Saturday, December 25, 2010

Boxing Day Sales

Boxing Day Sales - Bargain hunters are expected to bag a buy at David Jones Newcastle on Sunday when the store hosts its Boxing Day sale.

It will be the last of the traditional post-Christmas sales in the city store, which will shut down in February.

Regional manager Northern NSW Andrew Cooling said the tradition would continue in future years at the retailer's suburban store.

Boxing Day Sales

"We look forward to sharing this clearance with the people of Newcastle and look forward to continuing to do so at our newly refurbished Kotara store over the clearance period," he said.

In demand items at Sunday's sale will include women's shoes, towels, handbags, sunglasses, LCD and plasma televisions, DVD and Blu-Ray players and men's business shirts.

David Jones predicts that more than 1 million customers nationally will pass through its doors in the first week of the sales.

The Newcastle store is open 7am to 7pm on Sunday.

David Jones Newcastle is one of several Hunter retailers that the state government has permitted to trade on Boxing Day.

Boxing Day Sales

Free Apps for ipod Touch

Free Apps for ipod Touch - If you’re staring down at your shiny new iPhone 4 or iPod Touch this Christmas/Holiday wondering which apps to try first, here’s a list of the top 10 best iPhone and iPod Touch free apps for 2010.

Feel free to comment below and add any apps you think are awesome too!

Happy holidays, and enjoy that new iPhone or iPod Touch!
# Facebook
# Angry Birds Lite
# Words With Friends Free
# Skype
# Tap Tap Revenge 4
# The Weather Channel
# Paper Toss
# Cut the Rope: Holiday Gift
# ROCK BAND FREE
# Scrabble

Free Apps for ipod Touch

Shoppers Ready for After Christmas Sales

Shoppers Ready for After Christmas Sales - Have you had enough of lugging around all those shopping bags? Tomorrow could be the day to get back out there for post-Christmas bargain-hunting.

Retail experts predict robust after-Christmas sales to cap off an improved holiday season as shoppers make returns and hunt for bargains.

"People are going to be out in droves the day after Christmas," said Matt Powell of Princeton Retail Analysis, adding that since a Sunday follows the holiday, shoppers won’t need to take a day off work.

Shoppers Ready for After Christmas Sales

Stores and malls are preparing for the deluge: Target and JCPenney both announced after-Christmas sales this week starting at 7 a.m., with Target offering half off on some movies and JCPenney advertising discounts of 70 percent on select appliances, luggage and clothing.

Many New Jersey malls will also open their doors at 7 a.m. tomorrow, including Monmouth Mall, Newport Centre, Menlo Park Mall, Cherry Hill Mall and Freehold Raceway Mall.

Shoppers Ready for After Christmas Sales

Gorillaz the Fall Available

Gorillaz the Fall Available - It's Christmas! Which, if you've been paying attention for the last God knows how long, means free music from Gorillaz!

New album 'The Fall', composed mostly via iPad, is available now from the band's website. Though you need to be a member of their fanclub to download it, you can listen for the price of an email.

With contributions from regular Gorillaz types Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Bobby Womack, there's even a list of apps used to create the record. None of them are Angry Birds.

Gorillaz the Fall Available

Walmart Christmas Hours

Walmart Christmas Hours - Christmas is almost here. We are enjoying time with family and friends on Christmas even but then we remember that we forgot to get something at the store. Oh no, I hope that Walmart is still open! Well calm down, as of right now Walmart is still open but at 8pm you are going to find it’s closed because of Walmart holiday hours.

walmart holiday hoursWalmart holiday hours aren’t all bad however. The employees at Walmart are more than happy to find out that they do not have to work Christmas day and they get off on Christmas eve. Yes, Walmart is going to be closed on Christmas. Don’t hyperventilate though because Walmart will be open again for the 26th and Walmart holiday hours will be over for another year.

Walmart Christmas Hours

I’m not sure if they have always taken time off for the holidays but as long as I have remembered this has always been the case. I always figured that they might change it up though and start staying open so that they could make some extra profit. This time Walmart surely put workers over profit, good job Walmart! Now you know the Walmart holiday hours.

Walmart Christmas Hours

Stores Open on Christmas 2010

Stores Open on Christmas 2010 - If you are wondering for what stores are open on Christmas 2010, hardly any? Many active shoppers now are looking for lists of stores open during Christmas Day 2009. And yet, some stores already confirmed that they are closed on the said Holiday Seasons.

