Lifestyle * Travel * Food

Jan 12, 2018

The Best Banana Bread Recipe

A few days ago, I shared a photo of a banana bread I baked on Instagram. I almost always get the comment, "Recipe, please!". I figured I need to start adding more recipes on the blog. I actually found this banana bread recipe years ago, and have tweaked it slightly to my taste. It's so good because you don't need a mixer, and it can all be done in one bowl. Less cleaning is always a good thing! 
Ingredients:

2 to 3 very ripe, large bananas
1/3 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar (adjust to your taste)
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a regular sized loaf pan either by buttering, using cooking spray, or lining with parchment. Mash bananas and add all wet ingredients, followed by dry. Mix until fully combined and spoon into pan. If you are using walnuts, add them to the top of the batter. Bake for 45-60 minutes. Insert a wooden toothpick in center to test if it's baked all the way. Toothpick should come out clean. Fifty minutes usually does it for me.

Helpful Tips:

I like lining my loaf pan with parchment because you don't have to worry about sticking, and there is almost no cleanup. I also prefer adding nuts on top instead of mixed in for better crunch, and texture. They get nice and toasty from baking.


This banana bread is a winner and my family loves it. Next time you have some overripe bananas hanging around, you should try this recipe. Enjoy! 

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Jan 10, 2018

Is Your Child Wearing The Right Shoe Size?

Survey Finds That Minority of All Kids Wear the Right Shoe Size

Your kid’s cool Adidas sneakers may look great, but do they fit properly? Shoes that are too small put children at risk of foot deformities and other serious health issues. The bad news for parents; almost two thirds of all children are wearing shoes that are too small!
Blitzresults conducted a survey and found that 65% of all kids are wearing shoes that are too small. Of these, 47% are one size too small and 18% are even two. Only 35% are wearing the correct size and only 11% of those have “room to grow”.

Improperly fitting shoes can cause hallux valgus. This is a foot deformity, it happens when the big toe starts to angle inward, which causes a swollen lump just below the big toe. A study conducted by the National Health Institute found that almost 30% of children had irreversible foot deformities, like hallux valgus.

To help parents make sure they are buying shoes that fit their kids properly, keep the following advice in mind:

  • Go by the longer foot: The right and left foot are rarely the same length. A difference of up to half an inch is normal, that’s almost one whole shoe size. Therefore, parents should always go by the longer foot when buying shoes.
  • Don’t rely on the shoe size: Shoe manufacturers label shoes with standard sizes, the ones we all know. But, there is no mandatory industry standard for shoe sizing, so each brand will vary. Be sure to try on every shoe carefully.
  • Give ‘em room: Most parents are aware that feet need some room, but usually underestimate the actual room needed. At least ½ inch of additional room is optimal, it’s the only way kids can roll their foot properly when walking.
  • Do a regular check: Tim Lilling, expert at blitzresults.com, tells us that, "Because the sense of touch isn’t fully developed in children yet, they have a tendency to squeeze their feet into shoes that are much too small, they don’t even notice it. Therefore, parents must measure their children’s feet every 2 months." A measuring guide, useful conversion tools and a lot of information on how to choose shoes with the perfect fit can be found at https://www.blitzresults.com/en/childrens-shoe-size.

Unfortunately, many parents still use these "tricks" to judge whether shoes fit:

  • Trick: Hold shoe to foot. The shoe sole is held up to the child’s foot to estimate the size, but the length on the inside of the shoe can’t be estimated from the outside, and is often much shorter than you’d expect (lining, seams, foot bed). Better: Use an appropriate measuring device.
  • Trick: The thumb test. The thumb presses on the toe of the shoe to see how much room there is to grow. The problem; children often draw their toes up by reflex, so the foot is rolled under. It may seem like there’s enough room, although, in reality, the shoes are too small. Using the heel test is just as bad for judging free space in the heel. Many kids push their feet forward until their toes are crammed in. Better: Carefully feel your child´s foot inside the shoe. Place one hand on the front of the shoe, so the child can’t draw their toes up. Then, with the other hand, check the position of the toes. This way you can feel whether there is enough room to grow.
  • Trick: Size comparison using a stencil. The shape and size of the foot is traced and compared with the shoe sole, but this comparison is usually imprecise. Better: If there is a removable insole, take it out and place the foot on the insole, there should be 1/3 inch of space behind the heel and half an inch in front of the toes.
  • Trick: Asking them how it feels. Parents ask kids; "Does the shoe fit?" Unfortunately, the answer will likely be wrong. Often, the nerves in kid’s feet are not fully developed yet and their awareness of pain is clearly lower than an adult’s, so, kids don't realize if the shoe fits. Better: First and foremost, measure their feet.


Converters, measuring guides and tips and tricks to find the right size can be found here.

Main findings of the survey:


  • 65% of all kids are wearing shoes that are too small. Of these, 47% are one size too small and 18% are even two.
  • Only 35% are wearing the correct size, and only 11 % of those have room to grow.
  • Of the parents surveyed, 52% said they’d never measured their kid's foot length, but instead relied solely on sensorial and visual tests.


About the study:
2109 parents were asked about their kids’ foot length and shoe size. Afterward, special measuring devices and instructions on how to measure feet properly were given to the parents. The measurement values were used to calculate the actual shoe size, then these results were compared with the parents’ hit or miss values.

About BlitzResults.com:
BlitzResults is an open source educational platform with focus on science, consumer affairs and technology. A wide variety of tools, converters and checklists help users to calculate optimal results. All tools were created in collaboration with educational institutions and every info-graphic is licensed under creative commons and may be used free of charge in educational context.
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Jan 5, 2018

Date Night: The Romance of NYC

It can be hard to keep the spark alive in a long-term relationship or marriage, but sometimes all you need to do is go away for a bit. Even more difficult is finding a proper date to start. Being romantic is no easy task, but whether you are taking time away from the family you’ve made or you’re on a first date, New York City makes the ideal date easy to plan.

Relaxed Romance
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If you want a slow-paced date with your husband or want to get to know someone quietly overtime, choose one of New York City’s lush, beautiful gardens. Brooklyn Botanical Garden, for example, is a paradise of flora and fauna. With acres of romantic cherry blossoms and an on-site conservatory, this natural beauty is sure to set your hearts aflutter.

A bit of Childhood Whimsy

Sometimes, it can be hard to be yourself on a date – especially on a first date. Head over to Brooklyn Heights and take a ride on the gorgeous Jane’s Carousel. This hundred-year-old children’s attraction will bring you back to a simpler time and put your mind and heart at ease around that special someone. Top off this idyllic afternoon at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, which is just nearby. You can take a more cultured route and take in a show at St. Ann’s Warehouse.

A Night Out

The Slipper Room on the Lower East Side is a seductive experience for a date that needs close contact. With performance art, comedy, dancers and singers, you and your date will find something exciting going on here on any night of the week. Take in the swanky atmosphere of this throwback lounge and create the ideal first date.

In Brooklyn, you’ll find the aptly named Brooklyn Night Bazaar. There is too much to do in just one night, but if you can manage it, you can play mini golf, belt it out at karaoke, and experience the fun of being a kid with arcade games. Dinner, drinks, and vintage knick-knacks give this artisanal-scented marketplace the best date night vibe out there.

Traditional is Fine, Too

If you crave that classic dinner and movie vibe, Greenpoint is famous for its rustic pizza house and you can take in the awe-inspiring skyline of Manhattan. Over in Williamsburg, the Nitehawk Cinema is a lux movie theatre that serves a full menu (tacos, anyone?), large and comfortable lounge chairs, and showings of retro and independent films alike. You can even get a drink with your movie.

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Find a tour of the city at https://www.topviewnyc.com/ if you cannot exactly decide what to do on a romantic getaway. An informed tour guide can give you a plethora of ideas and you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of them yourself.

While New York City hasn’t been nicknamed the city of love, it is certainly overflowing with art galleries, high-end and unique restaurants, and a botanic paradise in all that steel and chrome. For your next big date, New York City has something for every couple.

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