Friday, December 11, 2015

The Little to No Shopping Holiday List!

Thanksgiving is over and the winter holiday's are vastly upon us. While everyone is breaking their neck for expensive trinkets at the store, I decided to make as many of my holiday gifts as I can. A challenge I also give to you! Stores are congested from the parking lot to the line! Things are often horribly over priced and this materialism is literally breaking families apart, the opposite of the holiday's intention.

In the spiritual of the holidays, I plan to use this time with my daughter in making gifts for family members, that aren't cheesy.

For Baby!

Baby's first holiday season is more for the parents than anything else. A baby first holiday ornament is a sweet gift, especially hand made.

I used flat wooden circle cut outs, with a hole drilled through on top. The sleeping babies are made of plaster, shaped by a chocolate mold. I used acrylic paint for both the wood and plaster and sealed with a spray varnish. 
This is not the only way to make a baby ornament. However when making the ornament, make sure they are light enough to be put on the tree.  With wooden and other light items, you want to add a little weight to avoid the ornament flipping. 

People always love sentimental items, but never undermine something practical. If you have some sewing skills, you may want to try making a Washcloth Puppet. Put a bottle of baby bath soap inside the finished product. It adds a nice touch!

Have an old piece of furniture you don't need? Try converting it into a play station for your toddler through most of elementary school child, that could eventually become storage furniture when they become teens. Play stations could be mini kitchenssensory play with sand, water and other creative textures, pretend stores and restaurantsscience lab, etc.... 

If your play station includes toy food, you could create some toy food, by recycling old food containers that can be used for the set. It will add realistic touch. Please remove anything that could be a choking hazard or other kind of danger. Do not use glass or other material that could be sharp, break down, or other risk. Plastic containers work best.  Empty tubs, plastic bottles with the bottle cap glued shut, mini empty cereal boxes, etc... Are all great items for mini kitchens, restaurants, stores, that can add to the imagination of a young mind!

Tip: fill up storage area in the toy with gifts related toys, wrapped up in some way. Children love finding surprises! 

The gift of Story!

For those who have an interesting age appropriate story to tell, why give it. You could create a physical book or create story online they can access. The story could be true or not, but keep in mind who you are writing too.


If writing isn't your skill, record yourself reading a book as a gift. Your voice will bring a child comfort and familiarity. This wonderful if you have a long distance relationship with a child. Like parents of divorce, military, out of state, separated for whatever reasons, its a great way for you to connect with that distant child close to your heart!

Musical parents can always share the gift of Song. Do not ever undermine such a precious gift. Having worked in healthcare for over decade, I can tell you what people remember the most of their parents isn't the toys they got, but the little things, like what they smelled like, the touch of their skin and the sound of their voice. They also remember the songs their parents listened to or taught them. Even if the gift isn't as well received right away, its a gift they will love in their golden years. It's a love investment!
If you are not the parent you could encourage a parent into doing this by showing them how to record themselves or simply teach them a song. They don't have to be great, just themselves. 

Not all of you have little babies, adventurous preschoolers or ever growing elementary schoolers. Some of you have teenagers and even adult children. Do not fear, there are lots of home made gifts for teenagers to seniors. 

My first attempt of a Yule Log! Yule of 2014!

Another powerful sense I mentioned before in suggestion to preform music, sense of smell, so keeping the home smelling good. One way you as a parent or well meaning friend can bring is good food! You could make it yourself or create a gift with the ingredients and the recipe! Bake goods are common, but that doesn't mean you are limited to them. Families enjoy dips, soups, beverages, as well as bread's, cookies, cakes, etc... These little treats will have a lasting effect on their young lives!

Have an artist? Why not make them an art kit? Paint can be created in a variety of ways. For younger children, a simple finger paint . For older children and adults you want to try water color paint's or watch the video for metallic paint's, both water color and acrylic.

You could also make an easel or art supply carrier. There is a lot you can give the artist in your life. 

Makeup can be worn by either gender, but is a matter of preference. For those who do wear it, most of the stuff from the stores causes premature aging. Making Natural Makeup is a wonderful gift for a young adult and up. You can order brushes and containers cheaper than buying the damaging and expensive over the counter brands. 

Many young people walk a lot, backpack's are often vital. Especially when you add secret compartments to hid money. You don't necessarily have to make a backpack, but find creative ways to add hidden compartments. Also teenagers often need basic supplies, like hygiene products, food, supplies for their interest like sports or the arts, clothing like underwear and socks and other items they tend to go through fast. So adding some items to this gift is rather thoughtful. 

