Category Archives: Eastvale Lifestyle

Lifestyle tips, health and fitness, movie reviews

What to Know About Seasonal Allergies and Your Eyes

 

By Statepoint

Suffering from itchy, watery eyes? You may have ocular allergies or you could have another issue entirely, such as chronic dry eyes. Experts say that getting the correct diagnosis is the only way to treat symptoms properly.

 

“Chronic dry eye often mimics the symptoms of seasonal allergies and must be approached entirely differently,” says Arian Fartash, VSP network optometrist. “Many over-the-counter allergy treatments can actually make dry eyes worse, so make an appointment with your eye doctor to determine the exact cause of your discomfort.”

 

If your itchy and watery eyes are diagnosed as ocular allergies, Dr. Fartash recommends taking the following steps.

 

  • Limit your exposure to pollen on high pollen count days.

 

  • Wash your face after being outside to reduce the amount of pollen on the skin.

 

  • Use cold compresses for some added relief.

 

  • Don’t rub your eyes, as this will increase your body’s overreaction to the irritants.

 

  • Remove contact lenses, which can attract allergens that accumulate throughout the day. Consider wearing your glasses or switching to daily disposable contacts during allergy season.

 

  • Try over-the counter eye drops. There are a number of allergy drops that are formulated to relieve itchiness, redness, and watery eyes. But consult your optometrist to find out which are the best recommended.

 

  • Consider prescription medications. If the symptoms won’t go away, you might need something stronger. Go see your eye doctor to discuss if a prescription medication is right for you. You can find a doctor local to you by consulting the VSP-network at vsp.com/find-eye-doctors.

 

Don’t suffer this season. See your best and feel your best by getting your eye symptoms properly diagnosed and treated.

Conquering Sugar Cravings

By Nia Saldana

Did you know that sugar and processed foods are as addictive as heroin and cocaine? It’s no wonder so many people are addicted to sugar.

“Sweet is the first taste humans prefer from birth,” says Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, a dietitian and American Dietetic Association (ADA) spokeswoman. She has also said that the sweet taste releases endorphins that help us calm down and relax, giving us a natural high.

Experts worry that since sugar makes up a third of our calorie intake, sugar overload is contributing to diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Researchers at Yale University have revealed that after eating bad carbohydrates such as sugars and carbs, cause dramatic drops in blood sugar levels. The drop can leads to loss of self-control and cravings when it comes to high-calorie foods.

When trying to stop sugar cravings, it is important to never go hungry. Skipping a meal or two lowers the body’s blood sugar causing you to overeat to make up for the lost calories. Eating three balanced meals a day with two snacks keep your blood sugar stable reducing cravings.

Most people are guilty of having a sweet tooth especially in the evening hours after dinner. There are healthier ways to satisfy these cravings, such as fruits, smoothies, or even dark chocolates can be healthy than donuts and candies.

Here are a few examples of healthier sweet tooth remedies:

Yogurt Parfait ( about 300 calories)

Cereal and Milk (about 110 calories)

Fresh Fruit (about 54 calories)

Dark Chocolate ( about 155 calories)

Smoothie (about 90 calories)

Graham Crackers ( about 320 calories)

Remember to keep a positive mindset when trying to crush these cravings!

 

Seitan Tacos El Diablo

with Kiwi Salsa and Lime Crema

By Hello Fresh

Cooking Time: 30 mins

Servings: 4

Nutrition: 650 Calories

Ingredients:

  • Red Onion- 2
  • Poblano Pepper- 2
  • Roma Tomato- 2
  • Kiwis- 4
  • Cilantro- 1/2 oz
  • Limes- 2
  • Chorizo Seitan- 16 oz
  • Sour Cream- 8 tbsp
  • Flour Tortillas- 12

1  PREP.    Wash and dry all produce. Halve, peel, and thinly slice onion. Mince a few slices until you have 3 TBSP minced onion. Core and seed poblano, then thinly slice. Core and seed tomato, then dice into ¼-inch cubes. Peel kiwis, then dice into ¼-inch cubes. Finely chop cilantro. Zest lime until you have a big pinch of zest, then cut into wedges.

MAKE KIWI SALSA.    Combine tomato, minced onion, kiwis, a squeeze of lime juice, and half the cilantro in a small bowl. Season with salt, pepper, and more lime juice (to taste). Set aside.

3 COOK VEGGIES.      Heat a large drizzle of oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add poblano and sliced onion. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing, until softened and slightly charred, 3-5 minutes.

4  WARM SEITAN.      Add seitan and another drizzle of oil to pan and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until seitan is warmed through and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low to keep warm, stirring occasionally.

5  MAKE LIME CREMA.    In another small bowl, combine lime zest, a squeeze of lime juice, and sour cream. Season with salt, pepper, and more lime juice (to taste).

6  FINISH AND SERVE.    Wrap tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave on high until warm, about 30 seconds. Fill tortillas with seitan mixture, then top with kiwi salsa and dollop with lime crema. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro. Serve with any remaining lime wedges on the side for squeezing over.

The Traceys

By Anthony Saude

Jim and Kristin Tracey of Eastvale have adopted, Kaden, a 10-year-old boy from the foster care system. They are in the process of adopting 2 others children, a girl and a boy. None of them are infants so they come with problems from the lives that they have led so far. What makes this story so beautiful is that the Tracey’s had raised 2 children of their own to adulthood before they started this process. The story began when Kristin, always looking for ways she can help the marginalized, went to a foster kid’s camp.  Royal Family Kids’ Camps, Inc. RFKC, Inc. is a network of camps, children’s clubs, and child mentoring for abused, abandoned and neglected children in the foster care, system. RFK founded in 1985 by Wayne and Diane Tesch.

