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Summer Travel

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.

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!

Preparing for a Long Drive

Well, conference is coming up soon and I have been thinking about that long drive.  While I love to travel, driving can be tiring at times, especially in this late summer heat.  This particular journey is going to be confined to Interstate travel, so the scenery will not be as “scenic” as my camera would like.  Friends and colleagues are coming with me on this journey, sharing the driving responsibilities as well as the gas money!  Map reading will be at a minimum.

This could be a car from Shaklee!

Making a car trip  takes planning for me.  I don’t like to eat fast food as I travel for several reasons.  One main reason is the price for fast food when close to an Interstate Hwy is usually higher than when the same food is in a neighborhood.  Plus, the fat content and carbohydrate levels are usually high also.  Driving does not use that much energy, compared to the number ingested with hamburgers, fries and cokes.  Oh how I love good french fries! Yummy.  But not healthy.

Now I have to plan my snacks and meals along the way so I can stay energized and ready for conference when I arrive.  I am making my list already, planning my shopping trip, and wishing the car was larger!  For this trip, which we will do in 2 days of 7 or so hours of driving, I am taking some of my favorite Shaklee Cinch Products, popcorn (watch the salt), apples, Get Clean Water pitcher for fresh water on the road, green tea bags and Cinch Tea Packets, and some cookies.

Be Healthy

The Cinch Lemon-Cranberry Snack Bars are my favorites!  Along with the Peanut Butter Snack Bars, I will have a good balance of protein and carbohydrates since the bars are low glycemic. They make a great mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack anytime, but are really good for travels.  On airplanes they really fill that hungry spot!

Since I travel with the Get Clean Water Pitcher, I have fresh filtered water when I am thirsty.  Adding Cinch Tea or a green tea bag to my water bottle adds some good anti-oxidants as well as flavor to my water.  Staying hydrated while traveling is important.  When you become dehydrated, your brain is effected.  The one thing you need to have working well while driving is your brain!  Make good decisions while on the road.

Get Clean Water

Get Clean Water

I keep a cooler in the front seat with sliced apples, peanut butter and extra ice for my tea.  Having the cool apple slices and the peanut butter gives me a good snack with fiber, flavor and crunch.   When I stop along the way I take a few minutes in the rest area to spread some of the peanut butter on the ends of a few of the apple slices for a quick snack.  Keeping the fuel and water coming in, keeps me awake and ready to drive safely.  When flying, I do something similar, but don’t have the cooler.

Some of the traveling I do is lengthy. Using the Cinch Shakes along those long journeys really keeps me fueled and focused.  Cinch Shakes are filled with good protein, vitamins, minerals and flavor.  I use the Cinch Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberry Shakes.  When traveling in a car you can use the canisters.  But for airplanes, I find the packets work best.  One packet per meal and you are done!  Makes the luggage lighter as you continue on your journey.

So when you get ready for your next trip, whether it is across town or across country, take a few minutes to plan your meals, take some healthy snacks, water bottles with your filtered Get Clean Water and have fun in this beautiful country!  Fuel for you is as important as fuel for the car!  Stay well.


Summer Preparations

Just how ready for Summer are you?  Summer is the time for extreme weather including tornadoes, hurricanes, severe thunder storms with thunder, lightning, hail and straight-line winds.  Summer is also a time for trips to the pool, beaches, local lakes and rivers, mountains, desert hikes, camping, climbing, sailing, fishing and so much more.  Summer is filled with activity.  It is our active time of the year.

But are you really ready for all this activity?  Have you gotten our homes ready for the coming storms?  Have you prepared our emergency kits in case of storm damage or power outages?  Getting homes and emergency kits ready for the possibility of storms and power outages is top of the list.  Have a supply of food, water, medicines, first aid supplies, pet food, water for all for 4 days or more, blankets, clean clothing, flashlights, candles, matches or lighters, batteries,radio, tools and more.  Having all you might need after a bad storm has displaced your family is necessary for survival.  Think ahead and prepare.  Takes a little time and planning on your part, but should a disaster strike, you and your family will be ready for the future.

