Tag Archives: tips

10 Good Sites for Thanksgiving Information, Ideas, and General Sanity-Saving Tips

Garfield-Holidays

A Great Thanksgiving Planner

This planner starts with a two weeks before and breaks down various tasks that should be completed within each time frame: one week before, the Monday before, and so on.  It is enormously helpful even if you aren’t quite that…organized.  I know my own weaknesses and I know that I won’t do all of these things, but I still admire the detail.  I highly recommend taking a look – I think it could inspire you to make your own planner.

Mary Organizes Thanksgiving Planner

This is a very nice blank printable that you can fill out yourself.  The blog entry describes the intention of each section and is very helpful. It has sections for each course of a meal, area for shopping list of things you can buy a head, one for perishables to get the day before, and so on.

Cat Christmas

Holiday 7-Week Planner

This lovely list will help you spread the tasks surrounding both/all of the holidays out a bit so that you can actually catch your breath and spend some time with family!  What a concept!

Need to know how much to make for Thanksgiving?

That is a great printable for you, if you are in doubt as to how much food you need for your crowd.

A Girl and A Glue Gun has some terrific ideas listed – with credit given to other locations that she found some of the crafts.  One of the cutest is “Roll a Turkey” – you roll dice and for each number, draw a specific part of the turkey.  Kids should LOVE this one!

Buzzfeed is quite a source of fun, merriment, and…who knew, Thanksgiving tips.  Here is a fantastic list of 17 Life-Saving Thanksgiving Tips.    I had never seen a number of these and think they sound like they would make a big difference.

Car Hacks, Tricks, and Tips provides all of the above for those families traveling by car over the holidays.  Some of these ideas (like silicone cupcake molds in drink holders to make cleaning easier) are all-season and things that I had never thought of; I highly recommend taking a look at the list.

Erin, from My Frugal Home, has a very handy list of how long specific Thanksgiving leftovers stay good.  That is enormously helpful.  I’m going to go print my copy now and put it on the refrigerator!

Country Living Magazine is a source for a lot of helpful ideas, recipes and the like.  Thanksgiving is no different from the rest of the year.  Go take a look at these!  Tips from Country Living!

Smart Savvy Living has 10 tips to keep your Thanksgiving organized and help you stress less.  Some are obvious – make lists – but if you follow these, it WILL decrease the stress and help you have a more enjoyable holiday with the people you care most about.  Isn’t that the true point?

I hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving!

Fall Leaves

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52 Ways to Brighten Someone’s Day

Things are tough.  The economy is bad, the job market is bad, the news is bad, and sports?  Well, the sports page used to be a place you could read about man’s achievements when everything else seemed bad, but these days, the reports in the sports page are just as bad as everything else: inappropriate emails and pictures, drugs/steroids/cheating, arrests, DUIs, and so forth and so on.  I have found that when things are bleak, one thing that can help lighten my mood is thinking about other people, thinking about people around me rather than obsessing about my own situation.  Here is a list of 52 ways to brighten someone else’s day:

