Impress Your Guests: Six Must-Haves For Your Holiday Party This Year

6 Must-Haves For Your Holiday Party This Year

 

 

For many of us, throwing fun parties is the best part of the holiday season. It’s a time when your home is decorated and looking beautiful and your friends and family can come over to gather and enjoy each other’s company. To ensure that you impress your guests, here are six must-haves for your holiday party this season.

 

Eye-Catching Decorations

Don’t be afraid to go bold with your holiday decorations. No holiday party is complete without a beautiful setting. Work with garlands, string lights and unique table arrangements to create a stunning setting.

 

Candles and Scents

Holiday parties should smell like peppermint, sugar and spice. Get the scent by lighting scented candles or by strategically placing jars of holiday potpourri throughout your space. Be conscious of anyone that has allergies, however. It’s important to make sure that the scent isn’t too overwhelming.

 

Delicious Drinks

It’s essential that you give your guests something tasty to sip on. Create unique coffee drinks and hot chocolates made with yummy flavored syrups. Monin has a variety of flavored syrups that you can use to create your own drinks. For an alcoholic option, just add a shot of Kahlua or Irish Cream.

 

Heavenly Appetizers

Your guests will be hungry, so lay out a delicious spread. You can make simple appetizers like a baked brie served with apricot jam and crackers or a cream cheese and olive dip served with chips. Simple and delicious appetizers look fancier than they are when arranged in a lovely way and served with attractive dishes and silverware.

 

The Right Music

Make a holiday playlist that reflects the tastes of you and your guests. If it’s a livelier party, mix current pop hits with holiday classics. Music keeps the energy going at any party.

 

The Perfect Desserts and Sweets

In the days leading up to your holiday bash, you should definitely be baking. From cupcakes to cheesecake squares, desserts are an essential part of a holiday party. If you really want to wow your guests, create little take-home bags of sweets, wrapped in clear foil and tied off with ribbon. Sending guests home with these sweets is a perfect way to end the night.

 

A holiday party is a great way to relax and enjoy time with those closest to you. If you include these six key ingredients, your party is sure to be a big hit. Don’t let the stress of planning overwhelm you, either. Instead, relax and just enjoy the cooking, decorating and preparations that come with celebrating the holiday season.

 

 

Can You Have A Safe Home Birth The Second Time Around?

Can You Have a Safe Home Birth the Second Time Around

 

Home births are growing in popularity today. In fact, studies have shown the number of women having home births increased by 29 percent from 2004 to 2009. Although there have been concerns raised about home birth, studies have shown that home births are safe for most low-risk pregnancies. Even if you have had complications in your pregnancy in the past, you may still be able to have a safe home birth.
Preparation is the key to having a healthy home birth. Below is a list of some of the things you will need to do to prepare for a home birth the second time around.

Choose a Healthcare Provider You Trust
It is important to select a doctor you are familiar with and who you trust. Most home births are attended by midwives, but there are some obstetricians who will attend a home birth if you are afraid of complications. You will also need to assess the healthcare provider’s qualifications. How many home births have they attended? How many years have they been practicing? Where did they complete training and education? Have they ever handled an emergency? Those are some of the things you should ask your provider.

Careful Pregnancy
One of the best things you can do to ensure you have a safe home birth is to take good care of yourself. Exercising is one way pregnant women can keep themselves healthy. Yoga, walking, and swimming are just some exercises great for pregnant women, not only to help you to stay healthy, but also to alleviate the aches and pains of pregnancy. Exercise can also help get your baby in the right position for labor.
Many women think they have to eat for two during this time as well. However, you only need to get about 300 extra calories. Taking in too many calories can cause you to gain too much weight, which puts you at risk for complications. Dr. Gilbert Webb says women who have complications should be referred to a maternal fetal specialist and should deliver at a hospital instead of delivering the baby at home.
You will need to pay close attention to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t ignore it. Contact your healthcare provider as soon as you can. Abnormal swelling and bleeding are examples of things that require urgent medical attention.

Take a Birthing Class
Many people planning on giving birth at home or for a second time may feel a class isn’t necessary, but the right midwife might have more information for your specific situation. A birthing class can teach you how to relax while you are in labor and help you know what to expect if you need to transfer to a hospital.
You may want to consider getting your partner to attend birthing classes with you. The birth will probably go a lot more smoothly if you have a bigger support team.

