December 31, 2010

Winnie the Pooh

Winnie the Pooh, also known as Pooh or Pooh Bear, is a very famous bear known around the world.  He was created by A.A. Milne who named the bear in his writings after a stuffed toy bear owned by his son, Christopher Robin.

Winnie the Pooh has wisdom not just meant for children.  How insightful he is!  I know you will enjoy (as I have) these simple, everydayish and yet wise quotes from the Pooh Bear!

A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.

Before beginning a hunt, it is wise to ask someone what you are looking for before you begin looking for it.

When you are a bear of very little brain, and think of things, you find sometimes that a thing which seemed very thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.

My spelling is wobbly. It's good spelling but it wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.

When looking at your two paws, as soon as you have decided which of them is the right one, then you can be sure the other one is the left.

Don't underestimate the value of doing nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering.

If there ever comes a day when we can't be together keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever.

Promise me you'll never forget me because if I thought you would I'd never leave.

If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together.. there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart.  I’ll always be with you.

If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus 1 day, so I never have to live without you.

Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.

A bear, however hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise.

Always watch where you are going. Otherwise, you may step on a piece of the forest that was left out by mistake.

"I don't see much sense in that," said Rabbit. "No," said Pooh humbly, "there isn't. But there was going to be when I began it. It's just that something happened to it along the way."

If the person you are talking to doesn't appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.

The hardest part is what to leave behind, ... It's time to let go!

It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?"

They're funny things, accidents. You never have them till you're having them.

You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.

December 29, 2010

Conversation Starter

I saw this photo on another blog,    Obviously it caught my attention.  I'd say that both the photographer and the guy being photographed have a great sense of humor and are able to come up with creative ways to share their humor with others!

Wouldn't this photo be a great conversation starter?

You could hang it on the wall in a room in which you want people to talk to each other and have a rock-tumbling noise playing in the background.  Or you could carry the photo in your purse and then whip it out at just the right moment when conversation is lagging.  You could take it to parties and pass it around, asking other party goers if they've seen this person or if they can identify the rock.  You could send an urgent email to your family and friends telling them that you are organizing a bus trip to go help this brave, tired guy hold up the rock and plea for them to sign up.

Another site,, suggests (apart from the rock) other ways to get people talking:

  • What is your favorite sports team?

  • If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?

  • What do you like most about your job?

  • If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

  • What kind of music do you listen to?

  • What is something you have never done but would like to do?

  • What type of cell phone do you have?

  • What is your dream job?

  • If you had three wishes, what would they be?

  • December 27, 2010

    Quilts, That Nostalgic Homemade Look

    Every school year,  I like to read the book, Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt to my second graders.  The first question they always ask is, "What's a quilt?"   After I show them pictures of the quilt in the story, I notice that a light bulb lights up in a few heads!  Yes, some of them have a quilt on their bed at home, they just never called it a quilt!  And every now and then, a few second graders may have a mom or grandma who makes quilts.

    Sweet Clara was a young slave girl who was taken from her mother and sent to another plantation to pick cotton in the fields.  Clara was very frail and did not enjoy working in the fields.  Another slave, Aunt Rachel, taught Clara how to sew, hoping that Clara can work in the master's Big House instead of in the fields.  Clara quickly takes to sewing, and eventually sews for the mistress of the plantation.

    Since the sewing room was next to the kitchen, Clara was able to meet many people who knew the countryside.  She learned of the Underground Railroad.  Clara secretly made a quilt using scraps of fabric from the Big House.  It included the surrounding land with a map to show the way to freedom.  When the quilt was finished. Clara ran away and headed north to freedom.  Of course, she knew the map on the quilt by heart, so left the quilt behind so others could use it's map to escape to freedom, too.

    Happily, it is not necessary for any of us to create a quilt/map to escape to freedom. Some people make quilts just because they want to--they love playing with colors, shapes, and patterns.  Maybe you are one of them!  Or maybe you are like me--I don't want to make quilts, but I can genuinely ooh and aah over quilts that other people have made.

    December 23, 2010

    Santa's Subordinate Clauses, Ho Ho Ho

     It's only one day before Santa's big trip.   Choose your favorite joke or add your own!  (photo by  Carla F. Costagno,

    What are Santa's elves?  subordinate clauses.

    What do you call Santa when he has no money? Saint Nickel-less.

    Why were Santa's elves depressed?  Because they had low elf-esteem.

    What is green, covered with tinsel and goes "ribbt, ribbet?" a mistle-toad.

    What does Santa have for breakfast?  mistle-toast.

    What nationality is Santa Claus?  North Polish.

    What did Santa get this year because he goes down so many chimneys?  a flue shot.

    What do you call someone who doesn't believe in Father Christmas? a rebel without a clause.

    What is Santa when he falls down a chimney?  Santa Klutz.

    What does Santa Claus say when he walks backwards?  Oh, Oh, Oh.

    What did Santa say to Mrs. Claus when he looked out the window?  "Looks like rain, dear."