Apparently, some reports are saying that Walmart is open on Christmas 2010, but sad to say, Walmart already confirmed in their sites that their stores will be closed during Christmas Day 2010 and will be opened again as early in the morning of December 26, 2010.

Stores Open on Christmas 2010

Here are the list of establishments and stores that might be opened during Christmas Day 2010. Please read your guide below:

Grocery Stores – These also vary by location. Here you will find batteries, foods, candy, perhaps a small selection of electronics, flowers, baked goods, etc.. (you’ve been there before, you know the selection.)

Gas Stations – I sincerely hope you do not plan on buying a gift at a gas station, BUT, with the pain at the pump Americans are experiencing, some gas stations will sell gift cards. Easy way out but it will certainly make a gift that will be used.

Convenience Stores – Some CVS/Walgreens are open on Christmas for limited hours, check your local store’s website for details. Here you can buy batteries, cards, candy, and small electronics.

Meanwhile, some favourite stores for lifestyle are open during Christmas Day, these includes branches of Starbucks, so this might be a good news for all the coffee lovers out there. And yet, Dunkin Donuts and McDonalds confirmed that they are closed on Christmas. And since this is holiday, people might think that these closed stores will be opened again on the following day.

Stores Open on Christmas 2010

Night Before Christmas

Night Before Christmas - In a large house on Christmas Eve, the night before Christmas, nothing was stirring, not even a mouse...or so it seems at first. Jerry emerges from his hole avoiding a Christmas-themed mousetrap (already baited with a piece of cheese wrapped in a red ribbon) placed by his hole. Jerry quickly heads for the Christmas presents, jumping merrily around the tree, licking candy canes, and jumping onto a plush toy lion that squeaks. Jerry continues jumping on the soft toy, but bounces too hard and lands on what he thinks is another soft toy. Jerry jumps up and down on the grey fur, little realizing that what he is jumping on is, in fact, Tom, who has woken up. Tom snarls and just before he can eat Jerry, the quick-thinking mouse grabs a nearby "Not to be opened until Xmas" sticker and instantly places it on Tom's mouth.

Tom confronts Jerry, moments before the mouse attaches a "Do Not Open 'Til Xmas" sticker to Tom's mouth in The Night Before Christmas.

Night Before Christmas

Jerry hides among the myriad of toys (even firing a trick cannon's cork at Tom) and hides inside a Christmas fairy light, causing him to glow. Tom, obviously not fooled by this, grabs Jerry and is promptly electrocuted. Jerry hides among some toy soldiers, but Tom spots him, and just as he is about to crush Jerry with his paw, the mouse runs off. Tom chases Jerry, but is stopped by the barrier of a miniature level crossing. A toy train passes by, with many carriages. Jerry is sitting on top of the caboose, waving cheekily at Tom and pulling faces. However, the train enters a model of a tunnel, and Jerry, sitting on top of the train, hits his head, knocking him onto the track. He quickly runs through the tunnel, pursued by Tom, who knocks the tunnel over. Jerry hides inside a boxing glove and boxes the puzzled cat in the face before running off behind the Christmas tree. Tom, now arming himself with a boxing glove of his own, follows him and spots him jumping into a jack-in-the-box. Opening up the box, Tom is punched by the boxing glove stuck on Jack's head and is knocked out. Jerry jumps out and holds it up in victory like a professional boxing referee would.

Tom chases Jerry once again, but Jerry holds out a piece of mistletoe in from of him and persuades an embarrassed Tom to kiss him. Tom blushes, and while his back is turned, Jerry kicks him in the rear. The mouse darts through the slot letterbox into the outdoors. As Tom opens the lid of the letterbox to see where Jerry has gone, Jerry hurls a snowball at his face. Tom angrily barricades the slot so that Jerry cannot get back into the house.

Night Before Christmas

Buche De Noel

Buche De Noel - Bûche de Noël is a traditional dessert served near Christmas (as Noel refers to the birth of Christ) in France, Belgium, Canada, Lebanon, Vietnam, and several other francophone countries and former French colonies. As the name indicates, the cake is generally prepared, presented, and garnished so as to look like a log ready for the fire used in the ancient fire-festival of the winter solstice.

