Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Are you a Complainer?

Are you one of those people who find yourself complaining when you don't mean to?

Recently my sister and I were going somewhere and I made some negative comment, you know the type, "I hate it when..."  She stopped me right there and said, "OK, now you have to give 12 positive comments."  I was all indignant.  I didn't mean that as a negative comment really, I just was commenting that I didn't like whatever it was.  She told me it didn't matter, it was negative and now I had to say my 12 positive comments.  I asked if they had to be about the subject of my complaint and she told me they did not. 

Since then it has been a game with us and when I went on a trip with some great college kids (I was the chaperone - eeks), I did the game with them.  If they made a negative comment I stopped them immediately and they had to say 12 positive things about whatever came to mind.  It was a lot of fun and it made us all aware of when we were making negative comments or complaining.  They even asked if they could do it with I'm gonna say no!!  HA!!  Anyway, give it a try...and anything you make into a game and let the kids catch you at is a good way to make yourself correct a negative behavior.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Camping survival techniques you can practice in the winter

I love to camp out but not so much in the winter.  But I miss camping during the long cold months of winter and besides that's usually when the power goes out so it's a great time to practice and play around with some neat winter survival techniques.

My favorite is to cook using my Dutch oven.  If you don't have one you might even want to check into getting one.  They are just awesome for cooking one dish meals on car camping trips or when you can't use the stove/oven.  They work on a fire or better yet with charcoal under and on top of the lid.  But during winter you could actually use it in your fireplace.  Makes power outages a fun adventure rather than a trial to be endured.

If you don't have a Dutch oven try foil cooking in the fireplace.  Use heavy duty foil around just about any meat and include vegetables (onions, potatoes, carrots, peppers, etc.) and have a meal in a foil dish.  Most usually you would want to cook these in individual size portions so each person can put their own veggies and how ever much meat they want.  I double my foil and be sure it is completely sealed all around my food.  Then bury your meat/veggie pack in the coals.  Cook for about 45 minutes.  Note:  cut longer cooking veggies like carrots and potatoes up small so they will cook thoroughly.

Hey, another cool thing to cook in foil is a banana boat.  You split your banana in half lengthwise without removing the peal, fill it with chocolate chips and mini marshmallows, wrap with foil and bake in coals for about 5 minutes.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Habit Forming Resolutions

I got this fantastic little tip from Delilah's newsletter (you can check her out at Delilahdotcom) and thought I'd pass it along.  I'm gonna do this myself.  How simple and yet I can see how it would be effective.  Of course you can ignore the dates and start with the next week writing down...well, I getting ahead of myself the insert and we'll get back to that...

"Between December 25th and 31st, I keep a notebook handy. As I think of resolutions I jot them down. On January 1st, I choose three of them and put them on my fridge. Then, during the month of January, I concentrate on achieving each of those three as often as I can. I put check marks beside them each time, just so I have a feeling of accomplishment. Then, on February 1st, I choose three more and do the same in February as I did January. I find that as I do each one more and more, they actually become a part of my daily routine without me thinking about it.

It's a glorious feeling! Of course I run out of resolutions before the end of the year. When that happens, I'll go back and look them over. If there's one I've been having trouble with, or I realize it hasn't really become routine, I do that one again. It feels good but, more importantly, it makes other people feel good. Isn't that really what it's all about?"
So, there you are.  And we're only a month off.  Start now, writing down the things you want accomplish.  Think about this, they only need to be short term goals because you're only giving yourself a month at a time to complete it.  And part of this is making something a habit.  If you do something consistently 21 times it will become habit.  So, if I want to add exercise on my Pilates to my list of good habits, I say for the month of February I will do 10 minutes (or 20 or whatever) of Pilates EVERY DAY!!  Now if I do it GREAT, but if I don't I'm not gonna beat myself up.  I get a check mark (whoo hoo) and I might even have a new habit formed by the end of the month!!  How cool is that!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Disaster Plan

We don’t all live in tornado, hurricane or earthquake areas and certainly not war torn areas but there are things that can and do happen, unfortunately, everywhere. And with winter in full force now there are power outages. Nobody wants to hear natural or man-made disasters but things happen and it’s always better to be prepared ahead of time. So…do you have a disaster plan and a kit?

Around the house there are some basics like working and tested smoke detectors, candles and matches, flashlights and extra batteries, first aid kit, food you can eat with no cooking, water enough for everyone in the house (1 gallon minimum for each person for 3 days). In addition, you may want to have games, books, etc. to pass the time till the electricity is back on. If your area has lots of power outages you may also want to have a hand crank radio. Also be sure to have gas non-sparking wrench.

