Monday, October 31, 2011

Ways to Stay Active During the Holiday Season

It’s that time again! The time of year we all struggle with. There’s tons of great food that leaves us exhausted and not wanting to move. We know in our heads we shouldn’t have that extra helping of mashed potatoes or that extra piece of pie but we give into temptation. Then as if we were stuffed turkeys ourselves we go and do the worst thing when you’ve overeaten: we lie there with our pants unbuttoned in a state of exhaustion. According to the New England Journal of Medicine the average person gains one pound over the holidays and never loses it. I know, I know, what’s one pound? Well it’s a lot over the course of years. One pound eventually becomes twenty if we’re not careful.

Now I’m not against all those delicious foods and I’m just as guilty as anyone of indulging on Thanksgiving BUT I do try to keep myself and my family as healthy as possible and I want my family to develop healthy habits as well. So indulge in your favorite foods but try one or two of these activities so you can keep some of the holiday weight off this year:

1.      Help out-I noticed many of the women in my family are very fit while a lot of the men tend to pack on weight. I decided to observe to see why this was. One huge difference I noticed was that after a meal the women begin busily cleaning up after dinner while the men go sit on the couch and watch television. Preparing a Thanksgiving meal is a lot of work so make sure everyone in the family has on chore before the meal and one chore after. This will keep them busy and away from the appetizer table before the meal and the dessert table after the meal. Plus staying them their feet will help them burn some extra calories. You’re helping you family stay fit as well as teaching your kids the importance of helping out. Not only will this benefit everyone by keeping them moving but whoever is hosting Thanksgiving will be grateful as well.

2.      Take a walk-You can take a walk right outside your house or plan a beautiful trail nearby to walk on. Plan a scavenger hunt or play a few games to keep kids occupied during the walk. Another fun idea is to have an imagination walk.

Walking game idea: Everyone tries to find five things that begin with the same letter as their first name. If you have several people with the same first letter you can use middle names.

3.      Dance-This is a fun and easy way to burn a few calories. Just put on some music and let everyone get moving. Make sure you have a wide variety of music for everyone and I would recommend having it on CD’s so you’re not looking through the radio to find something.

4.      Plan a family game-Split the family up into a few teams and have a tournament or just kick the ball around. Either way playing a game of soccer, kickball, or softball is a fun way to get the family working together and keep them off the couch. TIP: Have everything set up before the meal because you probably won’t feel like dragging soccer goals out after eating a big dinner. If it’s already set up it’ll be much easier to motivate yourself and everyone else out to the game.

5.      Try some of these activities geared toward kids.

6.      Schedule some fitness into your own schedule. It’s best to schedule this with someone else so that you won’t skip it when you’re feeling full and tired after celebrating the day before. My gym has a turkey buster class the morning after Thanksgiving that I attend every year. You can do something like that or plan a session with a personal trainer or make a date to play tennis or go for a run. Thanksgiving should be just one day and this will help you get back on track if you’ve over eaten. The best way to teach your family to be fit is to model the behavior yourself.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Book Review: Deep and Dark and Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn

13 year-old Ali finds herself in the middle of a mystery when she finds an old photo of her mother and Aunt Dulcie at their family’s lake house when they were children. The photo is ripped where another little girl was. Just her arm and hair are visible and she is identified as T on the back of the photo. When she asks her mother and Dulcie about it they deny any knowledge although they are clearly hiding something.

Soon she goes away with her aunt to babysit her 5 year old cousin Emma at the same lake house in Maine where the photo was taken. Soon they meet a little girl who befriends Emma but torments her at the same time. She creates conflict with everyone in the family and no one seems to know where she’s from or ever heard of her. Sissy hints to the girls about a tragedy that happened long ago involving Ali’s mother and aunt that was never solved. This is when things start to get dangerous.

This is a great mystery and ghost story because Ali learns the truth and solves the mystery bit by bit. This story is suspenseful and creepy but nothing gross or horrific happens aside from the tragedy of the past. Everyone manages to come to terms with the past and resolve what has happened.

The only criticism I have is that it is very similar to “Wait ‘Til Helen Comes” which is a previous book by Mary Downing Hahn, although I think Deep and Dark and Dangerous is less scary. If your kids are interested is scary stories this is a great one although I made my son read it during the day or else he wouldn’t have been able to fall asleep!

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Paper Plate Spider

As all my crafts are, this is easy to make and a child should be able to do it by themselves.  My son loves to make a whole spider family and hang them all over.  It actually ends up looking pretty cool if you hang them and at different lengths.
Paper plates
Black paint
Black construction paper
White paper
Black marker
Blue marker

Step 1: Paint the paper plates black on both sides

Step 2: Let dry

Step 3: Cut black construction paper into eight even strips and fold like an accordion

Step 4: Cut out two ovals for the spider’s eyes

Step 5: Use the black marker to draw the spider’s pupil on the white circle.

Step 6: Use the blue marker to give the spider blue eyes

Step 7: Glue the eyes onto the top of the black paper plate

Step 8: Glue 4 legs on the bottom each side of the black paper plate

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Butternut Squash Bisque Recipe

                  Serves: 6 servings
                  Prep Time: 20 minutes
                  Total Time: 40 minutes

  • 1 (2 to 3 pound) butternut squash
  • peeled and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion
  • chopped
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • Salt


Cut squash into 1-inch chunks. In large pot melt butter. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add squash and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until squash is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove squash chunks with slotted spoon and place in a blender and puree. Return blended squash to pot. Stir and season with salt and pepper. Serve

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Fall Classics

Here are a few fall classics that you can slurge on to get good quality because you can wear them year after year and they'll never go out of style! 

Long Sleeved T-shirt
Blanca Crewneck Logo Tee-$32.99

Sina Combed Contton Turtleneck-$59.50

Buchanan Cotton Cable Sweater-$99.50

Button-Down Shirt
Janice Stretch Poplin Shirt-$145

Light Fall Jacket
Gene Stretch Safari Jacket-SALE $79.99

Trench Coat

Nicole Taffeta Belted Trench-$249
Is your closet ready for fall?

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