Favorite Christmas Desserts 2014

By Jodee Weiland

Every year I watch anxiously to see which of my Christmas desserts will be the most popular with the readers. Without a doubt, the two most popular cookie recipes from my Christmas desserts are my Italian Biscotti and my Italian Bow Knot Cookies. But there are other favorites desserts as well, so I have put together this list of my Favorite Christmas Desserts 2014. Be sure to check them all out because some are old favorites, but there are new favorites as well!

http://learnfromyesterday.comFavorite Christmas Desserts 2014 are listed here, left to right:

For more wonderful dessert choices, check out my page, Dessert Recipes! Many of the other desserts on this page are favorites as well. The list above of my Favorite Christmas Desserts 2014 contains only those recipes that readers seem to seek out more frequently during the weeks before Christmas, but there are definitely more choices. I hope these dessert recipes help you plan for your holiday, so Happy Holidays and enjoy!

Crocheting Caps for Cancer Patients with Love

By Jodee Weiland

This is a very different post for me, because I have an important story to tell you today! I’m about to tell you how I came to the decision that I needed to do something for cancer victims who are bravely going through chemotherapy today and every day. A few weeks ago, I was thinking about an old friend, someone I loved, who bravely fought her own battle with cancer, but in the end, lost. Actually, I think about her all the time because I miss her so much. So often, I want to pick up the phone to tell her some news or just talk, but of course, I can’t! So, as often is the case, one thought led to another!

http://learnfromyesterday.comAround that same time, I had been thinking about crocheting hats for the needy or some charitable cause as a way of giving back or paying forward. It was then, I remembered a picture taken of my friend, Rory, sitting in a chair with a knitted or crocheted hat on her head after going through chemotherapy. What stood out the most at the time was her beautiful smile, but suddenly for no reason I can explain, I thought to myself, I used to crochet a little, why couldn’t I crochet hats for cancer patients? I immediately started to research how to do this and found out there are all kinds of resources online to help you do this! For me, I now had the information I needed for Crocheting Caps for Cancer Patients with Love!

http://learnfromyesterday.comAs I said, I had crocheted a little years ago, but it had been a while, and I never crocheted in the round, as you would when doing a hat. So I did more research and started looking into simple patterns. I pulled out my crochet needles, and then went to the store and bought whatever I need to make these caps. I was on a mission, and I was determined I would figure out how to do this. All was going well, until I started following the pattern I had. It just wasn’t working right, so I turned to YouTube, where I found a video called “How to Crochet a Beanie Tutorial – Beginner Friendly” from the blog, iheartstitching written by Melanie. Let me just say now, I love this young woman for helping me attain my goal, because with her video, I was finally able to crochet my caps for cancer patients.

http://learnfromyesterday.comYears before losing Rory, I watched my Aunt Rose die from cancer, a disease, when not stopped, ravages the body of its victims until they can no longer fight back. Later, another friend of mine, bravely fought cancer and won, but still does battle today with the aftermath of all the chemotherapy she had to endure to become cancer free. Looking back now, I remember vividly the day Rory called with the news of her cancer. When Rory found out she had cancer, she called me and said, “The bad news is I have cancer, and it’s incurable, but the good news is it’s treatable and can be controlled.” In the time that followed that conversation, my friend fought hard and at one point, was even in remission for a while, but when the cancer came back, it showed no mercy this time.

http://learnfromyesterday.comIt was during Rory’s battle with cancer, the chemotherapy took her hair. I remember her calling me and telling me about it, but she also told me it came back in curly. With every negative in this whole ordeal, Rory somehow always saw a positive and throughout it all, she maintained her dignity and positive attitude! The day before she died, we spoke on the phone. I could hear in her voice how tired she was, and my heart broke for her. The last thing I told her was, “I love you, Rory,” and she answered, “I love you, too, Jodee.” The next day she died. Knowing how she suffered, although she never complained, broke my heart every day, from the time she called to tell me what the doctors had found to the day she died.

http://learnfromyesterday.comFor many of us, Christmas is that time of year when we remember family members and friends who have passed away. For me, the memories keep them alive in my heart. I cherish the memories of the good times I had with each of my loved ones and try hard to focus on those memories, while holding them close to me in that way. This year those memories became the catalyst for me doing something I hoped would help others and at the same time, honor the memory of someone I loved, my closest friend in the world and my sister in my heart, Rory. Rory was one of the most beautiful and generous people I have ever known, and one year ago last April, she was taken from all of us after fighting a long hard battle against cancer. Crocheting Caps for Cancer Patients with Love is my way of trying to help others who are now fighting this battle and honoring the memory of dear friend, Rory! I feel as though she would want me to do this and is looking down with a smile, so hopefully those who get these hats will find comfort in having them. I wish each and every one of you Happy Holidays and good health, so enjoy!

