Friday, June 12, 2015

$ummer $aving$-Recipe$ for a cooler Kitchen

Your AC is already working overtime when the heat is on and the humidity is high.  And the hottest room in your house is usually the kitchen.  I know mine is and the last thing I want to do after a long hot ride home from the office is stand in front of the stove preparing the evening meal...

Here are a few easy tips for lowering the temperature while not having to go hungry

1)  Don't use the oven or range top.  Summer is a great time to grill burgers, chicken or chops, keeping the heat outside.  And don't forget your slow cooker, toaster oven or electric skillet for meal prep.

2)  Cover your post when cooking to keep more of the heat in the pan.  This reduces cooking time and keeps the kitchen cooler.

3)  Serve a cold meal.  Salad suppers, chilled soups, even cold grilled meats and marinated vegetables make a delicious summer meal.

4)  Keep the air moving with a ceiling fan.  It allows your body to cool down and doesn't use much electricity.

5)  Air dry your dishes instead of using the heat dry cycle on the dishwasher.

6)  Clean the refrigerator coils on the back of your fridge to get the best cooling power for your money.

7)  Let someone else do the cooking!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Get out Your Pencil 2-THe BIG KAHUNA and Monthly, Weekly and Daily to do lists

This is where the rubber meets the road-
I ALWAYS have MORE items on my lists than I can humanly accomplish in the time frame allotted and that doesn't bother me.  If it bothers you then use 2 pages-one for the absolutes MUST do and the other page for IF TIME PERMITS

We are what we repeatedly do. 
Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.

The BIG Kahuna LIST
This is my list of ALL drawers, cabinets, and closets that I hope to tackle during the year
It is written by rooms
For example

  • Refrigerator
  • Silverware drawer
  • Under microwave drawers 1, 2 (because I have 2 drawers that each need attention)
  • and so on
I do this for each room in my house and include the basement, attic and garage, storage shed IF you have them and want to tackle them. 

Monthly Goals-
These are things that need to be accomplished during the specific month

  • Yard Work
  • Big cleaning or decluttering jobs from the BIG KAHUNA list--I usually work by room
  • Filing taxes, getting the kids passports, etc.
  • Making or Buying gifts needed by a specific date
For example- I had clean out pine cones and stick from under pine-trees on my February list but 8 inches of snow derailed my plan! so I picked something else from the BIG KAHUNA

Weekly Goals-
These are specific to what needs to be done that week.  
  • Pickup dry cleaning
  • Order birthday cake
  • Clean out 1 desk drawer
  • Make pillowcases using fabric stash 1 2 3 4 5
  • etc.
Daily Goals-
These are the things that MUST be done or I HOPE to get done if I am not to tired or KARMA doesn't get in the way.  I also include my meal plan for the day.
  • Spaghetti and Meatballs
  • Write blog post
  • Take picture for Buy, Sell Trade posts 1 2 3 4 5
  • Shovel show off driveway
I don't include things that are done every day such as Make bed, go to work, personal grooming habits but IF you struggle with getting those done then ADD them to your daily list because you will feel a sense of accomplishment when you complete the task.

Cresting HABITS-

It takes about 30 days to create a new habit so if you want to become more organized commit to creating a system that works for you for 30 days.  

Here's some additional reading to help you

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Frugal a Day Week 2

Last week you set some goals so this week we will begin working on them

1)  Write your goals on post it notes or index cards and put in a prominent place.  Your bathroom mirror, car, planner or bible--somewhere you will SEE THEM daily.  Commit to reviewing them daily.

2)  Brainstorm at least 5 ways to work on your goals this week
Rules of Brainstorming-no idea is too outrageous.  Capture all your ideas for meeting your goals

If saving money is one of your goals your brainstorm my look like this
  • Plan a dinner using items in pantry to avoid buying staples this week 
  • Brew coffee at home instead of going to my local coffee shop
  • Take my lunch instead of dining out one day this week
  • Find all my Christmas gift cards and use them instead of cash this week
  • Roll up my accumulated coins and deposit in my savings account
  • Cut up one credit card and notify the company to close the account
  • Read a Self Help book on MONEY by Author Dave Ramsey or your favorite author (check it out of the library to avoid the cost of purchasing a book)
  • Set up a realistic budget using these forms from Dave Ramsey
  • Drink water instead of beverages I purchase from the vending machine
  • Etc.
Remember, your list needs to have SMART goals-

Refer to your goals and your brainstorm list DAILY.  You may not use all your brainstorm ideas but if you use ONE each day (the same or a different one) you will have successfully met your goal this week!  Yea you!

Leave me a comment on your brainstorm ideas and we will compile them into a blog post!


Heart Healthy-By the Number$

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) you are entitled to an annual physical AT no charge.  When making the appointment, make sure you tell the scheduler you want the FREE physical entitled to you under Obamacare or the ACA.
Your physical may include some of the following procedures  or laboratory tests.

According to the American Heart Association the best way to keep your heart healthy is to be in the know of these important numbers:

Total Cholesterol
GOAL--A total cholesterol of less than 180 is considered optimal.
Cholesterol is a result of genetics and to a lesser degree your diet.
Total Cholesterol should be less than 200 mg/dl
LDL (Bad cholesterol) should be less than 100 mg/dl
HDL (good) cholesterol should be GREATER than 50 mg/dl
Triglyceries should be less thant 150 mg/dl

Blood Pressure (BP)
GOAL--Normally should be less than 120/80
The blood pressure rises with each heart beat and falls when the heart relaxes between beats.  BP Can change from minute to minute with changes in posture, sleep, exercise or stress.

77.9 mission adults have high blood pressure.  High BP is the leading cause of death in women in the United States, accounting for 200,000 deaths annually.  As a comparison, Breast Cancer claims 42,000 lives annually.

High BP can result for excessive consumption of SODIUM (Salt).  The recommended daily allowance of sodium is 1500 milligrams or less but Americans consume an average of 3,400 (more than double the daily recommended allowance)

High Blood pressure can contribute to a STROKE
To remember the signs of a stroke think FAST
F-Face Drooping
A-Arm weakness
S-Speech difficulty
T-Time to call 911 if you show any of these symptoms

Body Mass Index (BMI)
GOAL--Should be greater than 18.5 but less than 25
An indicator of a healthy body weight to height
Calculate your BMI

Waist Circumference
35 inches for women and 40 inches for men

Glucose (as measured by HbA1C)
Less than 7%

be sure to schedule some Physical Activity
GOAL--30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity 5 days per week (150 minutes per week)
25 minutes of aerobic activity at least 3 days per week AND muscle strengthening training activity 2 days per week

for more information  check out
the American Heart Association
and National Hearat, BLood, Lung Institute (NHLBI) www/

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Get out your Pencil

This post may not work for many of you, but if you are an organizational-aholic like me, making a list will appeal to you.  I am sure there is some psychology about people who obsessively make lists. My theory is that it helps me feel in control of the things that I can't control.  But I also KNOW from experience that my list helps me get things done that would otherwise be forgotten.

You'll need a spiral notebook (I look for one with a pocket or two) and a pen.

I leave the first page pf the clean notebook blank  and when I am feeling very creative I add inspirational quotes or items I've cut from magazines.  Different colored markers make this page more fun for me.

2nd page is blank in case I need more room later in the year

Page 3 is reserved for my GOALS
I have them categorized into GROW, SAVE, USE, CLEAN, RECYCLE, PHYSICAL, EXPLORE

Time spent thinking about WHAT you want to accomplish is time well spent.
A few years ago a 79 year old aunt of mine died unexpectedly.  I knew she was 79 but her death really made me aware of the passage of time.  I looked at my own life and for the first time realized "there was less track in from of the train than behind it".  That made me take a good hard look at what legacy I wanted to leave behind.  So I became more intentional about HOW I spent the limited amount of time I had in each day.

Goals need to be SMART-
Here are my goals for 2015

GROW-this addressed my spiritual life and work life goals.

  • Grow spiritually by spending quiet time each morning reading a devotional.  Work to hear Gods voice by journaling at least weekly about my experiences.  
  • Read 6 non-fiction work related book this year
SAVE-financial goals

  • Save 10% of salary automatically on payday
  • Use the Virtual Wallet function of Bank Account to save for large purchases
  • Pay bills on time and avoid late fees just because I am too busy to write the check and get it in the mail
USE-use up items instead of buying new 
  • Use up items in pantry and freezer
  • Put things away so I can find them when I need them which will prevent me from buying new because they are "LOST"
  • Complete craft projects that are already started, use craft supplies in new and exciting ways
  • Read my magazines within 30 days of delivery-then donate to 1/2 price book store for $$

CLEAN-remove unwanted items and dirt

  • Put things in their rightful place instead of on counter
  • DECLUTTER by cleaning out every drawer and closet to get rid of unwanted items 
  • ORGANIZE every drawer and closet
  • Get rid of clothing that no longer fits, out of style or I just plain DON'T like(no matter how much it cost or who gave it to me)
  • Deep clean things like blinds and baseboards
RECYCLE-use up items instead of buying new

  • Join my local Facebook chapters of County BUY, Sell, Trade to get rid of unwanted items
  • DONATE unused items to Goodwill, schools, Mountain Mission,etc
  • Use up donated yarn by making scarves for the homeless
  • Host a Garage sale
Physical-Incorporate a 1/2 marathon (13.1 mile) training schedule into my busy life

  • Run 3 x per week-Join a running club at my church for long runs on Saturday mornings, meet with other team members Friday Mornings and co-workers Tuesday Afternoons.  I really need accountability since I really DO NOT like running!
  • Schedule exercise classes into my daily calendar which incorporated weights and cross training
  • buy a CUTE running outfit (makes training more fun)
  • 64 oz. of water daily
  • Consume 4 servings of fruits and veggies daily
  • Take my vitamins and supplements daily

Explore-Try new things

  • Try a new recipe once a month
  • Make lists of books to read, movies to see, wines to try (keep this in my notebook) when I need inspiration
  • Create a Craft notebook of ideas so I can use them for inspiration when I need a push
  • Go to a new Restaurant quarterly

Well, I hope you get the idea from reading my goasl
Your goals belong to you and should reflect WHO you want to become.  It requires some thought and self reflection.  If you feel STUCK then just start collecting ideas on you page-you can develop goals from theses raw ideas over the next days and weeks.  

