Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Joint Pain? Knock It Out!!

Happy Wednesday, time for another health post....

Everyone overdoes it now and then and comes up limping or with a sore elbow, shoulder or wrist.This usually happens when you simply do too much of something, like shoveling snow or playing a sport.

You may have an inflammation of the bursa sacs, which feels like a dull ache, or an inflammation of the tendons, which feel like a sharp pain.

The most confusing thing when you have an injury is whether to use heat or ice.What follows are tips and tricks to get you back in the swing of things quicker than usual....

First of all, keep the swelling reduced as much as possible. One way to do this is to wrap an elastic bandage around the injury, then elevate it higher than your heart. Use pillows for propping, if necessary.

Ice the joint. You need to keep this treatment up for several days, if possible. This will reduce pain as well as inflammation. You can wrap ice in a towel and place it on the joint for 10 minutes at a time, leaving it off for 20 minutes. Do this a couple of times per treatment. You can also use a commercial ice pack, or make your own flexible ice pack. Apply this treatment every four hours.

After about three days of icing, or when the joint is no longer warm to the touch, begin the cold/hot alternating treatment. The heat will increase the blood flow to the injury, speeding recovery. Use a heating pad or commercial hot pack.

Some find relief with menthol pain creams such as Tiger Balm. They have never helped me, but a lot of people use them.

If you will follow these steps, you will reduce swelling and help your body to start healing much quicker.

Please see your physician if, after three or four days, your joint is red, warm and sore to the touch. You may have developed an infection.

Do you have a special treatment that works? Please respond and let us know!

Monday, December 28, 2009

We Survived The Blizzard of '09!!

If you’re reading this, then you made it through the Great Blizzard of 2009.  The usual Monday recipe post will be back next week, but it's being bumped today by the big storm.

I never want to hear the song White Christmas ever again after going through this monster! The storm hit central Oklahoma hard and turned quickly into a blizzard early on Christmas Eve, forcing me to miss my Christmas Eve trip two hours south to Mom's in Clarita for the first time in my life.  Seriously.  The first time in my LIFE.  Well, I'm nothing if not consistent.

At least most of us kept electricity and phone service. We were snowed in here for 2 ½ days, finally getting out for 45 minutes Saturday to run to the grocery. We spent the time in my house playing Facebook games (Thank you, Farm Town! Thank you, CafĂ© World!), and trying to deal with a 14 week old pup that has constant cabin fever, whether it’s snowing or not.

The television meteorologists said that the blizzard conditions with almost zero visibility were a once or twice in a lifetime situation for Oklahoma, which gets plenty of snow but rarely blizzards.

At least seven people died in Oklahoma during the storm. An elderly lady in OKC went outside, fell and died of exposure. Several people died after they got out of their stuck-in-the-snow cars and were hit by sliding automobiles. One man was attempting to get to another car to assist the driver when he was hit. I guess the lesson is to stay in your house, if possible, and stay in your car if it becomes disabled in the snow.

We stayed happily at home for 2 ½ days, did not stock up on food and drink in advance, and fared just fine. Most middle-class homes probably have enough food in the pantry to last a month. When we finally got to the grocery on Saturday, the soft drink shelves were cleared out. Not a good sign for our health when soft drinks are the things a lot of people feel they can’t be without.

There were numerous stories of heroic Okies risking life and limb to rescue others in trouble, but this is no surprise. It’s the Oklahoma Standard.

We failed to receive our Daily Oklahoman on Christmas Eve, and this caused great consternation, since I am addicted to my main news source. The network news was preempted by constant coverage of the blizzard, so I had to turn to Internet news, which I hate.

So, where were you during the great blizzard of ’09? If you experienced it, how did you fare? Please comment and let us know.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Are You Curious About The United Methodist Church?

There are numerous options these days when considering faiths or denominations. One option is the United Methodist Church, a large, relatively modern Christian denomination.

The United Methodist Church is the second largest Protestant church in the United States. About 8 million of its approximately 12 million members are in the United States or Canada.

The following is some information on the United Methodist Church which may help to guide you in your spiritual search.


The United Methodist Church started as a tiny group of fellow students at Oxford University in England in the 1700’s. The group, members of the Church of England, included two brothers who would eventually be known as the founders of the United Methodist Church, John and Charles Wesley. Because the group was extremely methodical in their studies and lives, they became known as Methodists.

The Methodist Episcopal Church in Maryland was formed in 1784, and is considered the first Methodist Church in the United States. The formation of this church officially severed ties between the Methodist Church and the Church of England.After several divisions, the churches came together in 1968 to form the United Methodist Church.


The United Methodist Church members believe in the Holy Trinity – that God exists in three persons: The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Ghost is God within the person, which comforts and guides him/her throughout life to live as Jesus Christ, the Son, lived.

Members believe that there is one God, the sovereign ruler of the universe and the creator of the universe. They also believe that Jesus Christ was human, lived as a man and was crucified.

They believe that he is the son of God and that he was raised from the dead on Easter Sunday.

They believe that Christ is savior, and a person’s forgiveness rests within Him.The church is considered an extension of Christ’s life and ministry, and that the church exists to make more disciples of Christ.

Members believe that God’s word is the Bible, and they study both the Old Testament and the New Testament. They believe that all people are sinners.

Sacraments:The church has two official sacraments – the Holy Baptism and the Holy Communion.The Holy Baptism is done only once in a person’s life, and can be accomplished by water immersion, pouring or sprinkling.

The Holy Communion is based on the Last Supper, and affirms the presence of Christ with bread – representing his body on the cross, and with unfermented grape juice – representing His blood shed for the sins of humans.

The United Methodist Church practices open Communion, which means that anyone is welcome to partake in Communion regardless of whether they are church members, so long as they seek peace, love Christ and repent of their sins.

Stands on Social Issues:

The United Methodist Church is considered relatively liberal and diverse. It appeals to a wide range of religious and political beliefs. Both George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton are members of the United Methodist Church. This allowance of diversity and opinion is considered one of the strongest points of the United Methodist Church.

The church does not officially affirm abortion as acceptable, but recognizes that circumstances may warrant an abortion. The church recognizes the right of women to choose after careful consideration of all options.The United Methodist Church opposes gambling and capital punishment and supports abstinence from alcohol.

The issue of gay rights has long been discussed and debated within the church, and has created quite a bit of controversy. Officially, the church considers the lifestyle to be contra to the teaching of Christ. However, it supports contractual relationships like guardianship, power of attorney, etc. for everyone, regardless of orientation. While it prohibits celebrating same-sex unions within its churches, it welcomes gay people into its congregations and requests its churches to refrain from making any judgments or distinctions regarding gay church members.

As with gays, the United Methodist Church includes and welcomes people of all ages, races and ethnicities. It is one of the most inclusionary Protestant churches.

If you have more interest in the United Methodist Church, I encourage you to find a church in your area and make a visit. I have always found their congregations to be outgoing, welcoming and friendly. You can also visit their official website at

***This article reflects my opinions and is not associated with the United Methodist Church or any other group.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Friday Dog Blog

Merry Christmas, everyone!!!!!

It's Friday, so here's the cute dog picture....

