14 March 2019

Children's Books That Teach Important Lessons

Children's books help to enhance reading skills and unlock the imagination.  They can also help to teach and reinforce everyday lessons in a positive and engaging format.  That's where author AC Brown shines!  She has created a wonderful line of books for kids that capture the attention of young minds with beautiful illustrations and lovable characters that teach important lessons.

One of AC Brown's marvelous books is called The Amazing Adventures of Anita Brownbag: The Tooth Unfairy.  In this story the main character Anita Brownbag learns what happens when you lose a tooth!  Another AC Brown book you should check out is Goodbye is OK which teaches kids that as they grow older and outgrow some of their things to discover new ones, that it's okay and part of the normal process of growing up.

Author AC Brown 

AC Brown's line of books came about as a result of trying to overcome the challenge of how to get her son interested in reading as well as address behavioral issues.  What resulted was children's books that promote reading as well as positive behaviors.  Not only did her son begin to love reading, he now reads to his own children and writes his own poetry!  You can find all of AC Brown's children's books on Amazon and on ACBrownBooks.com

Be sure to follow AC Brown on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube!

13 March 2019

10 Easy Tips For A Healthy BBQ With Friends & Family

Staying healthy and sticking to your goals throughout the summer months can be a challenge. This is especially true when you have a calendar full of cookouts, vacations & parties!

However, it can be simple if you just stick to a few of the tips below. Alrighty, here we go – how to eat healthy at your next cookout!

FYI: BBQs can be dangerous when you combine grillings, kids and a few beers, so make sure you see this grilling guide from Simply Meat Smoking

Ensure Your Meal is Satisfying & Balanced.
Try and load up your plate with lots of veggies, whole grains & lean protein. Then just go light on processed items, like crackers, bread, and chips. Also stick to a smaller portion of heavy side dishes like pasta & potato salad.

However, don’t deprive yourself, if there is something you really want, go for it! It is much better to have it and feel satisfied instead of leaving the cookout with cravings!

Find New Ways to Add Flavor
You don't have to add loads of butter or salt to give your food flavor. Everyone loves corn at a cookout however they are usually brushed in copious amounts of butter. Why not try smoking them?

This adds a ton of flavor without any unnecessary fats or oils. If your using a pellet smoker, cook for 30 minutes or until tender, if you like it a bit crunchy try 45 minutes. You can also try eggplant, peppers & mushrooms, all these veggies take on a delicious smoky flavor. 

Give Yourself Time
After your first plate give yourself 20 minutes, it takes that long for your brain to register your meal and send the messages to the rest of your body. If you're still hungry after 20 minutes, grab some more protein and veggies to make sure you feel satisfied!

Bring A Healthy Dish to Share
This one is a no brainer and a top tip. If you bring a healthy dish that you enjoy, you'll know for sure that there will be at least one healthy option on the offer. Not only that you will be able to introduce your family and friends to some new yummy recipes, like this Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken With Avocado Salsa

Hostess with the Mostess
If your entertaining makes sure you provide some healthy snacks. You don’t have to win your guests over with fried goodies! Why not try prosciutto wrapped prawns or watermelon, feta & blueberry skewers. Having two or three of these little snacks will feel really indulgent and will keep your guests from feeling too full to enjoy the rest of your meal.

Make Friends with Dessert.
Your cookout doesn’t have to be all hotdogs and burgers! Try brushing some plums, pineapples, and peaches with a little bit of honey and sprinkle of cinnamon.

These little bites only need 4-8 minutes on the grill depending on the heat. You can serve them with a spoonful of Greek yogurt or cottage cheese and a sprig of mint.

Always Stay Hydrated
Ensuring you drink enough water is important. However, during the summer months, it is essential you stay on top of your hydration. Being out in the sun or drinking might mean you need to drink even more water. Make sure you take a reusable water bottle and remember to keep it topped up.

Rather Than Indulge in Everything, Pick One Thing!
A really useful strategy is to pick one indulged component. That might be dessert, apps or alcohol. If you want to treat yourself to a cocktail or wine relinquish dessert. However, if there is something that is really calling your name for dessert, skip the glass of wine.

Don’t Loiter Around the Food table.
Try not to continually graze, eat your main meal and enjoy it. If you hang out by the food table you might end up mindlessly munching away just because the food is there not because you are actually hungry.

Focus on Your Friends & Family
Rather the food be the main focus of the party try playing some fun games. Some fun lawn games include kickball, cornhole, badminton, volleyball or croquet. If you’re lucky to have a pool, throw on your swimwear and splash about with the kids like a pool party!

It is important to relax and enjoy all your summertime events! There is no need to get too wrapped up in following rules all the time! If you try to make good choices 70% of the time, you will have some wiggle so that you can indulge but still feel great!

12 March 2019

Helpful Tips to Cope with Grief and Loss

Sometimes grief can feel overwhelming and like no one understands what you're going through.  Grief and loss can come in many different forms such as a divorce or a loss of a friend or family member.  What's important to remember is that the grieving process is natural and it's common for people to grieve in different ways.  Grieving can go through many emotions including sadness, anger, denial, acceptance, and more.  The following are some helpful tips on how to cope with grief and loss.

Speak to a Therapist


Reaching out to a mental health professional if you are experiencing grief or loss can be very helpful in talking through your emotions.  A therapist is trained to provide empathy and support with any issues an individual may be struggling with.  Having an ear to listen to your feelings in a non-judgemental setting can be comforting and can help you feel at ease with someone who understands what you're going through.  BetterHelp is the largest online therapy company aimed at helping people in a convenient online setting.  You can schedule a video or phone meeting with a therapist, or even a text messaging conversation.  They offer affordable plans to fit your budget and they have over 3,000 licensed therapists available to help you.

Join a Support Group


Another way to help you work through your grief and loss is through a local support group.  By joining a support group with others who are also experiencing the same emotions you can often find not only support but friendship and advice from others in the group.  To find a local support group in your area you can look up your local NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) office or click here to search for the closest one in your area.  NAMI is a great resource for local support groups and other local resources pertaining to mental health.

Start a Journal


When you're experiencing grief and loss it can be helpful to get your feelings out in a journal.  Writing down your thoughts and feelings is a very therapeutic process that allows you to not only get them out on paper, but it also allows you to reflect on what you write down.  Set aside some time each day to write in a journal and see how this may be beneficial for you.

Yoga or Meditation


While exercising is a great way to release those feel good endorphins, if you're experiencing the heavy emotions of grief and loss you may not find yourself wanting to head to the gym.  If you've never tried yoga or meditation both can be very helpful in relaxing the mind and body.  Join a local yoga class in your area or listen to some mindful meditation on YouTube.  Both of these can be very effective in setting aside some quiet time each time for reflection on thoughts, as well as a way to unwind.

I hope you have found these tips to be helpful when it comes to dealing with grief and loss.  Remember to reach out to your own support circle, whether it be your family, friends, church leader, or physician.  While you may feel alone in your grief, I recommend you try some of the mentioned tips and you may be surprised at the amount of support you receive.