Feed Your Soul

Tips for keeping healthy snacks on hand all week...

- Friday, January 20, 2017

Here are some quick and easy tips for keeping healthy snacks on hand all week:


1.       Gather your favorite veggies like celery, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower

2.       Wash and Cut into bite size pieces

3.       Store in air tight container

By prepping veggies over the weekend you have food that’s ready and easy to grab from the refrigerator on days when your family is more rushed.

You can also pack individual serving sizes into small Ziploc bags for on-the-go snacks or for packed lunches.

5 simple tricks to cut your energy costs...

- Thursday, January 19, 2017

If you’ve resolved to reduce your energy consumption in 2017 and save money in the process, then you'll enjoy these five ways to save energy by cutting electricity.

1.    Use the sun to your advantage. To take advantage of the sun’s rays, keep your curtains open during the day, especially on the south side of your home where there’s more direct sunlight. Close curtains at night to reduce drafts.

2.    Raise Door Thresholds. If you see daylight under your front door, then you’re losing indoor air you’ve paid to heat. A bit of light in the corners is okay, but adjusting the height will eliminate gaps where heated air is escaping from your home. Avoid raising thresholds too high so that the door doesn’t drags across and wear out weatherstripping.

3.    Log Out and Shut Down. Unused computers consume energy and tend to warm your office space, pushing up air conditioning costs.

4.    Clean or replace your furnace’s filter often during winter months. Furnaces use less energy when they “breathe” more easily. Follow instructions in your furnace manufacturer’s manual.

5.    Keep furniture, carpeting and curtains from blocking your home’s heat registers and air return ducts.

Can you control the clutter?

- Tuesday, January 17, 2017

“Clutter is not just physical stuff. It’s old ideas, toxic relationships and bad habits. Clutter is anything that does not support your better self.” –Eleanor Brown

Keeping a home tidy and organized is practically impossible for most of us, especially when organizing often requires too much effort and time than we care to dedicate. 

The key is to set realistic goals.

Start with your kitchen. The kitchen is the heart of the home and often the messiest room in the house. Start by cleaning and putting away the dishes. Then tackle the piles of paperwork. Once you can see your countertops, you’ve accomplished something. Look for ways to store paperwork that are easy. When it’s too difficult to put things away in your home, it becomes more likely that clutter will collect on countertops.

Don’t forget the beauty of delegation either. More than likely, you weren’t the only one who made a mess in the kitchen. Get the family to help put things away and do this on a continual basis. They’ll be less likely to leave things out next time. Plus, they won’t have the excuse that they don’t know where items are kept.

Traditions to bring your family together...

- Thursday, January 12, 2017

Traditions strengthen your family’s bonds, enrich the life you share together, contribute to your children’s well-being and create lasting memories. There are lots of family traditions practiced during the holidays and there are plenty of others observed throughout the rest of the year. Here are some traditions families living in the Information Age are observing so technology doesn’t take over!

Daily connections include:

Family Meals that begin with grace or sharing something they’re grateful for that day. No TV, no cellphones, and no tablets. Everyone takes a turn sharing something positive and negative that has happened to them during the day. Families also share stories and interesting information they’ve read or heard that day.

School Lunch Inspiration. Put inspiring notes or drawings in your children’s school lunches. It’s a great way to connect and make your kids feel extra loved.

Bedtime Story. Children whose parents read to them regularly typically do better in school and have larger vocabularies than children who don’t.

Weekly Connections include:

Family Game Night – From Pie in the Face to Monopoly, family game night is great fun, a fantastic way to keep connected and ramp up the laughter.

Movie Night – Borrow your favorite 80s movies from the library, hit the dollar store and let the kids pick out their favorite candy, pop some butter flavored popcorn at home and you have the perfect opportunity to wax poetic with your kids about why movies from the 80s were so much better than the ones produced today.

Pizza Night – Almost everyone loves pizza and having a pizza night gives you and your family a favorite meal to look forward to each week. Skip delivery and making your own is another way to connect and pass on some cooking skills to your kids too.

Saturday/Sunday Morning Breakfast together – Pancakes and waffles are “easy like Sunday morning.” So are biscuits and gravy. Indulge your inner chef.

Monthly Connections:

Box of Goals. Setting and working toward a goal is an important life skill. On the first day of every month, have family members write down one goal they wish to accomplish that month. Then place the piece of paper in a cigar box or a tin from the dollar store. At the end of the month you can take out the pieces of paper and see how everyone did. Then write new goals for next month. You’ll be amazed at all you and your family can achieve.

Family Service Day. If your family’s mission is to serve the community, consider designating one Saturday or Sunday each month to helping others. This could be in the form of spending a morning at a homeless shelter, helping a neighbor with yard work or sorting clothes at Goodwill.

What are some of your family’s traditions?

When to clean off your desk...

- Tuesday, January 10, 2017

If you’re at the beginning of a project, a new study published in Psychological Science shows it's most beneficial to have a messy desk.

Messy environments promote creative thinking and unconventional new ideas. 

As you get closer to the end of your project, a clean desk helps your mind focus on order and expectations. 

The move away from a messy desk (chaos) will help you finish your project.

A checklist for winter weather...

- Sunday, January 08, 2017

Most of us know a well-stocked pantry and fridge is in order when it comes to winter weather advisories, but emergency supplies for communication, safety, heating and cars are every bit as important. Here is a checklist to keep you and your family prepared for winter weather.


·         Bad winter storms often bring power outages. Be sure you have a cell phone, portable charger and extra batteries in the event of a power outage. A battery-powered radio with extra batteries will allow you to listen to local stations for emergency instructions. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio receiver is ideal so you can tune into National Weather Service broadcasts.

·         Have a family communication plan so you know how to contact each other, how you’ll get back together and what you’ll do during an emergency.

·         Check in on your elderly neighbors and give assistance when necessary.

For Heating

·         Have extra blankets, sleeping bags, and warm winter coats on hand.

·         Have dry firewood ready or a gas log fireplace.

·         Have portable space heaters or kerosene heaters (check your local fire department to make sure kerosene heaters are legal) at the ready.

·         Make sure your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries and are in working order.

·         Have battery-powered flashlights or lanterns ready.

·         If possible, opt for battery powered candles rather than lit candles to prevent house fire.


Depending on the severity of the storm, it’s best to have a week’s worth of food. Make sure you have the following:

·         Drinking water

·         Canned/no-cook food (bread, crackers, dried fruits)

·         Non-electric can opener

·         Baby food and formula (if baby in the household)

·         Prescription drugs and other medicine

Safety Supplies

Your family’s safety is important. Snow and ice on sidewalks and driveways are safety hazards. Be sure to have the following on hand.

·         First-aid kit

·         Rock-salt to melt ice on walkways

·         Supply of cat litter or bag of sand to add traction on walkways

In Your Car

If you have no choice and must go out in the weather, be sure to have your car ready with the following items.

·         Cell phone, portable charger, and extra batteries

·         Shovel

·         Windshield scraper

·         Battery-powered radio and extra batteries

·         Flashlight and extra batteries

·         Water

·         Snack food

·         Extra hats, coats, and mittens

·         Blankets

·         Chains or rope

·         Tire chains

·         Canned compressed air with sealant for emergency tire repair

·         Road salt and sand

·         Booster cables

·         Emergency flares

·         Bright colored flag or help signs

·         First aid kit

·         Tool kit

·         Road maps

·         Compass

·         Waterproof matches and can to melt snow for water

·         Paper towels

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.

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.


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