Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tea Drinkers Unite

While most of the world enjoys their morning coffee, I start off my day with a hot cup of tea. The sweet aroma and smooth taste helps jumpstart my brain for the busy day ahead. I’ve been a tea drinker for years, but I’ve just recently learned about the added benefits. Perhaps one of the most important reasons you should drink tea is that it is an easy way to get your antioxidants. Antioxidants are important because they help your body fight against the excess free radicals. Clearing out the free radicals can help prevent heart disease and cancer, reduce blood pressure and slow the effects of aging. Besides tea, antioxidants are found in a variety of berries, broccoli, tomatoes, garlic, red grapes, spinach, carrots, and many whole grains.

Tea can also act as Draino for your arteries. Keeping your arteries clear of blood clots will greatly reduce your chance of having a heart attack or stroke. “A 5.6-year study from the Netherlands found a 70 percent lower risk of fatal heart attack in people who drank at least two to three cups of black tea daily compared to non-tea drinkers.” (Lynn Grieger) Tea also helps strengthen your immune system from everyday illnesses.

In the past, I have watched many of my family and friends grow very dependent upon caffeine. Their dependency causes them headaches and even indigestion. By switching to tea, they could still get their much needed caffeine, but in smaller doses. On average, a cup of tea has about 100mg less caffeine than coffee or soda. Too much caffeine can lead to fatigue and dehydration. On the flip side, tea has been proven to aid in hydration. And since it is calorie free, you won’t be wasting your precious daily intake on a drink.

Some of my favorite teas are made by Lipton. If you are a new tea drinker, I would suggest you start with Lipton’s Bavarian Berry. This black tea’s smooth sweet taste will help keep you from adding any unneeded sugar. Other favorites of mine include Lipton’s Mixed Berry Green Tea, Lipton’s Blueberry White Tea, and Twining’s Pomegranate. What are your favorite teas?

Grab a latte (or a cup of tea), put up your feet, and join the discussion!

Recipe Corner: Szechwan Shrimp

I am not a big fan of shrimp, but this recipe was a favorite of my husband’s. He eats this shrimp by the pound! If you like it spicy, add a little more red pepper! Do you have a mouthwatering recipe you would like to recommend? Shoot me an email at  and I can post it for all to enjoy!

• 4 tablespoons water
• 2 tablespoons ketchup
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce
• 2 teaspoons cornstarch
• 1 teaspoon honey
• 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 1/4 cup sliced green onions
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 12 ounces cooked shrimp, tails removed

1. In a bowl, stir together water, ketchup, soy sauce, cornstarch, honey, crushed red pepper, and ground ginger. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in green onions and garlic; cook 30 seconds. Stir in shrimp, and toss to coat with oil. Stir in sauce. Cook and stir until sauce is bubbly and thickened.

Open Discussion: Movies

What movies are you looking forward to seeing this year? For those of us who don’t get out much, which movies do recommend us checking out on DVD?

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Texting and Driving

Do you text and drive? Has this resulted in your heart stopping a few times because you’ve almost run off the side of the road? According to a study done by the University of Utah, cell phone distractions slow a driver’s reaction as much as a blood alcohol level of .08 percent. Slower reaction times result in drivers to cause four times as many accidents (NHTSA). According to Mark Keel, who oversees the state’s troopers as director of the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, “…a national safety study recently… said that for every six seconds a person is texting while driving, their eyes are off the road four-and-a-half seconds,”. That single statistic scares the life out of me. Think about how far a person traveling at 65 miles per hour can go in those four-and-a-half-seconds. How many people are they endangering because they couldn’t wait to send or check an incoming text? Don’t believe me??? Check out this short YouTube video and see for yourself: .

If after watching that video you still feel you won’t be able to resist checking those incoming text messages, check out this new alternative. “ is a mobile application that reads text (SMS) messages and emails aloud in real time and automatically responds without drivers touching the mobile phone.” ( My husband tested out this application last night, in the safety of our home. He sent himself an email and within 30 seconds his Blackberry was reciting the email back to us. Now we have no excuse to take our eyes off the road. No urgent texts or emails will be missed.

