Monday, December 24, 2012

Hello everyone!  Here we are - the last month of the year!  There's a nip in the air, Christmas lights are popping up everywhere, and the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season is here!  There are many different traditions and activities that take place during the month of December and the Montana Woman family is excited to share some of our traditions with you.  As you thumb through the pages of this month’s issue, I hope you are inspired to share some of your traditions with us on our Facebook page.   You may have a special recipe, craft, or activity.  Whatever it is, please share it with us!
Regardless of whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanza, Christmas or Solstice, the holidays are important to us all.  It is a time of tradition and time spent with family and friends.  Unfortunately, it is also a time of tremendous pressure.  Pressure to find the perfect gift.  Pressure to cook the perfect meal.  Pressure to attend all the holiday activities and parties.  Pressure to achieve perfection.  This year I encourage you to relax and enjoy the holiday season.  Don’t expect perfection from yourself or the ones you love.  Be grateful for every minute of life, no matter how messy.  After all, isn’t it the messy moments that make some of the best memories? 
Over the years, I have found that it isn’t the present that truly matters.  It is the love put into picking the present.  I recently learned of a new way to give love with all presents.  I am going to embrace this new concept and make it part of my year round gift giving tradition.  It is simple really.  I will write “appreciations” to every person I give a gift to – a simple little note attached to each present to let the receiver know how much I care about them and how their presence enriches my life.  
Growing up, my mother instilled in her children the importance of giving to others.  Whether it was with time or money, she explained that we should take time to make a difference in someone’s life.  I cannot begin to count the hours spent at the Montana Veteran’s Home in Columbia Falls writing cards for residents, reading to them, playing checkers and reliving days gone by.  Those hours helped shape my life. 
Mom always encouraged us to think of those less fortunate than us and give back to the community any way we could – especially during the holiday season.  Mom made sure we knew that sharing the holiday spirit of giving cannot be measured by a dollar amount.  Serving food in a soup kitchen, caroling to shut-ins or donating time at a non-profit organization are just some of the ways that she directed her family to deliver holiday cheer.   I continue to embrace this tradition and encourage others to do the same.
 I think that Winston Churchill said it best:  “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”  However we choose to celebrate, or even if we don’t, let us remember it is not only about the gifts we will receive and the time spent with family and friends.  It is also about the gifts we can give to others and the joy we can spread.  Let’s all have a wonderful holiday season and spread as much joy as humanly possible.  Ready, set, go!
Take Care,

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

In The Kitchen with Lorraine Blackmer-Purdy

In the December issue of Montana Woman Magazine, Lorraine shared her Cranberry Pineapple Salad.  I am sure that after you have tried this amazing salad, it will soon become part of your holiday meal tradition.  

Lorraine is a long time resident of Columbia Falls, Montana.  She shares wonderful recipes from days gone by in her monthly column, "In the Kitchen."


Cranberry Pineapple Salad

1 medium can of pineapple, drained
1 can whole cranberry sauce
¼ cup walnuts, chopped fine
1 large package raspberry Jell-O
3 ½ cups boiling water

1.  Mix Jell-O with water and let cool slightly.
2.  Mix pineapple and cranberry sauce in a separate bowl.
3.  Add pineapple/cranberry mixture to Jell-O with walnuts.
4.  Pour the mixed ingredients into a mold and refrigerate to set.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Delights in December

In the blink of an eye, we went from summer to Christmas this year. I knew December was on its way but somehow its arrival was still a surprise -  a pleasant one.  What I love about this time of year is the way it appeals to every sense; the music and special holiday entertainment, the scent of baked goodies and evergreens,  the sentiments that tug at our heartstrings more this time of year than any other, and the glee of children and even adults who delight in all that Christmas brings, not to mention the flavors we indulge in so happily.  
The December issue of Montana Woman is a celebration of traditions we hold dear, memories of Christmases past, new ideas for decorating, food and ways to give back to the community. It is a reminder to embrace what is important and brings joy to you and those around you, while keeping at bay the holiday blues and stress that lurk just around the corner, ready to take hold if we aren't mindful. 
This month, reserve time for yourself to decompress and have a cup of coffee or enjoy your eggnog with our December issue.  Beth's Delectables will inspire you - either to bake something decadent and creative, or perhaps to lighten your load by letting someone else do the baking for you.  Dr. Torrie Mauerman gives helpful recipes for those wanting to create delicious holiday fare while not losing sight of nutrition.  
If you're hosting a holiday party, Cre-8-ing With Collette will give you a new spin on festive decorating, and newcomer Jeff Fullford of Ask Jeff will help you look your best.  
As for the true spirit of Christmas, Soul Responsibilities and In the Scheme of Things speak to our hearts and remind us to look past the lights and gift tags, encouraging us all to reach out and make a difference that really matters this season.
At Montana Woman, we know that Montanans truly embrace the spirit of the season. The generosity and coming together of our communities is just one more reason our state is the place we want to call home.  
Have a very Merry Montana Christmas.