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Making Beach Trips a Science Lesson for Kids

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Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

 

 

Nature is all around us and it is never as close as when you visit a beach or shore area. Walk along the beach and you will see signs of sea life beneath your feet, remnants washed ashore, each with a story to unfold.

Visiting the beach with young children is especially fruitful because you can see firsthand how children become excited about sights they may be noticing for the first time. I enjoy watching a young child pick up a beached, sun-dried crab and wonder if “it will still bite.” Have you ever watched a child gather seashells and exclaim that all of these treasures are coming home at the end of the day? Stroll along the beach and try to find beach glass with a child and see how intense the search becomes for these dazzling bits of smooth colored glass along the water’s edge. Spending time on a seashore vacation is one of the best ways to introduce a child to the world of science. It may very well be the start of a lifelong interest in this subject.

More Science

Science and math seem to be the two subjects that many children are apprehensive about learning or find the most difficulty in grasping their concepts. Finding ways to excite children in these areas has always been the ambition of teachers who major in either of these subjects. Young children can be easily stimulated and made enthusiastic about things that are new to them. With the right tool these subjects can also be fun.

For the adult shopping for a young child the choices are endless when it comes to creative ways to introduce science to a youngster. Being out of school, showing the child an alternative learning method that does not involve the classroom makes the subject seem like more fun. Think about the young child that may be on your gift-giving list. Why not give that child something educational this year? Not only are there wonderful kits for arts and crafts, there are also items that specialize in science related experiences for the young child.

Shoppers may be able to find these educational items in certain areas of a toy store that feature “learning” as the basis for the toy. A popular store in some malls features toys, games and kits that are exclusive to the world of science. These stores have areas devoted to sea life, the solar system, the animal kingdom, archeology, and a host of other fascinating topics for children that range from nursery school through high school levels.

Go to the library and take out science related books at the child’s level. Visit a pet shop and show the child the different species of fish in the tanks, birds in cages, or the little hamsters and gerbils turning their wheels crawling around their habitats. These are all science based activities children will love and remember as a fun learning experience.

 

 

August 8, 2018 |

Caring for Caregivers

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To Your Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Prevent Caregiver Burnout

(Family Features) While caring for an older family member – whether it be a spouse, parent or grandparent – can be a rewarding experience, it can also be a difficult and overwhelming task. This is especially true if your loved one lives with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia-related illnesses.

Whether it’s out of love or obligation, caring for a chronically ill or disabled family member (and potentially his or her financial and legal interests) can come at the expense of the caregiver’s quality of life. In addition to maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle outside of caregiving responsibilities, it is important for those caring for a loved one to learn ways to avoid health hazards and stay well-informed of any changes in their loved one’s condition. Add work and children to care for to the equation and it’s a formula that can lead to stress, exhaustion and even potential health issues.

The additional duties often required to provide care for a loved one can lead to physical or emotional fatigue, often referred to as “caregiver burnout.” If you’re caring for an older adult, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America recommends these tips to help manage stress before caregiving leads to burnout.

Know the signs of burnout. By the time many caregivers suspect signs of burnout, they’re likely already suffering symptoms related to their responsibilities. Being aware of some of the warning signs can help caregivers properly manage stress and protect themselves. Warning signs include:

  • Overwhelming fatigue or lack of energy
  • Experiencing sleep issues
  • Significant changes in eating habits or weight
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Neglecting personal physical and emotional needs
  • Becoming unusually impatient, irritable or argumentative
  • Having anxiety about the future or a feeling of hopelessness
  • Suffering from headaches, stomachaches or other physical ailments
  • Experiencing depression or mood swings
  • Having difficulty coping with everyday tasks
  • Lower resistance to illnesses

Educate yourself about the disease. It’s likely the loved one you care for has several health problems, takes multiple medications and sees multiple health care providers to manage his or her conditions. As a first step in learning more about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-related illnesses, visit alzfdn.org or nia.nih.gov/alzheimers for information. Support groups, educational workshops, community resources and professionals can also help increase your understanding of the disease and what to expect so you can be a better-informed and prepared caregiver.

Be prepared for important decisions. Take care of financial, legal and long-term care planning issues early on to help reduce stress later. Try to involve the individual in decision-making if he or she is capable, and consider personal wishes regarding future care and end-of-life issues.

Build your care skills. Key skills for any caregiver include communication, understanding safety considerations and behaviors, and managing activities of daily living such as bathing, toileting and dressing. Some organizations and local hospitals may even offer classes specific to your loved one’s disease that can aid you in the process.

