Archive for July, 2007

Mexican Chicken Wraps

2 cups skinless boneless chicken breast, cooked and cubed
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup chunky salsa
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded lettuce
4 cholesterol free flour tortillas about 10 inches in diameter

Combine salsa, mayonnaise, and the sour cream. Then mix in the cheddar cheese and chicken. Evenly scoop onto the tortillas and sprinkle with lettuce. Fold over the sides and serve.


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Book Name: The Clue of the Broken Locket
Submitted by: Kendall (12 yrs old)
Rating: 8
Where to buy: Amazon.com

Description: This is the 11th book in the original Nancy Drew series. Nancy Drew is an 18-yr-old detective. Her father is a lawyer. She has two best friends, Bess and George, who are cousins that often help Nancy solve her mysteries.

Review: Nancy Drew is challenged to find out what is going on at the lodge across the lake from where she is staying. She is also challenged to find a hidden family treasure – with her only clue a broken locket.

I enjoyed this book as much as I enjoyed all the other books in the Nancy Drew series.

Special thanks to my daughter for writing this review for me 🙂

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Baby Shower Favor Ideas

Remember going to birthday parties as a little kid? You always came home with a goodie bag. Sometimes it would contain candy or bubbles or a pinwheel. It was so fun to go to a party for someone else’s birthday and come up with a little present for yourself.

Bring a present – get a present. We still get to do that as grown-ups … only now we call them “favors.”

It’s a nice gesture to have something that your guests can take home with them after the festivities are finished. If your shower will be like most, you’ll probably play some silly games. No game would be complete without prizes or favors.

It’s a good idea to have a little something for everyone to take home. Here are a few ideas:

  • How about a little tin candle with a custom label that reads “Your friendship lights my day. Thanks for being part of my special day”?
  • Most everyone likes chocolate. Little boxes of chocolate that read, “You’re so sweet. Thanks for coming to my baby shower.” Or a little package of nuts wrapped in tulle, “You’re nuts. But that’s why we’re friends – thank you for coming to my shower.”
  • Lotion is always a good little favor for women. Be careful not to get something too fragrant – as some people are bothered by strong scents.
  • A small gift booklet with the inscription on the inside cover: “I appreciate your wisdom and support of my new baby.” Or “Thanks for all times I’ve cried on your shoulder, I appreciate you.” Or if you don’t feel very sentimental how about simply: “Thanks for coming to my baby shower. June 1, 200x”

The truth is that it doesn’t really matter what you offer as a favor. It’s a small token of your appreciation for the time your friends devoted to celebrate your baby.

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Everywhere you look, it seems like everyone has a baby. Maybe it’s your neighbors, friends, or just famous people on T.V. This can make the fact that you can’t seem to get pregnant even more disconcerting.

Before you get frustrated or upset, remember that your chances of having a child are better than they’ve ever been. Not only are there new technologies to help you have a child, there’s also more extensive research on what helps and hurts your chances of conception.

Here are a few tips to help start you on the track to having your own child.

Consult a Professional
If you’re having problems conceiving, you should start by seeing health care professional. While many people’s fertility problems can be solved without medical intervention, it’s best to make sure you don’t require treatment in order to have a child. The man should be tested first because fertility testing is much easier for males.

Cut Back on Your Bad Habits
Consuming alcohol and caffeine, and smoking can all decrease fertility factors in men and women. In the case of smoking, these effects may be permanent; so start quitting today.

Possible Medical Conditions?
When people think of fertility and doctors, they often think of in vitro fertilization and other artificial forms of conception, but that’s not all they can do. For instance, the most common cause of infertility in men is a varicose vein blocking the passage of sperm which can be corrected with a minor surgery. There are other problems that also require simple treatments to fix.

Cut Back on the Sex
It may seem contradictive, but many couples don’t get pregnant because they’re having sex too often. Frequent ejaculation causes the sperm count to be lower because men can only produce sperm so fast. For the highest sperm count, you should wait three days to have sex again. Because of this, a fertility monitor can come in handy so you know when the best time to conceive is. By taking three day breaks, it is very easy to miss your window of opportunity if you’re not careful.

Cut Back on the Stress
Another common cause of infertility is high stress levels. This creates a cyclical problem because the longer it takes you to conceive, the more stressed you get that something might be wrong. You and your spouse should both take time to relax and unwind. You might consider doing yoga together or just giving each other massages at the end of the day.

Watch Your Diet
Eat a healthy, well balanced diet. While most women know they should eat right once they get pregnant, many don’t think about eating good foods while trying to conceive. Your reproductive organs work best when the rest of your body is healthy too. This means eating the foods to stay at your best. Your diets should include organic and natural food products. Eating traditionally grown products can severely inhibit fertility rates. Many foods contain hormones and other chemicals that can throw your natural levels out of whack, decreasing your chances of conceiving.

If your doctor says you’re both fertile, the best method to conceive is to just keep trying. While it may be frustrating, the natural method is usually the best.

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Some kids can’t wait to go back to school to be with their friends and talk about what they did over summer vacation. While others dread going back because they loved being home, spending time with the family, and engaging in all kinds of activities.

Once back at school, however, kids settle in pretty quickly and look forward to learning new things and making new friends. One of the activities most kids look forward to is when they are asked to bring in something special for “Show and Tell” day.

This is a special day for them because they have an opportunity to tell the other kids in their class all about this one item that obviously holds a great memory from the summer.

What are some of the things kids may bring into school for show and tell? Here is a list of some of their “favorite things.”

  1. Bobby may bring in a baseball signed by his favorite ballplayer and tells the class how he was able to obtain it and the signature.
  2. Betsy may have gone to Disneyworld over the summer and brought in a scrapbook she created with pictures to show the class.
  3. Teddy loves NASCAR racing, and he brings in his favorite replica of the winning car while discussing the race and driver.
  4. Jenny has a favorite stuffed teddy bear and she tells the class why it’s her favorite and how she chose the bear’s special name.
  5. Johnny brings in an unusual rock which he found when camping with his had. He talks about why the rock is special and why nature is so important.

While it’s fun for kids who share stories about their favorite toys, stuffed animals, adventures, vacations, pets, dolls, magic tricks, and scrapbooks; it’s also part of the socialization process. For kids who are shy, standing up in front of a class and talking about what they brought to school can increase their self-esteem.

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When decorating a new arrival’s nursery, you don’t have to stick to the usual teddy bears and pastels. There are so many more options available today. Research has shown that bright colors, especially black, red and white, are better for eye development in the early months. Big bold shapes are also good, as they help with focusing.

Here are a few creative art project ideas you can easily make for the baby’s nursery.

Fabric Letters
Get some red, black and white fabric and cut out shapes, numbers and letters – or the child’s name — and arrange them on the walls. Try to use fabric that doesn’t fray (ask the clerk at the fabric store for assistance in the choice). By soaking the pieces in liquid fabric starch (a spray starch works well), the pieces will stick to the wall after it dries, without damaging the surface. This is great to use in an apartment where you may not be able to use nails.

Handprints and Footprints
Decorate the room with the baby’s handprints and footprints. Make a stencil of the print, or if the baby cooperates, actually put the paint on baby’s hands and feet and press on the walls. Each month, you could make a new set of prints to add to the design, to watch your child’s growth. Write your baby’s age on each footprint, so you can see the change.

Family Photo Tree
Paint a simple tree on one wall. Collect nice pictures of the family: parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins. Hang them on the tree. There are a lot of attractive and inexpensive picture frames that would work nicely. If you don’t want to purchase frames, you could even use different color photo mats, and use those to attach the pictures to the wall.

Wall Quilt Collage
Collect baby wallpaper samples to create a “wall quilt” collage. Lay the wallpaper pieces out, and try to use as much of a variety as possible to create a nice pattern. Options: If you’re in an apartment, the samples can be attached to poster board and then hung on the wall. Or, instead of using wallpaper samples, gather the cards from your baby shower and use those instead. “Frame” the art with ribbon to make it look like quilt binding.

With a little time and creativity, it doesn’t have to cost a small fortune to have a unique nursery.

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People with insomnia will try most anything to get to sleep. The endless tossing and turning can be agonizing, so why not try a sleep medicine to get some severely needed rest? Well, because the solution may be much easier than that. Next time you just can’t seem to sleep, try opening the refrigerator for relief instead of the medicine cabinet.

While we tend to overlook it, we all know that food can make us sleepy. After eating a big turkey dinner, it’s hard to do anything but lie down and take a nap. This is because of a chemical you’ve probably heard a lot about in recent years: tryptophan. So what exactly is tryptophan? It actually allows your body to produce an amino acid called L-Tryptophan. This amino acid is essential in the production of the neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin. These help slow down the nerve traffic in your brain, relax you, and allow you to think less and sleep more.

While you’ve already felt the relaxing powers turkey has, you probably aren’t too happy about the prospect of eating turkey before bed every single night. Well, the good news is that turkey isn’t the only source of tryptophan. This chemical is found in dairy products, soy, meat (especially poultry), nuts, fish, beans, eggs, hummus and most other high-protein foods. Eating a small amount of these foods shortly before bed time can help you sleep soundly.

The problem with many of the foods that contain tryptophan is that they also contain an amino acid called tyrosine. This produces chemicals that perk you up and make you more energized. Eaten alone, these acids will counteract each other produce no significant effects in either direction. The key to getting rest is to eat other foods that will allow you to utilize the tryptophan and not the tyrosine. Excellent foods for accomplishing this effect are carbohydrates. They encourage your body to produce insulin which “ties up” the tyrosine and allows the tryptophan to reach the brain without competition. Just be sure to avoid too large amounts of carbs and simple sugars. You can produce too much insulin; causing you to wake up not long after you’ve fallen asleep.

Another way to get the full benefit of tryptophan is to eat foods that will increase your brain’s absorption of this amino acid. The best way to do this is with calcium. And we already learned that dairy products are a great source of tryptophan. This is why our mother’s always gave us a warm glass of milk at night to help us rest; because it works.

So, if you just can’t seem to settle down and get to sleep, try a late night meal containing nature’s sleeping pill: tryptophan. Just remember not too eat too much at night or you’ll likely wake up a few hours later. The most effective plan is to have a moderately sized dinner and a small snack an hour or two before bed. If you eat the right foods at bedtime, you’ll bed drifting off to dreamland in no time.

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