Showing posts with label Holiday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holiday. Show all posts

Monday, February 10, 2014

V-Day

As we march towards the middle of February, a favorite – or less so – holiday awaits. Valentine’s Day. For some of us, it holds dear memories, exciting expectations, or the comforting security of knowing we are held as precious. For those of us who are single, or in unhappy relationships, Valentine’s Day holds little enjoyment. While there are those who are able to ignore the unrelenting hearts and flowers, others have a much harder time letting it go.

So rather than sit in our doldrums, let’s try some new approaches to making February 14th your own V-day, regardless of your circumstances.


Adopt a Valentine. If you are feeling left out of the love, chances are other people are, too. Check around among your friends and social circles. Ask your co-workers. Who else doesn’t have Valentine plans? Agree to exchange cards, or flowers – or even chocolates – that day, and perhaps treat yourselves to a nice dinner. Do something special for your adopted Valentine that they won’t expect. It will get you out of your own feelings, and pay you back with pleasure when your adopted Valentine feels extra special.

Practice acceptance. If you’ve recently gone through a breakup, the pain doesn’t go away overnight. While others move on with their lives, you may feel like you are stuck in yours. Mental health writer Therese J. Borchard reminds us that sometimes we must “go through it, not around it.” Going out with friends, treating yourself to some movie nights with a box of tissues, or throwing yourself into another interest might be the key to pushing through. Whatever you need to do, as long as it isn’t detrimental to you, go for it.

Focus on what you have. We can get caught up in the negatives, and we forget to remember that we have many blessings around us. Particularly when we are alone on a traditional “couples” holiday, you may find yourself giving the hairy eyeball to romantic duos. Resist! One of the wonderful benefits of being single is getting to choose what you want to do, when you want to do it, without anyone else’s opinion involved. You don’t have any relationship drama going on in your life. You have no in-law issues to address.

Embrace the moment. You will never be at this exact place in life again. And while not everything is perfect, there are some pretty amazing things happening in your life right now. It is tough to be alone over the holidays, but you won’t always be. So enjoy the freedom and peace that comes with being single, knowing that when you are no longer so, you will – at times – wish for a few solitary moments! So appreciate where you are right now, with all its bumps and wrinkles.

Write yourself a Valentine. It sounds corny, but when was the last time you focused on all the things you love about yourself? Life coach Debra Smouse suggests crafting a Valentine card to your present self, from your pre-school self. It might feel awkward, but remembering back to the days before we placed so many judgments on ourselves can help us break out of some negative mindsets. List in detail what is lovable and wonderful about you. What are your best talents? If you don’t think you have any, think back to when you were little – what were you drawn to? What did others say you were good at? Write a love letter to yourself, complete with a rose or romantic token. For this year, romance yourself. You might be surprised how it changes your perspective and improves your self-image.

Being single when there’s so much couple-focused romantic advertising isn’t easy, but with some mindset shifting, you can own and enjoy this Valentine’s Day. So much so, I hope you start to call it your own V-Day, where you celebrate being single and special in your own right.

What things do you do to celebrate Valentine’s Day as a singleton? What’s been your best experience so far? How have you owned V-day? (And check out 50 Ways to Love and Pamper Yourself on Valentine’s & Every Day for some other ideas!)

Ally Bishop
Contributing Writer

Monday, December 9, 2013

Just Say No to Holiday Shopping Debt

The time of year has arrived. Where wishes turn into reality as we work to bring our loved ones their dearest hopes and desires. Often, it’s a joy to go holiday shopping, seeking out that one item for someone special or taking our children to shop for their favorite clothing. Sadly, come January, we often read the painful truth that we overspent in our rush to enjoy the season, and we are left with high interest rate credit card bills, lowered savings accounts, and at times, buyer’s remorse.

Holiday presents


Can you buy all the gifts you want to, without overspending? Yes, and no. It often depends on how well we’ve planned our year – and while that’s an easy statement to make, you are in good company if you are shaking your head right now. Try as I might to save money for holiday shopping, I often fall woefully short. So how can we afford holiday expenditures if we haven’t been the best saver all year long?

