Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What I Made Wednesday {Edamame Power Snack Bites}

Healthy snacking can be a challenge for all of us as we traverse the challenges a day can bring. I've discovered that if I have good choices readily available to me when the grumble stomach monster starts to gripe, then I'm more apt to grab the healthier snack and leave the empty calorie, over-processed convenience snack on the shelf.
My family loves edamame. We were unfamiliar with this soybean of wonder but discovered its tastiness only a couple of years ago. We've added edamame to our omelets, we've steamed edamame with a sprinkling of sea salt, and now, we're going to make edamame into a Power Snack.

What You'll Need
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons honey
10-ounce package of shelled edamame (thawed if frozen)
Kosher salt
pinch of chili or chipotle powder, optional
baking sheet
mixing bowl
mixing spoon

What You'll Do
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (177 degrees C).

Combine the oil, honey, and optional seasoning in your mixing bowl. Add the edamame and gently mix to coat. Spread the coated edamame onto a baking sheet and spread evenly into a single layer.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes total, stirring once half way to give the beans an even, golden-brown coloring. Place the roasted edamame into a bowl and sprinkle with kosher salt to your liking.

What You'll Need to Know to Finish
Varying the oven time will make the edamame more or less crunchy so adjust to your liking. The Edamame Power Snack Bites can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Here's to healthy snacking!


Have you had the delight in trying edamame? 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I Want to Stay in Touch

We have to take care of some business today. So sorry for the interruption of "casual conversation that uplifts and inspires beautifully".

Without getting into too much detail because I don't understand the details myself let's just say Google and Facebook are competing with one another to take over the world and us bloggers and our followers are caught in this nasty war. Now, I can't really complain as both companies have offered all their services for FREE can't look a gift horse in the mouth, and all that. But FREE usually means they are the ones in charge, not me, not you. So, when changes come along, you make adjustments and hope those actions will keep you for the next couple of years, anyways.

Depending on how you receive daily LOVD posts, this may be the last day it will be delivered to you via Google Friend Connect and into your reader. Don't panic! I've made several various options from which to choose so there is no hiccup in our continuing communication and friendship. Just read over the various explanations I have below and take action so you will never miss a LOVD post due to this Google Friend Connect fiasco, scheduled to take effect March 1.

Choose one of the following actions to receive new LOVD posts automatically.

via e-mail - If you already receive new LOVD posts via e-mail, you are safe. There will be no change for you so you have to do nothing; just go about your day and I'll see you tomorrow for What I Made Wednesday. If you do not currently receive LOVD posts via e-mail, you can by subscribing. See that box to the right of this post entitled Feel LOVD Everyday by E-Mail? That is where you will enter your e-mail address, but you are not done, yet!!!!! You must verify your e-mail subscription. Feedburner will send you a confirmation e-mail that usually gets delivered to your Junk Mail or SPAM folder, so you'll have to look for it. Just click the link in the e-mail, then you've been subscribed. Got it?

via GFC -  Again, Google Friend Connect will not continue to place new LOVD posts into your Reader if you are not a Blogspot user (that's what they tell me). Rumor has it, the service will stop for Blogspot users in the future, as well. Google wants to use Google+ to compete with Facebook and I'm not about to start that account. If you go this route, I can't promise you'll get new LOVD posts delivered to your Reader, but if you want to Follow this way, I won't stop you. You can always choose another method later if it's not working out.

via Linky Followers - This is a great alternative to the Google Reader route. You can Follow via Linky Followers, but you'll have to open a FREE, new account, totally NOT shared by any third-party. Don't let this put you off because the benefits are amazing. It's a great way to organize if you follow a lot of blogs. It's absolutely FREE, so give it a try and see if you like it. If you're a blogger, I highly recommend this route for purposes beyond keeping up with LOVD posts. This option is to the right entitled LOVD Friends Stay Connected.

via Facebook - LOVD now has it's own Facebook page. I'll be sure to share new posts there daily. If you have a Facebook account, head on over and "Like" LOVD. Not only will you get the latest blog posts, you'll also get the 411 on new product introductions, sales, etc. (if I ever get that Etsy shop off the ground).

