Thursday, May 31, 2012

National Aphasia Awareness Month


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By Diane Forrest

A friend of my husband, a very lovely lady who was married to my husband's pastor, had a stroke.  She has recovered from her stroke, however her ability to speak did not return to 100%.  Much like Kirk Douglas who suffered a stroke in 1996.  Although he has some ability to speak, the progress has been long and slow and requires much work with a speech therapist.  Both are able to communicate, however their speech is slow, and sometimes difficult to understand.
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A good friend of mine's brother in law suffered a stroke last month that attacked the top of his brain and he totally lost the ability to speak, however that doesn't mean that he lost his intelligence.  They all suffer from a condition known as Aphasia.
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Aphasia is an impairment of language ability ranging from having difficulty remembering words to being completely unable to speak, read, or write. It can occur suddenly as with a head injury or stroke, or develop over time with dementia, infection or brain tumor.
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Signs and symptoms
  • People with aphasia may experience any of the following behaviors
  • inability to comprehend language
  • inability to pronounce, not due to muscle paralysis or weakness
  • inability to speak spontaneously
  • inability to form words
  • inability to name objects
  • poor enunciation
  • inability to repeat a phrase
  • persistent repetition of phrases
  • uncompleted sentences
  • inability to read
  • inability to write
  • limited verbal output
  • difficulty in naming


Treatment

Treatment is according to the cause of aphasia, but the main course of treatment involves working with a speech therapist.

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June is National Aphasia Awareness Month.  For more information see: http://www.aphasia.org/

Grace Under Pressure


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

National Macaroon Day


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By Chef Diane

I love coconut.  I love it in cake, pies, cookies and candy.  Almond Joys are one of my favorites.  The creamy coconut center with the chocolate on top is really close to heaven!  Then I discovered the Macaroon.  It is a cookie that tastes like a little cake.  It is moist and crunchy and filled with coconut.  What could be better?

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Macaroons were believed to have been first made in an Italian monastery in 1792.  One interesting fact about macaroons is that they contain no flour! These cookies are popular among Jewish families especially during Passover when they cannot cook with flour.  Macaroon cookies were brought to France by Italian monks and nuns. Two Benedictine nuns, Sister Marguerite and Sister Marie-Elisabeth, baked and sold the cookies in order to pay for their housing.

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Today is National Macaroon Day.  Below is a recipe from thefoodnetwork.com by Alton Brown for his Macaroons.  If you can't find any locally, try making some of your own.  If you are as big a fan of coconut as I am, you will love these wonderful cookies.

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Toasty Coconut Macaroons

Ingredients

  • 4 large egg whites
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 (8-ounce) package sweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a mixer fitted with a whip attachment. whip egg whites and salt until they become white and begin to stiffen. Add sugar in 3 parts. Continue to whip until the egg whites are very stiff. Using a rubber spatula fold in toasted coconut.
On parchment lined cookie sheets, drop a teaspoon of the mixture leaving 1 to 2 inches around each cookie. Place into the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. The outside should be golden brown but the insides should still be moist.

Celebrating National Senior Health and Fitness Day


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By Akindman

Bright and early Wednesday morning I get to trade in my boot-cast for the past ten week for an ankle brace – part of my recovery process after fracturing my right ankle in late March.  I will also visit a local county recreation center to sign up for a couple classes to assist in my recovery and overall health.
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National Senior Health & Fitness Day is a nationwide health and fitness event for older adults, always held the last Wednesday in May during Older Americans Month.

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May is Older Americans Month, a perfect opportunity to show our appreciation for the older adults in our communities. Since 1963, communities across the nation have come together to celebrate Older Americans Month—a proud tradition that shows our nation’s commitment to recognizing the contributions and achievements of older Americans.
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The theme for Older Americans Month 2012, Never Too Old to Play...encourages older Americans to stay engaged, active and involved in their own lives and in their communities. In celebration of Older Americans Month, the U.S. Administration on Aging is pleased to provide this website which offers useful resources and tools to help you plan and promote events and activities honoring older Americans.
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Links:


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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ice Cream Freezer Day


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Chef Diane

When I was young, our vacations consisted of going to visit my grandparents who lived on the beach.  Our big night of the trip was to invite all the local family members over, grill burgers out back, show slide on the side of the house once it got dark, and turn a churn of ice cream.  Things were alot less complicated back then, and good memories were made.  My grandfather had a hand crank ice cream freezer.  He would fill up the inside container with the ingredients to make the ice cream.  Place it in the freezer and surround it with ice and rock salt.  He would sit and turn the crank until his arm got tired, then pass the duties to the next person who happened to be standing around.   I guess the fact that I was sitting on top of the freezer while he was churning it didnt make his task any easier.

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Once the ice cream was finished, he would pull the beater out for me and my brother to lick, then he would put more ice around the container and place a towel across the top to allow it to pack.  When it was ready to eat, my mother would fill up paper cups and pass it around to everyone while we enjoyed the slides being shown on the house.

As I got older my daddy got an electric freezer, no more hand turning for him!  I remember him mixing the ingredients like my grandfather did; letting me or my brother lick the sides of the eagle brand sweetened condensed milk.  That was some of the best ice cream ever.  During the summer, my church would have ice cream socials.  Families would bring their freezers to church full of fresh made ice cream to share after the Sunday night service.  As you can imagine, the ladies of the church would always put their best efforts forward when bringing something to church.  It was then that I learned you could add things to the ice cream. Up intil then we only had vanilla ice cream in our freezer, but at church they would have fresh peach ice cream, strawberry, banana, blueberry, and all kinds of flavors like chocolate, butterscotch and even praline.

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Nancy Johnson invented the first hand-cranked model in 1843. She then sold the patent to William Young, who marketed the machine as the Johnson Patent Ice-Cream Freezer.  Since then the freezer has gone through many changes.  From being hand cranked, to electric, to a tabletop device that you place in the freezer for your finished product.  A few years ago I gave my cousin a small ice cream freezer for her kids.  Every day they would try a new recipe, and she would let me know what kind of ice cream they had fixed for the day.  They all sounded so delicious I would be tempted to drive to her home to sample some.

Today we celebrate the birth of the ice cream freezer, and I am including a recipe for you to try if you need one.  Why not dust off your freezer and start using it for the warm summer months ahead.

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Vanilla Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts half-and-half cream
  • 1/2 pint heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt

Directions
Combine half-and-half, cream, sugar, vanilla and salt in freezer container of ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Paper Clip Day


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By Diane Forrest

I would love to visit my grandmother during the summer.  She had this little small office space, there was a desk, a metal phone number organizer.  You could move the dial on the side, place it on the letter of the alphabet you were looking for, and push a button on the bottom and the lift the top.  I thought that was the coolest thing.  She also had this white ceramic thing a ma bob that you put water in.  In the center was a little wheel.  You took a postage stamp, run it across the top of the wheel, and it would "lick" your stamp for you.  Of course these days most of the stamps come with adhesive on them.  She also had a box that was full of paper clips.  There was metal cap with a hole in the center, and you could shake the clips out through the hole.

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I loved going to my grandmother's office and pretend I was a secretary.  I would play with all of her office "toys", but my favorite was the paper clip box.  I would link them together and make bracelets, necklaces and belts.  I am quite sure my grandmother had just as much fun taking all my jewelry apart and returning the clips to the box.  It wasn't until I was a little older that I learned paper clips had a more useful function.  I learned that you could straighten them out, stick them in the hole in the center of a door knob, like the one on my brother's door, and it would unlock the door!  That funny boy thought he could lock me out of his room.  It was a good thing I learned about this useful trick before he did.  He wondered for a long time how I was able to get his door open.

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Paper clips also have another function.  They actually hold papers together!  Who knew?  The first paper clip was actually patented way back in 1867 by Samuel B. Fay and was made to be used a clip for attaching tickets to fabrics.  Of course it was also realized that it could be used to hold papers together too.  Today is paper clip day.  A day to celebrate this simple object that makes one task a little simpler.  Ways to celebrate the day is to organize your paper clips, dig them out of your drawers, off your counters, and behind your computer, and put them in a clip keeper.  If you don’t have any around, you can go to your office supply store and find all types and colors to choose from.  Of course you can always make a beautiful chain to wear, or even pick your brother's lock.

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sun Screen Day


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By Diane Forrest

When I was in high school and college the big thing was to lay out and tan.  We would get spray bottles and fill them with olive oil, and bake in the sun like steaks grilling on the grill.  I remember one cold day in March, the sun was shining, but it was a bit chilly.  That didnt stop me from getting an early start on my tan.  As I was laying on the lounger I looked up and saw a helicopter hovering over me.  It was my father with some work associates!  They had been checking power lines, and talking about one of the perks of the job was getting to see the girls out tanning.  It being cold out, they weren't having any luck until my father said, oh I know one girl out tanning! He was right.

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Luckily I became educated in the dangers of U V light and my tanning days ended as well as my days of smelling like a burnt salad. Now if I am planning a day out in the sun I lather on protection with sun screen, the highest available.   With this being Memorial Day weekend and the start of summer and vacations, it is the perfect time to start stocking up on Sun screen.

Sunlight consists of ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays, both of which are harmful to humans. UVA rays cause suppression of the immune system, which has a negative impact on the body's ability to protect against the development and spread of skin cancer. UVB rays cause a sunburn to occur, which can also lead to the development of skin cancer.

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There are more than one million cases of skin cancer diagnosed in the United States each year. To minimize your risk, wear sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun — even on non-sunny days. Sunscreen should be applied 15 to 30 minutes before going outside and should be reapplied every two hours or after swimming or sweating. Even if you do not typically burn from the sun, your skin is still at risk from the harmful UV rays.

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Today is Sun Screen Day.  Don't forget to spread some protection on yourself, and family members, especially small children and the elderly.  Enjoy the sun, and keep safe.