Buche De Noel

The traditional bûche is made from a Génoise or other sponge cake, generally baked in a large, shallow Swiss roll pan, frosted, rolled to form a cylinder, and frosted again on the outside. The most common combination is a basic yellow sponge cake, frosted and filled with chocolate buttercream; however, many variations on the traditional recipe exist, possibly including chocolate cakes, ganache and espresso or otherwise-flavored frostings and fillings. Bûches are often served with a portion of one end of the cake cut off and set on top of the cake or protruding from its side to resemble a chopped off branch, and bark-like texture is often produced in the buttercream for further realism. This is often done by dragging a fork through the icing. These cakes are often decorated with powdered sugar to resemble snow, tree branches, fresh berries, and mushrooms made of meringue.

Buche De Noel

Christmas Blessings

Christmas Blessings - The angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Christmas Blessings

Scarlett Johansson Divorce

Scarlett Johansson Divorce - Hollywood couple Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johansson have split after two years of marriage.

The stars wed in a low-key ceremony in Reynolds' native Canada in September 2008, but their relationship has now come to an end.

A joint statement issued to WENN reads: "After long and careful consideration on both our parts, we've decided to end our marriage. We entered our relationship with love and it's with love and kindness we leave it. While privacy isn't expected, it's certainly appreciated."

Just last September, the actor told GQ magazine his wife was "the best part" of his life.

Scarlett Johansson Divorce

Andy Warhol Art Theft

Andy Warhol Art Theft - Thieves in New York City tunneled through the wall of a posh Manhattan apartment and stole art valued at $750,000, including several Andy Warhol works.

Police believe the heist occurred between Nov. 24 and 28 when the owners were away celebrating Thanksgiving, but no one discovered the artworks were missing until Thursday night and police did not say why.

The thieves gained access to the apartment by carving a tunnel through the wall of an adjacent hallway, New York City police said.

Andy Warhol Art Theft

The stolen collection included the Warhol prints "Superman," "The Truck" and a signed, eight-piece series titled "Camoflage." The collection included works by Roy Lichtenstein, the prints "Thinking Nude" and "Landscape."

An oil painting titled "Live Cat" by Carl Fudge was taken.

It wasn't known if the owners insured the works.

The thieves took jewelry and luxury watches, police said. Investigators believe professionals likely committed the theft, because a video recorder connected to a surveillance camera system in the apartment was removed.

Andy Warhol Art Theft

Adrienne N. Martin

Adrienne N. Martin - Another sad story emerges in the news. The death of a 27 year old woman was reported and confirmed shortly thereafter. Investigators are still not sure of the cause. The name of the deceased is Adrienne N. Martin.

There is plenty of information to be found out about Adrienne N. Martin. Why was she ins the house of August Busch IV the CEO of Busch? Well apparently she was an aspiring beer model and it can’t hurt to rub elbows or other things with the guy that can get you the job, right? Adrienne N. Martin had other ambitions as well however.

Adrienne N. Martin

Not only was she dreaming of being a beer model with her beautiful Native American looks but she also wanted to be a child therapist. She was recently divorced and shared custody of a 8 year old son with her ex husband. The latest reports claim that August Busch IV and this young lady were romantically involved. We will just have to wait with everyone else to find out the cause of death for Adrienne N. Martin.

Adrienne N. Martin

Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa - Kwanzaa is a weeklong celebration held in the United States honoring universal African-American heritage and culture, observed from December 26 to January 1 each year. It features activities such as lighting a candle holder with seven candles[1] and culminates in a feast and gift giving. It was created by Maulana Karenga and was first celebrated in 1966 - 1967.

Kwanzaa

Christmas Dinner Toasts Speeches

Christmas Dinner Toasts Speeches - Christmas is a time for gatherings, and sometimes that calls for a speech. If you’ve been asked to speak at such an event, then you have an important job to do to help make the big day really special.

How you go about preparing your speech and what you say obviously depends on the type of ‘do’ it is; whether it’s a formal business meal, or an informal family get-together, a major regimental reunion or a gathering of old friends makes a considerable difference to the tone.

Christmas Dinner Toasts Speeches

However, no matter who the assembled group or where the meal’s venue, here are a few simple guidelines to help you get it right.

1. Set The Tone
Your opening should set the tone for the rest of the speech, and get your audience’s attention. How you start – a formal “Ladies and Gentlemen” or a “well, everyone” – really depends on the nature of the dinner and the diners, but however you open, do it confidently. If the start is tentative, everyone will be expecting even worse to follow – and switch off!

