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"Made With Love" Cookies Stamped with words, but made with love. I know this, because I made these cookies. No other day of the year combines words with love as well as Valentine’s Day. It seems tragic to me that some people can profess their love on this day, but not on other days of the year. My philosophy holds that love should be expressed everyday, in as many ways as possible. The challenge for all of us is to discover the hundreds of ways we can show love.

#1 – Show Your Love
Kris Carr On Valentine’s Day in 2003, Kris Carr was diagnosed with an incurable cancer. She then embarked on a passionate journey to enjoy her life more fully. From her blog, comes this post on How to Show Your Love.

#2 – Love Stories images Love has many faces and forms. In 1999, PBS gathered love stories from people across the country and created a series titled American Love Stories. These stories highlight diversity in relationships and tell about love in the face of prejudices involving race, religion, age, gender and more.

#3 – Heart-Shaped Envelopes
Turn a heart-shaped piece of paper into an envelope for your Valentine’s Day card or for any special occasion card, such as an anniversary card or a wedding card. If you don’t want to cut a heart out of paper, use a heart-shaped paper doily! Make an Envelope From a Heart-shaped Piece of Paper

#4 – Another Win-Win Idea
Last September, I repurposed clean and gently-worn t-shirts by making them into scarves and tote bags for the homeless. Now I have another project that again helps planet Earth and the homeless. I recently took a crochet class at my local craft store and will be putting my new skill to a test as I try crocheting plastic bags into sleeping mats for the homeless. These mats provide a moisture barrier from the damp cold ground and they offer more cushion than a piece of cardboard. To learn how to crochet these mats, watch the video below. Don’t know how to crochet? No problem, just click on You Tube video tutorials to learn how.

#5 – Joy is Love
Joy is love – a joyful heart is the normal result of a heart burning with love, for she gives most who gives with joy.
Mother Teresa

Happy Valentine’s Day! Now Go and Spread Joy!

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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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” Smash it! Smash it! Smash it!!” the crowd chanted. Goaded on by his peers the bridegroom smashes a piece of wedding cake into his young bride’s face and then ducks to miss her intended aim. What you don’t see is the next frame in which the angry young bride (angry that he had the nerve to duck) grabs another handful of cake from the bottom-most tier and firmly plants it on his face. Turnabout is fair play after all, right? And thus our marriage began. Amazingly, we celebrate our 33rd year of marriage today and through the years we’ve learned the art of compromise and diplomacy, and that there’s no ducking when the cake flies!!

#1 – Two Foods
The Two Foods site offers food nutrition comparisons. In one space type in a food item and in the other space type in the other food item you want to compare it with. The site will give you the calorie, carbohydrate, fat and protein breakdown of both foods.

#2 – Running the Numbers
Okay, here’s my seemingly weekly link to a photo series. Had to pass this one along because it depicts the huge environmental impact of our “throw away” society.

#3 – Color Scheme in a Snap
In my Friday’s Fresh Five post dated 10/23/09 I wrote an entry called Simple Color Theory about determining complementary colors based on primary colors. My son, the artist, told me that this site makes a snap out of determining color schemes for projects and has almost infinite possibilities. Well maybe not infinite, but close to it!

#4 – Making Cut Flowers Last Longer
A. Cut garden flowers early in the morning, avoiding the heat of the day.
B. Remove all the leaves from the part of the stem that will be submerged under water.
C. It is better to cut the stems under water. Cut at a 45 degree angle with sharp pruners/scissors.
D. Change the water everyday to keep the bacteria level low.
E. Adding a teaspoon of sugar to the water will help refresh the flowers. Some use a crushed aspirin instead of sugar.
F. Avoid placing the flowers in direct sunlight and or in drafts.
G. At night store them in the refrigerator or in the coolest room of the house.

#5 – Soul Mates
“A soul mate marriage does not at all mean that you have found someone
you match up with on all the cards – on all the issues, on everything. That
would be the most deadly dull thing to even imagine. Instead, it means you’re
with someone who wants to take care of your soul – they want to make sure
your soul continues to grow, they don’t ever want to blow out that little light
inside you. And you feel the same way about them.”
Diane Sollee, NPR, The Real Life Survival Guide


All’s well that ends well . . .

Celebrate your weekend!

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#1 – Spooky Cake My Way!
I have to say that biting into crunchy chocolate bits and creamy pockets of sweetness of the Oreo cookies hidden in this cake, was a spooktacular experience! Even though Maida Heatter’s (Spooky) Oreo Bundt Cake sounded good, I didn’t have all the ingredients for it and I was in a lazy mood. With my sincerest apologies to the great baker Ms. Heatter, I cheated and used a cake mix. Here’s what I did: Preheated oven to 325 degrees. Greased and floured my bundt pan. Took 18 whole Halloween Oreo cookies, broke them into quarters and set them aside. Followed the instructions on the package of Betty Crocker’s Super Moist Yellow cake mix and made the batter. Poured about two cups of plain batter into my bundt pan. Then into the remaining batter, I gently folded in the broken cookies and poured this mixture into the pan. Baked it for 40 minutes and then removed it from the oven to cool. After it cooled, I sprinkled it with a light dusting of powdered sugar and then followed that with a light dusting of cocoa powder. Couldn’t have been easier!

#2 – Reusing Jack
You’re not going to throw away your jack-o’-lantern after Halloween are you? Jack is more than a pretty face! Roast the seeds with your favorite spices and don’t forget that the flesh makes delicious soup or heavenly pies (providing your jack-o’-lantern is still fresh). There are plenty of online sites with recipes for all of the above. After that, the best way to dispose of your pumpkin is by composting. According to Raquel Fagin of Earth911.com, “Both the pumpkin, as well as its seeds, can be composted. In fact, pumpkin seeds themselves are a strong source of nutrients, including zinc, iron and phosphorus. Compost piles rely on a mix of nitrogen-rich greens (which will include pumpkin components) and browns (leaves, paper and other carbon-rich materials). So, Halloween is the perfect time to compost, because you’ll not only have leaves falling before winter, but your pumpkin to also add to the mix.” Or what about this – Give your local zoo a call and check to see if it accepts donations of pumpkins to feed to its animals as a seasonal treat. Give a zoo animal a “Big Jack!”

#3 – OMG – Leggings Are Back!
Here’s what Gill Hart of Suite101.com says, “The fall/winter 2009 trend for belting everything from baggy tops to dresses to cardigans means that leggings are the perfect accessory, no matter what a woman’s age.” He further states, “Metallic-look poly-blend leggings also make an ‘80s-style comeback, along with jeggings and treggings, a strange hybrid, a cross between jeans/trousers and leggings, for those who are not brave enough to go the hole hog”. Say it’s not true, because I thought leggings were hideous in their original incarnations! Maybe it’s just me.

#4 – Flower Vases To Go
When taking flowers to friends or dropping flowers off to a senior home, it’s always nice to have them already arranged in vases for immediate enjoyment. There’s no need to give up one of your own vases or to go out and buy new ones, just look around your pantry. I find that large jars and cans make fabulous vases. You do save empty mayonnaise and spaghetti sauce jars, don’t you? Cover the jar or can with fabric or wrapping paper or even cheesecloth, tie with a ribbon, fill with water, and add flowers. Some cans don’t even need to be covered. An empty can of Le Sueur Sweet Peas makes a cute little flower container all by itself. What to do with the peas? That’s another post!

#5 – A Bit of Mother Teresa Wisdom
It is not the magnitude of our actions but the amount of love that is put into them that matters.

Do something with great love this weekend.

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