The Hearth and Soul Hop Christmas Edition

The Hearth and Soul Hop
Welcome to The Hearth and Soul Hop, the blog hop for family and comfort food recipes, healthy, sustainable living posts, homemaking, gardening, family, kids, crafts and DIY. Encouraging and inspiring posts are very welcome too.

I want to thank everyone who left messages of support and encouragement in the comments last week as well as everyone who has been thinking of and praying for my family and I. My mother in law passed away just after midnight on Friday morning.

It’s going to be a very strange Christmas but we know she would not want us to be sad. My family and I have experienced difficult Christmases in the past – particularly in 2007 when my father passed away and my mother was very ill – but as we all know the reason for Christmas is the birth of Jesus. In the words of Max Lucado, at the first Christmas “God once and for all tipped the scales in the favour of hope”. I find that thought so comforting. If you are missing someone – or lots of someones – this Christmas, I hope you will too.

As a small tribute to my mother in law and to her fantastic cooking, I shared one of her recipes on the blog earlier today – Avril’s Chocolate and Pecan Meringues. (Coincidentally, my mother in law and I shared the same name – although my name is the English version and hers is the French.) You may still have time to make this easy recipe before Christmas – it doesn’t take very long and you probably have all the ingredients already on hand.

Thank you to everyone who shared recipes and posts last week. Today I am featuring:

Rosemary Jelly

Wonderful Christmas Gifts from Miz Helen’s Kitchen from Miz Helen’s Country Cottage. There’s still time to make these!

The Hearth and Soul Hop
A beautiful Christmas dessert – White Chocolate Mousse Cake from Linda at With a Blast.

The Hearth and Soul Hop
A light and delicious whiskey spiked Grain Free Christmas Cake from Vicky at Gluten Free SCD and Veggie.

Okay, on with the Christmas Edition of The Hearth and Soul Hop!

The Hearth and Soul Hop is co-hosted by me, April of and Swathi of Zesty South Indian Kitchen.

You can find me on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Google+. Or subscribe to my weekly newsletter in the box below the linky.  

Swathi is also on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Google+.

Guidelines –

*Please share up to three posts only*

Please link directly to your post – not to your home page.

Please include a link back to one of the hop hosts through worded link or a badge (code is in the sidebar) and/or follow us on social media.

By linking to the hop you are giving permission for your properly credited posts and photographs to be featured here on as well as on social media. You are also giving permission for us to email you a reminder of the hop. (You can unsubscribe from these reminders at any time.)

If you have any questions please contact me at I look forward to seeing your posts!

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Article by April Harris

April has written 1291 great articles for us.
April is a writer, recipe developer, frequent traveller and blogger sharing travel, food, and style. Based in the south of England, April is a British Canadian who is passionate about family, hearth and home, healthy living (with treats!) and the transformative power of travel.
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  1. Thank you for the feature and the party, April. I am so sorry to hear your mother in law passed away, my thoughts are with you and your family.

  2. I’m so sorry to hear about your mother-in-law April 🙁
    It will definitely take time for you all to absorb it….. it’s not easy
    Still I wish you a Merry Christmas and hope you celebrate her life during your holiday.

  3. I’m so sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. So close to Christmas makes it especially rough, but you are right, she would not want you to be sad on Christmas. I hope your family has a blessed Christmas.

  4. Dearest April

    I am so sorry to hear about your sad news, please pass on my condolences to your family. I miss my father and grandmother most at Christmas and this year will be especially difficult for you, however the memories do become good memories after a while don’t they?

    Thank you so much for featuring my cake, I made one yesterday and it smells delicious.

    Hopefully you will be able to enjoy your Christmas with fond memories.

    Best wishes

    Vicky xo

    • Thank you so much, Vicky. That is really kind of you. You are so right, happy memories are the best thing to concentrate on. Those who have gone before wouldn’t want us to be sad. Have a wonderful Christmas! xoxo

  5. April,
    So sorry to hear about the loss of your mother in law. May you find comfort in the wonderful memories you have. This is my first Christmas without my mom and it’s going to be a different Christmas. Like your words from Mac Lucado, so true! Blessing to you and your family.

    • Thank you so much, Nancy. I’ll be thinking of you too. I remember my first Christmas without my parents was really difficult but it will get better. I first read the Max Lucado quote on a Christmas card a dear friend sent me the year my Dad died. It has always stuck with me 🙂

  6. April, I extend to you and your family my deepest sympathy on the loss of your loved one. I agree that Christmas brings us that hope that we can carry with us into the new year. May God put His arms around you and hold you up during this journey.

    Thank you so much for featuring Gifts from My Kitchen, I really appreciate it and thanks so much for the awesome party!
    Have a Blessed Christmas Week,
    Miz Helen

  7. I am sorry, April, to hear about your loss. My condolences. I hope you can manage to enjoy Christmas with your family and loved ones. Thank you for hosting!

  8. April, I am so sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. I hope that your family can celebrate her life with all of the fond memories and love that you share.

  9. Diane Balch says:

    Dearest April,
    I am so sorry for your loss. It is magnified by the time of year I’m sure… What a lovely tribute to share her recipe. I look forward to more of them. Food is the way I remember my grandmothers. A big virtual hug and warm wishes for you and your family in the coming year.

  10. April, I’m so sorry for your loss. My dear mother-in-law died 8 years ago and I still miss her every day. And how good that you are posting one of her recipes, as I have found cooking my MIL’s recipes very comforting. Those meringues look delightful! I’m going to link to a tutorial on sourdough starter.

    • Thank you so much, Jean. I lost my own parents 7 years ago and I know exactly what you mean. I also find cooking the recipes they made incredibly comforting. Isn’t it wonderful how family food history helps keep us together even beyond this world?!

  11. So sorry about your loss. Thanks for hosting. Everything looks so good.

  12. Hi April! Great party this week again. Thanks for featuring my Christmas Chocolate Mango Yule Log. Merry Christmas!

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