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Maneki Neko seasonally dressed

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sent to me via email from a friend, thank you! 😀

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Daily holiday themes! lol

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I love this week! Every year I celebrate by theming my outfits; yesterday was Candy Cane Monday, today is Grinch/gold tuesday.
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Tomorrow is the twenty fourth…hmmm….Reindeer or silver bells? LOL 😛

IOTD

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German Pfeffernüsse Cookies

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Pfeffernusse Cookies

German Pfeffernüsse Cookies
Recipe courtesy of Kitchen Riffs (This family recipe… let’s just say it goes back to the 19th century at least.  It originated in Germany (where my mother’s ancestors came from). 
Pfeffernüsse can be translated as “pepper nuts.” A few recipes actually include almonds or walnuts (though most don’t). Virtually all Pfeffernüsse recipes include cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg. Some recipes call for lemon zest, candied citrus, or spirits (usually brandy or rum). In this recipe, the predominant flavor is anise.
This recipe yields about 9 dozen cookies, depending on how big you make them — and how much dough you eat in the process. Pfeffernüsse will store well in airtight containers at room temperature. You can also freeze them
Ingredients:
•1 cup butter
•1 cup sugar
• 2 large eggs
•½ cup white corn syrup
•½ cup molasses
•4 – 5 tablespoons anise seed
•1 teaspoon cinnamon
•½ teaspoon allspice
•½ teaspoon cloves
•½ teaspoon nutmeg
•1 teaspoon baking soda
•1/3 cup warm water (from the tap, or microwaved for a few seconds)
• 6½ cups flour
Procedure:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and place rack in center of the oven.
2. Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl that is large enough to hold all ingredients (a stand mixer like a Kitchen Aid is ideal for this, although you can also use a hand mixer — or even beat the ingredients by hand, if you are particularly energetic).
3. Add the following ingredients one at a time, beating after each addition to incorporate:  eggs, corn syrup, molasses, anise seed, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg.
4. Dissolve baking soda in warm water, add to mixture, and beat again.
Add flour, and beat mixture until all ingredients are well incorporated.  The dough should be somewhat stiff.
5. Take a handful of dough and roll it into a long cylindrical sausage shape about one inch in diameter.  Repeat until you’ve formed all the dough into cylinders.
6. Optional step:  Wrap the dough cylinders in wax paper or cling wrap and refrigerate them for half an hour or longer (even overnight) before continuing with the recipe.  Chilling the dough makes it easier to handle, but you can skip this step if you’re in a hurry.
7. Cut one-inch pieces of dough from the cylinders and roll the pieces into small balls.  Place dough balls on baking sheets that have been lined with silicone baking mats or parchment paper (you can also use greased cookie sheets).  It’s probably easiest to roll enough dough balls to fill one baking sheet, then start baking while you roll more.
8. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.  The cookies are done when baked through and starting to brown on top.
9. Roll cookies in powdered sugar while still warm.  (You can do this when the cookies are cold, but the powdered sugar sticks a bit better when the cookies are fresh from the oven.)
10. Store cookies in an airtight container.
Notes:
Spice quantities are somewhat elastic.  You can alter measurements to suit your taste.  Adding a bit more anise seed and cinnamon can work well.
Pfeffernüsse will keep up to 8 weeks when stored in airtight containers — although you’ll undoubtedly eat them long before then!
Pfeffernüsse are quite soft when first baked, but quickly become harder. When Pfeffernüsse are in their “hard” stage, they make a particularly good dunking cookie.  They go great with hot tea or milk.  And the dunking helps soften them.
Thank you, Skeen! 🙂

