Closing the Blog

Closing the Blog

We here at have decided to close up the blog as of today  – December 31st, 2016.

Perhaps “closing” isn’t exactly right – we’re leaving the content that is here up, and will continue to keep it updated to the best of our ability; however, we will no longer be making new posts on the blog.

Did you ask why?? (lol) It’s been a tough choice to make, but having been online since 2001, we have such an abundance of content on the main site that we feel the blog is becoming a bit redundant. We had considered updating and moving some of the main site content, but that didn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense in the grand scheme of things. Updating it – always, but moving it, why?

Also, we do a lot of recipes – and have a ton of diet specific recipes on the main site, but as we surf around and visit others, it is quite clear there is no shortage of recipes and food blogs and posts. We have  reached a point where we feel we are merely adding to the clutter. We also feel our diet specific sections on the main site are more geared to the original goals of the site way back in its inception, as well as more helpful to our valued readers.

So please, do surf around, and we always hope you find something you enjoy. There is a lot here – free downloads, recipes, health information, exercise and fitness information, etc.

Most of all, may everyone have a very happy and prosperous New Year!

Talking Flowers

Talking Flowers

People had a “flower language” over 150 years ago. They gave each other bouquets of talking flowers that said a lot without speaking out loud. You could do that, too or use flower names as code language in notes or emails.

Following is a list of commonly used flowers and what the message was from each beautiful flower.

Talking Flowers

  • Amaryllis: “You’re beautiful, but I’m shy.”
  • Apple blossom: “I like you best.”
  • Camellia: “Thank you!”
  • Carnation: “I love you truly.”
  • White Chrysanthemum: “This is the truth.”
  • Four Leaf Clover: “Be mine.”
  • Red Daisy: “You’re beautiful even if you don’t know it.”
  • Wild Daisy: “I’ll think about it.”
  • Dandelion: “I’m flirting with you!”
  • Fern: “You are fascinating and sincere.”
  • Holly: “Did you forget me?”
  • Iris: “I’ve got a message for you.”
  • Ivy: “I’ll be true to you.”
  • Lily of the Valley: “I’m happy again!”
  • Oak Leaves: “We will be brave!”
  • Parsley: “I feel silly.”
  • Purple Pansy: “I’m thinking about you.”
  • Red Rose: “I love you.”
  • White Rose: “I won’t tell.”
  • Sweet Pea: “Let’s get together.”
  • Violet: “I’m your faithful friend.”
  • Zinnia: “I’m sad since you went away.”

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School Luncheons 1905

School Luncheons 1905

Looking back in time can be both fun and fascinating! I’ve been doing a lot of that lately going through recipe booklets and cookbooks from my grandmother’s vast collection.

Being a personal passion, I couldn’t just allow these books to sit and get older and more yellowed without trying to digitize them, a project I’ve been and will continue to work on.

With that said, today I’m introducing “School Luncheons Cookbook Vintage 1905 by Armour and Company”.

School Luncheons 1905
School Luncheons 1905

A Peak Inside

The School Luncheons Problem

Excerpt from page 3…

“The school luncheon is a problem, and only the house mother can solve it by giving the subject careful attention daily.”

“Proper food must be supplied the growing boys and girls, or they will become stunted, not only physically, but mentally.”

“If it is possible a child should come home for the noonday meal. A bowl of hot broth should be in readiness, with a plate of crackers or toast, a baked apple with cream and some cookies. This makes a wholesome and satisfying lunch. The child will go back to school refreshed by the brisk walk.”

The Week-About System

Excerpt from page 6…

“If several children eat together, the luncheon may be packed in a hamper basket. It is quite an idea for one mother to prepare luncheons for one week for a neighbor’s children besides her own. This week-about system relieves the mother and gives the children variety.”

“Folding drinking cups or small tumblers should be given each child; the water question is just as important as food. It is far safer to have a small flask of pure water in the luncheon box than to allow promiscuous drinking from tin cups provided in the schools and the use of city water, unless one is absolutely sure that the water supply is pure.”

Motherly Love Notes

Excerpt from page 9…

“One mother used to occassionally put a little note like this in the luncheon box:”

“My Dear M—-:”
“Mother knows the lessons are unusually hard today, but do your best and when you come home there will be a surprise for you. Lovingly, Mother.”

“This takes only a moment, and is a source of inspiration and encouragement to the child. The ‘surprise’ may be some wished-for object, a guest invited to supper, a trip to the city or matinee tickets.”

Motherly Love Notes
Motherly Love Notes

School Luncheons: The Costs Back Then

Excerpt from page 20…

“Sufficient and nutritious luncheons can be furnished to the pupils of a large school for from three to five cents each, but from our present knowledge, it would require about a ten-cent luncheon to satisfy the taste of the American scholar.”

Ah..the good ‘ol days!

Bicycle Riding Safety

Bicycle Riding Safety and Care

Bicycle riding can be a great pastime or a fantastic way to get in some exercise while also getting some fresh air and sunshine. But there are some bicycle riding safety issues to be aware of and also some basic care you can give to your bike to keep it riding smoothly and safely.

Bicycle Riding Safety
Bicycle Riding Safety

The Ups and Down’s of Biking

Hills add challenge and interest to any bike ride. Follow these tips for handling hills with confidence, and get the most out of this great, low-impact activity.

  1. Going up. Before you approach a hill, slow your breathing down to a comfortable rate. Shift down into the next gear to make pedaling easier. Relax your body, keep your back straight and your hands loosely gripped on the bars.
  2. Coming down. You should always stay in control of your bike. Sit back on the seat for stability and keep your feet parallel to each other. Slowly pump both your front and rear brakes to slow down without skidding. Ease back into a comfortable pace and enjoy the scenery.

Bicycle Riding Safety Tips


  1. Keep a whistle on a chain around your neck and use it instead of a horn. It’s louder and shriller.
  2. Having trouble climbing hills? Maybe you’re hunching over the handlebars. This constricts your breathing. Sit up tall instead.
  3. On wet roads brake lightly now and then to whisk water off your brakes – especially after you’ve gone through a puddle and before you start down a hill.
  4. If you skid, don’t try to move your wheel. Keep your wheel in whatever direction you are going. Similarly, on a loose surface, let the bike drift the way it wants.
  5. In the country, sharp curves often have loose gravel and holes. Brake to reduce speed before you get to a curve, not while you are on the loose surface. Keep as far to the right as possible to avoid cars that may move into your lane as they round the corner.
  6. Use a winter hard hat liner, found in hardware stores, as a helmet liner in cold weather. For further warmth, push a folded section of newspaper up under your shirt to help block cold winds.

Bicycle Chains

Kerosene is the best cleaner for a greasy bicycle chain. To keep the chain from squeaking, clean it every 2 months and lubricate it with a lightweight bicycle oil or a spray lubricant designed for the purpose.

If your chain breaks and you can’t fix it right away, lower the seat and push along with your feet.

Home Made Bicycle Lock

You can make a lock from six feet of vinyl-covered steel cable, two U-bolts, and a padlock.

At each end of the cable, make a loop and secure it with a U-bolt. Strip or epoxy the threads so that the nut can’t be removed. Run the cable through the frame and wheels and around the bike rack or a sturdy post. Padlock the loops together.

If you must leave your bike unlocked, remove the handlebars or front wheel and take it with you.

Repair a Bicycle Tire

You can repair a tire in no time flat with two kitchen spoons, some fine sandpaper, contact cement, talcum powder and a thin piece of rubber or soft plastic.

For patches, cut small squares of rubber from an old tire tube or swimming cap. Coat one side with contact cement and let it dry.

Remove the wheel and push in the tire with your thumbs just enough to angle the spoons, 5 to 7 inches apart, under its edge. Work them around, pulling the edge of the tire over the rim.

Take the tube out of the tire and look for the puncture. Check inside the tire for any sharp stones or debris. Put your ear to the tube. Can you hear the air escape? If you can’t find the leak, inflate the tube and submerge it in water. Bubbles will locate the hole.

