Christmas Kringle, my way

December 22, 2012


This is an easier version of the kringle we have received from a neighbor almost every Christmas since we moved to this house.  The neighbor has the kringles he gives shipped from the “American home of kringles” Wisconsin, so they are the real thing — and delicious.

This culinary journey began last Christmas when I made the original of this recipe called (cleverly) Cream Cheese Dessert.  It was popular with everyone who tried it, but it was hard to get done in the middle of the 9×13 pan, so I actually didn’t use the very center of  the pan — it was just too mushy.  So this year, I changed that recipe to make it a little more like a kringle (thin) and we really liked the result and it was cooked all the way through!

So, here is my recipe:

Christmas Kringle

Preheat oven to 350 degrees


2 can crescent roll sheets 

3 (8 oz.) packages of (1/3 less fat) cream cheese, room temperature

1 1/2 C. sugar, divided

1 1/2 t. vanilla

raspberry preserves

1 stick butter (1/2 C.)

Unroll one of the sheets of dough and place it on a lightly floured countertop.  Roll it to fit a 10×15 jelly roll pan.  It will be very thin.  Just gently push it into all the corners of the pan and up the sides a little, repairing any little holes that appear as you go.

Beat the cream cheese with 1 1/4 C. of the  sugar and the vanilla in a bowl until smooth.  Spread the mixture on the dough in the pan.

Spread  raspberry preserves thinly on top of the cream cheese mixture.

Roll out the second sheet of dough and place over the top.

Melt the butter and pour as evenly as possible over the top.  It will tend to pool in places, which you won’t be able to correct completely, but it will be fine.

Sprinkle the other 1/4 cup of sugar over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown on top — approximately 15 minutes.*

*Note:  Next year I will make one more adjustment — I’m going to bake it a little longer and get it a little darker.  It would be nice if the crust was a little crunchy.)

P1130906That’s it!  Hope you enjoy these.

Merry Christmas to all my blogging friends.  I’m going to try to post more often in 2013 — lucky you.  (tongue in cheek)  I am so blessed by the friends I have made through blogging.  I don’t want to lose touch with you!

Cute, Creative Halloween Costumes

October 12, 2012

You know how you start at one point on the internet and end up going from here to here to here … and end up somewhere you have no idea how you got there?  Yeah, me too.

That’s what just happened to me.  I ended up at an on-line magazine for Mormons “LSD Living”, and saw this article about really cute Halloween costumes for little kids.

I remember always trying to find some new, creative ideas for costumes when my children were small.

So for you who still have small children, here is a link to that idea-filled article:

I have fond memories of Halloween when I was a little kid.

We were very generic back then.  I especially liked this costume because it meant I got to wear lipstick.  Wahoo!!

I’m guessing you have some great memories of costumes you wore too — and are making some great costumes and memories for your own children.

From the past-raising-kids side of things, I can tell you that any work or inconvenience you dedicate to making memories for your children, you will be soooo glad you did it when they are grown and gone.

Sometimes it’s fun to try something new …

January 10, 2012

… especially if you can eat your mistakes.

When we were at DD’s house before Christmas, I asked her what I could do to help get ready for the dinner she was preparing for company that evening.  She looked around and said, well you could finish that gingerbread house the girls lost interest in.  Obviously she had things pretty well under control and was searching for something for me to do.  I got that and I didn’t mind.

I had never had any experience with making a gingerbread house, but not knowing what I’m doing doesn’t necessarily keep me from doing something anyway, so I dug in.

Luckily I had brought a very large container of red and green juju’s that were each topped with a white cap.  We had used some to decorate cookies, but there were lots left.  And it’s a good thing, because much of the candy that had come with the gingerbread house kit was nowhere to be found.  Possibly the reason the previous contractors had lost interest?  They had eaten enough of their building materials that they realized they couldn’t finish, is my guess.

It took me a while, but I finished the house by just using frosting to glue pieces of candy in every available space.  That was a little trickier than it might seem because the pieces that were already in place weren’t always in straight lines and they were stuck fast, so I had to work around them.  But, even then, I was surprised at how much fun it was!

So I’ve decided that next year I’ll try making a gingerbread house from scratch.

You may want to tune in for that.  It may be a disaster, but I’ve certainly learned that sometimes the best stories come from disasters.

Christmas Prayers from the past

December 19, 2011

We have just recently re-discovered these three little prayer books in a box of books in the attic.

The one on the left is missing the first few pages so we don’t have a copyright date, but it definitely appears to be the oldest.  It is obviously a book of prayers for children.  But I find it surprising that the language definitely isn’t changed much if at all to make it easier for children to read.  That makes me think that it really wasn’t meant to be read by children, but read to children so that they could memorize the prayers.

