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Handling Money Techniques Can Create a Lifestyle

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Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

 

 

How you handle your money, keep track of it and spend or save it influences your lifestyle. People learn by example, and handling money is no exception. An article about family finances stated that children usually grow up handling their money in a fashion similar to that of their parents. Does the child overhear family issues about “not having enough money to pay the bills” or “how should we invest the money we have saved this year?” The child who observes parents’ strong money values and is taught to spend wisely, to comparison shop, avoid heavy credit card debt, and to save for a rainy day will most likely do the same later on as an adult.

Teaching Taxes

When a parent is in the middle of preparing income taxes, it can be so frustrating that there is little time to think about sharing a “learning experience” with a student. Parents wrapped up in calculations and completing the filing process forget there is a vital mathematics lesson here for their children. A student in their junior or senior year of high school is ready to learn how to prepare income taxes. If the student held a part time job, this is an easy tax form to complete. When our student was a senior she received a W-2 form from her summer employer. Her taxes were not complex, so my husband taught her how to complete her own income tax form that year. His instruction included the importance of neat and accurate writing when filling in all the information, how to find the figures she needed to insert in the boxes, and how to read the form. Her form was the 1040 easy version and a perfect start for learning what filing taxes actually meant. It was not difficult for her and she was able to compute the appropriate final figure for her refund. Naturally, Dad reviewed it to make sure everything was correct and nothing was left out. The feeling of accomplishment was something she talked about months later. Now with the ease of computer software a novice has no problems with this task. New software literally speaks to you and personally guides the user through every step, asking questions, prompting responses and providing tips along the way. This is certainly far easier than the old pencil and calculator method my husband first started with decades ago! By starting at an early age, the student will feel more comfortable tackling the process in the years to come.

January 24, 2018 |

The Root to Attitude

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Frank J. Rich

 

During a recent (rare) holiday with my sister, we launched into a discussion of her work environment. It’s no small wonder, given my irrepressible interest in the business of business. As she detailed the challenges of her operations (as an airline passenger agent) I could hear in them many of the principles of organizational development—leadership, management, salesmanship, decision making, problem solving, attitude building, etc.—that inform right practices. Her terms were different from those common to us who work in the Organization Development field, but as clear and right meaning as any we use.

In the discussion, she got to the point of asking aloud why people do what they do, even though they know better. It is always the right question, and here too, she had the right answer. “They seem to prepare themselves for failure, for poor performance, even though they say the opposite is their goal.” Brilliant! From deep within her real life experience at work, she could feel both the result and the desire for the answer losing their way in so many around her. And in the fullness of that visceral expression she would encourage her fledglings, “You’ve got to bring more than your lunch to work.” Prophetic!

“Fear and Trembling”

In this seminal work by Soren Kierkegaard, philosopher and existentialist (a philosophical movement that denies that the universe has any intrinsic meaning or purpose and requires individuals to take responsibility for their own actions and shape their own destinies), three stages of personal development in commitment are formulated. It is, perhaps, an early attempt at getting to the roots of attitude, the very thing my sister encouraged in offering the advice above.

As Kierkegaard explains it, there are three stages of commitment—the aesthetic, the ethical, and the religious. In simple terms, each forms a level of commitment that dictates the energy and extent to which we perform against expectations. In Kierkegaard’s view, we are “least resistance” oriented. We begin our journey with no “real” or “inured” commitments—simply, we do what feels good. We conform to peer pressure and societal norms around us—the line of least resistance. Few in this position ever consider that they have made a choice as a matter of commitment.

The second stage of commitment begins the process of forming the will in our behavior. Choice, then, is the rudder of our lives. In this stage, we embrace a set of values and beliefs versus alternatives that others might choose, we associate with a group for support and encouragement in living out our choices, and we find a “rational” basis for our choice—that is, we can explain it. These three attributes form the second stage of Kierkegaard’s view of commitmentthe “ethical” stage. However, even though these commitments are “strong and vital,” dependence on the group for continuing approval and support tends to limit the “depth” of one’s personal commitment, according to Kierkegaard.

The third stage of commitment more fully reflects our true self, inasmuch as it is a choice that is independent of the group or its approval. Even though this third level of commitment is normally associated with a group and can be explained rationally, the individual’s “choice” remains his own, independent of the good or poor opinion others may have of him. Here, the individual chooses what he believes is right—the highest form of commitment—completely free of peer pressure, group influence, and praise. This “religious” stage is the highest form of commitment, says Kierkegaard, because it is one’s choice alone, fully disclosed and honest before God. As Kierkegaard puts it, this form of commitment confronts the issue of “honest-to-God” sincerity and is far less available to hypocrisy and deceit than either the “aesthetic” and “ethical” forms. Thus, he chose to call it the “religious” stage of commitment.

Osgood-deVries Attitude Curve

In a continuing effort to reveal the nature of attitude for its elemental goodness, Donald Osgood, management sage, joined with Paul deVries, teacher, philosopher, and thinker, to further inform the process of attitude development. The Osgood-deVries Attitude Curve is what resulted, and in this form helps to simplify the method by which individuals can attain the level of “real” commitment.

 

 

 

 

Similar in many ways to Kierkegaard’s “stages of commitment,” the Attitude Curve suggests that we begin relationships—at work, in society—in an idealistic frame. That is, we are confident in our values and beliefs system, our abilities, and the notion that only the best of things will result. This view, necessarily naïve, leads us to the second level on the curve, according to the authors of it—frustrated! Because reality is so often different from our ideal view, we become frustrated by the unfulfilled expectations of our own naïveté, eliciting fear, anxiety, and indecision.

This leads to defiance, the third level on the Attitude Curve. Realizing that we must take actions to cure these ills, we take matters into our own hands. This may be akin to Kierkegaard’s “ethical” stage in which “choice” comes into play. Unfortunately, defiance too often turns negative and destructive, especially when buried deep inside us, festering a hidden disease. We’ve all seen this behavior in the workplace with those who believe they have been betrayed by the company and begin taking actions to get even. We talk covertly about the ills of the company, its management, and decision making, growing discontent among the ranks along the way.

Those who harbor a defiant attitude usually slip into the fourth position on the Attitude Curve; they are resigned to the mediocrity and dispassion of the defeated. Such purposelessness often breeds the classical behavior of disappointed—disapproval—anger. The destructive nature of this syndrome is legend for its ill effects in the personal and professional lives of people. These people are lost in the interstitial tissue of their lives, hardly aware of their numbness or of the lemming-like quality others see in them. Interestingly, this is a fulcrum point in the development of “attitude.”

This low ebb is where we must go to confront the wrong in us; what all 12-step programs know must precede the first step to recovery—awareness. But without ownership of the problem, there is no solution, simply because we do not solve problems we do not have. It is only after we have achieved this realization, when we have uncovered the untoward effects of our resignation, defiance, and frustration that we can begin to see the opportunity in recovery. It is here that hope is “initiated,” and here that problem solving can begin. As Osgood explains it, at this point we become aware of the damage we have caused and aware of the need to form the seeds of change—inside and out.

Doing something about our condition is a responsible act, and requires the sixth element on the Attitude Curve—decisiveness. We take the rudder in hand, as in Kierkegaard’s view, accountable and responsible for what happens to us from that moment on. We are personally empowered in the process of achieving our own outcomes, and positive by a realistic self-assessment (the 1st element of self-esteem) that we can accomplish what is important to us.

As we grow stronger in decision making, we move on to the highest level of the Osgood-deVries Attitude Curve, that of fulfillment—we are committed. Absent the guilt associated with perfection, we pursue our greatest ideals with a sense of purpose and energy that produces results or personal achievement (the 2nd element of self-esteem).

Not coincidentally, commitment and accountability are inextricably tied to one another. When we are committed, we are accountable to ourselves, to meaningful others, and to God in the sense that we are “realistic, sincere, flexible, purpose driven, and open.” Most of us might not think much about the root of attitude, though very few would count another human quality as more important to the success of any endeavor. Why, then, don’t we do what we know is right and true? Why have we resigned ourselves to the ignominy of a failed existence when so much more is in us? Perhaps, as Kierkegaard, Osgood, deVries, and my sister have discovered, opportunity begins with an awareness that (at least in the workplace) it is necessary to bring more to work than your lunch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 19, 2018 |

Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site Celebrates George Washington’s Birthday

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Come to Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site and help us celebrate George Washington’s Birthday not just one day – but three!!! The event will be held February 17th, 18th and 19th, from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm each day.