  1. Listen – REALLY listen – to them.
  2. Give them a hug.
  3. Compliment one thing that you really like about them.
  4. Treat them to lunch, or coffee, or something else that you know that they would enjoy.
  5. Call them.
  6. Write them a short but heartfelt note and send it to them.
  7. Send an email – also heartfelt.
  8. Take them a flower or a plant, if they like those.
  9. Make arrangements to get together and do something fun.
  10. Smile – even if you don’t really feel like it.  Sometimes people just need a little encouragement, and you never know – the simple act of smiling at someone else might brighten your mood as well.
  11. Take them a bouquet of fresh flowers or a potted plant.
  12. Run an errand for them.
  13. Cook a meal for them – and take it to them.
  14. Share one of your favorite movies or books with them, if you think they would enjoy it.
  15. Cut the grass for them – or do another chore.
  16. Write a letter to them – or write one FOR them if writing isn’t easy for them.
  17. Give them the gift of a massage at a day spa.
  18. Pay for coffee for the person behind you at your local coffee shop – anonymously.
  19. Pay a compliment.
  20. Tell the people you love how much you love them.
  21. Spontaneously hug them – if they are a “huggy” sort of person.
  22. Offer to help a coworker out.
  23. Hold the door for someone who has their hands full.
  24. Make eye contact.
  25. Be polite and kind to people who are helping you – cashiers, workers at a store, waiters/waitresses, and so on.
  26. If you see someone that seems to be struggling, talk to them.
  27. Leave a thank you note.
  28. If you received really good service at a restaurant, say so to the manager.
  29. If your waitress/waiter is obviously having a hard day, be kind – say something encouraging or just smile and be patient.
  30. Use someone’s name when you talk to them – people love to hear their name.
  31. Be a courteous driver.
  32. Share good news.
  33. Take bagels or snacks to work for your coworkers.
  34. Put a note in your spouse’s lunch – or in your child’s lunch.
  35. Call your parents just to say hello.
  36. If someone drops something, pick it up and smile.
  37. Watch their favorite show with them.
  38. Send someone a short note, just to say you are thinking of them.
  39. If they are sick – take them a care package with tissues, chicken noodle soup, ginger ale, and saltines.
  40. Do your child’s chores for the day.
  41. Go to the hospital to visit a friend or relative – you’d be surprised how few people do this and how much it means.
  42. Say thank you to people who serve you –  wait staff, barbers/hair stylists, cashiers, etc.
  43. Hold the elevator for them!
  44. Tell them how proud you are of them.
  45. Take them a small, pretty plant.
  46. Take cookies to a nursing home or assisted living home.
  47. Donate nice, gently used work clothes to a group that helps people get a job.
  48. Leave a bigger tip than normal when you go out to eat.
  49. Make a care package for someone in the military.
  50. Donate blood.
  51. Participate in an “awareness” walk – epilepsy, breast cancer, heart….
  52. When you see something that reminds you of a friend, buy it and surprise your friend.

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Before you pull out your hair…a few ideas on stress management

Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or suspense.  It can also be difficulties that cause worry.  There are two basic types: acute stress or chronic stress.  Acute stress is short-term; it is the body’s response to something that seems dangerous.  Examples would be accidents or near-misses.  Chronic stress is something to continues for long periods, like stressful situations or events.  A separation or a bad work situation would probably result in chronic stress.  When you are stressed, your body goes reacts as if it is under attack or in danger – this is the fight-or-flight response.  It causes your body to produce hormones that speed up your heart, make you breathe faster, and give you a burst of energy.

It is entirely possible to exhibit symptoms of stress and think that you are simply sick.  Symptoms of stress are numerous and vary from person to person. There are physical symptoms such as headache, heart palpitations, chest pain, stiff neck, and back pain, as well as upset stomach and nausea.  Note that some of those symptoms are indeed symptoms of other issues and may need the attention of a doctor – chest pain, in particular!  Other symptoms are emotional: anxiety, lack of focus, depression, sadness, anger, restlessness, feeling insecure and irritablity.  Burnout is also a symptom of stress.  You may also exhibit behavioral symptoms, which may include changes in eating patterns (either more or less), drug or alcohol abuse, social withdrawal, crying spells, and relationship conflicts.  It is important to pay attention to what your body is telling you!  If you ignore high levels of stress, you can truly make yourself sick.

And that brings us to the effects of stress – which are numerous and can be serious.  It can affect your immune system, literally making you more likely to get sick – and to get sick more often.  If you have a chronic illness, it can make those symptoms worse.  It can make skin problems like acne and psoriasis worse.  It can cause nagging headaches, forgetfulness, and decreased productivity at work.  You may feel tired all the time, irritable, and may be quicker to lose your temper.

Who is most susceptible to stress?  People without strong support netowkrs, those who are poorly nourished, and people who don’t get enough sleep.  Other groups that show a higher liklihood of suffering from the effects of stress include those with chronic illnesses, children, teens, working parents, and seniors.  Many of these groups have stressors that tend to be related to life transitions such as more and more responsibility, the change from not having children to having children, and retirement and growing health issues.

Speaking of stressors – what causes such levels of stress?  Well, stressors can be either pleasant or unpleasant events.  Both sets can cause tremendous levels of stress.  For example, significant life adjustments like marriage, divorce, separation, birth of children, and gradation are all sources of stress, even if some of them are happy occasions.  Buying a house is another example – it is a happy event, but the paperwork, the legal documents, the move are all stressful.  Stress can also come from daily routines: sitting in traffic, getting the children up and ready for school in time for the bus, deadlines at work, and running kids back and forth to after-school events can all cause stress.  Unrealistic self-expectations – like expecting perfection – can certainly be stressful.  Interpersonal relationships, including both work/social relationships and personal relationships, can cause a lot of stress.   Common stressors include balancing work and family, anger management, legal issues, financial problems, health issues, family problems, addictions, caring for an elderly relative, school, and career changes.

