This phrase can take my irritated meter to the high level! I am happily married, work full time, have many hobbies and a fur baby. Many people in my life often use that quote with me when I am telling of my recent adventures. My response to everyone that gives me this very passive aggressive line is “then make it!” I understand that there is only 24 hours in a day and we cannot extend it, but you can manage it better!
First, you need to be the optimal you. You need to get adequate sleep! You probably thought I was going to shave some time off there, but the contrary is more appropriate. Adults need a minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night to be rested and energized for their day.
It is also essential that you eat a well-balanced diet. Eliminate as much fat, sugar and processed foods as you can. When you eat healthy, you feel better and that results in more energy. Ensure you are exercising at least a half hour 3 times per week. These tips will keep you healthy and energized to enjoy your busy life. I know, you are going to tell me you do not have time for that! But I am going to help you find that time.
Most adults waste a lot of their day watching TV. Think about it. How many hours of TV have you averaged per day the past week? Be honest and you will find you probably have a lot of time to use for other things. Find your productive time. Are you a morning person, late morning, afternoon or evening person? I am a morning person. From the time I get out of bed, I am on a roll. My pitfall is sitting down in front of the TV with a cup of coffee and my fur baby in my lap. Before I know it, 2-3 hours of my day is gone!
It’s ok to enjoy a down day; I choose Sunday mornings. But the remainder of the week, I do not sit down and instead hit my to-do list! Surfing the internet with your laptop or tablet tends to be another contributor to sucking time out of your day. If you are going to do this, set a timer, when the timer goes off, put your electronics away and move on to a more active activity.
There are lots of other ways to make more time in your day. If you take your children to school or other events, consider carpooling with other parents. This will give you a couple of days for other activities in that time slot. Limit the number of activities your children participate in so that you have some days off. Include your family in your activities. Family exercise is a great way to keep everyone healthy and reduce stress. You can go on a family hike, walk/run, play in the yard, walk the family dog(s), or do a fun workout video.
Include the family in making and cleaning up after meals. The more you delegate and the less you insist on doing yourself gives you more time. There are many meal plans for 30 minutes or less, healthy pre-prepared foods, leftovers, or even an occasional cereal for dinner night to save time in the evenings.
Household chores are a big one for sucking up our time. The first thing to save you time is to spend the time to organize. Toss out or donate items that are not routinely being used. Cluttered spaces and overfilled closets and drawers contribute to the stress of cleaning up. Enlist the other members of your household to help you. Let you standards drift a little bit. It is not the end of the world if the dishes do not get put away until the next day when you have more time. Multi-tasking is the best way to clean and organize your home in the least amount of time. You could also try a power-hour. This is when you and your household members pick one hour once a week and you clean and organize as many things as possible. I like to blast fun dance music when we do this. If your household chores continue to be a problem for you, consider hiring a housekeeper weekly or every other week to help you maintain your home. It is surprisingly affordable and reduces a lot of stress in the household.
As you can see there are lots of ways for you to have time to enjoy your life. You just need to take an honest look at your routine and see where you can make simple changes that will really impact your time. Ask yourself what has to be done today, what can be delegated and what can wait for another time. Enjoy your life!
It's that time of year when pumpkins make their grand entrance. Most people use them as decorations but this vegetable is quite nutritious and can be used in a variety of recipes. Even the seeds can be used so don't throw them out when you are carving that jack-o-lantern!
Below is one of my favorite pumpkin seed recipes, compliments of Real Simple.
You Will Need:
2 cups of fresh pumpkin seeds, cleaned and patted dry
2 Tbs melted butter
2 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Spread the seeds out on a cookie sheet and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven and increase the temperature to 350 degrees.
Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl and add the seeds. Toss to coat. Spread back on the cookie sheet and bake another 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden.
This is a great snack option and kids tend to love it. Best of all, pumpkin seeds are chock full of fiber, zinc, Vitamin E, manganese, protein, iron, and magnesium.
I love fall crafts. Especially when they are easy to do and result in an adorable outcome. This craft is perfect for teachers and parents. But it can be used by anyone!
What you need:
Black spray paint
Drop cloth or old cardboard
Silly eyes (craft stores or online)
Hot glue gun
How to make:
Empty and clean cans
Spray paint outside of cans with black spray paint on a drop cloth or cardboard
Allow paint to dry
Use a hot glue gun to attach the gauze at the bottom of the can
Wrap the gauze up the entire can and again use the hot glue gun to secure the end of the gauze in place.
Using your finger, make a space for the mouth and the eyes
Use the hot glue gun to attach a set of eyes
Fill with candy to distribute to friends and family or simple place around your house as a fun Halloween decoration.
