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Archive for December, 2013

Gail Cawley Showalter

Teenage girl rolling eyes with shoulder turned away from angry mother in background

Gail Cawley Showalter

“Mind your manners!” used to be a common phrase you would hear from parents. Lately this Tough Old Bird hears other things and sees a lack of common courtesy. See previous post: Teaching Manners in a Mannerless World

  • Teens back-talking parents and parents acting as if this is the norm.
  • Sarcasm on every popular sitcom on TV.
  • Children running in stores and seldom saying excuse me when they practically knock you over.
  • Children simply not learning proper language of good manners.
  • Bullying is so common it often makes the evening news with tragic results.

Whatever happened to common courtesy? I can tell you it isn’t common anymore.

It is courtesy that makes the day livable for many. All of us have challenges, some more than others. Have you noticed how a nice smile, or “Hello,” or simply a door held open makes you feel happier?

Children aren’t…

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WAUWAA

1. Sleep more.

I can hear your crazy laughing from here. Ok, so your little darlings might have something to say about this one, but what I mean is start taking the opportunity to sleep when you can. Take naps at the weekend or when you have childcare or when a sympathetic friend can watch the kids for an hour. Go to bed earlier, turn off the TV, leave the washing up for the morning and get as many zzzzzzs as you can! Everything’s easier to cope with when you have a little extra sleep.

2. Put down your phone.

The age of the smartphone is firmly here but sometimes those little devices take up our attention more than they should. Instead of fumbling for your phone camera to take a picture of your kiddo doing something cute, simply enjoy the moment and watch. Instead of browsing Facebook on the…

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ST LOUIS BY GINA

By Kelley Holland

You know your teens can be illogical, unreasonable, and occasionally malodorous, but isn’t it at least reasonable to assume they know the basics about money?

Apparently not. Surveys show that teens are failing at financial literacy. And while financial institutions like PricewaterhouseCoopers are investing significant resources in changing that, the problem is persisting.

From those in a position to know best — personal finance and business education teachers — here are some of the most gaping holes in teens’ money knowledge.

1. Bank account basics

“My students had no idea how to figure out online banking,” said Keith Newman, a personal finance teacher at Bodine High School for International Affairs in Philadelphia. Part of the problem, he said, is that there are no high-quality, up-to-date teaching tools to help students learn about bank accounts, so he is hoping to take his students to a bank to open accounts and…

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New Year's Resolutions

January 1 became the first day of the year in 46 B.C. when Julius Caesar developed a new calendar, switching from a lunar one to a solar one. He named the first month of the Julian calendar after the two-faced god Janus. Janus could look back on the past year and look forward to the year ahead at the same time. The Romans exchanged New Year’s gifts that symbolized good fortune, such as branches from sacred trees and, later, coins imprinted with the likeness of Janus.

Although the date for the start of the New Year is not the same in every culture, the day is a time for making promises and for setting goals for the year ahead. According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, about half of our population here in the United States makes resolutions each year. Popular New Year’s resolutions for Americans are: losing weight, exercising and giving up smoking.

The approach of a new year is also a good time to set some business resolutions. Think of 2014 as the year you can attain some new heights in your career. Here are six areas to examine. The specifics are up to you.

Here are 6 New Year’s Resolutions

Learn something new

American philosopher and writer Mortimer Adler once wrote, “The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as long as we live.” Have you gotten stuck doing and thinking about the same things every day? Monotony can be the ruin of many a great mind.

How can you add some fresh thinking and energy to your workplace? Take an online course. Read a book. Sign up for a seminar. Ask a friend or co-worker to teach you a new skill.

Whether you choose something directly related to your business, only partly related or not related at all, learning something new will benefit you by adding a new dimension to your life. In addition, you will put yourself into contact with some new people. New people can mean new growth for your business.

Market your business better

It’s time to step up your social media and content marketing in 2014. Does your company have a blog? Post some fresh content each week that gets your message out.  Plan ways to increase your social media contacts.

If you have not already done so, work on developing your specific brand and create images and slogans that convey that brand to your intended audience. What strategies can you implement to increase traffic to your social media accounts? Contests? Promotions?

Expand your network.

Whatever your business is, try thinking about expanding your borders. What professional organizations can you join to make some new contacts? Is there a trade association that serves your industry? A membership can be invaluable in meeting colleagues and in spreading the word about your business.

Networking is about establishing relationships with other businesspeople who can benefit your career. You never know how these friendships will intertwine. Some can help you launch a new career down the road, and others can play a role as mentors as you get yourself established in your current career.

Give back to your community.

Make it a New Year’s resolution to get more involved with your community. What types of community issues interest you? The homeless?  Schools? The foster program? The library? Find a cause that matters to you, and give what you can to it.  Volunteer to serve on a committee, be a mentor to a young person, or coordinate that non-profit’s fundraiser. You’ll find that when you give back to the community, you will gain much yourself – in good will and in feeling good. Both results are good for your business.

