Staying Fit with Your Grandkids

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Recently I read a study that said that kids who are around their grandparents a lot tend to be overweight! Why that is true is easy to understand. Grandparents typically give their grandkids snacks and treats parents would avoid and also are less active around their grandchildren. However you can change this alarming trend by encouraging your grandkids to stay fit right along with you. Here are some easy ideas for you and your grandkids to stay fit and healthy, no matter what your age is:

Healthy Snacking – While it is natural to want to give your grandkids fun treats you should try to avoid giving in to requests for candy and fast food. Instead, make eating right fun and tasty. Be sure to stock your refrigerator with kid friendly snacks like apple slices, fruit ice pops, crackers and cheese. For dessert offer to take the kids to get frozen yogurt instead of ice cream or cake. Or make oatmeal cookies with applesauce to cut down on the fat. There are lots of easy ways to make your home a healthy place to eat.


Exploring – Kids love to explore new places and see new things. Even a walk around your neighborhood can be an adventure if you look at it the right way. When your grandchildren come to visit why not take them for a walk? Go as slow as you need to. It is better to be moving then sitting still, no matter what speed that moving may be. As you walk point out interesting things. Teach your grandkids the names of flowers and how they grow. Talk about how big the trees are or what color the houses are. Keep an eye out for frogs and lizards. Talk about how ants work or bees. Discuss cloud formations, how you know a storm is coming, or what the wind smells like.

By sharing your knowledge with your grandkids you can help them better understand the world around them and still be active doing it. If you need to take a break sit down on a bench and send them on a scavenger hunt. They can stay in your view as they search for a purple leaf, a pink flower, a ladybug, something yellow or whatever idea you can come up with. You can even offer to time them as they race from one tree to another, see how long it takes then to do twenty jumping jacks or other active activities.

Bike Rides – A great low impact exercise, bike riding helps keep you fit and allows you to keep up with the grandkids. Kids love to go for bike rides. If you can, try to pick a route with few cars so you don’t have to worry about that. Parks and hike and bike trails make fun places for kids to ride. As you take it easy they can roar through puddles, jump over hills, and skid to a stop. Or go long distance and turn it into an expedition. If you give kids a fun destination to shoot for, like the yogurt shop or the playground, they will go further than you think without complaining. You can even bike to the zoo or the children’s museum if you are close enough.

Stretching – Being active does not have to mean being outside. Sometimes the weather just does not cooperate with you. However if you are stuck indoors that does not mean you have to spend your day in front of the television. Stretching and yoga can be a fun way for you and your grandkids to work out together. Even kids need to work on their flexibility or they will lose it. Help them to stay calm and focused as they hold the stretches. If giving directions is not your forte, pop in a tape or download one that shows you both how to do it the right way. You can laugh and have fun as you strain, balance, and tangle yourselves up trying to reach those ‘easy’ positions.

You can also go back to the basics by teaching them how to do sit-ups, push-ups, leg lifts, and other simple floor exercises. Count how many you can both do and turn it into a game.

Active Games – Speaking of games, there are tons of active games that you can play with your grandkids. Think about your childhood. You didn’t spend hours sitting in front of the computer or television. You were always up and active. What did you like to do for fun? Play catch, hopscotch, Simon Says, Red Light- Green Light, badminton, croquet, darts, basketball, kickball, jump rope, kick the can, hula hoop and much more. There are so many old games that you can play with practically nothing but imagination. If you don’t have a ball to play with then wad up a piece of paper. No dartboard? Draw one and throw sharpened pencils at an empty box. No jump rope? Any rope will do.

Even running around trying to keep a balloon from touching the ground is an active game that kids love. Volleyball, table tennis, horseshoes, bowling and more can be done with things just lying around the house. Make up ‘fair’ games with empty canned goods. Set up a shooting gallery with a water gun and paper cutouts. Whatever you do stay moving and active.

Make Believe – Kids love stories and they love them even more when they can be involved. One way to get kids active and moving is to play Army. Maybe you were in the military or maybe you just watched a lot of war movies but you are sure to impress your grandkids as you train them in Grandparent Bootcamp! Pretend that you are a Sargent training a new recruit. Stand up tall, put your hands behind your back and start barking orders.

Make sure the kids know you are just playing by giving them a smile or wink every once in a while. Insist they say “yes, sir” and salute when you give an order. Have them crawl through obstacle courses like your kitchen table and chairs, scout out the enemy (your neighbor’s cat), make up camp with a sheet and some clothespins, and march in time to a song. You can even put them to work if you would like. Have them rake the leaves (looking for mines) or wash the dishes (KP duty). Together you can go on a march (take a walk) and keep a lookout for suspicious activity and signs of the enemy. A broken branch, a ripped leaf and a lost shoe can all be signs the enemy is near. Let the kids have fun playing soldier and making everything an adventure.

These are just a few of the fun ways you and your grandkids can stay active and healthy together. Staying fit does not mean you have to run on a treadmill or hit the gym. Instead take little steps towards a healthier lifestyle and make it fun. You and the kids are much more likely to keep it up if you both enjoy it.

Author Byline:

Blogging for was a natural progression for Allison once she graduated from college, as it allowed her to combine her two passions: writing and children. She has enjoyed furthering her writing career with www.nannyclassifieds.com. She can be in touch through e-mail allisonDOTnannyclassifiedsATgmailDOTcom

My Progress Report – Lifestyle and Healthy Changes

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Well here it is a whole 9 days late with my weight loss progress report. A lot has been going on recently; you know; life just gets in the way sometimes. 😉

 

 

—->>> For folks that have not read my NutriSystem review, here you go; you can read that Here….Includes pics of some of the food itself and also my “before” pics 🙂

For the most part, I’m happy with my continued progress on the Nutrisystem plan. I think I should have been losing much quicker, however, hey; that’s about 75% of the population’s complaints when dieting. I have to remind myself too that I’m still in the process of menopause, yep! lol that definitely makes a bit of a difference.


Right up front, I’m still having a few days when I don’t consume enough water. I will have to practice some more discipline in that area. I always take out 2 or 3 bottles of water out of the ice box every morning after my work outs and place them on my desk right next to my to do list. (Still, it’s hard getting the water down even with it in front of me). I get so very busy with my work, and a lot of days, I just don’t drink the water I’m supposed to. 🙁

I’ve lost a total of 20.2 pounds since March 11th. I hear of various NS members losing more consistently. They could be much heavier than I am and thus, have more to lose. That does have an impact on how fast you lose.

I have about 1/2 box of food left and my next shipment will be coming soon. I’m seriously thinking of stopping the NutriSystem plan and just eat more healthy foods and eat small portions more often throughout my days.

And above ALL else, keep up with the workouts and meet that goal of consuming a certain amount of water every single day! I HAVE to do it. 🙂 I also will be eating a few Healthy Choice or Weight Watchers meals over the course of the weeks ahead.

So, here’s to some more healthy eating for 2013!

Thank you for reading my progress report! 🙂

Another Report Will Follow! 😉

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35 Beauty Secrets From My Beauty iPad App That Grandmothers and Others Can Benefit From

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I was browsing all the beauty tips from my iPad app over the weekend and came upon the below 35 beauty tips/secrets that I wanted to share with you. However, there may be quite a few that you have read about before. A good portion of them were excellent tips for me and also some I have not heard of before.

I hope they benefit you…enjoy!

Wash your face with cold water each morning to get rid of puffiness around your eyes.

Eat high-fiber snacks, such as nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. This will keep your skin and hair healthy.

Don’t indulge in too much fatty or deep-fried foods as they can dull and age your skin prematurely.

Your nails become brittle if they are exposed to extreme heat, cold, bleach, chlorine or other cleaning chemicals.

Sweet potatoes contain lots of vitamin A, which is a remarkable anti-aging and anti-wrinkling vitamin.

Brush and comb your hair only when it’s dry. Wet hair is weak, and brushing wet hair can easily damage it.

Baby formulated shampoos are gentle to hair and will not strip your hair color.

Massaging your scalp regularly can stimulate oil production, which will help reduce the dryness of your hair.

Make your lips look fuller by lining them with a pencil and then blend the edges with a sponge applicator. Then cover with gloss.

If you have small eyes, use only light colored eye shadows, and use no more than 2 shades at once.

Eat baked or grilled salmon twice a week. Its omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins reduce aging free radicals.

Zinc can help prevent hair loss by building hair protein. Good sources of zinc include meat and seafood.

Fresh carrot juice is high in calcium and phosphorus. It is great for strengthening your nails.

Eat more garlic. Garlic helps to combat wrinkles, restores damaged tissues, and prevents sagging skin.

Get into aerobic exercise like walking, jogging, or swimming. These types of exercises keep your blood vessels healthy and improve your skin tone.

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Deep-set eyes can be made prominent by applying a pale shade of eye shadow over your lid and darker shadow under your brow.

Eat plenty of tomatoes, which are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium; all are great ingredients for beautiful and youthful skin.

If you have age spots, wash your face with buttermilk. The acid from the butter milk cleanses your face and rids your face of age spots.

A slice of raw potato can be placed under your eyes to reduce dark circles.

