Monday, March 19, 2018

Three Tips for Busy Parents Planning a Date Night

It can be hard to find time to be with your spouse when you have kids, but that time is so important. Take the time to plan a fun date night with your significant other. Your relationship will thank you, and your kids will have better parents because of it.

three hundred and eighteen.

Keep It Simple

You don't have to spend a fortune, get dressed up in fancy clothes, or go to a special event to have a great date night. In fact, all of those things can distract from the quality time you want to spend with your partner. Instead, choose a date night activity that will be relaxing and will allow you to chat and reconnect with your partner. One easy choice is a local restaurant or bar where you can talk, eat, and drink. For example, you can find a pub La Grange IL like Kenny's Pub, sit back, relax, and have a great time with the one you love, all without dressing up or traveling far away.

Find a Sitter That You Trust

Nothing ruins a date night faster than worrying about your kids the whole time that you're gone. Stop worrying and find a babysitter that you can truly trust when it's time to go out. A family member could be ideal, but be sure not to take them for granted. Offer to pay them for their services or to do something to help them out. If you know other young parents, perhaps you can arrange a babysitting exchange where you and your spouse watch their kids when they go out, and they watch your kids when you go out. Or, you may have more luck by looking at a professional service to find a sitter that you know is qualified. Any sitter should have training in CPR and should know what to do in case of an emergency. Try to stick with the same sitter once you find one that you like.

Practice Regularly

It can be hard for parents when they first go out on a date night. The easiest solution to this is to start early and make it a habit. Once you start having fun, you will probably want to make it a regular feature in your life. Consider adding weekly (or at least monthly) dates to your routine and your marriage will surely benefit. Plus, you'll get to have fun as a couple!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Wellness 101: How To Get Healthy In 2018

In today's world, many people are beginning to realize that a lack of mental and physical health can and does lead to substandard living. If you're opposed to mediocre living on any level and want more for your life, it's time to recognize that you have the power and intelligence to make the lifestyle changes necessary to cultivate a healthy lifestyle. Below you'll find three techniques that can help you begin your journey to wellness:
  1. Focus On Your Food.
    If you're serious about making wellness your permanent reality, it's important to begin focusing on your food. The typical American diet is full of foods that cause weight gain, detract from your vitality, hamper immunity, and generate numerous other problems. Our "foods" are synthetic, chemical-laden, and highly processed. The first step to better health is to adopt a countercultural approach which involves forsaking the junk food and increasing your consumption of nutrient-dense foods like high protein lean meats, complex carbs, and plenty of vegetables and fruits.  Having a delicious green smoothie for breakfast every morning is a good way to get started. Focus on eating more and more of the good foods, and you won't have room for the bad stuff.
    healthy food
  2. Avoid Sedentary Living.
    In addition to focusing on your food, make sure that you avoid sedentary living at all costs. Taking this step is important because a lack of physical activity can generate a wide range of unwanted outcomes like weight gain, compromised immunity, and mood instability. On the other hand, regular exercise can promote a wide range of great outcomes like sustained happiness, mental clarity, weight loss, and clearer skin. There are many forms of physical activity that you can engage in to start attaining these life-giving benefits. Some of them include high-intensity interval training (HIIT), jumping rope, and pilates, but you can start slowly and build up to the higher intensity exercises. Build activity into your daily life - park at the far end (or middle) of the parking lot and walk to the store; take the stairs instead of the elevator; etc. These exercise videos from BeFit are also a great option.
  3. Help Your Children Develop Healthy Habits. healthy kids
    One final strategy you can employ to get healthy in 2018 is focusing on your children's level of wellness. Caring for others is known to promote mental well-being., which is good for you, and helping your children to develop healthy habits while they're young is good for them in the present and long-term. It's better (and easier) to stay healthy than have to reclaim good health after losing it. Also note that when the people around you are healthy, you're much more likely to maintain the high levels of physical and mental well-being that promote happiness and vitality. In the event that you're looking for an ABA therapy Sarasota FL company, know that the professionals of Engage Behavioral Health can assist you.