Kristin fell in love with the cause, but most of all she fell in love with the children she met at one of the camps. Taking some into her home and adopting them sounded very normal to her but these were not normal times in the Tracey house. Jim was unemployed at the time and had been for an extended amount of time. They finished their parenting responsibilities they had signed up for over 18 years earlier. I loved being a parent but it is a tough job and signing up for more years after the end of the game is just a little nuts in my book.  Being a man, Jim may have been having those thoughts as well some anxiety about the financial responsibility it would create in their lives. In the beginning Jim may not have been as enthusiastic as Kristin but he has always said “it is biblical”. Jim is the cautious one and Kristin is full speed ahead with both feet, no in matter how cold the water might be. Kristen prayed for Jim to share her enthusiasm and Jim prayed for understanding and answers. Making a decision of this magnitude would be difficult for any male in a perfect situation. The Tracey’s circumstances were anything but perfect. “Every time I prayed I kept getting the same answer, trust God.” said Jim. When my son said, “if that is the answer you keep getting from God, wouldn’t it be disobedient to not follow through? Jim took it to heart stepped out in faith, put his fears behind him and hasn’t regretted one second.

82.2% of child abuse perpetrators were found to be between the ages of 18-44, of which 39.6% were recorded to be between the ages of 25-34. In the United States, more than 4 children die from child abuse and neglect on a daily basis. Over 70% of these children are below the age of 3.

Riverside County has 4,300 children in foster care, 341 of whom are in group homes.

Approximately 3.5 million reports are made to child protective services annually concerning the safety and well-being of approximately 6.4 million children.

A nationally estimated 679,000 children were found to be victims of child abuse or neglect. (1)

Of these children, 79.5 % were neglected, 18.0 % were physically abused, and 9.0 % were sexually abused.

Approximately 1,520 children died due to abuse or neglect every year.

Eighty four percent of foster children will become parents within a few years after reaching adulthood, potentially repeating the cycle of abuse.

Jim once told me “if one family in every church in America took in one foster child there wouldn’t be any left in the system”. Seems simple. Google foster care in your area and throw your hat in the ring for a child’s sake. You know who you are, you have been thinking about it for years. It is that little voice in the back of your mind that just won’t go away. Jump in with both feet and take a chance on a kid that needs your help, you won’t regret it.

menofimpakt@gmail.com

http://www.menofimpakt.org

 

 

I Want To Be In Love

By Anthony Saude

Feeling mesmerized, thinking about someone without trying.  Can’t get her off of my mind, her eyes, her touch, the way her smile lights up a room.  She makes my heart expand, it grows and wants to  be filled with the feelings that that everybody tells me about love. It always seems just out of reach; just on the other side of lonely is where I am told it is. It should belong to me, to all of us, shouldn’t it?

I am told that it is a feeling that lifts you up when you are down, makes you happy when you are sad and can even save your life. That perfect feeling that has eluded me for so many years it came and went so quickly that I barely even felt anything at all. Where does it go? When will it return?

One day it dawned on me that it would never stay for long, it is just a feeling and feelings are fleeting after all, right? Wrong. Love is not a feeling it is an action that I am responsible for showing. It is not something that I am owed by anyone or that I even deserve. Love is something that I can give every day of my life without expecting anything in return. That is a feeling that nobody can take away from me no matter the circumstance.

Love is shown in the way we treat somebody else not in the way somebody treats us. Love when given honestly and freely will always come back to us but if it doesn’t does that mean that we shouldn’t love? Are we called to be loved or  to love that is the question that so many seem to answer incorrectly. If everybody just showed love with actions all the time then nobody would be feeling unloved. How much would that change the world?

Thank you to my wife and children for showing me the difference between a feeling and an action. Love is a gift to be given and if in turn you receive it, then you are doing something right.

 

Get ROOTED with Shannon Scheller

Nutritional Therapy Practitioner & HoliRooted Wellness Founder, Shannon Scheller.
Photo Courtesy: MaxLove

Staff Reports

Shannon Scheller is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) and she is the founder of HoliRooted Wellness.  Shannon’s goal as a NTP is to help educate you on the simple changes you can make in your life that will affect the health of you and your family.  She strives to help you reduce your toxic load in daily products and food, as well as restore proper function within your body.  Shannon can help you and your family get ROOTED in a holistic approach to fuel your body for battle and support optimal levels of vitality. 

“I am passionate about empowering others with education about the simple changes you can make to improve cellular function, create a healthy home environment, and help your family thrive!” says Scheller. 

Shannon’s desire to help others started when her daughter was diagnosed with cancer.  “When my daughter was diagnosed 2 years ago, I felt powerless as the Doctors told me there was nothing I could do and that every calorie is a GOOD calorie.  My mommy powers were completely gone until I focused on nutrition and overall wellness,” said Scheller.  “She thrived through treatment due to supporting proper cellular function and reducing toxic load.”  Now, Shannon is happy to report that her daughter is 1 ½ years cancer free! 

After her daughter’s treatment, Shannon completed her education to become a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, and she continues to stay informed of new research to this day.  She wants to educate and empower others to take their health back.  “Every calorie DOES matter, let me teach you why!” says Scheller.  

Booking a Nutritional Therapy Consultation with Shannon will allow you to receive a health history analysis, a 3-day food and mood journal evaluation, a signs and symptoms analysis and 2 support calls to walk you through this journey.  “Together we map out a plan of lifestyle and dietary recommendations that will support the overall function and health of your body,” said Scheller. 

However, Nutritional Therapy is more than learning how to eat healthy.  “I address your top health concerns by looking into nutritional deficiencies, dysfunction or any imbalance you may have.  You are individually unique even down to your microbiome,” says Scheller. 

Shannon will do a deep investigation into your signs and symptoms to help her understand the healing nutrients you need.  “This will allow us to get to the ROOT cause,” Scheller said. 

