Thursday, November 17, 2011

Get Some Action

It’s  that time of year again; the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, picking out the best gift, the perfect wrapping paper, and ribbon. As for me I gave that up about three years ago when I started a tradition with my older nieces and nephews. Instead of frantically trying to find a gift for each of them I create a special day that is tailored to them.

This type of gift giving has really worked out well for many reasons. First, it gives me quality time with each of them. Second it allows me to take my time and find something along the way that I think they will enjoy. Third , it allows me to stretch my budget which helps tremendously around the holiday season. Especially since there are eight that I need to consider, and lastly, it helps us discover new places and things together.

Here's how it works:
1. Keep my eyes peeled for deals that may involve something that they would enjoy
When I find something I schedule the day. I have been very lucky finding deals on:

Buy With Me
Deal Go Round

2. Via mail I send little hints leading up to the day. Usually they are so random that they don't guess it.

3. I pick them up and disclose what the day will consist of.

Some of the events that we have enjoyed have been The Blue Man Group, Cake Boss, Cirque de Sole’, Movies, Theatre, Ogo, etc..

This past weekend two of my nephews and I celebrated their day. I picked them up, went to breakfast, and then told them that we were heading for a paintball adventure by Action Games. I found this deal on Buy With Me. Saving of 50%. Cha Ching!

Since neither of us had ever done paintball we didn’t know what to expect. We suited up in camo, loaded our guns with paint, and with butterflies in our belly we hit the woods. 
Located in Tewksbury Action Games  has 6 outdoor fields that specific games are played. Games like capture the flag, attack & defend, Fort Courage, Mission Recon, etc... Games are typically played from 9-2 with a short break for FREE BBQ luch at 12:00.

Is it painful you ask? Well let's put it this way, I have welts in places that I can't disclose BUT we had a fabulous day! I loved it, and my nephews had a blast too.
If you're looking for something to do, I highly recommend it as one of your stops.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On My Honor

My nieces have been part of their Girl Scout Troop for 13 years. Together with their troop they performed many community services and leadership projects. They have gone to multiple camps and exotic travel destinations. They attended and hosted multiple fundraising events and let's not forget selling thousands of boxes of cookies. Their Girl Scout experience has definitely been an Experience Of A Lifetime; one that they will treasure for years to come, one that  helped teach them essential life skills, an experience that has shaped them as women, built up their courage, confidence, and character. Girl Scouts was a blessing that helped keep them grounded during the difficult times of growing up. 

This past weekend I had the honor of attending my niece's Girl Scout Gold Ceremony, the highest award in Girl Scouting. This is a prestigious award that recognizes girls who make a difference in their communities and in their own lives.

To achieve this gold status you must first complete your bronze and silver awards . Once you've accomplished that you can go for the gold. Here's what you must do:

1. Choose an issue that you think needs help in your community 
2. Research & investigate it
3. Invite a mentor and others to support & take action with you
4. Create a plan
5. Present your plan to the Girl Scout council
6. Take the lead and carry out your plan
7. Educate,Inspire & Share your experience with others

I had known that she was working diligently on her community project for quite some time. She created an arts and craft program for schools that were unable to afford one. Her dedication coupled with the commitment from her leaders, families, and  mentors helped her achieve her goal. In her group alone there were ten girls being awarded their Gold. Apparently this is extremely rare, in fact many Girl Scout troops dissipate well before the gold award is even thought of. 

I was so proud of my niece,and of all the other nine women that took the initiative to educate and bring awareness to their communities about real life issues that can effect each of us.
I was happy that my own little lovely was part of this organization, and  that she has three wonderful leaders that are passionate about what it stands for.
I was so thankful for Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low who believed that all girls should be given the opportunity to develop physically, mentally, and spiritually. 

Girl Scouts Organization
Girl Scout Promise:
On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

Girl Scout Law:
I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and torespect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


What stresses you out ?
Work? Clutter? Weight? Relationships? Bills? Kids? Laundry? 
These are just a few things that come to mind, but there are a long list of other things that can really bring you down. I was feeling a bit stressed yesterday. Big project, time crunch, know that sort of thing. I couldn't wait to get home to escape the madness. When my little lovely got home I decided to scoop her up and go for a walk at Appleton Farms, a place that always soothes my soul and calms my spirit.

Appleton Farms is a 658 acre of farmland located in Ipswich, MA. It is a breathtaking  peice of property. Its rolling grasslands, farm animals, and antique homes, make it a picture perfect New England stop.  

On our walk we chatted about stress. I asked her if she thought that people back in the good old days were more stressed than people today. She thought that people in general don't change so therefore there was still the same amount of stress back then as there is today. Pretty interesting, right? 

I never really looked at it from that perspective,I guess the way that I saw it was people today have more stress because they have more stuff, more things to worry about, bigger homes, more bills, heavier workloads etc.. If that is the case then why not just do with less? Wouldn't that help our stress level? We seem to have everything that we need to make our lives easier; washing machines, microwaves, cars, heating systems, etc.. and life seems more difficult.

Back in the olden days people had less. They got together in the evenings, sat by the fire, read, talked, crafted, taught, etc.. Were they stressed? My little lovely seems to think that they probably were because people don't change. The basic fiber of a human remains consistent from one era to another, so if a person is going to stress they will regardless. Interesting.

So what do you think? Don't stress yourself out, but I'd love to hear your perspective.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I'm Out Of Breath

The other day my little lovely was discussing music with my husband. As I sat in my office I could hear them discussing different kinds of instruments. My husband somehow was reminded about a Jaw Harp that he had growing up. I had never heard of such a thing so it really peaked my interest. I of course went to You Tube to see if I could find anyone playing a Jaw Harp.
Apparently the Jaw Harp is thought to be one of the oldest musical instruments in the world. It has been pictured in Chinese drawings dating back to 4th century BC. Although it is also called a Jew Harp it has no ties between the Jews people nor Judaism; it is actually native to Asia.
The Jaw Harp is made of two simple metal pieces. A flexible metal , the  reed, and a frame. I think it kind or resembles an antique hair pin. To play it you firmly you hold the frame  to your mouth  and pluck the reed with one finger to produce a note. Your teeth must be parted sufficiently for the reed to vibrate freely, and your mouth should not come into contact with the reed to prevent the vibrations. 

Here are two people playing the Jaw Harp. Each creating a totally different sound and style of music. Super cool I think, but I'm out of breath just watching them!