Monday, November 24, 2014

Turkey Trauma

When my daughter was in preschool, her teacher arranged a field trip.  Like many of the kid's moms, I went along. The weather was mild, and it was a day filled with petting animals, traipsing through the fields, and a wonderful outdoor picnic.

The most memorable part of the day was when the farmer came out to have a chat with the kids.  We gathered near the turkey pen, and he began to tell them about what it was like to be a farmer.  At a certain part of his talk, he suddenly dashed into the pen, and grabbed a big Tom turkey.  “How nice,” I thought to myself.  “It must be fairly tame and he is going to let the kids interact with it.” WRONG!

Gobble - gobble!
Mr. Farmer's plan was to give an educational pitch about the importance of farmers. He turned that unsuspecting turkey upside down, and held it by its ankles.  (Ankles -- or whatever you call the anatomy of a turkey just above their feet!) 

Mr. Farmer proceeded to lecture our group of little kids, pointing out which body-parts of Tom Turkey corresponded to the kid's favorite cuts of poultry. Wings, thighs, drumsticks ... nothing was a mystery any more!

Most of the kids took it in stride - they either weren't listening closely to his words (which were nearly drown-out by the gobble of that Tom), or they had mothers who had already explained the food chain. Not so, for my daughter! She was quite horrified - partially due to the sight of that poor bird hanging upside down in the man's grasp ... but mostly because of what he was saying.

Learning about the food chain
Just less than a year earlier, my daughter had learned from another preschool teacher that animals are the source of our meat. I had been present then, as well. "Mommy - really? Meat is from animals?!"  (This was said loud and clearly between her sobs.)  Her exclamation caused the teacher and other mother in the room to give me glances of sympathy, while they smothered their chuckles. We just had never found the right opportunity to break the news to our small daughter that meat wasn't made in a grocery store! 

Her kind little heart could barely handle the information the first time she heard it. The farmer's in-depth description, while holding an indignant gobbling bird, was almost more than she could bear. I did serve turkey on Thanksgiving that year - but I don't remember her being very interested in eating it.

At least there was no mention of bacon when it was time to pet the pig!
At what age do you think kids should be taught about where their food comes from?

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

My Favorite Hat is a Helmet!

I like hats - but I look terrible in them.  Something about the shape of my head and and my hair just means that they never fit right.  I rarely wear a hat.

But - - there is one exception.  My ski helmet!



When I learned to ski as a pre-teen, there was no such thing as a ski helmet.  About 15 years ago, you might have spotted a ski helmet worn in a ski resort terrain park; then parents gradually started buying them for their small children.  An article published by the International Skiing association, Ski Helmets, How We Got Here, states “from 1995 until 2010, helmet use increased from 5% to 76%. Over that period, the rate of serious head injuries dropped by about 65%.” That's a pretty impressive statistic!

Gradually, more and more skiers over the past few decades have begun to realize helmets are a good way to protect their brain power.  I was finally one of them.

It took a bit of convincing - I actually bought several, but returned them without ever wearing them. I just felt really ugly every time I tried them on! Finally, I found one that really fit, and I conquered my vanity. The label in my Giro 10 helmet has a manufacture date of May '07.  It has adjustable air vents for temperature control, a removable (washable) liner, warm ear muffs, and (my favorite) a dial to loosen or tighten the fit.  (Giro calls this their “in-form fit system.”)

Helmets are available in a wide range of prices.  Even the most expensive price tag would seem like pennies, however, compared to a hospital bill ...  or a casket. 

I don't think Giro still makes a helmet identical to the one that I own.  I did find a similar one on Amazon.com however.

                                      

The very first time I wore my ski helmet, I became a convert.  Instead of feeling like I looked silly, I felt “cool.” I was now one of the smart people on the slopes - protecting my head! My helmet was light-weight, comfortable all day, and kept me warmer than any other hat I had previously worn.

Now I never waste time looking for the right wool hat, while getting ready to ski.  I just grab my helmet.



