Archive for the 'Holidays' Category

Inexpensive Gift Ideas:

Every Christmas millions of families find themselves in credit card debt within the month. Deep debt. But is there any real reason for this? Not really. Christmas has become commercialized to the point of ridiculousness. Of course we all want to make our children, family, and friends happy. But, are you really making them happy when they feel as if they need to be in competition to spend the most money on the best gift?

I don’t think so. Some may disagree with me. Some people enjoy spending a lot of money, but the vast majority of people on this planet are not rich and look for ways to get the most for their money. So I offer you, the thrift-minded, a list of ideas.

cookie tree

1. Does the person you plan to buy for enjoy coffee or tea? If so, pick up an pretty but inexpensive coffee cup, then tuck a bag of their favorite coffee/tea inside. A square of colored cellophane brought up around the cup, tied with a ribbon, then garnished with a bow makes for a lovely presentation.

2. Buying for someone who is deep into the green movement? Buy local foodstuff and put it all into a rustic handmade basket. Local wines, local sauces, anything made in their immediate living area. For these folks, it is all about sustainability!

3. Jar gifts go over great with just about anyone. Recipes are very easy to find to make gorgeous layered mixes. Be sure to decorate the top with a bit of fabric and include cooking instructions.

4. For the overworked female in your life, why not put together a spa basket? I am sure you know of discount stores in your area to find luxurious bath items at a low price. Put that knowledge to work for you. If you are a bit thrift challenged, enlist a friend who always finds the best deals.

5. Popcorn lover? Movie lover? Mix the two. Fill a basket with gourmet popcorn and flavored oils. Check out eBay for some interesting popcorn.

6. For the cook in your life, choose some small kitchen gadgets and pop into a basket or metal cylinder with a removable top. Good cooks can never have to many silicone spatulas, pancake turners, whisks, serving spoons, slotted spoons, and other gadgets with handles.

7. If you are buying for a pet lover, why not a gift card for the local pet store? Chances are this will be the best gift this person gets all Christmas. Taking care of a furry friend is expensive, your help will be appreciated.

8. Have a son, daughter, or other family member who lives far away? Pick up a few pre-paid phone cards for them.

9. Kids on the list? Coloring books, crayons, and other art supplies are easy to find at discount prices and children love them. Keep the parents in mind when you buy, look for art supplies labeled ‘washable’.

10. A subscription to a magazine is welcomed by many. Either ask or have someone else covertly discover the favorite magazine of your ‘target’. Then all you have to do is fill out their information and pay for it. Many subscriptions run under $20.

Posted in Holidays | 8 Comments »

Holiday Eating For Diabetics.

If you have diabetes, you probably look at the holidays with dread. All of the cookies, pies, tarts, and cakes that are offered by your friends and family can really wear on your determination to ‘be good’. If you follow a few simple guidelines, you can enjoy the holidays and the food that comes with them, safely.

1. Eat a light meal before leaving home. A healthy snack can curb your appetite, making you less likely to over eat which can force your sugar levels to high numbers.

2. Check your sugar levels before leaving home. Carry your glucose monitor with you, along with lancets and test strips. If you feel the slightest bit off kilter, excuse yourself to a restroom and check your glucose.

3. Bring an insulin injection pen with you. You can discreetly inject yourself in a rest room. Have alcohol pads in your insulin kit. If you do not wish the host or other guests to know about your kit, pack it in a small soft cooler that can fit into a purse or coat pocket with a small ice packet.

4. You don’t have to deny yourself from the dessert section. Just take much smaller portions.

5. Do not eat any sugar laden or refined foods during the day or when you are not at a party or family gathering. Consider these outings as your treat and reward for carefully following a diet the rest of the weeks/month.

Being a diabetic doesn’t mean losing out on sweets entirely. Everything in moderation and only when your sugar is in an acceptable range. Be sure to make healthy choices when you are eating, paying particular attention to vegetable side dishes. If you are filled with healthy foods it will be easier to not over indulge at the dessert table.

Posted in Holidays, Diabetes | 2 Comments »

Choosing A Great Tree.

Christmas Tree
If you haven’t already chosen a tree for this year, it’s time to begin looking. While every family has their favorite type of tree, be it cedar, white pine, or artificial, not everyone is sure how to pick out the best one for their home. So, before you head out to the store or nursery, let’s go over a few basics.

