Archive for October, 2013

October 31, 2013

Tricks and Treats for a Healthier Halloween

Happy Halloween!

Here are a few last minute ideas to keep all the candy your child will collect today out of  his or her tummy!

Tricks or Treats

Buy equal amounts candy (hopefully organic) and Halloween party favors (glow sticks, tattoos and rings).  I bought my favors at the dollar store.  Mix all together and pass out.

Trade Treats for Treasures

I saw the idea of trading in treats for toys on Facebook and I love it.  My daughter and I discussed this and she is very excited to turn in candy for treasures.  Candy can be exchanged for a gift or money.  The more candy, the bigger the gift or a penny per piece.  Remember its not about the gift more about you being able to lose the candy and keeping your child happy.

Treats as Tools

Use your leftover Halloween for learning and kids craft.  Here are some ideas:

  • Have your child count the pieces, alphabetize and sort.
  • Elmers school glue and construction – let your child use their imagination
  • Science experiments – go to candyexperiments.com for a list of ideas
  • Reuse during the Holiday to decorate a Gingerbread house – Think Nightmare Before Christmas theme

Hope these last minute ideas are helpful!

Happy & Safe Halloween

Kathy

October 30, 2013

Recovering the Holistic Way

I had Imagine Dragons blaring on the radio (on repeat—love them!) and running down my to-do list in my head. My multi-tasking journey was stopped short with a bang. I’ve heard about uncontrollable crying, but never experienced it until I saw my crumpled car and pieces of it in the middle of a major highway. I guess it was shock, combined with gratitude that I was walking, and sheer panic. I haven’t been in a car accident in years—like since high school age.

What do you do? Do I talk to this man, the other driver involved? Do I move my car? Can I move my car? The rattling in my brain made me question my coping skills a bit. I gathered my thoughts and heard my dad in my head, “stay in control, grab your mace, notice your surroundings, don’t give personal info, just insurance, at any time just lock yourself in your car and call the police.” Got it.

Aside from the unwelcomed reminder about what to do in the event of a car accident, I was given an opportunity to practice what I preach and help my body mend quickly.

Image

An oxygenated, alkaline body is the best environment to live, look, and perform well.

Soreness, anxiety, and anger—I already carry around tension in my neck, naturally, but I became more aware of the steel rod that appeared to be connecting my head to my hips. I knew my adrenaline was on overload, sending messages to my brain saying, “What the heck?” I knew there was a potential for inflammation, even if I didn’t bruise anywhere, since pain, in itself is a sign of internal inflammation.  To the ionic foot soak immediately!

Image

Bio-energy work focuses on the health of our cells. Healthy cells = healthy body

The infusion of hydrogen and then oxygen into my cells through bioelectricity supports cell repair. Cells make up EVERYTHING in your body. After soaking for the maximum 40 minutes, I retreated to the bathtub filled with Epsom salts, and a few drops of ImmuneCleanse and lavender. Thankfully, I have a very calm and understanding husband who let me just soak for a bit then go to sleep. Sleep! That was the third natural remedy I used to repair my body after the accident. The next morning, I went for a chiropractic adjustment and led boot camp that afternoon.

I know every situation is different, and some may take more recovery time than my experience, but I do know this—taking painkillers alone isn’t the answer for holistic and complete recovery from pain. Treating the symptom and not the underlying causes—all of them—leads to more issues down the road. Take it from me, a recovered Excedrin junkie.

The next time you feel pain, open your mind to natural remedies to heal you, and also invest in your long-term health. –Lacey

October 28, 2013

Freaky Films and the Nature of Fear

something wicked

By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.

~ William Shakespeare, Macbeth

Darkness falls as daylight shrinks, a strange chill hangs in the air, and the witching hour swirls ever closer . . . are you ready? It’s coming, ready or not. This season of wandering spirits invites you to step into another realm, an unprotected place where the familiar safety of your everyday life cannot save you. That’s right. I’m talking about the world of horror films. This is a world I seldom visit, but when I do, I only creep around the edges, getting a little dusting of fear and unease on my shoes but not enough to bury me there, as it were. Just a taste. I prefer my dark musings to linger over haunted places, ghostly visits, and unexplained phenomena but in small, easily controlled doses—not full-on terror.

