Saturday, 29 December 2018

Resolution Time!

Are you making New Year's resolutions this year?

I don't know how much I believe in them, but I have decided to go back to my "old faithful" for 2019 and focus on one main goal—more reading. 

It's becoming a pattern that each year I look back at my year in review, I'm disappointed in the number of books I've read. Last year, I only made it through 15, and while that sounds like a lot, it's about 20 short of my goal. Ugh. 

It's not all bad though, because although I didn't read as much as I wanted to, I did write. A lot. I finished my second ever National Novel Writing Month challenge (and even sent my story in to a publication contest!), wrote two short stories for Mrs. Kratky, and scribbled out a few haikus.

But to be a better writer, I need to read more. So that's the goal. In 2019, I plan to read 25 books—and  journal about them. They don't have to be long entries, but I should keep a record of them and write a few sentences about whether I liked them or not. <grin>

Of course, I'll also resolve to train harder for track and field, complete my third NaNoWriMo, continue getting good grades in Science and Math (my hardest subjects), and do more chores for my grandparents when I'm at their farm.

Gotta jet! I know it's not 2019 yet, but I'm getting an early start on my reading with a new book I got for Christmas. (Santa must have known I was going to make this resolution!) Share your resolutions—maybe we can keep each other accountable?

Have a fun (and safe) weekend. See you next year!

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Saturday, 22 December 2018

DIY Cold Weather Crafts For The Season

It's no secret my sister and I like to do crafts. Arts projects are a great way to spend a chilly afternoon—especially since the weather in MY area has turned particularly nasty! Did anything in your yard topple over in that crazy wind yesterday? Brrrr.

Best to stay indoors! But mom says we have enough craft supplies in this house to open our own craft store. So, with the help of Google, I tracked down seven holiday crafts my sister and I can do with recycled products, or things you can find around the house. So, not only are these crafts FUN, they’re also environmentally friendly. Win-win! Check them out.

STAR ORNAMENT: All you’ll need is paper, straw, beads, coloured ribbon and pipe cleaners to make these star ornaments. Lucky for us, Grandma has a collection of different coloured beads!

RECYCLED CARDBOARD TREE: Rather than chop down a tree, why not use one that’s already been recycled? Dad has tons of boxes stored in the garage.

DRIFTWOOD TREE: Okay, maybe it’s a little harder to find driftwood, but if you can—or something similar—wouldn’t this be an excellent gift? My mom would love it.

UPCYCLED HOLLY LEAF HOLIDAY CARD WREATH: A Styrofoam ring forms the base for this paper holly wreath—and cutting out all of those leaves will keep my sister busy for HOURS.

RUSTIC SNOWFLAKES: There’s still time to collect twigs, pine needles, berries, old buttons, and ribbons to make these great snowflakes.

CHRISTMAS TREE DECORATION: Aren't these easy-to-make (and inexpensive) paper Christmas tree decorations cute? We could fill an entire tree with these.

WRAPPING PAPER: I’m wrapping up this list (see what I did there?) with environmentally-friendly ideas for giftwrap. Try fabric, comic strips, newspaper, wallpaper, calendars and more—just in time for me to start wrapping. I'm way behind this year!

Don’t worry if you’re not particularly crafty—everything on this list is EASY and fun. Plus, you might want to give away some of these crafts as Christmas gifts. I can already see some that would be perfect for members of my family.

Gotta jet! Stay warm and have a great weekend. Christmas is almost here!

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 14 December 2018

Traditions — From My House To Around The World

I'm gearing up for a weekend of annual traditions—cookie decorating, our yearly "Whoville" party, wrapping gifts, a tour of the lights... It's going to be a busy couple of days. PLUS, we're going to decorate our Grinch gingerbread house.

But the truth is, this is just the beginning. My entire Christmas holiday is filled with family traditions.

Even the way we decorate our tree is traditional. Dad always strings the lights, Mom always puts the star on the top, and my sister and I put up specific decorations. All while listening to holiday music and drinking hot chocolate with peppermint sprinkles.

Family traditions are important. So, I thought it might be fun to check out some different Christmas traditions from around the world. Boy, did I learn a lot!

Like, did you know that in Ireland, kids leave mince pies instead of cookies for Santa? Or that in Russia and Ukraine, Christmas is celebrated on January 7, not December 25th?

The people of Netherlands, who celebrate Christmas on December 6th, await the arrival of SinterKlaas and his sidekick, Black Pete. SinterKlaas leaves candy and nuts for boys and girls who have their shoes filled with hay and sugar for his horse.

I’m a BIG fan of turkey, but in Japan, traditional Christmas dinner is Kentucky Fried Chicken. Can you imagine? In fact, you’d have to make a reservation to eat at a KFC on Christmas in the country!

And you all know how much I love Halloween, so of course I’m all about the Austrian folklore that jolly Saint Nick makes his rounds with a sidekick in tow—creepy Krampus. He takes care of the kids on Santa’s NAUGHTY list, and trust me, his “punishment” is worse than a lump of coal. Er…not that I would know first-hand of course.

What are some of your family traditions? I’d love to learn more about them!

Gotta jet! Have a great weekend.

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 7 December 2018

Random Acts of Holiday Kindness

Sometimes it's easy to forget "kindness" when you're jostling for position in a long line, trudging through snow or slipping across ice, or when you're scrounging for quarters to pay for that last Christmas present you almost forgot to buy. The season famous for holiday lights, hot chocolate, and family gathered around the table can also be very stressful.

So this year—again—I'm making a list...of ways I can spread KINDNESS this season. Little things *I* can do to make it easier on someone else—my family, my friends, even strangers. The world needs kindness. And we can all do our part.

Here are a few ideas I had:

  • Bake cookies (with Grandma) and drop a batch off at the local senior's home—or maybe the police station, fire station, or hospital. Retailers aren't the only ones working extra hard over the holiday season. 
  • Shovel the neighbour's walk—or for someone else on my street. 
  • Buy hot chocolate for the person behind me in the coffee shop line. 
  • Take my sister ice skating. (If you saw how she skates, you'd know how kind of me this is!)
  • Help my neighbour put up his Christmas lights. Obviously I won't be climbing on the roof or any ladders, but I can arrange the light-up snowmen and deer on the lawn!
  • Smile! It sounds simple, but you'd be surprised what a genuine smile can do during this stressful time of year. 
  • Volunteer to wrap presents for local seniors or maybe the children's wing at the hospital. 
  • Leave a Christmas card for the mailman in the mail box. 
  • Pick up trash at a park and throw it in the garbage.
  • Donate some of extra toys, books, or clothes. 

That's not a bad list. Have things to add? Great—we can all brainstorm together and come up with the BEST list. Share your Random Acts of Holiday Kindness in the comments so we can keep the ideas coming.

Gotta Jet! I’m going to start on this list this weekend. See you next Friday!

~ Chase Superman Duffy