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    The 12 Days of Halloween Song





    In the spirit of the season, I present my children (well, mostly my daughter), singing the The 12 Days of Halloween
    (to the tune of The 12 Days of Christmas, naturally!)
    The lyrics are as follows:
    On the first day of Halloween my true love gave to me…
    An owl in a old oak tree.
    On the second day of Halloween my true love gave to me…
    2 black cats, and an owl in a old oak tree.
    On the third day of Halloween my true love gave to me…
    3 pumpkins glowing, 2 black cats, and an owl in an old oak tree.
    On the fourth day of Halloween my true love gave to me…
    4 witches brewing…
    5 candy corn…
    6 scary costumes…
    7 bats a flying…
    8 spiders webbing…
    9 ghosts a’haunting…
    10 scarecrows scaring…
    11 werewolves howling…
    12 banshees wailing…
    Happy Halloween!!!
    (Yes, I realize I'm nearly 2 weeks early. I figured you'd like some time to practice.)
    Posted: Oct 18 2012, 22:36 by kelly | Comments (1) RSS comment feed |
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    Abundance and Gratitude





    Every day is a day to be thankful. Life’s abundance has no limit, and gratitude is what keeps that abundance flowing. In every circumstance, there is something for which to be thankful. Even when there seems to be nothing else, there is hope.

    ~Ralph Marston

     

    I cannot believe it is already November… that my favorite holiday is about one month away (Santa or no, there’s nothing quite like Christmas!)! Tomorrow, we’ll eat pumpkin pie, put up our Christmas decorations, and our business kicks into serious gear. (Wow, that was a completely unintentional pun! Seriously. Ha!). For today though, I’m thankful for the so very many recent blessings in my life:   

     

    Watching my children roll joyfully down a leaf-strewn hill.
     

     

    Basking in the gloriously temperate Fall weather we've been having which has allowed the flora to last much longer than usual!


    Running – and finishing – a 6.2 mile race (my first ever!).

     
     

    Standing in awe of the stunning beauty of nature.

     

    Celebrating another Halloween with my favorite jester husband (our 18th one together!).

     

    Baking delicious Fall food (mmmmm… apple crisp!).
     
     

     

    Watching this daisy outlast everything else in my garden!

     

     Happy Thanksgiving everyone. May the blessings in YOUR life be abundant!

    Posted: Nov 24 2011, 16:31 by kelly | Comments (2) RSS comment feed |
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    Filed under: Inspirational | Seasons

    Christmas Cookies





    Vanilla-Almond Buttery Sugar Cookies for Christmas... or Whenever!
    1 cup of unsalted butter, softened (if you use salted, no problem, just skip the added salt, later)
    1 1/4 cups sugar
    1 egg
    1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1/2 tsp almond extract
    2 1/4 cups of flour (I like to use white whole wheat for pretty much everything)
    2 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp salt
    yummy sweet decorations of your choice (we used naturally colored sugar sprinkles & semi-sweet chocolate chips for toppings)
    - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Cream your sugar & butter until fluffy, then add vanilla & almond (and try not to eat too much of this because you actually need it for making the cookies!), and finally the egg. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients then add to the creamed mixture a bit at a time until all mixed. You don't need to chill the dough (awesome when you have kids who want the fun part to commence like, now). Divide the dough into two balls if you have a small work space like me, or one big one, if you are feeling adventurous! I used wax paper on our countertop dusted with flour & dusted the rolling pin as well. Roll the dough to 1/8 inch thickness (or whatever).
    We found our metal cookie cutters worked much better than the plastic ones - so I recommend those. Make sure to press all the way through.
    Line your baking sheet with parchment paper & set cookies on on top.
    Decorate to your heart's content, then bake for about 6 - 8 minutes - check frequently because they quickly turn brown. They're ready when lightly browned at the edges. (but still good even when they're really browned - you can always dip them in your tea!)
    Enjoy!
    Posted: Dec 23 2010, 00:00 by kelly | Comments (1) RSS comment feed |
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    Filed under: Recipes

    The Santa Dilemma





    “Is Santa real?” That is the question of the season. On its heels: “Does he really come down the chimney?” “Do reindeer really fly?” “Is the same Santa that makes all the presents the one who is at the mall?” “What are elves?”

