Saturday, December 27, 2008

December-January Checklist for Your Backyard

The heart of winter is not a time for a lot of outdoor activity. But it's the ideal time to look ahead to the coming spring and make a few plans. And in order to not feel cut off from the companionship of plants, gardeners can certainly look after houseplants—including gift plants. Keep your mind on your garden, even in this quiet season, for ideas and inspiration that can be sown or nurtured now.

Prevent winter damage to your evergreen trees, hedges and shrubs. Wrap hedges with landscape netting and loosely tie branches of upright evergreens with cloth strips. This prevents snow from weighing down limbs and breaking branches.

If you're planning a major new addition this year, such as a pergola, gazebo or water garden, research it now. Browse gardening books and magazines for ideas and inspiration. Give a contractor a call and talk it over.

Houseplants can struggle in the low light of the winter months. Help them out by moving them temporarily to a sunnier, south-facing window. Keep the soil mix moist, but don't fertilize.

Avoid the rush and shop now for seed-starting projects. Check out sterile potting mixes, containers, seed-starting contraptions, grow lights, labels and the like.

Repot houseplants. Divide clumps, trim off excess growth, and set back in fresh potting soil. The plants will look nicer, but the task should revitalize them, too.

Plan a new garden bed on paper. A simple sketch on plain or graph paper will do, so long as your dimensions are right. As for the plants you wish to include, be sure to research and account for their mature sizes.

Some late-winter day, inspect the yard for damage. Clip or cut off limbs or branches that are obviously dead or broken. If you're not sure a branch is dead or just dormant, play it safe, and check back later.

Taken from http://www.backyardlivingmagazine.com

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Customs......Did You Know?......Christmas Bells



Bells, especially church bells, have been associated with Christmas for a long time. In the Anglican and Catholic churches, the church day starts at sunset, so any service after that is the first service of the day. A service on Christmas Eve, after sunset, is traditionally the first service of Christmas day. In churches that have a bell or bells, they are often rung to signal the start of this service.



In some churches in the United Kingdom, it is traditional that the largest bell in the church is rung four times in the hour before midnight and then at midnight all the bells are rung in celebration.



In the Catholic Church, Christmas is the only time that Mass is allowed to be held at midnight. This is because in the early church, it was believed that Jesus was born at midnight, although there has never been any proof of this! A lot of churches have midnight services on Christmas Eve, although not every church will have a mass or communion as part of the service.



In Victorian times, it was very fashionable to go carol singing with small handbells to play the tune of the carol. Some times there would only be the bells and no singing!!! Handbell ringing is still popular today.


"I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"



One of America's best known poets, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), contributed to the wealth of carols sung each Christmas season, when he composed the words to "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" on December 25th 1864. The carol was originally a poem, "Christmas Bells," containing seven stanzas. Two stanzas were omitted, which contained references to the American Civil War, thus giving us the carol in its present form. The poem gave birth to the carol, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day," and the remaining five stanzas were slightly rearranged in 1872 by John Baptiste Calkin (1827-1905), who also gave us the memorable tune. When Longfellow penned the words to his poem, America was still months away from Lee's surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9th 1865; and, his poem reflected the prior years of the war's despair, while ending with a confident hope of triumphant peace.


As with any composition that touches the heart of the hearer, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" flowed from the experience of Longfellow-- involving the tragic death of his wife Fanny and the crippling injury of his son Charles from war wounds. Henry married Frances Appleton on July 13th 1843, and they settled down in the historic Craigie House overlooking the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They were blessed with the birth of their first child, Charles, on June 9th 1844, and eventually, the Longfellow household numbered five children-- Charles, Ernest, Alice, Edith, and Allegra.


Tragedy struck both the nation and the Longfellow family in 1861. Confederate Gen. Pierre G. T. Beauregard fired the opening salvos of the American Civil War on April 12th, and Fanny Longfellow was fatally burned in an accident in the library of Craigie House on July 10th. The day before the accident, Fanny Longfellow recorded in her journal: "We are all sighing for the good sea breeze instead of this stifling land one filled with dust. Poor Allegra is very droopy with heat, and Edie has to get her hair in a net to free her neck from the weight." After trimming some of seven year old Edith's beautiful curls, Fanny decided to preserve the clippings in sealing wax. Melting a bar of sealing wax with a candle, a few drops fell unnoticed upon her dress. The longed for sea breeze gusted through the window, igniting the light material of Fanny's dress-- immediately wrapping her in flames. In her attempt to protect Edith and Allegra, she ran to Henry's study in the next room, where Henry frantically attempted to extinguish the flames with a nearby, but undersized throw rug. Failing to stop the fire with the rug, he tried to smother the flames by throwing his arms around Frances-- severely burning his face, arms, and hands. Fanny Longfellow died the next morning. Too ill from his burns and grief, Henry did not attend her funeral. The first Christmas after Fanny's death, Longfellow wrote, "How inexpressibly sad are all holidays." A year after the incident, he wrote, "I can make no record of these days. Better leave them wrapped in silence. Perhaps someday God will give me peace." Longfellow's journal entry for December 25th 1862 reads: "'A merry Christmas' say the children, but that is no more for me."


Almost a year later, Longfellow received word that his oldest son Charles, a lieutenant in the Army of the Potomac, had been severely wounded with a bullet passing under his shoulder blades and taking off one of the spinal processes. The Christmas of 1863 was silent in Longfellow's journal.


Finally, on Christmas Day of 1864, he wrote the words of the poem, "Christmas Bells." The reelection of Abraham Lincoln or the possible end of the terrible war may have been the occasion for the poem. Lt. Charles Longfellow did not die that Christmas, but lived. Longfellow's Christmas bells loudly proclaimed, "God is not dead." Even more, the bells announced, "Nor doth He sleep." God's Truth, Power, and Justice are affirmed, when Longfellow wrote: "The wrong shall fail, the right prevail." The message that the Living God is a God of Peace is proclaimed in the close of the carol: "Of peace on Earth, good will to men."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

November........Falling Leaves



"Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn."- Elizabeth Lawrence

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My Favorite Hymns - Holy, Holy, Holy

Fall Fun - Apple Bobbing

"Stay Dry" Apple Bobbing

Entertain your children with a new twist on this favorite party game.


Tip:Be sure to purchase apples with long, sturdy stems.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Cupcake of the Week - Carrot Cupcakes


INGREDIENTS:
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups grated carrots

CHUNKY FROSTING:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped raisins

DIRECTIONS
In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and oil. Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, allspice and salt; gradually add to egg mixture. Stir in carrots. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 325° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing form pans to wire racks. For frosting, in a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until smooth. Stir in the coconut, pecans and raisins. Frost cupcakes. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 2 dozen.

