Surprise Living

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2 Estrella Publishing - Surprise Living magazine May 2023 Published by Estrella Publishing LLC, PO Box 6962, Goodyear AZ 85338. Additional copies and article reproductions can be obtained for a fee by contacting

From Me To You...

May is a month full of events; graduations, Mother’s Day and the beginning of summer. The official beginning of summer is Memorial Day and when I first came to America I only knew it as a day of gatherings and picnics, family and egg salad. I soon found that it was so much more. A day to honor those who lost their lives while defending this country. So many have perished in defense of the rights that are set out in the constitution and we should honor their memory, it is the right thing to do.

Another thing May brings is change. We have been empty nesters for the first time this year and the peaceful days of living with nobody’s responsibilities but mine and my husband’s are about to come to a close, at least for a couple of months. The return of my college students, fresh off their first year of living ‘independently’ is upon us. I know the transition back to living at home will not be easy for any of us - I have been down this road before. The conflict between the life where they have been in charge of setting their own rules and boundaries and having to bend to our house rules is always challenging.

Gone are my quiet nights watching TV and sipping a glass of wine, bring on the raucous sounds of laughter and demands for food. The revolving door as childhood friends come calling, the noise levels ratcheting higher as they greet each other and compare college tales - I can’t wait. Even though the peace and quiet will be on temporary hold, and my nights will be longer and louder than I am used to, I am thrilled to see them and know that they are home.

I know this time with them will fly by, the minor irritations will be forgotten as soon as I wave them off to start their next year of adventures. And I am so thankful that they can do all that because of the many who sacrificed for them. Those brave men and women who gave their lives so that all our kids can safely go to college and live their lives in a country that they love. Thank you all.

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Military Spouses

JOIN US on May 12th, in celebrating and recognizing U.S. Military Spouses here in the U.S. and all over the world. Luke Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America joins others in recognizing and celebrating the loyalty, strength, and dedication of the military spouse. Luke Chapter does this every day but place special focus on this day of recognition, May 12. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan named the Friday before Mother’s Day as Military Spouse recognition and celebration day. This year that day is May 12, 2023. A day that recognizes the significant contributions, support, and sacrifices of the spouses of the U.S. Armed Forces.

We are strong focused spouses who do the impossible every single day. We married our military loves who were duty bound and determined to get the job done. We are more

than a label (military spouse). While we know separation or loss happens. But no one can ever prepare you for the hole your spouse leaves in your heart when they are gone. Being strong people, we learned how to, no matter what the problems were at home, keep a cheerful attitude when we facetime our deployed spouses. We are plumbers, carpenters, child psychologists, learned patience and adaptability, and learned to always put our spouses ‘job’ first. We change locations as needed, creating exciting descriptions of the new environments for our children. Our kids learn how to make new friends. We learn to be socially active with our newfound friends at each base, creating memories and friendships that last forever. We have learned how to live life within and outside of our husband’s duties. We are supportive, loving, loyal, fierce, and reliable. We are proud to be Military Spouses.

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Out & About

When traveling, especially in close quarters with others, like on a train or airplane, other travelers expose you to viruses and bacteria. Also, if you have seasonal allergies, you’ll be exposed to more allergens, especially if you’re traveling to new locations during spring. When you combine these two immune disruptors, travel and allergies, you’re looking at a recipe for a miserable time.

However, there are things you can do to boost your immune system and manage your allergies during travel. Here are three tips you can employ during your next trip to stay healthy and enjoy your vacation.

1. Stay hydrated

You’ve heard it a million times, but it’s true. Drinking enough water is critical to maintaining your immune system. Staying hydrated is especially important during air travel. Have you ever noticed how thirsty you are during a flight? That’s because airplane cabins are typically kept at low humidity, leading to quicker dehydration. You

also may notice that your nasal passages dry out, which can worsen allergies after a flight. Make sure to carry a water bottle with you on your flight (although you’ll want to fill it after you go through TSA) and carry a saline spray to moisturize your sinuses.

2. Support your gut health

Did you know your gut is home to more than 70% of your body’s immune cells? By supporting your gut health, through nutritious foods and dietary supplements, you’re nourishing your immune health. While supporting immunity is important year-round, as spring begins your immune health can be put to the test with allergies and travel. “One way to support your immune health is through postbiotics. You’ve probably heard about the health benefits of probiotics and prebiotics, but you may not have heard about the newest biotic on the market - postbiotics,” said Keri Gans, registered dietitian nutritionist and author of The Small Change Diet. “Postbiotics are inanimate yet effective. While each postbiotic is unique there are options available today that have been clinically studied and shown to support immune health.”

