Love Makes the World Go Round

•February 14, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Today is Valentine’s Day.  Some love it, some hate it and some don’t give it a thought either way.  I of course am one of those starry-eyed girls who love it.  Yes, I won’t deny I’m a hopeless romantic and like to be spoiled by my loved one once in a while, but to be honest, I really have come to realize that Valentine’s Day is so much more than that. 

As a child, Valentine’s Day was a magical and fun day.  I loved it because you got to see what sort of valentines you’d receive…and then of course what was written on them.  The anticipation of finding out if the person you liked was also head over heels for you was the best feeling in the world back then.  As I got into junior high and high school, I always waited to see what little gifts I would be given and watched in delight at who was lucky enough to get flowers during study hall.  And as the college years rolled along and my independence was breaking out, I went through my phase of thinking Valentine’s Day was lame, which was a great excuse to go out and party with my girls instead.  The strange thing is that even though I have enjoyed all these different ways of celebrating Valentine’s Day over the years, I would have to say this is the time in my life that I have learned to appreciate Valentine’s Day the most. 

As an adult, the relationships you celebrate and acknowledge on Valentine’s Day are so much more meaningful.  You show your love to family, friends, your children…those people who have stood by you through thick and thin.  I don’t feel anymore like it is as much about giddy affection, but more about showing those people who you care about most that they are appreciated…that they are thought about once in a while.  Because at the end of the day, everyone wants to be loved in some way, shape or form.  Not only that, but if there is one day out of the year that you can show that love, why not take advantage of it?

No matter if you are for or against this ‘love oriented’ holiday, I say take this opportunity today to tell those who mean the most to you that you love them and that you are grateful they are part of your life.  The world would be a cold and lonely place without love, so make sure you give thanks to those people who bring it to you each and every day.

“We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant.  You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself.  You’ve got to keep watering it.  You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.” 
                                                  – John Lennon

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I Was Born to Bleed Cheese

•February 4, 2011 • Leave a Comment

 

The day is approaching fast…that energetic Sunday that comes but once a year, where you eat, drink, scream and stay up way too late.  That’s right folks, this weekend is SUPER BOWL SUNDAY!!!  Although I usually watch the game each year (mostly for the commercials), this year is extra special.  That is because the Green Bay Packers have made it to the big dance!

Being a Wisconsinite, no matter if you follow sports or not, you are born to bleed cheese.  Wherever you go, wherever you look, there will be Packer fans!  There are a small group of Wisconsinites who grow up to be Bears or Cowboys fans…but they are usually shunned by the age of 10 and face huge disappointments in life.  🙂  If you want to be true to your roots, you embrace the Packers at a young age and take your love for them with you wherever you may go in the future.

So here I am, in far away New England, looking forward to cheering on my Packer team this Sunday, like the proper Cheesehead that I was born to be.  No matter if you’re a football fan or not, I urge you to embrace the Packer pandemonium and enjoy this year’s Super Bowl festivities, it’s going to be a great game.  If you’re not a Packer fan…well then SHAME ON YOU, they are the best team in the NFL and will be bringing home the Vince Lombardi Trophy this year!!  GO PACK GO!

The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That’s real glory. That’s the essence of it.
 – Vince Lombardi
 
 
 

You May Say I’m a Dreamer…But I’m Not the Only One

•January 13, 2011 • Leave a Comment

 

I think it’s strange how as we get older, the amount of unfinished business we have seems to get bigger and bigger.  At an early age, when we would look ten years into the future, it seemed like an eternity away.  As the years pass now, so does the time…VERY QUICKLY!  I don’t know about you, but there are many things that I have not yet accomplished or succeeded at, that at a young age I thought I would have conquered by now. 

I honestly do not believe this to be a sign that I’ve lost my way off the path I set out upon…I see it more as a sign of numerous twists and turns in the road that I just didn’t account for.  Because of this, one of my goals for 2011 is to try to get back on track and travel a little further down the path that I originally had set out on.

