Archive for the ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Wednesday’ Category

Treat Your Feet – Fuzzy Wuzzy Wednesday

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Welcome back to another in my summer re-run series. I’m glad I can take the opportunity to bring forth a few of the posts I’ve enjoyed in the past. I know many of you are way too busy to scroll around and find posts for topics you may have missed but would very much like to enjoy.

This is a great topic for the summer – foot soaks.  We’re busy running around having fun this summer and our poor feet are suffering.  Mostly, they’re hot!  A little pampering goes a long way with our feet.  They work so hard for us, don’t they deserve a special treat?

Here’s a post I think you’ll enjoy, especially after a long, hot day.  Relax and enjoy:

spa candle websizeMost people fall into two categories when it comes to their style of energy-level-maintenance. Some folks run around all day at top speed, then need something to help them slow down and relax, sort of shut the engine off before bedtime. Then there are the folks who run around like crazy, then in late afternoon, their battery runs down and they need something to re-energize them to get them through until bedtime. Whichever model of busy homemaker you are, have we got a treat for you!

Foot soaks are one of the most inexpensive, but most rewarding, luxuries you can do to pamper yourself. There are many store-bought varieties of foot soaks which are excellent in their way. However, oftentimes we’re way too busy to think about taking the time for a foot soak let alone actually going out and buying one. Rather than deny yourself the pleasure of taking ten minutes out of your day for a foot soak, let’s check the kitchen and bathroom cupboards for ingredients to see what you can do today to create a few moments of luxury at home.

Relaxing Foot Soak

Let’s start with a foot soak for the “run around like crazy, need to relax” homemaker. Here are some simple ingredients when put together in a tub of nice, hot water will cause you to say “awwww… that’s just what I needed.”

  • A generous squirt of honey.
  • A drizzle of vanilla extract.
  • A drizzle of almond extract.
  • A squirt of shampoo.

Grab a big supply of towels and a washcloth. Take a dishpan or tub that just fits your feet and place it on the floor, fill with ingredients, then pour nice, hot water in, just enough to cover your feet, and swoosh around. Grab a hot cup of chamomile tea for the ultimate relaxation drink and soak your feet for about ten minutes, then gently wash and pat dry.

Recharging Foot Soak

Now, how about if you are the “run around like crazy, need to recharge” homemaker. There are many invigorating ingredients that will work for you. Here is a simple recipe for a foot soak that will have you up and running around again in no time.

  • A handful of Epsom salts (keep the box nearby).
  • A handful of baking soda.
  • A drizzle of olive oil.
  • A generous squirt of lemon juice.
  • A few crushed mint leaves if you have them, or substitute some peppermint oil.

You’ll need a big supply of towels and a scrubber brush, loofah, and washcloth. You want to be re-energized, so your feet need some soothing mixed with a bit of gentle scrubbing and stimulating massage. Use a dishpan or tub that fits your feet, fill it with the ingredients and nice, hot water and mix gently. You’ll want a cup of tea to invigorate, like green tea with mint. Soak your feet for about five minutes. Then, sprinkle another handful of Epsom salts into the water, gently rubbing the salts on the bottoms of your feet, then on top, and up your ankles, until the salts dissolve.

Massaging Marbles Trick

One other “ingredient” that works for both relaxing and invigorating your feet and body, is marbles. If your child happens to have a collection of marbles, see if you can borrow enough to cover the bottom of the dishpan. While you are soaking, gently glide your feet over the marbles, giving your feet a little “marble massage.” As I said, this little trick will magically both relax and invigorate your feet, depending on what you need most.

These are just a few combinations of ingredients you can find around your house to build a nice foot soak for yourself today. Don’t be surprised if you start looking at your pantry with luxury in mind instead of baking!

A Good Excuse To Take A Nap Today – Fuzzy Wuzzy Wednesday

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Welcome once again to my summer re-run series. Many of you have expressed your appreciation for my bringing these topics back up to the forefront so you don’t have to spend time scrolling around searching for the things you need to read. I appreciate your not wanting to spend time at the computer browsing.  So, today I bring you a fun little item that I posted a while back.

This topic is near and dear to my heart. Since I enjoy a nap, a rarity in my house, and I need to make decisions that are often difficult about running a household and taking care of my family, this particular topic remains one of my favorite.

Please take a moment to enjoy this post from the past:

Bedroom cozyI don’t usually get a nap in during the day, but I think I’ve found a reason to schedule the time.  Like most people, I’ve got one or two or a dozen decisions that I need to make; decisions on issues that are important to me and my family.  No matter how many times I list and re-list the potential solutions to these problems, I just end up right back where I started… nowhere.  So, another week goes by and I still haven’t decided what I should do.

Searching around the internet the other day, I stumbled upon a Harvard Medical School dream study authored by Deirdre Barrett, Ph.D.  I’ve always been interested in dreams, so I gave it a glance.  What I found was very encouraging to me and I quickly developed a plan around it to reward myself with a nap.

The study indicates that people who focus on a specific decision-making problem as they fall asleep, dream about a solution to that problem within a matter of a week or so.  Because our brains are less likely to be distracted as we’re in the deep-dreaming sleep stage, we will dream about the solution to our problem.  The idea is, we already know the answer, somewhere, but just can’t reach the conclusion we need until our brain relaxes enough to “dream up” the solution.

Now, if that isn’t an excuse to take a nice, long nap today, I don’t know what is.  Hire a babysitter, lay down when your baby takes a nap, call in Grandma… do whatever you need to do to get a nap in.  Get out a pad of paper and write down one decision you need to make or problem you need to solve.  Concentrate on one problem at a time.  After you’ve written out your problem, curl up under a big pile of covers, close your eyes, and relax.  Lights out, no television, no music… just pure quiet.  And sleep… perchance to dream.

Dreams and decision making.  This may be the craziest excuse I’ve ever heard to lay down and take a nap, but, as they say, it just might be crazy enough to work.  If not, you’ve gotten some well-deserved rest.  Treat yourself to a nap today.  Your world, and your family’s world, will be a little brighter.

Splurge On A Truly Decadent Smoothie – Fuzzy Wuzzy Wednesday

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Sitting in front of the television late at night after the house is finally quiet is one way I like to relax.  Summer television is often filled with re-runs, which is fine with me because I miss some fun shows during the school year.  This mindless entertainment is one of my guilty secrets – it’s mind numbing and sometimes that’s all I need.

This got me thinking about some of my favorite topics here on my blog that you may have missed when you were busy.  And I thought “why not post some “re-runs?”  So, I’ve been rummaging through some old posts and found this one that I know you’ll appreciate.

I am a big fan of Jamie Oliver.  His cooking style is very rustic and down-to-earth, which I can appreciate.  When I ran across his recipe for this particular smoothie I realized he has quite a sense of humor, too.  I mean who can’t appreciate the decadence of this wonderfully rich and simple concoction?  I hope you’ll try it.  It’s a great break from your otherwise nutritious diet… and we all need a break once in a while.  Enjoy this “re-run.”

Today, just for a few minutes, forget nutrition. I know, I know… I’m all about good nutrition. It keeps us strong, it keeps us healthy, it keeps us bright and energetic. But, everybody has to indulge once in a while.

Summer refreshment
So, for just a few minutes, forget about eating right and counting calories and fat. I believe that we work so hard planning and making nutritious meals for ourselves and our families that if we don’t take a break once in a while, we become exhausted. And what happens when we become exhausted? We start driving through the fast food place again because it’s too hard to think of something for dinner. It’s a vicious cycle.

Most people who develop nutritious eating plans know that they need to include a few “slips” every week just to keep the stress of meal planning at a bare minimum. Then, after we’ve had our little indulgence, we feel so good when we get back on track.

Okay, so here’s what I found that is absolutely decadent. Right off the scales in my diet, but so well worth the slip. This little recipe comes from Jamie Oliver’s second book, The Naked Chef Takes Off. Well worth a read. When you’re ready for your 15 minutes of escape today, throw this drink together and you’ll be on your way. Here you go.

Malted Milk Balls Smoothie

  • 1 package of malted milk balls
  • 1 cup cold milk – use skim if you like. It actually froths up better and is better for you.

Put the malted milk balls into your blender or food processor and pulverize them into a powder. Then add the milk and give everything a real whirl until your drink is nice and foamy.

When I read this in Jamie Oliver’s book I thought, “Oh, I can’t imagine actually drinking anything so bad for me.” But, in the back of my mind, or was it the bottom of my tummy, I thought “Oh! This is going to be so wonderful! The man’s a genius!”

So, thank you Jamie Oliver for your wonderfully sinful, yet heavenly, indulgence. For dinner I will make a huge green salad chocked full of goodness, but for now, I’m sinking into a creamy, cold, sweet, and decadent fifteen minutes of blissful sipping. I suggest that all you hard working homemakers join me.

You may not want to routinely indulge in this particular smoothie, so I’ve included a couple links here for other delicious beverages to try that are equally as relaxing and soothing. Give them a try the next time you need a lift.

Creamy Rich Hot Cocoa Mix

Swiss Mocha Coffee Mix

Toffee Coffee Mix

Magic Milk Shakes

Orange Nutmeg Coffee Mix

photo credit: _neona_

Take Yourself For A Bike Ride – Fuzzy Wuzzy Wednesday

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Some time back, I posted a call to action for all Mommies.   I know you have taken care of making sure your kids all have their own bikes ready for the summer.  This is standard operating procedure around most households with kids – tires are pumped, chains are checked, and any maintenance that needs to be done is done.

But, what about your bike, Mom?  Don’t you deserve to ride around the neighborhood with your family?  Besides good family fun, bike riding is good exercise.

I’ve decided to re-post this call to action to encourage all parents (Dad, too!) to get their bike in order.  Please read on…

bike path websizeGorgeous days are upon us, and being a good Mom, you’ve already gotten out your children’s tricycles and bicycles, pumped up the tires, adjusted the seats, greased the chains, and made sure they were all ready to ride.  Good job!

But, didn’t you forget somebody?  When you stand there wistfully watching your youngster riding in circles around and around the driveway or joyfully riding around the neighborhood with friends, are you wishing you could feel that joy, too?

There is nothing better than a bike ride to make a day fun.  Like most busy parents, you find the time, somehow, to make sure your kids are given all the opportunities for fun you can possibly provide.  Naturally, your kids are going to want to be out on their bikes, so you make sure that happens.

When is your turn?   Mom, you need to clear your head, get some fresh air, and have a little fun, too.  Riding a bike around is the perfect way to do all that and feel like a kid again.  Including a bike ride in your day will go a long way to improving your physical and mental well-being.

Consider using today to treat yourself to a bike ride.  I guarantee, if you haven’t been on a bike for some time, you’ll remember how to get out there and pedal.  And, once you take a spin or two around the block, you’ll remember what it felt like to be 10 years old!  That is a very fuzzy-wuzzy feeling!

Stress Less And Get Stuff Done – Fuzzy Wuzzy Wednesday

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

To Do ListIf you’re like me, your daily to-do list keeps growing and growing, causing you stress and agitation.  Instead of checking things off and feeling a sense of accomplishment, we keep adding to the list and getting frustrated because we can’t seem to complete any one task.  Stress piles up, and at the end of the day, our to-do-list has collected it’s own cobwebs!

Here are some simple processes that I am finding help me get my to-do list working for me instead of against me to relieve stress, but equally as important, to get things done.

Two to-do lists – This process automatically shuts off that scattered feeling in my brain and makes me focus.  I use two lists.  On a small piece of paper, I write one task to get done and post it front and center.  Then, on a separate piece of paper posted behind the first, I write everything I want to do today just to clear my head and keep track of my goals.

Now I can focus on the one item to get done without the distractions of all those other tasks staring me in the face.  I don’t allow myself to peek at the second sheet of paper until the first task is completed.  Once the first task is done, I toss the small piece of paper and move the next task onto a new piece of paper and tack it on top of the longer list.

Take short breaks between each task – Rather than move immediately into my next task, I take a short break.  Even five minutes spent outside walking to the mailbox will lower stress hormones. Take five minutes and brew a cup of tea and nibble on a  handful of nuts to boost your creativity even more.

A brief mental vacation from your tasks will boost your creativity and you’ll be much more prepared to tackle your next item on your to-do list.

Set deadlines for yourself – If your tasks don’t include a deadline, set one.  Deadlines are great motivators for many of us.  Adrenalin starts pumping, and you start producing results, which, in turn, produces those “feeling good” hormones.

When you allow a task to drag out endlessly, you may get to the end of the day and lose out on that sense of accomplishment.  You also may lose sleep over an unfinished project, which is a vicious cycle to get caught up in.

Reward yourself for a job well done – We all need a little pat on the back when we do a good job.  Promise yourself a treat when a task is completed.  Plan for a special dinner or a day at the beach and mark your calender, shop for the ingredients, get out your bathing suit, and tease yourself with the reward you’ve chosen.

When a reservation at a nice restaurant is scribbled on the calendar, or your beach bag is packed and ready to go, you can bet you’ll get your task done before the moment arrives.

These are simple strategies, but they work surprisingly well.  I hope you’ll give it a try and share your thoughts with me here.  Have a great day and enjoy a productive week.

To-Do Notepadp.s.  I found this nice To-Do List Notepad that I like for getting my tasks categorized and organized.  Click on and take a look if you would and see if it may help you, too.

Remember To Revitalize Your Body & Mind – Fuzzy Wuzzy Wednesday

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

clock websize 3I had a hectic day today and didn’t realize until AFTER I was exhausted that I forgot to take my own advice.

There are a couple of “quick energy” techniques that I like to do to revive my brain and body as the day goes on.  These are the simplest and most effective re-energizing things I’ve tried:

1) Set a timer for every 30 minutes and close your eyes.  Now, roll your eye balls back and forth, up and down, and repeat.  This helps reduce the tension in the muscles around your eyes which may help eliminate a potential headache and it refreshes your brain.  Strained eyes cause very real fatigue.  Setting a time will help remind you to take your little “eye ball break.”

2) Take a 5 or 10 minute walk around the block, especially after eating. Your stomach uses a lot of energy to digest your food.  When you walk, you speed up the process and regain some of that energy for your other tasks, like working.

3) Drink cold green tea.  A little bit of caffeine can give your body and brain a boost.  I like to drink my green tea cold because it’s refreshing.  I don’t add sugar, but I do use a combination of green tea and mint tea so the flavor is refreshing and delicious without the sugar.

4) Breathe deep.  Oh, yes.  This one’s tricky, especially if you sit at a desk all day.  Sitting up straight and breathing deep will increase blood flow to your brain which helps you perk up.  Notice I said “sitting up straight.”  You won’t get your lungs full if they’re collapsing under your curved back.  Perfect posture everyone!

5) A splash of cold water.  An old trick but a worthy one, indeed!  For women who wear makeup, a simple cool cloth will do, placed on the back of the neck.

6) Aroma therapy.  Even setting an unlit aromatic candle on your desk will freshen the air around you and revive your senses.  Use aromas that will perk you up – aromas that are light and fresh, like mint and citrus scents.

If you feel your internal clock ticking down through the day, take a few simple steps to revitalize.  It doesn’t take a lot of time – just a moment or two – and you’ll be feeling fresh and ready to tackle the next thing on your list!

aroma reedsp.s.  I like the idea of aromatherapy, but can’t have burning candles around the house all day.

These Aromatherapy Reed Diffusers are perfect – and safe to use.  Click on here or on the picture to see if this is something you might enjoy, too.

Identify Your Headache Before You Treat It – Fuzzy Wuzzy Wednesday

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

egg in c clamp stressTension  -  Migraine  -  Sinus  -  Cluster

Some of those headache terms may be familiar.  But, when it comes to diagnosing your own headache, it may become a bit confusing.

If you’ve ever had a debilitating headache, or even a headache that restricts your ability to function normally throughout the day, you know that prompt diagnosis of the type of headache you have is crucial to treatment.

Of course, you should ask your health professional if headaches of any kind persist, but being able to figure out which type of headache you experience may help you and your doctor decide what treatment is best.

I’m listing here common headaches and the symptoms that typically help you diagnose which type you are experiencing.

Tension headache – Probably the most common, this headache is normally felt on both sides of the head, starting at the back of the head and reaching around to the front.  Mostly described as feeling dull or tight.  Picture your head in a woodworker’s vice or someone squeezing your head with their hands.  This type of pain seems to hang in there, not necessarily getting worse, just not getting any better for a long time.

Migraine headache – The most typical, and well known, symptom of a full-blown migraine is the visual disturbances coupled sometimes with nausea. Most people describe what they feel as pounding or throbbing. Sufferers often complain of the pain on one side of their head, then spreading to both sides.  Migraine headaches often give the sufferer a warning that it’s coming.  This warning is called an “aura” because the warnings can produce visual changes like seeing an aura of light, followed by dark, or different colors, and even sounds. This headache will get worse before it gets better and requires the sufferer to lie very still, and normally in the dark.

Sinus headache – If your pain is in the front of your head, around your eyes, cheeks, and nose, you may be suffering from an inflammation in the sinus passages. This pain can increase if you bend forward. It is also normally worse when you wake up. With a sinus headache, you may also have secondary symptoms like postnasal drip, dark or bloody discharge from the nose, and sore throat.

Cluster headache – These headaches are less known than the others and are quite rare.  Typical symptoms include sharp, extremely painful headaches that can occur as often as several times each day for months and then stop completely for the same amount of time.  The symptom to pay attention to here is that these headaches are cyclical – following very definitive patterns.

If you suffer any type of headache that sends your day into a spin, seek advice from your health care professional.  It could be something as simple as taking a break from your computer for a few minutes every hour or so.  You might require medication.  You need to learn how to identify the first signs of a headache so you can be proactive in the treatment BEFORE it knocks you out.

I hope if you suffer headaches like so many of us do, you’ll take a few minutes to diagnose your symptoms and get the help you need so you can enjoy every, single day!  Have a great Wednesday!

Shopping Without Money – Fuzzy Wuzzy Wednesday

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

shoppingSo, you like to shop, hmmm?  Many people enjoy a stroll through the stores, looking at all the pretty little trinkets, seeing what’s new and fun.  These little strolls can offer a pleasant distraction from the day-to-day life of working to make ends meet.

I rarely can afford to buy anything during these fun little excursions.  I am basically a window shopper.

However, I’ve been doing some research lately about buying things without money – in other words, bartering.  This is an ancient way of trading goods and services which has come around again with a vengeance thanks to the internet.

Scrolling around a few bartering sites has whet my appetite to shop again.  The nice thing about using bartering internet sites is you can shop to your heart’s content from the comfort of your own chair.

Here are a few sites that I’ve found.  Full disclosure – I have not actually bartered for anything yet;  it seems I am still a window shopper at heart, but maybe some day…

BarterQuest.com – You can actually find a house on this site!  But, besides the extremely unusual, there are real honest-to-goodness everyday things that you may be interested in trading for.  I found everything from a lamp made out of antlers to an antique kitchen stove to a garden tractor to a vintage bottle of wine.  If you feel like a little window shopping today, click on this bartering site and see what you can find.

BarterBee.com – This site is specifically for people who play games, watch movies, and listen to music.  If you’ve got a closet full of cd’s or dvd’s that you just don’t pay attention to anymore, this is a great way to get rid of them… and get something in return!  Take a minute to explore their site and see if you might be able to take advantage.

CraigsList.org – There has been unsavory publicity about this site, but the people in charge are very vigilant and have been aggressively cleaning things up.  Overall, this site is a great way to connect with people who are legitimately bartering goods.  If you’re interested in shopping around, just click on the site and choose your state.  You’ll be able to tour your interests in your area of the country or world.  I was discouraged somewhat to find many businesses using this site to sell their goods, so read carefully, but enjoy the window shopping.

If you like to shop, but don’t have the money to spend, you may want to try bartering, either on an internet site or in your local community.  Many communities offer local store fronts where people can come and browse and barter away.

Bartering is a great way to get what you want without a huge outlay of cash.  Be aware that bartering, the value of the goods and services traded, is under the IRS radar and is taxable income, so be sure to keep receipts for everything.

When you can shop and get fun goodies in exchange for something you didn’t want cluttering up your house anyway, that is definitely a fuzzy wuzzy feeling!  Enjoy your day!

barter the art of amazonp.s. Want to learn the Art of Bartering?  Check out this fun book that gives you the ins and outs to get you started.  Click on here or the graphic to take a peek.

Manners Matter – Fuzzy Wuzzy Wednesday

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Smiley Face 2Regardless of your political views, have you noticed that manners have taken a back seat in many situations these days?  I don’t care which (if any) side of the aisle you sit on, manners matter.

Why do manners matter?  Because without manners we may as well just plow right through our lives without consideration for anything or anybody.  Chaos can then reign.  Is that what we want?

As Peggy Post, director of The Emily Post Institute, puts it;  “It’s not a list of dos and don’ts designed to trip us up.  It’s a GPS that talks us through unfamiliar new territory.”

So, when someone says something derogatory, or butts in line, or cuts you off, or does any of those things none of us feel shows good manners, what do we do?  Do we write it off as a “sign of the times” or do we pause and examine our own good manners?

I’m a firm believer in not lowering yourself to an inappropriate, “mannerless” level.  Consideration for others’ place and opinions, common courtesy, and respect for all, are the basic manners everyone should learn as a child.  When we jump in the mud and wallow around with the “mannerless”, we are not rising our society up – we are tearing it down.

Please take a minute today to remember the Golden Rule.  Offer up your seat to someone who needs it more than you do.  Give someone the benefit of the doubt when they seem rude to you and offer them a smile.  Say “thank you” and “you’re welcome” and “please” and “oh, you’re too kind” today sometime and see how it makes YOU feel, as well as the person you are polite to.

Manners, politeness, and kindness are what society relies on to grow and mature.  Anything less than that takes us all backwards.  I don’t want to wallow around in a rude society, and I guess manners start with me.

Thank you for reading.  You are too kind!

Grateful Moments Even At Tax Time – Fuzzy Wuzzy Wednesday

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

calculatorMany households here in the United States of America are in a blue funk today.  Why?  It’s tax time.  This means putting the final figuring into the ol’ income tax return and getting it mailed out in time for tomorrow’s deadline.  Ugh.

If you’re reading this blog, you are most likely fighting like the rest of us to keep your finances afloat.  Most people who are living a frugal lifestyle are doing so to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.  We live frugally out of necessity – it’s not for laughs.  We really NEED to live frugally.

When we look at our income taxes due, we see a burden.  Sure, it can be a substantial burden.  Maybe we have to pay in more.  Maybe we won’t get as much back from what we already paid in.  No matter what, we see this chunk of money as a real burden.  Many of us have no idea where this extra money to pay our taxes will come from.

Here’s what I want you to do today.  Take a deep deep deep breath.  Now, think about what you do each day that your taxes help provide.  This is not a political debate – this is a simple exercise in realizing what we, the tax payers, are providing for us all.  The political debate about taxation can be left to others.  For now, I want to you to take a moment and appreciate what you have.  Here’s what I have that I am grateful for:

  • I am grateful for the paved road that provides safe travel to my loved ones.
  • I am grateful for my local public library where I can get just about anything my little heart desires to read, listen to, or gaze upon.
  • I am grateful for abundant meat, poultry, and seafood that is safe to eat.
  • I am grateful for the fine schools and teachers in my community.
  • I am grateful for our wonderful fire fighters, police, ambulance personnel, and all the people who protect me.
  • I am grateful for the financial support and medical care my elderly family members receive.
  • I am grateful for the medical care my veteran family members receive at our fine hospitals and clinics.
  • I am grateful for the support system that is available to us all in case of financial, medical, or any other emergency.
  • I am grateful for the national, state, and county park system.

I know when I leave the house tomorrow, drive along the roads, walk along the sidewalks, do my grocery shopping, breathe the air and drink the water, and even mail out my taxes with an incredibly cheap postage stamp, I will probably forget once again how my taxes helped pay for all this.

We get used to what we have, and we expect it.  I, just for one day, want to remember what I have to be grateful for, even, or especially, because it’s tax time.

Your Backyard Oasis – Fuzzy Wuzzy Wednesday

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Backyard Cozy Corner web sizeSome of you may remember a post I did some time ago called “Carve Out A Personal Oasis In Your Backyard.”  You can take a look if you click on the highlighted title.

I’ve been busy as can be sweeping and cleaning up after a long winter.  Once I got my porch and patio swept, I looked around again and thought it’s time to refresh my backyard oasis.

Winter takes its toll on my backyard.  Sometimes when the snow melts, I wish we would get another blizzard just to cover up all the damage!  It’s nothing serious, just a lot of branches and yard debris.  The grass is trampled and brown, and it’s hard to imagine setting up any sort of oasis in that mess.

What I’m suggesting today is using your imagination to envision a great outdoor oasis for yourself.  You may not be able to do a lot of work on it yet.  The weather isn’t quite cooperating in our neighborhood, so for now I will just do a little cleaning and a lot of planning.

Grab one sunny corner today, pull up a chair, and imagine your own backyard oasis.  Have a wonderful Wednesday!

It’s Time To Re-Stock Your Sunscreen – Fuzzy Wuzzy Wednesday

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Sunflowers websiteIt’s a beautiful sunshiny day out today and it looks like the weather will remain the same for this whole week.  We’re looking forward to spending some nice warm days outside.  But, before we do, I have to check our supply of sunscreen lotions, gels, oils, sprays, etc. etc.

Using sunscreen every day with an SPF of 30 or higher is recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology.  Be sure to use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (both UVA and UVB protection)  sunscreen and apply it to all the exposed areas of your body.  Don’t forget your ears!  Reapply after you spend time in the water or you have participated in a sport that gets you all sweaty.

If you’ve been driving around with your sunscreen in a beach bag in the trunk of your car for a year, you will need to replace it.  Sunscreen does deteriorate over time, especially in the heat.

Buy sunscreen products that suit your body, face, skin type, and family.  You’ll want to use products on your face that are specially made for that purpose.  Buy sunscreen especially made for children to use on your kids.  Buy sprays to make it easier to reach your back to reapply.  Buy “chapstick” style sunscreen for your lips.  Those are normally heavier and stay on your lips instead of disappearing as you talk.

Sunscreen provides protection from the sun.  But, it’s not the only thing you should do to protect your precious skin from diseases and early aging caused by the sun.  The following tips also come from the American Academy of Dermatology:

1)  Wear protective clothing such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses when possible.  You can even now buy clothing with SPF protection added.  Click here to view a fabulous shirt for women that fits well and looks great.

2)  Seek shade when you can.  The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.  A simple test – if your shadow appears to be shorter than you are, seek shade.

3)  With children, think triple protection.  Shade – protective clothing – sunscreen products.  Click here to view a cute little sun protection bonnet.

4)  Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand because they reflect and intensify the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chances of sunburn.

5)  Avoid tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling.  If you want to look like you’ve been in the sun, consider using a sunless self-tanning product, but continue to use sunscreen with it.

And finally…

6)   Check your birthday suit on your birthday. If you notice anything changing, growing, or bleeding on your skin, see a dermatologist. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.

Be smart about sun exposure.  We want you to be happy and healthy, able to play in the sun for many many years to come – with your sunscreen on, of course!

I hope you have some time today to relax and enjoy the great outdoors!

Tiptoe Through The Tulips – Fuzzy Wuzzy Wednesday

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Tulips proflower not plrWe have a rather early Easter this year which means the tulips are already in the stores.  Tulips may not be springing from the ground yet where we live, but at least we can enjoy them with a little stroll through our neighborhood nursery or gardening center.

Tulips are a very friendly flower.  They are not fussy or fancy.   Tulips look at home in a watering can just as much as they do in a crystal vase.

Traditionally, tulips symbolize “perfect love.”  According to Proflowers, the meaning we attach to tulips varies with the color, although the general sentiment is love, pure and simple.

Tulips are seen as a very “innocent” flower and are therefore the flower of choice when the recipient is a child.  However, red tulips are usually meant to symbolize true love for an adult.   Purple colored tulips often are chosen to denote royalty, a very meaningful color in many churches during Easter. Yellow tulips can symbolize a cheerful love or express happiness.   White tulips often is  a message of asking for or extending forgiveness.

What I suggest today is a little tiptoe through the tulips.  Whether you visit a gardening center or nursery, page through the seed catalog, or pick out a bouquet to send someone you love, take a few minutes today to enjoy the color and purity of the old fashioned tulip.

Add These Foods To Your Diet And Be Healthier – Fuzzy Wuzzy Wednesday

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

walnutsHere’s something great I found.  I can lose weight, feel better, AND improve my health by adding food to my diet.  Not taking food away, but adding food.  Interesting.

I’m reading a short article in Woman’s World magazine and it appears that losing inches around your waist not only makes you look better but it can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, and even dementia.  The reason they say is that the fat on your waistline actually produces inflammation that damages tissues, more so than any other fat on your body.

So, we’re back to the old “belly fat” problem.  Quit eating sugary foods and exercise more, right?  Well, not so fast.  According to the doctors and studies noted in the article, there are a couple things we can add to our diet that can speed the fat burning along.

Here they are:

Walnuts – Now I’ve read all about the health benefits of nuts, but walnuts in particular?  Apparently, walnuts break the cycle of a hormone that boosts the formation of belly fat.  Just one ounce of walnuts each day provides a natural fat-fighting compound to keep belly fat from perpetuating.

Oatmeal – Get out that bowl of oatmeal for breakfast every morning and you are actually fighting insulin, that fat storing stuff.  Dr. David Katz, Yale School of Public Health says that it’s the fiber in whole grains (like oatmeal) that dampens the production of insulin. So, pour yourself a big bowl of whole grain oatmeal or have a nice piece of whole grain bread in the morning and fight fat!

Green Tea – According to the In Vivo Journal, green tea has the stuff it takes to block the absorption of sugar, slow the production of the fat storing hormone cortisol, and rev up your metabolism at the same time.  Drinking four or five cups of green tea every day can result in a dramatic loss of belly fat.  Drink it hot, drink it cold… it doesn’t matter just as long as you drink it every day.

How about that!  Isn’t it nice to find out that you can actually add things to your diet to help lose weight, especially that awful belly fat?  That’s the belly fat that not only looks bad, feels bad, but is dangerous to your health.

Go out today and get yourself some oatmeal, green tea, and walnuts and enjoy!  Now when you’re taking a break from your busy day, you can munch on some walnuts and feel good about the fact that you’re not just snacking… you’re fighting fat and getting healthy!

Take care of yourself today, and every day!

p.s.  Click here to find a simple source for walnuts, as well as other fat fighting foods.

Even A Little Feng Shui Can Help – Fuzzy Wuzzy Wednesday

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

If you’ve looked into feng shui for your home, you know it can involve a lot of work and rearranging.  Many of us simply are not up to that task.  If the arranging of our homes requires a large investment of time and trouble, feng shui may be discarded entirely.

However, even a little feng shui incorporated in the space we inhabit can be helpful.

What can you do, then, if you desire the benefits of feng shui living but can’t swing an entire transformation?  Choose a few simple items that you can fit into your lifestyle and home.  Here are some simple feng shui elements that are easy to do and won’t disrupt your entire household.

(None of these feng shui methods are meant to replace common sense, hard work, thoughtful problem solving, a friendly smile, or a gentle touch.  But, it is believed by many that certain colors, shapes, smells, and sounds enhance various senses which can produce desirable results.)

Purple vasePurple Color: You won’t become rich automatically if you include the “royal” color purple.  However, therapists who study responses to color suggest that purple improves problem solving, which is often exactly what you need to improve your ability to get a job done and impress the boss.  More money?  Maybe.  A pretty amethyst vase or candle would be lovely.

Pink candlesPink Color: You won’t summon a loved one to your side magically by scattering soft pink candles around the room, but many feng shui experts believe that this color soothes the heart and opens it to gentle, unconditional love.  It can’t hurt!

Balance rocksStones: The element of earth in the form of rocks, pebbles, stones, and sand are believed to keep us grounded and feeling safe.  With this nature element in our homes we feel we will be nourished and cared for.  A simple bowl of pretty stones or a pretty candle and pebble arrangement feels and looks very earthy, and pretty.

Mirror & wine glassGlass: Magnifying the light with glass, crystals, and mirrors is a very powerful feng shui principle.  Water fits within this category of energizing and healing elements.  Light is essential to our health and well-being so it is only natural that the more we incorporate light into our lives, the better we will feel.

orange slices websizeOranges: This fruit is often considered by feng shui enthusiasts essential for good luck and prosperity.  Whether or not you believe that, a bowl of oranges can spark interest with the bright color, and the simple smell of citrus perk you up.

Lavender web sizeLavender: This is a very familiar aroma for many people, but did you know that it is believed to calm and promote sleep?  Keep a sprig of lavender next to your bed and take a few deep breaths when you lay down.  Lavender aroma is also believed to calm babies.

Just a few of these elements in your home may be just what you need for an energy boost, relaxation, or a little inspiration.  Choose one feng shui element today and enjoy a few moments reflecting on how you feel.  Have a wonderful Wednesday!