Tricks or Treats

With Halloween quickly approaching I thought it would be fun to put together some ideas to celebrate the many spirits of Halloween. Pick and choose what fits your personality. Enjoy!!

Are you more of a TRICK or TREAT person?

My husband I believe would be both!! He loves a great trick on someone & he loves the treats. I have to share a funny trick he played recently–He was camping out in high mountain country and before the camping trick we talked about pulling a great trick on the brother-in-laws that would be going on this trip. My husband and I talked and planned a very good (some would say MEAN) trick & it went really well. My husband took a small, portable speaker that had a remote that was controlled by his phone. On his phone he put an app that had a “Bear sound.” In the middle of the night, when everyone was in bed, my husband hit the button & the bear sound began. It sounded like a bear was snorting and moving in the woods behind them. First, our brother-in-law, Dan heard the sound & yelled, “Did you guys hear that?” One of our other brothers, Bud was quietly listening to his earphones & only heard Dan yell. Bud began to move around & listen for any noise. Then my husband hit the button again. He could not help lying in his tent laughing quietly to himself. Dan immediately yelled, “Did you hear that? We have something in the bushes.” Dan quickly moved to his tent for his bear spray. By this time my brother, Bud was lacing up his running shoes as fast as he could. My husband stepped out of his tent, waiting to see what was going to happen. My husband climbs out of his tent to find Dan reading the can of bear spray with his headlamp & Bud getting dressed as quickly as possible. My husband grinned to himself & hit the button again. Dan began looking with his light for any movement in the bushes, aiming his bear spray & ready for anything. Dan looked at my husband and Bud, “Do you see anything?” he asked. My husband calmly replied, “I see a speaker!!” Dan said, “What?” My husband busted out laughing & pointing at the speaker. They were all ready to kill him. An hour later, Dan yelled from his tent, “Well played!” My husband just laughed and laughed.

Another fun prank that is a classic is one of the kids favorite!! Down from our house is a guy that changes up his costume each year, but once you visit his house, he will chase you down the street. Gets the kids every time.

Another scary one that the kids continue to talk about was a kid dressed up in a black cloak (the kind that has a hood & long enough to touch the ground). This kid was walking through the forest near our home & scaring everyone in sight. It was probably even scarier because it was NOT Halloween. The kids in the family all still talk about “the creepy guy in the forest.”

A few other fun ideas: when you go to give your kids a Halloween goodnight kiss–throw in a pair of glow-in-the-dark fangs. Write something spooky with liquid dish soap on your kids bathroom mirror, so when they steam up the bathroom, the message will appear. Put red kool-aid in the shower head, so then the water comes out red.

 

Now for all you TREAT people out there–here are some yummy ideas you could create for Halloween.

pumpkin-punchPUMPKIN PUNCH BOWL: All you need to make a memorable party punchbowl is dry ice, a very large pumpkin and two large bowls that nest inside one another and are safe to handle dry ice. Hollow out the pumpkin, ensuring the opening is wide enough to hold the bowls. Place the larger of your two bowls in the pumpkin and use tongs to layer the bottom of the bowl with dry ice. Place the second bowl on top of the dry ice and fill the bowl with your punch. Carefully pour hot water into the bottom bowl to activate the dry ice vapors. Replenish the dry ice as needed throughout your party.

You can also do this same idea with a large witches cauldron.

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You can also use a pumpkin for a fun ice bucket idea.

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halloween26 – Place glow sticks in the bottom of an ice bucket or cooler at your Halloween party. Photo credit: Alison Sherwood asherwood@journalsentinel.com

GLOWING BEVERAGES: As the stream of trick-or-treaters slows, invite your neighbors over for a drink. Toss a glow stick or two in with the ice in your cooler so they’ll open up to an eerie gleam.

64-non-candy-halloween-snack-ideas-the-ultimate-list-of-healthier-halloween-treatsYUMMY DEVIL SPIDER EGGS : The usual with chopped olives for decor

halloween-treat-broom-sticksSWEET LITTLE BROOM: Recess peanut butter cups stuck in pretzel

817461fb0e4340ea9aeb0a9b8522a14bHEALTHY LITTLE RELISH TRAY with a cute pumpkin center piece full of dressing

Well, I hope these ideas get you started in planning a spooktacular Halloween!

