Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year

For me, the New Year is a time of reflection and new beginnings. There is such a vibrant feeling of new opportunity and hope, which inspires me to really appreciate the accomplishments of the past year, large and small, and to "refresh" my priorities and goals for the coming year. Wishing you and yours a healthy,happy and prosperous New Year!

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

What a difference a year makes. This was our house last year. This year we don't have any snow at all!

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Monday, December 26, 2011

DIY Miu Miu Jeweled Heels

I'm seriously in LOVE with these shoes! A little more bling for New Year's Eve. You don't want your feet to feel left out if you try the glittery nails from our last post. For the easy peasy tutorial go here.

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Festive Holiday Nails

Need a little glitz on your nails for New Year Eve? I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this look! Go here for the very easy tutorial.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wishing You a Happy Holiday Season

I hope this season is merry and bright for you and your family.
Love being a part of this blogging world with you!

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday--Almost

I was going to post a picture but I thought this was too cute not to share!

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Top Ten Reasons I know Christmas is Near...

Here's The Top Ten Reasons I know Christmas is Near!

10.  I have paper cuts from construction paper, blisters from glue guns, and glitter everywhere!
9.  I twitch when kids ask me how many days till Christmas...
8.  Santa and his naughty list is a daily discussion in my classroom.
7.  The teachers on staff no longer have the energy or stamina to talk...we just grunt, eye roll, and sigh as we pass each other in the hall. Nuff said...
6.  My trash can, recycle bin, and every inch of my classroom overflows with tiny multi-colored pieces of construction paper scraps, glue stick lids and broken crayons.
5.  Our desks are constantly covered in glue. It doesn't matter that I had said "Go easy on the glue" at least a hundred times a day.
4.  Christmas cookies are the new lean cuisine.
3.  Outside recess is never long enough--for the kids or the teachers who are not supervising and are getting a small break.
2.  Today I almost said, "If you can hear me--stand on your head"...because no one can hear me and no one is listening.

And the number 1 Reason I know Christmas is Near....

1.I'm already looking at the January calendar and writing lesson plans for the New Year!

Do you have your own Top Ten?

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What Do You Remember?

The following quizzes, and the subsequent paragraph, are attributed to the late Charles Schulz, creator of the comic strip, Peanuts. I'm passing along his thoughts because I think it's important to stop for a minute and think about what is really important in life.

Quiz 1
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.

6. Name the last decade's World Series winners.

Quiz 2
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

6. Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you.

"The applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners. The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones who cared."

- Charles Schulz

Who will remember you? What will they remember you for?

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Grown-up Friendship Bracelet

I need to get some of the women on my Christmas list a gift yet. (Actually almost everyone on my gift list still needs a gift. I am so far behind this year!)So when I saw this tutorial for a really cute bracelet that won't take long to make,I breathed a sigh of relief. Now I just need to head to Michael's for some supplies.
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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

                                                                   Playing around with my new camera.
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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tips for a Healthy Holiday

My son Jon is over in Afghanistan so he and his new wife won't be with us for Christmas this year. It is the first time our family will not be together. I'm feeling sad about this but trying not to dwell on it. I don't want it to overshadow the fun times I'll have with the family members that will be here.

Mix the blues with the stress of finding the right gift and a tendency to overindulge just a little and we've got the right ingredients for a health meltdown. I really don't want to be sick over the holidays. So how can we enjoy the holiday season and stay healthy? Here are some tips to help you out.

*Moderation Try not to overschedule you or your family. Don't be afraid to say no. Set a budget and stick to it. Delegate tasks to other members of your family. (I had my grandchildren help with decorating my tree. We all had a blast.)

*Take supplements to ward off illness. Immune boosting supplements like Vitamin D and C are great ways to avoid getting sick during the holidays.

*Relaxtion Many of us aren't sleeping well which can cause us to become shall we say, "cranky". This can lead to overeating,overimbibe-ing( is that a word?)and sometimes taking out our "crankiness" on others. Time to pamper yourself with a mani or pedi. How about settling in with a night of your favorite holiday movies? A nice cup of herbal tea can be so relaxing.So can a warm soak in the tub. Rescue Remedy can help relax you and even your pet!*
Regular exercise will boost your good mood, relieve tension and help you sleep. Enjoy the holiday decorations as you walk or run through your neighborhood. Can you help out a neighbor by shoveling their sidewalk? It will also help keep the pounds from creeping up over the holidays.

