Dye-it and dont stress

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This morning on the daily show, I thought they made an excellent point during a health short-segment that you can lose a good amount of weight by making two small changes everyday.  First, eat a slow digesting high carb option (their example was an egg-white omelet wrapped with spinach in a wheat wrap).  The second step was to simply get moving.  Forget pushing the rigorous workout if it’s something you can’t keep up with, and just take walk.  Invest in a pedometer if you want to track your daily steps (they recommend 5,000 a day).  Finally, simple snacks can get you through the day and still let you see the results you’d like.  You can eat a whole bowl of air popped (no butter, not sugar, no salt) popcorn, fresh fruits, or humus!  Dieting doesn’t have to be stressful, it can be slow and simple and stress free!  The key is just to get started at your own pace and stick with it!  Finally, make yourself a comfy shirt to walk in and keep you motivated!  Bright colors can help your energy level, and also call attention to cars if you are walking on a road or hunters if you are strolling through the woods.  A Hanes ty-dyed number can help you feel confident and committed to walking (if it’s in your closet hanging in the morning, your going to remember to walk!)  With your feel good tye dyed shirt and and your easy breakfast/snack solutions, you’ll see pounds naturally begin to melt-away.

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Love your feet

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Your feet are usually something you don’t put very high on your “take care of” list.  However, with a few simple steps every week you can keep your feet happy and healthy.

Twice a week, rub lemon on your heals, arches, and any patches of dry skin.  Cut the lemon into wedges and rub a wedge in circles against those stressed spots where your skin feels dry.  Next pour some Epson salt into a container you can soak your feet in (add some scented lavender for some aroma therapy), and soak them for about fifteen minutes.  Next let them air dry on a towel and apply some foot cream, apply pressure into the arch with your thumbs as you rub the cream in to relax your muscles.

feet cream

 

A cream I really love is Burt’s Bee’s Foot cream, it does have an oily consistency so before you walk on your floor make sure it is fully absorbed into your feet and dry.

 

If you have extra time, give your toe-nails a quick trim and apply some clear strengthening polish to keep them healthy, especially during the warmer months!

Gas guzzler blues

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If you are like me and you find yourself driving across time several times daily from daycare, to work, to schools and sporting activities … we are always on the move.  Gas can get really expensive for an active family costing them an average of $3,000 every year (that’s $250 a month)!!!  Before you get the filler-upper blues, try some of these tips and tricks to keep your wallet feeling a little better about those car trips!

1.  Check your tires air pressure often!  Tires that are low on air can actually make your car work harder and use more gas.  If you check the air-pressure and make sure to top it off when it needs it, you’ll shave off some gas usage.gas receipt  Likewise, keep up with those oil changes!  The smoother your engine is running the better miles/gallon you’ll get!

2.  Join a rewards program.  Many gas-retail establishments now offer reward cards that give you points for purchases of items like milk, bread, or other general goods.  Some even give you points when you fill up your tank.  It could be a credit card with a cash back reward system or a simple free rewards card, but it’s worth it to take note of how you can save.  If you have a gas station on the way home, stop in and find out about their rewards program.  For programs that reward you for buying things in the store, make it a habit to buy your milk and misc.  from

the gas station on your way home, earning you points that you can later use for a better gas price!

3.  Do you want a car wash?  – No you don’t!!!  Don’t get fooled by this clever marketing scheme (unless you actually need a car wash).  Let’s take a look at the math!  While the gas sign reads .10 cents cheaper if you buy that car wash, you now have a car wash to pay for actually making your total purchase cost more than if you just purchased the gas itself.  The car was is usually just a soap and water basic deal, so if you need one it could be a good idea to bundle them, otherwise just hit that big red NO button.

gas buddy

4. There’s an app for that!  Gasbuddy is a great smartphone app that will use your location in order to pinpoint the cheapest gas station near you.  If you are filling up it could be worth it to drive that extra couple of miles to save .5cents on your total purchase (but keep in mind driving out of the way tends to negate the savings).  The app also has a handy tool that let’s you report current gas prices. Each report you make enters you into a drawing to win a $250 gas gift card!  If you don’t have a smart phone, you can report prices from your home computer @ www.gasbuddy.com

5. Use your gps/smart phone to find shorter routes for you.  Many will let you input multiple destinations so you  can find the shortest routes between all your errands saving you time and gas!

6.  Empty out your car!  The heavier your vehicle, the more gas it will use.  If you aren’t needing all that beach gear, roller blades, folding chairs, etc … lighten up your load and thus help lighten that burden on your wallet!

Following some or all of these hints won’t make you rich, but it never hurts to shave of a few dollars here and there.  It can really add up in the end!

Fabulous French Toast

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French toast is one of my absolute favorite breakfasts.  I am a die-hard Alton Brown fan, and have used his french toast recipe to make what I find is the best french toast (See video at bottom of post for the exact recipe).  For the best results, you should pick thick slices of bread (I use whole wheat honey bread from a local baker), and let it sit out over night so that it’s got a nice staleness to it come morning.  French toast can be accented differently depending on your breakfast guest.  For my kids I do maple syrup and powdered sugar with bananas and strawberries cut-up on top.  For my adult guests I usually mix a little Baily’s Irish creme in with vanilla yogurt and top with strawberries.  If you want to keep it low fat, consider using almond or soy milk in place of regular milk, and using only egg-whites for the egg mixture.  If you’d like a caramelized glaze on the outside of your french toast, consider mixing some brown sugar and butter in a separate bowl.  After your french toast is cooked, quickly brush over one side and face down in the pan for a few seconds, repeat on other side.  Don’t let it cook too long as you don’t want it to burn.  This will give it a nice caramelized glaze which pairs nice with powdered sugar.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4frrEw_AL8

Donate for school shopping

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As parents gear up to do the much anticipated yearly “back to school shopping”, it is a perfect time for everyone to give a helping hand to families in need.  Donate last years shoes, back packs, lunch boxes, snow-pants, etc … to your local elementary.  Most schools have families in need, and your donations could help gear those children for the school year.  Keep in mind as well, many retailers like office max give you significant savings if you buy more than one of the same product.  For example, 3 Crayola 24-crayon packs (buy 2 get 1 free).  Grab two for yourself, and throw the free one in with your donation!  If your local elementary is not accepting donations, check with the salvation army, local shelters, or your city-hall.

Cranberry-Almond Muffins

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Cranberry-Almond Muffins

(Recipe courtesy of Ocean Spray Cranberries)
1 1/4 cups Trivia
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped almonds
2 cups Fresh or Frozen Cranberries, coarsely chopped

(My twist)
A few drips of vanilla extract

–Press a few whole almonds into the top in a flower pattern. Melt a little brownsugar and butter together and brush it over the top.–

Bake 25-30 mins @ 350.