This happy clown gets a stocking full of bones and treats at Christmas, so it's her favorite holiday. It's......Santa Schnauzer!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

An Okie Christmas

When a person thinks back on his/her childhood, often Christmas memories are the first to spring to mind.  Whether we grew up rich, poor or in the middle, most of us had parents or caretakers who did their best to deliver a happy Christmas, even in the worst of times.  At some point after I was grown I came to the not-so-happy realization that the Christmas tree and gift opening is largely all about the children, and Christmas is never really the same once you graduate into adulthood.  But, ahhhh, those memories!!!

How did you celebrate Christmas when you were a kid?  Here's how I did it in Oklahoma, back in the day....

I grew up in a tiny Oklahoma town populated largely by my relatives and good friends.  My parents and I lived on a ranch about a couple of miles from my two sets of grandparents and two sets of aunts and uncles.  Other relatives lived within 10 miles, so Christmas back then was a terrific blend of lots of family and lots more family.

The Sunday before Christmas meant lots of Christmas songs and the Christmas story at our church instead of the usual stuff, which excited me a lot more than normal.  This was the one day of the year that I actually paid attention at church. 

We celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve, for some reason.  Lunch was at my maternal grandparents, with all the aunts, uncles and cousins.  We always looked forward to the arrival in December of my Uncle Larry and Aunt Juneiva, who seemed to always be moving further and further north - from Oklahoma to Colorado to Montana and finally, Alaska.  But they always managed to drive back with their kids and dog Digger every Christmas.

My dad would be the last to arrive for lunch, usually at exactly noon, shedding his coveralls and dirty boots at our house (and unbeknownst to me, putting Santa's gifts under the tree) before driving to my grandparents' house for lunch.  Anyone who grew up on a ranch knows that cattle don't celebrate holidays and need to eat, regardless of the date.  In mid-winter, it's critical that they are fed every day, so my dad would spend the morning tending to that task before celebrating the holiday.

After lunch the race was on to the living room for gift opening.  This was always a flurry of colorful gift wrap flying like confetti, while the adults kept an ear toward the television in the den that was blasting the Dallas Cowboy game.  Later everyone would crowd into the den to give their full attention to the game - men, women and kids - everyone was a fan.  Oh, and we always had to take the obligatory family picture (which I really appreciate now).

When it started to get dark, my mom, dad and I made the 30 second trip to my other grandparents' house (yes, my grandparents were neighbors - how great is that?), where we gathered with another group of aunts,uncles and cousins in the living room for gifts.  However, this gift-opening was a bit more stressful.  My grandfather, who loved kids, would offer a dollar to every kid that stood up and sung a Christmas song.  Of course, we all did, but it was always a little nerve-wracking.  I never liked being the center of attention, but I did like dollars....

I started bothering my parents to go home soon after the gifts and songs, because I knew that Santa had been to our house by then.  My parents convinced me that Santa came early every year to Oklahoma, because he had so many places to visit, and Oklahoma was one of the first stops on his intenerary.  Of course, I bought it.  And why not - there were always wondrous gifts under the tree!  I loved seeing my parents open their gifts from me more than opening my own, although thinking back on it I believe I chose pretty lame gifts.

All of this added up to tradition - it wasn't a fancy, regimented tradition but it was a tradition all the same....A secure, happy, and dependable tradition.

If we were lucky, we had snow before we went back to school, but usually it was just bitter cold.  If we did get a good snow, I would meet up with my best friend Diane and her brother Jimmy, who lived about a mile away.   We did a lot of slipping and sliding on frozen ponds (yes, terribly dangerous!!) and hitching up numerous makeshift sleds to Jimmy's old horse ( a small ladder worked best).  I'm shocked now that we all survived.

At some point after I was grown and far away from Clarita, I realized what an incredibly lucky kid I had been to grow up in Oklahoma and be raised by the village that was my family.  Like every other kid, I always focused on the prizes at Christmas, but in the process, my family surrounded me with security, love and memories to last a lifetime, and THAT was the most important thing.

So, how did you celebrate Christmas as a kid?  Please comment and let us know!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Monday Recipe Blog

How About Some Super-Easy Mint Chocolate Ritz Cookies??

Happy Monday!  How about an easy, easy cookie recipe, with the holidays coming up?  If you need a super-easy recipe for cookies, you won’t find one much easier than Mint Chocolate Ritz Cookies. The only ingredients are Ritz Crackers, chocolate and almond bark!

Make them up ahead of time – they are perfect for office parties or family gatherings. Beware, though, they are addictive!!

Mint Chocolate Ritz Cookies:


1 Sleeve of Ritz Crackers

1 package of meltable chocolate mint candies – I like Wilton Dark Cocoa Mint, sold where Wilton cake decorating supplies are sold – I get mine at Michaels Crafts stores.

2 squares of vanilla almond bark

Melt the chocolate mint in the microwave, it takes about 30 seconds. Stir after 15 seconds.

Dip 1/2 of a Ritz Cracker into the melted chocolate, and set on wax paper to dry. Do this with each Ritz.

When the chocolate has dried, melt the almond bark in the microwave for about 30 seconds, stirring after 15 seconds.

Dip the other half of each cracker into the almond bark and set on wax paper to dry.

You can also dip the entire cracker into the chocolate, and use the almond bark as a drizzle over the cracker.

Dipping mini vanilla wafers into the chocolate makes a great cookie as well. Mixed with the larger Ritz cookies, they make an attractive platter.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Save Money On Your Winter Energy Costs

When winter winds start blowing, our energy costs threaten to skyrocket. Every little bit that we can conserve will help our pocketbooks and our environment.

Here are some steps to take that will lower your energy bill this winter.

Switch the direction of your ceiling fan... Hot air rises, and changing your fan direction to counter-clockwise will push the hot air down into the room. When summer rolls around, changing it back to clockwise will pull the hot air up and away from you.

Laundry....Save up your laundry to fill up the washer. Smaller loads go through the same number of steps as large ones. Yes, you might conserve a little water by using small loads, but washing smaller loads more often rather than large loads less often will cost you in the long run.Use cold water to wash your clothing when possible, and always use cold water for the rinse.

Close the doors.... Particularly closet doors. Closing the doors to all rooms and closets will keep the house warmer.

Take showers...Taking showers rather than baths not only conserves water, but conserves energy as well. A shower generally uses about 10 gallons of water, but a bath takes 20-25 gallons. The shorter the shower, the better - both for your energy costs and your health.

While you're in the bathroom, be sure and turn off the faucet while you're brushing your teeth.

Dishwashing...Let your dishes air-dry by turning off your dishwasher before the drying cycle starts. Partially opening the dishwasher door after you turn it off speeds up the drying process, and you might want to use a product such as Jet-Dry to minimize spotting.

Use a humidifier....You will be much more comfortable during the dry winter months and you get an added bonus - Because moist air holds heat, your home will be warmer and your furnace will have less work to do.

You might also consider using a de-humidifier in the summer because, well, moist air holds heat.

When you heat up the oven for a meal, leave the door open a little afterward so that the heat won't be wasted. Only do this if you don't have little kids or pets that might get burned.
Lower the thermostat when everyone is out of the house at work or school.

Also lower the thermostat when bedtime arrives - It's much easier to sleep when the house is cooler, and you can always put on another blanket.

