Music Therapy and Cleaning the House: Getting Your Favorite Music to Work for You

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Music serves many applications in the world today. It is not only about enjoying your favorite tune. Music is said to sooth the soul. Just about every bartender can tell you about the drunk at the bar who is crying in his beer. Chances are he is listening to a “why she done me wrong song.” Furthermore, many women play their old love songs on DVD or listen to a radio D.J. just so they are not so lonely anymore.

Music therapy has been used in medicine to ease pain and has beneficial results for calming autistic children. Music can make a person feel happy or sad. Music therapy also helps reduce stress. Recently, scientists in Japan conducted experiments on mice showing that listening to certain kinds of music may help stop heart transplant rejection. This will be an amazing breakthrough if this therapy can be adapted for human heart transplant recipients.

As much as music calms the nervous system and puts a person at ease, it can energize and rejuvenate a person as well. Fitness gurus such as media personality Richard Simmons popularized getting healthy by exercising to music. His exercise video “Sweatin to the Oldies” was an instant success. Fitness instructors and doctors have known since the 1970s that music can help energize people; keeping them healthy and fit.

If most people are like me, they will need a motivator to get them to do their dreaded household chores. As I age I am finding that I am often too sick or too tired to do housework. However, housework has to be done whether I can do it or not. Any housekeeper will tell you the longer you put off doing your housework the harder it gets to keep the house as neat and tidy as you would like it. I discovered that I am more energized and ready to work when I am listening to music. I can pace myself and get the work done twice as fast that way.

Loughborough University in the UK has joined with media fitness expert by the name of Mr. Motivator to combine housework and exercise. I am disabled. I am not always able to exercise as I would like, but I still have to do my housework. This concept of combining exercise and housework it a good option for me. I will just add the music to make it more …

An Overview of Raw Food Diets for Cats

See the source imageFeeding your cats a raw diet can be a slightly daunting prospect at first, but it is also an extremely rewarding one. Many people would consider feeding their dogs a raw food diet but for whatever reason, cats sometimes get lost in the fray.

It’s true that cats have slightly more stringent dietary requirements than dogs. While many people consider dogs to be carnivores, they’re technically omnivores- dogs in the wild do eat some grasses and other plants, including the stomach contents of their prey. Domestic dogs, as many dog owners can attest, also seem to enjoy a variety of vegetables and fruits. Many raw food dog diets include ground vegetables and fruit because they seem to be part of a healthy canine diet.

Cats, on the other hand, are obligate carnivores. Lacking the dogs’ tendency to scavenge, they hunt, kill, and eat their prey. Rarely will you see a healthy cat snacking on grasses in the wild if there is any sort of meat product around for consumption.

Because dietary requirements are slightly stricter for cats, the raw food diet should be well planned to assure that there are ample nutrients. Generally, making large quantities of food at once and freezing it is a good way to ensure quality control. Supplements such as B vitamins, salmon oil, and taurine can be added to an acceptable proportion of organ and muscle meat (about 15-20% organ meat and very meaty bones such as chicken legs) and then ground together to form a sort of mixture which resembles wet cat food. An electric meat grinder makes this task a pretty easy and quick one, and all that remains is to freeze the mixture in containers and defrost as the cat eats. All supplements can be purchased from any well stocked health or grocery store and are relatively inexpensive.

If your cat is not used to eating a wet diet, you may be in for a transition period. Cats who, in particular, have been “free fed” dry food- that is, allowed to eat whenever the mood strikes them- should be put on a feeding schedule before you even attempt to change their food. This means that you should make food available for about ten minutes twice a day (making sure that the cats are aware of the food) and then remove it. If the cats have already been fed wet food, simply …

Spending Time with Your Family – A Practical Start

Are you one of the millions of people around the world who have made a decision to spend more time with your family this year? Then this article aims to provide some practical and useful guidelines to help you achieve your goal.

This is a good time of year to take a critical look at your life. Introspection is the first step towards change. Look at the factors in your life that prevent you from spending time with your family. Take a sheet of paper and make a list of those factors on one side of the paper. On the other side, list some strategies that you can use to neutralize the impact of those factors on your time. For example, if one of the factors that keep you from your family is work, a strategy maybe to work fewer overtime hours.

Review the strategies that you listed earlier and pick one or two that you can implement immediately. Work to remove the obstacles that prevent you from having quality time with your family. If necessary, seek advice and help from your pastor or other professionals in your community. Today we are faced with many forces that compete for the limited time we have. Regardless of the nature of those forces at work in our lives, we must be more determined than ever to defeat those challenges. Some of these challenges come in the form of negative habits that have been with us for years. Habits like watching too much television, procrastination, neglect of family and working too much are just a few of the challenges that may have to be overcome.

