Feed Your Soul

How to Simplify the Holidays - Tip 5

- Thursday, December 22, 2016

Simplify the holidays? Is it even possible? The short answer is yes. Here is Tip #5 to help you relax this holiday season.

5.    Family gatherings are the perfect time to play games. Anything from a treasure hunt to cards, charades or board games, all are a great way to connect with family members while engaging your body, imagination and mind.

Avoid Christmas Letdown...

- Tuesday, December 20, 2016

There are lots of things we like about the holidays. Picking out the Christmas tree, getting lots of presents, decorated and lit up store windows, the cheery sound of carolers, buying gifts for people we care about, parties with friends and family, the sound of logs cracking in the fireplace, the clinking of glasses. Preparing for these festivities takes up most of December with everything culminating into one final bash at the end of the year on New Year’s Eve. Then, like the flip of a light switch, it’s all over in a blink and January’s gray days of winter and daily routines return. The holidays are one tough act to follow.

While January will probably never hold the same anticipation and excitement that December does, it doesn’t have to be such a big letdown. Here are some suggestions for making January something to look forward to.

Consider leaving the trains, lights and other decorations out a little longer. Just because the stores are putting out Valentine’s Day merchandise before the New Year’s Eve ball drops, doesn’t mean you have to put everything away. The holidays can linger in your house for as long as you like.

The winter weather doesn’t have to get you down either. For those of us living in colder parts of the country, ice skating and skiing are fun activities that make the winter months special. You can also make your favorite holiday meals. Roast a turkey, bake your favorite hash brown casserole and invite your friends over to celebrate making a last car payment or finally clearing out your basement.

Getting together with friends for a night of card and board games is also something to look forward to. Or, consider going to lectures at local museums or book readings at your local library. Volunteer work is another way to connect with others in your community. You’ll not only lend a helping hand, but you’ll also do good and kindle happiness.

By participating in some of these activities after the holidays, you’ll make the winter months special after all.

How to Simplify the Holidays - Tip 4

- Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Simplify the holidays? Is it even possible? The short answer is yes. Here is Tip #4 to help you relax this holiday season.

4.    You don’t go in debt to make the holidays special. For big families, drawing names and having each person buy gifts for one person can help. Handmade items or coupons good for a night of dishes or a week of laundry are greatly appreciated.

Organize Your Refrigerator for the Holiday Meals...

- Monday, December 19, 2016

What’s the big deal when it comes to organizing your refrigerator for holiday meals, does it really matter 
where things go? Yes, it does. Here are some tips for organizing your fridge based on food safety and the temperature foods need to be cooked.

  • Prepared foods or leftovers (things that need no cooking to be safe to eat) should be placed at the top of your fridge with everything else organized downwards based on temperature required for cooking. Chicken, for example, would require the highest temperature for cooking and therefore, should be placed at the bottom of your fridge. The reason for this is to avoid any cross contamination. With food that requires a higher cooking temperature stored at the bottom of your fridge, the risk of drips or spills from this food onto other foods is virtually eliminated.

  • On your upper shelves, store leftovers, drinks, yogurt, cheese and deli meats. 

  • On your lower shelves, store raw ingredients you plan to cook later.

  • Because the refrigerator door is the warmest part of the fridge you’ll want to store condiments there. Avoid storing your eggs or milk here. Place milk and eggs in a colder area of your fridge.

  • Storing fruits in vegetables in your refrigerator’s drawers make sense since drawers are designed to hold produce at a specific humidity. Only problem is drawers are usually at the bottom of the fridge and so you risk contaminating your fresh produce if you put meat on a shelf overhead. A possible solution to this would be to store produce in one drawer and raw meat in another. If you need both drawers for produce, consider using a clear plastic bin to store raw meat, one that will catch any accidental drips and keep meat away from other foods.

How to Simplify the Holidays - Tip 3

- Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Simplify the holidays? Is it even possible? The short answer is yes. Here is Tip #3 to help you relax this holiday season.

3.    Sometimes less shopping means more. Getting elbowed in the mad rush at the stores can drain the joy right out of the holiday season.Studies show that people who are focused more on gifts feel less holiday cheer than those who spend more time with close friends and family. And despite your best efforts to get a loved one the perfect gift, a survey done by Consumer Reports showed that each year up to 49 million people get gifts they don’t want. Some turn around and sell these gifts on eBay while others post “bad gift” photos on Facebook and other social media. Find out what your loved one truly enjoys. Even if directly asking them what they want and giving the gift isn’t a surprise, at least you’ll know your loved one likes it.

4 Health Tips for Your Office Party...

- Monday, December 12, 2016

Tempting foods at holiday office parties can easily derail your healthy diet. Consider the following alternatives so you can avoid weight gain this holiday season.

·         Before the party, eat a nutritious, protein-packed meal, followed by a high-fiber snack. This way you won’t be so hungry when you arrive at the party and you won’t eat as many less nutritious foods.
·         If it’s a potluck, bring a heart-healthy dish.
·         At the party, look for whole grains, fruits, veggies and grilled choices rather than dishes that are fried or loaded with cream, cheese or butter.
·         It’s okay to indulge in dessert, but a healthier choice is to but find a colleague and split one together.

How to Simplify the Holidays - Tip 2

- Thursday, December 08, 2016

Simplify the holidays? Is it even possible? The short answer is yes. Here is Tip #2 to help you relax this holiday season.

2.    Before the decorations go up in stores and around town, consider what is most important to you and create the holiday you want. Pressures from various sides of the family pull us in all directions off our centers. When you and your spouse or partner make clear decisions about how you want to spend your time and resources for a particular holiday, the holiday becomes much more enjoyable. If there’s an annual event no one enjoys, you don’t have to go. A simple RSVP with a polite no and thank you is perfectly acceptable.

Ready Your Home for the Holidays...

- Tuesday, December 06, 2016

With only two weeks left until Christmas, it’s time to get your home ready for holiday parties and overnight guests. Here are some ways to organize and add cheer to your house without breaking the bank.

·         Brighten your bathroom by replacing your old hand towels with new ones in bold shades that complement the color scheme in the room. Clear the clutter from your bathroom counters and put out a nice liquid soap, hand cream and simple décor like candles or a dried floral arrangement.
·         It’s also important to de-clutter your living room too since this is where most of your entertaining will take place. Before guests arrive, make sure shoes are picked up along with the kids’ toys and your exercise equipment is stowed safely away.
·         You can add festive touches to your home by filling a glass bowl with pine cones and greenery, or place lightly scented candles (cinnamon, nutmeg or pine) on tables and other surfaces.
·         If you’re expecting a crowd, be sure to add a row of hooks near the door so you don’t have a pile of coats on the stairs or floor. Or, you can temporarily clear your family’s coats from the coat closet for the big event.
·         To make your out-of-town guests feel even more welcome, be sure to make extra space for their belongings. Clear out some space in your guest bedroom closet so they can hang their items. Plenty of us have forgotten to bring a toiletry or two from home. That’s why it’s nice to leave your guests a travel-size shower gel or hand cream in their room just in case.

Tips for a Holiday Cookie Swap...

- Monday, December 05, 2016

Holiday baking can be simple and fun when you host a cookie swap. Invite co-workers and friends and have each person make enough of one kind of cookie to share. At your cookie swap sample cookies, then trade and package in eye-catching assortments so everyone leaves with new recipes and tasty gifts.

For a successful swap, use the following steps

• Send out invitations to 7 or 8 guests 3-4 weeks in advance. Invite guests three to four weeks in advance. Seven or eight people are ideal -- manageable, yet enough for a good variety of cookies. 
• Ask each guest to bring a dozen cookies per guest, plus an extra dozen for the sampling. Have each person bring along copies of her recipe as well as some supplies for pretty packaging, such as cake/donut boxes and tissue paper.
• Create display cards to identify each cookie variety and the name of the contributor, i.e., “Hermits, from Laura Smith.”
• Set up a packaging station with cardboard boxes, sturdy paper plates, tags or sticky labels, ribbons, twine, baking papers, scissors, hole punches, tissue paper, cellophane, and other trimmings you prefer.

Today's Random Act of Kindness...

- Friday, December 02, 2016

Bake your favorite cookies and share them with a friend or neighbor.


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