A Destin, Florida Destination

Although Florida has been most famous for Miami, many are discovering the beauties of the Emerald Coast and the allure of Apalachicola. I know I am one of that number. In fact, Florida’s Emerald Coast has been voted the “Best Beach Town in the South” by the readers of Southern Living magazine, in 2011.

Visiting The Emerald Coast? Discover Destin Beach!

The Destin area is great for families. No place better for reunions, it is a fun place to meet up with kids and grandkids. The beaches are clean and beautiful, there are plenty of things to do and see -in a completely relaxed atmosphere.

Lots of shopping opportunities in the general area.

The clear waters, ocean breezes, and nice condos are the perfect backdrop for good memories and family fun…. and that is what makes this an area worth return visits.

Read on to find out about some of the great restaurants, attractions, hidden gems -all honestly reported from our family visits.

 

Our Latest Destin Beach Vacation

family picture by the ocean
Our favorite part: time on the beach!

Another great time of fun in the sun

We love to spend most of our time on the beach.

Take along a really great beach bag to tote all the necessary essentials. My daughter uses the beach cart and considers it a lifesaver for hauling all the family gear to and from the beach: boogie boards, sand toys, beach umbrella, etc.

This cart is so handy to transport gear from condo to beach.

We’ve always enjoyed the beach, but Destin has such clear water and white sand beaches, it rates as our family’s top favorite place to enjoy a Beach vacation.

Being in the panhandle, it is a little far north for some snowbirds who like to vacation during the winter months, but for us the late spring and early fall are good times to go. That is when we have experienced Destin at its most pleasant.

The General Area: The Emerald Coast – Basic Beach Vacation Info

The Beach is what I go to Destin for… those gorgeous white sands and emerald waters are the centerpiece of the area. There are plenty of things to do and places to eat, but when all is said and done it is the natural beauty of the area that makes it really special.

  • Emerald Coast Guide
    Things to do at one of the most beautiful places in America. BEACH INFORMATION: Emerald Coast Guide Home, Recreation and Attractions, Fishing, Dining and Entertainment, Shopping, and more
  • Official Site For Destin
    Award-Winning Beaches THINGS TO DO

Must-Have Travel Essentials for Florida

Must Have…Beach Towels!

These are beach essentials
These are beach essentials

Be sure to pack these:

  • Don’t forget to have sunglasses
  • a small insulated pack for water and refreshments.
  • Don’t forget your sunscreen …especially if you are from the North! Or have pale skin!

Most condos don’t have beach towels, so bring a nice big beach towel. You can buy them at the outlets, but they are cheaper and much better quality if you buy them before you arrive in Destin. This is true of most resorts and beach destinations.

"Sunscreen?",... by Kurt Ard

“Sunscreen?”… by Kurt Ard

Packing list if you travel by car:

  1. Sunscreen,
  2. Insulated pack
  3. Beach chairs
  4. Beach towels
  5. Bottled water and drinks
  6. Beach umbrella or tent
  7. Extras of paper products like paper towels, napkins, and toilet paper.

Get ready for the beach – Beach gear for maximum fun

Shade Shack Instant Pop Up Family Beach Tent and Sun Shelter, Blue/Yellow by Demco Incorporated

This is another great idea that my daughter has adopted for her family’s beach vacations. When the sun is as hot as it gets in Florida, these tents are great for the young children who need to take a little nap, or for moms with fair skin who need timeout from the midday sun.

 

I need to reiterate: if you come from the North and have fair skin (I do) use a powerful sunscreen 30+ and above right from first thing in the morning.

I had thought I was protected enough but got badly burnt. Until slathering on 55 SPF first thing in the morning it was not enough. Get everything possibly exposed to the sun covered with sunscreen.

!!!

 

Skinceuticals Sheer Physical Uv Defense SPF 50 Broad-spectrum Sunscreen Fluid, 1.7-Ounce Skinceuticals Sheer Physical Uv Defense SPF 50 Broad-spectrum Sunscreen Fluid, 1.7-Ounce

Explore the Area

visit Seaside, too, while you are on the Emerald Coast.

My Favorite Breakfast Place

My family and I revisited my favorite haunts listed here during our 2011 trip. I still like Another Broken Egg, and the oysters from Shrimp Shack were still excellent.

We spent more time getting items at “Fresh Market” during this vacation, and found they sell oysters ‘Rockefeller’ there. The sandwich wraps, bakery items, and salads were just wonderful. Very good fresh fruits and juices, too. We highly recommend this as a choice for many lunch and light dinner times.

Another Broken Egg Cafe

I had the ultimate crabcakes here, but no matter what you order from the menu this restaurant is a destination as far as I’m concerned. I bought the souvenir coffee cups, too. We tried it out on recommendation of my daughter and son-in-law, and they know how to pick ’em.

I like everything about the pleasant inviting decor, the delicious food, and the menu selections. Everyone in our large party was happy. And that is a tall order!

If you want to know what other people thought, here’s a review of the Destin locations.

Source: theopinionatedfoodie.wordpress.com

 

My Favorite Oysters

At the Shrimp Shack in Seaside- Go There

I know it is a bit of a run to get over to Seaside, but it is a nice attraction. While you are there looking at the little shops and all the pretty houses, get some Apalachicola oysters at the Shrimp Shack. They are addictively delicious.

The beach directly behind the eating area is pretty and there is a great smoothie trailer across the street.

Another Oyster and Seafood Place:

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The Boathouse Oyster Bar

Taste the sea

A fun loving place where the oysters are shucked as fast as the guy can get ’em out, and the crowd is loud and happy. This place is tucked away and a bit hard to find… look for the “Boathouse Oyster Bar” sign as you near HarborWalk Village. They have lots on the menu besides oysters, but if you love oysters this is the place you want to go.

One thing, though, is that you can’t get them for take-out… oysters must be eaten on site.

I ordered the baked oysters “Half and Half”, two recipes of 6 each: one a butter,mozzarella,bacon, and onion smothered oyster- the other a cocktail sauce and cheddar cheese concoction. Both good.

Definite “beach” feel with old style wooden building.

Harborwalk Village – shops,views, fun, and food

photo by Marvin Kuo
photo by Marvin Kuo

Harborwalk Village is a waterfront collection of stores, eating places, and some fun stuff for kids located right next to the Destin Harbor Marina. A small “locomotive” gives a ride, upscale stores offer a place to spend your money, and restaurants are bright, lively, and can be expensive. It is all pretty expensive – but an enjoyable place to see. Located across the street from Mcguire’s and below the Emerald Grande Hotel.

Very sunny and hot in the daytime, I preferred visiting in the evening after sundown, the lights reflect on the water and the mood is upbeat.

Source: flickr.com via HarborWalk
Source: flickr.com via HarborWalk

Harry T’s

Harry T
Harry T Restaurant

Located within Harborwalk Village is Harry T’s – a loud and sloppy restaurant, but with very decent food if you don’t mind the high prices.

I ate the catch of the day which happened to be snapper and buttery new potatoes. My husband had the “best Reuben sandwich I ever tasted” – that is what he said, just quoted him.

We were seated overlooking the bay which was very beautiful, just missing the sunset views which I’m sure can be spectacular…looking over the water and towards the bridge to Okaloosa Island.

I thought the seafood was okay, and very overpriced … so while it was an overall good experience, I don’t think I would choose to go there on my next trip.

Harry T’s Menu

 

Unanimous Thumbs Up for McGuire’s Irish Pub

Great Place to Eat

  Everyone seems to agree that this is a place for good food and fun.  Mcguire’s in Destin is right across the street from Harborwalk Village,  wonderful  place to walk along the waterside, visit upscale boutiques and eat- even if you don’t decide on Mcguire’s.

Read reviews at Yelp.

Look at McGuire’s Irish Pub Menu and give them a call

There is a cute souvenir shop attached, and we bought some t-shirts, shot glasses and other Irish flavored memorabilia, but the big draw is the food.

Steak is a big favorite there. Try it- you won’t be sorry. Also famous for their burgers, they won best burger in Destin.

Very Good Asian Food

Chinese/Thai Food @ Lins Asian next to the Winn Dixie by Silver Sands Outlet. I recommend the panfried noodle dish.

Destin Commons

 An outdoor mall with many little shops and the usual: Starbucks, Loft, Talbot, Victoria Secret, etc. Anchored by a giant Bass Pro Shop, you can’t miss it on Highway 98.

I enjoyed the many different shops strung along the pleasant walkway, had great smoothies and fresh sandwich at Tropical Smoothie Cafe. Stop at the information desk for a map and ask for the coupons.

Don’t miss their “Life is Good” shop, where you can get lots of the newest designs of your favorite t-shirts.

Destin Commons website

Destin Area Festivals

Find Events Going On

We attended the Seafood Festival when there during our last vacation. I wasn’t very impressed. It was very crowded and the long lines for the seafood dampened my enthusiasm for the event.

If you want to know more, they have a facebook page.

facebook.com/Destin-Seafood-Festival-192710857443315/

Beer Festival October 13th

Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation Concerts in the Park

For more information, 850.650.2226

Destin’s Fishing Tournament

The Sandestin Wine Festival

Destin Area Events

Destin, Florida Annual Events Calendar

There are always all sorts of fun events going on including the annual ones like the Seafood Festival, the Beach Kite Festival and the Annual Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival .

Emerald Coast Events:

-watch this space for up coming events or check the website link-

For info and in depth descriptions, see the Calender of Events

Rent a Beach House – For us, that was the ideal place to stay

Postcard from Destin Florida by ilonagarden

Destin Info List – Important Links

Who was Mattie Kelley?

She was an important pioneer of modern Destin, and the arts foundation which gives summer concerts is named in her honor. Find out about Mattie Kelley, and how to enter an art contest.

Best Time To Visit

September is one of the best times to visit. Off season rates, more comfortable temperatures.

Beach Resort Footwear – Keep it comfortable and casual

These beach resort shoes are comfy and casual.

Buy before you go because they are pricey in the shops.
Sanuk Men's Shipwrecked LoaferBrindle11 M US

Sanuk Men’s Shipwrecked Loafer

Sanuk Women's Yoga Mat Flip Flop,Ebony,8 M US

Sanuk Women’s Yoga Mat Flip Flop,Ebony,8 M US

Gulf Coast Shopping

Gulf Coast Shopping
Gulf Coast Shopping

 

Love Your Gray Hair: Silver Is the New Blonde

If you decided to go silver, winter is time to love your gray hair and take care of it. That includes protection from the elements, using the right hair care products, and styling.

