Lately I have been focusing on eating and living a healthier lifestyle. I have been an athlete for the majority of my life. My love for competing in team sports actually started in junior high school when I decided to join the track team. That  then led to 4 years of track and cross country in high school. As if that wasn't enough, I also competed in kick-boxing tournaments on the weekends which is something that my dad and I enjoyed together. He was involved in martial arts for many years (at the time he was a brown belt) and so I decided to try my hand at it too. I must say that I wasn't too bad at it and won several trophies to prove it! My dad used to get a kick out of watching his baby girl fighting! LOL!
After high school, I kind of took a break from team sports but I continued to run to stay in shape while I was in college at Tuskegee University! Especially after I came home from my first semester having gained the dreaded "Freshman 15" from eating all of that fattening cafeteria food! That was a wake-up call and made me even determined not to go back to school with that extra weight on me and running was the only way that I knew how to get it off along with eating a healthier diet. Running has always been my go-to sport of choice! It not only helps me to keep my weight under control but it also helps me to relieve  the stresses of life. There's something about being in the outdoors and even if the weather is bad on my treadmill, and enjoying a good 3-5 mile run! INVIGORATING!
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While I am running, I always like to enjoy listening to an inspirational message or music via my iPhone which makes my run not only healthy for my body but also nourishing for my spirit. One thing though, it has been a bit of a struggle trying to find just the right device to help me keep my phone protected and stationary while I run. So, when I recently came across the iArrow Sports Armband for iPhone 5, I was excited to give it a try! Now mind you, I have been a runner for years which means that I have used many different sports armband products that left me dissatisfied. But not so with this product!  Let me just tell you that I absolutely love this product! It was so easy to strap on and I didn't have to mess with it at all during my 5 mile morning run and my phone was well protected. Not only did I enjoy the run more because I didn't have to worry about the stability of my phone, but it encouraged me to want to tell other runners about this great product!

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I know that many of you have probably heard of the so-called "21-day Habit Theory" which basically states that habits can be formed by simply completing a task for 21 days in a row. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I recently learned that this is nothing more than a myth and could not be further from the truth. I know, I know, I'm just as shocked as you are because for so long, I too believed this theory to be true. What I actually found out through research, was that the 21-day habit forming theory is actually a misinterpretation of work done by Dr. Maxwell Maltz about developing a positive self-image. I guess someone misinterpreted his findings and then told someone and just like in the old childhood game of telephone, the story spread and took a life of its own! LOL! By now, you are probably wondering, "What does all of this have to do with marriage?" I'll tell you what. Just recently, my husband and I were asked by a close family friend, if we were willing to devote a week being focused on making our marriage better? This meant that we had to limit the amount of outside work time and also limit the amount of time spent tending to our children's every need! Ouch! The actual goal of this exercise was to focus on spending "every other moment"  on making our marriage better through communication and quality time with one another. At least that was my plan. At first, I must admit that I was a little hesitant, but don't get me wrong, not because my marriage wasn't worth the effort, but more because I wasn't sure I was able to meet the challenge. However, what was revealed to me in that moment, was that I could not expect to get from my husband what I wasn't willing to give myself! Light bulb moment!


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So next, I resorted to the old "21-day habit forming theory" which we have just learned is nothing more than a myth. I just figured that based on this theory, I could pay attention to my marriage and treat it as a task that I performed for 21-days in a row, then it would become a habit. WRONG! The only way to form these healthy habits within my marriage is by doing the work through the "Three Phases of Habit Formation" which are as follows (based on a 2013 Forbes article on this subject) Phase 1: The Honeymoon Phase which is characterized by the feeling of "this is easy." But as all married people know, at some point, all honeymoons must end and will end. It is usually the result of something inspiring. Phase 2: The Fight Thru Phase which is when the inspiration fades and reality sets in. This is when an individual finds himself/herself struggling with the positive habit completion and old habits seem to be right around the corner. The key to being able to move into the third phase of habit formation is to be able to win 2-3 "fight thru's." This is critical and can be accomplished by using these techniques:

1) Recognize; 2) Ask 2 Questions (How will I feel if I do this? & How will I feel if I don't do this?); 3) Life Projection (imagining your life in 5 years after making changes). Phase 3: Second Nature can be described as though you have "gotten in the groove." You get the picture.


So anyway, now that we know what it takes to actually form a habit, I am happy to say, that the past few days have been worth the effort! By my recognizing where I fall short and then taking the necessary steps to correct my behavior or attitude towards my husband, how we are communicating and interacting with one another has changed for the better! This is one habit that I don't want to break!


I Lovingly dedicate this post to my husband, Cedric. Thank you for your love and willingness to form the marriage habit with me!

 
 
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Just recently, I received notification from both my son and daughter's schools regarding the start of cold and flu season. This is not usually of great concern for me because we teach our children how to prevent the spread of germs by the washing of hands and sneezing into their sleeves and covering their mouths when they cough etc... However, apparently their seems to be a new concern this year about a new strain of virus called the Enterovirus (EV-D68). It is making children sick, particularly those with pre-existing respiratory conditions. It is no secret, that I am a strong proponent of alternative medicine and homeopathic remedies and have been for years.

