Columnist reflects on her "life" after Patch.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Have we become desensitized to what’s acceptable for our children? Let’s make 2013 the year of moral awakening.
It’s Christmas week. Peace and joy should be filling the air. My plan for this column was to talk about sweet childhood Christmas memories. How, when I was six, my favorite gift was a homemade play kitchen that my mom frugally crafted out of a large cardboard box. It had an oven with a door that opened. Lovingly painted coils provided a stovetop for cooking. She even made cardboard knobs that I could turn. It was all my parents could afford; yet it’s one of the only presents that stands out in my memory. But as I reflect upon my past, my emotions overwhelm me once again. My mind goes to the lost lives of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. As much as I want this to be a joyous time, it still hurts so much, no matter where my …
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Regardless of proximity to Newtown, Conn., parents and children across the world feel their pain.
As most of the country has been doing I’ve been watching the news non-stop since word of the Newtown, Conn., shootings spread last Friday. I’m not sure if it’s healthy for my emotional stability, but I can’t stop myself. As a parent, I can’t help but put myself in these parents’ shoes. A mass shooting in an elementary school is unfathomable. Yet, these moments aren’t meant to be understood. This is the dark part of life. This is not something we’re trained in as parents. How do we appropriately convey to our children what has happened? This is something that could happen anywhere. We need to discuss it. Questions are flying across the airwaves about why and how, but does it matter TODAY? A mere one week after the tragic school shooting, we…
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
People of many different faiths and even people of no religion celebrate Christmas. Tell us why you do.
In my opinion, the Christmas season is a beautiful time of year. I grew up in a strong Christian home where, when asked, we knew that Christmas was about Jesus’ birth. Whether or not it was exactly on Dec. 25 is debatable, but this is the day on which we celebrate. Yes, Santa made his appearance, and it was always terrific to get those fun toys and candy canes. But ultimately, it’s a religious holiday that holds strong meaning for many who share the Christian faith. It's a time of hope. But as I’ve broadened my relationships with people of different religious upbringings, and some with no belief in a “god,” I’ve become more aware of something. There are many non-Christians who also celebrate Christmas. They look forward to the holiday …
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
There are countless ways to display the Elf, as he flies off store shelves this holiday season.
Over the past decade, the “Elf on the Shelf” has become a tradition in many homes. According to online research, the Elf was born in 2005 when a mother and daughter decided to write a book. After being rejected by numerous publishing houses, the pair decided to self-publish the book – first printing 300 copies. By the end of 2010, more 1.5 million copies of “Elf on the Shelf” had been sold. The basic premise is that Santa sends his "Elf scouts" to families’ homes. Once the family reads "The Elf on the Shelf” book, it is directed to give the elf doll (which comes with the book) a name and register it on a website to make "the adoption" official. From then on, the Elf lives with the family and watches the children’s behavior every Christmas …
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Is it the parents’ influence and guidance, or are children genetically predestined to be particular about the foods they prefer to eat?
Maybe we’re just lucky. To date, we’ve been fortunate to not deal with picky eating with our two sons. I’m not a picky eater, so during my pregnancies I continued to eat EVERYTHING. This allowed the tastes of these foods to transfer through the amniotic fluid to my growing sons in utero. Yep! According to an NPR report, a mom’s tastes have a direct impact on the growing child’s future preferences. Fascinating! When we were at the point of venturing into the world of baby food, I was adamant about starting with vegetables – green veggies to be specific. These were likely the least tasty, so I figured it was best to start with those before the sweeter foods. I clearly remember my oldest son’s reaction when I spooned the peas into his mouth. …
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Traditions flourish during the holiday season. What’s your favorite Thanksgiving tradition or memory?
I’m so excited! Thanksgiving is a less than 24-hours away, and it feels like I’m seven years old again and Christmas is just days away. My siblings have come home! Happy, happy, joy, joy! As the only child in my family to remain planted in the Lehigh Valley, I’m the oddball. The holidays are a time of reunion and playing catch up, and I look forward to them more now than ever before. Although most of my relatives are still local, my brother and sister have taken their families to new homes in Charleston, S.C. and Asheville, N.C. As it turns out, I really miss them throughout the year! As an aunt to four nephews and two nieces, it’s sometimes hard for me to think about all the precious moments we miss with them living so far away. But it …
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Baking a traditional Moravian treat might be a nice surprise for your relatives during the upcoming holidays.
It’s that time of year when the cinnamon is sprinkled and the turkeys scramble. Who doesn’t love the comfort foods of Thanksgiving? There’s not one part of Thanksgiving dinner that I don’t like (well, with the exception of the gizzard!). A few of my favorites include buttery homemade whipped potatoes with turkey gravy, cranberry relish, creamed corn and, of course, spicy pumpkin pie topped with Cool Whip. But another wonderful tradition in the Holtzhafer household is a pre-Thanksgiving treat called a “Moravian Sugar Cake.” The Lehigh Valley is full of Moravian history, so I thought it might be fun to share. The Moravians are a group of people who originated in Moravia, which was part of eastern Czech Republic. As a lifestyle, Moravians …
Saturday, November 10, 2012
I thought Sandy was the end of our world. Another's tragedy helped me to realize how lucky we are.
“Who can say where the road goes, where the day goes? Only time.” ~ Enya As I sit in the coziness of our Cabin 4 in Hills Creek State Park, listening to songs from my "Memorial" playlist, my heart is heavy. We’ve had this weekend trip planned for months, and it just so happened to fall during a time of terrible heartache for so many. I am so ridiculously blessed. I feel guilty for being here, for having warmth, shelter, food, friends and above all, my family. Who am I to deserve this goodness? Today I’m writing straight from the heart. As Superstorm Sandy hit us last week, I thought surely I’d be writing about our efforts for survival. I would complain about the difficulties of keeping the house warm and the refrigerator cold with a single…
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
These fuzzy friends can't speak, but if they could, what insight would they have for us regarding our weather forecasting?
Editor's Note: This column was written before Hurricane Sandy rocked the Emmaus Patch. Do you think that the squirrels and other critters out there knew Sandy was coming before we did? From my office window I have a beautiful view of my side yard. In the spring, it’s filled with colorful blossoms on our pear, cherry, apple and peach trees. The woods are lush with fluorescence. In the summer, our raspberries climb the split rail fence as the garden comes to life with fresh vegetables. And this time of year is my favorite. Glorious colors literally create a picture perfect "window" as I sit at my desk. But my favorite part of the fall is watching our nature neighbors as they prepare for winter. Blue jays, cardinals, nuthatches, and tufted …