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Years ago, when I first heard about the Elf on the Shelf, I was totally baffled by folks wanting to participate in this nonsense. I mean, it is Christmas time! There’s cleaning, decorating, shopping, and baking responsibilities added to our already overwhelming lives! Who has time or desire for something else to do!!??
Well! A few years ago, Mimi (Ryan & Ryanna’s other grandmother) decided that this is a wonderful thing; Fisbee arrived at their home. When I would go down there, the kids would be so excited to show me what Fisbee had been doing. Ryanna would take my hand and lead me to Fisbee! The excitement and the joy! The kids decided that I needed an Elf and sure enough an Elf arrived at my home.
All of a sudden there was an Elf who needed a name; the name Sparkle was chosen. Sparkle jumps from location to location and periodically brings a gift (like their hats for the Polar Express!), but usually she just hangs out. On December 6, she ran into St. Nicholas! Some days, she leaves us a note. Ryanna finds it interesting that Fisbee writes like Mommy and Sparkle writes like Nonni!! Wonder why?
Sparkle also doesn’t make messes and misbehave. I mean, the Elf flies back to the North Pole every night to report to Santa, so why would she be naughty! Plus, she helps! When I purchase wrapping paper, there is no need to hide it because Sparkle takes it up to Santa! Sparkle is also a baker (she is mine after all!).
Ryanna expected Sparkle to have a new outfit this year and sure enough she did. Notice her pretty plaid skirt, her fuzzy vest and of course, her footwear!
The greatest joy of all is seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child! The Elf is a perfect example!
I am trying to get into full swing with my baking, using some of my typical recipes but I thought I would share this one:
Cranberry Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Beat until creamy:
- ¾ cup softened butter
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons corn syrup
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 ¾ cups flour
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup cranberries (fresh if possible)
- ½ cup chocolate chunks (same aisle as chocolate chips)
- ¾ cup chocolate chips
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
Using a scoop, please cookies on greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 375 for 9-11 minutes.
Generally, I chill my cookie dough; this is one that doesn’t need it (think it is because of the corn syrup?).
Looking forward to sharing the oplatek with many of you during our Virtual Oplatek.
Please encourage the younger Members who are graduating next year to visit our website regarding information on our Scholarship Programs. Our program is funded by donations from Members, and they want to see their kindness go towards helping a Member on their road to a higher education.
Obviously, our ways of celebrating and enjoying have been drastically modified this year. Our ride on the Polar Express was no exception. I remember when I had mentioned to Ryanna that we wouldn’t be able to ride the Polar Express this year (Two years ago, we rode one in Ohio and last year, one in New York.), she asked if we could do this at home. This got my wheels spinning, and the only thing I think that could have made this better would have been if I had played the audio version of the Polar Express Story in the car (which we have and have listened to previously), but I hadn’t thought to do that!
Last Friday, Conductor Nonni put on her conductor hat and climbed aboard her beautifully decorated train (Gaga wrapped battery-operated Christmas lights around the luggage racks, the hood and the wreath that he had secured to the grill along with a Rudolph nose. He also affixed reindeer antlers and Polar Express flags to the racks, placed a Polar Express sticker on the front window and attached a Polar Express license plate to the front of the car). The first stop was to pick up Ryan, Ryanna and Mama. The kids donned the hats that elf, Sparkle (another story) brought, then came out of their house to the sound of a locomotive (YouTube!). Once they showed their tickets, they jumped in. While riding around the neighborhood enjoying the decorations provided by the community, they sipped hot chocolate and ate cookies. When we chugged through Mon City, Santa was in his little house so we stopped to visit with him. Of course, we had to social distance.
Once aboard again, we continued on our journey. When we arrived back at the station, (the outside of the station was decorated with lots of lights including their climbing dome) there was a visitor with Gaga. It seemed that Santa made an early stop to Ginger Hill! The family room had been decorated including a tree and lots of other decorations.
Santa gave each of the kids a bell ornament (if you know the story, this is very important!). Probably the best surprise for the kids was the “sleigh” that Santa used that night. We took a walk to my garage and were surprised to find that Santa had driven to our house in a red corvette! Santa allowed the kids to sit in the car, start it, and bring up the headlights!
Ryan & Ryanna understand that the real Santa never leaves the North Pole as he is too busy. His helper, Bernie (a friend of John’s), was able to get out of his extremely warm suit and spend some time with us. Each of the kids gave Santa some candy as a thank you! Santa will receive cookies in a couple weeks!
The amusement, the joy and the fun made this night another wonderful experience that I am blessed to share with my grandchildren. I would love to hear how you are celebrating all the while keeping you and yours safe.
Each Nest Financial Secretary received their end-of-year packet of paperwork around Halloween. Most of the forms are not due until February 28. BUT, if your Nest has the National Office collect your Nest dues, we need the roster and forms returned to us (deadline was last week). Please submit this or there will be no changes made to your Nest dues bills.
