Tag Archives: holiday

Finches leave the nest! Happy x-mas eve!

4-finches.jpgYesterday I got a photo of two of my baby finches outside of the nest having a good time! My gray one and a cream colored one were hanging out on a perch together testing the waters! I am super excited and surprised that they are flying so early in their development!

In other news our holiday kitchen madness has ended! We spent much of 12/22/07 making fudge, orange ham glaze, cinnamon raisin bread, rice crispy treats, chocolate dipped pretzels, English toffee, oatmeal raisin cookie mix, rustic soup mix and much more! We were canning, packaging and wrapping like crazy till about 2 am!

We made up lots of good treats to give away to family and we had some fun too! I think the baking and crafting that we do every year for family is a nice tradition that allows us to spend quality time together while making some gifts from the heart for those we love.

We actually had some crazy times during it all too! My doggie and I danced to holiday music and I made a pretty major typo on a recipe label for N’s soup mix and didn’t notice it till he read it out loud, then we both were overcome with the giggles and spend about 5 minutes laughing hysterically about it.

Here are some photos of the gooey goodness we were slaving away (lol) to make, don’t get too hungry or drool all over your keyboard! 🙂

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Well, I hope you all are having an enjoyable x-mas eve! I would love to hear about your preparations for the holiday. Did you bond with someone or have a good laugh today?

Well, take care and get to sleep before Santa comes! 😉

Enjoy the holidays- family members and all!

I am going to be honest, the holidays make me very anxious. I find that old issues and grudges resurface during this time and they make the holidays almost impossible to enjoy.

Visiting certain family members means enduring blatant insults, being judged, openly criticized and manipulated. Certain people will go on and on about all the problems and issues they have without regard for anyone else. In general the entire encounter is draining and often extremely emotionally abusive. I do not enjoy being in such an unhealthy situation and the dread often robs me of the enjoyment of the holidays.

Dealing with these people and issues is not an easy task. All I want is acceptance and tolerance from those certain family members during these gatherings. If everyone could just be on good behavior and try to be courteous of each other things would be more enjoyable. However, as a result of previous attacks I find that I prefer not to tolerate them… This means I am also part of the problem.

Finding a middle ground in all this is has been very difficult for me. I have been struggling with finding a way to spend time together while protecting myself from the abuse and emotional drain. My first reaction was to simply cut off contact with those people so that I could protect myself. This does succeed in protecting me but it is unfair to the rest of the family.

So how do you shield yourself from the emotionally abusive, manipulative and hurtful family members without completely cutting off contact?

It’s all about the personal boundaries! Often times in emotionally abusive relationships the victim has become accustom to “taking it quietly”. They feel hurt or angry over the abuse but do not see a way to end it. Many want to tell the abuser off or attack them back but they are aware of the repercussions and choose to suffer silently instead.

I strongly believe that allowing the abuse only empowers the abuser more. Setting clear boundaries is the best way to civilly put a stop to the abuse but it takes much courage.

In my own situation I have found that I am stronger and more able to set my boundaries in a neutral environment. I do not want to visit these abusive family members in their own home this holiday season. This makes me feel trapped and unable to set my boundaries. It is much like a sports team competing on rival turf, the rival has a “home” advantage.

Finding the courage to express your concerns about the behavior is often the hardest part of dealing with these abusive family members but it is imperative, this is why we will not be visiting those family members at their home this holiday season.

Asserting your boundaries is simply letting the offending party know when they have acted inappropriately. When an attack takes place you should civilly call the person out on their action thus establishing the boundary. Let them know that you don’t appreciate the behavior, tell them how it makes you feel and that you will not allow them to treat you that way. This is the only thing you can do to protect yourself, you cannot change their behavior.

If the offending party chooses to lash out at you for expressing your feelings that is not your problem and you should not worry about this. You cannot not control them or change them. All you can do is clearly and maturely express what it is that you don’t appreciate and if they choose to ignore you or get angry at you that is their own choice. They can choose to respect your choices or they can continue to try manipulating you.

Over time your attacker will begin to see what behaviors are acceptable and which ones are not, this is called conditioning. It is much like teaching a child or animal what is right and wrong. The consequences of the said behavior should be consistent so they will eventually be learned. Then it is the attacker’s choice to learn from it and modify their behaviors or deal with the consequences. Ultimately you are not trying to change the person you are just trying to set boundaries and protect yourself, although in the beginning you are giving the offender the chance to learn and modify their behavior. Over time, if the offender does not change it will no longer matter because you have taught yourself how to deal with these attacks without letting them run you.

In the end it is not about the other people attacking you it is how you respond and deal with the situations. Allowing yourself to be attacked will only make you feel bad about yourself, not because of what the attacker said or did but because of what you DIDN’T say or do in defense of yourself.

This holiday season take your personal power back, don’t let those mean spirited/ negative people rob you of the joy of the holidays. Brave those holiday gatherings with a new sense of self love and when you are emotionally or verbally assaulted maturely assert yourself and then move on to enjoy what really matters!

If you are also dreading dealing with emotionally abusive, manipulative and hurtful family members this holiday season try these steps:

  1. If you can, try to meet in a neutral area (a restaurant, another family members home, a community event etc).
  2. Assert yourself when the inappropriate behavior takes place (but do not attack back), express how it made you feel and explain that you cannot tolerate that type of behavior.
  3. If the attacker lashes out at you for expressing your feelings and chooses to continue victimizing you calmly explain that you are choosing to remove yourself from the situation. Then leave.
  4. Don’t hold a grudge against the attacker. Let them know that you continue to love them but that you cannot tolerate some of their behaviors towards you.
  5. If they choose to hold a grudge don’t take it personally. It is your right to stand up for yourself and define what types of situations you want to be in. This does not make you a bad person.
  6. Visit them and speak to them just as you would before you asserted yourself. You are not holding a grudge and you don’t want to play into their game.
  7. Continue to assert yourself and remove yourself from the situation if more attacks take place. Repeating this process whenever an attack takes place.

Have you put up your holiday decorations yet?

Several of our neighbors have really gone all out with holiday decorations. I am amazed at how many people have started and completed putting up their holiday decorations, it is only November 27th! We haven’t even retrieved our holiday decorations from the storage unit yet and some of our neighbors have all their decorations up and proudly gleaming at night. We are either really behind in decorating or other are just jumping the gun.

We are planning to dig out our decorations this week and this weekend we will go cut down our own Christmas tree. We are slowly preparing to do the holiday decorations and we have been eying the energy efficient Christmas lights that are for sale in the stores. We plan to buy some, it’s cool how many sizes and style are available. The choices can be confusing and misleading though.

There are several types of holiday lights available I am told that “The LED Christmas lights offered in most big box stores use a 2-piece construction. This configuration limits the life of an otherwise long lasting LED bulb because it is not moisture proof.” It is best to choose LED Christmas lights that utilize a 1-piece construction because these are weatherproof, moisture proof and have a longer life thus saving your more money.

An interesting tidbit of information that I just learned is that LED Christmas lights are stronger than the other alternatives! This is a great news for me because our cats make it a mission to knock all the pretty things off our tree and onto the hardwood floor thus shattering and breaking them. I am hoping that these more efficient LED Christmas lights will be able to with stain the destructive forces of my kitties this holiday season.

Recycled sweater purse and glove instructions

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I had planned to publish the instructions for the cozy sweater purse in my previous post titled Homemade Christmas gift ideas, to-go boxes and purses… Oh my but the post became rather long and for the sake of the sanity of my readers I put the instructions here in a separate post so it could be found more easily.

All you need to do to make this nifty little sweater gift bag/ purse is find an old knitted sweater or perhaps a nice wool seater that has been felted (or if you are like me it was mistakenly shrunk).

Take your favorite purse pattern or draw your own. I’ll post a my own free pattern here for your to print and use, please don’t repost it though, link to this blog post if you wish to share the pattern/ instructions with your own readers.

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Place the top edge of the pattern along the bottom part of the sweater so that the decorative ribbing/ edge of the sweater becomes the top portion of the purse.

Place right sides together and stitch the sides and bottom of the purse. Note do not stitch the top sides of the bag that this time!

Turn right side out, clip and and press the edges so that the purse has the desired shape.
With right sides out you will now sew the top sides of the bag (the seam you are sewing should be on the outside of the bag, opposite of the rest of the bags seams).

Next cut two 8 inch strips from the sweater for the straps. Mine were 1 inch wide. If you prefer you can use cording or belting inside the strap.

If using belting or cording wrap the sweater fabric around it press with iron and hand stitch.
dsc03009.jpgIf you are not using belting you can sew the pieces together (wrong side out) and then turn the strips right side out after sewing them.

Place the sewed straps into the strap slits and hand sew the slits back together with the straps inserted. Fold the top portion of the bag down and you are done!

This homemade gift bag/ purse is very customizable and can be made into any shape or pattern you like. You can sew buttons or beads onto the purse for decoration or you can even iron on some decorative patches to customize the purse even more.

I found some cheap bath items that I plan to fill the homemade purses with, then I’ll give these as hostess/ host gifts this holiday!

At last the pattern I used is available for download! Simply click the link and when the photo displays righ click it and choose “save image as” – sweater-purse-pattern.jpg Print out he pattern an cut the blue outside away and your ready to begin crafting. Enjoy!

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Rude people suck!! Black Friday Experiences Shared

I went out today to so some shopping, specifically because I needed to get a chainsaw for my boyfriend. No, I am not killing him.. It was one of the gifts he wanted so he could chop wood and all that good stuff. I was paying with gift cards I earned from gather. Anyway the gift cards were not redeemable online so I had to go brave the crowds today.

I do not enjoy the crowds and chaos of “black Friday” and I do my best to avoid it at all costs. Last night we had thanksgiving dinner at 11pm because that is when my boyfriend was off work. Eating so late was perfect because it kept us awake and ready for the black Friday deals online that posted at midnight! I wrote a sponsored post about a company that complied all the black Friday deals for many stores, the site is really helpful (http://www.black-friday.net) and I actually used it last night to buy some great gifts at killer prices!

Okay, so back to the black Friday experience… Today I was honked at while driving the over crowded streets, I was in a good mood and was trying to be courteous and spread holiday cheer. I was letting people who were waiting forever to turn left go ahead of me and I was taking care not to block driveways etc.. Some lady hauled off and blared her horn at me, The light was red so we couldn’t go anywhere but I guess she was annoyed with my good cheer or something… Where is the Christmas spirit in that? So when the light turned green I pulled forward and break checked her- my evil side surfaced for a moment…

We headed over to home depot first to get that the sale priced chainsaw with my gift cards. We looked everywhere for it and did not see it so we asked a sales associate about it. Some older man overheard me asking a sales associate about the special and he said “you better beat me there cause I want it”. Then he actually broke in to a sprint towards the chainsaw so he could get to it before I did… I was stunned but brushed it off, I figured I would go to the other home depot in town to get it instead. The customer service rep standing behind the desk witnessed what had happened and offered to call the other store to see it they had any left. She was very helpful and polite. I did end up getting the chainsaw at the other store without having to stoop to the undignified level of many of the other crazies out shopping.

I am just appalled but the way people carry on in while trying to score the great deals. That’s not what the holiday spirit is about… Giving the most expensive gifts does not make you a better person and people actually wont love you more for them. They are just materials guys and if you are trampling others and carrying on like that it defeats the whole point of the season!

I made it a point to have most of my shopping done before black Friday because it’s just easier and less frustrating these days! It’s sad but I can honestly say I have had my fill of being around people today- Some people are just so nasty ans self involved!

Dare I ask how your black Friday experience went?

Clever Holiday Gifts I found- November 2007

I have gotten the majority of my big holiday shopping out of the way prior to thanksgiving this year. Yay for me! I try to do this every year and am not always successful, this year I pulled it off though!

Oh, by the way of you still need to do holiday shopping consider doing it from the comfort of your own home! I did all my shopping online and will only be visiting a store or two between now and Christmas. You can even start your “black friday” shopping from home now! Visit your favorite stores on 12am on black friday and get the deals without having to wait in line outside those stores in the wee hours of the morning- unless you really love the chaos of black friday shopping… I didn’t think so! 😉

Okay, back to the topic of the post! So, while I was perusing catalogs looking for more gift ideas I came across some stuff that amused me. I am not sure if your gift recipients would appreciate these gifts as much as I would but I thought it would be interesting to share them with you!

The first one appeals to my cow obsession. I have a cow themed kitchen and I just basically collect and love everything cow.

Anyway, it’s available over at Wireless for $26.95, the cow one is my favorite and it’s just an awesome idea if you ask me! Do you get it? Cow Pie!! He he.. If you want to get it for me you can by following this link.

The next thing I found was in the Signals catalog. It’s perfectly inspirational and totally something that would be special and meaningful to me. It’s a sterling silver perseverance cuff bracelet that is hand -etched. It’s absolutely adorable! Available for $79.95 and it’s the perfect inspirational reminder for any woman (in my opinion). You can get this product by clicking here!

A few years back I found a hilarious gift… It was a dvd rewinder! Yes, someone actually manufactured the product and oh what a great gag gift it was! Are you wanting any unique gifts this year or have you found a funny gift you want to share? Tell us about it!

November 15th- America Recycles Day!

America recycles dayToday, November 15th is America Recycles Day. Do you recycle? Do you know why recycling is important?

I want to encourage everyone to take some time to learn about the recycling today. If you have kids teach them about recycling too!

Did you know that “the average American discards 7.5 pounds of garbage every day”? So much of our garbage can be reused and it’s really a huge waste to just dispose of it when it can be recycled instead.

If you recycle at home you are taking a major step! There are many other ways you can help though. Do you pay attention to the packaging of products when you shop? Many types of plastic are not recyclable in our area so when we have the choice between many brands we try to only buy stuff that is in recyclable packaging. This sends a message to companies and it’s another way we reduce the amount of trash we produce!

