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Saturday, November 30, 2013

'Love-test' A Guide to Marital Success....Go With Your Gut


Scientists have devised a new "love test" that they believe is a better guide to the success of a relationship than the good intentions of newly-weds. The research suggests that a subconscious response to an image of a partner could be a useful predictor of marriage outcomes. Those who had a negative gut reaction were more likely be unhappy several years later.

The study is published in the Journal Science. The lead author, Prof James McNulty from Florida State University, says that the new test gauges the true feelings of newly-weds towards each other, rather than what they say to other people or even admit to themselves.
"These immediate gut level responses seem to be pretty powerful in predicting whether people stay happy," he said.

His team interviewed 135 newly-wed couples just after their nuptials.  The researchers asked them to evaluate their marriage related to positive and negative adjectives such as "good", "bad", "satisfying" and "dissatisfying".  They then measured their gut reaction to each other using their intriguing "love test".

This involved showing one partner a photograph of the other for a fleeting third of a second. They then had to answer as quickly as possible, whether certain words such as "great", "awesome", "horrible" and "scary" were positive or negative words. The speed with which they answered was an indication of their true feelings, say the researchers.

The test is based on the psychological principle of association. The theory is that after fleetingly seeing a picture of their partner, the newlywed is in a positive or negative state of mind. If they are in a positive state of mind they will identify positive words such as "great" or "awesome" more quickly than negative words such as "scary and horrible" and vice versa.

Prof McNulty and his team found that the conscious answers of the newly-weds were all positive and very happy about their relationships, as you might imagine.  But the gut reactions from the love test varied considerably.

The researchers interviewed the couples every six months for the next four years. They found that on average, those who had negative gut reactions were more likely to say that they were unhappy as the marriage wore on. Some even divorced.
"Everyone wants to believe they are in a good relationship and people can convince themselves that they are - but these gut-level reactions are more indicative of how people feel immediately about their relationships," he said. The test, according to the authors, measures the presence or absence of negative emotions.
"People can have love and negative emotions at the same time and this test probably taps into both of those," said Prof McNulty.

However, he was at pains to state that the research was not developed enough to be able to offer a test to people before they tie the knot.  But he pointed out that overall the scientists found a trend indicating the experimental tests revealed the newly-weds true feelings.

For those about to take the leap, Prof McNulty said that gut reaction should be something they listen to.  "I think the best advice would be to pay attention to your gut level responses as to how you think about seeing your partner. I don't think that should be the only factor people should consider, but it should be one of them"

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy,
My supervisor  rarely states his desires clearly . But if I take  the initiative  or ask him  to  clarify , he makes me feel like an idiot . He is condescending  and highly critical  of most people . He also  is a non-stop gossip. He has portrayed  me to others as racist, womanizing  and incompetent .
He has control over my payable time  and my vacation requests  . He has the ear of management . I fear that  bring  any of this up  for discussion  will create  a level of retaliation  far worse  than the existing  reality.
Any Suggestions ?

Dear Any Suggestions ,
First, examine  your own behavior  to see whether  there is  cause  for such rumors  to take hold  and if so, correct it . Still, it is no  excuse  for your supervisor to  spread gossip . He also seems  ineffectual as a leader, because  he does not make his wishes clear and stifles attempts  by employees  to clarify .Normally , these  would be issues  to document  and then discuss  with human  resources  or the  supervisors boss. However, if you  worry  that  doing so  will create  more problems, you have two choices . Either conduct  yourself in a way  that is beyond  reproach  and do your best  to put up with it, or start looking for another job .

Dear Maxy ,
I love your column  and I hope you can clear up something  for me . What is the correct thing to do  when  sending  a sympathy card ? It seems  that most death notices  these days suggest  donating  to a favorite charity  "in lieu of flowers." But is it  OK just to send  a card ? Should  money  always be enclosed  ? My friend says yes  , but I had never heard  of this . Is this a religious  custom  or popular  in certain parts of our country ? I get a different answer  every time  I ask someone .

Dear Chicago ,
A sympathy card  is always  appropriate and no , you do not have to enclose money . If the bereaved  is struggling  financially, it is  a kindness  to send something to help defray funeral costs but it is not mandatory . A donation  to a charitable  organization  is a suggestion  and also  not required . The point is to  express your condolences .

Dear Maxy ,
My sister's high school boyfriend  just contacted  me via  Facebook  and asked me  about my sister . He said he wants to get in touch with her  after something like 40 years . My sister is single  now , but I don't know  if I should connect them . This dude is seriously  a blast  from the past . My sister is kind of weird  about inviting  people into her life  ... just bringing  it up may start an argument . She is pretty reclusive  these days  . That's part of why  I thought I  might connect them . Do you think I should  set up a blind date  kind of thing for them ?
Should I tell  her and see  if she's interested  ? Or should  I leave it alone ?
Dear Sisterly,
Do not surprise your sister with a blind date . That would be awkward  and could easily backfire . Be respectful  to her  and let her know  that her high school beau  wants  to be in touch . Tell  her how he  reached out   and suggest that you share  her phone number  and address with him.
Being in touch  does not necessarily  mean dating  or even seeing each other . It can mean  an email or phone call . She may be open to something that simple .
If she  says yes, great . Make  the connection . Because  she may decline, do not promise anything  to the ex-beau  .  If she  does decline, tell  him you will deliver  the message  and if she wants  to, she will reach out .