Dry the tube and rough up the area around the hole with sandpaper. Coat it with contact cement and apply the patch, sticky side down. Sprinkle talcum powder over the patched area so that the tube won’t stick to the tire wall.

If you inflate the tube a little, it will easier to put back in the tire. Begin remounting the tire by first inserting the air valve into the rim, then work the tire back onto the rim with your thumbs. If this proves difficult, use the spoons – but with care. The could puncture your newly repaired tube.

When the tire is back on the rim, inflate it and replace the wheel.

Spring is coming – get your bike ready for some summertime exercise.

See also:

Birthday Superstitions

Birthday Superstitions

Many of the cherished rituals performed during children birthday parties actually have their origins in ancient superstitions.

Birthday Superstitions Image
DIY Birthday Gift Bag – Available on Etsy

Wishing on Candles.

The offering the ancient Greeks made to Artemis – the protector of the young and the goddess of the moon, the hunt, and childbirth was in the form of a round honey cake with a candle on top. German bakers, who invented the modern birthday cake during the Middle Ages, encircled the cake with lit candles. The custom was refined over the years, and the cake itself came to be decorated with one candle for each year of life. Some people add an extra candle grow on.

Birthday Party Gift Bag
DIY Birthday Party Gift Bag – Available on Etsy

Playing Games.

A birthday begins a new year, and games of power and skill – physical and mental – give the birthday child a chance to demonstrate increased strength and wisdom.

Birthday Spankings.

Inflicting a little pain chases away evil spirits and ensures good luck for the coming year In some countries, guests give the birthday child whacks, punches, or pinches – but all are given gently, and for good luck.

Gifts to the Guests.

The small prizes embedded in a birthday cake – such as rings, coins, or buttons – are tokens for telling fortunes in some families. Guests may also get party favors.

Holiday Poppers Project

Holiday Poppers Project

Enjoy creating with the holiday poppers project during the holidays. Use colors appropriate to any holiday. These are fun to do for kids of all ages and make a great Christmas treat on the fly.

Valentine’s poppers can be made in pretty red, pink and white and Easter, of course, in pretty pastels. For Halloween you could create unique sweet treats using orange and black tissue paper and Halloween candies! Makes 8 poppers.

For your holiday poppers you will need:

  • 2 (16 x 27-inch) sheets red tissue paper
  • 2 (16 x 27-inch) sheets green tissue paper
  • Red curling ribbon
  • Green curling ribbon
  • Gold curling ribbon
  • 8 (5-inch) paper tubes (either cut a paper towel tube in half or use a toilet tissue tube)
    Selection of individual wrapped miniature candies in holiday colors/décor such as Dove chocolates, Snickers, Milky Way, Twix, etc.
  1. Cut the tissue paper in half lengthwise. Cut 8 strands of each color of ribbon 15-inches long.
  2. Fill the tubes with a selection of candies.
  3. Lay one sheet of tissue paper flat on a surface. Place the tube at one edge and roll the paper tightly around the tube. Tie the ribbon tightly at both ends of the tube.
  4. Once all the tubes are wrapped and tied, arrange in an attractive presentation, such as the one pictured below.
Holiday Poppers Project
Red and Green Holiday Poppers

Extra: Christmas Place Cards

This season, why not make special place cards for Christmas dinner?Heart Beat

Get some thick construction paper, then let everybody pick their own color. Each sheet of paper can make four cards. Fold the paper into fourths and cut along the folds.

Fold each rectangle either way you like to make a tent. Write each person’s name on one face in pencil, then trace the name with glue and sprinkle the glue with colored sparkles.

To add a holiday shape, draw a pine tree or wreath on the back side using the fold as your base line. Cut out the shape with a knife, except along the fold.

To make sure the shape sits upright, tape a toothpick to the back across the fold. Decorate with glue and sparkles.

Extra idea: Paste on that person’s favorite movie star or athlete or hero.

You may want to save these place cards to use next Christmas, too.

If you’re interested in some DIY Christmas gift boxes, check out our friends over at Mayda Mart – DIY Gift Boxes.

