Posts tagged ‘holidays’

December 11, 2013

A Homemade Holiday

ImageI’m the girl who gets super frustrated at how materialistic the holidays get. We just can’t help ourselves, and I’m at fault too! When I see the cute baby outfits, I think my nephews surely need one… along with the motorized truck, sing-a-long bedtime friend, and of course, they need fancy blankets, sheets, and towels. Bath toys! They need bath toys. I won’t even continue on with everything I see for my nieces. Good intentions, good-hearted gifts, but is it the reason for the season? You have to answer for yourself.

I fell for the trap again this year, but before I got to the check-out counter, I thought about how it would be fun to create something as a gift for those on my Christmas list. Further, how about something that will benefit them in a healthy way. I kept thinking as I drove home, and by the time I got home, I had four ideas. I went to work.

I don’t want to give away what I am creating for several folks on my list, but it’s meaningful, personal, and healthy, too! Here are a few ideas I ran across during my research, should you feel compelled to fight the urge to buy another (albeit beautiful) scarf for Aunt Sue. Be creative, have fun, and enjoy the magical reason for the season.   –Lacey

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Organic Body Lotion

  • 1/2 cup almond or olive oil (can infuse with herbs first if desired)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup beeswax
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons Shea Butter or Cocoa Butter
  • Optional: Essential Oils, Vanilla Extract or other natural extracts to suit your preference (my faves: eucalyptus, lavender, vanilla)

1. Combine ingredients in a pint sized or larger glass jar.

2. Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and place over medium heat.

3. Put a lid on the jar loosely and place in the pan with the water.

4. As the water heats, the ingredients in the jar will start to melt. Shake or stir occasionally to incorporate. When all ingredients are completely melted, pour into whatever jar or tin you will use for storage. Small mason jars (8 ounce) are great for this. It will not pump well in a lotion pump!

5. Use as you would regular lotion. Use within 6 months for best moisturizing benefits.

Note: A litte goes a long way! This lotion is incredibly nourishing and is also great for diaper rash on baby, for eczema and for preventing stretch marks!

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Lotion Bars (better for travelistas!)

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup shea butter, cocoa butter or mango butter (or a mix of all three equal to 1 part)
  • 1 cup beeswax (can add an extra ounce or two if you want a thicker consistency.)
  • Optional: Vitamin E oil to preserve.
  • Optional: A few drops of your favorite essential oil(s)

Combine all ingredients (except essential oils if using) in a double boiler, or a glass bowl/jar over a smaller saucepan with 1 inch of water in it.

Turn the burner on and bring water to a boil. Stir ingredients constantly until they are melted and smooth:

Remove from heat and add the essential oils.

Gently stir by hand until essential oils are incorporated.

Carefully pour into silicon molds to harden.

Allow the lotion bars to cool completely before attempting to pop out of molds. These could be made in different shaped molds for different holiday gifts, or made in a square baking pan and then cut into actual bars.

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All-Natural Lip Balm

Ingredients

  • 3 tsp Beeswax(use the pellets, they melt faster/better)
  •  6 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp shea butter
  • 1 T castor oil (for more “gloss,”)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2-3/4 tsp essential oil
  • Sliver of color (like a tiny sliver from a Burt’s Bee lipstick to tint it a little pink)

Directions 
1. melted wax, oil & butter in a glass pyrex measuring cup in the microwave. Heat until all is melted and can be stirred together.
 2. Remove from heat and add castor oil, honey & any scents/colors you wish
 3. Stir and stir. The honey doesn’t want to mix thoroughly with the oils, but keep stirring and you will get it combined pretty well. 
4. Pour fairly quickly into your containers.

So simple! Basically, just melt, stir and pour!!

Oh and something for the fur-loves of your life!

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Pumpkin Dog Treats 

Ingredients:

2 cups rice flour
1/2 cup natural peanut butter

1 cup pumpkin puree (one low in sugar)

2 eggs (I used 3 for more moisture)
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix ingredients together until blended, then spread dough to 1/4 inch thick and cut into desired cookie shapes. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Let cool before serving. Store in refrigerator for up to 7 days.

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December 6, 2013

MEET OUR DECEMBER COVERGIRL FAN WINNER!!

HH_Month_Dec_13

Last month we had a social media contest for our Healthy Housewives fans. We asked the fans to write in and tell us why we should choose them to be on our Healthy Housewives magazine cover. They had to have a high res image that we can use to be our cover. We had a ton of entries with women from all over the world that shared their stories and sent pictures, we were so overwhelmed on who to pick.

