Monday, December 19, 2011

Fun and Beautiful JamaicaTea

...or, our new Christmas tea! Well, it's not just a Christmas tea but, with this gorgeous red color, I think I've found another great beverage for our holiday season.
For as long as I can remember one of our holiday drinks has been a cranberry juice/ginger ale punch - pure yummy-ness, lovely  and a family favorite, too! But this year, in Honduras, I'm thinking one of our typical, local teas will be just fine. The color is rich and it's tasty too!
By no means is this solely a Honduran tea - it is a popular drink in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Europe. Our family was first introduced to Jamaica, or Hibiscus tea, when we lived in Africa. Our friend, Chi, served it to us when we visited her at Susana Home outside Aba, Nigeria, West Africa. (you can read about Chi here - she is one of my life-time heroes!) In fact, she gave me a bag full of the flowers they had cut and dried so I could take them home with me. So refreshing! The next time I was served this tea on a foreign soil was right here in Honduras at the home of my dear friend and fellow missionary, Donna. (I love how certain foods or drinks can bring someone or someplace to mind and you're able to re-live those precious memories. This tea is one of 'those' for me!)
For all of you Stateside, don't worry, you can find Hibiscus or Jamaica dried flowers at any international food store or in many of your regular grocery stores.
Here's the way I make it:
dried jamaica flowers ...
some packages have instructions
you'll need about a cup of sugar
and I use not quite a full cup of the flowers
the pitchers here are great - they come with their own strainers - easy to make 'agua frescas'
don't you love my old pan? it was my Grandma's!
cover the flowers with water, bring to boil and simmer about 5 minutes
pour hot tea over sugar and add 1/2 gallon of water, stir until sugar is dissolved...
easy as can be, right? and delicious too!!
 So, if you've never tried Jamaica Tea, go for it, tis the season for lovely holiday drinks and this one is a keeper! I love fun-foods - and drinks!
*A variation of this tea is to add the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tis the Season of J-O-Y!

I love words ... and "Joy" has always been one of my favorites. It's a word that indicates deep happiness and heartfelt gladness. It's so small but so profound when it's truly felt and lived within a person. I'm thankful it just happens to be one of the words of this season. The other day I was at one of our little craft/fabric stores and the customer in front of me was buying a slew of letters for a graduation ... and I thought to myself ... "I can do something with J-O-Y" so I bought these 3 little letters and came home. 
This is what came about:
there was an old board sitting against the wall on our front porch (where did that come from?)
I turned it to its roughest side and painted it lightly w/ a mixture of vintage white acrylic, glue, water and glitter
I wanted the letters to be a light blue

so, I found some blue fabric and placing the letters upside down, I traced them on to the fabric

then I cut them out

and glued the fabric on to the styrofoam with this silicon glue

then I painted the fabric with a glitter-glue solution

and using the same glue, attached them to my now dry board
  Don't you love my J-O-Y ? I have the perfect place for it but that will be another post. 
I love 'craftiness' especially having fun with others... 
 and I'm sharing the joy with 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Excellent Eating!

I love to eat - pure and simple, no doubt about it. I love good food. There is no way anyone can make it through these 2 months of the year and not enjoy some excellent eating. To my dismay, many of these wonderful good eats seem to only make their appearance at this time of year. I'm guilty as the next ... even though my family loves some of these special, traditional treats a whole lot... I only make them now! (sorry, but if we over-indulged they'd kind of lose their 'specialness', wouldn't they)
Well, here in Honduras it is basically the same. Traditional treats are making their annual appearance. One of the many we'll be enjoying was brought to our door this morning by a neighbor boy, William. (I should have gotten his picture - which I will do the next time he comes a selling!)
Ticucos ... sometimes made with beans, or chicken, or hard-boiled eggs. Ours were steaming when he brought them so, we sat right down and enjoyed! Jake at two and I ate one.
Here they are:
I bought 6 for 18 lemperas (6/$1)

kinda like miniature tamales

usually eaten with fresh cream and we add hot sauce
Hope you enjoy some excellent eating over your holidays! Do you have some favorite international treats your family enjoys?
This little note is for Miss Jenny's Alphabet-T party!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Day to Day Delights!

 According to Miss Jenny today's letter is D and 
so I'm honoring it by posting Day to Day Delights!
Those who know my blog and my philosophy on life know that I believe all of us live in Abundance ... sometimes it stares you in the face, sometimes we have to look for it, but always, every single day, we are surrounded by abundance. Yesterday it came to my home with the presence of 4 delightful children from my neighborhood. We made Christmas ornaments and it was fun!
no visit is complete without a snack-time
so, we finished up with hot tea and cookies!
the kids with their 'make and take' ornaments - 5 each - they seem pretty pleased don't they?
I love the day to day delights that come with living abundantly!


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tis The Season!

... to make, bake and create. Don'tcha just love it?!
Well, I do too! However, like many of you, it's not like I have a whole lot of time to do these extra activities but what one does is make time. (that's part of creating!) One of the things I plan to do is incorporate a couple social activities into my crafting by having some little friends into the home to help me out! My absolute 'druthers' would be doing all this with my own little grand-daughters but 2nd best is loving on my little ones here in Santa Rosa.
First of all, to start blogging about this time period ... I will say that I made something for our precious ones a couple weeks ago. This is the 'off' year for our being with family for Christmas so, I had to get something together for the mail and send it with someone who was flying home for Thanksgiving. After some thoughtful deliberation I decided on felt finger puppets … why? Well, because one of our favorite past-times is singing with or reading books to the girls... and whether I'm there or not they can use their puppets with Mommy or Daddy! Also, it's not like I have a Michaels or Ben Franklin in the area ... I have to use what I have on hand or improvise with what's available.
I looked around on the web and found some really good videos on finger puppets. I kind of gathered information in my head and combined it all to do it 'my way'.
So, this is what I used:
Of course, various colors of felt!

A good craft glue, straight pins, scissors (I like my embroidery scissors to use for smaller areas) and a little ruler.

Card-stock and tracing paper for patterns.
Pen, pencil, and fine-point sharpie.
 And this is what I did:
I used the card-stock and made a 'general' pattern to trace for each separate puppet and then I individualized each one according to character - for some using both the card-stock pattern and tracing paper. For example, some parts of each puppet were smaller so, I worked with via tracing paper and pinned it to the felt before cutting. For others I just used a black pen and traced the pattern – either way the shapes were about 3 inches tall and 2 1/2 inches wide. If there was a 'neck' I'd stick a finger up in the puppet to make sure I didn't get it too narrow, then I'd shape it up. 
Tigger has 5 little pattern pieces.

After using I pinned them together to save for another time.

I failed to mention for some puppets I used googly eyes, and I reinforced with embroidery stitches at the bottom.

Sometimes I layered the felt (Eyeore's mane, Tigger's stripes), other times used the black marker ...
Turned out pretty cute, right?
I even added a felt button to hold on the tail!
Well, I'm sure this wasn't anything new but it was loads of fun. I made several sets of story/songs characters and here is the Winnie-the-Pooh set with just these 4. I know there is a new bluish colored Eyeore but I like the old gray guy the best! 
The better option, and what I'll do in the future, is probably stitch all the sides with a sweet little blanket stitch using embroidery thread but to save time, I glued this time around.
So, here you have it DIY finger-puppet Christmas presents for the grand-kids. I think they'll like them, don't you? 
I'll share the other sets another day ... hint: monkeys, sea creatures and even a spider!
Tis the Season for crafting and today I am hopping over to: