Every Day’s a Holiday!

I’ve been quiet much too long. I don’t know if I have any followers on this blog, if I do, I’m sorry. My purpose of starting this web log was to share ideas on how to celebrate life. But, with what has been going on lately, celebrating seems to have disappeared from our existence. We need to change that, and fast! The good Lord didn’t intend for us to be miserable in this beautiful world. Hopefully, this article might help!

At the beginning of the year I found this adorable little calendar “Every Day’s a Holiday” by TF Publishing out of Indianapolis. It’s pinned to my pegboard with important social media goal dates and the sort. Lately it has looked pretty pathetic, but this calendar has still made me smile!

With holidays like Apple Turnover Day, Junk Food Day, Drive-in Movie Day, Hug Your Cat Day, and Geek Pride Day, how could you not squeeze a grin out! On this calendar, today is French fries Day, so I think I’ll make some for dinner. And each time I shove one in my mouth, I will rejoice! Guinea Pig Appreciation Day is Friday the 16th! I’m so excited about that one, I love guinea pigs! I’m guessing I’ll have to post some pictures of them on my Facebook page to delight others.

So here we are, and I have to make a point or party tip for this post. Well, we could decorate every day with the holiday’s theme or better yet, let’s plan on picking two or three a week that encourages us to revel. There are some great websites that are dedicated to holidays. Earth Calendar has holidays from every country and day. It goes back as far as 2003. Fun to research! http://www.earthcalendar.net/index.php Another site is Holiday Insights. They have some very wacky fun days you could get into! http://www.holidayinsights.com/ The National Day Calendar will send you reminders in your email. They boast “Don’t find yourself unprepared for Talk Like a Pirate Day or Answer the Phone Like Buddy the Elf Day!” https://nationaldaycalendar.com/ This site is amazing, it also gives you the research on each holiday and ideas on how to observe it! An example is the Cow appreciation day history = “Chick-Fil-A created Cow Appreciation Day in commemoration of Heff R. Jones and his humorous ‘EAT MOR CHIKIN’ billboard campaign that took place in 1995. In 2004, we launched the first event. It led to a fun and entertaining promotion for the restaurant.” They also have National Weeks and National Months listed.

I found out through these wonderful people that July is “Anti-Boredom Month”. So I’m taking their advice on how to honor this month and every month in the future. Quoting from their website…..

Finding creative and healthy ways to beat boredom will improve our everyday lives. Once we’ve identified our causes, approach boredom with a set of positive challenges or stimuli to keep it at bay.

  • Play–Board games are an excellent way to fight boredom.
  • Get physical–Exercise not only provides stimuli but also helps change the scenery and improve health.
  • Learn–Visit a museum, read a book or take a class.
  • Clean -Tackling a cluttered cupboard, closet or even garage brings about a bit of satisfaction for a job well done.
  • Cook–Making in our own kitchen with ingredients we enjoy gives us two ways to be satisfied.
  • Be creative–Even if you usually don’t create, just trying can help break the boredom cycle.
  • Volunteer–Helping someone who needs something more than you often makes us reassess why we were bored in the first place.
  • Get social–Visit a friend or neighbor. Kids, this includes you! Aunts, uncles or cousins would enjoy a friendly conversation over an ice-cold popsicle.

Thank you for reading and I promise, I’ll add more creative ideas to celebrate for children and adults alike. Life is for whooping it up and praise!

God bless you all!

Have a Holiday “Staycation”

With continued stay-at-home orders we need to learn other ways to enjoy our lives. With the kids getting a winter break and the holidays fast approaching how about planning a vacation at home – a “Staycation”!

A staycation can be rewarding plus less stressful and more affordable. Most importantly, commit to unplugging. If you act like you’re not on vacation by answering work calls and emails or being as in-touch with neighbors and friends as you usually are, it won’t feel like much of a staycation at all. Make sure everyone knows that you’re taking a little trip by putting your staycation on your calendar, telling friends and coworkers you need some time away, and resisting the urge to respond to every message. That task accomplished, let the staycationing begin.

Studies show that simply looking at beautiful travel photos releases oxytocin in the brain, helping you feel calm, focused and energized. It’s a mini vacation for your brain. So, choose some places that celebrate the Holidays and download photos and the information about the location to share with your family. Here are some suggestions…..

