Changing environment, learning new language and new culture,being a wife and a mother, living far away from families and friends, I have come to share my views, thoughts, feelings, ideas on so many things that I cherish.

October 29, 2012

Healthy Habits: Healthier Halloween

Halloween is a great kid's holiday -- good friends, creative costumes, event-filled parties -- all with a cool, spooky theme -- who could ask for more? Oh yes, one more thing, the treats -- lots of sugary candy treats!

With all the fun of this holiday come a parent's worst fears -- too many sugary treats in your kid's possession and the arguments that ensue over this treasured trove. If you don't feel like contributing to the neighborhood children's tooth decay or weight gain, consider giving treats that are healthier. 

Healthier Halloween Treats:
  • Cheese and cracker packages
  • Sugar-free gum
  • Small bags of pretzels or popcorn
  • Small packages of nuts
  • Peanuts in the shell
  • Fruit-Roll Ups
  • Fortune cookies
  • Granola bars
Go Natural: If you are not opposed to sugar, but would prefer your treats to be natural or vegan, we suggest you visit your local natural food store or go online to shop. There are a variety of natural candy companies and many of them have developed Halloween Packaging.  The one drawback to natural candies is that you can expect to pay more for these items.

Tooth Fairy-Friendly:  One product gaining popularity is xylitol products.  Xylitol is a natural sweetener that can help reduce tooth decay. Dr John's Candies ( is one source for Xylitol candy and with a Google search you can find others.

Homemade Treats: You could make homemade treats. Unless you are in a neighborhood with close friends, we don't suggest this approach. Most parents go through Halloween candy and throw out unopened, unwrapped or homemade treats. If you decide to make your treats, wrap your homemade item up well, and add your name and phone number to the bag with the treat. If the parent recognizes your name, it will make them feel the treat is safe.
Alternates to Food Treats: No one said Halloween treats have to be edible. An alternative to the junk food challenge is to offer a non-food treat. Today, many families are opting for this choice. With a little bit of thought and some clever shopping, you can find some great items for a few cents per item. Here are few ideas:
  • Glow stick jewelry
  • Fortune telling Fish
  • Cool temporary tattoos
  • Scary stickers
  • Bouncy balls
  • Crayons, pencils, colored chalk
  • Fun erasers
  • Mini containers of Play-Doh
  • Rubber spiders, worms, or other creepy figures
  • Spider, skull, or pumpkin plastic rings
Check your local dollar or craft stores for fun items or shop online to have items shipped directly to you. A quick search on Google will give you plenty of online shopping choices.
Halloween Day
Enjoy a  fa-boo-lous start to the day by serving up a warm bowl of delicious pumpkin oatmeal.
Pumpkin Oatmeal
  • 1 cup of oatmeal
  • ½ cup of pureed pumpkin
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar or maple syrup
  • Chopped walnuts or pecans, optional

Prepare oatmeal according to your package directions.  When almost done add remaining ingredients.  Top with walnuts or pecans for an extra hearty breakfast!

Makes four servings.
Halloween Dinner:

Before your children venture out to trick or treat, make sure they eat a meal. Try the Incredible White Bean Pizza recipe below. It is fast and simple. With full tummies, they won't be so tempted to dig into their bag of goodies before they get back home. Limit your kids to one piece of candy while they are out.
Incredible Bean Pizza
  • 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed 
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise 
  • ¼ tsp each: Italian Seasoning, Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper  
  • 1 pizza pre-cooked whole-grain crust
  • Shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • Chopped basil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Puree first three ingredients plus the spices in a blender. Spread the bean mixture over the pizza crust. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese and chopped basil. Bake in the oven until cheese is bubbly, about 10-12 minutes.
Halloween Candy Plan:

After Trick or Treating: When your children arrive back at home, don't let them take control over their bag or bucket of candy. Working with them, check the treats and keep only treats which are unopened. Be sure to inspect fruits and homemade goods for anything suspicious. While you are going through their candy, let them pick two or three treats that they can eat on this special night. Store the rest of the candy out of reach and out of sight.

