Thursday, August 23, 2012


Getting your children ready to go back to school is exciting and just a touch scary, all at the same time. This month before school starts is traditionally a busy shopping time full of back-to-school clothes selections, haircuts and stocking up on school supplies!  We all want to make sure our children are starting the new school year on the right foot equipped with everything they'll need to make it through that nerve-racking first day/first week. 

How best to plan for this? First off, use the checklist provided by your child's school and keep a copy in your car or bag. That will make it easier for you to take advantage of back-to-school specials you may come across during the course of your day. Didn't get a list? Talk to  friends who have older children for suggestions on school supplies, but don't go overboard as your child is likely to come home the first day with his new teacher's list of necessities.

Check out your local dollar stores for good deals on basics, like note paper, pencils, rulers and glue sticks. But know when quality should beat out bargain prices. A good pen that doesn't leak is certainly worth the extra investment. Involve your children in the process, but be sure to separate their wants from their needs. Avoid supplies that feature distracting gimmicks. Pencil sharpeners that light up are fun, but not in the classroom. Make sure you and your child pack their bag the night before so there's no needless rushing around in the morning. Include small quantities of basic needs, like three sharpened No.2 pencils, not the whole dozen. Tuck a dollar or two into your child's backpack for emergencies (like forgotten or lost lunches). And once they're on the school bus, make sure you take the time to give yourself a little treat, too. A few quiet minutes with your favorite k-cup and bakery treat is certainly well deserved after the hectic back-to-school rushing around! Have any other good suggestions? Please take a minute to share them with all your One Cup friends.

Friday, August 10, 2012


The hottest and muggiest days of summer fall between early July and early September. They are called "Dog Days" after Sirius, the biggest star within Canis Major, a constellation the ancient astronomers thought resembled a dog. Sirius is also the  brightest star of the night sky and for a period of time each summer, it rises and sets with the sun.  The ancients believed that the earth received heat from the stars, as well as from the Sun, so that when Sirius rises and sets with the sun (a phenomena that occurs in late July), the extra heat it provides to the earth was responsible for the hot and muggy "dog days" of summer.  In actuality, the heat of summer is a direct result of the earth's tilt.

Some tips for surviving the Dog Days of Summer? Surprisingly, eating spicy foods can actually help you to feel cooler because they induce sweating, which is the body's mechanism for cooling off. Tempted to drink sports drinks?  While okay for athletes who sweat a lot in hot weather, the normal person doesn't need the special electrolytes and added sugars. Your best bet is chilled water. Know the early warning signs of heat stroke ... dizziness, exhaustion, confusion, lack of appetite, headache, and, of course, excessive thirst. Crave coffee? Try drinking an iced coffee by brewing your favorite k-cup over a big cup of ice. Add chocolate or caramel syrup for extra flavor and perhaps a dollop of your favorite ice cream. Absolutely yummy!