 

After a week of rereading and looking at which candidate would be the next cover girl, we decide on 2 women. Then we changed our entire 2014 year, to the year of fans. Without the fans, we wouldn’t be here. So, for 2014 we are picking 12 women to grace our cover. If you want to share your story and send in hi-res images that you would like to be featured as our cover, please email covergirl@healthyhousewives.com. We would love to hear from you!

 

Let me introduce our December covergirl Laurie Strough Smith. She is inspiring women out there with her positive attitude. She is over forty, fit, and raising five kids! Go Laurie!

 

Meet Laurie:

http://www.healthyhousewives.com/testimonial21.html

 

Her video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUdcdQTNMxg&feature=c4-overview&list=UUqDn2t3viH7Vn7uzB7jFl3A

 

We can’t wait to hear from you!

Marzia Prince

Creator of Healthy Housewives

December 5, 2013

Winter Warm Me-Up Easy Crock Pot Beef Stew

Hey Everyone! Its a cold day here in Dallas and we have a big winter storm coming our way.  I have a slow day at the studio because one by one almost all of my clients have canceled on me for today.  Hmmm….

Well, honestly I don’t mind today because I’m going home to light a fire, finish putting the lights on my tree (yes I’m behind) and put on a pot of yummy, warm, delicious beef stew.  I bought all my ingredients yesterday because I hate going to the grocery store when its cold out! I also like to take shortcuts whenever possible i.e. little or no chopping!

So here it is! Enjoy and stay warm!

Winter Warm Me-Up Easy Crock Pot Beef Stew

Ingredients

  • 1 Large bag frozen organic stew vegetables
  • 1 Large bag frozen organic pearl onions (I use in place of potatoes)
  • 1 Small bag frozen organic green peas
  • 1 Bag snack carrots from produce section (already cut & peeled)
  • 1-1/2 lbs Grass-Fed Beef Stew Meat, cut into bite-size pieces
  • Gluten free flour
  • 1 can organic cream of mushroom soup (I use Whole Foods brand)
  • 1 can of water
  • 1 packet Simply Organic French Onion Dip Mix
  • 1 Large can Organic crushed tomatos
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • ½ tsp Sea Salt
  • ⅛ tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • Dash parsley
  • Light olive oil or organic canola oil best for high heat to brown the meat

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, dredge the beef in gluten free flour (salt & pepper the flour first).
  2. Brown the stew meat in a skillet over medium-high heat. Don’t cook it all the way through, just brown it on the outsides and don’t crowd your meat in the pan.
  3. Place stew meat and all other ingredients (except peas) in the crock pot, mixing to combine.  Add peas about an hour before serving.
  4. Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours. Stir every now and then and add water or beef broth for desired consistency.

This recipe is so delicious, easy and truly a comfort meal. Feel free to sub any of the vegetables for whatever you have on hand.  Serve with a tossed salad, crusty bread and Irish butter. Just a little! 😉

Kathy

Happy Holidays!

December 2, 2013

Enjoy the Holiday Rush

kiss me now

Now, this is my kind of holiday spirit 😉

Hi, Everyone! All stressed out and nowhere to run? I hear ya! This time of year invites not only merriment and reflection but lots of obligations absent the other 11 months of the year. Decorating the house, shopping without breaking the bank, crafting and baking (if you’re so inclined), vowing that THIS year you won’t wait until the last minute to do everything . . . all the while, the calendar is shrinking relentlessly down to zero hour. Then there’s the anxiety over sending Christmas cards—you could choose not to send them this year, but then you risk the icky feeling of being quietly dropped from your friends’ card lists. So, your list of to-do’s is long but necessary. Here are a few tips to help you cope:

is this you

Don’t let this be you . . .

1. Plan Ahead: This one’s a big challenge for me, but it saves a lot of headaches and heart palpitations down the road. Decorate your house early in the season so you can 1) enjoy being surrounded by holiday cheer and 2) focus on other tasks as the season ramps up. If you’re shopping for loved ones’ lists, do like the stores do and barely let the gratitude of Thanksgiving sink in before jumping into The Holidays. Take advantage of sales early in the month, and if you want to avoid having to fight your way through crowded lines even for a latte, do some gift getting during the weekdays. Not possible for everyone, I know, but have you seen those women who seem to have everything done, presents wrapped (nicely), and treats baked for their children’s friends’ families before the first full weekend in December? That’s how they do it! Oh, and they may have made a little deal with the Dark One—I’m just speculating.

