Gift Baskets Popular For Expectant And New Mothers
I've been to a lot of baby showers and births lately. From my daughter-in-laws second child in three years to a family friend's and even my younger sister's, I've had plenty of opportunity to ponder what makes a great gift for an expectant or new mother. After reading facial expressions from multiple mothers and mothers to be as well hearing a lot of feedback, I think I've come up with the ultimate solution: the baby gift basket. Baby gift baskets are filled with products that can help every new mom, from toys and towels to bottles and bibs. Not only that, baby gift baskets can be purchased for boys or girls, allowing you to customize for the new delivery.
At the most recent shower I attended, one of the guests gave a baby gift basket containing several items that are indispensable to new moms, but are often forgotten until they are needed. As we all looked through it to see just what was inside, I couldn't help but think of what a wonderful gift that would have made back when I had my children. There were receiving blankets, hooded terry towels, undergarments, wash cloths, several powders, lotions and soaps, safety scissors for cutting baby's hair, a pacifier, a bottle, plush toys and so much more.
Whoever came up with the baby gift basket obviously had children, because it was almost like a survival kit for moms. I can still remember having my husband run out to get many of those things one at a time. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, but that's what a baby gift basket is all about. Giving new moms the items they will need so that they will have them on hand when they are necessary. At my next shower, I'm going to be the one giving the baby gift basket. Who knows... with my husband and I talking about having one more child, the next baby shower I attend might very well be my own. Maybe I'd better tell him about baby gift baskets.
Father S Day Steak Tips For Cooking A Mouth Watering Steak
It's a trite, but often repeated saying: The way to a man's heart is through his stomach. So why, when Father's Day rolls around, do we buy endless ties and "message" T shirts? Is the way to his heart through his clothes? Not likely. It's the stomach, people, and that means good food. For many men, good food comes in the form of a great steak.
So what if you're not a steak eater, or you eat it only in restaurants and the thought of purchasing a raw slab scares you to death? Fear not. It's not that complicated, really. Even a caveman can handle this job.
It's important to know your cuts of meat before planning the menu. You don't want to cook the dad in your life a tasteless, tough piece of leather. You might not notice the difference, but let's face it - he will. Since you'll likely be grilling, it's important to know the best cuts of meat for the grill.
You want to choose the most tender portions of meat for grilling. Experts generally consider these cuts of beef to be the best for grilling:
- Rib Eye
- Strip steak (like New York steak)
If there is the word "loin" on the package, you're in good shape, though most grill experts agree the T-bone is the most superior cut of beef for grilling. It stays tender and juicy, and is thick enough to withstand a fair amount of time on the grill without overcooking. Stay away from top round or anything with "round" or "chuck" in the name. These will not cook well on the grill. Flank steak and London broil can also be tough.
Next, it's important to know how to choose a steak. Don't just grab the first package that looks good to you. Look for some good marbling in the steak. Yes, this is another word for fat. But we're not cooking for the dieter in the family on this special day, we're trying to give dad a good steak, remember? Those little bits of fat scattered about the steak will essentially melt while the meat is cooking, giving the meat a rich and more tender flavor.
In that same vein, don't trim the fat from your steak before cooking. It might be the diet book author in you coming out, but that thick layer of fat around your steak is what will give the steak a wonderful juicy quality and rich flavor. You can cook the steak, and then trim the fat, but cook the steak while it's still dressed in its fat clothes. It's worth it.
Do you need to buy a "name brand" steak? Experts say it's not necessary, even though branded meat is a new commodity and becoming more widely available. Nor is it necessary to choose a steak from a butcher shop or from behind the glass window in the meat department at your local grocery store. Usually the pre-packaged steaks are the same you would get from behind the glass, and since the butcher is a dying breed, you could certainly go that route if you have a neighborhood butcher, but if not, a good quality grocery store will provide what you need.
Finally, it's important to know your grades of steak.
- Prime is the top grade, and it features the most marbling and is the most tender, but most of us don't have access to this grade in mainstream grocery stores. This is often what you get in a restaurant.
- Choice is the best grade most of us can get in the grocery store. But choice does not guarantee high quality as this grade encompasses meat that can be almost as good as prime, or almost as bad as select, our next grade.
- Select beef is the most lean and least expensive beef and is the grade of beef most commonly found in your grocery store meat case. Since this is Father's Day, try to find choice and splurge a little.
