Staying Healthy During Back to School Craziness

Do you find yourself totally exhausted every night? Now that you are back to a routine after summer leisure, do you often feel as if it is Friday on Tuesday? Most of us can answer yes to these two questions.

It is so important at this time of the year, before all the holidays start rolling in and the temperature changes, to feel as if your body is working at its peak. We must make an extra effort to eat healthy, take vitamins, rest whenever possible and have some moments of nothingness to regain strength.

Taking a moment or two at the end of the day to reflect on the happenings of the day, making mental notes of what you have to do tomorrow and just relishing in a quick cup of coffee or tea, will revitalize you. This will prevent you from losing patience with someone who has nothing to do with the your stress levels. Take that exercise class, go for a walk, call your mom, and just breathe deeply.

If we do this relaxation exercise for 15 minutes every day we will see a big improvement in our overall wellbeing. We will be ready to take that exercise class, cook dinner for the family, take a walk with the dog, and just refuel your body and melt the stress away.

Taking time for yourself will not only benefit you, but your family and friends as well. They will see you as a happier person who is content and ready to take on the challenges of each day. Breathe deeply, be mindful and take care of your own wellbeing.

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Christmas in August?

We are used to seeing Halloween decorations in August but Christmas? Really? Why have we become a society that rushes our years and looks ahead instead of enjoying the present. Yes, I do buy Christmas presents in September sometimes, but that is only if I see something special. I do not want to rush shopping and just buy presents as an obligation. It is so important to put thought into it.

But decorations????? We get bombarded by these beautiful Christmas displays while most of us don’t even remember what we have stored away. So often we buy something that stands out only to find that we have the same thing or just about the same in our growing number of Christmas bins. That happened to me a few times so I make it a point to not look at these decorations. In fact, sometimes they annoy me so much I turn my head the other way.

It is the middle of September and my thoughts are on decorating the house in a fall theme. Some colorful leaves, pine cones, lanterns, candles and so on. Just a start to the school year and our last bit of hope before the bitter winter. I am not thinking about Halloween costumes, pumpkins, or hanging up ghosts or goblins.

Oh and by the way, did anyone remember that Thanksgiving comes before Christmas. If you are like me, I try to extend my pumpkin and leaf decorations through November, adding a few turkeys and Giving Thanks signs. Its a reminder to be thankful for our families and friends, and not just running into the gift buying season. Thanksgiving was my father’s favorite holiday because there were no presents, just precious family time. Thanksgiving is just one of the days I miss him terribly. So enjoy the fall, breeze through Halloween and be thankful for all that you have before getting into the craziness of the holiday season!

Lets be thankful for all that we have in our lives … all the people we love and blessings we need to count…….

Our Precious Penne

Five years ago we were married and were given the most precious gift by our pastor, our Bichon Frise, and we named her Penne. Penne is a special dog who loves unconditionally and even in her defiant moments, is still the cutest dog that melts our hearts.

From the moment we brought her home she has given us unconditional love and faithfulness. Like most Bichons she can be very spiteful and often gets into things that are not meant for her. She is not the best listener and we often have to call her numerous times before she stops ignoring us. But that, I have heard, is the nature of the Bichon. She is playful, loves company and children especially, and faithfully waits by the window for us to come home.

When we first got her, she fit in the palm of my husband’s hand. Barely 5 pounds and just the sweetest thing you could ever come home to, she immediately became a part of our family. Perfect timing as 5 years later, we are complete “empty nesters” so we look forward to spending much of our time with her and spoiling our little “child”.

When we first tried to train her using the pee pad, she just thought it was another mat or blanket to sleep or sit on. She always loved to make herself comfortable on the pee pad but never did anything on it. She now has at least 3 blankets and probably 5 beds around the house. Whenever I buy a new mat or throw rug, she immediately takes it over thinking its hers of course.

There is no greater love than the love of a dog. It is unconditional and loyal. We have many outside friends and acquaintances that we plan events with. Your dog’s entire life centers around you. It is a feeling that cannot be explained and can never be duplicated. I never thought I would have another dog when I lost my mini-schnauzer 7 years ago, but Penne has added to that void in my life. You never forget your pet and how they made you feel.

I sincerely hope that you have the opportunity to have this kind of special love in your life. It cannot be compared to any other love, yet it such an addition to your life and I truly believe it adds quality and years to your own life.

Viva Puerto Rico

This was my third vacation to the island of Puerto Rico. I haven’t been there in over 15 years, but always remembered the culture that made this island so very special to me. It wasn’t just about sand and blue water but it has so much more to offer. I was curious to visit the island after its horrible brush with a hurricane that left people homeless and without power for up to a year.

I stayed at the Marriott in San Juan at Condado Beach which was still a beautiful place not devastated by the hurricane. The hotel was exquisite, with wonderful staff and beautiful beaches. This made our stay relaxing and refreshing.

In our travels, we we took a Catamaran to another beach off the island which was beyond breathtaking. The clear, light blue water entranced you. You wanted to stay there forever.

We had a delicious lunch, many Pina Coladas, swam in the turquoise waters and even tried some snorkeling. Some other passengers even ventured to jump off the boat a few times. Overall, the day was magnificent and the air was salty and healing.

One day, we visited the fort used to help win the Spanish American war in 1898. The fort was set on the water and had history everywhere, highlighted by the wildlife that moved in, namely iguanas and parrots, and even some small crabs. Every corner of the fort intrigued us as we took in the history and the beauty of this historical landmark.

