Monday, April 29, 2013

How to Find More Time Every Day

Tennis? Immortal soul? What does this have to do with time management? Well, Arnold Bennett makes that clear in the fifth chapter of How to Live on 24 Hours a Day. Yes, even YOU can find time to devote to your projects by following his advice.

For all posts on this book, just click on the How to Live on 24 Hours a Day label, below.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Your Time Management Attitude is the Key to Success

As with most things, attitude toward time management makes all the difference. In the fourth chapter of How to Live on 24 Hours a Day, Arnold Bennett reveals the cause of most time management troubles. As a solution, he suggests constructing a 'day within a day' to better utilize available time.

Well, what do you think? Will this work for you?

If you'd like to read other chapters, just click on the How to Live on 24 Hours a Day label, below.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Gift Idea and April Christmas Prep Report

Nothing new and exciting to report on Christmas Prep this month - just plugging away, dealing with gift-giving occasions as they arise. But it is so nice to be prepared!
OXO Good Grips Silicone Sink Strainer

 I do have a cool, affordable gift idea for Mother's Day, however, if anyone is interested. My SIL found this nifty kitchen sink strainer at our local grocery store and bought one for each of us. Talk about a dream come true! Ok - maybe a sink strainer can't be quite that good but...

The basket of the strainer is silicone and flexible. So you see the little handle in the center? Well, you can actually pull the thing inside out to dump it. Makes it easy to keep your drains and strainer clean!

Keep in mind that this is a strainer only, not a stopper! It seems the negative reviews on Amazon came from folks who thought it was a stopper, too, so don't make the mistake of thinking it will hold water - it won't. (There is a stopper by the same company that looks similar but I can't vouch for it.)

What? You say you don't consider a sink strainer a good Mother's Day present? Really? Well, not for some moms, I guess. But every mom I know would LOVE to have this - trust me. If you'd like to buy one of these nifty gadgets, check your local grocery store - that's where my SIL found ours and they were a couple dollars less than on Amazon. Now I'm off to clean the kitchen...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Time Management Warning

Have you ever heard that a glorious failure is better than a petty success? I suppose the idea is that at least you've tried and stretched yourself to the limit and maybe even learned from the experience. According to Arnold Bennett in chapter three of How to Live on 24 Hours a Day, this does not apply when it comes to better managing your time. He says,
"A glorious failure leads to nothing; a petty success may lead to a success that is not petty."
So start small when learning to better manage your time and then build on your success.

He also points out that all your future time is awaiting you, not caring if you've wasted your previous allotment.
"You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose."
How cool is that? Unlimited do-overs! you want more from life? If so, how will you start small and better manage your time today? What little changes can you make in your schedule? Remember, small changes done consistently have the greatest effect - so go make a small change, ok?

If you want to see all the posts that include chapters from Arnold Bennett's book, just click on the How to Live on 24 Hours a Day label, below.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Do You Want More from Life?

Do you feel the years slipping by while you have yet to accomplish your goals? Are you constantly rushing but not really getting anywhere? Are you uneasy that there has to be more? If so, chapter two of How to Live on 24 Hours a Day by Arnold Bennett, The Desire to Exceed One's Programme, is for you.

So what does he mean by "desire to exceed one's programme" anyway? Well, this is obviously British spelling and common usage from back in the early 1900s when the book was written but he defines programme somewhat in the middle of page nine (below) as "those things which we are loyally and morally obliged to do" (such as support your family, pay your bills, etc.).

Do you want more from life than that? If so, read on. (FYI - I posted these pages as images so adjust your zoom level if the text is too small.)

And if you missed chapter one of How to Live on 24 Hours a Day, here's a link to my post on the daily miracle of time.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Daily Miracle of Time

I ran across a book recently and just had to share. It's in the public domain so feel free to search for a no-cost downloadable copy for yourself. If you'd like an audio version, I recommend LibriVox - Mark F. Smith did an outstanding reading job and it's an enjoyable listen.

How to Live on 24 Hours a Day by Englishman Arnold Bennett was written back in 1910 but his advice may be even more relevant today. The chapters are short (perfect for current ADD-afflicted Internet junkies like myself) and I'm going to post some of them over the next couple of weeks.

Time truly is a daily miracle, don't you think? Two passages that really caught my attention in this first chapter are:
"You wake up in the morning, and lo! your purse is magically filled with twenty-four hours of the unmanufactured tissue of the universe of your life! It is yours."
"We never shall have any more time. We have, and we have always had, all the time there is."

I posted these pages as images so just increase your zoom level if the text is too small on your monitor. Enjoy!

Now what are you going to do to actually live your 24 hours every day?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Honoring 100 Years Well Lived

Honoring 100 years well lived.
I just finished a quilt in honor of a lovely lady who lived to 100 years of age. To commemorate her full life, I designed a quilt of 100 pieces with the most significant events indicated by embroidery and symbols.

The initials of each child, grandchild and great-grandchild are shown on the piece that signifies the year of their birth, and her marriage, a trip to the UK and her husband's passing are also shown. I even included her gloves and the fur from the hood of her coat.

(Please forgive my less-than-stellar photo - I did the best I could with the lighting conditions and my abysmal photography skills!)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

How the Food Industry Hijacks Your Health

Eat 'real' food!
Please Note: The following is reprinted with permission from the author, Stacey Curnow. I receive Stacey's Special Delivery ezine (link at bottom) and recommend that you sign up, too.
- and Ways to Protect Yourself
Do you ever think eating real foods in the right amounts and at the right times can be a lot of work?
Well, yes, it is work.
Making healthy choices takes energy – but as I've said before (and I'll probably say again), whether you take steps to address them or not, problems generally require you to expend mental energy no matter what (in this case, by making you stress about your weight and body image), so you might as well apply that energy to a solution.
So if you're worried about your diet, why not expend that energy in an area that'll lead to more benefit for you and your health? It does mean doing some work, but it doesn't mean you'll have to struggle. And it DEFINITELY doesn't have to be confusing.
Why won't it be confusing? Because eating – the most natural thing in the world – only becomes confusing and difficult when we have external rules to follow and we aren't following the wisdom of our own bodies.
So my suggestion for you is for you to forget every food "rule" you've ever heard and just remember this truth: You can trust your inner wisdom when it comes to fueling your body with the right food, at the right time and in the right amount.
So why does it seem so hard? One of the main reasons is that we get DISCONNECTED from our bodies' natural wisdom. We go on complex diets, we agonize over calories, we even subject ourselves to a lot of sophisticated medical tests to see if we're allergic or sensitive to the foods we eat. But none of that is necessary if we reconnect with our bodies. Make that connection, and all you have to do is pay attention after you eat.
Of course, the industrial food industry has made paying attention very difficult. They do better when you eat more of stuff that's cheap to produce. And so they've tinkered with some very unhealthy foods to make them taste absolutely delicious and practically addictive.
So the first step to getting connected with your body is cutting out all processed food. Once you've done that, you can become a research scientist investigating food. Pay attention to what happens to you after you eat – how you feel, how you act – and you'll soon reach some conclusions about the best foods for fueling your body. Trust me – if you don't know now, the knowledge will come as you put your food to this simple test.
As you make your discoveries, don't be blinded by preconceptions about "good" or "healthy" food. Not any one diet is ideal for everyone. I have friends and clients who eat widely varied diets – from vegan, to mostly raw (but including wild-caught fish and beef from pasture-fed cows), to Paleo (meaning mostly meat, nuts and veggies, and practically no grains), to Mediterranean (my choice). All of these diets involve eating vastly different "fuel foods," and all are perfectly healthy.
They do have a common thread, though. Look these diets over, and you'll see that a good fuel food is whole (meaning unprocessed, meaning probably NOT out of a package), is fresh, and tastes great.
That said, there are some foods that tend to be very problematic, so I want you to pay special attention if you eat them.
There are not many times when I say NEVER do something, but this is one. I would like you to NEVER consume these two things: Diet Soda/Artificial Sweeteners and Specially Prepared "Fat Free" or "Diet Foods."
Why not? First the skinny on diet sodas and artificial sweeteners:
There is TONS of research that PROVES that sodas make people fat and sick.
And that diet drinks may be even worse than regular sugar sweetened sodas!!
How does that happen? Well the upshot is that artificial sweeteners are hundreds to thousands of times sweeter than regular sugar. That's a good thing, right? No. These sweeteners activate our genetically programmed preference for sweet tastes more than any other substance. Then they trick your metabolism into thinking sugar is on its way. In response, your body pumps out insulin, the fat storage hormone, which lays down more fat. Yikes!
This sweetener-fueled insulin boost also confuses and slows your metabolism down, so that you burn fewer calories every day. It makes you hungrier. It makes you crave even more sugar and starchy carbs like bread and pasta.
Bottom line: Diet drinks are not good substitutes for sugar-sweetened drinks. Artificial sweeteners increase cravings, weight gain, and Type 2 diabetes. And they are addictive.
Okay. Now for the "Low/No Fat" or "Diet Food" Industry. This is what you need to know: Eating Fat Does NOT Make You Fat. The diet and food industry has brainwashed us to think fat-free foods help keep us from getting fat, which seems like common sense. Eating fats makes you fat. Right? But the science tells us otherwise, i.e. not ALL calories are created equal.
And even though fat has more calories per gram (9 calories versus 4 calories for carbs and protein), eating good quality fat can help you lose weight. This low-fat idea was based on bad science. But the food industry was happy to respond by creating a flood of fat-free foods.
The big problem is that the fat is replaced with flour and sugar, and eating large amounts of flour and sugar wreaks havoc on our hormones, like insulin, and correlates with diabesity – that's obesity coupled with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes, a combination that – according to integrative physician Mark Hyman – now affects one in two adults and one in four teenagers.
Bottom Line: The key point here is that all calories are NOT the same. Swap out sugar and starch for good fats such as nuts, avocados, olive oil, and grass-fed animal products or wild fish. Focus on quality real food and the rest takes care of itself.
NOW: Having talked about the foods that I believe you should absolutely eliminate from your diet, I want to talk about the 7 Foods that you may want to eliminate or greatly reduce from your diet because many, many people tend to be "Highly Sensitive" to them. They are:
  1. Wheat
  2. Dairy
  3. Eggs
  4. Soy
  5. Corn
  6. Peanuts
  7. Sugar
If you eat any of them frequently, I would recommend that you eliminate them from your diet for two to three weeks (if this seems impossible, then eliminate one at a time), and document closely how you feel.
If you notice an improvement in your digestion or your metabolism, or overall feeling of well-being within a week, I would ask you to eliminate them from your diet from now on, or add them back in small amounts as a "test."
If you notice a return of unpleasant symptoms, and you want to feel completely well, you know what to do, right? Will replacing them require some work? Will it require some energy? Yes. Could replacing them give you more energy than you've ever had? Yes, absolutely.
One last thing: I have eliminated most of the foods I mentioned above, with a notable exception being sugar.
So why haven't I eliminated sugar, given all the evidence against it?
Well, because I enjoy it too much, and I think "joy eating" is a happy and healthy part of my diet. I'd say it makes up about 10% of my food intake on a daily basis.
And until I have more problems – or really, ANY problems – with my health, I'm not going to eliminate it.
But BELIEVE ME when I tell you that if I had even so much as the sniffles, or I felt it brought me down into a consistent brain fog, or it led to perpetual mindless eating, I would.
And that's my last word on this subject. If you feel that more than 10% of your daily intake of food falls into the "joy eating" category, then the simple fact is you need to look to other areas of your life for joy.
I promise, as soon as you add more joy to your life away from the table, you will no longer look to food for joy.

