Presenting Your Bridal Shower Favors

The presentation of your bridal shower favors can be just as important as the favors for the big day itself. This is your way of saying “thank you” to those special people that attended your bridal shower. Here are some tips for a beautiful presentation that will be emotionally embraced by your guests.

Use beautiful packaging for your bridal shower favors. Pretty wrapping, including boxes, ribbons, and labels make for a tasteful presentation. They’ll show the amount of effort you put into your favor, regardless of how simple the gift may be inside.

Never feel hesitant about personalizing your bridal shower favors. Giving the favor is already a gesture of appreciation. It’s the thought that truly counts. You can make your bridal shower favors more personable by using personalized ribbons, engraving, or printing your name on a written message of thanks. While hand-printing is the most personal method of conveying a message, many women hire professional calligraphers (if they have messy handwriting).

Not sure where to place your bridal shower favors? You can arrange them in a large basket by the door (attach a note reminding everyone to take a favor!), or you can hang your bridal shower favors from a ‘bridal shower tree.’ Just make sure that your favors aren’t very heavy! You don’t want to weigh your tree down. Where can you find such a tree, you ask? If Christmas trees are out of season, you can find a potted tree, or you can arrange an artificial tree to hold your favors.

Still not sure what to give the guests as favors? How about bath beads, soaps, potpourri, scented candles, or votives? Anything that gives off a pleasing scent is always well received at a Bridal Shower. Unscented Candles too, are also very decorative and cost effective as a gift. Want to go the extra mile? Get personalized candle holders for each of your guests. Should you decide to pursue this idea, it’s very important that you put each persons name on their bridal shower favor. This way, each personalized gift will go to the right recipient.

Despite the pressure you may be feeling prior to selecting bridal shower favors for your guests, you have to remain calm and open-minded. You don’t have to purchase unaffordable elaborate gifts for everyone. That’s not what a favor is about. It’s just a small token of gratitude. If you present the gift right, everyone will love whatever it is you decide to give them.

Are You Living in Your Past or Your Present Moment?

There have been many occasions whilst sitting in a coffee shop or restaurant when I could not help but hear the conversations taking place around us.

Have you ever listened to yourself when you talk? If not, start paying attention now. Do you think the way you talk matters in life? For some people, yes it does, however for many others; it doesn’t. Whether it does or not depends upon state of mind you are living in at the moment.

Many people love complaining and always seem to find something to complain about. If you are one who is prone to complaining, it is important to consider what exactly you are complaining for. The main reason for perpetual complaining is simple; dissatisfaction of life and of whom you are. Who or what is responsible for your dissatisfaction? Is it you? Is it other people? Or is it life itself?

Here are several scenarios which may illustrate situations similar to that of which you are experiencing at the moment. The reason this list was created was to draw your attention some of the possible circumstances which may make you feel dissatisfied with yourself and your life, thus causing you to complain. Paying attention to and admitting whatever it is you are unhappy with is the first step to creating change for yourself.

Scenario 1: You meet new people for the first time and you are eager to let them get to know you. They ask you some simple questions like “who are you?” and “What do you like doing?” What would be your response to their questions?

There are some people who would be able to speak for about 2 minutes about who they are and what they do today. The remaining conversation will likely be based upon who they were and what they did in the past! Pay attention to this in future, and you will be able to tell immediately if someone is not happy with their life today because much of the conversation is based upon the past.

People who think and speak in this way are still living in the past. It is clear that they are having hard time accepting and coping with their present day reality. If you are one of these people, a simple way to change your life is to begin knowing and understanding yourself deeply. Ask yourself what it is you would like to do in your life. What is it that makes you happy? It is likely that your first answer to this question would be “I don’t know!” I agree, you probably don’t know, but have you ever tried to find out? Have you ever tried anything new? If you don’t know your passion how can you ever know yourself and if you don’t know yourself, how can you know your passion? It is a vicious circle.

How can we ever expect to invoke change into our life when we are not even ready to seek awareness of ourselves? There are so many people who do not want to do anything about their life on a deeper level. Many people resist change and prefer to keep complaining. These people are far from being happy. That’s a shame don’t you think?

Deep inside, we all know what it is that makes us happy. However, there is some work to do before we can ever be really happy. Knowing your own essence and discovering what it is that makes you happy from inside out means letting go of some of the things which characterize your old life, for example material things, habits, jobs, people, family members, and most importantly, your old way of thinking has to go before change can take place.

