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Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Sunday, March 29, 2009
I use a little black moleskine like this one. I call it my Little Blog Book. When I can't sleep at night or have a few minutes of down time, I empty my head by filling these pages with my random thoughts. It's also a good place to write down a phone number or make note of a website I want to check out.
I use my Blackberry to make lists and enter contact information, but my blog book is much more useful for getting my ideas on paper or outlining my thoughts.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
This Friday's Fun Find and awesome parent hack came from a friend of mine. Use recycled paper and print free coloring pages on the back from Crayola.com. They have over 1,000 free coloring pages available.
And, if you are feeling creative, you could print the coloring sheets and put them on top of a clipboard with see through plastic. Have your kid color on top of the plastic...and it become a dry-erase board!! Happy coloring!!!
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Today's Top Pick is the blog at Organize Your Life by the Organized Mom and creater of the Daily Home Planner. She shares my neurotic habit of Being on Time (which I have been slacking at these days), and has lots of other great posts (so check out her site). In addition to her blog, her webiste offers downloads and an online training. But, I think my favorite part of her blog is her graphic design...I want to know where I can get my own caricature!
Sunday, March 22, 2009
This week's super simple solution is using a bag of frozen peas to ice an injury. I recently broke my foot and found a bag of frozen peas was a quick and simple solution to reduce the swelling. The small peas fit nicely around any configuration, and the bag didn't leave a watery mess when it defrosted. My only advice is to mark the bag so the mushy defrosted leftover peas don't end up on someone's dinner plate!
photo by consumatron
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Welcome readers from Experiencing Motherhood! I hope you enjoyed my home birth story. If you haven't read it, hop on over and check it out! Experiencing Motherhood is a resource for people trying to conceive or who have children. It is a collection of wonderful stories shared by real people. If you are new to Just Plain Joy, I hope you will take a look around and check out some of the most useful posts.
Friday, March 20, 2009
VideoETA is a website that allows you to search for the release date of your favorite movies and will notify you via email. There is currently a link to a list of when all the Oscar winners and nominees will be on DVD. And, site offers New In Theaters This Week, Top Renting DVDs, and Top Movies at Box Office.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I was recently invited to share my personal success story on the Mvelopes blog. As I have mentioned in a previous post, I am a huge believer in their product. I have used Mvelopes for the past five years, and I have benefitted greatly from the ability to track my spending in various areas and designate funds where they are needed.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Hello my online friends! My daughter is a little more than 9-months old now, and I thought I would share a recent picture. I have not been blogging as much lately (not for lack of desire or ideas, but for reasons I will explain here), and I know my posts have been less frequent and shorter than usual. So, I thought I would dedicate this post to giving you all a little update on what has been going on in my world.
I have lots of great ideas that I hope to share here soon, but for the past two months I have been dealing with a broken foot. This seems innocent enough, and one might think being confined to the couch would provide lots of time for blogging. But, it has actually been quite the opposite.
I broke my fifth metatarsal in January, and I have not been able to drive or carry my baby for the past two months. It was a simple accident - I tripped going down the stairs in our house and landed on my foot wrong. When it happened, my daughter could not even crawl yet and now she is cruising around trying to walk!
It was a surprisingly bad break and is taking a long time to heal. I had just returned to work from maternity leave and had to take another three weeks off. Then, I returned to work hoping that my foot was on the mend, but the doctor said I wasn't healing properly and scheduled surgery immediately. I took another two weeks off work and just returned to work for the third time.
I am still on crutches and have two 5-inch pins in my foot. My husband, family, and friends have been so helpful through it all. They have all prepared food, taken care of the baby, shuttled me to numerous doctor's appointments and x-rays, and provided lots of moral support. I have learned a lot from the whole situation, and I hope to share some of my insights here in the near future.
