Category Archives: Hershey’s chocolate kisses

Sending a Little Sunshine to You

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Here is a collection of things that produce happy thoughts,

along with a few quotes that hopefully will brighten your

day.

Drew Barrymore is so funny, sometimes in a quirky awkward

way but also in a beautiful and soulful way. Here is a book

she has written having taken photographs of hearts and

including them for all to see in, “Find It in Everything.”

Her words are well worth putting on your refrigerator:

“Hearts are my beacons. . .

Whenever and wherever I

see the heart shape, a smile

spreads across my face.

The heart has an unbeatable

romance when you discover

one where you least expect it.”

 

This made me think of the movie, “Titanic,” with Celine Deon’s song,

“My Heart Will Go On.”

 

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine- –

and shadows will fall behind you.”

~ Walt Whitman ~

 

Winter brings a change in moods and outlook, so here are a few more

ways to enjoy your days and find brighter moments.

1. Listen to upbeat music. Move with the music and dancing will give

you some extra energy and motivation. Also, it is FUN!

 

2. Walks with dogs or friends, a partner or spouse, with hand held,

warm scarf, mittens or gloves and a big parka, crunching through

old leaves or new snow… Just petting an animal or hugging a pal,

can be extra special to include. I have had friends who say they

need 4 hugs a day!

 

3. Add a potted plant to your office space. This has been found to

make people more productive and less stressed. The reason is

scientific: The plant reduces airborne dust, adds moisture and O2

to small spaces. It is also known to filter out harmful pollutants.

 

4. Placing vacation photos in strategic spots, can open your mind

to the times when you were happy and relaxed. “Gazing at a happy

moment from the past, can improve your present outlook.” In

other photos, choose ones of family and great memories together.

 

5. Staying hydrated with a slice of lemon or infusing your water with

berries, can certainly add a twist to your taste buds and improve

you in more than one way. Our daily ‘slump’ in the afternoon, is not

just due to wanting a nap or aging! We need to remember to add H2O

to our daily habits.

 

6. Fruit flavor sorbets and other refreshing choices can help be your

saving graces, helping ‘save the day.’ Chocolate and coffee have those

anti-cancer elements along with giving you some extra ‘pep in your

step.’

 

7. Just as a potted plant in your office or bathroom can improve a

location in your house or workplace, a bouquet of those grocery

store flowers can make your dining room a pleasant place to be.

I am sure there are many gardeners that can attest to their bringing

a bouquet of their garden’s flowers has brightened many people’s

days. A shut-in or elderly person will respond with such a big smile,

it will be a day-brightener to you, as well.

 

8. Sunrooms, atriums, public places that have sunny places are so

wonderful to help you feel better. I enjoy the Columbus, Ohio

Franklin Conservatory, at least two times in the winter. My Mom’s

senior living apartments has a greenhouse with three cozy chairs

in there. You can often see a couple of people sitting in this room

that is attached to the art room. Also, it is a nice place to snip and

weed, feeling useful. There are sometimes people sitting in the

art room, putting together a puzzle, with the greenhouse room’s

double doors open so they may benefit from the sunshine and

plant’s energy given.

There are also other places at no cost to visit. Let me know if you have

a few that I may include…

 

9. Herbs and spices can enliven your life, bringing some vigor into

your appetite and their scents can exhilarate you, too. I love the

scent of tangy patchouli or Italian herbs like basil and oregano.

The scent of peppermint is a great one that can invigorate too.

It is also great to calm and create better muscle relaxing in your

stomach, not only soothing it, but enhancing its function.

 

10. Colorful fabric will change your room and change your own

perspective while wearing brighter hues. It is a simple way of

sprucing up,’ along with being a fairly reasonable way of changing

your décor or wardrobe. Add a dash of color, while the skies are

gloomy and gray, your mood lightens without too much fuss or

bother. I enjoy looking at decorating magazines, paint and fabric

swatches, merely ‘dreaming’ about a change, makes me happy.

 

Here are a few musical ‘suggestions.’

