Nov 1, 2010

Breakfast Date

by Kiku Reidhead

Breakfast Date
Breakfast is a warm, welcome meal when it gets cold outside. No one likes to get out of their cozy bed in the winter; but if there's a delicious breakfast ready, you know you can't object. Here's our idea for a fun breakfast date during the holiday season.

A breakfast date is just a fun and original idea for a date. Plus, breakfast is usually more affordable than lunch or dinner. So, if you are short on money or time, breakfast is the way to go. You can plan a morning date to last a couple hours, or more if you have time.

As for your menu, make a traditional American breakfast with eggs, hash browns, bacon and some muffins. Don't forget some warm apple cider or hot chocolate. Or you can be adventurous and make a French quiche or Southwestern breakfast burritos. You can have breakfast ready when your date arrives or make it together.
After you are done, you can catch an afternoon movie at the theater, or snuggle up on the couch with blankets and read a good book. Check out the local performance theaters as well; many have Saturday afternoon matinee shows.

Needless to say, the saying goes that breakfast is the most important meal of the day! So, have fun with it, give you and your date a good start to your day and be creative with your activity.

Breakfast Cider
Stick cinnamon
Apple juice or cider

Pour apple juice or cider into a pot. Add a stick or two of cinnamon and heat until desired flavor and temperature. Other optional spices: cloves and allspice in small amounts.

Storage Boxes

Storage Boxes

Here's an idea using materials you should have just lying around the house. The decorative element of this craft is entirely up to you. We used fabric, but you can also use scrapbooking paper, decoupage with cutouts or anything that you find! Add detail with ribbon, buttons, stamps, labels, etc. or keep it simple like we did.

  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Cardboard box
  • Lay your material on a flat surface with the pattern face down. Either measure the dimensions of the bottom side of your box or place it in the center. Trace with a pencil.

  • Continue to make your pattern (which will look like a plus sign when you're done) by measuring and/or tracing each side of your box connected to the center (bottom) piece.

  • As you cut the pattern, leave at least 1/4 of an inch of space around the edges. At each corner, cut a diagonal slit through the 1/4 inch of extra material just to the edge of the pattern.

  • We used spray glue because it is the most even and mess-free glue for this project. Start with the bottom and glue it. Move on to the two end pieces, gluing the extra 1/4 inch down to the side of the box. Fold the top edges over and glue them to the inside of the box. Secure with paper clips or clothes pins.

  • Finish by gluing the cloth to the sides. On the sides, make sure you apply glue to the entire piece of fabric then fold the extra 1/4 inch in and press to create a flat, even edge. Make sure there is glue on the entire piece of fabric (including folded over parts) then press onto sides of box. Fasten the top edges with paper clips or clothes pins.

  • Dry overnight.

  • Fill with kitchen supplies, office supplies, or whatever else you might need to store.

Keeping Warm in the Winter

by Kiku Reidhead

The winter usually means snow, ice and shorter days; this, of course, means we all need to get ready for cold winter days. So, what can you do to escape the cold or at least learn to live with it without hiking up your heating bills?

If you are resourceful, and willing to layer, the winter can actually be a very warm few months. Here are our suggestions to keep yourself and your apartment toasty this winter.

Your BED: Flannel sheets are great in the winter because they are usually made of a wool/cotton blend. This means they will help keep your body heat inside the sheets. While you'll be nice and cozy, don't get too comfortable because you won't want to get out and walk to class!

Your APARTMENT: We've already mentioned one big key to staying warm, keep the heat in. This is particularly important when you think about your apartment.

(1) You can make sure you aren't losing any heat by checking your window and door seals. If you have a big gap (and/or a missing seal), let your apartment maintenance crew know it needs to be fixed. Or, you can use what you have on hand, like towels or old shirts, and push them in around the seal to keep out any leaking cold air.

(2) Keep cloth curtains closed when the sun's not out. If you can keep cold that naturally comes in through windows contained, you will keep your apartment or home warm. You can make temporary curtains out of sheets or blankets if you need to.

(3) This last tip is actually about how to let warmth into your living space - take advantage of the warmth of the sun! Open the curtains to let the sun's rays into your home during the day.

YourSELF: Your body produces a large amount of heat each day on its own, so don't lose any of it by simply dressing like it's actually winter. Remember hats, scarves and gloves because covering any exposed part of your body will help prevent heat loss. Layering is a great trick for the winter months and is a good tip to remember even when you are indoors. Also, if you can stay layered at home, you can keep your furnace turned down and cut your heating bill considerably.

Holiday Fun Facts

by Kiku Reidhead

Sometimes, with the passage of time, the purpose or story behind a tradition is forgotten. We hang the wreaths, Christmas lights and mistletoe without giving much thought as to how the tradition came about. More often than not, our American Christmas traditions have fun stories behind them. So you can know them too, here are some interesting facts about Americans' favorite holiday.
  • The word "Christmas" came from the words "Christ" and "mass" combined. This gives Christmas the literal meaning of celebrating or worshiping Christ.

  • Germans were the first people to create artificial Christmas trees - made out of dyed goose feathers.

  • Christmas wreaths have been a longtime symbol of eternity because the circular nature of a wreath has no beginning and no end. The greens that make up a wreath represent the victory of life because of the ability of evergreens to prosper amidst the cold winter.

  • Rudolph was originally created for promotional purposes. He only later became a storybook legend and movie star.

  • There are five cities in America with holiday-related names: Santa Claus, Indiana; Santa Claus, Georgia; Noel, Missouri; Rudolph, Wisconsin; and Dasher, Georgia.

  • Caroling came from the English tradition of "wassailing" or wishing your neighbors good health and prosperity.

  • Lighting for Christmas trees was originally provided by candlelight. This was dangerous and finally switched out for electric light bulbs in 1895.

  • "Jingle Bells" is a popular Christmas song sung and caroled across the nation each year during the holidays. Interestingly, it was actually written for Thanksgiving.

Healthy Holiday Eating

by Kiku Reidhead

You may not believe it, but it is possible to be healthily even during the holidays. Don't turn down the egg nog, pie, and turkey with gravy - you can have it all as long as you are reasonable.

A saying in the nutrition world says, "There are no ‘good' and ‘bad' foods, only good and bad eating habits." Keep that in mind as you approach the Thanksgiving or Christmas feast. Balance your plate and balance yourself. Not only will you feel better if you practice some self control, but your body will thank you, too.

Take advantage of the following practices not only now, but for future eating as well.
  1. Eat it all.... in smaller portions. Rather than loading half your plate with potatoes and gravy, take a smaller scoop and leave room for a little bit of everything else. Be sure to balance, like we mentioned earlier - get salad, fruit, stuffing, turkey, etc. When you get to dessert, smaller portions of goodies will allow you to not only taste the sweets, but also keep you from overindulging.

  2. Snack more. Fasting before a big meal is a big mistake - you will come to the table starving and eat too much too quickly. Help yourself to some healthy appetizers before the big feast to fill up naturally on stuff that's actually good for you.

  3. Cheers! Try to pick sugar-free or sugarless drinks to go with your meal. You'll get enough sugar with your desserts, so grab a water.

  4. Eat but also ENJOY. Holidays are great because of the company we share. It is a time for family and friends. During mealtime, don't forget to slow down and talk. Taking it slowly while enjoying conversation will allow your body to naturally feel full without getting stuffed.
So is it really possible to say healthy and holidays in the same sentence? Yes. Try it out and feel good. In addition to eating well, remember to be active. Use some of your time off to go on a walk, build a snowman, or go skiing. You will feel so good inside and out!