Tag Archives: tips

Tuesday Tips and Treats for the Fourth of July

2 Jul

Erma Bombeck
You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.
The Fourth of July is right around the corner. I hope you all have some fun plans for our country’s big celebration of freedom. There are many fun things to do, fabulous foods, and friends and family to celebrate with. But, always remember to stay safe and remember why we celebrate.

Thank you to all who have sacrificed, who have served our country, and continue to protect us. We are home of the free because of the brave,





Tips to stay safe.11 Tips for a Safe Fourth of July

Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

Be a safe swimmer. Water sports and fireworks are two of the biggest pastimes for Fourth of July celebrations, and these are both linked to numerous deaths and injuries each year. Never swim alone, and make sure that kids’ water play is adequately supervised at all times. Many drownings occur when parents and other adults are nearby, so always have a designated chaperone for water play and don’t assume that others are watching the kids. Statistics show that most young children who drown in pools have been out of sight for less than five minutes.

If fireworks are legal in your community and are a part of your celebration, be sure to store and use them safely. Keep the kids away from the fireworks at all times, and keep spectators at a safe distance. Attending fireworks displays organized by professionals is always safer than trying to put on your own show.

Use alcohol responsibly. Alcohol and fireworks can be a hazardous and dangerous combination. Also, have a designated driver to bring partygoers home from the festivities. Remember also that alcohol and swimming can be as dangerous as drinking and driving.

Lakes, waterways, and seas will be crowded with boats. Review safe boating practices, and don’t drink and drive your boat. Alcohol consumption while operating boats or other motorized water vessels is illegal, and you can be arrested for a BWI (boating under the influence!). Be sure that you have an adequate number of life preservers on hand for extra guests. Become familiar with the boating laws in your area.

Cover food and beverages outdoors to discourage bees and wasps from attending your party. If someone is allergic to insect stings, you should have an emergency anaphylaxis kit on hand. Wearing shoes, long sleeves, and long pants outdoors and avoiding fragranced body products, bright colors, and sugary drinks can also help prevent bee stings.

Apply sunscreen both before and during an outdoor party. Ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause both premature aging and skin cancer in the long term, and a painful burn the next day. Even those with darker skin should use a sunscreen with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 15, according to recommendations from the American Academy of Dermatology.

Check prescription medications you are taking to assure you will not have a sun-sensitizing drug reaction to the medication.

If you’ll be hiking or camping in an area where ticks are abundant, wear long-sleeved, light-colored shirts and long pants tucked into socks or boots to protect yourself from tick-borne diseases. For your skin, you can use a tick repellent with no more than 30% DEET according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Products containing DEET should not be used on children less than 2 months of age and should not be applied to the hands or face of young children. Check yourself (and your pets) for ticks at the end of the day.

Spend adequate time indoors or in the shade and drink plenty of fluids to avoid heat illness in extremely hot climates. The risk of heat illness is increased when participating in strenuous activity or sports, and those with chronic medical conditions and the elderly are also at an increased risk of heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke. Alcohol consumption can also promote dehydration and increase the risk.

Keep children away from campfires and grills. Gas leaks, blocked tubes, and overfilled propane tanks can be a cause of grill fires and explosions.

Don’t leave the picnic spread out all day. Allowing food to sit in outdoor temperatures can invite foodborne illness. The U.S. FDA suggests never leaving food out for more than one hour when the temperature is above 90 F and not more than two hours at other times. Foods that need to be kept cold should be placed in a cooler with plenty of ice or freezing packs and held at a maximum temperature of 40 F. While mayonnaise and other egg dishes are often associated with food poisoning, any food can potentially become contaminated. Adequate hand washing and food preparation can also help prevent food poisoning.

CPSC.gov. Fireworks Safety.

USCGboating.org. Boating Saftey Resource Center.

Last Editorial Review: 6/30/2011

Tuesday Tips and Tales

25 Jun

“Things to do today:
1) Breathe in.
2) Breathe out.”
― Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind of a Funny Story
Tip for Tuesday…there are only two things you need to do today…breathe in and breathe out. I think we can all accomplish that. That’s a good tip.