*Hydration Drink plenty of water.If you are going to be drinking some party cocktails be sure to drink some water before and after. Water isn't just for drinking though. Remember to wash your hands often to avoid getting sick over the holidays.

*Generosity It's what the season truly is about. There are so many charitable organizations that can use your help. Your local food shelves, the Salvation Army,the
Fistula Foundation (my personal favorite) are just a few that need our help. These gifts will keep on giving long after the holidays are over.
I'm planning on following my own advice to enjoy a happy and healthy holidays. Can you follow these 6 tips too?post signature
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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Reindeer...? You mean Santa doesn't use horses to pull his sleigh?

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gorgeous Nails for the Holidays

I might be a little obsessed with nails/manicures. Maybe it's because my nails are always short and breaking. One can only are some really cute nails and the tutorial. Perfect for the holidays! I think these would look great with some red polish instead of the pink too.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Gift Giving--Joy or Stress?

My family usually draws names on Thanksgiving to exchange gifts at Christmas. Our family has grown quite large with nieces and nephews getting married and bringing special friends along to our holiday gathering. This year, one of my sisters suggested not doing a gift exchange or doing something else instead. She said it's too hard to figure out what gift to get especially when she only sees the grown kids a few times a year.

I think the "joy" her holiday is being over-shadowed by her stress in finding the right gift. Maybe she's right. It might be time for us to simplify our gift giving but still keep the fun. Here are some ideas I'll be suggesting to our family.

The Dice Game
Participants shake dice to get doubles. This entitles them to pick a gift from a pile of gifts or to steal one from other people playing the game. Usually these are rather inexpensive or recycled items. Everybody goes home with something and no one has to buy a gift for a particular person.

One idea is a 3-item combo. Each person gives and receives a combination of gifts. One is practical, one is a food item and one is a recycled gift. (Everyone's interpretation of "recycled" will probably be quite different so it will be fun to see what's in the gift!

Another idea is the gift of time. Plan an activity with the recipient. Tickets to a ball game, help with chores, going to a special restaurant or concert.

Charitable gifts. Instead of giving each other gifts, each person or family pools their money and gives it to a mutually chosen charity. Or each guest could bring a baby gift for an anonymous needy mother. You'll find more ideas if you check with area churches, schools or charities.

Recipe Exchange. Gather the ingredients for your favorite recipe in a basket. Include the recipe. Add a gift card if some items need to be refrigerated or have a short shelf-life. (You might consider your favorite meal or cocktail.)

I really like this "no-gift" idea. Everyone brings an item from a past Christmas. Photos, a letter to Santa, a favorite ornament, a special toy or maybe just a great story to share. This would be a wonderful way to connect the old and the young.

This site has lots more ideas on gift exchanges. How does your family deal with gift-exchanging?

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Wishes

I hope you enjoy your holiday with lots of friends, family & food. I am  so grateful to all of you for reading my blog. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Cuteness

I've seen so many cute ideas for Thanksgiving. Lots of food crafts, cupcakes, cake pops,etc. But this seemed so quick and easy and definitely cute! Go here to find the printable.

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Talking Turkey and Healthy Fixings for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a special day with family and the traditional big turkey dinner. Are there any redeeming qualities to this calorie packed meal? Experts say yes if you take away the rich gravies and whipped cream. Here are the health benefits of some of our Thanksgiving dishes.

*Turkey--a good source of protein and a very lean meat. (especially the white meat)

*Potatoes--rich in vitamin c, has fiber and the skin contains potassium. Go easy on the butter.

*Cranberries--Lots of vitamin C and antioxidants which are effective in helping to prevent cancer, heart disease and stroke.

*Sweet Potatoes--rich in beta-carotene and vitamins including A,B,C and E. Lots of calcium and potassium.

*Dressing--Can be high in fat and sodium. Beef up the fiber by making it with whole grain bread. Go easy on the butter. Up the vitamin and mineral content by adding veggies such as peppers, onions, carrots and even frest fruit. Herbs like sage and rosemary contain anti-oxidants.

*Pumpkin Pie--usually lower in fat than other kinds of pie. Pumpkin contains vitamin A.

*Vegetables--ok to load your plate with these. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene. Spinach and Brussel Sprouts are rich in vitamin C and other anti-oxidants. Broccoli has vitamins A and B6, riboflavin and folic acid, calcium and iron.

*Red wine--contains anti-oxidants.

So go ahead and enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner. Give thanks for all the good food on your table and don't forget to thank the cook!

