Happy Mother’s Day

Today is the day we celebrate Mother’s Day. I read about the origin of Mother’s Day on History.com.  What I found interesting is that a number of people promoted celebrating Mother’s in the late 1800’s.   In 1868 Ann Reeves Jarvis organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” at which mothers gathered with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation. It was actually her daughter, Anna Jarvis, who conceived Mother’s Day as a way to honor the sacrifices mothers made for their children.  In 1908, the first official Mother’s Day was held in West Virginia.  Anna did not get married or have any children of her own; yet she pushed for Mother’s Day to become a national holiday.  What’s strange is that once it did, she later fought to have it removed as a holiday because she thought it was too commercial. Much like today, both the floral and card companies were a part of Mother’s Day celebrations. According to Statista.com, in 2014,  jewelry and dinner/brunch were the two largest planned expenditure categories in the United States for Mother’s Day (more than $7 billion!). Flowers were $2.35 billion.  At my dad’s church, everyone whose mother is alive wears a red flower, usually a rose or carnation. For those whose mom is deceased, they wear a white rose or carnation. This tradition is meant to honor all mothers. We rarely go out for Mother’s Day. Instead, my dad, you know the master chef (at least that’s what he calls himself) always cooks dinner.  This year, we had baked salmon, lobster mac and cheese, and salad. I made the red velvet cupcakes (see the recipe below).

Duncan Hines Decadent Red Velvet Cupcake

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Cupcake Ingredients: 2 Eggs, 2/3 cup of water, and 1/4 cup of oil.
Frosting Ingredients: 2 teaspoons water and 8 tablespoons butter.

This recipe is so simple all you have to do is follow the instructions on the back of the box:

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Salt Dough Handprint

I also made a simple craft. My brother made one of these for my mom when he was in the second grade. I’ve always been a little jealous that she’s got one of his hands (and she keeps it on her dresser and puts her jewelry in it).  Now she has one of mine too (and mine is much bigger than his!).  Ha, take that, Jacob!  I found this recipe on Mommymoment.ca

Ingredients: 1 Cup Flour; 1 Cup Salt; 1/2 Cup Water

Instructions:
Mix the salt and flour in a large bowl.
Make a well in the salt/flour mixture and add the water.
Knead until smooth and shape into a bowl.
Place the mixture in a tin pan and imprint your hand.
I pressed my hand into the pan but it did not make a good imprint. So I wet my hand and tried it again. This time it worked.
Decorate with food coloring.
I baked it at 200 degrees F until dry.

 

 

Valentine’s Day Carnation Cookies

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When I was in elementary, I used to make valentines for my family members. This year, I thought I’d do something different. So I got the idea to make some cookies. My favorite are chocolate chip, but those wouldn’t really be Valentine’s Day oriented.  I thought about making chocolate chip heart shaped cookies, then I came across a really interesting cookie recipe that would be perfect for Valentine’s Day.  Did you know that there is an American Girl Magazine? The January/February issue had an interesting recipe for cookies. The recipe is pretty easy. Before I share the recipe, I thought I’d share the origin of Valentine’s Day I found on History.com. “The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom martyred.  One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who married single Roman soldiers in defiance of Roman Emperor Claudius II, who thought that single men made better soldiers. Claudius II found out about Valentine and put him to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape Roman prisons. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.

Others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.”  Modern day valentine greetings date back to the Middle Ages. That’s a long time ago and a lot of valentines!

The ingredients….

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1/3 cup butter
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
Pink or red liquid food coloring
Pink sugar
Chocolate striped candies (unwrapped and chilled in freezer)

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1. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bow. Add the egg, and beat again.

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2. Add the baking soda, baking powder, and vanilla, and stir until combined. Then stir in the flour, a little at a time, until the cookie dough is smooth.

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3. Mix in food coloring (a few drops at a time) until the dough is dark pink.  Use clean hands to knead the food coloring into the dough. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

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4. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls, and roll in pink sugar. Place the dough balls 2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

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5. Bake the cookies in a preheated 350-degree oven for 7-9 minutes.  Remove the cookies from the oven, and immediately press a chocolate candy in the center of each cookie.  Let cool completely.
Happy Valentine’s Day!