This week, I have made an effort to do a daily good deed. In general, I am a good person, and help others as much as I can. I work in healthcare, helping people is what I do for a career, but this time I consciously thought about what good deed I did by the end of each day. Surprisingly, I made me feel a lot better about myself.
Good deeds benefit both the recipient and the provider. Often when someone is the recipient of a good deed, they in turn provide a good deed for someone else. Imagine this great big, helpful world of people!
Good deeds can be quick or long term, free or expensive depending on your ability. Good deeds can be for strangers or people you know well. Obviously the more we can do good deeds for others, the better world we will all live in.
Here are some ideas:
· Make a double batch of a meal and deliver it to an elderly neighbor or neighbor with a new baby
· Volunteer your time at a local shelter (human or pet)
· Buy coffee or food for the next person in line
· Allow someone to go ahead of you (in line at a store or merging on a highway)
· Donate to a local charity (food bank, animal shelter, medical center, emergency services)
· Give a friend a break and take their children for a fun day
· Buy a bouquet of flowers, put a note on them that says “just to brighten your day” and leave them at a random house in your neighborhood
· Donate blood
· Volunteer at your local hospital
· Bake a large batch of cookies and deliver to your local fire or EMS department
· Donate gently used clothing and household goods to your local shelter (preferably a not for profit organization)
· Help an elderly neighbor by mowing their lawn or weeding their flower beds
· Help someone who is lost, if you can manage the time, take them to their destination rather than giving directions
· Write a note to a friend that is single and send it in the mail
· Buy a “just because” gift for a friend that has been going through a rough time
· Help your parents with a good house cleaning
· Offer to pick up food (take out or grocery store) when you are going for a neighbor
Everyone could use a good deed, just pay attention to their needs and help when you can!
Watching a parent age can be very difficult. The person that you once looked to for guidance and support is now looking to you for the same thing. It can be very disconcerting, and sad, but it is a normal fact of life and of course you will want to do everything you can to make life easier for your mom or dad.
One simple thing you can do is have them sign a power-of-attorney("POA"). This document will give you (or some other trusted person) the power to act in your parent's place to manage his or her affairs. This can save a lot of time and anxiety if/when your parent becomes incapacitated.
My father-in-law is in decent health, but we have noticed that his memory is slipping considerably. He already has me take care of most of his finances (paying bills, filing taxes, etc.), but I do all of that online and there is no actual form giving me authority to do so.
He agreed to sign a durable power-of-attorney, which means that at any time my husband (the "agent") can step in and take care of any of his financial matters. This gives all of us peace of mind in case my father-in-law (the "principal") declines to a point where he is unable to perform the functions himself. It will save us a lot of time and paperwork trying to get the authority to take over his affairs.
There is also an ordinary POA, which becomes inoperative if the parent becomes incapacitated (I guess the reasoning here is that the parent would not be of sound mind if s/he wanted to revoke the POA). We opted for the durable POA because we want the document in place continuously and my father-in-law is unconcerned about giving his son access to all of his finances. In other words, he trusts us!
Note: all POAs terminate upon death, or by court order, and they can be revoked at any time (but if the person is incapacitated, that would be difficult to do).
The POA can be "general", as in our case, or "limited" if the powers are only to do one specific thing, such as sell a piece of property. There can be more than one agent, and the principal can decide if s/he wants the agents to act jointly (all must sign to make any moves) or severally (only one must sign). In families where there is a lack of trust---they do exist!---requiring that all sign jointly may alleviate some of the problems.
There is also a "springing" POA that only goes into effect upon a specific triggering event (for instance, the incapacitation of the parent).
There's lots to learn and think about, but if you have an aging parent and they are open to discussing their future financial affairs, a POA might be a good idea. A great article to get you started is here: http://www.agingcare.com/Articles/what-is-durable-power-of-attorney-140233.htm
Forms are available online and could be filled out without the help of an attorney, but each state has different guidelines so it might be a good idea to consult an attorney for assistance.
Summer is finally here! Kids, both young and old, are home for the summer. Now what do you do to avoid “Mom, I’m bored!” It’s important to incorporate a balance of work, exercise, learning and rest daily. It is certainly not easy to adapt to a completely new schedule either.
Young Kids/Older Kids:
· Develop a weekly schedule to meet expectations, include meals, play, learning activities, chores and naps (if applicable)
· Sign up for summer camps or classes
· Form a group with friends and neighbors-coordinate playdates or trade off watching each other’s children to give yourself a break
· Incorporate them into your life-have them help with household chores, shopping, planning and preparing meals
· Coordinate day care a couple of days a week to give yourself a break
· Search websites for fun DYI projects and activities
· Take advantage of local museums and tourist activities
· Adhere to a set bedtime
· Adhere to expectation and rules
· Ensure your spouse is in agreement of expectations and plans
This group is unique in that they are adults, but still rely on their families for support while they are learning for the their future careers. It is important to treat them with respect and allow independence while ensuring you are not taken advantage of. Furthermore you want to ensure a peaceful and stress-free living situation.
· Make expectations clear as soon as they arrive home
· Have a conversation about expect rules and roles in your home
· Allow them the freedom to choose their schedule so as long as they are completing tasks previously agreed upon
· Keep an open mind and understand there is more than one way to do things
· Encourage internships or shadowing experiences
· Encourage part time or full time jobs
· Talk frequently with respect on issues that arise, allow them to discuss their feelings without fear of being shut down or interrupted
· Ensure your spouse is in agreement of expectations and plans
Plan ahead and have a wonderful summer break! ~Liza
Most of us have many bottles of vitamin supplements stacked in our cabinets and on our counters. We feel healthier when we take a vitamin, but do you really NEED it and is it helping you? The surprising answer, is NO!
Unless a healthcare provider has prescribed a multivitamin or supplement for you, you probably should not be taking one. First, vitamins and supplements are not regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Thus, you may not be taking what you think you are or the correct amount. The highest quality supplements tend to be the more expensive ones, which are often passed over for those on a budget.
Secondly, vitamins and supplements will not make up for a poor diet. If you eat a healthy, well rounded diet, you are probably getting all of the vitamins and minerals you need. Have your medical provider test your levels to determine if you have any deficiency prior to taking vitamins and supplements.
Furthermore, excessive doses can cause harm or even death! With fortified foods and drinks, multivitamins and additional supplements, it can be easy to unknowingly over dose. Most water soluble vitamins are excreted in the urine when you have too much. However, several vitamins and supplements are not easily removed and build up causing problems. Over supplementing can decrease the absorption of some essential vitamins and minerals. Too much vitamin C or zinc can cause nausea, diarrhea or stomach cramps. Too much selenium can lead to hair loss, GI upset, fatigue and nerve damage and too much vitamin B can cause leg cramps. Exceeding the recommended dose of vitamin D may lead to serious heart problems. Excessive folic acid can mask vitamin B12 deficiency and lead to permanent nerve damage if left untreated. Toxic levels of iron can cause skin discoloration, enlarged liver or spleen, abdominal pain, congestive heart failure, irregular heart rhythms and insulin dependent diabetes.
This is not a complete list of all of the side effects and dangers of overdosing on vitamins and supplements, but this should get your attention to realize that these are not always safe and need to be considered with all of the other medications you take and food you typically eat. Sit down with your medical provider or a nutritionist to determine what supplements are necessary for you and what dose you need to take based on your deficiency and the diet you normally consume.
Father’s Day will be here soon. I find shopping for my father especially difficult. Here are some gift ideas for the types of fathers you have in your life.
