How Did You Find Out There Was No Santa Claus?

I was probably around 8 or 9 when  I stopped believing in Santa Claus. I know that some things took type for me to accept. like the tooth fairy. However, Santa Claus was one of those things that I found really suspicious.

For instance, we didn’t have a fireplace growing up, but my Aunt always kept a “special” key on the inside of the door. Saying that he was magic so on Christmas he was able to get in through the front door. Also, I had insomnia growing up, so most things would wake me up… I never heard the Reindeer.

The most significant reason I knew something was off, was probably when I was old enough to start wrapping my own presents. At some point, around the time we moved from away from Dayton, my Uncle would start asking me to wrap presents he couldn’t. Now I’d like to say no later than 10, because by age 11 I ruined Santa Claus for my little brother.

Honestly, finding out Santa wasn’t real was so long ago. I truly don’t remember all the facts.

 

 

A 1 in 4 Chance

1 in 7 men will also encounter some sort of domestic violence. So, out of 600, that means 85 men will experience domestic violence. For women, it is 1 in 4. Using the same 600 that means 150. More personally, my graduating class had 222 women in it. That means, out of those women, 55 of them would experience domestic violence in their life time. Sadly, one of them was me.

In December, I considered myself lucky. I thought, those numbers would never be me. You see, the older generation, taught the next generation that, yes the world is cruel and full of unfortunate things but, we are lucky enough that we only see it on the news. That only big cities, or people who walk near alleyways are going to get hurt. We tell ourselves that we should feel safe, that we have no reason NOT to feel safe. But we never truly know how unsafe we are. The cruel world that we see on the news, is just around the corner. Things like domestic violence, assault and battery, they don’t just happen to people in alleyways. They don’t happen to people who keep their doors unlocked. They don’t just happen to people who live in big cities. On top of that, it’s not always committed by people that you don’t know. Sometimes it’s people you willingly invite into your home. People who you trust and even care for.

On January 4th at 8:30 am, Assault and Battery happened in my kitchen and dining room. By people I’ve known mscreen-shot-2017-01-18-at-1-22-46-pmy whole life. Since that moment, all I could think about was, “why”? I had a personal connection to these people, it’s something I would have never seen coming. At night, I don’t close my eyes counting sheep anymore. When I close my eyes, I see myself being hit, repeatedly. I see myself being thrown to the floor, my head pounding against the hardwood and my back being kicked.

Everyone tells me that my bruises don’t look bad, but when I look in the mirror, all I see is the purple and blue marks that now cover around my eye. A nice warm hug seems nice, until I realize that I’m trapped within someone’s body. It’s the little things that I loved doing that now seem so scary. All because I was told, “It would never be me.” Because I was told, that good kids like me don’t get hurt like that. That obviously, only people who throw punches receive punches.

I refuse to think like that anymore. I have children, young ladies looking up to me. If I told them, that the cruel world is miles and miles away from where they slept. I would be lying. That world is right outside our doorstep. In these past days, I’ll admit I let this one incident consume my life. Because I was… I am scared. It’s not a matter of “If” it happens to me, it’s a matter of “when” it happens to me. Nobody should have to live like this.

I can’t just let what go happen to me. I shouldn’t be asked not to press charges because someone might get upset or hurt. What happened to me is unacceptable, and naive to think that it would never happen again. I am 1 in 4, and eventually I’ll be okay.

For more information about types of violence, please visit the websites below:

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence 

Andrew D. Stine: What’s the difference between Assault, Battery and Domestic Violence? 

30 Shocking Domestic Violence Statistics That Remind Us It’s An Epidemic 

Violence Against Women 

RAINN

To seek help, please visit:

Women’s Crisis Center

The City Mission 

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

A How To: White Elephant

White Elephant is a fun Christmas gift exchange game. It’s sibling game is known as the Yankee Swap. The difference between the two however is that, instead of finding someone to swap your gift with, you take it from them.

This game requires more than four people, I would recommend as little as six. Once you have your friends picked out, make sure you know each of their personalities. You want to establish rules that will not offend other players. For instance, I have made it a rule that anything offensive towards religions will not be an acceptable gift. If friends are uncertain about a gift tell them this, “This is who is coming, if you feel like your gift would cause someone to be uneasy when opening it please do not buy it.” There is a difference between rude funny and just plain rude and insulting.

In a hat or bowl put numbers on a sheet of paper. Make sure that they are folded so when people pick from the container they cannot see which number they are getting. Each number should have a twin number to the gift. Before your friends (and you) draw from the container make sure that each gift is placed in a single row. Nobody but the buyer of the gift should know what is in the gift bag or wrapping.

When the game begins, going one by one each player will have a turn. Player one will choose a number from the container. The gift with that number (the twin number) is what player one will receive. They will unwrap the gift and show everyone what they got. Player two will have the option to steal player one’s gift or open the gift identical to the number they drew. This will be the options up until the very last gift is opened.

 

Basic Need To know Basic Rules

The Retired Rule: Once a gift has had it’s third owner, nobody else can have that gift.

Person One: Since the very first person did not get to pick or steal a gift, they will have the opportunity at the end of the game to steal a gift from another player.

Peeking: Peeking is NOT allowed, nobody should know what other players bought. If they find out they cannot have the item they know about.

Money: The white elephant gift should not exceed over $25.00. The Gift should range from $5.00-$25.00. No more no less.

 

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Why Girl Scout Camping?

Why is Girl Scout Camping Important to Girls?

  1. ) It really does build Confidence and Courage.