Scenario 2: You meet someone for the first time who asks you what you do for a living. You answer by talking about your current job for two minutes; you then proceed to talk about your past job for 1 hour. What does that mean to you? Are you dissatisfied with what you are doing today? People who fit this example are again living in the past because they are dissatisfied with who they are and what they are doing at present.

If this is you, then it is time to consider the reason you left the previous job of which you are still attached to. You must have a reason for leaving. What is holding you back from returning to that job? Maybe it was the situation you were in when you decided to leave. You probably left the job in an attempt to improve your situation, but what went wrong if you have not moved on?

It is time to dig deeper into the reality of the situation. Investigate until you reach the truth of why things aren’t working out for you. I am sure you will reach your answer if you want to. On many occasions the decision to move to another country, getting married, having a baby and many other circumstances provide reasons for leaving your previous job and life behind. In the end, regardless of what happened, what you did and who you were, you are here today, you made a choice to let go of your old job and move on in another direction so why not try to appreciate what you have in your hand? There are many worse off people in the world who do not even have the opportunity of having any job, let alone the pick of several jobs!

It is time to live and appreciate your present situation and stop comparing what you have now with what you had in the past. The past is over, finished and gone. You cannot bring it back. When you decide to move forward, release your past and live your life today and you will see many improvements occurring in your life. It will seem as if luck comes from nowhere if you only allow the Universe to manifest into your new situation. The universe will open up to you as long you are open to receive with a good intention to act. Living between two worlds means you are living in contradiction. Where there is contradiction there is stagnation and there will be no changes in your life unless you let one of the worlds you’re living in go completely. By letting go, you will then make way for change to take place freely in your life.

Scenario 3: You moved to a new country and have integrated into a new society for whatever reason. You know you have changed country and culture, yet you have no concept of life outside the one perspective of life from which you came and you want to live the same way you lived back in the country you came from. It will never happen. Instead of dropping your limitation and building an understanding of your new home, why do you always think about what you were doing before and who you were before?

You spend your time complaining and choose to build your perception of your new life and country based upon what other people tell you about the place from their experience. You are not them; you are you and are there for different experiences all together so why let what other people say rule your life? It is time to grow up and take charge of your own life for a change. And if you are still miserable after giving the new country a fair chance to prove its potential, you should ask yourself this, why on earth did you leave your country in the first place?

There are probably many valid reasons to answer as to why you decided to leave your country. Maybe it was just to improve your overall quality of life. Maybe you chose to marry someone who lived in another country or maybe a change of job forced you to move. There are many possibilities. In the end you left your country to improve some aspect of your life, which means that you were either unhappy or unsuccessful in the area you decided to improve by leaving.

So you arrive into your new country and are expecting to live and be treated as were in your own country. Remember, you left your own country because there was something for you in the new country that your old country was not providing; there, was something you needed to attain by moving so what is the problem? What exactly is it that you? Do you see any sense at all in your situation? Or can you see the obvious contradiction?

If you left your country to marry someone else, you obviously felt ready and willing to sacrifice your old life to build a new life with the person you chose to marry. Remember you were the one who made that choice. If you were 100% happy in the country you came from and had some patience to wait, then maybe you would have found a women or man to marry there and you could’ve stayed. You had a choice. Love and life do not close doors if you decided to wait for something more suited to the life you would like to lead.

The last scenario of having to move country can often combine aspects of scenarios 1 and 2. Regardless of the circumstances many people may not be pleased of changing their environment but remember we always have a choice. Every one has reasons for changing their place or residence or work. But at least if you are going to move, try to invest in what you are doing instead of complaining and comparing your present situation with your past because it is nothing but a waste of time which will lead you to misery, emptiness and a feeling of purposelessness.

From the examples given in the first three scenarios, I would like to emphasize on some lessons that are essential to learn and understand in terms of whom we are and the Universe in which we live. It seems that many people do not really care about anything in life. This leads to more and more unhappiness and complaining about the every day routine, the weather, feeling bored, feeling lost and empty with no vision or goal in mind.

We should always keep in mind that any decision we make in life will have either positive or negative implications with it, depending on the way we see things. No matter what, we still have to live with the consequences of our decision or make another decision to change it. It is simple. Life is always about trial and error and it is okay to make mistakes, so long we learn from them and move on in a new direction. Unfortunately this concept is usually either unknown or unacceptable for many people. Many people cannot accept that they make mistakes then feel guilty and punish themselves for the rest of their lives compensate for their errors. Other people do realize their mistakes, yet, a combination of pride and fear of damaging their image and reputation with other people prevents them from accepting the mistake and changing the course of their life accordingly. It is sad when we allow the opinions of others to take priority over our own life so much so that it affects the entire course of our life and destiny.

