Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Resolutions For The Kids Too!

From Vincent Iannelli, M.D., Your Guide to Pediatrics at

In addition to your own New Year's Parenting Resolutions, this year, how about helping your kids, even your preschoolers and younger school age kids, come up with some New Year's Resolutions?
With the rise in childhood obesity, continued parental complaints about discipline and behavior problems, and continued teen problems, such as drug and alcohol use, some New Year's Resolutions to be healthy might be a good idea.

This year, the American Academy of Pediatrics has made it easy by providing these 20 New Year's tips, which you might talk to your child about trying, depending on their age

Read The Twenty New Year's Tips By Clicking Here

I wish your family a Happy, Healthy, Blessed New Year!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Resolve To Be A More Effective Parent This Year

With Advice From Pediatrician Vincent Iannelli, M.D.,

We often hear of New Year's Resolutions for people to start exercising more, eat healthier, stop smoking, etc., but this year, how about adding some resolutions to help make you a more effective parent?
Is there anything you would like to, or need to, change about your parenting techniques?

Is there a behavior or habit of your child that you wish you could help change?

Here are some parenting resolutions that you may consider making to help your child lead a healthy and happy life:

>Be A Good Role Model

>Effective Discipline

>Learn to Understand Your Child

>Teach Your Children to Eat Healthy

>Encourage Regular Physical Activity

>Know Your Kids

>Be Prepared

These are all super resolutions - I'm sure we're all in agreement on that!
But how do we put these ideas into practice in our parenting? (and grandparenting?)
Read the rest of Dr. Ianelli's article here for some answers.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Children and Holidays : A Year Round Celebration

by Barbara Freedman-De Vito

For children, every month of the year should be a fun-filled celebration of something special, from large occasions like the birth of a new brother or sister, a child's birthday, or Christmas, to the smaller milestones of everyday life, such as losing the first baby tooth or coming to the end of another school year. Often families hold large-scale celebrations surrounding certain events, but may pass others over entirely. The purpose of this article is to suggest ways in which parents can make every month special and uniquely memorable for their children.

Picture the scene. It's Christmastime. Many homes, especially if there are children, are framed in twinkling lights, have Christmas wreaths hanging on the front doors, and perhaps Santa's sleigh adorning the front lawn, in addition to a lovingly trimmed Christmas tree in the livingroom. The act of making or putting up these decorations provides a special opportunity for parents and children to participate in a creative endeavor together. It heightens the child's anticipation of the big holiday to come and provides an enjoyable day spent doing things together.

Because of its association with a very special annual event, it may particularly stand out in the child's mind and even become a cherished childhood memory, lasting long after the child has grown into adulthood. Moments such as these linger and contribute to the special bond between parents and children and become tender memories that grown children and their parents can hold onto forever.

After New Year's Day, when the Christmas tree comes down and the last string of tiny light bulbs has been packed away, it's a bit of a letdown and signals a return to the routine passing of the days. Well, instead of just packing away all of these fanciful flourishes for another year, why not segue directly into another holiday ? In January, this could be preparations for Chinese New Year or for Valentine's Day. Why not put equal care and attention into doing up the house for each subsequent special event throughout the year ? With a bit of planning and effort, every month can mark a new festival of creativity, excitement and anticipation. The house need never revert to dullness and children need never feel that the fun's all over until next year. This practice will also allow your children to take pride in their own artistic accomplishments, the fruits of which will be on display all around them.

Here is a list of just some of the annual events that you might wish to make a bigger fuss over, in terms of decorating a single room or decorating your entire home, inside and out. You may even choose to make gift-giving a part of a broader range of annual events, just for the pleasure of giving. You might bake a special cake and have a party with a particular theme in mind, and incorporate that theme into all of your table trimmings. Some of the following widely celebrated holidays and other special observances have fixed dates, while others vary a bit from year to year :

January 1 - New Year's Day
midJanuary - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
January - Chinese New Year
February - African-American History Month
February 2 - Groundhog Day
February 14 - Valentine's Day
March - Women's History Month
March 17 - Saint Patrick's Day
late March or April - Easter
April - National Library Week
May - Older Americans Month
May – Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
May - Be Kind To Animals Week
midMay - Mother's Day
midJune - Father's Day
July 4 - American Independence Day
September - Grandparents Day
September 15 to October 15 - Hispanic Heritage Month
October 12 - Columbus Day
October 31 - Halloween
November - American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month
November - National Children's Book Week
late November - Thanksgiving
late November or December - Chanukah
December 25 - Christmas
December 26 to January 1 - Kwanzaa

