Saturday, December 19, 2009

Here We Come A-Wassailing

(As with most carols, there are several versions)

Here we come a-wassailing
Among the leaves so green;
Here we come a-wand'ring
So fair to be seen.

Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail too;
And God bless you and send you a Happy New Year
And God send you a Happy New Year.

Our wassail cup is made
Of the rosemary tree,
And so is your beer
Of the best barley.


We are not daily beggars
That beg from door to door;
But we are neighbours' children,
Whom you have seen before.


Call up the butler of this house,
Put on his golden ring.
Let him bring us up a glass of beer,
And better we shall sing.


We have got a little purse
Of stretching leather skin;
We want a little of your money
To line it well within.


Bring us out a table
And spread it with a cloth;
Bring us out a mouldy cheese,
And some of your Christmas loaf.


God bless the master of this house
Likewise the mistress too,
And all the little children
That round the table go


Good master and good mistress,
While you're sitting by the fire,
Pray think of us poor children
Who are wandering in the mire.


Here We Come A-Wassailing (or Here We Come A-Caroling) is a Christmas carol and New Years song. It refers to 'wassailing', or singing carols door to door.[1].

An old English wassail song, or song to wish good health, which is what "wassail" means.
According to Readers Digest; "the Christmas spirit often made the rich a little more generous than usual, and bands of beggars and orphans used to dance their way through the snowy streets of England, offering to sing good cheer and to tell good fortune if the householder would give them a drink from his wassail bowl or a penny or a pork pie or, let them stand for a few minutes beside the warmth of his hearth.

The wassail bowl itself was a hearty combination of hot ale or beer and spices and mead, just alcoholic enough to warm tingling toes and fingers of the singers"

info found at wikipedia

Spiced Wassail


* 1 quart unsweetened apple juice
* 3 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
* 2 cups cranberry juice
* 1 navel orange, sliced
* 1 medium lemon, sliced
* 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 3 whole cloves
* 1 (3 inch) stick cinnamon, broken


1) In a large saucepan, combine all of the ingredients.
2) Bring to a boil.
3) Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
4) Discard the orange and lemon slices, cloves and cinnamon before serving.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Legend of the Christmas Spider

On Christmas eve, a long time ago, a gentle mother was busily cleaning the house for the most wonderful day of the year... Christmas day, the day on which the little Christ child came to bless the house. Not a speck of dust was left. Even the spiders had been banished from their cozy corner on the ceiling. They had fled to the farthest corner of the attic.

The Christmas tree was beautifully decorated. The poor spiders were frantic, for they could not see the tree, nor be present for the little Christ child's visit. Then the oldest and wisest spider suggested that perhaps they could wait until everyone went to bed and then get a closer look.

When the house was dark and silent, the spiders crept out of their hiding place. When they neared the Christmas tree, they were delighted with the beauty of it. The spiders crept all over the tree, up and down, over the branches and twigs and saw every one of the pretty things.

The spiders loved the Christmas tree. All night long they danced in the branches, leaving them covered with spider webs. In the morning, when the little Christ child came to bless the house, he was dismayed! He loved the little spiders for they were God's creatures, but he knew the mother, who had worked so hard to make everything perfect, would not be pleased when she saw what the spiders had done.

With love in his heart and a smile on his lips, the little Christ child reached out and gently touched the spider webs. The spider webs started to sparkle and shine! They had all turned into sparkling, shimmering silver and gold.

According to legend, ever since this happened, people have hung tinsel on their Christmas trees. It has also become a custom to include a spider among the decorations on the Christmas tree.

A version of this story can be found in Shirley Climo's picture book "A Cobweb Christmas".

Super Simple Spider Cookies

• 2 chocolate wafer cookies (another wafer like cookie would also work can also just use a sandwich cookie but it doesn't work quite as well)
• white icing (another color would work it depends on the look you want)
• shoestring licorice
Redhots or other small candies for eyes

1. Place one wafer upside down on a plate; cover with icing.

2. Place either 4 long stripes of shoestring licorice or 8 short, (for legs)

3. Place the remaining wafer on top.

4. Use icing to attach 2 candies for eyes.

Second Simple Spider Cookies

• 2 Tbsp Peanut butter
• 2 Tbsp Powdered sugar
• 2 Tbsp Graham cracker crumbs
• 2 Tbsp Coconut
• Licorice
• Raisins

1. Mix peanut butter, sugar and crumbs together and form a ball.
2. Divide the ball into 2 parts to form 2 balls, 1 slightly smaller than the other.
3. Roll balls in coconut and place smaller ball on top of larger one.
4. The smaller ball with be the head and the larger 1, the abdomen.
5. Add 8 licorice legs
6. Use raisins for eyes (8 eyes would be accurate but creepy)

Check out the crafts related to this story at my site

Friday, November 27, 2009

The King, the Maiden and the Pumpkin....a tale from the Phillipines

One day in a time long ago, King Adoveneis went out into the plains to hunt for deer, and he accidentally became separated from his companions.

Wandering about, the king saw a hut that was surrounded by a garden. Tending the garden was a beautiful young maiden.

The king spoke to the maiden and said, "Tell me, lass, what plants are you growing here?"

She replied, "I am raising pumpkins and melons."

Now, the king happened to be thirsty, and so he asked the maiden for a drink. "We were hunting in the heat of the day," he said, "and I felt a terrible thirst come over me."

The maiden replied, "O illustrious king! We have water to be sure, but only an old, crude jar in which to serve it. Surely it is not right or worthy that your Majesty should drink from such a crude jar! Now if we had a jar of pure gold, in which we could pour water from a crystal clear fountain, then that would be a proper offering for your Majesty."

The king replied to the girl, "Never mind the jar: I'm terribly thirsty! I care not if the jar is old, provided that the water is cool."

The maiden went into the house, fetched the jar, and filled it with clear cool water. Presently the king drank his fill.

After he had finished, the king handed her back the jar. Then, suddenly, the maiden struck the jar against the staircase. It was shattered to bits.

The king wondered at this strange act, and in his heart he thought that the maiden had no manners at all.

He cried, "You see that I am a noble king, and you know that I hold the crown. For what possible reason did you shatter that jar, received from my hands?"

The maiden replied, "The reason I broke the jar, which has been kept for many years by my mother, O king! is that I should not like to have it used by anyone else after you, your majesty, has touched it."

Upon hearing that, the king made no reply. In his heart, he marveled at the actions of the woman and determined that she was a good, virtuous maiden after all. As he returned toward the city, a thought began to grow on him. He wondered whether the maiden was as clever as she was virtuous.

After some time, the king one day ordered a soldier to carry to the maiden a new jar, one with an opening at the top not much more than one inch across. The soldier's orders were to tell the maiden that the jar was from the king, and that she was to put an entire pumpkin inside the jar. The soldier was also to tell the maiden that she should not break the jar under any circumstance. Both the jar with the small opening at the top and the pumpkin must remain whole.

The maiden returned a message to the king that she was certain she could do what his majesty ordered, but that such a task might take some time. Indeed, it was several months before the maiden arrived at the palace. In her hands she held the same jar, and sure enough, an entire pumpkin sat inside of it. When the king closely examined the jar, he confirmed that the jar was the same one that he had delivered. What's more, he saw that both the jar and the pumpkin were completely undamaged. He asked the maiden to marry him on the spot, as she was as clever as she was virtuous, and she gladly accepted.

Later, in their royal chambers, when his new wife revealed her secret, the king laughed long and hard.

How did she do it???

