I try to grow enough food in my garden to share with the birds, insects and animals. It’s really worth it! I stumbled across this berry eating party over the weekend when I was clearing out some weeds way, way in the back of the garden. I’m not too worried about this one eating too much, because I think he’s already stuffed (har, har).


 Photo by: Elizabeth Fiend

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Happy New Year

from all of us at


Love, VaLerie Keller and Elizabeth Fiend


two elf heads are here to say happy new year to you from big tea party


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Scientists Hint at Why Laughter Feels So Good

Source New York Times

Written By JAMES GORMAN            

Posted by Elizabeth Fiend

Laughter is regularly promoted as a source of health and well being, but it has been hard to pin down exactly why laughing until it hurts feels so good.

The answer, reports Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary psychologist at Oxford, is not the intellectual pleasure of cerebral humor, but the physical act of laughing. The simple muscular exertions involved in producing the familiar ha, ha, ha, he said, trigger an increase in endorphins, the brain chemicals known for their feel-good effect.

His results build on a long history of scientific attempts to understand a deceptively simple and universal behavior. “Laughter is very weird stuff, actually,” Dr. Dunbar said. “That’s why we got interested in it.” And the findings fit well with a growing sense that laughter contributes to group bonding and may have been important in the evolution of highly social humans.

Social laughter, Dr. Dunbar suggests, relaxed and contagious, is “grooming at a distance,” an activity that fosters closeness in a group the way one-on-one grooming, patting and delousing promote and maintain bonds between individual primates of all sorts.


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The view from our garden dinner table, makes everything taste twice as good!

If you’re looking for me, check the garden ! I’ll be working, lounging or eating there every week from now on. Enjoy some photos from last years efforts.

Garden and photos by: Elizabeth Fiend

I do so enjoy my hammock!


The Sustainable Marriage

Want to have a happy marriage? Make yourself more interesting.

Source: New York Times Written By TARA PARKER-POPE    Posted by Elizabeth Fiend

A lasting marriage does not always signal a happy marriage. Plenty of miserable couples have stayed together for children, religion or other practical reasons.

But for many couples, it’s just not enough to stay together. They want a relationship that is meaningful and satisfying. In short, they want a sustainable marriage.

“The things that make a marriage last have more to do with communication skills, mental health, social support, stress — those are the things that allow it to last or not,” says Arthur Aron, a psychology professor who directs the Interpersonal Relationships Laboratory at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. “But those things don’t necessarily make it meaningful or enjoyable or sustaining to the individual.”

The notion that the best marriages are those that bring satisfaction to the individual may seem counterintuitive. After all, isn’t marriage supposed to be about putting the relationship first?

Not anymore. For centuries, marriage was viewed as an economic and social institution, and the emotional and intellectual needs of the spouses were secondary to the survival of the marriage itself. But in modern relationships, people are looking for a partnership, and they want partners who make their lives more interesting.

Caryl Rusbult, a researcher at Vrije University in Amsterdam who died last January, called it the “Michelangelo effect,” referring to the manner in which close partners “sculpt” each other in ways that help each of them attain valued goals.


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Happy Holidays 2010 & New Year 2011

from BiG TeA PaRtY!!

card by Valerie

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This New House

Allen and Elizabeth Fiend have moved. And I don’t mean to a new time or channel.

The Fiends have bought a house! Take a tour of their new home.

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GARDEN WREATHS written by Elizabeth Fiend

I recently created two wreaths out of vines from my garden. One wreath is ‘living’ so I guess I could call it topiary. It’s like a magical window I look through to the rest of the yard.

I started it with a hula-hoop, if you look closely you can see the green and white stripe of the hoop. With a piece of string I suspended the hula-hoop above the grape vine, hanging it from the cross-beam of a seating area Mr. Fiend built in the way-back of our yard. At first I tacked another piece of string from the bottom of the hula-hoop to the ground so the wreath wouldn’t swing around in the wind.

Every couple of weeks during the growing season I would wrap and tie down the vines around the hoop, at the same time cutting back vines that were growing in the wrong place. It was slow going at first and tricky to keep the vines growing in the proper direction and I almost bailed on the project. But I kept at it. Three years later it looks smashing. Don’t you agree?

I came up with the idea of using a hula-hoop as a base for the grape-wood circle because when the wreath was sturdy enough I could easily cut open the hoop and twist it out leaving a truly amazing circle of live wood suspended in the air. I think I’m ready to cut the hoop, but I’ll wait until the winter when there are no leaves.


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Recommended size for sticker: 7″ x 3″

Sticker printer option: U Printing

1000 stickers  70lb high gloss (UV) = $135

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Help BiG TeA PaRtY name our new sustainable living DVD.


The DVD is a collection of short videos that suggest ways to be more green at home. Like: Green Everyday; Food Choices; Reusing; How to Compost; Conserving Water; even a Vegetarian Cheese Steak Recipe. The DVD will also include bonus videos like Elizabeth Fiend’s appearance on NBC’s the Today Show and a brand new More Fiends video! Exciting stuff!

We want to come up with one-word name/acronym that has pizazz. And then we need your help decoding the title acronym to create a subtitle that further explains the video concept. Pick your favorite name/acronym , and if you have subtitle ideas, write them in. Have a better name/acronym for us? Write it in.


We’re thinking of names like:


Choose your favorite name or suggest a better one.

Take the poll, it only takes a sec. Click here to vote.

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