All of these options are found to the right side of this post. After today, I'm not sure how Google Friend Connect will change your ability to receive LOVD posts. I hope you find one of the above methods suitable so we may stay connected. I don't want to lose you; I want to stay in touch.

LOVD tidings,

P.S. Why not Twitter? I frankly have no time to tweet! Sorry.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Gratitude Journal Monday

Wow, OK, that felt like a really short weekend! How about for you? I hope your Gratitude Journey continues today and you reap all the benefits that await a grateful heart. If you're just getting started, click here to find out more. If you're having trouble some Mondays trying to come up with 5 declarations of gratitude, it's time to let your mind go and just allow your fingers to keep tapping at the keyboard; go with whatever comes to mind, big or small. Just the fact that you are able to breathe without an oxygen mask is enough thankfulness. Don't take the little things for granted, and your big thanks will eventually emerge from your thoughts. Everyone needs a warm-up, especially when you're not so prepared to start a Monday.

165. I am grateful for learning how to read.
166. I am grateful for learning how to write.
167. I am grateful for libraries.
168. I am grateful for great, dedicated teachers.
169. I am grateful for all the family and friends around the world that were involved in funeral arrangements for my grandmother in Europe; coordination was quite the project.
170. I am grateful for services like Western Union that make money-exchanges easy and safe for my father as he took care of funding funeral arrangements for his mom across the ocean.

Have a great week and think about all the little things you just couldn't live without. You can declare some gratitude right now by leaving a comment, if you'd like. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Goodbye Week. Hello Weekend. Lessons Learned: Take 35.

Goodbye short week that seemed a little longer than usual.
Goodbye little oops to the car that could cost $1,000 to fix properly.
Goodbye feeling my clumsiness and lack of paying attention is costing my family too much money.
Goodbye creating a trio of jewelry that I donated to a local school for their fundraiser.
Goodbye my Baba as heaven embraces you with love, kindness, and gentleness.

Hello 4th/5th grade choir concert that I can't wait to see (yeah, my kid has a solo)!
Hello playing grown-up and finally moving forward on preparing our will.
Hello family friend that came back from Florida and is begrudgingly staying for a little longer than he expected but we're thrilled to have him back unexpectedly.
Hello anticipated snow storm that will make our surroundings more like they should have been all along.
Hello lighting a few candles at church in memory of those that have departed.

This week my lesson learned was not so much an enlightenment as it was a confirmation of what I already knew. I have THE.BEST. readers on the planet. My family and I greatly appreciate the outpouring of love, support, and condolences due to this post. You will never know how your precious and kind words have humbly touched my family's hearts. They were surprised to see so many of you take the time to send your regrets and prayers, but I was not. Thank you for sharing your beautiful hearts. I love you, LOVD readers.

Have a gentle weekend, friends.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Rippling Impact a Life Can Make

Official papers indicate she died at 89 years of age, but who is to say? At the time of her birth, the government took records just about as seriously as a dandelion seed's path in the wind. No one really knew, or really cared for that matter. You only did a handful of things in the little village from where she made a lifetime: you were born, you died, and in between you worked. Glimpses of happiness and joy were scattered throughout her passing days, but the penetrating shine of pure bliss never blinded any one part of her life. It was a steady, dim beam guiding her life's path, the only intensity of light she knew. Can you ever know the brightness of the sun if you never gaze into its core?

Her village was small, filled with loving, hard-working people in the former Yugoslavia. She resided in her tiny, 2-room adobe very comfortably during the spring and fall seasons. The other two seasons were grueling at best, for reasons opposite each other. I'd call her home a cabin or a hut if it wasn't for the fact those terms would have given too much credit. She had no running water, no indoor plumbing. The sink, the bath, the washer were all down by the river. Only the past decade of her life was electricity introduced to her world. The wood-burning stove did double-duty, providing heat during the winter months, as well as cooked food, what little there was of it. She lived a lifetime, never learning how to read or write, but knew how to work the land to survive.

With the exception of one son, her children fled the village for better opportunity. One even came to America. That son would only see his mother once, maybe twice more, in her lifetime, but his dedication was always strong, sending her money as often as the rain falls in Ireland. Her end came, as it will for us all. But her end did not come hundreds of years ago, as indicated by her living conditions. No, her end came earlier this week.

I only met my paternal grandmother once, face-to-face, on a trip to Europe when I was 16 years old. She made me popcorn on that wood stove of her's and it was the best. She did not know English, I only knew a little of her language. Despite the language barrier, we had bloodlines between us that bonded us from the start. My father is the son that made it to America, but that's a whole 'nother story.

Goodbye my Baba. Your life was long and hard but now you can finally rest in the arms of heaven where a softer, more gentler journey awaits you. Love you, always.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What I Made Wednesday {Dutch Baby Pancakes}

We've got a little restaurant near town called The Original Pancake House. It's one of those places that opens really early, but closes around 2:00 in the afternoon. Weird, huh? Well, not if you consider their menu primarily offers breakfast food items. I hear it's absolutely delicious, but I can't say for sure. Why you ask? Because we just can't get into this popular place. A few Saturdays ago we were in the area and had the great idea to finally try The Original Pancake House. As we approached the entrance the line to get into the place was out the door and inside it was standing room only. I was told the wait would be about 45 minutes. Did I mention this was at 1:00 in the afternoon?

Well, there's one thing you need to know about Super Hubby; he refuses to wait more than 15 minutes at any restaurant for a table. For him, it's a matter of principle because he said no restaurant food is worth the wait. This is partly my fault as my cooking has gotten to be exceptionally good over the past 15 years! Super Hubby did seem disappointed at the wait time and turned to me and said, "I really wanted to try this," as he showed me a photo of The Original Pancake House's Dutch Baby Pancakes. I took one look at the photo, looked at Super Hubby, and said, "I can make that!" We all headed home, my confidence a bit shaky but, hey, how hard can it be? I started researching the Internet on Dutch Baby Pancakes and came up with a combination of several recipes I found. What follows is my version of Dutch Baby Pancakes and, baby, it's incredible! Seriously, I need to stop having such success in the kitchen or I may never see another restaurant ever again!

What You'll Need
Cast iron pan (larger, about 11 inches)
4 - eggs
2 - Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
Powdered Sugar (optional)
Maple Syrup (optional)

What You'll Do
First, preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
Melt the butter on low heat in the cast iron pan. Do not burn the butter!
Whisk together the eggs and milk, then add the flour.

I used an immersion blender to get out the lumps. If you have the patience and stamina, just continue whisking until smooth; the immersion blender is not necessary.

Pour the batter into the cast iron pan and place it in the center rack of a 425 degree F preheated oven. Bake for 25 minutes. It will rise high and become a fluffy thing of goodness.

What You'll Need to Know to Finish
When you take your thing of beauty out of the oven, the pancake will be very puffy. Unfortunately, it will naturally settle back down after a couple of seconds. Cut the pancake into wedges and sprinkle with lemon juice. Yeah, you heard me right, sprinkle with lemon juice. This will completely enhance the flavor of this German pancake, just trust me on this one. Then sprinkle with powdered sugar for some sweetness.

We went the non-traditional route and also used maple syrup to top our Dutch Baby Pancake, instead of butter. This recipe is so easy, so quick, and so good. I hope you try it and let me know how yours turns out!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sharing My Fave Blogs

This month of love and admiration is quickly coming to a close. I hope it's been a lovely one for you. Before we reach this month's end, I wanted to share with you my ten most-favorite blogs. I read their posts every day, as their words have become my daily routine and comfort.

Blogging is hard work and takes a great deal of time and effort. You bloggers out there know this and I commend all of you for authoring such creative, interesting blogs. Yes, bloggy friends truly are real friends. I know if I ended up visiting any one of their hometowns, I'd have someone to visit with and they'd welcome me with open arms. I would do the same for them.

So my fellow bloggers, this post is for you. I encourage you to visit each one of these fabulous sites and see for yourself why I love these ladies so much.

Here they are in no particular order and why I love the way they do what they do!

1. Craftberry Bush - Lucy is amazing to say the least about this beautifully creative soul. Her insecurities make her so charming and real. Oh, if she only knew how wonderful all her projects really are, why, there'd be no talking to her. Thank goodness she's so humble.

2. Lisa Leonard Online - The moment you step into Lisa's world, you fall in love with her family, her life, her products. Her business started at her kitchen table and it's amazing to see the God-given growth of her little enterprise. Her ride is a fun and interesting read - I never miss a day!

3. My Crazy Quilt Life - You don't have to be a quilter to enjoy Betty's easy-going attitude. Don't even get me started on the tea parties this lady throws on her blog. She has the most extensive and eclectic set of dishware known to man. I mean, the table-settings are truly lovely and you really do feel, and wish, you'd be right there with her, sipping and chatting with Betty.

4. Pocketful of Memory Cards - Suzan from Canada, eh! Oh, how I love this woman's insights and perspectives. She's also one of my biggest supporters, always leaving comments and imprinting love on this site of mine. I wish she knew how truly inspiring she is to me. Thank you!

5. Crafty, Scrappy, Happy - Jaime Lyn is the sweetest, dearest person you'll ever meet! She's also smart to-boot, as she plays a dentist during the day, a super-cool blogger at night. Her crafts are amazing, and so are her Crafty Linky Parties. xxoo!

6. The Wiegand's - Is there a more gentle soul on the planet than Casey Wiegand? I doubt it, really! She's also blog-famous but it hasn't gone to her head. I'll admit, when I get a comment from Casey, it's like I'm a tween getting an autograph from Justin Bieber - I'm totally giddy and, like, just can't believe she'd take the time. I so appreciate it! Oh, and her kids will seriously melt your heart, they are that sweet.

7. The Taylor House - You know I love this girl, Chrissy. How could I not after she sent me such lovely handmade Valentine gifts for this year's long-distance gift exchange. She's got me as a reader of her blog for life!

8. live.laugh.rowe - Kelly is so great and such a wealth of information. From recipes, to growing your blog and techie tips, you are always learning something new and useful from this girl. And, don't even get me started on her giveaways - worth the effort of commenting, trust me.

9. The Crafted Sparrow - I've got two words for you, and two words only: FREE PRINTABLES! Rebecca is so generous to create Subway Art printables and offer them up to us for nothing, nada, zip! Oh, they are just so beautiful and it can make a lonely, empty picture frame so worthy of a mantel placement. Rebecca also scours the web looking for other craft inspirations - thanks for saving us all that time and effort. Love it!

10. The Great Read - I cannot say enough about my bloggy "sister", Michele. We share a passion for books; but not just any books. We share a love for library books, and the library, in general. It would do you a world of good to frequent Michele's blog for book inspiration. It will spark a love affair with your own local library and, trust me, you'll never be the same again. Your library card is willing to give you more than it gets, so why not take advantage?

I know I've missed blogs I frequent regularly and I mean no offense in leaving you off this list. I'll get to you on the next round. For now, though, start exploring the blogs above and tell them LOVD sent you!

Now it's your turn to share some of your most favorite blogs. Please comment the name or link of the blog you can't go a day without visiting. I can't wait to explore your finds!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Gratitude Journal Monday

Happy Monday and Happy Presidents' Day! I hope you are one of the many enjoying a day off today. My mind drifts to Abraham Lincoln and the kind of man he was: confident, focused, steady. I bet he had an attitude of gratitude. I bet his successes focused, not on his lack, but rather on his reality, and acceptance of it. A knowing that what you currently have is all you need perpetuates confidence from within and generates focus and steadfastness. A thankful awareness must have been part of Abe's success. Shouldn't it be part of ours, too?

 161. I am so thankful to have been introduced to the game Apples to Apples this weekend; so much fun, so hilarious, great pick for a good-old-fashioned family game night.

162. I am grateful for all the kids we had over on Friday after the movie because it made my son so happy and really made his day, and mine, too!

163. I am grateful for the delicious scone recipe my bloggy friend Kelly from live.laugh.rowe shared this weekend - so YUMMY!

164. I am grateful for the beautiful sunshine that peeked through the clouds all weekend long because it had a way of putting a spring in our step and a song in our hearts.

165. Actually, the song in our hearts may have been from watching The Sound of Music. I am grateful my son can appreciate such a film and am amazed by his musical abilities, humming each song perfectly in tune, even days after seeing it. Check out his review here!

I hope you have a wonderful week. Start it off right by expressing some of your own gratitude, right here! Not sure where to begin, click here.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Goodbye Week. Hello Weekend. Lessons Learned: Take 34.


This ice sculpture was outside of CPK - beautiful!
Goodbye 1-year bloggy anniversary celebration at Crafty, Scrappy, Happy.

Goodbye co-hosting the Linky Party and thank you, Jaime, for such a fun opportunity. Have you seen it? Click here to party!

Goodbye sweet Valentine's Day that produced next week's What I Made Wednesday so stay tuned - YUM!

Goodbye news that Super Hubby needs some expensive dental work that will take a huge bite out of our pocketbook, but knowing this too shall pass.

Goodbye good deeds at a local California Pizza Kitchen as we participated in a funds drive to help the American Cancer Society.

Hello taking another shot at seeing Star Wars Phantom Menace in 3D.
Hello lots of school friends over for hot dogs, play, and gaming.
Hello long weekend and recovering from colds and sniffles and congestion.
Hello thwarted sledding plans as the hill turned from snow white to green grass.
Hello to hoping Spring gets here earlier than expected.

This week the lesson I learned is that no matter how far you come in personal growth, you'll always have a setback. I lost my cool the other day. I found myself yelling at my son like a maniac. I prolonged the screaming until he cried and then, I finally stopped. I'm not like this usually but the situation was dangerous and it may have been my fear coupled with anger that set me off. I felt failure as a parent but I'm not perfect. All I can do is try better next time. I heard these words long ago and I say them today, "I'm not where I need to be, but, thank God, I'm not where I used to be." I can take solace in that. Sorry, son.

Do you have any parental regret or am I the only mom-ogre out there?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Trip of a Lifetime

I'm not familiar with the concept of vacations. Annual getaways are foreign to my family's lifestyle and understanding. Demands set by my husband's business don't really offer much opportunity to take time away from it all, minus the occassional weekend jaunts.

I am, however, on a trip. In fact, I believe it's a trip of a lifetime; my life's journey. And just like a vacation, after all that planning to the most minute detail, it can still rain on your parade, your flight may be delayed, and you could even get a little lost along the way. A life's journey is unpredictable. It can be exciting at times but, most often, mundane. The truth is, real life is not one big, long vacation, now is it? It's a trip that will take a long time to complete, if we're lucky that is. We'll learn along the way, slowly peeling back the layers of self to finally reach our final destination - the core of who we are as a being as we travel this universe.

Don't wait to try a new food. Don't save that special cocktail dress for the captain's table. Don't run yourself ragged most of your days waiting to "get away" so you can finally relax. Do all these things now, right now! You don't need a ticket to a faraway land with Tiki huts to find your inner peace. All you need is a healthy curiosity, a willing spirit, and enough self respect to discover your pure essence.