Disney World in Orlando, Florida: A Picture Story

By Jodee Weiland

I’m about to show you Disney World in Orlando, Florida, using a series of pictures! It would be impossible to cover it all in one post, but these pictures cover the highlights. When visiting Disney World in Orlando, Florida, one of the first theme parks many people will head to is the Disney World’s Magic Kingdom…with Cinderella’s Castle! The reason for this is because this was the theme park where it all began years ago. This is where fantasy is brought to life through rides, live entertainment, animation, and so much more, or what I like to refer to as the Magic of Disney. So here is the first part of Disney World in Orlando, Florida: A Picture Story!

http://learnfromyesterday.comDisney World Disney World’s Animal Kingdom…Everything from Lions to Dinosaurs is a definite favorite for many fans. Travelling through exotic lands, both from the past and present, kids of all ages are entertained once again using the Magic of Disney. Travel deep into the jungles with the Lion King or visit dinosaurs in their natural habitats. Look up at the Tree of Life or take a safari out into the wilds. Whichever adventure you choose, you won’t be disappointed.

http://learnfromyesterday.comDisney World’s Hollywood Studios…Lights, Actions, Cameras is a look behind the scenes in world of movie making. It’s all about celebrating Hollywood! Take the Great Movie Ride and journey through the sets of some of greatest movies of all time. The Magic of Disney once again will bring to life various movies through animation and more. Enjoy the ride!

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Disney World’s EPCOT in Orlando, Florida…Make a Memory and the World Showcase uses the Magic of Disney to help you travel from the past to the present and beyond into the future. You will also be able to see places from all over the world and enjoy their food, shops, and culture. The icon Spaceship Earth is visible throughout the entire park and reminds us constantly of the wonders of our world as we know it!

http://learnfromyesterday.comDisney World in Orlando, Florida: A Picture Story is just a sample of the wonderful Magic of Disney! To learn more about each of the four theme parks of Disney World take a look at my other posts for each park linked above. Also, check out my post on  Disney World in Orlando, Florida…Epcot’s Annual International Food and Wine Festival. Even though this post has pictures from years past, the event still has many of the same entertainment venues and tastings repeated each year. The Magic of Disney comes alive in Disney World, Orlando, Florida, and you won’t want to miss the fun, so go and enjoy!

Disney World’s Magic Kingdom…with Cinderella’s Castle!

By Jodee Weiland

We’re heading back to Disney World, and one park that holds the key to every child’s fantasies is Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Fantasies ranging from the Pirates of the Caribbean to a Haunted Mansion all reside in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Children of all ages express awe when they stand in front of the Walt Disney World’s Railroad Station looking down Main Street, U.S.A., towards the center of the Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Cinderella’s Castle. Bigger than life, this icon of the Magic Kingdom stands tall and beautiful at the center of Disney World’s Magic Kingdom…Cinderella’s Castle!

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The five sections of Disney World’s Magic Kingdom start with a walk down Main Street, U.S.A., into the various sections that flow one to the other seamlessly as you travel through each section.

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Adventureland has the famous Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, where you join Captain Jack Sparrow on his voyage through the Spanish Main, and the Jungle Cruise, a fun safari boat tour plus more. Frontierland features Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Railroad along with Tom Sawyer’s Island and other great attractions.

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Next comes the Liberty Square, where you can be entertained by the Hall of Presidents, an audio animatronics show that is so life like, you will be amazed! It is here that the Haunted Mansion invites you to journey through dark happy haunts with friendly ghosts, and the Liberty Square Riverboat resides as well. In Fantasyland, you will enjoy It’s a Small World, a musical indoor voyage, Mickey’s PhilharMagic, and Snow White’s Scary Adventures plus several other fun filled attractions.

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Finally, you will travel into Tomorrowland, where Space Mountain, an indoor roller coaster will take you to new heights and back again, while Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, an intergalactic interactive adventure will have you spinning as you fire lasers in this shooting gallery game. There are many more attractions to enjoy in this section and all the others, but the list is too long to describe each here.

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Disney World’s Magic Kingdom…with Cinderella’s Castle is a great opportunity to share so many fantasies with your families in the true style of Disney! There are shows and great food choices here as well. One of our favorites is the Aloha Isle in Adventureland, where you can enjoy great Dole pineapple treats. So if you visit Disney World, be sure to visit what I like to call the original park, Disney World’s Magic Kingdom…with Cinderella’s Castle, and enjoy!

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Enjoying and Eating on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina!

By Jodee Weiland

Enjoying and Eating on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, is the perfect place to visit when you want to sit back and relax! The weather on Hilton Head is perfect in the spring when we visited for eating out on deck areas of restaurants, walking along harbor walkways and piers, or biking along trails throughout the beautifully landscaped plantations and harbours. People will also take cruises to watch dolphins or hire boats to go fishing. On this beautiful island shaped like and described as a foot, you will see people boating, playing tennis, golfing, and jogging from the ankle area of the island near Skull Creek Marina to the toe of the island in the Sea Pines Plantation. The island is conveniently divided into four areas of the foot: the ankle, the heel, the instep, and the toe. Within each, you will find various plantations, marinas, and harbours to visit and enjoy!

