Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Random Beautiful Day in Leesburg, VA

It's looking like a beautiful January morning here in Leesburg, Virginia!  Check out these photos taken from my deck this morning.

Today's not anything all that special.... but there's something to celebrate EVERY day, don't you think? 

If you need an excuse, just look around.  Is there a beautiful sunrise today?  Who needs more of a reason than that?

If you do, Google "Wacky Holidays" and find a calendar that will give you an excuse. 

I learned that today, January 26th, is "Spouse's Day".  Did you know that? 

So, plan a candlelight dinner, bring home flowers, special treats or a nice bottle of wine....we'll call it pre-meditated spontaneity!

Then pretend like your spouse forgot an important day that he/she should have remembered.  (hehehehe)

Make it a good one!

Web Analytics

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Treasured and Inexpensive Gift

Looking for a nice "Thank You" gift for business or professional contacts?  Perhaps during the holidays, you "forgot" to acknowledge your postal carrier, kids' teacher or babysitter, the lady that cleans your house.... Well, here's a great (and cheap) way to say THANK YOU.

Everyone LOVES Girl Scout Cookies.  They are a part of "Americana", and treasured tradition here in the US.  Ever wonder why?

You know the saying "Little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice".  Well, the that's only the first ingredient in Girl Scout cookies.  Then, we add entrepenurialism, individualism, morals, values, character, sunshine, and love of the earth, humanity and animals.... and you get Girl Scouts.

Girl Scout cookies represent all of this -  they put all those great things in a box and add America's favorite flavors - Chocolate, peanut butter, mint, coconut....mmmmmm! 

I can't think of a better gift you can buy for $3.50.  So, look around you... who do you need to thank? Then, place your order!  Click Here to Find Out How

If you are using these gifts as client gifts for your business, they may be tax deductible - check with your tax advisor.

* * * * *

Following our series on GS Cookies, be sure to stay tuned for more information about LIVING IN LOUDOUN COUNTY.

For information on our local real estate market, please tap into the resources at http://www.therealestatewhisperer.blogspot.com/

To search for homes for sale, check out the HOME SEARCH option at http://www.vickychrisner.com/
If you time it right, your housewarming gift maybe Girl Scout Cookies

Curious what the value of your home is?
Web Analytics

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Medical Supplies Drive for Haiti


Saturday and Sunday, January 30-31, Dominion Academy will be collecting medical supplies for medical mission trips to Haiti. The medical supplies will be boxed and leave Leesburg on Monday. By the end of the week they will be in Haiti with mission trip doctors and nurses.
Please drop by Leesburg Community Church/Dominion Academy at 835 Lee Ave., SW; Leesburg, VA 20175 on Saturday or Sunday morning to drop off the supplies you'd like to donate.  Alternatively, you may drop supplies off for me (Vicky Chrisner) anytime this upcoming week at the Keller Williams office in Leesburg, VA (50 Catoctin Cir #101, Leesburg, VA) and I will ensure they are delivered to the church on the weekend.
Needed supplies include: 

Ace wraps
Gauze bandages 4x4 and 2x2
Bandage rolls
Medical tape
Bandaids large and medium
Health care masks
Germ-X wipes
Antibiotic ointment
Eye drops, saline only
Ziplock baggies all sizes
Sharpie pens
Tylenol and Motrin (pills and chewables)
Imodium tablets or capsules
Individual servings of vitamin powder for water
Individual servings of baby formula for bottles (no cans)

Items that CANNOT be accepted:  bottles of liquid, alcohol, peroxide, etc.

 Web Analytics

Monday, January 18, 2010

The History of Girl Scout Cookies

As this is the final week we're taking orders on Girl Scout Cookies in Loudoun, this is likely to be my last post on this subject - at least until next year.  But, don't miss my prior posts with descriptions of GS cookies, and interesting recipes using GS cookies.  Remember, they are distributed but once a year, and they freeze well enough to have some for the whole year.... so order a lot!!

The History Of Girl Scout Cookies

Girl Scouts started selling cookies in the 1920s as fundraisers.  Just like today's typical bake sales the girls, moms and leaders would bake assorted cookies and goods and sell them to neighborsand friends.  In an early GS magazine, THIS SHORTBREAD COOKIE RECIPE (Click Here) was distributed to all girl scouts with the suggestion that they could be made for about 26 to 36 cents for six to seven dozen, and should be sold for 25 to 30 cents per dozen.

