Extend the Life of a Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

Many prefer to buy a real Christmas tree before hand to allow plenty of time  to decorate and to have a house filled with wonderful, captivating aroma of pines without which it is hard to imagine real Christmas. Perhaps many of you who bought the tree in advance have come across number one problem, keeping it alive until Christmas day or longer. Let the problem be gone!

Today i am going to share with you the tricks that have been in my family for generations and which have been passed on to me by my grandparents, who have always managed to keep their tree alive for close to two months.

First, if you plan on storing the tree on the balcony or in the garage for a few weeks rap it in paper, old newspapers or advertisements that come in the mail from stores like Stater Bros. or Von’s, as long as they do not have the glare to them.

When buying a pine tree that was outside on the snow or cold weather in general do not rush to bring it straight into the house because from sudden temperature changes it will loose all its pine needles and you will have a bold tree. Unless you don’t mind spending  the night with a hot glue gun, gluing  the needles back onto the tree =) make sure to gradually bring it up to room temperature. A better idea would be bring the tree into a garage for a few hour and only then inside the house.

Secondly, the location chosen for a Christmas tree has to be away from any heat sources like heater or a fire place, hot air causes suffocation and dries the tree faster. Make sure  location picked out for the tree has a slight breeze of fresh air going through since it is necessary for the  tree to be able to breath, yes, breath or to do the whole gas exchange and photosynthesis process, I won’t go into details and bore you with biology lol.

Alright, so after spending countless hours and finally picking the perfect Christmas tree, bringing it home and warming it to a room temperature you can  proudly pat yourself on the back as you are half way to the finish line.

Thirdly, moments before putting the tree into water cut the end to renew the cut, this allows for a better absorption of water  by the specialized cells called xylem. Sometime old cuts might have the xylem’s or other cell walls closed, preventing food and water  entering the plant for rejuvenation.

Last and the most important step is the water used for the tree, it should not be cold or hot, the best solution is to let the water stand over night to reach room temperature and to allow harmful minerals  to dissipate out of the water. Another important factor is adding  one pill of aspirin, which plays a role of antiseptic, preventing bacterial or fungi growth and a pinch of salt with a spoon of sugar serving as food for the tree. Also, keep an eye on the water level to make sure it is always full and then the Christmas tree is guaranteed  to stand up to one month!


  • It is best to buy the tree two weeks before Christmas so that is last through New Years.
  • Do not decorate lower parts of the pine tree with tinsel as dogs and cats often chew on them.

Tuna Muffin Melts Recipe With Pictures

Tuna Muffin Melts

Tuna muffin Melts!

This particular recipe came to my attention from a friends husband who was thought by marine buddies of his. He told a story of how the used to make tuna muffin melts every morning while being on a ship away for service. One day after a small get together he made a breakfast treat for us and ever since then I recreate it very so often. It is easy, quick to make and soooo delicious! You will love Tuna Muffins! 🙂

Enough for 2 people

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10-15 minutes


  • 1 TUNA can in oil or water it doesn’t matter.
  • 1 or 2 tbl spoons of MAYONEZ
  • 1 med size pickle PICKLES


  • #1 Drain a can of tuna and drop it in a mixing bowl.
  • #2 Chop the pickles up in cubes, looking to have pickles: 1 tuna ratio. Try adding onions, I just did not have any. Combine chopped pickles with tuna.
  • #3 Add a few table spoons if mayo -/+ depending in your preference, salt, pepper combine the mixture.
  • #4 No muffins in my pantry so bread will do 😉 Toast the bread lightly on both sides and spread the tuna mixture on top. Lay the cheese out so it covers the whole toast and pop it into a toaster oven or a regular oven for until the cheese melts : -)

Oven: 375 preheat and let it cook for about 7-10 minutes depending on the cheese and many other factors.

Toaster oven: 400 preheat cook for 10-15 minutes. Bone appetite!

Salmon Fillet Recipes With Pictures



  • piece of BUTTER
  • S&P
  • Dry or fresh HERBS any kind will work
  • Foil
  • Paper towel

Makes one serving.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15minutes

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees


  • #1 Apply butter to foil so the skin side doesn’t stick to it, unless non stick foil is used 😉
  • #2 Salmon needs to be wash and patted dry with paper towel.
  • #3 Season with salt, pepper, paprika and herbs to taste on both sides. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice and decorate with sliced garlic and lemon.
  • #4 Fold every sides so the salmon steams inside in its own oils (salmon is known as a fatty fish with lots of natural oil so no need to add more) and place it in a baking dish. Set the timer to 10-20 minutes, depending on the thickness and the size of the salmon fillet. The rule of thumb is 10 minutes for 1 centimeter of thickness.


  • Olive, sesame seed or grape oils can be drizzled over the fish to add to taste but not necessary.
  • Also try adding a tiny bit of soy sauce or fish sauce that can be purchased at any Asian specialty store. Play around with different ingredients in your house!

Make Simple Pancakes With Pictures


Thin and Fluffy Pancakes


–    1   Cups of WHITE FLOUR. Use any kind. I mix 1 1/4 of white and 1/4 whole wheat

–    2 Cups of MILK. Preferably room temperature if not, then warm the milk up a bit.

–    1 Large EGG, depending on what consistency you want the pancakes to be more eggs can be added. Play around 🙂

–    Pinch of Non-Iodized SALT

–    1 Tea spoon of VANILLA EXTRACT

–    1 Table spoon of OIL Any kind will do, please do not use butter or margarine!

–    1 Tea spoon of BAKING POWDER. Or baking soda as a substitute.

–    1 Table spoon of BROWN SUGAR. White sugar or powdered will do just fine.


  • Separate whites from the yokes and place them into two different mixing bowls; put the bowl with an egg whites in a fridge. Add salt, sugar and a little bit of milk to the yolks, mix it lightly (10 sec) with an egg beater or a whisk. Pour the rest of the milk and vanilla sub into the egg mixture, mix until foam appears.  Using a sifter, sift the flour in gradually and mix everything thoroughly.
  • Take the whites out of the fridge, add baking powder and oil. Mix until white and fluffy, about 2 mutes. Pour egg white mixture into the other bowl and mix for approximately 4-5 min.
  • Heat the skillet up and add oil, I prefer using lard. Pour a small pancake to test the heat, as each pan will be different. Turn the heat down to med-high or med and keep it there thought out cooking. Smother/ brush each pancake with butter or lard as it comes of the pan to keep it soft.

Make sure to keep it the plate with pancakes covered with a towel and foil underneath, which will not only keep them warm but will make them sweat you will taste the difference with each bite when the pancakes melt in your mouth!


  • Sprinkle a mix or confectioner sugar and cinnamon on top of a pancakes before serving.
  • Garnish pancakes with fresh fruits, whipped cream, ice cream, chocolate, jam play around with this, anything will work!

Add Nesquick or real cocoa powder to turn vanilla pancakes to chocolate once! Kinds love chocolate anything and so do i! 🙂 ENJOY

Fun Sandwiches for Kids


Children are hesitant to eat sandwiches with vegetables they don’t like so here is an easy way to trick them into eating their daily source of vitamins. All you have to do is drive their attention away from the usual shape or form of the hated vegetable by shaping it into something else. This way the visual association brakes down the mental and diminishes predictive hatred towards greens.

Surprise your child with a fun sandwich and make an ordinary lunch into a beautiful piece of art and he/she will stop bringing their lunch back home, you will see! 🙂

This is a fun breakfast sandwich idea not only for kids but also for adults and it is very easy to make. All you need is cheese, eggs, bacon, ketchup and bread. Full recipe can be seen on Babble.

Take a look at this adorable rabbit that is made from ham, cheese, olives, carrots, peace and some dill. This fun sandwich recipe can be found in a step-by-step recipe on Edible Crafts Online.

I would call this one happy feet 🙂 because seeing this yummy, sweet sandwich makes my mouth  water, all is missing is a glass of milk. A complete recipe can be found also at Babble.

The bottom two are by far my favorites, Smita is the author and the mastermind behind the Little Food Junction blog who has an amazing fantasy, she even took first place at the Artsy-Craftsy Challenge. Woohoo, go Smita! If you click on the link there are more creative ideas and pictures of fun sandwiches for kinds. Enjoy! 🙂

How to Use Incense Cones

Incense Cones

Incense cones can be used as an air freshener, combined in aroma therapy practice, yoga, meditation or just as an atmosphere setter. That is a unique characteristic of incense as a whole; they can be used for relaxation as well as energizing.

A great way to refresh a house before any occasion, make sure to close all doors & windows while the incense does the work. Wait 30 minutes and wooallah, every room is breathtaking!


Incense cones

Tray burner



#1 All specialty stores usually carry cone tray burners that can be purchased for under $20.In case no special burner is available or the store is closed and the cones have been collecting dust on the table, not to worry. Use a shallow, metal or ceramic bowl at least four inches in diameter, to allow proper air circulation which will prevent cones going out mid way.

#2 Add sand to the tray burner and flatten it out by moving it side-to-side.

#3 Place the cone in the middle of a heat proof container pointing straight up.

#4 Using a lighter, matches or a candle, light the tip of the cone. Containers can get very hot; make sure the burner is on a heat insulated surface and not glass or wood table top.

#5 Wait 5-10 seconds to let the flame burn the tip just a little bit. To start the smudging process, lightly blow the flame out, so the ashes don’t blow away. Feather or a piece of paper both can be gently fanned to extinguish the fire. Red glow will start showing through the tip of burned ash and smoke will be lifting of the top of the cone, twirling in the air while releasing the pleasant fragrance of fine oils.


Caution, do not use aluminum or copper bowls as they contain traces of toxic elements! Never leave cones burning unattended. Many dangerous things are waiting to happen especially if small children, cat or dogs are present in the house; wind is another strong factor of accidents.


When the cone had burned all the way through, leave it to cool of till the next day or for a few hours if need to be used again. Before disposing the remains of the cone make sure the burner and ashes are not hot to the touch. Do not necessarily touch them; just hover the hands over to feel the heat. If the cone keeps going out there might be a few reasons why: not all cones are made of equal quality, the cones might have been exposed to moisture or burner is not allowing enough oxygen to keep the cone smudging.

Storing tip: Keep cones in a cool, dry, dark place.  This can be an airtight container or a wooden box, glass jar, even some plastic containers will work as long as it has tightly sealed lid.

Prepare Fresh Fruit Salad With Pictures


This is my all time favorite recipe for any occasion! Having a BBQ with a few friends, no problem this salad will go great as an appetizer on a hot summer day or serve it as a desert with some yogurt added. Or make it a fun day at a local farm picking fruit with your kids and later on have them help you make the salad.

The best thing about this recipe is that you cannot make it wrong! Add more or less fruit depending on your liking. Any fruits available will do. I often use: Grapes, cherries, mangoes, apricots, plums, cantaloupe, pineapple, peaches, berries of any sort, even canned fruits will do.

This recipe makes enough to fill up a 3 qt bowl and will feed about 4-5 people.


Watermelon, only one disc was used.

Apple (1)

Pear (1)

Strawberries (5-6)

Banana (2)

Kiwi (1)


  • #1 Gather all the fruits and give them a good rinse.
  • #2 Peel and pit apple, pear and kiwis and shop them up in cubes of any size you like 😉 Place in a mixing bowl.
  • #3 Discard the skin of bananas and cut them in rings.
  • #4 Cut the end of strawberries and chop them in cubes as well. Add to the rest of the fruits.
  • #5 Slice the watermelon in half, get the seeds out if not seedless, cut a small disk and lay it flat on the cutting board. Cut the skin of the slice in a circle and chop up in bite size pieces.
  • #6 Combine all the ingredients, mix well, and make sure not to squash the fruit. Leave it in a fridge for an hour to let the flavors combine and you are DONE!


