Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Tackle the Job Market This Fall

Disappointing as it may be, many college graduates are faced with the hunt for full time employment after a summer of temporary employment amid hours of permanent job searches. The beginning of fall can be a difficult time for students who graduated in May or June. Although many had summer jobs, it is the first time in their lives they are faced with uncertainty about the future. Most students have student loans and many are living at home with no alternative. In the academic year 2007-8, over 86% of students graduating with Bachelor’s degree borrowed money to pay for their undergraduate education, according to FinAid. And according to a recent Baltimore Sun article on life after college, 80% of graduating seniors move home at least until they have found some type of permanent employment. Now is not the time to despair and decide to give up on the college education and tremendous experience you have earned. Instead, you can take these steps and rejuvenate as you approach the job market with a new and updated plan.

First, take the time to reflect upon your job hunting strategy and determine why you still have not found the right job. One reason is some graduates still have not focused their efforts or really know what it is they want to do for the next few years. If you take a little time to determine what companies you have spoken to and what information your research has provided you with, you can focus on careers and jobs that are hiring, paying well, considering new graduates and meet your criteria as a potential employer. This will allow you to target the companies you would consider working for and the types of job you would consider working at to build experience for the future. Once you weed out the companies you are not interested in working for and focus on an evoked set of companies, you will be confident in your interviews and willing to accept the position should the job be offered.

Second, remember it is a new season and time to start fresh in your job search again. Take out the fall clothes, put on a fresh face and meet the challenge with a positive attitude and confidence. Remember, you earned a college degree in a very competitive environment and you are prepared to work and take the opportunity to help a company grow. At this point, you must remember whether you are interviewing or submitting your resume and cover letter, you should focus on what you can bring to the company. This means providing concrete facts on your willingness to spend hours building relationships with customers or working extra hours to meet deadlines and working on team projects to get the job done. The company needs to know how you intend to help them meet their goals and objectives. This is especially true of marketing and sales jobs.

Finally, as you are searching and interviewing, you can also register for additional classes or take an extra course in an area you may consider a weakness. This will serve to keep your resume updated and your skills current. If you need to practice a computer skill or become more adept at a language then go ahead and register for a course and be sure to add the fact that you are taking the class to your resume or cover letters to potential employees. Today you have the flexibility of both on campus and on-line classes so there is little excuse for hesitation or procrastination.

As in sales, it just takes one right match or one yes and you will be employed. In the meantime, be persistent, assertive, and confident and above all, keep up the job search. The good news is that when with a focus on the type of company you want to work for and the type of job you want to do, when you finally get the job it will be worth the work to get it. After all, you earned it.


Anderson, Jessica, Life After College For Many Means Returning Home, The Baltimore Sun, June 20, 2010

Labels: Tackle the Job Market This Fall

They Want to Suck Your Blood: Blood Thirsty Bugs and Eco-Friendly Ways to Get Rid of Them

Year round there are several types of bugs that really “bug” us with harmful and hurtful bites. How can we protect our family and homes from these creepy crawly blood sucking bugs using natural and environmentally friendly methods and treatments?

“Sleep tight don’t let the bedbugs bite,” for years parents have been saying this in jest when they tuck their children in at night. But with the current infestation of bedbugs in homes, hotels, colleges and public places it is no joking matter. Bedbugs come out at night while we are sleeping. It only takes about 10 minutes for a bedbug to full up and it won’t need to eat again for days. Female bed bugs lay 3-4 eggs every day near where we sleep, since human blood is their favorite treat. Bedbugs are flat, oval and reddish brown in color and are about .2 inches long, wingless and flat.

Find out how to how to tell if bedbugs are living in your home.

Mosquito “bites” aren’t really bites at all. It is actually a “poke”. Female mosquitoes need a good hearty meal before they lay their eggs and they can live up to eight weeks. Men are a less hearty specimen and only live about a week.

So why do some people get bit by mosquitoes and others don’t? Mosquitoes and many other blood sucking creatures are attracted to the carbon dioxide that a host releases and they are attracted to it like bees to honey. Find out more good, bad and just the facts about mosquitoes.

Horseflies: Regular houseflies hopped up on steroids! While the name is dead on when it comes to size, horseflies actually prefer to dine on cattle. Brown and black rate among their favorite colors in cattle, horses and the occasional person. Female horseflies are real ladies, they only dine on blood when they are about to lay eggs. Don’t think just because you aren’t on a ranch or farm that you are safe from “horse fly” bites, because they can also be found wherever there is standing water like a pond, swamp, stream, or lake. They love to breed under these conditions. Find out more about the dreaded horsefly.

Fleas come in different varieties. Where I live cat fleas are the most common, but they aren’t picky here, they will suck the blood of dogs or people too. Did you know that fleas can jump the length of a cat’s tail? They move easily through their host’s hair because of their flat bodies and while adult fleas eat blood, a baby fleas first meal is grown up flea poop.

Lice; is a word that makes parents all over cringe in disgust. None of us want to admit that our child has lice, but it does happen. Children most often transfer lice through wearing each other’s hats, hair bows or by using each other’s brushes. Lice can’t jump, hop or fly, so the only way they can transfer to another host is by crawling and then “landing” on a nice juicy scalp. Just because you have lice doesn’t mean you have dirty hair, believe it or not they actually prefer clean scalps to dine from.

Ticks, the headless monster that is not only annoying, but in some cases can give its host a harmful disease. No true head, they actually just have a small barbed mouth that they stick into their host. Ticks are particularly hard to get rid of once they are in the skin because they create cement like substance to glue themselves on and aren’t released until their stomachs are full.

To go green when you see red in your home consider these eco-friendly alternatives to pest control:

Bed bugs: Turn the suction on the sucker . . . vacuum! Be sure to get in and around the edges and corners of your mattress and box springs. Heat treatments, done by professionals are yet another way of effectively eradicating bedbugs from the bedroom (and any other room in the house). Professionals come in with high intensity heaters that kill not only live bugs but the eggs that other cleaning methods may leave behind. There are also products by Mother Earth and Kleen Free available in powder and spray form that can be used on beds, bedding, and clothing safely.

Mosquitoes:Naturally Repel Mosquitoes with These 5 Plants suggests specific plants to include in your outdoor garden that naturally repel mosquitoes. Other methods to naturally repel mosquitoes naturally from your environment include using vinegar, or oil of eucalyptus, watching how you dress, and even what you eat.

Horseflies: Of course, nothing beats covering up your skin, but on a hot summer day that is easier said than done. “Dressage Today” magazine offers a homemade fly repellent recipes using 2 cups of apple cider vinegar; 2 cups prepared tea that has gone cold (sage or chamomile is recommended); 20 drops of eucalyptus oil; 20 drops of citronella oil; 10 drops of lavender oil; 10 drops of tea tree oil; 10 drops of cedar oil; and 20 drops of an emulsifier (an example is polysorbate 20).

Fleas: These five steps offer home and pet owners natural ways to fight the small but mighty flea and take you through the
process from carpets to pets. Some important ingredients to have on hand include vinegar, olive oil lemon juice and garlic.Exterminate fleas naturally using Eucalyptus leaves, tansy, cedar chips and even Dawn dishwashing liquid – it’s not just for oily birds.

Lice: School aged children are the ones most likely to be exposed to lice in most households. Use these tips to help you check your child’s head for lice.There is a non-chemical way to treat your family should you have an infestation of lice. Try any one of these natural remedies that include mayonnaise, vinegar, special comb and tweezers or you can try using Vinegar (Dissolves eggs), Olive Oil or Baby Oil and a Knid Comb. Start with an olive or baby oil coating on your hair. Some say to leave it on overnight, others say a couple of hours. Use a shower cap to keep it on your hair and not any place else. Afterwards, wash your hair using vinegar and comb thru your hair small sections at a time using the Knid Comb.