In 1933, The Greater Philadelphia Council was the first council to do mass marketing for cookie sales, selling them in the city's gas and electric company windows for a price of 23 cents for a box of 44 cookies or $1.24 for six boxes sold in the city's gas and electric company windows.  A year later, the same council became the first to sell commercially baked cookies.  In 1935, the Girl Scout Federation of Greater New York sold commercially produced shortbread cookies in the shape of a Trefoil, and for the first time used the words "Girl Scout Cookies" on the box. 

In 1936, the national organization got involved in the cookie sales, and by 1937 more than 125 GS councils reported being involved in cookie sales... and so began the official custom.  Although some councils used commercial bakeries, at that time, many girl scout cookies were still being baked by girl scouts.  In the 1940's, however, there was a terrible shortage of sugar, flour and butter... and in order to continue the custom of annual sales, the national Girl Scouts council licensed 29 bakers to produce cookies for sales.

By 1951, there were three types of official GS cookies - the shortbread cookie (Trefoil), a sandwich cookie and a chocolate mint cookie (Thin Mints).  Today, there are far more options available and new cookies are often added, with less popular cookies being deleted from sales.  There are 2 bakers that are licensed to sell GS cookies, and the contract is renewed each year after reviewing competing proposals.  Bakers must produce the 3 official GS cookies: Trefoils, Thin Mints and Do-Si-Dos (the peanut butter sandwich, which is sold under other names by different bakers), and can not offer more than 8 choices of cookies.

Web Analytics

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Recipe for the first Trefoil Cookies

Juliette Gordan Low established the Girl Scouts in 1912.  By 1917 cookie sales were being used as a fundraiser for troop activities. In July 1922, American Girl magazine, published by Girl Scout national headquarters, included the following recipe for shortbread cookies, suggesting to the girls that they could produce these cookies for 26 to 36 cents for 6 to 7 dozen cookies and to sell the cookies for 25 to 30 cents per dozen as a fundraising activity.  The recipe was supplied by Florence E Neil, a council director in Chicago.

The "First" Girl Scout Cookies: 

1c butter
1c sugar (plus additional for optional topping)
2   eggs
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 c flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder

Cream the butter and cup of sugar, add well-beaten eggs, then milk, vanilla, flour, salt and baking powder.  Refrigerate for at least an hour. Roll dough, cut into trefoil shapes, and spring suger on top if desired.  Bake in a quick oven (375 degrees) for approximately 8 to 10 minutes or until edges begin to brown.  Makes 6 to 7 dozen cookies.

I laugh when I read this, and wonder what a "quick" oven is - I am pretty sure it's not a microwave - it must be time for a call to my grandma. 

If you are "Jonsing" and need a quick GS cookie fix, this might do it, so try out the recipe.  But the true fix for craving GS cookies - especially our more modern Samoas, Thin Mints, and Tagalongs - is to order some of your very own through your local Girl Scouts. 

And, do it fast!  This is the last week we're taking orders.

Web Analytics

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Good PTA = A Good Village

Since my daughter entered 1st grade last year, I've been blown away by how much is handled by our PTA and what a service it is to our school and our community.   Roughly once a month there is an event at school for families.  In this school year, SO FAR, we've had:
All of the events are free, and all of them are very much enjoyed.  In these social opportunities, the kids and parents and teachers get to meet and interact in a fun and casual way.  Very little true "school business" is discussed, as the focus is on fun.  However, these casual interactions make more serious business later go much more smoothly.  Parents meet the parents of their children's friends and before you know it, parents are picking up each others kids and doing all kids of stuff to help each other.

Why is this important? You know the saying "It Takes A Village To Raise A Child"?  Well, the village WILL raise your child.  The village includes the kids' friends and their families, teachers, scout and club leaders, coaches, ministers and church leaders.  With a little help from the PTA, you'll be meeting and interacting with many members of this village.  So you'll know where to encourage your child to spend more time (or less), and how to "frame" certain issues for them when discussed at home.  You can better apply your values when you are able to intelligently discuss commonalities and differences between your family and the families of your child's friends.

As your child grows, so will his or her village.... Getting involved and staying involved takes a lot of work, but it's worth it.  Consider joining and being active in the PTA at your child's school.  It will benefit you more than you know.

Much can be accomplished when determined and creative parents work together for the good of their collective children.


For more information on Loudoun County Schools, Check out These Posts:

Find out how to sign up for automatic emails and texts about school closings and how to pay for your child's lunches on line with a credit card.

Bookmark the student schedules for Loudoun

Learn how to support the schools in your community through your "Loyalty" cards (the membership cards to grocery and drug stores).  It's free!

Web Analytics

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Magical Story Telling

Last week, my daughter's elementary school hosted Mark Daniels, the "Magical StoryTeller".  He performed for the children during an assembly in the daytime, and then for a really special treat, he had a second, evening performance, for the children and their families.

The event hosted at the school by the PTA are always enjoyable and always free, so I packed up my preschool son and elementary aged daughter and headed to the school after dinner. 

I regularly take my children to see kids entertainers of all sorts - singers, bands, puppet shows, dancing shows, you name it, and we enjoy all of them.  THIS particular childrens entertainer truly brought a little magic with him, and I must say he is perhaps the best childrens entertainer I've seen in recent years.

His show incorporates some special friends - like puppets and a live rabbit.  It includes some low tech magic tricks that will capture the interest of the children. And, he tells stories - like Green Eggs and Ham - in a special "fast forward" kind of way - hitting the highlights.  This allows his 1 hour show to include about 5 stories - most of which are children's classics.  By combining these elements, some background scenery and music, and his own special kind of charm, it truly is a magical experience.

I was thoroughly delighted and felt "happy" at the end of the show, ready to fall asleep and dream beautiful dreams full of rainbows.  I could listen to him every night.  My children were absolutely in awe, as they got to hear, see and experience these stories in a truly new and amazing way. 

Mark Daniels fully earns his title of "magical story teller", and his shows truly encourage the love of reading and teach that magic lies within each book if you'll just apply your imagination. Check out his web site and make time to see him if you can: http://www.magicalstoryteller.com/

Thank you to our PTA for sponsoring such a great show and making it available to the families of our school.
Web Analytics

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Got the Itch?

If you've been caught doing a dance like this, you just might have the
"Winter Itch"....

In this case, I am referring to the itch caused by dry skin.  Some people are affected more than others, but every winter about this time I get such dry skin.  This year, it seems everyone's got the "Winter Itch".

If you're moving here from another area with a different climate, you may be shocked to learn that this negative literally comes with the territory.  So, you may as well develop a plan.

Here are some tips to hopefully provide you with some relief:
*  Add Humidity: The "Winter Itch" is caused by cold, dry air - so if you're moving into a new house, recognize the value of one that has a whole house humidifer.  If you can't find a house with a whole house humidifier, and you can't afford to purchase one, consider visiting your local drug store and buying one or two small humidifiers for your bedrooms and areas where you spend the most time.  Not only will this help with the dry skin condition, but it will moisturize your sinus passages and can help keep you healthier by helping your epidermis plump up and do it's job - to protect all your body parts from the evil germs trying to get inside to attack you and make you miserable.
*  Stop using soaps!  Harsh cleansers, antibacterial and deoderant soaps are the worst, but most soaps(even so called "moisturizing soaps") will have a drying affect on the skin, so skip them entirely or use them sparingly, avoiding areas where your skin is the driest.
* Choose your bathing routine knowingly:  Baths are better for your skin than showers, Tepid water better than hot, and Shorter better than longer.  Then, apply your life.  I am a mom of 4, I have no time for baths, but in the winter there is nothing that makes me feel more relaxed on a daily basis than a LONG, HOT, shower, and you have to balance the health of your skin with the health of your mind. 
*  Add oil! Add oil (non perfumed) to your bath, or do like I do and apply baby oil while in the shower.  I used to put it on after I showered, but it felt too greasy and drove me crazy.  So, now I apply it with a bath sponge, which both removes dead skin and applies the baby oil. By removing dead skin, it feels less "itchy" to me, although experts do not recommend scrubbing your skin while wet or dry.  Other suggestions I've not tried include milk or oatmeal baths.
* REapply... people are often surprised to learn that most lotions only temporarily relieve dry skin, and when it wears off in a few hours, your skin is likely drier than it was before you applied the lotion... so skip it.  Creams are better for your skin, and oils like petroleum jelly are actually very good for rebuilding that outer layer of skin.  The thing about petroleum jelly is that it FEELS heavy on your skin, so I reserve using that for the very worst areas of dry skin; and I use creams everywhere else.  Both wear off far too fast, so REAPPLY them every few hours.  Claritan and Benedryl both make creams that provide quick relief to itchy skin.
*  Protect!  Protect your skin, especially your face and lips (areas where your skin is thinest, and yet most exposed). Cover your face using scarfs, hats, face masks and eye glasses as much as possible when you will be out in the elements.  Use chapsticks and creams daily, and reapply often if you are outside in winds, sunshine or especially blistering cold.... and DON'T lick your lips or allow your toddler's dripping nose to run - this skin will get very, very sore, very, very quickly and can bring a child to tears, and even some adults....which by the way causes your eyes, nose and mouth to "leak" taking even more of a toll on your red, burning, chapped skin.
*Try an inside attack:  Drink extra water (double your regular intake), which will help produce more moisture in your skin.  Other suggestions include drinking camomile, dandelion or peppermint teas.  Eat more yellow and orange vegetables and fruits, as these contain nutrients known to improve skin health, and eating them raw is best.  Follow general "healthy living" advise, like avoiding eating fried foods, drinking alcohol, coffee or sodas, consuming caffeine, or smoking, all of which rob your skin of moisture and nutrients, among having other detrimental affects; and be sure you're getting the right balance of vitamins by taking a multivitamin supplement.

If you've tried "everything" or your dry skin doesn't have obvious causes (like a weather change) or it seems red, infected or severe, go see your doctor.  Dry skin can also be a symptom of many other issues that might need to be evaluated by a professional... and serious cases of dry skin may warrant a prescription intervention.

Remember, your epidermis (aka your skin) is the largest organ in your body and has a critical function - keeping your parts inside and the germs outside.  So, when it's suffering, you soon will be, too.  Take care of your skin and it will take care of you.

Web Analytics

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Okay, well, it is technically in Fairfax County, just barely over the county line from Loudoun, BUT.... we had a great time anyway!  And, there's one day left, so hurry on out to check out FROSTIVAL, the newest winter festival sponsored by Celebrate Fairfax and MomsLikeMe.com.

FROSTIVAL is a kids festival being held at the Dulles Exp Center (just of Rt 28 in Chantilly) - NOTE: ALL EVENTS ARE INSIDE; and this year it's  running January 1st through the 3rd. 

Included with the cost of admission are several carnival style amusement rides, various inflatables - like moon bounces and such, arts and crafts, and live entertainment.  There are a few craft stations where you may have to pay $1 for the supplies, but several are free.  There are also trade booths and many of the vendors have giveways, games and prizes.

We went today and had a very good time; and my children came home with several treasures.

Admission is $12 for children, $5 for adults.  Get more details here: www.Frostival.com and hurry, because, like Frosty the Snowman, Frostival is only here for a short time before it has to disappear.

Now a veteran, let me offer you one tip: 
The food is expensive and burnt and the line is soooooo long. 
Eat before you go.

 * * * * *

Web Analytics

Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Years Resolution for 2010

Every year this time, people come up with New Years Resolutions. On January 1, they try to make a change in their life. By January 3rd most have quit trying.

I used to skip the typical New Years Resolutions (which I saw as being pre-destined for failure) and to make resolutions on my birthday...the start of MY New Year.  I had moderate success with this.

But, in 2009 on my Birthday I realized I had 2 years before I would be 40. I thought about who I wanted to be wheby that time. Then, I made a list of things that needed to change in my life for me to become that person, and I have been working toward becoming that person. I did not say, “the day after my birthday I will___” , instead I decided that BY my 40th birthday I would ___.” To reach that goal, I knew I needed to start TRYING, and to keep trying for 2 years, to become that person I envisioned.

Roughly ten months later, I am pleased to report immense success. I do more charity work, I am regularly involved in my church and growing again spiritually, my family recycles our trash, we’ve cut back on our energy usage, I have started going to a gym regularly, and have designated times that I spend with my little kids (it's harder with the older ones, but I am still trying).

All of these were goals that I set; and I feel very good about my accomplishments. However since they are changes to WHO I am and how I approach life daily, maintaining these habits requires constant work.  Not only that, but many of my goals require involvement of my family.... making things even more difficult, since my success depends on my ability to get them to participate - even though they do not all share my same goals.

I am still a work in progress, as is my family. I have many more goals to accomplish, while maintaining the changes I’ve already made in my life, and continuing to motivate my family.

If you see New Years as a time to make resolutions, instead of thinking you can change overnight, and then feeling disappointed that you slipped up and throwing in the towel completely, acknowledge that you are human, and that changes take time and work.

Set your goal to be fully implemented in your life by New Years Eve 2010.   And, stay tuned to http://www.livinginloco.blogspot.com/ because I will post more on this in the coming days - I will share what I've learned about accomplishing goals; and hopefully you'll share what successes and failures you've had, too.  Together, we can move toward becoming who we really are meant to be.

Best wishes for a magical 2010!

Web Analytics