Why do people love scary movies? What is it that compels these brave souls to step into those stories, to want to experience that fear? As you might imagine, there are several theories behind this powerful lure.

"The Shining" featuring the unforgettable Jack Nicholson

“The Shining” featuring the unforgettable Jack Nicholson

Feel the Rush

Some say moviegoers love the “experience transference,” and the rush of adrenaline that goes with it. They crave the intensity of the experience only extreme events can deliver (not too far removed from roller coasters and extreme sports). Three common emotions unearthed in horror films are risk, fear, and even disgust. These emotions are visceral and deep, part of our wiring as humans. They cause us to both look at and turn away from gory accidents and frightening things.

You Know What They Say About Curiosity

No matter how messed up a story is or how unbearable the “monster,” we cannot deny our inherent curiosity. We have to know—just like our poor, dumb, ill-fated hero—what that noise was upstairs, outside in the boathouse, coming from behind us (eeek!). Throughout the millennia, curiosity has not only illuminated our lives but has kept us safe and alive from predators of all kinds. We enjoy watching characters in our scary movies try to survive by using, or in spite of using, their own curiosity.

No Limits

Horror movies give us a set of circumstances that may not be plausible in our everyday lives, but with the magic of film, we can let go of our expectations and indulge our fantasies, our most inappropriate imaginings, or watch the characters make the kind of bad choices we’d never make in life and see how they play out. Things always end very badly for at least one person and usually some innocent animals (this is cheap, unimaginative pathos, you lazy screenwriters and directors!), and at the end of the journey, you can walk away unscathed physically. Psychologically, that’s another story.

My favorite!

My favorite!

My Favorites: Ok, here’s my personal list of beloved stories of the mysterious and macabre. As you can see, I like my scares with quite of a lot of beauty, atmosphere, freakiness, and (when I can get it) some serious romance:

1. Bram Stoker’s Dracula

2. The Skeleton Key

3. The Blair Witch Project

4. The Shining

5. The Others

 

Possibly one of the scariest scenes in my memory (from "Paranormal Activity")

Possibly one of the scariest scenes in my memory (from “Paranormal Activity”)

Traumatized By but Seen Anyway

1. Paranormal Activity (all of them—freaky!!)

2. The Grudge (Japanese version)

3. The Ring

4. Witchboard

5. Nightmare on Elm Street

6. The Omen

 

What Scares You?

I love knowing what makes people tick, so what scares you and why? Let me know what your favorite horror film is and why it gets under your skin. You never know . . . this time next year, we could have a Healthy Housewives Fright Fest going on. Fun!!

*****************************

Wishing you bright days and spooky dreams,

Brooke

 

 

October 24, 2013

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Hi Everyone! Fall is here and with it, cool air, Halloween, and pumpkin patches filled with pumpkins everywhere! We carve them, decorate for fall with them and yes you should eat them too! 

When you are finished carving that pumpkin don’t throw away the delicious and nutritious insides! Roast the seeds and puree the pumpkin which can be subbed for any canned pumpkin recipe and so much better for you!

 Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

  1. Scoop out the innards of your pumpkin. Separate the seeds from the pumpkin flesh and strings. Toss the strings and set aside the meat for pureeing.
  2. Wash the seeds well in a colander and rub them between your hands to rinse completely.
  3. Place the seeds in a medium pot.  Cover the seeds with water and add a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain the seeds in a colander, wipe with paper towels to remove moisture and place evenly on a cookie sheet to bake.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 and bake 15-20 minutes stirring frequently.  

Now the fun part- seasoning!

Before baking, drizzle the seeds with olive oil. Then pick your choice of seasoning!

  •  Savory: Garlic salt and Worchestershire sauce
  • Tangy: squeeze of fresh lemon juice, Mrs. Dash or lemon pepper and pinch of sea salt
  • Sweet: 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, and 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • Spicy: 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper
  • Natural: Dash of sea salt 

 

Enjoy! 

Kathy

October 23, 2013

It’s Okay!

