(Photo of clocks courtesy Leo Reynolds' Flickr photostream.)
- I've always wanted to make petit fours, and I've bookmarked Bakerella's post, with its beautiful photos and a delicious-looking recipe for cream cheese pound cake.
- Cooking During Stolen Moments has some great recipes (check out her top 10 chicken recipes). I also love her cooking method: Use those little moments throughout the day to prepare dinner so there's no need to panic at 5:00.
- Looking to create good habits or quit bad ones? My Bad Habits is an interesting blog by a psychology professor all about the science behind habits.
- Check out Alyssa Avant's webpages: Beauty by Design Online, and Life From My Laptop. She's a Christian writer and speaker, and I've really been enjoying her blog. I've also been following her on Twitter (@alyssaavant), and she's always gracious, even when I ask her lots of questions. =)
- Have you seen Homeschool Freebie of the Day? Every weekday, they offer a new homeschool-related download for free. If you sign up for their e-mail newsletter, you'll also get a subscribers-only freebie each week.
- What kinds of things do you plant?
- What tips do you have for a newbie?
- Do you keep a gardening journal?
- Smalltownville Library
- The Town In Which We Used to Live library
- Cute Historic Town Library
- Town With the Grocery Store Library
- Big City Library
(Library photo from Radioher's Flickr photostream.)
Schoolhouse Photo Source: AriCee's Flickr photostream.
Real Simple Magazine- Did you know you could get a 1-year subscription to Real Simple for only $5? I don't know if this is Amazon's regular price or some sort of promotion, but it's a fantastic deal!
When is a Cookie Not a Cookie- This thought-provoking article from It's Not About Nutrition gives a different take on "healthy" sweets.
The Healthy and Fit Algorithm- Leo at Zen Habits gets right to the point with some basic tips on eating right and exercising.
Three Paths to Fitness- Can you do 100 pushups? How about 200 sit-ups and squats? No? Me neither. But Get Fit Slowly has links to three programs that can help you get there. I'm working on the pushups, though I freely admit having to do girly pushups on my knees.
I tend to have some sleep problems from time to time, whether it’s taking too long to fall asleep or repeatedly waking up at night. Lately, though, I’ve had a much harder time, so I decided to do some research into getting a better night’s sleep. I found some great information and wanted to share what I learned, because a good night’s sleep Works for Me!
Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
- How much sleep do you need? Obviously, if your body needs 8 hours of sleep and you’re only getting 6, you need to make some changes. However, the opposite is also true: Trying to sleep 8 or more hours when you only need 6-7 will not only be difficult, but can make you groggy during the day.
- Have a regular sleep schedule. This means going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning, including weekends. I’m sorry.
- The bedroom is for sleeping. (And, ahem, other things…) Using the bedroom for working, paying bills, watching TV, etc. can make it difficult to fall asleep later. You want your mind to associate the bedroom with sleeping.
- In what condition is your mattress? If it’s sagging in the middle, or just plain old, you might need to save up for a new one. Also, take into account whether you prefer a softer or harder mattress. While you’re at it, make sure you’re sleeping on a comfy pillow that provides enough support.
During the Day:
- Get enough sunshine. Your body uses the daily cycles of light and dark to figure out when it should be asleep. (I know, that’s a very technical explanation!) I’ve found that if I don’t get much sunlight during the day, I don’t sleep as well.
- Be active! I can see this very clearly with Chickpea, and I have no doubt it works for us adults, too: Getting plenty of movement during the day helps you sleep better at night.
- Clean your room, young lady! Make your bed in the morning, and keep your bedroom neat and clean. Visual clutter can be stress-inducing, and climbing into an unmade bed surrounded by mess can certainly make it hard to relax.
- Don’t nap during the day. I’ve been guilty of this lately, and it’s easy to fall into a vicious cycle. Sleep poorly one night, then take a nap the next afternoon, and then you can’t fall asleep again that night! Unless you’re a newborn, daytime is not for sleeping.
A Few Hours Before Bed:
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol. This will be different for everyone. Maybe you can tolerate a cup of coffee an hour before bed, while someone else needs to steer clear of coffee for at least five hours.
- Eat a light dinner. Or at least, don’t eat an exceptionally heavy meal. It’s no fun trying to sleep when dinner is heavy like lead in your stomach.