3. Stress less

Stress isn’t just a drain on your mental health. It can also have very real physical effects. Stress can worsen your allergies because it increases the release of histamines, which trigger allergy symptoms. This does not mean that stress causes allergies. However, an increase in histamines in the bloodstream can make existing allergies much worse. A few ways you can combat stress every day and during travel include:

* Meditating

* Relaxing exercises like yoga

* Getting plenty of sleep

* Listening to soothing music

* Eating a healthy diet

While it’s impossible to remove all stressors from your life, you can employ these and other strategies to manage your stress at work, home or abroad. And remember, you are on vacation!

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Moving On

Friendships are an essential part of living a fulfilling life. The problem is, no one really talks about how to let go of the ones that are no longer adding value to your life. Danielle Bayard Jackson, Bumble For Friends’ expert, shares her advice on how to assess your friendships so that you can find peace in letting go of the ones you’ve outgrown. She suggests starting by asking yourself these questions:

• Does the friendship feel like an obligation? Many people have circumstantial friendships, meaning relationships that are mostly based on convenience, such as taking the same classes. When you maintain these friendships out of a sense of duty, it’s time to reassess.

• Why are you maintaining the friendship? One of the most common reasons why people hold on to friendships that no longer serve them is that they feel they owe it to history. If the reasons you’ve elected to keep a friendship don’t include a value-add to your life, then it might be time to mend or end the relationship.

• What is maintaining the friendship costing you? Holding on to a friendship that you aren’t genuinely interested in maintaining can lead to resentment, as you’re investing time, energy and emotional bandwidth that you most likely can’t afford.

If you decide that it’s time to part ways, Jackson recommends a three-step formula:

* Show that you’re intentional about the decision. Say, “Listen, I’ve been thinking a lot lately....”

* Address your needs without blaming the other person. Use ‘I’ statements as much as you can; try saying, “I need friendships in my life that can prioritize and support me in times of need.”

* Tell them how much you appreciate them and what your intention is for moving forward. This could be, “I have appreciated our friendship so much, and you have been such an integral part of my life. However, I won’t be able to show up in this friendship in the same way that I have before.”

Ending a friendship that no longer fits doesn’t make you mean or disloyal. Instead, it creates space for the both of you to be better positioned to invite new connections into your lives.

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I N V I S A L I G N B R A C E S G I N G I V A L L A S E R T O O T H C O N T O U R I N G 3 - D I M A G I N G P I T T S 2 1 ( H O L L Y W O O D S M I L E ) Our Emotional Support Dog, Vader Specializing in:

Legal Advice


For 401ks, IRAs and other qualified retirement accounts, the designated beneficiary form directs how the funds will be paid on your death.

Common problems that arise with beneficiary designations are:

a. The “Estate” or no beneficiary is listed, so a probate is needed and the IRA will lose the ability to be stretched beyond 5 years, increasing the income tax.

b. A beneficiary dies before you, and if the trust was not the IRA’s designee, then the financial company rules apply to who gets the deceased beneficiary’s share.

c. The designated beneficiary is a minor, not

a trust for the minor, and so a costly court conservatorship is need and much of the deferred tax benefit is lost.

d. Your spouse, who is not your children’s parent, did not sign a spousal waiver, so your spouse is entitled to at least if not all of funds, not your children.

Remember, currently, an inherited IRA must be paid in 10 years, if the beneficiary is not a spouse. Leaving a portion or all of your qualified retirement account to charity makes sense. The charity does not pay income taxes and will receive more funds than a family member. Other assets which are not taxable then can be left to family or friends.

Sharon Ravenscroft, Esq., The Cavanagh Law Firm, PA, Sun City and Phoenix offices, (623) 815-7451 or Sharon’s practice focuses on Wills, trusts, probate and trust administration. For more information visit

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Stroke Awareness Month

Know the BEFAST tips for recognizing stroke symptoms

May is National Stroke Awareness Month, when health care professionals stress the importance of knowing the warning signs of stroke – a medical emergency and a leading cause of death and long-term disabilities in this country.

