Grab Bag List Master:
Naughty or nice, you might want to make lists of things you’d like to receive this holiday season, just in case Santa deems you worthy. I have a big family and list exchanges are often the only way to ensure our gift getting will be thumbs up. No, there’s not an App for that… but rather numerous websites where family and friends can share those lists. Having signed up for three different list sites, and been disappointed with each for various reasons, I finally found one that was JUST right on the fourth try.
Wishpot.com allows you to build a list of items from virtually any site (see note for discovered exceptions below), in 4 different ways:
1. Add a Wishpot button to your browser and when you find an item you like online, hit the Wishpot button on your browser toolbar and a window pops up allowing you to choose the information and add to your list, picture included (I found I have trouble using this method with my [newest] version of Safari on my computer and a few different websites, Amazon.com being a big one… in place, I have found that using method #2 here works, once I have identified an item). If you have an iPad, there is no Wishpot app, but you can add the Wishpot button to the browser on your computer, then make sure that you are syncing your bookmarks with iCloud and the button will appear on your iPad browser as well. Ironically, my Safari on iPad had no problem with such sites as Amazon. Go figure.
2. Go to Wishpot.com and search for the item you have in mind and it will return tons of results with places and prices where it is sold, for how much, etc. Choose one and click Add and it will be added to your list.
3. Set up a Wishpot email, make a Contact in your address book for Wishpot, then email items from your phone (like, when you’re out and about, shopping for others, and find a little something for yourself) directly to your wishpot list.
4. Add items manually that may not have a website at wishpot.com. Great for items from a small store that has no website.
All of these options have clear directions and are easy to set up.
Great for not only Christmas lists, but baby and wedding registries, idea lists of things you might want to buy for a specific event or project, or gift ideas you want to gather and track while preparing for gift giving.
Start wishing. Start listing.
Grab Bag Clean Sweep:
If you are new to this blog, you may not know that a major focus of mine is sharing information about the concerns over what our cosmetics contain, and encouragement for you to find how your products rank on a safety scale at EWG’s Cosmetics Database. and find better alternatives. Remember, you use these products DAILY… it behooves you to make sure you are reducing any risks you may be exposing yourself to.
NOW…. the blessed folks at EWG have recently (and finally!) released a similar database for cleaning products, long recognized as a potential source of undesirable toxic exposure in our daily lives.
EWG.org’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning is a God send. I so appreciate what these people have done that I made a donation. I hope you might consider doing the same, for they are performing a tremendous service and must rely on donations.
Go there and plug in your products and see the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly… and search for something better and safer.
Grab Bag Rich Rice:
Such a great recipe for a Persian Jeweled Rice that is filled with healthy nuggets of yumminess, as well as being SO pretty to look at.
Thanks to the blog “The View from Great Island”, where I found this recipe. Click here to see all the other great tips and images of this recipe’s procedure.
Persian Jeweled Rice
1/2 tsp saffron threads
2 Tbsp butter (or coconut oil)
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1.4 tsp cumin seeds
a rounded 1/8 tsp cinnamon
a rounded 1/8 tsp cardamom
a rounded 1/8 tsp allspice
1 medium onion, diced
1 1/2 cups basmati rice, rinsed well
2 bay leaves
finely julienned rind of 1 lemon
- Mix the saffron threads in 2 1/4 cups of hot water, Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet and saute the fennel and cumin seeds until they are fragrant, just a minute or two. Add the cinnamon, cardamom and allspice and stir to combine. Add the onion and saute over low heat until the onion is softened, about 10 minutes.
- Add in the rice and saute it for a minute or 2 with the spices and onion.
- Pour in the saffron infused water, along with the bay leaves and lemon rind. Stir to combine, season with salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
1/4 cup dried tart cherries
1/4 cup dried Turkish apricots, diced
1/4 cup dried figs, diced
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 cup pistachios, toasted
seeds of 1 pomegranate for garnish
- Add in the fruit and nuts, stir to combine, and cover the skillet with a tight fitting lid. Cook on low to medium heat for about 12 minutes, then turn off the heat and let it sit, covered, for another 10 minutes.
- When the rice is done, fluff it, remove the bay leaves, and spoon onto a large platter. Scatter the pomegranate seeds on top to garnish.
Notes: I used heaping 1/4 teaspoons when I measured out my spices. You can adjust to your taste. Keep some extra fruit and nuts aside so you can sprinkle them, along with the pomegranate seeds, across the rice in the final presentation.
I should also note that a more traditional way of making this rice includes a crusted layer of rice at the bottom. It’s a more involved method which you can see here.
Grab Bag Awesome Auger:
Numero uno money maker for plumbers?
Calls for toilet clogs (army men, crayons, feminine hygiene products, carrots, numero dos plus toilet paper…. whatever it is).
If the faithful plunger/”plumber’s friend” doesn’t do the trick, invest in a Closet Auger (I think “closet” must be in reference to “Water Closet”, a continental term for the porcelain throne).
For about $35 (buy at Home Depot) you can basically insure that you will rarely have to pay $85 minimum to a plumber for a clogged toilet call. Here’s your tutorial:
Note: Some toilets are better at handling the “downloads of life” than others (I have heard it rumored that Toto toilets can handle… well…. Toto… or todo).
Grab Bag Prison Workout:
Just kidding… prison workouts would not be this much fun. Because you’d be…. in prison.
This workout is a quick cardio workout you can do with NO equipment, in any room, where the most space required would be you doing a push up.
Click on the image to link to a printable version… when dragged to your desktop and opened it should print a full 8.5 x 11… print, place/tape where you can read it and go!
Quick glossary for the terms used above:
Jumping Jacks: If you don’t know what these are, don’t bother trying this workout.
High Knees: Running in place, pumping arms and lifting knees as high as you can without collapsing your waist… stay upright
Butt Kickers: Running in place, heels pulling up behind you as high as possible, hopefully kicking your own ass 🙂
Jump Squats: Bend knees, squatting low, then explosively jump straight up toward the ceiling, keeping arms straight down, land in squat again to repeat.
Front Kicks: Here’s the basic version…Hop on standing leg as you extend the other leg straight out in front, as high as you can, alternating legs.
Mountain Climbers: In the plank (push-up) position, pull one knee into your chest, touch toe on ground under chest, keeping butt low and back flat… alternate and keep repeating at a very quick pace. These are a bitch 🙂
Burpees: Easier seen than said…and be grateful there are only 2 sets of 5 each.
Jump Rope: Just pretend you have one if you don’t, but pretend you are jump-roping QUICKLY.
Split Jump Squats: Get into a deep-ish lunge, one leg forward, knee bent, back leg bent and behind you, explosively jump up in the air, swinging arms up as you go, switch leg positions in the air and land with the opposing leg now in front, in the lunge position again to repeat. (Photo shows same-leg repetitions, but I prefer alternating)
Lateral Jumps: Hopping on both feet, landing on both feet and jumping side to side, covering at least a few feet. You can jump over something, too, as seen below.
Tuck Jumps: Jump up in the air, pulling your knees up high and tucking your heels into your butt.
Squats: No jumping, just bend both knees deeply, keeping chest up but sticking butt out behind you.
If When you do the workout, let me know what you thought in the Comments section below.
Grab Bag Brain Game:
Try “Picasso”, and test your short term visual memory.
Grab Bag Funny Stuff:
Most of us may have had our phones jump to conclusions and autocorrect a word… and too soon we hit Send, only to discover the correction was not correct at all. Maybe I’m twisted, but some of these had me in tears. Be sure to click the Full Screen button in the lower right corner of the window below.