Cocoa Snowballs

Cocoa Snowballs
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup powdered cocoa
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 containers of white frosting
2 3/4 cups flaked coconut
Beat eggs well, gradually beat 1/2 cup sugar into the eggs and set aside. Combine remaining sugar, cocoa,
milk and butter in a pan and cook on low heat until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted. Remove from heat
and add vanilla and salt. Pour egg mixture into that.
In a bowl, put remaining dry ingredients and slowly add the cocoa mixture, beating all the while…. fill 30 ,
2 1/2″ muffin cups about 1/2 full and bake 20-25 mins at 325 degrees. Cool completely and frost bottom,
top and sides. Then roll them in the coconut. Let them stand at room temperature until the frosting is firm,
then serve or store in a container.
Submitted By Ahreinya Hazelle

Shortest Day Ham Loaf

Shortest Day Ham Loaf

1 pound ground pork
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
1 pound ground ham
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk

Mix all ingredients above and shape into 2 individual loaves. In a saucepan combine:
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1/2 cup water

Bring sauce to a boil, pour over the loaves, place loaves in a 350 degree oven and bake for 1 hour, basting regularly.

Makes 10-12 servings.

Eggnog French Toast

Eggnog French Toast

2 c eggnog
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp cinnamon
6 Croissants
3 tbsps butter

In a shallow bowl, mix the eggnog, egg and cinnamon, stirring well. Slice the croissants lengthwise. Melt one

tablespoon of butter in a skillet or on a griddle. Dip 1 croissant half in the batter and place in the griddle. Repeat
with the remaining halves. Cook on each side for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, or until golden brown. Use remaining butter
as needed. Remove to a serving platter. Serve at once with warm maple syrup. Yield: 6 servings.
Submitted By Dana

Rum Balls

Rum Balls


(This recipe is an old Pillsbury recipe. Actually it’s not that old, I came across it when I was food editor at a newspaper.

It’s become a family favorite. My kids hated them when they were little, but as they grew older and acquired a taste

for “spirits” these kind of grew on them. My husband, whose drink of choice is Rum and Coke, still hates them).


2 cups crushed vanilla wafers

1 cup powdered sugar

½ cup finely chopped candied red or green cherries (I omit these)

½ cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

¼ cup rum

3 tablespoons corn syrup

2 tablespoons butter, melted

¼ cup powdered sugar


Combine crushed vanilla wafers, 1 cup powdered sugar, cherries and pecans. Add rum, corn syrup and butter; blend

well.* Shape mixture into 1-inch balls; roll in ¼ cup powdered sugar. Cover tightly and let stand at least 24 hours to

allow flavors to blend. *I mix all the ingredients in a food processor.


Submitted By Phyll

Grandma’s House

Grandma’s House

by Amanda Silvers


I come from an ample extended family who, when I was younger, all got together to celebrate holidays, birthdays, weddings – any excuse for a party.

The winter holidays were always a frenzy of commotion, with 30-40 people taking part. The children were abundant: my mother had six, my aunt had four and my uncle had five. In addition there were other cousins, aunts, uncles, step siblings, ex-husbands, great aunts and second and third cousins.

My family, particularly my grandmother on my mother’s side, at whose household we held the holiday celebrations, enjoyed many traditions and superstitions about all sorts of things, especially Christmas and the New Year.

For instance, she said: if you don’t hang mistletoe above your front door, you’ll have bad luck. And if you do not kiss the person standing under the mistletoe, people will gossip about you. If you stand beneath the mistletoe and no one kisses you, you will not have a lover for a year.

If an unattached young man wanted to date a young woman, he could begin with a kiss under the mistletoe, and all would know his intentions were honorable. You were then considered an “item” and it was regarded almost an engagement.

The mistletoe customs were a fun and enlivening part of our holiday festivities; even when we were very young, we plotted when to get under it – trying to get the object of our desire to kiss us. This very seldom worked, because most of the time our dad or grandpa or some equally boring adult would kiss us before the inept young men got up the nerve.

Another great kissing practice is the “friendship ball,” generally made with a lemon, orange or lime and studded in some interesting and attractive manner with whole cloves.

