Posts Tagged ‘brain games’

Zooming in on three bees crawling on a purple thistle flower, I snap a photo and say to my husband, “Do you see what they’re doing?” As we stand in the warm Southern California sunshine, he replies, “Spreading pollen?” I look at him and say, “Yes, but they’re also ‘thistling’ while they work. Get it?”

#1 – Signs of Happiness
If you are happy, you will recognize these signs of happiness. If you are not happy, well, maybe it’s a sign that something needs to change in your life.
10 Signs of True Happiness - Networx

#2 – What About You, Now?
Mick Ebeling, the founder of the Not Impossible Foundation, poses these questions to people he meets, “If not now, then when? If not me, then who?” In this TED video he talks about how he and a team developed an invention that unlocked a paralyzed artist’s lost world.

#3 – Mind Games
Like your body, your brain needs exercise to stay in tip-top shape. After you do your morning stretches and exercises, sit down and play a few brain games. Play Mind Tree every day to keep your brain agile and alert. It will challenge your skills in logic, awareness, arithmetic and memory.

#4 – Love Stories

I’ve previously posted links to the blog Marc and Angel Hack Life and to its sister site Makes Me Think. I love reading both sites because they make me think and they inspire me to be better and to do more. 60 Tiny Love Stories to Make You Smile is a nice combination of both blogs.

#5 – The Best Day of Your Life
“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey – and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.”
Bob Moawad

Enjoy your weekend!

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Cradled in the arms of trees, the moon rested. Stars and planets hovered subserviently nearby, knowing that the bright light emanating from the full moon dimmed their own magnificence. But, if the truth be told, the moon didn’t want to stand out – he longed to be in the night sky clustered together with the others. He was lonely, but not alone. As the night evolved and the moon rose, he dimmed his light a bit and the stars twinkled with appreciation. The moon’s lesson: it’s not as important to be on center stage as it is to share the stage with others. And, with a little help, others can have their moments to shine.

#1 – Earth Day

Imagine what it’s like to view the earth from the moon. How majestic and pristine our planet must appear from afar. Celebrate our planet on Earth Day, April 22nd. The Nature Conservancy plans on celebrating by organizing a record-setting picnic. If you’d like to be part of the Conservancy’s attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the most people picnicking in 24 hours or if you want to learn different ways in which you can help our planet, click here.

#2 – Photograph or Painting?

I would be over the moon if I had the talent and patience to paint like Pedro Campos! Using oil paints, the Spanish artist creates amazingly realistic still life paintings that are often mistaken for photographs! Check out his website to view more of his incredible artwork!

#3 – Moonlight in a Jar

Stars twinkle and the moon glows in this DIY project. Mason jars are painted or “dotted” on the inside with glow-in-the-dark paint. They are allowed to dry and then are charged with sunlight or lamplight. I fell in love with these jars when I first saw them and they are definitely on my “to do” list!

#4 – Brain or Moon?

From mental_floss comes this quiz that tests your familiarity of moon and brain nomenclature. For example, is the Dorsum Scilla a part of the brain or a part of the moon?

#5 – Sailing to the Moon
“What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but disastrous.”
Thomas Merton

Look at the moon this weekend and have fun making up your own story about it!

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Stones, tumbled by the sea, collect on the shore. The waters have worn some smooth and round, while others remain irregular and pockmarked. That they existed in the same turbulent waters, but weathered the forces differently, can only be attributed to their individual compositions and, perhaps, the length of exposure. If you were one of these stones, which one would you be? What are you made of? What qualities do you possess to help you weather the ups and downs in life?

#1- Top Five Regrets
Recognizing that this blog is about sharing and encouraging joy, I was at first hesitant about linking to the Top Five Regrets of the Dying as recounted by palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware. As I read through the article, though, I realized that it reinforced the belief that an authentic life is a life of joy. Here are the top five regrets, but to get the most from these lessons, it’s best to read the article in its entirety:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

#2 – Another Way to Recycle Newspapers
Here’s a creative undertaking that involves recycling newspaper in an unusual way. Italian artist Ivano Vitali uses strips of newsprint and, without the use of any adhesives, spins them into balls of yarn and crochets them into pieces using custom-made hooks and needles. Check out his Zero Impact Global Art website and be inspired to find new ways to recycle.

#3 – The Game You Can’t Stop
In The Game You Can’t Stop small balls of different colors drop from the top of the game that you must try to deflect using your computer mouse which controls a large ball at the bottom. As you deflect the small balls, you must attempt to connect three balls of the same color to score. Warning: Don’t play this brain game unless you have a little time to spare!