Over the next few days or weeks, rationing the treats is the best approach. Allow your children to make their own selections, but tell them they can pick one large piece or two small pieces. If your children have trouble with this, do it for them (in advance). Just place small amounts of candy in bags, and let them select one of the bags.

Too much candy? If there is just too much candy, consider donating some of it to a shelter, senior care center or charity that collects donations for our Troops overseas. Another option is to take your candy to a dentist that participates in a candy buyback program.  You can learn more about this program at


October 25, 2012

Guide to German Foods

Asparagus - Asparagus grows in every region of Germany and the locals love it so much they nickname it Königsgemüse, which means "King's Vegetable" and Frühlingswonne, which means "Springtime Delight".

Kohlrabi - A kohlrabi is a cross between a cabbage and a turnip. Germany is the world's largest producer and consumer of kohlrabi. Kohlrabi taste like a broccoli stem, but sweeter. In the US, Kohlrabi is available from May to December and comes in both white (which is actually green) and purple varieties.

Sauerkraut - Sauerkraut is made by fermenting sliced green cabbage. Sauerkraut can be eaten raw or cooked. It is very high in Vitamin C and aids in digestion.

Wurst - Cold cuts and sausages are called wurst. The wurst was created as a way to preserve and store meat. There are over 1500 varieties of wurst. The most widely known are Bratwurst, Weisswurst and Frankfurter (a.k.a. hot dog).

Sauerbraten - Sauerbraten is a roast made with marinated beef or venison. The marinade is made with vinegar, wine, vegetables and spices. The meat is marinated for 3 to 4 days before cooking which makes it very tender and juicy.

Weiner Schnitzel - A Wiener Schnitzel is a pan-fried veal cutlet that has been breaded using flour, egg and bread crumbs. Fresh lemon is squeezed over the cutlet before serving. This dish can also be made using pork, turkey or chicken.

Spätzel - Spätzel is a German pasta dish made using flour, eggs, water and salt.The dough is cut or pressed to form small strips. Like pasta, it can purchased dry and is boiled to cook it.

Strudel - Strudels are pastries filled with fruits, vegetables, or meats. The most popular strudel is Apple Strudel. The name "Strudel" means whirlpool because the rolled dough looks like a whirlpool.

Butterbrot - Butterbrot is a slice of bread (brot) with butter. This is the basic start of many German meals. Butterbrot is topped with fruit spreads for breakfast and cheese, wurst or vegetables for snacks. Germans love their bread. In fact Germany produces more breads than any other country. The most popular varieties of German breads include rye, whole grain, multi-grain, sunflower and pumpkin.

For more information on healthy meals, visit Fresh Baby

Introduction to German Cooking

Traditionally, Germans enjoy eating hearty meals. This has a lot to do with the cool northern European climate and large supply of meat in the country. Years ago, hard-working Germans needed to eat foods high in calories and nutritients to stay warm while working outside in cold weather. This German diet is similar to the old-fashioned American "Meat and Potatoes" diet, because many German immigrants settled in colder climates of America.

Germany, like America, is working hard to combat an increasing obesity problem. Since they they don't work outside in the cold anymore (or at least, not as much). Germans are learning they can still enjoy traditional favorites only in smaller portions. Health conscious Germans also include more vegetables, fruits and whole grains in their meals.  

Like many countries, German food varies by region. The northern region's specialties include pickled, smoked, and fresh fish because they are so close to the North and Baltic seas. In the central region, you will find wild game, sausages, and a variety of vegetables because this area has fertile soil for growing crops and grazing, and forests for hunting wild game. The southern area is the home to dumplings, breads, sweets and a variety of meat dishes. The famous Bavarian pretzel comes from the southern state of Bavaria. Eating local is a way of life in Germany, the styles of cooking and preserving foods comes from using local resources wisely.