2.) She will want to try new things

3.) She will gain skills that she might not be able to gain at home.

4.) She will actually make friends that last a life time

5.) It’s all girls, counselors included!

6.) She will be surrounded by nature.

 

How about its an environment where women can go to feel empowered to do whatever they want(however they want) without the pressure of society’s standards that are typically placed upon women in everyday life, or even in co-Ed camps.

I would say it’s the best environment for girls to challenge themselves without fear of failure. It’s a very supportive environment where you can see how much you’re capable of!
It also provides structure and teaches team building. You get to learn and experience things you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do and it’s all in a fun environment where you get to make lifelong friends! It also allows for a love of the outdoors, camping, singing, campfires, etc. I could go on and on!

Growing up, I looked forward to the camp sessions I would attend. By the end of May, I would have all of my bags packed and I would be ready to go. My favorite part of camp was being about to challenge myself and make myself a better person. I loved being a camper so much, that when I turned thirteen, I went into training to become a camp counselor. I aspired to be exactly what I looked up. And I did.

In the year of 2013, I became a Girl Scout Camp Counselor. I stayed for the following summer and to this day, try and make it into my schedule to go back to camp. Although for the past years I haven’t been able to go, I still donate to the camping fund. I still believe that camping is essential to the growing process.

For a week out of the two month summer, your daughters can enjoy an electronic free week. She’ll learn how to tie knots, build a fire, and canoe. She’ll do fun activities like rock wall climbing, swimming and stargazing. She’ll be able to make friends, she’ll call pen-palls.

I’ll never forget my very first night at camp. I remember the smell of the cabins and the tents I stayed in and all the songs we sang. When I smell a campfire it takes me back to Thursday Nights, as all the units came together for one last night. I also remember my very first unit, with girls terrified of the dark. I remember staying up with them until they fell asleep, because they trusted me.

Don’t take away those special moments. Find out the closest Girl Scout Camp near you and register her today for the 2017 Camp Sessions.

Visit: Girl Scouts of America 

Wilderness Road Council 

 

Christmas Recipe #2: Gingerbread Cookies

Ingredients:

6 full cups of All-Purpose flour
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder and Ginger
1 teaspoon of Nutmeg, Cloves, Cinnamon and vanilla extract
1 Cup Shortening, put in microwave for 40 seconds.
1 cup fully packed brown sugar
1 cup molasses
1/2 cup of water (hot)
1 egg

 

Directions:

1.) Mixing:

In another bowl, mix the ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, flour and baking powder.

In a larger bowl, mix together slightly melted shortening (the more liquified the better), molasses, brown sugar, water, egg and vanilla extract. mix together until smooth.

When smooth slowly start to mix in the other bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix until Dry mixture and Liquid mixture are completely smooth.

2.) The Dough:

Divide dough into 3 pieces, evenly round, wrap into plastic wrap.

Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

3.) Baking and Making:

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees.

Use each individually wrapped dough one at a time. Do NOT mix into one big dough role.

Cute into desired shapes (I made Star Wars themed cookies, you can buy those cookie cutters on Wish.com)

 

Other baking info:

If they are bigger cut outs place them 1 inch apart onto an uncreased cookie sheet.

baking time is in-between 5 – 10 minutes.

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Christmas Recipes #1: Kathy Treats

Origin:

Way back when I was about six years old, my aunt introduced these fan favorites to my brother and I. She told us, that she had a friend named Kathy who would make them during the christmas season. They didn’t have a name for the treats, so my aunt just started calling them Kathy Treats.

The fun thing about these, is that you can only bake them when it’s the winter season. They require Hersey Hugs, which only go on sale from November to January. They are known as a “deluxe” Hersey candy. However, although they are supposed to stay in stores until January they sell out extremely quick. I start buying the Hersey Hugs around the second week of November, mainly because they are super cheap in the beginning, whereas near the end of their shelf life they jump up one or two dollars.

 

What You’ll Need:

At least 4 bags of Hersey Hugs . (There are roughly 50 Hersey Hugs in each bag)

1 Salted twisted Pretzel Bag (different from the featured image)

4 bags of original M & Ms

2 cookie sheet pans

Cookie Containers

 

Directions:

1.) Prep:

  • Preheat oven to 350 or higher. Each oven is different. Some heat up faster than others. I typically preheat the over to 375 because the hotter the oven the quicker the Hersey’s will melt.
  • While the oven is preheating empty at least two spaces in your freezer. It needs to be as big as a cookie sheet pan.
  • unwrap all the Hersey hugs you are going to use for the first batch. Make sure the foil does not stick to the chocolate. Also dump the M & Ms into a bowl (for easy access).

2.) Baking:

  • Lay out the non-broken pretzel pieces onto the cookie sheet pan. You want as many pretzels on the pan as possible.
  • On top of the pretzels place a Hersey Hug in the center.
  • Put in the oven
    • Keep a close eye on the Hersey Hugs when in the oven. When they start to sink/melt take them out of the oven.
    • There is not a set time for how long it will take them to melt, mainly because it depends on how hot your oven is.
  • After they come out of the oven, quickly place the M & Ms in the center of teh HErsey Kiss
  • Place the batch in the freezer for them to cool.

3.) After Baking:

  • Every other batch is when you should take the Kathy Treats of the sheet pan in the freezer.
  • Put them in a container and place in the fridge, until ready to eat.

 

200 Hersey Hugs = 16 or 17 Dozens 

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes

*Bake/Cool Time: 15 minutes (each batch)

 

*Time differs for each baker.