#4 – Super Bowl Snacks
Is it possible to serve healthy Super Bowl snacks? Sure it is! It just takes a little conscious effort and the willpower not to succumb to media ads. Here’s a quick recipe from one of my favorite periodicals Nutrition Action Healthletter:

Quick Quesadillas
Toss together 1 cup of black beans, 1 cup corn kernels, 1/2 cup of reduced-fat shredded cheese, and 1/2 cup of jarred salsa. Spoon the filling onto 4 whole wheat tortillas, fold in half, and sauté each in a non-stick pan in 1 tsp. of canola oil.

#5 – Possibilities
Nothing is IMPOSSIBLE, the word itself says “I’M POSSIBLE“!
Audrey Hepburn

Enjoy your weekend!

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The ever-increasing tales of the world’s woes often overshadow the good in the world. The good in life isn’t always monumental and can be easily ignored compared to the attention-grabbing bad. Is it a matter of the “squeaky wheel gets the grease”? The good in life is often the sum total of everyday small joys, so don’t let it go by unnoticed.

#1 – Spread Kindness
Performing acts of kindness provides joy for both the giver and the recipient. To read stories of kindness, to learn additional ways to be kind, and to print up smile cards that can be passed around in a pay-it-forward style, go to the inspirational site Help Others.

#2 – Wake-up Your Brain!
Need help jump-starting your brain cells in the morning? Try playing one of the many challenging games at Sporcle. For example, the Road Game allows you only six minutes to answer thirty questions about “things and phrases containing the word ‘road.'” On your mark! Get set! Go!

#3 – Spot the Fake
A smile is a thing of joy, but not all smiles are created equal. Based on the physiological differences between real and fake smiles, Professor Paul Ekman of the University of California and Dr. Wallace V. Friesen of the University of Kentucky devised the Facial Action Coding System. How good are you at spotting a fake smile from a real one? Take the Spot the Fake Smile test and find out. No pressure, but I got 16 out of 20 correct!

#4 – Kitchen Tip

Here’s a kitchen tip that will make you smile. Earlier this week I posted a recipe for Wild Mushroom and Prosciutto Lasagne on this blog. In this recipe the porcini mushrooms must be soaked before cooking them. When soaking dried mushrooms, put them in a bowl with warm water and place a smaller bowl or plate over them to keep them immersed in the water and to prevent them from floating to the top.

#5 – Choose Joy
“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” — Henri Nouwen

Choose to be joyful this weekend!

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How observant are you? Do you see two identical rocks in this photograph? Of course not. Nature fashioned every one of these rocks to be unique and each one should be appreciated for its individual qualities. The same goes for us. No two persons are alike in this world. Each of us is one-of-a-kind and each of us brings to the world unique gifts. We should appreciate our differences and as I always remind my children, “The world would be a boring place, if we were all the same.”

#1 – Taking Care of the Earth
Tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, and volcanic eruptions are happening with greater frequency. Whether you believe in global warming or not, statistics are hard to refute. Sometimes seeing is believing. The Breathing Earth accomplishes that by providing a real-time simulation that ” . . . displays the CO2 emissions of every country in the world, as well as their birth and death rates.” And after you digest the astounding statistics, go to Global Footprint Network to determine your ecological footprint and to get the answer to “How many planets does it take to support your lifestyle?”

#2 – Word Bubbles
Think you had a difficult time playing the Raindrops game that I posted a link to in a previous edition of Friday’s Fresh Five? Perhaps, math is not your forte. Try playing Word Bubbles instead. Word Bubbles “challenges your language skills and flexibility.” You’re given one minute to form as many words from the three-lettered stem provided. If you enter three words that are the same length, the bubble containing that number of letters will bubble out of the water. If at first you don’t succeed, “bubble” luck next time!

#3 – Who Called?
If you’ve observed that you frequently receive phone calls from unfamiliar phone numbers and if you want to find out just who keeps calling you, there are a few sites that can be of help. Go to 800notes, Who Called Us, or Who Calls Me and type in the phone number and click search. By doing this, I’ve often found out enough information about the caller to contact the source and request that they remove me from their call lists.

#4 – Memorial Day
Observe our country’s flags on Memorial Day. Wikipedia, provides these reasons for the different positions of our flags on that day:

On Memorial Day the flag is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day.

The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. At noon their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.

