Pragmatic Compendium

inspiring the pragmatic practice of intimacy with Christ

kids today . . .

You’ve heard it. Older people (older than ME, of course), talking about how undisciplined kids are today.

umm hmm.

In case you don’t feel like zooming in on the first photo, the 1953 library book plate reads:






And THIS is why it takes me so long to purge excess stuff from my house. I get a little distracted.

Years ago, I bought old books for decorating purposes. I didn’t really care about the title or author, I just wanted vintage books on the shelf. I’m over it. I’m purging. I kept the titles and authors which interest me, but this is one that didn’t. Well, it doesn’t NOW. I’m finished looking at it, so I’ll pass it on to someone else now. Along with all this stuff:


Except the cat. I’m keeping the cat.

December 31, 2008 Posted by | books, laugh! | , , , | 7 Comments

Aunt Margie’s Cranberry Salad, with a pragmatic twist.

For years decades, we’ve made something special for my dad for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s his sister’s recipe for Cranberry Salad. I remember making it as a kid, as do my sisters, but since we grew up and moved out, my mother – who fondly calls this dish “cranberry crap” – took over the job again.

This year, since my mother is in Arkansas, my father asked me if I would make it. Actually, my mother also asked me if I would make it for him and offered to give me the recipe. My father thought it would be nice if I called his sister, my Aunt Margie and ask her for it. I hadn’t spoken or seen my Aunt Margie in over ten years – not because of any problems, just logistics and lack of effort. It was a great impetus for renewing my relationship with my Aunt.

We easily fell into a very nice conversation and as she gave the me ingredients and instructions, I realized. My mother had a different version of this recipe. We had not been making my Aunt Margie’s Cranberry Salad all these years. I’ll explain and show photos as I go through the recipe.

2 bags of cranberries
2 apples (peeled and cored)
2 oranges
1 can of pineapple chunks (drained)
1 cup of sugar
walnuts to garnish


Wash the cranberries and discard stems and rotten berries.


Now here’s the pragmatic twist. My father delivered a hand grinder to me when he asked me to make this recipe. A hand. grinder. Serious flashback. I remember hand grinding the fruit and cranberries. Every. Year. What a mess. Cranberry juice everywhere. Seriously. A MESS. As soon as my sisters got old enough to use the grinder without losing a finger, I gladly passed the job to them. In their young naiveté, they thought it would be fun. By the time they realized it was a sticky and disgusting job, the cranberry crushing baton was completely out of my hands. When my mother took over again, I think she switched from hand grinder to blender. So over the years, the whole thing went from cranberry goo (in the grinder) to cranberry soup (in the blender).

Although resistant, I tested the grinder and my memory on the apples first. Yep. Just like old times. Applesauce anyone?



So I pulled out my handy dandy Oster chopper attachment.


And I tried again. MUCH better.


The red pieces in the applies are from the cranberries.

I chopped the cranberries, the apples and the pineapple using the “pulse” button on my chopper. Filling the container multiple times allowed me to chop in different . . . textures? Sizes? Basically, there are three different textures of cranberries and apples, ranging from finely chopped, medium chopped and barely chopped. I didn’t have to chop the pineapple very much since it started out in small chunks anyway.

That leaves the oranges. I made two changes which were a HUGE difference from how I made this as a kid. First, I zested the orange. We NEVER did that. NEVER. Didn’t even have a zester in the house growing up. I don’t own one now. I had to use a small grater. I got the sweetness and the taste, but not the texture. I’m buying a zester for next year.

The second difference with regard to the oranges? My Aunt Margie strongly emphasized removing the “white stuff” from the orange. It’s called the “pith” and while it is actually good for you, it tastes a little bitter. There are a few ways to remove the pith, but I just rolled the orange on the counter, peeled it and then cut away the white layer that remained. I also removed the inner white stuff – I’ve been calling it the “cartilage” of the orange. It’s hard and crunchy and bitter and it is THE reason I would never eat this cranberry salad. I hate that stuff. yuck.

Here’s the finished product sans the walnut garnish. I wasn’t serving any at the time of the photo and I didn’t want to waste the walnuts. I actually prefer pecans, myself. This can be made ahead and I’ve been told it freezes well too. Panara’s got nothing on my Aunt Margie.


My dad said he could tell the difference before he even tasted it, just from the way it looked. So could I. I tasted it, my younger sister tasted it, our dinner guests tried it – all with positive reactions. None of the kids would touch it. Big chickens. My dad took most of it home. I understand it’s great with vanilla ice cream.

