The holiday season is here, and so is the potential to sabotage any self-care routines you may have established in past months. However, you don’t have to sacrifice the festivities in order to maintain a good health plan. According to forbes.com, there are just a few things you should remember before traipsing off to all those wonderful holiday parties.
Be aware of what you are eating. It’s nearly impossible to count calories if you don’t know what the ingredients are. The hostess might think it’s rude of you to ask what is in the cheese ball or how much sugar was used in the pastries. No need to bother them with the details. It’s ok to sample the treats; just don't overdo it.
Stay hydrated. Feeling ravenous? It could just be that you are a little dehydrated. Drink a glass of water before you go to your party to see if maybe that could be the reason behind your hunger. If that doesn’t work, eat an apple or a carrot stick to curb that hunger.
Choose healthy substitutes. Instead of heading straight for the dessert tray upon your arrival, stop at the fruit and veggie trays. Most events place the healthier food items together, so it is easy to load your plate with these items before sampling the desserts. Load up on the healthy stuff and you will find it easier to resist the goodies.
Check your portions. I sometimes let my guard down and grab a handful of cookies, rather than just one. If I feel like I can’t have just one, I skip it all together. If the cravings are too much and I feel like I really have to have a cookie or cupcake, I remind myself how long I have to exercise to burn it off. But let’s face it; sometimes it’s just better to give in to temptation and adjust your workout later. After all, life was meant to be enjoyed.
Don’t skip your exercise routine. Some of us get so busy during the holidays we forget all about exercise and think we can make it up later. However, if you are like me, once I get out of my routine, it’s a lot harder to get back into it.
Above all, practice self-care. Skip the parties if you don’t feel up to the social demands of the holiday. Get plenty of sleep and try not to put too many demands on yourself. Only you know what is best for you. Besides, you can always make a resolution to do better next year.
You have probably noticed the appearance of the Red Kettle Bell Ringers at the entrance to many popular stores, doing their part to ensure those in need have a happy holiday season.
But the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign isn't the only way the Salvation Army is helping our community. They also assist the Marine Corp. with the Toys for Tots campaign, and hold free holiday dinners for those in need, as well as serve as an overflow homeless shelter on the extra-cold winter nights. Food assistance is also available.
The Toys for Tots campaign started in California in the 1930's, because one little girl wanted to help make Christmas merrier for another child, who was not as fortunate. This tradition continued and moved across the nation and now, new toys are collected every holiday season throughout the Hiawatha, Marin, and Cedar Rapids communities. Volunteers help sort the toys and with registration, which enables parents to pick out a few gifts for their children.
According to the BBC, the Salvation Army was founded in 1865, in the East End of London, by William Booth. Booth was an evangelist who wanted to offer practical help to the poor and destitute as well as preaching the Gospel to them. It was originally called the Christian Mission, but changed its name to the Salvation Army in 1878.
For more information about how to register or learn about volunteer opportunities, visit the Salvation Army's website.
Nearly 44 million Americans are uninsured, and eight out of ten of these are workers and another 38 million have inadequate health insurance. With the costs of healthcare skyrocketing, no one can afford to be without healthcare insurance. Obamacare allows Americans, whose employers don't offer healthcare insurance, access to affordable insurance.
The open enrollment period for Obamacare is Nov. 1 to Dec. 15. Over 11 million Americans enrolled in a marketplace plan during last year's open enrollment. Those on the program must re-enroll during open enrollment, even if they want to keep the same plan. For those happy with their current plan, Open Enrollment is also a good time to make updates to their plan, such as adding or removing dependents.
For those who simply cannot afford healthcare insurance, there are free clinics available in Cedar Rapids; The Community Health Center and His Hands Minsitry. (The websites are below for hours and other important information.)
For more information about Obamacare, visit the website at Healthcare.gov.
His Hands Free Clinic
400 12th Street SE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52403
Community Health Center
947 14th Avenue SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52403
Phone: (319) 363-0416
Did you know that Hiawatha is now a Home Base Iowa community?
Home Base Iowa (HBI) communities offer valuable incentives for veterans that relocate to their community and connects veterans and transitioning service members with partners and resources. This program also helps support veterans and their families with education, training, and career opportunities.
Veterans living in Hiawatha receive a 50% discount on Parks and Recreation programs. Other incentives include waived fees for water service, 10% discount for residential permit work on their property, and 10% off rental registration for the first year as a property owner. Veterans also receive free printing at the Hiawatha Public Library.
Former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, passed the Home Base Iowa Act on Memorial Day, 2014, Home Base Iowa was designed to entice veterans to live in the state and for Iowa businesses to hire them. The Act's incentives include:
• State income tax exemption on 100% of military pension
• Up to $7,500 military and homeowner assistance
• Permissive veteran preference in employment
• Streamlined occupational licensure processes
• Automatic in state tuition for qualified veterans, spouses and their dependents
• Veteran specific license plates
For more information about Home Base Iowa, visit homebaseiowa.gov.