The true meaning of Memorial Day is lost on many Americans. How easily some forget the ultimate sacrifice of others. The ads in the newspapers train us to think that it’s a weekend devoted to shopping the sales or barbecuing. No Greater Love is a “non-profit organization that for 40 years is dedicated to honoring those who died to keep us free.” In 1997 this organization initiated and Congress established the National Moment of Remembrance. No Greater Love asks that wherever you are at 3:00 p.m. on Monday, May 30th, to “Stop for a moment and observe the ‘Moment’ in your own way. It can be a simple gesture such as, placing your hand over your heart, bowing your head, or offering a prayer, and making the following promise: “I promise to make myself, my community, my country, and the world better in memory of America’s fallen.”

#5 – Shine
“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
— Nelson Mandela

Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend, but remember to take a moment to give thanks to all who have served our country!

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Originally the words embedded in the wall struck me as being cute, but after a little more consideration, I thought they were perfect. I spotted this sign in the village of Oia in Santorini, Greece – a no hurry and no worries destination. In Oia it’s okay to be slow and to rest. How many restaurants in America boast slow food? My guess is not very many, but maybe that’s what our country needs to return to – savoring our food and enjoying the company of others.

#1 – Slow Food and Eco-Gastronomy
Coincidentally, I found an organization online called Slow Food that has a snail as its logo. Read Slow Food’s philosophy below and if you want to find out more about the organization, click on the link above.

We believe that everyone has a fundamental right to pleasure and consequently the responsibility to protect the heritage of food, tradition and culture that make this pleasure possible. Our movement is founded upon this concept of eco-gastronomy – a recognition of the strong connections between plate and planet.

Slow Food is good, clean and fair food. We believe that the food we eat should taste good; that it should be produced in a clean way that does not harm the environment, animal welfare or our health; and that food producers should receive fair compensation for their work.

#2 – Slow Dancing
Do you remember the song you danced your first dance to as a married couple? Looking for a perfect song to slow dance to at your daughter’s wedding? Here’s a link to a D.J.’s list of his most popular and most requested slow dance songs. Is your favorite slow dance song on his list?

#3 – Slow Cooking
Most of us own slow cookers and enjoy the convenience of this type of food preparation. To remind everyone of food safety tips when using a slow cooker, here’s the link to the USDA’s article on slow cookers and food safety.

#4 – Slow Brain?
Is your brain a little sluggish these days? Sharpen them up with some brain games! I’ve posted links to sites with brain games before and here’s another one I just discovered.

#5 – Slow Down
“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.”
Eddie Cantor

Enjoy a slow weekend!

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As we breeze into March here are some ideas to get the cobwebs out of your closet and out of your brain as well. When you’re done doing those things, do a little something to feed your soul.

#1 – Brain Power
Exercise your brain with fun crossword puzzles, word bubbles, speed match games, memory matrix challenges, word searches, and sodoku puzzles at realage.com. I could have played them all day, but more appropriately, I need to play them all day! For more creative play, go to this site and try designing your own snowflakes!

#2 – Closet Couture
If you go to closetcouture.com, you can have fun organizing your closet! Create an online closet by either photographing your clothes and uploading the photos to the site and/or by dragging images from provided retailer sites which have clothing and accessories. You can even share your closet with friends.

A nice aspect of this site is you can drag photos of your clothes to the calendar feature to help you keep track of what you’ve worn on which dates, as well as creating visual packing lists.

You can even hire an online stylist to help you develop your style, hone your shopping strategies, or figure out your packing list.

#3 -Tips For Cleaning Out Your Closets
Cnn.com has an article called, “10 tips for Organizing Your Closets” that offers practical tips for organizing different types of closets in your home. I particularly like this practical advice:

Distinguish clothing and shoes that you wear and items that you need to get rid of. You can do this by the golden rule of closet organizing: If you haven’t worn it in a year, toss it.

Also, if it doesn’t fit you well, it is time to get rid of it. Instead of hanging on to your “skinny jeans” until you lose a few pounds, donate them. Then, when you get down to your goal weight, treat yourself to a new, stylish pair of jeans.

If you are on the fence about an item, “flag” the hanger. As you wear each item, remove the flag. At the end of each season, items that are still marked with a flag should be donated. If the item is in good condition and/or if you paid a lot for it, think about selling it at a local consignment store or online at a site such as eBay.

#4 – Feed Your Soul
If you want free art that you just download, print, and frame, then go to Feed Your Soul. Every month a different artist is featured.

#5 – A Soulful Quote
“You have the need and the right to spend part of your life caring for your soul. It is not easy. You have to resist the demands of the work-oriented, often defensive, element in your psyche that measures life only in terms of output — how much you produce — not in terms of the quality of your life experiences. To be a soulful person means to go against all the pervasive, prove-yourself values of our culture and instead treasure what is unique and internal and valuable in yourself and your own personal evolution.” Jean Shinoda Bolen

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