If you are unsure about your ability to pick up a good steak locally, consider ordering online and having fresh, high-quality steaks delivered to your door.
At OmahaSteaks.com, you can buy a large variety pack of meat, grill some for dad, and then send him home with a few spares for another day. KansasCitySteaks.com offers prime quality steaks for a restaurant-quality dad's meal.
Secret Holidays In England
When you think of holidays in England I wonder what images enter your head first? Maybe the famous red buses in London? Or possibly the splendour of Windsor Castle, the Tower of London or Buckingham Palace?
All of those images point to some great features of England for visitors but there is a hidden side to the country. If you try and move away from the well-trodden routes of the tourist trail you'll find some real gems.
A great example of this is the South West of England. This is a region of the country that is sometimes overlooked by visitors and yet contains all of the key elements for a wonderful stay. You can certainly be forgiven for knowing little about this area, so maybe you're unaware that it contains the finest Roman spa town in the country, sandy beaches, an indoor rainforest and some great surfing. A real mixture for all the family!
There are so many wonderful places to visit in the south west that it's difficult to know where to start. Indeed, you'll find that this article only gives you a small taster of what the region has to offer.
To begin with, let's turn our attention to Bath, the unique city that is a World Heritage Site. The city of Bath was founded before the Romans even arrived in the British Isles but it is the Romans who expanded the city and helped to build its reputation. This was primarily due to their construction of the extensive Roman Baths complex, which is still open to visitors. Indeed, you're still able to drink the spa water, produced from a natural spring!
The city is also renowned for its splendid and distinctive Georgian architecture - nowhere is this more evident than when you see the Georgian crescents. As you would expect of an English city, you'll also find a more modern mix of shops, restaurants, theatres and pubs. The beauty of Bath is that the modern and the ancient seem to live side by side.
Elsewhere in South West England, Cornwall is a hidden gem that seems to have remained that way despite the fondness of the English for visiting the county on their own holidays.
The world famous Eden Project has provided a central focus for tourism in the region but it is by no means all that is on offer. You'll find quaint, traditional seaside towns, as well as modern locations where you can relax on the beach and even enjoy the best surfing conditions in the country (St Ives is particularly popular for this pursuit).
Getting to the South West of England has never been easier, with Flybe flights available direct to Exeter Airport.
So next time you think about visiting England, take a look at what the South West has to offer. You'll be nicely surprised.
How To Decorate A Christmas Tree
This article is a crash course in how to decorate a christmas tree. Your first step is to choose either a natural or artificial tree. Keep in mind that a natural evergreen tree only comes in one color - green. Artificial trees however are now sold in practically every color of the rainbow. Just remember, whatever color you choose will become your canvas for adding more color in the form of garlands, tinsel and decorations.
Your second step is deciding which color schemes go best with what color of tree. Green Christmas trees, both natural and artificial, look best with primary colors such as green, blue and red. White christmas trees look best with a red theme, pink theme, a gold theme or a silver theme or any combination of the above. Blue Christmas trees look best with gold or silver decorations. Red Christmas trees look great with green or pink decorations.
The third step in this course about how to decorate a christmas tree is about lighting. If you are going to buy a natural tree you will need to buy a strand of bulbs or diodes. Traditional strands of christmas bulbs come in a variety of decorative shapes and sizes including the vintage egg shape, tiny twinkling lights and rope lights. However if you buy an artificial tree you may be able to get one that is prelit. The prettiest prelit christmas trees boast fiber optic needles that give the tree a glow of its own. Especially gorgeous are the white christmas trees that boast fiber optics at their tips. These trees remind many people of angel feathers.
The fourth step is investigating the types of decorations that are available to you. The most basic is the garland. A garland is simply any kind of strand of objects that can be used to circle the tree. You can make a garland yourself out of cooked popcorn, holly berries or candy. You can also use a long length of ribbon and attach bows to it. Of course there are all types of garlands available commercially on the market. Most popular are the garlands made of furry bunches of white or gold tinsel. Red and green tinsel garlands can look especially nice on white christmas trees.
If you are traditionally minded you might want to consider decorating your tree with glass christmas balls. These are either hand blown or created in a factory. Many of them are painted and decorated with glitter. You can buy these as globes, flutes, tubes and also in the shape of musical instruments, angels and other Christmas themes. However if you have small children, you might want to opt for the plastic versions of these decorative balls as they don't shatter if they fall off the tree.
An important tip to remember when decorating trees with glass balls is to place the larger ornaments at the bottom of the tree and the smaller ones at the top. This helps keep the total effect of the tree in a pleasing proportion to the decorations.
Of course, christmas decorations don't have to be expensive. You can make your own out of paper that is cut into the shape of snowflakes and other xmas themes. Candies (especially the candy cane), apples, oranges and cookies (especially gingerbread cookies) can also be used as xmas decorations. Red christmas trees look especially good decorated with white shortbread cookies decorated with glitter. White christmas trees look great decorated with home made presents made from tiny boxes wrapped in shiny foil.
Another decoration to consider is tinsel. Strands of tinsel can be hung from the branches to simulate icicles. One tip when hanging tinsel is to hang it in clumps from the edges of the branches. Hanging single or just a couple of strands all over the tree makes it look messy.
The fifth step when it comes to decorating a christmas tree is to choose some kind of tree topper. Commercially you can buy tree-toppers in just about every Christmas motif imaginable including angels, snowmen, teddy bears and of course, the Christmas star. You can buy christmas tree toppers that glow with fiber optic diodes that twirl, play tinkly music and blink on and off. However it is not hard to make your own christmas tree topper. Perhaps the simplest version is a cardboard star that is wrapped in tin foil. Sometimes the home made decorations and tree toppers have more sentimental value than the store bought ones.
The sixth step in this crash course on how to decorate a christmas tree is to make sure you disguise the base of the tree with some kind of Christmas tree skirt. This is simply a mat that is draped around the base and on the floor. It can be made out of shiny or velvet fabric or you can buy commercially made ones that feature xmas motifs in stores and online. Some tree skirts can be quite ornate, decorated with sequins and embroidery. However their original function was to catch the candle drippings from candles on the tree and catch any dropping needles from natural christmas trees.
Another interesting addition, especially if you are a Christian is to place a small nativity scene beneath the Christmas tree on the mat. You can buy Christmas nativity scenes made of wood, metal or plastic. Also popular is a toy train set that runs in a circle around the Christmas tree.
A seventh and final consideration when it comes to how to decorate your christmas tree is a practice called flocking. Flocking is fluffy white stuff, kind of like silly string that is sprayed all over the tree to simulate snow. This gives just about any tree a real 50's or country style feel and it is very unique to tree decorating traditions in the United States and Canada. However it is not recommended for artificial white christmas trees as the effect would be a little bit of overkill.
Using Costume Contacts
Looking for a change from your regular contacts? Want an option that will really have people talking? Costume contacts aren't just available to movie costume designers anymore. Now even you can have eyes that look alien, or cat-like, or whatever you desire.
Though many people think of purchasing costume contacts only to match their Halloween costumes, you can actually wear costume contact lenses just about anywhere you can wear regular contacts! There are many costume contact lenses out there that are affordable and comfortable. However, buyers should keep in mind that some lenses use a toxic paint that can cause eye irritation. You should always go with lenses made from a major contact lens manufacturer.
If you want a contact lens that will really make you stand out, try scleral contacts. Unlike other lenses, scleral lenses cover the entire visible part of your eye to create a great effect. However, these lenses are much more elaborate and expensive. Like normal contact lenses, you should consult your eye care professional to fit costume lenses, even if your vision is perfect. A lot of people often ask if they can see while wearing these lenses, with the exception of certain white-out contact lenses, even if the lenses are opaque, a person can see. There are, however, even white-out lenses that can be seen out of.
There are several warnings about the dangers of costume lenses, but the blame does not lie with the lenses. Some users wear their costume lenses for several days at a time without removing them. They share their lenses with friends, or put them in without washing their hands. Costume contact lenses should be treated with the same respect that you would treat a regular pair of contact lenses. They shouldn't be shared and should only be worn for a few hours at a time.
In order to store them, all you need is simple saline solution (or eye drops for contact lenses) and a contact lens case, which can be found in your local pharmacy. Rinse out the lenses in the solution before you insert them in the eyes. Don't forget to wash your hands first! Soak the lenses in a disinfecing solution inside your lens case when not in use. Also, it's highly recommended to change the solution at least once a week, if you don't intend to use your contact lenses for long periods of time.