From an early age, my mother instilled in me the important concepts of sharing, giving and helping those less fortunate.  From helping to feed children in poverty stricken countries to saving the whales, we always contributed to some cause that we both cared about.  As a child, I always dreamed that I would be in a place in life someday that allowed me to donate money and time to the organizations of my choice.  (Unfortunately, time and money are two things that have not been in abundance yet on this path of mine, but I know they are still coming). 

I’ve been reflecting upon what I feel is really essential to me and my future as part of the ‘achieving my own personal goals 2011 campaign’, and I realized that it is very important to me to try and help causes I care about.  That has always been a big part of who I am and what I thought I’d be doing at this point in my life.  But I asked myself, how does someone help others when time and money are not readily available? 

I recalled seeing a television program a few months ago with someone discussing how they set up a charity online, that allowed people to go on the web, click on a button, and the amount of clicks the website received then correlated with sponsors donating to the cause.  For example, if it is a dog shelter site, you would go to the site, click on a button, and some sponsor/organization that supported the site would donate 10 pieces of kibble to a shelter.  That may sound small, but in the grand scheme of things, if everyone took the time to go online when they were surfing the web at home or at work and just do a few clicks a day, think of how many organizations/charities/people/animals that would benefit!

After doing a bit of research, I found a website that lists tons of these ‘click to donate’ charity sites.  They have sites for everything from saving animals and feeding the hungry to planting new trees and fighting cancer.  Please take a look and click on the site: http://www.thenonprofits.com/  Some of the sites have just a button you click to donate, some have trivia questions or word puzzles…but most importantly all of them help worthy causes without donating a lot of time or any money. 

I greatly urge all of you to take time out of your day, every day, and go online and click to donate to a cause you care about.  We all go online, surfing for ways to occupy our time, so why not take some of that time and turn it into something amazing?  Help starving children, plant a tree, fight breast cancer, save wolves…support whatever cause you feel passionate about.  Every little bit DOES count!

At the end of the day, we only have one chance to live this life we are living, so do something great…do something you always dreamed you would be doing…and in between those moments, try to be true to who you always wanted to be when you grew up.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” 

– Martin Luther King Jr.

Another Chapter Ends…

•December 29, 2010 • Leave a Comment

 

As 2010 quickly spirals to an end, I can’t help but smile and be happy to close this chapter in life and start a new one in 2011.  This year has been a chaotic one (to say nicely) and I have so many things I want to change and shoot for this coming year.  I have to admit that 2010 has had wonderful highs mixed in with terrible lows, but without the stresses and struggles that we endure, how would we ever know what we want to change or how we’d like to grow?  There is a reason so many people decide upon resolutions at the start of every new year…because hopefully the previous year allowed them to discover more about themselves and what they really want from life. 

I’m a great believer that time is of the essence, but in the same breath I feel that sometimes you need to tread water once in a while, just as a precaution to make it through the rough stuff.  That is what 2010 has been for me.  In the end though, you are able to see clearer, breathe freer and understand the meaning of  ‘slow and steady wins the race.’  In life, isn’t that something we all hope for?  Just to make it through each day, knocking down our obstacles and finding that place in ourselves where balance, hope, dreams and love actually exist?

No matter what sort of year 2010 has brought you, I hope you persevered through it  just as I have done.  I should clarify that statement a bit more and say I hope you persevered through it with a smile.  2010 taught me many things, one most importantly being that you can accomplish so much more in a year when you have a positive attitude and a smile on your face.  A very wise person I know always tells me that for every bad thing that happens to you, ten wonderful things will happen for you in return.  So to everyone who has had a year of highs and lows like I have, I hope many incredible and amazing things come to you in 2011.

“Dream as if you’ll live forever.  Live as if you’ll die today.”
~ James Dean 

Fun Thanksgiving Facts

•November 24, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Thanksgiving…the holiday where we all travel, cook, eat, drink and end up feeling stuffed for days.  But no matter where we go, who we are with or how great the meal is, Thanksgiving is a day when we get to step back from the hustle and bustle of daily life and be thankful for all those little splendors we are usually too busy to think about.  To make things even better, Thanksgiving also means a day off from work for most of us!

Although the majority of people know the story of how Thanksgiving came to be, there are many not-so-known facts about the Thanksgiving holiday that I dug up and thought would be fun to share.  I apologize if you are one of those people who do not enjoy learning useless facts and historical tidbits, but at least maybe you can take some of these fun facts and use them as conversation pieces with those friends and family members that you will be trying to make small talk with tomorrow!  Happy Thanksgiving everyone and I hope you all have a very safe and enjoyable holiday.

  • The first Thanksgiving celebration back in 1621 lasted not one afternoon but three days.
  • The traditional Thanksgiving menu as we know it was not what was eaten at the first Thanksgiving.  It is thought that the meal would have consisted of items more like rabbit, lobster, fish, chicken, beans, carrots, onions, squash, dried fruit and eggs.
  • The pilgrims wouldn’t have used forks at the first Thanksgiving, they would’ve eaten with spoons and their fingers.
  • Sarah Josepha Hale was an American magazine editor that persuaded Abraham Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday in the United States. (She is also the author of the ever so famous nursery rhyme Mary Had a Little Lamb).
  • In the United States, almost 300 million turkeys are sold each year at Thanksgiving time.  It is no wonder then, that the average American eats around 15 lbs of turkey during the holiday.
  • Around 40 million green bean casseroles are served in the United States on Thanksgiving.
  • Only male turkeys gobble, the females make a clicking noise.
  • On record, the heaviest turkey raised was documented to be 86 lbs.
  • The average American consumes 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day!!!!

As an ending note, in the words of the infamous Johnny Carson, “Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday.  People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year.  And then discover once a year is way too often.”

Seasons Change and So Did I

•October 26, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The air is crisp, the leaves are vibrant colors of reds and golds and the smell of change is lingering all around us.  Fall is such a lovely time, especially here in New England – it makes you feel nostalgic for the many things you love about the season, the holidays to come and all the exciting things you used to do this time of year when you were a child.

As we get older, we think less about carving pumpkins, playing in leaves and the anticipation of the first snowfall and we think more about the cost of heating our homes, how much snow we will have to shovel this year and how we will ever afford all the gifts on our Christmas List. 

In the end, life always seems to have a way of working itself out.  The small worries and everyday stresses will disappear and somewhere deep inside we are always able to enjoy the simple pleasures of the season again. 

Even though life changes, just as the seasons do, we need to embrace change with a vengeance, accept that the path we have travelled has led us to this point in time for a special reason, and be grateful we have the opportunities and blessings we do…even if they are not exactly what we thought they would be. 

It is usually during these times of change that the most wonderful things are bestowed upon us – which makes this time of year even more magical.

“Life is measured by the rapidity of change, the succession of influences that modify the being.”
– George Eliot

Cold Weather Delight – Berry Strata

•September 30, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I’m not sure where you live, but here in Maine, Fall seems to have kicked into full gear.  The leaves are turning, the sky has grown darker and the nights are definitely colder.  The Fall season is one of my favorite times of the year, not only because of the cool weather but also because of all the yummy food you can enjoy when it’s cold out.  There is something so satisfying about having something warm to eat on a cool day. 

Earlier this month I was in search of a good cold weather delight that I could indulge in and I stumbled upon an easy recipe that looked great and didn’t require tons of ingredients I didn’t have on hand.  That in itself is quite the feat.  It is a Giada De Laurentiis recipe (I’m secretly a Giada wanna-be, plus her recipes usually don’t leave me disappointed) called Berry Strata.  It’s like a rich, warm, berry bread pudding.  You can top it with cream, ice cream, or leave it plain…whatever your preference the end result is this hot, lush dessert that warms your core on a cold day.  It’s really wonderful and super easy to make.  And best of all it’s one of those desserts that looks like you put tons of time and effort into it and in reality it only took minutes! 

Because of copyright purposes, I’ve put a link to Giada’s Berry Strata recipe below (instead of posting it on my blog).  I also want to note that I veered from her recipe a bit and instead of using all bread in the dish, I used part bread, part blueberry bread.  I think the change added more sweetness, which I was hoping for.

BERRY STRATA RECIPE (click here to view) 

I recommend giving this recipe a try if you are up for something different and looking for a warm dessert on a cold day! 

Happy Eating!