Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rhetorical Question on Giving from Dooce

I loved this post by Dooce on the question of whether or not to give to beggars. You know, the people you see in Target parking lots with signs asking for help. I used to be conflicted by some of the concerns Dooce had. But I love her solution to the problem.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Winner of the Baby Signing Time Gift Set is Heather!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Baby Signing Time Gift Set Giveaway. I wanted all of you to win and I was really pulling for hollydlr who entered obsessively (exactly what I like in a baby signing fan). Congratulations to Heather @ DIY Life. You are the winner of the BST Gift Set with Baby Signing Time volumes 1-4 and all the BST music CDs. Send me your mailing info at hollytriedit at gmail.com

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wil Wheaton (one of my Jr. High Crushes) is on Twitter

Who knew cute Wil Wheaton from Star Trek: the Next Generation was all grown up and using Twitter. Now's the time to contact your junior high crush--and he won't even be able to see you blush. Quick tip, he would probably prefer to talk about tech stuff than Trek Stuff.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

What is Your Blogging Style? - 3 Question Quiz

I'm a sucker for a personality quiz, and online ones are even better than I ones I used to do in Teen Magazine. They calculate the results for you! For all my blogging friends, here are my results to the What is Your Blogging Personality Quiz. Do you agree? What's your blogging personality?

Your Blogging Type is Logical and Principled

You like to voice your well thought out opinions on your blog.

And if someone doesn't what you write, you really don't care!

Serious and blunt, sometimes people take your blog the wrong way.

But you're a true and loyal friend to those who truly get you.

Friday, October 17, 2008

10 Overused Words in Writing

All words are good words, but some are overused in writing. Precise Edit created a list of 10 overused words, based on documents they have edited during the last 5 years. Which of these do you overuse? Feel free to edit my writing in a comment!

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Allergen-Free Hotdog Cake for Halloweiner Party

It's that time again. Time for the Annual Halloweiner Party. You haven't heard of a Halloweiner Party before? Too bad, because you are missing out on the fun. A Halloweiner party combines Halloween with all things Weiner. We created the event to celebrate our weiner dogs' birthdays and their victory at the Annual Oktoberfest Dachshund Beauty Pageant.

All events and food relate to weiners or hotdogs. We make a large hotdog pinata, grill hotdogs and bratwursts, and play pin the weiner on the, uh, bun. It just wouldn't remain a G rated party any other way.

We dress our dogs up in hotdog bun costumes and Bryan wears his, "I love my Weiner" shirt. All party guests bring a hotdog themed food. It must either contain weiners (Pigs in a Blanket, Little Smokies, etc.) or be shaped like a hotdog.

Which is why I am attempting to make this cake. Only, because of my food allergies, I have to make all kinds of substitutions. I'm using Namaste Chocolate Cake for the bun (I'll probably ice the bun like brown or just say it's Rye.) I also plan to cut out extra cake and shape it like a hotdog and ice with red-brown frosting. Since my recipe is dairy-free, wheat-free, soy-free, corn-free, nut-free, and yeast-free, it'll be interesting to see how it turns out. I promise, I'll post a picture. And if it's horrible, I'll even submit it to Cake Wrecks.

If you have a great recipe for frosting without using butter, shortening, or Spectrum Shortening, please let me know. And if you know of a good hotdog game, post a comment.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Wave by the Firm - I'm Feeling the Pain

Whimper, whimper. Two days after working out on the Wave by the FIRM, my outer thighs hurt. My abs hurt. My inner thighs hurt. The Wave definitely works your muscles differently then the step and the inclined step. With the FIRM step, I feel it in my quads and buttocks. With the inclined step, I feel it in my hamstrings and calves. If I use all three products, I'll have some fine looking legs and buns!

More Info on the Firm's Wave:
I Tried the Firm Wave
More on the new FIRM Wave
The New FIRM Wave Arrived
The New FIRM Wave - I Bought It
The FIRM Wave - Is it a Gimmick, or Lots of Fun?

Easy Green Tip: Water Your Plants with Ice Cubes

Some of you know that I'm an environmental educator by day (which pays a lot more than the $24 I've made blogging). And right now, everyone's talking about going green. All the information on what you should and shouldn't do gets overwhelming (And maybe a little annoying. Am I right?)