Finding alternative uses for stuff you would normally throw away is another great way to recycle and eliminate trash production. We use our old kitty litter bins as planters in the garden and for storage of stuff. Milk jugs have many uses and you can even save those old plastic plant containers and reuse them in the garden! I plant my flowering bulbs in these and they are easier to dig up and the bulbs don’t get damaged!

Another way to celebrate today is to try some fun recycling crafts with your kids, these crafts use household products and are a great way to teach them about recycling and taking care of the environment!

How are you celebrating today and in what unique ways do you recycle? For more recycling information you can visit the National Recycling Coalition’s website.

Energy saving lights for your yard!

You probably already know I am a sustainable living freak. We love saving our gray water for the garden, we like energy efficient appliances and just about anything that can save us money and energy. We even just started a “green blog”, greenpreferred.com

The new energy efficient craze is LED lights. These are a very big deal right now, they are made for more and more household uses (including holiday lights) and a new company just came out with LED landscape lighting for your home!

LED lights are great because they are an energy efficient alternative to a 100 year old technology. Switching to LED lights is better for the environment, they are safer and they will save you money too! If you have landscape lighting you might consider switching to a more cost effective and safer LED lights.

Avoid the crowds- shop online!

I do that majority of my holiday shopping online and I even start buying stuff before the official holiday shopping time period. Last year just for fun I went to some of my favorite stores for “black friday”. It was exciting and chaotic but was not nearly worth the hassle in my opinion. Last year I was shopping for an IPOD or MP3 Player. Several stores had good black friday deals but those deals were so limited and coveted that only a few people got the hot items they needed. Needless to say I did not find the portable music player I needed during my black friday excursion. I actually found a great deal on an MP3 player online and buying it and having it shipped just in time for Christmas!

I just found a site that I thought was interesting and related to black friday. It’s called Black-Friday.net, the concept of the site is basically that you are emailed the black friday ads so you can buy stuff from the comfort of your own home on black friday. This seems better than waking up before the sun rises just to stand in line, waiting for the stores to open so I am there to get the great deals before they run out.

Some of the stores that I am interested in are: Best Buy specials, Tractor Supply Co. discounts and Buy.com ads. It appears that the ads wont be posted until closer to black friday and you can either enter you email to receive black friday ad alerts or you can check the site closer to black friday. I am always open to new and better ways to do things so I signed up for the email alert! We will see how well it goes! Wish me luck for black friday! bfads

Get some energy effcient light bulbs for the holidays!!

money-isnt-all-you-save.jpgI am pretty excited! I just found out that this winter we can switch our Christmas/ holiday lights and be more energy efficient! That is right; they have now come out with more energy efficient bulbs for those holiday light strands! This is another way to save money on that electric bill and help the environment!

Holiday LED lights are much like the CFL bulbs everyone has been switching to. These make homes more energy efficient, they use less power, burn cooler and even last longer. CLF bulbs can help you save money on your electric bill and they are much better for our environment too! It’s a win-win situation we just have to get people to make the switch.

So, here is my challenge to you… When you are unwrapping those holiday lights and checking to see which strands still work remember the “change a light” pledge. When you go out to buy those replacement bulbs or new strands of lights buy the better quality LED lights instead. Slowly but surely you will replace all those old holiday lights, or if you are like me none of your old light strands will work (or it will be way to hard to untangle them) so you will just ditch the old strands and buy all new energy efficient ones! 😉

You can find out more about switching to LED holiday lights by visiting the holiday LED’s site and you can even participate in the change a light campaign this year! We sure are!

Whether you are switching out your holiday lights or a few lights in your home take the “Change a light pledge” over at energystar.com and “change the world, one light — one energy-saving step — at a time. “

Product Spotlight: Romantic Message in a Bottle Gift

Looking for a romantic gift for a lover? Skip the flowers and chocolates that will only last a few short days. Give a personalized gift that can be cherished for years to come! The Message in a Bottle Gift is a Custom Gifts by Talina exclusive! What is a “Message in a Bottle Gift”?

A Message in a Bottle gift is simply a love note nestled in a beautifully decorated bottle. The gift giver authors a touching message that I inscribe on a message scroll that is nestled in a beautifully decorated bottle.

This is a gift that can be held on to, stored and looked back upon for a lifetime. The message in a bottle gift is a love time capsule of sorts. Write you own touching message, love note or romantic poem for your loved one to cherish and look back on forever.

These message in a bottle gifts are wonderful keepsake gift item that your loved one will cherish for years to come!

You can visit the Custom Gifts by Talina store to browse all the available gifts or you can buy your very own personalized message in a bottle gift today!