November 30, 2012

Countdown to Christmas

Christmas MemoriesThis is the time of year when if the decorations aren't already out, we get them out. I've begun the week long process of decorating. I usually try to decorate the weekend after Thanksgiving, but we had house guests and didn't want to put them to work.

I have over 1000 favorite decorations. My Christmas ornaments. I am a collector. While some folks put them on several trees, I decorate our 9 foot tall tree with all of them. For the past several years, I've posted an ornament a day on my Facebook page and told the story behind it, why it was special. Ornaments are the souvenir of choice when I go anywhere. I have ornaments I made in elementary school, ornaments from my grandmother, family collectibles, ornaments for my children, and even for the family dog as well as his predecessor, the first family dog.

They range from elegant to kitschy, from homespun to sparkly. Glass, straw, wood, wax are just some of the materials used to make my ornaments. I also nestle all the photo cards we receive that year in the tree branches.

Blurb BooksLast year, a friend of mine was enjoying my posts so much she suggested that I put them in a book for the family, as so many of the ornaments have a family story. I've decided to take her up on that suggestion,  and I have found the perfect company to do it. Blurb offers bookstore quality books at a reasonable price. The company has a fabulous program to create the perfect keepsake for a loved one. The books are shipped in 7-10 days and will arrive in time for gift giving. You can upload photos from Instagram, Facebook, or any other photo sharing site as well as your hard drive or memory card.

They have given Fresh Daily Bread a 25% discount to use as well as to share with our readers. Just enter the code: HOLIDAYTHANKS when you check out from now through Monday, December 3, 2013 at 11:59 PM your local time.

disclaimer: Fresh Daily Bread has been compensated for this post. Nonetheless, we only promote companies that we personally would use or think our readers would find useful. 

November 28, 2012

Retail's Hidden Potential: Infographic

(source -

 From a report by DEMOS, a multi-issue national organization that combines research, policy development and advocacy to influence public debate and catalyze change. Founded in 2000 and headquartered in New York City, Demos works with advocates and policymakers around the country in pursuit of three overarching goals:
  • A more equitable economy with opportunity for all;
  • A robust democracy in which all Americans are empowered to participate;
  • A strong public sector that can provide for our common interests and shared needs.

November 26, 2012

Nutcracker Movie Event: Northeast Ohio

The Nutcracker ballet is synonymous with the holiday season, as Clara dreams her way through a fantasy land of candy and princes and mice. This year, theaters nationwide are presenting a one day 3D extravaganza of Tchaichosky's beloved classic. 

The Russian Imperial Mariinsky Theatre was the original home to Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker in 1892, when it made its worldwide debut. Movie theater audiences will experience the marvelous talents of two of the Mariinsky Theatre’s rising stars – Alina Somova as Clara (Masha in the original Russian ballet) and Vladimir Shklyarov as the Nutcracker. Conducted by Valery Gergiev, this timeless production of The Nutcracker opens with a Christmas Eve party and a young girl, Clara, being given a nutcracker doll by her godfather, Drosselmeyer. Later in the evening when Clara sleeps, she finds herself in the midst of the Nutcracker’s battle against the Mouse King and his army of mice. Coming to Clara’s aid, the Nutcracker is transformed into a Prince and journeys with her to an enchanted island where spectacular celebrations are held in their honor.

Don’t miss your chance to share this holiday tradition with your family in movie theaters for one day only on December 3!

Enter to win free passes to see this holiday classic at several local Northeast Ohio theaters: 
  • Cinemark Tinseltown USA in North Canton
  • Cinemark 15 in Macedonia
  • Cinemark at Valleyview
  • Cinemakr 14 in Mansfield
  • Southpark Mall in Strongsville
  • Regal Severance in Cleveland Heights

November 24, 2012

What is the right answer?

Yesterday, I was brought up close and personal to one of those problems we like to ignore, or at the very least avert our eyes from when we see it. We often separate the world into an us/them dichotomy. 

Having little guests visit us for the holiday weekend, we decided to take them to our fantastic local children's museum. It's in our downtown area and we need to park in a lot a block away from the museum and walk to the entrance. After leaving the museum, we were at the crosswalk. Our group was 2 teenagers, a toddler, and a kindergartner  as well as myself. There was a crowd waiting to cross the street, including a man intent on handing out religious pamphlets encouraging us to make our lives right with Jesus.