Theses a great gift to give to those going away to school. I call this the College Gift Bag. It often contains some of the following inside the backpack or other piratical container. I suggest a little of each category. 

 bath item's

Shampoo and Conditioner (unless you KNOW the person doesn't use both, always give as a set.) 
Body Soap
Hand Soap
Body Spray
Toothbrushes (more than one)
Dental Floss
Cotton Swabs 
Tampons or Pads for ladies ( When putting together your gift, you don't have to make this part of the gift visible right away. Put the box under other items to raise their11 height for display. It will be a nice surprise when the woman you give it too actually goes through it. BTW if you don't know her preferences just give her something else.) 
Razors (Men and Women use them!)
Shaving Cream
Hair Products
Band Aides
First Aide Kit
Water Shoes (Great for public showers)

Dishes (usually single setting)

Mug (regular or travel)
Shot glass for 21 and up 
Cereal/Ice Cream Bowl 
Water Bottle

Avoid* glass and other delicate material. 

Clothing (comfort is key)

Underwear (apply the same kind of etiquette as you would giving Tampons or Pads to underwear for both genders)
Walking/Running Shoes
Sweatshirts and Hoodies
Thin Bathrobe
Sweat pants or shorts

Stationary or School Supplies

Note books
Crayons (gotta have some fun!)

Food (remember NONPERISHABLE)

Single Serving Cereal 
Coffee/Tea/Hot Coco (Pair with mug)
The toppings of an Ice Cream Sunday (Pair with Bowl)
Baked goods (Cookies and brownies work best. Make sure they are securely enclosed inside the gift)
Travel size snacks 


Gift cards
Old belongs (teddy bear)
Items that smell like home.
Fleece Blanket
Pocket Knife (Mature only)
Wallet (put at least a gift card or a little cash inside)
Pocket Warmers
Room Decor (Posters, Wall Stickers, Picture Frames)
Sewing needle and thread

Pagan Teen or Young Adult 

Sage oil 
Pocket Alter

Avoid* items that burn like candles and incense for those living in dorm rooms. 

For older family members like your children grandparents, items involving pictures of your children are always great! Mugs, coasters, calendars, albums, etc..  are usually appreciated. Your kids grow every year. So try a rotating the different craft over the years with new pictures. 

Homemade candles are always popular. Just make sure the person knows how to use candles responsibly.

Everyone could use a blanket and there are many easy and inexpensive ways to make them!

Another item that makes a great gift are herbal heating pads and eye mask. These are insanely easy to make, you will never waste money buying one again! Here you can look up aromatherapy options that can help from insomnia to soar muscles.  

I hope you enjoy creating something special for your loved one that will be as unique as you are. 

Happy Holidays
Modern Pagan Parents!

***Warning, please caution with anything you create. Make sure anything you create is safe and will not cause injury/death if access to the recommended age, when used appropriately and seek expert advice if you are not sure. 

Monday, November 30, 2015


As we celebrate the final harvest of the year and embrace the solstice, it is hard to ignore the goddess of agriculture, Demeter. She is often described as older, mind you she could have been in her thirties considering the time period. It is said she was still able to bare children, which she often does. The fact that she lead an interesting life, is why she isn't described as a blush cherub virgin. She is a woman who has lived life. Who has loved and suffered. Who has brought joy and left destruction.

She is a

Friend to mankind

She represents women during a time of constant war and chaos. When group of men,  soldiers, thieves, locals etc could come and kill most a villege in day.  Those who survived, were often the women, who were certainly raped.  Demeter is said to have been raped by Poseidon and bore him a daughter and horse. Long story, though the story states Demeter was angry, but choose to wash her rage away in the river of Lodan. More so, in her world and situation, there was nothing she could do, but move on. It's a sign of her endurance.

Sadly Demeter beloved daughter she conceived from Zeus, Persephone was kidnapped and raped by her uncle Hades, who took her as a bride. This was actually custom of marriage during this time period. Many weddings traditions still followed today, come from these kidnapped marriages. For example, the grooms best man was the guy who helped him kidnap the bride. However this violant act must have been heart wrenching for the parents and girls, as described in the story  Demeter's grief led to winter. Anyone who has suffered a great loss can relate to the cold bitter pain winter causes, being so symbolic of the physical chest pain of their grief.

I imagine Demeter story echo's stories of less happier ending (Demeter and Persephone are reunited) involving marriage's and slavery. These forgotten individuals are represented by these gods and we must not forget that even today in parts of Africa and Asia similar customs are still followed.

Yet, despite all the her tragedy, Demeter is still a friend to mankind. It said, she taught humanity how to use an iron shove and how to plant. She is often depicted hold wheat. She is the goddess of algraculture, grains and breads. Her mood depicts the seasons, as told in the story of Persephone kidnapping and her name though there is a conflict about which translation is correct,  "earth mother," "mother" or "giver of barley or food." I see her as both a kind and sensitive woman.

