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Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Day Superstitions

I thought I'd better get this post out today - you know just in case you want to do or not do any of these things.  (just kidding folks)

New Year's Day is full of superstitions. Many differ, depending on what part of the country you live in.

Now for us, you just have to eat cabbage on New Year's Day. There's just no getting around it. The stores in our area always put cabbage on sale this time of year. I've already bought me a big head of it. When I was growing up, Mom used to put a silver coin in it (usually a dime) and the one who spooned it out with their helping was sure to come into money that year. I really think it was just a way to get us kids to eat cabbage, though. We all wanted that dime!

And, as far as my grandma went, you had to be a male or you weren't entering her house first on New Year's Day! They said she had her son who lived next door come to her house bright and early. I guess it didn't hurt that he was also tall, dark haired, and handsome, which is another superstition people had about the first footer.

There are lots of superstitions I found on the internet. Some of the more prevalent ones were:

Wear new clothes. This would mean receiving new garments throughout the coming year.
Avoid crying if you don't want to continue the pattern throughout the new year.
Be nice and refrain from using foul language.
Don't let money leave the house. Don't pay bills or loan money on New Year's Day. Or for that matter don't even take out the garbage or shake out a rug! This will ensure that nothing goes out of the home during the new year. Some soften this rule by saying it is okay to remove things if something is brought in first.
At midnight, all the doors must be opened to let the old year escape.
Make sure your wallets, purses and cupboards are well stocked on New Year's Day and it will bring prosperity.
Do not do the laundry on New Year's Day! It will 'wash away' or lead to a death in the family.
Pay your bills or loans before the New Year so you won't have any debt left for the New Year.
Make as much noise as possible at Midnight - you are scaring away evil spirits. Evil spirits hate loud noises, this is also why church bells are rung on wedding days.
Babies born on this day will have luck on their side.
 If a girl looks out her bedroom window upon rising and sees a man walking outside, it is said she will be married before the year is out.
And, be sure to kiss at midnight! This will ensure that those affections will continue throughout the following year.

So there you have it. Be sure and pay all your bills today, go shopping and stock up on groceries, do your laundry, put money in everyone's wallet or purse(even if it's just a few pennies), kiss the one you love at midnight, and then proceed to make a lot of noise!
Then on New Year's Day be sure and wear new clothing you received for Christmas, be nice and polite, make sure a man comes into your house first, then proceed to make a big pot of cabbage for dinner!

That shouldn't be too much to remember.
Do you have any more to add to my list?

Posted by Janet F. Smart on Writing in the Blackberry Patch.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Celebrate an Old-Fashioned Christmas

Merry Christmas!
Thought I'd post my column I wrote for Two-Lane Livin' magazine's December issue.

Celebrate an Old-Fashioned Christmas 
 by: Janet F. Smart

What Christmas carol is a favorite of parents? Silent Night!
Celebrate an old-fashioned Christmas with all its sights, sounds and smells.
Add some old-fashioned Christmas sights to your house by popping popcorn and making strands to string on your Christmas tree. Hang cookie cutters on your tree, string them across your mantle or use them as napkin rings. Sprinkle powdered sugar on large pinecones and make a small grouping of ‘snow covered pinecone trees’ to set on a placemat and put it in the middle of your kitchen table.
Add some old-fashioned Christmas sounds to your house by hanging jingle bells on your front door and playing Christmas music on your radio or CD player. Light your fireplace and listen to the crackling of the warm fire on a frosty morning.
Add some old-fashioned Christmas smells to your house by baking sugar cookies, lighting cinnamon scented candles, making cinnamon dough ornaments to hang on your tree and, of course, putting up a piney smelling Christmas tree.
Charles Schulz, creator of the Peanuts comic strip, said, “Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.”
You can visit a neighbor and present them with a plate of cookies or read a Christmas story to a younger family member or friend. Some good holiday books are:
Berenstain Bears Old Fashioned Christmas, The Polar Express, The Night Before Christmas, The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving, God Gave us Christmas, A Christmas Carol, Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus, Olivia Helps With Christmas, Snowmen at Christmas and Bear Stays up for Christmas.
The spirit of Christmas lives in your heart. Give the gift of love and friendship. Make homemade gifts; share your voice by going caroling in your neighborhood. Have a family fun night each week. Pop some popcorn and watch a Christmas movie.
But, most of all, remember what Dr. Seuss said in The Grinch That Stole Christmas. He puzzled three hours till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before, “Maybe Christmas,” he thought…“doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps …means a little bit more!”
And what happened, then? Well, in Whoville they say – that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day!
Merry Christmas!

