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Children

Back to School Realities

It is the end of July and already the buzz about school starting is floating around the neighborhood and Church.  Seems the kids just got out of school, and here we are going back.

Getting prepared for classes each year is a challenge all parents face. New clothes, new shoes, school supplies, uniforms for sports, tutoring sessions, doctor’s visits…the list goes on and on.  Needing to have healthy students is important.  Having the right supplements, snacks, immunity boosters and cleaning supplies can make the difference is a student who is focused and ready to learn, felling good each day or one who is fighting colds, flu, sinus problems, unfocused, tired all the time.

b20076 Mighty Smart Choice 2012Take control now before the colds and flu start.  Keep those minds sharp and focused without drugs and those nasty side-effects that drugs bring. Boost brain power with Shaklee’s Might Smart Choice .  Kid-friendly, Shakleekids Mighty Smart Choice is scientifically formulated with 100% natural, ultra-pure DHA, one of the most important omega-3 fatty acids in the brain and eyes. They are 75% organic and contain no added artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.  And add the Incredivites Multiple Vitamin/Mineral chews as well!Incredivites  kids 20002


Vitalized_ImmunityBoost those immune systems with an easy to take immune booster called Vitalized Immunity!  
Vitalized Immunity is naturally sweetened with Monk Fruit, and contains as much vitamin-C as 16 oranges.   Helps support your immune system.   Delicious effervescent formula.  Provides the nutritional support your immune system needs to stay strong. Vitalized Immunity includes a proprietary blend of 19 vitamins, minerals, and herbs. Drop in a glass of water, watch the fizzing and then drink!  Fun and good for kids of all ages. 

Send kids of all ages off to school with a great breakfast. Easy to make, providing the protein needed for a successful morning in school or work.   Vitalizing Protein is the perfect start to the day and a great afternoon snack as well. Vitalizing Protein™ contains a proprietary blend of 23 grams of highly concentrated protein, with antioxidants and omega-3 support, and 23 vitamins and minerals to help support your overall health.

And don’t forget the snacks and crisps that make the day feel special while providing protein and Snacks_3x3_72fiber. Shaklee 180 Snacks has Snack Bars in 4 flavors and Snack Crisps in 2 flavors.  Just right for parents too!  Crave no “mmmmore”. Our snack crisps are baked to golden perfection with a hint of salt or tangy barbecue in every satisfying bite. 100% guilt-free with plenty of protein per serving to keep hunger away and cravings under control. 100 calories, 6 grams of protein, Non-GMO soy proteinGluten free, low glycemic, No artificial flavors, colors sweeteners or preservatives added.

So get ready for another great year of school projects, new opportunities to learn and explore.  Keep the kids healthy and in school so you don’t miss any work.  

Stay well, Elise. 

 

 

Problems with Swallowing Capsules

Problems with Swallowing Capsules is a challenge I find in many of my clients.  They get to a certain age and seem no longer able to swallow capsules or larger tablets without pain. This affliction has people shying away from good vitamins and minerals in lieu of chewable options like babies use.  What the chewable companies don’t tell you is that, even though their products may contain a certain amount of vitamins, the saliva and digestive acids in the stomach destroy most of the vitamins before they enter Pill Man 1 75 x 1 75 300  copyyour system!  So chew all you want on those gummy like substitutes, but don’t do it for nutritional value!

After much research, I have found a few solutions that help!  One is to realize that you swallow food each day without problems, so swallowing a pill is not harder.  It seems when we look at a tablet or capsule, we think it is going to be difficult, so it is.  Our thoughts make it hard.  Decide you can swallow those supplements and it will be easier.

Another thing adults do is to take a big gulp of air as they are trying to swallow vitamins or medicine.  This gulp of air gets caught in the esophagus, causing pain and then some burping.  You don’t take big gulps of air when you eat food, so why do that when you take a vitamin?  Humans!

Some friends eat a few bits of popcorn or a little cracker as they are taking their supplements and medications.  The chewing and swallowing of food mixed with the mock chewing and swallowing of capsules aids in the success of the getting your vitamins down without problems!