Please share the YouTube link with all those you care about, as my friend shared it with me. Let’s work together to get our roads safer for everyone.

Recipe Corner: Sweet and Spicy Green Beans

I will admit, this is not a recipe that I have tried. I saw it on and it looked so good I wanted to share it with everyone. If you try it, let me know how it turns out! Do you have a mouthwatering recipe you would like to recommend? Shoot me an email at  and I can post it for all to enjoy!

• 3/4 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 teaspoon garlic chili sauce
• 1 teaspoon honey
• 2 teaspoons canola oil

1. Arrange a steamer basket in a pot over boiling water, and steam the green beans 3 to 4 minutes.
2. In a bowl, mix the soy sauce, garlic, garlic chili sauce, and honey.
3. Heat the canola oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the green beans, and fry for 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in the soy sauce mixture. Continue cooking and stirring 2 minutes, or until the liquid is nearly evaporated. Serve immediately.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Theta Mom Thursday

Last night I came across the great blog, Theta Mom. The great Theta Mom encourages mothers to take some Me Time. Me Time you say? What is this Me Time? “Me Time” is that little time that you set aside for yourself so that you can be a better mommy. Whether you can get a little time each day or once a week, me time is important. My kids are my whole life and I love them dearly, but they take a toll on my energy, patience, and sanity. In most households, the mother’s mood often sets the mood for the entire house. If mom is frazzled and frustrated the rest of the family will probably follow suit. This means more tantrums and arguments (and an even more frazzled mom). If you were able to schedule in some relaxation time for yourself, your household would probably run smoother. I know it is usually second nature for moms to feel that they have to take care of everyone and everything else first, but if you are tired and grumpy you won’t be able to do your job to the best of your abilities.

If you are worried about taking too much time away from your family, start small. Take 30 minutes to read a book, take a bath, or watch a “grown-up” TV show. Take a quiet walk in the evening and let your spouse clean up the dinner mess. As you start to feel more comfortable schedule some longer me time. Go out in the evening with your girlfriends. When was the last time you saw a movie? When was the last time that you had dinner without someone in your lap?

Me Time may be hard to find, but I say grab some soon (before you go loony). This month I was surprised by my husband with me time. Out of the blue he asked if he could take the kids to the mall and then out to dinner. This has only happened, maybe, one other time. To say the least, I was ecstatic beyond belief. I went straight to my comfy bed and curled up with a great book. Can you imagine reading for two uninterrupted hours? If not, it is time for you to find some me time! Best of Luck!

Reading Review: Jane Austen

Sometimes it is necessary to step back from the world speeding ahead of us. We all have our own ways of doing this. Going to the spa, taking a walk or maybe catching a movie. My own peaceful spot of serenity is inside a good Jane Austen novel. Nothing is better than slipping back to a period of friendly courting, esteemed honor, and good old 18th century English “society”. Jane Austen satirizes English society flawlessly through her romantic comedies.

Pride and Prejudice, debatably Austen’s most famous novel, follows Elizabeth Bennett, a witty young country girl. Elizabeth stands out from the majority of the other characters in the book because she is determined to marry for love rather than stature and wealth. Jane Austen proves that Elizabeth is an oddity of sorts by opening the book with a cynical insight to the 18th century view of love. “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a gentleman in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife!” As Elizabeth’s mother searches for “agreeable” men to marry her daughters, Elizabeth is forced to recognize her own prejudices against a proud man in order to find her true love.

Jane Austen’s, Emma, is perhaps my favorite book of all time. Austen’s title character, Emma, is a rich young girl who has decided her mission in life is to be a matchmaker for her friends and acquaintances (whether they ask for it or not!). Despite her past failures and warning from her brother-in-law, Mr. Knightly, Emma is determined to set her new underprivileged charge up with a man above her station. Along her journey, Emma learns the price of meddling and hopes her chance at love hasn’t passed her by.

Other books by Jane Austen include Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, Mansfield Park, and Northanger Abbey. What is your favorite Jane Austen Novel?

Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!

