Do you have a New Year’s Resolution to eat healthy this year? Try new foods by introducing better-for-you ingredients like coconut oil into your cooking, subbing it for less-healthy cooking oils.  You can also use your favorite ingredients in new ways.  Eating a variety of foods helps prevent unhealthy eating that can result from boredom. This scrumptious recipe is easy-peasy. Your family will absolutely L.O.V.E. it!

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ½ cup each chopped red bell pepper & broccoli florets
  • 3 ounces cooked medium shrimp (peeled, deveined; frozen, thawed is OK)
  • ½ cup cooked wild rice (fluffy, not packed)
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves

In a medium pan, stir together 1 tablespoon coconut oil, ½ teaspoon minced garlic, ¼ cup low-sodium vegetable broth, and 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper.  Add ½ cup each chopped red bell pepper and broccoli florets, saute until broccoli is slightly tender.  Add 3 ounces cooked medium shrimp and ½ cup cooked wild rice and heat through.  Serve shrimp mixture over 1 cup of baby spinach leaves.

Option:  Toss shrimp mixture with spinach, chill for at least 30 minutes, and serve cold.


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The Theory or Everything bookcover


A MUST-SEE film this season is “The Theory of Everything” directed by James Marsh and written by Anthony McCarten. The cast includes: Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking and Felicity Jones as Jane Hawking. I hope that they are already planning their awards season outfits because they are sure going to need them!

This is the extraordinary story of one of the world’s greatest living minds, the renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, who falls deeply in love with fellow Cambridge student Jane Wilde. Once a healthy, active young man, Hawking received an earth-shattering diagnosis at 21 years of age. With Jane fighting tirelessly by his side, Stephen embarks on his most ambitious scientific work, studying the very thing he now has precious little of – time.

Together, they defy impossible odds, breaking new ground in medicine and science, and achieving more than they could ever have dreamed, including the publication of a wildly popular physics book, A Brief History of Time (can’t say that I have read it!) and becoming one of the most beloved figures in science, academia and pop culture.

The film is based on the memoir “Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen,” by Jane Hawking. It is simultaneously heartbreaking and inspiring; raw and uplifting.  I can’t recommend it highly enough!


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January Rejuvenation: We Must Always Change Renew Rejuvenate Ourselves

This month’s Special Shining Moment is the concept of Rejuvenation. When I think about a New Year, I inevitably think about renewal, change and, of course, the opportunity to rejuvenate. According to Webster’s dictionary, rejuvenation means to give new strength or energy to (something).

Sign me up!

Even though it is inevitable and will always – without fail – happen, change (from the teesny things to the big ones!) is difficult for many people to handle. When dealing with change, I believe that it is imperative to look at it from the perspective of having a choice, i.e., “I can be devastated or paralyzed by it” or “I can grow from it.”

As the New Year begins (still can’t believe it), I find myself determined to grow more happiness from change. Grow happiness. Ahhhh, what a concept. I feel inspired and motivated by the (active!) role that I will continue to have in cultivating my own happiness by making a change in my spiritual, physical and emotional being.

Some of the ways that I – literally – grow my own happiness on a daily basis include:

  1. Physical health in the form of exercise (yoga especially), sleep and good nutrition.
  2. Gratitude journal. Each and every day, I write down a minimum of three things for which I am grateful and I take the time to really think about each and every one.
  3. Spend time with people I cherish because, after all, relationships are core to our sense of well-being and happiness.
  4. Challenge myself by learning something new. My brain always feels energized and I feel more alive when I engage in something I have never done or known.
  5. Smile. Literally. On days when I’m feeling down or grumpy, sometimes – especially when driving in a car – I will just smile. Boy oh boy does that ever help!

It’s not to say that change, rejuvenation and finding happiness are easy. No way, no how.  Even good change can be challenging. But if we think about playing an active role in our response to whatever we face, then – depending on the choice that you make – you may just find a Shining Moment or two and true happiness!

Alway remember that you’re never too old to make a change, set another goal, or to dream a new dream. This is a great Shining Moment in life!

Wishing you a month of rejuvenation, strength, energy, and happiness!

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All our dreams can come true if we have  the courage to pursue them. - Walt Disney

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According to, the top resolutions year after year are:

  • Drink Less Alcohol
  • Eat Healthy Food
  • Get a Better Education
  • Get a Better Job
  • Get Fit
  • Lose Weight
  • Manage Debt
  • Manage Stress
  • Quit Smoking
  • Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
  • Save Money
  • Take a Trip
  • Volunteer to Help Others

Even though I am a girl who finds Shining Moments (pretty much everywhere!), it seems as if many New Year’s resolutions are flawed from the start, destined to fail. The resolutions are too enormous, the behaviors too ingrained, the thinking too negative. I’m just sayin’…

I am, however, a person who loves new beginnings and clean slates. I tend to look at them proactively rather than defensively which is why I prefer setting intentions for a new year rather than resolutions. Potato – PotAto, I know. But I believe in the power of a word and I find the word “resolution” to be somewhat pejorative and/or slightly defensive whereas “intention” seems to be motivating and inspiring. It’s just how I roll.

