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Archive for August, 2011

Assertiveness – Building your Interpersonal Skills

Posted by Angelica on August - 31 - 2011

Quote of the day

The best defense against atrocious government is an assertive citizenry. – William F. Buckley, Jr.

 

The term assertive is defined in the Oxford Advanced Learners dictionary as “expressing opinions or desires strongly and with confidence, so that people take notice”. Communicating assertively is becoming one of the growing skills that is being learnt & thought in many developing nations. It’s a cognitive behavioral skill that has proven to help express messages across in an effective and affirmative way. Take the test on Mtstcil.org to see how assertive you are.

 

What is Assertiveness?

It’s being able to say “no” politely without feeling guilty about it because you genuinely didn’t have the time to help out. Assertiveness is a balance between submissive & aggressive to a request or question that comes up. It’s particularly important to have a clear assertiveness when disagreeing, confrontation, rejecting, requesting help, accept constructive feedback or standing up for your rights if you’ve been treated unfairly or unreasonably while maintaining a good relationship with the other party. Behaving assertively is not about overriding or offending others but rather about speaking out clearly and effectively.

 

The main characteristics of assertiveness

  1. Expressing yourself confidently & positively so that your message gets through effectively.
  2. Speaking directly or honestly rather than hinting or presuming other will make out your meaning. This encourages other to be open as well as they tend to respect your sincerity.
  3. Giving respect to others while representing your views while avoiding offensive behavior.
  4. Communicating distinctively to be heard & understood.
  5. Behaving openly & relaxed, keeping eye contact, proper respectful tone, participating rather than dominating, calm hand gestures, little blinking, smiling & laughing appropriately & using a neutral tone.
  6. Controlling emotions by remaining calm & confident so opinions & view and stated openly & effective.
  7. Benefits everyone who’s interacting with the assertive person by feeling good about the encounter & shares opinion with respect, won’t waste your time, points are clear, decision can be made thoroughly.
  8. Avoid judgments or exaggerations

 

Benefits of being assertive

  • Get what you want since you speak up and other will know your interest
  • Gain respect as you stick up for your rights, and have strong believes
  • Reduce stress as problems are easier to manage & and resolve
  • Solve problems efficiently as communication is clear and it’s easier to identify possible solutions
  • Improves productivity as a positive environment is created
  • Develops open & honest relationship & builds relationship based on mutual respect

Distinguishing assertiveness, aggressiveness & passiveness

 

Distinguishing assertiveness & aggressiveness

Below are the characteristics of aggressiveness that should not be perplexed with assertiveness:

  • Interrupts oftencharacteristics of aggressiveness
  • Rude & Inconsiderate
  • Glares & stares offensively
  • Crosses arms
  • Invades personal space
  • Speaks loudly for no reason
  • Gives an angry/annoyed facial expression
  • Manipulates or gossips to other to get their points across
  • Has an intimidating or dominating behavior
  • Often portrays a rigid posture, clenched jaw, sarcastic smile, feet’s up, a loud or harsh tone

     

Distinguishing Passiveness from assertiveness

Below are the characteristics of a passive person who fails to assert their thoughts:

  • Speak softly or doesn’t speak out at all
  • Doesn’t contribute much
  • Doesn’t observe eye contact
  • Accepts being pushed around
  • Avoid confrontation or embarrassment but feel frustrated in the long-run
  • Evasive, uncertain & indecisive
  • Doesn’t say no even when uncomfortable agreeing
  • Is Indirect & submissive
  • Shrugs, smiles nervously, hesitates, and depicts a slouching body language

characteristics of a passive personpassive person

 

How to ask for a raise or promotion

Here’s a step-by-step guidance on how to request for a pay raise by using the characteristics of assertiveness as mentioned in the top part of the article:

Step 1: Find out the Industry standard (applies rule #8)

Step 2: Conduct due diligence of your company to see if they can afford your raise or promotion (applies rule #3/7)

Step 3: Prepare yourself well by listing down & quantifying your accomplishment, skills, or improvements that you’ve shown in your employment (applies rule #1/2/4)

Step 4: Schedule a face to face session with your manager to show that you’re serious. This also gives the opportunity to apply confident body languages (applies rule #5)

Step 5: Have a plan B if your request gets turned down. You might decide to gracefully accept the rejection of continue to present other supporting documents like the industry pay scale or achievement which contributed to the departments or company’s growth or success (applies rule #6)

*Tip: Use “I” statement to take ownership of your request e.g.: “I think”, “I believe”, or “I deserve”.

 

How to be respectful when communicating

  • Start with positive statement before going confrontational
  • Show respect to positions or point of view and don’t belittle others approach
  • Present opinion/view in a neutral way without being harsh

 

What if assertiveness doesn’t work?