Sales, sales, sales. As it turns out, going out for Black Friday sales might not be as great a savings as we think. So how can we find that great deal? Check out the local newspaper or online ads for your favorite retailers. This time of year, everyone is running sales. And if you are a coupon-clipping maven, you might even be able to stack up your discounts. Retailers like Kohl’s, Old Navy, and Target run impressive, store-wide sales that can often be combined with coupons that you find on their websites or in the paper. Target also has an app which offers additional discounts to their weekly fliers and department sales. And just about any online retailer offers exceptional discounts and free shipping – so take a look around and see what’s out there.

Think outside the coupon. Remember sites like Groupon, Restaurant.com, and Living Social have cut-rate deals on excellent services and restaurants. And if you can’t afford to get someone special a restaurant gift card, spend less than half as much at Restaurant.com, and you’ll fund their night out with a sweetheart.

Shop local. Every year, I shop at my local farms and downtown art store. For neighbors who’ve been helpful throughout the year, I purchase reasonably priced steaks as a thank-you for the holidays, and the small art store offers locally crafted whimsies at low prices. You might also visit a flea market or farmer’s market, and discover artisanal jams and homemade fruitcake to thrill someone on your gift list.

Buy books. It sounds kind of odd to say, but often we overlook this wonderful source of joyous giving – and encouraging the imagination is of priceless value. Small bookstores offer deep discounts on their stock, and the big retailers do as well. If you are worried about getting someone a novel they might not like, ask for a gift receipt from the store, and tuck it in the dust jacket of the book.

Books in a bookstore

Make it yourself. If you find yourself out of funds, don’t hesitate to make gifts. Flavored crackers poured into a canning jar, a hot-glued gingham lid, and pretty ribbon make for lovely holiday cheer. If you are super-crafty, you could make candles or ornaments. For those with less time or creative-spirit, pop the dry ingredients for chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies into a glass container, wrap it with a big bow, and voil√†! You've got a gift to take to any holiday host.

Whatever the need, there are plenty of options to meet your gift-giving needs without going broke. And come January, you’ll be ready to celebrate the new year and live without the guilt of overspending.

Share with us your gifting ideas for the holidays. What is your favorite way to treat friends and family that isn't expensive?

Contributing Writer


Friday, December 21, 2012

Traveling for the Holidays


As if wintertime itself isn’t a big enough excuse to get out of town, the holidays provide special reasons to travel, like enjoying the sights, and spending the holiday with loved ones.

Simply getting away from it all is a great reason to travel this time of year. I have a cousin who enjoys taking cruises with family during the holiday season, whether tropical or a trip to Disney. One of my braver friends is visiting South America over the holidays.

If you plan on traveling over the holidays, be forewarned that the airport is likely to be packed and storage space on flights could be limited. Many people will be in a rush, too, scrambling to get here or there, to buy this or that. These tips can help you survive the craziness of holiday traveling.

Traveling by Plane

Flying can be a bit more stressful around the holidays due to the mass volumes of travelers and the urgency to get to their destinations on time. Flights may be fully booked and seating your family together might be difficult. Even if you book seats together for your family, your airplane flight could still change at the last minute, leaving your group separated across different rows.

TSA
Make a list for packing and check with your airline first
to see what you can fit in the overhead compartment.
International air travel may also become more complex, due to already busy airports fielding many connecting flights to get all the travelers to their holiday destinations. Should you choose to fly internationally, or on any flight requiring a connection for that matter, be sure to pack a carry on bag with your essentials—medicines, a change of clothes, and other must-have possessions. This way you can still make it through the day if you and your checked luggage get separated. The Federal Aviation Administration gives great tips about your carry on bags. Always be sure to check with your airline to verify what you can bring with you and how big the carry on can be.

