Thursday, April 28, 2016

5 Fantasy Football Sleepers for 2012

The fantasy season is over. Now is not the time to sit around idly watching the … PLAYOFFS?! Now is the time to organize your last impressions from this season and write them down. You will forget what happened and get caught up in all the hype in late July and August when all the fantasy experts are telling you what to think. Create your own list of thoughts and save them on your computer. I’m not saying ignore the experts, some of them know what they are doing, but I think it is important that the experts use stats to back up their opinions. Therefore, I present to you my opinion of five players whom I would consider sleepers and backed up my opinion with factual data. Also, I should point out that this information is mainly intended for point-per-reception (PPR) formats but also has utility for standard league players.

5. Titus Young. If you’ve been watching the Detroit Lions lately, this won’t come to a surprise to you at all. Young seems to have supplanted Nate Burleson as the #2 WR target in Detroit. He has come on strong late this season and has developed a knack for getting in the endzone. The smallish (5’11”, 174 lbs.) WR finished his regular season rookie campaign with 48 receptions for 607 yards and six scores. The six scores rank him 4th amongst rookie WRs this season, but it is noteworthy that four of those scores have come in the last four weeks. There is a lot to like about the former 2nd round pick from Boise State. He has excellent speed and quickness , he is tied to a high yield offense, his playing time seemed to increase as the season went on and he is gaining chemistry with Matt Stafford. We can’t just ignore the negatives though: he may be the 3rd overall target in that offense (Calvin Johnson, Brandon Pettigrew), he has a history of causing trouble and his QB still has not shed the ‘injury risk’ label (at least in my mind). With all these factors in mind, I would not draft him in a single digit round. I’m thinking 12th-13th round at this point, making him a low-risk/high-reward player, possibly working himself into a situational WR3 or flex option on your fantasy team. You will be tempted to drop him early in the season, but like a fine wine, he will get better as the season ages.

4. Brandon Lloyd. He may not be a sleeper in every sense of the word because we know what he is capable of. He was the waiver wire all-star of 2010. I am considering him a sleeper since the Rams’ injury-marred , disaster of a season ended in the firing of their head coach and GM. The result, at this point (that’s what you get for reading about ridiculously early sleepers), is uncertainty in St. Louis. After being traded from the Broncos to the Rams early in the 2011 season, Lloyd made an immediate impact. He delivered a useful 70/966/5 for the season. If you delve further, you find that he played in only fifteen games this season. In his four games with the Broncos, he had only 19/283/0. In his 11 games with the Josh McDaniels-led Rams’ offense and their revolving door at QB he had 51/683/5, which is an average of 13.6 Fantasy Points per Game (FPG). 13.6 FPG places him in the WR3 range in a season where he was traded to a new team that couldn’t keep a QB healthy . Lloyd was able to make an instant impact for the Rams because he was reunited with McDaniels. The two were together in Denver in 2010. With McDaniels departure to become the OC for New England (again), I would expect a solid 70+ receptions and 1000+ yard campaign from the under-appreciated Lloyd in 2012. However, Lloyd followed McDaniels from Denver to St. Louis via a trade. Would McDaniels push the Patriots to trade for Lloyd? Food for thought.

3. James Jones. What sleeper list would be complete without a perennial sleeper such as Jones. This time I think its for real. The problem for skill players in an offense like the Packers’ (Saints, Patriots and Lions are other example) seems to be the presence of a few consistently great fantasy producers and a whole bunch of guys that are hit and miss fantasy producers. So why is it that I have the audacity to believe that James Jones can move into the ranks of the consistent producers? Let’s take the Saints and the Patriots for example and use the metaphor of the burden of proof in a murder trial; means, motive and opportunity. The Saints and the Patriots have great QBs that excel at getting the ball to the open man, whoever it may be. Aaron Rodgers proved that he is one of, if not the best QB in the game in a season that saw both Tom Brady and Drew Brees eclipse Dan Marino’s all time passing record. There we have the means. As for the opportunity; the Saints and Patriots have shown us that it is possible to have three consistently good fantasy producers in the same offense. Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston and Darren Sproles are the three studs for the Saints and Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez represent the bulk of the offense for the Patriots. In 2011, Green Bay had only two consistently good fantasy producers, Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson, so there is room for another. The potential for a 3rd fantasy producer coupled with the diminished production of Donald Driver give us opportunity. Last we have motive. The motive is directed by the NFL to pass more. Rule changes in recent years have greatly benefitted the offenses, specifically passing. It is not a coincidence that two QBs eclipsed a passing record set in the 1980s in the same season. As you might have noticed, I have not mentioned the logical third prong of the Packer pitchfork of offense, Jemichael Finley. Wouldn’t he be expected to become the third good fantasy producer? Maybe, but why didn’t he do it this year? I don’t have the answer but, he will come at a higher price than Jones on draft day and this article is about sleepers. I like Jones in the late rounds 10th or higher. Another low-risk/high reward guy, that’s how I like my sleepers.

2. C.J. Spiller. I wanted to put Knowshon Moreno here but I couldn’t do it. Spiller is a former #1 draft pick for the Buffalo Bills but has not quite produced like he was expected to until Fred Jackson went down with a broken leg. If you would like my thoughts on how Spiller and Jackson will split carries next season, click here. Since Jackson’s injury, Spiller has produced like Bills fans had always hoped he would. In the last four weeks of the season Spiller had 308 rushing yards and 2 rushing TDs in addition to receiving stats of 18/153/2 . In PPR leagues, that is 88 fantasy points, or 22 FP/G! Jackson was having an epic fantasy season before he was injured, and his return will diminish Spiller’s fantasy production greatly. Jackson, though a ‘low-mileage’ back, will be turning 31 this year. Spiller, on the other hand, will be only 25 years old at the beginning of the season. Jackson is recovering from a broken fibula, Spiller is a former #1 pick (owners and GMs generally want these guys to do well so they don’t look bad) and has the ability to line up at WR. In 2012, I want to own a piece of that backfield and I am anticipating Spiller to be the lower priced player of the two. If Spiller is available after Round 6 in your fantasy draft, grab him and reap the rewards.

1. Matt Flynn. Matt Flynn is currently the back-up QB for the Green Bay Packers. At the end of the season, he will become an unrestricted free agent, which means he will be able to sign with any team. The 3rd year man out of LSU may be one of the most sought after UFAs of the offseason. It is easy to overhype a back-up who has had limited success (Scott Mitchell anyone?) however, in Week 17, Flynn set a franchise record with six TD tosses in a single game. This for a franchise that had Brett Favre and has Aaron Rodgers, who was sitting out to avoid any injuries that might arise if he were to get Suh-plexed. It is valid to consider that Flynn’s performance was a result of the system in which he plays rather than his skill. Ultimately, you must decide, but I am betting on Flynn. Obviously, the team Flynn ends up playing for will be a major factor in determining his fantasy value going forward. He is an interesting player to monitor, especially in keeper leagues. He will probably be available toward the end of fantasy drafts and if so, I won’t hesitate to add him to my roster.

Tags:5 Fantasy Football Sleepers for 2012

5 Factors that Make a Restaurant Kid-friendly

Most lists of “kid-friendly restaurants” seem to focus on the menu (see, e.g., But what really makes a restaurant attractive to parents with children? Here are 5 critical factors:

1. Entertainment. Children have shorter attention spans than adults do, and too often they are ready to leave a restaurant before the meal is over. That’s why kid-friendly restaurants provide entertainment for children. The entertainment can range from a visible tortilla-making machine to an actual stage show; whatever the case, they key is to have something to lengthen that attention span.

2. Noise Tolerance. One reason to take your kids out to dinner is to avoid the noise and chaos that often surrounds a dinner at home with young children. But kid-friendly restaurants need to be tolerant of noise, because your kids will probably be loud in public, too. Think about the sound level at a restaurant before you go.

3. Speed. Even if a kid-friendly restaurant provides entertainment, it is important that food arrives quickly to avoid complaints and misbehavior from your children. It does not have to be fast food; it just has to be food that is reasonably fast.

4. Personal Space. To be kid-friendly, a restaurant also must provide a reasonable amount of space around your eating area. If tables and chairs are jammed in too close to each other, trouble is certain to ensue. Your children need space to get up, wander around, scoot their chair back, and so forth.

5. Kid-Friendly Menu. Finally, yes, the menu does matter. Parents need a restaurant menu that contains food their children will eat – not necessarily on a separate kids menu, although that is typically the case – and that is not insanely priced. I have paid $8 for a tiny grilled cheese sandwich before; avoid annoyances like that by checking the menu on-line before you visit a restaurant.

Eating out with children can be an enjoyable experience if you find a kid-friendly restaurant that satisfies the criteria listed above; there is no reason to waste your time at restaurants that do not provide these amenities.

Tags:5 Factors that Make a Restaurant Kid-friendly

5 Fall 2011 Makeup Must-Haves

The eyes and the lips have it in the fall 2011 makeup department, so make sure you’re stocked up on some of the basics this season. Whether you choose to go with a matte or a dewy-skin look for fall, make sure the emphasis is on the eyes or the lips. The smokey eye look is still a hot trend for Fall, but you can change things up with a pop of color. Go all out with shimmer and glitter by night for a fun and flirty look this season.

