Friday, December 19, 2014

Another Great Use for Ziploc Bags

A friend of mine wrote the following comment for my blog entry (seen below) where I talked about a nifty way to keep your belongings organized when traveling to several places on one trip. Just in case you missed that, here are her words describing how she uses Ziploc bags to keep her luggage neat, which often seems an impossible task. Not anymore!

L writes: I use plastic bags, too, but a little differently if I have several destinations to my trip. I put all the underwear and socks for each stop in separate bags, label them by city and then just unpack each bag as I need it. I hate having my suitcase out and open in the hotel room so this lets me put just what I need in the drawers and leave the rest packed away for the next city. 

Great idea!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Quick Travel Tip

Planning a short or long trip? Here's a quick tip to help keep your suitcase better organized.

Place your underwear, socks, scarves into large ziploc bags, one for each type of clothing. (I found two gallon-sized bags at a local box store, and these work well). Putting all of your socks in one bag and so on allows you to easily toss the bag into a drawer when you unpack or keep things neater when you have to live out of that suitcase for a while.

Also, with a quick glance, you can tell whether you have enough clean things to last the trip or if you have to drag out the Woolite or other soap you brought to rinse things out with.

(Note: I have had a lot of trouble keeping Woolite inside the small plastic jar I use to transport it in my suitcase. I am not sure why, but it always leaks. I put the jar inside a couple of ziploc bags but it still leaked inside them. Could have been a disaster, really. I know there are other products out there for hotel room laundry day so I might have to do some research).

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bye, Bye Hummingbirds

I love fall, but there comes a day when I am really not happy that the season is starting. That's the day when I realize that my hummingbird visitors who have been coming to my deck for four months to feed have decided to head south for the winter. Today is September 16 and I am resigned to the fact that I will not see a hummingbird for the next eight months.

We had one female who came to the feeder all summer long after somehow dissuading a male hummer to back off. She has been gone for a while now I think. Even though I have seen a couple of birds  this past week, I know they are travelers who are stopping by for a quick meal on their way from further north to the warmer south.

How these tiny puffs of color manage to fly from here to Central America and return to the same breeding grounds each year is beyond me.That's why it is such a miracle to see them in the spring. Can't wait.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Healthy Fish Dishes Good for Brain

Wondering what to have for dinner tonight? Try a little fish prepared in a healthy way.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that eating baked or broiled fish once a week is very good for the brain.

This is another instance where scientific studies have shown that lifestyle factors can contribute to a healthy brain later in life. Other studies have predicted that being active, not smoking and keeping weight at a healthy level all contribute to fewer cases of Alzheimer's disease and other cognitive impairment in older adults. All good news since these are choices most of us can make.

The results of the  study were published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Time to Harvest those Tomatoes

If you are fortunate enough to have some tomatoes on the vine in your backyard, it's almost time to harvest them.

More than 43 million American households have food gardens, even though we have access at our local grocery stores to practically limitless produce.

A couple of years ago, I planted a small tomato plant on our deck (see above), as well as a green pepper plant and wrote about their progress as the fruit grew and matured. I ended up with three little tomatoes, I think, and no peppers. But at this moment I wish I had thought to put in another tomato plant -- or two.

I tried growing leafy lettuce in a pot last year and my son told me he didn't know that lettuce could taste that good!

I hope you enjoy your harvest this year, if you are lucky enough to have one. For myself, I will be visiting farmer's markets to buy local. Close but still not as neat as green growing plants on the deck.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Be Careful of Ticks Out There

After the rough winter most of the country experienced this year, everyone is trying to spend as much time outside enjoying the warmer temps as they can.

Great idea, but some precautions are needed to make sure everyone is safe. (I know, when we were kids we just ran out the screen door and stayed out. Times have changed.)

Before you go for walks along hiking trails or in the deep woods, be sure to rub on lots of sun screen. And just as importantly, "Deet up" as my daughter-in-law says. We have gotten lots of bug bites this spring, not even realizing when we got them. Some had to come when we were sitting on our back deck during the early part of the day which is supposed to be "safe" from such things.

Ticks are out in force too, and with the large deer population we have nearby, something to take very seriously. My son's friend had a tick on him when he came back inside after a quick walk through the back yard. I heard of another woman who got Lyme disease without all of the "normal" symptoms you look for like a tick that was attached for some time or a bulls eye rash.

Be careful out there!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Appreciating Peonies

I overheard a friend talking about how peonies were a good garden choice these days because deer don't seem to eat them. I didn't pay too much attention as I have pretty much convinced myself that deer will eat ANYTHING.

But driving around the last few days I have noticed some lovely peony blossoms that seem to be thriving even in our heavy deer-populated neighborhoods.

We had rows of peonies lining a walkway when I was growing up. I remember how lovely they were till a high wind or rain storm knocked the tall blooms over. And ants. I remember how many ants we would find in the petals whenever we would cut a few flowers to bring in the house.

When we first moved to this house I planted several peony plants in the backyard, but none of them ever grew, apparently because of too much shade.

But if peonies are deer-proof or at least deer-putting off, I may have to reconsider and plant a mass of them in the front beds. I can't wait!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Moves App Follows Your Every...

