Thursday, December 04, 2014
It’s that time of year again. The trees have been decorated. There’s a chill in the air. The egg nog lattes and peppermint mochas are selling like hotcakes. It’s the BEST time of the year. During the holidays, I am without a doubt baking more, and spending more time with family and friends. Cookies are a wonderful way to show someone you care and a staple on most Christmas to-do lists. I find myself using just about every excuse possible to whip up a batch or two of my favorite cookies.
I’ll bet that most of you have been invited to a cookie exchange or two this holiday season. We all have our own tastes and preferences, and like different things. Some of us believe that unless a cookie is an Oreo, it should not crunch. Others make their cookies crispy intentionally. Some people love nuts, chunks, and a variety of fillings. Others like a simpler cookie. When you go to a cookie exchange, you roll the dice…You never know just what you’ll end up with. You want to participate, and you keep your fingers crossed that you’ll come home with a winner or two (and there are always those few kinds that get snatched up right away!)
I am hosting my second annual Online Cookie Exchange!!! The wonderful part is you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen baking, and you don’t have to carefully package up little bags of your cookies….You get all the benefits without the work! The more that participate, the bigger our new collection of cookie recipes will be!
How It Works
Think of your favorite cookie recipe. Try to think up a recipe that is unique to you or your family, or a recipe that everyone might not have in their recipe box or binder ( EVERYONE and their mother has a recipe for chocolate chip cookies, so that might not be the best one to submit.)
Submit your recipe here on the thread Be sure to include both the ingredients and the preparation and baking instructions!
I can’t wait to see what you all come up with! I hope MANY of you choose to participate! This type of post doesn’t work without your participation! Take a minute or two and send in your best! Hopefully we’ll all walk away with new ideas! Happy “baking!”
My recipe is a Land O Lakes Recipe that I make and share forward every year...
And a second for the Paleo Bakers -
I am including the link because it has some good to know notes about exchanges and such.
Monday, December 01, 2014
30 Things to Let Go of Before the New Year
You will find that it is necessary to let some things go, simply for the reason that they are heavy. So let them go… LET GO of them. Tie no weights to your ankles.
And since the New Year is just around the corner, which inspires many of us to refocus our energy and attention on the right things, I think it’s a perfect time right now to start letting go of the wrong things. Wouldn’t you agree?
So today, I challenge you to this:
Before the New Year…
Let go of your temper. – Never do something permanently foolish just because you are temporarily upset.
Let go of petty grudges. – Life is far too short to be spent nursing bitterness and registering wrongs. If there’s someone in your life who deserves another chance, give it to them. If you need to apologize, do it. Give your story together a happy, new beginning.
Let go of the idea that everyone has it better than you. – If the grass looks greener on the other side… Stop staring. Stop comparing. Stop complaining and START watering the grass you’re standing on.
Let go of lingering false beliefs. – Stop from time to time and ask yourself, “Is it true?” It’s funny how we can sometimes wrap our minds around things and fit them into our version of reality. But thinking something does not make it true. Wanting something does not make it real. So watch your thoughts. Be wise. When your identity is not rooted in the truth, it can lead to toxic and lonely places where we seek approval from the wrong things.
Let go of expired ideals. – Growth is painful. Change is painful. But in the end, nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you do not belong.
Let go of yesterday’s tragedies. – You are not what has happened to you; you are what you choose to become in this moment. Drop the needless burden, take a deep breath and start again. Ultimately, you will know you are on the right track in life when you become disinterested in looking back, and eager to take the next step.
Let go of your tendency to avoid problems. – You cannot change what you refuse to confront.
Let go of life’s little annoyances. – Don’t let dumb little things break your happiness. Frustration and stress come from the way you react, not the way things are. Adjust your attitude, and the frustration and stress is gone.
Let go of assuming other people are more “normal” than you. – The only normal people you know are the ones you don’t know very well. Period.
Let go acting standoffish and unapproachable. – We all need to learn to be more human. Don’t avoid eye contact. Don’t hide behind gadgets. Smile often. Ask about people’s stories. Listen.
Let go of the idea that some people are below you. – Even if you’ve worked really hard to get to where you are in life, there’s no such thing as a self-made person. Someone believed, encouraged, and invested in you. Be grateful and be that someone for others too. What goes around eventually comes around. No one has ever made themselves strong in the long run by showing how small someone else is. So don’t be lazy and make assumptions about people. Ask about their story. Then listen. Be humble. Be teachable. Be human. Be a good neighbor.
Let go of the idea that you are what you physically own. – You are an incredible human being who’s entirely detached from what you have physically acquired in this world. Remember to remain humble. Ultimately, two things define you more than anything else: Your patience when you have very little, and your attitude when you have more than enough.
Let go of wanting stuff you don’t need. – Don’t think of cost. Think of value. And remember, it’s always easier to find wealth by needing less, instead of making more and more and more.
Let go of seeking happiness from outside yourself. – In life, you have to create your own sunshine. Happiness starts from within. So read something positive every morning and do something positive before you go back to sleep. Keep your focus on all the positive possibilities and opportunities, and you will feel great. Feel great, and you will do great things.
Let go of wanting to be repaid of every good deed you do. – Don’t worry too much about what’s in it for you. If you’re making a positive contribution to others, there’s always something in it for you. You were born with the ability to change someone’s life. Don’t ever waste it. Be kind. Be present. Be someone who makes a difference.
Let go of all the little white lies and charades. – How do you build credibility? It’s not rocket science. Be honest. Follow through. Honor your promises. Say sorry when you screw up. Be the type of person you want to meet and spend time with. Be the type of person whose actions, words and values always agree with each other.
Let go of any hypocrisy. – For instance, don’t pray when it rains if you don’t pray when the sun shines.
Let go of putting everyone else’s needs in front of your own. – Give as much as you can every day, but don’t allow yourself to be used. Listen to others closely, but don’t lose your own voice.
Let go of fearing what your intuition is telling you to do. – Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will. So don’t let fear shut you down; let it wake you up. Do one thing every day that scares you. The more that you act on your intuition fearlessly, the more your intuition will serve you. If you genuinely feel something, pay attention.
Let go of waiting for the stars to align. – Remember, you don’t always need the perfect plan. Sometimes you just need to give it a try, let go, and see what happens. Just do the best you can until you know better. Once you know better, do better.
Let go of the need to get everything done at once. – Keep going. True purpose has no time limit. True purpose has no deadline. Don’t stress and overwhelm yourself. Just do what you can right now.
Let go of the “all or nothing” mentality regarding success. – Appreciate the grey area between the extremes of success and failure – the journey, the process, the path – what you’re learning, how you’re helping others learn too, and the growing process you allow yourself to participate in. And above all, never let success get to your head or failure get to your heart.
Let go of criticizing yourself. – Nobody is inspired by your misery or self-deprecating comments. If you wish to inspire yourself and others, be joyful. Have fun. Love yourself. Forgive yourself. Accept yourself. Be unapologetically YOU.
Let go of those who say you aren’t attractive enough. – More women worldwide are suffering from anorexia and bulimia than are fighting breast cancer. There are similar statistics for men too. Love yourself the way you are, because you are beautiful just the way you are.
Let go of changing just to impress people. – Change because it makes you a better person and leads you to a brighter future. Change because you know it’s the right thing to do for YOU.
Let go of needing everyone to like you. – Everyone doesn’t need to like you, and some people won’t no matter what you do. Try not to take the things these people say about you personally. What they think and say is a reflection of them, not you.
Let go of all negative influences. Period. – You can’t expect to feel good if you surround yourself with negativity. Be with those who bring out the best in you, not the stress in you.
Let go of thinking that giving up the wrong things (and relationships) means failure. – Giving up and moving on are two very different things.
Let go of the idea that it’s too late to start over and get it right. – Remember, it’s always better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than the top of the one you don’t.
Let go of putting things off for one more day. – Stop procrastinating. Stop wishing for it and start working for it. Do what you have to do today so you can do what you truly want to do, and be where you truly want to be, tomorrow.
Sometimes the hardest part isn’t letting go, but rather learning to start over in certain areas of your life. This is a challenge all of us face. If you’re struggling with any of the points above, there is a clear path to the new beginning you seek. Your present habits are simply broken and need to be mended. When you trust a broken set of habits every day, it’s only a matter of time before you feel broken too.
Marc & Angel Hack Life
Wednesday, November 05, 2014
Here are 60 things to be grateful for in our lives:
1. Your parents - For giving birth to you. Because if there is no them, there will not be you.
2. Your family – For being your closest kin in the world
3. Your friends – For being your companions in life
4. Sense of sight – For letting you see the colors of life
5. Sense of hearing - For letting you hear trickle of rain, the voices of your loved ones, and the harmonious chords of music
6. Sense of touch - For letting you feel the texture of your clothes, the breeze of the wind, the hands of your loved ones
7. Sense of smell – For letting you smell scented candles, perfumes, and beautiful flowers in your garden
8. Sense of taste – For letting you savor the sweetness of fruits, the saltiness of seawater, the sourness of pickles, the bitterness of bitter gourd, and the spiciness of chilli
9. Your speech – For giving you the outlet to express yourself
10. Your heart – For pumping blood to all the parts of your body every second since you were born; for giving you the ability to feel
11. Your lungs – For letting you breathe so you can live
12. Your immune system – For fighting viruses that enter your body. For keeping you in the pink of your health so you can do the things you love.
13. Your hands – So you can type on your computer, flip the pages of books, and hold the hands of your loved ones
14. Your legs - For letting you walk, run, swim, play the sports you love, and curl up in the comfort of your seat
15. Your mind - For the ability to think, to store memories, and to create new solutions
16. Your good health – For enabling you to do what you want to do and for what you’re about to do in the future
17. Your school - For providing a environment conducive to learning and growing
18. Your teachers – For their dedication and for passing down knowledge to you
19. Tears – For helping you express your deepest emotions
20. Disappointment - So you know the things that matter to you most
21. Fears – So you know your opportunities for growth
22. Pain – For you to become a stronger person
23. Sadness – For you to appreciate the spectrum of human emotions
24. Happiness – For you to soak in the beauty of life
25. The Sun - For bringing in light and beauty to this world
26. Sunset – For a beautiful sight to end the day
27. Moon and Stars - For brightening up our night sky
28. Sunrise - For a beautiful sight to start the morning
29. Rain – For cooling you when it gets too warm and for making it comfy to sleep in on weekends
30. Snow – For making winter even more beautiful
31. Rainbows – For a beautiful sight to look forward to after rain
32. Oxygen - For making life possible
33. The earth – For creating the environment for life to begin
34. Mother nature - For covering our world in beauty
35. Animals – For adding to the diversity of life
36. Internet - For connecting you and me despite the physical space between us
37. Transport - For making it easier to commute from one place to another
38. Mobile phones – For making it easy to stay in touch with others
39. Computers – For making our lives more effective and efficient
40. Technology – For making impossible things possible
41. Movies – For providing a source of entertainment
42. Books – For adding wisdom into your life
43. Blogs – For connecting you with other like-minded people
44. Shoes – For protecting your feet when you are out
45. Time – For a system to organize yourself and keep track of activities
46. Your job – For giving you a source of living and for being a medium where you can add value to the world
47. Music - For lifting your spirits when you’re down and for filling your life with more love
48. Your bed - For you to sleep comfortably in every night
49. Your home - For a place you can call home
50. Your soul mate – For being the one who understands everything you’re going through
51. Your best friends – For being there for you whenever you need them
52. Your enemies – For helping you uncover your blind spots so you can become a better person
53. Kind strangers – For brightening up your days when you least expect it
54. Your mistakes - For helping you to improve and become better
55. Heartbreaks - For helping you mature and become a better person
56. Laughter - For serenading your life with joy
57. Love - For letting you feel what it means to truly be alive
58. Life’s challenges - For helping you grow and become who you are
59. Life - For giving you the chance to experience all that you’re experiencing, and will be experiencing in time to come
And last but not least… #60:
Wednesday, November 05, 2014
It's that time of year again. ANY time is a good time to bless others. Be creative. If someone can't cook - bring a pre-cooked ham. If you are doing this just before, bring a turkey. Bring a box of cereal and a bag of candy....personalize it and be blessed. The feeling is like none other!
~Thanksgiving Blessing Bags~*
2 cans of green beans
1 can of sweet potatoes
2 cans of corn
1 can of cranberry sauce
1 box of stovetop stuffing
1 box of instant mashed potatoes
2 cans of gravy or 2 packets of gravy mix
1 aluminum oval turkey roasting pan
1 package of muffin or cornbread mix (just add water)
1 box of cake mix or brownie mix (or similar dessert)
1 jar of instant iced tea or jug of pre-made iced tea
1 $15.00 gift card to local grocery store for a turkey
NOW COMES THE FUN PART: Deliver the goods. There are lots of ways to do this. You can ask around for a family who might need a little help this season. Make a call to a church, your local food pantry, the schools in your area, the police/fire department. SOMEONE will know of SOMEONE who could really use a Thanksgiving meal. OR you could get really brave and drive around in your town and just pick a house! Yes, I am totally serious. You might decide to go to an impoverished area of your town, but remember that there are many, MANY people who could use a friendly gesture from a kind stranger, despite what their living arrangements might suggest. We can't always tell from the outside of a house what's going on in someone's life.
Take your kids with you. Have them help decide who to bless. Don't be scared or worried in unfamiliar surroundings. You come bearing gifts, expecting nothing in return. Leave the bag with a kind note as a surprise on someone's doorstep or get really brave and knock on the door! Smile. Shake a hand. Hug. Wish someone a Happy Thanksgiving. Talk about it with your family on the way home. And then again on Thanksgiving day. It will warm your heart to know you've giving someone the gift of being able to prepare a meal in their own home. Thankfulness all around.
*You can find all these items at the Dollar Store but you might actually find them for even less than $1/each at Walmart. Wherever you decide to purchase them, keep it simple...don't make it a chore by traveling all around town. At the very most it should cost you no more than $30. Place all the items in the aluminum pan or in a couple of paper grocery bags.*
Thursday, October 02, 2014
58 Meticulously Planned Intentional Acts of Kindness AKA Random Acts of Kindness 10/2/56
My gift to myself again this year. Full of all of the FUNderful gifts I bless ME by doing.
Today is my birthday and I’m celebrating by giving to others.
Last year was such a blessing that I have done various RAOK throughout the past year on a smaller scale and been preparing for THIS year throughout the year too.
You know, it went so well the past two years, that I don’t need to reinvent success.
I am going to change it up a BIT but for the most part, I am going to rock the same awe.filled day yet again. I’ve got lots of fun ideas in mind out and about celebrating and giving away my special day in ways that make a difference.
Simple acts of kindness...
1000 Acts of Kindness in 100 minutes
Because kindness makes the world go round...Pay it forward boomerang effect...
Happy Birthday To ME! Changing the world one person at a time...one birthday at a time! Now THAT is a gift to celebrate and savor!
This year I am not going to do them all TODAY but rather celebrate and savor the moments and spend some real time doing them and making them even more memorable gifts to ME!
Leave a treat and a thank you in my mailbox for my mail carrier
Mail a card to an old friend
Give a Target gift card to the checkout person
Leave $1 bills in FIVE random bins in the $1 section
Give a $5 gift card to the bagger at the commissary
Give a $5 gift card to the checkout person to give to someone who needs it later.
Leave a roll of pennies by the fountain and a note card telling about making wishes
Watch for someone doing a random good deed and give them a $5 gift card
Take a donation to the animal shelter
Leave $1 bills in random books at Barnes & Noble (Starting an Etsy Shop for Dummies)
Help elderly carry their groceries out and put them in their car
It’s On Me! Tape quarters to vending machines and parking meters
Leave quarters at the laundromat.
$5 in the credit card slot at the gas pump
Drop some quarters under the play equipment at the park for children to find
Blessings bags with socks from Target for people on corners in need
Leave lottery scratch tickets in random places.
Buy pocket mirrors at the Dollar store and gift it to someone you see that you think it would touch with a note “You are beautiful just the way you are.”
Eyebomb - attach wiggly eyes to inanimate objects in public places. Object? SMILES!
Let someone go ahead of you in line. Don’t be in such a hurry!
Put paper hearts all over the cars in the parking lot at the hospital when I’m there today.
Put a potted mum in the driveway of someone you don’t know with one of your RAK cards.
Leave a HAPPY sidewalk message “YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL” Join the sidewalk art revolution.
Go through the drive through and pay for someone’s meal behind you. Does your Starbucks have a drive through?
Post happy quotes on post-its in random places.
Host a birthday party for a homeless child.
Deliver crayons, sharpies, post it notes, paper to the pediatric ward.
Hand balloons to the kids there.
Go to Baby’s R Us and leave a gift card in the diaper/baby section
Regift an unused gift card on someone’s windshield
Buy flowers at Trader Joe’s and give them to someone on their way out of the store.
Give a special note/tip or bouquet to one of the workers at the mall food court cleaning tables.
Donate your airline miles to Make A Wish.
Bring stamps and blank cards to a nursing home and set up a card station.
Donate to a domestic abuse shelter (how about bringing a few Halloween costumes and Halloween candy)
Tape money for a Redbox rental.
Send a dessert to another table at a restaurant anonymously.
Compliment a store clerk to their manager.
Donate to the food bank - time AND food.
Send a Hugs and Hope card hugsandhope.org
Go on an Operation Beautiful note spree. operationbeautiful.com
Tweet and facebook about an important cause
Join the boomboomrevolution and make these things habits.
Here's an instant way to add an eye-catching touch of brightness to an otherwise drab location. Bend colorful pipe cleaners into a flower, heart, or star shape or into a few squiggly spirals. Wind the ends around a park bench, a parent's car door handle, or a chain-link fence.
Do a favor
Busy books for the ER - fill ziplocs with inexpensive coloring books, crayons (Your dollar store can help here) and put them together and leave them in the waiting room.
Travel Size Care for the Homeless - Buy items you will stuff into a sock (put the other sock in too), toothpaste, deodorant, toothbrush, lotion, bandaids, hand sanitizer, wet ones, sunscreen etc. Alcohol free is good. Keep one or more kits in your car.
Surprise someone - this is a wild card. Your choice.
Do something special for your partner.
Let a car merge.
Let someone take the last parking spot.
Let someone take your seat on public transportation.
Drop off bus/metro passes to a shelter.
Offer to take a photo for a group so no one is left out.
Always return your cart.
Collect umbrellas and give them out with a smile.
Say “good morning” and “thank you” to public service workers.
Have a piece of clothing or special something that means a lot to you and you know a friend or loved one would appreciate it? Give it to them.
Ask a friend to do a RAK as a birthday gift to you.
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