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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hiking in the Garden of the Gods

My husband and I are planning a spring trip to a place I've wanted to go for years. It sounds like someplace really hard to get to, or far away, or expensive right? It's not. It's right in our own backyard so to speak. It's in Illinois anyway. It's down south on the very tip of the state, a forest preserve in the mountains called "Garden of the Gods." I can't wait. I've seen pictures, but never been there. The one thing holding us back all the time is the vast amounts of hiking in order to really experience the area. I am determined to be in good enough shape to do it by spring. I guess I'm going to have to go to jansport and get my gear so I'm all set to go when the time comes. I want to go in the middle part of the spring, when all the danger of snow or frost is over, but it hasn't gotten to the really hot days of summer yet. Part of me thinks fall would be an even better time to go. All the trees would be changing colors, and it would be beautiful, but I don't want to wait that long.

Feeding People Food to Birds

Parrots are fun and interesting pets. Like most pet owners you may want to give them a treat, and offer them some of the foods off your plate as you eat. Believe it or not, that can be a very good idea. Parrots were once thought to be very short lived. That was because people fed captive birds the wrong types of foods, and it shortened their life-span considerably.
What we once thought was an average life-span of about 10 years, we now know in many cases can be as much as 100 years for larger parrots. However, if your bird is getting a diet consisting almost, or entirely of seeds from a bag in a supermarket aisle—chances are his lifespan is going to be closer to the 10 year mark than 100.
Seeds can be a small part of a bird’s diet, but they were not meant to eat a diet completely made up of them. In the wild, birds eat a large amount of fruit, nuts, vegetables and even grasses. Bugs (protein) also make up a part of the wild parrot’s diet, and while it’s not likely you’ll be serving up any ants, spiders or worms on a plate, other protein sources are a great addition to your bird’s daily meal plan.
Some of the foods your birds will love to share with you include:
• Apples
• Bananas
• Oranges
• Grapes
• Peas
• Green beans
• Cucumbers
• Tomatoes
• Eggs (okay, that sounds macabre, but they like them)
• Oatmeal (really)
• Squash
• Low fat meats
• Potatoes
• Unsalted nuts of any kind
• Unsalted and unbuttered popcorn
The list can go on for quite awhile, but you get the idea. Healthy food choices for you are usually good choices for them.
Foods That You Should Not Feed Your Parrots
Avoid foods that are high in fat. High fat contents are one of the reasons a diet that consists mostly of store bought seeds are not a good choice for your birds. Most birds don’t get “fat” the way people do. That’s because the fat builds up around their organs and kills them before they can get obese. Bird bodies are much smaller than human bodies, and everything that impacts us badly, does the same to them faster.
Other foods to avoid are those high in salt. Not only the obvious foods that have salt on top of them such as potato chips and salted nuts, but don’t feed your bird frozen or canned fruits or vegetables since salt is used to preserve them.
Never feed your bird chocolate. Avocados, even though it is a fruit, are dangerous to them as well. Apples are great for your birds, but core them and discard the seeds. Apple seeds are high in tannin and are toxic. Do not feed your birds milk and alcohol is a definite no-no.
Surprisingly, onions are on the list of things you should never give your parrots. They are highly toxic to birds. This does not include peppers, which many parrots enjoy, but anything in the onion family including garlic is off-limits. The birds cannot process onion the way human’s do through the liver. The most common foods not to feed your parrots include:
• Onions
• Avocados
• Chocolate
• Salt
• Mushrooms
• Apple seeds
The bottom line is this: if it’s not healthy for you, even if you eat or drink those things, do not feed them to your bird. That will eliminate most of the seriously dangerous items from the list automatically and you just have to remember avocados and onions.
Raw or Cooked
Raw is always better when possible. However, it’s okay to give your bird some of the foods you have with dinner, so long as they are safe foods. Just be sure you cool it off so they don’t burn their tongues.
Why Won’t My Bird Accept People Foods?
If you got your bird from a store, or adopted an older bird that was used to a diet of seeds alone, it may take them a while to accept new foods. Even once they take one; it may take them just as long to accept the next. They aren’t used to variety, different textures and flavors. Once they get the idea, however, they should learn to really enjoy trying new things.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Romantic Bathroom Fixtures

I would love to add a second bath onto the house. It seems like every house I've ever owned only had one bathroom except for the place in Palos--there we had a half bath downstairs, but that's the only time. We are always fighting over bathroom time. I thought that as we got older and the kids moved out, it would be less of an issue. Well, it is to some extent, but there are still plenty of times I wish we had a second bathroom. If I can ever remodel the house and add a second bath, I want a real romantic room with an old-fashioned clawfoot bath tub. I love the looks of those classic tubs, and you don't even have to settle for an ancient, old tub to get it. There are still plenty of places that sell them brand new for a new bathroom.

Exercising Smart

If you are trying to lose weight, you know that eating less, and eating the right things makes a huge difference. You also know that burning calories through exercise not only helps you reduce your calories, it pushes your metabolism into a higher gear to burn faster. Knowing how many calories you are burning is very important, and there is a calculator at the top of the page here that can really help you find out how efficient your workouts are.

Keeping it Moving

It's amazing how many things you can fix on your car by yourself and save a lot of money. My son is good at that kind of thing. Me, I wouldn't know an oil pump from a coolant pump. People like me, if they don't have a son or husband who can do the work, end up paying a ton of money in labor costs at local shops. Buying parts online can save even more over the cost of local small parts stores. Because you can find such a greater diversity of parts at lower prices, it makes it even more possible to keep all things mobile, moving.


Swam 90 minutes today. A combination of backstroke and breast stroke, with a few laps of the crawl thrown in for good measure. Even though it's a few dollars more a month, I'm glad that LA Fitness took over our local Bally's. Now I can go to the LA Fitness closer to my house than the Bally's club is that has a pool. It's a little bit nicer, more well-kept, although the pool is only 3 lanes instead of 4 like the Ballys.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Are You REALLY Hungry?

How often do you diet, cut your calories to a reasonable level, but still feel like you’re starving? The reality is, as long as you stay above 1200 calories, and only cut your calories by a proper amount for your BMR, there’s no reason to be starving during a diet. What really happens is you’re probably not drinking enough water.
Your body is made up of almost 60% water. It needs water for almost every single function, and every organ, muscle, fiber and liquid in it needs water to work right. In today’s world, we drink everything BUT water. That may be the biggest reason for our massive worldwide weight problem—nobody drinks plain old water anymore.

When your body doesn’t get enough water, it cries out for it. It stores it, and you hold water because it’s afraid it won’t get what it needs, and you not only hold water, but gain more weight because you eat to resolve the cravings you think are for food. When you’re feeling hungry, you are probably just thirsty and starving for water.

You should be drinking AT LEAST 8 cups of water a day. More is better, and it is REALLY hard to drink too much water. You would have to be downing several gallons of water every day to be over-saturating your tissues and causing more harm than good. It’s unrealistic to think anyone could do that without doing it purposely. For most people, drinking 8 to 10 cups of water takes some concentration. Even if you normally drink soft drinks, coffee or other liquids like a fish, and seem to constantly be thirsty (really craving water) you’ll find if you begin to drink 8 to 10 cups of water every day, you stop being so thirsty, and have to remind yourself to take a drink.

Water Purist

Many people would call me a water purist. Nothing else compares to plain, pure water. Often people will make the mistake of thinking that all liquids have water in them---that’s true, and that means they count as water intake---not true. Anytime there is ANYTHING added to the water, whether it has calories or not, it doesn’t count. The reason is that when there is something to be filtered out before it goes into the system, the liver and kidneys have to work on it. That defeats the purpose, and actually slows down your metabolism.

Even flavored waters, black coffee and tea and definitely zero calorie soft drinks are going to make your body work hard to get rid of the additives and have far less nourishing pure water value. While flavored water would be far better than diet soda, what your body needs, and craves is plain, pure water.

Don’t Like the Taste

That’s the excuse I hear all the time about why people “can’t” drink water. That’s because you’re so used to drinking flavors. Plain water tastes bland, off, or unappetizing. If you ‘force’ yourself to drink it for a few days you’ll discover how wonderful it really is.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

To RV or Not to RV

One of the things I didn't really take into consideration when we bought the boat was the extra insurance. Of course, reality hit pretty fast, and we got it insured right away, but whenever you buy something like a car you automatically know to call for insurance. I'm just glad nothing happened on the long trip from Iowa when we pulled that big thing home with us without insurance. I've thought about getting an RV to have it stationed by the river in the summers. It would be a lot more fun to live in that on the weekends, and maybe even during the week than it is to try and live in the small cabin of our 25 foot boat. But that will mean getting rv insurance on top of the boat insurance. Even though we'd really only be driving it twice a year, to the river and home again in the fall, accidents still happen. The insurance protects it from damage when it's not in use as well, and also for liability if anyone got hurt on, near or around it. Like anything, you may never need it, but when you do, you sure are glad you have it.

Empty Nest

Well, my son went down south to Arkansas today to begin a month long job. It's going to be weird not having him here for the month. It's sort of strange, we have this at odds relationship, but we love each other. I guess it's because he's in his 20's and should be living on his own, but with the way things are right now, that's just not possible. At least he does go to work when it's available. Regular 9 to 5 type jobs (any shift) just aren't that easy to find right now, so he's lucky he has this that he can go do, working for a construction/farm crew every couple of months, sometimes all summer long, and a little in the winter like now.

Handheld or Dash GPS

When we bought our boat it was supposed to have a handheld garmin gps unit that came with it. The previous owner said it was in the cabin, and we forgot to look before we left. Of course, it wasn't really there, so we ended up buying a dash (helm) model, but now I think I'd like to have had the hand held one. It's so much more versatile, and you can move around with it. Even take it off the boat, use it in the car, or just as we explore some of the islands that we play around on during the summer. I think that's going to be my Christmas present to myself.

Playing it By Ear for Dieting

Ugh, I've just been watching some YouTube videos on the massive skin hanging problem after large weight loss. I'm not sure it's worth it. Although as long as they have clothes on it looks completely normal, and most of them have a manageable amount, but one had almost as much hanging down and bulging out as I do before the weight loss. It kind of makes me think, maybe I don't want to get all the way to my goal weight. 1/2 way would still be a lot thinner, but the skin wouldn't hang and flab around as much. I guess I'll have to play it by ear as I go.