Free Holiday Story

I don’t know about you, but I love, love, love the holidays. Even though I’m in Sunny California, I still dream of  the white Christmases of my childhood. I remember as a little girl, I would sit at the window wrapped in my blanket, determined to stay awake until Santa arrived. Because of course, i wanted to see him with my own eyes. More often than not, I woke up Christmas morning with my face stuck to an ice cold window and a stiff neck. That darn Santa never did let me catch sight of him.

Another thing I love about the holidays is giving gifts. It’s so fun to see people’s faces light up in anticipation of what is in the brightly wrapped and ribboned package, isn’t it?

As my gift to you I wanted to give you a holiday story called, Sally & Gem.

You can download it at Noisetrade or Instafreebie

The story comes in PDF, Mobi, and ePub file formats. If you do not have a Kindle or eReader you can download kindle for pc, tablet, or phone here.

And an ePub can be read with Digital Editions as well as an eReader.

And a PDF can be read on your phone, pc, laptop, or tablet.

Please feel free to share this post and/or the download links to the story with friends or family. I love spreading holiday cheer.

Big love and Happy Happy Holidays.

Annie

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Tips, Tricks, and Little Known Halloween Facts…

Hey kids, it’s been quite a while since I did a whole big resource post but Halloween is always a fun  holiday,  so let the tips and tricks begin.

The facts

  • Halloween has its origins in Celtic, Wiccan and even Catholic traditions and celebrations. Most of which were meant to celebrate the end of the growing season, the coming of winters and the thin line between the living and the dead.
  • The celebration was a blend of All Saints Day, the Celtic celebration of Samhain, and the Roman festival Feralia.
  • The custom of putting lights in carved vegetables came from the pre-Christian Druids in northern Celtic lands. Before and during Druidic ceremonies practitioners hung a carved and lighted turnip around their necks as a “spirit guide” to get them safely through the dangerous procedures, which sometimes included human sacrifice.
  • By the 19th century, most of the religious aspects of the Halloween celebration were gone and became mostly a secular holiday that was more about dressing up in costume for fun and entertainment than confusing the dead and warding off spirits.
  • The tradition of ‘trick or treating’ in America is believed to have originated with Irish immigrants who brought with them the Halloween tradition of going door to door looking for sweets and other treats.
  • Many believed (perhaps still do) that Halloween is a pagan celebration of witchcraft. Among the traditions that seemed ‘witch like’ are –
    • Young women could determine her future spouse by staring into a mirror in a darkened room or by peeling an apple in one long strip and then casting the peel over her shoulder.
    • Baking small coins, trinkets, and a single, plain ring into a type of fruit cake that would be shared among the neighbors. If you got a trinket in your piece – that was your fate for the coming year, with the person who got the ring destined to wed.
  • Some Christian faiths still maintain that Halloween encourages witchcraft and hold “Hell Houses” meant to scare children and young adults away from the traditions and to lead them back to the church. Some even go so far as to hand out pamphlets on Halloween night to be found when kids go through their candy.

Halloween Safety Tips

Costumes:

Dressing up in costume is one of the more fun aspects of the holidays but some costumes can be problematic. The following tips might help prevent costume malfunction:

  1. With kids’ costumes you want to avoid choking hazards. Look over the outfit and accessories for anything that can be pried off or favored as a teething toy for a baby. Details such as buttons, beads, sequins, or other baubles meant to be decorations may need to be removed or given a couple extra stitches to ensure they remain intact.
  2. Make sure costumes don’t obstruct your view, including peripheral vision.
  3. Dragging hemlines can cause tripping and be caught in machinery, fences, gates and car doors. Hem costumes so your child won’t trip herself or others.
  4. Also check tags to see what kind of fabric is used. You or your child may have an allergic reaction to synthetic fabrics, or they may cause chafing if fabric is rough and your child does a significant amount of walking in it.
  5. Always ensure that the fabric of your costume is proofed against catching fire.
Trick-or-Treating:
  1. Make sure youngsters have flashlights and/or some sort of reflective tape adhered to their costume when going door to door.
  2. Make sure they are wearing appropriate footwear for walking and weather conditions.
  3. Organize it so that children travel in groups, and have a buddy system in place. Do not move from one house to the next until all kids are accounted for.
  4. Be extra careful crossing the streets, though drivers may be trying to be careful the streets will have more than usual foot traffic and accidents still happen.
  5. If you are driving on Halloween during trick or treating hours, be extra vigilant and keep your eyes on the road. If you need to break up an argument between your kids over whose candy is whose, pull over and work it out rather than looking away from the road.
  6. Never let the kids consume any of the candy from their bags until an inspection has been done. Check to ensure that wrappers and packaging is still sealed properly, wash and cut fruit such as apples before consumption, and check baked good as well. If you are in doubt about any item it is better to throw it away than take a chance.

 Halloween Recipes

Meringue bones and skulls

Easy roasted pumkin seed recipe

Watch this vid to see how to make “dirt pudding”

Halloween Laughs

If you’re in the mood for something punny – check this site for some groan worthy jokes

Halloween Games

Need some games for your Halloween party?

And if you happen to be staying home tonight with no particular plans, check out this movie trailer. Who knew Helen Mirren could be so scary? LOL!