The best thing you can do for your skin, stress level, and overall health is to be physically active.

Store your nail polish in the refrigerator to maintain its smooth consistency.

Sticking your fingernails in lemon halves for 5-7 minutes will help clean and brighten them immediately.

Shrink your pimple by placing an ice cube in a thin dish towel on the zit for about 3 minutes; this will reduce the swelling and redness.

If you want firmer, smoother, and younger looking skin, you need to exercise everyday. Exercise brings oxygen and nutrients to your skin.

Slightly elevate your head while sleeping to prevent extra fluid from settling around eyes and making them puffy.

Olive oil can be used quite effectively to moisturize your hair. Cover your hair in olive oil for about 30 minutes, then rinse.

Learn to breathe deeply. Breathing deep down into the diaphragm has been shown to slow down the aging process.

Daily hair shampooing is not recommended. Shampooing removes the oils from your hair. Shampoo once every 2-3 days instead.

Kidney beans and lentils are good for your hair since they provide protein to promote hair growth. They also provide essential iron, zinc, and biotin.

You can use a hair dryer to heat your eyelash curler. The warmth of the eyelash curler will help curl your lashes more efficiently.

Use olive oil to massage your facial skin often. The massage action on your skin will increase blood circulation and tone your skin.

Drink green tea daily to help protect against cancer, heart disease and memory loss, as well as to lose weight and to look years younger.

A smoky violet pencil looks best if you have green eyes. Green and violet are opposite, and so they look great together.

Acrylics and other false nails usually carry more germs and bacteria than your natural nails.

Need a dramatic look? Simply apply a coat of volumizing mascara, and then follow by a coat of lengthening mascara on the tips.

 

 
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Review: Nutrisystem and New Lifestyle

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Good Morning!

I finally took action and started a new plan; (eating plan that is), for weight loss and also for my health. I started the Nutrisystem plan. Nutrisystem is quite the controversial program, and I knew that upon joining. 😉

 

 

 

This will probably be the most open (about me) blog post I’ll ever write

I’m not trying to impress with my writing in this post…as it’s not a formal article. It’s just MY JOURNEY.

I’ve made many goals, over and over again to lose the weight and get healthy. However, here I am NOT at my weight goal…again, still!

I’ve even written (actual articles) about me becoming healthy and my weight loss in the past. Well this time, this is the real deal. I’m not messing around any longer. YO-YO dieting is probably the most dangerous thing you can do to yourself; so brutal for your heart!

Despite what quite a few people think, Nutrisystem IS a good program to get you eating smaller portions (at a time) and eating your daily servings of fruit and veggies. I’ve learned so much about protein, carbs, fiber and portion size in the past month and a half. I’ve also made it my mission to always read labels.

Do some of the NS bars and entrees have a little too much sugar or carbs? Yes, they do. There are preservatives in Nutrisystem products; they also have frozen meals that are shipped with (dry ice). When you think about it, not everyone is going to have enough space to freeze 28 days worth of food.

The article at the end of this post will give you a bit of information on preservatives

I’ve lost 14 pounds since March 11th. 🙂 To my surprise, I don’t feel deprived at all. However, I do admit to craving soda every once in awhile. I do allow myself one soda per week; that is on Friday nights when we go out. Yes! I gave up soda, and I drink water…Lots of water! I’m drinking approximately 60 to 70 ounces of it every day, and sometimes more. When I drink soda now, it tastes a little too sweet. Still is good though! Three of my favorite snacks now are peanut butter and celery, tangarines and carrot sticks. :)lol

Here’s a huge thing for me; I’ve been able to NOT gain weight when dining out, and also on the weekends. When dieting in the past, I would fall off the “diet” bandwagon on both occasions. I’ve found I don’t like using the word diet now; it’s just called eating healthy and changing eating habits. A lot of it is lifestyle.

I’m making changes for the long haul

I’ve tried many, many things for weight loss in the past. This includes starving myself…not good at all, I know. 🙁 I’ve starved myself in the past couple of years for our vacations; and only to gain much of it back. I know this all too well. Was I aware it wasn’t healthy and in fact, quite dangerous?! YES, I did! I have a serious eating problem; something that’s substantially difficult to admit to myself. 🙁 I’m sure some of you can relate to my fait. If so, I’d love to hear from you. 😉

Below are my (before) pics; I’m hoping I can share the (after) pics in maybe a year from now…hopefully before. If it’s beyond a year, oh well. We’ll see. 😉

In 2008…This is a pic at Anna’s wedding shower. Looking on, I’m on the right of Anna, Anna’s Mom is on the left.

