FREE Gift: 40 New Years Eve Appetizers Recipes

A FREE gift for my readers...
40 New Years Eve Appetizers Recipes

Here is just one of the great recipes you will find inside this FREE download:

Zesty Veggie Dipping Sauce

What You Need:

1 T brown mustard

2 T lemon juice

1 C prepared Ranch dressing

1/8 t Worcestershire sauce

1/4 t hot pepper sauce

How to Make It:

Place the mustard in a small mixing bowl.

Pour the lemon juice into the mustard.

Add the Ranch dressing and mix to combine the ingredients well.

Pour the Worcestershire sauce and the hot pepper sauce into the bowl.
Whisk until all the ingredients are incorporated together well.

Cover and refrigerate to chill completely through.

Serve this dip with cut vegetables, large pretzels or tortilla chips. It has a little bite but it's not overpowering.

Serving Size: 1 C

To download all 40 of the free recipes click here (or right click and save).

Happy New Year from my family to yours...Enjoy!


Wishing you...

and a Happy New Year!

5 Christmas Crafts for Kids

The kids are home for Christmas break and are bored already. The weather is cold, wet and nasty. What do you do? Keep them busy making something with their hands, instead of you tearing your hair out. Here are some fun ideas that kids will love.

1. Christmas cards are always a great craft.

Provide the kids supplies like construction paper, card stock, scissors, glue, glitter (the bottles of glitter/glue in one package are a very nice low-mess way to dress up a project), pencils, crayons or markers and old Christmas cards. Let the kids use their creative energy to make wonderful handmade cards that can be shared with family and friends. By cutting pictures out of old cards, even the younger children can make something really nice (and recycle at the same time).

2. Snow globes are a favorite.

If you want to make your own, gather glass or clear plastic containers, like baby food jars or mustard or mayonnaise jars. Wash and dry them completely. Gather small plastic Christmas or winter decorations. Try to find some that float. Winter themed stickers or small foam cutouts are also nice. Decorate the outside of the jar with stickers or glue a few of the foam pieces on it. Attach a couple of the floating pieces (things like snowflakes or stars work well) to string and glue a figure to the inside with the string underneath the figure to anchor it (which will become the base). Fill the jar with water and some glitter. Carefully glue the lid in place using waterproof glue and let dry. Once dry, shake it, set it lid down and watch the glitter swirl around.

3. Candy crafts can be fun, as well as a tasty gift.

A train can be a quick craft that can be used as a decoration or gift. Use a roll of hard candy (like Lifesavers) for the main part of the train. Use individually wrapped round candy, like peppermints for the wheels. For the front, glue a square candy, such as a caramel or a Starburst with a Hershey kiss on top. If you add a string, they can be used as a tree decoration. Experiment with other kinds of candy to create other things, like robots, animals or even angels.

4. Garland trees can be a great project for the kids, especially if there is limited room for a Christmas tree.

Take a large piece of green poster board and cut a circle, with a slit out to make a cone. Tape it with clear packing tape. Take an artificial pine garland and wrap it around the cone, completely covering it to create a small tree. Fasten the ends in place so it doesn't unwrap. The tree can be decorated with lightweight paper ornaments that the children can also make.

5. A cozy fireplace can warm up any room but not everyone has one.

Let the kids make one. Find a large cardboard box and cut an opening in the one side for the fireplace. Using sponges, paint bricks on the box, leaving space in between to be the mortar. Paint the inside black if you want. Paint flames on the inside back section of the box. Use paper towel rolls to stack up in the fireplace as logs. Decorate the top to look like a mantel.

Get creative and think up your own Christmas crafts as well. Children will love the fun involved in creating these crafts and so will you. You can even give the crafts as a gift which will warm even the scroogiest of hearts.


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Who Are You Mr. Claus?

Just about everyone in the world knows that jolly toy-bearing Christmas figure from the North Pole, but how much do we really know about him?

Here are a few quick trivia questions about our beloved Santa brought to you by

Q: Where does the name Santa Claus come from?

A: The name Santa Claus was derived from Sinterklaas, the Dutch term for the ancient Christian figure of Saint Nicholas who was famous for his generosity to the poor (more about him later). The Dutch immigrants to America imported their gift-giving saint to New Amsterdam where he merged with his British counterpart, Father Christmas, to become America's own Santa Claus.