Now that your emergency kit is packed, how ready are you for the sun and water fun?  Sunny day activities take a toll on your muscles and skin.  Remember to stay hydrated during those summer play activities.  Drink plenty of water before, during as well as after exercise in the summer heat.  And use sunscreen to avoid sunburns.  Apply often.  Wear a hat with a wide brim to protect your face.  Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.  Loose clothing of natural materials will keep you cooler.  Choose foods that keep your energy up with protein, avoiding caffeine when possible.   Have Fun! Elise

Salmon Capital of the World! Ketchikan AK

Salmon Run Ketchikan Creek by Elise Hearn 2009

On my recent journey to Alaska, I had the pleasure to again visit Ketchikan.  A beautiful city on Revillagigedo Island, in southeast Alaska.  Ketchikan is close to Misty Fjords National Monument, where day trips are meant to discover part of this largest wilderness in Alaska.  Ketchikan as well as Misty Fjords National Monument receive over 100 inches of rain each year so mist is often hanging on the hills and mountains in the area.  About 32 inches of snow falls in the area each year, but the temperatures are moderate.

Know as the Salmon Capital of the World, Ketchikan is a friendly city, with many other reasons to visit.  During my visit, the salmon were on their fall run up Ketchikan Creek that runs in front of the famous Creek Street Shops.  Heading upstream to spawn and then die, the creek was full of salmon fulling their life cycle.  It was amazing to see these fish fling themselves upstream against the strong currents.

A visit to the Tongass National Forest, part of the world’s largest temperate rainforest, will have you wanting to visit again and again.

Serendipity: Change Results in New Adventures!

Tracy Arm in Rain

Tracy Arm in Rain by Elise Hearn 2009

How often do we make plans and stick to those plans for vacations, family reunions, weddings and such?  We plan out vacations, making reservations for tours, dinners, lunches, this particular hotel, that specific museum and so on!  We leave nothing to chance.  There is no space for those wonderful serendipities of life, nothing is spontaneous.

As we left Juneau AK, we were heading to Sitka AK closer to the Pacific ocean, not in the Inside Passage.  As we were having dinner, the captain made an announcement that due to high winds expected the next day, we would not go to Sitka.  60 mile per hour winds were worth avoiding in my mind!  So we set off for a new adventure!North Sawyer Glacier in Rain by Elise Hearn 2009

As the captain spoke, he told us we would sail Tracy Arm, heading to the North Sawyer and then the South Sawyer Glaciers.  Located in the Tongass National Forest,  Tracy Arm is a steep granite walled fjord with hemlock and spruce rainforest to about the 1500 foot line.  There are many waterfalls from the ice fields as well as icebergs from the tidewater glaciers.  Some of the icebergs are as large as a 3 story building!  Often the waterway is clogged with ice.

North Sawyer Glacier in Rain by Elise Hearn 2009

The images here are from the day we sailed Tracy Arm.  The weather was supposed to be clear, but the rain stayed with us and poured all day.  The good thing about the extra water was the extra water falls!  With the solid rock walls, and very little soil, the rain had to head to the fjord, creating many more instant water falls.  Spectacular.

So the next time you head out on a vacation trip, or just a drive to work, make room for changes in your route and the Serendipities along the way!

Glacier Bay: Whales & Eco-Tourists abound!

Visiting Glacier Bay, Alaska is a privilege.  Not every cruise ship that wants to enter Glacier Bay National Park is allowed to enter the park.  As of the 2007 Cruise Ship Proposal, the number of ships allowed into Glacier Bay in the Months of June, July and August is now 153 total.  The ships are limited to preserve the ecology in the area.  Glacier Bay is part of one of the world’s largest internationally protected Biosphere Reserves as well as a United Nations National Heritage Site.IMG_6497 Whales in Glacier Bay 4x6 100

Glacier Bay is seen as an area of Hope!  Glaciers in the area are growing, no longer retreating.  This is an area where the endangered species such as the Stellar Sea Lions, are protected in an environment where they can expand their population and reestablish their populations. And of course this is a favorite place for whales!  As you visit Glacier Bay, you are witnessing a new and emerging world.  Where there was once one large glacier, thousands of feet deep, there is now IMG_7461 Calving Margerie Glacier cr 4x6 100a 65 mile long fjord of resilient land that now hosts a succession of marine and terrestrial life.    Glacier Bay National Park is a living laboratory!

Keeping the focus on the environment, carefully protecting the area for current as well as future enjoyment means Glacier Bay National Park will be a living arena for flora and fauna!  The glaciers are advancing in some areas and retreating in others, so the new creation in the the park continues.  So becone an Eco-Tourist and travel to Glacier Bay National Park to experience the changing of the world!

Water and Summer Travel go Hand In Hand

Traveling is great!  I love road trips that lead to interesting places.  My camera and I are always happy when I see new sights with beautiful light.  Lugging my camera  and all the other necessities for travel can tire me out if I am not using the proper products for a healthy summer.

Water if very important for our bodies, according to WebMD. We need to remember that your body is about 60% water, you brain is about 75% water and your blood is about 82%water!  Water is you! That may be so but we tend to dehydrate often.   Sometimes when we think we are hungry and head to the vending machine or cookie jar, we are really thirsty!

The main thing to remember is that we need to stay hydrated each day, even in the winter.  Turns out our body relies on water to help keep our temperature regulated.  So to stay warm in the winter, drink water.  Because of this need for water, one of my favorite items to pack is my BestWater Perfect Pitcher.  Water in different parts of the country contains minerals that are not found in North Best Water Pitcher 100x100Alabama so the new water often tastes “funny” to me.  Using the BestWater Perfect Pitcher as I travel gives me a consistent taste so I drink more of the essential water we need to have to stay healthy.

At a fraction of the cost of bottled water, the BestWater Perfect Pitcher filter uses a unique filtration system that combines granulated activated carbon (derived from coconut shells) and advanced ion exchange beads to trap and hold contaminants.* It reduces aesthetic chlorine and other sources of unpleasant tastes, odors and also reduces particulates such as sediment, rust, and scale which can come from plumbing fixtures. Conveniently fits in your refrigerator door and can be taken on the road.

So pack up the proper snacks along with the BestWater Perfect Pitcher and have a fantastic Summer  adventure!

*Substances reduced by BestWater may not necessarily be in your tap water. BestWater systems are not intended to purify non-drinkable sources of water, water of unknown quality, or water that is microbiologically unsafe.

Summer Travel & How to be Healthy

Summer Traveling offers  all sorts of adventures in new sights, new foods, and new treats and then the not so new weight gain.  As we travel, we venture into new areas of the world and find new foods, wonderful fruits, vegetables, local delights that tempt us and rightfully so!  How do we enjoy both and come out healthy at the end of Summer?green-earth-in-cupped-hands-1-75-x-1-75-72-dpi

Traveling affords many occasions for working out. Keep moving, that is the key to the Summer Travel Dilemma.   Think about it:  Hotel corridors, city streets (use your common sense in a new city), and parks, fitness centers, walking trails and jogging in place offer alternative places for walking.   Don’t just sit there!

Sitting for long periods in not good for your circulation and adds to that “fatigued feeling “ we often experience.  Moderate exercise keeps your spirits up along with your weight down. Remember 30 minutes at a minimum for adults and 60 minutes a day for children will keep you feeling refreshed and ready to take on your travels.

Travel by airplane brings new opportunities!  At the airports, with the need for early arrival, there is usually a long wait period between arrival at the airport and the plane departing.  Once I have cleared security, I find my gate, then walk up and down the concourse in that area.   Since I have a rolling travel bag along with a large (really large) purse I use for traveling, I attach the purse to the handle of the rolling bag and off I go!  Never leave a bag sitting unattended at an airport!  Getting in a 30 to 45 minutes of walking, pulling the rolling bag with purse is a good bit of exercise.

Once on the airplane, I make several trips up and down the aisles to get some exercise while in the air.  I also do some stretching while seated.   I remove my shoes, then lift my toes towards the ceiling while my heels are on the floor.  Bringing my knees up toward my chest, while keeping my toes on the floor, is good too.  Rolling my shoulders forward and back, then stretching my arms forward and up also helps.  You can repeat these several times during your flight to add to your circulation.   Drink lots of water and avoid caffeine while flying as caffeine adds to the dryness you already experience on a plane.  NWA, North West Airlines, has several good exercises to follow on their site.

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