Keep an eye on fares to ensure you get the best deal possible. Look for online coupon codes and check top deal sites to help defray the cost of your travel. Realize that the cheapest flights may not be the “best” flights—you may find yourself on the red eye on Christmas Eve, having a long lay over between flights, or multiple connections.

It's natural to be anxious if you are separated from your family on a flight. If you aren't able to get seats together with your family or significant other, or if your seats get moved around at the last minute, ask the agents to see if they can find any seats together. Sometimes other passengers will switch seats with you, especially if children are likely to be separated from parents. For additional tips on airline seating, here are some tips for getting seats together.

What to Pack for Your Holiday Trip

Packing is always the fun part! It can take some time, though, and if you rush, you definitely increase your chances of forgetting something important. Make a list for packing a week or two before you travel. This will ensure you bring everything you need, and keep that list so you can use it for packing for the trip home.

Consider these other packing tips for your holiday travel:

traveling
Check with TSA regulations
before packing carry on bags.

  • If you don’t absolutely need it, don’t pack it. The lighter (and fewer) your bags, the more easily you can move about the airport. Remember, the larger the carry on, the longer it takes to screen it, making the security lines move slowly.
  • Consider bringing some small snacks in your carry on bag in case your flight gets delayed. Try granola bars, trail mix, and individually packaged snacks. Check with TSA to see what is allowed on flights.
  • Bring magazines, an mp 3 player, and other small, containable items to hold your interest.
  • Bring your health insurance information, your FamilyWize card for discounted prescriptions, and any important medicines or medical supplies.
  • Follow all TSA regulations to minimize delays and loss of personal property. Be aware of what you can bring and what must be checked or left at home. 
  • If you plan to bring gifts with you on the plane, consider wrapping them once you get to your destination, as TSA reports that they may need to unwrap a gift if it does not pass through screening.


Whether you are planning a trip home for the holidays or a relaxing vacation away from the daily grind, holiday traveling can be a lot of fun—especially once you get through the actual traveling part! Holiday breaks to tropical destinations, fun-filled cruises, and other getaways may be the best way to decompress after a long and tedious year, before we get ready to do it all over again.

What are your plans for travel this holiday season? Share any of your favorite winter travel tips in our comments below!

By Kathryn M. D’Imperio
Contributing Writer

Friday, December 14, 2012

Safe for the Holidays


Every holiday season, fires kill more than 400 Americans, injure 1,650 more, and cause approximately $990 million in damage. Although fires top the list of holiday hazards, there are plenty of other dangers during this time of year. What have you done to make yourself and your family safe for the holiday season? Use these safety checklists to ensure that everyone is able to ring in the new year, safe and sound.

What's wrong with this?
(image from blog.allstate.com)
For your home: 
As stated, your biggest concern should be fireproofing your home. Ideally, fire safety should be a priority year-round, but the opportunities for disaster multiply when Christmas trees, rogue holiday lights, candles, and extravagant cooking is involved. Don’t take any chances, follow these prevention tips from safetyathome.com:

  1. If you prefer an artificial tree, check to make sure that it is flame-resistant. Flame-resistance doesn't mean a tree can't or won't catch on fire, but it will help slow down the process and buy you time to get a fire under control.
  2.  If you have a real tree, water it daily. A well-watered tree is much less flammable than a dry one.
  3. Place your tree at least three feet away from any sources of heat, including the open flames from a fireplace or even a candle.
  4. Also, don’t put your tree in an area that would obstruct an exit in the case of an emergency. Safety first!
  5. Don’t use an electric decoration that is noticeably damaged! If it is cracked, frayed, or you can see the internal wiring, throw it away. Replace the item, if possible. 
  6. When buying a string of lights or similar decorations, check to see if the product has the “UL” mark, signifying that it’s been tested and meets the highest safety standards.
  7. Keep in mind that there are decorating ideas that don’t even use electric energy. These decorations are a safer and less expensive alternative.
  8. As always, check the batteries in your smoke detectors and review your escape plan with all members of the household. It may seem like a silly drill, but it could prevent life-threatening panic during a fire.
  9. Consider getting carbon monoxide alarms, too. It could save your family from a “silent killer.”
  10. Lastly, remember to consider the threat that a slippery, snow and ice-covered walkway presents to elderly people who may be celebrating the holiday at your home. Salt the walkway to prevent a disastrous fall.

