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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Get Out and Enjoy Nature

It seems the world continues to change and more and more individuals continue to find work inside rather than working outdoors. WIth all the fluorescent lights and computers many individuals then go home to enjoy a night in front of the old T.V. With little outdoor time, many may suffer from psychological and physical health issues. Perhaps many say that they are doing fine and do not need to spend time outside but now there is scientific reasoning that spending time outside enjoying nature is beneficial to health.

While many have good reasons why they work and live in big cities there are reasons as well to justify getting out and enjoying nature. Nature can help improve physical and mental health so that we function and do our jobs in life better. Most areas that people live in have resources such as walking trails, the chance to get out and play in the snow or ocean or even local parks that offer the chance to get outside.

Interested in aiding your own personal health?? Here are some great reasons that getting outside will help

  • Issues with short term memory can be helped by taking nature walks. Yes there are other walks that take place inside but getting out in nature has been proven to provide more memory promoting effects. One study conducted by the University of Michigan divided a group of individuals into two groups. Each group was given a test to take. Following the test the groups were told to walk in one of two places.  One group was provided the opportunity to walk around inside and the other the chance to get outside for a walk. The test was given again with results of the test showing that those who walked in nature did better than the other group

  • Stress can not be denied it has an effect on our daily lives as well as our bodies. Nature can help with stress in our lives and bodies as well. The results of one study showed that getting in nature for a short camping trip can lower the levels of a hormone known as cortisol. Cortisol is present when stress is present in the body. Physical conditions such as heart rate can decrease by spending time in nature as well. No chance to spend time enjoying nature?? Then open the windows so that a view of nature can be seen this has been proven to help lower stress and offer higher satisfaction in life. 

  • Getting out and spending time in nature can help relieve inflammation in our bodies. Inflammation causes our bodies to be sick in many different ways including autoimmune disorder, inflammatory bowel disease, depression and even caner. Would it not be wonderful if we could get out in nature enjoy the beauty and help our physical condition as well. The results of taking a week long trip in the forest with a group of elderly individuals resulted in signs of inflammation reducing. 

  • Another health issue that affects many of us is "mental fatigue". Getting out into the great outdoors has the ability to help restore our minds to better working abilities. Again simply being able to look out the window at nature has been proven to help brighten up mental energy. 

  • Mental health issues of anxiety and depression have been proven to be eased by spending time in nature. A bit of exercise in nature has been proven to improve conditions even more .  For example, taking a walk out in nature can decrease both levels of anxiety and bad moods. One study showed that walking outside in nature can improve existing treatments in major depressive disorder patients. 

I am in hopes that you are able to get out and enjoy a bit of nature. I also hope you enjoy the pictures of beautiful southern Illinois. 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

They Have Feelings Too ---- Missing Kizzy

We are an animal loving family and have several pets that we take care of. Recently we lost our little kizzy and it hurt like crazy as he was not only a dog... not only a pet.... but a family member. Like a family member there are things that we do that may annoy them but we may not realize it. Some of these include:

  • Touch is one thing that dogs do not care for. Your dog may enjoy the snuggles that we give them but when it comes to someone else hugging them they may not be so much game. Have you ever noticed how dogs react to hugs from children?? Often they squeeze just a bit tighter and longer. Dogs use touch to show dominance or control over the other animal. Thus you should not allow a stranger to hug your dog as it can make him / her feel uncomfortable Our dogs enjoy belly rubs more than a hug any day
  • The slogan " Let Sleeping Dogs Lay " is one that should be followed. As you little doggie lays there taking a nap, their little legs twitching while they are dreaming they may look adorable but this is a time they should not be disturbed. Dogs and their owners are both better off if the dog is allowed to wake by their self after all they may be dreaming about running and chasing that ball in the open. That is one dream I would hate to disturb

  • In order to let our dogs know how we expect them behave it is important to discipline them. But there is a difference in discipline methods and yelling. None of us enjoy being yelled at and just like we get stressed out when someone yells at us our dog gets stressed out as well. The tone of our voice when yelling resembles loud angry barking to a dog. This signifies them to prepare for a fight. This is why it is better to talk in a firm voice rather than yelling. 
  • Don't stare at me!!! This is what your dog may want to say. A dog does not enjoy a staring contest and often accepts it as a sign of aggression. 

  • Our dogs get lonely. To them those individuals he lives with is his pack. Dogs are animals that love to be socialized. One idea is when you go to work or school to leave tv or radio on
  • Routine is fundamental for dogs. Feeding, walking and caring for a dog on a routine schedule so they can expect what will happen next. If the routine is constantly changing then you may putting your dog under undue stress. This stress may leave them angry or confused. 

Sounds to me if our dogs are a bit more like humans than what we often think. It is important to treat our pets well. With these few steps in mind perhaps you can work on being less annoint to your pet. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Who Was Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as he is known by many was born in Salzburg Germany January 27, 1756. His real name was Johannes Chrysostom Wolfgangus Gottlieb Mozart. He lived what would be a short life span in these days and times dying at 35 years of age. Mozart was one of the great European classical music composers. Perhaps, he is the most famous and many consider the most important composer in history.

Around 700 songs including symphonic works, chamber music, piano music, opera musi an choral music. Among his works are Don Giovannie and Die Zauberlote. The masterpieces that Mozart created were some of the most classical during the classical music era. Mastering both the piano and violin by 5 years of age it all seemed to come natural. Composing music on the piano and violin by the age of 17 he was recruited to be a court musician.

Mozart had been blessed by both a mother named Anna and a father named Leopold. The couple had a total of 8 children with Mozart being the youngest. His brothers all seemed to have short lives as they died when he was still little. His father Leopold was a composer and music teacher. His sister learned to play piano at the age of 7 , this is where Mozart himself became interested in piano and writing his own music.

Leopold would take his two young talented children to visit London, Paris, and other places in Europe. Mozart would be appointed the leader of the first violin section in an orchestra at the Salzburg Court. In 1769 he would visit Italy three times and study Italian opera and create two successful operas

In 1781 Mozart was living in Vienna where he created some of his best work. Ten years later he would die leaving behind his wife and 2 sons. Prior to his death he would ignore his health and continue to play and conduct music. Swelling , pain and vomiting his wife and sister in law would care for him. He was only 35 years old when he died and buried in Vienna in St. Marx Cemetery.

The cause of his death was never known. It may of been a number of things from influenza, mercury poisoning, or even disease related to pork tapeworm. The number one thought is behind rheumatic fever. Mozart became even more famous following his death.

Sauteed Mushrooms

2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp light olive oil
1 1/2 lbs (24 oz) baby bella (cremini) mushrooms
garlic salt, to taste (or use salt and garlic powder)
black pepper, freshly ground
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice form 1 small or 1/2 large lemon
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped

Rinse and quickly pat dry mushrooms (go on and rinse them, you have my permission :)). Cut off stems to be parallel with the base of the mushroom (important for sautéing ease).
In a large heavy pan over medium heat, add 2 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp oil. Once oil is hot, add mushrooms in a single layer, cut-side-down. Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper. Sautee until bottoms are browned (5 min), then flip over, season again with garlic salt and pepper and sautee until browned on the second side (5 min).
Squeeze in 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp parsley. Stir mushrooms and cook another 1-2 min, adding more seasoning to taste. Remove from heat and serve.

recipe source here

Chicken Pepper and Onions Stir Fry

For the Chicken Fajitas
1 pound Zaycon Fresh Chicken Breasts , sliced thinly
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro or parsley if you don't like cilantro
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

For the Peppers and Onions
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 of a yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

In a large bowl combine all of the chicken fajita ingredients minus the lime juice and the pepper and onion ingredients.
Toss the thinly sliced chicken in the marinade until coated, cover, and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.
Preheat a 12 inch cast iron skillet over high heat with 2 teaspoons of the oil.
When the skillet is hot add in the sliced peppers, onion, chili powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
Saute the peppers and onions for about 4 minutes or until they are golden and have softened slightly.
Remove the peppers and onions from the skillet onto a plate and set aside.
Add another 2 teaspoons of oil to the hot skillet.
Add in the chicken fajita mixture and saute until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink.
Add the peppers and onions back into the skillet along with the juice of half a lime.
Cook everything for another minute then serve immediately.
Serve the fajitas in lettuce cups or on tortillas and top with pico de gallo if desired.

recipe source found here