Easter in full bloom

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Easter is that time of year where you try to think of how to make it magical and memorable with the true meaning of the holiday. I am going to seek and find a variety of ideas that will make your Easter beautiful in every way.

 

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Little Details that make holidays memorable: There are those little things that make you think of certain people in your life. My daughter has a grandma that has always made yummy, homemade braided bread for special times of the year. We thought it would be fun to make a braided bread basket and fill it with colorful eggs to remind us of special memories with her. We love her so.

 

Making special intentions this holiday will make Easter even more memorable. Whether you buy new easter clothes, a special ‘last supper’ meal or have a spiritual resurrection egg lesson, decide on a few little things to make this year special. It is all in the details of your day.

 

pasha-easter-yaycaThe Colors: Easter brings Spring and Spring is full of new growth, birth, green grasses, butterflies, flowers…there is color everywhere and after a stark winter, color is good. I love decorating my front porch with a fake green tree that is covered in silk butterflies to ring in the new color of Spring. My table is adorned with an arrangement of long, green grasses with fluttering butterflies and an Easter Lily. I have a long ribbon that I hung from my ceiling fan & clipped 7 various bright butterflies. Add a little color to your home.

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Martha Stewart had some fun candy jars that were full of color that would be darling anywhere, especially a kitchen counter or table.

I also came across a fun paint chip garland idea. Umbrellas are always a fun addition to Spring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

emoji-easter-eggs-diy-printables-crafts-party-ideas1Creative egg decorating: What about emoji eggs! What about covering eggs in fun stamps! What about fun tattoo eggs for kids!  We LOVE the fake, white eggs that you can decorate and then keep from years to come. Chalk eggs are also a fun thing. There is also a white paint pen you could add fun designs to your brown or colored eggs. You could also do clear glue over plastic eggs and wrap them in thin yarn. Fine tip colorful sharpie markers can add all kinds of fun details to your eggs–add names, doodles, patterns, etc. You could also use nail polish that you have around the house to create fun patterns and designs. Washi tape is also a fun accent to add to eggs.

 

 

how-to-make-confetti-eggsFun for an Egg Hunt: What about putting confetti and a fun fortune in some plastic eggs for your kids to find. I also thought Disney Mini Tsum Tsum toys, mini pets, mini toys would be perfect to fit in eggs for the easter hunt. What about mini nail polish or $1 bills for teen age kids. It might be fun to put foam letters in the eggs that spell out fun words. A cute idea from kidsactivitiesblog suggested creating ‘Bunny Munny’ & have that in some of the eggs, so then the kids can buy items from the ‘Bunny Emporium.’ I LOVE doing glow in the dark egg hunts. We put glow sticks in the eggs with candy & the kids have a ball. Turn it into a scavenger hunt–ie:find four blue eggs, two chocolate eggs, 5 pink eggs, one striped, etc.

 

hatching-hard-boiled-eggs-easter-recipes3Fun Foods: I funny idea from country living–Hatching hard boiled eggs. What about easter basket cupcakes or the chef mix bird nests. Every year we buy the hostess snowballs and make bunny faces with paper ears, licorice whiskers, gumdrop or jellybean eyes. Deviled eggs are always a yummy treat, but who don’t you use your colored eggs to give them a little flare. There are lots of fun recipes out there to make the holidays fun!