Clean the filters....Furnace filters should be cleaned or replaced every month, and lint filters in clothes dryers should be cleaned after every use.

If you have a traditional fireplace, invest in a glass, fitted screen to keep out the cold. Be sure the damper is always closed tightly. You might also consider converting your wood-burning fireplace to gas. Fireplaces are notorious energy-wasters, but I love the smell of a fireplace in the winter and can't bear to convert it to gas.

Learn to crochet. Make your family some nice afghans to cuddle up in while watching television or playing video games, and turn the thermostat down.

There are plenty of other steps that can be taken to lower your heating bills in the winter. I didn't even touch winterizing your home in this article. If you can get into the habit of doing even a few of these, you will notice a difference in your bills this winter.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Friday Dog Blog

Hello, Happy Friday!  Here's a cute dog....

Max, Tery and Barb's Daschund/Rat Terrier mix loves Christmas - He has so many pretty things to chew on....

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

That's Gonna Leave A Bruise....

Happy Wednesday, everyone....Here's another health post....

Bruises. You can't prevent them as long as you are active, but there are some things you can do to make an ugly bruise go away quicker. Bruises are simply a result of bleeding under the skin, and fading a bruise involves making that pooled blood go away as fast as possible.

Here's a technique to fade that bruise fast:

Ice it! When the blood vessels around the bumped area are cold, blood is less likely to spread out. Use a commercial ice pack in the freezer if you have one, or a bag of frozen veggies wrapped up in a towel. Keep it on for about 10 minutes, then keep it off for 20 minutes, and reapply it for 10 more minutes. Do this as much as you can, until 24 hours has passed.

Wrap it! If you've bruised something that can be wrapped, like a leg or arm, wrap an elastic bandage around it immediately. Squeezing the vessels will discourage the blood from spreading.

Prop it! If you've bruised something that can be raised above heart level, doing this will discourage blood from rushing to the injury.

Heat it! About 24 hours after the injury, put an electric heating pad or hot water bottle on the injury for about 20 minutes at a time. This will help scatter the pooled blood. Follow the directions on your heating pad carefully, you don't want to get burned.

Add vinegar to it! Now mix some vinegar with warm water and rub it on the bruise. Vinegar will help increase blood flow, which should chase off the old pooled blood. Witch Hazel is also good for this.

If you are willing to take the steps, your bruise will be minimized and the color will fade much quicker. Now if someone would just write a post on how to not be such a klutz!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Monday Recipe Blog

Okie Chocolate Fudge Drops:

This is a creamy, dreamy chocolate fudge in a handy, bite-sized form. It’s so easy to grab and eat that it won’t last long!

Try it at your next party or when the family is settling down for a movie night at home. It goes great with an ice-cold glass of milk.

Chocolate fudge is one of those traditional comfort foods that kids of all ages love. Speaking of kids, this is a super-easy recipe that would be a great afternoon project for the kids. This fudge recipe is almost impossible to mess up.

It’s the perfect candy for that long, cold winter!


* 2 T. butter

* 1 1/2 t. baking cocoa

* 1/2 C. Confectioners' Sugar

* 1/2 t. milk

* 2 T. smooth peanut butter

Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan, then remove from heat.

Mix in 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking cocoa and stir well. Add 1/2 cup Confectioners’ (powdered) sugar, then 1/2 teaspoon of milk, and stir until smooth.

Add 2 Tablespoons of smooth peanut butter and mix well.

Lay out wax paper, and drop the fudge by teaspoonful onto the paper. Flatten the top of each drop with a spoon, and shape the fudge drops into one-inch patties.

Refrigerate until served.

This recipe makes about 1 1/2 dozen fudge drops.

Do you have a favorite chocolate fudge recipe?  Please comment and let us know!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

How To Make A Sick Dog Eat Food

When your dog is sick, she may not feel like eating. This is normally ok, since getting food into her system immediately is not as important as ensuring that she is hydrated with fluids.

However, even when your pup is well on her way to recovery, she may not get her appetite back quickly. She will lose considerable weight and strength, and it's important that she regain her appetite as soon as possible.

When a dog has been ill for awhile, getting her to eat dog food normally may not be easy. However, there are some tricks that will get her back on the chow wagon quickly...

Dogs, like people, have their favorite things to munch. However, some of them, like commercial processed dog treats, may not be the best thing for your recovering bowser.

There are some healthy food items, though, that just about every dog considers irresistible. Offer these things to her until you find the one that she is interested in.

The food should be VERY soft. Nothing crunchy or hard to digest at first.  Don't make her walk to her dog dish. Offer these treats on a spoon, putting them right to her nose.

Baby Food....Make a run to the store and choose some small jars of baby food that you think your dog will enjoy. Generally a couple of meats and two or three different vegetables will get her interest.Put a small amount of each on the tip of the spoon and offer it to her. Hopefully she will begin licking the food off the spoon.

If the baby food doesn't do it, pull out the old reliable - smooth peanut butter. I have never seen a recovering dog turn up its nose at peanut butter. Also, since a recovering dog will usually prefer to lick soft food from a spoon, the texture of soft, smooth peanut butter will work nicely.

You can also try a small piece of sliced American cheese. Your pooch is less likely to be interested in the beginning, but it is a good transition from soft, lickable treats to her regular food. Don't overdo the cheese, though, just use a small piece as a transition.

Keep your dog's regular food in her dish throughout this process. You will see her becoming more interested in her food bowl, and can start withdrawing the soft treats when she begins eating her regular food.

If you try all of these steps and your recovering poochie still won't eat, it's time for a trip to the vet!

What are your tips for getting a recovering dog to regain her appetite? Please comment and let us know!

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Friday Dog Blog

Happy Friday, everyone!  Here's a dog....

We've interrupted Bill's Brittany Spaniel Bella while she's reading.  Bella enjoys all genres, but prefers romantic novels....

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Change Your Diet To Keep Kidney Stones Away

Here's a Wednesday health post about kidney stones.  I've never had one, but I have heard the screams and moans of someone that did, which made me a believer about the pain of these little things....

Kidney stones are horrendously painful and, for those who are inclined to get them, recur at an alarming rate. If you have had a stone in the past, or a parent has suffered with them, you should consider taking steps to keep them at bay. It's pretty easy, just a matter of changing your diet somewhat.

The following are some tips for keeping kidney stones away...

You want to regularly dilute, break up and flush away the substances that make up kidney stones, and that may be as easy as drinking lots and lots of water. Many of us have increased our water intake, but if you are prone to stones, this is a must. 10 cups of water every day is good.

Cranberry juice drastically reduces the calcium in the kidneys that causes many stones. It has other good attributes, but the great kidney benefit should be enough to make you drink 2 8 ounce glasses every day. Plus, it tastes terrific!

Reduce that sodium! Sodium/salt is bad in so many ways, and it greatly increases your risk of stones.

You can slash your risk of stones by about half if you eat a lot of potassium-rich veggies and fruits.

Take magnesium supplements, 800 milligrams a day, or eat more leafy greens, fish or wheat germ.

If your stones are calcium stones (not uric-acid stones) drink orange juice or lemonade at each meal. Their citric acid will help keep new stones from forming in the kidney.