- Don’t snack right before bed. Same reason as above.
- Or, have a snack! Sometimes having a little something (key word: little) can keep you from being too hungry to sleep.
30 Minutes Before Bed:
- Avoid the screen. This means TV, movies, and (gulp) the Internet. It’s way too easy to get caught up in it until it’s suddenly way past your bedtime. Plus, the bright light of the computer screen isn’t exactly conducive to sleep.
- Dim the lights. The idea is to get your body to realize that it’s almost bedtime. Try turning off the overhead lights and just using a bedside lamp.
- Get the temperature right. In general, people sleep better in a slightly cool room. If possible, turn the air conditioning down a couple degrees at night. Try using ceiling or floor fans to keep the air circulating. Use lightweight sheets and pajamas. (In the winter, of course, you’ll want to use quilts and blankets.) Take a cool shower if you need to.
- Have a relaxing before-bed routine. This will be different for each person, but the key is to start winding down in preparation for sleep. Here are some ideas:
- Turn on some soft music or hymns.
- Take a shower or bath to relax.
- Read a magazine or book (nothing intense, though).
- Have a cup of (decaffeinated) tea or a glass of warm milk.
- Work on a relaxing hobby, like knitting or crocheting.
- Write in a journal.
- Read the Psalms.
- Perform some relaxation exercises (for example, yoga).
- Use aromatherapy: lavender and chamomile are very relaxing.
- Avoid arguments. Tense discussions should be saved for another time.
- Pray! Ask God for help, and pray for a good night’s rest. Also be sure to thank Him for the blessings He’s given you!
- Turn out the lights. Remember, you want your body to know it’s time for sleep. If necessary, use a sleep mask to block out light.
- Don’t look at the clock. Face it away from you if necessary. You don’t need to be constantly reminded of the time.
- Make it quiet. Get rid of ticking clocks and other noise-makers. If this isn’t possible, try using a “white noise” machine.
- Get comfy and relax. Keep your eyes closed and focus on relaxing all of your muscles. Try tensing and then relaxing your muscles, starting at your feet and working your way up.
- Breathe. Focus on your breathing, and make sure you’re breathing from your stomach and not just your chest.
- Don’t force it. Don’t think things like, “If I don’t fall asleep right now, I won’t be able to get up in the morning!” Trust me: That doesn’t help. Instead, focus your thoughts on how comfortable you are and how sleepy you feel. Relaxing, empty sorts of thoughts. Try pretending you’re somewhere relaxing, like alone on a beach.
- Find out what’s bugging you. If thoughts or worries tend to keep you awake, then keep a notepad and pen next to the bed. Jot down any tasks you want to remember. If you’re stressed about something, try making a list: “Things That Are Bothering Me.” Write down everything that comes to mind. It sounds silly, but it often helps to simply identify what’s on your mind.
If You’re Still Having Trouble:
- Don’t just lie there. If you can’t fall asleep, get up and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy. Keep the lights low and stay off the computer. Even sitting in a comfortable chair with the lights off may help.
- Write it all down. Sometimes it’s just hard to turn your mind off! If you just can’t clear your mind, try stream of consciousness writing. Grab a cheap notebook or some paper and start writing. Forget grammar, spelling, and even complete sentences. Write down your thoughts as you have them. Don’t worry if it’s sloppy or doesn’t make any sense. The point is to get it all out of your head so you can relax.
- See a doctor. If you’re having consistent trouble falling or staying asleep, it might be best to see your doctor. Sometimes insomnia can be a symptom of an underlying condition.
If you have some advice for getting a good night’s sleep, I hope you’ll share it in the comments! A lot of people have trouble sleeping from time to time, and it’s really helpful to have a “plan of action” to help get your sleep back on track.
It was a weekend morning, and the house was gloriously quiet. DangerBear was still asleep. Chickpea had eaten her breakfast and was reading in her bedroom. I was downstairs, in the living room, absorbing the peacefulness. I rearranged the couch pillows and lay down. At this point, I probably sighed in contentment. All was right with the world.
Then something buzzed by my ear.