“I also love to empower and educate on all things holistic,” added Scheller.  Shannon is passionate about educating on nutrition, essential oils, detoxification methods, and especially how to reduce the toxins within your home.  “These are my driving force!  Let me teach you how to create a life of vitality!” said Scheller.  

Visit www.holirootedwellness.com today to sign up for an amazing deal on a Nutritional Therapy Consultation.  However, on top of that already great deal, Shannon is offering an even BIGGER discount for a limited time only.  Get 30% off when you type in the code ROOTED30. 

Shannon’s website also includes a link to her blog, where you can read the following articles: Healthy Holiday Gift Guide; How to Support Healthy Breast Tissue; and How to Support Someone Whose Child Was Just Diagnosed With Cancer. 

How to Build a Healthier Thanksgiving Plate

By Realsimple.com

No one ever said Thanksgiving dinner was healthy. But there are certain tricks to make it a little healthier—and to avoid riding out an uncomfortable food coma on the couch for the rest of the night. Whether you’re doling out your own portions, or you’re at the mercy of Aunt Ida passing out plates piled high with “a little bit of everything,” knowing which foods you should be eating more of—and which you should only enjoy a few bites of—will help you make the best possible choices.

Start by filling half your plate with vegetables, then pile one-quarter up with turkey breast, and leave the remaining one-quarter for starchy sides. Here, some more expert-approved guidelines for keeping portions in check this Thanksgiving Day.

Start with soup.

Pour yourself a bowl of seasonal veggie soup, suggests Katherine Tallmadge, RD, author of Diet Simple: 195 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits& Inspirations. She recommends a butternut squash soup, or a broccoli and carrot soup with potatoes and thyme. Kicking off your meal with soup will help you slow down while eating, and research has shown it may even reduce the number of calories you consume at your main meal.

Go crazy with the right veggies.

Fill up 50 percent of your plate with non-starchy veggies. This may include Brussels sprouts, green beans, carrots, bell peppers, or a green salad, says Lori Zanini, RD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Stick with smaller portions of starchy (read: higher-calorie) veggies, such as corn, potatoes, green peas, and winter squashes.

In charge of the prep? Put colorful vegetables together in dishes and use herbs, spices, onions and garlic to flavor them with fewer calories—try cooked carrots and cumin or Brussels sprouts with garlic. You can also add a healthy twist to classic comfort foods, like replacing green bean casserole with some grilled green beans flavored with garlic and red pepper flakes, Zanini says.

Make an array of interesting vegetable dishes, instead of lots of starchy dishes, suggests Tallmadge. “We tend to passively overeat when presented with variety, so if you want to give your guests a medley of dishes, have them be veggie-based,” she says.

Fill up on skinless turkey breast.

The turkey itself is relatively low in calories if you stick to skinless white meat, so most of our nutritionists don’t mind if you eat a little more than the recommended 3 ounces of protein (about a size of a deck of cards or an iPhone 6 Plus, which is 5.5 inches long). “I have certainly seen individuals pile their plates with more than three times the appropriate portion size on Thanksgiving Day,” says Zanini.

“I am a big fan of protein because it keeps you fuller for longer so I would serve myself the equivalent of nearly two decks of playing cards of turkey,” says Liz Ward, RD, author of MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better.

Scoop sides on sparingly.

Choose your favorite “special” sides that you only see around the holidays and keep servings to a half-cup. Stuffing? Worth it.A plain-old everyday roll? Not so much. One serving of starchy sides like mashed potatoes, stuffing, yams, and cranberry sauce is equal to ½ cup, which would look like half of a baseball.

Count “casseroles” of any type as your starch. “Since I am originally from the South, I know too well that even ‘veggie’ casseroles, like broccoli casserole and green bean casserole, often call for creamy soups, sticks of butter, and large amounts of cheese in their ingredient lists,” says Zanini. “Not only do these types of dishes contribute excessive amounts of calories, but they’re also very high in sodium.” Remember sodium leads to water retention and belly bloat (a.k.a. one more reason your pants won’t button tomorrow).

Practice portion control with your favorite dessert.

Most 9-inch pies are meant to be cut into eight slices. If your pie is only sliced into six pieces, your portions are probably too large. One trick if you’re trying to cut back? Tallmadge recommends limiting variety—if there’s only one type of pie to choose from, you’ll probably stick to one slice. Don’t feel like additional ice cream or whipped topping is a requirement, but if you are going to finish a slice off with some, keep it to a golf ball-sized amount.

Beware sneaky calories.

You might be patting yourself on the back for bypassing the stuffing and gravy, but if you munched on cheese and crackers all day while cooking, know that those calories add up, as well. If you’re hungry while cooking, nosh on raw veggies and hummus or fruit, suggests Tallmadge.

Drinks count, too. Many of us have large wine goblets and beer mugs and don’t even know what a proper serving looks like in those glasses. Using a measuring cup if you need to, pour 5 ounces of wine into a glass so you know the line that marks one serving.  “And never refill your wine glass when you’ve had just a few sips,” Ward says. “Drink it to the last drop and then pour some more. That’s how you keep track.”  A serving of beer is 12 ounces, and a serving of 80-proof distilled spirits (like gin, vodka, whiskey) is 1.5 ounces. The American Heart Association recommends limiting daily intake to one drink for women and two for men.

And remember, the first couple of bites of any food are often the most enjoyable. “Don’t waste your calories, but don’t avoid your favorite foods, either,” Ward says. “Eat foods that you love and that aren’t available at other times of the year, like homemade cranberry sauce, specialty sides, and pumpkin pie, and forgo everyday foods like chips, rolls, and mashed potatoes.”

