1. What are YOUR New Year Resolutions?

    ‘A goal without a plan is just a wish’ – Larry Elder

    This time of year many people start putting pen to paper and coming up with their potential New Year’s resolutions. All the usual suspects are typically included in the list:

    • Lose weight
    • Eat healthy
    • Quit smoking
    • Exercise

    January 1st rolls around and we eagerly tackle our resolutions. All goes well for the first couple of weeks and then BOOM! We fall off the proverbial wagon and once again slip back into our normal habits. We feel defeated and ashamed and vow to NOT break our New Year’s resolutions…..next year!

    So, why do so many people fail when it comes to keeping their New Year’s resolutions? Like the old saying goes: People don’t plan to fail, they fail to PLAN.

    When tackling your New Year’s resolutions this year, why not try incorporating an action plan for each item? This will serve as your ‘blueprint’ to obtaining your goal.

    There are many ways to set and achieve your goals. You must first start by setting SMART goals. This will make it easier for you to create your action plan. Here’s an example of how it works.

    GOAL: Lose weight

    Specific: Do you know exactly WHAT you want to accomplish?

    Measurable: Quantify your progress so you stay on track.

    Attainable: Can you reach the goal? Your goals should be challenging but also attainable.

    Relevant: How important is this goal to you?

    Timely: Have a deadline for your goals.

    Revised Goal:  “I want to lose 10 lbs by April 15th 2013. I will achieve this goal by walking for 30 minutes three days a week and I will go to the gym 3 days per week. I will limit the number of sweets and starchy carbohydrates that I eat to just 2 times a week. I will weigh myself every Monday to keep track of my success.”


  2. It’s almost Christmas! Let’s have some fun.

    It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….everywhere you go! The decorations are up, the lights are twinkling, and the holiday season is truly upon us. If you have children, this also means that school will be closed for a week and your kids will be HOME with you.

    So, what types of activities do you have planned during this special time? Here are some suggestions on how you can enjoy this time with your kids and keep that Christmas feeling all week long!

    • Check out the Christmas lights – it is always fun to drive around admiring all the beautiful Christmas lights and outdoor decorations that can be seen in your own neighborhood. There is something magical about it. Be sure to have your radio station set to hear your favorite Christmas music while you drive.
    • Watch holiday movies – From Miracle on 34th Street to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, there are hundreds of great holiday movies to watch! Snuggle up on the couch, pop some popcorn, and make a family evening of it!
    • Bake some holiday goodies – Why not spend an afternoon in the kitchen baking all those wonderful holiday cookies, pies and cakes that you loved from your childhood. Get your kids to create a ‘recipe’ book including all their favorite yummy treats.
    • Give back to the community and volunteer – There is nothing more rewarding than ‘helping those less fortunate’ during the holidays. Teach your kids importance of giving back to their community.
    • Make a video Christmas card– Break out your video camera and have your kids act out a favorite Christmas movie scene or sing their favorite Christmas carols. Then, send your Christmas video to family and friends.
    • Go ice skating – Lace up your skates and hit the ice! Even if you aren’t skating on a frozen pond in Vermont, you can still enjoy the wind in your face and the ice under your feet inside a mall or indoor ice rink.
    • Read a book – Visit your local library and have your kids pick out 2 or 3 books they want to read over the Christmas holiday….for added fun, have each child select a book with a Christmas theme.
    • Go to a museum – Take in some culture and visit one of the area’s many fine museums.
    • Take a road trip – One of the many benefits of living in Florida is that we are never more than a few hours’ drive to FUN! Take a drive to Clearwater and meet Winter the dolphin, or hop over to Orlando for a fun day at the Disney Parks
    • Got to the theater – Check out your local schools and community theater groups for a schedule of Christmas plays. The Nutcracker is always a holiday favorite.

    For more ideas on what to do, visit

    http://events.heraldtribune.com/sarasota-fl/events/sarasota+christmas+events


  3. Planning the Perfect Holiday Menu!

    The Christmas tree is decorated, the presents are wrapped, and the stockings are hung by the chimney with care……so you can relax, right? Wait a minute! What about the 12 people that you invited over for that holiday celebration party tomorrow night?? Have you prepared your menu yet? No need to panic if you haven’t. We’ve got some ideas to make your holiday party shine brighter than the bulbs on your tree!

    Holiday parties can be stressful, but they don’t have to be. With a little bit of planning and preparation you can create the perfect holiday party menu without spending a lot of time (and money).

    First thing you need to do is create a theme for your party. Do you want a ‘traditional’ holiday theme? Or are you looking to do something a little more casual? Once you determine your theme, it is easy to plan around it.

    Appetizers

    -       Fresh vegetables and a homemade dip is always a favorite holiday party staple!

    -       Consider having a combination of hot and cold appetizers. Many hot appetizers can be made ahead of time and then re-heated before guests arrive.

    Main Meal

    -       If you are going with a ‘traditional’ theme, a turkey or a ham is always a nice choice. If your party is  formal, serve as a sit down meal or, if informal, have guests make their own sandwiches using an assortment of breads and rolls.

    -       If you want something a little different consider a Mexican or Italian theme and serve fajitas or homemade lasagna!

     Dessert/Beverages

    -       The holidays are synonymous with cookies, pies and other baked goodies. Offer your guests an assortment of these holiday favorites!

    -       A festive holiday punch is a great beverage idea! Here’s the recipe for one we think you will enjoy!

    Pomegranate-Champagne Punch

    Ingredients

    Preparation

    • Bring 1/2 cup water and sugar to boil in small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer 5 minutes. Cool syrup completely.
    • Combine Champagne, rum, and pomegranate juice in punch bowl. Add enough syrup to sweeten to taste. Mix in lemon slices, pomegranate seeds, and mint leaves. Add ice block to bowl.

  4. Holiday Gifts For Pool Lovers

    Finding the perfect gift isn’t easy. The most thoughtful gifts require some imagination, creativity — or at least a little research. If you have a pool owner on your list, you’re in luck! We’ve done some of that research for you and came up with great ideas for fun and useful pool-related items anyone would love.

     

    Get personal. These days you can customize almost anything. A set of personalized cabana towels, insulated can sleeves or a special pool sign would look awesome in their outdoor oasis. Or DIY and stencil their name on a USCG-approved life ring or a lifeguard chair. Purchase plans and ready-to-assemble kits online for a lifeguard chair that’s sure to be a big hit.

     

    Make it fun. When water is involved, adults are basically kids in larger swim suits, so they’ll appreciate a toy as much as any tot. There are all sorts of games designed for kids, such as wacky diving toys, but consider something the whole family can get in on. How about a friendly game of backgammon or an exciting round of table tennis? Floating versions put a whole new spin on these classics.

     

    Practical-ly perfect. You can’t go wrong with practical gifts such as festive plastic tableware, colorful pool towels or a drying rack. And one can never have too many floats! But opt for something they might not already own, like the Spongex Unsinkable Pool Float or zany Pool Petz for the kids.

     

    Waterproof their gear. Do some sleuthing to see whether they’ve invested in waterproof cases for their smartphone and tablet. If not, look no further! Lifeproof cases provide submersible protection that could save the day — and make them forever thankful they have a thoughtful friend like you.

     

    Fit for giving. Pool workouts become even more effective with aqua fitness equipment such as swim gloves, dumbbells and jogging belts. Who wouldn’t love to move their workout to the pool during hot summer months — or anytime for that matter?

     

    Light up their life. If you’re still stumped, consider a cool lighting gadget, such as the rechargeable Ocean Blue Nova Floating Pool Light or a floating fountain. Get lights and action in one with the Dancing Water Light and Fountain Show. There are a multitude of reasonably priced options online, at Home Depot and your local pool supply store.

     

    If you’re shopping for the pool lover in your life, the only difficult part will be deciding what to get! From inexpensive toys to splurge-worthy items, the perfect gift is just a click away.