The idea is to offer the ball to a person that you want to kiss, who then takes it, pulls out a clove with their teeth, chews it and then kisses the person who gave it to them. Then the one with the ball has the option to return it to the person that initially gave it to them, with another kiss, of course or to pass it on to another person and kiss them.

If someone offered you the kissing ball and you refused to kiss them, no one else would offer you one for the rest of the evening.

This game was fun, but more than a few conflicts were initiated when people had a tiny bit too much to drink and an individual kissed someone else’s wife or husband a few too many times or too passionately. The sparring individuals would ordinarily leave in a huff over that, but the kids found it a perfect way to emulate the “adult game” of kissing.

The New Year’s customs were regarded even more earnestly, if that were possible. We always had a special meal on New Year’s day, a sumptuous, extravagant meal, said to insure that we’d eat well the rest of the year. We toasted in the New Year together, as a family, lest one of us die during the year. We, even the kids, had champagne with strawberries, said to please the small folk into aiding us in accomplishing our desires. We toasted one another’s health, prosperity, good nature, marriage, etc. To shower good wishes on one another was necessary to insure that we’d prosper during the coming year. It has only been in the last few years that I no longer call my whole family long distance on New Year’s eve to carry on the tradition, it was that strongly ingrained in me.

More customs included that the last person to finish the meal on New Year’s day was going to get fat, or have a baby, depending on whether it was a man or woman. The first person to leave the house on New Year’s Day was supposed to kiss everyone in the house and they were to say “See ya later, alligator” before leaving the house. If one person was still asleep, or in the shower or something, the person leaving was to wait.

My grandmother, Ma Mère, was the one who was the fanatic about superstitions, and they carried over into everything, but the Christmas and New Year’s holidays customs were clearly the best. I endeavor to begin an amusing new tradition each year. You may want to use some of these or think of a festive new one for this year, and don’t forget the mistletoe!

Thirteen Yuletide Celebrations

Thirteen Yuletide Celebrations

by Heather Evenstar Osterman


How do you compete with Christianity’s biggest holiday? You don’t have to! Most traditional Christmas customs originated from pagan practices. In fact, nearly every culture in some way celebrates the Sun/Son God at this time of year. You can reclaim Yule as your family’s heritage; pass down your family’s traditional recipes. If you figure out how to avoid the rampant commercialism, let me know.

Yule (also Yuletide or Alban Arthan) is celebrated on the Winter Solstice, December 22ndthis year. It is the longest night of the year, when the Goddess gives birth to the new sun and nights begin to grow shorter again. We are reminded that even in the darkest hour, there is a ray of hope. This is a time of dreams and wonder. We honor our children and our inner child. There are so many wonderful traditions to choose from. Here are some ideas to try this Yule:

  1. String chains of popcorn and drape them around trees and bushes. Hang honey popcorn balls outside your windows and watch the wild birds feast.
  2. Create a wreath out of pine boughs, holly, and sun symbols to hang on your door.
  3. Make a special red candle to light at sunset on Yule evening and keep vigil through the night. Stay up with older children to keep the Goddess company while she labors to give birth to the new Sun. Put younger ones to bed to dream the sun into being.
  4. Gather your family on a hilltop in the area where you live and watch the sunrise on Yule morning. Sing, cheer, and have a breakfast feast in the Sun God’s honor.
  5. As a family, make new ornaments to add to the tree each year. Give extras to friends who come to visit.
  6. Make an Advent calendar, counting down the days until the Solstice. Make a chain of paper links or small packages filled with tiny treats.
  7. Bake sugar cookies shaped like suns and decorate them. Or, make a birthday cake for the sun and throw a birthday party!
  8. Instead of letting Yule cards be a chore, get the whole family in on the act! Design your own Yule cards to send to friends and family. Make it a family project to sign and address them.
  9. Decorate a Yule log — Go out and find a special log (oak is traditional) and festoon it with holly, rosemary, ribbons, or whatever suits your fancy. Attach slips of paper with your wishes on them. Use this log to start your fire. If you don’t have a fireplace in which to burn the Yule log, drill holes and put candles in it. You can save part of your Yule tree for next year’s Yule log.
  10. Donate food to a local food bank, serve dinner at a soup kitchen, or spend time at a nursing home.
  11. Reenact the battle between the Oak King (life and rebirth) and the Holly King (darkness and death). Make swords out of wrapping paper tubes and shields out of cardboard. Hint: the Oak King wins this time.
  12. Uphold the tradition of wassailing by passing around mulled cider and singing songs. You could sing traditional carols (“Joy to the World”) or new ones (the Beatle’s “Here Comes the Sun”).
  13. Kiss under the mistletoe!