Recipe Corner: Key West Chicken

This recipe has the perfect blends of flavor to make you believe you are back in the Florida Keys. If you prepare ahead of time like me, try marinating it over night for a bolder flavor! Do you have a mouthwatering recipe you would like to recommend? Shoot me an email at  and I can post it for all to enjoy!

• 3 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 1 teaspoon lime juice
• 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
• 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1. In a shallow container, blend soy sauce, honey, vegetable oil, lime juice, and garlic. Place chicken breast halves into the mixture, and turn to coat. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes.
2. Preheat an outdoor grill (or George Foreman Grill) for high heat.
3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Discard marinade, and grill chicken 6 to 8 minutes on each side, until juices run clear.

Useless Fact of the Day

__________have fingerprints so similar to humans that they could be confused at a crime scene.

Take a guess...

Koala Bears

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Is 3-D Really Necessary?

3-D movies have come a long way since we were kids. But is it really necessary for them to take over our movie theaters? With Avatar smashing the box office records, many studios have decided to take their originally planned 2-D movies and transform them into 3-D films. Movies like Clash of the Titans and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows were initially shot with 2-D cameras and technology. I can’t imagine that the quality of these films will be able to compare to that of Avatar, which was shot with special cameras intended for 3-D. We also won’t be guaranteed to see these new films since many movie theaters have not upgraded to projectors that allow them to show a movie in 3-D. With over 15 titles releasing in 3-D this year, it is possible that studios will see a decline in ticket sales due to lack of showings?

Cartoons have also jumped on the 3-D band wagon. This year Pixar will be releasing Toy Story 3, Dreamworks will be releasing Shrek Forever After, and Disney will be releasing How To Train Your Dragon. My children have been fortunate enough to experience 3-D films during a recent trip to Disney World. After about five minutes into the film, they were tired of wearing their “special” glasses. Without the glasses, children have a difficult time enjoying the movie since it will appear very blurry. With this in mind, many parents will probably hesitate to take their children to a 3-D movie. Why not wait until it comes out on video and watch it without creating unnecessary headaches?

Although I really enjoyed watching Avatar in 3-D, I don’t think I want it to become the norm in movie going. What are your opinions regarding 3-D films? Are you excited about Hollywood’s new direction for films? Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!

Recipe Corner: Zucchini Bread

This delicious moist zucchini bread will have all members of your family asking for seconds! If you don’t want the temptation of eating the entire loaf, the bread freezes well. Enjoy!!

Do you have a mouthwatering recipe you would like to recommend? Shoot me an email at  and I can post it for all to enjoy!

• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 3 eggs
• 1 cup vegetable oil
• 2 1/4 cups white sugar
• 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 2 cups grated zucchini
• 1 cup chopped walnuts

1. Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
2. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
3. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans. (I sometimes sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar too)
4. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

Open Discussion: Bulk Buying

Buying in bulk is very popular these days. From BJ’s, Sam’s Club, and COSTCO, people are flocking in by the 1000’s! Are these stores worth their membership fee? Does buying in bulk really save you money and time?
Grab a latte, put up your feet, and join the discussion!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dangerous Teenage Fads

Teenagers are not known for making smart choices. They hang out with the wrong crowd, skip a few classes, and maybe even have a few drinks. But did you know these may be the safest bad choices they make? has become very popular amongst the tween and teen crowd. This website randomly selects a person for your child to have a video chat with. What is shown and talked about on this website is not monitored and cannot be filtered. As a result, your child is vulnerable to adult content and sexual predators. Sexting is another act that opens the door to predators. Teens believe that sending explicit or pornographic images will be kept private, but this is not always the case. What happens when the person on the receiving in decides to be vindictive and spread it around? Not only can it land up in the wrong hands, it can lead to permanent emotional damage.

Smoking and inhaling Smarties is another new fad amongst the tweens and teens. After crushing up the candy, they roll it up in paper to smoke or just inhale it as if they were using drugs. Unless the candy clogs the nasal passage, this new fad is physically harmless. But the act itself should make parents aware of their child’s interest in drug use. Our children can actually learn how to do this on YouTube.

