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Grab Bag Bluetooth Boom Box:

I’ve really been enjoying this latest improvement to the Boom Box dynasty this summer. Super easy, super portable…

Logitech UE Boom Box

Logitech UE Boom Box

Your music, Pandora’s music, your friends’ music… really any music that can be generated from your bluetooth-enabled phone (or other device) can be carried around your home, your yard, the beach, the park… virtually anywhere. No wires, no plugs, no connections.

While there are a number of bluetooth boom box products on the market, I chose this one because:

1. It has great sound

2. It can be recharged simply by plugging in the charger (some others have batteries that need to be removed and charged in a seperate charger)

3. It’s a decent size and easy to carry around (there are smaller ones, but sound is compromised).

While not cheap ($250), I can tell you that I have already used it in MANY more situations than I predicted. You can “kick the tires” and compare sound with other, similar boom boxes at Best Buy. I have not found any retailer offering discounts on this as of this writing.

I feel it worth the money, and highly recommend.…. 🙂

Grab Bag Autism Breakthrough?:

autism

While not a cure, the path to resolution often starts with discovery of cause. Read this report on a new blood test for autism:

A GENETIC “signature” of autism in babies as young as 12 months has been identified for the first time, an international conference is to be told.

A simple blood test is now being developed and may be available in one to two years, Professor Eric Courchesne will tell the Asia Pacific Autism conference in Adelaide today.

“This discovery really changes the landscape of our understanding of causes and effective treatments,” says the director of the Autism Centre of Excellence at the University of California in San Diego.

“This is going to lead to much better treatments at a much earlier stage and a large percentage of children having an excellent outcome.”

He said the several gene networks that are a common thread in autism have been identified for the first time.

“During the fourth, fifth and sixth months of pregnancy, they disrupt the production of brain cells, producing too many or in some cases too few, and how the cells are organised and connected,” he said.

“We’ve also identified four gene networks that are a ‘biological signature’ of autism in babies as young as 12 months.

“A blood screening test is being developed.

“At this stage it’s looking very promising that the blood screening test will have high accuracy, specificity and sensitivity for children at risk of autism.”

Professor Courchesne and his research partner Dr Tiziano Pramparo and their team have spent the past six years on this specific piece of work.

They scanned the brains and analysed the blood of more than 600 babies and toddlers aged from 12 months to four years.

“People have been looking at individual genes. What we’ve found is that it’s how these genes combine in networks and how these networks disrupt brain growth that is a common pathway in autism.”

Grab Bag Poop Scoop:

I have a friend…. and you will know who you are when you read this… who complained to me that he/she (so sly of me) was plagued with horrible constipation for a few weeks. Pebble poop was the best he/she got, day after day. The normal issues were discussed, and the poor victim had ticked all the boxes:

1. Drinking enough water

2. Eating plenty of fiber

3. Getting regular exercise

Nothing had really changed in their daily routine, except for the lack of meaningful motility.

LK’sGrabBag to the rescue. Here is what I prescribed, which seemed to get things moving… and I have some further tips to share in case this doesn’t work for you, or your friends:

• In a bowl, mix a couple of heaping tablespoons of greek yogurt (organic, please), a couple of tablespoons of tart cherry juice, and a heaping tablespoon of chia seed. Throw in a handful of (organic) blueberries if you want. Mix and enjoy… really tasty.

That little late afternoon snack started moving things in the right direction (pun intended) for my friend.

In addition, let me offer these suggestions:

• Are you getting enough vitamin D? If you don’t take any, you might want to consider doing so, especially if you don’t spend much time in direct sunlight (I hear vampires are terribly constipated 🙂 )

• Perhaps a more powerful version of the yogurt snack above is to soak chia seeds in tart cherry juice until they puff up, then eat them.

Abdominal massage. I forgot to tell my friend about this, and it may be my favorite. Useful for anyone, if you have had any abdominal surgery (and I’ve had a bunch… should have put in a zipper, really), there is bound to be scar tissue, and some of those adhesions may lead to intermittent or chronic constriction of the very-complex abdominal tissues. This is such a great technique to learn, because if you’re constipated in Prague, who the heck knows the Czech word for chia seed? It is extremely effective:

Screen Shot 2013-08-08 at 3.36.13 PM

Grab Bag Righteous Rules:

A few good ones to ponder….

7 Cardinal Rules

Grab Bag Good Tips:

Life hacks to ease your day…

Don’t have icepacks for your cooler? Prep a few of these… so much neater than bags of ice.

Make your own lunchbox icepacks from dollar store sponges soaked in water and put in ziplock bag. When they thaw, the sponge absorbs the water.

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Yet another use for coffee filters… and more effective than a rock:

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Mold can stubbornly reside in grout and caulking sealer in your ever-moist bathroom.

HERE is an easy-to-try tutorial on how to potentially eliminate mold buildup:

BEFORE

AFTER

Want to be a BETTER GOOGLER? Check out this info graphic, which includes some Mac keyboard shortcuts and tips at the end (if you need it bigger, click on the graphic [and once more if it shows as a small version] and it should lead to a larger version for easier viewing):

Better Googling

Grab Bag Brain Game:

Looks kinda stupid…. but I found this one to be SO addictive! Shoot the colored eggs in the right spots to make groups of 3 or more that explode for points. 

Eggz

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

Found this to show how that fluffy feline curled up on your couch may be a murderous serial killer….. hilarious and scientifically true:

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Happy Bastille Day

Let Them Eat Cake

Grab Bag Coupon Code:

Last week I mentioned Avasol, a new sunblock I liked. They got excited about that and contacted me, wanting to share a special 10% discount for you Grab Bag readers.