1. Where do you plan to place your tree? Get an idea of where the tree will be standing and clear a large space. Take in account room you will need for presents underneath. As discussed in the safety post, stay away from used fireplaces. Be sure a power outlet is nearby for the lights.

2. Measure the height of your room. While a live tree can be trimmed by cutting a few inches from the trunk, an artificial tree will need to be returned. Save your time and gas by knowing how tall of a tree your home can accommodate.

3. Choose a tree with strong branches. Not only will they need to hold up the ornaments easily, but if you have children or pets, the tree will need to be able to spring back from hugs and bumps.

4. In the case of a live tree, look for a dark green color and needles that do not fall off easily. This means the tree has been well taken care of. A tree that has a light, splotchy color, sometimes yellow or brown in any place means the tree has not had enough water and will begin to shed it’s needles very quickly. A dry tree is a fire hazard!

5. If at all possible, look for a nursery that sells trees with roots. Replant your tree in your yard or donate it to a friend, city park, or community garden. Evergreen trees are wonderful for combating the green house effect and every one that can be saved is a step towards a healthier planet.

Picture credit to Free Gifs and Animations

Posted in Holidays | 2 Comments »

Christmas Tree Safety Tips

Lovely Decoration

Many families like to put their Christmas trees up the day or week following Thanksgiving, or in the end of November if Thanksgiving is not part of their holiday tradition. While I will be talking about how to choose the perfect tree, let’s first discuss safety. Proper handling of your tree will avoid any potential accidents and make your holiday a safe and happy one. Use the following list to stay safe!

1.When you first bring your tree home, if you are using a live tree, be sure to cut a 2 inch section from the bottom before placing it in the stand. This will encourage the tree to ‘drink’ the water you provide. A dry tree is a dangerous one. Needles will fall more quickly and dry branches are apt to cause a fire. Check the water and replenish it each day that your tree is used with lights.

2.Check your lights whether you use new lights or the ones from previous holidays. Examine the wires for cracks, breaks, or fraying. Exposed wires can lead to sparks and fire.

3.If you must use several strings of lights, use a power strip with surge protection. This will prevent problems with your power outlets.

4.Many light strings may have lead in their construction. Wear gloves and wash your hands after decorating with lights.

5.If you have children, especially small or special needs children, please use large plastic ornaments. Small children and special needs children tend to mouth objects. Tiny ornaments can be a choking hazard.

6.When choosing plastic ornaments, try to avoid those with the label ‘Made in China’. With the recent levels of lead found in plastic toys and other products from China, it is a good idea to either avoid them or use latex gloves when handling any decoration made from materials imported from China for now. Do not allow children to touch them. Place them high on the tree, out of reach. Wash your hands.

7.Do not use edible decorations like cranberries or stringed popcorn if you have small children. As with the previous points, small or special needs children will mouth nearly anything. The strings can become entangled in their intestines if swallowed or choke them by balling up in the mouth/throat.

8.No glass around children!

9.Do not place any tree near a used fireplace, live or artificial.

10.Unplug your lights when leaving home or before bed. Removing them from their power source is much safer than just turning them off or turning off the power strip.

Posted in Holidays | 5 Comments »

A Holiday Plan.

Here it is, the day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday as it’s called here in the States. Do you have a holiday plan?

If you’re sending out cards, now is the time to begin addressing them. I like to have my cards out by the first of the month, just to make sure they are to my recipients in time for the holidays. But what if you want to send cards to friends who might not be of your faith?

Do a little research. Simple solutions to the quandary is to just ask how your friends plan to spend their holidays. Or maybe, “Do you and your family get together for the holidays?? is a sneaky way to find out if your friend(s) celebrate a specific religious holiday. Be sensitive to your friends, send a card that is either for their holiday or a generic holiday greeting without religious reference.

If you are going to send gifts, don’t go overboard with people you are not very familiar with. For example, I recently made a recommendation of tea or coffee for a business acquaintance. A gift is great, but your boss may feel as if you are trying to bribe them into giving you a better position or pay raise if you buy something extravagant. Keep it simple and thoughtful. The same goes for a boss, a card or gift card is a nice appreciative gift for your employee(s). If your company supplies a bonus for the holidays, then adding something extra is not perhaps the best course of action unless handled in private. Other employees may become jealous.

In the coming weeks before the holidays, keep checking back for posts concerning holiday gift buying, safety, and more!