Now that I have spent a number of years allowing my hair to grow into its natural silver and white, it is time to spill the beans on the realities of keeping my mane looking its best.

Problems and solutions follow, along with some hairstyle looks for inspiration.

As Years Go By

Do I still love it? Yes, going gray was one of the best beauty decisions of my fifties. Has it rendered my haircare totally carefree? No.

I should get my haircut refreshed far more often than I do. What a difference a professional cut can make- giving shape and movement to create a more lively look.

I have also learned the hard way that a pennies amount of protection and prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to maintaining the good looks of gray.

I continue to seek the perfect style. (I am starting to believe this dissatisfaction has more to do with losing bodyweight than fixing my hair.) I did want to update a few of the tips which have stood me in good stead for that past few years.

When Gray Isn’t at Its Best

I have had some challenges as a Silver Fox that I never had when I was a Brunette.

The most irksome:

  • Yellowing. This is the worst problem and the one which has been hardest to deal with.
  • Flyaways and thinning, related to aging, rather than the color; but requiring care and products to manage.
  • Challenges of growing it long and keeping it looking good.

Those have to be the top three problems for most gray locks ( except for the last one, not everyone wants to have long hair!).

Silver Styling

bob hairstyle
This is the default long bob hairstyle, that I will ask my hairdresser to use if the longer lengths do not work out.

Short Gray Hair

Not everyone needs or wants to chop the length, but it is one way to deal with the above named topknot troubles. It was easiest for me to maintain shine and silveriness when I had a mid-length bob.

Cutting off hair that has been damaged by the elements or heat styling is a tried and true way to control the dryness and discoloration.

It also gives a fresh new look that is instantly rejuvenating.

Love Really Short?

pixie for over 60
pixie for over 60

Growing It Long

long gray hair
source: pixabay.com

I know there are many women, like me, that see those gorgeous long locks of shining gray hair. It is so tempting to desire those below the shoulder lengths.

So I gave in, after two or three false starts, and began to grow out the length of my hair. I must be honest and say that the results are mixed. I haven’t given up yet, but if I remain ambivalent about this look, I will go back to the smooth, mid-length pageboy.

long grey hair style
I like this loose, slightly wavy style.

What Is My Beef with Body?

Thinning means less hair to give “body” to a style, and I have had layers put in to keep the style from going flat. Layers, however,  can be more prone to flyaways when the weather turns cold (a trial for all types of hair).

 

Tame Flyaways
Serums are still the best bet for taming flyaway hair, although hair pomade like Alberto VO5 works, too. Beware of too much which can weigh down and flatten your style.
GLOSS Moderne High-Gloss Serum, 4 fl. oz.
List Price:$49.00
Price:$49.00
Price Disclaimer

Have you tried to grow out your silver locks? What were your hurdles?

Stop Turning Yellow!

salt and pepper hair
Clarify

I admit it, I didn’t use the color correcting products as often in the past year. The shampoo and conditioner formulated for gray hair make a huge difference under most circumstances.

I had an  experience with battling a bout of yellowing after a beach vacation two years ago. I am convinced that using sun protection would have prevented it. I even went to my stylist and had a “Malibu Treatment” at the time, but I felt the results were negligible. Perhaps it will work better for you?

I’ve written about fav hair products, here.

So far, the best antidote has been Paul Mitchell’s Forever Blonde line. In the future I will make a review comparing and contrasting several product lines, but this is my top tip so far.

Natural Tip
Try rinsing with the juice of a lemon added to two cups of water. It will help clarify and brighten.

I have to contend with hard water,  exposure to the elements ( LOVE being outdoors), what are your bug-a-boos? City pollution? Certain hair products? Chlorine?

UhOh Argan Oil

Maybe this personal anecdote is silly, but every time I used Argan oil, which makes hair very soft and pretty and is good for skin, I noticed a yellow cast to my hair. Hard water is also an issue in my area, but I believe the Argan oil was yellowing. Coconut oil is a better solution when moisturizing hair.

Alberto VO5 for gray hair has been my go-to for smoothing when styled, but I like natural oils for occasional replenishing.

The New Blonde

The longevity of the gray Celebrity fashion has been a happy circumstance. More and more models and actors display silvery manes. It is no longer remarkable when seeing women “of a certain age” with natural looking hairdos.  The beauty of maturity is accepted and even celebrated, though I believe we have a ways to go in appreciating the middle-aged and aged.

A few highlights for a vibrant look in maturity:

  • Keep the style “young”, but not faddish.
  • Keep hair healthy, whether short or long.
  • Good grooming is always in style, don’t go for frumpish.
  • Shampoo often
  • Protect from too much sun and heat.
  • Take vitamins- good looks are from the inside out!
  • Find the products that work best for you- experiment.

I hope these tips, styles, and reminders are helping you keep up appearances in the best possible way.  I love my gray hair and would never go back to the artificial coloring regimen. I think it has the lighthearted feel of a Blonde, with the intelligence attributed to the Brunette, and an attitude of confidence all its own.

 

Homeschoolers Can Plan Their Own Garden Unit Study

 

How Does Your Educational Garden Grow?

One of the most rewarding ways to learn about a whole range of subjects is to focus in on one topic and create a unit study from it. 
Unit studies are one of the most rewarding ways to incorporate all of the curriculum into a fun project.

This group of activities creates a break from dull workbooks and tiresome drills ( as necessary as those sometimes are).

This article takes you all the way through how to plan and implement this form of curriculum to specific topics to explore. Included are convenient links to books on Amazon.

Steps To Teaching Core Subjects Through Garden Unit Studies

How-To

  1. Plan the overall unit, write down which projects you wish to accomplish. Plan the reading for literature, with writing projects such as how to keep a journal, writing an expository essay,etc.
  2. Make a list of books to purchase or borrow from the library. Obtain them. buy your folders or journals.Create math projects from cost lists, geometry problems from garden layouts, etc.
  3. Make a supply list of everything you will need to do the projects and then go shopping! Scavenge around the house for everything that will be used instead of purchased. Get pots, soil, seed starting supplies, or whatever you think you will need.Add a history lesson on tools and the materials they are made from as a way to measure the advance of civilization (stone, bronze, iron) . Or compare societies that were hunters and gatherers with those who farmed. Or create a lesson on the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl.
  4. Begin your unit study with seasonal appropriate activities, field trips, and science experiments. Surprisingly, a gardening unit study can be done at any time of the year.Use science projects on weather, soil testing, botany, etc.
  5. Grow things!

A Garden Topic Covers Every Spectrum of Curriculum

Why is this one of my favorite group studies?
I spent a lot of time and effort in the pursuit of gardening, and have always tried to include my childrenin gaining an appreciation of nature. For their homeschool studies this included lessons in the satisfaction of working outside.

Let’s Run Through a List of Subjects
  • History
  • Language Arts
  • Science
  • Mathematics
  • Art
  • Character Development

History Outside, For Example

Gardening is one way to include indoor and outdoor pursuits. The history of gardens is so interesting that it can encompass whole eras as well as many famous people who had interests or stories somehow related to the garden.

For instance, did you know the ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ involved the transport of breadfruit plants in the great plant exploration era of England? Or that Josephine Bonaparte had a well known rose garden?

The opportunities for garden math, horticulture, chemistry, and journaling are plentiful in the garden… come see.

History in the Garden

Gardens in history
Gardens in history

Plants in Garden History
Plants in Garden History

Penelope Hobhouse is one of the premier garden writers in my book. she tackles the task of presenting plants throughout garden history. She will make it interesting for you, I promise.

History Topics

Investigate the School Garden Movement

  • How did children make a difference in their communities?
  • Henry Lincoln Clapp, a teacher at the George Putnam Grammar School in Boston, MA, established the first school garden. And the idea spread from there.
  • What does the Edible Schoolyard Movement look like today?
  • Make a specific era your focus for art, history, and science. Find out about the gardens of that time, the plants common to them, and how they were used in the medicines and manufacture of clothing.
  • Make a scrapbook page of dye plants. Learn about which plants to avoid eating, or explore the history of the tomato…. where did it originate ( the New World) and what did Europeans think of it ( it was feared to be poisonous)
  • Plant hunters and explorers- who were they and how are our gardens different today?
  • OR why do we have plant transport and import laws? Why are there no more American Elm or Chestnut trees in our gardens?

These are just a few of the topics to chose for your own garden unit study.

Hidden Stories in Plants
Hidden Stories in Plants

Plants are exciting when viewed from the perspective of the mysteries they hold, instead of a compilation of dry facts.
Let them tell their stories, and children will be intrigued.

Geography in the Garden

Where does that plant come from?
China

China

Plants From All Over The World

Plants in our gardens are rarely native, and with a  Horticultural Encyclopedia

or any plant book which describes the origination of the plant (many do) it is s simple task to locate the geographical location where the plant originated.

A study of a great plant explorer like E. H. Wilson can combine fascinating history with a geography slant.

 

Teaching Unit Studies

One of the best ways to engage your child’s interest in learning, there are many great guides available and even the planning work of the unit study all plotted out beforehand.

Language Studies and Writing

 

What Type Of Writing Will You Learn?

Expository writing is the type of writing you create for term papers, essays,etc.

Narrative writing is a type of writing that requires you to tell a story that describes an event or relates a personal experience.

Persuasive writing argues a point and is often called argumentation.

All three can be used in the Garden Unit Study.

Expository: Write a paper about why improving the soil is important, or a biography of a famous plant explorer.

Narrative: Relate a funny or interesting thing that happened while making the garden, tell a story from a bugs point of view!

Persuasive: To spray or not to spray, that is the question… choose a controversy and argue why your opinion is the right one.

Include How-To Books for Success

Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children
Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children

Hands on how-to is what makes this unit study so much fun.

But how do you make learning and working in the garden seem more like fun and less like work? And how to best present gardening to children? Find your ideas in this nicely illustrated guide.

Keep Nature Journals

The best writing exercise for young children is a garden journal with pasted pictures of the plants and projects and words.

Garden catalogs, hardcopy or digital are a rich supply of pictures and information – just print out or cut out and paste into the journals. Seed packets can be saved and used, too.

Nature journals, garden journals, lapbooks about plants, can be worked into your homeschool curriculum and are especially useful in studying with the unit method. They are lasting items for school portfolios.

gardening issue of good housekeeping magazine
Use pictures cut out from magazines on the topic of gardening and plants.