To find detailed information on designs to use or special pictures and symbols to go with each event, you can consult Internet or find a book on holidays at your local library. Whatever your religion, you may also want to decorate your home for your faith’s unique holidays and traditional celebrations, the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot, for example. Don't forget to doll up the place for all personal family events, too, such as each family member's birthday, graduations, anniversaries and the like. How about celebrating when your child successfully learns to ride a bicycle or loses a baby tooth ? You might even mark the arrival of a new pet, or a long overdue visit from a favorite relative who lives far away.

For each event, you may or may not choose to use some store-bought ornaments and objects related to the festivity, but you should also always include many homemade decorations. The art sessions during which you and your children design and make your own decorations add to family closeness and create special memories in and of themselves. They also encourage your children to tap their own creativity, to develop original ideas and see them through, and to trust their own instincts.

You might buy some basic materials, such as rolls of ribbon or crepe paper or rolls of colored cellophane and pipe cleaners, or really maximize your resourcefulness by relying primarily on odds and ends that you already have lying around the house. These could include bits of colored construction paper, tin foil, crayons, cotton balls, leftover ribbons and yarn. Be careful, of course, to keep scissors and swallowable objects out of the reach of small children and exercise caution if you have pets in your house. Please be careful not to use any decorations or materials that may be poisonous, such as poinsettias, or otherwise harmful to pets. For example, cats may swallow tinsel, which can then block their intestines, or pets may become tangled up in or choked by long, string-like strips of ribbon and such.

When plannng each project, let your kids decide what to make and where to put each item, or start with one room plus an idea of that room's overall decorative potential, such as a garland here, a mobile there, and a picture over there, and then set about to construct each desired element. Take plenty of photos along the way, not only of your resplendant rooms once they've been all gussied up, but also of your family's "making of" activities. You may even decide to start a special photo album just for this purpose.

Later, when the time comes to take down all of the decorations from a particular special event, pack them lovingly away so that next year you can reuse some, in addition to creating some new ones each year. You can gradually build up your own personal inventory of special ornaments and trimmings for each event in the year. Then, in years to come, they can be brought out for nostalgic afternoons with your adult children, or for sharing with your grandchildren. Each decoration or photo will have its own story to tell and, after all, these are the special moments that lifetime memories are made of.

Visit Barbara Freedman-De Vito's shop for T-Shirts, Mugs, Magnets, Clothing, and Gifts with holiday designs and more.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007


There's a strong connection between family traditions and rituals and the ability of a family to survive and thrive in today's world.

The family has changed dramatically over the last century. Family members are spread across the country. Young and old have their own separate, hectic schedules. Family time becomes a casualty to tired parents, children's sports practices or lessons, and the lure of television. We're also caught between a pop culture ideal of individual happiness and fulfillment, and the dream of love and connection sold in commercials. We still love each other and we have no less desire for meaning and connection. But we drift apart and feel empty.

We don't know how to deal with the changed family. We generate the highest expectations of family life of any generation in human history, but provide the least guidance and support for making it happen. There are few rules. And so we struggle along, each trying to figure it out in a way that will make sense for ourselves and our circumstances. Building a family, just like building a home, a career, or world peace, needs a plan and conscious, continuous effort. It also requires a foundation on which to build and maintain real relationships, even when they get messy and difficult.

One way to establish that foundation, to find order amid the chaos, is through tradition and ritual. This doesn't mean "going back to the good old days" (there really weren't any), but it does mean connecting to each other and our communities in a habitual pattern that we can count on and that slows us down every once in a while. Traditions and rituals are a powerful way to balance the whirlwind of our lives. We are creatures of habit. And when we ingrain a family tradition, it becomes a habit that anchors us. Traditions and rituals can pull us back to what's important – a story at bedtime, a weekend meal, a holiday gathering. Our best memories – and sometimes our worst – tend to be tied to family traditions and rituals. It's not only how we communicate in a family, but how we enact our connections that matters. Research is slowly beginning to uncover tradition and ritual as a very important factor in strong, close families.

