Saturday, January 26, 2013

You're Invited!

I've recently started a new blog that I'm having a ton of fun with. Here's the opening post:

From A (anniversaries) to Z (zombie parties! eeek!) there are all kinds of reasons (birthdays, weddings, retirements, pool parties, beach parties, annual holidays) and events to celebrate all year long.  To make your party a hit from the very beginning, there are over half a million (yes indeed you read that correctly) custom invitations in the zazzle.com marketplace to choose from. Here at You're Invited,  I'm going to fine tune the selection for you and I'm eagerly excited to feature some of the most incredible custom party/event invitations here from the most talented designers at zazzle, in every category from A to Z.

I hope you'll come take a look and when you're in need of a custom party invitation for whatever event you're celebrating, you'll consider the independent graphic artists with shops at zazzle.com for your party goods. I still have a LOT of categories to add and I'll be updating it often with all the newest for each category, so please do bookmark it in your favorites & share with your friends.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Some Randomness: Counting Crackers, RSVP and Smelly Things

I have some things on my mind that I sort of need to get out.  Maybe it's to make room for other things to clutter it up?  In any event, here are some random things you may or may not find useful/helpful:

A SINGLE SERVING

It has occurred to me over the last few months that prior to changing my eating habits, I don't believe I've ever had a single serving of anything, ever, in my entire life.  What I mean by that is this: on pretty much any box or package of anything, it tells you how much a serving is.  For example, a single serving of Frosted Mini Wheats is 21 biscuits.  Veggie Wheat Thins: 14 crackers.  Ice cream: 1/2 cup. Hummus: 2 tablespoons.  Truth is, I don't even think I've ever known anyone who actually looks at the container the food comes from and actually counts out t w e n t y - o n e Frosted Mini Wheats and then measures the milk they pour on it.  Anyway I never knew anyone (and never did it myself) until a few months ago.  Indeed I do, count out my crackers, my cereal, measure my milk, weigh my cheese, etc.  Once I began to do that I realized I'm actually satisfied with a smaller portion than I thought I would have been.

I realized that I'd never before assumed a "serving" was as small as it is, but that it's actually enough.  I realized that in part, this could be a HUGE reason why so many struggle with weight problems because NO ONE on the planet counts out Frosted Mini Wheats or weighs their cheese.  I know it sounds silly but if you think about it for a minute, it's true.  If no one is dishing themselves up a single serving but instead just helping themselves to however much food they think they want, it's entirely possible they're consuming TWICE as many calories, sugar, bad fats, sodium, etc. in the course of a day than they should be.  Multiply this by every single day of every week of every month for a lifetime and you get... serious weight/health issues.

So here's my challenge to anyone who feels like taking it: starting tomorrow, weigh, measure and count every single thing you eat according to the serving size on the container it came in (fruits and veggies don't count, eat as much as you want, they rock).  Do this every single day for a week.  You might still be hungry at the end of the day, or you might not.  You might be surprised at how little food actually fills you up, and you might even drop a pound or more.  I'd be curious to hear from anyone who wants to take this simple challenge, and note their results after a week of weighing their cheese :-) 

R S V P

Do you know what that means?  Of course you do, it means "répondez, s'il vous plaît" or in English, it means "please respond".   Anyone who's ever hosted any kind of celebratory event where invitations were required, will almost always insist on an RSVP and here's why:

When you're planning a party (birthday, reception, anniversary, etc.) you need to know numerous details to make sure the party goes well.  How many will be there, how much food & drink to have prepared, in the case of a child's party you'll need to know how many party favors or party gift bags to purchase/prepare, and you need to know how much room you'll need (seating for formal events, etc.) to host all the guests.  Due to the fact that I design custom party events for a living, I know for certain that my clients would immediately begin shopping elsewhere if I began to leave off the text field for them to customize the RSVP information.  It's really a huge part of the event for the host/hostess.

Now you may be wondering why I wrote all that?  Simple: parents, when you or your child receives an invitation with RSVP, please please please, take the time to reply and let the host/hostess know if you will be attending.  If it's a formal event, fill out the RSVP card and drop it in the mail, right away.  If it's a more casual event, a phone call or quick email will do the trick.  And trust me, the host/hostess will be quite grateful that you've responded and helped them in the party planning.

WHAT'S THAT FANTASTIC SMELL?