It is my belief that physicians are too quick to prescribe medicine that only treat the symptoms instead of the root cause of why we are sick. If you have every paid attention to one of those television adds about a few of the latest medicines that they are advertising, if you listen closely you will hear a laundry list of the side affects that are far worse than the actual sickness/illness you are trying to get rid of in the first place! I always laugh and say to myself, "Who would want to take that?" Hilarious! What I really want to say is that make sure that you do your research and due diligence regarding medicine or treatments. Know your rights as a patient and ask questions.
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Ok, now back to the reason for this post. Once I learned about this recent strain of virus going around, I immediately called my sister-in-law who happens to be a heavy proponent of living a holistic lifestyle and is my GO-TO person regarding healthy eating and living. She also happens to be the author a soon to be released book titled "The Awakening" in which she has done years of research regarding the public's awareness regarding the "practice of medicine" among other areas. At any rate, her immediate suggestion was that I find a natural children's probiotic to help arm the kid's immune system. What is a probiotic? Essentially, probiotics are fibers that encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria throughout your colon. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, an very popular alternative medicine proponent, "Bacteria present naturally in your body and sometimes found in food could keep cold and flu viruses at bay. According to a study, young children who drank a mixture of such bacteria, known as probiotics, had fewer colds, needed fewer antibiotics, and missed fewer days of school.


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So armed with information, I set out to find a "kid-friendly" probiotic supplement that my children could take. Imagine my surprise, when I was then presented with the opportunity to review one such a product! The name of the product is Pro-Kids by Hyperbiotics. The main attraction for me to this particular product is the fact that is All Natural and Sugar Free (no lactose, no chemicals, no GMO, yeast free, no iron, no nuts, no artificial flavors or colors, no preservatives, gluten, wheat and egg free). But also, the fact that the pill is so tiny which makes it easy for children to take. My daughter has a problem taking pills so this was a major plus! It can also be chewed or crushed up and mixed in cold foods! How great is that? So anyway, I am excited about this product and I am sure that you will be too! You can find it on Amazon.com by searching for children's probiotics.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
 
 
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Before you break out into a rousing rendition of Michael Jackson's 1992 hit "Remember the Time" (off his Dangerous album) and start recreating the moves from his video, let me assure you, that's not what this post is about!

Instead, it's about do you actually remember more or less as you grow older. As for me, I can honestly say that other than when I was pregnant with both of my children, I am a little more forgetful now than when I was younger. Which led me to ask the question: "Is memory loss a normal part of the aging process or not? And if so, what is normal and what's not?"


So I did a little research to find out the answer to my question. Here's a little about what I found. According to an article featured on the website HelpGuide.org, a trusted non-profit resource, "Memory Loss is NOT an inevitable part of the aging process because the brain is capable of producing new brain cells at any age." Interesting! This taught me something new. But then, I know what you're thinking, "Then why am I so forgetful?" Here's what I found. Forgetfulness is common as we get older and oftentimes can be caused by physiological changes which can cause glitches in brain functions.  What's important to know here is that just like with muscle strength, "if you don't use it you'll loose it." A concept that I am all too familiar with having been an athlete for most of my life!
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So how can you stimulate your brain and sharpen and improve your cognitive skills and help prevent memory loss? Have I got the game for you! The name of the game is "Shell Game." It's a game developed by a company named ThinkFun (www.ThinkFun.com) who is the world's leader in creating fun games that help to sharpen and stretch your mind.

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The game is based on that old classic "slight of hand" game where the shuffler tries to trick or fool his or her spectators into thinking that a particular object is hidden under one "shell" or "cup" rather than another. In this game the object  and the goal is not to deceive, but to rather help improve logic or memory skills to help the player win. The pieces used are sea shells and hermit crabs and ocean stones. Object of the game is to get your hermit crabs from the START position to the END position by using memory and logic. What I loved about this game is that there were different challenge levels and clear instructions on how to achieve each one. I have to admit though, at first it was a bit of a challenge to maneuver or swap the shells along the printed arcs but once you try it a few times and focus on what you are doing then it becomes easier.

My 12 year old daughter and I had a ball trying to figure out the different challenges and then at one point the whole family got involved as we used the game pieces and reverted back to the classic "shell game" shenanigans! My 6 year old even got a kick out of trying to guess where the hermit crabs were located! Great, fun Family Night activity!
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
 
 
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Here we go again! Can't get enough of author, Dan Jackson's collection of adorable and easy to read children's books! Not sure, but he must be channeling my son's animal interests because all of the books that we have had the honor of reviewing and reading together lately, are exactly what he is into these days. Go figure! At this age, when he is just really beginning to read more and more, it is important that I be able to engage him in subject matter that not only peaks his interest but is also educational at the same time. This author has managed to meet all of those challenges with his delightful collection of books that share facts or little known details about the animals that we love to love or those we fear the most (snakes)! Speaking of snakes, while we were engaged in reading the book about snakes, my son politely announced, "Mommy if I see a snake, I will just run the other way!" Me too son, me too!  LOL!
All of these e-books are now available on Amazon.com and are reasonably priced and just in time for Christmas upload to your child's favorite e-reader or kindle. Being able to enjoy the gift of reading with your child(ren) is only a click or two away!
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
 
 
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As promised, I wanted to share with you the results of my daughter's latest arts and crafts endeavor with the help of a "Craftsy" online course to guide her. Ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves a blue bird! Isn't it cute? I am actually proud to say that she gifted it to me! And as we approach the holiday season, these adorable little critters make wonderful gifts! Who wouldn't like to receive one of these warm and friendly amigurumi creations under the Christmas tree? I know that I certainly would. 

For all of you "room moms" out there, with Fall festival season upon us, this is a great way to learn easy to make decorations and costumes for your children. Craftsy offers easy and fun paper crafting kits and other holiday decorating ideas that are sure to please. So what are you waiting for? Sign up for your Craftsy online course today!


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