Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Memories . . . Awaiting the New Year

What is it about the day after Christmas? Are you glad the hustle and bustle is over? Have you cleaned up the discarded wrapping paper and bows? Has everyone taken their goodies to their rooms or are they still sitting under the tree? Did you eat all the leftovers from your Christmas feast? Have you started to return or exchange gifts that weren’t exactly right? Are you catching up an all those cards and letters, updating your mailing list for next Christmas? 

Have you already started to take down the tree and decorations? Are all the parties over? Did you put a few extra pounds? All of these and I am sure more things crowd your mind, fill your days, and make you wonder if it was all worth it?                            

Of course it was!                
So as you wait to change the calendar, you make plans for the New Year. Do you make resolutions or do you wait to see what happens? Are you resolved and determined to make changes? Stay steadfast and persevere, make promises and pledges, find solutions and answers? Yes, you will do all the above. And the one goal I wish to inspire you to attain if you haven’t already done so with the encouragement from this blog, is to Create your Family Museum! Or at least begin to think about doing it and then do it!

I have written 141 blogposts that instruct, inform, edify and entertain. Loaded with how-to ways & means, inspiration, personal thoughts and links to websites that offer even more information. There is no excuse as to why one would not want to have a Family Museum in their home, apartment, workplace, anywhere you call home. All obstacles and challenges can be met. But it is up to you, however, not you alone. The history you preserve and display is your family’s history, their stories, their lives. Make it as grand as you can. Share it with all family members, friends, and on your social networks. Spread the word. Share the love of family.  
Here are a few poignant quotes that express the importance of creating a Family Museum:
“There’s a world of wisdom in our personal stories. Your life is a legacy, a gift that only you can give. Why waste something so precious?”  &  “Too many Americans have ignored their ancestors and family history and not bothered to examine their own life stories, much less share them with others. They, too, rarely share much of their past lives with friends, or pass them on to their progeny. And yet we desperately need to do all that . . .”      Dolly Berthelot

“Do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and your children’s children.”   Deuteronomy
“If you don’t recount your family history, it will be lost. Honor your own stories and tell them, too. The tales may not seem very important, but they are what binds families and makes each of us who we are.”      Madeleine L’Engle  
May your New Year be prosperous, your health strong and stable, your families happy & together. I will continue to post throughout the New Year. Hope you read it and chime in. It is nice to hear from you and to share this journey of preserving and displaying family histories in your own Family Museum.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Memories . . . The Gifts

Giving and receiving gifts on Christmas is probably the most exciting part of the holiday. For weeks, even months, you plan, you shop in the stores or online, and best of all is when you make the gift yourself, much time and effort is spent on this endeavor.

At the beginning of our shopping excursions, we all make a list of the things we want and/or need. Over the years, especially this one, the lists have become quite sophisticated. Now, instead of just listing the item, websites of where to find it accompany the request. That certainly did make shopping easier.

Then we check out the wrapping paper and bows, and as before, need to restock. I am not sure when it started, except how I recall my dad, a conservative guy, would take the discarded gift wrapping paper and fold it up very neatly saying that it is still good and we should use it next Christmas. Really dad! But he was right, so from that day forward, I have done the same, resulting in some very old, even retro-looking paper. And today, not only is the paper saved, we do so with the ribbon and bows. One of the things I love to do while the family opens their presents, is to roll up the discarded ribbon into neat little rolls, securing them as best as I can. Again, some of our ribbon has been used over and over again. Besides, paper and ribbon is expensive and if you can save a little money, then do so. Then you can spend that money on the gifts you want to give. Oh! And don’t forget to give a gift to your pet/s. Every day they bring you happiness, so let them know that they are an important member of the family.
Then, in a flash, it’s over.  The anticipation, the angst, the thrills and shrills.  But it is all worth it and in a quick eleven months from now, you will be doing it again. And why do we do this? Because we all want to show our love and appreciation for family and friends because that is what Christmas is all about. If everyone could keep this loving feeling in their hearts all year, every day, we would be a peaceful nation.

Merry Christmas to you all   
and    God Bless America!      

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Memories . . . The Glorious Food

I wish I had a picture for every holiday meal our family enjoyed over the years, but alas, that would mean probably hundreds of images of roasts, vegetables amass, not to mentions the cookies, cakes and other holiday delights. In my search to find a few pictures, everyone I looked at made me ponder upon that time, remembering the fun we had making and eating the homemade creation. And the one important aspect of this food is how many of those recipes have been handed down through the generations. For example, here is my husband, Keith, making Norwegian Pancakes, a treat we enjoy particularly during the holidays or when the urge hits us. It is his mother’s recipe she learned as a child. Her parents immigrated to Minnesota in 1864. They brought with them this and other Norwegian recipes. Yum!

Talking about recipes, I bet if you complied all of those index cards, slips of paper upon which the ingredients and directions were scribbled, favorites from new and old cookbooks with pages marked with stains of food orts, you would have a family museum of food. Here is an idea to create for your family’s future generations to enjoy and use. Purchase a photo album or scrapbook, maybe several depending on the size of your collected recipes, organize them according to the food type or even the event which the meal was served. Write a little story about what the picture is telling, not necessarily a lot, but enough so the reader will understand what is going on. Add embellishments, flourishes, trimmings and such to enhance the page. All of these supplies can be found at Michael’s Arts & Craft Stores.  

