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I am taking part in Mondays Finish the Story, which is a challenge that provides a photo prompt and the opening sentence to your story. The rules indicate that the story you come up with must be between 100-150 words, not including the opening line….Are you ready for my story?

2014-12-22 - BW Beacham
“As the year wound down to a close, they gathered around the table and raised their glasses.” Everyone was in good cheer. Christmas was coming up and they all knew that this year it would be fabulous.

As she looked around the room, she noted the amazing tree that was in the corner, decorated in gold. Lights twinkled on the tree making it glow. There was nothing like the fragrance of a fresh Christmas tree. A mass of presents lay on the floor beneath it.

Garland surrounded the windows and staircase; poinsettias were here and there around the room. A fire crackled in the fireplace. Looking out the window, she noticed a gentle snow was falling.

Laughter erupted around the table drawing her attention back to the group. She smiled and they all raised their glasses again for yet another toast.

John was the one leading this toast. “Here is to the biggest heist yet, and it going off without a hitch.”

*  *  *  *  *

Mondays Finish the Story

I hope that you have enjoyed today’s bit of flash!  You too can take part by clicking HERE!   Thank you for stopping by today, and have a magnificent Monday!

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Christmas is not so much about opening presents. It is a day that brings us closer to the ones we love. It’s a special time for us to share with our family and the friends that we hold so dear! My wish for you is a day full of love, laughter and joy!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Have a wonderful day!

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Christmas 2013 - Photo by Alastair Forbes

Christmas 2013 – Photo by Alastair Forbes

It was an innocuous looking ornament. Plain. Gold. Shiny. No one would give it a second look. But Jilly did. She leaned forward to look at it closer. With a whoosh she was pulled in to Christmas past.

Startled, she looked around her and found herself in her parent’s home. A voice over her shoulder said, “Welcome back my darling.”

She turned quickly and saw her mother standing there. Her Mother’s hands reached out embracing her daughter. Jilly breathed in deeply taking in the fragrance she remembered that her mother always wore. Tears welled in her eyes.

“Mom!” she said choking back a sob. “I have missed you so much!”

“Silly girl! How could you miss me when I have always been here,” replied her Mom now holding her out at arm’s length.

Jilly thought, “You have been gone for almost 10 years.”

Her Mother reached out and rested her hand over her daughter’s heart. “I am always here,” she said.

Jilly drew in a deep breath of surprise and found herself back in 2013 looking at a golden ornament on the tree. She knew that despite her Mother being gone that she did live on in her own heart!
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Thank you once again Alastair Forbes of Sunday Photo Fiction for this flash fiction challenge! The rules of this challenge: Write a short story of 100 – 200 words that has a beginning, middle and end that goes with the photo provided! If you would like to try your hand at this, click here!

Have a lovely Sunday, and thank you for taking the time to visit with me today!

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Here in the U.S. when we think of Christmas we think of the grandeur of the trees, the lights, the gifts that we give to others, and we think of Gingerbread Houses! What would Christmas be without a house made of gingerbread, frosting and candy? I found the spirit of the holiday at Bucky’s with their annual Gingerbread House show, and I thought to myself what a perfect thing to share with you my readers! In this post you will see all kinds of Gingerbread Houses. I salute the honoring of this tradition, and the imagination of those who constructed the wonders I am sharing with you today!  If you really want to see the detail, click on the photo to enlarge it, and then use the back arrow to take you back to this post…Enjoy! We start off with Winnie the Pooh and Piglet too! Two of my most favorite storybook characters!

Winnie the Pooh and Piglet too!

Winnie the Pooh and Piglet too!

What could be more perfect for the foothills than a log cabin made of pretzels with a roof of Triscut crackers?

The log cabin made of Triscuts and Pretzels!

The log cabin made of Triscuts and Pretzels!

I thought this one was really good too. It is Rafiki from the movie “The Lion King” presenting Simba.

Rafiki presenting Simba to the world

Rafiki presenting Simba to the world

This gingerbread creation of course had to include those rascally hyenas!

Bansai, Shenzi and Ed - the hyenas from The Lion King

Bansai, Shenzi and Ed – the hyenas from The Lion King

Wandering along in this little village of gingerbread, I come across the abominable snow man!

The abominable snow man!

The abominable snow man!

Now let us take a look at another part of the village…

The village of Gingerbread

The village of Gingerbread

Of course there was the lion and the lamb!

The lion and the lamb

The lion and the lamb

And let us leave off with a message from Santa…

Santa's message for the day

Santa’s message for the day

Did all these gingerbread and candy creations make you hungry? I am heading off into the kitchen! I hope that you have a most amazing day today! Thanks for the visit! Again, happy holidays!

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No matter what holiday you celebrate at this time of year, I wish to you and yours a joyous holiday season filled with love, well being, and may the new year be a prosperous one for you!

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

My best regards to all! Hugs and love – Barb

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I love the season of giving. And I get my greatest joy from giving to others. So Christmas and I, we are total buds! When I think about the presents, I think of how the gifts look under the tree. There is nothing like the smell of a fresh tree, and the sight of all those presents!

