Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Give Your Support on Giving Tuesday

Give on Giving Tuesday

Since its inaugural year in 2012, #GivingTuesday has become a worldwide movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy. Although charitable giving can and should take place year round, Giving Tuesday was intended to kick off the charitable season after the frenzy of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Giving Tuesday can be a day for us to put holiday shopping on hold while we think of those who are not on our gift list, but are so deserving of our generosity.

There are hundreds of organizations whose mission is to make the world better, and our support fuels their success. Even a small donation will make a difference.

Plus, it feels good to donate. It really does.

Giving Wisely

I make a point of researching charities through Charity Navigator, which lets you know how much of your donation actually goes to the intended cause as well as other important information about the charity.

If you make your donation TODAY on the Charity Navigator website, your donation will be matched 3:1. That’s hard to pass up.

Here are some worthy organizations that are personal favorites of mine with high rankings on Charity Navigator. The important thing, though, is to give to an organization you care about.

Animal Welfare

Main Line Animal Rescue is considered by many to be the finest animal shelter in the United States. With more than five hundred active volunteers, thousands of animals helped every year, a state-of-the-art veterinary clinic, innovative training and educational programs, and almost sixty acres of fenced pastures and walking trails, MLAR is a godsend for animals and animal lovers. MLAR is nationally recognized as a leader in the fight against puppy mill abuse.

Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue helps Since 1993, Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue has successfully placed over 4,500 Golden Retrievers and other DVGRR dogs into new homes. DVGRR has been recognized for innovative work in rescuing and rehabilitating puppy mill breeder dogs.

PAWS Chicago (stands for Pets Are Worth Saving) is Chicago’s largest no-kill humane organization, focused on adoption, free spaying and neutering, and community outreach. It provides a warm and cozy environment for pets waiting to be adopted.

Wildlife Conservation Network protects endangered species and preserves their natural habitats by supporting entrepreneurial conservationists who pursue innovative strategies for people and wildlife to co-exist and thrive.

Health

Cure Alzheimer’s Fund is dedicated to funding research with the highest probability of preventing, slowing or reversing Alzheimer’s disease.For many years, Alzheimer’s research was completely stifled by a lack of funding. This organization, privately funded, was set up to dramatically accelerate research and focus exclusively on finding a cure

Give Kids the World Village is a 79-acre, nonprofit resort in Central Florida that provides weeklong, cost-free vacations to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

National Pediatric Cancer Foundation is dedicated to funding research to eliminate childhood cancer. The focus is to fund research to fast track less toxic, more targeted treatments by partnering with 20 leading hospitals nationwide.

Human Rights

National Women’s Law Center champions policies and laws that help women and girls achieve their potential throughout their lives — at school, at work, at home, and in their communities.

Southern Poverty Law Center fights hate and bigotry and seeks justice for the most vulnerable members of our society.

Teach for America brings committed individuals into low-income classrooms to become teachers with the power to dramatically expand students’ opportunities. In turn, the teachers learn from their students, and gain a better understanding of the problems and the opportunities in our education system.

The Environment

World Wildlife Fund is devoted to conserving nature and reducing the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth.

National Resources Defense Council works to safeguard the earth—its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends.

Give Your Support to Giving Tuesday

I hope you will support Giving Tuesday. Happy Holidays!

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Save the Date for #GivingTuesday

 

Giving Tuesday

With Thanksgiving just two days away, I am happily organizing my kitchen for the deluge of food preparation to come. For many of us, Thanksgiving is perhaps the best holiday, a time when we can give thanks for our many blessings while enjoying a special meal with family and friends.

In my family, Thanksgiving is just the start of a long weekend, and as traditional as the turkey is on Thursday, so are the turkey sandwiches and football games on Friday.

I wake up on Friday morning before the rest of the house has stirred and putter around the kitchen, putting my good china away and preparing a nice breakfast for my family.

What I do not do on Friday is get in my car and head for the stores.

I hate shopping.

