Wednesday 21 December 2011

A most unusual story of love . . .

Once upon a time, what seems now . . . like long, long ago . . . my sister and I used to make Teddy Bears, and from time to time get together at Craft Sales and sell them at a booth we would share. Happy times . . . Our bears ranged in size from a tiny 3 inch bear right on up to a bear that was large enough to wear size 3 children's clothing, each one being a real labour of love on our parts. The best part though . . . was in the doing of it together.

I recently read about a woman named Frannie Pew Hayes. She had a rather large family, which included an abundance of grandchildren and so one year the family came to the decision that it was just not practical anymore to buy Christmas Gifts for everyone and so they would draw names . . . each person then only having one present to buy and exchange.

Her grandson, David, who was only five at the time drew her name and inquired of her what she would like to receive. She chose elastic bands and paper clips. He didn't like that idea, wanting her to pick out something nicer and so, realizing that it was the Chinese Year of the Bear, she finally requested a Teddy Bear.

That very first bear she received from her young grandson delighted her so completely that a Teddy Bear Collection soon began and multiplied . . . with Teddy Bears acquired as gifts from family and friends . . . and collected from her own travels.

Soon there were bears of all shapes and sizes and requests from people of all ages to come and see them began to pour in. This the idea for a Teddy Bear Museum was born.

The Teddy Bear Museum in Naples Florida opened in 1990 with a collection that had expanded to around 5,500 individual bears until the museum closed in 2005, a year after the death of Mrs Hayes.

When I read this story my heart was warmed . . . indeed big oaks from tiny acorns do grow! What began as the tiny gift of a M&M's bear from a young grandson to his much beloved grandmother because something that brought joy and pleasure to so many visitors worldwide. It's a shame that it had to close . . .

I have always loved teddy bears myself. I had a lovely one that I carried with me throughout my life from my infancy . . . but which sadly disappeared during one of my many military moves in my last marriage. I now have three . . . a bear that the young daughter of a friend gave to Todd a few years back, one that I bought for one of my grandchildren, but which ended up too big to post and so I kept it (Winnie the Pooh in a cute sweater) and a lovely little smooshie pink one that my dear friend Lura gave me, each one special and unique in it's own special way. Kinda like us I guess! Unique, special and very much beloved!

These lovely squares have always been our Amanda's favourite treat. She may watch her weight really closely but the girl does have a bit of a sweet tooth. She comes by that honestly as her father has the biggest sweet tooth in the world. It is a Ramsay trait as my ex MIL also has a big sweet tooth. I remember going to a Brunch Buffet with her once and she had no less than 6 desserts. In fact that's all she had . . . dessert!

*Butterscotch Mallow Bars*
Makes about 36
Printable Recipe

These are so easy to do and quick to throw together as well. They are quite sweet, but a real favourite of children. They look really pretty on the Christmas cookie tray though!

1 (12 ounce) package of butterscotch chips (or an equal amount of milk chocolate, good quality, cut into bits. I recommend Green and Blacks)
¼ cup butter
1 cup smooth peanut butter (you can use crunchy if you want little bits of nuts in them. I prefer the smooth myself)
1 package of small multi coloured marshmallows (about 4 cups)
*Note if you are making the milk chocolate ones, white marshmallows are the best to use.

Combine the butter, peanut butter, and butterscotch chips in a saucepan over low to medium heat. Stir until melted and completely amalgamated. Remove from the heat and let cool to warm before stirring in the marshmallows. Pour the mixture into a 9 inch square cake tin that you have lined with cling film. Spread evenly into the pan and press the mixture down. Refrigerate until cold and then cut into squares. Store in the refrigerator.

Over in The English Kitchen today a delicious Marzipan and Mincemeat Tea Loaf!

There was a song in a film years ago with the line “Have yourself a merry little Christmas.” Well, you can give a great and wonderful Christmas if you remember the gifts God has given you and, as best you can, offer them to others as He would. That is the spirit of Christmas and of true happiness every day.
~President Henry B Eyring, The Gifts of Christmas 2011

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