Saturday, October 21, 2006

Artificial Christmas trees

Although nothing beats a fresh Christmas tree, with its fragrant pine-needle scent, there are several reasons an artificial Christmas tree makes sense in certain situations. Some artificial Christmas trees are so realistic, you'd have to get quite close to tell the difference. If you're a veteran decorator (and “un-decorator”) of Christmas trees, you know some of the disadvantages of the real thing, beautiful and fragrant as it may be. Let's look at some of the reasons you might favor an artificial tree.
If you live in the city and have an apartment or condo on the third floor, it requires considerable effort to purchase, transport and install the tree before you ever start decorating.
Grandma and Grandpa may just not have the energy for the running around and muscling the tree in place. Getting the tree in your home and setting it up can be hard work.
Even if you're physically up to it, you may simply not have the time. Sometimes an artificial Christmas tree just makes good sense in your situation.
It's fun to let children have their own small Christmas tree in their room – they love gazing at the lights at night, with dreams of sugarplums in their heads. On the other hand, many parents worry about fire danger from a tree that's too dry. An artificial Christmas tree resolves this worry.
Perhaps you want a white Christmas tree, to suit your taste or color scheme. Fresh trees do not come in white. Artificial Christmas trees do!
Unlike a fresh tree, an artificial Christmas tree is perfectly symmetrical, and this is an important point for some decorators. An artificial Christmas tree lasts for many years and may simply be stored away out of season, in a relatively small space. Most come in sections, easily and quickly fitted together when you're ready to decorate.
To make up for the lack of that fresh tree fragrance, try using bowls of potpourri in strategic locations. You can even purchase spray scents that simulate fresh pine. A simmering pot of apple cider on the stove with cloves and sticks of cinnamon creates a heavenly fragrance all around the house.
If you've got your heart set on genuine fresh pine scent, gather or purchase pine branches to make into a garland for the fireplace or stair railing.
Probably one of the strongest points for an artificial tree is cleanup after New Year's. After becoming entangled in lights, pierced by dry needles and decked with sap in your hair, you may go for the artificial Christmas tree next year! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Pottie Training

There are many experts on every topic imaginable. There are people who are experts in finances, outer space, science, mathematics and computers. The one field seems to have the most out spoken experts is the field of human psychology in general and child rearing in particular. It seems that everyone feels that they are an expert on how people should raise their children. How a person was parented seems to be a leading defense in our criminal system and many psychologists have people in therapy for years discussing their childhood. So often experts refer back to potty training to explain why someone behaves the way they do.
I have been in the human services field for many years. I become outraged when I hear so called experts make blanket statements about how potty training and other child rearing techniques are to blame for a person’s actions. I have worked with children that have been severely abused and neglected by their parents, and yet they are able to move on with their lives and become happy productive citizens. I think that the experts that go on talk shows and write books, like to give people excuses for their poor behavior. They also simplify major mental health issues and the actions that can result from the illness, by blaming the parents of the individuals. It is ludicrous to believe that potty training techniques that are done are going to cause a person to become a criminal. To me this is irresponsible and damaging for the people that listen to these experts. There are many excellent therapist and psychologists that make real differences in the lives of those they treat. Their time is so filled with appointments that they do not have the time to go on talk shows. The famous experts tend to be attention seekers that want to be celebrities and they use basic knowledge in psychology to make a name for themselves.
Anyone that has been involved in good growth producing therapy knows that the best way to move on with their lives is to make a plan with obtainable goals and to move forward. They may need to process things that happened to them as children, but they are taught not to dwell in the past. I have never seen anyone become a well adjusted adult if they are clinging to the memories of their potty training. Most adults do not even have any recollection of the potty training techniques that were used by their parents.
Many new parents find themselves afraid to parent their children because they feel they will scar them for life. If they use the simple techniques of correcting undesirable behavior and present consistent guidance, their children will have the desired behaviors. You do not need to listen to the experts to have a well adjusted child; you need to listen to your child.