She had placed a pumpkin bud, one that was still attached to a vine in the ground, inside the jar through its small opening. Over time the pumpkin bud grew into a full-sized pumpkin. When the pumpkin filled the jar, she simply cut off the stem and delivered the jar with the pumpkin to the palace.

story found here at Whootie Owl's Stories

Pumpkin Cake in a Jar

Makes 8 cakes

2/3 cup vegetable shortening
2-2/3 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 cups canned pumpkin
2/3 cup water
3-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon each ground cloves, allspice, and cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
8 straight sided wide-mouth Pint Jars

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Grease 8 wide-mouth pint jars.

Cream the shortening and sugar together; beat in eggs, pumpkin, and water. Set aside.

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, spices, and baking soda together; add to pumpkin mixture and stir well. Stir in nuts.

Pour into jars, filling 1/2 full.

Make sure to keep the rims of the jars clean. Place jars on a cookie sheet to keep from tipping over while baking.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until done, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven. While still warm, place waxed paper on top of each cake and place lid on jar.

Cakes will slide out easily when they have cooled.

recipe found at

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Recipe.....a Hodja tale

The Recipe

The Hodja purchased a piece of meat at the market, and on his way home he met a friend.

Seeing the Hodja's purchase, the friend told him an excellent recipe for stew.

"I'll forget it for sure," said the Hodja. "Write it on a piece of paper for me."

The friend obliged him, and the Hodja continued on his way, the piece of meat in one hand and the recipe in the other. He had not walked far when suddenly a large hawk swooped down from the sky, snatched the meat, and flew away with it.

"It will do you no good!" shouted the Hodja after the disappearing hawk. "I still have the recipe!"

Super Simple Slow Cooker Turkey Breast


* 1 (6 pound) bone-in turkey breast
* 1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix


1. Rinse the turkey breast and pat dry.

2. Cut off any excess skin, but leave the skin covering the breast.

3. Rub onion soup mix all over outside of the turkey and under the skin.

4. Place in a slow cooker. Cover, and cook on High for 1 hour, then set to Low, and cook for 7 hours.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Strawberry.....a Zen tale from Japan

There was once a man who was being chased by a ferocious tiger across a field.

At the edge of the field there was a cliff. In order to escape the jaws of the tiger, the man caught hold of a vine and swung himself over the edge of the cliff.

Dangling down, he saw, to his dismay, there were more tigers on the ground below him!

And, furthermore, two little mice were gnawing on the vine to which he clung. He knew that at any moment he would fall to certain death.

That's when he noticed a wild strawberry growing on the cliff wall.

Clutching the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other and put it in his mouth.

He never before realized how sweet a strawberry could taste.

Make Your Own Strawberry Ice Cream the "Low Tech" Way


* 1 cup half-and-half cream
* 2 tablespoons white sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh strawberries
* 4 cups ice cubes
* 1/4 cup kosher salt


1. Combine the half and half, sugar, vanilla, and strawberries in a quart size resealable plastic bag.

2. Press the air out of the bag, seal, and shake bag to combine contents.

3. Place the bag into a gallon sized zip top bag.

4. Add the ice to the gallon bag, press the air out, and seal bag.

5. Wrap bags in a hand towel. Shake continuously, until the contents of the small bag thickens into soft-serve ice cream, 5 to 10 minutes.

6. Rinse the small bag quickly under cold water to wash off salt. Lay the ice cream filled baggie on a flat surface.

7. Use a wooden spoon handle to push the ice cream down to the bottom corner of the baggie.

8. Snip off the corner, and squeeze ice cream into a bowl.

Click this link to find a fabulous printable cookbook "Make Ice Cream in a Bag" from

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Boy Who Wanted More Cheese....a Dutch Folktale

Kees van Bommel was a boy from Holland, 12 years old, who lived where cows were plentiful. He was over 5 feet high, weighed a hundred pounds, and had rosy cheeks. His appetite was always good and his mother declared his stomach had no bottom. His hair was of a color half-way between a carrot and a sweet potato. It was as thick as reeds in a swamp and was cut level, from under one ear to another.

Kees stood in a pair of timber shoes, that made an awful rattle when he ran fast to catch a rabbit, or scuffed slowly along to school over the brick road of his village. In summer Kees was dressed in a rough, blue linen blouse. In winter he wore woollen breeches as wide as coffee bags. They were called bell trousers, and in shape were like a couple of cow-bells turned upwards. These were buttoned on to a thick warm jacket. Until he was five years old, Kees was dressed like his sisters. Then, on his birthday, he had boy's clothes, with two pockets in them, of which he was proud enough.

Kees was a farmer's boy. He had rye bread and fresh milk for breakfast. At dinner time, beside cheese and bread, he was given a plate heaped with boiled potatoes. Into these he first plunged a fork and then dipped each round, white ball into a bowl of hot melted butter. Very quickly then did potato and butter disappear "down the red lane." At supper, he had bread and skim milk, left after the cream had been taken off, with a saucer, to make butter. Twice a week the children enjoyed a bowl of bonnyclabber or curds, with a little brown sugar sprinkled on the top. But at every meal there was cheese, usually in thin slices, which the boy thought not thick enough. When Kees went to bed he usually fell asleep as soon as his shock of yellow hair touched the pillow. In summer time he slept till the birds began to sing, at dawn. In winter, when the bed felt warm and Jack Frost was lively, he often heard the cows talking, in their way, before he jumped out of his bag of straw, which served for a mattress. The Van Bommels were not rich, but everything was shining clean.

There was always plenty to eat at the Van Bommels' house. Stacks of rye bread, a yard long and thicker than a man's arm, stood on end in the corner of the cool, stone-lined basement. The loaves of dough were put in the oven once a week. Baking time was a great event at the Van Bommels' and no men-folks were allowed in the kitchen on that day, unless they were called in to help. As for the milk-pails and pans, filled or emptied, scrubbed or set in the sun every day to dry, and the cheeses, piled up in the pantry, they seemed sometimes enough to feed a small army.

But Kees always wanted more cheese. In other ways, he was a good boy, obedient at home, always ready to work on the cow-farm, and diligent in school. But at the table he never had enough. Sometimes his father laughed and asked him if he had a well, or a cave, under his jacket.

Kees had three younger sisters, Kaatje, Anneke and Saartje; which is Dutch for Kate, Annie and Sallie. These, their fond mother, who loved them dearly, called her "orange blossoms"; but when at dinner, Kees would keep on, dipping his potatoes into the hot butter, while others were all through, his mother would laugh and call him her Buttercup. But always Kees wanted more cheese. When unusually greedy, she twitted him as a boy "worse than Butter-and-Eggs"; that is, as troublesome as the yellow and white plant, called toad-flax, is to the farmer - very pretty, but nothing but a weed.

One summer's evening, after a good scolding, which he deserved well, Kees moped and, almost crying, went to bed in bad humor. He had teased each one of his sisters to give him her bit of cheese, and this, added to his own slice, made his stomach feel as heavy as lead.

Kees's bed was up in the garret. When the house was first built, one of the red tiles of the roof had been taken out and another one, made of glass, was put in its place. In the morning, this gave the boy light to put on his clothes. At night, in fair weather, it supplied air to his room.

A gentle breeze was blowing from the pine woods on the sandy slope, not far away. So Kees climbed up on the stool to sniff the sweet piny odors. He thought he saw lights dancing under the tree. One beam seemed to approach his roof hole, and coming nearer played round the chimney. Then it passed to and fro in front of him. It seemed to whisper in his ear, as it moved by. It looked very much as if a hundred fire-flies had united their cold light into one lamp. Then Kees thought that the strange beams bore the shape of a lovely girl, but he only laughed at himself at the idea. Pretty soon, however, he thought the whisper became a voice. Again, he laughed so heartily, that he forgot his moping and the scolding his mother had given him. In fact, his eyes twinkled with delight, when the voice gave this invitation:

"There's plenty of cheese. Come with us."

To make sure of it, the sleepy boy now rubbed his eyes and cocked his ears. Again, the light-bearer spoke to him: "Come."

Could it be? He had heard old people tell of the ladies of the wood, that whispered and warned travellers. In fact, he himself had often seen the "fairies' ring" in the pine woods. To this, the flame-lady was inviting him.

Again and again the moving, cold light circled round the red tile roof, which the moon, then rising and peeping over the chimneys, seemed to turn into silver plates. As the disc rose higher in the sky, he could hardly see the moving light, that had looked like a lady; but the voice, no longer a whisper, as at first, was now even plainer:

"There's plenty of cheese. Come with us."

"I'll see what it is, anyhow," said Kees, as he drew on his thick woolen stockings and prepared to go down-stairs and out, without waking a soul. At the door he stepped into his wooden shoes. Just then the cat purred and rubbed up against his shins. He jumped, for he was scared; but looking down, for a moment, he saw the two balls of yellow fire in her head and knew what they were. Then he sped to the pine woods and towards the fairy ring.

What an odd sight! At first Kees thought it was a circle of big fire-flies. Then he saw clearly that there were dozens of pretty creatures, hardly as large as dolls, but as lively as crickets. They were as full of light, as if lamps had wings. Hand in hand, they flitted and danced around the ring of grass, as if this was fun.

Hardly had Kees got over his first surprise, than of a sudden he felt himself surrounded by the fairies. Some of the strongest among them had left the main party in the circle and come to him. He felt himself pulled by their dainty fingers. One of them, the loveliest of all, whispered in his ear:

"Come, you must dance with us."

Then a dozen of the pretty creatures murmured in chorus:

"Plenty of cheese here. Plenty of cheese here. Come, come!"

Upon this, the heels of Kees seemed as light as a feather. In a moment, with both hands clasped in those of the fairies, he was dancing in high glee. It was as much fun as if he were at the kermiss, with a row of boys and girls, hand in hand, swinging along the streets, as Dutch maids and youth do, during kermiss week.

Kees had not time to look hard at the fairies, for he was too full of the fun. He danced and danced, all night and until the sky in the east began to turn, first gray and then rosy. Then he tumbled down, tired out, and fell asleep. His head lay on the inner curve of the fairy ring, with his feet in the centre.

Kees felt very happy, for he had no sense of being tired, and he did not know he was asleep. He thought his fairy partners, who had danced with him, were now waiting on him to bring him cheeses. With a golden knife, they sliced them off and fed him out of their own hands. How good it tasted! He thought now he could, and would, eat all the cheese he had longed for all his life. There was no mother to scold him, or daddy to shake his finger at him. How delightful!

But by and by, he wanted to stop eating and rest a while. His jaws were tired. His stomach seemed to be loaded with cannon-balls. He gasped for breath.

But the fairies would not let him stop, for Dutch fairies never get tired. Flying out of the sky - from the north, south, east and west - they came, bringing cheeses. These they dropped down around him, until the piles of the round masses threatened first to enclose him as with a wall, and then to overtop him. There were the red balls from Edam, the pink and yellow spheres from Gouda, and the gray loaf-shaped ones from Leyden. Down through the vista of sand, in the pine woods, he looked, and oh, horrors! There were the tallest and strongest of the fairies rolling along the huge, round, flat cheeses from Friesland! Any one of these was as big as a cart wheel, and would feed a regiment. The fairies trundled the heavy discs along, as if they were playing with hoops. They shouted hilariously, as, with a pine stick, they beat them forward like boys at play. Farm cheese, factory cheese, Alkmaar cheese, and, to crown all, cheese from Limburg - which Kees never could bear, because of its strong odor. Soon the cakes and balls were heaped so high around him that the boy, as he looked up, felt like a frog in a well. He groaned when he thought the high cheese walls were tottering to fall on him. Then he screamed, but the fairies thought he was making music. They, not being human, do not know how a boy feels.

At last, with a thick slice in one hand and a big hunk in the other, he could eat no more cheese; though the fairies, led by their queen, standing on one side, or hovering over his head, still urged him to take more.

At this moment, while afraid that he would burst, Kees saw the pile of cheeses, as big as a house, topple over. The heavy mass fell inwards upon him. With a scream of terror, he thought himself crushed as flat as a Friesland cheese.

But he wasn't! Waking up and rubbing his eyes, he saw the red sun rising on the sand-dunes. Birds were singing and the cocks were crowing all around him, in chorus, as if saluting him. Just then also the village clock chimed out the hour. He felt his clothes. They were wet with dew. He sat up to look around. There were no fairies, but in his mouth was a bunch of grass which he had been chewing lustily.

Kees never would tell the story of his night with the fairies, nor has he yet settled the question whether they left him because the cheese-house of his dream had fallen, or because daylight had come.


Snowman Cheese Ball
(recipe from Kraft Foods)

1 container (8 ounces) PHILADELPHIA cream cheese spread
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives or green onions
1/4 cup PLANTERS slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
2 cups KRAFT shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup KRAFT grated Parmesan cheese
12-15 peppercorns
1 baby carrot

Mix cream cheese spread, fresh chives or onion, almonds, cayenne pepper and cheddar cheese until well blended.
Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.

Divide mixture into 3 different size balls: 1 small, 1 medium, and 1 large.
These balls will make the body of the snowman.
Coat each with Parmesan cheese.
Arrange on a serving platter in a line to resemble a snowman lying down (largest ball at the bottom, smallest (head) at the top).

Decorate with peppercorns for the eyes, mouth and buttons, and use a sliver of baby carrot for the nose.

Serve with crackers and/or cut up vegetable dippers.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Why Sea Water is Salty.....a German Folktale

Once upon a time there was a dear, brave boy who had nothing on earth but a blind grandmother and a clear conscience. After finishing school he became a ship's boy and was about to begin his first journey. He saw that all his new comrades were gambling with good money, but he had nothing, not even a penny. This saddened him, and he complained to his grandmother. She thought for a while, then limped into her room and returned with a small mill, which she gave to the boy, saying, "If you say to the mill, 'Mill, mill, grind for me; grind this or that for me at once!' then it will grind for you whatever you want. And when you say, 'Mill, mill, stand still, for I want nothing more!' then it will stop grinding. But say nothing about this, or it will bring you misfortune!"
The boy thanked her, said farewell, and boarded his ship. When his comrades again began to gamble with their money, he took his mill into a dark corner and said, "Mill, mill, grind for me; grind golden ducats for me at once!" and the mill ground out ducats of pure gold that fell ringing into his leather cap.

When the cap was full he said, "Mill, mill, stand still, for I want nothing more!" and it stopped grinding. He was now the richest of all his comrades.

The ship's captain was very miserly, and whenever there was not enough to eat, the boy had only to say, "Mill, mill, grind for me; grind fresh bread for me at once!" and it would grind away until he said the other words. The mill ground out anything for him that he wanted.

His comrades often asked him how he got these good things, but he said only that he was not at liberty to tell them. However, they continued to press him, until at last he told them the whole story.

It was not long before the evil ship's captain got wind of this, and he immediately hatched a plot. One evening he called the boy into his cabin and said, "Fetch your mill and grind out some fresh chickens for me!"

The boy went and brought back a basket full of fresh chickens, but the godless man was not satisfied. He beat the poor boy until he brought the mill to him and told him what he had to say to make it grind. However, the boy did not tell him how to make it stop, and the captain did not think to ask him about this.

Afterward when the boy was standing alone on deck, the captain went to him and pushed him into the sea, not thinking at all about how much care and concern his father and mother had given for him, nor how his blind grandmother was hoping for his return. He pushed him into the sea, then said that he accidentally had fallen overboard, thinking that this was the end of the story.

