Category Archives: Information

This Day in History ~ May 10

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Taking a look back on a few events that has taken place on May 10th in previous years.

1969 – Apollo 10 transmit 1st color pictures of Earth from space. The Apollo 10 mission encompassed all aspects of an actual crewed lunar landing, except the landing. It was the first flight of a complete, crewed Apollo spacecraft to operate around the moon.

1973 – Bruce Lee collapsed in Golden Harvest studios in Hong Kong while doing dubbing work for the movie Enter the Dragon. Suffering from seizures and headaches, he was immediately rushed to Hong Kong Baptist Hospital where doctors diagnosed cerebral edema. These same symptoms occurred again on the day of his death on July 20, 1973.


1986 – “Rock Me Amadeus” by Falco hits number one in the United Kingdom, becoming the first single by an Austrian act to achieve this distinction.


1994 – Nelson Mandela becomes South Africa’s first black president after more than three centuries of white rule.


2003 – this day ended most prolific continuous period of tornado outbreaks in American history. 401 tornadoes were reported in 19 states and 1 Canadian province, 1,587 reports of large hail and 740 reports of wind damage.


The Threat of Severe Weather

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It is spring in the United States. It is a time of nature’s renewal as the grass gets greener, the flowers start to bloom and the trees regain their leaves. It is also the time of year when the weather can quickly take a turn for the worst!


Living in Texas, we must always be mindful of the weather. What can start out as a perfectly beautiful spring day can turn into an afternoon of severe thunderstorms with flooding, hail or even tornadoes! Spring storms can be so unpredictable in Texas. Because of our geographical location we can receive moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, as well as from the Pacific Ocean by means of traveling the wind currents over Mexico.


Just a couple of days ago, several Texas counties experienced extremely heavy rainfall resulting in major flooding. Especially hard hit was the Houston metropolitan area. Much of that area received up to 17 inches (43.18 Centimeters) in less than 12 hours. More than 1000 homes have been flooded, plus numerous businesses, apartment complexes and schools. Hundreds of high water rescues took place which included both people and animals that were caught in the rapidly rising flood waters. Sadly, at least seven deaths have been directly attributed to the flooding in the Houston area.


Flooding kills more people than lightning or tornadoes. If you get caught in a storm, make sure you know your location of where you are driving at.  Stay away from low water crossings and bridges. A good rule of thumb and you hear it all the time: Turn Around Don’t Drown! People should also remember that just because the storm passes the threat of flooding from the cresting of rivers and creeks can linger for days. It is best to avoid low water crossing areas around rivers and creeks until they have been declared safe.


Just a week earlier, on April 12th, the San Antonio metropolitan area was hit with a severe thunderstorm. Rainfall amounts were relatively minor with reports of 1.5 inches (3.81 Centimeters) to 2 inches (5.08 Centimeters) in most of the area. The major concern with this storm was the golf ball to tennis ball sized hail that accompanied the storms which caused numerous reports of property damage to vehicles and homes.


No matter where you live, there is always the chance that sever weather can strike. Many times, even before you see rain, you will hear thunder and see lightning. The worst place to be when lighting occurs is outside because there really is NO safe place outside. If you should happen to be outside and cannot take cover, follow these simple rules:

  • Get off elevated areas such as hills, mountains, and bridges.
  • Never take shelter underneath a single tree to weather the storm.
  • Stay away from bodies of water, such as lakes, ponds, rivers, and oceans.
  • Stay away from things that conduct electricity.

If you are inside:

  • Stay off phones, computers, and electronic devices.
  • Avoid plumbing such as sinks and bathtubs.
  • You may think it is exciting to watch a storm on a front or back porch, but stay away from porches and windows.


