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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It Started with HELLO: Sweet Connections with Lindt HELLO Chocolate!

By Jodee Weiland

This article is sponsored by Lindt HELLO. Thanks to Lindt HELLO for sponsoring today’s discussion!

Be sure to enter the sweepstakes at the end of this article every day for their chance to win* sweet experiences from Lindt Chocolate.

Most of us know that all of the relationships in our lives, be it friendship, romantic, professional, or otherwise, usually started with a simple “Hello!” Even a new mother will whisper lovingly to her newborn something like, “Hello, my sweet baby!” The important connections we make in life with others, for the most part, are sweet connections. Lindt HELLO Chocolate just made it easier for each of us to make “sweet connections” with those we care about or even with someone new when we want to say “Hello” in a special way! That’s right and here are just a few ideas on how to do that. Remember It Started with HELLO: Sweet Connections with Lindt HELLO Chocolate!

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Our wedding anniversary is coming up next month, and I always like to do a little something special for my husband. Lindt HELLO Chocolate gave me the perfect idea for a sweet connection with the man I love. We both enjoy sipping a fine wine with the sweet flavor of chocolate. It really is delicious together and a great treat for us! So I decided to make him a gift of Lindt HELLO Chocolate and one of our favorite bottles of wine.

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I found a plaque at the store that was created to look somewhat aged and a metal container that went with it well. I put an assortment of the Lindt HELLO Chocolate bars, sticks, and one of the mini-stick bags in the metal container and added a bottle of our favorite wine. With the plaque set behind these items, it will make the perfect way to say “Happy Anniversary!” It surpasses any card and is such a sweet connection for us. By the way, look at the plaque carefully. It says it all: “You are my favorite HELLO!”

http://learnfromyesterday.comThat’s not the only idea I came up with for hip trendy new Lindt HELLO Chocolates. What about for Halloween? Do you have someone special you would like to give a great treat while making a sweet connection? With such a large family and so many good friends, I always have someone I want to make feel special. So why not put on that witches hat and “Surrender the Treat,’’ a Halloween mesh basket filled with Lindt HELLO Chocolate! Anyone would love a great treat like this one!

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But don’t stop there! What about Christmas? How about an oversized coffee mug filled with Lindt HELLO Chocolate and a cute reindeer for that special secret Santa gift you’ll need? Or what about that special person you would love to share a big mug of hot chocolate/coffee and sweet chocolate with on Christmas Eve in front of the fireplace? Buy two mugs and put Lindt Hello Chocolate in both and share! Wouldn’t this be a great way to make a sweet connection over the holidays?

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No matter how you decide to make a sweet connection of your own, Lindt HELLO Chocolate, a hip, trendy brand in premium chocolate, will make it fun. This new collection from Lindt of sinfully delicious premium chocolate is inspired by classic American treats. Say “hello” to the enticing flavors, of the Lindt HELLO collection:

  • Caramel Brownie: Discover the irresistible combination of smooth milk chocolate, hazelnut and caramel brownie filling.
  • Strawberry Cheesecake: Satisfy your cheesecake craving with rich milk chocolate and a light, fluffy strawberry cream cheese filling.
  • Crunchy Nougat: Smooth milk chocolate, now that’s yummy!
  • Cookies & Cream: Chocolate, cookies – and a crunch!  Savor a chocolaty experience like no other, with chocolate chip cookie pieces and cream filling.

Be sure to check out the Lindt HELLO Sweet Connections Sweepstakes for the chance to win some great prizes. Also check out the “It Started with HELLO” web series here on Youtube with new episodes weekly through October 9, 2014. And remember It Started with HELLO: Sweet Connections with Lindt HELLO Chocolate! So enjoy!

Lindt HELLO is the hip, trendy brand in premium chocolate, that inspires connections and conversations everywhere it goes.  Be sure to enter the sweepstakes every day for a chance to win* sweet experiences from Lindt Chocolate.

To enter the sweepstakes, visit the Lindt HELLO Sweet Connections Sweepstakes Landing Page and enter your email address. Entries can be made daily for additional chances to win the below prizes.

Weekly Prizes – Connect with Someone You Love, or Someone New!

Girls Just Want to Have Fun (9/24 – 9/30)

  • Enjoy a shopping spree with the girls + yummy Lindt HELLO Chocolate!

Sweet Staycation (10/1 – 10/7)

  • Lindt HELLO treats you to a pampered night in – movies, books + chocolate!

Besties Reunion (10/8 – 10/14)

  • Reconnect with your bestie at the spa for a day + Lindt HELLO chocolate to sweeten the deal.

* No purchase necessary. Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. & D.C., 18 years or older (19 in AL or NE and 21 in MS).  Void where prohibited. See Rules for weekly sweepstakes entry periods, prize descriptions, odds and other details. Ends Noon on 10/14/14. Void where prohibited. Sponsor: Lindt & Sprüngli (USA) Inc., One Fine Chocolate Place, Stratham, NH  03885.

Many thanks to Lindt HELLO for sponsoring today’s story, and giving my readers a chance to win really sweet prizes!