Love to shop? Tight on cash? Mystery shopping may be the answer. As crazy as it sounds, you can actually be paid to shop stores, restaurants, gas stations, etc. I have been doing it for over 14 years and highly recommend it! It not only helps me to stay within my budget but also allows me to dine at restaurants I would never consider otherwise.
How does it work? First you need to sign up with some reputable mystery shopping companies online. You have to be careful that you don't sign up for a scam. Below is a list of the companies I shop for that are safe:
When you sign up, they may ask you for your social security number. If you're not comfortable giving that out right away, you can enter all 9's.
When shops become available in your area they will send you an email with the details. If you're interested you let them know and then they assign you the shop. There are always explicit instructions to follow such as the date and time you should go, what you should buy, what questions you should ask staff, what photos you need to take, etc. When you get home from your shop you always have to fill out a report and submit it online. You are usually paid one to two months after a shop either by a check in the mail or through Paypal.
This is not a way to get rich or buy tons of items, but it is a way to earn some extra cash and have fun in the process. Below is a list of the typical types of companies that use mystery shopping to assess their employees and customer service:
We have not had a craft in the blog for a while. I recently put out my fall decorations and can across a fun craft that Nancy and I did last fall; pumpkins made with canning lids. It was easy and fun to do and I am enjoying them again this year.
What you need:
24 canning lids (large mouth or small mouth) depending on the size you would like per pumpkin
Spray paint (various fall colors)
Thin ribbon (approx. 12 inches)
Cinnamon sticks (approx. 6 per pumpkin)
Drop cloth or plastic table cloth
How to make them:
Place drop cloth or plastic table cloth in a well ventilated area (preferable your garage).
Lay each canning lid about 2 inches apart on the cloth (separate further for different colors). For example, if making your pumpkin 3 colors, you need groups of 8 lids for each color.
Spray paint the lids on one side. Allow to dry for 2 hours (or per paint directions).
When dry to touch, flip the lids over and paint other side and allow to dry.
Once dry, put your lids facing the same direction on your thin ribbon and tie a tight knot holding them all together.
Space your lids to shape your pumpkin.
Push cinnamon sticks into the center (you can wedge them, or use ribbon to tie them and glue them into the center).
Display and enjoy!
Do you have a pain in the neck? I'm not talking about your husband or kids. LOL. I'm talking about real pain that causes stiffness and makes it difficult for you to turn your head. It can radiate down your shoulders, arms, or back and can make sleeping or driving very uncomfortable.
Many of us will get neck pain and the most common cause is overuse. If you spend a lot of hours in front of a computer or on the phone then you will likely develop neck pain. That's because the muscles around your neck are contracting for extended periods of time. They need a break!
First, you will want to stretch the area on a regular basis. A great neck stretch is to gently tilt your head so that you are bringing your ear down closer to your shoulder. Hold this stretch for 10 to 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side. This stretch is shown in the picture above.
Once you can do this stretch with ease you can expand on the move by tilting the head down so that your nose points toward your chest. When you do this you bring more muscle into play. Turning your head from side to side (while keeping it level) is another great way to stretch the muscles.
Once you have regained some flexibility in your neck you will want to add on a strengthening move. This will help you to avoid the chicken head. Take a look at the people around you and notice how many of them look like they're sticking their head forward, like a chicken, to see something on the horizon. Their neck is completely out of alignment which can cause pain.
To counteract this, keep your body still and gently pull your head straight back and hold for three seconds. Repeat this move throughout the day to retrain the muscles to hold your head in alignment. You can also do it while laying down on the floor, and pressing your head against the surface. This is akin to pushing a weight and does wonders for your neck muscles.
Take care of your neck. After all, it holds up that big ole pumpkin head of yours which is very important!
I have not been feeling very energetic lately, so I visited my primary care doctor to get a set of labs. We discovered that I have a significant vitamin D deficiency. I was surprised by this. Most of us who live in the northern United States have a vitamin D deficiency in the winter months, but it was not expected of the summer months. I spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer, but more in the evenings. I also take a daily multi-vitamin that has 1,000 units of vitamin D. I eat vitamin D fortified cereal and drink milk almost daily. So how can I possibly be deficient???
Vitamin D is produced by the body when skin is exposed to sunlight. It also occurs naturally in some common foods—fish, egg yolk and fortified dairy and grains. Vitamin D helps the body use calcium that we take in our diet and supports strong bones. Low levels can lead to increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment in older adults and severe asthma in children. Vitamin D can protect from developing diabetes, hypertension, glucose intolerance and multiple sclerosis.
