Friday, December 24, 2010

0days 7hrs 28mins 30 secs...

Wow, it's hard to believe that this will be my last post for the Christmas Countdown.  I guess I will have to actually put my brain to work and think of some interesting posts to put up here without the help of the holidays or the season.  Anyways, I just wanted to thank everyone who has been reading my Christmas posts, and I hope that you all have enjoyed them.

My brother is extremely excited for Santa to come tonight, and can hardly contain his excitement.  My parent's anniversary was on the twenty-second.  They've been together five years now, and am pretty confident when I say that they will be growing old together.  After that, my mother's birthday is today, Christmas Eve.  I've tried to make it special every year, firstly because she is my mom, but secondly because having a birthday around any holiday is a bummer because it's so easy to overlook it.  So amongst all the Christmas decorations, I put up balloons and pink streamers, making our house look pretty interesting.

A few weeks ago, I was worried that we wouldn't have a white holiday, but my worries were put to rest after a nice little blizzard, and then again today with a beautiful snowfall.  I don't think anything is prettier than fat snowflakes floating down, not to mention it was pretty easy to scoop!  My brother and I haven't built any snowmen yet, but there is still enough winter left to do that.

I'm signing off for now, but just want to wish everybody a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year!!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

04days 23hrs 50mins 33sec...

Wow!  I can't believe that it's only five days until Christmas and I still have to finish my shopping and wrapping.  Last year at this time, my shopping was done almost a month before, and brightly wrapped bundles were crowded in my closet, waiting to be opened.  I'm not sure what it is about this year, but the season has seemed to just fly by, with barely enough time to enjoy it.  Pretty soon, I'll have to drudge up the boxes from downstairs and pack away all the pretty lights and fragile ornaments.  I will once again try to cram our Christmas tree back into its original box (an almost impossible task!).  The living room furniture will have to be rearranged and swept under.

Before the actual day of Christmas arrives, our family will have celebrated an anniversary and a birthday.  This will be my parent's fifth wedding anniversary on the twenty-second, and my mom's birthday on the twenty-fourth (I won't tell how old she will be)!  I am very happy and grateful that my parents love each other as much as they do, and am glad to celebrate with them.  Five years doesn't sound like a lot of time together, but it's hard to imagine life before they were married.  As for my mom's birthday, I think she is silently freaking out a little bit.  She doesn't like the fact that she's getting older (not that she's old, but she thinks she is).  I want her to know that she's still absolutely beautiful, inside and out, and that I am proud of her for all the hard work she's done in her life.  I hope that someday, I will grow up to be just like her!

After those festive events, comes New Year's Eve.  New Year's Eve isn't a big deal in our house.  I usually spend it with my best friend, staying up at my house and eating a bunch of junk food, waiting for the ball to drop.  The past few years, my little brother would crawl up on my bed and try to stay awake to see the ball drop with us.  Sometimes he succeeded, and sometimes he didn't!  This year will be a little different, but I'm sure it will still be fun.  I know one thing for sure: I will not be eating pepperoni, crackers, and cheese at midnight (gross story...don't ask).  As far as resolutions go, I don't think I will be making any this year.  Instead, I will try to make the most out of everyday.  I know that sounds a little cheesy, but somehow it seems more realistic than making a bunch of stupid resolutions that never pan out.  Anyways, that pretty much concludes the festivities for one year and begins it for another.  At the moment, I don't want to think about next year.  Instead, I'll just sit here a while longer, staring at the beautiful Christmas tree with her twinkling lights.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

13days 02hrs 08mins 17secs...

"Oh the weather outside is frightful..."

Frightful indeed.  My car is currently stuck in our mall's parking lot, no doubt buried in a pile of snow.  After getting stuck once already this morning on my way to work (thankfully my dad was out to give me a push), my boss's husband gave me a ride home after we closed up shop early.  We decided it wasn't worth the risk of me trying to plow through the frozen drifts, and navigate around messy corners.  The wind hasn't stopped blowing all day long.  I say "blowing", but what I really mean is that the wind is so fierce, it feels as if an atomic bomb has been dropped on our front doorstep (without the heat, of course). 

When I went to bed last night, it was raining and there wasn't a stitch of white, fluffy stuff to be found.  It was a different story as I woke up this morning.  A good six inches had descended to earth, and it was still going strong.  I'm not even sure what we're up to now.  As I sit in my cozy, Christmas-lighted room, I silently thank God that it's the twenty-first century and houses are sturdy and sealed up tight.  I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like if we had to live in a mud hut or a log cabin on the prairie.