Its OK3Do you feel the pressure lately? Always? I’ve been doing pretty well with the ol’ balance game lately, but something happened to me yesterday. I walked into a store to fulfill some to-do list items and saw it. The Christmas section. A dagger of panic struck me and sucked me into a “running behind” feeling; almost like I did something wrong because I hadn’t yet thought about the holidays or decorating for Christmas. Then I looked to the left and saw the Halloween section still on steroids. I felt some relief. You realize we do this to ourselves, right? I started to wonder how much of the life pressures I feel are self-inflicted? Sometimes, it’s okay that we haven’t… fill in the blank. Does the world end? Chances are, no.

For the remained of my day, situations kept happening that elevated my concern. Internally, I replied, “it’s ok.” After a while, I made myself laugh because of how often I had to “talk myself down from a mini-panic.” I’ll share that I may have a problem here, but I am on it. So, in my A-personality, planning nature, I made a list of reasons it’s all going to be okay.

It’s okay if your house isn’t decorated for every holiday.

It’s okay if you skip a year of holiday cards.

It’s okay if you don’t post ‘Happy Birthday’ on Facebook for everyone.

It’s okay if you don’t check your email, social media, or voicemails on the hour.

Further more, it’s okay if someone waits for an e-response for more than a day. If it’s really important, they should call.

It’s okay if you spill something on yourself. Instant conversation starter!

Repeat to yourself, “It’s not devastating.” 9 times out of 10, it’s not, and if it happens to be that unfortunate, still say it to calm yourself a bit.

Its OK2It’s okay that you had to cancel. Apologize once, sincerely, and don’t make it a habit.

It’s okay that you’re milking another week out of your hair color/highlights; Create new up-dos.

It’s okay that you missed a workout. That becomes your rest day, and you’re still on track.

It’s okay if someone misunderstood you. You can’t control other people. Address if you feel it’s appropriate, or just let it go. Chances are, it’ll pass without effort.

It’s okay if you trip; laugh immediately. You’ll feel better.

Its OK

It’s not okay to be mean. Don’t be mean.

Peace friends—Lacey

October 16, 2013

Healthy and Delicious Homemade Almond Milk

Homemade Almond Milk

I have been quite proud of myself for taking dairy milk out of my home a long time ago.  Occasionally, I have unsweetened almond milk in my coffee and thats about it for me.  But my daughter still loves the taste of milk and especially chocolate milk.  I usually rotate through all the milk alternatives at Whole Foods but I always feel uneasy with my purchase realizing  I’m giving her a highly processed beverage with lots of added sugars and synthetic ingredients but feeling its better than cows milk in small amounts.

All of this has led me to experiment in the kitchen, testing lots of almond milk recipes trying to find that perfect blend of taste, sweetness and consistency that my six year won’t turn her nose up at.

So after lots of recipes and trial and error, I found an almond milk recipe that we both love!


Remember to soak your almonds the night before you prepare and discard the soaking liquid.  A reusable nut milk (found on Amazon.com or kitchen store) makes straining the milk much easier, but cheesecloth and a wire mesh strainer can also be used.

Homemade Almond Milk

Makes: 3 1/2 cups (strained)

Ingredients:

  •  1 cup raw almonds, soaked for 24 hours in water

Vanilla Almond Milk

  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Dash of Pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 3 cups filtered water – I use Essentia Water
  • 3 pitted Medjol dates

Chocolate Almond Milk

  • 1/4 cup organic unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Dash of Pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 3 cups filtered water (Essentia)
  • 3 pitted Medjol dates

Directions:

  1. Place almonds in a large bowl and completely cover with water.  Soak overnight.
  2. Pour prepared almonds in a colander and rinse.
  3. Next, add the almonds to a high powered blender.  I use a Vitamix. Pour in the filtered water, vanilla, dates, and (cocoa powder for chocolate) and sea salt.
  4. Blend on high until milk is smooth. Taste and adjust flavor as desired and blend again (if you added more ingredients).
  5. Strain milk using a nut milk bag or cheesecloth placed over a mesh strainer.
  6. Milk may be stored 3-4 days. If milk separates shake well before serving.

Enjoy!

Kathy

October 16, 2013

Yoga and God?

Image

Is it ok for Christians to practice yoga?

I’m not sure where these misunderstandings start. Did someone want out of a yoga class? Did someone vocalize a fear and falsely accuse? Too often I am asked why I practice yoga if I am a Christian. Huh?

yoga-picture-6Yoga is therapeutic. Yoga is challenging. Yoga is beneficial to the body. It is not a religion. Yoga is a spiritual discipline, much like fasting, meditation and prayer. You will find these practices in many religions, yet none of them make a religion.

