Monday, January 31, 2011



Sunday, January 30, 2011


  1. Oatmeal - Start your day with a steaming bowl of oats, which are full of omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium. This fiber-rich superfood can lower levels of LDL (or bad) cholesterol and help keep arteries clear.
  2. Salmon - Super-rich in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon can effectively reduce blood pressure and keep clotting at bay. Aim for two servings per week, which may reduce your risk of dying of a heart attack by up to one-third.
  3. Avocado - Packed with monounsaturated fat, avocados can help lower LDL levels while raising the amount of HDL cholesterol in your body.
  4. Olive Oil - Full of monounsaturated fats, olive oil lowers bad LDL cholesterol and reduces your risk of developing heart disease.
  5. Nuts - Walnuts are full of omega-3 fatty acids and, along with almonds and macadamia nuts, are loaded with mono- and polyunsaturated fat. Plus, nuts increase fiber in the diet, says Dr. Sinatra. "And like olive oil, they are a great source of healthy fat."
  6. Berries - Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries are full of anti-inflammatories, which reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer.
  7. Legumes - Fill up on fiber with lentils, chickpeas, and black and kidney beans. They're packed with omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and soluble fiber.
  8. Spinach - Spinach can help keep your ticker in top shape thanks to its stores of lutein, folate, potassium, and fiber.
  9. Flax seed - Full of fiber and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, a little sprinkling of flaxseed can go a long way for your heart. Top a bowl of oatmeal or whole-grain cereal with a smidgen of ground flaxseed for the ultimate heart-healthy breakfast.
  10. Soy - Soy may lower cholesterol, and since it is low in saturated fat, it's still a great source of lean protein in a heart-healthy diet.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Want your junk drawer to look like this?

The following steps are from an article by Pamela Hammonds, Living Magazine.
  1. Dump the drawer.  
  2. Make 3 piles:  one to toss, one to keep, one to reassign.  Unsure to keep an item or not, toss it into a basket and if no one has used it within a month, toss it.
  3. Assemble what stays.  Arrange the items in piles of like uses.  Measure your drawer to determine the size organizers you need for the items.
  4. Find a organizer system in which to store your items.
  5. Reload the drawer.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Check out more cute owls in

Wall Art Print

Clay Buttons

ABC Art Poster

Personalized Charm Necklace

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I came across this handy guide of expiration dates for 

Household Products

Batteries, alkaline 
7 years
Batteries, lithium 
10 years
3 to 6 months
Dish detergent, liquid or powdered 
1 year
Fire extinguisher, rechargeable 
Service or replace every 6 years
Fire extinguisher, nonrechargeable 
12 years
Laundry detergent, liquid or powdered 
Unopened: 9 months to 1 year
Opened: 6 months
Metal polish (silver, copper, brass) 
At least 3 years
Miracle Gro, liquid
Opened: 3 to 8 years
Miracle Gro, liquid, water-soluble 
Mr. Clean
2 years
Unopened: Up to 10 years
Opened: 2 to 5 years
Spray paint 
2 to 3 years
2 years
Wood polish (Pledge) 
2 years

By Maya Kukes and Lisa Smith Keate, RealSimple.com

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I came across this handy guide of expiration dates for

77 surprising expiration dates


Brown sugar
Indefinite shelf life, stored in a moistureproof container in a cool, dry place.
Chocolate (Hershey bar)
1 year from production date
Coffee, canned ground 
Unopened: 2 years
Opened: 1 month refrigerated
Dried Pasta
Dried pasta 
12 months
Frozen dinners 
Unopened: 12 to 18 months
Frozen vegetables 
Unopened: 18 to 24 months
Opened: 1 month
Indefinite shelf life
Unopened: 1 year (after this time, color or flavor may be affected, but product is still generally safe to consume)
Opened or used: 4 to 6 months (after this time, color or flavor may be affected, but product is still generally safe to consume)
Maple syrup, real or imitation 
1 year
Maraschino cherries
Unopened: 3 to 4 years
Opened: 2 weeks at room temperature; 6 months refrigerated
Unopened: 40 weeks
Opened: 3 months
Unopened: Indefinitely
Opened: 2 to 3 months from “purchase by” date (after this time, color or flavor may be affected, but product is still generally safe to consume)
2 years (after this time, color or flavor may be affected, but product is still generally safe to consume)
Olives, jarred (green with pimento)
Unopened: 3 years
Opened: 3 months
Olive Oil
Olive oil 
2 years from manufacture date (after this time, color or flavor may be affected, but product is still generally safe to consume)
Peanut butter, natural 
9 months
Peanut butter, processed (Jif) 
Unopened: 2 years
Opened: 6 months; refrigerate after 3 months
Unopened: 18 months
Opened: No conclusive data. Discard if slippery or excessively soft.
Rice, white
2 years from date on box or date of purchase
Salad Dressing
Salad dressing, bottled 
Unopened: 12 months after “best by” date
Opened: 9 months refrigerated
Soda, regular 
Unopened: In cans or glass bottles, 9 months from “best by” date
Opened: Doesn’t spoil, but taste is affected
Steak sauce 
33 months (after this time, color or flavor may be affected, but product is still generally safe to consume)
Tuna, canned 
Unopened: 1 year from purchase date
Opened: 3 to 4 days, not stored in can
42 months
Worcestershire sauce 
Unopened: 5 to 10 years (after this time, color or flavor may be affected, but product is still generally safe to consume)
Opened: 2 years

By Maya Kukes and Lisa Smith Keate, RealSimple.com

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I came across this handy guide of expiration dates for

Beauty Products

All dates are from the manufacture date, which is either displayed on the packaging or can be obtained by calling the manufacturer's customer-service number.
Bar Soap
Bar soap
18 months to 3 years
Bath gel, body wash 
3 years
Bath oil 
1 year
Body lotion
3 years
2 to 3 years
Unopened: 2 years
Used: 1 to 2 years
For antiperspirants, see expiration date
Eye cream 
Unopened: 3 years
Used: 1 year
Face Lotion
Face lotion 
With SPF, see expiration date. All others, at least 3 years
Foundation, oil-based 
2 years
Foundation, water-based 
3 years
Hair spray
2 to 3 years
2 years
Unopened: 2 years
Used: 3 to 4 months
Three years from manufacture date
Nail polish 
1 year
Nail-polish remover
Lasts indefinitely
1 to 2 years
Rubbing alcohol 
At least 3 years
2 to 3 years

By Maya Kukes and Lisa Smith Keate, RealSimple.com

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Organizational  guru Peter Walsh, author of Enough Already! Clearing Mental Clutter to Become the Best You, says the single most important thing you can do to be organized is:  Set aside ten minutes at the end of the day to clean your desk and get ready for tomorrow.

When I was in the teaching profession, I did this and set out everything I needed for the next day.  It always worked out so much easier for starting the new day.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011


"And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

Fifty years ago yesterday, on a frigid morning in Washington, D.C., newly sworn-in President John F. Kennedy offered those iconic words to the nation in his inaugural address.  My parents watched it on TV.  Then a 10 year old, and now a 60 year old, I am still impressed with his famous quote. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Our little cheerleader.
Last Saturday
she cheered for her cousin's 
basketball team.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Check out these beautiful creations
 from my
Etsy Treasury

Rose Headband
Tutu Chic

Snuggle Bug Kidz

Red Shoes
Pink 2 Blue

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Your favorite watering hole is a great place to get swept away in a sea of liquid calories, so it’s best to head to happy hour with a game plan. Decide how many drinks you will have—and how many calories you can afford—before you arrive, then order accordingly.

A glass of wine (125 to 150 calories) is generally a smart choice, as long as the glass is moderately sized and isn’t brimming with vino. A light beer is a good pick (the average has about 100 calories), as it contains the same amount of alcohol, but fewer carbs.

Ordering a mixed drink can get dangerous, and not just because of the hangover. Starting with the liquor, the higher the proof, the higher the calorie count. For example, an 80-proof vodka contains 64 calories per ounce while an ounce of 100-proof has 82 calories.

Then come the mixers, which can easily carry any drink into dessert territory (key lime pie martini, anyone?) if you’re not careful. Smart choices are diet soda or tonic water or light fruit juice.

Another sneaky calorie-saving tip is to counter each cocktail with a mocktail, a zero calorie non-alcoholic—but totally authentic-looking—drink, like sparkling water with a twist of lime. It’ll keep you hydrated and your inhibitions in check. Read: No post-bar pizza delivery.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Your ethnic options may be enticing, but don’t travel too far astray on take-out night. Keep calories in control by sticking to items similar to what you’d cook at home—if only you had the time. Find a way to work plenty of veggies into the meal and start with a cup of broth-based soup or a salad with low-fat dressing.

Japanese. Sushi and sashimi rolls are prepared with little to no oil and are packed with fresh ingredients, making Japanese one of the most diet-friendly take-out choices available. You’ll get plenty of protein and nutrients from the seafood and veggies and the bite-size portions make it seem like you’re eating more than you actually are.

Opt for vegetable rolls or salmon or tuna rolls. Avoid anything labeled “spicy,” as it usually has a mayo-based sauce. The Philadelphia roll’s another no-no—it’s packed with a generous helping of cream cheese. Tempura and tonkatsu spell trouble, too, as these rolls have been breaded or fried.

Chinese. Learning the lingo is key. Look up mystery words like Jum (poached), Chu (broiled), and Kow (roasted) so you know what you’re getting yourself into. Steer clear of fried dishes—General Tso’s and sweet and sour chicken are diet-wreckers—or anything loaded with nuts.

Smart picks are lettuce wraps, stir fry, or a steamed dish. Pick chicken, tofu, or seafood as your protein and request that your dish be cooked using light oil. Even better, ask the chef to use vegetable stock, which can save you 150 to 300 calories and 15 to 30 grams of fat.

Mexican. Choose soft tortillas over fried shells and when building a soft taco, load up on lean protein, plenty of lettuce and as much salsa as you’d like. Cut extra calories and fat by resisting cheese, sour cream, refried beans, and guacamole. Instead of nachos as your side, ask for steamed rice or beans.

Italian. Skip anything breaded or fried, parmigiana (dripping with cheese), Alfredo (heavy cream sauce) or Bolognese (meat sauce). Instead, look for words like marinara or pomedoro, which are tomato-based sauces.

Keep in mind that Italian restaurants offer much more than pasta. You can probably order grilled chicken or fish with a side of steamed vegetables without being the most annoying patron ever. If you decide on pizza, stick to one slice of mushroom or vegetable and the thinner the crust, the better. Blot excess oil using a paper towel.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Protein is essential for any healthy diet. You need it for energy, tissue and cell repair, moving nutrients throughout the body and feeling full during the day. And fortunately—or maybe unfortunately—you have a lot of choices, from soybeans to strip steak, in terms of where to get it.

To make the best choice, use your eyes—visible fat means extra calories. Opt for lean cuts of red meat, white-meat poultry, or seafood. Anytime you see skin, skip it. The stuff’s loaded with saturated fat. Seafood is lower in fat and calories than meat, and it contains heart-healthy omega-3s. Choose a piece of fish that’s been broiled or steamed, and steer clear of blackened or fried varieties, which again mean extra fat.

A few low-calorie, high-protein options include pork tenderloin (143 calories, 13 g protein for 3 oz), salmon steak (215 calories, 24 g protein for 4 oz), grilled chicken breast (130 calories, 27 g protein for 4 oz) and water-packed tuna (50 calories, 11 g protein for 2 oz).

Saturday, January 15, 2011


You’ve either got world-class willpower or you’re occasionally going to need something sweet to pull yourself out of a mid-afternoon slump. By making a few quick calorie comparisons, you can have your cake and eat it, too—just leave the frosting on your plate. Here’s the correct way to cave.

Pick a sorbet—yes, including chocolate—over ice cream and save 140 calories. Haagen-Dazs Low-Fat Chocolate Sorbet has 130 calories per serving while a half-cup of the brand’s chocolate ice cream has 270 calories. An even better choice is a Fudgsicle No Sugar Added Fudge Bar—they’re only 40 calories a pop. If you’re going out for dessert, order ice cream in a dish instead of a cone and cut 60 calories.

When tempted by that 200- to 300-calorie candy bar in the vending machine, reach for low-fat chocolate milk (158 calories per cup), chocolate soy milk (120 calories per cup), or fat-free chocolate pudding (102 calories per serving), instead.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Prayers that God helps to expertly guide everyone involved in my younger brother's surgery today and that his recovery is uncomplicated and his health restored.  May God Bless.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Today the local and some national newscasts and newspapers covered the anniversary of Amber Hagerman's abduction and still unsolved murder.  At that time we lived in Arlington and we still remember this horrific event.  Hopefully, today's news coverage will generate new tips to help solve this crime.  My prayers go out to Amber's mother & grandmother and the parents of other missing children. 

The following excerpt is from the website of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

On January 13, 1996, 9-year-old Amber Hagerman was riding her bicycle in Arlington, Texas, when a neighbor heard her scream. The neighbor saw a man pull Amber off her bike, throw her into the front seat of his pickup truck, and drive away at a high rate of speed. The neighbor called police and provided a description of the suspect and his vehicle. Arlington Police and the FBI interviewed other neighbors and searched for the suspect and vehicle. Local radio and television stations covered the story in their regular newscasts. Four days later Amber’s body was found in a drainage ditch four miles away. Her kidnapping and murder still remain unsolved.


White or wheat? Calorie-wise, this one’s a close one. Commercially-prepared varieties of either bread contain about 65 to 70 calories per slice. But the nutrients in whole wheat bread—it’s got more vitamin B and E, zinc, folic acid and chromium, along with 1.3 more grams of fat-blasting fiber per slice—make it an easy tie-breaker.

A study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that a fiber-rich diet assisted with weight loss and fighting back extra pounds. Researchers at Brigham Young University tracked the eating habits of 252 middle-aged women for two years, controlling for factors like physical activity and dietary fat intake. When their research was complete, the BYU scientists concluded that boosting fiber by 8 grams for every 1,000 calories consumed meant weight loss of 4.5 pounds over the course of the study.

Continue crafting a healthier sandwich by skipping the cheese and shaving off 100 calories. Top with yellow mustard, which has only 3 calories per teaspoon, or if you’re craving something creamy, add a tablespoon of hummus instead of a tablespoon mayo and save more than 60 calories.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


A first course of soup or salad may help you eat less throughout of the rest of your meal. Researchers at Penn State University found that starting a meal with a fiber-rich salad can decrease overall calorie intake by up to 12 percent and that sipping a cup of water-dense vegetable soup before a meal can help you eat 20 percent less.

So is one a better choice than the other? As long as you’re sticking to vegetable puree or broth-based over cream-based, there’s not a whole lot you can do to adulterate a healthy cup of soup, besides maybe flooding it with crackers. Salads present more creative opportunity. Add cheese, eggs, croutons, dried fruit, nuts and full-fat dressing to a bed of greens and you’ve got yourself a diet disaster.

Go with the soup—or slim down your side salad by topping it with a little lemon or lime juice, balsamic vinegar, hummus, salsa or low-calorie dressing. And unless the salad is the main attraction, skip the protein, fat and extra carbs and limit your garden mix to low-starch vegetables like spinach, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage and cucumber.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


My younger brother called today to thank me for his birthday card.  I had sent him a funny card about little brothers and wrote about some of my memories of growing up with him and thanked him for being my little brother.  Later on in the conversation he told me he was scheduled on Friday for surgery to remove some cancer.  I'm miles away and worried, but praying for an excellent surgical team and speedy recovery.  Love you little brother.

Monday, January 10, 2011


These strategies will help you doze off more quickly and snooze more soundly all night long, according to Ellen Michaud, author of Sleep to Be Sexy, Smart, and Slim.
  1. Slow It Down - Don't hop into bed right after checking Facebook or watching Mad Men. Build in some quiet time to take a bath, read, or chat with your husband and you'll find it easier to fall into a deeper sleep.
  2. Feel the Chill - Turn down the thermostat or open a window in your bedroom. Experts say that people tend to sleep better when the room is slightly cool.
  3. Don't Drink - Caffeinated beverages aren't the only ones that interfere with sleep. Alcohol can also be a culprit: Though you may fall asleep quickly after a cocktail or two, you're more likely to wake up or sleep less soundly a few hours later.
  4. Hide the Clock - Staring at the clock when you can't sleep just ups your stress levels.
  5. Get Sexy - Your bed isn't only for sleeping, you know! An orgasm is one of the most powerful sleep inducers around.
Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, February 2010.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


It's snowing in Texas!
Just snowflakes at this stage - it isn't sticking to the ground yet.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Going with my 2011 resolution to declutter and simplifly, I found these crafting containers at local stores.  I have one for my embroidery, smocking and knitting projects.  They are easy to store on a shelf in my sewing closet.  

Friday, January 7, 2011



Please check out these creative pirate themed listings.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


My resolution for this year is to declutter and simplify.
Amanda Catalanotto
Professional Organizer Tip
Wasting precious time every morning running around the house looking for the items you need for the day.