Three health strategies that you can implement to cultivate a lifestyle of wellness include focusing on your food, avoiding sedentary living, and helping your children develop healthy habits. Implementing these strategies consistently will likely enable you to lead the lifestyle of wellness that makes you a more productive, positive person!

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Share the Magic of Storytelling

Love this Dark Tower series by Stephen King
What if getting books into the hands of kids in need was as easy as taking a picture and sharing it to social media?

It is!

For every 'shelfie' - a picture of you with your favorite book or in front of a bookshelf - posted to Twitter or Instagram this month with the hashtag #magicofstorytelling, Disney will donate one book to a child in need.

Simple as that.

There are a few other ways to donate, too. But this one is lots of fun.

Show me your shelfies!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

This is My Favorite

- insert video of the most awesome moment in Olympic Curling - (I would really like to actually insert the video, but seriously, just click the link and watch it over and over. I know I am.)

Watching this makes me smile every time.  Looks like Shuster was having the time of his life.
These guys were so much fun to watch.
I miss the Olympics.

Also, posting to blogger from twitter on my phone doesn't really work very well. This post is edited.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Ways to Make a Busy Mom’s Life Easier

As a mom your life is busy. Days are filled with chasing after little ones, cooking, cleaning, and driving everyone here and there. And these things are probably just a small part of your typical day. Before you become too overwhelmed, try a few of these simple strategies to lighten the load.

Invest in Time Saving Gadgets

You may already have some of these items in place, but adding a few additional conveniences is always a good idea. No mother should be without a dishwasher. This one appliance will save time, energy, and give you a few extra moments to get off of your feet each evening. Consider purchasing an extra clothes drier too. Sounds silly, but laundry goes much faster if there are enough dryers to keep up with the washer - because, no matter what the salesperson may tell you, the dryer will not dry the clothes in the same amount of time it takes a load to run through the washer. Even a Genie garage door opener can make life simpler.

Make Sure to Take Some Mommy Time

No one can care for others 24 hours a day and not feel overwhelmed. There are probably plenty of days where you wish you could have just a few minutes to catch your breath. Take advantage of nap time. If you have older children, make their TV time coincide with the little one’s sleep. Use these precious few minutes to take a break. Keep a basket on hand with things you wish you had time for like that latest novel, a craft project, or a tablet that allows you to catch up with friends on social media.

Create a Tranquil Bedroom "Getaway"

Take the time to re-do your bedroom. This area needs to be your oasis at the end of a busy day. Splurge on soft bedding and luxurious pillows. Remove all TVs, mobile devices, and computers, and most importantly, never let a toy cross the threshold. When the kids are finally asleep, turn in yourself, Keep the lighting soft and use a sound machine or relaxing music to lull you to sleep.

Sometimes you need to slow down, step back, and find a way to make life less hectic. Doing so may seem selfish or frivolous, but reducing just a small bit of the stress and chaos that surrounds you can actually make you a better mom. Having a relaxed and refreshed attitude will allow you to focus on the tasks at hand in a whole new light.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Growing Kids, Shrinking Space

They grow up so fast, don’t they? One minute, they’re a tiny bundle swaddled in your arms, the next they’re looking you dead in the eye. And then they start having kids of their own. The bigger they get, the more things they seem to accumulate, but when you live in a small house or apartment, space for all that stuff is hard to come by. If your children are starting to outgrow your home but you can’t afford to get something bigger, these space-saving tips will come in handy.

Put Sentimentals in Storage

Do you or your children have things around the house that you don't particularly use, but they still have some sort of meaning to you? Sentimental valuables like stuffed animals, baby blankets, bedroom sets, and whatever else you have can be nice to keep, but can you really justify taking up your valuable space with stuff you don't really use anymore? You can place all these things, and other items around the place that you’re not using, into storage. You’ll want to find a facility close to you so you can have access to your things when you want them. So, if you live in Hackettstown you’d search for storage hackettstown nj to find the best service providers near you. Only costing a few bucks per month, a storage unit will clear up some much-needed space for your family.

Sell or Donate the Things You No Longer Use

Kids outgrow clothing, grow tired of toys, and move on to other interests. If things are no longer being worn or used, there is no reason that they should continue to take up room that you need for the things you actually use. Put the sentimental things into storage, but get rid of all the rest. Whether you list things on eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook or donate to your local Goodwill or other second-hand store, you can be happy knowing that someone else can get some use out of the things your family no longer needs.

Buy Dual-Purpose Furniture

When you live in a small space you have to be creative with it. As you’re shopping for furniture, try to find items that can serve more than one purpose to conserve space. For instance, if you needed an additional bedroom, you could invest in a futon couch for the living room so it serves as a social area during the day and a bedroom at night. Other options might include an ottoman that doubles as storage for books, or a trundle bed which has dresser drawers, or an additional bed underneath. We just visited IKEA for the first time since they opened a new one near here, and they have lots of creative options for small spaces.

Invest in Wall Shelves and Units

When it comes to limited floor space the best thing you can do is invest in wall shelves and other wall units. For instance, putting a flat screen television on the wall eliminates the need for a large clunky entertainment center. Wall shelves are great for aesthetics and storage of everything from knick-knacks and home decor to books and toys.

If the size of your home or apartment suddenly stops being enough space for you and your family to live comfortably, these tips can help to free up some room to accommodate everyone. While eventually you may need to upgrade and relocate, for now, you can live comfortably knowing everything has a place. (now if you can just get the kids to put things away when they're done using them...)

I Love a Good Deal!

Last time I went to the grocery store, I noticed some fish and seafood that had been marked down. Way down. It was in a corner of a freezer that I had never looked at closely before, so I'm not sure what caught my eye, but there was quite a bit. It was probably those bright yellow tags; I'm kind of drawn to those tags.

I was especially interested in some salmon filets that had been marked down to 99¢ - for 2 filets which is just perfect for the two of us. They were already seasoned with a 'Stout Spiked BBQ' that sounded interesting. I wasn't sure how they would actually taste but figured for 99¢ I couldn't go wrong. So I grabbed 3 packages. There were at least a couple more, but since we'd never tried them I was afraid to grab them all. Of course, I still would have spent less than buying 1 lb. of salmon at the usual price, so maybe I should have...

When I got home, I went through the cash back apps on my phone - Ibotta and Checkout51 - and found that Checkout51 had a $2.00 rebate on that brand of seafood. So, of course, I uploaded my receipt for that - and got $2.00 credit for spending $2.97 on salmon.  Now that's a good deal!

The salmon tasted pretty good, too.

I will definitely be checking that little corner of that freezer from now on to see what else I can find.

Do you know where to find the marked down items in your store? What kind of great deals have you found?

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Enjoy Your Outdoor Living Space

Several years ago Jeffrey and Cory built a deck and pergola on the back of our house. We loved that deck. When we built the house, we just had the contractor put some rock in the patio area, waiting for a time when we could afford a nice patio or deck. We didn't get that deck quite as soon as we thought we were going to get it - in fact, we were planning a paver patio that would have been really nice, and it would have been different from what any of the neighbors had. But, the patio would have taken a lot more work, and we may have needed to hire someone, at least for part of the installation. So, eventually we 'settled' for the deck - which just happened to be the nicest deck in the neighborhood! (I may be a bit biased)

Morning on the Deck

A new deck or patio will not only add value to your home, but it will be something your family can enjoy for a good part of the year. Snow may gather on your patio furniture in winter, but the rest of the year your family can make good use of that new patio. Morning coffee, a family dinner, or just a place to sit and read a book or talk to a friend. Your new deck or patio gives you a place to get out of the house and enjoy your backyard. That area of rock we had before the guys built the deck really didn't get much use, but we ate dinner on the deck regularly once we had it. It was just so pleasant.

Boards & Shadows

One of the best parts of the deck was the pergola. It not only gave shade to the deck and made it a pleasant place to hang out, but it also helped to block the afternoon/evening sun and keep the house cooler. We hung some bamboo shades on the two sides by the patio furniture, and those could be lowered to give even more protection from the sun. Besides that, they looked nice.

Whether you need to hire a company that has an established reputation of installing patio covers Salt Lake City, or you can install your own pergola or patio cover, you will definitely want some kind of shade on your deck or patio. Otherwise, there may be times when the sun is so strong and hot that you are forced back into your house and unable to enjoy your deck. (Unless you're like me and really enjoy hanging out in the sun and heat, but I hear I'm not normal in that aspect.) The pergola didn't really protect from rain, but if you live in a rainy area, you may want to think about installing an awning or other patio cover that will keep most of the rain off.

Because, believe me - you will want to spend as much time as you can on your new deck or patio. Who agrees with me?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Ow, Ow, Ow...

It was raining yesterday morning, so I didn't think I was going to be able to walk. When that happens I pick a couple videos from BeFit and do those. I've added several to my Workouts playlist on YouTube so I can find them easily on my smart TV. This is the one I did yesterday, and I'm feeling it today in my abs and in my legs. It's mainly when I try to sit down. Or climb the stairs.

But, of course, it's a good kind of pain.

Most days I walk 2 miles and then come back and do a 10-minute video. I have a few favorite videos I seem to do more often than the others - Ripped Arms and Abs Workout and Ab Power Workout 2 are a couple of them. My legs usually feel that 2nd one for a few days afterward too. Which is a good thing, right? If I'm not feeling it, it must not be doing anything. Thankfully BeFit has lots of videos to choose from so I can mix it up - which I probably should do a bit more so I can continue to embrace the pain get the benefits.

What are your favorite exercise videos? Do they still cause you pain?

Three Signs Your Yard May Have Poor Drainage

Drainage is one of those things that you don't think about until a storm passes through and you wake up to find your yard completely flooded. We certainly didn't think of it when we bought this house right in the middle of a very dry summer. Thankfully our yard seems to be OK, but many of the neighbors have 'lakes' in their yards every time it rains. I guess there's more than one way to have lakefront property! Though I'm sure they're not thrilled with the standing water in their yards.

Anytime it rains, the water needs a place to go. If your yard lacks proper drainage, that water will build up in an area where you may not want it. The excess moisture can kill your lawns and any plants in your yard too. In addition to flooding, there are other signs that you can look for both inside and outside your home that can indicate you have a drainage issue on your hands.

Clogged Gutters

Cleaning your gutters is something that may need to be done a few times a year, especially if you have mature trees near your house.  Gutters consist of not only the individual gutter pieces along the roof but the downspouts too. The water that moves through the gutters goes into the downspouts, which carries the water away from your foundation. If you've cleaned the leaves out of the gutters but they still seem clogged, that can indicate that your yard doesn't have proper drainage and the water in the downspouts has nowhere to go.

Interior Flooding

Another sign of improper drainage is interior flooding. The water can soak into your lawn and move closer to your home instead of away from the foundation as it's supposed to. Excess water buildup can cause cracks to form in your foundation allowing water to get inside your house. That water can seep through at a slow rate, but as the cracks expand, the water flow increases. You may begin to notice warped floorboards and woodwork, and eventually flooding in your basement or on your first floor.

Mold and Mildew

You may not have noticed flooding yet, but when you spot mold and mildew and can't find a cause for it, it's time to contact a professional irrigation St Louis company for help. Both mold and mildew thrive in areas with excess moisture. Mold needs a dark place to grow, which is why you'll see it inside cabinets, but mildew can grow in your shower and in any other room of your home. Those spores will continue growing and moving around your home until you get rid of the moisture.

Any of these signs can indicate a serious problem with your yard's drainage which you will want to take care of as soon as possible to avoid additional damage.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Olympics, Olympics, Olympics

I don't watch sports. At least, I don't usually watch sports. But every time the Olympics roll around, I just can't stop watching. I love them!