Most of us want to be happy and live a life that is rosy, but just what are we prepared to do to make that happen? Some people have the courage and determination to take responsibility for their own life and will do anything to accomplish whatever it is they desire. However it is unfortunate that most people want to just sit back and do nothing while they wait for life to happen to them. We expect things to happen to us, yet we are not even trying to do anything for ourselves. Whose life are you living anyway? Is it yours or is it more directed toward impressing others?

It is not uncommon for some individuals who are experiencing stagnation in their own life to feel jealous, envious and resentful toward others around them who are experiencing change, success and accomplishment in their life. Do people who are jealous of others actually realize the responsibility, commitment, work, effort, risk and sacrifice it takes to reach your heartfelt goals in life? We need to learn that whether we are successful or not is a matter of personal choice, you can choose your life circumstances or you can let circumstances happen to you. It is that simple! Accomplishment is not an option unless we take risks in life and accept that it is necessary to let go of all outworn habits, patterns, jobs, relationships and whatever else it may be that prevents us from moving forward into a life of happiness and fulfillment.

No matter what your situation, you always have the option to change. We are all able to re-start our life if we make the decision to do so, but your way of thinking has to change. Just let go of old thoughts that no longer work for you and allow change to take place. It is important to remember that your misfortune is not the fault of others; they are not to blame for what happens to you. Our situations are not the result of what others force upon us, it is the result of what we are not allowing to manifest in our life. We often let our old self become comfortable, it becomes our security, but it also becomes our obstacle keeping us from moving when we do not even realize it. At the same time we blame everyone else around us as much as we can to make up for what we are not doing for ourselves. Stop doing it now and start valuing your life by making the right decision to bring you toward happiness and fulfillment.

It doesn’t matter how old you are either, age is not an excuse! You are always able to change your direction in life because in the end, you are the one in charge of you, no-one else. Regardless of whether you have 10, 20, 30 or 50 years to live, wouldn’t it be worth trying something new by letting go of the superficial life you have been living for so long? The one question you will regret for the rest of eternity if you do not act to change now is “What if I tried this or that?” Do you want to be saying that when you are ready to leap into the grave, watching your life flashing before your eyes? “What if, What if, What if?”

Creating, Maintaining and Presenting a Homeschool Portfolio

Many school districts now require homeschoolers to present portfolios showing their student’s progress in an organized fashion. This is actually a very convenient method of recording whenever it is done properly. Here are some ideas on how to create, maintain, and present your homeschool portfolio for a successful assessment, evaluation and review.

First of all, it is important to have a firm grasp on precisely what a homeschool portfolio is. Basically, a homeschool portfolio is a collection of materials that are used in order to showcase what your child has learned over the course of the “school year.” This is important because numerous states require an annual assessment of homeschooled students either via testing or the presentation of a portfolio. While it may seem that keeping a portfolio is only good in so far as you need to comply with the law. This is not the case however. Portfolios can also help parents and their children to record their progress and achievements. This becomes even more important once a child has reached high school and needs a diploma.

Now that we understand the importance of a portfolio, it is also important to understand that there is no right or wrong way in which to create a portfolio. It is up to the parent and/or child what materials the portfolio will contain. However, it is a good idea to choose a variety of material in order to reflect what the child has learned, experienced and accomplished throughout the year. Some items that should be included in your portfolio are: Suggested items to include are:

(1.) A journal which contains notes about activities and the progress that has been made.

(2.) A list of resources (ie books, computer software, games, toys and outside classes).

(3.) Samples of the child’s work (ie samples of creative writing and drawings, text book or workbook pages, and if possible you may include audio or video tapes of your child singing, playing a musical instrument, reading aloud, or taking part in a a dramatic performance – pictures will also sometimes work well in place of audio or video tapes).

(4.) Photos of field trips, artwork, projects and family life.

(5.) Brochures and booklets from field trips and other activities.

(6.) A list of books that the child has read including both the title and the author.

(7.) A list of your goals for the year.

While this may seem quite overwhelming, you’d honestly be surprised at how easily you can accomplish this when you start preparing your portfolio at the beginning of the year. Simply use a three ring binder and add paper for your journaling. Start off by listing a few of your goals for the year and what resources you’ll be using to achieve those goals (these can be modified throughout the year as needed). Then begin collecting samples of work, organizing them by subject, and punching holes in them to place them in your binder. Always have at least a throw away camera at hand so that you can take pictures of anything that you’d like that your child does (ie reading, playing, dancing). You’ll also want to take pictures at field trips as well as pictures of your child’s projects and creations. These pictures can either be placed in a photo album or if you’re feeling really craftsy you could organize them into a scrapbook. You’ll also want to make sure to hold onto any brochures or other paper items that you collect while on an educational outing. These can be easily placed in clear see-through sheet protectors. This is also a good time to begin accumulating a list of books that are being read.

Once you have put together the beginnings of your portfolio, don’t stop there. Regular maintenance (I suggest weekly as it will help you to write your lesson plans for the following week) should include regular journal entries and an ongoing collection of work samples, photos and whatever else you wish to include. Some school districts will require a quarterly assessment throughout your homeschool year. This is a time for parents and children to reflect upon their progress and accomplishments from the previous months. Yet, even if your school district doesn’t require a quarterly review, you won’t want to wait until the end of the year to scramble and race to put together a portfolio that your school district will approve of. Neither you nor your child deserve having to go through the unneeded stress of having to sort through all of the material that has been collected throughout the year.

When it is time for review you may choose to remove some of the materials from your portfolio. You will find that some of these things simply do not properly reflect what you’ve accomplished throughout the year. If/when you decide to weed through your portfolio, you need to remember that the purpose of the review is to provide a general overview of the homeschool year, demonstrate that the child is engaged in homeschooling and that progress is being made.

The portfolio review can be exciting since it provides both parents and children with a time to talk about what they’ve been doing at home. When discussing this with your child, you may find it helpful to write down a summary of the items that you wish to highlight during your year before the review. For instance, if your child learned to read or master a skill you may wish to point this out to the reviewer. Of course, you should never view your portfolio review as a time for you to be judged or ridiculed. It is a time to listen, learn and support from your reviewer. Your child does not need to be present during this time. However, if your child wants a chance to “brag” about their accomplishments and progress to other homeschoolers, then this review is a perfect opportunity for them to do so.

Be Present and Be Happier

Excerpted from the book: The Goddess of Happiness, A Down-to-Earth Guide for Heavenly Balance and Bliss by Debbie Gisonni

Have you ever watched what dogs do most of the day?
Basically, they lie around doing nothing. I’m always curious to know
what they’re thinking about, or if they’re thinking at all. Judging
by my dogs, I’m sure their thoughts have something to do with
their next meal, massage, or walk. We humans tend to spend a lot
of time thinking, particularly women who are masters at multitasking.
How many uniquely different things can you be thinking
of at one time? What to make for dinner, your child’s parent-teacher
conference, the dog’s vet appointment, a deadline at work, the paint
colors for the new bathroom? Scary, huh? We think about what has
already happened or what we assume might happen much more so
than what is happening right now. All this time spent in the past and
future leaves little or no time for the present, which is the only time
that matters.

It seems that something always has to go wrong in order to force
us to stop and be present. For example, when you have to drive your
car through a heavy snowstorm, you can’t help but pay attention to
every bump and slide. Normally, though, you’re driving in autopilot
while your mind is working overtime: “How late will this traffic
make me? I need to pick up Emily from her soccer game. What
am I making for dinner tonight?”

I have a beautiful, kind, loving, and generous friend who seems to
spend her whole life racing. In the twenty years since I’ve known
her, she’s always running late from one appointment to the next,
talking a mile a minute and putting out some sort of emotional fire
at the same time. Sometimes when I’m with her, I feel as if I’m in one
of those zany dreams where you keep jumping from one unrelated
scene to another, with no beginning and no end–just continuous
but different streams of consciousness. Meanwhile, I’m gripping the
bottom of my seat with sweat-drenched hands and wondering if
she’s going to step on the brake before crashing into the car stopped
in front of us. It’s not that I think she’s a bad driver. In fact, she’s
never had any accidents with me in the car (I can’t speak for anyone
else). It’s just that I know she’s not present. I’m sure her inner goddess
is constantly crying out, “Stop, look, and listen now,” and while
she might have heard this amid the clutter of her mind, she’s already
deleted that scene and moved on to a few others.

There will be times in your life where you rush to get to the next
thing–your job, your appointments, your partner, your house–
without any consideration or participation in the current thing,
whatever that might be. When you look back, life all becomes one
big blur of images, like sticking your head out the window of a
speeding car. You’re unable to clearly see anything, whether it’s right
next to you, in front, or behind.

Life is in its most perfect state when you are present in every
moment. Living in the past or future, as we often do, only serves
to drain your spirit. You can’t change what has happened, nor can
you worry about what hasn’t happened yet. So instead of living in
the land of “I could’ve, should’ve, would’ve” or “what if,” try living
in the land of “I am,” because now is the only moment a goddess can

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