Then he went into his cabin and said to the mill, "Mill, mill, grind for me; grind salt for me at once!" and the mill ground out grains of pure white salt.

When the bowl was full the ship's captain said, "That is enough!" but the mill continued to grind forth. Whatever the captain said or did, the mill ground away until the entire cabin was full. He took hold of the mill to throw it overboard, but received such a blow that he fell to the floor as though stunned. The mill continued to grind forth until the entire ship was full and was beginning to sink.

Finally the ship's captain grabbed his sword and chopped the mill into tiny pieces; but behold, every little piece became a little mill, and all the mills ground out grains of pure white salt.

It was soon over for the ship. It sank with man and mouse and all the mills. These are still grinding out grains of pure white salt at the bottom of the sea. And even if you were to shout out the correct command, they are so deep that they would not hear it. And that is why seawater is so salty.

Sea Salt Ice Cream

An interesting recipe but as you will see adult assistance is definitely necessary.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Apple Dumpling

The Apple Dumpling

There WAS ONCE UPON A TIME an old woman who wanted an apple dumpling for supper. She had plenty of flour and plenty of butter, plenty of sugar and plenty of spice for a dozen dumplings, but there was one thing she did not have; and that was apples.

She had plums, a tree full of them, the roundest and reddest that you can imagine; but, though you can make butter from cream and raisins of grapes, you cannot make an apple dumpling with plums, and there is no use trying.

The more the old woman thought of the dumpling the more she wanted it, and at last she dressed herself in her finest clothes and started out to seek a basket of apples.

Before she left home, however, she filled a basket with plums from her plum-tree and covering it over with a white cloth, hung it on her arm, for she said to herself: "There may be those in the world who have apples, and need plums."

She had not gone very far when she came to a poultry yard filled with fine hens and geese and guineas. Ca-ca, quawk, quawk, poterack! What a noise they made; and in the midst of them stood a young woman who was feeding them with yellow corn. She nodded pleasantly to the old woman, and the old woman nodded to her, and soon the two were talking as if they had known each other always.

The young woman told the old woman about her fowls and the old woman told the young woman about the apple dumpling and the basket of plums for which she hoped to get apples.

"Dear me," said the young woman when she heard this, "there is nothing my husband likes better than plum jelly with goose, but unless you will take a bag of feathers for your plums he must do without, for that is the best I can offer you."

"One pleased is better than two disappointed," said the old woman. And she emptied the plums into the young woman's apron and putting the bag of feathers into her basket trudged on as merrily as before; for she said to herself: "If I am no nearer the dumpling than when I left home, I am at least no farther from it; and that feathers are lighter to carry than plums nobody can deny."

Trudge, trudge, up hill and down she went, and presently she came to a garden of sweet flowers: lilies, lilacs, violets, roses --oh, never was there a lovelier garden.

The old woman stopped at the gate to admire the flowers; and as she looked she heard a man and a woman quarreling.

"Cotton," said the woman.
"Straw," said the man.
"'Tis not--"
"'Tis!" they cried, and so it went between them, till they spied the old woman at the gate.

"Here is one who will settle the matter," said the woman then; and she called to the old woman: "Good mother, answer me this: If you were making a cushion for your grandfather's chair would you not stuff it with cotton?"

"No," said the old woman.

"I told you so," cried the man. "Straw is the thing, and ye need to go farther than the barn for it;" but the old woman shook her hand.

"I would not stuff the cushion with straw, either," said she, and it would have been hard to tell which one was the more cast down by her answer, the man or the woman. But the old woman made haste to take the bag of feathers out of her basket, and give it to them.

"A feather cushion is fit for a king," she said, "and as for me, an apple for a dumpling, or a bouquet from your garden will serve me as well as what I give."

The man and the woman had no apples, but they were glad to exchange a bouquet from their garden of the loveliest flowers; lilies, lilacs, roses--oh! never was there a sweeter bouquet.

"A good bargain, and not all of it in the basket," said the old woman, for she was pleased to have stopped the quarrel, and when she had wished the two good fortune and a long life, she went upon her way.

Now her way was the king's highway, and as she walked there she met a young lord who was dressed in his finest clothes, for he was going to see his lady love. He would have been as handsome a young man as ever the sun shone on had it not been that his forehead was wrinkled into a terrible frown, and the corners of his mouth drawn down as if he had not a friend left in the whole world.

"A fair day and a good road," said the old woman, stopping to drop him a curtsey.

"Fair or foul, good or bad, 'tis all the same to me," said he, "when the court jeweler has forgotten to send the ring he promised, and I must go to my lady with empty hands."

"So you shall have a gift for your lady," said the old woman, "though I may never have an apple dumpling." And she took the bouquet from her basket and gave it to the young lord which pleased him so much that the frown smoothed away from his forehead, and his mouth spread itself in a smile, and he was as handsome a young man as ever the sun shone on.

"Fair exchange is no robbery," said he, and he unfastened a golden chain from round his neck and gave it to the old woman, and went away holding his bouquet with great care.

The old woman was delighted.

"With this golden chain I might buy all the apples in the king's market, and then have something to spare," she said to herself, as she hurried away toward town as fast as her feet could carry her.

But she had gone no farther than the turn of the road when she came upon a mother and children, standing in a doorway, whose faces were as sorrowful as her own was happy.

"What is the matter?" she asked as soon as she reached them.

"Matter enough," answered the mother, "when the last crust of bread is eaten and not a farthing in the house to buy more."

"Well-a-day," cried the old woman when this was told her. "Never shall it be said of me that I eat apple dumpling for supper while my neighbors lack bread," and she put the golden chain into the mother's hands and hurried on without waiting for thanks.

She was not out of sight of the house, though, when the mother and children, every one of them laughing and talking merrily, overtook her.

"Little have we to give you," said the mother who was the happiest of all, "for that you have done for us, but here is a little dog, whose barking will keep loneliness from your house, and our thanks goes with it."

The old woman did not have the heart to tell them no, so into the basket went the little dog, and very snugly he lay there.

"A bag of feathers for a basket of plums; a bouquet of flowers for a bag of feathers; a golden chain for a bouquet of flowers; a dog for a golden chain; all the world is give and take, and who knows but that I may have my apple dumpling yet," said the old woman as she hurried on.

And sure enough she had not gone a half dozen yards when, right before her, she saw an apple tree as full of apples as her plum tree was full of plums. It grew in front of a house as much like her own as if the two were peas in the same pod; and on the porch of the house sat a little old man.

"A fine tree of apples," called the old woman as soon as she was in speaking distance of him.

"Aye, but apple trees and apples are poor company when a man is growing old," said the old man, "and I would give them all if I had even so much as a little dog to bark on my door-step."

"Bow-wow," called the dog in the old woman's basket, and in less time than it takes to read this story he was barking on the old man's door-step, and the old woman was on her way home with a basket of apples on her arm.

"If you try long enough and hard enough, you can always have an apple dumpling for supper," said the old woman, and she ate the dumpling to the very last crumb. And how she enjoyed it, too!

Apple Dumplings

1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried, sweetened cranberries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Premade pastry for an 8- or 9-inch 2 crust pie
4 small, cored baking apples
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup water

1. Combine the raisins, cranberries, walnuts and spices in a bowl and set aside.

2. On a lightly floured cloth-covered surface, roll out the pastry into a 14-inch square, then cut it into 4 squares.

3. Place a cored apple on top of each square and fill the center with the raisin and cranberry mix.

4. Cover each apple with its pastry square by bringing the opposite corners up over the fruit and pinching them together. Then, seal together all of the pastry edges, moistening them with water if needed.