Whether you plan to ski, snowboard, or sled, please put on a helmet before you slide down those snowy slopes! It's the smart, comfortable, safe thing to do!

So, what's my second-favorite hat?  My horseback riding helmet, of course!

Do you wear a helmet when you are doing any sports?

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!  (For example, I linked up with the Style Me Bloggers: yesterday they asked bloggers to write about their favorite hats.)  

This post contains affiliate links. The opinions expressed, however, are entirely my own.

Friday, November 21, 2014

It's Flu Season. Are You Ready?

By ready, I don't mean are you stocked up on:
  • kleenex?
  • cough syrup?
  • throat lozenges?
  • pain and fever reducing medicines?
  • chicken soup?
  • juice and fluids of choice to drink?

By ready, I don't mean:
  • Do you have someone lined up to cover your absence at work, for when you or your kids are sick? 
  • Do you have a primary care physician, in case you need a prescription for Tamiflu?
  • Have you stocked up on grocery staples and convenience foods, because you won't feel like going to the store or cooking for a while?

By ready, I don't mean:
  • Do you have extra blankets handy to put on your bed, for when you have the chills?
  • Do you have a second set of sheets available, for when your bed is soaked with fever sweats?
  • Have you taped your favorite shows, so you have something to pass the time while you are sick and can do nothing besides watch television? (Actually, don't worry about planning for this - watching t.v. will only make your pounding headache worse!)
IF you do get the flu, your answers to all of the above questions had better be “yes”!

But --what I really mean, when I ask if you are ready, is:

  1. Have you been taking care of yourself so your immune system is healthy?  (Getting enough rest? Eating a well-balanced diet and taking vitamins? Getting regular exercise?)
  2. Do you practice good hand-washing techniques, all the time? 
  3. Do you avoid contact with others when you are sick, and do you cover your mouth and nose whenever you cough and sneeze?  Do you encourage others to do so as well?
And, of utmost importance... 

HAVE YOU HAD YOUR FLU SHOT??



When my son would get a shot when he was little, I would hold his hand. This year he didn't need me to.
Good thing, as I was busy taking this picture for this blog!

Don't delay!

Cases of flu have already been reported across the United States, and in the town where I live. It takes a few weeks to develop full immunity, so don't wait until all your friends and co-workers are sick!


Protecting my family

My husband got his flu shot at work early this fall. I was not as proactive about it this year as I should have been. I am embarrassed that it is already nearly the end of November, and I am just now crossing this off my to-do list!

I finally got vaccinated a few days ago, and my son received his shot yesterday. I've been sending daily text reminders to my daughter at college - and she has promised she will get hers tomorrow or by Monday at the latest.

I will be crossing my fingers until two weeks goes by; about the amount of time it will take for us to develop the full protection of the vaccine.  If my kids contract the flu before then, I will feel very guilt for not ensuring that they were vaccinated sooner!

About the vaccine

Getting the flu, at best, feels awful. At worst, it can be life threatening.  It used to be that only certain segments of the population (the very young, the very old, people with certain health conditions, etc.) were recommended to be vaccinated.  Supplies of the vaccine are plentiful now though, and it is recommended that most people (with a few health exemptions) receive an annual vaccine. Check with your doctor if you are unsure if you are a good candidate to be immunized.

Being needle phobic is no longer an excuse to avoid a flu shot! If you prefer, the vaccine is now administered as a nasal spray.


Protect yourself! If you won't do it for yourself, get the vaccine and help prevent spreading the flu to others!


Have you gotten a flu vaccine yet this year? If not, why not?


This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Roasted Butternut-Apple Soup. Thanksgiving Worthy!


                                                               

Today I made a very rich and delicious soup.  A small bowl of it would be perfect as a starter for a Thanksgiving meal, or for a Black Friday lunch with bread and a salad. This soup is such a pretty color, it would also be a lovely addition to an autumn buffet meal; it would be fun to set out in petite clear “shot” glasses, with little spoons provided for each.

There is a story as to how this soup came to be . . . 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Huge Timesaver: Ask a Question!

