Not Back At It

Not Back At It

I have to apologize for not updating my blog in such a long time. For those of you who know me on a more personal level, you understand my struggle with chronic lower back pain for the past few years. It finally got to the point where Ibuprofen and heating pads simply weren’t cutting it. It was affecting my job, family, and normal day to day stuff.

After going extended periods of time without a full night’s sleep, I finally decided enough is enough. Trying to figure out how to sleep with lower back pain was a constant struggle. My biggest issue was that most of my life, I’ve been a stomach sleeper. I’ve now learned that is the absolute worst position to sleep in. It hasn’t been easy but I’m gradually turning into a side sleeper after going through some trial and error and finally finding a comfortable pillow (2 words… shredded latex!).

One of the best things I’ve bought is an acupressure mat. I’ve always wanted to try acupuncture for my back pain but we simply can’t afford it since insurance won’t cover it. While the acupressure mat is obviously not the same thing, it’s a similar idea. You literally lay on a mat which has hundreds of sharp plastic spikes on them. It’s such a weird feeling. It’s slightly painful but in a good way. The first time I laid on it, I started picturing the tiny spikes going through my skin and thinking I’d get up covered in blood. Well, the spikes never actually break skin but it causes blood to flow to that part of the body which also releases endorphins. It’s a fantastic way of quick pain relief. Too bad it’s only temporary.

inversion-tableI’ve also been doing a lot of research on inversion therapy. For those that don’t know, inversion therapy is when you lay on special inversion table where you lock your feet into place and literally rotate the table until you are hanging partially (or fully) upside down. It’s mainly used for those with bulging or herniated discs. The idea is that we put so much pressure on our spines during the day (sitting, standing, walking), that by hanging upside down, the pressure on our spine is reversed and can actually “decompress” (add more space between) the joints in the spine. So, do inversion tables work? Well I’ve only been using my table for a couple days but it really feels like it’s helping a bit. I’m not quite to the point of being completely inverted (still need to get used to the feeling) but it’s getting easier each time.

My doctor and I have already discussed the possibility of surgery for my bulging discs but back surgery is not something I want to make a quick decision on. I’m committed to first exhaust other treatment options if I can. If anyone has had any success with a particular treatment for their back, I’d love to hear from you. I hope to make a new post in the near future that my lower back issues are a thing of the past.

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The Trim Healthy Mama Craze

The Trim Healthy Mama Craze

I often tell myself, “time to go on a diet”, then I eat everything in sight. Has this happened to you? I do not know why I can’t use the word DIET; I just think the word gives me a negative mindset. I know I need to lose a few pounds and I have come to the conclusion that losing weight in my mid-thirties is a lot more difficult than in my twenties.

In reality, I need to lose more than a few pounds. I can’t even share the number of pounds I should lose without blushing. I just kept telling myself I was just still carrying around the extra weight from having a baby. My youngest is now two; my oldest is eight. I really can’t hide behind the baby weight excuse anymore. As I stare at my husband, I realize he could lose a few pounds too. I do not want to give you the impression he is overweight; he just seems to be carrying a few extra pounds around his mid-section.

So, I have decided to create a new mindset, “time to get healthy”. If I focus on the need to get healthy, I will not use the dreaded “diet” word. Focusing on eating and living is not just for me, I want to maintain a healthy lifestyle. A lifestyle that will give me a better chance of seeing my two children, graduate from high school, go to college and eventually marry the person of their dreams. If I had the money and time to do so, I’d totally look into how to become a certified nutritionist, especially after seeing how much a nutrition can make. Maybe some day…

After spending an afternoon researching and talking to a few friends, I decided the Trim Healthy Mama plan was the right option for me. I had not heard of this type of plan before I began my research. Honestly, I think the title attracted me at first. Of course, it could be a typically fad diet but something about it seems a bit different from the norm.

Fooled Ya Pizza (YUM!)

Fooled Ya Pizza (YUM!)

One of the greatest aspects of this program is eating delicious food. Normally, when I heard the word “diet”, I envisioned tiny servings of tasteless food. With the Trim Healthy Mama plan, I am able to make all sorts of delicious foods. The portions are not small; the whole concept is eating the right food combination to help lose and maintain my specific goal. I also like the fact; I do not have to count calories. Counting calories always made me feel like a failure every time I would go past the recommended intake amount.

Convincing my husband was a difficult task in the beginning. But after the first week of trying Crabby Patties, Zucchini Fires, Volcano Mud Slide Muffin and the Sunday Crock Pot Roast, he was more willing get on board with the new healthy eating mindset.

