Wednesday, December 31, 2014

As we say good bye to 2014, let me know what your most memorable moment of the year was... 

I have three of them:  our trip to Greece when I got to run on the original Olympic track, the birth of our grandson Oliver  and a month ago when we found out that our daughter and son-in-law (after years of trying) are going to have a baby!!!

2014 was a very good year for us. Hope it was for you too. Here's wishing us all the best in 2015!!!

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Gift List Anyone Can Afford

Christmas Eve is tomorrow and some of us are busy last minute shopping for the special people on our lists. Since most of us are looking for gifts that fit our budgets, here's a list of gift suggestions for "the large of heart and small of purse". (Sorry I don't know who came up with the list so I can't give credit...)
These gifts won't cost you a dime, but that doesn't mean they have no value. If you give one of these gifts, you will give the most priceless gift of all: yourself!

*The Gift of Listening. Psychologists tell us that one of the greatests things we can do for another is listen.

*The Gift of Signs of Affection. Take time to give your loved ones extra signs of affection.

*The Gift of a Note. Write notes to your loved ones. They can be as simple as "I love you" or as creative as a poem.

*The Gift of Laughter. Everyone loves to laugh. Give those you love this gift. Just cut out a cartoon, clip a joke, copy a riddle or save a clever article. Your gift will say "I love to laugh with you."

*The Gift of a Game. Offer to play your loved one's favorite game with him or her. Even if you lose, you'll be a winner.

*The Gift of Doing a Favor. This gift is made more valuable when it anticipates a request rather than when it responds to one.

*The Gift of a Compliment. It is great therapy for us all.

*The Gift of a Cheerful Disposition. Your gift of cheerfulness will be a precious gift for everyone--including yourself.

You could probably add more to the list but isn't this a good start? Some of these are so simple yet would really make someone's day. Hope you found the list worthwhile--I did. 

(Are you still shopping or are you done?)

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Friday, December 19, 2014

So Simple Christmas Nail Art!

Of course I have to share some Christmas Nail Art with you! Love this video from Cute Polish that shows easy, easy ways to decorate your nails. Best part? You don't need any special tools except for a toothpick! No excuse not to have cute nails for the holidays.

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas in Washington,DC

The scene as we walked from our car.

This past week we were in the DC area visiting our son, daughter-in-law, grandson and newest baby grandson. One rainy night we decided to go see the National Christmas Tree. (It had quit raining by the time we got there.) The National Tree comes from Minnesota this year so it was especially meaningful.

Can you see the White House in the background?

As we got closer we saw that the National Tree was surrounded by smaller trees. Each tree has a sign by it naming a state. Since the trees were covered with a frame of lights you couldn't really see the tree. I'm not sure if these trees were supposed to have come from that particular state? I wondered if Hawaii had evergreen trees?

Actually US territories such as Puerto Rico and Guam had a tree too.

There were also wooden frames in the shape of Christmas trees that had ornaments from each state. They looked like small clear plastic beach balls filled with stuff. We weren't sure what Minnesota's had inside. We weren't impressed with these at all. I didn't even take a photograph of any.

Love this little train village!

I was wishing my grandson, Jack would have been with us. He loves trains! Around the National Christmas Tree are train tracks and several villages. We were there on a Tuesday evening and the train wasn't running. I'm not sure if it only runs on weekends or not.  It would have been really fun to see the train in action. Interesting to note that people have thrown pennies on the village platforms and around the tracks. (like a wishing well?)

The first night of Hanukkah.

There was also a giant Menorah that had the candle for the first night of Hanukkah lit. Nearby was a building labeled "Santa's workshop". It is only open on the weekends. So we peeked in the windows--saw what looked like a real toy workshop. I couldn't tell where Santa would be sitting but it looked really fun. And sadly, tucked way back in a corner was a life-size plastic Manger scene. 

A few of the decorations in the Gaylord Hotel.

I've been to DC many times but never at Christmas time. We drove around a little bit more after we left this area but there weren't too much other Christmasy things to see. We did go down to the National Harbor which had a giant ferris wheel all lit up and lots of other Christmas lights. We walked through the Gaylord Hotel. It was really beautifully decorated. Really helped put us in the Holiday spirit.

As much fun as it is to travel it is always good to be home. The Christmas lights in our own neighborhood welcomed us back.  