Adding calcium-rich foods to your diet helps keep calcium stones away by reducing calcium oxalate, which produces the stones. Some good foods are cheese, dark green leafy veggies, milk, yogurt, seeds and nuts. You can also take calcium supplements, but only after a meal. Taking them between meals may increase your risk!

If your stones are uric-acid stones, you need to avoid food that increases acid in the kidney. These include organ meats, sardines, brewer's yeast and anchovies. Limit your oatmeal, meat, tuna, spinach, ham and lima beans to one serving a day, at most.

Drop the coffee cup! Caffeine causes more urine calcium, which causes many stones.

These steps are easy fixes that you should be able to incorporate into your diet quickly and effortlessly. You will reap other benefits from making these changes as well. Your body will thank you for it!

If you have any other tips to avoid kidney stones, please let us know!

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Monday Recipe Blog

Don't you just love Mondays?? Time for another recipe, with all of the holiday celebrations, you might want to give this a try and take a break from the high-sugar desserts....

Gingerbread Coffeecake With Splenda

White sugar is an unhealthy food additive that most of us limit as much as possible. But now we have a couple of good options that allow us to enjoy our favorite desserts while avoiding the dreaded, diabetes-causing sugar.

The following is a Gingerbread Coffeecake made with Splenda instead of sugar. Use the pure Splenda (not the part Splenda/part sugar) in the bag or box. Do not use the little Splenda packets made for tea or coffee. You can use generic Splenda.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Splenda or generic
3/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. allspice
3/4 t. ginger
4 T. butter substitute
1/2 t. baking soda
3/4 t. baking powder
1/2 c. buttermilk (lowfat)
1 T. plus 2 t. molasses
1 egg, large
1 T. Splenda or generic
1 t. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray such as PAM.
Combine 1 c. flour, 1/2 c. Splenda, 3/4 t. cinnamon, ginger and allspice in a large bowl. Cut in the butter substitute using a fork until the mixture looks like little crumbs. Measure out 1/3 cup and set aside - this will be the topping for your gingerbread coffeecake. Leave the remainder in the large bowl.

To the large bowl, add baking powder, baking soda, buttermilk, molasses and egg. Beat with a spoon or on low mixer speed until smooth.
Spoon that mixture into the prepared pan. Add the tablespoon of Splenda and the teaspoon of cinnamon to the reserved crumb topping mixture.

Sprinkle the crumb topping mixture over the top of the cake.

Bake for 25 minutes or until the center springs back when lightly touched. Let cool, then dig into a terrific gingerbread coffeecake!

Makes 8 servings.

Per serving:
130 calories
17 grams carbs
3 grams protein
6 grams fat (1.5 saturated)
0.5 grams fiber
200 milligrams sodium
Weight Watchers point comparison: 3 points
Gingerbread is a true Okie comfort food, and with the holidays coming up you can enjoy this treat without the guilt of sugar consumption.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Save Money With Your Used Dryer Sheets!

Dryer sheets are little rectangles of wonder. Not only do they soften your clothes and remove static, they will work hard for you even after their original purpose is complete.

Don't let your hard-working dryer sheets go to an early grave, er, landfill - Repurpose them and squeeze every penny out of your investment that you can.

The first thing you must do is figure out how to save your sheets. A good method is to put an empty container, such as a tissue box, on top of your dryer and drop the used sheets in the container after each load of clothes.

When packing for a trip, stuff a used sheet into each shoe. Not only will it make your shoes and luggage smell great, you can also use the sheet to dust off and shine your shoes after your wear them.

In the winter, we get a lot of shocks from static electricity. Stuff a used sheet into your pocket during the winter and kiss the shocks goodbye.

Used dryer sheets make terrific dashboard wipes for your trusty automobile. Not only does it make the dashboard shiny, it will repel dust and dirt, too.

You probably already know this, but throwing a used dryer sheet into your dresser drawer will make it smell great.

Put a couple of used dryer sheets under the seats of your car. Your car will smell nice and fresh, and you will save tons of money that you would spend for car fresheners.

Use a sheet to wipe the dust from things that normally attract it, such as television screens, blinds and those pesky ceiling fan blades. It will help repel the dust, and who likes dust?

Pull out your used dryer sheets when packing small items such as Christmas ornaments, and wrap them in the sheets. They're nice and soft, and won't scratch or hurt your little treasures.

When you have nasty, baked-on food in your pans, used dryer sheet to the rescue! Fill the pan with hot water and a dryer sheet and leave it alone overnight. In the morning, the food will go slip-sliding away....

Recycling items is always a good thing, and re-using these little dryer sheets will save you some bucks as well as help the environment.

How do you save money and help the environment? Please comment and let us know!

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Friday Dog Blog

Happy Friday! How about a dog?

Henry is a Scottish Terrier, of course, and belongs to Emma. Does this dog know he's cute, or what??? This happy boy looks like one spoiled Scottie!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Learn To Identify Major Sources Of Food Poisoning

Happy December!  It's Wednesday, which means a health post....

There have been some frightening incidents of E.coli bacteria turning up in mass-marketed foods in the past couple of years. However, many things that you normally wouldn't suspect are major carriers of food poisoning.

The following are some common ways that you can get various types of food poisoning….

Beans. Specifically, kidney beans. There is actually an illness called Red Kidney Bean Poisoning – it is caused by a protein that is present in large quantities in kidney beans. If you consume kidney beans that are not properly cooked, you could experience the symptoms within a couple of hours. The symptoms include diarrhea and vomiting.

To minimize the bad protein in kidney beans, soak the dry beans in water for at least 5 hours, then cook according to your recipe.

Potatoes. If your potatoes are greenish or rotting, they could contain too much of a natural substance that protects them from pests and fungus. Too much of this could make you very ill. Usually this substance stays in the stems, leaves and roots, but sometimes it makes its way to the edible part of the potato. If you have red potatoes it will be difficult to see the greenish tint, so be careful and only use fresh potatoes.

Restaurant Salad Bars. 35% of all food poisoning comes from these bacterial breeding grounds. There isn’t much you can do to keep yourself safe except to avoid these altogether.

Acrylic Nails. Studies have shown that people with acrylic nails carry more bacteria on their nails than those with natural nails. For some reason, it is very difficult to clean bacteria from acrylic nails. If you have acrylic nails you should ask if they are really worth the risk.

Tuna Burgers. Histamine poisoning is a type of food poisoning that is fairly common to tuna and other fish. Restaurant tuna burgers have been found to harbor more histamine, which has no smell or taste.

Proper refrigeration would solve this problem, since the bacteria that produces the histamine cannot live in cold temperatures, but the bacteria multiple like crazy when the fish is left at room temperature for awhile. Once the fish is contaminated, nothing can remove the poison.

Petting Zoos. You can pick up E.coli at petting zoos and fairs. After touching the animals, wash your hands well or use an anti-bacterial product on your hands. Don’t touch your face, eat, drink or smoke until your hands are clean.

Raw Clams and Oysters. Seafood accounts for over 4% of food poisoning in the United States, and raw shellfish can harbor numerous problems, including hepatitis and bacteria. Raw shellfish is a food that you should consider eliminating totally from your diet.

Staying alert and being informed is your best defense against deadly food-borne viruses and bacteria. Eliminating dangerous food from your diet isn’t that difficult and can actually save your life.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Monday Recipe Blog

Hello from the Sooner State....Here's another Okie recipe. Try this at your holiday office party!

Ham Cheese Ball

2 (4 oz) pkgs thinly-sliced cooked ham

1 bunch of green onions

2 (8 oz) pkgs of softened cream cheese

Finely chop the ham and green onions, including the onion tops. Mix with the cream cheese and put the mixture on wax paper. With hands, shape into a ball. Refrigerate and serve with crackers.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Are We In For A Bad Winter? Ask The Insects!

How many times have we heard that the woolly-worm can predict a bad winter? Well, there’s something to this. Back in the old days, the farmers had to use something other than television weathermen to tell them what kind of weather was on the horizon.Over hundreds of years they learned, and passed down to new generations, how to predict a bad winter by using animals, plants, insects and other natural things. This article will tell you how the farmers used insects to predict how bad the approaching winter would be.

Here are some signs:

Butterflies migrate early. If they do, winter will come in early.When butterflies bunch up together in the sky, winter is coming soon.Three months after the first katydid begins singing, the first killing frost will come.

It will be a bad winter if….There are crickets in your chimney.

The ants build their hills higher than normal.

Hornets and yellow jackets build their nests lower to the ground than normal.

Miller moths keep hitting the screen door to get in.

There are lots of spiders in the fall.

You see worms in your house or outbuildings in October.

And now, the trusty woolly-worm, who is a great predictor of weather. Here’s how to watch the signs of the wooly-worm and what they mean….

If there are more than usual crawling around, and they have heavy coats, a bad winter is coming.If the black band on his back in wide, the winter will be bad. The more black a worm is, the worse the bad winter will be. If the worm if mostly brown with very little black, the winter will be gentle.If his front has a lot of black, the bad weather is coming. If his rear end is black, the worst is over.If he’s brown on both ends and orange in the middle, the winter will be gentle.If you see a woolly-worm before the first frost, the winter will be bad.

So, there you have it. Who needs the slick weathermen on the television when you have the woolly-worm, spider and Miller moth to tell you how bad the winter is going to be?

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Friday Dog Blog

Happy Black Friday!! How's the shopping today? Here's your Black Friday Dog Blog.... This expression says "yeah, I snatched the last Elmo off the shelf and there's not a darn thing you can do about it."

It's......Devil Dog Schnauzer!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving, Everybody!

We all have lots of things to celebrate and be thankful for today. Even if you're down, start counting all of the good things in your life, big and small. You'll be surprised to see how many people, places and things that you have to be thankful for.

If you're venturing out on Black Friday, be careful of the crazies out there. And don't be one of them. No sale is worth acting like a fool. If you don't get an Elmo, a Wii or one of those strange fuzzy hamsters Friday, your world will not stop spinning.

So, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving wherever you are.

All Trails Lead Home.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rake Your Leaves And Lose Some Weight!

With the popularity of leaf blowers and snow blowers, many people are losing their traditional holiday weight-loss programs. Raking leaves and shoveling snow can burn pounds quickly if done correctly. It can also cause muscle strains, back and shoulder problems and even heart attacks if done incorrectly.
The following are some tips on how to rake leaves and lose some weight in the process. Put your leaf blower away and get moving!

Do some exercises first. Yes, I know, it’s only leaf-raking, but muscles that are not used to manual labor take some time to wake up and figure out that you are wanting them to do serious work. If not allowed that wake-up time, your muscles may stage a painful rebellion.

Bend one leg behind you and grab the ankle. Gently pull it toward your back until you feel the stretch in your front upper leg muscles. Keep pulling a little more, but stop before it gets painful. You don’t want your leg muscle to pop like a rubber band….

Hug yourself with one arm by putting it across your chest as far as you can. Repeat with the other arm.

Bend at the waist and touch your toes several time. (Don’t bend your knees, that’s cheating!)

Get yourself the right rake!

There is a head-spinning selection of leaf rakes out there – so which is the correct one for you? Don’t go for the mega-monster rake that will tire you out too quickly. Try for something in the medium size range – as Goldilocks says, not too big, not too small…

Should you get a rake with metal or plastic tines? Plastic is lighter, but metal is more durable and makes it easier to rake larger things such as twigs.

How about the handle? Fiberglass is strong and lasts a long time, but it is heavier than wood. Eventually wood rots or breaks. Then there is metal, which is also durable and not as heavy as fiberglass. I prefer fiberglass, but choose the strongest handle that you can easily use. You don’t want something too heavy.

Now get raking!

But wait – there is actually a technique to leaf-raking. You have warmed up and stretch, using the instructions above, right? The colder it is, the longer you need to warm up and stretch.

Ok, now put on your gloves. This will keep you from getting blisters, and if you chose a wood handle, will ensure that you don’t get splinters in your hands.

Rake while standing up straight. Bending is not good, and bending at the waist while you rake is the worst. If you have to bend, give that job to your knees.

Twisting is a no-no when raking leaves. It’s cold, your muscles are tired, and twisting will only make them madder, so do not twist to throw the leaves away. Pick up the leaves (bend at the knees, remember), turn your entire body and throw the leaves away.

Switch your rake to the other side sometimes to spread the love and avoid overly-stressing one side of your body.

Lose weight.

You don't have to do much more than rake the leaves to burn those calories. Walking, raking and bagging will strengthen your muscles and burn calories at the same time. If you're tempted to build up a big leaf fire and make some s'mores to reward yourself, you might want to think twice about that....

If you follow these instructions and rake leaves whenever the wind blows, you should be well on your way to skinny by Christmas. Then you can switch to shoveling snow and be slim and trim by Spring!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Monday Recipe Blog

Well, another Monday in the history books. With Thanksgiving coming up, how about an Okie recipe that would be perfect to serve at the holiday dinner?

Okie Blackberry Wine Cake

1 box of white cake mix
1 (3 oz.) pkg blackberry gelatin
4 eggs
1/2 c. cooking oil
1 c. blackberry wine

Preheat over to 325.

In large bowl, stir together gelatin and cake mix.

Add eggs, oil and wine, and beat on medium speed about 2 minutes.

Pour into a heavily greased 10 inch tube pan and bake 50 minutes.

Let cool and glaze with the following:

1 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. blackberry wine

Mix sugar and wine in saucepan, bring to boil and pour over the cooled cake.

This is an old, much-loved recipe that has appeared many times in The Daily Oklahoman. You might have a slight problem finding the blackberry gelatin, but the Internet has made it pretty easy. Even if you don't like to cook, sampling that blackberry wine will probably make the process go a little faster!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Are We In For A Bad Winter? Ask the Animals!

Brace yourself, winter is approaching quickly. How bad will it be? Will we suffer through multiple ice and snow storms, or will we see a mild, pleasant winter?

You can ask the animals to predict the winter season – well, at least according to old-timers. In olden times, people had to use something besides a local television weatherman to tell them how much food to put away for winter, and how much wood to cut. They came to depend upon the actions and appearances of animals. Handed down over generations, these signs of a bad winter were fairly dependable.

You will have a bad winter in your area if…..

The squirrel tails are bushier than normal.

The squirrels build nests low in the trees, rather than near the tops.

The squirrels gather nuts early – in mid to late September.

Birds finish up all the berries on the bushes early.

