Sunday, November 28, 2010

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Okay, so Thanksgiving was only three days ago, but I have the Christmas bug.  Friday was spent shopping and napping, so Saturday and Sunday I spent decorating inside and out (Jamie doesn’t decorate, but he will help when I need him). 

First I put up the tree.  I bought a pre-lit tree from Stein’s a few years ago and I love it!  It goes up easy and being pre-lit makes it so fast to decorate.  There was a minor situation with the lights where half of a strand wouldn’t light.  It was driving me crazy, but after about 30 minutes I figured out the problem.  After that it was a breeze.

While shopping on Friday I found 50 count LED lights on sale at Home Depot for $1.98 each.  I bought 24 boxes!  I put 150 lights on each of our six arborvitae plus two strands of lights to connect them, 50 lights on the wreath outside the entryway window, 50 lights on the support beam on the porch, snowflake lights up along the porch and 500 lights on the tree on the corner.  So in total I hung over 1600 lights! 

The lights outside look good and bad.  The LED lights are so white and bright compared to the regular lights I put on the tree in the corner and in the snowflake lights.  I may end up taking the snowflake lights and the lights on the tree down just so they all match. 

The only problem is that the tree in the corner was the hardest since it has grown so much.  I had to use our little giant ladder and climb up as high as I was comfortable, then one more step up and using a hanger I was able to reach the top.  I am half thinking of not taking them off just so I don’t have to do this again next year.

Now I just need it to snow to hide all the extension cords!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Earlier this year, around Mother’s Day, Jamie decided to clean off the front of the refrigerator. He took a lot of what I had put on there and threw it away.  When he finished with that he cleaned out the coffee maker and threw the grounds away.  A couple hours later I came by and opened the trash can and stood in horror.  There, right in the trash can, covered in coffee grounds, was all of Jake’s art projects that I had hung on the refrigerator door that I was planning on keeping.  It was all ruined!  Jamie just didn’t understand why I was so upset.

A few days before this all happened I gave Debbie one of Jake’s art projects that I thought she would like to have.  I told her she was lucky to have it and told her the story of what happened.  Then for my birthday, Debbie framed and wrapped that art project and gave it back to me.  I now have it hanging in the bedroom above my nightstand Since then Jamie hasn’t thrown any of Jake’s art projects away.

 may flowers 001

Today I finally got aroun d to scanning in some of Jake’s art projects.  They aren’t spectacular, but it is still meaningful to me.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Red Kettles

Every year I see the red kettles with bell ringers outside local establishments.  I usually give a dollar when I see one but if I don’t have any money with me I still say hello to the bell ringer.  I know a lot of people try to avoid them and walk in through a different entrance.  This year I’ve decided to give $1 every time I see a kettle and I’m going to try to keep track of how much I donated at the end of the season. 

Red Kettle History

In 1891, Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee was distraught because so many poor individuals in San Francisco were going hungry. During the holiday season, he resolved to provide a free Christmas dinner for the destitute and poverty-stricken. He only had one major hurdle to overcome -- funding the project.

Where would the money come from, he wondered. He lay awake nights, worrying, thinking, praying about how he could find the funds to fulfill his commitment of feeding 1,000 of the city's poorest individuals on Christmas Day. As he pondered the issue, his thoughts drifted back to his sailor days in Liverpool, England. He remembered how at Stage Landing, where the boats came in, there was a large, iron kettle called "Simpson's Pot" into which passers-by tossed a coin or two to help the poor.

The next day Captain McFee placed a similar pot at the Oakland Ferry Landing at the foot of Market Street. Beside the pot, he placed a sign that read, "Keep the Pot Boiling." He soon had the money to see that the needy people were properly fed at Christmas.

Six years later, the kettle idea spread from the west coast to the Boston area. That year, the combined effort nationwide resulted in 150,000 Christmas dinners for the needy. In 1901, kettle contributions in New York City provided funds for the first mammoth sit-down dinner in Madison Square Garden, a custom that continued for many years. Today in the U.S., The Salvation Army assists more than four-and-a-half million people during the Thanksgiving and Christmas time periods.

Captain McFee's kettle idea launched a tradition that has spread not only throughout the United States, but all across the world. Kettles are now used in such distant lands as Korea, Japan, Chile and many European countries. Everywhere, public contributions to Salvation Army kettles enable the organization to continue its year-round efforts at helping those who would otherwise be forgotten.