Dear Jack: For Crazy Hair Day, You Chose to Be Green!

8 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

This past Tuesday, your class got to celebrate filling the jar with marbles, for good class behavior, by having Crazy Hair Day!

So before we left for school, I took you out to the garage and basically spray paint all your hair.

At first, I only sprayed the top, but you insisted I spray all of your hair, including all the back.

Looking back on these pictures though, I should have used the entire can; as there was still some sandy brown showing through.

Needless to say, you had a really fun day. And I’m fairly confident you’re going to be asking me to have green hair again!




Dear Holly: It’s Fun to Look at the Oriental Trading Company Catalog with Your Brother!

2 years, 11 months.

Dear Holly,

For some reason, we randomly started receiving the Oriental Trading Company catalog every month at our house. I didn’t realize what a treat this would be for you and your brother!

While Mommy and I clean up after dinner, the two of you remain entertained the entire time, as your brother will ask you, “Holly, out of these on this page, which one would you want? You can pick three.”

You always happily go along with the fantasy, as if you truly get to have some of the toys featured in the catalog.

I never knew that magazine could serve as such captivating entertainment!



Thinking of Taking Up Tai Chi? Here Are The Top 5 Health Benefits That You Can Get From It

Tai Chi has been around for more than 700 years, and some even believe that they may be as old as 1500 years old. Tai Chi is one of the small branches of a bigger martial art technique called the “Qigong.”

Qigong is a form of martial art practise that focuses primarily on the elements of breathing and energy. According to Chinese scripts, the name Qigong itself means “breath skill.” Since its inception, Tai Chi has been primarily practiced (which continues to date) due to its several health benefits.

Although Tai Chi in its authentic form was first developed as a means of self-defence, its several health benefits became quite significant over time. Today Tai Chi is practiced primarily for its numerous health beneficial aspects, especially in older adults.

Tai Chi is seeing a gradual growth in popularity amongst different people. In fact, a recent study shows that more than 2.5 million people in The United States alone practice Tai Chi. This growth in popularity is primarily contributed to the positive results it continues to generate amongst its active participants.

Here are the 5 proven health benefits of practicing Tai Chi

  • Improves the Mental Health

Due to its meditative and slow movement techniques, Tai Chi has been proven to have an excellent effect in improving mental health as well as any psychological-related health risks. Anxiety and stress-related problems are the main contributors in promoting a serious psychological health risk, and Tai Chi has proved effective.

A study compromising of 50 participants showed Tai Chi practice gave identical results as that of the anxiety/ stress management exercises.

  • Reduces the risk of falling 

The risk of falling poses the primary threat amongst older adults. A recent study has proven that 1 out of every 4 older adults (above 65 years) is at the risk of falling. This is primarily because of the reduction in mobility and body balance.

One of the core elements of Tai Chi lies in the orderly and slow movement of the body. This improves the balance of the body and ultimately reduces the risk of falling.

  • Improves the quality of sleep

According to the latest report, more than 50 million people in The United States alone suffer from at least one type of sleeping disorder. The number is alarming and, hence, anything that can help in reducing this staggering figure is a welcoming sign.

A study conducted for over 10 weeks showed that practicing Tai Chi twice in a week produced a significant result in improving the sleep quality, and also showed lesser symptoms of anxiety-related problems.

  • Improves the Muscle Strength 

Tai Chi can improve your muscle strength. After all, Tai Chi is a form of martial arts, so if you do not experience any improvement in your muscle strength, well, that would be a disappointment. Although Tai Chi does not involve lifting weights or any heavy objects, its muscular and calm body movements can significantly improve your upper body strength. In addition to just improving your muscles, Tai Chi can enhance your abdomen and lower back muscles as well.

  • Aids in losing weight 

Regular Tai Chi practice are known to have a remarkable impact in assisting weight loss. Although, it may be difficult for most people to accept the fact that Tai Chi does indeed help in burning excess calories (due to the slow body movements). The fact is that Tai Chi helps in reducing weight. It is estimated that an hour of Tai Chi can burn up to 240 calories (depends on your body weight).

A study showed that 45 minutes of Tai Chi five times a week produced significant weight-loss results at the end of 12 weeks.

Practicing Tai Chi on a routine basis can improve overall health (physically and mentally). There are more than enough studies to back its health beneficial aspects. Hence Tai Chi for Health should be encouraged amongst all the age groups.

More Than 1 in 4 Americans Don’t Know How to Cook: Americans Spend More on Eating Out Than Buying Groceries

The art of cooking has fallen by the wayside in the age of convenience. As parents, we’re supposed to be teaching our kids how to take care of themselves once they fly the nest. Unfortunately many of us have lifestyles that are too busy for cooking on a daily basis; so we hit the drive thru on the way home or we order takeout or we go sit in a restaurant- because who wants to do all those dishes anyway?

On the surface this isn’t a completely terrible thing – our kids still have food to eat, and it is totally possible to make healthy choices at a restaurant. It’s a budget-buster – go ahead and tally up how much money you spend on restaurants each month. You’ll be shocked.

The biggest problem here is that we aren’t always taking the time to teach our kids how to cook, and as a result, more than a quarter of American adults don’t know how to cook at all. Everyone needs to know the basics of cooking, even if you aren’t planning to become a television chef – it’s a matter of survival.

Learn more about the apps and tech out there to help you learn to cook – and cook safely – from the infographic below.

This infographic brought to you by KitchenByte

Dear Holly: Sometimes I Wonder If Your Stories Actually Have a Beginning or an End…

2 years, 11 months.

Dear Holly,

You just have so much to say these days. (And that’s a major understatement!)

Here lately, I’ve noticed that your most exciting stories seem to start in the middle, but they never really start or end.

I also am wondering how much of your stories actually happened- or are at least accidentally infused with details you are imagining, and then you possibly forget whether you are wanting to tell me a story about something that actually happened or just something you wanted to happen.

At this stage, I’m not sure you necessarily know the difference in the middle of the story… and neither do I!



Photo by Mohamad Alaw

Dear Jack: Your Hair is Turning Brown, Now More Than Ever… But Your Eyes are Still Blue

8 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

I always assumed that eventually, you would officially have blonde hair instead of brown…

You’re pretty close these days.

There are definitely still those lighter patches that on their own are still blonde, but I would say even more of your hair is starting to classify as dark brown.

However, I will say that I am actually surprised it’s taken this long for your hair to shift colors.

Even though your hair color is changing, your eyes have remained blue after all these years.

It’s pretty amazing that both you and your sister have blue eyes, though both of your parents have brown eyes.




Photo by Mohamad Alaw

What is the Secret to Living to 100+? The Blue Zone

What if you could live to 100 and beyond? It’s not as far-fetched as it may seem. The number of supercentenarians is growing worldwide — in 2015 there were 451,000 worldwide, and by 2050 it is estimated there will be more than 3.7 million. Healthcare is getting better worldwide as is access to clean water and food. We also know more about how to treat our bodies well, with ample rest and exercise. But clearly this isn’t enough. How can we live to 100 and beyond?

Genetics plays an important role in how long you live, but it’s not the deciding factor. Some scientists estimate your genetics only accounts for about 15% of your chances of living to 100 and beyond. Other factors include things like your diet, getting regular exercise, and cultivating a sense of purpose and community.

There are some places around the world known as ‘Blue Zones’ where people routinely live longer and healthier lives. In places like Loma Linda, California, where the average inhabitant lives 10 years longer than the national average, it is thought the diet and emphasis on religion and community play a major role.

Learn more about Blue Zones from the infographic below. Maybe you will live a lot longer than you think!

Secrets to Living Longer
Source: Best Health Care Degrees