Blogmas 2014 – It’s Beginning to Feel A Lot Like Christmas

It's Beginning to Feel A Lot Like Christmas (Source: http://i1.mirror.co.uk/incoming/article1497069.ece/alternates/s615/Miranda)

I know, I know.  I am the absolute worst at Blogmas!!  I have tried, I really have. I wrote a Hanukkah post on my art blog and it took two full days to research and write. It was 3 am by the time I finished, and I was not at all ready to blog again the next day. However, I am extremely proud of the finished product so if you have not yet seen it, here is the link: http://laurenmichelephotography.wordpress.com/2014/12/19/artmas-2014-joy-to-the-world/   I am sorry if this excuse is awful and unacceptable, but it is the truth. Moving on. I had a great time with my family this weekend.  We did some shopping at the mall and watched lots and lots of Christmas movies.  I would like to point out that they were willing, my dad and brother included, to watch both family and romance movies.  That is love!!  It is no secret that I have had problems getting into the Christmas spirit, but spending quality time with my family made me feel much more merry, as did watching “Blind Side.”  “Blind Side” is an emotional movie, not easy to get through without crying, but it has a happy ending.  I give it 5 stars.  It holds a special place in the hearts of my family because ever since I was born my parents have been taking in people who needed a place to live.  I have considered each and every one of them a member of my family regardless of size, shape, and color.  It is a great feeling to know that my family was able to help so many people.  I love my extended, colorful family and always will!!

I shall return mañana.  Stay merry readers!

– Lauren Michele :)

Beth: “You’re changing that boy’s life.”

Leigh Anne Touhy: “No. He’s changing mine.”

– “Blind Side”

 

My links:

Art Blog: https://laurenmichelephotography.wordpress.com/

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lagirl93/

Tumblr: http://laurenmichelephotography.tumblr.com/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCic1VLw_OuW2fzDQ88oi_AA/feed

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Blogmas 2014 – Come Light the Menorah

Levin, Alex. Magnificent Light of Menorah. Web. 17 Dec. 2014. . Calvin College openURL resolver

Levin, Alex. Magnificent Light of Menorah. Web. 17 Dec. 2014. <http://www.artlevin.com/page409.html&gt;.
Calvin College openURL resolver

Chanukah Sameach readers!!  In honor of the first night of Hanukkah, I want to give you a VIP tour through my favorite Jewish holiday.  If you did not read my post last year, here is the story of Hanukkah: The Jews were, at one time, oppressed by a Greek king; he killed Jews, outlawed their religion, and defiled the temple, their place of worship.  Despite their small number and “underdog” status, Judah Maccabees and his army were successful in their rebellion.  The temple was restored, and a celebration took place.  There was only enough oil to light the temple menorah for one night, but the lamp miraculously burned for eight straight nights.  That, ladies and gentlemen, is why we celebrate Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights.

Read or recite the following:

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, Asher kideshanu b’mitzvotav, Vitzivanu, L’hadlik ner shel Hanukkah – Praised are You, Our God, Ruler of the universe, Who made us holy through your commandments and commanded us to kindle the Hanukkah lights

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, Sheh’asah nissim la’avoteinu, Ba-yam ha-heim, Ba-zman hazeh – Praised are You, Our God, Ruler of the universe, Who performed wondrous deeds for our ancestors in those ancient days at this season

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, shehecheyanu, v’ki-y’manu, v’higiyanu, lazman hazeh – Praised are You, Our God, Ruler of the universe, Who has given us life and sustained us and enabled us to reach this season  (“The Hanukkah Blessings”)

If you want help with pronunciation, follow along with this playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fb-tkAet5A&list=PLcRF_zFl6hpHXnmP-CaCK2OO-3xfmm1kg

I hope you have enjoyed Hanukkah 101.  Now go make latkes and play dreidel.  Stay kosher readers!!  (See what I did there??)

– Lauren Michele :)

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’ ”  – John 8:12

 

Works Cited:

Levin, Alex. Magnificent Light of Menorah. Web. 17 Dec. 2014. <http://www.artlevin.com/page409.html&gt;.

“The Hanukkah Blessings.” myjewishlearning.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2014. <http://www.myjewishlearning.com/holidays/Jewish_Holidays/Hanukkah/At_Home/Candlelighting

/Blessings.shtml>.

 

***My links:

Art Blog: https://laurenmichelephotography.wordpress.com/

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lagirl93/

Tumblr: http://laurenmichelephotography.tumblr.com/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCic1VLw_OuW2fzDQ88oi_AA/feed

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Iced In

crabapple_tree_ice

I cannot take credit for the photo, but that is what most of North Texas currently looks like.  I am iced in!!!  I took full advantage of having no school and enjoyed an unexpected day of relaxation, complete with hot chocolate, a good book and 2 Christmas movies.  Speaking of ice, here is my December 6th favorite:

What is your favorite holiday weather?  As a California native, I have had my fair share of warm Christmases.  When my family moved to Texas, we were iced in for 3 days, and I realized what I was missing out on.  Cold weather is my favorite holiday weather.  I cannot fully explain why, but low temperatures heighten my holiday spirit.  I think Christmas is associated with snow because snow is associated with winter, the season during which Christmas is celebrated.  Cuddling under blankets and sipping hot chocolate puts me in a winter mood, which puts me in a Christmas mood; it is a chain reaction.  That is the only logical explanation I can concoct at this moment in time.  Now it’s your turn.  What is your favorite holiday weather: chilly or warm?