  1. Repeat to ensure understanding of the other party and give a second chance.
  2. Rephrase your statement as directive/commanding so the listener responds to your request.
  3. Add emotions to show your seriousness e.g.: “I truly hope you understand why I can’t present your case”.
  4. Communicating the consequences (not threat) if listener still doesn’t respond and then implementing when everything else fails.

 

How to Sleep Well

Posted by Angelica on August - 25 - 2011

Quote of the day

There is only one thing people like that is good for them; a good night’s sleep” – “Edgar Watson Howe”

A human spends almost 1/3 of their lives sleeping and this should already tell you why a proper sleep is imperative more than anything else. Studies show that those who sleep between 6 to 9 hours live the longest. This has been proven to be the ideal and optimal sleeping period which is needed by a person.

 

Why is a proper night of sleep important?

Everyone out there at one point or another would have gone through the sleepless nights when the body so badly needs its rest, but somehow the mind doesn’t stop functioning. Dozing off at this point of time might seem like the most impossible thing to do. It’s like someone telling you “Don’t think of pink elephants” and what’s the first thing that appears in your thought? Click the link below that directs you to the alertness test. This illustrates on how well you’ve rested for the day.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/sleep/sheep/

Contrary to this, some other people find that they sleep more than they should be. The cause of oversleeping is mainly due to the lack of sleep itself and other reasons such as disorientated sleeping patterns, habits, stress, or other medical conditions such as diabetes or heart diseases.

Anything more than 9 hours in a day leads to oversleeping which is linked to medical problems such as diabetes, obesity, back pain, heart disease, depression, and increased risk of death. Anything less than 6 hours in a day leads to sleep deprivation which is linked to even more problems such as fatigue, daytime sleepiness; clumsiness, weight loss/gain, trouble focusing, and it affects the brain & cognitive functions. Long-term total sleep deprivation can also cause death.

 

Sleepiness

 

The quality of your sleep directly affects the quality of your waking life, including your mental sharpness, productivity, emotional balance, creativity, physical vitality, and weight. Proper sleep is the most effortless activity which gives you this many benefits and a quality life.

 

The Sleep Cycle – the stages of sleep

There are two types of sleep which is Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) known as quiet sleep and Rapid Eye Movement (REM) known as active sleep. Below are the stages of sleep that takes place when a person hits the bed. The stages below are not necessarily in the order of 1-5.

 

Stages of sleep

The Secrets to a Good Nights’ sleep

Sleeping

 

  • Make sleep a priority
  • Aim for 8 hours of sleep every night
  • Maintain regular sleep schedule, even on weekends
  • Establish relaxing bedtime rituals such as reading, or having a warm bath
  • Make sure not to go to sleep when you’re angry
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, & alcohol in the evenings
  • Try to stay away from long naps of more than 2 hours during the day
  • Make your bedroom as dark as possible and avoid distraction of TV/Laptops
  • Listen to relaxing music’s like light Jazz, meditative music, classical piano, spa tunes, etc
  • Keep a miniature fountain by the bed. Flowing water sends relaxing signal to your brains
  • Try breathing techniques from Livestrong.com to help promote sleep
  • Stop working at least 1 hour before bedtime. Your brains need to calm down and relax to be able to fall asleep fast
  • Exercise during the early parts of the day to tire the muscles. This will result in easier dozing off at night as the body would automatically crave for its rest
  • If you don’t fall asleep within 15-30mins upon hitting the bed, get up and do some light activities like reading or listening to music until you feel sleepy again
  • Write down worrying thoughts in a piece of paper which you can review the next morning. Never go to bed with any bothering thoughts in your head.
  • Try warm milk with honey. It has proven to relax your mind and promote better sleep
  • Shop for a good eye mask & ear plugs if the bedroom seems bright or if you have a noisy neighborhood/ partner
  • Invest in a good pillow that helps promote sleep. Check out SleepingPillow.org for more tips on choosing the right pillow.

 

Herbal Remedies to Promote Sleep

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile Tea – sometimes referred to as pineapple weed, it helps to calm the nerves & soothes stomach. Taken in a hot tea form.

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) – it’s a mild sedative herb that has been reported to help patients with insomnia & sleeping disorders. Its best taken in capsule form due to its strong smell.

PassionFlower (Passiflora incarnate) – safe sedative particularly helpful for insomnia caused by anxiety, worry or an overactive mind. Taken in capsule/ extract form

Kava root extract capsules (Piper methysticum) – a sedative that produces mild euphoria & works as muscle relaxer. Best to be taken in capsule form due to its pungent smell & taste

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) – Traditionally used to reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, improve appetite, and ease pain & discomfort from indigestion. Works better when combined with other herbs like valerian.

Try lemon balm as a topical use as the smell is believed to promote relaxation

Ashwagandha
(Withania somnifera) – also known as winter Cherry or Indian Ginseng, this herb carries a Latin name that literally means “sleep inducer”. It has tranquilizing effect that relieves anxiety, increases resistance to stress, uplifts mood and relaxes muscles. It’s taken as a supplement capsule form.

