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Friday, October 20, 2017
If you're off your noodle for nuts, Sunday is your special day: it's National Nut Day!

The word "nut" can mean a lot of things. Like when someone is "nuts" for a thing or activity like...maybe finding the perfect gifts. "Making your nut" means putting together enough money to pay the rent, keep the lights on, etc. Your head can also be called a nut - that's where the phrase "she's off her nut" came from.

But National Nut Day isn't for celebrating your noggin, paying the bills, or giving tribute to the eccentric, wacky, or silly people in your life.

This holiday celebrates the humble, edible, deliciously nutritious nut.

In honor of the humble nuts we love to crack, here are five pieces of nutty trivia to enlighten and enliven your noggin:
  • Arachibutyrophobia is a fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth. 
  • Pistachios are really a fruit, (but once we get cracking, who really cares?) 
  • Peanuts are not nuts. They're legumes - close cousins to beans and peas. 
  • It takes 300 PSI of pressure to crack open a macadamia nut (totally worth it!) 
  • Cashews are always sold without their shells because the nut is closely related to poison ivy and sumac - the shell contains an oil that's toxic to humans.
There you go: all about nuts in a nutshell. Now go forth and share your nutty knowledge while you celebrate with your favorite nuts - both foods and people!

Your "Wild for Walnuts" Gift Guru,

Posted by: Linda | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, October 13, 2017
"Breaking News: The Three Bears broke into a pizza parlor in Colorado.
Goldilocks was not at work at the time

That's the email I got from a friend along with this Facebook video from Antonio's Real New York Pizza in Estes Park, Colorado. Of course, it wasn't THE three bears. It was just a mom and her two cubs looking to pack on the pounds before hibernating for the winter.

The family of three tore their way through the restaurant's drive through window looking for something just right to eat. Did you know that bears can open refrigerators and rifle through cabinets? Me either! But they can and they did...

The three bears didn't find any porridge, but they found lots of good stuff to eat. First they ate through 40 pounds of dough. And then they found the salami, which the cubs ate with gusto while Mom continued to search for ingredients to add to their "pizza".

Antonio DeSousa posted the surveillance video and pleaded with the authorities to show leniency to the wayward bear family even though the nighttime raid cost him about $1,000. "If bears break into our stores, please don’t shoot them," he wrote. (Awwww. If there's anything we here at The Lighter Side adore more than animals, it's animal lovers.)

If I ever get out to their "neck of the woods, I'm definitely going to pop in to Antonio's. The Three Bears thought it was 'just right' raw, so Antonio's pizza must be awesome when it's cooked!

Your "Bears Love Pizza, Too!" Gift Guru,

Posted by: Linda | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, October 6, 2017
Halloween isn't for kids anymore. Well, not just for kids, anyway.

Sure you have to do the trick-or-treat thing and the kiddie parties and costumes, but once all that's out of the way, it's time for the Big Kids to play!

The costumes get funnier, scarier (and sexier) every year. A lot of my friends spend months - or even the whole year! - planning their costumes. These are two of my favorite couples' costumes this year...

Making a Halloween Horror to remember takes more than fun costumes - you need lots of scary props and effects, too. Anything that lights up, swings, talks, or moves suddenly will do the trick. After all, what's Halloween without at least one scream?!

And before the party starts, don't forget to break out all your favorite kitchen and table accessories for that perfect petrifying touch.

You don't have to work yourself into the grave to make a spook-tacular Halloween for Big Kids. The hardest part might be getting the kids to bed first!

Your "Stay Spooky" Gift Guru,
Posted by: Linda | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, September 29, 2017
October seems to sneak up on me every year, which is odd since it's one of my favorite months. The air turns crisp, leaves start to turn, the nights are cooler for sleeping...and then there's Halloween, which is the best kids' holiday for adults.

But the real reason I love October? It's National Pizza Month and National Popcorn Popping Month. Don't believe me? Check it out. As if Halloween doesn't give you enough reason to go off your diet!

If the kids had their way, we'd have pizza and popcorn for dinner every night next month. That's a bit too much for a nutrition-conscious mom, but I am willing to meet them a little less than halfway - by having pizza and popcorn night once a week.

Being a mom, I have my own motives for making pizza and popcorn nights for the kids: pretty soon we'll all be too busy to get everyone together - even once a week - for a family dinner. The kids will be studying for exams and writing papers. Their Dear Parents will be busier and busier planning for the upcoming holidays. Between early November and Christmas break, there are precious few moments when the entire family will be able to sit down and share a meal.

That's good enough reason to celebrate junk food nights for any mom!

Your "Hooray for Pizza & Popcorn!" Gift Guru,

Posted by: Linda | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, September 22, 2017
I've loved bake sales for as long as I can remember. Whether they're part of a garage sale, a country fair, or stand alone, bakes sales bring friends and neighbors together to sample lots of homemade goodies while supporting the community.

When the school year heats up, so does bake sale season. Parents and kids pitch in with teachers and coaches to raise money for extracurricular activities. It's a long-standing tradition I hope never goes out of style because there's more to the humble bake sale than meets the eye.

Along with teaching kids the true value of a dollar (like how long it really takes to earn one) bake sales show them real life business skills. Our kids negotiate with their supplier (me) and chief baker (also me) to make sure they'll have inventory. Then they must negotiate with their distributor (my dear husband) who will transport both them and their goods safely to market. Then they put in a long day's work at the sale. Finally, the kids get together to see how much they've raised toward their goal.

It's good for them, but I'll let you in on a little secret: it's awesome for me. I love baking at this time of year. Teaching the kids something along the way...well, that's just a little bonus!

Your "Let's Get Baking!" Gift Guru,
Posted by: Linda | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, September 15, 2017
As many of you know, Hurricane Irma hit Florida twice a few days ago. I'm not one bit ashamed to admit that I was pretty scared at times. After all, Irma was a Monster Storm that impacted the entire state. We were spared the worst of the damage in this area, but some of our neighbors weren't as fortunate.

Here at The Lighter Side, we want to send a thank-you to all the First Responders, many of whom are still working hard to set things upright in places like Miami, Orlando, and the Florida Keys. We literally couldn't make it without you.

I also want to share a sweet story about one First Responder who went above and beyond the call of duty to help an old woman in distress. While floodwaters raged outside, Deputy Froelich was stationed at a shelter where he watched over dozens of frightened people, one of whom was an elderly lady who sat by herself in a corner.

She looked terrified.

The Deputy approached her and asked if there was anything he could do to help.

"Dance?" the woman said.

So Deputy Froelich took the woman's hand and started singing "Beyond the Sea". And they danced...

This Florida Deputy proved that it doesn't always take a grand gesture to be a hero. Sometimes it just takes a little song and dance.

Your "Well Done, Deputy!" Gift Guru,
Posted by: Linda | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, September 8, 2017
Goodbye England's rose
May you ever grow in our hearts
You were the grace that placed itself
Where lives were torn apart
You called out to our country
And you whispered to those in pain
Now you belong to heaven
And the stars spell out your name... 

20 years ago, Elton John performed "Candle in the Wind" - the song he wrote for Marilyn Monroe - at Princess Diana's funeral. His long time musical partner Bernie Taupin rewrote the lyrics to suit the most famous princess of our time. It was a stunning and heartbreaking tribute to Diana Princess of Wales.

My daughter and I watched Elton John's performance live back then. We watched it again on the 20th anniversary of Diana's funeral. (If you have box of tissues and five minutes to spare, you can watch it here.) Taupin's lyrics described the princess perfectly - a giving spirit who never let titles or station come between her and the people who needed her. She gave solace to the sick, food to the hungry, and showed compassion to everyone she met.

Princess Diana inspired a generation of young girls, including my daughter. As we watched the video together, she said, "I don't think I'd want to be a real princess." Not knowing what to say to that, I kept quiet. After the video was over, my beautiful young daughter asked, "But I could be like Princess Diana, couldn't I?"

Sometimes she makes me so proud I could just burst.

Of course she can be like Diana. You don't have to be Royal to be empathetic and kind, compassionate and caring. My daughter is all of those things and more. I'd like to take all the credit, but I know better. At least part of the credit goes to Diana, who showed a generation of young girls what it means to be a princess - in your heart.

Your "Proud Mom of a Princess" Gift Guru,

Posted by: Linda | 8:00 AM | permalink

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