We will address the next step of creating your MONTHLY, WEEKLY and DAILY to do lists in the next post.

Happy pondering!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Frugal a Day-Week One (1)

We've missed school 3 days this week already and it is only Wednesday!
We've shoveled the driveway 3 times this week and it is only Wednesday! 
The kids have cleaned their rooms 3 times and it's only Wednesday!
It's only Wednesday and the teenager has already watched more
 hours of TV than she usually does all week...And it's only Wednesday!
The fridge is empty and it;s only Wednesday!

We've...well, you get the idea

So out of our disrupted routine this Blog Idea was born!
When you are home bound with too much time on your hands you can use it to your advantage.
I plan on inspiring you with 5 frugal tips, storage ideas and inspirations for the foreseeable future.
These are not aha moments-just mini-routines you can begin to incorporate into your life to have more peace, more happiness, less clutter and more money

Ready?, Set? Begin...

1)  Start each day with a routine. 
YOUR routine-not the idealistic routine that you've read about in the latest magazine article.  
Examine your daily routine and record the things that give your day structure, peace and joy.  
Keep these things. 
My dear husband gets up first and always brings me my coffee when I am in the shower.  
It is a great way to start the day.  

I always read a morning devotional called Jesus Calling.  It helps me remember I am not the CEO of the universe, though I often try to act like I am.  This centers and calms my spirit and allows me to offer up prayers for those things that concern me most that day.  It may be reading the paper, a spot of yoga or the morning news show.  Some ME time allows me to face the day with more vigor and enthusiasm.  

Next, record the things that bring you stress, chaos and bring out the mean mommy in you
Brainstorm ways to CHANGE these things into structure, peace and joy.
If you can never find your keys in the morning rush install a hook by the door and begin the habit of placing them there.

School lunches are always made at the last minute?  Involve the kiddos in making them, give a place in the fridge to keep the perishables and let the kids make them while you are preparing dinner (or as you are cleaning up the kitchen).  I find that having the kids make their own lunches insures they will eat them and I only have to wipe down counters ONCE an evening.  Frugal use of my time!

Pack backpacks after homework is done and leave by the door.  No more frantic scrambling in the morning to find the book, permission slip or art project.
The things that cause you stress may be entirely different than mine...what ever it is 
the key to TAMING it is NAMING IT.
Try assorted solutions until you find one that works for you and your household.  


Have a Happy Day

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Baby, it's Cold Out$ide!

5 tips that can prevent your pipes from freezing

Another winter storm advisory with extremely cold temperatures is heading our way and we are expecting the high to be 3 degrees tomorrow in Kentucky

As you know, when water freezes, it expands. If water freezes in a pipe, it will expand in the same way. If it expands too much, the pipe will burst, water will flow and serious damage will occur. This can happen whether your pipes are copper or plastic.

The three causes of frozen pipes are: poor insulation, a quick drop in temperature and your thermostat is set too low. Be aware that any time the tempfrozen pipeserature dips to 32 degrees, unprotected pipes are vulnerable to freezing, especially when you factor in the wind chill.

Here are 5 tips that can prevent your pipes from freezing:

Tip 1: Before the cold hits, insulate pipes in attics, crawl spaces and outside walls. Pipe insulation is available in foam sleeves or fiberglass.

Tip 2: When the weather is freezing, leave kitchen or bathroom cabinets doors open to allow the warm air to protect the pipes. This is especially important if the pipes are located on an outside wall.

Tip 3: Allow a small stream of water to flow from the faucet through pipes that are vulnerable to freezing.

Tip 4: When the temperature is below freezing, keep thermostats at the same temperature at night as during the day. You may try to conserve energy by reducing your thermostat at night, however, this could cause your pipes to freeze.

Tip 5: Every responsible person in the household should know where the main cut-off valve is located in your home. Tag it.

If you turn on your faucet and the water doesn't flow, the water in your pipes may already be frozen. You may be able to thaw out your pipe with a hair dryer, however for safety purposes, call a plumber.

If your pipes have already burst, turn the water off at the main shut-off valve, leave the water faucets turned on and call a plumber.

Stay warm and call the Home-Comfort experts if you have plumbing or heating issues.