Category Archives: Life in General

Goals for Me: to Make, Break, or Reconsider

I’m sitting alone (well at least I have no children sitting around me) in a random Starbucks contemplating all of the things that I am going to get accomplished this year.

Yep, it’s that time of year again. The kiddies are back to school, everyone’s back to a different schedule, and I am back to the same place I was a year ago (metaphorically speaking) when I wrote Change is Inevitable, Progress is Work.

It’s been a while since I wrote a post, so be prepared for all the info I’ve stored up! I am changing my schedule now, so I will be writing to you on Tuesdays from now on.

I have no idea why (perhaps it’s the very caffeinated iced coffee I am drinking despite the fact that I really don’t like coffee) but I have the strangest urge to type out all of my goals for myself, my family, and my work for the year. Like so many of you other virtual assistants, my life requires balance in three very distinct areas. Today I am going to write about how I have incorporated new habits to keep myself healthy and in top “working condition”.

1. Finding Balance for Myself

I must be healthy. This means:
to eat right
I wrote a post a few weeks ago about a documentary I watched called Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. I had to write a post about this film because it has so many great points about how we jeopardize out healthy every time we don’t choose the foods we consume wisely.

We eat so much over-processed and vitamin/mineral depleted foods that our bodies are fighting a losing battle to stay healthy. Check out that movie to watch real people reverse the damage that years of poor eating habits caused.

to get enough sleep

“I found this great new medicine… It’s called sleep!” – I told this to my doctor during a checkup and she laughed and wrote it down and told me she had to use that.

Even though I said it with humor, I meant it earnestly.

Last September, I did a sort of health experiment with my sleep and actually made myself sleep 8 hours every night for a full month. Beating insomnia was well worth the effort.

After a few months of sleeping eight hours every single night, I felt amazing. Of course I have slacked off since then, but I am not nearly as bad as I was. :)

Sleep is the time of the day when the body rebuilds, repairs and re energizes for the next day. The skin is the largest organ of the body and without the proper levels of sleep, it will also be the largest age-showing part of your life. At the surface of the skin are millions of cells that die off each day due to environmental influences, dry skin and sun damage. While lotions and cream may ease the effects of these factors, sleep is the only regenerative cycle that can truly undo the effects of the day. Without enough sleep, the skin will be unable to rebuild those dead and dying cells and this is when aging occurs.

- Sleep and Anti Aging excerpt from the Top Anti Aging Website

and to exercise often enough.

In a post called Exercise? Blah, It Just Sounds Like More Work I wrote last November I wrote about exercise videos, and then last April I wrote about more spontaneous styles of exercise in Time for Recess.

I think the trick for exercise is simply keep changing it up so we don’t get bored. I love to run, so I’ve been running at least three times a week all summer.

What about you?
What do you have to do to keep yourself in top working condition?

Running Out of Bedtime Stories?

If you haven’t ever read the poem “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod” by Eugene Field to your kids, you should definitely check it out. Haylee had it in one of her poetry treasure books and I was so pleased to find it because I hadn’t heard it is such a long time. I hadn’t heard it in years. It’s not long, but not too short either. Perfect for a little wind down story. – just thought I’d share. ;)

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod

by Eugene Field

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe,—
Sailed on a river of crystal light
Into a sea of dew.

“Where are you going, and what do you wish?”
The old moon asked the three.
“We have come to fish for the herring-fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we!”

Said Wynken,
And Nod.

The old moon laughed and sang a song,
As they rocked in the wooden shoe;
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew;

The little stars were the herring-fish
That lived in the beautiful sea.
“Now cast your nets wherever you wish,—
Never afraid are we;”
So cried the stars to the fishermen three:

And Nod.

All night long their nets they threw
To the stars in the twinkling foam—
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
Bringing the fishermen home;

‘Twas all so pretty a sail it seemed
As if it could not be;
And some folks thought ’twas a dream they’d dreamed
Of sailing that beautiful sea-
But I shall name you the fishermen three:

And Nod.

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
Is a wee one’s trundle-bed;

So shut your eyes while Mother sings
Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
As you rock in the misty sea
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:

And Nod.


Fall in love with books again…

My mind is constantly going and my predisposition to continually seek a challenge is also the bane of my existence when it’s time for spring cleaning.

Ugh… cleaning.

Last week I really started to do some deep cleaning, go through clothes that don’t fit the kids any more, throw out socks that lost their match months ago, and started deciding which things we sell or donate to someone who will be able to use them. The trouble for me is that as I’m cleaning my mind wanders and the next thing I know:

  • I’m planning out my week of work
  • my weekend of busyness
  • reminding myself to even dust the ceiling fans before I vacuum
  • I start thinking about what sounds good for dinner (preferably that’s easy to make and clean up)
  • and I can also pretty much guarantee that my train of thought will be halted at least 4 to 8 times per hour sudden interruptions like – “So can I mom? mom? mom?” or “Mom would not like it if she saw you doing that!”

I don’t know about you but after a few of hours of this and I’m tired, bored, or at least fighting off a headache from so much input that I’m getting from myself and my environment.

But this time is different, because I’ve already gotten a lot of it done!

Last week a friend of mine was talking about one of the books she is reading, but she said she is reading it via audiobook.

