Tag Archives: Holiday Week

The English Rose give-away winner

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On Christmas Eve Day I posted The story behind The English Rose with an announcement for a special holiday give-away.

The winner of the holiday give-away for $20 worth of The English Rose pens/pencils is Esther Miller. Congratulations, Esther!

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It’s never too late

Even if you didn’t win the give-away, you can still connect with Collette on Facebook or email The English Rose at englishroseest2011@yahoo.com.

I hope you enjoyed the holiday posts. Next up – a special four-pack of guest blogging tips.

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Filed under Guest Writers & Bloggers

The spirit of Christmas glides home on a Flexible Flyer

early christmasTwo young boys, huffing and puffing, drag a Flexible Flyer up worn wooden steps, banging and scraping. The boys are dressed like dark woolen snowmen from their watch-capped heads to their rubber snow boots.

Mother stands over Little Sister, dressing her for the occasion – knitted cap tied under chin with a scarf, multi-layered clothing, and hand-me-down boots.

The three siblings slurged through heavy snow in the driveway, passed the mint and white Chrysler with its push button start, into the snow drifts.

They trudged a few hundred yards – past the monkey ball trees – until they set foot on the school grounds, then round the back to the dumpsters.

The Christmas tree had adorned the large lobby of Lora Little Elementary School. After final classes marking winter break, the tree was dragged from the lobby and tossed unceremoniously out the loading dock doors. The tree is forlorn now, marked by several bent and broken branches and bent and wrinkled tinsel.

True to the elementary school tradition, this tree is twelve feet tall and wide as a 1950s Buick. The Flexi Flyer is a scant few feet long, but none of the logistics mattered. If they did not rescue the tree, they would have no tree.

The three siblings dragged the tree past the sledding hill where one brother would break his leg, past the weed-choked fence where the other brother would contract poison oak, past the school’s towering metal and chain swing set where sister would jump, fly!, and dislocate her elbow.

Out of the schoolyard and down the home street, sliding down the driveway, around the house and into the back yard.

Much like Paul Bunyan, Older Brother dispatched his Boy Scout ax from its leather pouch and commenced to chop the tree to a manageable height so it would fit into the rec room.

They set the tree in a teeny, dented tree stand.  They re-arranged the leftover tinsel then added their own stored decorations. Delicate, paint-flaked ornaments with misshapen hooks, delicately and laboriously placed upon bent and broken branches, until the tree brought the spirit of Christmas into the home.


Filed under Prose & Poetry, Special Events

The story behind The English Rose

English Rose 1About Collette, The English Rose

I am a Military wife of 11 years; my husband is active duty Air Force. We met while he was stationed in Spain and traveled to England for classes. I am British by birth, hence The English Rose name. We currently live at Eglin AFB in Florida and have four wonderful children together, one of whom is special needs.English Rose 8

The business started when I used one of my pens at a store and the cashier asked me where I’d purchased it; I explained I had made it. The cashier asked if I sold them; when I said no she said I should. From there, everything just fell into place.

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Ordering on the page is easy – you can hit the Order Here Tab located at the top of the page by the photo album, or, if you prefer, email me at englishroseest2011@yahoo.com. From there we discuss exactly what you would like for your customized order.

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Connect with The English Rose 

Connect on Facebook or email The English Rose at englishroseest2011@yahoo.com.

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Wouldn’t these pens or pencils be a great give-away at a book signing or conference? You can have them personalized with your name and website!

Special holiday give-away

Make a comment on this English Rose guest blog and be entered in a random drawing to win a $20 gift of English Rose pens or pencils. A comment must be made by midnight of Christmas Day. Winner will be announced December 26.

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Filed under Guest Writers & Bloggers

Holidays and kids are picture perfect

Stacy Van Dyck 1Stacy VanDyck is an Air Force wife, mom, and photographer (husband Geoffrey was featured yesterday) and works out of her home at the Minot Air Force Base.

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Stacy VanDyck Photography is a member of the Pictures of Hope Foundation. The Pictures of Hope Foundation is a charitable organization of professional photographers who provide complimentary photography sessions to babies in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit who are not quite ready to come home.

