You’ve got your shopping done, having braved the malls and grocery store. The turkey and/or ham are safely ensconced in the freezer, ready to be thawed. You have all the ingredients you need for a spectacular dinner for friends and family. Now, you just have that obscenely large mountain of gifts to wrap. Why not settle down among the gift wrapping, gift bags, bows, tape, and tissue paper with a holiday cocktail for a little pep in your wrapping step? Below, I offer you some recipes for the holidays; two classics, and two fun and frivolous cocktails. Enjoy!
2 oz gin
1 oz lemon juice
1 tsp superfine sugar
3 oz club soda
1 maraschino cherry
1 slice orange
In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine the gin, lemon juice, and sugar. Shake well. Strain into a Collins glass almost filled with ice cubes. Add the club soda. Stir and garnish with the cherry and the orange slice.
½ oz Cointreau
½ oz cranberry juice
1 Tsp lime juice
1 oz Vodka
Place all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a few frozen cranberries after pouring
1oz Campari Bitters
2 oz Sweet Vermouth
1 twist lemon peel
Build Campari and sweet vermouth in a highball glass and fill with seltzer water. Garnish with a twist of lemon.
1 1/2 oz Creme de Menthe
1 oz cream
1 oz Peppermint Schnappes
Mix all ingredients over ice and shake well. Strain into a margarita or specialty cocktail glass. Finish by garnishing with a peppermint stick.
Sometimes even with people we know and love, it’s hard to find the perfect present. I admit, I am not good at present purchasing. I just never know for sure it’s the right thing, or if they’re going to love it, or if I’m going to get the polite “Oh it’s great” statement with the slight eye roll that really tells me they think it sucks. I have that problem with my husband and son, especially.
My son wants clothes this year for Christmas (and iPhone 5 ear buds, go figure) but I want him to have more than just clothes to open up on Christmas morning. So, I was thinking to myself, What does he really like to do (besides video games) that I can get him? And then I hit on it: he really loves to draw. So I thought art supplies! Just a little portfolio with sketchbooks and supplies to keep him busy when he’s got time to kill at school or at home.
I didn’t just want to get him a sketchbook, so I searched through our site and put together a little grouping I think he would like. Even if he doesn’t use it at home, he can use it when he’s with his Art Club, and thank goodness he doesn’t read this blog! The cat would definitely be out of the bag! Anyway, I got him a sketchbook, some pencils, erasers, and a sharpener, along with the portfolio to keep it all in.
Sometimes it’s about digging deep and building a gift from a hobby that someone likes, or maybe in the case of a teenager, putting something together that has to do with a career choice they’re thinking of making (in the case of my son, he either wants to be a chef like his father, or a DJ). It’s nice not having to stress about whether or not he’ll like what I got him.I might borrow one of the sketch books and doodle a bit as well! Happy shopping everyone!
What do you get that sports fan that has everything? And I don’t mean a “sports” fan, I mean a SPORTS fan. A rabid fan, the guy (or girl) who paints their face team colors, and flies the team flag from those little obnoxious car flag poles. I admit, my choice for a gift idea today comes from way out in left field, but they’re fun, and a great edition to the house.
Rubbermaid has released a line of sports team outdoor trash cans. Trash can, you say? I do! Yes, it’s weird, I agree, and maybe it shouldn’t be wrapped under the Christmas tree but they’re so awesome! You can even do a little twist on it, since they are garbage cans after all, and get the rival team and throw garbage into their can. Dolphins fan? Throw your refuse into a Patriots can.
And you can get them in either NFL or NCAA teams, so teams are well represented, whether you’re a college or professional fan. Minnesota Vikings? Check. Texas Longhorns? We got ’em! And since they’re Rubbermaid, you know that they are sturdy, reliable, and won’t break or crack easily, even if left out in the elements! Wouldn’t you want your favorite sports team represented at the curb on trash day?
We all have that person in our lives that you just can’t seem to think of a great gift for. Whether it’s for their birthday or the holidays, the perfect gift eludes us. Are they picky? Do they have a quirky personality? Are they a workaholic? No matter, we have something for everyone.
1) The complete mobile office, the Fully Powered Auto Executive Desk, with a built-in-power inverter, is the first of its kind! A fully compact workstation designed to work comfortably and efficiently inside your vehicle.
2) Power up various electronics with just one universal car charger. Dual ports allow you to charge two USB-powered devices at once. Works with standard vehicle outlets. Interchangeable power tips are compatible with thousands of USB-powered devices, eliminating the hassle and waste of multiple chargers. Includes iPhone® and iPod® power tips.