Now, a heartwarming tale. My friends Debbie and Kat stopped into Snug on the Square to grab a quick lunch today. Kat asked Daniel for the ” special Toni yogurt.” (I always order the yummy yogurt parfait that’s loaded with fresh fruit, yogurt, granola and drizzled with honey.) Pretty much every time I come in, they see me and get it started before I even get in line. So, they ordered, sat down and waited. Debbie got her lunch and then they brought out a brown bag with the yogurt parfait in a to-go container. Well, the pictures explains the rest.


Daniel wrote on it, “Love You Miss Toni.” Now, isn’t that just adorable? I always get a big bear hug from Daniel and Beth when I come in. Acquaintances say hello. Friends give big bear hugs and write “love you” on your lunch.


Tuesday Tea Time, Tips and Other Stuff

8 Apr

“I like the pace of my world. It’s busy, but for me, the less I do the lazier I get.”
― Hoda Kotb, Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee
Wow! Today was a busy day, and I’m not even halfway done yet. I woke up at the crack of dawn to make a batch of brownies before Zumba.

Too early to be creative and dress up my brownie mix face. Tip-always play with your food.

Then off to Zumba to wiggle, giggle and dance away any troubles or stress. Chatted with Karen a bit, home to shower and pack up supplies for art project at Sweet Spot bakery Tuesday Tea Time.

The gals concentrating on their project. Oh yes, today is Liz’s birthday. Happy, happy birthday, Lizzie.

Tip- celebrate your birthday with goofy friends.

Sherri and Margie always create something beautiful. Tip- always have a wonderful instructor. (That would be me. Ha!)

Heather and Ginger hiding behind their work. Camera shy?

It was a good day, but, now off to McKinney Creative Community with my brownies. Always great to visit with creative souls.


Tuesday Tea Time, Treats and Tip for Today

5 Mar

There’s nothing wrong with me a little ice cream won’t fix.
~Author Unknown
Another fun Tuesday Tea Time at Sweet Spot bakery on the Square. Miss Kay brought her ukulele and is tried to teach me a few chords. I’ve got C down, that’s about it. We had a few delicious treats, did a little singing, and made cute initial notecards.





Miss Elizabeth was baking in the back kitchen and working on a seriously decadent red velvet concoction topped with ice cream and gooey chocolate and caramel sauces. YIKES! Fat Tuesday was appropriately named. Look at this!

Now for my tip. I’ve shared this one many times, but a little reminder couldn’t hurt. When cooking, baking, or doing just about anything…make it fun…laugh…share. I made these brownies last week for our tennis team’s home match. First, I make a funny face with the batter, then cut up a bunch of Snickers bars and sprinkled on top of the batter and baked. YUMMMM!!!



Tuesday Tips and Late Night Painting Projects

29 Jan

“I love the silent hour of night, for blissful dreams may then arise, revealing to my charmed sight what may not bless my waking eyes.”
― Anne Brontë, Best Poems of the Brontë Sisters
“Do not put off till tomorrow what you can put off till today, or the night before you leave.” Here’s a tip. When you’re visiting your mom for three weeks, try not to procrastinate. I promised my mother that we would do some glass painting during my visit. We did some watercolor, pastel chalk projects and played with a bunch of crafts, but I totally forgot the glass painting.

On my last night there, I started packing a few things and was scouting out the nooks and crannies to make sure I didn’t leave anything behind. There on the floor were all the clear glass vases that she had been saving and a few more that we bought at the dollar store. Yikes! I forgot. So, at 10:30 pm, we gathered all the paints and vases on the table. Mom was tired and it was late, so she just assisted me with prepping, shuffling and moral support. Mom is my biggest fan. She kept saying, “You are wonderful!” I always reply, “The nut doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

Late night glass painting project. BEFORE…


I spent two or three hours painting. Mom scooted her chair close by and moved the vase after each step and handed me the next. It was a well oiled assembly line. We let them dry over night.

I finished eight vases, four with bluebonnets and four with lavender. Cute, huh?

In the morning, I popped them in a cold oven and baked at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Turn off heat and let cool without opening for at least three or four hours. Voila!!! Last minute, late night, guilt ridden, procrastination glass painting project.