Get organized.

Use the holiday time when things may have slowed down a bit at the office to get organized. Set a list of priorities for the coming year. Think of your main goals and put them into a time framework. Look at what needs to be accomplished when so that you can achieve your goals.

Try to be realistic in setting deadlines. Keep in mind your regular workload and current obligations as you add in any new responsibilities.

Create a Balance between Home and Work

Do you feel that when you are at home you are always thinking about what you need to do at work and when you are at work, you are daydreaming about being at home? To a certain extent, we all do that, but if you are feeling stress about not being in both places at the same time, it means something is out of whack.

According to American psychologist Abraham Maslow, who is best known for creating Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, we have a pyramid of needs that must be fulfilled in order for us to function well.  A career keeps us mentally stimulated and provides the income we need to pay our bills and to put food on the table. Home and family life give us love, security and companionship. According to Maslow, we need both of these aspects of our lives to be in balance in order to be healthy and productive.

Are you a workaholic? The year 2014 should include a planned vacation and plenty of other downtime during the workweek. Are you a procrastinator who needs to get more work done this year? It’s time for you to set and keep a consistent work schedule.

The more specific you are in making a New Year’s resolution, the more likely you are to keep it, experts have found. For example, if we use the popular losing weight resolution, it’s a good idea to put that broad category into manageable steps. Rather than the wide goal “I will get more exercise” try the specific goal “I will walk to and from the train station three times a week.”

Putting this into the workplace scenario, go back over the previous suggestions and select one. Next choose your first step, such as signing up for a new course or reading a new business book. You’ll find that as you accomplish one step, you will feel energized and then you will be ready to take the next one.

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Day 21: Snowmen

Fourteen Bears

frostySnowmen may not be specifically Christmasssy, they’re really just a winter thing.  But, there is the Frosty the Snowman Christmas special, and the song makes it into Christmas songs, and we keep our Frosty book in our basket of Christmas books. Like Santa Mouse, Where are You? our copy of Frosty the Snowman was picked up several years ago when these old books were being reissued and sold at Barnes & Noble. This book is not the words to the song, but an actual story format of the children making Frosty and playing with him. Corinne Malvern’s illustrations from 1950 are now charmingly old-fashioned.  The pictures look nothing like the tv special, which is kind of nice (and makes sense because first it was a song, then this book, then the tv show.)  Frosty might be the most famous snowman of all, but there are plenty of other fantastic snowman…

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giant_tree_zocalo

MEXICO CITY – Mexico City has been certified by Guinness World Records as having the world’s largest Christmas tree standing 110.35 meters (362 feet) high, 35 meters (115 feet) in diameter and weighing 330 tons.

The new record exceeds by 24 centimeters (9.5 inches) the Christmas tree in Aracaju, Brazil, the city that had held the record since 2007 with a tree 110.11 meters (361.25 feet) high.

Carlos Martinez, the representative of Guinness World Records, on Saturday certified the new record at Glorieta de la Palma, located on the Paseo de la Reforma, where the huge tree stands and will continue to be displayed for 36 days.

“The possibility existed that this would not break the record, since the height (of the Brazilian tree) was exceeded by only 24 centimeters, but finally we corroborated it and remain satisfied that there is no problem that now Mexico has this new Guinness” record, Martinez told reporters.

The lighting of the gigantic tree was carried out at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, marking the beginning of the Christmas festivities in the Mexican capital, where some 19 million people live.

Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard headed the tree-lighting ceremony, during which the Shola Cantorum orchestra and the Mariachi Gama Mil band played Christmas music.

Work has been going on since Oct. 29 on the huge Christmas decoration project, labor that has required about 200 Mexican and Brazilian workers, project manager Julio Galman told Efe.

The year-end festivities are sponsored 80 percent by private donations and 20 percent by the government of the Federal District. 

HAVE YOU SEEN A BIGGER ONE SEND PICS TO poetreecreations@yahoo.com

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One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

Wallace Stevens

Wallace Stevens

Wallace Stevens was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, on October 2, 1879.

Your favourite poem sent in by you what’s yours send them to poetreecreations@yahoo.com

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Snowman Cake Pops

It's A journey

PicMonkey Collage snowman

It’s almost Christmas and my oven has been busily working away turning out tons of goodies to celebrate the holidays! These super cute snowman cake pops are also super easy to make. Get your kids to help they will have fun making the cake balls. My kids say “Its like play dough you can eat”! Too Start you will need to gather up a few things.

                                           PicMonkey Collagesnmanpops2

You will need oil, shortening, cake mix of your choice but I used a holiday velvet in green and red just for fun! You will also need frosting and since we have snowmen I picked up some peppermint icing. Powdered sugar, red food coloring, milk, eggs, a bag white melting chocolates, I used Wilton brand, but you can use what…

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snowman.

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Snowman, New Mexico Style

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