We all have those days where the rain keeps us indoors with children whining that they are bored! Now your mission is to find endless activities to entertain them and keep the peace. Here are some fun rainy day ideas:
Crafts- there are plenty of ready-made kits and lots of ideas online using common items found in your home. Keep plastic table clothes handy to spread across table for easy clean up.
Bake- making homemade cookies or a cake together. Kids love mixing the ingredients and everyone loves to sample when it is done.
Dance party- turn up the music and dance. Be silly and have fun!
Music- make instruments using household items, form a band and make up a song.
Living room fort- use blankets and pillows and your living room furniture to build a fort.
Household obstacle course- use furniture and larger items to make an obstacle course in your home. It is a great way for the kids to burn energy.
Tell stories- start telling a story, and then hand it off to another member of the family to add to it. See how fun of a story you can invent as a family.
Read stories- it’s traditional, but still a favorite. Read a story to you children or better yet, have them read to you.
Hide and seek- again, traditional, but fun for everyone. Take turns being the seeker and make it fun for everyone.
Board games & card games- there are so many out there that are fun for the whole family. Play a round of each family member’s favorite game. Clue and UNO are very popular ones in our home.
Watch a movie- when you need some time to unwind, make some popcorn, and snuggle under a blanket and watch a family friendly movie together.
Take a rain walk- every put on their rain coats and boots, grab your favorite umbrella and take a family walk. No one will melt in the rain. Jump in every puddle you see!
Hopefully that is enough ideas to get you started!
I don’t know about you, but when I have muscle soreness after a workout I usually reach for a heating pad. I know that ice works well with swelling and inflammation, but for me the heat is better at relaxing my sore muscles.
That’s why I was surprised when I read a study by Petrofsky (2015) in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. It looked at both treatment options after a workout and found the cold therapy works much better. It did not matter if the cold pack was applied immediately after a workout, or 24 hours later. Either way there was less muscle soreness than when using a heat wrap. It should be pointed out, though, that the heat treatment also provided some relief. It just wasn’t as much as when using a cold pack.
The takeaway for me is to apply a cold pack for 20 minutes after a workout. Then if I’m sore later, I will still break out my trusty heating pad. A girl’s gotta have some comfort, man!
Memorial Day is a time to remember those who served in the military and died for our country. While this is a solemn holiday, most of us still use it as a day to have some fun with family and friends. Here are some fun facts about this holiday:
Did you know that it's important to replenish your protein levels after a tough workout? This helps your body to repair damaged tissues. The following recipe provides you a wonderful post-workout shake that's full of protein and antioxidants:
You Will Need:
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup pomegranate juice
3 cups kale or spinach leaves
1 kiwi, peeled
1/2 cup green grapes
1/4 cup avocado, peeled
1/8 slice of lime with rind
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
tsp Stevia (optional)
2 cups ice cubes
Place all ingredients into a high-powered blender and fire it up. Run for a minute, or until smooth. Drink and enjoy!
This word makes most people cringe. It is a topic that very few want to discuss. Even healthcare providers fail to have medical discussions with their patients about obesity. But this topic is so very important, not for reasons of vanity, but also for your health.
Let’s start with the definition of obesity. The National Institute of Health defines obesity as a BMI (body mass index) greater than 30. This number correlates height and weight to determine an estimated body fat measurement. To calculate a BMI, simply type “BMI calculator” into google! Plug your height and weight in and you get a number. A normal BMI is 18.5-24.9. A BMI can tell you if you are underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese. Another measurement of obesity is waist size. For women a waist size over 35 inches and 40 inches in men with two or more medical problems linked to weight is considered obese.
The biggest problem with obesity is the health complications that are associated with it. Obesity affects every single organ system. Some medical problems can be reversed, but others are permanent. Some of the most common medical problems that stem from obesity include, but are not limited to: heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, vascular disease, stroke, cancer, gallbladder stones, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and depression.
There is no magic pill or quick fix for obesity which is why 1/3 of the population struggles with it. Everyone knows the treatment, but people hate to diet and exercise. Many wait until they have a dreaded “wake up call”, a personal health scare or that of someone close to them before they take steps to deal with obesity. However, the best time is right now. The only way to manage obesity is to adapt to a lifestyle change. Unfortunately, some motivated people diet and exercise to reach their goal for a special event, but regain the weight again within 5 years. It is more than essential to make this a lifestyle change and stick to it, rather than a short-term challenge with a goal.
Many programs are now available, some are even covered by your medical insurance to help you eat properly and get appropriate exercise. There are lifestyle centers to aid with all aspects of weight loss, physical, diet, mental and medical. It is important to have a network of support around you and to take little steps toward a big goal. Small steps can drastically reduce the risk of permanent health problems. Start small and build on your progress. For example, use the steps for 1 flight of stairs at work or cut one soda from your day. Each week, increase that number. Then add other steps. Little sacrifices are often less drastic and not as unpleasant as quitting everything and exercising until you are too sore to move. When you work in this manner, you are more likely to achieve and more importantly, maintain your healthy weight goals.
Start the steps to a healthier lifestyle now!
Distracted driving seems to be the norm now, which is downright scary. Here are some facts that might help keep your eyes on the road:
1. The average time your eyes are off the road is 5 seconds. That's enough time to go the length of a football field if you're speed is 55 mph.
2. Texting is the most dangerous form of distracted driving because it requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver.
3. Ten percent of all drivers ages 15-19 that were involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes.
4. Texting is not the only type of distracted driving. Other forms: eating, reading, applying make-up, sexual encounters (for real!), arguing, dealing with rambunctious children, looking at sights outside of the vehicle, unsecured pets, and adjusting electronics.
5. Talking on a cell phone quadruples your risk of an accident, which is about the same as if you were driving drunk. That risk doubles if you are texting.
We were all taught not to talk to strangers or to take anything from strangers. Childhood abduction is on the rise, and it is essential to talk to the children in your life about what to do if a stranger approaches them. You may think it will never be an issue for you family, but life has a way of surprising us. The term stranger danger itself can be misleading to children. They may misinterpret who a stranger is to them. They may feel strangers are big, mean, ugly men, but perhaps a nice lady offering them candy or an attractive young man looking for his puppy and seems friendly may not be interpreted as a stranger. Furthermore, you child may actually need to rely on a stranger for help.
First, always tell your child to trust their instincts. If they are uncomfortable in any situation, get out of it as quickly as they can and call you. It is important to teach your child to come to you if anyone approaches them, asks them to keep a secret or invites them to leave with them.
Teach your children to ask certain kinds of people for help, for example a police officer, store clerk, or someone with other children.
Allow your child to have a cell phone. You can track their location and they can message or call you if they find themselves in an uncomfortable or unsafe situation. Always have them check in to school, after school and when going to and from their friend’s homes.
Make a secret password for you and your children. If a stranger ever approaches you child telling them their mother sent them, your child should ask for the password. If the stranger does not know it, they should run and seek help.
Sign your child and yourself up for a local self-defense class. Then practice those skills at least once a week so that if you are grabbed you have a better chance of escaping.
Role play possible situations with your children to give them examples of what to do in possible abduction scenarios.
Keep the children in your life safe!
As I am preparing to head out on our annual storm chasing trip, I am reminded about how many people do not know the proper safety measures if you are faced with a tornado in your area.
First, know if there is a chance of a tornado in your area. A tornado watch means that there is a chance of tornados in your area and conditions are favorable for a tornado to form quickly. A tornado warning means that an actual tornado has been spotted in your area. There are apps to download onto your phone to alert you to tornado warnings. Keep the news channel or weather channel on so you are aware of the danger and updated on the most recent changes.
Make a family plan. Everyone in your family should know where they are to meet in the event of a tornado. The safest place is a storm shelter. If you do not have a storm shelter, meet in the basement away from windows. If you do not have a basement, seek shelter along an interior wall away from windows. Closets, bathrooms and corners of interior rooms are the most sturdy to protect you. Do not open windows; doing that will allow flying debris into your home and increase your risk of injury.
If you live in a mobile home, it is not safe to remain there. Go to a local storm shelter, public building or neighbor’s home with a basement. If you are outside and no shelter is immediately available, lie down in the lowest area (ditch, ravine, depression) and cover your head. Do not lie near a tree as it will not protect you in a tornado. Furthermore do not seek shelter under an underpass. Underpasses have stronger wind currents and collect flying debris putting you in increased risk of being harmed. Do not try not to outrun a tornado in your vehicle.