Prepare Your Home

A couple of weeks before you are due to give birth, you should start preparing your home. It is best to select the biggest room in your home for the birth. Put everything you will need in the room. Additionally, you should prepare a hospital bag just in case you have to transfer. Your midwife will probably have a lot of recommendations for how to prepare your room or bath for a natural birth.
It is also a good idea to cook some meals and then freeze them. You probably won’t have a lot of time to cook after the baby arrives.
The keys to having a safe home birth is to select the right healthcare provider and take care of yourself during pregnancy. You will also need to take a birthing class and prepare your home for the birth. If you have a schedule and plan in place a natural home birth can be possible for your first or second time. Just make sure you have everything in order and talk to all your healthcare specialists beforehand.

 

Home births are safe in most cases, but you should be aware that there are also risks for both mom and baby. Make sure discuss your birth plan with your doctor so that you understand the potential risks.

Coleen M. le Pere – Helping You to Say Goodbye to Your Deceased Loved One

It’s not a subject a lot of us like to talk about – but death comes to all of us.  It is one of the few things in life that is guaranteed.  Some of us plan for it, some of us don’t.  The wise among us plan. 

Coleen M. le Pere is  an professional After Life Service Coordinator.  Yes, she’s the person that you would work with to create a memorable memorial service for your departed loved one.  She is self-employed and has been doing this work for decades.  It is an interesting profession that takes a certain amount of strength and resilience to do. She shares her experience with us on Women Move the Soul.

 

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“The After Service Coordinator (ASC) LLC, is a recognized, full service repast design, planning, and management company. Since inception, we have been customer-focused; with a direct, honest approach to customer service. We, at ASC will coordinate and implement the complete repast while you prepare to say good-bye to your loved one.”

 

Do you work for a specific funeral home or are you the liaison between the family and the home?

The After Service Coordinator (ASC) does not work with any one funeral home.  Normally, we receive referrals from private parties, word of mouth ,various assisted living residence, hospices, ministries, social clubs and funeral homes throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey.

 

Walk us through what you would do for someone. What do you make happen? 

Once a referral is made to The After Service Coordinator (ASC), one of our trained specialists will meet the bereaving family (person) to ascertain the needs of the family. During this sad time, quite often members of the family are distraught and in need of guidance.  We walk the family or appointed person through the step by step process, while being sensitive to their needs and budgetary concerns. ASC offers a variety of affordable packages: some include day of services, travel arrangements for out of town and in town loved ones, personal shoppers, barbers, cosmologists, caterers, etc. We pride ourselves in being a “one stop coordinator.”  We operate very similar to a Bridal Consultant.

ASC has been fortunate; to partner with a diverse group of women owned businesses to be able to meet ALL of our clients needs.  Women owned businesses that maintain high levels of customer service, integrity and tenacity.  Just last week we partnered with another woman owned business; who assists in the burial choices of the deceased.

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How do people come to contact you for your services?  How are you found?  Is it word of mouth, do you advertise or do funeral homes recommend you?

As stated above, our contacts come from the north, south, east and west, word of mouth marketing referrals etc.  Recently the trend has been by attorneys’ of estates (wills), pre-arrangements.   My first contact with a living person to do repast arrangements, seemed to be a bit morbid, however, this person knew exactly what he wanted and did not want to happen at his repast.  His wishes were to have “a ball”, one in which folks dressed to the nines and danced the night away.  The After Service Coordinator (ASC), made it happen.  His repast, seemed as though he was there saying well done, in between “the soul train line” and doing” the swim.”

 

How did you get started with providing these kinds of services?

The After Service Coordinator (ASC) was birthed by myself.  Believe me this birth had a long gestation period.  I have coordinated many events from baby showers, golf tournaments to weddings and of course repast.  My earliest recall of a  major event was at the  age of 10. I had coordinated a surprise anniversary party for my parents.  Fast forward, in helping family and loved ones with repasts, I noticed there always seemed to be loads of confusions, misdirections, and additional pain pertaining to repast.  I always stepped in and volunteered my services to help things run smoothly.  From beginning to end I was there until the last pot was washed and dried.  I enjoy this type of service. I had continued volunteering my expertise for nearly 10 years while working as a non-certified Spanish teacher in the pubic school system(s).  Around the 10 year mark , I noticed that I had less and less hours of teaching each year until one year I was “bumped” because I was non-certified.  I laugh now because I believe that God has a way of having you walk into your “calling” when you’re doing your best to avoid the call. Instead of becoming angry with my situation, (last son in graduate school at New England Conservatory and a pre-teen daughter to feed) I prayed and ASC is the results.

