The Waking’s “Guide to Christmas” – Blog 3 of 3

Well folks, this is the final “Guide to Christmas” blog. We hope you have enjoyed all of the music and book recommendations, Holiday recipes, gift ideas, and fun videos and lists that we’ve shared with you this season! Christmas is an important Holiday, not just for the fact that we get to spend time with family and friends and give use of our resources and time to people, but it’s also a day to celebrate the birth of Christ. And that’s something to get excited about! So, have fun with our last, jam-packed blog and Merry Christmas!

Music:

“The Christmas Classics EP” by House Of Heroes



House Of Heroes singing a Mariah Carey song? May sound a little odd, but it’s a fun surprise you get to hear on the band’s new three song EP, aptly named, “The Christmas Classics”. The EP starts off with the Mariah Carey Christmas classic “All I Want For Christmas Is You”. I was a little surprised to hear them sing this song as I’ve never heard a guy sing it before, but in my opinion, they really do this song justice. Lead singer Tim Skipper’s smooth vocals sound awesome on this song. Yes, ladies, you will swoon. 😉 Next is the song “Silent Night”, which the guys kept traditional. The background vocals on this song were a highlight to me. Last song, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”, sounds traditional all the way through until the end when the guitars pick up and Tim’s rock vocal kicks the song into high gear. It may just be three songs but it’s a must have for any House of Heroes fan. Plus, this digital only EP is only $1.98 on Amazon.com. If you like traditional  Christmas songs with a little twist this is the EP for you.

Click here to purchase “The Christmas Classics EP” by House of Heroes

Krystal’s Top 7 Best Original Christmas Songs:

1. “I Celebrate The Day” by Relient K
2. “2,000 Decembers” Ago by Joy Williams
3. “To Be With You” by Sara Groves
4. “Why Can’t It Be Christmas Time All Year” by Rosie Thomas
5. “Wishing For This” by Leigh Nash
6. “Hibernate” by Jars Of Clay
7. “You’re Here” by Francesca Battistelli

Christmas Albums to Add to Your Holiday Collection:

No Gift To Bring – The Almost
The Silent Night EP – Seabird
The Family Force 5 Christmas Pageant – Family Force 5
Punk Rawk Christmas – MXPX
Christmas EP – Aaron Shust
Gloria EP – Hawk Nelson
My Holiday – Mindy Smith
A Very Rosie Christmas – Rosie Thomas
Wishing For This – Leigh Nash 

Books:“Silent Night” by Stanley Weintraub

“Silent Night” recounts the true story about the Christmas of 1914. In the heat of War World I, British and German soldiers put aside their differences (and weapons) and exchanged gifts and pleasantries in light of the Holiday season. This remarkable event is one of a kind in the history of nations warring against each other and portrays the human spirit at its best. Drawing heavily from soldier’s letters and diary entries, Stanley Weintraub’s book gives us an inside look into this very special Christmas.

Click here to purchase “Silent Night” by Stanley Weintraub
 

Three Alarm Chili and Biscuit Bowls
 

This is Paula Deans recipe for Three Alarm Chili and Biscuit Bowls, this is the only chili we ever make because it’s so good! This chili is perfect for those cold winter evenings.

Ingredients:
2 cups baking biscuit mix (recommended: Bisquick)
2/3 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1 pound ground chuck
2 medium onions, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 (14-ounce) cans Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the toppings:
Grated sharp Cheddar
Sour cream
Sliced green onions (white and green parts)
Corn chips

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Invert a 6-cup muffin tin and spray the underside with vegetable oil cooking spray. Stir together the biscuit mix, milk and cayenne in a medium mixing bowl.

Shape into a ball. Turn out onto floured surface and knead 2 to 4 times. Divide the ball into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into a 6-inch circle. Place 1 dough circle over each muffin cup. Press around the cup to form a bowl shape. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool slightly. Remove the biscuit bowls and reserve.

Brown the ground chuck over medium heat in a Dutch oven. Add the onions and green pepper and continue to cook until the meat is completely browned and the vegetables are tender. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Drain of any fat and discard. Stir in the tomatoes, beans, chili powder and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and reduce
the heat to low. Simmer for 35 minutes. Season with ground black pepper.When ready to serve, spoon hot chili into the biscuit bowls.

Garnish with shredded Cheddar, sour cream, sliced green onions, and corn chips.

Cheesy Rice and Broccoli

 

We make this delish Cheesy Rice and Broccoli recipe every Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s a very rich and creamy dish that goes great with your holiday meal.

Ingredients:
Broccoli – frozen
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
Velveeta Cheese
1/3 cup celery
1/4 cup onion
3 tbs. butter
2 cups instant rice

Instructions:
1.cook broccoli according to package instructions.
2.Saute celery and onions in 3 tbsp. butter
3.Cook rice.

Mix sautéed celery and onions with cooked rice, add mushroom soup, Velveeta Cheese, and broccoli together. Pour into baking dish and back for 30 Min. at 350 degrees.

Pecan Tassies
 

My family has made Pecan Tassies for every holiday since I was a kid! And I still adore them! They are so good that you will not be able to stop at just eating one!