Stacey Curnow
Midwife for Your Life

Reprinted with permission from the author, Stacey Curnow. If you like this article and you want to give birth to your BIG dreams, sign up to receive her FRE*E eZine, Special Delivery, at

Thursday, April 11, 2013

New Cottage Food Operation Law in CA

California has finally passed a new law that makes sense! AB 1616, the California Homemade Food Act, went into effect January 1 and allows for preparing food for sale at home. And if you're doing direct sales only, your Cottage Food Operation (CFO) permit doesn't even require a kitchen inspection. How cool is that?

There are restrictions on the types of food that can be prepared, labeling requirements and a required online food handling course, but this is still HUGE! For those who don't know, it was previously illegal in California to make any foods at home for the consumption of other people (unless you had an approved commercial kitchen). While most authorities looked the other way when passing a bake sale, even that type of innocent fundraiser was technically against the law. Excerpted below is the full list of currently allowable foods:

Approved Food Products List (January 1, 2013):
(1) Baked goods, without cream, custard, or meat fillings, such as breads, biscuits, churros, cookies, pastries, and tortillas.
(2) Candy, such as brittle and toffee.
(3) Chocolate-covered nonperishable foods, such as nuts and dried fruits.
(4) Dried fruit.
(5) Dried pasta.
(6) Dry baking mixes.
(7) Fruit pies, fruit empanadas, and fruit tamales.
(8) Granola, cereals, and trail mixes.
(9) Herb blends and dried mole paste.
(10)Honey and sweet sorghum syrup.
(11) Jams, jellies, preserves, and fruit butter that comply with the standard described in
Part 150 of Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations. (12) Nut mixes and nut butters.
(13) Popcorn.
(14) Vinegar and mustard.
(15) Roasted coffee and dried tea.
(16) Waffle cones and pizelles.

Folks in California can now legally make money at home creating tasty treats for sale!

For complete info, just head over to the Cottage Food Operations page on the CDPH website.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

How to Stay Young

Well, I'm now firmly into my mid-50s. That's right - I just turned 55. For those who remember the roll out of the National Maximum Speed Law way back in the 1970s...that's kind of how I feel - seems like someone is trying to slow me down! I may even qualify for the senior discount at a few places. How did this happen?

But what does the speed limit have to do with staying young? Not much, but I thought the sign was a cute addition to this post. What I really wanted to share is a cool thing I thought of that anyone can do to help them stay younger.

Have a physical assessment

I recently watched a physical therapist do an assessment of an 83-year-old woman and was impressed with how much he could tell about her condition just from feeling her spine. No x-rays, no scans, no nothing - simple touch. How non-invasive is that? Anyway, it got me to thinking - might it be smart to have an assessment now, while I'm young enough to take some corrective action if I have any problems brewing? Why wait until I'm actually old to find out I could have prevented some pain and immobility? Do I want to be confined to a lift chair? Do I want to use a walker? No! So I made an appointment and had a full assessment done. Happy Birthday to me!

The results were surprising. It seems I stand a little crooked - kind of lower at the left shoulder with my head leaning slightly to the left and forward. I also have some hip issues. So what to do? Well, it's surprisingly simple - a few easy exercises for the hips and some posture work in the mirror. There were several other suggestions, as well, that I will incorporate into my daily routine but the biggies for avoiding problems down the line are the posture adjustment and hip exercises.

Make an appointment today!

When you call to make an appointment, don't be surprised if they don't have a clue what you're talking about. I know my local physical therapist didn't, but he thought it was a great idea. And yes, you can refer yourself - at least for just one or two visits. And yes, you'll probably have to pay for it yourself (my 1.5 hour appointment was $96) but it is well worth the cost for the physical therapist's expertise. So get on the phone now so that you can find out how you can avoid problems in the future and stay as young as possible. Trust me - you want to do this!