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

                                                                             Did you forget about us...?
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Treats on Tuesday

Have you ever wondered this? "Can I use non-MyMemories kits and graphics in the software?" The answer is "Most Definitely, YES"!!  My Memories has a video tutorial  to help you with this. See it here:

It's Tuesday so here is another  sweet freebie from My Memories. My Memories offers digital scrapbooking software and oodles of fresh and creative digital scrapbooking kits. At My Memories, you can find Word Art kits, calendar templates, quick pages, cluster frames, and more! For the frugal shopper, My Memories also offers free digital scrapbooking kits and a dollar store. Sweet! You can even create your own online photo books or calendars.

You can still get the 10% discount on the My Memories software (which can be downloaded immediately!) by using the code STMMMS1473 at checkout.

Have fun!
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Monday, November 14, 2011

12 Ways to Keep From Gaining Weight During the Holidays

picture courtesy Hoosier Homemade

Oh, no the holidays are fast approaching! I've been seeing pictures and recipes for pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin bars, pumpkin bread and the list keeps going! And this is just for Thanksgiving! I think we all need some help to keep from gaining weight over the holidays.(Most Americans don't lose the weight they gain over the holidays, even with good intentions.)

So here are 12 ideas for you to try to keep your svelte girlish figure or in my case, to still fit into my jeans after Christmas!

1. You Are What You Eat
Read labels and think about what you are eating. If you're going on an all day shopping spree at the mall, consider bringing along your own healthy snacks. Offer to bring a healthy dish if you are a guest. If you're the host, you'll want to prepare some healthy dishes for your guests.

2. Watch Your Portion Size.
You've heard it before--portion control. Use smaller plates or visualize only filling your plate 1/2 full.

3. Outsmart the Buffet.
Use a small plate and don't stack your food. Limit your helpings to one of each food. Choose veggies, fruit and the shrimp cocktail. Watch the dips and sauces.

4. Shift the Conversation Away From the Table.
When you are done eating, move to another room. Sitting around the table after the meal is over just invites trouble.

5. How Much to Prepare?
Figure out how many people are expected to eat and then prepare enough food to satisfy them and have a few left-overs for the next day.

6. Choose Your Sweets
Be selective. Only take the ones that you really, really can't live without. (anything chocolate!) Limit your portions again.

7. Cheat A Little
After all, it is the holidays. Sticking to a strict diet and not having any fun can sabotage your diet later.

8. Divert Your Attention
When at your holiday festivities focus on something other than the food. Find someone to chat with away from the food.

9. Limit Alcohol
Lots of calories in alcohol. If you feel left out without a drink, sip water or Club Soda so that you have something to carry.

10.Never Arrive Hungry
Have a snack before you leave home. If you arrive hungry drink some water first to fill you up before you start eating.

11. Don't Skip Meals to Save Calories
'Nuff said.

12. Exercise
After you feast-walk! Get moving and burn off those extra calories. Start a new tradition the "Family Walk". Get everyone involved and it will be more fun.

Anything to add to the list? Ways you've found to keep the pounds off during the holidays?
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Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Day Late...Still Remembering Our Veterans

I am sorry to be a day late in remembering all of our country's Veterans on my blog. I am especially sorry since my dad is a WWII veteran. I did talk to him yesterday though and thanked him for his service.

I was thinking about my dad and trying to imagine what it must have been like for him. He left his home and family at a young age (he had just turned 18)and headed off to be a part of the army. He got his draft letter in the mail. HIs dad accompanied him to see if he could get out of being drafted. (They lived on a farm and his help was needed.) A neighbor boy went with them. The neighbor boy got out of it but my dad didn't.

At that time you had to be 19 to touch foreign shores so dad was sent from Fort to Fort--sort of killing time until he turned 19. While he was at Fort Mead, he got an APO number (to get mail). The APO number was associated with New York City. Dad and the rest of the soldiers he was with were happy. This meant they were going to Europe or so they thought.

They boarded a train, which supposedly was headed to New York City. The train stopped for water. One of the soldiers looked out the window and said, We aren't going to New York City". The others soldiers said, "How do you know?" He said, "We are stopping in my hometown." It was Scranton, PA. They were heading west. This meant fighting the Japanese.The train took them to Camp Adair, Oregon.

Dad went on to Camp Spotten, CA. While at this Camp, dad was loaded on a ship. He knew for sure that the ship was headed to the Pacific. Dad was still 18 when he got on. The ship went to Hawaii, but he wasn't allowed to get off the ship. They had just stopped to pick up mail.

