9 Creative Ways to Help Kids Say I Love You

Guest Post by Susan Marcus, coauthor of The Missing Alphabet: A Parents’ Guide to Developing Creative Thinking in Kids

Got a tactile-learner? A kid who loves to dance? Or maybe your child really loves color? While every child has a constellation of Sensory Alphabet strengths (shape, color, movement and sound are just a few), your child probably has one or two that really stand out — that you notice in his or her artwork or in elements of his or her collections and activities. Valentine’s Day crafts provide ways for parents to nurture these strengths and help kids say I love you in fun creative ways. Below are craft ideas designed for each element of the Sensory Alphabet.

SHAPE: Is your child’s art always full of shapes? Cut out cookies! Make the process easier and faster by using dough from the grocery store refrigerator case. Find imaginative cookie cutters and combine shapes and words to say I love you in new ways.

SOUND: Let sound-oriented kids make a Valentine’s wind chime with metal, glass and wooden craft store finds. Throw in everyday household items like bowls and plates to create loving symphony.

COLOR: Make “stained glass” cookies with color-loving kids, using bread stick dough. Shape it to make the “leading” on a cookie sheet topped with foil. Use crushed colored sugar candies in the spaces, cook at 350 degrees and let the candies melt. Let cool before peeling off the foil. Experiment with the colors and explore what else can represent love besides red.

MOVEMENT: Have your kids spell out the letters of “I Love You” with their bodies, and then take pictures. These can be used to create a sweet card or frame.

LIGHT: Appoint the light-loving child as the official photographer for holiday events. A lesson in digital app photo editing (PhotoPad is free for the iPad) or in designing digital slideshows or print-on-demand books puts this creative eye into action.

TEXTURE: Make a Valentine’s card that focuses on touch rather than sight. Use bows, ribbons, homemade tassels and other textured embellishments. Feathers and sponge-and-paint prints are fun to cover things with.

SPACE: For little builders, create a giant heart using recycled boxes wrapped in plain paper or Popsicle sticks. Decorate it with stickers, markers, doilies and colored paper. When it’s done create a set of keys, and have your child give them to family and loved ones.

RHYTHM: With your rhythm kid, fill small glass jars (such as baby food jars or small jelly jars) with a tablespoon of different shake-able items such as beans, rice, red-and-green beads, and metal washers. Decorate the lids with foil tied around the tops and stickers for patterns. Shake along to Valentine’s songs.

LINE: A linear thinker loves stories. Put him or her to work making handmade Valentine’s books using photos that tell a story about the great love stories in your family. Start with folded paper with a construction paper cover, hole-punched and tied with string or stitched down the center on the sewing machine for the binding.

Matching a creative thinking strength to the right set of materials and a fun challenge can make it more fun — and help your child build from his or her strengths.

Article by By Susie Monday, educator and artist and co-author of The Missing Alphabet, A Parents’ Guide to Developing Creative Thinking in Kids, with Susan Marcus and Dr. Cynthia Herbert. http:/www.themissingalphabet.com.

The Missing Alphabet: A Parents' Guide to Developing Creative Thinking in Kids
The Missing Alphabet: A Parents’ Guide to Developing Creative Thinking in Kids

6 Tips for a Healthier Superbowl Party

Drumsticks 2

Drumsticks 2Trying to steer clear of Super Bowl temptation in the form of high-calorie drinks, wings and nachos may be more challenging than avoiding the blitz. But don’t worry: “As long as you choose wisely, you can enjoy the game—and the food—without blowing your calorie budget,” says exercise physiologist Bob Greene.

Greene, Oprah’s diet and fitness expert, author of the bestselling The Best Life Diet and founder of the popular weight loss program TheBestLife.com, serves up healthy Super Bowl recipes and other tips that will leave you even fitter by the end of the game.

TheBestLife.com’s 6 Tips for a Healthy Super Bowl Party:

•           Whip up Healthier “Football Bash” Bites: Instead of fried chicken wings—try a baked version. Use ground turkey instead of beef in your chili. Opt for kale chips, which are so nutrient-packed that they’d make a regular potato chip crumble. Buffalo (bison) burgers make a leaner burger than standard beef. Need more ideas? Check out TheBestLife.com for all kinds of recipes that are lower in calories (and far healthier) than your favorite party food.

