A Little Sunshine in Winter

I’m back home in Florida, the Sunshine State, after a stint in Colorful Colorado. When I say home I mean I’m really home, living in the county I grew up in, ten miles from the place I learned to swim, smelled my first Jacaranda blossom, and skinned my knee after falling off my bike. I’m lucky to be near family and to have married a longtime friend from high school; well actually, he was my teacher. However, that’s a story for another time.

Today I’m celebrating successfully baking orange cranberry muffins. I hear you say, “What?!?” These muffins are special because I took a gluten free, low-carb recipe, changed a number of ingredients and it still came out yummy! The original recipe is Keto Blueberry Muffins on the iPhone app, Carb Manager. Every food I’ve made is a winner. With this honest plug for the app, I don’t feel so bad sharing my recipe loosely based on their recipe.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had some amazing failures making gluten free baked goods. When I’ve tried to ‘wing it’, the looks from my husband and mom said it all, “Yuk!” That’s why I’m so excited about this recipe. In addition, I used my favorite combination of orange and cranberry, so I knew I’d like it.

Download a PDF of the recipe

Total Eclipse of the Sun – Now What?

Total Eclipse Across America

This past week thousands flocked to the band across the United States where the total eclipse of the sun occurred.

What drove them to experience this phenomena?

  • It certainly was extraordinary
  • Most will never have the opportunity again in their lifetimes
  • It was a media event
  • Maybe they were on TV or in a newspaper

Did Participants Connect with Nature?

You bet they did!

  • To view the solar eclipse they had to be outside
  • The sun and moon are part of nature

Was There Planning Involved?

There was lots of planning.

  • Special glasses or other paraphernalia was required
  • It was on a Monday, so many planned a vacation day
  • Thousands drove or flew to one of the best viewing areas

Now What?

This once in a lifetime event is a impetus to get outside and connect with nature. How?

  • Take your lunch outside
  • Wake up early and watch the sunrise
  • Park farther away from your destination and walk
  • Stop outside, close your eyes and listen to the sounds of nature
  • Offer up a prayer of gratitude for your life

The incredible exodus of Americans outside to view the solar eclipse was an opportunity to realize how special nature is. Enjoy her gifts everyday.

Top 5 Health Benefits of Family Hiking

1. Improved Cardiovascular and Muscle Fitness

Do you remember when children ran outside and played active games like hide and seek or hopscotch? Today children are often sitting in front of the television, engrossed in a video game, or texting their friends. Regular hiking will build stronger muscles and improve their heart, lung, and vascular fitness. Adults are also less active if they have careers that keep them at their desks.The whole family gets healthier together!

2. Improved Bone Health

A sedentary lifestyle results in weak bones that may break more easily, in children and adults. The impact of walking and hiking strengthens bones at the cellular level and is one of the factors to reduce the chance to develop osteoporosis as we age.

3. Better Sleep

Who doesn’t want their children and themselves sleeping better!

4. Active Learning Using All the Senses

When you expose your children to different environments, the opportunity to learn is huge. Take the time to engage all your senses by closing your eyes and smelling the odors of nature; pine scent in a forest, earthiness of a swamp, sweetness of wild roses, the deliciousness of ripe wild strawberries. Using touch, feel the textures of different rocks, tree bark, leaves, and stones. In the stillness of a quiet forest or along a lakeshore listen for the calls of birds. Look for the small animals often missed, ground beetles, blue dragonflies, hummingbirds, and butterflies.

5. It Just Feels Good

The positive energy in nature makes us smile. To tune in to its treasure, ask your family to sit on a rock or bench in a comfortable location, in sun if it’s chilly, in shade if it’s hot. Instruct everyone to close their eyes and breathe in to the count of 4, breathe out to the count of 4. In a soothing voice say, “Feel the breeze across your face and the warmth of the sun on your neck. Ahhhh. How do you feel?” Let your children express their feelings in this safe, loving environment. Congratulations, they’ve just participated in a short meditation!