Have a ghoulish good Halloween and don’t forget to save me some candy. Caramels and Hershey’s Chocolate, please. 😉

Annie  

HAPPY LABOR DAY – LET’S HAVE A PICNIC..OR SOMETHING…

It’s sad I suppose that summer is on its way out and well Labor Day is the punctuation mark that heralds the end of the season.

Did you know that in a galaxy long ago and far far away that there was this rule that you mustn’t wear white after Labor Day?

So what’s on the menu for your Labor Day picnic – fried chicken, two maybe three kinds of potato salad, sandwiches and lemonade? In that case, these recipes are sure to please.

And don’t forget the cocktails

If  you’re planning to stay home and do some serious binge watching on Netflix or Amazon Prime, check out Ray Donovan, Bosch, Luther, Gilmore Girls Reboot, House of Cards, The Man in the High Castle, all the Star Trek iterations and more…

If you want to get out and about and live in the L.A. area check out the top weekend events, fairs, festivals, fun in the sun and lots of eats

Or just stay home in your jim-jams and read a good mystery

Whatever you plan to do or not do as the case may be – be well, be happy, and be safe.

And say a little prayer for our firefighters out here in CA, presently working 24/7 to knock down the La Tuna Canyon fires – and our friends struggling with the havoc of Hurricane Harvey.

 

Annie

Father’s Day 2017

I lost my dad over twenty years ago, but it still feels like yesterday. I can easily call up the pain, the loss, and the tears. And it makes me realize just how incredible love and the human connection it creates, is.

I hope that those of you out there who still have a dad in the here and now are planning something nice for him. And I hope that those of you who have lost their fathers, have some peace in the love that remains in your heart for your dad.

Have a blessed Father’s Day weekend.

❤ Annie

 

Favorite Irish Sayings, St Paddy’s Day Traditions & Corned Beef

Happy St. Paddy’s Day everybody. I love this day because I love green, I love fun, I really love beer and it’s also my birthday. But in case you aren’t Irish, then I have a quick crash-course, that Faith and Begorrah, will convince everybody you are.

Irish phrases you should know

Kiss my ass!

Spelled: Póg mo thóin!

Pronounced: pogue muh ho-in

Cheers!

Spelled: Sláinte

Pronounced: slaan-cheh

Ireland Forever

Spelled: Éirinn go Brách

Pronounced: Air-in guh braack

May the cat eat you and the devil eat the cat

Spelled: Go n-ithe an cat thú is go n-ithe an diabhal an cat

Pronounced: guh nee-ha on cat hoo iss go nee-ha on jeowel on cat

Saint Patrick’s Day

Spelled: Lá ‘le Pádraig

Pronounced: laa-AY-la pawd-rik/

A pint of Guinness, please.

Spelled: Pionta Guinness, le do thoil

Pronounced:  pyunta Guinness leh duh hull/

Kiss me, I’m Irish!

Spelled: Tabhair póg dom, táim Éireannach

Pronounced: TOO-irr pogue dum, toyme AY-ron-ock

Are you drunk yet?

Spelled: An bhfuil tú ar meisce fós?

Pronounced: on will too air mesh-ka fowss?/

St. Patrick’s Day blessing upon you

Spelled: Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!

Pronounced: ban-ock-tee na fay-lah paw-rig ur-iv/

Common Traditions on St. Paddy’s Day

The wearing of the green. On St. Paddy’s Day you better wear something green if you want to avoid being pinched. In Ireland people wear a small bunch of Shamrocks on their right breast to signify their Irishness. The Shamrocks are blessed at Church ceremonies and known as Blessing of the Shamrock. If you don’t have access to blessed shamrocks, a green hat will do.

Green Beer and Shamrock Shakes. If  you were to spend St. Paddy’s Day in Ireland you’d be hardput to find a mug of green beer or a Shamrock Shake. This is a rookie mistake and started as a tradition in America. However, if you can eat 10 pickled eggs, you could be mistaken for a real Irisher.

Parades and Festivals. The very first St Patrick’s Day parade occurred in New York City in 1766. And though there were many parades to follow all over the world, it wasn’t until 1995 that the Irish government decided to start holding a parade in Dublin—it’s known as St Patrick’s festival and takes place over 5 days with events including art shows, plays, concerts, fun fairs and the main parade.

Have you worked up an appetite yet?

No St. Patrick’s Day would be complete without partaking in some scrumptious corned beef and cabbage. And though traditionally, Irish Corned Beef and Cabbage is a boiled dish, I prefer mine slow roasted.

Try this simple recipe and tell me I’m wrong. And don’t forget to save me some.

Ingredients:

1 (5 1/2 pound) corned beef brisket with spice packet

2 whole head of green cabbage, each quartered

7 large red potatoes, peeled and diced

8 carrots, peeled and diced

2 medium onion, quartered

Directions

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Place the brisket in the center of a roasting pan. Arrange the cabbage, potatoes, carrots and onions around the sides. Empty the seasoning packet over the roast, and pour enough water into the pan to about ½ inch high. Cover with a lid or heavy aluminum foil. Roast for 5 to 6 hours in the preheated oven, until the roast is fork tender.

Have a great day and may the green be with you.