Olives are a marvelous food. I had no idea there were so many kinds until the past few years when groceries like Whole Foods and Giant Eagle started carrying a wide selection in their "olive bars".

The Little Mermaid of Merfolk Tales

Mermaids, baneful or beneficent?

John William Waterhouse: A Mermaid 1900

Ancient mariners feared them, and they were legendary creatures of the sea which some called "sirens", but Hans Christian Anderson put down pen to paper to record a story that became a beloved fairytale.

What is the story of these creatures, and especially of that one particular little mermaid? The little mermaid who inspired a sculpture that became the national icon of Denmark, and a favorite Disney movie?

 Follow the current... It will take you from the shore of Denmark to many other parts of the world... even to Hawaii.

If you would enjoy reading a few interesting facts about these mythological half fish- half human characters who people ancient and modern stories alike, here are a few things that you may not have heard before. They inspired some imaginative and beautiful art, from the renowned Copenhagen icon to romantic paintings of John Waterhouse to the inspired Cartoon artists of Disney, Mermaids will delight you.

Denmark's Famous Statue

The statue on display has always been a copy. The heirs of the sculpture have the original in hiding.

The Famous Statue of Copenhagen

Den lille havfrue or 'The little mermaid'

This famous sculpture was a gift from brewer Carl Jacobsen (The Carlsberg Breweries) to the city of Copenhagen. It is made of bronze and was unveiled on August 23, 1913. Situated on a rock at the shore, the statue may be observed quite closely.

I saw it when visiting Copenhagen, and though warned that it would be quite small, the actual size of the statue still is surprising it is so small- the size of maybe a small child.

 The statue displayed in Copenhagen harbor has always been a copy; the sculptor's heirs keep the original at an undisclosed location.

Are they real?

Tell me more about these sea creatures

Edmund Dulac's Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid was a story that came from the imagination of Hans Christian Anderson, although there were other fairytales and legends of these mythic creatures.

 A mermaid is a mythical creature that is half woman and half fish. The name comes from 'mer' meaning sea. All sea-faring cultures have mermaid tales.-Myths and Legends The Greeks had stories of "sirens" who were able to enchant their hearers through song. Most of these creatures are malevolent in effect, causing the death or destruction of mariners and their ships.

 Mermaid stories appeared in Assyria, around 1000 BC, and they are found in numerous cultures including Arabic, British, Irish, Chinese, and many others.

Often considered unlucky omens, they also are regularly depicted as having beautiful voices which mesmerize their victims.

"Merfolk were used to symbolize eloquence in speech" in art and heraldry. Columbus reported that he saw three mermaids on his first voyage to the Americas.

 I am not surprised that many sea faring cultures would have stories of mermaid creatures. There is something about swimming in the sea, with its inherent danger of drowning and its feeling of freedom compared with the heavy gravity of moving on land, that draws both fear and fascination.

To travel on the depths of it brings it even closer to the imagination. How often might men have desired to be able to live both above and under the sea? Many fairy myths hold the idea of another world which holds unwary men captive.

These are the makings of many mermaid tales and legends.

 With Hans Christian Anderson's tale, the tables are turned and it is the poor mermaid who suffers tragically, as she shows self sacrificing love for her human friends. Not all fairytales end with "happily ever after".

Mako Mermaids

Other Famous Mermaids

Edmund Dulac Illustration
Legendary creatures get around


  • Menanna of the Ottawa Indians.
  • The Selkies of Shetland.
  • The Mermaids of Waiahuakua, Hawaiian mermaids.
Selkies are Celtic mythical creatures of a shapeshifter sort. Women who shed their seal skins to become human, but put them back on to disappear into the seas as seals. Their stories have some similarities to those of mermaids. Both are females who live in the sea and sometimes fraternize with humans.
Cast Iron Sitting Mermaid Figure Nautical Decor StatueCast Iron Sitting Mermaid Figure Nautical Decor Statue

What do mermaids represent? - fears or fantasies?

Are mermaids fearful and creatures that belong in horror flicks? Or are they beautiful fantasy creatures that represent the beauty of something different?

Mesmerizing Color, Decorative and entrancing mermaid accents

Jim Shore "Island Welcome" Mermaid with fruit platter My favorite combination: useful and beautiful, this fruit platter is colorful and the mermaid statue is whimsical. It would be a delightful addition for a coastal themed or beach home.

Mermaid Marine Creatures

Mermaid art available at Zazzle- posters, cards, and more for those who love this nautical motif.

Combining the fascination of myth and the beauty of the undersea world, most of us picture mermaids as benign, or at least harmless creatures.

  How do you feel about Mermaid Folk?

Which Are Your Favorite Mermaid Movies?