Nutrition Facts
One serving:
(1 each)
Calories: 326; Fat: 18 g; Saturated Fat: 5 g; Cholesterol: 51 mg; Sodium: 187 mg; Carbohydrate:
40 g; Fiber: 1 g; Protein: 3 g

Printed from tasteofhome.com Sep 29, 2008

Copyright Reiman Media Group, Inc © 2008

Northeast - October Checklist

Winter is on its way—the days are shorter, the air is cooler, and plant growth has slowed or halted. Spend some time outside preparing your yard and garden for its rest by taking care of these routine end-of-season chores. It'll give you a sense of accomplishment and closure, plus it's important to protect all the time, money and effort you've invested.

NORTHEAST

Cut back tall perennials before the first frost. Chopping down to a few inches above the soil seems brutal, but it does no harm and allows for spring's resurgence.


Drain the hose and bring it in for winter. Wipe down with a rag, so there's no mud or moisture on it. Store it flat, letting it coil naturally, someplace dry and dark.

Close the compost pile for the winter. Its activity has been slowing for a while, and adding kitchen scraps to it now only leads to a pile of frozen garbage. Give it one last stir, and then replace the lid or cover it with a tarp.

Plant of the Month

‘Beni-kaze’ Japanese Forest Grass
Slightly twisted, colorful foliage gives this forest grass a rippled effect. Perfect for containers or ground covers or in borders.
Botanical name: Hakonechloa macra ‘Beni-kaze.
Hardiness: Zones 5 to 9.
Size: 2 to 3 feet tall and slightly wider.
Light needs: Part shade to full sun.
Soil: Moist, fertile soil.
Featuring: At the hint of chilly weather, this new Japanese forest grass turns shades of red. Unique, twisted foliage suggests movement.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cupcake of the Week - Cream-Filled Pumpkin Cupcakes


From Country Woman
Here's a deliciously different use for pumpkin. Bursting with flavor and plenty of eye-catching appeal, these sweet and spicy filled cupcakes are bound to dazzle your family any time of the year.

SERVINGS 21

PREP 35 min.
COOK 20 min.

TOTAL 55 min.

INGREDIENTS
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
4 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

FILLING:
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup milk
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional

DIRECTIONS
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, oil, pumpkin and eggs. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder and cinnamon; add to pumpkin mixture and beat until well mixed. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
For filling, combine cornstarch and milk in a small saucepan until smooth. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; cool to room temperature. In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening, butter and confectioners' sugar. Beat in vanilla if desired. Gradually add the cornstarch mixture, beating until light and fluffy. Using a sharp knife, cut a 1-in. circle 1 in. deep in the top of each cupcake. Carefully remove tops and set aside. Spoon or pipe filling into cupcakes. Replace tops. Yield: about 1-3/4 dozen.

Nutrition Facts:
One serving: (1 each) Calories: 321 Fat: 16 g Saturated Fat: 4 g Cholesterol: 48 mg Sodium: 292 mg Carbohydrate: 42 g Fiber: 1 g Protein: 3 g

Printed from tasteofhome.com Sep 22, 2008
Copyright Reiman Media Group, Inc © 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

How Do I Lower My Risk of Breast Cancer - If You're in Your 60s or older.....

As you age, your breasts become less dense, and it is easier to perform a breast self-exam (BSEs).

The average age of a woman who receives a breast cancer diagnosis is 62, which is why women in their 60s need to be more vigilant than ever about breast health.

1. Continue getting annual mammograms and annual clinical exams. Screening becomes more important the older you get because your risk keeps going up, says Julie R. Gralow, MD, director of breast medical oncology at the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. “Fortunately, the older you get, the more fatty your breasts, and the easier it is to read mammograms,” she notes. And while mammograms and clinical exams don’t prevent cancer, they can prevent complications from treatment. “If you find it early, you can just get a lumpectomy and you may not need chemo.”

2. Track any changes in your own breasts. The older you are, the easier it is to do breast self-exams (BSEs), because breasts are less dense, says Dr. Gralow. Here are instructions on how to check your own breasts.

3. Drink less alcohol. “This means no more than one drink per day,” says Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD, director of the Prevention Center at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and coauthor, with Dr. Gralow, of Breast Fitness: An Optimal Exercise and Health Plan for Reducing Your Risk of Breast Cancer. “Alcohol use increases your risk for breast cancer.” A recent National Cancer Institute study of postmenopausal women found that those who had one to two small drinks a day were 32% more likely to develop the most common type of breast cancer (that with tumors that are positive for both estrogen and progesterone receptors). Women who had three or more drinks daily had as high as a 51% increased risk for hormone-sensitive breast cancer.

4. Exercise regularly. Studies suggest that exercising three to four hours per week at moderate or vigorous levels can reduce your risk of breast cancer by about 20%. “It’s never too late to start,” says Dr. McTiernan. “We found in the Women’s Health Initiative that there was a benefit to exercising in middle to late years even in women who were inactive when young.” And you don’t have to be Dara Torres to reap the benefits: Activities like brisk walking, biking, dancing, or any exercise that raises your heart rate above its baseline level for at least 20 minutes and makes you sweat are beneficial.

5. Eat a healthy diet. Try to eat 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day and limit your intake of red meat to 4 ounces (about the size of a deck of cards) per day on average. Dr. McTiernan also recommends avoiding meats such as sausages and bologna. “The chemicals that are used to process the meats have been found to cause several kinds of cancers,” she notes. Strive also to minimize your intake of high-calorie foods such as sugary drinks, juice, desserts, and candies, as well as refined breads and chips.

6. Maintain your body weight, or lose weight if you're overweight. Research has shown that being overweight or obese (especially if you're past menopause) increases your risk, especially if you put on the weight as an adult. And a study released in March 2008 by researchers at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston showed that obese and overweight women also had lower breast cancer survival rates and a greater chance of more aggressive disease than average-weight or underweight women. Find your healthy weight. A body mass index (BMI) of 25 or less is considered healthy.

7. Consider chemoprevention to reduce your cancer risk. Tamoxifen and raloxifene both reduce the chance of developing breast cancer by half for women at increased risk for breast cancer, says Dr. McTiernan—and all women over the age of 60 fall into that category. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of these medications.

Breast Cancer Quiz

Taken from Health.com

How Do I Lower My Risk of Breast Cancer - If You're in Your 50s.....

Exercising three to four hours per week at moderate or vigorous levels can reduce your risk of breast cancer by about 20%.

As menopause hits, breast cancer rates start to rise, and 1 in 40 women will get the disease in this decade of her life. Taking care of your health becomes more important than ever. Here are the key things you need to do to stay healthy.

1. Schedule an annual mammogram and clinical exam and check your own breasts. The American Cancer Society recommends that women age 40 and older get a mammogram and a clinical breast exam every year. Also, stay familiar with your own breasts: If you notice any changes, tell your doctor about them immediately.