While all writers dream of seeing their books published, few actually see that happen. Perhaps the process of finding a publisher can be daunting, or maybe they think they don’t have what it takes. Whatever the reason, the dream of becoming a published author remains out of reach.
However, some authors choose to self-publish their own books, which includes Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). The publishing platform publishes books in print and digital, and even does some of the marketing for you.
Although self-publishing platforms can be a bit challenging, one Marion man was able to work through the kinks to see his dream of becoming a published author realized.
John Buckeridge recently published his first book, The Diplomatic Spy (under the pseudonym, Shawn Callon), through KDP. John looked at the options of self-publishing and decided KDP was the best way to go.
“You know where you stand with KDP,” he said. “Some of the information they provide, though, can be overwhelming. My interests lie in creating content and marketing my publication, but not in working my way thru Help pages on layout and formatting. Having said that, my plan is to make the book available in print later this year.”
“I think KDP provides an excellent platform for the novice writer like himself, and probably for the established writer, as well, if minimizing costs is the goal.”
John said he and his wife have been using Amazon Prime for many years and have been subscribers to Kindle Unlimited since 2015.
“We used to buy and borrow books but now most, but not all, of the novels we read are e-books thru Amazon. Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) seemed the way to go since it appears to be the market leader. They offer a lot of flexibility and support to the author; if you can’t find an answer in their Help section they will respond by email to you within 24 hours or they will call if you prefer.”
John was born in the UK and moved with his wife and two sons to the US in 1994, where John worked as a director and VP at LeFebure.
“The British company who owned LeFebure at the time wanted to transfer me again, but we decided to remain in the CR area, and we started our own executive recruiting company,” he said. “My wife and I had always talked about owning our own business.”
After 12 years of success John retired and started volunteering with SCORE, and afterwards with the McCauley Center, where he is currently a tutor teaching English as a Second Language to adult immigrants.
“In 2002 soon after our sons left home, my wife Elizabeth and I moved to Marion. One of our sons lives in Marion not far from us and our elder son lives in Portland OR. All of our four granddaughters live near us.”
John has worked in international sales and marketing for 40 years and has visited and conducted business in over 40 countries.
“I’ve always been interested in international current events, culture and languages, and still am. I studied English Language and Literature at London University. I did some writing then, but nothing was published. In my early business career, I did some copywriting, proofing and graphic design, as well.”
John and his wife, Elizabeth are prolific readers – novels, newspapers, journals and social media.
“I have always had a love for the written word and a passion for languages. One day back in 2017, I thought, why not write a novel drawing upon my experiences and interests? My first attempt was not successful. I got bored with it and rushed the ending. The Diplomatic Spy is my second attempt at a novel and my first published work.”
John said he got the idea for his book from the characters in John Le Carré’s novels.
“I love John Le Carré’s novels. I’ve read all of his books, some of them more than once. What I find gripping are his tortured characters, his complex plot lines and his surprise twists. So, Simon Montfort is a spy who works in France (I’m a Francophile, speak the language and lived there when I was a teenager). It’s strongly political because I love politics. Many of the characters I describe I have come across in my years of conducting business in Europe and Russia both before and after the Berlin Wall came down (which I visited in October/November 1989 and helped to destroy). I have many more similar 'colorful' characters I can draw on for my future novels.”
John is planning to publish Book 2 in the Simon Montfort Series in late 2020, as well as a third and final book in the series.
“I have not started writing any text for Book 2. I am still at the planning stage, but this time, I will write out the structural development of the novel rather than make a few notes; write a few chapters, revise the plot, and make a few more notes.”
The Diplomatic Spy is now available at Amazon.com.
Winter in Iowa; it's something that happens every year, yet there are still a few people who wait until the last minute (or not at all) to take the necessary precautions to ensure their cars and homes are able to handle even the most brutal Iowa winter.
Most Iowans aren't shocked that Iowa winters seem so extreme, and we handle whatever Mother Nature dishes out without too much fuss. We have lived through mild winters and severe winters, and we never really know what the upcoming winter will be like until we get there. However, chances are that we will experience at least one frigid cold snap that will test our patience, as well as our furnaces and car batteries.
To prepare your car for winter weather, according to Carmax:
It won't be long before the temperatures drop below freezing. Below are a few tips to winterizing your home and make it more heat efficient and save you money on your heating bill, according to usnews.com:
Some people opt for a warmer climate during the winter months, and it's nice if you can. However, as long as we are stuck here to face the winter, we might as well make it as comfortable as possible.