Now I don’t like to take a handful of vitamins myself as some of my friends do.  I take my supplements one or two at a time with my Shaklee 180 Smoothee or a glass of water.  Put the capsules in your mouth, and gently make a chewing motion with your mouth.  Now, don’t bite the capsule, just pretend to chew.  This will signal the brain that something larger than water is about to be swallowed and the throat will naturally open wider.  After a few mock chews, swallow the capsule or tablet.  If you need to add a little water, you can do that when you put the capsule in your mouth.  But not too much!

And don’t gulp air.  Air in the wrong place hurts!  It is not the capsule hurting, it is the air trying to escape that hurts.  And you did it to yourself.Vitalizer New Stacked Boxes 2011 3 x 5 100  copy

Shaklee Corporation has worked over the many years to create tablets and capsules that are easy to swallow, which is one of the reasons I use Shaklee products each day.  Shaklee Micronutrient Advanced Release Technology™ is knows as S.M.A.R.T.™Shaklee Vitalizer is the only multinutrient supplement pack in the marketplace with S.M.A.R.T.™, a patent-pending delivery system designed to dramatically improve absorption of key nutrients.  Getting the right nutrients to the right place at the right time, your body can make the most of their nutritional benefits.   12 patents and 2 patents pending on the S.M.A.R.T.™ delivery system means you can’t find it anywhere else!

Happy Swallowing!  Stay well and give you the kid’s candies for better health.

 

 

My Favorite Snack for Summer!

Summers should be spent by the water, or on the water in a boat, splashing about.  Laughing and having fun while getting some exercise is the best way to spend a hot summer afternoon.   Growing up in the South, I spent my Summer days outside playing.  Splashing in the lake or hiking in the woods, both were adventures.IMG_3789 Beach with Umbrella and Palm Shadows 4x6 100dpi

After a few hours of playing, we would be ready for a mid-afternoon snack.  Of course, cold watermelon was delicious, along with strawberries and peaches.  To add some crunch to the fruits, we often had a big bowl of popcorn!  Back then, we did not have a microwave to instantly nuke some kernels of corn coated in a variety of chemicals.  No, we did things from scratch.

Now that I have my own family to make snacks for, I find myself going back to the easy way to make popcorn, on the stove top!  It is yummy and easy.  The recipe has been handed down in the family for generations, and I just passed it on to my niece while we were on a family vacation.  She could not get enough of my popcorn.  Puts the microwave stuff to shame!

The recipe is simple really and even the older kids can get in on the fun.  Make this a family cooking event.  And it is good year round as well.

You will need:Popcorn_1_2 5x3 5_72copy
1.  Large Dutch Oven or Pressure Cooker base (larger the pot the better).
2.  Splatter guard.  I use a silicon one, but a metal one would work as well.
3.  Organic Coconut Oil.  This is what makes the popcorn have a yummy flavor.  And no, it does not taste like coconuts when popped.
4. Non-GMO Popping Corn.  I like the Organic Popping Corn from the Farmer’s Market as well as the Orville Redenbacher Non-GMO White Popping Corn.  White or Yellow is your personal choice.  They both taste good, just slightly different!
5.  Table Salt.  I used Iodized Table Salt.  It is fine and sticks to the kernels.  And that is important since unsalted popcorn is just yucky!  Kosher salt is usually to large and does not stick as well.

Now, put your pan on the eye of the stove, medium high heat.  Add 1 Tablespoon to 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil to the pan.   As the coconut oil melts, lightly cover the bottom of the pan with the popcorn kernels.  You might need to adjust the amount of popcorn to suit your pan as you don’t want the corn to overflow the pan when popped.  Give a light dusting of salt to the kernels, and add the splatter guard.

As soon as you hear the kernels begin to pop (several minutes will pass depending on pan and stove!) get ready to add some more salt.  When the pan is about half full of popped kernels, carefully slide the splash guard to one side, uncovering enough to peek into the pan.  IF the kernels are not hopping out of the pan, then add a little more salt.  Wait till you can safely add the salt as you don’t want corn everywhere!