Heather Osterman is the Family Services Coordinator for the Aquarian Tabernacle Church. For more information on pagan oriented activities and events for children and families please contact her at or ATC at (360) 793-1945 between 9a.m. and 9p.m.

A Celtic Flavor

A Celtic Flavor

The most common way to say Merry Christmas in Irish is “Nollaig Shona Duit.”
(Nullug Shunna it). This would be used if addressing one other person.
If you were addressing more than one person you would say “Nollaig Shona
Daoibh.” (Nullug-nuh JEEV). This literally means “You have a Happy
Christmas.” A common response to this would be “Nollaig Mbaith Chugat”
(Nullug WyHU-gut), which literally means “A good Christmas to you.”

For a Happy New Year one would say “Athbhliainfaoi Mhaise Duit.”(AH-vlee-ihn fwee WAH-shuh it) for the singular;

and the plural would be: “Athbhliain faoi Mhaise Daoibh.”(AH-vlee-ihn fweeWAH-shuh HEEV).
The literal translation would be “You have a Prosperous New Year.”

Just as in English the two expressions are often combined to say Merry
Christmas and a Happy New Year, “Nollaig Shona agus Athbhliain faoi Mhaise
Duit.” (Nullug shunna AH-guhs AH-vlee-ihn fweeWAH-shuh it). The plural would be:

“Nollaig Shona agus Athbhliainfaoi Mhaise Daoibh.” (Nullug shunna AH-guhs AH-vlee-ihn fwee WAH-shuhHEEV).
For the all of the above greetings a common responseis; “Go mba hé duit” (guh may hay it) which means:
“The same to you.”

Note: To pronounce duit. “it” Hold the “t” longer than you do in English.

Oh Come All Ye Faithful in Irish

Oh Come All Ye Faithful
Téarnaigh in Eineacht

Oh Come All Ye Faithful
Téarnaigh in Eineacht
“Tear knee in Ain nocht”

Téarnaigh in éineacht, téarnaimis go haerach
“Tear knee in Ain nocht, tear nah mish go hair ock”

téarnaigh, ó téarnaigh go mBeithil Thoir
“Tear knee, o tear knee, go meh hill hoar”

Chífimid an Nai ann, Rí na naingeal, losa
“chee fee midge an neh ow-n, Re nah nangle, Ee-sah”

Umhlóimid sios Dó
“Oh loy midge shes dough”

Umhlóimid sios Dó
Umhlóimid sios Dó
Is glóire Dó
“iss glor-ah dough”

Seinnidh, a Shlóite, Aingeal, suas bhur gceolta
“Shay knee, a hloyta, angle. sues were key ol ta”

Freagraidh, a chomhachta, a gceoltasan
“Frag rah, a co och ta, a key ol ta san”

Glóire gan teora, do theacht am tSlanathóra
“Glora gone chore ah, dough yhack ah-m teh slaw nah hoar ah”

Umhlóimid sios Dó
Umhlóimid sios Dó
Umhlóimid sios Dó
Is glóire Dó


Solstice Meditation and Visualization

Solstice Meditation and Visualization
Winter Solstice is an excellent time to undergo a vision quest to find your magickal name, a totem animal, a mantra, or other empowering
insights. This meditation is meant to accent that quest by opening your awareness to the power within and without all things. Begin in a
standing position. Center yourself and breathe deeply. Slowly take off your mundane clothes., likewise removing the “World” with each.
Wrap a blanket around yourself for warmth, but remain naked for the meditation. You need no trappings to discover personal power.
Sit and close your eyes. Let any remaining tension drain away, then begin listening to the sound of silence. Smell the aromas of oak and herb.
Feel the latent energy of everything around you and the magick you’ve placed there. Know it is your own. Listen to your breath and your heartbeat.
Sense the pulse and bb within as the same energy without. Listen closely; does it whisper a message to you? Does it whisper a name? Do you
hear the cry of an animal? Do you hear words that fill you with energy? Linger in this place between Earth and stars until you receive a message.
Then return to normal levels of awareness, and write the experience in your journal.