  • To keep the salad from turning brown squeeze a few drops of lemon juice on top. Bananas usually turn brown very quickly, so if you plan on eating in a day or two add bananas right before serving.
  • Be as creative as you can: add regular or flavored yogurt with some nuts or get strawberry dressing from any groceries store, ice cream with some chocolate shell to pore over the top is always great too!
  • Try adding brown sugar or honey if there is not enough sweet fruits in the salad or if the fruits are out of season.
  • If your goal is to lose weight try staying away from: canned fruits, bananas and dates (50g). They are all pack with over 100 calories per piece!

Make a Paper Christmas Tree


Wanna spruce up an ordinary boring night and make something fun? It is very easy, here is what you need: a couple of good friends, paper, preferably green, scissors, scotch tape or glue dots, a piece of wire (an old metal hanger works well) a few beers and a CD with Christmas songs to keep the spirit going lol =) Although by now you are probably tired of hearing Christmas songs as they accompany you on every corner, in that case any good music or a movie will work!

Let’s get Started.

  • #1 Draw two circles on construction paper using a bowl and a cup, divide the circle in half, then in quarters and each quarter into three sections. Total of 12 sections. Make sure to cut the next circle a bit smaller than the previous one and reduce the number of sections every so often so that the tree takes a shape of a triangle.


  • #2 Cut the circle out and slit each section to where the small circle begins.


  • #3 Bring the corners towards you and fold one end over the other. Using glue dots from the inside glue the ends together.


  • #4 Repeat until it resembles a star and flip it over.


  • #5 Use a needle, a bobby pin or a toothpick to poke a hole in the center. It is better to stick a peace of tape on the inside so that the paper wont tear when the hole is punched ;


  • #6 Fold one end of the wire into a loop so that it may stand up.


  • #7 Slip each star on the wire to form a Christmas tree.


– Try using different colored paper, for example make three Christmas trees. The biggest one from a green paper, middle one from red paper and the smallest one can be white.

Combat Stress with These Five Effective Meditation and Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation Techniques

You have no doubt heard about mediation. Perhaps you thought it was only for reclusive monks high up in the Himalayas, or maybe you figured you don’t have any time to incorporate it into your frantic life. Whatever you thought about meditation before, it is time to reassess this increasingly popular stress-relieving and relaxing practice.

Stress is unavoidable in everyday life, and some of us suffer more than others. Too much stress can have devastating effects on our long-term health. There are many scientific reasons to begin practicing meditation, of which the ability to wipe away the day’s stress is but one.

There are several meditation and relaxation techniques available; from rhythmic exercises to deep breathing. The trick is to choose one or two that fits in nicely with your lifestyle and practice them regularly. Before long you will begin to feel that “inner peace” that followers of Buddhism like to rave about.

Deep Breathing

In stressful situations, our body’s automatic reaction causes breathing to become shallow and rapid. When that happens, the supply of air to cells in our body is lessened and in turn, triggers a greater stress response. The antidote to this stress response is deep, slow breathing. This technique is one of the easiest to learn and the most convenient to do.

Deep breathing is the foundation for many relaxation exercises and, you can practice it just about anywhere: At the office, in a park, or while lying in bed. All you need is a quiet, comfortable spot.

Place a hand on your stomach, just below the rib cage, breath in slowly and deliberately through your nose feeling the rising of your stomach and the expansion of your rib cage. Then, exhale slowly through your mouth, emptying your lungs completely. Repeat this process for several minutes until you feel the relaxation kicking in.

The deep breathing technique can be practiced multiple times per day to keep your body in a positively stress-free state.


Meditation first became popular in Asia after the Buddha began teaching, and practicing, the ancient art of mind-body connection. In recent years, however, there has been growing interest in meditation in the Western world. Thanks in large part to a growing number of positive scientific studies, more people are taking up meditation in an effort to combat stress and improve their wellbeing.

