Friday, December 9, 2016

Magical Holiday Season...and our Winner!

The Poinsettia is the traditional Christmas flower for many. It is particularly well known for its red and green foliage. Native to Mexico, it derives its common name from Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Minister to Mexico, who introduced the plant to the US in 1825.

The plant's association with Christmas began in 16th-century Mexico, where legend tells of a girl, commonly called Pepita or Maria, who was too poor to provide a gift for the celebration of Jesus' birthday and was inspired by an angel to gather weeds from the roadside and place them in front of the church altar. Crimson blossoms sprouted from the weeds and became beautiful poinsettias. From the 17th century, Franciscan friars in Mexico included the plants in their Christmas celebrations. A little holiday history for you!

A trip to NYC makes the holiday season special in such a magical way. Indulging in cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery is a must and it was our last stop of the day. Their buttercream frosting ROCKS! I bought a half dozen and popped a few in the freezer in the hopes they will still be tasty. 
 MacKenzie-Childs was all decked out for the holidays. 

Our next stop was Tiffany's to see the tree and then to Henri Bendel's for some holiday shopping. 

A stop at Grand Central Station to shop the holiday market is always a must. I probably should have stocked up on spices :-)

Our "Scoots" group planned a get together to assemble our Wilton pre-baked Gingerbread camper kit that we found at Walmart this year. It brought back memories of my grandparent's Shasta trailer. My grandparents brought their cute Shasta trailer to my parent's camp, and we had campfire dinners, dressed up in my grandmother's costume jewelry, baked pies in the little oven, had treasure hunts, and my favorite thing was to sleep in the "bed" on the upper level of the trailer. 
My heart is getting merrier by the minute. Xavier is almost nine months old and will celebrate his first Christmas.   

Joe and I went to the Turning Stone Casino for our annual visit to the gingerbread village. Just to give you an idea of their size, one of the employees (she's 4'9" tall and their cake artist) used a ladder to decorate the houses. 

The Tales of the Traveling Totes members offered a giveaway, and the winner of the lovely glass acorn ornament from MacKenzie-Childs is Kitty's Kozy Kitchen. Congratulations Kitty!! 
Merry Christmas friends!
Love you all!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Traveling Totes - MacKenzie-Childs Giveaway

It's the holiday season and time for indulgence. Let the festivities begin! I've lit a candle for us to enjoy with some very merry tea.

First, let me say that MacKenzie-Childs should have their own float in the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade and we could be on it singing "I am dreaming of a Checked Christmas" all while holding our totes. The Traveling Tote ladies have been busy swapping Christmas ornaments from places they have been. Emily at The French Hutch sent me a MacKenzie-Childs ornament!!! The ornament is inspired by a grand English country manse decked out for a holiday fete. It's called "Yuletide Manor Cloche" and it captures a stately scene in miniature. It's a silver-dusted tree bedecked with colorful ornaments and it is under a traditional glass dome, topped with Courtly Check ribbon. 
Thank you so much Emily--I loved adding it to my MacKenzie-Childs ornament collection!
September and October were fun filled months here at Mountain Breaths. We had a bachelorette party for my niece and toured six Finger Lakes wineries. What fun that was! Jamie and Shane are a sweet couple and are getting married in February on Marco Island, FL. My niece is like a daughter to me.  In the photo below, my sister Cheryl in the pink top and Jamie holding the sign. 
At the end of September, we let the good times roll and celebrated my sisterinlaw's 60th birthday with eleven family members in New Orleans. We arrived Friday afternoon for a long weekend and tried to squeeze in as much as possible including going on a swamp and bayou tour (Joe and I were pretty brave to hold a baby alligator - not so cute when it gets bigger), shopped on Magazine Street and the French Market, toured Mardi Gras World, listened to musicians at Jackson Square and celebrated Cheryl's birthday in a surprise birthday parade on Bourbon Street. You may be familiar with the wedding parades that are popular in New Orleans, and it requires a lot of planning to get the permit, hire the jazz band and hire police officers for a birthday parade. We rented a house on Burgundy Street in the French Quarter that we found on Airbnb. 