 What is a “Lapbook”?

Lapbooks are a system of file folders in which the student stores creative summaries of their work.

Lapbook creation is a lot like notebooking,  another alternative way to keep and showcase your child’s Garden Unit Study projects and papers.

“An educational learning tool made from a folder and meant to take the place of worksheets.” AKA “shutterbooks, graphic organizers, fold books, presentation books, flap books, and project books”.

To find out more about the concept and difference between lapbooks, notebooks, and scrapbooks, “To Lapbook, Notebook, or Scrapbook– that is the question”.

Basic Supplies for a: Lapbook
  • Folders (regular or legal size)
  • Various types of paper (construction, cardstock, index cards, etc.)
  • Writing tools (markers, pencils, pens, crayons)
  • Stickers, Rubber Stamps , Clipart -for illustration and accents
  • Glue

Why Bother to Create These Projects?

The beauty of such projects are the physical keepsake results of your schoolwork endeavors, and the motivation it provides for your child to see that their schoolwork matters and is not just a bunch of vain or repetitious effort.

Organize Your Lapbooks

Lap books store easily in the plastic, up-right, magazine holders on your bookshelf.

Make a Nature Lapbook

 

Look at these informative links

 

 

Science and the Garden – it is all about science…

Photo from the Smithsonian lesson on "Plants and Pollinators".
Photo from the Smithsonian lesson on “Plants and Pollinators”.

Beneath the garden soil and above it, it is all about the science of growing things. From botany to chemistry, there are a myriad of topical experiments and learning exercises in gardening.

  • Find out about the pH of the soil and test your garden soil.
  • What are the ingredients of common fertilizers and what do their numbers stand for? (Nitrogen, Potassum, and Potash)
  • How are flowers pollinated? What is the life cycle of a plant?
  • What about microorganisms, how important are they in soil health?
  • Discover more about the garden than meets the eye. Take a lens ( a real lens) out into the garden to spy on bugs, look at leaf veins, inspect pollen in flowers.

 

68 windowsill plants from kitchen scraps – Science fun

An easy science experiment for small children is to grow a plant from a kitchen scrap. Old carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes… many will grow roots and sprout a plant.

Don’t Throw It, Grow It!: 68 windowsill plants from kitchen scraps by Deborah Peterson and Millicent Selsam

Don't Throw It, Grow It!: 68 windowsill plants from kitchen scraps
Don’t Throw It, Grow It!: 68 windowsill plants from kitchen scraps

Learn how to grow vegetables, fruits, and nuts, even herbs, spices and Asian vegetables. Lots of projects to make exciting plants from a trip to the grocery, great way to get across the lessons on how what we eat comes from the earth, not the store shelves. Humorous and informative, this book will teach you more about growing plants and have more fun doing it.

More Garden Unit Studies Help

Field Trips

Visit public gardens like those listed in Gardens of Ohio. Many educational events are to be found!

 

Math by the Yard

The opportunities for math skills multiply in the garden

Example of Garden Math problems.

“Gardens are a source full of fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers that provide for and sustain life. But did you know a garden, from its creation to harvest, is rich in mathematical concepts and connections as well?” so says Gardenmath blog and gives us one very helpful post of diagrams and examples.

You can think up all sorts of ways to apply math within the garden unit study including the suggestions included here. Measurements, accounting, and ratios may all factor in the making of a garden.

Classic and Topical Books – for young gardeners

A Child’s Garden

by Molly Dannenmaier

 

A guide for parents to nurture their children’s sense of wonder and curiosity within the garden with projects and lots of information on how to give a sense of imagination and play to learning

Great book to use for one of the most exciting unit studies right in your own backyard.

The longer you garden the better the eye gets, the more tuned to how colors vibrate in different ways and what they can do to each other.

You become a scientist as well as an artist,with the lines increasingly blurred.

The Arts

The Garden and Art – Many artists depict garden subjects

Millet

Millet

Art History

Whether you chose Millet, Renoir, or Monet, Fragonard or even Gustav Klimt, the historical time or genre can be explored as well as the gardens or garden related work depicted. An entire tour of the life of Monet, Impressionism, and the garden at Giverny yield rich discoveries within a garden unit study.

Jean-Francois Millet painted many works of people busy in the fields.

A Little Garden Music

Ketelbey: In a Monastery Garden

THE COMPOSER: Albert W. Ketelbey was born in Alma Street in the Lozells area of Birmingham, England, the son of George Ketelbey (written with no accent), and Sarah Aston. At the age of eleven he wrote a piano sonata that won praise from Edward Elgar. Ketelbey attended the Trinity College of Music in London.

The Ballet, ‘The Firebird’ has scenes in a garden.

Character Development

 

My Family, Hard at Work

Raking is a good team project
Raking is a good team project

in the Garden – Character Building: Diligence and Teamwork

One of the lessons that a garden unit study can teach is the value of being diligent and working together as a team. This is something that will be naturally absorbed in the garden work, but can be formally instilled through underlining within the teachable moments and with written assignments geared towards thinking about these characteristics.

We used this nature character study through all grades. Interesting facts about many animals integrated with Bible studies and lessons.

We used this nature character study through all grades. Interesting facts about many animals integrated with Bible studies and lessons.

  • The Bible points to the ant as an example of diligence, and there are usually plenty of ants to observe in the garden. It is easy to perform experiments in how easy it is to get a job done when working as a team and this could also be useful for civics or social studies lessons.
  • Many maxims, quotes, and poems originate in the act of gardening, ever heard of “a hard row to hoe”? That makes literature and language arts easy to incorporate.Many have to do with exercising diligence and working together to create a garden.A classic book like “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett is a famous one.
  • Diligence in following directions can be gained from the directions on the backs of seed packets. Plant a few in contrary conditions and note the difference between plantings

— Marjorie Harris

For Little People – Children younger than 8 yrs old benefit from their own sized tools

A colorful garden tote filled with tools will give a sense of fun and play to any garden activity. Real garden tools, but in a small size useful for light garden projects for children. Use any sharp tools, such as secateurs, with care.

Garden Outfitters

For a range of ages, tools that will stand up to digging in the dirt and a handy wagon for playing or hauling garden supplies around.

 

Radio Flyer Classic Red Wagon
Radio Flyer Classic Red Wagon

I had one as a kid, my children had them, and I used them in the garden. This is the classic all purpose wagon.

And after years of hard use, when the wagon rusted out from being left in open weather… my Dad scavenged the wheels and made two wheeled garden carts, one for me and one for him.

The only caveat I’ll give you is that these tough little wagons last better if they are put away when not in use (another “do as I say and not as I do” piece of advice.)

I’ve used the plastic kinds, but nothing is as good as the Radio Flyer Classic.

 

  • 5 Tips
    useful tips for getting kids interested
Ilona has gardened actively for most of her life, and been a writer and webmaster online since 1998. Homeschooled all 10 of her children.

Beauty Appliances for Aging Gracefully

Facial Steamers

When I was a young woman I regularly used a facial steamer. It lasted me for many years… Until one of my teenagers rendered it unusable (don’t ask me how! I have no idea).

I recently decided it was time to begin facial steaming again.

Years ago, it was a Conair brand that served me well. Now I wished for some updated features.

In my research into reviews, the “KINGDOMCARES NanoSteamer” came up regularly. I like the features, although it came with a few negatives. Comments such as ” water reservoir was too small”, or complaints about plastic odor were offputting.

Pure Daily Care Nanosteamer

It was a close runner up to the one I have decided to purchase which is the “Pure Daily Care Nanosteamer“. Two features tipped the balance:

  1. Long running time (up to 30 minutes)
  2. Towel warming feature

This steamer comes with a bonus (extraction tools), but that did not weigh into my decision. It was named in the short lists for a number of recommended steamers, although never as #1 choice; Panasonic brand rated more highly, but was twice the price.

This appliance’s moderate price was a factor for me.

I would have liked the addition of aromatherapy features, but decided the quality of the steam, reliability of machine outweighs that addition of having essential oils at this time.

Most all of the steamers recommend using distilled water to reduce calcium buildup. Many customers of different brands reported problems if they used oils or tap water water. For aromatherapy, it seems best to use an appliance specifically for that purpose.

Lighted Magnifying Mirrors

My mother always had magnifying mirrors, so this was not new for me. What was new is the revelation of how important a lighted mirror with good magnification would be for aging eyes.

In a guest bathroom, a whole new view was revealed when I saw myself in a lighted 10X Vanity mirror. Hairs to pluck! Skin texture to exfoliate!

I knew it was time to order a mirror, and I knew which features I wanted:

  • high magnification
  • lighting
  • with a cord
  • one with good reviews

I ended up with two mirrors, one ordered from Amazon, and one my husband picked up at Costco. Read my comparisons here.

Conair Oval Vanity Mirror

After much research I bought a Conair brand mirror that had less magnification, but better looks. Initially, I wasn’t as happy with my choice, but after use it has proved its assets.

 

 

This is the exact one I bought. I love the Satin Nickel finish. It is a very good looking mirror, and the lighting is pleasing. At first I felt the 7X was not strong enough magnification, but I believe this is one of the best mirrors to buy after a couple months of actually using it.

The Costco Mirror

I am less happy with this one. It was very economical ( which is why my husband bought it), but it has a buzz that is unpleasant when the light is on. The lighting is also very harsh and bothers my eyes. The 10X is useful, and I do use the mirror, but the glass quality seems lacking.

It is definitely a case of “you get what you pay for”.

Why Have Beauty Appliances?

In this time of life when my major goal is “divesting”, it is fair to ask why I am buying more appliances. I’ve done fine without them for so long…. why now?

For the mirrors, my aging eyes have had increasing trouble seeing my face for beauty regimens, including putting on makeup. The magnifying mirror with good light is a necessity. More important than a hairdryer, for me.

The steamers serve more than one purpose, and these things have to do with luxury and comfort. In a way, it is also more economical to give myself a facial than to spend extra on spa services.  The steamers are good for home health, since they moisturize the air and skin.

So what appliances do you now feel are necessities for you? One of these or something else? Leave a comment to tell me about your favorites.

Fennel and Rosemary Beef Tenderloin, Dinner Holiday Menu

beef tenderloin

Christmas Dinner At My House

christmas dinner

Every year, and it is my hope to continue, it is our tradition to have a big family meal together on Christmas Eve.

We keep certain foods on our menu because they are something that say “Christmas” to us in a special way, but we also change around the menu occasionally to include new dishes for excitement.