As a side note, for those of you who know my husband, he finally had ear surgery last week to fix his surfer's ear. Surfers here suffer from surfer's ear because bone forms over the ear canal to protect it from the cold water. He has been waiting for this surgery for over a year, and we finally received the approval which gave us 30 days to have the surgery. So, needless to say, it has been pretty interesting in our household lately.
In short, instead of blogging I have been spending my time crawling around after my daughter, tending to my broken foot, arranging care for myself and my husband, and trying to resume my duties at my "real" job. But, I'm not complaining because these have all been fulfilling in their own way. I believe these things happen for a reason, and for a dozen reasons I think this may have been a blessing in many ways.
I still have another 2-4 weeks before I will be allowed on my foot again, and even then I'll be in a boot for a while. Until I am able to return to a normal posting schedule, I hope you will continue to keep Just Plain Joy on your blogroll. I have also been blogging over at Central Coast Parent, so if you haven't checked it out I encourage you to visit! Thank you for being loyal readers!
Monday, March 16, 2009
I received my first question the other day. A friend of mine texted me for advice, and I thought I would share my response here.
Q: What do you do with old trophies? Do trophy companies recycle old one?
A: My short response was "If you choose to keep trophies, then you should display them. I kept the one I was most proud of and recycled (read tossed) the rest." There is an excellent thread on what to do with old trophies on Unclutterer. They mention donating your old trophies to your local trophy shop and/or looking into wood and metal recycling in your local area.
How would you respond? What do you do with old trophies?
If you have a question, send me an email at email@example.com.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
I can't take credit for this one, but I have used it and can say it works! Start by hanging all your clothes with the hanger head pointing toward you instead of toward the wall. As you wear and return your clothes to the closet, put them back as you normally would - with the hanger pointed toward the wall. At the end of the season or after a few months, see how many hanger heads are still facing you. Consider discarding these clothes.
This tip came from Kim Consentino at The De-Clutter Box, Inc.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
One of my friends recently adopted a Mediterranean diet, and she was sharing the health benefits with me over dinner the other night - less saturated fats, more fresh foods, and the added bonus of weight loss. Many people are turning to this regional-based way of eating and are enjoying the foods of Greece and southern Italy. The staples of this region include seafood, extra virgin olive oil, fresh vegetables, aromatic spices, garlic, bread, and red wine.
Here are seven steps to adopting a Mediterranean diet:
1. Eat fish two or three times a week. Fatty fish, such as salmon, herring, sardines, and anchovies, have healthy omega-3s.
2. Fill up on veggies. Low-calorie, nutrient-dense vegetables and fruits have lots of vitamins and antioxidants. Toss veggies into soups, stews, sauces, salads, pasta, and pizza.
3. Switch to olive oil. In the Mediterranean, extra virgin olive oil is used to flavor food, including vegetables. The difference between the fat found in a Mediterranean diet versus an American diet is that the fat in a typical American diet comes from animal sources - such as butter and lard.
4. Go nuts. Mediterranean desserts, salads, and side dishes include a mix of nuts, such as almonds, pine nuts, and walnuts. Nuts are also a healthy snack.
5. Look for dark leafy greens. Dark leafy greens are packed with nutrients - folates, magnesium, trace minerals, carotenoids, and fiber. Good examples are spinach, kale, and rapini.
6. Dine in courses. In the Mediterranean, a meal is often made up of four or five courses. Start your meal with a light pasta or soup, followed by a small serving of meat or seafood, followed by a plate of grilled vegetables, and end with a serving of sweet fruit for dessert.
7. Redefine dessert. A typical Mediterranean meal ends with dessert, which is usually a sweet fruit like peaches or pears.
Plus, one more element of the Mediterranean diet is wine, especially red wine. Red wine has flavonoids which can lower the risk of heart disease when enjoyed in moderation. The varietals highest in flavonoids include Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, and Pinot Noir.
Have you tried Mediterranean style dining?
photo by Denis Vrublveski
Friday, March 13, 2009
Printable Checklist was featured on Unclutterer (one of my favorite blogs), and I fell in love with its simplicity. Its only function is to create neat and orderly checklists. I love to create lists - grocery lists, to-do lists, packing lists - and I love even more to mark off items.
This website is simple and easy to use. After you create your list, you can print it to PDF for future reference. What list will you create today?
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Today's Top Pick is Chopping Veggies with a Pastry Blender from Parent Hacks. A "hack" is a shortcut or tip that makes life easier. This website has lots of great ideas for easier parenting. Other fun tips are using your cell phone camera to create a "wish list" with your kids, and turning your winter coat into a nursing cover.
Do you have any parent hacks to share?
Sunday, March 8, 2009
A few years ago, I discovered that our city has a parking meter key that can be purchased and recharged. When inserted into the meter, the first minimum increment is deducted as payment for time on the meter. By reinserting the key, another increment is added to the meter and deducted from the key. Before I had the key, I primarily kept coins for feeding meters around town. Now, I no longer have to worry about having coins in my purse or in the car. The campus where I work also offers a similar service.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
A "hack" is something that makes life easier - a tip, a trick, or a tool. Parent Hacks is one of my favorite blogs. Here are seven previous posts from their site that I thought were great solutions (click on the title for a direct link to each hack):
Bungee cord solution: I recently gave birth to my second child and have found shopping with two kids a little challenging space-wise. I put the baby in his carrier seat into the main basket compartment, my toddler in the kid's seat, and I get one of the baskets you carry around and strapped it to the cart under my son's feet (see pic). I can put the items I'm buying under the cart and in the extra basket.
Make Your Own Calendar: I have been intending to create a custom calendar with scanned images of my 5 year-old's art projects from school, and photos of events throughout the year, but finding the time to do it has been impossible. I also am not inclined to pay for calendars, when they are available nearly everywhere for free. Eureka! Use a free promotional calendar, and have my daughter glue on artwork, photos, or a collage of both. Everyone's a winner. Grandparents and aunties get a custom calendar with reminders of the little loved ones; the beautiful, yet bountiful supply of art is displayed; and my daughter gets to enjoy a craft project with mom--all for the cost of a few photo reprints and some glue or double-sided tape. Bonus--reusing a calendar that might have ended up in the trash anyway, since we get too many to use otherwise. I also intend to make up photo magnets for the family using pictures glued to promotional fridge magnets.
Recycle Plastic Packaging: I bought new sheets the other day, and I really didn't want to throw away that sturdy square plastic bag with the zipper that they came in but it couldn't be recycled. Then I realized it was a great storage bag for the playroom -- it can hold lots of small pieces like Legos or Lincoln Logs, my kids can open it themselves, and you can stack another bag on top of it.
Instant Nursing Cover: If you forget a nursing cover in the winter, turn your jacket around and put your arms in the sleeves. You can see the baby through the neck and the baby's covered all the way around! Works great!
What is your favorite parent hack?
Friday, March 6, 2009
The Occupational Outlook Handbook is a little (well, big) gem put out by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It allows you to search hundreds of occupations to determine earnings, expected job prospects, education requirements, job descriptions and more. When I was in school, I spent hours on this website. It may not look glamorous, but this site has a wealth of information!
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Working Moms Against Guilt is written by four moms who are raising young children and working outside the home. They write about grocery shopping on a budget, their husbands, keeping their new year's resolutions, and more. They share their personal stories and their struggle to "resist the guilt and embrace the journey."
Sunday, March 1, 2009
A triple laundry sorter has more uses than simply separating darks and lights. I use a modified version of the one featured here (see picture) to sort my clothes into three categories: dryclean, donate, and sew (hem or mend).
I keep the triple laundry sorter in my closet next to my dirty clothes hamper. As I get dressed and undressed, I can easily drop my clothes into one of these bags if I notice they are dirty, too small, or need stitching.