Monday, January 30, 2012

Menu Monday: Cherry Almond Cookies


Someone posted a recipe for Honey Oatmeal cookies on a forum I belong to yesterday and I had to bake some up. The cookies are soft, chewy and the honey in the background gives the cookies another layer of flavor. When I saw the recipe I thought about what went well with honey and thought almonds. And almonds go well with cherries. So I added almond extract, dried cherries, almond extract and some white baking chips/almond bark. The result? YUM.

The girls ate them up. DH at first thought I put raisins in cookies, but then he said "I knew they couldn't be raisins", no kidding. Next time I am going to try subbing wheat flour for the AP flour and palm sugar instead of the brown sugar and increase the honey a little bit. Just to experiment with different sugars- palm sugar has a lower glycemic index than brown sugar, not because I think the cookies need improvement.

3 TBS unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 egg
1 TBS water
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda- I used 1/2 almost 3/4
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
the original recipe said any amount of the following- dried figs, chocolate chips, nuts, raisins, currants
I added-
1/2 cup dried pitted sulfured cherries
1/2 cup white baking chips
1/4 cup chopped dry roasted almonds
1/2 tsp almond extract





Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Grease a cookies sheet or cover one with parchment paper.
Piglet helped me sift some ingredients.
Sift- flour, soda, salt.








Beat the butter and sugar together. Add the honey, water, egg and extract. Beat well. Add the flour mixture and mix.




Stir in oats, mix well. Stir in cherries, chips and almonds.
Bake for 12-15 minutes
I baked them for 12 minutes.







Post provided by the Please Give Peas a Chance Blog.
Friday, January 27, 2012

This Week With the Mommies


We chat online in a private forum — discussing everything from the best photographers to the worst temper tantrums and all that lies between — and meet up regularly at member-driven events around town. Whether it's a late-night commiseration about a crying baby (there are 4 a.m. posts to prove it) or a Moms' Night Out, ToledoAreaMommies provides what our members need, when and how they need it.

Click here to go directly to our calendar, and stay up-to-date on all of our events scheduled for this week.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Making and Keeping Friends at Different Stages of Life

Friendships are often one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling parts of our lives. Not only do they provide us with company to engage in enjoyable activities, but they enrich our lives through shared meaning. Support systems have been linked to higher levels of happiness and improved overall health. While some friendships may only last for certain periods of time, others extend over a lifetime, and most of us recognize these relationships as some of the most important we will have. Even for people who generally feel they don't have trouble making friends, there are stages in life when this task may seem more difficult, leaving us feeling lonely or doubting our abilities to connect to others. If this feels like it is true for you, or you've noticed that this might be the case for your child, here are some ideas that might help in this process.

Children
With all the exciting activities that occur at this age, children may feel overwhelmed with the task of fitting in with their peers. Although you want their education to come first, making friends is most likely to be at the top of their agenda, and is also important to their development. Here are a few ways you can help your children establish relationships with their peers:

1. Teach your child important social skills that are essential to establishing and maintaining friendships such as sharing, listening, following rules, and playing fair. Allow your child to participate in events and activities that enable them to practice and implement these social skills. You can reinforce positive social interactions through verbal praise and, if this is something that is a real challenge for your child, through a structured reward system.

2. Provide opportunities for your child to play and socialize with other children their age such as play dates, sleepovers, car pooling, and extra-curricular activities. They should interact with their peers from school and in your neighborhood.

3. Read books with your children that teaches them about friendships and social skills.

4. It isn't uncommon for children to be timid or anxious about making friends. Be attentive to any red flags that your child may display that could indicate he or she is having trouble such as throwing tantrums, withdrawal from you more than is normal for them, or other changes in behavior or emotions.