It’s always a good idea to have a “survival kit” ready because storms come and go very quickly. This is especially true in Texas! A survival kit may include flashlights, extra batteries, candles, matches, bottled water, an extra power source for your phone such as a portable charger, emergency first aid supplies, a portable radio, and non-perishable goods. You may want to also keep a copy of emergency phone numbers on hand, extra sets of keys and anything else of importance to help in case severe weather activity occurs.

homemade survival kit

Proven Weight Loss Strategies

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Now is the time to start kicking your weight loss goals into gear if you are serious about losing those extra pounds that were gained through the winter season and you want to be slimmer before summer rolls around. It is never too late to start getting healthier. There is no magic solution to weight-loss, but I have a few proven weight loss tips that may help you along your journey.


Keep a Food Journal.
This tip may sound too simple to be of any real use. However, it has been a proven fact that if you keep track of everything that you eat and drink you are much more likely to not only lose weight, but keep it off for the long term. In fact on average, those who kept a food journal were found to have lost twice as much weight as those who don’t track what they eat.


Get on that scale!
Regular weigh-ins is one of your best weapons in the battle of the bulge. It has been reported that people who weighed themselves daily lost about three times as much weight as those who were more lax about stepping on the scale. Those who weighed themselves daily lost an average of 20 ponds more than those who only weighed themselves every 5 to 7 days.


Eat at Home.
Not only will this tip help you to lose weight, it will fatten your wallet at the same time. We all know that eating out can help you to pack on the pounds without even trying. Over-sized portions, overly processed foods full of salt, saturated fats and additives, not to mention the extra sugar that is usually consumed with the soda accompanying the meal all help add to unwanted pounds to your weight. Eat at home and prepare yourself healthy, fresh meals without all the added “bonuses” that you don’t really want anyway.


Know Your Portions.
In today’s society, we live in a “super-sized” culture. Our meals sizes have evolved to become larger over time. It is not only at fast-food chains and other restaurants, but also within our own homes. Learning to eat the proper sized portions of various foods will help us to lose weight and keep it off!


Proteins – One serving of protein 3 to 5 times per day. One serving is about the size and thickness of one palm of your hand for a woman and 2 palms for a man. Proteins include meats, fish, eggs, beans and yogurt.


Vegetables – One serving of vegetables 3 to 6 times per day.   One serving size is enough to fill your two hands cupped together. Eat 1 to 2 servings of vegetables with each meal. Vegetables can be eaten pretty much without restriction. Load them on your plate and fill up on them before you move onto the other foods.


Fruits – One serving of fruit equals to a medium sized piece. Eat fruit 2 to 3 times per day. Like vegetables, fruits also contain micronutrients and fiber. Unlike vegetables, fruit is higher in sugar and calories, so you will have to be mindful of your total calorie intake for the day.

Healthy Fats – One serving size of healthy fats would be two thumbs put together or two tablespoonfuls. Eat one serving 2 to 3 times per day. You actually need some fat in your diet. The right balance of fats keeps your body inflammation in check, gives you energy for your brain and the rest of your body, and transports the vitamins and minerals you eat throughout your system. Saturated Fats include animal fat such as eggs, dairy, meat, butter, cheese, coconut and palm oil. Monousaturated Fats include nuts such as almonds, cashews, pistachios, macadamias, pecans, pumpkin seeds, avocados, olives and olive oil. Polyunsaturated Fats include fish oil, canola oil, flax oil and flax seeds, sunflower seeds, peanuts, and walnuts.


Whole Grains – One serving size of whole grains would be equivalent to the size of your fist. Eat 1 to 2 servings of whole grains per day. Whole grains are important because they are high in fiber and nutrients. It is best to consume whole grains early in the day. Whole grains include oats, wild or brown rice, barley, whole grain bread or pasta, quinoa, cracked wheat, and millet.


I hope that you have find these tips and charts helpful. I know that I will be using this very same advice and will be referring to these charts as I continue along on my own weight-loss journey. Please feel free to let me know about any helpful weigh-loss tips that you may have!

Texas Sales Tax Free Weekend 4/23-25


According to a bulletin released by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts at 04/13/2016 12:03 PM CDT there will be a Sales Tax Holiday on  Emergency Preparation Supplies held from Friday, April 23 through Sunday, April 25, 2016.

With the potential for severe weather approaching this spring, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar reminds Texans they can purchase certain supplies tax-free during the Emergency Preparation Supplies Sales Tax Holiday, April 23-25.

“The severe weather, fire and flooding we had last year provided a stark reminder that Texans should be prepared for any emergency,” Hegar said. “This tax holiday allows people to save money while ensuring they have the supplies they need if disaster strikes.”

There’s no limit on the number of qualifying items you can purchase. These include:

  • batteries, fuel containers, and flashlights priced at less than $75;
  • hurricane shutters and emergency ladders priced at less than $300; and
  • portable generators priced at less than $3,000.

Purchases that do not qualify include:

  • batteries for automobiles, boats and other motorized vehicles;
  • camping stoves and camping supplies; and
  • chainsaws.

A list of emergency preparation supplies that may be purchased tax-free can be found on the Comptroller’s website.

The Comptroller’s office estimates shoppers will save $1.4 million in state and local sales taxes during the tax holiday. The sales tax holiday was approved by lawmakers during the 2015 Texas Legislature.

Alternative Uses for White Vinegar

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Pretty much everyone know that white vinegar has long been used in cooking and canning recipes, but white vinegar has many other uses around the house while replacing many toxic chemicals. Here are just a few ideas:

Pour 1 Cup vinegar and 1 Cup baking soda into your toilet, let sit for at least 30 minutes. Swish with toilet brush and flush. Not only will this clean the toilet, but refreshes it, as well!

Fill your dishwasher’s rinse aid reservoir with vinegar. Your dishes will sparkle and shine. Environmentally friendly and much more economical than harsh chemical additives!

When washing your car, use a rag soaked in vinegar to clean your windshield washer blades. The vinegar will cut right through the road grime and any other built up on the blades making them much more effective when wiping your windows!

Quickly and easily clean and deodorize your kitchen cutting board by wiping it down with white vinegar. It will remove odors and bacteria at the same time!


If you notice that a bathroom or kitchen drain is draining slowly, before reaching for that bottle of chemical drain opener, try this instead: pour ½ Cup baking soda down the drain follow immediately by 1 Cup white vinegar. After a couple of minutes, pour at least 4 Cups of boiling water down the drain. Depending on the build-up or clog, this process may need to be repeated for maximum benefit.

Remove water ring marks left by wet glasses on wood furniture by mixing equal parts white vinegar with olive oil. Apply the mixture to the mark with a soft cloth while moving with the wood grain. Use another clean, soft cloth to bring up the shine.

Do you have soot build up on the front of your fireplace? You can easily remove that by wiping down the brick or stone with a damp cloth dipped in a mixture of 1 Cup white vinegar and with 1 gallon (3.7 liters) of warm water. This method also works well to clean and brighten brick or stone floors and patios.


Have you ever had a candle drip or melt onto a piece of wood furniture? Here is what you do: To remove the melted wax, soften it by using a blow-dryer on its hottest setting.  Blot up as much as you can with paper towels. Remove whatever is still left by rubbing with a cloth soaked in a solution made of equal parts white vinegar and water. Wipe clean with a soft, absorbent cloth.

To clean chrome and stainless steel fixtures around your home, apply a light misting of undiluted white vinegar from a recycled spray bottle. Buff with a soft cloth to bring out the brightness.

Clean and freshen your microwave by placing a small glass bowl or measuring cup filled with ¼ Cup of white vinegar mixed with 1 Cup of water inside. Microwave the mixture for five minutes on the highest setting. Once the bowl cools, dip a cloth or sponge into the liquid and use it to wipe away stains and splatters on the interior.


I do hope that you found these tips helpful and practical! Do you have a favorite alternative uses for white vinegar? If so, I would love to hear about them. Please feel free to let me know in the comments below!


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Taking a look back on a few events that has taken place on April 6th in previous years.

1954  – The first TV Dinners were put out for sale. Several smaller companies had tried to market the prepared meals that would become coined as TV Dinners, but they all failed. The first company to successfully market these new frozen convenience meals was Swanson. The first TV Dinner meals to come onto the market consisted of turkey, cornbread dressing, peas and sweet potatoes.


1965 – The first commercial geosynchronous communications satellite was launched. The satellite was named Intelsat I, but was nicknamed Early Bird, and it was built by It was the Space and Communications Group of Hughes Aircraft Company. This important satellite was the first move towards live, on-air coverage of important events. The first major live event that the satellite broadcast coverage for was that of the splashdown of the Gemini 6 spacecraft on December 26, 1965.


1975 – After 45 performances, the musical “The Rocky Horror Show” closes its Broadway run at the Belasco Theater in NYC. Later that same year in August, the film adaptation of the show, “The Rocky Horror Picture” Show, is released by 20th Century Fox.


1980 – After a year of consumer testing in a select market, the familiar Post-It Notes were released for sale on this date nationally across America. A year later, the product was introduced to the Canadian and European markets. Originally, the notepads all had lines and were only available in yellow.


1998 – Well-known country music singer and song-writer, Virginia Wynette Pugh, better known by her professional stage name, Tammy Wynette, passed away on this date in her sleep at her Nashville home at the age of 55. It was later released that she had died from a blood clot in her lung. Wynette was called “The First Lady of Country Music” and is best known by her 1968 number one hit song that she co-wrote, “Stand by Your Man.”



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Taking a look back on a few events that has taken place on April 4th in previous years.

1964 – The Beatles’ hit single, “Can’t Buy Me Love” goes to number one & stays at number one for five weeks. This song was composed by Paul McCartney. It was recorded on January 29th and released on March 16th.

Beatles CantBuyMeLove

1975 – The Microsoft Corporation is founded as a partnership between childhood friends Bill Gates and Paul Allen. Allen came up with the original name of “Micro-Soft,” as recounted in a 1995 Fortune magazine article.


1981 – San Antonio native, Henry Cisneros, is elected the first Mexican-American mayor of a major American city, in his beloved Texas home city. Cisneros held this office for 8 years, from May 1, 1981 – June 1, 1989. Cisneros later served as the 10th Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the administration of President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997.


1994 – Netscape Communications was founded, under the original name of Mosaic Communications. Netscape was best known for its Netscape Navigator web browser. The Netscape Navigator web browser was once a dominate force with its of usage share of about 75%, but then its usage dropped off in favor of Internet Explore by the end of the 90’s.NetscapeNavigator

2007 – Fifteen British Royal Navy personnel which had been held for 13 days in Iran are released by the Iranian President. No casualties were reported during this incident.


2013 – American journalist and film critic Roger Ebert passed away in a Chicago hospital, ending his 11-year battle with cancer. Ebert was 70 years old. In 2005, Ebert became the first film critic to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


It’s April Fools’ Day!

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Today is April 1st which makes it April Fools’ Day. April Fools’ Day is also widely known as All Fool’s Day and it is observed worldwide. It is a day of practical jokes, pranks and tricks. In recent years, some newspapers, magazines, and other published media report fake stories, which are usually explained the next day or below the news section in small letters. Even though this day has been popular since the 19th century, it is not observed as an official public holiday in any country.


Even though there is no documented history of the origins of April Fools’ Day, the most common theory is that it began in 1582 when Pope Gregory XIII issued a decree setting forth a standardized calendar for Christian Europe which mostly had been using the Julian calendar. This calendar would later take his name (the Gregorian calendar) and would eventually become the international standard.