5. Place the dumplings in a glass baking dish.

6. In a saucepan, bring the brown sugar and water to a boil, and then pour it over the dumplings (a parent's job).

7. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven, spooning the syrup over the dumplings a few times, until the crust is golden (about 40 minutes).

recipe found at FamilyFun

Here's a site with great step by step pics

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Flies and the Aesop Fable

A number of flies were attracted to a jar of honey which had been overturned and placing their feet in it, ate greedily.

While eating, however, they became so smeared with the honey that they could not use their wings, nor release themselves, and they soon died.

As they were dying, they exclaimed, "O foolish creatures that we are, for the sake of a little pleasure we have destroyed ourselves."

Moral: Pleasure bought with pains, hurts_or_Too much of a good thing can be bad.

Both of these recipes are really simple and great for younger children.

No Bake Honey Crispies

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1-1/2 cups crisp rice cereal
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chocolate or multicolored sprinkles

Place a sheet of waxed paper on a cookie sheet so cookies won't stick.
Combine powdered sugar, honey and peanut butter in a medium bowl.
Stir until mixed well.
Stir in cereal and raisins.
Using hands, shape mixture into 1-inch balls.
Roll balls in sprinkles and place on a cookie sheet.
Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Cookies should feel firm when touched.
Serve right away or place in tightly covered container and store in refrigerator

Honey Banana Breakfast Blast

this is a cute song about Honey Cakes, it's also a recipe!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Legend of the Watermelon....a Vietnamese legend

Once upon a time, the sixth son of King Hung Vuong the Fifth named An-Tiem disobeyed the King's order and was exiled to a deserted island.

The Prince had to build his own shelter, dig a well for water, and fish and hunt animals for food. One day, he found a green fruit as big and round as a ball. He split the fruit into halves and found the inside of the fruit red. He dared not eat it because he was afraid it was poisonous.

Days passed and the dry and sunny season came. It was so hot that all the plants were dry and the well had no water left. One day An-Tiem was so tired and thirsty that he tasted the fruit He found out that it tasted delicious and quenched his thirst. He tried to grow the plant around his house then. Soon the whole island was covered with the green fruit.

An-Tiem carved the island's name and his own on some of the fruit and threw them into the sea. Later, seamen found the strange fruit with An-Tiem's name floating in the sea.

Soon, words about the fruit reached the continent and many merchants tried to find the way the island. This then turned the deserted island into a busy island. The island was now crowded. Many boats came and went. An-Tiem helped anyone who wanted settle on the island. Soon, news about that reach the King.

King Hung Vuong was very proud of having a son who was brave and strong enough to overcome difficulties without anyone's help. An-Tiem was immediately summoned back to the court. He brought his fruit with him to offer the King, his father. The King gave him his crown and An-Tiem became King Hung Vuong VI.

Since then the fruit which was called "dua hau" and has become the symbol of luck; people often offer it to relatives and friends as a New Year present.

Summers almost over so rush out and get those watermelon!!

Watermelon Dippers

8 ounces sour cream
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Watermelon stix or small wedges

Blend together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla in a small serving bowl. Use as a dip for the watermelon.

Watermelon Slushie

8 cups cubed seedless watermelon
1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
6 ounce frozen lemonade concentrate thawed(1 can)

Place watermelon in a large bowl; cover and freeze.
Place half of frozen watermelon, half of powdered sugar, and half of concentrate in a blender, and process until smooth.
Do the same procedure with the other half of the ingredients.
Serve while cold.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Omusubi Kororin - TheTumbling Rice Balls

Long ago and far away across the wide blue sea, there lived a hard working old man and old woman.
One day, the old man went up into the mountains to gatherwood. When he sat down to eat his lunch, one of his rice balls tumbled away.
Down the slope of the mountain it tumbled until it finally rolled into a large hole. The old man chased after the rice ball and stopped at the hole.
He bent down to look inside and from within the hole he heard a soft song.

A Rice ball tumbling suttenton
A Rice ball tumbling suttenton

The old man was very excited, so he climbed back up the mountain, picked up another rice ball and rolled it away.
Down it tumbled into the hole.
When he crouched down near the hole he heard the song once more.

A Rice ball tumbling suttenton
A Rice ball tumbling suttenton

The old man peeked into the hole, but as he did he overbalanced and tumbled right into the hole itself. As he tumbled he heard another song.

An Old man tumbling suttenton
An Old man tumbling suttenton

In the hole was a mouse world, where hundreds of little mice were happily singing and making rice cakes.
"Thank you for the rice balls, kind sir. We will treat you to a feast to repay your kindness. Come and join us in our song," they called.
And so the old man and the mice sang,

A Rice ball tumbling suttenton
A Rice ball tumbling suttenton

An Old man tumbling suttenton
An Old man tumbling suttenton

Little mice tumbling suttenton
Little mice tumbling suttenton

The old man had a wonderful time singing and dancing with the mice.
"Thank you for the feast, but now it is time for me to go home,” he said.
“Wait, old man,” said the smallest mouse, and he gave him a box. “Here is our gift to you.”
When the old man returned home, he opened the box and was astounded to find it filled with money and treasure.

“There are enough riches to last us all our days,” the old man said to the old woman. And they were very happy for the rest of their lives.

However, when the old man told his story to a greedy, old neighbour, the greedy, old man thought he would do exactly the same thing, so that he too could receive a fortune from the mice world.
He immediately went into the mountains and dropped two rice balls into the hole, then tumbled in himself.

A rice ball tumbling suttenton
A rice ball tumbling suttenton

An old man tumbling suttenton

Hundreds of mice were happily singing and making rice cakes.
After the greedy old man entered the mouse world, he decided to chase away the mice and keep all of the treasures for himself. So he pretended to be a cat and began to miaow.
The frightened little mice scattered every which way and disappeared.

Just as the greedy, old man thought he could now take all the treasure, everything went black. He realized that the money and treasure had vanished with the mice and now he was left with nothing. Not even a rice ball. Only after a long time scrabbling around on his hands and knees in the darkness, was he able to find the entrance to the hole and leave the mouse world.

Since that time, no one has ever found the mouse world again.
Although sometimes, if you are walking high up in the mountains of Japan, you may hear this song carried by the wind.

A Rice ball tumbling suttenton,suttenton,suttenton…


you can "hear" the story told at this site

Rice balls are called onigiri in Japan.
Rice balls are usually shaped into rounds or triangles and often wrapped in nori(edible seaweed).
Traditionally, an onigiri is filled with pickled ume (fruit similar to a plum or apricot), salted salmon or any other salty or sour ingredient.
Onigiri is not a form of sushi.
Onigiri is made with plain rice, sometimes lightly salted, while sushi is made of rice with sugar and vinegar added to it.

Warning!!! "Regular" rice will not work. You need "sushi/japanese" rice. Really!!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Moose Song...A Storytelling song / Songtale

I learned this song at Camp Togowoods in Wasilla, Alaska which is not very far from Anchorage.
This is an echo song.
First you, the leader sings, then the children repeat, echo, your words and movements.
Hmm... I will have to add the movements later**smile**.

The Moose

There was a great big moose. (echo)
He liked to drink a lot of juice. (echo)
There was a great big moose. (echo)
He liked to drink a lot of juice. (echo)

Chorus (each line is also echoed):
Say waaaaay-Oh
Way-oh, way-oh, way-oh, way-oh
Way-oh, way-oh
Way-oh, way-oh, way-oh, way-oh

The moose's name was Fred. (echo)
He liked to drink his juice in bed. (echo)
The moose's name was Fred. (echo)
He liked to drink his juice in bed. (echo)


He drank his juice with care. (echo)
But he spilled some on his hair. (echo)
He drank his juice with care. (echo)
But he spilled some on his hair. (echo)


Now he’s a sticky moose (echo)
Full of juice (echo)
On the looooooooooooooose (echo)


This song can be found with different verses all over the net.
It is sung by scouts and at other children's camps.

