Thoughtful Thursday – Father’s Day

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Father’s Day is fast approaching on Sunday, June 20th. It’s a day to remember and celebrate those great dads who are here with us today and also to honor those who may have passed.

It’s been said being a mother is one of the toughest jobs and it is, but it’s not exactly a walk in the park for Dads either. They work hard to protect their families and pass down to their kids the knowledge and skills they acquired throughout their lives. Dad’s also pass on their life long passions and hope that one day, their little ones will follow in their footsteps. So how will you honor that great man in your life?

If you’re stuck on what to do for dad this Father’s Day, here are a few ideas:

  • Make a handmade card with a personal photo.
  • Make a photo collage of memorable moments.
  • Have an outdoor celebration in the park, beach or your own backyard.
  • Take dad out on a sporting adventure of his choice.
  • Go camping for a night.
  • Cook his favorite dinner.
  • Build something fun together.
  • Spend a nice day together talking about fun memories.

“A father is neither an anchor to hold us back nor a sail to take us there, but a guiding light whose love shows us the way.” ~Uknown

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Thoughtful Thursday – Memorial Day

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Memorial Day is Monday, May 31st. You know the holiday is approaching when stores start heavily marketing their upcoming sales, but it’s so much more than that. Memorial Day is a day to remember those who have lost their lives in service of the United States of America.

Memorial Day began shortly after the Civil War which ended in 1865. General John Logan, National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic proclaimed it in his General Order No 11 on May 5th, 1868.

In General Logan’s order it is said “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

Since May 30th wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle, General Logan named it Decoration Day. However in 1880, the name was officially changed to Memorial Day.

I’m grateful for those brave souls who served in our military and gave their lives protecting our great nation and our freedom and to those who fight for us today. From the bottom of my heart, Thank You!

Happy Memorial Day Images 2018| Memorial Day Pictures ...

Thoughtful Thursday

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Easter Family Traditions

Growing up, Easter was a fairly big day of celebration. I remember how excited I was to color Easter eggs with mom the night before. Easter morning we started our day with breakfast and then off to church we went. For us kids, the highlight was getting back home to the Easter baskets filled with all kinds of goodies.

Mom would always get us something new to wear. Whether it was a new shirt or swimsuit, it was always exciting. Then it was time for the infamous Easter Egg Hunt in the garden which was a thrilling event! I held on to these wonderful family traditions with my kids and we all have a lot of fond memories and more in the making!

My kids are grown now but I still make them some type of basket. I’ve switched it up and gotten pretty creative over the years. This year I was going to try making these cute wafer decorations which can be found at SmartSchoolHouse.com. My Pinterest Easter Board is full of inspiring ideas on celebrating this Easter holiday.

What are your Easter Traditions?

I wish you and your family a Joyous Easter!

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“Easter is the only time of the year when it’s safe to put all your eggs in one basket..” ~Unknown

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Esther A Howland “The Mother of Valentine”

Follow Up to the History of Valentine’s Day

Last week I wrote a post about the history of Valentine’s Day and learned we had a “Mother of Valentine, “Esther A Howland. I found her very interesting considering she was born in a time before women basically had rights and as a result the odds were not in her favor. Despite that, Esther persevered and moved forward with her vision. Below are some of the highlights of Esther’s lifetime accomplishments below:

  • 1828 Esther was born in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her parents were Southworth Allen Howland and Esther Howland.
  • Her Father, owned the largest stationary and bookbindery business in Worcester, Massachusetts.
  • Esther attended college at Mount Holyoke Academy the same time as Emily Dickinson did.
  • 1847 Esther graduated college at the age of 19 and received a Valentine card from one of her father’s friends which was decorated with lace and cut out flowers. During this time, Valentine Day Cards were imported from Europe into the States.
  • Esther loved the card and thought she could do better. She talked to her father and he bought her supplies to make her own cards. She created a dozen designs.
  • Esther gave the samples to her brother for his next sales trip for their father’s business. She hoped for $200 in sales which would be worth around $6,380 today. But to her surprise he returned with over $5,000, worth $159,501 today.
  • Esther knew she couldn’t handle these orders by herself so she employed friends, primarily women who were said to have been paid liberally and had pleasant working conditions. She used a guest bedroom on the 3rd floor of her home for her new business. She set up an assembly line to create the cards and inspected each one.
  • 1850 The Worcester Spy published the first advertisement for Esther’s Valentine Cards and she became officially known as a businesswomen.
  • 1870 Esther incorporated her business, New England Valentine Company (N.E.V.Co).
  • In red ink, Esther began stamping the letter “H” and price on the back of her cards. She also included in red ink, the letters for her company “N.E.V.Co.”
  • Esther’s business grossed $100,000 annually the equivalent of $3,190,024 today.
  • Esther expanded her business and made cards for Birthdays, Christmas and New Years. She also created May Baskets and Booklets.
  • 1866 Esther suffered a knee injury and became bound to a wheelchair.
  • 1874 Esther moved her Valentine factory from her home to Harrington Corner.
  • Esther passed away in 1904 at the age of 76. Although she was considered “The Mother of Valentine” she never married.
Esther Howland’s Home
Assembly Line
Esther Howland Valentine Cards

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“I never dreamed about success, I worked for it.” ~ Estee Lauder

Sources:

https://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day/history-of-valentines-day-2

https://www.amazingwomeninhistory.com/esther-howland-american-valentine

https://newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/esther-howland-worcester-valentine-queen/

https://www.legacyclub.boston/esther-howland

https://bonnercountydailybee.com/news/2021/feb/10/esthers-gift-and-legacy-love/

Thoughtful Thursday

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History of Valentine’s Day

Did you ever wonder how it all got started? I mean, who came up with this idea to celebrate love on February 14th? The roots of St Valentine’s Day go back to 270 AD. I’m sure you don’t want a major history lesson so here are a few of the highlights:

  • Geoffrey Chaucer, an English Poet was the first person to record St Valentine’s Day as a day of romantic celebration in his 1375 poem “Parliament of Foules”
  • The oldest recorded Valentine was written in 1415, by Charles, Duke of Orleans. After the battle of Agincourt he was held prisoner in The Tower of London and wrote a Valentine to his wife which is now a part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.
  • Cupid is depicted on many Valentine Day greetings as a cute, chubby little cherub. However, his roots actually go back to the Greek God of Love, Eros.
  • In the mid 1800’s, friends and lovers would exchange small tokens of affection or a hand written note. By the 1900’s, printing technology improved and printed cards replaced the handmade versions from the 1800’s
  • In the 1840’s, Esther A Howland who became known as “The Mother of Valentine” began selling the first mass produced Valentines in the United States. Her creations were beautifully made with lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as scrap. Esther’s brother took a dozen card samples to their father’s store where she hoped to get $200 in sales. But her brother returned with over $5,000 in sales!!!
  • Today approximately 145 Million Valentine Day cards are sent each year making it the 2nd largest holiday to Christmas.

Below is a photo of Esther A Howland and a few of her Valentine Cards

“For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.” ~Judy Garland

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💖 Happy Valentine’s Day! 💖

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Sources:

https://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day/history-of-valentines-day-2

https://bonnercountydailybee.com/news/2021/feb/10/esthers-gift-and-legacy-love/

Thoughtful Thursday

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Choices

I think we can all agree, 2020 is a year we will not soon forget. But the New Year has begun and it’s filled with endless possibilities. More importantly these possibilities will be a direct result of the choices that are made.

When you think about it, our lives all boil down to the choices we’ve made through the years. There are the good choices we’ve made when everything was simply peachy. Then there are those choices that when we look back, we question what the heck were we thinking at that time. It would be great if we had a crystal ball to see how things would turn out based on our choices. But where’s the fun in that?

I strongly feel that in the “not so great choices that are made” are important lessons to be learned. Sometimes the lessons are revealed quickly while other times, it just takes a while before it shows itself to you.

Make 2021 a Great Year! Be patient and kind to yourself, as well as with others. Do the best that you can. When faced with adversity, take a minute to breathe deep before responding harshly. Make the choice to have a positive enlightening day! Turn those days into a week, month and year!!

“May your choices reflect your hopes not your fears.” Nelson Mandela

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Holiday Indulging

The holiday season is a very special time of year for celebration and good cheer with those you love. But they also can be tough for many reasons and this year goes without saying. I’m always looking for the silver lining in the cloud and I’ve found that for me, all this craziness has meant more time with my family. So tomorrow night we’re doing a little bit of baking, something we haven’t done for the last several years.

I’m not sure how you do with indulging in holiday treats but I know at this stage in my life, the weight goes on quickly and fairly easily but is hard to get off. Sometime it seems like I just look at the sweets and the weight goes on, lol. But seriously, the holidays only come once a year and this year, I’ve decided it’s okay to indulge a little. Now, I’m not going gung ho and eating an entire batch of cookies but I’m definitely going to savor each bite enjoy a few.

The more you avoid something you really want, the more likely you are to binge eat. So having a few sweet treats is acceptable and should be enjoyed guilt free! But then just make sure you get back on track to eating healthy again and exercising if possible.

To compensate for my indulgences, I’m planning on running an extra mile here and there but nothing crazy. So my words of wisdom to you are enjoy this special time of year with loved ones and really cherish these special moments together, and “ENJOY” your holidays treats because I’m sure they’re well deserved!

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Holiday Essential Oil Blends

Aromatherapy is defined as the use of fragrances to affect or alter a person’s mood. And it does just that. Smelling a fragrant essential oil can completely change your mood. Some fragrances may even transport you back in time to a wonderful memory.

There are a lot of synthetic ways to bring fragrance into your home but most are loaded with harmful chemicals. Not to mention a lot of people can’t tolerate them and that’s where aromatherapy is a blessing because it’s natural.

Essential oils are a great way to add a nice fragrance to your home with a room diffuser. There are a lot of different blends. If you’re not sure where to start, I found a great website EssentialOilHaven.com hosted by Emma. Below are her 12 Favorite Holiday Blends. Now you can also create your blend. You just need to experiment a little and find what speaks to you. But at least you have a place to start.

12 Christmas Diffuser Blend Recipes

My favorite scents for the holidays are cinnamon and pine. I’ve been enjoying sipping Cinnamon Chai Tea and smelling the fragrant pine from our Christmas tree. It really gets you in a great mood for the holidays!

Would love to hear from you. What’s your favorite holiday scent?

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Treasure the Moments

The holidays themselves can be rather stressful, throw our unusual circumstances into the mix and it can easily become mega stressful. But this season, I’m finding the utmost joy in the little things.

I’m slowing down and simply enjoying being in the moment with my family. I’m making the time to bake cookies and cakes which is something I wasn’t able to do last year. I’m watching lots of holiday “feel good” movies and reading really good books. I’ve been playing a lot of holiday music, singing and bopping along as I work throughout the day which makes everything more fun 😊

My creative mind has been hard at work. Instead of buying all store bought gifts, I’m coming up with creative ways to make some unique handmade gifts. I’m even getting back to basics with giftwrapping and using brown craft paper nicely decorated with bakers twine and pine greens.

By slowing down and simply savoring each moment, it has made life more calm. I’m very grateful for that. I plan on capturing lots of special moments with my camera this year, so I can look back and always remember the love I share with my family.

What will you do to find the joy in all the treasured moments this year?

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