Friday, May 31, 2013

5 Travel Tips to Make your Next Getaway Healthier by Kendra Thornton

Summer is upon us, and that means the season of amusement parks, beach vacations, and family fun. Sadly, that also means greasy amusement park food, restaurants, and general unhealthiness. How do you take control of your eating while still enjoying your family vacations? Here are five tips to keep your body, and your family members' bodies, in beach shape all summer long.
1.) When you are travelling to a theme park, encourage your family to eat a hearty breakfast. The food at amusement parks is saturated with fat and unwanted calories. By consuming a healthy, hearty breakfast beforehand, you will save calories and money, since theme park food is always highly overpriced. You will also be giving your family the fuel that they need to have a good time at the park. However, if you have to make a fast food decision still try and think about what exactly is going into you and your children’s systems.
2.) Long drives and flights can put a damper on a vacation. Jet lag can make you, and especially your kids, lethargic for the first few days of the trip. Encourage your kids to nap on the flight or in the car. For longer trips that involve international flights, try adjusting your family's sleep schedule a few days before you leave. That adjustment will make the first few days of your vacation much easier. When searching for places to stay, keep in mind that many Orlando hotels offer quiet hours policies to ensure their visitors get a solid night's rest!
3.) Contrary to popular belief, frequent stops are a good thing during long drives. Getting you and your kids out of the car for a few minutes here and there can allow everyone to stretch their legs and burn off the excess energy that can get stored up over time. Fresh air is a great for the body, and it can make it much easier for your kids to avoid meltdowns in the car.
4) It is important to remember that airplanes are notorious for being germ-filled environments. When on board, try to stick to bottled water. The water on planes has been under investigation by the EPA for E. coli contamination for six years. Dr. Charles Gerba, also known as 'Dr. Germ,' once said that airplane bathrooms are among the dirtiest anywhere. Carrying some Purell with you while you travel is a good idea. This is definitely a case of 'better safe than sorry.
5.) This may be common knowledge, but it is too important to leave off the list. UV light can cause severe damage to the skin, and the more often you burn, the greater your risk for developing skin cancer. Make sure that your whole family is wearing sunscreen, at least SPF 15, and they should reapply at least every two hours.

While you never want to over-plan your vacation, remembering these tips will help to ensure that your trip goes smoothly. After all, what is better than a fun trip with your happy, healthy family?
Kendra Thornton is a former Orbitz Director of Communications promoted into the full-time position of Motherhood.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Fighting Back Against Obesity...and Winning!

I am back on the scale. So far, I've lost 9.6 pounds in 7 weeks through Weight Watchers. I'm .4 pounds away from my 5% target goal weight of losing 10 pounds {you do the math!}. I don't mind telling the world this kind of "personal stuff" because I hope it inspires someone else to start their weight management journey. I know I still have a LONG way to go before I reach my ultimate goal weight. But, I'm thinking of this as a true lifestyle change that will take time and last throughout my life time. So, you can't rush these things. One step at a time. One foot in front of the other...
The hardest part for me has been reducing my meal and food portions. I'm an overeater, to say the least. On top of that I'm married to a marathon runner. You think that it would help me being by being married to a runner, right? Not necessarily. Let me explain. See...when my hubby prepares for a long run or a race, he "carbo loads" a.k.a. eats lots and lots of pasta and carbs. That's great for his body. But, not so great for mine because I'm not running 20 miles {yet}. There are some people who say that they have a "love-hate" relationship with food. Not me. Mine is ALL LOVE! As I sometimes jokingly say to friends and family: "I'm an equal opportunity eater." I don't discriminate against any foods! ;)
What I like about Weight Watchers is that I learn how to eat real food in real time. They don't make you eat "their" meals and then expect you to know how to eat right when going back to the real world like some of those other weight plans do.
My family has been very supportive in my weight loss efforts. It's so adorable to see the boys getting in on the act. My older {6-year-old} son came home from kindergarten the other day and made a salad for me. My leader at my Weight Watchers meetings gave me a Bravo star and one to give him, as well! He was over-the-top excited. My other son {4-years-old} was a little upset, though, because he didn't get a sticker. And, my hubby was like: "Hey, where's my sticker? I've been buying you all your diet friendly foods and helping you get your exercise!" LOL! ;) {I think I've created a monster here...hahaha...}
Weight Watchers is encouraging members to get active. So, I've started running, again. Yes, again! My hubby actually got me into running when we were dating. And, I ran a few races, too. I particularly recall the very last race I ran was the St. Barnabas race in Gibsonia, PA because I found out shortly thereafter that I was pregnant with my older son! After my pregnancies it was hard for me to get back into the swing of things. Oh...I exercised for a while through the gym. Even did Zumba {which I thoroughly enjoyed and want to do again}. Did some spinning, too, for a while. But, I let life run me over and let my exercise fall by the wayside. It seems to me that mothers have a real tendency to do that...I mean take care of everyone else and forget about themselves.
So, I'm planning to really make this a lifestyle change for me, not just some "fad diet". If I continue on the current weight loss plan I am on now, I should reach my ultimate weight goal by this time next year or a little thereafter {maybe June or July next year}.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sports Safety for Our Children

Participating in organized sports gives children the opportunity to not only have fun with their friends but also help to keep them healthy.  Although sports are a great activity for children to engage in, they can put children at risk for sports related injuries.  Very physical sports such as football and lacrosse can put children as risk for injuries if they are not played properly.  As a parent I want to ensure that my child is safe at all times on the field, meaning that he or she is properly protected with all the right equipment and that they have been taught the correct ways to play their sport. 

In the last few years, the NFL has taken steps to improve the safety of the game.  They’ve implemented policies and certain rules to make the sport safer for their athletes.  In their efforts to lower the number of injuries for athletes, they have been focusing on modifying current rules while adding others. Most of these rule changes focus around the idea of defenseless players and big hits.  With the new rules changes, defenseless players such as kickers and receivers are protected from being hit late or being hit prior to having a second to gather their balance.  Also with the rule changes, defensive players are prohibited from hitting offensive players below the knee and also not allowed to use their helmet or facemask to make a tackle.  These rules developed to curb unnecessary roughness have proven to be effective in lowering the number of ligament tears, concussions and other common injuries that occur regularly in sports.

The NFL has taken their goal to improve safety for their athletes to the next level, expanding their advocacy to target younger athletes.  In a new campaign called the NFL Evolution, the league has developed educational initiatives to promote athlete safety and awareness among parents of young athletes who play contact sports.  Many parents are thrilled that the league has gone to such great lengths to promote safety among its athletes.


A concussion is a brain injury that occurs when the head strikes an object with intense force.  This can result in short term problems like headaches and nausea.  Long term, the condition can lead to dementia, memory loss and hearing loss.  In some cases, athletes who have suffered concussions may be affected by severe hearing loss and be treated with a hearing aid to help with current hearing levels. Parents can protect their children by encouraging them to wear the right protective gear when they play football, hockey or other contact sports.  Children can also be taught how to use their bodies appropriately when hitting to prevent head injuries.

Ligament Tears

Ligament tears are another common injury in contact sports.  One of the most popular ligament tears in athletes is the ACL.  The ACL, which helps athletes maintain balance when running, cutting and landing, is crucial to protect and keep healthy while playing sports.  With a torn ACL, athletes are very limited in what they can do in practice and games, mostly due to the giving out sensation that often occurs when the knee cannot withstand the force being administered on it and it gives out. Playing sports with a torn ACL puts the athlete at risk for further injury. Athletes can perform training drills that improve power and balance.  They can also strengthen their muscles in their legs to help reduce chances of tearing their ACL.

Heat Injuries

During the summer months, while playing sports, children become more vulnerable to heat-related injuries like extreme dehydration or heat stroke.  Athletes need to remain hydrated; sports drinks and water should be accessible at all times, not only during games and practices but also throughout the day leading up to a sporting event.  Parents can also make sure that their children wear the proper light attire while practicing.