Read the rest of this article Here at the National Legacy Project website, then take a look at 12 Ideas for bringing the generations of your family closer together.

1. Start in the Kitchen: Research shows the kitchen - not the living room or dining room - is the most relaxed place to make cozy memories. We smell, we taste, we talk, we learn things in the kitchen. Something as simple as baking cookies (even if you use a mix!) can create a loving memory.

2. Have Your Own Family Book Club
: Choose a new book every month. If you're a grandparent who lives far away from your grandchildren, mail a book a month - even send along an audiotape of yourself reading the story! This gives you something to share, and to talk about in person or over the phone.

3. Use the Power of Story: Read aloud as a family- even with teenagers! It's a cozy activity all ages can enjoy that builds bonds - and can start important conversations. When you finish a story, share the memories or stories from your own life that it evokes. This helps children get to know you and themselves. Bring your stories alive by using old mementos (your mother's earrings, your grandfather's watch, an old train ticket).

4. Make It Picture Perfect: Have a family scrapbook party. Children, parents, and grandparents can choose their favorite photos and you can decorate themed pages. It's a great way to organize those scattered photo packets, recall family memories, and create a treasured keepsake. If you live far apart, photocopy old family photos, write a few lines at the bottom about what's going on, and every once in a while mail a photocopy as a reminder of family history.

5. Involve All Ages in a Collection: Whether it's rocks, coins, or baseball cards, a shared family interest gives generations something to talk about and enjoy together.

6. Give a Keepsake: When parents and grandparents give a keepsake, explain or write down the story behind it. Where did it come from? Why is it important?

7. Remember Two Small Words: parents should encourage a simple "thank you" note whenever children get a gift from a grandparent. This teaches kids an important social skill, and makes grandparents feel appreciated.

8. Bestow Your Furniture: Assign a special piece of furniture to each child or grandchild. It's like giving twice - now and in the future- and makes children feel important.

9. Encourage Family Rituals: The more complicated the world gets, the more simple things matter. From waving good-bye from the same window every morning to going to the local pizza place every Friday night, these are the moments that make memories.

10. Share Your "Best Memory": Even in a strained relationship, one of the most powerful gifts you can give is a short note describing your best memory of someone. They're often surprised at what it is!

11. Interview an Elder: When children interview an elder, they learn an important communication skill and come to understand their past. Older people often value the chance to talk about their lives.

12. Hug Someone You Love: Research shows that the older people get, the fewer hugs we give them. But "big, warm smiles and warm snuggly hugs" aren't just for kids. We all need them! Remember to give your child or grandchild, and your parent or grandparent, that extra hug.

The national Legacy Project is a community service initiative that offers grandparents and parents lots of free information, ideas, activities, and contests to bring the generations in your family closer together. These 12 tips to get you started are from Legacy Project Chair Susan V. Bosak. For more great ideas, visit the Legacy Project website at

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Preserving A Festival Of Hope

By Eugene J. McCarthy

One should not take Christmas for granted, though it has managed to survive "Jingle Bells" and even "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus."

It has survived biblical scholarship that questions the time and place of the Nativity and raises doubts as to whether or not the Three Wise Men ever went to Bethlehem. It has survived the new theology that says Easter's religion mystery is of greater significance that that of Christmas.

Christmas has even survived civil liberties organizations pledged to eliminate the observance of the day from schools.

Christmas has, so far, withstood the threat of artificial trees and plastic ornaments.

Its strength lies in the fact that Christmas is a celebration of hope, and hope dies hard. Hope is a special virtue of children and a special need of adults.
Hope is very difficult to describe or to represent in sign or symbol. One can only work around it, leaving empty spaces to be filled.

There are five or six important guides that, I believe, would help protect and preserve Christmas as a festival of hope.

The first is that the tree should be real. It should threaten to fade and lose its needles before the end of the holiday season. The ornaments should not be plastic or permanent, but should be fragile and breakable. One or two should be broken each year. The rest should be saved, carefully packed away from year to year.

The wrapping of gifts with special Christmas paper, a practice that developed to its present strength during the Great Depression, when people had little to give, should be continued. It is, I think, also a good practice to save paper and boxes from one Christmas to the next, in anticipation of sending presents, even though the paper or boxes in most cases are not reused.

The saving of them is an act of hope.