2. Savor the Season: This is my favorite part about the holiday season—enjoying it, even as I mow through my lengthy list. When we pull all the decorations and tree down from the attic, I love to put on our favorite Christmas CDs (Bing Crosby’s White Christmas and Harry Connick, Jr.’s When My Heart Finds Christmas—I love you!). Preferably I also have a delicious iced Gingerbread Latte from Starbucks as my companion. You know that song from Mary Poppins—“A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down”? I’m a big believer in that phrase when I’m doing anything onerous or involved (for example, cleaning out my closet . . . again). Just give yourself a little sparkle to help enjoy the task at hand—it’s always worked wonders for me. Also, despite the lack of checkmarks on your to-do list, take time out to drive around and look at the lights on your neighbors’ houses, or sit down and watch your favorite holiday movies as a family. Do the things that bring cheer and joy to you and your loved ones—make those cute, little bread loafs that you always dream of doing over the holidays. Go root through your winter clothes and find your favorite comfy sweater to nestle up in, even if you have to crank up the AC, like we have to do in Texas J

3. Be Good to Yourself:  This one obviously involves bits of the previous paragraph, but sometimes we are the ones that get forgotten in the mad rush of December. Taking care of yourself is more than just pampering. You are the lynchpin to your family’s progress through their lives and this season. If you run yourself ragged, then everyone’s in trouble! Be reasonable in your expectations of yourself. Learn to say “No” politely to some requests for your time and assistance—trust me, this will change your life. Just because someone wants you to something doesn’t mean you are beholden to. And it doesn’t mean you are a bad person or don’t like the requestor. It just means that you have a limited amount of time, and you need to spend it in the way that fills you up and keeps you marginally socially acceptable (and not a hermit). Say “Yes” when you can cheerfully help out, and be gracious but direct when replying “No.” You will feel so much better when you can do this. Also, despite occasional obstacles, keep up with your healthy eating and exercise. Exercise especially is a powerful stress buster that improves your mood, relaxes your crazy mind, brings more restful sleep, and keeps your body healthy and happy. It will serve you very well this season, as will mindful eating. If you keep yourself fueled throughout each day with high-quality food (lean protein, whole grains, veggies, fruit, and LOTS of water), you will not only feel amazing but also be able to cope more easily with holiday party temptations. If you’ve been on track with your nutrition, then you (and not the double chocolate cheesecake at your work party) will be in control. Go on, have a little piece! Mama needs some chocolately cheer too!

Enjoy the season, ok? It’s going to go fast!

XOXO, Brooke

chocolate cheesecake

August 7, 2013

‘Tis the Season for… Cinnamon!

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‘Tis the season… for cinnamon! I promise I won’t chat holidays just yet, although who doesn’t like a warm house filled with the aroma of cinnamon apple pie? That yumminess aside, I love knowing about the benefits of one of my favorite spices: Cinnamon! Nothing reminds us of the holidays quite like cinnamon does, but let’s not save such greatness for just the holiday season. I dare you to incorporate cinnamon year-round. Here’s why!

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Cinnamon is one of the world’s oldest-known spices and has healing properties that rival many other products on your spice rack. It’s natural anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and antioxidant properties make it easy to have a love affair with cinnamon. Go ahead! Smell it, taste it, wear it… indulge! Try to incorporate it into your everyday routine to reap the most benefits. Not sure where to start? Here are some suggestions:

Brain Power Booster

It was found that smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory. Carry a cinnamon stick around with you, and take a whiff every so often to keep you focused at work or school.

Pain Reliever

Cinnamon is used to treat pain because it reacts with the hormone-like substance prostaglandin, which contributes to the contraction and relaxation of muscles. Sprinkle some in your bath water!

Diabetes Treatment

Studies have been conducted on diabetic patients, whom were each given one-quarter of a teaspoon of cinnamon over 40 days, researchers observed that patients’ blood sugar levels fell as much as 30 percent.

Weight Loss

Because of cinnamon’s effectiveness in reducing insulin resistance – research reports that cinnamon triples insulin’s capacity to metabolize blood sugar – the spice can thus reduce hunger and sugar cravings, which leads to weight loss.

Menstrual Aid

Cinnamon has been used for centuries to help women with heavy menstrual bleeding. (You’re welcome!)

Circulation Booster

Cinnamon is commonly used to thin blood, which in turn increases circulation throughout the body. This not only helps to reduce pain in troubled areas but promises that oxygen is being supplied to the blood cells. Cinnamon is also a great dietary complement for heart attack survivors.

 Complexion Enhancer

Due to its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial qualities as well as its antioxidant power, cinnamon is effective in treating acne and skin blemishes. Mix 1 teaspoon of powdered cinnamon with 3 tablespoons of honey, apply to the skin, and let the mixture sit for a few hours or overnight. Wash off with warm water.

Cold and Flu Reliever

Cinnamon is commonly used across East Asia and Europe as a warming herb for conditions involving the body to become cold. In these cases, cinnamon is combined with ginger to treat a cold or flu.

Yeast Infection Fighter

Cinnamon can be used to stop medication-resistant yeast infections. High blood sugar levels can lead to candida overgrowth, and cinnamon is helpful in lowering blood sugar levels. Cinnamon’s anti-fungal properties are also helpful in combating the effects of a yeast infection.

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My Favorite Cinnamon Uses

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If you have no time…

  • Add cinnamon to your vanilla protein shake
  • Sprinkle Cinnamon on apple or pear slices, dipped in cashew butter
  • Put cinnamon in your morning coffee to start your day off with zest
  • Having a spinach salad for lunch? Sprinkle some cinnamon on it!
  • Cinnamon on baked chicken shakes up an otherwise bland protein option

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If you have the time, here’s a favorite recipe…

Cider-Glazed Roots with Cinnamon Walnuts

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds assorted root vegetables, peeled (see Tip) and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Make yourself a warm cup of herbal tea.

2. If using parsnips, quarter lengthwise and remove the woody core before cutting into 1-inch pieces. Whisk cider, brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish until the sugar is dissolved. Add root vegetables and toss to coat. Cover the baking dish with foil. Now, add cinnamon to your cup of herbal tea, and sip.

3. Bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and stir the vegetables. Continue cooking, uncovered, stirring every 20 minutes or so, until the vegetables are glazed and tender, about 1 hour more. Ask someone about their day… husband, children, or call and put a friend on speaker phone. Tell her you’re cooking but wanted to chat–you’ll make her feel important and special.

4. Meanwhile, place walnuts in a small skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and add butter, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Stir until the butter melts and the nuts are coated. Spread out on a plate to cool slightly. Tell the family something fabulous is coming!

5. Transfer the vegetables to a serving dish and sprinkle with the cinnamon walnuts. Give your favorite pup (or husband) a taste and celebrate their gratitude over such a yummy treat.

 (recipe compliments of http://www.eatingwell.com plus my own additions)

May 29, 2013

Time to Detox?

It's not a glamorous topic, but it'll make your health shine!

It’s not a glamorous topic, but it’ll make your health shine!

Hello friends… it’s your personal Detoxing Diva here, eager to help you move quickly from some not-so-great food and beverage choices this past weekend. I’ll start by professing: You didn’t do as much damage as you think, and it IS reversible. (Repeat often the next few days.) That said; let’s get to the good stuff.

Amazingly, I received an increase in orders for our Herbal Cleanse Monday evening and Tuesday morning. The fact this time period is right as folks are winding down there holiday weekend celebrations or making the challenging transition from “weekend mode” to “work mode,” leads me to think that lots of you are trying to un-do the weekend and get back on track with your clean eating and mean training. Let me help!

The reason I said our Herbal Cleanse is because I have a long-standing relationship with Advocare nutritional products, and the Herbal Cleanse product is an all-inclusive herbal detoxification system to “right-set” your body to cleanse itself of unnecessary toxins and to welcome the nourishing attributes of your diet and supplement choices. Good fats, bad fats; wholesome carbs, simple/bad carbs… who cares if it all gets stuck in your gut and intestines to rot?

The 10-day detox system comes in two flavors--citrus and peach.

The 10-day detox system comes in two flavors–citrus and peach.

Advocare’s WELL, TRIM, and ACTIVE lines helped me move from a flabby, skinny chick to a lean, mean, competitive machine. Okay, I’m not a machine, but I was a pretty good pageant competitor for several years, dropped 10 pounds of fat and gained muscle strength, completed two marathons and 12 half-marathons, and excelled in the corporate world for 12 years fueled with Advocare—and I’m not done yet! I retired my corporate heels to focus full-time on helping others find, create, and live their healthiest life. It’s now my job to make you aware of how important it is to detox your body regularly (among how to implement other healthy habits.)

