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Month: November 2018

Fun With Model Fighter Planes

Posted on November 7, 2018 in Uncategorized

Back when I was younger, I remember spending long Saturday afternoons in my basement putting various plastic models together. At that time I favored racecars and ships, and my bedroom was filled with the finished products. I eventually grew out of the hobby, but now that I have kids of my own, I’m slowly getting back into it. My sons love model fighter planes, so now our weekends are consumed with finding the perfect jet and working to put it together.

One of the best things about toy models is the process of building something. I can see the excitement in my boys’ eyes when they unravel the instructions (which they insist on referring to as “blueprints”) and lay all the pieces out side by side on the workbench. Then they take turns assembling the plane, carefully putting each piece in place and securing it with glue. It’s amazing to see model fighter planes slowly emerging in this fashion from the individual pieces, and the kids frequently stop to admire their progress. Finally, once the main assembly work is done, they decorate the aircraft with stickers or paint and prepare it for display.

Obviously, putting together model fighter planes is a terrific way to promote family bonding. Models are relatively cheap, and no other special equipment is required. All we need are a few basic supplies and a clean workspace, and we’re ready to go. Usually the boys argue and bicker as much as any other pair of young siblings, but when they put their heads together over one of these model fighter planes, they really take the principles of teamwork seriously. As a parent, this is wonderful to behold!

Another great thing about this particular hobby is that model fighter planes are very easy to find. There are a couple of hobby shops within reasonable driving distance, so we usually take a drive out to one or the other store on weekends to check out the selection. If we don’t see something we’re interested in, we can also purchase model fighter planes online from a number of discount websites that offer free shipping. The bottom line is there will never be a shortage of projects to work on.

And you might not think it, but putting together model fighter planes is an excellent way to take in a bit of history as well. Whenever possible, I try to read up about a specific plane before our weekend sessions, and then as they’re busy with the project, I’ll tell the boys what I’ve learned. Interesting discussions usually ensue, and we all come away having learned something new about Japanese Zero Fighters, Soviet Migs, or P51 Mustangs.

All I can say is I’m very pleased that my sons are enjoying these plastic models as much as I did when I was their age. Model fighter planes have provided my family with countless hours of fun and quality time together; maybe they can do the same for yours!

Essential Shopping List; Snacks to Keep You Slim, Satisfied and Healthy

Posted on November 5, 2018 in Uncategorized

Cultural eating habits have altered to encourage almost permanent snacking. Our waist-lines are bearing the brunt of the advertising onslaught, and many people are caving in under the temptation of seemingly endless delicious snacking possibilities. We can make a stand and snack sensibly to keep ourselves energized, and of a healthy weight, but first we have to accept the first rule of snacking; our snacks need to be small. We have been led to believe that a packet of crisps that would happily fit in a bucket is an acceptably-sized snack (and almost necessary for TV watching); however a true snack is closer to something of the size that would neatly snuggle into your cupped hand. Over-consumption of the healthiest snacks will still lead to weight gain.

The second rule of snacking is: be prepared. If you have things close at hand you will always be in a strong position, avoiding hunger pangs, temptations, or having to buy anything in a garage on a car journey. So this week, here are some snack essentials for your shopping list; clear out the problem foods from your desks, glove boxes and cupboards, and re-stock with better healthier snacks.

Stuff for the fridge;

o Cook up a bowl of brown or wild rice (or some pasta) for the fridge (it will last for 3 days) then it is always there for emergency snacks and meals. Mix with roasted vegetables, freshly chopped raw veg (tomato, cucumber, onion, peppers, fresh herbs) or canned fish, to make many different variations of cold pasta/rice salad. Avoid mayo or dressings, use lemon juice, fresh herbs, or a little soy sauce. A small pot will serve as a filling snack.

o Try steaming apples and fresh or frozen blueberries or raspberries (near puddings in the freezer section of the supermarket), and then blend to make a delicious fat-free high-vitamin puree to store in the fridge for several days. Add to low-fat natural yoghurt as a little sweet snack or pudding or layer with oats for a scrummy breakfast or more filling snack.

o Prepare a container of thinly sliced vegetables; raw carrot, peppers, cucumber, celery, cauliflower, lightly steamed green beans, mange tout peas and baby corn. Dip in a little pot of hummus as a snack or light meal, or munch at your leisure on their own. A great way of increasing your daily intake of veggies, vitamins and antioxidants (cancer-fighters).

o Hard boil some eggs. Handy and filling; peel and squash onto a rice cake, or munch with some veggie sticks.

o Berries; any berries will do; keep them chilled, keep them handy, keep them away from me because I will eat the lot.

o Smoothies; pure fruit smoothies are a good snack option, avoid ones with added sugar, honey or yoghurt if you are watching your weight.
Having ready-to-eat things in the fridge will help guard against frenzied snack-finding missions. These things are also handy for throwing into little pots and taking to work or on outings; plan ahead to resist temptation.

Stuff for the cupboard;

o Rice cakes (Kallo are a widely-available good brand). Avoid ones with artificial flavours or ones with a high salt content.

o Oat cakes; great for slow release energy, but remember the first rule of snacking; small amounts as they do contain fat. Eat with sliced cucumber, tomato, hummus, cottage cheese, a thin slice of lower-fat cheese or on their own.

o Dried fruit and nuts; don’t over do them, but a palm-sized amount (no, not heaped) will offer energy and a rich source of nutrients and essential fats. Choose from Brazils, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, dried mango (great also for kids), apricots, apple rings, and prunes. I choose organic dried fruit as it does not contain any preservatives.

o Malt loaf; a slice is a good alternative to cake if you HAVE to have something sweet. Tesco do an organic malt loaf which is low in fat; others may contain hydrogenated fats so watch out!

o Tinned fish; mash red salmon, sardines or tuna onto a piece of wholemeal toast or rice cake for a satisfying snack or light meal, packed with essential fats.

o Keep a well-stocked fruit bowl; throw a piece of fruit in your bag wherever you go. Bananas are unbeatable, and provide a mood-boosting ingredient to keep you smiling at work. Team a banana with an oatcake to give longer-lasting energy.

Stuff for the Kids (and grown-ups too)

o Bread sticks (better than crisps).

o Watermelon smiles (I mean slices).

o Small bananas (they look kid-friendly).

o Little packets of raisins (high in sugar so keep teeth well-brushed).

o Dried fruit and nut mix-up.

o Small yoghurts (Yeo Valley Organics have free spoons to collect at the moment)

o All fruit and veg cut into small pieces.

o Popcorn; make your own, using less oil than stated, serve up in small paper bags; so cheap and easy.

o Check out the baby Organix ‘goodies’ range, they promise to use only natural ingredients.

I hope that this has given you some ideas. Remember your rules of snacking: keep it small, and keep it handy, and never forget rule number 3; if a certain snack is a temptation to you, then don’t let it linger in your cupboard, bin it!

Until next time,

Stay healthy,


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Insomnia Fighters – How To Sleep When You Have Money Worries

Posted on November 3, 2018 in Uncategorized

Excerpt from “How to sleep without pills”

Mrs. D., normally an optimistic girl, was married to an
ambitious young man who owned a small ice cream and
confectionery shop which he was determined to build into
something substantial. Long hours in the store, however,
yielded only dribs and drabs of money. There always seemed
to be the question of whether they could hold out or
whether they would lose the store.

After six years of scrimping, with three children now to
take care of, Mrs. D. found that thoughts of money seemed
to color her whole life. The slightest financial setback
was enough to make her lie awake contemplating their bad

These incidents were trivial, as Mrs. D. would be the first
to admit, but each one seemed the last straw. A library
book fell in a mud puddle and she had to pay for it; that
night she lay awake translating the money she had paid for
the book into shoes and food for the children. A glove got
lost, a storekeeper overcharged her a nickel, the gas bill
arrived; these were enough to send her into sloughs of
despondency resulting in sleepless nights.


Worrying over money has probably kept more people awake
than any other single cause. People who have money worry
over losing it; people who have no money worry about
acquiring it.

The millionaire who loses half his fortune probably suffers
as acutely as the father of six children who loses his job.
Perhaps he suffers more. During the stock market crash, it
was the millionaires who jumped from tall office buildings
when they were wiped out. Yet, bankrupt though they were,
they were no poorer than the average working man without
savings who laughs at the idea of suicide.

The whole idea of wealth is relative. It is an old adage
that no matter how badly off you are, there are people who
aspire to your position. Millions of people in Europe and
Asia would trade places with the poorest American citizen.
I told this to Mrs. D., and pointed out that in India,
where they gather the starved dead from the streets as a
routine task each morning, there would be riots for the
privilege of getting the contents of her garbage can. I
told her also that a Hungarian woman might envy Mrs. D. her
peace of mind at not having to worry about her husband’s
being removed some night by the secret police.