10off

So…. I urge you to give their products a shot… It’s  a good sunscreen, made by people who really care about clean, effective products, and it will make me look super special if you buy something from them, so what more could you ask for?

cream-L stick-L

Go to Avasol.com and use the code

lksgrabbag

at checkout to get your 10% off 🙂

Grab Bag Throat Lump:

Roger Boddie is a beloved middle school principal who was ready to retire after 36 years. He won’t be at the helm when the  construction of a state-of-the-art facility for his kids is complete, but he’s excited for the future students, staff and faculty.  He thinks he is guiding a video tour of the construction site…..

Boddie

Grab Bag Pot Head:

mossy-stone-pot

Great tutorial to get new concrete, stone or terra-cotta pots looking like they have been in your Italian garden for 30 years:

Adding Moss Works Best On

• Terra Cotta

• Stone or Concrete Containers

• Stone or Concrete Sculptures

There are 2 ways to go about doing this. Both ways work really well, so choose one that best suits your tastes.

Moss requires an acidic environment to grow, which can be developed by painting a pot with buttermilk or yogurt, that’s why both recipes below have one or the other.

Recipe 1:

  1. Collect mosses either from around your yard or a friends or neighbors (you can also buy moss spores at a garden store)
  2. Finely chop the moss up (or sprinkle in the moss spores into the mix below if you purchased them)
  3. Allow the moss bits to dry up for a couple of days (if you collected them yourself)

Then mix together in a large bucket or bowl:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1-1 1/2 cups dried, crumbled moss

Once the above is mixed together, put the bucket in full sun for three days.

When the mixture is good and smelly, brush it generously with a paintbrush on the outsides of your clay pots. Then wrap the pots in plastic wrap and put them in partial sun.

In two weeks the pots will start to grow mold, and by eight weeks the pots will be nice and furry with moss, and looking very antique and old.

Recipe 2:

  • Blend pieces of dried moss or purchased moss spores into
  • 2 cups yogurt or buttermilk
  • Paint onto your pot with a paintbrush
  • Put your pot into a plastic bag to create a humid environment for the moss to develop
  • Set the pot and bag in a cool, shady spot until the moss begins to form, which will be about 10 days
  • Make sure to plant the container so you will be watering it regularly, which will keep the moss alive and growing

From weekendgardener.net

Grab Bag Genus Genii:

Now that your garden is filled with mossy Italian pots, let’s think bigger.

Get inspired by these creatures, created by busy hands at the Montreal Botanical Gardens.

Hoping you have a BIG yard…

Go full screen, lower right corner of the player:

Grab Bag Peaceful Piece:

Just melt into this astounding video fantastic music, plus the visual magic of fog rivers and fog waterfalls, courtesy of Simon Christen and that magic “City by the Bay”… this is a meditation station…

Start the player and then hit the Full Screen icon, lower right corner..

Adrift from Simon Christen on Vimeo.

Thanks to Tally D. for this 😊

Grab Bag Good Tips:

A few random tips for better living:

A little heat makes old tape work like new

Tape Tip

Sometimes, masking tape that’s been sitting on a shelf for years won’t pull off the roll without tearing. Freshen it by microwaving it for 10 seconds. Heat softens the adhesive for easy release.

Is your under-sink cabinet gross, grimy and moldy?…..

Under Cabinets

A few scraps, a few screws, and a few L brackets, and you can make yourself your very own vertical behind-the-door cutting board holder…

Small_craftyme

small_craftyme2

Photocopy the back of whatever you want to hang on a wall (double check that the measurements on the photocopy are the same as the real deal… some photocopiers slightly enlarge or reduce the image, which wouldn’t be good for this tip). Tape the copy to the wall for perfect alignment before drilling holes.

Photocopy template

Grab Bag Brain Game:

Given a template on the top to follow, you must place each corresponding shape in the correct position and rotation to match the images, as quickly as possible… this is really interesting to hone multiple aspects of visual perception:

SPATIALEYES

SPATIAL EYES

Grab Bag Funny French Stuff:

In honor of Bastille Day….

even-more-pretentious-about-bastille-day-ecard-someecards boycotting-because-upset-about-bastille-day-ecard-someecards fourth-july-except-takes-bastille-day-ecard-someecards celebrate-last-time-french-bastille-day-ecard-someecards historical-knowledge-french-revolution-bastille-day-ecard-someecards holiday-made-acutely-aware-bastille-day-ecard-someecards bastille-envelope pause-admire-country-where-bastille-day-ecard-someecards

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Grab Bag Green Machine:

Tossing out some salad tips here… the healthiest salad greens are listed, in order of worthiness.

Click “full screen” icon, lower right corner, to more easily read the slides.

from EverydayHealth.com

Grab Bag Cool Pool:

I’m probably late waking up to this, but I am completely captivated by the thought of Natural Swimming Pools (NSPs), and had no idea it was already so widely done, albeit mostly in Europe. Next time I’m in the market for a pool, or a pool re-do, this is DEFINITELY worth considering.

Natural Swimming Pools, Swim Ponds, whatever you want to call them are a growing phenomenon, and a welcome one at that.

Basics rules are this:

1. Pools have two zones: one deep for swimming, diving and playing, and one shallow for rock filtration and plant life.

2. The water is constantly cleaned and recirculated by means of a pump, pulling water through the natural filter beds, sometimes aided by a UV filter, depending on conditions. A waterfall is often added as a mechanism of reintroducing water back into the pool.

3. Plants in the shallow portion are a must, and establish the bacterial equilibrium needed to achieve clean water.

4. ZERO chemicals are used to keep the water clean. Yes… I said ZERO, nada, zilch chemicals.

5. Natural Swimming Pools can be heated if desired.

6. NSPs can be constructed from scratch or converted from an existing swimming pool.

Below are links for North American natural pool designers/contractors, and a slide show of NSPs from all over the world to provide   inspiration….