I want to share some of the foods we love with you, and the menus we have enjoyed as a family.

Sharing the holiday meal together is one of the most treasured ways we have celebrated Christmas.

Toys break, sweaters get stretched out and worn, games are forgotten in a drawer, but memories of enjoying a special meal stay woven within our hearts. Foods that create a part of a celebration together are an important part of that experience.

Dream Of An Old Time Christmas?

Memorable recipes are a time honored way to create a special experience that combines tradition, nostalgic memories, and fresh new excitement into your celebration.

The act of sitting around a table that is decked out in a beautiful setting is quite an unusual thing for many of us. Making it simple, special, and homey recalls old time ways of gathering family together for a memorable meal.

Eating Our Christmas Dinner
pear/pomegranate salad
Our first course fo pear/pomegranate salad.

A Festive Christmas Menu

While it is my favorite for Christmas Eve dinner, consider this meal for special times from New Years Ever to Valentines day, and beyond. Anytime you wish to have something to impress your family and guests.
Simply customize the serving amounts.

So what’s on the menu this year?

  • Fennel and Rosemary Beef Tenderloin
  • German style fingerling potatoes
  • Pear and Pomegranate Salad
  • For Dessert: purchased cream puffs and warm fudge sauce
  • Cardamom Rolls

(The Cardamom roll recipe is long, and it takes some time to make, but it is worth it. I’ve had it online with other Christmas recipes I make….)

Why Choose Beef Tenderloin for the Main Course?

Tenderloin is very easy to cook

An expensive cut of meat, but we only have it once a year! An expensive cut of meat, but we only have it once a year!

I know this cut of meat is costly, but if you remember that it is boneless, easy to fix (hard to mess up), and everyone loves it… you might want to consider it as your Christmas dinner menu centerpiece.

It is usually accompanied with a cranberry relish for Christmas, but I sometimes skip that dish , depending on the rest of the menu.

We always have a fruit and a green salad. A side dish of potatoes, sweet potatoes, or noodles is usual; and we always always have the Cardamom rolls that I make only for Christmas Eve.

 

Follow the link for Cardamom Rolls.

Or learn more about the spice, All About Cardamom.[/one_half_last]

 

Holiday plate
Holiday colors

Fennel and Rosemary Beef Tenderloin

This has become our family’s all-time favorite, and the entrée I now make for Christmas dinner. One of the things I like about it is the ease and relatively short cooking time involved.

Make Ahead Tip

The roast can be seasoned and refrigerated up to 4 hours before roasting.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 tsp. fennel seed, ground
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper, freshly cracked
  • 2 -1/2- to 3-lb. beef tenderloin roast, with excess fat trimmed
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. How to make…
  2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, rosemary, fennel seed, salt, and pepper. Stir to make a paste.
  4. Pat the beef dry with paper towels and rub the paste all over the surface of the meat. If necessary, tie the roast at 1-1/2-inch intervals.
  5. Put the roast on a rack on a small, rimmed baking sheet or in a shallow roasting pan. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center reads 120 °F for rare, 125 ° to 130 °F for medium rare,or 135 °F for medium, 40 to 50 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the crème fraîche, mustard, and lemon juice. Season lightly with salt to taste.
  7. Transfer the roast to a carving board (preferably with a well for collecting juices) and let it rest, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes before carving it into 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick slices. Serve the beef, passing the mustard sauce at the table.
  8. The original recipe was from Fine Cooking magazine.
  9. ————–
  10. I found it difficult to locate the ground fennel, and ended up using a spice grinder to grind up the fennel seeds, myself. since I was able to find containers of Devon cream in the store I used that to replace the crème fraîche.
Crème Fraiche

1 ½ cups whipping cream

4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) buttermilk

Combine cream and buttermilk in a jar with tight fitting lid. Shake well for 2 or 3 minutes. Let stand at warm room temperature for at least 24 hours. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Besides being used for the beef:

Use it as a dessert topping, too. Very good added to vinegar and oil dressings. Delicious over fresh fruit and berries.

How To Cook A Beef Tenderloin

If you have never prepared this roast for a meal before, you may gain confidence from viewing the how-to video.

German-style Fingerling Potatoes

German style fingerling potatoes
This is an easy recipe to make, for something a bit more involved, but extremely tasty, try Fine Cooking’s Glazed Fingerling Potato Salad with Pancetta and Warm Mustard Vinaigrette. This was the original recipe I used;  if you have the time it is excellent with the beef.

Cook Time

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30-40 minutes

Serves: 6 (6 cups)

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. halved fingerling potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp.olive oil
  • 3 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • a little chopped parsley
  • bacon can be substituted for the proscuitto

Instructions

  1. Boil the potatoes in a large pot of salted water over medium high heat until almost tender, 5 to 8 minutes, drain.
  2. Sauté prosciutto in oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat until crisp, 5 minutes -or the bacon cut into pieces. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Return pan back to burner, add vinegar and sugar and simmer until sugar is dissolved. Add potatoes, simmer 4 to 5 minutes, then stir in prosciutto (bacon bits), add parsley, season with salt and pepper. Garnish with scallions.

Pear and Pomegranate Salad

– Refreshing, Colorful, and Easy

pear pomegranate salad
Pear-Pomegranate salad

This is one of my all time favorites. It is fancy looking with its creamy white pears, ruby red pomegranate seeds, and deep pink syrup sauce, yet quite simple.

Ingredients

  • 3 pears thinly sliced – two red pears and one Asian
  • 1 pomegranate seeded
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds (optional)
  • 4 sprigs fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)
  • dark green lettuce leaves

Instructions

  1. Place the sliced pears and pomegranate seeds into a bowl.
  2. Toss with lemon juice to coat.
  3. Combine the brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a small cup or bowl, then mix into the fruit.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving to blend the flavors.
  5. Serve in individual dishes on a bed of lettuce greens, and garnish with a sprinkling of sliced almonds with a sprig of mint
  • Cook time: 20 min
  • Ready in: 20 min

Whole Green Beans – Simply delicious

  • 3/4 lb whole green beans
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons whole-grain Dijon mustard

Instructions

fancy whole green beans
fancy whole green beans
  1. Fill a bowl with ice water.
  2. Cook beans in a large pot of salted boiling water just until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain beans and transfer to ice water. Drain well in a colander and pat dry.
  3. Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Sauté beans with mustard and salt and pepper to taste, stirring, until heated through, about 4 minutes.

Recipe from Epicurious which is closest to how I make these simple green beans.

Pioneer Woman Talks about Holiday Foods

Some of my best holiday recipes and serving ideas have come from special holiday cookbooks. They are inspirational and come in a wide variety of cuisines to cater to every tradition and taste.

Once I found a set of menus that my family really enjoyed we rotated them through the years. We always seem to have a few things that we can’t do without for our holiday repast… usually the sweet potatoes and Waldorf salad (and of course, my Cardamom rolls).

Christmas Holiday Cookbooks


Christmas Entertaining (Williams-Sonoma)

This is a book of inspirations for all types of holiday meals and party fare. It includes the menus plus the decorating ideas and everything needed to make it a time to remember.

How to decorate the table festively and work plans to make everything happen without a hitch.

Holiday Settings – Festive Table Trimmings

Christmas Oldtime Dinner

Whether it is a few hand-picked pieces or an entire set of china dedicated to the trimmings of the season, it really brightens the table setting to have plates or serving pieces with iconic Christmas trees, bright ribbons, or snow scenes. Spode and Lennox are just a few of the companies which are famous for Yuletide dinnerware designs.

My sister has a complete set of dinnerware for the season, while I tend to pick up bowls and platters from after Christmas sales. They add a cheering note of pretty color to my all-white stoneware. When fixing a special meal like beef tenderloin, this servingware really showcases the special foods, economically.

Christmas table setting
Christmas table setting

 

Pretty dishes that are perfect for holiday dinners make the table part of the annual tradition. I always loved to see certain cups and dishes that were reserved for special family times on my grandmother’s table.

Spode Christmas Tree 12-Piece Dinnerware Set, Service for 4

Spode Christmas Tree 12-Piece Dinnerware Set, Service for 4

Set a festive table with this fine dinnerware perfect for the Christmas season. Made by one of the best names in fine pottery.

 

Not Christmas Yet?

 

When first writing this, it was far from Christmas time. For Christmas aficionados I know no apologies are necessary. Some people (like me!) are only too delighted for an excuse to plan the upcoming Christmas celebration.

Originally published by Ilona Erwin on 05/10/11

Create a Memory with a Gingerbread House

simple gingerbread house

Christmas season is upon us, and one of the delightful things about this season is the many opportunities it holds for making lasting good memories.

Christmastime gingerbread houses
Two handmade gingerbread houses

Gingerbread House Memories

Creating a gingerbread house is one traditional, and super fun way to pull in many of our favorite things: the delicious aroma of the gingerbread, the visions of sugarplums in the form of applied candies, creating things in miniature. It is whimsical, homey, and has a touch of fantasy all at once.

The amount of time and work involved depends solely on the choice of the maker, nowadays. We once had to bake all the gingerbread parts and assemble them carefully, but today with the many kits available it is quick and simple.

Of course, the kits are lacking in the creativity and detail of expert bake and craft mavens, but their easiness and convenience make a premier craft activity for children.

My mother and I made some of the home baked gingerbread houses in my youth. I still remember decorating upside down cones with icing and candies for the Christmas trees outside the house. We used “Necco” candies for roof tiles… it was quite an undertaking! But you see, here I am, a sixty something grandmother, with vivid and happy memories of that Christmas project of long ago.

Kits Make It Easy

More recently, when the grandchildren were here, I had purchased a kit for them to do up in the manner they wished. Everything was included and the work was quick, which suited the schedule and their attention spans. The result was no piece of artwork, but it was immense fun!

I plan to do the same this year. They can take more time, but for the short time they are here, the simplicity of a ready-made kit is ideal.

There are so many options, from plain cookie and icing ones available at Ikea to more traditional ones from Wilton online, or at most Walmart stores. I see them offered in many stores!