Among other changes, the adoption of the new calendar moved New Year’s Day from April 1st on the Julian calendar to January 1st on the Gregorian calendar. Given the slow travel of far reaching news communication, as well as rejection of the change entirely by some, some Europeans continued to celebrate the New Year between March 25 and April 1. April Fools were those who still celebrated the holiday in the spring, and were the subject of pranks and ridicule by those who observed the New Year months ago.


Another theory is that it was started by the Ancient Romans. It is known through recorded history that they celebrated a day of playing practical jokes one another another around the time of the Vernal Equinox, or first day of Spring.


Other cultures celebrate the day, but it is known by other names. In the Persian culture, the day is known as Sizdahbedar. In Scotland, April Fools’ Day was originally called Huntigowk Day. In Poland, it is known by the Latin name for April 1st, which is prima aprilis. In Italy, France, Belgium, and French-speaking areas of Switzerland and Canada, the April 1st tradition is often known as April fish, where pranksters attempt to attach a paper fish to the victim’s back without being noticed.


Although it is celebrated about a month earlier, in India they celebrate day that is called Holi and it is a colorful Hindi festival that is celebrated by people playing jokes and throwing colorful dyes on each other.


Personally, I am not one who likes to be a prankster and I definitely do not like being pranked. I find April Fools’ Day to usually be full of immature attempts at poor humor which usually isn’t very funny at all to the “victim.” Therefore it is a day that I do not participate in. So there you have it. Now you know the most likely beginnings and a little bit of history about April Fools’ Day. I hope that YOU don’t get pranked today! 🙂


Why Does the Date of Easter Change?

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Although Easter is a most important day of the year in many religions, most people do not understand why the date of Easter changes from year to year or how the date is determined. We all know that we can count on Easter to fall on a Sunday sometime in late March through sometime in April, but how the particular Sunday of Easter in any particular year is determined has been an on-going mystery for many people.


Religions that follow the Gregorian calendar, like here in the United States, celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the Vernal Equinox after the occurrence of a full moon. I will attempt to simplify that explanation. The Vernal Equinox, also known as the First Day of Spring, generally falls on March 21st. Next you must follow the cycles of the moon to know when the next full moon will occur after the Vernal Equinox has occurred. Once the full moon has occurred, Easter will be set on the very next Sunday immediately following. Therefore, Easter will never occur earlier than March 22nd, the day after the Vernal Equinox IF it also happens to be on a Saturday with a full moon, or any later than April 25th.


So, that is how the floating feast of Easter is calculated from year to year. If you are still thoroughly confused, you can always continue to rely on a calendar to let you know on which Sunday in March or April Easter will be celebrated on!


Welcome Spring 2016!

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Today is the day of the Vernal Equinox, which means it is the official first day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Conversely, it marks the official first day of Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. In astronomical terms, the Vernal Equinox marks the time when the axis of our planet increases its bend towards the Sun. In the Northern Hemisphere this causes the days to have longer daylight hours and the temperatures to grow warmer.


Spring has always been a welcomed sign of renewal. The grass begins to become greener, the trees bud new leaves and flowers spring up from the ground and bloom. The birds are hatching eggs and all kinds of animals are giving birth to their young.


This year, Spring has a very special significance. In 2016, Spring is arriving earlier than usual! Normally, Spring arrives on March 21, but this year it arrives a whole day earlier! As a result this is the earliest Spring has arrived in 120 years, since 1896! Therefore, it is safe to say that no one alive today has seen Spring arrive a whole day earlier than usual.


This special circumstance of an earlier than usual Spring has to do with the fact that 2016 is a leap year and how our Gregorian calendar works. I explained the precise workings of the Gregorian calendar and leap day in depth, in my recent blog post “What Is Leap Day & This Day in History”.


Now that you are versed with this unusual fact about the early arrival of the first day of Spring (or Autumn for those in the Southern Hemisphere) go out and dazzle your friends and family with your brilliance! 😉