Now is the time to start a gentle shake of the pan, still covered with the splash guard. Or you can take a big spoon or rounded tip knife to gently stir the corn kernels.  This will make certain that all the kernels come in contact with the hot bottom of the pan, so they can pop.  Fewer old maids this way! b22030 But do be very careful as the oil & pan are HOT!

When you hear the popping becoming less frequent, it is time to remove from the heat and salt one last time, stirring as you salt.  Grab some bowls, a glass of Shaklee’s Energizing Tea and get ready for the best afternoon treat anywhere!  You will never eat microwave popcorn again.

How is Your Bone Health?

Information sourced from Shaklee’s Health Sciences newsletter from July 2013.

Just what do you know about your bones?  

 Most people think that bones are hard, lifeless parts of their bodies. Actually bones are living organs full of blood and cells that are an active part of our overall health. Far from static, our bones are constantly rebuilding themselves and growing stronger or weaker depending on how active we are and how well we are supplying the nutrients they need.Bones

 It is a fact of life that our bones lose minerals as we age. Bone loss starts around 30 years old. If left unchecked, bone loss can lead to osteoporosis, a disease in which the bones lose minerals such as calcium until they become fragile and break easily.

 What are your challenges?

•  There are many risk factors for osteoporosis:

•  The amount of bone mass you start with has a big impact on your risk of osteoporosis. If you are female, petite, white, Asian, or have a family history of osteoporosis, then you have a greater risk.

•  Research suggests that tobacco, heavy alcohol use, and low physical activity can all reduce bone mass.

•  Gastric bypass, low testosterone, high thyroid, and certain medications (such as steroids or thyroid) can all increase risk.

•  It is estimated that there are 10 million Americans affected by osteoporosis and at least 80% are women.

•  Bone loss rapidly accelerates after menopause; women can lose up to half their bone mass in the 5-10 years following the end of menses.

•  More than 1.5 million fractures occur every year because of osteoporosis. It is estimated that one half of women and up to one in four men age 50 and older will break a bone because of osteoporosis.

•  One in five people over the age of 65 who break a hip end up in nursing home within a year, and they are three times more likely to die within three months.

 What can You do?

 The good news is that you can begin making changes today that will improve your bone health.   Here is your action plan:

Start early: Remember that bone loss starts around 30 years old. While it is best to start taking care of your bones when you are young, it is also never too late to start nourishing your bones.

healthy-couple-exerciseInclude weight-bearing exercises in your routine: Weight-bearing activity increases the density of your bones because bones become stronger when put under pressure; that is why weight-bearing exercises work to build bones and slow bone loss. Consider weight lifting, walking, running, hiking, dancing, and tennis.

Make healthy choices: Don’t smoke, limit alcohol use, and maintain a healthy weight.

Include plenty of calcium: Calcium is the most abundant mineral in our bones.

•  Your diet should include high-calcium foods such as milk and other dairy foods, leafy green vegetables, and soybeans.

•  If you’re one of the many who aren’t getting enough from your diet, supplementation is key. 1000 milligrams of calcium a day in food or supplements is the recommended amount to help maintain bones for most adults; that amount increases to 1200-1500 mg per day for women who are post menopausal and men over 70.

Vitamin D is essential for the proper absorption of calcium from the digestive tract.b21214

•  Even though vitamin D is the “sunshine” vitamin, most people aren’t getting enough because of the use of sunscreens, where you live, time of year, if you are overweight or simply not spending much time outdoors.

•  A new study links vitamin D deficiency to accelerated bone aging. If you don’t have enough vitamin D, it could lead to reduced bone density, reduced bone quality, and increase the aging of bones.

•  The best approach for determining the proper amount to take is to have your blood levels checked and then supplement to achieve your optimum levels. Most health practitioners suggest around 1000-2Vitalizer New Stacked Boxes 2011 3 x 5 100  copy000 IU a day.

Magnesium is the second most abundant mineral in bones and getting around 400 mg a day is essential for good bone building.

 Vitamin K is less well known than other vitamins, but just as essential for bone building. For good bone maintenance, use between 40-80 mcg a day

 Start taking care of your bones today, all it takes is a little effort to have a huge payoff later in life.  I take the Shaklee Vitalizer each day along with extra VitaD3 and other supplements to keep strong as I age.  Remember, aging is not for the weak!  Stay well.