Being poor, even in America, is a serious thing, and we
should all make strenuous and intelligent efforts to gain
security. But worrying will only impair those efforts and
sleeplessness will make success far more difficult to

When I explained these truths to Mrs. D., she was more
angry than impressed. “Look, I know there are people worse
off than I am,” she said, “but that doesn’t put food on my
table or put me to sleep at night. Should I go around all
day singing because I don’t have enough money?” she added

In a sense, I answered her, that is exactly what she should
do. Go around singing! Why not? Going around sorrowing was
only driving her toward a nervous breakdown.

But before Mrs. D. could go around singing she had to be
taught the habit of positive thinking. To do this I had her
make a list of the assets and liabilities of her life. The
assets were as follows: Her children were normal and
healthy. Her husband was healthy. She was healthy. Her
husband loved her. Her husband was well liked. She was well
liked. She had many friends. Her children were smart in
school. Her husband was still a young man.

Against these assets was the liability of being poor. Being
poor was their only liability. If they had money, Mrs. D.
said–and it wouldn’t take much–everything would be fine.
Being poor worried Mrs. D. and caused her sleepless nights
because, as she wrote down: They weren’t getting ahead–that
is, saving money. It looked as if they would always be
poor. They had no money should an emergency occur. They had
no money set aside for the children’s college education.
None of them had had new clothes for a long time. She was
tired of scrimping and counting every penny. She couldn’t
entertain her friends properly. They might lose the
business. They might not have enough to pay the bills next
month. Most of Mrs. D’s worry over money resulted not from
a lack of money to meet their immediate needs, but from
fear of not being able to meet their needs in the future.

Many of these fears might never be realized. Yet if Mrs. D.
allowed her thinking to make her a fear-ridden neurotic
about money and an anchor instead of an inspiration to her
husband, all these fears might be realized, for defeatism
like Mrs. D’s is contagious.

I instructed Mrs. D. to think of her assets instead of her
money worries. While she was baking a cake, she was to stop
thinking, “We’ll never have money for the children’s
college education,” and instead think, “I am fortunate to
have such healthy children,” or, “I am fortunate to have
such a fine husband.”

This is conditioned thinking, and until you acquire the
unconscious habit of thinking this way, you have to do it
consciously. There is no other cure for worry. Worry, like
any other habit, can be cured only by having another habit
substituted for it: the habit of positive thinking.

In addition to instructing Mrs. D. to acquire deliberately
the habit of positive thinking, I got her to learn the ABC
Round Robin and the Sleep Exercise. I taught her to take
advantage of lapses in the day’s activities to enjoy
fifteen or twenty minutes of relaxing sleep.

She turned out to be an apt pupil once she saw that there
was no desirable alternative to the course I presented to
her. To her amazement she found that when she forced
herself to think of the good things of her life, she felt
elated. Mrs. D. no longer spends hours worrying over money
when she should be sleeping. As a result, she is better
equipped to help her husband make the decisions necessary
to earn more money.


To sleep when you have money worries:

1.Don’t count sheep; count your blessings. Itemize on a
sheet of paper all the good things there are in your life.
If you are so down in the dumps that you can’t think of
any, begin by thinking of a neighbor with whom you wouldn’t
trade places. For instance, Mrs. R., who is well-to-do, but
whose child is not normal. Or Mr. Z., who has a nagging
wife. Or Mrs. Y., whose husband drinks. Then put down as a
blessing, “My child is normal and healthy,” or “I have an
understanding wife,” or “My husband doesn’t drink.”

2.Set aside definite periods for discussions of finances.
Give yourself all the time you need to consider a given
prob- lem adequately, but do not allow yourself to think
about money at any other time. When you catch yourself
thinking negatively about money, force yourself to think
about how well-off you are, by repeating your list of
assets. Do this faith fully; it is bound to make you feel

3.Learn the ABC Round Robin. Use it to make yourself relax
whenever you have a few spare minutes during the day. If
you are optimistic and relaxed during the day, you will
automatically sleep better at night.

4.Learn the Sleep Exercise and use it after the Robin at
night to put yourself to sleep. Just as you are about to
drop off to sleep, repeat some of your blessings. You will
be amazed at how much happier you will be when you wake up.

5.Remember: Although poverty is unpleasant, and al though
no normal person wants to be poor, you must think
constructively, instead of bemoaning your poverty.
Cultivate an optimistic frame of mind and you have gone a
long way toward improving your condition.