Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

When Do YOU Start Spring Cleaning?

Sure, we’re still in the dead of winter, but I can’t help but to think about warmer days ahead. Today is the first day that the sun made an appearance in over a week, so I’m in a springy kind of mood! I can smell…almost taste…the warm, spring air despite the frigid reality that awaits outside my door.

In case you forgot one of the most important cold-weather holidays, Groundhog Day, is in just three days. And as we wait with baited breath for Punxsutawney Phil (or Buckeye Chuck for Ohioans) to tell us whether or not we’ll have six more weeks of winter, I’m already thinking about what kind of freshness I will conjur up in my home with a few gallons of paint, new fabrics, and a good cleaning of all surfaces. By the way, regardless of what either rodent has to say, spring will arrive on March 20 at 7:21 P.M. EDT.

With a lot of help from my personal cleaning brigade (A.K.A. husband and children), I’m looking forward to being able to clean every window, open every set of blinds and curtains, let in outdoor air through every door and window, clean or replace floor coverings, purge or donate piles of now-unwanted goods, and plug in the season’s sweetest air fresheners. That spells spring to me!

So when will this spring cleaning plan of mine launch? It depends on when the weatherman believes we’ve had our last snow of the season. :-)

When do you start spring cleaning? What are some of your spring cleaning rituals?

Let’s chat!

Love to all!


Protect Your Family During Flu Season

Achoo! Last week, I began writing an article about how to protect your family from the flu. Ironically, that very day before I finished writing, I began experiencing flu-like symptoms. How could that be? I wash my hands so frequently the skin is cracked in several places.

Hand-washing, isn’t the only way to protect your family against the flu, but it is one of the most important. Below are tips that can help protect your family against this season’s flu outbreak, which is now well underway.

Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes. Touching an infected person or item and then putting your hands on these areas is a sure fire way to spread the infection.

Cover up! The flu virus can be easily spread by infected persons who cough and sneeze without covering up, so protect yourself. Turn your head, cover your mouth and nose, and wash your hands, if possible, when someone near you sneezes or coughs. Better safe than sick!

Get the flu shot. Although it’s late January, it is still not too late to get the flu vaccine. It is also now easier than ever with most pharmacies offering them at low cost and with no appointment necessary.

Limit close contact with those infected. I know this is easier said than done, since infected persons may not exhibit symptoms the first day or so. It’s even more difficult to stay away when someone in your household is infected and relying on you for care. Wearing latex gloves and using disinfectant wipes can help prevent the spread of flu between your sick loved ones and their caretakers.

So you’ve done everything you could to protect yourself and you still end up with the flu. Now what?

Drink plenty of broth and tea. These are great ways to get extra fluids and lower your body’s temperature. While drinking something hot may not seem logical when your temperature is already high, it does help to promote healing. The heat from these hot drinks causes perspiration, which works to lower your temperature and soothe your sore throat. Herbal and decaf teas work best, so stay away from caffeinated drinks and they dehydrate the body.

Drink plenty of electrolyte-rich fluids. If you’re having bouts of vomiting and diarrhea, replenish lost electrolytes with drinks such as Powerade and Gatorade.

Use steam baths to aide in decongestion. These can be purchased at most grocers and pharmacies for under $20. You can also achieve the steam bath effect by turning your shower water to the highest temperature, closing the bathroom door, and inhaling and exhaling deeply to clear the lungs. Be careful to limit your time in the steam to no more than 10 minutes to avoid exhaustion.

Get lots of rest. Remember that it takes at least two weeks to fully recover from the flu, but your recovery may take longer if you do not get enough rest when the symptoms first hit.

Let’s chat and share your home remedies.

Love to all!


Superbowl XLV Teams Are Set? Are You Ready for Game Day?

Now that the semi-final games have been played, football fans around the country are getting set for the big game. Those of us who aren’t able to score tickets to see the action in Dallas are making plans for the next best thing, Superbowl parties.

Whether you’re hosting a party or attending one, refreshments are sure to be a big deal. Post your favorite Superbowl food and drink recipes here for a chance to be featured in an upcoming blog.

Congrats to the Steelers and Packers for advancing to the championship game! Which team are routing for Superbowl XLV?

Game day is Sunday, February 6, 2011.

6 Tips for Photo Shoot Success

Guest blogger Heather Steward of Heather Steward Photography captures memories and the essence of the subjects that she photographs by choosing perfect settings for each occasion.

You can help achieve the perfect look for your photo session by following these 6 tips that Heather recommends.

1.) If children will be in your photo shoot, make sure they are well-rested and fed before your photo session. It’s also a great idea to bring toys, food, drinks, etc. to keep the babies happy. (If your child gets sick before your session, it’s better to call the photographer to reschedule than to tote your sickly baby or child to this kind of activity.)

2.) Have clothes, hairstyles etc. planned before the day. If you plan to have more than one person in the photographs, coordinate color choices and styles. Also, select clothing that will complement the intended setting and mood.

3.) Be on time. Often photographers will book more than one photo shoot per day – only leaving a 15-30 min gap between. Arriving on time will help to ensure that you don’t lose your time slot.

4.) Wear solid colors, they are the easiest to capture. Black and white looks good with blue jeans. Also, children look best in vibrant multi-colors.

5.) If you have time, research and know what poses you want or like. Most photographers would be more than happy to accept print-offs so they can try to re-create the photo you bring.

6.) If bringing pets, have an extra person come along to help. Sometimes they can be a handful!

Visit the Heather Steward Photography website and Facebook page for more information.

Positive News Reports

“If it bleeds it leads.” I get it, some people thrive on death, drama, and crime, but not all of us. I’d love to be able to watch news reports without having to switch to another channel, because one of my children walks into the room. Besides, I want to hear good news…a lot of good news!

So, I hunted for web sites that deliver just what I crave – good news. The people behind Happy News find good news stories, from their own sources as well as others, and put them into one convenient place. One of yesterday’s headlines was “School Finds 340-Year Old Bible“. Credit to CNN for this story; now if only they could seek more feel-good news and report it, report it, report it. Enough of the Nancy Grace doom and gloom!

How about another great story where University of Pennsylvania students distributed coats to needy children? Operation Warm is an organization that reaches out to children in 26 states in conjunction with a wide range of organizations that have the ability to reach deep into some of the country’s neediest communities. Good news stories aren’t just for entertainment purposes, they serve to inform. Maybe this story will help if you have (or know of) a child in need of a warm coat. Or, maybe it will incite you to make good on your promise to do more for your neighbors.

It’s true, good news happens around the globe every day. Unfortunately, most news outlets don’t report it often and at length. If I were to sponsor a news broadcast, I don’t think I’d want my product advertisement to follow a report of the lastest bloodbath. Imagine it: “This gory, bloody message was brought to you by Best Books Network!”. I don’t think so…

Maybe the lack of good and wholesome programming is the reason why I watch a ton of home improvement shows. The content is great, the commercials are relevant, and the programming is kid-friendly without being Nick Jr News-ish.

If Happy News begins televising their reports, I am SO there!

Chime in with your thoughts.

Love to all!


Let’s Chat about Tea! Part 2

Now that you know a little more about the varieties of tea, let’s talk about flavors.

I love a hot cup of peppermint (or mint) tea when my tummy aches. Some believe that the menthol in peppermint tea lends to its healing effects on nausea, vomiting, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diarrhea, and headaches. Peppermint tea also controls mild symptoms of asthma and helps fight the common cold. This tea is naturally caffeine-free.

We all enjoy a glass of chilled sweet tea on hot summer days. This treat with southern origins has taken on a new life recently and is so popular, you can now find it at your local fast food restaurant.

Fruit teas such as apple, blueberry, orange, peach, strawberry , and of course, lemon , can be found in the aisles of your local grocers in both store and national brands. I shop for generic brands quite often, but my favorite fruity or minty tea happens to be Celestial Seasonings. The store brand mint tea couldn’t hold a candle to the national brand in this case.

Chai (or spiced tea) is made from black tea and comes in many flavors. The smooth taste of vanilla softens the spiciness of ordinary chai tea. Other popular spiced teas are cinnamon, ginger, and hazelnut.

What’s your favorite tea?

Let’s discuss (over a cup of tea, of course)!

Love to all!


Let’s Chat about Tea!

Black, green, white, red, herbal, oolong, Pu-erh (AKA Puer), blends, and flavored. Who knew there were so many varieties of tea? I’m a tea connessuier, but Pu-erh is a new one for me.

Regardless of the variety or flavor, I’ll try just about everything. Since you can’t buy one bag at a time, I’ve collected a half dozen varieties, dozens of flavors, and hundreds of bags of tea.

What’s so special about each tea?

Black tea – the most popular globally; caffeinated, bold flavor

Green tea – healing qualities; second most popular variety

White tea – rarest on earth; slightly sweet and subtle flavor; great for complexion; higher concentration of antioxidants than all other teas, fights cancer

Red (AKA Rooibos) – Slows the aging process, treats allergies, decaffeinated, great for people prone to kidney stones

Herbal – Encourages restful sleep; helps the digestive process; eases nausea and cold symptoms

Oolong – most expensive variety; commonly found in Chinese restaurants; speeds up weight loss and boosts metabolism; excellent source of flouride; aids in digestive process; reduces risk of hypertension

Pu-erh – cleanses blood and removes toxins; improves eyesight

Blends – just as the name implies, tea blends contain a mixture of two or more varieties

Flavored – flowers, oils, herbs and spices are added to enhance the taste

Stay tuned for part 2 where we will discuss a myriad of flavors.

Love to all!


Man vs. Darkness

This just might be my most random thought this week. As I finished typing a blog last night, I turned off the light to my basement office and made the trek upstairs in the dark. Suddenly, I wondered, “Are men afraid of the dark?”

I have no idea why that question popped into my head, but it’s something that I’ve never wondered, discussed, read, or heard about before now. Surely, someone has to have pondered this question. Right?

Think about it? We all know that it’s normal for children to fear what may lurk in the dark? Authors of children’s books see fit to write about it and manufacturers of night lights aren’t going out of business anytime son. Movies address the issue of women being afraid of the dark as well. How many times have you seen an obviously frightful lady character in a movie jump at each shadow she sees while tiptoeing through a dark house and whispering, “Is anyone there?” when things go bump in the night?

Now think hard, really hard, about whether or not it’s common knowledge or common fodder when we relate men to darkness. I can’t think of any.

Do you have a story or example of a man’s fear of the darkness being exploited in the name of entertainment? Share it here!

Love to all!