Whimsy and wonderings about everyday life

Archive for December, 2012

55 Digital Citizenship Links – great resources from Ask a Tech Teacher

Safety on the Internet - SanSense

Digital citizenship is something that our kids need to learn early and well. The links in this blog update have some great tips.

Sadly for me, I don’t have any children in grades K-six any more. But, for those who do, here are some handy links for teaching them to use the Web safely and responsibly. It has a link to be notified when the “digital citizenship” curriculum is updated.

The site, written by an experienced technology teacher, is a worthwhile follow for any parent whose children spend time online.

Weekend Website #114: 55 Digital Citizenship Links.

via AskaTechTeacher.

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Bit Rebels Cheat Sheet Guide to Cooking

Bit Rebels Cheat Sheet Guide to Cooking

I don’t know why cooking has been on my mind so much. I guess it is simply the Christmas season. Do yourself a favor. Head over to BitRebels and check out their cheat sheet for cooking infographic. It has everything you need – temperatures, weights, meat cuts, cooking times, how to organize your refrigerator…it’s simply amazing. They post nifty information on all kinds of stuff so they’re worth checking out in any case. May your days be merry and bright!

Christmas Shortbread Bites!

Christmas shortbread bites

These Christmas shortbread bites (foreground) from All Foods, All Drinks, All Love, are festive and tasty – and they’re soooo easy to make..

At our house, at least, it’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas,  with all the baking going on!

Rachel’s pictures at her blog are much prettier than mine, but the results are the same. Her shortbread bites are easy and delicious and very festive.

via Christmas Shortbread Bites!.

The soft cookies in the background are brown sugar cookies. They are also quite good. I used Grandma Brown’s Brown Sugar Drop Cookies recipe from Allrecipes.com for those.

I made these and the peppermint bark below (also from Allrecipes) during a midnight baking and candy making marathon because I had a sick teen in the house and was up anyway. However, they are also kid-friendly. They’d be great for teacher presents, or simply as a way to spend some time with your child or children, having fun.

Merry Christmas!

peppbarkMidnight baking and candy making produced this peppermint bark, some brown sugar cookies, and Christmas shortbread crumbles. The first batch is for teacher gifts, in thanks for the selfless work they do, day in and day out. (We’ll throw some extras in for Dan, the bus driver. Imagine if your job was to drive all the children, kindergarten through 12th grade, on a rural router of 15 miles or so, to their various schools and back every day. Daily pandemonium. I don’t know how he does it.)

Merry Christmas.

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Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!

Badges? We don't need no stinkin' badges!

Well, FitBit badges do make the occasional tedium of exercise more fun. If you live in or around Castle Rock, and you hike the Rock, you, too, might end up with a “75 flights of stairs” badge. (And yes, they misspelled Yippee. And no, they’ve not offered me anything for these last few posts. I just really like the gadget :->).

Last minute gift idea for your fitness fanatic or to help with your own New Year’s resolution – FitBit

I love FitBit. I’ve lost an undisclosable amount of weight with the device, which I have been using since April. Suffice it to say I’ve gone down three to four sizes. The women out there can figure out the math.

I went to the doctor in July, when my fitness regimen of walking with my  buddy was not doing the trick. I told him I thought my metabolism might be at issue. He asked me what I ate on any given day. I told him. He asked me how often I drank wine or beer or any other alcohol. I told him. He said, matter-of-factly, “Your problem is that you eat and drink too much.” And so it was.

I cut out bad carbs and followed something resembling the South Beach Diet through the end of September. I cut out wine entirely for the first rhree months. It was my alcoholic beverage of choice. I easily gave up beer, since I have it two or three times a year at most. Hard liquor only makes an appearance when egg nog rears its ugly-yet-sublimely-tasty head – right about now, as a matter of fact, in December.

By the end of November, I had reached my doctor’s target weight for me. I *might* want to lose some more weight, but we shall see if it continues to come off as easily as it has to date. This is about health ore than vanity (although vanity certainly plays a role.) Here are before and after pictures:

In 2008, before FitBit

In 2008, before FitBit

In 2012, after FitBit

In 2012, after FitBit

Why does FitBit work?

1. It asked me the right questions. How much weight did I want to lose? What was my activity level? By answering these simple questions honestly, I was able to see how many steps I needed to take each day and how many calories I could consume.

2. It set achievable goals. For me? 10,000 steps a day, which i easily achieve (I’m a mom. I have an Australian shepherd and a Jack Russell terrier. 10,000 steps is not difficult.) 10 sets of stairs, which, in hilly Colorado, is also easy. I did notice that, when I visited family in Alabama, those ten sets of stairs were more difficult to come by.

3. It encouraged me in whimsical and frequent ways. FitBit gives you badges for achievements as mundane as walking 5,000 steps. Now I’ve walked over two million. Booyah. I would not know that if not for FitBit. My BMI went from the obese range to 24.5, perfectly normal. I would not have known this if not for FitBit.

4. The upgrades made sense and added value. I bought the Aria scale. It kept me honest by automatically updating my weight wirelessly every time I weighed in. I upgraded to the Pro membership and logged my sleep and food. I get a nutritional report on demand, a personal trainer analysis, a sleep analysis, and an exercise analysis (sedentary, low effort, and high effort.) All of this was useful. I could print out the results and take them to the doctor for my monthly weigh-in, should I so choose. (I never needed to because, after the first month of rapid weight loss, I lost between two and three pounds a week.)

5. The community option was there if I needed it. I’ve been a member of Weight Watchers. It worked for me as a teen. It did not as an adult because, perhaps, I am less vulnerable to peer pressure. For whatever reason, I did not need community support. But I knew I had it if I did.

I highly recommend FitBit.    It is a great product. It has produced results for me. It is accurate, inobtrusive and handy. I  definitely consider myself a FitBit success story.

FitBit success story

FitBit is a helpful gadget for anyone who wants to lose weight and keep it off!

A prayer for peace

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May we all find peace through compassion for each other this season, even as hope seems distant and grief lurks close by. Help somebody today – anybody – in some kind way, and help add to the positive loving balance in the world.