Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dancing Eves are Fun!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Decking the Halls

Photos of our home decorated for the winter holidays.

You Lied to Me!

So, apparently I am a liar.

This year, Jensen has become obsessed with the holidays. And when I say holidays, I mean presents. For a child that is usually very giving and non-materialistic, he just won’t leave the idea alone. It is puzzling to me.

While I was reading an article today, Jensen came up and asked me a question. I was focused on the article so I said, “wait a minute,” so I could finish the article and then focus my attention on him. When I finished the article he said that he was going to open a present from under the tree. I told him that he needed to wait a few more days, and then we would open the gifts.

Jensen stopped dead in his tracks and glared at me.

Jensen - “You lied to me! You told me that I could open a present.”
Me - “No, I didn’t. It isn’t time yet.”
Jensen – “You told me I could open one ‘in a minute.’”

With a smile, I had to explain to him that I meant that I would be able to listen to his question in a minute, not that he’d be able to open a gift. He wasn’t pleased with my answer and walked away sulking, assured that I had lied to him.

Note to self – remember that four year olds are in a literal phase of development.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Thanksgiving Recap

For the past twenty years or so my family has been spending Thanksgiving in the Smokey Mountains. When we started the tradition, my family shared a small two bedroom cabin with some family friends. We have now grown from four adults and six young children sharing a tiny cabin, to 20+ people splitting two large, luxury cabins, fifteen of which are now part of my extended family (up from the original six). It isn't often that we are all able to get together, so we all try our hardest to make it to the mountains for Thanksgiving.

This year, my sisters, their significant others, my dad, Justin and I all hiked the 11 miles round trip to the top of Mount LeConte, an elevation of 6,593'. It was an awesome hike with breathtaking views. The last time we did that hike Justin and I were seniors in high school and he just about slid off the mountain. We tried looking for the little pine tree that saved him twelve years ago, but by now, that sapling would be a full-fledged tree, and they all sort of look the same now. I knew that the tree was still there, poised to save another novice hiker silly enough to hike in loafers on an icy day. NOTE-Justin is no longer a novice hiker...this year he even sponsored a dead reckoning trip over a mountain ridge and taught us all something about orienteering (notice the smile on Jolie's face).

I thought I'd share some photos from this year's adventure. I found some prints from twelve years ago and will try to get them scanned so I can share them as well. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Happy Holidays – A Rant

Happy Holidays! What is wrong with saying “Happy Holidays” to someone? This isn’t the first year that I have heard people complain about being told “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas” during the holiday season. I guess I just don’t understand why “Happy Holidays” is offensive to people. Last time I checked, the United States was NOT a Christian country, but instead a melting pot, with people who come from many different religious, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds.

Christmas is not the only winter holiday that is celebrated in the United States. Many of the world's religions have a winter festival (most of which focus on light during a time of darkness). We are lucky to live in a country where we are able to freely practice the religion of our choosing. Here are just a few additional winter festivals that are celebrated across the United States and around the world: Hanukkah (Jewish); Kwanzaa (African American); Solstice; Yule; Diwali (Hindu); Yalda (Persian)…the list goes on and on.

To me, generally saying "happy holidays" to someone during this season of multiple holidays seems appropriate. The statement validates that there are different holidays occurring during this time of year, and that everyone's religious holiday has importance and should be respected.

Respect…wouldn’t that fall under the Golden Rule? Treating others as you would want to be treated? Respecting others as you would want to be respected?

During this time of Peace and Joy, when supposed Love and Kindness abound, maybe we should consider adding Respect to our holiday list…and be sure to check it twice.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Homemade Dough for Playing

I’ve tried several recipes for homemade play dough. Some were coarse, some were sticky, and some were downright dry. I seemed to strike out every time I tried to make a copycat of the ever popular Play-Doh. That all changed with a recipe I received from a close homeschooling friend the other day, who told me the recipe was tried and true.

I can now agree that this recipe is wonderful. No sticky hands, no coarse texture, no difficulty in manipulating. I have some very satisfied customers. This will be my go to play dough recipe in the future. The price is right (most ingredients are readily available around the house), the process is simple, and the kids can have whatever color tickles their fancy. Enjoy!

Play Dough Recipe

1 C flour
¼ C salt
2 T cream of tartar
1 C water
1 T oil
30 drops food coloring

Mix the dry ingredients in a medium sauce pan. Add the water, oil, and food coloring and heat over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly. As soon as the dough forms a ball, turn the dough out on the counter and knead for a minute or so. Store in an air-tight container.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dear Blog...

Oh, how I have neglected you over the past few months. I think of you often, debating in my head throughout the day what I should type on you to share with others as the day winds to a close. But, after a long day of thinking and brainstorming, cleaning and caring for children, learning and having fun, I have found it hard to sit and type as I used to. Dare I say my evenings have recently been spent reading, playing board games with the children, baking, watching movies with my husband, and yes, I am ashamed to say, even playing a video game or two.

I will try harder to include you in my daily routine. I truly enjoy sharing stories about my day, about life, and about how to make the world just a little bit better. I will do better. I promise. Thank you for being here, patiently waiting for my return. Again, I am sorry for neglecting you.