There are no set rules for gifts to adults, but as to children's gifts, there are some worthy of note.

Obviously, there should be toys, but among those toys should be one or two that will not last much beyond the Christmas season. A drum for a boy, as an example, which he will play knowing that it will not last long and knowing also that it may well be the last drum he will ever be given.

There should be at least one gift that cannot be used until another season, thus giving in winter a dream of spring or summer, or fall.

I am against new pets as Christmas gifts. Old pets are fine at Christmas, but new pets are a distraction and, in any case, deserve separate attention.

In cold climates, at least one gift should be something to keep one warm.

Other holidays appeal to one or two of the senses, but Christmas appeals to all five: taste with its special foods; touch with fire and warmth; hearing with music; and sight with trees and tinsel. More than any other holiday, Christmas also respects the sense of smell. Among the threee gifts brought to Bethlehem by the Wise Men, The Scriptures tell us that two - frankincense and myrrh - appealed to the sense of smell. So Christmas should be remembered for the scents of pine, oranges, ginger and cloves.

Former Sen. Eugene J. McCarthy of Minnesota died Dec. 10, 2005

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Best Santa Videos On The Web!

And remember - to track Santa and see how close he is to your house tonight, visit NORAD's Santa Tracker at

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Christmas Ornament Tradition

Ideas for starting a Christmas ornament tradition in your family - by Rachel Paxton.

When my husband and I got married, my mother-in-law introduced me to one of her favorite Christmas traditions. She has five children, and for years she has been collecting ornaments for each of her children so that they can take their collection of ornaments with them when they have their own families.

I decided to start this tradition in our own family. Every year my daughter picks out a new ornament for her own collection. It's fun to look through all of the old ornaments and see how her collection has grown. The variety of ornaments shows how her tastes and interests have changed throughout the years.

You would think only girls would be interested in collecting Christmas ornaments. Actually, my husband has a lot of Christmas ornaments he really enjoys. He has several ornaments representing his favorite college and NFL football teams. He also treasures many of the keepsake ornaments his mother has made for him throughout the years.

There are a variety of ornaments you and your children can choose from to collect. If you have the time and desire to make them, you can purchase many types of ornament kits at craft stores. You can find beaded ornaments, ornaments made from felt, ornaments made from plastic canvas, and many others. This year I found a Nemo felt ornament kit at Walmart. My boys love Nemo and I thought they would be fun to make. They are turning out beautifully, but are taking much longer to make than I expected. I'll maybe have them done by next year! You might choose to make ornaments with your children. Clay ornaments are easy and fun to make.

If you don't want to make ornaments, buying them can be fun too. This year I purchased my boys' ornaments at a Christmas craft show. They had clay ornaments made to look like Thomas the Tank Engine that were absolutely adorable. They personalized the ornaments with their names and the year for free. Christmas bazaars are a great place to look for unique ornaments. Look for ornaments while you are travelling. Many gift shops have ornaments you can purchase to remind you of your favorite vacation spots. Ebay is also a good place to find ornaments. Last year I purchased an ornament on Ebay that had my husband's favorite football team on it. I'd never seen another one like it, and he loved it.

As you can see, collecting Christmas ornaments can be fun for the whole family. Every year your kids will look forward to picking out their new ornament to put on the tree. Make sure to write their names and the year on the back or bottom of the ornament with a permanent marker so you can keep track of everyone's ornaments!

Visit to find out how to decoupage a beautiful box to store your keepsake ornaments in.

Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom who is the author of What's for Dinner?, an e-cookbook containing more than 250 quick easy dinner ideas. For more recipes, gardening, organizing tips, home decorating, holiday hints, and more, visit Creative Homemaking at

Thursday, December 20, 2007

This Week's Thursday Thirteen - The Thirteen Ingredients For Making Figgy Pudding

Thursday Thirteen

Oh, bring us a figgy pudding;
Oh, bring us a figgy pudding;
Oh, bring us a figgy pudding and a cup of good cheer
We won't go until we get some;
We won't go until we get some;
We won't go until we get some, so bring some out here

Well, to begin with, Grammy finds this to be a bit rude and demanding and doesn't care much for the threat about not leaving. That is not polite.
However, it is Christmas and children do become overstimulated, so I suppose...

