A small, family farm in Wisconsin

Posts tagged ‘Christmas’

2017 Village Photos 

I decided that I’m done expanding my Christmas village. I have filled my available space. Merry Christmas !

Christmas Past

tinytearsOne of my Facebook friends posted this morning, asking about favorite childhood Christmas presents.

That got me started down Memory Lane.  I do have some wonderful Christmas memories from my early childhood.

I was a “girly girl”.  I loved dolls, and anything related to dolls  As I got older, my favorite gifts were books.

The first doll I remember coveting was a Tiny Tears doll.  The ads and commercials for Tiny Tears made her sound amazing.  She cried real tears!  She had her own bottle, and when I fed her water, and then held her upside down and squeezed the heck out of her, the water came out of her huge tear ducts.  She lost her appeal pretty quickly.  I recall that she was followed by a doll called Betsy Wetsy, and of course she had a hole on her butt and wet her diaper.

Another doll I remember begging for was a walking doll.  She was large, and she had braids.  In order to get her to walk, you had to hold her hand and sort of rock her side to side while pulling her forward.

No batteries required in any of those early toys!


walkingI also had a doll house which I loved.  When I was a child, we used our imaginations, and although we did get a TV when I was 4 or 5, I seldom watched it.






baton1One toy I remember begging for when I was probably 9 or 10, was a twirling baton.  I intended to become an accomplished baton twirler.  Well, I did learn the basics, but I was never good at it and I got discouraged.  I think the baton stood in a corner of my closet forever after.

I became a little bookworm as soon as I was able to read, and I tended to get wrapped up in reading and collecting book series.  As I got older I loved the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, but my favorites early on were the Bobbsey Twins books, and the Raggedy Ann and Andy books.










I wonder if those books are still available these days, and if they would hold the interest of today’s children?

Please feel free to leave a comment about your favorite or best remembered childhood Christmas gift.


December 2012 Newsletter

Aunt Rachel

In Memory of

Rachel J. Henley

September 6, 1919 – December 19, 2012

Of Jackson, passed away on Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at the age 93. She was preceded in death by her husband, Haskell Henley and daughter, Marilyn Seller. She is survived by her sons, Bob (Mary) Henley and Ronald Henley; son in-law, Bob Seller; grandchildren, Deb Hein, Bob Henley, Doug Henley, Teresa Dukes, Don Simmons, Tim Simmons and Kelsie Stevens; thirteen great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild as well as many nieces and nephews. She was born September 6, 1919 to Harry and Daisy Young in Jackson. Rachel was a proud homemaker; she enjoyed cooking, sewing and knitting. She had a strong faith in the Lord and was a Sunday school teacher, played the piano and participated in the choir at Sycamore Baptist Church.

This is part of the published obituary for my Aunt Rachel.  I’ll just add that she was a remarkable person and that I have many happy memories of time spent with her, Uncle Hass, and my cousins.  Aunt Rachel’s picture should be in the dictionary next to the word NURTURING.

Christmas was nice.  Aubrey and Carys, Meredith, and Paige & her little family were here.  Kids opened gifts and played.  We had too much delicious food.  We Skyped with Kay and her family and with Nikki .  Collin called on Christmas eve and JD called Christmas day..  We forgot to take pictures!

blizzard12-20-12   We had a blizzard on the 20th and 21st.  When all was said and done we got 20 inches of very wet and heavy snow.  Drifting was impressive.  It took Lee 2 days to dig us out and plow driveways and paths.

I spent a few days getting caught up on the farm books so Lee can meet with the accountant.  Yes, I know that I should do a better job of keeping up, but I tend to procrastinate on this job and play catch up every year.

Happy New Year family and friends.


Hawaiian Tea Cookies



Here’s another favorite Christmas recipe.  These are called Hawaiian Tea Cookies.  They’re a slice and bake refrigerator cookie, full of flavor from coconut, and rolled in colored sugar to make them pretty and festive.





1 3/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup coconut

1.    Mix dough and shape into 2 (2″) rolls.

2.    Roll each in colored sugar.

3.    Wrap in waxed paper and chill 4 hours.

4.    Slice 1/4″ thick and place 1″ apart on sprayed cookie sheets.

5.    Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes.

