Students At Home

For Everyone Who Learns at Home

13 Health Benefits of My New Obsession – Cinnamon

I discovered a new obsession:

Cinnamon!

cinnamon

Two weeks ago, a friend and I shared coffee at Folklore, a coffee shop in Elizabethtown, PA. I decided to try the regular brew but added a little cinnamon and milk. Amazing!

I’m not sure what it is about cinnamon, but I can’t get enough. Every morning, I wake up craving my cinnamon coffee, and I want a cup before bed, too.

While researching online today, I discovered that my obsession isn’t all bad. Cinnamon actually has several health benefits!

  1. Delay cell decay or damage with antioxidant properties.
  2. Reduces inflammation.
  3. Fights infections.
  4. Boosts immunity.
  5. Repairs tissue damage.
  6. Lowers cholesterol and heart disease risk.
  7. Regulates insulin, which affects metabolism and energy.
  8. Lowers blood sugar with a dose as small as 1/2 to 2 teaspoons.
  9. Improves Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease potentially.
  10. May protect against cancer.
  11. Treats respiratory tract infections.
  12. Inhibits certain bacterial growth, including Listeria and Salmonella.
  13. Prevents tooth decay and reduces bad breath thanks to its microbial properties.

With so many health benefits, it’s easy to see why I can’t get enough cinnamon. But you don’t have to like cinnamon coffee to get the benefits of this wonder spice.

  • Sprinkle cinnamon on your fruit, ice cream or yogurt.
  • Add cinnamon to soups.
  • Cover meat with cinnamon before you roast or grill it.
  • Toast almonds in cinnamon for a quick snack.

How will you enjoy cinnamon today? If you want, come on over and join me for a cup of cinnamon coffee! : )

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Birthday Month Celebration Week 2

I’m continuing my month-long birthday celebration, and it feels great! Self-care is so often neglected, but I’m determined to continue creating time each day to celebrate me and the things that bring me joy.

Here’s how I celebrated this week.

Day 3: We have bananas, ice cream, peanut butter and chocolate sauce in the house, so I made a sundae! And I savored every bite! To cut the sweetness (I’ve made an active choice to limit sweets this summer), I fixed a cup of black coffee and savored it, too. Delicious!

Day 4: I tossed a pair or ratty pajama shorts into the trash can today. The elastic is stretched and exposed, and there are holes where there should not be holes! ūüėČ I hate spending money on new clothes, but today I gave myself permission to toss this item of clothing and add “new pair of shorts” to my shopping list. It feels good to give myself permission to wear clothing that looks good and brings me joy. Oh – I also drove to the library and pharmacy alone! How sweet it was to enjoy silence in the car on my drive into town and to choose the radio station I wanted on the drive home!

Day 5: Fresh peaches for lunch! My favorite fruit! ūüôā¬† And hubby and I shared a pleasant afternoon chatting as we watched TV. I’m grateful for these moments!

peaches

Day 6: I gave myself permission to take the entire day off work! It felt so refreshing and empowering not to power up my laptop!

Day 7: My daughter gave me the first four presents of my birthday month! They’re each folded neatly and wrapped in aluminum foil and newspaper (one layer for day 1, two layers for day 2, etc.). How fun!

irene's birthday gifts to me august

I also returned a library book today before it was due. Library fines are tax-deductible, but I always appreciate when I remember to be responsible and don’t have to pay a fine. ūüôā

Day 8: While waiting for my daughter today, I read a book instead of playing on my phone. That permission to relax and do something I like made me feel content.

Day 9: While sipping my morning coffee, I heard a bird chirping. I paused a minute to listen to the song and realized how much joy I felt from this simple act. Sometimes, treats surprise me with their simple yet profound impact!

I also enjoyed lunch at Red Robin with a friend. And because of a gift card and my free birthday burger, our meal cost only $5.12!

Day 10: This morning, I tried to work on an assignment, but my brain just wasn’t working. I finally decided to wash dishes – I always feel better when my sink is clean! I then prepared a cup of cinnamon coffee, savored a small scoop of chocolate ice cream and listened to the Parachute Band on YouTube. That 20-minute treat brightened my mood, helped me relax and made me smile!

 

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Feeling Tired? Try 9 Quick Energy Boosts!

I don’t know about you, but I get tired every afternoon! My energy level drops, I have trouble concentrating and I just want a nap. But my kids come home from school around 3 every day, and I have to be alert and focused! Usually, I grab a cup of coffee and a cookie, but I know this solution isn’t the healthiest option for me. After doing some research, I found these quick energy boosts.

Eat the right lunch. Ideally, it should be packed with fiber and protein. This combo keeps blood sugar levels – and energy – steady so you can stay focused all afternoon.

Take lots of short breaks. I have tight deadlines on my job, and I’m always tempted to work for long stretches without taking a break. However, several short breaks actually give your body and brain a chance to reboot. I’m going to set a timer and take a five-minute break every hour to stretch, fold laundry, text a friend, clear clutter off a counter or get dinner started.

Go for a walk. Fresh air boosts your concentration and mood. Sounds like a perfect excuse to walk to the mailbox, around the block or through the woods (below is a pic from my morning walk yesterday at Mt. Gretna)! Can’t get outside? Dance, jump rope or vacuum.

june 19 mt gretna

Change the way you snack. My coffee and chocolate snack tastes good and spikes my blood sugar so I feel more energetic right away. But it actually makes me feel more tired in the long run. A smarter snack is high in fiber and  protein like an apple or banana with peanut butter, a handful of nuts with fruit or whole-grain crackers with cheese.

Meditate. Spend five minutes meditating, and you’ll feel more awake and less stressed.

Drink water. When you’re dehydrated, the oxygen levels in your body drop. It’s time to get drinking! Make your water tasty and refreshing with fruit juice, crushed berries or lemon (my favorite water additive!), lime or cucumber slices. (photo courtesy VisitPlano)

water pitcher visitplano

Breathe deeply. A few deep breaths – in through your nose, out through your mouth – slow your heart rate, decrease your blood pressure, increase oxygen in your blood and relax tense muscles. Your brain needs this boost, so relax and breathe.

Brush your hair. Repetitive movements relieve tension and help you relax. Even better, stimulating your scalp boosts your energy and alertness!

Laugh. Your muscles relax and you feel more energized when you laugh. I like listening to comediennes on YouTube, or you can read through a joke book or recall a funny memory. (photo credit unknown)

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These tips boost energy and fight fatigue. What other tricks work for you to keep you alert when you’re tired?

 

 

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When Frustrations Become Blessings

My son has autism and other issues, which means he takes several medications every day.

ys-meds

His weekly pill organizer, my awesome hubby’s idea!

So far, we haven’t noticed negative side effects, but we’re always looking for natural products that address his challenges without harming his body or mind.

His autism med doctor recently suggested NAC (also known as N-acetylcysteine or N-acetyl-L-cysteine, a derivative of the amino acid L-cysteine). NAC is a supplement that is shown to help kids with autism and includes no adverse side effects. Awesome!

There were only two problems – our pharmacy doesn’t carry it on the store shelves and insurance doesn’t cover it. In fact, since it’s a supplement, we don’t even get a prescription for it.

My pharmacy is pretty helpful and willingly ordered the pills the first time. And when I called last week for a refill, they said they’d order it again no problem. Except there was a problem. The pharmacy didn’t place the order. When I stopped by yesterday to pick up the pills, they told me they would not order it.

Now usually, I try to be nice. Honey gets more results than vinegar! But when it comes to my kids or my family, mama bear sometimes shows her claws. And I got a little huffy at the pharmacy yesterday when they said they wouldn’t order the pills my son needs. I clearly expressed my frustration that this supplement can help my son get off the other meds that could be harmful, and it’s frustrating that they won’t help.

I stewed on the frustration for almost an hour as I drove home, unloaded groceries from the car and prepped lunch. Finally, I did what I should have done in the first place. I prayed and asked God to show me what to do next. He prompted me to look up the medicine online, and guess what – I found it on Amazon where we can buy 250 pills for less than half of what the pharmacy charged for 90!

My frustration at the pharmacy was actually a blessing. Now, we can order the medicine a few days before we need it, have it delivered directly to our house and save money! I called the pharmacy, apologized for my attitude and told them that I found the medicine. They rejoiced with me.

What about you? What frustrations have you seen become blessings in your life? Despite the roadblock, you could see the negative turn into a positive! Share your story so we all can be encouraged to keep looking for the silver lining in all things!

silver-lining

Photo credit: printsforartssake.com

For more information on NAC:

https://sfari.org/funding/grants/abstracts/efficacy-of-n-acetyl-cysteine-in-autism

http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-nac.html

 

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Corn on the Cob Fan, Fanatic or Frump?