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Busy Modern life 'turning people off sex' in


Couple kissing in bed
More than 15,000 people were polled about their sex lives

Money worries and the distractions of social media mean people are having sex less frequently, researchers say.  A once-a-decade poll of 15,000 Britons found those aged 16-44 were having sex fewer than five times a month. The figure compared with more than six times a month on the last two occasions when the official National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles was carried out, in 1990-91 and 1999-2001. The study's authors say modern life may be having an impact on libidos.

Dr Cath Mercer, from University College London, said: "People are worried about their jobs, worried about money. They are not in the mood for sex.
"But we also think modern technologies are behind the trend too. People have tablets and smartphones and they are taking them into the bedroom, using Twitter and Facebook, answering emails."

Graph showing how many times 16-44 year olds have sex a month

She also said the survey suggested that couples aged 16 to 44 may be using online porn as a substitute for sex.


  • Couples having less sex each month on average
  • More women having sex with women
  • For both men and women, the average number of partners of opposite sex has increased
  • Younger people having sex at an early age

Men polled in 2010 to 2012 reported having sex 4.9 times a month and women 4.8. In both previous surveys the averages were more than six for both sexes both times.

The survey carried out by NatCen Social Research and analyzed by researchers from University College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine also asked older people about their sex lives. It found 42% of women and 60% of men aged 65 to 74 had had sex in the past year. Nonetheless, they were the age groups having the least sex - 2.3 times a month for men and 1.4 for women.

Dr Cath Mercer: "If we think about the amount of sex that the population has, we've seen a decline in frequency". Among men, the 25-to-34 age group were having the most sex - 5.4 times a month - and for women it was the 16-to-24 age group, 5.8 times.

The latest survey, which is carried out every 10 years, also shows the age at which people start having sex is lower in the younger age groups. The average age for the under-25s is 16 compared with 19 for men and 18 for women in the 65-to-74 age group.

Among other findings:

  • One in six pregnancies in the UK is unplanned.
  • About half of men and women have had a recent sexual problem, but only a 10th of those interviewed were distressed or worried about their sex lives.
  • Lack of interest in sex is one of the most commonly reported problems, and one not confined to women - around 15% of men had experienced loss of libido.
  • Since the last survey in 2000 people have become more accepting of same-sex relationships but less tolerant of cheating spouses. For more about how attitudes have changed read more here.
  • The average woman aged under 44 said they had had 7.7 partners over their lifetime, while for men it was 11.7.
  • Some 3.6% of men had paid for sex in the last five years. Hardly any women had.

Genevieve Edwards, from Marie Stopes International, said: "A key insight from the survey is that people are having sex earlier and having children later, which means that, on average, women in Britain spend about 30 years of their life needing to avert an unplanned pregnancy, yet many are not being informed about or offered the full range of services.
"Long-acting contraceptives, for example, can be extremely effective and convenient but too many are never offered the choice."

But the poll - the full details of which have been reported in the Lancet - also revealed the extent to which people are forced to have sex against their will.  One in 10 women and one in 70 men said they had experienced it. However, fewer than half had told anyone about it and even fewer (13% of women and 8% of men) had reported the crime to the police.

Well that's what is happening in Britain. How's your sex life? Is Modern life stressing you out, depressing you. exhausting you? Are you losing interest in sex? It's a good idea to answer the questions yourself to see if these trends are more worldwide than just the British Isles. It is logical to assume that some of the same things are affecting us. How sad if it is so. And what are we going to do about it?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Seven Things You do That are Ruining Your Hair

Are you making these hair mistakes?

Are you making these hair mistakes?  There's still hope.
"There are a lot of things you do on a daily basis that can wreak havoc on your hair," says celebrity stylist Harry Josh, who tends to the hair of A-listers.  According to Josh, here's what you might be doing that is totally trashing your hair:

1. Trying to bleach your hair yourself.
"If you're trying to do ombré look or give yourself highlights at home, and your hair comes out looking more yellow than what you were going for, call your stylist," he says. "If you go out and buy another box, thinking you're going to give it another go, think again. You could end up frying off your hair and making it fall out in the end, which would be terrbile and unfixable."

2. Using a hair tie that rips your hair out.
"You might still be using an elastic with the metal fasteners that hold the hair tie together, or god forbit an office rubberband to put your hair up, but these types of hair binders will only rip out your hair when you try to take them out," Josh says. "Instead, get one that is made entirely out of fabric or one that isn't held together with a small metal piece. And NEVER use an office rubberband to pull your hair up - they're your hair's worst enemy."

3. Pulling your hair up in the same ponytail position.
"If you normally put your hair in a ponytail in the exact same spot every day, you can actually cause surface breakage in that area," he says. "What happens over time is that your hair will start to get weaker and break off in that spot and you'll be left with a bunch of flyaways you'll have to spray back with hair spray." To avoid this strand situation, change up your ponytail placement so you don't wear out your hair at the crown of your head, for example.

4. Copying ballerinas and pulling your hair back too tightly.
"Over time this can cause breakage to the hairline, since you're essentially putting a lot of tension on your hair at the root," he explains. "If you have a frail hairline, opt for looser styles that don't give an instant facelift as soon as you pull it back."

5. Skipping heat protectant products when you style.
"These types of products nourish as they style and put a barrier between the plates of the hot tool and your inner core of your hair shaft that keeps it strong," says Josh. "Some even contain UV filters, which help shield UV rays from sun damage that makes your hair porous, which makes it feel rough and look dry." Try John Frieda Frizz-Ease Heat Defeat Protective Styling Spray.

6. Brushing your hair with boar bristle brush when it's wet.
"You always want to use a paddle brush or wide-tooth comb when you're trying to detangle your hair after you shower," Josh warns. "Go for one with bristles set far apart; otherwise, using a boar bristle brush will yank your hair out since it's bristles are so close together."