Other herbal products to aid sleep

 

What you need to know before purchasing herbal products:

  • Research if your herbal product can interact with other medications, food or medical conditions.
  • Talk to your doctor before trying an alternative approach and be sure to tell all your doctors what alternative treatments you are using.
  • If you experience side effects such as nausea, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, diarrhea or skin rashes, stop taking the herbal product and notify your doctor immediately.
  • Avoid preparations made with more than one herb unless it has been researched before & proven effective.
  • Beware of commercial claims of what herbal products can do. Look for scientific-based sources of information.
  • Select brands carefully. Only purchase brands that list the herb’s common and scientific name, the name and address of the manufacturer, a batch and lot number, expiration date, clear dosage guidelines and potential side effects.

 

Top 10 Outdoor Couples Activity

Posted by Angelica on August - 16 - 2011

Quote of the day

“Ideally, couples need three lives; one for him, one for her and one for them together” – Jacqueline Bisset

 

Its weekend soon and you’re still empty on plans? Staying home again for the weekend might just make it past even faster than you thought and before you know it, Monday blues hit you hard and you’ll be regretting why you didn’t spend the precious time with your loved one strengthening your bond. If you come from a huge family (brothers, sisters, in-laws, grandma, grandpa, nieces, nephews, maid…etc) , this is the time you get to go out; just the two of you and spend that quality time you need while discovering each other in a whole lot of ways.

 

  1. Join Classes

    This is a great way to start a routine together. Pick a favorite mutual activity(Gym, dancing, cooking, arts, music, photography, sports, etc), find a place near your home that offers great classes of your choice, decide on your budget and you’ve established a ritual together at least once a month of learning a new skill together. Make sure not to dominate or convince the other party to say yes to your choice. The goal is to spend quality time together while having lots of fun.

     

    Dancing Class

     

  2. Go for a Romantic dinner

    Romantic dinners can be arranged at any point of the year without needing an occasion as an excuse. On a schedule where both of you are free, make reservations at nice ambience restaurants which you and your partner can get all dressed up and attend. Try restaurants that offer candle light dinner, with relaxing music and tranquility. You can share your feelings and have a good chat about your future plans. Some of the best spots to choose would be by the beach, a place with picturesque scenery, away from the hustle & bustle of the city, or a splurging fine dining where you pay for the ambience.

     

  3. Watch a nice movie in the cinema

    This is one of the most regular things you could do as a couple. Going for the movies usually kindles back the feeling of youthfulness like when you first started dating. Get popcorns, and drinks for sharing and hit the cold & dark cinemas where you get to cuddle each other tightly while enjoying a new blockbuster. Checkout MovieWeb.com for latest/popular movie releases.

     

    Movie at theater

     

  4. Volunteer

    The benefits of volunteering are endless and even more if you do it as a couple. Some of the benefits as include making a positive change for your community, connecting with other, boosting your career, giving a meaning of fulfillment to your life and definitely having lots of fun while doing it. There are many ways you can give to your community and this gives the flexibility to choose to volunteer in the area that interest you most e.g home for elderly/the disabled, zoo, pets shelter..etc. See Wikipedia listing on the different types of volunteering available.

     

  5. Couples Massage/Spa

    Many Spa/Beauty parlors these days offer a wide variety of package for couples to pamper themselves together. Packages are designed to be shared with the significant other and it’s a great time to bond which indulging side-by-side. Some luxury spa’s will provide special features such as shower room, Jacuzzis, dual soaking tubs, or even champagne & strawberry’s.

     

    Couples Massage

     

  6. Travel

    People and couples especially often get nervous when you mention the word travel as it’s usually linked to luxurious holidays with lots of planning, spending & time involved. I would say that this is highly misinterpreted or probably the worst excuse to give. You don’t have to journey a few thousand miles to call it travelling. Try organizing trip to a neighboring state or country which usually has so much more to offer than you think. Take a slow drive together instead of traveling by plane. The adventure is much more rewarding and satisfying and usually doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket. If budget allows, plan to visit the famous “love countries” like Paris, Venice, Bali or the Caribbean’s.

     

  7. Adventurous trips

    If both of you are into outdoor adventures, try arranging trips like hiking, jungle trekking, white water rafting diving, horse riding by the beach or bungee jumping. Outdoor trips bring you closer to Mother Nature and you get to admire the best of what the environment has to offer such as mountains, beaches, streams, rivers, marine life, flora & fauna.

     

    Bungee Jumping as a couple

     

  8. Watch the sunset/star gazing trip

    Do some research on the best places of hangout with great sunset view or star gazing sights, and take a drive there during evenings. Watching the sunset/star gazing while cuddling with each other in pure serenity can be one of the most peaceful and harmonious way of acquainting.