Here's a great idea I came up with after taking apart my bagless dirt-cup thingy on my vacuum cleaner.   Mine looks like this, all taken apart:


It's a pretty standard model so yours may look the same, or similar.  Here's what I do:

Because the little black foam filter sleeve collects SO much dirt even after you empty the dirt cup, I have to take it all apart and clean it thoroughly after a while.  I separate all the pieces, including the foam sleeve off the black filter (but first I take that part outside and tap tap tap it until all the loose dirt comes off and flies away in the wind somewhere).  Then, I lay out a towel beside the sink and begin to rinse each piece in warm water.  I start with the hard plastic pieces first then set them on the towel.  Then I do the black filter and trust me, you're going to be surprised at how much gross dirt is actually still in there even after you tapped it like crazy.  Your water will run a nasty dark color as you rinse it.  Rinse until the water runs clear.  Now here's the grossest part of all: the black foam sleeve filter thingy.  If you thought the dirt collection was nasty in the black filter, hold on to your hat.  This thing is truly disgusting.  Hold it under the water and rinse & squeeze (repeat this as many times as it takes to get the water to run clear).  Once it does, squeeze it as much as you can to get all the water out, then set it on the towel.  Let it dry all day & all night.  Once all the parts are dry, spray a light coating of fabric refresher on both the black filter and the black foam sleeve.  Let that sit for about another 30-60 minutes to dry then put it all back together & stick it all back in the vacuum cleaner.  Now, the next time you vacuum you'll notice two things. 1.  Your vacuum works better because it's filter is clean (clean filters means it sucks up stuff way better) and 2. it smells awesome!  

Eventually you have to replace those little black foam filter sleeve thingies but to extend the life of it, and to keep your machine running well, and to make it smell fabulous while you vacuum, you can try this trick.

Well, that's about all I have for today. :-)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Healthy Choices

Just a quickie here to let folks know, hubby and I have started a new FB community page called Healthy Choices. We're hoping to share some encouragement, helpful articles, yummy recipes and just good stuff for those on the journey to healthier eating & living.

Come check it out and let us know what you think! Healthy Choices

Status Report: January 2013

Well, here we are at the beginning of a brand new year. A clean slate, a fresh piece of paper, a mopped and gleaming kitchen floor :-)  Here's a status report of sorts:

Thinking... about how it never seems to matter with certain people in your world, you'll never do anything right, or enough, or fast enough, or slow enough, or whatever enough.  Some people just notice those things and feel compelled to always point them out (while neglecting to mention the things you are doing right).  Usually, this is just highly annoying but sometimes it can be helpful because we all have blind spots.  I'm still learning how to differentiate the two and it's a tough one.

Considering... the impact the lifestyle changes Kevin and I have made, and how they affect others around us. By lifestyle changes of course what I mean is our efforts to lose the extra pounds, make healthy food choices and get into better shape.  God gives us each 1 body and He expect us to take good care of it.  Kev and I both neglected that for a very long time and we're doing all we can to make that right.  On the plus side (and there's lots of plusses), our choices have been a good influence on our kids in that they are now requesting healthier dinners & snacks too.  We LOVE that.  We only wish we would have made this choice about 20 years ago.  On the negative side, I've now had two different people tell me that I talk about it too much.  I really don't even know what to say about that.  When I was learning to sew, I talked about that a lot.  When I started homeschooling, I talked about that a lot.  No one ever told me I talked too much about sewing or homeschooling but this is different somehow and I'm not sure why.  I'm still trying to figure that one out.  What I do know is that the subject matter annoys certain folks.  I'm just not sure about the why.

Thankful... for the people in my life that consistently offer encouragement, support, understanding and "good job".  I'm one of those people that is very very very easily discouraged.  One negative word and I often feel like a total loser. It's something I've battled my whole life - knowing that basing my own self-worth or what have you on the opinions of others, is never wise.  Since becoming a Christian I know my worth in God's eyes and that's the most loving, comforting sense of peace anyone can ever have.  Yet, I still struggle with the negative opinions of people.  I suppose I always will, so having uplifting people around me is a HUGE deal, and I'm very thankful for them.

Deliriously happy about... the progess Kev and I have made with our fitness goals. Yep, I'm going to talk about it again, just briefly. He's now lost 38 pounds and is in maintain/tone mode.  He's a rock star :-)  I've lost 17 pounds and my goal is sort of shifty because I really don't know for sure where it's going.  I don't know if I want to lose another 20 or if I'll be (finally) comfortable in my own skin at just another 10 pounds gone.  The determining factor for me is how my clothes fit & how I feel, not really what the scale says.  Regardless, the hard work has paid off for Kev and is paying off for me as well and I'm happy with that.

Excited about... 2013.  This is (Lord willing) going to be a pretty big year for us.  Our plan is to purchase our first house and we're super excited about that.  Living in town as opposed to out in the middle of nowhere means the elimination of SO many restrictions and inconveniences for all of us.  2013 also means Rachel's grade 8 graduation which is a super-duper big deal to her, and we're excited about that too.  I can't believe by fall, we're going to have two kids in high school.  They were all still toddlers just a few weeks ago, weren't they?

Well, that's about all for today.  I wish you and yours a very happy, blessed New Year!