DIY Christmas Gift Box

3 Safety Tips for Cosmetic Botox Injections

3 Safety Tips for Cosmetic Botox Injections

3 Safety Tips for Cosmetic Botox InjectionsA lot of cosmetic solutions have been sought by people who want to keep their skin looking young and healthy. None of these solutions however can beat Botox treatments in terms of popularity and effectiveness. In the US alone, it is the most common cosmetic procedure undertaken with an estimated 4.6 million cosmetic Botox treatments done every year. The rising demand for an effective and quick-acting solution to wrinkles has driven up the popularity of the treatment.

Lately however, there have been increased cases of botched Botox treatments either due to the inexperience of the person applying the treatment or a poor quality replacement for Botox. The results of these botched injections have been serious health side effects and permanent facial damage. With the increasing demand for Botox injections, people are more willing to go for cheaper treatments from people who are not even experts. These treatments are in most cases not FDA approved. In fact, some shady salons have been known to use substances other than Botox usually with horrifying results.

One important thing to understand is that Botox itself is a highly toxic substance and can lead to a fatal health condition known as botulism. In minute amounts however, the treatment can be highly effective without being toxic. As much as you want your skin to retain its youthful looks, you also have to remember that your health comes first. Do not do anything that compromises it. The following three safety tips should help you look young while staying safe.

1. Get it Done at the Right Place

In an effort to keep costs down, people make the mistake of seeking Botox treatment in shady places that charge low prices. Others even attempt to inject themselves at home. Botox treatment is a medical procedure and as such should only be carried out in a medical setting. Do not go to a salon or the mall for treatment. Even more importantly, do not attempt to carry out the procedure by yourself at home; it could have serious and permanent health consequences.

Whether you are in New York, Amsterdam or London there are numerous places where you can get proper Botox treatments. You can use the internet to find legit clinics that offer these treatments. Be sure to read reviews and research the background of a clinic before choosing it. Alternatively, you can get your doctor to refer you to a safe and licensed place where you can undergo the procedure.
One advantage of getting it done in a medical setting is that the doctor will be able to examine you for suitability of Botox injections. This is because certain medical conditions may exclude some people from being suitable for the Botox treatment.

2. Get it done by a skilled and experienced doctor

It may sound as if getting a Botox injection is simple and involves only basic knowledge. This is not so. For one, you have to be evaluated to determine whether you are the right candidate for Botox treatment. Secondly, the amount of Botox applied has to be accurate otherwise your health may be in danger. Make sure that whoever does the procedure is competent to carry it out and licensed to do so. This of course starts with going to the right place to get the treatment. Do not under any circumstances be tempted to get the operation done by someone promising much lower costs; you will live to regret it.

3. Make sure that the treatment is real and approved

If you do some research on botched Botox treatments you will realize that in most cases the biggest problem was the product used. You may even come across horrific stories of people who were injected with glue or some other substance. You should therefore be extremely careful about what you are being injected with. The product should be the real thing and most importantly it should be approved by medical authorities such as the FDA. Again, most people are lured by the extremely low costs of Botox alternatives and the results are never pleasant.

It is recommended that before you go in for the treatment for Botox, read what medical authorities have to say on it; where should it be used and in what amounts. Do not be ignorant.

Chapped Lips

Chapped Lips

The skin on your lips is much more sensitive than the rest of your face. The lips do not contain oil glands like your skin does. This is why the chap so easily.

Chapped Lips

Lips will crack easily in cold air, sun or wind. When this happens, resist the temptation to pick the peeling skin off your chapped lips.

Mouth breathing can also cause chapped lips. The air that is constantly passing over your lips serves to dry them out.

Toothpaste can be another cause of dry lips due to the ingredient sodium lauryl sulfate. Check your toothpaste label(s). You may also want to check for dehydrating alcohols in toothpastes, which you want to avoid.

Too much vitamin A can cause chapped lips. If you take more than 25,000 IU of vitamin A daily, you’re consuming too much.