Be prepared. If there is a tornado watch in your area, have everyone put on sturdy shoes and a jacket nearby so that if you need to evacuate, everyone is safely ready. Having a helmet for everyone to protect their heads is ideal, but if no helmets are available, have a blanket in your meeting area to cover everyone to protect from flying debris. Have bottled water and non-perishable food available. Ideally have an emergency, battery operated radio. Most cell phones will not work in disasters due to towers being down and numerous people trying to make calls at the same time.
The key to safety during severe weather is to be aware, prepared and calm.
As the temperature increases, we shift our focus from hot comfort drinks to cool and refreshing drinks. It is important to stay hydrated, especially when exposed to summer heat. Most recommend 8 glasses of water per day. Many tell me they just hate the taste of water, so I often steer them in the direction of adding a healthy, low calorie flavor to their water. In a very large glass, pitcher, or Mason jar add fresh chunks of fruit, add a spring or couple leaves of an herb, top with water and enjoy!
Here are some of my favorite combinations. Let us know what your favorite is!
Cucumber & pomegranate
Strawberry & lemon & basil
Blueberries & oranges & basil
Grapefruit & rosemary
Pear & ginger
Blackberry & sage
Pineapple & orange & mint
Raspberry & mango & lime
Raspberry & lemon & sage
Cherries & lime
Blackberry & orange
Strawberry & mint
Watermelon & basil
Apple & cinnamon stick
Lemon & thyme
Having trouble sleeping? It could be your diet. Studies have found that consuming too much saturated fat and sugar, and not enough fiber, could cause disruptive sleep patterns. The greater the amount of fiber in the diet, the more time an individual spent in the deeper stages of restorative sleep.
This is another reason a healthy diet is so important! Be sure you are eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, Limit the amount of sugar you consume, and aim to eat leaner forms of protein such as chicken, turkey, and nuts.
Another culprit of deep sleep is alcohol. It can interrupt the normal cycles and cause you to wake up throughout the night. Try to limit the amount of alcohol you consume before bedtime.
Hopefully this will help you to bag some vital zzzzzz's!
This is a very easy recipe that is full-proof. Make it on a Saturday or Sunday and you'll have enough for several more meals throughout the week (or to put in the freezer for future use).
2 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 pounds pork shoulder roast (or butt)
2 bay leaves
2 cups chicken broth
Mix dry ingredients and rub on to the pork.
Put bay leaves in bottom of crock pot, place pork on top. Gently pour the chicken broth around the sides of the pork, being careful to not rinse off the spice mixture.
Cook on low for 5 hours, flip the meat, then cook for 5 more hours.
When done, shred with fork and serve however you wish.
Possibilities:: tacos, enchiladas, in salads, as a potato topper, with rice/veggies.
If you want to freeze for later, save some of the liquid and put in a freezer container with the meat so that when you re-heat it won't be too dry.
Ah, chocolate! If you're a fellow lover, then the word alone can make you smile. I can be having a lousy day, but if I pop a chocolate square in my mouth the world is bright again!
Here are some fun facts about chocolate:
I know. I know. I gave you more than 5 facts. It's kindof like chocolate. Once you start eating it....it's tough to stop!
Have a wonderful weekend, and include a bit of chocolate!!
Do you have a weak immune system? Do you tend to get colds easily and suffer longer than everyone else? Do you have tummy trouble ? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then a good bone broth could be the answer. Research has found it heals the lining of our intestines and boosts immunity. What's more, it tastes great and is often the base for a hearty soup!
You will need:
2 lbs bones (from a whole chicken, turkey, or ham)
2 chicken feet (optional)
3 stalks celery
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 bunch parsley
1 Tbs sea salt
1 tsp pepper
2 cloves garlic
Place all the ingredients in a slow cooker on medium to high heat.
Cook for 2 hours and scoop out any foam that forms.
Reduce heat to low and cook from 24 to 48 hours. This allows time for the vinegar to pull the rich nutrients out of the bone.
Strain. You can then drink the broth on it's own or use it as a base for soup.
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