Cynthia Ewer's blog

Veterans Day Tribute: Thanking Our Veterans and Service Members

My Marine Son

As the mother of a U.S. Marine, and mother-in-law to a sailor in the U.S. Navy, Veterans Day has special meaning for me. Today, I would like to thank my son Ryan and my daughter-in-law Elizabeth for their service to our country--and extend that gratitude to all America's veterans and active duty service members.

From the mom's chair, I've had a close-up view of the very special strains and stresses encountered by our young people in service, and by the family members who support them as they serve.

Over the years, I've watched my son progress from recruit to Staff Sergeant, and held him close in my heart as he went through two overseas deployments.

On September 11, 2001, Ryan called me from his barracks before dawn to let me know his unit had been placed on high alert--and that call led to this writer's most-read, most-published piece of work: My Child, My Home, My Country: A Marine Mom Speaks. That essay still speaks for my feelings today.

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Cynthia's "Little Christmas"

Cynthia Ewer and dog Dicksie

Does it feel like Christmas morning?

I celebrate a tiny personal Christmas on this summer day each year. It's the Sunday in August that kicks off our earliest holiday plans: the Holiday Grand Plan and the Houseworks Holiday Plan.

On the Web, this site comes alive again on this day! Quiet and sleepy since the previous January, OrganizedChristmas.com wakes up to a new surge of traffic--and this Webmaster wakes up along with it.

This morning, that wake-up call came at 4:30 a.m. I simply couldn't stay in bed a moment longer, knowing that "little Christmas" is dawning.

Like Christmas morning, there's no snoozing and stretching as I wake up; I spring out of bed and hit the studio without even a drive-by collision with the coffee machine.

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Memories of Young Motherhood: Turkey Toodles and the Calico Cornucopia

Turkey Toodles

You have to give it to social networking: it can bring the most amazing and far-flung people back into your life!

The past couple of weeks, I've had the delight of regaining contact with my children's aunt Suzanne. Back in the day (total '70's: Earth shoes, disco and breastfeeding-as-radical-act), we were young mothers together. Married to a pair of brothers, we shared those years of early marriage and dishrag soup--but when divorce struck us both a few years later, we lost touch.

Hello, Facebook! We've had a glorious time, catching up on the trajectories of each other's lives. She's discovered that I'm an author, I've discovered that she's an artist, and we've brought each other up-to-date on the progress of our respective children and grand-children.

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Welcome to my Halloween home!

Welcome!  My Front Door.

October's winding down; it's time to invite you into my house for Halloween! Here's what you'll see if you come Trick-or-Treating on Saturday night!

The heart of our home is the family room. It's one of my favorite places, and never more so than in the autumn. Year round, it's the place where we display an art collection, watch television, and read books.

In summer, the family room can get a little bit lonely; we spend long, warm summer evenings on the deck just outside. The fireplace is dark, and my favorite fireside chair rarely has a visitor.

But once cold weather moves in, so do we!

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Holiday Tradition: Singing The Countdown Blues!

No photo today!

Seriously, nobody reading this blog would want to see how tired I look, or how disrupted my home and office are at this moment: the Countdown began on Sunday.

Hello, Countdown Chaos! It's as much a holiday tradition in our house as Trick-or-Treat--but not nearly so much fun.

Each and every year, the first few days of the Countdown are .... chaotic. No matter how carefully I prepare the site, tweak the server or think through bottlenecks, it's only when the online traffic comes pouring through the door do I find all the problems on the tech side.

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Boo! In Which I Surprise My Neighbors

Make no mistake: I love holiday traditions.

To wit, I love them so much that if it weren't for the fact that I've lived in my current neighborhood for 13 years--and my neighbors know me well--I'd be considered a suspicious person, and need the intervention of law enforcement.

What's the problem? My newest neighbors haven't yet found their Halloween BOO basket yet!

What else would have a 54-year-old grandmother making multiple, unprecedented trips to the corner to see whether or not the BOO basket had been claimed?

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Decor Storage Solution: Holidays on Wheels!

There comes a time--and for me, it's at age 54--when your heart's desires and your body's demands come into conflict. To wit: I have a great love of decorating for seasonal holidays ... but I live in a three story house and my baby-boomer knees have begun to rebel at the seasonal tramp up and down stairs.

Solution: holidays on wheels!

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Celebrate Sweet, Celebrate Silly, Celebrate Family!

This week has been ripe with the harbingers of autumn to come. Morning brings the shouts of children as they walk to school with bright faces and shiny new backpacks. Yellow leaves peep through the trees' coverings of summer green. Evening temperatures flirt with a bit of new coolness in the night air.

And this week, I bought our pants-and-suits.

What in the dickens is a "pants-and-suit"? Why, it's a family marker of the approach of autumn. A small, silly celebration that has meaning only for this household--yet it's the kind of sweet and personal holiday observance that makes each family unique and strong.

The genesis of the term lies with me.

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Shhh! An Early Christmas Surprise On The Way!

I'm so excited, I can't sit still! As I write, a special package is winging its way to my grandmother Betty. Mamma, as we call her, will turn 102 years old next month--and while her body is frail, her mind and spirit are undiminished by the passage of the years.

Summer or not, she's going to receive a special holiday gift tomorrow.

Mamma has always been my homemaking inspiration; I treasure my collection of family recipes written in her own hand.

One such treat, Aunt Bill's Brown Candy, has been part of family holidays since before I can remember. As a child, I'd watch my parents work together to make our family's favorite sweet; by the time I reached my teens, I had taken over the candy-making chores--and to this day, Christmas isn't Christmas without the Aunt Bills!

A year or so ago, I was contacted by cookbook author Georgia Orcutt. Researching a cookbook of Christmas favorites from each American state, she was interested learning more about our family recipe.

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