“Little Ears” Pasta

Photo courtesy: Hello Fresh

with Sausage, Baby Broccoli, and Pesto

 

By Hello Fresh

 

Cooking Time: 25 mins

Servings: 4

Nutrition: 900 Calories

Ingredients:

 

  • Baby Broccoli- 12 oz.
  • Sweet Italian Pork Sausage- 18 oz.
  • Orecchiette Pasta- 12 oz
  • Chili Flakes- 1 tsp
  • Pesto- 4 oz
  • Parmesan Cheese- ½ cup

 

1  PREP.    Wash and dry all produce. Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Trim woody bottom ends from baby broccoli, then cut stalks and florets into 1-inch pieces. Remove sausage from casings.

 

BOIL PASTA.    Once water is boiling, add orecchiette to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 9-11 minutes. Carefully scoop out and reserve ¼ cup pasta cooking water, then drain.

 

3  COOK BABY BROCCOLI.    Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add baby broccoli and 2 tsp water. Cover and steam 3 minutes. Uncover and increase heat to medium high. Cook, tossing occasionally, until browned and tender, 3-6 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and set aside.

 

4  COOK SAUSAGE.    Heat another drizzle of olive oil in same pan over medium-high heat. Add sausage, breaking up meat into pieces. Cook until crisp at edges and no longer pink, 4-5 minutes. Add a pinch of chili flakes (to taste) and cook another 30 seconds.

 

5  TOSS PASTA.    Add orecchiette, baby broccoli, pesto, pasta cooking water, and half the Parmesan to pan. Toss until everything is well-coated and a thick sauce has formed, 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

 

6 PLATE AND SERVE.    Divide orecchiette mixture between plates. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and serve.

Clark’s “Live Better” Health Tip: Step Right Up!

By C Doussett MPH, RDN

 

Good news for anyone currently writing or planning on writing a diet book. There is enough consumer confusion and low-powered studies on so many aspects of diet and nutrition, that a well-thought out title and one celebrity endorsement is all you need. Is that to say that diet books don’t work if you work them or have their place on our bookshelves (or mobile reading device)? Certainly they do, as long as we recognize universal patterns of weight loss techniques and subscribe to the notion that anything we are told to do is temporary, as we work out personal habits that lead to lasting change.

There are two aspects of almost every diet book sure to be present and in congruence. The first is the ever-so-imperceptible, yet ubiquitous introductory caloric deficit. Rapid weight loss is the hallmark of diet books and is attributed, at first, to caloric restriction and water loss. This weight loss is rarely fat loss (desired target), as it tends to be primarily water due to carbohydrate (carbs) restriction. Focusing on carb reduction does two things; firstly, many carbs we eat are water rich themselves either inherently or via water preparation and cooking methods. Secondly, once carbs are digested in the body they are stored with three times their weight in water along with ingested fluids. Lose the carbs and water follows! After carb restriction we factor in the prescribed “permissible” food recommendations which limit our food choices; thereby reducing total fat and sugar percentages and protein sources. Everyone seems to be in agreement that sugar consumption should be reduced, but fat intake percentages is a very personal number that needs to be arrived at dutifully. Diet hack alert: while most non-dieting Americans get enough protein from eating pizza, grain-based desserts, and chicken nuggets, most dieters do not. Dieters should prioritize protein either by eating some with every meal or, more exactingly, calculating how many grams are needed daily and ingesting larger amounts in fewer sittings (1/2 to 1-1/2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight is an excellent starting point).

The second diet-book “trick-up-the-sleeve” is the imposition of order on chaotic eating patterns. Simply put, most of us tend to eat in a disorganized manner according to the dictates of our wants and not our goals. Choosing four or five nutritious meals and rotating them allows us to assess more accurately how we feel, how we perform, and how we sleep; all important outcomes when assessing our diets. Or we can learn about meal choices when eating out, or how to shop the periphery of a super market, or how protein in the morning tends to balance sugar cravings during the day. All very orderly impositions on our often hectic, chaotic, and stressful daily life.

Finally, since consumer trends have proven we like diet books and will continue to purchase them, here are some well-researched and easy-to-read book recommendations you may want to consider adding to your collection.

  • “The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living”, Volek & Phinney. This is for individuals who may have become disenchanted with other approaches to weight loss and are looking to shake things up.
  • “The Hungry Brain”, S. Guyenet. For those looking for a little more science in their reading. Spoiler alert: carbs are not the enemy
  • “Always Hungry”, D. Ludwig. For individuals diagnosed with prediabetes or have a family history of diabetes or obesity: contains delicious recipes.
  • “The Complete Mediterranean Diet”, M. Ozner. This alluring diet has been well tested and modern day iterations provide excellent eating templates.
  • “Fork over Knives: The Cookbook”, D. Sroufe. Plant-based recipe book, companion to a thought-provoking documentary.

As always, have healthy day!

Lost Love

By Michael Armijo

I stood there in the courtyard, I waited.  Her little eyes, her bright smile, her warm hugs, I was waiting for them all.  It would be just a few minutes before that bell would ring, it would be just a few minutes before my little love of life would run out smiling, wrapping her arms around me proclaiming, “Daddy, I love you.”

The bell rang and I stood there.  I watched, I waited.  I sought her out, but she didn’t show.  Hundreds of kids ran by and I made eye contact with each and every one of them.  There wasn’t a chance in life that she would’ve gotten by me.  My mind knew what she looked like, what she resembled, any similarities in her characteristics.  I was like a machine, scanning the crowd, like a robot with a mission.  I was waiting for someone who made my life complete, who I had given my heart to, who I trusted my feelings, my spirit, my life.

After the four hundredth kid passed me by, I felt a sensation of panic.  I felt a sense of fear.  I was afraid that I had lost one of the only things in life that I trusted, an entity in life that I knew loved me, unconditionally, and who would be there to the end.