* Don’t dither – get off to a positive start
* A little humour or an interesting statement helps catch the attention
* Encourage your audience to want to listen

Example: (Ladies and Gentlemen / Well everyone) I’ve been asked to say a few words and after the magnificent feast we’ve just enjoyed together, I’m reminded of something somebody once told me about after dinner speaking. A good speech is like a good meal – it should have plenty of flavour, give you something to get your teeth into and never be delivered cold! I’ve always thought it was good advice and I’ll try to stick to it.

Christmas Dinner Toasts Speeches

Midnight Mass

Midnight Mass - Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Christmas midnight Mass on Friday and in a sombre reflection during his homily noted how the promise of peace brought by Jesus’ birth has yet to be fulfilled.

Thousands of people flocked to St. Peter’s Basilica for the ceremony, while many more followed the proceedings on giant video screens in St Peter’s Square, on a mild but wet winter’s night.

“This child (Jesus) has ignited the light of goodness in men and has given them strength to overcome the tyranny of might,” the pontiff said in his homily.

Midnight Mass

Part of the significance of Christmas night is “simply joy at God’s closeness” to mankind, he said.

“But this joy is also prayer: Lord, make your promise come fully true. Break the rods of the oppressors. Burn the tramping boots. Let the time of the garments rolled in blood come to an end.” He cited the words of the Prophet Isaiah: “Fulfill the prophecy that ‘of peace there will be no end.” The homily was followed by a few moments of silent reflection.

Midnight Mass

Christmas Songs

Christmas Songs - Many Christmas carols have unique stories. In honor of Christmas Day and the tunes that have moved us for ages, here are the stories behind the words of some of our favorite carols, as researched by Dale V. Nobbman and Ronald Clancy:

"Hark the Herald Angels Sing"

Words: Charles Wesley (brother of John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church), 1739.

Scripture reference: Micah 5:2, Luke 2:14.

Wesley wrote more than 6,500 hymns. His "Hymn for Christmas Day," as it was originally called, was not placed with music until 1855 -- 116 years after he wrote it. Composer Felix Mendelssohn created the score in 1840, intending it as a march to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the printing press. But in 1855 William Hayman Cummings, an organist in England, paired Wesley's poem with Mendelssohn's arrangement, creating "Hark the Herald Angels Sing." At the time, Mendelssohn was unhappy with the pairing, Clancy said.

Christmas Songs

"But, if he were living today, he probably would not be so displeased," Clancy said.

"O Holy Night"

Words: Placide Chappeau de Roquemaure. Music: Adolphe Charles Adam, 1847.

Scripture reference: Luke 2:7

First performed at Christmas Eve midnight Mass in 1847, the hymn "Cantique de Noel" was criticized by the church for "lack of musical taste and total absence of the spirit of religion," Nobbman wrote in his book. And Chappeau, a part-time poet, would eventually disown the lyrics and his Catholic faith, Clancy said. In 1855, John Sullivan Dwight translated the hymn from French to English.

Christmas Songs

Santa's Reindeer Names

Santa's Reindeer Names - Santa Claus's reindeer are a team of flying reindeer traditionally held to pull the sleigh of Santa Claus and help him deliver Christmas gifts. The commonly cited names of the reindeer are Dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid, and Donder and Blitzen. They are based on those used in the 1823 poem A Visit from St. Nicholas, arguably the basis of reindeer's popularity as Christmas symbols, where Donder and Blitzen were originally called Dunder and Blixem respectively.

Santa's Reindeer Names

Tamara Tunie Swindled $1.5 Million

Tamara Tunie Swindled $1.5 Million - New York City prosecutors say Tamara Tunie has been swindled out of more than $1 million by her business manager. Tunie plays medical examiner Melinda Warner on the NBC show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Joseph Cilibrasi, 50, of Chelsea, pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges he spent the last eight years looting Tunie's accounts while employed as her business manager.

Tamara Tunie Swindled $1.5 Million

Kelsey Grammer Block Ex Accounts

Kelsey Grammer Block Ex Accounts - Kelsey Grammer's contentious divorce just got a bit more complicated.

The actor, who is in the process of divorcing "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star Camille Donatacci, is restricting his estranged wife's access to certain funds.

In documents filed in Los Angeles Superior Court earlier this month and obtained by RadarOnline.com, 55-year-old Grammer requested several joinders to make his pension plans and business accounts part of his divorce proceedings.