2. Drink less alcohol. “This means no more than one drink per day,” says Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD, director of the Prevention Center at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and coauthor of Breast Fitness: An Optimal Exercise and Health Plan for Reducing Your Risk of Breast Cancer. “Alcohol use increases your risk for breast cancer.” A recent National Cancer Institute study of postmenopausal women found that those who had one to two small drinks a day were 32% more likely to develop the most common type of breast cancer (that with tumors that are positive for both estrogen and progesterone receptors). Women who had three or more drinks daily had as high as a 51% increased risk for hormone-sensitive breast cancer.

3. Maintain your body weight, or lose weight if you're overweight. Research has shown that being overweight or obese (especially if you're past menopause) increases your risk, especially if you put on the weight as an adult. And a study released in March 2008 by researchers at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston showed that obese and overweight women also had lower breast cancer survival rates and a greater chance of more aggressive disease than average weight or underweight women. Find your healthy weight. A body mass index (BMI) of 25 or less is considered healthy.

4. Eat a healthy diet. Try to eat 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day and limit your intake of red meat to 4 ounces (about the size of a deck of cards) per day on average. Dr. McTiernan also recommends avoiding meats such as sausages and bologna. “The chemicals that are used to process the meats have been found to cause several kinds of cancers,” she notes. Strive also to minimize your intake of high-calorie foods such as sugary drinks, juice, desserts, and candies, as well as refined breads and chips.

5. Stay active. Studies suggest that exercising three to four hours per week at moderate or vigorous levels can reduce your risk of breast cancer by about 20%. “We found in the Women’s Health Initiative that there was a benefit to exercising in middle to late years even in women who were inactive when young,” says Dr. McTiernan. And you don’t have to be Dara Torres to reap the benefits: Activities like brisk walking, biking, dancing, or any exercise that raises your heart rate above its baseline level for at least 20 minutes and makes you sweat are beneficial.

6. Avoid (or limit) hormone replacement therapy (HRT). “Hormone replacement therapy, also known as postmenopausal hormone therapy (PHT), definitely increases your [breast cancer] risk," says Julie R. Gralow, MD, director of breast medical oncology at the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. “But for women with major menopause issues, I’m not opposed to limited courses of HRT—say a five-year period, but not decades.”

7. If you’re at high risk of getting breast cancer, ask your doctor whether you’re a good candidate for chemoprevention. “There are two drugs approved for reducing your risk of getting breast cancer: raloxifene, which is approved for use in postmenopausal women, and tamoxifen, which is approved for all ages,” explains Dr. Gralow. “They are very similar. While the average woman should not take a drug to reduce the risk of breast cancer, I would consider them for a woman who’s had a biopsy that shows an increased risk for development of cancer.”

MORE TO CONSIDER: Get enough Vitamin D. Although the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is 400 IUs, some researchers think this amount is too low, reports Dr. McTiernan. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego, noting the beneficial effect that vitamin D has been observed to have on breast cancer risk, suggested that higher levels—1,000 IUs of vitamin D a day—may be a convenient and cost-effective way to reduce that risk. (The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies advises that daily intake of vitamin D above 2,000 IU could be dangerous.) Vitamin D occurs naturally in fish and eggs, and is commonly found in fortified dairy products. Dr. McTiernan advises that women can get an inexpensive blood test from their doctors to check their vitamin D levels, and doctors can recommend supplements as needed.

Breast Cancer Quiz

Taken from Health.com

How Do I Lower My Risk of Breast Cancer - If You're in Your 40s.....

Most experts on cancer and diet recommend at least 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
Women in their 40s need to be more vigilant than ever about their breast screening as cancer rates start to increase at this time of life: The probability of a woman in her 40s developing the disease is 1 in 70. Implementing healthy habits such as these becomes even more important.

1. Schedule an annual mammogram and clinical exam, and check your own breasts. The American Cancer Society recommends that women age 40 and older get a mammogram and a clinical breast exam every year. Also, stay familiar with your own breasts: If you notice any changes, tell your doctor about them immediately. Chances are good that any changes you notice, such as fibrocystic breast changes are harmless, but it's still essential to have anything new or unusual checked out.

2. Drink less alcohol. “This means no more than one drink per day,” says Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD, director of the Prevention Center at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and coauthor of Breast Fitness: An Optimal Exercise and Health Plan for Reducing Your Risk of Breast Cancer. “Alcohol use increases your risk for breast cancer.”

3. Eat a healthy diet. Dr. McTiernan points out that while the relationship between diet and cancer is far from established, research suggests that a plant-based diet is associated with reduced risks for several cancers. The National Cancer Institute has for many years recommended that members of the general population eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, but Dr. McTiernan points out that most experts on cancer and diet recommend at least double that amount. Focus especially on eating a variety of brightly colored vegetables and fruits, as these contain the highest concentrations of vitamins. Limit your intake of red meat to 4 ounces (about the size of a deck of cards) per day on average. Dr. McTiernan also recommends avoiding meats such as sausages and bologna. “The chemicals that are used to process the meats have been found to cause several kinds of cancers,” she notes. Strive also to minimize your intake of high-calorie foods such as sugary drinks, juice, desserts, and candies, as well as refined breads and chips.

4. Stay active. Studies suggest that exercising three to four hours per week at moderate or vigorous levels can reduce your risk of breast cancer by about 20%. “We found in the Women’s Health Initiative that there was a benefit to exercising in middle to late years even in women who were inactive when young,” says Dr. McTiernan. And you don’t have to be Dara Torres to reap the benefits: Activities like brisk walking, biking, dancing, or any exercise that raises your heart rate above its baseline level for at least 20 minutes and makes you sweat are beneficial.

5. Consider chemoprevention. If you’re at high risk of getting breast cancer, ask your doctor whether you’re a good candidate for chemoprevention. Tamoxifen is approved for use in premenopausal women at high risk of developing breast cancer. “While the average woman should not take a drug to reduce the risk of breast cancer," explains Julie R. Gralow, MD, director of breast medical oncology at the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, "I would consider them for a woman who’s had a biopsy that shows an increased risk for development of cancer."

MORE TO CONSIDER: Avoid unnecessary exposure to cancer-causing substances. Radiation and some chemicals are known to cause cancer, says Dr. McTiernan. “Make sure that any physician who orders an X-ray for you, especially high dose ones like CT scans, knows how many previous X-rays you have had,” advises Dr. McTiernan. “If it is not an emergency situation, ask if there is an alternative examination that would suit your situation, such as an ultrasound or MRI, neither of which involves radiation. (Your doctor can help you weigh the relative risk of momentary exposure to radiation versus not having an X-ray or CT scan that may be medically necessary.) “Also,” adds Dr. McTiernan, “if you work in an industry or occupation where you are exposed to radiation or chemicals, be very careful to follow the regulations of your company and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.” Scientists have identified more than 200 potential breast carcinogens. Learn more about them in this broad analysis of existing research from the American Cancer Society. As a basic rule of thumb, when faced with food, cosmetics, or household products that are loaded with preservatives or other artificial substances, opt when possible for products containing mostly natural ingredients. Breast cancer experts also advise that you educate yourself about the reality behind all those breast cancer myths out there.