I am both dreading and looking forward to tomorrow.  I'm dreading the task of rescuing my car from the mall and trying to get it safely home again.  It shall be interesting.  Besides that, I'm excited for tomorrow also because my mom has decided to do a bunch of holiday baking, in which I get to partake!  Tarts, cookies, and chocolate snowballs are on the menu, along with a good dose of holiday cheer!  Sorry, that last part may have been a little cheesy :)

I'm signing off for now, but will leave you with this interesting Christmas fact:

"Jingle Bells" was first written for Thanksgiving and then became one of the most popular Christmas songs.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

16days 09hrs 47mins 53secs....

"How many more days are there now?" asks my little brother.
"17 more days" I reply.  These are the first words from my brother's mouth as he wakes up in the morning.  Right now, his only concern is how long it is before Christmas.  17 more days, I think to myself.  Holy cow, I need to get my shopping finished.  On top of that, I'm fresh out of creative ideas for this season, it seems like.  My parents drop hints every now and then about the cool presents thet got me, and how I'm going to love them.  This makes me feel a bit guilty and adds to the pressure of finding a good gift for each of them.  The holidays aren't too crazy around here because we don't have a bunch of family and friends over, but we do have a lot of important dates to keep up with: 22nd is my parent's anniversary, 24th is my mom's b-day, and of course the 25th is Christmas.  Like I said,  a little busy!  I have to go to work pretty soon, but I thought I would sneak in here for a quick post (it's been a few days, sorry).

  • Witches and Evil spirits are the greatest broom thieves. The Norwegians once believed that witches and devious spirits were likely to steal their brooms on Christmas Eve. Who knows maybe a mischievous prankster stole a few brooms during that period and the legend stuck.

  • Forego throwing out your Christmas tree and make it lunch. The Evergreen is actually edible, well most parts of it anyway. In addition, it is nutrient enriched, so if you take the advice stated previously you'd be getting a good source of Vitamin C and roughage. Don't mind that you will be eating a tree; it's just one step away from any other vegetable.

  • Christmas was illegal in England from 1647-1660. This was enforced by the then leader Oliver Cromwell who believed it was immoral to hold celebrations on one of the holiest days of the year. The celebration of Christmas was therefore a criminal offence which could lead to an individual being arrested if he or she was found guilty of condoning any revelry during the period.

  • All facts taken from the following site:

    Saturday, December 4, 2010

    20days 10hrs 20mins 27sec...

    She had awakened to silence.  It was so quiet, it was deafening.  She had only meant to take a little snooze on the couch, but apparently her body decided it would sleep longer.  It was now dark outside, and a bit chilly inside.  Slowly peeling back her blankets, Emma walked to the fireplace and started a healthy blaze.  There, she thought, it will soon be warm.  She hated being cold, especially in her own house.

    Walking over to the corner, she plugged in two strands of lights.  Almost instantly the entire tree, along with half the room, lit up in a glorious display of twinkling lights.  Ornaments gleamed, and the room suddenly became cozy.  The air's a bit dry.  Emma was proved right after a quick glance in the mirror showed her static, messy hair.  Time for a little of mom's magic, she thought.  She took out an old pot, filled it with scalding water, and placed it on the glowing stove burner.  After selecting Allspice, Cinnamon, and Ginger from the spice rack, she dumped a handsome share of each (except for the Ginger: it was her least favorite) into the water and stirred.  Eventually, the water would boil and evaporate, and thus humidifying the room with a rich scent.  Her mother had taught her this trick when she was a little girl.  She remembered how good it had smelled when she came home from school to find the boiling pot on the stove top.

    The door banged open.  A cold gust of wind gushed in, along with a bundled up figure.  Emma rushed over, closed the door, and turned around to face the figure.  "I thought you had to work late," she said.
    "So did I, but the deal went better than expected and we finished early."

    Smiling, Emma brushed the snow from his hair and hung up his coat.  She looked outside and realized that it was snowing.  Big, white flakes floated lazily down to earth.  It was the pretty kind of snow.
    "Whats for dinner?"
    "Candy canes," she said as she plucked one from the tree.  He slid his arms around her.
    "Mmm, nice and sweet," he said just before kissing her.

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    23days 09hrs 10min 38sec...

    Today is December 1st.  That rolls off the tongue sweetly.  It seems like I've been waiting a lifetime for December to show up, and now it's finally here!  I can safely talk about Christmas, decorations, and presents and nobody can tell me to shut up or scoff because it's too early "for that kind of talk".  Our recent dusting of snow adds to the holiday atmosphere, along with seeing more houses twinkling at night.  I put up our tree and decorations yesterday.  It felt good to lug up those boxes from the basement and dig through them.  It was like recovering buried treasure every time I unwrapped a Christmas ornament from it's newspaper shell.  The tree was adorned with its usual colored and white lights.  My mom and I compromised when it came to the tree:  she likes white lights the best, while I like colored lights.  I have to admit that the mixture of the two on the tree look better than either color by itself.  After the lights, I sent gold and maroon ribbons cascading around the tree.  Glass bulbs and lots of candy canes polished the whole thing off.  By the way, candy canes surprisingly still taste pretty scrumptious after two years!

