Archive for November, 2012

Eating Right and Being Thankful – guest blogger Annette Presseau, Reliv

Sorry for the delay in posting this – hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving

 

How Thankful are you?

More often than not we only look at what’s ahead but what about what we have now?  Are we satisfied with what we have now?  Do we want more and how much more does a person need to be happy?  Does it really matter what the other person has or does it matter more what makes us happy?  I have often heard it said that if you have your health you have everything to be thankful for so what are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?  These are questions to ponder this Thanksgiving and to think about what really matters to you.  Thanksgiving is a time for reflection and giving thanks for what you have.  So this Thanksgiving consider thinking about what there is in your life to be thankful for and feel good about what you have.

Eating right through the holidays.  As most of us know healthy eating goes out the window during the holiday season and according to Weight Watchers most people gain 7-10 pounds during this time.  It’s easy to understand how people fall into the bad habit of eating too much during the holidays because people offer to you a glass of wine or their favorite desert and we don’t want to be rude and it is the holidays so we take it and figure we can work it off in January.  There are huge Turkey dinners, parties and all sorts of festivities during the holiday season which makes maintaining control with overeating a huge challenge.  Most people do good at healthy eating during the year but as soon as Thanksgiving comes around we weaken from the temptation that is in front of us and we tell ourselves why not indulge it’s only one day and it can be a treat besides we can eat less tomorrow and before we know it we are eating too much so what do we do?  Well, for one thing take smaller portions of what you like you can even leave some on your plate, exercise more or you can also cut back on your food intake the next day.   One thing to note you can never diet during the holidays you will drive yourself crazy doing this so take it from me I tried it one year and I couldn’t do it so eat less and enjoy your holidays!

Alone during the holidays.  You probably know someone who is alone this time of year whether it is someone who has lost someone special and has no family around or even an elderly person who is alone so this would be a good time to invite them to your home for holidays or even visit a nursing home.  One more person probably would not make a difference for the holidays but it would make a real difference to that person who would otherwise be alone.  For many people this is a very sad time of year especially if there was a death in the family so consider opening up your home to someone you know is alone you would be doing something wonderful that that person will never forget.  You could also bring a meal to that person who is alone for the holidays there are also many ways to help people less fortunate during this time consider donating to the homeless shelters whether a monetary gift or your time.  Sometimes just getting out with other people will make your see the world around you and how thankful you are for what you have.  So this Thanksgiving consider sharing some of what you have with someone else.

Holiday Pressure.  Don’t get your blood pressure up this holiday season!  If you get stressed take a deep breath and tell yourself that it won’t matter after the season is over so why stress over it.  If you can’t find the gift that you want then find something else or give a gift card or even better yet order from the Internet then it will be delivered at your door.  If there is no place to park at the mall then park further away and walk off the holiday food that you have been eating and please don’t cut someone off in the parking lot let them take the spot after all isn’t it the holidays where good cheer is supposed to be everywhere?!   And above all smile even just smile to someone passing you will be surprised at the smile you get back and who can be stressed when you smile it’s impossible!  So smile and make someone’s day.  Consider wishing people “Happy Holidays” as you pass them you might find yourself in the holiday spirit!

Planning a trip for the Holidays.  Traveling around the holidays can be a frustrating time so be prepared and plan ahead and expect traffic delays that way you will not be disappointed when they happen.  How do you survive traveling during the holidays you plan, plan and plan again.  Make a list of what you need to bring with you, get most of it ready ahead of time so that on the day you just have to take whatever is left with you.

 

 

Holiday TraditionsDo you or your family have holiday traditions?  You could make holiday decorations for your Christmas tree with your family or grandchildren and make memories for years to come.  Cooking with the family is also a fun tradition to do.  Start a tradition if you don’t have one and make it a yearly event around the holidays.

 

Sing.  Have you noticed that the radio stations are now starting to play Christmas music?  Even the stores are starting to play Christmas music so why not sing along it has a way of making you feel happy.  It’s impossible to be frustrated when you are singing you can only feel great.