Becoming an informed nutritional enthusiast, and an Advocare Advisor, helped me represent myself well whether I was on the marathon trail, the corporate stage, or the pageant stage—and everywhere in between. Advocare is one of several great supplement companies available to you, but I can only speak to the scientific research, NCAA-approved, athlete-endorsed attributes of Advocare’s products. For these reasons and more, I trust Advocare for myself, my family, and my clients.

        If an all-inclusive detoxification system isn’t your thing, here are some helpful tips to help your body rid itself of unnecessary toxins you may be carrying around. As for that over-indulging that may have occurred (you don’t have to tell me), don’t beat yourself up. Part of living life is enjoying the moment and not worrying about occasional slip ups. Dust yourself off and get back on the healthy road.Implement positive talk ASAP! Do not let one bad meal (or one day of forgetting you’re a health god or goddess) send you spiraling into a well of woes. Accept the past and fill your week with good, clean decisions.

Essentia Water Water for blog Sweat is fat crying

      Pick up some Essentia Water and chug-a-lug. People under-estimate the power of good clean, high-pH water and its ability to flush toxins quickly through your systems. Water is fuel for your digestive system. Don’t ever let your tank register empty!

      Put on your favorite workout attire and get moving. Exercise and sweating are both excellent detoxification strategies. This is the week to challenge yourself. Get after it!

      Detox your mind. When cravings hit, and you recall some of the treats you consumed over the weekend and start to miss the tastes—STOP! Food is not anyone’s true source of emotion. Something else is making you happy, sad, joyful, somber… figure out what it is and get to know yourself a little better. Consider jotting down some of your thoughts.

      Be fiber-friendly. Most Americans do not get enough fiber. Make it your mission to consume more fiber this week. An added perk will be speeding up the detoxification process for your body. Yay!

To check out Advocare’s Herbal Cleanse product, go to: www.fitandfunlifestyle.com. You can learn more about the system, ingredients, and what makes it so great for your body. As a treat for you, here’s one of my favorite fiber-friendly recipes using Advocare’s fiber drink powder. (You can also substitute your own favorite powdered fiber.)

A yummy way to get your fiber!

A yummy way to get your fiber!

Fiber Muffin Recipe

DRY INGREDIENTS

6 packages Fiber drink

1 3/4 cup whole wheat or gluten-free flour

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Dash of nutmeg

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

DIRECTIONS

Mix dry ingredients together. Then add the following ingredients:

1/3 cup honey

1 cup applesauce- the kind without sugar added

2 egg whites

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup soy milk or almond milk

Fold in one large chopped apple.

Spoon into a non-stick muffin pan or use paper muffin cups in your pan. This makes 12 muffins, and you may pile the batter up as they do not raise much. Bake at 350 for about 20-30 minutes.

Happy detoxing, friends!  — Lacey

December 29, 2012

Sharing the Love

It’s Brooke here. Our Healthy Housewives mission is to inspire people to live healthier lives not only for their families but also for the world around them. A big part of healthy living is striving for wellness in all aspects of our lives. Not only do we want beautiful, strong bodies, positive personal relationships, and meaningful work, but also spirits that are open and hearts that are generous. In the coming months, the ladies of the Healthy Housewives (along with some friends) are going to be sharing the love with some groups around town who totally rock at making life better for both people and animals. To kick off our mission of kindness, we decided to visit the residents of Juliette Fowler Homes and do a little pampering.

Juliette Fowler Homes

To give you some background, Juliette Fowler Homes is a retirement community situated in beautiful old East Dallas. The community was founded by Juliette Peak Fowler 120 years ago to care for elderly widows and orphaned children, and over the years, many lives have been enriched by the care received at this special place. Today, Juliette Fowler Homes serves its senior residents through a range of facilities for independent and assisted living, apartment living, in-house rehabilitation, skilled nursing care, and memory care. To learn more, visit http://www.fowlerhomes.org/.

Marti Miller and a Resident

Marti Miller and a Resident

Visiting and Pampering

As you can imagine, getting 6 women together in one place in the middle of the Christmas holidays was interesting. So, we split up our volunteering, and we had fun both days! The first day, Kathy, Shelly, and I were warmly welcomed by Marti Miller, Director of Life Enrichment, and while we waited to see some residents, we had the pleasure of meeting another group of volunteers (seniors in high school!) whose class project for the semester was to volunteer every week at Juliette Fowler. You can imagine the friendships these young women were making with the residents and staff members as they all served together. I was very impressed! If you ever feel overwhelmed by all the terrible trouble and sadness reported by the news, you don’t have to look very far in your own neighborhood to find people who are quietly, diligently shining their light to the world. And that’s a really comforting thought.