Every once in awhile, I'll share a green tip with you that makes my life easier, not just greener.

Easy Green Tip #1 - Water Your Plants with Ice Cubes

I have a hard time remembering to water my plant. (Yes, plant, singular.) But this water-conserving tip has given my dehydrated, drooping plant new life. Whenever I drop an ice cube on the floor, I pick it up and put it in my plant. This is slightly more difficult than simply kicking the ice cube under the fridge, but just as easy as putting it in the sink. If my automatic ice cube maker goes crazy and shoots cubes around the kitchen instead of into my cup, I ice cube my plant and then put the rest in my dog's water dish. Too make this even easier, keep your plant (or plants) and dog's water dish near the freezer.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Yummy Granola Recipe - Wheat-Free, Dairy-Free, Corn-Free, Soy-Free, Nut-Free

There haven't been many things that I've tried on my new allergen-free diet that I've loved so much that I ate them like they were the real thing. But thanks to my friend Julie, I have a delicious recipe for granola that Kalen, Bryan, and I love. It's crunchy, but not jaw-cracking hard. It's sweet and salty and just plain good. I like to use it as breakfast cereal with rice milk. Mmmmm... Or mix in some dry fruit ( I can only do this occasionally because of my sensitivity to mold.) But my favorite way is to mix in a scandalous amount of Enjoy Life dairy-free, soy-free Chocolate Chips. Yum!

Julie's Granola Recipe
5 cups quick oats
6 T brown sugar
6 T maple syrup
1/4 cup oil
3/4 t salt
cinnamon to taste

Combine oats and brown sugar. Combine syrup, oil and salt. Add wet mixture to dry and stir. Spread out on 2 cookie sheets. Cook for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes at 250 F. Stir every 15 minutes to keep an even color.

I also tried this recipe by using molasses instead of maple syrup. It was good, but the maple syrup is much better.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I Tried the FIRM WAVE: A Review of the Wave by the FIRM

I finally felt good enough to workout on the new FIRM Wave. Since it is a completely new concept and fitness tool for me, I did the 10 minute introduction to the Wave video, Ride the Wave with Emily Welsh. (For all you Firmies, Emily Welsh has two kids and now owns the FIRM studio in South Carolina. Good for you Emily!).

Generally, tutorials are dull. Ride the Wave isn't really an exception, except that I really had no clue how to position myself, where to press with my feet, etc. Ride the Wave explained it all. For example, press out through your outer thighs, and lift your heels to rock from side-to-side. Aahhhh...that makes sense, but I didn't figure it out on my own. I still have trouble "carving the wave." How do I rock back without straightening my back leg? I'll be going through parts of Ride the Wave before my next workout.

I then worked out with my favorite FIRM Master Instructor, Allie Del Rio. As you can see from this picture, Allie's been with the FIRM since the elaborite mansion sets with music written for the workouts. I loved that music--well, at least the fact that the horn section cued me to do plies and the drums cued squats. I needed all the help I could get. You probably should do Speed Slimming Sculpt without weights the first time. (I didn't, and admit it, neither will you.) I did compromise and use 3 lb. weights. Allie was a great instructor, as always. Not too perky, not to stiff, and just the right amount of encouragement. I like working out with Allie, partly because her weight shifts up and down, just like mine. But she always proves that when she wants to give up Chubbie Hubbie ice cream, she can and she knows how to whip her body from good to fabulous. She's living proof that there is hope for all us normal women (and men?) out there.

Speed Slimming Sculpt combined a lot of familiar FIRM moves with the new feel and challenges of the Wave. I liked that my feet new the steps, even if they weren't used to the surface. And I really liked the new surface. The curve of the Wave when I stepped on it was perfect. I loved the way the "crest" curled under my foot and supported my high arches. I didn't even notice the normal jarring of step. I've always hated doing lunges on a step, because it feels unnatural. I loved the TransFIRMer because the inclined position felt better. I think the Wave works better than the incline. The height and curved slant make an unnaturalness of lunging feel, well, almost natural.

Speed Slimming Sculpt uses the Wave in the rocking position for lunge/dip combinations. My thighs felt the difference. The Wave was stable enough that I didn't teeter over, but unstable enough that I had to squeeze my thighs and abs tight to hold it in position. It also forced me to press into the front leg instead of using the force of the back leg to pop me into a standing position.

The Wave was helpful during the ab section, also. Side-lying crunches never worked well for me. I had to tug on my arm to get my body into a position where my abs could take over. The curved top of the wave supported my waist and torso perfectly and enabled me to focus on developing oblique strength, not arm strength.

However, the Wave does shift a little when you workout, even if you use that mat. I'm going to try using my own yoga mat next time and see if it has more gripping power. And, as The FIRM does with most of their new stepping devices, they didn't make the base wider than the top to make it difficult to flip the Wave over if you accidentally step on the edge instead of the center. NOTE TO The FIRM and GAIAM: Just extend the edges of the wave at both ends . Voila! More stability.

My assessment? I don't think the Wave is a gimmick. The Wave will challenge you in different ways while still getting your heart rate up and building muscle. The Wave is probably not a workout necessity--unless you're like me and have to try new and fun things to stay motivated.

More Info on the Firm's Wave:
More on the new FIRM Wave
The New FIRM Wave Arrived
The New FIRM Wave - I Bought It
The FIRM Wave - Is it a Gimmick, or Lots of Fun?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

More on the new FIRM WAVE

I worked out on the New FIRM Wave a little tonight while watching The Amazing Race. The Wave is a great way to exercise while watching TV. I know, it sounds crazy. But I'm a couch potato who wants to move. A treadmill doesn't work well because your head doesn't stay level. The BOSU really doesn't work because you are bouncing everywhere. Yoga is hard because you are constantly bending over and looking at your knees or the floor.

But the Wave works. When you rock side to side, your head stays level. It's so easy to focus on Project Runway or whatever your favorite show is. Of course, you'll be limited to the rocking motions if the head-movement thing is important to you like it is for me.

My only problem with the Wave is that shifts slowly while you are using it. I had it on the specially designed safety mat on a carpeted floor. I noticed the Wave was starting to catch on something and realized it had shifted about a foot to the side. Don't use the Wave near stairs! I'm wondering if this will happen on a different surface. Anyone else tried it, yet?

More Info on the Firm's Wave:
I Tried the FIRM Wave
The New FIRM Wave Arrived
The New FIRM Wave - I Bought It
The FIRM Wave - Is it a Gimmick, or Lots of Fun?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The New FIRM Wave Arrived!

The Firm Wave came in the mail yesterday. Unfortunately, I have a cold, so I haven't worked out yet. But, my daughter had a great time walking up and down the slope (excuse me, the wave.)

I did preview the videos and try a few moves. When you first get on the rocking side of the Wave, it's a little awkward, but it doesn't take long at all to become acclimated to it. It doesn't feel dangerous after the first rock or two.

The videos contain pretty standard FIRM moves, so you won't be thrown off by a lot of new exercises and the new platform. There are new exercises, but mostly, the videos focus on doing the standards in a new way. The Wave definitely challenges your core muscles. You have to keep your abs tight to balance on the Wave. Some of the new rocking motions challenge the outer thighs even in a short time.

I think I'm going to enjoy this new exercise equipment. It's definitely not a gimmick.

More Info on the Firm's Wave:
I Tried the FIRM Wave
More on the new FIRM Wave
The New FIRM Wave - I Bought It
The FIRM Wave - Is it a Gimmick, or Lots of Fun?

Up in the Middle of the Night and Having Fun

Tonight, Kalen was crying in her sleep. Her face was contorted and she was squirming in bed. I felt so sorry for her. For some reason, it seems worse when she's hurting and asleep. Apparently she had some bubbles in her belly that were causing the pain. I finally got her up out of bed to walk. Sure enough, that took care of the problem. But then I had a wide-awake girl on my hands.

We decided to watch one episode of Word World together. She snuggled up close and provided commentary on the episode (she is an expert after all). And while I'm sad she was in pain, I'm glad we got to spend a little time together in an out of the ordinary way.