Happy Valentines Day!!!
- The Simple Life
By Sheryl Simons
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"We've got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You
can't just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it's
going to get on by itself. You've got to keep watering it. You've
got to really look after it and nurture it." -- John Lennon
Love is a Gift
Love is a gift that we get, but more so, love is the gift of
ourselves that we give. Doesn't it feel better to be the giver of a
gift? Remember when your kids were little and you surprised them
with a happy meal, which wasn't a typical treat by any means. It
was back in the days of the tight belt and the tighter wallet.
Their eyes would light up, and you could feel the anticipation in
the car. Maybe it's different for others, but that's how it is for
me. Somehow the excitement for me is finding a great gift or doing
something that just makes someone's eyes light up. In little ways
every day can be Valentine's Day. Why save something so special for
one day a year? Here's a few more ideas:
Find someone's favorite meal or dessert and do an internet
search for a recipe you think they'd like. Make it for them. If
you are not a cook, buy one. They will be almost as impressed.
Tell someone you love that you are taking them on a mystery
trip, and then take them somewhere special that they would enjoy.
Everyone loves a drive. It doesn't have to be expensive, maybe a
museum, or a hike. For a special treat go to dinner or pack a
Surprise someone you love with something you don't
ordinarily do. Do something that is their usual chore. Maybe do
the laundry for them, make a meal, clean a room, or wash the
dishes. Do it as a surprise, if possible. You could leave a note
that just says "I love You".
Leave a "love note" for no reason on an ordinary day.
Plan a relaxing evening, including music from a favorite
CD. Look at photos from your early times together.
The next time you get upset, wait 24 hours and see how you
feel about it. Explain to the other person why you felt the way you
did without getting angry. If you must, write it in a note. You
can't clear the air without telling them how you feel, but do it in
a very loving way. We all have disagreements. Even if they feel
differently, don't try to force them to see your way. It's mature
to realize that two people will never agree on everything. Find a
compromise, or agree to disagree, and leave it with that.
I have a friend who completely disagrees on several issues.
We ENJOY talking about our differences with out having heated
discussions. We can laugh and even joke about our differences. I
came to realize that it is a great thing to learn when two people
can totally disagree without anger. This is one of the greatest
gifts you can teach your children.
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"The next time it begins to rain... lie down on your belly, nestle
your chin into the grass, and get a frog's-eye view of how raindrops
fall... The sight of hundreds of blades of grass bowing down and
popping back up like piano keys strikes me as one of the merriest
sights in the world." ~~ Malcolm Margolin
"The world is full of poetry. The air is living with its spirit; and
the waves dance to the music of its melodies, and sparkle in its
brightness." ~~ Percival
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Simple Baked Burritos
1/2 c chopped onions
1/2 c chopped green and red bell peppers
1/2 lb lean ground turkey or beef
2 c salsa, mild or hot--whatever you prefer
1 c reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese
2 tbs light Italian salad dressing
10 soft corn tortillas
1 c sour cream (optional)
1/2 c sliced green onions (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add onions and bell peppers to a
large skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5
minutes. Add ground beef to skillet. Stir together with onions and
peppers. Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, until meat is
cooked through. Add just one cup of the salsa to the skillet and
stir into the meat, onions and peppers. Remove from heat and add
just half of the cheddar cheese to the skillet. Stir. Spray a
baking pan with Pam, or spread a little bit of the salsa on the
bottom of the baking pan. This is to prevent sticking. Holding one
tortilla in one hand, brush the tortilla lightly with the salad
dressing, and then scoop the meat mixture into the tortilla. Roll
the tortilla up and place in your baking pan--seam side down. Note:
Don't overfill the tortilla, or it will be very difficult to roll.
Repeat with the remaining tortillas. Spoon the remaining cup of
meat and salsa over the burritos in the baking pan. 30 Minutes Bake
for 20 minutes. Uncover and spread remaining 1/2 cup of cheese on
top. Bake an additional 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top
with sour cream and green onions if desired.
Keeping it Simple,
- The Simple Life
Spring is only weeks away! How do I know this? Well, all the seed displays are out already! And, patio furniture is soon to follow. Won't be any time at all and we be enjoying spring rains. Another 6 weeks and we will be on the downhill slope of winter. Wood stoves and heaters are already on clearance.
Speaking of gardening A friend Ken at work told a story of his garden. He and his wife always had a big garden and they had four kids. They lived on a road that got a lot of traffic by a lake during vacation time. The kids put up a farm stand, and could keep the money from the extra veggies and fruit for spending money. They always made sure to be open on Friday and Sunday afternoons to catch the local vacationers up or down.
Now that their family is all grown and gone, they still put in a garden. This year Ken planted a big pumpkin patch. He took a huge load of pumpkins down to his grandkids' neighborhoods and let the local kids come and pick out a pumpkin. It saved his grandkids pumpkins from getting smashed, he thought!
Another family I heard of planted a huge field of asparagus. The kids would go out in the spring and early summer to harvest. This field put all four kids through college.
Maybe you only have a small plot in town, you can can or freeze to save money, or maybe you can make a few dollars selling to neighbors. Or just put a shaded table by the road and a "honor" jar. People who don't have time to plant their own, love to buy home-grown!
Special Occasions Ideas
A friend's husband used to have flowers delivered for all kinds of occasions. She loved getting the flowers, but she also saw the dollar signs going down the drain when they died and she had to throw them out. But (how do you tell your hubby you don't like his presents?) when she explained how she felt, he came up with the perfect solution! (Smart man!) He was happy to find a few artificial arrangements, and she was also happy to receive them, whenever those special occasions arose. He was able to alternate them, for instance, the dozen silk roses were his favorites for Valentines Day. But the pink silk roses were the ones she especially enjoyed for her birthday.
Another idea might be to buy a plant for your yard that will never die. You could keep a journal for all the special occasions and what each plant meant at the time. Sometimes a family plants a tree for each child who is born, etc. I know the pines that I planted for my children grow higher each year.
"Just as despair can come to one only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings." Elie Weisel
"We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope." Martin Luther King
"Scars remind us where we've been. They don't have to dictate where we're going." --Rick Dunkle
"The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests." Epictetus
Valentine's Strawberry Shortcake
Why wait for Summer to celebrate with shortcake? Use your favorite biscuit mix, but add a couple Tablespoons sugar (per 2 cups flour) to make a sweeter biscuit. Bake ahead. Thaw out some strawberries that you froze last summer, or wash, rinse and sweeten with sugar or Splenda some fresh berries. When time for your surprise dessert, cut open the warm biscuits, scoop a nice big scoop of ice cream on the biscuit, and cover with sweetened berries. Top with whipped topping, and for a real Valentine's treat, a drizzle of dark chocolate! Yum!
Keeping it Simple,