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Outrageous Markups

Monday, Dec, 23 2013

OUTRAGEOUS MARKUPS YOU PAY EVERY DAY

Learn smart ways to avoid the hidden costs of convenience.

4000% Bottled water
A $2 bottle of water costs only about 5 cents to produce.

1275% Movie theater popcorn
Theaters know that viewers will pay more for movie snacks, so they hike up the prices: A bag of popcorn that costs 37 cents to make can easily sell for $5.

300% Wine at a restaurant
Restaurants routinely charge as much as $30 for bottles of wine that retail online for $7 or $8. Check in advance whether the restaurant allows BYOB, or opt for a nonalcoholic beverage.

40% Precut produce
Precut fruits and vegetables may save you time, but they definitely won't save you money: Grocery stores charge almost 1.5 times more for precut than for uncut produce. (readersdigest.com)

posted by: Kathy Keene 7 month(s) ago Comment On This Post


Boost Your Brain Power

Friday, Dec, 20 2013

BOOST YOUR BRAINPOWER

Good news. You can boost your brainpower and make "senior brain-drain" nothing but a bad memory just by doing mental exercises and adopting the right diet and lifestyle. Keep your mind youthfully resilient with techniques outlined by Dr. Molly Wagster of the National Institute on aging in Bethesda, MD.

Eat berries
Blueberries can rejuvenate the brain. Cranberries and strawberries also have a beneficial effect on brainpower.

Exercise
Aerobic exercise can help improve brain function. Exercise also prompts the release of endorphins thought to fend off depression.

Reduce stress
Stress releases cortisol, a hormone that can damage the brain's memory center. Meditation, relaxation and keeping a positive mental outlook will help you reduce stress.

Eat foods rich with vitamin E
Vitamin E, found in oils, green leafy vegetables and whole grains, is a vital brain protector. It promotes mental alertness.

Use your opposite hand
Most of us rely on our dominant hand to do simple tasks. Using your opposite hand for brushing your teeth, eating or working a computer mouse will engage both lobes of the brain and improve hand-brain co-ordination.

Challenge your brain
Discard the calculator and do the math in your head.

Get plenty of sleep
Sleep-deprived subjects score 30 percent lower on memory tests. Most people need 8 to 8.5 hours of sleep each night.

posted by: Kathy Keene 7 month(s) ago Comment On This Post


To Snooze or Not to Snooze

Thursday, Dec, 19 2013

(Men's Health) A midday doze does not make you old. It makes you smart. A City University of New York study found that people who nap have sharper memories. But not just any nap will do: Use this guide to find your sweet spot:
• 10 minutes -- A quick fix. napping for 10 minutes immediately wards off fatigue and boosts brain power for at least 2 and a half hours, an Australian study found. A 5 minute nap is no help.
• 20 minutes -- Delayed benefits. Doubling down will improve your reaction time and performance on alphanumeric task. But not right away it takes at least 35 minutes to shake off the postnap mental fog from "taking 20."
• 30 minutes -- A healthy boost. You will feel drowsy for about 5 minutes afterward, but then more mentally fit for 90 minutes. Still, a 10 minute nap is better; you avoid the hangover effect of a deeper sleep.
• 45 to 90 minutes -- No help. During a 45 minute to 90 minute nap, you drift into deep sleep without completing a full sleep cycle. "You will often feel worse after you wake up than before," says sleep expert W. Christopher Winter, M.D.
• 90 to 110 minutes -- Sings of trouble. The average person's sleep cycle last 90 minutes, the ideal duration for a longer snooze. But habitual long napping may be a sign of a sleep disorder, Dr. Winter says.

posted by: Kathy Keene 7 month(s) ago Comment On This Post


Survival Skills Every Kid Should Know

Wednesday, Dec, 18 2013

SURVIVAL SKILLS EVERY KID SHOULD KNOW

If your child were alone in an emergency, would he know what to do without an adult to take care of him? Allstate Insurance and Lisa Bedford, author of "Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst Case Scenarios," has identified four emergency situations in which all children should know what to do if they are alone.

Survival Skill No. 1: What to do if a child is lost
A lost child is a scared child, and usually her first instinct is to begin searching for her family. Train your children to stop and sit as soon as they realize they are lost. Assure them that, no matter how scared they might be, you are searching for them at that very moment; but also that, if they keep moving around, it will take longer to find them. Consider equipping your children with an inexpensive cell phone and when venturing outdoors, a few survival items tucked in a backpack or their pockets. Items such as a whistle, a bright bandana and a bottle of water are the makings of a kids' survival kit that will go a long way to helping them be found more quickly.

