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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Free Agave Plant by Mail

Photo: Agave "Century Plant", Free Plant of the Month by

Free Plants By Mail ( was started by local growers as a way to use the surplus plants from nurseries and also as a way to support The Nature Conservancy.  Free Plants By Mail offers a new free plant each month.  This month they are offering Agave "Century Plant".  It takes 100 years for this agave plant to bloom!  Although the plant itself is free, you do have to pay a small shipping and handling fee of $6.95.
This organization also has over 100 plants available for sale on their site.  100% of the proceeds from the sale will go to The Nature Conservancy.
Click here to view Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

Monday, January 9, 2012

Make a Worry List

Photo: 365 Health and Happiness Boosters by M.J. Ryan

Take a tip from M.J. Ryan, and boost your happiness by creating a worry list.  Just put your pen to paper and write down any and all worries that come to mind until you have flushed them all out.  It really is incredibly effective.

M.J. suggests rating your worries from a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the extreme so that you can gain perspective on your everyday worries.  I also found it helpful to write down what I could do to mitigate my concerns.  For example, one of my greatest worries is dying before I get to do all the big things I wanted to do in life so I created a Bucket List (i.e., a list of all the things I want to do before I die).  The years are still flying by and it does not change the fact that tomorrow is not guaranteed, but the bucket list does give me something to actively work on. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Track Down Lost Money

You may have unclaimed property waiting to be returned to you!  Below are some sources to help you start your search:

State-held Money.  State treasuries hold unclaimed property from uncashed dividend checks, returned utility deposits, uncollected insurance benefits and more.  Visit the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) at and click on your state to start tracking down possible unclaimed money.

Old U.S. Savings Bonds.  Visit to start searching for old U.S. Savings bonds.  There are billions of dollars in old savings bonds that have stopped earning interest, but have not been cashed.

Missing IRS Tax Refunds.  If you have not received a tax refund check, you can search for it by using the IRS's Where's My Refund? tool at

Other.  For some other possible sources of unclaimed money, please check

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

DIY Cardboard Christmas Lights Organizer

Don't throw away those Christmas boxes just yet.  You can tear down a couple and turn them into inexpensive Christmas lights organizers.   

  • Scissors
  • Pen or Marker
  • Rectangles cut from cardboard boxes
Fig. A

Fig. B

Fig. C

  1. Use the scissors to cut the box along the creases.  You should end up with several rectangular pieces.
  2. Then use the scissors to make about of 1 inch long cuts at points 1 and 2 (See Fig A).
  3. Then insert one end of the wire in slot 1 (See Fig B).  Then start wrapping the Christmas lights around the cardboard working yourself from left to right.  Make sure you leave about 2 inches of space from the edge (See point 3 in Fig A).
  4. After you are done hook the end in point 2 (See Fig A). 
  5. Now label point number 2 with "Unwind Starting Here" and at point 4 you can label the Christmas light description.  For example, "Christmas Tree Lights, 1 of 2."
  6. Store lights away in a container for next year!

Monday, January 2, 2012

365 Health and Happiness Boosters

Photo: 365 Health and Happiness Boosters by M.J. Ryan

True happiness isn't contingent on circumstances.  
It is a sense of contentment that exists independently of the good fortune that might find us.

I would describe myself as a strong, happy, positive person.  I generally can find the silver lining in any situation, find solutions to problems, and have the discipline and strength to resolve any issue.  Of course, that was easy for me because up until a few years ago I have lived my life pretty much the way I had planned it.  I did have my share of trials and tribulations along the way, but there was nothing that I could not overcome on my own.  

Then all of a sudden I was blindsided with some life-altering events that completely derailed me from my life plan.  My future as I had envisioned it had been demolished.  For the first time in my life, I was stuck.  I was in limbo and I hated it.  I could not see my situation clearly, and I knew I needed some additional help this time.  Talking to a therapist was not for me, and talking with family and friends had their limitations so I turned to books.  

This is one of many books, I have read.  It is actually the book that made me realize why I could not dig myself out of my depression: "Feeling stuck is what causes most of the misery" (p. 11).  Difficulties no matter how overwhelming they may seem at the time are still temporary.    When I read this passage I realized I needed to work on acceptance, reevaluate myself and create a new set of goals.    

This is such a great book that I decided to read it all over again one day at a time.  This book is filled with great ideas to "boost" or "enhance" your own happiness.  It is a light-hearted, easy read and is really meant for everyone.  I highly recommend you start the New Year with this book!