While your enthusiasm is in high gear, go right ahead and set aside family time in your weekly schedule. Start with 30 minutes per week and increase the time as needed. Use that time to do things together. Involve your family with the planning and execution of all activities. Do not make the mistake of monopolizing family time. This will destroy the initiative and enthusiasm of the family. Activities may include games, barbeques, hikes, movies, and Bible study. The list is your choice.

With the cooperation and help of the other family members, take a monthly or bimonthly reflective look at the past month or two. Give each family member a chance to give his opinions, criticisms or suggestions on how things can be improved. Suggest ideas that …

Landhaus is a Great Choice for German Food While Shopping in Fehmarn, Germany

I am spoiled rotten. I am also vain. My birthday is the main event every year, as far as I'm concerned, and as such it tends to last a week rather than a few hours. Luckily, my husband recognizes that so after a lovely weekend in Ljungbyhed, Sweden I was also treated to a day of shopping down in Fehmarn, Germany. Shopping always makes me hungry so we stopped for a late lunch at the Landhaus Restaurant right downtown on the main shopping strip. I am a power shopper, so refueling my energy with a good German meal is a necessity.

There are many great restaurant choices in this area of Fehmarn, but the Landhaus had a chalk board outside on the sidewalk advertising jaegerschnitzel for only 10 Euros. The price seemed good, and when in Germany I do insist on some type of schnitzel, so Landhaus it was. I mean, there was a Rathaus right across the street, and we loved the one in Luebeck, but I wanted to try a new place. The Landhaus Restaurant was a good choice.

We opted to eat outside and people watch since it was a gloriously clear, sunny day. They have both cafe tables out here and a block of regular tables under a canopy. We sat under the canopy because we are wusses and the shade felt good. We were barely seated before a gal showed up to take our drink orders and hand us a menu. Impressive. The restaurant was very busy that day, but this did not hamper service at all. So, 3 giant German beers for my husband and the couple who came with us, a coca-cola for me. (oh bite me)

A very brief time later our order was taken. We all went with the jaegerschnitzel special. Normally if I know I am going to review a restaurant I try to make sure to sample at least two dishes, but in this case it really didn't matter. The menu is not extensive, concentrating mainly on the various forms of schnitzels. Because of that, they are very, very good at it.

Our food came out in about 10 minutes and oooh la la I could tell before the first bite that it was going to be excellent. The schnitzel was covered in a wonderful mushroom laden pilsner sauce and came with a side of Pomme Frits. As usual …

Beer and Food

Beer and Food

Some have said, “Man cannot live on bread alone.” This is true; man may need beer to wash down his manna.

The key is to pair the right beer with the right food, for the flavors, for the textures, for the experience. If I were a marketer I might attempt to brand the combinations as something to identify time and again, to re-experience over and over.

Below are some tried and true pairings that will make most any palate hum.

Meet the smokiness of grilled meats with a sweeter brew; a dopplebock’s complex malts will make a steak resonate ever deeper.

Try fish with an American Pale Ale; the citrus of the brew accents the slight seafood flavors.

Vegetable Pad Thai is so much better with an India Pale Ale; deeper malts and complex hops are hip to the hepped up essences of sautéed tofu, ginger, garlic, cilantro and scallion.

Praise cheeses! Boy Toy ‘Chris’ Lavoie of The Stephanie Miller Show]. spling! This includes pairing them (not necessarily Stephanie or Chris) with blessed beers. For a trinity of tastes: Feta is fab with weissbiers; Gorgonzolas and Bleus go great with barleywines (like Chicago’s Piece Brewery’s Mooseknuckle); and a Colby could cuddle a brown ale.

For dessert don’t forget a local fruit beer or Belgian Ale with your ice cream or cake.

Beer is healthy, and, in other cultures, is embraced as a part of a healthy lifestyle.

Embrace the possibilities of beer, especially pairing them with food.

In Chicago enjoy local breweries; find my associated links on this web page.…

Tips for Making Dinner Time with Your Family More Enjoyable

For an entire week I tried a little something different at the kitchen table. My kids seem to have a hard time just eating. They like to play and joke around instead of filling their bellies. I must say that I have really learned a little bit more about my family. Armed with this information I can have a little more direction for activities that we can do later.

On a whim I decided to distract them a little and ask questions. The first rule was that they were not to take a single bite until after they talked. I let each person answer the question with just one answer and then allowed them to take a bite.

Now these questions were not vague and had to require a little bit of thinking. Not just the "how was your day" but more those that were a little more direct. Topics to questions can be anything from naming something that happened today to what would you like to be when you grow up. I asked each of them what they wanted to grow in the garden and what their favorite game to play was. Each of them told me what they would like to learn how to cook and different recipes they would like to try. I definitely learned what each kid would like to do with dad or myself when it is their turn for some one on one time. There is so much you can learn about kids in just a matter of 30 minutes. My kids are still very young and they were more than happy to talk about themselves. Each day brought more insight and even more questions. To mix it up a little I let the kids start asking questions and working around the table to listen to each others answer. Sometimes the questions went around more than once and some of the answers were getting a little silly, but you can not replace the quality time that had spent really getting to know what is going on in your kids' heads.

I realize that a busy household has a little bit of difficulty really coming together to have a meal. With today's hectic schedules and everyone trying to buzz about to get things done around the house, it is hard to actually make quality time with the family. Not only are you teaching good communication …

The Last Song Movie Review: Miley Cyrus Makes Dramatic Debut In Nicholas Sparks Melodrama

The Last Song opens with a pouty Miley Cyrus looking underwhelmed at the prospect of spending the summer with her beleaguered father, and it's a somber prospect for the viewer, as well. Miley's effervescent screen presence in 2009's Hannah Montana The Movie is nowhere to be found at the onset of her latest film, the Nicholas Sparks adaptation of his own melodrama novel. Miley is wistful, whiny, and flat out mean, something fans of her Disney Channel show might find alien. Well, it's her first crack at a serious role, a "more mature" part designed to provide at least some distance between her famous small screen persona and her new endeavor of becoming a serious actress.

For the most part, it works…at least for Miley's performance. She has just enough to keep her character Ronnie interesting and engaging, and her natural charisma serves her well even as her inexperience as an actress becomes obvious. It's a solid debut for her; not a star making turn by any means, but also not the embarrassment some were probably hoping for. OK, with that out of the way…

The Plot of The Last Song

Ronnie Miller and her little brother Jonah (effectively played by Bobby Coleman) are spending the summer with dear old dad Steve (Greg Kinnear). Along the way, Ronnie makes a friend, some enemies, and a potential suitor in the form of local rich boy Will Blakelee (hunky Matthew Modine lookalike Liam Hemsworth). During a summer of roller coaster-like ups and downs, Ronnie and Will become closer. However, being a Nicholas Sparks screenplay, the other shoe inevitably drops and tragedy strikes…which may just bring everyone closer.

It's a predictable tearjerker, complete with just about every stock character from these types of films, including the mean and conniving ex-girlfriend and the boyfriend's uppity, judgmental mother. What makes everything kind of work, to the extent that it does, is Greg Kinnear's excellent portrayal of Steve.

Greg Kinnear Shines

It will probably come as no surprise to fans of cinema that Greg Kinnear's performance is worthwhile; after all, he generally turns in good to great roles. What may be surprising (or perplexing) is his presence in this film to begin with. It seems like an odd choice for such a fine actor at this stage in his career.

But no matter. Kinnear flexes his acting muscle as far as the limited screenplay will allow, …

Free Music Concerts for July in the Greater Pasadena, California Area

The Pasadena Playhouse District kicked off its free summer concert series last night with a terrific performance by the Dave Hamm trio. The keyboard, bass and drums combo displayed tremendous enthusiasm and rapport in the numbers that they entertained the crowd with from 5pm to 7pm.

The 6th annual concert series is held in the Vroman's bookstore courtyard near the Laemelle Theater.

Here is a listing of free concerts in and around Pasadena during July:

Pasadena Playhouse District – Sunday evenings starting 5pm
Colorado Boulevard at El Molino

July 12 Vibraphonist Nick Mancini's Quartet

July 19 The Elliott Caine Quartet

July 26 The Leila Avila Group

Pasadena Levitt Pavilion – Wed through Sunday evenings until August 30
At Walnut and Ramond Street

Every Wednesday at 7pm is The Children's Hour

South Pasadena – Sunday evenings starting at 5pm

Garfield Park on Mission Street east of Fair Oaks

July 19 Swing, Inc.

Arcadia – Thursday evenings starting at 6:30pm
City Hall Lawn, 240 West Huntington Drive

July 9 Hodads – Beach Tunes

July 16 Howlin' Blues Boogie Band

July 23 Rockit Scientists – Tribute to Baby Boomers

July 30 Silverados – Country

La Canada Flintridge – Sundays starting 6pm
Memorial Park, 1301 Foothill Blvd.

