I am very big into family, and I have a big family as well. 5 brothers and sisters (I'm the 5th of 6). 13 nieces and nephews (it's about to be 14 because yet another one is due in October!). 5 great-nephews & 5 great-nieces. And no, with that many family members, I do not keep up with birthdays very well. Even with a master list on my fridge.
I'm also married. My husband and I got married here in San Antonio at the historic Sheraton Gunter Hotel downtown. And we are the proud parents of a 9 year old Alaskan Husky named Moo and three 1 year old kittens, Wicket, Willow, and Winter.
Like all Texas moms, I made my kid pose in the bluebonnets.
Never count on just your willpower to stick to a nutritious meal plan. Rather than beat yourself up for occasional slip-ups (or abandon the diet all together) use these clever ideas to set yourself up for diet success.
Failing to plan can easily lead to diet downfalls: unhealthy menu selections or the lack of nutritious options when you’re in a rush. Prioritize your diet and make meal-planning part of your routine, not a chore. If you go out to eat, look over the menu beforehand so you can make smart choices in the moment.
“Breakfast is one of those meals that can determine how crazy you’re going to eat at 4pm,” says Villacorta. Start your day with a 300- to 400-calorie meal packed with protein and carbohydrates to help you feel full longer.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Know your trigger foods — the ones you can’t stop yourself from devouring no matter how hard you try — and adopt an “out of sight, out of mind” approach. “We eat with our eyes, and if we don’t see it, we don’t reach for it,” says Thayer. If mac ‘n’ cheese is your weakness, hide it in the far back of your pantry, on the top shelf, or if possible, don’t bring it into your home at all. Only indulge if it’s available at a restaurant or a friend’s house.
Check other ways that can help here.
If you’re like me, you use your debit/credit/check card just about all the time. Partly because it’s handy, partly because I tend to spend cash quickly if I have it on me. But there are times when it pays to use cash.
When You're Shopping at a Small Business. If you're at Wal-Mart, go ahead and pay however you want to. But banks actually charge the STORE when you use a card . . . sometimes as much as 3% of your total purchase. So it's better to pay with cash at a mom-and-pop store, because they get don't get charged for it. (My mom owns a store and she says this happens to her all the time!)
When You're Leaving a Tip. It depends on the restaurant, but sometimes the credit card tips don't get paid out to the servers until the end of the week. And when you're working for tips, having cash-in-hand at the end of the night can make a difference. Plus, and this probably isn't that common, according to CreditCards.com, some restaurants actually make the SERVERS pay the bank charges.
Anytime You Plan to Haggle. Like at a flea market, because it's easier to bargain with someone when you're holding a bunch of bills in their face. Plus, the vendors get charged if they run a card, just a like a small business does. And since they know they'll be charged, that could also affect how low they go.
Learn when else it pays to use cash here.
Some people might look at it as being lazy, but “doing nothing” is actually healthy for you. We need to take time to “switch off”…to let our minds be idle, to rejuvenate mentally and physically.
So here are some tips on how to just be.
Sketch a flower. If you are new to idling and feel compelled to be purposefully occupied, sketching a flower at the kitchen table can be an excellent way to bring some divine contemplation into your life. The act of drawing makes you observe the bloom in a way you never have before. All anxieties fly away as you lose yourself in close study. And at the end of it you have a pretty little sketch.
Go bumbling. Bumbling is a nice word that means “wandering around without purpose.” Children are good bumblers. Try making a deliberate effort to slow down your walking pace. You’ll find yourself coming alive, and you’ll enjoy simply soaking in the day.
Bring back Sundays. These days Sundays are as busy and stress-filled as any other day. Having a day of rest was a very practical idea: We were excused from all labor and devoted ourselves to pleasure and family. Take that ancient wisdom to heart and declare at least one day of the week as a do-nothing day. Don’t clean the house or do the laundry; don’t get in the car. Stay home and eat chocolate and enjoy your family. Be kind to yourself.
Get more ways to schedule Me Time here!
Rumors are spreading like wildfire through the internet that Taylor Swift and Harry Styles (of One Direction) have broken up!
It supposedly happened on January 5th...evidenced by Taylor tweeting "...'til you put me down"...lyrics from her songs "I Knew You Were Trouble."
Just this morning, Taylor's dad was reported as being worried that the two were taking their relationship too quickly and that he didn't want Taylor's heart being broken again.
Read more here.
Any parent can tell you that manners don’t come naturally and that it’s not the easiest thing to teach. But it can be done. Here are some hints.