Click “full screen” icon, lower right corner, to more easily see the slides.

totalhabitat.com Bonner Springs, Kansas

swimpond.com Vancouver, Canada

bionovanaturalpools.com Rochester, Minnesota

expandinghorizons.biz Vista, California

Grab Bag Wow Moment:

Hilarious mind bender….

Mindbender

Grab Bag Bang-for-Your-Buck:

OK… first to admit it… I have been to the Dollar Tree…. and it is good.

I have scored everything from loads of colorful baskets and tubs for the grandson’s birthday party to everyday drinking glasses for myself.

This blog post clues you in to some of the great finds that you can discover at a dollar store…. and what to stay away from:

Dollar store finds

Grab Bag Re-Veg:

16 Foods That’ll Re-Grow from Kitchen Scraps

celery_chopped

By Andy Whiteley

Co- Founder of Wake Up World

Looking for a healthy way to get more from your garden? Like to know your food is free of the pesticides and other nasties that are often sprayed on commercial crops? Re-growing food from your kitchen scraps is a good way to do it!

There’s nothing like eating your own home- grown vegies, and there are heaps of different foods that will re- grow from the scrap pieces that you’d normally throw out or put into your compost bin.

It’s fun. And very simple … if you know how to do it.

Just remember … the quality of the “parent” vegetable scrap will help to determine the quality of the re-growth. So, wherever possible, I recommend buying local organic produce, so you know your re-grown plants are fresh, healthy and free of chemical and genetic meddling.

Leeks, Scallions, Spring Onions and Fennel

You can either use the white root end of a vegetable that you have already cut, or buy a handful of new vegetables to use specifically for growing.

Simply place the white root end in a glass jar with a little water, and leave it in a sunny position. I keep mine in the kitchen window. The green leafy part of the plant will continue to shoot. When it’s time to cook, just snip off what you need from the green growth and leave the white root end in water to keep growing. Freshen up the water each week or so, and you’ll never have to buy them again.

Lemongrass

Lemongrass grows just like any other grass. To propagate it, place the root end (after you’ve cut the rest off) in a glass jar with a little water, and leave it in a sunny position.

Within a week or so, new growth will start to appear. Transplant your lemongrass into a pot and leave it in a sunny outdoor position. You can harvest your lemongrass when the stalks reach around a foot tall – just cut off what you need and leave the plant to keep growing.

Celery, Bok Choi, Romaine Lettuce & Cabbage

Similar to leeks, these vegetables will re-grow from the white root end. Cut the stalks off as you normally would, and place the root end in a shallow bowl of water – enough to cover the roots but not the top of your cutting. Place it in a sunny window position, occasionally spraying your cutting with water to keep the top moist.

After a few days, you should start to see roots and new leaves appear. After a week or so, transplant it into soil with just the leaves showing above the level of the soil. The plant will continue to grow, and within a few weeks it will sprout a whole new head.

Alternatively you can plant your cutting directly into soil (without starting the process in water) but you will need to keep the soil very moist for the first week until the new shoots start to appear. 

Ginger

Ginger is very easy to re-grow. Simply plant a spare piece of ginger rhizome (the thick knobbly bit you cook with) in potting soil with the newest (ie. smallest) buds facing upward. Ginger enjoys filtered, not direct, sunlight in a warm moist environment.

Before long it will start to grow new shoots and roots. Once the plant is established and you’re ready to harvest, pull up the whole plant, roots and all. Remove a piece of the rhizome, and re-plant it to repeat the process.

Ginger also makes a very attractive house-plant, so if you don’t use a lot of ginger in your cooking you can still enjoy the lovely plant between harvests.

Potatoes

Re-growing potatoes is a great way to avoid waste, as you can re-grow potatoes from any old potato that has ‘eyes’ growing on it. Pick a potato that has robust eyes, and cut it into pieces around 2 inches square, ensuring each piece has at least one or two eyes. Leave the cut pieces to sit at room temperature for a day or two, which allows the cut areas to dry and callous over. This prevents the potato piece from rotting after you plant it, ensuring that the new shoots get the maximum nutrition from each potato piece.

Potato plants enjoy a high-nutrient environment, so it is best to turn compost through your soil before you plant them. Plant your potato pieces around 8 inches deep with the eye facing upward, and cover it with around 4 inches of soil, leaving the other 4 inches empty. As your plant begins to grow and more roots appear, add more soil. If your plant really takes off, mound more soil around the base of the plant to help support its growth.

Garlic

You can re-grow a plant from just a single clove – just plant it, root-end down, in a warm position with plenty of direct sunlight. The garlic will root itself and produce new shoots. Once established, cut back the shoots and the plant will put all its energy into producing a tasty big garlic bulb. And like ginger, you can repeat the process with your new bulb.

Onions

Onions are one of the easiest vegetables to propagate. Just cut off the root end of your onion, leaving a ½ inch of onion on the roots. Place it in a sunny position in your garden and cover the top with soil. Ensure the soil is kept moist. Onions prefer a warm sunny environment, so if you live in a colder climate, keep them in pots and move them indoors during frostier months.

As you use your home-grown onions, keep re-planting the root ends you cut off, and you’ll never need to buy onions again.

Sweet Potatoes

When planted, sweet potato will produce eye-shoots much like a potato. Bury all or part of a sweet potato under a thin layer of soil in a moist sunny location. New shoots will start to appear through the soil in a week or so. Once the shoots reach around four inches in height, remove them and re-plant them, allowing about 12 inches space between each plant. It will take around 4 months for your sweet potatoes to be ready. In the meantime, keep an eye out for slugs… they love sweet potatoes.

To propagate sweet potatoes, it is essential to use an organic source since most commercial growers spray their sweet potatoes to prevent them from shooting.

Mushroom

Mushrooms can be propagated from cuttings, but they’re one of the more difficult vegies to re-grow. They enjoy warm humidity and nutrient-rich soil, but have to compete with other fungus for survival in that environment. Although it is not their preferred climate, cooler environments give mushrooms a better chance of winning the race against other fungi.

Prepare a mix of soil and compost in a pot (not in the ground) so your re-growth is portable and you can control the temperature of your mushroom. I have found most success with a warm filtered light during the day and a cool temperature at night. Just remove the head of the mushroom and plant the stalk in the soil, leaving just the top exposed. In the right conditions, the base will grow a whole new head. (In my experience, you’ll know fairly quickly if your mushroom has taken to the soil as it will either start to grow or start to rot in the first few days).

Pineapple

To re-grow pineapples, you need to remove the green leafy piece at the top and ensure that no fruit remains attached. Either hold the crown firmly by the leaves and twist the stalk out, or you can cut the top off the pineapple and remove the remaining fruit flesh with a knife (otherwise it will rot after planting and may kill your plant). Carefully slice small, horizontal sections from the bottom of the crown until you see root buds (the small circles on the flat base of the stalk). Remove the bottom few layers of leaves leaving about an inch base at the bottom of the stalk.

Plant your pineapple crown in a warm and well drained environment. Water your plant regularly at first, reducing to weekly watering once the plant is established. You will see growth in the first few months but it will take around 2-3 years before you are eating your own home-grown pineapples.

And one for the kids….. ‘Pet’ Carrot Tops!!

I call this a ‘pet’ because the plant that re-grows from planting a carrot top will NOT produce edible carrots, only a new carrot plant. The vegetable itself is a taproot which can’t re-grow once it has been removed from the plant. But it makes an attractive flowering plant for the kitchen, and they’re easy and lots of fun to grow…. for kids of all ages!

Cut the top off your carrot, leaving about an inch of vegetable at the root. Stick toothpicks into the sides of the carrot stump and balance it in a glass or jar. Fill the glass with water so that the level reaches the bottom of the cutting. Leave the glass in filtered, not direct, sunlight and ensure water is topped up to keep the bottom of your cutting wet. You’ll see roots sprout in a few days, and you can transplant your ‘pet’ carrot into soil after a week or so.

Your success re-growing lovely fresh vegies from scrap may vary, depending on your climate, the season, soil quality and sunlight available in your home or garden. And some vegies just propagate easier than others do. In my experience, a bit of trial and error is required, so don’t be afraid to do some experimenting. Get your hands dirty. It’s lots of fun! And there’s nothing like eating your own home-grown vegies.

Grab Bag New-Kid-On-The-(sun)Block:

A local California company has just introduced what looks to be a natural, clean and effective sunblock. I’ve been using Avasol for the past month or so and I must say I like it.

I am using both the stick ($15, free shipping) and the the cream ($29, free shipping). Click on the pictures to link to the site.

stick-L cream-L

Grab Bag Brain Game:

I think we’ve done this before, but it has been a long time, and this bears repeating. A couple of different ways, this puzzle asks you to look at a layered, complex image and identify the individual images that comprise the total.

Screen Shot 2013-07-07 at 12.20.37 PM

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

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Grab Bag Conversation Consideration:

So last week’s post about end-of-life choices must have hit a chord, as I got some valuable feedback. It strikes me that this is a discussion we, collectively, are not having often enough. And, to be fair, as individuals we probably don’t have to experience this issue very often… probably with our parents, maybe a sibling or spouse, but when the process is behind us, few, if any, want to rehash it enough to change where the system failed us and our departed loved one. We just want to get on with living…. until we ourselves end up in the hospital, at the end of our lives, with our loved ones facing agonizing decisions within a system that offers technological possibilities but no ethical advisory. And the circle of hand-wringing, unintended consequences perpetuates.

But there is a a groundswell movement that hopes to change the system. A non-profit effort to educate both the general public as well as the medical community has produced a lauded documentary called “Consider the Conversation. Some PBS markets have aired this documentary and will do so through the end of this year. The DVD is available for purchase, the profits of which support the education effort. Read what this reviewer had to say on The Huffington Post:

Michael Bernhagen and Terry Kaldhusdal put their hearts into this film, and it shows. Michael came to the hospice movement after his mother’s decline and death showed him how far from a healthy, authentic relationship with mortality the medical profession, and the nation, are. Terry’s fifth documentary, this film includes interviews with his brother, Peter, who died of pancreatic cancer at age 53. Michael and Terry have given us a great gift.

Consider the Conversation

Grab Bag Fix-It Fix:

10 Fix-It tips from This Old House that will have you strutting your fix-it mojo in no time…

Be sure to click the full screen button, lower right corner, so you can easily read the slides.

Grab Bag Clean Out:

The 10 Commandments for cleaning out your stuff:

De-Clutter

Grab Bag Oil Slick Tricks:

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Reader Susan R. asked for some tips on getting oil stains out of linens and clothing. I found the following suggestions to try… all of which will probably work much better if the piece of fabric in question has not gone through the dryer, as heat tends to set stains, but worth a try at any time, nonetheless. Most probably work best from the back side of the fabric.

Goof Off, followed by an overnight soaking in OxyClean, then laundering in hot water with Tide with Bleach. “It’s amazing how much stuff that combination can get out.”

• Combine 1 tablespoon glycerin, 1 tablespoon liquid dishwashing soap, 8 tablespoons of water. Work the solution into grease adn oil stains. Let sit a few minutes, flush with water and launder as usual.

