Friday, September 30, 2011

Goodbye Week. Hello Weekend. Lessons Learned: Take 14.

Goodbye sweet September as you came and went so silently.
Goodbye play time and ice cream time marking the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Goodbye discovery of realism and wisdom and growing in acceptance of it.
Goodbye fun-filled day-off from school with great friends making good times.
Goodbye beautiful bloggers who have shared so many inspirational Autumn projects this week.

Hello warm jackets, stylish hats, and closed-toe shoes.
Hello sweet October moon shining brightly in the blackened Fall sky.
Hello Halloween decor exploding all over my home.
Hello celebrating my sweet mom's birthday.
Hello visiting grandparents staying for too short of a time.


The lesson I learned this week is actually one that is an ongoing education about blogging. I am ever so humbled to be a part of this wonderful, tight-knit community of bloggers that continue to amaze and inspire me with their creativity, their words, and their hearts. Thank you for sharing your world with the world.

Do you decorate your home for the Autumn season?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Love and Patience: A Lesson from Nature


 Do you see those Black-eyed Susan's? Those beauties are a lesson from nature in love and patience. When I was writing this post, something more than a story about a perennial emerged from the words. The lesson went much deeper and, I think, it is probably your revelation, too.

Let's play a game. Think of somebody that has really supported you and believed in you over the years. Got it? Now here's the fun part. As you read my little post about my plant, I want you to replace the following words in the story:

When ever you see the word "I", replace it with the person you thought of when you think supportive.

When ever you see the words "the Black-eyed Susan", replace it with your own name.

I hope after reading this you give your "I" person a thanks.

Ready? Here goes...

Love and Patience by LOVD

When I first came in contact with the Black-eyed Susan I had much hope. I was excited by the Black-eyed Susan's potential and promise. For 4 long years, I nurtured the Black-eyed Susan in hopes of strong, massive growth. I could see greatness when I looked at her.

Year after year nothing came of the Black-eyed Susan despite unending care and support. I got nothing in return for the effort, but, I was steadfast. I was not giving up on the Black-eyed Susan. I knew love and patience for the Black-eyed Susan had to endure because I believed in her and in all the potential of beauty she had to give and share with the world.

There were years where I saw a glimmer of hope. I thought the bud emerging would finally bloom. I waited with anticipation but the Black-eyed Susan did nothing with her opportunity. The potential was there but nothing happened. I thought, "Well, at least that was a start." So I continued to practice love and patience with the Black-eyed Susan. Love and patience, love and patience.

Then, suddenly one day, after 4 years, as if by magic, the Black-eyed Susan bloomed. And bloomed she did. It was beautiful to see. Finally, the Black-eyed Susan was being who she was meant to be. I was so happy for the Black-eyed Susan. Now she could share her true beauty with the world.

Love and Patience. Don't we all need that to find our own success? Don't we all need to give that for others to find theirs?

As you read the story, inserting your own name and that of your biggest supporter, I hope you share this post with them and thank them for their endurance of love and patience.

 


I hope you enjoyed my true story and struggle with my real perennial plant of 4 years, the Black-eyed Susan. She is still doing well and continues to bloom into the Fall season.



What lessons has nature taught you?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What I Made Wednesday {Simple Homemade Applesauce}


Apples are synonymous with the Fall season. We head for the hills to our apple farms and get all excited about nature's bounty set before us in bushels. And, without thinking, we start grabbing all sorts of different kinds of apples to take home. When we get home our best laid intentions come to a screeching halt when we look at our pile and think, "Now what the McIntosh am I going to do with all these apples?" The apple picking day on the farm was a cherished memory but now it's time to wake ourselves from those blissful moments ingrained in our brains, wipe off the apple fritter glaze from our lips, and get to work.

Simple Homemade Applesauce
inspired by FOOD Everyday October 2005 




What You'll Need
3 pounds apples (try Gala, Empire, or McIntosh)
1 cinnamon stick
4 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup water
 What You'll Do
Peel apples.
Core or slice apples.
Place all ingredients into saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring twice.

What You'll Need to Know to Finish
When apples are tender, remove from heat, discard cinnamon stick, and add 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice. Store in airtight container in fridge when cool.
Be sure to reserve 2 cups of applesauce (if you think you can) for next week's W.I.M.Wednesday: Applesauce Cake!

My favorite type of apple is called honey crisp. What is the name of your favorite type of apple?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Winner! of a LOVD {Giveaway}


THANK YOU to all who participated in LOVD's latest giveaway for the Autumn Acorn necklace. Considering all activity from Comments, Subscribers, Facebook, and Followers, the computer chose...

#27 - tallyogagirl 

CONGRATULATIONS! You are a smart cookie. You not only left a Comment but you also are a Follower (proof that it pays to Follow since subscribers and followers are automatically entered to win)!

Claiming your prize is as easy as winning. Just go to the View My Complete Profile link over there on the left, see it? Click there and you'll find access to my e-mail address. Just send me a quick e-mail with your address and I'll get your lovely prize out to you ASAP via USPS. You have 48 hours to claim your prize.

Thanks so much for playing everybody. It's always so much fun to giveaway goodies!!!
I hope you play again, soon. More giveaways to come!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Gratitude Journal Monday

 


It's Monday lovely readers and it's time to contemplate for what we are grateful. If you're not quite sure from where this originated, click here. I hope you're dedicated to your own Gratitude Journal and are owning those blessings! My ongoing list continues...
56. I am grateful the Lord gives me a heart to forgive and bless all.
57. I am grateful for the special kind of peace and tranquility found only in nature.
58. I am grateful for family-friends that stand behind us and support our dreams.
59. I am grateful for the way trees sparkle in the sunshine after a short, passing thunderstorm.
60. I am grateful for the self-control I hope to exercise during this upcoming, yummy holiday season.


What are you grateful for lately?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Goodbye Week. Hello Weekend. Lessons Learned: Take 13.

Goodbye exciting, off campus school-week filled with flint knaps, atlatl's, and digging discoveries.
Goodbye time passing unnoticed during lunch with a friend and then rushing to get our kids from school.
Goodbye summer that has been so good to us this year.
Goodbye new friend connections through blog posts that touch the heart at exactly the right moment.
Goodbye All My Children; your ride is commendable (what will my mom do with an extra hour in her day?).


Hello autumn filled with promise, adventure, and craftiness.
Hello Civil War Raid train ride that holds lots of promise.
Hello old friends reconnecting after too much time apart.
Hello to answered prayers.
Hello to realizing all the possibilities set before us and allowing wisdom to choose.

This week I learned you have to think positively to yield positive results. The power of the mind over our actions somehow turns our dreams into reality. But you have to believe with all your might that it will happen. It has to be as natural a thought as breathing.

Did you learn any life lessons this week you'd like to share?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Accepting Your Journey


We move through our lives taking twists and turns like a champion chess player, making decisions to remain one step ahead of life's unpredictability. Back in college we had it all figured out; the type of guy we were going to marry, the kind of career we were going to have, the rock-star lifestyle we were going to lead. For many of us, we tasted it, making the path we planned a reality. But for how long?

We look at our lives and where we are today and compare it to the starstruck, naive plans of an ambitious, determined girl from the days of no responsibility. We were on our way, working the 9 to 5 gig and loving it; becoming our own person, standing on our own two stilettos and heading towards the penthouse, baby! We really were "Movin' on up"!

Suddenly, without any invitation from us life decides to change our game plan. Sometimes life allows us to choose our path making the direction more thoughtful, tricking us into thinking we're in charge of the change. Other times life doesn't give us a choice and we're forced into a direction, merging on to an unexpected on-ramp that has no berm, no exit. We have to press forward because if we turned around and went back, we'd be going the wrong way. Either way we have to view it all as our journey. Even when it's not where we planned we'd be, we have to take that moment of time in our lives, that season in which we are living in the present, and just bathe in the awesomeness of where we are right now, not where we were or where we may be in the future.

I never thought I'd go from being a career-minded, aerospace engineer (double majored in Mechanical and Aerospace engineering, minored in economics, with an MBA) to a stay-at-home mom, daily blogger, handmade jewelry maker, (and college consultant on the side). I know I didn't get from there to here over night and it doesn't even mean I'll be the "new" me forever. What I do know is I have to be open to changing seasons in my life and to redirecting my journey. But in every stop I make along the way, I will enjoy the time there because the journey, for all it's glory, is my classroom in teaching me to become who I am supposed to be, provided I keep pressing on to my journey's end.

"And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."
- Galatians 6:9 

Are you going through a changing of the seasons in your life?

Don't forget to enter your chance at LOVD's {Giveaway} - time is running out, good luck!
 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What I Made Wednesday and a LOVD {Giveaway!}


Autumn is in the air and I'm getting giddy! I've also been very busy and haven't had time to try new recipes or even craft creatively so you, my dear and lovely friends, are the beneficiaries of my busyness. Yes, I am inspired by this week's start of the Fall season and I just created (the glue is still drying as I type) a new, handmade, 1-inch, LOVD glass pendant necklace in honor of the occasion (first day of Autumn, this Friday) and I'm giving it away to one lucky duck. Isn't the acorn so cute? It comes on an oil-rubbed bronze colored ball chain necklace.

Handmade LOVD Glass Pendant
Entering is easy, peasy, acorn-squeezy and you can enter multiple times and in multiple ways.
Here's the scoop:

All you have to do to enter to win is do any or all of the following
(as many times as you want)
1. Leave a comment on today's post. How to leave a comment if you don't blog? No prob.
a. Click "Comment" at the end of this post
b. Type your comment in the "Leave your comment" box
c. Enter the word verification
d. Choose "Name/URL" as your identity if you don't know what the other choices are
e. Just put your name (or what you want to go by) in the Name Field
f. Don't have to put anything in the URL field - when the winner is picked, they'll have to claim the prize by e-mailing me next Tuesday
g. Then click "Publish your comment"

2. You can also enter by entering your e-mail address to receive LOVD posts by e-mail
Do you see that field to the right and down a little ways? Enter your e-mail and you'll get a verification e-mail to verify your subscription request (this last part is very important so look for the e-mail to come from FeedBurner). Those already subscribed are automatically entered to win!

3. You can visit my Facebook page and "Send me a Friend Request" and I'll be sure to accept your kindness!

4. And finally, you can Follow me! You'll find that in the right hand column, as well!

RULES
1. You can do any of those actions above as many times as you would like or have the time for

2. Every action counts as an entry

3. You only have until the first day of Autumn to enter: Friday, September 23 at 11:59 pm Pacific-time to enter; no comments or actions will be considered for entry after that time

4. Comments that are disparaging will not be considered and will be labeled as SPAM

Capturing Autumn
5. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, September 27th's post - YOU MUST CHECK BACK ON THAT DAY TO SEE IF YOU WON - the winner will have to then contact me via e-mail to claim their prize so I may send to a mailing address

6. Each comment and action will be assigned a number and a computer will randomly choose a number signifying a winner

7. Good luck and get busy!

What do you love best about Autumn?



Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I {Heart} Apple ... and Hubby, Too!

I really do {heart} Apple

Just a few Fridays ago you may have noticed I was saying goodbye to my poor little "A" key on my laptop computer's keyboard. My little MacBook had enough of my daily blogging and coughed up the "A" key in protest. Although I pressed on, not missing a beat of my blogging responsibility to the world, my SuperHero Hubby noticed my frustration and leaped into action to alleviate my frustration! Why? Because he knows a frustrated wife and mommy usually means a frustrated household (so, in fact, he was really saving himself).

Long story short, my keyboard was broken, not just the "A" key, it had other issues. SuperHubby, being in the business, made a few phone calls and discovered my 5-year old MacBook's keyboard was under Apple's warranty!!!! Now I have a brand new keyboard top, sporting a brand new track pad, and missing no keys, all for zero dollars, nada, zilch, zero, nothing! Can you believe it?

Look at the pretty, brand new keyboard
It's no secret how in love I am with Apple (read my homage to Steve Jobs). But dear readers, I wish you all could know the pleasure of owning an Apple computer. It is absolutely delightful and a sheer joy. Apple stands behind their products and, although they aren't perfect, they strive to make the customer experience one where you walk away being pleasantly surprised by their "go-the-extra-mile" attitude. Thank you Apple and SuperHubby for my new, free keyboard for my MacBook (did I mention it's a 5-year old computer?). Apple...you continue to amaze and delight.

Disclosure: I was not, in any way, paid by Apple. This endorsement is my own. My husband's business does, in fact, generate income due to the existence of Apple. My love for Apple, however, goes far beyond putting food on the table.



Monday, September 19, 2011

Gratitude Journal Monday


Happy Monday, everybody! I hope you're keeping up with your Gratitude Journal. Not sure what I'm talking about, click here. A Gratitude Journal will change the way you view your life. For some, it may even save your life. I hope you begin one of your own today. Whether you join me here each Monday and make your own declarations in the Comments section, or you go out and buy a beautiful journal and write them down privately, I want to encourage you to get started. Change can't happen without taking action!

51. I am grateful for the warm, cozy blanket I can snuggle under to keep warm at night since we're not quite ready to turn on the furnace, just yet.

52. I am grateful for the awesome imagination my son uses while he plays and I hope he never loses it as he grows up.

53. I am grateful for weeds because if I didn't have to get rid of them, then I'm not sure I'd have the time to spend in the garden. Weeds force us to pay attention to the garden again and spend a little time in a world that can get neglected amongst the chaos.

54. I am grateful for exciting, innovative teaching methods that get our kids out of the classroom and into the thick of things, learning by doing, all week long!

55. I am grateful for my husband's change of luck. Let's hope it's a trend that continues.


Want to make life even better? Start with Commenting just one statement of gratitude, right here, today!



Friday, September 16, 2011

Goodbye Week. Hello Weekend. Lessons Learned: Take 12.

The ominous Autumn moon from our window one evening.
Goodbye meeting new bloggers who are fast becoming friends as we share our posts.
Goodbye inspiring school strategy meeting as we approach our centennial year in 2015.
Goodbye parent coffee meeting and taking over a back corner of Starbucks with new friends.
Goodbye warm weather as summertime becomes a faint memory.
Goodbye endless e-mails I must answer as it is my goal by end of day to day.

Hello newly born twin babies, new to mom and dad, new to the world. Congrats!
Hello spending some time doing some much needed weeding to neglected garden beds.
Hello to elephants crossing - wait- sorry, that was my son practicing trumpet.
Hello to experiential learning, off-campus, all next week, all fun!
Hello Autumn air hitting my senses with crispness and coolness - invigorating.

This week I learned the sweet spot of when to leave the house to take my son to school while avoiding rush hour traffic. This beautiful time of 7:25 am is a time that may not mean much to you, but my discovery of this sacred hour and minute means a less frazzled, calmer, more at peace me.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Finding Inspiration During Challenging Times

A LOVD glass pendant necklace - available on Etsy soon!

Stay positive, friends! Despite any of our circumstances, we are living in extraordinary times. Dear reader, it is no accident that you are living today, not 100 years ago, or even 100 years from now. You are here today! These times are yours. For me, I've discovered some truths in these ever-changing times.

Anymore, it's not about getting ahead, it's about holding on to what you already have.

Anymore, it's not about buying your heart's desire, it's about hearting what can't be bought.

Anymore, it's not about working more, it's about working. Period.

Anymore, it's not about finding happiness, it's about being happy in spite of circumstance.

Anymore, it's not about what you believe, it's about how much you believe in it.

Anymore, it's not about only you, it's about the world around you.

The great irony of today's times lends to a paradigm between technology advancements and finding the simpler aspects of life.

How would you complete the sentence? Anymore it's not about ______________, it's about ____________.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What I Made Wednesday {Oyster Cracker Nibblers}


Out of after-school snack ideas already? Try this crunchy, yummy, savory, easy-to-make recipe.



What You'll Need
1 bag oyster crackers (16 oz)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 pkg. dry Hidden Valley Ranch Original dressing
1 teaspoon dill weed
1 teaspoon garlic powder












What You'll Do
In a large storage bowl with cover, dump in all the ingredients and shake well. For 2 hours, shake well every so often. The oil will absorb into the cracker.









What You'll Need to Know to Finish
Store in an airtight container, will keep for weeks. 35 crackers are only 100 calories! I've had these yummy crunchers on salads, soups, and have even used as chili toppers! The enhanced flavor of the cracker is so robust. I hope you try this recipe and enjoy!




What is your favorite, any-time snack?

 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Going Local: Big Fun Cleveland


"A cornucopia of delights, a cathedral of counter-culture, a warehouse of nerdabilia and nostalgia", Big Fun proclaims and I could not have said it better myself. One Saturday morning we packed up the kid and headed to the big city, Cleveland that is. Along the way we did, you know, the normal city things like checked-out a Cleveland city street turned New York demolished-street for the filming of the Avengers movie, ate the bestest, most freshest guacamole ever to be made in the city at 11:00 am (sorry for making you open early) with piping hot tortilla chips that have a tinge of cinnamon (if I'm not mistaken) at El Tango Taqueira. And even with a stroll through the West Side Market, we couldn't help but enjoy our time the most, meandering down memory lane getting back in touch with our childhood memories at a great toy shop called Big Fun Cleveland

Old is new, again.


You'll find those toys mom threw away or put in the garage sale at this wonderful shop! And to think, you can own it once again! Only now it's vintage and you'll just have to deal with sticker shock, but can you put a price on a memory? 







Click on the pic!
Click on the pic!


I am absolutely in love with all the antique fixtures holding and displaying all the fun toys from the past. Every drawer you open holds a treasure of nostalgia just waiting to be discovered.




I opened a drawer and there was my old Star Wars Princess Leia action figure staring me right in the face. I wasn't sure if she was saying, "Take me home! We have found each other once again" or perhaps it was "You again? Get lost, I've gotten along fine on my own without you." I'll admit, she was the only female action figure in the entire bin?!?! (Do you see what the movie Toy Story has done to my imagination?)

Search and you shall find.



My son had a blast looking at the old Spiderman comic books. He even bought one for $1 - whew, got off easy! I hope you take the time to take the kiddos to Big Fun Cleveland! It's a great place to hang out and introduce the younglings to the toys of the past that influenced your present. 











WARNING. WARNING. WARNING! Do not, I repeat, do not allow your children to wander through the store without your supervision. At all costs, do not meander to the far right back corner of the store. IT IS NOT FOR CHILDREN and their sign warning you of this is not at all big enough or bright enough to avoid marring innocent eyes of the young and truth be told, of the old, as well. Consider yourself warned. Everything else in the store was A-OK, G-rated.

Big Fun Cleveland is located at 11512 Clifton Blvd., Cleveland, OH, 44102. 216.631.4386
Their other location is located at 1814 Coventry Rd., Cleveland Heights, OH 44118. 216.371.4386






What was your favorite childhood toy?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Gratitude Journal Monday

Today is a difficult Monday to begin after yesterday's flooded memories of 9/11, a decade later. To honor, to pay tribute, to move ahead, to go on, even while carrying scars, to be better than before: no one does it better than America. Today's Gratitude Journal Monday is a remembrance of those lost on that day, those heroes of that day, and those that carry on in spite of that day.

46. I am grateful for all the courageous firefighters that were on the front lines that day doing their best to contribute to a situation never before dealt with on American soil.

47. I am grateful for the brave passengers of Flight 93 who used group effort and teamwork to probably save Washington D.C. from further danger and destruction.

48. I am grateful for the everyday office workers that became heroes as their unselfish efforts to get people to safety became their number one priority over saving themselves.

49. I am grateful for the memorial at Ground Zero because it allows for a final resting place for the innocent victims and gives their family members and friends a place to go and reflect.

50. I am ever so thankful for America's military who protect our freedoms and allow us to live life daily in peace without a second thought of what threats may be lurking.

Where were you on 9/11 a decade ago?



Friday, September 9, 2011

Goodbye Week. Hello Weekend. Lessons Learned: Take 11.

When keys start falling off, it may be a sign you blog too much.
Goodbye "A" key on my computer - I miss you.
Goodbye singing in the shower from a boy who was asked to join the school's new Glee Club.
Goodbye Parents' Night and meeting teachers dedicated to our children's success.
Goodbye Caribou Coffee and hanging out with a great couple of gals that are so funny my cheeks still hurt.
Goodbye last summer "to-do" item - rock climbing.

Hello lounging around the house for a change.
Hello heading out to the farm for some apple cider, apple fritters, apple-anything.
Hello Quiditch team at school; sorting hat ceremony coming soon.
Ain't no mountain high enough...
Hello Friday Night Lights and catching marching band sounds trailing through the air and into our home.
Hello Autumn fever beginning to flow through my soul and excite my spirit.

This Labor Day week of posts allowed me to reflect on the various types of citizens that contribute to our nation's prosperity. The lesson I learned this week is that we all labor to live, but it is in the being, not the doing, that makes a life matter most.


Do you define yourself by who you are or what you do?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Steve Jobs: The Father of "Do Better"

Lilana Slater from google.com via Pinterest

If you have not had the privilege of owning an Apple product, then you have not had the honor to touch greatness. You have not had the experience to glimpse into a heart driven by finding a better way. And when you embark on the Apple journey, you too are infected by this longing for excellence, and adopt a new religion where mediocrity is a sin. Steve Jobs planted the seed of curiosity into the mind of all his followers that questioned why all the world's products, services, and lifestyles didn't fit the Apple way: a demand for excellence, for inventiveness, for beauty in its simplest form. If you don't know Apple, you don't know a better way. You don't know a smarter way. You don't know the pleasure of technology.
You don't know...


The feel and operation of any Apple product is instinctive. What other technology product operates as easily in the hands of a 3-year old as in the hands of a 99-year old? How is it possible? Because Steve Jobs squished the generational gap of technology, not by pushing his company to provide a product that just gets the function complete, but instead creating a product where form and function are orchestrated and intermingled into one and where the form is so overlying the function, the miracle behind it becomes as unseen as the Spirit; but it's there.


Steve Jobs changed the world. He gave us ease and beauty in productiveness. He infected us through the brilliance of his products, and at the same time, gave us a new standard of expectation. When enough people demand excellence, excellence will result. Thank you, Steve Jobs, for giving us excellence without us initially asking for it or even knowing we could get it. Thank you for giving us a better way because, for me, it is the only way.


Remain peaceful and find joy in every day ahead, Steve. Family, friends, and fans are sending good thoughts your way.


From a grateful Apple user that used to bleed 6 colors, and now just glows in excellence. Thanks.


The intention of this post was certainly not to offend PC-users. Apple fan or not, you have to give Steve Jobs credit for his impact on our world.

In honor of full disclosure, my husband's own business exists because Apple exists. And because of Apple, we have food on our table (and you know how much of a foodie I am) and a roof over our heads, along with other luxuries. I, however, was an Apple fan far before ever meeting my husband.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What I Made Wednesday {The Chores Game}


Fight the chore doldrums with this easy-to-make game that will get your children begging to play it over and over again (I went too far on that last part, sorry). Chores aren't my idea of a great time but the task is necessary. To make it fun, veil the task as a game. And, when you can get your kids involved in helping, there are life lessons being learned (a nice way of justifying child labor - kidding). Let's face it, nothing's cuter than a 5-year old holding a dust rag!

What You'll Need
- lots of ping pong balls depending on your list of chores
- a Sharpie pen
- a kitchen timer
- a nice storage bin to contain the balls and timer


What You'll Do
1. Gather the cheap labor children and come up with simple chores that are age-appropriate for all involved.

2. Write each chore on a ping pong ball with permanent marker. One chore per ball.

3. I like to have one ping pong ball be a FREEBIE and another be YOUR CHOICE.

4. Dump all the ping pong balls into your container.

5. Equip the busy bees appropriately by having all the supplies readily available in one central location.


How to Play
Now the fun part: getting the house back into shape while teaching teamwork. Have everyone agree to a specified time say 10 minutes. (As tempting as it is, don't start your teeny tiny cleaning crew with a time more than 15 minutes - they'll catch on too quick!) Set the timer and yell GO! Each child will close their eyes (no peeking) and choose a ping pong ball and make a mad dash to complete the written task at hand. 

When complete, the unsuspecting, but very willing participants will come back for another mission from the ping pong task master. When time runs out, the person with the most ping pong balls wins. If you don't like the competitiveness of it then set family records and try to beat your previous scores as a group.

 

This game is an equal opportunity employer - are the kids too young to read? No problem, just draw the task onto the ping pong ball. This craft is fun and easy! Your kids will learn responsibility, you'll get a tidier home, and you won't have to answer to the U.S. Department of Labor (or even the health department depending on how dire your circumstances).

* On a serious note, DO NOT expose your younglings to any kind of chemicals, etc. It is up to you to determine what your children can handle in way of cleaning supplies. The Swiffer Dusters are a great non-toxic dust rag that really gets the job done. (No I did not get paid by Swiffer to say that but if they'd like to have a sit-down, I'm all ears.)



Linky Party for W.I.M. Wednesday coming soon, but feel free to share your crafts and recipes in comments now, if you'd like.
 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

God Bless the Laboring Man

Lilana Slater from dandelionseeds.com via Pinterest
My father has been a factory worker all his adult life. Factory work was an opportunity for people who came to America from another country to earn decent pay for their hard work in a, albeit,  tough, and dirty environment. You didn't have to speak English well to run a machine. And if you were smart and good with tools, you told the machine what to run and how to run it. That is my father. Now retired, my father is the smartest machinist I know. The foreman always used to give the most difficult jobs to my father to run. Why? Because it required more than just pushing a button. My father designed entire set-ups to some of the most difficult pieces/parts used in manufacturing today. Even retired, my father is called back to his former company as a consultant on some of the most difficult machine set-up jobs.

The work was long and hard, it was always hot and exhausting, and the environment was dark, dingy, and always dirty. But my father worked everyday in that muck to provide for his family. And provide he did. We lived in a small all-brick ranch house by the lake that my mother beautifully made into our home. He sent me to one of the best engineering schools in the country. And we never had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner. My mother was able to stay home and raise me right (I needed that). My father did all this because he was given the opportunity to work and to save.

You are first-class all the way, Daddy. Now that I'm older and know better, I am so proud to be my father's daughter. Thank you, my Tata. Thank you for all the bittersweet sacrifices you've made along the way. And, thank you America for giving my father, new to this land so long ago, an opportunity to earn a better life, pursue happiness, and help strengthen the backbone of America.
(The following video requires Flash Player - sorry!)



Do you think American manufacturing will be able to offer to today's working men and women the same opportunities my dad had to make a living and a life?





