Category Archives: Living A Healthy Lifestyle-Published Articles

I write articles for PINK Magazine. This section contains reprints of Healthy Living articles. My articles share tips for living a healthy lifestyle and diet information. I include healthy recipes and weight loss information.

Skating Uphill

By

Judith Lawrenson

March Issue

“Combining a healthy lifestyle feature with a discussion of women who give back? Piece of cake, my friends!”   The Uphill Skater

 

I go to the dentist. You go to the dentist. Yes, like it or not, we all go to the dentist. Since we all must do it, let’s discuss the benefits of good oral hygiene as it relates to being in a totally healthy good zone. We have talked here in this column about everything from sex to heartburn, to ingrown toenails, so now it is the time, dear ladies, to talk about teeth. I know it is boring-no pun intended- but as I researched the topic for this article, I found out tons of things I did not know.

We all get that you should brush twice a day, right? But, did you know that it is not necessarily a good thing to overbrush? I did not even know what “overbrush” meant until my son was told had had receding gums and had to have tissue grafts to correct the situation. It was expensive, painful and took weeks to heal. So, twice a day with a soft brush, floss, and rinse with a mouth wash.

Flossing is old hat. Everybody’s dentist tells them to flow and I for one almost never do it. I save myself with two relatively new procedures. I have a waterpik. It has a little round soft brush on the end, and I use that instead of the pointed squirty thing. The other thing is a mouth rinse and my dentist tells me that this has proven more and more to be of great value in a program of good oral hygiene. I rinse regularly. It is easy and I like easy. Sorry if this is too personal, ladies, but that’s the facts of the matter.  My dentist recommended Listerine in any flavor. This is not a commercial. As you know Skating Uphill does not do commercials, but I will just say that is what was recommended.

Brushing and rinsing are both good for lots of things as we know. One of the important offshoots of poor dental hygiene is bad breath. Ick, not that! Yes, haven’t you ever sat next to someone or worse yet, been stuck with someone with that awful breath? Well, often bad breath can be a sign of something worse than not brushing your teeth. Decay, gum infection, and even prediabetes can be causes of bad breath. Did you know that poor dental care can even cause poor lung function? Wow!

What else can we do to complete a healthy picture. Well, I hate to go on and on, but pretty much all dentists will tell you two things: quit smoking and cut back seriously on sugared drinks. We do not need another lecture on smoking, obviously, but sugared drinks are a real culprit too. The sweet liquid not only adds empty calories to your diet, but sloshes around your whole mouth and throat and remains on your teeth for hours after consumed unless you brush immediately. No Bueno!!

All those things having been said, and on a bit of a different subject, did you know that there are more women dentists than men. My dental practice is a mother and daughter office. I know what you are thinking, one is a dentist and the other is the hygienist. Wrong. Both are dentists and do implants, retainers, and some oral surgery as well. I love these ladies. The mom is a raw-feed vegan and the daughter is a Southern cook with a capital “S.” I am a vegetarian who eats fish, so we go round and round. The mom was a pioneer in many areas of dental practice and partners with several other offices for a variety of services. She is about seventy and still going really strong, I might add.

Being a woman dentist may not seem earth shattering or world changing to some, but these two women are out to make the world a better place. Both have volunteered in foreign mission, do gratis work for indigent patients, and mentor other young women. We each do what we can for the sisterhood I hope, and try to not only do good for others, but to support each other as achievers, movers, and shakers.  Love, Judith

 

SIDEBAR-Visit www.skatinguphill.com  blog for new recipes, daily thoughts, and décor ideas. Also find reprints of PINK articles shared comments. Blogging is fun and easy. Look at this blog and maybe you will want to try it yourself!

 

 

 

 

PINK Article (February 2019)

Skating Uphill

By

Judith Lawrenson

February 2019

“February is cold and ugly, but to make up for it we have Valentine’s Day and a big President’s Day Weekend, right?”    The Uphill Skater

Yes, February is so very cold and we are all tired of it and know that it is not going away any time soon do we not? Well, yes we do. The question not becomes, “What are we prepared to do about it?” I for one am going to jump on it. I love Valentine’s Day and plan to think of something to do n the long weekend-so there. I know you get tired of tips and suggestions, but get used to it because here are some more-some ways to celebrate love and loved ones, good hearty foods, and something fun to do.