•           Wrap It up Green Style: Lettuce wraps make for the perfect sandwich base for people who are looking for a meal that’s lower in carbs. Instead of a bun, try eating your bison burger on a crispy romaine lettuce leaf.

•           “WOD” Your Super Bowl: CrossFit’s Workout of the Day (WOD) is taking off around the country, and the fast-paced exercises done in 30-second intervals fit perfectly into those commercial breaks and halftime. Create a little competition of your own: Divide your guests into teams and see who can do the most push-ups, sit-ups, burpees and more.

•           De-Fat Your Dips: Instead of sour cream—use 0 percent Greek yogurt to cut calories but still keep the consistency of your favorite party dip. Other healthy dip ideas: guacamole, hummus and/or salsa.

•           Snack on Fruits and Vegetables. Your team falling behind? Reaching for a crunchy carrot stick can help release frustration. Red pepper and celery also make for good finger foods, as do grapes and clementines.

•           Try Seltzer-Based Juice “Mocktails” Instead of Beer: To help stick to the recommended alcohol limit (one drink for women, two for men), have cold sparkling water on hand. Look for flavored varieties with no sugar or artificial sweeteners. You can even show your team spirit by opting for a drink in the right color: blueberry or blackberry seltzer if you’re rooting for the Ravens; raspberry and strawberry for all you 49er fans.

“Super Bowl parties are a fun American tradition where people can spend an afternoon enjoying a great game with friends and family,” says Bob Greene, creator of The Best Life. “It doesn’t have to be a chore to make it a healthy event, and TheBestLife.com offers fantastic advice and recipes for all who visit,” he added.

bobpersonal002 High Res

About Best Life
Best Life is a company devoted to helping you become your healthiest. From its popular online weight loss plan, TheBestLife.com, which is based on Bob Greene’s best-selling The Best Life Diet, to its food products and supplements, our focus is on helping individuals create their best life and encouraging them to enjoy it each and every day. Behind all of our advice and products is the belief that losing weight shouldn’t be about counting calories or deprivation, eating nutritiously shouldn’t require sacrificing taste, and living healthfully shouldn’t be a chore. Rather, living your best life involves making smart choices that fit into your lifestyle. It’s about taking pleasure in eating foods that taste good and are good for you. Ultimately, it’s a way of living that brings more joy and satisfaction to your life. www.thebestlife.com 1-888-454-3313.

Hairstyle Ideas for Girls: Creative, Cute Hair for Your Little One


It’s easy to keep your little angel looking cute, coifed and camera ready with simple yet stylish hair looks featured on The Today Show from Cozy Friedman, author of Cozy’s Complete Guide to Girls Hair.

The Heart Braid

Cozy’s signature style, this is a must-have look for the holidays – and beyond.


What You’ll Need: Wide-tooth comb, fine-tooth comb, decorative hair clip, ponytail holders

Step 1: Starting with damp hair (either towel-dried or misted), use a wide-tooth comb to detangle the hair.  Then, using a fine-tooth comb, part the hair down the middle of the head.  Clip one side up right above the ear.

Step 2: On the other side of the part, use the fine comb to gather a thin section of hair from the crown.  This section should measure about 2 inches from the hairline to the top of the head.

Step 3: Divide this section into three, and begin a French braid starting at the crown and curving toward the temple, then toward the back of the head, like the top lobe of a heart.  You will be lifting hair into the braid only from this side of the part.  Leave no loose hair in front of the ears.

Step 4: When you reach the center part at the back of the head, secure the braid with a ponytail holder.  If the hair is very long, end the braid about mid ear; the ends will hang down the back.

Step 5: Unclip the hair on the other side of the part and repeat the process.  Secure with a ponytail holder.

Step 6: Join the ends of the braids together in the back with a decorative bow or ponytail holder to form the bottom point of the heart.


The Present Bow

This adorable style will make your child’s hair the talk of the town.  It’s an easy style that can be used for everyday wear as well. Note: the hair should be long enough to create a bow.


What you’ll need: Brush/wide-tooth comb, spray bottle of water, fine-tooth comb, hair spray, spary-on hair glitter, hairpins

Step 1: Starting with dry hair, brush or comb the hair to smooth and detangle it. Lightly mist it with water so it is slightly damp. Using the fine-tooth comb, part hair in the center.