Posted in Holidays | 4 Comments »

Traditional Side Dishes

Side dishes are a little easier than the main dish, because so many sides for Thanksgiving are vegetables. Green beans, corn, mashed potatoes, and cranberries are just examples. You can take each one of those veggies and give them a tasty twist to wow your guests.

Fresh green beans are so very yummy when deep fried. Just pop them into hot oil a handful at a time and fry for 3-4 minutes. Plate them all lying in the same direction and sprinkle a bit of your favorite seasoning on top.

Corn can be brightened with the addition of chopped green and red peppers. A touch of sweetness will compliment the hot. Add in a touch of vegan safe sugar. (check with the company, some sugars are refined with charcoal from bones)

For your mashed potatoes, use vegatable broth as the mixing medium. It will give a great taste, plus add in a softer texture.

Fresh cranberries are easy to cook with! All you need to make your own cranberry sauce is a bag of cranberries, a little water, and some sugar. Pour the cranberries into a saucepan with about a cup and a half of water. Cook until the cranberries are soft (low heat). Add in sugar to sweeten the sauce to your preference. Remove from heat and stir vigorously, crushing the berries. If the sauce is too thin, slowly add a little cornstarch roux to the mix and stir until thickened. Orange peel added to the water, then removed before mixing will add in a great taste.

Posted in Uncategorized, Cooking, Holidays | No Comments »

A Tasty Halloween.

Hey, Halloween is tomorrow! What are YOU doing?

I’m getting the kids ready, looking for candy, and trying to decide if we’re going to dress the dog up. I also found a ton of Halloween decorations for 50% off retail, so I went a little crazy. The ront of the house looks like some sort of graveyard/crypt.

The best way I’ve found for decorating is to start my decoration shopping when the sales hit, then to continue shopping until everything is gone. That way, next year there is a huge box of things to choose from, all still brand new and at a fraction of the original cost. We also found some grea fabric for a dollar a yard, gauzy white and some black net. We enclosed the porch with the black, with the entryway open and strips of the fabric hanging down. Lights can go around your door, roof, windows, or bushes. With the white fabric, my two girls want to be ghosts. Talk about a cheap way to get out of costume purchases!

For tomorrow, it’s going to be a total grossfest around the kitchen. Moldy Breakfast Pizza will start it all off, lunch will be Monster Eyes, and supper will be a tasty concoction of Maggoty Mess. What kid wouldn’t be happy as a ghoul could be?

All of these recipes are easy and tasty. If you have just a few items on hand, you can make all of them.

Moldy Breakfast Pizza
Some breakfast sausage, crumbled.
Cheese for melting
Tomato, chopped
Parmesan cheese
Green food coloring

Use one egg for each slice of toast. Scramble with crumbled bacon or sausage and tomato. Place on warm, buttered toast, top with your child’s favorite cheese. Allow the cheese to melt. Mix a drop of green food coloring with the parmesan, try to get a nice mold color. Sprinkle the ‘mold’ on top of the pizz, then serve.

Monster EyesMake deviled eggs according to your favorite recipe. Pop one half of a pimento stuffed olive into the middle of the deviled egg. Serve.

Maggoty MessMaggoty Mess can be made quite easily. You can follow your favorite recipe for beef stew, then right before serving, add in cooked Orzo pasta. The pasta looks just like maggots!

Posted in Cooking, Holidays | 1 Comment »

Have a Wonderful and Safe 4th of July!

0616769-R1-036-16A_a 250x203.jpgThe 4th of July is a great time for families to get together. A nice warm day, picnics in the grass, icy watermelon, slip & slide fun (hey, do they still have slip & slides?), and the amazing firework displays.

It’s a fun and family focused day of the year.

But sadly, many accidents can and do occur on the 4th each year. Not to put a damper on the day’s festivities but there are some simple facts you need to know to keep your family safe and healthy this 4th.

Facts & figures

I could give millions of accident stats for the 4th — there’s no shortage. However, let’s just look a few biggies offered by The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):

On July 4th there are more U.S. fires reported that on any other day of the year — and fireworks account for half of these fires. The figure that surprised me was the sparklers — which are seemingly harmless. I always have let my son use them in the past but I’m re-thinking that this year. Each year the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) promotes a list of safety tips for 4th of July firework safety.

This year however, the AAP is doing something new. The NFPA has come forward with, instead of safety tips, a new recommendation that tips aren’t needed. What’s needed is a call for everyone to leave the fireworks to the professionals. The AAP agrees with the NFPA and so this year’s tips are a little less bulky and a lot safer…

Legal or not for consumers, fireworks are too risky for amateurs leave the fireworks to the professionals.”