As the religious fellow thrust the pamphlet at a disheveled looking woman and her companion who were also waiting to cross the street, the woman challenged the man handing out the pamphlets. "What is this for?" He explained that it was about Jesus. Her hostility increased. "What do you know about Jesus," she asked in a louder voice. The red light seemed endless as the "Don't Walk" continued to blink. I held the kids hands tighter. The pamphlet guy explained how Jesus was the answer. She scoffed at him and said, "My brother and I are homeless, tell me what you're doing to help us, tell me how giving me a piece of paper about Jesus will help us find a meal or warm place to stay tonight? I like Jesus. I believe in Jesus. I don't need to learn about Jesus. What I want to know though is what is someone like you doing to help someone like me?" She continued to challenge him.

I held the kids closer willing the light to change, awkwardly holding the flier I reluctantly accepted from him, but unable to ignore the conversation that was unfolding on that corner.

The man handing out the fliers muttered something about the Rescue Mission, and she again looked at him and said, "I didn't ask you about the Rescue Mission..."

The light changed and we rapidly crossed the street as her words reverberated in my brain,

"What is someone like you doing to help someone like me?" 

-Matthew 25:45

November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Memories

It's been very pleasant seeing the push back against the commercialization of Thanksgiving. While more and more stores are opening, more and more people are also objecting. I do not participate in the Black Friday sales because I truly cannot imagine anything I need that badly that I would fight the crowds or camp out. I think if most folks were honest with themselves, there is nothing they need that badly either, but it's become so deeply engrained in our culture that it's almost impossible to think of Thanksgiving without the slew of ads and enticements to get us to spend money.

The irony isn't lost on me. Spending a day in gratitude for everything we have then rushing out in the wee hours to acquire "more". At some point I would like to think "enough" instead of "more".

In the spirit of remembering what Thanksgiving is about, I would like to share a favorite Thanksgiving memory.

The year was 1970.  I was in preschool and I made construction paper buckles for my shoes and hat for my head. After school, I went out to my Grandma & Grandpa's farm proudly sporting my Pilgrim costume. I spent the night at their house, in my aunt's old bedroom. I remember how cool her room was because she had a trundle bed and round bolster pillows. I would sit in that room and look at the Encyclopedia Britannica until I heard Grandma rustling together a breakfast. I went downstairs to see Grandpa was in his hunting jacket. My dad and uncle came over and the men went out to the woods to hunt rabbits. When other families had turkey the day after Thanksgiving, I remember having rabbit stew. Our family was large enough that there was rarely much turkey left over.

After breakfast, which always included Grandma's homemade bread, real butter, and homemade jam, I watched the Macy's Parade while Grandma started the turkey. I would help as much as a little kid could. Grandma had me set the table and she trusted me to handle her china, which as an adult, who is rather clumsy, I really cannot believe her level of trust. I felt so important. I also got to set the card table for my brothers and myself, where the little kids sat.

I remember the family starting to arrive and my cool older cousins would usually play a board game with me because my brothers were too little to play with me. Grandma set out her famous pimento cheese ball rolled in chopped pecans. It was such a traditional food that one year Grandma did not make the cheese ball and we spent most of the dinner talking about how much we missed the cheese ball.

After dinner, Grandpa would build a fire in the fireplace and we would watch football, either Dallas or Detroit.

I don't remember anyone talking about how early they were going to get up and shop or the great bargains to be had the next day. But we all sat and cheered or booed the teams and the adults talked to each other. After our dinners had settled, we had pumpkin pie for dessert and there were cookies for the kids.

We would then hurry home to watch the Wizard of Oz.

I am thankful for that memory. I can still smell Grandma's cooking and if I close my eyes, I can see her in her apron and Grandpa in his hunting gear. I see the fields that we traipsed through and the barns where we explored. I can hear Grandpa's cows mooing and I see the apple tree in the side yard where Grandma always warned us not to eat the green apples. I am filled with gratitude and joy. That is more valuable than any super deal on a flat screen TV or in demand toy.

Do you plan to shop on Black Friday? Why or why not?
What is a favorite Thanksgiving memory you have?

November 8, 2012

Are we Friends?

How well do you know Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Ross, and Chandler? 
Are you the biggest Friends fan around? 

Play Friends trivia and enter to win two coffee mugs and a frame like the one in Rachel and Monica's apartment. To enter the contest, take the "Which Friend are You?" quiz and leave your answer in the comments.  Winner will be selected from all entries on November 30th. 

