3 Steps to an Old Fashioned Christmas

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

santaAn Old-Fashioned Christmas in 3 Easy Steps

Have you ever wonder what happened to the old-fashioned Christmas that we – people over a certain age – used to enjoy? The days when you were happy to get almost anything as a gift, when Santa was the main topic of conversation, Christmas was Christmas and not reduced to some homogeneous ‘holiday season’, those were the days.

In this article we’re going to have a look at the three key things you can change this Christmas to bring back a little bit of the feeling of those days of old.

Old-Fashioned Christmas step 1: the Christmas decorations.

For most people the Christmas season really starts the day the first of the Christmas decorations go up; I say the day the first of the Christmas decorations go up because people have so many decorations these days that it can take them a whole weekend to put up, what with the untangling and testing of lights, and building frames to make sure the Christmas decorations don’t fall down etc, etc.

If you want to have a bit of a change from the competitive sport of covering the house in Christmas decorations then we need to get back to some Old-Fashioned Christmas basics.

christmas-tree-lightsLet’s start with the old-fashioned Christmas tree – a must for that trip back in time. Although it can make a lot of financial sense to buy a plastic Christmas tree that you take apart and put back together each year, there’s not much that says it’s Christmas time than the smell of a freshly cut pinus radiata tree – or the equivalent in your respective country.

Now that we’ve managed purged the plastic, and reinstated the real, how about some traditional hand-made decorations to go on it?

Not everything that goes on an old-fashioned Christmas tree has to be hand-made, and certainly doesn’t have to be new, shiny, and made of plastic, a good mixture of the old and the new works very well. Do you remember the pride you felt when a hand-made star or string of popcorn was placed lovingly on the family Christmas tree? Why not give someone else that same feeling?

Get the Christmas music going, knock up a bowl of eggnog, and set down a challenge for the best Christmas tree decoration. Of course, everyone’s a winner, because we don’t want to do anything to disrupt the Christmas atmosphere.

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Simple Tips to Managing Holiday Stress

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

christmas-shoppingLetting Go Of Perfect: One Major Tool For Managing Holiday Stress

One of the main reasons that many people experience so much holiday stress is that they have expectations that do not match reality and they keep trying to nudge reality to be more in line with their expectations.

The Holidays do not have to be perfect to be happy, merry, or enjoyable.

When you try to spend more resources than you have, you will experience stress. When you attempt to juggle spending your time, energy and money to try to find the perfect gift for each person, to plan and execute the perfect meal, and to host the perfect party with each guest enjoying every other guest, (plus the numerous other tasks you take on), you will be exhausted and disappointed. If you can settle for less than perfect, you can reduce your stress.

christmas-cards-decoratingHere are some examples of sanity saving shifts in thinking and behavior:

Instead of spending all that time and energy shopping for the perfect outfit to wear on Christmas or to that big Christmas party, consider adding a new holiday accessory to something that you already own, love and feel comfortable in.

That “perfect” Christmas card that you spent so much time and energy on last year is probably not remembered this year. The fact that you sent a Christmas card probably will be remembered. Don’t torture yourself for a Christmas card. Allocate your resources of time, energy and money according to your real needs and values.

When you feel compelled to keep spending until you feel assured of getting that certain someone’s attention, remind yourself that you don’t have to spend money that you don’t have or can ill afford to spend to let someone know that they matter.

holiday-home-decoratingRemember that the amount you spend does not necessarily determine the quality of the gift. It might also help to remember that if you don’t spend outside your budget, you probably won’t have to be paying additional credit card expenses throughout the coming year.

When you feel obliged as a good neighbor, co-worker, friend, son/daughter, mother/father, or community member, to participate in all activities and get-togethers that you are invited to, you will end up exhausted and resentful. This is the time of year when you may have more invitations and social expectations than at any other time. When you are stressed out, these invitations can feel like demands for your time and attention.

When you can begin to believe that even “nice” people say “no” to some invitations, and allow yourself to do so, you can reduce a lot of stress.

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Thanksgiving Trivia Fun

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

roast-turkeyWhat comes to your mind when you think of Thanksgiving?

The big fat golden-brown turkey? Grandma’s pumpkin pie? Or the oh-so-nice cranberries and corn-on-the-cob?

Well well, all these ARE a major part of the Thanksgiving holiday. But there’s even more to this wonderful occasion of Thanksgiving!

The holiday of Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate the beauty and bounty around us, our marvelous friends and family, the gift of their love and many more such good things that we are thankful for !

thanksgiving-feastCelebrated every year on the last Thursday in November, the spirit of Thanksgiving Day sets the tone for a grand and joyous season.

Now to share some interesting trivia associated with the Thanksgiving holiday.

Like most trivia, the Thanksgiving trivia are just as much a fun read.

