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Quote of the Month – November 2014

This month’s QotM comes from what is probably my favourite Disney song.

No, it’s not Let it Go from Frozen.

Pocahontas was one of my favourite Disney movies growing up, and I loved Colours of the Wind. I believe the song still holds many truths and words of wisdom.

 

You think the only people who are people
Are the people who look and think like you
But if you walked the foot steps of a stranger
You’ll learn things you never knew, you never knew

During this part of the movie Pocahontas is trying to teach John to expand his horizons and try to look at the world from other points of view.  This is something everyone needs to do, and to do often.

It’s easy to judge people when you don’t know their whole story, to judge someone based on their religion, customs, style of dress, gender, or the colour of their skin.

I strongly believe we should all expose our selves to other cultures, customs and languages. We should be open to learning about the history of other peoples and walk a mile in their shoes because that leads to understanding and kindness and that leads to peace.

I’ll leave you with a YouTube clip of Colours of the Wind in 28 languages.

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Halloween Series Part 5: HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Well, it’s finally here at last! Halloween!

Thanks for reading my Halloween Series. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did writing it. If you couldn’t tell already, its my favourite holiday of the year.

I’m writing this early in the morning as I eat my breakfast and I’m worried I’ve bit off more than I can chew this year. I still have a lot of things to do to get the yard ready and I’ve already put 5 hours into it yesterday (not including the hours I put into cleaning out and carving pumpkins).

I hope you have a safe and Happy Halloween!!
If you’re going out with your little Goblins and Ghouls, have a wonderful time!

Later, once I finish the yard, I’ll be posting some pictures, so check back to this post!

I would love to hear how your night goes! How did your children dress up? Did you find a spooky Haunted House? What was your favourite Jack-o-Lanturn? Or did you just stay home and hand out candies? If so, who was the best dressed trick-or-treater?

Tell me about your spooky night in the comments below!

 

In this town, we call home, everyone hail to the pumpkin song.

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Appreciation Post #762

Today I’m thankful for…

  • The bones turning out pretty awesome
  • Study group falling apart
  • Zombie movies

What are you thankful for?

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Appreciation Post #755 – 761

How did I miss 7 days?! My goodness, time flies when you fall asleep at the computer then crawl into bed without writing anything at all.

On the 21st I was thankful for…(#755)

  • Beautiful pictures of fish
  • Great conversation about Feminism
  • Finding a great video online

On the 22nd I was thankful for…(#756)

  • An interesting talk with Traci
  • Going for lunch early
  • Reading my cousin’s post on Facebook, in Polish, all on my own
On the 23rd I was thankful for…(#757)
  • Finishing all the work that is due by the end of the month, early
  • Finding a mistake in time
  • Having the cat in the house all night, and he didn’t meow under my door at all
On the 24th I was thankful for…(#758)
  • Telling my parents an entire story in Polish, even though I made mistakes
  • Having a great time working on my black light reactive signs for Halloween
  • Finishing the Halloween post by the 11th hour
On the 25th I was thankful for…(#759)
  • Good weather for driving to the States with Traci
  • Finding great deals on Halloween stuff
  • Crosscut Ribs
Yesterday I was thankful for…(#760)
  • Finding books from my childhood
  • Having mom and dad read to me in Polish
  • Making spider egg sacks for Halloween
Today I’m thankful for…(#761)
  • Moving a few things off my To-Do list
  • Cheesecake
  • Mom picking me up more cobwebs

What are you thankful for??

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Halloween Series Part 4: Haunted Houses

Trick-or-treating is one of the best parts of Halloween. It’s definitely an great time for children when they head out with their friends, dressed up as their favourite character or scary monster. Walking up that pathway to the front door while they wonder what kind of candy they are going to get is exciting.

However, the most exciting houses are the ones that decorate the yard. The ones that take the time and make the effort to make their houses the creepiest Haunted House on the block. When children get to these haunted house they don’t just run to the door for their treat and run off to the next. They take their time looking at the decorations, imagination running wild, wondering what lurks in the dark, what will jump out and grab them!

That’s the fun part. Those are the houses they will remember.

There are a few houses here in my town that go that extra mile for Halloween. One house sets up at the beginning of October. Their props are custom made from durable materials so they don’t ruin in the rain and snow we tend to get here in October. I love to drive by and check out their yard.  I would love to decorate my yard early and keep it up for the month but my decorations won’t do as well in wet weather.

I remember when I was 5 or 6 years old and I was trick-or-treating with my dad and brother. The house had spooky music playing and black lights. There were ghosts hanging in the kitchen window and little tombstones on the lawn. As I climbed the stairs to yell “trick-or-treat” someone leant out of the bathroom window and dropped a fake spider on me. It was thrilling. Yes, it scared me at first, but I had a lot of fun and I remember walking away in awe. That’s the kind of feeling I would like the children who visit my house to have when they leave.

Preparing my yard for Halloween takes a fair bit of time. During the majority of the year I will come up with ideas to make my yard scarier then last year. It’s always something that lingers in the back of my mind. Then, come September, I begin gearing up for the big day. I have four large bins of decorations that I pull out of storage. I check each piece for damage and do any repairs. Replacing batteries and make lights still light up and sounds still play is really important.

Driving out of town to bigger centres is a big part of my Halloween preparations. I like to visit as many stores as I can to find pieces to add to my yard. Spirit Halloween has a large selection of both costumes and decorations for your home. I enjoy visiting their store locations and always find myself lost in all the possible things I could do with the yard.

Another important item I need to buy every year are the pumpkins. This year I plan to have 10 jack-o’-lanterns and I spend a bit of time checking different grocery stores for the best ones. I like the rounder ones while mom likes the tall ones with a flat surface for the pictures she carves. We both agree that a good stem is a must.  I usually begin my search in late September and trying to keep a pumpkin from rotting before halloween can be tricky if the weather is too warm or too cold. We carve part of them the day before Halloween and the rest on the day of. I hope we can get all 10 carved on time this year.

And then there’s the treat bags!

I like to go to the dollar store and buy Halloween themed pencils and erasers, balloons, stickers and other neat things to stuff my treat bags with. Of course, you can’t forget the candies. I place 2-3 candies in each bag plus a lollipop and I always have a bowl of extra candy by the door for the older kids who maybe wouldn’t appreciate a pencil and some stickers in their treat bag.

For this year’s Halloween I still have a few things to do. My mom made a comment about spider webs that has given me a big idea, but with only a week to go, I doubt I’ll have the time to pull it off this year. That’s ok though, it will make next years even better. Also, I’m painting some signs in black light reactive paint to help trick-or-treaters make their way through the spooky yard.

I’ll be taking some photos of my own haunted house this year and I’ll probably post them late on Halloween night or on November 1st, so keep an eye out for those!

Do you decorate your yard for the ghosts and goblins that come to your door on Halloween?
Tell me what your favourite decoration or prop is in the comments!

One Week to Halloween!! Yay!

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Appreciation Post #754

Today I’m thankful for…

  • Even though the day at work was pretty awful with a power bump that knocked out three terminals, leaving us with one and the debit machine didn’t work so we could only do monthly or cash payments… I didn’t want to punch anyone in the face at work today
  • A glorious nap
  • Working on my Halloween decorations

What are you thankful for?

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Appreciation Post #753

Today I’m thankful for…

  • A nice walk with mom
  • Finishing the treat bags for Halloween
  • Mom’s brilliant idea for a creepy spider den

What are you thankful for?

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Appreciation Post #749 – 752

On the 15th I was thankful for…(#749)

  • The basement is so close to being finished I can taste it
  • Fog in the morning over the fields and in the trees
  • Three boxes of Halloween lights for 20 bucks

On the 16th I was thankful for…(#750)

  • The rain stopped
  • I ran up the stairs for the first time in years without any problems
  • Bacon wrapped chicken

Yesterday I was thankful for…(#751)

  • Finishing my Halloween post before Friday was over
  • Mom and Mark picking up the final Halloween stuff I needed from the dollar store
  • The amazing stars at night

Today I’m thankful for…(#752)

  • A pretty quiet day at work
  • The last customer leaving right at closing time
  • Raking leaves with mom

I really need to get back into the swing of doing these every day. ><
What are you thankful for today?

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Halloween Series Part 3: Trick-or-Treat!

One of the most exciting aspects of Halloween for children is Trick-or-Treating. Picking out a costume is a lot of fun. I remember as a child, l went several years as a witch, a clown and a lady from the 1800s. My brother went a few times as a Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtle. My mother made the costume for him out of green, brown and yellow shirts. We loved dressing up and we would wear our costumes throughout the month.

Going door to door to get candy was a lot of fun too. I remember planning routes so I could hit as many houses as possible with my friends. One year I had to come home twice to empty my bucket and I remember sitting on the floor afterwards, with a Disney Halloween special on TV, sorting my candy.

But have you ever wondered where these traditions come from?

Trick-or-Treating has its roots in the Middle Ages.

In ancient Scotland, the Celts would dress up and go ‘guising’ during Samhain to disguise themselves from evil spirits. Children would go door to door and sing, recite poems, tell jokes and dance to receive treats such as apples, nuts or sweets.

The Catholics of Ireland and Britain observed All Saint’s Day, a day to honour all unnamed saints and martyrs.  Children and the poor would go ‘souling’ – walking door to door and offering prayers for the dead in exchange for ‘soul cakes’. These little cakes were filled with either sweet spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg, or raisins and currants.

In Mexico, during the Day of the Dead celebrations, children walk door to door in a tradition called Calaverita which is Spanish for ‘little skull’. Instead of ‘trick-or-treat’ the children ask ‘can you give me my little skull?’ The skull shaped treats, or calavera, are made out of sugar or chocolate.

The custom of walking door to door for treats in North America dates back to about the 1940s, though the origin of the phrase “Trick-or-Treat” is unknown. In Europe, the trick was often thought of as something the child would perform to get a treat –  a song or poem, a prayer. However, here in North America, it is generally considered as a prank played in retaliation for not receiving a treat. Due to the commercialization of Halloween, Trick-or-Treating has become more about the treat than the tricks.

If you go out guising this year, I hope you have a wonderful time!

I’ll leave you with the trick I loved to sing to get my treat.

Trick-or-Treat
Smell my feet
Give me something good to eat
Not too big
Not too small
Just the size of Montréal

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Appreciation Post #743 – 748

On the 9th I was thankful for…(#743)

  • Beautiful Fall colour
  • Pumpkins
  • Avacado

On the 10th I was thankful for…(#744)

  • Easy day at work
  • Dad’s safe trip
  • Cheese cake

On the 11th I was thankful for…(#745)

  • Halloween shopping
  • Good weather
  • Traci coming with me
  • 60% off on an animatronic lunging spider
  • Getting lost in a corn maze and Traci getting us out

On the 12th I was thankful for…(#746)

  • Sleeping in
  • Kneeling on the floor for the first time in years without any pain
  • Cleaning and organizing a good portion of the basement

Yesterday I was thankful for…(#747)

  • Mom cooking thanksgiving dinner all day
  • My brother and his girlfriend here for dinner
  • Harry Potter marathon

Today I’m thankful for…(#748)

  • Miso soup
  • Lights for Halloween
  • My brother cleaned up with out being asked

What are you thankful for?