26 May 2011

I'm Cleared!

Yesterday I had a postpartum visit to check my stitches, and received the green light to resume "normal" activities.  This is great because my ideal schedule includes 3.5 hours of exercise per week.  I just need to develop a plan.

I've thought about doing a workout DVD like 30 Day Shred or P90, both of which I already own.  Slim in 6 and 10 Pound Slimdown have also been suggested to me, but I'd have to purchase (or borrow) them.  The problem is that I'm pretty sure I won't be able to stick to it.  There's just not enough variety to motivate me for 1-3 months.  Maybe there's more variety available on streaming Netflix.

I used to consider myself a runner (maybe jogger is a better term) and I've thought about doing the Couch to 5k program.  I'm afraid this may be doing too much too fast, though, and might be better suited for when Adelaide is able to sit up by herself and I can use our jogging stroller.

On our walk yesterday, Spencer and I (and Adelaide) stopped by the rec center, which is similar to a YMCA.  The membership fees aren't that expensive and could probably be built into our budget.  They seem to have a variety of classes in addition to a swimming pool, cardio and weight machines, free weights, and basketball courts.  But I've had a gym membership before (just not to this gym) and don't know if I'd keep going.  I'll also have "free" access to the university gym once I'm registered for classes in the fall.

None of these ideas seems like the perfect plan, so I don't know what I'm going to do.  Maybe I just need a workout buddy to motivate me.  That worked in college.

Anyone local looking for a workout buddy or have any other ideas or suggestions?

24 May 2011

Where Does My Time Go?

If my calculations are correct, there are 168 hours in a week.  What exactly am I doing with all that time?  During an average week, I spend:
  • 49-56 hours (~33% of my time) sleeping
  • 50-60 hours (~30%) taking care of Adelaide
  • 21 hours (13%) running errands and doing chores
  • 20 hours (12%) working
  • 10 hours (6%) watching TV, wasting time on Facebook, etc. (aka, screen time)
  • 3 hours (2%) on schoolwork
  • 4 hours (2%) at church and related activities
  • 3 hours (2%) with friends
I think that encompasses most things.  Can you think of anything I may have left out?  While these are my best estimates, I know they're not completely accurate since some categories overlap.  For example, I'm usually watching TV while feeding Adelaide.

There are some things that are not included in this list that should be, such as time with Spencer, a hobby, religious study, and exercise.  Ideally, I would like to see the time distribution look more like this:
  • 50-60 hours (30% of my time) taking care of Adelaide
  • 42 hours (25%) sleeping
  • 20 hours (12%) working
  • 20 hours (12%) on schoolwork
  • 14 hours (8%) running errands and doing chores
  • 7 hours (5%) on screen time
  • 6 hours (3%) at church and on religious study
  • 3-4 hours (~2%) with friends
  • 3-4 hours (~2%) with Spencer
  • 3.5 hours (1%) exercising
This is the distribution I will be aiming for when I plan my weekly schedule.  I'm not going to try to achieve this ideal overnight - that's just a recipe for discouragement - but will hopefully be pretty close by the end of the year.  I'm also pleased that it lays a good foundation for me to reach my goals.

What do you spend your week doing?  Do your weekly activities support your short- and long-term goals?

23 May 2011

Setting Goals

There are many times when I sit and daydream about how I wish my life was different.  Sometime this can be encouraging, while other times it is a destructive waste of time.  That being said, I'm a big fan of setting both short- and long-term goals and so is Regina Leeds.

Changes in my life that I hope to see after I learn how to manage my time:
  1. I protect myself by planning my life at least one week at a time.
  2. Work, school, family, and personal time are all balanced.
  3. I do not procrastinate doing things that I don't enjoy. (And the corollary, "I've learned to say 'no'".)
  4. My advisor is proud of my work as a PhD student and I am a role model for other research group members.
  5. Adelaide is on a schedule.
  6. Spencer and I have quality time together.
What goals do you have in your life right now?

22 May 2011

Looking Back

I've just starting reading a book Spencer got me for my birthday, One Year to an Organized Life: From Your Closets to Your Finances, the Week-by-Week Guide to Getting Completely Organized for Good by Regina Leeds.  Before you ask, no it's not a hint from him, it's a book I've had on my wish list for quite some time now.  I'm just weird like that.  It's set up so that each month has a dedicated focus:

  • January - Understanding Time Management / Kitchen
  • February - Bedroom
  • March - Office / Finances
  • April - Bathrooms
  • May - Attic / Basement / Garage / Laundry Room / Guest Room
  • June - Traveling
  • July - Scrapbooks / Memorabilia / Greeting Card Collections / Address Books
  • August - Moving
  • September - Back-to-School
  • October - Common Rooms
  • November - Entertaining
  • December - Holidays

Although it's May, I've decided to work through the book from the beginning and start with January's concepts.  I think it will be easier on me this way, especially since it's not even the first week of May.

The first week of every month is dedicated to journaling tasks.  The first set of questions are supposed to help you "examine your past for clues to the present reality".  What exactly does that mean?  I'm not going to list the questions here, so you'll have to borrow (or buy) the book for yourself. :-p

I used to believe that if you arrive on time for an event, then you are late.  I think this comes from my adolescence; when I was growing up, I don't remember my family ever being late for anything.  In fact, we were always at least 10-15 minutes early for things.  Of course, this requires some extra planning and adding a buffer to your estimated travel time.  What if there is an accident?  What if you get lost?  Growing up in Northern Virginia, this meant that even if you could get somewhere in 10 minutes, you left at least 30 minutes early.  I distinctly remember leaving for school by 8am when school didn't even start until almost 9am!  Granted, this meant I got a close parking spot and I had time to hang out with friends before classes started.

After I moved south for graduate school, I realized my (excessive) buffer time is unneccessary, and I started to arrive at places (only) 5-10 minutes early.  Two years later, I married my husband and we started to arrive to places on time.  Gasp!  How could this be?!  I'm not kidding when I say I nearly had a panic attack during every car trip.  It was something I was working on...until we had Adelaide.  Now things have completely changed.  It doesn't matter how much buffer time we build into a trip we're still lucky to arrive on time.  Something always takes longer than I had planned despite my best preparations.  Surprisingly, I'm pretty OK with this.  Probably because most people, in general, are more forgiving when you have a newborn, so I don't feel as judged when I'm tardy.  Hopefully by the time Adelaide isn't a newborn anymore, we'll have our act together.

What are your time paradigms?

21 May 2011

My First Real Garden

Last year was my first attempt to grow anything at all, and all I tried to grow were some herbs in a tiny tin on the porch of our third-floor apartment.  I thought I was doing pretty well until the first really hot summer day arrives and everything shriveled up and died.

Now that we're renting a house, I figured I could take a stab at growing some real food.  We decided a little strip of land next to the house would be the best spot.  I wish I had remembered to take a before picture.  This tiny strip of land was half covered with vines, weeds, and nasty roots, not to mention the fact that it's horrible red clay.  Not the most ideal growing conditions for vegetable plants.  At first we tried to till the ground with the few hand tools.  After we had worked for several hours without seeing much progress and my husband had developed a blister, we decided it was time to give in and buy some normal sized tools.  Oh, and Adelaide hating being outside the entire time.

It's amazing how much faster things went after we had the proper tools.  It only took us 30 minutes to finish preparing the ground and maybe another 30 minutes to plant our crops.  I wasn't sure how far apart the plants should be planted, so they're roughly a foot apart.  Here's what we planted:

  • Four everbearing strawberry plants.

  • Six tomato plants of three different varieties.
Red Brandywine Heirloom Tomatoes

Better Boy Tomatoes

Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes

  • Four yellow squash plants of two different varieties.
Butternut Squash

Yellow Straightneck Squash

  • Six cucumber plants of two different varieties.
Three "slicing" and three "pickling" plants.

The cucumber plants have since been planted in containers that are on our porch.  That little strip of land next to the house is shorter than I thought it would be and there wasn't enough room for them there.  If I had thought to lay the plants out on the little plot of land before digging any holes, I might have avoided this.  We've also rabbit-proofed the garden by encasing it in chicken wire.

I make it a habit to water my garden every day before noon.  I'm not sure how much water I should be giving them.  Is there any rule of thumb?

I'm already starting to see some buds form on some of the plants, so I'm eagerly awaiting my first bounty!  I'm looking forward to updating everyone on the garden's progress throughout the season.

Do you have a garden this year?  If so, what did you plant?

04 May 2011

Facial Cleansers

Right before heading off to grad school, I signed up to be a Mary Kay consultant.  I don't know what I was thinking, but it was a huge waste of money (for me).  I promised myself I would at least use all of the stock I could if I wasn't going to sell it, and after nearly six years, I'm on my last bottle of facial cleanser.  Time to look for something new!

Since beginning my quest to be From Scratch, I've learned a lot about the questionable ingredients that are used in skin care products and cosmetics.  Unfortunately, this industry is not properly regulated by the Federal government.  Fortunately, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has created the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, which provides safety ratings on over 68,000 products!

From what I can tell from the database, the Splash Facial Oat Flour Face Wash from Coastal Classic Creations is the highest rated facial cleanser rated by EWG.  You know why?  Because it's only ingredient is "finely ground colloidal oatmeal".

So my question is, why can't I just grind us oatmeal in my blender/food processor/coffee grinder and use that instead of paying $10 + S&H for 75 grams?  I might just give it a try!

What facial cleansers do you use on a regular basis?