Kelsey Grammer Block Ex Accounts

By doing so, both he and Donatacci can't make any unauthorized withdrawals from his Equity League 401(K) trust fund, Screen Actors Guild Producers pension plan or American Federation of Television and Radio Artists health and retirement funds, among others.

Also included is the Grammnet, Inc. profit sharing plan. Grammnet, which is the former "Frasier" star's production company, is reportedly half-owned by Donatacci, 47.

Kelsey Grammer Block Ex Accounts

Bristol Palin Buys Home in Arizona for $172,000

Bristol Palin Buys Home in Arizona for $172,000 - Bristol Palin has bought a five-bedroom home in Pinal County south of Phoenix.

Paperwork shows the recent "Dancing With the Stars" diva and daughter of Sarah Palin is the sole purchaser of the house in the town of Maricopa. She bought it for $172,000 from a North Dakota couple.

It's not clear if Bristol Palin will be a seasonal visitor or permanent resident at the home, in a development called Cobblestone Farms.

According to real estate websites, the residence is a two-level, brown stucco house with a tile roof, a landscaped front and back yard, and access to a community pool.

Bristol Palin Buys Home in Arizona for $172,000

The Arizona Republic reports the 3,900-square-foot home was built in 2006 and was bought for a little under $330,000 at the time. It has 2 1/2 baths and a three-car garage.

Bristol Palin, 20, closed on the home in early December, buying it from Michael and Cynthia Smith, according to paperwork filed with the Pinal County Recorder's Office.

"I'm not sure why she wanted to buy that home, but we are real happy for her," Michael Smith told The Republic.

Bristol Palin came to the forefront during her mother's 2008 vice presidential run when the Palin family announced that the then-17-year-old was pregnant.

Bristol Palin Buys Home in Arizona for $172,000

Men I Love You Different

Men I Love You Different - "I can sleep with her, marry her, take care of her, but to say I love you" that's something else" said Tony, a married man in his late forties. "Guys don't like to talk about love. They don't know what to say."

Of course guys do love. But they express it differently. Despite this fact, most women do not feel happy unless they hear those golden words, I love you. Men need to hear them as well. And yet, as much as men want love, many fight it to the last minute.

Love can make men feel vulnerable, childlike, and unable to do what's expected of them. Yet, naturally, men do love and different types of men express their love differently. A woman needs to be alert to who the man she is with is, and what love means to him. Here are five different ways that men express what they are feeling.

Men I Love You Different

The first way is simply by saying "I Love You."Actually, saying these words is a huge step for some men. It means a lot more than simply expressing a feeling. For some it feels like a life commitment, for others it is fraught with danger.

"When I say I love you,"said Steve, "I feel like I'm taking my life in my hands and giving it to her. It's scary. I've got to really trust her and know she won't throw my love away in order to actually say the words to her."

In this case the fear of rejection comes up strongly. Rejection is enormously painful for most men, and saying "I Love You" can be an invitation to be hurt. Most men must feel very secure in the relationship and in the woman's feelings for him, before he'll dare say those words.

For others, saying "I love you," means, I'm offering a commitment. I'm going to be here to do things for you. For many men, love is expressed through action, so these words are a promise of what is to follow. Simply by saying these words they feel they are agreeing to be there to give to her and support her. If they don't do it, they'll feel like a heel.

Men I Love You Different

Top Fashion Trends Spring 2011

Top Fashion Trends Spring 2011 - New York fashion week at Lincoln Center is a wrap and we've tallied up the results. In a word? '70s. Want more words? Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver.

Fashion weeks in London, Paris and Milan have yet to dictate the top ten trends of Spring of next year, but here's an early take.

SHORTS: Everyone, and we mean everyone, showed shorts in their spring collections. Whether short and roomy at Badgley Mischka or long and blouse-y at Thakoon or almost Capri-length at Ralph Lauren, shorts are going to be the get for spring.

Top Fashion Trends Spring 2011

STUDIO 54: There were so much '70s and early '80s references this week, I could hear Charlie commercials in my head. Halston, famed in that era, showed drape-y colorful maxi dresses and caftans that could have been lifted straight out of the archives. Marc Jacobs showed brightly colored pantsuits and full-length halter dresses.