Yoga does have the ability to enhance our personal beliefs and faith in the religion of our choice. I do start and end my practice with prayer, and God is a part of my practice. How about you? What personal touches do you put on your yoga practice? Yoga’s powerful ability to blend and strengthen the body, mind, and spirit can contribute to a person’s overall well being. So, Yogis everywhere, unite despite your religious preference, and open your mind and spirit to whatever is awaiting you at the mat.

yoga-inspire

Feel free to explore yoga and other energy work as part of your quest for healthier living. It’s amazing how possible it is for us to heal ourselves, if we just put our mind to it.  –Lacey

 

October 14, 2013

Halloween . . . Fun for Your Pets?

white dog in pumkin

Hello, everyone! It’s that special time of year again. Yep, it’s almost Halloween! The cool, crisp air of autumn is slowly creeping into Texas, just in time to chill us as we meander around the town in search of ghoulish good cheer. Though most of us agree that Halloween night is full of creepy fun, our pets may have a whole different opinion of it. Imagine your pets relaxing in your home day in and day out with their comfortable routines and normal sounds and smells . . . and then suddenly, the air is filled with continual knocking and ringing of the doorbell, along with heightened commotion and wads of strangers at the front door every few minutes. Who’s there? A scary lobster? An overgrown cat? And what is that—a witch looming behind that fairy with the nice face? Someone tell her, quick! Should I attack or save myself?!?

Imagine the scary confusion your pets face during this time. You can definitely make this night more fun for your animals by remembering a few helpful tips:

 

Trick-or-Treat: Unless your pets are super social and LOVE people and hubbub, kindly keep them closed in a quiet room away from Treat-or-Treat Central. The stress of constant costumed strangers can cause nervous diarrhea, fear, or even aggression, even in normally friendly pets.

Candy Cautions: Be sure to keep all your yummy treats away from the fur kids, no matter how sadly they peer up at you. Also, keep that candy hidden and off of counters or tables—even if you have no intention of sharing your candy haul with your pets, they are notorious for nosing out the sweet stuff. Chocolate is extremely toxic (and sometimes fatal) to animals, dogs especially. Signs of chocolate toxicity include nervousness, tremors, vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, and in some cases, seizures and death. Even “sugar-free” candies, gum, mints, chocolate, and baked goods containing xylitol, an artificial sweetener, are poisonous. Ingestion of these tasty treats can cause rapid hypoglycemia and liver failure—yikes! If you suspect your pet has eaten chocolate or any other treat, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.

Halloween blog otter

Love this otter!

Jack-o-Lanterns: Carved pumpkins definitely make Halloween more festive, but be careful if you decide to add a candle to your jack-o-lantern. Wagging tails and zooming cats can easily knock over a lit pumpkin, and candles always pose a danger to curious animals. A good way to have your candle and, um, “eat” it too is to buy battery-operated votives and column candles. Isn’t this time of year nicer when you can relax with your artificial candlelight? Hmmm.

halloween blog cute face

Dressing Up: It’s very tempting to dress your pets in costume, but if you do, just take a bit of care to ensure they are as excited about the prospect as you are. If your pet is scared of that absolutely adorable outfit you bought her, please be kind and don’t force her to endure the costume for your entertainment. If she is up for the adventure, make sure the costume is not annoying or unsafe. You want to be sure she can see and hear her surroundings easily, and watch out for elastic parts—they shouldn’t be too tight on her skin and fur. Also, keep an eye out for small, easily chewed pieces like buttons, strings, and feathers—you don’t want to end your night of merriment in emergency surgery with your pet! Lastly, do not leave your costumed pet unattended at any time.

Collars and Tags: With your front door opening and closing all evening, always be sure your pets have ID tags on. All it takes is a few seconds of distraction, and your beloved pet can slip quietly out the door. That’s a very scary thought!

Keep your babies safe!

Keep your babies safe!