 

 

A lot of people are afraid of death and all the connotations that go along with it.  How come you’re not?

I believe that death has a comma, and not a period.  We are only passing though this earth with a body made from dirt.  Earth was not created to be our final destination.

 

How do you deal with providing this kind of service to people who are very emotional and distraught?  Is it easy for you?

Providing services to people who might be  very emotional and or distraught can be a challenge.  I find that I coleen1have this great peace about myself, and the ability to show compassion and empathy.  One must expect the unexpected when dealing with emotionally drained overwhelmed individuals.  “Folks will grieve the way they see fit”’ as my Auntie Mae would say.  Other words there is neither right nor wrong way for people to grieve, they all grieve in accordance to their needs.  I recall early in my business, I had a second cousin of a deceased woman enter into a sterile kitchen and verbally aggressively abuse me, going up the front of me and down my back.   I was “prayed up” and I know the God that I serve.  I was able to hear her pain and give her words of comfort and walk her back to the reception hall to join her other family members.  This job is not for the emotionally weak. I select my employees carefully and prayerfully.  I present all types of scenarios to my employees, as well as training to be empathetic.  During one of the repasts I recall with a smile on my face as I share this – a 88 year old “mother of the church had pasted.  My head server came to me with tears behind his eyes stating “the deceased friends are upset because we don’t have any coffee.”  They made known that the deceased loved coffee and that “she would be mad and raise from the dead if we did not serve coffee.”  I apologized to these wonderful women who were between 75 and 90 sent the server for decafe coffee and all were happy.

 

The word “repast’ means meal or southern U.S. states it refers to a meal after a funeral. What does this word mean in your business and how did the terminology come about?

The word “repast” to me means; going over- celebrating-remembering and living.

 

What is the most difficult aspect of providing these kinds of services for people?

One of the difficulties that I encounter is when family members aren’t on one accord.  I mean really, at odds with each other and unable to make good decisions together.  This is where I or my trained specialist will gently guide them to work as a unit and or appoint one person who will be in charge of all proceedings.  The second difficulty is that I am “the first and original” after service specialist in  business realm.  As a small business of 10, I have found that the larger establishments have no qualm of using my intellectual property.  The main thread that I see when this happens are with funeral homes. The funeral home tries to duplicate my services but they really are in this business for “self”.  ASC customer service approach is truly uniquely different.  ASC forms collaborations with various businesses and non-profit agencies.  The collaborations include working with different “job readiness” programs to hire “unemployable persons”.   By hiring persons with either no work history and or blemishes on their resume, I allow these persons to use my business as a step to launch into the workforce, while maintaining support of their “readiness programs”.

 

What is the most rewarding part of your business for you?coleen2

I actually have two rewarding aspects of my business.  The first is having a grieving loved one who was walking as if in a zombie like state come to me in the middle of the repast and wrapping their arms around me sobbing on my shoulder saying thank you.   When this has occurred I know that I have done my job. I have helped at least one person get back to living.  The second rewarding aspect of my business is seeing the elation of a person who has paid her debt to society and unable to obtain gainful employment in 10 years receive  her first pay check with tears of accomplishment.

 

Where is ASC in ten years?

In ten years, I see ASC, having several offices nationwide.  I wasn’t given this gift and business not to use it to its fullest.  I am hopeful that I will be able to continue forming collaborations and expanding.

 

Coleen Le Pere can be reached via email at asc_c.lepere@yahoo.com.

Bonding With Technology

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By T. M. Todorovich

 

 

A couple weeks ago, my four kids downloaded the Kim Kardashian game to their cell phones, logged in through game center, and made friends with one another. Listening to them speak of their photo shoots, the mean girl, clothing, and time limits was frustrating. I couldn’t get a word in and they certainly weren’t paying attention to a word I said. I have to admit I felt rather deflated and in the way. Instead of yelling, something I really wanted to do, I walked away and read a Jodi Picoult book. Okay, that part was a perk, but still – I wanted to spend time with my kids instead of them being absorbed into yet another game.

