Thank goodness the big holiday meals are over.
I love to cook, bake, and prepare massive amounts of food for my family.
And one of the best parts of the holidays is all the treats and sweets that we do not normally eat.
And my innards are paying for it now.
I don't have the steel insides that the younger ones do.
We cooked a fresh ham this Christmas, instead of the precooked, or smoked ones that we usually have.
I will not do that again. It was good, don't get me wrong, but the fat that was on that meat was incredible.
It permeated all the meat and covered all the dishes and utensils so much that it took several washings to clear it off them.
I can just imagine what our innards look like. Mine are protesting so much that the leftovers will have to go to the younger family members.
Can't believe I am looking forward to getting back on the healthy track!
Okay, I know this post has absolutely nothing to do with losing weight or being healthy, but I have been making so many sweets for the holidays, I just had to post this one.
This is a batch of home made toffee candy that is made of all natural ingredients, so that part is good.
The first time I made this candy, I was stirring away with a plastic spoon, and the next thing I knew, my spoon was gone. All that was left was a piece of the stick that was the handle.
The rest of it had melted into the sugar and butter mixture, and this was a thick spoon too.
So it's best to use a wooden one for this candy as it gets very hot.
You will need:
1 cup of real butter
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
Heat the butter and sugar in a heavy saucepan to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly.
Boil for 6 minutes or until golden colored, still stirring constantly. Pour into a buttered 9 inch pan and let stand for three minutes. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top and let stand for 5 minutes. When they are shiny, spread the chocolate evenly over the surface. Cool completely in the refrigerator. Remove the candy and break it in small pieces. Store in the refrigerator.
So rich and so addictive, this home made toffee is so delicious.
Don't eat too much though - that butter is so bad for diets!
There wasn't much walking going on this past week.
Moving the foot of snow around that we received earlier in the week took much of our energy and time.
Today's snow began about 2:00. By 4:00, we had almost three inches on the ground.
My husband suggested we go for a walk, and by the time we left it was getting dark.
The snow was beginning to turn to ice and we could hear it bouncing off our jackets as we walked along.
The world was a quiet one - no cars, no people. Just the sound of the bouncing ice.
It was dark, but the white snow covering everything kept the road visible.
And the most beautiful part of the walk - the lights from the Christmas trees.
It was picture perfect with all the snow - just like a card.
Glad my husband talked me into a walk in the snow in the dark.
As we age, our metal capacities tend to slow down.
Our brains are not as sharp as they once were, but with some "exercises" they can be kept in good shape too.
One thing we like to do each morning is a daily Sudoku puzzle.
Not the kind on the computer where you just have to punch in the numbers, and most times it will let you know if you are wrong.
We do it the old fashioned way - with pencil and paper after we copy it from the newspaper onto a blank grid.
It has become a competition of sorts between my husband and I.
See who can complete it first, and have it all correct.
Some of these puzzles are so easy it only takes a few minutes, but the majority of them really make you think - some of them for way too long sometimes.
We like to think of this as exercising our brains - use it or loose it.
We love to use them - and it is a free workout each day!
One thing I really do not like is when I lay down at night and I hear my heart pounding - no matter what position I am in.
As we get older, this becomes more noticeable, and as we gain weight, or our blood pressure rises, it seems to also increase the sound.
About two months ago, I became more diligent in my daily workout, and I have found that it helps tremendously with this pounding heart noise.
Another benefit - a few more pounds have been shed.
Sitting at the computer all day makes it all the more important to get exercising.
A bit of prevention goes a long way!
While everyone was hitting the department and electronic stores today, we took a stroll in the grocery store to get a couple of essentials.
And did we hit the jackpot.
All the extra fruits and veggies that the market purchased in anticipation of holiday sales were on clearance.
Such good deals, and from what we saw of the regular stock - they will be joining the clearance rack too in the next day or so.
We shared a good portion with our daughter - the deals were just too good to pass up.
Don't forget to check the grocery store over the next couple of days - I bet the deals will continue - especially when the fresh turkeys get marked down. Nothing like having one in the freezer for a treat!
There has been a lot of talk this past week regarding the guidelines for women's health.
I am sure that there are many individuals that abuse the health system, including this sector of it.
I do hope though, that this does not set the standards across the board.
A pap smear in my early 20's saved my life.
I had always had them since the age of 18 with no problems.
In one year's time, it went from normal to a stage 4 - the next step was cancer.
Going by today's guidelines, it would not have been caught in time.
Prevention has always been the thought regarding these tests, and I hope those in charge do not let the monetary aspects control good sense in determining how we receive health care.
It will end up costing a lot more in the end - and it will be paid with human lives, not money.
I have just been honored with this blog's first award.
Barbara, over at Goal for the Green, bestowed it on myself, and 14 other very worthy blogs.
I visit her blog regularly and enjoy reading her environment and earth-friendly posts.
This award was designed by Will Oaks Studio which is another blogger friend of mine.
To be in such good company gives one a great feeling - and just think, all these good feelings are spread by a kind deed.
And that didn't cost a cent!
A big thank you to Barbara - you made my day!
The path shown here with a trail marker is one that we have taken in the past on one of our walks.
These days we have been walking in the woods - but not on a nice path like this.
In fact - there is no path.
And it really makes for tough walking.
Dodging tree branches, climbing over uneven ground, balancing on rocks, and trying not to slide on the slippery leaves, we have been getting more of a work-out than a walk.
Autumn is the best time of the year to be in the woods, and we will hopefully continue these "walks" until snowfall.
Then it is back to the roads and the maintained paths.
The soothing taste of this sweet little treat is so enjoyable.
I used to drink a cup of chamomile tea in the evenings many years ago, but for some reason I stopped having it.
I rediscovered it again a couple of weeks ago, and what a joy it is.
This herb tea is considered to be an aid for falling asleep as well as having moderate antioxidant properties.
I have read though, if one has allergies to ragweed, then you should probably avoid this tea as it is a relative of the ragweed.
If you are looking for a treat in the evening before bed, then a cup of hot chamomile tea may be just what you need.
Enjoy this natural gift from Mother Nature!
Nothing like biting into a crisp apple that you have just picked from the tree yourself.
Crunchy, sweet, juicy, and so delicious!
Harvesting the apples has been underway in our area for the past month and we have made several trips to the orchard as certain varieties begin to come into season.
Picking is the best way to save money on a peck, and it guarantees you get exactly what you want.
But when it comes to baking or cooking with apples, I like to purchase the utility ones that the orchard offers at a huge savings.
They are supposed to be the ones with blemishes, but it is very hard to find anything wrong with them.
There must be something about them that doesn't meet the standards, but they taste, cook, and look just like the more expensive ones.
Apple Sauce and Apple Crisp top the list of baked goodies we have enjoyed this season, and there will be one more trip up next month to purchase the big load we need for making apple jelly.
We will be enjoying that until next season when it will be perfect timing for making more.
Filling the lungs fully with air is best way to ward off potential respiratory infection.
The fresh oxygen helps clear the blood of toxins and it keeps the lungs working at their full capacity also.
Most of us do not breathe correctly - we take shallow breaths, not the deep cleansing ones we should be taking.
This is one of the reasons that pregnant women have a harder time fighting the swine flu.
The growing baby doesn't allow them to take those deep cleansing breaths.
Many of the mother's organs are pushed up, including the lungs.
There is no physical way that they can take deep breaths.
I really have to concentrate on doing this, and I am hoping it becomes second nature with time.
Of course, when I am standing in line somewhere, or passing by a coughing, hacking person, I will make sure my breaths are most shallow.
Breathing those germs in deeply is not logical.
And if worse comes to worse, wearing a face mask around public is not a problem for me - no sense inviting trouble - especially since I have a pregnant daughter in my life.
Need to keep her and my grandbaby safe.
They swine flu vaccinations have arrived in our town.
I am not too concerned about my husband and myself, but I do worry about my daughter.
She is expecting her first child towards the end of December, and it is recommended that all pregnant women get the shot.
She is really worried about this whole scene, and as her parent, I feel so helpless when it comes to advising her.
She feels it hasn't been tested enough, and she is so afraid it will hurt the unborn baby.
Yet she is scared that she might actually get the flu, and the death rate for expecting mothers with this swine flu is too high to just ignore.
She works from her home so her exposure is only when she grocery shops - she refuses to be around crowds.
If her husband even thinks about getting a sniffle, she says she is coming over here with us until he gets better.
She has certainly thought this through, and we will stand by her decision, and pray that they all stay safe and healthy.
Many years ago we played an interesting game with our children.
We were talking about how it would be a challenge to feed a family of four a good, filling dinner for only $5.00.
We decided to dedicate Friday nights for this experiment, and we drew numbers to decide the order of who would go first.
The meals had to be healthy - no junk food.
The preparer had to plan, budget, and shop for the meal to compare the prices and get the best deal.
After the meal was finished, we each "graded" it on taste, fullness, and healthyness, and the results were put in a sealed enveloped until we had each had our turn.
The kids loved doing it, and it taught them a lot.
To this day my daughter is quite the grocery shopper - she really gets a lot for her money.
We all really enjoyed planning and doing this "game", and even now we think about it as we plan and prepare meals each week.
Sad thing is though, that $5.00 is awfully hard to stretch into a dinner for four these days!
Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.
- by Mark Twain
I read this quote and just had to share it.
And I am thinking, it's not only the health books, the internet is full of advice - and not all of it is good or even accurate.
We are constantly bombarded with so much info, but using common sense will go a long way in making decisions about our health.
The sweet kernels are the popping kind - light and very crunchy.
The corn has been ready in our area for a couple of weeks now, but due to so much rain earlier this summer, the ears were kind of stunted in size.
But that has all changed now that they have had a pretty good August to grow.
It may be later this year, but it is certainly worth waiting for.
The kernels will get meatier and more hardy as the season progresses, but they will be enjoyed all the same.
The farmer's market is a bit more expensive than the supermarket, but we only get this fresh corn straight from the field a few times a summer, and spending a bit more for it is a delicious treat!
I heard it on the radio - I can't remember if it was a commercial or a Public Service Announcement.
It stated that for every hour you walk, you increase your life by one hour.
I don't know how much studying or research went into it - they didn't get into any of the details.
I guess if anyone needed any motivation to get them started, this just might do it.
And that could be all the commercial was trying to do anyway whether it is true or not.
I am not one for wearing make-up or putting fancy creams and lotions on my face.
I can remember my grandmother's petal soft skin when I kissed her cheek, and her beautiful skin was something I always admired.
For years I have used natural witch hazel as an astringent and it has served me well.
During the dry winters, a bit of oil of olay does the trick as my oily skin needs some moisturizing.
I think that skin responds the best to the natural products, and they are sure easier on the pocketbook too!
I know that it is not October yet, which is the official Breast Cancer Awareness month, but I just wanted to do a reminder to all women not to forget this important test.
Having just had mine recently, I was surprised to see that the technician let me view the actual images.
They were taken with the new digital imaging machines which sends the image to a computer screen to be checked right away for clarity.
No more waiting for the technician to develop the films to make sure they are okay.
It was much quicker and a lot smoother than the older machine.
The photographer in me was impressed with the sharpness and clarity of the images, and I can see where these new machines have made things much easier for us ladies.
Just waiting to hear for the results, and hopefully all will be taken care for another year.
To say that it has been hot across the nation these past couple of weeks would be an understatement.
But is is summer, and even though it was late in coming, it is expected.
I did hear an interesting piece of info on the news this morning.
During these very hot days, a reminder to keep hydrated is not something that is needed.
It is only natural to drink cold beverages in this weather, but we are not always aware of when we become dehydrated.
They stated that if you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.
So keeping the fluids going in at a steady rate and don't let yourself become thirsty.
Avoid becoming dehydrated during these extra hot days, and enjoy the rest of the summer!
I just ran across a great quote that I would like to share:
"Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live."
- by Jim Rohn
It's great to have a treat every now and then, it is one of life's pleasures, but paying attention to what we eat and getting enough exercise is the most important thing one can do for their body.
Sometimes that is easier said than done, but thinking of the above quote may help at times.
Need an easy way to figure out your Body Mass Index or BMI?
Take a look to the right in the double sidebar section.
There is a calculator to figure the BMI for your weight and height.
It comes up with a number that helps to determine if you are overweight or underweight.
Just put in your weight and height and compare your result to the numbers under the calculator.
It is not the final word, but it can be a good tool to help figure and work towards a healthy BMI.
I was beginning to fear we would not make it this summer.
With all the rain and damp cold weather that has been our summer so far, any thoughts of going swimming in the lake were not to be considered.
We had a couple of hot days which worked their magic on the water and warmed it to just the right degree.
It was chilly, but not chilly enough to keep us out of it.
And it felt so good - almost a whole year since the last time.
I can foresee a couple of dinners spent by the water and some early evenings with the flippers and goggles as we enjoy our time swimming at the lake.
Ten dollars pays for a whole season's pass. Even though it's a short season this year - it will be worth every cent!
The exercise and walking may not be doing too much for my waistline, but it is certainly proving to be a great thing for the blood pressure.
Last year's visit to the doctor had it reading 157/86, which had the doctor a bit concerned.
I really don't like the idea of having to take any medication, so it was up to me to do something about it before it got to that point.
Today it read 132/79, which was stated as being perfect.
It is good to know that the walking is paying off even if it is not in the areas I want it to be.
We are at a time in our lives where it has been advised to increase our intake of calcium.
In order for the calcium to be absorbed into the bones, we also need to take a Vitamin D supplement which aids in this process.
Trying to keep everything as natural as possible, I know that Vitamin D can be obtained by getting exposure to the sun's ultraviolet B-rays.
When these rays hit the skin, it causes a reaction that allows the skin cells to manufacture vitamin D.
But just how much of these rays get the job done?
From what I have been reading, it takes 10-15 minutes of the sun on your face and arms for the body to manufacture enough for two to three days. Also - be sure to not wear any sunscreen during this exposure time - it blocks the rays needed to produce this vitamin.
So, 10-15 minutes in the sun a couple times a week should be an inexpensive, natural way to get this important vitamin.
But, as a side note, if you live in the north, as we do, this only works during three seasons of the year. In the winter it is necessary to add a vitamin supplement to make sure we are getting the required daily amounts.
It is important to know what your target heart rate zone is when you are exercising so you don't overexert or injure yourself.
Each individual has their own target which is can be figured by a couple of methods.
The most accurate method to calculate this number is to use the Karvonen method.
You start by taking the number of heart beats for a full minute after you have been sleeping or sitting quietly for a few minutes. Most people fall between 60 - 90 bpm. We will use 60 as an example.
Next you need to figure your age-predicted maximum by subtracting your age from the number 220. We will use the age 40 for our example. 220 - 40 = 180. 180 is the age predicted maximum.
We then subtract the resting heart rate from the age predicted max. 180 - 60 = 120.
We take this number and multiply it by .60 and .90 (the recommended percentage of your maximum heart rate of 180 per the example). By doing this, we get 72 and 108.
We then add the resting heart rate back into each of these numbers and it will give us the estimated target zone:
72 + 60 = 132 the low end
108 + 60 = 168 the high end
Staying within the calculated 132 - 168 zone will yield the greatest fitness benefits without overexertion or injury.
I have just found online that there are fitness programs complete with music that are made for especially for all the different target zones.
MARINA's High-nrg Fitness Music & Workouts is one such site that offers these unique exercise routines.
I can see where these would be a great motivational tool that would actually work.
I know that I listen to my MP3's quite often while I am walking, and there are some songs that just fit perfectly with my stride and steps - I bet a whole CD of them would be perfect and it would keep me in the range I need to be in.
Definitely something to look into!
We have decided that walking is the best exercise for us this summer.
It used to be swimming - we would spend many an evening at the lake putting in our laps.
We have done that for the past 26 years - with the kids too from a very early age.
But we have not been once this summer, and I don't see it happening in the next week or two either.
It has rained for the past three weeks - and that water is cold!
There haven't been any 80 or 90 degree days to warm up the lake water.
There hasn't been any sun that would help warm it either.
It will take a good couple of weeks of steady hot days for that water to get some warmth so we can get into it.
Hopefully we will get about a month in once the warm up begins.
It used to be a good 3 to 3 1/2 months - and the exercise from it always felt great.
We are looking forward to our swimming time, and our fingers are crossed for that warm weather!
Just a quick post that brings out the frugal part of me.
I have just signed up this blog with PayPerPost v4.0.
I am very fussy about my posts, so you won't be reading any unworthy paid posts on this blog.
A bit of extra income is always welcome, and the way that this system works had me thinking that I would give it a try.
Earning a little from doing something you love falls under frugal for me.
The deciding factor of even doing these posts was that you can choose the type of link you want - do-follow or no-follow.
The no-follow is my choice for these posts as keeping my google pagerank is important to me.
Of course, the downfall to this is that I won't be getting offered many posts at all.
Most advertisers will only want to pay for do-follow links.
Most often, if they are willing to pay for no-follow links, it will be for quality blogs.
And likewise - most of those opportunities should be for quality sites or merchandise.
Something that I wouldn't mind passing on to you or using myself.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post, and if helps to bring out your "frugal" side too then that is even better!
A day at the beach means lots of sunscreen.
But what SPF (sun protection factor) is the best and how often does one need to apply it?
It is now recommended that an SPF of 30 is needed to block the UVB rays. Since there is no rating system for the UVA rays, we need to purchase a sunscreen that contains protection for both kinds of rays.
For the most part, we do not apply enough sunscreen and we do not reapply it often enough.
An adult needs to apply between 2 and 3 tablespoons every two hours.
And the sunblock must be water resistant too even if you do not go in the water - perspiration could make short order of your sunscreen protection.
The best deal I have found to date is the No-Ad Sunblock Lotion Maximum SPF 45.
Works as good and covers all the recommendations as the expensive ones for less money.
Now, it would be great if we could get some sun and put it to use!
Getting in the steps has not been an easy thing these past two weeks.
It has been raining and very damp and just not encouraging to get outside to walk.
I have tried to though - rubber boots and all.
Through the too tall, very wet grass that needs mowing badly.
Once the weather clears and it dries that grass - what I good walk that will be.
Don't know how many times the yard gets circled to accomplish the mowing, but it sure is a lot of steps.
Can't believe I can't wait to mow the lawn.