celebrating

50+ Stocking Stuffers for Book Lovers

50+ Stocking Stuffers for Book Lovers

You’re not going to have trouble finding something on this list for the book lover in your life, you’re going to  have trouble narrowing down your choices and deciding what not to get! You might want to print off the whole list for reference. Or to share. If you’re a book lover yourself and you just happen to leave the list laying around where the one who stuffs your stocking may stumble across it, who knows what might show up under your own Christmas tree!

Click on the words to find locations for any items pictured. Many of the options have fun variations that you can find by adding “book” to the item in a browser search. And make sure you don’t miss my favorite – the Magic Butterfly at #36!

1. Playing cards

2. Luggage tags

3. Light switch plate

4. Reading light

5. Book scarf

6. Reading glasses

7. Classic books flash drive

50+ Stocking Stuffers for Book Lovers

8. Socks

9. Book coasters

10. Gift card for book store

11. Fabric book covers (book socks!)

12. Locket

13. Wizard of Oz Wicked Witch legs bookmark

50+ Stocking Stuffers for Book Lovers

14. Novel teas

15. Book charm bracelet

16. Finger Print place holders

17. Book-themed magnet set

18. Bumper stickers

19. Notecards

20. Highlighters

21. Book Earrings

22. Book darts

50+ Stocking Stuffers for Book Lovers

23. Glass blown book ornaments

24. Library Candle set (old book smell/new book smell!)

25. Book of the Month Club subscription

26. Copy (or subscription) of Bookmarks magazine

27. Book tote bag

28. Mousepad

29. Book Hangover Tank Top

30.  Antique Book plates

31. Earbuds for books on tape

50+ Stocking Stuffers for Book Lovers

32. Reading Super Power necklace

33. Shakespeare bandaids

34. Ipad case

35. Thumb Thing book markers

36.  Magic Butterfly (fun!)

37. One Good Book Deserves Another Night shirt

38. Embosser

39. Book Nerd sports shirt

40. Phone case

50+ Stocking Stuffers for Book Lovers

41. “So Many Books, Too Little Time” T-shirt

42. Book Quote Mug

43. Self-inking stamp

44. Book pins

45. Book key chain

46. Librarian Pocket Mirror

47. Book Tie 

48. Edgar Allen Poe Candy

49. Book Lover’s Journal

50. Laptop skin (cover)

50+ Stocking Stuffers for Book Lovers

52. A BOOK. BETTER YET, BOOKS!

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Fledglings All!

FledglingsALLMy husband and I recently discovered a Bald Eagle’s nest on a visit to check out some hiking trails. Well, didn’t actually discover it – it has been there and been monitored, celebrated, and photographed for several years now. We had noted signs posted at the park’s entrance asking hikers to jot down any sightings of bald eagles and/or osprey spotted while hiking. Cool, I thought – but, realistically, what are the odds of seeing a bald eagle and its nest? As we walked, the bam-bam-bam of the ‘next door’ rifle range negated any peace and quiet of a nature hike. Well, there goes any chance of seeing bald eagles I mused – they certainly aren’t going to nest in an area with guns being fired.

We  wove in and out of a rather large group of hikers (?) set up on the trail with tripods and spotting scopes etc. We paid them very little mind other than to think they must be hopeful bird watchers who obviously were not realists! On our way out of the park, we happened upon a man with some ‘taxidermed’ eagles and osprey in the back of his open van. Again, I made an assumption thinking probably part of the field trip of fledgling-bird watchers back there on the trail. I, of course, have to strike up a conversation when confronted with such a unique opportunity! Steve was wonderfully knowledgeable about eagles and osprey and the history of the eagles and osprey that reside right there in the park where we had just hiked. In fact, we had walked right past the Osprey tower with adults and chicks in the nest. And those optimistic bird watchers that we so casually dismissed were looking at an eagles nest with an eaglet in the nest!!! Holey Moley!

Real. Live. Actual. In the wild. Bald Eagles!!!

I may be of an advanced age, but I have never seen a bald eagle in the wild before. I was so geeked about it! While standing there absorbing all this information, we were joined by a local bird expert and a local photographer who is the ‘official’ photographer for these eagles. Plans were set to return in the evening (optimal viewing time) with some binoculars and scopes of our own.