With the proper care, you can use costume contacts to become the alien you've always wanted to be - any day of the week.
Three Holiday Ornaments Anyone Can Make
Do you spend loads of money on holiday ornaments every year, trying to create a unique and unforgettable Christmas tree display? Do you wish holiday decorating were simpler and more affordable?
If so, here are three fun and easy ideas for creating your very own recycled Christmas tree ornaments! Remember, decorating need not be costly or stressful. Creating your own ornaments out of everyday household items can be one of the most rewarding and stress-busting activities of the fast-paced holiday season.
1. Make a Whimsical Light Bulb Reindeer
You will need:
One used light bulb
Brown felt cloth or fun foam
Acrylic paints and brushes
1 small red pom-pom
First, paint the light bulb brown. Set aside and let dry. Once the brown paint on the light bulb has dried completely, use a paint brush to paint eyes and a mouth on your reindeer. When the paint has dried begin to glue the red pom-pom nose onto the end of the light bulb, just above the mouth. Next, use the brown cloth or foam to fashion a pair of antlers for your reindeer. Glue these to the side of the light bulb. Finally, cut a small piece ribbon, loop and tie into a knot, and glue it to the top of your reindeer light bulb ornament.
2. Make a CD photo ornament. This is a great personal gift to give to someone you love.
You will need:
An old CD
A piece of felt fabric
Use the CD as pattern to cut out a round piece of felt. Carefully spread glue on the back of the CD. Place the felt circle that you've cut out over the CD, and pressed gently. Make sure you haven't put too much glue on the back of the CD!
Next, cut around the photograph you plan on using. Trace the picture onto a piece of felt, leaving about
Valentine S Day And Married Couples
Valentine's Day - the day of lovers and for lovers. What significance does it have for many married couples? Imagine getting up early, getting ready for work and rushing off as usual. On the way, when you watch the scenes outside, you realize that it is Valentine's Day! But you have many other worries of office and home. The worries and the daily grind of life kills the joy. What used to be awaited by you goes away without any celebration. Why? Where is the spirit gone? Has age made any difference? Has life changed for you? Have the priorities shifted? Is it that you have thousand other worries than thinking of celebrating Valentine's Day?
As we grow, we change. What used to give us joy during the childhood, stops doing when we are young. How many teens make sand castles? And as we grow older, the objects of joy during the youth become equally insignificant. Why?
A thing of joy is forever. Why cannot an old person enjoy making sand castles, run behind a butterfly to catch it, or try and win hearts as he/she used to do in young age? Why do we lose our life and become dead bodies going around doing routine work? Why cannot we bring back the days of childhood and youth and be happy and feel elated at all the times? All this applies to a married couple. After few years, and in some cases, few months, the romance goes away from life.
Some things are life giving. Love is one such magic. It can give new life and joy to anyone. How to recapture this after marriage? Can it be recaptured? It can be to a certain extent. Because one cannot go back to enjoy the thrill of wooing one's sweetheart again, as he/she has already been conquered. Let us find out what can be recaptured and how? How about sitting together and watching the moon? How about walking together in rains? How about sharing ice cream from the same cup? How about buying clothes for each other with the same passion? How about feeling bad when alone and feeling extreme joy when together? How about reciting poetries? Make a list of all that you did when you fell in love. Find out what all you have stopped. Redo them with more vigor and bring your love back in life.
A marriage can be a very happy marriage if the partners love each other every moment, if their heartbeats increase when they look at each other. Sounds silly? But this can also be done. Go back to your love and say Happy Valentine's Day to your spouse with the same passion as you did earlier.
Why should we watch passively and see our love dying? Why should we not make every effort to love with the same romance that we experienced when we met our sweetheart for the first time?
An Inspirational Poem For Mother S Day
If you are looking for an inspirational poem that shows an understanding of what a mom has to deal with, this is the one. Every mom, young or old, knows this by heart and can only hope that her children will understand when they grow up.
"You don't love me!" How many times have your kids laid that one on you? And how many times have you, as a parent, resisted the urge to tell them how much? Someday, when my children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates a mother, I will tell them.
A MOTHER'S LOVE GOES DEEP
I loved you enough to insist you buy a bike with your own money that we could afford and you couldn't.
I loved you enough to be silent and let you discover your handpicked friend was a creep;
I loved you enough to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned your bedroom, a job that would have taken me fifteen minutes.