Animals grow a short, fuzzy coat under their regular coat.

The fur on horses and mules is thicker than normal.

The fur on the bottom of a rabbit’s foot is thicker than usual.

Crows group together and stay together.

Wild hogs gather up corn shucks, straw and sticks to make a warm bed.

The north side of a beaver dam has many more sticks than the south side.

The beaver homes have a lot more sticks and logs than normal.

Owls hoot late into the fall.

Screech owls sound like they are crying.

Birds huddle up on the ground.

Now, I don't see many wild hogs in Oklahoma City, so if they are making their beds I don't know about it.

And who would pick up a rabbit's foot while it was still attached to examine how thick the hair is? How would you know whether it was thicker than last year - ask the bunny?

However, you can observe what's around you, which, for me, is a bunch of wily squirrels and some huddled-up birds. Since the squirrel tails seem a little fuzzier this year, I think we're going to have a baaaaad winter season.

How do you predict the severity of the winter? Please comment and let us know!

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Friday Dog Blog

What a great Friday!! Here's your Friday Dog....

Pearl's baby pit bull has found a nice bed to settle down in. He's getting ready for the long, cold winter!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Make Your Own Flexible Ice Packs

With the bumps and bruises of real life, particularly if you have kids, ice packs are a necessity. You can buy a commercial ice pack or you can make one of your own to keep in the freezer.

This one is flexible and kind of slushy, and will work really well to conform to the injury. Here is how you do it:

Take a zip lock bag - freezer zip lock bags are a little sturdier and better. Use the size that you want your ice pack to be.

Pour two cups of water into the bag.

Add 1/3 cup of rubbing alcohol to the water.

Zip up the bag and put it in the freezer. By morning it will be a nice ice pack. You can keep it stored in the freezer until you need it.

The alcohol keeps the mixture slushy and flexible. Use the pack to diminish bruises and calm down other bumps, bruises and everyday hurts that we all get into.

Warning: Only keep the ice pack on the injury for 10 minutes at a time. Then leave it off the injury for at least 20 minutes before reapplying.

So, that's how you do it. Hope you never need it!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Monday Recipe Blog

Pumpkin Pie Made With Splenda (Or Generic)

Pumpkin is a superfood that shouldn't only be on our tables during the holiday season. It is incredibly inexpensive and available year-round in canned form.
Pumpkin contains carotenoids, which are antioxidents that have the power to ward off serious diseases such as heart disease, some cancers and many other illnesses. The more carotenoids that we can incorporate into our diets, the healthier we will be.
We can use pumpkin in desserts, soups and in various other ways. The most popular use for pumpkin is in the traditional pumpkin pie. With turkey, pumpkin pie is the face of the family Thanksgiving dinner. However, we should be mindful that pumpkin pie, like most traditional pies, is high in white sugar.
Sugar is a major culprit in many diseases such as diabetes, and should be avoided whenever possible.So, what's the answer? One option is to use Splenda Granular or a generic brand. Splenda Granular is an alternative sweetener (sucralose) that has only 96 calories per cup (compared to sugar's 770 calories per cup). Its safety has been proven in numerous studies over a 20 year period.
The body does not recognize sucralose as sugar or a carbohydrate, so it is not used by the body for energy, making a serving virtually calorie-free. Best of all, it does NOT affect blood glucose levels and has no effect on insulin secretion, so it is safe for diabetics.
Some recipes are more easily converted from sugar to Splenda than others. Pumpkin Pie is wonderful when baked with this sugar alternative. The following is a recipe for traditional pumpkin pie baked with Splenda or generic....

9 inch unbaked pie crust
1 can pumpkin - 15 oz.
3/4 c. Splenda Granulated or generic brand
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup half-and-half
3 large, slightly beaten eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, add the pumpkin and all other ingredients except the eggs and vanilla. Stir with a spoon until well-blended.

Now add the eggs and vanilla and stir until blended well. Pour this filling into your unbaked piecrust.

Bake at 375 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until the pie is set in the center. Cool completely before serving.

Pumpkin pie is a great way to add a superfood to your diet. Using Splenda Granulated or generic brand will make this dessert guilt-free for all members of your family. While some people are wary of using sugar substitutes, the consequences of consuming white sugar must be considered. There is a reason for the obesity and bad health of our people (even our children), and the signs point to the over-consumption of sugar.
Do you have a favorite Splenda recipe? Please comment and let us know!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Are We In For A Bad Winter? Look At The Plants!

Our farming ancestors became experts at predicting whether a bad winter was on its way. However, they could not even imagine the sophisticated means of weather forecasting that we have today. Instead, they used such things as plants, animals and insects to forecast the winter.

These methods were surprisingly accurate, and still are today. This article will tell you how the farmers used plants to predict how bad the approaching winter would be.

A bad winter is on its way if….

Trees still have lots of green leaves late into the fall.

The trees have thicker bark than normal.

The tree bark on the north side of the tree is heavier than the other bark.

There is a heavy crop of dogwood and holly berries.

There is a heavy crop of pinecones and acorns.

The sweet potatoes have a tougher skin than normal.

There are more layers on the onions.

Apples mature earlier than normal.

The carrots grow deeper than normal.

The blackberry crop is especially good.

The grapes mature earlier than normal.

Cockleburs appear earlier than normal.

Pine cones open up early.

Tree leaves shed before they turn color.

Tree moss is heavier than normal.

The grass is darker than normal during summer.

This is a good time to test this method of predicting the weather. You might just be surprised to find that the plants are more correct than your local weatherperson in forecasting.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Friday Dog Blog

Happy Friday, everyone! It's Dog Blog time again, and here's one from Stefanie......
This smily red Doberman Pinscher named Flash is an Oklahoma Sooners fan. Isn't everyone?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Thanks, Dad!

Mondays usually feature the Recipe Blog. However, with Veterans' Day approaching, this week is reserved for my dad and the other American heroes, past and present.

I don't know enough about my dad's heroism in World War II. I know that he must have suffered some damage from those years in Hell, since he was never able to enjoy fireworks displays and didn't watch war movies because they reminded him of that time. He didn't like to talk about his service, but would if I asked him. I regret not asking him often enough. Here is what I do know....

My dad was in the Army Air Corps, 308th Bomb Group, 374th Bomb Squad, stationed in China for most of his service. Officially, he was an AP Armorer Gunner.

He was a Ball Turret Gunner, probably the scariest and one of the most dangerous things he could have done. He served in a B-24, a monster of a bomber, which featured, among other things, a man-sized metal ball equipped with machine guns. The ball, with the gunner in it, would drop from the belly of the plane when the enemy approached and would twirl this way and that while the gunner defended the plane from the enemy. The gunner would pretty much lay on his back with the guns between his legs, and his legs propped up on the pedals, turning the ball to face the approaching planes.

As if bombing missions were not enough, he also flew with his crew "over the hump" of the Himalayas to India for supply runs. Numerous planes crashed into the mountains and flying these missions were extremely dangerous. My dad always spoke of his pilot reverently, and said that the pilot saved the lives of his crew several times with his expertise.

Here's the thing....If you knew my dad, you would never suspect that he was a war hero, with bronze stars, numerous medals and accolades. He was just a quiet farm boy, a shy cowboy that smiled a lot and only talked when he had something to say. He grew up in a tiny town, worked the farm, went to college, then went to war and came home. Never complained about anything. Never said anything bad about anyone (although he quietly refused to buy automobiles made in Japan - only General Motors for him).