This is an "okay" version of the song although there are missing verses and the tune and movements are a little different. But you'll get the idea.

Juice Facts:
Squeezed fruit is as healthy as eating a piece of raw fruit out of your hand. Unlike many people think there is not a whole lot of fruit flesh lost when you squeeze fruit. This means that your glass of orange juice does contain all the fibers you need!

Watermelon Juice
2 cups chopped seeded watermelon
1 cup crushed ice
2 teaspoons honey

1) Combine watermelon, ice and honey in a blender.
2) Blend until smooth.
3) Serve chilled (Stir well before serving).

Moose Juice
(they really like fruit :P )

2 1/2 cups grapefruit juice
1 1/2 cups orange juice
2 medium firm bananas, cut up and frozen
6 to 8 frozen unsweetened strawberries

1)Place all of the ingredients in a blender. Process until smooth.
2)Pour into a pitcher.
3)Serve immediately.

Here's a fab recipe for "Moose Munch" kinda like trail mix

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Apple of Contentment

There was a woman once, and she had three daughters. The first daughter squinted with both eyes, yet the woman loved her as she loved salt, for she herself squinted with both eyes. The second daughter had one shoulder higher than the other, and eyebrows as black as soot in the chimney, yet the woman loved her as well as she loved the other, for she herself had black eyebrows and one shoulder higher than the other. The youngest daughter was as pretty as a ripe apple, and had hair as fine as silk and the color of pure gold, but the woman loved her not at all, for, as I have said, she herself was neither pretty, nor had she hair of the color of pure gold. Why all this was so, even Hans Pfifendrummel cannot tell, though he has read many books and one over.

The first sister and the second sister dressed in their Sunday clothes every day, and sat in the sun doing nothing, just as though they had been born ladies, both of them.

As for Christine—that was the name of the youngest girl—as for Christine, she dressed in nothing but rags, and had to drive the geese to the hills in the morning and home again in the evening, so that they might feed on the young grass all day and grow fat.

The first sister and the second sister had white bread (and butter beside) and as much fresh milk as they could drink; but Christine had to eat cheese-parings and bread-crusts, and had hardly enough of them to keep Goodman Hunger from whispering in her ear.

This was how the churn clacked in that house!

Well, one morning Christine started off to the hills with her flock of geese, and in her hands she carried her knitting, at which she worked to save time. So she went along the dusty road until, by-and-by, she came to a place where a bridge crossed the brook, and what should she see there but a little red cap, with a silver bell at the point of it, hanging from the alder branch. It was such a nice, pretty little red cap that Christine thought that she would take it home with her, for she had never seen the like of it in all of her life before.

So she put it in her pocket, and then off she went with her geese again. But she had hardly gone two-score of paces when she heard a voice calling her, "Christine! Christine!"

She looked, and who should she see but a queer little gray man, with a great head as big as a cabbage and little legs as thin as young radishes.

"What do you want?" said Christine, when the little man had come to where she was.

Oh, the little man only wanted his cap again, for without it he could not go back home into the hill—that was where he belonged.

But how did the cap come to be hanging from the bush? Yes, Christine would like to know that before she gave it back again.

"The little man asks far his cap."

Well, the little hill-man was fishing by the brook over yonder when a puff of wind blew his cap into the water, and he just hung it up to dry. That was all that there was about it; and now would Christine please give it to him?

Christine did not know how about that; perhaps she would and perhaps she would not. It was a nice, pretty little cap; what would the little underground man give her for it? that was the question.

Oh, the little man would give her five thalers for it, and gladly.

No; five thalers was not enough for such a pretty little cap—see, there was a silver bell hanging to it too.

Well, the little man did not want to be hard at a bargain; he would give her a hundred thalers for it.

No; Christine did not care for money. What else would he give for this nice, dear little cap?

"See, Christine," said the little man, "I will give you this for the cap"; and he showed her something in his hand that looked just like a bean, only it was as black as a lump of coal.

"Yes, good; but what is that?" said Christine.

"That," said the little man, "is a seed from the apple of contentment. Plant it, and from it will grow a tree, and from the tree an apple. Everybody in the world that sees the apple will long for it, but nobody in the world can pluck it but you. It will always be meat and drink to you when you are hungry, and warm clothes to your back when you are cold. Moreover, as soon as you pluck it from the tree, another as good will grow in its place. Now, will you give me my hat?"

Oh yes; Christine would give the little man his cap for such a seed as that, and gladly enough. So the little man gave Christine the seed, and Christine gave the little man his cap again. He put the cap on his head, and—puff!—away he was gone, as suddenly as the light of a candle when you blow it out.

So Christine took the seed home with her, and planted it before the window of her room. The next morning when she looked out of the window she beheld a beautiful tree, and on the tree hung an apple that shone in the sun as though it were pure gold. Then she went to the tree and plucked the apple as easily as though it were a gooseberry, and as soon as she had plucked it another as good grew in its place. Being hungry she ate it, and thought that she had never eaten anything as good, for it tasted like pancake with honey and milk.

By-and-by the oldest sister came out of the house and looked around, but when she saw the beautiful tree with the golden apple hanging from it you can guess how she stared.

Presently she began to long and long for the apple as she had never longed for anything in her life. "I will just pluck it," said she, "and no one will be the wiser for it." But that was easier said than done. She reached and reached, but she might as well have reached for the moon; she climbed and climbed, but she might as well have climbed for the sun—for either one would have been as easy to get as that which she wanted. At last she had to give up trying for it, and her temper was none the sweeter for that, you may be sure.

"Christine's Mother and Sisters wish for the Apple."

After a while came the second sister, and when she saw the golden apple she wanted it just as much as the first had done. But to want and to get are very different things, as she soon found, for she was no more able to get it than the other had been.

Last of all came the mother, and she also strove to pluck the apple. But it was no use. She had no more luck of her trying than her daughters; all that the three could do was to stand under the tree and look at the apple, and wish for it and wish for it.

They are not the only ones who have done the like, with the apple of contentment hanging just above them.

As for Christine, she had nothing to do but to pluck an apple whenever she wanted it. Was she hungry? there was the apple hanging in the tree for her. Was she thirsty? there was the apple. Cold? there was the apple. So you see, she was the happiest girl betwixt all the seven hills that stand at the ends of the earth; for nobody in the world can have more than contentment, and that was what the apple brought her.


One day a king came riding along the road, and all of his people with him. He looked up and saw the apple hanging in the tree, and a great desire came upon him to have a taste of it. So he called one of the servants to him, and told him to go and ask whether it could be bought for a potful of gold.

So the servant went to the house, and knocked on the door—rap! tap! tap!

"What do you want?" said the mother of the three sisters, coming to the door.

Oh, nothing much; only a king was out there in the road, and wanted to know if she would sell the apple yonder for a potful of gold.

Yes, the woman would do that. Just pay her the pot of gold and he might go and pluck it and welcome.

So the servant gave her the pot of gold, and then he tried to pluck the apple. First he reached for it, and then he climbed for it, and then he shook the limb.

But it was no use for him to try; he could no more get it—well—than I could if I had been in his place.

At last the servant had to go back to the King. The apple was there, he said, and the woman had sold it, but try and try as he would he could no more get it than he could get the little stars in the sky.

Then the King told the steward to go and get it for him; but the steward, though he was a tall man and a strong man, could no more pluck the apple than the servant.

So he had to go back to the King with an empty fist. No; he could not gather it, either.

Then the King himself went. He knew that he could pluck it—of course he could! Well, he tried and tried; but nothing came of his trying, and he had to ride away at last without, having had so much as a smell of the apple.