Teenagers
During the teenage years, your son or daughter will encounter many possibilities to make friends such as participating in athletics, attending school events, and participating in extracurricular school activities. This is also a time when 'fitting in' and feeling connected to peers seems the most important to them, so not feeling part of a group or connected to people can feel especially difficult during these years. Here are some ways to help your teen navigate their social world:

1. Let your teen see how you interact with your friends. Because they are entering the young adult phase, it is important for them to see examples of mature, adult interactions. This can also help your teen better understand how positive friendships in adulthood look. If they are willing to go, take your teen to lunch with you and a friend.

2. Encourage your teen to partake in social activities that would enable him or her to meet other teens. This can include going to the movies, attending a dance, or eating dinner with a group of their peers. You can use your home as a 'safe' location for teens to hang out, yet still have adult supervision, by giving them a private area or room to spend time.

3. Talk to your teen about the meaning and importance of friendships. Discuss what makes someone a "good friend" and how to resolve conflicts and/or manage meaningful friendships they may have with others.

4. Monitor how your teen interacts with their friends. If you feel he or she is in an unhealthy relationship with one of their peers, attempt to provide guidance.

Post college-graduates
The college years provide young adults with numerous opportunities to meet new people as well as gain unique experiences. However, upon graduating, many people find it difficult or overwhelming with having to "start over" and meet new people, especially when relocating to a new town or city. Here are some ways that might help you connect to others after college:

1. Get involved in your local community. Join clubs, teams, or other extra-curricular and/or service based groups that allow you to meet and interact with others on a weekly basis. Working with others to reach a common goal is a great way to connect, and takes some of the pressure off this process, as you already share a common interest.

2. Invite people to engage in some sort of activity such as going to lunch, getting coffee or a drink, or hanging out at your place.

3. If you're shy or lacking in confidence, don't be discouraged because these feelings are not uncommon. Talk to someone else who has dealt with this stage of life, too.

Adulthood
As we enter adulthood, we often feel settled into patterns of making and maintaining friendships. However, many people feel dissatisfied with their outlets for social connection or the number of people to whom they truly feel close. When we are set in our ways, we can lack imagination regarding ways and places to connect to others. Here are some ideas about how to connect to new friends as adults:

1. Attend functions in your community that cater to something you are interested in but may not have tried before. This enables you to interact with people who you will begin to see on a regular basis. This could be joining a local charity with regular volunteer hours, or taking classes at a community center.

2. Join a group that involves doing something you enjoy yet keeps you active such as a yoga class or a golf club. This allows you to meet people with common interests, providing conversation starters that help take the pressure off the anxiety provoking introduction and connection process.

3. Invite family over for dinner. You can consider choosing members you feel most close or comfortable with or those who you want to get to know better, and set a theme for a dinner party. If you are in a relationship, consider having favorite members of both yours and your partner's family over together. This can deepen pre-existing relationships and lead to more regular family events and connections.

If you find your child or yourself having a little more difficulty making friends than you would like, speaking with a psychologist may help identify barriers and provide ideas for help moving past them.

Written by:  Lepage Associates Solution-Based Psychological and Psychiatric Services, 5842 Fayetteville Road, Suite 106, Durham, NC 27713  www.lepageassociates.com
Monday, January 23, 2012

Menu Monday: Homemade Cheesecake Ice Cream

I made some cheesecake for Cherry Cheesecake bombs and I had some filling leftover.  I decided to make this AMAZING ice cream. I decided to use a buttermilk base and it was perfect - the tang from the buttermilk with the cheesecake bites- PERFECT. I'm really enjoying being "back" in the kitchen lately and experimenting and coming up with fun things to try. 
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla paste/1vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla
7 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar, I used Vanilla Bean Specialty Sugar - you can use a cup, I just don't prefer things overly sweet
2 cups buttermilk
Maraschino cherries roughly chopped(with some juice reserved)
Vanilla bean cheesecake chunks  (I'll post that recipe soon also)
Graham cracker pieces- I gave the girls the option of graham crackers or oreos. They chose graham- I'm glad