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In 2011…in California

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Please Note: In addition to the Nutrisystem food, I had to shop for fruits and veggies to go with my meals. They are labeled as “powerfuels” and “smart carbs.” That was something I didn’t know about the program when I ordered. In fact, that’s a part of the program that is rather vague.

The specific plan that I ordered costs a whopping $250.00 per month. Yep, mighty expensive! And, let me tell you that extra expense has been a bit difficult. I don’t expect to stay on Nutrisystem throughout my whole journey to skinniness! lol…

At some point, I will switch to Healthy Choice/Weight Watchers and will eat the same way and still include plenty of veggies and fruit. I will be a pro at reading labels!

I do like the Nutrisystem food, (for the most part)

There are only 4 things that I didn’t like. You can go online and adjust your choices before your next shipment.

I know, nothing exciting! lol However, the lightly sweetened cereal was good 😉

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Obviously, NOT NS! It was a morning snack…100 CAL Pack of almonds – (powerfuel)

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The Nutrisystem plan offers a lot of pastas. However, they also have chicken breast (which was good), turkey and beef patties

Raviola…one of my favs, light, cherry applesauce, carrot sticks, and 1 slice whole grain bread with Smart Balance spray buttter

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Tuna casserole….DID NOT like this one at all! And I usually love tuna casserole. LOL

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Rasberry-Orange pastry – Breakfast

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Chicken Salad, Very good

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Pizza, didn’t look as good as it tasted in the pics and looks really small, I did have veggies with it. lol Very good

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A dessert…all desserts (and breakfasts for that matter) is all good (to me).

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Two elements that are crucial to ANY weight loss plan is drinking water and working out. And it’s all been said before; however, it’s SO TRUE! I’ve learned to drink enough water during the day in order to keep losing. That’s been difficult for me due to the simple fact that I’m not that crazy about plain water. Yes, I’ve tried the flavored water; I don’t like them! lol

I’ve slowly learned to actually like water. However, it has to be cold. I’ve heard a lot of people say they like “tap” water; well I don’t 😉 I’ve noticed on the specific days that I didn’t drink enough water, those pounds didn’t move. If you’re trying to lose weight, drink plenty of water!

Recently, we were at Applebee’s, and I ordered water with lemon (2 wedges). It was really refreshing. When we go there now, I always order the (half) chicken Caesar salad. I love it! Then when we get home, I’ll eat my Nutrisystem dessert. Their desserts are pretty darn good considering it’s “diet” food.

Something that I just realized…I’ve basically given up red meat! Not that I actually crave it

I’ve recently started back with my workouts. I get up at 5 AM, (excluding weekends) to get it out of the way and also get an early start with my work day. I’m being very honest here; sometimes it’s extremely difficult to make myself get up when my phone alarm goes off! I do give in at times and sleep in. However, it just gets me down knowing that I was lazy that day! So, it’s just better all around if I just get up and get it done. 🙂

What am I going to do “when, NOT if” I get to my goal weight? How am I going to maintain? Hmm… Well, for starters, I’m going to keep working out and drinking water. In addition, I will stay with my small portions and eat healthy foods in general. This will also include snacks in between meals to keep my metabolism going good.

I think the most important thing I’ve learned is that metabolism is the whole key to losing the weight. And it all makes perfect sense; I knew it did all along…just me and laziness, I guess that’s my excuse. lol

Drink plenty of water, don’t starve, eat healthy at meal time and snacks in between meals, and workout

I’m placing myself accountable to everyone that reads this blog post! LOL

Hmm, well the most important person is me…

I’m going to be accountable to me. 🙂

I’m also putting my walking shoes back on and getting back to my walks (in between helping Anna with Cheyanne and Wyatt)

So there you have it, a little about Nutrisystem and also about me.

I hope the next important blog post will be about my new grandbaby with pics!!! 🙂

As Promised, The Article About Preservatives is Here

You can also access the Nutrisystem site Here

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Copyright © Nutrisystem :: Grandma’s Home Blogger Place :: All Rights Reserved

Overcoming Cancer as a New Mother

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I was delighted to get this email. Heather reached out to me and wanted to share her story about surviving cancer.

Heartwarming Story!

Most 7-year-olds don’t know what cancer is, but my daughter is very familiar with the term. Not only does she know what cancer is and how frightening it can be, but she knows that there is always hope. When asked about this deadly disease, she will tell you that she saved my life. She’s not trying to be cute, she just clearly understands the effect that she has had on me and how hard I fought so I could be with her.

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While our friends were starting their families, my husband and I were still focusing on getting to know each other. Our lives felt complete as they were, and we saw no reason to rush into parenthood. I was 35 when Cameron and I decided that we were ready for this incredible step, and we had no idea how fast the process would be.

