Tuesday, August 19, 2014
There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story. ~ Linda Hogan
This blog is a result of my Spark Friend, Barb's (BOOCH6) reply to a post on sitting outside on a beautiful, late summer evening, taking in all of the sounds and sights of nature, and stargazing with my husband.
"That stargazing sounds wonderful ! We never seem to slow down and take in the wonders of nature. Although I couldn't take my eyes off the "super moon" last weekend. As a matter of fact, I think I'll go down by the river today and enjoy a walk and picnic. Sharon, thanks for the inspiration :) !"
“Not just beautiful, though--the stars are like the trees in the forest, alive and breathing. And they're watching me.” ~ Haruki Murakami
We too often find ourselves caught up in the tangle of the every day hustle and bustle. We need to remember to slow down, and take some time to nourish our spirit and our soul.
"We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls." ~ Mother Teresa
You don’t have to venture far. We can find ourselves in nature in our own backyard, just as I did. If you have a garden, take the time not only to work the soil, nurture the life that grows therein, and most of all . . .
Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers.
“Stay close to nature, cherish it’s simplicity, revel in its complexity, and take delight in the many small things all around you. It will be the little things that are extraordinary when you see not only with your eyes, but with your heart.” ~ Betsy Seeton
Take in and find the awe in the smallest of details. Breathe in their fragrance, admire their beauty, and take some inside to remind you of all that is and all that surrounds you.
To check out more of Betsy Seeton’s beautiful nature photography to soothe your soul check out her website and blog at:
Nature whispers silently and naturally to our hearts.
“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we only will tune in.” ~ George Washington Carver
No matter what the season we can indeed find the beauty and rejuvenate our bodies and our spirit.
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. “ ~ John Muir
Nature renews the wonder and the child in all of us. Take off your shoes and let the green grass, or the warm sand, or the cool water caress your feet and toes. Go out and take a walk in the rain. We must make sure that we pass this wisdom to our future generations.
“All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child.” ~ Marie Curie
“Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, water bugs, tadpoles, frogs, mud turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, chestnuts, trees to climb. Brooks to wade, water lilies, woodchucks, bats, bees, butterflies, various animals to pet, hay fields, pine-cones, rocks to roll, sand, huckleberries, and hornets; and any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of the best part of…education.” ~ Luther Burbank
“Look! A trickle of water running through some dirt! I'd say our afternoon just got booked solid!” ~ Bill Watterson
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature -- the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” ~ Rachel Carson
“We know that God is everywhere; but certainly we feel His presence most when His works are on the grandest scale spread before us; and it is in the unclouded night-sky, where His worlds wheel their silent course, that we read clearest His infinitude, His omnipotence, His omnipresence.” ~ Charlotte Brontë
And finally . . .
Namaste. Peace be with you.
Thanks for stopping by!
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Did you know that July is National Watermelon month? What fruit could be more synonymous with summertime fun than watermelon?
You know summer has officially begun when you spot watermelons in the grocery store, or at your local farmer’s market.
I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t like watermelon. It spans the spectrum from young and old alike.
Its luscious, rosy red, sweet juiciness is nearly impossible to resist, and just biting into a slice says, “Chill - have fun. Don’t take things so seriously.”
It never fails to quench our thirst for something sweet. As if that weren't enough to win us over on its own, watermelon is packed full of nutrition, hydrates our bodies, quenches our thirst, and is low-fat.
Did you know that watermelons are an excellent source of several vitamins: vitamin A, which helps maintain eye health and is an antioxidant; vitamin C, which helps strengthen immunity, heal wounds, prevent cell damage, promote healthy teeth and gums; and vitamin B6, which helps brain function and helps convert protein to energy. Watermelon actually contains more lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable, including tomatoes; about 15 to 20 milligrams in two cups of melon! It’s all that Lycopene that gives the melon its rosy red color, and it has been demonstrated to lower cancer risk, especially prostate cancer.
If your kids don’t like spinach, swiss chard, lima beans, or tomatoes, offer them a slice of icy, cold watermelon instead.
It is a great source of potassium, which helps muscle and nerve function, helps maintain the body's proper electrolyte and natural PH.
It also helps lower the risk of high blood pressure in adults. In conjunction with this it also contains the amino acids citrulline and arginine, which can help maintain arteries, blood flow, and aid in overall cardiovascular function.
Here are some more “juicy” watermelon facts:
• The first recorded watermelon harvest occurred nearly 5,000 years ago in Egypt.
• Watermelon is 92% water.