Survival Skill No. 2: How to answer the door when a child is home alone
Usually the best strategy is to not answer the door! Yes, the person knocking could be a burglar scoping out the neighborhood. But once the door is opened, it's that much easier for an intruder to enter. And children are easily overpowered. Train your child to enforce home security: Keep doors and windows locked and blinds and curtains closed. Noise from a TV or radio is fine. Those with questionable motives will think twice about entering a home if they hear noises inside, even if the house is closed up and no one answers the door.

Survival Skill No. 3: What to do in a medical emergency
From a young age, kids can learn how to dial 911 and report an emergency, but this takes practice. Spend some time rehearsing phone calls, teaching your children to relay detailed information to an operator, follow his or her instructions and then stay on the line until help arrives. If possible, children should also get the home ready for the arrival of EMTs by putting pets in closed areas and, if it's nighttime, turning on both indoor and outdoor lights. Summer is an ideal time for children ages 9 and older to take first aid and CPR classes.

Survival Skill No. 4: How to maintain situational awareness
This one skill can help your child avoid many dangerous situations. The concept is simply for children to be aware of the people and events around them. Parents can help their children become more observant and aware--not by scaring them, but by playing games to teach and practice this skill.
When driving in the car, ask your kids to describe a building or vehicle you just passed. Teach them to pay attention to the route home by asking them to give you driving directions. Tell them to close their eyes and describe what someone in the room is wearing. Encourage them to check out the license plates of passing cars: Which states are they from? What is the sum of the numbers on the license plate? Being aware of their surroundings will help them avoid predatory people and other dangerous scenarios. Simple to teach. Fun to practice. And, quite possibly, a life saver.

posted by: Kathy Keene 7 month(s) ago Comment On This Post


Is There A Santa Claus

Thursday, Dec, 12 2013


Is There A Santa Claus?

Merry Christmas everyone,

I thought I would share an interesting story about a mom and her explanation to her son Frankie when asked, "Do you believe in Santa Claus?"

It was one of THE questions parents face. In the category of questions like, "Why do people die?" and "Where do babies come from?" "Mommy, do you believe in Santa Claus?"

The mom prayed for the right words. "What do you think?"

Frankie shrugged. "Some kids at school said Santa wasn't real. They said parents put the gifts under the tree." "Are you asking me if there is a Santa, or if parents put the gifts under the tree?" Frankie hesitated. "I guess I'm asking both."

The mom wrapped her arms around Frankie and gave him a big hug. "I am so proud of you!"   "For what?" Frankie looked puzzled.

"You're old enough now! You see Frankie, while there isn't a man in a red suit, there is something called the Christmas Spirit. But when children are very little, it's hard for them to understand the Christmas Spirit so we say that someone named Santa is responsible for Christmas. Parent's know when a child asks whether Santa is real that they're old enough to understand the Christmas Spirit."

Frankie looked surprised. "What's the Christmas Spirit?"

"The Christmas Spirit is love -- pure and simple. Every year, right around December, there's a special feeling in the air. People are kinder, they give to those who have little and spend time with friends and family. Have you noticed a change recently?"

Frankie thought for a moment. "Everything seems prettier. People seem happier."
"That's the Christmas Spirit at work. The Christmas Spirit is a gift we all receive every year. And those who are most blessed, carry it with them all year."

"Parents want their children to remember the gift of Christmas every year, so they put presents under the tree and say a man named Santa is responsible until each child asks the question you asked me tonight. Then they get to share the wonderful secret of the Christmas Spirit."

"A secret?" Frankie's voice was hushed with awe.

"Yes, now that you asked about Santa, I know that you're old enough to understand the Christmas Spirit. But until other children ask their parents, you shouldn't tell them there's no Santa because they may not be old enough to understand yet."

Frankie nodded and winked. "I won't tell, I promise."

"When people ask if I believe in Santa, I say yes. I absolutely believe that there is a Christmas Spirit that visits each house at Christmas. Does it matter whether that Spirit is wearing a red suit? Or what we call it?"

Frankie shook his head. "Nope!"

"So congratulations! You are officially old enough to start learning about the Christmas Spirit." Frankie crinkled his nose. "Start learning?" "Yes. It takes the rest of your life to figure out how to keep the Christmas Spirit in your heart all year long."

posted by: Kathy Keene 7 month(s) ago Comment On This Post


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