Sunday, December 25, 2011
Patch Picks for places to go during a winter weekend
I will admit it. I don't like skiing. For me, there's nothing worse than lugging around cumbersome equipment and making small talk with strangers on a ski lift. But my husband does. He derives great joy from taking our three kids—ages 11, 13, and 16—to nearby ski slopes. And I'm happy for him! I also enjoy getting out on weekends, but to places where I don't have to wear onerous plastic boots. So what choices do we have for family fun? Here are a few great spots for getting out on the weekend—both ski-wise, and other-wise. For my husband: If you want to enjoy New Jersey skiing, check out this site, which gives a nice rundown of places close to home. (Mountain Creek, for example, is only about a 45-minute drive from Montclair.) If you want …
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Be aware of these fire safety tips during the holidays
On Wednesday evening, a fire presumably sparked by a Christmas tree spread throughout a large house on Stonebridge Road, just off Eagle Rock Way, only days before the holiday. Although Christmas tree fires are unusual, fire officials say, they obviously do happen. And when they do, they can result in serious destruction. The accompanying YouTube video shows how a Christmas tree fire can sweep through a living room in less than 60 seconds. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fire departments respond to an average of 240 homes each year because of fires that started with Christmas trees. These fires resulted in an average of 13 deaths, 27 injuries, and $16.7 million in property damage each year. Fire officials say…
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Tree farms in N.J. where you can cut your own.
There are two types of Christmas tree people: those who prefer to buy at garden centers and local stands, and those who like the adventure of cutting their own. If you are a "cut-your-own" type of person, or think you might be if given a saw and permission, here are the tried and true places in New Jersey where you can release your inner-yuletide lumberjack. Rest assured. Almost all cut-your-own Christmas tree farms will cut them for you. Advice: bring gardening gloves to wear because the needles will pinch, and remember that most farms accept cash only. Dixiedale Farms: Family owned and operated since 1911, Dixiedale farms is a short ride from Bergen County. Dixiedale never disappoints. The town of Chester is also a great place to grab …
Friday, December 9, 2011
Patch talks to the very real Santa at Livingston Mall
Only one man is the true Santa, and he is currently all ears for the youngsters who visit him to at the Livingston Mall. When I spoke with him there, I could tell he was the real McCoy, not only by of the purity of his white beard, his rosy cheeks, the twinkle in his eyes and his warm, robust, ho ho ho of a laugh. I knew he was the genuine Kris Kringle because when I spoke with him, I believed, without a doubt, every single word he uttered. After we spoke, I chatted with Judy Noerr, CEO of Santa University in Colorado, which has trained Santas at malls across New Jersey. Even though Santa has magical abilities, he can’t be at all the malls at the same time. Noerr provides the stand-ins who help him out until he can get to all his pre-…
Thursday, December 8, 2011
This alternate to chicken noodle soup can help ward off the chill of the season
It’s cold and flu season. Yuck. Keep yourself feeling warm and toasty (and healthy) or cheer up someone who’s feeling under the weather with this yummy alternative to chicken noodle soup. Here’s why I like chicken tortilla soup: it has all the delicious and cold-busting goodness of chicken soup, with the added bonus of fun, crunchy tortillas as noodles and just a little bit of heat to help knock out the cold. Another benefit, you get the through everything in the slow cooker in the morning, and when you come home and out of the cold weather, your house smells wonderful and dinner is just about ready! Ingredients 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 2 15-oz. cans of diced tomatoes ½ cup chicken broth 1 small sweet onion 1 tsp. ground cumin …
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Getting your house ready for a holiday party.
Some people are born to entertain, but the rest of us appreciate some counsel. Patch talked to several local interior designers—women who have made a career out of turning houses into warm, inviting homes—to find out what the professionals do to create that perfect party atmosphere. Although each had her own tips, most designers agreed on a few basics: Whether you’re hosting a buffet or a sit down dinner, these ideas can add some grace or ease (or both) to your festive fête. Laura Weiner of Studio R hosts a large sit-down dinner every Christmas Eve. She says she tries to prepare whatever she can ahead of time because “everything takes longer than you think it will.” Weiner gets up early in the morning and takes a trip to Union Square …
Saturday, December 3, 2011
We've all done it—gift-wrapped an item we didn't want or need and handed it off to someone else.
We're way past asking the question whether regifting is right or wrong. It just is. As long as there are gift bags with pretty tissue paper wrapped around candles that smell like "Winter Snowstorm," there will be regifting. We have never passed off a smelly candle as the fruit of our own special shopping trip dedicated just to you, but we have, um, shared our wealth. A cocktail recipe book comes to mind. But it was so new the spine wasn't even snapped yet. And wasn't it green of us not to throw it away? There's an urban legend about somebody's aunt who keeps a whole closet full of gifts for regifting. When somebody pops in for an unexpected visit, Auntie runs to the closet, grabs the least conspicuously bad thing and puts a bow on it. We …
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Healthy choices from a health expert
- HOLIDAY GUIDE
Thursday, December 1, 2011
By Barbara Fine, RD, LDN, Nutrition Services, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital The holiday season is upon us and with it comes a seemingly endless array of parties and dinners. Too often, people approach this time of year resigned to the inevitability that they will be gaining another 10 pounds, only to turn around and resolve to lose that weight after the New Year. Instead of derailing your otherwise healthy eating or putting off your weight loss program for the next few months, you can still enjoy yourself. Consider these healthy holiday nutrition tips as you begin to plan and attend this season’s festivities. Follow the empty stomach rule. I often warn patients about grocery shopping on an empty stomach. The same rule applies when …
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
The holiday cards and family-history missives will start arriving in our mailbox this week, but we're wondering how many we'll get. Take part in our Patch Poll: Will you be sending holiday cards this year?
For those of you who thought snail-mailed holiday cards were a thing of the past, think again. This Montclair Patch editor received her first Christmas card of the season—on Nov. 28. Wow, for my household, I believe that's a record. Whether you like them or not, Christmas cards have been around since 1843, when students at boarding schools wrote home over the holidays to show their parents how much their handwriting had improved during the school term. Somehow, that has evolved over the years to a massive worldwide industry. "Each year I say I'm not going to send cards but I always do because I don't want to upset my aunts who live far away and never hear from me," said Mary Harris, a Montclair mother of two. The additional dilemma? …