The second problem is, Grammy is not real sure what figgy pudding consists of (other than figs?) and doesn't know how to make one.
Until today.

Figgy Pudding:

2 package(s) (8 ounces each) dried Calimyrna figs
1 3/4 cup(s) milk
1 1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1 cup(s) sugar
2 1/2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
1 teaspoon(s) ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon(s) salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup(s) (1 stick) margarine or butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 1/2 cup(s) (3 to 4 slices white bread) fresh bread crumbs
1 tablespoon(s) grated orange peel
Marzipan fruit and greens, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 1/2-quart metal steamed-pudding mold or fluted tube pan.

With kitchen shears, cut stems from figs; cut figs into small pieces. In 2-quart saucepan over medium-low heat, cook figs and milk, covered, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally (mixture may look curdled). Be careful not to let mixture boil.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt.

In large bowl, with mixer at high speed, beat eggs 1 minute. Reduce speed to low; add margarine or butter, bread crumbs, orange peel, and warm fig mixture. Gradually add flour mixture; beat until just blended.

Spoon fig mixture into mold, smoothing top. Cover with sheet of greased foil, greased-side down. (If your mold has a lid, grease the inside and do not use foil.)
Place the mold in a deep roasting pan and place on oven rack. Pour hot tap water into roasting pan to come 2 inches up side of mold.

Bake pudding 2 hours or until firm and it pulls away from side of mold. Remove pudding from water bath; remove foil and cool on wire rack 10 minutes. Invert onto serving plate; remove mold. Garnish with marzipan fruit and greens. Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream.

So that's figgy pudding. With thirteen ingredients. I doubt that I'll make any but it is good to know how it's done. Maybe if someone were to ask politely?

We wish you a Merry Christmas;
We wish you a Merry Christmas;
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Good tidings we bring to you and your kin;
Good tidings for Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Free Kindness Pass-Along Gift Cards (I Love This!)

'Pay it Forward' Acts of Kindness

You've heard the heartwarming stories about people who have committed "random acts of kindness" by tossing extra change into a toll booth for the car behind it, or by paying for a cup of coffee for the next person in line. Often the kind deed is appreciated by the recipient, and wouldn't it be awesome if the incentive to "pass it on" is also present? Now it can be!

To help that "kind energy" to keep moving forward, Creativity Portal's Chris Dunmire has invented one way to inspire more kind acts to continue from person to person through these Kindness Pass-Along Gift Cards. These cards are free for you to download print, and use simply by visiting the website Here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

'Twas The Week Before Christmas - And There's Still Time To Make It From Scratch

The final edition before Christmas of the Make It From Scratch blog carnival is Here and once again, it's full of really good stuff...

Visit Mrs. Micah's site and find links to all of the participants - lots of recipes, last minute craft ideas, some different thoughts on ways to celebrate.

I love Make It From Scratch day!

Monday, December 17, 2007

NORAD ( The North American Aerospace Defense Command) Tracks Santa

Since 1955, the NORAD Tracks Santa Program (NTS) has been managed by the NORAD and United States Northern Command Public Affairs Office at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, HQ NORAD/NORTHCOM.
You can visit their website now to start counting down to Christmas Eve with fun games and activities.
Get Started!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Free Holiday E-Cards !

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen places to find free holiday e-greetings for all your friends!

1. 123 Greetings – free greetings for the planet

2. Koala’s Free Christmas Email Cards – including some cards with an Australian theme

3.DaySpring Christian E-Cards


5. Tess’ Castle In The Sky Free Christmas E-Cards

6. Christmas on the Net has free egreeting cards and a lot more

7. RiverSongs Christmas Greetings – these are beautiful…

8. Christmas snow scenes, vintage Santas, art cards at AskAlana

9. Send a Virtual Beargram from the Vermont Teddy Bear Company

10 Greet2k Free Christmas eCards


12 Vintage Christmas E Cards from Christmas Past

13.And last, but surely not least - Elf Yourself from Office Max
Check it out!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Yuletide Trivia and Fun Christmas Facts

Did you know?

* Modern day astronomers say that the famous Star of Bethlehem wasn't a star at all. More than likely, it was either a comet or an astronomical phenomenon caused by the conjunction of several planets at once. (that still makes it a "Star of Wonder" in my book!)