 

Dress up for the Holidays.  There are a lot of holiday parties this time of year so get dressed up and feel like a movie star!  So many times I see people going to holiday parties and they wear their regular work clothes.  Around the holidays, accessories are key when dressing up for company parties, winter galas and special family gatherings.  You can take the simplest dress and give it a boost by choosing the right shoes, bag and other accessories.  During holiday season, your favorite little black dress becomes the “go-to” piece in your wardrobe and you can dress it up with jewelry, a shiny bag or a dramatic wrap to give your look a little more flavor.  You don’t have to spend a fortune to look stylish and chic.

 

Take Time for Family.  Everyone these days is extremely busy and we don’t have enough time to do what we would like to do but the holidays are a time to stop for a minute and take the time to be with family.  That’s what the holidays are all about and your family will not be around forever and your children will grow up and you will miss memories with them so plan time to spend this holiday season with family and cherish the memories that you create.

 

Well that’s all for now I wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving with wonderful memories that will last a lifetime!

Annette Presseau   Reliv Distributor    stitchlady46@yahoo.com

 

November Garden Ideas – guest blogger Annette Presseau (Billerica Garden Club)

As they say in that old familiar song – “It’s the most wonderful time of the year………………!”

 

Your flower garden is probably just about finished growing in November but the beauty of the garden doesn’t have to end there now you can cut the flowers and make dried flowers with them and display them further.  The next time you go for a walk, be on the lookout for fallen pine cones, chestnuts, dry milkweed pods, rosehips and wayward acorns. Fill a basket with a collection of these plant gifts from nature and display on a coffee table. For added scent appeal, toss a few cinnamon sticks and cloves into the mix.

Dried Hydrangeas: Hydrangeas dry quickly and retain their structure.  When dry, they take on a brownish hue perfect for fall décor. They look lovely in a rustic pitcher or large pottery vase, and once thoroughly dry can be used year after year.

Gourds.  Displaying colorful gourds that mimic the hues of New England’s fall foliage is a festive way to celebrate the season. Miniature gourds look great displayed clustered in a basket or lined up on a coffee table or mantel. You can even group a variety of gourds on the dining room table as a centerpiece arrangement.  You can even preserve miniature gourds indefinitely for future seasonal display purposes by drying them out and then applying a paste wax or clear shellac to seal and protect.

  1. Start by labeling small paper bags or manila envelopes with the name of the plant seeds you are harvesting and the date and color of the flower if applicable.
  2. Look for seeds with dry and brown pods.
  3. Snip the entire pod into the paper bag or envelope and shake to loosen the seeds.
  4. Leave the bags/envelopes open and hang from a rafter in a dry area with good air circulation.
  5. Let the pods and seeds dry for a few weeks, occasionally checking the bags for mold and shaking the contents to aid in the drying process.
  6. If the seeds have not dried completely after a few weeks, spread them out on newspaper for another week before re-checking them.
  7. After the seeds have dried completely, remove all pods and debris and loosely re-package the seeds in a clean, labeled paper envelope and store in a dry place until planting time.

Tip: If you have an abundance of dried seeds, you may want to create your own seed packets by decorating envelopes with scrapbooking supplies and printing directions for planting the seeds. These packets make great gifts.

Pressed Flowers.  With the end of the growing season fast approaching, pressing and preserving flowers is an inexpensive and fun way to keep your garden memories alive permanently. Here are simple directions on how to press flowers along with five ideas to get creative with your pressed petals and blooms. Pressed flowers are also perfect for documentation purposes in garden journals.