Develop empathy. Try to understand what it is like to be a person living with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Put yourself in the affected person’s shoes while also recognizing your own losses. Manage your expectations of your loved one and remain patient.

Ask for help when you need it. Reach out to medical and mental health professionals as well as family and friends. They can assist you when things get tough. In addition, there are typically programs, agencies and organizations in your community that can help manage the challenges of caring for older parents, grandparents, spouses and other older adults.

Advocate for and connect with your loved one. Take an active role in the individual’s medical care. Get to know the care team, ask questions, express concerns and discuss treatment options. Also remember to connect on a personal level through kindness, humor and creativity, which are essential parts of caregiving and can help reduce stress.

Think positive. Focus on the capabilities and strengths that are still intact and enjoy your relationship with your loved one while you are still together. Look for ways to include him or her in your daily routines and gatherings to make as many memories as possible.

Find more caregiver resources and tips at alzfdn.org.

 

Tips for Managing Caregiver Stress

Stress can affect anyone and caregivers may find themselves faced with additional stressors. To help manage stress and avoid caregiver burnout, keep these tips from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America in mind:

  • Maintain a positive attitude
  • Be flexible and accept the circumstances
  • Be honest and open about your feelings
  • Take it one day at a time
  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Incorporate stress management techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing, as well as exercise into your daily routine
  • Drink plenty of water and eat a healthful diet full of fruits and vegetables
  • Set realistic goals and go slow

Getting Help with Caregiving

Everyone needs a break from time to time, even caregivers. Look into respite programs for a chance to care for yourself. Types of respite include:

Home Care

  • Home care is often initiated by a doctor’s order or hospital stay and administered by medical professionals who come into the home and help with personal care and housekeeping functions.
  • Medicare covers some home health services.

Adult Day Programs

  • Social-model programs offer stimulation, socialization and therapeutic activities in a community-based group setting and often include meals.
  • Medical-model programs (adult day health care programs), offer health-based services as well as social activities in a group setting.
  • Some programs include assistance with activities of daily living and transportation.
  • Adult day services charge per hour and may be covered under some long-term care insurance policies.
  • Medicaid covers some adult day health programs.

Facility-Based Respite

  • Provide a short stay for your loved one in a nursing home or another facility.
  • Facilities typically charge for each day your loved one is in their care.
  • Medicare or Medicaid may cover some costs of an inpatient facility.

Family and Friends

  • Identify responsible family members and friends who can lend a hand in providing supervision for your loved one and create a rotating care schedule, if possible.
  • Enlist the help of family members living in different states by assigning them tasks such as legal or financial paperwork.

 

Photos courtesy of Dreamstime (Couple walking)

 

 

August 8, 2018 |

Ingredients Matter

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In Good Taste

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add nutritious, natural ingredients for a healthier you

(Family Features) When it comes to making tasty meals for your family, you probably know that ingredients matter. From vitamins and nutrients to sugar and acidity, it’s important to know what you’re using in your recipes at every meal and how each ingredient can impact all parts of the body.

To help understand how ingredients matter and how quality ingredients can keep your body healthy, consider these tips from registered dietitian, celebrity nutritionist and healthy cooking expert Keri Glassman, MS, RDN.

  1. Mind your veggies. Nearly everyone knows veggies are a vital part of any healthy diet. They are high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and pack loads of fiber, but not everyone knows what health benefits you get from specific vegetables. For example, Brussels sprouts are packed with vitamin C to support your immune health and dried figs are known for lowering blood pressure and optimizing digestion.
  2. Just add lemon. Water with lemon can aid in digestion and boost your immune system due to its high vitamin C content, so adding it to water is one way to reap these benefits. While including lemons in your diet has its perks, it’s also important to know they are acidic in nature and eating highly acidic foods can impact your oral health.
  3. Be mindful of acid attacks. Every day, everyone’s mouths go through hundreds of “acid attacks,” mainly due to eating and drinking. While a variety of foods can have positive health benefits, they also carry acids that can weaken tooth enamel. To help combat this, take advantage of the acid-neutralizing power of baking soda, an ingredient found in Arm & Hammer Toothpastes. Baking soda helps neutralize acids, while gently cleaning and removing plaque, so your teeth and gums stay healthy and strong. Find more information at ArmandHammer.com.
  4. Say hello to healthy fats. Nuts carry healthy unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for cardiovascular health, mental health and cholesterol, so they can be a natural component for a healthy diet. Fat can be your friend, but stay mindful about not going overboard, as the calories can add up fast.
  5. Avoid added sugar. Sugar can cause inflammation in people’s bodies and is known to potentially impact cardiovascular health and weight, and can have a negative effect on our teeth. Sugar is often a sneaky ingredient that can be found in condiments and salad dressings. Avoid added sugar by making homemade dressings using lemon juice, oil and herbs, or checking labels to make sure you avoid added sugar whenever possible.