It only took us three months to conceive Lily, and I took three pregnancy tests before I really believed the news. I was so excited about all the changes we were facing. I was shocked and nervous, but I was also incredibly excited and happy about becoming a mother. I spent so much time rubbing my belly and thinking about the baby growing inside me. I wondered what kind of mother I would be, and I knew that I would do everything in my power to be a great mother to our child.

Pregnancy agreed with me, and the nine months passed without any serious problems. I could have had ten more children because Lily was so easy for me. My only problem appeared as I was preparing to deliver her. My little darling was breech, and the doctors were unable to turn her. I was whisked in for an emergency C-section. While other women may have panicked at this, I turned it into a positive by joking that her head would be perfectly round. When she was born, I was overcome with so many emotions. There was so much I wanted to teach her, show her and tell her.

All I could do was hold her in my arms, staring at her perfect little features and thinking about how incredibly blessed I was. I could have held her that way forever, but things always change and time stops for no one.
Lily was only 3 ½-months-old when I went to the doctor and received news that would change all of our lives. Thank God my husband was with me, because I didn’t know what to do when the doctor said I had malignant pleural mesothelioma.

When he started saying I only had 15 months to live, I began to shut down. All I could think of was that I wouldn’t be there for Lily. I had barely gotten to know her, and I would never get to see her grow into the beautiful woman of my dreams. Thankfully, my husband was there and he continued to listen even as I started to drift in my shock and grief. He collected the information the doctor gave us, and he made the decisions about my medical care.

They weren’t easy decisions to make because they involved traveling and some extreme surgeries. However, they were my best hope for surviving. It would start by going to Boston to meet with one of the top mesothelioma specialists in the world. I would undergo surgery to remove the infected organs including my left lung, the lining of my heart and even my diaphragm.

I would remain in the hospital for 18 days to stabilize me and help me start recovering. After that, I would live in an outpatient facility near the hospital for two more weeks. During this time, my daughter would be away from me. She would be living with my parents in South Dakota while I underwent the treatments and Cameron tried to continue working and supporting me. Finally, after two months apart, I would join her at my parent’s house before returning to Minnesota to start my radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

This was a major sacrifice for Cameron and I, but it was necessary. I missed an entire month of her life, but it meant that I would be around for her in the years to come. I hated being apart from her, but I made the sacrifice so that I could be here for her today. I fought to live for my daughter, and I cannot thank her enough for giving me the strength and courage to fight.

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I look back on my journey with this disease, and I know that I am blessed to be alive. With mortality rates of almost 95 percent, the odds of survival were not in my favor. However, I had something that other people don’t have. I had a baby girl at home who needed her mother, and I absolutely credit her with saving my life.

Visit Heather’s Blog Here

 

 

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Six Tips to Create a “Grandma Camp”

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A “Grandma Camp” allows you to give parents a break and spend special time with your favorite grandkids — which is to say, all your grandkids! While it’s easier to plan a grandma camp with grandchildren who live closer to you, you can still do it with those living far away. Follow these tips to bond with your grandkids and create a new family tradition that everyone will love.


1.Plan ahead on the date

Kids these days are overscheduled for everything. So the first rule of grandma camp is to pick a date months in advance. Not only does advance notice give you time to prepare everything for a successful camp, but it ensures that everyone can meet on a day or time that’s convenient to them. Other reasons to plan in advance? If parents want to take a weekend getaway or plan an extended vacation, they have time to research and request vacation days from work. If grandchildren need to fly across country to see you, parents can shop around for inexpensive tickets.

2. Ask parents for input

It’s always a good idea to check in with parents on what types of activities are and are not recommended during grandma camp. If four of your five grandkids know how to swim, do they want you taking a trip to the lake and trying to teach Little Timmy how to swim or would they prefer he learn at home? The expectations can go both ways, too. For example, you might want to host a three-day grandma camp while parents would prefer a week-long camp.

3. Plan fun activities activities

Check in with interests, activities and hobbies your grandchildren practice to plan fun activities for camp. Is Little Timmy learning his ABC’s? Stock up on reading toys and books. Is Big Sis Janet taking violin lessons? Perhaps there is a music school or camp nearby she can attend while doing grandma camp.

If the idea of planning a week’s worth of activities exhausts you, look for community resources. You may be able to send the grandkids to day camp for part of the day to take some of the pressure off you. Or you might succeed in introducing kids to other grandchildren visiting their Nanas.

4. Allow them to call mom and dad throughout the camp

It’s natural for kids and parents alike to miss one another. Allow kids to call their parents and check in. Parents can find out how things are going, offer tips for fussy eaters and troublemakers and benefit from feeling like everything is going well.

5 Take photos

You’ll definitely want photos of precious moments with grandkids, especially if you don’t live close to them and don’t get to see them often. Take plenty of photos to email parents throughout the camp to have as mementos. You may even want to create a scrapbook or photo group as a holiday gift for grandkids or their parents.

6 Make t-shirts

As one of your activities, make fun t-shirts with the grandkids that say “Grandma Camp.” These can be as simple as Sharpies and plain tee shirts or as elaborate as fabric paint and stencils. Have kids wear then on your outings together, and don’t’ forget to make one for yourself too!

These tips will help get you started on a successful grandma camp. Begin planning well in advance to dedicate time to logistics such as food, sleeping arrangements and outdoor excursions. Planning can help the camp go smoothly and create so many positive memories your grandchildren will treasure!

About The Author

Lindsey is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area and she writes on behalf of Sears and other deserving brands. She writes about hosting a fun grandma camp with all the best activities and toys. She specializes in writing guest posts on social media and education. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree.

Top 3 Indoor Allergy Triggers For Children and Helpful Tips

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Anything can trigger allergy symptoms among children. Did you know that genetics can often be the culprit when a child suffers from an allergy trigger; it’s even more common if both parents have allergy issues.

Of course, the logistics of allergies for children are most certainly perplexed. What triggers an allergy symptom with one child can be the complete opposite of another, even with siblings.

According to reviews and studies, what are the top 3 indoor allergy triggers for children?


Pets – Animals can certainly affect a child’s allergy health; even without a parent’s knowledge. A pet’s hair dander can affect anyone; not just children. However, there are things that can be done to benefit your children considerably.

1. Make for sure your vacuum cleaner has a HEPA filter.
2. Vacuum your carpets and bare floors frequently; in addition, make sure to vacuum all drapes. Pet dander can accumulate easily, so cleaning drapes is suggested at least twice per week.
3. Cleaning after animals can be challenging; especially cats . Brushing them twice daily will help with the dander considerably.
4. Bathing pets weekly is suggested.
5. Medication and shots can be prescribed for cat allergy issues.

Dust – When a house is dusty, of course, it will affect children as well as anyone else. There are many things that can be done to keep dust at bay.

1. Do duct work cleaning once every year. This may sound like too much; however, it is best for health issues if done yearly.
2. Use a swifter duster daily on wood and ceramic floors to keep dust bunnies away.
3. Launder your bedding weekly
4. Change filters in air conditioners and furnaces monthly.
5. Refrain from using a feather duster; this just distributes the dust around instead of eliminating it. It’s best to always use the swifter products.

Detergents – Laundry detergent allergies can be a trial and error situation with kids; especially the young ones. For allergy-prone children, it’s best to use mild, gentle detergent and softeners.

1. Aloe products have been used by many due to allergy and other skin issues.
2. Surcare laundry products are also good for sensitive skin and allergy-prone children; or for anyone for that matter.
3. Soap Nuts is a new product for me. I personally have never heard of it. While doing research for this article, I accidentally discovered it. It seems to be a good choice when it comes to detergent allergies, skin eczema or other issues.
4. Charlie’s Soap, Rockin’ Green and Arm and Hammer are all good detergent alternatives to try.
5. Dreft has been recommended for babies and small children by so many in the past. However, I just read quite a number of bad things about Dreft…to (my surprise)! I used Dreft for my son and he never had a problem, so I thought it was a good detergent. Apparently, it’s gotten some bad reviews from several people.

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Fun, Low-Impact Exercises Perfect for Healthy Hearts and Grandmas – Guest Post

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Having an active lifestyle is one of the best ways to stay healthy and maintain the level of energy and fitness you need to keep up with your grandkids. However, problems like arthritis and recurring injuries make it difficult to jog, play sports, or participate in other activities that have a repetitive, pounding action on your joints. Instead, turn to low-impact exercises that get you moving without putting too much stress on your body.


Cycling: Find a friend and a cruising cycle and head out on your local bike trails for some wonderful time outside getting low-impact exercise. You’ll work mostly your thighs, plus your heart and lungs of course! If you have trouble sitting on a traditional bike seat, try a recumbent stationary bike at your local gym. These have a wide, flat seat with a back to help provide support as you pedal with your legs extended toward the front of the bike.

Trampoline Workouts: Running on a treadmill or on other hard surfaces can put a lot of stress on your hips, knees, ankles, and feet as they have to absorb the shock of every stride you take. If you want to get an effective cardio workout, look into trampolines as your personal shock absorbers. Jogging in place on a trampoline is much lower impact because the springs absorb the impact of each step you take. Other types of activities that are perfect for trampolines include bouncing up and down, which strengthens all of your leg muscles, and bouncing from side to side, which works your core.

Water Aerobics: Exercises in the water are perfect for grandmas because the water holds a lot of your body weight, taking the stress off of your feet and joints. Plus, water provides the perfect resistance for a wide range of cardiovascular and toning exercises. If swimming laps isn’t your thing, try a water aerobics class instead. An instructor will lead you through a long series of activities to build strength and endurance, and classes are the perfect place to chat with other grandmas while you exercise. Many gyms even have classes designed specifically for people with arthritis or other joint issues.

Yoga and Pilates: Maintaining your flexibility is important for being able to participate in a wide range of activities, so you should incorporate some stretching into your exercise routine. Pilates classes are the perfect way to participate in active, gentle stretching that also works to strengthen your core muscles. Yoga is also an option, although you’ll need to have good balance to get the most out of it. Start with a beginner class and work your way up as you build balance and strength.

Rowing and Kayaking: If you’re lucky enough to live near the water, you can actually head out in a canoe or kayak to get some exercise while enjoying the fresh air. Canoes are also perfect for heading out with your honey for a romantic ride on the lake. Alternately, just use an indoor rowing machine, which includes not only the pulling motion to strengthen your arms and back, but also a leg component.

In addition to being low impact and keeping your joints in good condition, these exercises also have many other health benefits. Any type of cardiovascular exercise can help ward off heart disease, losing a bit of weight may help fight diabetes, and developing strength can help you stay active for many years to come. Try something new today, but be careful to take it easy at first and make sure your body and joints are responding well.

About the Author:

Danielle blogs on behalf of Sears and other brands she uses. Trampolines are her favorite type of exercise equipment, followed closely by treadmills.
Read her work at eatbreatheblog.com

Avoiding Harmful Chemicals When Cleaning – Guest Post

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Cleaning is one of those household tasks that we all have to do, whether we like it or not. Using commercial cleaning products that are powerful and effective is easy, but not always the best idea. One of the down sides of it is that most of these products are full of harmful chemicals, which are toxic and therefore neither eco-friendly, nor good for our health. In fact, if you only take a look at what you have in your kitchen, a great deal of products and ingredients can be mixed to produce strong cleaning solutions.

You’d be surprised at how many homemade recipes you could use for cleaning just about anything at home – glass, furniture, floors, tiles, etc. Some natural products have been used for decades for cleaning and they give perfect results. Here is some more information on how to avoid toxic cleaners and harmful chemicals.

Drain Cleaners


These are some of the most toxic ones, but they are still used in just about every home. When there is a clogged drain and you have to fix it, all you want is a quick and powerful solution, but do you stop and check what’s the product made of? If you are conscious about your health and about the environment, you will pick a different method – a drain snake or a drain auger would do just as well. You can buy them from a hardware store. The way to use them is by pushing down the drain and rotating them. This way you can grab onto what’s clogging the drain. You could even buy a cheap plastic one, which is still a better option than using a product which has toxic fumes. Another way is to dissolve what’s clogging the drain by pouring some vinegar and baking soda in it. Sprinkle a cup of 200 gr of baking soda, then pour a cup of vinegar. Cover the drain so the foam goes down and not up. Leave it like that for about an hour, then pour a cup of boiling hot water.

Cleaning the toilet

The commercial toilet bowl cleaners are quite toxic, but how else could you clean that nasty ring and all the stains? In fact, there are other methods you can use just as successfully. Pour one cup of baking soda and a cup of white vinegar in the toilet. This will produce a foam which you can rub with a toilet brush into the bowl. The result is a sparkling clean toilet that you just have to flush down.

All-Purpose Cleaner

You can prepare a completely natural all-purpose cleaner with which you can clean windows, stove tops, countertops, tables and many more areas. Mix hot water with white vinegar. Vinegar is one of the ultimate cleaning products, but many people don’t use it because of the strong smell. Don’t worry –the minute it dries out, the smell will be gone. You can use it for cleaning the bathroom tiles and all the glass surfaces in the bathroom too.

Glass Cleaner

Why waste money on commercial glass cleaners, when you can prepare your own and pour it in a spray bottle?

It’s simple, affordable and effective. Fill a sink with hot water (a few cups), after that add cornstarch and stir it all. The ratio is about 25% cornstarch to 75% water. Dip a clean cloth in this mixture and wring it out a little. Use the washcloth to wipe down glass surfaces.