Even though we have just started this journey, I am hopeful for a positive, healthier lifestyle.  I like the fact that the book includes references and verses from the Bible. The fact that two sisters started this program and succeeded, give me hope. I like the fact that the program was designed by real women who know the struggles of trying to lose weight.

I recently spotted the most amazing red dress that I want to wear for my anniversary party in six months. For me, having a goal of fitting into the dress and surprising my husband helps me stay on track.

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Preventing and Dealing With Kitchen Fires

Preventing and Dealing With Kitchen Fires
Recently, my sister dealt with this very subject. Fortunately, she knew what to do. Fires are very unfortunate. They cause the loss of property and loss of lives. If you make it out with only a few injuries, you are very lucky. The thing is, most people take the subject of house fires for granted and feel that it can never happen to them. Unfortunately, house fires happen everyday. The good news is, they can be prevented.

When it comes to fires, the kitchen is the prime starting point. Cooking, making coffee and other similar activities can quickly accelerate into a disastrous and consuming house fire. Since many fires originate from stove tops, there is a chance of fire every time a meal is prepared.

Kitchen fire prevention

There are many ways to prevent a kitchen fire before it ever starts. They can turn into raging monsters that are hard to tame. If you are careful, you will never have to encounter that monster. A few simple steps are all that is needed to be the safest cook in the kitchen.

  • Never leave the kitchen when cooking. Foods can quickly overflow or burn if you forget that you are cooking. Don’t be surprised; it happens more often than you think. Even though you may have loads of things to do, it pays to stand close by while cooking.
  • Turn off the coffee pot. When you are not using the coffee pot to brew a delicious cup of Joe, you should unplug and turn the machine off.
  • Pay attention to what you are wearing while cooking. Long flowing sleeves or extremely long necklaces can cause complications while preparing the meal. Your clothing can easily catch on fire and cause injury. Garage Tool Advisor recently posted a great article on fire safety in the kitchen mixed in with some of their tool reviews. Be sure to take a look.

Taming the fire

fire extinguisherFires can spread out of control in a very short time. Since something went wrong during your food preparation or when you left the coffee pot on all night, you will may be faced with an accident. If there is a fire in your kitchen, then you need to know what to do.

  • A fire has erupted from a grease spill. Your first instinct may be to douse the fire with water. This is the worst mistake you could make. The best thing to use to put out a grease fire, is salt. Salt actually smothers the flame, taking away oxygen. A fire cannot live without oxygen.
  • Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby. This item is one of the best safety tools you can buy and can save your kitchen and leave you with only a burned pan. You must make sure that you know how to use the fire extinguisher before you attempt to put the fire out. If you don’t, you should call the fire department immediately.

Yes, fires can be devastating, but you can prevent them with a little common sense. If you find yourself dealing with a fire and not sure what too do, call the fire department and leave the battle to the experts. After all, the kitchen fire can be fatal and it should never be taken for granted.

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Garage Organization Tips

Garage Organization Tips

Well Winter is technically behind us even though parts of the country still have snow on the ground. Spring is here and along with that comes Spring cleaning. Like others, the garage is one of the first places we begin to clean and organize. I really believe that the best way to organize your garage is to wait for a couple of sunny days where you can take everything out of your cluttered garage and go through it. It may be a good idea to have a yard sale with the items you can do without. True, there are many items you would like to keep, but you will find out that as you go through things, there will be some items that you really can do without.

Storage

Shelves in your garage are always a good way to store smaller items. I prefer Rubbermaid shelves over any others. Plan ahead and get the right amount of shelving you need to supply the needed space for all of your small items. Don’t keep stuff in boxes where you can’t find it. You want to have access to everything you need. Also, it may help to place the shelving in a rather hidden place, or perhaps a functional area where it is needed. You may want to hang some items from the wall, including skis, fishing rods, and other miscellaneous larger items that you may have.

Make it functional

After you have gone through all of your things, and sorted out what you don’t need, it is time to start placing your possessions in the organizational systems that you have arranged for them. Place things where you can access them easily depending on what you plan to do at any given time in the garage. This is about the time my husband takes the winter tires off our car and puts them in storage. Since he’s so into cars, as his Christmas gift, I got him the best floor jack I could find for under $200. Because of the weight, he’s going to keep it right by the garage door. If you have a workbench nearby, place other tools next to it. Place like items together. For instance, place any gardening tools (like shovels or the Grass Stitcher) together, the gas cans together, the paint all in one place, and so on. Plan ahead, and then your daily uses of the things in the garage will be easier.