Its prayers are all short and include these two pages of Christmas prayers.

The red book was given to an unknown  couple on their 50th wedding anniversary in approximately 1951. (That’s our guess because that is the copyright year.)

It is my favorite.  It has prayers for every instance imaginable.

It includes this Christmas prayer that I think is lovely and we will probably use on Christmas day.

The blue book was a gift to Hubby from the Pastor when he was confirmed in 1959.  I know that Hubby and his family dearly loved Pastor L, but its prayers tend to be long and kind of dry.  I wonder if a simpler version might have had a better chance of actually being used by eighth graders!

We have started using prayers from the middle book during our bible studies.  The wording used is so elegant and conveys the thoughts in such beautiful ways. They are a pleasure to read, pray and think on.

I think “Anna B.” who signed her name and wrote her congratulations in that little red book of prayers to give to a couple celebrating a long marriage, would probably be happy to know that it is being used all these years later.

What a special little treasure of books we’ve found.  And especially in regard to the red book, we are using it regularly right now.  And even though Hubby and I weren’t the ones who received it originally, it has definitely turned into a gift for us.

Remember to Pass on “Thankful” … A Thanksgiving Prayer

November 24, 2011

This is the prayer we will pray today.  May each of you have a blessed, thanks-filled Thanksgiving.  You each bless my life in some way, if nothing else than coming here to read what I write.  I am thankful for you.

A Thanksgiving Prayer

Heavenly Father, Thank you for all the blessings we have to be thankful for today, especially our loved ones and for your Son who died for our sins.

And please help us to show that we are blessed and loved by being a blessing to others.

When a jerk cuts us off in traffic, may we remember that she may be a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, pay bills and spend a few precious moments with her children.

Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, seemingly disinterested young man who can’t make change correctly may be a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.

Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day, may be a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.

And when we get behind an old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles, blocking our shopping progress, may we remember that they may be savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together.

Heavenly Father, may we remember each day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. And, that it is not enough to share that love with just those we hold dear. Please open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all people in our lives.

Help us to be slow to judge and quick to forgive, showing patience, empathy and love.

In Jesus name we pray, Amen


My Fathers’ Day

June 19, 2011

My dad has been gone for over 20 years, but I still have great memories of him.  When I was very little I can remember him standing in a doorway and bracing his arm against one side of the door sill so that I could swing on his arm.  I remember his arm felt like wood, it was so solid.  I remember us walking uptown for malts. And I remember being awed when he and I would lay in the hammock and look at the stars with him pointing out the different ones to me — they looked so close!  I didn’t know about good dads or bad dads he was just my dad.  But now I know how fortunate I was that I had a dad who loved his family and worked hard to give us the very best life possible.  I look forward to seeing him in Heaven so that I can thank him for being such a good dad.

Hubby is celebrating two holidays today — Father’s Day and our anniversary.  So it gives me a chance to thank him for being a great husband for 46 years, but also a great father to our children.  Thank you love of my life, I wouldn’t have wanted to spend my life or raise my children with anyone else.

My Heavenly Father needs to be especially praised on Father’s Day too.  He gave fathers an example of good parenting — love them unconditionally but let them suffer the consequences of their actions.  I am so thankful that, as much as we love each other here on Earth, He loves each of us even more.

On this Father’s Day I am thankful for the three fathers who have blessed my life.

Old and New Easter Memories

April 25, 2011

We spent Easter with DD and her girls in Chicago.

We attended a beautiful service at their church.  The music was especially beautiful, as it always is at Easter.  Once again we have been reminded that Christ died for our sins so that, even though we are all sinners and not worthy of Heaven on our own merit, His sacrifice assures us that we can one day live with Him in Heaven.

As we had the traditional, at least in our family, ham dinner, Hubby and I told them stories about our memories of Easters in our childhood.  The girls were a little incredulous that when I was a little girl, I always not only had an Easter dress, but also a hat and sometimes even gloves!  Now you don’t even see grown women in hats on Easter very often.  I miss the hats.

This picture with its obvious cracks is the only picture I could find on my computer where I am wearing a hat.  It was Easter 1967 and I was expecting Gunny in August.  I’ve always loved hats and am really sorry for their demise for both men and women!  (and, no, ball caps don’t count as far as I’m concerned)

So, anyway, it’s always fun for me to try to think of some project or craft I can do with DD’s girls when we are together.  So I took two dozen store-bought sugar cookies and lots of frosting, peeps, and all kinds of sprinkles for us to do some cookie decorating on Saturday afternoon.

It was fun but it was also messy!

All three of the girls really got into the cookie decorating.

But because Mimi is quite a bit younger, she asked for a little extra help.

As Lulu demonstrates, we all ended up wearing some of the frosting!

Coco even got her face involved!

