Tis the season! This phrase has many meanings. The Holidays are nearly upon us, but for those of us with trees, it is now leaf blowing/raking season as well. Remember when you could rake them up into a big pile and after an afternoon of running and jumping into them, you would rake them back into a pile and burn them? I guess some folks can still do that, but not us city-dwellers. Nope, we rake, blow or otherwise collect bushels and bushels of leaves to deposit at the street for the city to come by with their huge leaf-sucking machines and vacuum them up.
Now for a look at the more traditional season. That's right, Turkey Day is just around the corner. Christmas parades, tons of food, long siestas, and of course, football, team up to make the fourth Thursday in November, not just any day, but Thanksgiving Day. I must one of the few people on the planet who doesn't get all wound up over a big Thanksgiving Day meal. It is a day that gives us license to make enough food to feed a starving army - to serve a half dozen people, and then eat as if we were that starving army. I realize that many gatherings are much larger, so just multiply by your gathering by a factor of 10 and you will have comparatively the same amount of food per person. Thanksgiving also gives us license to eat as if it's our last opportunity to feed for the next year. Picture this: Frank: "I'm stuffed." Bob: "I can't move...I can't even breathe." Ron: "Alice, why did you let me eat so much?" [belch] Then you hear a voice from the kitchen. "Does anyone want more pie?" Frank: "Yeah, I'll take a slice." Bob: "Me too!" Ron: "Maybe just a small piece." Do you hear conversations like this around your house after the big meal? It's like we become bottomless food pits, and despite all the moaning and groaning, we continue to pick away at the leftovers until they are secured in plastic take-home containers for us to recreate the feast the next day. No one walks away empty handed. Guess what? Christmas is only 47 days away, and we can start all over again. Click herefor an update on how long you have left to shop! No time to comment? Please click the visitors box below to let me know you stopped by.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.