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Connect with Stacy at her website or on Facebook.

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Filed under Guest Writers & Bloggers

Minot AFB holiday-light-geek-out!

Geoffrey VanDyck of VanDyck Computers –

Geoffrey is an instructor of Technology and Military Science with the United States Air Force. And he is a great computer fixer-upper! He and his wife Stacy live at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota.

Geoffrey programmed his house with holiday lights and music. Amazing videos!

Wizards in Winter by Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Or, if you prefer, Wish Liszt by T-SO –

Connect with Geoffrey and find computer maintenance tips and other helpful info at his blog (VanDyck Computers on blogspot) and on Facebook at VanDyck Computers.

Stay tuned – tomorrow I feature Stacy VanDyck Photography.


Filed under Guest Writers & Bloggers

A very military Christmas

Iraq, December, 2009 (Kenton is bottom left)

Iraq, December, 2009 (Kenton is bottom left)

All Air Force!

While gathering Holiday Week guests and posts, I saw a pattern emerge – all military, all Air Force people! My son is Air Force, so I’ll add my own Christmas story at the end of this Holiday theme week.

What can I do?

If you are wondering what you can do for our military members this holiday and beyond, it’s never too late.





Adam and Kenton in Iraq

Adam and Kenton in Iraq

Green Beans Coffee

And this one is so easy – it takes only a couple minutes – you can spend just $2 ($2!) and send a great cup of coffee to a service member overseas.

Connect with Green Beans Coffee on Facebook.

Photo by David Yaronczyk

Photo by David Yaronczyk


Filed under For The Troops, Special Events

“The Magical Tale of Santa Dust,” by Patricia Cardello

The Magical Tale of Santa Dust

The idea for “Santa Dust” and ultimately the book “The Magical Tale of Santa Dust” began when my children were toddlers. At Christmas time I would say to my children, “How is Santa going to know where you live? With all the houses and apartments in the world – how is he going to know which one you live in? He can’t go to them all – he’d never make it to all the children in the world. We have to help guide him along the way.”

So together, we mixed a special combination of glitters and gold stars in different colors, shapes and sizes and put them into plastic bags. We called our creation “Santa Dust.” We would then walk around our neighborhood and sprinkle our magical “Santa Dust” with the hope of guiding Santa and his reindeer to our door. Never fail – Santa would arrive to squeals of delight the next morning.

Our 4:00 p.m. Christmas Eve “Santa Dust” walks became a tradition in our family and neighborhood and took on a life of their own. Every year a few more children were added – each child sprinkling “Santa Dust” with the hope of guiding Santa and his reindeer to their door. I encourage you to make “Santa Dust” a Christmas tradition in your home. Listen while your children tell you their hopes, dreams and desires for Christmas. You will cherish the quality time you spend with them as they sprinkle their magical “Santa Dust” and in the process build memories that will last a lifetime. Years from now your children will take their children on their own “Santa Dust” walks and their children will then take their children and carry the tradition forward.

Patricia reading to youngsters

“Santa Dust” was nominated as one of the 2008 Best New Products of the Year and received the 2009 Seal of Excellence Award.

How I chose my illustrator – I found my brilliant illustrator through a web site called “Elance.” I put the perimeters of the type of illustrator that I was looking for and was overwhelmed with responses. I loved her work from the beginning but she lives and works in Italy and we would have to work over the internet. At first she turned my offer down. After numerous discussions she finally agreed and she brought my story to life in ways that I never imagined. It was destiny to find her and for her to find me.

Patricia Cardello

Patricia Cardello is originally from Providence Rhode Island but now resides with her husband and two children in New York City. She is an actress, writer, entrepreneur and fledgling filmmaker.

The Magical Tale of Santa Dust is the first in a series of books she has written.

See The Magical Tale of Santa Dust website here. You can also find “Magic Dust” on Facebook.

Book Illustrator – Manuela Soriani Portfolio

Profile portrait by Hoberman Studio


Filed under Guest Writers & Bloggers, Kid Stuff & Children's Books, Special Events