Now, how do you deal with all of this stress?  First of all, if you are showing physical symptoms, if you are depressed, please seek help.  There is NOTHING wrong with getting help when you are struggling.  Talk to someone, a friend, a relative, a doctor.  Secondly, take a look at what is causing your stress.  Is it long-term?  Is it short-term?  Look at the problem you are facing and break it down into smaller, more easily faced parts.  Brainstorm ways to fix the problem or to make it simpler.  Other ideas for dealing with stress or getting a little relief include:

  • Take a 15-minute break from what is stressing you.  Walk a way and come back to it when you are calmer.
  • Write out what is worrying you and set it aside for 15 minutes.
  • Look at the worst-case scenario.  If that happened, how bad would it really be?  How likely is it to really happen?
  • Sit outside in the fresh air and sunshine for a short period – about 15 minutes.
  • Read something funny.
  • Delegate when you can – ask for help.  People who care about you frequently want to help.
  • Are you stressed because you are too busy or are overcommitted?  Well, look at changes you can make.  Decline some of the requests.  Set aside time for yourself and your family.
  • Set aside 10 minutes when you walk in the door in the evening to unwind before jumping into housework and household routines.
  • Declutter – clutter can cause stress.  Clean up in small increments: one area at a time.
  • Look at what really needs to be done and prioritize.
  • Ask yourself, “In 100 years, how important will this be?”
  • Ask yourself if there is anything you can do to change the situation.  If not, why worry? Let it go.  If you CAN do something, then DO it instead of worrying!
  • Talk to someone!  Get advice – or simply talk.  You may want to let your friend/listener know if you simply need to vent.
  • Help someone else – it will help take your mind off of things.
  • Make sure you get a good night’s sleep.  It helps you deal with things better and stay calmer – and it helps you stay healthy!
  • Watch your favorite movie or read your favorite book – use it as an escape for a little while.
  • Before you make a major change, weigh the pros and cons.
  • If you’ve made a mistake, look at what you can do to fix it.  If you can’t, apologize if appropriate and look at ways to make sure it doesn’t happen again.  Then let it go.
  • Take a deep breath and count to 10 before reacting.
  • If you are stuck regarding a specific issue, put it aside and move on.  Think about, or work on, something else and give your subconscious time to work.  You’d be surprised at how often you’ll get an idea when you are least expecting it.
  • Focus on positive achievements, positive changes, and surround yourself with positive people.
  • Cut back on caffiene – it will help you feel less on edge.
  • Learn to allow yourself an extra 10 minutes to get places.
  • Get up 10 – 15 minutes earlier in the morning to make your morning less harried.

Websites that I found helpful

  1. http://www.mindtools.com/smpage.html
  2. http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_management_relief_coping.htm
  3. http://www.mftrou.com/stress-management-techniques.html
  4. www.time-management-guide.com
  5. www.conqueringstress.com

My sources of information

  1. http://www.medicinenet.com/stress_management_techniques/index.htm
  2. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress-management/MY00435
  3. http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/default.htm
  4. Sources of stress:  http://ohp.nasa.gov/cope/stress_sources.htm

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Really Useful (or Interesting) Websites (January 2009)

The selection is shorter this month, I’m afraid – we’ve been recovering from the holidays and multiple illnesses in our household and I’m afraid my energy just gave out.  Still, I did find some sites that I thought were worth sharing!

  • Online Book Club for Readers – I was looking for a book club that I could take part in without set meetings, since I have a job and two young children.  I need something I can take part in whenever I have the time – and this fits.  I am now participating; we’ll see how it goes.
  • Dear Reader – this enables you to join online book clubs through libraries and also allows you to participate in forums.   There are publisher-sponsored clubs, recipes, and a blog.  I highly recommend taking a look!
  • Project Gutenberg – this is a fantastic site.  If you want to read a classic, but don’t have it in your home and don’t want to run to the library (or they don’t have it), check this site.  It could very well be online.  There are 0ver 27,000 books to read here, online, for free.  You can also look into helping add to the catalog.  Go check it out!
  • Presidential Trivia – this is a collection of links to other sites with information and tidbits about the presidents, including our current president.  Check it out; you are almost guaranteed to learn something surprising about at least one of the presidents.  Did you know that, despite Barak Obama being our 44th president, there have only been 43 presidents?  Grover Cleveland served two nonconsecutive terms and is counted as our 22nd and 24th president.
  • Headlinespot – I’ve been looking for a collection of links to news sites; I feel like I visit the same few sites over and over again and the variety of news articles and information hasn’t been what I would have hoped.  This is a great selection of links.  There are divisions such as Must-See Sites, Weather, Television, News Photos, and Sports.
  • Being Thrifty – This is a blog with some interesting links to freebies, as well as other blogs.  I found the freebies pretty interesting, and the commentary on “trashy garage sales” amusing.  I’m sure I’ll be going back – and I’m sure I’ll be checking out her other blogs; the author is hoping to write full time in the near future!
  • Tipnut – I started out looking at tips for saving money in the kitchen and moved on.  This is a fabulous site.  I love it and I’m subscribing!  There are DIY tips, crafts, cleaning tips and so much more.  I love it – and I love the story behind it (I really identify with having tips and needing a way to organize them!).  Go check it out!  There’s something there for everyone, I have no doubt!

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Really Good Websites (December 2008)

  1. Picasa – this isn’t a website but hey…it is really useful.  I’ve been using it for several years now and just updated to Picasa 3.  I LOVE it.  Picasa is a Google product.
  2. Stepcase Lifehack – what caught my eye was this article on over 100 Quick and Easy Healthy Foods.  In light of the holidays, I was looking for quick and easy meals, but I also wanted healthy meals.  This is what I discovered: pretty much something for everyone.
  3. Be Well at Stanford – this is a wonderful site with communities, tips, articles, and so much more.  You can join for free and get personalized news and track your goals, but you can also read the articles without joining.  Go take a bit of time and explore – there are communities for health, fitness, green living, stress management, allergies, and so much more.
  4. Dumb Little Man – fantastic site.  Lots of interesting articles.  The article that caught my eye was 30+ Useful Websites You Probably Didn’t Know About, but there is so much more here.  Their purpose is to provide a handful of tips weekly – on a variety of subjects.  When I looked at the site (very recently), I found articles on differentiating between “real” wants and “should” wants – if only I had read that about 20 years ago!  I also like the fact that you can easily find articles by theme, as well as the most popular.  Go check it out – there is a lot of good reading there.  Another plus: it is possible to submit articles!
  5. What Should I Read Next – type in the name of the book you are reading and it will recommend books for you.  You can also register for more accurate results.
  6. Make Use of – This is a wonderful site – full of a wide range of information.  It describes cool websites and software, and has internet tips as well.  There are categories such as Browsers/Addons, Lists of tools, Windows, Gaming,  and Mac.  One article I found particularly interesting was Store Your Thoughts, Ideas, and Anything Else in Your WikiPad.  I highly recommend checking it out – you can even subscribe.
  7. Simply Checklists – if you want a pre-made checklist or if you want to make sure you haven’t left something important off the one you came up with, this is the site for you.  There are work checklists (like Interview Checklist), sports/hobbies  checklists like Day Hiking, and Emergency and Storm checklists.  Pretty helpful, if you ask me!
  8. Amusing Facts – this is, well, an amusing site.  Good for passing time, filling in a bit here and there.  I don’t know if everything there is true or not, but I read a wide range of amusing tidbits and followed up with “more detail” when I found something that really interested me.  There is a wide range of categories from Entertainment to Household Products to Food and Drink.  I don’t know that I would spend hours there, but when I have five or ten minutes to kill, this would be a good place to spend them!
  9. Instructables – ok, this is a terrific website and I would spend a TREMENDOUS amount of time here … if I had it.  Still, it is going to be bookmarked.  Categories of how-to’s include Crafts, Food, Games, Home, Offbeat, Outdoors, Science, and Tech.  I saw any number of things under crafts that I want to try and others under Offbeat I just want to take a closer look at.  Trust me, there is something for just about anyone here!
  10. Solitaire Central – ok, this one will NOT increase your productivity.  It won’t make you a well-rounded individual.  It is entertaining, though, and sometimes that is all that matters.   There are solitaire rules, downloads, and online versions – quite a selection of those, by the way.  Check it out, when you have some time!
  11. Orisinal – this is a wonderful site for cute, simple games.  I’ve loved this one for years, and I felt I should share it with others who may not have found it yet.   Cranky Crabs and Pocketful of Stars are two of my favorites.
  12. 43 Folders – this is one of those “I’ll check it out now and then, when I need something” sort of sites.  I won’t necessarily read everything on it, but I will “graze” through it, searching for the nudge I need, the inspiration I need to push me to get moving.

I’m afraid this month’s edition of my list is a short one, due to the holiday and all the “hustle and bustle” involved.  I have two children – both under 4 – so my time has been short.  I hope you enjoy my selections.  If you have any recommendations, please feel free to drop me a note or comment.

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Really Useful Websites (March 2008)

This month’s tidbits (yes, I think some might just be a bit odd – but sometimes that is an amusing thing):

  1. Listography: Yes, I’m one of those people – I make lists. I make lists of lists. Naturally, I think this is a wonderful site. You can make wish lists, top ten lists, autobiographical lists, to do lists, and goal lists, among others. There is even a topic generator!
  2. For those who like jigsaws, there is JigZone. They have puzzle of the day, puzzles across the top of the page, and you can sort through categories as well. You can also upload your own pictures. On top of that, you can choose unusual cuts for the puzzle pieces, like USA, lizards, and bulbs!
  3. On a completely different, and more serious note, I found a wonderful site called CaringBridge. They provide free websites to anyone going through a health crisis; it makes it tremendously easy to update family and friends about changes, procedures, progress made, etc. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered the usefulness of this site through a cousin’s cancer crisis, but I can say that I have used this site and I find it wonderful. It makes it so much easier on the family – they post the update on the site and people who have signed up for updates get an email notifying them of the change.
  4. From Texas Women’s University, I found the following page: 52 Proven Stress Reducers. I found this page to be full of helpful suggestions and I highly recommend it if you are having stress issues.
  5. Grocery Lists – this is an amusing site; this guy collects lost grocery lists. He started posting the ones he found and it has led to an online “thing” – apparently people submit the lost lists that they find. It has some interesting things on it: the top 10 found lists, lists of gift ideas, selections from the book, etc. It is quirky, but worth a look at.
  6. Google Page Creator – this is a great, easy way to create a simple web page. I’ve got several now. I’ll grant you that I don’t think you can get terribly complicated with this, and for professionals, this isn’t what you want, more than likely. I think this is perfect for someone who wants to play around, to create a simple page just to see what it is like.
  7. Every Day Giving – do I need to say more?
  8. Off The Mark Cartoons – I’ve found this artist’s work amusing, and I have purchased items from him via CafePress. He, or the people working for him, have been very responsive. Really, there should be a cartoon there for any interest.
  9. The Arcata Eye Police Log – really amusing writing style for a not-normally-interesting thing. Really worth a look – there are frequent chuckles.
  10. A bowling score calculator – this can come in handy, particularly if you are taking a “physical education” class in college…
  11. The Family Car Web Magazine: I have found some good information here. I do have to say that I am not a mechanic, nor do I play one on TV, so … while take that under advisement. Still, I found this site very helpful.
  12. The Vermont Country Store – ok, I love this catalog and the site. I have not actually ordered from them but they have some GREAT stuff and a good deal of items that are “old fashioned” – i.e., they might appeal to older folks as nostalgic gifts! Then there is the humor aspect of the site. Just so much fun to browse. And I, as I said, love their catalog as well. (Hey, they’ve got “Body on Tap” shampoo – you know, from the 70s and 80s!)
  13. After the Baby Arrives: this is a CDC page and it contains links to information on all sorts of information that new parents may be interested in. They range from breast feeding information to vaccination schedule and child development.
  14. Moms On Edge – this is a blog and I found some helpful tips on organization in this post, but they also have a wide range of categories, including an “Ask Moms On Edge”, surveys, movie reviews, and behavior.
  15. Creative Homemaking: this site contains a variety of tips on organizing, from organizing menus for a month to clutter control, seasonal organization, travel and vacation, and kids clutter (among others).

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