    And thus, the dilemma presents itself to parents each year: to tell the truth or not.


    (Credit: Norman Rockwell  Source: 
    SeriousPuzzles.com

     

    In six Christmases, I’ve chosen to stand on the literal side of the fence. Santa Claus isn’t a real man that comes down your chimney (okay, that’s just a bit creepy of a thing to have children thinking anyway, isn’t it, really?), living in the coldest place on earth, with a bunch of small workers called elves, riding an enormous magical sleigh pulled by flying reindeer all around the world in one night to every child’s home and leaving them presents based on his determination of year-round childhood “badness” or “goodness” (heck, we even avoid those judgment calls in our daily parenting).  I just don’t like to tell my kids that he IS, when – he’s not.

     

    Now, I don’t say things to my children things like, “Other kids’ parents tell them that Santa is real but it’s really just THEM giving their kids presents”.  I don’t want my kids to be the “revealer of parental untruths” to children whose parents may be riding the Santa-is-real train. I’m not out to squash the spirit of Santa. Really, the spirit of Santa is okay with me. It’s more the concocting layers of false “evidence” (cookies half eaten, left by the fireplace, “footprints” in the snow, etc.), in order to convince children (who by their very nature are very literal and want to believe their parents) of the really realness of Santa, that rubs me the wrong way. I prefer to just treat him as part of the holiday landscape that he is, without creating stories; without eroding trust. 

     

    When direct questions about his realness come up, I turn the conversation to them – allowing them to formulate their own opinions, like:

    Question: Does Santa deliver all the presents in one night?

    Answer: Do you think that’s possible to do? How many kids are there in the world? How big is the world? How fast would he have to fly to make that possible? 

    Question: Does Santa come down everyone’s chimney?

    Answer: Does everyone have a chimney? What about kids who don’t?

     

    Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a Scrooge. I really do love Christmas; it’s my favorite holiday. I enjoy decorating, putting up the tree, singing Christmas songs, buying and making gifts for people, and baking cookies (especially baking cookies!). Christmas is warm and magical and wonderful.

     

    But what I don’t like about Christmas is the untruthful-business surrounding all-things-Santa: the acceptance, even expectation, that lying to children at this time of year is appropriate and encouraged (I’ve had strangers come up to my children and warn them they’d “better be good this year, or Santa won’t bring them anything for Christmas”, followed by a knowing wink to me).  I’m simply not comfortable with telling my children that being truthful is important – only to lie to them about Santa.

     

    Telling children Santa is real might be festive, magical, fun, or even helpful to shape behavior around the holidays, but to me, the cost of wrapping the fun of the holiday in a package of deception isn’t one I’m willing to take on, just for the sake of not killing the magic.

     

    Christmas IS magical because of actual, real things: picking the most perfect present for someone you love and watching their eyes light up when they open it on Christmas morning. Christmas IS magical when you’re listening to Enya singing O Come, O Come Emmanuel and you get chills.  Christmas is magical when you’re walking around in the crisp, frosty air, look at the Christmas lights twinkling in the newly fallen snow. Christmas IS magical when you wake in the morning to beautifully wrapped presents under the tree and the smell of cinnamon.   

     

    I don't want my children to experience the let down of “finding out the truth”. I want them to always have real reasons to look forward to Christmas morning, even beyond the age of Santa belief, real reasons to behave, and above all, real knowledge that when their parents tell them about something, they can trust it, and believe it. So this year, like others, I’ll treat Santa as another adornment of Christmas – just like the tree, the lights, the stockings, the presents, and the music.  All of these things can be magical – are magical – without the baggage of untruth.

     

    So, how do you handle the Santa dilemma? Are you a Santatheist? Or do you convince your children that Santa is real? 

    Posted: Nov 20 2010, 20:29 by kelly | Comments (25) RSS comment feed |
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    Filed under: Children | Parenting | Seasons