  1. Pick flowers when they are at the peak of health if possible. If the flowers are wet, allow them to air dry before pressing.
  2. Place each flower separately between two pieces of square cut plain white paper. Allow for at least a one inch border of white paper on all four sides of the flower.
  3. Place the enveloped flower in the middle of a hardcover heavy book such as an old encyclopedia. Many flowers may be pressed at the same time in one book as long as each flower is enclosed in separate pieces of paper and spaced between several pages each.
  4. Place other heavy hardcover books on top of the pressing book and leave the books sitting for at least two weeks.
  5. At the end of the two weeks, check to see if the flowers are flat and dry to the touch. If they are, they’re ready. If flowers show any sign of moisture, place them back in the book between fresh pieces of paper and check them again in a few days. Remove when completely dry.

5 Simple Craft Ideas for Pressed Flowers

  1. Flower Documentation: Arrange the flowers between two pieces of waxed paper and cover the top of the waxed paper with a thin dish towel and iron. The wax will seal the flowers. When the waxed paper cools, use a permanent marker to write the plant name, the year it was grown and notes about it to add to your garden journal/record keeping.
  2. Bookmarks: Arrange pressed flowers on cardstock paper or recycled greeting cards cut into bookmark sized strips and laminate.
  3. Framed with a Poem: Copy a favorite poem onto handmade or textured paper. Place flowers around the poem to accent it. When you are happy with the arrangement use a tiny dot of tacky glue to secure each dried plant. Let dry and frame as usual.
  4. Handmade Cards/Stationery: Purchase plain card stock paper or handmade paper and fold in half into a card shape. Use tacky glue to secure flowers and spray with a clear sealant if desired.
  5. Place Settings/Mats: Use 11 X 14 inch heavy cardstock paper as a background for place mats and smaller cuts of heavy cardstock paper for place settings. Arrange flowers around names in calligraphy and laminate.

Fall cleanup.   Invest time in tidying the garden before the snow flies. Time spent outdoors now pays big dividends in spring. You’ll not only shorten your to-do list, you’ll also ward off some pest and disease problems.

  • Pull annuals and add them to the compost pile. For annuals that self-seed, allow seed-laden stems to remain in place through winter unless you plan to sprinkle them elsewhere in the garden.
  • Store breakable items, like terra-cotta pots, rain gauges, and other garden art before hard freezes settle in. Terra-cotta overwinters fine in an unheated shed or garage. Make sure pots and saucers are dry before storage.
  • Fall can be a great time to cut back your perennials if you’ve got the time and energy to get it done. Make sure to leave 2-3 inches of the plant’s stem to help protect fresh shoots from animal damage as they first emerge in the spring. It’s also a helpful reminder of where plants are in the yard before they start to sprout.
  • Consider leaving some perennials like coneflower, black-eyed Susan and tall sedums standing. They add interest to the winter garden both by their structure and by attracting birds to their seed heads.
  • Ornamental grasses should be left standing to protect their crown from a harsh winter.
  • Keep water gardens covered with a net until gusty fall winds have settled down and leaves aren’t blowing around.
  • Pull stakes and plant supports. Store where they’ll freeze to help destroy overwintering pests and diseases.

Test Garden Tip: Use a leaf vacuum or blower to remove leaves along foundations. Removing leaves helps eliminate hiding places for pests and rodents that can gain entry to your home. Allow some leaves to remain beneath shrubs to provide vital winter cover for beneficial insects.

Cleaning Garden Tools.  At the end of the gardening season, most of us toss our tools wearily in the shed or basement and forget about them. But smart gardeners clean, oil and sharpen tools now before putting them away. Then they’ll be ready to go for winter pruning or spring planting. Of course, many gardeners have never sharpened their pruners, much less their shovels. Why is it important?

Sharp tools are easier to use and don’t put as much strain on your hands and body and it’s better for your plants too because a dull cutting tool rips and shreds plant tissue. A sharp tool cuts clean, and the plant will recover better.  Many hardware stores will sharpen tools for a price but it’s worth learning the best way to sharpen a tool and also keeping your tools in good condition so that they last for many years.  Start with a clean, dry tool. Brush off dirt with rags or old paintbrushes or toothbrushes; for shovels you can use a wire grill brush. Remove any rust from metal with a wire brush, steel wool or sandpaper. A rag and mineral oil or WD-40 will take off sticky plant sap.

Here are specifics for sharpening pruners and shovels. The principles can be applied to many other tools.

Pruners

First, know what kind of pruner you have. Anvil pruners have one straight, sharp blade that strikes a flat plate. They are good for clearing hard, dead wood, but they damage living plants by crushing stems. Bypass pruners, with curved blades, are best for most garden work because they have a scissor like action that makes clean cuts — if they’re sharp.  Some expensive pruners, such as the Felco brand, can be taken apart for sharpening. But just because you have less expensive pruners that can’t be disassembled doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be sharp.

To hone pruners, use a small, fine whetstone about 3 inches long and 1 inch wide, sold at hardware stores. Although many people lubricate whetstones with water or fine oil, it isn’t essential, and you can use the stone dry.  On bypass pruners, you sharpen the top blade, which is usually thinner. One surface of that blade is flat. On the other, you will find a bevel, a narrow band that meets the cutting edge at an angle of about 23 degrees. Your goal is to preserve that same bevel angle while you get the edge sharp.  Wearing gloves, clamp the pruners in a bench vise if you have one, or hold them down on a table, pointed away from you, with the bevel up. Starting at the base of the blade, near the hinge, lay the stone or diamond file against bevel, following its angle. Using moderate pressure, stroke the stone toward the edge while also moving it along the edge toward the tip. It should take 10 to 20 strokes, always in the same direction, before the whole edge is sharp.

Christmas Greens.  Nothing smells as nice for the Christmas season as fresh greens inside our homes but fresh greens can dry out if they are not cared for properly.  Minimizing this problem is easy if you select the longest lasting greens and know how to treat them once they are brought inside.

There are all kinds of fresh greens you can enjoy indoors, but I always look for two qualities: one is how long they will stand up under dry conditions and the other is how fragrant they are.  For both longevity and fragrance, it is hard to beat pine. All pine varieties have a wonderful scent, but one of the most attractive in my opinion is White Pine. Its soft blue needles look so graceful, and they can be used in a variety of situations, particularly to accent fresh flowers and centerpieces.

The long-needled Pinus ponderosa is also attractive, especially when branch tips are cut and placed in a large vase. The best use of these branches, however, is for door swags. With their natural curved tips and large cones, they look perfect when combined with a big red velvet bow and a few shiny baubles and Christmas novelties. These are the best pine varieties to bring indoors.

Balsam and Grand Fir are my second choice for indoor greens and they are hard to beat when it comes to retaining needles and when you brush your hand against their boughs, the fragrance puts you back in the woods.  I particularly like the bluish underside of their needles. The flat nature of their branches makes these greens ideal for swags or for advent and traditional wreaths.

Spruce would be next on my list, especially the blue species. A Blue Spruce is the ultimate Christmas tree, and its branches make fine door swags as well. The needles on spruce, however, do not last as long as Balsam or pine, and they are sharp, making them somewhat more difficult to work with. Douglas Fir, named after Alexander Douglas, a British botanist who collected specimens of West Coast trees and took them back to Britain, is neither a spruce nor a fir. They have a delightful fragrance and make beautiful looking Christmas trees, but unfortunately, their branches dry out far too quickly to make them an ideal green for indoor use. Hemlocks are much the same: lovely, but terrible for drying out and for needle drop.

Cedar is an old time favorite for many reasons, but I’m afraid it also has a short lifespan indoors. If you can keep it in a cool room or use it outside the home, its branches are useful in swags, wreaths and most importantly, in cedar ropes. Another super idea is to pull all the old dead flowers from your moss hanging basket and replace them with all kinds of cedar tips to create a wonderful Christmas basket. Add a few frosted cones, some holly and a big red bow with long tails and you’ve got a very attractive addition to your outside décor.