I find myself just as interested in curling as watching Shaun White's gold medal run in snowboard halfpipe. I squealed when he threw that board, and I still do every time I watch the video - which I've done a few times. (I've watched Chloe Kim a few times too - that girl can fly!) But seriously, that run! That man can still fly! His 3rd Olympic gold medal and the 100th gold medal for the U.S. in winter Olympics. How cool is that? Redemption and a milestone.

Go, Mikaela!
I pretty much leave the Olympics on all day. I watch skiers fly in the ski jump competition, watch the craziness of short track speed skating, watch some hockey (how did our U.S. men lose that game to Slovenia, anyway?), and then I check out the downhill skiing. And then I go back to curling. There's just something about that game - I just can't stop watching. Oh, and I think the weirdest sport I've seen so far in these Olympics is the luge doubles - seriously, who decided to stack 2 humans on a little sled and send them down a curving, icy track? And is there a limit to how many people you can stack on that little sled? I do think that ride down the track looks like a lot of fun. If you can keep from bouncing off the walls and crashing, which seems to be a serious risk. Oh, and then there are the guys who go head-first down that same track on another little sled...

The biggest problem with all this Olympics coverage is that it goes so late. How am I supposed to get any sleep?

Adding Quail to the Family Dinner Menu

Gambel's QuailIn many parts of the world, quail is a common and enjoyable menu item. Quail can be purchased in markets, hunted, or raised at home with the right care. For those who are talented hunters and enjoy rising early, quail is extraordinarily common game. With the many different ways to prepare quail and their eggs, it is a wonderful and affordable staple protein just as chicken is.

Purchasing Quail in Markets
When searching for quail in stores, it is important to keep in mind that most marketed quail is farmed. Therefore, it will not taste quite the same as wild or free ranged quail. I personally have not seen quail in the grocery store, but then again, I have not looked for it. Our store has a wide range of meat options, so it is entirely possible that quail is available, at least part of the time. I will have to look next time I'm in the store.

Hunting Quail for the Table
Hunting for quail is a common sport throughout the world, as quail are a very common species and a day's hunt could feed the family for a few days. For those who prefer the flavor of wild-caught game, hunting is the best method to obtain fresh quail. Quail hunting in Alabama is a popular sport, so there are many hunting spots that offer an incredible amount of game. Hunting will provide the freshest meat, aside from raising the birds at home.

Raising Quail for Food at Home
Raising quail at home is the second best way to obtain fresh quail for meals. For those who have adequate room and are not in an urban setting (unless the laws allow for raising quail), quail can be fairly easy to hatch and raise at home. As long as they are housed properly with the right feed and adequate shelter, it will only be a short time before the family is able to enjoy the very first harvest. This is the most hands-on method and it will require the most work.

Quail is a great protein to add to your family's meal rotation. Variety is key to a healthy diet, so add some leafy greens and another vegetable option for a delicious, wholesome meal!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

‘so good, so good, so good’

After hearing the news today that Neil Diamond is retiring because He's been diagnosed with Parkinson's, we're really glad we got to see him when he was here last spring.  He is canceling the rest of his 50th Anniversary tour, so there are quite a few people who won't get the chance.

We've been Neil Diamond fans for years, but it was the first time we'd seen him in concert. It was awesome. That man can certainly put on a good show! Sorry to hear that he has to stop because it was definitely something he (and all his fans) enjoyed.

In a statement on his website, Diamond, 76, says, "It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring. I have been so honored to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years."

Thankfully he plans to continue writing, recording, and being involved in other projects for a long time to come.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Are You Really Getting a Good Deal?

Anybody who knows me at all knows that I love a good deal. Paying full price for anything is practically against my religion! I believe in combining sales, coupons, rebates, and whatever else I can in order to get the best price possible on whatever I buy. Clearance is one of my favorite words! I especially love when things are marked 80-90% off regular price. Just 25-30% clearance isn't really good enough.