3) CoursePro is a line of GPS devices that assist golfers on the golf course. They provide information on an LCD screen about downloaded golf courses that are stored in their memory. The LCDs display distances to the front, center and back of the green for each hole along with the par. The devices calculate your shot distance and are backlit for viewing in low light. The information provided by each CoursePro GPS product gives the golfer up to the minute accurate, crucial information that will guarantee a competitive edge.
4) A wireless mouse delivers a better mix of precision and comfort – with designed-for-web scrolling. Say good-bye to the tricky touchpad. Micro-precise scrolling makes everything you love to do online easier. Treat your hand to the comfy, contoured shape and soft rubber grips of the shape in the world.
5) The Laptop Bucket Tote is designed to hold laptops up to 16″ in the vertical laptop section. Use the Ride Along Pocket to store important documents or consolidate your bags by unzipping the pocket and slipping over the telescoping handle system. Bucket tote also features a business organizer, zip-down front organizer pocket with extra long zipper pulls, rope-filled leather shoulder straps and zippered top closure. Exterior offers a durable rich-colored Colombian leather with contrasting tan interior and antique brass nail heads.
6) Step up your style and personalize your space. Fun compact design dispenses the perfect amount of tape. Stands upright on flat surfaces. Includes one roll of Scotch® Magic™ Tape
The holidays are a time of fellowship, worship, and let’s face it, gift giving. Stores are jam packed with people searching for the perfect gift and online stores are posting record visits. Novelty gifts are particularly popular at this time of the year, and we all remember Billy Bass, don’t we?
I myself was a recipient of the singing bass, and he was pulled out every Christmas to regale family and friends with his amazing feats of vocalization. Until he was conveniently crushed under a box one year. I have no idea how that happened. This year, the hottest novelty gift is the Dancing Animal Speakers by Cobra.
They’re cute! They’re even somewhat cuddly! And they wiggle their little bodies to the beat of whatever music is playing through their furry speakers. There are four types: a brown dog, brown cat, black and white dog, and black and white cat.
I feel that one of these will end up under our Christmas tree. And I don’t know how my real dog and cat will react to them, but I will be playing Christmas tunes through them, hopefully to the delight of all my gathered family and friends. You can even see them in action before you buy one by watching this hilarious video! Have fun my friends, and enjoy your holiday celebrations!
Ahh, December! I know it’s not technically here yet, but I’m going to be as obnoxious as hearing Christmas music before Halloween and bring it up anyway! Regardless of religion, there is an excitement in the air beginning in November because everyone knows that December is on its way. Songs start to fill the air and lights are put on display, whether they are for Christmas, Hanukkah, or other December-celebrated holidays.
December means snow, snow ball fights, holiday break, family gatherings and many other things that make the holiday special. Families drive through neighborhoods looking at light displays, winter carnivals are abundant, and wrapping parties are just another reason to gather together and have a good time. Enjoy your December, and read on for some fun!
- The Big Socio-Cultural/Religious Holidays celebrated during December include: the Christian Christmastide, the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and the Islamic Ramadan.
- December 3rd is Let’s Hug Day.
- In December of 1803 the Louisiana Purchase took place and France sold us a big ol’ chunk of land.
- December 6th is the day many people celebrate the patron Catholic saint of children and pawnbrokers — St. Nicholas.
- The Charles Dickens classic story ‘A Christmas Carol’ was 1st published in December 6, 1843.
- In the original poem “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” (now called “The Night Before Christmas”), the reindeer names “Donner” and “Blitzen” were actually “Dunder” and “Blixem”. There is a mystery as to who the author of “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” is, but it’s agreed that the original author was Dutch, as Dunder and Blixem are the Dutch words for thunder and lightning. When it was reprinted 15 years after it was originally composed, the spellings were changed to Donder and Blitzen. The common mispronunciation Donner is just due to some carolers back in the day singing it incorrectly, much like we do with many songs of the day.
- December 17th was known for centuries, as the beginning of the Roman/Pagan Saturnalia Festival, held in honor of the God of Agriculture.
- December 21st marks the beginning of the Winter Solstice (Yule) in the Northern Hemisphere of the world.
- True Story: Festivus is now actually considered a holiday, celebrated on December 23rd. The Show About Nothing (Seinfeld) just keeps on giving…
- Although Santa Claus is now widely considered secular (people from all religions leave cookies or some other offering to him on Christmas Eve and expect gifts), he did start his life as a Catholic Bishop known for donating all his considerable wealth to the poor. The current image that we have of Santa and his elves evolved from that original poem “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” which combined Christian and Pagan elements (and had different reindeer names), including a saint-like man and his magical elves and reindeer.