I would like to apologize for my late blog posts.  Despite my best efforts to balance blogging and finals, school has overwhelmed me this past week.  Thankfully I only have one more week left.  I should be back to my merry self very soon.

Stay merry readers!

– Lauren Michele  :)

“…The weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we’ve no place to go
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”

Christmas Cinema

hallmark

Some of my favorite times during the holiday season involve hot chocolate, warm blankets, and a holiday movie, preferably one that involves romance.  Here is my December 5th favorite:

What is your favorite holiday movie?  My favorite holiday movies are Old Fashioned Thanksgiving/Christmas (I consider them one movie) and The Nativity Story.  Old Fashioned Thanksgiving/Christmas is set in the time period of Little Women and is heart-warming and romantic.  The Nativity Story brings the Christmas story to life with beautiful scenery and a convincing cast.  The majority of the plot is accurate, but I would still recommend that you read the original book; it is 100% accurate.  :)

If you need advice regarding a holiday TV playlist, I can be of service.  I have years of experience using a remote and DVR, watching shows, movies, and specials, and refining my list of what to watch annually.  I cannot tell you what to watch because everyone has their own personal preference regarding entertainment, but I can help you get started.  My first tip is to keep an eye on the channels that play Christmas movies all day every day; my channel choices are ABC family, Hallmark Channel, and Lifetime.  My second tip is to utilize the search engine on your DVR; look up keywords such as Christmas, snow, and holiday and record anything that catches your eye.  If you are an admirer of holiday movies, trial and error is required in order to create a list and refine it.  Make sure you are ready for the challenge because new episodes and movies premiere every year, ans the list will get longer and harder to remember and manage.  The holidays come with many challenges; Christmastime is not for the weak!

I hope you enjoyed this post and learned something.  Thank you to all my faithful readers. Stay merry!

– Lauren Michele  :)

“You know what your problem is, it’s that you haven’t seen enough movies – all of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.”

– Steve Martin

The Red Cup

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If you do not recognize the red cup, you have obviously never set foot in a building designated by a green sign with a white mermaid.  When Starbucks starts serving their beverages in red cups, Christmas has officially arrived.  The red cup brings with it 3 holidays flavors: caramel brulee, gingerbread, and peppermint.

My December 4th Favorite:

What is your favorite Starbucks’ holiday beverage?  My favorite fall (Thanksgiving) beverage is a salted caramel mocha frappuccino, and my favorite winter (Christmas) beverage is a peppermint mocha frappuccino.  I recently tried a gingerbread frappuccino and was impressed.  It did not dethrone my reigning Christmas favorite, but it was good enough to make it into my holiday beverage rotation.  My next taste-test endeavor is a caramel brulee frappuccino; let me know if you have an opinion regarding this beverage.  By now, you may be questioning my motives for drinking frappuccinos during one of the coldest times of the year.  Truth be told, I like hot beverages but have more of a soft spot for cold beverages.  I do suffer because of my choice, but what a delicious way to suffer!  Now it is your turn; what is your favorite Starbucks’ holiday beverage?

– Lauren Michele  :)

“Keep calm and drink coffee.”

Holiday Confections

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Going right along with yesterday’s post on food, today is about anything and everything sweet.  My December 3rd favorite:

What is your favorite holiday dessert?  My favorite Thanksgiving dessert is pumpkin pie, with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.  My favorite Christmas dessert is grandma’s cookies; cheesecake is a close second.  For as long as I can remember, my grandma has mailed a cookie package to every member of my paternal family.  Christmas is not official until that package arrives and the cookies have been displayed on the kitchen counter.  Sometimes, I ring in Christmas morning with a piece of grandma’s chocolate bread and a cup of hot chocolate.  Sssshhhh!  That is between you and me!  As for my mention of cheesecake, my family has always accompanied our main course of steak with a cheesecake.  I think the entire meal has something to do with my dad’s east coast upbringing.  Shout out to New York!

What is your favorite holiday food?

Stay merry!!!

– Lauren Michele  :)

“Life is uncertain.  Eat dessert first.”  – Ernestine Ulmer

Holiday Feast

holiday-food

Thanksgiving is still visible in the rear-view mirror, and food should be the further thought from our minds.  In my crazy mind, the next logical subject to discuss is food.  So, without further adieu, here is my December 2nd favorite:

What is my favorite holiday food?  My answer cannot be said in a simplistic manner, the reason being that my family is not super traditional.  My favorite main course food is steak; turkey is a close 2nd.  My dad has always grilled steaks for holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, but here is the kicker: The accompanying main course is always pizza.  How did that happen?  The “grown-up” food did not always satisfy the taste buds of me and my younger brother, and the tradition remained, even as we got older.  I will take this opportunity to mention that my family now eats turkey for Thanksgiving.  My favorite side dish is green bean casserole; baked macaroni & cheese is a close 2nd.  Green bean casserole is always my responsibility to cook therefore I might be slightly bias.  I find it delicious regardless of who makes it, but I know deep down inside that my satisfaction is based primarily on pride in my successful cooking efforts.  Now that I have finished my spiel, what is your favorite holiday food?

Chanukah sameach, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

– Lauren Michele  :)

“A recipe has no soul.  You as the cook must bring the soul to the recipe.”  – Thomas Keller