Hey! What’s cookin’ good lookin’? Not cookies or brownies…glass vases. Now, Mom has some gorgeous vases to give her lady friends as a gift for a birthday or celebration. MY WORK HERE IS DONE!


Tuesday: Timeless Tips for a Sweet Life

14 Jan

Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands – and then eat just one of the pieces. ~Judith Viorst
My friend Chaplain Jim sent a timely post today. He described how a loving and faithful family compares very much to running a bakery and the sweet creations that are produced. “Good baking and a sweet life can’t just be thrown together in a cold, business-like fashion either– it’s love and passion that turns a pastry, a business, a family, a life, into something truly sweet.”

Chaplain Jim is far from home and his sweet family. His inspiring words are poignant and worth sharing with the world. Please take a little time to read what this charming chaplain has discovered…


De Azucar
I was inspired talking with one of my Soldiers named Daniel yesterday, and he seemed to be inspired too, as excited as he was telling me about his wife’s bake shop back home in FL called De Azucar (“Of Sugar”). We were at a computer, so he quickly pulled up the website, and had me drooling over scrumptuous looking pastries. They looked so good, I could almost taste them, even though they’re thousands of miles away! But what inspired me even more was how Daniel was talking about his wife, his family, and that bake shop that is becoming a family ministry.

He said she’s not making any money on it yet, “But look at all those people she’s blessing already!” he exclaimed, pointing at the picture of the team of ten his wife, Angie, has working for her (and GETTING paid– after only a year of being open!). And he was proud to say that one in the picture is his son, and one his future daughter-in-law. All that sweetness on the shelves and in my friend’s voice as he raved about the shop and his family, got me to thinking– what makes for the “sweet life”?

A lot like any kitchen or bake shop, I’m thinking it starts with keeping clean– a guy doesn’t get to be married 30 years like my friend, and beaming about his family if his family life is polluted with all kinds of messes and dirt that we often bring home! Also like pastries, while it’s got a lot of sweetness to it, it’s not all sugar– the ingredients of a sweet life, as with pastries, includes a large amount of substance that is as boring as plain old flour, with a whole variety of other things thrown in.

But it’s not just ANYTHING thrown in that makes for sweet pastries and a sweet life, but the RIGHT ingredients. Ingredients of love and simplicity and wholesome goodness, just enough electronics and digits to get the word out, but mostly a whole lot of warmth, relationship, prayer, and good chemistry. Good baking and a sweet life can’t just be thrown together in a cold, business-like fashion either– it’s love and passion that turns a pastry, a business, a family, a life, into something truly sweet (you should read some of the reviews of the place!).

What are the ingredients, what is the passion that you’re using to cook up your family’s faith? Daniel was telling me in various ways that this little shop has been bathed in prayer for a long time, and is an answer to prayer that has more blessings to come. How much passionate prayer do you put into the family God has entrusted to you? What are you doing with the “kitchen” of your life to make sure it’s the kind of clean and wholesome place that can cook up a sweet life, rather than infecting everything that comes out of it because of the dirtiness inside? Keeping a kitchen, a bake shop, keeping a life clean is a never-ending discipline– “if you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean” I learned early in my McDonands career. Our lives are the same way– we can never stop cleaning up the messes that are simply a product of living in a broken world. And like Angie and her pastries, are you only using the right INGREDIENTS in your life, or are you filling it with left-overs, with junk, or what will “just do,” or are you using your passions and faith to fill your life with Godly ingredients?

There’s a lot a family can learn about feasting on the Sweet Life from a place like De Azucar and the family it has grown out of. I’m eager to get back in the “kitchen” myself– how about you?
Savoring the Sweet Life– (De Azucar is in Oviedo for your FL folk…)

Rev. Jim

Chaplain (Major) James R. Lewis
371st Sustainment Brigade
Brigade Chaplain
DSN: (318) 430-4106
Cell phone: 9978.7664
NIPR: james.r.lewis1.mil@mail.mil
SIPR: james.r.lewis1@swa.army.smil.mil


Angie Lopez and her son Daniel Jr.

A delicious dessert or a delightful life requires devotion and dedication. Thank you Chaplain Jim! You are SWEET!!!

Tuesday: Tips for Toning…or Toni…ing.

18 Dec

There’s a lot of people in this world who spend so much time watching their health that they haven’t the time to enjoy it.
Josh Billings
If you’re gonna exercise, make sure it’s a lot of fun, you make friends doing it, and you go out to lunch afterwards.
I love Zumba! Not only is it a good workout, but it’s so much fun. I’ve lost some weight and all that wiggling and jiggling has significantly toned up those “jello” parts. Thus, the toning tip. Since my name is Toni, I’m going to coin the phrase “Toni…ing.” I’ve always wanted to dance and never had the opportunity. Now, I can dance, sing, and jiggle to my hearts content. I’ve also made some great friends in the process. Especially, my friend Karen who offered to call 911 for me on a couple occasions. Today was a fun day!



Tuesday:Tips, Tasty Treats and Time Travel

10 Dec

The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.
Abraham Lincoln
FINALLY! Most of the ice has melted from the roads, and my weather inflicted exile is at an end. Four days of housebound insanity with endless-mindless television and cups and cups of hot tea. But alas, the sun came out this morning…oops…almost found myself bursting into song. “The sun will come out tomorrow…” I threw on my gym shoes and exercise clothes and headed to the YMCA for the 8:30 Zumba class. I knew it didn’t look good when only five or six cars were in the parking lot. My friends Karen, Mercedes and Mary Beth arrived and were equally disappointed.

So, instead of drooping our heads and going home, we went into the back yoga room, I plugged my iPhone into the mini-boom box, and Mary Beth led us in some exercise and Zumba alternatives. (It kinda looked like geriatric Zumba.) After an hour of giggling and wiggling, we drove over to Market Street to get some coffee. It was fabulous to be able to leave the house, drive on the street and see other human beings again. I was delighted.

Later, I went to the post office to mail a couple packages. Tip #1: during the holidays, you must be patient when waiting in long lines. Thus the the term, “Going Postal.” I passed the time away by chatting with the lady in front of me for about twenty minutes.


Then, I came home to bake my brownies for our McKinney creative Community gathering. Tip #2: Tasty treats are more fun when you make funny faces first.


Last but not least: Time travel. Well, I didn’t go back in time or into the future, but being cooped up for so long made me appreciate every little moment of time I get to spend with friends and going places. I will never take it for granted again. Well, maybe until it gets to be too hot, 105 degrees and I refuse to leave the house.


Tuesday: Tip of the Day

20 Nov

I don’t think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday. ~Abraham Lincoln
Tip for the day: Try and learn something new every day. But also, with all this wonderful technology at our finger tips, (literally…I’m typing away with my finger tips.) we should also share what we’ve learned.

Yesterday, a young lady photographer was at my house to take some photos for the realtor. When we tried to get the plantation shutters to all open exactly parallel, a couple of the shutters wouldn’t stay. I thought there was nothing you could do to correct that. Wrong! She said, just get a Phillips screwdriver and then showed me on the side where it could be tightened. Who knew? I didn’t. The realtor didn’t. Did you? Stow that away in your brain for a rainy day, or when you have a wobbly shutter.

Here’s another good tip. When you need to take a picture of your right hand holding a screwdriver while your left hand is holding your iPad and you’re plum out of hands, all you do is line up the shot and press the little camera icon with your nose. Yes, your nose.! I do it all the time. They don’t call me nosey for nothin’.

OK! Did you learn something new today? If not, maybe share something new or exciting with me because I want to be wiser today than yesterday.

Tuesday Tips for Today

13 Nov

A word to the wise ain’t necessary, it’s the stupid ones that need the advice.
Bill Cosby
That Mr. Cosby is not only funny, but very wise. Why waste your advice on the wise, they already know what’s going on.

And you know the old saying about when life gives you lemons….

My advice or tip for you today, is when life gives you lemons… Make BROWNIES…make a funny face with the mix, eggs and oil…take a picture of it…and share the photo and the baked brownies with friends. I know, I know, you didn’t get any brownies unless you went to the McKinney Creative
Community pot luck tonight, but I hope you enjoy the picture. And, remember to play with your food and make faces with your cake and brownie mixes.