There will be music, military demonstrations, historical presentations, and a take-home craft every day. Join us in singing “Happy Birthday” to The General, eat a piece of his birthday cake and enjoy all that each day has to offer.

Admission for all three days is free, though donations are appreciated.

Sponsorship for this program is provided by the Friends of the State Historic Sites of the Hudson Highlands, Palisades Interstate Park Commission and the Palisades Parks Conservancy.

Call 845-562-1195 for further details.

January 17, 2018 |

Fresh Fruit Flavors

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In Good Taste

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Family Features) When it comes to fresh fruit, watermelon is a top pick in many households.

It’s available year-round and makes for a nutritious snack, but its great taste is the reason most people buy watermelon, according to research from the National Watermelon Promotion Board.

Not only is watermelon a tasty snack by itself, it’s a great complement to other flavors, making it easy to create flavorful pairings. This sweet take on pizza combines watermelon with a host of other good-for-you ingredients for a delicious treat. Healthy enough for breakfast and sweet enough for dessert, this pizza can make its way into your weekly meal rotation.

For another nutritious option, consider this Buddha bowl featuring watermelon, which contains higher levels of lycopene, an antioxidant, than any other fresh fruit or vegetable. Watermelon is also an excellent source of vitamin C, and it provides vitamin B6 and potassium. It’s the perfect sweet addition to balance the savory flavors of this traditional plant-based Buddha bowl.

Each of these recipes leaves plenty of room for personalization; experiment with your favorite flavors to make each dish your own. Also remember that watermelon travels well, so these recipes make for ideal take-along snacks when you’re on the go.

Find more fresh, fruity recipes to enjoy any time of year at watermelon.org.

Watermelon Buddha Bowl

Citrusy Tahini Dressing:

3          tablespoons tahini (ground sesame seed paste)

1/3       cup fresh-squeezed orange juice

1/4       cup rice vinegar

1          teaspoon soy sauce

1          teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1/2       teaspoon salt

 

Buddha Bowls:

2          cups seedless watermelon, cubed

4          mini cucumbers, thinly sliced

1          cup sweet cherries, pitted and halved

2          avocados, sliced

2          cups cooked black rice

1          cup sliced, toasted almonds

Citrusy Tahini Dressing

 

To make Citrusy Tahini Dressing: In bowl, whisk tahini, orange juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, ginger and salt. If dressing seems thick, add more orange juice or water to reach desired consistency.

To arrange Buddha Bowls: Separate watermelon, cucumbers, cherries, avocados and rice in four bowls. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately.

Sweet Watermelon Pizza

Greek yogurt

Watermelon, cut to 1-inch thick round slice

Shredded coconut

Mint

Berries, such as blueberries, strawberries or blackberries

Slivered almonds

 

Spread yogurt to cover fleshy part of watermelon, leaving room to hold rind. Sprinkle with coconut, mint, berries and almonds, or other toppings, as desired.

 

 

 

January 17, 2018 |

A Positive Path to a Healthy New You

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To Your Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Family Features) For many people, the New Year brings the resolve to just say no to indulgent food and drink, to inactivity and to a host of other unhealthy habits.

However, you can also approach your reset with balance and positive thinking. This can be your year to say “yes” and rework the all-or-nothing mentality, which can be a more mindful way to reach your goals.

From eating with purpose to finding healthier options for tasty meals, making small changes can help you reap rewards throughout the year. Start 2018 with a clean slate of practical and attainable eating goals that are realistic for the life you want to lead by shopping at a grocery store like ALDI, a one-stop shop with a wide selection of high-quality, affordable food choices. Whether you follow a paleo, plant-based or organic eating plan, all of the following nutritious options can be incorporated into your lifestyle and budget for less than $20:

  • SimplyNature Organic Coconut Oil: This trendy ingredient can elevate better-for-you recipes like this Cranberry Orange Chia Granola. You can also use it as a replacement for butter or vegetable oil because it’s a versatile choice for both sweet and savory dishes.
  • SimplyNature Chia Seeds: Use chia seeds to top your smoothie, overnight oats or make chia pudding in the morning for an easy way to power up the most important meal of the day. Chia seeds serve up protein, fiber and antioxidants.
  • Earth Grown Black Bean or Veggie Burgers: If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, or just want to join the Meatless Monday movement, black bean burgers are one option to try.
  • Earth Grown Vegan Shredded Cheese: This dairy-free cheese is a tasty addition to vegan recipes.
  • SimplyNature Organic Popcorn: Movie nights call for popcorn, and this organic version can quickly become a family favorite. Each serving provides 3 grams of both fiber and protein.

Part of making healthy choices includes finding quick and easy recipes. Discover how easy it is to make fresh meals at home with this better-for-you recipe and find more options at aldi.us.

Cranberry Orange Chia Granola

Recipe courtesy of Chef Linsey, ALDI Test Kitchen

2 1/2     cups Millville Old Fashioned Oats

6           ounces Southern Grove Shelled Pistachios, chopped

1/4       cup SimplyNature Chia Seeds

5           ounces Southern Grove Dried Cranberries

1           tablespoon orange zest

3/4      cup SimplyNature Organic Wildflower Honey

3          tablespoons SimplyNature Organic Coconut Oil

1          teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Pure Vanilla

1/2      teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Ground Cinnamon

1/2      teaspoon ground Stonemill Essentials Sea Salt Grinder

Heat oven to 325 F.

In large bowl, combine oats, pistachios, chia seeds, cranberries and orange zest. Toss until orange zest is evenly distributed.

In separate medium bowl, combine honey, coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Heat in microwave 1 minute; stir. Continue cooking in 30-second intervals until coconut oil is melted.

Add honey mixture to oat mixture. Toss until thoroughly coated. Transfer to parchment- or foil-lined baking sheet. Spread into even layer and bake in center of oven 20 minutes. Stir and continue cooking until evenly browned, about 10-15 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. Serve with yogurt or enjoy on its own.

Note: Granola can be stored in airtight container up to 3 weeks.

 

 

 

January 17, 2018 |

Winter Entertaining—Pizza, Chocolate and a Movie

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Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

 

 

 

Let the winter winds blow and the snow fall because it is a great time to stay inside and watch a good movie! A dear friend of mine, JoAnn, lives near Niagara Falls and surely has plenty of winter weather that keeps her and her husband inside. During one of our phone calls she told me that tonight was her “Pizza, Chocolate, Movie” night, and her two lady friends were coming over. She explained how it started and what it was.

Dinner

The ladies take turns visiting each other’s home every other week during the winter. To make it easy on the host, the menu is kept simple. Dinner is pizza, and dessert is always something chocolate that one of the other ladies would bring. It could be a cake, brownies, éclairs or chocolate cream pie—anything luscious.

Their movie choice is decided beforehand, and either one of the ladies would bring a DVD or borrow one from their local library. The only decision to be made was what kind of movie were the ladies in the mood for that night. Would it be a drama, mystery, romance or an international film? As JoAnn described, by having the same easy dinner there was no guessing what was on the menu. The pizza was ordered in, so the host never had to cook. This was a lovely way for friends to spend time together and pass a winter’s evening! However, it doesn’t take cold weather to have friends over—this idea they devised is fun year-round.

International Films

Our neighbor subscribes to Netflix and often invites me over to watch some of the selections offered. We’ve discovered some of the most interesting foreign film choices that are so engrossing they can easily be called “binge worthy.” Perhaps most people are hesitant about reading subtitles, but after two or three episodes it becomes second nature. If you feel adventurous, give it a try if you have Netflix. Our recent favorites were Velvet and Kurt Seyit and Sura. Velvet is a romance about the son of a wealthy department store owner who falls in love with the orphaned niece of the store’s manager. It takes place in Barcelona in the 1950’s. Kurt Seyit and Sura takes place in pre-revolutionary Russia and is about a handsome Turkish officer in the Russian army who falls in love with a young, beautiful girl of Russian nobility. The costumes and lush scenery are fantastic and the story engrossing.

Happy viewing!

 

 

 

 

January 17, 2018 |
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