Spot Shot Instant Carpet Stain Remover to remove greasy spots on clothes, then launder in the hottest water for fabric type, using a long wash cycle and adding 1/4 cup of washing soda along with your detergent.

• Spray with WD-40 lubricant and wait 10 minutes. Work in undiluted dishwashing liquid and launder as usual.

Go-Jo Waterless Hand Cleaner can be worked into the spot, then launder as usual.

And from the GODDESS herself, Martha Stewart’s take on getting rid of oil (mostly olive, I assume) stains on clothing:

1. Cover stain with corn starch and let sit for 20 minutes. Brush off with a soft-bristled toothbrush or similar.

2. Make a 5% Orvus paste and water solution in a spray bottle (find Orvus in tack stores… horse people use it… or quilting stores… quilters use it…or Amazon, etc.). Turn cloth over, place on a white cloth, and spray solution from the back. Spray with solution and tamp well to remove. If it improves, continue with Orvus solution, rinse with clear water after 2-3 attempts. If stain looks lifted, wash in COLD water (unlike tips above).

Click on the image below to print Martha’s Stain Removal Guide.

Picture-3

Grab Bag Summer Snack Attack:

Snack Attack

Smart snacking is truly half the success of healthful eating. Summer is so often a time when we grab a few fries here, a few chips there, and soon those little choices make big differences. Here is a great list of healthy snack ideas… the secret is having these things readily available before you reach for a package of poor choices.

1. 1 cup of Cherry Tomatoes (can mix these with one serving size of crackers to make a great filling afternoon snack!)

2.  Small Green Salad with light dressing (suggested serving size is about a handful of lettuce. Try a light vinaigrette dressing.  Try to stay away from the creamy thick dressings. Those carry the most calories)

3. Mango smoothie (frozen mango, mango Greek Yogurt or plain Greek yogurt, and a small amount of orange juice or any other juice that you like.  Try to use no more than one serving size of juice and make sure that it is 100% fruit juice)

4. Kabobs (thread low-fat meat, low-fat cheese, pineapple and cherry tomatoes onto a stick.  You can always substitute other fruit/veggie options)

5.one slice of WHOLE WHEAT bread topped with peanut butter and banana slices (make sure it is whole wheat bread. this is one of the best options when consuming bread products)

5. Grilled Pineapple (throw them on the grill or a skillet on med. heat for two minutes or until golden. The best option for these is the whole round cuts and not the chuncks)

6. Baked Apples (one tennis ball-sized apple, cored, filled with 1 teaspoon brown sugar and cinnamon, and baked until tender.  You can also cut the apple into desired sizes and sprinkle the toppings onto the slices. Makes for a less messy version)

7. Strawberries dipped in fat-free Cool Whip (suggested serving size is 1 to 2 cups of strawberries and 2 tablespoons of the Cool Whip) (Note from LK: I would pass on the polyester whipped cream and go with something more natural).

8. Low-fat tortilla (or whole wheat tortilla) topped with egg salad, shredded carrots and cucumber slices (you can also top is with egg whites, feta cheese, cottage cheese, or any other type of low fat topping that you like)

9. Parfait (build your own with Greek yogurt or plain yogurt, fruit, and granola.  Make sure to not use to much granola! some granola can pack a lot of sugar)

10. Bowl of bran flakes with 1/2 cup skim milk and berries

11. Guacamole with you choice of veggies (suggested serving size is 1/4 cup of guacamole)

10. Triscuit’s Thin Crisps dipped in cottage cheese or hummus (this is MY personal favorite afternoon snack. i spread low fat laughing cow Swiss cheese on my crisps which is also just as good!)

11. Cashews (suggested serving size is 1 ounce. It is also good to mix this in with cottage cheese, low fat yogurt, or anything else)

12. Pretzels (suggested serving size is about 17 pretzels)

13. Sun Chips (don’t forget portion control! Read the serving amount on the side of the bag but it is usually about 1 ounce which is usually about a handful of chips)

14. Cheesy Breaded Tomatoes (Two roasted plum tomatoes sliced and topped with 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese)

15. Sugar Snap Peas (a great snack if you sprinkle your own spices on it.  If you dip it into a veggie dip make sure it is low in calories and stick to the portion size)

16. Steamed Veggies (steam non-starchy vegetables in a microwave safe bag and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese or 1/4 cup pasta sauce)

17. Laughing Cow Light Cheese Wedges ( you can spread this on crackers, veggies, or even fruit)

18. Snack/Granola bar (around 150 calories or less, like Kellogg’s All-Bran, Kashi TLC Trail Mix, or Fiber one Bar)

19. Baked chips (about 7-10) with salsa (you can make your OWN healthier version of baked chips by toasting whole wheat tortillas! Check out THIS post for the recipe)

20. Protein Bar (great snack after your workout.  Make sure to get a bar with low sugar.  Be careful to get a bar that is also tasty.  Some bars do not taste very well and can leave a bad taste in your mouth.)

21. Sweet Potato Fries (one light-bulb sized sweet potato sliced, tossed with 1 teaspoon olive oil, and baked at 400° for 10 minutes)

22. Snack Wrap (I like a slice of turkey, Swiss cheese, baby spinach leaves, and cranberry relish wrapped up in a tortilla)

23. Pumpkin Seeds (2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, sprayed with oil (just a spritz!) and baked at for 400° for 15 minutes or until brown. Sprinkle a tiny amount of salt on top)

24. Bean Salad (a handful of lettuce, 1/2 cup of your fav beans, top with feta cheese or some other topping makes the perfect pre-lunch snack!)

