Rich, Custardy Eggnog Ice Cream: A Christmas Tradition

This sounds like heaven. But I did make homemade pepperoni bread today.


eggnog ice cream n

A big mug of freshly brewed coffee and a couple scoops of eggnog ice cream dressed up with shaved nutmeg: Bring it on, Winter!

This ice cream is divine.

Rich Eggnog Ice Cream


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar


  1. Heat cream and milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and heat until mixture almost boils, about 5 – 8 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat to low, using a heat diffuser if necessary.
  4. Meanwhile, beat yolks and sugar until the mixture is light yellow and smooth.
  5. Add 4 tbsp of hot cream mixture to egg mixture and stir until combined. This will temper the eggs.
  6. Slowly add warmed yolk mixture to warm cream. Stir continuously in order to not cook/curdle eggs.
  7. Cook entire mixture…

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The Beginnings of Solstice

axialtiltThe tilt of the Earth is why we have the Summer and Winter Solstice. In ancient times people had to find a reason for the days becoming longer and shorter. The short days were hardest on ancient people because without gas, electricity, and insulated homes it was hard for them to function. It was cold and dark and scary out there in the long long nights.

The decorated fir tree at Christmas echoes many ancient beliefs, including light and life. They had a solstice evergreen. The name coming from the fact that they didn’t lose their color and die back like other plants and trees. It didn’t wither and die. The evergreen tree signified the continuing presence of burgeoning life in the midst of Winter’s sleep.

In other parts of the world cherry trees or hawthorns are placed in water or in indoor containers to encourage them to bloom mid winter. If a young lady was in the house, its blooming indicated that a good husband would be found for her that year.

The first historical reference of a Christmas tree recorded comes from an anonymous German citizen. Actually, most of the records that have come down to us regarding early Christmas rituals are from Germany. The anonymous gentleman from Germany wrote, “At Christmas they set up fir trees in the parlours of Strasbourg and hang thereupon roses cut out of many colored papers. They cut out apples and put candies on the trees.” They used smaller trees than we do now.

The tradition of the mistletoe Bough hasn’t been around as long as the evergreen tree. This time of year three plants naturally bore fruit at the Solstice. They were the Mistletoe with its beautiful white berries; the ivy with its striking green and white leaves; and the holly with its scarlet fruit or berries. The mistletoe was actually a parasite that attached itself to certain trees. It was held sacred by Druids and other Pagans. (Pagan is a term that merely means living in atunement with Mother Earth.) The Druids held nothing more sacred than the mistletoe and the tree that bore it, They assumed that tree to be oak and chose groves full of oaks instead of just having one tree. They thought that everything that grew on that tree was in fact, sent from heaven. In the language of the Druids, mistletoe means all-healing. It wasn’t used to collect kisses like it is today. The Druid prienst would climb the tree and with a golden sickle would cut the mistletoe away from the tree.

The Celts also felt mistletoe was sacred. They called it the Silver Branch. The branch was generally cut from an apple tree because Celts felt they were sacred. In 1834, a coffin was discovered from the Bronze Age and when it was opened the skeleton was wrapped in mistletoe. This can lead one to the idea of how sacred it was considered but also that it was a means of crossing over to the Otherworld. It was kept in homes until shortly before the next gathering.

Holly was seen as a male plant, with its bright red berries and sharp prickly leaves, while ivy. clinging and gentler, was perceived as female. Traces still remain of a ritual drama in which the Holly King and the Ivy Queen fought or were fought for by two champions. A fifteenth-century carol, with its recurrent refrain, suggests how this may have developed. Here the ranks are drawn up all too clearly, with ivy described as having black berries, and as being cold, weepy, and accompanied by the owl, the bird of ill omen. Holly is described as being red nosed and cheerful, with merry men who dance and sing, and is accompanied by the nightingale and the lark.


The Four Noble Trees

O, the holly bears a berry as white as pure silk,

And the Lady bore the Green Man

when the ewes give their milk.

And the Lady bore the Green Man

our first hope for to be,

And the first Prince of the springtime

It was the birch tree.

Birch tree, birch tree.

And the first Prince of the springtime

It was the birch tree.

O, the birch he bears a leaf-o

as green as the moss.