In October, we pedaled these "bikes" on the New York Central Railroad in Saranac Lake. It was difficult to get a reservation, but I finally got one and IT POURED. We still had fun, and dressed for the weather. After we freshened up at the Depot, we headed to Lake Placid to have lunch at our favorite lunch spot "The Cottage" on Mirror Lake. 

Ever since we got back from New Orleans, Joe has been making this Muffuletta sandwich recipe. He made it for our bachelorette winery trip and made several for his students. It's an amazing sandwich if you like olives. One of his student's told him it's the best sandwich he's ever had, and to not tell his mother he said that. LOL
 I am so enjoying the friendship with my fellow Courtly Check gals. Who would have thought that a tote bag could make us a close knit group. Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season!

Debbie with Miss Victoria and Miss Aurora Mountain Breaths  (That's me!!)
Emily with Miss Courtney Childs@ The French Hutch
Linda with Miss Rosie @ More Fun Less Laundry
Patti with Miss Kenzie and Miss Taylor @ Pandora's Box
Rita with Miss Luna C Panoply
Sarah with Miss Merri Mac @ Hyacinths for the Soul
 I am hosting the December giveaway for the Traveling Tote Tribe. Leave a comment on my blog letting me know you would like a chance to win the MacKenzie-Childs acorn ornament below. I will draw a lucky winner on December 8.

We will offer a MacKenzie-Childs giveaway with our next 4 posts, each time with a different host!  

The next post will be March 1, 2017.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Gingersnaps and We Have A Winner!

This is simply one of the best cookie recipes I have tried. It's a tasty cookie to make right after Thanksgiving, and during the Christmas season. I just made a batch to bring on a bus trip to New York City on Saturday. Always a hit. 

2 cups sifted flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. powdered ginger
1 tsp. ground cloves (or Allspice)
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 / 4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
1 / 4 cup molasses
1 egg
Additional sugar

Sift together the first five ingredients and set aside in a medium bowl. Cream shortening until light. Add sugar, molasses and egg to shortening, beating well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until smooth. Dough will be very stiff. Shape into balls, about 1 inch, and roll in sugar. Bake on greased cookie sheets at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until firm. Cool on wire racks.

The winner of the "One to Five" Cookbook" is ........................

Rita from Panoply. 

Congratulations Rita, you will receive the cookbook in the mail within two weeks. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Getting Ready for the Holidays...Norm and Lana's Shasta Trailer

I'm supposed to be in the kitchen getting ready for our Thanksgiving dinner but I had to share this in case you want to purchase one. When I was in Walmart today, I found a pre-baked Gingerbread Camper Kit and there were only a few left. They must have just put them on the shelves because I have been stalking Walmart for the last two weeks after seeing it on Facebook. Our Scoots group is getting together soon for this fun project! 

It brought back memories of my grandparent's Shasta trailer that people are paying big bucks for and glamping them out. Look at the sweet little wing on my grandparent's trailer :-) Last year, I spotted a 1966 Shasta trailer for sale and it reminded me of the "glamping nights" when I was a youngster. My grandparents brought their cute Shasta trailer to my parent's camp, and we had campfire dinners, dressed up in my grandmother's costume jewelry, baked pies in the little oven, had treasure hunts, and my favorite thing was to sleep in the "bed" on the upper level of the trailer. Oh how I would love to go back in time and am so grateful for these memories.

The ad read:  $4,800 Adorable 1966 16' Shasta Travel Trailer. We have painted the inside and outside, new flooring, replaced a front window and removed and corrected the damage from some wood rot. The front door had been replaced by the previous owner along with the sub flooring. And it was done correctly or we would of redone it. We left the original Ice Box for storage, however we added a dorm refrigerator in. Trailer comes with a double hot plate and toaster oven. The oven was removed by the previous owner, however the gas lines still are there if someone wanted to replace it. Comes with portable A/C and all decorations you see. This is a great Camper, ready to roll. She was built right here in the Grapevine, Texas plant and been in Texas all her life. Texas Title in hand. Asking $4800.