I loved you enough to say, "Yes, you may go to Disney World on Mother's Day."
I loved you enough to let you see anger, disappointment, mistrust and tears in my eyes.
I loved you enough not to make excuses for your lack of respect or you bad manners.
I loved you enough to admit that I was wrong and ask your forgiveness.
I loved you enough to ignore "what every other mother" did or said.
I loved you enough to let you stumble, fall, hurt and fail.
I loved you enough to let you assume the responsibility for your own actions, at 6, 10, and 16.
I loved you enough to figure you would lie about the party being chaperoned but forgave you for it after discovering I was right.
I loved you enough to shove you off my lap, let go of your hand, be mute to your pleas and insensitive to your demands...so that you had to stand alone.
I loved you enough to accept you for what you are, not what I wanted you to be.
But most of all, I loved you enough to say "no" when you hated me for it.
THAT WAS THE HARDEST PART OF ALL.
A Valentine S Day Guaranteed To Go Off Like A Frog In A Sock
Valentine's Day! What a great day for romantics at heart! Any excuse to celebrate a day of l'amour is in my opinion, a good excuse and on the 14th February cards, flowers and the whole love thing will be celebrated for many with romance and style.
The history of this day has origins in both Christian and Ancient Roman tradition. As a matter of fact there are many legends surrounding Valentine and the day it was yet to become. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia (1908) there are least three St Valentine's recorded.
One legend has it that in 269 AD in ancient Rome, Saint Valentine was secretly performing marriages and engagements in direct contravention of the Emperor Claudius II, who banned marriages and engagements in an attempt to recruit and enlist more soldiers (recruitment numbers were down because the men wanted to remain with their loved ones). Alas and alack it was all too good to last, when St Valentine's secret was discovered, as punishment for his crime, he was thrown into jail, beaten with clubs, followed by execution.
The legend goes that before he was beheaded on 14th February, he fell in love with his jailor's daughter and wrote her a billet-doux (love letter). It's said he signed off on his note with "from your valentine". Many years later in 496 AD, Pope Gelasius declared a day of honour for Valentine and so began Valentine's Day.
Meanwhile, in ancient Roman days the 14th February celebrated and honored Juno, Queen of Roman Goddesses and Gods who was also said to be Goddess of woman and marriage.
Another legend has it that Valentine was an early Christian who made friends with many children. The Romans apparently imprisoned him because he didn't worship their gods. The children, missing Valentine, would hand him loving notes through the bars of his cell.
Whatever the legends, the 14th February is the day where many of us exchange cards (anonymously or not) and do something romantic for our partner.
Having a pretty good idea on what women want, flowers, chocolates, and a card (yes I know some of us are still waiting...) I wondered what men wanted and so asked a group of men if they could have something they really wanted what would it be?
The majority of responses I'm not able to reprint (side splittingly funny nevertheless) and asked them to think seriously about what they would like to have on Valentine's Day. Never having been asked before, this proved to be a somewhat difficult question for them to answer, but soon started warming to this question.
For partners scratching for ideas, the following will give you some idea what he really wants if it were up to him. I was told, come up with any of the following and it's guaranteed Valentine's Day will go off like a frog in a sock:
Please note that the opinions contained herein are not necessarily those of the author...
1.A beautiful meal at a restaurant (probably because they couldn't have what they really wanted first up so this was a safe start);
2.A good book and the silence to read it;
3.A weekend away at a resort or hotel;
4.Day-tripping around coastal or country areas, eating breakfast and lunch out at different places;
5.Hanging out with loved one;
6.Breakfast in bed;
7.Driving an open top sports car for the day;
8.A ride in a supersonic jet;
9.Nice bottle of single malt 100 year old scotch;
10.Police arresting and taking away the mother-in-law;
11.Massage in a day spa;
12.Complete day of wife or partner agreeing with everything said;
13.24 hour nag-free day;
14.Someone else working at your day job for the day;
15.Wife or partner completely losing their voice for the day;
16.To be alone;
17.Visit an art gallery;
18.Visit a museum;
19.Play golf or go to a sporting event - whatever is in season; and
20.Ride a Harley Davidson.
Even if you're not into Valentine's Day, it's the perfect excuse to have that frog go off in a sock by doing something wonderful for you and your partner, and if single, you can do something especially for you.
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