Tuesday, December 31, 2013

You Can Stretch Anywhere,Anytime

I've been nursing a groin injury for the past few months. It has been frustrating since it hurts to run or even walk fast. So I was interested in learning that stretching can help with injury recovery time.

As you age, your muscles tighten and range of motion in your joints can be minimized. This can put a damper on your active lifestyle and even put a crimp in normal motions. (and I'm finding that as I age, my body is healing slower.)

Stretching increases flexibility, which will help you perform daily activities and reduce the risk of muscle, joint and tendon injuries. Stretching also improves circulation, increasing blood flow to the muscles. Increased blood flow provides more nourishment to the muscles and gets rid of more waste by-products in the muscle tissue itself. Improved circulation can also help speed up recovery time if you suffer a muscle injury. Everyone can learn to stretch, regardless of age or flexibility. Stretching should be a part of your daily routine, whether you exercise or not. You can stretch while you watch tv, use the computer or are getting ready for bed. 

The staff at the Mayo Clinic give these benefits of stretching:  

Stretching increases flexibility. Flexible muscles can improve your daily performance. Tasks such as lifting packages, bending to tie your shoes or hurrying to catch a bus become easier and less tiring.  

Stretching improves range of motion of your joints. Good range of motion keeps you in better balance, which will help keep you mobile and less prone to falls — and the related injuries — especially as you age. 

Stretching improves circulation. Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles. Improved circulation can speed recovery after muscle injuries. 

Stretching can relieve stress. Stretching relaxes the tense muscles that often accompany stress. 

You can find some quick and easy stretches here.  Try them tomorrow. It would be a great way to start the New Year!

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Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

Do you make New Year's Resolutions? I have in the past but after a few weeks it seems like they are kind of forgotten. So this year I decided to make a simple chart based on one that I saw by the Sits Girls.  I decided that maybe one word reminders that are posted where I can see would help me to stay on task. Some of these have specific meaning for me and some can be applied to different situations in my life. 

I'm going to give it a try this year. I'll let you know how it turns out...

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas to you and yours! I hope you have a delightful day filled with family love, smiles for the camera, and gifts from the heart. 
Remember to take time to soak in the joy of the season. Look around and just breathe it in! Have a very Merry Christmas today!

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

                                                            Having fun inverting colors. 
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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Treats

 My sister-in-law Rose makes some of the best Christmas treats. She always makes the pretzel rods dipped in chocolate which are a hit. The only problem for me is that once the chocolate is gone, you've got a lot of pretzel left. I do like pretzels, just not so much at one time. So I was happy to find this recipe using pretzels, chocolate and caramel.

For these yummy little pretzel treats you'll need:

Small pretzels-- twists or the square ones-- I used the square ones (you won't use the whole bag)
Bag of caramels
Approximately 1 bag of Milk Chocolate chips (or chocolate almond bark)

Place wax paper or a silpat mat on a large cookie sheet and lay out your pretzels. Unwrap the caramels and cut each one in half. I would have given anything to have had the grands here to help with this step!!

Top each pretzel with a caramel half and place in a 250 degree oven for 5 minutes or so, until caramel is soft to the touch. Remove from oven and top each pretzel with another pretzel, GENTLY squeezing in the middle of each pretzel to sandwich the caramel.

Melt your chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, stirring every 30 seconds until just melted.

Grab a pretzel sandwich and dunk it completely in the chocolate  and shake to remove excess chocolate. (I used a fork to help with the dunking.)Place them on another cookie sheet covered in wax paper.  Repeat with remaining pretzels and allow to set up completely at room temperature. (I shook a little Christmas decoration on the top before the chocolate set up.)

If you want to see where I got this idea and a really cute way to finish off your treats check out this blog post.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

                                                       Having fun with starburst effect.
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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

If Only For A Second

If you watched the Country Music Christmas show last week you saw a little girl get to meet Luke Bryan. Tatum is the greatniece of my best friend. Tatum's wish has been to meet Luke and the Make a Wish Foundation made it possible. The family was treated like royalty and Luke Bryan was so good to them. It's heartwarming to see people's kindness in the face of such tragedy and pain. 

Today I came across this post about another group that helps cancer patients. 

The Mimi Foundation is an organization for cancer patients whose goal is to make sure their patients’ personal and emotional needs are met, in addition to their medical needs. The foundation has centers in France, Belgium and Switzerland. Individuals are provided with a serene, relaxing atmosphere, psychological counseling, beauty treatments, and advice on ways to approach hair loss.
“If Only For a Second” is a book and accompanying video that documents an experiment in helping cancer patients to forget their illness, however briefly. For the project, twenty people were given over-the-top makeovers and asked to keep their eyes closed the entire time. When their transformations were complete, they were asked to open their eyes in front of a two-way mirror, on the other side of which sat a photographer.
The cover of the book "If Only For A Second".

The Mimi Foundation’s book of photos, titled “If Only For a Second,” is a wonderful example of such a project – watch here:

It's a hoot to see how the make-up and hair stylists made up these men and women. Even more fun to see their reactions. What a fun idea to take away the reality of cancer if only for a few seconds! God bless all who help to ease the suffering of others!

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Monday, December 9, 2013

A Different Kind of Elf on the Shelf

I have to share this new tradition also. Instead of Elf on a Shelf (which personally I'm not crazy about), how about having an elf that does good things?  How about a Kindness Elf? Over on These Creative Juices  blog Beckie shares a poem you can use to introduce the elf to your children. She also has a list of kind things that your family can do. The good deeds start on Dec.13 and go for 12 days.

I love this idea! I even have an elf that would work. I may have to adjust this a little since I don't see my grandchildren everyday. What do you think? Do you do Elf on a Shelf?
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Friday, December 6, 2013

New Christmas Traditions


My children are all grown with families of their own. Some days I really long for the days when we had little ones around at holiday time. Then again after having the grands for an afternoon helping with my Christmas decorating, I'm glad for the quiet when they leave.

Anyway, while tripping down memory lane and reading my favorite blogs at the same time (I'm good at multi-tasking☺) I came across two very special Christmas traditions. 

The first from Kate (Kate's Creative Space) is described in this post. She calls it The North Pole Repair Shop. She has her son pick toys that he no longer plays with. The toys are boxed up and given back to Santa to fix up at his Workshop. Her son is tickled that someone else will get to play with them.

Of course there has to be a way to let Santa know about these toys. This is how they contact him. 
"Five flashes of your torch, by the way, will alert Santa and the Elves that they need to swing by in the night to make the collection. Leave your boxes by the back door or in the hearth, and in the morning you’ll wake up to find a candy cane as receipt of your package."

The second one is a tradition of only giving the kids three presents.
This represents the gifts of the three Wise Men to the baby Jesus.
I wish we had thought of this when our children were little. It would really have helped to eliminate some of the commercialism that goes along with Christmas. Nancy (Ordinary Miracles & the Crazy 9) writes in her post that her children have never made an issue of it even when they've noticed that their friends got more gifts.

So sometimes I wish we could have a do-over and my children would once again be those innocents waiting to open their gifts on Christmas.  Or...I can have them read this post and see if they can start some new Christmas traditions of their own--and maybe let me take some photos!

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Christmas Rules

I saw this on the internet but I don't know who to give credit to. Love Rule #8! 

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

10 Tips to Keep Your Immune System Strong

It is so easy during this busy holiday season to get run down and become sick. There is nothing worse for me than to be side-lined with a cold or flu when I can see all that still needs to be done. So here are some tips to keep you (and me) up and running (or at least walking) until Christmas! 

 1. Eat healthy. You know to avoid food high in fat and calories. Eat the rainbow--fruits and veggies. Whole grains, lean meats,beans, nuts and seeds should be in your diet too.

2. Don't Smoke--nuff said.

3. Get more sunshine (not sunburn). Here in MN that would mean spending time out in frigid temps--not very practical. Taking a Vitamin D supplement is what we have to do here.

4. Get enough sleep. Hormones are released that help your body repair, rebuild and recover. If you aren't getting enough sleep your immune system can be compromised.

5. Exercise. It will help keep your weight under control, increases mobility, improves circulation and boosts your immune system. You don't need to run like I do but aim for 30 minutes most days if you can. Allow one day for muscles to recover and rest. 

6.  Cut back on sugar. It sneaks up in processed foods, fast food, sodas and fruit drinks. (This is so hard for me. I don't drink soda or juice or fast food but I sure do like dessert and all of these Christmas treats!)

7.  Keep your stress levels under control. Yoga is great for de-stressing and muscle relaxation. Meditation will help. Find something that can work for you. (I love playing Christmas songs on my piano.)

8. Take a probiotic. Probiotics help normalize the bacteria in your body. This is especially important if you are taking an anti-biotic.

9. Keep your hands clean. Wash them with soap and water. (I need to do a better job of keeping my computer keyboard and phone screen clean.)