Vitamin D deficiency occurs when you do not get enough natural sunlight exposure. Those who work full time in day shift indoors, wear sunblock, or wear clothing that covers the majority of your body when you are outdoors. Dark skin can also prevent absorption of sunlight for appropriate vitamin D synthesis.
Other causes of vitamin D deficiency are related to diet or medical problems. Most vitamin D occurs in animal products, thus vegans are at high risk for vitamin D Deficiency. Food items that are fortified with vitamin D are not usually sufficient to support your body’s need for vitamin D. Sometimes kidneys are unable to convert vitamin D to an active form, especially as you get older. Some people have medical problems related to their gastrointestinal tract that prevent adequate absorption of vitamin D. Fat cells in those with obesity can extract vitamin D from the blood causing vitamin D deficiency.
A simple blood test for 25-hydroxy vitamin D will determine if you have vitamin D deficiency. A normal level is 20-50 nanograms/milliliter. A level less than 20 is called Vitamin D insufficiency. Those with a level less than 12 are diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency. The CDC estimates that 32% of adults and children in the U.S. have vitamin D deficiency. That’s 1 in 3 people who have vitamin D deficiency, so get your level checked!
If you find you have a low level of vitamin D, you should discuss with your medical provider a plan to supplement and retest your level. Some ways to help optimize your level is to expose your skin to sunlight during peak hours of the day, consider sitting outside to eat your lunch or take a walk outdoors during your lunch break. When you supplement vitamin D, keep in mind that it is fat-soluble. Thus it should be taken with a meal to optimize absorption.
My friend was recently in a car accident. It wasn't her fault but she still got banged up a bit and the back end of her car was totaled. It scared me and brought up my old fears about driving. They say everyone has a bad phobia and mine is getting in a car accident. To quell those emotions I decided to do some research on safe driving. Here are the top 10 tips for staying safe on the road:
Recently Nancy and I took a self-defense course together. What a great way to spend an hour! I encourage all of you to find a local class and take advantage of it. We learned so much information in just an hour! Everyone should know some basic tips for how to defend yourself if you are ever attacked. Here are some of the highlights.
Be aware of your surroundings, trust your gut, carry your car keys in your hands and have them ready to use as a weapon if you are walking to or from your vehicle. Stay off your cell phone and keep ear buds out of your ears to stay focused on your surroundings.
Most attacks last less than 15 seconds. Attackers are not sympathetic people and do not have a moral compass like we do. Thus do not try to negotiate or reason with them. More importantly, do not worry about hurting them!
The most important thing we learned was to make the first move, fight with everything you have in you and fight to injure your attacker so that you can safely get away.
If you are right handed, you want to keep your left foot forward and your right foot slightly raised off the heel, tuck your chin and keep your hands by your face at all times to protect your head and face.
Use your hips rather than just your arms to get a more effective and stronger hit. When you hit with your left arm your hips should rotate to the right with your body. When you hit with your right arm, your hips should rotate to the left with your swing. Do not wind up your swing! Keep your hands by your ears and rely on your hips to strengthen your swing.
When someone is choking you, raise your right arm high in the air and lock their wrist with your right bicep against your face. At the same time you are raising your arm, step back with your left leg. Then rotate your body counter-clockwise and pull the attackers hands down to your chest. Then use your right elbow to hit them hard in the face and run! Another option for when you are being choked is to put your hands together like you are praying, raise up quickly between the attackers arms and push outward to break the grip.
When someone is pulling your hair, resist pulling away from them. Instead, advance toward them very quickly hitting as hard as you can. This will take them off guard and hopefully cause them to release and allow you to escape.
Protect yourself like your life depends on it!
We all know the importance of eating vegetables. They are chock full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber that improve almost every aspect of our health. The government suggests that we eat at least 5 servings of vegetables a day. A serving is 1/2 a cup of either cooked or raw vegetables.
Goodness but that seems like a lot! Americans aren't the most healthy of eaters to begin with, and vegetables don't always give us the satisfaction that other foods do. But there are easy ways to sneak these nutrient dense foods into your diet:
Eat your veggies!
It's that time of year again. The trees are changing colors, the squirrels are furiously gathering nuts, and the air has that crisp autumn smell that I love. It's the perfect opportunity to take a fall adventure walk!
Grab your kids, dogs, and friends and head to the nearest park. If your group is big enough, divide it into teams. Each group gets a list and their mission is to collect or observe as many things on the list as possible. Items you can add to the list include:
Add as many things to the list as possible and set a time limit. The group that checks off the most items wins a prize. You can also bring along apple cider and a treat to enjoy by everyone.
Take the time to enjoy the beauty of nature!
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