Pets of the Month

My name is Stella, and I’m a one-year-old teddy bear! I love living with my mom at TurtleCreek in West Des Moines, IA. Some of my favorite things are watching out the window, chasing the leaves outside, and getting belly rubs from all of our neighbors and leasing staff!

Hi! My name is Gustoph, but some people call me Goose. I live at The Lanesborough in Houston, TX. During the day, I like to lay around the house, but come 6 o’clock, I’m up and active to make sure my parents feed me on the dot! When I am in the right mood, nothing is better than a good belly rub!

Sparkling Strawberry Float

Ingredients:
• Strawberry Sorbet
• Chilled Prosecco (or champagne or ginger ale or soda)
• Diced fresh strawberries and/or sliced strawberries for garnishing the glass, optional

Directions:
1. Place a few small scoops of sorbet in a glass.
2. Pour chilled Prosecco, champagne, ginger ale or soda over the top.
3. Sprinkle with diced strawberries, if desired, and serve immediately.

The History of Valentine’s Day

For most people, Valentine’s Day means handwritten heart-shaped notes, thoughtful gifts of flowers or jewelry, and most importantly, time spent with a loved one. But why is February 14th considered the day of love? And how did the holiday start in the first place?

It turns out, nobody really, truly knows the true history of Valentine’s Day. But what we do know about the origins of Valentine’s Day isn’t all that romantic. The day is named, of course, for St. Valentine, but why? And which Valentine? There were apparently two Valentines executed on February 14 (albeit in different years) by Emperor Claudius II, reports NPR—the reason the church designated the day for the martyrs.

It’s possible that the heart-filled holiday is based on a combination of the two men, according to The New York Times. A widely accepted tale was published in The Boston Globe in 1965 and posits that one, Saint Valentine of Terni who was executed around 278 A.D., had been secretly officiating weddings for Roman soldiers against the emperor’s wishes, making him, in some eyes, a proponent of young love.

Many also believe that St. Valentine’s Day was designated by Pope Gelasius I in order to replace the ancient Roman festival Lupercalia. The debaucherous feast fell around the same time and involved a pagan ritual, which they believed promoted fertility. Following this flagellation was an equally strange tradition, in which men selected women’s names at random to decide who would remain together the rest of the festival, or if the match was successful, for life.

However, a University of Kansas English professor, the late Jack B. Oruch, had a different theory, notes the Times: Through research, he determined that the poet Geoffrey Chaucer linked love with St. Valentine for the first time in his 14th-century works “Parlement of Foules” and “The Complaint of Mars.” Therefore, Oruch claimed that Chaucer invented Valentine’s Day as we know it today. At the time, February 14th also happened to be considered the first day of spring since it was the beginning of birds’ mating season—perfectly appropriate for a celebration of affection.

Whether or not Chaucer can be fully credited, it is true that he and fellow writer Shakespeare popularized the amorous associations surrounding the day. Soon, people started penning and exchanging cards.

By the early 1910s, an American company that would one day become Hallmark began distributing Valentine’s Day cards. Flowers, candy, jewelry, and more followed, and the rest, of course, is history.

by Taysha Murtaugh

www.countryliving.com/life/a46353/history-of-valentines-day/

Four Unconventional Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day or Any Other Day!

After a while, the predictable Valentine’s Day gifts heart-shaped boxes of candy, overpriced dinners and bouquets of roses start to lose their appeal. This Valentine’s Day, rather than spending the night as you always do, we say bid adieu to all those dates and try something new with your special someone. To make the date planning that much easier, we’ve rounded up a few suggestions if you’re looking to switch things up.

Axe Throwing: Whether you’re planning on spending V-Day with your significant other or you’re planning an epic single night out for you and all your friends, look no further than axe throwing. This experience is so much more fun and can be booked with other couples, not to mention it’s indoors.

Karaoke: There’s no better way to truly get to know someone than by doing something spontaneous such as karaoke! Dedicate a song to your date and you’ll score serious brownie points.

Take a Dance Class: Trade up your dinner reservations and put on your dancing shoes and try a fun dance class. Chances are, you won’t catch on to all of the moves, but you’ll have a great time trying!

Visit a Board Game Cafe: Whether this Valentine’s Day marks your first date or your hundredth, a board game cafe is a perfect spot for couples to connect or reconnect over a game or two.

Check out more great date ideas at
https://29secrets.com/relationships/unconventional-valentines-day-date-ideas/.