Each Nest President received a letter via email regarding the election of Nest Officers. The point of the letter is about the Nest elections. “Since these are unusual circumstances, especially concerning gatherings, the Board of Directors approved the recommendation of the Legal Committee that a Nest can extend the term of its current Officers for an additional year. This would eliminate the need to hold a meeting to conduct an election this year. Please note that a Nest can still conduct a meeting, virtually or in-person, if it chooses to do so.”
Keep safe! Enjoy the preparations for Christmas, try not to get bogged down by the work and simply enjoy the season.
This recipe is one that my grandmother always made; I thought she created it. I have shared this with many, giving my grandmother, Jule credit for it. Finally one day, I asked her how she came up with it, to which she replied, “I didn’t, I found it in a cookbook!” I was so amused, all this time bragging about her culinary expertise! But seriously, it is really good for those of us who enjoy sweet potatoes!
Cook 2 pounds of sweet potatoes (I used canned, as did Jule).
After cooking, drain, mix and mash. Then add the following:
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 egg
Pout this mixture into a 1 ½ quart casserole dish.
- 1 cup graham crackers (broken into small pieces)
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup brown sugar
Sprinkle on sweet potato mixture.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes!
It is fabulous!
Had too much fun with Halloween! After a few modifications, our house is decorated for Thanksgiving! As much as I love to decorate for Christmas, I enjoy Thanksgiving. My blessings are plentiful!
November celebrates several birthdays in my family! My baby brother and I are the 14th (Brad was born on my 5th birthday, best gift ever!), John is the 25th (my wild man is turning 60!) and my youngest son, Gregory, was born on November 30th.
As you know, I love to bake and now is the time to really get into full gear! I make pumpkin roll for Thanksgiving then the cookies start. This is not my recipe, but I shall share it:
For each 29 ounce can of pure pumpkin, you will have enough to make five rolls.
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup pumpkin
- ¾ cup flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Grease a 15 X 10 jelly-roll pan, then add a sheet of waxed paper and grease that also. Pour batter evenly into pan.
Bake at 375 for 13-15 minutes.
Immediately flip cake onto sugar sprinkled tea towel. Peel off the paper, sprinkle more sugar, roll the cake in the towel, and allow to cool.
Beat until well-blended:
- 1 8 oz. package Philadelphia Cream Cheese (softened)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter (softened)
- 1 tablespoon (not an error) vanilla extract (I only use pure vanilla)
Unroll cake and towel, spread cream cheese mixture on cake. Roll, wrap in plastic wrap. (I also wrap in foil because I like to freeze mine). Or refrigerate for at least one hour.
These make wonderful gifts for those you are thankful for and give a delicious preview of what’s to come!
The end of year mailing went out last week to each Nest Financial Secretary. It contains all the reports that the National Office requires. There is a memo with the deadline dates for each form.
If your Nest has a trust fund, there is a new form for updated signatures.
There are also two sheets of forms for the Nest referral program.
If you have any questions at all regarding the forms required, please contact me.
Hope you all voted! Keep safe and healthy! Wash those hands!
The golfers who participated in the virtual golf had a zoom meeting last Friday to gather and see who the winners were. There was a nice group and it was wonderful to see faces!
Courtney did a fabulous job with this event, she handled it all – from registration, to scoring and everything in between and afterward! Thank you Courtney!
First, Courtney showed all the photos submitted. (Click here to view all photos.)
We had decided that Nest 8 (the Paterni family) had the best photo with the way the sun was shining!
Nest 45 won for best dressed as they held a sign with their Nest name and a few were wearing St. Louis shirts.
The top five scores in each division were in a drawing. Courtney then drew the names! (Click here for full results.)
Pat Heineman told us that Nest 45 is prepared and looking forward to seeing all of us there in April for the National Bowling Tournament.
Jim McCall said that Nest 610 is ready for us for the National Golf Tournament next year!
Hopefully, we will be able to gather together (and not just virtually) next year!
Courtney had asked me to give a toast:
As we gather (even though virtually), just like any other Falcon event, we have Members from all over – Michigan, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, Florida and PA from Erie, to Donora, to Easton and parts in between.
We gather to participate, enjoy the great game of golf and share.
While we would rather be in person, we are still able to see each other, enjoy camaraderie, laugh and create more memories.
- Health to the World
- Honor to those who seek it
- Happiness in our homes
While the pain of parting is nothing compared to the joy of meeting again!
To goodbyes that they never be spoken, to friendships, may they never be broken!
Obviously, I really miss our events as I got emotional while saying my little toast! Hoping all are keeping safe and staying healthy!
Druh— The term by which Falcons have traditionally addressed one another. Literally it means “friend” or “comrade.” A contemporary definition would be “brother.” The feminine equivalent is “Druhna.”
