As I See It

The Day After Christmas

“What?  This is the day after Christmas?”  I live by our local Mall and drive by it every time I leave my house.  On Saturday,  I had reason to drag my tired self up from the computer, dress, and drive by the mall.  It was as busy as it was the night before Christmas.

“No way will I be caught dead at the Mall today!” I confidently said to myself.   “Oh yeah,” said the Universe.  “We’ll see.”

When I arrived back home, after my short errand, my grand daughter, McKenzie, said, “Will you take Katlyn and me over to the mall?  It’s too cold to walk and we want to see what’s on sale.”

“What?”  I’m not going over there!”  Sad faces, droopy lips….. So I dragged my tired self over to the Mall, drove around and around in the parking lot for 15 minutes waiting for a parking spot… and went into the Mall to see a “darling coat that was sure to be on sale.”

What is my point to all this?   Every time I say, “No Way,” life seems to present the opportunity to challenge my out cry.  I’ve got to either learn to be stronger in my resolve or keep my mouth shut.  The later seems to be the wisest choice for me.

I’m still tired.  I’ve hit the wall.

Till later,

Insightful Nana

P.S.  Have you ever said you dislike a particular name and have it crop up in your family line some place.  I did that as a child and ended up with it attached to me permanently.

Back To Basics

Get Back To Basics – Needle Crafts

“Get Back To Basics,” is the feeling that seems to permeates society when the economy goes South and life feels a little tough.  Believe it or not… hard times are when the craft and needlework industries flourish, especially needle crafts.  I designed for the craft industry for over 25 years and witnessed the ebb and tide of crafting during affluent and hard times.

Learning to crochet and knit is on the rise.  The popularity of needle crafts is evident by the number of crochet and knitted items on the market for moms, teens, children and babies. The catalogs and stores are full of handmade looking accessories this winter season.  Or, at least they were.

Actually many stores sold out of handmade hats, headbands and scarfs very early… and holiday shoppers, (including myself ) were scouring every store and boutique for hand crochet and knitted items.


Fortunately, a local store received a late shipment of crochet head bands and I was among the throng of women grabbing them up.  You can see by this photo of the “Hat Girls” that I was successful in my find.  They were all so please when they opened this Christmas gift.

In fact, my oldest grand daughter, McKenzie, and I were at the store bright and early the day after Christmas to see if there were any hatbands left to be purchased.  We hit the jack pot again with a selection of new colors.  She is thrilled.

I learned to crochet and knit at the early age of eleven… It was a wonderful past time and I developed a love for crafting and making things with my hands.  It was not only an  enjoyable experience, but producing a actual product was very rewarding.

I can see why needle crafts are popular again.  It takes one back to a “safe solid place.”  It feels like “home.”  Yes, getting back to basics is good.

Till Later

Insightful Nana

P.S. I encourage you to learn how to crochet or knit.  McKenzie’s interest is peeked and so I’m going to teach her to crochet.  “Back to Basic Skills” in cooking, sewing,  and needle crafts such as crocheting, and knitting is a good thing.  It’s part of survival preparation for the future… come what may.

As I See It

Dickens Christmas Carol – Christmas Future

Scrooge reminds us that we can made a difference in the future of all our Christmases.   What will your Christmas Future look like?


Yes! and the bedpost was his own. The bed was his own, the room was his own. Best and happiest of all, the Time before him was his own, to make amends in!

“I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future!” Scrooge repeated, as he scrambled out of bed. “The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. Oh Jacob Marley! Heaven, and the Christmas Time be praised for this. I say it on my knees, old Jacob, on my knees!”


Scrooge was better than his word.  He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father.  He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world.  Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms.  His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.

He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.  May that be truly said of us, and all of us!  And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!

What more could I ever add?  Thanks Dickens for your inspiration!

Have a Merry Christmas and may all your future Christmases be bright.

Till, Later

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

As I See It

Twas The Night Before Christmas – 5 Night Before Christmas Activities

Twas The Night Before Christmas and all thru our house, we were thinking of fun things to do.

5 Night Before Christmas Activities.

1. Open one gift. As children, my sisters and I would gather around the Christmas tree and wait for Mom to hand us the one gift we could open before Christmas. Of course, we all knew what it was… it was no secret. Wrapped in white tissue paper, were pajamas our Grandma Ella had made. They were made from flannel and were so cozy. We loved them. It was our tradition to enter the living room Christmas morning with our new pajamas on. What memories.

2. Go through neighborhoods and view the lights. When I was a child, lights were not prominent on every house. We had one abundant area in town and several families decorated the outside of their homes with a strand of lights. We called it “Snob Hill. It was a treat to go for a ride to “see the lights.” Afterward, we often would stop for a bit of ice cream on the way home.

3. Bake cookies and place them on someone’s door step, ring the door bell and run. One Christmas, when I was eight, we had cookies delivered to our door step on Christmas Eve. We were so surprised! They were sugar cookies decorated with frosting and colored sugar crystals. I knew who ever baked the cookies had to be rich because they could afford to put colored sugar on top of the frosting.

4. Go Christmas Caroling. It was so exciting to run to the door when your heard voices singing Silent Night, or some other traditional Christmas Carol. I usually went with friends to carol at the neighbor’s door step because it was not a practice that my family participated in. It seems like it’s a tradition that has lost its way the last few years. I wish the practice would return.

5. Gather the family around and read about the birth of Christ in the bible or watch a movie about the Nativity. After all… isn’t this what Christmas is all about? I want to share with you the following short video of the Nativity. It’s so well done… you won’t want to miss it. I have a copy and we watch it every Christmas Eve.

Till Later,

Insightful Nana

P.S. Have a lovely Night Before Christmas.

As I See It

My Christmas Gift To You

My Christmas gift to you are Vintage bookplates that you can download and glue in your kids books or your own books for that matter.


Reading is a wonderful past time and my love of reading came from my Mom, who always took the time to sit down and read me a story.
Of course, we started with picture books.  However, I was very young when she started reading “the classics.”  I was about 5 years old when she read novels  like Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol to me.   A weekly trip to the library was common.

By the time I was a Junior in High School, I had read, Gone With The Wind (at least 5 times… it was a favorite,) Les Miserables, Tom Sawyer, Jane Eyre and many other adult classics.

Some of my other favorite books, just to name a few,  are Atlas Shrugged, Fountainhead, John Adams, Cold Mountain and the Mitford series.  I could go on and on… but the point is… besides books, my mom passed on a life time gift… the love of reading.   Thanks Mom.


I have a “Grandma Library” at my house.  It consists of many wonderful books ranging from pictures to old children’s classics.  They are books that my grandchildren and I read together.  One of their favorite books is To Market To Market by Anne Miranda and Janet Stevens.  When I say, “What do you want to read?” it seems to be on top of the stack.

So…. with Christmas gift giving in mind, give your kids and grand kids books and pass on a life time gift… the love of reading.   Here is a page of Vintage bookplates your can download and glue them into your kids books or your own books.   My gift to you.

Your Vintage Bookplates

Have a good day… and Merry Christmas To You.

Till later,

Insightful Nana

P.S.  My mom pasted on the love of reading to my sisters also.  My sis, Sheila, would hide in the closet with a flashlight and read all night…. and sleep all day in school.  Now… that’s a love of reading.

As I See It

Considering Christmas Gift Cards?

Did you know that over 50% of gift cards are purchase five days before Christmas?  Perhaps folks can’t think of an appropriate gift to give that would please the recipient.  Or, maybe they just remembered someone to whom they want to give too.  I fall into both categories… so I’m running out today and picking up a few Christmas gift cards.


Here are 5 tips you need to consider when purchasing a gift card.

1.  When you purchase a gift card, check on the expiration date.  Small independent stores are famous for putting a date limitation on the card.  Chain stores usually honor an expired card… but it would be wise to check anyway.  Try and find cards that don’t have an expiration date.

2.  If the recipient of the card doesn’t spend the full value of the card for one purchase, make sure the remaining money on the card can be spent at a later date.  Usually gift cards that can be swiped through a machine will account for the balance… but again, it’s wise to check.

3.  Are you aware that more than $1 in $4 that is spent on gifts cards is not redeemed.  Many cards get tucked in a drawer to be used at a later date… then they are forgotten about. (I’m guilty of this one.)  Stores make thousands of dollars on gift cards that are not redeemed.   In fact… they count on it.

4.  Instead of giving the recipient a gift card, consider cash.  Perhaps the person is saving for something special.  You could put the cash into a Christmas card and mention the desired item they are saving for.

5.  If you are purchasing a gift card from a chain store, make sure all stores will honor the card.  Sometimes small chain stores are independently owned and will not honor cards purchase from other stores in the chain.

Hope this helps… off I go to purchase gift cards.

Till Later
Insight Nana

P.S.  You can increase the perceived value of the card by wrapping it in a large box.

As I See It

Dickens Christmas Carol – Christmas Present

Again, Dickens Christmas Carol is a favorite  of mine.  We’ve covered Dickens Christmas Carol,  A Christmas past… now here we are in Christmas Present.


At last the dinner was all done, the cloth was cleared, the hearth swept, and the fire made up. The compound in the jug being tasted, and considered perfect, apples and oranges were put upon the table, and a shovel-full of chestnuts on the fire. Then all the Cratchit family drew round the hearth, in what Bob Cratchit called a circle, meaning half a one; and at Bob Cratchit’s elbow stood the family display of glass. Two tumblers, and a custard-cup without a handle.

These held the hot stuff from the jug, however, as well as golden goblets would have done; and Bob served it out with beaming looks, while the chestnuts on the fire sputtered and cracked noisily. Then Bob proposed:

“A Merry Christmas to us all, my dears. God bless us.”
Which all the family re-echoed.

“God bless us every one!” said Tiny Tim, the last of all.

The Cratchit family enlightens us to what Christmas is all about… family.  Even though they were without physical abundance, they celebrated what they had and rejoiced with their family.

On Saturday, we had our extended family Christmas party and it was loads of fun.  We too rejoiced in having family together.  Three of our families traveled 5 hours to join us… just to feel the energy of togetherness and share the spirit of the Christmas season.

I invite you to peek in and share in a little of our family celebration of Christmas Present.


We feasted on Mexican Food.  Look at this mouth watering salsa my sister, Sheila, made.  It was delicious.


No Christmas party is successful with out singing Christmas Carols.  The kids were getting their music makers out so they could lead us in Jingle Bells.


Avary and Savannah belong to a singing group in Wyoming and shared a song they preformed on stage a few weeks ago.


Claire preformed a dance for us.  Any talent is welcome at the family Christmas party.  (By the way… she’s not had any lessons but really has all the movies down.  Natural talent.)


Sicily, Avary, and Savannah…. interested spectators.


I guess texting is important too.  It takes a lot more talent than I’ve got.  I’d rather talk than punch letters.


Norah is one talented little gal.  She has a very mature voice and sings right on key.  She knows how to put it all into her

Lu doesn’t miss a beat.  She has a powerful little voice and knows every word of complicated songs.  Such a treat.


“Enough is enough alright already!!”  I’m ready for dessert and presents.


Can’t leave you on a bitter note.  This is Beck and his mom, Katie.  I have to say..  he’s not only darling… but really a great baby… that is… unless he’s pushed beyond his limits.

What can I say…. I love my family and extended family.  I’m proud to be numbered among them.

Till Later,


Insightful Nana

P.S.  Like the Cratchit family… we’ve had our disappointments and grief this year.  We’ve lost several family members to death… one being as recent as August.  We’re just hanging in there together and just grateful  that we have each other… in the good times as well as the bad.    May you have joy and rejoicing in your family too.

As I See It

Holiday Christmas Traditions

Holiday Christmas traditions have become a big deal in our family.  Through the years, we’ve added so many that I can’t keep track of them all.  In fact, there are a few Christmas traditions I didn’t  know existed until one the grands told me.


For instance… for several years,  I’ve added crackers and cheese to the grands Christmas bags.  It started out as being just a little filler in the bag.  Now…  heavens forbid… if I should forget to add them to each child’s Christmas Bag… along with their own can of Mandarin Oranges or Smoked Oysters.   “It’s a tradition, Nana.”

Last night was our extended family Holiday Christmas party.  I thought  it would be fun for everyone to bring their favorite Mexican dish.  “Great idea, but your still going to make  Sweet and Sour Meat Ball aren’t you?”  “What, no Sweet and Sour Meat Balls?”  “It’s a Christmas tradition!”   Oh dear, I didn’t know it was a tradition but I added Sweet and Sour Meat Balls to my part of the fare.