* According to historical records, the first American Christmas festivities took place in Jamestown in 1607. The celebration was meant to cheer up the forty settlers who had survived living in the New World. (The original number was one hundred)

* Because the British Parliament felt that Christmas was a heathen holiday, they officially abolished all related festivities in 1643.

* Alabama was the first state to give Christmas the status of a legal holiday, while Oklahoma was the last state to do so. They didn't declare Christmas a legal holiday until 1907.

* Donder, (not Donner), which means thunder, was the original name of the reindeer who helped pull Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve. He was paired with Blitzen, whose name means lightning.

* The story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was written as an advertising and promotional give-away for the Montgomery Ward Company in 1939 by one of its employees, Robert L. May. The little book was given away free to every customer who shopped there during the holiday season.

* The candy cane first gained popularity in churches, where it was given as a treat to children who behaved themselves during services.

* Gingerbread houses became popular holiday gifts during the nineteenth century after The Brothers Grimm released the story of Hansel and Grethel.

* St. Francis of Assisi was the first to introduce the singing of Christmas carols during holiday church services.

* The first American Christmas carol - a song named "Jesus Is Born" - was written by Reverend John de Brebeur in 1649.

* Irving Berlin wrote the popular carol "I'm Dreaming Of A White Christmas" in 1942 for the movie Holiday Inn starring Bing Crosby.

* Two years after World War II ended, the people of Oslo, Norway sent a holiday tree to the city of Westminster in appreciation of British support. This tradition continues today.

* Along the shores of the Mississippi River - especially along the Louisiana coastline - bonfires are lit on Christmas Eve to light the way for Father Christmas.

* The image of Santa as we know it today was popularized by none other than the Coca-Cola Company in their Christmas ad campaign.

* The custom of Santa eating cookies on Christmas Eve originated in Germany where trees were decorated with fruit, flowers and sweets. After leaving gifts for good children, Santa would help himself the some goodies from the tree.

* Santa's fur-trimmed suit, his cap, and his cloak were fashioned after the clothing ot the Dutch Saint Nicholas, who wore a bishop's mitre and vestments.

* Santa isn't done when Christmas is over. As St. Nicholas, he is also the patron saint responsible for Greece, Russia, sailors, merchants, pawnbrokers, bakers, prisoners, children, and wolves - tasks that keep him busy all year!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Make It From Scratch - For Christmas!

My post for today has been made super easy by Summer at Summer's Nook and the ladies of the 43rd edition of the Make It From Scratch Blog Carnival. This week's carnival is loaded with Christmas crafts, gifts, comforts and recipes.
Go on over to Summer's Nook and take a look!

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Candy House

It began two weeks ago when we went to visit Santa and Maya saw the Candy House.
oooohhhh....a Candy House....

Since then, she's seen candy houses at Walgreen's and at Big Y, she spotted candy houses in Christmas magazines. There was a candy house in a commercial on TV.
Every time she saw one, Maya wanted me to look at it too.
A Candy House.

This morning we made a Candy House.

Nothing fancy, not a gingerbread house, our house began as a cardboard box covered with foil. We frosted it, shingled it with graham crackers, then dressed ourselves in coats and hats and boots and mittens and set out for a walk to the corner store for the candy.

By lunch time, we had our very own Candy House.

Now that it's almost time for bed, our candy house has a lot less candy.
I tried to quell the vandalism - "nibble, nibble, little mouse! Who's that nibbling at my house?"

"It's me, Maya. I'm eating the candy off this house."

Alrighty then.
Carry on.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Now Here's A Good Site!

This is a big site full of Good Things.
I stumbled across it looking for Christmas ideas and they certainly have those!

Here are nearly 200 Christmas recipes that ThriftyFun users have submitted throughout the years.

But here's the idea I loved - simple, thrifty, fun!

Greeting Card Finger Puppets!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Thursday Thirteen - Lots and Lots Of Holiday Games For My Mom - The Great-Grandmother Of Our Family !


1. Free Christmas
jigsaw puzzles, mah jong, card games

2. Christmas Games -
Online Christmas games and puzzles for kids. Includes coloring games, word search, and tic tac toe. ...

This one has some pretty tough trivia games!