Stroke is when the blood vessels to the brain become blocked by a clot or worse, burst open and bleed into your brain. It has no age limits, and younger adults are increasingly affected by stroke and its risk factors, said Lisa Ziomek, Stroke Program Coordinator at Abrazo Health.

Every 40 seconds someone in the United States has a stroke, and one in six people will suffer a stroke in their lifetime. When it comes to spotting stroke symptoms, use the acronym BEFAST for recognizing a stroke.

B - Balance: Watch for sudden loss of balance

E - Eyes: Check for vision loss

F - Face: Look for an uneven smile

A - Arm: Check if one arm is weak

S - Speech: Listen for slurred speech

T - Time: Call 911 right away

“80 percent of stroke are preventable through healthy lifestyle changes and working with your health care team to control health conditions that raise your risk for stroke such as heart

disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes,” said Ziomek.

Abrazo offers online health assessments including a stroke quiz to help you identify issues and areas to discuss with your doctor, or for more information on stroke care at Abrazo hospitals or a physician referral, visit AbrazoHealth. com.

Simple lifestyle changes can make a big impact on your risk for stroke such as choosing healthy meal and snack options, lowering your BMI, exercise regularly, limit your alcohol consumption, stop smoking and get regular checkups with your doctor.

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Yum Yum

Overnight French Toast Casserole

Go ahead and sleep in, because this French Toast Casserole is completely prepped the night before, perfect for Mother’s Day!


8 cups cubed French bread, from a thick, crusty loaf

7 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/4 cups whole milk

1 cup half & half cream

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp almond extract

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup salted butter, melted

1 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

3 TB pure maple syrup

Optional Cinnamon Sugar Topping: 1/4 cup sugar, whisked with 1 tsp cinnamon. Serve with pure maple syrup and fresh berries.


• Butter a 9x13 baking dish; arrange bread cubes evenly in the dish. Set aside.

• In a large bowl, add all remaining ingredients (except optional topping.) Beat until fully incorporated and no clumps of brown sugar remain. Evenly and slowly pour liquid mixture over the bread cubes, gently tossing to ensure that all bread is coated with egg mixture. Bread cubes should be mostly soaked. Cover with foil and chill overnight.

• Remove casserole from fridge, uncover, and let it rest at room temp while you preheat oven to 350F. Sprinkle top with Cinnamon Sugar Topping, if using.

• Bake uncovered for 45-55 minutes, or until French toast is quite puffy and golden brown. Let casserole rest at least 5 min before cutting and serving. Serve with pure maple syrup and fresh berries for a perfect Mother’s Day morning!

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Have you ever wondered why you react so strongly to certain things? Why someone says a specific thing, acts a certain way toward you or doesn’t do what they say they’ll do and you lose your mind? It’s because at least one of your self-limiting beliefs is being triggered. For instance, you’re in a relationship and your partner goes out with friends, which you agreed to, but then you’re rude and disrespectful to her when she comes home. Or maybe your partner goes out with friends, comes home later than expected and doesn’t call or return your texts when it gets really late and you’re trying to check in with him. When he gets home, you go off on him and rant and rave about him not caring about you, or maybe you even accuse him of cheating. Chances are, those situations are triggering your fears of abandonment. When that fear is triggered, like it or not, you are instantly transported back to when those fears arose. It’s not a conscious process, but it’s one that will continue if you don’t do something to overcome it by exploring and changing the self-limiting beliefs that lie beneath it.

Or let’s say your friend becomes really successful with an opportunity that was presented to both of you but that you decided not to take because of a fear of failure. When you see her, she talks about how her career is rocketing to the next level and how she’s feeling so fulfilled and motivated, how she’s so happy that her hard work has paid off. You say that you’re happy for her but then you cry on your way home from her house and snark at your spouse or kids when you get home. But aren’t you happy for your friend? Yes, but you’re also jealous, which is triggered by your self-limiting belief of not being worthy or capable of good things. You have to annihilate your self-limiting beliefs in order to respond differently to both the opportunities and the successes of others.

DISCLAIMER: Material is for informational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for evaluation or treatment by a licensed professional. Material is copyrighted and may only be reproduced with written permission of Dr. Bellingrodt.

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Home Inspections

When many buyers purchased homes during the height of the pandemic homebuying frenzy, they may have skipped adding a home inspection in an effort to win bidding wars. While this may have worked out for some, others were hit with hidden problems and expenses that would have been discovered through a proper home inspection. A thorough inspection can reveal hidden issues with a property, allowing you to make an informed decision about whether to proceed with the purchase or negotiate repairs.