Check these out:

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Easy Tips for the Best Thanksgiving Dinner Party

Monday, November 6th, 2017

best-thanksgiving-dinner-tips10 Ways to Make Thanksgiving Dinner Delicious and Easy

I love to cook. And I love to have a day off of work. But, despite the fact that preparing Thanksgiving dinner recipes is relatively easy, I’m ashamed to admit that sometimes, I dread the work involved. I just want to hang out with my family and friends, have time at some point during the meal to take a stroll on the beach boardwalk, and not have to work hard getting even a simple meal on the table. So, over the years, I’ve developed a handful of strategies that have made my Thanksgiving dinner preparation a bit easier. Hopefully, these will make your Thanksgiving dinner recipe preparation a little easier too!

1. DON’T STUFF YOUR TURKEY. While stuffing the turkey really makes the stuffing moist, there are ways to recreate the same result without stuffing it in the turkey. Who needs to worry about scooping out all of the stuffing? It just delays the meal.

So, when you trim the fat from the turkey neck and other areas, keep the fat and lay it over your stuffing and cook your stuffing in a separate casserole dish. You’ll get the benefit of the fat flavor and it will also keep the stuffing moist while it bakes.

turkey-gravy2. MAKE GRAVY AHEAD OF TIME USING THE TURKEY’S NECK AND EARLY DRIPPINGS FROM THE BIRD. There is no need to wait for the bird to finish cooking before you make your gravy. I learned how to make gravy from the Executive Chef at one of the restaurants I worked for and he made exceptional gravy. Brown chunks of carrots, onions and celery with the turkey neck in a large pot. Add stock (chicken stock is fine) bay leaves, peppercorns, sage and other spices you like. Make a roux in a separate pan using basted dripping from the bird or you can even make it ahead of time as early as you like (even the day before) by browning butter with flour (in our home, I use potato, rice and corn starch because my son must eat gluten -free). Add the roux to the broth, continue to reduce and strain completely right before serving.

3. USE OR CREATE A SECOND OVEN. If you don’t have a toaster oven, buy one now. You can find one for as little as $30 and it can work as a second oven for baking pies, side dishes etc… Along those lines, it’s fine to microwave vegetables (asparagus take about 8 minutes microwaved in water), and to make as many dishes as you can on your stovetop.

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Tips for Child-proofing Your Home

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

baby-proofing-your-homeHow to Make Your Home Child-Friendly

Babies and toddlers are a source of joy and happiness to a household, but they are very prone to accidents. They are at a phase where they can walk around and explore, but they not really aware of dangers around them.

That is why it is the responsibility of their parents or guardians to make sure that the homes toddler and babies live in are safe and child-friendly.

Here we will look into some of the common accident areas in the home and discuss how you can make them safer for your kids.

stairs-child-safetyStairs

The stairs is the first one you should inspect. The danger of being careless when using stairs needs no explanation. Even adults easily get injured when they go up and down the stairs recklessly. And the injuries from stair-related accidents are often serious. Here are some ways to make stairs safer.

· Adding a slip-proof matting on individual steps

· Adding a soft rubber mat on the exact spot where the stair ends on the bottom to reduce injury

· Teaching children stair safety

· Putting a non-slip grip on the stair handles

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How to Safeguard Your Home when Vacationing

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

home-security-floodlightsHow to Keep Your Home Safe While You Are on Vacation

No one wants to worry about their home while on vacation. Here are some tips to help keep your house safe from burglars while you are enjoying your holiday.

Don’t Advertise

It’s only natural to want to share your vacation plans with others. But sharing them on social media is a bad idea. Once it’s out there, you have no control over where the information ends up. Your plans could end up in the hands of thieves. And they’ll know that they have lots of time to do a thorough job of clearing your home of all your valuables. Likewise, sharing photos and updates on social media isn’t a good idea either. I’ll admit, I was guilty of this. It’s hard to not share photos and exciting stories about the fun things you’re experiencing. But wait until you get home to share your vacation online.

computers-electronicsLock it Up

Lock up valuables and documents in an immobile safe, bank safety deposit box or leave them with a trusted friend or family member. For Example:

Tablets and Laptops
Important documents (Social Security Cards, birth certificates, spare credit cards, password lists, etc.)
Keys to your home, office, car, etc.
Expensive jewelry and electronic devices
Firearms and ammunition

A portable, fireproof safe is fine for protecting valuables from fire. But it won’t stop a thief from walking off with it. If you use portable safes, leave them with a friend/family member while you’re away.

patio-decorating-seatingMake Your Home Look Occupied

Put your mail and newspaper on hold or ask someone to pick them up for you. If you’re gone for more than a week, have someone mow your lawn in the summer. (If it’s winter, ask someone to shovel your driveway after a snowfall and leave footprints going to and from your door.) Don’t leave your garbage bins by the road. Ask someone to put them out and bring them in or skip it altogether.

Put a few indoor lights (in various rooms) on timers. Don’t use just one light; it’s a dead giveaway that you’re not home. And don’t have the lights all go on and off at the same time. Try to set them up so they switch on and off at the same times that you would switch them on/off when you are home.

Put outdoor lights on timers, too. Or hook them up with light sensors so they’ll go on at dusk and off at dawn.

Put your radio or TV on a timer so that there is noise in your home now and then. If you have a home phone, turn off the ringer so that thieves won’t hear your phone ring, and ring, and ring…

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