Posts found under: The Sugar Plum Tree

Did you know???

_______________________Did you know??  

 

Eugene Field (1850-1895)

Eugene Field (1850-1895)

Eugene Field’s hyper-popularity and near-celebrity-status was considered a mystery to some and obvious to others?

Field, a wildly-popular American writer  – better known as:  “the people’s poet ” was a friend of Mark Twain, an avid reader, a doll and miniature book collector, a contemporary of fellow children’s author Roald Dhal, and “a bundle of great surprises!”  Field prided himself on his collection of writings from other children’s writers, often using them as a foundation, or a spring board, for his own original work.

At the height of his popularity, it was written in a local paper that Longfellow, Whittier, or Riely, “…all of whom can be defended as fluent, competent writers, Field (on the other hand) is often awkward and inconsistent veering into baby like talk, fake Middle English, unconvincing Hoosier dialect and school-boy latin. And yet, … he out sold Emily Dickinson, and his celebrity (status) as an eccentric sprite rivaled hers.”

Hannibal Hamlin Garland, (American poet, essayist, and friend) reiterated (and gave a possible explanation to) Field’s popularity during the unveiling and dedication of the Field House and Museum in St. Louis, MO.  He quoted Field by saying, “I (Field) have never put a high estimate on my verse.  That it popular is because my sympathies and the public’s just happen to run on parallel lines.”

Perhaps it was his prankish style, or perhaps, and more likely, Field had it right when he said “his sympathies and the public’s happened to run parallel lines.”  His writing were all post- industrialization when men (and women) were placed in narrow boxes and doctrine of the times ruled.  This, coupled with harsh school environment, further narrowed and stripped children’s innocence which undoubtedly fanned Field’s writing.  After all, it was said that Field’s work was known to have “blurred the boundary between childhood and adulthood” – thereby allowing children to keep their innocence (and power as children) while, at the same time, inviting adults to slip into a childlike stance and remember what it is like to be innocent again.  This was, perhaps, Field’s magic, and explanation, for his popularity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Sugar Plum Tree “Dream, Wish, Believe Book Giveaway

Enter the sweetest contest ever and receive a copy of “The Sugar Plum Tree” by Katherine James.  We’re giving away 50 books and 5 Grand Prize Sugar Plum Tree Dream Sets.

Over 3000 books sold and increasing popularity in both Canada and United Kingdom…

We are sweetening children’s dreams internationally.

What is “The Sugar Plum Tree”?

“The Sugar Plum Tree” is an endearing children’s story told by author Katherine James that takes both adult and child to a majestic place coined the “Garden of Shuteye” where a tree grows the yummiest and sweetest candy you could ever find.  If you are lucky and you believe, the tradition holds that your sweet dreams will bring morning surprises with candy under the bed.

How do you enter?

1: Read our latest blog post: “There’s Always Time to #DREAMWISHBELIVE”

2: Leave a comment on the blog with what you Dreamed. Wished. And Believed in as a child.

3: Follow us on Twitter @SUGARPLUMTREE3 and tweet the following: “I just entered the #DREAMWISHBELIEVE book giveaway to receive a copy of hte sweetest book ever “The Sugar Plum Tree” http://bit.ly/1qmqova

4: Fill in a valid email address where you can be contacted using the form below:

Enter the Contest

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Contest *



The #DREAMWISHBELIEVE giveaway begins Monday, June 17th, 2014 and ends at 11:59 p.m. EST Monday, June 30th, 2014.

We will be announcing two winners per day on Twitter and our Facebook page.  Each winner will receive an autographed copy of “The Sugar Plum Tree” book.

On July 1st, 014, we will announce five Grand Prize Winners of our Sugar Plum Tree Dream Set consisting of an autographed book, a Sugar Plum Tree bag, one beanie baby and other “sweet” surprises certain to put a smile on any child’s face.

Dreaming just got sweeter.  Good luck & best wishes for winning.

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There’s Always Time to #DreamWishBelieve

There is something magical and effervescent about a good dream or even wishing for something wonderful to come true. More powerful than the dream or wish is that you actually believe in the actual possibility of whatever your mind and heart can conjure up.