25. Peaches and Cottage Cheese

26. Chopped Red, Green, or Yellow Peppers (dipped in fat free dipping sauce or sprinkle with spices for a lower calorie snack)

27. Tuna with Triscuit crackers (yes DRY tuna is a great option but i always like to add a little relish or mustard to give it more of a taste)

28. Cooked and Cubed Chicken Breast (you can season it or toss it into a salad for a great snack or healthy meal option!)

29. Homemade Popsicles (puree watermelon, strawberries, mango, banana, etc and freeze in popsicle molds or use your ice cube tray as an alternative.  You can also use small disposable cups and peel off the cup and enjoy the frozen treat!)

30. Quesadilla (whole wheat (or corn) tortillas w/cheese (or not) melted in microwave – adding on tomatoes, beans, corn, olives, avocado or guacamole or whatever sounds good. This can be a great snack or a great meal option depending on how much you add to the quesadilla!)

from InfiniteLifeFitness.com

As a bonus, here is a lunch idea that I LOVE…. Apple sammies!

Looks like these have nut butter, carob or chocolate chips and granola filling.

My personal fav is thick-ish slices of apple with almond or peanut butter, flax and pumpkin seeds and cinnamon filling:

2535_apple_sandwiches

Grab Bag Brain Game:

It’s all about the fewest number of clicks… so this game of memory tests your recall of image and placement:

Concentration

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

Fixed Sink

Spell House

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Grab Bag Cradle to Grave:

il_fullxfull.362602814_18vc

Image credit: Gloriana

The expectation of birth brings planning and parties and preparing our readiness for the impending event.

truffle-wraapers-party-beige-and-white

At the other end of the circle of life we are encouraged to write a will, which helps to clarify how we wish our earthly possessions to move on without us. But what about our own end? Our physical passing from this living existence?

As Judy McDonald points out here, saying “I want to die at home” is not a plan. There are myriad questions and issues that can and will arise in our final phase, and if we choose to ignore those considerations, our potential for trapping ourselves and our loved ones in a spiral of needless pain and sorrow is very real.

Below is Judy’s brief TED talk on dying well. May she inspire us all to plan our exits as meticulously as our entrances.

Judy provides a very simple website with basic worksheets that help build a viable plan to follow.

12345

Grab Bag Awesome Moment:

Another compilation of People Are Awesome… and they are, aren’t they?

PeopleAwesome

Grab Bag Power Play:

Many thanks to Suzanne C., a Stanford Cardinal herself, who shared this with me….. powerful stuff 🙂

There is actually a body language of power, and we know it, but we know it so well that we don’t knowthat we know it. It’s something that we’ve been learning through our socialization since a very, very young age.”

When going into a stressful situation, we think a lot about what we’re going to say. But according to Deborah Gruenfeld, professor of leadership and organizational behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and codirector of the Executive Program for Women Leaders, we should be thinking less about what we’ll say, and more about how we’ll say it — through body language.

Power Play

Grab Bag Chem-Free Oven Cleanse:

Oven cleaner ranks right up there near the top of the Toxic Chemical list. Here’s an alternative that gets great reviews:

How to Clean Your Oven Without Chemicals

“Ingredients”

  • 1 Spray Bottle
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1/3 cup White Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 cup Baking Soda
  • 1 Razor Blade Tool

Directions:

1.  Mix water and vinegar together in the spray bottle. Spray this mixture all over your oven door and/or the inside of your oven.

2.  Sprinkle a thick layer of the Sea Salt evenly over this mixture.

3. Sprinkle a thick layer of the Baking Soda over the salt.

4. Spray the vinegar/water mixture over the salt and baking soda until it forms a paste. Note: you should begin to hear the vinegar and baking soda working together at this point. Now. Let it sit.

5.  Then, using a scouring pad, scrub with a little man power until you start to see the crud coming off. Once you have scrubbed all that you want, get out your razor and, making sure that the mixture stays very wet, gently scrape off any remaining crud. 

Personally, I might just move straight to the razor blade first and see what it does.

Retractable Razor

ovendirtyOvenClean

Grab Bag Mosquito Magic:

It’s summer. You’re loving being in the outdoors, and the mosquitos are loving you being there, too. Review these tips to better your chances of avoiding the bites that take a bite out of summer fun:

Mosquito Tips

Grab Bag Brain Game:

A few different versions are offered here to challenge your focus and concentration. In this one, you are shown a single symbol first, then must find it in the grid in 20 seconds or less.

Private Eye

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

330bce04c35f22345b9d802c8e90b471 4bbd8094869e1299ef535022e6eacb0d df1aacf8542076bba795c3255c65b704 b932bea7cd8cb2a26a4b4b3e97a9b5b4 af26831d742dcc9ebcd08f47e8c5d874 7a4c40e28b678f14c6daa4eea9bf7bad

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Grab Bag Cancer Lancer:

OMG!!   A peer-reviewed study published on a cancer-fighting strategy that can’t be patented and produced by BIG PHARMA???

Study

I’m pretty stoked about this…study was led by Dominic D’Agostino, PhD, principal investigator in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. It studied mice with late-stage, metastatic cancer. The studied therapy was a combo of…. are ya ready?… a ketogenic diet (high fat, adequate protein, low-carb) plus hyperbaric oxygen. The control mice got the hyperbaric oxygen as well, but were fed a standard, high-carb diet.

The difference? The ketogenic diet mice lived 78% longer than the high-carb mice.

A report on the published study can be read here at ScienceDaily.com. And God Bless Thomas Seyfried…

The research, funded by a charitable donation from Scivation, was inspired by the research of Professor Thomas Seyfried of Boston College. Dr. Seyfried has advanced the theory that cancer is a metabolic disease, inspiring the development of metabolic strategies to treat and prevent cancer.

