Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lent...What Does it Mean???

I found some really interesting facts about the season of Lent.  I found them to be very encouraging.  This year I gave up all candy (I LOVE Candy!!), as a family we gave up all eating out, and then one that my family asked me was to give up yelling. I didn't think that I was a yeller, but apparently I was and since I have stopped, I can see a change in my family.  It is quieter for one!!  We are getting along much better, the kids are even getting along better with each other.  I am so grateful that they gave me this challenge and that I accepted!  Whatever you are sacrificing this year - don't get discouraged, Jesus is right there with you every step of the way!

Facts About Lent
By Dr. Richard P. Bucher

Lent Is a 40 day Christian festival beginning Ash Wednesday and concluding on Easter (Sundays are not counted)
The word "Lent" comes from the old Anglo-Saxon word lengten, which means "springtime," named so for the time of the year in which it occurs.
What we now call Lent was originally a period of fasting and study for catechumens who were to be baptized on the Saturday before Easter. The 40 day fast was said by Athanasius in 339 AD to be celebrated the world over. The 40 day fast of Jesus in the wilderness was responsible for the number 40 being chosen.
The purpose of this extended fast was to practice self-denial and humility. This was to prepare oneself for receiving God's grace and forgiveness in baptism, given on Easter Saturday or Easter Sunday.
The liturgical color for Lent is purple, the color of repentance and sorrow for sin.
Lent prepares us for the observance of Jesus Christ's suffering, death, and resurrection for us. It is a season of repentance and sorrow for sin. Lent is a time of self-examination in light of the Ten Commandments; it is a time of giving up of sinful behavior, a time of personal housecleaning. It is a time of commitment to the new life of Christ begun in baptism. It is a time of disciplined study of Scripture and a time of growing in faith. In recent years Lent has become a time to remember our baptisms. It is a time to reflect on the impact of baptism on our lives, and to ask ourselves how we are doing. Most of all, it is a time of renewal and new beginnings, as we through faith apply the complete forgiveness won by Christ's death to our lives. Lent heightens our awareness that we desperately need Jesus Christ.
As someone has said: "Lent is the Church's springtime. Out of the darkness of sin's winter emerges a people the Church--reborn through baptism into their Lord's death and resurrection from the grave."
Lent is an opportunity not an obligation. It is not commanded by our Lord, nor is it even mentioned in the Bible. Those Christians who observe it do so because they find it a helpful opportunity for repentance and renewal, for the strengthening of their faith. Christians are free to observe or not observe Lent.
The beginning of what we call "Ash Wednesday," is difficult to date with certainty, though it probably began around 600 A.D.
Ashes are applied to the forehead of Christians in the sign of the cross (throughout the Middle Ages ashes were sprinkled on the head) as a symbol of humility and repentance. The ashes are a reminder that we are "dust and to dust you shall return" (Genesis 3:19). Thus, they are a reminder of our mortality cursed as it is by sin. Moreover, the ashes remind us of our limits, of what we are, and how greatly we need God's mercy in Christ.

What are you giving up for lent??

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Easter Centerpieces

Easy Easter Centerpieces

Easter is almost here and if you are still trying to figure out what you are going to do for your centerpiece then here are a few quick, simple and colorful ideas that you could put together in about 10 minutes.

For the centerpieces pictured above you can use a small/medium and a medium/large then take the smaller size vase and put it in the center of the larger size vase and fill the space between the two vases with jelly beans.   Then fill the smaller vase with some water and your favorite flowers (tulips or daffodils are fun for Easter). 
Below is an elegant seasonal and spring centerpiece - colorful mini eggs atop simple nests - use more than one for a more dramatic effect.
I think this one is very pretty and all you need is some ribbon to tie bows around white and colored eggs (real or glass) then place them on a small pedestal tray, cake stand or in a glass bowl and you will have a simple, festive and cheerful centerpiece.
Easter Centerpiece - Check!  One less thing you have to stress about now.

Easter Ideas

Monday, March 21, 2011

Peeps S'mores in a Jar

Found this super cute S'mores in a Jar over at Mommy Savers. A cute idea for an Easter party favor, hostess gift or for teachers.

1. Take one sleeves of graham crackers and crush to make crumbs.
2. Layer crushed grahams on bottom of mason jar.
3. Place bunny Peeps standing up facing out around inside of jar. Press them up against jar but don't squish them.
4. Carefully spoon crumbs in the center of jar to help support the bunnies
5. Pour springtime colored M&Ms on top.
6. Spoon 1/3 cup of brown sugar on top M&Ms.

Attach a gift tag to say:
1. Empty the jar contents into bowl. Snip the bunnies into bits. Return the bunny bits to bowl and mix well.
2. Melt 1/2 cup butter and add 1 tsp of vanilla over dry ingredients, mixing well. Pat into a greased 9" square pan. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Etsy Seller...

This is dedicated to all the small business owners - especially Etsy sellers out there.  Unfortunately, the fun and creative part of our work is sometimes overshadowed with the business side of tax preparation, marketing, advertising, and social networking.  At the end of the day, it's a lot of work,  but well worth it!! I saw this meme made by Timothy Adams from  Handmadeology and it spoke  so true that I had to share it.  Hopefully it will give you a smile for your week!

Speaking of marketing- check out the new items in BrankletsNBling and GirlieGals :) 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Thought I would share some fun quotes in honor of Valentine's Day!  I wish everyone a special Valentine's Day!  Hope you are able to enjoy your loved ones on this day!!
Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.
- Aristotle
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
- Lao Tzu
My bounty is as boundless as the sea, My love as deep; the more I give to thee, The more I have, for both are infinite.
- William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Young love is a flame; very pretty, often very hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. The love of the older and disciplined heart is as coals, deep-burning, unquenchable.
- Henry Ward Beecher
Age does not protect you from love. But love, to some extent, protects you from age.
- Anais Nin
Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward in the same direction.
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Love has no desire but to fulfill itself. But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires; To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night. To know the pain of too much tenderness. To be wounded by your own understanding of love; And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
- Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.
-Helen Keller
Love does not dominate; it cultivates.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.
- Zora Neale Hurston
Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything is, everything exists, only because I love.
- Leo Tolstoy
Love is like quicksilver in the hand. Leave the fingers open and it stays. Clutch it, and it darts away.
- Dorothy Parker
I have learned not to worry about love; but to honor its coming with all my heart.
- Alice Walker
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way than this: where I does not exist nor you, so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
- Pablo Neruda, "Love Sonnet XVII"

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Heart Healthy Foods

In honor of February's Heart Month, I found a good article on foods which help to keep your heart healthy.  Heart disease is one of the biggest killers for women, but with a healthy regumine of exercise, eating healthy, lowering stress and getting the right amount of sleep, we can reduce our chances for this killer dramatically!! 

Top 10 Heart Healthy Foods


1.  Oranges

Oranges contain a pharmacy's worth of salves for the heart. The soluble fiber pectin acts like a giant sponge, sopping up cholesterol in food and blocking its absorption--just like a class of drugs known as bile acid sequestrants. And the potassium in oranges helps counterbalance salt, keeping blood pressure under control.
But new research shows something even more startling: Citrus pectin helps neutralize a protein called galectin-3 that causes scarring of heart tissue, leading to congestive heart failure--a condition that is often difficult to treat with drugs. "Twenty percent of Americans over 50 have high galectin-3," says Dr. Pieter Muntendam, CEO of BG Medicine in Waltham, MA. "A 2009 study showed that a diet high in fruits and vegetables decreased the risk of heart failure by 37 percent."
Pectin is contained in the pulp and pith. You'll get more of it in juice with pulp. Or better yet, eat your oranges.

2.  Kale
Your mom was right: You need to consume your dark leafy greens. "Kale has everything you would want in a superfood," says Dr. Joel Fuhrman, the author of the bestseller Eat to Live, who uses diet and exercise to help patients reverse their cardiovascular disease. For starters, kale boasts a bumper crop of heart-healthy antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamin E. It's also rich in lutein, which correlated in the Los Angeles Atherosclerosis Study with protection against early atherosclerosis. Kale even contains an unusual compound, glucoraphanin, that activates a special protective protein called Nrf2. "It creates a sort of Teflon coating in your arteries to keep plaque from adhering," says Dr. Fuhrman.
For a snack, try Brad's Raw Leafy Kale--actual kale that is dehydrated, then coated with ground cashews, sunflower seeds, lemon juice, and garlic.
3.  Garlic
Research suggests that, much like the ACE inhibitor drugs that fight high blood pressure, garlic ratchets down an enzyme called angiotensin, which constricts blood vessels. Though the effect is modest compared with medications, garlic seems to have a significant impact on the buildup of plaque. In three randomized trials, Dr. Matthew Budoff, professor of medicine at UCLA, found that plaque progression slowed by more than 50 percent in people taking garlic extract, compared with the non–vampire slayers--"and the nongarlic group was on standard drugs," he says.
The trials used 250 mg tablets of Kyolic aged garlic extract to standardize the dose. "But it's always better to eat the real food," says Gayl Canfield, director of nutrition at Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami.

4.  Red wine
Any alcohol nudges up HDL, the "good" cholesterol that helps prevent plaque. But red wine may offer additional benefits, says John Folts, professor emeritus of cardiovascular medicine and nutrition at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. "The key is not resveratrol--you would need 16 bottles a day," he says. Instead, compounds called polyphenols help keep blood vessels flexible and reduce the risk of unwanted clotting. "They're nearly as effective as aspirin," he claims. But note: More than one glass of vino a day ups the risk of breast cancer for women, and chronic heavy drinking damages the heart, so this is a case where more is not better.
Dark beer such as Guinness stout delivers many of the same beneficial polyphenols.
5.  Dark chocolate
The Kuna Indians off the coast of Panama have enviably low blood pressure--and unlike the rest of us, they don't develop hypertension as they age. When Harvard cardiologist Dr. Norman Hollenberg set out to unravel their secret, he assumed they carried some rare genetic trait. Instead he found they drink enormous quantities of minimally processed cocoa. It's rich in compounds called flavanols, which improve blood vessel flexibility. We can all get them from chocolate--a few squares a day. Dark chocolate is likely to have more, because it starts with a higher cocoa content--but that's no guarantee, since different processing methods can destroy them.
Dove Dark has been shown to have high levels of flavanols.
6.  Sardines
The omega-3 fatty acids in cold-water fish are crucial for heart health, and sardines have among the highest levels. These "good fats" lower harmful triglycerides, raise protective HDL, reduce potentially fatal heart arrhythmias, and tamp down inflammation. It's inflammation that ultimately destabilizes plaque, causing it to rupture and produce a heart-attack-inducing clot. Though you can get omega-3s from plant sources such as flaxseed, the "long chain" omega-3s in fish are far more powerful. A large Danish study last year in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a 38 percent reduction in ischemic heart disease among women who consumed the most.
Wild Planet sells wild sardines in extra virgin olive oil with lemon.
7.  Lentils
One international study followed 12,763 people in the United States, Japan, and six European countries for 25 years. When the results were tallied, legumes--such as lentils--were associated with an 82 percent reduction in the risk of death from heart disease. The reasons include not only lean vegetable protein and fiber but also folate, magnesium, and potassium. George Mateljan, the author of The World's Healthiest Foods, calls magnesium "nature's own calcium channel blocker"--a type of drug that fights hypertension. And by counterbalancing salt, potassium is crucial for keeping blood pressure under control.
TruRoots's new Sprouted Lentil Trio cooks in just 5 to 7 minutes.
8.  Almonds
"You don't have to be miserable to bring your cholesterol down," says Dr. David Jenkins, professor of medicine and nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto. The plant sterols in almonds reduce the absorption of cholesterol from the diet, while the unsaturated oils encourage the liver to make less LDL and more "good" HDL. When Dr. Jenkins gave patients a vegetarian diet including almonds (along with other cholesterol-lowering foods, such as lentils, eggplant, and soy) for a month, he found LDL reductions of 28.6%--comparable to those on 20 mg of lovastatin (Mevacor). Just 22 almonds a day will do. Another study found major declines in fatal arrhythmias with 2 servings of nuts a week.
Don't limit yourself to almonds. Walnuts, pistachios, and peanuts are also great.
9.  Pomegranates
Bringing down LDL is important, but so is preventing the oxidation of that cholesterol. When LDL is oxidized, it tends to get stuck in arterial walls, initiating the formation of plaque. But Michael Aviram, professor of biochemistry at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, found that pomegranate juice, with its unique antioxidants, not only blocked the progression of plaque, but actually reversed some of the buildup when patients drank 8 ounces a day for a year. How does it do this? In later studies, Dr. Aviram learned that pomegranates activate an enzyme that breaks down oxidized cholesterol.
For those who love pomegranates but not the messy job of cracking them open, Pom Wonderful now does the work for you. Look for the fruit-covered seeds (or "arils") in clear plastic cups under the brand name Pom Poms.

No Half-Hearted Measures