Czolem— The official Falcons’ salutation, literally translated as “To the forehead” or “Hail!” “Czolem” is one of the oldest forms of Polish salutes and is used as a greeting, a farewell and as an expression of best wishes.
Gniazdo— Literally, a “Nest” and traditionally the name given to the local or neighborhood unit or the National Falcons’ organization. The equivalent name for the “lodge” in the Polish National Alliance is “towarzystwo” or “grupa.”
Sokolnia— The name given for the building owned by the Falcons’ Nest. Historically, the sokolnia housed a gymnastics hall where Falcons conducted their physical education classes and competitions; however, it is not essential that a Falcons’ hall include such facilities. While many have owned their own “sokolnia,” others have simply rented facilities where they conduct meetings and physical education programs.
Wash those hands!
I am losing my mind finishing up my four-year report; I thought it was finished last week but I was mistaken.
Our house is decorated for Halloween with help from Ryanna and John. I enjoy decorating for Halloween; I think a lot of it is due to the fact that I haven’t decorated for months. I mean I work in the yard, flowers and so on, but as far as a Holiday, it has been months.
My theme is usually the cute one with jack-o-lanterns, mums and such. But this year, we added Lucille and some poor guy trying to get out of my basement!
Not sure about trick or treating, but businesses are stepping up to the plate. There is a local restaurant who gave out treat bags for Easter, so I am sure they will do the same for Halloween. Lowe’s is having a drive through curbside (one must register ahead of time), and the Pittsburgh Zoo is having a drive through event (must purchase tickets online early).
Regardless of how we celebrate, Halloween will be another fun day! I think I am going to introduce the kids to bobbing for apples!
THINK! Seriously, think about this, does the Polish Falcons of America have:
- Your current address
- Your current phone number
- How about an email address?
- Here’s a good one – your current name!
Who is your beneficiary? I can’t tell you how many times a Member still has their parents as their beneficiary. And, I am talking about Members who are at least my age!
Do you have enough life insurance? Please don’t tell me you have more than enough because you have it through work.
If you need to update any of this or better yet, review your information, please contact us. Call 800-535-2071 or email one of us (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Keep safe! Wash those hands, taking as much time as it does to sing Sto Lat twice!!!
As I sit here finishing up my four-year report, I think of our upcoming Virtual Convention. The reality of this is, is that we don’t have a choice. The PA Insurance Department insisted that we have a Convention and take care of the business that must be handled this year.
There are a couple advantages to a Virtual Convention. Well, maybe one – no travel!
The camaraderie will have to wait until next year. The social gatherings, the Falconette Luncheon, the Legion of Honor Conclave and meeting, hospitality rooms, interactions, auctions, sight-seeing and fun! There is no doubt that Members of Nest 88, New Britain, Conn. will be fabulous hosts.
One of the things that I am disappointed in is that I do not get to present my PowerPoint and explain what I have been doing the last four years as your National First Vice President. I like to put up photos, explain who, what and where and I also like to acknowledge Members. Included in this blog are a few photos of events from the past couple of years; obviously, I am not able to explain everything.
I am hoping that all of our Delegates take the time to read our reports ahead of time. Each Delegate will receive a binder prior to the Convention which will contain reports and other information needed for the Convention.
Hopefully, all of the Nests have elected their Delegates. The deadline for National Headquarters to receive the mandate forms is October 20. Please visit polishfalcons.org/national-convention. The form is fillable, fill it out, save it, then attach it as an email and send to email@example.com. Again, deadline is October 20. Once we receive your forms, we need to verify membership and dues.
Looking forward to our Convention on Saturday, November 21.
In order for an organization to be considered a fraternal, the organization must have a lodge system. This is why the Polish Falcons of America has Nests and why each Member must belong to a Nest. The Polish Falcons of America is a 501 (C) 8 non-profit.
Fraternals were formed with a common cause in mind; the PFA is obviously ethnic-based. We do now permit those who are not Polish but have a genuine interest in the Polish culture and traditions.
Keep safe! Wash those hands!
My Ryan had a birthday this week; our boy is 9! His celebration usually involves a trip to the movies, shopping, lunch out, browsing at Barnes & Noble and a day trip to Geneva.
We did have a very successful shopping trip to Ross. Ryan is his Nonni’s boy; he loves shoes! Later that day, we went to lunch. There weren’t many of us in the restaurant, which was fine with me!
The celebration took place at our house. Ryan’s theme was a combination – his love for cars (Maserati, Bugatti, Lamborghini) so it was Hot Wheels, but he also wanted a VIP reception.
Ryanna helped me convert my family room to a VIP Lounge with candles, balloons, Christmas lights, a mirror ball and special lighting. Ryanna had her invitation-only guest list as she greeted visitors at the door. Upon verifying their identification, she opened the barrier (decorated with the black and white checkered flag print) to allow access.