 

 

 

 

christ-is-risen-in-us-pastordawnPutting Jesus in the details: I have done the resurrection eggs which are wonderful. [there are DIY ideas & some great kits you can purchase on Amazon] I have also read different books each season that tie in Christ or the meaning of Easter [The Legend of the Sand Dollar, The story of the Easter Robin, The Legend of the Easter Egg, Benjamin’s Box to name a few]  I also like thedatingdivas idea to have a Sunrise Breakfast on Easter to remember Jesus rising from the tomb. [they have 100 other ideas–a couple I added here that I liked–here is a link http://www.thedatingdivas.com/holidays/easter/100-ideas-for-a-christ-centered-easter/

I just came across a fun idea to take a nature walk with your family & look for specific items that coincide with special meaning of Easter–here is the link http://ourjourneywestward.com/the-easter-story-nature-club/

Here is a printable for a Good Friday Nature Walk from theunlikelyhomeschool

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5egQGIihLhBM1RqOS1LQWRGT0k/edit

I also like the Resurrection Scavenger hunt idea from fancy shanty     http://i1.wp.com/fancyshanty.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Resurrection-Scavenger-Hunt1.jpg

Celebrating Lent (Lent is a period of fasting, moderation, and self-denial traditionally observed by Catholics and some Protestant denominations. It begins with Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter Sunday. Many Catholics believe that giving something up for Lent is a way to attain God’s blessing.)  I read someone’s idea of celebrating Lent (even if you are not Catholic) I like the idea of taking the full time or even if you had your family ‘sacrifice’ something for the week before Easter. Have everyone give up something [ie: TV, Sugar, Soda, Games, etc) for the week & have it symbolize remembering the sacrifices Jesus made for us.

Dye one egg Red  (we always do the first one red by leaving it in the pink then the orange dye for a long time – I lived in Bulgaria for a while and that was the tradition there – the red represents death and the egg represents new life – great symbol of death and life coming together). -idea taken from powerofmoms.com

Service messages from happyhomefairy.com–Write phrases like “Jesus thinks you are Egg-ceptional!” or “You are Egg-stra special” with colorful chalk on someone’s driveway. Deliver a large chocolate bunny and deliver it to someone with a note that says, “No Bunny loves you like Jesus!” Drop an Easter Lily on someone’s doorstep with a note that says, “Joy comes in the morning…”-Psalm 30:5     She also has a whole Easter printable of “Joy Journey” activities you can do for Easter–I printed them & figured I could do our favorite 10 within the next week. I put each idea in a plastic egg & marked them with numbers. A fun way to put a little extra Easter spirit into the week ahead.

Science Experiment: Place a white carnation flower in a vase with water. Add a dozen drops of red food coloring to the water. Wait. The carnation will gradually take on the color of the dye. Read 1 Peter 1:18-19 and discuss how Jesus took our sins upon himself when He died on the cross.  -happyhomefairy.com

 

Well, I hope these ideas get you thinking of ways to make this Easter full of JOY and I hope a feeling of LOVE will bloom all around you in everything you do.

-Peace to you. H

Because I Can!

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Yesterday I had a dear friend drop by who was having a bad day and needless to say I think anyone would understand, her mom had just died a couple weeks ago. I gave her a big hug and my heart sank at the thought of losing someone so dear.

We began to talk about feelings and emotions and she expressed how she wished she could of..should of..and I could only imagine how she felt. I had not lost a mother.

I did have an aha moment after our conversation. I put myself in her place and tried to feel how it would be if I was unable to call or text or chat with my mom and dad. It put into perspective how short life is & how we often get stuck thinking we can tell someone we love them tomorrow, or have breakfast next week or stop by there house and visit another time. Our conversation made me feel the urgency to reach out now, not tomorrow. You never know when you will never be able to have those heart felt moments, those conversations you wish you would have taken the time to have, to record their voice so you will never forget it, to hug them & know you did all you could to love them while they were here.

After she left I did a couple of things–I jumped on my email and I wrote my parent a note and told them I wanted to share a few thoughts and feelings of what I would miss & what I love about them ‘because I can.’  It was an emotional write. I got teary eyed thinking of the little things I would miss most.

Then, I sent a text to my husband’s 6 sisters who have a beloved mother that I know needs to hear and feel of their love. I then sent my mother-in-law a note of love…because I can!

I know one day those near and dear will have moved on to another life & I don’t want to have regrets or should have, could have feelings. I am sure when some one passes you have those feelings no matter what, but this conversation made me stop for a moment, drop the to do lists and send some love from my heart.

