Grace brings us face-to-face with aging as she relates her experiences, her memories, advice for surviving the aging process...with Grace. This is a place for humor, sharing, and learning as well as what I hope are some entertaining meanderings of my thoughts.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Olympics ~ My Down Time


Lately I have been feeling pretty exhausted and short of breath.  My doctors have been testing lungs and heart to see if they can determine what the problem is.  In the meantime, watching the Olympics on TV is how I am spending my down time.

I was very impressed with the South Korean archer who is legally blind, but can see the colors of the target.  He says he prefers to compete without his glasses and just concentrates on the colors.  His aim is awesome!

Gymnastics is always a favorite of mine, along with water sports.  I love to watch the men and the women.  There is such competition in these games, it is always exciting.

I am really looking forward to the track and field competition next week.  If I can find the energy to yell and holler, you may just hear me when the runners are on the field.  They just amaze me. 

It is all so fun to watch from home.  I watch the parents wiggle, squirm and shout and try to imagine what it must feel like to have a world class athelete.  I know I was a wreck whent my kids were in sports and watching them made me so nervous.  I guess that's our job as parents, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

What is your favorite summer olympic sport?

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Healthy Body ~ Healthy Mind



As people age they worry about keeping their mind healthy, but what they forget about is that our minds need a regular workout.  Brains need to stay active.  Just like you do a cardio workout for your heart or do some light weight lifting to keep up your strength and endurance, the mind needs a good workout too.

Often, the memory loss and loss of mental acuity that we associate with aging is not really a natural part of aging at all.  It's simply a result of not staying mentally active.  It can also be from a poor diet and/or not getting the right kind of nutrition. Your brain needs three things – it needs to be fed with nutrients, oxygen and water.  Just as important - it also needs to be fed with puzzles and thinking activities.

To keep your mind active and healthy, here are some ways you can challenge it.

It can be really easy to keep your mind busy and do some fun activities that keep it performing properly. Doing some/any kind of physical activity not only challenges your muscles, but the extra oxygen you're taking in is good for the mind - not to mention keeping you coordinated. Your brain is at work trying to help you stay coordinated and balanced.  It's not just a physical thing, it's a mental thing too.

Playing mind games and learning new skills are excellent ways to give your mind a boost.  You may feel tiring in the beginning, especially if you haven't been doing any kind of mental work, but with some practice, your brain will actually start craving the stimulation.  Who knew?

* Hang out with friends.   Socializing is not only enjoyable, it's a mental activity.  As we get older, we sometimes lose connections with family and friends. Now you have one more reason to meet with them – to keep your mind active.  If they aren't able to meet with you, look for a group or club you can join for some social interaction, like the Red Hat Society for example.  Experts recommend engaging in social activities at least once a week, possibly more.  Many of these groups have bingo night.  Games like this allow social interaction with friends but it's also great for your mind.

* Get moving!     Exercise is a great way to challenge your brain. Getting active with Pilates and Yoga are gentle on the body but they also require a great degree of mental focus.  Exercise your brain while you move your body. Going for a walk or taking a low-impact aerobics class is also a great brain workout. Yoga also helps quiet the mind. That may sound like the opposite of what we're talking about, but getting rid of mental clutter is good for your brain.  It helps it focus on important stuff.

* Enjoy games.     Crosswords puzzles, Sudoku, checkers or chess can challenge your mind too. These mind games force you to look at things from different perspectives, which is a brain-building activity.  If you can't find anyone to play with, most of these are available as computer software.  Some are free, while others may cost you a little bit.
* Get a hobby.     Engaging in a hobby you enjoy can also keep the mind sharp. It might be gardening, woodworking, or even writing your memoirs. The important thing is that you do it. You will have fun and also keep your mind healthy. If you can't decide what you'd like to do, just visit a craft and hobby store. There are tons of things available. Paint by number is still very popular, easy to do and is great mind work.


* Do some scrapbooking.     Not only does scrapbooking challenge your mind to think creatively, it reinforces those memory skills. It will also keep your interest and train your brain to focus on an activity for a length of time. It may seem silly, but scrapbooking is like adult kindergarten. It's a ton of fun gluing shapes and textures onto a thick sheet of paper. You can add family photos and all kinds of stuff.  It will bring out the youngster in you…imagine that!

An important part of your overall health and fitness is taking care of your mental health. By challenging your brain with some of the above ideas, you will keep your mind active and this will also keep depression from setting in.  Depression is not always an age related problem, but those who suffer from depression are often couch potatoes.  Instead of engaging their minds, they stare at a television set that does nothing to stimulate their mental functions.  Remember, an active mind is a healthy mind.

Now, scoot…get out and get moving!


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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Top 10 Grilling Tips


There’s nothing quite like the perfect grilled steak or a perfect rack of grilled ribs. Grilling brings out the flavor in meats like nothing else. The slight charred or wooden flavor really adds to the experience. Not only is grilling delicious, but it’s also a fun process.

You might grill foods at a family BBQ, at a party, on a camping trip or just for a special treat. Unlike cooking on the pan, there’s something very tactile about grilling food. Everyone has their own style of grilling foods. Some people do it with flair, while others do it methodically.

Grilling foods well is every bit as complex as cooking other kinds of dishes. On the surface, it looks like you just stick a slab of meat on top of a grill. In reality however, there’s quite a lot of thought that goes into the perfect grilled meal.

Here are ten top tips to help you achieve that perfect, mouth watering grilled meat experience.

Tip #1: Start With High Quality Meat


If you don’t have high quality meat, it’s very hard to make the meat taste great. It won’t hold flavor as well, the meat won’t be as soft and sometimes it’ll be downright chewy. High quality meat is slightly more expensive, but it makes a big difference.

Buy meats from butchers rather than from packaged meats. Packaged meats trap moisture inside due to the packaging, which changes the meat’s texture.

If you’re buying steaks, buy Certified Black Angus or USDA Prime. For other kinds of meat or cuts, look for grass fed beef or free range chicken. It makes a difference.
 

Tip #2: Sear the Outer Layer

Your grill should be arranged so there are more coals either on one side than the other, or more goals in the center and fewer on the outsides. In other words, there should be an area of your grill that’s blazing hot and another area that’s a bit cooler.

Start by searing your foods in the hottest area. This helps “lock in” the juice and flavoring. It helps develop the outer crisp of crunchy juicy flavor. However, you don’t want to actually cook your meat on this high heat, as it’ll burn.

So sear your meats on the high heat portion of your grill first, then move the meat to the side and let it slowly cook the insides.

Tip #3: A Myriad of Ways to Flavor

There are many, many different ways you can add flavor to grilled meats.

To get the richest flavor throughout the meat, marinate it overnight. The acidic nature of marinades causes its flavors to really sink into the meat. There are many different kinds of marinades you can use. You can buy them pre-packaged, or find easy home cooked recipes online.

Alternatively, you can use dry rubs or wet rubs. These are pre-packaged blends of spices and herbs designed to add flavoring to meats. Start by tenderizing the meats, then using your hands massage the rubs into the meats. Do this 2-4 hours before grill time to let the flavor sink in.

Finally, the simplest flavoring is to just use a brush to apply glazing. You won’t win the Iron Chef contest, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with honey glazed sausages or glazed chicken wings. Glazing is a simple way to make great tasting grilled food without a lot of prep time. Just make sure to put sweet glazes on near the end of your cooking time because it can burn more easily.

Tip #4: Don’t Inundate Yourself With Tools


You know those “24 Grilling Tools in One Bucket” packs that you frequently see at Home Depot? Leave those behind.

Having too many grilling tools will just take up space, waste money and make it easy to confuse yourself and your guests. You really only need a few tools for a fantastic grilling experience.

  1. A good grill brush. This will be used to apply glazes. Grill brushes are designed not to get brittle over time. Don’t try to apply glazes with other utensils (and definitely not a paint brush.)
  2. A high quality spatula or two. Your spatula should be made of metal, not plastic or wood so it won’t melt or catch fire. The spatula should have a very thin edge to make it easy to slide under foods. Having two spatulas makes it easy to press down on foods and flip at the same time, though you really only need one.
  3. Tongs. Your tongs are your primary tool of choice. These are what you’ll use to flip sausages, chicken wings, etc. Get a short pair of tongs if you want more control and get a longer pair of tongs if you want more distance from the fire. If you plan on having kids doing some grilling, get a long pair of tongs just in case.


Tip #5: Safety, Safety, Safety


There’s nothing worse than a fantastic grilled meal that ends in food poisoning. Anytime you’re grilling food, make sure to think of safety first.

  1. Avoid cross contamination. If a spatula or tongs touches raw or even rare meat, make sure to hold it over the fire for 10 seconds to kill any bacteria. Avoid touching raw meats and then touching other foods, plates or utensils. Disposable gloves are useful for handling raw meats as long as you don't wear them at the grill!
  2. Keep your grill away from wooden surfaces and plants. Make sure there are no shrubs nearby, no trees and no wooden furniture nearby.
  3. Have a fire extinguisher nearby anytime you’re grilling.

Don’t skimp on your grilling safety!
 

Tip #6: Is it Hot Enough?


Unlike stoves, which automatically switch on to the right temperature, grill temperatures are up to you to gauge. You decide when it’s hot enough and you decide when it’s too hot.

So how do you know when your grill is ready to go?