1) Nestled in Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains is a Bavarian village in Helen, Georgia. You can visit their market, winery or take a ride in a horse-drawn hayride and enjoy the history of the town. https://www.helenga.org/

2) In the Santa Ynez Mountains outside of Santa Barbara, this tiny Danish village celebrates Christmas with ample cheer during its annual “Julefest” in Solvang, California https://www.solvangusa.com/things-to-do/solvang-julefest/

3) This New England town in Woodstock, Vermont, has many charming historic homes that are elaborately decorated every year. The annual “Wassail Weekend” has a variety of events. https://www.woodstockvt.com/events/wassail-2020

4) Leavenworth, Washington, is a small Bavarian style town tucked away in the Cascade Mountains. Along with the thousands of lights, carolers, hand-bell ringers and marching bands they have an annual Christkindlemarkt for handmade gifts and steaming cups of spiced wine or hot cocoa. https://christkindlmarktleavenworth.com/

5) Over 6.5 million lights sparkle in Branson, Missouri every festive season. This town does Christmas proud with 100 Christmas trees, Rudolph’s parade, a petting zoo and more! https://bransonchristmas.info/branson-christmas-activities-attractions/

These are just a few places to explore. See more at this website! https://www.oprahmag.com/life/g28616974/best-christmas-towns-villages/ You can make a slide show and play on your computer or a large monitor.

When planning your staycation locations, research the food available at each place. Bring home some of the taste of the areas for your family to try. With all the restaurants able to deliver now, have your meals brought to you and spend the time you would be cooking, playing games or watching holiday movies with your family. Make your own Mulled Apple Cider in a slower cooker. You can leave it on all day and indulge whenever you want. The recipe is simple. Pour 2 quarts of apple cider into your slow cooker. Add ½ cup brown sugar, stir. Place 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 tsp whole cloves and 1 tsp whole allspice in a double thickness of cheesecloth; bring up corners of cloth and tie with a string to form a bag. Drop the bag into the cider. Slice one orange and place in cooker. Turn on low setting.

A fun idea is to create a cookie-decorating party! Purchase or make undecorated sugar cookies. Lay out bowls of decorating sugars and toppings along with icing. Decorate your party area with balloon garlands and streamers. You can purchase balloon garland kits here https://www.etsy.com/listing/788159019/custom-balloon-garland-kit-pick-your Gather the family around the table and get creative! Do some nibbling while you are at it. Stream your favorite Holiday music while you work.

At the end of the day gather everyone around the fire, cuddle up in warm blankets and read Christmas/Holiday stories. Search the internet for online stories along with books you may have purchased. Few months present the multicultural “teachable moments” that December does! The following multicultural events and celebrations are among those that will happen this year:

Saint Nicholas Day (Christian), Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexican), St. Lucia Day (Swedish), Hanukkah (Jewish), Christmas Day (Christian), Three Kings Day/Epiphany (Christian), Boxing Day (Australian, Canadian, English, Irish), Kwanzaa (African American), Omisoka (Japanese), Yule (Pagan), Saturnalia (Pagan)

Get the family to research these celebrations and share what they learned. Whatever you plan be blessed and safe! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a very Happy New Year!

Make a Gratitude Tree

Well, I’m guilty. Along with many others I’ve been pretty depressed the last few months. I haven’t had the energy to post since August. I’m sorry for that but I’m also forgiving myself too. Reflecting on everything that has happened to the world over the last 9 months is heart wrenching. It’s easy to descend into the hopelessness this pandemic has caused.  

I’m an advocate for self-care. I wear my mask, wash my hands, stay at home and pray. But today I got up and said I’m thankful too! Thankful to be healthy, thankful to have the money to pay my bills and thankful that there is a light shining for all of us. I decided to make a Gratitude Tree for my little family this Thanksgiving. Even in the darkness there are things to be thankful for, I want to write them down!

The concept is pretty simple. Get a bunch of branches, tie or tape them together to create a tree. I’ve seen some people use plaster in a pot, some just use newspaper or florist foam. Whatever you conjure up will probably be awesome! Make some leaves (or any shape you like) to write on from construction paper, punch a hole in the top so you can hang them on your tree with ribbon or twine.

Encourage your family to fill out and hang messages the entire week before Thanksgiving. Then you can have someone read them at the dinner table while you dig into that scrumptious Turkey or Ham! I believe this exercise will bring new hope to everyone. Remembering our blessings is a good thing during times like these.

I trust you all have a good Holiday, God Bless you!

Mardi Gras Theme Party

Mardi Gras is a favorite theme for more than just Fat Tuesday. It is used for Fundraising Events, School Dances, Business Get-togethers and more! Of course, the color scheme is the traditional Purple, Green and Gold. In 1892, the Rex parade theme “Symbolism of Colors” gave meaning to these colors. Purple represents Justice, Green represents Faith and Gold represents Power. The first thing to come to mind when anyone thinks about Mardi Gras are beads, beads, beads. Make sure your use beads to decorate tables and give to your guests. You can find bulk beads at beadsbythedozen.com. Balloons are a natural for this type of affair, festive and fun they can fill large or small spaces easily. Let them float to the ceiling and lie on the floor. Use them for centerpieces, floor arrangements, Columns, and Arches. Crawfish are a staple for Louisiana buffets so this cute balloon crawfish (shown) can hang from the ceiling or bar/kitchen overhangs. Foil balloons in theme patterns or just solid colors last a long time and will be perfect for events that are more than one day. Of course, latex balloons can be treated with a product called “Hi Float” (at an additional charge) for the same multiple day effect. Decorate a buffet area with plastic table covers in Mardi Gras colors. They are inexpensive and can cover walls, tables, floors – anywhere you want the pop of color! Add some feather boas, paper masks, crepe steamers and balloons to complete the design. Bring on the Cajun food with Crawfish, Shrimp Gumbo and King Cakes. Use available Mardi Gras CD’s for upbeat music in the background. You can find these at Barnes & Noble or Amazon. As an activity purchase mask making supplies for your partygoers to get creative. You can cut mask shapes from cardboard or heavy paper and eliminate having to buy ready make shapes. Have plenty of glitter, buttons, sequins, feathers, paints and jewels available to decorate. Let them embellish their owns crowns too! You can find inexpensive paper crowns at orientaltrading.com. Enjoy!