 

I must admit, although reluctantly, I play a game on my cell as well. I’m totally addicted to Farmville 2: Country Escapes. I take mini breaks to see what I can sell, what is ready to pick and plant, and what my animals are doing. Because of that, I would be hypocritical if I yelled at them for a silly game. As long as they were completing their chores, I let it go.

 

On top of the Kim Kardashian game, my kids spend a lot of time on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. My oldest daughter will at any given moment blurt out, “Ohmygod!” or my second child, Eric, will start ranting about something. My third child tends to suddenly become stricken by the giggles. I ask what’s wrong, or what’s funny, or what happened, and they say, “It’s on Tumblr!” My eyes roll in the back of my head until they hurt, my heart stops a minute, and I think, “My kids need a life and need to talk to one another instead of always being on their phone.

 

Last night, however, I realized something I had not previously seen. It is, afterall, difficult to see clearly through rolling eyes. Instead of being in their own little cyber world, my kids were all talking – and to one another! It was like a Christmas miracle in July.

Eric and Jessica spend hours discussing their next modeling job, who they are dating, and share one another’s joy when the other becomes an “A-lister” (I am not even sure what that means, but they get really excited about it). Even my fourteen year old son has joined the Kim Kardashian band wagon and is getting involved in the conversations. And on any other subject, he has nothing, and I mean nothing, in common with my other three!

 

I began watching closer and see my girls showing one another something on Tumblr. Or I listen as Eric tells me the latest news, or gossip, on Twitter. There are many times my kids and I talk to each other through tweets and Facebook comments. We sit around the living room discussing or laughing at something on Tumblr. When an important social issue is brought forth on social media, we read each other the status, tweet, or comment, and then we spend an hour discussing our own views, beliefs, and ideas.

 

I’ve learned very recently – this morning actually- that sometimes technology, games, memes, and tweets, aren’t always a bad thing. For my family, they open up dialog, provide a common interest, and create a unique interaction between my kids. For that reason, and that reason only, I love the Kim Kardashian game and am thankful it was created. Bonding is a wonderful thing, even if it is accomplished by a cell phone game.

 

Click here for a link to the publications written by Tina Toler Keel.

Outside Family Events Can Work

oudoor-party

 

When it’s time to entertain and you want to do it big time, there are so many options available.  Summertime makes it easier because you are not limited to an indoor venue.  There are many parks, playgrounds and merry-go-rounds even that can host your event.  Restaurants with large outdoor patios and plazas are stellar because you get the catering in addition to the location.

If you need to feed people and are on a budget – that’s what families are for!  Everyone brings a dish and enough to feed a good number of people.  A lot of park areas have grills that you can use and all you have to do is supply your own charcoal.

Music?  Boom boxes, the stereo from someone’s car (why not?) and even an iphone connected to an external speaker can provide entertainment.  If your budget allows, bands are the best!  Live music, entertainment, not to mention the availability of a microphone (for those long-winded family members!) make your even fun.  What about a dj? They’re awesome too and can cater the entertainment according to what you need.

Decoration ideas are unlimited.  Everyone has a person with that certain decorative flair.  Put them to work!

 

 

 

Mom Has Homework

Submitted by Delicia Watson, Massachusetts

Going to school has been very challenging for me.  I am 42 and have three teenagers at home.  I also work full-time.  I am doing this for a couple of different reasons.  One, is that I always wanted to go to college but just never did.  I started working and just kept working.  The second is to inspire my children so that they will also strive for their own goals, especially when it comes to getting an education.

There are days when I am a little short with them and I would like to do a better job of catching myself before I start snapping at everyone.  My husband is great and picks up the slack a little bit when I get snappy.  He compassionately reminds me or points out when I need to back up a little bit or ease it down and tells the kids – “Mom has homework and she’s a little edgy.”

Then the whole environment lightens up and the kids play it off and say things to me like, “Yeah mom, I had to study really hard for my history exam!”

My family’s been great and I am honored to have the privilege to do this.

My husband has an engineering degree.  He was smart and did the whole college thing right after high school.  His support of me is amazing.  Working, going to school and co-managing a household has been a challenge.  But, I am determined to be fifty years old with a degree … even if no one hires me after all of my hard work because of my age!  :  )

I admit that occasionally I use the service of a company who can write my paper cheap.  I don’t think it’s cheating at all because I do know all of the content and understand everything.  It’s just that time – that old man time – is always on my back and I need to keep up with everything.

All in all it’s been a wonderful, fulfilling experience and I am blessed to be able to do this.  Women Move the Soul, I know you are all about inspiration and I hope my little story has inspired someone else like me to take the challenge and get their degree.  There is nothing like an education that gives you a further understanding of the things in our lives in terms of history, economics, etc.  And there is nothing like college training that really teaches you to open up your mind and to think more clearly.

 

Keep It Simple

 

Submitted by Devon Garcon, UK

The glamour of fashion and the latest makeup, trends, styles, gadgets…  What more can we want?  That’s the objective – to get us to want more, buy more, have more.   Get the latest this and the greatest that.  Upgrade.  Keep up with technology!  Don’t get left behind!  Old is bad; new is good.

Knowing that the whole objective of corporations, stores and the advertising media is to get you to spend money, what will you do differently?  Continue to give in and support these multi-billionaire people and their companies, or take a look at your life and find a way to do things differently?

I my house we don’t need the latest gadgets.  We all have cell phones, sure.  But, we don’t need mini computers in our pockets.  We don’t need to have facetime or video to have a conversation. We don’t need a cellphone strapped to our wrists.

We recently moved.  We downsized, going from 2,700 square feet to 1,200.  We found ourselves with too much “stuff.”  We want to keep our life simple – our living style simple.  Our nice little house is streamlined and has just what it needs and no more.  There are pieces of furniture sitting in the garage waiting for a spring tag sale or for pick up by the local charity.  As we continue to sift through things and place things, more and more goes into that group.

Even the closets are smaller.  This is fine because though I downsized my wardrobe greatly three years ago, this allowed me to downsize even more.  I only want what I need.  This is a far cry from the woman who used to have three full-sized closets and all of them full.  Because I was a performing artist, I spent thousands of dollars of clothes every year.  I always had a nice annual tax deduction.  But, the reality is that I didn’t need extravagant clothes to perform in.  Some nice things yes, but as many as I had?  No.  Now I look back and see how foolish and wasteful that grand illusion was.

A smaller house –  smaller closets.  My family followed suit and we generated bags of clothes to be donated.  This purging or redefining evoked conscious thought in all of them.  We are all keeping life simple.

Even the kitchen doesn’t allow for a lot of things.  Because, yes, it’s small too.  We have place settings for four, just the basic pots and pans, the wok and simple things.   Well what if you have company, I know some of you are asking.  Not to worry, I do have a few extra place settings boxed up and available if needed.

There is only one television in the house.  If there was one each bedroom, that would result in everyone being in their own cocoon watching tv.  To much isolation.  Mostly we enjoy television as a group.  Occasionally, someone may want to watch a program or two, but not often.  Our minds and our lives do not revolve around the television set – nor do they revolve around technology and computers.  Everyone limits their time in cyberspace.  This is perhaps one of the most wonderful features in our home.  We are a family and we engage in family things and organic living with friends and activities.  Keeping it simple.

It’s really nice to walk into a home that is streamlined, simple and has “space.”  Not space in terms of square footage, but space in terms of not being overcrowded or overly populated with things.  This is a conscious choice created by conscious thought and our desire to keep things simple.

 

What about you?

 

Devon Garcon is an artist, singer, musician  and lives in the UK.

dw 9000 series airlift

The Upcoming Holiday Dinners

 

 

With the holidays rapidly approaching – yes, right after Halloween the press is on for Thanksgiving and Christmas, you want to make sure that the holiday meals are what you’d like them to be – festive and wholesome.  I like to start well ahead of the game and pull out my calendar to start making preparations.

 

First, I visually walk through everything in my mind – from the beginning of the day to the end.  When I wake up, I shower, brush my teeth, do my hair and get dressed.  (It may seem a little silly to start off with these basics, but I start at the very top of my day.) I imagine everything else after that from sipping a cup of tea to pulling out the vegetables, to chopping, to cooking, to food layout – all the way through serving and watching the last guest leave.  I even imagine comments and feedback and throw in little “what if’s.”  What if so and so doesn’t make it?  What if I can’t get a certain spice or ingredient?, and so on.  Then I think about my plan B’s.  Well if this doesn’t work then, I can try this, or try that.

Once I’ve visualized the day and different scenarios, I set out the making my lists:

 

FOOD PLAN, Including Preparation

The first and of course most important thing is what I am going to serve.  I make my decisions based on family and guest preferences.  You usually have a sense for who likes what.