And the Lady bore the Green Man

to dance in the grass,

And the Lady bore the Green Man

that merry we might be.

And the Princess of the Maytime

is the young hawthorn tree,

Hawthorn tree, hawthorn tree

And the Princess of the Maytime

is the young hawthorn tree.

O, the hawthorn bears a prickle

as keen as the sun,

And the Lady bore the Green Man

to die in the corn,

And the Lady bore the Green Man

our harvest for to be,

And the first Queen of the autumn

is the old apple tree,

Apple tree, apple tree.

And the first Queen of the autumn

is the old apple tree.

O, the apple bears a fruit-o, as blood it is red

And the Lady bore the Green Man

our last hope for to be,

And the first King of the winter

He was the holly,

Holly, Holly.

And the first king or the winter

He was the holly.

—Mark Vyvyan-Jones, from the traditional


The Solstice Tree

The Solstice Tree

Celebrating Christmas with the Juniors: Trench Town’s Stars, Glitter…and T Shirts

This is important. These children are the future of Haiti. And symbolize the future of the world.

Petchary's Blog

What does Christmas mean to the children of Trench Town? As much fun as it’s possible to cram into the school holidays. A little more freedom. And a little more fun.

Trench Town Reading Centre’s Christmas party was warming up when we arrived. Mariah Carey was giving those Christmas songs all she’d got on the music system. The bounce-about was in place. Now, this is a very important item on any respectable children’s party list in Jamaica. In case you don’t know, it is an over-sized inflated object, mostly enclosed. You get in, and start bouncing. It’s hard to keep your balance in it, so you fall all over the place. The smallest children usually have a rough time of it, poor things. It’s a dog-eat-dog world in there and those who bounce hardest last longest.

The scent of fried chicken was so delicious that a small group…

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Radha Krishna Statues – Prem Mandir Vrindavan

Krishna statues. Very amazing. Hugs, Barbara

Wallpaper Tadka

Radha Krishna Statues

 Prem Mandir Vrindavan

This monument to God’s love, Prem Mandir, is an elaborately carved, white marble wonder. Each stone of the temple has been hand carved by the hundreds of temple artisans, who have been working on this project since 2001.

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The World in us, Us in the World

Prayer beads

Prayer beads

The world has fed us,

And now it is our turn to feed,

It’s given us the rich soil, from which our bodies and souls grow deeply.

The Mother Earth’s message is a great thunderous roar to humanity

Saying through the signs of disaster and tragedy,

Wake up loved ones, all our selfishness must die.

All of your eyes must see, from the eyes of your hearts.

We are the home of it all

The Earth’s land is our skin

Its rivers, our blood

Its fire, our love

Its winds, our united breath

How do we awaken to feel each plate of grass fold over as we walk by?

To hear the sound of each crashing wave and remember”HOME!”

We caught ourselves in folly and illusion to our roots, and now we dig to find the

Treasure in the depth

To lead us through the darkness to the light…we become the change in which we wish

To see, the rest is simply contagious!

All we have from our moment of birth and death is the moments of God awareness.

So then, spread the Message!

Each breath we take can be a breath of forgiveness and hope, of intention and ablution

To the powers around.

Our sensitivity must grow to feel the world bleeding from underneath our feet.

When the  world bleeds, our hearts bleed, our harmony with the Earth is our only hope.

We should stop to bow, bow down to the deepest ocean floors.

Giving thanks and respect to what has created us.

The Mother Earth has carried all of us, and now it is time for us to take responsibility.

by Jelaluddin Nick Thompkins

Sketch of Sufi meditating

Sketch of Sufi meditating

heartandwingsCreating community and commitment to daily spiritual practice. Each day that our actions benefit our communities, compassion, love, acceptance, are steps along the path of forgiveness to the establishment of peace in every country around the world. Peace is always our destination. Mother Earth has fed and taken care of us for the Milleniums. She is still trying but it is as if we were at war with her. We need to take care of her and treasure what she has given us to help us on our journey. We can’t ignore her because if we do Mother Earth will die and we will be dying too.