Freeze the cherries and cheesecake in a single layer.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and set aside.
In a heavy bottom sauce pan stir the vanilla into the heavy cream. Bring it to a simmer.
Temper the cream and yolk mixture. I can't stress this enough. Be patient unless you want scrambled eggs. To temper add a little bit of cream to the yolk mixture and stir it. Add a little more and repeat to bring the yolks up to temperature and then add all the yolk mixture to the cream.
I put some cherry juice into the buttermilk. Stir it up and add it to the cream mixture. Transfer to a container and cool in the refrigerator.
Follow the instructions for your ice cream/gellato maker. Right before it's done stir in the yummy goodness that's in the freezer along with the graham crackers. Transfer it all to a container and finish freezing it.
Can it get any easier?
Post provided by the Please Give Peas a Chance Blog.
Sunday, January 22, 2012

Do You Have Flower Power?

Are you looking for some curb appeal? Do you need to beautify your backyard? Spring planting season may be a few months away, but there's no better time than now to grow with ToledoAreaMommies! We've partnered with Flower Power to bring you a fabulous fundraiser to help you plan the garden of your dreams.

Flower Power sells quality flower bulbs with a 100 percent money-back guarantee. Gorgeous geraniums, tantalizing tiger lilies, and beautiful begonias are just a few of the many bulbs available and ready to be shipped to your door. This fundraiser runs Jan. 22–March 20, 2012, and your bulbs will arrive in April and May, just in time for beautiful summer blooms.

So save some gas and the trip to your local nursery or big-box store, and plan your perfect garden from the comfort of your computer. Visit http://www.flowerpowerfundraising.com/i/t/240248/eE9URdCh90QH to view the enormous array of flower bulbs, and spring into Flower Power and ToledoAreaMommies' fabulous fundraiser!

Special bonus: Spend $40 or more to receive a free bag of 10 Twilight gladiolus, a $10 value.

Grow with us!

Profits made through our fundraising link go toward our chapter's operating expenses.
Friday, January 20, 2012

Ring in the New Year with TMN

The New Year's parties may have ended, but our sponsorship promotion hasn't! We're still ringing in the New Year at The Mommies Network with an incredible deal that will have you reaching for your noisemakers.

Moms may have the greatest buying power, sharing business experiences and trends with one another. And since women make more than 80 percent of all purchasing decisions and control two thirds of the nation’s disposable income, targeting this group benefits your company. Resolve to reach this influenial portion of the population by taking advantage of this limited-time promotion.

With all new/renewed sponsorship agreements, your business will receive a complimentary blog feature (advertorial to include logo/product image and 500 words). Prepaid agreements receive a 5 percent discount and a complimentary two months on one sponsorship listing. Sponsors also receive 20 percent off event sponsorships. Offer expires Jan. 31, 2012.

The end of the month is just around the corner, so what are you waiting for? Celebrate with TMN by taking advantage of this amazing deal.

For more details on how your business can ring in the New Year with moms across the nation, please contact Jessica Van Dyke at Jessica.VanDyke@TheMommiesNetwork.org.

This Week With the Mommies


We chat online in a private forum — discussing everything from the best photographers to the worst temper tantrums and all that lies between — and meet up regularly at member-driven events around town. Whether it's a late-night commiseration about a crying baby (there are 4 a.m. posts to prove it) or a Moms' Night Out, ToledoAreaMommies provides what our members need, when and how they need it.

Click here to go directly to our calendar, and stay up-to-date on all of our events scheduled for this week.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012

MOMics Comics - Making Baby Food

Baby Margaritas?


Illustration by Rainey Niklawski from RichmondMommies.com, A3 for The Mommies Network

If you enjoy drawing or designing mom-centered comics of your own, consider contributing to our weekly "Momics" column! Send us an email at blogs@themommiesnetwork.org
Monday, January 16, 2012

Menu Monday - Rainbow Cake

Mondays can be great or one of those Mondays. For me today was one of those Mondays. My daughter decided to show everyone in BlockBuster what kind of demon crawled up in her by screaming and throwing her bag of M&Ms every where. She didn't stop screaming til we got to the car.


So I knew today was a good day to do some cake therapy. A good cake can take care of any problems. As soon as my daughter took her nap I hit the kitchen to make Rainbow Cake.






Rainbow Cake in Jar
1 box white cake mix made according to package instructions
Neon food coloring in pink, yellow, green, turquoise, and purple
3 one-pint canning jars
1 can vanilla frosting
Rainbow sprinkles

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly wash and dry the inside of each canning jar. Spray the inside of each jar thoroughly with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. Take your one box white cake mix and make according to package instructions. To be honest I messed up and didn't use egg whites in my cake. Still came out yummy.



    Scoop about 1/2 cups of cake batter into five small bowls. It doesn’t have to be perfect, don’t panic if you get a little more of less of one color than another.  Tint each bowl of cake batter with the food coloring until very vibrant.
    Note: I used more then 1/2 cups of cake batter in each bowl. I was cake hungry. If I do this recipe again I would only use 1/2 cup of cake batter for each bowl and make cupcakes with the extra batter. 


    Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the purple batter into the bottom of each jar.  Spoon equal amounts of turquoise batter, then green, yellow, and pink. Note: I was not very clean with how I scooped the batter into the jars. I think next time I would use a funnel so the  different colors don't mix on the side of the jar. 



    Place the jars in a shallow baking dish, add about 1/4″ in water in the baking dish. Place the baking dish in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.


    Note: The cake will mushroom over the top. I used extra batter which caused the volcano effect. 


    Remove jars and allow to cool completely before scooping a small portion from the top of your cake and adding a hefty dollop of vanilla buttercream to the top. Sprinkle & serve, or cover with a lid and store in the fridge. In the end you will have a unique dessert for your loved ones. This dessert didn't come out as clean as I had hoped, but it reminds me of those sand bottles you make at carnivals and festivals. The important thing is that I had a blast and it made my day end on a happy note. 

    Post originally submitted to the CentralPiedmontMommies Blog on June 20, 2011

    TMN Weigh-In Challenge News

    Hello, and Happy New Year to everyone!

    My name is Karen Skidmore, and I am the owner of Completely Fit, a personal training and fitness company located in Mount Airy, Md. I am a team leader for one of the groups in The Mommies Network Weigh-In Challenge.

    All my team members have started off strong and are working very hard to accomplish their goals. They were asked to fill out a detailed questionnaire about their current nutritional and fitness habits, and answer questions about what changes they wanted to create. Based on that information, I have helped each person come up with a detailed action plan that will not only help to accomplish her goals, but more importantly, help to improve her lifestyle.

    If you are looking to make a change in your life but are not a part of the Weigh-In Challenge, you too can do it with just a few small changes at a time.

    If your nutrition is off track, start by taking away one unhealthy food once a week and replacing it with a healthy food.

    If your exercise routine is off track, start by finding something you really enjoy doing — walking, biking, or swimming — and adding 10 minutes of that exercise to your day. Before you know it, exercise will have become a daily routine.

    Be sure to track your results, as we do much better when we can see our progress.

    I am very excited to be a part of this group and team, and I look forward to reporting our successes back to you each month. — Karen Skidmore, Completely Fit
    Friday, January 13, 2012

    This Week With the Mommies


    We chat online in a private forum — discussing everything from the best photographers to the worst temper tantrums and all that lies between — and meet up regularly at member-driven events around town. Whether it's a late-night commiseration about a crying baby (there are 4 a.m. posts to prove it) or a Moms' Night Out, ToledoAreaMommies provides what our members need, when and how they need it.

    Click here to go directly to our calendar, and stay up-to-date on all of our events scheduled for this week.
    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Post Partum Anxiety: A Personal Account

    So many people talk about postpartum depression these days, and yet the awareness we all hope for is not even remotely close to existing. So how can I begin to imagine that same awareness for those of us who experience postpartum anxiety? Or can I?

    Towards the end of my pregnancy I found myself awake at night, thinking and thinking. And thinking some more.

    What is going to happen with this baby? Will s/he be okay? Will *I* be okay? Will childbirth go okay? What if my water breaks and my husband isn't home? (It did, but he was home soon after.) Is it going to be like in the movies? (It wasn't.) I think I have to pee again. Do I really have to pee again? So soon? Ugh. I wonder if something is wrong that is making me have to pee or think I have to pee like 900x a night. Is it normal? Is it possible something is the matter with the baby?

    Damn, how is he asleep? How can he just lay there and sleep that way? So easily? Damn him. Closed his eyes and rolled over and that's that. It's his baby, too. He's going to have to take care of it. It. Everyone thinks he's a he. But I don't know. Should I know? Shouldn't I know by now, instinctual-ly or something like that? Don't most expectant mothers have dreams that tell them what their babies are going to be and aren't they almost always right? Why haven't I had that dream yet? Well, I guess I should know - I mean I'm NOT asleep. How can I be dreaming up the gender of the baby if I can't even close my eyes and fall ... I think I really do have to pee now. Sigh.

    And so it went. Night after night until I suddenly realized I couldn't take much more of it. I wasn't sleeping. And if I did fall asleep and eventually woke up to go to the bathroom I could not fall back to sleep. It would take hours of my mind racing before I was finally able to shut it down. If only for a little while. I was exhausted.

    I was a stay-at-home not yet mom, and I was so tired I could barely function. And I was having a healthy pregnancy. A really healthy pregnancy, with no issues at all. What was my problem? I didn't know - but I knew enough to decide that it was time to find out. I called my doctor.

    Now, mind you, this was a few months before baby arrived. I was able to monitor my anxiety and manage things with a small dose of prescription medication. It was the right thing at that time for me. After baby was born I was on alert. Would I be exceptionally moody? Uptight? Angry? Overly-hormonal? A friend of mine who had suffered from pretty intense PPD after her second child called regularly. 'You're doing alright?' she would ask.

    And my answer was always a resounding 'Yes,' as I felt I was doing alright. In comparison to what I experienced talking to her nightly into the wee hours of the morning during her postpartum experience, I was doing amazingly well. And I loved my baby. I never wanted to put her down. I rarely wanted to step away from her, but did enjoy the R&R provided by having family in town, as I knew that would soon end.

    And then family left and headed home. My husband went back to work regularly. And my baby and I? We were home. Alone. Together. With our pets. And that was pretty much it. Holy crap! What now?

    My anxiety didn't skyrocket as one would expect. It wasn't a level of heightened anxiousness automatically for me. But man, as soon as she hit that 3 month-mark of colic, reflux or whatever else that was combined, I hit that wall. And as she grew and started rolling and moving some on her own, I started climbing it. The wall - that is. Get her crawling and I was all about upping my meds. The anxieties increased. The nights of not falling asleep multiplied, as I was already a new mom. I was breastfeeding. And I was awake nearly ALL. The. TIME.

    I used to joke about my experience being PPD-lite. Meaning I didn't have the mood swings and such that many a PPD mom will reflect on. I even coined the term PPA in my mommies' PPD support group, thinking I was the first to think of it. Ha. What did I know? I was a new mom, ya know?

    Obviously I made it through those early days. I found a way to hang in there, to survive. There was so much going on, but having people to talk to - to count on - to listen, that's what made it pass so smoothly. And to remind myself of how strong I was, that helped make it all okay. But the interesting thing to me about postpartum anxiety is that it never really, truly seems to go away. Because - after all - you are ALWAYS postpartum after your child is born. At least that is my perspective, four years+ into motherhood. And so the story continues ... stay tuned.

    Post submitted by Andrea from TriangleMommies.com
    Originally posted on her Blog, Good Girl Gone Redneck on July 23, 2011
    Monday, January 9, 2012

    Menu Monday: Asian Noodle Salad



    This cold noodle salad is actually made with linguine, but if you want to use soba noodles they would be wonderful too. There are quite a few recipes online for this dish, one at Pioneer Woman- probably most popular and here at Savvy Vegetarian.

    So, here's how we make it around here.


    1 pound cooked linguine or soba noodles. Rinsed with cold water

    Vegetables and Herbs- pick what you like, this is great to clear out your fridge at the end of the week too- use a lot, they are soo good with the dressing. I forgot the spinach for this batch and didn't use broccoli.

    Napa cabbage - 1/3 sliced thin
    Purple cabbage- 1/3 sliced thin
    Bell peppers- red, yellow, orange and or green - I use thee colors, slice half from each
    English cucumber- peeled and sliced or regular cucumber peeled, seeded and sliced
    3-4 stalks of tender celery with leaves- the inner stalks the leaves are so flavorful, chopped
    Bean sprouts- a couple of hand fulls
    Thinly sliced carrot- you can use a julienne peeler or buy grated carrots
    1/2 cup of chopped cilantro leaves or Thai basil
    1-2 scallions sliced
    Baby spinach
    Baby broccoli florets

    Protein- Optional
    Tofu- firm tofu, wrapped in a clean kitchen towel and weighted with a plate and canned good to press out the liquid. Cubed then fried in a little oil until crisp.
    Chicken- leftover roasted chicken shredded or grilled

    Dressing-
    zest from 1/2- 1 lime
    1 1/2 limes- juiced, I usually add 2 limes because I like it tart
    3 tablespoons sesame oil
    8-10 tablespoons olive oil
    6-7 tablespoons soy sauce
    1/3 cup brown sugar- not packed just lightly scooped
    4-5 tablespoons of grated ginger- I use my micro plane (we love ginger)
    3 cloves minced garlic, I grate it also
    2 jalapenos seeded and minced (I use these as a garnish too)
    1/3 cup Cilantro chopped

    Garnish
    Sesame seeds
    Cilantro
    Thai basil
    Lime wedges
    Sliced jalapenos


    Whisk the ingredients for the dressing (except the cilantro) until the sugar is mostly dissolved and combined- I've also thrown everything in a blender and it works fine. Stir in cilantro. Toss the dressing on the noodles, protein and vegetables in a large bowl. Serve with garnishes.
    This is best eaten the day it's prepared unless you leave out the napa cabbage, cilantro and Thai basil and sprinkle them on top when ready to serve.

    Post submitted from the Give Peas a Chance blog.

    Friday, January 6, 2012

    This Week with the Mommies


    We chat online in a private forum — discussing everything from the best photographers to the worst temper tantrums and all that lies between — and meet up regularly at member-driven events around town. Whether it's a late-night commiseration about a crying baby (there are 4 a.m. posts to prove it) or a Moms' Night Out, ToledoAreaMommies provides what our members need, when and how they need it.

    Click here to go directly to our calendar, and stay up-to-date on all of our events scheduled for this week.
    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    Staying Healthy This Winter

    A runny nose, coughing, an aching body, and choking phlegm are just a few of the unattractive and uncomfortable symptoms related to the common cold and flu. During the chilly winter months, we find ourselves spending the majority of our time indoors, making it quite easy to send and receive those unwanted cold and flu cooties. Both the common cold and the flu are extremely contagious. Many of these germs are spread by hand-to-hand contact and are also airborne. It seems as though we are destined for some sort of sniffle each year. However, we have control to a certain extent! Give it your best shot this winter and beyond to avoid those pesky cold and flu critter invasions. Here are the top 10 tips for staying healthy during cold and flu season:
    1. Sleep eight hours a night. Yes, lack of sleep can affect the immune system. While we sleep, our immune system releases proteins called cytokines. Cytokines are necessary for fighting infection.
    2. Get stress levels under control. Stress can decrease immune system function. Research has found that cortisol and catecholamines, hormones that are released during times of stress, can turn down the effects of the immune system. The following link provides more info on the effects of stress: http://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2007/Januar ... res_01.htm.
    3. Yoga, deep breathing, meditation, exercise, and getting yourself into the present moment are all ways to cope with stress.
    4. Get outdoors every day. Spending too much time indoors, especially around people, can increase your chances of contracting those cold and flu cooties! In addition, getting sunlight for 15 minutes every day can improve your mood and Vitamin D levels.
    5. Exercise! Indoors or outdoors, exercise has repeatedly been shown to strengthen not only our bodies but also our immune systems. For detailed information regarding exercise and immunity, check out this link: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders ... ystem.aspx.
    6. To review guidelines on physical activity, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website: http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/eve ... index.html.
    7. Wash your hands!
    8. Consume a balanced and nutritionally dense diet. Proper nutrition goes a long way! There is no better way to receive vitamins and minerals than through fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. For the dairy lovers and meat eaters out there, choose the leanest options available. Vitamins and minerals provide our cells with the building blocks it needs to fight off disease! Excess sugar and fat can create a systemic inflammatory response, making it more difficult for our bodies to fight off disease and illness.
    9. Hydrate! Water can flush toxins from the body and carry much-needed nutrients to our body’s cells and tissues. The dry winter months can cause insensible hydration losses that we are typically not aware of. In addition, mild dehydration can make you feel drained and more susceptible to the dreaded "C": constipation.
    10. Rinse the nasal passages! A practice that many refer to as nasal flushing is a safe and effective way to clean out the nasal passages. During cold-weather months, the respiratory tract creates more mucus in an attempt to warm and moisten our airways. When that mucus spends too much time inside the body, germs can linger and proliferate. By flushing the mucus from your nose, you are removing some of those unwanted infestations. For more information, check out http://www.neilmed.com/usa/index.php.
    11. Avoid the inevitable. It may be best to avoid situations where you know you will encounter individuals with the cold or flu. In many instances, this is not possible, or perhaps you are unaware of someone's pending illness. Nonetheless, take precautions by strengthening your own immune system and washing your hands postvisit. Also, remember to avoid putting your hands near your face until a thorough washing occurs.
    12. Keep your living spaces clean and tidy. Keyboards, doorknobs, countertops, and fruits and vegetables can all be hosts and carriers of bacteria and viruses. Disinfect often!
    For more tips regarding nutritional supplements and vitamins to complement the tips mentioned above, consult your health care provider.

    And remember, an apple a day just may keep the doctor away! Best to you and your family for a safe and healthy holiday!



    Post submitted by Marisa from The Mommies Network's Content Team
    Monday, January 2, 2012

    To Die For Blueberry Muffins


    I am not a morning person at all. When my daughter screams, "Mommy!" in the morning, all I want to do is hide under the covers for a few more minutes. So usually, I am not in the mood to make a huge breakfast, either. I like something that is good and quick.

    Lately, Virginia has been on a blueberry kick. She loves her some blueberry waffles. When I was at the grocery store, I grabbed some fresh blueberries for her. Well, don't you know, my silly goose turned up her nose at the blueberries. I don't like to waste food, so I decided to make blueberry muffins. I usually use the store-bought muffin packs, but I ran across this To Die for Blueberry Muffin recipe on AllRecipes and decided to give it a shot.


    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups, or line with muffin liners. I always like to put two liners in one muffin spot. Like my mother, I tell my family that the one that gets the double liner is going to have a lucky day. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt, and baking powder.


    Measure 1 cup of vegetable oil; add egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture.


    Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups to the top, and sprinkle with crumb-topping mixture.


    To make crumb topping: Mix 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.


    Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven or until done.

    Post originally submitted by Kathy (absolutelykathy) to the CentralPiedmontMommies blog on Sept. 8, 2011.
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