As we remember our ancestors, let us reflect on their struggles and sacrifices. We are all the decendents of such survivors. Then let us move forward with our own trials and tribulations. Afterwards, reach out to those in their time of need, especially those escaping war in the middle east, seeking refuge!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Reinventing Thanksgiving Leftovers!

Thanksgiving is over and you have so much food, you aren't sure what to do with it all! Never fear the concept of a new idea! Thanksgiving foods plainness often works in its advantage.

Turkey in Bread

Turkey is a diverse food, that can be prepared and reprepared in many styles! From soups to BBQ.

Jeremy Noble at

Turkey stuffed bread, a product with a similar ideas known as hot pockets. You could look up a bread recipe to your liking, pizza dough works well. However you could make a flakey crust or something more healthy. Or you could cheat and buy the dough from the store.  You could make a big log or as small as you like.  Suggestive filling combo's.
  • Turkey, stuffing and cooked bacon. 
  • Turkey, fresh mozzarella, tomato, avocado and fresh basil.
  • Turkey, corn, mashed potatoes and gravy.
  • Turkey, ham and swiss cheese.
Children love creating their own food and letting them pick out what they like will increase the likelihood of the food being eaten. When you wrap the food in the dough make sure to cut slits on one side to realise pressure.  Baking is usually at 350 degrees, but it may vary depending on the type of bread you are using, what you filled it with and how much. Two foot breads with cooked meats take about a half hour, smaller sizes, I suggest cooking for ten minutes and check on it every five minutes until done.

Pie Filling Crêpes!
Have you had your fill of pie? Had enough of sweet cherry pie? All blueberried out? Pie like puns, may come in abundances. Rather than chuck thzvveses sweets in the trash, find a good crêpe pancake recipe, fill it with cream cheese and pie filling, warm until hot.  Top with sour cream and breakfast is served!

Green Bean Casserole Mac n Cheese!

You either love it or hate it. When I make my casserole I only use french cut green beans and add cooked bacon. However getting rid of its leftovers can be a challenge. If you have a crock pot or know how to slow cook on a stove, add your green beans and other vegetables. Don't over do it, or the kids will catch on. Add your pasta. You don't have to use macaroni pasta. Add milk instead of water to the pasta, shredded cheese, cream cheese, seasonings and butter together. Slow cooker on low for about six hours. 

Thanksgiving Cupcakes

   Children are visual creatures and dressing up the same food to look different is an age old trick.  

Use a greased cupcake pan and line individual cups with stuffing. Adding butter or cooking oil if the stuffing is very dry.  Create a hollow cup to put some turkey in the center.  Cupcakes take about twenty minutes in the oven at 350. Afterwards take an ice cream scooper and scoop up warm, sweet or mash potatoes on top. With regular mash potatoes drizzle brown gravy on top. With sweet potatoes, garnish with a small amount of cranberry sauce to look like a cherry on top.

It's easy, cute and kids love it!


Corn can be over stocked. To reduce the boundaries of corn in your refrigerator and pantry might I suggest making corn bread? Adding corn from fresh to creamed can increase its flavor. Try adding other vegetables, like peas, cooked carrot's, mushrooms, spinach, etc.... to the mix. 

Corn bread can be used as a bread, muffin, pancakes, corndogs, etc! If you have a donut hole maker, corn bread is a cute cake pop!

Another suggestion is to add corn, especially cream corn  to butter, it is very good. Add some honey for a real treat!

Peacan Pie Shakes

Peacan pie is yum, yum, yum! However it's killer on your teeth. People who suffer from dental problem's may have trouble eating a favorite treat. Try a peacan pie milk shake. Take a slice of pie to the blended then add milk and ice-cream. Blend until smooth. Pour in glass. Top with ice cream and whip cream, your have heaven!

Throw in some maple syrup to the mix, if you like it sweet. For extra creamy, add a slice of cheesecake to the mix!
Toss in a few shots of your favorite poison, for those over 21. 

Butternut Squash in Tomato Sauce

If you have leftover chunks of squash. Peel the skin off and chop the flesh fine before adding it to the sauce. You may want to cook the squash first in olive and garlic.  Serve on top of pasta and no one else the wiser!

Quick Way to get Rid of All Vegetables
with Soup

Do you have too many salad's, veggies and other nutritional item's you aren't accustom to eating? If you have a powerful blender, blend them into liquid and add to a home cooked soup or stew. 

Cranberry Sauce to Pink Cream!
A lot of people have problems with leftover cranberry sauce. Left in the refrigerator is long, it begins on melt. Never fear! 