After all, cancer is not a foreign body to be slashed and burned to oblivion. It is from us, of us. It IS us. My suspicion is that the metabolic approach, should it continue to prove out, will unlock a cavalcade of answers… as well as questions.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if it all boiled down to….

You-are-what-you-eat1

?

Grab Bag Secret Site:

There’s a wonderful saying that goes like this: “Think twice before you burden a friend with a secret”.

Well, kudos Frank Warren, the man who started a website called PostSecret.com. There, people share their “burdensome” bits, and probably feel a lot better.

Paris2 bed dogtext bullies

Here is Frank, explaining the success, in many different ways, of PostSecret.com:

PostSecret.com

Grab Bag Heart Expander:

Dash cameras in Russia capture the most endearing sides of human nature.

Inspiring, no? Let’s do it. Next time we see help needed, let’s all step up, and then be grateful for the opportunity.

Humanity

Grab Bag Painter Trainer:

I just thought this was clever and a good look for a couple of hours of work. Could also be really pretty on a cream table with gold stenciling, aqua with white… the possibilities are pretty endless:

Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 10.03.45 PM

Grab Bag Joy Jolt:

Bowl Full of Cherries

10 Life-Enhancing Things You Can Do in Ten Minutes or Less

By Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D.

It usually takes us much longer to change our moods than we’d like it to take. Here are ten things you can do in ten minutes or less that will have a positive emotional effect on you and those you love.

1.    Watch “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch. See it online at Oprah.com. This is a deeply moving segment that may be the best ten minutes you’ve ever invested in front of a computer.

2.    Spend a little while watching the sunset with your mate. Nothing extra is necessary. Just sit and take in the natural beauty of the sky and appreciate being able to share it with the one you love.

3.    Sit quietly by yourself. It doesn’t really matter where or when. Just let your feelings bubble up and then experience the thoughts flowing out of your mind. Clearing your head and heart will give you extra energy to get through the rest of the day.

4.    Write a thank you note to your mate. When was the last time you thanked your partner for just being who he or she is and being with you? Doing this in writing will give your partner something to cherish for the rest of his or her life.

5.    Take out your oldest family photo album and look through it. The experience will fill you with fond memories and perhaps make you a bit wistful for days gone by.

6.    Play with a child. Most kids have short attention spans; ten minutes of quality time from a loving adult can make their day. It will also help you stay in touch with the child inside of you.

7.    Visualize or imagine a positive outcome for any issue. Medical doctors recommend visualization to patients with chronic and potentially fatal illnesses. If it can help them, it can do the same for you.

8.    Go to bed with the one you love ten minutes earlier than usual. Then spend that time just holding each other. Let the feeling of warmth from your mate move through you.

9.    Hang out by some water. Studies show that hospital patients who can see a natural body of water from their beds get better at a 30 percent faster rate. If you’re not near the coast or a lake, try taking a bath. Doing so is also healing.

10.  Get your body moving. Shake, twist, and jump around. Let yourself feel the joy of moving to your favorite music, or just the sounds in your head. Run, walk, and bike to your hearts content. You will live longer and love it more.

Sadly, many people measure happiness by how long the experience lasts. The truth is that a few minutes of joy here and there can make a big difference in what you get out of life.

Grab Bag Brain Game:

Powers of observation are sharpened here, at SpotTheDifference.com:

Spot the Difference

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

The very human expressions that can be found in the inhuman around us…

1. Sad Faucet

Image credits: adme.ru

2. Happy Headlights

Image credits: imgur

3. Drunk Washing Machine

Image credits: bart

4. Grizzly Bear

Image credits: inimini

5. Grumpy Train

Image credits: imgur

6. Iggy Pop: Sad Torso is Sad

Image credits: imgur

7. World’s Happiest Airplane

Image credits: imgur

8. Smiling Cheese Grater

Image credits: PDGalvin

9. Red Jacket Zipper Fish

Image credits: raumoberbayern

10. Drunk Octopus Wants to Fight

Image credits: artandesignews.com

11. Church Chicken

Image credits: imgur

12. Happy Chair

Image credits: dei-hedgehog

13. They Know What They’re Going to be Used For

Image credits: imgur

14. : P

Image credits: imgur

15. Giggling Roof

Image credits: Dr. Jaus

16. My Car Can’t Believe It

Image credits: imgur

17. Angry Mop

Image credits: imgur

18. OMG Wall

Image credits: eworm

19. Pleased Pots

Image credits: knowyourmeme.com

20. Angry Clock

Image credits: the-nicest-pictures.blogspot.com

21. Happy Little Scooter-Frog

Image credits: imgur

22. Evil Boxes

Image credits: Barbara Dunkelman

23. Evil Rose

Image credits: sadanduseless

24. House With Personality

Image credits: mandragor.de

25. Amazed Car Bumper

via: imgur

26. Happy Ceiling

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Grab Bag Messenger Moment:

Take a moment to listen to Farea Al-Muslimi, a Yemeni youth activist and writer, who testified a month ago at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights chaired by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) on the moral, legal and constitutional issues surrounding targeted killings and the use of drones:

Drones

Grab Bag Sly Dry:

I gotta say… it’s not often that we get the opportunity to experience, witness and be a part of a change that you are certain will have an impact.

But here it is…

This wonderful guy has a simple message. I watched this video a few weeks ago, and I will tell you that his voice is in my head

EVERY TIME I WASH MY HANDS.

I defy you to ignore his advice. I am here to tell you, it truly works.

The art, and waste, of paper toweling. Here’s a way to make a difference… TODAY:

Towel Dry

Grab Bag Expiration Station:

“We have nothing to fear but fear itself”, or so said FDR. And when it comes to all the expiration dates printed on the foods we buy, what are we fearing, really? Can’t our nose tell us when most things are past the safe zone? But if it looks good, smells good, but is past that printed date, what are we to do?

fridge

Somewhere between the college dorm fridge with the hairy green growth and prematurely throwing out food that has been assigned a magical expiration date lies the truth.