    Normally, once I've finished decorating, our living room looks like Christmas threw up everywhere.  This year however, I had to put the kibosh on that method due to the fact that our cats seem to break everything by knocking it over.  I made up for the lack of decor in the living room by sprucing up my own bedroom.  Colored lights and bulbs hang around a rough perimeter of the ceiling, with my hand made ornaments dangling down.  Christmas candles perch on every available space, and a great maroon bow adhered itself to my bookshelf.  Some may think it looks tacky, but I absolutely love it.

    Today's Christmas Countdown tid bit is a game called Dirty Santa.  Now I've never heard of this game before (although I think I'm in the minority on this one), but I thought it sounded like a lot of fun.

    How to Play Dirty Santa

    1. Everyone playing the game brings a wrapped gift so there is no indication about what is inside. Place the gifts together under the tree or on a table.
    2. The host writes a number on scrap pieces of paper for every gift and places them in a basket, bowl or hat.
    3. Each person draws a number. Getting a higher number is actually better because you will have more opened gifts to choose from.
    4. The person with #1 picks a gift to open from the pile. The person with #2 can choose to open another package or steal the gift from #1. If a gift is stolen, the person who had it then steals from someone else or picks another gift to open.
    5. The game continues like this until everyone takes a turn opening or stealing a gift. The last person to go can steal from anyone in the game or open the remaining gift.
    6. Once a gift is stolen three times, it is retired from the game.

    Monday, November 29, 2010

    25 days 01 hrs 07 min 18 seconds

    It began to snow today.  It was the kind of snow that was quite unexpected and very wet!  I was in Walmart, and it was snowing when I emerged about twenty minutes later.  The snow fell as if each individual flake was being weighted down by a droplet of water, instead of the big, fluffy flakes that usually fall.  Later on, the wet snow turned to little ice balls that clinked on the roofs and windows of our homes.  Seeing white on the ground is a nice change from the dull browns and yellows of dead vegetation that we've been stuck with for weeks.  Indeed, my brother can hardly wait to build a snowman and have me pull him around on his red sled.  It's definitely "beginning to look a lot like Christmas" around here.  More and more of our neighbors are putting up lights and decorations.  The city workers have already adorned the lamposts with the seasonal, silver-garland light up snowflakes.  Tomorrow shall be a joyous occasion due to the fact that my mom finally gave me the "go ahead" to start decorating and putting up the tree!  I have been waiting to do this long before Thanksgiving, but knew that it would be detrimental to my health to try and decorate before turkey day.

    In honor of the Christmas Countdown, I've found a rather odd Greek legend concerning some mischievious creatures and how to be rid of them.  I hope you enjoy!

    In Greek legend, malicious creatures called Kallikantzaroi sometimes play troublesome pranks at Christmas time. In order to get rid of them, salt or an old shoe is burnt. The pungent burning stench drives off, or at least helps discourage, the Kallikantzaroi. Other techniques include hanging a pig’s jawbone by the door and keeping a large fire so they can’t sneak down the chimney.

    The picture (above) is of Boston (not my town).  It was taken in a park and is not digitally enhanced at all.  Cool, huh?  The Greek legend is from : 

    Saturday, November 27, 2010

    27 days 4 hours 15 mins 53 sec

    The wind howled, causing the house to shudder.  Outside, the snow piled in high drifts, transforming the yard into a frozen tundra.  The moonlight cast an eerie glow on the lonely landscape.  Turning away from the window, Lizzy confronted the task that lay before her: decorating for Christmas.  She had been forming a plan for decorating while hauling up the boxes from the basement.  The tree would stand in the corner, becoming the focal point of the room.  Although it was more economic to buy a fake tree, Lizzy promised herself that she would buy live trees as long as she lived.  She loved the way they smelled, loved how it was like bringing a piece of nature inside the house.  This year's tree was about six feet tall and pretty "chubby" as trees go.  The best kind, she thought.

    Reaching into a box, Lizzy pulled out three strings of colored lights.  She would only decorate with colored lights, and she would only decorate with the regular lights; not the new LED ones.  It was important to her that the decorations look traditional, and the LED lights just looked to "clean" and bright.  "Shoot!" one of the bulbs needed to be replaced, and she didn't feel like testing each light in the strand.  Setting the strand aside, she dug out the gold and maroon ribbon.  Singing along with the Christmas music, she wove the ribbon throughout the branches.  The tree was already transforming from the twinkling lights and ribbon.  Next, Lizzy found the box with the glass bulbs.  It would take her a good ten minutes before she untangled all the ornament hooks and start hanging the bulbs.