One evening we shopped in Old San Juan, ate in indigenous Puerto Rican restaurants and just relaxed and enjoyed the happy sounds of this beautiful island. I discovered Mufango, which is a plantain surrounding the food of your choice — grilled skirt steak, chicken and even seafood. On our last night in Puerto Rico I enjoyed a dish I never had before – Ropas Viejas which is a shredded beef deliciously seasoned in a sweet plantain presentation. The word delicious does not give this dish justice.

We met many Puerto Rican’s who are so grateful for our visits as they are working hard to rebuild their island which is still recovering from the aftermath of the hurricane. They offer great deals right now, so if you need a quick 4 day getaway, please check out Puerto Rico. You will never forget this island of paradise!!

HEALTHY HABITS

I have become more aware of the importance of making healthy choices in life. And, of course, that is easier said than done. We need to realize that our choices and habits create our reality.

Your goal can’t be to reverse what you have done to your body in your life, but rather to start where you are. Leave the past behind. Today is a new day that will be shaped by your choices and attitude starting NOW!! Focus forward on how you can improve instead of worrying about the past.

As you strive to meet your wellness goals, it is vital that you hold yourself accountable for making healthy choices. One way to do this is to effectively track your daily activities and journal your health and wellness goals. Research proves that people who track their daily activities are more successful at reaching their goals than those who don’t. Tracking reveals the blind spots in your daily habits that are sabotaging your efforts to reach your goals.

Do I still eat chocolate ? YES But I consume less, and I have now have self-awareness that choosing to have a few pieces versus an entire bar or box. If you want to increase your accountability and self-awareness.toward your health and wellness goals, try experimenting with various trackers and see what works for you. Using a journal can be a fun and inexpensive way to track your activities. You can also explore some digital trackers and apps to help you track your food and exercise.

When you start consistently making and practicing changes in your life, you’ll start noticing a difference in how you look, feel and think. Celebrate these changes. Celebrate your successes.

In my movement to live a healthier life, I have changed my outlook on eating, exercising and plan each day as much as I can. Yes, I do have cheat days but as long as I go back to “my plan for success” I can continue to be focused the next day. In my changes, I found a company named Melaleuca. Melaleuca is a health and wellness club that carries over 450 products that you use in your home all the time. From cleaning products, health and nutrition, to beauty and hair care, to just name a few — Melaleuca has it all. For a small membership fee, you can have access to all of these products. Visit Melaleuca.com to take a look at the products we offer. If you would like an application for membership, or additional information, please email me at HealthEliving713@gmail.com. Let’s be partners and help each other achieve our goals.

When You Just Need Chocolate

I have been very vigilant in my weight loss efforts. I have lost 20 pounds and make an effort to go to the gym at least 4 times a week. But two things always stand in my way — pizza and chocolate. I have eaten cauliflower pizza crust (it’s satisfactory), but I have not been able to satisfy my chocolate craving until now. So I want to share with you my recipe for Flourless Chocolate Chip Brownies.

Ingredients:

. Nonstick cooking spray

. 1 15 oz can chickpeas (drain and rinse)

. 1/4 cup butter (or organic coconut oil)

. 2 large eggs

. 1/2 cup pure maple syrup

. 1 tsp vanilla extract

. 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

. 1/2 tsp baking powder

. Sea salt

. 1/4 cup semi-sweet (or dark) chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Line 9 x 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly coat with spray.

3. In separate blender (or food processor) place chickpeas, butter, eggs, maple syrup, extract, cocoa powder, baking powder and a touch of salt. Blend until smooth.

4. Add chocolate chips, mix by hand until blended.

5. Evenly spread batter into prepared pan.

6. Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out clean.

7. Cool. Cut into squares.

Please note that you can substitute cannelloni beans for garbanzo beans. They make it a little smoother. If you use an 8×8 inch pan brownies will be a little thicker.

ENJOY!!!!!!

True Happiness

When you wake up every morning ready to face a new day do you ponder what it is that truly makes you happy? Do you take a moment from your routine (getting up, getting ready for work, commuting, working and then coming home again) to understand what makes you a happy person?

Most of the time our lives consist of To Do lists, chores, jobs and everyday life hassles. We hardly ever take time to just breathe deeply and take in the sights around us. We always put it off to when we have time, like the weekend, or our next vacation. Perhaps you can change that. What if you spent ten minutes every morning before you start your day thinking about all that you have to be happy about and what you can do today to add to that happiness.

Sometimes a simple deed for a less fortunate person can make us feel happy, sitting outside with a cup of coffee can make us feel peaceful, and just taking a moment break can help us regain our reasons for doing what we do. Remember that you go to work every day to make life better for you and your family, to pay for the beautiful house or apartment you are living in, to save for a bigger place, to work towards that European vacation and so on. We should add these goals and dreams to our weekly or daily To Do lists to keep us on track and to make us find more meaning in the everyday, mundane parts of our lives.

Sit back and imagine that beautiful place you hope to visit, where peace and tranquility will give you that relief from the everyday. Don’t put off those planned excursions for work and chores. Make them a part of your To Do list.

While doing that, make your family a part of your To Do list. Instead of the list of errands you are running this week, make a list of all the ways you can tell someone you love them, show them your love and experience their love. Life is too short to wait for these expressions of love. Sip in the moment, breathe in the ocean breezes, and take a pause to reflect on what your life truly means at the end of every day. A job can always be replaced, your life and your time cannot, so hold on tight to that which you love and want in your life.