December 30, 2011

New Years Resolutions

Christmas has come and gone,
            .... so now it's time for New Years Resolutions.

This is my list
1. Walk at least 1 plus miles everyday
2. Cut out sodas with high fructose corn syrup
3. Do more volunteer work
4. Spend more time with friends
5. Make new friends
6. Do more reading
7. Do more baking and try new recipes
8. Plan a very special trip to look-up and visit long lost friends
9. Join a Bible study group
10. Get organized
11. Learn something new
12. Not work so hard
13. Take time to smell the Roses
14. Stop breaking my neck trying to please some people that seem to like drama. 
15. Keep the boundaries I have set (some of you will understand what I mean)
16. And last but not least.... to always remember,
"Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets. Love the people who treat you right, forgive the ones who don't and believe that everything happens for a reason" .. Amen!

Do you make New Year Resolutions each year?

December 29, 2011

Lots of Baking !!!

I was busy during the holidays doing extra baking.
I made several Coffee Cakes in the shape of Christmas Trees,  to give to friends.
Also several loafs of 'Beer Bread' and some yummy 'Surprise Monkey Bread' with cream
cheese layers.   My house smells like a bakery.  Not a bad smell.  Not bad at all  :-)

Coffee Cake

More Coffee Cakes

Beer Bread

Surprise Monkey Bread

Sunny gloW

December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas !!!

To all my friends  --
              Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men
I heard the Bells on Christmas day

December 19, 2011

Music Sheet Ornament Set

The Pottery Barn 'Music Sheet Pick Ornament Set' was sold out, ..however I found a great tutorial of how to make my own at  Katies Rose Cottage Designs Blog.
I think they are even prettier... So I will be busy trying to make my own.

This is a picture from her Blog.
Drop over to see for yourself, she has a fantastic Blog.

Thank you Lori for sharing sharing such a great tutorial !

December 9, 2011

♫ ~ Christmas Bells ~ ♫

During the American Civil War, Longfellow's oldest son, Charles Appleton Longfellow, joined the Union Cause as a soldier without his father's blessing.  Charles soon got an appointment as a Lieutenant, but in November he was severely wounded in the Battle of New Hope Church (in Virginia). Coupled with the recent loss of his wife Frances, who died as a result of an accidental fire, Longfellow was inspired to write "Christmas Bells".
He wrote the poem on Christmas Day in 1864.

"Christmas Bells" was first published in February 1865 in 'Our Young Folks', a juvenile magazine. It was not until 1872 that the poem is known to have been set to music. The English organist, John Baptiste Calkin, used the poem in a processional accompanied with a melody he previously used as early as 1848.

The Calkin version of the carol is the most popular.  Elvis Presley, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, MercyMe, Steven Curtis Chapman, Johnny Cash, and Jimmie Rodgers have recorded this version.

Less commonly, the poem has also been set to the 1845 composition "Mainzer" by Joseph Mainzer. Johnny Marks, known for his song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", set Longfellow’s poem to music in the 1950s.
Marks' version has been recorded by Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians, Ed Ames, Kate Smith, Frank Sinatra, Sarah McLachlan, Pedro the Lion, Harry Belafonte, The Carpenters, Rockapella, and Bing Crosby. Marks' composition is now  generally what is used for modern recordings of the song.

Casting Crowns is a Grammy Award and Dove Award winning Contemporary Christian/Christian Rock band, started in 1999 by youth pastor Mark Hall at First Baptist Church in Downtown Daytona Beach. Later they moved to Stockbridge, Georgia and more members joined creating the band now known as Casting Crowns.

In 2008,  Mark Hall, lead vocalist of Casting Crowns, recorded his own arrangement of  "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day". It was released on their Christmas album, Peace On Earth.

It is the most beautirul version I have ever heard!

Isn't it AWESOME !

December 5, 2011

Irving Berlin's ~ ♫ "White Christmas" ♫

"White Christmas" is an Irving Berlin song reminiscing about an old-fashioned Christmas setting. 

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the version sung by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single of all time, with estimated sales in excess of 50 million copies worldwide.
Accounts vary as to when and where Berlin wrote the song. One story is that he wrote it in 1940, poolside at a hotel in Phoenix, Arizona.

The first public performance of the song was by Bing Crosby, on his NBC radio show The Kraft Music Hall, on Christmas Day, 1941.  The recording is not believed to have survived.
He subsequently recorded the song with the John Scott Trotter Orchestra and the Ken Darby Singers for Decca Records on May 29, 1942, and it was released on July 30 as part of an album of six 78-rpm songs from the film Holiday Inn.

By the end of October 1942, "White Christmas" topped the "Your Hit Parade" chart. It remained in that position until well into the new year. (It has often been noted that the mix of melancholy — "just like the ones I used to know" — with comforting images of home — "where the treetops glisten" — resonated especially strongly with listeners during World War II. The Armed Forces Network was flooded with requests for the song.

Following its prominence in the musical Holiday Inn, the composition won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1942. In the film, Bing Crosby sings "White Christmas" as a duet with actress Marjorie Reynolds, though her voice was dubbed by Martha Mears.

Throught the years there's been many versions of this old holiday favorite. lists over 6100 covers for the song White Christmas.

The version I like is by Mitch Miller and the Gang, recorded in 1961.
Mitch Miller included the song on his album Holiday Sing Along with Mitch.
Instead of the lyrics, Miller printed a disclaimer on the album cover stating "The publisher assumes everyone knows the lyrics to this song!"

Click to listen:    Mitch Miller & the Gang  - White Christmas
♫ ~ ~ ♫ ~ ~ ♫ ~ ~ ♫ ~ ~ ♫ ~ ~ ♫

Do you have a favorite version of White Christmas ?


December 3, 2011

♫ Feliz Navidad ♫

José Feliciano (born September 10, 1945 in Lares, Puerto Rico) is a Puerto Rican singer, virtuoso guitarist and composer known for many international hits including the 1970 holiday single "Feliz Navidad".

Feliciano was born in Lares, Puerto Rico, one of eleven sons.
He was first exposed to music at age three and would play on a tin cracker can while accompanying his uncle playing the Cuatro.
 When he was five, his family moved to Spanish Harlem, New York City, and at age nine, he played the Teatro Puerto Rico in the Bronx.
 He started his musical life playing the accordion until his father and family friend, Benjamin Borges, gave him his first guitar in a brown paper bag.   He played every chance he had by himself in his room for up to 14 hours a day listening to 1950s rock'n'roll records, classical guitarists such as Andrés Segovia, and jazz players such as Wes Montgomery.   He later had classical lessons with Harold Morris, who earlier had been a student of Segovia.  At 17, he quit school to play in clubs, having his first professional, contracted performance in Detroit.

In 1970, he wrote and released an album of Christmas music, Feliz Navidad, which may be deemed to be his most famous recording.  The title song has been covered by many artists and is now a traditional part of the musical landscape in the U.S, Canada and Latin America around Christmas time.   Each year during the Christmas season, "Feliz Navidad" returns to US airwaves, one of the most-played and most-downloaded radio songs and downloaded songs of the season. "Feliz Navidad" is also recognized by ASCAP as one of the 25 all-time most-played Christmas songs in the world.

Click to listen:    José Feliciano  - Feliz Navidad

♫ ~ ~ ♫ ~ ~ ♫ ~ ~ ♫ ~ ~ ♫ ~ ~ ♫ ~ ~ ♫