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Grab Bag Awesome Awe:

Another “People are Awesome” compilation, this one with a good deal of high-def shots and slow-mo, to truly appreciate how awesome these feats are. Full screen button doesn’t seem to be available, so click the You Tube button lower right and you can then see it full screen on YouTube.com.

Grab Bag Stuffy Nose:

According to the docs at RealAge.com, the winter season is no bueno for easy breathing. Read on for a clear nose and a better night’s sleep:

Tranformational breathing 1

A stuffy nose that just won’t go away? Don’t blame a lingering cold. Think allergies instead. Nearly a third of Americans, and hefty numbers of people in other countries, are allergic to dust mites (really, it’s their droppings, but we’re not going there), which live inside your pillow and mattress and other stuffing-filled places you’ve spent time.

And in winter, when your home is all sealed up to keep heating costs down, your Kleenex costs are likely to rise — along with your chances of a bad night’s sleep as well as an increase in your risk of asthma, eczema, or chronic sinusitis. The first step in treating allergies is limiting your exposure to them.

(Are these 4 triggers flaring up your allergies?)

  • Avoid clutter and dust and mite-poop catchers — knickknacks, drapes, stacks of books, papers, or toys — especially in the bedroom.
  • Bare your floors (and damp mop them frequently). If you do have carpet, vacuum often, and clean under the furniture and in closets.
  • Use only polyester pillows, and frequently wash them — and all bedding — in very hot water (130 degrees Fahrenheit). For extra protection, zip mattresses, box springs, and pillows in allergen-proof coverings that block particles of one micron or larger.
  • If you have a forced-air heating system, change the filters monthly. Cold and warm air ducts should be professionally cleaned at least every 4 to 5 years.
  • Use an air cleaner with a HEPA or electrostatic filter.
  • If you get symptoms during housecleaning, wear a mask over your nose and mouth while doing chores. Better yet, have your spouse do the cleaning!

Grab Bag DIY Almond Milk:

I really like almond milk.. actually prefer it on my (whole grain!) cereal. But what I am BUGGED about is trying to find an almond milk without carrageenan, a seaweed-based thickener which is often used in commercial almond milk (to read why it is best avoided, read Dr. Weil’s article here).

So imagine my delight when friend Peggy H. told me she has been making delicious almond milk, and it is a SNAP. Ingredients? Almonds and water. Throw in some honey, stevia or dates as a sweetener should you prefer it sweetened, and/or a bit of vanilla extract if you like that taste.

almond-milk

I made my first batch this week and, Yay!. Love it!

And because you thankfully use zero preservatives, keep the batches on the small side… it only lasts 4-5 days.

Here’s a link to the one item you may need… a nut milk bag to strain the milk. And here’s a simple video to get you going…

Grab Bag CYA:

Ya… so about that “end of the world” thing looming in a few days….

Just in case you want to cover your a•• on this, you might want to check out a few likely scenarios.

Short story? Brush up on your survival skills, my friends…

Apocalypse Now

Grab Bag Cable Label:

Here’s a tip I started using a few years ago, and it has made a world of difference all year long:

Tuck some supplies near the tree (or in the bottom of your own Christmas stocking) so that when someone inevitably opens something with a cable or charger, it is immediately labeled for future reference.

Labeled zip-loc bags to store the accessories/cables/chargers once the box is tossed out are also great to have on hand.

My Christmas morning supplies:

Christmas Morning Supplies

• Scissors and/or a plastic clamshell opener as in the picture above

• Long, skinny labels that can be cut to size or wrapped around a cord

• Fine permanent marker to write on labels

• Quart and maybe gallon size Ziploc bags

• Thick permanent marker to label Ziplocs

IMG_0447

If you want it to look fantastic, and you have a label maker (which I do but never thought about using it for this), by all means go to it.

This tip has helped to eliminate an ever-growing box of random cables and chargers that no one could remember what they went with. Throw the manuals (if there are any… these days…not so much) in there, too. This system is also helpful when you go to sell your electronics… value is higher if all original accessories are offered.

And don’t forget to tuck a roll of garbage bags near the tree for all the (recyclable!) Christmas morning trash.

christmas-wrap-aftermath

And I hope I can encourage you to use the LEAST amount of gift wrap and boxes possible this year to reduce the absurd amount of waste this holiday seems to generate. Check out this post from two years ago on reusable boxes, bags, recycled cards and ribbons that make up most of my holiday gifting. A few examples:

ross-gift001 gift-bag001 dscn0258

Grab Bag Kitchen Progress Check:

Courtesy of Houzz.com, this fantastic glimpse back 40 some-odd years:

Honeywell Kitchen Computer

In 1969 it was actually possible to buy a futuristic-looking kitchen computer in the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog.

Called the Honeywell Kitchen Computer, the device was impossibly hard to use (it came with a two-week computer programming course). You had to enter data in the form of numbers, and it gave you answers in the form of blinking lights, which you had to learn how to “read.”

It cost $10,000.

Nobody bought one.

And here we are today…
iPad iPhone Recipes

Grab Bag Brain Game:

Use any of the available numbers no more than once, specifying the function, to reach the target number in as few steps as possible:

COUNTDOWN

Countdown

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

Yes…. December 21st, 2012 is the day that the Mayan calendar ends and, some say, so do we.

This just discovered in the cartoon section of an ancient Mayan newspaper:

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… plus other assorted giggles:

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