Today a friend shared with me a question that she posed to her husband this morning. She asked him “In your opinion, what is the funniest thing I have ever done?” He quickly shared this thought and they had a great laugh. This couple has a great relationship because they can have fun together and laugh together. It made me think about the kind of person I am. I tend to be more reserved and responsible. My husband is the character in our relationship, but every now and then, he can bring out the silliness in me and we have a great laugh together.
Being the kind of person who can let their guard down and just be silly for a moment can really lighten the mood, reduce stress and ease anxiety. For some people being a character comes naturally and they tend to live with less stress and are more care-free. For others it takes a conscious effort to relax to the point of letting go a bit. Sometimes we take ourselves a bit too seriously and worry too much about what others think of us.
Allowing yourself to laugh at situations can really help a relationship. Think about things that happen in your everyday life that frustrate you. Now think about how you can find the humor in it. Now how much better do you feel? When you realize that not everything is purposeful and can actually be turned into a good laugh, life with your significant other becomes more enjoyable together.
For example, my husband constantly drags items across our coffee table, leaving behind numerous scratches. It used to frustrate me that he didn’t take care of our things. For him, he wanted to be comfortable and relaxed in his own home with the view that things do wear. So one day he told me he was “aging it for free because that’s the trend right now”. I laughed and since then, the scratches and marks haven’t bothered me.
Today I challenge you to do something or say something silly. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Have a good, old fashioned belly laugh until you face hurts from smiling and enjoy being a character, even for a brief moment.
A healthy pregnancy begins before you even try to conceive. Many women are unaware of their pregnancy for several weeks. Development of essential features begins immediately. Thus it is important to have a healthy lifestyle prior to planning pregnancy. Typically when you are trying to get pregnant, you should lead a lifestyle as if you already are!
Maintain a healthy weight
Eat a healthy, well balanced diet
Avoid raw meat
Limit seafood (too much mercury)
Avoid excessive caffeine
Avoid tobacco, alcohol and street drugs
Continue your exercise regimen
If you have chronic illnesses, discuss them with your medical provider
If you take medications (prescribed or over-the-counter) discuss them with your medical provider to determine which are safe to continue during pregnancy
Take a folic acid supplement with 400 micrograms to avoid neural tube defects of the spinal cord
Wash hands frequently and avoid people who are ill
Avoid environments that can cause harm: radiology, smoky rooms, newly painted rooms, garages with car exhaust, cleaning chemicals
Summer is more than halfway over! I realized that when I got up this morning and had a brief moment of panic. When you live in the northern hemisphere, warm days are precious. You want to make the most of them which is why I started writing down a mini "bucket list". On the list are all the fun things I hope to do before the snow starts to fly again:
Needless to say the list can go on forever! I know that I probably won't do everything, but it's nice to have options on those days when I'm looking for something to do.
Mini "bucket lists" aren't limited to summer either. You can create one for each season and get the whole family involved in setting them up and choosing items to participate in. It's a fun way to stay connected with your loved ones and enjoy life.
I love fresh produced, but I hate when it goes to waste. I typically buy bananas every week at the grocery store, but often our two member household cannot finish them before they turn brown. I put the brown ones in the freezer until I can make banana bread or a smoothie out of them. Then I realized the entire top shelf of my freezer was filled with brown bananas. Sure, I could buy less, but then of course, we would finish them and wish we had more. I came across a helpful hint online, tried it and thought I would share with you as I am enjoying a yellow banana that I bought 5 days ago!
Summer means longer days and more fun outside. If you have kids, you want to avoid the dreaded “I’m BORED!” Here are some affordable ideas to make your summer a little more fun!
· Cut a glow stick and pour the contents into a bottle of bubbles. Enjoy glow in the dark bubble fun.
· Purchase a bunch of colored sponges from a discount store or dollar store. Cut up into hand size pieces, place them in small buckets (plastic sand buckets work great), fill with water, give one to each child and allow for a reusable and quick water fight!
· Old fashioned water balloon battles are always fun as well. A unique twist is to hide them randomly on your property to allow them to find them first to use for a water battle.
· Make a home-made obstacle course using things you already have at home. Turn 10 times on a bat, stack a pile of empty containers into a tower, hula hoop, jump rope, crawl under a table, hop over a safe optical, fill a container using a tablespoon of water at a time, add food into it (eat an entire carrot, or any fruit or vegetable) before moving on. Ideas are endless with this one.
· Go on a scavenger hunt. Grab a stack of notecards and put simple everyday items on each one. If your kids are older you can use riddles or word scrambles to make it more challenging. Send kids as individuals or teams to see who can return first with all of the requested items.
· Build an outdoor fort using only household items. If you’re brave enough, camp out for the evening.
· Go on a family bike ride, it’s even more fun when the trip ends at a fun location, local pool or ice cream stand.
· Plant a family garden, have everyone help plant and maintain it.
· Make a large hop-scotch board on your driveway and play.
· Set up a penny toss game with recyclable cans and containers.
· Have a family picnic for lunch or dinner. Let the kids choose the meal and pack the basket.
Be creative, have fun, be open to ideas. Share some of your ideas with us!
Did you know that the summer sun can cause more than a sunburn? With summer activities we spend a lot more time outdoors and exposed to heat and humidity for extended periods of time. Other than sunburns, summer heat can lead to heat cramps, head exhaustion and heat stroke. Children and older adults are more prone to the risks, but everyone should be aware of them, know how to prevent them and how to treat them.
Symptoms: Cramping or tightening sensation. Heat cramps typically involve the abdomen and legs, especially the larger calf and thigh muscles.
Prevention: Drink plenty of water and often. Encourage frequent breaks from physical activity. Gently stretch muscles.
Treatment: Get out of the sun, drink fluids, avoid further vigorous activity, stretch.
Symptoms: Pale skin, profuse sweating, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps or weakness.
Prevention: Drink plenty of water and often, take frequent breaks from the heat.
Treatment: Place in cool environment, lie down with feet elevated, undress so that body surface can give off heat, sponge entire body with cool waters (avoid shivering), fan the person to increase heat loss, drink cool (not cold) water or sports drink. If symptoms do not improve or person faints, seek medical attention.
Symptoms: Hot flushed skin, fever, altered mental status (confusion), seizures.
Prevention: Drink plenty of water and often, take frequent breaks from the heat, seek cool environment as soon as heat exhaustion symptoms present themselves.
Treatment: THIS IS A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, CALL 911. Place in cool environment, lie down with feet elevated, undress so that body surface can give off heat, sponge entire body with cool waters (avoid shivering), fan the person to increase heat loss, if able-drink COLD water or sports drink. Fever medications will not help in this case.
Stay heat aware and safe this summer!
I work in the medical field, so very little grosses me out. But the minute someone mentions lice, I start feeling itchy! Fortunately I have escaped all infestations thus far. It is very important to know that anyone of any ethnicity or social economic status can acquire lice. It is also not a sign of poor hygiene as lice can live up to 6 hours underwater.
You usually do not have to guess if your child was exposed to and acquired lice. It’s gross and very contagious, but it is not harmful as lice do not carry diseases. Lice are 6 legged insects that cling to scalp and feed on blood. They also lay eggs (nits) that are glued into the hair. Lice are contagious in head to head contact or sharing hair brushes or accessories. However, lice cannot jump or fly. The most common symptom of lice infestation is itching. If you find you or your family has been contaminated, first notify your child’s daycare or school so that other children in close proximity can be examined and treated. Second, examine everyone in your household, everyone who is infested should be treated at the same time. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend keeping a child home from school because of lice. Children should be treated, avoid close head contact with others and use a fine tooth comb to remove as many visible nits as possible.
Treatment with over the counter treatment is usually effective when directions are followed properly. Often two rounds of over the counter treatment are necessary to treat definitively. Fine tooth combs are effective in conjunction with treatment to pull both lice and their nits out. Another non-pharmacological treatment option that was supported in the Journal of Pediatrics in 2004 treated children by coating the hair with Cetaphil lotion, combing it, blow-drying until it hardens, and shampooing 8 hours later. This had a 95% success rate when repeated once a week for three weeks. Itching may continue for up to a week after treatment is completed because of the allergic reaction to lice bites that lingers. If lice persist, you may need to contact your physician for a prescription strength treatment. Bedding, clothing and stuffed animals should be washed in hot water.
I know you are scratching right now and planning to check your family members, but try to remain calm and know that you can handle the situation if you or your family is exposed to lice.
Do you experience pain in your knees? Is is worse when you try to go up or down the stairs? Knee pain can be a common problem, especially as we get older. It can be caused by weak, overly stretched, or tight muscles anywhere along the lower body. If you ignore this problem it is likely to get worse. Below are some suggestions and moves that may help:
See a Podiatrist - If you've never been to one, now may be a good time to go. Foot problems can include flat or overly extended arches, pronation, weak ankles, and one leg that is slightly shorter than another. These can be corrected easily with custom made orthotics. They can also do wonders for sore knees.
Stretching Moves - Keeping the muscles of your legs limber goes a long way to help knee pain. The easiest move to do this is a hamstring/calve stretch (as seen in the photo above). To do it lie down on the floor. Raise the right leg into the air and hold it with both hands. Gently pull the leg towards your body until you feel a lovely stretch along the back of your leg. To stretch the calf muscle, point and flex your foot. Be sure to breathe as you do this exercise and hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds. Alternate with the left leg.
Strengthening Moves - Once your legs are adequately limber, it helps to strengthen them as well. The following moves work very well:
With practice these moves will become easier and will hopefully eliminate your knee pain.
Choking in children leads to over 10, 000 ER visits per year. 1 child dies every 5 days from a food-choking accident. Food, not toys is the most common culprit of chocking accidents in children under 5 years of age. The reason for frequent choking in children is the shape of their airway. Children under 5 years of age have an airway about the size of their pinky, thus making it easy to block an airway with certain foods.
High risk choking foods for children under 5 years of age should be avoided or modified to prevent choking. The highest risk foods include:
o Cheese Sticks
o Chewing gum
o Chunks of meat or cheese
o Chunks of raw vegetables
o Dried fruit
o Hard or sticky candy and lollipops
o Hot dogs
To prevents choking either avoid or modify the high risk foods.
o Vegetables should be cooked and cut into small pieces (smaller than diameter of pinky)
o Hot dogs and cheese sticks should be cut lengthwise then widthwise and then into the shape of small moons to prevent complete obstruction if choked on
o Grapes should be peeled and cut into at least 4 pieces
o Young children should be watched closely when eating and eat only developmentally appropriate foods
o Young children should be seated (not playing or running) and not engaged in conversations when eating
If a child does choke, allow them to continue coughing. If they stop coughing, ensure they are breathing (the food may have become lodged and prevent ability to both cough and breath). If they are not able to breathe, call 911 and perform a Heimlich maneuver (familiarize yourself with several available videos on internet).
It's summer and that means we are spending more time than ever outdoors. Our pets love the fresh air as much as we do so they are likely prowling around your yard, soaking up the rays, and doing what they do best...loving life!
With just a few precautions, you can keep your pet safe during the dog days of summer.
Fleas & Ticks
I hope you and your pets have a fun, and safe, summer!
The Fourth of July is the warmest holiday of the year. Unfortunately, it is also the deadliest. This is in large part due to the amount of alcohol that is consumed on that special day. Now I don't want to be a downer and suggest you give up drinking entirely. However, it is wise to take a few precautions when you get ready to celebrate our nation's independence:
Driving - It goes without saying that you should not drink and drive. Try to designate a driver before you head out to a party. If you are hosting your own party, make sure your guests moderate their alcohol consumption and if they can't, don't let them drive. More DUI's (driving under the influence) are issued by the police on the Fourth of July than on any other day of the year!
Fireworks - These bad boys are fun but they can also be dangerous. Again, if you are drinking then stay away from the fire power. Leave it to a capable, and sober, pair of hands. Other rules to follow with fireworks are to always keep water close by, don't relight a dud, and don't carry fireworks in your pocket. Children have no business playing with fireworks. Even sparklers can be dangerous. If you allow them to play with sparklers, try the solo cup trick. Poke a hole in a solo cup and push the sparkler stick through the hole. Then have your child hold the sparkler while their hand is protected inside of the cup.
Grilling - This is similar to fireworks in that it can be quite dangerous in the wrong, or drunken, hands. If you are using a grill make sure it is not close to the house or anything that might be flammable. Also make sure you keep an eye on it in case the food ignites. Once you are done cooking, turn the flame off and shut the propane valve off as well.
Swimming - Pools and lakes tend to be much more crowded on the Fourth of July. This means parents need to be extra vigilant about watching their little ones play in the water. If you are drinking, you are more likely to forget about your kids, so try to moderate the alcohol. Also, if you or your children are unable to swim you might want to avoid the water altogether.
Pets - Animals can be extra sensitive to the loud noises of fireworks. If your dog or cat is sensitive then make plans ahead of time. You can try a thunder shirt, rescue remedy drops, or even a sedative prescribed by your vet to keep your animal calm. Make sure they are safe and comfortable so that when the booms begin they can't run off. If you have a dog, it's a good idea to get them out for a potty break while it's still daylight. Once the fireworks begin you won't be able to get them to budge!
Veterans - Please be aware that some veterans have post traumatic stress syndrome. This means they may react to the fireworks in a negative way. Try to be sensitive to their needs.
Kale is about to be in season which means you should find plenty of it at your local farmer's market. That's a good thing because this leafy green vegetable is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet! It is chock full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help to fight disease and keep us feeling youthful.
There are many ways to sneak kale into your diet. You can chop it up and puree it in your favorite smoothie, scramble it with your morning eggs, sprinkle it on a salad, or cook it with your homemade soup recipe. I like the soup option best because it blends in so well with other ingredients and will keep you feeling full longer.
Below is my favorite kale soup recipe. When I cook this my husband gobbles it up and always goes back for more. Best of all, it only takes about 30 minutes to prepare. You will need:
2 Tbs olive oil
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 medium onions, chopped
6 cloves minced garlic
2 bay leaves
1 lb of coarsely chopped kale (I remove the tough stems)
Salt, pepper, and cumin to taste
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes
1 lb of meat...this can be ground turkey, bulk sausage, shredded chicken, etc.
6 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
Heat the oil in a deep stock pot over medium high heat. Add the potatoes and onion, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Add in the garlic, bay leaves, and kale. Cover and wilt the greens for 2 minutes.
Season with the spices. Then add the beans, tomatoes, cooked meat, and broth. Bring the soup to a full boil. Reduce to medium and cook 5 to 10 minutes longer, or until potatoes are tender.
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