My sweet friend, Marti, and I in front of a Blessing Tree

My Sweet Friend Marti and I in Front of a Blessing Tree

During our visit, Kathy gave one of the residents a beautiful manicure (and if you’ve seen Kathy’s nails, you know what I’m talking about!). Shelly and I gave several ladies hand massages while chatting with them, and they loved it! We really enjoyed visiting with the residents while pampering them, and when lunchtime came around and the room emptied, we all found ourselves wishing we could have done more.

Kathy working her manicure magic!

Kathy working her manicure magic!

Shelly giving a wonderful hand massage to a resident

Shelly giving a wonderful hand massage to a resident

Kathy, Susan (Activities Coordinator), and Shelly

Kathy, Susan (Activities Coordinator), and Shelly

For the next volunteer day, Marzia, Danielle, and Sandy joined in the holiday fun. Danielle brought her daughters, Adriana and Bianca, to help out, and they really helped make the day special. Marzia brought her friend Jeanie with her, and Sandy’s smiling face brightened up the day (as usual). After a small adventure involving Danielle and her girls, a locked door, frantic phone calls by me, and about 5 trips up and down the elevator, we finally found some sweet residents to join our group.

Marzia, Jeanie, Danielle and her daughters singing carols

Marzia, Jeanie, Danielle and her daughters singing carols together with a resident

Danielle and her girls visiting with a resident

Danielle and her girls with a resident, ready to do nails!

We all enjoyed visiting and singing carols together, and I even got a free manicure from Bianca! All the girls spread holiday cheer as they visited residents in their rooms. This time was really special because many of the people they stopped to say hello to were away from their families during the holidays. We also stopped by to see some dear friends, Bob and Rey Barton, who also live at Juliette Fowler and who welcomed the whole gang with open arms.

Share Your Story

We had a great time spreading some love during this special time of year, and we can’t wait to do it again next year! If you have had a chance to share the love with others recently, we want to hear about it! Drop me a line and tell me how you are making the world brighter and better: brooke@healthyhousewives.com.

Have a safe and Happy New Year!

December 15, 2012

Happy and Safe Howlidays!

sweet doxy

Hi, there! This is Brooke, your pet-loving gal here. The holidays are in full swing, and you are probably up to your eyebrows in things to do, cookies to bake, and cards to send—I know I am! Here are some tips on keeping your cherished pets safe and happy during this festive season.

Christmas Trees

This is an example of a bad kitty!

This is an example of a bad kitty!

  1. Make sure to anchor your trees from adventurous kitties that climb and dogs with crazily wagging tails—you don’t want all your hard work “decking” the tree to come crashing down in the middle of your eggnog!
  2. If you have a live tree, keep your animals from drinking the tree water, which may be full of pesticides as well as bacteria from the stagnant water. Ingestion of these nasty things can cause diarrhea, nausea, and upset stomach.
  3. Regardless of whether your tree is real or artificial, be sure to clean up the dropped needles often. Curious pets will eat those needles faster than you can say “No, don’t—!“ They are toxic and will cause vomiting, even if fake (trust me on this).
  4. Do not leave pets unattended with the Christmas tree, if possible. A fully decorated tree comes stocked with all kinds of dangerous “toys”:
    • Hot light strands can burn or electrocute dogs or cats, which have a tendency to chew on things. Keep light strands secured and covered or away from the lower levels of the tree.
    • Be sure to put glass or metal ornaments higher up on the tree, and watch for broken ornaments with sharp hooks or attachments—little paws can easily step on these items.
    • Tinsel may be beautiful, but it’s a big no-no, especially for cat households. Cats will ALWAYS find stringy, dangly items, and tinsel (along with other strings or wires) can be ingested and can get tangled in the stomach or intestines, leading to scary emergency surgery or even death if not caught in time. No thank you!!

Holiday Plants

Many plants that make our houses cherry and bright this time of year are bad news for our furry family members. For a more extensive list of toxic and non-toxic plants, check out this link from the ASPCA: http://www.aspca.org/Pet-care/poison-control/Plants. If you suspect your pet has gotten into anything suspicious, whether plant, food, or otherwise, be sure to call your veterinarian or emergency vet clinic IMMEDIATELY. You can also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Hotline, which is open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year: (888) 426-4435.