S Holiday Pet Safety Tips
This may look cute, but it's dangerous.
(image from hulenhills.com)
What family would be complete without beloved pets? Specific holiday pet safety tips, like these suggested by the ASPCA, should also be on your checklist! 
  1. Christmas trees present a variety of dangers to the household pet. First, make sure that your tree is properly secured and won’t fall on top of an overly-curious furry friend.
  2. A secure tree should also prevent any of the tree-water from spilling. This mixture, a likely concoction of fertilizers and bacteria, would give your pet an upset stomach and diarrhea.
  3. Beware of tinsel. Sure, it’s cute to see the cat play with the shiny pieces like yarn, but there is a risk of ingestion. This could cause vomiting or an obstructed digestive tract, and may require surgery all of which are not cute.
  4. Keep your festive food away from pets and off of the floor. Chocolate and bones pose a particularly high danger upon ingestion. Cover the trashcan, and warn guests to be mindful of that danger.
  5. Even guests who are aware of checklist tip #4 might think it’s okay to give pets table scraps. Remind them that the pets are not allowed to eat human food, and offer to give guests pet-appropriate treats to share. Keep pets’ eating and exercise habits as close to normal in order to avoid holiday weight-gain (Yes, pets are subject to it, too!)
  6. Poinsettia and cats will it kill him? Actually, this is a myth. There are not enough toxins in the plant to kill your pets. However, this does not mean it is a healthy snack. Eating a poinsettia may cause an upset stomach or vomiting, so it’s best to keep this festive holiday plant where your pet cannot reach it.
  7. Holly and mistletoe pose the same mild threat. If you are hanging mistletoe, make sure it is secure and won’t fall into Fido’s lap.
  8. If you are leaving the room, you already know to extinguish any candlelight, right? A hovering tail over an unattended flame could pose a seriously painful threat to your pet. 
  9. Just as with the holiday food, make sure that adult beverages are out of reach from pets. Weakness, coma, and death by respiratory failure can all be tragic results from a pet’s ingestion of alcohol.
  10. Have a safe place for your pet to go if you are having guests. If the party gets a little too loud or busy, your pet might appreciate a space of his own.This will also prevent an accidental escape by the unknowing guest who forgot to close the door behind her.

by Amanda Gilmore
Contributing Writer 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tis the Season to Eat Healthy

Festive food alternatives for the holidays


I’ve often kidded with friends that the easiest way for me to watch my weight is to fatten my belly – to get it “out there” in front of me so I can more easily watch it. (Insert appropriately timed Santa’s belly gesture.)

While that line may be good for a chuckle (try it – it works), we all know how frustrating it is to lose all our hard-earned weight loss progress in the name of happy holiday feasting.

After all, what’s a few THOUSAND calories among friends…


Health experts estimate that the average adult gains about a pound of excess body fat every year. 

Just a pound. Doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

But do some quick math, and you realize that a pound a year means that those fit 18-year-olds are toting around an excess of 32 pounds of lard by the time they hit 50!

While that “slow creep” is what gets us, the National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCFS) has stats that lead me to believe that nearly all that annual weight gain happens during “the treacherous six weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year,” as the NCSF describes it. NCSF cites a 2006 study indicating that we gain weight in proportion to our levels of obesity; that lean to normal weight individuals will gain about a pound during these six weeks and that those who are overweight to obese gain from 3-5 pounds, to as much as seven pounds of weight gain in the same six weeks.

