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Snack Bars | Buns In My Oven

Link to Article: Snack Bars | Buns In My Oven.

Ingredients

3 cups pretzel sticks, snapped in half

2 1/3 cups chex cereal (I used rice, you can use what you like best)

2 cups m&ms (use whichever you like best, I did a mixture of plain, peanut, and peanut butter)

1/4 cup chocolate chips (any kind)

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

5 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

Instructions

In a large bowl, combine pretzels, cereal, m&ms, and chocolate chips. Set aside.

In a large sauce pan, melt together the butter and peanut butter over low heat. Stir in the marshmallows and continue to cook over low heat until the marshmallows are melted.Pour over the snack mix and toss to coat.

Press mixture into a 9×13 pan lined with wax or parchment paper. Firmly press mixture together to ensure that the bars stick together when they have cooled. Refrigerate until the mixture is completely cool and firm. Cut into bars and serve.

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you… ~Ray Bradbury

 

 

When life is difficult to handle, we typically try to avoid adding to our “to do” list. When stressed and anxious, our first reaction is not to sit and write it down. At the times when we are stressed and anxious, we don’t know how to let go of what we are feeling. If we keep our emotions bottled up inside, they will only get worse. If we numb our emotions in unhealthy ways like yelling or drinking, we are only bringing more stress upon ourselves. Talking to a friend or doing fun physical activities are some positive ways of releasing emotions. Writing is another great way, even just putting our thoughts to paper helps to release.

 
You can use writing to help yourself problem solve. Writing is a way to brainstorm ideas that will improve your life. Sometimes a problem can seem very overwhelming, but if you start writing about it, a solution can begin to take shape. Try writing everything you’re thinking about a particular issue, and then reread what you’ve written, see it from a different perspective. You might find that your problem isn’t as bad as it originally seemed. Once it’s on paper, or you may discover a new way to approach it. You can list the pros and cons, which are necessary tools in the decision-making process.

 

When writing about things that are overwhelming and stressful, it is necessary to gain self-awareness. Be aware of how you react to things that occur in your life. Do you respond in a positive way? Or do you over-react or respond negatively? Once you reflect on yourself, you can make the necessary improvements. Reflect on what things trigger your anxiety, what causes the spikes in your stress level. Overtime, the patterns and common threads will show through your writing. Take this opportunity to discover new methods that can be used to help reduce stress and anxiety. This will help improve your coping abilities. Every bit helps and it’s certainly worth at least giving it a shot.

Below I have listed 10 ways writing helps to reduce stress and anxiety:

1. Writing clarifies your thoughts: Writing forces you to think about the events that occur throughout the day. Once you remove yourself from the situation which upset you, write what precipitated these events on paper.

2. Writing is meditative: Writing stream of consciousness is like walking meditation. Your breathing slows as you concentrate on the words and allow them to flow out of your head to the keyboard or paper. Free your mind, allow yourself to be swept away by the words.

3. Writing makes you smarter: Writing is an active process. Always research your subjects. Writing improves your vocabulary and makes you smarter. When your mind is clear better able to handle stressful situations.
4. Writing helps you sleep better: Writing allows you to break the stress-causing cycles within your head. There are some people who read themselves to sleep and others who write their own stories while they go to sleep. The more relaxed you are, the better you will sleep. You will wake up more rested which decreases your stress.
5. Writing removes anger: Write down all the angry thoughts that go through your mind. This is your private diary. Do not show it to anyone. Focus on what’s stressing you. Release everything use the first words that come to your mind. Take charge of the situation. Decide how you would to resolve the matter. By addressing the issue in writing, you are releasing it and still have the option to either throw it away or save it.
6. Writing solves problems: Writing helps to see things from a fresh perspective. It is easier to find the resolution once things are clear. Brainstorm different answers and points of record. Write out the potential solutions, to find the ideal course of action to take. Being focused helps you to relax and release your stress.
7. Writing offers purpose: It helps to write out the things that you have to do. When you have a “to do” list, you have a guideline to follow. When you have accomplished the items on your list, you gain purpose. This sense of accomplishment also helps to release stress.
8. Writing strengthens your immune system: When you are  still, writing, your breathing slows down. This allows more oxygen flows to the brain. Being engaged in work also helps to heal the body, by encouraging it to fight against viruses.
9. Writing alleviates asthma: When your body is calm it helps with your breathing. When in the writing zone our bodies eliminate some of the stresses. One way lungs heal is by taking deep breaths. Deep breathing exercises can be done easily while writing.
10. Writing unties stomach knots: Your stomach can get tied up in knots due to the stress in your life. By breathing slower and meditating while writing, it helps to ease the physical discomfort throughout your body, especially your stomach.
It really does not matter what you write, just as long as you are writing. It helps to reduce both mental and physical stress. Calm and inner peace will return. So the next time you are stressing, try taking twenty minutes to write your thoughts and feelings, see how you feel afterward. 🙂