Q: Everyone knows that Santa lives in the North Pole, but where is the real St. Nicholas from?

A: St. Nicholas who many consider to be the inspiration for modern Santa Claus was born in Patara around 275AD. Patara is located in present day Turkey, on the Southern Mediterranean coast in what is today an international tourist resort area where visitors spend hours basking in the warm Mediterranean sun. Certainly not a place you would want to be wearing fur coats in.

Q: If you really wanted to find St. Nicholas today, where would you go looking?

A: You may enjoy a trip to the North Pole, but if you really want to honor St. Nicholas, you would do better by heading towards Italy, where the remains of St. Nicholas are stored in the basilica of St. Nicola in the city of Bari. They have been there since the 11 century when they were, uh… borrowed… from their previous resting place in Myra in present day Turkey.

Q: Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer and his companions take Santa on his rounds completely airborne. How is it that reindeer can fly?

A: Many people believe that the tale of flying reindeers (as well as other parts of the Santa story), originates from Lapland in modern day Finland. Some say that in Lapland reindeer had a habit of seeking out the hallucinogenic amanita mushrooms which they ate and then would prance around while under their influence. As these mushrooms are quite toxic, it was regular practice for local shamans to drink the urine of tripping reindeer for a "safe high" and then "fly" together with them. This could also explain the general cheerful disposition (with the "ho ho ho" and all), and the flushed red cheeks of today's Santa.

Q: Where did Santa get his unique outfit?

A: While it's no secret that the marketing people of Coca Cola have a lot to do with the modern image of Santa, some say the roots go way back. The same North European Shamans that liked to consume those red and white mushrooms with their reindeers used to wear quite a similar outfit when they went out to collect their pickings – red and white fur trimmed coats with long black boots. As implied above, it's quite certain that St. Nicholas was no inspiration for this outfit, as he lived in sunny south Turkey.

Q: Who was the first to create Santa's modern image?

A: Coca Cola still uses the iconic images of Santa which were hugely successful in the 30s, and created for it by the gifted artist Haddon Sundblom, an American of Swedish origin (does Northern Europe ring any bells here?). However the modern image of Santa was only finally standardized in his works, but had actually been developing for years before. Coca Cola wasn't even the first beverage company to make commercial use of every child's jolly toy bearing hero – a company called White Rock beverages used him to sell ginger ale and mineral water as early as 1915. However earlier versions wore a wide variety of colors. Coca Cola's Santa is the one the finally set the record straight, and since then Santa has been wearing nothing but Red and White.

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3 Tips on How to Keep your Cash Safe While Christmas Shopping

The interior of a typical Macy*s department store.Image via WikipediaDuring the Christmas holiday season, you will most likely make frequent visits to your local department stores. Here are some tips to keep your cash safe when shopping.

Let’s face it; we carry everything we own in our pocketbooks. But, during the Christmas holiday season, with the hoards of crowds invading most shopping malls and stores, it is advisable to utilize these tips to protect your cash and your personal information as well.

* Purchase either a neck pouch or money belt to wear when shopping. Carry the minimum amount of items such as car keys, license, cash and/or credit card.

There are a myriad of thieves who scour the stores just waiting for some unsuspecting man or woman to turn away, or bump into them to steal their wallet or the wallet out of their purse. Yes, they are that good!

By not bringing a purse or pocketbook, you are protecting not only the cash on hand but your personal information as well. Imagine if your purse was stolen and inside were your credit card, cash, license, even a copy of your social security number. The damage this can do to your financial life is immeasurable.

During the holidays, carry as little with you as possible. Try not to make it any easier for the thieves to carry out their plans using you as their victim.

* Always be aware of people around you. If you take money out of the ATM machines, cup one hand over the keyboard as you type in your account number. Check to make sure no one is standing behind you with a cell phone. This is how they steal your account number, by taking pictures as you punch in the numbers.

* If you are shopping during the peak holiday season, plan your route within each department of the store. Check out, beforehand, where the items are located and buy just those items and leave. Don’t stop to browse or look for items not on your list.

In the old days, our grandparents used to carry cash in a little pouch and use a safety pin to attach it to the inside of their clothing. Perhaps this is where the pouch belts used today first originated.

While it’s a sad commentary on our society that we have to stay ever vigilant during certain times of the year, it is nonetheless important to safeguard your cash, possessions, and your person.

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