We are what we overeat

The holidays bring on a mega-assault against our weight control efforts:
  • Getting’ junky with it – Many of us abandon our normal healthy diets to enjoy six weeks of holiday snacks and other “carbacious” delights. That kind of holiday joy can stick with you for the rest of the year, in the form of excess body fat.
  • That dreaded hyperphagia! You may suffer from acute voluntary hyperphagia – most of us do during the holidays. Acute voluntary hyperphagia is doctor language for “overeating.” No matter how healthy we eat, too much of a good thing is a heavy thing, weight-wise.
  • Stress! The NCSF reports that the heightened stress and emotion of the holidays may be even more to blame than just the presence of food. Our daily stress is more than in most other countries, but holiday obligations increase the psychological strain, between extra family and other social functions, as well as financial stress from the costs of the holidays.
  • Lack of sleepHoliday celebrations, and prep for same, often results in nights of less sleep. It has long been known that inadequate sleep (less than eight hours) negatively affects circulating insulin and ghrelin, a hormone that increases appetite, leading to an increase in hunger response.
This all adds up to one common holiday recipe – the recipe for weight gain disaster.

But ‘tis the season, right?

Right, of course it is. No one wants to be the bah-humbug party pooper because they’re trying to avoid over-eating or junk food eating.

The good news is, you don’t need to be the food Scrooge this Christmas. Just follow a few smart holiday eating strategies and you can minimize or eliminate the common holiday button popping and belt adjusting.

Your circle of influence begins with you

You are in charge of you. There are ways to control your intake without pure dietary abstinence by substituting either the choice you make of treats or the quantity. 

For example, one of my favorite holiday dishes is sweet potatoes. If I’m going to go a little crazy, it’s better to do so on a solid complex carbohydrate like sweet potatoes rather than simple carbohydrate treats, such as candy corn (To get a better handle on what foods with carbohydrates are healthy, check out WebMd's article about the Glycemic Index). Another easy trick is to eat something healthy before you go to the party, filling yourself up on good stuff.

Maybe your circle of influence goes beyond your own intake. If you’re a guest of a holiday gathering and you are bringing food to share, choose wisely. Consider, for example, the health difference between a relatively healthy appetizer such as deviled eggs vs. deep-fried and breaded poppers; or a healthy carrot-and-celery-with-dip plate compared to potato chips and dip. By taking along healthier but celebrative alternatives to the gathering, you can be assured that you’ll have a low-calorie or low-carbohydrate option to snack on. 

And talk about influence – consider how much of it you wield if you’re the host or hostess.  While all carbohydrates have calories, not all carbohydrates are created equal. Check your carbohydrate calories to make sure you’re mostly getting complex carbs. You can cook up some wonderful alternatives to high-carbohydrate dishes, like a tasty mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes (recipe at LiveStrong.com). That’s an easy way to swap simple carbs for complex carbohydrates. LiveStrong also offers other creative ways to go for complex carbohydrates in your holiday dishes, like Turnip French Fries. While regular fries are far too high in carbs to be part of a low-carb diet, substituting turnips will lower both the calories and the carbs. By comparison there are 23.6 g carbohydrates and 105 calories in potato fries, vs. turnip fries (oven-baked with olive oil), which have only 36 calories and just 8.4 g carbohydrates in a comparative sized serving. Read more on this and other healthy cauliflower recipes at LiveStrong.com.

Gluten-free peanut butter pie, anyone?

A Gluten-Free Holiday Treat
Anyone Can Enjoy

Yes, even your holiday desserts can be healthier.  Here’s a recipe from a friend of mine Lisa McClellan. She designed it for runners, but it makes a tasty and healthy holiday dessert for just about anyone (i.e., being a runner is optional). Her Picky Bars Mini Gluten Free Peanut Butter Pie is a no bake, gluten free desert that’s easy to make and so tasty that none of your dinner guests will be the wiser: that it’s actually good for you.

