“Count your blessings instead of sheep” – Rosemary Clooney sang this Irving Berlin song in the movie White Christmas. In the hustle and bustle and yes, stress of the holiday season, this is great advice.
So often we lay in bed worrying about packages arriving, money spent, who should sit next to who at Christmas dinner and whether Great Aunt Betty will forget to add the sugar to her cookies again.
Wouldn’t counting your blessings be a better routine after you crawl into bed?
1)Thank you for the giggles I shared with my daughter today.
2) Thank you for Taco Tuesday with family.
The holiday season is traditionally a time for gatherings with family and friends, this year was no exception in my home, (MB). My brother and sister-in-law provided our Thanksgiving meal at their home leaving me free to do something new on the Friday after.
Root Beer has always been a family favorite, to the point where some family members feel they can name the root beer brand with just a taste. In addition, we had a week-end guest who loved root beer.
The perfect combination to put together a root beer tasting party!
My criteria for root beer to make the cut was simple. It had to be in a glass bottle. While some would be old favorites, A&W, Dad’s, IBC; the rest would be unknown to me. I couldn’t be sure what my connoisseur had tried, so I simply picked up every brand I found.
A couple of the root beers came from the traditional grocery stores, in addition, I stopped in at our local ice cream and sweets shop for lesser know brands, Scrumptious, (if you ever have a chance to try their home-made ice cream, DO!), I explained what I was doing so along with the brands they had in the cooler, they found a new arrival in back. He also had 2 different types of root beer candy for my centerpiece. Thank you for your efforts on our behalf! World Market had a good selection of lesser known brands too.
I was unable to find A&W in glass bottles but it wouldn’t be a true root beer tasting without that fan favorite, so I settled for the plastic bottle. Barq’s was the only root beer that I could not find anywhere. In total, I ended up with 12 different brands of root beer.
I then began searching for small root beer mugs, something in the shot glass range. I found them at Party City. These I put in the freezer, root beer must be served in a frosted mug, right?
The actual tasting would be done in 3 flights of 4 each. I covered the labels, this would be a blind taste test.
Next, I put together a score sheet, covering 4 aspects, Effervescence, Sweetness, Zest, & Bouquet, along with their overall score for each one.
We did a 4th flight with the favorites from the previous flights to determine our winner.
I started the party with 2 songs about Root Beer to set the mood.
George Jones – Root Beer video by hankgwe
Who knew the Beach Boys sang about root beer? video by fatgator46
I made a point of opening the bottles out of sight of my testers. The A&W plastic bottle would be a dead give-away along with the possibility they might see and recognize a bottle cap.
Tasters were allowed to take as much time as they needed with each root beer. Some made their decisions quickly, others were very deliberate.
Comments from the tasters varied on every one.
“Strong Maple flavor”
“This one tastes like black licorice.”
“This one is so bland, now that I’ve tasted the others.”
The five root beers chosen for the final flight based on tester scores; although unknown to the tasters at the time; were: A&W, Dad’s, Dang!, IBC & Bulldog. One taster preferred Virgil’s over the rest but the others felt its anise flavoring was too strong, so Virgil’s did not make the cut.
Who’s #1 on our list? A&W was the hands down winner.
The Root Beers we tasted in addition to the above, were:
We had so much fun with this, we may try a cream soda taste test next!
What’s your favorite root beer? and why?
Here’s to a sweet life!
MaryBeth & Sherry
Let it Glow! Glow in the Gardens; Denver Botanic Gardens opened this week and what a fangtastic concept it turned out to be.
Heeding their cries, these sylphs drove on, “after treats and spirits,” we gasped, “we’ll face the specter head on”
Magically full, we crept back once more, now no gremlins blocked the portal of our haunted stroll.
Witch way should we go? Head for the demon, after all, demons are a ghoul’s best friend. (insert groan here). Follow the flow?
No, that way’s blocked by a hundred souls or more. Progress was hauntingly slow, petrify a right towards a boo-tiful pumpkin carriage from fairy tale lore.
Bat’s better, as we creep further into the darkness, luminaries lightening our path. Shadow figures surround us, spooky elves with their blood-curdling screams or little monsters expressing their wraith.
Cascading water casting a spell, luring us with its siren song.
Murky pools, ponds of doom, if you dare enter their gloom.
Mysterious orbs beckon us in, what lies beyond… is entering this labyrinth a grave mistake?
Scaredy-cats! What hides on the other side?
Hocus Pocus! He comes into focus. Dark Knight of Fire! Is it Arthur pulling his sword from the stone, so that he may sit on his underworld throne?
Or does our blazing rogue prepare for a fight?
Disguise’s a Dragon, hell-hound poor knight …
Disillusion of mystical ladies appears, supernatural enchanters are these dears.
What is she raven about? A myth, a fable, an unearthly lout?
Boil and bubble, do we got trouble? Rabid-ly we carrion.
Hex, om-ino-us is a glimmer light, phantom that!
Our ghostess of a hostess bids us farewell, as we grimly depart from our tour of ruin.
Have a devilishly Happy Halloween!
🎃 MaryBeth & Sherry 😈
Now’s the time to celebrate!
Day 11 1/2 – Gather your friends and family around you, eat drink and be merry! Relax and enjoy this time together. It may be hectic, children running, dogs barking, cats hiding from these ridiculous humans…
Just soak it all in and laugh.
And now we say good-bye to you all and wish you the best this holiday, we are off to enjoy our families.
