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2009 Christmas Greeting

2009 Christmas Greeting

Our family is hip-hopping to it to wish you a Merry Christmas this year!

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Getting a Jump on Holiday Decorating

Getting a Jump on Holiday Decorating

The last weekend of November may be as full of traditions as Thanksgiving celebrants stomachs are filled with turkey.

Look around any American neighborhood, and you may see folks standing on ladders to place Christmas lights tree branches, hang icicle lights on roof lines or set up outdoor nativity scenes. Suddenly, our surroundings may be transformed from autumn to winter wonderlands.

Of course, a bit of caution may be offered. Christmas decorating can be hazardous. Just look at this display (a few years ago) in Sue Salah’s yard in Royal Oak, Michigan.

Daily Tribune photo

By Dick Hunt

Sue’s neighbors were surprised to see this sight, so they called 911. When emergency staffers arrived on the scene, they instructed her to remove the Christmas dummy.

How do you decorate your own home for the holidays?

Here are a few items that may be helpful, as you deck the halls this year.

Tips for Troubleshooting Christmas Lights

Christmas lights brighten the holiday season. What happens when Christmas lights fail to work properly? Holiday decorators, both novices and professionals, groan to find Christmas lights not working. What can be done to remedy this dark dilemma?

Lighting an Artificial Christmas Tree like the Pros: Holiday Decor Tips

Holiday tree decorating professionals create gorgeous displays of light and color, with no dark gaps or loopy wires. Follow these simple steps, and your well-lit tree will rival those in the holiday stores!

Candy Cane Christmas Crafts

Super-Simple Sweet Holiday Greetings and Gifts - You can use the beloved traditional Christmas candy cane to create candy Christmas crafts. Try these creative candy Christmas crafts for your holiday gift-giving this year. Make your own candy cane greeting card, package tie-on or keepsake photo ornament.

Make Homemade Christmas Decorations with Cookie Cutters

Christmas cookie cutters can be the start of super Christmas crafts. For Christmas tree ornaments, garlands, wreaths and gift tie-ons, cookie cutters make creative fun. Try these five simple crafts to deck the halls delightfully this holiday season.

Top Tips for Painting Christmas Ball Ornaments

A little paint and creativity can transform basic shiny glass Christmas balls into personalized or prettified holiday heirlooms that will be treasured for many years to come.

Pine Cone Crafting; Make a Christmas Tree

How do you make a pine cone Christmas tree or wreath? This is pretty simple to do, if you have access to plenty of pine cones.

Easy Vacation Souvenir Craft: Seashell Photo Ornaments

What simple vacation souvenir craft might you make with your family? Create seashell photo ornaments for the Christmas tree or home decorating. Seashell photo ornaments may become lasting family heirlooms for future generations to enjoy.

3 Easy Creative Calendars for Christmas

Here are three basic craft projects for making keepsake Christmas calendars. Each offers several customizable variations as well.

5 Simple Centerpieces for Christmas

A creative Christmas centerpiece is the hallmark of a well-dressed and festive holiday table. Try these five super simple centerpieces to add seasonal flair to your Christmas dinner table.

Top 10 Winter Wonderland Warnings

Tips for keeping children safe around outdoor holiday decorations - How can parents help children to enjoy the happy holiday atmosphere without danger? Check out these top ten winter wonderland warnings before enjoying outdoor Christmas and holiday decorations with young children.

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How to Cook a Turkey

How to Cook a Turkey for Thanksgiving or Any Occasion

Need step-by-step instructions for roasting a delicious turkey?

This traditional recipe came from my own New England grandmother, who always prepared enough food for a colonial army. The Pilgrims would have been proud to offer this feast!

CTRL-click here
to read
"Thanksgiving Turkey - Step-by-Step"
(in a new window).

Timetables for Turkey Roasting
(from "Let's Talk Turkey - published by the USDA)

Use the timetables below to determine how long to cook your turkey (at 325 degrees - F). These times are approximate. Always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your turkey and stuffing.
Unstuffed Turkey
4 to 8 pounds (breast) 1½ to 3¼ hours
8 to 12 pounds 2¾ to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds 3 to 3¾ hours
14 to 18 pounds 3¾ to 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds 4¼ to 4½ hours
20 to 24 pounds 4½ to 5 hours
Stuffed Turkey
4 to 6 pounds (breast) Not usually applicable
6 to 8 pounds (breast) 2½ to 3½ hours
8 to 12 pounds 3 to 3½ hours
12 to 14 pounds 3½ to 4 hours
14 to 18 pounds 4 to 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds 4¼ to 4¾ hours
20 to 24 pounds 4¾ to 5¼ hours

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What a Turkey!

