The best of Christmas is the spirit 

The Grinch Song
The Grinch Song

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Every holiday seems to have its own flowers and decorations, and Christmas is no exception. We have greens and pine boughs from our yards, but have you ever wondered how some of these other plants were selected for the holiday?

When you consider mistletoe, most people think of kissing. At Christmas, mistletoe is as identified with the holiday as the wishbone is to Thanksgiving tradition. Mistletoe is a parasite plant; that means it lives on tree branches and steals what it needs from that tree. It does make its own food but relies on the host tree for water and other minerals. Mistletoe only dies when the tree dies. It loves to grow on the top branches of trees. It prefers mostly leaf trees but when those are not available, evergreens will do.

The foliage of the mistletoe is leathery and the fruit resembles a cluster of tiny pearls. Be warned, the seeds in the fruit are very poisonous! If you have small children, decorate with the plastic berry type. Mistletoe is nearly indestructible, thriving under difficult growing conditions. Wind, rain and drought do not affect its growth. Insects do not like or bother with this plant.

Because the plant grows on the top branches of trees it is not easily harvested for the holidays. Long poles with hooks are used to pull it off the tree. In rural areas, the tree branches that mistletoe grows on are shot off by experienced hunters. This method is much faster and less time consuming--and it's a lot safer than climbing each tree to harvest the plant.

Scandinavian mythology includes the tradition of hanging mistletoe as a cure-all for many ills. Ancient Greeks considered it an antidote to poison. It was also thought to protect from fire and keep out evil spirits and witches. Swiss hunters used bow and arrows to shoot down the plant, and if the falling mistletoe was caught in the left hand, it was believed the hunter had a panacea for all his children's diseases. Generations of farmers used it in the fields to protect their crops from insect and diseases.

Today, this plant has only one purpose: keeping the Christmas spirit alive with hospitality, fun and merriment throughout the holiday season. This Christmas, you can have fun with this plant that grows in high places: Be sure to obey the rules of kissing under the mistletoe. Pick a berry, kiss once; two berries, two kisses. When the berries are gone, stop until next year. So, you'd better stock up for the holidays!
Demi Lovato - All I Want For Christmas Is You
Demi Lovato - All I Want For Christmas Is You


Poinsettias are a wonderful worldwide holiday tradition. In fact, next to a Christmas tree, nothing else says Christmas quite like poinsettias. Displayed alone or in groups, they can add a festive splash of color to every décor. From a centerpiece on a holiday table to a miniature plant decorating the corner of an office desk, to a colorful hanging basket that can brighten any room, the poinsettia is the perfect holiday gift.

So how did poinsettias become so popular at Christmas--and where do they come from? According to Mexican legend, a poor Mexican girl named Pepita who could not afford a gift to offer to Christ on Christmas Eve picked some weeds from the side of a road. The child was told that even a humble gift, if given in love, would be acceptable in God's eyes. When she brought the weeds into the church and laid them at the feet of the Christ child, they bloomed into red flowers with beautiful leaves, and the congregation felt they had witnessed a Christmas miracle.

Poinsettias are native to the tropical forest at moderate elevations along the Pacific coast of Mexico and some parts of Guatemala. They are named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Ambassador to Mexico, who introduced the plant in the U.S. In 1825. The poinsettia was a gift to President John Quincy Adams for the White House from the Mexican government.

Poinsettias have come a long way from their humble beginnings. For years only variations of red flowers were propagated and grown. But now there are hundreds of color varieties available ranging from traditional shades of red, pink and white to burgundy, peach, striped, flecked and hand-dyed varieties.

Poinsettias are easy-going, and with proper care can last long past the holiday season. Just remember this plant is tropical and does not like the cold. Make sure it is wrapped when you leave the garden center. This will prevent chilling of the foliage. If it is cold, preheat the car before placing the plant in it. Do not stop on the way home to run additional errands and leave in the car unheated, or in a day or two most of the leaves will drop from the plant because they were chilled. If the plant pot is covered in foil, make sure it does not fill with water or the roots will rot--be careful. It's a wonderful plant for the holidays and makes a great Christmas presen
Kelly Clarkson - White Christmas Live on The TODAY Show 2016
Kelly Clarkson - White Christmas Live on The TODAY Show 2016

Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana) is a naturally blooming succulent that offers up an array of blooms in many festive colors. Kalanchoe [kal-an-KO-ee or kal-LAN-cho] is a perky little plant that is easy to care for. Whether planted in a decorative basket or grouped together in a basket on the kitchen windowsill, kalanchoes will not disappoint you. In Florida, they are also called "Palm Beach Bells."