“A home inspection is one of the most important steps in the home buying process,” said Adam Bakonis, Mercury Insurance product manager for homeowners. “It helps protect the buyer from purchasing a home with undisclosed problems and then being saddled with costly repairs.”

Licensed home inspectors can help identify potential problems. For example, a home inspector may be able to identify whether a roof requires repair or replacement. They may also find evidence of structural damage from water leaks or rain water drainage issues or evidence of land movement that could indicate a property’s foundation lacks stability.

Creating a home inspection checklist before contacting an inspector will give you a general idea of what to look for. It can help identify significant issues and areas of concern in the house, which you can then discuss with the assessor. This can prepare you for any surprises

that may arise and make you more informed about the condition of the home you are considering.

Bakonis offers some tips to get the most out of your home inspection:

* Be there. You don’t have to go to the inspection, but it is highly advised that you do so you can see any potential problems for yourself.

* Be prepared. Bring an inspection checklist and jot down questions to ask the inspector.

* Check for disclosures. Review any seller disclosures you received before inspection day.

Be sure to ask your inspector to look at those areas and verify repairs.

* Let the inspector work. While you may have concerns, avoid unnecessary interruptions during the inspection process.

* Make sure there’s time to ask questions. Set aside some time with your assessor after their initial inspection to go over any questions you may have.

The home inspection process is a crucial step for both buyers and sellers. It provides buyers with peace of mind, knowing that their investment is sound and free of any major issues. For sellers, it can help prevent a deal falling through by being proactive and identifying problems that may require repair.

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Money Matters

There has been a lot of talk about a “cashless” society, but it’s not here yet. In fact, cash can still be a valuable element of your overall financial picture – if you employ it wisely. But how?

Consider these four key uses of cash:

• Everyday spending – Of course, you need sufficient cash on hand to pay for your cost of living – mortgage, debt payments, utilities, groceries, etc.

• Unexpected expenses and emergencies –Life is unpredictable and sometimes you may encounter “budget-busting” expenses, such as a major home repair or a large medical bill. Prepare in advance by building an emergency fund containing up to six months’ worth of living expenses in cash, or at least in a highly liquid account, held separately from your regular checking or savings account.

• Short-term savings goal – If you’re aiming for a goal that you want to achieve in a year or

so – a wedding, a long vacation, and so on – you’ll want to be sure a specific amount of money is there for you when you need it. Consequently, you’ll want to put away cash for this type of goal, possibly in a short-term savings or investment vehicle that might pay somewhat higher interest than a regular checking/savings account.

• Source of investment – In regard to your longer-term investment strategy, cash can play two important roles.

First, it can serve as its own asset class, alongside other classes, such as stocks and fixed-income vehicles. Unlike these other classes – especially stocks and stock-based mutual funds – cash won’t fluctuate in value, so it can potentially help lessen the impact of market volatility on your portfolio.

Second, having the cash available in your portfolio gives you the opportunity to quickly take advantage of other investment opportunities that may occur. For example, if you choose to take stock dividends in cash, these dividends can be “swept” into your brokerage account and held there until you’re ready to invest them.

By managing your cash efficiently, and putting it to work in different ways, you can gain some key benefits – and you’ll help yourself to keep moving toward your short- and long-term goals.

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Samurai Sudoku

This samurai sudoku puzzle is a great way to engage the brain and help develop logic skills. To solve this Samurai puzzle use standard sudoku rules for every 9x9 grid: each digit from 1 to 9 can only appear once in every row, column and 3x3 box. Good Luck!

Solutions are on our website

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Difficulty: Easy Monday, 3rd April 2023 4 9 2 7 6 3 2 4 1 5 3 9 4 9 7 6 7 1 4 1 1 6 5 2 4 3 8 9 6 2 2 7 8 9 5 4 4 6 3 8 7 2 6 1 5 3 7 8 9 8 6 4 2 9 8 3 1 8 3 3 4 5 7 2 5 1 6 4 3 8 9 6 9 7 3 1 5 9 2 1 2 6 9 2 7 9 1 1 3 9 7 1 7 6 1 8 3 9 5 8 5 9 4 5 7 2 4 1 7 8 5 6 3 1 8 5 3 1 9 4
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