7. Never brushing your hair.
"Brushing your hair invigorates the blood in your scalp, bringing it to the follicle," he says. "And the healthier the follicle is, the healthier and more lustrous your hair will look."

Okay, Sisters/Friends, armed with all this professional information, henceforth, we will all have thick lustrous hair that shines like silk. Make it so.

Christmas HoHo's

The Four Stages of Life: 
1) You believe in Santa Claus. 
2) You don't believe in Santa
3) You are Santa
4) You look
like Santa Claus.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Band of Brothers....Rally Against Bullying


Some young boys from Bridgewater show they are truly wise beyond their years when they rally around a boy who was being teased.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

'Ask Amy’s' advice to homophobic parent is spot-on

Washington Post advice columnist "Ask Amy" recently penned a spot-on response to a homophobic parent who can't understand why their gay son "chooses" his lifestyle.
"I feel as if he is doing this just to get back at me for forgetting his birthday for the past three years -- I have a busy work schedule," the parent writes in their letter, signed as "feeling betrayed."
View image on Twitter
Amy Dickson's response is both heart-warming and thought-provoking. The famous columnist starts off with stunning satire:
"You could teach your son an important lesson by changing your own sexuality to show him how easy it is. Try it for the next year or so: Stop being a heterosexual to demonstrate to your son that a person's sexuality is a matter of choice — to be dictated by one's parents, the parents' church and social pressure."

Dickinson rips into the parent for "forgetting" the child's birthday, writing "How very sad for him." She further suggests that if the parents can't learn to accept their son for who he is that he live elsewhere for his own safety.

The column ends with her suggestion that the parent seek help from, an organization that helps parents accept their gay children. The column comes at a time when the popularity of "gay conversion" therapy is making international headlines. It is a highly-controversial form of "therapy" which proponents argue can turn a homosexual person into a heterosexual person, and sometimes uses physical punishment.

In Canada, a "gay conversion" group called "Pray Away the Gay" was recently protested in Saskatoon after a member planned to give a lecture for a local Christian counselling centre.
In the U.K., government officials debated this week on how to best handle anti-gay physicians who refer gay patients to conversion therapy. And some U.S. states are currently trying to follow California and New Jersey's lead by making "gay conversion" therapy illegal.

I think Amy's response was great and very appropriate. Couldn't have answered better myself.....MAXY

Jeanne's Queen Elizabeth Cake

Lovely little cake for after dinner with your coffee



  • Topping

  • Sauce



  1. With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 180 °C (350 °F). Butter and line a 20-cm (8-inch) springform pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a saucepan, bring water and dates to a boil. Simmer, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  4. In another bowl, cream butter, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer. Add egg and beat until smooth. At low speed, add dry ingredients alternately with the warm date mixture. Add nuts and combine. Pour into pan. Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Don't let it get too dry.


  1. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring all ingredients to a boil, stirring constantly. Simmer gently for about 2 minutes.
  2. Spread topping on the warm cake and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Let cool completely before removing from pan.


  1. In a saucepan, bring all ingredients to a boil, stirring constantly. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Let cool. Serve with cake.  Enjoy!

Santa and Toddlers...Holly Jolly


Don't all mothers love the time-honored tradition of having their child pictured on Santa’s lap? Nothing is more cute than to see little tots smiling brightly on Santa’s lap while sharing their most heart-felt wishes for Christmas morning. Of course, this is the stuff of fantasy. More often than not, this special event is tainted by the horrifying screams and shrieks of terror from children forced to sit on a strange man’s lap while having it documented forever.





Bless em all
Including the long suffering Santas

Friday, November 22, 2013

Things Most Women Would Choose Over Sex (and One of Them is so Crazy Boring I Can't Believe It)...Okay, I Can Believe it

George Holz
There are two types of people in the world: People who are obsessed with TV, and people I do not want to be friends with, because hello, what would we even talk about then??
In a survey of 2,000 women, a mere six percent said they'd choose a night of sex when given the choice of a variety of ways to spend an evening. In contrast, 39 percent said they'd opt to spend the night curled up in front of their television. Other things women chose in higher numbers over sex? Reading a book, watching a movie, cooking a nice dinner, pampering themselves, and…catching up on paperwork. 

 WHAT is going on here?  Is there anything women like less than sex? A night of TV, I get. You can do it for hours and eat snacks during without it getting painful or weird, and it totally doesn't matter if you haven't showered in three days for that. But paperwork? The worst sex has to be better than the best paperwork, right? Is there even such a thing as "best paperwork"? No, there is not. I rest my case.

Hmmmm....TV or sex ? Yes I can see the dilemma. And don't forget shopping and chocolate.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy,
I have been going to  the same hairdresser  for the  past 12 years. Lately, I have received  some pretty bad haircuts  and I've noticed that the salon is not as clean as it used to be . There is often hair from  previous  customers  on the chair  and the floor .
I feel a strong connection  to my hairdresser  and we've developed  a friendship  over the years, but I can't  take another bad hairdo . I'm thinking of going somewhere else, but I don't know how to do it . Should I  just stop calling  for appointments  or must I "breakup" with her directly ?
Can Hairy Leave Sally

Dear Hairy ,
After  12 years, your hairdresser  deserves  to know why you aren't  returning . Might  she be ill  and unable to do the work she used to do ?  Inquire about her well-being  and then tell her  what's been bothering you . Give her  the opportunity  to improve  the situation  before telling her  you feel  it is necessary  to take  your business else where .