This contest has been offered in cooperation with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment to promote the release of the Friends Complete Series Blu-Ray Box Set.  

Free CLEVELAND OHIO Advance Screening Passes: Rise of the Guardians

Rise of the GuardiansFresh Daily Bread invites you to attend an advance screening of the upcoming movie:


The screening will be held on Saturday, November 17th at Cinemark Valley View at 10AM.

Synopsis: RISE OF THE GUARDIANS is an epic and magical adventure that tells the story of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, and Jack Frost – legendary characters with previously unknown extraordinary abilities. When an evil spirit known as Pitch lays down the gauntlet to take over the world, the immortal Guardians must join forces to protect the hopes, beliefs and imagination of children everywhere. 

Cleveland, Ohio Free Movie Passes for DINO TIME!

Fresh Daily Bread has an offer for our readers take the family to the movies! For your chance to attend an advance screening of the upcoming movie, DINO TIME, please CLICK HERE.

The screening will be held on November 12th at Regal Richmond at 7PM. Enjoy the movie!


Three curious kids accidentally trip an egg-shaped time machine into operation and find themselves back 65 million years in the middle of a nest of dinosaur eggs. The first thing they see is a giant T-Rex staring down at them in happy wonder. They're not food, they're family! Now the kids have just until the real eggs hatch to find their way back to the present, facing other prehistoric monsters and dangers along the way.

Written by American Film Market.
With an all star vocal cast including:
(from IMDb)
Jane LynchJane Lynch...
Rob SchneiderRob Schneider...
Melanie GriffithMelanie Griffith...
Pamela AdlonPamela Adlon...
Tara StrongTara Strong...
Stephen BaldwinStephen Baldwin...
William BaldwinWilliam Baldwin...
Yuri LowenthalYuri Lowenthal...
Jessica Di CiccoJessica Di Cicco

November 7, 2012

Movie Review & Giveaway: The Heart of Christmas

The Heart of Christmas

(warning: must watch with a box of tissues handy)

A few weeks ago, Fresh Daily Bread was offered the chance to do an advance screening of a very special movie, The Heart of Christmas.

The Heart of Christmas is based on a true story of the Locke family in Illinois. After Julie Locke’s infant son Dax was diagnosed with cancer, she spent a year helping him fight it at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. When Dax’s doctors told her he wouldn't live to see Christmas, she decided to decorate for the holiday two months early. When his story appeared on CNN, thousands of people around the world put up holiday lights for Dax. Julie is now working to raise $1.6 million to run the hospital for a day in Dax's honor.

From a purely critical point, the movie verges on melodrama. I didn't want to criticize this story, but also felt it was fair to my readers to understand the one problem I had with The Heart of Christmas. It's a bit contrived at times as the actors' dramatic pauses and unrealistic dialogue pulls our emotions from us like an electromagnet tuned to the highest setting. However, in the spirit of the movie, I can understand getting carried away when trying to share such an important story. The movie is meant to warm the heart and it does that well. At times it just feels like it does it with a blow torch instead of a glowing ember.

Criticism aside, The Heart of Christmas is a beautiful true story of a town that reached out to a family and sick child. Such compassion and caring is the type of story we need told more often. It's never easy to watch stories about children with cancer, but the Locke family's story invites us into the world of St. Jude Children's Hospital, their small town in Illinois, and their close knit family. They show us that behind every ribbon, rubber saying bracelet, and colorful theme are people who are fighting the insidious disease and working tirelessly to make a difference.

Dax Locke FoundationThe Dax Locke Foundation, founded by mother Julie Locke, has raised over $632,000 for St. Jude. Their goal is $1.6 million dollars. She has been featured on Lifetime network's Remarkable Women series. The movie features Emmy award winner Matthew West, singing the song One Last Christmas to raise money for the cause as well.

Fresh Daily Bread is honored to offer eight copies of the movie to our readers. To qualify for the giveaway, we ask you to please share this post. You can share either via Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a blog post. After you share the story, please leave a comment or link in the Linky widget below. Let's help the Dax Lock Foundation reach their goal. We will verify the link, then mail the video to the first eight folks who spread the news. Please be prepared to submit a mailing address to

The movie will air on cable's GMC network on December 4th. Check your local directory for more information.


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