This fruit drip recipe a friend shared with me, is not only to die for, it makes a delicious frost for a cake. It's. A lovely light pink color, with a creamy texture.

You need a bowl of whip cream. I make my own, using a quart of heavy cream. 
I have seen people use cool whip. A container if cream cheese, whipped works best.
 A can of cranberry sauce, no seeds. Whip all three ingredients with a high speed mixer, until a light pink fluff.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What to do AFTER Thanksgiving!

After Thanksgiving, you awake from your turkey coma and still have yet a whole another day with the kids home from school. While businesses try to capilize this extra time, more and more people are fighting this "Black" Friday madness. Everyone has their own reasons not to shop this day, yet what to do with all that extra free time from work and school? It seems like a silly question, but when the weather outside is cold, you can't simply make your kids play outside.

  1. The changing of the seasons, together! The winter holiday's are approaching fast. Soon you will be cooking, shopping, visiting and party hopping or working over time, your head starts to spin. Using this time together to decorate, while putting away the autumn decor of feastivies past, will easies some of your burden. Decorating often brings people into the spirit of the coming holiday's and new year!
  2. Explore old items! Go through old items of years past! Find baby clothes, old pictures, forgotten toys and other items from your trip down memory lane. 
  3. Feeling an itch to leave the house? Why not visit friends and relatives? Try to meet up with old familiar faces you rarely are able to see.
  4. Or you could go to a museum! With all that time away from school try to throw some education into the fun! 
  5. This time off is a great time to do crafts and projects with children. There are millions of ideas, from knitting to models of erupting volcanoes. This really is a great time to come up with a project to do with your children.
  6. Hiking! If it isn't too cold, hiking in the autumn woods is both beautiful and educational. The trees may be sleeping, but much of nature is wide awake. Plus fresh air and lots of walking cause children to slumber deeply.
  7. Work out any remaining gift list. Even better, try creating most of your holiday gifts this year. These can be crafts and or good deeds.  
  8. A second Thanksgiving! It sounds crazy, but sometimes one day doesn't encompass all your loved ones. Maybe you or your partners family wasn't there, friends who are like family and even a community. If you can't afford a second feast, don't feel bad me neither, try a pot luck! It might be a way to get rid of left overs BTW. Don't shy away from the idea of a block party to community gathering! The holidays were meant to be celebrated with our community!
  9. Reinvent Thanksgiving leftovers! There are lots of creative ways to eat the more common foods served on Thanksgiving day. 
  10. Volunteering! When in doubt, volunteer! If you or your children have extra time, why not put it to positive use? Volunteering from feeding the hungry, to picking up liter, there is always a need for a helping hand. This perfect for teens, but any child and adult can benefit from the act of kindness! 
  11. Rest! Sometimes you and your family need to recharge, especially for the upcoming holidays! So maybe pull out the pj's, have a turkey sandwich while introducing your kids to some timeless movies and show from your youth! Some popular ideas, The Wizard Of Oz, The Dark Crystal, Miracle of 34st, Home Alone, Snoopy's Christmas, The Nightmare Before Christmas.. you get the idea. Please apply common sense and make sure the show is age appropriate for all viewers.

Again, we need not waste our precious time off, but use it effectively and in the manner which is best for you and your family!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Tasty treats for Halloween

Here are some great ideas for serving your children and guest on Halloween!!! Many of these treats the children could actively participate in, with adult supervision. Great for group cooking with young chef's. It makes for fun activities for parties or gatherings. Yes some of this is bad for you. Feel free to substitute any ingredients from my recipe with something more desirable.

I do not advise giving these out on to trick or treater's!

Monster Pizza 

I come from New York, so naturally I'm a pizza snob. Living in Florida I have had to improvise.

1 round Greek pita bread
Cooked tomato sauce
Mozzarella cheese
choice of topppings

Take the pita bread, put a layer of sauce on one side. Try not to be too thick or use too much. Sprinkle cheese on top.  Arrange toppings to look like a scary face. Place on pan and toast in oven or toaster oven until cheese melts. Usually 325-350 for 15-20 minutes. Leave longer for extra crispy.

Zombies Cookies 

Sugar cooke or Gingerbread dough
Candy and Frosting for decor
For sugar cookies you could dye the dough green

Use your favorite sugar cookie or gingerbread recipe, roll dough flat and use person shape cookies cutter to shape your zombie. Decorate with candy and icing. Add m&ms as eyes before baking, the coloring bleeds around the eye.

Mud Dip 

1/2 cup of almond butter
Coco non sweetened powder to preference.
Honey, sweetnesses preference

Mix ingredients together unit blended. It looks like mud, the consistency of uncooked brownie batter, taste great and has more protein than sugar. Use for pretzel and fruit dip. Apples tend to work best, but so does short bread cookies too. It makes a tasty toast spread and I hear it's delicious with banana's.