Potato Salad

Potato Salad
Potato salad is a traditional favorite made in a variety of combinations from quick and easy recipes. There are lots of substitutions that can be made to the recipe that won’t take away from the taste at all, but add to it in a different way. Common ingredients to most potato salad recipes are potatoes of course, eggs, onions, mayonnaise, vinegar, and mustard, but additions or substitutions like sweet relish, bacon bits, celery seed, kalamata olives, and other ingredients are also common. For hot versions of the recipe, , like hot German potato salad, vinegar, water, flour, and bacon drippings are used to make the sauce instead of mayonnaise and mustard. This recipe is a delicious favorite and complements brats, sausages, hamburgers, and anything else you are grilling.
There are lots and lots of potato salad recipes, and most of us have at least a couple in our compilation of cook books, but if you’re in the mood for something new, check out the web to try something different. How about picnic potato salad or sour cream potato salad, maybe try it warm with green beans, or Hawaiian style with sweet potatoes. Caesar or Greek recipes are also popular variations. Cooking light magazine features healthy versions of a variety of potato salad favorites on its website at For more healthy recipes visit for fat free potato salad recipes and others great ideas if you want to cut more fat from your diet. If you are trying to cut down I would recommend making your own over purchasing deli potato salad by the pound. There usually are not light versions, and you can control how much and what kind of fat when making your own, and it will be better anyway! You can add the ingredients you want and leave out what you don’t. It will cost less too!
Now that you’re almost finished reading this article, your taste buds should be tantalized and ready for you know what! You should also visit or for other classic potato salad recipes that everyone will love. No picnic or other summer gathering is ever complete without this must have mouth watering dish. Just picture it now, brown sugar baked beans, coleslaw, deviled eggs, corn on the cob, barbequed chicken, hot dogs, brats, hamburgers, and, yes, your favorite potato salad in the biggest bowl on the table, because it will be gone in no time! Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Airbrush tan/tanning

It has always amazed me how the majority of celebrities always look so healthy, tan and absolutely perfect. They show up on the red carpets looking younger than they are and as stunning as possible. It makes me envious and yet, curious. Afterall, how can you have a tan for so many years and not have a single wrinkle? How do they never manage to gain a single ounce even though the years are moving by rapidly? Hollywood certainly has some secret weapons to fighting age and wrinkles, don't they? Plastic surgery has become commonplace now. Don't like your lips? Change them. Don't like your stomach? Change it. Hate your hair? Change that too.
I have discovered through some investigation and advertisements, how the celebrities get and keep their incredible tans no matter what the season seems to be. It is called airbrush tanning. It doesn't require weeks of laying in a tanning bed just to get a base tan. You can walk in pale as can be, and walk out within 30 minutes and have a tan. I wasn't quite sure what airbrush tanning really was, so I asked. Airbrush tanning is a mist of self-tanner that is sprayed onto your body. Some salons have booths that you can enter and little sprayers will spray the mist onto you. A few minutes later, you can dry off and walk out with a tan. I was pretty intrigued about this concept. I had tried self tanning lotions before and always had an orange tint afterwards which I thought was hideous. I couldn't help but wonder if getting an airbrush tan would be the same way.
Everything that I had read or heard about airbrush tanning was positive. It is deemed safe and there are no harmful dyes or chemicals. It is a lot safer than exposing yourself to the sun or tanning beds. Most people that spoke of it claim that it did not make them look orange, it looked very natural. Supposedly, it also lasted for a little longer than a week and faded naturally. I had no choice but to try it. I found a salon near my house that offered airbrush tanning and decided to go for it. If it didn't like it, I'd just return to my normal pale appearance - no harm done. I'd never know unless I did try it.
It was a bit more expensive than I'd anticipated but I imagine the cost varies from place to place. The only part that I can complain about was the temperature of the mist as it hit my body. I think that I actually squealed when the cold mist touched me. Minutes later, I walked out of the salon, looking more colorful. I'm happy to say that my experience with airbrush tanning was a positive one. I did not look orange or streaked, and loved the comments I received on my tan. I am now a fan.