Ingredients:
2 cups margarine
4 (3 ounce) packages cream cheese
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium bowl, mix together the margarine and cream cheese until well blended. Beat in flour, 1 cup at a time, until the mixture forms a smooth dough. Roll into small balls, and press into the bottoms and sides of tart pans or mini muffin pans. In another bowl, mix together the eggs, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt. Stir in the pecans. Use a spoon to fill each of the crusts 2/3 full with the filling mixture. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes in the preheated oven, until shell is light brown, and the filling has puffed up. Cool, and carefully remove from pans.

Raspberry Ganache Pie

 

This is a really rich chocolaty pie that any chocolate lover will devour. We’ve been told it’s kinda sweet…we rarely ever notice these things seeing as how we have a super human chocolate tolerance. Instead of putting raspberries on the top of the pie as the recipe calls for, we love to mix the raspberry juice in whip cream and pipe it on the top of the pie. It really tastes great this way and looks pretty too. If chocolate and raspberry is one of your favorite combos, this is the pie for you.

What You Need:
1 pkg. (8 squares) BAKER’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, coarsely
chopped
1 cup whipping cream
6 Tbsp. seedless raspberry jam, divided
1 OREO Pie Crust (6 oz.)
2 cups fresh raspberries
1 Tbsp. water

Make It:
MICROWAVE chocolate and cream in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or  until chocolate is almost melted, stirring after each minute. Beat with whisk until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended. Stir in 2 Tbsp. jam.

POUR into crust. Refrigerate 4 hours.

ARRANGE berries on top of pie. Microwave remaining jam and water in
small microwaveable bowl on HIGH 30 sec.; stir until well blended. Brush
onto berries. Keep refrigerated.

Hanukkah Potato Latkes
 

For years I had been wanting to make Potato Latkes, but never had a recipe, so recently when found this recipe for Potato Latkes on Xanga and just had to make it right away! So last week my mom, Krys and I, all got in the kitchen, and at 1am (yes I did say 1am! Go figure!), made Potato Latkes for the very first time! They were AMAZING! We are going to make them again on Christmas Eve and start the tradition of having them every year!

Ingredients:
2 large potatoes, coarsely grated
1 small onion, finely diced 
 1 Tablespoon  flour
pinch baking powder
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt and pepper to taste
Canola or Vegetable oil
apple sauce or sour cream (optional)

Directions:
1. Shred the potatoes using a medium size grater or food processor disc.
Finely dice the onion and combine with the grated potatoes. Squeeze out
all of the excess water, using paper towels as noted above.

2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan—about 1/8 inch up the sides of the
pan. While the oil is heating, combine the flour, baking powder, beaten
egg, salt and pepper with the potato and onion mixture.

3. When the oil is hot, drop the potato mixture by large spoonfuls into
the pan.

4. Fry until crisp and golden on both sides, about 15 minutes total
cooking time.

5. Drain the Latkes on paper towels or brown paper.

6. To reheat, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the pancakes on an
un-greased cookie sheet and bake until hot, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Serve at once with applesauce or sour cream if desired.

How to:

Holiday
Makeup
So, if any of you gals are like me, you like to change-up your makeup for
the holidays, maybe look a bit glamorous and sassy. Well i can’t think
of a better way to do “sassy” than to take a cue from the 1940’s and
’50’s pin-up era (Minus the trampy-ness. Remember gals, we want to be
cute and classy, not trashy.). The Pin Up look is one of my favorite
looks to do, and i tend to wear my makeup that way around the holidays,
it makes me feel oh so cute, and sensationally sassy! Here’s one of my
favorite video tutorials on how to get that playful bombshell pin-up
look! Oh yes dolls, this is the perfect way to do your makeup for all
those holiday parties and photos! Now just throw on a cute black wiggle
dress and some heels, and maybe a flower or a feather fascinator in your
hair, and you are on your way baby! Have fun my dears!

Here’s a picture of Dita Von Teese’s makeup for a little inspiration:

Videos:

We saw the video for The Little Drummer Boy by The Almost on TVU the other day and fell in love with it. The way the guys play the song is so passionate and moving. Check it out!

 

Top Ten Toys of Yesterday: 1980s:

1. Cabbage Patch Kids
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No doll in history had ever hit the home run that Cabbage Patch Kids did the year they were introduced in the market (1983).

2. Teddy Ruxpin

We have vague memories as to who actually owned a Teddy, but Krystal remembers loving it. I personally (Pam) thought some creepy talking bear waking me up at night was horrendous lol.

3. My Little Pony
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I cannot read the words “My Little Pony” without the commercial jingle going through my head.What little girl doesn’t dream of having her own horse?! Full with a pink castle!

4. Masters of the Universe

He-man, Skeleator, and Man-at-arms were the toys to have for any boys growing up in the 80’s! I remember playing with my brothers sometimes..my barbie dated he-man once haha.

5.Transformers

Hasbro, the creators of the very first action figure, brought new depth to the toy category when they released The Transformers in 1984.