That's a trip I don't want to miss and you shouldn't either. I hope you book your trip today. Travel agents are standing by. I bet it'll be a great trip - just be sure to send a postcard telling me where you end up.

If you're looking for the Crafty Linky Party I'm co-hosting, just click here - it's incredible!!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What I Made Wednesday {GoGo Valentine and a Crafty Linky Party}

Today's W.I.M. Wednesday craft comes a day late, I know, but I had to share this beacon of inspiration I had while under the gun and if you Pin It, you'll have it for next year, so look, you're a year ahead. Man, you are efficient, girl! Be sure to check out the Linky Party at the end of this post and meet my wonderful bloggy friend, Jaime of Crafty Scrappy Happy!

While driving my son to school on Monday, groggy and overly tired from the weekend's festivities of fun, I realized the next day was Valentine's Day. YIKES! We had not prepared a thing, not one valentine, for the next day's Valentine's Day party. I frantically stated this fact in a panic to my son who replied, "You'll think of something, mom, you always do," as he sauntered out of the minivan and into school with not a care in the world. His confidence in me made my throat tighten and my hands sweaty, but off to Target I went. If I couldn't feed my need for valentines, I could always feed my soul at Target. Am I the only one that uses Target for therapy?

I arrived at Target and shot straight to the back of the store where are the seasonal merchandise live out there short days, moving shelf location like a downtown building's revolving door at quitting time. I panned the half-empty shelves sparsely adorned with red and pink  looking for something my 4th grade kid could give to his classmates without embarrassment. (Kids this age embarrass quite easily - it's a slippery slope.)

I wasn't finding what I was looking for and everything looked so boxed up, so ordinary. Nothing was calling out for my attention. I turned around to leave and decided to check the front of the store in the trading card aisle to see if there were any packs of GoGo's I could get for my son for Valentine's Day (just a little something). If you are unfamiliar with these plastic gems, click here for enlightenment. I didn't find any small packs, but what I did find was sent from heaven above, along with inspiration! There was an 18 pack of GoGo's, last package left, just waiting for me. This was highly unusual as GoGo's only come in a single pack of 3 characters. What was this bulk pack I had mysteriously stumbled upon? I went to check the price, the determining factor as to whether this idea was going forward or not. $9 - BINGO, in like Flynn!!!! Now, the inspiration started. How do I capture the word GoGo in a Valentine's Day greeting?

Well, here is the result! We added Starburst Candy and a GoGo's sticker (included in the pack) to every GoGo. I made the little card and one prototype to show my son after school. He absolutely LOVED IT! When we got home, he handpicked each GoGo (each one is different and unique - how cool is that?) for each friend, packaged it up, and handed them out during the Valentine's Day Party. So cute, so unique: thank God for inspiration striking you down in a Target store when you're under the gun, whew! The kids absolutely loved their new little friend. For some, it was their first GoGo - aww! Parents, please don't kill me as your kids will want tons of little GoGo friends for their new little guy. You don't want him to be lonely, now do you?
On to the second half of What I Made Wednesday. I'm co-hosting a Craft Linky Party with the adorable, ever-so creative, beautiful spirit, Jaime Lyn from Crafty Scrappy Happy. I encourage you to visit her wonderful blog, just click here and be amazed (seriously). I am so honored to be co-hosting during her 1-year bloggy celebration. Caring for a blog as amazing as Jaime's is no small feat and creating, posting, and dedicating days to blogging for one whole year is truly something to be celebrated. Go ahead and celebrate with us by linking up and sharing your own crafty ways. It's fun to be had by all, just like Jaime to share the love of crafting with as many people as she can. The other co-hosts are just as talented as Jaime so go ahead, do some blog hopping, too, and enjoy!

And, no, I am not a GoGo sales rep! They are just so darn cute!

Feel free to link up anything and everything Crafty, Scrappy and/or Happy!  
No giveaways or etsy shops please.
Check out other links, be inspired and make some new friends!
Grab a button if you would!
And check Crafty Scrappy Happy for features all next week!!!!


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day. I {Heart} You!

Thank you to One Artsy Mama for the FREE printable.
Happy Valentine's Day beautiful, LOVD reader. I'm so happy you stopped by today. I'm sending all my love to you in hopes you have a lovely Valentine's Day. Whether you have a Valentine to hug today or not, consider yourself blessed. No matter what your situation, remember two things: 1. You are never alone, and 2. To love others you must first love yourself.


 Come on now, this was supposed to be a quick-read today so pull yourself away, go love somebody, and have a Happy Valentine's Day!

Having any yummy sweets today?

Monday, February 13, 2012

LEGO Lovers Unite

No, you're not seeing things, two posts in one day is not the norm for me, I know. I had to make an exception for this really great LEGO opportunity I want all of you to know about. After reading this post last week, our local LEGO store at Beachwood Place wanted me to tell you about an awesome event happening this Friday at LEGO stores across the country (Rockefeller Center and Canada stores are NOT participating).

LEGO wants to set a Guinness World Record for most number of people participating in Spinjitzu Battles in one day on Friday, February 17th, hours between store opening and store closing. Grab the kids and head to your local LEGO store and spin a Ninjago Spinner to be counted towards this history-in-the-making!

Want to Do More (and save some bucks)?
If you'd like to be more involved with this event, LEGO will reward quite nicely. The local LEGO store is looking for volunteers to count the number of people spinning the Ninjago spinners throughout the day. You can sign up for 3-hour shifts and earn 30% off your purchase made that day (some restrictions apply). If you stay for 4+ hours, they'll even buy you lunch or dinner! What a deal!!!

If you are interested in volunteering for this event, e-mail Jason at to sign up for an open time slot, or give him a call at 216.375.2060.

If you are interested in being counted towards this Guinness World Record event, show up at your local LEGO store (again, not Rockefeller Center or Canada)  and give a Ninjago spinner a good spin! They provide everything, just show up this Friday. That's it - not hard and way fun!!

If you're looking for today's Gratitude Journal Monday, do not panic, just click here.
Thanks so much and we'll be back to one post a day!

I was not paid to endorse LEGO in any way, I just wanted to let you know about this incredible event! 

Gratitude Journal Monday

The month of February is focused on love, couples, and romance. Tomorrow's Valentine's Day marks the climax of this month of love, but the day of love is not an equal opportunity holiday. There are rules to its celebratory grandeur; mainly, it takes two. Valentine's Day requires a key element: you must have a Valentine. Do you have one? Do you want one?

However your personal situation aligns or askews from your desires, remember this Universal Law: you must ask for what you want and be grateful for what you already have. When you release your wants to a Higher Power, you are making clear where you stand. Start talking, shouting out loud to the heavens above and don't be shy. Consideration is not placed on such a request unless what you do have is cared for and appreciated. Begin asking today, and while you wait patiently for your dreams to come true, fill your days with gratitude.

156. I am grateful I took a leap and did the Valentine's Handmade Gift Exchange. It was so much fun, so exciting, and the real reward was a new friend. Thanks Chrissy!

157.I am grateful for the way my destiny is unfolding naturally, without my prying or pushing, as I wait for its complete manifestation.

158. I am grateful for a last-minute, spontaneous get-together with friends filled with gut-busting laughter and good food.

159. I am grateful to be celebrating Valentine's Day with my son and Super Hubby - I'm a lucky girl, indeed.

160. I am grateful for each and every person who takes the time to stop by this little blog of mine to visit on a very crowded Bloggy Trail. I'm glad you found me and I'm even more glad you return. Thank you!

To understand the beginnings of my Gratitude Journal, click here. Have a happy Monday!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Goodbye Week. Hello Weekend. Lessons Learned: Take 33.

Goodbye little squirrel that seemed to hold my attention for quite awhile; I must be easily amused.
Goodbye dear neighbor and friend who's not moving far away, but far enough to still make me miss her in the 'hood.
Goodbye much needed girl-talk at Panera's - after 4-hours I'm shocked we weren't kicked out.
Goodbye bad news for a neighbor diagnosed with cancer. As you begin your chemotherapy, my prayers are for your wellness and recovery.
Goodbye gaining even more understanding of knowing what I don't want and realizing that's just as important as discovering what I do want.

Hello making a maple syrup run as we are all out of that yummy liquid-gold.
Hello bowling birthday party for a school friend - let the fun begin!
Hello having friends over for Sunday breakfast and putting that liquid-gold to good use atop some homemade Belgium waffles.
Hello cleaning the house like a wild banshee to get ready for our breakfast guests - not that they care.
Hello catching the newly-released STAR WARS Episode 1 movie in 3-D and wondering why I'm giving George Lucas even more money to watch a film I've already seen?

The "hello's" and "goodbye's" were rather lengthy this time 'round so I'll make my Lessons Learned short and sweet. This week I learned sunshine really does affect my demeanor. I never thought I was swayed one way or another by the brightness of the day, but it seems I am. Everybody, not just me, seems to be more chipper on a sunny day. No wonder Disney World is the happiest place on earth; it's sunny in Florida 250 days of the year, on average!

Do you notice a better mood rising when the sun beams brighter?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Valentine from Afar

As a newcomer to the blog world, any opportunity to meet new bloggers is always a welcomed event in my book. And, when you throw gifts into the mix, well, participating is a no-brainer. So, when Crystal from Homemaker in Heels announced she was hosting a homemade Valentine's gift exchange between bloggers across the country, I told her to! I was paired up with a lovely blogger, Chrissy, from Minnesota. Check out her awesome blog, The Taylor House, where she shares family life, delicious recipes, and fantastic crafts.

The day the package came I was super excited. My package came even before I was able to send out her handmade gift - man, she's sharp! But, I got done with her gifts over the weekend and sent out her package on Monday. She received it yesterday and we agreed to open up our gifts. Lookie, lookie what I got...

Chrissy is so talented with the knitting needles (something I could not fathom doing myself, requires too much coordination). She made me one of my favorite things, an infinity scarf. Don't you just love it? She then knitted me a heart pin I could wear with the scarf. She continued the knitted-heart theme by making me a bookmark (love books). Chrissy included chocolates and some lip gloss and perfume from Victoria's Secret. I loved every single item. In fact, I'll be sporting my infinity scarf today while volunteering at the school. Knowing it was all handmade, knowing it was made just for me, is absolutely, single-handedly what I adore about handmade. Chrissy, thank you so much for such a wonderful Valentine. You took the time to think about me and you done good, girl!

Let's hope Chrissy likes my handmade gifts to her equally well. Chrissy and I shared some "favorite things" via e-mail before getting started on each other's gifts. The fact that she liked baker's twine was good enough for me to know she was a special person. She also shared her new love for lemons. I was able to incorporate the lemon obsession, but not the baker's twine (not for lack of trying).

I handmade Chrissy a lemon pendant necklace to feed her lemon obsession. Getting to know Chrissy, it's clear her family means the world to her. I wanted to capture that in a handmade LOVD bracelet. After weaving the bracelet, I hand stamped a sterling silver pendant with their family's name and the year they were married, marking the start of their family, even if it was just the two of them in the beginning. I added a batch of our famous toffee we make for my husband's clients during the holidays (so good). Finally, I gave Chrissy the paint chip heart pennant from this week's What I Made Wednesday.

This little event added so much excitement to this year's Valentine's Day and I thank Crystal from Homemaker in Heels for coordinating and hosting such a unique experience. Be sure to visit Chrissy at The Taylor House and drop her a comment telling her LOVD sent you!

Enjoy your day and thanks for stopping by.

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