Whether they're Galas, Granny Smiths, Yorks, Winesaps, or Ginger Golds, apples are one of Virginia's loveliest and most useful crops and were much enjoyed by the early colonists and pioneers as well as today's families. Crisp, sweet apples-- harvested in the chilly days of October, can be part of your celebrations in November and December.
An October Excursion to a Mountain Orchard
The kids are running around the house screaming. One has a cat, the other a bottle of dishwashing liquid. They're heading for the bathroom. Your head is pounding as you rush after them; you arrive seconds before your Persian sinks her claws into your five-year-old. After you dry off the cat, lecture the children, and bring out some popcorn to distract them, that extra cup of coffee and sweet roll are starting to look pretty good. If you smoke, you're probably reaching for the pack by now. After all, you deserve it, don't you?
In the past twenty years, storytelling as a treasured art and pastime has made quite a comeback. Not all the video games, cable channels, or talk radio in the world can take the place of a fine story told face-to-face with good friends on a quiet evening as the rain splatters on the window panes.
One of the most important things to teach children about the holidays is how to express their thanks for what they have received. Plan to set aside a few hours to have fun and give thanks.
Tips for Timely Thank-You's
Santa shouldn't be the only one making lists. In the excitement of opening presents, cards have a tendency to get lost very quickly. Have a sheet of paper and pen handy to jot down the givers, the gifts, and the receivers. No need to make a production of it, but this list will come in so very handy later on.
In a world filled with SUV's, ever-rising gas prices, and hotels that cater to their customers' perceived desires to be surrounded by plush conveniences, some eccentric souls will look for opportunities to kick back, simplify, and enjoy a break from the daily smog-encrusted rush.
On a bicycle, the world seems a different place. It certainly moves at a different pace, faster than on foot but slow enough to experience the sweet fulfillment of the day. Getting back on a bike after many years is a pleasure you should not put off.
Often the anguish of death is too much to be borne alone. Deep, seemingly perpetual depression is exhausting to the mind and the body as well as the spirit. Know that there are others who have trod the path of grief and are willing to listen to your thoughts and memories, and that there are others who have written works that may show a healing mirror to your own journey.
A reaction to loss can be rage or tears, years of the silent pain of denial or a dedication to a project in memory of the life of the beloved.
"Although workplace attitudes toward people with disabilities are changing, the unemployment rate among the job-aged disabled population is more than 60 percent, as compared with less than 10 percent among the general population. Two out of three people with disabilities are not working. And of those, two out of three want to work. With roughly $200 billion in benefits being paid out each year to nonworking people with disabilities, it just doesn't make sense for businesses to say they can't afford to accommodate people with disabilities."
One of the first things hearing parents ask themselves when they discover they have deaf children is how they will communicate with them, and how, eventually, will their children communicate with the world. The decision is not an easy one. There are many factors to consider, including how much hearing remains, whether or not a cochlear implant will be an option, and whether or not the child has additional educational issues. Proponents of each communication approach have what seem to be ironclad arguments as to why their ways are the best.
Etiquette purists may shudder at a mass-produced family newsletter, but in these days of friends and family spread across the country, a newsletter can be an effective way to spread cheery news. After all, how much verbiage CAN you fit on a (mass-produced) holiday card?
In this age of free downloadable templates, digital photos, and inexpensive scanners, there's no reason not to try out a little technology to turn a yearly chore into a relatively enjoyable electronic tradition.
Some Tips for a Better Family Newsletter:
With food and gas prices skyrocketing, it's time to reconsider how we spend our paychecks. Even if you've got money to spare now, you could be looking at a downsized salary later or a period of unemployment. Unless you've been on the job for a while, that unemployment check isn't going to cover much. Better to rethink some everyday expenses so you'll have a bit of a financial cushion for later on.
There are some daily luxuries many of us think we can't live without. Still, there are ways to cut back on these costs.