Monday, September 5, 2011

Gratitude Journal Monday

Lilana Slater from Google via Pinterest
Happy Labor Day, America! It's Gratitude Journal Monday and today's declarations are dedicated to those people contributing to the social and economic worth of our country - 
the backbone of America!

41. I am grateful for all the shift work people that keep our factory machines humming day and night, 7-3, 3-11, 11-7.

42. I am grateful for all the office workers that keep a place operating smoothly while putting out daily fires.

43. I am grateful for all the transportation workers that distribute what we need across county lines or across state lines.

44. I am grateful for all our services providers that protect us and keep us out of harms way, teach our children, and clean up our trash, and the labor force that supports those efforts.

45. I am grateful for all the innovators, entrepreneurs, and business leaders whose visions and dreams, when brought forth, keep America working and earning.

Rest up, tomorrow is coming so we can do it all over again! 

What are your plans for Labor Day?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Goodbye Week. Hello Weekend. Lessons Learned: Take 10.

Go see the Gnome and Garden exhibit.
Goodbye long, sweet summer days of August.
Goodbye South Beach diet I really tried to follow.
Goodbye traffic-free week of driving to school - finally figured out the right time to leave.
Goodbye quiet in the house since trumpet practice is expected daily.
Goodbye most precious lunch with my Babi (grandmother); we'll have to do it again soon.

Hello cool days of September.
Hello amateur golf tournament.
Hello pasta party (now you see why South Beach diet didn't work for me).
Hello breaking bread with new friends (do I have to mention South Beach?).
Hello 3-day weekend; Happy Labor Day, everybody.

This week I learned happiness is contagious. Affect somebody today with your positive attitude. Don't infect them with negativity. Go about your day smiling and people will react positively to you. Try it!

What are you saying hello to this long, holiday weekend?


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Going Local: Holden Arboretum

Gnome Improvement
Are you looking for a way to squeeze one more drop out of summer before hibernating under bed covers wrapped in a wool sweater sipping cocoa so warm you can feel the smooth chocolate flowing down your throat? Not ready for that yet, huh? Then gather up a picnic basket, pile the family into the people transporter, and head towards the lake (that's North). Holden Arboretum is a sanctuary of peace and tranquility to me. It is my ultimate most favorite place in the world. When you go, you'll know what I mean (the Rhododendron Garden is my favorite area). While there, plan to tour their current exhibit: Gnome and Garden. Gnomes as high as five feet tall were given to regional artists who used these statues as blank canvases of whimsy to create their own unique take on these magical protectors of our gardens. Holden Arboretum has great activities for the kids relating to the featured gnomes if you're interested, as well.
Gerome, the Recycled Gnome
Candy Gnome - son attempting to lick
Krazy Kubist Knome
Down the Rabbit Hole - a favorite
Favorite Spot in All of Holden
We grabbed some cream sodas, slapped together some turkey sandwiches, made a yummy Roasted Tomato and Olive Salad and hightailed it to search out the gnomes, all 20 of them scattered along the one-mile trail. I want to show you photos of all the gnomes but I don't want to ruin it for you. It's so much fun to be walking along the path, then suddenly, in the distance, you see this huge gnome. My heart went a-flutter after each glimpse of a new gnome discovery!

We practically had the park all to ourselves because we we're allowed to be there after-hours since we're members (I highly recommend this investment).

The Gnome and Garden exhibit runs only through September 25th. I hope you capture some of the whimsy and magic these gnomes have to offer and carry it with you through winter and into spring, when you can enjoy the gardens once again.

There is a fee to enter the park unless you are a member. At only $50 per year we are Maple members of Holden Arboretum so we get free admission and admittance to the park after-hours. The place is open year-round with seasonal activities to enjoy (love the snow-shoeing program). Imagine, the beauty of this preserved land for you to enjoy practically all to yourself! For more information about entrance fees, hours, directions, or membership, click here.


Do you have a gnome in your garden?
 

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