Cemetery Cupcakes

Medium to large size cupcakes
Frosting of your preference
White chocolate covered Oreo's
A tube of colored frosting. Thin tip.
Autumn leave sprinkles (optional)

Make your favorite cupcake with your favorite topping, green and purple color frosting looks the best. Shove a white chocolate covered Oreo through the top, leaving half the cookie stick out. Write with decorative icing "RIP" or "BOO!"on the cookie.

Bloodshot Eyeball Eggs

Black olives

Hard boil eggs, unshell and cut in half. Use exposed yoke as the pupil, cut olive into the iris if the eye and push into the yoke. Put ketup into a small plastic sandwich bag. Prick a small hole on the bottom corner, just like a pastry bag and draw red cracks on the egg whites along side the yoke.

Popcorn Bags  


There has to be a mi!lion ways to dress up popcorn in a bag. From the glove to the ghost. This easy, tasty and low cost treat is a life saviour!

May you and your family have aa wonderful Halloween!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

End Columbus Day, from an Italian New Yorker!

First let me be clear, I was born and raised in New York, but because of the cost of living, I'm a displaced New Yorker, living in Florida. I'm told it's lovely, from those who like the tropics, which I don't. I'm also a mutt, I come from several lines of generations in this country, plus my family got around in Europe. I know my fathers father was born to Italian immigrants in the Bronx.  Both of my grandfathers were Italian and both served in World War Two. A New Yorker will understands the significance of the Italian World War Two veterans, but many outside our state don't fully understand the pain and suffering of our heritage.

Before we go into detail about that, let us acknowledge,Columbus was a Bastard! The story we all learned in school about him discovering America and the shape of the earth were directly from a fictional novel "A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus," by Washington Irving, written in 1828. This was written during a time where the American Colonists were in the act of committing mass genocide to the Natives from the northern continent. Making Christopher Columbus a hero was fitting for men who devalued human life for means of profits and power. The same arts of manipulation were used to change the "Thanksgiving" history, into the school musical's your parents loved watching you preform back when you still had a bed time.

Columbus was a slave trader and tyrant. In fact he and his brothers treated the indigenous people of Hispaniola so horribly, that Queen Isabella of Spain had the trio brought back to Europe in chains. This was the same monarch who began the Spanish Inquisition, had Columbus stripped of his title as Governor of the Indies for inhumane treatment. It is understandable why the decendents in the indigenous people, who have been nearly wiped out find this man so offensive.

Why do Italian's love him so? Well take a look of the myth we have been wrongly taught as fact's. Columbus, an Italian, discovers America and that the world isn't in some way flat. Those are pretty flattering accomplishments for one to associate yourself with. Who would want to give that up, especially for a truth that is so ugly!

Just as the Irish hold true to Saint Patrick as an excuse to celebrate their culture, with limited knowledge of the history of the character, Columbus is a sort of demi god that reprents a culture and people. Even if the real person is nothing as the myth claim's, the idea has evolved further into a culture. Italians from the early twenth century, especially those from southern Italy were considered genetically inferior. Many italian families abandoned their native lanuage completely in hopes of acceptance, well as their names altered by authority figures. Religion was also a complication. America prided itself on its white Protestant image, demanding cultures submit to their standards. Naturally due to poverty, discrimination and in the case of the 1920s Prohibition, led to a new level of crime, ie.... organised crime.

Italian families fought long and hard to reach acceptance. A turning point came when the United States entered into World War Two. Italian were the largest national group to join the serve to fight. To many Italians who fought it was about freeing the motherland from Mussolini to proving their undying loyalty to the new world. Yet fifty years later and still no Italian President, there is still the fear against Catholics and old fears often die kicking screaming.

Italian families, despite many cultural sacrifices maintained a close net family ties and reinvention of Italian cooking, Italian American cuisine.  Ideas between which traditions should be kept and which should die is battle from generation to generation. Today many younger Italian's are leaving Catholicism, some become Protestant, but fastly more becomes secular or pagan. Italian history has famous atheist like Umberto Veronesi an oncologist who contributed greatly to the prevention and treatment of breast cancer and Renato Caccioppio a mathematician and pianists. Italian culture also has a strong pagan history. From ancient Rome to Catholic mytheism, Italian culture is rich in ancient spirituality. These changes are frightening to the older individuals who won't question the authorities of their childhood.

Which is why many Italian individual's become attached to the nostalgic romantized story story of Columbia. The problem is the idea that American Italian culture needs to represented by a singular historical figure. I challenge this notion!