• Watermelon's official name is Citrullus Lanatus of the botanical family Curcurbitaceae. It’s cousins are cucumbers, pumpkins and squash.
• By weight, watermelon is the most-consumed melon in the U.S., followed by cantaloupe and honeydew.
• Early explorers used watermelons as canteens.
• The first cookbook published in the U.S. in 1776 contained a recipe for watermelon rind pickles.
• According to Guinness World Records, the world's heaviest watermelon was grown by Lloyd Bright of Arkadelphia, Arkansas in 2005, weighing in at 268.8 lbs (121.93 kg).
• Watermelon is grown in over 96 countries worldwide.
• In China and Japan watermelon is a popular gift to bring a host.
• Over 1,200 varieties of watermelon are grown worldwide
• The United States currently ranks 5th in worldwide production of watermelon.
Here are a few ways to have fun with your watermelon:
And finally for your enjoyment, here are a several fun, refreshing recipes to help you enjoy some watermelon before it’s gone for the summer:
Frozen Watermelon Lemonade
3 cups watermelon cubes, seeds removed
1/2 cup raspberries
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Juice of 2 lemons (about 1/2 cup)
1 1/2 cups strawberry-flavored, calorie-free carbonated water, chilled
Place watermelon cubes and raspberries in a blender; process until smooth. Pour through a sieve; discard pulp.
Combine the sugar and water in the small saucepan. Heat, stirring constantly, just until the sugar dissolves. Set aside allow to cool slightly.
Stir the sugar-water and lemon juice onto the watermelon raspberry juice mixture. Pour the juice mixture onto a covered freezer container. Freeze until firm.
Using an ice cream scoop, spoon the mixture into tall glasses. Pour 3 to 4 tablespoons of the strawberry flavored water over the frozen juice in each glass. Serve immediately.
Makes 6-8 servings
Nutrition Information (per serving) CALORIES 99; PROTEIN 0.5g; CARB 25g; SUGAR 23g; FAT 0.3g; CHOL 0g;
Mediterranean Watermelon Salad
6 cups torn mixed salad greens or spinach leaves
3 cups cubed seeded watermelon
1/2 cup sliced onion
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 dash cracked black pepper
In large bowl, mix all ingredients except oil and pepper. Just before serving, toss salad mixture with oil. Drizzle with Balsamic vinegar. Garnish with pepper, if desired.
Everyday Food, July/August 2009
2 pounds seedless watermelon
1/2 pound halved hulled strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Working in batches, puree watermelon in a blender. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl (discard solids). Puree strawberries; add to bowl. Add sugar and lime juice and stir until sugar has completely dissolved.
Pour mixture into ten 3-ounce ice-pop molds and insert sticks. Freeze pops until solid, 2 1/2 to 3 hours (or up to 1 week).
Makes 10 Servings
Here’s a Skinny Refreshing Cocktail for when “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere”. Since the watermelon is naturally sweet, this doesn’t require much sugar, and refreshes for only 105 calories a glass!
2 teaspoons sugar
1 lime wedge
3 1/2 cups cubed seeded watermelon
1/2 cup tequila
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon Triple Sec (orange-flavored liqueur)
Lime wedges or watermelon balls (optional)
1. Place 2 teaspoons sugar in a saucer. Rub the rims of 6 glasses with 1 lime wedge; spin rim of each glass in sugar to coat. Set prepared glasses aside.
2. Combine watermelon and next 4 ingredients (through Triple Sec) in a blender; process until smooth. Fill each prepared glass with 1/2 cup crushed ice. Add 1/2 cup margarita to each glass. Garnish with lime wedges or melon balls, if desired.
Sue Spitler, Cooking Light JULY 2010
Nutritional Information: Calories: 105 Fat: 0.2g Saturated fat: 0.0g Monounsaturated fat: 0.0g Polyunsaturated fat: 0.1g Protein: 0.6g Carbohydrate: 14.1g Fiber: 0.4g Cholesterol: 0.0mg Iron: 0.2mg Sodium: 1mg Calcium: 7mg
Here’s a simple way to cut a juicy watermelon into small manageable sticks for little hands:
So get out there and enjoy more of this number one summertime favorite before it’s too late!
Thanks for stopping by!
Thursday, July 03, 2014
Everyone loves celebrating the 4th of July! A recent poll found that 94% of Americans view flying the American flag a sign of patriotism and pride in their country. But one thing that you might not be thinking about is whether your flag is Made In the USA. If you are shopping for a flag - be it one to fly on a large 20 foot flagpole or a small flag to adorn your flowerpots on your porch - take the time to buy a flag that is Made In America.
