Better Choices, Better Results

Archive for the ‘Observations’ Category

A Gadget that Pays You Back!

I love gadgets.  New gadgets make everything more fun.  Especially kitchen gadgets.  However, today I want to tell you about a new gadget that I heard about last night. Intrigued, I looked up the link as soon as I got by myself so I could pull out the smart phone.

Switch2Health is a company that offers gift cards and retailer discounts as a reward for physical activity. 

Their link is www.S2H.com .  I pulled this from their “About Us” page:

Switch2Health is on a Mission

The Activity Revolution Has Started

Switch2Health® (S2H) has launched S2H.COM to motivate and reward people for physical activity; while enabling businesses to acquire customers for the rewards redeemed. By integrating products based on patent pending S2H technology and other activity-based tracking tools, S2H.COM allows users to earn rewards for their physical activity and share their progress with the online community.

Finding the Right Motivation

S2H is creating a culture where physical activity is not only healthy, but fun and socially desirable. By increasing participation in physical activity, S2H will change the behavior and improve the health of individuals. The overweight and obesity epidemic is of growing concern in the U.S. and around the world. The real challenge is creating incentive and motivation for individuals to be physically active. S2H offers an innovative solution for consumers and businesses.

 

Basically, you purchase a pedometer or wristwatch from their site ($24.95) and wear them daily to track activity.  You upload your activity into their tracking program, and you accumulate points based on steps or the amount of time you exercised.  Once you get enough points, you can redeem them for gift cards from Wal-Mart, Macy’s, Netflix, Amazon, and more!

This version tells time and tracks activities that require a lot of arm movement.

Of course – I just had to buy one.  I ordered green and hope it gets here soon!

The pedometer is great for walkers and runners.

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The Mojo is Back!

Last week I told you about how my walking had all but stopped due to sore legs and hot weather and any other reason I could muster.  I was a little down on myself, actually.  I knew that my walking was good for me.  I knew that there really was no reason to quit.  I knew that I was making excuses and justifying my actions.  I knew ALL of this, and yet, for about 2 weeks, I didn’t walk regularly.

Last Friday, I started walking again.  It wasn’t easy to drag myself out of bed, but I knew it was what I had to do.

Yesterday, during my walk, my MP3 player died.  This was truly a tragedy, because I can’t keep up the swift pace without my music.  When I got back to the house, I plugged the MP3 player in to charge, and it wouldn’t do anything.  No lights came on.  There was no indication that my little MP3 was still alive!

All day, I worried about having to buy a new player.   Money is tight, so I was not looking forward to spending extra dollars on a new player.  Still, I worried about it until I got home.

I decided that trying to “fix” the player couldn’t hurt it if it was truly a goner, so when I got home, I took it off the charger and banged it on the desk a few times.  (I don’t recommend trying this with your MP3 or IPod.)

Then I pressed the power button.

It worked!  I “fixed” my little player, and all was well in my world again.

And the walking continues…

Getting a Head Start

I’m not a very patient person, and there are times when I simply MUST do the thing I’ve been thinking about doing.

A little while ago, while at a Farmer’s Market, one of the vendors told me about Produce Auctions.   

PRODUCE AUCTIONS???

Imagine how excited I got hearing about that!

I googled “Produce Auctions in KY” and found 4 that were listed with the University of Kentucky’s School of Agriculture, and I decided to make a trip to the closest one to me. 

I drove about an hour to the Capstone Produce Auction in Campbellsburg, KY.  The auctioneer gave me a brief overview of how the auction works and advised me to just raise my hand at the beginning of bidding and keep it held high until he told me to put it down.  He was joking, of course.  Maybe.  Anyway, I knew better than that, but knew to keep my hand gestures to a minimum during actual bidding. 

As the bidding started, I soon realized there are 3 distinctive types of buyers: those buying small quantities for a meal that night, those buying in order to preserve it for later (me), and those buying to resale at Farmer’s Markets and roadside stands.  I found myself going head-to-head, or bid-to-bid with the latter.

After about an hour and a half, all the items had been sold, and I came home with:

 

I loved my trip to the Produce Auction!

 

What you can’t see are the two additional boxes of tomatoes under the blueberries and the bag of 15 cabbages in my backseat.

I spent $103.50.

From this produce, I’ve made:

  • Zucchini Chips (dehydrated with seasonings, eaten with salsa or plain)
  • Tomato Juice (7 quarts)
  • Salsa (15 pints)
  • Caramelized Onions (13 pints)
  • Sauerkraut (in the crock fermenting – about 16 pints)
  • Sugar-Free Blueberry Pie Filling (6 pints)
  • Dehydrated Zucchini Slabs (for grilling when the zucchini is not in season)
  • Multiple Stir-fry Dinners
  • Multiple side dishes of sliced tomatoes

 It was a fun experience, and I might go again, depending on how my garden produces for the rest of the summer.

 

Non-Scale Victories

(Wow Moments!)

After my sweat-producing walk this morning, I took my shower and wrapped a towel around me.  The towel went all the way around and I had enough room left over to tuck it in.  This was a regular old Wal-Mart towel, not one of those luxury bath sheets.

This is a first for me.

What have been some of your non-scale victories?

Discovery

I was leaning over to get something off the floor and felt a little pain in my side from the chair arm.  Ouch!  I felt my side and noticed a bump.  Yikes!  I kept feeling and felt others just like it.  I compared one side to the other and felt the same thing on both sides.

Oh!

My!

Goodness!

 I found my ribs! 

After years and years of being encased in fat, they are finally presenting themselves.

Hello ribs, nice to meet you!

The Papaya Experiment

Awhile back I write about trying 3 new fruits.  Here’s what I learned about papaya.

I bought the papaya while it was still green.  I had read up on papaya and knew that it needed to be a yellow-green color before I ate it, so I left it on the counter to ripen for a few days.

I bought it unripe.

After about one week sitting on the counter.

Then, I cut into it.  It sort of felt like a very ripe honeydew melon; some resistance, but still very easy to cut. 

The seeds looked like big caviar to me!

I cut it into strips, then into chunks, removing the seeds and the peel.

Then I tasted it…

I wasn’t impressed.  In fact, it didn’t really even have a taste to me.  Weirdly, it didn’t have a fragrance, either.   Now I’m wondering if I didn’t let it get ripe enough, or if their flavor is affected by being picked green and shipped thousands of miles away.

Next up – the apricots!

Our Little Garden Isn’t So Little Anymore!

Gardening – the Trials and Tribulations!

It seems like I’m never happy when it comes to this garden!  I complained when it was too wet to plant.  I complained when we weren’t getting enough rain and we needed to water.  I complained when we had a Tater Bug infestation.  Now I’m complaining about weeding and storms!

OK – let me preface this all by saying that we are blessed to have a great spot for a garden.  It was not expensive to rent this location AND we have access to city water.  There really is nothing to complain about and I should shut up.

But…

I wanted to keep you up to date on what’s happening out in Garden-Land.  Actually, things aren’t too bad.  We did have a problem with a bug infestation.  We were trying so hard to keep our garden as organic as possible.  We did not want to use chemicals on our garden.  Unfortunately, the people around us didn’t feel the same way and we were surrounded by Sevin-dusted gardens.  The bugs left those gardens and started feasting on our potato plants!  Ack! 

We went up to water one night and found about 40% of our potato plants almost completely eaten down to the stalks.  We gave in that night and dusted them with Sevin.  The next day we found a better, more organic product and have started using that one instead, but we were bummed that we had to give in.  On the other hand, we felt like it was better to have a crop of potatoes (even with a few chemicals), than to lose the whole garden to bugs.  I normally taken photos of everything to show you, but that night, I was so devastated by the destruction caused by the bugs that I couldn’t bear to have photographic proof.

We know what we need to start with next year, though.

The good news is that the potatoes seem to have recovered nicely and we might get a decent crop after all! 

I went up last night to weed.  We’ve done a pretty good job in the straight rows with Mickey’s little tiller, but in the squash mounds, we haven’t kept up as well.  It’s starting to get out of hand.  My plan was to go up and chop away some weeds.  We’re going to pull out the big tiller as soon as it dries up a bit, but I wanted to at least get started on it.  I’d gotten 6 or 8 square feet of area weeded when a storm hit!  I thought about waiting it out, and then I realized that I was in my little car and I was afraid that it would get stuck in a muddy rut if I didn’t get out of there quickly. 

It was quite a little storm!

I took off and sure enough, the dirt road was nothing but mud, mud, mud and I slipped and slid all over it until I reached the graveled area.  So much for weeding.  Oh well, we’ll get it eventually.

We’ve stared harvesting a little bit, though!  We’ve pulled out a few dozen green onions, which I’ve dried, and we got our first banana pepper the other night.  We’ve also pulled off a couple small green peppers.

The beans look really good and the tomatoes are starting to bloom!  We have a couple of zucchinis that will be ready to pick in a few days and the first batch of corn plants are waist high now.  My sunflowers are big and bushy – I can’t wait until they bloom!

 Until my next gardening update…

Happy weeding!