     

  9. Attend concerts/ plays

    Lookout in the entertainment section of newspapers, magazines or media announcements for details on the current happenings at your place. Some of the renowned events which you could attend together depending on preference are celebrity concerts, theatres, rave parties, sports, musicals, dances, talks, parades or festivals.

     

    Concert

     

  10. Attend wedding parties, birthday parties or other social events

    Social events are a great place to go as a couple as you get to meet other couples, friends, family and enables networking. In the event you’re planning your big-day soon, attend wedding parties to get lots of ideas on how you can conduct yours ;).

Fruit Butter

Posted by Angelica on August - 13 - 2011

Fruit butter is a sweet spread made of fruits like apple, pears, pineapple, strawberries, grapes, plums, mangoes, banana or pumpkin cooked in a low heat to a paste, and lightly sweetened. This is a “kind to the body” substitute to butter, margarine or cream cheese, and tastes awesome. It is created by slow-cooking fruits and then putting the mixture through a sieve or blending it to reach the right consistency. When done well, it has the same texture as butter with a different flavor. This is different from jams/ jelly’s as the ingredients do not incorporate any thickening or preservative agents.

Fruit Basket

Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh fruits of your choice Fruit Butter YellowFruit Butter Red
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ cup of brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp of honey/ maple syrup
  • 1 tsp of citrus zest (orange or lemon)
  • 5 tbsp of lemon or orange juice
  • Very little pinch of salt

 

Directions

  1. Combine fruit, water, sugar, salt & honey/syrup in a stove, slow cooker or oven. Add citrus zest and juice. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a lively simmer and cook, mashing the fruit and stirring occasionally. It would take about 20 minutes to more than an hour to become very thick depending on the type of fruits you use.
  2. Do a taste test to see if sugar is sufficient. You could add more sugar towards the end of the cooking process. Always start with less sugar. Some fruits are loaded with natural sugar.
  3. To see if it has cooked to perfection, put a spoonful of fruit butter on a plate. If no liquid seeps from the edges, it’s done. Return to a simmer to thicken more if necessary. If you need it to be smoother, puree in a food processor or blender, strain, and let it simmer again for a few minutes before taking our for storing.
  4. Store the butter in nice clean jars with lids. Let it cool at room temperature before refrigerating or freezing.

 

*Tips:

  1. Play with the texture of the fruit butter based on the type of fruits you use. For fruits like apples, pineapples, pears, & pumpkin, you could remove the skin to get a smoother texture. For fruits with seeds like grapes, berries & kiwis, use strainer upon cooking to remove the fine seeds. In the middle of cooking, you can remove the mixture and blend it with a blender or food processor until you’re comfortable with the consistency. Try to opt for a mixture which is perfect as a spread.
  2. If you would like a creamier taste for fruits like mangoes, pumpkins, pears, or bananas, minimize or do not use the citrus zest or juice to decrease the acidic taste.
  3. Be creative and add your preferred flavors into your fruit butter. Most commonly added are spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, or flavors like vanilla, almond or coconut extract. Blending your fruit butter with yogurt will boost up the Probiotics properties.
  4. You could also use dried fruits such as prunes, raisins, cranberries, apricots, or dates to make your butter.
  5. Mix and match your favorite fruits and flavors to get a wonderful homemade fruit butter!

 

The various great ways to enjoy your fruit butters!

Various great ways to enjoy your fruit butter

  

Handpicked Humor at its Best – Lawyers, Teachers and Rednecks

Posted by Angelica on August - 10 - 2011

The trick question

An engineer, a physicist, and a lawyer were being interviewed for a position as chief executive officer of a large corporation. The engineer was interviewed first, and was asked a long list of questions, ending with “How much is two plus two?” The engineer excused himself, and made a series of measurements and calculations before returning to the board room and announcing, “Four.” The physicist was next interviewed, and was asked the same questions. Before answering the last question, he excused himself, made for the library, and did a great deal of research. After a consultation with the United States Bureau of Standards and many calculations, he also announced “Four.” The lawyer was interviewed last, and was asked the same questions. At the end of his interview, before answering the last question, he drew all the shades in the room, looked outside the door to see if anyone was there, checked the telephone for listening devices, and asked “How much do you want it to be?”

 

Only in hell

God decided to take the devil to court and settle their differences once and for all. When Satan heard this, he laughed and said, “And where do you think you’re going to find a lawyer?”

Devil


Possessions

There was this lawyer who had just bought a new car, and he was eager to show it off to his colleagues, when all of a sudden an eighteen wheeler came out of nowhere and took of the driver’s side door with him standing right there. “NOOO!” he screamed, because he knew that no matter how good a mechanic tried to fix it, it never would be the same again. Unexpectedly, a cop came by, and the lawyer ran up to him yelling. “MY JAGUAR DOOR WAS JUST RUINED BY SOME FOOLISH DRIVER!!!” he exclaimed. “You’re a lawyer aren’t you?” asked the policeman. “Yes, I am, but what does this have to do with my car?!?!” the lawyer asked. “HA! You lawyers! All you care about is your possessions! I bet you didn’t even notice that your left arm is missing did you?” the cop said. The lawyer looked down at his side and exclaimed “MY ROLEX!”