Today I'm sharing information about a new addition to this blog, a little insight that I have learned about the blogging process, and an observation about a tool that can save everyone tons of time in many situations in life!


The frequent visitors to this blog may have noticed a cute little ladybug banner has been added to the homepage. Today I am going to explain why it is there - and the important life skill I was reminded of in the process of placing it there.

Blogging can be just a hobby, or a source of income, but either way it involves quite a bit of work, and there are some costs associated with owning a blog. While I never want the main focus of this blog to be advertising, I have decided it is time for this blog to participate in a few programs to earn its keep!

I love to share products I enjoy with my readers, and I frequently write about them without any sort of compensation. Yesterday's post is a perfect example. However, if a company wants to pay me to write about, review, or advertise a product I already love; I have decided I will sometimes do so.  I would probably tell you about it anyway! I will NEVER promote anything, though, unless I can honestly tell you I like it. I will never sacrifice quality of content for a monetary opportunity.  I promise you that!

Back to the Ladybug banner.  I was recently contacted by a manager of the Affiliate Program of PartyPail, an online party supply retailer.  She asked if I would be interested in supplying information about their products to my readers, with the possibility of earning a small commission from any sales my promotions generate.  PartyPail has a wide variety of party items, and as I write quite a bit about entertaining, informing my readers about these products seems like it could be helpful.  



I'm sort of partial to ladybugs, as my daughter absolutely loved them when she was small, so I chose that theme of banner to display. They have some really fun ladybug party supplies!

A photo of our little ladybug girl!
PartyPail uses ShareaSale as a third party affiliate to manage this program.  In order to set up an account with them and verify my blog, the instructions explained that I would need to alter the html code of my blog template. GULP! I was really nervous about doing this, and had a bunch of questions as to how to do it.  After hours of reading tutorials and trying to figure it out on my own, I finally decided to call the company and ask for help.

When I did, I learned two things.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Shortcuts. Last-Minute Homemade Pizza

All of the opinions expressed here are entirely my own and I received no compensation for any of the content provided in this post.

I had been busy all day, so I had not given much thought to supper.  Fortunately, my son had other plans and neither my husband nor I were very hungry. I poured a glass of red wine, and we talked about our day as I perused the pantry and fridge for ideas.

I settled on a homemade flatbread pizza.  Well, not completely homemade ... I took a short cut and used a store-bought crust.  The Italian Artisan Pizza Crust made by Stonefire is as good as any crust that I can make  - and I had one in my pantry.



Less than half an hour later, we were eating a flatbread pizza that my husband and I both thought was delicious. Quick. Easy. Yummy. Satisfying.  A perfect Meatless Monday or any weeknight (or weekend) meal!  Of course, I had to name the recipe after my blog.

Monday, November 17, 2014

In Case You Were Wondering ...

Toward the beginning of October, I wrote two posts in which I asked my readers for their help. Many of you replied with helpful information.  Here is the followup.


Best Choice for My Birthday Present

On October 7th, I wrote a post called Please Help Me Pick Out My Birthday Present!  I was really stuck trying to decide which computer would be best for me, and my readers supplied a lot of good advice.Taking it all under consideration, I made one more trip to Best Buy. One of their tech guys was really helpful, and he made a point that tipped the scales.  He suggested that anyone spending a lot of time looking at a computer screen will develop much less eye strain using the Retina Display model of the MacBook Pro Retina. That made a lot of sense to me.

I am now the proud owner of a MacBook Pro Retina, 13 inch computer. Many thanks to everyone who gave input to this decision. So far, I really like it!!


Finding Another Purple Toy

On October 8th  I wrote The Purple Toy, a post about needing to replace my dog's favorite toy.  We were unable to find one anywhere, and I wondered if a reader might recognize the brand. A number of people thought it was a Kong toy, but while it is similar to a Kong, it is not identical.  

Then, one day I got a comment on my post from Padraig C. (in Great Britain!)  He told me to “Search Amazon for: PetSafe Busy Buddy Chuckle Dog.”

Link WIthin

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