After the King came home, he talked and dreamed and thought of nothing but the apple; for the more he could not get it the more he wanted it—that is the way we are made in this world. At last he grew melancholy and sick for want of that which he could not get. Then he sent for one who was so wise that he had more in his head than ten men together. This wise man told him that the only one who could pluck the fruit of contentment for him was the one to whom the tree belonged. This was one of the daughters of the woman who had sold the apple to him for the pot of gold.

When the King heard this he was very glad; he had his horse saddled, and he and his court rode away, and so came at last to the cottage where Christine lived. There they found the mother and the elder sisters, for Christine was away on the hills with her geese.

The King took off his hat and made a fine bow.

The wise man at home had told him this and that; now to which one of her daughters did the apple-tree belong? so said the King.

"Oh, it is my oldest daughter who owns the tree," said the woman.

So, good! Then if the oldest daughter would pluck the apple for him he would take her home and marry her and make a queen of her. Only let her get it for him without delay.

Prut! that would never do. What! was the girl to climb the apple-tree before the King and all of the court? No! no! Let the King go home, and she would bring the apple to him all in good time; that was what the woman said.

Well, the King would do that, only let her make haste, for he wanted it very much indeed.

As soon as the King had gone, the woman and her daughters sent for the goose-girl to the hills. Then they told her that the King wanted the apple yonder, and that she must pluck it for her sister to take to him; if she did not do as they said they would throw her into the well. So Christine had to pluck the fruit; and as soon as she had done so the oldest sister wrapped it up in a napkin and set off with it to the King's house, as pleased as pleased could be. Rap! tap! tap! she knocked at the door. Had she brought the apple for the King?

Oh yes, she had brought it. Here it was, all wrapped up in a fine napkin.

After that they did not let her stand outside the door till her toes were cold, I can tell you. As soon as she had come to the King she opened her napkin. Believe me or not as you please, all the same, I tell you that there was nothing in the napkin but a hard round stone. When the King saw only a stone he was so angry that he stamped like a rabbit and told them to put the girl out of the house. So they did, and she went home with a flea in her ear, I can tell you.

Then the King sent his steward to the house where Christine and her sisters lived.

He told the woman that he had come to find whether she had any other daughters.

Yes; the woman had another daughter, and, to tell the truth, it was she who owned the tree. Just let the steward go home again and the girl would fetch the apple in a little while.

As soon as the steward had gone, they sent to the hills for Christine again. Look! she must pluck the apple for the second sister to take to the King; if she did not do that they would throw her into the well.

So Christine had to pluck it, and gave it to the second sister, who wrapped it up in a napkin and set off for the King's house. But she fared no better than the other, for, when she opened the napkin, there was nothing in it but a lump of mud. So they packed her home again with her apron to her eyes.

After a while the King's steward came to the house again. Had the woman no other daughter than these two?

Well, yes, there was one, but she was a poor ragged thing, of no account, and fit for nothing in the world but to tend the geese.

Where was she?

Oh, she was up on the hills now tending her flock.

But could the steward see her?

Yes, he might see her, but she was nothing but a poor simpleton.

That was all very good, but the steward would like to see her, for that was what the King had sent him there for.

So there was nothing to do but to send to the hills for Christine.

After a while she came, and the steward asked her if she could pluck the apple yonder for the King.

Yes; Christine could do that easily enough. So she reached and picked it as though it had been nothing but a gooseberry on the bush. Then the steward took off his hat and made her a low bow in spite of her ragged dress, for he saw that she was the one for whom they had been looking all this time.

So Christine slipped the golden apple into her pocket, and then she and the steward set off to the King's house together.

When they had come there everybody began to titter and laugh behind the palms of their hands to see what a poor ragged goose-girl the steward had brought home with him. But for that the steward cared not a rap.

"Have you brought the apple?" said the King, as soon as Christine had come before him.

Yes; here it was; and Christine thrust her hand into her pocket and brought it forth. Then the King took a great bite of it, and as soon as he had done so he looked at Christine and thought that he had never seen such a pretty girl. As for her rags, he minded them no more than one minds the spots on a cherry; that was because he had eaten of the apple of contentment.

And were they married? Of course they were! and a grand wedding it was, I can tell you. It is a pity that you were not there; but though you were not, Christine's mother and sisters were, and, what is more, they danced with the others, though I believe they would rather have danced upon pins and needles.

"Never mind," said they; "we still have the apple of contentment at home, though we cannot taste of it." But no; they had nothing of the kind. The next morning it stood before the young Queen Christine's window, just as it had at her old home, for it belonged to her and to no one else in all of the world. That was lucky for the King, for he needed a taste of it now and then as much as anybody else, and no one could pluck it for him but Christine.

Now, that is all of this story. What does it
mean? Can you not see? Prut! rub
your spectacles and look again!


I have left this story just as it was written by Howard Pyle in 1886 in his book Pepper and Salt, or Seasoning for Young Folk

I have to admit that I have a few personal issues with some of the old fairytales and folktales because physical beauty is often the sign of a good person and bad folks are often unattractive. Of course, this is not always the case but it is most of the time. Anyway, I decided to give you this one just as it was written. In retelling it to your child you can choose to change it or not.
Okay, enough of this....on to the recipe which of course has to have Apples in it!

Baked Apples

4 Apples (your favorite type)
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/2 cup of brown sugar
4 tablespoons of butter

3/4 cup of boiling water

1/4 cup of raisins or cranberries
chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350degrees.

Adult or older child: Place the apples on a cutting board. With a sharp knife, carefully cut the top 1/2-inch from each apple.

Younger Child: Using an apple corer or a small melon baler, scoop out the stem, core, and seeds from each apple, leaving the bottom intact.

Stand the apples in a 9-inch square baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and raisins/cranberries if you wish to use them.

Stuff each apple with this mixture. Top with a 1 tablespoon pat of butter.

Add boiling water to the baking pan.

Bake 30-40 minutes, until tender, but not mushy.

Remove from the oven and baste the apples several times with the pan juices.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Milkmaid and Her Pail, an Aesop fable

A farmer's daughter had been out to milk the cows, and was returning to the dairy carrying her pail of milk upon her head. As she walked along, she fell a-musing after this fashion:

The milk in this pail will provide me with cream, which I will make into butter and take to market to sell. With the money I will buy a number of eggs, and these, when hatched, will produce chickens, and by and by I shall have quite a large poultry yard. Then I shall sell some of my fowls, and with the money which they will bring in I will buy myself a new gown, which I shall wear when I go to the fair; and all the young fellows will admire it, and come and make love to me, but I shall toss my head and have nothing to say to them.
Forgetting all about the pail, and suiting the action to the word, she tossed her head. Down went the pail, all the milk was spilled, and all her fine castles in the air vanished in a moment!

Moral: Do not count your chickens before they are hatched.

I found this fabulous vid for making Tres Leches(3 milks) Cake.
A recipe is below the vid.

Easy Tres Leches Cake

1 yellow cake 9x12 premade from a box mix or your favorite recipe

1 cup whole milk or heavy cream (your choice)
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Use a fork to poke holes in the cake.

Combine the whole milk/heavy cream, condensed milk, and evaporated milk together.
Pour over the top of the cooled cake. Use as much as you think is necessary.
You want the cake saturated but not to the point that it falls apart.
You may not need all of it.

Whip whipping cream, 1 cup sugar, and the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla together until thick.

Spread over the top of cake.
Be sure and keep cake refrigerated.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Crabfish Song...a storysong sing-along

Tom Chapin singing The Crabfish Song on a great PBS children's show (which we don't get in my area..argh!) called Lomax The Hound of Music.

Yes, it is a story because most songs are just musical stories.
Enjoy and sing-along on the chorus!!

for more songs visit Lomax The Hound of Music

Here's a very simple and delicious recipe.