 

 

 

 

Back to School…Already!

August is well underway and Back to School ads are filling the airways!  Kids of all ages are excited about new school supplies:  backpacks, fresh notebooks, pencils, laptops, new clothes and maybe even a new school.

To help your kids have a productive school year, plan for healthy starts to their days with a protein and vitamin rich breakfast.  Your mother was correct when she told you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  According to an article in WebMD,   “Their growing bodies and developing brains rely heavily on the regular intake of food. When kids skip breakfast, they can end up going for long periods of time without food and this period of semi-starvation can create a lot of physical, intellectual, and behavioral problems for them.”

Cost savings and those few minutes of extra sleep are excuses for skipping breakfast, but as you can see, breakfast is the most important meal of the day for kids!  So what can you do?  I suggest doing what I do each day to get my day off to strong start.  I use a variety of Shaklee 180 Smoothees andSmoothees_peaches_3x3_72 Meals-in-a-Bar!  Yummy and healthy start, with just the right amount of protein, carbs and vitamins.  Each Smoothee delivers:    24 grams of hunger fighting protein when prepared as directed,
    6 grams of fiber
    Powered by Leucine TM
    23 vitamins and minerals
    Non-GMO soy protein
    Low glycemic.
    No artificial flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives added
    Gluten free, lactose free.

These come in 5 flavors, the newest being Vanilla Chai, and can be enhanced with different fruit and peanut butter or such.  One of my favorites is Strawberry Smoothee blended with an organic banana and some extra Instant Protein Soy Mix instead of Soy Milk.  The Instant Protein Soy Mix is cheaper than typical soy milks, along with being an IPP certified non-GMO soy protein.

Now for those days when time is short and even making a quick Smoothee to drink in the car is not an option, grMeal_Bar_3x3_72ab one of the Shaklee 180 Meals-in-a-Bar!  Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip or Blueberry Almond Crisp.  Both are delicious, easy to eat on the go and again, provide the nutritious start to the day you and your kids deserve.  Each bar provides:  20 grams of hunger-fighting protein6 grams of fiber,  Powered by Leucine TM,  24 vitamins and minerals,  Non-GMO soy protein
Low glycemicNo artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners or preservatives added, and is Gluten free.

And for afternoon snacks, there are 4 flavors of Snacks_3x3_72Shaklee 180 Snack Bars and Crisps, providing a healthy alternative to junk food.  My new favorite is the Toffee & Chocolate Crunch Snack Bar, beyond yummy!  The bars and Crisps provide protein, fiber and best of all, flavor.  Add a glass of iced Shaklee 180 Pomegranate tea and your afternoon is refreshed. 

So start the school year with a head start on nutritious breakfasts and give your child the best breakfast on the planet, Shaklee 180 Smoothees and Meals-in-a-Bar.  Stay Well, Elise

Real Dirt on Clean Water

Everyone knows that water is essential to life. But what’s coming out of your tap or bottle may not really be your healthiest choice.

Sure, your water may look clean but is it?

Fountain and Lights by Elise Hearn

Fountain and Lights by Elise Hearn

Most people think that governmental agencies ensure that our water’s clean. And while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established the Clean Water Act to safeguard our water supply, it only set standards and testing requirements in our municipal water treatment facilities for 114 different contaminants out of literally hundreds more.

In fact, the Environmental Working Group obtained test results from a database of over 20 million records from state water officials to determine the quality of drinking water in 45 states. The results revealed 316 contaminants were present in our water supplies. Among them were 202 chemicals that aren’t regulated by any safe water standards.i

Checking the quality of your local water is easy to do. Just visit the National Drinking Water Database.

So yes, your water looks clean. But really, it’s not.

Why Filtration?

The simple answer? You either use a filter or you are the filter.

Only 2% of all treated water is used for drinking water. The rest is used on your lawn, shower, laundry, or used for farms or industry. It’s simply too time-consuming and expensive to test and remove the thousands of chemicals that may be present in any particular water source.

And even if your water was perfectly clean before it left your municipality, it still has miles to travel in pipes before it gets to your home. Who knows what it runs into along the way?

What are you really drinking?

Here’s what may be in your water, and some of its hazardous effects:

Industrial Pollutants (such as benzene, nitrates, and petrochemicals): Long-term exposure may cause increased risk of cancer, as well as blood, nervous system, kidney, and liver problems.

Agricultural Pollutants (pesticides such as atrazine, lindane, alachlor, and others): Long-term exposure may cause increased risk of cancer, as well as eye, liver, kidney, spleen, blood, and nervous system problems.

Heavy Metals (such as lead, copper, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium): Even at low levels, long-term exposure may cause behavioral problems and learning disabilities. The EPA estimates that between 10 and 20% of total lead exposure in young children comes from drinking water.ii

Disinfection By-products (such as: trihalomethanes, chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane,and bromoform): Long-term exposure may cause increased risk of cancer, as well as liver, kidney, or central nWater Bottlesrvous system problems.

With all these problems with tap water, you might think that bottled water is the answer—but you’re wrong. What most people don’t know is that there’re no regulations regarding the quality of bottled water. That’s right, none. Bottling companies don’t even have the same regulations to follow that your local municipal water supply does. That means that despite the clean look of your bottle, in many cases the water it contains isn’t any better than tap water.

The bottom line is that you can’t control what happens to your water before it gets to your house. But you can control what happens after. If you want to make sure you have r

Get Clean Water

Get Clean Water

eally clean drinking water, you really have to use a filter—a good one.

Why Get Clean® Water?

Because it’s safe, powerful, green and smart—and it outperforms both Brita® and PUR®*, hands-down:

Safe:  It reduces 59 harmful contaminants—at least 21 of which Brita doesn’t even touch—including up to 99% of water-borne lead.

Powerful:   It’s incredibly thrifty, delivering over 80 gallons of purer water from every hardworking, environmentally friendly filter—twice as much as big-name brands—for just a little over a penny per glass**.

Green:   It uses a unique refillable filter system, so there’s less waste in landfills.†

Smart:   It features a convenient smart-meter that shows you exactly when to replace your filter, so there’s no more guessing. And on top of all that, it’s ‘Gold Seal’ certified to tough ANSI/NSF Standards 42 and 53 by the Water Quality Association (WQA).

Ready to feel better with good Clean Water?  Visit my site  Elise.MyShaklee.com for purchasing options and more information!  Good health is a choice we make all through the day, make Shaklee Products part of those choices. Stay Well! Elise

i http://www.ewg.org/tap-water/executive-summary.php

ii http://water.epa.gov/drink/info/lead/lead1.cfm

* Comparison of current WQA and NSF certified reduction claims conduced on May 26, 2011, referencing Brita® pitchers using OB03 cartridge and PUR® pitchers using CFR-950Z cartridge and is valid only for the named products marketed at that time. Product data claims obtained from the NSF and WQA website certification listings. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. “Big name brands” defined as Brita and Pur.

** Compared to Brita and Pur pitcher filters at 40 gallons.

† Compared to traditional carbon production.

Source: Shaklee Corporation 04/10/13

Mysteries of Your Refrigerator

If you are like me, then you know what I mean when I refer to those mysterious plastic containers that live in the back of your refrigerator!  We all seem to collect them for some reason, even though I have clear glass containers with snap-on seals.  Sigh… we have to get a handle on these boxes and discard them.  Life forms from not so healthy

Vegetables

strains of who-knows-what could be living in your refrigerator right now.

Refrigerators are convenient since they allow us to store foods at the proper temperatures and humidities.  Keeping your refrigerator at 40degrees Fahrenheit will keep bacteria from growing on your food.  According to the USDA FactSheet on Refrigeration, ” Bacteria exist everywhere in nature. They are in the soil, air, water, and the foods we eat. When they have nutrients (food), moisture, and favorable temperatures, they grow rapidly, increasing in numbers to the point where some types of bacteria can cause illness. Bacteria grow most rapidly in the range of temperatures between 40 and 140 °F, the “Danger Zone,” some doubling in number in as little as 20 minutes. A refrigerator set at 40 °F or below will protect most foods.”

The doors of newer refrigerators are made with all kinds of storage.  However, every time the door is open, these shelves are blasted with the warm air of the house! So place more stable items on these shelves such as condiments, not leftovers or beverages such as milk. 

Put milk and raw meat (well packaged) on the shelves close to the freezer unit or in the coldest part of the refrigerator.   Store raw meat in covered containers such as glass, and no more than a few days.  Below is a list from the USDA concerning food storage times so you and your family will stay healthier.  Don’t waste food and money by improperly storing your food!

From USDA site

www.fsis.usda.gov/FACTSheets/Refrigeration_&_Food_Safety/index.asp

Storage Times For Refrigerated Foods
Ground Meat, Ground Poultry, and Stew Meat
Ground beef, turkey, veal, pork, lamb 1-2 days
Stew meats 1-2 days
Fresh Meat (Beef, Veal, Lamb, and Pork)
Steaks, chops, roasts 3-5 days
Variety meats (Tongue, kidneys, liver, heart, chitterlings) 1-2 days
Fresh Poultry 
Chicken or turkey, whole 1-2 days
Chicken or turkey, parts 1-2 days
Giblets 1-2 days
Bacon and Sausage 
Bacon 7 days
Sausage, raw from meat or poultry 1-2 days
Smoked breakfast links, patties 7 days
Summer sausage labeled “Keep Refrigerated” Unopened, 3 months;
Opened, 3 weeks
Hard sausage (such as Pepperoni) 2-3 weeks
Ham, Corned Beef
Ham, canned, labeled “Keep Refrigerated” Unopened, 6-9 months;
Opened, 3-5 days
Ham, fully cooked, whole 7 days
Ham, fully cooked, half 3-5 days
Ham, fully cooked, slices 3-4 days
Corned beef in pouch with pickling juices 5-7 days
Hot Dogs and Luncheon Meats 
Hot dogs Unopened package, 2 weeks;
Opened package, 1 week
Luncheon meats Unopened package, 2 weeks;
Opened package, 3-5 days
Deli and Vacuum-Packed Products
Store-prepared (or homemade) egg, chicken, tuna, ham, and macaroni salads 3-5 days
Pre-stuffed pork, lamb chops, and chicken breasts 1 day
Store-cooked dinners and entrees 3-4 days
Commercial brand vacuum-packed dinners with/USDA seal, unopened 2 weeks
Cooked Meat, Poultry, and Fish Leftovers 
Pieces and cooked casseroles 3-4 days
Gravy and broth, patties, and nuggets 3-4 days
Soups and Stews 3-4 days
Fresh Fish and Shellfish
Fresh Fish and Shellfish 1-2 days
Eggs 
Fresh, in shell 3-5 weeks
Raw yolks, whites 2-4 days
Hard-cooked 1 week
Liquid pasteurized eggs, egg substitutes Unopened, 10 days;
Opened, 3 days
Cooked egg dishes 3-4 days


The Wonders of an Ice Cube Tray

Going up as a kid in the 50’s meant that refrigerators did not have ice makers.  There were no fancy buttons and doors on the front of the refrigerator to dispense ice to the hot and dusty children.  No, back then we had metal ice cube trays that were fun to operate since there was a lever in the middle to release the ice.

It made a wonderful cracking noise when you finally got the ice to release.  The lever was attached to a grid section of metal leaves that was separate from the tray.  The grid section was put in the tray, water was added, tray with grid was placed in the freezer section, hours went by and the frozen tray was removed.

Now the fun part was getting the lever to release the ice. If you put a bit too much water in the tray, as I always managed to do, the ice was up and over the grid, making it hard to release the ice cubes.  After much tugging, groaning and maybe a little run under some water, the lever would move, ice would shatter from the top of the cubes and drinking cool water and iced tea would begin.  Wonderful time!

Now that we have automatic ice makers, we have almost forgotten how wonderful ice cube trays are.  When we were kids, Mother would add orange juice or apple juice and occasionally Kool-Aid to the trays for a cold summery addition to water, juice or sweet iced tea.  Remembering those flavored cold additions to our beverages as a child got me to thinking about what we could do today.  Kids are still kids when it comes to liking cold drinks after play.

I went to the store, found some plastic ice cube trays, and have been making my own filtered ice all summer!  I had forgotten the fun of popping the ice from the tray, even in plastic.  My favorite benefit of not using the in-freezer ice maker is the taste of the ice, or should I say, the lack of taste of the ice.  I use a Shaklee Get Clean Water Pitcher which is an amazing filter system, getting out a multitude of pesticides, herbicides, 99% of the lead and more, leaving me with water as it should be, clean and “taste free”.  The automatic ice maker, with the puny in-refrigerator filter always gave the ice a “whang” (Southern for icky taste!).

Now that I make my own ice, with my 3 ice cube trays, I fill the dispenser each day and let the crusher on the freezer do it’s magic as I really like crushed ice.  The true flavor of my iced water,  iced tea and iced coffee come through each time.  Yummy!

But even more fun are the additions to the clean, filtered water in the trays!  Mother was always adding juice to the trays so her punches for parties would not water down.  Same thing with iced tea.  Now I suggest that you make a pot of your favorite tea and then make several trays of frozen tea cubes for use in your iced tea.  Make tea, freeze, remove from trays to store in a freezer bag or container with air-tight lid.  Makes the tea even better.

Freeze your favorite lemonade to add to iced tea or other beverages.  Think of all those “adult” beverages that are make in the fall and winter at the various tailgate, harvest and holiday parties we throw.  That little extra touch makes the drink that much more special and the ice cube tray an essential in any kitchen!

Just think of all the things you can freeze in the ice cube trays!  Cut little pieces of strawberries and blueberries in orange juice for use in morning protein shakes or other beverages.  For a savory cube for some of those adult beverages you could add celery or small onions, yellow & red peppers.  And for those fall stews, fill those trays with you chicken, beef or vegetable stocks for a quick infusion of flavor in future meals.  Freeze and store most any liquid for use at a later date in convenient, easy to use cubes!  Just label the containers since frozen broth in iced tea would not be ideal.

Let your imagination run wild!  What will you freeze for your next party?  Your next family reunion?  Your Thanksgiving dinner?  Miniature frozen salads?  Miniature ice creams?  Miniature pop-icicles?  You can find the metal trays from my childhood online at several retailers.  Or look in your favorite kitchen shop or variety store for the plastic versions.  Enjoy the Wonders of the Ice Cube Tray!

Hurricane Season, Again!

Hurricane season is here! And a Hurricane is heading towards the US as I write. Hurricane Isaac is expected to make its way into the Gulf of Mexico and send rain, winds and high surf up the West Coast of Florida, the Florida pan-handle and the Alabama coast. Depending on how long the storm is over the warm Gulf waters, the storm could increase in intensity before landfall. So now is the time to get ready!

And are you prepared? Just what does “prepared” mean when we talk about hurricanes and other severe weather during the summer and early fall? Can we truly prepare for a disaster? Well, yes we can and it is that preparation that often makes a difference in how we survive the storm and then cope the following days.

Severe storms come in different forms all over the world. From Hurricanes to Tornadoes to Severe Thunder Storms to Ice Storms and Blizzards, severe weather affects everyone at some time in the year. And let us not forget wild fires and forest fires along with earthquakes. All of these are catalysts for changes in our behavior and lifestyle for a few days to months. How well you are prepared for these changes ahead of time affects how well you manage after the event.

Every Severe Weather Event is different.Having been through 4 Hurricanes in a row, each 3 weeks apart, in 2004, I can tell you from experience that each storm was very different.Starting with Charley, who banged on my home with 100+ MPH winds for over 30 minutes and dumped more rain than I can imagine in the two days of him being around the state. Each storm hit from a different direction, bring winds at different speeds and angles, hitting the house. Rain came in at unusual places, like down drainpipes and air vents.

I was not as prepared as I should have been, but I had the basics down even then:

My vehicle was fueled and ready to roll should I have to evacuate. Back into your garage so exiting will be easier should you need to leave.

I had cat carriers ready for the trip along with cat food, litter and their Vet papers.