In addition, I keep my camping stove and grill where they’re easily accessible if I do want to cook (like if the power outage is longer than a day or so). If you have power outages a lot you may want to invest in a generator. Our power was out for over a week and the outside temperature was below freezing. Think about and try to prepare for as many possibilities as you can feasibly do.

Then if you live in an area where there are things like forest fires or whatever and you may have to evacuate…if that is the case you will want to have a BUG OUT bag. This is a set of stuff that you can take and run (hopefully in a vehicle and not literally running). I would repack it at least twice a year if not more.

Things you will want in this emergency bag are:

· Contact information for those you care about and where you plan to meet in case of separation, take ID and copies of important papers and Bible, notepad and writing implements and cash

· water (at least one gallon per person for 3 days) long term you’d want some kind of water purification/filter – if you’re a camper you may just keep this in the trunk anyway

· tent, sleeping bag/emergency blanket
· emergency radio (hand crank – check out Red Cross ones)
· lights (I like a LED head lamp – small and extra batteries)
· first aid kit (know how to use and have a first aid book)
· search & rescue (whistle, compass, reflective tape, etc.)
· emergency food (heat and cold can destroy many things, you might want to consider high calorie food bars – they’re not good but they’ll keep you alive or MREs) plus tea bags, drink mixes, sugar, salt/pepper
· snacks (nuts, hard candies, gum) that can help put off hunger pains and depression (not chocolate – it melts), peanut butter is good, though
· knife (fixed blade and multi tool), camp stove, camp dishes, camp towel, duct tape, fire starting materials (matches-dip in paraffin to waterproof store in old film canisters, laundry lint stuffed in egg carton with paraffin melted and poured over makes good tinder and magnesium fire starter kit)
· in winter I put in sweats, hats, etc, in summer I add shorts, t-shirts
· extra clothing like socks and under clothing all the time
· medications (anything you must have)
· work gloves, hard hat, safety goggles, bandana, poncho, dust mask
· toilet paper (in zip type bag), feminine items, soap (maybe in sock to hang on branch), hand sanitizer, tooth brush & paste, other personal items as needed
· possibly want a crow bar, small shovel, saw, etc.
- if you have pets have appropriate supplies – leash, food, water, shot information from vet

Make your bug out bag specific to your area. My brother in Alaska would want a mosquito netting for his hat in the summer. Remember sunscreen in the summer. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it could save your life or at least make it more pleasant in the event things get nasty. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best and pray to God that the worst never happens.

Here are some decent web sites you can use to help more than my meager efforts.– business preparedness – pet care
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

You can buy many of the items listed in this blog from sporting-goods stores, hardware stores, Army surplus stores, and the following sources:

Adventure Medical Kits, 800-324-3517;
Brunton, 307-856-6559; very high end dollar
Campmor, 888-226-7667;
Eastern Mountain Sports, 888-463-6367; 
Nalgene Outdoor Products, 800-625-4327;
Snow Peak USA, 503-697-3330;
SOG Specialty Knives and Tools, 425-771-6230;
Survival Resources, 845-471-2434;
REI, 800-426-4840;

Friday, January 8, 2010


Do you make a TO DO list every day or whenever there are several things that need done? I love TO DO lists. They can make you so efficient, so organized and time efficient but you do have to know how to use them and how to do it well.
First let’s write down what you need to do. It might look like this:

- organize my office,

- buy groceries,

- schedule a doctor’s appointment,

- clean the kitchen and

- write a blog for next week.
These do NOT make a good to do list. For one thing it would take a week or more to do all I’ve written down and I only have today to get it done. Second I’m not actually going to do that…like who organizes their office. What do I really NEED to do and what can I get done TODAY?

Here’s how I would modify the list for those parameters.
Organize the office – for starters this is one of those things I’d like have completed someday but I’d never be able to do it all in one day (it took 10 years to get like this it’s not likely to get fixed in one week much less one day), and it is an ongoing thing you can never do it once and have it done forever. So, my solution is to find one thing I want to work on today and then work on it. Today my task on my to do list will be to create a file folder for major topics I need to file. That I can do…what are your file topics?
Buy groceries – I need a menu first, then I need to check the cupboards and ideally I would want to clean out the refrigerator before actually shopping. Truthfully all of this needs done so it all goes on the list as individual items.
Schedule a doctor’s appointment – if it’s one of those things you tend to put off, give yourself a reward for doing it NOW or as soon as the office opens.
Clean the kitchen – so the real thing here is what do you really mean? Is it to wash the dishes or do you really mean organize the Tupperware? Whatever it is list what that is. Mine would to go through the junk drawer today (yippee I actually did it) and tomorrow match lids to containers in the Tupperware cabinet. So don’t just say “clean the kitchen”.
Write a blog for next week – that might be ok as is. But it would be much more effective and more likely to get done if I wrote something like write a blog about TO DO LISTS. Then I don’t have to vacillate around for a couple of hours starting this post or that and not really getting anything written.
So here’s my new list:

     Create file folders for major topics – insurance, bills, blogs, scrapbooking, crafts, etc

     Create menu for week – meatloaf, baked chicken, tomato soup & grilled cheese, grilled tilapia, stew

     Check ingredients in freezer, pantry and fridge

     Throw out old food in fridge

     Call doctor’s office at 8:30 AM

     Match lids to containers

     Write a blog about procrastination

If I get it all done and I will because I’ve made it realistic, achievable and specific then be sure to reward yourself. What would be real reward to you? What would motivate you and DO NOT let yourself have whatever it is if you don’t get it done. What would be a reward for you? Is it Internet time, an hour reading a book, veg time with a cup of hot tea, bath time with no interruptions (like that’s gonna happen!), but whatever it is find it, list it and then reward yourself ONLY when you’ve done everything on the list.

I almost NEVER sit in front of the TV without either a notebook (which I take EVERYWHERE I go) or my laptop (or most likely both). As I am watching a movie on DVD (we never watch TV per se – too many commercials) I am writing down ideas, or making my TO DO list for tomorrow, or creating scrapbook pages on the laptop. If I’m not doing that I am folding clothes, crocheting or working on a craft of some sort. I make it an absolute rule that I do not sit in front of the TV without doing something else. I just cannot stand the waste.
Now that is not to say that you shouldn’t just relax. I do, but mostly when I am reading a book or getting ready to go to sleep or sitting in a hot bath. Maybe you spend your relaxing time in front of the TV…up to you, of course. You do need to relaxation time. It might even be the whole day, that’s what God did with the Sabbath. Be certain you’re spending time with each family member every week.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Where does the time's already a full week into 2010

What are your plans?  You do have plans, right!!
I'm thinking about the places I volunteer - church, Red Cross, Convoy of Hope (feed the hungry) and others.  How many hours do you spend volunteering?  Does it need to be more, less, how are helping those in need?  Just some thoughts.
OK, now how thrifty are you?  Creative?  This is my form of recycling and thought I'd pass along a few ideas in case you need some reuse it tips!!

Second Hand Thrifty Crafts -
     Jeans - what do you do with yours when they are truly worn out?  or you just can't wear them?  If they're good enough and don't have holes you could give to a second hand store but if they have holes in all the wrong places I use mine for making really cool throw blankets or even full size quilts for beds.  My sister and I made one for our brother in Alaska and he LOVES it...too awesome that!!  We put pockets all over to hold things like the remote, pens/pencils, etc. But there are other things you can do with old jeans.  I even buy them at the second hand store (helping out the children's home in this case) for a dollar each.  Other things to use old jeans for:  make handbags (gave to all my nieces one year for Christmas), placemats (how cool, match everything that's not fancy and can't ruin), throw pillows.  What have you used your old jeans for?
     Old Books - what do you do with old hard back books you've read, they won't sell in the garage sale (you've tried that) and you can't just throw them out or burn 'em (too Hitlerish).  So you make a lamp out of them.  Mark the center (string from corner to cormer) and drill a hole the size of your pole, might need clamps for this.  Decide which book will be your bottom book and add feet to it.  Stack them, lay flat on the table, line up centers, press pole down thru hole.  Feed cords up through pole, attach lamp holder piece, add shade, bulb and plug in.
     Old Frames - There are only about a million cool things you can do with an old frame.  Paint it, decoupage it, add beads, add a mirror behind the frame, add a smaller framed photo inside a larger empty frame and place on the wall (frame inside a frame), spray paint with gold or silver and add (or not) glitter, cover with fabric to match photo behind.  How have you used old frames?
     Old out-of-fashion clunky necklaces - take these apart and use to create new more up-to-date necklaces, bracelets, etc., or use on the frames as mentioned above, or add to the bottom of a fish tank (non-toxic only), make a stringed tab on a bookmark, or a key chain.  Add to the stuff you made from the old jeans, purses, etc.
     Old broken crayons - if you have a fireplace you can make fire starters out of these and paper egg cartons.  Take your dryer lint and stuff into egg carton spaces, melt broken crayons and bits of old left over candles and pour over dryer lint.  When dry separate each "egg".  Use to help start fires in the fireplace or if you make a bonfire.
     Old single socks - make a pet toy by adding a tennis ball or other type bouncy ball to the end, tying a knot or two and throw for the dogs.  You can add catnip for cats.
So, what are your ideas for reusing old stuff?  I'd so love to hear!!