Monday, March 25, 2019

Honey Glazed Chicken & Sweet Potatoes #Recipe #chicken #instapotsweetpotatoes

Carter enjoying honey glazed chicken, 
sweet potatoes with cranberries, 
and regular old applesauce from a jar. 

Kid tested and approved! I'm always looking for fast, easy food that all of my guys agree on. This meal is almost a unanimous hit. Not all the boys like sweet potatoes, but they all agree the chicken is seconds-worthy.

For the sweet potatoes:

Peel and slice 3 pounds of sweet potatoes
Melt half stick of butter in the microwave, add 1/4 cup of honey to the melted butter, and mix

Pour over the sweet potatoes and stir.
Add dried cranberries. I added a half cup or more because we like the tart flavor with the sweet.

Add 1/4 cup water. Cook on high pressure for 8 minutes.

I've also cooked these in the oven. Cook covered on 350 degrees for about an hour.

For the chicken:

Sprinkle chicken breast sliced into strips with steak seasoning and allow to marinade a bit. I used Longhorn seasoning. It has a bit of a kick to it without making the chicken too spicy.

Then, I pan-fried the chicken in a bit of oil, until done, then tossed them in a mixing bowl.

Once all the chicken was cooked, I threw a half stick of butter and a quarter cup of honey in the pan and allowed it to come to a boil before removing from the heat and pouring over the chicken and mixing.

It's ready to serve!

If you don't want to run out and buy a bottle of seasoning, here's a knock off recipe:
Long Horn Seasoning Knock Off Recipe

Monday, March 18, 2019

#Anti-Aging Advice

Getting older is a drag! But it doesn't have to be. The best anti-aging advice:

Don't act your age!

Attitude is everything. It takes you farther, lifts or dampens your mood, and affects those around you. If you act youthful, you will feel more youthful. Teaching, I feel younger all day! Until I glimpse myself in the mirror. Ugh. SKIN is where aging shows the most.

So for the physical helpful hints, I turn to medical professionals, online and in magazines... While I was in the airport waiting forever this January, I picked up one of my favorite magazines for healthy advice: PREVENTION. It was packed with great tips.

Here's what Dermatologists said in it about Anti-Aging (Jan 2019, by Michelle Crouch):

  • Sunscreen is #1, a given
  • Retinol, in creams, should be applied nightly. They said it "brightens skin tone, improves brown spots, and makes skin feel smoother."
  • A Gentle Touch - I try to remind myself to do this when I clean my face at night--skin around the eye is the most sensitive. If you rub too hard, "it can stretch out your eyelid skin, causing wrinkles..."
  • Simple Washcloths - handy tools for "light exfoliation"
  • Soap-Free Body Wash - soap can be drying. It removes natural oils, like "detergent gets rid of the oil in a frying pan"
  • Apply while Wet - after shower or cleansing, apply moisturizers "to seal in the water."
  • Neck & Chest - don't forget about that skin! Include it in your skin care regimen.
  • Take a Break - You should create good skin care habits, but also take a break for a few days, especially if your skin seems irritated.
  • Eye Gels & Patches - try them in the morning after a late or sleepless night before putting on makeup to soften lines and diminish puffiness.
  • Avoid: bright lights, loofahs, drinking out of a straw (huh!), a dirty pillowcase
  • Glove Treatment - I do this in the winter when my hands get extremely dry: after soaking my hands, I apply vaseline (they said a rich hand cream works too) and wear vinyl gloves overnight--for feet, use socks.

In the same issue, I read that Cocoa can help slow down the signs of aging. I went out to buy some to try... I'll let you know how it works out!

There were more tips, but I will save them for another post.

So 2 best Anti-Aging Tips: Think Young and Take Care of Your Skin!
Good luck to us!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Cell Phones #Emergencies #Tips

A few month's ago, I was invited to a senior center to sign books. After the signing, the visiting authors were invited to stay for lunch and to sit in on the seminars. One of the seminars offered was lecture from a representative from the FCC discussing cell phone safety. He had several great tips, so I started taking notes to share here!