I’m wondering, if I retain some of the fruit juice, heat it up and thicken it with cornstarch and stir it into the fruit mixture – would it make a good pie? I may test it next year in a Pillsbury pastry.

As always, I’m providing a print friendly version – CLICK HERE.

Find great recipes and helpful kitchen tips at Kitchen Tip Tuesdays hosted by Tammy’s Recipes!

And click on over to check out the recipes at Tempt My Tummy Tuesday hosted by Lisa at Blessed With Grace

December 31, 2008 Posted by | holidays, recipes, traditions | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Then Sings My Soul Saturday – Hay Baby & The Greatest Gift

One of my favorite Christmas CDs is It Feels Like Christmas Again by Jeff and Sheri Easter. You can hear some clips here at, but it’s less expensive to purchase pre-owned at

One of the coolest songs is:

Hay Baby – you may need to register with (free) to hear it.

Another one of my favorites is this one:

Merry Christmas everyone. My Christmas was late and I’m still celebrating. Just without the stress or the deadlines.

For more Saturday music, check out Then Sings My Soul Saturday every Saturday hosted by Amy at Signs, Miracles and Wonders.

December 27, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment


CLICK HERE for an UPDATE to this recipe.

When I was in high school and college, I sang at a few madrigal dinners. If you’re unfamiliar with madrigal dinners, here’s a sampling. (and no, I’m not in this video).

Wassail Song

One thing was a constant in every madrigal dinner – wassail. It’s a kind of warm cider drink my choral director would make every year. I’ve made it on Christmas Eve for years. It’s a family favorite and a longstanding tradition. And it only takes about 5 minutes to prepare!!!


1/2 gallon apple juice
2 cups pinapple juice
2 cups orange juice
2 cinnamon sticks
2 teaspoons whole cloves

Pour all juices in a pot or crockpot.
Float Cinnamon sticks.
Place cloves in a coffee filter and tie with a twist tie. CLICK HERE for an UPDATE to this recipe.
Simmer for AT LEAST 30 minutes or more
    (when it the smell starts to waft, you know it’s gonna be GOOD)


I know some would cover an entire orange with cloves and float it in the wassail. My hat is off to you, but I can’t find my thimble. Actually, I haven’t looked. But you go ahead. More power to ya.

The bonus is the way the house smells while it’s simmering.

For a print friendly version CLICK HERE.

Find great recipes and helpful kitchen tips at Kitchen Tip Tuesdays hosted by Tammy’s Recipes!

And click on over to check out the recipes at Tempt My Tummy Tuesday hosted by Lisa at Blessed With Grace

Shannon at Works for Me Wednesday is on a blogging break, but check out her past issues for more great tips, tricks and recipes.

December 24, 2008 Posted by | 5 minutes, holidays, recipes, traditions | , , | 4 Comments

pragmatic cookies

I’ve mentioned before that we make a boatload of cookies at Christmas time? Let me clarify. FirstHusband makes a boatload of cookies.

Last year, he was busy and it was up to me to make the cookies. So, I made a boatload of . . . cookie bars.

Cookie bars, while tasting the same as cookies, are much more pragmatic:

No scooping one cookie’s worth of dough at a time.
No more hours of switching cookie sheets out every 11 minutes.
No more removing cookies from a cookie sheet. one. by. one.
No more waiting for the cookies to cool on little tiny grates.
No more broken cookies.
No more!

I mixed up a batch of our cookie dough, slathered it on a cookie sheet that happened to have a short edge all the way around it, and baked it all in one shot. All the “cookies” are the same size and height for easy stacking and packing. This year, I’m perusing my collection of cookie cutters for some interesting shapes. I know that will leave cookie remnants, but we’ll just have to deal with it. Such a chore, gleaning the cookie chaff.

I’m baking tonight and tomorrow, so no photos yet, but check back! And I’m employing behaviors incompatible with eating cookies – while I’m baking cookies. I’m out of red wine, though. It will have to be Super Bubble.

I had to bake brownies for a party yesterday, so that’s the photo you get first. Oh, and one more pragmatic thing: I cut the brownies with a pizza cutter.


Find great recipes and helpful kitchen tips at Kitchen Tip Tuesdays hosted by Tammy’s Recipes!

And click on over to check out the recipes at Tempt My Tummy Tuesday hosted by Lisa at Blessed With Grace

Want to learn cool tips and tricks from lots of different people? Click on over to Works for Me Wednesday hosted by Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer!

