Monday, 29 December 2008

New Year's eve traditions

Colombia has different New Year's celebrations. For us is a time to drink champaign, to eat grapes and be with friends and relatives. In my case, I really do not have any traditions, but something that I always do is to fill my pockets with cash, so I will have always money all the year. What do you do? Do you do something special in this date? I would like to share this article about the English tradition for the New Year's eve.

English New Year

In England crowds of people gather in Trafalgar square, and Piccadilly Circus as well as stand around to hear the chimes of London's Big Ben announces the arrival of the New Year. Everyone stands around with arms linked to sing Auld Lang Syne.

In England the custom of first-footing is important. The reason is that it is supposed to ensure good luck for the inhabitants of the house. The first-footer must be male, young, healthy and good looking. He must be dark-haired and he should be carrying a small piece of coal, money, bread, and salt. These are the symbols of wealth.

The custom of exchanging gifts was transferred to Christmas it was originally done at New Year, when the Lord of the Manor was given samples of produce by his tenants and peasants, while he gave a valuable gift to the Queen or King. The Englishman gave their wives money to by pins for the coming year. This Tradition died, but, the expression "pin money" is still used to describe the money set aside for personal use, especially if given to a woman by her husband.

On New Year's Day children from England and Great Britain rise early to make the rounds to their neighbors singing songs. They are given coins, mince pies, apples and other sweets for singing. This must be done by noon or the singer will be called fools.

The Burning Bush is a nineteenth century custom carried into the early years of this century. In Radnorshire and Herefordshire farmhand would get up early before dawn on New Year's Day and carry a hawthorn bush to the field. They were burnt in straw on the wheat field. It was a symbol of good luck for the farmers. The bushes sometimes hung in the kitchen until the next year.

In England girls would drop egg whites into water. They thought it would form the first letter of the name of the man they would marry.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Also movies make grammar mistakes

I found this interesting article. This made me ask to myself if the language is changing for good or for bad. Soemtimes we think that the way they say it in the movies, songr or sitcoms is the best and is not all true.

Are Me and Him Ruining the Movies?
I must be getting old, because things I hear in the talkies -- oops, the movies -- are really starting to get my goat. Let's make an example out of two recent flicks: "High School Musical 3" and "Madagascar: Escape 2 [sic] Africa." An early scene in each contains the same hideous grammar error -- the use of me where I belongs. From "Madagascar": "You and me are different, son." From "High School Musical": "Me and my dad built this tree house."

It gives me the shrivels to hear this sort of dialogue. It's not English; it's Caveman (or "Cavemanglish," if you want to make a portmanteau out of it). Only two characters can get away with talking like that: Tarzan and Cookie Monster. Everyone else needs to know the difference between I and me. Actually, almost everyone else needs to know this. There are exceptions in high places, though it pains me to admit it. When Bill Clinton accepted the Democratic nomination in 1992, for example, he goofed twice, saying, "My mother was busy raising my brother and I," and "Give Al Gore and I a chance to bring America back." This is called "hypercorrection" -- he was avoiding using me to sound extra proper. It's proof, probably unnecessary, that you can be the leader of the free world even if you don't understand how to use pronouns.

What's more, you can probably also still get into the college of your dreams. I was very ready to dismiss "High School Musical 3" as wildly improbable not because of all the singing, dancing and cheek kissing, but because the main character, Troy Bolton, speaks Caveman. How could he possibly get into a school like Berkely? Then I talked to Marie Felde, director of media relations at UC-Berkeley. She set me straight. "If you used poor grammar but had something very special to bring to the student body, say you wrote an opera that was performed on a major stage, or invented a new tech tool that revolutionized communications -- that might work," she said. "High School Musical" isn't quite opera, but Zac Efron's character, Troy Bolton, did star in it, and his basketball team won the state championship, so I'm guessing this would impress the admissions committee, which looks for accomplishments like this when its members are making their decisions. So, fine. You can be president. You can go to Berkeley. Your life won't be ruined if you don't know the difference between I and me. But unless you're as cute as Cookie Monster or as loincloth-ready as Tarzan, you're going to bug people who know better. And there's no reason for that. There are just two little rules to remember when deciding between I, me and assorted other pronouns. Anyone can learn these.
Rule No. 1: I is the subject
Its official name is a nominative pronoun. All this really means is that it's standing in for your subject. So, use I when the pronoun you need is working as the subject of a clause or a sentence. I built this tree house. My dad and I built this tree house. This isn't hard to remember. If you find yourself getting confused when there are two subjects, drop one out. Everything should become clear. Even Troy Bolton probably wouldn't say, "Me built this tree house." Other pronouns can stand in for your subject, too. They are you, he and she, we, and they. So, you'd say, "He and Troy built the tree house," not "Him and Troy built the tree house."
Want More Martha?

Rule No. 2: Me is the object
Its fancy name is an objective pronoun. It means it's standing in for your object.