Dear Maxy ,
My job requires  me to use the Internet  to gather  information  for various  projects  in a timely manner; however, I find myself  logging into Facebook and Twitter to update my status  and to see what my friends are doing  all day long. I really want  to concentrate  and focus  on the  work I have  to do doing business hours . Can you help me  create  a strategy to help stay focused ? I could be a more  effective worker .
Easily Distracted

Dear Easily Distracted ,
What you can do is think about  your  career . Consider  the steps  that  you can take  to be successful  in your work life . Write down  a list  of what you can  do to improve your job . Imagine  how much  more efficient  you can be if  you stay focused  on the task at hand
Each day, make a written list  of what  you have to do . Write out each task  on a separate line  and check  off each item  when it has has been successfully completed .
Finally, think  about the  consequences  of continuting  to be  distracted  by your personal social media . You could  potentially lose your job  if you spend  too much time on those websites .

Dear Maxy ,
Recently, my husband  and I have gained  a lot of weight . I know why: We have been eating  rich food  everyday  and drinking wine every night  . We know  that this is causing  us  to bulk up , but  it makes us happy . We actually  have not been this happy  together in years . So , we don't want to stop . Obviously, this  is not rational  thinking . What can we do  to develop  healthier  habits  and stay happy ?
Fat and Happy

Dear Fat and Happy,
You can start  by moving  your bodies  . Why not  take a walk together after dinner ? Ease  into being  more active with each other . At the same time, you can begin  to make  smarter  food choices . Switch out starchy foods  for green vegetables . Cut back on butter  and bread . Eat dinner  earlier  than the normal hour . Do not eat before you go to bed . Reduce your alcohol intake . Start off by reducing  it to one glass  of wine per night  with the goal  of reducing  your alcohol  intake  to one or two nights a week .
Remember  to take  your time  in this process . Talk to your  husband  about it so he knows  you are looking  to do something to improve  your health . Ask him to support  you in this effort . Look for recipes  for healthier  meals . Invite  your husband  to help prepare special meals with you . What makes for a happy marriage  is great communication  coupled  with respect . If you travel  on this journey  to a healthier  life  together, chances are you can slim down and stay happy !

Medical chuckles

funny nurse photo: NURSE FUNNY bendovernurse.gif

A man goes to the nursing home to visit his 84-year-old father. While there he notices the nurse give his father hot chocolate and Viagra.
The man asks, "Why are you doing that? I mean, at his age what will it do for him?"
The nurse explains, "The hot chocolate will help him sleep."
The man asks, "And the Viagra?"
"Keeps him from falling out of bed."

A guy goes into a doctor's office with a frog growing out of his head.
"Tell me how it started," says the doctor.
"It started out as a bump on my ass," says the frog.

Senior citizens are riddled with AIDS! ...hearing aids, Band-Aids, Rolaids, walking aids, government aid. Golden years?? My Ass!!

An old man and his daughter go to the doctor for his monthly checkup. During examination, the doctor asks how his nightly incontinence is.
  "It's fine," says the old man. "I just get up and go to the bathroom, and God turns on the light for me."
The doctor finishes up the examination, and then calls in the daughter to tell her about the God-light thing.
"Oh, damn!" says the daughter. "He's been peeing in the fridge again!"

New Male Performance Drugs
With the success of Viagra, many new performance drugs for men  are now in development:

--PROJECTRA: Men given this experimental new drug actually finish a household repair project.

--COMPLIMENTRA: In clinical trials, 82% of middle-aged men noticed that their wives had a new hairstyle. Double the dose and they will admire a new dress and ask if  their wives have lost weight.

--BUYAGRA: Married men report a sudden urge to buy their wives gifts after taking this drug for only two days. Double the dose and they encourage their wives to spend as much as they want on themselves.

--ANTI-AGRA: Promises the exact opposite effect of Viagra and gives the wife a good night's sleep. Currently undergoing clinical trials on U.S. Senators.

--NOSPORTAGRA: This drug makes men want to turn off televised sports and actually  have a conversation.

--FLATULAGRA: This complex drug converts men's noxious intestinal gases into air freshener.

--FLYAGRA: This drug shows great promise in treating men with O.F.D. (Open Fly Disorder).

--LIAGRA: This pill stops men lying about staying late at the office and compels them to confess if they are boffing their secretaries. Soon to be available in industrial strength .


An old man goes to the doctor's.
"Help, Doc. I just got married to this 21 year old woman. She is hot and all she wants to do is have sex all day long."
 "So what's the problem?"
"I can't remember where I live."

Ralph and Edna were both patients in a mental hospital.
One day while they were walking past the hospital swimming pool, Ralph suddenly jumped into the deep end. He sank to the bottom of the pool and stayed there.
 Edna promptly jumped in to save him and pulled him out.
When the Head Nurse became aware of Edna's heroic act she immediately ordered her to be discharged from the hospital, as she now considered her to be mentally stable.
When she went to tell Edna the news she said, "Edna, I have good news and bad news."
" The good news is you're being discharged; since you saved another patient's life we feel you can respond well to any problems you may encounter in life."
" The bad news is, Ralph, the patient you saved, hung himself with his bathrobe belt in the bathroom."
" I am so sorry, but he's dead."
Edna replied "He didn't hang himself. I put him there to dry. How soon can I go home?"

An old man goes to the pharmacy for cough syrup. The clerk can't find any so he recommends a strong laxative.
The old man asks, "How will a laxative help my congestion?"
"It won't," replies the clerk, "but you'll be too scared to cough."