    At last, she began placing the colored glass balls all over the tree.  A blue one here, a red one there.  The backside could use a little more green, she thought.  The fire crackled, sending up a shower of sparks.  It's getting a bit toasty in here.  Despite the heat, she walked into the kitchen and make a cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream on top.  Turning back to the tree, she decided to put the special ornaments on next.  There were the handmade ones: the Santa, snowman, gingerbread man, and the snowflakes.  Then on went the crystal ornaments of the dove and cross.  The final touch was adding the tinsel.  The tinsel was special to her because it wasn't something her family had every year.  It was too dangerous to have around her tiny siblings, or the cat might accidentally swallow it.  Now that she was on her own, she could douse the entire tree in tinsel if she wanted to.  She didn't douse the tree, but carefully placed the right amount in all the right places.  The tinsel was her favorite part of the tree.  She loved how the tree sparkled.

    Taking a step back, Lizzy surveyed her handiwork.  It's beautiful, she thought.  As her spirit swelled with joy and pride, she turned to the rest of the room saying, "Now, what are we going to do with you?"

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    31 days 03 hrs 58 mins 0 seconds

    Dear readers, I am very sorry that I have been majorly slacking in my posting lately.  In my defense, I did try to post the other day, but Blogger wasn't working and I ran out of time and patience with the site.  So here I sit tonight, posting some more stuff for the Christmas last. 

    Every year during December, ABC puts on a thing called The 25 days of Christmas.  This is when they play all the Christmas classics like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and Santa Clause is Coming to Town.  As you could've probably guessed, I'm in love with ALL of these shows :)  But the cool thing is that ABC does a countdown to the 25 days of Christmas countdown.  Tonight, Aladin is on.  One of my favorite Disney movies of all time :)  I must give a shout-out to my mom and say thank you to her.  The other day she was out and picked up a tv guide of the entire 25 days of Christmas shows so that I could see what was going to be on.  Thanks, mom!

    For tonight's Christmas post, I thought I would share some facts about the many traditions of Christmas and how they started.  Please enjoy!

    Santa Claus was born in US in the 1860's he was named this as he had a white beard and a belly, so he was named Santa Claus as this was the Dutch word for St Nicholas, Sintaklaas. Although the Dutch had bought him with them in the 17th century, he did not become an important person at Christmas until the Novelist Washington Irving put him in a novel that he wrote in 1809. This first Santa Claus was still known as St. Nicholas, he did smoke a pipe, and fly around in a wagon without any reindeer, but he did not have his red suit or live at the North Pole, he did however bring presents to children every year.
    In 1863 He was given the name Santa Claus and bore the red suit, pipe, and his reindeer and sleigh.
    Now Christmas celebrations vary greatly between regions of the United States, because of the variety of nationalities which have settled in it.

    The tradition of having an evergreen tree become a symbol of Christmas goes back past recorded written history.
    The Druids in ancient England & Gual and the Romans in Europe both used evergreen branches to decorate their homes and public buildings to celebrate the Winter Solstice. Over the years, these traditions were adopted by Christians, who incorporated them as part of their Christmas holiday celebration.
    Trees used specifically to celebrate Christmas are mentioned in the early 1600's in Germany and surrounding countries. The families would set up these trees in a prominent location of their home and decorate them with colored paper, small toys, food, and sometimes candles. As these people moved or immigrated to other countries, they brought this tradition with them.
    Through the years many different things were used to decorate Christmas trees. As the world moved into the 1900's, many trees were decorated with strings of popcorn, homemade cards and pictures, cotton to look like snow, candy in all shapes and sizes, and occasionally, fancy store made glass balls and hand blown glass figurines. Candles were sometimes used, but often caused devastating fires, and many different types of candle holders were devised to try to prevent tree fires. Electric tree lights were first used just 3 years after Thomas Edison has his first mass public demonstration of electric lights back in 1879. The early Christmas tree lights were handmade and quite expensive.
    Today, Christmas tree ornaments can be found in nearly every size, color, and shape imaginable, and they are used to decorate the millions of Christmas trees used throughout the world.

    Mistletoe was often hung over the entrances to homes of the pagans in Scandinavian countries to keep out evil spirits. An old Scandinavian myth tells of the seemingly invulnerable god, Balder, who was struck down by a dart made from mistletoe. The tears of this mother, Frigga, became the white berries of the mistletoe, and it was decreed that the plant must never again be used as a weapon.
         Frigga, who was the goddess of love, henceforth gave a kiss to anyone who passed under the mistletoe. It may be that our present custom of kissing under the mistletoe derives from this old legend.
         Legend holds that the Druids, who were members of a pagan religious order in ancient Gaul, Briton and Ireland, held the mistletoe in such reverence that if enemies met under it in the forest, a truce was declared for the day.  It was their belief that only happiness would enter a home when mistletoe hung overt the door.
         When the Yule season approached, the mistletoe was cut down from the sacred oaks by the Prince of the Druids who used a golden sickle. The mistletoe was distributed to the people who believed it possessed powers of the protection against sickness and evil. Later among Christians it came to symbolize the healing powers of Christ.


    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    38 days 05 hours 13 minutes 30 seconds...

    Irish Christmas Tree

    Holiday Greetings!
    Okay, so for my next Christmas post I have found someting truly spectacular that I didn't even know existed: an Irish themed Christmas tree (and decorations).  I think that this is absolutely brilliant, if you're the kind of person who can appreciate fairies, shamrocks, and leprechauns.  The person who decorated the tree above obviously spent a lot of time and money in decorations, but she did post a section on how to make an Irish Christmas tree with bare essentials, cutting down on time and cost.

    Setting up an Irish tree with the bare essentials

    Obviously I used a lot of ornaments and decorations for my Irish tree, but if you don’t want to spend that much time and money then here are the bare essentials I recommend.
    • Wrap the tree in bright green and gold ribbon.
    • Hang shamrock ornaments on the tree.
    • Hang Irish snowman ornaments on the tree. These ornaments are gorgeous enough to carry the tree on their own.

    She also posted some directions for making various ornaments.  I'll post them here if anyone wants to have a go at them.

    Setting up the flying Irish Fairies

    Irish fairies decorating a Christmas Tree One of the more magical elements on this tree is the appearance of Irish fairies flying around, hanging beads and ornaments. For years, I’ve created this effect with white doves, but for an Irish Christmas tree fairies are perfect. This sort of thing always draws attention from guests and everyone who sees it.
    Here are a few tips for hanging the Irish fairies:
    • Use white sewing thread (or whatever color matches your ceiling) to hang the fairies. You could also try “invisible” thread.
    • To keep the fairies from twisting and rotating randomly they require two anchor points. This keeps them still and pointed in the direction you intended.
    • Fairies that are “hanging ornaments” need two strings, both anchored at the ceiling. If your fairy has little loops like mine, then you can simply use one long string slid through the loop then pinned to the ceiling at two different places.
    • Fairies that are posed “hanging beads” require only one string anchored to the ceiling since the beads attached to the tree act as the 2nd anchor point.
    • Hang the fairies at different heights and distances from the tree to create a more natural look.

    Making pot of gold ornaments

    The pot of gold ornaments are very easy to make.
    What you’ll need:
    • Little plastic pots (black)
    • Plastic gold coins
    • Green spray paint
    • Green glitter spray paint
    • Tissue paper
    • Gold cord
    One other idea is to use gold foil wrapped chocolate coins instead of plastic coins. They would make a nice little Christmas treat for the kids - and the adults for that matter. They might actually even look better. These pots would also work great on a Sugar Plum Tree. Just fill them with your favorite candy.
    What to do:
    1. Spray paint the pots green
      Take a plastic black pot and spray paint it holiday green or whatever shade you prefer. This may require 2 or 3 coats to get solid coverage. You can leave the pots black if you prefer, but I recommend painting them because black doesn’t show up very well on the tree. Obviously, if you can find green pots then you can skip this step all together.
    2. Spray paint the pots with glitter green
      This is just to make the ornament stand out a little more. Without the glitter spray paint, the pots looked pretty drab and boring. I know the glitter doesn’t show up very well in the photo, but trust me, the pots look a lot better with the glitter.
    3. Stuff the pot with tissue
      This is just so you don’t have to fill the pot with a whole bunch of coins. It saves a little money. Tissue paper is what I used, but just about anything will work.
    4. Tie gold cord to the handle
      This is to create a hanger loop for the pot. You can actually hang the pot by it’s handle, but when you do this the pine needles obscure the view of the coins and the pots also have a tendency to slide off if you don’t place them just right.
    5. Place gold coins in the pot
      Arrange the coins so they cover the tissue and so that they poke out of the pot a little.
    6. Optional step: glue the coins
      The coins can fall out very easily, so you might want use a little dab of glue here and there to secure the coins in place. I personally did not bother with this.
    Okay, that's all I have for today.  There are a ton more ideas and how-to's on the website listed below.  Please take a minute to visit it and read about how each ornament represents a certain aspect of Irish culture.


    Saturday, November 13, 2010

    41 days, 10 hours, 27 mins, 30 seconds....

    Christmas greetings, my fellow readers!  You may be annoyed with me right now because I said the word "Christmas" before Thanksgiving has even occurred.  Don't worry, you'll get over it.  I absolutely love Christmas-It's my favorite time of year.  So in honor of this wonderful season, I am doing a Christmas countdown.  Notice the lovely countdown widget  on the right hand side of my page.  Right then, I am going to try and post something Christmas-y every couple of days.  It may be a craft, game, decoration idea, recipe, etc.  If any of you have any ideas you want posted, let me know.

    I'll start off the countdown with one of my own creations....Christmas candles.  I am an absolute candle freak and have found a way to fuse my two loves together: candles and Christmas!

    First off, you will need the following items:
    *candle wax (you can buy clear wax or you can melt down old candles)
    *a way to melt the wax (you can use a candle maker or an old pot on the stove)
    *candle wick (approx. 1 inch per candle)
    *candle fragrance (optional...get Christmas smells like cinnamon, peppermint, etc.)
    *cold water with ice cubes
    *a shallow dish to contain the cold water and cubes (it won't get ruined w/ wax)
    *Christmas cookie cutters
    *an old pie plate or tin lid (this will hold the wax, so don't use anything important)
    *exact-o-knife (Hobby knife), old spoon, Popsicle stick (anything to kind of scrape/pry wax)
    *Styrofoam plate
    *hobby paints (optional)

    Alright, the first thing you should know is that these candles are made primarily for decorating.  They will only burn a total of about 20 minutes, before the wax burns completely through the candle (and thus onto any surface the candle is placed on).  Secondly, do not hang these candles on your tree if you have lights on your tree (and what tree doesn't?).  The heat from the lights will melt the candles and make a waxy mess of your floor and tree, and pose a possible fire hazard.  Okay, enough with the disclaimers.

    1) Melt the wax.  If using an actual candle maker, following melting instructions.  If using a pot on the stove, turn the burner to low and let the pot heat up a bit before placing wax in it.  As the wax begins to melt, keep stirring it. 

    2) If you are using plain wax with no color or scent, now is the time to add the scents and colors.  Make sure you stir the whole time you are adding these ingredients.

    3)Okay, let the wax alone for a minute and grab your shallow dish and fill it about about half an inch with cold water and place ice cubes in it.

    4) Cut a few wicks for your candles (about 1 inch) and set aside.

    5) Now grab your pie plate/tin lid and fill with melted candle wax.

    6) Place pie plate/tin lid in the water bath you made earlier (be careful as the plate/lid will be hot from the wax).  If you are using the tin lid method, then your water bath should not exceed the height of the tin lid.

    7) As the wax cools, insert the cookie cutter in the wax.  Now wait for the wax to cool.  You want the wax to be pliable, but not so much so that it falls apart. 

    8) Now you can either leave in the cookie cutter or take it's your call.  You need to take your hobby knife or Popsicle stick and cut around the perimeter of the cutter and the perimeter of the pie plate/tin lid.  Scrape out excess wax and dump back in the candle maker/pot to re-melt. 

    9) Carefully remove cookie cutter if you haven't done so yet and using your knife like a spatula, gently pry up on the candle form and transfer to Styrofoam plate to cool completely. 

    10) You can use a sewing needle or something of the sort to gently bore a small hole in the center of the candle to insert the wick.

    11) Once candle is completely cooled, you may paint it.  For example, if you made a red stocking, you may want to paint the top part white to look like an actual stocking.  Warning: do not light candles that have been painted...this may cause toxic/harmful fumes when burning.

    12) Enjoy your home made holiday decoration!

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    Fall is Here

    Some may call it dreary, but I say it's beautiful.  Some may describe it as disconcerting, but I feel peaceful.  Turning my face towards the heavens, I see that the clouds aren't moving.  The sky is nothing but a big mass of grey clouds, forming a thick blanket through which the sun cannot peek.  The air is on the verge of being frigid, but I find it exhilarating.  A thin, autumn breeze pierces its way through the trees, rattling the skeletons of leaves.  It sounds as if a Native American rain stick is being repeatedly tipped on end.  Leaves crunch and crackle as I run into the woods, going nowhere in particular.  The smell of campfires lingers in the air.  It appears as if Mother Nature has abandoned her children, letting them succumb to the icy death of winter.  Trees are barren, leaves dead, and once green grass is now brown and brittle.  All signs of new life have ceased to exist, but then again, what does one expect in fall?

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    Bothersome Toad

    Good afternoon, everyone.  I made a decision last night to actually start blogging on my blog.  That is, after all, the point of having a blog, right?  I've been using my blog as a poster board for my poems/short stories, but I've decided to also share my thoughts, for what they're worth, with the rest of the world (or at least the poor souls who follow me).  I guess I will start off with a little introduction about myself (as if anyone cares), and then move on to all these amazing thoughts that are floating around in my head.

    My name is Kristen, and I'm 20 years old.  I live in Iowa for now, but will be moving in a couple of years(joy!).  I like long walks on the beach, candle light dinners...just kidding.  OK, seriously now.  I love to spend my time creating things, whether they're arts and crafts or writings, paintings, drawings, whatever.  I'm a very creative person, or I at least like to think I am.  My sense of humor is very odd and most people do not understand my jokes (mostly because they make more sense in my head than they do coming out of my mouth).  I talk to myself a lot, but don't worry, I'm not a mental case...I just have to talk things through sometimes.  I am a Christian and try to follow my faith as best I can, but I'm not a Bible beater and don't pretend to be smart about biblical things.  I love my family very much and spend a lot of time with them.  Family and friends are important to me, probably the most important things to me.  I don't have a lot of friends, but that's because I'd rather have one or two good friends, than fifteen or twenty acquaintances.  I am an aspiring writer and would love to get my works published someday (who doesn't, right?), which leads me into the subject of my first blog entry (hooray! enough about me).

    So as I had mentioned earlier, I am working to get my writings published.  A couple of months ago, I entered some of my poems in an online contest, not expecting to hear a thing back from anyone.  Well, it turned out that my poem was selected to move on to the semi-final judging round, which made me feel so happy and proud (of course....I may have even uttered a boo-ya).  After reading the "fine print" I discovered that close to seventy-five percent of the entries usually made it to the semi-finals anyways.  Okay, so I wasn't so special after all, but hey, I still had an actual letter from a publishing company and who's to say I wouldn't win?  In addition, the letter said that my poem had been selected to be published in an anthology.  For those of you who don't know what an anthology is (because I sure as heck didn't know), it's "a collection of poems, stories, songs, etc." (compliments of Mr. Webster).  I didn't expect life could get any better than that (except for maybe a Tilt-O-Whirl ride in my backyard).  According to the letter, my poem was going to be published no matter what...even if I didn't win and even if I didn't buy a copy of the anthology.  I am on cloud nine by now, happy as can be.  The letter also said that I would be receiving another letter shortly, with an author's proof and comments from a real life editor.  I could then make corrections and send in my final copy for publication.  EEK!!!!

    The second letter came today.  I was so excited.  I quickly skimmed over the cover sheet and couldn't wait to get to the meat and potatoes...the editor's comments!  I'll first type out the comments and then tell you my reaction.

    " From the pain and sorrow of Love's dissolution, you have drawn inspiration for a moving verse that universalizes the experience of heartbreak.  In your poem, you have expressed this subject with poise and grace, even though you are reflecting on a very poignant time in your life.  Perfect consistency in tone-nice job!"

    Now, except for the very last sentence, I admit that I found the whole comment rather cheesy and somewhat automated (as in, it was chosen from a drop-down list instead of actually typed out).  The editor didn't have any critiques or suggestions, which some may say is a good thing, but I find it a little disconcerting.  Then my dad, so very gracefully, asks, "Did your mom talk to you about that yet?".  I looked at him, a bit confused.  "No," I answered, "why, was there something she wanted to talk about?".  My dad replies, "She didn't have the heart to tell you, but she told me that they send things like that out all the time and nothing usually happens unless you buy something from them".  Really?  Really, did he have to say that to me?  At this point, you may consider my bubble burst and hopes just about dashed, but I'm still holding on.  I have to admit that my parents have a point.  I mean, when something usually sounds too good to be true, it usually is.  My reply to my dad was that even if it was a scam, all I lost was a few stamps, but it didn't hurt to try.  And for all we know, it may not be a scam (even though it does sound kind of scam-ish).

    The point that I wanted to make out of this whole thing is this: sometimes we have to go through life a little doe-eyed and hoodwinked, otherwise we may never take risks or try new things.  I'm not saying that ignorance is bliss, and I'm not saying that we should all be stupid, but sometimes it's better to have a childlike faith or view of the world.  When we don't worry about the bad things or the losses or the heartbreaks, we plunge into something with one hundred percent of our effort, love, and time.  Sometimes we bite the dust, and sometimes we end up winning big, but there is always something to be learned no matter what the result.

    Monday, September 27, 2010

    The Red Sanctuary

    As I walked into the ancient red sanctuary, a hushed feeling surrounded me, and I instantly fell silent.  The barn smelled of old age along with the smell of freshly cut hay that was golden brown, piled in heaps in the stalls.  Brightly colored sparros sat perched upon the dusty rafters, singing their morning song.  I walked over to the speckled horse in the stall and started petting its soft, velvety fur.  Te old dusty rafters led to a highly peaked ceiling that seemed to engulf everything beneath in its watchful, safe eyes.  As time drew upon me, I realized it was time to go to school.  Hurrying to the door, I stopped and took one last look, and found myself equipped with a feeling of peace.


    Today is....
         the worst
         the hardest day
         filled to the top with labs and exams
         the crest before the fall

    Yesterday was...
         filled wtih expectations
         wasteful, but not
         relaxing compared to

    Tomorrow will be...
         the end
         last test
         easy after that
         a sigh of relief
         a fresh breath of relaxation

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    The Ultimate Experience

    As the breeze rustles the leaves of the giant oak tree, a cascade of rain pelts the surface of the earth.  It's as if the tree is shaking itself fry like a dog after a bath.  The low rumbling of the clouds in the distance resonates through the air like an invisible wave.  This triggers the launch of the pent up lightening storm, waiting to unleash its fury across the open sky.  Suddenly there's a rapid display of brilliant white, blue, red, and violet running through the atmosphere, and then comes the rain:  the torrents of rain come ripping through the heavens, drenching everything.  By now the breeze has turned into a raging wind, ready to sweep up everything in its path.  The smell of rainwater clings to the grass, to the soil, to my clothes, and in my hair.  My skin is damp and sticky from the humidity.  For a splitting second, the only thing I can hear s the storm.  The only thing I can feel is the danger, the energy, the adrenaline.  With eyes closed, I can feel the power of the storm coursing through my entire body, from head to foot.  The air is crackling with the vigor of the lightening; the ground seems to be shuddering from the thrill of the storm.  Crack!  A bolt of lightening collides with a tree, causing it to explode, sending bits of bark flying through the air.  And then as suddenly as it began, the storm end, leaving a path of destruction in its place.  Branches are strewn everywhere.  Leaves litter the grass, the road, and the cars.  The wind diminishes into a gently breeze, bringing with it the smell of burnt wood from the tree that was hit by lightening.

    Candle Wax

    Melt it down
    Make it your own
    Myriads of shapes
    Multitudes of colors

    Adding dyes
    Adding scents
    Always ready to conform
    Your wish is its command

    Silently waiting for you
    Never complaining
    Content to wait

    Warm and smooth
    Cold and rough

    Bringing to life the pictures of my mind
    Forming by the energy of my fingers
    Mistakes never existing
    A reflection of me

    Who Am I?

    I am,

    A student,




    An ever chaning creation of God, An observer, An architect,

    Lazy, Hardworking, A best friend, A sister, A daughter,

    A scientist,


    A dreamer,







    I am a child of God.

    The Storm

    Hear the thunder rolling,
    Feel the awesome power,
    Taste the rain that's falling,
    Praise God, creator of this splendid shower.

    See the trees dancing in the wind,
    Watch birds flee to their nests,
    Witness lightening from the clouds descend,
    Glimpse a cat woken from his afternoon rest.

    Hear a mother calling her son,
    Listen to the bull frogs uttering their sound,
    Heed to the children's splashes in the puddles, having fun,
    Hear the patter of the rain coming down.

    Feel the air as it crackles,
    Sense God in all that surrounds me,
    Stroke a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, from its shackles,
    Experience all of nature as it turns crazy.

    Taste the cool, flowing breeze,
    Savor the flavor of the water as it hits my tongue,
    Drink in the smell of wet leaves,
    Relish in the feeling that this storm has only just begun.

    Smell the churning earth,
    Inhale the aromas of Mother Nature,
    Breathe in the scent of a fire in a neighbor's hearth,
    Smell the fear running through God's furry creatures.

    Hear the thunder rolling,
    Feel the awesome power,
    Taste the rain that's falling,
    Praise God, creator of this splendid shower.

    Thursday, August 12, 2010

    Harsh Reality

    You entered my world,
    my safe place.
    You didn't know me,
    but I'd heard of you.
    Little did I know how happy you'd make me.

    A glimpse of your brown curls,
    a dash of crystal blue eyes,
    a pinch of that smile,
    a handful of your sweet laughter.
    Oh how happy that made me.

    I put up my walls of stone at first,
    but you slowly tore them down.
    Without knowing it,
    you made me fall for you.
    So young,
    but rich in values.
    You recognized the monotomy of life around here,
    you despise the normal,
    loved the quirky.
    How happy you made me.

    One steady conversation after another,
    opening your sould to me with your every thought, opinion, and belief.
    We shared similar views,
    thought alike about things.

    I'm reading from my favorite magazine,
    picking things out for my future.
    Looking up,
    I'm startled to find your eyes on mine,
    with that special twinkle to them,
    that special smile.

    My heart melts,
    I forget to breathe,
    time stops,
    I lose myself in the moment.
    Oh how happy you make me.

    But that's as far as things ever go.
    No more breathtaking moments,
    no more shared looks.
    We grow apart,
    but my fondness for you keeps growing.
    When I reach out for you,
    you're not there.
    As I fall,
    you walk away,
    turning your back.
    Oh how you've broken my heart.

    As your life grows,
    so does your ego.
    I try to entice old conversations,
    but you turn away,
    brush them off.
    My sincerity gives ground for your flippant remarks.
    Oh how you use to make me happy.

    Days go by and tempers mellow.
    It's finally like old times,
    but then you drop the bomb.
    Planning on getting married soon,
    having a family,
    a dog,
    the American dream all for yourself.

    It's then that I realize we're all we'll ever be.
    Casualness replaces intimacy,
    confidence making way for eggshells.

    My world registers a seven on the richtor scale.
    My heart bleeds while my head spins.
    All that's left are memories,
    all that's to come is nothing.

    I hope she makes you happy.