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There are so many wonderful harbours and marinas to choose from for shopping, dining, and entertainment when you visit. In the popular Sea Pines Plantation, many people enjoy Harbour Town and all it has to offer. For over thirty years now, The Crazy Crab has offered fresh seafood dining indoors or outdoors while overlooking the beautiful Harbour Town Marina and one of its main attractions, the Harbour Town Lighthouse and museum. All along the harbour walkways, you will see red wooden rocking chairs where people can sit and enjoy the views.

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http://learnfromyesterday.comIf you are lucky, you may be able to catch Gregg Russell, a beloved classic performer at Sea Pines Resort, under the famous Liberty Oak in Harbour Town, entertaining children and adults alike with his concerts. The concerts are all complimentary during the spring and summer, as well as most holidays, and you will love them! He will have both adults and children alike laughing and singing throughout the evening! He is so well loved, CDs of his concerts are sold at the many unique shops in this area.

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Another great place to visit is the Shelter Cove Harbour for free live entertainment seven days a week while you dine at a variety of restaurants, many with waterfront seating and beautiful views of the largest deepwater marina on Hilton Head. Besides the many unique shops along the marina walkway, there are also planned activities like the Art Fair we attended while there. What a great way to experience the beautiful art work of skilled craftsmen, from hand crafted pottery to jewelry to painting and more!

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While in Shelter Cove Harbour, Scot’s Fish Market Restaurant and Bar is a great place to grab a sandwich and/or a drink on the patio dining in the afternoon or a full meal in the evening. The seafood is fresh and deliciously prepared. The Herb Parmesan Crusted Grouper topped with charbroiled shrimp in a lobster cream was delicious. Be sure to start off with the She-Crab soup with just a hint of sherry, another delicious menu item here! In the afternoons, you will find casual patio seating where you can enjoy a grilled seafood sandwich made by the owner himself.

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Another of my favorite restaurant of mine in Shelter Cove Harbour is La Fontana Waterfront Grill. This restaurant is one of the best Italian restaurants I have eaten at and for me that says a lot. I’m Italian, so I am picky when it comes to eating Italian out. We had such a wonderfully authentic Italian meal here, that we even ordered dessert, which we rarely do. We started the meal with a bottle of Chianti and a simple garden salad. My entrée was the delicious Gnocchi alla Sorrentina, homemade potato dumplings in a tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella. My husband had his favorite, Spaghetti alle Vongole, little neck clams sautéed with garlic, extra virgin olive oil and cherry tomatoes in a white wine sauce. He loves this dish, but according to him it was one of the best he had ever had! We then shared a fabulous dessert tray that had tiramisu, chocolate profiterole, limoncello cake, and cannoli. Each and every one of these selections had wonderfully rich flavors and tasted fabulous! This restaurant is a must if you visit Hilton Head.

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In Skull Creek Marina, you will find live entertainment with outdoor or indoor seating as well. One of our favorites in this area of the island was the Skull Creek Boathouse. When we first arrived, we found this restaurant almost by accident. Once we arrived, we knew it was going to be good, because although there was a large parking area, cars were lined up waiting for spots to get in and park. We considered ourselves lucky that we got a space and enjoyed a wonderful meal.

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I loved the Grouper Imperial with Crab Imperial Topping and Lemon Butter Sauce. My husband had a special with grilled Amber Jack. Both meals were so good, we went back another night, but it was so crowded we could not get in to eat that night. We returned the next day for a late lunch. Again it was busy, but we got in because most people had arrived earlier for the Sunday brunch. Instead of brunch, we enjoyed a wonderful late afternoon lunch. I had Pecan Ginger Crusted Mahi Mahi with a Creole Honey Mustard Drizzle, and my husband had Carolina Shrimp and Grits with Sautéed Shrimp, Smoked Sausage, and Tasso Ham Gravy. Both dishes were absolutely delicious, and we would gladly return again when visiting in this area!

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Enjoying and Eating on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, is a wonderful choice for people looking for a place to sit back and relax on vacation. The food options are wonderful! There are trails for walking, biking, and jogging all over the island. There are beautiful beaches, harbours, and marinas to spend some time relaxing. Of course, some of Hilton Head’s biggest attractions are all the areas for playing tennis and all the beautiful golf courses available. But you don’t have to play tennis or golf to enjoy all that HIlton Head has to offer, because sitting on one of those red rockers in Harbour Town overlooking the water may be enough for you. It’s the relaxing atmosphere of the island that appeals to most people, while allowing you to sit back and enjoy!