side dish or a Gift Recipe from YOUR kitchen. If you don't have a picture of your recipe - use your blog button or find a picture of something similar to what your dish looks like.



Reviews and Giveaways now Being Accepted for the Fall and Winter Season!


Take a look at this cool blog I just found!  It's a Christmas Blog with it's first giveaway of the season!


Christmas Giveaway 1
The first GIVEAWAY will be a group of ornaments very similar to the ones to the left. THERE WILL BE 2 WINNERS, so two packages of gorgeous ornaments are waiting for YOU to win. I am one of those people that think there is no such thing as TOO many ornaments! Parker will draw on Monday night so spread the word that there is a CHRISTMAS GIVEAWAY!  I am excited to give away something glitzy!  


For the GIVEAWAY, as always, ALL you have to do is leave a comment..If there is anything special you want to see more of or know more about on this blog, also include that.  


9/10/10: Hi everyone - to enter A Baby Changes Everything's contests, click on the stained Glass picture above to enter her website.  Giveaway 2 is up now!
 
Falling Christmas Object Gadget