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Good Life Report - The Health Benefits Of Writing, A Baking Recipe For Snowy Days & Tax Tips For Teachers

"It is always the simple that produces the marvelous."

- Amelia Barr


The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

36 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
     
  • 1 cup sugar
     
  • 1 cup brown sugar
     
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
     
  • 2 eggs
     
  • 3 cups flour
     
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
     
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
     
  • 1 teaspoon natural sea salt
     
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (or more for your preference!)


Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
     
  2. Mix the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder together in a bowl and set aside. 
     
  3. With a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until fluffy.
     
  4. Add the chocolate chips and mix well. 
     
  5. Scoop about 2-3 tablespoons of dough into balls on a lined cookie sheet. 
     
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes. They are done when the edges are just turning brown.
     
  7. Let sit for 2 minutes before moving to a cooling rack. 
Recipe adapted from Joy Food Sunshine[1] 

Deductions for Teachers

School may look a little different this year, but eligible teachers can still deduct certain unreimbursed expenses on their tax return next year. 

The taxpayer must be a kindergarten through grade 12 teacher, instructor, counselor, principal, or aide. They must also work at least 900 hours a school year in a school that provides elementary or secondary education as determined under state law. 

Educators can deduct up to $250 of trade or business expenses that were not reimbursed. As teachers prepare for the school year, they should remember to keep receipts after making any purchase to support claiming this deduction. Examples of expenses the educator can deduct include:
  • Professional development course fees
  • Books
  • Supplies
  • Computer equipment, including related software and services
  • Other equipment and materials used in the classroom
* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.

Tip adapted from IRS.gov[2]

The Golden Rules of Putting

Putting is one of the most important aspects of the game and these "golden rules" will stop you from all those "gimme" putts you've been calling at the end of the game (we're all guilty of it!).

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Make sure you have your thumbs down the shaft. This helps keep both your putter and your wrists straight. 
     
  • Have your eyes directly over the ball. In fact, if you were to drop another golf ball from where your eyes are in a straight line down, the ball should land directly on the ball you're about to put. That's one drill to know whether your eyes are really directly over the ball. 
     
  • Make sure to keep your wrists and arms straight, even during the follow through. When you're able to hold this straight angle, you'll be able to do more consistent putts.
Tip adapted from Today's Golfer[3]

The Health Benefits of Writing

Tomorrow is National Day on Writing! This national holiday was designated by The National Council of Teachers of English and is used to celebrate writing, storytelling, and creativity. Even if you're not a writer, everyone can enjoy the potential health benefits of this therapeutic hobby.

Here are some potential health benefits of writing:

  • Writing about emotionally-charged events may help put the events behind you and relieve symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD. 
     
  • Writing may help provide mental clarity when making other decisions and dealing with emotions. 
     
  • Writing may reduce stress and improve sleep.

The best thing about writing is that you don't need a lot to get started. Grab a notebook and your favorite pen and journal for 5-10 minutes a day. As you get more comfortable, you can write more, or just save it for a quick decompress after the day.

Tip adapted from US News & World Report[4]

Energy Saving Tips in the Kitchen

Appliances and hot water account for a big part of energy use in your home. So, the kitchen is a great place to start saving energy. Here are a few kitchen energy saving tips:

  • Leave the faucet on the cold side when using small amounts of water. When the lever is in the "hot" position, it still draws hot water, even though it may not reach the faucet.
     
  • If you're shopping for a new stove, look for a natural gas model with an automatic, electric ignition system. It saves gas since a pilot light is not burning continuously.
     
  • Your natural gas appliances should have blue flames; yellow flames indicate the gas is burning inefficiently. If you see yellow flames, consult the manufacturer or your local utility provider.
     
  • Be sure to keep range-top burners and reflectors clean; they will reflect the heat better, while saving energy.
     
  • Cover your kettle or pan or use an electric kettle to boil water. It'll brew faster and will use less energy. 
     
  • Eating for one? Use a toaster, microwave, or convection oven rather than your large stove or oven. Doing this will save up to half the energy of a full-sized oven.
Tip adapted from Energy.gov[5]


[1] Joyfoodsunshine.com, October 16, 2020
[2] IRS.gov, March 11, 2020
[3] Todaysgolfer.co.uk, October 16, 2020
[4] Health.usnews.com, October 16, 2020
[5] Energy.gov, October 16, 2020