Soon after licking dry, chapped lips, they will feel dry again. This causes you to lick them again. Before you even realize it, you’re in a continuing cycle of lip dehydration, because saliva evaporates – quickly. Now your already sore, chapped lips will be even drier than before. Eventually, you’ll be left with a rough, dry, shrunken upper layer separated from the moist layer below it.

Food That Can Cause Chapped Lips

The acid in citrus fruits can irritate the delicate skin on your lips. Tomato sauce is another potential irritant, especially if one already has chapped lips. Cinnamates, used in candy, gum and toothpaste among other things, can have the same effect.

Preventing Chapped LipsLip Balm

  1. Even though licking your chapped lips seems to provide relief, resist the temptation. Your lips are more likely to chap as they dry.
  2. Apply a lip ointment at night. During the day use on that contains a sunscreen.
  3. When reapplying lipstick, don’t wipe off the old coat. Doing so causes irritation. At night, gently remove traces of lipstick with petroleum jelly or cold cream.


You can also use petroleum jelly or beeswax to keep your lips moist during the day.

Petroleum Jelly

Did you know?

Dry, cracked lips can be associated with deficiencies of certain B vitamins.

Study Tips to Train the Brain

Study Tips to Train the Brain

Study Tips
Study Tips

Let’s take a look at some quick study tips that will help you train your brain for all your studies throughout the school year and beyond!

  1. Brains don’t run on hot air. Eat breakfast.
  2. Pay attention, don’t get attention. Listen in class.
  3. Every new word deserves ink. Write facts, words and questions in a notebook.
  4. Write down assignments, every word. No shortcuts!
  5. Use down time during the day to read, write or do a math problem. You might be through home work before school is out.
  6. Get team study spirit! Have a study partner who helps you with one subject and whom you can help with another.
  7. Stiff necks not allowed! Put books and papers where you can read and write comfortably.
  8. Yaawwwwn at home, not in school! Relax between classes. Stretch and roll your shoulders and wiggle your feet.
  9. Snack time! Everybody feels a little tired about 3 or 4 in the afternoon. Just don’t spoil your appetite for supper.

Speaking of snack time, following is a recipe for Pennant Cookies. A great treat after the big game win and a great comfort after a big loss…

Pennant Cookies Recipe

Great for the bake sale!

1 (18 ounce) package sugar cookie dough
Craft sticks
1 (16 ounce) container white frosting
Food coloring
1 bag M & Ms milk chocolate candies

  1. Roll out sugar cookie dough and cutout triangle shapes.
  2. Add a craft stick to the back of each cookie and adhere with a small ball of additional cookie dough.
  3. Bake according to package directions and let cool.
  4. Tint frosting to school colors and decorate with M & Ms candies.
Pennant Cookies
Pennant Cookies

Vodka for Foot Odors?

Vodka for Foot Odors?

Vodka is a popular beverage which is generally composed of ethanol and water. Now you can use it for hygienic purposes, as well!

Vodka for Foot Odors?
Vodka for Foot Odors?

If your feet smell less than swell, wipe them down with a vodka-soaked wash cloth to get rid of the stench.

It’s the same principle as rubbing alcohol (which works equally well if you’d rather drink your Grey Goose).

How Does Vodka Destroy Foot Odors?

Vodka contains alcohol, which is antiseptic and drying, so it destroys odor-causing fungus and bacteria and dries out the moisture that lets these organisms grow.

Vodka Ice Packs

Freeze a plastic bag filled with vodka and apply as an ice pack on aches and pains. Helps numb pain.

Vodka Mouth Wash

Cinnamon and vodka can be mixed to create a natural mouth wash, although for sensitive gums it may be best to stick to alcohol free mouth wash or a warm salt water rinse.

Russian Folklore

In Russian folklore, vodka was used to cure many ailments from a simple headache, the common cold and a bad hangover. You can also create vodka tinctures as an herbal remedy to consume orally or use topically as an anesthetic. Vodka has also been used to swish around an aching tooth to relieve pain.

Did you know?

The name vodka evolved from “voda“, a Slavic word which literally means water.

Note of Caution: Excess consumption of alcohol in any form enhances the risk of major diseases.