Breast Cancer Quiz

Taken from Health.com

How Do I Lower My Risk of Breast Cancer - If You're in Your 30s.....

Breast cancer rates for women in their 30s are still relatively low, but this is the time to get serious about monitoring your breasts for any changes. Here’s some good breast-healthy behavior to cultivate during this decade.

1. Get a clinical breast exam every three years. Also monitor your own breasts, and if you notice any changes, alert your doctor. If you’re at high risk due to a close family history, your doctor may want you to start getting annual mammograms and MRIs as well.


2. Drink less alcohol. “This means no more than one drink per day,” says Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD, director of the Prevention Center at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and coauthor of Breast Fitness: An Optimal Exercise and Health Plan for Reducing Your Risk of Breast Cancer. “Alcohol use increases your risk for breast cancer.”


3. If you have children, breast-feed them for at least six months. Some studies suggest that breast-feeding may slightly lower breast cancer risk, particularly if a woman continues breast feeding for 1.5 to 2 years. A recent study by researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center showed that breast feeding for six months or longer reduced the risk of low grade, slow-growing breast cancer by 20%, while the risk of triple-negative disease was cut by 50%.

4. Avoid eating too much red and processed meat. Limit your intake of red meat to 4 ounces (about the size of a deck of cards) per day on average, says Dr. McTiernan. She also recommends avoiding meats such as sausages and bologna. “The chemicals that are used to process the meats have been found to cause several kinds of cancers,” she notes. Strive also to eat 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day and minimize your intake of high-calorie foods such as sugary drinks, juice, desserts, and candies, as well as refined breads and chips.


5. If you’re at high risk of getting breast cancer, ask your doctor whether you’re a good candidate for chemoprevention. Tamoxifen is approved for use in premenopausal women at high risk of developing breast cancer. “While the average woman should not take a drug to reduce the risk of breast cancer," explains Julie R. Gralow, MD, director of breast medical oncology at the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, "I would consider them for a woman who’s had a biopsy that shows an increased risk for development of cancer."


6. Stay active. Studies suggest that exercising three to four hours per week at moderate or vigorous levels can reduce your risk of breast cancer by about 20%. Whether it's brisk walking, biking, dancing, or jogging, work to keep your heart rate above its baseline level for at least 20 minutes at a time.


MORE TO CONSIDER: Can stressful life events increase your risk of breast cancer? The relationship between attitude, outlook, mood, and breast cancer is up for debate, but a recent Israeli study of women under the age of 45 found that exposure to several stressful life events, such as the divorce or death of parents before 20 years of age, was associated with breast cancer. “Experiencing more than one [negative] meaningful life event...is a risk factor for breast cancer among young women,” the authors, from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer Sheva and Haifa University in Haifa, Israel, wrote. “On the other hand, general feelings of happiness and optimism can play a protective role against the disease.” Sounds simple enough: Don't worry, be happy, avoid breast cancer. But Ronit Peled, PhD, MPH, the lead author of the study and an epidemiologist at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, notes that simply being optimistic and having positive feelings are not enough to prevent breast cancer. But happiness and optimism, she adds, along with positive lifestyle factors including diet and exercise, cumulatively contribute to good health. The findings come with a few more caveats. As a retrospective study, the subjects were interviewed after their breast cancer diagnoses, which means that the disease may have impacted the overall evaluations of their lives retroactively. And some in the medical community are concerned with the message that women may gather from this sort of research. "Nobody can control these kinds of stresses," says Julia A. Smith, MD, director of the NYU Cancer Institute's breast cancer screening and prevention program and director of the Lynne Cohen breast cancer preventive care program at NYU in New York City. "And I don't think it's a good idea to present to women evidence that says if they're not happy or if they're stressed out, they might be causing their cancer." What's more, says Dr. Smith, there's evidence that shows the opposite of the Israeli study's findings may be true, that stress may actually be an immune system catalyst that might lower one's risk for the disease. In any event, more research is needed to pin down any links between attitude, mood, stress, and breast cancer before any conclusions are drawn. Till then, Dr. McTiernan advises women who've experienced stressful life events to do what she'd advise for anyone, regardless of cancer risk: "Seek counseling from a support group, counselor, or clergy to help deal with the event and surrounding stress and grief, which should help with overall health."


Taken from Health.com

How Do I Lower My Risk of Breast Cancer - If You're in Your 20s.....

Alcohol use increases your risk for breast cancer. Try to limit yourself to no more than one drink per day or better still...drink something healthy.

Most twentysomethings are too busy finishing school, launching careers, and starting families to consider their risk of breast cancer. And it is relatively rare: the probability of a woman in her 20s developing the disease is only 1 in 1,837. But your 20s are the ideal time to start reducing your risk of getting the disease in the future. Here’s what you can do.

1. Get a clinical breast exam. These tests involve a physical exam by a medical professional and should be repeated at least every three years during your 20s.

2. Be breast aware. Though some doctors now consider breast self-exams optional, it’s a smart idea to become familiar with your breasts so you notice any small changes, which you should then bring to the attention of your doctor ASAP. Learn how to check your breasts.

3. Find out if you’re at high risk. If breast cancer runs in your family, talk to your doctor about whether you need stepped up screening. “For a small subgroup of women with strong family histories of breast cancer, we recommend starting screening, including annual mammograms and MRIs at age 25,” says Julie R. Gralow, MD, director of breast medical oncology at the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. You may also want to consider getting tested for the BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 gene mutations, which are linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.

4. Drink less alcohol. “This means no more than one drink per day,” says Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD, director of the Prevention Center at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and coauthor with Dr. Gralow of Breast Fitness: An Optimal Exercise and Health Plan for Reducing Your Risk of Breast Cancer. “Alcohol use increases your risk for breast cancer.”

5. If you have children, breast-feed them for at least six months. Some studies suggest that breast-feeding may slightly lower breast cancer risk, particularly if a woman continues breast feeding for 1.5 to 2 years. A recent study by researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center showed that breast feeding for six months or longer reduced the risk of low grade, slow-growing breast cancer by 20%, while the risk of triple-negative disease was cut by 50%.

6. Stay active. Studies suggest that exercising three to four hours per week at moderate or vigorous levels can reduce your risk of breast cancer by about 20%. Whether it's brisk walking, biking, dancing, or jogging, work to keep your heart rate above its baseline level for at least 20 minutes at a time.

7. Eat a healthy diet. While the relationship between diet and cancer is far from established, research suggests that a plant-based diet is associated with reduced risks for several cancers. The National Cancer Institute has for many years recommended that members of the general population eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, but Dr. McTiernan points out that most experts on cancer and diet recommend at least double that amount. Focus especially on eating a variety of brightly colored vegetables and fruits, as these contain the highest concentrations of vitamins. Limit your intake of red meat to 4 ounces (about the size of a deck of cards) per day on average. Dr. McTiernan also recommends avoiding meats such as sausages and bologna. “The chemicals that are used to process the meats have been found to cause several kinds of cancers,” she notes. Strive also to minimize your intake of high-calorie foods such as sugary drinks, juice, desserts, and candies, as well as refined breads and chips.