From vampy lipstick to shimmering eye shadow, here are just five 2011 makeup must-haves to add to your collection:

#1: Vampy Lipstick or Gloss

Fall 2011 makeup trends from the NY Fashion Week runways included bold, crimson-red lipstick and burgundy lip shades. Turn any simple look into something more glamorous with shades rich and dark red, burgundy and wine-colored shades this season. Just remember that going bold on the lips means you’ll need to lighten up with the eye makeup.

#2: Illuminating Shimmer Powder

Maintain that summer glow for just a few more months with the help of an illuminating powder that has a touch of shimmer. These complexion highlighters can make your skin appear fresh and create the effect of a natural glow. Use it in place of a bronzer to create a more natural-looking finish, and look for powders that contain moisturizers to keep skin soft and beautiful throughout the day. My personal favorite: MAC Mineralize Skinfinish, $27. This frosty powder adds some shimmer to the cheeks and forehead and can double as an eyelid enhancer.

#3: Brow Powder

Still can’t get that perfect arch? Fear not with some brow powder and a dark brow pencil by your side. Bold, enhanced brows are a hot trend for Fall 2011 and many celebrities have already pulled off the look with style. Kim Kardashian caught the eye of many a beauty maven with her super-sculpted brows at the Kardashian wedding this summer, and the trend will be staying with us through the colder months. Stock up on a brow powder and eye pencils that match your natural hair color to create a fuller, face-framing brow.

#4: Teal or Red Eye Shadow

The smokey eye trend is here to stay for yet another season, but with a twist for Fall 2011. This look is perfect for evenings and special occasions because it creates a sultry and dramatic finish. Brighten things up with a punch of color using teal or dark red eyeshadow shades for an even more definition. Layering is key, so you need to make sure you’re still using plenty of greys and pewter shades to create the “smudging” effect. Play with some bright colors left over from your summer palette to create a colorful smokey eye this season.

#5: Shimmering Neutral Eyeshadow

If you’re not a fan of the smokey eye look and prefer to keep things simple and classic, stick with a palette of neutral but shimmering eye shadow this season. Beige, tan, taupe, almond and cream-colored eye shadows with flecks of glitter or shimmer are perfect for enhancing the lids without overdoing it. Finish with a skinny line of liner and a few layers of waterproof eyeshadow and you’ll be good to go. Splurge for No. 21 Midnight Brown from the Burberry collection to enhance those eyes this season.

Fall 2011 makeup trends are all about the eyes and lips. Stock up on any or all of the above beauty basics to round out your Fall makeup collection.

More content from this contributor:

5 Ways to Get Out of a Beauty Rut

Increase Shine While Styling Your Hair

5 Foods for Shiny Hair and Beautiful Nails

Tags:5 Fall 2011 Makeup Must-Haves

5 Family Events in Sacramento Memorial Day Weekend 2011

Although you may be wearing shorts and flip-flops way before Memorial Day, if you’re like most Sacramentans the three-day holiday weekend at the end of May is your official kick-off to summer. Betwixt the usual barbecues and backyard swim parties, the long, leisurely Memorial Day weekend is a perfect time to take the family on an outing and create some new digital memories for your family’s blog.

Sure you can go to Folsom Lake or the Sacramento Zoo. But, if you’ve been there, done that, here are five fun and affordable family friendly events in the Sacramento area to choose from this Memorial Day weekend:

2011 Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee: The Sacramento Dixieland Jazz Festival dropped the Dixieland in its name awhile back and now features a full range of jazz music for young and old. Jazz bands from across the globe perform in various venues all weekend, from the Firehouse courtyard in Old Sacramento to canvas tents along the Sacramento River.

The festival begins with the Jazz Jubilee parade in Old Sacramento Friday morning, with professional jazz bands, school marching bands and clowns prancing down the cobblestone streets amidst fire trucks and antique cars.

Freebies for families on a budget: The parade is free. No tickets needed for youth band performances on the Delta King dock, the grassy area near the Railroad Museum and downstairs at Round Table Pizza.

When: Fri.-Mon., May 27-30, 2011. Parade starts at 11:45 a.m. on Fri., May 27, but arrive at 10 a.m. to snag a good viewing spot. Jazz bands perform all four days.

Where: Old Sacramento and nearby hotels.

More info here.

2011 Sacramento County Fair: The little brother to the California State Fair, the Sacramento County Fair has almost everything its big brother has at a smaller price. Admission is only five dollars. Seniors and children under 12 are free.

Food, animals, midway rides, carnival games and entertainment are among the many featured attractions. Exhibit halls showcase contest entries of local children and teens in categories such as art, baked goods, photography, floraculture, sewing and computer technology. Who knows? Maybe your children will be inspired to take up a new hobby.

Wallet alert: Parking is $10.

When: Thurs.-Mon., May 26-30, 2011.

Where: Cal Expo, Sacramento

More info here.

2011 Sierra Festival of the Arts: Get out of Dodge for the day with a short hop to Grass Valley just past Auburn. The quaint and cozy downtown plays host to one of California’s best fine arts and street fairs. Unlike the usual chatchkes you see at many craft fairs, the Sierra Festival of the Arts is a juried show; only the most unique artisans are invited to display their work. Kids will enjoy the colorful arts and crafts, not to mention the musical entertainment and food. Admission is free.

Wallet alert: Grass Valley is about 60 miles from downtown Sacramento. Leave the SUV at home and borrow the neighbor’s electric car.

When: Sun., May 29, 2011, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Mill Street, downtown Grass Valley

More info here.

2011 Roseville Memorial Day 10K/5K Run & Walk: Work off all those Memorial Day weekend hamburgers and strawberry shortcakes at this holiday fun run and walk dedicated to the men and women who died for our country. Prizes will be awarded to top athletes in various age ranges, from children under 12 to seniors 70+. All participants get a free shirt and refreshments after the race.

When: Mon., May 30, 2011, 9 a.m.

Where: Maidu Park, Roseville

More info here.

2011 Fairy Tale Town Puppet Show Series: As part of its puppet show series, Fairy Tale Town in Land Park will be presenting Puppet Art Theater Company’s version of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” this Memorial Day weekend Like most puppet shows, the puppeteers at PATC take liberties with the original story, adding a modern day twist, the Wolf Alert 3000, but the moral remains the same. If you “cry wolf” too many times, no one will believe you when something is really wrong.

Wallet alert: Puppet show tickets are $2 after admission ($4 weekdays, $4.50 weekends) to Fairy Tale Town.

When: Fri. May 27, 2011, 10:30, 11:30 and 12:30; Sat. and Sun. May 28 and 29 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30.

Where: Fairy Tale Town, across from the Sacramento Zoo in Land Park

More info here and here

Tags:5 Family Events in Sacramento Memorial Day Weekend 2011

5 Factors that Impede Customer Shopping Frequency

5 Factors that Impede Customer Shopping Frequency

Little can be done regarding fluctuating demand and sluggish market conditions that create inconsistent selling trends. However, if your retail management team can identify with any of the following five factors that impede customer shopping frequency, you’re one step away from increasing sales and customer satisfaction.
While some solutions are simple, others may require additional research and an implementation process. The end result is guaranteed to be worth it.

5 Factors that Impede Customer Shopping Frequency:

#1 Factor that Impedes Customer Shopping Frequency – Insufficient Parking
Insufficient parking is the first deterrent to customer shopping frequency. Few people choose to walk distances to shop and many other factors such as the weather, elderly customers, customers with children and handicapped customers make up a large percentage of ‘lost’ customers. Additionally, customers who do elect to ‘walk the distance’ may refrain from making bulk purchases.

2nd Factor that Impedes Customer Shopping Frequency – Limited Products / Limited Brands
Granted not every store can provide a variety of products and brands as do the superstores. But for many, the superstores have become the shoppers’ choice for that main reason. This can be remedied by omitting poor performing products, adding a few of the most requested items and incorporating popular brands. Additional research may be required to achieve optimum results.

3rd Factor that Impedes Customer Shopping Frequency – Self Checkout Kiosks
Retailers will say that their customers are the heart of their business. However, most customers typically don’t feel that way. One of the biggest indicators that customers are not priority to retailers is the great invention of self-checkout kiosks.

Major internal retail changes are most often to enhance the customer’s shopping experience. Self-check kiosks do very little to promote this concept. While a very small percentage like the option of self-checkout, it doesn’t compensate for those who are intimidated by it and prefer traditional checkout clerks.

4th Factor that Impedes Customer Shopping Frequency – Limited Pay Methods
Surprisingly, there are a number of customers today that do not possess credit cards and a limited number of older customer use debit cards. Restricted pay methods impede first time customers shopping frequency in that they will not be repeat customers.

5th Factor that Impedes Customer Shopping Frequency – Spatial Crowding
Human crowding and spatial crowding are separate issues. While human crowding can often inspire customer shopping frequencies, spatial crowding can be a detriment (unless you have a store full of impulsive shoppers).

Recent studies indicate that retailers with loyal customers are what make the foundation for customer shopping frequency. If your numbers are down for sales and customer traffic, take inventory of the five factors that impede customer shopping frequency. Noting just one out of five of the factors that impede customer shopping frequency and taking measures to correct it, will be making a positive step toward increased sales, customer traffic, and customer shopping frequency.

Tags:5 Factors that Impede Customer Shopping Frequency

5 Famous Women Scientists to Remember in March

Throughout the course of history, there have been many women that participated in the fields of anthropology and paleontology. Unfortunately, they are often not as well known as their male counterparts. That’s why I thought that it might be a good idea to mention a few of them in time for Women’s History Month. With that said, here’s a brief look at five of my favorite scientists:

Mary Douglas Nicol Leakey (1913 – 1996)

Mary Douglas Nicol Leakey has to be the first person on my list because my grandfather would tell me stories about her and her husband when I was a child. They were archaeologists and physical anthropologists that conducted several excavations in Africa. His name was Louis B. S. Leakey. Her famous discoveries include the skeletal remains of a Proconsul Africanus and ancient footprints.

Mary Anning (1799-1847)

Mary Anning is the next fabulous female on my list. I chose to include her because I looked up to her throughout my childhood as well. She was considered a fossil hunter. What I admired most about Anning was all of her incredible discoveries. Over the course of her career, she unearthed a vast array of fossils including an Ichthyosaurus, a Pterodactylus and a Plesiosaurus.

Winifred Goldring (1888 – 1971)

When it comes to female scientists, I couldn’t leave Winifred Goldring off of my list either. She worked as a paleontologist, a geologist, a science expert and served as the State Paleontologist of New York. In addition, she conducted research on stromatolites and helped to get the Petrified Sea Gardens in New York designated as a National Historic Landmark.

Margaret Mead (1901 – 1979)

Another female scientist that I felt deserved a mention was Margaret Mead. She was an anthropologist, a writer, a photographer and a museum curator. Furthermore, she studied issues related to child development and gender roles. Mead was also known to have held several high offices during the course of her career. Some of the organizations that she was involved with were the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the World Federation of Mental Health.

Ruth Sawtell Wallis (1895-1978)

Lastly, I wanted to put Ruth Sawtell Wallis onto my list. She worked as a physical anthropologist and is credited with being the first person in France to unearth the skeletal remains of an Azilian. Personally, I found that fascinating. In later years, she also went on to study Eastern Canada’s Micmac Indians and the growth patterns of children.

Source: Personal Experience

More from this contributor:

5 Noteworthy Women from the 1920s

Women Who’ve Swum the English Channel

First Ladies of Skateboarding: A Trio of Tenacious Women

Museum of Women Pilots in Oklahoma City, Ok: A Tribute to Flyers

Tags:5 Famous Women Scientists to Remember in March

5 Fantastic Sock Yarns

For many knitters, choosing yarn for a project can be as exciting as the project itself. Sock knitters in particular have an amazing collection of yarns to choose from, with more being released every season.

With such a large selection available, where should an eager sock knitter start? These five brands all have something unique and fun to offer when considering that next pair of socks.

Berroco Sox

In Berroco’s many lines of yarn, Sox sock yarn stands out. Made from 75% wool and 25% nylon, Sox can be machine washed and dried. The nylon makes it durable, so socks will last longer than those made with more delicate fibers. With a gauge of 7.5-8 per inch on US2 needles and offering 440 yards per skein, this is the perfect yarn for everyday sock projects. The multitude of bold, bright self-striping colorways will satisfy knitters looking to add a splash of color in their wardrobes.

Trekking XXL
Similar to Berroco, Trekking XXL also gets 7.5-8 stitches per inch on US2 needles. Weighing in at 459 yards per 100 gram ball, Trekking XXL comes in an amazing variety of colorways. From variegated to self-striping, this yarn has it all. Being machine washable means that it’s great not only for socks, but also lightweight baby items or casual gloves.

Creatively Dyed Calypso

Knitters looking to get more bang for their sock yarn buck should check out Calypso by Creatively Dyed. At 510 yards per skein, this generous hand-dyed yarn can make a pair of socks for even the biggest feet. The 100% superwash merino wool fiber is durable and knits up into a firm but stretchy fabric perfect for a hard-wearing pair of socks. Each skein is individually hand-painted for a unique, vibrant color experience.

Koigu Premium Painter’s Palette Merino (PPPM)

Made from super-soft 100% merino wool, Koigu is a true treat for feet. Bright, hand-painted colors make PPPM great not only for socks, but also small lace projects. Each 50 gram skein has 175 yards, meaning that two skeins of this slightly pricey yarn are needed for every pair of socks, but Koigu is worth the money. This yarn is best knit in simple patterns that will showcase the brilliant colorways.

Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock

Socks That Rock by Blue Moon Fiber Arts is coveted among sock knitters. Why? This line includes a stunning array of hand-dyed and hand-painted colorways in a variety of weights and gauges. Fiber content for the three most common weights-light, medium, and heavy-is 100% superwash merino wool; Silkie Socks that Rock contains 81% wool and 19% silk. The crisp, beautiful colors range from subtly variegated to bright, bold hue combinations. Socks that Rock appears in many published sock patterns and knits up into a gorgeous, sturdy fabric. Blue Moon is also the home of the Rockin’ Sock Club, a yearly club for sock knitters offering two new patterns every other month, plus fun knitter swag in each club shipment.

There are many, many more amazing sock yarns out there to try. Knitters looking for a unique sock knitting experience can check out the brands listed here or dabble in one of the other great yarns on the market. No matter what yarn is chosen, knitters are sure to enjoy their next pair of socks all the more!

Tags:5 Fantastic Sock Yarns

5 Father's Day Gift Ideas for Your Religious Dad

I have a confession to make. I’m a PK. For anyone who grew up in a religious background you might just know what that means. For those of you that didn’t, PK stands for “Preacher’s kid”. Some say we are the best behaved kids around, others say we are the worst, but regardless of how good or bad you are, you should get your religious dad something he’ll really like this Father’s Day. Many times in my career of Father’s Days I have taken the easy way out because I didn’t know what to get him. When you have a preacher for a dad, the obvious present for any gift giving situation is one of a few things: A tie, a Bible, a cross, maybe even a movie like The Passion of the Christ. These may be fine gifts, but I know for my dad? He’s sick of getting stuff like that. If you have a religious dad, chances are he already has that stuff, or he doesn’t want it. So how about these great gift ideas instead:

1. A journal
Why? From what I have seen, religious men are thinkers. They wrestle with many thoughts, feelings and emotions. Providing them a place where they can put and sort all these thoughts can be a very intimate and appreciated gift.
Where? -These are handmade journals made with natural materials and paper. I got my dad one for Christmas and he loved it. They have a feeling of adventure and are also much less feminine that many regular notebook styles.
How much? Range from $2-$25

2. A PDA
Why? If your dad is anything like mine, has has more going on then he can sometimes handle. Teaching classes, preacher, Bible studies, counseling, and other tasks rely on keeping organized. A pda (Personal Digital Assistant) is a great and fun way for doing just that.
Where? Circuit city, best buy, or any electronic store
How much? A good one will probably run you anywhere from $100-$300 depending on what all you want it to do.

3. Bible Software
Why? Yes I know we were trying to stay out of the hardcore religious gifts but hear me out on this one. This is something that your dad’s generation never had, and would probably never think of on his own. There are many useful Bible programs that can be put on your computer or PDA that will aid your dad greatly in his study and preparation time.
How much? Prices really vary depending on how complex it is.

4. A getaway
Why? Working in or around a church can be an extremely stressful job. My dad had many health problems do to stress in his former position. Also, on average, religious men take much strength and encouragement from their family. What he really needs and wants may not cost you a penny. Plan a getaway just you and him.
Where? It really depends what you dad is into. If he likes sports take to a game. Plan a fishing trip. Go to the city to have a steak dinner. It doesn’t have to be very creative. Just spend time with him and let him have a break from daily stresses.

5. Music
Why? It’s no argument that music has a very deep effect on is. It can be extremely comforting, encouraging, and motivating. This one really depends on what kind of dad you have though. Some people really get into praise worship, others prefer conservative alternative. Either way, some great ideas include: Steven Curtis Chapman, Casting Crowns, Point of Grace, and Mercyme
Where? Any Religious bookstore or CD store.
How much? $8-$20

Tags:5 Father’s Day Gift Ideas for Your Religious Dad

5 Foods to Avoid and Their Tasty, Healthy Alternatives

Everyone is a slave to their tongue to some extent, and there’s nothing wrong with tasty food – unless it’s messing with your health. So what do you do when your stomach growls and you want to visit the refrigerator? Give in to the call of the taste buds and invite health problems, or sacrifice that tasty snack and fixate about it for the rest of the week? How about option 3: Cut out those unhealthy foods and replace them with equally tasty but healthy alternatives. Let’s take a look at five food items you should avoid and their healthier replacements.

#1 Sugar: There’s a lot being said about the scary ways in which sugar affects your body. Historically, sugar was extracted from sugarcane juice and was consumed with no chemical processing. But the sugar we get in supermarkets today is heavily refined and processed. The United States National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association have both weighed in against this kind of sugar. According to them, the refinement process leaches the vitamins and minerals found in raw sugar. What’s worse, refined sugar may contribute to atherosclerosis, diabetes and nutritional deficiencies.

Alternative: Honey! It’s sweet, tasty and healthy. Plus, honey is good for your brain and your heart. Consuming a spoon of honey mixed in slightly warm water jacks up your RBC count as well.

#2 Milk: Two words: Lactose intolerance! A majority of adults in the world just don’t have the enzymes to digest milk. All that improperly digested milk can make you lethargic. Besides, milk pushes up bad cholesterol and may also contribute to blocking your arteries. And the fat content doesn’t help your waistline either!

Alternative: Milk is considered a good source of calcium and protein. But a healthier alternative where you can find these is the horsegram bean. It’s a good source of dietary iron and calcium and is among the richest vegetarian source of protein. Soak it, fry it, or turn it into a soup for a delicious snack that will do your body wonders. In fact, pilgrims going on the famed Kailash Mansarovar trek in India (भारत) would always take horsegram with them during their arduous trek.

#3 Soda: Bad for your teeth, damages your bones and it’s made from high-fructose corn syrup and sugar. There are more studies coming to light that link soda consumption to kidney damage, certain cancers, stroke-risk and hypertension. Need I say more?

Alternative: Good old water! Or if you like some taste in your liquid refreshments, try seltzers.

#4 Coffee: Yes, that old staple of late-night work hours that helped you meet so many deadlines isn’t good for your body. It takes a toll on the nervous system and in the long run, can affect stamina. There’s also a study that claims coffee reduces your creative output .

Alternative: So how do you handle all the awful deadlines? Try some winter melon . That’s what I used when putting this article together. Winter melon is often added to soups or made into juice in Asian cooking. It helps you stay alert, cools the body and is said to enhance the thinking process.

#5 Refined Grains: In nature, a grain, which is essentially a seed, has three components ­- endosperm, bran, and germ. The germ is basically the plant embryo, the endosperm is the seed’s food supply, and the bran protects the whole package. Refined grains knock off the bran and germ, leaving us with the endosperm, which is full of starch and low on vitamins, minerals and fiber. The bran and germ however come with a heavy-duty dose of vitamins B, amino acids, phytochemicals, and minerals. It is well known that Shiva devotees in India would eat only coarse grains during the night of Mahashivratri, to help them stay wake through the night.

Alternative: Shift to whole grains. Consumption of whole grains has been linked to lower risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. A warning though – don’t confuse multigrain with whole grain. Multigrain cereals may mix refined grains with whole grains. Check your cereal’s list of ingredients before making the purchase.

Tags:5 Foods to Avoid and Their Tasty, Healthy Alternatives

5 Favorite Drink Recipes for Labor Day

Labor Day is a love-hate holiday for me and probably for many others. The nip of fall is beginning to be in the air – at least most years – but I’m never quite ready to leave the fun and casual summer days behind. These recipes will enable you to enjoy the holiday without too much labor.

The following recipes will be fun to make and serve. I have included a hot drink for a cool evening and other end of summer drinks.


1 ½ jar cranberry juice [Ocean Spray]
1 large can frozen lemonade
2 cans water
½ of a 5th of apricot brandy

Mix all ingredients and freeze. Freeze for a few hours or can be made ahead and frozen. Put into punch bowl adding 7-Up. Or, you can serve directly in glasses, adding a small amount of 7-Up to each glass. Makes a pretty and very tasty holiday drink.


1 large can pineapple juice
1 12 oz. can lemonade – frozen
2 cans water
1 – 5th bottle of vodka or rum
1 can cream coconut

Mix all ingredients and freeze. When serving, mix with 7-Up, Sprite, Slice or Mt. Dew.


1 gallon apple cider
1 quart cranberry juice
1 cup orange jice
1 pint apricot brandy
Put in large coffee pot. In basket put:
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. whole cloves
6 cinnamon sticks

Note: Add any other spices of your choice – or lemon etc.

Serve hot in cute mugs of choice.


1 6 oz. can frozen lemonade
1 6 oz. can frozen limeade – or fresh limes for juice
2 cans water
1 can tequila
½ can triple sec


Mix ingredients. Margarita mix may be refigerated until ready to use. Then pour into blender and blend with equal parts ice. Serve in chilled salted glasses.


1 pkg. unsweetened orange Koolaid
1 46 oz. can apricot nector
1 46 oz. can pineapple juice
1 qt. cold gingerale – or 7-UP
1 4 oz. bottle real lemon juice
1 6 oz. can frozen orange juice
1 6 oz. can frozen lemonade
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ cans or 46 oz. water

Mix all ingredients together. Can leave in pitchers to chill in refrigerator. Pour into large punch bowl [or smaller bowl as needed]. Add cold gingerale at last minute prior to serving. If you wish, make ice-ring ahead and put on top of punch to keep cold. This is loved by kids and adults alike.

Enjoy using these recipes and your Labor Day Weekend!

Tags:5 Favorite Drink Recipes for Labor Day

5 of My Favorite Money-Saving Ideas for College Students

1. Free College stuff: Take advantage of university deals and offers. There are many opportunities to attend sporting events (division, club or intramural), free movie nights, fairs, and even participate in university traditions all at no cost to you. Many companies and restaurant chains want college student support. Therefore they often offer coupons, pass out free samples and even pay students to advertise and talk about their products. These are simple ways to experience new things and try different foods/activities.

2. Coupons: These readily available vouchers can save you a substantial amount of money. Looking at the store’s website before going shopping, visiting websites like and can add up your savings very quickly. Some stores, like Publix, even have coupons available near the store entrances. A little planning can keep your wallet feeling a little less depleted.

3. BOGO: While we all have heard this term before, many often don’t take advantage of this resource. Buy one get one’s are one of the easiest ways to save money. It is even possible to locate the store’s weekly add on their website or your Sunday paper to plan out your next shopping trip. Coupling a coupon and the BOGO results in huge savings and can even result in you getting a product for free.

4. Discount stores: Re-used does not have to be associated with discount stores. Stores like Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, Home Goods, and Ross buy goods from higher end retailers and sell them at discounted prices. Real gems can be found through these retailers and can be wonderful places to find gifts or stay fashionably up to date.

5. Cooking: Eating out and visiting dining halls can get expensive and lead to awful food choices. All you can eat dining halls and fast food chains are readily available and are often full of poor nutritional value. Cooking your own meals can save you money and produce a healthier you. Easy recipes can be found in your grocery stores, a quick Google search and even from your family members. Take advantage of all of your resources and don’t be afraid to experiment a little bit.

Tags:5 of My Favorite Money-Saving Ideas for College Students

5 Famous Sports Figures from Charlotte, North Carolina

It is always fun to think of the famous people who came from the very area you live in. Because I’m from the Charlotte area in North Carolina, I decided to pick five sports legends that were born in the metro area and describe what made them famous. There is a “laundry list” of famous sports figures from the area but legends, however, are rare regardless of where you go.

James Worthy: A product of Gastonia, North Carolina, Worthy went to UNC-Chapel Hill and won an NCAA championship with Michael Jordan as his teammate. After his stellar college career, Worthy went on to win three NBA championships and seven all-star bids. Worthy was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003 and his number “42” was retired by the Los Angeles Lakers, the only team he played for in his 12-year career. Worthy was an all-american in basketball at Ashbrook High School in Gastonia.

Dale Earnhardt: “The Intimidator,” as he was called, was born in Kannapolis, North Carolina. A legend of NASCAR, he won 76 races and 7 Winston Cup titles in his long and illustrious career. An untimely death during the Daytona 500, in 2001, ended Earnhardt’s career and left many fans heartbroken. His career lasted 27 years and he competed in 676 races.

Walter Davis: Davis spent 15 years in the NBA after a 4-year career at UNC-Chapel Hill. He is a six-time NBA all-star and was named NBA Rookie of The Year in 1978. Because of his 11 years with the Phoenix Suns and his success as a player, his number “6” was retired by the Suns. Davis attended high school at South Mecklenburg in Pineville, North Carolina.

David Thompson: From Shelby, North Carolina, David Thompson spent nine years in the NBA and was an all-star for four of them. As a junior at North Carolina State, he led the Wolfpack to an undefeated season and an NCAA title. Thompson was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1996, having his number “33” retired by the Denver Nuggets as well, whom he played the majority of his career with. His number “44” at North Carolina State was also retired. David played his high school basketball at Crest Senior High School in Shelby.

Joe Gibbs: Joe Gibbs was born in Mocksville, North Carolina and is best known as being a former coach of the Washington Redskins in the NFL and being the owner of Joe Gibbs Racing in NASCAR. Gibbs won three Super Bowls during his first stint(1981-1992) with the Redskins and reached the playoffs eight different times. As the owner of Joe Gibbs Racing, his drivers went on to win five championships during his ownership career.

Tags:5 Famous Sports Figures from Charlotte, North Carolina

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...