Puzzle person

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Puzzles are underrated and unappreciated nowadays.  My grandmother ALWAYS had a jigsaw puzzle she was working on in her basement.  Our family had fun finding new and more challenging ones for her to work on throughout the years.  We also did puzzles together as a family from time to time and I always enjoyed the grown-up feeling of trying to find which piece fit on the same puzzle my mom was working on.

This love of puzzles is still alive in me today!

Did you know that jigsaw puzzles are actually good not only for entertainment, but also for your brain health?  It is a leisurely activity with real benefits!

First of all, they help with Hand-Eye Coordination.  As a person (young or old) places pieces, fine motor skills improve.  Secondly, puzzles improve Visual and Short-Term Memory as these are used throughout putting the puzzle together.  They also improve Critical Thinking and Solving Skills.  Last, but definitely not least, as you put together a jigsaw puzzle, you are using both the Left and Right Side of your Brain.  When you use both sides of your brain it allows you to pass from the Beta state to the Alpha state, and also increases the efficiency and capacity of your brain cells.

This is an activity for all ages!  There are so many to choose from and you don’t have to do the whole puzzle in one setting.  Set up a card table and work on one after dinner with your family, or even while you watch TV!

Here is the puzzle I am working on at the moment (one my lovely husband gave me for a Christmas present).  🙂

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Have Fun! 🙂

Sources:

1) http://social-psychiatry.com/jigsaw-puzzles-good-brain/

2) http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_are_the_benefits_of_jigsaw_puzzles

3) https://www.marblesthebrainstore.com/blog/2012/11/12/4616/

Lame…but I’m a fan!

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OK so…some people might think this post is lame, but if you are an adult or at least someone who has EVER scrubbed a stubborn stove top before…you will agree in thinking this is awesome. 🙂

Today I was battling an ANNOYING grease mess on my stove that had been cooked on several times (I can’t clean EVERY time I cook. 😛 ).  I used a store-bought cleaner and it was still requiring much more elbow-grease than I was willing to give.  I decided to look online for a simple homemade cleaner that I could make quickly.  I was not expecting such awesome and INSTANT results as this.  I got the miracle cleaner recipe from THIS article.

Simply combine equal parts salt, baking soda, and water (I used a tablespoon as the article suggested).  Spread onto the stain and WIPE clean!  I used a paper towel so I could just throw it away after and not worry about it reacting with the other cleaner on my scrubbing cloth. It actually worked! Who knew? 🙂

Unfortunately I do not have a before picture to show the difference…but here is an after picture! All sparkly and clean. 🙂

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Use it next time your store-bought cleaner is letting you down! 🙂 I’m definitely a fan!

Homemade Bread

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Recently I have started to bake bread from scratch…without a bread machine. 😉  Although it is time-consuming, the pay-off is amazing! Today’s recipe was an oatmeal sandwich bread from Eat, Live, Run. I have also made this one in the past.  So good and SOOO much better than the preservative-packed store bread.  Basically, you are paying for convenience with store bread, but you are paying (with your time and a fraction of the money) for taste with homemade bread. 🙂

I think I might even invest in a bread machine sometime soon to make this bread-making even easier!

 

I hope I have inspired you to make your own bread today! You will need a loaf pan if you don’t already have one, but they are fairly inexpensive. 🙂

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Time to go have a perfect PB&J for lunch!

Pizza.

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So, this post may sound a little obsessive. 🙂

I LOVE PIZZA!!!  It’s so good.  This probably sounds childish, but I don’t care. Tonight I made pizza from scratch with my husband (something we do on a semi-weekly basis).  I look forward to it! There are so many options…and flavors…and sizes.  I for one love calazones over the traditional pizza (and my “calazone” probably isn’t very traditional in the way I make it).  My husband ALWAYS wants the traditional-style pizza with as many toppings as possible. 🙂 I also always put a little garlic butter on the crust. 😉

We tried a new recipe for pizza dough tonight that was OK, but I had to make some adjustments.  Since I’m probably making you hungry with this post, here is the recipe so that you can make some dough and get cookin’! The super awesome thing about this recipe is that it doesn’t have to take an hour to rise or anything. Just make and bake!  Yes you can find some “better” doughs that take more effort and love, but this is a good one for a quick weeknight pizza fix.

Pizza Dough Recipe:

-2 3/4 cups flour

-2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

-1 teaspoon salt

-1 Tablespoon sugar

-2 Tablespoons olive oil

-1 cup warm water

Mix all dry ingredients together and then add the wet ingredients.  Knead dough until smooth.  Roll out and bake at 425 F for 5 minutes.  Cover with sauce and toppings and bake for another 10-20 minutes depending on desired crispiness of crust.  Also, try adding herbs or garlic into dough for extra flavor!

Extra Point Of Advice: When cooking homemade pizzas, the BEST option is to cook it on a pizza stone.  If you don’t have that, one of those non-stick pizza pans works too. 🙂

Have fun, and have some pizza!