Let me just say that I have returned almost every other day since our ‘discovery’ to check on this soon-to-be fledgling eaglet. I don’t want to miss a single thing! I can hardly bear the thought of his/her taking that first fledgling flight without my being there to witness. I have seen him/her doing its ‘wing-ercizing’ (flapping very impressive baby wings and hopping around). I have seen an adult return to the nest with dinner to share with the eaglet (did you know eagles do not regurgitate food into their little one’s mouths, not even when they are new hatchlings?) and then soar back out of the nest.

I feel like a fledgling in a way.

Like a school kid again, about to embark on a learning journey about something so cool that I want to tell the whole world about it! I have this new information, this new skill, this new urge to discover more about this eagle family that I have somehow become quite vested in.

I love the feeling!

This is just one example of things we ‘pass by’ each day unaware of the opportunities missed by our ‘blinders-on-trek’ through our days. We should all continually look for those fledgling opportunities out there waiting to be embraced. Discover a new interest, a new challenge, or a different way of doing something that energizes us and makes us ask question after question after question and seek information from as many sources as we can imagine.

Let’s go be fledglings! It just might make you feel lighter than air!

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5 Last Minute No-Eat Treats for Your Valentine

5 Last Minute No-Eat Treats for Your Valentine

Whether you lost track of time or you just added a new Valentine-recipient to your list, you are not stuck with sugary snacks or overpriced flowers as gift options. It doesn’t matter if  your Valentine is 5 or 50, there’s a little something on this no-eat sweet treat list that you still  have time to get!

  1. Gummy Bear Scented Blueberry Earbuds. Toys R Us sells them for under $8.

Last Minute Valentines

2. Conversation Heart Pillow. The one pictured was found online (click picture for site), but variations can be found at Barnes and Noble, Target, Claire’s, and Nordstroms.

Last Minute Valentines

3. Cupcakes that serve a purpose. Memo pads, sticky notes, and notepads come in a variety of cupcake options that are perfect for some sweet notes! Shop party supply stores, dollar stores, toy stores and big box stores. While you’re at the party store, pick up a bag of Valentine pencils. Gift alone, add a few to accompany your memo pad offering, or divide into ribbon-tied bundles to be presented to multiple Valentines.

Last Minute Valentines

 

Last Minute Valentines

4.  Sweet socks. Not to be confused with “sweat socks.” The pictured trio is from Kohls.

Last Minute Valentines

5. Soaps that look good enough to eat.  You can find delicious-looking soaps in stores that sell bath and kitchen supplies, but if you’re feeling crafty, check out this video to whip up your own batch of not-to-eat sweet treats!

Happy Valentine’s Day from Fat-Bottom-Fifties Get Fierce

Last Minute Valentines

3 New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Want to Make – and Keep!

3 New Year's Resolutions You'll WANT to Make - AND Keep!

There are two types of New Year’s Resolutions. First, the ones that you are making again (lose weight, eat healthy, exercise, get organized, stop procrastinating, blah, blah, blah) Second, the ever popular I-resolve-NOT-to-make-New-Year’s-Resolutions resolution. Both categories are so tired, they should be permanently retired! We are ready for a new-and-improved New Year’s Resolution category – resolutions we look forward to keeping! Here are three that fit nicely into our new category.

  1. The Jar. This idea has been circulating in various forms for the past couple of years and I expect it will be around for years to come – because the results are so positive. The simple premise is you leave a container in a place that you see often and drop in notes throughout the year to commemorate moments, events, thoughts  – whatever you want. At the end of the year you read your notes. I did it this year for the first time, and my husband and I will read through the notes as part of our stay-at-home New Year’s Eve celebration. Our jar was a simple quart canning jar that I left on the kitchen counter – in spite of the fact that it matched nothing! I put a couple of mini notepads inside as well as a pen so that it was convenient to write our notes. I remember some of the notes I dropped in over the past year – a surprise visit from a dear friend, a stupid joke that had us laughing until our eyes watered, the trio of goats that showed up in our back yard. What I’m really looking forward to is reading over the notes I forgot about – and appreciating the moments all over again! As the months went on we found ourselves talking about “a laugh that will make the jar” and referring to events as a “jar moment.” Writing the notes not only magnify the appreciation of what is good or special in the moment, it records a memory to be enjoyed again later. And all for zero cost and a time investment of occasional minutes!

3 New Year's Resolutions You'll WANT to Make - AND Keep!

2. A year of Christmas Spirit. One of the wonderful things about the holiday season is it seems to soften hearts and promote generosity. Giving and acts of kindness are at an all-time high during the month of December. Soup kitchens are overrun with volunteers wanting to help serve and an abundance of carolers cheer up nursing home residents. Then comes January, and everyone is all niced-out. But the needs of others don’t get put on hold until the next holiday. And our own need to get outside of ourselves and help others (which can put our own problems and challenges in perspective) doesn’t end when the last holiday decoration is boxed up. Calendar in a monthly act of kindness, generosity, or encouragement. Whether it is twelve months of support for a specific charity (rocking babies, sorting books, serving food, . . . ), twelve different selections (sending a note of encouragement to somebody, mowing another’s lawn, putting a potted plant on a neighbor’s porch . . . ) or something in between, it’s all good. Not only do others benefit from your resolution, but studies show that such acts of kindness benefit the doer physically, spiritually, and emotionally. The ultimate win-win!

3 New Year's Resolutions You'll Want to Make - AND Keep

3. Blast back to your past. Commit to a year of lightening up, letting your inner child have a playdate, and go retro. Make a monthly date with yourself (or with a pal) to take a step back in time with something you enjoyed from the past. Whether you  schedule an activity (bowling? swinging at a playground?), watching a movie from “the day” (anybody remember Parent Trap?) or indulging in that blast-from-the-past treat (helloooooo Sander’s Bumpy Cake!!), be intentional about staying young at heart!

3 New Year's Resolutions You'll WANT to Make - AND Keep!

Set yourself up for success and productivity by making a New Year’s resolution (or three!) that you will look forward to keeping!

 HERE’S WISHING YOU YOUR BEST YEAR EVER! HAPPY NEW YEAR, FRIENDS!

Celebrating National Johnny Appleseed Day

Johnny Appleseed StampSeptember 26 is National Johnny Appleseed Day. For those of you who may not be familiar with this oft-overlooked holiday, here’s the lowdown on who Johnny is and how to celebrate the day!

I know when I worked with 3rd graders, Johnny Appleseed was celebrated and taught with enthusiasm. He is an affable American hero that we can all be thankful for. Even if you don’t like apples or apple pies or apple fritters or applesauce or apple muffins or dried apples or bobbing for apples or making apple witches (seriously – does anyone not like something here?)… you can enjoy the story and legend behind his germination of apple orchards throughout the Midwest Ohio River region.

John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, was born September 26, 1774 – hence the timing of Johnny Appleseed Day. Rumor has it Johnny’s orchard smock was made from a coffee sack with holes cut out for arms and he wore his cooking pot on his head while traveling. Can’t verify that is true, but it does make for some great graphics for posters and children’s books.

JA was able to acquire large tracts of land from western Pennsylvania along the Ohio River on which he transported 16 bushels of apple seeds and saw to their plantings. At that time, certain requirements were set before the colonies granted land rights. There was an act defining how the land was to be used.

LandRightsAct

 Why should we care about the lowly apple? Henry David Thoreau, a naturalist and noted author, took time to pen the following related to the timing of men’s and apple’s appearance on the earth.

Thoreau

 

So.. here at FBFGF, we offer the following apple related choices for your celebration of Johnny Appleseed Day:

  • The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin: A great book about the life of an orchardist. It’s fiction that rings true. The story revolves around William Taldrage’s care of his apple and apricot orchard and the peace and solace it provides him. It also provides insight into the thinking and hard work of a dedicated and professional nurseryman. For some time I have nurtured the fantasy of being an orchardist, but details like hard work and commitment didn’t enter in to muddy my fantasy!

 

The Orchardist

  • Apple Butter. Who could resist the opportunity to have this great smelling concoction simmering away while enjoying a lovely fall day full of your favorite pursuits?? Click on the picture for a great recipe courtesy of Cooking Light.

AppleButter

  • Baked Apples. My husband and I found these pottery dishes for baking individual apples. (This must have been in one of the in-between times when we didn’t have any chicks that had yet to return to the nest and individual dishes seemed like a great idea.) We just wash the apple, core it, place it in the dish and cover with cinnamon, brown sugar, whatever other spices look great and bake at 350° for about 20 minutes. This is one of our favorite desserts!

BakedAppleDish

  • Apple Products. Mac Book, ipad, iphone – all great devices which can add new dimension to your busy lifestyle and streamline certain processes. They also teach great lessons in why we don’t always need to be connected to our great devices. We can use the apple logo to remind us to get out and enjoy the natural things in life from time to time. I’ll bet there’s an app for that!!!

AppleIcon

  • Apple Cider/Wine. I feel wine of any sort really needs no explanation. If you feel like making your own apple wine, click on the picture for instructions. If you would rather just pick up a bottle, I am sure this seasonal wine is available at a great artisanal wine shop somewhere near you!

AppleWine

 

Take some time to celebrate the versatile apple and give thanks for all it’s history and delightful pleasures!!

 

Bonus Apple Facts:

  • Scientists believe that apples were first domesticated in the Tian Shan region of southern Kazakhstan. In fact, by as early as 2000 BC, domesticated apples were being grafted in the Near East.
  • The Greeks and Romans introduced the domesticated apple to North Africa and Europe during their trading and conquests.

 

Let Them Eat (Watermelon) Cake!

Let Them Eat (Watermelon) Cake!

Seeing this simple watermelon “cake” in Good Housekeeping magazine last year piqued my interest. Guilt-free cake? Could it be? OK, so it’s not really cake – but it meets all the requirements for a special occasion. Visually pleasing? Check! Delicious? Check! Festive? Absolutely! And – bonus! – it’s GOOD for you! So if you’re looking for something to do with the last of the season’s watermelon crop, throw a party – and let the guests eat cake!

You can keep it simple by coring a cylindrical piece of watermelon, “frosting” with a frozen whipped topping and decorating with fruit.  Voila! Your 10-minute cake is complete – and lovely!

Image courtesy of Good Housekeeping

Image courtesy of Good Housekeeping

 

If you want to take things up a notch, you can gussy up your cake by patting on sliced almonds or crushed walnuts along the sides of the “frosting” and creating a pattern on top with fresh fruit.

Image courtesy of paleocuppord.com

Image courtesy of paleocuppord.com

 

Or skip the “frosting” and go right for the heart for a fat-free delight!

Let Them Eat Watermelon Cake!

 

Watermelon cake is a healthy “sweet” for any age!

Image courtesy of Pinterest

Image courtesy of Pinterest

 

Get creative – your cake decor options are as limitless as your own imagination!

Image source thrivenutritionandwellness.wordpress.com

Image source thrivenutritionandwellness.wordpress.com

 

But  just so you know, while I’ve been sold on watermelon “cake,” I am taking a pass on watermelon bread!

Let Them Eat Watermelon Cake!

 

If you want to see a speedy version of one way to cut up a watermelon for a nicely-shaped cake, check out this brief YouTube video:

Not Your Kid’s Easter Eggs

Not Your Kid's Easter EggsDo you like the look or creative aspect of decorating Easter Eggs but don’t want to tangle with the messy dye versions of yesteryear? Looking for something fun and different? For our Friday Five we’ve rounded up five that will put a smile on your face and add a little panache to your Easter decor! Click on the pictures for instructions and material lists.

1. Easter Egg Portraits – fun for hiding, decorating, or to use at the table instead of namecards for assigned seating!

Not Your Kid's Easter Eggs

2. Decorator Eggs – they’re easier to do than they may look and are a great choice if you have a color scheme you’re working with.

Not Your Kid's Easter Eggs

3. Pineapple Eggs – won’t these look great next to your fruit bowl?

Not Your Kid's Easter Eggs

4. Silk-wrapped Eggs – they are unique, surprisingly uncomplicated to create, and make a very classy presentation!

Not Your Kid's Easter Eggs

5. Strawberry Easter Eggs – OK, so they’re not technically eggs. But aren’t they pretty? And you don’t even have to go elsewhere for directions. Melt some white chocolate, put it into as many different small bowls as you want colors, drop a dot or two of food coloring in each and blend. Dip the strawberries and let dry for a few minutes. Decorate with contrasting colored white chocolate by squeezing through a small frosting nozzle or the clipped corner of baggie. Pretty in a platter or for a garnish on each plate!

Not Your Kid's Easter Eggs

 

Not Your Kid's Easter Eggs

7 Lo-Cal and No-Cal Ideas for Your Super Bowl Watch Party

7 Lo-Cal/No-Cal Ideas for Your Superbowl Watch Party

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear “Superbowl”? And what’s the second thing you think of after thinking “cool commercials?” It may be a tie between easy-to-grab snacks, camaraderie, and the game itself. Well, here’s 7 ideas (plus a bonus) for your gathering that will have you thinking more about fun than calories. Go (insert your favorite) team!

1. Free football printable to set the mood.  Jazz up your food and decorate your table with the paper printouts found HERE.

10 Lo-Cal/No-Cal Ideas for Your Superbowl Party

2. To start out the snacking. Remember those easy-to-make white-chocolate dipped pretzels from the holidays? You can use miniature straight pretzels or small pretzel knots to slash the calories and trade Christmas hues for team colors!

10 Lo-Cal/No-Cal Ideas for Your Super Bowl Party10 Lo-Cal/No-Cal Ideas for Your Superbowl Party

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Glazed pineapple sausage bites – an idea from Real House Moms using kielbasa. Switch to the turkey kielbasa or sausage for less calories and bottled teriaki sauce for ease! (Click picture for recipe)

10 Lo-Cal/No-Cal Super Bowl Ideas

4. Marinated feta skewers. Another flavorful bite.   (Click picture for recipe)

10 L0-Cal/No-Cal Ideas for Your Super Bowl Party

5. 5-Ingredient Sausage Balls. This made-over favorite now includes some whole-grain nutrition! (Click picture for recipe)

10 Lo-Cal/No-Cal Ideas for Your Super Bowl Party

6. Chocloate-covered strawberry footballs. Several sources stated that one chocolate covered strawberry is about 57 calories. Even if you add in a few more for the extra stripes, it still makes for a reasonable sweet ending to the finger-food feast.

10 Lo-Cal/No-Cal Ideas for Your Super Bowl Party

7. Another game going on: Commercial Bingo.  Commercials are the best part of the program for some people – playing Commercial Bingo gives you another reason to pay attention to them! Go HERE for cards ready to print off, or make your own!

10 Lo-Cal/No-Cal Ideas for Your Superbowl Party

BONUS: SOMETHING NEW!

Whether for a starting snack or a post-game munch, how about a cheese puff? Well, not cheese puffs exactly – but “bean puffs” doesn’t sound as good. While it comes in cheddar and white cheddar, hot chili lime is a zesty flavor profile if you’re looking for a bit of oomph! And check out the ingredients on Beanitos’ version of this familiar-looking crunchy treat!

10 Lo-Cal/No-Cal Ideas for Your Super Bowl PartyINGREDIENTS: Whole Navy Beans, Long Grain Rice Flour, Sunflower Oil, Tapioca, Lime Juice, Lime Oil, Cane Sugar, Garlic, Sea Salt, Onion, Tomato, Citric Acid, Chipotle Pepper, Paprika, Spices, Jalapeno Pepper.

WHAT’S GOING ON AT YOUR HOUSE ON SUPERBOWL SUNDAY?

Dress Up Your Pets and Throw on a Hat

Dress Up Your Pets and Throw a Hat On

Can you believe that two auspicious holidays fall within a day of each other? Normally such an event would leave people in a quandary – do we celebrate holiday one, or holiday two? As you can probably tell from our celebration of National Donut Day and National Book Lover’s Day, we sure don’t like to miss out on any special occasions!

National Dress Up Your Pet Day takes place on January 14, 2015. It was founded to celebrate pets and to support the pet fashion community in a fun way. The very next day is National Hat Day. Apparently it – literally – takes an act of Congress to make any national holiday official, and neither of these are on the congressional books. But, in spite of the fact that their origin is unknown, they’ve both been around for years. Hmmmm – what’s the best way to combine these two celebrations . . . .

If you ever watched The Tonight Show while Jay Leno was its host, you probably heard him routinely criticize people who dressed pets. He would go on and on about the “morons” who put their pets in people clothes and how humiliated or angry the pets clearly were. And then he’d show the pictures. Because we can relate to Jay’s position, we’d like you to know that we did not dress these animals. Having said that, we appreciate their willingness to pose for such pictures, thus providing us the the perfect illustration for our holiday combo. We’d also like you to know that no animals were hurt in the process of making these pictorials. Unless you take into account the pride factor.

THE CASUAL LOOK

Dress Up Your Pet

VACA CHIC

Dress Your Pet

 

THE PARTY PIC

Dress up your pet

BEANIE BABE

Dress Up Your Pet

WHERE POSH AND RUGGED COME TOGETHER

Dress up your pet

 

GLAMOUR PUSS

Dress Up Your Pet

BLACK-TIE AFFAIR

Dress Up Your Pet

HAT? OR JUST MEMORABLE?

Dress Up Your Pet

OK – SO NOT EVERYONE WAS PLEASED TO PARTICIPATE

Dress up Your Pet

THE TRADITIONAL COLLECTION-ENDING BRIDE

Dress Up YOur Pet

WE HOPE YOU HAVE ENJOYED OUR FIRST – AND MOST DEFINITELY OUR LAST – DRESSED PET PARADE!