 

Simpson's Brain

The most exclusive brain

A lawyer finds out he has a brain tumor, and it’s inoperable – in fact, it’s so large, they have to do a brain transplant. His doctor gives him a choice of available brains – there’s a jar of rocket scientist brains for $10 an ounce, a jar of regular scientist brains for $15 an ounce, and a jar of lawyer brains for the princely sum of $800 an ounce. The outraged lawyer says, “This is a rip-off – how come the lawyer brains are so damned expensive?” The doctor replies, “Do you know how many lawyers it takes to get an ounce of brains?”

 

Hundred Dollar Bill

Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, and honest lawyer, and an old drunk were walking along when they simultaneously spotted a hundred dollar bill laying in the street. Who gets it?
The old drunk, of course, the other three are mythological creatures.

 

H2O

Teacher: What is the chemical formula for water?
Sarah: “HIJKLMNO”!!
Teacher: What are you talking about?
Sarah: Yesterday you said it’s H to O!

 

How many Rabbits

Teacher: If I give you two rabbits and two rabbits and another two rabbits, how many rabbits have you got?
Billy: Seven
Teacher: No, listen carefully again. If I give you two rabbits and two rabbits and another two rabbits, how many rabbits have you got?
Billy: Seven…
Rabbits Teacher: Let’s try this another way. If I give you two apples and two apples and another two apples, how many apples have you got?
Billy: Six
Teacher: Good. Now if I give you two rabbits and two rabbits and another two rabbits, how many rabbits have you got?
Billy: Seven…
Teacher: How on earth do you work out that three lots of two rabbits is seven?
Billy: I’ve already got one rabbit at home now!

 

Longitude & Latitude = Lonelitude

The teacher of the earth science class was lecturing on map reading. After explaining about latitude, longitude, degrees and minutes the teacher asked, “Suppose I asked you to meet me for lunch at 23 degrees, 4 minutes north latitude and 45 degrees, 15 minutes east longitude…?”

After a confused silence, a voice volunteered, “I guess you’d be eating alone.”

 

Something she didn’t do

A little girl came home from school and said to her mother, “Mommy, today in school I was punished for something that I didn’t do.”

The mother exclaimed, “But that’s terrible! I’m going to have a talk with your teacher about this … by the way, what was it that you didn’t do?”

The little girl replied, “My homework.”

 

Tree Anatomy

Teacher: “Sam, what is the outside of a tree called?”
Sam: “I don’t know.”
Teacher: “Bark, Sam, bark.”
Sam: “Wow, wow, wow!”

 

The Only Idiot

“If there are any idiots in the room, will they please stand up” said the sarcastic teacher. After a long silence, one freshman rose to his feet.
“Now there mister, why do you consider yourself an idiot?” enquired the teacher with a sneer.
“Well, actually I don’t,” said the student, “but I hate to see you standing up there all by yourself.”

 

Misleading Signage

Teacher: Why are you late, Joseph?
Joseph: Because of a sign down the road.
Teacher: What does a sign have to do with your being late?
Joseph: The sign said, “School Ahead, Go Slow!”

 

Naming the Twins

A man was taking his wife, who was pregnant with twins, to the hospital when his car went out of control and crashed.
Regaining consciousness, he saw his brother, a relentless practical joker, sitting at his bed side.
He asked his brother how his wife was doing and his brother said, “Don’t worry, everybody is fine and you have a son and a daughter.
But the hospital was in a real hurry to
get the birth certificates filed and since both you and your wife were unconscious, I named them for you.”
The husband was thinking to himself, “Oh no, what has he done now?” and asked with some trepidation, “Well, bro, what did you name them?”
Whereupon, his brother replied, “I named the little girl Denise.”
The husband, relieved, said, “That’s a lovely name! And what did you come up with for my son?”
The brother replied, “Denephew.”

 

 

Fishing Trip

Funny Fishing

Two redneck guys go on a fishing trip.
They rent all the equipment: the reels, the rods, the wading suits, the rowboat, the car, and even a cabin in the woods. They spend a fortune. The first day they go fishing, but they don’t catch anything. The same thing happens on the seco
nd day, and on the third day. It goes on like this until finally, on the last day of their vacation, one of the men catches a fish. As they’re driving home they’re really depressed. One guy turns to the other and says, “Do you realize that this one lousy fish we caught cost us fifteen hundred dollars?”The other guy says, “Wow! It’s a good thing we didn’t catch any more!”

 

 

Class of Logic

Two rednecks decided that they weren’t going anywhere in life and thought they should go to college to get ahead.

The first goes in to see the counselor, who tells him to take Math, History, and Logic.

“What’s Logic?” the first redneck asks. The professor answers by saying, “Let me give you an example. Do you own a weed eater?” “I sure do.”

“Then I can assume, using logic, that you have a yard,” replied the professor.

“That’s real good!” says the redneck. The professor continues, “Logic will also tell me that since you have a yard, you also own a house.” Impressed, the redneck says, “Amazin!” “And since you own a house, logic dictates that you have a wife.” “That’s Betty Mae! This is incredible!” The redneck is obviously catching on. “Finally, since you have a wife, logically I can assume that you are heterosexual,” said the professor. “You’re absolutely right! Why that’s the most fascinatin’ thing I ever heard! I cain’t wait to take that logic class!!”

The redneck, proud of the new world opening up to him, walks back into the hallway, where his friend is still waiting.

“So what classes are ya takin’ ?” asks the friend. “Math, History, and Logic!” replies the first redneck. “What in tarnation is logic???” asked his friend. “Let me give you an example.

Do ya own a weed eater?” asked the first redneck.

“No,” his friend replied.

“You’re Gay ain’t ya?”

 

Redneck Children

“You’ve just had your twelfth baby miss. What are you going to name this one?”

“Phil”

“But you named the last eleven Phil”

“Yeah it’s great. I say Phil go clean the room, they all go clean their room. I say Phil come for dinner, they all come for dinner.”

“But what if you only want one of them?”

“Oh! Then I call them by their last name.”

 

Why he’s so Special

“How was your first day in third grade, Johnny?” asked his father.

“Good,” said Johnny. “The teacher asked each of us to count to 100. Some kids couldn’t get past 30, but I made all the way to 100 without a single mistake!”

“That’s good, son. That’s
because you’re from Arkansas.”

After the next day of school, he asked again.

“I did good today, too, Dad. In language class, we had to say the alphabet. Some kids couldn’t get past P, but I made all the way to Z without a single mistake!”

“That’s good, son. That’s because you’re from Arkansas.”

After the third day of school, Johnny came home looking troubled.

“What’s the matter, son?” asked Dad.

“Oh, I dunno. Today we had Physical Education, and afterwards, in the shower, I noticed that, well, the other boys in my class, uh, well Dad, they all have little tiny ones. Mine must be ten times bigger than theirs! Is that because I’m from Arkansas?”

“No, son,” explained Dad. “That’s because you’re 18!”

3 Zest Salsa

Posted by Angelica on August - 5 - 2011

This recipe was discovered by accident when I was trying to come up with a Sunday salad preparation. Turns out, everyone, including me, thought it was incredible I’ve decided to share it. The 3 Zest Salsa is perfect for anyone who wants an instant refreshing zest in your mouth. It’s colorful, revitalizing, taste great and is healthy. Enjoy! Bon Appétit…

 

Ingredients

  • 2 big tomatoes (diced small)

  • Half a pineapple (diced small)

    3 Zest Salsa

  • 1 cucumber (diced small)

  • 15 grapes – Quartered and seed removed

  • 8 mint leaves grated (finely Chopped)

  • Half a red onion (finely Chopped)

  • 3 small green chillies(finely Chopped)

  • 2 tsp of brown sugar

  • 1 lemon – juiced with seeds removed

  • ½ tsp salt

  • A pinch of pepper

 

Directions

  1. Put all the diced & chopped ingredients together in a bowl

  2. Mix in the brown sugar, lemon juice, salt & pepper

  3. Cool in refrigerator and serve chill

 

*Tips: The secret ingredient in this recipe is the mint leaves. It gives a refreshing burst to the salsa and enhances the flavor. This is a great & low calorie TV snack to be served with corn chips/nachos or tortilla bread & cheese.

corn chips/nachos tortilla cheese

 

The Search for Happiness

Posted by Angelica on August - 4 - 2011

How to be Happy & Contented

 

Quote: “Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.”

~Anonymous~


Happiness is defined as a state of well-being and contentment accompanied with the feeling of pleasure and satisfaction. When we experience happiness, we feel fortunate and blessed and everything around us would seem magnificent. Most people these days are searching too hard and too far for this feeling to appear when what we really need to do is step back, unwind, and enjoy the present moment as it is. When you do this, you’re already on your way to enjoying this feeling.

How happy are you this very moment? Take the Happiness test at Oprah.com

 

The small little things to heighten the blissful feeling of happiness:

  • Happiness is a choice – recognize that being happy is more than an emotion; it’s a choice of how you want your state of mind to be. To embrace happiness, you must first let go of your misery. You can choose joy over sadness, positivity over negativity. No one should have control on your emotions

     

  • Be thankful to God – how often do we focus on life’s problem that we miss to see that each day is a blessing to be able to wake up alive. Constantly remind yourself about this and appreciate this gift and take time to pray.

    Thankful to god

     

  • Take regular time-off for yourself – if you’ve been on a streak of high-pressuring lifestyle, make sure to take breaks as and when your mind or body suggests you too. Spend time with family, go for holidays, have solitude moments of reflection, or just let your body have the sleep it needs. Come back to reality with more productivity, alertness and efficiency

     

  • See the positive in others – if you tend to develop hatred towards others more often that you should, it might be one of the reason that’s draining your happiness. Everyone would possess a goodness in themselves and the key is to find the positivity in people and try focusing on that instead

     

  • See beauty in the tiniest creations – many times, we are so bogged down with the rush & intensity of life that we fail to see beauty in littlest formation. Take time to appreciate the morning dew of a bloom, the sound of water flowing, the orange sunset, or the smell of roses

    Beauty inNature

     

  • Laugh more – it improves blood circulation, & releases pain-reducing endorphins. Laughter instantly brightens your mood and releases tension

     

  • Learn something new – you would never know your full capability until you’ve tried new things. Take up art classes, attempt a new sport, try an exotic food, or go places you’ve never been before. Life is much more than it seems and you need to get out of your comfort zone. On the other hand, never do something just because everyone else is doing it. Do what you heart wants and you’ll enjoy every moment of it

     

  • Spend time with children – a child is pure, naïve and totally free-spirited. Sometimes, you just need to become a child to feel joyful. Play games with children, watch movies with them, try bonding with them to learn how they take life so effortlessly

    Child is pure, naïve and totally free-spirited

     

  • Giving – I’ve read about the act of giving from people who have much and people who have very little. Multibillionaires, the kind in heart, those who don’t have but yet offer are people who have given testimonials of how generosity gives them inner peace of mind. Giving not necessarily need to be in the form of money or things, it could also be in the form of time, energy or voluntary services. If you have old clothes or things that you’re not using anymore, give them out today. Someone out there would have a use for it

     

  • Get acquainted with your old friends – This is a great way to feel young instantly. Remember the days you had in school which had been free-spirited & unstressed? You can rekindle the feeling by getting in touch with the people who shared the moments with you

     

  • Smile often – What do you think are the odds of you smiling and not receiving the smile back in return? In a completely civilized culture, this should be very minimal or zero. Smile is a way humankind reflect gestures of greetings and it inspires instant happiness

    Smile often

     

  • Pursue your innermost dream – find out what you’ve always wanted to do and do it. It could be dancing, owning your own garden, or even rocket science. No one should tell you that you’ve incompetent of anything other than yourself. You know your strengths & weaknesses and have full control over them

     

  • Take time to enjoy your food – Food is a way of feeding your soul. So much has been stressed about consuming the right nutrients and vitamins essential for your body in the form of a healthy & content meal. Breakfast, lunch, tea-time & dinner are the essential meals that you should consume without distracting yourself on other thoughts or happenings. Of course you could get companies like a loved one, friends or co-workers to join you for your meals, but concentrate on happy or positive socializing instead of gossiping or stressful topics

     

  • Be alert of the small miracles that happen around you – miracles happen around us at all forms, the birth of a kitten, a guardian angel protecting you from the pothole, or the promotion that you get at work. Look at these as a grace of God and you’ll instantly feel happiness or satisfaction building in you

    smurfette

     

  • Reward yourself – you don’t need others telling you how accomplished you are. There’s no better person to tell you that you’ve done a great job and deserve the pat on the back than yourself. If you feel that you’ve achieved something significant in your life, get yourself rewarded by sending yourself fresh flowers, buying yourself a good book, or going for the travel escapade of your dreams

     

  • Avoid gossips – Good news travels fast, and bad news faster; for whatever reason that is. Do not let gossip control your life. It is essential to pour out your feeling as times, but don’t do it at the cost of everyone else. The path to happiness is through praises & compliments, not condemns & criticizing. Remember that good words will establish you reputation as a person, earn you trust, respect and admiration of other. And this applies vice versa

     

  • Take up good habits – sleeping on time, exercising, personal hygiene, punctuality are all great habits than should be incorporated into our routines. These simple habits will keep our lives on-track and happiness would supersede stress or depression. After all, it only takes 21 days to institute a good habit!

     

  • Read, listen or sing to motivations or inspiration – we all have that time when life throws a lemon. When we fall, we get up, dust ourselves and always move forward. If a situation seems overwhelming, try help of books, songs or motivational videos that will guide you to the road of recovery

     

  • Manage your Debts – money matters have been one of the stress inducing component when not managed wisely. Always pay your debts on-time, never spend more than you earn, live within your means, and enjoy simple things in life. Remember that money buys comfort, but “Money can never buy Happiness”

    Snoopy

     

  • Trust others – in the current dog eat dog world, it might not be the best advice to be sharing. However, it is significant to have a certain amount of trust in people we come across, work with or live with. Trusting gives an inner peace and guide to a life path. *Disclaimer: never give out possession in the name of trust, always conduct a proper due diligence when it comes to money. You should never cheat others nor let others cheat you.

