Posts in Life in General

Conserving Energy

on May 1st, 2010 by

In an effort to find out where our electricity is being spent, we purchased a Power Monitor by Black & Decker. It displays the electricity use in the home. It looks like a huge headset but for an electric meter. It has a wireless sensor reader that can be placed just about anywhere in the home, so energy consumption can be seen at anytime. We are hoping to learn about where we use electricity and how we can decrease the use and save money. I installed it today, so it will be really interesting to see what we find out.


on June 10th, 2009 by

The article about Dots has been moved to our new Interior Design & Organization blog.

Swine Flu Update

on May 1st, 2009 by

If you haven’t heard yet, on April 29th, the level of influenza pandemic alert raised from phase 4 to phase 5 due to the spread of the swine influenza A (H1N1). It started in Mexico and has moved to the US and 14 other countries. On Friday, Wor-Wic Community College posted an alert on their website – there are 4 confirmed cases in Delaware which is one of the reasons for concern along with the duties of government organizations when the pandemic alert level is raised to phase 5.

Here are some good places to visit for up-to-date information:

Some of the best recommendations I have read to prevent infection:

  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.

Any flu is never something to take lightly. The young, the elderly, and those with decreased immune systems are most at risk when it comes to the deadliness of the flu, but anyone can get it and get very sick. Airborne diseases can be contained easily with just staying home from work or school when you are sick and not passing it on to others and also staying away from those that are sick. Be preventative and prepared.

B+S Challenge on hold

on February 13th, 2009 by

If you are wondering what happened and why I all of the sudden stopped my posts on only Day 4 of The Challege. I got in a little over my head. I needed to buy some items to continue the process. One lesson learned – read a week ahead so you always have all of the things you need!  Also, my face had bumps all over it and I had to figure out what the cause was – was it the detox or some food I ate… well, when I stopped eating the food I had prepared for the detox, the bumps started to go away. Almost exactly 1 week later after the bumps started and I stopped eating a certain food I made, they went away. Now I am just going to have to whittle it down to which food. I am really hoping it isn’t the quinoa, but I think it is going to be. Only one way to find out, but I just don’t want to do that right now. In another week or so I am going to start the Challenge again. When I do, I will resume where I left off and start posting from there. Until then…

Modifying Recipes

on February 1st, 2009 by

I was just reading one of my friend’s blogs where she did the 20 Random Things About Me exercise. I noticed an item that we had talked about recently – she always follows a recipe when she cooks. This made me think about myself and how different we are on this topic. I, myself, take a recipe and change it – no matter what it is – usually. It may be one small change or lots of changes – it just depends on the recipe. I don’t have a specific reason why I do it, but I was just thinking what some of the reasons might be.

Some logical reasons might be:

  • Substitution of healthier options
  • Disliking of an ingredient
  • Not happy with the cooking method

Less logical reasons might be:

  • Add my personal touch
  • To interject my creativity
  • To be defiant
  • Because I can

I never really thought about why I modify receipes before, so this was a neat exercise. Now I need to think about the 20 Random Things About Me.

Body + Soul Challenge Day 4

on January 29th, 2009 by

The Challenge Day 4

Stay on Track

Healthy food for all week. Check. I made a crock pot full of rice, quinoa, lentils, split peas, veggies, and spices. I can only wonder if something in this concoction is breaking my face out. I am used to eating healthy, but I am new to quinoa and a few of the spices I used. Also, I may not be accustomed to all of the extra virgin olive oil (healthy fat) that I am using in our food lately. We have enough of this food though to eat all week, so once it is gone, I will see if some ingredient in this dish is the cause.


Q: What are your main day-to-day stressors?
A: Money, Accomplishing all my daily tasks, Keeping a clean desk, Planning and organizing for the future (not in any particular order)
Q: On a scale of one to 10, how stressed do you feel?
A: 5, In the middle. I don’t feel overly stressed, but I know I am stressed at times.
Q: What are your methods for dealing with stress?
A: Watching design shows. Playing video games. Cleaning. Organizing. Building things. And figuring out what caused the stess and either remove it or modify it so that it isn’t as stressful.
Q: Do you feel these methods are healthy or unhealthy?
A: I feel they are healthy methods. A little bit of escape/distraction. A little bit of constuctiveness. A little bit of busy tasks where I can think but not think too hard.
Q: What, if anything, would you like to change about how you react to and deal with stress?
A: I keep too much in. I need an outlet. Some people lash out and that just isn’t me. Some people vent to others, but I just don’t like putting my problems on others very much. Blogging can get me an outlet to vent if I like along with talking with my husband and sticking to my methods above.

Purifying Bath

Oops. Last night as I was reading ahead for the next couple days so I could be prepared for what is coming next, I read this section. I need ingredients that I don’t have and it is too late to run out and get them. A few tasks will just be out of sync. This would have derailed me last year when I attempted this challenge, but this year I am not going to let it. The ingredients don’t seem so bad at least: Epsom Salts, Grapefruit Oil, Baking Soda and possibly Jojoba or Almond Oil. I can find most of these items at our local health store and what I don’t find there, I can find at any drugstore hopefully.

Other Findings

I am probably not doing as well with the media detox as I should be. Positive moments: no watching of news, no unnecessary web surfing, less general computer time. Not-so-positive moments: more watching of TV than normal (design shows were building up on my DVR and I didn’t want to loose them), can not get out of checking my email before bed but trying to figure out a way, I am journalling on my computer rather than a notebook which increases my computer time but in no way compares to normal computer time.

Body + Soul Challenge Day 3

on January 28th, 2009 by

The Challenge Day 3

Detox Your Diet

Today was the day I was supposed to start the eating plan according to Body+Soul, but I started it on Monday, so I guess I just got a head start on that part. I really need to read more than just the day that I am on and actually read ahead. I will try to do that today, if not, I will do it tomorrow.

Get Moving

1/2 hour of exercising. Done. More reason to use my Wii Fit – I love that little board. It makes exercise fun!


The reflection questions for today:
Q: Do you have an exercise routine? If not, what are your main obstacles?
A: I do have an exercise routine now. I may not always follow it, which makes it a little less of a routine, but it is a planned routine none-the-less. With the acquisition of a Wii Fit for Christmas, my main obstacle was hurdled and a routine was created. My routine is 30-45 minutes of exercise before lunch using my Wii Fit. It is fun. Time flies by using the Wii Fit and it gives me positive feedback. What more can I ask for?
Q: How do you feel when you exercise?
A: Good. Like I am getting energy even though I am expending it. The right exercise can energize me while the wrong exercise can drain me. It is all about finding the ones that work.
Q: How much time do you sit each day?
A: This varies tremendously from day to day. It depends on what my work is, what season it is, and where the work is that needs to be done. If it is an organizing job that is outside versus inside, paper versus items, or computer versus house/office make a huge difference in how much I sit – and then if it is a leisure activity it can be anything from scrapbooking to exercise. I do know that I can not be on my feet all day (my feet don’t like it). Q: What, if anything, would you like to change about your approach to exercise?
A: To have a positive approach and want to designate at least 30 minutes each day to exercise.

Other Findings

I don’t exactly know what is going on, but this evening my face started to get little raised bumps all over it. It is probably a reaction to the change in diet. I will see how long it lasts and if it does not go away once I go back to my normal healthy eating practices, I will have to look into it more.

Body + Soul Challenge Day 2

on January 27th, 2009 by

Today has been interesting. I woke up before 10am. I drove in the snow. And, the laundry is almost done and it isn’t even mid-week yet.

Let me digress to update you on my progress yesterday. As for what I needed to accomplish yesterday, I did better than average on most things and not so hot on a couple. For starters, I only drank 4 cups of water rather than the 8 recommended, but I know I will improve. Bedtime was supposed to be 10pm. I pushed it to 11pm since there was a really good movie on – Something About Mary – and I intended to go to bed right after, but I checked my email before shutting down my computer and had an issue that I had to respond to – well, it probably could have waited until morning –  pertaining to my Amazon Selling Account. I stayed off the computer pretty much the rest of the day minus my blog post. At least I was still in bed before 12am. I think the reason it snowed today is that I was in bed before midnight! Tonight I will shoot for 10pm again and we will see what happens.

So, about today. Waking up before 10am may not be a big deal to most people but for someone who likes to stay up late and get up late it is a big deal. There are morning people and there are night people and I most definitely am a night person. By noon, I had breakfast, checked my email, started laundry, and drove to the post office to ship a package  – in the snow mind you. I love snow but I do not like to drive in it. I have a 4-wheel drive vehicle but that still doesn’t help me in the snow and ice. My theory is that if I am sliding in a 4-wheel drive vehicle, I am no better off than most other vehicles. But, today, I thought I would boost my confidence and go out. Now, I only had to go about a mile and the whole way there I went less than the speed limit. I know the people behind me were so annoyed but I might have saved them from an accident, right?

Now onto the goals of The Challenge Day 2

Scale Back

No caffeine. Check. Eating fruit instead of sugary foods. Peaches instead of a brownie with lunch. Check. Cow’s milk is recommended to be replaced with rice milk, but I usually drink soy milk so I will have to see what to do there. At this point today (about 5pm) I have drank the 4 cups of water that I did all day yesterday, so that is an improvement.

Tune Out

The goal is to keep TV watching, emailing, web surfing, and newspaper reading all to a minimum or as little as absolutely possible. I am usually technology immersed, but today I have been on email for only a couple minutes and watched one episode of Color Splash – one of my favorite HGTV design shows – on TV. Today has been a big day for laundry and making lunches so that I can eat the way I am supposed to this week.


The questions for today are: Do you eat in response to stress or emotions? What types of foods do you crave? What, if anything, would you like to change about why or how you eat? As for stress and emotional eating, my experience is that I don’t eat. Calming myself down is the only answer. Only then can I actually hold food down. As for my changes on how I eat, I want to create structure on when I eat. The time I eat is usually pretty random and sometimes not at all for some meals – not good, not good at all. I was just talking with a friend two nights ago about how long it takes me to eat. It is a while – my grandmother taught me that. It is healthy and I am proud of it. Yes, I am left at the dinner table quite a bit, but when you are a slow eater, you shouldn’t expect others to hang around and wait – I don’t expect it – but sometimes people will hang around which is really cool.