Hot Crab Dip

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise (I prefer Miracle Whip)
2 teaspoons OLD BAY® Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dry Mustard
1 pound lump crabmeat
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Your favorite crackers or sliced french bread

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix cream cheese, mayonnaise, Old Bay and dry mustard in medium bowl until well blended. Add crabmeat; toss gently.

2. Spread in shallow 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with Cheddar cheese and additional Old Bay, if desired.

3. Bake 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Serve with crackers or sliced French bread.

recipe found here

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Magic Pomegranate

Once there were three brothers who loved adventure. One day they decided to go on a journey, each one to a different country, and to meet again on a certain day ten years later. Each brother was to bring back with him an unusual gift.

The oldest brother decided to go to the East. When he arrived in a certain Eastern town, he was fascinated by what he saw there: magicians, dancing girls, jugglers, and acrobats were everywhere. As the brother was watching the entertainments, he saw one magician hold up a magic glass through which he could see to the distant corners of the kingdom.

“Ah!” thought the oldest brother, “I would like to have that glass, for that would certainly be an unusual object to share with my brothers.” He asked the magician, “Tell me, how much is that glass? I should like to buy it from you.” At first, the magician would not part with his magic glass, but after much pleading by the older brother, and some bargaining, they agreed upon a price and the magician sold the glass to the oldest brother.

The second brother traveled to a country in the West. Wherever he went, he kept his eyes open, and his mind as well. He was always on the lookout for the most unusual gift he could bring back to his brothers.

One day, he was attracted by the cries of an old carpet seller, who called out, “Carpets for sale! Beautiful! Wonderful! Carpets here!” The brother approached the carpet seller and began to examine his carpets, when suddenly he saw the carpet at the bottom of the pile begin to move. It seemed to be moving by itself! “What kind of carpet is this one?” he asked, pointing to the bottom one, which was quite visible by then.

The old merchant motioned for him to bend down and whispered in his ear, “This is a magic carpet. Buy it, and it will take you anywhere you want to go—and quickly too!” The second brother and the carpet seller finally settled upon a price, and the brother took the magic carpet with him, satisfied that he had a most unusual gift.

The youngest brother went South, and when he arrived in a certain country, he traveled far and wide to see what he could find to bring back to his brothers.

Now, this was a country noted for its many forests. One day the youngest brother was walking in a grove of trees when he noticed something strange—a tree that was of a different shape from the hundreds of other trees around it. It was covered with orange-red blossoms, and it was so beautiful!

As the younger brother came closer, he saw that there was only one red pomegranate on the tree.

“This is strange indeed,” thought the young man. “A pomegranate tree with only one pomegranate.” He approached the tree slowly, laughing to himself and thinking of the story he would tell his brothers about the pomegranate tree full of blossoms with only one fruit on it. As he reached for the pomegranate, it fell into his hand even he could pluck it from the branch. As soon as that happened, another pomegranate burst from one of the blossoms. When the brother saw this, he looked at the pomegranate in his hand and said to himself, “This must be a magic pomegranate. It was the only one on the tree, and yet as soon as it fell into my hands when I was about to reach for it, a new pomegranate appeared suddenly. But what kind of magic does it perform, I wonder?”

The youngest brother examined the pomegranate, marveling at its beauty. “The shape is so perfect,” he thought, “crowned with the crown of King Solomon.” He walked away from the tree looking at his mysterious new treasure. When he looked back to see the pomegranate tree once more, it was no longer there. It had disappeared. “Now I know this is a magic pomegranate, and so this is what I will bring to my brothers.”

Ten years passed, and when the three brothers met as they had planned, they embraced with delight. They eagerly showed each other the unusual objects they had brought back from their journeys.

The oldest brother said, “Let me look through my glass and see what I can see.” When he held up the glass, he saw, in a far-off kingdom, a young princess lying ill in bed, near death.

“Quickly, dear brothers, get on my magic carpet and we’ll fly there!” said the second brother. In what seemed like seconds, the three brothers arrived at the far-off kingdom.

In the royal palace of this kingdom, the King, whose daughter lay ill, was grief-stricken. He had sent for every doctor in the country to cure the princess; but they had all failed and there was no hope left for the princess. Finally, the King had sent a messenger throughout the country saying, “Whoever can save my daughter, the princess, will have her hand in marriage, and half the kingdom!”

As if in a dream, the youngest brother heard a voice whisper inside him, “The pomegranate!” The youngest brother approached the King and asked, “May I try to cure the princess?” The King agreed and led the young man to the princess’ chambers.

When the young man saw the princess, he approached quietly and sat by her side. Then he took the pomegranate from his pocket, cut it open with gentle care, carefully cut each kernel from its place, and then fed the juicy red kernels to the princess. In a few moments, the princess felt stronger, and the color returned to her cheeks. Soon, she sat up in her bed, fully restored to health.

The King was overjoyed. He hugged his daughter and, turning to the three young men, he announced, “The man who saved my daughter will many her.”

The three brothers began to quarrel, each one claiming to be the one who should marry the princess.

The oldest brother said, “If it were not for my magic glass, we would never have known the princess was ill in the first place. So, since I discovered this first, I deserve to marry the princess.”

“But, brothers, It was because of my magic carpet that we could arrive so quickly,” argued the second brother. “Otherwise, the princess would have died. I deserve to marry the princess.”

Then the youngest brother said, “It was my magic pomegranate that actually healed the princess. I deserve to marry her.”

Since the three brothers could not decide which one should marry the princess, the King tried to decide. He looked at the three clever young men, but he could not decide who deserved to many his daughter.

The King finally turned to the princess and asked, “Who do you think deserves to marry you, my daughter?”

The princess answered simply, “I will ask each of them a question.” She turned to the oldest brother and asked, “Has your magic glass changed in any way since you arrived in this Kingdom?”

“No,” replied the oldest brother. “My glass is the same as always, and I can look through it and see to every corner of this kingdom.”

The princess then asked the second brother, “Has your magic carpet changed in any way since you arrived in this kingdom?” And the second brother answered, “No, my carpet is the same, and I can fly anywhere on it, as always.”

Turning to the youngest brother, the princess asked, “Has your magic pomegranate changed in any way since you arrived in this Kingdom?” And the youngest brother answered, “Yes, princess, my pomegranate is no longer whole, for I gave you a portion of it”

The princess turned to the three young men and said, “I will marry the youngest brother because he performed the greatest good deed—because he gave up something of his own.

The brothers and the King all understood the wisdom of the Princess. A lavish wedding was arranged for the prin-cess and the youngest brother.

And the King appointed the princess and all three brothers to become his royal advisers.

“The Magic Pomegranate.” Schram, Peninnah. Jewish Stories One Generation Tells Another. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, Inc., ©1987. p. 180-181.

Pomegranate Ginger Muffins

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes

2 cups all-purpose flour
About 2/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup minced crystallized ginger
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1-1/4 cups pomegranate seeds
1 cup milk
1 large egg
About 1/4 cup (1/8 pound) butter or margarine, melted and cooled

In a bowl, mix flour, 2/3 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in crystallized ginger, lemon peel, and pomegranate seeds. Make a well in the center.

In a measuring cup, blend milk, egg, and 1/4 cup butter. Pour liquid all at once into well. Stir just until batter is moistened; it will be lumpy.

Spoon batter into 12 (2-1/2-inch-wide) or 24 (1-3/4-inch-wide) buttered muffin cups, filling each almost to the rim. Sprinkle with 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar.

Bake in a 425-degree F oven until lightly browned, about 16 minutes for large muffins, 13 minutes for small. Remove muffins from pan at once. Serve hot or set on a rack and serve warm or cool.