The easiest test is the “Mississippi Test.” Just hold your hand over the grill (about four inches) and count, from “One Mississippi” to “Two Mississippi” up. If you can hold your hand for more than four Mississippis, the fire isn’t hot enough.

On the other hand, if you can’t even get your hand close enough to count “One Mississippi,” the grill is probably too hot.

Tip #7: Use Wood to Add Smoke


Grilling itself doesn’t add that smoky, grilled taste that so many people crave. Instead, it’s actual wood smoke itself. To get that smoky flavor, just toss in a chunk of wood on top of your charcoal in your grill. For fast cooking items, you can use wood chips. Chips burn up in about 10 minutes and shouldn’t be used for longer cooking items.

White Cedar and Golden Birch woods are great choices for seafoods like grilled salmon. For chicken, Sugar Maple and Wild Apple are both good choices. Atlantic Olive, Mountain Mesquite and Black Cherry are good choices for beef and other kinds of dense meats like pork ribs or lamb chops.

Tip #8: Clean Your Grill Right Away


It’s tempting to wait to clean your grill. If there’s a party going on, who wants to take the time to scrub out a grill right then and there?

Even if you don’t clean anything else at the party however, you should still clean your grill right after you’re done grilling.

Fats harden after the grill has time to cool down. Bits of food get stuck to the grill and get very difficult to scrape off. Pests start to grow and feed on the grill if you leave it uncleaned for too long.

The easiest time to clean your grill is when it’s still hot. Just take 2 minutes to clean the grill right after you’re done grilling, instead of 20 minutes of scrubbing later down the line.

Tip #9: Resist the Urge to Keep Checking


Don’t continually flip your food over to see the other side. Don’t stab it with a toothpick to check the insides every 5 minutes.

The best part of grilled foods is the outer crust. That’s where all the juices are. That’s where all the glazing, the marinade or the rub is. If you break it or disrupt it too much, the flavor will be dispersed.

If you’re using a recipe, check the temperature of your grill and only turn your foods when the recipe tells you to. Otherwise, only turn it over once grill marks are visible on one side of the meat.
 

Tip #10: Remove it Before It’s 100% Cooked


Remember that food still cooks after it’s off the grill. Factor in about 3 to 5 minutes of extra cooking time after the food comes off the grill and a few minutes rest time before serving allows the juices to settle. 

To check steaks for doneness, just use your finger to poke the surface of the meat. The more firm, the more cooked it is. For chicken, use a skewer and poke through the center of the piece. If it goes through easily and the juice is clear, it’s cooked. For seafood, the fish should be completely opaque.

These ten grilling tips will help you churn out fantastic grilled delights for any occasion!  Nothing left to do but send out the invitations!  Let's grill! 
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Monday, July 23, 2012

My Heart Goes Out To Aurora

This post has been swirling around in my head for a couple of days...no words coming forth, but the thoughts and sentiments were hanging there.   Now, the words seem to be ready to spill out over the keyboard.  I have no idea how this will end up, just that it will.


This story of chaos and a massacre hit me square in the heart.  I used to live and work in Aurora.  Two of my sons and their families live/lived in Parker, just down the road.  My grandsons could have been in that theater, but they were not.  I have no way to know the pain and anguish that the people there are facing.  I have never been in such a situation.  Even so, my heart aches for each of them as my prayers seek comfort for them.

The media tries to tell the story and place the blame.  They seek answers before answers are available.  They want the whole sordid story out there for us to see...hour after hour...repeating over and over what little they know.  A nation, and perhaps a world watches, spellbound.  Why is there so much evil in the world?  How can God allow this to happen?  Will we ever know why the killer did this? 

Here's what I do know.  The God of the Bible is a loving God. He loves us.   He can bring peace and comfort to those who are hurting.  He hears our prayers.  We may never know why some died and some lived through that horror in Aurora.  But God knows, and in Him I trust.  God is my Rock and I pray that those who don't know Him will draw near to Him and accept His Grace and Mercy.


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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Natural Remedies for Eczema in Children


Here's something that may be useful for Moms and/or Grandmoms.  If you have a young one in your care, read on...
Eczema is a common problem in babies and children.  At least two of my kids had mild cases which eventually they outgrew.   I’m not sure if it is a major problem for adults, but I have a dry itchy patch on my cheek that seems a lot like it!  (Although most adult eczema is found on inside of the elbow and behind the knees.)  Eczema is a red, scaly rash that itches and sometimes oozes when it blisters and opens up.  It can be really uncomfortable and miserable for kids to endure in severe cases. Thankfully eczema can and often does respond very well to natural remedies, sometimes to the point of clearing up completely. Here are some of the most common suggestions:

·    Many physicians who believe in natural care are convinced that eczema is mostly due to food allergies. If you can identify the allergen you can avoid it or pursue some other method of healing the immune system so the body doesn’t react to it.  The most common allergens would be dairy products, wheat, soy and corn.  Advocates of raw (unpasteurized) milk claim that switching to raw milk has cleared up some cases of eczema.

·   Essential fatty acids have been reported to bring relief from eczema.  Examples of these fatty acids are the fats in fish, Evening Primrose Oil, Vitamin E, coconut oil, organic butter from grass fed cows, and Cod Liver Oil. Talk with your health care provider about proper doses of these nutrients for your child.  Also topical creams and gels such as chamomile, licorice and witch hazel have been known to help. 

·   Oatmeal baths can be helpful to ease the itching. You can purchase colloidal oatmeal at drug stores, or make your own by grinding oats in your blender and then putting them in muslin tea bags.  Place one in your child’s bath water, and use tepid to warm water.  Don’t allow your child to sit in this for too long and do not use soap.  While your child’s skin is still wet, apply an organic lotion.
 

·    Avoid using harsh detergents when washing your child’s clothing.  Use a product that is all natural and not irritating to the skin.  If you use any type of detergent, do a double rinse to remove any residues.  

·   Probiotics can be helpful in healing a child’s gut imbalance.  It is believed that they strengthen the digestive tract’s protective barrier, suppress the growth of potentially harmful bacteria, and influence immune function (to help fight off those nasty allergens).  Foods such as naturally fermented and cultured vegetables (sauerkraut, kim chi, etc), kefir, and yogurt might help your child’s immune system to normalize and heal.

I am not a medical expert or a doctor and cannot know if these suggestions will help or cure.  I am reporting what others have found in the hopes that this will be a starting point for you to find a remedy that will bring relief to your child.  It is always a good idea to discuss remedies with your health care provider before starting a new regimen.


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Friday, July 20, 2012

Remodel Photos ~ We Are Floored!

At last...our new tile floor is installed!  The furniture is back in place.   The dogs are relaxed again and glad to be out of "lock up!"  All of the inconvenience was worth it in the end!  Our favorite "Fix-It Folks deserve a hand!   Let's hear it for Kenda & Bruce of Better Homes of Sierra Vista and their helpers, Brett, Robert and Junior!  They are the best!  


Edge of living room and entryway... & Jacob!


One section of hallway.


Main Bath.


Dining area looking from family room.


Family room looking from dining area.  (Pool boy...er, uh...HB in background).


My favorite part...family room with new flat screen TV, books, new rug... & Moses!


After seeing these photos and others of our remodel, you now know our style is "Early Miscellaneous" and "Comfy."  Our home is always ready for kids, dogs, and us!  I'll never be a world-renown decorator (although  I have asked direction from my daughter-in-law and step-daughter who definitely have more design sense that me!) but I know what I like and what makes me feel comfortable.  And, that's how I roll!

That's it for awhile in the remodel/repair department. It's time to let the bank account heal before we tackle our other projects! We do appreciate your comments and encouragement as we endured the mess and confinement while the floor was ripped up and put down. Thanks!
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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ I ♥ Bisbee, Arizona

Just a few miles from where I live is an artsy old mining town full of interesting sights...Bisbee, Arizona.


Bisbee art

Indian Motocycle Co. - Historic Lowell, Arizona


Source: flickr.com via Pat on Pinterest
Bisbee


Bisbee Blue (turquoise)
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Sunday, July 15, 2012

This Topsy Turvy Life of Mine



How is your life going these days?  Are you on track? focused? sticking to your priority list?  Or are you having a week - month - year like I am...all upside down and cockeyed and totally crazy?

As some of you know, we have been going through more remodeling.  And, as seems to be the pattern around here, there have been health issues to go along with the redo!  This time it is not just HB (HoneyBunny) who's ongoing esophagus disease is causing periodic concern.  Now it is me who is feeling funky and needing doctor visits.  I am so fatigued I just want to curl up in a corner somewhere and sleep forever.  So, the doctors are testing....and testing.  Last week I had lung tests and lab work.  This week I will see the heart doctor.  At least they haven't mentioned testing above my shoulders, thinking this is all in my head!  (giggle)


What really bothers me, however, is that while the remodeling was in full swing, I didn't have time or energy to write regular blogs.  Since I hate to disappoint my readers - YOU - it made me feel sad.  And, blogger's block set in when I did find a few spare minutes to sit at my computer.

Now that the work is completed ('cept for my painting the trim), I hope to once again get my daily or nearly daily posts pounded out on my handy-dandy keyboard and get back in touch with all of you!  Shucks!   I haven't even had time to be a lurker on your blogs! 

So, look out...here I come...I * am* back!
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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Growing Old

My birthday is tomorrow...these are things I have been thinking about...

Growing Old...
with Grace




with moxie









with thought











with wisdom












with character



Have a wonderful Wordless Wednesday!  Blessings to you all, Y'All!
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