Breast Cancer Quiz

Taken from Health.com

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Good Luck to our Beloved Buckeyes


Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel said he and his players recite a motivational poem before each game. Here it is:

By Edward Hale
"I am only one. But I am one. I can't do everything but I can do something and that I can do, I ought to do. And what I ought to do, by the grace of God I shall do."


Check out the Video at the bottom of the page. In case you don't know the Battle Cry words, here they are. Memorize them and sing along with us this football season.

Buckeye Battle Cry
In old Ohio there's a team
That's known thru-out the land;
Eleven warriors, brave and bold,
Whose fame will ever stand.
And when the ball goes over,
Our cheers will reach the sky,
Ohio field will hear again
The Buckeye Battle Cry-Drive!
Drive on down the field,
Men of the scarlet and gray;
Don't let them thru that line,
We have to win this game today,
Come on, Ohio!
Smash through to victory.
We cheer you as you go:
Our honor defend
So we'll fight to the end for O-hi-o.
GO BUCKS!! O-H-I-O

Cheese and Crackers - The Beauty of Display

Cheese Platter
Copyright, 1999,
The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, All Rights Reserved

Assembling a stunning fruit and cheese platter requires no cooking. I follow a few key principles to be sure it looks festive and is easy for guests to help themselves.


First, I choose an interesting assortment of cheeses—hard sharp cheeses, soft creamy ones, and pungent blue cheeses. I look for an interesting mix of flavors, textures, and colors. For example: French Camembert, Le Chevrot (a sharp goat cheese), Rondin with herbs (a creamy goat cheese), and Montagnolo (a creamy blue cheese). Go to the best cheese shop in town and ask the person at the counter which cheeses are ready to serve. Taste everything; they expect you to. We all know that the Brie may look terrific, but it can be underripe and tough or overripe and ammoniated. You want only the freshest cheeses that are perfectly ripened. Take them home, refrigerate them, and then bring them to room temperature a few hours before serving.


Second, be sure to have a platter or wooden board that is flat and large enough to hold the cheeses without crowding them. Arrange the cheeses with the cut sides facing out, and with several small cheese knives, maybe one for each type of cheese.


Third, to finish the platter, add sliced breads or crackers, and green leaves. I use either lemon or galax leaves, which you can get from your florist. If you have a garden, any large flat leaf like hydrangea looks beautiful, but be sure they aren't poisonous and are pesticide-free! Overall, the simpler the design, the better the platter looks. Group each kind of cheese together and add one large bunch of green or red grapes in the center to create a visual focal point. Fill in the spaces with lots of crackers or small slices of bread.

Episode#: IG1C14 Copyright © 2006 Television Food Network, G.P., All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Summer appetizers are the Winner!!

Our recent poll asked what you serve at your summer parties. Appetizers were the winner. Below is one of my favorite appetizers, and just in time for all those tomatoes that are now ripe.


Marinated Tomatoes
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen
Show:
Paula's Home Cooking
Episode:
Summer Entertaining: Beach Party


3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 to 3 green onions, chopped
4 to 6 large tomatoes, each cut into 6 wedges

Combine all ingredients, except tomatoes, in a large measuring cup or mixing bowl. Whisk well. Place tomatoes in a resealable plastic bag and pour marinade over. Marinate at room temperature for up to 2 hours, turning the bag occasionally.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Healthy Eating Series - Snacking

Snacking is the downfall of many dieters. Calories in common snacks can total an entire meal or more and can be consumed in a very short period of time leaving you feeling hungry, sluggish, and discouraged. A change to healthy eating must include healthy snacking. Below are a list of healthy snacks that have approximately 120-150 calories each. Pick two (no more than four) for a 2-week period of time. After 2 weeks, you can switch for two more. Try using these snacks for 2 weeks at a time. It makes planning and having something on hand quickly much easier.

15 baby carrots + 7-8 almonds or walnuts

Medium apple with 1 tablespoon of peanut or almond butter

1/2 cup blueberries with 1/2 cup of cottage cheese or 1 ounce of other cheese

2 whole grain crackers (AkMak or Wasa) with 1 ounce of cheese

2 whole grain crackers with 1 tablespoon peanut/nut butter

8 almonds + 1 mini box of raisins or other dried fruit such as cranberries, blueberries

15 baby carrots with 1/4 cup of hummus

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Healthy Eating Series - Lunch

Lunch is a good midday celebration. At work when the weather is nice, I eat out in the courtyard. It is a pleasant, relaxing experience. Lunch can also be a time of mega calorie consumption if you aren't careful. It can be a meal of snacking instead of healthy eating. Discipline at lunchtime will play a key role in maintaining or losing weight. Soup and salad will be my superfoods choice for the next two weeks. Below is the daily salad I feel will give me the best nutrition for the least amount of calories:

1 cup spinach torn into bite-sized pieces
1 cup chopped romaine
1/4 cup shredded red cabbage
1/2 cup sliced red bell pepper
1/2 tomato, chopped
1/4 cup chickpeas
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/4 avocado, cubed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

I will also use soup as a filler as it is a low-calorie, high nutritional addition to my diet. I have found the soups below to be the most nutritious:

Best: No added salt varieties OR less than 350 mg of sodium per cup, 8 ounces. Do not use if more than 480 mg of sodium per cup.

Progresso 50% Less Sodium Garden Vegetable, Chicken Noodle
Healthy Choice Chicken Tortilla Soup, Garden Vegetable
Campbell's Select Healthy Request Savory Chicken and Long Grain Rice, Mexican Style Chicken Tortilla
Campbell's Chunky Healthy Request Vegetable
Healthy Choice Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle, Chicken with Rice, Country Vegetable

Friday, August 8, 2008

Healthy Eating Series - Breakfast

For many years, I was a no-breakfast person. There were several reasons.......I didn't have time, I wasn't hungry, I could save calories, etc. Unfortunately, skipping breakfast hasn't gotten me a whole lot. I would be so hungry by lunchtime that I overate for lunch, which nullified my "no-calorie" idea from breakfast. I have been reading that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. In order to maintain your metabolism, your blood sugar must be at a constant level. Otherwise, you experience hunger, cravings, etc. Eating breakfast first thing in the morning regulates your blood sugar and gives you a good send-off for the day. I have chosen three breakfasts that I will be using for the next two weeks. They will be listed below. God provided breakfast for the Israelites while they were in the wilderness. Numbers 11:9, "And when the dew fell on the camp in the night, the manna fell on it." God wanted the Israelites to rise first thing in the morning and gather their breakfast.