When I felt that panic, when I felt the fear of losing someone I really loved, I wondered why?  Why did I feel so fearful, why was I so afraid?  Why did I feel such a sense of panic?  And then I remembered what had happened …

I remember my mother, my father, my family.  I remember how much they loved me, how they took care of me.  I remembered giving my eight-year-old heart to those who I thought I could trust.  And then I remembered how one day my life changed.  I still don’t recall how, and I still can’t understand why.  But for some strange reason, when I was growing up, my life was filled with love and joy, and then one day it was all taken away.  All that I knew as a child, all that I trusted, was ripped from my heart, and then ripped from my soul.  And no one explained to me why.

After the inconsistency of that environment, I found new love from girlfriends in high school.  And then they too, like my family, left me, and took parts of my heart with them.  I remember, at 16 years of age, standing in the aisle of Sav-on stocking shelves, while tears poured from my eyes.  I was hurt, I was devastated, I was alone. Again, someone whom I gave my heart to had taken a piece of my inner self.  And again, they left without a word.

It took so long for me to love again, to fully trust people, but somehow I did. I began to give my heart, or what was left of it, to others whom I felt I could trust.  I slowly began to rebuild my life, and finally I had.  Or so I thought…

The way I felt that day when I couldn’t find my daughter, that sleeping giant of fear woke up and looked around.  I remembered the pain, and the sorrow of how I felt, I remembered how much love hurt.  I guess that when I waited for her, those feelings of abandonment returned, and I was so afraid of losing yet another love in my life.  I didn’t have much heart left to lose, I couldn’t stand to go through what I had experienced so many times, and so many years ago.  But I faced those demons of fear and abandonment and grew from my pain.  I simply refused to let my past interfere with my future.  I’ve worked too hard to let irresponsible acts of yesterday interfere with what I’ve built today. That day, I found my daughter, and I faced my fears.

And as each day passes, I thank God for the opportunity to feel feelings and emotions that some people will never feel.  I thank God for being able to enjoy my life with a smile and a hug.  More importantly, I thank God for allowing me to understand that someday I may lose the ones I love, but not to fear, because today is the day I enjoy their presence, their love, and their joy.  And when they’re gone, I still have wonderful memories that I will make today, so that I can remember tomorrow.  And some day, I know God will give the world a beautiful place in their soul, like he has given me.  A place that sits in my heart free from past pain, free from fear and abandonment, and free from lost love.

Amazing Apricot Chicken

with Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans

 

By Hello Fresh

 

Cooking Time: 35 mins

Servings: 4

Nutrition: 500 Calories

Ingredients:

  • Fingerling Potatoes- 24 oz
  • Green Beans- 12 oz
  • Shallot- 1
  • Chicken Breasts- 24 oz
  • Thyme- 1/4 oz
  • Balsamic Vinegar- 4 tbsp
  • Apricot Jam- 1 oz
  • Chicken Stock Concentrates- 2

 

1  PREHEAT OVEN AND ROAST POTATOES.  Wash and dry all produce. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Toss on a baking sheet with a large drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast in oven until tender and lightly browned, 20-25 minutes, tossing halfway through.

ROAST GREEN BEANS.  Toss green beans on another baking sheet with a large drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast in oven until slightly crispy, about 12 minutes.

3  PREP SHALLOT.  Halve and peel shallot, then finely mince.

COOK CHICKEN.  Heat a large drizzle of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Pat chicken dry with a paper towel, then season all over with salt and pepper. Add to pan and cook until no longer pink in center, 4-5 minutes per side. Remove from pan and set aside to rest.

5  MAKE SAUCE.  Add shallot, thyme, and a drizzle of olive oil to same pan over medium heat. Cook, tossing, until shallot is so, 2-3 minutes. Stir in balsamic vinegar and apricot jam. Let simmer until syrupy, about 1 minute. Stir in ½ cup water and stock concentrates. Simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat, add 2 TBSP butter, and stir or gently swirl pan until melted.

6 PLATE AND SERVE. Discard thyme from pan. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Thinly slice chicken. Divide chicken, green beans, and potatoes between plates. Drizzle sauce over chicken and serve.

How Smart Home Technology Can Help You Eliminate Stress

By StatePoint

Many parents have worries around the back-to-school season, especially if kids will be alone for a portion of the afternoon or in the morning before catching the bus.

What if you could keep a better eye on things when you’re not physically there? Here are some ways to use smart home technology to simplify daily routines and minimize stress knowing the kids are safe.

Start with a Hub

A hub is like the brain of your home tech and connects to your router, allowing devices like locks, thermostats and lighting to communicate with one another. The hub can even send notifications to your mobile phone, so you can monitor and control your home remotely. With hubs such as SmartThings, Wink or Nexia, setting up your devices and customizations is simple. However, you may prefer a hub disguised as security panels, such as ADT Pulse or Vivint, or those that work with popular voice speakers, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Customize

Scenes are an easy way to sync smart devices to perform a series of actions that make life more convenient. For example, you can wake your kids with a “good morning” scene that turns lights on and plays music via an Echo or Google Home.

Worried about energy bills? Keep kids from cranking the air after school with a smart thermostat, which lets you control the temperature throughout the day.

After homework and chores are complete, a voice control assistant will keep kids entertained with music, and a movie scene can lower lights and turn on speakers. Finish the day with a “good night scene,” that shuts off lights, lowers the temperature, locks the doors and arms the security system.

Think Safety

Your smart home can keep a watchful eye on kids. Smart door locks like Schlage or Kwikset eliminate the need for kids to keep track of housekeys, and let you know if they forget to lock the door when they leave. When they get home, you’ll receive a notification letting you know they’ve arrived safely.