Yields about 3 dozen






A Favorite Holiday Treat

Chinese Fried Walnuts are a big family favorite.  They really satisfy that sweet and salty craving.  The bad news is that they’re deep-fried.  I only make them for Christmas, and this year I might not make them at all.  Have you seen the price of walnuts?  What’s going on?  Why are they so expensive?

I’m going to share the recipe for this addictive and fattening snack.  If you can get a good deal on walnuts, do give them a try.  You won’t regret it.  They’re quick and easy to make, too.






Boil the walnuts in 6 cups water for 2 minutes.  Drain.  Put in a bowl with the sugar and stir to coat, until sugar is dissolved.

Fry in hot oil until browned.  They brown quickly so don’t burn them.  Drain, and sprinkle liberally with salt (to taste).

Don’t drain on paper towels.  They’ll stick.

If you have any of these yummy walnuts left over, you can use them in salads.

The Day After Christmas

I hope everyone had a nice day with family and friends. As usual we ate too much, Connor got a belly ache (food plus excitement), and we had a good time visiting and laughing at things only our family finds funny. There were new phones aplenty and we had dueling beeps going on for a while. The girls called their boyfriends, because they missed them. We watched A Christmas Story for the gazillionth time and we all knew every word of dialogue.

Most of my grands have grown up enough that they want to give us a little gift, and the things they chose were so thoughtful and special. Nikki and Ken gave me a new bread machine because my old one recently bit the dust. Sorry about that whole lack of fresh bread thing Santa. I hope you enjoyed the roasted garlic dip and chips instead 🙂

Lee gave me a digital photo frame and I’m excited to begin using it. I have to figure it out first of course. More techno challenges for me, but I’ll get it. I always do.

One of the best gifts I got was from my brother and sister-in-law, who sent me several of my favorite things.  Could they be any more thoughtful?

Meredith couldn’t find her photo ornament on the tree and neither could I, even though I knew it was there somewhere. This morning I did find it. If it was a snake….., so I took a picture of it and phoned it to her. She’s happy to know that she really is loved.

Aubrey, Josh and Carys weren’t able to make it.  They spent the day with Josh’s family.  Aubrey sent this picture of Carys.  Have you ever seen a more beautiful smile?

The weather wasn’t the best, but all made it safely here and home again.

Charlie’s present was a big hit.  It’s a roundish green rubber thing with an opening.  It’s called Monster Mouth I think.  Stuff it with biscuits and let him at it.  It takes him quite a while to get all of the biscuit bits out of there so I highly recommend it for a doggy diversion.

‘Tis the Season

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Charlie

Every year at this time I become nostalgic.  Don’t we all?  The longer I live in this world, the more memories I gather and store.  For the most part my holiday memories are sweet.  There were a few years that were pretty awful but they were a long time ago.

I love to hear my kids and grandkids  talking about their own special memories of Christmases past.  I know that I’ve been a part of the memories and I’ve helped to create some of the holiday traditions that they  can’t do without each year. 
In the spirit of remembering Christmas past, I dug out a picture that my kids will remember.  It’s a photo of our Christmas tree, taken in the house the kids grew up in. This pic was taken in 1986, after the girls had moved out, but it could be any year.  It always looked the same, with the same hand made ornaments, in front of the same window, year after year.
I also found a picture of Lee’s childhood tree, taken in 1968.  This picture will bring back memories for him too.
No Christmas nostalgia post would be complete without  food memories.  Our family gatherings always involve food, and I have a special cookie recipe that really means Christmas to me.  My Mother made these cookies since I was a very little girl.  Ive made them every year of my adult life.  The recipe I’ll give you here is Kay’s version of my original recipe and it’s better 🙂
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup ground pecans (best flavor if you grind them fresh)
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
More powdered sugar for coating the baked cookies.
Mix all the ingredients.  Shape into balls the size of walnuts.
Bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes.
Roll in powdered sugar while hot, and again when cool.
Makes about 4 dozen.
Merry Christmas from the Zills Farm

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: