Articles Tagged with holiday

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Venn Crawford

I have three grandchildren, all ages four and under. I want them to always look forward to the holidays as a magical time of year, and I want to make wonderful memories with them that we’ll cherish forever. The holiday traditions they grow up with are a large part of that! For kids especially, candy and treats are one of the exciting parts of Christmas (or any holiday, really), and so I’m starting a tradition of making gingerbread houses with my grandkids. This year I bought a frame for the house, as well as lots of decorations and icing.

Gingerbread houses first started being made after the Grimm brothers’ tale “Hansel and Gretel” was published. Professional gingerbread bakers saw an opportunity and started baking fancy fairy-tale type houses. These grew popular at Christmastime, and a tradition was born!

Making gingerbread houses can get pretty intense. Some people go for size – the largest gingerbread house ever made was 2,520 square feet! Hansel and Gretel would have loved that, I bet. Other people go for size in a different way and build entire towns. The largest gingerbread village even had a commercial district with 22 buildings on top of the 135 gingerbread homes in the village.

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Venn Crawford

The holidays are here, and with them, colder weather, hot chocolate, and Christmas music in nearly every store. The Walmart near me even has the poles outside dressed up as candy canes. As soon as December hit (earlier even), the whole country began to celebrate. Some traditions are old – decorating the Christmas tree, lighting the menorah, and gift giving. Others, like the Starbucks holiday cups, are newer. No matter what holiday you celebrate, the yearly traditions we cherish are part of what makes the holidays so special.

For families, traditions bring us together and create special memories that we will cherish for a lifetime. We carry many of our parents’ traditions into our own home, and we create some of our own to share with our children. Those who are new parents, newly divorced, or celebrating the holidays on their own for the first time may want to find new traditions to make the holiday their own. Below are some traditions from around the world that you can bring home this holiday season.

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Ligligan Parul – The Giant Lantern Festival (Philippines)

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Carolyn Woodruff
Dear Carolyn,

I am an aunt with two adult nephews and one adult niece.  I have no children of my own.  I have been very faithful, I feel, to lavishing these ingrates with gifts and attention on holidays, at weddings, birthdays, baby showers and generally.  There is never a thank-you note from them, much less a gift (not even a small one).  They virtually ignore me unless they are getting something from me.  I am very careful to thank them for every little thing they do for me, but when I thank them, I get the rude comment of “no problem.”  Where did the manners go for “thank you” and “you’re welcome?”  Thanksgiving and Christmas are particularly hard when they are most of my “blood” family.  I am considering simply washing my hands of these unappreciative relatives as I feel that would make me feel the best.  Any advice?

– Tired of the Unthankful

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Venn Crawford

Being divorced is difficult, and being divorced with kids during the holidays is even more so. But though it may be difficult for you, it doesn’t have to be for your children. Below are tips for making the post-divorce holiday season fun and love-filled for you and your kids.

Make the holiday about the children. The winter holiday season is magical for children, and they’ll cherish the memories you make for years to come. Embrace the giving spirit of the holidays and set an example of generosity and kindness for your children.

Establish a new tradition to fit this new situation. You don’t want to keep everything exactly the same, or your kids might feel like they’re celebrating “Christmas minus mom/dad.” Instead, break from your habits a bit and bring in something new. You could have a special dinner you make as a family or open advent calendars together each night – no matter what you do, make it special for you and your kids.

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Venn Crawford

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving! One story I have been thinking about regarding giving is the story of Stone Soup. The story is an ancient narrative, and the details vary depending on which country’s version you hear. In some, the main character is a gypsy, in others, a soldier. But no matter where your version of the story is from, it goes something like this:

A traveling soldier, hungry, homeless, and with nothing to his name save creativity and a cooking pot, happened upon a village. A river wound through the countryside, bordering the village on one side. Hungry, the soldier walked down to the banks, filled his pot with river water, and placed a single stone from the riverbed into the water.

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The soldier built a fire by one of the main paths to the river and began to cook his stone. The fire licked up at the bottom of the pot, heating the stone and forming tiny bubbles along the iron beneath it. As the stone began to boil, a villager traveling to the marketplace stopped to greet the soldier.

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Venn Crawford

Every year we gather around a table with our family, friends, and a roasted turkey to celebrate. But what are we celebrating? We’ve all heard some version of a historically inaccurate story about pilgrims and Native Americans, but a lot of times we seem to miss out on the thanks part of Thanksgiving. We may go around the table and say what we’re thankful for, but do we really sit down and spend a moment sitting in gratitude?

For most of us, the answer is no. The day that’s set aside for “giving thanks” is usually overshadowed by turkey and family drama, and the rest of the year we have too little time and too much to do. So when do we make time for gratitude? We should be making time for it every day.

Gratitude Makes Us Happier

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Venn Crawford

Thanksgiving is next week, and if you haven’t started planning your meal, it’s definitely time to start. If you’re short on ideas or tired of making the same thing, that’s ok! I’ve gathered some of the best Thanksgiving recipes for you to wow your friends and family with at dinner. I’ve also added tips to help you cook faster, tastier, and healthier.

Bon appetit and happy Thanksgiving!

Potatoes Au Gratin is easy to make and is one of my favorite side dishes. This cheesy potato casserole has layers of thin potatoes with a quick homemade cheese sauce and is baked until browned and bubbly! Pretty enough for guests, easy enough for any day of the week!

Au Gratin Potatoes with Gruyere Cheese
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Venn Crawford

Halloween is for all things spooky and creepy, and so slime fits right into the October aesthetic. In the spirit of all things ghoulish, I’ve created an ectoplasm slime recipe for you to try. All you need is borax, Elmer’s glue, water, and food coloring (you can find borax with laundry supplies at most stores).

Multicolor Slime Misadventures

Originally, I wanted to make a black, orange, and purple slime. When I made the purple, I realized it would take far too much food coloring to do black. So, I decided to make orange and purple.

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Venn Crawford

It’s October – a month of harvests and haunts. If you haven’t gotten in the spirit yet, here’s a list of haunted happenings in the triad to get you started. The first list covers kid-friendly events, while the second contains spookier events for adults. Click the dates to see the event website. Continue reading

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Venn Crawford

Tomorrow is National North Carolina Day – a day celebrating the history and growth of our home state. Of course, North Carolina Day is the perfect excuse to go on an outing with family, have a solo adventure, or plan a unique date. And with the large number of attractions in and around Greensboro, there’s no need to travel far for a bit of fun.

One of the most well-known attractions in town is the Greensboro Science Center. The center features a zoo, aquarium, the SkyWild (an aerial rope course), and museum exhibits on the human body and weather. A personal favorite exhibit of mine is the gibbon exhibit – this family of monkeys has a wild, mischievous baby gibbon that swings around the exhibit, teasing the older monkeys and causing about as much trouble as the toddlers on the other side of the glass. Continue reading