6.Glo Worm

Aww who didn’t love the Glo Worms!! It’s required every toddler have one in my book.

7.Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turles explosion began as a comic book, then on to action figures and a television series, and later even movies. The phenomenon has recently resurfacted to faithful fans who were rewarded with a new movie.

8.Pogo Ball
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A Pogo Ball is pretty much just what it sounds like. Similar in function to a pogo stick, a Pogo Ball resembles the planet Saturn. Basically, it’s a ball shaped like a figure eight with an octagonal platform around the middle of it (essentially creating a ball on top and bottom). You stand on the platform squeezing the upper ball with your feet and then jump and bounce around to your hearts content or until you pass out from exhaustion.

9.Popples
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Popples were adorable little brightly colored creatures with long tails that had a poof ball at the end.  They also had a pouch on their backs that when you flipped inside out would roll the Popples into balls.

10.Pound Puppies
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They were all the rage in the mid to late 80’s. Oh gosh does anyone remember the cartoon? We loved it!!!

Top 10 Winter Vacation Spots
(from www.bestvacationtip.com)

If you are someone who loves the wintertime, no matter if you enjoy skiing, snow boarding, snow shoeing, ice skating or snow tubing, traveling to one of the top 10 winter vacation spots could be just what you’ve been looking for. You can find a great number of winter vacation spots all over the globe that make outstanding winter trips.

1. Hershey, Pennsylvania. That’s a great winter vacation idea if you consider going on vacation before or on the Christmas holiday. That destination is home of Hershey’s candy, Hershey Park becomes home to Christmas Candyland that normally runs for a month before Christmas. During this time over one million Christmas lights are put on display.

2. Jukkasjarvi, Sweden. Sweden’s Ice Hotel is located in the small riverside village of Jukkasjarv, renowned around the world for great winter vacations. Every winter the hotel is built out of over 10,000 tons of ice from the river close to the hotel and more than 30,000 tons of snow. Sweden’s Ice Hotel sports the outstanding Absolut Ice Bar, an absolute winter favorite for the herd of an age over 21 years.

3. Yellowstone National Park. Most people know Yellowstone as one of the most popular summer tourism spots in the United States. In the wintertime it’s even opened and provides Lodging and Learning programs that allow visitors of all ages to stay at Yellowstone and take part in educational lessons during the wintertime. For people of all ages these ideas could be a great option to learn something about the attractive and interesting Yellowstone Park.

4. Wisconsin Dells. This is a small town in Wisconsin that provides great family winter vacations at the Great Wolf Lodge. That popular destination for families is home of vast indoor water parks. Guests of Wisconsin Dells can take advantage of both opportunities indoors with summertime recreation and outdoors with snow and ice. Wisconsin Dells is not far away from Madison, Wisconsin and Milwaukee.

5. New England. That is the region where the country was founded and includes Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont and Rhode Island. Within these six states you can not only visit a great number of the most historical sites in the United States, you are also able to do a lot of activities during the wintertime. Maine features in Sugarloaf one of the best ski resorts in the country. You can also visit the beautiful White Mountain region of New Hampshire. There are a vast number of ski resorts. Historical Mount Washington is also located in New Hampshire. It is the highest peak in the Northeast of the United States.

6. Orlando. If non skiing winter vacations are your thing and you are in search of a destination to get away from the winter for a couple of weeks then you should consider travel to Florida. It is one of the most popular destinations also in the wintertime. Walt Disney World provides discounted prices especially on particular off-season times of the winter months. During off-peak the parks and restaurants are less crowded than on a school vacation week or at summertime. On the other hand you will be able to enjoy the warm Florida weather on your vacation.

7. Caribbean. Another good idea may be to take a cruise on the wintertime. A Caribbean voyage offers, same Florida, a change-up from the cold, snowy winter weather. Winter is usually the right time for a Caribbean cruise because the weather has calmed down there. Wintertime is ideal for calm seas and a really relaxing cruise, because summertime is hurricane season, coming with a lot of hassle for cruises.

8. Mont Tremblant. It is situated in the outstanding Laurentian Mountains of the province of Quebec, Canada, Mont Tremblant features over 600 acres of land for winter sports. That destination is probably the best option if you are looking to go for the slopes. Another fact you should keep in mind is that you’ll get more for your US dollars in Canada. That allow you to go further than it would on winter vacations in the U.S.

9. Alaska. Whenever you are going on winter vacations with children, Alaska could be the right option for you. Alaska is one of the best winter vacation spots, featuring so many different things from dog sledding, one of the most favored sports there, to watching the Northern lights. Even though it is disreputable for its common cold, frosty weather, Alaska also comes with numerous entertainment opportunities that will enjoy the whole family.

10. Lake Tahoe. This destination has been one of the top winter vacation spots in the world for decades. It is situated on the border of California and Nevada just west of Carson City, Nevada. Lake Tahoe has to offer a lot of things to do for everyone in your family. It averages 360 inches of snow per year, making for a winter wonderland of fun on your winter getaway. Around beautiful Lake Tahoe you can find numerous superiority resorts and the Rocky Mountains make a picturesque background for the ideal winter trip.

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