Here are the three breakfasts I will be choosing from for the next 2 weeks:
Oatmeal with blueberries and almonds (no milk)

1 ounce dry (1 packet or 1/3 cup) oats (make with water)
3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 tablespoon slivered almonds
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons honey

Pumpkin Walnut Muffin and Yogurt or Cottage Cheese

mailto:dadsgirl60@yahoo.com Click on link for recipe for Pumpkin Walnut Muffins. I will email you the recipe.

Cheddar Cheese, Avocado, and Tomato Toast


1 slice whole grain bread (3g of fiber), lightly toasted (80-100 calories/slice)

Layer and toast:

2 tablespoons avocado (1/4 of an avocado), mashed

2 tablespoons grated cheddar cheese (=1/2 ounce)

1 medium tomato sliced

Enjoy with an apple, orange, or 3/4 cup berries

Have a great morning!!!


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Healthy Eating Series - SuperFoods

Over the years, I have been on many kinds of diets. Some of them work when you stick with them, some of them work for awhile, and some of them don't work at all. For the past year, I have been researching healthy eating and what exactly is a healthy lifestyle. I guess when you get to midlife, you start thinking about the quality of life you will have in the last half. I have more recently come across some books on Super Foods. As I have read these books, I have begun to try some of what they advocate. I have also been reading several scriptures in the Old Testament to see what God had to say about healthy eating and how it measures up to what they say about Super Foods. Over the next several months, I will post updates for you and tell you how things are working out for me. This serves a twofold purpose......#1 - It makes me accountable to someone and gives me an incentive to continue on and.......#2 - You will discover firsthand if the Super Foods craze actually works. So......here we go.......tomorrow I will post the first step in healthy eating.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

His Eye is on the Sparrows

There is a courtyard where I work that is beautifully landscaped with various plants and flowers and benches to sit on. I go there frequently for lunch. It is quiet, peaceful, serene, and I can enjoy nature and spend some time with God. We talk frequently out there. I admire the nature that is out there and am amazed at how God made everything to work together. I am about to embark on an adventure I have never experienced before. I will be having surgery that could potentially lead to some serious results. It is an anxious time for me. I have always been the strong one for family and friends, but this time it is me. My son, Ethan, came to me the other night and said he had a scripture for me. It was Matthew 10:29-31 where Jesus talks about how God watches over even the sparrows. My son doesn't know that I sit in the courtyard everyday for lunch. He just felt God speaking to his heart and shared what God had given him. I have been praying that God will give me a sign that everything will be done according to His will. The next day I went to lunch, and while I was sitting on the bench, three sparrows came up about 2 feet from my feet. They sat there and looked at me the whole time I was eating my peanut butter sandwich. I gave them a few crumbs because I thought that was why they were staring at me. They would take the crumbs, drop them a ways off, and then come back and stand there looking at me. All of a sudden, I remembered the scripture my son gave me. I bowed my head and thanked God for the sparrows and His great love. I started to hum, "His Eye is on the Sparrow". They stayed until I was done and then flew off. Thank you God (and Ethan) for reminding me how important I really am in your eyes. I know you will be watching over me during this time.

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,

Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,

When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Refrain
I sing because I’m happy,

I sing because I’m free,

For His eye is on the sparrow,

And I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,”

His tender word I hear,

And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;

Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Refrain

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,

When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,

I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. ---Civilla D. Martin, 1905


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Famous July Birthdays

You know how much I love to look up birthdays of famous people. When I was looking over the list for July, I was surprised at how many "old" famous people were born in July and just how old they were. For example:
  • Calvin Coolidge - July 4, 1872 - 136 years old
  • P.T. Barnum - July 5, 1810- 198 years old
  • John Paul Jones - July 6, 1747 - 261 years old
  • John D. Rockefeller - July 8, 1839 - 168 years old
  • John Quincy Adams - July 11, 1767 - 240 years old
  • George Washington Carver - July 12, 1861 - 146 years old
  • Henry David Thoreau - July 12, 1817 - 190 years old
  • George Bernard Shaw - July 26, 1856 - 151 years old
  • Beatrix Potter - July 28, 1866 - 141 years old
  • Henry Ford - July 30, 1863 - 144 years old

And the oldest birthday boy is...........




Rembrandt Van Rijn - July 15, 1606 - 401 years old

Rembrandt painted many religious scenes from the Bible. View the SlideShow below by clicking on the arrow in the lower lefthand corner of the first picture:


video

Take the July Trivia Quiz and see how well you do!


July Trivia


July Trivia


I scored 8 out of 10


Take the July Trivia at Quizopolis.com


Saturday, July 5, 2008

Oh, the Things that Kids Remember!!


I received a call from my daughter the other night, and she was laughing her head off. She began the conversation by saying the reason she was calling was because her husband, Ben, had told her that she needed to tell me what she had said to him. At their house in Strasburg, they have an open breezeway between the garage and house that they can sit in. They were sitting out there this particular evening at dusk and watching the fireflies. I am sure it was a romantic setting since they are still newlyweds. Ben had moved the trash from the garage to the open breezeway because it had developed an odor. As they were sitting there enjoying the evening and the fireflies, my daughter said, "Ben, this reminds me of when we would go camping when we were kids." Ben asked her why she thought so. She continued with, "Because of the fireflies and the smell of trash!" He began to laugh and asked her what kind of camping she did as a kid!! We have all gotten a big kick out of the whole incident. I remember taking the kids camping, and I remember sitting out in the evenings and watching the kids try to catch the fireflies, but I don't recall smelling trash during the event!! It's funny what people remember from their childhood. I guess the old saying that kids are impressionable is really true. It may be many years before you find out what has impressed them or what they remember. The whole thing has made me think......what DO my children remember that I am not aware of? Are they good things.....are they bad things??? What kind of an impression have I made on them? I am not going to worry or fret about it, but I am going to take it as a reminder from God that we are being watched by the children around us. What kind of impressions are we leaving with them? What will they remember years from now? I want to be like Christ was when He gathered the children around him. I want to influence them with the love of Christ before the world gets their chance......for such is the kingdom of God.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Margaret Sidney: The Five Little Peppers and Their Creator

Remember Phronsie Pepper and the little brown house in Badgerton? Both were the fictional creations of Harriett Mulford Stone Lothrop, who wrote about the beloved Pepper family under the pseudonym Margaret Sidney. Born June 22, 1844 in New Haven, Connecticut, Harriett Stone was the daughter of architect Sidney Mason Stone. In 1878 she began sending short stories to Wide Awake, a children's magazine published by Daniel Lothrop. Eventually two stories--"Polly Pepper's Chicken Pie" and "Phronsie Pepper's New Shoes"--caught the special attention of the editor, who wanted more Pepper stories, and of the publisher himself, who married the author in 1881. That was the same year his company published The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, the first of twelve books about the cheerful Pepper clan.

