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Monday, October 29, 2012

A little Polar Bear Trivia

Could this be the most relaxed polar bear ever?After a hard day of work there is nothing better than sitting back, putting your feet up and relaxing - even if you're a polar bear.

Polar bear chilling out
 Just chillin': This polar bear is set to become famous (Picture: Caters)
Professional wildlife photographer Don Johnston has caught one polar bear doing just that, watching the world go by from the ice at Seal River Heritage Lodge, in Manitoba, Canada.

This area, on the shores of Hudson Bay, is known as the polar bear capital of the world, as the sea ice and its significant seal population attract the giant predators in great numbers.

After firing off a number of shots, Mr Johnston picked out this particular snap as his favourite as the bear looks 'so relaxed and comfortable'.

'I'd say the bear is just killing time. They wait for the ice to form on Hudson Bay, and then head out to feed on seals,' explained Mr Johnston, who had been watching the animals for some time.
'My guess is that the bear is conserving energy. At this time in the season they are hungry and they are waiting for the feeding conditions to improve.'
The polar bear's natural habitat, the sea ice of the Arctic Circle, is slowly receding due to climate change. It is thought that there are now only around 25,000 of these creatures left in the wild.

Felix the polar bear in a rage at Nuremberg Zoo
 Shocked visitors arrived at Nuremberg Zoo to find Felix with some camera gear in his jaws (Picture: Marion & Dieter Sempf/London Media)
Celebrities often react angrily when snapped by the paparazzi and Felix the polar bear was no different when a telephoto lens was accidentally dropped into his enclosure. He took exception to being disturbed by a zoo visitor who let the equipment slip out of her hands as she was changing lenses.  Felix examined the accessory, believed to be a Canon telephoto lens worth up to $2,000, before clamping it between his teeth.

Felix the polar bear in a rage at Nuremberg Zoo
 One unlucky photographer must have been left counting the cost of dropping their lens into the enclosure (Picture: Marion & Dieter Sempf/London Media
Polar bears come from Ireland, scientists claim
Although polar bears now live in the frozen wastes of the Arctic at the top of the world, scientists now think the mother of all polar bears was... Irish.
Celtic: A polar bear
Celtic: A polar bear
Their ancestors interbred with brown bears when climate change led to occasional overlaps in their habitats in ancient Ireland 20,000 to 50,000 years ago, a genetic study has shown.
The cross-species mating led to maternal DNA from brown bears being introduced into polar bears, which became ‘fixed’ in the species about 50,000 years ago. The finding overturns previous theories that the genetic material came from forebears that lived on several Alaskan islands 14,000 years ago, according to researchers in the US and Ireland.
Study co-author Beth Shapiro, of Penn State University, said: ‘The bottom line is that the two species bumped up against one another for extended periods of time on different occasions, sharing both habitats and genes.’
While polar bears are expert swimmers adapted to an Arctic lifestyle and brown bears are climbers who prefer living in mountains and valleys, the two species interbred on ‘many’ occasions over the last 100,000 years.
‘Whenever they come into contact, there seems to be little barrier to their mating,’ said Ms Shapiro.
She said modern day changes in the Arctic climate such as melting glacial ice and rising sea levels has led to sightings of several adult hybrid bears in the last five years. Those cross-breeds could have a role to play in the survival of certain species.
She said the findings could also help conservation strategies for the dwindling population of polar bears today.

Children get up close to polar bears in a pool in Canada
It's a heart-in-the-mouth moment when the world's biggest predator, the polar bear, is seemingly pictured paddling alongside unsuspecting children, but there's more to this picture than meets the eye...
Polar bear pool children CanadaThe world's biggest predator, the polar bear, is pictured paddling alongside unsuspecting children. (Picture: GERRY ROBICHAUD / CATERS NEWS)
It's a close encounter of the furred kind and the sort of moment parents can bearly watch.
These children have come within centimetres of the world’s biggest predator and lived to tell the tale.
The massive carnivores loom over their bite-size pool companions in what looks like an imminent disaster.

close encounter of the furred kind
Lucky that ten-inch sheet of glass is there, eh?

The children and their polar bear companions are in fact separated by a 25cm-thick (10in) toughened glass at the Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat, Canada. Its aim is to help understanding of these amazing creatures and reduce hunting in the wild.
‘We get various reactions from the children, some of them can’t wait to get in the pool and others really don’t want to,’ said photographer Gerry Robichaud.
These bears, Aurora and Nikita, arrived as cubs from Hudson Bay after a hunter shot their mother.

Polar bear gives cub piggy back
Polar bears have been spotted carrying their cubs on their backs while they swim through icy waters, researchers have revealed.
A polar bear giving its cub a piggy back (PA)
A polar bear giving its cub a piggy back (PA)
Polar bear cub
The phenomenon, revealed while tagging and tracking polar bears, is thought to be new and the result of the bears having to swim longer distances in the sea because of reductions in the Arctic ice in the summer.
The scientists say that in the face of the longer swims, travelling on the mother's back could be vital for the survival of the cubs in waters surrounding scattered ice, which is prime seal-hunting territory for the animals. Travelling on the mother's back will mean the cub's body will be in direct contact with the adult's fur and a large part of the baby will be out of the icy water - reducing heat loss.
This is important because the young polar bears have not built up a sufficient layer of fat to stop them getting cold if they are swimming in the sea for a prolonged period of time.