About The Author

Stay Tuned for the useful cleaning advice offered by Nicole. Learn hoe to keep your house healthy and fresh.

A Manual for Making Lighter, Thinner, Healthier Pizzas – Monthly Food Column

 

 

From The Prepared Pantry

 

 

Years ago, probably when we still lived in Alaska, I bought this little cookbook called, The Weekend Chef. In it was a recipe for an everything-on-it pizza. It turned out to have a big thick crust and a boatload of toppings. The crust was partially baked and the meats precooked and the toppings loaded on and the pizza pushed back into the oven. It really good but with all that prep and rising twice, it seemed like an all-afternoon project. It was too big and too rich and I still remember the heavy feeling after dinner.

I don’t eat pizzas like that anymore. Over the years, our pizzas have become lighter and thinner, certainly healthier. The crusts are thin and crisp. The toppings are much fewer, often with fresh veggies, and with a light layer of cheeses. I’m enjoying these pizzas and I don’t have to look away if I see my doctor in town.

Thin Crusts

Debbie Frantzen, our daughter and operations manager, is the queen of thin crust pizzas. She takes our pizza dough mixes, adds the water, mixes them, and then divides them in half. She uses a pizza stone and a pizza peel and makes two 14-inch pizzas out of one mix. She rolls them very thin and bakes them crispy on a preheated pizza stone.

I’m lazy. I just roll about two-thirds the dough out in a dark colored pizza pan. I have enough dough left for a couple calzones. I have two pizza pans, an old battered relic that’s nearly black from use and a newer perforated pizza pan that is perfect. I sprinkle a little cornmeal on the greased pan and roll the dough in pan using a pizza roller. The dark pans absorb heat and the thin crusts bake quickly and crisply.

Quick and Easy

Debbie taught me that you don’t have to stop and let the crusts rise. If you make and roll the crusts first, they’ll rise enough while you’re prepping and loading the toppings. Plus you’ll get oven spring, a rise in the oven, and the crusts will be crispy by the time the toppings are done. It makes for a very quick and simple pizza.

If you grease the pans well and sprinkle them with cornmeal, the pizzas will slip right off the pan. Slip a spatula under the pizzas and twist it around the pizza to make sure that it is not sticking anywhere, clasp the pizza with the spatula underneath and your thumb on top of the edge of the crust, and quickly slip it off the pan onto a cooling rack. You need to remove the pizza from the pan immediately so that it doesn’t sweat.

Making the Dough

The enemy of thin crusts is “springback.” The gluten in the dough makes the dough elastic. As you try rolling it thinly, it springs back. It has a memory and doesn’t want to roll out thinly and smoothly. It’s almost impossible.

When we first started developing our pizza dough mixes, we added rye flour to dilute the wheat gluten. We still couldn’t get the dough soft enough. So we started experimenting with commercial dough relaxers. We found one that was like magic. We could make the dough just s soft and pliable as we wanted and absolutely eliminate springback. We now use this in all our pizza dough mixes and tortilla mixes.

Since we absolutely love this relaxer, we now package and sell it. If you are going to make pizza dough from scratch, buy this dough relaxer. It’s essential to your thin crust pizzas.

We also sell a pizza flour blend with the dough relaxer already added. The amount of relaxer in this blend is just right.

White Sauces

Debbie discovered a white sauce pizza in the little one-service-station town where she lives, Ririe, Idaho. It had a white sauce made with minced onions and topped with new red potatoes sliced thinly. She brought some to work; it was very good.

Since then, we have experimented with all kinds of white sauces. Alfredo works well but there are a hundred other choices. Here is a list of those we have tried:

White Alfredo pasta sauce

French onion chip dip (You can make a great pizza with this.)
Ranch salad dressing (Doesn’t ranch make everything better?)
Chip dip made with dry onion soup mixes (quick, cheap, and surprisingly good)
Elki dips and spreads (These cost a little more but make some very fine pizzas. Debbie likes the creamy roasted red pepper spread; I like the pineapple cream cheese spread.)

You can see the possibilities. Just keep experimenting

Light Toppings

We mentioned the potato pizza above. Consider fresh veggies on your pizza. I’m particularly fond of fresh tomato slices
but we’ve made pizzas with green beans, with zucchini, and broccoli—often with no meat. Top the veggies with a thin layer of cheeses.

Dennis Weaver is the founder of The Prepared Pantry. He is the author of How to Bake, a 318 page book about the art and science of baking. You can download a free copy of How to Bake Here!

Kindle, Nook and iPad versions available. I personally have the free “How To Bake” book on Kindle and it’s a 100% excellent resource! 🙂

 

 

 

 

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