Sports Dad: Sports memorabilia, tickets to local sporting events, a sports channel added to cable package, clothing with favorite team logo
Outdoors Dad: Camping equipment, camping weekend, hiking gear, clothing with sunblock, new hiking boots, back pack filled with easy to carry snacks (travel mix, granola bars, etc.), fire pit with firewood, portable chairs, portable coolers, windbreaker or rain coat, hammock, sunglasses
Music Dad: iTunes gift card, tickets to favorite performer, autographed memorabilia from favorite band, wireless speaker, new headphones
Golf Dad: Good golf balls, golf tees, golf gloves, gift cards to favorite range or golf club to play or eat, golf shirts or shorts
Gardening Dad: Gardening gloves, new plant, gift card to favorite plant nursery, hire a painter to make a painting of his prideful garden, take a photo of the garden and have it framed
Business Dad: New shirts, socks, ties, cuff links, belt, briefcase, dry cleaning gift card, steamer for clothing, travel accessories
Chef Dad: Apron, grilling tools, gift cards to farmer’s markets or grocery stores, specialty serving dishes, cutting boards, knives
Couch Potato Dad: Movies, additional cable channels, snacks, foot or back chair massager
Workout Dad: New shorts, tanks or t-shirts, athletic shoes, customized water bottle, I tunes gift card, work out bag
Handy Dad: Tools, tool box, gift card to hardware store, flash lights that stand on their own
Literary Dad: Books, gift cards to book stores, electronic readers
Other Dads: Cigars, bottle of favorite liquor, bottle of wine, beer, beer brewing kit, restaurant gift cards, family day, anything to replace something they use or do frequently .
If you dad doesn’t fit into any of these categories, comment on this blog and we’ll help you come up with some great ideas.
Summer means enjoying the great outdoors. But with all great things there is a price to pay. In the case of summer that price is insect bites. These annoying little critters keep mother nature going smoothly, but can wreak havoc on our delicate bodies.
So who are the offenders?
Mosquitoes top the list and are looking for blood. Literally.
Ticks are also looking for blood but they take longer to latch on, so you usually have time to remove them before any damage is done.
The rest of the insect kingdom is not on the attack. Instead they only bother you when they feel you are threatening them in some way. If you can avoid them (or their hive, nest, etc) then you won't have a problem. The list here includes bees, wasps, and spiders. Once a bee stings you they die. Unfortunately the other two can continue to sting/bite you over and over again.
What are the dangers of an insect bite?
Usually a bite is not that dangerous. It may be uncomfortable and cause itching, redness, or swelling. If that occurs you can wash the area with soap and water, put ice on it, avoid scratching, and use over-the-counter remedies such as Benadryl or calamine lotion to stop the itching.
However, there are times when an insect bite can be quite dangerous:
Allergic reactions may occur that cause hives, blisters, infection, shortness of breath, unconsciousness, or even death. The most common offender for an allergic reaction is a bee sting. If you are having a severe reaction then you need to get to the hospital immediately. Force yourself to cough continuously en route to keep your airways open. Once you know that you are at risk, your doctor can prescribe an Epi-pen that you can carry with you to use in an emergency.
Spread of disease is another danger. The mosquito can carry malaria, encephalitis, and the West Nile virus. All are extremely dangerous but unlikely in the United States. The tick can carry Lyme disease. This one is more likely and often shows up first as a red, bulls eye mark on your skin. If you suspect any infection see your doctor immediately.
How do you prevent insect bites?
Prevention is the way to go when it comes to insect bites. You can have bee hives and wasp nests professionally removed from your property. You can also be on the lookout for them when out in the woods. Keep in mind that bees will place their hives in odd spaces including low to the ground and under shrubs.
To avoid tick and spider bites wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts when hiking in the woods. It also helps to put on a repellent and avoid brushing up against weeds, tall grass, etc. If you have pets make sure they are being treated for ticks, fleas, and lice. Check them often for insects.
Finally, repellent also works well against mosquitoes. If you hate the chemicals found in repellents then look for healthy alternatives such as Avon's Skin so Soft, eucalyptus oil, or dryer sheets. I'm not kidding. Dryer sheets work well at keeping insects at bay.
Enjoy your summer and I hope it's a lovely, insect free experience!
Are you feeling stressed out? It's tough not to in today's crazy and face-paced world. Our jobs, family, and home life can all lead to an intense feeling of being out of control. I call it the "I-want-to-rip-my-hair-out" effect. Ugh!
There are many ways to deal with stress but today I want to focus on just one of them....massage. Therapeutic touch can do wonders for not only your mind but your body as well. Here is a list of just a few of the benefits:
Some women may shy away from getting a massage because they are self-conscious about their body. Let me reassure you that a therapist doesn't even think about that. They are concentrating on your muscles and have seen all shapes, sizes, and hairy legs in the past!
Another common complaint is that a massage costs money. There are many massage clubs out there that reduce the rate in half if you sign up for several sessions. You can also opt for a shorter session, such as 30 minutes, instead of a full hour.
I get a massage at least once a month and have never regretted the time or money spent. For me it relieves some serious back pain that I frequently encounter. It also puts me in a zen state of mind that can last for several days. I urge you to give massage a try.
Today is national BFF (Best Friends Forever) Day! If you are over 25 years of age, you may or may not use this terminology. Regardless if you are down with the lingo, you probably still have a BFF. This person may be a spouse, family member or friend. If you are not sure who your BFF is, think of a juicy piece of gossip, or huge accomplishment in your life that happens right this moment. Who do you want to tell first? Who can you call when you need a ride home? Who can you call when you just want to vent about a bad day? Who will answer the phone in the middle of the night because you need them?
Your BFF may be taken for granted and may often be taken advantage of. You may not realize this, because your BFF loves you so much that they will not complain about it. Typically the relationship volleys between both of your life needs, so it all balances out in the end. But I encourage you today to take a moment to realize who your BFF is and appreciate all that this person does for you. At the very least, call them and let them know how much they mean to you. Go out for lunch or dinner. Celebrate finding someone that fills an essential void in your life!
Everyone could use a little adventure! Take a break from you routine and try something new. I came across this plan the other day. I would advise to do it in a safe section of a metropolitan area to have the best results. However, you can also consider a country drive with a packed picnic basket for a different kind of adventure. Give it a try and keep an open mind!
I am a big fan of recycling and repurposing items. I am an even bigger fan of being organized! I came across this idea the other day. What a great idea as we start having picnics with the warmer weather. This can be used for yourself or as a hostess gift to a party you are invited to. There are many modifications that can make this a great summer item.
· Paint the cans the color of your choice to match your décor
· Reinforce the cans by drilling holes and riveting or bolting them together to make them more sturdy
· Drill holes near the top and attach a hanger for a handle
· Glue the cans to an old tray to easily carry it
· Use jars instead of cans
· Add a fourth can to hold straws, rolled napkins or stirring sticks
Enjoy your new hand-made and handy item!
This recipe is my go-to when I want something yummy and satisfying, without too much fuss. And it's a good way to use up leftovers. The ingredients are not precise---that's the beauty of this meal, you can make it hundreds of different ways depending on what you have on hand and feel like eating.
1 package tortillas (we like corn, and prefer the small size)
Refried beans (canned, or make your own)
Meat (leftover chicken, beef, etc.)
Veggies (peppers, onions, mushrooms, zucchini, corn, etc.)
Spray baking dish with non-stick spray.
Place a layer of tortillas to cover the bottom; it's OK if they overlap.
Spread some beans on the tortillas and then cover with salsa.
Add another layer of tortillas.
Put meat on tortillas and then cover with cheese.
Add another layer of tortillas.
Put veggies on tortillas and then cover with cheese.
Add a last layer of tortillas and then cover with salsa and a bit of cheese.
Bake at 350 for at least 30 minutes, until bubbly.
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