  1. World War Two Italian veterans: these brave men and women were more than willing to fight and even die for this country. So many fought, mainstream society was forced to reconsider Italian's in American culture.
  2. Our food is a celebration all in itself! From cappuccino to lasagna. Your mouth waters with just the smell of a good pizza. You haven't lived until you had cannolli-gasm!
  3. Italian artist and celebrities. From Leonardo DiVinci to Robert DeNero. Frank Sinatra, is iconic and Valentino still received flowers on his grave.  Not to mention century old operas, dances, sculptures, paintings, etc. . Italian culture has contributed to society. 

All of these people and traditions represent modern day Italian Americans better than a mad slave trader who died in the early sixteenth century. We as a culture have much to be proud of, over the dark stain from our his history, which Columbus really was. We deserve better than him and should celebrate all that makes our culture great and in turn make America great!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Frighteningly Educational!

Let's face it, October is a fun month! It's colorful, playful, creative and even scary at times. With holidays like Samhain and Halloween, inspire our little festive dance with death, which essentially what these holidays are. Death is the window, to the past, which led to my love of old legends and the history behind it. History is loaded with gruesome stories. Some are thought provoking, others are scary, but all great ways to bring out a little history from a young persons life.

Please consider the age and mentality of your children before sharing any of theses stories. Some image's are rather graphic, but in black and white format.

1. Haunted house are always a favorite, but one house I'm sure was haunted, because it was literally a murder house. " The Castle" it was called by its creator and American serial killer H. H. Holmes, was a luxury hotel that took up three addresses, with torture below its surface. In Holmes 34 years of life, its confirmed he killed 9 people, but estimated the true number was around 200. His hotel held secret chambers were his victims would suffocate, dehydration, starve or be tortured to death. Holmes was eventually caught and hanged on May 7, 1896. His "Castle" burned to the ground in a mysterious fire years later.

a) Try making model of a house with trap doors and hiddenpassageways. Use cardboard as a medium.
b) Have your student play detective and review the evidence themselves.

2. Torture device's, because lefts face it, a murder house is just house with messy rooms without torture and its devices. Although it may seem like fun and games, the art of torture is actual profession. It disturbing to admit that much of our medical advancements came from the act of torture. From knowledge of anatomy to medical methods and devices. A good study on the history of torture devices from ancient China to modern times is a fascinating evolutionary process.

a) Talk about social issues of a society that uses torture, both current and past.
b) Have your student make a model or drawing of the device, then explain its mechanics.

3. No Haunted house is complete without its
  Mad Scientist!
 Dr. Josef Mengele, an SS officer of the Nazi party. He  cruelty conducted experiments of forced subjects, men, women and children. He would sew identical twins together in an attempt to create conjoint twins. In attempts to learn how to make sea water drinkable, he would deprive his all other food or drink, other than his experiments. Other grosume experiment in ways to prevent and treat hypothermia, involved stripping people nude exposing their flesh to extremely cold temperatures.

a) Ask, what would cause a person and group of people to be so apathetic to such level high level of human suffering?
c) Have your student's study the stories of those who  survived torture, both long ago past, to recent times.

4. Evil Queen, try Empress! Empress consort of Emperor Augustus Caeser, Livia Drusillia is rumored to have murdered everyone before her son Tiberius path to Emperor of Rome. Including her husband, the current Emperor of the time.  It is believed she painted figs in the gardens with poison, knowing her husband apparently justified paranoid about picking his own food. Posion is Queen, they said about her. She and Augustus were married over fifty years.

a) Rome was always theatrical, so why not recreate realistic scenes of common people, like peasants, slaves, soldiers, etc.... It's a great way to make history become more live, while relieving the soap opera, that was the Roman Empirical family.
b) Teach your younger students about poisonous plants, what they do and most importantly, the antidote!

5. The true story behind the Fairytale's, especially Hansel and Gretel are rather disturbing. One of my favorite stories is similar the murder case of a baker named Katharine Scharderin from Harz German. Apparently her ginger bread was so good, it rocked the seventh century, that it lead her death by a rival Baker, Hans Metzlar 37 and his sister Grete 34 burned Scharderin to death in her own oven, in an attempt to get her recipe. Although the premise of the story dates back four hundred years before this murder, the Grims Brother's used the earlier account for minor details, like names.

a) Find your favorite fairytale and learn the history behind the story.
b) Make up a play of the fairytale in the realistic manner the story implies though historical context.