December 17, 2008 Posted by | chocolate, holidays | , , , | 7 Comments

Would You Like Chocolate With That? Disney Chocolate Carousel

We haven’t gone to see any of the Disney resorts this year, I’m not sure if we will, but this is always amazing. Supposedly, this ENTIRE thing is edible.

The video doesn’t even come CLOSE to showing the detail. It truly is an amazing work of art.

If you have anything chocolaty to share, post and link to Would You Like Chocolate With That? hosted by Lisa at Stop and Smell the Chocolate!

December 15, 2008 Posted by | chocolate, holidays, peace love mickey, youtube | , , | 5 Comments

a christmas story.

My favorite Christmas movie was on the other night, and I had an epiphany.

It’s the department store window. That’s it. It marks the beginning of the materialistic Christmas. Evidenced first by all the little faces pressed “before a golden, tinkling display of mechanized, electronic . . . joy” and then in little Ralphie’s face at four and a half minutes into this clip.

Here’s the original trailer:

And I know, it’s mean to like this part, but . . . but . . . they didn’t really stick that kid’s tongue to the pole . . . it was done with suction . . . so it’s not really mean . . .

Need a few more chuckles today? Check out Friday Funnies hosted by Homesteaders Heart!

December 14, 2008 Posted by | holidays, laugh!, youtube | , , | 4 Comments

“. . . therefore I quote” Marjorie Holmes

I read, therefore I quote.

This week’s quote comes from a classic fictional account of the Christmas story. I know! Fiction! I’m quoting Fiction! With the shower repair and the subsequent unexpected “spring” cleaning to recover, I’m a little late into the Christmas season. Rather than lament that fact, I’ve decided to “reset my watch.” Or in this case, my calendar. I got the idea from a story I heard (or more probably, read).

An American sports coach got a job coaching a team in Italy. Their observance of time was not exactly similar to an American’s observance of time. The coach had a daily schedule, which begain at 8:00 a.m. The Italian players didn’t show up in time to begin every day at 8:00 a.m. They arrived . . . when they arrived. After a few frustrating days, the coach devised a plan. He waited until everyone showed up. And then he set his watch back to 8:00 a.m.

That’s what I’m doing. I’ve consciously decided to keep my tree and decorations up into January. I’m not going to allow a disruption to shorten my Christmas season. I’ve decided to observe “Three Kings Day” on January 6th. Feliz Navidad!

On Christmas Eve, I’m singing “Mary Did You Know” and Nicole Sponberg’s version of “Breath of Heaven.” So, I’m a little focused on Mary’s perspective right now. These fragmented quotes from Two From Galilee: The Story Of Mary And Joseph by Marjorie Holmes only heighten that perspective.

“But it was not the priest, it was Joseph who bent near in love and reverence, telling her, ‘ I can see its little head. You must strive harder, beloved. Bear down, bear down.’

She obeyed, gratefully. There was a great ripping and flooding and burning, and he came forth out of her, out of Mary, his mother. Thus in blood and pain he came into the world, this son of God who was also man and the son of man.

And Joseph lifted him up for her to see. And they looked upon him together and marveled at him, his wholeness, infinitely small and red and perfectly formed. And when he squirmed in Joseph’s arms and uttered his first cry, the thrill of all mankind ran through both of them, for this was life, human life, and they knew that a miracle had been achieved . . .

. . . She smiled in her half-sleep and pressed the hot little bundle closer. Yet what bliss, to direct the nipple to the lips, to be the source of its sustenance. Ecstasy flooded her, the ecstasy of a new mother, who finds herself with the child safely cradled in her arms after the long ordeal. The only reality is this wonder, this sense of harmony and love so intense it is scarcely to be endured, and the tears escape the eyelids and roll foolishly down the cheeks.

And so Mary rested on this night that her child was born. And Joseph kept watch, near exhaustion himself, but too excited to sleep.”

I’ll continue quotes from this book through the holiday season.

“. . . therefore I quote” Thursday: If you have a quote to share from something you’ve read recently, feel free to comment and/or include a link to your own “quote” post.

Need help making your link look pretty in the comment? Copy and use this code.

December 14, 2008 Posted by | books, holidays, therefore I quote, women | , , | 2 Comments

it’s never a good idea . . .

. . . to be in a house alone with four little girls under 8 . . . for three hours . . .

. . . and completely run out of toilet paper.

Thankfully, I found a half-filled box of these:


December 14, 2008 Posted by | laugh! | 5 Comments

can anybody teach me . . .

. . . to French braid?

oh, never mind. It’s probably faster to just shave my legs anyway.

December 10, 2008 Posted by | laugh! | 9 Comments


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 395 other followers

%d bloggers like this: