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Celebrate Mother’s Day

May 1st, 2014 | Comments Off on Celebrate Mother’s Day | Posted in Spotlight on the Community

10 Ways To Celebrate Mother’s Day

Gourmet Brunch Gourmet Brunch

Before you start getting anxious about finding a last-minute reservation at that four-star restaurant, consider cooking a lovely brunch at home for your mother, like you used to do as a child. OK, minus the runny eggs and burnt toast. Include a menu card and a fresh floral arrangement on the table to make it truly special.

Afternoon Gardening Afternoon Gardening

Head outside with your green thumbs for the day. Bring plants, tools, nosh and cocktails to get down and dirty while planting with your mom. Every day after, she will smile as she looks out over her new blooms of bougainvillea or English tea roses.

Classic Game Night Classic Game Night

For a great group activity, invite family over for a night of backgammon, Scrabble, chess and Yahtzee. Mom will love having the house full of laughter and trash-talking again.

Help Around The House Help Around The House

Dedicate the day to helping Mom with all the items on her at-home to-do list. Whether you’re changing the printer’s ink cartridge, cleaning out the garage or taking old clothes to Goodwill, your mom will be endlessly thankful that you came over to lend a hand and spend quality time

Family Traditions Family Traditions

Spend the day with Mom and learn how to make all those dishes that she cooks so well. Meat loaf, fried chicken, spaghetti… learn all the subtle secrets of pinches and smidgens to cook like the pro.

Movie Marathon Movie Marathon

Pop gourmet popcorn and snuggle up on the couch to watch Real Women Have Curves, Spanglish, Because I Said So, American Violet and Eve’s Bayou. The stories about mothers and daughters in these films will bring you and yours closer together.

Memory Lane Memory Lane

Bring over new photo albums and scrapbooks to start going through Mom’s old pictures with her. As you put the books together, you’ll create new lifelong memories while listening to her retell the old ones.

Spa Day Girls’ Spa Day

Nothing says mother-daughter bonding quite like a day at the spa. Instead of separate massages, enjoy shared activities, like mani-pedis and hair appointments, followed by a great lunch.

Music Machine Music Machine

Welcome your mom into the new age by creating iPod playlists with her. Have fun downloading all her oldies. Make mixes of her favorite songs and title them things like Relaxation Mix, Workout Jams, Cleaning the House Music and Old-School Party Hits. She’ll be shaking her booty to the beat in no time.

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Happy Mother’s Day!!

May 1st, 2014 | Comments Off on Happy Mother’s Day!! | Posted in U-Tube

The World’s Toughest Job Interview Ever

Eating Out Can Be Healthy

May 1st, 2014 | Comments Off on Eating Out Can Be Healthy | Posted in Family Health & Safety

Eating Out Can Be Healthyshutterstock_124773160

Though it may seem like an impossible feat, you can still maintain your diet while enjoying a meal out with friends and family.

Furthermore, it can still be an enjoyable experience.

Since restaurants (especially fast food chains) tend to serve meals with more fat, salt and sugar than a meal prepared at home, it is important to understand what foods to avoid and which ones to select from the menu.

Foods to Avoid

There are many foods full of excess fat and calories that can destroy your healthy diet. Steer clear of these foods while dining out:

  • Condiments such as salad dressings, cheese sauces, tartar sauce, gravy and guacamole
  • Butter and cheese
  • Fried foods such as chicken or French fries
  • Beverages such as regular soda, whole milk and various alcoholic drinks

Foods to Try

To make healthier decisions while out enjoying a meal, try some of these foods to keep your diet on track and your waistline thin:

  • Soups made with juices and broth versus cream
  • Raw vegetables without a marinade
  • Fresh fruit
  • Steamed seafood
  • Poached or boiled eggs
  • Salads with low-calorie  or fat-free dressing on the side
  • Whole-grain breads and crackers
  • Baked, boiled and steamed potatoes without sour cream, butter or cheese on top
  • Roasted, baked, broiled and grilled meats and poultry
  • Diet soda, low-fat or non-fat milk, or water
  • Yogurt
  • Whole wheat tortillas

General Suggestions

In addition to opting for healthier foods, there are many other things you can do as a restaurant patron to make your dining experience less fattening. First, order your food to go. Research suggests that Americans eat less at home on their own plates than they do in a restaurant. Plus, you can prepare a healthy side dish to accompany the meal you purchased from the restaurant.

