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.