And don’t forget about the kids. One day my son Charlie asked me to make up a cookbook just for him of his favorite recipes. What a great idea! Kids loved to be included in family history projects, so assist them as they look through your cookbooks and recipes and have them select the ones they like and put them into an album or scrapbook. This would be great winter time project that is both entertaining and educational.   

I am not much of a baker. My daughter Tiffeni loves to bake and her brother loves to lick up the remaining batter from the bowl. My job is to make Thumbprints, the little jam-filled nut-encased cookies that take me hours to make. This year, I am going to attempt to make a new concoction called a Schneeballen, snowball in German.  We traveled to Germany this past spring and in the town of Rothenberg, a plethora of bakeries offered these delectable desserts. So wish me luck. I will let you know how they turned out. When Charlie went to company Christmas parties, he always brought a Torte, a multilayered cake made with lady finger cookies, whipped cream (Cool Whip), fruit preserves, and gently flavored with rum and cognac. The recipe is his dad’s and he helps Charlie create this masterpiece. When he brings home the bowl, there is put one serving left and Keith scarfes it down.

The Christmas Feast is the best, besides Thanksgiving. Because we do not want to repeat the turkey, we ruminate on other choices. Will it be a beef or pork roast with all the trimmings, will we have two meats instead of one, what kind of vegetables, bread or rolls, and of course, dessert. But whatever we cook, we eat and look forward to the leftovers. And one bit of fun when we sit down at the table, Keith has the honor of “carving the beast,” just like the Grinch. So whatever you bake, broil or oven-roast, enjoy your holiday feast.    

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas Memories . . . The Decorations

How many boxes of holiday decorations do you have? Over the years my family has amassed a collection of Christmas decorations, so much so, we could personally decorate several homes.  And over the years we have organized and re-organized these boxes, storing them in closets, basements, attics, and the garage. We have gotten better at this task and after 45 years of Christmas decorating, we have it down to a science, but like all organizational tasks, it takes time and patience, but it does pay off.  

Let’s start at the end of the holiday when everything goes back into their box. This is the time you really need to take your time and it is also the time you don’t want to take because honestly, the holidays are over and so is the excitement. So, as the saying goes, it takes time to make time.  One box at a time and if possible, purchase the boxes that are made to store holiday items. These boxes are pretty sturdy and are well marked so you know what is inside them. And label the box as well. For example, “Family room decorations.”

The tree ornaments need special care, especially when they have been in the family for a long time. Over the years we have collected some wonderful ornaments that have special meanings and memories. I would love to put one or two into our Family Museum, however, space is limited. But when they come out of their wrappings and are once again hung on the tree, all those memories can be shared again, for at least a month or so.

Decorative and tree lights are always my bane, and I must admit, after I have literally pulled them off a mirror or the long string off the tree, I don’t plug the lights back in to make sure I didn’t pull a light out or broke one, which means either I fix it right then and there, or buy a new set, which is not very economical. So again, taking the time to make sure all the lights still work will be a blessing next Christmas.

Outside decorations are another animal. Big, bulky, and messy from weather-related events. For storing these items, purchase those big green plastic containers and again, label the containers with what is inside. And whether you store them in a garage or basement, you want to be sure the containers are air-tight for all the reasons you know.    

So now with all your decorations are organized and preserved, you can look forward to the next time you begin this endeavor and perhaps when you start your decorating, you will feel like a “Who in Who Ville” instead of a “Grinch.“

Monday, December 7, 2015

Christmas Memories . . . The Music

Christmas time is here,
Happiness and cheer,
Fun for all that children call,
Their favorite time of the year.
Snowflakes in the air,
Carols everywhere,
Olden times and ancient rhymes,
Of love and dreams to share.
Sleigh bells in the air,
Beauty everywhere,
Yuletide by the fireside,
And joyful memories there.
Christmas time is here,
We'll be drawing near,
Oh, that we could always see,
Such spirit through the year.
Oh, that we could always see,
Such spirit through the year...  
What is it about Christmas and all the other spiritual, sacred, holy, and secular holidays that conjure up memories? However your memories are created they will be remembered. And more so if they are preserved in your Family Museum. So this month, my posts will cover as many of the holiday does  and doing as I can write about, be it decorating the home, finding that perfect present, setting the table with glorious foods, and making toasts for the New Year.


Today will be music, because if anything can set the mood, it’s music. And because we are nostalgic at heart, our family loves traditional music.  Many of course are records, or as some call them, vinyls. Most of these records date from the late 1960s and sound perfectly fine to us. For example,  Dean Martin, Doris Day, Any Williams, Robert Goulet, Steve & Edie, and Tchaikovsky Nutcracker Ballet. When we decorate the tree, by time the music from the Nutcracker is done playing, so is the tree.  There is something so very sentimental about Doris Day singing toy land, Steve & Edie makes you feel like you     are really on a sleigh ride, and when the day is through, snuggle up as you watch the dancing flames in the fireplace because ‘baby, it’s cold outside.’ And just as much as we enjoy the old-fashioned music, we like the music from Home Alone. Its rick-n-roll makes me want to dance.
What’s your favorite holiday music?
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