Parents should always seek medical attention in the event of a concussion, ligament tear or other sports related injury to make sure that their children are safe and able to heal properly.  Protecting children by taking preventive steps to lower injury risks create a safe and fun experience for all involved. 

Hi my name is John O'Connor, I am a father, outdoorsman, sports enthusiast and passionate about living a healthy lifestyle.  Check out my new blog at!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Memorizing Bible scripture

I remember when my {late} paternal grandma could recite scripture like it was 80+ years old! I was in awe of her memory. She could even remember poems and stories she recited in elementary school.

One of the things on my "to-do" list in life is to memorize Bible scripture. I find it difficult to try to memorize it directly from the Bible by sight. And, I haven't found an effective way to do it...until now...

I came across this program that helps you commit 100 Bible verses from the NIV Bible to memory within one week by listening to audio files of them. This program comes from #1 Bestselling Christian Education authors Kyle Buchanan and Dean Roller. It's worth a shot to check it out if you, too, are interested in finding an easier way to memorize scripture.

~ Rachael first attempt...

A while ago I purchased "Bellydance: Fitness for Beginners" thinking it would be a fun way to get some exercise. I tried it out for the first time today. And, it was a lot of fun. This is the kind of exercise I enjoy. Exercise that makes me feel like I'm having fun as opposed to exercise that makes me feel like a masochist. Here's a link to the DVD if you're interested in purchasing it to try it out for yourself:

Friday, February 22, 2013

Top 10 Rules If My Boys Were President

John and I had this conversation last night about what it would be like if our boys were president. It went a little something like this {in no particular order}...

1. Naps would be abolished.

2. Wibbly Pig would be required watching...over....and over...again...

3. Parents would serve children peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

4. Dessert is appropriate at all times of the day.

5. Everyone would drive around in cardboard boxes made with recycled materials from their recycling bin.

6. Craft hour.

7. Cleaning only happens when you need to find something.

8. Grandmas and Papas {if they can't live with you} must visit AT LEAST 1 - 2 times per week. {Weekends are non-negotiable.}

9. Mittens/Gloves/Hats? Who needs 'em?

10. Bed time is when you knock out from sheer exhaustion.

What would your "Top 10 Rules" be in your home? Leave yours below in the comments for all of us to enjoy! :)

Friday, January 25, 2013

January 2013 Caskey Family & Business Updates

Relaxing with some magazines & hot tea

Sorry I haven't posted on my "Mom" blog for a while! I've been focusing on my family and business, The PaperCrafter's Nook, a lot lately.

As for family, my husband went through a bad car accident; we're dealing with the fall-out from that. The Lord and angels were watching over him because the damage was so extensive to his car that he really could have died. He is dealing with physical therapy 3 days per week and various doctor and specialist appointments. But, he has no broken bones or major internal damage. Thank God!

As for the boys, they are both doing well in school {Evan in kindergarten and Tyler in preschool}. However, Evan is sick today though with some stomach flu that's going around the school. It's one of the few times Evan "relaxes" and takes naps.

As for business, I've been creating a lot of crafts and art to post to my Etsy shop: Mixed media and collage art are my new focus. Textures are my favorite! I've been experimenting with different paper craft techniques to make unique fine art greeting cards and fine art. So far, I've gotten a lot of great responses to my Etsy shop and have had some of my items included in treasuries.

Since wedding season is coming up, I've already sold one invitation suite from my Birchcraft Studios line of invitations to a bride to be married in May. I'm looking forward to helping more brides as the wedding season rolls on! Birchcraft Studios is offering free lined envelopes with the purchase of wedding invitations through the end of this month. You can view and purchase wedding invitations from me directly on the following website:

In addition to wedding invitations, I also carry holiday and all-occasion cards for personal or business use by Birchcraft Studios:
Snowy outside!
On a different note, it's snowing here in Pittsburgh today. We were supposed to get 3 - 5 inches, but my husband said it was reduced to 1 - 3 inches for our area. We shall see...

One of the things I like to do during a snowstorm is kick back and relax with a good magazine or book. If you're looking for a new magazine, check out my deal for you from my blog: 45% off or more on best selling magazines!

~ Rachael Caskey

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