So, ‘because you can’ send some love notes to those you love because you never know. Things can change in a moment.

Peace to you today.  -H

Make the holidays Merry & Bright

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The holidays are a time where we have moments of stress and joy!! Like the darling apron I gave my mother-in-law, “Desserts” is “Stressed” backwards. Funny, right!!  For a fun-filled holiday we have to enjoy the good and the bad, so I am going to do my best to give you some great ideas to make your holidays a little more Merry and Bright. EnJOY!

Breakout of the USUAL: During the holidays try something new–if your family has never gone tubing, ice skating or caroling, a bonfire on the beach, fed the homeless or made homemade cards–maybe try it! Shake it up & do the unusual.  Last year we tried snowshoeing and made a great memory.

Keep a stash on hand: I know I am always looking for movies, stocking stuffers, or little gifts last minute to give to a neighbor or friend I forgot. If you have a stash on hand, you will have less worry.

Keep it casual and cozy: Many people would tell you to overdress for any occasion during the holiday, but I would say keep it casually nice and cozy. Where we live it is cold!! Recently we went with my extended family to a performance that was a dressy occasion & everyone kept reminding me, “dress up,” but I used my common sense & went warm. All night everyone was wishing they had dressed warmer.  Tips: Make Nice scarves and hats your new best friends–they dress up any outfit and keep you warm during the holidays. Also, keep it simple–black with a little sparkle fits any occasion.

Set the mood: I think candles and fresh scents stir the senses and make the holidays even better. Where we live it now gets dark around 5pm. Yikes. I begin to get tired even earlier and the darkness seems to zap energy. With twinkling lights, candles and fresh aroma’s of citrus and cinnamon simmering on the stove, the holidays are a little more cozy and relaxed.  Here is a link to some stove top recipes  http://www.spendwithpennies.com/homemade-air-fresheners/

Stop, drop and stretch: Even a little exercise is better than nothing. Doing simple stretches moves your body and keeps the healthy endorphins pumping through your body. This will help with any holiday stress. Here are some simple stretches from Real Simple http://www.realsimple.com/health/fitness-exercise/stretching-yoga/stretching-exercises

A little more activity: While you are out and about, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park a little farther from the stores and enjoy a good snow shovel for a friend or family member.

Prepare and avoid the last minute low-down: If you wait till last minute you will begin to feel more pressure, stress and it will leave you feeling low. If you begin to prepare now for gift giving, card creating and overall holiday cheer—everything will be brighter. Make a list of friends and family that you want to send cards or gifts–check it twice. Decide how much you want to spend this holiday season & don’t overspend [this will leave you down after the holidays]. Remember: giving a gift from the heart (homemade cards, knit gift bags, personal photos, etc) are treasured and won’t cost you as much.

You can say NO: There will be many work parties, family, friend, neighborhood parties and events to attend. If you sit down with your family before the hustle and bustle of the season & make a list of the things you want to do for the holidays, you will see the things most important to those you love. So, when invites come, you know what you can and cannot do with the time you have during the holiday season. Remember,  “Holidays” means “Holy days”–so keep each day special with those you love. Cherish each moment.

Embrace the holiday spirit: Have a focus on the meaning of the season–giving, being like Jesus, spending time with family. Create special traditions to truly embrace the holiday season—see my other posts on traditions. Go out and pick an angel off an angel tree & wrap up the spirit of giving. Purchase a special book on the nativity or have a special night where you watch it with your family. Make the season memorable.

Remember this key thing—what do your children really want for Christmas? This will eliminate many of the $$ stress. According to child experts, what children really want more than anything else during the holidays are: 1. Relaxed and loving time with family  2. Realistic expectations about gifts  3. An evenly paced holiday season  4. Family traditions   taken from http://counseling.eku.edu/dealing-holiday-stress-0

Just Breathe: Take a moment and take a breath. When you are feeling overwhelmed by the foods you need to bake or the presents you need to make—take a breath.

Give the gift of gratitude: Give people what they truly need–praise, appreciation and the gift of a grateful heart. Call, Email, Write cards to those you love and include something you love about them.

Hope these ideas help you make your holidays a little more Merry & Bright

Love and Peace to you  -H

Give because WE have been given much

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This time of year makes me truly reflect on the many things I am grateful for. I think my heart gets to a place of deeper meaning, of stepping more outside of myself and wanting to do more for others. I think we all begin to feel this sense of holiday spirit. We gather with our families, grateful to have family. We see fall colors and are grateful to be given the gift of seeing. We see the seasons change and are grateful for change within our own lives. We sit together and give thanks.

I know for me, I especially want to do more, to serve, to be an instrument in God’s hands, so I decided that I wanted to create a list of opportunities for all of us to GIVE, because WE have all been given much.  I hope you will look at this list and find an opportunity or two that your family can embrace together. I hope you will find a little more service this holiday season, so when you are sitting down with your family, your heart will be even more full of giving, of love and grateful for the abundance in your own lives.  Peace to all of you this beautiful holiday season.

Some fun ideas to share with your families:  Spread the LOVE. If there are some ideas you like—share them with your friends and family and make the chain of LOVE even bigger.

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Samaritan’s Purse: Operation Christmas Child.  I LOVED this idea because it is not hard to do, benefits children around the world and will bring smiles to all who open.  You literally fill a shoebox with small gifts for children and then send it. You can even pay a little extra $ to track it and discover the destination it is going. I think it would be a great project to do with your family just before Thanksgiving. The drop off dates are just before Thanksgiving Nov 16-23. Check out the link to this great project. http://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/pack-a-shoe-box/

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Create No-Sew Fleece Blankets for groups like Project Linus, Wrap them in Love, Stitches from the Heart, Binky Patrol to name a few.

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Make cards to send some LOVE: make cards for kids in the hospital http://www.cardsforhospitalizedkids.com/make-cards.html  Write a letter to a woman with breast cancer at http://www.girlslovemail.com or fill out a letter online to servicemen at http://www.forgottensoldiers.org/write-a-soldier/

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Donate items for The Hugs Project: They are looking for a variety of items including handmade christmas ornaments and stockings, food items, socks, etc. They create care packages for troops http://www.thehugsproject.com   here is a link to the full item list of what they are looking for http://www.thehugsproject.com/care-package-items/

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SoleHope: Makes shoes out of jeans for Kids in Uganda. http://www.solehope.org/who-we-are/

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Make a dog treats for a local shelter: here is a recipe from the Humane Society http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/eating/recipes/animal_treats/bowser_biscuits.html

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Make place mats or decorate lunch bags for Meals on Wheels http://www.doinggoodtogether.org/bhf/blog/six-ways-to-help-meals-on-wheels  Make sure you contact your local area to find out their specific needs.

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Make something homemade to help: Here is a list of handmade items that are accepted by a variety of charities.  http://www.handcraftingwithlove.net/charity/hcharity.html

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Make a bird feeder to feed the birds in your backyard–that is giving too!  Here are some directions: http://www.marthastewart.com/270700/pinecone-bird-feeder

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Well, I hope these ideas get you started to giving of yourselves even more during the upcoming holiday seasons. Remember, it is easier to give with a grateful heart.

Peace to you. -H

Traditions to bring people together 2

For this post I am again going to take from some of the religious traditions that were shared on Oprah’s Belief series and then share some of my own ideas of how you could incorporate the ideas into your world. Enjoy.

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Zen Buddhist Lotus Flower: In one part of the series you were able to catch a glimpse into the life and traditions of Zen Monks. They shared a special lantern celebration.  I did a little bit of my own research and found The Lotus Lantern Festival that celebrates Buddha’s birthday. It is traditionally called the Yeondeunghoe (Lotus Lantern Festival) and was originally more of a religious and national event, not like a festival.  Here is a link to give you an idea of what it is like. It looks amazing–lanterns take the form of fruits, animals…it looks beautiful. People can even make their own lanterns.

