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Showing posts from October, 2013

Halloween Popcorn Treats

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Halloween Popcorn Treats Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
Prep Time: 5 min Cook Time: 8 min Level: Easy Serves: 6 to 8 servings
Ingredients Vegetable cooking spray 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 1/3 cup popcorn kernels 3 tablespoons butter 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 6 cups (12-ounces) mini marshmallows 6 fun-size caramel peanut chocolate bars (such as Snickers), cut into 1/4-inch pieces 3 (3-inch) chocolate chip cookies, crumbled 1/3 cup chopped salted almonds, 1/2 cup orange and black chocolate candies (such as M and Ms) Directions Spray the inside of a large mixing bowl with vegetable cooking spray, and lightly spray a baking sheet. Set aside.
In a 3 quart or larger, heavy-bottomed pan, heat the oil and popcorn over medium-high heat. Cover the pan and shake gently. Cook until all the kernels have popped, about 3 minutes. Place the popcorn in the prepared bowl.
In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over low heat. Add the vanilla extract and marshmallows. Stir constantly until the marshmallows have …

Halloween fun

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Every October, my kids start to plan their costumes and trick-or-treating routes while driving me crazy with the fights and arguments about it all.  This year, I underestimated the time I had to shop around for the best prices around town, and to order or go buy the costumes. I freaked out when I noticed it was too late to order anything online, so I had to go to the stores where there are at least 50 people standing in line waiting to buy a costume.  Some of the costumes were already sold out, including the one my son wanted.  I can see that he wanted to cry but held in his tears, I felt so bad, but I figured I would piece together costumes from previous years to make one cool costume. Right?  Nope!  My kids are older now and that trick wasn’t flying with them this year. 
One of my best friends, Debbie, told me about a store that might have the Annoying Orange costume (it’s a nutty costume, I know!) for my son, so we both went on the hunt for this one costume.I’m not going to go into…

Turning 39!

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I’m turning 39!  Yikes!  Many people don’t like celebrating birthdays but I LOVE to celebrate each passing year, and look forward with hope that the following year will be a better one.  My 30’s have been great, but they have also been very challenging, so I’m waving goodbye to my 30’s with a party to mark the end of this decade.  
Every decade has had its ups and downs, but that means that I’m supposed to be wiser with each decade under my belt (at least I hope I am!). 
Somewhere around week 8 or 10 before my actual birthday, I feel a shift in my mindset.I don’t get angry as easily or I handle stressful situations with more grace and calmness.Whatever the shift is, I welcome it because it’s always been positive.
This is what I wish I would have been warned about or known for each decade:
Teens: Don’t count on having the same friends years from now, very few will stick around, so having them mad at me will not be the end of my world.
Take it easy with the makeup and hairspray, serious…

Grateful Mondays

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I’m grateful for:
The heart-shaped sunflower I found yesterday at the pumpkin patch.
Chocolate chip cookies, especially when they’re freshly baked, still warm and the chocolate gets all over my hands.
My friend Cyndi, who takes amazing pictures and shares them with our LuckyBesties community!She’s an amazing artist.
My dad who always makes me feel loved!

My dog, Henry, who makes me forget my worries when he (wildly) kisses me, until I have to get away from him because he won’t stop.
-Fabiola

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of the Day

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Quote of the Day

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Living life to the fullest

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*If you haven't seen the movie Gravity, there are a few mentions of things below that could spoil the movie for you.  
My friend Patty and I went to see Gravity this week. Wow! What an amazing visual experience! Not to mention what I thought was a great but simple story.  One of Sandra Bullock's great quotes in the movie is when she said, "I'm going to die today, we're all going to die someday, but I'm going to die today." It was an incredible scene with acceptance of death being minutes away of happening. Most of us don’t know when we’re going to die so even in the movie, I was in awe as I took in the concept.  In that intense moment in the movie, I realized what a cocky person I seem to be at times, I live each day thinking that dying happens to others, not my family members and certainly not me.  I live each day fully assured that there will be a tomorrow, and not only that, a healthy one to boot! That might be the reason why it's so devastating wh…

Life slideshow - Take II

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I recently saw a video on YouTube entitled Birth to 12 years in 2 min. 45 seconds time lapse Lotte.  If in the right mindset, one can really be awed by the amazing physical evolvement of this little girl.  However, a friend of mine said oh yeah, I’ve seen that video; it’s no big deal!  Really? No big deal?  The fact that we can see someone go from birth to 12 years old in minutes is a big deal!  Has technology made it easy for us to become jaded and disregard breathtaking sights and/or events, or are we all bound to have some jaded moments no matter what the content is?
Which brings me to a conversation I overheard about technology and how we’ve become accustomed to having almost anything we need at our finger tips, in a matter of seconds, so we are easily bored, jaded and frustrated when our technology doesn’t provide more entertainment at a quicker speed.  Thinking about all of these facts and hearing my friend sound so jaded, I wondered have we stopped living life in the moment be…

Halloween Peppermint Patties

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Halloween Peppermint Patties Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
Prep Time:15 min Level: Easy Serves: 4 to 6 servings
Ingredients 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, plus extra, as needed 1/4 cup pasteurized liquid egg white product 1 teaspoon water, plus extra, as needed 1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract Orange food coloring, as needed, optional 2 (4-ounce) bars 53 percent cocoa dark chocolate, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (recommended: Nestle Chocolatier) 1 teaspoon vegetable oil Directions Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the powdered sugar, egg white product, 1 teaspoon water, peppermint extract and 1 to 2 drops of food coloring, if using. Mix on low speed until smooth. Increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture forms a stiff dough (if the mixture becomes too stiff, add extra water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time and beat until smooth). Put the mixture on a work surface dusted with powdered sugar and roll it into a log a…

Quote of the Day

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Life is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Cleaning house...

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Last week, my friend Shelley was over my house helping me with a PTA fundraiser, we were chatting it up when she stopped and said your house is so clean!  I laughed and told her that since it was Thursday, swept floors and vacuumed rugs made a big difference! I told her to come back the next day and it would be a different story.  We talked about how overwhelming it is to keep a clean but also a de-cluttered home.  I shared with her how I try to stay on top of housework. 
When I had small children and worked a corporate job, we had a nanny who cared for my children until they went off to preschool.  This miracle worker, Lucy, was kind enough to clean our house while my kids napped.   Lucy was not only efficient but kept a tight schedule on the chores that needed to be done everyday, and once she moved on to care for other babies, I kept the schedule and live by it everyday.  Here’s how my week goes:
Mondays and Fridays: Do laundry.  Friday: Change sheets and wash them with the rest…

Grateful Mondays

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I’m grateful for being able to start anew every day.  I’m grateful for happiness and laughter. I'm thankful for fresh vegetables. I’m thankful for great friendships. And unconditional love.
-Fabiola

Quote of the Day

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Quote of the Day

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Herbed Garlic Bread

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Bestie Note: Glam up one of your weekly dinners with this great bread recipe.
Herbed Garlic Bread Recipe courtesy Food Network Magazine
Prep Time:5 min Cook Time:20 min Level: Easy

Directions Slice a loaf of Italian bread, stopping short of the bottom so the loaf stays intact. Melt 4 tablespoons butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil; add 2 to 3 minced garlic cloves and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons chopped parsley. Spread the garlic mixture between the bread slices; wrap in foil and bake at 375 degrees F, 15 minutes. Unwrap and bake until crisp, 5 more minutes.
Photograph by Antonis Achilleos
Food Network Herbed Garlic Bread

Culture Crush Book Review: The Serial Garden by Joan Aiken

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Culture Crush wants to thank Lucky Besties blog for hosting our catch-all arts & lifestyle column these past months. This book review marks the 50th published article and the final regular, weekly Culture Crush for the foreseeable future. Thanks to all our fabulous readers for sharing Culture Crush and all the positive feedback. 'Til we meet again, au revoir! 

Hardcover published October 28, 2008(Big Mouth House)

By Lisa


What a gem of a find! I stumbled upon this hardcover at the local library and was instantly hooked by its intriguing cover. Even more interesting, this book collects all the various "Armitage Family Stories," which have been published here and there since 1953 by author Joan Aiken. This complete collection houses 24 stories, written with such imagination and charm, they are perfect for any age.

Beginning with the story that started it all, "Yes, But Today is Tuesday" (originally sold to a BBC children's program in 1944 but not published …

Life is Full of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Love and Happiness…

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This past week was my 14th Wedding Anniversary!  So much happiness…just check the pictures of our happy marriage all over Facebook!  Ha-ha.  I adored my husband then, and I adore him even more now!  He has taught me what unconditional love looks like as an adult.  The learning process was not without heartache, rebellion and stubbornness.  I was preconditioned to feel love only with pain attached to it.  Growing up I felt loved the most by my grandfather, Lolo, he made me believe that I could touch the stars if I wanted to.  My grandfather would tell random strangers that I was going to be a successful business woman one day, and by the way, look how beautiful my granddaughter is, he would tell people. 
However, as a child, I was the girl that most kids made fun of because I had a big nose, darker skin and was chubby.  My grandfather would completely lose it if people dared utter those sentiments to him, though.  I was definitely loved and I adored him!  My father followed my grandfa…

Sick kid…a little empathy?

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I was working on a fundraiser at school this past week, when I overheard a sick 1st grader in the nurses’ office.  The nurse asked him if he had been to the doctor, and he replied that his mom said that a-$20 co-pay was very expensive.  A shame on me feeling was felt in my entire body, because there have been many times, when I have judged parents for sending their kids to school sick.  I can honestly say that I don’t start my thought process with empathy, which is a real shame because I don’t know the possible hardships some parents might be facing.  I’m sure that every parent has his or her own hurdles to deal with when they have a sick child, with that in mind there’s a social responsibility for parents to ensure that their child is not contagious and to have concern for those around their sick child.  So the questions are…when do we have empathy for other parents and when do jump to a conclusion of bad parenting? My guess with most situations… should be a little empathy without j…

Grateful Mondays

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Grateful Mondays
I’m grateful for the ability to be genuinely grateful. For Uncle Charley who is the most amazing uncle. For the ability to see things differently. I’m grateful for glimpses of completely peace within myself. For a healthy family.
And for hope.

-Fabiola

Quote of the Day

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Quote of the Day

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4 Levels of Love

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I recently watched Oprah interview Tony Robbins, the topic was about Levels of Love.  Tony Robbins talked about 4 Levels of Love and here’s how he described them:

Level 1 - Baby Love: Babies love you when you give them what they want.  They demand love and attention.  They cry, kick and scream when they don’t get their way.
Level 2 - Hook On The Other End or what he called a Horse Trader:  Pissed off if you don't receive back.  Consciously or unconsciously we give but want something in return.
Level 3 - Real Love: something you give because it’s who you are. When you give the love, it's pure.
Level 4 - Pure Spirit Love: He used the Dalai Lama as an example.  The Dalai Lama prays so that people escape their pain. Expects nothing in return and gives, even when it hurts.
Tony Robbins explained that we all experience all the Levels at any given point, but tilt the balance toward one Level most times.  He talked about finding the center of gravity for our Levels of Love and described th…

Culture Crush throwback Thursday: Thirteen Pictures: The Charles Mingus Anthology

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Culture Crush gets in on the Throwback Thursday fun and shares an oldie and a goodie from the past. This week's highlight is Thirteen Pictures: The Charles Mingus Anthology.

By Lisa

Released in 1993, Thirteen Pictures introduced Charles Mingus to me in a package at once enthralling, but not overwhelming. Charles Mingus the composer, bandleader and musician could definitely overwhelm listeners, especially neophyte jazz lovers. Thirteen compositions, drawn from seminal recordings spanning decades, comprise this anthology. More than two hours of music in this collection wait ready to take the listener on a Mingus musical journey.

My favorite from this collection, or certainly the one I played the most in years past, is "Cumbia & Jazz Fusion," with its eclectic collection of sounds and absolutely amazing upright bass. Certainly, the anthology is a stellar grouping of important Mingus works, and brings together some legendary jazz figures.

Hopefully, these compositions w…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's top 3

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Pat-ty-cake, Pat-ty-cake, friend of mine...

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My friend Patty is a ball of energy and a super sweet friend! Patty came into my life via my 9-year old son. Her twin boys are best buddies with my son and once they all started to get closer, so did Patty and I. She's one of my funniest and fun friends I’ve ever had!
It was so natural to just share our life’s stories with each other little by little as our friendship grew. What has struck me the most about her is that she's never bad mouthed or is ever negative about situations even when they're crummy circumstances.
It's amazing how we've become so close and have created a sweet bond. She's always been so selfless but nothing prepared me for Patty's incredible act of kindness this past weekend. I put together a fundraiser for my friend Allie who has Breast Cancer (Patty has never met Allie) and my ball of energy friend was out there hustling with our yard-sale customers.  She really kept me going even when I felt so tired and ready to close shop.  I would …