Kalanchoes, become increasingly popular as a gift plant, feature dark-green succulent leaves topped by masses of miniature, brightly colored blossoms in shades of red, orange, yellow, or salmon-pink. In their native Madagascar, the plants bloom only during the spring months, but with a little attention, they can produce blooms in any season. Bright light all year, and warmth during the summer, cooler during the winter.

Kalanchoes are similar to poinsettias and chrysanthemums, which initiate their flowering in response to short days. Growers pull opaque shade fabric over their plants for 14 hours each night until the plants initiate flower buds. You can accomplish the same thing by placing a box over your plant for the same "short day" period. I put them in the basement window like the Christmas cactus and they will bloom again. Normal flowering time is 6 to 8 weeks if kept cool.

Kalanchoes prefer to be watered deeply, but like to dry out between waterings. Keep moist in the spring to fall, and almost dry during the winter. Feel the soil with your finger and if it is moist leave it alone.

If leaves start to yellow, you are overwatering. If they look like they are shriveling up, your plant might be dehydrated and in need of water. If this happens, remove spent foliage and water thoroughly. Kalanchoes look best when fed every two weeks with a water-soluble plant food, like Neptune Harvest.
"Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values"

Thomas S. Monson

French Canadian Pork Pie (Tourtiere)

Every nationality has their own special Christmas dishes for Christmas Dinner and my family has the Pork Pie that brings our heritage together for this special meal. This recipe came from Canada with my grandparents over 100 years ago and is still cooked the same way today. If you're French Canadian or you know someone who is French Canadian, Just say you're having Pork Pie (Tourtiere) for dinner on Christmas day, and look at their eyes, you will know it is special. Turkey or Ham is secondary for that meal!  

My husband Paul Parent makes this each and every Christmas just like he did with his father, and his Aunt Ruth.  So this is one of our traditions, I hope you make it one of yours. 

2 pounds of fresh ground pork
3 medium potatoes
1 large white or yellow onion, minced
½ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground clove
1 good dash of ground allspice
Enough water to cover the meat in the pot
2 pie crust, top, and bottom
1 tablespoon of milk


1} Peel your potatoes and boil them like your making mash potatoes, until tender. Remove from the water and set to one side.

2} Place your ground pork with onions, salt, pepper, allspice in a medium size pot and add enough water to cover the meat and onions. Bring to a quick boil, and then lower the heat to simmer. I use a whisk to break up the meat as it cooks to keep is nice and fluffy. Cook for about 1 hour or until most of the water has evaporated and the meat has browned, not fried! Leave the whisk in the pot and every 10 to 15 minutes mash up the meat so it does not stick together keeping it fluffy.

3} When the pork is almost cooked place the bottom pie crust in a deep dish pie plate. Turn on your oven at 350 degrees.

4} Take your potatoes and mash them with a fork but you want them on the chunky side not fine like mash potatoes. Mix the potatoes in the pot of cooked Pork and add the ground Clove, and Cinnamon. Blend well with your whisk and your potatoes will be there to help bind the pork mixture together. Spoon in the pork mixture and spread it evenly. Place your top crust on the pie and with a fork seal the two crusts around the edge of the rim of the pie plate after you have painted the top crust with a bit of milk. Cut 3 to 5 steam vents in the top crust and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. If the edges brown to fast cover them with a bit of foil strips.

5} Serve the Pork pie warm out of the oven or bake it the day before if you need the oven for Turkey or Ham. Just heat the pie in the oven until it is hot the next day before serving.

6} I make 2 pies at the same time so I double the recipe and keep one pie for dinner and cut the second pie into 6 pieces. Cover each piece with aluminum foil and place in a freezer bag. Place in freezer for a cold had when you crave Comfort food and microwave or heat in the oven until hot. You're in for a real treat, enjoy!

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Keep records will make you a better gardener!!


Garden Journal

        Garden Journal - A garden is a friend you can visit any time. Gardens require planning and cultivation, yielding beauty and joy. This garden journal helps make planning and organizing easy. This book makes a great gift for gardeners, family, friends, birthdays, Christmas, new home or as a self purchase.


Cover holds a 5 x7 or 4x6 photo, Heavy-duty D-ring binder

1. 8 tabbed sections
2. 5 garden details sections with pockets for seeds, tags....
3. Weather records page
4. 6 three year journal pages
5. Insect & diseases page - 3 project pages
6. 3 annual checklist pages
7. Plant wish list page
8. 2 large pocket pages
9. Sheet of garden labels
10. 5 garden detail sheets
11. 5 graph paper pages for layouts
12. 5 photo pages holds - 4- 4x6 photos in landscape or portrait format

Journal, Planning, Inspirations. 

 To Order call 207-590-4887

Regular price $34.95  Special Price $31.95! 

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