In Buddhism the lotus is a symbol of the true nature of beings, which remains unstained by the mud of the world and is realized through enlightenment. Traditionally the lotus (“padma’’) is a very important symbol in India and for Buddhism. The lotus has been ascribed with special meaning since the time of ancient Indian mythology.
The lotus flower grows in muddy water and rises above the surface to bloom with remarkable beauty. The flower closes and sinks underwater at night, to rise and open again at dawn. Untouched by impurity, the lotus symbolizes the purity of heart and mind.*taken from buddhachannel.tv      

My idea:   Create your own lotus lanterns with your family & then hang them somewhere special–above the dinner table, outside in a tree, etc.  Here is a Youtube with an idea of how to make them 

    This may be a great idea for a New Year celebration. You could create lanterns & even write something on them–hopes for the new year, gratitude for things from this previous year, dreams, desires, etc.

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Bringing people together through music: In the series it explained how Israel is a place torn apart by religious separation, but luckily a music group was bringing together young people from different religions and having them work together to create something beautiful–music.      Music has a power all its own–it heals, it transcends, it liberates, it inspires, it brings people together. It is a heavenly gift that swells hearts here on earth.

My idea: Step out of your usual music comfort, listen to something completely new, maybe even foreign and see how you feel. Music can have positive and negative effects, so make sure you select genres that lift and inspire the soul. Also, step out of your music comfort by attending a local concert and experience the symphonic melodies first hand. Try it out and see how you feel.

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Trust yourself: This part of the series I can honestly say, I was yelling at the television. I could not believe this guy would free climb (no ropes or anything) to such incredible heights. It was somewhat terrifying. You would definitely have to have tremendous faith in your personal belief in what you could do. One slip–you would be gone.

My idea: Do something that you have never tried or something that scares you. When you are able to accomplish a personal hurdle, you definitely feel you have reached a higher point for yourself. When you continue to trust your instincts, feelings, gut, desires, etc. you will be in a better personal place.

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Pray: Prayer was a huge message throughout the series. Whether it was the woman with cancer and was surrounded in a prayer circle to people praying in a sacred place, prayer beads to traditional dances that went on for days…prayer was shared in every culture and religion. It was a beautiful sentiment.  Prayer I believe holds a very strong gift, whether you pray alone or in a group, there are answers to what you need.

My idea: Give thanks in all you do. Hold a prayer in your heart. If you have a big decision or struggle you are facing, do not be afraid to ask others to help pray for you and your situation. Have faith and know you are not alone. I just read a great story this morning that shares some great examples of prayers being heard. Check it out—http://www.faithit.com/the-refs-said-if-he-points-at-god-again-hes-done-thats-when-his-sister-slipped-him-a-note/

Well, I hope these ideas help you to have a beautiful day.  Peace to you. -H

Traditions to bring People Together

After watching Oprah’s BELIEF series I am filled with awe and wonder of the many different places, traditions, religions, beliefs, and the many ways people strive to connect. It was so interesting, fascinating and I walked away from the week more aware, inspired, awe struck and wanting to do more to connect with those around me.

SO, I thought I would put together a list of ideas that could bring families closer together with the upcoming holiday seasons ahead.

I am going to list out celebration ideas (primarily from Belief) and from around the world and then put my own twist on them and how you could do them with your families.

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Holi: *is a Spring festival in india, also knows as the festival of colors or the festival of love. The night before the celebrations there is a Holika bonfire where people gather, sing and dance. The next morning is a free-for-all carnival of colors, where participants play, chase and color each other with dry powder and colored water. This festival typically comes in March or February. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, the end of winter and a day to meet others, play, laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships *taken from wikpedia

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My ideas: For a winter fest you could invite friends and family over while it is light out, invite them to bring food and then have everyone share tubes of food coloring and color the snow around the yard or take it to the mountains. Have everyone write words, make hearts, just color the snow & then when everyone is done turn it into a big, colorful snow ball fight. Then make a big bonfire and have everyone warm up around the fire.

You could also do the same idea in the Spring, but use chalk dust and a picnic setting.