Consider this…

Growing up I loved the movie and book Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. The book helped me to create this magical world of candy in my head based on what I was hearing, but more importantly the movie manifested all of what I had already imagined and more. On a subconscious level, I knew that there was nowhere in real life that had chocolate fountains, rivers or even places and things made of candy. However, the gift of the movie and the concept was the opportunity to dream of an instance where I was the winner of a golden ticket whereby I was subsequently whisked off to a magical, sugary and very real candy kingdom like the one Willy Wonka created.

Unfortunately, as we get older our time spent consciously dreaming and imagining the possibilities for things like candy lands is very much diminished by the demands of adult life. While sad to admit, imagine a world where adults spent most of their time dreaming and wishing. We would wish bills away, but they would still be there. We would dream of being anywhere but a desk for eight hours and no work would get done. These are some of the obvious reasons why the euphoric phenomena of dreaming and wishing dissipate as we mature, but isn’t there always time to dream, wish, and believe in something?

If you have children like I do, you know that parenthood presents us with yet another opportunity to dream, wish and believe in impossible situations and happenings. Whether it is through imaginary play with your kids or a reading a book that takes you to an imaginary place- children remind us that there is always time to dream wish and believe.

This was precisely what my sisters and I were thinking of when we decided to write “The Sugar Plum Tree”. We grew up with this story that was told to us on special occasions about a place where candy grew plentifully grown on a tree awaiting our dreams of all of the sweet goodies we could eat. In the morning, everything that was read to us the night before was validated with a sweet surprise left under our bed in the form of candy. How neat!

“The Sugar Plum Tree” is starting new traditions and providing both adults and children with renewed opportunities to imagine the impossible through candy. We will be running a #dreamwishbelieve book giveaway campaign starting today Tuesday, June 17th and we hope you will participate for the chance to win this an autographed book or a Sugar Plum Tree dream set for that special child in your life.

What did you dream, wish or believe in as a child? We want to hear from you.

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The Sleep Over Cure

08klass-blog480-300x227Terri Cettina wrote a sleepover article in Parenting called The Sleepover Survival Guide,  in it she has some really practical tips and thoughts.

And while I read it I thought, OKAY I hear you, Terri, but I won’t NEED a survival guide, because first I’m a WAY COOL mom, and I’ve got this one down COLD!  I listened to other mothers’ horror stories, I took my notes, AND I’ve followed all the rules written on every SLUMBER Party article out there.

I had a theme, I had an invite list narrowed to only the girls that got along (mothers too – check one for me…I’m double covered!), and most importantly I discussed expectations ahead of time with my daughter.  It was her FIRST birthday SLUMBER party a rite of passage for any 8 year old.  I had everything on a list and timed.  I overpaid for someone to wash, style and sparkle hair, for another to buff and polish fingers and toes, I had a movie picked out with family members dropping by in costume- all in theme.  I set bedtime to 10pm.

The only thing I didn’t count on was the girls going ROUGE!  OFF SCHEDULE…doing their own thing in their own time.  AND I didn’t count on them NOT falling asleep eventually….

It was around one in the morning when I REMEMBERED something I forgot.   How my mother handled my first-rite-of-passage-PAJAMA-party.  The Sugar Plum Tree!

A 19th century poem recited to us to help us fall asleep and dream of a sweet wonderful adventure.  The twist for us was when we woke up there would be a little candy under our bed…sort of proof the tree was real.   It worked for me, and for my friends, we were so eager to get to sleep we were tripping over each other to get to our sleeping bags.

So….I thought…let’s try it! I explained to my little charges that I was telling them a magical poem, and I apologized because I meant to do it sooner because the Garden of Shut Eye Town where the tree grows closes at 2am.  So they would have to listen closely and fall right to sleep for the magic to work.

Within 20 minutes they were all wiggling in their bags – trying hard to fall asleep.  By 3am I could have run the vacuum in their room and I doubt if anyone would have budged.  Unfortunately for me, because I didn’t plan it well, I had to run out to buy the candy, and fill 8 little bags before they really woke up.