Just because something is 'on sale' does not necessarily mean that you are getting a good deal. It's important to have at least a general idea of the regular prices of items you normally buy. This is especially true of groceries. Many times I have seen a sale price advertised in the grocery ad for an item that I bought at a cheaper price the week before. But, if you don't know what the regular price is for that item, you might think you're getting a good deal - because it's on sale, right? Knowing the regular price will help you know when you do see a good deal, and that's when you buy. If it's something you use on a regular basis, buy several when you get it at a good price. The idea is to buy enough when something is on sale so that you won't run out and have to buy more before it goes on sale again.

Combine sale prices with coupons and rebates using cash back apps like Ibotta and Checkout 51, and the savings can really add up. Just remember - if you don't need it, all the coupons and cash back rebates in the world don't necessarily make it a good deal. Unless it's free. Free is always a good deal.  (at least in my opinion) If it's something you don't really need, consider donating it to someone who can use it.

A money-saving option that I haven't really explored is renting items that you may only need for a short time. Of course, this doesn't apply to groceries, but renting sports equipment for things you only do occasionally is often the best option - at least until you decide to take up that sport on a regular basis. And f you're planning to welcome a baby into your family, you may want to check out baby gear rental Florida for baby items that will only be used for a short period of time.  Renting tools from the local home improvement store for that one-time project instead of buying a tool you're never going to use again is also a good idea. Invest in items you can use for a significant period of time, and have room to store when you're not using them, and rent other items. Just be sure to do your research first. Find out how much it would cost to purchase the item then compare that to the cost of renting that item for the time you need it.

The bottom line is - arm yourself with knowledge. The more you know about how much something should cost or will cost over the time you will use it, the better equipped you will be to know if you are indeed getting a good deal. Remember your smartphone (most of us have those nowadays) and look up prices on Amazon or other retailers - yes, even when you're in the store - to see if you can get cheaper somewhere else. Some stores will even match those online prices, so don't be afraid to ask.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Welcoming Baby Without Blowing Your Budget

Anyone who has had a baby, or is preparing to welcome one into their family, knows that it can get expensive. How does one little person need so much stuff? Cribs, strollers, car seats, clothes, diapers, toys, bottles, etc. The list goes on and on, and it can quickly take a toll on your household budget.  The expenses add up very quickly if you're buying brand new items at your local store. Even if you just happened to find everything you need on the clearance rack - which is highly unlikely - you're still going to spend a bundle (on your new little bundle).

But don't get discouraged just yet. There are ways to save money while still getting the things your baby needs, and that starts with realizing that your baby does not need all brand new items. Invest in secondhand furniture, see if any of your friends who have already had babies can lend or give you their hand-me-downs, and even check out online baby equipment rental, because sometimes it's cheaper to rent than to buy. I had no idea there was a whole site full of baby goods to rent.  You can find toys, furniture, and even small appliances like miniature fridges. The best part of that is that all merchandise is thoroughly inspected for safety, then sanitized and wrapped in plastic, so it stays clean and ready to use.

GarageSaleStuff 003One of my favorite options, back when I had babies, was going to garage sales. Babies grow out of everything so quickly - sometimes they only wear a particular outfit once - and you can usually find some barely worn baby clothes for a good price. Of course, this isn't the best time of year for garage sales, but many people offer their used baby clothes, furniture, bottles, diapers, and many other baby needs online through Facebook marketplace sites and/or eBay. (things have changed a bit since I had babies 27 years ago)

Of course, when you shop Goodwill, garage sales, or even eBay, you will want to inspect the items to be sure they are in good shape. Many baby things are very gently used because, as I mentioned earlier, babies grow so fast that they sometimes only wear an outfit once. They're also changing and developing so quickly, especially during the first year, that many items, especially toys, are quickly outgrown and discarded as baby moves on to something new.
You'll also want to be aware of current safety standards when buying cribs, strollers, and car seats. I just learned recently that car seats have an expiration date, so be sure to check on that - even if you're borrowing one from a friend.  If the car seat is expired, you'll need to find a new(er) one. Your baby's safety should be of primary importance.

Babies need a lot of stuff, but with all the options out there, you can get all that stuff without completely ruining your budget. And, it can be a lot of fun tracking down those deals and collecting all the things your baby is going to need while you wait to welcome her into your family.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Book List 2017

I've been reading all my life (well, as long as I can remember, anyway), but it wasn't until 2008 that I started putting together a list of all the books I read each year. I use Goodreads to keep track throughout the year and then list them all here once the year is over. It's always fun to go through them, and see how many pages and how many hours of reading I have.

Also, once again I'll link to any reviews I did. As always, I have good intentions to review more of the books I read, but I don't always follow through. Let's see what 2017 looked like...

Again, all books are listed the month I finished them. Even if I started listening or reading the previous month - or even at the beginning of the year as with the Bible reading plan. I don't always include my Bible reading program, but this year I started in January and finished in December, and it just fit.

  1. Brotherhood in Death - J.D. Robb (audio) - 13 hrs 37 min
  2. Donny's Brain - Rona Munro (audio) - 1 hr 27 min
  3. The Red Badge of Courage - Stephen Crane (audio) - 4 hrs 33 min
  4. The Woman in Cabin 10 - Ruth Ware - 352 pages
352 pages | 19 hours and 37 minutes

  1. He's Still Working Miracles: Daring To Ask God for the Impossible - Dana Rongione - 180 pages
180 pages

  1. 11/22/63 - Stephen King (audio) - 30 hrs 44 min
  2. Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum #22) - Janet Evanovich (audio) - 6 hrs 27 min
  3. Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23) - Janet Evanovich (audio) - 6 hrs 16 min
43 hours 27 minutes

  1. Apprentice in Death (In Death #43) - J.D. Robb (audio) - 13 hrs 6 min
13 hours 6 minutes

  1. Books Can Be Deceiving (Library Lover's Mystery #1) - Jenn McKinlay (audio) - 7 hrs 23 min
  2. Echoes in Death (In Death #44) - J.D. Robb (audio) - 13 hrs 43 min
21 hours 6 minutes

  1. How Ideas Spread - Jonah Berger (audio) - 5 hrs 53 min
  2. The Chamberlain Key: Decoding Startling Messages from God, Hidden for Centuries in an Ancient Biblical Manuscript - Timothy P. Smith - 224 pages
  3. Tidewater Inn (Hope Beach #1) - Colleen Coble (audio) - 8 hrs 56 min
224 pages | 14 hours 49 minutes

  1. Room - Emma Donoghue (audio) - 10 hrs 52 min
10 hours 52 minutes

  1. Pennies for Hitler - Jackie French (audio) - 9 hrs 18 min
  2. The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower #3) - Stephen King - 422 pages
422 pages | 9 hours 18 minutes

  1. Vivian Apple at the End of the World (Vivian Apple #1) - Katie Coyle (audio) - 8 hrs 6 min
  2. The Glass Castle - Jeannette Walls - 304 pages
  3. Words in the Dust - Trent Reedy (audio) - 8 hrs 27 min
  4. The Sign - Shawn Boonstra - 127 pages
  5. Once (Once #1) - Morris Gleitzman (audio) -  3 hrs 8 min
431 pages | 19 hours 41 minutes

  1. Room for One: Learning to Love God, Cast Out Idols, and Bring Your Faith to Life - Kelen Caswell 125 pages
  2. When Did Everybody Else Get So Old?: Indignities, Compromises, and the Unexpected Grace of Midlife - Jennifer Grant - 192 pages
217 pages

  1. You Can't Do it Naked: From Exposed to Fully Clothed in the Armor of God - Kim M. Snyder 116 pages
  2. The Advocate - Randy Singer (audio) - 15 hrs 4 min
  3. Secrets in Death (In Death #45) - J.D. Robb (audio) - 13 hrs 2 min
  4. Between Me and You - Allison Winn Scotch - 358 pages
474 pages | 28 hours 6 minutes

  1. The Pursuit of God - A.W. Tozer (audio) - 3 hrs 17 min
  2. Tips for Living -Renee Shafransky - 328 pages
  3. Wizard and Glass (The Dark Tower #4) - Stephen King - 672 pages
  4. Touching His Robe: Reaching Past the Shame and Anger of Abuse - Leslie G. Nelson - 172 pages
  5. The Queen's Poisoner (Kingfountain #1) - Jeff Wheeler (audio) 10 hrs 25 min
  6. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version - 1326 pages
  7. Collapsible: A Novel of Friendship, Broken Bones, Coffee, Shenanigans, and the Occasional Murder (Collapsible, #1) - Ruth Buchanan - 231 pages
  8. Love Story (The Baxter Family #1) - Karen Kingsbury - 368 pages
3097 pages | 13 hours 42 minutes

  • Total books - 36 (compare to 38 in 2016)
  • Total pages - 5180 (compare to 6574 pages in 2016)
  • Total time - 178 hours 55 minutes  (compare to 182 hours 16 minutes in 2016)
Page counts courtesy of Goodreads; audio lengths courtesy of Audible.

My reading goal for the year was 40 books, so I didn't quite make that - unless I count each individual book of the Bible and all the books I read to my grandson, but that seems a bit like cheating. I haven't yet decided what my goal for 2018 should be. Maybe I should just keep reading and see how it's going before I commit.

I didn't do too well posting reviews, either - only 15 this year. I really ought to get better at that - even if just a few words... Once again, scrolling through the list, I see several books that I really meant to write a review for, but somehow I just didn't do it.

How many books did you read in 2017?  I'd love to hear some suggestions for my 2018 reading list.

*if you happen to click any of the book covers and buy from Amazon, they say they'll pay me a small percentage.  Every little bit helps, and I thank you for your support!

Monday, January 08, 2018

New Year New You

A new calendar year rolls around, and we begin to see it all over again. The health clubs are offering special sign up deals and affordable monthly rates, the stores are advertising exercise clothing and exercise equipment, and people are starting new diets and new exercise programs, hoping that this year will be the year. This is the year they will finally lose that weight, get in shape, and take back the life they know they should have.

Are you ready? Will this be your year? Utilize some or all of the techniques outlined below to begin pursuing optimal well-being now:

  • Join A Health-Based Community.
    One of the best ways to take your mental and physical health to a new level is by joining a health-based community. Joining a community ensures that you will have support and encouragement as you implement lifestyle changes that promote healthy eating, regular exercise, etc. Use Internet-based resources such as to determine which local communities you might join to take your health to a new level. You'll find information about different communities that may be active and alive in your local area. Sign up. Get involved. Make some friends and have some fun!
  • Start Meditating.
    Meditation is one of the most important activities to engage in if you're serious about making wellness an integral component of your life. This technique can work in numerous ways, and the outcomes are not the same for everyone. For example, many people find that meditation engenders sustained introspection and self-awareness, thereby empowering them to cultivate a life that is more conducive to their personal values or professional purposes. Some of the other positive outcomes that can result from regular meditation include better sleep and boosted immunity.
  • Take Care Of The People Around You.  

    While many health experts acknowledge that self-care plays an integral role in promoting optimal wellness, it's also important to know that taking care of the people around you can engender a profound sense of well-being. This is the case for many reasons, including the fact that practicing empathy can create happiness by making life feel more meaningful. This process can transpire as an individual experiences the emotions of another person and then takes strides towards alleviating their suffering. Your acts of empathy do not have to be confined to the human world. Taking care of pets is also a wonderful way to demonstrate empathy. Note that finding a cat care clinic Washington residents can rely on to offer exemplary pet services is a wonderful way to keep your feline happy and healthy. 

Will those New Years resolutions and goals quickly fall by the wayside? Like every other year? Not if you start now by intentionally implementing new strategies in your pursuit of good health and optimum living. Take one step at a time; make one small change at a time, and then make another one. And remember, if and when you fail - pick yourself up and keep moving forward. Today. Tomorrow. Don't wait for another new calendar year. Every day is a new day, one day closer to your goals.