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Mandala: In the movie Belief there was a beautiful part of the series where a group of Monks created a gorgeous mandala out of sand. They took hours to perfect every detail and it was a beautiful work of art. But, to them the piece was not complete until it was swept into an urn and dumped into a river to complete its circle. *Both Navajo Indians and Tibetan monks create sand mandalas to demonstrate the impermanence of life.  The word “mandala” is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Loosely translated to mean “circle,” a mandala is far more than a simple shape. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself–a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds. Describing both material and non-material realities, the mandala appears in all aspects of life: the celestial circles we call earth, sun, and moon, as well as conceptual circles of friends, family, and community.*taken from mandalaproject

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My ideas: You could gather family or friends together and create a group mandala project—One year I had my family at a beach and we gathered up a huge number of rocks and made a giant heart on the beach. It was a very fun and unifying experience. I have also gathered family around and handed out coloring pages of various mandala drawings. We all sat for hours chatting and coloring like little children. It is very calming to the mind.  *Carl Jung said that a mandala symbolizes “a safe refuge of inner reconciliation and wholeness.”

You could also take fall or winter items (pine cones, leaves, needles, grasses, etc) and make your own natural pattern with the items from a forest floor.

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A Pilgrimage: In the movie Belief there were many different people from different religions who would do personal pilgrimages—some were to holy lands, others were 500 miles walks, while another was a personal 3 day quest of fast and faith.  I was moved by all the stories, but one stands out in my mind–the 65 year old man who did not love himself, was broken hearted and seeking peace on a 500 mile personal pilgrimage. I thought to myself, “could I do that? How could I do something like that closer to home?”

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My ideas: Maybe you pick a mountain near your home you could climb together as a family or alone to find some meaning. Maybe you find a walking trail that goes for miles and miles and commit to a distance that will bring you closer to…God, your family, yourself. I do think walking is one of the best types of meditation, so why not take a day, a week, a week end to get quiet, to go within or to experience with those closest to you.     I remember one of my only memories of going to the mountains with my family as a child, we arrived at the base of a small mountain. My Dad told all of us kids that we were going to climb to the top. As kids, we whined and looked at this mountain as the toughest challenge we had ever faced. We walked and walked and finally all made it up the mountain together. When we were at the top, we each found a special rock and we made our own family, rock monument. We were so proud that we made it to the top together. It will be a forever memory.

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History: There was an Aboriginal man in the Australian outback that was leaving his grandson with ancient songs and a trek that told stories about their ancestors. The stories and songs were part of the oldest religion in the world, so the grandfather felt a huge responsibility to pass these along to his grandson, so the stories will continue to live on.

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My ideas: We each have stories that we are told, lullabies that are sung, pieces that have been woven from years and years of history, people, family, places…In such a digital age, we have abundant resources to find stories from the past, to write our own stories down, to encourage our children to write their stories for those who follow.  For my daughter’s 12 year Thanksgiving gift, I have created pages for her to write her own story, to share her own feelings of where she is at, to share her future dreams, to connect with who she is and wants to become. I gave my daughter a journal when she was 8 filled with questions. I am giving my husband a journal to write down his story that is filled with prompts and questions so that his daughter and generations after will hear his stories.   I write a letter to my daughter every 6 months & will give them all to her when she is 18.  Every year at Thanksgiving I make a photo book and gift it to our daughter with a special letter and images from the previous year—Giving Thanks that she was part of our life.

Just last night my husbands mother had laid out a small shrine of items that were her fathers. She had them neatly organized with special belt buckles that were treasured, a tin of matches, old pictures, a soap dish, a coin purse, a shaving bowl, bolo tie…treasures that she had been keeping to pass on to her children. Items that reminded everyone of this man who had passed on, but seemed to bring up a treasured past of memories. My husband was like a little kid remembering his beloved grandpa. He slowly looked at each item being taken back to a different time. The things that live on are truly the memories, the stories, the songs, the little details.

Well, Stay tuned. I think I am going to continue this week with more traditions and ideas inspired from the movie, Belief. I have done previous posts on traditions, so check them out too.  I will do another post later this week with more ideas.

Have a beautiful day. -H