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Monday, December 1, 2014

You Can Stretch Anytime

You can stretch anytime, anywhere! As you age, your muscles tighten and range of motion in your joints can be minimized. This can put a damper on your active lifestyle and even put a crimp in normal motions. (I try to stretch my legs after I run but I haven't been very good about stretching the rest of my body.)

Stretching increases flexibility, which will help you perform daily activities and reduce the risk of muscle, joint and tendon injuries. Stretching also improves circulation, increasing blood flow to the muscles. Increased blood flow provides more nourishment to the muscles and gets rid of more waste by-products in the muscle tissue itself. Improved circulation can also help speed up recovery time if you suffer a muscle injury. 

Everyone can learn to stretch, regardless of age or flexibility. Stretching should be a part of your daily routine, whether you exercise or not. You can stretch while you watch tv, use the computer or are getting ready for bed. 

The staff at the Mayo Clinic give these benefits of stretching:  

*Stretching increases flexibility. Flexible muscles can improve your daily performance. Tasks such as lifting packages, bending to tie your shoes or hurrying to catch a bus become easier and less tiring.  

* Stretching improves range of motion of your joints. Good range of motion keeps you in better balance, which will help keep you mobile and less prone to falls — and the related injuries — especially as you age.  

*Stretching improves circulation. Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles. Improved circulation can speed recovery after muscle injuries. 

*Stretching can relieve stress. Stretching relaxes the tense muscles that often accompany stress. 

To find some quick and easy stretches go here:  You’ll find stretches for your whole body.

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Your Winter Facial

Defend your skin against the elements with this simple beauty regimen. Even if you love the crisp, brisk days of winter, you probably don't love what they do to your complexion. "Skin gets dry because the wind and cold weather irritate it, and the lack of humidity in the air causes it to lose moisture rapidly," says Elizabeth McBurney, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at Tulane University. "This causes flakes and scaly patches, which in turn give you a sallow, dull appearance." 

With months of winter weather left (especially here in Minnesota!), you need to take action now to breathe life into your looks. Here's what the experts suggest.

Fight back with steam. Soften dry patches by steaming your face over a bowl of boiling water (cover your head with a towel) for several minutes.

Take tougher measures. For stubborn, flaky areas on your face a good exfoliator and moisturizer will help.  

Warm up your face with color. Peachy or rosy blushes can give you that "I just ran 3 miles" look. For a richer lip color, use a tinted lip stain. 

Pay close attention to your eyes. Give eyes a wake-up call by placing a tiny bit of satin white or ivory eye shadow under your brow bone and another very small dab just above your lash line in the middle of your lid.

Taken from an article on 

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

                                         Can't leave home without my snack!
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Friday, November 21, 2014

Me, Myself and Eye


                Follow these easy tips for the prettiest eyes ever.

* Mascara frames your eyes and can make your face come alive. To apply mascara look straight into your mirror with your chin slightly lifted so you can see your lashes. Insert the wand only once and twist, don't pump. Pumping can break the brush bristles and distribute the mascara unevenly and will dry out the mascara faster. Start by rolling the wand from root to tip in an upward motion.

*Use an eyelash curler to give lift to lashes. Apply a coat of mascara to set it that way

*Eyeliners are meant to define the eyes so they should do just that; not be the focal point of your makeup. For a smudged effect use a sponge tip shadow applicator or an eye shadow brush. When your pencils are too soft refrigerate them. When they are too hard soften them by holding them between your fingers. Never line the inside rim of your lower lashes; this will make eyes look even smaller.

*If your neck can tolerate it, use an extra pillow when you lay your head down to sleep. The extra elevation prevents fluid accumulating under your eyes. Fluid retention makes the eyes look puffy.

*Tired Looking Eyes? Another late night out? Rise and shine by applying white eye shadow to your inner eye and eyelids. The color will brighten your look, make eyes really pop, and erase and effects from the night before.

* Use a base before applying your eye shadow of choice. The eye shadow base is not only helpful in keeping your eye makeup longer, but also in preventing your eye makeup from creasing and smudging. Light shadow colors cause the eyes to open, dark colors will cause the eyes to recede.

*If you want to emphasize your eyes, make sure to use lighter shades of lip gloss or lipstick. However, if you want to put emphasis on your lips, make sure you use a neutral or light-colored eye shadow.

*Tame your arcs with a brow brush. If you don't have any, a clean toothbrush will do the trick.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Glass of Water Theory of Stress Management Story

The Holiday Season can be very stressful for many people including me sometimes. This short and amusing illustration of how to manage stress really hit home. There's nothing like a good story to help us get the point, so check out the Glass of Water Theory of Stress Management here:


A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, "How heavy is this glass of water?" 

