Category Archives: Christmas

Santa Is On His Way – Santa Norad Tracker

It may be the morning of Christmas Eve here in Middletown but that doesn’t stop Santa, he has already left the North is on the way.

This year, as in years past, you can keep an eye on where Santa is all throughout the day by checking in on his travels with the NORAD Tracker (NORAD is the bi-national U.S.-Canadian military organization responsible for the aerospace and maritime defense of the United States and Canada).
The NORAD Tracker is a great interactive website for the kids to explore, there are a number of items on the website for kids of all ages, to play with while waiting for Santa’s arrival.
As an example, there are videos (like the one below) that show Santa leaving the North Pole that give updates to where Santa has been and where he is heading next. Kids can track Santa via Google Earth, a fun interactive play area that is called Countdown to Track Santa, where kids can play fun games while waiting his arrival. There are also tabs to the website that explain all about Santa and NORAD, so the Santa Tracker website is not only a fun place for kids to spend time while waiting for Santa, it is also educational.

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Filed under Christmas, Christmas Eve, Middletown NJ, NORAD, Santa tracker

President Obama’s Weekly Address 12/24/11 : The President and First Lady Thank our Troops for their Service as we Celebrate the Holiday Season

WASHINGTON— In this week’s address, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama came together to wish the American people a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, and thanked our troops, military families, and veterans for their service and sacrifice. President Obama and Michelle Obama encouraged everyone to visit JoiningForces.gov to find ways to give back to our brave men and women in uniform and their families during the holiday season as we work together in the spirit of service.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/all/modules/swftools/shared/flash_media_player/player5x2.swf

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Filed under Christmas, holiday season, Iraq War, Michelle Obama, Military Families, President Obama, US troops, weekly address

Holiday Safety Tips #2


Be Safe on Icy Surfaces:

When you’re taking a crisp winter stroll in your neighborhood or walking through the parking lot at work or the grocery, use caution when walking out-doors in the winter. Slips and falls are some of the most frequent types of injuries, especially during the winter months Sidewalks and pavement can be slipperier than they look, resulting in falls that can cause serious injury. Follow these tips to be aware of these dangers and to learn to walk safely on ice and slippery surfaces.

· In cold temperatures assume that all wet, dark areas on pavements are slippery and icy.

· Wear sensible boots with thick, non-tread soles and low heels. Keep these in your car in case you become stranded or encounter car trouble.

· Thoroughly salt or sand your driveway, walkways and sidewalks.

· Wait until snow/ice has melted before walking on salted surfaces.

· Look before you walk. Surfaces can re-freeze during nighttime hours, making sidewalks and parking lots slippery in the morning. Walk in designated walkways as much as possible. Taking shortcuts over snow piles and other frozen areas can be hazardous. Look ahead when you walk; a snow- or ice covered sidewalk or driveway, especially if on a hill, may require travel along its grassy edge for traction.

· Point your feet out slightly like a penguin! Spreading your feet out slightly while walking on ice increases your center of gravity. Bend slightly and walk flat-footed with your center of gravity directly over the feet as much as possible. Extend your arms out to your sides to maintain balance.

· Keep your hands out of your pockets. Hands in your pockets while walking decreases your center of gravity and balance. You can help break your fall with your hands free if you do start to slip.

· Watch where you are stepping and… GO S-L-O-W-L-Y !!

· Walk slowly and carefully, taking small steps.

· If you’re in a situation where you cannot safely walk on the snow or ice, ask someone around you for assistance.

· Don’t walk your dog using a retractable leash in snowy, icy conditions.

· When helping someone on the snow or ice, use extra caution.

· Never perform outdoor tasks requiring a ladder (i.e., hanging outdoor holiday lights on your home) during snowy or icy conditions.

· Carry a shovel and small bag of salt (or other ice melting product) in your car in case you become stuck in the snow while driving.

Be Safe in Cold Temperatures:


Exposure to cold temperatures for a prolonged period of time can result in frostbite, which causes the skin and surrounding tissues to freeze. Frostbite commonly occurs in the fingers, which may lead to loss of feeling and skin discoloration. In severe cases, frostbite can also cause permanent damage and/or loss of fingers. If you’re going to be outside in the cold weather, be sure to protect your hands.

· Frostbite can occur even when the temperature is above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Wind chill and moisture contribute to frostbite conditions.

· Dress in layers, including warm, insulated gloves or mittens that repel moisture. Always carry a pair in your car in case you become stranded or encounter car trouble.

· Refrain from consuming alcohol when you’re outside in the cold weather.

