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A Valentine’s Day Round-Up & Lenten Thoughts

This will be a post in two parts today since I just have so much to say! Firstly, today we walk into the first day of Lent. I know that this is a period of reflection and abstaining. I have spoken about this before and I shall speak about it again this year.

In my family we had the tradition of adding something to our daily lives, instead of subtracting it. We still gave up things (and if you chose to give up chocolate, what a blessed morning Easter Sunday was because it meant you could finally touch it again and oh boy did you hope that the Easter Bunny left you plenty in your basket!), but my parents always made sure that we added something to our daily/weekly lives that would be to the benefit of others.

I am going to get on my soap box for a moment here and say that I have always felt it is wonderful to give of oneself; it is marvelous that Church organizations and charity organizations help so many people around the world. I grew up in the South and I was always amazed at how many churches in my town took trips to Mexico, South America, Haiti, Cuba and Africa.  Those were extremely valuable trips for all involved, but I think it is just as important to know where we are from, to teach your children and others what is around them as well.

You don’t have to go far to help someone in need. Not only were there people who needed help within my own community, you only had to drive a few hours into the mountains and there were families that would have benefited from a little extra help as well.  Start in your own backyard, so to speak and branch out.

I had the great fortune to meet Mother Teresa when I was in High School and I read an article recently that quoted her; it sums up my thoughts, better than I could:

“Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering and the lonely right there where you are — in your own homes and in your own families, in your workplaces and in your schools. … You can find Calcutta all over the world, if you have the eyes to see. Everywhere, wherever you go, you find people who are unwanted, unloved, uncared for, just rejected by society — completely forgotten, completely left alone.”

I want to make it clear now that I am in no way demeaning the work that others do, to give of your heart and of yourself in any capacity is a wonderful act. I just think that sometimes we might need to be reminded we can still make a difference just where we are right now, we can make a difference in the place that we call HOME.
 
Secondly, we sit on the Eve of St. Valentine’s Day today and I thought I would do a last minute Valentine’s round-up. I have breakfast planned for Mr. Michie, I will be making homemade doughnuts tonight and working on my dessert for our Valentine’s dinner, but I will share more of that later.

In case you need a few last minute ideas, this is for you:

These cookies from the lovely Sweetopia Blog are just too SWEET! Learn how to make them here:
 
 
For those classroom Valentine’s where teachers won’t let you give out candy, Inchmark has come up with adorable bookmarks instead:
 
The House that Lars Built, shows you a cute way to make your own wrapping paper, to make that special gift, extra special:
 
 
The lovely I am Baker blog, shared these Neapolitan Spritz Cookies this week and they look like a very scrumptious box of goodies for a Valentine to receive:
 
 
These “Sealed with A Kiss” waxed lips from Oh Happy Day, are a sweet and funny way to pass out Valentine Cards. Who doesn’t have fun playing with waxed lips?:


And last but not least, via Martha Stewart, you can give your Valentine a tied posy in a flower cone. These would be sweet to give to friends at a little Valentine Day Luncheon:

 
 
{all images are copyright their respective blogs}

The Last Post

My last post of this year! I don’t know where the year has gone, it seems to go quicker and quicker every year. We have had our ups and downs this year, but we are blessed to have each other, a roof over our heads, food on our table and family who loves us.

I pray that 2012 ushers in blessings for you all and a wonderful new start! Speaking of new starts, I know that many people have already or will be setting resolutions for themselves. I don’t go crazy and like Lent, instead of taking away, we try and add something positive in to our daily lives.

One thing we found this year, was that between the very busy schedules we keep at work, that once we were home, we didn’t always set aside time for each other until we went to bed, we always talk before we go to sleep. Well, that is something that is changing and no matter how many papers there are to grade or jobs left to finish, we are going to set aside some time for each other every evening.

The way that we are going to do this, is by taking an idea I saw on the Inchmark blog. She and her husband come together every evening over a cup of tea, they either talk, or play a game. We love playing games and usually have something in paper form, i.e. suduko on the go, we also love just to chat to each other. This was their gift to their family this year.

Making sure that other things do not take over and we carve out time for each other every evening is going to be my resolution this year. Because, all that other stuff, is just stuff, it really doesn’t matter.

“The note read: After the children are tucked in bed and fast asleep, we take turns boiling the water on the stove and getting out the tea bags. We fill our mugs with hot water and let the tea steep, then stir in a little sugar. Tea takes some time to cool, so we sit and talk at the table while we sip our tea and discuss the business of our family. Sometimes we take the time to play a game. After a busy day, it’s just nice to sit down together and talk for a minute. We hope you’ll think so too.”

(All images and the last paragraph of text is copyright to Inchmark)

A Pot of Pie

I spied these lovely pumpkin pies in a jar over at Inchmark and I think they are a beautiful idea, for a little something different!

They would look charming displayed on a table set upon Johnson Bros. “Friendly Village Autumn” luncheon plates. I also think they would be the perfect breakfast, because, you have to keep your energy up as you slave away over that succulent roasted bird and stuffing!

All I need is a spoon and a little extra whipped cream…

(All images copyright Inchmark)

I Wanna Hold Your Hand!

Aren’t these Valentine’s from Martha Stewart adorable? They made me think of being little when my art teacher would have us make all kinds of things out of our hands; turkeys for Thanksgiving and Rudolphs for Christmas.  This is a cute carry on from that. You would even make them more grown-up looking by adding on jewels for rings and bracelets if you were giving them to grown-up girlfriends.

Another sweet idea I saw were these Valentine’s matchboxes on Inchmark.  They are too cute and if you combined them with the new lace paper cutters from Martha you could really dress these up, by cutting out trim in a Valentine’s themed craft paper and wrapping them around your matchbox “gift” boxes.

Speaking of Valentine’s gifts, one of the little projects I mentioned I was working on, I finished yesterday morning. It has taken me a bit of time to complete, I have had to steal away time when my Valentine hasn’t been around. I am going to tie it to his Valentine’s surprises! Shhh! Its a secret!

To make your own Valentine Hand Cards click here:

To make your own Valentine’s matchboxes click here: