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Cast your troubles away.


Where I live in the glorious English countryside, the local farmer has been preparing the field where he kept sheep all Winter for ploughing. Life goes on. The sun rises and sets. So cast your worries to the wind because tomorrow is inevitable just like the sun. Tonight on my walk. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  219 Hits

5 reasons to snack on strawberries

(BPT) - The perfect snack needs to check off three boxes: It should be filling enough to get you to your next meal, provide nutrition that fits into your balanced diet, and satisfy cravings, whether sweet or savory. Not an easy task, but juicy California strawberries are up for the challenge. "Strawberries are an ideal snack because not only do they taste great, they're also heart-healthy and an anti-inflammatory food," says Manuel Villacorta, registered dietitian and author of Flat Belly 365. "I love to pair strawberries with yogurt, peanut butter on rice crackers, or cottage cheese. Strawberry smoothies are also a favorite." Naturally sweet, yet low in sugar Many people get the urge to gra...
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  146 Hits

3 tips to make meal prep into an enjoyable family activity

(BPT) - We all love sitting down together for a hot meal. Unfortunately, preparing the meal itself turns into a chore that usually falls to one family member (Mom). Switch up your dinner prep routine and turn it into a fun family activity that involves the kids. Yes, it may take extra time and effort, and, yes, there will be spills. But in the long run, you'll see the benefits. They'll gain valuable life skills since cooking builds confidence and, eventually, you'll be able to turn to them to get dinner started before you arrive home. Until then, think of this as a great way to spend time together. With these three tips (plus a delicious meal to start with), you'll be on your way. Keep it qu...
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  161 Hits

4 things you should do to boost your fat IQ

(BPT) - If you've struggled with your weight, you know that fat can be a bad three-letter word. You've warded against it, tried to reduce it and agonized over what fat can do to your self-esteem and your waist line. But how much do you really know about fat? And how much could you improve your life if you knew just a little bit more? According to the MDVIP Fat IQ Survey, most adults fail a basic quiz on fat facts. And a staggering 82 percent of adults are over their ideal weight. Whether you are one of them or you want to avoid weight problems in the future, it's time to put fat in your crosshairs. Here are four things you need to do to boost your own fat IQ and live a healthier life. Recogn...
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  201 Hits

A vacation deprivation crisis

(BPT) - Americans need a vacation. More than half of working Americans, 52 percent, didn't use all of their PTO last year, collectively leaving 705 million vacation days on the table. That means employers got 705 million of your hard-earned workdays for free. For the love of Jimmy Buffett, people, why are you essentially volunteering at work on your PTO days when you could plant yourself on the beach with an adult beverage instead? The reasons range from fear to affordability. People are afraid they'll get behind on their work, or return to a mountain of to-dos when they get back. Some think nobody can do the job in their absence, and others are afraid the office would buzz along a little to...
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  174 Hits

Making it count: 5 tips for choosing a health plan

(BPT) - This fall millions will head to the polls to cast their vote in the mid-term elections, but they have another important choice to make as well: their health care coverage for 2019. People will have the opportunity to select or switch their health insurance plans for 2019 during open or annual enrollment. But unlike Election Day, the dates to keep in mind aren't the same for everyone and vary depending on your situation: For the more than 175 million Americans with employer-provided coverage, many companies set aside a two-week period between September and December when employees can select health benefits for the following year.For the more than 60 million people enrolled in Medicare...
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  142 Hits

Fabulous Fall Flavors

(BPT) - For any gardener, fall is bittersweet. The exuberance of summer's bounty has started to fade, while cooler nights and less daylight signal the approach of cold, dark winter. However, there's still plenty of time to savor some of the garden's best flavors before you close your door on the season. In fact, now is the perfect time to plant what are collectively known as "cool weather" crops - tasty favorites that thrive in autumn's chill. Bonnie Plants grows a wide variety of cool-weather veggies and herbs, perfect for fall planting. Availability of Bonnie's fall varieties is limited to specific regions, so check your local garden retailers to find plants near you. Select some hardy fav...
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  176 Hits

8 home security hacks recommended by police

(BPT) - Did you know that many police departments have a community affairs officer whose primary goal is to build a strong working relationship with the community? That means you have access to a trained safety expert who wants to give you ideas to keep your home and neighborhood safe. Read on for eight simple home security hacks from a recent home safety evaluation conducted by a police officer. 1. Change the locks When was the last time you changed the locks? How many previous owners have there been and how many keys have been given out to neighbors, friends, family or delivery people? You never know who has a second copy, and for less than $100 at Home Depot, you can change your locks imm...
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  166 Hits

Knowledge is Power

(BPT) - Technology has rapidly changed the way we live over the past 30 years. Where people once turned strictly to their televisions to watch their favorite shows or play video games, people can now access their favorite entertainment, anytime and anywhere - thanks to smart devices and a WiFi connection. This new level of connectivity goes well beyond easier access to entertainment. For example, can you log onto a computer and get a real-time look at your energy use through your utility? If so, your home has a smart-meter - a powerful tool to help you better understand this newly connected world. Smart meters are part of an emerging set of smart grid technologies that are transforming how e...
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  70 Hits

5 easy tips for combating the environment's effects on skin 

(BPT) - Properly taking care of your skin each day - and countering the possible effects of pollution - is quick, affordable and easy to do. So why do so many Americans forgo that step in their daily routines? A recent survey by CeraVe found 48 percent of American adults often worry about their skin, yet 36 percent have no regular skincare routine. Only 36 percent regularly use cleanser, and 33 percent say they're confused about how to choose effective products and methods. Unfortunately, everyday pollution and UV rays can easily wreak havoc on your skin, so it's essential to develop a proper skincare routine to combat these effects. In a given year, Americans are subject to some 83 million ...
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  80 Hits

The Impossible Dream of Julian Pie


This week, we took a short day-trip over to San Diego County to visit the town of Julian. We haven’t been there in ages and wanted to see if anything had changed. The last time we came, over ten years ago, we stayed to watch a wonderful theater production of The Man of La Mancha. Other than a few price increases, the California historical landmark has stayed the same. It’s an old west town known for picking apples. They also sell apple juice, hard cider and the secret reason for our trip—yes—delicious pies. Downtown Julian  There are antique shops, crafts and specialty foods for sale on Main street and plenty of hiking opportunities for the entire family. I think that's the fire-station  We ...
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  101 Hits

Take your chances...


The farmer has replanted wheat (I presume) in the field he recently harvested. These seagulls followed the tractor as it disgorged seeds and gobbled up as much as they could, pure highway robbery but they succeeded! Take your chances while you can because life and time wait for no one. PS That doesn't mean steal. The farmer provides extra seed just for the birds but that is his choice. Photo copyright SvD. And can you help? I came across this carcass in the field on Sunday morning. I cannot identify it from my various bird books. The down on its chest was thick and luxurious. The marking seems quite distinctive. The carcass measured around a foot long without the head which clearly is not th...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  257 Hits

Relationship Rebuilding After Infidelity


The damage from infidelity is enough to make anyone want to run away from the broken pieces, or, run straight at the offender with biting insults, copious tears and possibly flying fists (or whatever else may be available). But what about the other? This is one woman’s candid recounting of “life after” and what that looked liked when this couple chose to remain married. Hint: Not one bit of easy and absolutely no quick fixes. —————————————————————————————————————————————————————— I did not stay in my marriage. I am still married. How can that be true? The answer lies in the term “stay.” A simple word, but a deceptive one. After my husband’s affair, we decided to try to mend our relationship....
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  246 Hits

Want better workplace results?

(BPT) - From standing desks and team-building events to onsite services and remote work opportunities, companies have adapted over the years to adopt new solutions that will grow their company, improve employee retention and increase productivity.   However, while all of these initiatives have their benefits, John Scott, senior workplace design strategy expert for Haworth, points out many companies are missing one key solution - an opportunity that exists all around them. The chance to enjoy the fresh air and take their work outside.   "With so many design trends to focus on, the one that almost always gets overlooked is utilizing the outdoors to work and collaborate," Scott says, adding tha...
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  208 Hits

Bakery Rebellion


Are you on the Ketogenic diet? The gluten free diet? Going Vegan? Vegetarian not Vegan. (Learn the difference or you will be embarrassed.) Low Carb? Mediterranean? Low fat? High Protein? Atkins? Raw Food? South Beach? Paleo? Grapefruit diet? Cabbage Soup? Sirtfood? Carnivore diet? Eggs and wine diet? Apple Cider Vinegar diet? Cake cleanse? Smoothie detox? No. No, and no. Eating is harder to figure out then gender identity. But my new trans- ition lenses help me see things clearer. With over one hundred newly recognized genders this year, there will be people celebrating. Hooray! They will probably have cake!   I made this delicious walnut cake last week. Walnuts are very good for you. 😋  May...
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  175 Hits

Ripeness is all.


Folklore tells us that Summer ends as the elderberries ripen. Indeed, the nights are cooler and the morning dew has returned. The damp underfoot on my morning walks is a true indicator that Autumn is here. Early Autumn is a time of plenty, ripened fruits must be picked now before the damp and cold wind rot them. I used to be a serious jam and chutney maker converting the spoils of my gardening addiction. For those of you who do make your own preserves, remember to pick fruit on a dry day, early in the morning and away from busy roads. Now is also a good time to collect wild herbs to make herb liqueur (collect the leaves of whatever you can find, except the poisonous ones obviously, soak them...
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  170 Hits

Butterfly Shadows


I stopped under a moving shadow of a Monarch butterfly. She fluttered around a tree and flit above a house. My eyes darted left and right hoping to catch a glimpse of orange. Her fire a smudged blur in my memory. Original link
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  138 Hits

Slugs in love...


Two slugs locked in love's embrace and forming a perfect circle, symbol of infinity. This morning on my walk. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  435 Hits

Memento mori.


My wonderful friend, Gwen, died today and I shall miss her terribly. Over more than twenty years, we laughed riotously, drank a lot of wine, ate a lot of good food and consumed vast quantities of whisky, cognac and anything 40% proof after dozens of suppers shared as we put the world right. There is an expression that one will die peacefully if one has lived a good life. Gwen did exactly that surrounded by those who loved her. Farewell, witty, sarcastic, beautiful and special Gwen. I shall never forget you. Hedgerow Sparrow last Saturday morning flew into my glass door. I put him in the greenhouse to wake up but he never did. Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  467 Hits

Food is fuel......yee ha!


I walked four miles today and I was in the office from 9 to 5.30. There are some days when cooking makes me cringe but if it's so easy I could do it with my eyes closed, I might be tempted. This recipe is inspired by the great outdoors and cowboy films. You fry your bacon, you add your beans. Simple. Now let's watch that sunset together. Cowboy Beans (with cherry tomatoes for colour). Photo copyright SvD. Original link
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© Words and photos copyright Samantha van Dalen

  255 Hits