I can't imagine the horrors he faced in this war. How he felt the night before each bombing run, his terror when that pilot was flying blind over the hump to India. Twirling in the ball to aim at an enemy that was aiming and firing at him, shivering in the freezing altitude. The aching pain of missing another Thanksgiving, another Christmas, the birth of his first child. For a boy that only wanted to stay on the farm, this must have been unbearable. And yet, he and his friends bore it.

Thousands died, but my dad lived to come home. Home. Sweet home. The farm. He said it felt as if the trip home on the ship took years. His nice leather fleece-lined flight jacket was stolen on the cruise home. He didn't care. He was coming home. When he finally arrived, he pulled on his boots and cowboy hat, bought a ranch and he and my mother went to work. He was offered a teaching job in a high school eight miles away and turned it down flat. He couldn't imagine spending so much time away from home again. Eight miles was just too far.

By all accounts, the quiet and shy farm boy was crazily popular with his war buddies. He was always getting letters, cards and phone calls from his buddies all over the United States. A couple of years ago, out of the blue, I received a call from a man in Arizona who said he had gone to college with my dad. A couple of years out of school, the man went to war and saw my dad in uniform waiting to cross a street in Perth, Australia. Sixty years later he was thinking of my dad and decided to see if he could find him or at least a relative, and he found me. There were some things he wanted me to know. I really appreciated the call and the wonderful things the man said about my dad. Funny how a quiet cowboy could make such an impression....

My dad never stopped being a hero. To my big brother and I, there was no one that could top him. He was simply perfect. No one, at least to my knowledge, did not like him. He was a warm friend, the kind that was always there to feed a family's cattle or plow their field or haul in their hay if they were suffering an illness or misfortune. Always dug deep into his pocket at the church offering. Never missed his kids' school performances or ball games. Was good to his parents, my mom's parents, my mom and everyone else he came into contact with. Perfect.

In his last years, I bought him a jacket that said "World War II Veteran". Everywhere we would go, people would ask about his service and would often thank him. He was so proud to wear that jacket. After a lifetime of avoiding "war talk", he seemed to warm to it more as he got older.

My mom was a good match for him. Tough and smart, she was with him step by step, raising their two children, working her fingers to the bone and supporting him in every way.

My dad had a good life, by his measure. He never lived more than a couple miles from his own parents and my mom's parents, his sister and his brother. His entire family was within two miles of his doorstep. Our little town was filled with family and close friends, and that, to my dad, was heaven. He stepped out of his house every morning to a big, wide country with kids and family and horses and cattle and dogs and cats and trees and streams and blue sky and it was all his.

My dad has been gone for some time now and I'm sure he's building fences up in Heaven right now.

Whenever Veterans' Day rolls around, I think a lot about my own personal war hero, and how lucky I was to have him in my life. I still miss him terribly.

Thanks, Dad!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Taking A Parent To The Doctor? Prepare In Advance.

As our parents age, we may find ourselves accompanying one of them to a doctor visit, or checking one in to a hospital.

Many times the parent will not feel like filling out the long medical forms that are required before the patient can get medical attention, so that duty will fall to you. If you prepare before the need arises, this process will be much easier and quicker.

If the doctor or hospital visits increase, you will always have the information at hand to quickly get through the paperwork and get your parent on the road to recovery a little faster.

You should carry a Medical Facts and History sheet with you at all times for each loved one that you may be assisting. Carrying one for yourself is a good idea as well, since it may be difficult to remember what year you had chicken pox. The information on the Medical Facts and History sheet is taken from the book How To Wage War Against A Flu Pandemic by Debra West -

The Medical Facts and History sheet should include information that may be asked on the medical questionnaires that you will be completing for your parent.

If you have a computer, making this form is relatively easy. Use Microsoft Word or another program to type in the information, then save it for quick updating as the need arises.

The following is information that should be included on the Medical Facts and Information Sheet. You should complete this sheet as if you were the parent (or whoever you are making the sheet for). You will have to get most of the information from your parent, so it should be completed with the parent present.

Full Name (of parent)
Date of Birth
Social Security Number
Current Medical Insurer
Medical Insurance Number
Medicare Membership Number
Name of Family Doctor

List of Medications and doses being taken currently
Current Medical Conditions
List of Procedures and Surgeries, starting with the oldest
List of Illnesses and Diseases, starting with the oldest
Family History (what conditions did parents or siblings have)
Emergency Contacts - Two names and phone numbers

When completed, print a copy of the Medical Facts and Information Sheet and carry it in your wallet or purse. You never know when an emergency might arise and it may be needed.

You could also give a copy to your parent and any trusted family members who may need to take your parents for medical attention.

As insurances or membership numbers changes, be sure and update the sheet. Also you will need to update the sheet as your parent changes medications, undergoes medical treatments or surgeries, or suffers illnesses.

Carrying this information at all times will reduce stress and tension in the waiting room, you and your parent will have one less thing to worry about and your loved one will have a quick and efficient trip to the doctor's office.

Guard this Medical Facts and History sheet as closely as you protect your credit cards, as it contains information that should only be shared with trusted family members.

Photo Credit
Petr Kratochvil

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Friday Dog Blog

It's Friday and it's a dog blog. This cute little nipper hails from Michigan, and just loves fall leaves. His name is Jesse, and he sends a big Friday hello to everybody!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Is Rush Limbaugh A Narcissist?

We are hearing a lot these days about narcissism and conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh. Opinions differ about whether Rush Limbaugh is narcissistic - Before you form your own opinion it's important to understand narcissism.

Everyone has some degree of narcissism within them, and some of this is healthy and known as self-esteem or self-confidence. But when the narcissism level becomes too high, it can indicate a self-hatred and develop into very serious problems.

The term “narcissism” comes from Greek mythology. Narcissus was a beautiful young man that hacked off the wrong person and was sentenced to fall in love with his own reflection in the water. He could never receive love back from himself, of course, so he pined away for his reflection until he turned into a flower, the Narcissus.

Once self-esteem becomes more than self-esteem, it can become Narcissistic Personality Disorder, where the person is, well, insufferable, hard to live with and miserable. The following are some clues to indicate if Rush Limbaugh (or someone you know) may be a narcissist…

“I am perfect”. A narcissist sees himself as above the fray, looking down on the rest of the world. He believes that he possesses the knowledge to solve the problems of the world, and if people would just wake up and see things his way life would be so much better.

Arrogance. A narcissist is often terribly disappointed when life does not deliver perfection. Because his narcissism is based on a deep-seated (and often unrecognized) hatred of himself, he will plunge into despair at the slightest of problems. Often he will pump himself back up by finding someone to degrade and humiliate. A narcissist can be extremely cruel to the one closest to him, as that person often becomes a verbal battering ram that a narcissist requires to get him back where he needs to be – above the world, looking down.

No boundaries between himself and others. A narcissist cannot see the individualism in others and expects all to conform to his expectations. He becomes very angry at those with opposing views. He sees others only as extensions of himself and expects perfections from them.

Pathological lying and manipulation.

