Posts Tagged ‘clutter’

Grab Bag Conversation Consideration:

So last week’s post about end-of-life choices must have hit a chord, as I got some valuable feedback. It strikes me that this is a discussion we, collectively, are not having often enough. And, to be fair, as individuals we probably don’t have to experience this issue very often… probably with our parents, maybe a sibling or spouse, but when the process is behind us, few, if any, want to rehash it enough to change where the system failed us and our departed loved one. We just want to get on with living…. until we ourselves end up in the hospital, at the end of our lives, with our loved ones facing agonizing decisions within a system that offers technological possibilities but no ethical advisory. And the circle of hand-wringing, unintended consequences perpetuates.

But there is a a groundswell movement that hopes to change the system. A non-profit effort to educate both the general public as well as the medical community has produced a lauded documentary called “Consider the Conversation. Some PBS markets have aired this documentary and will do so through the end of this year. The DVD is available for purchase, the profits of which support the education effort. Read what this reviewer had to say on The Huffington Post:

Michael Bernhagen and Terry Kaldhusdal put their hearts into this film, and it shows. Michael came to the hospice movement after his mother’s decline and death showed him how far from a healthy, authentic relationship with mortality the medical profession, and the nation, are. Terry’s fifth documentary, this film includes interviews with his brother, Peter, who died of pancreatic cancer at age 53. Michael and Terry have given us a great gift.

Consider the Conversation

Grab Bag Fix-It Fix:

10 Fix-It tips from This Old House that will have you strutting your fix-it mojo in no time…

Be sure to click the full screen button, lower right corner, so you can easily read the slides.

Grab Bag Clean Out:

The 10 Commandments for cleaning out your stuff:


Grab Bag Oil Slick Tricks:


Reader Susan R. asked for some tips on getting oil stains out of linens and clothing. I found the following suggestions to try… all of which will probably work much better if the piece of fabric in question has not gone through the dryer, as heat tends to set stains, but worth a try at any time, nonetheless. Most probably work best from the back side of the fabric.

Goof Off, followed by an overnight soaking in OxyClean, then laundering in hot water with Tide with Bleach. “It’s amazing how much stuff that combination can get out.”

• Combine 1 tablespoon glycerin, 1 tablespoon liquid dishwashing soap, 8 tablespoons of water. Work the solution into grease adn oil stains. Let sit a few minutes, flush with water and launder as usual.

Spot Shot Instant Carpet Stain Remover to remove greasy spots on clothes, then launder in the hottest water for fabric type, using a long wash cycle and adding 1/4 cup of washing soda along with your detergent.

• Spray with WD-40 lubricant and wait 10 minutes. Work in undiluted dishwashing liquid and launder as usual.

Go-Jo Waterless Hand Cleaner can be worked into the spot, then launder as usual.

And from the GODDESS herself, Martha Stewart’s take on getting rid of oil (mostly olive, I assume) stains on clothing:

1. Cover stain with corn starch and let sit for 20 minutes. Brush off with a soft-bristled toothbrush or similar.

2. Make a 5% Orvus paste and water solution in a spray bottle (find Orvus in tack stores… horse people use it… or quilting stores… quilters use it…or Amazon, etc.). Turn cloth over, place on a white cloth, and spray solution from the back. Spray with solution and tamp well to remove. If it improves, continue with Orvus solution, rinse with clear water after 2-3 attempts. If stain looks lifted, wash in COLD water (unlike tips above).

Click on the image below to print Martha’s Stain Removal Guide.


Grab Bag Summer Snack Attack:

Snack Attack

Smart snacking is truly half the success of healthful eating. Summer is so often a time when we grab a few fries here, a few chips there, and soon those little choices make big differences. Here is a great list of healthy snack ideas… the secret is having these things readily available before you reach for a package of poor choices.

1. 1 cup of Cherry Tomatoes (can mix these with one serving size of crackers to make a great filling afternoon snack!)

