Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

‘Dancing’ Gossip, Christmas Lights and Tim Gunn

November 30, 2007

Editors note: I recently moved my blog to a new server. You can find this same post (and all my others) at the new location:, where I post daily.

I’ve been working on the next version Balancing for the past couple of days; it includes a redesign that I hope to launch in the next couple of days. In the meantime, enjoy some random links I found while taking a few breaks.


Christmas in Orlando

November 28, 2007

A friend and I are taking our 2-year-olds to do some Christmas stuff around town next month and it got me thinking of how much there is to do in Orlando this time of year. I did some research and came up with a list of my favorite things that I’ve either reported on as an Orlando travel editor, or that I want to do now that I have a kid. Most of the events on my list don’t require theme park admission because I like to do things on the cheap, but I do include a few that do. Here goes:

ICE — The Gaylord Palms resort hosts a cool (HA!) event every year, that I have yet to attend, but am planning on taking my son to this year. They bring in 2,000,000 (that’s two million) pounds of ice sculptures and keep them at 9 degrees (that’s cold for Floridians!). Read the resort’s blog, Behind the Scenes of ICE!

Disney hotels — They are all decorated to the hilt. Your kid won’t need to go to a theme park. We usually park at Disney’s boardwalk and go into one or two of the hotels there, then walk around the boardwalk to see the other sights.

Snow in Celebration — The town that Disney built near Orlando has a “snow fall” every evening (really just bubbles that blow every hour) with carolers, Santa, the “Celebration Express” and horse drawn carriage rides. The snow falls hourly from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Mall at Millenia Santa — He’s the best in the world. Really. He’s the real deal. I call him, “old-fashioned Santa.” Prepare to wait in line, unless you get there on a weekday, early in the morning.

Theme parks:

There’s a ton to do at the theme parks this time of year, but I’ll mention two of the ones that I know most about:

Islands of Adventure — I love, love, love what they do at IOA during the holidays. Suessville comes to life with The Grinch and all the Who’s from Whooville. It is truly a magical place to be and the kids love all the singing and action.

Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights (Disney-MGM Studios) — I haven’t been to this event, but I hear raves about it every year. If you are at Disney this season it’s a must stop.

Grinch at Universal Orlando

Photo courtesy: Universal Orlando Resort

Turkey Hot Line and Apple Pie — MMM-MMM Good!

November 14, 2007

What is happening to the month of November? Thanksgiving is next week. NEXT WEEK! It’s early this year, which means the Christmas season starts a week early too. Already, a house on my street is decorated for the holidays: green garland is up on the porch railings and the lights are strung around the roof of the house. Wasn’t it just Halloween? Don’t people take the time to celebrate Thanksgiving?

I’ll be making my Grandma Ople’s apple pie this Thanksgiving, even though I have no idea who Grandma Ople is! Several years ago I found the recipe on my favorite recipe Web site: I made the pie and it’s amazing. It drips with caramel sauce so silky that your mouth waters just looking at the finished pie. So, this year, for the first time, I’m going to make it for my entire family. Here’s a link to the recipe so you can try it too.

If you are like me, you don’t know a lot about making a turkey; Butterball turkey company started a hotline for people like us. Every year on Thanksgiving (and Christmas) Butterball opens a “Turkey Talk-Line” for newbie turkey cookers to call when in a turkey crisis. You can imagine the types of questions they get; Associated Content decodes three of the most unusual calls the company has had.

Related content:


Give a Christmas Gift to a Child In Need

October 16, 2007

Editors note: I recently moved my blog to a new server. You can find this same post (and all my others) at the new location:, where I post daily. Operation Christmas Child

I believe all children deserve a present at Christmastime so this year I’m going to participate in Operation Christmas Child. Children from around the world are given a shoe box with gifts you’ve purchased for either a boy or a girl.

Former President Bill Clinton mentions Operation Christmas Child in his new book, Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World. He says that he likes the program because people of all ages and income levels can participate.

A few years after the first shoe boxes were delivered, Clinton went to Bosnia and saw first hand “the happiness and gratitude sparked by these small boxes.”

Clinton also says:

“Countless gift-givers of modest means have made a real difference in the lives of children who otherwise might have been forgotten. Though Samaritan’s Purse is a Christian group, it offers a proven model of caring for children that members of any synagogue, mosque, or temple might want to emulate.”

This is how Samaritan’s Purse summarizes the project (from the Web site):

“Operation Christmas Child brings joy and hope to children in desperate situations around the world through gift-filled shoe boxes and the Good News of God’s love. This program of Samaritan’s Purse provides an opportunity for people of all ages to be involved in a simple, hands—on missions project while focusing on the true meaning of Christmas—Jesus Christ.”

It’s a great way to involve your entire family. Each member can do his/her own shoebox. Each kid can do one for a child like himself and fill it with toys he’d love to receive.

Find a drop off location near you.


Photo courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse.