Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Few Really Good Ornaments

My sis-in-law is the most creative gal ever!  She loves to do crafts and beautify her home with them!  

 For a few years now, she has hosted an ornament party at her home.  It is always the same group because the object is to make an ornament for each individual at the party.  Everyone goes home with about 12 or 13  ornaments to put on their tree. It is quite a chore to make 13 ornaments for each person.  But the pay-off is great!  Last year she and I made ornaments together.  Mine went to a gift exchange that I did with my singing group!  They were a big hit! Here are some pictures of her last ornament exchange party and some of the cute ornaments that were made.Very creative, ladies!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fantasy Jewelry Box Review and Giveaway!

Congratulations to #1, elaine, who said: I would choose Diane's Aqua Blue Crystal Ball Stud Earrings, Item # E1019.

I have a routine every morning when I get ready to go to work.  I allow myself about 20 minutes to pick out what I want to wear, along with accessories. I don't pick what I will wear the night before because it may not be how I'm feeling the next morning. My accessories are a fun part of getting ready.  I like to pick out a fun necklace and some earrings to match or accent what I am wearing.  So I was really excited when I received Dhonna's 14K Gold Hammered and Cubic Zirconia Oval Drop Earrings from Fantasy Jewelry Box!  They are so pretty!  You can bet that I will be using these very regularly, both for work and dress-up in the coming months ahead in 2011! They are brass base metal with 14k Gold Electroplated with a hammered finish.  They look heavy but are very light and easy to wear!

Fantasy Jewelry Box is your one-stop shopping place for both men's and women's jewelry!  Jewelry makes a perfect gift for Christmas and they offer free shipping on all orders 365 days a year.  Also, spend $50 or more and you get a pair of FREE earrings!  Every order comes with a beautifully wrapped box for gift-giving and you can always exchange for free!

Right now you can buy the earrings I got at Fantasy Jewelry for $44.95 plus get 20% off if you use the code HOLIDAY20 or you may want to win a $35 gift code from Fantasy Jewelry here on my blog!  Here's what to do to enter:

Mandatory:  Visit Fantasy Jewelry and tell me what you would use your gift code for!  Leave the link!
   Extra options:
  • Like Fantasy Jewelry Box on Facebook! (1 entry)
  • Grab my A GAL NEEDS...button and leave your link!  (2 entries)
  • Subscribe to my RSS Feed! (1 entry)
  • Subscribe to my e-mail! (2 entries)
  • Blog this and link it back to this post!  Leave me your link (3 entries)
  • Tweet this giveaway once a day for one entry per day! You can copy and paste:
 Head into 2011 with style! #Win a $35 online Gift Certificate to @FantasyJewelry and @Melahelen!  Ends 12/31/11
 That's it!  This giveaway ends on 12/31/10 and the winner will be chosen on 1/1/11 by a random number generator and posted here and also notified by e-mail!  This is open to both Canada and the US!   Thanks to FantasyJewelryBox for the beautiful earrings to write my review!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

To Find Uses For Common Items!

 We've all got these common items in our homes.  But I'll bet you didn't think of some of these great ways to use them!  I sure didn't!  I picked my favorite alternative use for each item but there are tons more at Womansday!
Toothpaste - Remove crayon marks from a wall by squirting a small dab of non-gel toothpaste on the wall and rub with a cloth, then rinse with warm water!
Rubber Bands -  Hook a rubber band through the button hole of your pants and secure the other end to the button for some extra breathing room!
Nail Polish - Mend a small hole (1/3" or smaller) in a screen and prevent it from getting bigger by brushing clear nail polish on it!
Scotch Tape - Before hammering a nail into a wall, put scotch tape on it to prevent the paint from chipping.
Dryer Sheets - Calm static electricity and flyaway hair by running a dryer sheet through it!
Hair Dryer - Remove wax by pointing a hair dryer at the wax and melting it, then wiping it off with a sponge!
Hand Lotion - You can use hand lotion as a quick shoe polish!
Cornstarch - Detangle stubborn knots in shoelaces, string or chain necklaces by rubbing some in!
Petroleum Jelly - Rub some of this on your pet's paws to protect them from drying and cracking!
Coffee Filters - Clean windows, mirrors and champagne glasses!  They are lint free and leave no streaks.
Salt - Clean greasy pans by sprinkling salt in them before washing.  The salt absorbs most of the grease before you wash them!
Disposable Cups - Set jello in 20 minutes by following the quick set directions and putting it in a few disposable cups and refrigerating.  
Vinegar - Use it as a weed killer between bricks and flagstones.  The acidic component kills young weeds in one dousing!
Wax Paper - Keep pages in a wet book from sticking together.  Put waxed paper between the wet pages and when they dry, they'll be as good as new!
Ziptop Bags - Clean showerheads by pouring vinegar in the bag, securing it around the showerhead and leaving it to soak for a half hour!
Chalk - Chalk will help clean the ring-around-collar grease if you mark it heavily before washing!  It absorbs the grease, making it easier to remove the stain!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Great Hot Chocolate Recipe! #GiftIdea

 You can enjoy it for yourself or package it up cleverly for Christmas cheers! 

2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/3 - 1/2 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
pinch of salt (optional)

Mix all ingredients thoroughly with a whisk, package it up and seal it, making sure it is airtight!  Mix several spoonfuls with hot milk or water to taste!  Enjoy!  

Thursday, December 2, 2010

To Play Disc Golf! Some Tips For Beginners

A few years ago, our family walked around a vacant field with random bushes and trees here and there and also with a little bridge that crossed over a dry stream into a lower field.  This field branched out into a beautiful park called Bicentennial Park.  These three areas had something in common.  They had steel and chain baskets placed strategically around to equal 16 in all.  The whole area made up one of the 5 disc golf parks in the Utah Valley area.  At the time, we had frisbees and we did our best to find the tee pads where you start and throw to the basket.  I think my frisbee finally made it into the basket in about 12 throws!  That was four years ago and humiliating to think about since I now make it in 4 throws and sometimes even 3!  Since then, my husband took it up as his pastime and I also took it up as a fun sport to do maybe 4 times a month.  Greg wound up winning this last year as one of the division champions of the newly formed Wasatch Disc Golf Club.  I have since played in one tournament with not as dramatic results, but happy I did it!  We each have Revolution disc golf bags, an assortment of discs, which are definitely not of the frisbee variety! This is a great sport to take up for a "hecka" family fun or a way to meet up with other disc golf enthusiasts and get some great exercise. 
To get started, the best way to do this right now is go out and have fun. You're sure to meet up with someone who will be willing to give you a pointer or two!  Don't let more experienced players intimidate you with their distance and accuracy.  Some experienced players with proper technique can easily throw 400+ feet!  Throw an easy to control disc, such as the Discraft Elite Z-Glide and focus on accuracy.  Distance will come with time and experience, so focus on putting your disc down in the middle of the fairway.  Keep it simple and don't try advanced techniques until you have learned some basic form and control.  Throw with 1-step rather than trying to attempt a run up. Try to keep the disc close to your chest and keep it flat as possible.  Wait until you feel you are consistent and accurate before trying to add to your throw!
There are quite a few terms specific to disc golf. For instance, hyzer is the common term for releasing the disc with the outer edge at a lower angle than parallel to the ground, which usually causes the disc to curve left!  Anhyzer means to release the disc with the outer edge at a higher angle than parallel to the ground, which usually causes the disc to curve right!  And don't worry, I still have problems getting the two terms straight in my mind.  The most important thing is to just get out there and start throwing!
Don't know where to find a disc golf course near you?  Try this disc golf course locater!  If you know about one in your area, you can review it and get points for free stuff at Disc Golf Station!

Friday, November 26, 2010

To Read More Books....As If!

This is intended as a Facebook tag thing, but I think I'd like to pass it along to you here as well!  This is a great list for books to read!  I'd love to read more of these when I get the chance.  Most of my reading was done pre-kids! This is how well I've done!  

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here. Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES. Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety, italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish or read an excerpt. Tag other book nerds. …
1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame 
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Berniere
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel (own it)
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding (own it)
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell 8
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom (own it)
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas (own it)
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo 

Thanks to Ramblings of An Empty Mind for this list!

Foods That Heal!

After eating all that great Thanksgiving food yesterday, I am now thinking about food.  It's on my mind a lot, that's for sure! In addition to being one of the greatest sources of enjoyment ever, food really can help what ails you and prevent little things from creeping up.  Nutrition is the most effective beauty treatment and ailment preventative that you can give yourself!  I am actually a believer in additional supplementation with a good vitamin as well, to fill in some of the inevitable nutritional voids left during the day.  Nutrition is a valuable component that can help both athletes and regular exercisers protect themselves and improve performance.  Have you noticed that kids are getting bigger, stronger, faster, more into the weightlifting, more into nutrition, more into size? It is becoming ever more apparent that nutrition is the key to well-being and longevity and performance.

 With that said, let's look at some foods that can help banish the occasional headache or upset stomach, etc.!

Stress - Eat a banana!   It has vitamin B6, which helps the body produce calming serotonin, which can get you through a crisis peacefully!

High Blood Pressure - Raisins are extremely high in potassium, which is proven to bring down blood pressure.  Also anything having to do with grapes will aid your heart because of the high polyphenols!

Constipation or gas - Yogurt is great for this because it has cultures that feed the intestines.  The beneficial bacterias found in it will improve your gut's ability to digest food like beans and dairy, which produce pain and gas.

Kidney Stones - Eat dried apricots.  It has a great combination of nutrients that will help prevent  minerals from accumulating in the urine and forming calcium oxalate stones, the most common form of kidney stones.  

Winter Blues - Tuna fish has 800 mg of omega-3's, which treats the kind of blues that make someone feel low or anxious. But the top source of omega-3 fatty acids would be flaxseed and walnuts.  Eat a good supply of this and you're bound to be less depressed this winter!

Nausea - Pregnancy or motion sickness can be treated with ginger, one of the oldest remedies for nausea. Keep ginger ale, fresh ginger or ginger cookies on hand. Purchase ginger root capsules and take according to directions.

Other Stomach issues - Cramps or diarrhea can be caused by bacterias such as Salmonella or Listeria.  Basil, which contains eugenol, can ward off and kill these before they have a chance to wreak havoc on your system.  Use fresh, minced basil in sauces and salads for great flavor and preventative maintenance.

Coughing - Even more effective than OTC cough remedies was thick, dark brown honey!  It limits severity and frequency of a cough in children. 

Fatigue - Orange juice has natural fructose, a perfect pick-me-up when you're feeling sapped of energy.  Also the Vitamin C helps combat oxidative stress caused by free radicals and helps metabolize iron, which helps move energizing oxygen through the body!

Insomnia - Studies show that people with insomnia are deficient in tryptophan.  Eating 3 oz. of turkey will give you all the tryptophan you need in a day.  So eat a turkey sandwich before bedtime if you know you'll have trouble sleeping! 

Yeast Infection - Garlic has an ingredient known to kill Candida. Have plenty of garlic in sauces, marinades and dressings!

These are just a few things I found on the internet and in Prevention Magazine.  I always believe that natural is better because it provides the body what it needs to heal itself.  Before you reach into the medicine cabinet for that drug of choice, go and Google some natural ways to help yourself and as always, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, so eat up on those great foods that you love and find out what good they are doing you while you enjoy them!  
 One of the foods that I really enjoy, not only during Thanksgiving, but all year long, is yams or sweet potatoes.  These are full of  beta carotene and resin glycosides, a relatively new nutritional group that scientists are very optimistic about.  I also found a really great blog post about the debate concerning sweet potatoes vs. yams with some great references about the different varieties of sweet potatoes!  Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving and are well on your way to another happy holiday coming up in a few short weeks!