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Friday, December 31, 2010

Holiday Christmas Memories Memory Photo Album

Over the Christmas holidays I noticed our older son reading through a family memory album that we have had since 1995.   He'd smile and laugh and ask  questions or read comments every now and then that were in the album.  He was six years old when we received it as a gift from a neighbor. At the time I thought it was an unusual gift but each year I have added notes, our annual Christmas photo and Christmas letter to it.  I had not sat down and actually read through it myself in several years.   

If you don't write annual Christmas letters, you might try something different, like a drawing or a photo montage.  My sister-in-law writes poems each year.  One day I may try that.   I personally like letters because they are fairly easy to write and  I include them with our Christmas cards and/or emails to friends over the holidays.  I look through my calendar and make a few notes of the important events that occurred throughout the year.   Everyone loves a family photo. Sometimes we are scrambling the week before Christmas to get one taken but we always do so.    My personal pet peeve is receiving a card with just children in it.  I much prefer to see the entire family in a holiday photo.   Anyway, it's such a sweet trip down memory lane for you and your children to review the letters and photos every so often to see what's happened, remember good times and bad, see how much they have grown and changed through the years...  

Here is our album and some of the things in it.  I have saved some of our children's Christmas artwork as well...




 One of my first attempts at "publishing" a newsletter.



Enter a computer and word processing and holiday stationery...


The discovery of Sam's Club photo cards and new stationery...
I think my writing has improved, too. :)




Memories are kept in our hearts but oh, how wonderful to see them and hold them as well...  :)

Organizing Synching Your Home Calendar

This is a similar repost from last year but since I sat down and just organized my new wall calendar, here you go...

ORGANIZING YOUR DAYS



One of my strengths is organization.  Anyone who knows me could probably tell you that.   I am constantly working in our family to help them learn organization since I know it helps so much in work and school.  A calendar is one small part of this.  Learning to schedule events and manage your time well is a life-long asset.  It also gives a good impression to others that you are a responsible person.   I'm not opposed to spontaneity but scheduling is certainly my preference.  

I used to have pretty calendars hanging in my kitchen.  You know the kind I mean--half of the calendar is a pretty scene or photograph and half has the blocks for the the days of the month.  Several years ago, even with only four people in our family, I switched to a plain, no frills, BIG block calendar from At-A-Glance to keep up with our family activities.  This calendar is large, measuring about 15" x 22" with blocks that are 2" x 3".   I keep everything posted here also on  the calendar on our office computer as well (which is synched to my iPod Touch). It is on the opposite side of the house.    The only place I could find this calendar, #PM328, is at Office Max or Staples for about $10.00 but I see that Amazon also sells them for the same price. [This year they were $16.99, but I love this calendar so I paid that much for it.]   I buy one each December and start getting ready for the new year.


This is my new 2011 calendar.  At-A-Glance PM3-28 from Staples.  January is already looking fairly busy.  


The blocks on this calendar are lined which is great for me since I have a hard time writing in a straight line.  It's perfect  and fits in the exact spot where I have always hung a vertical wall calendar.    The top part of the calendar is for one month; the lower part has the entire year so you can look ahead without flipping the page.  I also can tape appointment cards, invitations, date sensitive coupons, etc.  to the lower part.


Attached to the calendar are five (5)  Sharpie pens-- red, black, green and blue plus one wide black one, to distinguish events for each family member.


You'll also notice that I have lots of colored Post-It flags  all over the calendar. These are for regularly recurring activities and are shifted from one week to the next as needed. This saves a lot of unnecessary writing.  I love adding color to simple tasks when I can such as filing and organizing and colored post-its, pens and stickers make it fun.  My husband often gets freebies from vendors who visit his company and I get so excited to receive new supplies.  I know, simple minds, simple things...  



A good-sized calendar placed in a central location is so helpful to stay on top of the events in our family.  Everyone who lives in our home knows to "write it on the calendar" if they have something coming up so we know where they need to be.  It aids me with my meal planning and carpooling  and helps avoid needless confusion which can happen when activities conflict with each other.  These days everyone has computers and handheld data devices to keep their own activities, but living in a family we like to know what each other is doing.   If you don't already have one, try this.  If you do have one, opt for the one with the biggest blocks.  :)

I also keep a calendar on our home office computer which is sync-ed to my iPod Touch.  As one calendar has changes, I make sure the others are updated right away so there are no date conflicts.  Sync-ing them together really was handy when I got ready to sit down on the floor and write in events that were coming up the other night.  I just scrolled through my iPod Touch and found everything I needed--school events, classes, dentist appointments, birthdays...  A new event came up this morning for next week and after writing in on the calendar I typed it on the computer and then plugged a cable into it to connect to my Touch. [Sounds complicated but it took about 30 seconds.]   Everything matches again.  Technology is amazing if you know how to use it.  :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mary Engelbreit

My husband is on vacation this week so I'm trying to stay off the computer for the most part...  just some fun art by my fave Mary Engelbreit...

