My Happy Organic Hair

My Happy Organic Hair

Recently I had a mishap with my hair color. I had been sick for some time with an upper respiratory infection and was on aggressive antibiotic treatment. My scalp paid dearly for this. My immune system had suffered so badly, I never even considered my skin’s reaction when I went for my next round at being a redhead. My scalp felt as if it were on fire. By the time I realized just how badly my body was reacting, much damage had already been done. When I exited the shower after a thorough rinse, my scalp was still searing and painful. The next day it was covered in scabby sores. My scalp was in crisis. I was going to have to explore new hair care products.

As I began to research the chemicals and ingredients in my shampoo, conditioner, and hairspray, I became very ashamed as to how unkind I was being to my body and the environment. I resolved to not only go organic, but to go so far as to even make some recipes from scratch. Most of the ingredients I either already had in my kitchen or could easily pick up at the store.

The Speech

The Speech

I have been a very active mom in different school organizations. Next month is an important fundraiser for band. We are going to have a “casino” night and auction. I have been asked to give a short speech. Now, I am definitely not a public speaker. Just thinking about it causes my stomach to do somersaults and I break out into a sweat. To build up my confidence I have been reading information by motivational speakers and their tips on speaking publicly to a crowd.

First, I have to consider what my most important topics will be. Then, by using the master formula of the professionals, I should average about two or three topics for every five minutes I have to talk. Once the topics have been defined, it’s time to decide what to say about them.

Speaking into a recorder, I should say everything I want to say about these matters regardless of time. When recording is finished, I will transcribe it. Then it’s simply a matter of reading it aloud and editing to fit within the allowed time. I may have several rewrites. That’s not uncommon.

The structure of a well written speech contains what are called “milestones”. These are markers that help guide the speech for the orator as well as the audience. For example, a five minute speech would have an introduction of about one minute. The next three minutes would be devoted to the three topics, each receiving about one minute each of attention. The final minute is when the speech draws to its conclusion. This may be an actual verbal closing or an opportunity to field a question or two from the audience, depending on the format of the event.

A Day At The Races

A Day At The Races

Every fall my family and I put on our best flannel shirts, jeans and beanie caps and head out for what has become a traditional family outing. We go to the dog races. I’m sure the reader has images conjured up in their mind of sleek greyhounds flying around an oval earthen track like gazelles. Umm, that’s not the dog races I was talking about. We go the Weenie Dog races.

These long bodies, short legged little hounds run their little hearts out around a 25-50 meter track, well, at least some of them do. They do it for the glory. They do it for the praise. They do it for the love and affection of their families. They really do it for the cookie that awaits them at the end.

These little pups are not genetically designed to be racers. It’s simply not in the DNA. When the starting gate raises, some of them may happen to have a keen enough sense of smell to detect the general direction of the cookie reward and trot off in that direction. Others, getting a sense of what they are doing, may dash to beat them to the cookie and then the race is really on! Others may simply wander around sniffing at a bit here or at a bit there. Then there are those who look around at the crowd going wild and wonder what the fuss is all about. Yes, it’s a riot and a jolly good time.

The only downside I can possibly see to going to such an event is that when it’s all over and you head back home with the family, the kids are going to bug you for days, maybe even weeks, to buy a Dachshund for the family.  Perhaps you did fall in love yourself and decide to make their dreams come true. If you do decide to get your own weiner dog, it is helpful to know a bit about the breed.

Football Party Finger Foods

Football Party Finger Foods

Football season is here which means on weekends I usually have a houseful of hungry young men clamoring for delicious finger food they can consume by the pound as they gather around the television set. I try to keep my recipes simple so I can quickly whip up massive amounts. These are a few items that are always among the top favorites:

Turkey & Swiss Sliders

Ingredients

  • 24 dinner rolls (I get pre-packed white, wheat, and sweet Hawaiian then mix it up)
  • 24 thin slices of oven-roasted turkey
  • 24 thin slices of Swiss cheese
  • 2/3 cup of mayonnaise

`Poppy Seed Dressing

  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce

Preparation:  Separate rolls into halves and spread mayonnaise on each half. Place a slice of turkey and cheese on bottom of roll and top with other roll half. Place sandwiches touching into a pan. Mix all dressing ingredients and spread most of it over tops of sliders. Save a bit for dipping. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

The Success-Positivity Connection

The Success-Positivity Connection

People that don’t know me see my level of success and my positive happy demeanor and draw the conclusion that I am happy because I am successful. My close friends and family know the truth. They know that I am successful because I am happy.

My loved ones have witnessed the failures, the struggles, disappointments and suffering I have endured. They have been amazed that through it all I kept smiling, laughing, persevering and continuing on. When the doctors told me, “No. You’ll never be able to get a driver’s license,” I simply did not listen. I petitioned a panel of seven doctors, submitted to all of their exams and research of my medical history and appealed to my state legislature in their denial of my license. At the age of seventeen I challenged a medically biased law and got my driver’s license.

When doctors later told me, “No, you cannot scuba dive,” I laughed and said, “We’ll see.” I searched until I found a professional scuba instructor willing to train my traveling companion and I not just in scuba certification, but also in search and rescue should anything go wrong when the two of us went diving on our vacation. I wasn’t asking to become a lifetime professional scuba diver. I just wanted to experience a Caribbean vacation excursion when I went on vacation. My loved ones held their collective breaths for an entire week. No one was surprised when I arrived home healthy, whole, and with fabulous pictures and stories of an underwater adventure.

Hearty Fall Foods

Hearty Fall Foods

I can feel the change of the seasons in the air. It won’t be long now before I arrive at the Farmer’s Market and see a colorful selection of seasonal squash and pumpkins. I can’t wait. I am already imagining a fall menu for the upcoming months being churned out of my kitchen for the family to enjoy.

If you join me in preparing some of these dishes, here are a few tips. Although most squash varieties look tough, if overcooked they still get mushy. However, don’t despair and toss out that mushy mess. Mix it with some chicken or vegetable stock for delicious gravy to serve over your favorite noodles.

Here are just a few recipes I can’t wait to try out:

Spaghetti Squash Soup with Chicken and Lemongrass

Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 3 pound spaghetti squash
  • 1/2 pound shredded cooked chicken
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 thinly sliced lemongrass stalk with tough outer layers removed
  • 3″ nub of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thin
  • 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • 8 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/8 cup roughly torn cilantro
  • 2 sliced serrano chilies,
  • 1 lime sliced into wedges
Climbing The Wall

Climbing The Wall

My husband and our oldest son have a new fitness craze they are in to. I primarily go as a spectator. I have given it a try but it’s just not my thing. However, for any of you out there who love to experience a thrill with your workout, rock climbing may be the perfect fitness sport for you.

If it’s simply not practical to escape to a remote mountain every day to experience an adrenaline pumping workout, don’t worry, there are plenty of indoor gyms with man-made rock climbing walls. This sport seems to be gaining in popularity as a complete body workout that builds strength and burns calories.

Rock climbing is not just about the excitement that’s involved while building strength. It is also a physically demanding sport that requires extreme mental focus. The body and mind must train together to push the body further and higher. Movements of the body must be controlled and smooth in order to maximize muscle contraction and minimize momentum. If a powerful core and back is what you’re looking for in fitness, rock climbing is a perfect choice with the added benefit of strengthening and toning the chest and triceps.

If you want to try out some exercises that simulate a rock climbing experience before heading to an indoor wall, try some of these basic moves involved in a typical rock climbing routine are:

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