My husband and I were so poor on our first anniversary that we decided to just stay home and do nothing and not to even exchange gifts. We actually had such a great time, we decided to keep doing just that and we cherish the tradition. We long ago decided to do a big Valentine’s Day instead and we have kept that tradition too. One of our best ideas was to plan and prepare a candlelight dinner for ourselves. We actually used a cook book and made a lovely 4 course dinner and secretly wrote each other a love letter and put it under the other’s plate. We had such a memorable evening that we now do that frequently. So, suggestion 1 is to find a thing you like to do with someone you love and give it a special twist and maybe it will take hold. It is so empowering to a relationship to have traditions.

Now, something fun to do on a holiday weekend? Well, since this column is about living a healthy lifestyle in all of its definitions, let’s look at something healthy. If you are able, financially and time wise, by all means pack up and go somewhere. Get out of the house. Do whatever you can to do that. Go for a drive, go to a granny’s house, visit friends, whatever! If you can’t, don’t worry. There are still other fun things to do just for a change. Here is a suggestion I read in a children’s magazine years ago and have used several times. I set up a room in the house as a craft camp. I moved furniture back and put up a card table and covered the floor with a big blue drop cloth and we went to camp for the better part of 2 days. We were home, of course, so we had naps, meals etc. but all other time was spent in the camp. We worked with paint, clay, finger paint, leggo, big blocks and so on, but we also made a woven mat to hang on the wall and some other great crafts. My husband got behind it too and took the kids, and a couple of their friends who came in on the fun, out to the garage to make a bird house. What a hit!

January PINK Article (2019)

PINK Magazine

For the January Issue (2019)

 

Skating Uphill

By

Judith Lawrenson

“Everything these days seems to be about “RE.” Honestly it is enough to make one Regurgitate!”      The Uphill Skater

 

All right, all right, I know I watch too much HGTV, but doesn’t everyone these days??  It is all about remodel, repurpose, and redo. I must admit, I love that kind of stuff. Who does not love a recolor-yes, I am talking about dying roots, ladies, and I don’t mean the front lawn. What about a reupholster-sure, that old ratty sofa could really use it, right? At the same time, we could re-wallpaper and re-carpet too. How about that re-claimed wood craze? I mean you can hardly tear something down these days without Chip and Joanna Gains hitting you up to buy the wood then re-selling it for double the price. Okay, so what does all of this have to do with the upcoming new year and what to do about that self-improvement we are all so desperately seeking? Well, just an idea-why don’t we consider the idea of a re-resolve?

What that means is, dear ladies, why don’t we, instead of making a bunch of nonsense resolutions like dropping a bunch of weight or writing thank-you notes or some other thing that we have already tried and failed at, try a different approach? Why don’t we try to re-resolve? Yes, here is how this idea plays out. Have a good look back at some of your old New Year’s Resolutions that you have actually kept. I know there are at least a few, right? Back in the day when you were really in the mood for it you and I must have come up with some truly memorable resolves that we not only kept, but that worked well for us on a go forward basis.

For example, one year I resolved to get two laundry baskets, one for dark clothes and one for white clothes. I was tired of pink undies and bras and blue jeans with bleach spots. This worked so well for me that I bought baskets for my husband and both of my children. I grant you that I had somewhat mixed results with husband and son, but my daughter and I have great looking whites and very clean outerwear. Our underwear looks great too, but you will just have to take my word for that. I plan to re-resolve that one again this year.

Another really successful resolution for me was to pick up the phone and call someone every day. I don’t mean calling for a hair appointment, but honestly giving someone a call that you have meant to chat with or owe a call or need to talk in depth about something deep-not someone else, you guys. I said something, not someone! I have actually done this, and I mean to use it again this year. The fact that I am already doing it has no bearing on resolving it again. Are you starting to get the idea? What do you think?