Which is your favorite mermaid of all time?

pollcode.com free polls

Ariel, the Little Mermaid from Disney

Ariel Fanart

How most children know the story

Disney has made a completely new and expanded rendition of this fairytale and renamed the Little Mermaid, Ariel.

She is very popular with little girls, who have dolls, bedding, and a plethora of items designed with their favorite movie.

 Plot Summary: Ariel, a sixteen-year-old mermaid princess, is unhappy with life under the sea and curious about the human world.

She is discouraged in this by her father and various sea creature courtiers.She sees the birthday celebration of Prince Eric aboard his ship, falls in love with him, saves him from drowning in the subsequent sea storm.

 Ariel returns to her sea home, sick with unhappiness; after a row with her father she goes to the Sea witch Ursula who makes a deal to give her three days, in which Ariel must receive the 'kiss of true love' from Prince Eric. If she fails, she then will belong to the witch. In exchange for her legs she must give up her voice.

In the meantime, Ursula transforms herself into a bewitching young woman to thwart all possibility of Ariel succeeding in her plans. Through misadventures Ariel and her friends manage to break the spell on her voice just in time to win Eric.

The story is not yet over, as the villainess must rise up in threatening power once again, do battle with our heroes until she is finally vanquished.

Afterward Ariel becomes human with legs and all and marries Eric.

 This movie was actually planned very early in Disney's career, soon after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in the late 1930s, but was put on hold. It debuted in 1989, at last.

Do You Love Northern Winters?

Not Everyone Hates Wintertime

Winter, how do I love thee? Hmmm, Let me think about that a minute....

For all those who, like me, find lots to love about Northern winters in the U.S.A, this is a look at the holidays, the activities, and just the plain minimalist and sparkling beauty of an American Northern winter. Poems are written about the pure white snows, and harrowing tales as well. Photos and paintings depict the breathtaking landscape of snow-covered fields, waters, and architecture, and people travel long distances to participate in the winter sports that this season affords.

There is a lot to appreciate about winter.

Here are photos of my winter season, some of the fun activities people enjoy, snippets of poetry, and old fashioned art of bygone days. A potpourri of things to appreciate in a cold climate.

Photos I've taken of winter.

Pictures of a beautiful winter

Winter wonderland of white is what they call a winter like the one Ohio had when I took these photos.

Brrr, Snow!

Trees Outline Winter


by William Carlos Williams

All the complicated details

of the attiring and

the disattiring are completed!

A liquid moon

moves gently among

the long branches.

Thus having prepared their buds

against a sure winter

the wise trees

stand sleeping in the cold.

The Bone Structure Of The Landscape

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show."

~ Andrew Wyeth

Frozen Highlights

Winter Black and White Snowy Trees Postage by ilonagarden
There are lots of custom US Postage stamps at Zazzle

Related Links:

Take Photos!

Take Great Photos Any Time Of Year

Canon EOS Rebel T3 SLR Digital Camera w/ 18-55mm & 75-300mm Ultimate Rebel Ex...

Canon Rebel is one of the best mid-range cameras. Get it with all the gear you need for beautiful photos. This is the camera that is on my wish list. Canon EOS Rebel SL1 Digital SLR Camera & EF-S 18-55mm IS STM Lens with EF 75-300mm III Zoom Lens + 64GB Card + Battery + Case + Tele/Wide Lenses + Tripod Kit

Quoting The Coldest Season


Every branch big with it,

Bent every twig with it;

Every fork like a white web-foot;

Every street and pavement mute:

Some flakes have lost their way, and grope back upward, when

Meeting those meandering down they turn and descend again.

The palings are glued together like a wall,

And there is no waft of wind with the fleecy fall.

A sparrow enters the tree,

Whereon immediately

A snow-lump thrice his own slight size

Descends on him and showers his head and eyes,

And overturns him,

And near inurns him,

And lights on a nether twig, when its brush

Starts off a volley of other lodging lumps with a rush.

The steps are a blanched slope,

Up which, with feeble hope,

A black cat comes, wide-eyed and thin;

And we take him in.

~ Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), English novelist and poet


It is a winter's tale

That the snow blind twilight ferries over the lakes

And floating fields from the farm in the cup of the vales,

Gliding windless through the hand folded flakes,

The pale breath of cattle at the stealthy sail,

And the stars falling cold,

And the smell of hay in the snow, and the far owl

Warning among the folds, and the frozen hold

Flocked with the sheep white smoke of the farm house cowl

In the river wended vales where the tale was told.

~ Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)

Snowy Scenes

Oldtime Swedish Farm

Available at Zazzle

Artists Were Fascinated With Scenes Of Snow

Slippers Of Snow

Winter came down to our home one night

Quietly pirouetting in on silvery-toed slippers of snow,

And we, we were children once again.

~Bill Morgan, Jr.