Besides saving you some reading this tip could save your family money, stress, and more importantly maybe your health or life. So follow this year’s one tip. Gather the family, pack a picnic, and head to the nearest community fireworks festivities for a fun and safe 4th.

Safe & happy July 4th wishes from Family Resource!

Posted in Child Safety, Holidays, Personal Safety, Healthy Living | 1 Comment »

On the Road Again..

Today we drove down to Florida to reunite with our babies after their Disney World fiasco as well as spend some quality post-holiday time with our family.  It’s just a long enough drive to get you thinking about things but just short enough to let it end before you become obssesive or negative about your thoughts.  It was a quiet ride - just me and John - with both of us (however trite it may seem) reflecting on the past year and, more importantly, the year(s) to come.

I will sum it up by saying just a few things.  #1. I feel, most days, like the luckiest person in the world.  As I drove the six hour haul today, I realized that even with all the mistakes I have made (and more than likely, will continue to make) I have managed to eke out a very sweet life.  While I am proud to say that I have made rather difficult decisions which, eventually (over two years of great struggle) proved to be wise, I can only attribute it to the fact that I am surrounded by such great people.  #2.  I, finally and after 29 years on this planet, trust myself and my decision making abilities.  I feel strong and confident and like I have made, and will continue to make, solid choices.  Having faith in your own ability to steer your life, I think, is quite possibly one of the greatest gifts you can ever give yourself (or earn, depending on how you look at it).  AND, last but not least #3.  In my childrens’ absence I realized that the life of a single, young, unattached adult is not for me.  The ability to indulge in constant self gratification became borderline grotesque for me.  I found nothing redeeming about it.  I can now say that my struggle as a young mother who never quite felt like she had a good go at being a 20something go-getter is over.  My family is a defining quality of me and I will no longer daydream about the life I never had - because, honestly, this is better than anything I could ever have dreamed.

So.  Happy New Year to you all.  See you tomorrow….

Posted in Uncategorized, Daily Living, Holidays | No Comments »


Sigh. What a day.

We managed to keep most presents a secret (with the lack of closet space in this house, it was no small feat).. We managed to keep ourselves stress free and smiling - even through my son declaring to all his young friends (who adamently believe in Mr. Claus) over our Chirstmas eve dinner last night that “there is no Santa and, quite frankley, I don’t really believe there ever was!”….. ahem. yeah. We managed to stay within our budget. And, mainly, we managed to have a Christmas that was all our own - we didn’t allow anyone to set a schedule or pace for us. Today was, honestly, one of the nicest days ever.

It was, however, the first Christmas, since having not gone to my mothers to get spoiled, I realized that I am bonafide grown up. All the presents under the tree were put there by me - which consequentially means that, of course, there are none for me. All the food was made by me. All the presents wrapped - you guessed it - by me (and John). I dunno. As much as I relished every moment of making today super special for the kids, there was an equal amount of time realizing that my Christmases will never be the same. I will never be the one to lay in bed, eyes wide open, just waiting for the sun to rise so that I can go wake up my parents.. I will never rise and run to the tree to see how, in just one nights sleep, the vacant spots under the limbs have been filled with boxes reaching up to the ceiling and rivaling the tallest branches.. I will now be the one who knows exactly what each stocking holds.. I will now be the one to be woken, rather than the eager tiptoer tugging at the bedsheets praying it’s not to early…. I guess this first Christmas away from my own parents has left me realizing that it’s now my turn. Happily, but, none the less, still kind of achy for my own eyes to light up when I see the tree first thing Christmas morning. I guess that happens when I see their eyes light up…..


Ok.. Here’s the deal.. I’m trying to pretty it up but, really, I guess I just didn’t consider what an absolute decline in presents the whole “not going to visit my parents” would mean for me. That’s the bottom line. I mean. If I think about it, it makes sense.. I don’t know why I didn’t consider it in my pro/con list for the whole going-staying home debate.. I think I’m gonna have to reconsider and, at least, do an every other year visit.. John and I got each other what we could, but ultimately, all our money was spent on the kids. We kind of get jipped out of presents if we don’t go visit the family. Hmmm. Things to consider for next year. My pro/con list will definately look a hell of a lot different in 2007 for our Christmas plans.

Posted in Holidays | No Comments »

<< Previous             More Entries >>