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Christmas Ornaments...Snowman Faces...Easy Peasy

Adorn your Christmas tree with these beautiful handmade Christmas ornaments. These easy to make ornaments will hang on your tree for generations, or you can wrap them up for personalized, homemade Christmas gifts.
Snowman-Face Ornaments

Snowman-Face Ornaments

It's easy to assemble a whole garland filled with these happy snowman faces. Start with small foam balls; cover with air-dry clay, adding an extra-small amount to each to shape into a nose if desired. Wet the clay to attach black beads for eyes; use a toothpick to draw mouths. Paint facial details with orange paint, or add a bit of cosmetic blush for rosy cheeks. Add a hanger using an 1-1/2-inch-long piece of florist's wire. Seal with clear gloss gel medium or clear glitter paint.

Christmas Mincemeat Pinwheel Cookies

Pinwheel cookies are a Christmas classic. This version uses pre-rolled puff pastry as the dough, and seasonal mincemeat as the filling. Much easier than the traditional version with two colours of home-made cookie dough stacked and rolled.



  • 2 tsp (10 mL)  granulated sugar
  • 1 pkg (450 g)  Butter Puff Pastry, thawed ( can be bought raw and ready to roll from most supermarkets)
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) Mincemeat                                       


In food processor, purée mincemeat for 15 seconds or until smooth. Set aside.
 Unroll one sheet of puff pastry onto counter, leaving it on the parchment paper. Spread with  half of the mincemeat, leaving a 1/2-inch (1 cm) border bare on all sides.
Using parchment paper to help, roll up jelly-roll fashion into a long tube. Gently press on seam of pastry to seal. Wrap in parchment paper, twirling ends to hold in place. Repeat with remaining pastry and mincemeat. Freeze for 3 hours or until firm.
Arrange oven racks so one is in top third of oven and other in bottom third. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Remove puff pastry from freezer; let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Pour sugar onto rimmed baking sheet.
Unwrap pastry tubes. Use parchment paper to line two baking sheets. Gently roll pastry tubes in sugar to coat. Using sharp knife, trim ends and discard. Cut into 22 slices, each a scant 1/2-inch (1 cm) thick and place flat on prepared baking sheets. Discard remaining sugar.
Place one baking sheet in top third of oven and other in bottom third. Bake for 6 minutes. Switch baking sheets from top to bottom, rotating them from front to back as well when you switch places. Bake for a further 6 to 8 minutes or until puffed and golden. Transfer to wire rack to cool.
Chef's Tips
* I recommend doing the sprinkling of the sugar coating when you are first spreading on the mincemeat and rolling it up - the dough is thawed and it works great

*Fill puff pastry, roll in parchment then overwrap in plastic wrap and freeze up to 2 weeks in advance.
    Wonderful Holiday treat, simple and better than the traditional tarts

What You Would Like to Say to People With No KIds



Children Run Slower Than Parents... World Study

  children racing

Children are advised to do at least an hour of vigorous activity every day

 Many children cannot run as fast as their parents could when they were young, a study of global fitness says. Experts say the work - being presented at the American Heart Association's annual meeting - suggests children's fitness levels may be declining.

Researchers analyzed data spanning 46 years and involving more than 25 million children in 28 countries. On average, children today run a mile 90 seconds slower than did their counterparts 30 years ago, they said. Across nations, cardiovascular endurance - gauged by how far children can run in a set time - has dwindled consistently by about 5% every decade, according to the findings.

The decline is seen in boys and girls and across all ages from nine to 17 years, and is linked to obesity, with some countries faring worse than others. Lead researcher Dr Grant Tomkinson of the University of South Australia's School of Health Sciences said: "In fact, about 30% to 60% of the declines in endurance running performance can be explained by increases in fat mass."

The problem is largely one of Western countries, but some parts of Asia like South Korea, mainland China and Hong Kong are also seeing this phenomenon. Dr Tomkinson said children needed to be inspired and encouraged to do more vigorous exercise. If not, the public health consequences could be dire.
"If a young person is generally unfit now, then they are more likely to develop conditions like heart disease later in life," said Dr Tomkinson.

To stay healthy, children and young people need to do at least an hour of physical activity - such as walking or cycling to school and running in the playground - every day. It can be done in small chunks rather than one session. Prof Michael Gwitz of the American Heart Association said: "The type of exercise is really important." He says exercise must be something that "makes you sweat" and is "sustained and dynamic" to promote cardiovascular fitness. Simply going to the gym or belonging to a school sports team might not be enough, unless you are moving around a lot.

Christopher Allen of the British Heart Foundation, said: "It's well established that being physically inactive in childhood can have serious health implications later in life."
"Keeping active can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and the sooner kids start, the better.
"By encouraging children to get active, we can help protect their hearts as they grow up. Parents, schools and community groups can all help kids on their way to 60 minutes exercise a day."

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Chocolate Truffles for Christmas...Decadent Luxury

  • 2/3 cup (150 mL)  35% whipping cream
  • 2 cups (500 mL)  Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL)   Instant Coffee
  • 1 tsp (5 mL)    Pure Vanilla
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL)  Cocoa Powder
  1. In heavy-bottomed medium saucepan set over medium heat, bring whipping cream to a boil. Immediately remove from heat. Whisk in chocolate chips and coffee until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla. Transfer to bowl. Cool to room temperature, uncovered, about 30 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill until firm, about 2 hours.
  2. Line rimmed baking sheet with wax paper. Put cocoa in a pie plate. Using a tablespoon, scoop chocolate mixture and form into balls. Roll balls in cocoa and place on prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Store truffles in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Chef's Tips

  • If chocolate mixture is too firm to scoop, let stand at room temperature for a few minutes to soften.

  • Optional
    Omit cocoa and roll truffles in toasted shredded coconut or chopped nuts instead.

    Substitute brandy, rum or whiskey for the coffee; stir in with the vanilla.

Teddy Bear Monitors Baby's Health

Parenthood is becoming an increasingly technical affair, it would seem. One (minor) technological revolution follows another, in ever more rapid succession—each designed to make it easier to monitor our children’s health. The latest is Teddy the Guardian.
Ana Burica and Josipa Majić are two young Croatian entrepreneurs. These two business students from the University of Zagreb launched their own innovative software that enables dermatologists to gather information about their patients and monitor their therapy in a new way. It was a major success. Their new project is Teddy The Guardian, a hand-made toy which can also help monitor the health of your baby and has its very own mobile app.
Withings got the ball rolling several years ago with its Smart Baby Monitor, and now the next round of products launching us into modern parenthood are here. Take Jerry, for example, the teddy bear who helps children with diabetes, or the smart diaper.
Where Jerry the Bear focuses on children with diabetes, cousin Teddy the Guardian must provide full coverage of its owner’s state of health. Whenever the child cuddles with Teddy the Guardian or places its paw on their forehead, the bear can measure temperature, heart rate and blood oxygen level.
Teddy is equipped with an Arduino board and a variety of sensors, which in turn synchronize with the companion app on your smartphone. The process essentially maintains a journal of your child’s health, in a way that’s much less distressing than a visit to the doctor—in fact, there’s no resemblance at all.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

'Kangaroo care' key for premature babies

Premature baby in an incubator

Mothers carrying babies skin-to-skin could significantly cut global death and disability rates from premature birth, a leading expert has said. Prof Joy Lawn says "kangaroo care", not expensive intensive care, is the key.

The 15 million babies every year born at or before 37 weeks gestation account for about 10% of the global burden of disease, and one million of them die. Of those who survive, just under 3% have moderate or severe impairments and 4.4% have mild impairments.

Prof Lawn, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), said: "The perception is you need intensive care for pre-term babies,
"But 85% of babies born premature are six weeks early or less. They need help feeding, with temperature control and they are more prone to infection.
"It's really only before 32 weeks that their lungs are immature and they need help breathing,
She added: "Unless there are those breathing problems, kangaroo care is actually better because it promotes breastfeeding and reduces infection."

Speaking ahead of World Prematurity Day on Friday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who leads the Every Woman Every Child movement, which promotes improvements to healthcare for women and children, said: "Three-quarters of the one million babies who die each year from complications associated with prematurity could have been saved with cost-effective interventions, even without intensive care facilities."

Duncan Wilbur, from the UK charity Bliss, said, "While kangaroo care saves lives in countries such as Africa, it is also incredibly important for babies born too soon all over the world.

"Here in the UK our medical technology is extremely advanced but simply giving a baby kangaroo care or skin-to-skin can help make a baby's breathing and heart rate more regular, it can help a baby's discomfort during certain medical procedures and importantly can benefit breastfeeding and bonding between the baby and parents."
Studies to be published this weekend in the Pediatric Research journal show boys are 14% more likely to be born prematurely - and boys who are premature are more likely to die or experience disability than girls. Common disabilities include learning disorders and cerebral palsy.

Prof Lawn said: "One partial explanation for more preterm births among boys is that women pregnant with a boy are more likely to have placental problems, pre-eclampsia, and high blood pressure, all associated with preterm births."
She added: "Baby boys have a higher likelihood of infections, jaundice, birth complications, and congenital conditions, but the biggest risk for baby boys is due to preterm birth.
"For two babies born at the same degree of prematurity, a boy will have a higher risk of death and disability compared to a girl.

"Even in the womb, girls mature more rapidly than boys, which provides an advantage, because the lungs and other organs are more developed."

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Study begun to see if genetically enhanced stem cells can repair heart attack damage

Illustration of the human heart 
Here at Maclean's, we appreciate the written word. And we appreciate you, the reader. We are always looking for ways to create a better user experience for you and wanted to try out a new functionality that provides you with a reading experience in which the words and fonts take centre stage. We believe you'll appreciate the clean, white layout as you read our feature articles. But we don't want to force it on you and it's completely optional. Click "View in Clean Reading Mode" on any article if you want to try it out. Once there, you can click "Go back to regular view" at the top or bottom of the article to return to the regular layout.

TORONTO – Canadian researchers have treated the first patient in a clinical trial using genetically enhanced stem cells to repair damaged heart muscle after a major heart attack.

The experimental therapy uses stem cells extracted from a patient’s blood soon after their heart attack.
The cells are enhanced with a gene that stimulates blood vessel growth and improves tissue healing, then infused into the patient’s heart.

Principal investigator Dr. Duncan Stewart says the goal is to stimulate repair, reduce scar tissue and restore the heart’s ability to pump blood efficiently.
The trial will enrol 100 patients over two years, starting with patients at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.
A third of the participants will receive genetically enhanced stem cells, a third non-enhanced stem cells and a third a placebo.
“Stem cells have incredible potential to repair and regenerate damaged organs, but cells that come from heart attack patients don’t have the same healing abilities as those from young, healthy adults,” said Stewart, CEO and scientific director of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.
“Our strategy is to rejuvenate these stem cells by providing extra copies of a gene that is essential for their regenerative activity … to help the heart fix itself.”

