Thursday, December 8, 2016

A Positive Look at the Season

As you can tell, I'm really into Christmas blogging this year?  Why?  I'm not sure.  But it's keeping
my spirits up as I watch the yucky snow out my back porch window.

Some people get really depressed this time of year.  A few contributing factors could be to blame--the weather and cloudiness, being alone, facing debt or crisis, or even having to be nice to mean relatives.  I can relate to all of these because I've been in all of these situations at different times in my life.

So how do people stay upbeat at Christmas?  Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) nails me every year, so I have to have a different mindset in winter, especially at Christmas.

First, this is my 'vacation' time.  I turn on all the lights in the house (100 watts are the best) and imagine it's summertime.  I even wear shorts in the house on the coldest of days, just to feel free from the confines of heavy clothing.  I dance.  I let myself dream.  And this is the best time I get plotting done.

Winter, and especially Christmas, brings along new chores.  These include getting ready for the season (shopping, cooking, decorating), and also dealing with winter--shoveling, scraping ice, putting down ice melt, etc.  I take these with stride and let my mind wander when I have to do these chores.

So the next time you let the season get you down, consider this your 'downtime' to plan and have fun, time you wouldn't have in the summer.  Figure out what you want to do in the spring and summer and start your plan.  It'll help give you an upbeat and positive look at the season ahead.

And, if you just want to escape the dreariness, stop by SweetTale Books and get yourself something to read.  My books all have 'happily ever after' endings, with fun and interesting stories along the way.

Have a wonderful day!
SweetTale Books

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Favorite Stories to Warm Your Heart



Do you have a favorite story or movie at Christmas that just warms your heart?  Here are a few of mine:

Movies:

  • It's a Wonderful Life
  • The Christmas Card
  • The Santa Clause
  • Polar Express
  • A Christmas Story
  • Christmas with the Kranks
Books:
  • The Night Before Christmas (by Clement Clarke Moore)
  • A Christmas Carol (by Charles Dickens)
  • Visions of Sugarplums (by Janet Evanovich)

Yes, I know most of these aren't politically correct but if they make me laugh, they make my list.  I love to laugh, so either the books are very touching or just fun.

What do you like at Christmas?  If you can't think of any or need something new, try out this sweet Christmas shelf.  Or, there are some free short stories on this shelf.

Enjoy!
SweetTale Books

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A Delicious Recipe for the Season--Double Chocolate Mint Walnut Cookies

The magic of this season begins with great food.  And the best food for Christmas?  COOKIES!

Here's an excellent recipe to make everyone smile, even if they do have chocolate in their mouths.  :)





Double Chocolate Mint Walnut Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup salted butter, softened (1 stick=8 tbsp.)
3/8 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar


1 egg
1/2 tsp mint extract

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup Andes candies mint chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnut pieces


Directions:

  • Heat oven to 350.
  • In one small bowl, add flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.  Mix.
  • In a bigger bowl, beat butter and sugars (brown and white) together.
  • Add egg and mint extract.  Beat.
  • Mix in dry ingredients from smaller bowl.
  • Add in Andes candies and walnut pieces.  Mix well with wooden spoon.
  • Put spoonfuls on baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until done.




Monday, December 5, 2016

Don't you just love Christmas?

Remember when you were a kid and the magic of Christmas filled your heart from about Thanksgiving until the New Year?

I remember those days fondly.  I had an old radio (a lot like this one, but green: Old Radio) that I would turn on from the first day of the school's Christmas vacation, and listen to Christmas songs.  It seemed to take an enternity for Christmas to arrive.

In the meantime, we'd string up lights, put up the tree, and even bake cookies.  My mom loved Christmas because it was also her birthday.  My dad used to tell people (including one Sunday in front of the entire church) that he married my mom so he'd only have to get her one present every year.  He was hardly like that...he loved Christmas and always went overboard for everyone, including my mom.  But it was his joke.

Anyway, we'd really get into Christmas.  Every year, my dad would drive us around to see all the pretty Christmas lights people would put around their house, including all the decorations in the front yard.  Mom would put the Christmas cards on all the interior door frames, and we'd always love reading those big letters some people put in their cards, bragging about their lives (I guess it was an early form of Facebook).

As we get older, we seem to lose that magical time, just waiting for Christmas to arrive.  It seems to be more hustle and bustle, or as my dad would say, 'it's the season of push and shove.'

I'd like to get back to that magic.  Wouldn't you?

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Friday, December 2, 2016

Christmas Cards!

Every year, I tell myself that I'll never send Christmas cards after this year.  Who reads them anyway?  Who cares about getting Christmas cards?  My sister only sends things online unless the person doesn't have the Internet (like my mom).

So why do I send Christmas cards?  My handwriting is pretty awful, so I even print out the labels and put a sticker for our name on the inside, so people can actually read it. I don't send out those big letters with accomplishments, but just streamline it to make it fast and painless.

I finally decided this year that there's a reason I send those cards.  For some of my recipients, this is all the Christmas they will get.  It's something tangible for them to hold, to give them a memory they may not ever have.  It's more personal than just an ecard.

My mom used to take all the Christmas cards she'd get and tape them up to a doorway, so it'd be more festive than having no decoration at all.  We could also see who wanted to share Christmas with us, by inviting them into our home for the holiday.

So the next time you consider not sending Christmas cards, realize that one person may never have any other connection to Christmas.  Thus, I'm sending out my cards this year, to make someone happy.

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Christmas Movies!

Ah, it's Christmas movie time.  Some channels have already been showing these movies, 24/7 (like the Hallmark channel).

I found a few channels that are showing Christmas movies.  I had no idea some of them were being shown on some of these channels.

Check out:

TBS
ion television
Lifetime
The Hallmark Channel
Hallmark Movies and Mysteries
UP
FreeForm (used to be ABC Family)

I'm sure there are more (probably channels we don't get here), but this is a start.  I had no idea ion and UP showed Christmas movies.  Then, of course, there are more on Netflix.  YAY, Christmas movies!  What are your favorites?

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Winter's First Light

Quick...when you think of winter, what do you think of?  Snow?  A fireplace?  Hot chocolate?  A Christmas tree?

Or do you think of a small town, where everyone knows everyone else, a community that cares, and the warmth of a smile?  Most of them seem to be in the mountains, too, for some odd reason.

Have you ever noticed how all these winter stories (movies, books, etc) all seem to involve a small town community that cares?  Why is it those same communities aren't as highlighted in the summertime?  Then, the stories are more about the beach, hanging out poolside, and traveling.

If you want to write something different for a winter tale, consider the setting for summer and make it snow.  That'd be a different winter's first light.

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books