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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Quick Travel Tip

Planning a short or long trip? Here's a quick tip to help keep your suitcase better organized.

Place your underwear, socks, scarves into large ziploc bags, one for each type of clothing. (I found two gallon-sized bags at a local box store, and these work well). Putting all of your socks in one bag and so on allows you to easily toss the bag into a drawer when you unpack or keep things neater when you have to live out of that suitcase for a while.

Also, with a quick glance, you can tell whether you have enough clean things to last the trip or if you have to drag out the Woolite or other soap you brought to rinse things out with.

(Note: I have had a lot of trouble keeping Woolite inside the small plastic jar I use to transport it in my suitcase. I am not sure why, but it always leaks. I put the jar inside a couple of ziploc bags but it still leaked inside them. Could have been a disaster, really. I know there are other products out there for hotel room laundry day so I might have to do some research).

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bye, Bye Hummingbirds

I love fall, but there comes a day when I am really not happy that the season is starting. That's the day when I realize that my hummingbird visitors who have been coming to my deck for four months to feed have decided to head south for the winter. Today is September 16 and I am resigned to the fact that I will not see a hummingbird for the next eight months.

We had one female who came to the feeder all summer long after somehow dissuading a male hummer to back off. She has been gone for a while now I think. Even though I have seen a couple of birds  this past week, I know they are travelers who are stopping by for a quick meal on their way from further north to the warmer south.

How these tiny puffs of color manage to fly from here to Central America and return to the same breeding grounds each year is beyond me.That's why it is such a miracle to see them in the spring. Can't wait.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Healthy Fish Dishes Good for Brain

Wondering what to have for dinner tonight? Try a little fish prepared in a healthy way.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that eating baked or broiled fish once a week is very good for the brain.

This is another instance where scientific studies have shown that lifestyle factors can contribute to a healthy brain later in life. Other studies have predicted that being active, not smoking and keeping weight at a healthy level all contribute to fewer cases of Alzheimer's disease and other cognitive impairment in older adults. All good news since these are choices most of us can make.

The results of the  study were published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Time to Harvest those Tomatoes

If you are fortunate enough to have some tomatoes on the vine in your backyard, it's almost time to harvest them.

More than 43 million American households have food gardens, even though we have access at our local grocery stores to practically limitless produce.

A couple of years ago, I planted a small tomato plant on our deck (see above), as well as a green pepper plant and wrote about their progress as the fruit grew and matured. I ended up with three little tomatoes, I think, and no peppers. But at this moment I wish I had thought to put in another tomato plant -- or two.

I tried growing leafy lettuce in a pot last year and my son told me he didn't know that lettuce could taste that good!

I hope you enjoy your harvest this year, if you are lucky enough to have one. For myself, I will be visiting farmer's markets to buy local. Close but still not as neat as green growing plants on the deck.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Be Careful of Ticks Out There

After the rough winter most of the country experienced this year, everyone is trying to spend as much time outside enjoying the warmer temps as they can.

Great idea, but some precautions are needed to make sure everyone is safe. (I know, when we were kids we just ran out the screen door and stayed out. Times have changed.)

Before you go for walks along hiking trails or in the deep woods, be sure to rub on lots of sun screen. And just as importantly, "Deet up" as my daughter-in-law says. We have gotten lots of bug bites this spring, not even realizing when we got them. Some had to come when we were sitting on our back deck during the early part of the day which is supposed to be "safe" from such things.

Ticks are out in force too, and with the large deer population we have nearby, something to take very seriously. My son's friend had a tick on him when he came back inside after a quick walk through the back yard. I heard of another woman who got Lyme disease without all of the "normal" symptoms you look for like a tick that was attached for some time or a bulls eye rash.

Be careful out there!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Appreciating Peonies

I overheard a friend talking about how peonies were a good garden choice these days because deer don't seem to eat them. I didn't pay too much attention as I have pretty much convinced myself that deer will eat ANYTHING.

But driving around the last few days I have noticed some lovely peony blossoms that seem to be thriving even in our heavy deer-populated neighborhoods.

We had rows of peonies lining a walkway when I was growing up. I remember how lovely they were till a high wind or rain storm knocked the tall blooms over. And ants. I remember how many ants we would find in the petals whenever we would cut a few flowers to bring in the house.

When we first moved to this house I planted several peony plants in the backyard, but none of them ever grew, apparently because of too much shade.

But if peonies are deer-proof or at least deer-putting off, I may have to reconsider and plant a mass of them in the front beds. I can't wait!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Moves App Follows Your Every...

Screenshot from Moves app

If Facebook is interested in something, you know it has to be big. Doing a little research for this month, May, which is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, I learned that Facebook has just purchased the app Moves, which tracks your movements for the day and gives you a report on your iphone.

A little more involved than a pedometer which just counts steps, Moves knows (magically) when you are at work or when you have stopped at other places during the day. A little scary actually, but it could be a good way to focus on fitness at the same time.

The app is free at the Apple App Store or Google Play on your iphone. To learn more about the sale of the app to Facebook, visit here.