Kennedy Center Gets Stapled

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Mavis Staples (jcs) 2008

Mavis Staples, a ‘freedom singer’ during the Civil Rights Movement, was recognized by the Kennedy Center Honors this week, along with James Taylor, Al Pacino, Argentine pianist Martha Argerich, and The Eagles.

Staples often performed with or for Dr. Martin Luther King. I was able to see her perform in 2008 at the Green River Festival; In addition to a great set, she told stories about King, her father Pops Staples, and experiences with segregation in her childhood. The audience hung on her every word.

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Hey Mom, I’m an Ambassador!

Don’t worry, faithful readers… I haven’t joined the forthcoming U.S. government’s administration, and I’m not moving to Burma nor the Vatican.

I have, however, signed on for a new program in my neck of the woods as one of the #BFFAmbassadors!

BFF – or Berkshire Family Focus, as it’s known in full – is an online magazine for which I write from time to time. More importantly, though, it’s (IMO) the best resource for things to do in The Berkshires for families of all types. This month, the outlet is kicking things up a notch with a 12 Days of Giveaways promotion, which challenges local online influencers like myself to spread the word about 12 different organizations or businesses in the area by pointing people (like you?) to daily giveaways of great stuff to win!

What makes this campaign particularly awesome is 1) it’s local, and 2) we, the participants, have been given a little incentive to excel, too. It’s like a Game of Posts… the more links, photos, and dedicated hashtags we create, the more points we accrue. At the end of the contest, we’ll tally the points, then pick one of a dozen prizes for ourselves, in order of who scored highest-to-lowest. Everybody wins, but there’s still an element of competition for the Type A Personalities in the group (hi).

I’ll be posting links to the giveaways each day from now until December 16, both here within this post and on Instagram.

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Today’s giveaway is two tickets to a Berkshire Theatre Group performance of A Christmas Carol. Enter up!

Day 1: http://berkshirefamilyfocus.com/12-days-giveaways-day-1-berkshire-theatre-group-christmas-carol/

**UPDATES!**

Day 2: You could win one of two $25 gift certificates to Persnickety Toys in North Adams, Mass.! http://berkshirefamilyfocus.com/12-days-of-giveaways-day-2-persnickety-toys/

Day 3: Win tickets to one of WAM Theatre’s Fresh Take performances! http://berkshirefamilyfocus.com/12-days-of-giveaways-day-3-wam-theatre/

Day 4: A one-year  membership is up for grabs! http://berkshirefamilyfocus.com/12-days-giveaways-day-4-berkshire-museum/

Day 5: 20 lbs of propane? This livin’ in the mountains mama will take it. You? berkshirefamilyfocus.com/12-days-giveaways-day-5-george-propane

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Handmade Holidays: Wax Hacks 

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I’ve been wanting to try this little DIY for months, and I finally got my chance — the super-melty art of recycling crayons.

By virtue of Pinterest and art fairs across the country, this is not a new craft, and a lot of people are already well aware of the how-and-what. But the results are so darn pretty I thought I’d share the recipe anyway.

First, I had to gather a slew of broken crayons. That’s not hard in a house inhabited by a toddler, but I’d also been squirreling away bits and pieces in a plastic bag in the junk drawer for a while. I did a final sweep last weekend and organized the unbroken crayons along the way.

I removed the remaining paper wrappers, and broke all of the pieces up into bits small enough to fit into the cups on my mini-muffin tin. In some, I grouped like shades together, but I also made a few color concoctions.

Into the oven they went — at 275 degrees, for about 10 minutes. The crayons melted into swirly little soups of wax, and the most difficult part of the whole project was removing them from the stove.

I set them on the counter to cool and then into the freezer overnight to set. The interwebs of crafty-craftertons debate whether the freezer-step is necessary, but when I turned the pan over the next day, each new crayon slipped out right away.

I think they’re very cute, but I’m happier that I now know this life hack actually works. It gives me the confidence to -maybe – get a little fancier next time. 

Check out the Pinterest board below for some of my favorite future fails…

Blogtoberfest is Upon Us

The Bloggiest of Them All.

I love hosting Blogtoberfest each year.

It’s not something I invented; in fact, it was quite popular in the earlier years of blogging, and has waned. But I still love it, and the reason why is still the same: The People.

The bloggers. The podcasters. The influencers. The content producers. Every year, this little one-lady fiesta of mine reintroduces me to old friends and colleagues as it introduces me to new acquaintances.

Some of them aren’t even posting in the traditional sense… some (hi, Mum) are religious readers and avid commenters who add to the conversation as it evolves.

That’s the point … so let’s keep talking. Through the doldrums of November, the haste of December, the depression of January. We got this.

Special Blogtoberfest Thank Yous to

The Writers

Cory Mahnke <– The Winner!

Ben Ragusa

Andy DeSisto

Joe Schneiderman

Max Hartshorne

The Promoters

Geek Salad Radio

Angry Mancave

Nerdy Thursday

Winstanley Partners

The Blogtoberfesters