Step 2: On one side of the part near the hairline, pick up a 1-inch section of hair to create a long strand.

Step 3: Repeat on the other side of the part, to create a second strand of hair. Join the two strands together by creating a loose knot. Spray the knot and pin it in place. Then loosely create the perfect bow, tying the two strands together. Pin each bow in place and spray with hairspray to secure the bow. For a finishing touch, cover the bow with spray-on hair glitter; be generous with the glitter if you really want your bow to sparkle!

The French Braid Headband


Besides being a great way to keep hair off the face, this braided headband makes its own accessory. Girls can wear it with their hair hanging down in back, or with a ponytail.

What You’ll Need: Wide-tooth comb, fine-tooth comb, ponytail holders, jaw clip, decorative bobby pins

Step 1: Start with damp hair (either towel –dried or misted) and use a wide-tooth comb to detangle the hair.

Step 2: Use a fine-tooth comb to draw a horizontal line across the crown from the top of one ear to the top of the other ear. From the line, comb the hair forward to the face. Pull the hair in back of the line into a ponytail holder or jaw clip so it stays out of your way.

Step 3: Choose which ear you want the braid to start from. Tilt the head so the ear you’ve chosen is facing up toward the ceiling. With your child’s ear tilted up, being making the braided headband using the hair in front of the part.

Step 4: Once you’ve reached the other ear, secure the braid with a ponytail holder. If you like, tuck it behind the ear and pin it in place with a few bobby pins. Remove the ponytail holder or jaw clip use in Step 2 and style as you like. Finish by adding sparkly or decorative hairpins through different parts of the braid.


The Braided Bun


This simple way of scooping hair up always makes girls feel grown-up. And the braided bun is extremely versatile – it can be adorned with a fun clip or headband to dress it up, or worn alone as a stylish and effective way to keep hair off the face.

What You’ll Need: Ponytail holder, bobby pins, beaded/decorative pins, decorative hair band.

Step 1: Gather hair in a loose ponytail. Make a braid with the ponytail, tying it off with a ponytail holder.

Step 2: Twist the braided ponytail into a tight rope, coiling it around itself at the base.

Step 3: Tuck the ends of the coil into the ponytail holder at the base. Then secure the bun by pushing bobby pins into the hair at the bun’s base on all sides.  Lightly spritz the bun with hair spray or spray-on hair glitter to lock in the style.


The Quadruple Twist


A quick flick of the wrist creates this cute coif that only looks complicated. You can fancy it up with pretty beads or barrettes to go with your child’s special outfit.

What You’ll Need: Spray bottle, fine-tooth comb, hair clip to section hair, small ponytail holders, mini- clips, hair gel or light styling cream

Step 1: Mist the hair with the spray bottle to make it damp but not wet. Part in the middle with a fine-tooth comb, and gather a section of the hair on one side of the part, from the part to the outer eyebrow.

Step 2: Divide this section in half, with one half near the part and on half away from it. Clip the half closest to the part out of the way.

Step 3: Hold the remaining half and begin twisting it on a diagonal path toward the part. Twist firmly, gathering additional hair as you twist, but not so tightly that it hurts. Twist till you reach the part, then secure the end with a ponytail holder, letting the excess hair hand down.

Step 4: Unclip the half-section closest to the part and mist again. Using the same method, twist this section firmly in the direction of the part. Secure with a ponytail holder.

Step 5: Repeat the process on the other side of the part to create tow more twists, for a total of four.

Step 6: Attach pretty clips to the ponytail holder on each twist, be creative with these as it’s a holiday style. Rub a pea-sized amount of gel or light styling cream between your palms and scrunch the curls to finish.

To see Cozy talk about these fabulous styles on The Today Show please visit: http://video.today.msnbc.msn.com/today/49917555
For more information on Cozy Friedman, So Cozy products and more, please visit www.cozyscutsforkids.com

Or check out the book!

 Cozy's Complete Guide to Girls' Hair (Spiral)
Cozy’s Complete Guide to Girls’ Hair (Spiral)
$15.95, Target.com (Get Target Coupons here.)
Presents a comprehensive guide to maintaining and styling hair for girls, including guidelines for identifying hair type, instructions on hair maintenance and products, and tips for hair styles and cuts.

Christmas Quotes

christmas quotesHow I love Christmas! Here are some of our favorite Christmas quotations, from short Christmas Quotes, to classic Christmas quotes, and even a few from Charlie Brown and friends.

Short Christmas Quotes

“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.” Charles M. Schulz

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” Charles Dickens

“Christmas is not an eternal event at all, but a piece of one’s home that one carries in one’s heart.” Freya Stark

“Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most.” Ruth Carter Stapleton

“If there is no joyous way to give a festive gift, give love away.” Author Unknown

“Christmas, my child, is love in action.” Dale Evans

“Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind.” Mary Ellen Chase

“Peace on earth will come to stay, When we live Christmas every day.” Helen Steiner Rice

“Christmas isn’t a season. It’s a feeling.” Edna Ferber

Classic Christmas Quotes

“But I am sure that I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round… as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely.” Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day. Their old familiar carols play. And wild and sweet the words repeat. Of peace on earth goodwill to men.” Henry. W. Longfellow

“May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace,
The gladness of Christmas give you hope,
The warmth of Christmas grant you love.” Author Unknown

“Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat.
Please put a penny in the old man’s hat.
If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do.
If you haven’t got a ha’penny, then God bless you.” Traditional Christmas Rhyme (England)

“Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine;
Love was born at Christmas;
Star and angels gave the sign.” Christina Rossetti

“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.” Laura Ingalls Wilder

“From home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another.The warmth and joy of Christmas, brings us closer to each other.” Emily Matthews

“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.” Andy Rooney

“‘One can never have enough socks,’ said Dumbledore. ‘Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.’” J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?” Dr. Seuss

“Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer,but always it will be a day of remembrance -a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.” Augusta E. Rundel

“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?” Bob Hope

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Charlie Brown Christmas Quotes

“I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel. I just don’t understand Christmas, I guess.” Charlie Brown.

“Charlie Brown, you’re the only person I know who can take a wonderful season like Christmas and turn it into a problem.” Linus Van Pelt

“I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It’s not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love.” Linus Van Pelt

“We all know that Christmas is a big commercial racket. It’s run by a big Eastern syndicate you know.” Lucy Van Pelt.

“It’s too early. I never eat December snowflakes. I always wait until January.” Lucy Van Pelt

And here’s my favorite Christmas quote of all:

“The best way to spread Christmas Cheer is singing loud for all to hear!” Buddy the Elf, Elf.

Merry Christmas from my home to yours.

You might also enjoy:
Momscape’s Favorite Christmas Gifts

More Great Quotes:

Mother Quotes
- Funny Mom Quotes
- Love Quotes
- Cute, Funny Love quotes.
- Top 50 Father Quotes
- Forgiveness Quotes
- The Power of Failure: 10 Quotes on Learning from Your Mistakes
Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes

5 NEW Ways to Enjoy the Holidays

If, so far, your holiday season has been reduced to shopping for others, wrapping up projects at work, planning a trip home, thinking about hosting relatives, or worrying about budgets, then you really are not enjoying the most the holiday season has to offer.

Although the holidays can be stressful, hectic and overwhelming, they are also a great opportunity to branch out and try new things before the New Year.

As you plan your next few weeks, start thinking about all the things you can do this year to truly enjoy the most the holiday season has to offer. Here are five new ways to enjoy the holidays:

  • Playing Architect: True, the tradition of building gingerbread houses has been around for a while, but with the increasing popularity of Pinterest and extreme cooking shows, these days, you can find some pretty out-there designs to try at home. Take some time aside with your friends and have an adult gingerbread house competition to see who can build the most extreme – with plenty of eggnog to go along with the show.
  • Going Out More (to Holiday Shows): Holiday entertainment doesn’t stop at Nutcrackers and Christmas Carols. And you can only let your family watch A Christmas Story so many times before they start thinking they should get their own leg lamp for next year. Branch out and discover new shows by using sites like Goldstar.com to uncover unexpected shows your city has to offer—many at half-price.
  • Skip the Holiday Party Hop: All too often, we get stuck in the same social situations over and over again—the office holiday party, followed by the neighbors, and maybe a visit to a friend or two. This year, try to branch out and meet new people by hosting your own fest where everyone brings someone new to their social circle, as well as a bottle of wine.
  • Giving the Gift of Giving: Volunteering at a homeless shelter or a community kitchen is something that you can do any time of year, but the need is most apparent in the cold winter months. Visit sites like Networkforgood.org for tons of volunteer options.
  • Go Traditional: Skip the fake Fir and the canned snow. Take a group trip to a local Christmas tree farm get a real tree. Plan a tree trimming party with your family or friends and ask everyone to create their own ornament to display. You’ll have a great time, and some great ornaments to save the memories.