Creating Healing Traditions

Creating Healing Traditions

  • Wendy Strgar

“Of one thing I am certain, the body is not the measure of healing – peace is the measure.” ~George Melton

As a child I dreaded the holidays. Weeks of uninterrupted solid family dysfunction were made unbearable by what seemed like everyone else having the best time of the year. I remember one year buying a tiny plastic tree and decorating it with cheap lights and tinsel so I could have some holiday spirit, too. I got sick a lot during those vacations and, sitting feverish in front of the holiday film reruns and advertising, only made me feel worse. I know from being married to a doctor for the last three decades that the holidays are a peak time for illness and emotional breakdowns.

Everyone is carrying around a sack full of something, and for many, it is an emptiness that only seems to get heavier through the years. It is easy to believe that with all the media messages around that we can purchase the fullness we all want to feel. It only took a couple of years of gorging on stuff to realize that stuff never satisfied anyone. Instead, over the years I created our holiday traditions around healing rituals that not only helped me to heal my own past, but have also given my kids a chance to make their own meaning in this time.

We had a lot to work with as our mixed religious backgrounds gave us many holiday choices to reinvent. The Hanukkah ritual is a favorite and it can be adapted to any other holiday or even just used at winter solstice. A celebration of light, for us it became a celebration of recognizing the light of gratitude and wonder in our own lives. Each night we take turns lighting candles and sharing the light of all the many things we have to be grateful for. My children have been profound teachers in this ritual, each with remarkable insights into the beauty and wonder of the world.

Training one’s mind in gratitude is perhaps one’s most worthy pursuit and guaranteed to heal one’s holiday emptiness. In fact, there is no other single human emotional quality that has the power to completely reinvent how you perceive your life and open a door to contentment and abundance. Many of the oldest secret societies in the world have gratitude built into their foundational belief systems. It takes practice if you are not accustomed, but gratitude is how happiness feels when it is imbued with wonder.

The most meaningful gifts at this time of year can’t be bought or even given; they are the transformation that happens in us when we are open to receiving. As a chronic giver, this ability to receive is a fledgling chick just learning to fly in me, but I now understand that letting go of how I think things should be and listening deeply to what is right in front of me is almost always a gift that I would have entirely missed in the past. When we get stuck on how life’s offerings (and you can expand that to include people and stuff) don’t match our expectations, we literally turn away from the love and pleasure that is ours. I see it happen every day; we refuse to be loved when it doesn’t look the way we want it to. Celebrate life this holiday season by allowing and receiving life’s gifts in front of you. Practice releasing your thoughts and preconceived ideas when you open a gift and listen for what might be deeply hidden in the gift in front of you.

All of this healing might make you bold enough to attempt the deepest giving of all- Forgiving. This is when we accept that we won’t get a better past and when we finally understand that the only one being harmed by the grudges we hold are ourselves. Forgiveness, in many ways, is the ultimate act of receiving. You finally free yourself from carrying around the baggage of emptiness filled with justifiable injury and disrespect that might never get proper acknowledgement. Forgiveness is a chance to see beyond what we have always known and create room to get a glimpse of a universe still unknown to us. In these moments, we can drop the stories that have defined our holiday memories for so long.

It is a bold step, creating rituals to heal the holidays; you will be astonished at how it transforms the New Year.

3 Holiday Gifts Just for You

3 Holiday Gifts Just for You

  • Sara, from Institute of HeartMath

Deborah, I and all of us at HeartMath wish all of you and your loved ones a joyous holiday season and wonderful new year. Remember to take some time to connect with your heart during the hustle and bustle and to breathe and flow with ease.

As you scurry from shop to shop in search of the perfect gifts for friends, loved ones and colleagues, it’s nice to know that relying on your intuition and a little heart coherence will guide you in the right direction. Before setting out to shop, give yourself the first gift.

