Thursday, April 24, 2008

Spreading Germs and Washing Hands

I was sickened when I saw the statistics on public hand washing. It was very disturbing. Disturbing enough that I have started a Hand Washing Campaign with my kids, just to make sure that it is ingrained into their heads.

I have taught them to wash with soap and water for as long as it takes to sing the ABC's, twice. Then to turn off the bathroom faucets using a paper towel, so as not to pick up the germs again and to open all public restroom doors using the paper towel they dried their hands with, so as not to pick up someone else's germs that left the restroom without washing.

I am working with them on washing their hands after they touch their face, the cat or dog, the garbage can, the floor or the bottoms of their shoes. And always before eating (you should see my house at dinner time. Everyone sitting down at the table, heads bowed for the prayer, Mommy asks, who has washed their hands and the table clears as everyone races to the bathroom to wash up. Then a steady procession of small children returning with moist, pink little hands, held out in front of them positioned for mommy to smell them. Proof that they indeed used soap.), before cooking, before putting away the dishes and after playing outside. They are getting better and better.

However, I wasn't sure that they understood the concept that there are germs all around them. They get on their hands and they spread them by touching things. I was really excited when my friend T told me about a project that she had seen where you wet a child's hands and sprinkle them with glitter. Then everything they touch gets glitter on it. After awhile you can take your child back and show them where they have been, what they have touched and what "has germs" on it from their hands. I can't wait to try it out with my little ones.

For your knowlegde pleasure, here is the study I found about hand washing in public restrooms from the Minnesota Department of Health website.

Hand Washing Statistics: People Don’t Wash Hands

Some statistics illustrating that people don't wash their hands. Excerpt from the 2006 Minnesota Hand washing Tool Kit.

  • American Society of Microbiology studies showed:
    • 97% of females and 92% of males say they wash
      • of these only 75% females and 58% males washed
    • 50% of middle and high school students say they wash
      • of these 33% of females and only 8% of males used soap while washing hands
  • Minnesota Department of Health led three observational studies:
    • 2003 Back to 50’s Car Show Event—64% females washed and 30% males
    • 2003 State Fair—65% females washed and 39% males
    • 2004 State Fair—75% females washed and 51% males

(Source: 2006 Minnesota Handwashing Tool Kit)

Treating the effects of a good meal

I love a good meal and while I enjoy things spiced well, my tummy doesn't always agree. I will end up with indigestion almost every time. One thing that has worked well for me is a glass of very cold, whole milk. I am not sure the reasoning behind it and I am sure it is nothing more than an old wives tale but it works well to control the acid reflux and ease my discomfort. But at night time, it's a completely different story. If I eat and then lay down, it does not matter how much milk I drank or how cold it was or how thick, the heartburn will continue. I have learned to get around this most of the time by eating early or easing off on the spices with a late night meal. However, it can not always be avoided. Dinner parties, traveling etc. can lead to situations where I am eating late and much spicier foods than I am used too. Then I am up all night.

I will usually try to sleep by propping pillows up behind me to elevate myself and this works until I try to roll over and the pillow stack collapses. Not to mention, it's very difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position on a pillow mountain. But I have started seeing more and more of these sleep wedges. It's simply a large, firm pillow in the form of a wedge to give your body the elevation it needs to relieve the symptoms of acid reflux. Now for me, the occasional suffer it would be nice, but for someone that has chronic acid reflux, this could be a lifesaver, or at least a dream saver. Yea, I'm cheesy, I know it. Something else I found that looked wonderful was a Medibeads King size Heating pad. It delivers warm, moist heat to aching muscles. Now I can totally see that helping me sleep better!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

My Kitchen Toys

I love "Kitchen Toys" and I love to cook if I have the right "toys" to make it easy. So my husband has learned that if he wants me to cook something the best thing he can do is buy me a new toy. Most recently I got a sandwich maker and he has been talking lately about getting me a new smoothie maker and waffle maker. But I have my eye set on an icecream maker/dispenser and a food dehydrator. I saw a couple in magazines like SkyMall and Kitchen Creations (I think that's what it's called) and they can be so expensive and range in quality and features so drastically. I really just want to get the best product and the best buy. I have to keep looking but I would love any suggestions on which appliances you prefer when it comes to icecream makers and food dehydrators and where you found the best buys.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Aftermath of a Good Trip

I love to travel and I always hate coming home. Not just because I am getting back to the daily grind and the routine chores, but also because my body has never handled the climate and time changes very well. You know what I mean? We left New York on Monday and flew home and it wasn't until we got home that I realized what havoc the humidity had played on my skin. Suddenly my skin, especially my face, was uncomfortably dry and itchy. Not to mention, the humidity left me in desperate need of a good acne treatment!

And then there is the time change. My internal clock never seems to adjust to time changes at all. I will get onto the East Coast and at Midnight, I am still wide awake and raring to go but come morning, do not even think about waking me before 11am. It really messes things up. Then I get home and I am ready for bed at 10pm and up at 6am for the next week!

But all the bad that comes from coming home, I would not trade my travels for anything I have seen so far!

What NOT to put in a Restaurant Restroom!

I just have to laugh, I was dining with a friend of mine at one of our favorite restaurants yesterday and I excused myself to use the restroom. As much as I love this restaurant, I will leave it nameless, I have never used their facilities. So I walked into this very nice restroom and as I was leaving I noticed that they had, not only a mirror, but a full bathroom vanity! Now I am a very curious person but not to the point of actually opening someone else's bathroom vanity to see what is inside. So I left the restaurant very perplexed as to why anyone would put a full vanity in a restaurant restroom and very curious as to what anyone would put in bathroom vanities in restaurants. And the more I think about it, the more I wish I had taken just a small peek!

What is the funniest thing you have seen in a Restaurant?

Friday, April 11, 2008

New York Dining At It's Best!

We spent a lot of time trying to find places to eat in New Jersey and New York while we were there. Here is one of the place’s we went that I would HIGHLY recommend.

Just a word of warning to anyone wishing to travel with the assistance of a GPS navigation device, while they are amazing, and I personally can not live with out mine, BRING A MAP to New York! We had so much trouble with our GPS losing the satellite signal when we got into downtown and among all the really tall buildings.

Warning aside, we spent an awful lot of time trying to find a good seafood restaurant in an area of town that looked safe for us to park and get out. (The first three choices did not meet this requirement). Finally we tried for City Crab and headed in the direction of Downtown. Once we finally found it we were on a one way, one lane street with cars parked along both sides and hardly enough room for cars to drive down the middle. While stopped at the light, Ladybug and I jumped out and sent the others to park the car and meet us in the restaurant. (My feet were beyond tired from walking all day in heels) So we got up to City Crab and read the menu which was posted in the window. $70 A PLATE! We began rethinking our decision.

But in the mean time, Ladybug had to potty. So we wandered down a little further and found a cute little bar and grill about 3 doors down called Maxie's. We went in and they allowed her to use the restroom. While I waited for her I perused the menu and found it to be both upscale and reasonably priced. I was impressed. So by the time the others had parked the cars and met back up with us, I had made the decision to adjourn to Maxie's Bar and Grill and save ourselves $50 plus, per plate. This decision made D Dad very happy as he was the one in charge of paying for the food. :)

Once seated in Maxie's I looked around and realized that it was very upscale. Men in dress coats at the bar and couple's in business dress at the tables. Luckily, we were not the only family, nor the only ones not in business dress. The entire atmosphere, however was just surprisingly upscale. The waiter, an aspiring actor and very, very good looking I might add, was dressed in all black, adding to the good looks immensely! I wish I had gotten his autograph, with his good looks, he will go far!

The menu was simple and direct with very, very reasonable prices considering we were on Park St. in Downtown New York City. D Dad and I ordered the salmon and Lee ordered a New York Steak. Butterfly got a chicken salad and Ladybug had the chicken tenders. Big C got an appetizer of chili that ended up being more than even HE could eat! And to begin our meal we ordered the Nacho Fries Grande.

The Nacho Fries Grande was absolutely amazing! This wonderful appetizer was a huge pile of waffle fries smothered in ground beef, nacho cheese, onions and tomatoes and served with a side of guacamole and sour cream. It was an absolutely, wonderfully filling, satisfying, yummy, gooey mess! Well worth every penny and then some! We were thinking that we should have just gotten a couple of those and made it a meal. Nacho Fries Grande: 6 Big Messy Smiles

Then came our meals. My husbands steak was just your run of the mill steak. Mine and D Dad’s Salmon however was wonderful! Cooked medium and served over a butter dill sauce and steamed veggies, it was a wonderful meal, full of flavor. Butterfly’s salad was extra yummy with chunks of mozzarella cheese mixed in with their house dressing and grilled chicken strips arranged on top. Big C’s meal included a huge serving of chili and ½” thick potato chips which he just loved. Ladybug’s meal was your everyday, average chicken strips, breaded and served with dipping sauces. Over all the main courses get 4 out of 6 Big Smiles and 2 Happy Faces with no Frowns.

Now on to the desserts! All I can say is WOW! What a way to finish of an amazing meal! I had the Black & White Cheesecake, drizzled with raspberry glaze I was forcing myself to finish it, just so I didn’t have to let any of it go. It was fantastic! The kids split an order of Fried Cookie Dough. Yes, that is exactly what I meant. It was three scoops of chocolate chip cookie dough fried and served drizzled with chocolate sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice-cream to tone it down. It is even richer than you are imagining! The kids could not finish it. Lee got a S’more milkshake which was in interesting combination of chocolate, vanilla, graham crackers and marshmallows. With whipped cream and toasted mini marshmallows on the top, it made a lovely presentation and a smooth finish to his meal. D Dad just had to try the Fried Banana Split. Again, yes, I said Fried Banana Split. We were in a new place! We had to try the local flavor. And it was great! Although, I could much better imagine the banana’s served with butter for breakfast. They reminded me a bit of banana muffins. But they were really good and added a very different twist to a banana split. After forcing ourselves to walk away from the last crumbs of our dessert, for the sake of our buttons, which were already straining, we rolled ourselves out the door and headed for the car. Very full and very happy. Dessert: 6 Big Smiles

One other thing I might add, they served bottled soda drinks by Steven’s. The kids and I got Orange Creamsicle and Lee got Rootbeer. Very, very good. New to us, but probably not to most. I definitely recommend the Orange Creamsicle!

Total Bill for 6 people, including appetizer, meals, drinks, desserts and tip: $140

I would HIGHLY recommend this restaurant to anyone visiting Downtown New York or the surrounding areas. This would make a great place for a business meeting or a quiet family dinner. However, be prepared, it is more of a business atmosphere. Sophisticated and upscale. Yet the service is friendly and the food is wonderful. Don’t miss out just because you are traveling with a family, they accommodated us very well. Well worth the trip!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What's Going To Happen To Timeshares?

I have watched the economy slowly, okay, rather rapidly slip into a recession and the interest rates and prices taking a sharp decline. So with this new trend I was wondering what is going to happen to timeshares? I bought into a timeshare trial situation this year and I am not sure I intend to extend it into a full blown membership due to the exorbitant price. But, if the price is going to go down and the interest rate drop then I might reconsider.

But I just marvel at the prices of new cars, real-estate even commercial real estate. It just amazes me, the rate at which it continues to drop and even the rate that the foreclosures are jumping. It is a rather scary situation. I am really putting some serious effort into making sure that I am not seriously in debt and I am in a position to sit out a full blown recession. Of course, I will never give up my travels!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Working Off Those Wonderful Resturants

As much as I love to eat, I also find myself needing to work off some of those wonderful calories that I find. I am not by any means "the norm" when it comes to an exercise routine. I like the playful, fun and exciting exercises. I love jumping on trampoline, riding my bike, hiking and swimming. If I were to take a walk I would burn more brain cells being bored than I would calories. I just like the fun. So I decided to list my preferences for burning calories:

Jumping on the trampoline with the kids: 8 calories per minute
Riding my bicycle around the neighborhood: 7 calories per minute
Hiking to Malan's Peak: 4 calories per minute
Talking on the phone: 8 calories per 10 minutes
(Pacing around my house while talking on the phone: 31 calories per 10 minutes)
Weeding and Planting my Garden: 3.3 calories per minute
Playing with my kids: 3 calories per minute
Reading my favorite book: 8 calories per minute
Writing on my blog: 8 calories per 10 minutes

So to burn off the calories from that wonderful cheesecake cake I had for dessert last night we are talking 425 calories. So I would need 130 minutes of pacing and talking on the phone. Hey T! Give me a call will ya? I can always talk to T for 2 hours and not even notice it! What a way to balance my weight! What's your favorite way to burn calories?