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 (which is about to be 11 because, yes, there a baby girl due in October "Brooklyn Grace"). And no, with that many family members, I do not keep up with birthdays very well. Not well at ALL! 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 10 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.
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.
I make all sorts of mistakes when it comes to eating. I’ve done rather well trying to eat 5 times a day and cutting out sugar (not completely, but better than before). But I still struggle with portion control and I definitely struggle with not enough protein (that’s why it’s #1 on this list…for me)! Here are some things we all need to work on.
You don’t eat enough protein.
Too little protein can’t keep hunger at bay, which can lead to mindless snacking and weight gain. Protein goes a long way to helping you feel full longer.
The fix: Incorporate protein into every meal and most snacks. Try an egg or nonfat or lowfat Greek yogurt, which contains about twice as much protein as regular yogurt, for breakfast. Snack on lowfat cottage cheese, lowfat cheese spread on a few whole-wheat crackers or a smear of nut butter on an apple or banana. Boost your intake of plant-based proteins by sprinkling nuts or seeds over salads and soup and eating more beans, soy products and greens such as kale and Swiss chard at lunch or dinner.
Your sugar intake is too high.
According to the American Hearth Association, women should have no more than 6 tsp (24 g) of added sugar per day. But many of us get about 22 tsp per day!
The fix: Learn to identify added sugar in ingredients lists. It goes by names like high fructose corn syrup, evaporated cane juice, molasses, honey, agave nectar and barley malt syrup. Watch for added sugar in foods such as sauces and dressings and bottled drinks such as fruit juice, iced tea, iced coffee, energy drinks and of course, sodas. And be wary of lowfat foods. When companies take out fat, they often add sugar to enhance flavor.
You skimp on fiber.
Fiber slows the rate at which your body digests food, so your energy levels remain more stable and you feel full longer.
The fix: Up the amount of fiber you eat over a few weeks’ time to cut your chances of bloating, and drink more water, which helps fiber move through the digestive tract. Start the day right with breakfast cereals that contain 5 g of fiber or more. Eat a variety of beans and legumes, sprinkling them over salads and pasta. Eat the skins on fruits and vegetables, such as apples and potatoes. Bump up your intake of whole grains, such as whole-grain pasta, or try ancient grains, such as quinoa and spelt, to add variety to your diet.
Discover other eating mistakes we make and how to fix them here.
Your sleep habits may be more revealing than you think, according to a surprising new study. A body language expert has analyzed common sleep positions and reports that they can reveal how stressed you are. Sleep position also offers insights into such traits as bossiness, stubbornness, being self-critical, and whether people feel they’re in control of their life.
The Fetal Position
Over half of people in the study literally curl up into the fetal position when they hit the sheets. Why? Fetal sleepers are looking for comfort and are often constant worriers. While they are very conscientious during their waking hours, these are people who tend to overthink their tasks and daily lives.
The Log Position
Do you sleep straight in a vertical line with arms at your sides? The study says nearly 30 percent of people sleep like a “log,” and may be a bit rigid when it comes to their personalities. Those who sleep in this rigid position also often find themselves waking up stiffer and in more discomfort than when they went to bed. Their muscles may not be getting the proper rest while they sleep. Or it might mean that you have to find more of your waking hours learning how to relax.
The Soldier Sleeper
The soldier sleeper is a back sleeper. The soldier tends to be quiet and reserved, and sets high standards for himself and others. Both the soldier and the starfish (on their back with arms and legs outspread) often struggle with getting a good night’s sleep because they tend to snore and have other breathing problems throughout the night.
If those don't cover how you sleep, don't worry. Find other sleep positions and what they say about you here.
Whether you're trying to eat healthier or lose weight in the new year, you have to be careful with what you think is healthy.
Pretzels. They're healthier than chips, but that doesn't mean they're "healthy." A three-ounce serving has about 320 calories and over 1,700 milligrams of sodium. As long as you don't cover it with butter and salt, popcorn is a better choice.
Couscous. Some people think it's a grain. And grains are good. But couscous is actually a pasta. So you're basically eating spaghetti. You get more fiber, protein, and flavor in bulgur, which is a common ingredient in Middle Eastern food.
Brown Sugar. When something's brown instead of white, it's usually better for you. But brown sugar is only brown because it has molasses in it. A better choice is honey, agave syrup, or maple syrup.
Learn about other seemingly healthy foods that could sabotage your diet here.
On New Year's Eve, a traditional way to celebrate is with fireworks. But remember that the personal use of fireworks within the city limits of San Antonio is illegal. You could even be fined up to $2,000!
If you see fireworks being used illegally, you can call the Fireworks Hotline on New Year's Eve. The San Antonio Police Department and Fire Department have their Volunteers In Policing manning the phones from 6pm-midnight on New Year's Eve. That number is:
Don't turn people in just to be mean, but if you're worried about your family and your home then, by all means, let the authorities know.
Remember there are other ways to celebrate fireworks. You can go downtown to HemisFair Park for "Celebrate San Antonio" or stay at home and watch it on tv. Other great fireworks displays are put on by Six Flags Fiesta Texas and SeaWorld, just to name two.
There are other new and fun ways you can celebrate. Read this article from MySA.com.