What a Turkey!

Warmest wishes to all of our readers for a Happy Thanksgiving!

Can you figure out these Thanksgiving turkey riddles without looking at the answers?

Thanksgiving Turkey Riddles

Why do turkeys say, "Gobble - gobble"?
They have not learned proper manners.

Which side of the turkey has the most feathers?
The outside.

Why did the turkey eat so fast?
He was a gobbler.

Is turkey soup good for your health?
Not if you're the turkey.

Why did the turkey cross the road?
The chicken had the day off.

What's the difference between a chicken and a turkey?
The chicken celebrates Thanksgiving.

What do turkeys eat for Thanksgiving dinner?
Nothing - they are already stuffed.

What do you get when you cross a turkey with an octopus?
Drumsticks for everyone!

What do you get if you cross a turkey with a bell?
A turkey that can wring its own neck.

What is the turkey's favorite formal event?
The Butter Ball.

How does a polite turkey take his or her wine?
In a gobble-et.

What goes "Gobble, gobble, ha-ha, plop?
A turkey laughing his head off.

Why did the teacher send the turkey to the principal's office?
He was using fowl language.

What makes a turkey X-rated?
An X-rated turkey is served with no dressing.

OK, you're probably groaning over these 14 Thanksgiving turkey riddles. Still, we bet you will share a Thanksgiving turkey riddle or two over your Thanksgiving turkey feast!

Hope you enjoy great (and grateful) gatherings with those you love.
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Marriage Minders for a Holiday Weekend ... or Anytime

Marriage Minders for a Holiday Weekend ... or Anytime

Before you head off for that holiday weekend or begin doing the holiday decorating with someone special, you might want to check out this instructional video from comedian Tim Hawkins.

Warning: You'd better sit down first. It's a rib-tickler with a power punch.

Do you like Green Day? Whether you do or don't, you may enjoy Tim Hawkins' take on "The Time of Your Life":




Keith Urban and the Kitten?

Keith Urban and the Kitten?

Look what happened when Texan Carl Bittner's little black cat met police officer Keith Urban, as the officer attempted to write a traffic ticket in Taylor, Texas.



Curiosity may have killed the proverbial cat, but not in this case. Certainly the fur could have flown in such a scene. Here, however, the police officer seemed to take the crawling and mauling in stride.

Perhaps Officer Keith Urban ought to deputize his new feline friend . . . or even form a pussycat posse. What would the Taylor, Texas, police force call the new squad? How about the Meow Brigade, the Purring Policers, the Caterwauling Cops or the Kitten Crew? Got a better name?


Thanksgiving Crafts and Fun

Thanksgiving Crafts and Fun

What special Thanksgiving traditions, decorations and projects do you enjoy each year? Do you have any super turkey crafts, Pilgrim crafts, Mayflower crafts or other Thanksgiving crafts to share?

Here are some of our own favorites. CTRL-click on each title to open that online article in a new window.

A Handful of Handprint Turkeys for Thanksgiving - Try these three variations on the traditional handprint turkey for Thanksgiving.

How to Make Your Own Thanksgiving Turkey Pinata – Why not build your own Thanksgiving turkey piƱata for Thanksgiving Day? Follow these simple instructions. Fill your great gobbler with bountiful sweets and treats, and your whole crowd will be swinging along and racing for sweets.

Kids' Holiday Craft Idea: Pretty Paper Plate Turkey – No Thanksgiving decorating display is complete without a Thanksgiving turkey. The turkey is a key figure in the traditional Thanksgiving feast and a favorite for Thanksgiving crafts. Why not create a paper plate turkey with children for Thanksgiving?

Kid's Holiday Craft Idea: Terrific Tissue Paper Turkey – The turkey is a highlight of the traditional Thanksgiving feast. The turkey is also perennial favorite image for Thanksgiving crafters of all ages. Here’s how to create a tissue paper turkey with some of your favorite youngsters for Thanksgiving.