My first recollection of showing respect for the flag was in my little home town watching the July 4th parade. First entry was a line of servicemen, one from each branch of the service, carrying the American flag, our state flag, along with the American legion flag, and one more which escapes me. They proudly carried the flag down the street as everyone stood and put their hand over their heart. My dad did and told me to do the same to show respect for the flag. I saw a tear go down my dad’s face and many other faces around us too. To this day, I still get a lump in my throat when a parade begins and Old Glory leads the procession, or the Star Spangled Banner is sung before an event.
As the nation prepares to celebrate its 238th birthday, "Buy America" efforts are still going strong, though emotions on the subject tend to fluctuate depending on the state of the economy.
"It doesn't really matter to me," said Luis Rodriguez, a retired postal worker who last week sat on a picnic table in a Satellite Beach park wearing a postal carrier union T-shirt with the famed red-white-and-blue eagle — the Postal Service's mascot.
"What I do is make sure the correct number of stars and stripes are being used," Rodriguez said. "If not, then I have more of a problem with it. But I'm not really too concerned about where it's made."
Vietnam War veteran and former Marine Corps infantryman Chip Hanson disagrees. He believes in a "buy American" philosophy. Patriotic items — including items that will be used in July Fourth parties this week — should be manufactured in the United States, he said. That includes plastic forks, paper plates and napkins.
"Most definitely it should come from our country," he said. "If you look at what's happening in our country, we've slipped into a situation where we are depending on other nations for our primary items."
I couldn’t agree more. Buying a flag and everything else you can, keeps workers employed and can create more jobs if the demand is there. Retailers aren't tone deaf to patriotic emotions when it comes to buying American. Wal-Mart, for example, pledged last year to buy $50 billion over a decade in American-made products. Still last week, many of the products sold with patriotic themes were made in places such as the Dominican Republic and China. And how's this for irony? Wal-Mart sells U.S. flags for $34.72 with the label on the package proclaiming "Made in the USA." However, a pole and bracket set sold along aside it are imported from China.
That's changing, somewhat, as labor costs in places like China rise, Kirn said. A number of U.S.-based textile and clothing manufacturers, for example, are seeing new life because it's become more cost-effective to manufacture domestically.
"Some of the textile mills in the Carolinas are reopening, and I think there is an appeal to that for a variety of reasons," he said. "You control the supply chain, you know what the raw materials are and you know what you're getting. And you're closer to the place where you're ultimately going to vend it." Plus, it costs a whole lot less to ship something from South Carolina to California than it does from China to California.
Wherever you stand on the issue of prices versus patriotism, July Fourth is a good time for each of us to take stock about how we are spending their money whether we're going to support jobs in the United States or outside the country.
"We have a Declaration of Independence, not a declaration of interdependence," said Simmermaker, an author of two books on buying U.S. made products.
American made Flags and Accessories
Annin Flagmakers have been making flags since 1847 and are now the oldest flag manufacturer in the U.S. Annin has plants in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia. Not only a great choice for U.S flags, Annin also manufactures Patriotic fabric decorations. I LOVE fabric bunting as a decorating choice as it is reusable, long lasting and a great Eco friendly choice over plastic banners!
Valley Forge Flag Co. has been manufacturing US flags since 1882. Valley Forge Flag Co is headquartered in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, and manufactures products in South Carolina. Valley Forge carries a great selection of U.S flags as well as patriotic decorations (yay for fabric!), all made in the USA.
Chicago Flag and Decorating Co (CF Flag) has been in business since 1898. . What I LOVE about CF Flag is the line of eco friendly U.S. flags they produce. That’s right, U.S. flags made from recycled items! Their Eco-Glory Flag is made from yarn created by recycled soda and water bottles- and even comes in a recycled box!
Flagsource/J C Schultz Enterprises Inc, manufacturing U.S flags since the 1920s, is the baby of all the companies. Their manufacturing facilities are located in Batavia, Illinois. They carry an impressive selection of U.S Flags.
All of the companies listed above are members of the Flag Manufacturers Association of America which established the “Certified Made in the U.S.A” certification program of American Flags. According to the FMAA website, ” ‘Certified Made in the U.S.A. ‘ certifies that your American flag has been made in the U.S. of materials that are domestic in origin and that all processes in every step of its manufacture were completed in U.S. facilities with U.S. labor”.