The entire meal that is being prepared – including any deserts

All the ingredients that I will need for cooking every single dish

What’s involved with preparation (chopping, etc.)

How long each item will take to cook

What dishes will be cooked at what time

What dishes can be cooked ahead of time and will then need reheating

 

 

DRINKS

Beverages that will be served

 

SERVING AND DISPLAY

How will food be served – buffet style or table centered?

How will I display of the food being served

What dishware I will use

waterproof printed tablecloth, napkins, silverware

 

INVITEES

When invitations will be sent out

Deadline for attendance confirmations

Follow up with attendees

Final head count

 

I make sure that I have all the fine details worked out.  I know when I am shopping for items I need and where I will get them from.  When it is time to start cooking the dishes, I know when and how I am going to do everything.  My timing is usually right on.

 

I like to group items together that will be cooked together when I am staging everything (by staging, I mean getting things ready to be prepared for cooking).  For instance, if I am making a cake, I set aside the mixing bowl, the flour, the eggs, the sugar – all the ingredients and I sit them all together in one spot.  The string beans with white potatoes, they go into a group together, with the pot, potato peeler, mixing spoon and knife.  Each dish sits together, but separated from the whole.  By staging, this also helps me to make sure that I have every single ingredient that I need.  I order everything according to when it will be cooked and when I start the actual preparation of ingredients and cooking, I move right down my newly created “physical” list.  It makes the process clearer, more simple and keeps everything moving at the right time.

 

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I look forward to the meal time with friends and family with excitement.  I have spent the time to plan everything so carefully that things usually go off without a hitch and everyone is happy.  Holiday time is about love and family.  The food that we eat reflects that especially if that food is prepared with love.  That love energy is an essential ingredient, not just with this meal, but with every meal that we eat.  So, if you take the time to carefully plan out all of the details, it makes the experience easier for you and will help to enhance the joy that everyone will experience on those days.

 

Feel free to share your kitchen organization and food preparation “secrets.”

Housing for Military Families

 

submitted by Tomaca.

As some what of an Air Force brat, I can attest to the moving around while my father was in the service.  My older siblings had more experience with this than I and got to spend time in more places throughout the U.S. and internationally – outside of the U.S.

After spending 27 years in the Air Force, my father was ready to retire and settled us down in a small city in the north on the East Coast.  Back in the late 1950’s, early 1960’s, there were not a lot of opportunities for African Americans to buy houses – in certain areas.  Fortunately, the seller of our family home, immediately recognized and respected my father for his service to the country and allowed him to purchase the house.  It was in a predominately white populated area and we were among the first exceptions in the neighborhood.

In this year of 2013, things have changed quite a bit in terms of integration and acceptance.  This is wonderful.  We owe a debt to our military people.  We owe them gratitude and compassion.

When you have children, you have certain priorities.  You want good schools, good neighborhoods and plenty of places and spaces that help your children to grow.  Organizations like the MilitaryTownAdvisor.com are invaluable to helping our service people and our vets find suitable homes and appropriate locations for their families.   The families that use these services also give good, honest feedback to further assist people with making decisions.  Family is everything.  Love is above all else when it comes to your children.

 

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The Essence of the Kitchen

 

 

By Tomaca

What room in your home is the most important or the key pivotal room for the family?  Some people would say it’s the living room or family room.  In my home, it’s the kitchen.

The living room used to be called the “parlor” in old English times.  The name changed over time to the “living room.”  Maybe you call it the family room.  But, it’s the place generally where families hang out and watch television or entertain company.  However, the kitchen is the focal point of some homes.  Hopefully our busy lifestyles have not interrupted family meals in the kitchen too much and your family still does that.

When I grew up my parents made everyone sit down together at meal times.  After eating, everyone was assigned a task ranging from scraping the dishes, to putting away food, to washing, drying and putting away the dishes.  The lucky person got the easiest assignment of feeding the dogs.  I remember that as being something really easy and it was nice to make the dogs happy.  Just like people, they were excited about meal time!

The whole process of my siblings and I being in the kitchen all working together was really fun.  You get a feeling from being around your family that is hard to describe except to say that there’s no place like home  and there’s no feeling like that feeling inside you.