Start early. Even toddlers can begin to pick up the basics. Teach them to say "please" and "thank you," for example. By age 4 or 5, most kids are ready to learn more. Sure, preschoolers can be wriggly and impatient. But, most children this age can grasp what's good mealtime behavior.
Explain why manners matter. Talk to your youngsters about why being polite is important. Point out that others enjoy well-behaved company when eating a meal.
Focus on progress, not perfection. As much as you are able, keep discipline at the table to the minimum. Try not to harp on lapses in good manners. Give firm, but gentle, reminders instead.
Give rave reviews. Dish out plenty of praise for good behavior at the table. Be as specific as you can. For example: "You did so well asking nicely for another glass of milk."
What else can help? Take a look at other ideas here.
A lot of people worry about quitting smoking because they’re sure they’ll gain weight. Which, of course, they don’t want to do. If that's a concern for you, here's something you should know: Not everyone who stops smoking gains weight. Also, let's say you're at a healthy weight now and you do put on a few pounds. Remind yourself of this: That's still better — and safer — than continuing to smoke.
As you take this great step for your health, try these stay-slim strategies. They can help keep pounds — and cigarette cravings — in check. And, if you're trying to kick a smokeless tobacco habit, they're useful tips for that, too.
Get your doctor's advice. He or she may suggest nicotine replacement products or other medicines.* These can help counter cravings, withdrawal and weight gain. And, if you're not sure what you should weigh, that's a good question for your doctor. He or she can let you know what's a healthy range for you.
Find calorie-free distractions. Many former smokers miss having something in their hands and mouth. Try a hands-on activity when the urge strikes. File your nails. Write an email to a friend. Or, how about taking up a handy new hobby, such as painting, knitting or wood carving? And, for a happy mouth, try these ideas: straws, toothpicks, and sugar-free hard candy or gum.
Get more ways here.
A lot of things determine how likable you are. Obviously your personality and your looks are two BIG ones. But here are some WEIRD things that make people like you more.
Asking for a Favor. But only if you say "thank you" afterward. Studies have found that asking for a favor and saying "thank you" make you more likeable than actually doing a favor for someone. It's partly because we subconsciously like it when someone owes us a favor. It's also because when you do someone a favor, they forget about it pretty quickly. But when they do YOU a favor and you thank them, it sticks in their mind.
How Good Looking Your Friends Are. Researchers tested this one by setting up two fake Facebook accounts that were exactly the same. The only difference was, one of them had HOT friends, and the other didn't. Then they showed both profiles to people, and asked if they'd like to meet the person. In the end, people were 20% more likely to want to meet the one with good-looking Facebook friends.
Embarrassing Yourself in Public. A bunch of studies have shown that when people see you embarrassed, it makes them think you're nicer and more trustworthy. It makes sense when you think about it, because if you're the kind of person who gets embarrassed easily, then you're also more likely to be nice to people so you AVOID embarrassing situations. But obviously it's ironic, since we try so hard NOT to embarrass ourselves in public.
But those aren't the only things. Look into what else can make people like you here.
Everybody has habits that they don’t like. But breaking them is tricky because you often do them without even realizing it. That’s why the first step to banishing those behaviors is recognizing that you do something irritating in the first place.
Biting Your Nails
If you hide your hands because you’ve gnawed your nails to nubs, it’s time to change that. Identify what you do before you bite your nails. Do you search for uneven or jagged edges, and then bring your hand to your mouth? Instead of moving a finger toward your face, clench your fists. Continue clenching them for a couple of minutes until the urge to bite your nails disappears. When you feel you’ve made progress changing this behavior, treat yourself to a well-deserved manicure.
Even though you may love the sensation, you probably want to stop as a courtesy to people who don’t enjoy that grating sound. Dr. Claiborn recommends relying on a “competing behavior,” a.k.a. doing something instead of cracking your knuckles. Punching your other hand or fanning out your fingers will prevent you from going to town on your knuckles. To crack down on cracking for good, keep a record of your successes—when you substituted another behavior for your bad habit—and your relapses. Figure out why you slipped, and you’ll be closer to a knuckle-cracking-free life.
You’re eager to share your thoughts, but if someone else is speaking, you’ve got to bite your tongue (unless you want people to think you’re rude!). Focus on listening. The more intently you hear someone out, the less you’ll feel the urge to interject. If the speaker pauses to take a breath or collect his thoughts, don’t use that as a window to speak. Instead, breathe deeply, count to ten in your head and reflect on what the speaker said. You might also ask a pal to tactfully remind you of your goal when you lapse and celebrate your successes with you.
Look into more ways to quit other bad habits here.