You can purchase the Liberty Telescoping Flagpole Kit, a 100% manufactured in America flagpole kit- even the flag is made in the USA! The telescoping flagpole style, is in my opinion, is the most Eco-Friendly as it contains no additional hardware like ropes and anchors. If you have noticed any “Made in the USA” flagpoles in stores, please share in the comments!
Eagle Mountain Flag and Flag Pole sells several different varieties of flag lights, including some Eco friendly energy saving ones.
If you need a flag, or might now be thinking of replacing your current flag, now would be a good time to buy one for Labor Day and Veteran's Day. Our troops and those looking for jobs will thank you.
thanks for stopping by
Saturday, June 14, 2014
Well, it’s official. I have procrastinated long enough, it’s almost the 4th of July, and I can no longer ignore the fact that it’s time to go shopping for a bathing suit.
According to a recent poll, a sizable proportion of women, almost half or 41% of them, would prefer sitting in the dentist’s chair for a root canal over going through the emotional hell of shopping for a bathing suit. I can believe that - although it's a real toss-up for me now that I think about it.
Most styles look like they were designed for those ladies in the B grade movies, or my 4 year old niece. Those three way mirrors that are designed to give you a 360 degree view only further accentuate all the droopy and flabby body parts we try so hard to avoid noticing! To sum it all up, the view is most definitely less than we hope for. It’s funny, about the only thing I can get a good look at in those mirrors is my a**!
So after scouring every nook and cranny I find a couple of suits that I think might actually modestly cover a good proportion of me. I slink quietly into the farthest corner of the dressing rooms, and so it begins . . .
I picked out the one that gave me the most hope to try on first. I was hoping to score early in the game, and beat feet back out to the parking lot for quick get-away. The name sounded promising. It was actually called a “miracle” suit.
As I stepped into the leg holes, I knew how this suit got its name - it would be a miracle if I could get it over my knees and then up over my hips! I huffed and I puffed struggling to pull that damned elasticized tube over my hips and other “assets” and tugged and pulled even more to get it high enough to cover “my girls”.
The bathing suit fit all right, but unfortunately it only fit those bits of me willing to stay inside it. The rest of me oozed out rebelliously from top, bottom and sides. My thighs were looking like poppin fresh dough trying to escape from the tube.
Trying not to really look at myself in the 3 way mirror, my first thought was “If I even try to even take a deep breath it might cause a major wardrobe malfunction!”
That did it! It was time to squirm and exhale as much as I could to get it back down to my ankles and off. Who knew this could be more of a workout than the “Swear Master” or the “Dreadmill” at the gym? I was definitely counting this as my exercise today! I have to admit their marketing was spot on! It was a Miracle suit alright – A miracle that I got out of it! I knew that I was not willing to struggle like this again - let alone every time I wanted to go to the pool!
Here is a list of things that ran through my mind while shopping for the “right suit”:
• “Nope! I have more parts than that suit - period.”
• “Holy crap! That’s not just a muffin top, that’s the whole muffin.”
• “I must have picked up the wrong size.”
• “That’s OK, I have a couple of more to try on”
• “Maybe it’s just the bad lighting.”
• “This makes me look like the Pillsbury Dough Boy’s mother!”
• “This one would be great if my legs and my neck were the same size”
• “Where does this strap even go?”
• “How in the world am I supposed to fasten this behind by own back?”
• “How do I even begin to get into this thing?”
• “Aaand this one won’t even fit over my legs!”
• “This would be OK if I could amputate my entire torso.”
• “Oh hell no!”
• “Why do they always assume my boobs and butt are the same size? I’m not Twiggy!”
• “Are you kidding me?!!”
• “Did they suddenly run out of fabric?!”
• “This is literally the worst thing I’ve ever seen!”
• “Oh My God!”
• “You know what? Now that I think about it, the bathing suit I have is just fine.”
• “How many days ‘til Fall?”
• “Time for a drink!”
In the meantime, I’ll just wear a big, floppy hat to the pool, and maybe it will divert all the attention focused on my assets.
I wonder . . . does Spanx make a full body bathing suit?
Thanks for stopping by!
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Which food gives you the most potassium? Which food would you choose to get the most Vitamin C? We all do lots of reading here on Spark People, and we are constantly trying to make healthy choices in our daily nutrition as we plan our meals. Think you’re knowledgeable about nutritional values in your food? Have some fun and take this quiz to find out:
I didn’t do as well as I had hoped only scoring 70%. I hope that you do better than that, and have some fun while doing it.
Thanks for stopping by!
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