With spring and summer storms coming, there will inevitably be power outages. For those who have kept landlines, that won't be a problem. But if you're like me and only have a cell's a few tips for surviving power outages with only a cell phone:
*Keep your phone charged.
*Buy a portable battery charger and keep it charged and ready. (They're small external batteries you can plug your phone into and charge up. They come in many different power amounts. I have both a small one that will do a single charge and a larger one that will charge several times. See what's available on Amazon. .)
*Set phone to battery saver in the phone's settings.
*Email and text people to save battery because phone calls drain the battery faster.
*Remember you can charge your phone in your car. One summer, our electric was out for over a week. We made a lot of trips to the theater for air-conditioned entertainment and charged our electronics as we drove!

Phone bills:
Question all charges. Anything the phone company cannot properly explain, contact the FCC. A common bill problem is "cramming" or charging people for services without authorization.

Lost Phones:
*Report lost and stolen phones to your carrier.
*Know your carrier and how to reach them. My son's phone was stolen and we contacted AT&T and they helped us locate the phone to a specific address. We called our local police and the phone was turned over without a problem. (Do this quickly! Once the SIM card is removed, it's no longer traceable.)
*Wipe your phone. Almost all phones can be remotely cleared so there is no breach of personal information.

Miscellaneous phone tips:

*Back up your pictures: Periodically download picture to your computer.
OR share them to Facebook . You can post albums and pictures either by sharing with friends, or set to private so that only you can see them. Here's a good how-to share privately.
OR use Amazon Prime. If you're a prime member, you can download an app to your phone and computer and pictures will be downloaded to your Amazon account automatically.  

*Don't answer calls from unknown numbers to avoid scammers. Cell phone numbers don't have caller ID like the old line phones did. Set up voicemail and allow all unrecognized numbers to go to voicemail. If they're legitimate calls, they will leave a message and you can call back.

*Password protect your phone. Not only does it stop a thief from getting your private information, if you're ever arrested, it stops you from sharing information with the police too prematurely. ;)

Monday, March 4, 2019

Give a kid a box

Does anyone remember when a box was the greatest thing to play with? I would make all kinds of things out of boxes--from Barbie condos and cars to homes for critters found in the wild! Do kids even do that stuff anymore? Not for long once the growth sprouts in their hands.

I see kids younger and younger playing on devices--I cringe or shake my head every time. I hate seeing the world deteriorate into mindless, addicted zombies. Where has all the real life interaction gone? I really love my school for outlawing phones during the school day and sticking to it! The kids seem much more engaged than at most other schools.

I continue to promote creativity and imagination without technology (as you read this on a screen, ugh). And I still love boxes and use them for all sorts of things. So, here are some non-screen activity ideas for kids with just a box!

  • Large boxes
    • Pretend Vehicles and TVs are good old standards for large boxes.
    • Puppet shows are great fun and imagination stirrers.
    • Forts are always a big hit--and if you don't have enough boxes, use sheets and chairs!
    • We made a Fun House Tunnel once and it was hilarious!
    • Open them up and cut them up for armor or props or sliding down a grassy hill!
    • Paint on them or use them under art projects
    • Large boxes are also great for keeping bigger toys organized

  • Smaller boxes
    • Tissue and shoe boxes are a perfect size for vehicles or furniture for stuffed friends and action figures
    • boxes are great for making up games, like tossing stuff into them or stacking them...
    • Even toy-makers know the value of a box, selling brick-painted boxes for kids to build with. How nice of them--but I say, collect your tissue boxes and you're all set!
      not what I had in mind
      but this is cool!
    • Plant herbs or flowers and watch them grow
    • Make a photo box for grandma
    • I used to make robots with my little guys out of the cardboard and duct tape
    • These boxes are also great for storing the small stuff--from art supplies to happy meal toys
These are just a few suggestions. And though you know you can find tons of ideas and instructional videos online, sometimes sitting down with the kids and brainstorming creativity yourselves is part of the fun. We have to keep trying to balance tech with hands-on. Make those brains work instead of vegging out looking at a screen all day!

I'd love to hear your suggestions, too. Old or new, boxes are fantastic imagination kick-starters!

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