Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Handmade Holiday

I know Christmas is over, but I had so much fun this holiday, making new things, crafting with my daughter, trying out ideas from Pinterest.  I want to share some of our creations.  Link up with Thursday Thirteen, or add your link at the bottom of this page.  To find out more about Thursday Thirteen, click here.

1.  I learned to make bows, so my daughter thought of a way to display it.

2.  And another bow on this wreath I made.

3.  Noel. I mod-podged some wooden blocks with dictionary pages then made letter signs for them.  I wanted to do this last year, but this year, I finally did.

4.  My daughter saw an idea to make coasters, so she did.  She put pictures of her sister's dog on them and gave them to her for Christmas.

5.  This was a fun wrapping idea we got from Pinterest.

6.  My friend Tamy sent me homemade tangerine/pineapple/applesauce.

7.  Another idea from Pinterest for our veggie tray.

8.  Cake balls have become our specialty for the last two years.

9.  A mesh wreath my daughter made.

10.  A little styrofoam cone I made into a little Christmas tree decoration.

11.  A mesh wreath I made.

12.  Ornaments, snowy, gold, and red.

13.  My other daughter made a homemade apple pie.  (sorry no picture)

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Around the World

I am linking up with Thursday 13, and placing a Mr. Linky below since the T13 site is inactive right now.  If you're new to Thursday Thirteen, you can find out more here.

1.  Gl├Ždelig Jul...Denmark.  Most families eat a special kind of rice pudding on Christmas.  It has almonds in it.  All the almonds are chopped into pieces except one.  Whoever find the whole almond in his pudding gets a special "almond present' which is often a marzipan pig.


2.  Buone Feste Natalizie.  Italy  The Nativity Scene is important in celebrating Christmas.  St. Francis of Assisi made popular the use of the crib in a Nativity Scene.  Having cribs in the home became commonplace in the 16th century.  Before that, cribs were only found in churches and monasteries.  Baby Jesus is placed in the crib on the night of December 24th.


3.  Feliz Natal  Brazil  Christmas plays called Los Pastores, which means The Shepherds, are popular.  Sometimes the plays include a woman who tries to steal the baby Jesus.  Papai Noel and Bom Velhinho might leave gifts if your sock is placed by a window. 

4.  Hyvaa joulua  Finland  Father Christmas lives in the northern part of Finland, and there is a theme park called Christmas Land that is visited by people from all over the world.  It is a modern tradition to visit cemeteries at night (it gets dark early) to visit the graves of family members who leave candle-lit lanterns there.  The lanterns shine in the snow creating a winter wonderland.


5.  Joyeux Noel  France   The French use clay figures in their Nativity scenes instead of wooden ones.  They burn Yule logs made from cherry wood and sprinkled with wine.  Santa Claus is called Pere Noel (Father Christmas).
6.  Kala Christouyenna  Greece  Christmas trees are not traditional in Greece.  On Christmas Eve, children go caroling.  They often take model boats with them, which is a very old custom of the Greek Isles.  If the carolers sing well, they are often given money or nuts, sweet, or figs to eat.

7.  Feliz Navidad  Mexico  Christmas is celebrated from December 12 to January 6th.  One tradition is called the Posada in which children go from house to house asking for lodging until they are finally told that, yes, there is lodging here.  They enter the home, give thanks, then have a party with food, games, and fireworks.  Christmas Eve mass is known as Misa de Gallo (Mass of the Rooster).  Christmas Day often includes fireworks.

8.  Feliz Navidad  Argentina  The Christmas season is warm in Argentina.  Christmas trees are a popular decoration.  People often put cotton balls on the tree to represent snow.  Any type of tree can be a Christmas tree, not just a fir.  On Christmas Eve, they have paper decorations with a light inside that are similar to Chinese lanterns.

9.  Vesele Vianoce  Slovakia  Baby Jesus brings the presents for Christmas in Slovakia.  The children must leave the room so Baby Jesus can bring gifts, and when the gifts are there, a bell is rung.  The children run to the Christmas tree trying to catch a glimpse of Baby Jesus, but they always narrowly miss seeing Him.  The traditional Christmas meal is carp.

10. Gledileg Jol  Iceland  The Yule tree is decorated on December 23.  Celebrations usually begin at 6PM on Yule Eve with children opening presents and a meal of roast lamb.  They also make leaf bread which is thin sheets of dough cut into delicate designs and fried.  Each family might have their own design.