Meditation works by focusing attention and diffusing streams of thought. With practice and experience, you will ultimately be able to change how you react to thoughts and emotions; thus gaining the ability to control the effects of stress on your body.

Some added benefits of regular meditation include anxiety reduction, relief from pain associated with chronic illnesses, and better sleep.

There are two foundational types of meditation – concentrative and mindfulness. From these two types sprout numerous other forms including transcendental meditation, awareness meditation, and vipassana meditation. Some forms are more advanced than others and may or may not require you to sit in the lotus style for hours on end.

If you are an amateur mediator it’s probably best to start out lightly and work your way up the levels of mediation to suit your comfort levels and, of course, lifestyle.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)

While mediation deals with the mental side of stress, PMR addresses the physical side. Developed by American physician Edmund Jacobson, this technique aims to relieve the muscular tension that accompanies stress. Jacobson figured that the negative feelings of stress could be combated by learning how to relax and relieve muscular tensions.

It is not as difficult as it sounds. The basic premise is to alternately tense and relax your muscles in a concentrated and deliberate fashion. Deep breathing is also a key feature of this relaxation technique and you can practice in any quiet comfortable location, and by either sitting or laying down

Once in a comfortable position, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Then, begin at the top of your body and work your way down, tensing and releasing each muscle group as you go. So, for example, with the head area, you would squeeze your eyes tightly together, tense you jaw and lip muscles for several seconds, then release and breath and relax the muscles.

Move on to the shoulders, arms, back etc. If you don’t have a lot of time you can do one or two muscle groups at a time.

Yoga Tai Chi

Yoga and tai chi are both forms of movement meditation. Their health benefits and ability to alleviate stress is clear and conclusive. Yoga requires a little more effort than tai chi, but for most people, once they get the hang of it, yoga becomes a great way to combine exercise with stretching and stress-relieving meditation.

Tai chi is great for people of all ages. The slow, flowing body movements emphasize concentration and conscious circulation of energy throughout the body. Tai chi has its roots in martial arts, but today it is used as a non-competitive practice of calming the mind, reducing stress, and conditioning the body.

To begin with, you will probably benefit from a professional guide: an instructor at your local gym or a video. However, once you understand the basics you can begin practicing either of these techniques on your own.

Yoga Tai Chi

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy really needs no introduction. Most people are aware of the relaxation and stress-relieving power of a professional massage. In fact, even a non-professional massage from a partner or a friend can do wonders for bringing down those stress levels. A massage can help to ease muscle tension, relieve pain, and alleviate insomnia.

If you thought you couldn’t get the benefits of massage because you don’t have the time or money to get regular professional massages, you would be wrong. Self-massage can also yield much of the same results, is free, and can be done at your convenience.

Of course, you can’t give yourself an all-over, full body massage, but you can easily massage your shoulder, face, and legs while sitting at your desk, relaxing on the couch, or in bed. Combine self-massage with deep breathing or meditation and you can truly rid your body of stress and enter an otherworldly state of relaxation.

Inexpensive Effective Home Remedies for Cellulite


If you want to reduce the appearance of cellulite but don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on lasers and high-tech creams (that may not be so effective anyway), we’ve got you covered with these home remedies for cellulite. There’s plenty you can do on your own to look better and increase your body confidence.

Some basic things include staying out of the sun (as UV rays damage collagen, making cellulite more noticeable), not smoking (as smoking not only floods your body with toxins, it also damages collagen), exercising (which improves blood flow and helps tighten the body for a sleeker look) and eating an anti-cellulite diet (which you can read more about here.)

Other things you can do include using natural and inexpensive ingredients. Here are four of the most effective home remedies for cellulite.

Homemade Coffee Scrubs to Stop Cellulite

Have you ever wondered what to do you with your used coffee grounds? Now you have an answer – use it to combat cellulite!