Of course, if you plan to eat your project, I would definitely make them from scratch.  There used to be a page online that was the most complete set of directions. I have a recipe and edited some of the instructions included with it for making your own from scratch.

gingerbread house
Gingerbread
Print Recipe
gingerbread house
Gingerbread
Print Recipe
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. TO MIX GB DOUGH: Pour melted Crisco into mixer bowl. Let cool slightly; add sugar and Karo, blending well. Add eggs, mixing all until smooth and creamy. Add salt, baking soda and spices into mixture and begin to add flour, just a little at a time. Knead the flour in when dough becomes too stiff for the mixer. DON'T HURRY THIS STEP! Continue adding as much flour as the dough will absorb.
  2. TO ROLL OUT DOUGH: Lightly grease baking pans. Roll the dough out, lay pattern pieces on, and cut the desired shapes. Leave a 1" space between each piece so they won't bake together. Remove the excess dough and the pattern pieces.
  3. WINDOWS: Must be cut before baking. You can add crushed hard candy for "a stained glass look." Use "sour ball" candies. Crush them with a hammer before unwrapping the pieces. If pieces bake together, cut them apart immediately after removing from oven, while house parts are still hot and soft. Bake house pieces at 375 degrees for 5-8 minutes. Pieces should not brown. Again, slide the cardboard back under the foil to remove the baked house pieces from the oven. Cool on flat surface.
Recipe Notes

ASSEMBLY: To "glue" house together

1. Use a very sturdy tray or 2-3 cardboards to set the house on. Cover cardboard with FDA foil or white freezer paper!.
Three 14" round cardboards together work well for this size house.
2. Using #5 tip in decorator bag, back of house first; pipe out icing on each side-edge of back. Stand the back house piece up and place one side at a time against the back of house. Prop with cans of soup, etc, if it doesn't stay firmly together. Or hold it for a few moments, until house feels like it is staying together.
3. Place icing up the front edges of standing sides. Add house front section. Let dry for 10-15 minutes, then add roof and chimney.
4. Decorate with desired candies using royal icing to hold decorations on.
5. Do "landscaping" last. Let dry and store covered away from dust.

Christmas Ornament Cookies

Before baking the cookie, use a straw to punch a hole to tie a string through. Add the string before baking.
"TREES" can be added on the "lawn" made of ice cream cones, decorating tip #67 or 352. While icing is still wet, sprinkle on multi-colored sugar decorations.
Window shutters for the house can be of gingerbread or candies. Sugar wafer cookies also make nice shutters.

Put a Light in It?

A single tiny light bulb on a chord - the type ceramics shops have - can be inserted through a hole in the bottom of the cardboard your house sits on. This hole must be cut before assembly.

*recipes and directions from Dolores Inlow McCann. Her wonderful site is gone, but her helpful hints remain.

Share this Recipe

Whether you decide to make your own cookie construction in your kitchen, or assemble a simple store bought one, this is a wonderful activity to add some priceless memories this Christmas.

Gingerbread House

Christmastime gingerbread houses

Use this icing recipe to construct Gingerbread house and decorate with candies.

RECIPE FOR ROYAL ICING

Beat together:
1 1/2 cup Warm water
12 Tb. Meringue powder
Add:
4 lb. Powdered sugar
1 tsp. Almond extract

Beat until icing loses it’s shine and stands in peaks.
Beat water and meringue powder until frothy. Add as much p. sugar as necessary. Continue beating until icing stands in peaks. Color as desired.
Icing should not be stiff or house will not hold together as long. Add more water to thin the icing if necessary.
Makes enough for 2-3 houses. Can half recipe.
ROYAL ICING NOTES:
Icing will keep about 2 weeks unrefrigerated or may be stored in fridge for months. Seal very tightly so that it doesn’t harden into lumps. (Tupperware or similar container is very good container)
Requires heavy-duty table mixer*
Any bit of oil will cause this icing to become soupy and unusable.
Icing should not be stiff or GB houses fall apart a lot sooner!
You might want to add 1/4 ts Cream of Tartar for additional icing strength.

The Prettiest Nail Polish Trends

Who doesn’t like pretty nails?

A woman’s love for shoes is well known, but what about the beauty of those feet inside the shoes? The finishing touch for a pedicure, the toes peeking out from sandals, and otherwise unadorned feet on the beach all deserve a little attention that comes from pretty polish.

Top Trends for Spring

In spring and summer those sandals shod or otherwise bare feet are on full display.

FOR fall/winter 2017

During the winter season, hands take center stage with bling, deep color, contrasts, and matte looks..

What colors are trendy? Which ones are classic? Nothing is easier to change and experiment with than nail polish.

So I thought I’d gather together a few of the thousands of choices available.

Whether you give yourself a home pedicure, or book a professional salon, these are the colors and looks to get for this year.

Trends

My Favorite Nail Polish Color

What is your favorite manicure style?

photo by lloria
photo by lloria

Trendy Colors

What’s The Newest Fashion?

For 2016, gray and metal have gone to chrome. Ombre is taking the Pantone duo of Serenity blue and Rose quartz and mixed them one into the other. Yellow appears for spring.