New Year’s Celebrations!

New Years Collage

The party of the year is usually to ring in the New Year! You don’t have to spend a lot of money and can include the kids in a simple celebration at home. First you need to turn your Christmas Tree into a New Year’s Tree by adding party horns, party hats and balloons. Blow up the balloons to be undersized so you can tuck them into the branches. If you have a new year’s banner cut that up and add that too! A great way to entertain the kids while they are waiting for Midnight is to plan activities. The activity can include adults too and the cutest way is to put them into balloons. Write a time on each balloon. Instruct everyone to pop them at that moment and perform the project. Some fun ideas for easy crafts are to make noisemakers out of paper plates and beans or Firework Rings out of Glitter Pipe Cleaners. Other things to do: Watch a Holiday Movie, Play a Board Game or create a New Years Scavenger Hunt. Make an area to take fun photos with the backdrop of large Foil Balloon Numbers for the year. Many people make new year’s resolutions on this day but a more transformative ritual is a “Burning Bowl Ceremony”. To prepare you will need a Fire Pit or large unburnable bowl (metal or glass). Place it in a safe area outside. Give everyone paper and pen and sit peacefully to think about things you want to release and/or cleanse yourself of. Children can do this too, some have fears at school, or social issues they would want to let go of. Hold a positive mindset and write down your wishes. Have a responsible person start by lighting his/her paper and toss into the bowl, everyone else can follow by throwing their paper in. The fire is a symbol of wisdom, passion and purification. May the New Year bring you much happiness!

Holiday Parties want BALLOONS!

Most people don’t associate Christmas/Holiday parties with balloons. That could not be further from the truth; with so many creations that can make the party spectacular! Many of them are air filled so they can be used for display for a couple weeks or more. The small Centerpiece trees or Gift Boxes can be easily picked up at our studio. They can be in any color combination. The Christmas Light Bulb garland can be a great DIY project using plastic cups, 12″ balloons and ribbon. If you use a cool glue gun you can glue the pieces together or use double sided tape. The large Trees, Columns and Arch can be delivered and/or installed at your office, home or venue; again the color combination is unlimited. Helium filled balloons are also available and can be picked up or delivered. We can treat them with a product called Hi-Float and they will last more than one day. Give us a call and I will be happy to discuss decorating ideas with you. Until then Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

A time saving Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving has always been so stressful for me because I am usually the master cook – and trying to get everything on the table at the right time and making sure snacks and drinks are all out, I just go crazy! So, I have vowed to do less on the day and enjoy the people more! Here are a few tips that I am planning and maybe they will help you too! My plan is to only have to cook the Turkey and the Dinner Rolls (because we have to have Crescent rolls) on Thursday. I always Brine the turkey overnight and cook it by Spatchcocking it.  I tried this a few years ago and the difference in the juiciness is so tremendous I will never cook a Turkey any other way again. You can learn how to do this here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2Lie172c3Y&t=3s . Because there are many ingredients for adding to the broth and roasting pan, I will precut all the vegetables and have them ready for the day. Simplifying the rest of the menu will help too. I know what my family likes and will make mashed potatoes and green beans with onions ahead of time. These can be microwaved just before dinner. I will get two dishes ready for the oven (they can go in with the Turkey) – Brussel Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes. The snacks can be simplified too and plated ahead of time so they are ready to put out. Purchased Cheese Ball and a Shrimp Ring are easy fixes. Dip with Chips and Veges are always a hit too and can be pre-made. Unfortunately, I am spoiled with homemade Cranberry Sauce but I make this early in the month and gift it to the mailperson and other service people before the holiday, so my jar is done too! A similar recipe to what I use is here (except I use Apple Juice not water)  https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/spiced-cranberry-sauce/ try it and you will never use canned again! Pies are a no brainer, with the magnificent bakeries locally I have that one wrapped up! We love Mulled Cider during the holidays so I prepare everything and throw in a Crockpot in the morning. Set it on low and guests can serve themselves when they want. Happy Thanksgiving!