Calendar day; December 23, 2014

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Tuesday, the 23rd of December, 2014 is the 357th day in 2014 and in the 52nd calendar week.
General Events:
The Emperor’s Birthday
December 23, 2014 in Japan
The Emperor’s Birthday takes place on December 23, 2014. The Emperor’s Birthday is a national holiday in the Japanese calendar. The date is determined by the reigning Emperor’s birthdate. Emperor Akihito was born on this date in 1933. On Emperor’s Birthday, a public ceremony takes place at the Imperial Palace, where the gates of the palace are opened to public traffic. The Emperor, accompanied by Empress Michiko and several other members of the Imperial family, appears on a palace balcony to acknowledge the birthday congratulations of crowds of festive well-wishers waving tiny Japanese flags. Only on this occasion and on 2 January may the general public enter the inner grounds of the Imperial Palace. When the Emperor ceases his greeting (however brief), the crowd starts waving the flags again and the Imperial Family wave back.
Where is The Emperor’s Birthday?
Nationwide Japan
Mawlid Al Nabi
December 23, 2014 in the World
This holiday celebrates the birthday of Muhammad, the founder of Islam. It is fixed as the 12th day of the month of Rabi I in the Islamic calendar. Mawlid means birthday of a holy figure and al-Nabi means prophet. The day is commemorated with recollections of Muhammad’s life and significance.
The Fatimids began celebrating Mawlid in the 10th century, and the Ottomans declared it an official holiday in 1588. The term Mawlid is also used in some parts of the world, such as Egypt, as a generic term for the birthday celebrations of other historical religious figures such as Sufi saints.
Fundamentalist Muslims, such as the Wahhabi sect, do not celebrate it. In the Muslim world, the majority of Islamic scholars are in favor of Mawlid. They consider observing Mawlid necessary or permissible in Islam, and see it as a praiseworthy event and positive development, whilst the Salafists say it is an improper innovation and forbid its celebration. One leader of Ahl al-Hadith, Ibn Taymiyya forbade Mawlid celebration as it is not in any of the Haditn nor the Quran itself, unlike the other two Muslim celebrations.
Regardless how one may feel about this matter, the fact remains that Mawlid an-Nabi is now listed among the public holidays of nearly every country around the Muslim world. Along with the two Eids, this holiday is now widely celebrated by Muslims of different sectarian and tariqa backgrounds.
Where is Mawlid Al Nabi?
Worldwide
Night of the Radishes
December 23, 2014 in Oaxaca City
The Night of the Radishes (Spanish: Noche de rábanos) is celebrated every year on December 23 and it began in 1897 in the “zócalo” (main plaza) of Oaxaca city. Although it lasts only a few hours, it attracts thousands of people to this plaza each year.
It is one of the most impressive vegetable festivals around the world. Mexican craftsmen carve giant root vegetables into human figures and other vivid forms.
Although the competition last only for few hours, the celebrations do not end on December 23. The festival continues on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with other joyful activities like float parades, fireworks displays and street dances.
The event consists of an exhibition of sculptures made from a type of large red radish which can weigh up to 3.00 kilograms (6.61 lb) and attain lengths up to 50 centimetres (20 in). These radishes are especially grown for this event, left in the ground for months after the normal harvests to let them attain their giant size and unusual shapes.
Where is Night of the Radishes?
Nationwide Oaxaca City
National Roots Day
December 23, 2014 in the USA
Today is Roots Day! The holiday season is full of family functions and gatherings, so it’s the perfect time to celebrate your roots! Many people take their family history and ancestry for granted, and never take the time to learn about the struggles and triumphs of their ancestors and the history of their family name.
It is our genealogy that makes us who we are today, so take the time to sit down with your older relatives and talk to them about the past. You may hear some funny stories and learn a few things about your family that you never knew before!
Another activity you can start today is the creation of a family tree. There are several free websites that can help you easily create your family tree. Enjoy National Roots Day!
Where is National Roots Day?
Nationwide USA
Tom Bawcock’s Eve
December 23, 2014 in Mousehole, UK
Tom Bawcock’s Eve takes place on December 23, 2014. Tom Bawcock’s Eve is a festival held in Mousehole, Cornwall, UK. The festival is held in celebration and memorial of the efforts of legendary Mousehole resident Tom Bawcock to lift a famine from the village by going out to fish in a severe storm. During this festival Stargazy pie is eaten and depending on the year of celebration a lantern procession takes place.
Where is Tom Bawcock’s Eve?