4. DLTK's Christmas Games for Kids
Offers online and printable Christmas games and puzzles, coloring pages

5.Christmas games for Moms, Grandmoms and Kids at

6. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis offers Jolly Days Winter Wonderland
Fun Winter Activities for the younger set (Pre-K through grade school)

7. CR Puzzles
Your on-line puzzle magazine
Okay, they aren’t Christmas puzzles, but if you’re a word puzzle fanatic (like my mom) this site is packed!

8. Family Fun’s Classic Games Index

9. A Christmas Cat Jigsaw Puzzle – very pretty!

10. Christmas Concentration, Holiday Word Searches, Math puzzles at Coolmath Christmas

11. Make a Christmas Snow Globe with Holly Hobbie and email it to your friends!

12. Snowflake Fun And Games – lots, some online, some printable

13. And finally, a page of Christmas Jokes and Riddles

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Christmas Stories For Everyone To Enjoy From

Simply click on the links to visit the HighlightsKids website and start reading!

Merry Christmas from the Moon!
On December 24, 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 gave an unforgettable present to the people of Earth.

The Spiders' Gift
Spiders brought beauty and hope into an old woman's Christmas.

Christmas Comes to Miz Cricket
Miz Cricket learns the meaning of Christmas.

Ma Planned a Surprise
Clever Ma is making presents for everyone.

What Dad Wanted
Sam wants to get Dad something that he needs for Christmas

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Cruising Through The Holidays With

Do you know about the FlyLady? It is a very selfish Grammy who keeps this information to herself - or rather, a very forgetful one - I should have passed this on long ago! I've really come to believe that the best (if not only) way to get to the Main Event - aka Christmas Day - with your sanity intact is to do it the FlyLady way! (and no, I am not a FlyLady affiliate. I don't think she offers an affiliate program. Nor is this a "pay per post" gig. I simply and sincerely swear by FlyLady)
So go on over there, download your Free Holiday Control Journal , read Kelly's Holiday Cruising Missions, get the Clutter Free Gift Ideas , then keep on going through the Holiday SHE Shouldn'ts, FlyLady's Holiday Essays ,The Where and the How for the Holidays and maybe most important of all -
Do Not Allow Anyone to Steal Your Peace.

Merry Christmas and Enjoy The Cruise!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Countdown To Christmas!

We had an ice storm today, glistening and beautiful and taking down a power line this afternoon. I came to my desk tonight planning to seek out a good selection of Advent and Christmas countdown activities for the children to enjoy.
And to keep the children busy so the grandmothers can get something accomplished during the day!

It turns out that Beverly Hernandez, Your Guide to Homeschooling at has already done the job for me. In fact, she's done a far more thorough job than I planned on doing!

I'll be visiting Beverly's Christmas Countdown Calendar Pages every day from now until Christmas to use her great ideas. ( and I still won't have time to do them all!)
Thank you and Three Cheers for Beverly!
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

A Special Saturday Edition, A Special Make-It-From-Scratch Carnival Entry And A Very Special Guest Blogger - Grandma Strange's Folk Art Rag Bag

Thank You To Grace Martin at WOW, that had to hurt for sharing her blog, her talent and her very special knit "rags"!

Please be sure to view all of the entries in the Make-It-From-Scratch blog carnival -
Click Here

from Grace:

Grandma Strange's Folk Art Rag Bag

My Grandma Strange was old fashioned & a loving Grandma. She always wore a braid in the back of her hair & always wore an apron. Grandma knitted dish cloths/cleaning rags from left over yarn before paper towels were manufactured or purchasing rags became popular.

Grandma taught me to knit and while we knitted the afternoons away, we would talk. She would show me that every rag we made was different, not perfect, just like people. I learned many life lessons during my knitting visits with Grandma Strange.

I remember my visits like they were yesterday. Grandma was quite plump & would always greet me with warm hug. It was like being engulfed by a billowy pillow.

Now, as an adult, I would like one visit with Grandma Strange, but it is not possible. So, I knit rags in loving memory of my Grandma Strange. No matter how bad life is or what is going on, I can always knit & picture Grandma here to talk things over with. There were times she only had to look at me & I knew what she was saying.

Remember, these rags are just like Grandma Strange's Rag Bag. None of the rags are perfect or the same as the one before or after. I kept the bright, funny colors too. We had to use the left over yarn. There was never yarn to make one rag the same color.

If you would like to purchase a rag or two, please Visit Grace By Clicking Here for all the details.