Music is one of the best ways to lift your spirits. You knew we were eventually going to go here didn’t you?
Day 10 1/2 – Caroling – We hesitate to suggest this as a way to lift your mood on the off-chance you might ask one of us to sing. Be forewarned, this would be a terrible mistake.
In MB’s childhood home, Holiday Sing-along with Mitch was big. We often watched the Mitch Miller Show and sang along to the bouncing red ball. The thing is we didn’t sing well. We had a lot of fun though.
Must Be Santa was a big hit with us, even today we all sing along when we hear it.
For our children, it was the Muppets Christmas with John Denver or Disney Sing Along
Caroling with family is a great deal of fun. Be forgiving of those who can’t necessarily carry a tune but wish to take part, encourage those that can sing to lead and let your music ring out.
As our children matured, their tastes in carols changed a bit. And they cringed a lot when their parents sang-along.
If you really can’t bring yourself to sing in a group, then go to one of the free caroling events in your area. Karaoke anyone? Whether you Sing, Hum or Lip Sync, try caroling to keep the merry in Christmas this year.
Be sure to click on the links and sing along!
We often wish that our parents and grandparents had kept a written account of their childhood for future generations.
Day 9 1/2 – Write – Our 12 Days of Christmas are written to help you find serenity during this hectic holiday season. Keeping a diary is a wonderful way to not only reflect back on your day and express gratitude but to preserve your history for future generations.
Our advice would be to keep a separate piece of paper nearby if you feel the need to vent, then destroy it just as soon as you’re done. No need to save that for prosperity’s sake.
The journal should include names, whether they are a friend or a relative, dates and the experiences you shared.
We’d love to know how our childhood Christmases were different from our grandmothers.
I know that my parents grew up during the Great Depression so they usually received a hand-carved toy, rarely was it painted. On really good years they also received an orange. I don’t know if anyone came to visit, what they had for Christmas dinner, if Santa Claus was a fixture in their childhood.
Writing about everything you are grateful for helps improve your attitude.
Purchase a beautifully bound journal, have everyone in the family write a memory in it, add a few pictures, pass it down through the generations. Or start a private family blog where everyone can add their memories. Family members can read it anytime they like.
Documenting your family history is a truly a gift that keeps on giving.
It’s a time of holiday cheer and partying with those you hold near and dear, noise is all around us. As we head down the home stretch, take a little time to enjoy the silence.
Day 8 1/2 – Silence – Silence is a gift we rarely get to enjoy at any time of the year. During the holidays, finding time for a little silence seems crucial.
Silence gives us an opportunity to unwind, to de-stress. Turning off the TV, stereo and phone, blocking out outside noise is a blessing we should all give to ourselves.
When my children were younger we would gather in the living room with only the lights of the Christmas tree on, find a comfortable place to sit or lay down, relax and contemplate.
Being silent doesn’t actually have to be meditation, it can be prayer, reflection, or simply breathing. Practicing yoga in silence is lovely.
Sitting in silence, holding the hand of a loved one is not only soothing but healing. It creates a strong bond between you. It transmits the energy of love.
One of our favorite ways to sit in silence is around a campfire, the crackle of the fire keeps us aware, the dancing flames keep our eyes focused but relaxed. The smell of the campfire can conjure up old memories, the warmth calms us.
There is a full moon on Christmas Day, if it’s not too chilly, try sitting outside in silence, bathed in its light.
Try silence if you can, for us it brings a more individualized meaning to peace on earth.
Today is the last Saturday before Christmas to shop. It’s going to be crazy out there. We’ll keep it short and simple today so you can get on with it. 😉
Day 7 1/2 – Random Acts of Kindness – whether it’s holding the door open for someone or allowing the over-burdened person in line behind you to go first, acts of kindness will brighten your day just as much as it will theirs.
Giving a stranger one of your smiles may be all it takes to improve their day, adding a compliment would be icing on the cake.
Researching this blog we came across this site – RAKing. We haven’t printed the cards as they suggest yet but we are practicing what they preach.
The world is an uncertain place. Kindness makes it feel safer. Anita Rodrick said “The end result of kindness is that it draws people to you.” and “If I can’t do something for the public good, then what the hell am I doing?” Both of these quotes say it all.
Isn’t this what Santa is all about? Giving, otherwise defined as kindness?
This holiday season spread kindness as far as you can. Please share with us your acts of kindness. We welcome new ways to practice RAKing.
As is usually the case during the holiday season, I got so busy yesterday with my day jobs, shuttling back and forth to the airport and celebrating my birthday that Day 6’s blog got lost in the shuffle. So welcome to Day 6 and 1/2!
Day 6 1/2 – Game Night – This has long been a tradition in my family although we don’t limit it to Christmas. We starting having game night when I was just a child. My mother bought a game called Tripoley, popped up a big batch of popcorn, and taught us to play.
Game night has evolved through the years, we have had marathon nights of Risk where the last 2 players were still competing the next morning while everyone else had fallen asleep. We have tried quite a few new games and added a few to the regular mix. Two of our current favorites are Telestrations and Camel Up Supercup. Telestrations had us laughing so hard we had tears in our eyes.
Game night is a great way to de-tress, stop focusing on the things that need to be done during the holidays and reconnect with loved ones. Enjoy those fresh-baked Christmas cookies from The Twelve Days of Christmas – Day 3 while engaging in some friendly competition. Be ready to laugh, tease and create some great memories.
We are always open to new ideas, what board games do you recommend?
Let the games begin!