6. Another fun story to dissect is Washington Irving's
 "Legend of Sleepy Hollow." 
This story was originally a German legend "The Wild Huntsman" said to chase down criminals at great speed. Irving's take on the story was based off the Dutch version, who disliked the German's, made their hero a mindless killer. Another drastic change from realty, Ichabod Crane was indeed a real person, whom Irving was acquainted. Although he wasn't like the character, an anxious school teacher, but rather a high ranking USA Marine, whom served in the war if 1812.


a) Ask what other ancient myth has been taken out of context and why.
b) Through the real Ichabod Crane was a rough and tough sort of fellow, it is said Irving added personal behaviors from Crane, to his character. What kind of person do think the the real Crane was?

7. Body Snatchers, are actually a fascinating history. It was often the only way for early medical schools to have enough bodies. Creepy notorious body snatcher, Carl Tanzier a radiologic technologist, who became infatuated with a patient he failed to save from tuberculosis in 1931. Maria Elena Milagro de Hoyos, succumbed to her illness on October 25, she was twenty-two years old. Tanzier, who was fifty-four years when she died, paid for her burial.  He eventually stole Hoyos body, mummified and had his way with it. He wasn't caught until 1940, where the corpse was placed in a secret burial location. Tanzier died in 1952 at the age of seventy five. 

a) This is a good time to review morty science. Talk about the different ways bodies are disposed of.
b) Talk about necrophilia with older students, obviously. It's crazy enough to spike some teenagers curiosity.

8. Attack of the Killer_______! We've all seen some version of this genre of movie, like Jaws aka attack of the killer shark. Human beings enjoy being on top of the food chain, but are humbled when one of us is consumed by nature. It could be a bear, a pack of wolves or you break your neck tripping over a house cat, man kind can damage more than pride when encountering the animal kingdom. The stories are endless!

a) Time to talk about animal safety!
b) Have your students review animal attack cases and think of ways to avoid them.

9. Monster or People with medical conditions? Medical science has come along from the dark ages. We are able to study the very make-up of a being, discovering all kinds of information. Including postmodern of a corpse that hasn't embalmed decomposition to genetic trades that cause the person to be covered in hair, Hyperichosis. There many medical conditions that could be tied to superstitions, mythologies and legends.  I wish to make clear, it is not the individual's with disabilities who are scary, but how they were treated by family and society! For example the sad tale of Julia Pastana.

a) Teach your students to identify medical conditions in these legends and understand the time period if when the story was told.
b) Try to involve your student into working with peers with physical and mental challenge's. Better to break the ground early and encourage support, patients, respect and dignity towards all kinds of people.

10. Raising a Demon Slayer! With stories of ghost, vampires, ghouls, let us not forget real monster's exist and they come in all forms. Teaching your students criminology will give them a better understanding about what they could be up against.  Don't become paranoid, but teach your students to question adults, to look out for suspicious or inappropriate behavior. Teach them how to defend themselves from an adult they don't know or trust.

a) Teach age appropriate defenses and identify methods of what is acceptable adult behavior. Also explain, different adults like medical staff may touch their body parts, but teach them to identify the correct measures of the medical staff.
b) Have your students volunteer for searches of missing persons. Let them see how real these cases are and how much they hurt a family.

May your autumn festives be as thought provoking as well as fun!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Inspirational Video's

Every so often it's good to watch a few inspirational videos. Here are some wonderful video I feel fit the theme of my more popular post!

1. The Dugger's article is by far my most viewed article. Though rather disturbing topic, it has that train wreck effect, you don't want to see it, but can't look away. I try to look on the bright side, at least the former TLC reality sitcom would inspire such satire.

Kid Farm

2. Although my Fat Shaming article didn't make the top ten, it had a recent increase of viewing, upon seeing this remarkable video, I felt inspired to share!
Why Fat Girls Shouldn't Wear Bikinis

3. Although this video doesn't represent any one particular article, Charlie Chaplin's speech at end of "the Great Dictator" was breath taking my beautiful. Hear in his words transformed into visual gratification, called
The Greatest Speech Ever Made

4. My Fraggle article is still my  favorite. Yes it may seem silly, but I do believe in the philosophy in much of the work of the Jim Henson Corporation.
Let Me Be Your Song

5. My last article, Aging Pagan; Our Personal Autumn Equinox became very popular, thanks to the sharing of a kind, wise and respected elder on her page. This video series, is a reaction channel, exploring the differences between generations.
Elders React 

I hope to continue to write for you and thank you for reading. Expect more articles coming soon!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Aging Pagan; Our Personal Autumn Equinox

To Jim

In the spirit of the upcoming Equinox, I feel it's time to talk about age and death. For fourteen years I have worked in health care, some of that time as an EMT, but mostly as a Home Health Aide. I'm not a doctor, nurse or lawyer. What I'm is a witness. I'm there when the nurse leaves, in the patients home, where few doctors venture. I have seen courage and fear. The stories I could tell you could equally break your heart or inspire a greeting card. I'm here merely to give my personal advice and strongly suggest you seek your own legal counsel. I share with you some suggestions, as well address concerns. Please use both knowledge and free will.