So, if you aren’t a procrastinator like I am, you already have a good amount of holiday gifts already purchased, and maybe even wrapped. That’s great (even though I’m slightly jealous) and you should be very proud of yourself! It takes forethought and planning to be ahead of the holiday shopping insanity, and my hats off to you! Now you have to ship stuff to relatives and friends that live out of state (or out of the country) and we can help you simplify that process!
If you’re like me (and you’re probably not. You’ve already got your shopping done and mine isn’t even started), when you go to the mailing store or the post office, you need boxes and labels to ship your packages in, and usually end up paying a mint to do just that! Again, with a little bit of planning, you can have all your shipping needs right at your house!
We have a full line of boxes, packing material, tapes, and even shrink wrap. We even have postal scales so you can know before you get to the shipping depot of your choice what your package weighs and how much it will cost! Who likes going to the post office, thinking that your package will cost one amount to ship it, only to find it’s much more than that?
At this time of year, it’s always best to be as prepared as possible, and having the right supplies on hand can prevent a lot of headaches. Stock up on shipping supplies and you’ll never have to pay inflated prices at the post office or shipping store again!
When I was 13 years old, I got a Canon Sure Shot for my birthday. I was so excited, for many reasons, but the biggest reason was that it took 35mm film. I had always loved taking pictures, whether in front or behind the lens, but I was always relegated to 110 film, Polaroids, or *gasp* disc film! Remember disc film? Terrible photos from them…
Anyway, I felt so adult when I opened the back of my new camera and attempted to load the film. I put on this air of self-confidence that I was NOT feeling, but figured I’d fake it till I made it. To be honest, I was scared to death. I knew the dangers of 35mm film (which makes digital cameras a blessing) – unwinding too much and not having it catch the spindles correctly, not unwinding enough and having to open the back and hoping not to expose the film, or horror of horrors – exposing the film. In my house, that was a life-ending mistake. We took photos very seriously.
So there I was, attempting to load my first cartridge of film, with the whole family watching me expectantly, and I carefully pulled out the little tongue of extra cellulose acetate, lined up the perforations with the spindle in the camera, and took a deep breath. I closed the camera back, and heard the satisfactory whir of the film loading into the camera. Or so I thought.
Once I took the whole roll of film, listening every time to the camera advance to the next frame, I went into my room. I was paranoid and figured it was darker in there than the rest of the house and it might help the film. Well, I opened the back, and the film was still in the same position as when I loaded it. It damaged me for the next two years. I wouldn’t touch another 35mm camera.
In 10th grade, I ended up on the yearbook staff, and my first 35mm Canon SLR was placed in my hand. I had to swallow my fear of film (I couldn’t go around to the other photographers asking them to load my film every time), but me and that camera were inseparable for the next 3 years.
With the exception of one other camera in my collection, I have always had Canons. Maybe it’s allegiance to the first “real” camera I ever had, or just because I feel they are superior to any other brand, but I know that I will always have a Canon camera. My digital EOS is like my child, and I only bring it out on special occasions or when I’m going out shooting something in particular. I also still have a Canon point and shoot 35mm, but it’s pretty much retired unless I want a retro feel.
With the holidays coming, flashes are going off all over the place (but thankfully not flash bulbs), and people are embracing their favorite camera. Whether you’re a Canon fan or not, I hope you take many a beautiful picture of you and yours, and enjoy the holidays!
With the holidays approaching with the speed of light, prep is underway in houses across the country. Floors are being scrubbed, walls are being washed, and counter tops are being disinfected. With all this cleaning, your hands are taking a beating. If yours are anything like mine, they get dry, cracked, and red looking, and no amount of lotion seems to work for them.
That’s why I like Softsoap. First off, it’s made by Colgate-Palmolive, the minds behind…Palmolive! I remember my mother using Palmolive when I was a kid, because it really did help her hands while washing dishes (this was before dishwashers were prevalent in houses) and they didn’t dry out like they would using other liquid dish washing soap.
I keep Softsoap in my kitchen, in my bathroom, and at the sink in the laundry room, and each one is a different scent. I alternate between the foam and liquid, depending on my mood, and I try to keep a manlier scent in my bathroom for the hubby, since he says he doesn’t like his hands to smell like lavender. I can’t think why not…
They also have different formulas that you can choose from, whether you want anti-bacterial, Kitchen Fresh, or their Pampered Hands line. Plus, the bottle are really attractive and you wouldn’t be ashamed to have them sitting on your counter! Stock up for the holidays, because there will be hand washing!