MONDAY: Five Blogs We Love

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It’s Monday and we’re going to talk about five blogs we love. We think you’ll like them too.

Young House Love
Jon and Sherry Petersik started out blogging about the rennovations of their first home several years back. They did it with such style and purpose that three houses and two children later, Young House Love is their full time occupation. They’ve published two books and developed their own line of hardware sold exclusively at Target. About a year ago they took a break from the blog, but it appears they might be making a slow return. We hope they do.

Richmond Beermeister
What’s not lot love? Richmond is becoming a great town for craft beers. Richmond Brewmeister share reviews of the latest offerings and keeps you up to date on the latest beer happenings around town.

Viral Upcycle
Truth be told, we just found this one. But we love how Heather Iglesias takes ordinary objects, and sometimes things headed for the trash and reworks them into beautiful and useful objects. Heather says, “Upcycling can give you a beautiful creative life while being frugal and thoughtful of earth’s resources.”

Doughmesstic
Susan Whetzel is a wife and mom living in and blogging from a small town in Southwest Virginia. But that doesn’t keep her from traveling and blogging about great food and ideas. She’s published three cookbooks including one exclusively about S’mores.

Wayfarer
Tom Vander Well writes about life, faith, and theater, among other things. Daily he takes a passage of Scripture and expounds on it with profound insight. He also talks about his wife, his daughters and his home on the lake.

Have a favorite blog? Leave a link in the comments. We’ll check it out.

photo credit: Keyboard Blue Glow via photopin (license)

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It’s National Marooned Without a Compass Day

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You can’t make these things up.

Well, you can, but they wouldn’t be quite a funny.

Today is “National Marooned Without a Compass Day.”

Apparently the explantion regarding the creation of this day is lost and, thus far, no amount of internet navigation has produced an explanation.

Besides, it’s particularly hard to be lost without a compass these days, unless you really are lost and are without cell phone coverage.

Maybe it’s a good weekend to finally go see The Martian if it’s still in your local theaters.

We’re guessing you need neither a compass or a GPS to navigate your way to the weekend.

Try these great apple cider recipes

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The leaves are turning, and falling, and there’s a notable chill in the air. What better time to warm up inside with some hot apple cider.

Here are five great recipes we found around the Web.

Apple Pie Cider Fizz
Doughmesstic offers this light and fruity drink for fall. She says “You’ll love the crisp bite!”

Spiced Hot Apple Cider
Campbell’s Kitchen says their hot cider “hits the spot on cold afternoons when you’re sitting in front of a blazing fire.”

Homemade Apple Cider Recipe
Wellness Mama offers this great recipe for the slow cooker. She recommends making it before you turn in for the night so that it’s hot and ready in the morning.

Slow Cooker Caramel Apple Cider Recipe
Taste of Home offers a bit of a twist by adding caramel syrup. Serve it up with a plate of holiday cookies.

Spiced Apple Cider
Martha Stewart adds allspice berries, cinnamon, and orange zest to make this warming drink.

These are just a few of the hundreds of apple cider recipes out there. Check them out or try your own.

photo credit: Hot caramel apple cider via photopin (license)

Favorite Thanksgiving Movies

EDITOR’S NOTE:  This post was originally published at The Write Side of My Brain in November 2011.

After the parades, after the tryptophan has kicked in, after you’re tired of football…and if you don’t want to spend a fortune seeing one of many choices of great Thanksgiving movies (see family friend movies here), then here’s our list of classic Thanksgiving movies/videos that are a must watch every season.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947). The best version of course is the 1947 original. Sure it’s in black and white, but it was Maureen O’Hara and a young Natalie Wood. The movie opens at the beginning of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The Santa hired for the parade is far to drunk to head down Broadway. So, kindly old Kris Kringle agrees to step in. Is he the real Santa Claus? Do you believe? The 1994 remake
isn’t bad, but we prefer the original.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Deluxe Edition. What’s not to love about the idea of sharing a Thanksgiving feast with Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the gang. When Peppermint Patti invites herself over for dinner, Charlie Brown does his best but it’s not the expected.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Steve Martin and John Candy team up in this hilarious movie where the goal is just to get home for the holiday, by whatever means possible.

And no Thanksgiving would be complete without this classic:

The WKRP Turkey Drop. One of televisions classic episodes. The bumbling sales staff at WKRP radio station flies into disaster when they decide that dropping live turkeys from a helicopter would be a good idea. In the classic ending line, station manager Arthur “Big Guy” Carlson declares “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.” See the whole episode on Hulu.

What if you can’t go over the river?

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What if you can’t go home for the holidays?

There’s no place like home for the holidays.

But, what if you can’t get there?

Whether you live hundreds of miles away from home in your new (or older) professional career, or your a college student who can’t afford to travel, or perhaps you work retail in a store that refuses to close for Thanksgiving

Shame on that store, but you have to keep your job.

So here are some thoughts about celebrating the holidays.

Host your own holiday dinner. Grab some friends who find themselves in the same situation. Make it potluck and have everyone bring their favorite family dish. You may want make sure that everyone doesn’t have a favorite stuffing recipe or the meal could get interesting.

Find out who from your place of worship might be offering extra space at their dinner table. Or perhaps there’s a community dinner or restaurant hosting meals for anyone who wants to attend. It’s more common than you might think.

Volunteer. One of the best ways to forget about your own troubles is to invest in the lives of others who not only can’t go home, but who don’t have a home to go to.

Go home with a friend. Most parents will gladly welcome you to join their table.

Relax and spend the day by yourself. Sure, you might not get the turkey dinner. But catch up on your sleep. See a movie. Take a hike. Read a book. Use it as time to regenerate for the craziness that no doubt comes and the December holiday season approaches.

In other words, be thankful for your home, even if you can’t get there.

Don’t forget to call the family on the big day. Call, text, Skype, or whatever. Just be sure to check in.

There may be no place like home for the holidays, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it a great day.

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photo credit: Thanksgiving Table via photopin (license)

A Month of Thankful

The James River at Berkeley Plantation

The James River at Berkeley Plantation

It’s November. A new month. And, if you’re paying attention, a new return to this blog.

November is the month when Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s become a day of parades, football, and overeating and hopefully being thankful.

It’s generally followed by a day of spending money we don’t have on things we don’t need.

There are many Thanksgiving traditions. And there are many stories of how Thanksgiving came to be.

Yesterday, at Berkeley Plantation in Virginia, the real first American Thanksgiving was commemorated. Read about it here. And read a little more about Thanksgiving history here.

Yet, if one is to be really thankful, there’s no reason to quibble about the first celebration.

Take the challenge this month to consider the things for which you’re thankful.

Take the challenge to eat less, watch a little less football, and spend a little less the day after.

America is a nation of abundance.

Take some time to be thankful for that.