HOBBIES ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

Do you have a hobby? Hobbies can give meaning and purpose to your life in retirement. As Robert Putnam points out in his book, Bowling Alone, it’s easy to discount the importance of hobbies and social engagements. Putnam details the widespread decline in civic engagement, from PTA memberships to neighborhood potlucks and bowling leagues. Over a couple of generations, Americans have misplaced the concept of free time.

SPECIAL PLANS FOR YOUR SPECIAL PEOPLE

Lily is a beautiful, active and full of personality toddler who happens to have Down syndrome. Lily’s parents and I have been friends for years and I have the continuing pleasure of watching Lily and her siblings grow up. While Lily is becoming a physical therapy rock star and hitting all her milestones in a timely fashion, her parents have started planning for the future.

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WHY WE ENJOY OUR HOBBIES

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a hobby as “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation, engaged in especially for relaxation.” Hobbies include anything from playing a musical instrument to gardening, bird watching or sewing. A hobby is a way of focusing on something you enjoy just for the sake of that enjoyment. It may also be a way to clear your mental palette. You could be stressed out by a situation at work or the challenges of raising children and need an escape.

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minutes or until onions are very soft. Pulse in a food processor until finely chopped. Refrigerate till cold. Lasts up to 2 weeks.


Infused Vodkas

Combine 750 ml vodka with various ingredients of your choice. Cover and let stand at least three days. Strain and pour the liquid back into bottles. It keeps for up to two months.


Cucumber Tarragon

Mix a thinly sliced medium cucumber and four large sprigs of tarragon.


Spicy Citrus

Mix five 3-inch-long strips of grapefruit zest and 2 sliced jalapenos.


For Self-Care

With just a few ingredients, it’s easy to make simple, all-natural skincare products and toiletries for both men and women. Lotion bars, lip balms, calendula salve and air freshener linen spray are great options for either sex, and aftershave and beard oil are great choices for the men in your life. Visit the blog www.mommypotamus.com for instructions.


Accessories

It’s easy to make a marbled trinket dish with oven-baked clay. Roll each color of clay into 5-inch-long ribbons, with two larger rolls of white, a medium roll of gray, and smaller ribbons of chosen colors. Twist and braid the clay ribbons together; stretch and fold to randomly mix the colors. Smash the ribbons into a ball. With a glass jar, roll the ball out to a thickness of a quarter inch. Cut out a 6-inch-diameter circle. Place in an oven-safe bowl or ramekin so the edges will be raised. Most clays are baked at 275 for 15 minutes. After it is completely cooled, paint the rim of the dish with gold gilding or other paint. You can also seal the dish with a glaze for a glossy finish. Source: A Beautiful Mess blog


Jersey Bracelet

Take three strips of 1-inch jersey knit fabric. Cut a quarter- inch slit at the ends of the three strips. Line them up and pull the bottom strip through the top strip. Gently pull until you form a knot; repeat to connect the second and third strips. Weave the strips under and over two, three or four fingers; the number of fingers you weave the fabric through will determine how thick the bracelet will be. See http://www.vanessachristenson.com for more detailed directions.       

HOMEMADE GIFT IDEAS

Flavored Finishing Salts

Take any salt, coarse or fine, and mix with any flavor(s). The combinations are limitless. Some ingredients may need to be ground, such as dried chilies, or baked gently to dry. Source: https://www.mommypotamus.com/flavored-salt-recipes/


Rosemary Honey

Cook 8 cups of honey and 6 sprigs of rosemary over low heat just until honey begins to bubble around the edges. Remove from heat and let steep for 20 minutes. Remove and discard sprigs and leaves and pour into jars. Experiment with other flavors.


Caramelized Onion and Bacon Jam

Cook 1½ pounds of finely chopped bacon until crisp and fat has rendered. Transfer to paper-lined plate, reserving the fat. Cook 3 tablespoons finely chopped onion, 1 finely chopped leek and 2 cloves finely chopped garlic with a quarter teaspoon salt in the bacon fat on medium until caramelized and soft. Add 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper and the bacon. Cook 15

Homemade gifts are ideal for loved ones to whom you want to give something highly customized and personal as well as for less intimate acquaintances such as neighbors and coworkers. Your gifts can be edible or decorative or wearable – whatever you wish. Here are some suggestions.


Snackables & Food

Make a batch of cookies, brownies, energy bars, seasoned popcorn, nuts or Chex mix. Healthy Pumpkin Oat Cookies are ideal pre-and post-workout; they are not a sweet treat. To make them, mix 2½ cups oats, 1 cup pumpkin puree and honey or maple syrup to form a dough. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. To make Peppermint Fudge Energy Bites, chop and blend 1/2 cup raw almonds, 1/3 cup dates (about 6), 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract, 1/8 cup coconut oil and 1 tablespoon mini dark chocolate chips. Roll into balls and press into crushed peppermint (optional). Place in refrigerator about 30 minutes. Swedish Nuts are another tasty treat. Beat two egg whites until frothy. Add a pinch of salt and a cup of sugar 1 teaspoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Stir in a half to a full teaspoon cinnamon and a teaspoon vanilla extract. Fold in a pound of pecan halves. Place on a baking sheet coated with half a cup of butter. Bake 30 minutes at 325 degrees, stirring every 10 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight container.    

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela S. Hoover is a Staff Writer for Living Well 60+ Magazine

more articles by Angela S. Hoover