Ticks: Try one of these home remedies for ridding your lawn of ticks. Preventing ticks on your pet or person is the first step towards protecting yourself from bites and the harmful effects of a tick bite. This guide to organic pest control can help you with a number of pest remedies and alternatives from using eucalyptus leaves or lavender.

Why use eco-friendly pest control methods?

In a joint statement, the CDC and EPA said: “Although bed bugs may sometimes be controlled by non-chemical means alone, this approach is often very difficult, potentially less effective, and usually more resource intensive.” Even in the CDC an EPA statement, chemicals are the last item on the list which includes: “using monitoring devices, removing clutter where bed bugs can hide, applying heat treatment, vacuuming, sealing cracks and crevices to remove hiding places, using non-chemical pesticides (such as diatomaceous earth) and judicious use of effective chemical pesticides.” Consider this; what you use to rid yourself of these pests can stay with your home, the air you breathe, and your skin for some time to come.

Find out more about the advantages of natural remedies for your children and home.

While most of these pests really bug us, in most cases (certainly not all) the effects of being “bit” but one of these are nothing more than an irritation. However, the long term effects of using harmful chemicals and toxins can last a great deal longer, both to the environment and to your health.


Personal Experience

Dressage Today Magazine

Labels: They Want to Suck Your Blood: Blood Thirsty Bugs and Eco-Friendly Ways to Get Rid of Them

Thrifty Summer Fun for the Kids

If you have young kids, summer time can often means hot weather and bored kids. Many people can’t afford to go to amusement parks, water parks or send the kids to camp. These are some ideas to get your kids out of the house for free or almost free.

Story Time

Beat the heat and get inside with a fun and educational story time. Barnes and Noble is one bookstore that has free story time. Programs may vary by location. However, at my location, several stories are read, questions are asked and kids are provided with crayons and coloring sheets. Go to the stores and events tab to see if your store has a story time. For older kids, there is also a program where kids read eight books and get a free book. Simply download a “passport” and turn it in to a local Barnes and Noble when your child is finished with the books.

Borders is another store that has free story time. At my Borders, the story time is geared towards toddlers. There is a fun story, various activities and fun little surprises. Check the store locator to find a store near you and see the type of story time that is offered.

If you don’t have a Borders or Barnes and Noble, check out your local library or bookstore. I’m sure you will find that most libraries offer a program.

Inflatable Pool

If you are lucky enough to have a pool, that is great. However, if you don’t an inflatable pool is a wonderful option. My daughter loves our inflatable pool. We have one big enough to sit in and splash around a little. Try the Intex Swim Center Round Pool. It costs just under $25.00 and provides fun for the entire summer. If you want something more exciting, consider the Intex Waterfall Shade Play Center. It has a mini waterfall and inflatable slide. This one costs $34.99. Both can be found at

Vacation Bible School

Vacation Bible School is a great way to bring your child closer to God while letting them have fun with other kids. A lot of them have themes like “Journey Through Egypt” or “God Squad.” Most of these are free or may have a small cost. Even though these are free, it is always nice to donate money, resources or time to help out the church effort. Here is a list of VBSs in North Carolina, Oklahoma, Virginia, Southern California, Rapid City, South Dakota, Missouri, Indiana and New York. If you don’t see a list in your area, call your local church to see if they are having a Vacation Bible School.


Take advantage of the many free museums and museums that offer free days. Again, it’s a good way to get out of the heat and learn something as well. Go to for a list of free museums in some major US cities.


MetroFamily’s Awesome 2010 Vacation Bible School List

Area churches’ vacation Bible school listing Rapid City Journal

Local churches host Vacation Bible School, a summer favorite The Green Summit Dispatch

Los Angeles Vacation Bible School Events

Vacation Bible Schools The Indiana Gazette

Vacation Bible Schools

Triangle Moms 2 Moms

Plenty of churches offering Vacation Bible School programs

Vacation Bible School – 2010


Labels: Thrifty Summer Fun for the Kids

======= THOUSANDS of YEARS=======

God is everywhere, He is in your room, car or where ever you are, or have been or going to be. You can not hide from God, God made everything by the Word, the heavens, the earth and also He made hell.

People think that the devil made hell, wrong, God did and hell is the place where the devil will go and his followers at the end of the age.

We all have choices, do we choose to follow evil ways or do we follow God’s Word, God’s Word came alive and His name is Jesus.

God will never force Himself onto us but the devil will, God requires us to follow Him and His Word who is Jesus came to show us the way back to the Father.

Jesus should be everything to us, He has already paid the price for our salvation, we can be set free from our burdens and worries and sicknesses.

God did let many people be destroyed because of their wickeness as they drifted away from Him, but He sent His only Son to earth to show us the way back to Him.

What we must remember is that the whole Bible is God’s word and it is His word that is holding the world together, without the word the world would fall apart.

Just think how God must be feeling to see His creation being destroyed by man who was created in His own image.
Man has been living for thousands of years and all that he has done is to mess up the world that God made so perfect for us, its only the last 50 years or so that man now is trying to save the world from destruction, is it too late now for anything to be done, as Jesus will be coming back soon to rescue His own.

We try to live a good life but there are many distractions that come at us and we drift away from God, and we end up all washed up on the rocks and become like wrecks.

But Jesus is waiting for us to turn away from our ways, He is the way to eternal life and for us to be with our Heavenly Father.
We can be very troubled with our every day situations, we can change them with the choices we make, we do not have to follow other ways when we know that there is a better way to follow, and that way is to follow the Word of God.

Jesus said that “..He is the way, the truth, the life, and no one can come to the Father except through me.”

So why not follow Him (Jesus), yes He is the door way so lets go through.

Labels: ======= THOUSANDS of YEARS=======

Timeless Love Songs: Top Ten

Karaoke is a great pastime. It’s fun to do, and it’s even funnier to watch. But what can that little machine help you say to your loved one? Picking the right song can be everything, so let’s not start with ‘Should I stay or Should I go Now?’ How do you pick out a good love song? Well, as it happens, I have a list of love songs that should do just the trick.

10. I Walk the Line, By Johny Cash. This one doesn’t have to be a guy or a girl singing, so it’s a great romantic song.

9. When You Say You Love Me, By Josh Gromban. Again, this song could be sung by either sex, and it’s so gooey, it’s almost unbearable.

8. You Went and Saved The Best For Last, By Venessa Williams. Of course, this a strictly female vocal preformance, but it’s still a great song.

7. You Save Me And I Will Save The Day, by Train. This one’s equally a male vocal preformance only, but it’s a great song for the guy who wants to say it right.

6. I Drove All Night, by Celine Dion. Don’t be put off guys, you could sing this one too, it’s got a great lyric story.

5. Truly Madly Deeply, by Savage Garden. Yep, it’s still here, and it’s still one of the steamest songs out there.

4. Your Body Is A Wonderland, By John Mayer. This one’s for guys only, but it really gets you going.

3. I Want To Hold Your Hand, by the Beatles. Duh, everyone could have seen that one coming. The Beatles were going to be on here somewhere.

2. Delirous Love, by Neil Diamond. This is good one guys, I’m telling you.

1. Please Forgive Me, by Bryn Adams. Hands down, this is the most romantic pop song ever, don’t try and deny it. And yeah, a girl can sing it too.

Notes; You’ll notice a lack of hip hop and rap in the above list; that’s because your’s truly still doesn’t believe ‘phat’ ‘fly’ and ‘shorty’ are compliments. Other than that guys and dolls, have at it, good luck, and don’t go on to American Idol with one of these karaoke songs unless you aim to be humiliated.

Labels: Timeless Love Songs: Top Ten

Surgeon General Recommended You Walk a Minimum of 10,000 Steps a Day or Five Miles Per Day

Although the Surgeon General recommended you walk a minimum of 10,000 steps a day or five miles per day, not everyone can do it because of pre-existing health issues. And some of those health issues might be due to advanced age, various illnesses, or even from leading a sedentary lifestyle, according to an October 20, 2009 news report from TrekDesk, a company that has come up with a new solution for sedantary employees–a workstation at your desk where you can walk as you work.

While the healthcare debate rages on there is a means for you to take personal control over your health. You don’t have to leave the office or home to do it. If you sit in chairs during the day, you might appreciate learning about the new idea of desk treadmills. See the new Treadmill Desk video on trekking at your desk.

Sedentary desk jobs are robbing adults of their health and are one of the leading causes of rising adult obesity rates, now at 18.7% according to the Centers for Disease Control. Only clean-air Colorado’s obesity rate is the lowest in the nation, but what happened in Colorado now is that it has shown the fastest percentage gain than any state with the exception of Virginia in the past 15 years.

If you can’t get outside to walk because of polluted air, traffic, or a sedentary desk job, perhaps walking at your desk might help. TrekDesk offers the first affordable solution that gets employees up and moving, garnering national attention at a time when health care costs and obesity rates are spiraling out of control.

Benefits derived by walking during work hours along with the agencies that published the studies:

33-70% reduction in the rates of most cancers (National Institutes of Health)
90% reduction in the number of initial heart attacks (American Heart Association)
50% reduction in the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes (American Diabetes Association)
70% reduction in the risk of stroke (American Heart Association)

Nearly 2/3 of our nation’s population is overweight with 50% of this number classified clinically obese. At a time when our nation is turning their attention to health care reform a few strong voices are rallying the cry for workplace and lifestyle reform as a critical piece of the puzzle.

A company known as TrekDesk has designed and is currently selling a unique, affordable solution that has been proven to help employees lose weight, restore health, prevent disease, improve mood and boost productivity: all without ever leaving the office. The only issue is that you need a treadmill in the first place. TrekDesk is a full sized, height adjustable work station which attaches to existing treadmills allowing employees the opportunity to walk slowly while they work without sweating.

Sound bizarre? The human body has evolved with the ability to walk 30 miles per day and its internal health systems are dependent upon walking to keep it in top form. Most American walk on average only 2 miles per day not allowing the body to maintain health or proper weight levels. Sedentary jobs and lifestyles are the main culprit and treadmill desks offer an solution.

Treadmill desks are already in use by major corporations such as GlaxoSmithKline, Humana, Mutual of Omaha and Best Buy however their average cost ranges between $4500-$6500, well beyond the budget of most companies and individuals. TrekDesk however costs less than 1/3 of an average monthly health insurance premium. Priced at $479, TrekDesk is currently shipping free through out the United States.

The health benefits of walking during the day are backed by years of solid medical evidence. Here are some interesting statistics on the benefits derived by walking during work hours along with the agencies that published the studies:

33-70% reduction in the rates of most cancers (National Institutes of Health)
90% reduction in the number of initial heart attacks (American Heart Association)
50% reduction in the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes (American Diabetes Association)
70% reduction in the risk of stroke (American Heart Association)

The National Institutes of Health reports that 84% of ALL medical claims are the direct result of a lack of exercise and poor diet/lifestyle choices. Obesity related claims are costing our health care system in excess of $100 Billion annually. References to the medical reports proving the health benefits of treadmill desks can be found at the TrekDesk website.

Heeding the Surgeon General’s recommendations to walk a minimum of 10,000 steps or about 5 miles per day would have a dramatic impact on the nation’s health reform landscape. TrekDesk allows employees to meet this goal in as little as 2.5-3 hours per day while they work.