Going into fall, matte looks and geometrics with bling are on trend. Take the ombre idea and make it matte with your fav wardrobe colors.

~~~~~~~~~

2015…

There are always seasonal changes, deeper colors for fall/winter and lighter ones for spring/summer, but what about fashion forward trends?

The buzz: BLUES are big. For 2015, it was cobalt, specifically. Freshen up your blues with this strong color that fairly sings (like a bluebird?). It will make you feel happy.

Autumnal shades are also a beautiful look. Try them in sheers or marbled looks.

Then there is the true gray color that has the same effect as the Gothic black (which is still popular), but looking newer.

For Spring?

Look for pinks, gray and neutrals, pastels on a sheer base for an almost nude look.

found on topteny.com
found on topteny.com

Lots Of Matte Look

Some say adding eye shadow or cornstarch to polish gives you the effect. For 2016, it is back to black

Tantalized?

These were the Top Ten looks for 2016:

  1. Navy with sparkles
  2. Milky white, Creamy Beige opaques
  3. Unusual French Nail Colors
  4. Nail art.
  5. Silver Metallics
  6. Apple Red
  7. Seafoam Green
  8. Glitter
  9. Gloss finishes
  10. Geometric and Abstract designs

For 2017: Keep the Navy, Get Edgier With the Art

Found on wewomen.com: this deep blue was popular for 2015. Update the design with vintage or geometric asymmetry.
Found on wewomen.com: this deep blue was popular for 2015. Update the design with vintage or geometric asymmetry.

Past Looks, Which Will Stay?

How it looks in 2016:

Gorgeous Red takes on a pure red apple look.

Nail Art goes to the art museums for abstracts, 3D, and geometrics.

Nudes with flat beige.

Marbled went to “Oil Slick”.

Compare this years spring looks with the slightly weird stuff of 2014

For 2015: Gorgeous Red…. Dreamy Creamsicle Orange…. Super Natural…. Ballet Pink….

Get the picture? Classic reds, chic corals, soft pastels, and nudes are 2012’s colors. For 2013, the reds are tempered with art effects: half moon, racing stripes, and blood dripping art.

Get with 2015 and use sheer colors, tribal or marbled painted look. Or sophisticated gold stripe across every nail.

Nudes which are strongly blush pink and milk white, nail art.

Black is still strong …Pearl effects …Skin matching …Racing Stripes … the verdict is IN.

New Looks

Pantone’s color of the year: Rose Quartz

Blues are navy.

Grays are charcoal.

Greens are seafoam.

Reds are apple.

Matte is Strong for 2016/17

DKNY matte nails
DKNY matte nails

Green Tips

green nail tips
Monique Lhuillier, IMAXTREE

French Manicure – Is Back! But Different

The look of a French Manicure is classic and elegant. A natural colored nail with a white tip that is given a satin glaze.

The History of the French Manicure

Some stories tell it that Max Factor invented today’s “French Manicure” in the 1930s for Hollywood stars. It is one of the most requested nail designs.

This polish style had fallen out of favor with fashionistas, and the natural nail or black nail replaced it. The variation of the “American nail” with an off-white tip is considered more fashionable than stark white tips, today. And this is the basic way it has re-emerged.

For some, it was always be the favorite choice, and they will be happy this year.

The newest way to use a French nail look is with the edge stripe in pastels of green, blue, or pink. Fantastic art effects can also be found.

In 2016

It takes a new tack: tips are done in color. Emerald green made an appearance…

Give yourself a manicure?

The Frugal Way To Be Fashionable

Gather together:

  • Pack of cotton balls
  • Paper towels / Makeup removal pads
  • Nail polish remover
  • Nail polish
  • Emery board
  • Nail trimmer
  • Cuticle remover

LUSH has some of the most delicious products that are good for you and smell heavenly.

  1. Soak hands in warm soapy water
  2. Remove Nail Polish
  3. Trim your nails
  4. File your Nails
  5. Remove Cuticles
  6. Apply 2 Coats Nail Polish
  7. Apply Lotion


A paraben-free formula with 14 natural oils including Jojoba oil, Almond oil, Evening Primrose oil and now Argan oil and Borage oil. Zeva creates this luxurious emollient in a convenient pen applicator.

Keep your cuticles cared for – These are the best beauty buys for nails

Reading the advice of top manicure experts, you will no doubt come across recommendations for the best nail care products. The implements and time saving ways to keep your nails in top form. Take some time to look over these selected nail care products for gift ideas or to give your own nails the care they deserve.

Best way to Accessorize?

Cute manicures and pedicures!


Sanitation Is Important

At home, but especially when using a salon, remember to keep implements clean and sanitized for good foot health.

When was the last time you had your nails done?

Maybe its time to get a pretty pedicure

Maybe you are like me and tend to forget about your nails until there is a special event… like a wedding or a vacation where you will wear sandals, and you think, “Oh no, I need to do something for my nails!” Now, with all the pretty nail polish colors available, and the relaxing experience of a pedicure or a manicure, maybe it is time to put an appointment with a salon on your schedule a little more often. It isn’t a big thing, or an expensive thing, but the time spent grooming and painting your nails can add a little good feeling into your day.

photo by Multiple fragments of tissue
photo by “Multiple fragments of tissue”

More than just a chance to pamper yourself, it can be a part of your health regimen. Cleaning with proper cutting and clipping of the nails can prevent ingrown toenails and infections. This is doubly important if you suffer from a condition like diabetes. If you opt for the professional pedicure or manicure, a massage is often included which improves the blood circulation.

Probably the most important concern is not the choice of a pretty polish color, but of the sanitation practices of the salon. You can always bring your own polish color, but the conditions of the facility is far more important for the health of your feet.

Body Toolz Deluxe Manicure/Pedicure Kit

Blue – Can still be found, but the newest trend is Navy

Pretty Colors From OPI

Love their colors, their quality, but admitting that their whimsical color names have something to do with it,too!

Look for blushy pinks, matte neutrals, and bold metallics

Try their “local” color collections: Hawaii, San francisco, New Orleans…

Best Colors in a Mini Collection


No need for a big bite out of your budget when you want to experiment with the trends in nail color.

Small sizes of polish give clear opportunity to try out a look before spending money.

Prettiest summer colors including trends of the right red and the new green.

Vintage Trends through the Years

Polished with Color or Natural? – Which manicure would you opt for?

Which do you think is better? Polished or natural nails?

How to Manicure Your Nails

When Only Sexy Deep Red Will Do – A dark red nail may be the classic sultry look

Oxblood is still IN. You might want to step up the brightness to an Apple red for summer and in keeping with the latest fashion looks.

What if you want to go lighter, but still give your nails a rich color? The color of the year is “Rose Quartz”, which is a dusty pink. Consider giving it some glitter or opal effect.

A color that will take you far this summer is the new beige or a charcoal gray.

Take a look at your wardrobe colors and pick a trend that is a versatile harmony with the colors you will be wearing this summer.

Cheerful Strawberry Décor For Any Place In Your House

Cheerful, with the attractive red, white and green palette, strawberries are beloved motifs for fabrics, furnishings and decorative objects. 

Strawberry Fields Forever

Everybody probably has some sort of design motif that is their favorite, whether it derives from its colors, or shape, or other connection to memory or loved object. Maybe a motif is as simple as a pattern that has an unconscious resonance for us with harmonies in nature.

For me, I somehow have always loved strawberry plant designs. I even gravitate toward the red, green and white color combination in home décor choices as a sort of default.

This hub is for all those, who like me, love the humble strawberry… in fruit and in flower.

Kitchen Strawberries

Beautiful interpretations of the brightly colorful strawberry

Strawberries, perhaps because of their cheerful appearance- those bright red berries with golden little polka-dot seeds and beautiful green leaves, are cheerful. Is that why we are drawn to decorate with them in painting them on furnishings or printing them on fabrics?

Equally attractive when framed with black or a white background, they are common in tole painting projects and often are popular with kitchen accessories. After all, what is more at home in the kitchen than a bright luscious strawberry design? The colors the delicious food motif, bring a bright note to many styles of kitchen decor.

Imagine your everyday meals dressed up with this cheerful strawberry decorated dinnerware.

Take a look at just a few of the examples of kitchen products that employ the cheerful strawberry:

Wild Strawberry Special Occasion – Delicate Strawberry Flowers and Runners

The delicate strawberry flowers bring a completely different feeling of pastel prettiness to many famous designs, such as the Wedgwood chinaware.

Wedgwood Wild Strawberry 5 Piece Place Setting

Wedgwood Wild Strawberry 5 Piece Place Setting

One of the prettiest designs possible. A beloved design from the famous Wedgewood pottery.

Would You Like to Learn to Paint Strawberries?

Strawberry Tole Designs – Folk style painting

Toleware – A favorite decorative paint method

As pretty as they are, you know strawberries will show up in decorative painting! One of my favorite forms is the tole painting method. It is a method that can be easily learned and there are many tutorial books and classes available to learn from.

Start with a watercolor tutorial and then experiment with acrylics and oils.

Strawberry painting tutorial

It is traditional to use methods of painting fruits and flowers on wood and tinware, but if the metal work of antique lamps or chairs have lots their color- there are ways to restore the bright berries and leaves. All much simpler than you might have imagined.

Cultures with decorative painting techniques: Norwegian and Swedish Rosemaling, Pennsylvania Dutch Tole, Russion Khokhloma.

Russion Khokhloma

“Khokhloma is an ancient Russian folk handicraft which appeared in the 17th century in Nizhny Novgorod. This is a decorative painting of wooden utensils and furniture in red, black and goldish color. Green and yellow paint is occasionally used. Traditional elements of Khokhloma are red juicy rowan berries and strawberries, flowers and twigs.”
– Wikipedia

Khokhloma History:

“Khokhloma craft is over three hundred years old. It first appeared in the northern part of the Volga region and originated from icon painting. In the 17th century the craft developed near Khokhloma village of Semyonov district. Thus, wooden painted plates and dishes became known as Khokhloma utensils. And the craft itself acquired the name of Khokhloma.”

Norwegian or Swedish Rosemaling

Rosemaling technique of folk painting is better known and centers on the rose as a motif, but there are a wide range of flowers and fruits which are painted into the swirls and scrolls of this exuberant and colorful folk decorating technique.

The the three main styles are Telemark, Hallingdal and Rogaland, named after the regions where they originated. There are five basic brush strokes, the C and reverse C (or parentheses stroke), the S curve, the O (or circle stroke), the straight line and the dot, and from these are built quite intricate designs.

Tole Painting

“Tole painting is the folk art of decorative painting on tin and wooden utensils, objects and furniture. Typical metal objects include utensils, coffee pots, and similar household items. Wooden objects include tables, chairs, and chests, including hope chests, toyboxes and jewelry boxes.

The practice began in 18th century New England, and was also extensively carried on among German immigrants in Pennsylvania.” -Wikipedia

Khokhloma – Russian Strawberry Motif Tole Painting

Khokhloma Russian Nesting Doll 5pc./4" by Golden Cockerel
Khokhloma Russian Nesting Doll 5pc./4″ by Golden Cockerel

Strawberry Decor Bits and Bobs

Strawberries Everyday – Happy and bright colors

Red, White, and Green Cheers Up The Room

Strawberry Decor

Strawberry plants and their fruit are most often a theme for country style décor. It is a natural motif for kitchens, whether on wallpaper, as accents in dishware, kitchenware, or towels and table linens.

Joie 3-Piece Strawberry Colander, Huller and Slicer Set A colander like this is fun and decorative- makes time in the kitchen cheerier.

Berries Outside the Kitchen

Strawberry Fabrics – Brightens up everyone’s day

“Strawberry Thief” by William Morris was one of his most popular textile prints. It was also one of the most expensive to produce using the painstaking method that arts and crafts revived. Designed by Morris in May 1883, it is still printed in shades of green, blue and pink on a deep blue ground.

However, when an artist like William Morris created his famous fabric pattern, it was obvious that the humble red berries could be planted as easily on living room or bedroom furnishing to bring a bright note to rooms that were full of flowery chintz.

The bright red color and simple outlines could be with a bit of imagination, utilized in modern, more minimalist environments.

Red is often a popular accent color in modern interior design. So, if you love strawberries, don’t feel that they have to remain in the kitchen!

Strawberry Pink

This pink is warm, with a definite tint of yellow, while still registering as a true pink.

In interiors it is most often seen in little girls rooms, or as an accent with pastel color schemes.

Bursting With Ripe Color

Strawberry Kitchen Accessories

Aprons or bedspreads, towels, or curtains, chair covers … if you have a strawberry fabric design there can be strawberries wherever you like.

Using a fabric ribbon with the design of berries can be applied to curtains, edging shelves, or trim for solid placemats.