10. Keep your sense of humor! This will help with your stress level and you'll exercise your smiling muscles. Heard any good Christmas jokes lately?
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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday--Well, Almost

I am thankful for the beautiful country that I live in and for the bounties that it provides. I am grateful for families, friends and for my blog readers! Thank you all for being a part of it and for helping to make this year an enjoyable one! ~Happy Thanksgiving~

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

DIY Pottery Barn Christmas Sign Knock-off

I just love all of the great stuff Pottery Barn has but I don't love their prices. I saw this post describing how to make a sign similar to Pottery Barn's Peace sign and knew I had to try making my own too. (My finished sign is at the end of this post.)

Unlike the girls over at 2IY, I used a 6' pine board that Jerry picked up at Menards for under $5.00. I then painted it white using acrylic paints.

 Sanding disk attachment for the drill.

After it was dry I sanded it to give it a little bit of a distressed look. The sandpaper I had didn't do much so I used an attachment on Jerry's drill. (I'd never used it before--scary!) It worked just ok.

Then I used MS Word to design the letters. I used Word Art to pick letters that were just outlined to save on printing cost. I printed off one letter first to see if it was the size I liked. I used it to measure off the rest of the letters. When I got the size that worked, I printed off the other letters except for duplicate letters.

I used spray adhesive to put the letters on and then traced them with a pencil. I painted the letters with red acrylic paint.

After the paint dried (I tried sanding the red letters but didn't like the look.) I gave the board three coats of varnish. This varnish was something that I already had but I think there are plenty of different kinds of varnish that would work.

This is not my front step. Just propping it up inside to take a photo.

This is my finished product. I was really happy with the way it turned out until...we tried it on my front step. Jerry realized that a strong wind would probably tip it over. We are trying to figure out how we can secure it somehow. Also, I wish I would have left more blank space at the bottom. I thought it would be cute to put fake presents around it or a pot of evergreens. If I do that though it will cover up the Y

I also thought about using it inside but I really like the look of it on the front step. It is very visible from the street and I think anyone driving by would enjoy seeing the message. We have a few days to figure out how to secure it since I don't usually decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving. If you've got an idea that would help us--please share!!

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

                                                          The last of the fall leaves...

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Where Are Your Photographs?

Are your photos sitting on your hard drive? Are they ignored, unloved, unseen by the people who treasure them? Get them off your hard drive! Too many of us spend time taking pics but them don't do anything with them. I think that's a shame. (But then I have tons of photo albums that we have loads of fun perusing!)

Here are some ideas of what to do with your lovely photographs:

Print them. 
Put them in a collage
Display them digitally. 
Make cards
Send postcards. 
Create scrapbook pages. 
Post them to Facebook. 
Make magnets
Design a photo book
Check out Pinterest for Creative Photo Display Ideas
Send them to your mom (or sister or friends or aunt). 

Photographs capture moments in our lives. Time goes by too quickly so here's a way to relive some of those special times.

What do you do with your photographs?

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Thank You Veterans!

                                               One day doesn't seem enough...

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Shop Smarter

For awhile now I've been using sites like Groupon and Plum District to save money. I've recently come across some other places to help stretch my dollar. Here are a few sites to bookmark for bargains. With the holidays coming up, we can all use some savings!

*Couponblender.com This website lists many deals for you to check out. You'll see a list of sites in various categories.

*PriceGrabber.com Lots of product details and where to buy at sale prices. I looked up a camera lens that I've had my eye on. It gave me the prices at several different sites. Saving this for my Christmas wish list.

*Mygrocerydeals.com A way to save money on your groceries

*Restaurant.com I put in my zipcode and what type of food I like and this site brought up several restaurants in my area. It offers certificates that you can buy at reduced prices.

*Dealery.com You can create a newsletter of your favorite sites and it will send you a list of bargains.

*MrFreestuff.com If you subscribe you will receive info on samples and giveaways.

*TheFrugalGirls.com If you sign up for their newsletter you will get daily updates on ways to save money. Everything from ebooks to Walgreens and CVS to food and online deals.

*Retailmenot.com I have this app on my phone. I always check to see if there are any deals, promotions or promotional codes. Often there are discounts on chains like Target and Macy's.

*Cartwheel.com This is an app I have on my phone just for Target. It will give you products that you can save additionally on if you shop at Target.

*Hukkster.com  One of the top price-trackers. This free service sneds you an email or text alert the minute the price on your chosen items drops.

Do you have any sites that you frequently find deals on?

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