Superficial charm and fake friendliness that hide a seething anger under the surface.

Blustery blow-hard or quiet and angry. These are two general types of narcissists. The blustery blow-hard seems to have little sense of self and rages through life loudly. The quiet and angry narcissist has a terrible self-perception and is painfully aware that he is totally empty inside. Both exhibit most or all of the above qualities and both probably failed to develop an appropriate self-worth as a child.

Please be aware that these are only possible indicators of an unhealthy narcissism. A therapist should be consulted for a diagnosis and assistance if a person possesses several of these traits. Left unchecked, Narcissistic Personality Disorder can literally ruin a person’s life, not to mention those that are close to him.

Oh, and since I don't listen to Rush Limbaugh I have absolutely no opinion on whether he is a narcissist. I will leave that to the pundits.

Note: I used male pronouns throughout the article for convenience and consistency, but Narcissistic Personality Disorder can occur in either gender.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Monday Recipe Blog

How about a healthy Native American Fry bread?

We are proud of our Native American heritage in Oklahoma. We have the largest Native American population in the country, and Native American Fry Bread is something that many of us enjoy often.
However, using the traditional recipe too often can be dangerous to your health. Fry Bread contains lots of fat and things that are really bad for your heart.

Now a healthier Native American Fry Bread recipe has been created, and this makes it easier to enjoy this delicacy.The following is the recipe for Native American Fry Bread after its healthy makeover....

Healthy Native American Fry Bread

1 c. self-rising flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. fat-free milk
1 t. baking powder
1 T. Splenda
Canola oil
In a large mixing bowl, mix flours, baking powder, Splenda and milk.

Place dough on wax paper sprinkled with self-rising flour. Knead the dough, and add more self-rising flour to make a good dough. Allow the dough to sit for at least an hour. Can be more if you need more time.
When you are ready to begin the frying process, pour about 1 inch of canola oil into a frying pan, and heat it. You will know it's ready if, when you sprinkle a little flour on the oil, it sizzles.
Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Shape into round forms that look like dessert plates. Fry in the oil until golden brown, then remove immediately from the oil and place on paper towels to drain. Makes 8 servings.
The best-known way to use Native American Fry bread is for the base of an Indian Taco. This is made by layering cooked pinto beans or chili with beans, onions, lettuce, tomato, grated cheddar cheese and sour cream on the fry bread.
Another, more traditional way to eat it is with a meal as bread. You can also serve it as a dessert with honey or ice cream.
Each fry bread using this recipe is 148 calories, 4 grams fat (less than 1 gram of saturated fat), 24 grams carbs, 2 grams fiber, less than 1 mg. cholesterol and 5 grams protein.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

If You Get A Kidney Stone, Make It Scram!

Happy Halloween, everybody!!! Let's talk about a frightful subject - kidney stones.....

No one likes a kidney stone. It produces one of the worst pains a person can feel - you will actually feel like you might be dying. And probably wouldn't mind if you did. Here are a few tips in case you ever have to deal with one of these....

Drink, drink, drink. What you are trying to do is make the stone pass out of your body, and the way to do this is by flushing with liquids.Water is the best thing to drink when you have a kidney stone. Drink a lot, not a little. At least three quarts of water every day. That's a bunch of water, but remember, you are trying to flush out the stone.Some say that dandelion tea causes more blood flow in the kidneys, thereby helping to flush the stone. It is also a good diuretic. Some other good diuretic teas are couch grass and corn silk.

Take a walk. Yes, you won't feel like it, but walking helps put the stone on the move. This is a good thing, because the stone has to dislodge and move in order to leave the body.

Saw palmetto has been used for ages to get rid of kidney stones. Sometimes called the "plant catheter" or "old man's friend", this is the home remedy of choice for these types of problems.Take 2 160 milligram caps each day as soon as you know that you have a stone, and continue until it passes.Saw Palmetto relaxes the ureter, making it easier to pass the stone.

If it looks like the stone is not going on its own, you will need to consult your physician. It has gotten simpler, less painful and less invasive over the years to remove large stones in many cases by using ultrasound treatment.

When the stone is gone, drink cranberry juice to help keep more stones away.

Good luck! If you have your own method for chasing away a kidney stone, please respond and let us know.

Avoid Catching The Flu From Someone In Your Home

When someone in your home has influenza, the odds are pretty good that others in the house will develop the disease. A pandemic flu is so easily passed from one person to another that precautions can cut the risk of exposure somewhat, but the reality is that someone else will likely be infected.

The following are steps to take when someone in the home is exhibiting signs of pandemic influenza:

A person exhibiting flu symptoms should immediately go to bed in an isolated area of the home. The sick room should be avoided except by the person caring for the ill. If more than one person has the flu, they should share the sick room. Move in extra beds or cots, if necessary. Under no circumstances should sick individuals be spread throughout the house.

If windows can be opened, please do this. Fresh air is important, as is natural light, if possible.

The less items in a sickroom, the less there is to disinfect. Remove all unneeded furniture and items from the room, even the curtains, if feasible.

Use disposable plates, cups and utensils for the patient. This keeps infected items out of the kitchen.

Visitors are strictly off-limits. Even if the patient is feeling better, the only person allowed in the sickroom should be the caregiver. The patient may still be infectious, and a patient with a pandemic flu will often relapse, even after several weeks. Keep the patient in bed and isolated for three weeks, if possible, if he/she has a pandemic influenza.

Never use a vacuum cleaner with a sick person in the home. This stirs up the air and propels the virus, not to mention that conventional vacuum cleaners harbor all sorts of bacteria.

Always wear latex gloves and, preferably, a NIOSH-certified half-face respirator with safety goggles when in the sickroom or around laundry or waste from the sickroom.

Unscented bleach will become your friend when caring for a flu victim. Mix up a solution of 2 tablespoons bleach to 1 quart water each day in a bucket. At least once per day wipe hard surfaces in the sickroom with the solution, using a paper towel. Discard the paper towel in the sickroom trash bag. This process will effectively kill the bacteria. Do it often. Don’t forget telephones and television remotes. Wipe the surfaces in the kitchen and laundry room daily and the other areas of your home whenever you can. Mix up a bucket of solution each day, as the bleach solution loses effectiveness very quickly.

Some little-known areas that tend to collect and harbor bacteria are your door mat, the soft, rubber area around the top of your garbage disposal, your telephone, any countertop and your car’s door handles, dashboard and console. Introduce these to your bleach solution during a threat of flu. Be careful that the bleach doesn’t damage anything in your car. Test in a small area first.

Keep the ill person’s laundry completely separate from the other household laundry. Use strong kitchen trash bags to store the soiled laundry and keep in the sickroom until ready to launder. Tie the bags tightly. Wash the laundry in hot water and use bleach, if possible. Outside drying in the sun in preferable to machine drying, but either will do. Never forget to wear latex gloves, and wash your hands thoroughly after removing the gloves.
The key to surviving a deadly flu pandemic and protecting your family is knowledge. Knowledge is power, and you will need to know how to react when others around you may be panicking. Become a flu expert now, before the flu pandemic turns into a killer.

There is no substitute for good medical advice from a physician. Always consult your doctor, if possible, and follow his/her advice.

This information was taken from the book How To Wage War Against A Flu Pandemic by Debra West, available at or -