So, my girlfriends and I decided to set our intentions together because a) whatever we do individually will impact us as a group and b) there is more accountability when we set intentions together.

I also believe that if an intention is too vague, it is hard to measure whether you’ve been keeping it. In other words, I like to set an intention and then identify the measurements by which the intention will be met.

When it comes to setting intentions, I like to document them. Good ol’ fashioned pen and paper. When I was in graduate school, one of the things that was ingrained in my training was that “If you don’t write something down, it didn’t happen.” So, I went on a stay-cation and wrote. And wrote.

And can I tell you what a Shining Moment it is to the start of the New Year. We all have an incredible opportunity to create a life for ourselves that only we can design. I hope that you are able to fulfill whatever dreams and wishes that you have for 2015.

Remember, as Wayne Dyer says, “Our intention creates our reality.”


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This evening, as the stroke of midnight rolls across the world’s time zones, people will gather in private and take to the streets to celebrate the arrival of the New Year, 2015. Fireworks will erupt from Sydney to Moscow, and revelers will gather in Kiev, Durban, Rio de Janeiro, New York, and thousands of other places, raising a glass, keeping warm, making resolutions, and wishing each other a “Happy New Year!”

I came across The Atlantic, online, which has compiled the most inspiring group of photographs of New Year’s Eve Celebrations around the world. I’m not one for crowds – ever, but especially on New Year’s Eve. So the boyfriend and I plan to ring in 2015 in the best way possible: at an intimate and super fun dinner.  Of course, we plan to celebrate the New Year on New York time (because of course I couldn’t possibly stay awake until Midnight…um….the boyfriend has difficulty staying awake, too!), throw confetti (everywhere!) maybe play charades (don’t EVER pick me to be on your team!) and talk about our goals or intentions for this year.

I wish all of you a “Happy New Year” and lots of Shining Moments in 2015!

Hope you have a wonderful evening! What are your plans for the New Year?


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Pajama Day!



From Tuesday afternoon until Wednesday morning, I am having my very own Pajama Day! As a teacher, I am very lucky to have the week off from school, and am able to schedule my very own Pajama Day during the week. I used to have Pajama Days with girlfriends when I was younger and truly feel it is a necessity to bring it back. Well, Tuesday is my day…and I am f-bomb excited about it!

My motivation for doing/having/celebrating Pajama Day is because ever since — ohhhhh — the first of the year I have been busy beyond belief. Though I’m not complaining. I am blessed to have an incredibly full, inspired and wonderful life (Shining Moment). However, I will admit that there are days when I don’t know if I’m coming or going, if I’m pitching or catching (I do love that phrase!). Many-Most of my friends seem to be plagued by the same issue. Everyone is always so, doggone B.U.S.Y.

So, I have made a concerted effort to incorporate idleness into my life. Believe it or not, this incorporation is making me more productive. Idleness is also allowing me to stand back from life and see things differently, with a more enlightened perspective (Shining Moment).

I hope that you will incorporate some idleness into your life and even possibly–hopefully take a Pajama Day whenever you can as well!


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Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love. - Mother Teresa

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Did you know January is National Soup Month? Yuppers! Boy, oh boy, do I have a recipe you have to try. It is irresistible and so warm for the tummy during the winter months. It only takes 20 minutes to make, and is soooooooooo worth it!


  • 3 ½ lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 ½-inc pieces
  • 1 large onion, cut into wedges
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz each) vegetable broth
  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 lb broccoli florets, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar, shredded (white or orange)
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • Snipped fresh chives

Combine potatoes, onion and garlic in slow cooker, Add 1 can of the broth, the evaporated milk, ½ tsp of the salt and the nutmeg.  Cover and cook high for 3 hours or low for 7 hours.

Place broccoli in a microwave-safe bowl and add ½ cup water.  Cover with plastic and microwave 3 to 4 minutes, until tender.  Set aside 1 ½ cups of the broccoli; add remaining broccoli to slow cooker along with remaining can of vegetable broth and 1 cup of the cheddar.  Puree with an immersion blender until completely smooth.

Stir in remaining ½ tsp salt and 1 cup cheddar, reserved broccoli, the sour cream and pepper. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with chives just before serving.



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Oh Christmas tree,
Oh Christmas tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging
Oh Christmas tree,
Oh Christmas tree,
Thy leaves are so unchanging

 Not only green when summer’s here,
But also when it’s cold and drear.
Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree,
Such pleasures do you bring me!
Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree,
Such pleasure do you bring me!

 For every year the Christmas tree,
Brings to us all both joy and glee.
Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree,
Such pleasure do you bring me!

 Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree,
You’ll never be unchanging!
A symbol of goodwill and love
You’ll ever be unchanging

 Each shining light, Each silver bell
No one alive spreads cheer so well

 Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree,
You’ll ever be unchanging

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