I’ve seen ideas that include using decals to create your own strawberry pattern on kitchen appliances, decorative boxes, and even kitchen cupboard doors.

People do such creative things with bits of fabric and a needle and thread.

  • Strawberry Tray
    A very nice tutorial with pattern and illustration for painting a strawberry design

Embroidered Strawberries

Embroidered Strawberries
Embroidered Strawberries

The Meaning and Mystery of Emerald Green

The Emotional Meaning Of Green

Eemerald Green Interior
How does emerald green make you feel?
Revealing the mystery of Emerald, the clear green  jewel hue. Pantone colors track the trends in fashion and interior decor and chose this as one of their colors of the year.

What this Shade Does for Our Psyche

Green has taken on a whole additional layer of meaning as it has become the catchword of all thing environmental and ecology-minded. But that is only natural as it is one of the most common colors of the world of plants. When we see green we think of nature, but is that the main feeling we get from Emerald Green?

The pure vibrant tone of Emerald skips the more negative meanings of a yellowed green, and goes to the heart of prosperity, harmony, and youth.

A feeling of being wealthy and richness is attached to the emerald gem, along with the lush luxury that a deep jewel color conveys.

Green is happy and fresh and clean and classic.

– designer Sally Steponkus

Relax and Keep Calm

All greens tend to be relaxing psychologically and give ideas of peace and calm.

Mid range greens like clear Emerald serve to increase appetite. It can lift one’s spirit and dispel depression.

Personality traits associated with green are understanding, being adaptable, sympathetic and compassionate, generosity, humility, and of a romantic nature.

Green represents safety.

How Do They Choose Color Trends?

At Home: Freshen up your interiors with a touch of green

Bright color of emerald pairs perfectly with black and white.

Trends In Home Furnishings

Chosen For 2013, But Still Going Strong

I am still seeing plenty of Emerald green in home and clothes products as we close the year 2015 and go into 2016. Trends are not “fly by night” fads, rather they are slowly growing movements toward a popular feeling that people have for , say, pastels, or brights, or seasonal colors.

Buying furnishings is a longer term investment, so trendsetters try to alert the buying public to what kind of colors and designs will give them something stylish for their homes.

Entrancing Emerald takes the Lead

Don’t be green with envy, go emerald for a gem of a color trend hue. A deep jewel color, what makes emerald new, starting in 2013, is the way it is used in tandem with other brights, especially yellow gold.

How is this shade described?

  • Lush, taking cue from nature’s growing plants.
  • Brilliant, in homage to its jewel origins.
  • Luxurious, which denotes how it makes us feel, emerald green velvet, anyone?

Follow this yellow brick road to the Emerald City of Pantone’s swatches to learn more of what emerald green could do for you.

Lush… Brilliant… Luxurious

How You Feel When You See This Hue

Those descriptive terms paired with “Emerald” can give you a clue about what styles your home might express with this color, where and how to use it.

There is always a posh element to emeralds, and they are certainly items of luxury. Silks, satins, velvets, upscale furnishings, fine antiques… all those elements certainly go with the emerald green trend. But what if you are more a whimsical, retro, or modern type? What are the ways you can use emerald green for a lighter, brighter feel? Go lush with it.

Inviting Emerald Into Your Home

The use of deep green for home goods might be best in those things that best show off the depth and sparkle that makes this color great for accents.

Think of crystal and glassware highlighted with Emerald, or a table runner for a dining room accent. Cushions or an occasional chair, slipcovered if a permanent change isn’t desired.

This is a color that give formal notes to an interior decor.

Sparkling Glass Crystal From Waterford

Waterford Crystal Snowflake Wishes for Courage Emerald Flute, 2nd Edition
Waterford Crystal Snowflake Wishes for Courage Emerald Flute, 2nd Edition

Waterford is one of the finest names in crystal, and this sparkling gem of a flute can mark a special occasion or commemorate one.

Emerald Green Bedroom – Fit For A Queen

Emerald Green Bedding
Emerald Green Bedding

Keep Calm

Since this hue is calming and tends to lift the spirits it is a good color to wake up to …and go to bed with, so consider giving touches of restful green to your bed furnishings.

Although the Pantone Emerald Green is a more saturated color, home materials might be toned down and desaturated, while taking cue from the tonal green to green-blue hue.

Green Is…

Green is the fresh emblem of well founded hopes. In blue the spirit can wander, but in green it can rest

– Mary Webb.

Lush Emerald Fashion

Blue and Green Are A Classic Combination

Fresh touch of emerald in unexpected places brightens up blue jean fashion uniform.

To get a similar exciting look for summer try out these look-alikes. The combination of cobalt and Emerald is bright and fresh, and it can’t go wrong when matched up with the classic white t-shirt and blue jeans. The pairing of the bag and shoes in unmatched deeply saturated color brings a new look to the outfit which is casual, but eye-catching at the same time, The colors bring zing.

Designers carry the Emerald green banner into their fashions, and created some shining examples of how good this color can look in accessories.

The splash of an emerald colored accessory is probably the most brilliant use of this color for personal fashion.

Add it as a surprise color accent, keeping fashion forward without a big budget investment.

Fashionable Color

Pair the Pantone emerald green “with other bolds, such as royal blue, fuchsia, or purple jewel tones,” says Christina Pierce

Cleopatra

The queen of Egypt covered her neck in emeralds. The emerald was her preferred jewel.

Trivial Emerald Green Facts

  • The favorite color of George Washington? You guessed green, you were right.
  • The human eye is most sensitive to and able to discern the most shades of green.
  • A green flag signals the start of a car race.
  • A green light means approval.

Touch of Emerald Links

  • Emerald Green – The New Colour for 2013
    Okay when I read the colour of the year was emerald, I thought , okay, hmmm….. well gardens are green. All things considered I like every colour in the garden and plant whatever I want. Not much of a fad person here. …

GIVING THE GREEN LIGHT – GO AHEAD AND COMMENT

Adorable Diaper Bags

mommy and baby photo
mommy and baby prepared for all contingencies.

 

Feel Adorable While Carting All That Baby Gear

Diaper bags have really grown up. They are fun and fashionable and made by the best brands. Here is your ticket to finding the best travel with baby diaper bags – you will look and feel fashionable and organized with these gorgeous diaper bag choices.

Nothing helps more than a great diaper bag that is all packed with the essentials – you just pick up and go anywhere with your baby, knowing all the important things are covered for your outing.

Featuring The Cutest, Most Fashionable Baby Gear Bags

Roomy backpack style
Roomy backpack style to free your arms for baby and to redistribute weight more evenly.

 

The Adorable Diaper Bag Gallery

(For convenience, affiliate links to Amazon)

Look for some of these brands when out shopping…

Timi and Leslie

Why choose a diaper bag by Timi and Leslie? Well, you could because Angelina Jolie, Jessica Alba, Courtney Cox, Nicole Kidman, and Faith Hill do; or maybe because you want something stylish that has all the necessary pockets for everything to make your life easier.

Either way it is a good choice.

Maman Stylish Designer Tote


Roomy with pockets for everything. Waterproof with multiple ways to carry: hand held, strap, and attach to stroller.

 

Kate Spade Designs Are Gorgeous.

 

 

Carter’s Zebra Diaper Tote with Green Accent

The Bumble Collection All in One

When I started having grandchildren join the family circle, I was amazed at how darling all the baby things are that my daughters and daughter-in-laws have in their nurseries. The diaper bag selection is just mind boggling in both style and choices.

These make wonderful baby shower gifts.

Storksak

There are so many, many fabulous diaper bag choices that I don’t envy anyone having to choose, but one brand stands out in the reviews and that is Storksak, because it looks great, carries all the gear, and is lightweight. All good qualities of a diaper bag that will make mommy happy.

…and you know what they say about the importance of that!

What to Stash Inside

What's in my bag?

WHAT GOES INSIDE A DIAPER BAG?

  • all the baby diaper essential,
  • extra clothes,
  • feeding paraphernalia,
  • special things for breastfeeding,
  • a burp cloth,
  • a receiving blanket,

Play keys (so you don’t end up giving your yucky set of car keys to quiet them)

Most of today’s bags come with changing pads included.

Sometimes I felt like I was moving half my nursery items everywhere I went. But a a well stocked diaper bag can mean the difference between a successful shopping trip or a happy outing and the alternative.

Now, all that roominess is stylish- no more blocky bags with the drab vinyl prints.

Pack It

Great Gift For A Mom

Great Gift for a Mom

 

Designers Make Diaper Bags Look Chic

And you look absolutely adorable

Everyone wants to create diaper bags, it seems, and some of the best designers have put their talents towards stylish bags to make taking baby out and about a fashion affair.

A Lineup of Cute Diaper Bags

Kate Spade in Adorable Black and White – Take it Everywhere!

Her name is known for fun, modern, and chic design. No one will think this is a frumpy diaper bag. Instead it looks like a fashionable tote, but with all the room you need for special baby gear.

Go Artsy

 

What To Look For In A Diaper Bag

It depends on you

  • One of the features of a diaper bag is the way you can just grab and go- without thinking about what to pack and perhaps forgetting an important item. You don’t want to run out of wipes, or that extra binkie when you need it.
  • Consider a versatile style, one that goes with most of what you wear.
  • Lots of use=lots of wear, is the material your diaper bag is made of up for the task? You will give it more wear than usual.
  • Washable? Hard wearing, constructed well?
  • Throwing lots of gear over your shoulder should not get you down. You will also be carrying your baby. Maybe you just want room for essentials in your every day diaper bag, and a second larger bag for travel.
  • Got nice shoulder padding? Wide, non-slip shoulder straps
  • Do you really want to carry both a diaper bag and a purse? Not really.
  • Look for a place to stow your cell phone, and attach your keys, a place for your organizer and wallet as well as insulated bottle holders

Don’t Leave Daddy Out – Mommy Likes This

 

Well, that’s my wrap up of some of the best looking diaper totes out there, did you like them? Was this helpful?

Adorable Gifts for New Moms

Welcome to Super Gift Guide Ideas for New Moms!

new mom
new mom Victoria Johnson Photography

Know a new mom? Surprise her with something really thoughtful – it will mean so much!

Here are some adorable ideas to make her the happiest holiday mommy (besides that cute bundle of joy, of course!).

It isn’t just the gift, but the encouragement, the warm supportive feeling of a gesture that helps celebrate one of the high points in a woman’s life: becoming a mother.

Celebrate with her!

A few ideas: tasty treats, relaxing cup of tea, encouragement

Celebrate Motherhood – Celebrate The New Mom!

The birth of a baby is one of the major landmarks of life. Help a new mommy celebrate with gifts that show her that you share her joy, and here are suggestions that any new mother would love.

There is such a broad spectrum of ways to show a new mom that you care.

  • mothering help
  • inspirational gifts
  • indulgent food
  • mothercare products
  • music for soothing baby
  • personal items to wear
  • keepsakes in a mother/child theme
  • mother themed art
  • flowers
  • gift basket

Hidden in My Heart (A Lullaby Journey Through Scripture)

Hidden in My Heart (A Lullaby Journey Through Scripture)

I love these soothing songs, and you and your baby will, too.

When you are a new mom there is nothing you wish for more than some extra rest, and while it doesn’t guarantee that your baby will sleep, lullabies do help. Peaceful melodies create a calm atmosphere.

 

A Mother

“There is no velvet so soft as a mother’s lap, no rose as lovely as her smile, no path so flowery as that imprinted with her footsteps”~

~ Archibald Thompson ~

Choose the purpose of your gift:

  • Do you wish to inspire her?
  • Pamper the new mom
  • Make her feel important and special
  • Help her feel capable and a better mom

What is your wish for her… and what makes her feel special… combine the answer to those two things and you have found the perfect gift.

Make a New Mommy Feel Special – Give her something thoughtful and sweet

new mother
gifts for new mothers

It Can Be Little, It Might Cost Nothing

Give something adorable to help her feel that way!

It can be a time of wonderful ups, but certainly a few lows after you have your new baby… and most of the lows center about how you feel about your attractiveness. Your clothes don’t fit, and you are tired of wearing maternity outfits. You just plain feel tired… and that promises to be for the near foreseeable future. Besides all that, you have worked pretty hard… you need something that makes you feel pampered, and special, and yes, adorable again.

These gifts don’t have to be lavish, they can be small and thoughtful.

They don’t need to be expensive, they can be something homemade, a jar of jam with a special message, flowers from the garden, or a fresh picked bowl of berries. Just make sure their message is that the new mom is thought of and cherished.

Your Experience

The perfect book is available on Amazon. Affiliate link.
The perfect book is available on Amazon. Affiliate link to buy it today. Source: Sally Placksin