My important papers were together in a water proof box in my safe place (interior powder room on the ground floor).

Food and water were ready as were clothing should we need to move quickly.  Protein Shakes, snack bars, peanut butter, crackers, apples, bananas and utensils were packed. I also had cleaning supplies in small quantities.

I even had plastic buckets for putting the furniture up high off the floor should flooding become an issue. Soft goods were moved to the top floor in plastic Space Bags when possible.

Doors and windows were covered as much as I could by myself, and the garage door was secured and braced.

I had a portable battery operated TV (now useless since the Digital Revolution has taken over, so much for progress!) along with flash lights and extra batteries. Now I even have a wind-up radio with weather band and AM/FM channels.

Cell phones were charged since you can text if voice is down.  Have a car charger too, just in case the power is off for more than a few days.  Solar charges are great to have, more expensive, but very useful in an emergency.

NOAA radios are a must. You need to know the changes in the path of the storm, since they do wobble around, not on a straight path.

Have tarps, plastic sheeting, ropes, duck tape, hammer and nails, ladder and anything else that might help you secure your home after the storm has passed. Be Careful.

So my main message is to be prepared for those coming storms whether they are cold weather or hot weather storms, fires or earthquakes. It takes a few hours each year to update your food and water supply, refresh your clothing, add paperwork as necessary and refresh your plan!

Be Smart: Get ready and be safe. You can survive if you think and act ahead of the storm.

SPF and Sun Exposure

Summer is here and we are in the midst of the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games where the majority of the sports are held outside.  Even some of those that are inside sports have training options that are outside.  The increase in skin cancer of the past 30+ years has been attributed to many things.

The first questions to ask are What is SPF? and how do I use SPF  to my advantage?

WHAT IS SPF? SPF means sun protection factor. If you wear a sunscreen with an SPF of 15, you have 15 times the protection from the sun than you’d have if you weren’t wearing any sunscreen at all.   In other words,if you would burn after 10 minutes in the sun with no protection, an SPF of 15 would allow you to stay in the sun for two and a half hours (10 minutes times SPF 15 = 150 minutes or two and a half hours) before burning.

Keep in mind that you would still receive a burn! Sunscreens don’t give you license to stay forever in the sun. Also remember that sunscreens aren’t cumulative: if you combine a moisturizer with SPF 15 with a sunscreen product with SPF 15, your sun protection factor is still 15, not 30. Virtually all sunscreens protect against UVB radiation — in addition, some products screen out a small part of the UVA spectrum.

Apply UVA/UVB protection every day, indoors and out. Statistics prove that most UV exposure occurs when we’re not even thinking about it. Be sure to cover ALL areas of your body that will be exposed to the sun: remember the top of ears and forehead, bald spot, tops of feet when wearing sandals, and the back of neck and hands. The recommended daily precaution is SPF 15; use a higher SPF if you’ll be outdoors for two hours or longer.

How do I Minimize UV Exposure Risks?

1.  Avoid exposure between 10 A.M. and 3 P.M. when the sun is most intense.

2.  Count time spent in the water or out on hazy days as time in the sun. Water lets nearly all UV rays through, and even on cloudy days nearly 80% of the sun’s rays can reach you.

3.  Don’t depend on clothing or shade for protection. Wet and light-colored clothing offer little or no UV protection. Also remember that light reflects: sitting under a beach umbrella can create the same UV exposure as direct sun.

What can I do daily to help my skin?

Apply UVA/UVB protection every day, indoors and out. Statistics prove that most UV exposure occurs when we’re not even thinking about it. Be sure to cover ALL areas of your body that will be exposed to the sun: remember the top of ears and forehead, bald spot, tops of feet when wearing sandals, and the back of neck and hands. The recommended daily precaution is SPF 15; use a higher SPF if you’ll be outdoors for two hours or longer.

Boost your skin’s natural defenses against environmental pollutants. Researchers agree that the same nutrients which protect your health also play a vital role in the vitality and appearance of your skin. Look for products that provide nutrients for the skin to help reverse the effects of sun damage.

So enjoy the sun and be aware of the ways to stay safe while having fun in the sun!

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