PRINT MADNESS: Spring is traditionally all about florals. Jason Wu's breezy blouses had cut-out posies. DNKY had tiny flower prints on youthful dresses. Michael Angel went the painterly route with a collection of beautiful multi-colored frocks.

FEMININE VERSUS MASCULINE: Jill Stuart typified the feminine push/masculine pull with high-water tuxedos followed by flouncy, frilly dresses accessorized with masculine belts. The juxtaposition was stunning.

Top Fashion Trends Spring 2011

Most Popular Christmas Songs

Most Popular Christmas Songs - Slade’s ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ has been voted the most loved Christmas song by the British public in a new poll.

The poll, commissioned by MSN Music, saw 37 per cent of voters choose the Slade song, with 27 per cent going for ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ by Band Aid, which was the second most popular choice.

Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was the third most popular choice, followed by ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ by Shakin’ Stevens the ‘Stay Another Day’ by East 17.

Most Popular Christmas Songs

Best Christmas Cocktails

Best Christmas Cocktails - Here are a few of our favorite Christmas Drink Recipes, Best Christmas Cocktails! Enjoy and feel free to post any other christmas cocktail recipes that you enjoy!

Merry Christmas!!

Three Wise Men Drink Recipe
1 part Jack Daniel’s
1 part Jim Beam
1 part Whiskey, blended (Johnnie Walker)

Best Christmas Cocktails

Combine ingredients in a shot glass.

Mistletoe Drink Recipe
1 oz. Gin
1 oz. Grenadine
1 tsp. Lemon Juice

Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into a cocktail glass and enjoy.

Candy Cane Drink Recipe
3/4 oz. Creme de Cacao, white
3/4 oz. Schnapps, peppermint
7-up
Cream
1/4 oz. Grenadine
Small Candy Cane

Best Christmas Cocktails

Wrapping Paper Crafts

Wrapping Paper Crafts - So, you fold the torn, used wrapping paper as neatly as possible, and save it for next year, right? Then next year comes and you see the cutest paper patterns that you can't resist, and forget all about last
year's paper. Or, you intend to use the paper but where on Earth did you store it? Okay, some people are frugal enough to save the old paper for the following year - and that's okay - but if you're one of them, take a few pieces out to create some other things for your home. If you probably won't reuse the paper next Christmas! There's lots of cool things you can make out of it.

Kids will enjoy making fireplace "logs" out of paper towel rolls and potpourri. Fill the roll with dry potpourri then wrap it in the used wrapping paper. Tie the ends, if you wish, with twine, making the log look like a giant piece of candy. Or, just tape the ends down. You can use the wrapping paper in the normal manner or turn it inside-out to hide the Christmas pattern. Of course, you can use birthday or anniversary paper as well, so turning the paper to the backside will hide any occasion pattern. Stack the paper logs in a basket by the hearth or give them to friends that have fireplaces. They'll enjoy tossing the aromatic logs onto the fire in their homes.

Wrapping Paper Crafts

Kids will have lots of fun with used wrapping paper when you turn it to the backside and tape it to their desk or table. They can color and draw for hours on the paper. Get out rubber stamps and pads, markers, colored pencils and other art supplies and watch the fun! Even better, tape the paper to their bedroom walls and they'll thoroughly enjoy creating artwork while getting away with something normally forbidden. Have a fun supper for the kids by laying used wrapping paper on the kitchen table and letting the kids scribble while having dinner. Make sure to serve things that can't be spilled, like sandwiches.

Wrapping Paper Crafts

Grass Reindeer Siezed Airport

Grass Reindeer Siezed Airport - US customs officers seized a pair of decorative Christmas reindeer found in a passenger's luggage at Los Angeles' airport, officials said Thursday.The festive animal figures, discovered in the bags of a traveler arriving from El Salvador, were made from grass material banned by US import rules for agricultural products.

"Upon inspection, CBP agriculture specialists found that the reindeer were made of grass material which contained seeds that could be propagated," said the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency.

"The blades of the grass also showed possible disease symptoms," it added, saying the passenger did not have a plant health certificate for the yuletide decorations.

Grass Reindeer Siezed Airport

CBP acting director for LA Carlos Martel added: "Our agriculture specialists protect America's agriculture by using their scientific expertise to prevent the introduction of harmful pests and plant diseases."

The reindeer were turned over to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). "The prohibited agriculture items were seized, safeguarded and relinquished to USDA for destruction," said the agency.