Everyone needs to escape from the stress of daily life once in a while. When your mind and body are stressed, it is necessary to take a break. If you enjoy writing, use it as a respite. Use writing to take yourself away from your reality. Go somewhere else and forget about the things that are weighing you down. Use your imagination and write short stories or poems. Write about anything as along as it makes you happy. Reminisce on positive memories and events that uplift you. Leave it handy, so you can go back and read when you need a pick-me-up. Once you shift your attention and give yourself a breather and focus on something other than your problems calm down and feel better. Revisit the topic once you are in a clear state of mind.

Most importantly!!!
*Self-affirmation does a world of good. Save inspirational stories, quotes, and writings. Find the warmth in kind words. This will reinforce SELF LOVE, positive thinking, and improve your mental health.
**Also, go beyond self; write a little note to someone. Express anything you want, i.e. greeting, love, appreciation, etc. Or write to someone experiencing similar struggles; offer each other mental and emotional support. You can never go wrong with a true act of kindness. Being positive will always build you up… 🙂

 
Happy Writing!!! 🙂

Take your camera for a walk!!!

One of the best ways to capture a memory is to photograph it. The quickest way to lose yourself in a happy memory is by reflecting on a picture or an album. Here are 5 tips to releasing your stress through photography:

1. Take yourself on a photo walk with your camera. Just 10 minutes is all you will need. Go slow.. Breathe.. Really look around.. Take photos of all the details along the way. Get closer to your subject and take more photos. This is a walking photo meditation.

2. Look for power signs. The universe is sending you messages everywhere all the time.  What do these signs mean to you? What is the universe saying to you?

3. Pick a time of day and schedule taking one photo. Be mindful of your time. Focus while taking the photograph. Be aware as you look through the viewfinder.

4. Visual gratitude list through photography. Take photos of all the people, places, and things in your life that mean something to you. Try to narrow your list to at least 5 things. Even ONE thing is a great starting point. Do this on a regular basis. It will help shift your attention from all the stress in your world, to all the heartfelt important things that actually matter.

5. Write a list. What does a list have to do with photography? Complete the first task on the list. Then get up and walk away.Come back with fresh eyes. Take your camera and find an interesting view or subject and take the picture it is that easy. Following this routine can help bring more joy into your life. Get creative about the photos you take. Try anything from a self-portrait in the  in the mirror down to your feet outside in the grass. Try something new. Let go.

Photography is a great tool to release stress. It will redirect your attention from whatever is stressing you. It will help you will become more centered and productive. Once you look at the Camera as an escape from beneath your pile of stress,  you will feel happiness and peace growing within.

Again, the most important part of this activity is to enjoy yourself. Do not get caught up in worrying if the pictures are good or bad, just enjoy yourself. Even the best photographers take multiple shots before displaying their best shots. Once you get familiar with your camera and technique it will be like second nature.

Happy picture-taking!!! 🙂

Coloring fun!!! :)

  Ever since day one, when our ancestors colored on cave walls, people have had an affinity to express themselves artistically. Coloring is the way we first expressed ourselves before we even learned how to talk. Children color every day in school and at home.  As we  have grown older, for some, coloring became an activity of the past. Aside from artists, only some adults will admit a desire to “create” something now and then.

Remember when you were a kid, lying on your stomach on the floor, coloring book open, crayon in hand with the other crayons spilling out of the box? Do you remember the sense of peace and delight you felt while you were coloring? Why not consider revisiting this favorite infancy hobby to help during those times when you find yourself feeling on edge. So go ahead, give into that urge to buy a brand new, shiny box of crayons and rekindle that childhood fulfillment. Let the creative expression begin; find the artist that lived inside you as a child and tell them it’s okay to come out again.

