A Book on Every Bed

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Last week I read an article about a new Christmas tradition. It’s called A Book on Every Bed, invented by Amy “Ask Amy” Dickinson. She began the project because her mother was a reader, writer and educator and to promote literacy. She admits she “stole” the idea from an author who talked about his childhood Christmases and how he received a book from Santa every year. Personally, I don’t think she really stole anything. She took something one family did and shared it with the world.

This is how it works. You wrap a book, and Santa places it on your child’s bed after they’re asleep. They wake up Christmas morning to find it. It’s a great way to encourage reading. If you have a reluctant reader it could be the jump start they need.

This could turn into a fun activity for yourself, too. There are so many great children’s books to choose from, you could have fun searching the classics or try a holiday-themed one. Of course kids love animals and sports, too. I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

I’d like to take this project a step further. Wrap a book for anyone and leave it on their bed from Santa. Buy their favorite genre or get them started on reading. You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy a surprise from Santa.

And if you’re dealing with adults, you wouldn’t have to sneak in their room and place the book on the bed when they are sleeping. You could do it before they go to bed on Christmas Eve (or any time during the holidays). Wouldn’t you love to come into your room and find a present on your pillow? You open it up to find a great book. Then hop into bed and start reading.

Let’s help Amy get this tradition going. If you like the idea, pass it along.

And remember the ability to read is a gift. Don’t let it go unused.

Have a happy holiday, everyone.

 

Give Thanks for the Little Things

November Sunrise (1)

It’s Thanksgiving week already. Time to give thanks. Time to reflect.

So what am I thankful for? The little things.

I get up each day and look at the morning sky. Whatever the scene, I try to appreciate something about it. The title picture is a November morning. The sun’s coming up in my backyard. The pink clouds were amazing and I couldn’t stop peeking out the window until they disappeared.

PJ steals my breakfast (3)

I’m grateful for this wee little bird who fills our home with joy and happiness. Sure she’s stealing my breakfast, but she makes us laugh.

August Shower (63)

I love that I live close to Lake Erie and can easily get there in a short drive. Maybe I don’t visit as often as I should, but am thankful it’s there.

Nighttime Visitor (1)

I’m thankful I can still be surprised by things. This deer looked like a statue standing in my yard. It was kind enough to stay put until I got the camera and captured the moment.

New phone trying to take selfie (3)

I finally joined the smartphone generation and am grateful I can take a selfie – a poor one, but at least I tried.

Of course, I am thankful for friends and family, good health and a roof over my head. But the little things? It takes effort to stop and notice. Try it this week. What little things are you thankful for?

Memorial Day

Dad WWII

Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans Day. Today is for remembering those who died while serving this country’s armed forces. Veterans Day celebrates all who serve and served in the armed forces.

My dad didn’t die in the war, but he passed away at an early age. Every Memorial Day reminds me to make a visit to the cemetery. When we arrive, seeing all the flags by the gravestones make me proud and sad at the same time.

Dad was very patriotic. Whenever the Star Spangled Banner played on TV, he’d stand and salute or place his hand over his heart. He was a veteran of World War II, serving in Wales and England with a medical unit. His twin brother saw action in Europe. He belonged to the American Legion and had a special licence plate–one I remember to this day–AL1005. When we didn’t finish our dinner, he’d say, “Children in Europe are starving.” My sister and I would giggle, but knew he was quite serious.

So Dad, on this day, I want to tell you, you’re remembered. You were a good father. You served your country. You were patriotic. Thank you for setting the example. And hopefully you can see the salute I give you on this special day.

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It Finally Happened

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Buy Now at Black Friday Prices

Black Friday Preview Sale

Black Friday Prices Let’s Start Early and Save

Don’t Wait for Black Friday Save Now

Black Friday Now

Get Black Friday Prices Early

The Wait is Over! Shop Black Friday Deals Now!

Isn’t the idea of Black Friday to shop on one day? Friday? I knew it would happen. The sale already crept into Thanksgiving night and now it’s become a whole week’s worth of shopping. Just look at the headlines above. They were taken from ads in the Sunday paper and emails I received…before Thanksgiving.

First, let me be clear, I am not a shopper on that day. I stay home and put up the Christmas tree. But those of you who are, you have my most sincere sympathy. The thrill of the chase, the golden apple is being taken from you. Why get up early or stay out late when you can shop all week?

Good job, corporate America. You’ve watered down one of the best shopping days (for some people) of the year. I hope it comes back to bite you.

And by the way, I also hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving enjoying family and friends, which is what the week was about.  Really, it was.

Swearing off Cookies

gingerbread

I couldn’t stop baking cookies over the holiday season. Cheated a bit. Used the Pillsbury rolled dough and the imprinted sugar ones. Still, I had to bake them. Gingerbread’s my guilty pleasure. Top them with some frosting and they’re good to go.

Something about gingerbread cookies and the holidays. People’s eyes light up when they ask, “Are those gingerbread?” It can be turned into houses or men or any shape your heart desires. We go the extra mile on this holiday when it comes to sugary treats.

Flavors of the season…cinnamon, nutmeg, gingerbread, pumpkin…aren’t just ingredients in favorite recipes. They hold memories of our Christmas past like an old friend.  They may fade into the background for the rest of the year but somehow you know they’ll be back.

To everyone who loves cookies…and Christmas, I hope you had enjoyable ones. May the new year find you in good health and be kind to you. Don’t worry about New Year Resolutions or losing weight. That’s what the holidays are for…to cheat a bit on your diet in the company of family and friends. Because that’s what it’s really about, right? Family and friends coming together.

Thankfully, my favorite store-bought dough comes out seasonally. So good-bye, cookies. You made the holidays special. See you next year.

Santa Daddy

santa-claus-152343_640 My dad always loved to play Santa. Not the dressed up kind of Santa, but the person who passed out the presents and was in charge of Christmas. He started on Christmas Eve when all of my mom’s family got together at our house.

We would have lots of food and a huge bowl of shrimp. One year my cousin and my sister ate almost the whole bowl of shrimp themselves.  No one ever let them forget that.

Dad would always want to get to the presents and we wanted to drag out the gift giving to make it last longer. He was like an excited kid. He would announce who the present was for and who it was from.  Sometimes if we were not paying attention, he would put two fingers to his mouth and whistle. He couldn’t really whistle that way but loved doing it.

Christmas Day, Dad continued to be Santa. When we got older and slept in, he would wake us up. He couldn’t wait to get started. When I was twelve he bought me a stuffed Snoopy dog. Snoopy was my favorite PEANUTS character. I wish I still had that dog. I have bought several to replace it but they’re just not the same.  Another year, when I was in college, I saw a beautiful pink pant suit in an expensive catalog. I wanted that outfit so badly. Dad made sure I got it for Christmas.

My earliest memory of Dad making sure I got what I wanted for Christmas was when I was four years old. I wanted a train. Well, back in the day, little girls didn’t really get trains or supposedly even want them.  Things were more divided – girl toys, boy toys.  Girls were supposed to like dolls and dress up and pretend mommy things. I wanted a train. Santa daddy made sure I got it.

I loved that train and used it throughout my childhood in so many ways. Our dolls took it to school. Three laps around and they were delivered to the door. It was a runaway train that would go so fast it would come off the track. It was decorated with all the trimmings for Christmas. I still have that train.

Santa daddy was good to himself, too. One year he came home with a racetrack just for him. He was a kid at heart.

All of those times seem like another life – another time. My dad passed away at an early age. The family has scattered as most families do. I hope they still remember those special times when the earth seemed to stand still and the happiness of Christmas was in the air. And my dad was Santa daddy.

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