With ten kids and a full-time jobs, both my parents were really busy.  But, there were many times that my mom would be preparing meals and that was the time I could just sit in the kitchen to be with her and to chat while she worked.  It was such a cherished time for me.   When my children were young, especially my daughter, who is the oldest, we were always in the kitchen where she would read to me as I cooked.  We spent many weekends in the kitchen baking and designing sugar cookies and other goodies.  The kitchen was the homework spot.  Everyone would sit there and do their homework so they could all help each other.  Of course, that changed when they got older.  They migrated to their own bedrooms.

I don’t drink coffee, but to this day I love the smell.  It reminds me of my father.  Every morning the house was filled with the aroma of his coffee which of course is made, where else?  In the kitchen.

So for me, the kitchen is not just about food, but it’s about connecting with family and individuals by gaining more understanding about who they are, how they feel, what their day was like, etc.  through conversation, not so much through food.  Though my children are grown, the kitchen is still the room where I would entertain.   Not necessarily to eat food, but to sit in a comforting place to have great conversations without the distraction and noise of the television.

I like a nice open kitchen for that reason.  There’s room for everyone.  Someone can sit at the countertop/island or at the table and of course the pets are never far behind because they hope food is going to appear and they’ll be given treats in addition to being petted.

The “homey” feeling in the kitchen is important to me as is the decor.  Windows, a sliding glass door leading to a deck, nice cabinets with decorative cabinet knobs, my organic herbs growing in the pots and always fresh fruit on the table.    And some open space.  I like the kitchen to be a little on the large side so you can walk around freely even with the table, chairs and fridge, etc.  Plus, all the animals turn the kitchen into their lounge whenever people are in there.  There’s always the hope of food hitting the floor!  Yes, they are spoiled, they get lots of treats and hugs and most of all are welcome in the kitchen just like people!

 

What’s your favorite room in the home?

Is Your Family Crazy? Think Again!

 

 

Family: can’t live with them, can’t live without them. Or do they say that about women? If they don’t say that about family, I think they should. You can choose the women in your life, but you can’t choose your family. Whether you like it or not, you’re stuck with them and there’s nothing you can do about it. The nagging grandmother, the snitch brother, the loud aunt, the touchy uncle. We all have them. But, if you ever thought your family is crazy and annoying, have a look at some of the most twisted families on TV. I guarantee you’ll feel much better after.

 

Everybody Loves Raymond

Ray Baron is a sports journalist who lives with his wife, Debra, 12-year-old daughter and twin boys in Long Island. Their lives would be just great, if it wasn’t for Ray’s parents, who just happen to live down the road. Instead of just helping out with the kids, Ray’s mother is the ultimate nag. Not to mention Ray’s brother who is always jealous of him.

 

Married with Children

Every guy gets together with his friends, but when Al Bundy does it, he is president of NO MA’AM, the “National Organization of Men Against Amazonian Masterhood”. His wife doesn’t cook or clean, his son is smart, but a total nerd when it comes to the ladies and his daughter is easy and gullible. Did I mention Al Bundy sells women’s shoes?

 

The Middle

The Hecks are just semi-dysfunctional, but they get the job done. Although at first they seem your average, normal American family, the Hecks are quite special. Brick, the youngest member of the family, has an above average intelligence reading books his older sibling struggles with, but is also great at procrastinating. The odd thing about him is that he likes to repeat words from his previous sentence by whispering to himself. To this adds the frustrated mother, the socially awkward sister, the athletic brother and a pretty normal dad.

 

Raising Hope

What happens when a clueless 25-year-old boy meets a gorgeous serial killer? He impregnates her, she is sentenced to death and he gets custody. But, wait! Now Jimmy has to rely on his family for help and although they have the best intentions, they don’t always deliver as promised. To top it all they live in a very kid- unfriendly, dusty, old house.

 

American Dad

CIA agent Stan Smith has a pet alien to whom he owes his life and he’s all about taking extreme measures like locking his daughter in the basement, leaving his wife in the woods or cloning his son. The thing about Stan is that he doesn’t take no for an answer and relies on his trusty gun for help. The series will be back this fall with a new season and new adventure, Smith style.

 

Shameless (U.S)

The mother of all dysfunctional families, Shameless focuses on the Gallaghers: six kids, an alcoholic father and a runaway mother. Having to deal with everyday life, the Gallaghers use all means necessary to survive.

If you want to know more about out TV crazy families, Time Warner Cable will provide access to all of the above mentioned shows and if you hear about some other TV “loving” families, don’t forget to tell us about them.