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Or, Happy New Year as Halloween marks the beginning of the Celtic New Year. The holiday in Celtic is called Samhain which means “summer’s end” and marks the transition from the light part of the year to the dark part of the year. Halloween is considered one of the oldest holidays and has traces of both pagan and christian meshed into it. The Wiccan and pagan celebration of Halloween reflected the belief that during the time from October 31 through November 1 the veil between this mortal world and the spirit world is the thinnest, enabling departed spirits to mingle with the living. When the Christians became involved and attempted to convert the holiday, Halloween became known as All Hallow’s Eve, the night before the Christian celebration of All Saints Day on November 1st.

The tradition of giving out candy is believed to be derived from the Celtic traditions which marked the giving of food and drink to costumed celebrants of Samhain, on the chance that they were departed spirits returned to mingle among the living. The Celtics keep hearths burning all night long to light the way for the spirits to return to the world of the mortals.

However you celebrate Halloween, may the spirits be with you. Happy Halloween!

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I love Halloween, it’s a great holiday and a really good excuse to pretend to be someone else, at least for a few hours. It seems that there is always something going on that prevents us from throwing an awesome Halloween party. Next year, people — I promise. Cool Halloween party at our house – right now the house is a disassembled, messy, construction zone while we remodel the den…

The Halloween decorations weren’t even all unboxed — how sad.  But we’re shooting for it all to be done for the holiday season so watch out — tinsel will rule!

Last night we were treated to the culinary delights cooked for us by TJ and his friend and classmate, Dustin. The two had to create a French dinner, consisting of appetizer, entree and dessert and serve it to us. We had delicious cheese puffs, chicken tenderloins roasted in apple cider, carrots with apples and chocolate banana custard for dessert.

Kudos to the chefs, the dinner was delicious… and my kitchen was returned to its pre-dinner state which was a nice treat.

Den destruction – uh I mean renovation – is underway. The room is emptied of all items of furniture, lamps, dust bunnies and a good part of Jinx (at least in fur). I am happy to report that there are many single socks in my house that are at this moment happily being reunited with their mates – tearful reunions all around.

In the meantime, the boys were given the opportunity to do some destruction and here are the action shots. Tom kindly removed the sledgehammer from the boys’ hands before they were able to damage each other or anything that we might not be replacing.

TJ taking the sledgehammer to the wall

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It was a foggy morning this morning, after a night of pretty constant rain. The one good thing about waking up while it is still dark is that you are definitely awake for the sunrise – always a good thing.

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Photo: Craftzine

I came across this and it is just so darn cool, I had to share.

Craftzine has a post on a completely knitted skeleton created by fiber artist, Ben Cuevas. If you go on over to his site you can see some of the finer detail of this work of art. Truly amazing stuff.

Photo: Craftzine (Ben Cuevas skeleton)

My hat totally goes off to him, ’cause you can ask Tom, the words that can come out of my mouth when I’m knitting socks can be pretty aweful, imagine knitting a whole human (skeleton)!

This blog post you are reading is from a blog called  Happenings on the Hill. If you are reading it anywhere else other than on, it has been stolen. Sorry to those that regularly read that I have to do this on my post, but I’m really getting angry that someone is stealing my content. I  really, really dislike the darkness that is the winter mornings. As I type this, it is just 7 a.m. and the sun is just barely coming up. Seriously, if you woke up now, without a clock, you would most likely dose back off, thinking it was way earlier than it was. While I am not a big fan of dark afternoons either, I can deal with those so much better than with the dark, pitch blackness that I now awaken to and will for the next several months on school days.

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Here is a picture of the newest addition to the yard. We purchased this sugar maple at a plant auction at the bottom of the hill at Bushey’s Landscaping a few weeks ago.

A few years ago we had to take down the old sugar maple that graced the one side of our house when we bought it as it had died. This is the replacement that we hope will one day offer the shade and beauty of its predecessor.

Here are the pictures from when the original tree was removed. A sad day……

We are forecast to have precipitation in one form or another (mostly rain though) here on the hill in Vermont until at least Thursday. Rainy days can be relaxing especially when there’s a fire going in the woodstove and you have a nice hot cup of tea or coffee and a good book to read. What to have for dinner on such a night? Well, homemade bread and homemade chicken soup are always good choices. Last night’s roaster is tonight’s dinner (don’t you just love when one meal can morph into another?)

Initial testing indicates that the 26-year-old United States swimmer, Fran Crippen died of a heart attack while swimming in an open water race in the United Arab Emirates. I think that as a mom, this is one of the scariest things. Here, evidently was a young man who appeared perfectly healthy. So healthy in fact that he was able to participate in the 10 kilometer Marathan World Cup Swimming Race. More healthy than most of us from outward appearance. Yet, he just apparently dropped dead during the race and was found two hours later by deep sea divers. Scary, scary stuff. You’ve heard me say this before, but seriously this scares the be-jeebers out of me. There was nothing, not a single blessed thing that anyone including the woman that gave birth to him and I am sure would have gladly given her own life if she had the opportunity, could do to save his life.

As a parent, we all have fears- irrational and rational – about our children and their health and well-being. When I read a story like this, it sends shivers down my spine. My boys, as I look at them now, seem perfectly healthy. Yet, it appears in a heartbeat, that can always change – no big bad guys for us parents to beat up on, no big horrible illness to blame for their demise.

Thoughts and prayers go out to this young man’s family – I can only imagine the depth and extent of their grief.

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We woke up this morning to a dusting of white. Not much snow, but everything was covered in that beautiful blanket of white.

Hopefully, this is a good sign, that winter will be white. I really despise winter when it is cold and grey and no snow is around. Seems pointless.

We attended a full afternoon and evening of parent teacher conferences – 14 conferences in total since two of the boys have the same teacher for a class (specials classes don’t have conferences) and they were kind enough to combine that conference – thank heavens for small considerations. Overall, the feedback was good — there are always areas of improvement –but it was nice to hear that they are doing well.

Not much in the way of criticism although I always feel my mother feathers ruffle just a little when someone criticizes one of the boys. Something deep inside rumbles to life and I must remind myself that I have to listen to the criticism and consider it in order that they benefit from it and it makes each of them a better person if they consider it constructive and modify their behavior or study habits, or whatever, accordingly.

One of the more interesting things for both of us was the characterization of one of the boys by all of his teachers as “quiet”. “Quiet” is an adjective that I would not use in any sense of the word to describe that son. Funny to see how your children are perceived through others’ eyes. I wonder what they would think of their description of him if they spent only a few hours in our home. I am quite confident that “quiet” would be completely and totally erased from that definition.

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