October 23, 2012

How To Get Help When Considering A Short Sale

A Short Sale is an option you may want to consider if you are facing foreclosure and can't qualify for any assistance programme. From my experience, a foreclosure is not an option most people would like to settle with. What I like is that short sale will help you avoid foreclosure if you are no longer able to remain in your home and during the process of short sale, you can sell your home and settle your mortgage debt for less than the amount you owe. But I have to advice that you get a professional help when you want to do this. There are lots of mistakes people make during the process of short sale that you can avoid by simply contacting a Real Estate firm who do nothing better than working with you to explore any option that may be available to help you stay in your home. Short Sale Las Vegas is known for offering their customers the much needed assistance they require and making sure that their assets are protected through the help of an attorney. Remember that every qualified short sale specialist must have invested significant energy, time and resource into their short sale education. Do not for any reason be subjected to get an unprofessional assistance which are at times even more expensive. Such assistance from inexperienced companies or individuals have been known and proved to get an unsuccessful short sale. The most thing I find comforting is that choosing to work with a designated short sale specialist will give you peace of mind because you know that you are working with a certified specialist who knows how to meet  your exact needs especially at the time when a professional help is needed.

Before going into this process, you have to check if you are eligible of selling your home in a short sale. These are what makes you eligible:

1. If you are owing more than your house is worth.

2. If you are in a very big financial hardship, like a job loss, medical emergency, divorce or separation, etc.

3. If you have not filed for bankruptcy. This is because negotiating a short sale is considered a collection activity and collection activities are prohibited in bankruptcies. 

4.If you are struggling to make your payment due to financial hardship. 

5. Business failure.

6. Death of a spouse.

If you are a home owner you have to be aware of predatory "Rescue" scams and short sale fraud which promises a lot of things and cost you money with no results and can even result in the loss of your home entirely. If you suspect scams at any time, do not hesitate to report them. 

October 12, 2012

How to Overcome Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a legal status of an insolvent person or an organization, that is, one that cannot repay the debts owed to creditors. In most jurisdictions bankruptcy is imposed by a court order, often initiated by the debtor.

Bankruptcy laws help people who can no longer pay their creditors get a fresh start by liquidating their assets to pay their debts or by creating a repayment plan. Bankruptcy laws also protect troubled business and provide for orderly distributions to business creditors through reorganization or liquidation. There  are many consultant companies like the  bankruptcy attorney new orleans  who would help person with financial problems.

October 08, 2012

Josh Groban - You Raise Me Up (Musical Monday)

Hello everyone. It's Musical Monday!!! My pick for the week is 'You Raise Me Up' by Josh Groban. I always feel like I've been given a beautiful gift any time I hear this song, and that gift is what I want to share with my readers:


When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit a while with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

October 01, 2012

PREGNANCY ( Annoying questions - smart answers)

Every Pregnant woman knows it. As soon as the joyful announcement is made to the relatives or friends, then you are always bombarded with questions. The interest of others is beautiful and probably they don't mean any harm but can be sometimes annoying.

At times, you see some strangers on the street, in the bus, etc. bombarding the expectant mom with questions. Most women (like me) gracefully answers their unending questions but some women do not have the desire to share such personal details especially with strangers.

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions:
1. Was the pregnancy planned?
Possible answers:
* No, I didn't know how it happened. Just woke up one morning and I'm pregnant.
* I didnt plan it, but I expected it.

2. How does it feel to be pregnant?
* Great. I can only recommend it.
* If I had known how great it is, I would have been forever pregnant for years.

3. Do you already have a name for the baby?
* No, we want to know what it looks like first.
* The name does not play a role since we will always call him "sweetie".
* We will call him anything but not "Enoch"

4. When are you expecting the baby?
*At the birth.
*Wait, I have to ask first.
*When he is ready.

5. Is it a boy or a girl?
* Yes
* Of course, an elephant can not fit into my belly.

6. Do you know what it will be?
* Probably a boy or a girl.
* I'm not so sure, but it's most likely to be a boy or a girl.
* Yes. A President.

7. How much kilos have you gained?
* I did not gain some kilos, I invested in my child.
* Unfortunately, my belly is too big. I cannot see the readings on the scale.
* I cannot differentiate how much I weigh from what the baby weighs.

8. Are you nervous because of the birth?
* Why? Should I?

9. What did your man say?
* I haven't told him yet. You are the first.

10.Is the baby not there yet?
* Of course, but I left him in the hospital.
* No, we are still waiting for the last person to call and ask.
* Hmm, please wait, let me check.
* No, he is still swimming.
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