Stay warm!  It's been in the 20s here in Florida!




And another piece that I saw in a gift shop...



Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas to You! Christ is Born...Emmanuel...God with Us

And now, the Christmas story from Luke 2, King James Version (I love this version for this particular passage)...


Luke 2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 

Luke 2:2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 

Luke 2:3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 

Luke 2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 

Luke 2:5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 

Luke 2:6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 

Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 

Luke 2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 

Luke 2:9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 

Luke 2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 

Luke 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 

Luke 2:12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 

Luke 2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 

Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 

Luke 2:15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 

Luke 2:16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 

Luke 2:17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 

Luke 2:18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 

Luke 2:19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 

Luke 2:20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.  And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 

Luke 2:2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 

Luke 2:3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 

Luke 2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 

Luke 2:5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 

Luke 2:6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 

Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 

Luke 2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 

Luke 2:9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 

Luke 2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 

Luke 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 

Luke 2:12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 

Luke 2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 

Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 

Luke 2:15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 

Luke 2:16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 

Luke 2:17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 

Luke 2:18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 

Luke 2:19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 

Luke 2:20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Charlie Brown Scripture Recitation  LINK

Merry Christmas from our family to you and yours!
Have a joyous day.










Friday, December 24, 2010

Sights of Christmas / Lights and Decorations

One thing about having to go out in the evening this week to play at the Dickens performances was that I got to meander through some neighborhoods on the way home.  Here are few photos from the other night:











We didn't put up any major outdoor lights this year (just a little tree with lights by the front door), but I love seeing everyone else's! Merry Christmas!

Plus, when I got home and parked the car I was able to step out and take this shot of the Winter Solstice moon, high and bright in the sky.  The star that led the wise men surely as at least this bright...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Elf Yourself / Office Max + Office Max $10 Coupon

Here is a fun thing to do to send to your friends. Office Max sponsors the Elf Yourself video that you make yourself. It's free and is available online for you and your friends and family to view.  It walks you through the creation of the video. All you need is one or more good photos with the faces of those you want to include in the video.





The one I made for our family at THIS LINK.

As a bonus surprise, a few days after I made it, I received an online coupon good through next week for $10 off of $30 purchase at Office Max!


Christmas Event : Dickens by Candlelight

This was a fun opportunity for me to play the piano Dec. 19-21  (4x) here in Orlando.  A friend  invited me to play Christmas carols at this year's  production of Dickens by Candlelight.  


My husband and I attended on Sunday evening with two guests.   The director and his wife are old friends of mine from our former church, Terry and Robin Olson.  Robin wrote this adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol which has been performed just about every year since 1997.  It is a delightful show and the three players did an excellent job.  Our friends both have performed in previous productions.  I love this photo of them.  :)


After being greeted at the door,  folks begin their evening by sipping hot wassail in the lobby. This year's production was held in the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Centre on Orange Avenue (by Lightstyle). If you are an Orlando resident, you may remember it as being the old utilities building.





Then there is a caroling time with the audience.  The three performers lead the singing (I played for this part).  We sang Joy to the World, O Come All Ye Faithful and The First Noel.   There is also a question and answer time about why the play is divided into staves rather than acts (do you know?), about why A Christmas Carol is subtitled A Ghost Story of Christmas, and an interesting fact about Dickens himself presenting  one-man performances of the story in friends' homes.  I had never heard that before either.  For the last carol, the lights go out--a little tricky for me playing music from just the light of candles.  :)


Here is everyone singing carols on Sunday night. 



Next everyone enters a large room where tables are set with fine china for a proper English tea with homemade cookies.  Very lovely.  We had table #6 below.  




We sip and chat for about 15 minutes or so, then the show begins with the three playing all the parts, walking throughout the room and interacting with the audience at various times.


The three players:  Monica, John and Morgan

All in all, a lovely evening.  If you missed it this year, be sure to attend this special evening in 2011.  Merry Christmas.  And by all means, read the book if you never have... a classic Christmas story of redemption.














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