In 1883 Harriett and Daniel Lothrop took up residence in historic Concord, Massachusetts, at a house called the Wayside, which had previously been home to Louisa May Alcott and then to Nathaniel Hawthorne. Attracted to the house especially for its connection to Hawthorne, the Lothrops were actively interested in the historical preservation of their home. Harriett Lothrop was also eventually responsible for the preservation of other homes in Concord, including Orchard House, where Louisa May Alcott lived while writing Little Women, and Grapevine Cottage, where the Concord grape was first cultivated. After her husband's death in 1892, Harriett Lothrop ran his publishing company for two years before selling it (it eventually became Lothrop, Lee and Shepard). With more time to devote to writing, Harriett Lothrop penned nine of the Pepper books between 1897 and 1916. Overall, she wrote some thirty other books, including A Little Maid of Concord Town and A Little Maid of Boston, set in Revolutionary times; these are evidence of her desire to impart the ideals of patriotism and liberty to children. Also to that end, in 1895 she founded a national society, Children of the American Revolution. She spent her last years in extended travels overseas, and it became her custom to winter in California, where she died, in San Francisco, on August 2, 1924. She is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord. Thanks largely to the efforts of her daughter, Margaret Lothrop, the Wayside, known as the Home of Authors, was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1963. Harriett's favorite rocking chair is still there.

Article taken from Women in History at About.com

Copyright © 2001. All rights reserved.

To read the stories of The Five Little Peppers online, just click the links below.

Etexts by Margaret Sidney:


#2 The Five Little Peppers Midway, 1890
checknew("9/7/2002")
#3 Five Little Peppers Grown Up, 1892
checknew("6/30/2003")
#6 The Adventures of Joel Pepper, 1900
checknew("6/30/2003")
#7 The Five Little Peppers Abroad, 1902
checknew("6/30/2003")
#9 The Five Little Peppers and Their Friends, 1904
checknew("6/30/2003")

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wisdom....Which Kind Do You Have?

Did you know that there are two different kinds of wisdom? There is earthly wisdom and there is heavenly wisdom. Education, life experiences, mentorships, and genetics all can produce earthly wisdom. Earthly wisdom is good to have, but it can bring about many negative characteristics.....pride, self-centeredness, arrogance, and lack of compassion to name a few. Heavenly wisdom comes from God. When coupled with earthly wisdom, it brings about success in all areas of your life. I often teach my children from the book of James in the New Testament. Here is a verse that we just recently discussed at length in our home. I will share with you some of the insights that we discovered as we looked at these verses.

James 3:13 "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by GOOD conduct that his works are done in the MEEKNESS of wisdom".........translated.......use your wisdom for good and endure life with patience and without resentment.....whatever circumstances you find yourself in.


James 3:14 "But if you have bitter envy and SELF-SEEKING in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth"........be slow to speak and remember.....those around you know how wise you are.....you don't need to do things to remind them. Don't build yourself up at the expense of others.


James 3:15 "This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic".....pretty much speaks for itself.


James 3:16 "For where envy and SELF-SEEKING EXIST, CONFUSION, and every evil thing ARE THERE".......also pretty much speaks for itself.


James 3:17 "But the wisdom that is from ABOVE is first PURE, then PEACEABLE, GENTLE, WILLING TO YIELD, (that's a big one!!), full of mercy and good fruits without PARTIALITY (everyone gets the same treatment.....no favorite jobs, tasks, or people), and without hypocrisy".........are you getting the picture???

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Ending of an Era


Eighteen years ago this morning, a child was born to us.....a son. He had tried to come 16 weeks early, but through medication, bedrest, and much prayer, we were able to hold him off for another 12 weeks. He was born to us.......a healthy baby boy. I remember my dad holding him in the delivery room and saying, "Boy is he a dandy!!" (He said that with Tim too!) A lot has happened over the past 18 years.....too much to write here. But Ethan has grown to be a fine young man with exceptional integrity, work ethics, morals, values, and a close relationship with God. I am very proud of the young man that he has become. On June 1, 2008, Ethan graduated with honors from West Branch High School. It is the ending of an era. He is the baby (even though he's 6'1" and 220 pounds....the biggest of the litter). Our lives will change now. No more football. No more track. No more school activities. No more late night suppers. We can actually go on vacations in the summer!! It will be different in our house. All of the children are now adults. I am a little sad at the passing of childhood, but I am excited to see where God takes them on their paths in life. I am excited to see God's plans for them fulfilled in their lives. I can't wait to see how this all pans out. God has been good to us. He has blessed us immensely with three wonderful children. My prayer is that they pass on their heritage to their children and their children's children. Steve Green expressed my desire in the following verses:



We're pilgrims on the journey
Of the narrow road
And those who've gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace
Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who've gone before us
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
And our children sift though all we've left behind
May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find

Friday, June 6, 2008

Plant a Healing Garden—In Your House!

Aloe vera

Healing property: Treats cuts. Snip into the fleshy leaf of an aloe plant, and you’ll discover a gel that speeds healing of minor cuts, soothes sunburned skin, and might lessen scarring. Before slathering it on your problem spots, test a small patch of skin for allergic reactions or irritation.
Best spot: Near a sunny bathroom window.
Care tip: Cut the small inner leaves off at the base, allowing the large outer ones to grow.





Lavender


Healing property: Brings the zzz’s. This herb’s fragrance can calm your frazzled nerves and encourage deep, restorative sleep, studies show. Make sachets from its flowers (perfect for slipping beneath a pillow), or bundle a few stalks with raffia for instant aromatherapy. Try the Goodwin Creek Grey variety—it maintains a dense, compact form, perfect for a small pot.
Best spot: On your nightstand or in a sunny bedroom window.
Care tip: Snipping the blooms will encourage more to grow. Lavender likes dry soil, too.





Gerbera daisy

Healing property: Cleans the air. This colorful plant helps purge your air of toxic pollutants like formaldehyde and benzene, which are found in many household items and can aggravate asthma and cause dizziness and headaches (and may lead to certain cancers). While helping you breathe easier, a potted gerbera will brighten any room with splashes of color (they come in vibrant hues like yellow, pink, and orange). Who knew an air filter could be so fetching?
Best spot: In your home-office window.
Care tip: Fertilize monthly for more flowers.




Citrus tree


Healing property: Provides vitamin C. A dwarf citrus tree makes it easy to add fresh vitamin C to your winter diet. Choose a variety well-suited for indoor cultivation, like the Improved Meyer lemon. The fruit is ready to harvest when it comes easily off the branch.
Best spot: In any sunny, south-facing area.
Care tip: Mist the plant with water if your air is very dry, and feed it monthly with a fertilizer designed for citrus.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Happy Graduation Lyndsay!!