#1 -Prevent the Frazzle

Take a few moments to calm and center yourself. You can use HeartMath’s Inner-Ease™ Technique; and when you are out and about you use the 30-second Quick Coherence® Technique – anywhere – to put things in their proper perspective.

#2 – Replace Something Old With Something New

How about giving you a unique holiday gift that will also prepare you for the new year by replacing something old with something new – within.

Begin by asking your heart’s intuition to make you aware of some emotional habit pattern or behavior that you would like to change. Here are some examples:

  • Procrastination –- Putting off medical check-ups, exercise, other healthy commitments, etc.
  • Vulnerable Communication — Maybe you need to communicate your feelings more often when something bothers you; this prevents storing up judgments and hurt which create energy drain and separation.

These are two examples that most of us experience at times. Ask your intuition to reveal a non-effective habit that you could change and replace with a positive strength. Give it time and your intuitive feelings will alert you when the “just right situation” pops up.

Once you decide what emotional pattern you want to change; then write it down. Also write down your new replacement intention — such as replacing impatience with patience. Make the process fun — like an experiment. This keeps the drama and heaviness out of the practice, making it much easier to succeed.

#3 Don’t Make it a Big Deal

When you catch yourself repeating a pattern you want to change, just acknowledge it and breathe the feeling of ease for a while. This will calm the mental and emotional vibration of the pattern. Then, from your genuine heart, shift into the new replacement attitude or behavior that you chose. Repeat the process each time the old pattern pops up. Be patient and respect that some emotional habits take longer to change but you will see progress — as your heart commitment strengthens.

Important Note:

At times if it seems too hard to shift the old patterns or feelings — don’t stress over it or judge yourself – don’t make it a big deal. Just acknowledge it, then move on and visit it later when the energy has subsided. It soon becomes easier to identify unwanted feelings and attitudes and replace them. Remember it’s a gift you are giving to you, but your friends and loved ones also will benefit.

We hope you will gain as much from opening these gifts for you as Deborah and I have gained from using them. Sharing your comments and stories will be a holiday gift to others and inspiration for the new year.

The Most Wanted Gift (and It’s Free!)

The Most Wanted Gift (and It’s Free!)

  • Robert Pagliarini


Over the last couple of weeks I’ve written how you can save money this Christmas and even shared 10 free Christmas gift ideas. If you follow those tips, you’ll make the people on your list quite happy. But if “happy” just isn’t good enough for the most special people in your life, you can give them a gift they will never forget . . .

I was at a party the other night, and after the other guests had left, the host and I sat around the kitchen table and just talked. I mean we really talked — something much deeper and more meaningful than the surface-level chit-chat that occupied most of the evening’s conversations.

What I heard touched me. The host, a neighbor I just met this year, opened up and told me how much he valued our friendship. He said I was an inspiration. I shot back, “I don’t know about that…” but he stopped me. He looked at me thoughtfully and slowly said, “Robert, you really have been.” He then went on to give me very specific events and interactions over the last 12 months of how I impacted his life and why he was grateful we met.

A few things struck me about this conversation. First, I immediately felt overwhelming gratitude. It was an amazing feeling to have someone tell me how much my friendship meant. Nothing feels better than to hear someone tell you how much you mean to them and the impact you’ve made on their life.

Second, whether you are cognizant of it or not, you have had and are having an impact on others — your co-workers, your neighbors, your clients, your family, and your friends. And if you think very long about it, you’ll realize they have had an impact on you.

Third, for a lesser man (or woman), these heart-to-heart conversations don’t just roll off the tongue. They take courage. They also require details. It’s one thing for someone to tell you in glib Hallmark fashion how much you mean to them, but it is a completely different and more profound experience to hear the smallest of details that you thought went unnoticed.

Fourth, there is usually a large disparity between how we see ourselves and how others see us. It can be fascinating and eye-opening to hear how others experience us. And lastly, the feeling that has developed since that night is the desire — maybe more aptly described as a need — to share with those around me how they have impacted my life.