So, use me when your pronoun works as an object in the sentence or clause. A pronoun can be the object in two ways:

It can be the object of a verb. For example: The sushi (your subject) made (your verb) me (your object) sick. The movie gave Monica and me a fright.
It can be the object of a preposition. For example: She sent the letter to (a preposition) me.
Likewise, use you, him, her, us and them to stand in for your objects. There. That's it. Can you believe people get this wrong so often? And one last thing. That old tar pit -- it is I vs. it is me -- can be crossed off your list of things to worry about. Either one is fine, though the latter is best for informal contexts. In "The Second Tree from the Corner,"E:B white wrote a funny story he'd witnessed in a newsroom. Apparently a man had to identify his wife's body at the morgue. "My God, it's her!" the man exclaimed. The editor, earnest but emotionally tone deaf, changed it to "My God, it's she!" Now that's someone I'd like to go to the movies with, or, to put it in a way that would please the editor, someone with whom I'd like to go to the movies.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Christmas Party Tips

While Christmas certainly is a time of joy for young and old, there's one person in every family who is likely to approach the holiday with a certain sense of trepidation. That person is the party host.

Holding a successful Christmas party takes a great deal of preparation, sensitivity and effort and though the rest of the family and other guests are likely to be willing to chip in with assistance in one form or another, it's still useful to know a few sure-fire Christmas party tips to help turn your event into a winner; without driving you to exhaustion in the process. The following collection of articles offers a wealth of practical advice to help you make the most of your time, budget and other resources in the lead up to Christmas, so that your concentration on the day only needs to be set on watching the smiles of your guests as they realise how blessed they have been to receive an invitation to such a successful event.

Friday, 12 December 2008

X-mas recipes for this year

Sugar Cookies


  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups flour
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

Cooking Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium until smooth. Add sugar. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg yolk until combined. Add vanilla. Beat until combined.
  2. Add flour and salt. Beat until combined, scraping down side of bowl occasionally.
  3. Between two sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap with a rolling pin roll the dough to ¼-inch thickness. Cut out shapes. Reroll and use scraps until all dough is used.
  4. Bake 15 to 20 minutes,depending on the size of the cookies, or until lightly browned.
  5. Remove from oven and cool on cookie sheet 5 minutes. Remove to cooling rack to cool completely. Decorate as desired.


These cookies can be made through step 3, wrapped well, and refrigerated up to 1 week, or frozen up to 6 months.

Tips & Tricks

These cookies are also the perfect consistancy for making spritz cookies.

Preparation Time:

25 minutes, not including decorating time


About 2 dozen cookies, depending on the size of the cookie cutters

Baking Time: 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies

Baked Potatoes

1 1/2 pounds small new potatoes (scrubbed)
3 cloves garlic (thinly sliced)
2 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil
1/2 teaspoon crumbled rosemary (optional)

Nutritional Information
1 serving:
Calories 219
Saturated Fat 1g
Total Fat 8g
Sodium 16mg
Cholesterol 0mg
Protein 3g
Carbohydrate 35g
Fiber 6g
Because most of their nutrients are directly beneath the skin, don't peel new potatoes. Just scrub and cook.

Makes 8 servings.

Step 1:
Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes with the garlic, oil, and rosemary, if using.

Step 2:
Transfer to a roasting pan and roast about 45 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

Look for smooth-skinned solid potatoes. Avoid potatoes that are blemished or sprouting and those with a green color, which will taste bitter.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

The origins of Xmas

All this month we will have different topics about Christmas and New Year's eve 2009. Enjoy for now the story of the origins of Christmas. My best wishes xx x Liliana

Christmas (IPA: /krɪsməs/), also referred to as Christmas Day or Christmastide, is an annual holiday celebrated on December 25 that marks and honors the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.[2][3][4] His birth, which is the basis for the anno Domini system of dating, has been determined by modern historians as having occurred between 7 and 2 BC. The date of celebration is not thought to be Jesus' actual date of birth. It may have been chosen to coincide with the winter solstice,[5] which the ancient Romans celebrated on December 25.[6]

Modern customs of the holiday include gift-giving, church celebrations, and the display of various decorations—including the Christmas tree, lights, mistletoe, nativity scenes and holly. Santa Claus (also referred to as Father Christmas, although the two figures have different origins) is a popular mythological figure often associated with bringing gifts at Christmas. Santa is generally believed to be the result of a syncretization between St. Nicholas of Myra and elements from pagan Nordic and Christian mythology, and his modern appearance is believed to have originated in 19th century media.

Christmas is celebrated throughout the Christian population, but is also celebrated by many non-Christians as a secular, cultural festival. The holiday is widely celebrated around the world, including in the United States, where it is celebrated by 96% of the population.[7] Some Orthodox groups celebrate Christmas on or near January 7, as January 7 corresponds to December 25 using the Julian calendar.[8] Because gift-giving and several other aspects of the holiday involve heightened economic activity among both Christians and non-Christians, Christmas has become a major event for many retailers.


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