· People who have diabetes and neuropathy or those taking certain medications are at higher risk for frostbite.

Recognize frostbite symptoms:

· Numbness/tingling feeling

· Skin discoloration

· Hard or waxy skin

· Blisters or blackened skin

If you suspect frostbite, follow these guidelines and seek immediate medical attention:

· Go immediately to a warm place, preferably indoors.

· Carefully remove wet gloves and mittens.

· Refrain from rubbing or scratching the affected area.

· Carefully submerse affected fingers in warm (not hot) water for 30 minutes until medical care is available.

· Cover the area with a warm towel or blanket to thaw.

· If available, wrap each frostbitten finger loosely with sterile gauze.

· Thaw a frostbitten area only if it can be kept warm. Refreezing a frostbitten finger can result in permanent loss.

· Do not touch blisters occurring from frostbite.

Be Safe with Holiday Cooking:


When preparing any food, it is important to wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling any meat. This will reduce any contamination to the meat and the spread of food borne illness.
Never share cutting boards without washing them thoroughly. Never place different forms of raw meat onto the same cutting board. This can cause cross contamination of the meat and spread food borne illness. Wash the cutting boards well with either hot soapy water or bleach and water solution.
Do not let your leftovers sit out longer than two hours. To prevent food borne illnesses, you should refrigerate the leftovers as soon as possible. When re-heating the leftovers, they should reach a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit to kill any harmful bacteria.

Be Safe with Decorations:


Trees

· Many artificial trees are fire resistant. If you buy one, look for a statement specifying this protection.

· A fresh tree will stay green longer and be less of a fire hazard than a dry tree. To check for freshness, remember:

· A fresh tree is green.

· Fresh needles are hard to pull from branches.

· When bent between your fingers, fresh needles do not break.

· The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin.

· When the trunk of a tree is bounced on the ground, a shower of falling needles shows that tree is too dry.

· Place tree away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources. Heated rooms dry trees out rapidly, creating fire hazards.

· Cut off about two inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption. Trim away branches as necessary to set tree trunk in the base of a sturdy, water-holding stand with wide spread feet. Keep the stand filled with water while the tree is indoors.

· Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block door-ways. Use thin guy-wires to secure a large tree to walls or ceiling. These wires are almost invisible.

“Snow”

· Artificial snow sprays can irritate lungs if inhaled. To avoid injury, read container labels; follow directions carefully.

Lights

· Use only lights that have been tested for safety, whether using them out-side or indoors. Identify these by the label from an independent testing laboratory.

· Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Discard damaged sets or repair them before using.

· Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house, walls or other firm support to protect from wind damage.

· Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.

· Turn off all lights on trees and other decorations when you go to bed or leave the house. Lights could short and start a fire.

· Never use electric lights on a metallic tree.

· The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and any person touching a branch could be electrocuted! To avoid this danger, use colored spotlights above or beside a tree, never fastened onto it!

· Keep “bubbling” lights away from children. These lights with their bright colors and bubbling movement can tempt curious children to break candle-shaped glass, which can cut, and attempt to drink liquid, which contains a hazardous chemical.

Candles

· Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens.

· Always use non-flammable holders.

· Keep candles away from other decorations and wrapping paper.

· Place candles where they cannot be knocked down or blown over.

General Rules for Holiday Safety:

· Keep matches, lighters, and candles out of the reach of children.

· Avoid smoking near flammable decorations.

· Make an emergency plan to use if a fire breaks out anywhere in the home. See that each family member knows what to do. PRACTICE THE PLAN!

· Avoid wearing loose flowing clothes—particularly long, open sleeves—near open flames – such as those of a fireplace, stove, or candlelit table.

· Never burn candles near evergreens. Burning evergreens in the fireplace can also be hazardous. When dry, greens burn like tinder. Flames can flare out of control, and send sparks flying into a room, or up the chimney to ignite creosote deposits.

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Filed under Christmas, Christmas decorations, food safety, New Years Eve, Safety Tips

Holiday Safety Tips #1

The following tips are ways for you to keep safe during the hustle and bustle of this joyous season.

While you are shopping:

· Stay alert and be aware of everything around you. Take a minute to observe who may be watching you.

· Park in a highly visible well-lighted space. It may be daylight when you arrive at the Mall, but when you come out at 5 or 6 P.M. it will be dark.

· Lock your vehicle both when driving and parked.

· Carry your purse close to you body, not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.

· Have your car keys in your hand and be ready to open the car door immediately.

· Place all shopping bags, packages and gifts out of sight (trunk, under seat).