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy ,
I have been married  for more than 20 years  and have never been  sexually attracted to my husband . He is a good provider , but there is no passion . I have tried  everything  I can think of to make sex better, but he acts as if its part of my wifely duties, which makes me sick .
I don't want to break up our home, but I'm in love  with a passionate man  who just rocks  my world . He kisses me, and I forget my name . Our affair  has lasted four years . Why can't I keep them both ?

Dear Torn,
It seems you've  been doing exactly  that for four years, but it's not enough . Please figure out what you want . If there are young children, you owe it to them  to work on your marriage . Get into a joint counseling  so your husband  can work on his Neanderthal attitude  toward women  and so you can  see whether  passion can be  ignited . If you believe  sex is  the most
important  aspect  of a marriage, divorce  your husband so you can be with Rocks Your World . But having  it both  ways isn't  working  and you'll feel better  when you deal  with this more honestly.

Dear Maxy ,
My assistant has dropped the ball  so many times  of late  that I don't  know what to do . Every time  she makes a mistake, I tell her, because I taught her that you shouldn't let things build up . I tell her what she did  that didn't work, and I tell her how to do it right . She says she understands  and then does it the wrong way all over again . I have offered  to get her training  support, which she didn't  take me up on . This past week, her mistakes cost my company  money . I would hate to let  a young person go, but I don't  know what else to do .
Wit's End
Dear Wit's End ,
Schedule  a review meeting with your assistant . Have a list of concerns  written  out that you need to address with her . Give  her a timeline  for when  you  need her  to have mastered  the various points  on the list . Essentially, you will be giving  her a probationary  period  to get her job performance  together .

Dear Maxy,
I left my purse  on the table  in my house  the other day  and when I went to pick it up, I noticed that my money was missing  from my wallet . I am 100% sure  that I had money in there . I even know how much it was . What I  don't know is who would have  taken it . I have two teenage children, a younger child, a nanny  and my husband .
I hate the idea  of accusing  the wrong person of theft . I am also very concerned, because  if one  of my family  members  would steal from me, what does that mean ? Or even the  nanny ? What should I do ?

Dear Violated,
A note to you is that  you should no longer  leave your purse  and wallet in full view . Reducing temptation  is smart .
Rather  than accuse  anyone  of theft call a family meeting  --- including the nanny--- and explain  what happened . Say that you had X amount of money in your purse, and it  disappeared . Point out  where your purse was sitting  when you believe someone  took the  money out . Ask the assembled group if any of them  took or  borrowed  the money . Do your best  not to use  an accusatory tone . It's harder  for you  to get someone  to speak up if it seems  that a punishment  is imminent .
If you can, use humor . You could ask if someone  took a loan out of your purse  . If so, now would be a great time  to repay that loan ! Think of ways  to lighten the conversation . If  you are able  to get someone  to admit  to taking the money, you can privately explore  the situation  more to find  out why  the person  thought that  was a good idea . It can become a teachable moment  .

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Fight for the Right to Die

Working with terminally ill patients is rewarding if handled correctly.

Quebec is on the cusp of allowing its doctors to actively participate in the death of terminally ill patients by way of lethal injection. Long the crucible of the country’s thorny ethical questions, abortion included, the province would be the first in Canada, and one of the few places in the world, where such a thing would be legal. And the proposed law pits Quebec against the federal government, which considers legal injection to be assisted suicide, a violation of the Criminal Code.

The bill, which received all-party consent upon its introduction this past summer, provides the legal framework by which a doctor may provide “end-of-life care” to a terminally ill patient. The patient must be of legal age, suffer an “incurable serious illness” and “irreversible decline in capability” resulting in “constant and unbearable pain.”

If Quebec’s legislation passes—it was adopted in principle this past week, and barring an election will likely become law—it will be “a template for the rest of the country,” said Wanda Morris, executive director of Dying With Dignity, a British Columbia-based right-to-die group. “If Quebec does this, and people see that it works and are happy with it, then I think much of the country would look to it and say that is something we need.”

The right for a terminally ill patient to choose his or her own time and means of death has broad support in the province, which is arguably the most socially liberal in the country. A recent Environics poll suggested 79 per cent of Quebecers support euthanasia, compared to 68 per cent in the rest of the country. Quebec’s college of physicians was an early backer of the right-to-die legislation, and it has the support of its associations of medical specialists and general practitioners—though, notably, not of its palliative caregivers, the very people charged with caring for the terminally ill.

The proposed law is meant for the five to eight per cent of patients who, despite the best palliative measures, still suffer from unendurable pain. This legislation integrates all types of end-of-life care, so it can best care for the suffering of all patients. The law has several levels of checks to ensure a patient is giving clear-minded consent to death and is not being coerced. Under the legislation, a patient would sign and date a consent form in the presence of a physician to begin the process of what it calls “medical aid in dying.” (A third party can do so if the patient is physically incapable.) This physician would then ensure the patient meets the criteria set out in the legislation, and fulfills eight further requirements, including having made the decision “freely and without any external pressure.” The opinion of another physician is then sought; if this physician agrees, the patient’s wishes are granted, and “the physician must administer such aid personally and take care of the patient until their death.”

Quebec’s right-to-die bill faces potential legal hurdles, but the law is on the Quebec government’s side. It is a well thought out and structured bill. It's not euthanasia, it’s medical aid in dying. Because the law frames the issue of doctor-assisted dying as part of a continuum of care, the proposed law avoids the criminal definition of assisted suicide.

As with most contentious social issues, camps on either side come armed with duelling research, statistics and thinly veiled insults of their opponents. Even language is a minefield in which every word is loaded. Right-to-die proponents eschew terms like “euthanasia” and even “doctor-assisted suicide” while its opponents say expressions such as “dying with dignity” and “assisted dying” remove any suggestion of the act’s implicit barbarity. It also pulls at the heartstrings. Shortly before his death in September, noted microbiologist Dr. Donald Low made a widely publicized video pleading for right-to-die legislation in Canada.