Continuing Education and Why it is So Important

Many people graduate from college and jump into their career thinking that school is now in their past and they won’t ever need to write an essay or study again. However, it’s a proven fact that continuing education is the best way to keep your mind strong and can even be a confidence booster. Studies have shown that continuing to learn can help with everyday skills and improve the way your brain performs on a day-to-day basis.

Now, continuing education doesn’t have to mean going back to school or adding more to your student debt. It can be something as simple as taking a one-night class at your local community college or taking up a hobby like learning a new language. Anything that gets you excited and helps to keep your mind functioning at its highest level can be beneficial.

Another way to continue learning is to attend conferences or networking events to further your knowledge and connections. Being in the know of everything your industry offers, as well as being connected, is a sure way to have an edge over competitors in your field. You can also take courses on topics like HTML/CSS or the basics in design programs like Photoshop and Illustrator. In today’s world, the more tech knowledge you have, the better.

And for those of you who cringe at the thought of speaking in front of a group of people, there are classes to help with that as well. These classes help to enhance your professional skills like public speaking, negotiation tactics and ways to effectively market your company. Activities may include things like role playing and speaking in front of the class to help you gain experience and confidence that prepare you for the real thing.

Finally, in today’s world of everything being online, you can learn a new skill or hobby just by watching video tutorials. You can find instructional videos and how-tos for almost anything. Have you been wanting to take a photography class? Want to brush up on your cooking skills or try a new recipe? Just type it into the search bar and ta-da, hundreds of videos to choose from!

All that being said, get out there! Take the first step and research non-credit classes at your local community college or jump into that hobby you’ve always wanted to try. In your down time, you can also do brain exercises like the ones listed below to keep your cognitive levels on point. Remember, keep your mind active and never stop learning!

https://www.themuse.com/advice/schools-not-out-the-importance-of-continuing-education

Pets of the Month

My name is Hogan and I live with my mom at PrestonBridge Apartments in Dallas, TX! I am my mom’s 8-year-old male Shitzu/ Pomeranian bundle of joy. I love people and I go to see Brittney, the property manager, every afternoon. My mom says I have a wonderful personality and I’m a good boy because I seldom bark.

My name is Natasha! I am my parents’ 5-year-old Siamese fur-baby. I live with them at Tanglewood Apartments in Lincoln, NE. I am infinitely affectionate and more than a bit anxious when I can’t find mom or dad

 

Chili Cornbread Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 c. frozen corn
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained

Cornbread Topping:

  • 1 c. cornmeal
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 c. milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
  • Sour cream and sliced jalapenos for topping

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F and lightly coat a 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Brown ground beef with onion in a large skillet. Once meat is cooked and onion is soft, add in garlic, chili powder, and cumin. Cook until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in crushed tomatoes and corn, then simmer for 5-7 minutes. remove from heat and stir in black beans and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. In large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together milk, eggs and butter. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  4. Pour chili into prepared baking dish and top with cornbread batter. Bake for about 28-35 minutes or until cornbread is slightly golden.
  5. Top with sour cream and jalapeno slices if desired. Enjoy!

Wine Cork Reindeer

What you’ll need:

  • Wine corks
  • Twigs
  • Small red pom poms or red round headed pins
  • Nail
  • Wire cutters or craft knife
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Bows, bells, ribbon, etc. for decoration (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Use a nail to make four leg holes, about 1/4” deep, at a slightly outward angle in the bottom of one cork for the legs. Cut four matching twigs for the legs, about 2” long, using a razor knife or wire cutters.
  2. Put a bit of hot glue on the end of each twig and insert them into the holes. If any leg is uneven, trim to adjust.
  3. For the other cork, make two holes on the top for antlers and one hole on the bottom for the neck.
  4. Hot glue a small red pom pom or insert a red round headed pin for the nose.
  5. Add accessories to your reindeer such as a bow, bell, ribbon, etc. (optional).

http://makethebestofthings.blogspot.com/2011/12/wine-cork-reindeer.html

Gift Guide for the Holidays

These two small kitchen appliances are all the rage right now. With everyone looking for the best and healthiest ways to prepare meals at home, these gadgets make for the perfect holiday gifts.

AirFryer

This popular appliance is making its way into the homes of many, especially those looking for a healthier alternative to oily, fried foods. Airfryers come in many sizes catering to any sized household. According to online reviews, Phillips makes the best performing and easy-to-use airfryer.