Maybe you’re already good at sharing your feelings. You may argue that throughout the year you tell your friends and loved ones what they mean to you so there’s no need to do it again. Maybe you’re afraid this kind of conversation would make your friend or family member feel uncomfortable. Or more likely, you may be hesitant because it would make you uncomfortable.

Whatever your excuse, I’m going to make it easy for you. Use these questions as your guide. If one-on-one isn’t your thing, write your answers in a letter or card, send them an email, or post the questions and answers to their Facebook wall.

  • What do you appreciate about me the most?
  • What have I done this year that made your 2011 special?
  • How would your life be different if I wasn’t in it?
  • What did I do this year for which you are most proud?
  • What are my best qualities?
  • What traits do I have that you wished you had?
  • How do you experience me?
  • What do you know about me that I probably don’t?

This is your fast track to move beyond pleasantries and platitudes. It will touch the lives of all those you send this to in a powerful and meaningful way. They won’t look at you or the relationship the same. And if that’s not enough, this is one gift you can give and avoid the malls, the lines, and the debt this Christmas. Now that’s something to be grateful for!

Daily Feng Shui Tip for December 21

Seeing that it’s both ‘National Flashlight Day’ and ‘Look On The Bright Side Day,’ and that Hannukah, the Jewish festival of lights, started yesterday, I was sensing a theme here! Never mind that it’s also the day of the Winter Solstice, a time of increasing light while awaiting the arrival of the ‘Son/Sun.’ And speaking of good lighting, Feng Shui says that if you want to increase the odds of having excellent career opportunities come right to your door that you should change out the light bulbs in both your front hallway and outside the front door. These lights should now reflect the highest wattage that you can find and should also be kept on for a successive three hours every day for three, nine or 27 days straight when you are looking to pump up your income, or secure a new one. I illuminate a red light outside of my front door for the entire day whenever I am in my home office conducting business. I also leave the front hallway lights on and turn them off when my workday is done. Considering how much energy is devoted to brightening your day today, I hope this ages old philosophical enlightenment helps light up your life as well!

By Ellen Whitehurst for

Your Daily Number for Dec. 21: 7

You may find yourself feeling somewhat accident prone at work, and even a bit awkward. Exercise extra caution, even with routine tasks. Today is best suited for inner reflection rather than bustling social events.

Fast Facts

About the Number 7

Theme: Quiet, Insightful, Analytical, Mystical, Intuitive
Astro Association: Cancer
Tarot Association: Chariot

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for December 21 is 4: Youthful Folly

4: Youthful Folly

Hexagram 4

General Meaning: Be on guard for careless or rebellious attitudes characteristic of youthful inexperience. Just as a youth requires instruction, this is a good time to focus on learning your lessons from a patient teacher or life experience. Is there some circumstance in your life that you failed to comprehend, perhaps because you could not appreciate its inherent complexities? Be respectful of anything or anyone who has something to teach you right now.

In order to be prepared for challenges, let education be a part of your life. Continually develop the strong mind and will necessary to carry you through confusing times. The wise realize that experience is a powerful teacher, even though we cannot be forced to learn, even from experience. Be a good student, one who delights in learning, one who nourishes his or her expanding awareness, one who is paying attention!

Examine your attitude for factors that limit your openness. Observe how you deal with the mistakes of others. You must let people live their own lives and learn their own lessons. Offer others your wisdom or advice, but only if the other person is receptive (when in doubt, ask). Otherwise, give up trying to convince him or her that you are right, which is only exhausting and counter-productive. If people are not receptive, let them go their own way — even into difficulty or dangerous circumstances. It is the only way they can learn right now — and without learning, no one can achieve success. This does not mean that you should not care — just that taking care of someone too much can be harmful. Live and let learn.

Today’s Runes for Wednesday, Dec. 21 is Perth

Today’s Runes

Stone Runes are most commonly used for questions about the natural world and things beyond human control. Perth is the rune of chance and gambling. Throw the dice, read your fate. Gaming is a fine way to pass the night…as long as one is careful. Games of chance have outcomes that are hidden from us, and as such Perth represents secrets unknown. Perth symbolizes enjoyment and wild abandon, but be watchful, for Perth is also the rune of mystery and the outcomes unexpected. You cannot lose if you do not play, but neither can you win…