Go Whole

I have to admit that I used minute brown rice today. I used up the whole wild rice in dinner for the next few days, so I had to improvise. The rice was still good and it was better than not eating it. Our dinner however will have lots of whole grains: wild rice and quinoa. It is the first time I have cooked quinoa before so we will see how it goes. If the recipe turns out well tonight, I will post it – a bean, rice, quinoa, and veggie soup.

Tune Into Yourself

I think I feel the detox already working. I have more energy today that I usually do. I accomplished so many things – maybe part of that is that I was not on the Internet – but I don’t want to discount my increased energy.


Rice, veggies, beans, fruit, water… this detox is so much better than others out there and I haven’t felt hungry yet. With the publishing of this post, I have already achieved one of my goals for week 1: blog at least twice a week. Yea! This is actually fun. To be writing about something that is not technical nor science or design related is an interesting experience. Until next time…

Body + Soul Challenge Day 1

on January 26th, 2009 by

I thought I would get to look at the details of The Challege Day 1 this weekend, but it  just flew by. Not looking like this is getting off to a good start, but it is, really. So, today I read through day 1 and I felt pretty good about myself. Some of the major points I already do – maybe not all of the time but more often than not.

Scaling Back

Good Points: I don’t drink alcohol and the only caffeine I get is in chocolate and decaffeinated green tea every so often so that is a good start. I am a non-coffee drinking girl. Tried it once in 11th grade and thought I was going to hurl and now I can’t even bear the smell of it sometimes.

Not-so-good points: I don’t drink enough water. I really need to work on that. I get so dehydrated sometimes that I think I cause heart flutters and that isn’t good at all. If the water isn’t in front of me I don’t drink it, so my goal will be to fill a glass or two and have it next to me at all times. And as for sugar, while I don’t have too much, I want to decrease it even more in my day-to-day eating. Over the last couple of years, I went from sugar to artificial sweeteners (which are bad for you) to sugar and herbal/healthier sweeteners. Now, I just need to decrease it all together. I just have to finish the brownies that are in the house right now and I will be on my way to decreasing the sugar. Both of my parents are Type 2 diabetic, so I want to try my hardest to not be.

Get Organized

Yea! Organizing! Well, this is not exactly my type of organizing. Organizing the house – yes – but organizing me – that is another story altogether. Through blogging about my process I am hopefully informing friends and family of my plans like it recommends. As for the food supplies, I have all of that. I might need to go to the grocery store for more rice and beans, but it shouldn’t be too bad. And the funny part is about a month ago I learned about putting lemon in water, so I am already ahead in that respect.


20 minutes. No problem. It will take me that long to write my post everyday about The Challenge. I will just have to think a little more about what I write so reflection is built it. Healthiest aspect of my diet: careful dinner meal planning. Least healthy part of my diet: lunch since I sometimes eat it and sometimes don’t depending on how busy I am. Food weaknesses: chocolate, dessert. What I would change about my food choices: If I put as much planning into breakfast and lunch as I do dinner, I could be super healthy.

Detox Tips

This week is all about detox: Skip raw foods, Eat whole grains, Eat beans, Find sweet substitutes, Tune into yourself.  Please read the section on Body + Soul for more info. My biggest interest in this week is to see which foods I miss – which ones I miss at first and then which ones I miss toward the end of the week. I hope that I feel less tired and get more energy as the week goes on.


Now, I have to figure out my challenge goals this week. Hmm… what will they be? I think I may have already come up with one or two writing this post today. I will share my goals at the end of the week.

So the biggest thing I have already realized about blogging about my Body + Soul Challenge adventures is that you, my readers, are going to get to learn a lot about me and in the process; hopefully, I will learn a bit about myself too.

A New Year, A New Me

on January 21st, 2009 by

Well, maybe not a new me, but we all have things we want to change and I have a LIST of things. I love change and since I have drastically decreased my rearranging of the furniture in my house – not that the house is completely organized yet – I thought I should focus on me for a little bit.

While going through my email for the first time in about 2 weeks – and I mean really going through it like actually reading and deleting them not survival mode of scanning for people I know and replying to them before they think something happened to me – I came across the Body and Soul Challenge. I attempted it last year but made it about a week before I forgot all about it.

This year, I really want to make it the 5 weeks and complete their plan for each day. I figure, the way to actually get me to do it is to complete another one of my “changes” at the same time – getting back to blogging at least twice a week. One of the tasks of The Challenge is to write daily, so if I work on a blog post of a couple days and post a couple times a week, I will satisfy that – I might actually post every day, but I am not promising anything. I need to do this is smaller steps. I have learned when I jump in full force that I lose interest, so a gradual warm up should work. Also in looking on the Whole Living website (the one that has The Challenge), the plan starts on a Monday, so this coming Monday, January 26th is when I will start.

Good Luck to Me!

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