Grass Reindeer Siezed Airport

What is Comfort Food

What is Comfort Food - The term "comfort food" (first used, according to Webster's Dictionary, in 1977) refers to foods consumed to achieve some level of improved emotional status, whether to relieve negative psychological affect or to increase positive. More generally, comfort food can be defined as food that brings some form or measure of comfort, sense of well-being, or easy satisfaction. Such food choices may consist of the simple and familiar. Dishes may be warm and filling such as a dish made with a staple food, or basically pleasing such as sweets or desserts. Some definitions suggest that home-prepared dishes are most typical, or consumed in informal restaurants, but according to Wansink and Sangerman, Americans tend to select prepared foods and fast food for comfort uses, with ice cream, potato chips and chocolate ranking near the top. However, the term is meaningful not as a list of particular items, which will vary considerably from individual to individual, as well as culturally and by situation and emotional trigger, but as a psychological category of behavior.

What is Comfort Food

Crazy and Cool Christmas Lights

Crazy and Cool Christmas Lights - It's become an annual tradition for our family to check out the Zilker Park Trail of Lights and the fantastic neighborhood displays. Well, this year, due to budgetary constraints, there was no Trail of Lights, which was a bummer, though they did still have the Zilker Park Tree. However, the neighborhood displays were better than ever. The mild weather makes it even easier to enjoy the Christmas decorations. While last year we shivered and walked briskly past the displays, this year we were able to stroll through the neighborhoods in a much more relaxed manner, chatting with neighbors and really enjoying the visual spectacles.

Two in particular are not to be missed - the Rhodes Family Christmas Display and the Chinati Court "Twas the Night Before Christmas" display, both in Cedar Park. The Rhodes family, every year, puts up an amazing synchronized light display at 2410 Sharon Drive. There is a 70,000 light waterfall feeding a stream and pond, 19 trees wrapped in light and a 45 foot arch over the driveway. Every year Mr. Rhodes adds features to the display. He broadcasts Christmas music by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra - you can tune in to 95.9 to hear the music while sitting in your car. However, I would recommend parking down the street, walking to the display and enjoying it up close.

Crazy and Cool Christmas Lights

The Rhodes family collects money every year for the Cedar Park food bank - last year they collected over $2000. So, after enjoying the spectacular lights and the synchronized light/music show, go ahead and drop a few bucks into the collection bucket. This year with the recession the need is greater than ever.

The other display I absolutely love is the in the cul-de-sac off of Sunchase in Cedar Park, Chinati Court, behind Milburn Park. There are 12 homes in the cul-de-sac, and each one takes part in a display that is based on the poem, "Twas the Night Before Christmas".

Crazy and Cool Christmas Lights

Homemade Christmas Ornaments

Homemade Christmas Ornaments - With the Christmas season fast approaching around the corner, it will soon be time to deck up those X’mas trees and whip up all those mouthwatering recipes. ’Tis the season to be jolly and time to go ‘ho ho ho’. ’Tis the time for decorations, loads of shopping and showering gifts on your loved ones.

This is the time when you get an opportunity to be creative! There’s nothing better than homemade decorations or gifts and it also adds to the personal touch. So when it comes to decorating your Christmas tree, you can start personalizing it in your own special way. Making homemade items is enjoyable and it also gets the entire family involved. Homemade Christmas ornaments are really fun to make and also give a warm feeling to the Christmas trees. This warmth and the glow that radiates around it can never ever be replaced by hanging ornaments bought off the shelf.

Homemade Christmas Ornaments

Let us take a quick look at some ways to have homemade Christmas ornaments:

* Use Mica tiles to display your family photographs! The front portion can showcase the picture where as the backside of the tile can be decorated using ribbons and paper, since the both the sides will be visible, once the tile is hung by a string or a chain. The edges of the tiles can also be decorated using colored paper and satin ribbons.
* Bring out those boxes full of Christmas cards and showcase them. This will not only be visually appealing but will also help you to cherish your good memories. You can cut them up into various shapes and hang them up on the tree!
* If you are really hard pressed for time, re-use your Christmas ornaments that were used the year before. You can wrap them up in colorful shiny paper or use glitter glue pens to decorate the outer surface.
* Dough can also be used, to create cute and zany shapes, which can be painted over once it dries. A little time consuming, they need to mold well to achieve the desired result. Mix salt in it to keep the insects at bay, which may prove to be a hindrance whilst it dries.

