Improve the World: Celebrate Earth Day Every Day!

By Jodee Weiland

Today is Earth Day and people all over are talking about it! There are activities for children in their schools. Various cities are have activities planned for today that encourage recycling things such as, bicycles for restoration, Apple products, and so much more.  Museums, botanical gardens, and zoos have exhibits that will focus on environmental issues of all kinds for us to learn more about our planet and how to preserve it for future generations. Today is a day when we all can learn how to Improve the World: Celebrate Earth Day Every Day!

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You can easily Google what is happening in your city or cities nearby to you to help celebrate this day. In Chicago today, 5 NBC Chicago has posted a list of places to drop off items for safe recycling at Earth Day E-Waste Drop-Off Locations. ABC 7 Eyewitness News has posted a fun activity for families to do at home with their children at Earth Day Family Fun: Dirt dessert recipe. WGN TV has posted a fun outing for for young families here in Chicago and the suburbs at Earth Day 2014; What the Field Museum’s Dioramas are Teaching Kids about Conservation. These are just a few of the things being talked about here in Chicago, but as I searched the web, I saw so many posts from cities everywhere.

Remember, today is a day when we all can learn how to Improve the World: Celebrate Earth Day Every Day! If you can’t find anything near you, you can check out all the ideas for activities you can do with your family being posted on the web today or make the Dirt Dessert recipe from ABC 7 Eyewitness News listed above. Also, Pinterest has whole boards that contain Earth Day activities for children if you search for them. The EPA Environmental Protection Agency has a downloadable free eleven page coloring book for children called The Happy Earth Day Coloring and Activities Book. There are so many options out there if you just look. So have some fun on Earth Day, learn something new, do something to help the environment, and enjoy!

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Bitsy’s Brainfood co-founder, Maggie Patton encourages families to involve kids in Earth Day, to teach them that they can make a difference.

“When it comes to my own family and taking action on Earth Day, we like to think globally, and act locally. There are so many simple ways to get the whole family involved in celebrating Earth Day,” Patton says. Below, she provides 19 kid-friendly Earth Day activities that can extend into loving the environment every day.

19 KID-FRIENDLY EARTH DAY ACTIVITIES

  1. Compost your fruit and veggie scraps and watch your garden bloom!
  2. Buy, fill and refill reusable water bottles — help keep millions of single-use plastic bottles out of landfill.
  3. Save a tree! Use both sides of your notebook paper.
  4. Visit a zoo or farm and learn how to care for animals. It’ll promote local food, too.
  5. Go for a family walk or bike ride and help keep the Earth cool.
  6. Get everyone a pair of work gloves and pick up trash in your neighborhood or town.
  7. Buy or make your own green cleaning products and spring clean your home.
  8. Grow a community garden and nourish your neighborhood green spaces.
  9. Plant more trees in your town — they’ll help clean the air.
  10. Help remove stuck plastic bags out of trees. And switch to reusable bags instead … for everything!
  11. Make an appointment with your town leaders to add more neighborhood trash cans and recycling bins — or start a recycling program.
  12. Collect glass food jars to paint and turn into candle holders (and use soy-based candles!).
  13. Love surprises? Plant bulbs and flower seeds and keep a weather eye for spring blossoms!
  14. “Turn off the lights!” Make switch plate reminders for your whole house.
  15. Show your kids the beauty of the beach. Collect shells and rocks for art projects.
  16. Make extra food for dinner then ditch BPA-lined plastic and get glass storage containers instead for leftovers.
  17. Transform colorful magazine pages, comics and more into artful projects and gift wrappers.
  18. Learn how to donate/recycle old computer equipment and post instructions (with permission, of course) at your local library, cafes, electronics stores and more.
  19. Breathe in nature: Turn off the a/c and open a window to the world.

Bonus activity: Just get outside and play!

 More Ways to Recycle:

 

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The New Samsung Galaxy S5 is Out! Earn $10 Extra on $50+ Trade-Ins at Gazelle… Ends 4/30!
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is rumored to be a fan favorite with a faster camera, amazing screen, better battery (not to mention the cool heart rate monitor and fingerprint scanner) and a clear contender for your pocket in 2014. Considering an upgrade? What will you do with your old phone?

For only a few more days, Gazelle is giving an extra $10 on devices traded in valuing $50 or more. This deal comes at a perfect time since the latest upgrades scheduled for multiple smartphones (Galaxy S5, Sony Xperia Z2, LG G3, etc.) are hitting the market now. Gazelle offers trade-ins for everything from smartphones to laptops to tablets…. the list goes on, so go trade in something old and get some extra cash to buy something new. But you had better hurry, because this deal only lasts until April 30th!

Ham, Asparagus, and Goat Cheese Frittata with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

By Jodee Weiland

After baking a ham, I usually look for recipes that will use leftover ham. One of my favorites is always a frittata because it’s so easy, and you can quickly create one with foods you have on hand. When I first did this recipe, I chose to use the leftover ham from our baked ham and food items I had in the fridge to create my Ham, Asparagus, and Goat Cheese Frittata with Sun-Dried Tomatoes.

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Originally, frittata was an Italian term used for cooking eggs in a skillet. A frittata is basically just an Italian version of an open-faced omelet that is started on the stove top and then finally baked in the oven.  Some people will cook a frittata completely on the stove top, while others will vary between how much is done on the stove top and how much is done in the oven. For my frittata, I used the oven this time. When you cook a frittata in the oven, be sure to use an oven proof skillet or baking dish.

http://learnfromyesterday.comMy Ham, Asparagus, and Goat Cheese Frittata with Sun-Dried Tomatoes came together based on the ingredients I had on hand at the time, and it turned out delicious. The ham, of course, came from a baked ham I had made earlier. The fresh vegetable I had was asparagus. I had just bought a batch at the store a day earlier. I frequently have goat cheese because I keep a variety of cheeses on hand at any given time. Sun-dried tomatoes can easily be found in my refrigerator, since I like to add them into any number of recipes I make from soups to sauces to stews and more. So given the ingredients on hand, this frittata recipe was the delicious result!

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Ham, Asparagus, and Goat Cheese Frittata with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

8 large eggs beaten
1/4 cup skim milk
5 ounces diced ham
12 lightly steamed asparagus spears cut into one inch pieces
1 ounce sun-dried tomatoes chopped into small pieces
4 ounces goat cheese divided in small pieces

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare the baking dish with either a butter or olive oil spray. My dish is about 8 x 11 inches, so my frittata is about 3/4 to 1 inch deep. When ready, beat 8 eggs well in a mixing bowl with a whisk adding the skim milk as you do this. Next, add the ham, asparagus, and sun-dried tomatoes stirring it all together. Finally, add in the goat cheese in pieces and stir some more.

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When the mixture is ready, pour it into the prepared baking dish. Place the dish in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. When done, put a toothpick in the center and pull it out. If the toothpick comes out clean, then your frittata is cooked and ready to cut and serve.

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My Ham, Asparagus, and Goat Cheese Frittata with Sun-Dried Tomatoes is absolutely delicious! Since created, it has become a favorite. We like to serve it with toast and fresh fruit. My husband likes to have some extra slices of ham on the side as well. This dish makes a great breakfast or even a quick dinner. We love it because it is full of flavor from the ham and other ingredients blended together. Each ingredient adds its own unique flavor to the overall taste of this dish. Give it a try sometime, and enjoy!

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Walnuts

By Jodee Weiland

Sweet potatoes can be prepared in so many different ways, but one of my favorite ways to have sweet potatoes is Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Walnuts. Mashed sweet potatoes are always delicious, but when made with chopped walnuts and just the right seasonings, they have great flavor and crunch!

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Whenever I cook a baked ham or have a big turkey dinner with all the trimmings, I always find a way to add a side of sweet potatoes. Not only do they taste good, they are very nutritious as well. I make sweet potatoes in a number of different ways by roasting them, baking them, or mashing them, but this recipe is one of my favorites because of the crunch from the chopped walnuts that are added only after cooking and mashing the potatoes. Since the walnuts are not baked into the recipe, they retain all their crunchy goodness. Call me silly, but I really think that’s what makes this dish.

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Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Walnuts

  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup skim milk

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Boil the potatoes in a covered pot of water with a pinch of salt for 30 to 40 minutes or until done. When done, peel the skin off the potatoes and mash them in a bowl. Add in the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and butter blending it into the mashed potatoes. Then as you mash the potatoes, add in the milk a little at a time. When thoroughly mashed, add in the chopped walnuts stirring them in gently with a spoon. Once done, put the potatoes into your serving bowl.

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Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Walnuts go well with so many different meals. This delicious side dish will enhance any meal you make with its rich flavor. Not only that, but sweet potatoes are a healthy choice, when choosing a potato for a meal. So if you’re wondering what to do make with dinner tonight, why not try this dish, and enjoy!

Baked Ham with Pineapple and Orange Glaze

By Jodee Weiland

For many people, baked ham dinners are a favorite meal. My family loves baked ham when I make it, but the funny thing is that I was never a very big fan of baked ham. Nevertheless, I baked hams for my family because they wanted them. I decided right away that if I was going to do this, I was going to do it right. For that reason, I asked my mother and anyone else I knew how they baked ham, and ultimately this is my Baked Ham with Pineapple and Orange Glaze, which evolved from all those conversations.

http://learnfromyesterday.comI wish I could say that this recipe made a ham lover out of me, but unfortunately, it did not do that. I eat a little when I make it, but my real enjoyment comes from the fact that those I love or care about enjoy this meal. Since cooking is about giving the best I can to those I serve a meal to in my home, that’s good enough for me when it comes to baking ham. The rave reviews I get from family and friends, tells me that I must be doing something right here, even though I really am not the one to judge the quality of this recipe. My family loves it, so that’s all I need to know!

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Baked Ham with Pineapple and Orange Glaze

7 to 8 pound fully cooked spiral sliced ham
1 fresh pineapple core with juice
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup fresh pineapple juice
1 cup Coke

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Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the spiral cut ham face down in your baking dish. With a sharp knife, score the top surface of the ham in a criss cross pattern, slicing first one way and then the other. Take the pineapple slices and with toothpicks, secure three to four slices across the top of the ham.

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Using a hand blender, blend together the brown sugar, orange juice, pineapple juice, and Coke until completely blended. Once done, pour about 1/3 of the mixture over the ham and pineapples. Place the baking dish in the heated oven and bake at 325 degrees for 60 to 70 minutes, basting the ham frequently with the juice mixture in the baking dish.

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Take the remaining two-thirds of the juice mixture and cook in the microwave for about ten minutes. Stir halfway through this time to make sure it’s thickening, but not over thick. Then finish microwaving the mixture. When done, it should be slightly thick and more glaze like. Pour this glaze like mixture over the ham and pineapples after 30 minutes of baking. Finish baking the last 30 to 40 minutes, continuing to baste every so often.

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Once done, serve the Baked Ham with Pineapple and Orange Glaze with sweet potatoes or yams, along with a green vegetable of your choice. I like to serve this dish with mashed sweet potatoes, a recipe of mine with chopped walnuts and cinnamon, and another vegetable, such as asparagus or broccoli. Whatever you choose to serve it with, I’ve been told that it will not disappoint you. My family loves my baked ham, and I feel certain that if you like ham, you will love this recipe. So give it a try, and enjoy!

 

Learn from yesterday, live for today…My Blog Celebrates One Year on April 12th!

By Jodee Weiland

One year ago on April 12th, 2013, I decided to make it official and took my blog, Learn from yesterday, live for today…, to the next level. I had actually been blogging for about a year before that on my previous site, but mostly only for family and friends. The goal was to share my recipes, travels, and thoughts with my targeted readers. Very few people outside of my immediate inner circle ever visited that site. There were a few visitors, who happened upon my site, but not nearly as many as there are today. I really did very little to promote my blog before that time, and any traffic other than family and friends was coming from search engines.

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That all changed when I finally admitted to myself that I actually had something to share with other people, outside of my family and friends, that might be of value to them. And so it began…I took everything off the old site, and began reviewing and rewriting it all one piece at a time…eliminating any pieces I felt weren’t good enough. From there, I went forward with my plans and began writing new ones. I started researching and learning about what I would need to do to make my blog more professional. I even began looking into how to create a blog environment for my readers that would be more user-friendly and make it easier for them to navigate my blog. But it didn’t stop there because I continue to do all of this and more every day!

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I just attended my first conference for bloggers this past weekend in St. Louis, Missouri, the Bloggy Boot Camp with The SITS Girls. This wonderful group of young women not only taught all of us some great things about blogging, but were inspiring and left everyone in attendance motivated to do more! Mirassou Winery gave a lovely reception for all of us at the end of the day and gave us an opportunity to connect with them as a possible sponsor. All of this was a wonderful experience and opportunity to learn more about the blogging process, while being able to connect with other bloggers. The bloggers who attended would become an invaluable source of support and information as well, but most importantly, they would become new friends!

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Improving my blog, Learn from yesterday, live for today…, doesn’t stop there though, because I am also taking various online courses to improve different aspects of my blog, such as photography and artisan bread making. While attending the conference, I purchased the book, Social Media Engagement for Dummies to help improve my skills in that area of blogging. I want my readers to love coming to my blog to visit and to know how important each and every one of them is to me, so I want to make it the best I can in every way! How will I do this? As I approach the one year anniversary of my blog on April 12th of this year, I will be celebrating, while I continue working hard to make it even better in the coming year ahead! So what do you think? Is this a blog you want to come back to often?  If not, what can I do to make it more appealing to you? Hopefully, all of you will continue to come back and share your thoughts with me as I move forward with my blog, and always remember to enjoy!