    What do you call a cat on the beach on Christmas morning?  Sandy Claws.

    Where does Santa stay when he goes on vacation?  at a ho-ho-tel.

    Which is your favorite?  Please comment.  Or, do you have a Santa joke to share?

    December 18, 2010

    Cater To Your Sweet Tooth!

    (photo by Thomas Perkins,

    I myself have a salt tooth.  I crave salty, crunchy foods--not necessarily a bad thing, but hide the potato chips, please!

    But you may have a sweet tooth--also not necessarily a bad thing.   I find that it's very gratifying to bake for people with a sweet tooth.  They appreciate it so much and eat lots of the sweets.  Makes me feel like the world's best baker when everyone knows I'm not!   

    When Christmas comes, I think of making home-made candy.  Don't worry about my salt tooth; I still take very good care of it.

    Why do I ever go to all that trouble when I can just buy candy at the store?  It's fun, for one thing!  And  I like the festive feeling and satisfaction I get from it.    It's kind of  like the feeling when I'm done mowing the lawn, and it looks so-o-o nice!  Or the feeling I get when I've just cleaned my house.  But I've noticed the satisfaction of  homemade candy lasts longer than the satisfaction of mowing the lawn or cleaning the house.  The grass grows so quickly, and the house easily gets messy again. And then you have to do it all over again.   But the candy can be enjoyed for a long time!

    Here are two easy and fun candy recipes.  Both are from Pennsylvania Dutch Peoples Cookbook, Culinary Arts Press.  Both these recipes could be a "together project"  for Family Fun Night.

    Recipe for Butterscotch Candy
    2 cups sugar
    1/4 cup butter
    1/4 cup water
    1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

    Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Then cook to hard crack stage (a small amount of the mixture separates into threads which are hard but not brittle when dropped in cold water; or thermometer registers 290 degrees F).

    Pour into a buttered pan and when almost set, mark into squares. When cool, cut into squares. Makes about 1 pound.

    Recipe for Molasses-Candy (This is a pull-taffy)
    2 cups light molasses
    1 cup packed brown sugar
    2 tablespoons butter
    1/3 cup water
    1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
    pinch of baking soda

    Cook all ingredients together in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, to the hard ball stage (mixture forms a hard ball when a small amount is dropped into cold water; or thermometer registers 260 degrees F).

    Pour into a shallow buttered pan and allow to cool. When cool enough to handle, rub butter on hands and pull the mixture (small portions at a time) until light golden in color and it has a satin-like finish. Pull into long strips 3/4 inch in diameter and cut with scissors into 1-inch pieces.
    When cooled, wrap each piece in waxed paper. Makes about 1-1/2 pounds.

    December 16, 2010

    Don't Expect Any Leftovers!

    This is me,  Phoebe,  The Wondrous Story Cat!  I'm sharing one of my comfort-food holiday recipes that uses two of my favorite foods.  They would be Peppawridge Farm's purrfectly seasoned stuffing and Catbell's Mouse broth.  Don't worry, I haven't purrposely  omitted any ingredients, so your catserole will taste just as good as when I make it myself!

    To the young kittens  experiencing Christmas for the first time--you will surely want to mew and purr for this recipe every Christmas!

    Flavorful Mousy Catserole

    4 cups Peppawridge Farm Catnip Seasoned Stuffing
    8 mice
    1 can Catbell's Mouse broth
    1/4 cup cream
    1 tablespoon chopped catnip

    • Mix stuffing, 1 cup boiling water, and 1 tbsp butter.
    • Spoon stuffing across center of 3-qt shallow baking dish.  Place mice over top of stuffing.  Sprinkle mice with purrprika.
    • Mix broth, cream, and catnip.  Pour over mice.
    • Bake covered at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes.
    • Bake uncovered 15 minutes or until mice are crispy.
    Yields four servings; guaranteed no leftovers!

    December 10, 2010

    A Stained Recipe Card

    You know, don't you, what a stained recipe card means?  It means that particular recipe has been made over and over again.

    The recipe card for my Apricot Bread is stained.  It has stains from butter, sugar, orange juice, water, etc.  I have made this recipe over and over again.  I think I could make this bread without even looking at the card.

    Apricot Bread is Christmasy.  It makes a thoughtful, delicious gift when you want just the right thing to let someone know that you appreciate them.   Try it!

    Apricot Bread
    1 cup dried apricots, cut into small pieces
    2 cups warm water
    1 cup sugar
    2 tablespoons butter, softened
    1 egg
    3/4 cup orange juice
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    3/4 cup chopped nuts (I prefer pecans)

    Directions:  Soak apricots in warm water approx 30 minutes.  In a mixing bowl, cream sugar, butter, and egg.  Stir in orange juice.  Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; stir into creamed mixture just until combined.  Drain apricots well; add to batter with nuts.

    Pour into a greased 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 55 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes in pan before removing to a wire rack. Enjoy!