Mothering the New Mother: Your Postpartum Resource Companion The perfect book is available on Amazon. Affiliate link.

That is how she feels, and now what are we going to do about it? I know how I felt when, right after my new baby arrived, I was given a few special gifts just for me. Wonderful! Elated, even. It is just such a nice and unexpected thing.

What would make her feel special? Maybe a new, pretty Bathrobe.

May your day be filled with gigglesanonymous

Beautiful Mother And Child Art

 

mother and child
art, mother and child

Inspirational, Soul Lifting Stories – Give Her A Little Chicken Soup

… for her soul, that is. Perfect to read during feeding times, as a perky pick up for the day.

The “Chicken Soup” collection of books is famous for a reason: everyone needs a little nurturing now and then.

There is something about a well told story, especially when it is soul lifting and heart warming. Provide a little chicken soup just when someone needs it most by putting a book of favorite quotes and stories into their hands- there when they need it.

Joy, Love, and Wonder

Chicken Soup for the Soul: New Moms: 101 Inspirational Stories of Joy, Love, and Wonder

Chicken Soup for the Soul: New Moms: 101 Inspirational Stories of Joy, Love, and Wonder

Happy and Joyful Thoughts

Sometimes a mom just wants to revel in the sweet thoughts that celebrate this new chapter in life… Chicken Soup books always uplift, and serve a gift of this book with a bowl of the real thing- homemade chicken soup from your kitchen.

How adorable of you!

Gallery of New Mommies – An age old story, a brand new chapter

A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for.anonymous2

You have a lifetime to work, but children are only young once.Polish Proverb

A Sweet Picture – Willow Family Sculpture Figurine


Willow Tree Our Gift

What a sweet commemoration of this wonderful event- the addition of your new baby into your family circle!

Sometimes We Need A Little Encouragement – Daily Guide To Inspire A New Mother

Loving is feelings, but loving is also a lot of little things and this guide will inspire you to increase you love vocabulary as a new mom. “What the world needs now is love,sweet love” – we can always use a little more.

A Bundle of Joy! Yes, yours! This for that new little one in your life. Natural products that you can feel good about using.

Burts Bees Products are darling gifts – natural new mom gifts for her and for baby

New mommy gifts

<img src=”http://usercontent2.hubstatic.com/11731793_f520.jpg” alt=”” width=”520″ height=”520″ data-original=”http://usercontent2.hubstatic.com/11731793_f520.jpg” />

Source: Gustav Klimpt
Source: Gustav Klimpt

Moms Love Stuff for Their Babies, Too

For Baby:

Will the gift make it easier to take care of the baby, does it create good feeling for a new mom? Give her a little luxury or something that helps the mommy baby bond.

Breastfeeding Help – Why not make up a basket to lend encouragement?

We all know that breastfeeding is better for both the new mother and the baby, but sometimes there are challenges that create barriers to success- not always, but the new mom can use some help and would love these thoughtful gifts for making everything a little smoother.

Beautiful Lullabies – Soothing music for new mommy and baby moments

Super Diaper Bags – Fashionable and Fun

Petunia Picklebottom and More! If you love this idea, be sure to check out some of the fabulous choices in Adorable Diaper Bags

Time for a Spa Treatment

No time for a Manicure?

If you have the skills, give her a manicure, here’s how:

Pamper Her Hands And Feet | Prettiest Nail Polishes

If you don’t have the time, but have the money… give a gift card to a salon for the service. Still not what you had in mind?

How about…

Creamy hand lotion is the next best thing to a full manicure session at the salon.
A gift certificate for her favorite spa treatment (pedicures are especially nice), and arrangements to watch the baby.

Which Gift Is Most Adorable?

The Greatest Gifts We Can Give Our Children

 

Of all the many things lobbed at us as parents, we are told a long laundry list of what we should give our children. From the esoteric to the practical, it is promised that if we but give our child … time, morals teaching, discipline, music lessons, the right school, no school, good examples, the best *you name it*… if we only give that, our child will be happy and successful.

We all want our children to be happy and successful. And it is there that we are hooked into the method, the gift, the lifestyle, whatever it is that has promised us this holy grail of parenting.

But the harder truth is that it is a recipe of many things, that translate as love and guidance, which become tools and guideposts for the hardest truth of all: that each child must make his/her own way through life. Just as we all must.

Are There No “Must-Have” Gifts?

That is not to say that some tools and ingredients in life are not imperative. Just because people may compensate and manage without a good start in life does not mean it is fine to ignore their inclusion.

What Should We Give Our Children?

Here is the short list:

  • Love and Security
  • Training in life skills and good character examples
  • Education, love of reading, love of learning

The methods are many, and none of these requirements in life demand lots of money.

If we give these things to our children, to the best of our ability, they can face the world well prepared. Even if we fail in some of the most important  ways, the resilience of the human race shows that often they can make up for the lack. For children, it is very important to see that the parents made the effort: that they tried their best on behalf of the child.

Is This A Secret Shortcut?

I wonder if instilling a love of books isn’t a secret shortcut to the twin efforts of training and having a love of learning? After all, great literature is a way to pass on important values, cultural traditions, and an appreciation of good character through the power of storytelling. It also teaches the ability to think about the big questions of life and engage critical thinking patterns.

All this starts at an early age with reading.

I’m Biased

As one who loves to read books, I have to say I am biased about their impact. Literature has always spoken so much to me, and certain fiction has molded my thinking in life long ways. I believe in its power to do so for others, including our children.

If we want to change the culture, providing time tested writings is surely one powerful and efficacious way to do it.

What Books Ought To Be On The Shelf?


Start with a list of classic children’s selections I collated. (That page includes info on why reading is so important, creating a reading nook, and the best of the classic books that my own children loved).

These are 20 great character-building books

For various age groups:

  1. Aesop’s Fables, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney -very young readers
  2. The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats-very young readers
  3. James Herriot’s Treasury For Children, by James Herriot -very young readers
  4. The Courage of Sarah Noble, by Alice Dalgliesh – 3rd to 4th grade
  5. Stuart Little, by E.B. White – 3rd to 4th grade
  6. Caddie Woodlawn, by Carol Ryrie Brink – 3rd to 4th grade
  7. The Bears on Hemlock Mountain, by Alice Dalgliesh – 3rd to 4th grade
  8. The Yearling, by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings – 3rd to 4th grade
  9. Brighty of the Grand Canyon, Marguerite Henry – 3rd to 4th grade
  10. Treasures of the Snow, by Patricia St. John – 3rd to 4th grade
  11. Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery – 5th to 6th grade
  12. Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell – 5th to 6th grade
  13. Cheaper by the Dozen, by Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr. – 5th to 6th grade (especially boys)
  14. Old Yeller, by Fred Gipson – 5th to 6th grade (especially boys)
  15. Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe – 5th to 6th grade (especially boys)
  16. Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson – 5th to 6th grade (especially boys)
  17. Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls – 5th to 6th grade (especially boys)
  18. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott – 5th to 6th grade (especially girls)
  19. The Yearling, by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings – 5th to 6th grade
  20. The Chronicles of Narnia (all 7 books), by C.S. Lewis – 5th to 6th grade

 

15 Important Books for Older Children to Adult

  1. The Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan
  2. David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens
  3. Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens
  4. A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens
  5. Ben Hur, by Lew Wallace
  6. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank
  7. The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom
  8. The Three Musketeers, by Alexandre Dumas
  9. Gulliver’s Travels, by Jonathan Swift
  10. Moby Dick, by Herman Melville
  11. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
  12. The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas
  13. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  14. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  15. 1984 by George Orwell
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Holidays: Thanksgiving Coloring Pages

vintage thanksgiving card

Bring children into the the celebration of Thanksgiving with one of their favorite activities, coloring. If you have a printer these simple pictures can provide a quiet time in the midst of meal preparations.

How did Thanksgiving become a National Holiday?

Sara Hale tirelessly advocated for a National Thanksgiving holiday. Source: Richards Free Library
Sara Hale tirelessly advocated for a National Thanksgiving holiday.
Source: Richards Free Library

A woman named Sarah Hale, editor of the famous Godey’s Lady’s Book magazine, spearheaded a move to enshrine observation of thankfulness in the nation. She wrote to five presidents and numerous governors in her campaign for a Thanksgiving Day.

Hale is largely responsible for the idealistic, somewhat fictional view that Americans today hold in regards to interactions of these first New England colonists and the native peoples. Her picture of this feast with tables laden with turkey, stuffing, many dishes and gravies caught on with Victorian readers.

Godey’s Lady’s Book menu suggestions outlined what we consider a traditional holiday menu, today. How-to and recipes were provided to complete the celebration.

In keeping with her vision of this holiday, pictures here include those that represent parts of the meal, the idea of what the meal was like, how the English and Indian guests were believed to have dressed, and of course, the fat turkey.

Many of this things are now known to have little historical basis, but they are icons of the American Thanksgiving Holiday. I hope you will have fun coloring the ones you download and print.

 

Themes

Centering around food, family, and gratefulness, Thanksgiving has ready-made themes. American Indians, native foods of pumpkin and corn, turkey and trimmings, pie…. it is a cornucopia of fun coloring with a bit of history.

Food Concepts of Hunger and Plenty

cherry pie pic
Pie is the American idea of a dessert dish served at holidays. This is a cherry pie, but pumpkin is the most popular choice.
corncob
Corn, a native food staple helped the new Colonists to survive.

 

cornucopia coloring picture
Cornucopia is symbol of “plenty”
download a PDF coloring page

History, Pilgrims and American Indians

The story changes depending on who tells it and when, but certain facts are undeniable. One is that without the help and instruction of the Natives of the land, the Pilgrims were likely to fail. They greatly suffered from lack of food, and the Indians corn was a Godsend.

Pumpkins, maize, and wild turkeys were some of the bounties of this land where the Pilgrims landed.

The sharing of a feast is a symbol of the peaceful meeting of diverse people and cultures.

peacepipe

indian canoe

puritans

Who Were The Pilgrims?

In their native England they were dissenters against the prevailing religious establishment. Braving a journey to an unknown land was worth it to be able to practice their beliefs freely.

When traveling to the new world they came in the company of those wishing to settle for different reasons. The fellow travelers were called “strangers” by their more religious comrades.

Who Were The Wampanoag?

This was the Indian tribe which interacted with the Pilgrims in the original feast. Also called the Massasoit, they had a tradition that all the male leaders should be invited to village feasts. Thus 98 surprise guests turned up at this all-male meal. No worries, though… they came with plenty of meat to supply the tables.

The original celebration lasted three days.

The name means “People of the First Light” since they were situated at the eastern coastal region of the continent. This was a large confederation of tribal villages.

deer coloring pic

The Wampanoag later came into conflict with the English and suffered great loss from disease with the remnants of their people being sold into slavery, many to the Caribbean islands; but their early relations with the colonists were helpful and supportive. The famous “Squanto” was part of this tribal group:

Tisquantum and other Wampanoag taught the non-native newly arrived Pilgrims how to cultivate varieties of corn, squash and beans (the Three Sisters); catch fish, and collect seafood.(1)

Thankfulness and Gratitude

As first conceived, this was a religious holiday, observed with piety and solemnity. Modern times sees it as a family time with parades, watching football games, and overeating as all part of the day.

What remains is the idea that we should take time to be thankful for our many blessings. Remembrance of the bounty of the nation we live in, gratitude for freedoms and for friendship and family. For religious and secular alike, it is time to recall the good things we enjoy the rest of the year.

thanksgiving coloring picture
Source: Buck Denver

Fun

If you liked this page, you may enjoy more coloring, history, and thankful thoughts on this page. 5 Kernels of Corn scarecrow

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