Brilliant! I thought to myself. I’d wanted to read one of those books too so I got the fourth twilight book “Breaking Dawn” on audiobook and I tell you what, it’s been entertaining me while I’m doing my early spring cleaning.

What a perfect way to keep my mind from trying to solve all of the problems in the world when cleaning for longer periods of time or even just having my hands free to take out the trash and my hands and eyes free to match the ungodly number of socks in the dreaded “sock basket”

I don’t know why, but before that moment I’d always thought of audiobooks as an aid to learn a foreign language or listen to a lecture – something probably boring. Never had I considered it’s entertainment value.

And best of all…are you ready for it? My ears are plugged so the kids actually have to get my attention before they ask or tell anything. :) It’s a win win for me.

Save Money on Your Audiobooks

I went ahead and posted the amazon link here to the book I “read”, but they can get expensive. If you won’t read it over and over, you can borrow some of these types of audiobooks at the library.

I got mine with 2 free credits @ which is kind of expensive if you ask me because you don’t actually get disks or anything just the audio files. They have a huge collection of them available though.

Good Navigation

We are in Michigan today and we’ve had an awesome weekend of skiing over this long holiday weekend. I’ve really come to love this ski resort called Boyne Highlands.

However, while I was going down one of the runs earlier, I got confused about which direction I should go.

There are different “levels” of ski runs that u can go down depending on your experience level…

* There’s the bunny hill which I definitely prefer to be avoid.

* Green runs are easy, they are the kind of runs the are enjoyable for the first couple of runs that I go on… you know, to get familiar with the conditions, make sure my boots aren’t on too tight or too loose.

* Blue runs are ranked “difficult” and “more difficult”. These are my favorite runs. I usually stay on these for the better part of the day.

* Black diamonds are the most difficult and you won’t see me on one of these runs until the end of the day.

* Double black diamonds are for experts only. You probably won’t ever catch me on one of these. Unless I’ve gotten lost… which is almost what happened.

Anyways, on my way down our first hill, I was inspired to write a post about signs and navigation. Here is why:



Notice how the two pictures are showing you how to get to Mac Gully… an easy run, then a little further down the hill you see a sign to continue on Mac Gully but supposedly turns into a double black diamond!

Actually this sign was letting you know that Mac Gully was to your right as well as an entrance to another run that actually was a double black.

Why in the world would anyone running a ski resort want their visitors to get confused, lost, or have to stop in the middle of a run to try and find a way to go?

Then I got to thinking about website navigation. This week I am planning on doing some serious research on best practices for site navigation and where to place certain buttons,nav bars, search forms, etc. to make everything on your site to be as easy to find as possible.

Beating Insomnia Plan: Successful Since September

Ok, so I found this great medicine… it’s called SLEEP!

It took me about 2 weeks to realize how much better I feel when I am well rested. I really felt as if I was aging very quickly, and my eyes often looked dull, and I was extra grouchy sometimes.

Well, since the middle of September, I have been REALLY trying to get 8 hours of sleep every night. And I tell you what, I highly recommend it.

Of course, if you are like me and “used to” 5 hours maybe less sometimes, it’s difficult to get to sleep sometimes… The only advice I can give you for that is: “Keep trying.” It’s worth the energy you get when you finally get caught up.

Night 5

Bedtime: 11:45pm

Day 5

Woke up: 9:45am

Night 6

Bedtime: 11:30pm

Day 6

Woke Up: 9:00am

Night 7

Bedtime: 11:30pm

Day 7

Woke Up: 7:30am

Night 8


Day 8


Night 9


Day 9

and so on….

Beating Insomnia Plan – Day 4

Night 4:

Bedtime: 11:45pm (- little late, I know)
(Morning After)

Day 4:

Woke up: 8:45am
9 hours later
How I feel:
I didn’t want to sleep in, but I suppose I needed it. Yesterday I was a bit tired. I still feel kind of yucky this morning. It’s a good thing I have been getting extra … scratch that… enough sleep this week. Who knows? I might actually be sick!?!?

I am usually sick about once or twice a year, maybe I can just get mildly sick this time and learn my lesson to get enough rest. Maybe I’ll never get sick. :)
Toward the end of the day yesterday, I realized why I was so sleepy in the morning. In fact, the way I felt today definitely verified my suspicion. Both kids have been bouncing around with yucky colds and sore throats, and I found myself with a sore throat this morning as well.

Did you know that getting better sleep helps your immune system?
Quotes from WebMD article: Can Better Sleep Mean Catching Fewer Colds?

Info from: Diwakar Balachandran, MD, director of the Sleep Center at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston

“The more all-nighters you pull, the more likely you are to decrease your body’s ability to respond to colds or bacterial infections.”

“A lot of studies show our T-cells go down if we are sleep deprived. And inflammatory cytokines go up. … This could potentially lead to the greater risk of developing a cold or flu.”

“One of the things that happens when we sleep is that we can get a better fever response. This is why fevers tend to rise at night. But if we are not sleeping, our fever reaction is not primed, so we may not be waging war on infection as best we can.”

“Studies have shown that people who are sleep deprived also get less protection from flu vaccines than those who are getting adequate sleep.”