Nationwide Mousehole, UK
Festivus 2014
December 23, 2014 in the World
Festivus is a secular holiday celebrated on December 23, 2014 as an alternative to Christmas and as way to commemorate the season without participating in its pressures and commercialism. Festivus became part of worldwide popular culture after being featured on an episode of the American TV show “Seinfeld” in 1997.
Festivus was conceived by writer Dan O’Keefe and was celebrated by his family as early as 1966. The holiday was later introduced into popular culture by O’Keefe’s screenwriter son Daniel on an episode of Seinfeld. The holiday’s celebration, as it was shown on Seinfeld, included an unadorned aluminum “Festivus pole,” practices such as the “Airing of Grievances” and “Feats of Strength,” and the labeling of easily explainable events as “Festivus miracles.”
Celebrants of the holiday sometimes refer to it as “a Festivus for the rest of us,” a saying taken from the O’Keefe family traditions and popularized in the Seinfeld episode to describe Festivus’ non-commercial aspect. It has also been described as a parody and as playful consumer resistance.
Where is Festivus?
Worldwide
HumanLight 2014
December 23, 2014 in the World
HumanLight takes place on December 23, 2014. HumanLight is a Humanist holiday. Like Kwanzaa, HumanLight is a modern invention, created to provide a specifically Humanist celebration near Christmas and the northern Hemisphere’s winter solstice. It was established by the New Jersey Humanist Network in 2001. Humanists have cast HumanLight as a celebration of “a Humanist’s vision of a good future.” They celebrate a positive approach to the coming new year, generally through the lens of Humanist (and particularly secular humanist) philosophy – secular as opposed to religious. The December 23 date allows HumanLight to connect itself to the December holiday season without interfering with other winter holidays which many Humanists may also celebrate. HumanLight began with a single event in Verona, New Jersey in 2001. In 2006, there were twenty American events listed on the holiday’s homepage, and the American Humanist Association became HumanLight’s first national sponsor. In 2007, the first HumanLight celebration outside of the U.S. took place in Chester, England.
Where is HumanLight?
Worldwide
National Pfeffernuesse Day
December 23, 2014 in the USA
National Pfeffernuesse Day recognizes a traditional Christmas cookie still popular in this country among German-Americans and others. Hard, ball-shaped biscuits of flour, sugar, spices, and ground nuts, pfeffernuesse can be hard to the bite but soften with time.
While the exact origin of the biscuit is uncertain, the traditional Dutch belief links the pepernoten to the feast of Sinterklaas, celebrated on December 5 in The Netherlands and December 6 in Germany and Belgium. This is when children receive gifts from St. Nicholas, who is partially the inspiration for the Santa Claus tradition. In Germany, the pfeffernüsse is more closely associated with Christmas. The biscuit has been part of European yuletide celebrations since the 1850s.
Where is National Pfeffernuesse Day?
Nationwide USA
Historical Events on 23rd December:
962 – Byzantine-Arab Wars: Under the future Emperor Nicephorus Phocas, Byzantine troops stormed the city of Aleppo, recovering the tattered tunic of John the Baptist.
1672 – Giovanni Cassini discovers Rhea, a satellite of Saturn
1688 – English King James II, the last Roman Catholic British monarch flees to France and from William of Orange
1690 – English astronomer John Flamsteed observes Uranus without realizing it’s undiscovered
1788 – Maryland votes to cede a 10 sqaure mile area for District of Columbia
1823 – “Visit from St Nicholas” by C Moore published in Troy (NY) Sentinel
1900 – As American forces defeat the Filipino insurgents and impose civil authority, some Filipinos form a Federal Party with a platform recognizing US sovereignty
1912 – Aswan Dam in Nile begins operation
1919 – Alice H Parker patents gas heating furnace
1947 – Transistor invented by Bardeen, Brattain & Shockley in Bell Labs
1954 – The first human kidney transplant is performed by Dr. Joseph E. Murray at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.
1961 – Fidel Castro announces Cuba will release 1,113 prisoners from failed 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion for $62M worth of food & medical supplies
1962 – Cuba starts returning US prisoners from Bay of Pigs invasion
1964 – India & Ceylon hit by cyclone, about 4,850 killed
1968 – 82 members of US intelligence ship Pueblo released by North Korea
1972 – 6.25 Earthquake destroys central Managua Nicaragua, 10,000 die
1983 – Journal Science publishes 1st report on nuclear winter
1987 – Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, serving a life sentence for attempted assassination of Pres Gerald R Ford escapes from Alderson Prison
1990 – Slovenians vote to secede from Yugoslavia
1997 – Terry Nichols found guilty of manslaughter in Oklahoma bombing

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