July 12 Wake the Bard, Traditional Celtic

July 19 Pacific Coast Highway – Soft Rock

July 26 Brian Lynn Jones & the Misfit Cowboys – Country

Monrovia – Sunday evenings starting 6:30
Recreation Park at Shamrock and Lemon

July 12 Doo Wah Riders

July 19 Moondance – Swing, Jazz, Big Band

July 26 The Answer – Classic Pop

Sierra Madre – Sunday evenings starting at 6pm
Memorial Park on Sierra Madre Boulevard

July 12 Elvis – Classic Rock and Roll

July 19 The Surfin Safaris – Beach Music

July 26 LA Bluecasters – Rhythm and Blues

Temple City – Wednesdays starting at 7pm
Temple City Park, 9701 Las Tunas Drive

July 8 Suave the Band – Swing, Blues and Oldies

July 15 The Surfing Safaris – Beach Party Music

July 22 Nitro Express – Country Rock

July 29 Cold Duck – 70s / Top 40

All concerts are free and the locations are all within a 25-minute drive or less of downtown Pasadena. Coffee shops and restaurants are near each place as well to dine before or after.

The summer concert series held in each city shows the commitment to the arts that exists across the …

How to Take Great Pictures with Digital Photography ?


Although digital photography is actually a lot simpler than the old-fashioned film photography, many people are intimidated by it. The cameras are so small and have buttons and screens and look high-tech. It can frighten anyone without a firm grasp of technology.

Benefits of digital photography

The biggest advantage of digital photography over film is that you can see the results instantly, erase and try again right away. With film, you would have to wait at least an hour with the fastest developer in order to see the pictures you took. Digital cameras are far more cost effective in this manner.

The other great thing about digital photography is that it is already formatted for the computer. No more scanning countless pictures or getting copies made to send to Gramma in Japan! Now you can just upload the pictures from the camera, attach them to an email and your distant friends and family can see the new photos, just minutes old.

Tips for taking great photos

With digital photography, it is far easier to make sure you took a great photo. With memory cards that hold up to 800 photos, you can be sure you took the one that you wanted. But in case you don't want to spend all day clicking away, here are some ideas to make sure your photos turn out the first time.

– Use natural lighting. Digital photography works best without the flash. The more natural light there is, the less grainy the photos will be. Sunlight will add harsh shadows, so the ideal light is on a cloudy day. If taking shots indoors, try placing the subject near a large window, or open a door to let in more outdoor light.

– Bright colors look great in digital photography. Since the camera tends to dim things down a bit, brighter colors keep things lively. If you are at all handy with the computer, you can adjust the colors a little afterwards in Photoshop or a similar photo editing program.

– Keep the camera at least three to four feet away. Most digital cameras were never meant for extreme close-ups. If you want to get a closer crop, use the zoom while standing at an appropriate distance and edit the photo later on the computer. Digital photography has the advantage of being easily changeable once the photo has been taken.

– Switch angles. By taking …

Better Than Take-Out: Chinese Food at Home

Getting take-out is great when you need to get dinner on the table in a pinch, but often times, the ingredients used can carry excess fat and calories. Making your own "take-out" substitutes at home is a wonderful way to control both the quality of ingredients as well as the fat and calorie count.

Chinese is one of my favorite types of take-out and after fiddling around with some recipes; I've developed my own for creating the perfect Chinese style dishes right at home.

For an appetizer try a Chinese Scallion Pizza. For the pizza, combine 2 cups bread flour, 1.4 tsp. baking powder, 2 teaspoons of oil and a pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl. Next, bring a cup of water to boil, and then add the flour mixture, stirring with a spoon until it's cool enough to knead with your hands. Knead until dough is well combined and then transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover with a towel and allow to rise for about an hour. Next, divide the dough into 12 sections, rolling each section into a ball, and then flattening into a 1/8-inch thick circle. After making all the circles, brush them with oil, then sprinkle with coarse sea salt and sprinkle with chopped scallions. Then, simple coil the roll-up dough and then flatten it with your palm, this will distribute the scallions well. To cook, heat a skillet with oil and pan-fry each cake for at least 7 to 10 minutes, serving hot.

Lo Mein is another easy at home dish. Cook eight ounces of pasta (spaghetti or linguine are good choices) according to package directions, drain and put back in the pot to keep warm. Add about a cup of chopped celery, bell peppers, mushrooms, snow peas, sliced carrot, and about a pound of bean sprouts. Next, you'll just need to whip up a sauce by heating about 1 cup of soy sauce in a saucepan with about ¼ cup chicken stock and 1 tablespoon dry white wine. Allow to heat while mixing about one tablespoon cornstarch with one tablespoon water, then add cornstarch mixture to the heated sauce, increasing the heat and allowing the sauce to thicken. Pour over veggies and pasta and serve. You can double the sauce recipe if you prefer more sauce with your noodles.

For the main dish, it doesn't get easier than Sesame Chicken with plain …