Security-focused solutions like the Piper NV camera and hub, or Abode’s DIY security solution alert you when someone enters and exits, and even provide video clips to your phone. Smart sensors, such as those from Aeotec, can notify you whenever a window, door or even a cabinet drawer is opened.

During emergencies, kids can press Fibaro’s Button device to activate an emergency scene that signals an alarm and sends a notification to your phone indicating they need help.

Future-Proof Your Tech

Smart home tech doesn’t have to be expensive; you can start small with a hub and a few devices and add more as your needs change. Just be sure all your devices can talk to one another now and in the future. With Z-Wave technology for example, devices from different manufacturers can communicate, no matter where you bought them, so consider looking for the Z-Wave logo when shopping for smart home technology. For smart home ideas and customer support, visit z-wave.com.

Alleviate back-to-school stress with new tools that help you keep kids safe and streamline your day.

Win the Battle Against Back-to-School Germs

By StatePoint

Did you know that, on average, elementary school children get eight to 12 colds or cases of the flu each school year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? This school year, follow some healthy habits to avoid the back-to-school plague.

First, wash hands and other items that you touch, like cell phones or desks, frequently. Cell phones carry 10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats; and school desks have been found to hold 400 times more bacteria than toilets.

Next, pick up school supplies that help fight germs, such as Easy Liner brand shelf liner with Clorox antimicrobial protection. The shelf liner features an antimicrobial

additive to prevent the growth of odor-causing mold and mildew on the liner. Plus, it can be tossed in the wash for easy cleaning. Place it in areas of your home or classroom where school items are stored like floors, counters, desks and shelves. For more information, visit duckbrand.com.

Help stave off colds and flu all school year with great germ-fighting habits.

Back-to-School Tips to Help Reduce Stress

By StatePoint

School can be a stressful place, from finding a seat at lunch to making new friends, but don’t let supplies be one of those stressors. Make life just a bit easier with the right supplies, so students have more time to focus on the important things. To help reduce stress, consider the following tips and tricks.

Lighten the Load

Students are always on the go — shuttling to and from school, attending rehearsals, practices and other extracurricular activities, and moving about from class to class. Managing mobility is crucial toward alleviating physical stress.

Use multifunctional tools that can help them carry less, such as the Five Star Flex Hybrid NoteBinder. It acts like a notebook and works like a binder with flexible, durable rings that open and close, allowing students to add, remove or re-sort their papers. Carrying less means less to worry about.

Further lighten the load by carrying only what is needed. Pack backpacks the night before to avoid bringing textbooks or binders that won’t be used. Another tip is to look for a backpack that features ergonomic straps to help distribute weight evenly and reduce physical stress. A backpack that has this feature is the Five Star Expandable Backpack; not only that, it also has expanding compartments offering extra room when needed. Other things to look for are pockets to help keep small supplies organized and easy to find, and padded sections for holding and protecting technology.

Stay Organized

Being organized can reduce so many headaches. Yet somehow, it’s all too easy to let backpacks, lockers and even bedroom floors get messy. Use effective organizational tools to ensure assignments aren’t misplaced in the shuffle. For example, the Five Star Storage & Organization Divider features mesh storage pockets that are great for smaller school supplies; plus, it can snap into a notebook or be stored in a binder for easy organization of important papers.

Write it Down

Write down assignments as soon as they are given. Being proactive will make sure there are no surprises. A planner is great for accessing information anytime, however you may want to display this crucial information on a wall calendar or planner at home as well.

Remain Balanced

Beyond selecting smart gear, students can help ensure a successful school year by making room in their schedules for activities that help reduce stress, whether that’s listening to music, going for a run or spending time with friends.

Find a few systems that help keep mental and physical stress low, and work hard to keep them in place throughout the year.

 

Shopping Local Can Benefit You and Your Community

By StatePoint

If you have home improvement plans, it’s important to consider where you will be doing your shopping. For many people, the first stores to come to mind are big box retailers because of the widespread assumption that chains can offer better selection and better prices.

Keep in mind, though, that when it comes to items needed for your home projects — whether it be new flooring, paint or a kitchen renovation — more often than not, experts say that your local independent retailer can offer as good or better selection, be competitive with pricing, and provide a superior customer service experience.

What’s more, shopping at local businesses can benefit your household and the community. At a locally owned store, you will be more likely to find interesting items and products that set your home apart. And more of your dollars will stay put when you give them to business owners who pay taxes locally, hire locally and may be more inclined to support community charities and organizations.

You may also find independent retailers that can offer some of the same benefits as a large chain. For example, when small business owners belong to a cooperative, they come together to scale buying power, access goods and services at a lower cost, and create opportunities not available to them as individual businesses. For you, this can mean more and better choices of products and affordability.

In the case of Flooring America for example, this means being able to offer a wide selection of products, including hard surfaces like hardwood, laminate and tile, and soft surface flooring, paint, cabinets for kitchen renovations and even closet organization solutions. Their retailers can be found in local communities throughout the country, with a varying product selection depending on location.

So, if you are looking to make home improvements, check out your local retailers that not only offer great product selection, but also contribute to your community in a positive way.

 

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers

photo courtesy: Hello Fresh

with Ground Beef, Quinoa and Monterey Jack Cheese

 

By Hello Fresh

 

Cooking Time: 30 mins

Servings: 4

Nutrition: 710 Calories

Ingredients:

 

  • Chicken Stock Concentrate- 2
  • Yellow Onion- 2
  • Scallions- 4
  • Lime- 2
  • Quinoa- 1 Cup
  • Ground Beef- 16 oz
  • Southwest Spice Blend- 2 tsp
  • Red Bell Pepper- 2
  • Yellow Bell Pepper- 2
  • Crushed Tomatoes- 2 Boxes
  • Monterey Jack Cheese- 1 Cup

 

1 PREHEAT AND PREP Wash and dry all produce. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring 1 cup water, stock concentrate, and a pinch of salt to a boil in a small pot. Halve, peel, and dice onion. Trim, then thinly slice scallions. Cut lime into wedges.

 

2  COOK QUINOA  Once water is boiling, add quino to pot. Cover, lower heat, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender, 15-20 minutes.

 

3 START FILLING  Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and scallions and cook, tossing, until softened, 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add ground beef, breaking up meat into pieces. Cook until browned, 3-4 minutes. Stir in Southwest spice blend and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper.

 

4  PREP AND ROAST PEPPERS While onions and beef cook, halve bell peppers lengthwise, then remove white ribs and seeds. Rub with a drizzle of olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet. Roast in oven until softened, 5-7 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, arrange bell peppers cut-side up on baking sheet.

 

5 FINISH FILLING  Stir crushed tomatoes into pan with beef and bring to a simmer. Let simmer until flavors have come together and tomatoes have reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Once quinoa has finished cooking, add it to pan and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

 

6 BAKE AND SERVE  Stuff bell peppers with as much filling as will fit. Sprinkle Monterey Jack cheese over top of each. Return to oven and continue roasting until very soft, about 10 minutes. Divide remaining filling between plates, then place stuffed peppers on top. Serve with lime wedges on the side for squeezing over.

Patients, Doctors and Researchers Embracing New Plan to Deal with COPD

By StatePoint

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a lung disease that afflicts millions of Americans, haunts families, and frustrates doctors and researchers, is now the third leading cause of death in the US, behind heart disease and cancer, costing Americans more than $32 billion a year.

For those living with or affected by the disease, there is new hope, thanks to a recently unveiled COPD National Action Plan.

Developed by patients, agencies and organizations under the stewardship of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the Action Plan shines a spotlight on the devastating physical and emotional toll the disease causes.

“Not being able to catch your breath and fearing your next breath may not come is just like drowning,” said Grace Anne Dorney Koppel, president of the COPD Foundation and a longtime COPD patient. “It is frightening beyond words and feels very, very lonely.”

Yet many with these symptoms tend to attribute them to something else: the common cold, old age, being out of shape. This lack of awareness delays diagnosis and treatment, worsening the condition and quality of life. Even mundane tasks — housework, bathing, dressing, walking — can feel onerous.

That’s why the first goal of the plan is to empower patients and families to recognize COPD and get treated quickly.

“I was diagnosed in 2001 and was told COPD is incurable,” said Dorney Koppel. “But that does not mean [it is] untreatable. Doctors need to teach patients the difference. I was given three to five years to live…sixteen years ago.”

Compounded with this misinformation is the idea that it’s exclusively a smoker’s disease mainly affecting men. While it most often affects people over 40 with a history of smoking, as many as one in four with COPD have never smoked. Long-term exposure to substances that irritate the lungs or a genetic predisposition called alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency also present as risk factors. What’s more, 56 percent of those diagnosed are women, and they die of COPD more than men.

Unlike heart disease and cancer, COPD prevalence and deaths aren’t decreasing. One in five people over age 45 has it.

“You know someone who has it. You may even have it and not know it,” said James P. Kiley, director of NHLBI’s Division of Lung Diseases.

So how to reverse this trend? One key is improving the level of diagnosis. “Spirometry is a simple and inexpensive breathing test that can identify COPD,” said Dorney Koppel.

MeiLan Han, M.D., medical director of the Women’s Respiratory Health Program at the University of Michigan, agreed, noting another goal of the Action Plan: to equip health care professionals with tools to diagnose and care for COPD patients. “We need to develop easy-to-follow guidelines and get them into the hands of providers on the frontlines.”

Developing an educational curriculum and tools for clinical decision-making, in sync with detection and management guidelines, will significantly improve diagnosis and care, said Han. So will improving patient access to spirometry, pulmonary rehabilitation, smoking cessation programs and affordable medications — all of which are called for in the plan.

To learn more about the Action Plan and find out how to get involved, visit COPD.nih.gov.

“This plan represents a new understanding of what it takes to minimize the burden of COPD,” said Gary H. Gibbons, M.D., director of NHLBI. “Now, it’s just a matter of getting to work.”

 

Updates to Transform Your New House into Your Dream Home

Photo courtesy: Created by BearFotos

By StatePoint

Congratulations, you’ve purchased a home! Now what? You’ve saved a million ideas on Pinterest and you’re ready to start making improvements. But how do you prioritize to make the most of your money? Consider these simple upgrades to transform your new house into your dream home.

1. Update Lighting

Cost: $10 (box of light bulbs) – $300 (new fixture)

Benefits: Brightens the room, enhances ambience, increases energy efficiency.

Let there be light! There are several ways to make a room feel brighter. Start with something quick, like swapping out bulbs to brighter or more efficient choices. For a mid-level task and a dose of style, add new lampshades. Or go big by replacing outdated fixtures with on-trend options.

2. Find a Better Faucet

Cost: $150 – $500

Benefits: Boosts home appeal, improves kitchen functionality.

One in five millennials say they want to update their kitchen, according to Moen research, and a simple faucet upgrade can be impactful. Replacing a basic kitchen faucet with a one-handle pulldown, like Moen’s Sleek faucet, creates a clean, modern look while adding functionality that makes cleanup a breeze, thanks to the easy-to-maneuver spray wand. Equipped with Power Clean technology, it provides more spray power while containing splash, which means faster cleanup for tough-to-rinse foods.

3. Install a Kitchen Backsplash

Cost: $125 – $250 (varies based on materials and if paying a pro)

Benefits: Creates a focal point, protects walls from cooking splatter, prevents water damage.

