Post-it Note Challenge #bebetter52

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Buddha once said, "What you feel, you attract." This week's Be Better Challenge will help you to feel positive so that you can attract positivity.

In this week's post-it note challenge, all you need to do is grab a post-it note, write a positive or encouraging message on it, and stick that post-it where others will see it. Take a picture of the post-it and upload it to Instagram using hastag #bebetter52. When you do, Be Better donates extra money!

There are many options from which to choose to complete this week's post-it note challenge:

-You can write an inspiring message, an encouraging note, or even an uplifting statement. Share a silly joke you heard or even a short poem that moved you.

-These notes can be anonymous and posted at the grocery store, on the work bulletin board, or at the library. They could also be more personal ones and put in your son's lunchbox, on your daughter's bathroom mirror, or on your husband's windshield.  

-You can leave affirmations or encouragement for yourself! Put the post-it on your laptop, on the fridge, or at the office.

With a single pad of Post-it Notes, you have the power to turn what would otherwise have been an ordinary moment in someone’s day into an extraordinary one. The recipients of your notes may simply read them, smile and move on, or they may find themselves genuinely moved by your thoughtfulness and positivity. In either case, you are helping to spread joy in your community (and even the world!) little by little, note by note.

Read heartwarming stories on Operation Beautiful  and Addicted2Success to see how others have used Post-it Notes to make a positive impact.

 

Eat Seaweed #bebetter52

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You know you should eat your fruits and vegetables, but how many sea vegetables do you eat?

This week's #bebetter52 challenge is to use seaweed. You can use it in a soup, sprinkle it on a salad, or enjoy it in some sushi.

Seaweed contains magnesium, zinc, and iron. It contains DHA and EPA, which means it's a good source of omega-3 fatty acids for vegetarians, and it is also one of the only non-animals sources of vitamin B12. Spirulina, a blue-green algae, increases energy and immune function, while kelp is a natural anti-inflammatory and is a good source of vitamin K.

Just as there are many types of seaweed, there are many ways you can use them. If you tried seaweed in the past and didn’t developed a taste for it, you can use seaweed powder on your skin. Available on sites like Amazon and in some health food stores, seaweed powder can be used as a cleansing and exfoliating agent, and the fatty acids in seaweed combat skin irritation and inflammation.

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Other ways to use seaweed include crumbling it on top of salads or vegetables, using it in soups or stews, or using it as a wrap. Try making your own nori pesto if you're feeling adventurous (recipe below), or sprinkle sea lettuce on your food as a small and convenient step into the world of seaweed.

Homemade Nori Pesto

(Nori is the Japanese name for edible seaweed species). This vitamin-enriched nori pesto is packed with flavor and shows there is more to nori than just being a wrap to roll sushi in. 

Ingredients:

  • 3½oz (100g) kale leaves, washed and shredded

  • 2 sheets nori, roughly crushed up by hand.

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • juice of 1 lemon

  • 50g pine nuts

  • ⅓ cup olive oil

  • salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Place the kale, nori, garlic, lemon juice, pine nuts and olive oil into the bowl of a food processor and process until well combined.

  2. Season with salt and pepper and pulse. Adjust until the seasoning is correct.

Other recipes including seaweed are:

Miso soup: This 15-minute simple vegan miso soup is one of my favorite dinner recipes. It's quick, easy, cheap and delicious.

Seaweed chips: We love these seasoned seaweed chips.

 

Change in Jar #bebetter52

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Is there a trip you've been wanting to go on that you've been meaning to save for? Do you always intend to donate to charity, but you feel like you never have the money left over in your budget? By starting small, you will be able to save over time and donate to that charity or go on your vacation.

This week's #bebetter52 challenge is to utilize a change jar. Any leftover change in your wallet, pockets, or on the bottom of your purse can go into your change jar at the end of the day and help you reach your goals. A small goal might be to take the kids to the zoo and a larger goal might be to go on a weekend getaway.

The concept is simple, but the possibilities are endless. Grab an old coffee can, paint a piggy bank, or use a mason jar. Having it where you can see and access it will make it easy to remember, and having a specific intention will keep you motivated. If you don't want to use cash, apps such as Bstow are available where you link your credit or debit card, choose a charity, and the app rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and donates for you. Small amounts like $.75 per day may not seem like much, but by the end of the month, you may have saved up or donated more than you normally would.

