Category: Food & Home

5 Ways to Stay Productive When the Power Goes Out

Posted on Nov 21, 2014 by No Comments

Do you want to take a guess as to why I am writing this particular title?

I am cozied up in my bedroom with a list of 26 deadlines I have to meet in the next six days. It is stressful but doable, unless. . .

Unless a storm hits. This particular storm is impressive, even for this Texas girl. Hail, 50 mph wind gusts and a flood warning. For the record, our property is boundaried by two creeks.


Of course the electricity is going on and off like a strobe light and every time I go to check one of my references the WiFi goes down. Just a teeny bit of frustration there.

I need to find some way to continue to be productive or I am never going to meet that deadline. I‘d love to kick back and watch old movies and sip wine but my clients wouldn’t like that excuse. Besides, the cable isn’t working, either.

Although I am a writer, I think that these ideas for staying productive when the power goes out are easily implemented by anyone who works primarily with computers.

One: Use Your Cell Phone or iPad

There are a lot of things you can handle on your cell phone or iPad that you might not think of. Of course, it is fairly easy to check email and return it but research, uploading files to Google Docs, and teleconferences can all be handled with the phone or iPad.

It took me awhile to figure out that I had viable options beyond melt downs, tears, and ice cream. This may seem like a no brainer to you but it was revelation to me.

Two: Work on Your Calendar

If you can’t do anything else, look at your calendar and make sure your schedule is do-able and doesn’t have conflicts. I have an editorial calendar and I double-check deadlines and make notes on it.

Three: Brainstorm

I rarely have time to sit down and think about article titles and other details. I don’t know about you, but much of the time it feels like I am running around putting out fires rather than doing anything proactive.

When the Internet is down I write down article ideas, projects, and other intellectual chores I rarely have the time, or the brainpower, for.

Four: Visualize Success

Visualizing is part of believing and achieving. As a Christian I pray daily but it’s easy to forget about visualizing my successful outcome, which I think is part of building faith and belief.

It seems like a very non-productive thing to do but it is probably the most productive thing you can do for your career. No matter what your personal beliefs are, I encourage you to work on this – even when it’s not storming.

Five: Take a Break

Many mornings I get up, fix the family breakfast and then work until I am forced to stop for some reason. IF I eat lunch at all, it’s at my computer. Sometimes I work until one or two in the morning.

The point is, I don’t take breaks. It’s nice to treat a power outage as a sign from the heavenlies that I need time to wind down, take a book and a glass of wine, and sit out on the porch and watch it rain.

If you work at home how do you handle power outages?

image credit: Rochelle Hartman

Finding a Diet that Works

Posted on Nov 21, 2014 by No Comments

In my quest to eat healthy and lose weight, one thing I’ve come to learn is that balance and moderation is the key.

In the past, I’ve given up meat, given up flour, given up sugar, detoxed, fasted, juiced, ate raw, counted calories, counted carbs. I lost weight and felt great on all of them, but eventually I gained back the weight and landed back at “start.”

I was not equipped to keep it off – no matter how many of the diets call themselves “lifestyles” for me, they did not overcome my default behavior. Again, I have weight to lose so where do I turn?

The one good thing about trying so many ways to eat healthy and keep my weight within the normal range, I’ve learned things about myself.

For instance, I can do without sweets if I have to, but if I don’t indulge every once in a while my sweet tooth gets the better of me and the next thing you know I’m binging. And it’s not just sweets.

Diets that totally restrict a whole category, or categories, of food, eventually don’t work for me.

Woman measuring waist
Counting calories really works well, but I have to be careful. It’s not just about how many calories I eat. It’s finding the balance and moderation of eating right.

For instance, one time a friend of mine started eating dips and chips as we were preparing for a party later in the day. He ate all of his calories for the whole day by breakfast time, so he ate pickles for the rest of the day because they were “free” on his diet.

Instead, approaching calories with what I learned from low-carb dieting has helped me avoid feeling hungry by making choices that are lower carb, too. However, most days I do allow myself a sweet treat of some kind. Right now it is a serving of ice cream.

And by the way, that doesn’t mean a bowl of ice cream. It’s a moderate amount, but enough to keep me happy. I actually weigh it out on a food scale so I don’t “cheat” and sabotage myself. Eating ice cream is not good or bad, but eating too much ice cream often is bad for me.

And I’m not alone. A recent study says that sugar should be about 5 percent of our daily calories. According to the latest guidelines, for someone on a 2000 calorie diet that means about 100 calories come from sugar. That translates to 6 teaspoons.

I admit; I’m not there, but not sure I ever will be. For now I’ll settle for balanced and moderate.

Photo credits: Post Memes, wikimedia

Link Round-up: Collections, Christmas Ornaments, Salt and Sugar Scrubs, and More

Posted on Nov 20, 2014 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has organization tips for kids’ collections, Christmas ornament ideas for kids, a natural salt and sugar scrub, and more.

A Beautiful Mess showed us some cute ideas for using rainbow ink.

Kids’ Activities Blog shared some tips for keeping kids’ collections under control.

How Does She shared 21 Christmas ornaments kids can make.


Crafts by Amanda showed us how to turn stenciled CDs and DVDs into coasters.

Olivia Cleans Green taught us how to make natural salt and sugar scrubs.

Pizzazzerie showed us how to set colorful kids’ Thanksgiving table.

Painted Home Designs showed us how to turn a dresser into an island.

Photo credit: A Beautiful Mess and Crafts by Amanda

Link Round-up: DIY Ornaments, Glittery Napkins, Activities for Preschoolers, and More

Posted on Nov 18, 2014 by 2 Comments

Today’s link round-up has DIY ornaments, glittery Thanksgiving napkins, fall activities for preschoolers, and more.

Crafts by Amanda showed us how to make Thanksgiving napkins with glitter leaves and acorns.

Kids’ Activities Blog shared some fall activities for preschoolers.

How Does She taught us how to make a simple, chic headband.


A Beautiful Mess showed us how to make oversized photo booth prints for under $10.

Pizzazzerie taught us how to make cute acorn drink stirrers.

Create Craft Love shared a tutorial for a reindeer wreath.

Crafts ‘n Coffee showed us how to make a felted snowball ornament.

Photo credit: Crafts by Amanda and A Beautiful Mess

Link Round-up: Thanksgiving Ideas, Cake Pops, Boo-Boo Bags, and More

Posted on Nov 13, 2014 by 1 Comment

Today’s link round-up has a few Thanksgiving ideas, plus fun cake pops, boo-boo bags, a DIY crochet cowl, and more.

Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons showed us how to make Thanksgiving turkey snack bags.

Mind Body Green talked about five relationship problems that are totally normal.

Pint Sized Baker showed us how to make cute Marie Antoinette cake pops.


Homemade Interest taught us how to make a Thanksgiving turkey sign.

Living Chic on the Cheap taught us how to make boot socks.

A Mom’s Take inspired us to make some boo-boo bags.

A Beautiful Mess showed us how to make our own crochet cowls.

Photo credit: Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons and Homemade Interest

Link Round-up: Thanksgiving Sides, Crustless Apple Pie, DIY Hand Scrub, and More

Posted on Nov 11, 2014 by 3 Comments

Today’s link round-up has some Thanksgiving sides to be thankful for, pear and pumpkin bread, a DIY hand scrub, and more.

Chocolate Covered Katie shared a crustless apple pie recipe.

Hungry Happenings showed us how to make Magic 8 Ball cakes.

Happy Deal Happy Day taught us how to make a coffee filter wreath.

Pint Sized Baker shared a recipe for pear and pumpkin bread.


Homemade Interest shared 10 Thanksgiving sides to be thankful for.

A Mom’s Take shared ideas for beating the wintertime blues.

A Dose of Paige taught us how to make a hand scrub.

Photo credit: Chocolate Covered Katie and Homemade Interest

Chia Pudding a Versatile Nutritious Powerhouse Snack

Posted on Nov 7, 2014 by 1 Comment

Years ago I had a friend tell me about chia seeds. I was interested, but then she had me taste them. “They don’t have much of a taste,” she said.

She had soaked them in water, and it was like tasting tiny globular gel balls with no flavor. Something in my brain has said, no thank you to this little seed ever since. That is until now.

Recently I’ve given chia seeds another chance as I’ve been searching for a snack that can help me satisfy my cravings for something cool and creamy. I confess, I often turn to ice cream, but eating even a small serving each day reflects in my weight when I step on that scale.

I didn’t naturally think of turning to chia seeds, but have a friend who accidentally over bought in bulk and offered to give some away. Free. Something about getting something for nothing makes me figure out how I can use it, and it was no different with the chia seeds. The result, in my case, is chia pudding.

Currently I like to make it with almond milk, a hint of vanilla, cinnamon and sweetener, but I may be trying chocolate by adding some cocoa.

It’s easy to make. Just mix three tablespoons of chia seeds in one cup of milk with your favorite flavorings. Cover and keep in the refrigerator overnight and the next morning, voila, it is pudding. Granted it is like tapioca pudding, so if you don’t like tapioca it might not be the snack for you, but chia pudding is my new friend.

Along with the ease in mixing up a batch, chia seeds are low calorie. They provide fiber, protein, healthy fats including Omega-3s, calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and more.

They make my pudding a whole-grain snack option that’s low carb and helps curb appetite. Picture me slapping my forehead and asking, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”

I’m still new at making chia pudding, so if you have a recipe you love, I’d like to hear it.

Photo credits: wikimedia

Link Round-up: Recipes, Beauty Finds, Pumpkin Spice Room Spray, and More

Posted on Nov 6, 2014 by 2 Comments

Today’s link round-up has recipes, beauty finds, a pumpkin spice room spray, and more.

Chocolate Covered Katie taught us how to make cheesecake Reese’s.

Crystal & Co. shared an amazing chili cheese dip recipe.

Growing Up Gabel shared some tips for filling deviled eggs.

link ru plumbing repair

Kenarry shared plumbing repair red flags you shouldn’t ignore.

The Domestic Life Stylist shared five beauty finds she’s falling over this fall.

Crafts ‘n Coffee taught us how to make a ribbon loop Christmas wreath.

Wellness Mama taught us how to make pumpkin spice room spray.

Photo credit: Chocolate Covered Katie and Kenarry

Healthy Foods Turn Dangerous with Overconsumption

Posted on Nov 6, 2014 by 1 Comment

Too much of a good thing is still too much. In our quest to eat healthy, many of us have made adjustments to eat better. However, nutritionists remind us that eating too much of even good-for-us foods can turn into a dangerous thing.

I’ll never forget hearing about the woman who died after drinking too much water to win a Wii when she participated in a radio show challenge. The 28-year-old left behind a husband and three children.

During the wrongful death suit it was suggested that the woman should have accepted some of the responsibility in knowing that drinking so much water was dangerous. The jury didn’t agree, but with that said, I ask how many of us are aware of the dangers of overdoing it with things healthy?

For instance, if we overindulge on oranges or tomatoes it can lead to reflux. If we continue down this path it can lead to a disorder which forms precancerous lesions on the esophageal lining.

How much is too much? Recommendations say to limit eating two servings a day, and for those who already suffer from acid reflux, they should be avoided.

Spinach is another healthy leafy green that offers protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. It is also high in lutein, which can help prevent age-related macular degeneration. All good, right? The caution is that it is also high in oxalate and over consumption may lead to the development of calcium oxalate kidney stones.

Soy is another healthy food known to help control cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Those results have been shown with moderate consumption.

The down side is that it can also inhibit the absorption of iron. So if you overdo it, there’s the potential for becoming anemic. Even worse, because soy contains estrogen, if you take in large amounts over a long period of time, it may lead to endometrial hyperplasia which may lead to uterine cancer.

Along with these, there’s the issue of fish, including tuna. While fish is good for us, eating too much raises the risk of mercy poisoning, unless they’ve been farm raised.

The bottom line, once again, points to moderation. In whatever we eat, over consumption is not good for us.

Photo credits: Alpha