Presents under the tree

Presents under the tree

I just have to ask, why is it that the Mercedes doesn’t fit under the tree? Oh, wait! It does!

The Mercedes under the tree

The Mercedes under the tree

Boy I wish that was bigger! Truth be told, I am not a Mercedes kind of gal…So here we are and the holidays are coming. There are gifts under the tree. Check out this Christmas gift! Now here is an awww moment – right Penny?

The Christmas Gift

The Christmas Gift

Needless to say, this little gift was not for me or my husband… 😦 Flynn, a Pomeranian, came to visit our house along with his brother Jean Luc and mom Marcy! Flynn is a true beauty as a Christmas present! We are hoping that he comes back to visit with the rest of his clan! Jean Luc was a bit camera shy…and next time they come to visit I hope that I will be able to catch him for a photo shoot in all his cuteness!

So, for today, best wishes to you all and thank you for joining me on my blog today! Hugs to everyone and go out and have a wonderful Tuesday!

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In case you wanted to read this with your family, here is the most famous poem written by Clement Clarke Moore (1779 – 1863). The first publication was December 23rd, 1823…

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
As Tiny Tim said, ”
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

As Tiny Tim said in The Christmas Carol, “God bless us, every one!”

Merry Christmas from my family to you and yours!

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My friend Kat recently had a blog contest for cookies and having wrenched my back I was unable to participate. I had a hankering for one of my favorite cookies since reading all her contest recipes and took an old recipe that was in my Mom’s collection of recipes: Greek Butter Cookies, or Kourabiedes! This is a good Christmas cookie! The cookies were developed around 1200 B.C. when baker’s struggled to find ingredients that they could put together for a sweet confection for the table.

Greek Butter Cookies

Ingredients
1 cup of butter, softened
1 cup plus 1 pound of powdered sugar
1 egg yolk
1 TBS coffee flavored brandy (or use plain, but the coffee flavor is a really nice addition!)
2 1/2 cups of flour, sifted
1/8 tsp of baking powder, sifted into the flour
1/2 cup of finely chopped almonds or walnuts – you choose!

Get your oven going by preheating it to 350◦. Combine the flour and baking powder. Put the butter into your mixer bowl and slowly add the powdered sugar. When fluffy, stir in the coffee brandy and the egg yolk. With a fork, start to mix in the flour mixture a bit at a time. About half way through I stop using the fork and switch to my hands. It seems to blend the flour in better at that point. Knead the dough until it is smooth and can be shaped into balls.

Line a cookie sheet with foil and grease with butter. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and roll in a bowl of powdered sugar. The sugar will react with the butter to stick to the cookie. Place them in a single layer on a plate. When you are done, using a sifter, sift some of the remaining powdered sugar over the cookies. Let them fully cool before eating!

Makes about 36 cookies.

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Maybe you saw the headline news…or read it on the internet…I don’t get it. What the heck is so special about an Air Jordan tennis shoe? For goodness sakes it is just a shoe! A sneaker!

People waited at the doors of malls where the shoe would be selling for a price of $180. Sorry, but I would not spend that kind of money on a pair of shoes. Nor would I wait outside overnight in front of a mall to buy a sneaker! I could do much better with my $180, couldn’t you? The really sad part of this is that people were injured, property was damaged and fights ensued all over a shoe! And those buying these shoes, and trampling people in the malls, and damaging property, are the same folks selling the shoes on the internet for triple the price they paid. Again, this is a sneaker!

What is in the name? OK–Air Jordan: Clearly has to do with basketball celeb Michael Jordan. Let me ask those who are wearing the labels: How much are they paying you to advertise for them? Nothing? What, you wear a label and do not get paid? Hmm….free advertising for something that will more than likely not last like my Ked’s or PF flyers! Those lasted me for years as a kid, and believe me I was brutal on those shoes.

This is a sad commentary on society when a shoe creates such havoc! What people should be more concerned with are the things that really matter, like putting a roof over their heads, food on the table, and the ability to pay for their bills. Am I paying for those shoes now because the money spent on these shoes could be possibly coming from welfare? Hmm….

And shame on you to the sellers of these shoes to wait until the 23rd of December to put these shoes on sale on one day only! You created the hype; you assisted in creating the havoc, and the damage, and the injuries and you should pay for this!

This takes me to corporate greed. Yes, this is due to corporate greed. Shame on you! And it is also due to those who just had to have this shoe at a cost of $180, so, shame on you too! You forgot what was important in the message of the season. Take your shoes and put them on, and walk to the fireplace, if you have one, to the stocking hung with care. I hope that you find a lump of coal!

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I wanted to get your mouths watering, so here is what is to come starting today and going through Monday!

Tonight – A spicy, flaky fish recipe, with a jasmine rice and steamed broccoli

Christmas Eve – Maple glazed smoked ham, sweet acorn squash and cheesy au gratin potatoes

Christmas Day – Barb’s famous Mac ‘n Cheese with ham

Monday – Sopa de Pedos, or “Fart Soup” – this is a bean soup made with the leftover ham and the bone of course!

Comfort food just perfect for the holidays! What are you cooking up?

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