Also, avoid buffets whenever possible. They promote over-eating with so many choices and the option to return for seconds and thirds.

In addition, remember that you have the option to special order your meal. Ask the wait staff if the chef can prepare your vegetables with olive oil as opposed to butter, or bake your chicken breast instead of frying it.

Finally, one of the most important proactive approaches to healthy eating you can do is to watch your portion sizes. Restaurant portions are typically double what you would normally eat at home. Either request a smaller portion of the desired meal or ask the wait staff to wrap up half the meal right away and take it home to eat the next day.

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Get Active Outside

May 1st, 2014 | Comments Off on Get Active Outside | Posted in Live Well, Work Well

Forest ServiceGetting the recommended amount of physical activity every day doesn’t have to be a chore. An easy way to make activity fun for the whole family is playing outside. Getting outdoors is a great way for your family to enjoy developing an active lifestyle.

Why Outside?

Why not? Regular exercise in nature has been proven to improve children’s mental and physical health. Outdoor activity also helps kids – and adults – maintain a healthy weight, boost immunity and lower stress.

Where to Go

There are many different places you can go to get active outside. You can stay as close as your back yard or take a short trip across your state. Visit a local park, playground or recreation area, or check out a state or national park. Not sure where to find one in your area? The Let’s Move! initiative’s website  provides links for places to go: www.letsmove.gov/where-go.

What to Do

mountain-bikersIt’s easy to find affordable activities that will help bring your family together as you enjoy the outdoors.

Travel by foot. From walking around the block to hiking up a mountain, there are many new places to explore on foot. Hiking and walking have been shown to improve cardiovascular health and even help you lose weight if you walk regularly.

Ride your bikes. Riding a bike helps improve balance and endurance. Biking is a fun, family-friendly activity that you can all use to stay healthy and get places faster.

Go swimming. This low-impact activity burns more calories per hour than almost any other activity, and has been shown to improve strength, flexibility and cardiovascular health.

What to Bring

If you’re spending more than an hour or two at your activity, make sure you bring these essentials to keep it safe and fun.

  • Drinking water to stay hydrated
  • Healthy snacks like nuts and carrot sticks
  • Sunscreen, hat and sunglasses to protect from the sun’s UV rays
  • Rain gear
  • Extra layers in case it gets chilly
  • Backpack to carry everything

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Volunteer Work

May 1st, 2014 | Comments Off on Volunteer Work | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

shutterstock_132756722Research shows that volunteering can make you feel physically stronger, increase mental sharpness, aid in reducing stress and even make you live longer!

Helping Others Helps You

Volunteers come in every shape, size and age. They may work full-time, part-time or be retired. They may volunteer with one organization a few hours a week, or with multiple organizations several hours a week. No matter what amount of time that is contributed, studies show that volunteers have an overall healthier, happier outlook on life.

Volunteer Motivators

Several factors can motivate you to volunteer, including:

  • Enjoying helping others
  • Learning about the community
  • Meeting new and interesting people
  • Working in a team environment
  • Feeling like you made a difference
  • Gaining valuable life experiences
  • Acquiring new skills

Healthy Benefits

Volunteers have reported numerous positive feelings following a volunteer experience, including:

  • An enhanced sense of calmness and self-worth
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Reduced aches and pains
  • Gained strength
  • More energy

How to Get Started

Many organizations can benefit from your volunteer time. A good place to start looking is within your community. Pick one that complements your talents, schedule and physical abilities.

You can browse online listings or newspaper to identify volunteer programs. Then, in order to ensure a successful outcome for both you and the volunteer program, ask yourself the following questions:

  • When can I begin?
  • How much time can I commit?
  • How often do I want to participate?
  • What skills can I offer?
  • What skills can I gain?
  • What would I not want to do as a volunteer?
  • What community issue do I want to affect through my volunteer service?
  • What group or population do I want to serve?

To get started, contact your local chapter of the United Way (www.unitedway.org) or try www.volunteermatch.org.

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Spring Allergies

May 1st, 2014 | Comments Off on Spring Allergies | Posted in Misc

5 things you do that may make spring allergies worse

heat-waveWhile the spring months bring warmer temperatures and longer hours of sunshine, they also bring about seasonal allergies for millions of people. And with a predicted “pollen vortex” threatening to make this spring the worst allergy season on record, you may need all the help you can get.

According to the latest statistics from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunity (ACAAI), hay fever (or allergic rhinitis), the nasal condition that causes cold-like symptoms — stuffy nose, watery eyes — will affect nearly 50 million Americans this season.

As many allergy sufferers are aware, the best forms of treatment include medication (whether over the counter or prescription), immunotherapy (shots) and decreasing exposure to pollen, which is the main allergen that triggers this temporary condition. However, even the most informed patients could be unknowingly hindering their well-being.

Here, three allergy specialists identify the most common errors made at this time of year and the simple strategies that can make you breathe easier:

Getting a late start
“Many people think of their allergy medications as something they take in response to their symptoms rather than trying to be proactive and taking them ahead of time,” says Dr. James Sublett, managing partner of Family Allergy and Asthma in Louisville, Ky., and president-elect of the ACAAI. Instead of waiting until you start sneezing and wheezing, he recommends beginning your allergy meds around one to two weeks before your symptoms surface. For most of us, that means now. “At the very least, take medications at the first sign of any symptom as oppose to waiting until things get really bad,” he says.

Letting the outside air in
“A huge mistake allergy suffers make is opening their windows in order to air out their home or office,” says Dr. Rana S. Bonds, interim director at the Division of Allergy/Immunology at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. However, this action will have the opposite effect — the plant pollen will make its way indoors and attach itself to your surroundings. And, while a warm spring breeze can feel invigorating, it’s bad news for someone with springtime allergies. “The most beautiful days with a breeze are the worst!” says Bonds. The reason: The pollen count, which differs from day to day, tends to be higher on dry days because it’s easier for the plant powder to become airborne.

Exercising outside in the a.m.
Save the power walking and jogging for the afternoon or evening hours — pollen counts tend to be higher in the morning, says Dr. Andrew W. Murphy, Allergy Chief at The Chester County Hospital in West Chester, Pa. “I hate to tell people to stay inside, but if you’re suffering badly, a better alternative is working out indoors.” And unless you’re dealing with a severe case of allergies and/or are prone to asthma, don’t forgo working out altogether, he adds. “Exercising is good, in general, since it can make your nose and chest feel better.”

Forgetting to take an evening shower
“Once you’re in for the night, hop in the shower — even if it’s the second one of the day — and wash the pollens off,” says Murphy. Keep in mind that it only takes one step into the great outdoors for tiny pollen particles to cling to your body. If your schedule does not allow for a quick scrub during the early evening, Murphy highly advises taking a shower just minutes before climbing into bed. 

Self-diagnosing your allergy triggers
“If you have moderate to severe allergies, don’t expect OTC medication to totally take care of the problem,” says Sublett. Your best bet is to seek care from a board-certified allergist who can pinpoint your specific allergies. “For instance, someone may think they’re suffering from a tree pollen allergy when their allergies are caused by a mold,” he explains. “Instead of guessing, allow a professional to identify the problem so he/she can customize a treatment that will be more effective.”

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Insurance IQ: Auto Insurance

May 1st, 2014 | Comments Off on Insurance IQ: Auto Insurance | Posted in Discount & Coverage Claims

How much do you really know about auto insurance? What does “premium” and “deductible” mean? What is “comprehensive” coverage for? Test your knowledge by watching this video.