Old Fashioned Tasks Of Bygone Days

Two Children

Winter Entertainment

Winter can be fun. Loads of activities make use of the snow: skiing, sledding, and snowboarding.

The quiet, the beauty, can be enjoyed.

Children love to make snowmen.

Sometimes just the cozy activities within a house- putting together a puzzle on a chilly night- are what we love about this time of year. What do you do to enjoy winter?

Winter Sport: Cross Country Skiing

Go Cross Country Skiing

What I like about cross country skiing is the way you can enjoy the landscape, much like hiking, only faster and with a little more challenge to your physical abilities. There is a quietness in winter that cross country skiing takes full advantage of, and perhaps you, like one time for me, will glimpse a flock of bluebirds in early March coming home to their Northern nesting territories.

It is quite a different sort of thrill compared to downhill skiing.

New Whitewoods 75mm 3 Pin Adult Nordic Cross Country Ski Package Skis Boots Bindings Poles (39, 151-180 lbs.) New Whitewoods 75mm 3 Pin Adult Nordic Cross Country Ski Package Skis Boots Bindings Poles (39, 151-180 lbs.) New Whitewoods 75mm 3 Pin Adult Nordic Cross Country Ski Package Skis Boots Bindings Poles (39, 151-180 lbs.)

Oh Cool! Snowboarding!


'I Love Winter' Zazzle Category

Yes, winter inspires me

I have some a Zazzle category for winter subjects and scenes. Go there now to find all your sticker, poster, and custom needs. Dedicate a room to the minimalist color and design that this season brings- at least for a quarter of the year!

Winter Sports

Perfect Puzzle for Long Winter Nights

Every winter my family puts together puzzles. Especially on Christmas Eve, as we wait to finish up the final preparations and dissipate the excitement before bed. White Mountain Puzzles Walking to Town White Mountain Puzzles Walking to Town A fun puzzle with a winter picture is just the thing for a cold winter night. Warm up some hot chocolate, a few snacks and it will be a great memory of good times.

Love or Hate Winter Cold?

 How do you feel about the winter season?

Melissa and Doug's Family Conversation Starters

What you have here are some great ideas for coming together as a family, having real conversations, especially if that seems awkward (when you have teenagers, talking together as a group can often feel awkward).

 Who would have guessed that this little box of simple questions could become such a fire conversation starter. The only reason I mention fire, is not due to incendiary topics, but because it was when our family started to intentionally increase our communication levels we gathered around our firepit.

The deceptively unassuming appearance of a little round box with the picture of a homey lattice topped pie belies the power of asking the the right questions.

When it comes to helping people share their thoughts, particularly when we aren't used to it, many of us are at a loss. With these little round boxes of questions, that o longer needs to be the case.

Filled to the brim with small round cards that are printed with questions, these starters help immensely when you are sitting down and trying to talk.

You know, it's a little like trying to relax: you overthink it.

But with some coaxing from ready made topics, you are bound to strike upon a few that really get the communication going.

Don't Let These Cards Just Sit

Having received my original Melissa And Doug Conversation Starters as a gift, I had no idea what a golden opportunity was given to me. So we just let them sit, ignored.

Don't Do What We Did

That is what we did after I first used them in a homeschool activity; for awhile they just sat on the shelf.

At the time I didn't realize the components that help communication take place:
  • The setting
  • Playfulness, allowing something to be a game
  • Inclusion of refreshments
  • Cozying up together around a table or fireplace, etc.
These things all help release the flow of conversation.
Above all, I think it was the intentionality of it all. It wasn't a once in a blue moon, "let's try this" activity. We gathered together to talk, to get to know each other better, to increase understanding, on a regular basis through out the week.
And we used Melissa and Doug's Family Dinner Box Of Questions.

Why These Questions?

You could probably make up your own set of questions, but here are why I liked these:
  • They were non-threatening questions
  • The topics were often light-hearted
  • Using someone else's ideas brought an element of a different perspective
  • It made asking questions and talking easy
So, what kind of questions did our family like to talk about? A small sampling...
"What special talent do you wish you possessed?"
"What qualities do you look for in a friend?"
"Have you ever gotten into trouble for something you did not do?"
"Would you want your own family to have a reality TV show?" "Why or why not?"

Perfect Times For Asking ( And Answering ) Questions

Around a bonfire, or a firepit, was an ideal conversation time for us. Another great time is the one suggested in the title of the "Box of Questions: around the dinner table. Or you could make it part of family pizza night, before settling down to watch a favorite movie. Or before a session of board games.

What Could This Do?
I don't really know the answer to that, but in our family I have noticed that conversation is a lot like the discipline of writing; the more you do it, the better you are at it.
I think it is the fact that as we spend more time talking together we become more comfortable with it and as we experience pleasant interactions it primes the pump for us to want to engage more, it builds trust. The kind of questions in this little game also help us see each other in a more approachable way.
It is a small box, a small investment, and all it will really require of you is a little of your time. Maybe like our family, you will find it grows a bumper crop of good times.

