Sunday, December 29, 2013

Tips for Making New Year’s Resolutions

It’s that time of year again where many of us are thinking about what we would like to accomplish in the New Year. Perhaps you would like to declutter and get better organized, or take off a few pounds and get in better shape. Maybe living a more frugal lifestyle is in the forecast. Some people may have bigger goals in mind that could include a change in career or living arrangements.

Whatever your goals are make sure they are well thought out. This includes doing your homework and identifying any hurdles that might get in the way. Download helpful apps that can help you stay on target. CNET recently listed five apps to help people stick to their New Year’s resolutions that include apps for finances and budgeting, how to quit smoking, and losing weight. Some of my own personal favorites are:
  • Cozi: Great app for keeping the family organized and on schedule. Also integrates well with the FlyLady system. (Free and fee versions)
  • MyFitnessPal: My family doctor personally recommended this one for losing weight. It works! (Free)
  • ZipList: This is a wonderful grocery shopping list app that I use for all of my favorite stores. (Free)

Also, be sure to check out the Busy Moms Tips archives for articles to help you with making new resolutions. Some recommendations are:

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Rebounding Exercise Tips

Finding an exercise routine that you can stick with is incredibly difficult for many people.  For me, going to the gym usually leads to boredom and dissatisfaction, especially when most of the people there seem already fit and toned. Taking to the streets with a walking or running regimen is a good idea – but only if time, weather, and children don’t intervene. And that really IS the root of it: TIME.

Working out at home is often the best case scenario for busy moms, but can sometimes be difficult if equipment and space is an issue. However, I have found that rebounding exercises can address those concerns and have a total body positive effect.  

Rebounding is achieved by bouncing on a mini-trampoline. I’m not talking about doing flips and gymnastic stunts that are performed on a large trampoline. Just small, controlled bouncing movements with zero impact and zero stress on body joints. 

Mini-trampolines are small and compact enough to be used at home in the living room, bedroom or anywhere with enough head room. You can rebound while watching TV or listening to your favorite tunes. Most importantly, it can be done around your busy schedule. And afterwards, the trampoline can be folded up and slid under the bed or rolled behind the door.

Benefits of Rebounding:

  • Burns caloies and fat (my favorite!)
  • Increases energy levels
  • Helps the heart, lungs, and other organs to operate more efficiently
  • Improves muscle tone and strength
  • Boosts lymphatic circulation and the immune system
  • Increases capacity for respiration in a short amount of time – girl, you are going to sweat!
  • Lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • Offers relief from body aches and pains previously caused by lack of exercise, including arthritis

Furthermore, in a scientific study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology 49(5):881-887, 1980, NASA even confirmed that, “Rebound exercise is the most efficient, effective form of exercise yet devised by man."

The ultimate rebounding goal is to work up to thirty minutes or more at a time, at least three times a week.  However, you can start with just a couple of minutes at a time several times a day.  Gradually working up to longer sessions will help strengthen the connective tissue that holds your organs in place.  Rebounding also raises your heart rate, so it is good cardiovascular exercise, as well. This all over exercise routine works everything in the body.

Although rebounding helps to improve balance, some people may feel more comfortable working out with a balance bar that can be attached to the mini-trampoline. As for footwear, there is a lot of debate about whether you should bounce in your bare feet, wear non-skid socks, or wear tennis shoes, so I’ll leave that to your personal preference.

Unlike many exercise routines, rebounding is a lot of fun.  Everything from gentle health bounces all the way up to more exotic aerobic motions is available on a mini-trampoline.  The range of motion lets you keep each routine fresh to combat boredom, and the fun you have bouncing will keep you coming back for more.  Combined with healthy eating habits, this new routine will have you in great shape in no time!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Simple Romantic Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Of all the things you could do for a loved one, the gift of your time will probably be the most cherished. Here are five simple, easy-to-implement ideas that will help you stay within your budget and bring a smile to someone special.

Candlelit Dinner at Home

Put the kids to bed early and have a candlelit dinner in the privacy of your own home. Make it extra special by getting dressed up and using your fine china – even if you’re serving Chinese take-out.

Dessert and Coffee (or Wine)
If you really want to go out but don’t want to splurge on an expensive meal, just have coffee and dessert at your favorite restaurant.

Quality Time
Spend some time together at a local park, museum, or coffee shop, where you can often find live entertainment. Or visit some antique shops and stroll down memory lane of another era.

Skip the Roses
A dozen roses on Valentine’s Day are outrageously expensive; plus they don’t have a very long shelf life. On the other hand, mixed bouquets are very beautiful and last much longer. Another romantic touch is to give a single rose with a card, romantic movie, CD, or love letter.