The well-known brand sells three different models: The Compact, XL and XXL. These models all have the patented “Turbostar Technology,” meaning hot air circulates 360 degrees around the food as it cooks. This ensures the food is cooked evenly and has a crisp outside with a tender inside. And as the food cooks, any excess fat is simultaneously drained, which is 75% – 90% less fat than typical fried foods. You can also download the “Philips Airfryer app” for recipes, tutorials and tips.

Although the “Turbostar Technology” is used in all the models, the portion size and capabilities are what sets them apart. The basic Compact Airfryer model can easily fit on your countertop, has the ability to cook two portions (1.8 lb) at one time and has easy-to-use controls. The XL Airfryer model is the midsized option that can cook up to four portions (2.65 lb) at one time and features digital touchscreen controls with a preset button to remember your favorite foods. Lastly, the largest XXL Airfryer model is the most powerful model that Phillips offers. It can cook two bags of fries or even a whole chicken in one go, which makes this model ideal for larger families.

Anova Precision Cooker

The other gadget that would make a great gift this holiday season is the Anova Precision Cooker. With this simple device and your phone, you can cook professional level meals. The Anova Precision Cooker uses what is called “Sous-vide” (pronounced ‘sue-veed’) or precision cooking, a technique that uses precise temperature control to achieve perfectly cooked, flavor-filled results.

Here’s how it works. Grab any sized pot and fill it about half way with water. Place the Anova wand into the water and use the clamp to secure it to the side of the pot. Use the controls on the wand or the Anova app on your phone to select the temperature specified in the app or recipe book to achieve your desired doneness. Take a resealable plastic bag and place your choice of ingredients and seasoning inside and seal it. Place the bag in the preheated water and clip the bag to the pot. That’s it! The water will continue to circulate eliminating any hot or cold spots, and in no time at all you will have a perfectly cooked meal! Once the ingredients are cooked, you can use a pan to crisp up the outer layer.

The Anova wand can be used to cook anything from steaks and fried chicken to eggs and potatoes. There are over 1,000 recipes available on the app and online. Anova makes cooking so simple, you’ll never want to use anything else!

Resident Feature: Bud Henderson

This month’s resident feature takes us to Lenox Village Apartments in Lincoln, Nebraska. Francis aka, “Bud” Henderson, a resident of two and a half years, has become good friends with the staff on property. Bud and his wife moved to Lincoln in order to be closer to their daughter. When asked what his favorite part of living at Lenox Village is, he said “the convenience (of being near) our daughter’s home, shopping, activities, quality service and neighbors.” Since his retirement, Bud has spent a lot of his time researching and writing books that he has plans to publish. He is the author of the book Dreams, which was recently published by Handersen Publishing, LLC.

Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Bud was the first of his family to finish high school. Although he had wanted to continue on to college to study journalism, the cost was just too high. After working for the International Shoe Co. for two years, he was encouraged by his coworkers to pursue his dream of attending college. He attended college in Bolivar, Missouri, where he decided to take a different path and completed his pre-med course at Ouachita Baptist College in Arkansas. He completed medical school and his residency before spending nine years in the United States Army, Army Reserve and National Guard. Bud then returned to Arkansas to continue his medical practice before retiring to care for his wife in 2014.

Though circumstances lead to his career in medicine, Bud knew since high school that he wanted to be a writer. “I had written some creative work during my practice years, but upon retiring, I began to seriously study and participate in writing fiction,” he explained. After moving to Lincoln, Bud decided that he would write children’s literature and was intrigued with picture books. It was then that the idea for his book Dreams came to life. “(Dreams is) a story that parents and grandparents will enjoy reading to their children. It is a ‘rhythmic’ picture book, teaching about ‘dreams’ and giving permission to children to dream, both asleep and awake, and then to follow those dreams,” he said.

Although his daughter believes the story to be a reflection of his own life, Bud says he did not intend it to be. He explained, “I wanted a story that taught children about their opportunity (and) to follow what they like to do.” Local Lincoln artist, Karissa Bettendorf, illustrated his story and made it come to life with her original paintings. “She made the narrative pictures of the mind come alive to the eye,” Bud said.

If you’d like your own copy of Dreams, you can purchase it at Handersen Publishing, Barnes & Noble (SouthPointe Pavilions, Lincoln), Francie & Finch Bookshop (130 S. 13th Street, Lincoln) or on Amazon (search Dreams Francis Henderson). When asked if he has any future books in the works, Bud replied “Yes. I have two picture books and two middle-grade novels I’m working on. Hopefully, at least one will be published within the year.”

Bud Henderson is the perfect example of what it means to chase after your dreams. And no matter where life may lead you or where you end up, it’s never too late to go for it!