Use a "transfer basket" to gather everything that needs to go out the door the next day -- library books, bills to mail, schoolwork, etc. Haul the basket to your car every morning and bring it back into the house when errands are done.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Which of the following is NOT a risk factor for diabetes?
  1. Being overweight
  2. Being sedentary
  3. Alcoholism
  4. A family history of the disease
You are correct if you answered: Alcoholism

Mention diabetes, and most people think of children who must inject insulin because their bodies don't produce it. That's Type 1 diabetes, but it accounts for only about 10 percent of cases. Type 2 diabetes makes up the other 90 percent, and is largely related to lifestyle risk factors, particularly obesity.

Compared to men, women are more likely to develop the disease; according to the CDC, about 8.1 million women are diabetic (versus 7.5 million men). Diabetes can have serious consequences, leading to heart and kidney disease, and eye and nerve damage.

Studies show that losing weight and exercising regularly reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes, and helps treat the condition in those who have it, according to Judith Fradkin, M.D., director of diabetes, endocrine, and metabolic diseases research at the NIH's National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The best bets to reduce risk: a low-fat diet and an easy-to-maintain program of brisk walking.

Home Journal

Monday, January 3, 2011


About how many women experience clinical depression at least once in their lives?
  1. 10 percent
  2. 15 percent
  3. 20 percent
  4. 25 percent
You are correct if you answered: 20 percent

"There are three main risk factors for depression: a previous episode of depression, a family history and being a woman," says Mary Blehar, Ph.D., director of women's mental health programs at the NIH's National Institute of Mental Health. "For reasons that are not entirely clear, women are on average twice as likely as men to suffer from depression." Other factors, such as marital problems or parenting stress, may also elevate risk.

There is more than one type of depression; clinical depression causes hopelessness so profound that the sufferer can lose interest in life, is incapable of feeling pleasure, and sometimes can't even get out of bed or eat for days at a time. People with minor depression (dysthymia), by contrast, function at impaired levels and experience low-level symptoms of major depression. Serious depression raises the risk for suicide, which is the fifth-leading cause of death for women ages 25 to 44.
"Depression is a disorder, not a personal failure, that can be effectively treated," says Blehar. "Medication and psychotherapy can help. If you feel depressed, and especially if you've had any thoughts of suicide, consult your physician immediately."

Home Journal

Sunday, January 2, 2011


To maintain your general health, how much exercise do you need?
  1. At least 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking, cycling or swimming
  2. 60 minutes a day of moderate physical activity
  3. Two 60-minute gym classes per week
  4. Three 60-minute gym classes per week
You are correct if you answered: At least 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking, cycling or swimming

In 1995, a panel of experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College of Sports Medicine announced that "Every U.S. adult should accumulate thirty minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week." That will help control your weight, keep cholesterol levels and diabetes risk low, your mood elevated and energy high.

Going to the gym is fine, but you don't have to huff away for hours on a stairclimber to stay healthy. Instead, expand your concept of exercise; besides walking, biking and swimming, you gain points for household chores such as washing windows and raking leaves.

Unfortunately, according to the CDC's latest report, only about one quarter of Americans log at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. Try turning off the TV for half an hour and getting physical instead.

Home Journal

Saturday, January 1, 2011


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Women diagnosed with breast cancer are at increased risk for which other cancer?
  1. Endometrial cancer
  2. Cervical cancer
  3. Ovarian cancer
  4. Vaginal cancer
You are correct if you answered: Ovarian cancer

The same genetic mutations-BRCA1 on chromosome 17 and BRCA2 on chromosome 13-increase risk for both breast and ovarian cancer. As a result, women with these mutations who develop one of these cancers are at increased risk for the other. (Not all women with breast or ovarian cancer carry these mutations, however.)

"A small number of women have many family members with breast or ovarian cancer, indicating a genetic predisposition," explains McCaskill-Stevens. "They should get a CA-125 blood test, which may be able to hint at early ovarian cancer." But this is not a good screening test for the general population because other conditions, including fibroids and endometriosis, can trigger false results. "For breast-cancer survivors who don't have a strong genetic component, and for women in general, the best approach to ovarian cancer is early detection through an annual pelvic exam," she adds. Women should also be aware of the often subtle symptoms of ovarian cancer, including feeling full after eating small amounts of food, bloating, constipation and abdominal pain. In some cases, annual ultrasound exams may be recommended for women with persistent pelvic complaints.

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