Coffee is a common ingredient of cellulite creams and lotions due to its high caffeine concentration. You may know that caffeine can dehydrate you; well, it does the same with cells, too. When it’s in contact with cellulite, it actually draws water out of those cells temporarily, making them shrink and making your skin look smoother and less dimpled.

Coffee body scrubs won’t actually make your cellulite go away, but they can make it look a lot better, especially if you use a caffeine treatment regularly. Here are some recipes for homemade scrubs that are inexpensive and will do the trick.

Simplest Coffee Body Scrub

¼ cup of coffee grounds

3 tbsp. olive oil

Coffee and Coconut Body Scrub

Here you get the benefits of coffee plus the amazing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of coconut oil as well.

¼ cup of coffee grounds

3 tbsp. sugar

3 tbsp. coconut oil

Mix together (you may need to warm up the coconut oil if it’s solid) and scrub on the body, focusing on cellulite-prone areas. Leave the coffee mixture in contact with the problem areas for at least a few minutes, then rinse off.

Dry Skin Brushing

This home remedy for fighting cellulite takes just a few minutes every day and one inexpensive tool. That tool is the dry skin brush.

Dry skin brushing is what it sounds like: brushing the skin while it’s dry (as opposed to wet in the shower or bath). It improves circulation by getting blood flowing and it revs up the lymphatic system, helping your body in its natural detoxifying process. Many people believe that cellulite accumulates due to a buildup of toxins in the body, so ridding the body of toxins may help.

Find a dry skin brush online or from many beauty stores; you can get a good one for under $10. Start at your feet and brush in short, firm strokes upwards towards your heart, moving up through the calves, thighs, stomach, buttocks, and back. Focus on areas with cellulite to break up the fatty deposits that give that characteristic “orange peel” look. Once you reach your heart, start on your arms, working from the hands in towards your shoulders. It takes just a few minutes but will leave you feeling invigorated and your skin smooth.

You’ll get the best results if you do this on dry skin, so don’t put on oils or lotions first. It’s a great morning habit to get into, especially before exercising or showering, and it takes just a few minutes.

Detoxifying Baths

If you believe in the toxin theory of cellulite, then you’ll definitely want to take a couple detoxifying baths every month. The great part is that a detox bath recipe can be really personal, incorporating your favorite essential oils for their fragrance or health properties. Here are two basic recipes:

Salt Detox Bath Recipe

¼ cup apple cider vinegar OR baking soda

¼ cup of Sea salt

¼ cup of Epsom salt

essential oils (as desired)

Add each ingredient separately into your bath and relax for at least 15 minutes.

How does the salt work to detoxify? It’s believed that the different concentrations of minerals inside and outside your body cause reverse osmosis, where salts come out of your body into the bathwater, bringing heavy metals and other toxins along with them. At the same time, the minerals in the salts and the vinegar, like magnesium and potassium, nourish your skin.

Essential oils believed to be especially helpful for detoxifying the body include juniper oil, peppermint oil, laurel oil, and mandarin oil.

Seaweed-Salt Detox Bath Recipe

½ cup Seaweed Powder (you can order online or find in a health food store)

½ cup Sea Salt

essential oils (as desired)

Seaweed is valued as a cellulite fighter because it contains iodine, which helps raise the metabolism and burn more fat, and other minerals that improve lymph and blood flow.

Seaweed Salt

Self Massage

Massage focusing on your thighs, buttocks, and other areas with cellulite increases blood flow, helping detoxify and letting your body heal. By using certain techniques that target the fatty deposits beneath the skin, you can “spread out” the fat cells, so they don’t bulge together through the skin.

It’s as simple as grabbing some high-quality oil (good oils for cellulite massage include coconut, almond, and olive) and taking 5-10 minutes for a self-massage. One massage technique involves pinching and squeezing the sections of skin where cellulite is noticeable. Another uses a hand-wringing motion to physically break up the fat under the skin.

As with the detox bath, you can add essential oils to your base massage oil to customize it. In addition to the detoxifying essential oils listed above, consider adding some that help with circulation and blood flow, like eucalyptus and black pepper.