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St. Paddy’s Day Blessing to our Readers

March 17, 2010 Comments off

I have heard it said that we all have a drop o’ Irish in us!

Whether your lineage is Irish or not, we would like to send all our readers a special blessing for St. Patrick’s Day.  We hope you will share it with others who are dear to you.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

May every valley lead to a mountain top;

May every dark night lead to a sunny morn;

May every trial lead to celebration;

And may you always feel God’s presence,

Even as you walk in the rain . . .

–Ani


To our Readers . . .

December 25, 2009 Comments off

Thank you for spending time with us  here at CarolinaLifestyles.  You have been witness to our beginnings and we appreciate your dropping in to see how we are developing.

As we look towards  2010 and the expansive plans we have for our online magazine, we want to pause to send our best wishes to you and your families during this holiday season.

Merry Christmas . . .

from all of us at CarolinaLifestyles

Lo, How a Rose e’er Blooming

Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming, as those of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.

This Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere;
True Man, yet very God, from sin and death He saves us,
And lightens every load.

O Savior, Child of Mary, Who felt our human woe,
O Savior, King of glory, Who dost our weakness know;
Bring us at length we pray, to the bright courts of heaven,
And to the endless day!

15th Century carol (Es ist ein Ros entsprungen)
translated from German to English by Theodore Baker, 1894

Brian’s Merry Christmas to All

December 24, 2009 Comments off

There’s always a special magic surrounding Christmas Eve. During the day it resembles any other Christmas shopping weekend. Long lines, traffic delays, folks searching for the last minute gifts and stocking stuffers. Around six or so every Christmas Eve evening, everything starts to close. Businesses wind down, retail shuts down, people are either well on their way or actually at their destination. The shopping’s done, hopefully the wrapping’s done, now it’s time to enjoy.  Families and friends in such festive spirits, Christmas carols on the radio.  Adrenalized children, unable to sleep knowing Santa’s already on his way. To those families I wish the best of times and good luck with the kids!

For others, Christmas might not mean quite what it once did. Maybe a loved one is overseas putting his or her life on the line fighting for our freedom to overspend during the holidays. Watching soldiers wish their families a Merry Christmas is both heartwarming and heartbreaking.  To those families, I cannot thank you enough.

Or maybe the one you love is far away, yet you still manage to send an email,  a text, a sign that says, “Hey, I’m thinking about you, Merry Christmas” and suddenly you’re not so far after all. To those, may you eventually find your way as close to each other as you’ve allowed your hearts to become.

And if you’re in retail, I’ve been there before. I’ve felt  your pain. Rest up! You’ve earned it. A special nod and a Merry Christmas to you guys!

Even if it’s for one day, Christmas can be a reminder that we’re all family no matter how near or far. Having that one day is better than none at all.

To everyone, Merry Christmas! Eat up, get some great gifts, give some equally good ones, and we’ll see you next week.

Ani’s Classical Christmas Playlist

December 23, 2009 Comments off

Crockpot Wassail with a Punch!

December 23, 2009 Comments off

Wassail is one of my favorite holiday drinks.  This particular recipe includes rum and makes a nice alternative to cocktails if folks want something a bit more seasonal.  Since this is a fragrant mixture, the aroma adds a festive touch.

By using a crock pot, you can mix up the concoction ahead of time, put out your Irish Coffee cups and a ladle, and let your guests serve themselves.  If you are having a more formal buffet, you can simply put the wassail in a carafe to keep it warm.

Christmas Wassail


Ingredients

2 quarts apple cider
1 quart cranberry juice
3/4 c. sugar
4 sticks cinnamon
1 tsp. whole allspice
1 large orange
15 whole cloves
1 cup Rum

Method

Stud the orange with the whole cloves.

Place all ingredients into crockpot. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour. Reduce to low setting and leave for 4 or more hours.

Makes 16 servings, depending on portion size.

Editor’s Note: We have been known to add another cup of rum before serving.

Ani’s Top Five Country Christmas Songs

December 23, 2009 Comments off

Christmas across the Carolinas: Riverbanks Zoo, Columbia, SC

December 22, 2009 Comments off

Magic is in the air at Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC.  An annual event for 22 years, “Lights before Christmas”  has become a holiday  extravaganza at the zoo, where adults and children alike stroll through nearly a million glistening lights adorning fixtures, plants and animated sculptures.

Visitors can also join a singalong to the Music in Motion Lights Spectacular, at its new location in front of the giraffe exhibit, or sip hot chocolate while toasting marshmallows at the Jingle Bell Bonfire.

The Lights will dazzle from 6 to 9pm each evening until January 3, with closings on Chistmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. Riverbanks members are eligible to receive one free visit to Lights Before Christmas when they show their membership card at the gate; guest passes are not accepted. General admission is $8 for adults and $6 for children ages 3 – 12. Tickets can be purchased online or at any Riverbanks ticket booth. Parking for the event will be on the Zoo side only.

For more information:

http://www.riverbanks.org/mediacenter/releases2009/1103.shtml