1. Some wise advice from his holiness the Dahai Lama.

This holds true, especially for those who suffer from conditions that affects memory. Don't live with regrets, make amends if you can and patch up damaged relationships. Be kind and thoughtful as often as you can. Your fancy toys won't fit in your hospital room, but images of your past will dance in your head. Make those memories special. Remember kisses, hugs, sun rises/ sets, butterfly's, songs, good cheers, merriment. Let go of your arguments, disappointments, scratches on pride and low point's.

2. Please heal past traumas.  I can not stress this enough. An elderly person I knew witnessed the sexual assault of a friend, both were very young at the time. This resulted in many nightmares and as the patients mind deteriorated she relived the experience unable to understand this was no longer a threat.

3. Study the effects of advance aging, as well as your families medical history. Make the decisions of what you are willing to go through and what you are not. Seek legal counsel, realize DNRs (Do Not Resuscitate) only prevent medical professionals from any attempts of restarting the heart, they will often go to great lengths from preventing the organ from stopping.  I suggest you not stop with documents,  but video record your feeling's on this issue. This means brainstorming on some of the most horrific of situations. As difficult as this may be, its far worse being in these situations without your wishes honored.

4. Be kind to the young. To your children or younger family members, never forget these will be the people determining what happens to you and your estates. The children of today will be your caretaker's and world leader's when you become more vulnerable. Think about the world you leave behind.

5. Obviously, eat right and exercise, but stay mentally active as well. Do that crossword puzzle while you eat your yogurt and drink coffee without sugar. Socialise, date and be sexually active. Find some social hobbies and take on several. As an able body person, you may want to start a program that encourages others with physical limitations to be physically active. You never know, you could one day be benefiting from the gifts you gave others. So volunteer at the hospital, make crafts, fix old cars, learn a new language, take a class, play on a team, dance even with just your eyes.

6. Celebrate age. Crown yourself the Crone or the Wise one. Own your age and be the person you want to be. Enjoy your free time and appreciate the wisdom you have gained. Believe it or not it will serve you better than youth.

7. Remember, just because you're retired doesn't mean everyone else has stopped working. All your free time could consume you and lead to feelings of neglect. If you want to be closer to your family, try to get to know them and find an interest you could share. You may not fully understand the newer generation, doesn't mean you can not connect in some way. Be a friend. Please don't forget how difficult life can be. Understand life's circumstances when frustrated by youth.

8. Determine your final interment and the details of your last ceremony.  Following religious and spiritual customs tends to make the transition more peaceful. You don't have to follow the traditional route of a funeral home, Death Doula's are an option in most if the USA. Pagan funeral options are also becoming more available. Military Viking Funeral.

9. Assistant living facilities and nursing homes hate change! Some have not adjusted to the fact most of their residents grew up with rock and roll. A music once despised by the generation before. They are also of the mindset of pushing Christianity onto their residents. Too often a prayer said by the director ends "in Jesus name." Offensive to pagans, atheist. Jews, Muslims and other ideas outside this one religion. This is not the time to be intimidated or weak. Stand up for your rights.

10. Know when to stop driving. As we age, our sight goes, our mind may wander, we might nap randomly, all serious dangers while we drive. Please, you don't want to be responsible for the death of another person, know when to let go. Its often better for seniors to live where there is decent public transportation.

11. Down size! You don't want to waste your energy cleaning a big empty house. Stairs are lovely, but are your enemy! Trust me! You might want to consider an apartment or condo over an entire house. When looking for a final home, you want to consider a few things.
You have to think ahead.
A. Where's the closes hospital and do you like it?
B. What access to public transportation is there available? Just because you can drive now, doesn't mean you will in the future.
C. How close are there stores for food, clothing and other area's? Are there dangerous roads, intersections, insufficient space for safe travel by walking or wheelchair?
E. Home maintenance coverage, utilities and security coverage.
F. Activities to do in the community.
G. Avoid stairs!  Your knees will thank me.  Also don't go with narrow hallways, doors and rooms. Make sure to look for big bathrooms with spacious showers or walk in tubs.  Either have a large bedroom or get a smaller bed.

12. When you're dead your will can be contested. If you have something special you want to give to a special person, give it to them before you die. This way you can enjoy their happiness, while ensuring the item goes where you want it.

13. If you need further advice, watch the Golden Girls. Believe it or not, these four women, through comedy covered many of complex issues of living longer.

14. Keep your favorite music from your youth handy!

The final year's of your life does not mean you are no longer an adult, but a sacred one. Ancient story teller. Our living past and gift to the future. Appreciate the treasure you are!