This week's #bebetter52 challenge is one your kids can participate in as well! Using the change jar is a great way of teaching kids that small savings can lead to big savings. If they have a particular toy they've been eyeing,  give them opportunities to earn some money to save up for it themselves. See how fast you can save up enough for all of you to go out for ice cream. The possibilities are endless!

Eat Squash #bebetter52

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'Tis the season, but not the season for being jolly or singing Jingle Bells. It's the season for squash. Winter squash is coming to town, and it's a low-calorie and vitamin-full option in this week's challenge.

This week's #bebetter52 challenge is to incorporate squash into a meal. It can be used as a roasted side dish, stuffed as an entree, as a substitute for spaghetti, or baked into chips.  

Winter squash can be differentiated from summer squash because of its tough rind that lends well to being stored for the winter. Winter squash is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, potassium, and dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is important because it normalizes bowel movements, lowers cholesterol levels, helps to control blood sugar levels, and helps in achieving a healthy weight. Common varieties of winter squash include butternut squash, acorn squash, delicata squash, and spaghetti squash. Pumpkins are also winter squashes, and the sugar pie pumpkin is the one typically used to make pumpkin pie.

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When people picture autumn in their mind’s eye, pumpkins and falling leaves undoubtedly appear along with chilly weather, hay rides, and, of course, the annual pumpkin patches. When we choose foods in season and harvested at the time of year we buy them, we chose foods at their peak. This means fresher food that is less expensive since it is in abundant supply, and food that is better for the environment because it doesn't travel far to get to the consumer. This week's challenge will be an opportunity for you to choose an in-season food to feed your family. Hopefully, it will inspire you to take a look around and see what other new produce has popped up now that the weather is changing.  

This recipe from thecleaneatingcouple.com uses acorn squash and apples, both in season during the fall!

Ingredients

  • 2 acorn squash, halved

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 16 oz ground turkey

  • 1.5 cups chopped button mushrooms

  • 1 cup, chopped apple

  • ½ cup chicken or veggie stock

  • 1 teaspoon rosemary

  • 1 teaspoon pepper

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ½ cup cheese of choice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

  2. Line a baking sheet with foil + spray with olive oil to prevent squash from sticking.

  3. Slice acorn squash in half, scoop out seeds and place flat on sheet sprayed with olive oil.

  4. Bake the squash for 20-25 minutes, until it is fork tender.

  5. While the squash cooks, sauté turkey in olive oil for 10 minutes until brown.

  6. Add in chopped mushrooms, apples, chicken stock, rosemary, pepper and salt to the pan. Sauté for an additional 5 minutes.

  7. When the squash is done, remove from the oven + scoop out most of the cooked center.

  8. Add the squash filling to the turkey/mushroom/apple mixture + stir until completely mixed in.

  9. Scoop the sausage/squash mixture back into the squash + top with cheese of choice.

  10. Bake at 450 for 5 minutes until cheese melts, and then broil for 2-3 minutes so the cheese gets crispy.

  11. Enjoy!

A couple other tips and recipes we found:

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15 minute tasks #bebetter52

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How many times have you had a task you just keep putting off? Mark Twain once said, "If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first." Twain was referring to those tasks we all tend to procrastinate, the ones we hate doing and continue to nag at us until-- the bill goes past due, the laundry piles up, or the dirty dishes take over the sink. It's best to do those tasks first thing rather than put them off all day and fret about eating the frog.

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This week's #bebetter52 challenge centers on "15 minute tasks," where you dedicate 15 minutes in your day to tackling a task, ideally in the morning. It might be something as simple as folding the laundry, or it could be a grand task like planning a vacation.

How to utilize your 15 minutes:

  • Set aside 15 minutes each morning (or afternoon, or evening, whatever ends up working) and tackle a nagging task.

  • Set a timer or watch the clock, and as soon as the 15 minutes is over, stop the task.

  • You may be willing to continue working on the task after 15 minutes. If so, continue to add 15 minute increments until the task completion is where you are satisfied.  

  • Break up larger goals into smaller tasks that are more doable in 15 minutes or less. For example, instead of the larger goal to plan a party, break it down into "plan the menu,""pick decorations," "pick cake,""make list of needed ingredients." These smaller tasks can help you reach your goal without being overwhelming.

Another way to think of it is to "suffer for 15 minutes," like Gretchen Rubin mentions in her book Happier at Home.  The goal is to choose a task that's been weighing you down and take 15 minutes to lighten that burden! Remember, don’t waste 15 minutes making excuses for not doing the task when you might be able to complete the task or at least made significant progress to pick up the following day.