Pilgrim Hat Pointers – Make a Pilgrim hat for a boy or a Pilgrim bonnet for a girl.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Planning Air Travel for Thanksgiving?

Planning Air Travel for Thanksgiving?

Do you know which American airports are supposed to be the busiest of all for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend?

Before you fly, be sure to check out the projections on the top 10 (and even the top 50) busiest U.S. airports for the Thanksgiving weekend. The statistics are offered by a major online travel booking company, based on ticket sales and reservations for the holiday weekend.

Orbitz Forecasts Top 10 Busiest U.S. Airports for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving weekend is the busiest travel occasion of the entire year. Orbitz forecasts America's busiest (and least busy) airports during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. How might this forecast help Thanksgiving holiday travelers plan air travel?
Read More

Canceled flights, delayed flights, crowded airport terminals and other passenger inconveniences may be much more likely at the nation's busiest airports, particularly during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

After all, the Thanksgiving weekend is often one of the busiest air travel seasons of the entire year.

And what about all those mis-routed and lost bags?

Many air travelers may wish to try re-routing their itineraries, just to avoid these super-busy spots. In the very least, passengers will want to plan ahead, to check flight times before departing for the airport. Travelers will be well advised to watch weather and news reports for local, connection and destination cities. And folks may opt to pack carry-on luggage, rather than checking bags (which usually costs more now anyway).


Do You Like a Latte?

Do You Like a Latte?

I'm not really much of a coffee drinker, but I surely am a visually oriented person. Maybe that's why I love editing, photography, fabric crafts (such as sewing) and gardening.

Which latte photo appeals to you the most? Just for fun, see how the whimsical quiz-makers interpret your choice.

After the quick quiz, you might find yourself craving a cup of coffee - or even a latte. Hey, it's a blustery fall day, so why not?

Check out my results, then CTRL-click the title link at the bottom to find out your own!

You Are Bright and Intuitive

You can take in a lot of information at once. You're excellent at remembering details, and you are able to see how each piece of the puzzle fits together.

Beyond understanding what's in front if you, you're also good at seeing what's missing.

Your energy level is fairly high and consistent. You are good at being able to get yourself going.

Your signature latte would be a skinny latte. Even if you aren't on a diet, you don't really like your food to weigh you down.


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Laundry Lingo: How-To Remove Stubborn Coffee Stains
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A Mallow Cup? Soothing My Mind with a Treat Refined
What's your poison? Do you love coffee? How do you take it? Like a favorite pair of slippers or a treasured quiet spot, a delicious cup of hot delight can be a total treat. Why mess with perfection?
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The Mean Bean - a Rhyming Spurt to Stay Alert
What's wrong with having more caffeine? I read this in a magazine. Headaches, nerves and lack of sleep; One cup, and you can get in deep.
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Late Library Books and Super Fine

Late Library Books and Super Fine

Gee, those overdue book fines can sure add up.

Just ask Georgette Bordine, a librarian at Camelback High School, in Phoenix, Arizona. Last week, a mysterious package arrived at the school. The parcel contained two Audubon Society nature books and a money order for $1,000, made out to the school library.

(Bob McClay/KTAR)

Apparently the anonymous sender felt remorse (a grand’s worth) for having kept the two books for 51 years. In a brief note, the penitent borrower claimed to have calculated the overdue book fines at two cents per day. Although that penalty would total approximately $745, the sender rounded the apparent fine upwards to cover any possible rate increases – and perhaps punitive damages.

The unnamed book returner wrote that he or she had been a high school senior in 1959, when the books were signed out from the school library. The family had relocated soon afterwards, so the books must have been packed away.

The package was postmarked from Superior, Arizona, with a postal box listed as the return address.

Librarian Burdine has said that the unexpected overdue book fine money will be used to purchase additional books for the school library. She also remarked that the library does not have a practice of collecting fines for overdue books at all, but that the donation would be most welcome.

Here’s a film clip of a news interview with the surprised librarian at Camelback High School, in Phoenix, Arizona:



This story kind of makes me want to sort through all of our bookshelves at home. Although I am not aware of any overdue library book notices, you just never know what one might find in the stacks at home.

Of course, having worked part time in a school library for a short while, I think I might be awfully embarrassed to show up with an errant book. Perhaps the anonymous mail-in strategy has merit, in many ways.

What is the biggest overdue library fine you have ever faced?

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