· Always know where you have parked your car, so you do not spend unnecessary time walking around the parking lot.

· Look inside and under your car before entering.

· Avoid carrying large amounts of cash – use debit card, credit card or check.

· Do not overburden yourself with packages. This will help deter pickpockets or purse snatchers.

· Do not park next to a van or truck where people can hide.

· If you take children shopping, teach them to go to a police officer or a store security officer if they get separated or lost. Ensure children know that mommy and daddy would never send a person they did not know to “take them home” or “take them to find mommy or daddy.”

If you are going out for the evening:

· Turn on lights, television or radio so that it appears that someone is home.

· Lock all doors and windows, even if you plan to be gone for a few minutes.

· Holiday gifts should not be displayed where they can be seen from the outside.

If you plan to travel for the holidays:

· Ask a neighbor to watch your house or apartment, ask them to park in your driveway or space from time to time.

· Use automatic timers for your lights.

· Stop your mail and newspaper deliveries.

· Arrange to have snow shoveled (if necessary) while you are away.

Be safe while you are driving:

· Be alert at intersections and stoplights. They can be favorite spots for persons with a criminal intent.

· Keep your car in gear. If you are threatened, blow the horn, and then drive away. Leave enough space between you and the car in front of you to pull around if necessary.

· Keep windows rolled up and doors locked at all times.

· Keep valuables (purses, packages, wallets, etc.) out of sight.

· If followed – do not drive home. Go to a police station, fire house, gas station or other public place.

· If car breaks down, stay with the car and accept NO rides. If someone stops to help, ask them to call the police. Use a cell phone if available.

· Keep your vehicle well maintained and gassed up.

· When partaking of “holiday cheer,” good judgment is always in order. Remember seat-belts do save lives.

While you are at home:

· Keep all doors and windows locked, even if you step out for a moment.

· Mark all your property with an “identifier” type number. DO NOT use your social security number. Some prefer their driver’s license number

· Video tape valuables as a record of ownership.

· Inspect all holiday lights for frayed wiring before you hang them.

· If you are using a ladder to hang holiday decorations, make sure it is properly secured.

· Keep holiday decorations and plants away from young children and pets. Some are poisonous!

· Place your holiday tree, decorations, etc. away from heating vents or fireplaces to reduce the risk of fire.

· Keep fresh cut holiday greenery watered.

· Use extreme caution when using lighted candles as part of your holiday celebration.

· Beware of strangers coming to the door asking for charitable donations. Ask them four questions:

o Can you show some identification?

o Is the donation tax deductible?

o How the funds will be used? and

o May I have a receipt?

If you are not satisfied with any or all the answers tell them “no thank you” and close the door. Help a work sponsored charitable group or a charity that has special meaning to you or a loved one

While you are at the ATM:

· Stay Alert. Be aware of your surroundings when you use an ATM, especially at night. Park in a well lighted area and have someone accompany you.

· Report Suspicious People. If you notice anything unusual, cancel your transaction, pocket your card and leave IMMEDIATELY. Go to a safe place and call police.

· Be Prepared. Have everything ready (deposit slips, card) when arriving at the ATM. When you have completed the transaction, pocket your cash and card immediately. COUNT YOUR CASH AND PUT YOUR CARD AWAY LATER!

· Drive-Up ATM. When using a drive-up ATM, remember to always keep doors locked, all other (except driver’s side) windows up and the car running.

· Treat Your ATM Card Like Cash. Guard your ATM card as carefully as you do cash, debit or credit cards, and checks. Never give account numbers or card information over the phone, unless you know exactly who you are speaking to.

· Keep Your Personal Identification Number (PIN) Secret. Do not write your PIN on your card or keep it written somewhere in your wallet. Never tell anyone your PIN

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Filed under Christmas, Happy Holidays, New Years Eve, Safety Tips

Saturday Morning Cartoons: A Christmas Double Feature

Here’s a classic Christmas cartoon double feature to decorate the tree by

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Filed under Christmas, Mickey Mouse, Saturday morning cartoons

The Sith who Stole Christmas


Video by OneMinuteGalactica

He has all the tender sweetness of a seasick crocodile.

Hat tip to Pajama Pundit

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Filed under Christmas, Darth Vader, Dr. Seuss, Sith, Star Wars, the Grinch, YouTube

Saturday Morning Cartoons: Gumby – Scrooge Loose

It’s a Gumby Christmas Carol, Bah-Humbug

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Filed under A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens, Christmas, Gumby, Saturday morning cartoons, Scrooge, Sherlock Holmes