Low-carb and low-calorie cocktail drinks


From a get-healthy perspective, it’s certainly better to avoid alcohol altogether. But if you are going to imbibe this season, there are simple things you can do to lower your calorie or carb intake. 
  • Drink “neat” or “on the rocks” – if you truly enjoy the taste of the alcohol, skip the carb- and calorie-rich sweet additives and just sip the alcoholic beverage straight up. 
  • Use a sugar-free substitute – ask for a rum and diet coke, instead of a rum and coke. Or if your cocktail calls for you to sugar the rim, use a healthy sweetener alternative like Xylitol, which still has some of that “crunch” you get with real sugar, but with far fewer calories and carbs.  And here’s one of my favorite low-carb mojito recipes that uses real limes and a sugar substitute.
  • Use smaller glasses – an easy way to cut out the bad stuff is to serve it up in smaller glasses.
You can get more low-calorie cocktail recipes and info at WebMD

Happy holidays, and may you enjoy them in moderation and with healthy substitutions.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Homemade Holiday Gifts


When I think of homemade holiday gifts the first thing that pops into my head is COOKIES. When I was growing up, my best friend's mom would make hundreds of cookies and give them out to all their friends and family. That is no exaggeration either; they really made hundreds. They had one room in their house during the holiday season that was just for the cookies. She had them piled up high from candy cane cookies to traditional chocolate chip. Along with the cookies were all different tins and containers to choose from. That room was heaven for us kids and of course we always provided our taste-testing expertise! I definitely had my fair share of cookies over the holiday season.  

Homemade holiday gifts are always a great way to show your extra love. Not to mention you can save a lot of money too. There is something about a handmade Christmas gift that makes you feel extra special. If you are giving a homemade gift you feel a great accomplishment of doing something by yourself and if you are receiving a homemade gift you feel extra warm on the inside because you feel special that you were thought of while the gift was being made. When I was growing up I always felt good when I would give my family a homemade ornament from school. The look on my family's faces when they received the gift was also a feel-good moment. They were always so excited to see my masterpiece.  
 
There are a lot of handmade Christmas gift ideas out there that can bring a smile to anyone's face. The key to making it special is to think of what you would like to receive as a homemade gift. Most likely if you think it is special so will the person who receives your wonderful gift. It can be anywhere from cookies to a handcrafted ornament.  What it really comes down to is the idea of being thought of. There are a lot of easy homemade gift ideas that can save you money too. You just need a little imagination and maybe a little help from the Internet to get the juices flowing. Here are my top 10  Christmas homemade gift ideas that are pretty easy and cost very little to make. I normally get all my supplies and ideas from local craft stores or even dollar stores. I like to wander through the aisles and see what kind of craft ideas I can come up with to make a great homemade Christmas gift. They also have crafts displayed that you can make yourself or use to get ideas.

holiday
Nothing beats a homemade gift for the holiday.

  1. Cookie In A Jar 
  2. Candle Jars
  3. Best Christmas Fudge
  4. Fabric Covered Boxes
  5. Personalized T-Shirt From a Child
  6. Homemade Memory Box
  7. Ornaments of all kinds -- You can make them from dough, paper, popsicle sticks, buttons, etc.... The most important part though is to add a picture to it. That is always a crowd-pleaser and you can't go wrong with it.
  8. Homemade coupon book offering services to friends or family, such as, mowing the lawn, doing the laundry for a week or shoveling snow.
  9. Memory Book  -- This is a great gift for a family member who doesn't live close to you. You can make your own memory book at half the cost of buying one through a photo company. It just takes a little more time and some creativity. You don't even need a book. You can buy some scrapbooking pages and instead of buying an expensive book punch holes in the paper and tie all the pages together with ribbon. It is very cute and inexpensive.
  10. Homemade Wooden Signs -- I make these every year and they are a great Christmas present. I get the wood from a local hardware store where I can pick through the odds and ends. You can get them very cheap and they come in all different sizes. You may even get lucky and look around your house and come across some old wood that was left over from a do it yourself project. Paint or stain the wood whatever color you like. Next search around for good sayings to put on the wood. Once you have figured out what you want to say go to your computer and make a sign.  I use my printshop program but you can use any kind of program that has lettering.  Pick the font and size you want and print out. Before printing though make sure you check the "Print reversed for iron on transfer box." This will  print it backwards. What you want to do next is take the paper and put it on the board so the ink side is on the board and you are looking at the back of the paper  Make sure it is lined up correctly and then rub the lettering onto the board with a pen.  It will leave a light shade of lettering for you so you can just paint over it. This is much easier then stenciling and comes out nicer.