11.  Meri Kirihimete  New Zealand  Christmas comes in the middle of the summer holiday in New Zealand.  They open their presents on Christmas Day followed by a lunch of ham, venison, shrimp, and/or fish.  Many towns have Santa parades beginning in November and throughout the holiday season.

12. Bara Din Mubarrak Ho  Pakistan  There is a small number of Christians in Pakistan, but December 25 is a public holiday in honor of the founder of Pakistan, Jinnah.  Christians celebrate by decorating, singing carols, and exchanging Christmas cakes.  Santa Claus is known as "Christmas Baba."

13. Zalig Kerstfeast  The Netherlands  December 5 is the most important day for children in The Netherlands since that is when Sinterklaas brings presents.  Children leave their clogs by the fireplace or by a window in hopes they will receive a present.  Christmas Day is a quieter holiday with families attending church and having a family meal.  But in some areas, they also receive presents from Kerstman (Christmas Man, not to be confused with Sinterklaas).
Please join in by linking up a Thursday Thirteen post below!  And Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Random Thoughts

I'm linking up with Stacy Uncorked for some randomness!

Don't you hate when you realize there is a gift you could and would like to buy for someone, but you've already finished your shopping, so buying one more gift would throw off the whole thing, and if you purchased it, you would have to purchase at least three others to make things more even?  No? Well, I don't know any other way to explain it.

And speaking of gifts, everything I want this year is not really conducive to gift-giving, like new flooring, a deck, botox!  Haha!  Seems like everyone wants to point out my eyes, lately, including my mom and the strangers trying to sell eye creams and cosmetics at the mall.  I earned these darn wrinkles!

Actually, I already received the best gift this year from one of my students.  A few months ago, he was reading the One Year Bible during class (after his work was completed).  I mentioned that I would like to read the Bible in a year but didn't have that version.  Guess what he got me for Christmas?  Yes!  The One Year Bible, and I am so excited about starting my new venture on January first.

I had a conversation with God, today.  It was all about his selflessness in allowing himself to be embodied in Jesus, and how I fully and completely believe in the immaculate conception, His birth, His life and death. Just thought I'd throw that random thought in here.

I really love my Christmas tree this year.  I decorated it without help.  My husband usually does the lights, but I even did those this year.  I love the festive feeling the tree gives the entire room.  And it smells so good.  This is before we had presents under the tree.  I keep trying to type three instead of tree!

And, to make this totally random, I'm watching The Big Bang Theory right now.  Did you know that actress Mayim Bialik who plays Amy Farrah Fowler (and used to be Blossom on the TV show of the same name) earned a PhD in Neuroscience?  Beautiful (she really is!), famous, married with children, talented... and smart!

And there you have it... Totally Random Tuesday!



Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Thursday Thirteen

I'm linking up with Thursday Thirteen, which has actually been inactive for months, so I have also included a Mr. Linky here.  I'd love for you to spread the word that there is an active linky out here on the www now.


Thirteen of my Favorite Christmas Songs!
13.  Santa Claus is Coming to Town - My favorite version is by Bruce Springsteen.
12.  It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
11.  Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful
10.  It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - I like the way Andy Williams did this tune.
9.   Mary, Did You Know - Kenny Rogers and Wynona Judd do this song justice.
8.   It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
7.   I'll be Home for Christmas
6.  Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree - the original version by Brenda Lee.
5.   Jingle Bell Rock - the original version by Bobby Helms is my favorite.
4.   White Christmas - Bing Crosby does it best.
3.   The Christmas Song - No one does it better than Nat King Cole.
2. Oh, Holy Night - There was a man in the choir when I was growing up who sang tenor, and when he sang this song, it gave me chills.
1.  And my favorite Christmas song of all time...
Sleigh Ride, preferably an instrumental version. Enjoy!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Tuesday Randomness

How about some randomness today with Stacey Unocorked?

1.  I wonder how many people are actually offended by the words, "Merry Christmas."  I know a few people who are of other religions than Christianity, but I don't know if the word Christmas is offensive to them?  I wonder what the percentage is of those who have a problem with it.  The school district I worked in over 20 years ago was already succumbing to pressure.  We were not allowed to decorate our classrooms for any holiday (Halloween, Christmas, etc.).  Why does the majority cave in to the minority?  Or are Christians no longer the majority?

2.  I have not finished shopping.  It seems like everyone is harder to buy for this year except maybe one daughter.  Most of us have everything we need and most of what we want already.  But I love giving gifts!

3.  I also love my tree this year.  It's simple but beautiful.

4.  I also learned something from Pinterest that I love.  When you wrap a "biggish" present in red paper, put a black ribbon around the middle, then put a silver or gold "buckle" in the middle, it looks like Santa.  It's so cute and clever, not to mention, easy!

5.  My college kids are finished for the semester, but I have another 3 days.  It can't come soon enough!  Lots to do!

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Holiday Thursday Thirteen

Link up here for Thursday Thirteen!  Spread the Word!

I love the Christmas season!
 Have you ever wondered how some of our holiday traditions came about?

 1. Santa Claus - This holiday hero had his beginning in the 3rd century with a man named St. Nicholas who lived in Patara (present day Turkey). He made his debut in America in the 18th century. The name Santa Claus came from the Dutch nickname for St. Nicholas, Sinter Klass. There is actually a whole lot to the story of Santa Claus if you'd like to read it at the St. Nicholas Center website..

2. Twas the Night Before Christmas - This poem was written in 1822 by Clement Clarke Moore as a gift to his three daughters. It was called "An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas."

3. Rudolph - The most famous reindeer of them all! Robert L. May, a copywriter for Montgomery Ward (I remember that department store) wrote the story of Rudolph in 1939. The store sold over 2 1/2 million copies of the story. Years later, the story was written as a song recorded by Gene Autry and sold over 2 million copies. It has been translated into 25 languages.

 4. Christmas Trees - The Germans get the credit for the modern-day tradition of a decorated Christmas tree. It first became a popular thing to do in the 16th century among Christians.

 5. Wreaths - We have an evergreen wreath on our door right now. It provides a festive atmosphere at Christmas time. Long ago, people worshiped evergreen holly as a sign of eternal life.

 6. Stockings - In the days of the real St. Nicholas, it was said that he threw three coins down the chimney of three poor sisters. Each coin landed in a separate stocking that was hanging by the hearth to dry. Good fortune for everybody!
 7. Candy Canes - The first candy canes were actually sugar sticks that were bent to resemble the shape of a shepherd's crook. In 1670. the choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral gave his young charges these sticks to keep them quiet during long ceremonies. What was he thinking? The red stripes and peppermint flavor weren't added until the early 1900's.

 8. Christmas Cards - The first Christmas greetings were written by boys who had to practice their writing skills, but Sir Henry Cole, director of London's Victoria and Albert Museum, is credited with the first actual Christmas card in 1843.

 9. The 12 Days of Christmas song - Apparently, Roman Catholics in England were forbidden from openly practicing their religion during the years 1558 to 1829, so the song was created with hidden meanings in order to teach their faith without being discovered. Go to the Catholic News Agency website for the hidden meanings.

 10. Gift-Giving - This custom most likely originated in ancient Rome and Northern Europe when people gave gifts during year-end celebrations. The exchanging of elaborate gifts began in the late 1800's.

 11. Red and Green Christmas Colors - Green symbolizes the hope for eternal life that Jesus brings. Red symbolizes the blood of Jesus and the sacrifice He made for mankind.

 12. Christmas Carols - Victorian England is credited with the revival of caroling which, for a long time, was repressed since Christmas was not a widely accepted holiday in England until Victoria came to the throne.

 13. The Nativity Scene - The story of Jesus' birth is recounted in the Bible in Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 2:1-20. But when did people begin creating the visual Nativity Scenes you see during the Christmas holidays? St.Francis of Assisi is credited with creating this scene as a way to share the Christian faith with those who could not read.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Thursday Thirteen

Hey all you bloggers!  Let's revive Thursday Thirteen.  The blog (which is actually the second Thursday 13 meme blog) has not been active since July.  Maybe third time is a charm!  Let's get it going again!

So, I offer, 13 possible Thursday 13 topics.

1.   13 places you would like to visit.
2.  13 of the best gifts you've ever received.
3.  13 things on your bucket list.
4.  13 of your favorite songs.
5.  13 of your favorite books.
6.  13 things you'd like to change about the world.
7.  13 things you never say to (fill in the blank) - could be your husband, your co-worker, a pregnant woman, whatever!
8.  13 places you never want to visit again.
9.  13 things that are near you right now.
10. 13 favorite movies.
11. 13 favorite songs (or holiday songs).
12. 13 memories about a person you love.
13.  13 foods you like.

The possibilities are endless!

What are you writing about this week?

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