Hanukkah Treats for Babies and Toddlers


Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a celebration of the re-dedication of the Holy Temple after it was reclaimed from the Syrian-Greeks more than 21 centuries ago. Fried foods are traditional fare during Hanukkah, commemorating the miracle of the Hanukkah oil that lasted eight days when it should have only last one.

Here are delicious Hanukkah recipes your toddler will love.

Toddler Treat: Potato Pancakes

2 medium Russet potatoes
2-3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 egg
2 Tbsp. flour
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
¼ tsp of each salt and pepper
Dash of nutmeg
Perfect Applesauce (see below for recipe)

Wash, peel and grate potatoes (for grating use a box grater or a food processor). In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat the egg, scallions, flour, salt, pepper, nutmeg and egg. Add potatoes and mix thoroughly.

Pour oil into a large, frying pan. The oil should cover the bottom of the pan about 1/8-inch deep. Heat oil on medium high heat. Using about 1/3 cup, drop the potato mixture into hot oil and flatten with the back of a spoon. Fry 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in low oven until serving time. Repeat until all potato mixture is used.

Makes about 8 potato pancakes. Serve warm with applesauce

Perfect Applesauce

Cooking apples (such as Golden Delicious or McIntosh)
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1/3 cup water
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp. cinnamon

Wash, peel, and remove the core from the apples
Place apples, butter, sugar, water and cinnamon in a heavy pan.
Cook on low heat until apples are soft and mushy, about 25-30 minutes.

Make about 3 cups, 6 servings

About the author: Cheryl Tallman is the co-founder of Fresh Baby, creators of the award-winning So Easy Baby Food Kit, and author of the So Easy Baby Food and the new book So Easy Toddler Food: Survival Tips and Simple Recipes for the Toddler Years. Visit Cheryl online at www.FreshBaby.com for more delicious tips.

New Recipe: Roasted Tomato and Artichoke Flatbread Pizzettas

artichoke flatbread

Here’s a recipe that’s sure to be a hit for everyone in your family!

Roasted Tomato and Artichoke Flatbread Pizzettas
Serves 8

4 cups Pomì Chopped Tomatoes, drained
2 (13 3/4-ounce) cans artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
4 teaspoons olive oil
4 naan flatbreads
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese

While preheating the broiler, place the tomatoes and artichokes in a shallow baking pan and drizzle with olive oil. Broil for approximately 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 450°. Divide the broiled artichokes and tomatoes into four portions and pile onto each flatbread. Top with grated Parmesan and bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 10 minutes.

Once the pizzettas have cooled, cut each into small wedges.

This recipe is courtesy of Pomi tomatoes. Get more recipes and post your favorite dishes at http://www.facebook.com/PomiUSA.

New Recipe: Hearty Tomato, Butternut Squash and Pinto Bean Soup

butternut squash soup

Here’s a new, delicious and hearty soup recipe:

Hearty Tomato, Butternut Squash and Pinto Bean Soup

Serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups vegetable broth
2 15-ounce cans pinto beans, drained
2 cups Pomì Chopped Tomatoes
2 cups butternut squash cut into 1/2-inch pieces, peeled and seeded
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

6 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (optional)


Heat olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and celery, sautéing until the onions are golden, approximately 7 minutes. Add minced garlic and stir for an additional minute.

Pour in vegetable broth, then add in pinto beans, Pomì Chopped Tomatoes, butternut squash, oregano and dried crushed red pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the butternut squash is tender. For a smoother consistency, allow 3 cups of soup to cool slightly, then puree in a blender. Once smooth, return to pot and simmer until thoroughly heated, approximately 5 minutes.

Once the soup is poured into bowls, garnish with fresh chopped basil, if desired.

This recipe is courtesy of Pomi tomatoes. Get more recipes and post your favorite dishes at http://www.facebook.com/PomiUSA.

Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkins are a traditional part of fall, including being the tasty filling for Thanksgiving pie. Before you throw away the pumpkin seeds, Dr. Martha Howard of Wellness of Chicago offers these amazing health benefits.

(Keep in mind, if you don’t want to go through the hassle of drying and roasting them, you can always just buy pumpkin seeds.)

Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds:

  • Helps raise good cholesterol, HDL, and lower bad cholesterol, LDL, because they contain oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid.
  • Nature’s “happy pills” – contain lots of tryptophan, good for relaxation and sleep, and also glutamate, a precursor of GABA, one of the neurotransmitters that calms the brain.
  • Full of magnesium and zinc – Magnesium is hard to come by in the American diet, and a majority of us are deficient in it.  Zinc is also a common deficiency.  It is important to have enough zinc because it is one of the most important elements in preventing osteoporosis.
  • Contains fiber – which increases the satisfied “full feeling” that keeps you from getting hungry and binge eating.
  • Natural anti-inflammatory – effectively reduces inflammation helping with arthritis.
  • Used in traditional cultures – prevents and treats parasites.
  • Helps prevent kidney stones – prevents calcium oxalate formation.

What about pumpkin itself?  It has beta carotene and potassium.  Beta carotene, the same B vitamin that is in carrots, is a player in preventing everything from cancer to wrinkles!  A cup of pumpkin contains more potassium than a banana – it’s going to have to be a good sized piece of pie to get a cup!

Photo credit: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds by Jaxzin on Flickr


Celebrate National Women’s Health & Fitness Day

Today is National Women’s Health & Fitness Day, organized by the Health Information Resource Center (HIRC) to encourage women to take control of their health. Over 1,000 local community locations across the country including hospitals, health clubs, park and recreation departments, schools, retirement communities and more will host various events that promote physical activity and educate women how to make smarter health choices.

If you can’t find an event nearby, read on for a few ideas on how to celebrate:

Educate yourself
There are tons of magazines, websites and newspaper columns dedicated to heath and fitness that offer tips on nutrition, exercise and how to lower stress. Oxygen Magazine, for example, features video tutorials to teach you how to properly and effective complete certain workout moves. You could also sign up to receive daily emails containing the most current health news and fitness tips from your favorite online magazine so you never miss an important article.

Join a gym
If you have considered joining a health club, there’s no better time than today to do it! Shop around first though because you want to make sure to find the right gym with classes and instructors who suit your needs. Many facilities offer trial memberships like a free three-day pass or complimentary two-week trial, so call around to find out about the deals offered among health clubs in your area.

Try something new
If you are an avid runner or a regular gym rat, it is time to switch up your workout routine before it starts feeling stale. Explore speciality facilities that offer something you’ve never done before like Bikram Yoga, Spinning, Tai Chi or P90X. Switching up your exercise routine will keep you from getting bored, will guard you against injury and will keep you challenged. Check daily deal sites like LivingSocial for current fitness deals. You can score a deal like 3 yoga classes for just $16!

Encourage your gal pals
Today is a great time to get your friends together for an outdoor activity, and to encourage any ladies who have been lazy about being active. Invite a few gal pals to go on a walk or a hike and end the evening with a healthy meal at one of your favorite restaurants or cook something delicious together. You can find a ton of quick and healthy recipes at CookingLight.com.

Sweat in style
Women’s fitness gear is cuter and cuter each year. From brightly-colored sneakers to sleek, moisture-wicking tanks and slimming workout pants, there are so many exercise clothing and accessories options to keep you looking stylish even when you’re breaking a sweat. Check out this list of recommended women’s fitness gear to start working out in style. Look at these on Pinterest.

Download a fitness app
Whether it’s for the music or tracking calories, your mobile device is a popular and encouraging workout tool. Finding the right workout app that suites your needs can help you manage your exercise and health goals more effectively. For instance, Digifit’s iCardio is an all-in-one fitness-tracking app that measures and monitors exercise activities like walking, hiking, running, biking, and even kickboxing in real-time. The app features a built-in GPS that enables route mapping, and displays your speed, pace, distance, elapsed time, heart zone and approximated calorie burn in real time as well with voice feedback. The optional heart-rate monitor lets you tune your exercise practice even further and provides more accurate stats on the number of calories you burn during each workout.

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