Garden of roses – Part II

Posted by Angelica on August - 2 - 2011

Tips for growing & caring for your rose plant

Quote of the day
“We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon-instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today.”

So you’ve contemplated that the rose plant in the nursery looked remarkably beautiful and decided to get one for your backyard. What next?

If you’ve always wanted to wake up to a balcony of roses in the morning, here’s an article of a step-by-step guide on how to grow & care for your rose plant. Rose plants are like babies. It would take a special person to grow this special flower.

 

Beautifull white rose in a pot

 

Planting the Roses

Before choosing a spot to place your rose, make sure sunlight is readily available as the rose plant would need good sun exposure. If you plan to re-plant the rose tree from a poly-bag to the ground or bigger pot, soak it in a pail of water for about 2-8hours to soften the soil.

General rule of rose plants are that they have large roots & it’s essential to provide a deep pot/ hole for root growth. Soil is encouraged to be added with organic matters/ black soil to get a texture which will be easy water absorption. Roses need lots of water & ventilation, and proper fertilization.

Fertilization starts 2-3 months upon planting. Roses will bloom better if you use NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium) ratios of about 1:2:1 that is more Phosphorous than nitrogen or potassium. Too much Nitrogen will lead to the plant preferring leaf growth to flower growth. A good rule for fertilization is bi-weekly/ once every 2 weeks for optimal results. Bear in mind that too much fertilization can kill any plant.

You could use mulch such as shredded wood, stones, coconut husk, sawdust, or hay. Mulching is essential for the plant to prevent water loss, discourage weed growth & avoid soil erosion. It also adds beauty to the garden.

 

Planting the rose

Watering Roses

For tropical hot weather where the temperature is around 30° Celsius, it’s essential to water your rose plants every day.

If it rains, heavily, you can skip watering for the day. On a day that rains less, it’s good if you just mist the leaves & flowers. If the sun shines hotter than usual, you might want to water it twice a day i.e. morning & evening.

If your rose plant has mulch, you would not need to water it too much as the mulch will retain the plants hydration for a longer time. Roses in pots will generally need more watering than those on the ground. It is not advisable to keep a plant at the bottom of the pot to retain water as the water on the dish can cause rotting of the roots. Try avoiding watering into the blooms as the water would remain stagnant in the flower buds and cause it to rot.

Use judgment when watering plants, hotter weather would need more water and colder weather less. Too much water will cause rotting of roots, & too less will cause infertility & dry out the plant.

 

Pruning for Rose Plants

The rose plants need pruning done as soon as the first batch of blooming comes to an end. The benefits of pruning includes promoting growth & bloom, to enhance light & air absorption, to remove dead or damaged stems, & shaping the plant.You would need to cut all branches and leave only about 6-10 healthy branches. You would need gloves to protect your hands from the thorns, a good quality bypass pruner. The right place to cut is above the bud.

Pruning Rose StemRose Stem


Step-by-step pruning

  1. De-weed the rose plants with your hand by removing unwanted grass or leaves 

  2. Start by removing dead/ unhealthy stems& 

  3. Cut off thin stems that seem like crowding the tree 

  4. Prune more in the centre to increase air & light ventilation 

  5. Cut surface should be white. If brownish, re-cut until white surface is reached 

  6. Make all cuts above a leaf bud that points towards the outside of the plant 

  7. Remove any branches that grow at the bottom as this would cause the plant to sag 

  8. Keep only healthy branches with dark green leave

 

Treating Common Rose Problems

Here are the most common diseases that will hit your rose plants and treatment methods

  1. Powdery Mildew/Black Spots/Rust – It’s a fungal problem which occurs during dry & humid season. It has distinctive symptoms of white spots on leaves and stems. Left untreated, the leaves will start dropping and soon cause the plant to die off. Early treatment is best.

    Treatment: To reduce this problem, water the plants (best during mornings) on the soil & less onto the leaves, to avoid residue build up or moisture retain. Air circulation & sanitation is important to prevent this problem and this can be attained by frequent pruning and cleaning up of leaves. Try spraying mixture of 1 tsp baking soda, ½ tsp oil, & 1 litre of water to treat and stop this problem. Another treatment solution involves dusting sulfur on the leaves affected as this would help to prevent spread. You could also use chemical fungicides (at a controlled level) to exterminate this fungal diseases.

     

    Rose LeafRoes LeafsGreen Rose Leaf

     

  2. Rose Mosaic – Is a virus induced problem (Rose Mosaic Virus/RMV) that affects you plant. A whitish or yellowish mosaic form, zig-zag patterns appear. This disease reduces the plants vitality and blooming but hardly ever kills the plant.

    Treatment: Sadly, this kind of infection doesn’t have any treatment. The only way to control this problem is by thorough checking before purchasing a new plant or if suspected to have an infected plant in the garden; it is advisable to remove the infected plant all together.



    Rose Mosaic
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