Now what is the best way to make them last?  Cut branches are no different than cut flowers. Seven to ten days is the maximum time for any greens to be indoors without being in water. Try to have an extra supply on hand so you can replenish your creations and keep them fresh looking. By cutting about one inch off the bottom of each stem and by keeping them in room temperature water, the life span of most greens can be doubled. A little bleach in the water will kill any bacteria that might block the flow of water up the stem.

Christmas greens are so nice inside our homes at this time of year. They’re inexpensive, natural and fragrant. To enjoy them longer, select the varieties that I’ve mentioned. Be sure to mist them often and to keep them in water if at all possible.

 

 

 

 

Facts about Mold and Moisture – taken from Safety First Environmental Inc

Have you been to a home inspection and everything is going well, only to hear “you may have mold” coming out of the mouth of the home inspector?

According to Safety First Environmental Inc

Mold exists in the natural environment. The existence of mold is important in the breakdown of dead organic matter, but in our homes mold should be kept out. The production of mold is done through tiny spores that are so small we cannot see them. These spores need moisture to reproduce, so where there is moisture in our homes there is a large potential for the production of mold. There are several types of mold; however none of them will grow without moisture.
 
The existence of mold in our homes can cause physical illness. The inhalation of mold may cause allergic reactions such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, skin rash, and fever type symptoms. Reactions can be acute or chronic. Exposure to mold can cause asthma attacks as well as irritation to the eyes, skin, nose, throat and lungs. According to the EPA research on mold and health effects are ongoing.  (read further by clicking below)

 

 

Now’s the Time to Prevent Ice Dams – guest blogger Dave Cobosco

 

Often when homeowners experience water leakage and damage around exterior walls and ceilings during the winter months, they think they have a faulty roof, when actually the culprit is an ice dam. Ice dams are caused by melting snow that refreezes along the lower edge of a roof, blocking the run-off from subsequent snow-melt.

The heat within an attic that develops as a result of radiant heat from the sun or heat loss from the living areas of the house due to inadequate insulation is a contributing factor in the formation of ice dams. This heat typically rises to the higher points of the roof causing the snow cover to begin melting at those areas. As this melting snow runs down the roof surfaces below the snow, it contacts the colder areas of the roof along the edge or eave. Once it reaches this point, the cold roof surfaces cause the water to refreeze. The continuous freezing of the melting snow forms a noticeable dam of ice. As the water from the subsequent snow melt higher up on the roof arrives at the ice dam, it is blocked and begins backing up. Eventually it can seep in under the roofing materials, leaking through the roofing and sheathing into the attic and then to the living area where it causes stains and damage to the walls and ceilings below.

There are many suggested solutions for eliminating ice dams, but many do not work, or will not work in certain situations. Removing accumulated snow or ice from the roof is the ultimate approach, but unless the removal is total, the melting process will begin and ice dams will eventually form. Attempting snow removal is also dangerous for inexperienced homeowners and expensive if a contractor is used after each snowfall. Also, the snow removal equipment can easily damage the surface of the roofing. Using steam or high-pressure water can also cause collateral damage as the water leaks into the house or refreezes on shrubs and walks.

Electric heating cables along the roof edge or in roof valleys have been employed as an attempted solution to ice dams for many years, but the heat pattern is usually irregular and secondary ice dams often form above the line of cables. Even the installation of two or three feet of metal flashings under the roof materials at the eaves has not solved the dilemma of ice dams in some cases, as once again secondary ice dams can occur above the level of the eave flashing.

Most roofing experts now agree that the only feasible solution to ice dams is the development of a “cold roof.” This solution involves a two-step approach. First, the amount of heated air reaching the underside of the roof must be minimized. Providing a full-thick and uniform layer of insulation (no voids) in the floor of an unfinished attic, particularly near the eave areas, will reduce the amount of heat seepage from the living areas of the house. The second step involves providing adequate attic ventilation at the eaves as well as upper areas of the attic. With good insulation and ventilation in place, the attic and roof sheathing stays cooler and snow-melt occurs more uniformly. This helps prevents the thaw-freeze cycle that leads to many ice dam problems.

Remember, these tips are only general guidelines. Since each situation is different, contact a professional if you have questions about a specific issue. More home safety and maintenance information is available online at housemaster.com.

HouseMaster

Dave Cobosco

Owner/Operator

409 Middlesex Turnpike

Billerica, MA  01821

C:  508-479-1773

O:  866-313-7732

dave.cobosco@housemaster.com

http://www.housemaster.com

Bed Bugs Are Real Estate Terrorists – guest blogger David Young


How many times have you turned on the television in recent months and heard people talking about bed bugs?  It is not  a problem that will go away on its own.  It must be addressed headon.  Thanks to David for bringing this problem to our attention.  

Like a plotting army, bedbugs have patiently waited to attack until most people believed that bedbugs existed only in history books. Thought to be eradicated from civilized society in the 1940’s, bedbugs sent out scouting parties beginning in 1995; just a few here and a few there. When they discovered we had abandoned our weapons of Mutual Assured Destruction such as DDT and other harmful insecticides, they launched their final assault.

Bedbug’s battle plan hasn’t changed. Despite their numbers, they employ all the tactics of a terrorist. They attack at night when their target is asleep. They hide deep undercover during the day, remaining mostly undetected. They inflict wounds that are often confused for spiders, mosquitoes, or even a common rash. In the early years of this new battle, most people refused to believe their tormentors could be bedbugs. They were just a nursery rhyme. However, you also didn’t believe in ogres until you dated a few, either. Now you know. Bedbugs are real and they want you for their midnight all-you-can-eat buffet; although, it’s not much of a buffet since there is only one entrée. Bedbugs don’t mind. Human blood is their only food.

There you have it, in the last decade bedbugs caught us with our pants down—–literally. They have invaded our homes and advanced on our hotels; even our high-end hotels. One patriot who became fed up with bedbugs in hotels launched a website, bedbugregistry.com, that allows hotel guests to report and warn of bedbug infestations in hotels across the country.

Government agencies have even come forward to help. The EPA has come up with a few non-chemical solutions to bedbugs in your home.

• Heat infested articles and/or areas to at least 113 ºF (45 ºC) for 1 hour. The higher the temperature, the shorter the time needed to kill bed bugs at all life stages. (Translation: Burn your house down.)

• Cold treatments (below 0 ºF (-19 ºC) for at least 4 days) can eliminate some infestations. Again, the cooler the temperature, the less time needed to kill bed bugs. (Translation: If you live in Wisconsin, don’t use your furnace next winter. If you live in Florida, try suggestion #1.)

• Use mattress, box spring, and pillow encasements to trap bed bugs and help detect infestations. (You will also need to apply this same treatment to all your furniture, carpeted areas, and maybe all your clothes.)

It’s a good thing the EPA isn’t running the war on terror. Your best bet is to call in the military, or in this case, the local militia. There are over 300 EPA approved poisons, which will kill bedbugs. Some are so ridiculously mild that the bedbugs just get high for three months and then resume their attack. It would be best if you contacted your local Interstate Pest Management. They have no sympathy for bed bugs. They kill, using only the most effective weapons, until your bedbugs are dead. They don’t negotiate with terrorists.

If you live in the Portland area, your local bedbug militia can be found here Interstate Pest Portland.

 

Here in MA there are a number of companies who can help –   Joan Parcewski   Woods Real Estate   joan@woodsre.com

http://www.JoanParcewski.com     c 978-376-3978

 

Difference between “Actual Cash Value” and “Replacement Cost” – guest blogger Tony Lucacio

Most policies covering property value the damaged property at either its Replacement Cost or its Actual Cash Value. But most people don’t read their policy to understand what these two property valuations mean to them, or the impact it can have on their settlement.

I will attempt to simplifiy these valuation for you over the next few paragraphs. Let’s start with a very basic definition of each. “Actual Cash Value” is the cost new of the item less the item’s depreciation. “Replacement Cost” is the cost to replace that damaged item at todays cost with an item of like, kind, and quality.

So what does all this mean? Let’s tackle Actual Cash Value (ACV) first. Let’s say that a building policy has a valuation using ACV. That property sustains damage by fire to a roof that is 10 years old. Let’s further agree that the useful life of that type of roof is 30 years. At the time of a loss the cost to replace that roof was $50,000. Let’s look at how this claim would be settled, remembering that ACV is the item cost less depreciation. The depreciation on this item is 10 divided by 30, or 1/3. A 30 year life that has already used 10 years. Therefore payment for this $50,000 roof would be $33,333 ($50,000 replacement less 1/3 depreciation. The rationale behind this settlment is that the insured party has enjoyed 1/3 of the benefit of this roof prior to the loss.

That same loss that is settled on a replacement cost basis would be valued at $50,000. The cost to replace that roof at the time of the loss.

So, why would anyone want ACV? Well, usually you would not want ACV. Price is always a consideration and on some older properties it may be difficult to get an insurance carrier to agree to a Replacement Cost valuation. This also gives the insured person a stake in keeping the property safe from claims because they would share some in any loss.

Check your policy, and if possible ask about getting Replacement Cost valuation. Of course if you have any questions we are here to help. Visit our website or call (877)608-3708.

Thinking Healthy for October – guest blogger Annette Presseau

Sorry for the late posting – but it was well worth the wait as it always is. 

Thinking Healthy for October

Now that I’ve eaten incorrectly this summer with food like ice cream I’m back to thinking about eating healthy again and the autumn coming in makes me want to set a goal at least until Thanksgiving!  Once I tried to diet at Thanksgiving and that didn’t work because it was torture and I just gave in to my food cravings after that my thoughts went to eat less at mealtime or during the holidays and exercise more like do more walking.  Do you ever notice when you eat the wrong foods you feel good for a moment but afterwards you are not satisfied and actually feel draggy?  Sometimes you are still hungry after eating and that should be a clue that you are not eating correctly.  I also find it difficult to eat correctly when I am having a meal alone I don’t like to eat alone to begin with so eating correctly is difficult I just want to eat something easy and move on.

October is Children’s Health Month.  Keeping children healthy can be a daunting task especially if the child doesn’t like to eat the right foods or exercising regularly.   Helping the child eat the right foods could be as simple as disguising the food with what they like so that it tastes better.  Children are more susceptible to environmental risks than adults because their bodies are still developing, which lessens a child’s ability to detoxify harmful substances compared to an adult.  Below are some great tips:

  • When eating, sit at a table to      avoid walking around your home, lessening the amount of crumbs. Clean up      any spills.
  • Don’t leave dirty dishes in the      sink.
  • If you have a pet, don’t leave      food out overnight.
  • Be conscious of water sources      that become attractive for pests, such as a leaky faucet, spilled liquid,      or sink full of water. A puddle of water could mean a plethora of pests!
  • Clean up and fix up! Clean up      excess clutter to eliminate pest shelter. Repair or replace window screens      with holes and seal up baseboard and other cracks.

The EPA has created a Pesticide Poison Prevention Checklist as a helpful resource; adults are encouraged to review their home room-for-room to search for potential hazards. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, complete the inspection on your hands and knees or in a similar fashion to a child to understand how they see the room and what would be within their reach.  Want more information then check out this blog:  http://blog.pested.psu.edu/2012/10/29/october-is-children%E2%80%99s-health-month/

And if your child is a picky eater then check out this website for great tips and ideas:  http://www.babble.com/best-recipes/healthy-eating/getting-kids-to-eat-picky-eaters-fussy/

Stress and elections.  Are you stressed by the current elections and all those ads on TV?  Most of us are inundated with information, negative ads and phone calls from campaign volunteers.  I know I don’t listen to them anymore and I’m tired of hearing all the rhetoric that goes with it so what do we do?  Well, first of all just stop being stressed and start realizing come November 2nd it will all go away for awhile so why get stressed over it and to prevent becoming overly stressed during the political season countdown, try to take a step back and reclaim what is important to you.  Below are some helpful hints to overcome stress:

  1.  Hold on to your convictions and      passions. Vote out of your core values, and you will always feel confident      in how you cast your vote.
  2. Do not follow someone else’s      convictions or political stances. Each of us has a right to our opinion      and to exercise that opinion at the polls. There will always be many      people with whom we disagree, and that is the beauty of our political      system – it allows for diversity and options.
  3. Become informed about the      candidates and their perspectives, and then know when to turn it off. The      closer we get to Election Day, the more jargon, finger-pointing, and      derogatory statements become the norm in political advertisements. It is      good to know when to turn off the TV, radio or the internet.  Or, if you can’t turn them off, then just      learn to laugh at them.
  4. Find some friends who hold      similar values. It is good to have regular interaction with others who      believe as you do during such times as a national election.

Stress all over.   We live in an age of distractions and interruptions fueled by technology and there’s no place to unwind. There’s no place to hide so what do we do?  We get stressed and our blood pressures go up and out of sight!  The next time you get stressed be aware of your breathing, your body and your environment just for a few minutes and remember that life is not fair and you will get through this and things will get better. You could also picture in your mind something that makes you happy like your family or seeing yourself at the ocean or a lake.  Keep in mind that bad things do happen to good people and that you are not alone in your frustrations and remember that there is always someone else who is worse off than you just look around you.  If that doesn’t work try to take a quick break or walk to think things out or if you can exercise go work out at the gym that will definitely take you mind off of stress!

The next time you get stress try the Mindfulness technique which is generally defined as focused, deliberate attention to a task or thought to quiet the mind and eliminate distractions.  Practicing Mindfulness can help restore peace of mind and more evidence is now building that it can also benefit the body’s immune system.  There are fascinating studies that mindfulness can decrease inflammation and that practicing mindfulness may be one step to shift the odds in your favor, in concert with your healthy lifestyle choices.

That brings me to another question how do you define happiness?  Did you know that that the bulk of what determines happiness is due to your personality?  Yes, you can learn to be happy and you may have thought, as many people do, that happiness comes from being born rich or beautiful or living a stress-free life, the reality is that people who have wealth, beauty or less stress are not happier on average than those of you who don’t enjoy those blessings.  People who are happy seem to intuitively know that their happiness is the sum of their life choices, and their lives are built on the following things:

  1. Devoting time to family and      friends
  2. Appreciating what they have
  3. Maintaining an optimistic      outlook
  4. Feeling a sense of purpose
  5. Living in the moment

Surround yourself with happy people. Being around people who are content buoys your own mood and by being happy yourself, you give something back to those around you.

Friends and family help you celebrate life’s successes and support you in difficult times. Although it’s easy to take friends and family for granted, these relationships are worth their weight in gold.

Build up your emotional account with kind words and actions. Be careful and gracious with critique. Let people know that you appreciate what they do for you or even just that you’re glad they’re part of your life. Also, be mindful of what you say to a person and try not to be negative but positive when you critique someone.

Start thinking about what works for you.  Maybe all you have to do is stop and start thinking about what makes you happy it could be something as simple as having a piece of apple pie or talking to a friend that you haven’t talk to in awhile or even just going outside with the kids and playing with them whatever will put a smile on your face and change your mind.

 

Well that’s all for now I’m going to call my best friend that I haven’t talked to in awhile and see how she is doing so my wish to you is start living in the moment and stop and have some fun!

 

 

Annette Presseau    Reliv distributor         stitchlady46@yahoo.com

 

 

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