If your new kitchen has the blahs, a fresh backsplash may be the solution. In addition to protective and easy-to-clean qualities, a backsplash provides many customization possibilities, from material and color, to cost. Options could be glass mosaics, salvaged brick, or even peel-and-stick tile for easy installation (hello afternoon project)!

4. Replace Your Showerhead

Cost: $75 – $150

Benefits: Offers personalization, adds style, enhances daily routine.

New to DIY? Replacing a showerhead is an easy way to get your feet wet — pun intended! Whether trying to save water with a low-flow fixture or updating something out of style, swapping showerheads can be done in minutes. For ultimate customization, try a multi-function showerhead like Moen’s Attract combination handshower and rainshower with Magnetix, which provides three showering options for your perfectly personalized shower every time. Plus, the magnetic dock on the handshower makes re-docking a snap.

5. Add a Coat of Paint

Cost: $25 – $60

Benefits: Provides an instant makeover.

Whether your space is screaming for a makeover (mustard walls, anyone?), or you’re itching to try new trends, a coat of paint makes a big impact. Try creating an accent wall with a pop of color or fun pattern — it’s a smaller project that’s easy for first-time DIYers.

6. Maximize Space with Shelves

Cost: $10 – $45

Benefits: Maximizes space, revamps walls.

One in three millennials lacks the confidence to hang a shelf, according to Moen research, but they shouldn’t! With practice and the right tools, installing shelving is an inexpensive project to help better utilize space Creative ways to add storage include installing floating shelves for books or adding floor-to-ceiling shelving in a closet.

7. Coordinate Accessories

Cost: $20 – $40

Benefits: Creates a consistent look, easy to install.

Create a cohesive look throughout your home with coordinating accessories. Choose hardware matching in color and style with the existing fixtures, sink and flooring to achieve a sophisticated feel from top to bottom., Easy-to-install accessories, like towel bars and rings with Moen’s innovative Press & Mark technology, ensure fast and accurate installation. Accessories with the technology have a washable ink stamp to show exactly where to drill (perfect for novice DIYers).

Homebuyers (especially first timers) can often be overwhelmed with improvements, but tackling one project at a time will leave you saying “there’s no place like home.”

 

Adding A Family Member To Your Home

Created by PressFoto – Freepik.com

By Jennifer Williams, 2nd Chances Rescue Norco

So you’re thinking about adding a new family member to your home? One with four legs and fur?? Let’s talk about the things that you should be considering:

  1. How much free time do I have to spend with my new friend?
  2. Do I care if my favorite pair of slippers gets chewed up if I forget and leave them out?
  3. Is there a way for my new friend to get outside and “do his business”??

If after you’ve thought about those three things you’re still thinking it might be a good idea to add a new family member, let’s talk about the decision to get either a puppy or an adult dog. While puppies can be a lot of fun, they also mean you need to potty train, leash train, probably will need to buy a mountain of chew toys and there might be a few other minor changes made in your life.

There are many adult dogs that need homes because their owner could no longer take care of them. These dogs have already probably been housetrained, are mostly done with the chewing phase, and you pretty much know what you’re getting- especially if you get one from a rescue.

What’s your narrow that down, start thinking about the types of breeds that are available. There are small dogs, medium dogs, big dogs, and super sized dogs. There are also low-energy medium energy and high-energy dogs.

For example if your perfect dog is one that wants to just cuddle up on the couch and watch movies till dawn with you, there’s a perfect breed for you! Our next article will be about different types of breeds and what’s the best for you!

Simple Ways to Incorporate Exercise into Your Daily Life

By StatePoint

When constantly struggling to juggle the unending daily responsibilities of both work and family life, trying to squeeze in time to exercise can be a daunting task.

Throughout the day, you may be faced with the difficult choice: to move or not to move. Luckily, there are many simple changes you can incorporate into your daily routine to squeeze in that extra bit of movement, such as parking a bit farther away from your destination or opting to take the stairs versus riding the elevator.

Additionally, experts recommend isometrics, a form of exercise that involves tensing muscles without moving them, which has been shown to be an effective way to increase strength and boost metabolism, as well as maintain a healthy weight and improve overall health — all in ways that fit a busy schedule.

In fact, with just 15 minutes per day, isometric exercises have proven to increase strength by 30 percent over six weeks, according to studies. Among its many health benefits, isometrics can also improve stamina, combat osteoporosis, reduce pain and even lower blood pressure.

While it’s often today’s technology that keeps people strapped to their chairs and chained to their couches, certain new technological advancements encourage just the opposite, serving as exceptional healthy lifestyle resources. One such program harnessing the benefits of isometrics is Activ5 from Activbody. This new and innovative portable, handheld fitness device works with a downloadable companion app to coach users through fun and simple five-minute, low-impact isometric workouts that can be performed discreetly at work, in the comfort of home or when traveling. Featuring over 100 unique workouts personalized for users’ individual fitness levels, it includes a suite of games to make fitness more fun — as though you have an enthusiastic, animated personal trainer right in your pocket.

“Most of us sit way too much. Although we all want to be more fit, for many of us it’s nearly impossible to carve out time to get to the gym,” says Activbody CEO, Leo Griffin. “We wanted to create a way for people to get a full body workout quickly and effectively during their downtime, while still having fun and being entertained.”

The Activ5 app also measures data such as strength, precision and other personal metrics, giving users an opportunity to track their progress. To learn more about isometric exercise or to download the app, visit TryActiv5.com.

While the idea of heading to the gym after a jam-packed day may sound exhausting, making health a priority and incorporating some extra movement in your day is easier than ever before. Whether it’s as simple as playing with the kids in the yard or squeezing in a five-minute game using a fitness app at your desk, by keeping fitness fun and convenient, you will be more likely to embrace it as part of a healthy lifestyle.