As someone who finds shopping tedious and holiday shopping downright painful, Black Friday has about as much charm for me as the Black Plague. Just the thought of the crowds, the lines, circling the parking lot for the space that never materializes … ugh.

Call me a Grinch, but I’m just not into this time of year when over-consumption overcomes so many. As I get older my buying habits have changed considerably. How many “things” do we really need to be happy?

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been recognized as the official kick-off events to the shopping season. And now that many stores have opted to be open on Thanksgiving Day itself, holiday shopping has gotten another shot of adrenaline.

Well, no thank you. This year I’m focusing instead on #GivingTuesday which is next week, December 3, after the trifecta of holiday shopping days have come and gone. #GivingTuesday is a call to action to give and give back, not just one day but year-round, and put personal philanthropy back in the holiday season.

#GivingTuesday is next week.

Founded last year by the 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation, the first #GivingTuesday brought together more than 2,500 partners in all 50 states and increased online giving that day by 53%. Pretty wonderful, huh?

This year, #GivingTuesday has set its sights even higher. Campaigns are underway around the world, and right now there are over 6,500 partners!

giving educationgiving timegiving food

The holiday season can and should be about giving and giving back. There are so many organizations that need our support, and why not make this season a time for reaching out to help.

This short video explains what Giving Tuesday is all about.

Will you consider participating in #GivingTuesday and making it the opening day of the giving season?

 

Disclosure: I am a social media ambassador for #GivingTuesday but have received  no compensation.

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The Day President Kennedy Died

funeral of John F. Kennedy, Jr.

Fifty years ago today, life as we knew it changed with a bullet and a blood-spattered pink suit.

It was Friday afternoon in Miss Seiler’s fifth grade class. For the short time left in the day we were allowed to work on a project in small groups. There was a low hum of activity in the room as we chatted with each other, a bit of restlessness, as dismissal was just about an hour away.

Miss Seiler had sent one of the boys to the office to deliver an attendance slip. When he returned he mumbled something about someone being shot. The buzz in the room escalated audibly with nervous laughter. We thought it was a joke. Some of the boys pretended to point a gun and said bang bang, you’re dead, and we giggled.

The Long Ride in Silence

My parents and younger brother were waiting outside for me that day. We were leaving straight from school to travel across the state to my grandmother’s for a pre-Thanksgiving visit. As soon as I got in the car I knew something was terribly wrong.

They told me that President Kennedy had been shot and was dead. I remember that long, somber ride in the car, with spotty reception of AM radio as we crossed over the mountains. My parents struggled to answer my questions. “Why? Why would anyone want to do this?” I wailed.

We spent most of the weekend in front of my grandmother’s black and white TV. This was a new thing, this round-the-clock coverage that we are so used to today. Walter Cronkite, visibly shaken when he took off his glasses and announced JFK’s death, steered us through these first few days of confusion and sorrow.

Cronkite announcing the death of President Ken...

Cronkite announcing the death of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I remember the sadness of Jackie’s stricken face at the funeral, people lining the street and sobbing, John-John’s salute as his father’s casket passed by.

funeral of John F. Kennedy, Jr.There was another story being reported about John-John.. Someone had given him a toy flag to play with. “Can I have another one to give to my father?’ he was reported to have asked. That broke my 10 year-old heart.

I had felt an emotional connection to President Kennedy. Perhaps it was the romance of Camelot, perhaps his charisma, the allure of the Kennedy family. Maybe it was because several years earlier he had smiled at me.

He Smiled at Me

When JFK was running for President he made a campaign stop in my city, and my mother and I drove downtown to see. There were people lined up and down the city streets. The air was electric with excitement.

We got there too late, or we weren’t in the right place, and we missed it. Gloomily we walked back to the car. But then miraculously the motorcade appeared on the side street where we were parked. JFK’s car passed right by and he waved and smiled at us.

He was my President. From then on, I idolized him and his glamorous, soft-spoken wife and his adorable children.

The World Would Never Be the Same

In a way, the 1950s ended that day in 1963, I felt the change, the loss of innocence. The world no longer felt predictable and safe.

This feeling of despair would strike again, in April 1968 when Martin Luther King was killed, and again in June when Robert F. Kennedy was killed.

I remember the morning when I heard about RFK. My clock radio had clicked on at 7 a.m. with the shocking news that I could only barely comprehend, and, tears streaming down my face, I ran into my parents room to tell them.

They tried to soothe me, thinking I had had a nightmare about JFK, but of course the nightmare was that violence had claimed another life full of promise. The nation was again thrown into turmoil.

 

To commemorate this anniversary, my blogging friends at Midlife Boulevard are sharing their own experiences. Click on the links below to read their stories.

 

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Words Escape Me

Holiday season is upon us. Ah yes, the family get togethers, the office parties, the presents. Lots of merriment, twinkling lights and auld lang syne. And of course, the festive meals.

Thanksgiving, holiday, turkey, sweet potatoes, jello, stuffing, plate, dinner

our Thanksgiving dinner

Lest it go unnoticed in the hubbub, however, may I point out that the 2012 “Word of the Year” has been announced?

The Oxford English Dictionary has named omnishambles, meaning a “situation which is shambolic from every possible angle,” the winner this year.

According to BBC News, the shortlist also included Eurogeddon, “the threatened financial collapse in the eurozone,” and mummy porn, a “genre inspired by the 50 Shades books.

I eat this stuff up like handfuls of popcorn at the movies.

And so, as is tradition in this blog (well, OK, this is the second year) I offer you the official holiday edition of:

Books is Wonderful 2012 Words of the Year

BindersFullofWomen’sRecipes: a collection of yellowed scraps of paper including Aunt Rose’s foolproof mashed potatoes

CrispChristie: the New Jersey governor tartly deflecting a Twinkie defense

Fatulence: embarrassing stomach sounds as one’s pants get tighter

HomecookedLand: Carrie takes a day off to uncover the secrets of her kitchen

MiddleYeastConflict: a tense situation sparked by differing opinions on how to bake bread

NobelPeacePie: making the same dessert year after year to avoid arguments

SevenNaturalWonderBread: a miracle that this miasma of chemicals was considered food

Stuffington Post: endless topics of conversation due to the inability to leave the table

The Food Hangover: Misadventures of three zany guys who OD’ed on the desserts

WarrenBuffet: a wealth of culinary riches on the holiday table

related: SageLeavesofOmaha

Wolf Blintz-er: CNN reporting live from the delicatessen

WontonAbbey: Lady Mary ordering takeout on Cook’s night off

… and when planning your holiday parties, don’t forget to invite these celebrities: Paris Stilton, Susan SaranWrap, Beans Affleck, Robert Poulet, CranJerry Seinfeld, Salad Field, Potatum O’Neal, Cake Gyllenhaal, BrusselSproutCrowe, and Carrots Fisher!

You can read Books is Wonderful’s 2011 Words here.

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Our Thanksgiving ‘Must Have’ with the Funny Name

Do you have a Thanksgiving recipe that is sacrosanct, one that your family will not let you waver from, or — perish the thought — omit from the menu? In my family it’s a festive jello mold that is the heralded star of the show.

Our Thanksgiving 'Must Have'

Jello mold? you ask with a raised eyebrow. That ghastly relic of which surely no one on the Food Network would dare speak? A hideous affront to gourmands of all persuasions? The slut of 50s cuisine, if you will — indiscriminate, always available, and dolled up with mini marshmallows, canned peaches or Maraschino cherries, whispering, ‘take me, I’m easy’.

But wait. Our Thanksgiving favorite deserves some respect. Made with cherry jello and studded with fresh cranberries, chopped walnuts and celery, it can be made wayyyy in advance and forgotten about until the turkey is being carved. With just the right balance of sweet, tart, and crunchy, it is a perfect accompaniment to the meal. I usually double the recipe to serve 12-14.

I don’t know what age I was when my mother first made this dish. But I can totally imagine my gastronomical rapture upon tasting the first forkful. Henceforth known as Leenzil’s Thanksgiving Salad, it has been on my family’s table ever since.