The video and the Quebec bill were shots in the arm for Canadian right-to-die advocates, who are smarting from a recent B.C. Court of Appeal decision reversing a lower court’s ruling in favour of assisted suicide. “I love what Quebec has done,” says Morris, who sees it as part of a “worldwide phenomenon” pushing the issue to the forefront.

Proponents, Morris says, are Baby Boomers who’ve seen their parents suffer through the last chapter of their lives and want nothing of the sort themselves. “Boomers have always been in control. We don’t just go to the doctor, we go to the Internet to see what has to say. We do our own research. It’s a natural extension of that. When we look at the current options for dying, we say ‘I think we need a different one.’ ”

The feds have already come down squarely against Quebec’s right-to-die bill, setting the stage for a legal battle between Quebec and Ottawa. A court would have to decide whether the act of helping a patient along to his or her final resting place is a criminal matter or, as Quebec maintains, a relatively simple medical procedure. This is a very controversial subject and frought with ethical snags and hangups but after talking to a wide range of people,  I am realizing that the general consensus is favorable to assisted suicide. Speaking for myself, I have always believed in the right to die.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Make a stunning Christmas wreath from old ornaments

Make a pretty holiday wreath
The sumptuous look of this gleaming wreath belies its simple nature – a handful of eye-catching ornaments are simply set in a background of inexpensive tree balls, all attached to a foam base. Easy but elegant, this perennial performer will never wilt or drop needles on the carpet. You may have some old ornaments you don't hang on the tree any more that could be used.

You need
• Cylindrical Styrofoam wreath base, 14-in in diameter, 2-in thick
• Approx seventy-five 2-in diameter ball ornaments
• Approx thirty 1-in diameter ball ornaments
• Approx 20 vintage ornaments (such as 2- to 2-1/2-in diameter glittery, mirrored or painted balls, or odd-shaped ornaments and decorations such as angels, birds or beasts)
• Loose glass beads recycled from tree garlands or costume jewelry (optional)
• 1.00 m wire-edged satin ribbon, 2-in wide
• Glue gun

To make:
1. Fold ribbon in half so ends are even, forming loop. From back of base, thread loop through wreath, then slide ends through loop and tighten at top; secure loop to base with dabs of glue. Tie ends in bow to make hanging loop.

2. Working counterclockwise from top and leaving spaces to accommodate vintage ornaments, glue 2-in balls all over sides then front of base (glue balls to each other, as well as to base, to secure); arrange vintage ornaments as desired, then glue on. Glue 1-in balls (and, if desired, beads) into spaces in between.

3. Trim ribbon ends, then shape bow loops and ends as desired.

Designer's tips
• Before gluing ornaments around sides, place small pieces cut from corrugated cardboard or clean Styrofoam meat trays under ornaments, to position balls slightly forward of base back and prevent breakage when the wreath is hung against a hard surface.

• Save this wreath for indoor use only, and avoid hanging it on a door that is constantly opened and shut.

Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies

Mini Pumpkin cookies.
Pumpkin Spice Sugar cookies.
Pumpkin Spice Roll-Out Sugar Cookies
(recipe by Nicole Cleghorn)
Gorgeous and delicious....I tried these cookies and loved them. Thanks Nicole. I will be back to see what other goodies you have.

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2-1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 2-3/4 cups whole wheat flour
Cream together the butter and brown sugar until light & fluffy (about 3-4 minutes on medium speed). Add in the turbinado sugar, and cream for an extra minute or so. Add the baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice; mix well.
Add the egg & milk; beat well. Add the flour, mixing until well-combined. The dough should be soft & not sticky. Turn out onto sheets of waxed paper & roll. Cut out shapes, and transfer to baking sheets lined with parchment paper or Silpat liners. Freeze sheets for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 365°. Remove cookies from freezer and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges begin to have a hint of brown. Cool cookies on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Decorate with royal icing, if desired. These are FABULOUS plain, too!
Mini Pumpkin cookies.

Fall Leaves Sugar Cookies

Fall Leaves Sugar Cookies Recipe

Sugar cookies with combined red, yellow and orange dough make colorful cookies to serve during the fall season. Almost too pretty to eat.

60 min.prep time 3:20total time
48 cookies


1 cup Butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Red, orange and yellow gel food colors
Coarse white, orange and/or yellow decorator sugars


Combine butter and sugar in bowl; beat at medium speed until creamy. Add egg, milk and almond extract; continue beating until well mixed. Add flour and baking powder; beat at low speed until well mixed.

Divide dough into thirds; place each portion into separate bowls. Add very small amount of red gel food color to 1 portion; mix well. Add additional red gel for desired color, if necessary. Repeat with remaining dough portions and gel food colors.

Shape each dough into ball; flatten each ball to 1/2-inch thickness. Wrap each in plastic food wrap; refrigerate 2-3 hours or until firm.

Heat oven to 400°F. Working with half of each dough color (keeping remaining dough refrigerated), drop tablespoon-size pieces of dough from each color onto a well-floured surface in a random pattern with dough pieces touching. Roll out dough to 1/4- to 1/8-inch thickness, forming a marbled design. Cut with 3-inch leaf-shaped cookie cutters.

Place cookies, 1 inch apart, onto ungreased cookie sheets. Sprinkle with decorator sugar. Bake 7-9 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to cooling rack.