A fly. A fly that apparently found me irresistible, as it repeatedly dive-bombed me and buzzed around my head. I grabbed a nearby magazine and swatted, but to no avail: The beast was too fast. I decided to ignore it, and returned to the couch. The fly followed. I swatted, in vain. The game continued until Chickpea finished her book and came downstairs to ceaselessly ask me random questions.
My ill-fated nap was made even more frustrating by the fact that it was my own fault. I had spotted the fly earlier that morning: It had landed, lethargically, on the table next to my chair. I could have caught it at that moment, but Alas! In a ridiculous act of procrastination, I decided to do it later.
In between aggravating fly-catching attempts, I pondered the parallels between my current endeavor and the consequences of procrastination.
The ramifications of putting something off are annoying and inconvenient. Procrastinating on something that needs to be done, even a small task, has consequences. Sure, losing the chance for a nap isn’t a big deal; it’s just kind of annoying. Putting something off might not lead to catastrophe, but not having it done right away will have some kind of fallout.
Procrastination is stressful. How can you enjoy yourself if That Thing You Should Be Doing But Aren’t keeps invading your thoughts? Like the fly that kept buzzing past my ear, That Thing makes it impossible for you to relax. You feel guilty for putting it off, so it keeps “bugging” you. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)
Procrastinating usually ends up requiring more effort than necessary. If I had caught the fly while it was relaxing contentedly on the table, I would have saved myself some time and effort. Here’s a more normal example: If I put off spot-treating a stained shirt, the stain will set. I’ll then have to repeatedly treat and wash it, hoping the stain will eventually come out. If I treat the stain right away, the shirt will come clean in the wash and everybody’s happy. Doing it now saves time later.
I would like to thank that little fly (may it rest in peace) for teaching me these valuable lessons, and for providing me with an appropriate, though bizarre, analogy. Does this mean I’ll never procrastinate again? Sadly, no. It’s a deeply ingrained habit for me, but it’s one I’m working on. Actually, it’s probably a good thing my nap was interrupted. I should have been doing laundry.
Photo of sleeping cat from End of Level Boss on Flickr.
There is a LOT of great information on the Internet, and one of these days I'll actually organize my bookmarks. For now, here are some things that have caught my eye lately:
In the Kitchen
- These chocolate yogurt snack cakes at Smitten Kitchen look so good I almost licked my computer screen. Plus, they have yogurt in them, so they must be healthy, right?
- Okay, I don't know how to knit anything that isn't rectangular, but Alana at Never Not Knitting makes the most adorable projects!
- Creative Homemaking has a to-the-point article on the four words that cause clutter.
One of My Favorites
- A young Israeli housewife shares her thoughts on marriage, mothering, and homemaking at Domestic Felicity. I always look forward to what she has to say.
Our Relationship with Christ
- What is the difference between living for God and living for anything else? An interesting book review got me thinking.
To me, nothing says Summer quite like ice cream. I remember, as a kid, getting ridiculously excited when I heard the unmistakable music of the ice cream truck. It rarely came down our street, so it was always a huge treat when it did. Sure, the same kinds of ice cream were sold at the grocery store (for a fraction of the price), but it tasted better coming from that truck!
Well, I haven't seen the ice cream man in years. I know: It's so sad. But not to worry! I now own an ice cream maker, and that brings me to my Works for Me Wednesday. Today's theme is "favorite Summer recipes," and the first thing that popped into my mind wasn't one recipe, but a book of them: The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz.
If you thought treats from the ice cream truck were good, wait until you try making your own with these recipes! Here are a few of the flavors in the book:
- Chocolate-Peanut Butter
- Butterscotch Pecan
- Toasted Almond & Candied Cherry
- Rum Raisin
- Basil Ice Cream
- Black Pepper Ice Cream
- Avocado Ice Cream
- Fresh Fig Ice Cream
You might notice that my URL is now "www.proverbs14.com" instead of a Blogspot address.
- If you're a subscriber: Don't worry! You don't need to change anything you're doing.
- If you're not a subscriber: Would you like to be? If you've bookmarked a post, don't worry! My old Blogspot address will forward to my new domain, so the link will still work.
(Photo source: Shannon K's photostream on Flickr.)
- He changed Chickpea's very first diaper. (He's quite proud of that one!)