1. I just discovered a man named Andrew McMahon, who sings in a real earthy voice,

gravelly and reminiscent of some of my old rocker favorites, along with Neil Diamond.

His song that mesmerized me was, “Canyon Moon,” which begins with lyrics about

a dissatisfied woman, “Somewhere on a cold October.” His debut solo album, having

been in bands but not on his own… is titled, “Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness.”

**Wow!**

2. If you are wishing a little sunshine, here is one of my favorites, “Little Darlin’s!”

The Beatles’  in “Here Comes the Sun.”

Always a big wow, when I hear the tinkling beginning guitar strands and only one

man, from Kentucky, ever called me, “little darlin’.” (Alas!)

 

 

What little sunny things make your mood cheerier?

 

 

 

 

 

Thrift Store and Road Trip Adventures

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The road to almost anywhere seems to take you much longer than the

trip home. My brothers give me directions around Cleveland, forgetting

my crooked path that began on the lake which I call ‘home’ to the small

towns I have lived in and then back again, to visit again. The total number

of years away are much more than the years I lived at ‘home.’ I had lived 6

years in Bowling Green, Ohio, four while attending college and two while

young, newly married and teaching middle school. I spent 5 years farther

south, in Lancaster, Ohio, and a big chunk of 28 years in my chosen (picked

it on a map) location of Delaware, Ohio.

So, we valiantly set off to a short distance away to go shopping. Mom and I

were off on another one of our adventures, traveling around the city streets,

some I have forgotten their names. “Fasten your seat belt, Mom! Hold onto

your hat, since the windows will be down it is such a beautiful and warm

day!”

Mom and I ate lunch out at a casual location, fortifying for our shopping

expedition. So serious, that Mom had made a list and so had I! We were

heading towards Lorain Road (one town over, North Olmsted) from Center

Ridge Road (Westlake). We located the Dr.’s office we would go to on Wed.,

along with the Dr.’s office we would head towards on Thurs. Then, we were

on Busy and much traveled, Dover Center Road. We passed the church where

my early days of Girl Scouts had met, along with a house of where one of my

Mom’s favorite fellow Westlake (Demons) teachers had lived. They live out

West in Colorado, writing letters and exchanging cards with Mom.

When we arrived on Lorain Road, I traveled East first; nope!  Wrong direction!

I saw an outstanding and extraordinarily low priced familiar gas station, where

there were several people, one elderly man who may have been retired, chatting

by the door of the place. It is one where Brazilian coffee has joined the hot brews,

along with my favorite cappuccino mixes. Having had three days of the Senior

Apartment brewed coffee, a little above average and the Maxwell House instant

coffee my Mom drinks all day, I decided to grab a flavored ice tea for Mom and

pre-pay for some gas. I left my Mom’s windows open and locked her in. We gave

a little laugh, since she knows I worry a lot about her memory and her safety, too.

I was told I was only a few hundred feet to get to Dollar General and only two

blocks away from Giant Eagle, whose plaza has a huge Volunteers of America

Thrift Store. I thanked the men who were gathered on the step of the gas station,

and gave the elderly, very genuinely concerned man a brief but sincere hug. He

laughed and said, “You made my day, Honey.”

Once we got in the doors of the V. of A. Thrift Store, we checked carefully for the

“Colors of the Day” chart. I repeated them twice to Mom, since the color of orange

meant 50% off the price tags of that color, the color of green meant a whopping

75% off.

We spent over two hours searching for our own respective list of ‘clothing needs.’

Which for me usually includes dark and patterned shirts and jeans that are ‘not too

tight’ for my warehouse job. She was fascinated by the Halloween decorations, I had

to insist she had her ‘door and shelves covered with October décor.’ Once I had her

steered towards the relaxed pants and turtle necks part of the store, I could head off

into the misses and juniors areas.  I went back to her twice, to find her cart piled

high in clothes she WISHED she could wear. I loved the attitude coming from her,

really like her sparkling belief that she can still wear pants with belts and shirts

with buttons. We had to put the black pin striped suit she wanted to wear ‘to go to

meetings in’ back. I got her to go back one row over where the pants were elastic-

waisted and the shirts were pullovers.

This time I headed off to the Sundries department. It makes you think of a garage

sale or one of those big flea markets that are set up on fairgrounds. Twice I had to

stop people to ask first, for the frames area and then, for the photo albums area.

I found five albums for my grandkids’ photos, various covers and styles from a

big pile of these. I liked the ones I found for the girls, one with flowers, another

with a geometric design and the ones for the boys, one had a red ‘leather’ look

for my oldest, Skyler and another had a green ‘leather’ look for Landen. The

others will be ‘jazzed up’ like I do with dollar store albums, using stickers and

little bit of acrylic paint designs. So much money saved and I may have told you

this summer I printed out 700 photographs, dating back to Fall, 2013. Yikes!

Blogging has taken me away from my usual careful seasonally printing off the

pictures and individually separating them into 6 distinct albums. My grandies

have looked more into their past, then their recent happenings, when they go

to my four foot stack of photo albums, one for each season of their lives.

The other great find was a beautiful mahogany or cherry antique frame to put

my #86 Birthday Gift to my Mother in. I know how much she loves Autumn

leaves and found a beautiful branched photograph, with multiple leaves of

brilliant shades to place a male red cardinal on and the step below him, a

female yellow cardinal perched on a branch. I painted this in watercolors,

starting in early October. The frame was a ‘firm’ price, not one that will be

reduced by its tag, $3.99. What a bargain! I gave my Mom her gift early, since

we have plans for dinner Wednesday with my youngest brother and his wife,

then on Friday with my ‘older’ brother, just 18 months younger than I. (We

ran around in a ‘pack’ from childhood through high school, 3 born in 4 years.)

Here were Mom’s purchases in a list:

1. Four pairs of elastic waist pants,

*Pink ones made of denim material, brand new condition. Mom’s favorite color.

*Blue jeans, a nice dark denim with large, deep pockets. She acknowledged their

benefits by saying,

“Robin, I can put tissues and my keys in this pocket and the doggie bags in the

other one. Some may call them doggie doo doo bags… but I also put her treats

from my dinner in them, too.” (Not at the same time nor same bag, may I add!)

*Black soft cotton material pants with pockets. They may resemble sweat pants,

but she wears this style to bed and to answer the door in the morning.

* Black sturdier, some acrylic/polyester material pants that look ‘dressy’ and less

worn. Mom exclaimed about her next three purchases that would be worn with

these same pants,

“Robin, look at this beautiful jacket for the holidays, this red turtleneck and this

red cowl necked sweater! You will not believe how lucky I was at finding them!”

 

 

Here is the best part of the red plaid wool jacket labeled, Norton McNaughton,

with its black velvet color and such a Scottish printed plaid:

It was marked “99 cents” and happened to be a green tag, so take 75% off and

Mom paid only one quarter for this jacket, with its freshly dry cleaned tag attached.

 

The trip back home was short and sweet, we sipped our tea, (Mom’s) and coffee,

(mine) quite content to bask in our wonderful purchases. We stopped on the way

home to sit in the woods of Bradley Woods Park, looking at the busy squirrels, the

chirping birds and sun glowing colors of Autumn. I pulled out of my purse two

Milky Way bars and two little dark chocolate Hershey kisses. We felt like we were

almost in Heaven.

 

A flyer in Mom’s door had a religious message but I loved the

quote:

“The Clock

The clock of life is wound but once,

and no man has the power

to tell just when the hands will stop

at late or early hour.

To lose one’s wealth is sad indeed,

To lose one’s health is more.

To lose one’s soul is such a loss

That no one can restore.”

(Author Unknown, found on a religious tract)

 

*As far as I am concerned,

in this poem, the word,  “soul”

can mean our enthusiasm and

sometimes Grace. ~Robin E. O. Cochran

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Food Choices for Kids

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I have sometimes wandered away from my theme of witless dating,

but I stay strong in the area of relationships. With helpful

information on how to make healthy food choices, I hope to

inspire you to make some changes in your lives. This includes

any children that you are in communication with, neighbor’s

kids or your grandchildren. Every time you choose to change

something in your family’s diet, it can impact the guests

and friends of your children, too.