Was it worth it?  Me not sleeping and needed a pot of coffee to stay awake?  And running out of the house to find candy at ungodly hour?  YES!  To see them all wake up SCREAMING that it was real!  Well, that was better than cool!  And my daughter now had the BEST birthday SLEEPOVER EVER!!  At least that’s what the party of 8 said.

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One Family’s Delicious Sugar Plum Tradition

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Every family has some sort of tradition come this time of year. We heard about Katherine Hill’s Sugar Plum cookies and wanted to know more. After all, the story behind the cookie has a lot more meaning for the Hill family.

What is your family tradition?

Katherine explains, “We make Sugar Plums every year, at the beginning of Christmas season!” The Sugar Plum tradition has been in her family ever since her father was a little boy. “We think my grandmother found the recipe in Readers Digest or a magazine at some point, she can’t remember exactly. But she always made them every year.”   

What does your family tradition mean to you?

Every tradition carries a different meaning for families. We were curious to know what these Sugar Plum treats meant to the Hill family.

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Dad – “It’s a time for family to be together to make something sweet that everyone loves. It’s about togetherness, fun and smiles!”

Katherine –  “Sharing the tradition with other people, the memories of when we were kids making them with Dad.  I get enjoyment out of knowing people are going to love them while I’m making them.  It’s such a fun treat and people are always surprised by how good they are, and how simple they are to make…and really, they’re just awesome!”

Jennifer (sister) – “It means the start of the Christmas season.  Making time in our very busy schedules to have fun and be together.  We were always so busy with so many things during the holidays, so it was nice to stop and have some focused time together.”

Mom – “It’s the start of the season, and an activity to do together.  It’s something specifically to tie our family together with a holiday tradition.  Since my family didn’t have traditions during the holidays, it’s important that we have these times with our family.”

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What’s your favorite memory making Sugar Plums?

Katherine- “Probably this one.  I have great memories of growing up making them, but they all blend together!  Since my sister and I have gotten married, we have made them by ourselves, and our husbands have helped.  But this year, all 6 of us got together, all got dressed up and spent time together laughing, watching football, playing with my niece, and made sugar plums.  It was a fun time together (and may be a new addition to the tradition to do them together and not by ourselves!)”

Dad- “The first time each of the girls was old enough and ready to help.”


Jennifer- “
They all kind of blur together at some point, but Katherine I licking the sugar off our fingers when we were done and exclaiming “Mom look, our fingers are RED!!”

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Creating Memories

We discovered that Katherine’s family tradition of making sugar plum cookies isn’t really about the cookies at all. It’s about the memories every one creates together. Making sugar plums is simply the activity that pulls together an entire family where the memories are created.

Want the recipe? 

Like our Facebook page to see our step-by-step photo album for the Sugar Plum recipe.

 

 

 

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The Surprising History of The Sugar Plum Tree

Screen-shot-2013-11-03-at-4.35.30-PM-236x300We are not the original creators of The Sugar Plum Tree, our poem is simply the second version of a 19th century children’s poem written by Eugene Field. Surprising, right?

During the 1870’s, Field was a popular journalist from St. Louis Missouri, who was most know for his humorous articles and gossipy style featured in the St. Joseph Gazette. And he was a selfless man. Every single paycheck he received was sent to his wife and 8 children, claiming he had no head for the money himself.

In 1883 Field’s moved from St. Louis to Chicago to write for the Chicago Daily News. He contributed to a humorous column called Sharps and Flats. The most popular topic he wrote about, or poked fun at, was how Chicago was so much better than Boston.

It wasn’t until 1879 Field’s published his first poem, “Christmas Treasures.” After that, he published a total of 12 poems, one of them being The Sugar Plum Tree.  The two characters in the poem, the chocolate cat and gingerbread dog, is based off of his famous poem “The Duel” (most commonly known as The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat.)

Today, Field is most known for his light-hearted poem for children and we are so thrilled to have been read his poem when we were children. So here’s to you Mr. Eugene Field! Your legacy will live on through the 21st century and beyond, so long as children believe in The Sugar Plum Tree.

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