- When Chickpea was a newborn and I was exhausted from the night feedings, he would sit with her at night for hours, just holding her. For that alone, I'd marry him all over again.
- He works incredibly hard to provide for us, and is not afraid to make sacrifices.
- He lets Chickpea use him as a jungle gym when he's trying to nap on the couch.
- Daddy makes the best paper rocket ships in the world.
- He's a big softy. Case in point: Chickpea's recent lunch of a corn dog, french fries, and chocolate milk.
- Daddy's not afraid to get messy or play rough (but not too rough, of course).
- With a fully-stocked electronics lab, he designs the best science experiments.
- There's no way Tickle Monster Mommy can get to Chickpea when Daddy's protecting her.
- Two words: Unconditional Love
10 Easy Steps:
- Purchase two bottles of bubble solution from grocery store. (For $1.84. Plus tax, I guess.)
- Make sure one of the bottles is the child's favorite color.
- Surprise child with bubble solution and head outside.
- Remind child that blowing bubbles is not like blowing out birthday candles.
- Game #1: Create as many bubbles as possible. Try to catch them all.
- Fall on the ground laughing.
- Game #2: Try to blow the biggest bubble possible.
- Game #3: Play bubble catch. Child blows a bubble. Parent catches it on her wand. Attempts to blow it back to child.
- Fall on the ground laughing.
- Repeat from step 5 until the bubble solution runs out or gets spilled. Usually the latter.
So how did you do on your May goals? I was doing alright until about halfway through the month, and then I totally forgot about them! Oops. So this month, I'm keeping it very simple:
My Goals for June
- Follow My Weekly Plan
- Pick 3 MITs (Most Important Tasks) Each Day, and Actually Do Them!
I was delighted when Charlene at "A Virtuous Woman" put me on her "Delightful Dozen" list of blogs for awards! Thanks, Charlene!
So, to pass on the love, here are some of my favorite blogs to whom I'm passing on the awards:
- Pretty Organized Palace- I love her gorgeous photos as well as her series on 12 Homemaking Skills.
- Heart(h) Management- Her "It's a REAL Job Series" about becoming a better homemaker is awesome.
- Life in a Shoe- One of the first blogs I started reading. I love the pics of her kids, and she's my hero for recharging the A/C in her car.
- Making Home- Lots of good posts here. Her Wise-Worded Woman post stresses that in order to speak with wisdom, we need to be women of the Word.
- Musings of a Mompreneur- Great tips and ideas on making money from home!
- Simple Mom- Her free downloads are fantastic, especially her Daily Docket.
Today is Chickpea's last day of school! I'll be so happy to have her home all the time! Of course, this means my daily schedule is about to change dramatically, especially with regards to the time I spend at DangerBear's business. I've been spending the mornings there 2-3 times per week, but I can't expect Chickpea to sit still for that long. I think I'm going to try an hour or so each day. Chickpea can bring along some quiet things to do. We'll see how it works!
Goals-wise, I've been doing better than last week. I've done a lot of recipe-gathering for the State Fair. I hope to finish that up this weekend so I can start testing recipes in June. I'm working on getting papers and e-mail under control, and am still messing around with finding a simple system that works well for me.
How are you doing? Sign the Mr. Linky!
Here's a tip to save paper when you want to print a multi-page document, like an e-book:
Print four pages to a sheet, double-sided.
I can't give exact instructions, as it'll be slightly different depending on your printer, but you'll probably be able to find a "layout" or "page setup" setting where you can change the number of pages printed to a sheet. If you choose four pages to a sheet, you can print a 100 page e-book on 25 pieces of paper.
If you're willing to experiment a little, you can go a step further by printing double-sided. To get this to work, you need to be able to choose the "layout direction." For example:
- Horizontal: Page 1 will go on the upper-left of the sheet. Page 3 on the upper-right. Page 5 lower-left. Page 7 lower-right.
- Horizontal-Reversed: Page 2 on upper-right. Page 4 on upper-left. Page 6 on lower right. Page 8 on lower-left.
This will take some experimenting. Once you figure out how to do it with your printer, definitely write it down so you'll remember for next time! You'll be able to print a 100 page document using only 13 pieces of paper! (Or 25, if you don't want to mess with double-sided printing.)