Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts

Monday, January 6, 2014

Getting Started in the New Year

With the new day comes new strength 
and new beginnings. - Eleanor Roosevelt

Welcome to 2014.  A new year, new adventures, new beginnings and new memories.  Do you make resolutions?  Do you start hitting the gym, begin diets, make a bucket list?  Do you suffer the disappointment of not keeping your resolutions, your diet stalls and you end up as a couch potato by the time the Super Bowl rolls around?

The new year is a good time to begin afresh, but the best of intentions fail when you try to implement too much change at once, at least this has been my experience.  

So I don't make resolutions for the new year.  Instead I set goals and continually strive to eat better, exercise more, stay positive, be nicer, be more organized (stay organized) and a whole host of other things.

Every time I fall off the wagon, I pick myself up, brush the dust off and remind myself that I can do this.

Here are some tips on how to start small and accomplish your goals (not resolutions).

  • Pick one or two things that you think you can do regularly. If you don't exercise, try walking for 15 minutes every day.  If you do work out, add a class, increase a weight, time or distance.  
  • Instead of a full blown diet, choose a healthy snack such as yogurt or nuts over candy and chips or water over sugared beverages.
  • Skip the numbers.  Forget the holiday statistics.  Don't focus on your weight in pounds.  Let your body be your guide.  You will know when things are working for you.  
  • Get organized one project at a time.  Change is overwhelming so don't decide to do a major overhaul in January and find yourself afloat in chaos come Spring.  Make a list. Compartmentalize each project so that you start and finish one before moving on to another.  This will keep your house in order and your sanity intact.
  • Try something new.  This can be anything from creative arts to taking a cooking class, learning a foreign language, travel or volunteering.  Find your passion and embrace it.
  • Relax.  This is something many of us need to work on.  We think if we are relaxing, i.e. "doing nothing" that we are wasting time, not being productive or just lazy.  Not true. Relaxation allows you to restore your balance, reduce stress and increase focus when you return to your activities.
Remember, starting small doesn't mean thinking small.  Whatever you dream, you can do.

Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Unofficial Start of Summer

Image Source: Wikipedia
While Memorial Day is often viewed as the unofficial start of summer and celebrated with picnics, parties and barbecues, it is a holiday that all Americans should take to heart.

It is the day when we honor the many men and women in the military who died while serving their country.  We owe these men and women a huge debt of gratitude because they were willing to give their lives that we might remain the free country our forefathers envisioned and dedicated their lives to making a reality.

So as we take to the roads, the beaches and the back yards, let us take a moment to remember them and say a special thank you for their sacrifice.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Happy Easter!

On this Easter Sunday… Forgive someone.
Tell someone you love them.
Let your light shine.

- Author Unknown

Monday, December 31, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Twas The Nght Before Christmas

Twas the Night Before Christmas is a story familiar to youngsters everywhere.  I remember my Mom reading it to me when I was knee-high to a grasshopper.  You know, memories are funny things, and sometimes they fade or become intertwined with others, creating new memories until you're not sure what you really remember.  This is one of those times for me.

I think I remember making a book, probably out of construction paper, with the words and pictures from my copy of Twas The Night Before Christmas.  I suspect Mom helped me put it together, hole-punched it and bound it with yarn.  I believe this was a Christmas present for Daddy.  So far, I have not found this book as I continue to look through things in the attic, though I hope to come across it one day.

Since I cannot share with you my childhood artwork, I give you this video, which tells the story with the illustrations I think I remember from my book all those years ago.

Merry Christmas from our house to yours.  May you find peace and love in your homes and hearts.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Special Delivery

Internet shopping equals boxes and boxes equals a happy cat.  Just another reason to love Christmas! 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Something for Everyone?

Just in time for Christmas, Scotch introduces the stiletto tape dispenser.  Available in other colors and styles.  I guess there is indeed something for everyone!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bananas Risque

Written for the 30-day creative writing challenge hosted by Nicky and Mike of We Work For Cheese.  Today's prompt is The Awkwardness of the common banana.  This is day 17 of this never-endng challenge.  Check out the Linky at WWFC for some delightfully fruitful stories.

Banana Candle Salad
What would you think about a banana stuffed into a pineapple ring, smeared with mayo and topped with a cherry?  Let's just say it was not all that appealing, and left us feeling rather awkward.

The setting was Christmas back some 20 or so years ago.  We were visiting my in-laws over the holidays, and my mother-in-law, bless her heart, decided to make a special treat for us.  She found the recipe in a magazine or old cookbook (we didn't have the internet then) and proceeded to assemble her creation.  When she brought them out, we stared in disbelief at the somewhat suggestive looking item being placed before us.  Being the tactful people that we were, we tried to hide our...uh...amusement.  As you can see it's a rather risque looking dish.

We were holding back our laughter pretty well while we tried to figure out how to tell her just what it looked like.  That is until my brother-in-law exclaimed "that's a nasty chancre on that thing".  At that point we all burst out laughing, and had to explain what was so funny.

Interestingly, the banana candle recipe was originally published in several 1950s cookbooks for children. More recently I saw this recipe and picture in a popular spice catalog.  Apparently it was more common than we thought.

So tell me what you think - Yum or Yuck?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Happy Easter

However you celebrate Easter, with family and friends or Spring break, Church or Easter baskets, or just enjoying life and the renewal brought by the changing seasons, I wish you peace and happiness.  

Happy Easter to all!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Favorite Valentine

Happy Valentine's Day to us!

We're not like everyone else!

But it works for us!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day yesterday!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Season's Greetings

Merry Christmas
from our house to yours!

"Deck the Halls"  Christmas music in Johnson City, TX.

I'll be taking a short break for Christmas.  Enjoy the video, and I'll see you in about a week or so!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Post Turkey Day Blues

Mall of America

My paper is blank
And my brain's turned to mush
Is it the turkey I thank
Or the holiday rush

My thoughts they are fleeting
Like ships in the night
Nary a greeting
Nor squeal of delight

So it's off to the store
In search of great deals
Through every door
I burst with great zeal

Then I stop and I stare
In total dismay
At the items on shelves
In complete disarray

What are they thinking
I thought to myself
The lights are all blinking
But I don't see an elf

So homeward I head
With my parcels in tow
My feet are like lead
And I'm moving slow

I bid good night
To the holiday shoppers
Grabbing a bite
With the holiday swappers

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks for everything that makes our lives special.

Here are some of the things I am thankful for:

My husband
My friends
My cats
Good food
Diet beverages
Being safe and warm in my house
Being able to buy groceries
Dining out
Summer days
Going to the beach
My sense of smell
My health
My leaf blower
Being loved
Evening strolls
The freedom to be myself

Wishing everyone a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Happy Halloween

Image source: Joelk75
All kids, big and little, like Halloween, right?  All the candy, and parties and candy, and now the latest craze - Trunk or Treat, which I just heard about last year.  This is a relatively new Halloween activity where children go from trunk to trunk in a parking lot collecting candy, and is a safer alternative to traditional door-to-door trick or treating.  All you need is a parking lot, cars with decorated trunks and loads of candy.  Add ghosts, goblins, pirates and super heroes, and throw in Cinderella and a witch or two and you have the ideal Halloween recipe.

When I was growing up, we walked around our little neighborhood which had all of four streets.  There weren't even any street lights back then. As the sun was setting, the neighborhood kids, decked out in dime store costumes, took to the streets toting their bags or plastic jack-o-lanterns hoping for the "good" candy.  Yeah, baby, I'm talking CHOCOLATE!

The pictures below shows the bag (front and back) that my Mom painted for me one Halloween.  Did I mention that she was creative and talented?  This bag is one of my treasures.

Who wouldn't want a custom made, hand painted Halloween treat bag?

Fast forward to adulthood, and living on a busy road that isn't suitable for trick or treaters.  Upside?  I get to eat ALL the candy.

Now we come to my artistic talents.  I painted some treat bags a few years ago when Ashley's kids were here.  Below we have a witch with some bats and a ghost.  Scary, huh?


And here we have a very spooky tree, a full moon and a black cat - all essentials for Halloween.

I'd love to hear about your Halloween memories.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day Tribute

Image source: Rusty Russ
Memorial Day weekend has become the kick-off for summer activities, parties and vacations.  But more importantly, it is when we honor all those who have served our country and kept us safe at the risk of their own lives - many of which ended far to soon.  Let the flag wave and the bells ring, for Freedom is anything but Free.

Two of my uncles served in World War II, and I have many pictures taken during that time.  It is not something they liked to talk about.  My Uncle Charlie was awarded a medal, and although I've searched high and low, I can't find the paper with the information so I don't know what it was called, but he got it for bravery, leadership and refusing to leave his men under fire even though he had been injured. 

He was one of the special men in my life.  He was a carpenter by trade, and like my father, he was never afraid of anything. 

Here he is with the WWII flag.  Notice that this is not like our flag today.  This flag has only 48 stars.

Uncle Charlie

So when you plan your celebration, light up the barbecue, or pop the top on that first beer, remember those whose sacrifice made it possible.

And now I would like to leave you with this thought - something Uncle Charlie would say now and then.  

If a man's sick he's not well and everything he eats goes to his stomach.  

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Delights

Happy Easter everyone!  This year Easter falls on April 24, or one day earlier than the latest possible date.  Because of the changing dates, Easter could nearly be considered a "floating holiday".  I mean think about it, Christmas is always December 25 no matter what day of the week it happens to be, and Thanksgiving is always the fourth Thursday in November, no matter what the date.  But Easter can be as early as March 22 and as late as April 25.  Why is that?

The calculations are a bit complex, and I confess I find it too confusing to read, absorb and spew it back for you, so here is the way one source explains it:
Easter Sunday is the Sunday following the Paschal Full Moon (PFM) date for the year. In June 325 A.D. astronomers approximated astronomical full moon dates for the Christian church, calling them Ecclesiastical Full Moon (EFM) dates. From 326 A.D. the PFM date has always been the EFM date after March 20 (which was the equinox date in 325 A.D.).*
Aside from the date-related confusion, Easter brings many traditions, some religious, some cultural and some just for kids.  Here are some of the things you see around Easter.

Easter Eggs.  The egg, the pagan symbol of rebirth, was adopted by Christians as the symbol of Jesus' resurrection.  Today, a popular Easter activity is an Easter Egg hunt. Here's a tip for boiling all those eggs.

As with most holidays, there is one or more foods associated with it.  First is a tasty treat called Hot Cross Buns, which were allegedly small wheat cakes baked to honor Eostre, goddess of Spring.  Later, Christians substituted sweetbreads blessed by the church.

The roast lamb found on many Easter dinner tables dates back to the first Passover of the Jewish people.  People would eat the roast lamb, hoping that God's angels would pass them over, thus the term Passover.

Ham is another popular Easter entree.  In the early days before refrigeration, any fresh pork that wasn't consumed during the winter before Lent was cured, and since this process takes a while, the hams were ready just in time for Easter making them the perfect choice for Easter dinner.  

What are some of your favorite Easter traditions?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Going Green?

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day, or St. Paddy's Day as many call it.  It is a day of celebration, drinking, feasting, and coloring things green...water, beer, etc.  Digging into the archives, here is a post I wrote last year to take a deeper look at St. Patrick's Day, who St. Patrick was, and why we celebrate his life.  

While it will be a day filled with festivities and celebration among those of Irish descent, and those who just like any excuse to party, for Japan it is a different story.  In the wake of the massive earthquake and ensuing tsunami, many have lost loved ones, are homeless, cold, hungry and scared. 

So, while we celebrate with our friends and families, let's stop for a moment and consider the suffering of our fellow humans. 

On a lighter note, anyone having or going to a party?

If you wish to help, there are a number of ways to donate such as through the Red Cross, and Second Harvest Japan, a food bank.  However, if you choose to donate, please select your charitable organization carefully.  Tragedy not only brings out those willing to help, but the unscrupulous as well.


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