2.  Small Green Salad with light dressing (suggested serving size is about a handful of lettuce. Try a light vinaigrette dressing.  Try to stay away from the creamy thick dressings. Those carry the most calories)

3. Mango smoothie (frozen mango, mango Greek Yogurt or plain Greek yogurt, and a small amount of orange juice or any other juice that you like.  Try to use no more than one serving size of juice and make sure that it is 100% fruit juice)

4. Kabobs (thread low-fat meat, low-fat cheese, pineapple and cherry tomatoes onto a stick.  You can always substitute other fruit/veggie options)

5.one slice of WHOLE WHEAT bread topped with peanut butter and banana slices (make sure it is whole wheat bread. this is one of the best options when consuming bread products)

5. Grilled Pineapple (throw them on the grill or a skillet on med. heat for two minutes or until golden. The best option for these is the whole round cuts and not the chuncks)

6. Baked Apples (one tennis ball-sized apple, cored, filled with 1 teaspoon brown sugar and cinnamon, and baked until tender.  You can also cut the apple into desired sizes and sprinkle the toppings onto the slices. Makes for a less messy version)

7. Strawberries dipped in fat-free Cool Whip (suggested serving size is 1 to 2 cups of strawberries and 2 tablespoons of the Cool Whip) (Note from LK: I would pass on the polyester whipped cream and go with something more natural).

8. Low-fat tortilla (or whole wheat tortilla) topped with egg salad, shredded carrots and cucumber slices (you can also top is with egg whites, feta cheese, cottage cheese, or any other type of low fat topping that you like)

9. Parfait (build your own with Greek yogurt or plain yogurt, fruit, and granola.  Make sure to not use to much granola! some granola can pack a lot of sugar)

10. Bowl of bran flakes with 1/2 cup skim milk and berries

11. Guacamole with you choice of veggies (suggested serving size is 1/4 cup of guacamole)

10. Triscuit’s Thin Crisps dipped in cottage cheese or hummus (this is MY personal favorite afternoon snack. i spread low fat laughing cow Swiss cheese on my crisps which is also just as good!)

11. Cashews (suggested serving size is 1 ounce. It is also good to mix this in with cottage cheese, low fat yogurt, or anything else)

12. Pretzels (suggested serving size is about 17 pretzels)

13. Sun Chips (don’t forget portion control! Read the serving amount on the side of the bag but it is usually about 1 ounce which is usually about a handful of chips)

14. Cheesy Breaded Tomatoes (Two roasted plum tomatoes sliced and topped with 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese)

15. Sugar Snap Peas (a great snack if you sprinkle your own spices on it.  If you dip it into a veggie dip make sure it is low in calories and stick to the portion size)

16. Steamed Veggies (steam non-starchy vegetables in a microwave safe bag and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese or 1/4 cup pasta sauce)

17. Laughing Cow Light Cheese Wedges ( you can spread this on crackers, veggies, or even fruit)

18. Snack/Granola bar (around 150 calories or less, like Kellogg’s All-Bran, Kashi TLC Trail Mix, or Fiber one Bar)

19. Baked chips (about 7-10) with salsa (you can make your OWN healthier version of baked chips by toasting whole wheat tortillas! Check out THIS post for the recipe)

20. Protein Bar (great snack after your workout.  Make sure to get a bar with low sugar.  Be careful to get a bar that is also tasty.  Some bars do not taste very well and can leave a bad taste in your mouth.)

21. Sweet Potato Fries (one light-bulb sized sweet potato sliced, tossed with 1 teaspoon olive oil, and baked at 400° for 10 minutes)

22. Snack Wrap (I like a slice of turkey, Swiss cheese, baby spinach leaves, and cranberry relish wrapped up in a tortilla)

23. Pumpkin Seeds (2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, sprayed with oil (just a spritz!) and baked at for 400° for 15 minutes or until brown. Sprinkle a tiny amount of salt on top)

24. Bean Salad (a handful of lettuce, 1/2 cup of your fav beans, top with feta cheese or some other topping makes the perfect pre-lunch snack!)

25. Peaches and Cottage Cheese

26. Chopped Red, Green, or Yellow Peppers (dipped in fat free dipping sauce or sprinkle with spices for a lower calorie snack)

27. Tuna with Triscuit crackers (yes DRY tuna is a great option but i always like to add a little relish or mustard to give it more of a taste)

28. Cooked and Cubed Chicken Breast (you can season it or toss it into a salad for a great snack or healthy meal option!)

29. Homemade Popsicles (puree watermelon, strawberries, mango, banana, etc and freeze in popsicle molds or use your ice cube tray as an alternative.  You can also use small disposable cups and peel off the cup and enjoy the frozen treat!)

30. Quesadilla (whole wheat (or corn) tortillas w/cheese (or not) melted in microwave – adding on tomatoes, beans, corn, olives, avocado or guacamole or whatever sounds good. This can be a great snack or a great meal option depending on how much you add to the quesadilla!)

from InfiniteLifeFitness.com

As a bonus, here is a lunch idea that I LOVE…. Apple sammies!

Looks like these have nut butter, carob or chocolate chips and granola filling.

My personal fav is thick-ish slices of apple with almond or peanut butter, flax and pumpkin seeds and cinnamon filling:


Grab Bag Brain Game:

It’s all about the fewest number of clicks… so this game of memory tests your recall of image and placement:


Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

Fixed Sink

Spell House

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Grab Bag BPA Knockout:

So here’s something we can all be more conscious of…

Following up on last week’s post about avoiding environmental toxins to better our hand at the Cancer Poker Table, I found this snippet as part of a recently published study (March 2011) by the Breast Cancer Fund and the Silent Spring Institute :

For three days, we provided fresh foodnot canned or packaged in plastic—to each family. They avoided canned foods and drinks and meals prepared outside the home.

The effect was significant. While the families were eating our food, their BPA levels dropped an average of 60 percent.

Our takeaway: you can reduce your BPA exposure by cooking fresh foods at home, avoiding canned foods, choosing glass and stainless steel food and beverage containers, and not microwaving in plastic. People may also want to consider eating fewer meals out, and dining at places that use more fresh ingredients.

I will add that we need to wash our hands after handling thermal paper receipts, which can have significant amounts of BPA.

PLEASE…. fill glass bottles with your own filtered tap water,

keep ice cold in your fridge…so yummy….

No more plastic bottled water!!

Please use glass containers for leftovers (click here for a suggestion)


Click on the image above to get a printable copy of this wallet-sized card listing 10 canned foods to avoid from the Breast Cancer Fund.

Grab Bag Well Lived Life:

Article by Adrian Savage:

If you want to look back on a life that fills you with joy, conventional rules for success are not the place to start.

1. Don’t chase money, power, or status. If they come to you, that’s fine. But most conventional ideas about success go wrong because they focus on outcomes instead of on the processes of living. Outcomes come around from time to time, but life itself—the process of living, acting, thinking, and being—happens all the time. No outcome is going to make a lousy, miserable process feel worthwhile.

If you hate what you do, no amount of power or money will make up for that. If your life is constantly stressful, boring, unhappy, or frustrating, how can achieving some high status once in a while make up for all the miserable days and weeks you spent getting there? It’s tempting to feel that the end will more than make up for the means; that you’ll forget the misery in the blaze of achievement. And you will—for a few moments. Then you’ll be back on the treadmill, with only the distant hope of some fresh achievement or monetary gain to console you. That’s like being a laboratory rat conditioned to unnatural behavior by occasional pellets of food.

2. Take whatever time you need to discover what matters to you most. Success isn’t simply a matter of money, power, or prestige. You could gain all of those and still feel that you have fallen short of what you wanted; or you could gain none of them and be blissfully happy and fulfilled. What constitutes personal success is mostly in your mind. It has much less to do with finding the best career in other peoples’ eyes, creating a killer business, or holding down a fancy job with a big salary than with achieving what really matters to you. Many people find this out too late. They struggle for years to get where other people said they should go, only to find it does little or nothing for them. Sad;y, it’s often too late by then to do anything else.

3. Don’t base your choices on others’ approval. We all want to please those we care about, so it’s natural to try to do what they approve. Natural, but rarely a good idea as the basis for life’s choices. I don’t say that you should deliberately ignore sound advice, or reject a career path simply because other people suggest it. But even the most loving parent or friend can’t always see what is going to make your heart sing. Listen to others. Value their input and their support. But go your own way. It’s better to be committed to doing what you truly love than accept something lesser for the sake of being approved by someone else.