Due to being sedentary and seventyish, I walked a slow, 13,114 regular steps today along the curb as many of the streets in my neighborhood have few sidewalks. And my Omron pedometer noted that I walked 4.13 miles, 7,772 aerobic steps, and burned 228 calories. The heavy traffic along the street felt threatening, even though the newspaper said the air quality today was good.

Inspite of the muddy curbs and teenage males followed by younger kids on bikes riding on the sidewalk not in the bike lane, tailgaiting me when the few narrow sidewalks became available, the walk had very good results. My back pain from usually sitting up to12 hours a day in front of a computer is gone.

Whatever you choose, treadmill, walking outside, or the safer way, walking through indoor shopping malls, get moving for your health, if your doctor advises you to walk for exercise. Shopping mall walking also is a good way to walk without breathing in the heavy traffic pollution as you walk along the curb where there are no sidewalks.

You could join a gym, go to the “Y,” link up with a community center’s walking program, take a chair exercise course, or solve your walking issues at home or at work with a treadmill that you can use at your desk, maybe even create a cleaner environment with an air purifier as you walk indoors.

Photo credits: TrekDesk

Labels: Surgeon General Recommended You Walk a Minimum of 10,000 Steps a Day or Five Miles Per Day

Thailand's Loi Krathong and Yi Peng Festivals - Floating Festivals of Lights

Loi Krathong is the largest annual festival held throughout Thailand and one in which almost every Thai participates.

Traditionally it is held on the night of the full moon in the 12th month of the lunar calendar, however with the full moon this year falling on a Wednesday, many Loi Krathong festivals will commence on November 8th to take advantage of the weekend.

The current format of the festival is believed to have originated in the ancient Thai capital of Sukothai, but now most cities throughout Thailand celebrate Loi Kathong, with those in Chiang Mai and Ayutthaya being particularly well known and spectacular.

The Thai word “Loi” means “to float”, while “Krathong” is a raft about a handspan in diameter traditionally made from a section of banana tree trunk, although today specially made bread “flowers” or even Styrofoam may be used.

As part of the celebrations beauty contests, called “Noppamas Queen Contests”, are also generally staged, with the name being attributed to a consort of the 14th century Sukothai king Loethai.

Ordinary Thai people decorate their Krathongs with elaborately-folded banana leaves, flowers, candles, and incense sticks. Some people also include small clippings of their hair or finger nails.

Government departments, private corporations and other organisations build much larger and more elaborate rafts as part of Loi Kathong contests, which are usually accompanied by spectacular fireworks displays, musical performances and other festive activities.

Some Thais believe the festival is meant to worship Buddha’s footprint on the banks of the Narmada River, while others say that it is to pay respect to Phra Uppakhut, one of Buddha’s great disciples.

In addition to showing great respect to Buddha, the act of floating Krathongs on rivers, canals or any other body of water symbolises letting go of grudges, problems, and anger so that one can start life afresh.

Many Thais also believe that floating a Krathong at this time honours the Goddess of Water, “Phra Mae Khongkha” and will bring them good luck and fortune in the year ahead.

Others believe it expresses apologies to “Khongkha” or”Ganga”, the River Goddess.

Any visitor to Thailand during the month of November cannot help but be caught up in this nation-wide celebration.

Chiang Mai Loi Krathong and Yi Peng Festivals
One of the largest and most colourful Loy Krathong ceremonies is held in the Northern Thailand city of Chiang Mai, where it coincides with the Lanna Yi Peng Festival.

This year the festival will be held between November 11 and 13 and feature bamboo raft and boat races on the Mae Ping River, a Yi Peng lantern procession, a beauty contest, a parade of giant Krathongs, and nightly fireworks displays and cultural performances.

An added feature of the Chiang Mai Mai Loi Krathong Festival is the Yi Peng Festival (Festival of Lights), a unique traditional practice of Chiang Mai locals, Lanna people, held at the same time.

Commonly called Sky Lanterns, the festival involves the launching skywards of thousands of tubular lantern hot air balloons called “Khome Loi” as an offering to Buddha and to cast away grief, misery and ill-fortunes.

The lanterns are constructed using traditional bamboo formed into hoops and then coated with either tracing paper or Saa Paper made from the branches and leaves of the mulberry tree.

A small candle placed in the base provides the hot air to fill the paper envelope and float the lantern gently skywards.

In addition to the renowned Chiang Mai celebrations, notable Loi Krathong Festivals will also be held at:

Sukhothai Loi Krathong Festival – between November 7th to 12th 2008 at the Sukhothai Historical Park.

Highlights include worshipping ceremonies to “Phra Mae Ya” and King Ramkhamhaeng the Great, cultural arts and traditional Thai musical performances, a beauty contest, the lighting of lanterns, “Khao Khwan Wan Len Fai” ceremony, as well as a light and sound presentation at Wat Mahatat.

Bangkok Loi Krathong Festival – between November 8th and 12th 2008 at Santi Chai Prakarn, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok.

Highlights include a river procession of giant Krathongs, and the illumination of buildings and historical sites on both sides of the Chao Phraya River.

Tak Loi Krathong Festival – between November 8th and 12th 2008

Highlights include an invitation parade of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej Royal lamps, the Royal Krathong, a beauty pageant and a light and sound spectacular on the Mae Ping River.

Bang Sai Loi Krathong and Tam Prathip Festivals – between November 11 and 13th, 2008 at the Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Centre, Phra Nakhon, Si Ayutthaya.

Highlights include a traditional procession of beauty queens from all four regions and a floating market demonstration.

© John Le Fevre, 2008

Labels: Thailand's Loi Krathong and Yi Peng Festivals - Floating Festivals of Lights

Three Foods that Lower High Cholesterol

High cholesterol is a problem for many people in this day and age. While there are many excellent medications to help lower high cholesterol, there are also many foods that can be worked into ones diet to either lower high cholesterol or prevent it from occurring in the first place. This guide covers three of these foods that are suggested by the Mayo Clinic.

High Cholesterol Reducing Food #1: Oatmeal

The first food to reduce your high cholesterol is one that you can begin your day with. While oatmeal itself can be bland, you can add healthy fruit such as bananas and apples or healthy spices such as cinnamon to enhance the flavor. For some really fancy and healthy ideas check out these recipes from Quaker. According to the Mayo Clinic the main benefit of oatmeal is that it is high in soluble fiber which reduces high cholesterol. So, start your day with a bowl of oatmeal and help lower your high cholesterol.

High Cholesterol Reducing Food #2: Almonds or Walnuts

The second food to reduce your high cholesterol is nuts such as almonds and walnuts. According to the Mayo Clinic these nuts are high in polyunsaturated fats and help to keep blood vessels healthy. Almonds and Walnuts can either make a healthy and filling snack or be added to other foods such as salads for some added flavor. If you are looking for some ideas for using almonds in food check out these recipes. If you are on a low sodium diet you should check to see if the almonds and walnuts you buy are salted, but otherwise this is a great food to lower high cholesterol.

High Cholesterol Reducing Food #3: Fish or Fish Oil

The third food to reduce your high cholesterol is a little different because it can either be taken as actual food or as a suppliment. Fish are high in Omega 3 fatty acids which help to reduce high cholesterol. According to the Mayo Clinic doctors recommend eating fish twice a week for its health benefits. One thing to watch out for if you buy your fish frozen is that it might contain a lot of sodium. If you can, get your fish fresh and then prepare it in a manner that does not involve frying. For some delicious recipes with fish to lower your high cholesterol check out these recipes. If you can not work fish into your diet through meals, you may want to try fish oil capsules. They are easy to take but be warned that they can leave a fishy after taste. Whichever way you use fish to lower your high cholesterol you will be doing something healthy to improve your diet and your life.


Reducing your high cholesterol is one of the best things you can do to enhance your health and life expectancy. If you are concerned about your blood pressure then you should consult a doctor or other health professional to see if you need medication. If you are trying to be proactive or already are being treated for high blood pressure, the foods that have been covered in this guide may be of benefit to you.

Labels: Three Foods that Lower High Cholesterol

Tips for Planning an Inexpensive Family Vacation

The Art of the CFV (Cheap Family Vacation)

Rather than boring you with all the steps and tips of how to plan a CFV, take a look at how I roll with my family of five, without taking out a HELOC.

I have been lauded by the woman whose opinion matters most (my wife, not Oprah) as the cheapest man on the planet. I have a few grown-up toys, but have mysteriously survived without a boat, a pickup, or an ATV. I am not an impulse buyer, unless something purchased with between three and six months of thought is considered an impulse.

For this reason, I am the vacation planner. She decides where we would go (since otherwise we would never go anywhere), and it becomes my job to plan it. I do occasionally throw a few ideas her way, but I don’t even have veto power once she has made up her mind.

So, after much deliberation, I purchased a family-sized tent, one that could easily be set up in the dark, for just over $75. It came with two extra sleeping bags, a couple of canvas chairs, and some miscellaneous camping stuff. I spent a few hours net-surfing, and e-mailing some old military friends.

The next day we loaded ourselves into the car – me and all the women in my life. Three daughters, 13, 9, and 7, crammed into the family sedan with a full tank of gas. I headed north, with my wife reading the map, mostly so I could drive her bananas when I try to read it and drive at the same time. We made a beeline for central Missouri, where an old friend was expecting us. He didn’t have the room to board us, but this was deliberate. We set up the tent in his front yard. My wife got some video of my friend and I trying to set it up while the girls watched. We all laughed until our sides hurt.

After a less than restful night, we headed down an intentional detour to a place called Tightwad, MO. There isn’t much of anything there other than a city limit sign, which happens to be chained and welded to the pole to prevent theft. Okay, other than its symbolic value, that’s pretty boring. But over the next thirteen days, we forged our way through five more states, finding all sorts of cheap stuff to do.

Here’s some of what we saw:
The Bridges of Madison County, IA ($3 for parking)
The Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD (a few dollars for all of us)
Badlands National Park ($20) (It’s a huge bunch of rocks that you can climb on)
1880 Town ($26) (a reconstructed old west town, we spent all afternoon there)
Mt. Rushmore ($20)
Panning for gold near Rushmore ($20, and it was so cold it wasn’t that fun)
Crazy Horse Mountain ($20)
Devil’s Tower (Free if you don’t get too close)
Yellowstone Park ($25)
Garden of the Gods in Co. Springs (Free)
The Oz Museum in Wamego, KS ($28)

Over the next thirteen days, between the campgrounds and two nights at friends’, we spent only six of those nights in a motel, and if the weather had held out, we would have done less. Meals were sandwiches packed in a cooler (we stopped for groceries a few times), and one real meal a day was eaten at an all-day breakfast joint. At the time of the trip, the average price of gasoline was $3.19.

You may start to see a pattern emerging here. Not a one of these attractions cost more than $30, and many of them much less. Almost everything we saw involved getting the kids out of the car, and letting them run until they dropped. We connected with several old friends along the way, and each night, we planned a few activities for the following day, but left time open for wandering.

We spent a total of $1800, and that included the tent, which we still have. All three children got to make some choices, and this year, they are helping to plan the stops, and trying to figure out how to do more for less. They are, in fact, competing to see who can come up with the neatest “free” thing to do, and learning important life lessons in the process. The most important thing, though, is we proceeded at a pace that was quite relaxed. We did what we wanted to do, and stayed within our budget. That’s what a vacation is all about.

Labels: Tips for Planning an Inexpensive Family Vacation

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