This is one edition I would most like to own. Just right for after the holiday feast.

 Another Conversation Starter Idea


Family Game Night

There is some great research behind the idea of building relationships through have a family game night. Conversation starters might be just one of a number of games you would like to include in a group of activities that bring more fun to the table!
5 Reasons For Family Game Night
Start having fun as a family, begin holding a game night and see how much better it is for the family to play together instead of complaints and going off in separate directions.

Christmas Eve With the Family 

Melissa & Doug Christmas Box Of Questions  We like jigsaw to put together puzzles, but wouldn't it be fun to use some of these questions to mellow out during the busy Christmas season?

Melissa & Doug Family Dinner Box of Questions - Faith Edition Find out what everyone thinks about some of the most important questions.

 What About Your Family? 

 Do You Have A Family Game Night Set Up? 

  •  We get together regularly to play games 
  •  We occasionally pull out the games and have a go 
  •  I am sad to say, that we don't play games together 
  •  We do, but our family plays more physical games like touch football 
  •  Not since the kids were little, but I think we might try it again

A Family Game Night Is Fun And Brings Your Family Closer Together How our family makes time for a family game night and how we choose various games and activities to do.

The Season Of The Ugly Christmas Sweater

Now That Everyone Is On The Bandwagon

-Which Ugly Christmas Sweaters Are Tops?

Our moms thought they were cute, we thought they were ugly, but now everyone is in competition to see who has the most outrageously ugly Christmas sweater of all! All in good fun, of course.
Vintage 80s Sparkle Christmas Cats Tacky Acrylic Ugly Sweater

Now that ugly Christmas sweaters are so ugly they're cute, there's less chance of regifting...so you just might have to go ahead and buy one!

Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Ugly Sweater Day at TechSmith Rackers

Do You Own Or Wear An Ugly Christmas Sweater???

Top Ugly Sweater Event Points for silly marketing blurbs, too- no holds barred in this competition- it's really ugly.
1st Prize Ugly Sweaters Holiday Contest Button
1st Prize Ugly Sweaters Holiday Contest Button by kat_parrella

A Collection Of The Ugliest Sweaters You Can Buy

Ugly Sweater Party

Invite everyone over for a party- awards, prizes, free drinks for the ugliest sweaters.
Serve ugly food
Get really tacky, use ugly sweaters as placemats underneath trays of food.
What is the right dessert?Fruitcake, mince pie, OK... so people can actually eat: sweater shaped sugar cookies
green 3000000

You win! King of the Ugly Christmas Sweater Club"

"My Vote For Top Ugly Sweater" > King of the Ugly Sweaters Holiday Button
King of the Ugly Sweaters Holiday Button by kat_parrella
Browse more Ugly sweater Buttons

OK, an overgrown elf with the belt hiked up practically to the breastbone, the Peter-Pan-collar look and the worst color of fifties mint green. This gets my vote for Top Ugly Christmas sweater. Actually the whole family could wear matching ugly sweaters with this one. Look Boys and Girls!

Women's Holiday Sweaters

Let's face it, we usually go for cute designs and call them "ugly" This one is really ugly. I'm sorry if you would wear this... um, I mean .... no offense, but there is no right way (or place) to wear this. It's not naughty, it is just.... ugly. You might find the ugliest sweater yet... on...wait for it..."Oh no, not eBay!" Yes. The truly tacky is out there. Maybe made by aliens.

So you have a bargaining chip when he becomes a teen.

"Baby Needs An Ugly Sweater" Take lots of photos. But you didn't need to be reminded, did you?

"Nooooo, Mom, not the ugly sweater pictures, please...not that" "I'll take out the trash without asking, I'll clean my room, I'll stop playing my head banger music for a day...just not the ugly sweater pictures...noooooo"
The sad part is that they will probably love the sweater when they are little.... it is only later that they will forbid facebook tagging of those endearing pictures.

Make your own Ugly Sweater Card

Ugly Christmas Sweater Parties, Trendy Ugly Sweaters... It's Wild!

Why couldn't they leave Thanksgiving alone?
Why Why Why?

Ugly Sweaters on Youtube"

when it hits Youtube, you know it's an ugly situation. There are also photography tips (seriously) on how to have better family group pictures...not that they helped our tribe, but they may save yours from looking like an ugly Christmas sweater convention. [tags] christmas party christmas sweaters christmas sweater ugly sweaters holiday sweaters ugly christmas sweaters holiday sweater ugly holiday sweaters ugly christmas sweater party ugly holiday sweater ugly reindeer sweaters santa sweater cheap ugly christmas sweaters ugly christmas sweater ideas tacky christmas sweater