Thanksgiving, menu, holiday, jello, eating, gastronomy

My mother submitted Leenzil’s Thanksgiving Salad to our synagogue’s cookbook under my name years ago. This is a photo of that page.

Oh, and the Leenzil part? That was my dad’s nickname for me.

Happy Thanksgiving, and bon appetit!

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Gobble Gobble

Word geeks like me get a kick out of the Oxford English Dictionary’s (OED) additions and deletions to our lexicon. This morning on my Twitter feed I found the shortlist for 2011’s word of the year, along with OED definitions (thanks @mashable), and among them are:

  • Bunga bunga: Used in reference to parties hosted by the former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, at which various illicit sexual activities were alleged to have taken place.
  • Clicktivism: The use of social media and other online methods to promote a cause.
  • Crowdfunding: The practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.
  • Gamification: The application of concepts and techniques from games to other areas of activity, for instance as an online marketing technique.
  • Tiger mother: A demanding mother who pushes her children to high achievement using methods regarded as typical of Asian childrearing.

FYI, retweet and sexting were added to the dictionary in August, and earlier this year, the terms LOL, <3 and OMG.

So this got me to thinking, as this Thanksgiving holiday weekend comes to a close, what items might the OED have missed? Here are some of my ideas.

  • Bloatulism: That feeling just beyond exquisitely full that borders on nausea
    related: CranBeriBeri
  • L-tryptophantasy: imagining that the dishes will be washed and put away when you wake up the next morning
  • OccuPyCrustNow: Sitting around the kitchen table picking at the last crumbs of the apple pie
  • BlackFridaySaturdaySunday: When only black clothes, preferably with lots of elastic, will suffice
  • NordStromboli: Craving Italian food after a tough day at the mall
  • WeAreThe99% Fat-Free: Swearing off carbs for the rest of one’s life. Or until the December holidays.
  • WeightWeightDon’tTellMe: Stepping on the scale while covering one’s eyes
  • Maaloxandbagels: our Sunday brunch menu
  • FingerClickinGood: no more leftovers; ordering Chinese takeout online

What say you, OED?

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This I Believe

There are many things that inspire me: the beauty in nature, the athletic prowess in a five-set tennis match or a basketball game in double overtime, a wonderful sense of humor, a perfectly turned phrase. But many years ago I stumbled upon a quote that spoke so meaningfully to me that I adopted it as my own personal philosophy.

“The three grand essentials to happiness are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.”

I have seen the quote attributed to both Joseph Addison and Allan Chalmers, so I can’t attest to its true origin. To me, it is brilliant in its simplicity about what is really important in life.

Something to do isn’t just the job you perform during the day or the errands you run on the weekends. It’s having a purpose, making a difference, maybe not making the world a better place, but trying to make both yourself AND your little corner of the universe better. It’s having an agenda that matters. What do I do? I eat vegetables I volunteer at a homeless program, I weed my garden, I donate pretty decent clothing to Purple Heart, I wear sunscreen, I say thank you excessively, I support animal rights, I cheer on the home team, I take long walks with my dog.

Something to love, well, I interpret that very broadly. I am lucky to have a family and a circle of friends to love. What else do I love? Broadway, animals, the smell of salt air and suntan lotion at the beach, old photos, movies accompanied by popcorn, Thanksgiving, reading hard-to-put-down books, the aroma of bread baking in my kitchen, high school reunions, singing along with the radio, speaking French, yes, I love all those things and so much more.

Something to hope for: in times of distress, I tell myself that things will get better, and they do. Getting through a rough patch is tolerable because I know it won’t last forever. Hoping for things is not to say that I’m dissatisfied with what I have, but what do I aspire to? And what do I wish for humanity? What do I hope for? World peace, a cure for terrible diseases, a strong leader for our country, my children’s fulfillment in whatever they do, a pair of jeans that fits well, my unwritten novel will someday be written, health and happiness and many years of life for everyone I love, and the opportunity to keep learning and keep giving back as long as I can.

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