Animal Safety: Be watchful of your animal’s safety, especially if you have a beautiful black cat. Often, pet stores and humane societies will not allow adoption of black cats around Halloween (sometimes even during the whole month of October) because of potential animal cruelty by pranksters or other sick individuals. If you see any act of animal cruelty on Halloween or any time of the year, please call your local police department immediately. If they are unable to assist, call your local animal shelter or humane society. Animal abuse is illegal in all 50 states (and a felony in 46). If you make a report of alleged animal abuse, the responding agency is required to investigate. Because animals cannot speak for themselves, it’s up to us to keep them safe and happy!

tiger pumpkin

Ok, friends and fellow animal lovers, have a wonderful weekend, and enjoy the spooky season! See you here next week!

XO, Brooke

October 9, 2013

I Need A Goal!

On a recent flight, I sat next to a guy on an apparent business trip. I surmise he will be working on “work stuff” during the flight only from mere assumption over his attire (suit and tie), laptop, and briefcase ensemble.  Perfect, since I needed to clear my mind, listen to my music, and rest a bit.

“Are you headed home?” Yes. “Me, too. I have a race tomorrow.” Oh?  Do you run? “Yes, I do. Do you?” Yep!

No music. No rest.

 Image

We chatted running history, various training perspectives, clubs in Dallas, paces, next-step goals. I recalled my last half and full marathon times—to the second, and so did he. A co-worker of his chimed in with various races he did, too. We talked NYC, Chicago, and Boston. He doesn’t need a pending goal, and is starting to just “run for fun,” but the conversation leads me directly toward goal setting.  

For all my fellow runners, check out these links and choose the destination for your next accomplishment.

www.marathonguide.com

www.active.com

 

For everyone else, print out this sheet, fill it out, and stick it on your bathroom mirror as a reminder.

Image

It’s important to dream, but once you write it down, it’s a goal. So, what will it be?

For me, I’ll book a 2014 race—I just need to select a destination, and I’m attacking Yoga. It’s time. As an avid runner, my legs, hips, and back need Yoga.  So does my mind and spirit!  –Lacey Pruett

ImageImageImage

 

 

October 7, 2013

Deck of Cards Workout

cards

Morning, Friends! It’s Brooke, here. Do you ever find yourself stuck in a rut or bored to tears with your workouts? If you live an active life and exercise on a regular basis, you’ll more than likely run into this problem, if you haven’t already. Never fear! Just jump onto Google and within a few seconds, your days of gym catatonia will be gone. I discovered a fun workout in just this way—the Deck of Cards workout. Apparently, this “game” has been around for years, and I’m just now learning about it, but I’m excited to try it out!

Fun and Whimsy

This workout is simple in theory, yet pretty challenging in execution. The circuit combines strength training with a bit of cardio, all with a dash of those “code-breaking” games so appealing during childhood. Here’s how it works:

  1. Take a deck of cards, and be sure to shuffle well (if you don’t want to kill yourself doing tons of burpees in a row).
  2. Make a cheat sheet assigning certain exercises to each suit. I like having the option of 2 exercises per suit for variety, but hey—this is your game. Do what you want! For example: hearts—jumping jacks or jump rope; spades—squats or chair dips; clubs—burpees or push-ups; and diamonds—regular, reverse, side, or curtsey lunges (more than 2, I know, but so many good ones to choose from!).
  3. Depending on your conditioning, the royalty cards can each be 30 seconds of rest or perhaps 30 seconds of your favorite ab exercises, with the ace and joker demanding a sprint across the room and back.
  4. You can pick a card one at a time, or you can pick 5 and lay them out, then get started. The beauty of this game is that you choose how it works. Just keep moving (but don’t forget to warm up first).
  5. This workout takes about an hour or so. If you don’t have time for a full deck, split the deck and then add on as you feel stronger or find more “you-time” to work that beautiful body. If you really want to kill it, give yourself only 45 minutes, then see how many cards you can burn through during that time.

Fun Note (But Only for Android Users)

If you don’t want to go old school with your cards, you can play this sweaty game using your Android phone. Check out this link: http://www.appszoom.com/android_applications/health/workout-card-game_kdqm.html

Ok, friends, time to grab those cards and a piece of floor and get to work. Have fun taking a break from the ordinary, and if you create a really awesome card routine that kicks your rear, let me know (brooke@healthyhousewives.com). Have a super day!

Brooke