Common Holiday Plants Your Pets Should Avoid

  1. Lilies: deadly to cats, can cause kidney failure
  2. Mistletoe (especially the berries): highly toxic, causes upset stomach and potentially fatal heart problems
  3. Holly: causes nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy
  4. Poinsettias: not as toxic as often thought, these should still be avoided as they can upset pets’ digestive system
  5. Amaryllis: causes diarrhea and vomiting
  6. Certain species of ivy, namely English ivy: can be extremely harmful if ingested

Forbidden Food and Drinks

fridge danger

We all know that your animal friends are very skilled at watching you pitifully as you shove another yummy treat in your mouth. Their doleful eyes entreat you to share a bit of delicious food with them. Don’t do it!! You can show your pets that you love them in so many healthier ways.

  1. Be sure and feed your pets before dinner or party guests arrive—that way, Spot will have a full tummy and be less likely to beg for scraps from your guests. Also, give your animals some special treats made just for them when they have been good (or just because), and politely ask your guests to avoid passing along tasty morsels to your pets.
  2. This shouldn’t even need to be mentioned, but be sure to keep the dogs and cats (and any other small creatures) in your house out of the booze and smokes. Even accidental ingestion of alcohol or nicotine by a curious pet can be deadly, so if your party is getting very merry—be careful!!
  3. Some foods that can be harmful to your furry friends are:
    • Turkey skin and gravy: can cause pancreatitis
    • Onions and onion powder: can destroy red blood cells, causing anemia
    • Chocolate: can damage the nervous system and urinary tract as well as the heart muscle; can be deadly
    • Grapes and raisins: grapes, especially, can cause kidney failure (who knew?)
    • Cooked bones, especially poultry bones: can tear or block the intestinal tract; these injuries can be fatal
    • Not a food but food items: strings that are used in turkeys or roast, as well as the little  “pop-up” thermometers; discarded aluminum foil; food and fixings garbage—make sure to keep these items picked up and thrown away, with garbage sealed tightly

Joy to the Animals

Christmas rat

We can absolutely include our furry or feathered family members in the holiday festivities—we just have to be smart pet parents. Stuff your pets’ stockings with worry-free toys, like rubber dog toys, indestructible Kongs filled with special treats, durable rope “bones”, size-appropriate balls, catnip mice, interactive krinkle mats, and even nesting boxes and soft hammocks for your favorite little rat!

Ok, you guys. Get to jingling those bells, and stay warm!

Blessings,

Brooke

December 12, 2012

Give A Gift of Green!

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Just a few cute ideas!

Hey guys! How is everybody doing with your Christmas shopping? If you’re like me, you’re probably feeling a little nervous, about now or maybe , REALLY nervous! The holiday is less than 2 weeks away and it’s crunch time! Well, I got the perfect solution for some last minute gift ideas or for those, “I don’t know what to get peeps” on your Christmas list. I say give green! No…not money but a beautiful living plant. Plants are living gifts that keep giving, bring cheer and improve any space or environment they are in. They can also fit into any budget and make great gifts for almost any age.
It can be as simple as purchasing a dressed up holiday plant in the floral department at the grocery store or as elaborate as creating a terrarium or making the actual container. When giving a plant as a gift, you will want to make sure you pick an appropriate plant for the recipient. For instance, someone with a busy lifestyle or not such a “green thumb” would be better with a simple, easy to care for plant, in a more attractive pot and for a giftee that has more free time and an interest in plants a better choice may be a bonsai tree, orchid or a rare plant that has to be specially ordered. A container or pot can really make a difference in giving a plant as a gift, you should find a pot that fits a person’s style or personality. For example, if Aunt Mary likes antiques, look for an old teapot or other item at a local antique store to put the plant in. Grandparents really enjoy pots that the kids have painted or helped make. A lot of time when someone buys a plant for themselves, they just don’t take the time or want to spend the money on the perfect container and the poor thing sits in their house in the plastic pot it was bought in. So think presentation, and that will make this gift even more special and its easy wrapping for you! Be sure to always include the care instructions of the plant you give.