We had soft pretzels, cupcakes and apple cider. While inside we played Simon Says, pin the tail on the donkey and drop a clothespin into the milk bottle (no one else in my family knew what I was talking about (including John!)).
Daddy (Jim) and Gaga (John) joined us for dinner which was pizza followed by more fun. We played wiffle ball, Simon says (again!), water balloon toss (as I was telling all that John and I are much more experienced in these silly games, I broke a balloon while trying to catch it. I was drenched from my neck to knees! All were quite amused!). Of course, the egg toss and this time, Ryanna threw a low toss so when Gaga went to catch it, the egg broke filling his sock with egg!
Ryanna helped me decorate Ryan’s cake to look like a drag strip! The favors were hot wheels pencils, glow sticks, and erasers. Ryanna loves to help – passing out the favors, serving everyone their pizza and also their cake.
It was another fun filled day/evening simply enjoying ourselves. It is cool also that my grandkids are having so much fun doing what I used to do. When I was a kid, my brothers and I played wiffle ball in the middle of the street with our neighbors, the Pawlowski’s (they are why I am a Falcon) every spring/summer evening when the weather cooperated. Every birthday party, we played pin the tail on the donkey and clothespin drop; this was prior to crafts and renting out a place for a birthday party.
Again, making the best out of the current situation and having so much fun! Happy 9th Birthday to my very special baby boy!
Now my wheels are spinning regarding the Polar Express in my family room!!!
An Important Note Regarding Insurance
Often times, when approached about purchasing insurance, the response is that I have insurance at work! I don’t need any! Do you realize that more often than not (almost always), once you leave that job (whether you make a career move, retire, the company downsizes, whatever!), you will no longer have that life insurance.
Compare the rates of a 30-year-old versus a 60-year-old. By that time, there may be health issues as well.
I am asking all of you to ask this question of your employer. When I leave here, does my life insurance come with me? Once you have that answer, you may want to give John Denning a call!
I have reached out to all the Nest Presidents (wellness check) and have been in touch with most. Fortunately, most are doing well and being very resourceful regarding the future of their Nests (especially those with buildings). There are ten Nests left; please contact me for a brief chat!
It is a bit chilly this morning, but so pleasant!
Hope you and your families are doing well! Please keep in touch!
It’s getting dark way too early for me!
It is that time of year when our days are getting shorter. But as much as I love the summer, I truly enjoy all four seasons. My flowers are very happy with the slightly cooler temperatures (although, it is going to be in the 90’s today and tomorrow!). Pretty soon, I will be decorating for Fall and Halloween but just not yet!
It doesn’t take much to motivate me to bake, but here is another recipe I recently found. If you are a fan of snickerdoodle cookies, you will love this!
- 1 cup softened butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¾ cup sour cream
Mix together, then stir into the wet ingredients:
- 2 ½ cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom (this is an extra spice I add when using cinnamon)
- one package cinnamon chips
Grease loaf pans, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar (you may also make muffins which I tend to do!)
Bake: 350 for 35-38 minutes
What are Fraternals?
The Polish Falcons of America is a Fraternal (501(c)(8)).
Fraternals are nonprofit organizations that offer fraternal benefits and highly regulated financial products to Members. We are benevolent organizations that, because part of our operations exist in the business world, must meet contemporary business operation standards as well. Our services, products and personnel must be high quality according to accepted business standards, so that our organizations may serve as good stewards of our Members’ funds.
Lodge System – Polish Falcons calls ours, Nests.
Fraternals must have a type of lodge system that holds regular meetings and through which most of the local work of a fraternal benefit society is accomplished. The lodge system serves as the foundation for a representative form of government, also required under law. In addition to sound insurance management, we must be able to demonstrate ongoing fraternal and benevolent activities. Our Nests and Districts do a wonderful job helping within our communities.
National Convention 2020
If your District hasn’t had their Plenary Meeting regarding your National Director, please do so soon. This meeting must be held by September 21, 2020. The National Convention will be held on November 21; obviously virtually.
Each Nest is entitled to one Delegate for every fifty Members or a fraction thereof and two alternate Delegates duly elected by a majority vote on a secret ballot at a special meeting of the Nest at least 60 days prior to the Convention. This must be held by September 21 also. These Delegates are in addition to the Nest Executive Officers.
A Delegate to the Convention:
- shall be a benefit Member in good standing
- a citizen of the United States
- at least 18 years of age
- shall have been a Member of the Falcons for at least one year
- shall have been a Member of the Nest he is representing for at least one year
- shall not be an officer, delegate, representative, agent or employee of any other fraternal doing a life insurance business
- may be a benefit Member of the Legion of Honor
Keep safe and healthy!