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Back To School Shopping Time

on Tuesday, 15 August 2017. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

“No you don’t need that designer book bag or that pen set! Do you see the price tag?”

“But all the other kids—”

“You’ll just lose them like you did last year.”

If you’ve heard a conversation like this around the store lately, it can only mean it’s back-to-school time. For many parents it can be a bit of a nightmare. You want your kids to have everything they need to succeed, but your wallet can only take so much. And then there’s the nagging thought in the back of your mind about how long it’ll be before that expensive lunch box gets left behind.

Here are some tips that may help you make that dreaded shopping excursion into a positive experience for your family.

Plan ahead. There are hordes of people in the store all hunting the same bargains as you are. Beat them to it by taking advantage of early-bird specials, online discounts and summer sales.

Bring a friend. Maybe stores will offer a discount if you buy in bulk, or will have two-for-one sales. Shopping with a friend lets you utilize these discounts and share extra expenses such as gas or shipping.

Include your kids. You’re not going to agree on everything, but including your kids in your shopping not only gives them a sense of responsibility towards the items you buy, but also teaches them about prioritizing and budgeting.

Back to school shopping may not be the most wonderful time of the year, but if you plan it out right, you can whip through it with your wallet a litter fatter and your kids a little wiser.

Cool Treats for a Hot Summer

on Tuesday, 08 August 2017. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

The summer heat is rippling. You can hear the melodic tones of the ice cream truck from several blocks away. You grab up your money and run to follow. There you see a colorful array of sweet and delicious goodness awaiting you. Which one? It may be one of the hardest decisions of your childhood.

Why not try all of the above? Many of these summertime staples are easy to make at home, so you and your family can enjoy a cool treat any time, all without the sweaty sprint after the truck.

Here are some ways to create the perfect Pop right in your kitchen:

  • Watermelon and summer go hand in glove, so celebrate the season with refreshing watermelon pops.
  • These easy to make peach popsicles are a great way to make your summer peachy-keen.
  • Popsicles aren’t just for kids.  If you like yours with a little extra kick, try these Tinto De Verano red wine popsicles or maybe cool and refreshing sangria.
  • The passion tea lemonade so popular at Starbucks can now be yours on a stick.
  • If you believe warm weather is no excuse not to reach for a stiff cup of joe, this iced-coffee popsicle may be just what you’re looking for.
  • Didn’t get a chance to hit that beach this year? Well, you can bring some of the tropics to you with these pineapple and orange popsicles.

These ideas are just the beginning. With a little experimentation, you can find your perfect flavor combination and let the other kids run after the truck.

Kids and Summer Reading

on Tuesday, 01 August 2017. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Well, the kids are out of school, and now your thoughts have turned to how they’re going to spend their summer. With a ton of warm days ahead, there are plenty of activities to go around— camps, seminars, vacations and more.

That doesn’t mean the ‘book’ learning has to stop though. Here are some fun summer books that will keep them entertained and maybe even teach them a thing or two.

Real Friends by Shannon Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham. A shy bookworm as a child, the author recalls her days negotiating a slippery slope of friendships, school bullies and an unpredictable older sister.  

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. Winner of the 2017 Newbery Award, this book tells the tale of a special girl and the witch who raised her.

The Wolf’s Boy by Susan Williams Beckhorn.  Kai, an outcast from his tribe, joins forces with a young wolf to survive the coming Ice Age winter.

The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken.  Sometimes the worst blunders can lead to the most amazing things. Join the author as she takes you on an illustrated look at some the biggest mistakes in history and how they turned out.

Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh by Uma Krishnaswami. It’s 1945, and Maria Singh, the daughter of Indian and Mexican immigrants, dreams of playing softball in the first girls’ team in Yuba City, California. She’ll soon find she has a far greater challenge in front of her. Does she have what it takes to meet it?

So pick up some of these for your kids. There’s still plenty of time to get in some good summer reading!

The Best Lemonade Ever

on Tuesday, 25 July 2017. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

If life gives you lemons… well, you know the rest. People quickly found lemonade was a great way to beat the heat, and from there it went on to become the summer classic we all know and love.

So how do you like your lemonade? If you’re looking for the best lemonade ever, or maybe a new twist, here are a few recipe ideas, all of them made from natural ingredients rather than concentrate.

Classic lemonade is pretty simple: just water, fresh lemons, sugar and some ice. The art comes in getting these ingredients blended together in just the right proportions, and these classic recipes from Taste of Home and Allrecipes do just that.

If you’re trying to cut down on the sugar, why not use a natural substitute? This orange lemonade recipe uses the naturally sweeter orange to do the job.

You don’t have to stop with oranges either. For something a little different, try adding some new flavors to create lavender or peach lemonade.

For a little extra kick, you can try sparkling ginger lemonade.

Want your lemonade to be patriotic as well as refreshing? This red, white and blue lemonade may be just the thing.

You can even get more exotic if you want with just a little bit of extra effort. J. Kenji López-Alt is the managing culinary director of Serious Eats, and has a few new takes on lemonade including spicy strawberry jalapeno lemonade and Brazilian lemonade.

With all these choices, you’re bound to find just the flavor for you. Have a great and refreshing summer!

Care-Giving for the Care-Giver

on Tuesday, 18 July 2017. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Caring for a loved one with a chronic illness can be beautiful and rewarding, but it can also be a grueling, emotional ride. And though your primary focus is on the needs of another, it’s important to take care of your needs as well.

One of the best ways to do that is to accept help.

Review your situation to determine what type of help you need. Make a list and let the potential helper choose. Even something as simple as having another person do some shopping for you can give you a welcome break. Letting other people help isn’t a failure on your part; it’s smart care management.

You should also find out about the available resources in your neighborhood. There may be care-giving services available like medical transportation or classes to teach you more about the disease your loved one is facing.

Chances are you’re not the only one facing this difficult situation. If there’s one available in your area, you may also consider joining a support group. These groups can help you with problem-solving strategies for difficult situations as well as providing encouragement and the chance to create friendships.

Your health matters too. Make sure to eat properly, get the sleep you need and get some exercise. Study after study has shown that healthy people are able to cope with stress better and solve problems more easily.

Caregiving can be a tough road, but it doesn’t have to be a lonely one. For more information on some of the resources available, you can visit the National Alliance for Caregiving.

Keep Safe in the Water This Summer

on Tuesday, 11 July 2017. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

The summer sun is baking everything in sight. You can watch the heat ripple and you wonder how everything doesn’t melt like one of those clocks in a Salvador Dali painting. Sounds like a great time for a swim. But while you’re imagining that cool water washing over you, it’s also a time to remember some basic swimming safety.

  • Never Swim Alone. Swimming is not only more fun with friends, it’s also safer. Even if you’re healthy and are a good swimmer, you’re still at risk of drowning. Swimming alone dramatically increases that risk.
  • Don’t swim while using drugs or alcohol. Safe swimming requires good coordination and good judgment, and drugs and alcohol make those a lot harder.
  • Children are at particular risk of drowning. Never leave a young child unattended near the water and don’t trust a child’s life to another child.
  • Protect your skin. Being in the water not only washes off any sunscreen you may have applied, but actually magnifies the effect of the sun on your skin. Limit your exposure during the hours of 10am to 4pm, and make sure to reapply sunscreen if you’ve been in the water for a while.
  • Drink plenty of water. Playing in the sun and surf can dehydrate you far more quickly than you think.
  • Learn to Swim. It may seem obvious, but a surprising number of Americans can’t swim. It’s your best defense against drowning. Many organizations like the Red Cross offer learn-to-swim courses.

Swimming can be great exercise and a great way to cool off. With these few simple precautions, you can make sure everyone has a great (and safe) time.

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