Pre-frosting-on-her-face, Coco was already giving us an innocent look like, “Who me?”

Mimi admiring some of their handiwork.

It was fun to see how creatively they used the decorations I had supplied.

I was especially charmed that they based some of the decorations on the peeps I had taken that I really intended just to be used to cut up to make flowers!  How appropriate that the blue peep has a nest of blue eggs.

So all two dozen of the cookies got done without too much permanent damage (except my sweatshirt may be too stained to be salvageable).

After we cleaned up, the girls and Papa went out on the deck to take a breather.  But apparently, they weren’t too tired to try to make DD and me laugh one more time.  We heard a tap on the glass door and were startled to see this:

Some great new memories for all of us.

I love you, Honey, but, Boy, do I love Peanut Butter too!

February 14, 2011

When I think of Valentine’s day, of course I think of my wonderful husband.  But I have to admit I also immediately think, “What dessert can I make to SHOW my love?”  (How that thinking is counter-productive to both our diets is fodder for a whole different post, some other time.)

But for today, here is one of our favorite desserts.  The original is called Peanut Butter Pie, but I have done everything I can to make it lighter, including making it in a glass dish with the bottom covered with graham crackers instead of in two graham cracker pie crusts.  So no longer a “pie”.

Too bad I didn’t think to take pictures before I started serving it.

It’s not a glamorous looking dessert, but the taste makes up for it.

Peanut Butter Light Delight


8 oz. Neufchâtel cheese (1/3 less fat than cream cheese), room temperature

1 1/2 C. powdered sugar

1 C. peanut butter

1/2 C. 1% milk

16 oz. container Cool Whip Lite

Hershey’s Syrup Lite

graham crackers


Beat cream cheese.  Add powdered sugar and peanut butter.  Slowly add milk.  Fold in Cool Whip.  Cover bottom of an 8″ x 11 1/2″  glass dish with sheets of graham crackers (I really like the chocolate ones).  Put half of the filling over them.  Drizzle with chocolate syrup.  Put in rest of filling and drizzle top. Freeze.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

The art of a heart-felt thanks

December 29, 2010

On Christmas Eve day, Hubby and I went to the mall (yes, us and thousands of other crazy people). At lunchtime we went to one of the restaurants to eat before going home. Just after we sat down, one of our nephews walked in with his four small children. They stopped at our table for a minute to say hello, and then were seated on the far side of the restaurant.

When we were ready to leave, Hubby in the spirit of the season, told our waitress that he would like to pay our nephew’s bill too. She arranged that and he told her to just have their waitress say Merry Christmas from his aunt and uncle when it came time for our nephew to pay.

It felt good to get to buy lunch for our nephew and his children.  Just last summer, after much prayerful consideration, he gave up his job in banking and he and his family moved back to the area so that he could attend the seminary and become a pastor. We believe he will make a wonderful pastor and we’re proud of him and his wife both for being willing to make the sacrifices it requires for him to go back to school, even for such a worthwhile reason.  Fortunately, his wife is an IT person who can work from anywhere in the world, so she was able to keep her job even with the move.

Anyway, we figured the next time we saw them he would mention that he appreciated lunch. But we got so much more in the mail:

Does it get any better than that? It touched our hearts that he had involved his children in making a thank you note for us.  It’s a little hard to read in this photo, but way up in the left hand corner it says “Dear Uncle Jim and Aunt Sandy”.  And in the middle it says, “Thank you for lunch.  It was very good.”  And at the bottom they’ve all signed it.

I think those must be pictures of some of the foods they ate. Obviously a toasted cheese sandwich and a hamburger, and I bet the yellow are french fries. I’ve had to think about the rosy red spots.  I doubt that they had strawberries, so I’m guessing those may represent glasses of some red drink.  I can’t even come up with a guess about what the brown stuff is, but whatever it is, I think it looks overcooked, don’t you?

What a fun, unexpected surprise for us in a time when thank you notes are few and far between, especially hand-made ones.

Thank you, Aaron, for helping your children make us such a special thank you note.

“Dispatch, the perp’s a short guy with a red wagon.”

December 26, 2010

It was the day after Christmas, and the pastor glanced out the window at the crèche in front of the church and noticed that the baby Jesus was missing from among the figures. When he went outside to investigate he saw a little boy pulling a red wagon up the street, and in the wagon was the missing baby Jesus.

So the pastor hurried to catch up and said, “Well where did you get your passenger, little guy?”

The little boy replied, “I got Him back there at the church. I was going to put him back.”

“But why did you take Him?”

Then the little boy explained, “I had to. I really wanted a red wagon for Christmas, so I prayed to the little Lord Jesus and asked Him to help me get one. And I promised Him that if I got one I would give Him a ride around the block in it.”