The Choking Game has been around for years, but is still popular with the young crowd. Teens enjoy being choked or choking themselves to achieve a momentary high. This game can lead to black outs, brain damage, or even death. Another frightening game that has been around for many years is car surfing. Just like it sounds, kids pretend they are surfing on the top of a moving vehicle. This game has led to many injuries and deaths over the years. And if that wasn’t enough, kids have now progressed to train surfing.

Recipe Corner: BBQ Cola Meatballs

My kids are not big fans of ground beef, but these meatballs always disappear fast. The tangy BBQ sauce is so addicting that you’ll be making another batch before you know it!
Do you have a mouthwatering recipe you would like to recommend? Shoot me an email at and I can post it for all to enjoy!

• 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
• 1 1/4 cups dry bread crumbs
• 1 egg
• 3 tablespoons grated onion
• 1 (1 ounce) package dry Ranch-style dressing mix 
• 1 cup ketchup
• 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
• 3/4 cup cola-flavored carbonated beverage
• 1/2 cup chopped onion
• 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
• 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2. In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, grated onion and Ranch dressing mix until well blended. Shape into 1 inch meatballs, and place on a 10x15 inch jellyroll pan, or any baking sheet with sides to catch the grease.
3. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, turning them over half way through. While the meatballs are roasting, mix together the ketchup, cider vinegar, cola, chopped onion and green pepper in a slow cooker. Season with seasoning salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce.
4. Remove meatballs from the baking sheet, and place into the sauce in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on Low for 3 hours, then remove the lid and cook for an additional 15 minutes before serving.

Useless Fact of the Day

The average coach airline meal costs the airline __________. The average first class meal cost the airline_____________.

Take a Guess…..

Monday, February 22, 2010

Breast Cancer Prevention

Annual visits to your doctor and self-examinations are, of course, your first line of defense against breast cancer. But these precautionary measures are not 100% effective. Over the years, more and more women are turning to antioxidants to help protect themselves against the excess free radicals floating through their bodies. Antioxidants can help prevent heart disease and cancer, reduce blood pressure and slow the effects of aging. Antioxidants are found in a variety of berries, broccoli, tomatoes, garlic, red grapes, spinach, tea, carrots, and many whole grains. Unfortunately, if you are going to through cancer treatment, antioxidants have the opposite effect. The purpose of radiation and chemotherapy is to destroy cancer cells which is often done through the creation of free radicals. By taking antioxidants during cancer treatment, you would be fighting off the free radicals that are targeting the cancer cells. On the flip side, research has proven that taking aspirin during cancer treatment “may boost breast cancer survival” and reduce the possibility of reoccurrences and spreading. “ “Women who took aspirin were 50 percent less likely to die from breast cancer [during the study follow-up period] than those who did not take it," said study author Dr. Michelle Holmes, an associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Harvard Medical School and School of Public Health, in Boston.” Flaxseed oil has also been shown to help reduce the growth of tumor cells (comparable to tamoxifen). A small Canadian research team documented that flaxseed oil is a “helpful complement to conventional” breast cancer treatments (WebMD). To read about the Canadian flaxseed muffin research, go to  .

Recipe Corner: Snickerdoodles

What is better than a sugar cookie??? A sugar cookie rolled in cinnamon! These chewy cookie are delicious and addicting!!!

Do you have a mouthwatering recipe you would like to recommend? Shoot me an email at  and I can post it for all to enjoy!
• 1/2 cup butter, softened
• 1/2 cup shortening
• 1 1/2 cups white sugar
• 2 eggs
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 2 tablespoons white sugar
• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2. Cream together butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, the eggs and the vanilla. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. Shape dough by rounded spoonfuls into balls.
3. Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls of dough in mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until set but not too hard. Remove immediately from baking sheets.

Useless Fact of the Day

The electric chair was invented by a _______________.

Take a guess.....

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Picture Perfect

The Loves of My Life!!!

Picture Perfect

I'm always this cute!!!

Picture Perfect

Really Daddy???

Picture Perfect

Love them (even if they're sweaty)!