Posted by Janet F.  Smart on Writing in the Blackberry Patch

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Memories and Wishes

Christmas is almost here and our mind drifts back to memories of past Christmases.

We are sad at first, but we should remember them with happiness and joy. We cannot step back, even though we sometimes wish that we could. So let us try and remember with a smile while we make more memories.

I remember Grandma's cedar tree that she put in her living room for a Christmas tree and Aunt Gracie's big Christmas tree covered with icicles, put on with perfection. I don't think there was a limb on her tree left uncovered and I remember her large waxed pine cone. I had never seen a pine cone that large before and it amazed me. And we always went in the woods and cut down our tree. We never had one of those aluminum trees, thank goodness. I remember stringing popcorn and putting it on the tree.

We always had hard Christmas candy and those chocolate balls. Mom put them in her milk glass candy container. . . and the nuts! We always had a big bag of mixed nuts that was put in a bowl for us to crack and eat during the holidays.

I remember the church Christmas plays I was in. One program I remember from when I was in grade school was when the upper grades sang Twas the Night Before Christmas while other children acted it out on stage. And I remember all the Christmas programs my kids were in when they were in grade school. I am lucky to have many pictures and movies of most of them.

I remember crafting with Mom. We made Santa from Readers Digest books.

I don't remember when I stopped believing in Santa, but I always remember when I was older we opened our presents on Christmas Eve night. After I married and had children, we started opening the presents on Christmas morning.

I remember when my oldest son was three years old, we found out he needed glasses. It was during the Christmas season and when he came home and saw the lights on the Christmas tree, it startled him and his eyes got real big. Before, I guess the lights were all a blur.

Mom used to wear a Santa hat on Christmas. I have her hat now and display it during December. . .and try and remember her with happy memories, but a tear always wells up in my eyes.

I do not know why some memories stay with me and others don't. I led a normal and uneventful life, so I think the memories that stayed with me are the simple memories of the things that we always did and the fact that we did them every year made the memories stick in my mind. We never did anything or received anything spectacular, so I don't have those kind of memories. . . only the memories of the simple things.

But they were special! They were special or I would not remember with such fondness.

I wish you and your family a simple, yet special Christmas this year.
Make memories for you and your family to remember in the years to come.

Comment and tell us about some of your memories. I'd love to hear them.

God Bless you all and Merry Christmas!

Posted by Janet F. Smart on Writing in the Blackberry Patch.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My Book Christmas Tree

My son asked me if we were putting up a Christmas tree.
I don't think he had this in mind.

I have books everywhere in our family room. Piles of them here and there, plus book cases full of them.

I thought I'd make good use of them and make a Christmas tree.

It's different, but I like it. I just hope no one knocks it over!
It is really pretty in the dark with the chaser lights on.

Have you put up your tree yet?

Posted by Janet F.  Smart on Writing in the Blackberry Patch.

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Few Updates

Wow, it has been a while since I have posted over here.

I have been busy at the house. We are finally moved into our new dining room!
The only thing that is not finished is the trim around the windows. . . and the curtains hide that for now. But that could be a bad thing. If you can't see what needs to be done, you are more likely to put it off.

Here are a few pictures that I took about a week ago. I have since put up more decorations.

 I hang my Christmas plates every year in the kitchen. I love them, I have ones for 1974, 1976, 1978(the year we were married), and 1980 and 1981(the years my first two sons were born). They are Avon plates and I got them at yard sales for $1 each.

 My Christmas aprons are hanging on the fridge.

 This picture is taken in our new dining room. I painted the walls yellow!

Back inside the kitchen, this table sits where our old dining room table, which is now in the new room, used to sit. It takes up a lot less space. The shelves against the wall are located where the china cabinet used to be. We have a lot more room in the kitchen now and more space for my dishes, with the extra shelf space. This table belonged to Charley's mom. It is old and has two drop leafs and I love it. I think it used to have another leaf in the middle, but I don't know what happened to it. We have no chairs to match it,  but that's okay. I like how it looks in our kitchen.

There is a story behind our chandelier. We couldn't find one we liked for the longest time. I finally found this one at Lowes in Kanawha City, but they only had the one on display. And they wouldn't sell it. They searched on the internet for us and said there was one in Athens, Ohio! We just happened to have a friend who lives in Athens, and he brings his parents down every week. He was happy to get it for us and. . . it was discounted down to only $50. The discounted price in Kanawha City was around $120!

I am blogging over on my writing blog each day this month about Christmas Picture Books! Go over there and take a look. Picture books are not just for kids, parents are usually the ones who read them to the little ones. I just love them. If you aren't yet, I bet a Christmas book a day will get you in the mood for Christmas.

Posted by Janet F. Smart on Writing in the Blackberry Patch.