 

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Pecorino and Hazelnuts

Recipe courtesy of Keri Glassman, MS, RDN

Lemon Dressing:

1/2       cup olive oil

1/4       cup fresh lemon juice

1/2       teaspoon salt

1/4       teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Salad:

1/2       cup hazelnuts, lightly crushed

olive oil, to taste

rosemary, to taste

salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

4          cups shaved Brussels sprouts

1/2       cup dried figs, chopped

1/3       cup finely sliced red onion

4          tablespoons Lemon Dressing

1          grapefruit, segmented

1/3       cup shredded pecorino cheese

Heat oven to 375 F.

To make Lemon Dressing: mix olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

On lined baking sheet, toss hazelnuts with olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper, to taste.

Roast 10-15 minutes, or until lightly brown; let cool.

In large mixing bowl, toss roasted hazelnuts, Brussels sprouts, figs, red onion and dressing until combined.

Plate about 1/4 of mixed salad, top with a few grapefruit segments and sprinkle with

cheese.

 

August 8, 2018 |

The Carrot and the Stick

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Frank J. Rich

 

 

A life’s journey has a way of imprinting experience. The learned application of its lessons often requires the reflection that cements the meaning in things, and the motivation to employ it. The oft spoken “carrot and stick,” as a motivator, is root to more initiatives than first imagined.

I’ve spent time with horses, the fabled partner in the eponymous expression, whose natural and acquired behavior reveals the design in the idiom. Any that have animals around—dogs, cats, chicken, and livestock—know well the habitual tracking in each that gives insight to human behavior. In the end, we may not be far from instinct in most things we do.

In the workplace, increased productivity is the “striving for” that fuels opportunity and growth for employees. Coupled with profits, the model is a successful blueprint of a simple business ethic. In postwar Europe, the productivity wane was the result of a fading value in productive endeavors. As “The Daily Advertiser” reported in 1948, the economic difficulties facing the continent were the malaise of a workforce easily employed, but less given to productive outcomes. “Productivity has fallen because the compelling incentive to produce has disappeared,” it concluded. Not entirely the fault of plentiful jobs and social service schemes, the era’s worker found little partnership with motivation. There simply was not enough value in it.

The idea in the “carrot and stick” approach was to offer a combination of rewards and punishment to induce good behavior. Its original context named a cart driver dangling a carrot in front of a mule and holding a stick behind it. The mule followed the reward (the carrot), while avoiding the stick behind it, since it feared the punishment of pain, thus moving the cart forward. We may liken it to the psychology of income tax payment. We fear the IRS, but are motivated to deliver a timely tax return each year to put the fear of an audit behind us. It is perhaps why so many overpay their taxes and set up a reward (refund) at tax time.

Bonus incentives are a takeoff on the original model. Promised, but less often realized, the bonus spurs individuals to greater performance (theoretically). It ceases to work when bonus goals are viewed as unrealistic or seldom met by work teams. The punishment is the termination of those who fail to meet goals.

Much of what we do involves a similar effort at motivation. We might excite good behavior in our children with the promise of ice cream, use of the family car to a teenager in return for good grades, a tasty treat for Fido for performing a nifty trick, etc. The root motivator in us all is the self-actualization that fashions rewards—pride in achievement, joy in making another happy by what we do, the thrill in risk taking, etc.

While fear is not a successful long-term motivator, it is in the tissue of most, if not the driving force in the things we do. Fear of failure complicates more lives than the wisdom that “man doesn’t make mistakes, mistakes make the man.” That notwithstanding, most are hard-pressed to employ the discipline that proves results. Few become “expert” at something for the unwillingness to put in the “practice that makes perfect.” How many more start piano lessons than actually develop the everyday skill to enjoy playing the instrument? “Of course, I took piano lessons as a child, didn’t everyone?”

August 3, 2018 |

Travelin’ Man and Other Destination Songs

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Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

 

 

I’m driving the car listening to Sirius radio and enjoying the decades of songs available at my fingertips. Depending on my mood, I might feel nostalgic and play music from the 1960s and 70s, or perhaps another decade. My next favorite decade is the 1980s, for a different reason. It was when two of our children were in their teens and the house was filled with this music and their friends were over and sometimes dancing in the family room.