Love Letters
In this day of texting and emails, nothing is more romantic than a sincere love letter from the heart – and hand. That means taking a pen to paper and scribbling out your innermost thoughts about your loved one and how much you cherish him or her.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Chilly Dog Tips

Without a doubt, this winter season is one of the worst the nation has seen in many years. Our furry canine friends are also feeling the cold bite of Mother Nature and need some tender, loving, cold-weather care using some of these tips: 
  • Provide a proper, insulated shelter for your dog if he is kept outside. It should be large enough for the dog to turn around in, but small enough to retain his body heat when inside. Provide lots of dry bedding and immediately replace it if it becomes damp or wet. It also helps prevent moisture from building if the doghouse is slightly elevated off the ground.
  • Use nonmetal water and food bowls if feeding outside so your pup’s tongue doesn’t stick to the dish. You can keep water from freezing by adding a de-icer heating element which can be found at most pet and hardware stores.
  • Dogs are attracted to the sweet smell and taste of antifreeze so keep containers sealed and spills cleaned up. Even just a smidgeon can be lethal. Consider keeping an antifreeze antidote on hand or using animal-friendly antifreeze.
  • Regularly check your pet’s paws for cracks, cuts, and abrasions that may need to be treated with antiseptic wash and antibiotic cream. Cold winter sidewalks and roads can be painful to their sensitive pads, especially if snow removal products have been used. Keep the hair around paw pads trimmed, which will help keep snow and ice from accumulating between the toes. You may even want to consider putting snazzy little dog boots on Fido when going for a walk.
  • Frequently check your pet’s ears, tail, and feet for signs of frostbite, which may appear red or gray on the skin. If you suspect frostbite, wrap the area (or dog) in towels or blankets and contact your veterinarian for further instructions.
  • During the winter months, a food adjustment may be in order. Indoor dogs tend to be more sedentary this time of year and may need less food. On the other hand, hardy outdoor breeds could probably use some extra vittles as they are burning more calories and fat to keep warm.

Finally, don’t ever leave your best friend alone in the car or truck. When the engine is not running, the vehicle can hold in the cold air just like a refrigerator. If dogs aren’t allowed where you are going, he’ll be much happier waiting for you at home.


Copyright 2009 Charlene Davis. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 13, 2012

10 Timely Tips for Working Moms

The site has a lot of resourceful articles for working moms. Their latest one, 10 Working Moms Secrets for Getting Out ofthe House on Time, has several great tips to help make the mornings go a bit smoother.

I recently started back to work full-time and was already doing the first two recommendations, which is getting up before everyone else, as well as making sure clothes and accessories were picked out the night before. In addition, the article offers several other tips that I will be implementing the first of the week. A couple that really resonated were packing a car tote with necessities and packing lunches the night before.

I also liked the one about unpacking backpacks as soon as we get home. Although school doesn’t start for a few more weeks that is something we will start doing right off the bat.

What are some of your morning strategies for getting out of the door on time?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Other Uses for Dawn Dishwashing Liquid

Widely known for its degreasing capabilities, blue Dawn dishwashing liquid has a multitude of other uses in and around the house. And its inexpensive price tag makes it even more attractive! Here are some great ways to use Dawn:

Jewelry Cleaner: Put a couple of drops in a cup of very warm water. Whisk the solution around with your finger to suds up and then drop your diamond ring (or other gemstone) in to soak for approximately 30 minutes. Gently scrub the ring (or other jewelry) with an old toothbrush to loosen dirt and rinse under warm water. Dry on a soft towel and you will have a bright, sparkly gemstone.

Stain Pretreatment: Dab a drop or two of Dawn on a greasy stain that’s on a piece of clothing. If you have a HE (high energy) machine, wipe off the excess soap before placing the garment in the washer to keep it from getting too sudsy. I think you will be surprised at how well this pretreatment solution works!

Kills Fleas: Many veterinarians recommend bathing dogs using Dawn to get rid of fleas, including young pups that are too young for flea medications. You may want to use a conditioning rinse afterwards to keep Fido’s skin from drying out. You can also wash their bedding with Dawn to help get rid of the pesky varmints that may be hiding there.

Ice Pack: Pour a cup of Dawn dishwashing liquid into a plastic baggie, seal it and place in the freezer to be used on boo-boos as an ice pack. Not only does it last longer than a regular bag of ice, but it also refreezes so that it be re-used multiple times.

Bubbles: When it comes to making a homemade bubble mixture, Dawn is the best choice for long-lasting bubbles. Click here to read how to “Bubble Away Boredom” and mix up the right solution.

I figure that if Dawn works so well in these areas, it must do a great job on pots and pans! What are some other ways that you use Dawn dishwashing liquid?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Bubble Away Boredom

Nights are longer and the weather is warmer – and the kids are getting antsy. Alas, summer must be here heralding cries of “I’m bored,” “There is nothing to do,” or “Do we have to go there?” Time to break out the dish soap and conjure up batches of bubble solution! 

You can do this by taking 2/3 cup of dish soap (Dawn or Joy seem to work better than most brands); 1 tablespoon of glycerin (available at most grocery and drug stores); and 1 gallon of water. Mix the solution together and let the fun begin!

Look for interesting “wands” the kids can blow through such as a funnel or large slotted spoon. Metal coat hangers and floral wire can be molded into fun shapes. The green mesh baskets that strawberries come in or Styrofoam cups with a hole cut out of the bottom are also handy. Half the fun will be searching for items that can be used as bubble wands.

Create bubble “art” by adding a few drops of food coloring to the solution and having the kids catch the bubbles on a sheet of paper; let it dry and wah-la! (Note: this is definitely an outdoor activity because the coloring may cause stains.)


© Charlene Davis. All rights reserved.