Polar bear tripod
An Alaskan bear makes off with a photographer’s tripod
Meanwhile, on Barter Island off Alaska, Peter Howarth from Bristol was with a group of Americans taking pictures of three bears when the bears decided to charge. The humans fled to their truck leaving their tripods. Mr Howarth had to watch as the bear showed off his find to friends.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Christmas Crafts


cookie cutters in desired shapes
embroidery needles
embroidery floss
scissors for both paper and fabric
permanent marker fine tip or pencil
1 safety pin


Trace cookie cutter on paper to make template. Trace the inside and out side to see which you like better.

                                           Cut out the line that you like best for template.

                      Pin template to fabric; this way you are sure not to leave ink marks on fabric

                                                  Cut two pieces of fabric per ornament

Embroider both pieces of fabric. Use two or three strands of embroidery floss.
Put wrong sides together place one safety pin in middle to hold while sewing.
Use a blanket stitch to stitch edges together, stop about one inch from ending remove safety pin and stuff ornament. Finish closing.
                                         Finish with a piece of embroidery floss as a hanger.

 Here is a cute little Russian doll to
hang on the tree. Give it a try



Friday, October 26, 2012

Tube Sock Snowman

Tube Sock Snowman

  • Tube Sock with red border
  • Uncooked rice (approx. 2 cups)
  • String
  • 2 plastic baggies
  • Small green pompoms
  • Extra small brown pompoms
  • Small brown pompom
  • Googly eyes
  • Red yarn
  • Glue gun
  1. Fill a plastic baggie with 1 cup rice. (this should fill 2/3 of sock
  2. You may need more or less depending on the size of the sock)
  3. Tie the top of baggie with twist tie
  4. Put bag inside tube sock
  5. Tie tightly with string
  6. Repeat above using 1/2 cup of rice (more or less)
  7. Tie tightly with string.
  8. Fold over the ribbed part of the sock to make the snowman's hat.
  9. Cut 3 strands of yarn and tie around the snowman's neck
  10. Glue on green buttons, brown mouth and nose
  11. Glue on eyes
  12. Make a tassel on the top of the hat with yarn, glue

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy,
Afriend of the family stopped me in the street and asked if I could help her 26-year-old son  get a job . I asked if her son had any prior job experience , and the mother's response  was that her son  had never worked a day in his life .
I was a bit surprised that her son  did not have any job experience  . Nevertheless , I suggested  that her son apply at McDonald's , UPS or FedEx to gain some job experience .
The mother  wasn't particularly happy  with my suggestion of employment  options . Why am I feeling like the bad guy  here ?
Job Adviser

Dear Job Advisor ,
This mom is the one  who's feeling  like the bad guy .
While many young people  at least try to start working as early as age 15 , her son is a full grown adult  with the handicap of  ZERO-employment . I wonder  if he has been a full-time student who has recieved  higher-education degrees ?
Please understand  that this as her family's problem . You gave good advice  that you thought was sound . You were not the bad guy  , and unless you are an employment specialist , you likely don't have enough knowledge  to guide this man to a job .
I will add two notes that might be helpful  to this mother  and son ... and to anyone  who is unemployed  . Many times people volunteer their way into employment .
If he  has interest  in an organization that can use an extra hand  , he should offer it . He will gain experience  that he may be able  to leverage  into a paycheck .
He should aslo investigate  online classes  in areas of interest  that make him more attractive to employers .

Dear Maxy ,
I'm a workaholic . I met a woman whom I really like  , and she is a workaholic  as well . We met last December  and have gone on a few dates  since then . During the spring and summer I think we saw each other  about five times .
We kept the lines of communication open via text, phone calls and emails  . We enjoy  each other's phone  conversations, and I want to see her on a regular basis , but our schedule  will not allow it  at this time .
How can two workaholics  put down their work  for a couple of hours  to spend time  with each other ?
Working Day and Night

Dear Working Day and Night ,
Approach your dating life  as  you do your work . Schedule  it . Make your connections  with her as important  as a client meeting , and you both will discover  that it's possible  to find time for each other .

Dear Maxy ,
I bring my lunch to work everyday . It helps me to save money  and it makes it easier  for me  to eat healthfully . The downside  is that my co-workers  are always looking at my lunch, asking questions  about my diet and sometimes  even asking to taste  my food . I don't like that . I spend a lot of time  making sure  I have healthy meals  each day  ... not to share with others . How can I let them know  they need to stop , checking  out my lunch ?
Private Diner

Dear Private Diner ,
I have a very different suggestion . Why not inspire  the rest  of the staff  to eat in a healthier way ? Suggest  that one day you will talk to them more formally  about  the components  of a healthy  lunch  and make recommendations  for what they can bring  from home . Some may like it  . Others will probably back off .
The moochers  will likely  go away  because you suddenly took to the next level . Those who stay make a healthy choice in the future . That's called WIN-WIN.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Walmart Moms Could Decide Election

How 'Walmart moms' could decide the election: Candidates trying to sway undecided voters who tend to shop at the budget superstore

  • Undecided voters tend to be female, earn less than $25,000, and do not have a college degree
  • Republican pollster likened that demographic to 'Walmart moms'
  • 6 per cent of voters in America considered 'undecided
President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney have spent millions defining themselves to the American public using campaign ads.  Now a new poll defines the elusive undecided voter: these elusive citizens are more likely to be female, white, lacking a college education and earning less than $25,000.
According to Reuters/Ipsos polling data accumulated over the course of 2012, the 'undecideds' make up roughly 6 per cent of the electorate.
Key voters: A new Reuters poll highlights demographic trends in undecided voters, which some analysts say likens them to 'Walmart moms' because the are mostly female who earn less than $25,000
Key voters: A new Reuters poll highlights demographic trends in undecided voters, which some analysts say likens them to 'Walmart moms' because the are mostly female who earn less than $25,000
Given demographics, there is a slightly higher concentration of said voters in an Upper Midwest region including Ohio and Wisconsin, swing states that could determine the outcome of a close election. Even though such voters are expensive to win over and perhaps less likely to make it to the polls, they continue to capture the attention of campaigns and political analysts for their potential to tilt the result in a tight race.
 After a long campaign season, the undecideds have also earned scorn from some pundits and humorists, incredulous that anyone could remain uncertain after months of campaign advertising and media coverage. 'Low-information voter' is one of the more polite names attached to this group.
'This year at the debates we should skip that thing where the undecideds dial in their reaction to every little moment,' remarked television host Bill Maher, 'and instead hook up the dial to their foreheads to see if there is any measurable brain activity.'

Calling the satire unfair, Romney pollster Neil Newhouse refers to the demographic tendencies found in the Reuters/Ipsos poll as 'Walmart moms.' Fifty-four per cent of undecided voters are women.'Overwhelmingly they are concerned with their family budgets, not the national budget,' Newhouse said. 'They are concerned about putting food on the table or gas in the tank. They haven't tuned into the campaign yet because they are struggling with their daily lives. They are living one paycheck away from going off the financial cliff.'

Among poll respondents who answered 10 on a 1-to-10 scale of their intention to vote, the undecided group was more likely to choose 'none,' 'other,' 'don't know' or 'refuse to answer' on a broad range of questions about the presidential candidates and national political issues. On questions about the budget deficit, same-sex marriage, healthcare and immigration, this same subset was twice as likely as all likely voters to answer 'unsure' when asked about their personal views.

More of them believe the country is on the wrong track - 75 per cent, compared to 60 per cent - and they are much more likely to respond 'neither' when asked whether Obama or Romney is the more eloquent, presidential, or likeable candidate.

Voting tendencies: 'Overwhelmingly they are concerned with their family budgets, not the national budget,' Republican pollster Neil Newhouse said of the so-called 'Walmart moms'

Voting tendencies: 'Overwhelmingly they are concerned with their family budgets, not the national budget,' Republican pollster Neil Newhouse said of the so-called 'Walmart moms'
'I just don't feel like either of them are trustworthy,' said Helen Krueger, 54, an undecided voter and mother of seven from Grants Pass, Oregon, who voted for John McCain in 2008. 'I normally make up my mind and know who I'm going to vote for. This time I need to do more research.' Obama, she said, has done a 'lousy job.' Romney? 'I don't think we should be taxing the medium class and low class and letting the rich get by without having to pay (taxes), and that's what I feel he wants.'
Krueger said she receives three or four automated phone calls a week from the Romney campaign. She listened the first time. Now she just hangs up.

Lynette Povsha, 39, another undecided voter from Missoula, Montana, has been out of work three years and is ignoring her medical bills. She said neither candidate offers her any hope.
'The economy keeps getting worse. My electricity's been off for months. I don't qualify for (public assistance). I'm a white woman of 40 with no kids,' said Povsha, who voted for McCain in 2008 and has yet to be contacted by the campaigns this year.
'I don't see what either of these presidential wannabes can do for me. I might put Mickey Mouse down for president.'

 DeEntre Thompson, 38, a school bus driver from Columbus, Ohio, said he doubted
either Obama or Romney could win his vote. He said he voted for Bill Clinton twice, George W. Bush twice, and 'reluctantly' for McCain in 2008.
'With the two clowns that are running, I say 'undecided' because I don't have a third option,' Thompson said, lamenting the lack of a strong third-party candidate.
'If one of them showed up at my door and paid all my bills, he could sway me. Anything short of that, no.'
Experts debate whether it is more cost-effective to court undecided voters or spend the time and money getting loyal supporters to the polls.
'What's most important in this race is which party is most able to motivate its base,' said Andrew Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. Still, 'it could be worthwhile for the campaigns to go after (undecided voters) because in several states it's a very close race, and it could be decided by one or two percentage points.'

The Romney campaign is making a special effort to woo the undecideds in swing
states with phone calls, direct mail, email and one-on-one contact, Newhouse said.
'They sound like voters who are up for grabs. These are encouraging demographics for us,' he said, even though Romney's overall standing among women in the Reuters/Ipsos poll is 33 per cent.
The Obama campaign has an extensive ground organization that emphasizes neighbor-to-neighbor contact with undecided voters. That kind of personalized contact is the most effective way to mobilize the undecideds, said Diana Owen, a political science professor at Georgetown University, but it is also expensive.
'That being said,' Owen said, 'it's never good to write off a sizeable constituency. As we saw in 2000, it takes very few votes to switch the outcome of an election.'
The poll has surveyed nearly 100,000 voters since January 1.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Winter Comfort Food.....Chicken Florentine Casserole

Original recipe makes 4 servings

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place the chicken breast halves on a baking sheet; bake 20 to 30 minutes, until no longer pink and juices run clear. Remove from heat, and set aside.
  2. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  3. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stirring constantly, mix in the garlic, lemon juice, cream of mushroom soup, Italian seasoning, half-and-half, and Parmesan cheese.
  4. Arrange the spinach over the bottom of a 9x9 inch baking dish. Cover the spinach with the mushrooms. Pour half the mixture from the saucepan over the mushrooms. Arrange chicken breasts in the dish, and cover with the remaining sauce mixture. Sprinkle with bacon bits, and top with mozzarella cheese.
  5. Bake 20 to 25 minutes in the 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) oven, until bubbly and lightly browned. Serve it up to a very appreciative family...Applause -Applause

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cold Weather Comfort Food...Irish Stew With Dumplings

Irish Stew is one of the best casserole dishes in the entire world. If you top it with dumplings, then bake it in the oven so that they turn crusty and crunchy, you will have a heavenly banquet on your plate. Serve it as the Irish do, with simple boiled cabbage.

 A Bit of the Irish Stew with Crusted Dumplings

Serves 4-6

You will also need a 6 pint (3.5 litre) flameproof casserole.

Serves 4-6

This recipe is taken from Delia Smith's Winter Collection.
Start by drying the pieces of meat on kitchen paper, trim away any excess fat, cut the fillets into 1½ inch (4 cm) rounds, then dip them along with the cutlets into the seasoned flour. Now arrange a layer of meat in the base of the casserole, followed by a layer of onion, carrot, leek and potato and a good seasoning of salt and pepper. Then add some more meat and continue layering the ingredients until everything is in.
Next, sprinkle in the pearl barley and pour in about 2 pints (1.2 litres) of hot water and bring it all up to simmering point. Spoon off any scum that comes to the surface, cover with a well-fitting lid and leave it to simmer over the lowest possible heat for 2 hours.
About 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C), then make up the dumplings: mix the flour and parsley with a seasoning of salt and pepper in a bowl, then mix in – but do not rub in – the suet. Now add just sufficient cold water to make a fairly stiff but elastic dough that leaves the bowl clean. Knead it lightly then shape it into 12 dumplings.
When the stew is ready, remove the lid, place the dumplings all over the surface, then transfer the casserole to the highest shelf of the oven (without a lid) and leave it there for 30 minutes or until the dumplings are golden brown and crusty. Serve the meat surrounding the vegetables and dumplings, with some of the liquid poured over and some in a gravy boat, and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Homeless Angel Saves Newborn's Life at Oklahoma Truck Stop

Keaton Mason and her fiancé were just minutes from home when Mason went into labour. With 911 operators on the phone to guide the delivery, Mason gave birth in the backseat of their Honda at a local truck stop.
The umbilical cord was wrapped around the 4-pound 11-0unce baby's neck. The child wasn't breathing.
"The lady was screaming, 'My baby, my baby's blue… she's not breathing," 911 caller Jennifer Morris told News 9.
Gary Wilson, a homeless man trying to hitch a ride east, was at the truck stop and quickly attended to the panicked mother and child.
Wilson calmly and carefully freed the infant's neck from her umbilical cord, tied it off and rubbed the newborn's back.
Mason told News 9 that Wilson's reassuring demeanour kept her calm throughout the ordeal.
"He did everything perfectly right," said paramedic Sandra Lesperance.
"I would describe him as kind of looking like Jesus," truck stop employee Waneva Morris said. "He had the long hair, the long beard. [He was] a very nice gentleman."
To thank the stranger, employees at the truck stop offered Wilson a hot meal and place to spend the night.
Despite being born four weeks early, the baby, named Tatum Brown, is doing well.
"He was our angel that night, that's for sure," Mason said of Wilson.


Twins born in Brazil with two heads, one heart

Jesus and Emanuel

Conjoined twins have been born in Brazil with two heads, two functioning brains and two backbones - but a single heart. The rare condition is thought to have occurred when one of the pair failed to fully develop in the womb.

Doctors say separating the twins, named Jesus and Emanuel, is not currently an option because there is only one set of organs, Reuters reports. They are being monitored by specialists to see how they develop.

Dr Neila Dahas, who is treating the newborns, said surgery was not being considered at the moment.
But she said separating the boys would be impossible because of the single set of organs - and that it was difficult to choose what to do because both brains were functioning well.
"What we know statistically is that the children who undergo surgery and survive are the children who have less organs in common," she added.
"What we've got to think about at this moment is to maintain the children in good condition and see how they will develop."

The condition, known as dicephalic parapagus, is rare. However there have been other known cases, notably Abigail and Brittany Hensel who were born in the US in 1990. They aim to live as normal a life as possible, even taking their driving test when they were 16.

Jesus and Emanuel were born by Caesarean section weighing 9.9lbs (4.5kg) on Monday morning in a small hospital in the northern state of Para.

They were then taken by plane to a better equipped hospital in the state capital Belem. Doctors say the mother breastfed both boys a few times and that their appetite is normal.  Claudioner Assis de Vasconcelos, director of the hospital in Anajas where she gave birth, told Brazil's O Povo newspaper that she came in because she was experiencing strong abdominal pains.

It is reported that the 25-year-old, who lives in a remote area, did not have any ultrasound scans during her pregnancy - and only found out about her sons' condition minutes before the birth.
Mr de Vasconcelos said: "Despite all the problems we have as a small interior hospital we managed to save both mother and baby, which was our aim."

Patrick O'Brien, a spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetrician and Gynaecologists who has been involved in several conjoined twin cases, said no decisions were likely to be made about Jesus and Emanuel's future for some time.
"A lot of work is needed, in terms of scans and tests, before doctors will know if they can separate them or not, and just how organs and blood vessels are shared and linked.
"It takes quite a while before they can decide how feasible it is."

Mr O'Brien said dicephalic parapagus affected around one in 100,000 pregnancies, but that around half do not reach full-term.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy ,
I have been friends with "Greg" since we were kids . Things happend  between Greg and me long ago , but the feeling  aren't there  anymore  for either of us ...or so I thought .
I started talking with Greg's friend from college  , "Charlie" and Charlie  and I hit it off . Charlie lives  in a different  state  , so whatever we had fell apart .
recently , I started talking  to Charlie again . Then I found out  through Charlie  that Greg  doesn't like me talking  with Charlie   and that Greg has  claimed me as  "his girl." I'm disturbed by this , because I am not his girl  , nor do I want to be .
How can I address this with Greg  ? What should I do ?
Stuck in the Past
Dear Stuck in the Past ,
There are plenty of unwritten rules  about dating the friends of an ex .
These rules are usually some variation of "stay away." It may not seem  logical to keep a distance  , especially if you and your ex have been apart  for years . But it's not  unusual  for an old flame  to believe  that his or her friends  are off-limits .
That Greg is laying claim to you is oddly aggressive  , and it may result  from some residual  hurt feelings . That said  , you have to srep up  and claim your future .
Start by contacting Greg and telling him  that you did not  mean to hurt  his feeling  by befriending  Charlie . Remind him that you two have not been an item  for years  and you thought  it was fine  to hang out with Charlie . Express your sincere  dismay  that you may have upset the equilibrium in their friendship .
Listen  to what he has to say . Let him know  your plans  before  you hang up the phone .

Dear maxy ,
I love my dad , but he can be cruel  . He is often trying  to get me  and my brothers (we;ll all in high school)  to fist-fight with one another  . After we fight , he praises the winner  and expresses his disapppointment in the loser .
I don't know how  to please my dad , and I don't enjoy  fighting with my brothers . How can I get through to him ?
Sad Son
Daer Sad Son , If you have the courage to do so , stop fighting with your brothers . Tell your dad  that you love him  and them  and that you don't want to fight anymore .
Work at developing a relationship with your dad . Do your best to carve  out some one-on-one time  with him . When you do anything  together  at all , thhank him for taking  the time  to do it . He may begin to notice  that he likes that special time , too .

Dear Maxy ,
I am applying to a program  and need a recommendation from a professor . I emailed one of my favorite professors , asking  for a recommendation  and letting her know  the deadline  was in two weeks  . She graciously agreed  and said since  she was busy  , I should write the recommandation  and give it to her to revise it  and send .
Is it normal  for a professor  to ask the student to write  the recommendation ? I am sort  of uncomfortable   with writing a recommendation for myself  and then having her revise it .
I don't want  to toot my own horn  , nor do I want  her to think I;m raving  about myself  . What should I do in this predicament ?
Dear Uncomfortable ,
I understand that you would prefer  your professor  to write the recommendation  on your behalf . However  , it is not unusual  that she asked for help in this effort . In addition to being busy  , the professor may not remember key highlights of your time  togegether  that you mifgt  think  were valuable . Sometimes professors (or former employers) will ask  to be reminded  of important  moments  or projects  that should be included  in the recommendation . In this case  , she has requested  a complete document that can be edited . I say , go for it .

For People who love PB

Peanut Butter Smoothies
1/2 cup low fat milk
1/2 cup vanilla fat free yogurt 2 tablespoons ground golden flaxseed
1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ripe banana sliced
2. Place all ingredients in a blender, process until smooth.

I am obsessed with peanut butter. To say I love it would be an understatement. I consider it a food group, a snack, a side dish, even a perfectly acceptable (and delicious) meal at times. Unfortunately, although it's packed with protein and good fats, peanut butter is also high in calories and eating too much of it (what, half a jar in one sitting is too much?) will definitely cause you to gain weight, especially if, like me, you happen to love it on thick toasted slices of white bread or stirred up in chocolate ice cream. So I'm always on the hunt for healthy ways to include peanut butter on my diet.
Oatmeal peanut butter cookies qualify for healthy snacks

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, cream together shortening, margarine, brown sugar, white sugar, and peanut butter until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time until well blended. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in the oats until just combined. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until just light brown. Don't over-bake. Cool and store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Watch The Frog

Just too cute ...frog jumps on baby ... baby doesn't notice .

Do You Still Love Your Partner "Love is a Verb"

A significant portion of my work is dedicated to debunking our beloved and dysfunctional cultural myths about love, romance, and marriage. For many people, these messages live like a sleeping serpent in the unconscious layer and are only awakened when real love is standing before them. In other words, as long as they're chasing after the unavailable partner where there's no risk of real love and, thus, no risk of vulnerability and loss, they can trot along somewhat happily, fully subscribing to the dominant cultural myths. But once they're faced with the possibility of a lifelong commitment to a present, loving, available partner -- which often occurs at the time of getting engaged but can also appear much sooner -- the serpent awakens and the messages come spewing forth in a slew of froth, wreaking havoc on their unsuspecting minds as the messages clash with their lived experience and the serpent attempts to convince them that it's time to walk away.

What are these cultural messages about love? What does the serpent say when it awakens from its lifetime slumber? It says:

Love is a feeling. If you're not feeling love, then you don't really love your partner.

• If you have to question whether or not you love your partner, you obviously don't love him/her and it's time to walk away.

You should "just know that it's right." If you don't have that feeling of rightness, then it's clearly not right.

• You should feel head over heels "in love", which means butterflies and fireworks.

• Your partner should make you feel alive, whole, and fulfilled.

I could go on and on; the love-myths are endless, and you only have to watch a Meg Ryan romantic comedy -- or any Hollywood romantic comedy, for that matter -- to see the enactment of these messages. Once you understand real love, these films are harmless fun. But when you grow up watching Disney stories and following glorified Hollywood romances, these films create a dangerous expectation that love should look and feel like it does on the big screen. And when the initial rush of feeling and certainty naturally wears off, as it always will, it's frightfully easy to doubt that your relationship is still a good one.

If love isn't only a feeling, what is it? Once the honeymoon wears off, love is primarily a verb, and to love someone is an active experience. Love is action. Love is commitment. Love is making your partner a sandwich even when you don't "feel" like it. Love is recognizing that intimate, committed relationships are crucibles inside which both partners will be asked to grow emotionally and spiritually and learn about the barriers that prevent them from loving. As Alanis Morissette said in a brilliant interview with Piers Morgan, "Love, to me, is a verb. Love kicks in for real when things get hard... Love, for me, is when I don't feel very loving. It's an action." And when asked how she knew that Souleye was the one for her she said, "Values being the same: family, commitment, partnership, seeing marriage as a hotbed for growth and healing. Not everyone -- including myself at times -- views marriage as the alchemy that it really can be in affording us the [opportunity for] wholeness."

My clients and e-course members often ask me, "If love isn't only a feeling, how do I know I love my partner?" Real love is a knowing, and knowing is place that lives beyond thoughts or feelings. You probably don't always feel loving feelings for your mother or father or best friend, but you know you love them. Another way to approach the question is to look for evidence that you love your partner. When the heart-thumping, stomach-churning feeling is gone but you're still motivated to spend time with your partner, when something deeper than thoughts or feelings draws you to your partner like a magnetic pull (sometimes strong, sometimes less strong), when you keep showing up in concrete, tangible ways for the relationship even when it's difficult, when there's an ease between you even when it's not always easy, this is real love.

There's nothing drug-like or euphoric about real love. On the contrary, it's grounded, honest, stable, and authentic. The deeper place inside of you knows that to commit to your partner is a loving choice, and so you act in loving ways even when you don't always feel loving. Through these loving actions, you expand your heart and grow your capacity to love. This is evidence of love.

It's a tragic reality that far too many people walk away from solid, healthy relationships with partners that they truly love because their experience doesn't match the cultural expectation. Don't you think it's time to change the expectation, to bring it down from the realm of stars and fantasy and present young, formative minds with an accurate and realistic depiction of love, romance, and marriage? It's time we change "you complete me" to "you inspire me to become the best version of myself" or "with you, I will grow and evolve in my capacity to love." It's time to dismantle the fantasy so that people on the threshold of marriage can create the healthiest possible foundation on which to begin their lives together.
Thanx --Sheryl Paul

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy ,
My husband and I have a 20-year-old daughter  , "Brianna" . We pay for her private college tuition , ass well as all her expenses .
In August , Brianna  was invited  for a weekend long  trip to Hawii  with her boyfriend's family  . She decideded to go without discussing it with us  . We had made plans  to get her a new apartment  that week  so she could move prior  to classes starting  , and she totally blew it off .
I am hurt by this  . It seems disrespectful  to us and to  the commitment she has as a daughter  . I have communicated  vvery little her since  she left for school  . How can I let her know  this behavior  is unacceptable  ? I am also disappointed  in her boyfriend  , who has known us long enough  to be more sensitive  to our family  .
What should I do ?
A Mom
Dear Mom ,
Yes , it was ruded  that Brianna  did not discuss  the change in plans  with you  , but she is trying  to assert her independence  , and  I recommend  you let her  . That means  she should  make more  of her own decisions and you need to stop paying for them . If Brianna recieves  a free trip  to Hawii  and blows off apartment hunting  , let her handle  her own living arrangements  . Don't do it for her  or fret  that she won't  have a place to live . She'll manage . Let her find  a part-time job  to pay for things  you don't want to finance .
her her become  a responsible , Mature adult  instead of a dependent child .

Dear Maxy ,
I witnessed my classmate  shoplift  yesterday . She had invited me  to go with her  to the mall  , and I went . Hey , that's what we teens do after school  . I like this girl  , but I don't know her very well .
I was shocked  to see that she  put something  in her purse  and walked out . . I wasn't sure  what to do .
I called her  on it  , and she said it was "light stuff." I'm upset  . At the least , I want to step  away from her  , but she has a big personality . How  should I handle  this  so I don't lose all my friends ?
Dear Angry ,
It's good  that you already addressed  this situation  with her . Broach the subject  one more time  , and tell her  that her  shoplifting  is a deal-breaker  for you . You like her  , but you do not condone  that you don't intend  to broadcast what she did  to your group  of friends  , but you  hope she will  get the help that she needs  to start  making different decisions .
As far as the other friends  go , you have to make a decision . You can choose  too keep the theft  secret  and let the cards play out as they will . Or you can privately  speak to your closest friends  and let them  know that you  and the other girl  have experienced a rift  and that you hope  it will not effect  your friendship  . No need to describe the rift  . Just get it on the  front end of it .

Dear Maxy ,
My husband and I have been going  to a therapist  for about a year  , and I'm not  sure  what to think  of it . She has been helpful  , in now that we argue less and are  more civil to each other  . That's  a blessing  . But I don
t think  we like each other  that much . We hardly do anything together  . I don't think that's how life is suppose to be .
We have two kids  who have noticed the strain  in our relationship  , although  they probably think things are better beccause we are not arguing > I don't know whay to do  . Therapy is helpful  , but I'm left  with tons  of questions  . Should I give  up now  ? And if so , how do I walk away  when I have kids ?
Dear Sinking ,
Do you think you can have a civil conversation  with your husband  and talk about how you are feeling  ? If you are considering  leaving  your marriage  , you can tell him that  , and why ?  Even if you decide  to break up  , you need to talk it through  because you have children .
Tell your hhusband  you want  to have an honest dialogue  about your future  . To the best of your ability , stay calm . Ask  him what he's thinking  , share  whats 's in your heart  , and be direct  with each other . Being honest  about your raw emotions  could open up  a discussion  that allows  the truth  to be heard . This may  be the way  to open the door  to whatever is next .

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Felt Elf Christmas Ornament

Christmas elf ornament - sewing pattern

Learn to make a cute elf Christmas ornament from felt . (Option) -  Make him sparkle with
glitter glue trim   
  • Red Felt; 4" x 7" piece
  • Green Felt; 4 1/2" x 2" piece
  • Flesh colored felt: 3 1/2" x 9" piece
  • One 10mm bell
  • One 5mm pink pom-pom
  • Two black glass E beads
  • Tacky glue
  • Small amount Polyester Fiberfill (stuffing)
  • 8" piece of elastic thread or crochet thread
  • Powdered blush
  • Ultra fine tip black permanent marker
  • Needle & thread
  • optional: sewing machine and gold glitter glue or fabric paint in a squeeze bottle

-Trace and cut out two hat pieces from red felt. Trace and cut out one collar
piece from green felt and trace and cut out two heads from flesh colored felt.

-Pin the two head pieces together and sew around the face close to the edge
 leaving the top section opened. Topstitch around the ears.

-Stuff the head with Polyester Fiberfil (stuffing). Only the face will be stuffed
  - the ears will not get stuffed. Then, sew the opening at the top of the head
closed. Set aside.

-Pin the two hat sections together and stitch the two sides close to the edge leaving
 the bottom edge opened. Right side out the hat and place it on top of the elf's head. Stitch in place.

-Fold down the top of the hat as pictured and tack in place with a couple of stitches on the back
side of the ornament. Sew a bell to the tip of the hat.

-Hand-stitch the collar to the lower portion of the head.

-Brush powdered blush on the cheeks of the elf. Sew the two black beads on for eyes.
-Glue the pink pom-pom on as the nose and using the permanent marker, draw a mouth.

-Thread a piece of elastic thread or crochet thread through the back of the elf's hat using a
 needle with an eye large enough to pass the thread through. Remove the needle and tie the
 ends in an overhand knot. This will be your ornament's hanger.
    Optional: Personalize your ornament by writing the recipients name on the collar
     using the glitter glue or fabric paint in a squeeze bottle.

free elf pattern to sew a Christmas ornament


Penguin Ornament

What could be cuter than this Penguin Ornament on your Christmas tree? Make one today!

Craft Supplies:
  • 4" x 9" piece Black felt
  • 2" square white felt
  • 5" Long string of lights
  • Scrap of orange felt
  • 1 pair 5mm googly eyes
  • Small amount Fiberfil (stuffing)
  • 6" piece crochet or elastic thread
  • ½" x 6 ½" piece fleece
  • Craft glue
  • Hot glue gun & glue sticks
  • Black thread & needle or sewing machine
  1. Trace and cut 1 belly from white felt.
  2. Trace and cut 4 wings and 2 bodies from black felt.
  3. Pin 2 of the wings together and sew completely around the outside edge. Repeat with the other 2 wings.
  4. Pin the 2 body pieces together. Sew around the outside leaving a small opening for stuffing.
  5. Stuff the body lightly and sew opening closed.
  6. On the front of the penguin, using the hot glue gun, glue one wing on each side of the body (refer to picture for placement).
  7. Tie the ½" x 6 ½" piece of fleece around the neck as a scarf. Put 2 or 3 dots of hot glue under the scarf to hold it in place.
  8. On the back of the penguin, thread a piece of crochet thread or elastic thread thru the head using a needle. Remove the needle and knot the two ends together. This is the ornament hanger.
  9. Cut a beak out of orange felt by cutting a diamond that is approximately ½" w x 1" long.
  10. On the front of the penguin use the craft glue to glue the white belly under the scarf. Glue eyes and beak on for face.
  11. Using hot glue, tack the Christmas lights to the wings. Also, tack the center of the strand of lights to the belly of the penguin

full size pattern to sew penguin out of felt - from CraftElf

Monday, October 8, 2012

Easy Hats From Old Sweaters

Ever wondered what to do with a spare hour and an old, outgrown or overwashed sweater? Put both to good use and upcycle your old woolly into a warm winter hat.

You will need:

    • An old sweater
    • A head to measure or an old hat to use as a template
    • A button or pompom

Taking measurements

The width
Measure around the head of your hat wearer (or measure the bottom of a hat that already fits). Using this measurement, mark it out on the bottom edge of your jumper adding a centimetre for a seam allowance (ours stretched the whole width of one side of the sweater).
The height
Using a tape measure, measure from the eyebrows to the crown of the head (the top of the head where the parting in the hair starts). This gives you the height measurement. Because we had a nice ribbed bit at the bottom of our sweater, we added 3cm to allow for a turn up at the brim of the hat.
With the sweater laid flat, mark out the height and width measurements and cut out. You should now have a rectangular piece of woollen sweater.

Stitching the back seam

With right sides together, fold your rectangle in half. Pin the edges together. Using a pen (because it’s marked on the wrong side of the fabric, you don’t see the ink), make a curved line halfway up the edge which slopes gently in at the top of the hat (see photo). This takes away some of the fullness at the top of the hat.
Using a zig-zag machine stitch, sew along this pen line and down the edge of the fabric, reinforcing it at the brim with a backwards stitch so the sewing is secure. Trim away the excess.

Stitching the top of the hat

Using a zigzag stitch, sew around the top edge of the hat to prevent it fraying.
With the hat still inside out, take a needle and some strong thread and tack with big stitches all the way around the top about 0.5cm from the edge.
When you've tacked all the way round, hold the thread and push the fabric along the stitches so the fabric at the top of the hat gathers together in a bundle (see photo). Stitch together securely, catching all the raw edges in to the middle.

Finishing off

Turn the hat the right way round and handstitch a button or pompom over the gathered top. Decorate, turn up the brim and go out in the cold!

Stitching tips for an old sweater

• Knits will fray, so always zigzag or overlock the edges.
• Knitted fabric will probably stretch as you sew, so pin securely, use a big stitch and ease the fabric through the machine. Stitch again if you feel it still looks like it may come apart.
• This hat can easily be made by hand, but just remember to use back stitch on the seam and oversew the edges to prevent fraying.