I have a confession to make.

I’m not a big corn on the cob fan.

Delicious Corn on the Cob

My parents, who have grown rows of sweet corn on their farm for at least three decades, don’t understand my lack of enthusiasm for their favorite summer meal. They wonder if all the years of corn harvests affected my current taste buds.

Every summer, we picked row after row of corn and husked all those dozens of ears. I occupied myself outdoors or with a good book when my mom and grandma shooed me out of the kitchen. Here, gallons of water boiled on the stove, and every available surface was covered with cut off corn kernels and sprayed with corn juice.

I might never know why I don’t enjoy corn on the cob, but my kids sure did jump on the bandwagon. As soon as the season starts, they’re itching to sink their teeth into a juicy, sweet cob that’s loaded with melted butter. (I think rolling the freshly boiled cobs in a stick of butter make eating this vegetable even more appealing for my kids).

0802141209Despite my lack of love for corn on the cob, I bought some at my local farmers market, husked it while our four kittens watched and cooked it up for my family.

They dug right in.

I on the other hand, ate one cob so that I could say I ate fresh corn this year, and then I eagerly grabbed the dental floss. Once everyone had their fill, I cut the corn kernels off the cobs we didn’t eat and now have a nice side dish for dinner this week. Now that I’ll enjoy!

Do you have any corn picking, prepping or eating memories? If so, let me know. I’d also love to hear if you’re a corn on the cob fan, fanatic or frump.¬† ūüôā

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Cooking in the Kitchen with Boys

Any time I ask for help in the kitchen, my son finds something else to do. His Hot Wheels, cleaning his room or toe jam suddenly become the greatest thing since sliced bread. I know he needs to learn how to cook, but the fight is just too challenging. If we have to fight, I’d rather it be over taking a bath and not cooking.

Enter our wonderful Occupational Therapist and her brilliant ideas. She shared Aggression Cookies, and these are¬†a hit–literally. Just place the ingredients in a bag and bang until combined. Cook and eat or enjoy raw.

This recipe is a great way to get energetic boys into the kitchen. While the cookies bake, mix dinner and engage your energetic boys in creating the food they so eagerly consume.

  • 1 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup margarine/butter
  • 2 cups oatmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1-1/4 cup¬†chocolate, peanut butter or butterscotch chips

Combine ingredients in a bowl or resealable bag. Mix, shake and knead until combined. Roll into small balls and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Makes 2 dozen.

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Sometimes You Have To Say No

A friend and I¬†talked the other day about food, nutrition and dieting.¬† I mentioned my attempts to increase the amount of veggies I eat and decrease my¬†ice cream consumption (after a solid¬†week of eating Mint Moose Tracks after dinner–yum!)¬†¬† She looked at me and said, “Every night?¬† That was fun, huh?”

I looked at her, speechless.¬† Yes, it was fun!¬† But I had never heard anyone describe eating as fun.¬† Food has always been¬†the enemy, from chocolate brownies to blue cheese.¬† Like nearly every choice I make,¬†I critique myself instead of embracing them.¬†¬†I say, “I should not eat this, say that, etc.

I’ve been¬†thinking about¬†her comment this week.¬† Food isn’t the enemy:¬† God made it all, and it’s good, right?

These thoughts led me to wonder when it’s okay to say no.¬† By nature, I am a pessimist so I pressure myself to say yes as often as possible.¬† Yes, we can watch a movie after school.¬† Yes, we can eat popcorn for breakfast.¬† But sometimes, I have to say no.

It’s not okay to harm my body with junk food, even if it is mint ice cream.¬† It’s not okay to say hurtful words, even if I am legitimately angry.¬† It’s not okay to speed, even if I am late.¬†¬†Saying no can be a good thing, bringing freedom and setting protective boundaries.

I vow to say no more often, for the health and wellbeing of my body, mental health and future.  Additionally, my students at home  need to hear me say no sometimes.  Boundaries keep them safe and teach them values, morals and healthy habits.

While I would prefer to be a “yes” parent, sometimes my job description requires me to say no.¬† That’s the loving thing to do.¬†

Sometimes, you just have to say no.

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