I am also resolving again this year to try to eat more healthy foods. I can highly recommend this resolution because it has a lot going for it. First, if you do it, it is good for you. It is a positive change that has a benefit. Second, you did not say you ere going to eat only healthy foods or loose a bunch of weight or anything like that. You said you were going to “try” to et more healthy foods. That is just vague enough to be a winner in my book. You don’t say how much more or how healthy or any of those other specific things so what can it hurt, right? I mean who does not want to eat more healthy foods. Trust me folks, this is a keeper.

In closing, I want to say that this idea also has another side benefit that will prove the motto of this column is actually a good motto for life. We say that “Skating Uphill is hard, but when you reach the top, the view is worth it,” and we really do mean that. We talk a lot here about leading and living that healthy life style, and believe me, I get, just like everyone else, that it is not easy on the best of days and impossible on the worst of days. Sometimes that glass of wine and quiet time with the door shut is all that keeps one going. Sometimes too, it is a time that makes you heart sore with your own pain or the pain of a loved one. These times happen unfortunately, and they must be lived with.

Please do remember though and make it part of a resolution if you can-celebrate joy. Okay, corny, I know, but if we are called upon to endure pain, then we also must be allowed and even encouraged to celebrate the good times, the happy times, and the times of personal satisfaction. Be happy, do good, enjoy your many gifts!!  Love, Judith

Do you have a recipe to share???

Does anyone out there have a recipe for corn pudding? I had some at a buffet the other day but could not find the person who made it. What a great dish!

It was baked in a large glass pan and placed in a flat basket and served with a spoon. It was pretty solid-did not run off the spoon. It had a sweet taste. Yummy! Any ideas? Please share.

Pink Magazine-January 2019

PINK Magazine

For the January Issue (2019)

 

Skating Uphill

By

Judith Lawrenson

“Everything these days seems to be about “RE.” Honestly it is enough to make one Regurgitate!”      The Uphill Skater

 

All right, all right, I know I watch too much HGTV, but doesn’t everyone these days??  It is all about remodel, repurpose, and redo. I must admit, I love that kind of stuff. Who does not love a recolor-yes, I am talking about dying roots, ladies, and I don’t mean the front lawn. What about a reupholster-sure, that old ratty sofa could really use it, right? At the same time, we could re-wallpaper and re-carpet too. How about that re-claimed wood craze? I mean you can hardly tear something down these days without Chip and Joanna Gains hitting you up to buy the wood then re-selling it for double the price. Okay, so what does all of this have to do with the upcoming new year and what to do about that self-improvement we are all so desperately seeking? Well, just an idea-why don’t we consider the idea of a re-resolve?

What that means is, dear ladies, why don’t we, instead of making a bunch of nonsense resolutions like dropping a bunch of weight or writing thank-you notes or some other thing that we have already tried and failed at, try a different approach? Why don’t we try to re-resolve? Yes, here is how this idea plays out. Have a good look back at some of your old New Year’s Resolutions that you have actually kept. I know there are at least a few, right? Back in the day when you were really in the mood for it you and I must have come up with some truly memorable resolves that we not only kept, but that worked well for us on a go forward basis.

For example, one year I resolved to get two laundry baskets, one for dark clothes and one for white clothes. I was tired of pink undies and bras and blue jeans with bleach spots. This worked so well for me that I bought baskets for my husband and both of my children. I grant you that I had somewhat mixed results with husband and son, but my daughter and I have great looking whites and very clean outerwear. Our underwear looks great too, but you will just have to take my word for that. I plan to re-resolve that one again this year.

Another really successful resolution for me was to pick up the phone and call someone every day. I don’t mean calling for a hair appointment, but honestly giving someone a call that you have meant to chat with or owe a call or need to talk in depth about something deep-not someone else, you guys. I said something, not someone! I have actually done this, and I mean to use it again this year. The fact that I am already doing it has no bearing on resolving it again. Are you starting to get the idea? What do you think?

I am also resolving again this year to try to eat more healthy foods. I can highly recommend this resolution because it has a lot going for it. First, if you do it, it is good for you. It is a positive change that has a benefit. Second, you did not say you ere going to eat only healthy foods or loose a bunch of weight or anything like that. You said you were going to “try” to et more healthy foods. That is just vague enough to be a winner in my book. You don’t say how much more or how healthy or any of those other specific things so what can it hurt, right? I mean who does not want to eat more healthy foods. Trust me folks, this is a keeper.

In closing, I want to say that this idea also has another side benefit that will prove the motto of this column is actually a good motto for life. We say that “Skating Uphill is hard, but when you reach the top, the view is worth it,” and we really do mean that. We talk a lot here about leading and living that healthy life style, and believe me, I get, just like everyone else, that it is not easy on the best of days and impossible on the worst of days. Sometimes that glass of wine and quiet time with the door shut is all that keeps one going. Sometimes too, it is a time that makes you heart sore with your own pain or the pain of a loved one. These times happen unfortunately, and they must be lived with.

Please do remember though and make it part of a resolution if you can-celebrate joy. Okay, corny, I know, but if we are called upon to endure pain, then we also must be allowed and even encouraged to celebrate the good times, the happy times, and the times of personal satisfaction. Be happy, do good, enjoy your many gifts!!  Love, Judith

Pink Magazine-December 2018

Skating Uphill

By

Judith Lawrenson

PINK Magazine

December issue-2018

 

                                     New advice from an old friend!

 

 

I know I always give advice about how to stay away from the buffet table and tell you not to gain ANY weight at all every Christmas, but this year is different! This year I am really into the true spirit of it all and it is all because I have been in snow. I have not really seen big, beautiful snow since I left California fifteen years ago. We used to ski Lake Tahoe every year for all we were worth. It was fabulous and somehow missing that snow has kind of put a different cast on the holiday. This year, though, we have been visiting in a place where it snowed last night nearly a foot and it was beautiful this morning. so yeah, White Christmas has changed my mood.

In the past I have been weight obsessed, given away lovely candy and cookies and generally been a nutrition curmudgeon about the whole food aspect of Christmas.  Now, not so much. The whole thing seems to me still that it should not revolve around food and parties, but that so many other things about the spirit of the holidays are good for us in many ways. I plan this year to relax and enjoy all there is to see, do, and share.

First off, let’s talk about music. I happen to know that there are many musical performances all holiday season. In the past we have been to some but this year we will go to all we can possibly make. Seasonal music, whether it is by a high school choir, the Shorenotes, or the local symphony is so powerful and so much a part of traditions. One year we had a group of carolers come to our house and we loved it. I have vowed to do it myself with my family some year. My husband and son have beautiful voices and I can at least remember the words and sing along. Also one year, some kids from the high school put on some Victorian outfits and sang with a passed cup and made enough to buy all of their gifts. They also brought unexpected pleasure to Outlet shoppers!

Next let’s talk gifts. I just an article in Real Simple magazine about how to create children who are minimalists. This does not sound like too much Christmas fun, but wait a minute-it actually was of great interest to see some different idea for “presents.” We all have seen the ideas for something home made, a craft, a movie ticket, a surprise trip and that sort of thing and those are all great ideas. Thinking a bit more out of the box, what about a service? Our church makes baskets for the needy that actually include directions to local shelters and information on job counseling sites. One of my neighbors gave her elderly friend five “you name it” passes. these were good for a grocery trip, movie, ride to anywhere, out to lunch etc. Her friend was thrilled. Sometimes it is hard to ask-so, use your free pass! Last year our church chipped in and paid a month’s rent for a man whose wife had cancer instead of doing a gift exchange. What a great feeling that was.

We used to give our kids craft kits and traditionally after Christmas Dinner, we would spend the evening putting stuff together. One year we made the gingerbread house that topped all other ones in the universe! The next year, everyone got a beaded belt kit. OK, you are right, that was pretty much a flop, but we are still in their pitching. Anyway, I am sure you get the idea and can do even better.

Last but not least-How about YOU? Yes, we still need to take good care of ourselves. How about treating yourself to a nice massage? Why not try one of those pre-made food boxes for a week. Just for something crazy, buy yourself that extra special bottle of wine you were going to buy for someone else and buy them a cheaper one. Oh, my. I could not do THAT! Well, yes you can. Here is your permission slip. Buy an outfit that you can’t afford and don’t worry about it. I know that sounds unwise, but that is exactly the point for once.

Christmas is new birth even more than Spring. It is promises fulfilled and hope that has come to life. Let yourself be a part of it. Yes, this is a very healthy thing to do-trust me!

 

 

 

Skating Uphill-November Issue (2018)

PINK MAGAZINE

November 2018

Skating Uphill

By

Judith Lawrenson

 

All Right, Girls-November is gratitude time-RIGHT??

 

The late, and might I say great, Joan Rivers once was rumored to have said, “Gratitude sucks, give me plastic surgery every time!” That is a bit extreme, I grant you, but think about it for a while. That humble, grateful, thank you so much I could not have done it with out you may have worn just a bit thin lately. I do NOT mean that one should not have the generosity of heart to acknowledge when one has been helped. God Forbid! What I really mean is that we, and by we I mean women in general, might want to look at where we are in our struggle for equality and maybe just take a deep breath and not be afraid to look victory in the eye.

Women are still putting on their funny hats and marching. I get that. We are also going strong on the #Metoo movement and that is something new and long overdue. Yes, in some cases it has perhaps gone to an extreme, but on the whole, I do think some kind of justice has been and is being served. We are winning battles right and left-no puns intended.

Let’s look at some interesting statistics for just a minute. Did you know that more women than men graduate from high school? Did you know, also, that more women than men graduate from college? I bet you did not know that. Did you know that in many medical fields women outnumber men? Did you know that there are more women veterinarians than men? Okay, maybe you did know all of that, but did you know that California recently passed a law (I know, I know, whacky California, but this is true!) that every company of a certain size that was headquartered in the state had to have at least one woman on its Board of Directors? Guess how many companies that actually affected as it turned out? ONE! The California legislature was a bit red-faced to say the least!

Another statistic that I found hard to believe at first was that more women are now heads of households than men. This counts single parent households, but it also takes into account women who live alone and surprisingly it takes into account women who are the major wage earners in their own two parent families. Quite a surprise, huh? Perhaps we are not as bad off as we thought. I wonder how many women billionaires there are? I did recently read that one of the Jenner girls, Kendell or Kylie, I can’t remember which one now, was on her way to being the youngest billionaire in history. Pretty good for a young woman, I think. More power to her!

We have come such a long way from the days that gave women who went to college the opportunity to either be a nurse, a teacher, or, as my dad used to say, looking for that MRS. Degree. My daughter is a doctor and my daughter-in-law is a computer science engineer and a university professor. I had a very successful career as a Reading Resource specialist but went back to school later in life to be more that a regular teacher. I earned what we laughingly call a post-menopausal master’s degree when I was in my forties.

I guess right about here I need to get back to not being thankful or grateful and talking about support. As we gather together with our dear ones and as we share mutual love and thoughtfulness around whatever our Thanksgiving traditions may involve, I hope that it is in each or our hearts to understand many things. First, we are honestly and at some real level, in the same boat. I believe that everyone has a basic humanity and as a Christian I stand by that. Second, while I have made jokes about being grateful, please do not think that I am not. We, none of us, really “makes it on our own” nor should we. Thanksgiving is sort of a politically incorrect holiday now. You do not see pilgrims and Indians and things like that used as décor any more. We seem to have combined Fall and Halloween into a package and then we sit down and eat dinner. Well, maybe the Pilgrims did not do the Indians any favors, but hopefully we will not forget that back in the day they were all sitting down together thankful to have food and to be together and alive to share it. Maybe not so bad, Huh?

Happy Thanksgiving-Love, Judith

 

?

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

I just read a tip in Hints from Heloise about sleeplessness and I wanted to add a couple of things that I just found in one of my PREVENTION magazines, and a few tips of my own. BTY, over 70% of people suffer sleeplessness at least two nights a week.

Heloise mentions sleeping in a cool room and that is a good tip. I might add to that the importance of wearing nightwear in which you are comfortable. Don’t get tangled up in your nightgown or have the waist be too tight on your PJ bottoms-that type of thing. Also,don’t use covers that are too heavy. Look at total comfort-mattress, sleepwear, bedding, etc. Be sure you are not uncomfortable in any way.

They say keep away from screens for at least an hour before bed time and that is good advice. I like to read a magazine. I am a BIG magazine fan. I read and have a cup of decaff tea before bed.

If you are worried, in a high stress situation, or you are what I call carrying the day’s burdens around with you try saying a prayer when you get into bed. If you do not pray regularly, give it a try. It can really free up your feelings of anxiety and let you relax. If you chose not to pray, try 5 minutes of yoga/meditation or soft music. DO NOT review the days events in your mind or you will tend to do it over and over!

Finally, try to visualize yourself as being asleep. Just think of the word sleep as you close your eyes and breathe deeply. Even count out your breaths as you inhale and exhale.

Try some of these tips, and let me know how it works.

Q and A from readers

Skating Uphill

April Issue-PINK (2018)

By

Judith Lawrenson

 

“It’s that time again, ladies-We are going to do a little Q and A from readers about some new trends and findings in the world of nutrition and health so get ready to listen up!”

The Uphill Skater

 

I love to get questions from Pink readers and those who are using my blog. I want you to know that before I answer questions, I spend a lot of time and care looking in to findings and new thinking coming out of the world of what I like to call “life health” research. I look at life health as the entire package that is the totality of each one of us so broad questions are my favorites because answers so frequently interweave. Here are some of the things readers have been asking/talking about lately.

First, there is a new idea about weight loss-naturally that is a frequently asked question. I found some interesting information in a recent (March 2018) issue of Better Homes and Gardens. I love this mag and have taken it for a long time. The article on eating healthy stated that the new norm is weighing once a week at the same time rather than every day or the old thinking of : “I never weigh. I just go by how my clothing feel.” A few pounds may not show in your elastic waist band pants and baggy Tee, but if you weigh weeky you can catch yourself. They also say that positive food thoughts are far better than negative ones. In other words, don’t think of what you can’t eat and dwell on your unsatisfied cravings. Instead, eat all you want of good things and a full tummy might not still crave that cookie. I like that. I am a positive person and things like that work for me. How about you?

Next, another frequent question, especially on the bog, is about new food trends. What is up with something different to eat. Well, the new thing yet again is salads. I can’t believe the things people are putting in salads and or mixing with greens. It used to be chicken, then beef, then shredded pork and salmon, shrimp, mahi and on and on. Now, try some seriously mixed greens including sprouts and dandylion greens. Add some shredded beets, edible flowers, and dried apricots and you are getting close. Now think about designer olives and orange slices combined with slivered almonds. If you think this sounds trendy, just wait until I start on the dressings! Look on line for some unusual combinations that sound good for your tastes and just go from there. Oh, did I mention cornmeal croutons?

I watch TV just like everyone else and I see the commercials for rapid weight loss and I admit that it is really appealing, but that is now contrary to new science. Yes, that 13 pounds the first month is so tempting may work and even more weight can be lost I am sure through those plans but I will tell you 2 things you probably already know. First, they are certainly not cheap, and second, it may not last. Regained any weight lately? I have and it isn’t pretty I can tell you. A growing body of new research is now suggesting that very slow weight loss is far more simple, lasting, and healthy. Changing as few as 10 calories a day for every pound you want to loose works long term and on that old “ongoing basis” we so frequently talk about. So 20 pounds-200 calories. The easy part is that when you loose the 20 you start fresh with 10, 20 or however many more you need to loose so you never go over those old huge calorie cuts that mean starvation and binging. Dividing your goals into sections, I think, is easier psychologically too. What do you think?

Finally, I am asked frequently for recipies. There are tons on my blog (www.skatingupkill.com) but there are also some really great apps out their for all kinds of recipe ideas. Gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, paleo, and on and on. You can also find regular stuff like taco pie, mashed potatoes, classic burgers, meat loaf, chicken fried steak and a variety of comfort foods. There are whole sites dedicated to cooking with different types of oils for example. One site or blog could not possibly contain the huge variety of foods to cook and ways to cook them, believe me! So, what are some good ones? Well, I like one called Cookbook Recipes, and I also like one just called “Eggs” but really best of all is simply to go to Google and type in what you are interested in cooking. You will probably get too much information but you will soon learn to narrow down and select. I have a ton of fun doing this and I hope you do to.

Farm to table and garden to kitchen give us all so many opportunities to eat heathy foods. I particularly love the garden ideas. I will talk a bit about this next month and share some interesting developments in container gardening. Stay healthy and always feel free to email me at jlresource@aol.com with ideas, questions, or suggestions.  Love, Judith

 

Cold Ugly February

 

Skating Uphill

By

Judith Lawrenson

February 2018

“February is cold and ugly, but to make up for it we have Valentine’s Day and a big President’s Day Weekend, right?”    The Uphill Skater

 

Yes, February is so very cold and we are all tired of it and know that it is not going away any time soon do we not? Well, yes we do. The question not becomes, “What are we prepared to do about it?” I for one am going to jump on it. I love Valentine’s Day and plan to think of something to do n the long weekend-so there. I know you get tired of tips and suggestions, but get used to it because here are some more-some ways to celebrate love and loved ones, good hearty foods, and something fun to do.

My husband and I were so poor on our first anniversary that we decided to just stay home and do nothing and not to even exchange gifts. We actually had such a great time, we decided to keep doing just that and we cherish the tradition. We long ago decided to do a big Valentine’s Day instead and we have kept that tradition too. One of our best ideas was to plan and prepare a candlelight dinner for ourselves. We actually used a cook book and made a lovely 4 course dinner and secretly wrote each other a love letter and put it under the other’s plate. We had such a memorable evening that we now do that frequently. So, suggestion 1 is to find a thing you like to do with someone you love and give it a special twist and maybe it will take hold. It is so empowering to a relationship to have traditions.

Now, something fun to do on a holiday weekend? Well, since this column is about living a healthy lifestyle in all of its definitions, let’s look at something healthy. If you are able, financially and time wise, by all means pack up and go somewhere. Get out of the house. Do whatever you can to do that. Go for a drive, go to a granny’s house, visit friends, whatever! If you can’t, don’t worry. There are still other fun things to do just for a change. Here is a suggestion I read in a children’s magazine years ago and have used several times. I set up a room in the house as a craft camp. I moved furniture back and put up a card table and covered the floor with a big blue drop cloth and we went to camp for the better part of 2 days. We were home, of course, so we had naps, meals etc. but all other time was spent in the camp. We worked with paint, clay, finger paint, leggo, big blocks and so on, but we also made a woven mat to hang on the wall and some other great crafts. My husband got behind it too and took the kids, and a couple of their friends who came in on the fun, out to the garage to make a bird house. What a hit!

We also have done sort of a cook/shop/learn day as we took our staycation. My favorite tool for this is an old “Kids in the Kitchen” type cook book called “The Please Touch Cookbook.” It is old but still available online. It is a ring binder type paper back and quite cheap, I think I got mine for $2! It has crafts, recipes that are ALL winners, and fun learning experiences.  There is even a section on kitchen vocabulary that I think every “learner” should know.

One of the best tips I found in this book was one we all should know. Read the entire recipe together first and then check the ingredients. Duh, you say? So, that means you have never misread a recipe or been half way through and discovered you were out of eggs? Come on-like any of us believe that.

There are tons of other books and suggestions out there. Take a minute and get your ducks in a row so that there are no surprises, then see how much fun you can have on a staycation. By the way, I have reviewed the suggested book on my blog www.skatinguphill.com and included several craft hints and recipes. Also, I need to disclose that I get zero $$$ for anything I mention or review-just so you know.

February is here now so bundle up and put on a happy face. Maker something different, healthy and tasty for dinner and pack a surprise lunch. Walk outside and open the windows whenever you can and let’s see if we can make it through until March. Remember that the days get a little longer and there is that bit more daylight as we move toward Spring!  Love, Judith