Keep it simple

Don’t overdo any stage of the process. If you have any doubts about getting rid of something, just keep it for now, you can always do something with it later. Also, think of friends and acquaintances who could perhaps use some of your unwanted items. A thorough cleaning and organizing is good for every garage occasionally.

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How to Ditch Your Landline Phone

How to Ditch Your Landline Phone

As cell phones overshadow traditional land line telephones as many people’s primary communications device, keeping a landline can seem redundant. And, paying for a landline seems wasteful, especially when it goes unused. For the longest time, a landline was necessary in order to maintain an internet connection. It has also been the best way to keep a line of communication open to a household with several members and been the most reliable way to have access to 911 service. Times, however, are changing.

Skype

skypeAs most people are probably aware, Skype uses instant messaging software to allow people to video chat. What many people may not be aware of is that you can use Skype for voice and text messaging as well.

Bluetooth

One way to get a home phone without paying for a landline is to use Bluetooth technology to connect your cordless phone to your cell. You can have two phones with only one bill. Panasonic, Goodcall and Uniden all offer Bluetooth-enabled cordless phones.

UMA

Not many people know about Unlicensed Mobile Access. It is a technology that allows your mobile phone to connect to your home Wi-fi to make free phone calls. Best of all, it won’t count against your monthly minutes. Check with your mobile carrier to see if this service is available to you.

Smartphone Apps

There are many Smartphone apps such as Free calls with Magic Jack, Viber and Line2– just to name a few– that will allow you to make free phone calls to anyone in the U.S. and Canada no matter whether they have a landline or are using a mobile device.

Magic Jack

magic jackMagic Jack is a tiny device that plugs into the USB port on your computer. Once a regular phone jack is plugged into the other end of Magic Jack, you can make inexpensive phone calls. For $20 per year you can make unlimited calls to the U.S. and Canada and pay nothing for incoming calls. The only catch with Magic Jack is that you have to have a solid internet connection, otherwise you will experience a lot of dropped calls.

Cell Phone Booster

Even though you may have a cell phone, poor reception is the biggest hindrance to people getting rid of their home phone. Most cell phone boosters (or repeaters) work through your internet and a GPS signal to amplify the signal from the nearest cell tower. Their is an upfront expense of a couple hundred dollars but it pays for itself in a matter of a few months and dropped calls and conversations that cut out will be a thing of the past. Be sure to read some cell phone booster reviews on the net to help you pick out the right model. As for those cell phone signal booster stickers? They’re a scam and don’t work.

Landline-free Internet

A large part of the reason many people hang on to their landlines long after they have ceased to use them for communication is that many companies require a landline for internet service. As technology progresses and becomes more available to the public, however, landlines become less and less necessary even for this.

Dry loop DSL

Dry loop DSL ( also known as naked DSL, stand alone or dryline) uses your homes phone line but does not require phone service to be active.

Cable

If you have cable television service, you can receive internet via your television cable. Check with your cable provider to see if they offer this service.

Satellite

Just as you can get television service via satellite, you can get internet service via satellite. Best of all, you don’t have to subscribe to a television service to receive internet service in this way.

Mobile Broadband

The same technology that allows you to connect to the internet on your smartphone, can now allow you to turn your laptop into a Wi-fi hotspot. If you spend much time on your computer, however, this can be a costly alternative.

As technology advances and becomes more widely available to the general public, a landline telephone becomes redundant and thus unnecessary. Being able to ditch your landline can also lower monthly expenses.

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Need a Good Baby Gift?

Need a Good Baby Gift?

I can’t count how many different toys we have around the house made by Playskool. With the Playskool Busy Ball Popper, babies will get silly with poppin’ and droppin’ colored balls! Pump the plunger and then drop the balls onto the bright spiral track. When the balls reach the bottom, watch out! The balls then pop out of the top! Eight lively songs are guaranteed to supply plenty of laughs and giggles and keep the fun rollin’ along. When your baby’s a little older, they can have even more fun by chasing after the fun brightly colored balls. Ages 9 months to 3 years.

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Science Experiments for 4th Graders

Science Experiments for 4th Graders

4th grade science experiments are always one of the more interesting activities to do when it comes to explaining basic science concepts. This stage of learning deals with the study of Matter such as Atoms and Molecules, as well as Force, motion and energy along with Earth, Light, Electricity and much more. It is a very exciting stage for any young student, as 4th grade science covers some of the most important facts and provides the building blocks for higher science education. And as with any good elementary science learning, experiments help keep learning fun and exciting, not to mention it makes absorption of concepts easier since practical applications are being done using the lesson.

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