Tuesday, January 10, 2017

10 Free Storybook IPhone/iPod Touch Apps for Toddlers

Free storybook apps are an interactive and a fun way to show your toddler how exciting the world of literature can be. These ten apps are all toddler approved for their entertainment value and mom approved for their ease of use.

1) I Like Colors
This free app is the full version of the book I Like Colors by Miranda Paul. The real life pictures are colorful and fun and will keep your toddler engaged in the story. This app has a word highlighting option, where your child can touch a word and have it read to him or her.

2) Miss Spider’s Tea Party for the iPhone Lite
It’s hard to believe this app is free! Your child can watch an animated narrated version of the storybook, or enjoy the read it myself option which has interactive illustrations. The app also includes three activities, including a memory style game, three puzzles, and a coloring activity. The app name says iPhone, but it works just fine on my 3rd Generation iPod Touch.

3) Three Little Pigs StoryChimes
This app tells the traditional story of the three little pigs and the wolf who blew their houses down. The free version shows a small banner ad at the top of the picture, and an ad-free version is available for 99 cents.

4) CinderellaA Princess Story Lite This princess app includes the full version of the story, read aloud by a soothing narrator. The illustrations are rich and the transitions between pages are smooth.

5) The Ugly Duckling StoryChimes
This app tells Hans Christian Andersen’s story of The Ugly Duckling. The story teaches a valuable moral lesson about how physical appearances are not everything. Like The Three Little Pigs StoryChimes, this free app has a small banner ad at the top of each page. The ad-free version is available on iTunes for 99 cents.

6) Grover’s Farm
The free version of this app tells the story of Elmo’s first day visiting Grover’s farm. The narrator in the read to me option is very enthusiastic and engaging. If your child is a Sesame Street fan, this free storybook app is worth downloading.

7) I Like School
This fun story features real life pictures and describes the exciting experiences encountered in a typical school day. If you have an iPhone, this app also has an option for you to record yourself reading the story, so that your toddler can enjoy listening to your voice.

8) Just Me and My Mom Lite
Just Me and My Mom is a well loved Little Critter story. This app has the same illustrations as the book, and includes background sounds such as a train whistle. Your toddler can tap anything in the illustration, such as a tree, and the word will pop up and be read out loud.

9) Dr. Seuss’ ABC Lite and The Cat in the Hat Lite
If your child loves Dr. Seuss, many of his books are available as apps on iTunes. The Lite versions of these beloved books only include the first ten pages of the story. These apps are great for toddlers because a quick swipe to the right will let your child advance to the next page with ease.

10) The Story Mouse
The free version of this app includes one story book. If you choose, additional books can be purchased within the app for under $2. The story included in the version I downloaded was the Three Billy Goats Gruff. The illustrations were simple and cute and the narrator is engaging.

All of these apps allow you and your child to choose between reading the stories yourselves or listening to a narrator. They also include an autopsy option, which is handy for younger toddlers who may not turn the pages themselves. Happy reading!

Labels: 10 Free Storybook IPhone/iPod Touch Apps for Toddlers

10 Easy Ways to Go Green This Thanksgiving

Yum! Just thinking about Thanksgiving brings me great joy! Even though I am not ready to fully commit to saving my waist line this Thanksgiving, I figured why not try to save the planet by going green? Are you considering going green this holiday season? If so, here are a few things that could help you get started.

1. Homemade Cleaner

First I will start off with what Betty, (my lovely grandmother), told me. She advised me that I should clean my coffee pot with a solution of one part vinegar and two parts water. There is absolutely no need to go out and buy fancy coffee pot cleaners to make that yummy holiday pumpkin spice flavored coffee!

2. Re-use Plates

Re-use those foam plates! Just rinse those plates off and put some pumpkin pie, or seconds on them.

3. Open Up The Windows

In November, the weather starts to cool off. If you are hosting, and you will have a lot of people in your house, you can save some energy by turning the AC up, and then opening up the windows in your home. With all of those bodies and hot Turkey and stuffing moving around, fresh crisp and comfortable air will be needed.

4. Play oven Tetris

Save some energy by cooking all oven items together. Try to use pans or dishes that can be configured in a way where you will be able to accomplish putting at least three dishes in there at once.


All of those cans of cranberry sauce, and plastic forks should be heading to a recycling bin near you. Also, the Black Friday ad papers can go in there too once you have written everything you need down!

6. Share a ride

Carpool over to your favorite aunts, niece, or in-laws house. Sharing a ride means more healthy air for you when your pants are too tight from eating so much!

7. Shop Locally

Shop at your local farmers market for fresh fruits and veggies.

8. No bottled H20

Skip on the bottled waters. Come on… tap water won’t hurt.

9. Re-use Containers

Those plastic containers that you get from your local Chinese food restaurant are wonderful for filling up with delicious Thanksgiving leftovers.

10. Change up the menu

Lastly, I know I have been throwing Mr. Turkey around a lot, but a great green alternative to Turkey would be to create a completely vegetarian menu.

What do you all think? Please share your ideas!

Labels: 10 Easy Ways to Go Green This Thanksgiving

10 Essential Video Game Accessories

Video game accessories has grown into a booming business in it;s own right. There is no shortage of accessories that are absolutely useless, but some gaming extras can enhance your gaming experience no matter what games or platforms you prefer. Here is a list of 10 absolutely essential gaming accessories.

DS Screen Protector

The Nintendo DS is of course a must have item in its own right. The massively popular hand held gaming device has one of the most vibrant game libraries ever and provides an excellent mobile game experience. One of the unique features that sets the DS apart is the touch screen that is used in many creative ways in different games.

As great as the touch screen is, the constant tapping, stylus dragging and finger smudging can do a real number on the screen surface. With the amount of time you’re likely to spend on your DS it is no surprise that the touch screen quickly gets scratched and dirty. The solution is very cheap and easy; get a DS screen protector. A screen protector is a transparent film that sticks on the touch screen. If applied carefully it is invisible while protecting the screen from all sorts of damage.

A Gaming Chair

Many feel that a gaming chair is a silly product. They feel that any chair used to watch TV can be used just as well to play video games. There is one major difference between watching TV and playing video games however; watching TV is passive playing video games requires active participation. For this reason video gamers often find themselves sitting on the floor or something similar to avoid being hampered by armrests and footstools.

Gaming chairs are designed with this in mind. A good gaming chair will allow the gaming enthusiast to rock and sway with the action. They also make it easy to reach over and hit your friend in the shoulder when he blue shells you 5 inches from the finish line in Mario Kart.

Balance Board

The balance board comes bundled with Wii Fit. For this reason it sometimes gets a bum wrap from people not very interested in fitness gaming. This is a mistake though as the balance board is actually a very solid accessory.

The obvious application is in snowboard and skateboard games, and the Wii has some fantastic games in both genres that use the balance board brilliantly. The applications for the balance board are a lot more diverse than just balance games however. One of the best uses for the balance board is for the drum simulator in Wii Music. Wii Music is a game that got a lot more negative press than it deserved. The drum mode with balance board is simply outstanding and provides an amazingly accurate simulation of a drum set.

Battery Charge Station

No matter what console or consoles you have decided to go for a good battery charge station for your controllers is essential. Not only is rechargeable batteries going to save you some money in the long run, but never having to change batteries or worse run out of batteries all together is a huge improvement.

Classic Controller

Wii owners are treated to the most revolutionary controller ever created right out of the box. The Wii Remote and the nunchuck is a true generational leap forward in controller technology. The problem with the Wii Remote is that not all games created has made the same jump forward. Many games are still released that control better with a more traditional input scheme. Enter the Classic controller. Designed with the old standard double analog sticks, d-pad and an array of buttons the controller lets Wii gamers play traditional games in a traditional way. The Classic controller is a good controller, but if you can find the Classic controller Pro, that is the superior product.

Gaming Mouse

A gaming mouse is a well known accessory for PC shooter gamers. Players who play less fast paced games often do not consider a mouse a necessary investment. In reality, a good precession mouse will improve any game experience. Even casual games like FarmVille will play better with a high quality mouse. Picking out the exact sheep you wanted from the herd without clicking on random flowers and farmers in the area is a great feeling.

Tastes in mice are very different and it’s impossible to give a one size fits all recommendation. Some gamers likes a mouse with programmable buttons, but in my experience this is not a needed feature. The ability to change the sensitivity of the mouse easily on the other hand is very important to me. In the end, the most important thing is that the mouse feels natural and comfortable in your hand and allows you to move it very rapidly.

Wii Motion Plus

Another Wii specific accessory makes it onto the list. The Wii Motion Plus adds true 1 to 1 motion sensing to the Wii and in many ways fully delivers on the original promise of the console. At the end of this year the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 will both introduce their own products to deliver similar motion experiences, but the Motion Plus remains the one to get. For one the technology is proven and is getting supported right now, second the Wii Motion Plus comes bundled with Wii Sports Resort which is the best motion game ever created.

Wireless Headset

For online games chat is not just a nice add on, it can be an integral part of the game experience. Players can plan strategies and give off-screen hints and tips. For intense battles you don’t want to risk unplugging your headset after a particularly impressive duck and roll. The answer is a wireless headset with attached microphone. If your console supports it, a bluetooth headset is very convenient.

Wireless keyboard

As consoles are morphing into entertainment computers the need for sophisticated input is growing. Many games already rely heavily on typed input either as part of the game itself or in interaction with other players. On top of this, most consoles are now providing more ways to connect with other gamers with chat applications and connections to Facebook and similar services. Using a control-pad to write anything more than a few words at a time is a nightmare, and this is where a wireless keyboard comes in very handy.

All modern consoles support USB keyboards so getting a compatible keyboard to your console is extremely easy and can be very inexpensive.

Mouse Pad

This might seem like a trivial inclusion, but nothing is more frustrating than having your $70 laser game mouse loose tracking as you drag it through strawberry jelly your brother left on your desk. Cheap fabric covered mouse pads are not immune to this either as they tend to get dirty and deliver poor performance. If you take your gaming seriously it is worth the extra cash to get a mouse pad that guarantees that your movements can be tracked.

Source: Personal experience

Labels: 10 Essential Video Game Accessories

10 Fabulous DIY Halloween Costumes for Women for Less Than $10

How can a gal put together a fabulous costume for Halloween without spending a small fortune? A bit of browsing at the closest thrift store or resale shop can result in a plethora of Halloween costuming ideas.

Here are ten super do-it-yourself Halloween costumes (listed alphabetically) for women. These get-ups can probably be assembled for less than ten dollars each, using resale items – or even items that might be found in closets at home.

1920s Flapper Costume

Can you can-can? Do you know how to dance the Charleston?

A 1920s Flapper Costume begins with a slinky drop-waisted dress at the thrift store. Glue or stitch a fringe around the hemline, using trim found in the home decorating section of a craft store. Tie a glittery scarf or headband around your forehead, and add a few strands of extra-long pearls or beads (with a knot in the middle).

Angel Costume

Go for the angelic look on Halloween by dressing in a shimmering white (or light pastel) gown. Even a fancy modest granny-style nightgown will do. Add a pair of white wings from the Halloween aisle of the dollar or discount store and a halo (or a glittery headband).

Cave Woman Costume

Ugh! Ugh!

Go back before time began for a great Halloween costume. Pick up an animal-print dress (or an animal print top and leggings). Frizz up your hair, and fasten at least a few tresses in a topknot. Tuck a dog biscuit or bone into the ponytail.

Don’t forget to carry a club.

Cheerleader Costume

Rah! Rah! Siss – boom – bah! Show your spirit as a cheerleader for Halloween.

Cast-off cheerleader uniforms are occasionally found in resale shops. If not, make your own by adding a big letter logo to a colorful sweater or top and wearing a short pleated skirt in a matching or complementary color on the bottom.

Put on white socks and sneakers, and pick up some pom poms (at the discount store).

Cowgirl Costume

Ride ’em, cowgirl!

Rustle up plenty of Halloween fun with a simple cowgirl costume. Begin with a pair of jeans or a great jean skirt. Add a Western-style blouse and a fringed suede or classic denim vest or jacket. Kick on some Western cowgirl boots.

Be sure to tuck a toy pistol or two into a great leather or beaded belt to polish off the Halloween cowgirl costume.

Fairy Costume

It’s not hard to make a little magic and become a fairy for Halloween.

Many uber-feminine bridesmaid dresses, prom gowns and other special occasion attire can be easily altered to become fabulous fairy costumes. Look for gauzy ruffles and bright or pastel colors.

Create a fairy cone cap (with tagboard or cardstock. Stick some wispy tulle netting through the top, and let it drape. Add a chin-strap of elastic string, or tie the fairy cone cap under your chin with thin ribbons.

Slip into a pair of white wings from the Halloween aisle of the dollar or discount store. Step out in ballet flats in a matching or complementary color or a great glittered style. (You can paint an old pair of flats with glue and roll them in glitter as well.)

Go-go Dancer Costume

Follow the fashions back to the psychedelic 1960s, and go as a go-go dancer on Halloween. All you need is a gaudily colorful mini-dress (ideally, a sheath-style) in a giant, loud print and a pair of shiny knee-high boots. Tie your hair back with a colorful scarf of a wide, soft headband.

Police Officer Costume

Build an arresting presence for Halloween with a police officer costume.

Choose a blue tailored button-down shirt, and tuck it into a pair of navy chino pants or a navy pencil skirt. (Add a matching jacket, if you can.) Pin on a badge, homemade or purchased at a dollar or discount store. Top of the costume with a real or toy police hat, if you can find one.

Princess Costume

Have a royally good time at a Halloween costume party or trick or treating by dressing up as a princess.

Select an elegant and ornate full-length gown at the thrift store or resale shop. Look for brocades, satins or formal dresses with regal-looking trimmings and detail work.

Put hair up, if possible, or hold it back with a terrific tiara.

Waitress Costume

These tips are easy, even if you aren’t good at taking orders.

Creating a Halloween waitress costume is super simple. Find a basic shirtdress, or pair a puff-sleeved blouse with a simple solid skirt. Tie on a white half-apron, and make a fun or punny name tag. Wear sneakers with or without hose.

Easy and economical costuming is ideal for Halloween fashion and fun.

Halloween trick or treating and costume party outfits need not be costly. With a bit of effort, creativity, adventure and imagination, women can come up with truly memorable Halloween costumes that will not break the budget or the bank.

Labels: 10 Fabulous DIY Halloween Costumes for Women for Less Than $10

10 Fashion Mistakes Guys Make and the Ladies Hate

Everybody has heard the old saying that “you only have one chance to make a first impression.” Well it’s definitely true. You want to make sure that the impression you are giving is the right one. The fact of the matter is; most women decide if they like a man within the first 30 seconds of meeting them, which doesn’t leave much time to charm her with your winning personality.

When it comes to bad fashion ideas for men, it seems as if some of the worst fashion crimes have been around since the dark ages. It is as if these bad habits are being passed down from father to son, generation to generation, in a vicious cycle of fashion faux pas. Women all over America have tirelessly taken on the grim task of trying to rewire the male mind when it comes to what clothes the men in their lives put on their bodies. Yet many guys still remain in the dark when it comes to what to wear without looking foolish on a daily basis.

No one is suggesting that most guys require an “extreme makeover” or to have a full lifestyle overhaul, but incorporating a few of the tips below will help to keep most men from making a fatal fashion mistake that can have you losing the battle before you’re even out the door.

  1. Ed Hardy T-Shirts. This is somewhat of a newcomer to the game of “Fashion Dos and Fashion Don’ts” for guys, but it has gained massive popularity as something NOT to wear if you are a guy who wants to impress the ladies. I know; it seems hard to believe that overpriced T-shits that feature tattoo art of dragons, skulls and snakes wrapped around hearts don’t really do it for most of the female population.

  2. Speedos . This is one of those fashion nightmares that literally keeps rearing its ugly head year after year. No matter how you look at it, Speedos are a bad idea 100 percen of the time for 100% of the male population. Unless you are trying out for the USA Olympic team, or starring in an all male revue at Chippendales — don’t even go there.

  3. White Socks with Black Shoes or Any Socks with Sandals. Honestly, I could write an entire book on the mistakes men make with socks. For the sake of brevity, I will stick to the two major main offenders, or should I say re-offenders as men have been making this mistake for decades. To be perfectly clear, dark shoes, require dark socks. Period! There is never an occasion when it’s OK to slip on a pair of beige socks with black pants and black dress shoes. For all you guys out there who think that no one will notice; I am here to burst that bubble. Women notice, all the time — . and we never fail to comment on it, and I mean comment negatively. As far as socks with sandals go — .just don’t do it. If you are that worried about getting cold feet, wet feet or dirty feet, wear closed shoes or just stay home.

  4. Black Sneakers or Tennis Shoes CANNOT Be Worn as Dress Shoes. I know how tempting this one can be. On the surface, it even seems to make sense. It can seem down right logical to wear a black suit, black socks and black sneakers, but just because the colors match does not mean the outfit works. Unless you are just waking up from a coma that you fell into during the l980s when the T-shirt tuxedo was popular, or you just arrived on planet earth from an alternate reality, it has never been OK to wear a suit and sneakers.

  5. Wrinkled Clothes. If your clothes look like you just rolled out of bed in them, or you pulled them from a under a crumpled pile of laundry laying on the floor, then it probably shouldn’t be your first choice of what to wear when heading out the door to meet with that special lady. I know most of you have heard of irons, and if you have an allergy to them, then that’s what the dry cleaner is for. Believe it or not, you can take your clean clothes to the dry cleaner just for ironing if you want. It does not matter if you do it yourself, or if you have the dry cleaner do it for you, as the Nike slogan goes “Just Do It.” Get it done, because dressing like a slob is not sexy, cute or cool.

  6. Short Sleeves with a Tie. Does this really have to be stated? Unless you’re a Mormon going door to door spreading “the word” or enrolled full-time in a British private school or academy, there is never going to be a good reason to wear a short-sleeved shirt with a tie. This also goes for wearing a short-sleeve shirt under your suit. Short sleeve shirts are only used with Khakis or casual wear, and never, ever can you fancy them up with a tie.

  7. The Comb-Over. Yeah! Everybody’s favorite! Male pattern baldness is a no day at the park, but the first step is admitting that you have a hair-loss problem. I won’t even joke about this because the problem is indiscriminate, rampant and insidious. There is no reason to suffer needlessly for years and remain a victim. The answer is not in a pill, a cream, a surgeon’s office, or in a spray can. The answer is a razor. Shave it off for God’s sake. All women prefer a sexy bald head to a Donald Trump comb-over, unless you have Donald Trump money. A bald head is a great look on guys of all ages and it is often the quickest and easiest thing a balding guy can do to improve confidence and jump-start his love life.

  8. Hats. I know, some guys will want to disagree with me on this one, but hats often become crutches for men and excuses not to comb their hair. Ski hats in the summer just make you look foolish, and unless you are a cowboy or going to a rodeo; cowboy hats are downright comical. Believe it or not, baseball hats are not a replacement for a hairbrush. Hats don’t even work out well if you are wearing them to try and cover up hair loss because eventually the hat has to come off and your secret is revealed. There are exceptions to the rule and sometimes the right hat can really make an outfit, but generally speaking this is an area best left alone.

  9. Clothes That Don’t Fit. OK, let me break it down — if your clothes are too baggy, too tight, too short, too long and basically look like they don’t fit your body, then why are you wearing them? Most American men shop off the rack, but your clothes shouldn’t look like you raided someone else’s closet. There are such things as alterations and tailors. Another tip, try on your clothes before you buy them (That is what the dressing rooms at the store are for!), all size 32s are not created equally. Nothing looks or feels better than well-fitting clothes, and it is easy and economical to overhaul your current wardrobe, just by getting your clothes altered by a tailor to fit your body properly.

  10. Gold Teeth or Platinum Teeth Time for a quick reality check. Unless you are going to a costume party, the answer to the question “should I, or shouldn’t I get gold teeth?” is a no-brainer. Trust me, even those hip hop guys in the videos use removable gold teeth. Gold teeth are NOT a status symbol and anybody with any real “status” would agree.

Most women know that by adhering to just a few of these fashion rules, most guys can avoid embarrassment, harassment, public humiliation and being laughed at in the face or indirectly behind the back. Hopefully the lessons learned here will not only help you avoid being ostracized socially by the opposite sex, but hopefully they may even help you attract the right type of attention from the opposite sex.

Labels: 10 Fashion Mistakes Guys Make and the Ladies Hate

10 Fat Burning Foods and How to Add Them to Your Diet

Are there really foods that can fight fat? There are many foods that are low in calories and fill you up that are good to eat when dieting, but can a food actually fight fat? After some research, this writer came up with a list of claims of 10 foods that fight fat.

These are not just foods that fill you up to help you to eat less, the foods in this list have been determined to actually fight fat. This does not mean that by adding these foods, you can eat all the fat-laden foods you like. These foods can be beneficial in reducing fat when used in conjunction with a healthy diet.

Foods that Fight Fat – Raw Nuts
Nuts contain healthy fats and oils. These can not only help you feel full longer, but alpha linolenic acid (an omega 3) found in almonds and omega 3s found in walnuts can help speed the metabolism of fat.

How to get more in your diet. When adding nuts to your diet, be sure they are raw and unsalted, and stick with a small serving. Although nuts have healthier fats, you still don’t want to eat too much.

Foods that Fight Fat – Chilies and Other Hot Peppers
An ingredient in chili peppers called capsaicin, can actually raise your metabolism.

How to get more in your diet. Add chopped chilies to meats and dishes that use tomato sauce as a base for more spice. If you don’t like really hot food, try add some red pepper flakes for a milder option.

Foods that Fight Fat – Tomatoes
Tomatoes contain phytochemicals that stimulate the production of carnitine. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center1, carnitine helps break down fat so your body can use it as energy. Cooking actually helps release the fat-burning properties of tomatoes.

How to get more in your diet. Add the benefit of tomatoes to your diet by eating more dishes with tomato sauce, or dice tomatoes to add to soups and meat dishes.

Foods that Fight Fat – Garlic and Onions
Both garlic and onion come from the same family, thus they are listed here together. Both contain phytochemicals that can break down fat so the body can use it as energy. Raw garlic is better than cooked, so if you must cook it, cook garlic lightly.

How to get more in your diet. Add chopped garlic or onions to any dish where you’d like more flavor. Be aware, though, that both garlic and onion have blood thinning properties, so follow your physician’s advice on their use if you have problems.

Foods that Fight Fat – Soy
Soy is a healthy protein that contains choline. Choline can block the absorption of fat, and helps to break down fatty deposits already in the body.

How to get more in your diet. You can add soybeans to salads, or even mix tofu with meatloaf. A tastier alternative is to drink some soy milk. You can substitute soy milk on your cereal as well.

Foods that Fight Fat – Low Fat Dairy Products
Eating dairy products, preferably those that are low in fat, can help burn fat. They even reduce fat-producing enzymes created in your body. According to WebMD2, calcium alone does not promote fat burning. It is the combination of the calcium, protein and minerals in dairy products that helps to burn fat.

How to get more in your diet. You should aim for 3 servings of low fat dairy in your diet daily. You can drink milk, or eat yogurt and cheeses. Opt for low-fat, no sugar added varieties when possible.

Foods that Fight Fat – Berries
Berries, and other Vitamin C rich fruits, are not only helpful for antioxidant properties. According to a study by the University of Arizona at Mesa quoted in an article by Lucy Danziger3, eating foods rich in Vitamin C can increase fat-burning of your workouts by up to 30 percent.

How to get more in your diet. Berries are great to eat on their own, or you can make smoothies with one or a combination. You can also add a handful of berries to salads or make a berry soup. Berries are also good when added to many chicken dishes.

Foods that Fight Fat – Oranges
Not only do oranges contain Vitamin C with benefits mentioned above, but they contain flavones which can prevent your body from accumulating fat.

How to get more in your diet. Oranges are good to eat on their own, or you can drink orange juice with the pulp. Oranges can also be cooked and added to chicken or seafood dishes.

Foods that Fight Fat – Vinegar
It is believed that the acetic acid in vinegar can help break down fat and help flush it out of the body. Only a couple of spoons are needed for fat burning benefits. Be sure to drink extra water when adding vinegar to your diet.

How to get more in your diet. Use vinegar based salad dressings and marinades for an easy way to add vinegar to your diet.

Foods that Fight Fat – Water
If you become dehydrated, it will slow your metabolism, which will keep your body from burning fat at a proper rate. Drinking enough water will prevent dehydration and help your body maintain a better metabolism.

How to get more in your diet. Rather than reaching for a soft drink when you are thirsty, try drinking a glass of water. Add a lemon or lime wedge for flavor, if desired. Broth soups can also be a good source of water, but be sure to keep the sodium content low.

1) University of Maryland Medical Center; Carnitine (L-carnitine); University of Maryland Medical Center
2) Web MD, LLC; Dairy Foods Help Burn Fat, Speed Weight Loss; WebMD
3) Lucy Danziger; 8 Foods that Fight Fat (from University of Arizona at Mesa Research); health.yahoo.com

Labels: 10 Fat Burning Foods and How to Add Them to Your Diet

10 Essentials You Need to Have for Your Disney Vacation

If you are planning to visit any of the Disney theme parks, you’ve surely noticed by now that there’s a plethora of advice and information available. This is the narrowed down version of absolute essentials.

Your time at the theme parks will certainly be magical, but having these items on hand will help make the experience even more exceptional:

Disney Vacation Planning DVD: Visit http://disneyparks.disney.go.com where you will find oodles of information on the parks and a link to order a free Disney Vacation Planning DVD that is chock full of terrific visuals and information.

After watching, you will have a real feel for everything Walt Disney World has to offer.

Disney Maps: Visit http://customizedmaps.disney.go.com/ before or after your visit to Disney to create a free personalized map of the theme parks, highlighting your favorite attractions. The maps are perfect for scrapbooks or for creating a fabulous memory mural to serve as a wonderful visual reminder of the highlights from your trip.

Water-resistant or water-proof backpack or satchel. Most of the Disney theme parks offer water rides or you may just decide to spend an entire day at one of Disney’s fantastic water parks. Either way, you will appreciate having a bag with you that can withstand moisture, keeping your wallet, cell phone, and other important items safe and dry.

Travel wallet. You won’t need your frequent shopper cards, library cards, or sixty percent of the other items you pack into your wallet. Consider investing in a smaller, lighter wallet with a wrist strap that you can easily carry wherever you go, with the simple essentials you will need on your trip.

Walking shoes. Preferably, bring a pair of shoes you have already worn and broken-in that offer good support. The average person walks around 8-10 miles per day in a Disney theme park. Cramped shoes or blisters would be a real bummer that could potential ruin your trip!

Sun support. A sunhat, sunglasses, and pocket sunscreen are necessities for visiting Disney theme parks. Though you may spend a good part of the day inside on rides, watching shows, or dining, you will still spend a significant amount of time outdoors in the sun. Don’t let hazy days fool you, either; harmful rays can still get through.

Notebook and Sharpie. If you plan on getting character autographs (if you have the kiddos with you, be sure to plan for this) pick up a nice notebook with a Disney theme ahead of time. You’ll find them far cheaper at your local retailer than purchasing at the theme parks. Markers work best for most autographs as the characters often have gloves on as part of their costume.

Hand sanitizer. Chances are you will want to grab a snack or a bite to eat and there may not be a convenient restroom nearby. Or you may come into contact with something gooey (think lots of children eating ice cream and cotton candy) while waiting in line for rides. A small bottle of hand sanitizer (or better yet, hand sanitizer wipes,) will be a blessing, when needed.

Aspirin and bandaids. There are first aid stations in all of the Disney theme parks to help with minor mishaps, but you may be on the other side of the park when a headache or blister occurs. Better to have it on hand than to have to struggle to walk another mile to get relief.

Disney Apps: Search iTunes or the Android mall for free apps like Lantek Solutions “WDW- What to Ride.” These apps highlight various theme park attractions and can provide valuable insights for your trip.

Disney’s free “Radio Disney” App is also great fun to have on your smartphone, offering 24/7 Radio Disney programming.

You can also visit http://touringplans.com/disney-world-app to find downloads for Disney World Apps created by Disney to help you with wait times for every attraction and real time data for your visit. There is a subscription fee for this service, but it offers plenty of perks.

Labels: 10 Essentials You Need to Have for Your Disney Vacation

10 Facts About Abraham Lincoln: His Early Life

Sure, you probably know that Abraham Lincoln was our 16th president, that he issued the Emancipation Proclamation and that he was assassinated in a theater. But are you familiar with Lincoln’s early life?

Here are some facts you might not have known about Lincoln.

1. Abraham Lincoln’s grandfather, also named Abraham Lincoln, was a friend of Daniel Boone in Kentucky.

2. Lincoln was born in Kentucky, a slave state, but his family moved to Indiana when he was seven.

3. Abraham Lincoln and his family lived in a “half-faced camp” in Indiana — a shelter with three sides made of logs and one side open.

4. As a child, Abraham Lincoln attended what was called a “backwoods” school, and soon earned the position of the letter writer for his father and their neighbors.

5. He had only a few books in his home but he read them over and over. They included: The Bible, “Aesop’s Fables,” “Pilgrim’s Progress” and biographies of George Washington and Henry Clay.

6. At 18, Abraham Lincoln was delighted to earn two half silver dollars for rowing two men and their luggage from the shore out to a steamboat.

7. At 19, Lincoln was hired to float goods down the river from Indiana to New Orleans.

8. Abraham Lincoln helped to build the flat bottom boat and earned $24 for his journey.

9. In New Orleans, Lincoln saw slaves herded through the streets in chains, bought and sold like farm animals.

10. Abraham Lincoln, whose Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves, later wrote about the slaves he witnessed as a young man in New Orleans: “That sight was a continual torment to me.”


Eggleston, Edward. “A First Book in American History.”

“People to Know,” World Book Encyclopedia, 1989.

Labels: 10 Facts About Abraham Lincoln: His Early Life

10 Easy Ways to Save Money

Are you on a budget? Are you looking for ways to save money without making a drastic change in your lifestyle? These days, many people are trying to find easy ways to save a few extra bucks a month. They are wanting tips on how to save on gas, tips on saving dollars when grocery shopping, and tips on saving some extra money by doing simple things. Not only can you cut down on the cost of your utilities by turning up or down your thermostat, use flourescent bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs, or keep major appliances unplugged while away from home…there are other ways to save, ways that won’t put your lifestyle in the damper.

1. Buy generic brands vs. name brands.

Most places you shop, have their own store brand of your favorite products. You can save quite a bit of money, and the products are usually just as good as the name brand ones.

2. Put your savings in a money market account.

These accounts accumulate interest every month. The bank pays a higher interest rate than an ordinary savings account, and you still maintain unlimited access to your money.

3. Pay off your credit cards.

Once you pay off your credit cards, preferably the one’s with the highest interest rate first, then be wise with your money – Don’t spend money you don’t have. If you do use your credit card to purchase something because you don’t want to pay for it at that time, then as soon as you get the bill pay it off in full to avoid paying high interest rates.

4. Up your deductibles on house and car insurance.

Doing this will save you a lot of money. Tailor your coverage to what you really need, and shop around wisely for the best deals on insurance.

5. Clip the coupons.

Make sure you clip coupons out of those Sunday papers. You can save a substantial amount just by doing this. Every little bit adds up.

6. Cut down on eating out.

Limit the amount of times you dine out. Aim for once a week. Stick to a budget.

7. Don’t buy the latest & greatest.

Within a couple months, these new items will most likely go down in price.

8. Cut down on gas.

Remove heavy, unneeded items from your trunk. Keep tire pressure at recommended level. Add fuel injector cleaner to a full tank every 3,000 miles to improve gas mileage.

9. Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry.

You’ll end up buying more than you went in for.

10. Keep the spare change.

All those pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters add up. Get your kids involved. Use a large, glass jar and when it is full, get the coins rolled. Whatever is saved up can be used for a trip to dairy queen, a new movie, etc.

Labels: 10 Easy Ways to Save Money

10 Family Friendly Vacation Spots in Texas

A list of family friendly resorts and ranches in Texas. Enjoy horseback riding, hayrides, kids clubs, rafting, fishing for the whole family.

1. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort: Waller

This is a kid friendly camping vacation experience. They offer cabins for rent as well as tradition camping sites. The not so rustic site comes with free cable for all cabins and RV sites. There is a swimming pool, tennis court, multiple playgrounds, a petting zoo, and a lake for fishing all located on sight. Reservations start at $23 for a primitive tent site and goes up to $156 plus $7 per person to stay in the Village Bear Cabin which sleeps up to 10 people.

2. Barton Creek Resort & Spa: Austin

The property has 4,000 acres of rolling hills at its disposal. The kids club takes children as young as 6 months up to 8 years. The activities include arts & crafts, nature walks, story time and many other entertaining activities. The site has an outdoor pool and an indoor pool, playground, arts center, Junior and Teen nights, game room, family movie nights, a nature trail, family bingo and board game nights, wacky Olympics, and scavenger hunts. For adults, there is a Callaway Performance Center opening June 5th. Do as much or as little as you want. Rates start at $175.

3. Pine Cove Summer Camps: Crier Creek

Pine Cove at Crier Creek is located near Houston, Texas. It allows the entire family to go to camp together. They offer down home Texas cooking and a pristine site to unwind. Prices start at over $2,600 for the family.

4. MD Resort: Fort Worth Dallas

MD Resort has affordable all inclusive Family travel packages. The site has swimming poll, hot tub, hammocks, basketball, horseshoes, and game room. Family Day Dances are a popular event that takes place in the Party Barn.

5. Tapatio Springs Golf Resort: Boerne

Tapatio Springs has fun options for the whole family including: golf, horseback riding, nature trail, mountain biking, tennis, fitness center, swimming, volleyball, and freshwater fishing. Rates start at just $109 a night.

6. Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa: Lost Pines

This 405-acre ranch-style resort has a youth spa, a golf club, 1,000 foot long river pool, rock climbing, horseback riding, kayaking, and rafting. They even offer a kids club. Room rates start at over $200 during summer months.

7. Flying L Guest Ranch: Bandera

The Flying L is a place where visitors can live out their dreams of being a cowboy while still enjoying modern day comforts of home. Activities include: horseback riding, golf, hayrides, campfires, children’s activities, swimming, tennis, hiking, and fishing. Rates start at $149 a night.

8. Rancho Cortez: Bandera

The Rancho Cortez is a luxurious dude ranch. Activities and amenities include: trail rides, lessons, campfires, entertainment, hayrides, pool, spa, game room, children’s programs, picnics, and the opportunity to view a real working ranch. The weekly rate starts at $1085 and the RV sites are $99 per person per day.

9. Silver Spur Ranch: Bandera

This historic dude ranch allows its guest to live like a true cowboy complete with fishing, horseback riding, fossil digging, and hayrides. Rates start at $135.00 a night for adult.

10. Rocking L Guest Ranch: Wills Point

The Rocking L has an authentic western town feel. Enjoy horseback riding, swimming, rafting, or fishing in one of the three stocked ponds. Room rates start at $145 for a semi-private room and include breakfast.

Labels: 10 Family Friendly Vacation Spots in Texas

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