Those were certainly fun days for all of us! Creeping into the early 90s music, our youngest had a different blend of her favorites — some were good and with others, I’d ask her to lower the music blaring from her room as I found it annoying. She was a dancer and lead choreographer in high school and college so her musical tastes were eclectic to say the least. She’d play Mozart when studying, but switched to totally different music when she was rehearsing a Janet Jackson or Madonna dance routine for a school dance show. As I listened recently to Ricky Nelson’s Travelin’ Man classic from 1961, I thought about how many songs had a destination in their title. See how many you remember.

Quiz

  1. The classic soul Gladys Knight & the Pips 1973 hit: Midnight Train to?
  2. Yellow Rose of ?
  3. Tony Bennett’s signature song is I Left My Heart in?
  4. No one sings this song better than Patti Page about the sand dunes and salty air of Old (two words).
  5. Glen Campbell’s sad, but romantic By the Time I Get to? This was only one of his destination hits.
  6. The other was a Vietnam era song popular between 1965 and 1967. Listen closely to the sad lyrics of this song about a place that begins with the letter G.
  7. Of course I can’t leave out my all time favorite, Elvis Presley and his Blue?
  8. A 1943 Broadway collaboration, the first musical written by the team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein was about what state? The title of this play is the same as one of the classic songs of the production.
  9. For readers who remember the TV program, Your Hit Parade, this song stayed on top of the pop chart for five weeks. The title was Deep in the Heart of ?
  10. Let’s not forget “Ol Blue Eyes,” Frank Sinatra’s signature tune.

Answers:

  1. Georgia
  2. Texas
  3. San Francisco
  4. Cape Cod
  5. Phoenix
  6. Galveston
  7. Hawaii
  8. Oklahoma!
  9. Texas
  10. New York, New York
August 1, 2018 |

Add Sizzle to Summer Salads

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In Good Taste

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Family Features) During the warm summer months, salad makes for a refreshing lunch or convenient dinner option that can be delicious and nutritious. With a variety of salad options available, they don’t have to be boring or monotonous.

For example, greens can instantly transform into a unique meal when you add creative options like duck breast to help elevate the dish. Because it’s a red meat, duck breast provides a hearty taste, similar to steak, while being leaner and lower in saturated fat than other red meats.

In this Cherry-Glazed Duck Breast Salad, homemade cherry vinaigrette glazes duck breast and dresses baby spinach while blue cheese and slivered almonds add texture and flavor. As a bonus, you can save the duck breast skin to make cracklins for a quick snack or crunchy salad topping.

Find more salad recipes and tips for cooking with duck at mapleleaffarms.com.

Cherry-Glazed Duck Breast Salad
Recipe courtesy of Chef Ted Cizma on behalf of Maple Leaf Farms
Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

 

Cherry Vinaigrette:
2          cups dried cherries, divided
3          cups hot water
1/3       cup raspberry vinegar
1          cup extra-virgin olive oil
            salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

2          Maple Leaf Farms Boneless Duck Breasts

6          cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves, washed and trimmed

2          cups blue cheese
2          cups slivered almonds

To make Cherry Vinaigrette: In small saucepan over low heat, cover 1 cup cherries with water. Bring to simmer, cover pan and remove from heat. Let cherries soak in hot water 15-20 minutes. Strain cherries and reserve liquid.

In food processor or blender, puree cherries until smooth, adding reserved liquid as necessary. Add raspberry vinegar to cherry mixture. With blender or food processor on low, slowly add olive oil, reserving about 2 tablespoons. Season mixture, to taste, with salt and pepper. Set aside Cherry Vinaigrette.

Heat grill to medium heat. Remove skin from duck breasts. Rub with remaining olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Pour some Cherry Vinaigrette into separate container to use as glaze; reserve remaining for dressing. Using pastry brush, coat duck breasts with Cherry Vinaigrette.

Cook duck until crisp and dark brown (about 5-6 minutes), turn over and recoat with Cherry Vinaigrette. Continue cooking until second side is crisp and brown, brushing with vinaigrette as needed, about 4 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 155 F. Remove to cutting board and let rest at least 5 minutes.

Place spinach in mixing bowl. Toss spinach with enough dressing to coat leaves. Add blue cheese, almonds and most of remaining dried cherries, reserving some of each for garnish. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide spinach mixture among four bowls.

Slice duck breast thinly on bias, starting at one end of each breast with knife at 45-degree angle.

Fan slices of duck on top of each salad. Sprinkle each salad with crumbled blue cheese, almonds and dried cherries.

August 1, 2018 |
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