Our daughter, Lyndsay, graduated from Kent State University on May 9, 2008 with a Bachelor's Degree in Middle Childhood Education with a concentration in Math and Science. We are very proud of all that she has accomplished and for following God's will for her life. She is now anticipating teaching in one of the local schools around where she is living in Strasburg, OH with her husband, Ben Paisley. God has blessed her with an outstanding ability to relate to young teenagers. We love you, Lyndsay!! (and Ben too!!) :-)

The Two Most Handsome Sons in the Land

Recently, we had two events at our house which put our boys in tuxedos. My brother, Dale, was married on May 3, 2008 and the same evening was Ethan's Senior Prom at West Branch High School. I captured this shot of the two of them before they left for their separate evenings of fun. The two of them had this made into an 8 x 10 for me for Mother's Day..........priceless!! I love my boys!!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

May is Older Americans Month

From the Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging


History of Older Americans Month
When Older Americans Month was established in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthdays. About a third of older Americans lived in poverty and there were few programs to meet their needs. Interest in older Americans and their concerns was growing, however. In April of 1963, President John F. Kennedy's meeting with the National Council of Senior Citizens served as a prelude to designating May as "Senior Citizens Month."

Thanks to President Jimmy Carter's 1980 designation, what was once called Senior Citizens Month, is now called "Older Americans Month," and has become a tradition.
Historically, Older Americans Month has been a time to acknowledge the contributions of past and current older persons to our country, in particular those who defended our country. Every President since JFK has issued a formal proclamation during or before the month of May asking that the entire nation pay tribute in some way to older persons in their communities. Older Americans Month is celebrated across the country through ceremonies, events, fairs and other such activities.

Take the time this month to recognize the older americans that have contributed to your life in some way. What a rich heritage we have!!

Hyacinths....Favorite Flower of Spring


If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,
and from thy slender store
Two loaves alone to thee are left,
Sell one, and with the dole
Buy Hyacinths to feed thy Soul.
-Muslih-uddin Sadi, Persian Poet

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What a Hectic Month It's Been

For those of you who visit my blog frequently, I apologize that there have been no new additions for a couple of weeks. Since I last wrote to all of you, I have celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary, attended several track meets, spoke to a group of senior citizens about my trip to India, visited my daughter twice in Strasburg, mourned with my son and his friends at the loss of one of our West Branch students at a track meet, and tried to keep up with all my regular routine activities. Life is very fast-paced and full in my little world.

Just to catch you up..............Keith and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary on April 15th. I can't believe it's been that long. Time has quickly flown by. We spent the day in our favorite getaway.....Amish country. I have to say that the last 25 years have been memorable, exciting, and fulfilling. I hope there will be 25 more.....at least!!
Ethan is a senior at West Branch High School and is participating in the track program there for the 4th year. He throws the shot put and discus. Here he is warming up for throwing the discus. His Papa Hazlett has given him instructions and coached him for the last several years and he is now placing first in both the shot put and discus at most of our track meets.

Here is a picture of me making balloon swords for the children at the orphanage we stayed at during our time in India last year. They were thrilled!! I couldn't make them fast enough. In 3 days, I made over 300 balloon swords. My fingers were sore for days. What a great time we had there and how special those children are!! I shared my experiences with the senior adult group at a luncheon at Cuyahoga Falls Church of the Nazarene. The food was good, the company was great, and we had a wonderful time that day.
Ben and Lyndsay are doing great!! They are adjusting to married life and each other 24/7. It seems to be working out!! They have adopted a cat (Mocha) and have been having fun with their first pet. They have also made a committment to be a part of starting the Church of the Nazarene in Sugarcreek, which is going very well. Both of them, along with Ben's parents and grandmother, have decided to become members of the church. I am so excited about that. God has been very good to my daughter and has rewarded her faithfulness to Him beyond what we could have ever imagined. It has been fun going down to their house in Strasburg and visiting with them. It is a little weird though being told I don't have to help with the dishes and how to set the table!!

And most recently.........the unfortunate event of West Branch High School on Tuesday, April 15, 2008. While we were at our track meet against Canton South, Ryan Johnson, a member of our 4 x 800 relay team, collapsed and passed away after running his leg of the relay. It has been devastating to the family as well as the West Branch community. My son, Ethan, has learned some valuable lessons through this experience that he has shared with us. First.....you never know when life will be over and how important it is for your heart to be right with God. Second, family is very important and nothing in life can ever prepare you for one member no longer being there. I am very proud of Ethan and how he has reacted through this experience. Ryan's parents requested that the team go ahead and compete the following Saturday at the County Meet. Ethan chose to go and throw the shot put in honor of Ryan's parents wishes, but then he forfeited throwing the discus in order to make it back to Salem in time to go to Ryan's funeral. He told us that some things in life are more important than others and he wanted to honor Ryan as well as his parents. Ryan was also a good example of a Christian young man and spent a lot of time with his family and his church. We will be praying for the Johnson family as they adjust to a change in their lives. If you get a chance, please keep our community and the Johnson family in your prayers. Ryan is the 13th student/recent graduate we have lost since 2001.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Middle Child is........21!!


Tomorrow is my middle child's 21st birthday. It's hard to believe that 21 years have come and gone. I love all of my children equally but Timmy is a special one to me. You see....I prayed and asked God specifically to give Timmy to me. He has been a blessing to my life since the day he was born. Tim has struggled many times in life through many difficult situations. I have struggled by his side during those times. But my life without Timmy would be incomplete and void of any joy. Tim also brings lots of good times to our home. He loves it when the sun is shining. He is full of laughter, happiness, and a fun-loving spirit. Tim is now a nursing student at Kent State University. He is also an EMT with Clemente Ambulance in Youngstown, OH.


Timmy, you're a wonderful son, and that's why your birthday means so very much.....because it's a day to look back and celebrate all your past accomplishments.....a day to look forward and anticipate all your future successes. But whatever path you choose, whatever future you make for yourself, know that you are already a success in the eyes of your family. For it has been a great joy to have a son like you to love, to watch you grow and mature into a responsible young man. All that we have shared through the years has only reinforced what a very special person you are and how deserving you are of life's best. I prayed for you, Timmy, and the Lord has granted me what I have asked of Him. You are a wonderful gift.


With love,

Your Mom

Sunday, March 30, 2008

My Husband Likes Hamburgers

It looks like our latest poll shows that 2:1 the favorite person to play an April's Fool joke on is our spouses. I am trying to think of a good one for my husband. I found this one on-line as one of the top 10 April's Fool jokes that have been recorded. My husband loves hamburgers.......I wonder if I could make a left-handed burger for supper on April 1st!!


In 1998, Burger King published a full page advertisement in USA Today announcing the introduction of a new item to their menu: a "Left-Handed Whopper" specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new whopper included the same ingredients as the original Whopper (lettuce, tomato, hamburger patty, etc.), but all the condiments were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of their left-handed customers. The following day Burger King issued a follow-up release revealing that although the Left-Handed Whopper was a hoax, thousands of customers had gone into restaurants to request the new sandwich. Simultaneously, according to the press release, "many others requested their own 'right handed' version."