Screenshot from Moves app

If Facebook is interested in something, you know it has to be big. Doing a little research for this month, May, which is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, I learned that Facebook has just purchased the app Moves, which tracks your movements for the day and gives you a report on your iphone.

A little more involved than a pedometer which just counts steps, Moves knows (magically) when you are at work or when you have stopped at other places during the day. A little scary actually, but it could be a good way to focus on fitness at the same time.

The app is free at the Apple App Store or Google Play on your iphone. To learn more about the sale of the app to Facebook, visit here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Remember: World Book Night April 23

As I wrote in the blog post below (dated March 5, 2014), April 23 is World Book Night when avid readers hand new books to those who may not have ever had the pleasure of reading a book.

There is time to become part of this organization next year if you are intersted. To learn more, visit World Book Night.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Geocaching a Fun Way to Move

Seems to me that a lot of experts on fitness are promoting simple ways to move more during the day, any way you can. It doesn't have to be a marathon; just move more and more each day. This will contribute to your health in more ways than you can imagine.

Discussing this recently, I began telling a few people about Geocaching, a modern day treasure hunt that has you walking and hiking to find caches which include trinkets and other goodies. You log in your finds on the Geocaching website and can view your progress. It's a hobby you can do at home or when away, pretty much anywhere in the world.

We were avid geocachers for a while and still try to find some caches when we travel to different states. But I think it may be time to incorporate geocaching back into our lives in a bigger way.

To learn more, visit the Geocaching website. It really is fun and you do find yourself forgetting that you are exercising because your brain thinks you are on a treasure hunt. Much cooler by far.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Favorite Books Part of World Book Night

In the middle of a drab, cold February, my book club met at a local restaurant and decided that instead of talking about one book selection we would allow each member to talk about her favorite book.

It was a lovely evening, a bright spot in a dark month for sure, and the highlight was hearing each person talk with such passion about a particular book, but more about her love of reading.

The reading bug had hit most of us early in life, and continues to this day into our senior years.

To encourage this love of reading in others who may not have had the opportunity to pour through books as a child, World Book Night was created. The program allows volunteers (avid readers I am sure) to place a particular book in the hands of light or non-readers on April 23, 2014.

The program continues through the year, and new volunteers will be solicited for the 2015 event.

To learn more about this exceptional program visit  World Book Night

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Yaktrax to the Rescue

This winter across the entire country has been a huge advertisement for Yaktrax, The product is a system of stretchy metal coils you attach to your shoes or boots so you can stay upright on snow and ice.

I have had a pair for years, but of course, was not wearing them last year when I fell on black ice on my driveway. Smart, eh? But this year they are a constant accessory to my winter garb.

My set of Yaktrax are permanently attached to an old pair of sneakers and are definitely my footwear of choice when I am walking to the mailbox or to sweep off our front steps. I have not experienced even a slip so far. Now, I haven't sought out huge patches of glazed ice to try them out on either, but I have seen such patches and stayed as far away from them as I can.

There are different brands of these shoe add-ons and different styles. Yaktrax makes these items for walking, running and skiing.

I have to admit I was very leery of this winter because of my fall last year, but these products have given me back some of my confidence to go out and tackle winter. Thank you, Yakrax.

Be careful out there.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Beer Can Appreciation Day!

If you know Boomers, and I think you do, you will appreciate knowing that January 24 is Beer Can Appreciation Day.

Apparently, on January 24, 1935, the first beer was sold in a can. And no one has looked back since -- and no one has been able to verify this is indeed a fact. But that shouldn't stop beer lovers from hoisting a cold one to whoever made it much easier to fit beers in a basement refridegerator.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

DASH for it!

(Editor's Note: Marla Heller offers some healthy tips to good eating as we start the new year. Based on the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), these tips can be helpful to anyone who is trying to improve their diet.

DASH for it!
By Marla Heller, MS, RD

Way back when the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet was considered to be only for the research setting, I decided to make it easy for anyone to follow. DASH was too important to health; it couldn't just sit on the shelf. So I created an actionable plan that almost anyone can put into action in their real life.
Ready for your 8 simple resolutions to get you on the DASH diet path?

1. Have 3 meals and 2 --  3 snacks every day. Deprivation doesn’t lead to lasting weight loss.

2. Make colorful veggies the center of your meal. They are bulky, filling, and healthy, while low in calories.

3. Add lean protein-rich foods to make a meal that satisfies and won’t leave you hungry an hour later.

4. Choose 2 – 3 dairy foods that are low-fat or nonfat, every day. Dairy boosts protein and helps quench hunger.

5. Add fresh fruits to satisfy your sweet tooth the healthy way.

6. Nuts, beans, and seeds make fun snacks that love your heart and help you lose weight.

7. When you have grains, choose whole grains.

8. Watch your waistline shrink. You are improving your health as you lose weight, with these healthy resolutions.

DASH for it!

Marla Heller, MS, RD is the author of the best-selling books, The DASH Diet Action PlanThe DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution, and The Everyday DASH Diet CookbookMarla's specialty is in making complex nutrition easy to understand.