Life By Kristen

Go, and embrace your liberty. And see what wonderful things come of it. – Little Women

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Friday Finds December 2016

A holiday Friday Finds!

American Christmas holiday design and decoration is often inspired by two distinct periods- the Victorian era or the 1960s.

I love The Muppet Christmas Carol and have always wondered how Michael Caine felt about the movie– now I know!

The most popular toys by decade since the 1950s. Of course I had a Cabbage Patch doll!

The first department store Santa was in Brockton, MA!


Making gingerbread cookies is a holiday tradition in my family ( we made ours this past Sunday!) so I loved this video about the unknown history of gingerbread men cookies!

Why we eat candy canes at Christmas.

Dangerous holiday decorations of the past.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside is one of my least favorite holiday songs, particularly because it appears the dude singing spikes the girl’s drink. So a couple in Minnesota rewrote the lyrics.

Wishing you and yours all the best for the holiday season! Nevit Dilmen

Image via here


Lenten Promises

Somewhat lapsed Catholic here on Ash Wednesday. I saw somewhat because there are so many tenets of the religion that I believe in wholeheartedly and yet others ( their stance on women’s roles, divorce, and abortion, to name a few) that I wholeheartedly disagree with. Pope Francis’ views and public opinions on some of these topics have given me hope during a time when I’m questioning my spiritual life, what that means to me, how I practice it, and so on.

Even though I don’t make it to church every Sunday ( I have opinions on this as well), I hold my spiritual life as an important part of who I am. I pray on a regular basis and hold many of my Catholic beliefs as important in my life, though as I’m learning and exploring about religions, I’ve come to see that so many of these tenets are more Christian beliefs than Catholic specifically.

Every year for Lent I choose to give up something and many years that thing I’m abstaining from sticks. When I was in high school I gave up soda for Lent, something that, minus a bad migraine that only a cold Coca-Cola will fix or a ginger ale to sooth a tummy ache, has stuck. I gave up Candy Crush Saga two years ago and haven’t played since ( or even been interested!). This year, I’m abstaining from pizza because it has become too much of a meal crutch for Q and I ( though we had it last night and it was DELICIOUS).

This year, in addition to no pizza, I’m also trying to follow a bit of what Pope Francis said on the topic of Lent as well. I’m going to really work on my kindness- to others, to myself, to the world around me. I want to turn my head to indifference not just because I care about people, but because I realize I could care so much more. It’s something I hope to make mindful of over the next forty days instead of being so picky about not eating meat on Fridays ( a silly man made rule, for the record). And like the soda habit I kicked many years ago, I hope being more compassionate and kind is a habit that sticks past Lent.

Christmas Tunes

While I’m not the type of person who will start listening to Christmas music well before Thanksgiving, I do enjoy Christmas tunes throughout the holiday season.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Silver Bells: I like several versions of the song, but this one by Bing Crosby is a favorite.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Barenaked Ladies and Sarah MacLachlan version

Christmas Wrapping, The Waitresses

Caroling, Caroling, Nat King Cole

O Holy Night: Also many gorgeous versions, but Josh Groban slays it for me

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas: I love this song, especially the original by Judy Garland, but the Carpenters version is lovely

Christmas in Killarney, Bing Crosby

Mistletoe and Holly, Frank Sinatra

The Man with the Bag, Kay Starr

Jingle Bells, Frank Sinatra

I Want a Hippopatamus For Christmas


Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday! Nevit Dilmen

Image via here

Friday Finds November 2015

I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving! Here are a few fun finds from around the interwebs.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is a  huge part of my Thanksgiving traditions. One day we’ll get there as a family. But in the mean time, this article about balloon school (in Detroit not NYC) for the large balloon handlers was quite fun.

I love stuff like this: short history of white breadPyrex, and the school backpack.

I’m not sure where I found this article, but as we enter in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I completely cosign on the idea of keeping Christmas simple that this writer asks her grown children for. After my Dad died and we cleaned out houses and had massive yard sales, we made the decision to stop giving gifts to each other as a family. We still do gifts for Little Man, but we decided the gift of time, love, and honesty were more important than opening something random on the holiday. It’s been one of the best things we’ve ever decided as a family.

An interview with a former prison librarian. Fascinating.

Updating Richard Scarry books.

Peanuts is more than just a comic strip and holiday specials.

When I was in San Francisco in August, I finally visited the Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presidio  (highly recommend, by the way). I didn’t know a lot about the early Disney Animation days and was super surprised to learn that so many of the colorists were actually women, so have been doing some of my own research on the topic. This article about one of their more influential designers who was a woman is not new, but still interesting. Sad I missed the exhibit by a year!


It’s Black Friday and I’m not shopping. I’m working today and the only store I may enter is the market to get some essentials for a Little Man weekend. We may decorate the house this weekend for the Christmas season, but since that involves doing some cleaning and rearranging first, we might not!




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