There are also gift sets of plants available in almost any kind of store, department stores to the corner drugstore! The sets can be of traditional Holiday flowers such as Paper Whites, Amaryllis, Norfolk Pines(my favorite) to kitchen herb sets, to silly ones like the Chia pets(kids love these by the way) Last year I got my daughter a set that included catnip seeds and a cute kitty planter.It made more than one happy! 😉 Kids love planting things, it teaches them responsibility and they enjoy the element of surprise when something sprouts or blooms. Hey a surprise bloom should put a smile on about anybody’s face! Well, I hope that I have  planted a few gift ideas in your head! Now I’m off to shop and calm some nerves… I hope!! ~ Sandy C. 🙂

December 7, 2012

Enjoy the Holiday Rush

holiday list

Hi, Everyone! It’s Brooke here. All stressed out and nowhere to run? I hear ya! This time of year invites not only merriment and reflection but lots of obligations absent the other 11 months of the year. Decorating the house, shopping without breaking the bank, crafting and baking (if you’re so inclined), vowing that THIS year you won’t wait until the last minute to do everything . . . all the while, the calendar is shrinking relentlessly down to zero hour. Then there’s the anxiety over sending Christmas cards—you could choose not to send them this year, but then you risk the icky feeling of being quietly dropped from your friends’ card lists. So, your list of to-do’s is long but necessary. Here are a few tips to help you cope:

1. Plan Ahead: This one’s a big challenge for me, but it saves a lot of headaches and heart palpitations down the road. Decorate your house early in the season so you can 1) enjoy being surrounded by holiday cheer and 2) focus on other tasks as the season ramps up. If you’re shopping for loved ones’ lists, do like the stores do and barely let the gratitude of Thanksgiving sink in before jumping into The Holidays. Take advantage of sales early in the month, and if you want to avoid having to fight your way through crowded lines even for a latte, do some gift getting during the weekdays. Not possible for everyone, I know, but have you seen those women who seem to have everything done, presents wrapped (nicely), and treats baked for their children’s friends’ families before the first full weekend in December? That’s how they do it! Oh, and they may have made a little deal with the Dark One—I’m just speculating.

I only wish my house looked like this!

I only wish my house looked like this!

2. Savor the Season: This is my favorite part about the holiday season—enjoying it, even as I mow through my lengthy list. When we pull all the decorations and tree down from the attic, I love to put on our favorite Christmas CDs (Bing Crosby’s White Christmas and Harry Connick, Jr.’s When My Heart Finds Christmas—I love you!). Preferably I also have a delicious iced Gingerbread Latte from Starbucks as my companion. You know that song from Mary Poppins—“A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down”? I’m a big believer in that phrase when I’m doing anything onerous or involved (for example, cleaning out my closet . . . again). Just give yourself a little sparkle to help enjoy the task at hand—it’s always worked wonders for me. Also, despite the lack of checkmarks on your to-do list, take time out to drive around and look at the lights on your neighbors’ houses, or sit down and watch your favorite holiday movies as a family. Do the things that bring cheer and joy to you and your loved ones—make those cute, little bread loafs that you always dream of doing over the holidays. Go root through your winter clothes and find your favorite comfy sweater to nestle up in, even if you have to crank up the AC, like we have to do in Texas J

3. Be Good to Yourself:  This one obviously involves bits of the previous paragraph, but sometimes we are the ones that get forgotten in the mad rush of December. Taking care of yourself is more than just pampering. You are the lynchpin to your family’s progress through their lives and this season. If you run yourself ragged, then everyone’s in trouble! Be reasonable in your expectations of yourself. Learn to say “No” politely to some requests for your time and assistance—trust me, this will change your life. Just because someone wants you to something doesn’t mean you are beholden to. And it doesn’t mean you are a bad person or don’t like the requestor. It just means that you have a limited amount of time, and you need to spend it in the way that fills you up and keeps you marginally socially acceptable (and not a hermit). Say “Yes” when you can cheerfully help out, and be gracious but direct when replying “No.” You will feel so much better when you can do this. Also, despite occasional obstacles, keep up with your healthy eating and exercise. Exercise especially is a powerful stress buster that improves your mood, relaxes your crazy mind, brings more restful sleep, and keeps your body healthy and happy. It will serve you very well this season, as will mindful eating. If you keep yourself fueled throughout each day with high-quality food (lean protein, whole grains, veggies, fruit, and LOTS of water), you will not only feel amazing but also be able to cope more easily with holiday party temptations. If you’ve been on track with your nutrition, then you (and not the double chocolate cheesecake at your work party) will be in control. Go on, have a little piece! Mama needs some chocolately cheer too!

choc cheesecake

Happy Friday, and enjoy the season, ok? It’s going fast!

XOXO, Brooke