The benefits of coloring are not limited to ages 5 and under. Adults can positively benefit from art by using their imagination, expressing their feelings, and exploring more about themselves too. Furthermore, adults also benefit by releasing emotions, relieving stress, increasing self-esteem and morale, and strengthening critical thinking.

BENEFITS IN ART:

  1.  Nonverbal expression and communication: Art is a nonverbal tool that lets you communicate how you see the world. It gives you a chance to express and release your feelings.
  2. Form of relaxation: The act of creating art can simply work as a needed distraction to clear your head of daily life stresses. A temporary retreat or escape from your everyday living. In the act of sketching or painting you experience the sense of a meditative flow, focusing on the enjoyable act of creating art; this could be comparable to that of someone enjoying gardening or cooking.
  3. Increasing Morale: Just as a child has fun creating art so should you. The nature of creating something, experimenting with shapes and color evokes as sense of playfulness. Watching your picture develop into a finished piece will also give you a sense of pride and accomplishment.
  4. Improving cognition: Critical thinking is used in decision-making; what would you like to paint or draw, how do you want to capture your image or idea?What colors would you use?  Where do you want to place an object in your picture? Asking these questions Your attention span is also strengthened as you focus on your work.
  5. Sense of self: Art can help build and renew self-esteem. The time you set aside to draw is special time you have dedicated and invested into yourself.
  6. Coloring is one of the finest forms of meditation: To make coloring a real meditative and non secular experience hunt down a pre-made mandala design or make your own to color. Mandalas are complicated, symmetrical geometrical designs which draw the eye toward the center. Many religions use mandalas as a strategy of connecting the self to a higher power. Inside Buddhism, mandalas are made as sacred places which, by their terribly presence, remind a spectator of the vastness of sanctity in the universe and its potential with in their own life. Making a mandala is alleged to be a particularly robust and sacred experience.
  7. Coloring is the perfect creative quick-fix for anyone: An opportunity to experiment with color and to express yourself. You can express your moods with color in an easy, convenient and affordable way.  Coloring alongside youngsters can be inspiring. How about inviting a pal or two over for tea and some coloring time? And for any artists who are feeling a bit burnt out working in their usual medium, why not use coloring as a way to rejuvenate your creativity?
  8. Coloring as therapy:Coloring is used in formal therapeutic settings. Coloring helps in developing eye-hand coordination and aids in healing victims of trauma. There is so much to be gained by passing a little time coloring.

*Interesting fact: It is said, one of the handiest ways medical students study the intricacies of the body is by coloring detailed illustrations of various body parts.*

Now that you know some of the positive benefits from art. You can see that coloring isn’t only for children and professional artists. Don’t be scared. You are not setting out to create an artistic masterpiece; explore the materials you are using and figure things out as you go. This is about creating art that fits into your life and enables you to experience the positive benefits of creative expression. If you don’t like your picture then throw it away and start over.

Suggestions for beginning art projects:

  1. Simple Still Life: Arrange a vase of flowers or variety of fruit. Choose your art medium, i.e. pastels, colored pencils, or paint. When you get started focus on capturing the shapes and colors of the objects and  less on reproducing a realistic image. The first attempts should be more for the learning experience.
  2. Au Plein Air: This term means, in  open air. This has been best captured by French Impressionist painter Claude Monet. Au plein air artists are interested in the changing qualities of light,  their large brush strokes, and movement captured in the paintings. Go to a place you enjoy outdoors and just take in what you see. Take the time to notice the beauty and variations of light on different surfaces. Just try to work this into your image focusing on catching light on your subject. Most importantly, remember to enjoy the fresh air!

Other Tips:

  1. Draw to Music: Whether it’s classical or jazz music put on one of your favorite albums or musician that inspires you. Pay attention to how the music makes you feel and how the musician’s notes move throughout a song. Capture the atmosphere of their music in your art with flowing free lines, shapes and color.
  2. Keep a Sketchbook: Start an artist diary or sketch book that you can jot down ideas or sketch images as they come to you. You never know when inspiration may strike!

If you have questions when you begin experimenting with different forms of art, stop by your local library for basic how to books to explain types of mediums and different techniques associated with them. Local colleges often offer beginner art courses in drawing, painting, photography and ceramics. Stop by community art shows to see others artwork, what subjects and mediums they chose to use. Now give yourself permission to color outside the lines. You can color, as straightforward or get as complicated, as you desire.

Happy coloring!!!! 🙂