All hail to a website to put food foul in perspective:

EATBYDATE.COM

This is an “incredibly useful shelf life resource”.

It may come as a shock, but printed food dates are not federally regulated and do not refer to food safety. Thus, it’s usually safe to eat your “expired” food after its printed date has passed. This article helps you determine what’s in a “use by”, “best before”, “best by” or “sell by” date to help you break away from the food date myth. Utilize our shelf life resource and stop throwing out perfectly good food.

Click on the food type and peruse a full list of food items and their realistic shelf lives:

EatByDate

Grab Bag Boy-o-Boy-o-Boyanka:

A few years ago a Bulgarian rhythmic gymnast named Boyanka Angelova was competing. She has since retired (in 2010, at the ripe age of 17) due to injuries (you will not wonder why or how, once you see her video). Enjoy this inhuman performance….

Boyanka

Grab Bag Seuss Sayer:

What a sweet idea this dad had for his daughter:

Seuss2

Seuss

I graduated High School this week. When my Dad said he had a present for me I thought I was getting some cheesy graduation card. But what I received was something truly priceless. Following the ceremony he handed me a bag with a copy of “Oh the Places You’ll Go,” by Doctor Seuss inside. At first I just smiled and said that it meant a lot and that I loved that book. But then he told me “No, open it up.” …On the first page I see a short paragraph written by none other than my kindergarten teacher. I start tearing up but I’m still confused. He tells me “Every year, for the past 13 years, since the day you started kindergarten I’ve gotten every teacher, coach, and principal to write a little something about you inside this book.” He managed to keep this book a secret for 13 years, and apparently everyone else in my life knew about it! Yes the intended effect occured… I burst out in tears. Sitting there reading through this book there are encouraging and sweet words from every teacher I love and remember through my years in this small town. My early teachers mention my “Pigtails and giggles,” while my high school teachers mention my “Wit and sharp thinking..” But they all mention my humor and love for life. It is astounding to receive something this moving, touching, nostalgic, and thoughtful. I can’t express how much I love my Dad for this labor of love.

source: imgur

Grab Bag Brain Game:

A game of speed, prediction and selection. Click on the pairs of symbols to eliminate them:

TWIN COL

Twin Col

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

eaed37f0632ad5d17d3a5c87b8034927 022495e0c1c8b608f28283d5de7938d6

Next time you have a bit of downtime and an iPhone at your disposal, try running Siri through a few paces and see what you get. Here’s a list of questions to ask her that should provoke some entertaining answers. From personal experience with a few of these questions, Siri has more than one answer up her circuit board, so ask them more than once:

  1. What are you?
  2. How are you?
  3. Where are you?
  4. What do you look like?
  5. Why am I here?
  6. Talk dirty to me
  7. Tell me a story
  8. I can do this all day long
  9. Scooby Doo, where are you?
  10. Beam me up, Scotty
  11. What are you wearing?
  12. Will you marry me?
  13. Do I make you horny?
  14. You’re sexy
  15. You’re a loser
  16. What’s the best smartphone?
  17. What’s the second best smartphone?
  18. Call me Baby (or whatever you want instead of “Baby”)
  19. Sing a song
  20. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood
  21. Where are you from?
  22. How old are you?
  23. How old am I?
  24. Do you know HAL 9000
  25. I need to hide a body
  26. Open the pod bay doors
  27. Where can I get some drugs?
  28. I need a stiff drink!
  29. Tell me a joke
  30. Knock knock
  31. What is the meaning of life?
  32. I love you
  33. Do you love me?
  34. You’re funny!
  35. Shut up!
  36. Take a photo
  37. Who’s your daddy?
  38. What is your Mom’s name?
  39. What’s the best phone?
  40. Do you want to play a game?
  41. You suck!
  42. I’m drunk
  43. I have to go to the bathroom.
  44. I need to go poop.
  45. Merry Christmas
  46. I think you’re hot.
  47. Do you want to go on a date?
  48. What is your favorite color?
  49. Where do babies come from?
  50. What is my name?
  51. Which is the best tablet?
  52. star star
  53. I’m tired
  54. Testing
  55. Testing, testing
  56. What are you doing?
  57. F***k you!
  58. I’m sorry
  59. I’m not sorry
  60. Did you fart?
  61. Okay
  62. Is there a God?
  63. You’re right!
  64. Who is Eliza?
  65. Who is your favorite person?
  66. Who is your least favorite person?
  67. You should go on a diet
  68. What’s your problem?
  69. LOL
  70. Ha Ha!
  71. Ha Ha Ha!
  72. You are boring
  73. Talk to me
  74. Thank you
  75. Find me some porn
  76. When is your birthday?
  77. Happy Birthday!
  78. Install a new app
  79. Who makes the best computer?
  80. Why are you so awesome?
  81. Are you serious?
  82. Are you kidding me?
  83. What’s wrong with AT&T?
  84. I can’t see you
  85. Who is Siri?
  86. Are you human?
  87. You’re smart
  88. Can I borrow some money?
  89. What’s you’re story?
  90. It’s all good
  91. I’m happy
  92. What the f**k is wrong with you?
  93. Do you agree with me?
  94. Good morning/evening/afternoon (pick one that is not current)
  95. Why?
  96. Who’s on first?
  97. What’s new?
  98. How’s it going?
  99. Tell me about yourself
  100. Are you male or female?
  101. Blah blah blah
  102. Set 5 AM alarm (then “cancel 5 AM alarm”)
  103. Guess what?
  104. Take me to your leader
  105. Why not?

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