Just What is the Winter Solstice

winter solstice

winter solstice

” Welcome everything! Welcome all alike what has been, and what never was, and what we hope may be, to your shelter underneath the holly, to your places around the Christmas fire, where what is sits open-hearted.”  –Charles Dickens, 1851

There is a moment of silence that occurs every year, somewhere between the dawn of Christmas Eve and the setting of the sun on Christmas Day itself–a moment we have all experienced at least once in our lives, maybe more than once. It can silence a great city like London or New York, and it can bring stillness to our hearts, whoever and wherever we may be. It offers the promise of new beginnings, of the clean slate of a new year, and it incorporates the breathless expectancy of Christmas night itself, when a familiar figure enter our lives and changes them briefly. It is a moment such as this that lies at the heart of the Midwinter Solstice.

There are many legends and traditions which have made it down through the centuries and are still with us in the twenty first century. There was a bringer of Christmas fare, the Green Knight. He is woven in and out of King Authur’s court. He would arrive just as the festivities were beginning. He offered a strange game—that someone should strike his neck with his great ax. Only Gawain is brave enough to accept the challenge, and undergoes many trials before the tale ends. For once his head has been severed, the Green Knight is able to pick it up, and await the coming of his challenger—a trick that Gawain is not able to do. The Green Knight is the incarnate spirit of Winter, able to present his frightening challenge as the prelude to a battle for the hand of the Spring Maiden.

“It is only in the past three hundred years or so that a “rational” civilization has turned its back on both the Christian and the Pagan traditions and remembered the Solstice by custom and habit rather than by an instinctual involvement with the turning of the seasons.

                                                                                                                   —Shirley Toulson: A Winter Solstice

The Green Man or the Green Man

The Green Man or the Green Man

“Here at the gateway of the year,

may we strive to make good cheer.

In our revels shall joy abound

and sorrow be cast underground.”

—Caitlin Matthews: Sun Still; Sun Return

It is just before sunrise on a cold December day some three thousand years before the coming of Christ. For those crouched at the heart of the mound it must seem as though light has been banished forever. Then, suddenly, a tiny sliver of sunlight strikes the stone slab at the back of the chamber. Slowly it widens, climbs upward, illuminating a number of mysterious carvings—circles and spirals, zigzag patterns. For the people crouched in the center of the great mound of Brug na Boine (also known as New Grange) every symbol has meaning. But by far the greatest significance is the return of the sun itself. The light that enters the dark womb of the earth brings with it the promise of warmth and life to come.


                                                                                                                 Stonehenge at sunrise

Maya Angelou Speaks to Us

Happy Yuletide

Happy Yuletide

By Maya Angelou

When you see them
on a freeway hitching rides
wearing beads
with packs by their sides
you ought to ask
what’s all the
warring and the jarring
and the
killing and
the thrilling
all about.

Take Time Out.

When you see him
with a band around his head
and an army surplus bunk
that makes his bed
you’d better ask
what’s all the
beating and
the cheating and
the bleeding and
the needing
all about.

Take Time Out.

When you see her walking
barefoot in the rain
and you know she’s tripping
on a one-way train
you need to ask
what’s all the
lying and the
dying and
the running and
the gunning
all about.

Take Time Out.

Use a minute
feel some sorrow
for the folks
who thinks tomorrow
is a place that they
can call up
on the phone.
take a month
and show some kindness
for the folks
who thought that blindness
was an illness that
affected eyes alone.

If you know that youth
is dying on the run
and my daughter trades
dope stories with your son
we’d better see
what all our
fearing and our
jeering and our
crying and
our lying
brought about.

Take Time Out.

Winter Gondwanaland!

I think we should leave Antarctica alone


There’s diamonds in them there hills!

According to researchers a kind of rock that often contains diamonds has been found in Antarctica for the first time, and even though they haven’t found the diamonds yet they’re pretty confident that they are there because Eastern Antarctica was once part of a continent known as Gondwanaland, connected to what is now Africa and India, which also have kimberlite, which is the particular kind of rock that was just discovered in the real land down under the “land down under”.

So grab your ice picks and snow shovels because not only does Antarctica now potentially have diamonds it also already has Gold, platinum, copper, iron and coal, making it a veritable miners paradise!

So what are we prospectors, entrepreneurs and small business owners waiting for?

Well, unfortunately Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth…only minus 135 degrees…in the sun! and sadly, in Antarctica…

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