Homemade gifts that they will cherish forever.
Happy holiday shopping and may you be able to save a few dollars over the Christmas season.

Marci Psalmonds
Contributing Writer



Monday, July 2, 2012

4th of July Safety Tips - Word to the Wise

The 4th of July - the day we - as a country no matter our ethnicity, culture, or heritage - come together in one day or week (if you're lucky) to celebrate this country's unity and declared freedom.  Being of multicultural descent - my family, who has been here for several generations, celebrates in typical American style of barbecue, swimming, enjoying our friends and family and going to see the display of fireworks in town.

July fourth is the day we celebrate freedom and unity.
We also get to enjoy our Indo-Armenian neighbors who once a year have a blow-out bash with their friends and family.  Amazing sweet smelling cultural cuisine wafts through the air, the exotic, beautiful bells and music of their heritage plays as they dance through the night, ending with their own colorful fireworks display.

Now I realize I have a couple of days, but the July fourth holiday period actually is much longer than just one day or so the statistics show.

From traveling to swimming at the beach to boating and backyard bashes with friends and family, there are barbecues, an abundance of tasty treats, drinks of all flavors and fireworks!  However, what is supposed to be a day of celebration is often reflected as a day of many accidents and injuries.  Therefore I thought some insight, wisdom, and a few statistics might be a bit prudent.

Impaired Driving - Not a Wize Way to Spend Your Holiday

According to the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHSTA), "Most Americans don't realize that July 4th is one of the deadliest holidays of the year due to alcohol-impaired driving crashes."  During 2010 Fourth of July celebrations (from 6:00 p.m. on July 2 - 5:59 am on July 6):
  • 392 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes
  • 39% involved at least one driver or motorcycle operator with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher
  • 80% more alcohol-impaired driving fatalities took place at night
  • 50% of young drivers killed were alcohol impaired (BAC of .08 or higher)
If you do drink on the 4th, please DO NOT drive! 

Getting Fired Up - Not Just From Fireworks
Did you know that a Sparkler can burn at 2,000 degrees? This small fact from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission is just one reason NOT to let children light or play with Sparklers.  The CPSC also offers other safety tips for a safe and enjoyable 4th of July.  Some alarming burn and firework statistics for not following the tips in 2011 resulted in:
  • An average of 200 people visit the emergency room every day with fireworks related injuries
  • 65% of these injuries occurred within the 4th of July holiday period
  • Most injured body part is no surprise the hands and fingers - 46%
  • Most injuries by type of fireworks goes to the Sparklers - 17%
For more interesting statistics go to www.cpsc.gov.  Be sure to know some basic burn care as well - just in case.

Also - watch the barbecues, backyard fire pits and camp fires - statistics from the National Fire Data Center indicate that more than half of the 11,000 injuries related to these types of fires happen the first week of July.

Turning Up the Heat
Keeping to the hot topic of heating things up.  It is July and the temperatures across the nation have been hot and the weather unpredictable.  With temperatures soaring into the 90's in many states, drink your water!  Alcohol will actually cause you to get dehydrated, so drinks with electrolytes, juices, and water, water, water - will help prevent the many heat related illnesses like heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat rash, and sunburn.  Even if you are in the water don't discount the power of the sun!   For tips on preventing heat related illnesses check out www2.redcross.org. One food with sweet water power and great nutritional benefits is watermelon - check out some amazing recipes from our "Fruit-tastic Watermelon News For Your Summer" blog!

Have fun, be safe, and if you find yourself packing this week for your holiday summer vacation check out Krysta's blog of things to remember on your summer vacation "Don't Forget FamilyWize this Summer!"

Happy 4th of July from FamilyWize!

Donna Cornelius
Online Marketing Manager