Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tips for enjoying a safe, healthy and fun holiday season

This is a great time of year to celebrate with the children in your life--make sure this holiday season is a safe, healthy and fun one! Here are some expert tips from state and national experts:

And finally, a reminder that the holidays--and every day--are a good time to love, talk and play with your child!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Tree Salad

I've been writing more in my journal lately than my blog, sorry.  I've got some internal work to do so may go missing more than usual in the next few months.  But I wanted to post this salad I've been eating and really enjoying.  I call it a Christmas Tree salad because it's green with red (pomegranate) berries that remind me of Christmas tree lights.

Ingredients:
1 head romaine lettuce
1/2-1 lb cabbage
1/4 -1/2 lb broccoli
1/4-1/2 lb cauliflower
1 apple
1 asian pear
1 orange
1 Tbsp spicy pecan vinegar
1 Tbsp riesling raisin vinegar
1 small pomegranate or 1/2 large
1/2-1 oz seed mixture

Chop the lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower in the food processor using the S-blade.   Put in a big bowl.  Blend the apple, asian pear, orange, and vinegar in the food processor.  Add to the bowl along with the seed mixture.  Extract the pomegranate seeds and add.  Stir.   I like this a lot.

Well, if you don't hear from me for a while, all you have to remember about healthy eating is this:  GOMBBS

G is for Greens
O  onions
M mushrooms
B beans
B  berries
S  seed mixture

That's what I remember when I'm making soup and veggies for the week.   Happy holidays!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Quality Education Council to consider preschool workgroup recommendations Dec. 19

The Early Learning Advisory Council (ELAC) on Dec. 12 decided to support a recommendation to create a phased-in, voluntary preschool available to all Washington 3- and 4-year-olds as an entitlement program. The issue now moves to the Quality Education Council, which will meet on Monday, Dec. 19.

The recommendation for a statewide preschool program comes for the Early Learning Technical Workgroup, established in Senate Bill 6759. That workgroup submitted its final recommendations in November.

SB 6759 required the group to develop a plan for a voluntary program of early learning as either a part of basic education or as an entitlement program, to help support school readiness for all children in Washington. The final recommendations propose phasing in a high-quality, comprehensive preschool program open to all 3- and 4-year-olds with a graduated co-pay based on family income. The workgroup recommended a mixed-delivery system of providers, including nonprofits, faith-based organizations, licensed child care facilities, private schools, ECEAP and Head Start providers, school districts and others.

ELAC members reviewed the recommendations and heard public comment before deciding to recommend that QEC adopt the workgroup recommendations, with one addition and one change:
  • Adding a Birth-to-3 Technical Workgroup, which would use the existing state Birth to 3 Plan as its basis to focus on enhanced services for infants and toddlers.
  • Phasing in the workgroup's recommendation that lead teachers in the preschool program be required to have a Bachelor of Arts degree.
The QEC meets from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 19, in Cherberg Conference Room ABC on the Capitol Campus in Olympia. It will be webcast on http://www.tvw.org/. The QEC must make recommendations to the Legislature by Jan. 1, 2012.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Who Knew We Were So Popular?!!!!!

I have to admit....the three of us are blushing a little! Well.... actually a lot! So far this month, we've been featured in The Lane Report, TOPS Magazine, Kentucky Monthly, The Herald Leader, and a number of other magazines and newspapers in the area! It seems we're everywhere!

Stuart wrote a great article for the Lane Report about Holiday decorating! If you would like to read the article, make sure you find the magazine, or you can download the article here.







Dwayne has a home that he's decorated for years featured in TOPS magazine! There are several great pages of wonderful classic and traditional Kentucky touches in this one! How can you go wrong with classic!? And Dwayne definitely proves that with this home!


And don't miss Kentucky Monthly this month! There are several pages of Christmas touches that I worked on. Here's a little inside information! All of the photos for KM's Christmas part was taken at Dwayne's home in Paris! And his children really did make the finger paint canvas seen in the magazine! AND YES....those really are his framed family recipes on the hutch! :)

Try not to miss any of the stories out there about house this month, and even more...don't forget to share them with your friends!!!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

today's salad, this week's food

Today my salad is so good it boggles my mind, because it is simple.   I just chopped a head of romaine lettuce, a half lb of cabbage, some raw cauliflower, added 1/2 cup frozen peas, 1/2 cup frozen edamame, a grapefruit, peeled and chopped (okay, a really good grapefruit from Texas called Rio Star), an ounce of my seed mixture, 2 Tbsp Dr. Fuhrman's D'angou pear vinegar.  Now it's true, the high quality ingredients is what makes this salad delish--the good grapefruit, and the d'angou pear vinegar add a wonderful taste sensation that is not sour.  Wow. This made two giant salads.  I also made a microscopic version for housemate.  I'll have these for dinner?  --in 2 stages for sure.


Next week, first the first 3 days anyway, my micro salads will have lettuce, cabbage, carrots, satsuma (small orange), asian pear (a honey-sweet apple), small pomegranate, flavored vinegar, and seed mixture.  I'm expecting that to be yummy!  My roasted veggies will be broccoli, cauliflower, a little butternut squash, a little beets, onion, with chives, sage and basil ('cause I have some in the freezer from the garden), and I'm still working on the marinate, but probably orange juice and no-salt mustard.  Breakfast will be light before exercise,  a bowl of frozen cherries, blueberries, mangos.  Lunch and dinner will be bean soup, micro-salad, and roasted veggies.  I'll probably eat my lunch bean soup early because I'll be hungry after exercise.  I still have lots of bean soup from two batches in the freezer so don't have to make any this week.  Yum, talk about eating like a king.  I am amazed that I sometimes go off plan to eat junk because I think I'm missing something.  This food is thousands of time better.  I wish I could remember that all the time!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

humorous bumps in the road

Here are some funny health-related things that happened to me this week (all my fault!):

1)  I gave myself a treat of meditating in front of my gas fireplace one morning.  I have a routine to help me remember to open and close the flue, which is to open the flue before turning on the fireplace, and then when I'm done I put my yoga block in front of the fireplace to remind us to close the flue after 30 minutes.  That is about the time it takes for the ceramic blocks to cool and to help the remaining unburned warm gas goes up the chimney.  I did my usual routine, or so I thought.  Later on, housemate said, I see you closed the flue even though the yoga block is there.  I said, no I didn't, we need to do that.  She said it's closed, and I didn't do it, did you forget to open it?  I said, no, I distinctly remember opening it.  Come to think of it, I also remember smelling gas when I was done.  So either I distinctly remember wrong about opening it (maybe I remember intending to open it), or instead of opening it, I closed it further.  It was early in the morning and I was groggy.  I find it a little ironic that I managed to give myself CO poisoning while trying to meditate!   Thankfully it was only a 15 minute session.  

2)  I'm still experimenting with my roasted veggie routine--I'll post it when I get it just how I like, probably in another week of experimenting.  So I was at the co-op looking for some root veggies to add to the mix and I saw some Jerusalem artichokes.  Never heard of them.  That never stops me.  When I got home I cut them up, tasted them, yum, they taste good even before cooking!   They have a sweet flavor.  I cooked them up with lots of other veggies, and went and looked them up on wikipedia.  It turns out their starch is called inulin (not insulin) and it is not digestible by humans.  I think it converts to fructose and that's what gives it a sweet flavor.  So maybe the more it converts to fructose, the more digestible it is.  Well, that didn't stop me from eating them at lunch the next day.  Sure enough, I got a tummy ache for a few hours.  Here's the funny thing.  I then ate them again at dinner!  I was hungry and I was at work and this was what I brought to eat.  So I got another tummy ache!   doofus...  Here is what I wonder:  1) why would anyone eat this twice (besides me)?, so therefore 2) why would anyone grow them or sell them?   Maybe over time your body adjusts?  Here is a great quote about them from the English planter John Goodyear in 1621:

which way soever they be dressed and eaten, they stir and cause a filthy loathsome stinking wind within the body, thereby causing the belly to be pained and tormented, and are a meat more fit for swine than men.
haha!

3)  Today I went to my first spinning class ever and it was fun and hard!  This is where everyone rides a stationary bike and the teacher leads you in a ride with "hill" and intervals and resting downhill and stuff.  Very fun.  I walk to the gym and change my clothes when I'm there.  Well, I didn't wear or bring a bra (forgot my exercise bra).  So I thought, okay, I'll wear a t-shirt and my sweatshirt.  I'm just too embarrassed to jiggle in front of everyone, and I would have with all that spinning!   So it was a very hot and sweaty ride.  I'd better go drink some more water.

4)  This week I weighed myself at the gym and found out I weighed 11 lbs more than I thought!  Holy cow, my home scale must be wrong.  Holy cow, this shows how you can fool yourself.  I knew I had gained some weight because I'm wearing larger pant size than I was 6 months ago, but I fooled myself into thinking it wasn't much.  I ordered a new scale for home.  Today I weighed myself at the gym and realized I had made a mistake last time, and I weigh exactly what I previously thought.  Holy cow, I guess you can fool yourself into thinking you weigh too much too!  and that means my home scale is accurate too.  oops.   Ah well, it was good news today.

5) At my meditation class, we usually do a few sessions of meditation and have a little discussion with neighbors in between.  This week's topic was meditating on problems.  One of my neighbors mentioned the concept of inviting your problems to tea, as a start at befriending them.  So I imagined inviting "I hate work" and "I want a cookie" to tea.  (I hope no one from work is reading this!).  I started chuckling as I imagined our tea party.  I also imagined telling "I want a cookie" to take a seat behind "Papers 1, 2, and 3", some tasks I claim I really want to do at work.  Well, maybe you had to be there.  Just try it yourself.

6)  This isn't funny, just happy news.  After 3 or more years of very missed absence, frozen organic sweet cherries showed up at my co-op yesterday!   I bought all 10 bags of them!  I hope more appear.  We used to have them all the time, and then they disappeared.  We've discussed this on the Fuhrman forums and it seems to be a worldwide shortage of organic sweet cherries.  I hope they are back!   I ate a half pound today and they were luscious.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Legislature convenes for special session, hears Governor's proposed supplemental budget

On Nov. 28, the Legislature began a special session called by Gov. Chris Gregoire to address a projected $1.4 billion to $2 billion revenue shortfall in the 2011-2013 state operating budget.

To read Gov. Gregoire's proposed supplemental budget, which includes a temporary half-cent increase in the state sales tax: http://www.ofm.wa.gov/budget12/default.asp

Legislative committees are now holding work sessions on the proposed supplemental operating budget. Here is yesterday's Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee work session:


Watch other hearings by going to www.tvw.org and choosing "Archives" then the committee and date you wish to view.

Tips on Selling Your Home During the Holidays

As the weather outside gets frightful, and people are focused on Black Friday sales and what Roast Beast they'll be serving is there hope for those who have their home FOR SALE?

A home can be sold during the holidays if you apply a few rules and stage your home properly.

Here in Chicago, our winter holidays are an open invitation to go WAY over board with the concept of "Decking the Halls" -With too many trims, lights and blow-up seasonal icons bellowing on our front yards.


Deck the halls in key "Showcase" areas of your home - Such as your kitchen island.
My business, Reinventing Space  had the pleasure to be featured a few weeks ago in a clever and informative article on Selling Your Home During the Holidays in the Chicago Tribune - "Make holiday home sale a reality."




Here is some key advice from the article:

•Those left combing the market during November and December are typically more serious about the home hunt, Spreen said. They might include families relocating for job changes, first-timers ready to leap during a slow market, and those who've recently sold a home and need a new place to live.

•"You'll have fewer showings, but they'll be more powerful," said Dennis Dooley, managing broker with Prudential Rubloff Properties. Holiday season buyers are typically "motivated and financially ready," he added.

•Deck the halls with restraint. Holiday decorations make homes festive and buyers merry. But too many ornaments, wreaths and garlands can obscure views, make rooms feel smaller and distract buyers from their true purpose: deciding whether or not your home is right for them.

•And think twice before displaying decorations specific to your religious or cultural heritage, said interior stylist Julea Joseph, owner of Reinventing Space in Palos Park, since it makes it more difficult for others who don't share your background or beliefs to envision themselves living in the space.

•Photographs should picture the home as it appears in the current season, but sellers may want to capture and post additional shots of summer landscaping to give a hint of what lies ahead.

•Tap the spirit. Light the fireplace if you have one. Decorate with a pretty throw. Make your home cozy, and someone else might want to nest there.

•Clear the schedule. Since buyers are likely to be fewer in number during the dark days of winter, be ready to accommodate the interest you do have.


Deck the halls "lite" when your home is on the market during the holidays.



















Since 1999, certified interior stylist Julea Joseph has owned Chicago area based interiors and home staging business - Reinventing Space. Your can see her work on HGTV or in the news giving homeowners expert insight on how to refresh, style and celebrate their space -Whether staging their home to go on the market, just settling in, or just in need of a change.  Julea also offers her expertise with mentoring and certification educational offerings to Realtors, Home Stagers and Interior Redesigners in the industry. Visit her site, JULEA.com or Interior Stylist Program. For more information 708.448.7500 or email her at Julea@Julea.com.