Homemade Christmas Ornaments

Christmas Lights Basics Tips

Christmas Lights Basics Tips - hen buying Christmas lights for your yard, make sure they are made for outdoor use. Most Christmas lights are indoor / outdoor, which do work fine outdoors. You just want to make sure they will be safe to use even in bad weather.

Before stringing any Christmas lights always test and untangle first. There is nothing worse then getting outside, hanging them just so, then turning them on only to find they don’t work. It’s also a lot easier to replace burnt out bulbs while in the comfort of your home. Cold hands and awkward positions complicate the process so test first then hang. To test your strand of lights simply plug them into an outlet, you don’t even have to untangle them yet. Locate any dead bulbs. Using needle nosed pliers pull the bulb out by the base. Replace with a new bulb. Extra bulbs are usually supplied with Christmas lights so remember to keep them. Sometimes you can find extra bulbs sold in stores, but it’s less expensive just to keep the supplied extras. Once the entire strand appears to be in working order, gently untangle the strand of lights, and loosely wrap around your elbow and hand over and over again. Being in a nice coil like this will make them easier to hang. If you need an extension cord for your lights you may want to locate one and set it up before taking the lights outside.

Bushes and shrubs are the easiest to decorate. Simply wind around every which way until you are pleased with the results. In the dark you won’t see the plants anymore but you will see a cool squiggle of lights. If you insist on having your Christmas lights in a nice and neat order, you may want to consider light nets instead of individual strands. These are extremely easy to use. Just place the center on the top of the plant, the net drapes down, and your done decorating the bushes.

Christmas Lights Basics Tips

If your yard lacks shrubs but is full of tall trees, you can wind the lights around the tree trunks. In places like Florida and California where there are tall palm trees, people will decorate the trunks as far as they can reach. It’s really pretty in the dark. Looks very much like candy cane sticks.

A lot of people like to decorate their houses. This is where safety starts to become a major concern. Be sure to have a sturdy ladder. Since you will need to move the ladder every few feet, remember to check the balance each time you are about to climb back up. You do this by holding the ladder and shaking it a little. If it tips over at all, you need to adjust the feet by moving the ladder a couple inches this way or that way until you find more level ground and the ladder feels more stable. The best case scenario is to have a relative or friend hold the base of the ladder while you are on it. You will still need to check the stability of the ladder each time you move it, but someone holding the base will help it shake less and prevent the ladder from falling over. Always pay extra attention to ladder safety. You don’t want to fall off an unstable ladder and spend the holidays with a broken bone or worse.

The easiest way to hang lights along the trim of your house is to use gutter clips. These little plastic clips just hook onto your gutter and then hook onto the lights. They also save you from putting nail holes in your house. The old fashioned way to hand lights is to hammer in small nails all along the trim and hang the lights off of that. You can do it that way, but it’s extremely time consuming. However, that method may be the best for window and door frames since gutter hooks most certainly won’t work there. Check your favorite department or mass merchandiser store for their latest in Christmas light hooks. In the past few years there was the invention of the temporary plastic hook that holds strong but comes off easy. There are many clips, nails, hooks, etc. to choose from. Even your local home improvement store is a good place to figure out what will work best to hang your lights.

Christmas Lights Basics Tips

Tips for Living on Fixed Income

Tips for Living on Fixed Income - Living on a fixed income is often associated with the retirement years. Others find themselves living on fixed incomes because of disability or the loss of a job. The financial situation requires careful planning and spending. Cutting back and using the income you have wisely is crucial.
Budget

Tips for Living on Fixed Income

A budget is the first step to living on a fixed income. Determine exactly how much money is coming in each month. Write a list of every bill and other expenses such as groceries and gas. Total the expenses list to determine how much is going out each month. This will tell you how much extra you have each month for savings or other extra expenses. Saving the money is a good idea in case you overspend one month or have an unexpected expense such as a large medical bill or car repair.
Document Spending

Documenting every penny that you spend for a few weeks to a month gives you a good idea of where your money is going. Most people overlook the small expenses, but a few dollars here and there adds up quickly. One too many meals out in a given month can put you over your spending limit for the month if you don't have much extra after all of your bills. Keep every receipt for the selected period as a record. Total how much you spend. If the amount is more than you thought, break it down to determine exactly where the money went. Use this exercise to find ways to cut back on spending.

Tips for Living on Fixed Income