The ship sailed on the Phillipines near Clark Airbase. He stayed on that base for about 10 days. The ship was loaded up with tanks and trucks. They sailed on to Seoul, Korea where the ship was unloaded. While in Seoul, Dad was in the 60th infantry division. Here he was classified as a scout and reconnaissance. After the war ended he was classified as a light truck driver of small trucks.

Dad spent 11 months there. They were offered a choice to enlist at a higher pay with a choice to go to any country. But once re-enlisted the soldier would serve another three years. Some did that to get a chance to go home on furlough because they were homesick and then they went on to serve in Europe.

My dad got shipped home early. The Army was sending in replacements, so Dad got to go home. On the way back there was a big storm on the west coast. Dad landed up going to the Aleutian Islands, Alaska. He made it to CA and eventually got on a train to Fort Sheridan, Illinois. There he got his discharge papers and money to travel home. He said, "A bunch of us hired a pilot to fly us back. Big ol' plane. No seats--just a wooden plank on the sides." (I'm guessing they didn't care as long as it got them home!)

My dad's older brother was also drafted a year earlier. He saw a lot of action in Okinawa and Iwo Jima. He came back a very changed man and would never talk about his war experience.
My dad's younger brother also served in the Korean War.

I'm glad that my dad told us about his military experience. We got a little glimpse into what it was like for him and the soldiers he was with. I'm very proud of him and all who are brave enough, strong enough, driven enough to protect and defend our country and those who aren't able to protect or defend themselves. Happy Veteran's Day a little late.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

On top of the world! (Apparently plane windows don't get washed....)

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Treats on Tuesday

Woo-Hoo it's Tueaday and you know what that means! Another sweet freebie from My Memories. My Memories offers digital scrapbooking software and oodles of fresh and creative digital scrapbooking kits. At My Memories, you can find Word Art kits, calendar templates, quick pages, cluster frames, and more! For the frugal shopper, My Memories also offers free digital scrapbooking kits and a dollar store. Sweet! You can even create your own online photo books or calendars.

You can still get the 10% discount on the My Memories software (which can be downloaded immediately!) by using the code STMMMS1473 at checkout.

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Thank You A Day: Gratitude Enhances Health

I read this article in the Minser Chiropractic Clinic Newsletter. Since this is the time of year that we remember what we have to be thankful for, I thought I would pass along their information.

The health benefits of gratitude are an amazing example of just how sturdy the bridge is between the mind, body, and emotions. Research shows that heart-centered feelings associated with gratitude, appreciation, and caring enhance health. When you find one thing, however small to be thankful for, and you hold that feeling for as little as 15 to 20 seconds, many subtle and beneficial physiological changes take place in your body. For instance:

*Levels of the stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrin decrease, creating a cascade of beneficial metabolic changes, such as an enhanced immune system

*Coronary arteries relax, increasing blood supply to your heart

*Heart rhythm becomes more harmonious, which positively affects other bodily organs, and lifts your mood

*Breathing becomes deeper, increasing the oxygen level of your tissues

Other studies found that gratitude makes people healthier, smarter, and more energetic. People who practiced gratitude daily, such as by writing in a gratitude journal, reported higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness, and energy than those who did not. If all of this happens when you focus for just 15 to 20 seconds on something that brings you pleasure, joy, or a feeling of gratitude, imagine what would happen to your health if you were able to cultivate thoughts of appreciation on a consistent and regular basis.

Here's a good way to start: Get a piece of paper and list your blessings. List the tremendous wealth you have in the 7 different areas of your life: Family, Career, Spiritual, Financial, Physical, Social, and Mental. How many people miss things or appreciate them more when they are threatened? Try opening your eyes NOW and seeing how you are blessed. The more you give thanks for what you have, the more you'll have to give thanks for. Focus on and see what's good around you!

Thinking with your heart takes practice, but if you faithfully learn to start thinking with your heart and pay attention to areas of your life that bring you joy and fulfillment, over time you will evoke biochemical changes in your body that will recharge your batteries. Not only does it enhance your energy levels and reduce stress, but recognizing and appreciating life's many blessings is one of the most powerful ways I know to enahnce the immune system, balance your hormones, and promote heart health. This exercise can literally change your life.

I kept a gratitude journal for many year. I'm not sure why I stopped writing in it. I'm going to find it and start listing my blessings again. Do you have a gratitude journal?
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