The facts that are here may startle you. I was shocked!

I had known our country, in particular, was having trouble

living longer, healthier lives but I did not know, to the

large extent, the numbers involved. Obesity has doubled in

children, ages 6-11 and tripled in teens, age 12-19.

These numbers, collected by the National Center for Health

Statistics are just unbelievable! The time period is from

1980 until 2010. By 2013, there have been a few reversals

in these numbers but not of significant amounts; yet.

Understanding food labels and the amount of news and media

coverage have helped this trend to start heading in the

right direction. I am pleased that Michelle Obama’s part

is playing a big impact, along with magazines that usually

feature articles with juicy and delicious foods that have

saturated fat and hydrogenated fat have also joined forces,

by including good and tasty alternatives.

Here are five ways to educate children to become more

‘savvy’ in the area of food choices.

1. Help your children (and yourself) visualize serving sizes.

Assemble products that you regularly include in your or their

diet. Examples of applesauce, oatmeal and cereals can be an

easy way to measure what is considered ‘regular’ portions.

When labels with nutrition information are looked at, it

helps to realize these are written for an adult’s size or a

2000 calorie adult diet.

Kids from four to eight, are about 2/3rds the size of an

adult. Teens should consume between 80-90% size of the adult

amounts.

Measure out single servings. This will take your cell phone’s

calculator and/or paper to figure out! Serving sizes of bars

of candy and little pints of ice cream can sometimes be based

on only a portion of the actual whole content!

2. Help your child to check out the details. These are in the

little fine print on the label. When there is a long list of

names of ingredients that you don’t even recognize, this food

item may not be healthy! Artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners,

high-fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated anything

should signal this food product is of lower nutritional value.

Making this process a game rather than a ‘lecture’ will help

to interact and make this meaningful. Ingredients which you

cannot pronounce often mean, ‘lab-created, fake, food-like

items.’ This was a suggestion from a registered dietitian,

Tara Dellolacono-Thies.

Of course, going to natural food places, including farmer’s

markets, can be a wonderful fun activity for families. Point

out, there are usually no labels on foods that are actual

fruits, vegetables and homemade products, usually include

more natural ingredients.

Comparisons can be made while watching television, with

advertisements that may mislead people into thinking they

are ‘good for you.’ Any opportunity, including driving

down the road, on billboards, can open up discussions on

food choices. Asking, rather than telling, really helps in

these ‘off the cuff’ situations.

I remember, as a child, my parents really wanting us to stay

away from sugary cereals. We still considered it a ‘treat’ to

get ones like, “Sugar Crisp” or “Frosted Flakes.”

When I went away to college, I gorged on dumb things like,

“Captain Crunch” and “Count Chocula,” which came out in 1971.

Buying things, like Hostess products out of the dorm vending

machines, ostensibly to ‘help me study and stay awake,’ such

as “Twinkies,” “Ho Ho’s,” and those pink-colored, coconut

marshmallow iced chocolate balls, called, “Sno-balls” were

my downfalls.

When they talk about “Freshman 5 pound weight gains,” I had

probably ten pounds! I read recently of a famous person,

Maria Menounos, who gained 40 lbs. There is a photo of her,

in April’s “Ladies Home Journal,” that is unrecognizable!

3. Evaluate the numbers and figure out how that computes in your

child’s daily intake. Immediately, I think of salt and sugar

levels in foods, in this message! Discuss the listed numbers

noted for calories, fat, sugar, fiber and cholesterol.

I have been shocked how sugary items, including cereals, have

salt in them. Then, salty items like snacks, have tons of sugar

in them. When evaluating a packaged food for an elementary

school’s lunch box, aim for 175 calories or less per serving,

one gram or less of saturated fat, no trans fats, no more than

13 grams of sugars and no more than 210 milligrams of sodium

content. Try for at least 2 grams of fiber. These were also

suggested by the woman dietitian named, Tara D.-T. I usually

look for 5 grams’ fiber in my whole wheat or whole mixed grains

bread. I have found better cereals these days, particularly, in

the natural foods’ aisles.

4. Compare and contrast whenever you have a chance to do this.

No matter when you see food products, on television, in ads

and even on billboards, you have an opportunity to bring up the

subject of good food choices.

My grandchildren and I play that fun game of, “My father/

grandfather/mother or whomever, owns a grocery store and in it,

he/she sells something that starts with a __ (insert first letter)”

This has often been a way to find out where they find the item,

which is one of the many questions that you ask: “Can you find

it in the Meats’ department?” Once we discover from questions,

the product they were thinking of, I get an idea of their favorite

foods. Also, it gives me a moment to prosthelytize.

Under this category, Tara D-T. suggests looking for a high-percent

daily value of important growth vitamins, such as calcium, iron,

zinc and Vitamin D. These important nutrients, by the way, are

also important for all of us, during our aging process, to keep

our brains and bodies strong and healthy!

5. A plan of action should be to translate this knowledge into

good, healthy choices. Once you, your child and family have

become more adept and practiced in this area, you can be less

worried about the times you do ‘slip up,’ with a fast food meal

or a fun time at the movies, eating the popcorn with partially-

hydrogenated fat poured over it. Our Delaware Strand buys a

better product, made from Promise margarine. It isn’t nearly

as high in fat content.

Sorry, this is one of my big downfalls, along with donuts,

candy and ice cream! I have been unable to give up these and

simply, try to limit them.

The trend for teens to drink those high calorie pops, energy

drinks, with loads of caffeine, and flavored coffees, needs to

be addressed. I hope that if this seems to be common among

your teens’ friends or group, that you may wish to suggest some

limits to this. I would say, after my own experience of being

‘denied’ certain foods, that it is best not to boycott these

altogether. As parents you could instead suggest moderation.

Limiting to an extreme, I will remind all of you who were teen

‘rebels’ out there, causes the reverse action to be produced!

With time and practice, children will begin to include the power

of reading food labels before choosing foods. Teens may think

twice, as they stand in front of the vending machines at their

school, work or play centers. By understanding food labels,

the more kids know about what they are eating, the more often

they will choose healthier food choices.

I hope that this will be another way to start Spring, with a

renewal of your New Year’s resolutions to become healthier and

lead longer lives. This include all members of your family,

beginning with the little ones! They are much more open and

less resistant to changes and as mentioned, this can be an

interactive experience.

“Mom’s World”

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As we were getting on the elevator, Mom and I met a nice, attractive

elderly resident in the senior apartments. She was wearing a purple

pair of tennis shoes decorated with red flowers on them. She had a

lovely plum colored sweater and hat upon her head. Mom told her

she looked, “quite lovely today.”

The woman responded, “I just came from the Purple Hat Society

meeting down in the Pub.”

Mom smiled and nodded. She really understood that it was a fun

group of women, or seemed to.

Once the woman disembarked from the elevator, Mom turned to me,

in all seriousness,

“Why would someone join a group that only wore purple hats?”

She paused and rethought this question, coming back with another

question,

“Why would I need to belong to a society to wear my purple hat?”

This brought me to the point that I would like to tell you about, my

Mom’s time frame is more aimed towards the past, anything “new”

or more recently happening, is beginning to get lost in her foggy

brain. This was never more evident than after having a delicious and

lively meal with my son, his wife and their kids, my two brothers, my

youngest daughter, Mom and I at the table. We had a wide variety of

pies, thanks to my stopping at Cracker Barrel and purchasing four

delectable pies. I worked there for four years, over eight years ago.

When I could use my 40% discount, I would bring this many and not

even blink an eye at the bill. I have a side comment to the whole Mom

post, these pies had a low “price tag” of $8.49 each!! I ordered an

apple streusel pie, a pumpkin streusel pie, a regular pumpkin and a

pecan pie. All were the same good quality that I had observed being

made in the CB kitchen. (We got spoiled when I had the discount and

I could also, during summer seasons buy the Coca Cola chocolate cake

and the delicious Blackberry or Cherry Cobbler, too.)

Mom ate a slice of the pumpkin and the apple streusel pie, with a big

dollop (served by my son) of vanilla ice cream and a small scoop of

peppermint stick ice cream (served by my brother). She asked for some

whipped cream, too. She told us all,

“I don’t like peppermint stick ice cream but I try it every year, just in

case my taste buds have changed!”

When we got up to leave, shortly after dessert, we had had a lot of

discussions about politics, children (who were a diversion at times),

education (Trista is taking forensic science computer online classes)

and movies recently seen. We had covered a lot of topics, with Mom

putting her “2 cents in,” too.

Mom was able to help carry some leftovers to the car, while holding

her dog’s leash. When we crossed the street, driving in my car, back

to her apartment, only about 45 minutes had elapsed.

Mom, as she was getting out of the car, exclaimed,

“Robin! I am so glad you thought ahead to bringing all those pies to

the dinner, and am especially looking forward to trying some when

we get inside.”

I stopped, looking closely at her face to see if she were ‘pulling my

leg’ but she looked sincere.

I asked her,

“Mom, do you have room for more pie?”

She answered,

“I didn’t have any yet.”

I was saddened by this realization of how her short term memory is

really going fast…

Changing to some funnier things that happened while up at Mom’s.

She had us going to the grocery store, so I checked to see how many

rolls were in her walk-in closet. She had about twenty rolls left, with

her next chance to shop being in five days, with the seniors on the bus,

or with my brother in about 7-8 days.

On her list, she requested me to add ten more packages of four rolls

or the multiple packs with 10 in them, four of those= 40 more rolls

of toilet paper!

She follows me and we both look in the closet and tell her again, there

are 20 rolls left so that should last at least a week.

I give her the straight mathematical solution meaning you could go

through an average of 3 rolls a day!

Mom looks at me askance and says, “Robin, I go through 4 rolls a

day!”

I tell her that she has 64 pads that are needed to do the same job

she is talking about. (Thinking she is wadding the toilet paper into

her underwear, creating her own incontinence pads!)

But, “NO!” She replies back, “I will go through all 64 pads and 40

rolls of toilet paper.”

I stop worrying, thinking that someday my kids may have to be

patient with me. I would not want them giving me their own version

of a “reality check” over and over again. I look at her checkbook,

seeing that she and my brother bought a slew of stuff last week.

She gets a lot of the same items (like a little “hoarder!”)

I had written about the Depression and her favorite Christmas

memory earlier, posted it recently. I felt foolish for making my Mom

think about what she needed when, instead, I could easily treat her

like I used to do with my own children.

You can do this subtly, without the adult (or child) noticing. By

changing the subject while shopping, you can sometimes get the child

(or adult) to quit asking for the treat or toy. Or suggesting an alternative,

like,

“Instead of that toy, how about we buy a pack of bubbles to blow?”

or “Instead of that extra candy, why don’t we get some yogurt to eat?”

Which is how we made it out of the grocery store, without too many

“extra purchases!”

Here are the extras we did get:

We compromised and bought a ten pack of toilet paper.

We bought only a three pack of paper towels.

We bought six bags, combined, of Hershey dark chocolate kisses and

Reese’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups. (You know that the dark

chocolate allows you to eat unlimited amounts by it “cutting all the

cholesterol, fat and calories in 1/2,” Mom boasted.)

We bought a “special offer” double pack of Peanut butter, 16 oz. each.

We bought one box of Special K cereal.

We bought one package of Fig Newtons.

We bought two bottles of Sangria. (“The bus driver complains when

they have to carry heavy glass bottles!” Mom tells me.)

I remind her that my brother may be taking her next week.

Mom replies, (and this should cover all of the above with this blanket

statement!)

“You can never have too much wine!”