From the mind of a mild mannered maniac

Archive for the ‘Special Occasions’ Category

The Year just passed and the year ahead

Just a few short hours until the dawning of a brand new year, and with a few quiet moments to reflect, I find myself in a contemplative mood. This hasn’t been a banner year for most of us. We have seen and lived through some tumultuous times.

In the past twelve months we have been rocked by natural disasters, devastating wild fires, the side effects of global warming, geo-political upheaval, civil unrest, race riots, mass murder, the passing of some much-loved people etc…

I could expand that list exponentially, but no, those tears have been spilt. I have to try and look forward with hope and perhaps just a tiny pinch of guarded optimism to the future.

German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, probably said it best:

“That which does not kill us, makes us stronger”

He was right, we can learn from the past and strengthen our resolve to soldier on through adversity. Sometimes that is all you have to cling to.

Not everything was bad about 2017, including, on a personal note, the arrival, not quite a month ago, of a, healthy, beautiful baby boy, my Nephew Jett. He is a true blessing. I hope, and pray that he never bare witness to such a year, but if he does, I know He is surrounded by family and friends who will love him and provide him with all the tools he will need to face the years to come.

And so, with every fiber of my being I close the doors on the year just passed, and greet the New Year with open arms, hopes for brighter days to come, and well wishes to one and all.

Happy new year vector created by Harryarts –

~Cliff 


Merry Christmas!

Just a week away from the blessed event, and in case I don’t get the opportunity to post something nearer to the day…

As I gaze into the flickering flames of this toasty fire,

serenaded by the elegant strains of angelic choir

The true meaning of Christmas, though sometimes obscured by the neon glow

Beats on in hearts and minds, that are open, even so.

Joy to the world, peace on earth, The Herald Angels sing

Rejoicing and announcing the coming of The new-born king

My fondest wish for one and all as the blessed day draws near

Is A Very Merry Christmas and glad tidings for the coming year!


Winter’s Cheer

imageSwiftly fly the seasons

year upon precious year

first Spring’s rebirth,

Summer’s love

then Fall’s rich palette,

and Winter’s cheer

The season that blends nostalgia with a

twist of mirth and folly.

‘Tis a time for frosted window panes,

for mistletoe and Holly.

Time to gather our loved ones here,

to share our joy with our near and dear!

to celebrate with festive cheer.


Happy holidays, folks, wherever you may be!



Cliff’s Almond Wreath Cookies


Back in baking school, many moons ago, I was asked to come up with an original Christmas cookie recipe. I decided to take the traditional sugar cookie idea, tweak it a bit and give it a festive spin. Since then it has become a Lewis family tradition, and not just at Christmastime.

Cliff’s Almond Wreath Cookies


(To make approx. 2 1/2 dozen)

All-purpose flour  – 2 Cups
Ground Almonds  – 1/4 Cup
Granulated Sugar – 1 Cup
Butter (unsalted)   – 1 Cup
Large Egg            –  1
Table Salt            – 1 tsp.
Almond essence  – 1 tsp.
Almonds (Blanched & sliced) 1 100g package
(1 egg, 1 TBS sugar & 2 TBS water for glaze)


1. Preheat oven to 375°F
2. For glaze, mix 1 egg with 1 TBS sugar & 1 TBS water, in a small bowl. Set aside
3. In a large bowl, combine sifted flour, ground almonds & salt. Set aside.
4.In a medium bowl, cream butter & sugar, then stir in 1 whisked egg and almond essence.
5. Make a well in the center of flour mixture and slowly stir in the creamed mixture until a  medium-soft dough forms.
6. Knead Slightly then roll into a ball. Place back in bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
7. Roll out on floured surface to a 1/8″ thickness, and stamp out dough with a smooth or flute edged 3″ round cookie cutter.
You can also cut out centers with a 1/2″ cutter if desired. (This will give your cookies more of a wreath-like appearance, but is totally optional.)
8. Place these on a cookie sheet at least 1/2″ apart. Brush with glaze and top with sliced almonds.
9. Bake in center of oven for 12 – 15 minutes, or until edges are a light golden color.
10. Let them set on pan for at least 5 minutes before transporting to cooling racks. Once cooled, your wreaths could be dusted lightly with confectioner’s sugar. (For a festive touch).
11. Enjoy ! 🙂

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I just came back from a family birthday party, where the guest of honor did not attend.

Before anyone gets the wrong idea here, I should mention that the Birthday Boy, aka, my Father,was home in bed being nursed back to health, a very good excuse for missing it.

At the outset, mild panic had ensued. The cake had been ordered, a great deal of food and beverages had been laid on and it was far too last-minute for cancellation.

So, we had ourselves a party!

It was strange, though, to cut the cake without candles first being blown out!
Not to mention how odd it seemed, having to explain this phenomenon to each newly arriving invitee.

Before long though the music went on, couples jived merrily across the floor. The party was very soon in fullswing, and the oddness just as quickly disappeared.

I was left wondering, why exactly don’t we have “just because” parties, more often?

I mean, everybody enjoyed drinks, eats, and treats, including a piece or two of the aforementioned cake. We had a unique chance to catch up on the lives of some, seldom-seen, friends and our big beautiful, steadily increasing family.

All in attendance, got to let our hair down, some figuratively others literally. We were able to
de-stress from our hectic week, and enjoy each other’s company.

In other words, even without a guest of honor in attendance, a very grand Birthday party occured!

My, now 76 yr old. Father who really detests celebrating his birthday, these days, and hates music to be played above a whisper, was not as ill as he let on, and is feeling much better for having escaped his own party.

He also got to sleep in all day, which, he says, is much his favourite passtime.

That my friends, after a fashion, is what you might call a rip-roaring success!

Oh, and yes, I even saved him a piece of cake.


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Happy Father’s Day, Dad.



I know you never want a fuss
It’s really not your way
You always take things in your stride
As you wisely go about your day

I just wanted to make it clear
That you mean the world to me
that every thing you represent
is what I strive to be.

I remember sitting on your knee
as a very little lad
and bragging to my buddies
that mine was the bestest Dad

Thanks for standing by me
when skies weren’t always blue
You’ll always be my hero Dad
my friend, my teacher too.

Love always,



Posted from WordPress for Android

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