Answers called out ranged from 8 ounces to 20 ounces. The lecturer replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance."

 "In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes." 

He continued, "And that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on. As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden."

"So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down. Don't carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can. Relax; pick them up later after you've rested. Life is short. Enjoy it!"

(Sent to us online, source unknown.)

Try to remember...Don't worry, be happy! 

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014

Macro Monday

                    Can you guess what these are? The first one is easy... 

The first one is of course an apple, the second a wine cork and the third one a frame. Did you figure them out?

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Tips for Winter Skin

Our weather is changing and so should the way we treat our skin. 

Here are some tips to prepare your skin for those chilly days… 

1. Switch from lotions to creams. As the weather gets colder, our skin requires added moisture in the form of balms and creams which are longer lasting and create a barrier on the skin to keep moisture in and harsh winter elements out. Gathered From the Garden's Satin and Silk Shea Butter Lotion is great for this.

 2. Moisturize your hands after every washing. There's a reason they say that our hands show our age first! Constant contact with harsh detergents, hand-washing, hot water, cold and wind can dry out and chap hands. To ensure that you are keeping the moisture in, place a bottle of lightweight lotion next to the sinks in your bathroom and kitchen, in your desk drawer, purse and car so you have no excuse to skimp on moisture. Gathered’s Goat Milk and Honey Lotion comes in handy 8oz. and 2oz. sizes. 

3. Start a lip care regimen now. Nip it in the bud by starting a lip regimen now. Wax-type lip balms are great for preventing your lips from drying out, but once they get chapped you need a moisture-rich balm to help repair the damage. 

4. Be kind to your nails and cuticles. Nails are made of keratin which becomes brittle and can crack under harsh, cold conditions. Not to mention what the havoc of up-coming holiday cleaning and dishwashing can do to your cuticles! Soaking your fingertips in warm (not HOT) natural vegetable oils can help reverse dryness. 

 5. Exfoliate to restore your natural glow. Dead skin cells from UV exposure, swimming in chlorine and collections of sebum and other debris clogging your pores can make anyone's skin look dull and lifeless. Using a scrub product to exfoliate is a great way to loosen and remove dead skin cells, giving you a new canvas of fresh skin to pamper. Gathered’s Clay Mask is also good for drawing out impurities.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Honoring our Veterans

Happy Veterans Day to all who have served our country! We honor you today. My dad is a WWll veteran so today is especially meaningful for our family. 

 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.
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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Walk to Beautiful Book Review

After reading the first few chapters of A Walk to Beautiful by Jimmy Wayne (a country western musician) I didn’t know if I wanted to keep reading.  These chapters chronicle Jimmy’s early life and contain graphic descriptions of a man getting axed and sexual exploits of his mother. However, I kept reading since I was going to review this book. I am glad I did.

The rest of the book deals with Jimmy’s poor home life and how he manages to become successful in spite of it. Jimmy’s mother was bi-polar and shuffled him around to his grandfather’s house and back to hers. His mother had many husbands and live-in boyfriends. Most of these men treated Jimmy poorly and were horrible role models. Many times Jimmy and his sister were hungry, sometimes only getting food at school.

After being abandoned again (several times by his mother) Jimmy ends up in foster care. In the first foster care environment he is not treated kindly. In another he fares better but isn’t allowed to stay there very long. After fending for himself as a child and teen a friendly elderly couple finally take him under their wing.

Jimmy flourishes in this loving home. He is able to allow his love of music to grow and eventually joins a band. This gives him a taste of what show business is like. He eventually makes his way to Nashville to become a songwriter and singer. He experiences success to the point of opening for Brad Paisley at Madison Square Garden.

The last part of the book focuses on Jimmy’s “Walk to Beautiful”. He decides to walk from Nashville to Arizona to spread the word about foster care. He has many people support him on his walk.  They offer him food, shelter and companionship. It took Jimmy 213 days to make the walk. Because of his walk and the attention it drew, laws dealing with foster care in many states were changed for the better.

This turned out to be a very inspirational read.  I was impressed by Jimmy’s grit as a child and his spirit as an adult. If you need a story to give you a lift, this will do it!
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Macro Monday

A few more pics taken with my macro lens.

 A bit of milkweed fluff.

    Some old brown leaves.
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Wednesday, October 29, 2014


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