A few other traditions ended up on the food table… like Emily’s stuffed mushrooms, a baked ham, and Sheila’s rich Chocolate Brownie Triffle.  No one seemed to mind that these traditional Christmas foods ended up with the Beef Enchiladas, Chicken Enchiladas, Shredded Pork and Chili Rellenos on the table.

Still have shopping to do.  Last night, six year old Randall said, “Nana, I sure hope I get my own bottle of Martinelli in my bag again this year. (A none alcoholic cider that is popular in our area.)  Oh dear… another tradition.

Till Later,

Insightful Nana

P.S.  Do you have a favorite Holiday Christmas Tradition?

As I See It

Christmas Carols – Christmas Harp Music

Playing Christmas carols while I wrap gifts is a personal Christmas tradition.  Wrapping gifts is not my most favorite thing to do, so playing Christmas music seems to take the edge off of all the scramble and clutter.

Several years ago, I was in the Midwest on a business trip when I ran across a CD of Christmas carols played on a harp.  Wow… talk about an angelic sound.  Since that time, it is the first CD I play for the Christmas season.

This rendition of the Canon is played on the harp by two woman.  Take 3 minutes, sit back and enjoy the angelic sound of Christmas harp music.

My sister, Nicole, and her daughter, Leslie, are proficient at playing the harp.  Nicole is coming from Idaho for our family Christmas party and I’m hoping she’ll bring her small harp and entertain us with a few Christmas Carols.  My son, Brad, plays the guitar and so does my grand daughter, McKenzie.  Of course, we’ll be hearing from all the Grands.  They love to share all the songs they’ve learned in school.  Looks like we’re in for a great program.

Have a good Christmas season and don’t forget to turn on a few Christmas Carols to inspire you during this Christmas season.

Till Later,

Insightful Nana

P.S.  The old Christmas carols are my favorites… O Holy Night, Away In The Manger, and Silent Night are at the top of my list.

Aging With Grace

Secrets Of Longevity

Who doesn’t want to know the secrets of longevity?   Ponce de Leon was searching for the Fountain of Youth when he travel to what is now Florida in 1513.  So, the quest for longevity and a anti-aging formula has been around for along time.


In 2000, a team of scientists studied cultures where people lived the longest.   These cultures don’t belong to health spas, use expensive face creams and believe it or not… don’t diet.   Longevity was contributed to a general lifestyle.  Their average life expectancy was well into their nineties.

Here are 10 secrets of longevity according to longevity research of these cultures.

1.  Keep Moving: Find ways to keep moving naturally.  Walk instead of riding, garden, enjoy playing a sport.  It’s important to keep your body in motion.  (I love to garden… but I have to admit… I try and find a parking place as close to the store as possible.)

2.  Find Purpose: Find something you can be excited about and pursue it with passion.  Whether it’s a job or a hobby… give it your all.  (If that means playing with the grand kids all day long… I’m on board.)

3.  Stop Eating: Don’t over eat.  In other words, stop before your full.  (Hmmm  I’ve never quite figured out how to do that.)

4.  Dine On Plants: Eat more veggies and less meat and processed foods.  (Now here’s one I can get my stomach around.  I enjoy a bit of meat but I do love veggies.)

5.  Slow Down: Work less, rest, and take vacations.  (Who are they kidding.  I was raised in a family that looked upon “rest or a vacation” as lazy.  Running around like a chicken with its head cut off is a habit hard to break.)

6.  Drink Red Wine: Do it consistently but in moderation.  (My moderation is:  I don’t drink… except for Diet Coke, which is a habit I’m trying desperately to break.)

7.  Join A Group: Create a healthy social network. (Does that mean my twitter, and forum friends are healthy social networks?  I actually think it means healthy face to face relationships now and again.)

8.  Don’t Smoke: Smoking of any kind decreases longevity.  (No problem here… I don’t smoke but I have a lot  of other unhealthy habits… like eating cookies for breakfast.

9.  Feed Your Soul: Engage In Spiritual Activities:  (I love attending my church meetings and being involved.  I spend a lot of time in spiritual study.)

10.  Love Your Tribe: Make family a high priority.  (If this longevity factor could supersede all the rest… I’d live longer… perhaps to 125 years old.  I’m crazy about my family of 4 kids and 15 grands.  In fact…we all actually like each other.)

How is your longevity index?

Insightful Nana

P.S.  My mom is approaching ninety.  She has always taken good care of her self… and the folks in her family lived a long time.  A longevity gene perhaps?