4. Stay authentic. That means always doing what truly matters to you and is part of who you are. The simplest definition of a hypocrite is someone who says one thing and does another: like a person who says that he or she wants to work at something that benefits society, then forgets that at the first sight of a fistful of dollar bills. Somewhere inside of you is a part that recalls what truly matters and will never quite let you forget it. Over the years, that inner voice is only going to get louder.

5. Go for meaning over money every time. It’s perfectly possible to do something meaningless to you and earn a great deal of cash while doing so. Some people do, especially in parts of the media world. It just requires a stronger stomach and more cynicism that most people possess, plus a huge tolerance for boredom. Is it worth it? If money is truly all that matters to you—and you can make lots of it quickly and get out—it might be. Few areas of work will allow you to do that, aside from criminal ones. Meaningless days corrode most peoples’ minds and destroy their happiness. Doing something that means a great deal to you almost always makes you feel energized and alive. It’s your choice.

6. Be endlessly greedy—for learning. You can never learn too much or overfill your mind with new ideas. Nothing is more useful in life than a well-developed, well-stocked mind, especially one that has been broadened and enlarged in the process. It’s hard to name a single famously successful person who was narrow-minded, bigoted, or stupid. The list of notable successes who are recognized for the power of their minds is long. And you don’t have to have had an expensive education to be able to develop a great mind. There have been plenty of near geniuses whose education was almost entirely self-produced.

7. Make a friend of failure. You are certain to fail sometimes, and the higher your aspirations, the more frequent and significant that failure will be. People who don’t strive for anything glorious rarely fail; they take no risks and never aim beyond what is easily attainable. But if you treat failure as an enemy, it’s going to lead only to discouragement and even the abandoning of your hopes and dreams. Failure can be a friend, pointing out what isn’t right yet and showing you the way to do better. The more proficient you become at accepting the lessons of failure, the quicker you will succeed.

8. Make sure that every time you make a mistake, it’s a new one. Making the same mistake several times shows that you haven’t learned what it can teach you. Making new mistakes proves that you’re trying something different. The best definition of a loser is someone who makes the same mistakes over and over again, never managing to learn anything in the process. Such a person is doomed.

9. Choose to spend your time with the right people. I don’t mean that in the sense of the rich and the powerful, the movers and shakers of society. Whether they’re powerful or not, the best people to spend time with are those from whom you can learn most: the ones whose own lives have brought them joy and endless fulfillment. That means people who do what they love and love what they do. People who have become experts in life, thinking people, people with wide-open minds and wide-open hearts. Seek them out wherever you can. Listen to them. Never mind if they are no longer living. Read their books and emulate their largeness of spirit. Learn from them all, but don’t simply copy what they did in this world. What they did was right for them, but may not be right for you. What you need to use as models are their ways of thinking and responding to the challenges of the world; the process of their lives, not what it happened to contain.

10. Drop whatever is inconsistent with these principles. That means all activities that don’t move you forward towards what you value most; things that get in the way of learning; pursuits that waste time and dull your senses; and people who hold you back. You may sometimes have to be ruthless. Each of us has only one life. If you waste it, you don’t get another chance. Besides, if you have chosen your dreams and aspirations wisely, what you must leave behind by dropping what’s inconsistent with those dreams will not be worth worrying about anyway. Those who make bad choices find, too late, that they have abandoned things and people that meant more to them than whatever they gained in exchange. If that happens, you have truly reached one of life’s lowest points.

Grab Bag De-Clutter Part 2:

• Set aside a 30 minute chunk of time for reorganizing and de-cluttering. Set a timer on your cell phone, and don’t stop working or allow distractions to pull you away until the 30 minutes is up. Repeat regularly.

• If you haven’t touched it, worn it, looked at it, used it in the last 12 months, it’s a candidate for sell/give-away/throw-away.

Grab Bag Mouths of Babes:

Favorite quote from 11 year-old Birke Baehr

“We can either pay the farmer or we can pay the hospital”

Grab Bag Brain Game:

You’re a savvy detective, using your observational skills. You get 10 seconds to survey the crime scene, then you will see the scene again, but some items have been changed. See how many you can identify.

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

It’s rough coming home from the vet’s office:

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