Saturday, January 31, 2015

Day 9 of the 15 Days to Freedom Challenge--Tools and Systems to Free You

Today's challenge is about systems and tools that free up our time. I already use most of what Natalie recommends and I have found it has helped free things up for me. Google Docs is fantastic for things I want to be able to access anywhere or just to have a backup of. I switched to Gmail a couple of years ago, I think, still keeping the email address I've had for possibly 10 years and just having mail go through the Gmail. No more having a computer die and losing all my contacts and stored emails and not only that, if I have access to the internet, I can now access my emails from anywhere. I have Paypal, but am looking into other possibilities for once my site is going to be accepting payments (any suggestions? I've heard there are others that don't charge as much; this is an expense I keep forgetting about).

Because I'm already using some great tools and have certain systems in place that I'm happy with, I think I will learn more about Dropbox and see if that will be useful to me at all.

Do you use certain tools or have certain systems in place? What do you use that makes a difference for you?

3 Big Goals to Plan Into Your Year

I have tried and tried to type a post about fulfilling this challenge. I started yesterday morning, had a very long post; by the evening, it just wasn't right. I tried again, but it wasn't right.

Maybe I just have to say that I can't--for now.

This challenge is about picking 3 big goals and placing them--as well as time off and other things--into your year. Plan your year.

But I just can't do that.

I've hit a time in my life where, while I want to enjoy success in the ventures that have inspired me, I don't want to be goals-driven. I have a tendency to just "get things done" and not be in the here-and-now, truly appreciating and enjoying life. My post from earlier this year talks about me wanting to live a freer, more leisurely life. This goes against the success philosophy of work, work, work towards your goals. Now, I know each and every one of the big teachers of success will say you need balance, but I can't seem to do that. (I do lean towards Asperger's--and one trait can be to get somewhat obsessed with an area of interest; I've had that happen plenty in the past.)

And yet, as I type this, I realize that this is one of my big goals--but how do I set a deadline to it? How do I plan it into my year? I suppose I would have to pick certain types of milestones, measurable things to be reached, but how? What sort of milestones can there be in learning to live in the now? So, this is one reason I can't fulfill this particular challenge. There is no particular milestone to be reached and various little things to do over the year that will unfold.

A second goal has already been talked about in this challenge: to replace last year's income from offline sources with online sources. A milestone goal for this would be for me to get my French academy site up and running--I'm actually aiming for March 1st at the latest, hoping to have a trial version up within the next few weeks. A second milestone goal (so, a third big goal?) for this would be to get 100 registrations--but is this something I can plan into my calendar? Not really. I could pick some arbitrary date, but that doesn't change that I don't know how long it will take for me to pick a name, get the first units done and up, get the next units done and up, then get the next level done and up... I don't know that it's reasonable to expect 100 registrations for the beginner level. Do people just set the goal anyhow? Go, "I'm aiming for 100 registrations by May 1"? Why do I have such trouble with this? I guess because I don't know if it's reasonable, doable, and if it's not, then it's just an arbitrary decision and not something that can actually be worked toward and accomplished.

 I don't have any other big goals right now. I have big desires, but I can feel my commitment level to actually make them happen just isn't there. I'm probably over-thinking all of this. Ah well.

Do you have 3 big goals for the year? Have you planned them into your year? I would love to hear back. I should perhaps have read other people's submissions for day 8 before writing my own!

Friday, January 30, 2015

-Free Recipe Friday: Dairy-Free Waffles

It is Friday: time for a -free recipe!

Something we make fairly often around here, now that I've found that it's actually easier to do than pancakes, is waffles.

At first, I found a super easy recipe and it worked well despite not using cow's milk. Then I kept reading other recipes that had some extra steps, but there were some common extra steps: separate the white from the yolk, put the yolk in first, mix it up, beat the egg white on the side until it becomes stiff and then fold it in. I don't understand the chemistry behind it, but both of my kids have said that waffles taste better when I do this.

And with that, here is my recipe for

Dairy-Free Waffles

Mix together in a large bowl:
1 3/4 all-purpose flour
2 tbps sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

In a medium bowl, beat:
2 egg yolks (set aside the egg whites in a separate bowl)
1 3/4 cup of your choice of non-dairy milk
1/2 cup of cooking oil or dairy-free margarine (warning: I tried coconut oil once; 1/2 proved to be too much)
1 tsp vanilla (I let it overflow just a tad)

Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix just until moistened.

In your separate egg-white bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold them into the batter.

Pour a cup or so into your preheated and lightly greased waffle maker and cook according to your maker's instructions.

I have a waffle maker that makes 4 waffles at a time and this makes 12-16 waffles, depending on how much batter I actually put each time.


If you like little kitchen gadget things, to separate the egg white from the yolk can be done with a separator. You can check some out at I have one that's similar to this one that works well--and prevents me from inadvertently piercing the yolk with a jagged eggshell edge:

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The ONE Thing to Rule Them All

Today's post is going to be super, super short:

Today's challenge with Natalie Sisson's 15 Days to Freedom is about picking ONE thing to focus on this year. I jumped the gun before even finishing the video and thought my one focus was my online French academy, but finishing the video, I realize it's not my one focus: my one focus this year is to make online more than what I made last year with my offline sources combined. There are different ways I have in mind of accomplishing it, but that's my one focus.

Do you have a single focus for the year?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What's Your Business Style?

I've managed to watch the Day 6 challenge video (of the 15 Days to Freedom Blog Challenge by Natalie Sisson) which, other than showering and getting dressed, is probably my biggest accomplishment so far today. I've been hit by the flu or something and have spent the day drinking orange juice and not spending more than a couple of minutes standing--mostly reclined back, to be honest. But I decided I wasn't going to get another day behind, so I'm getting this done.

Today's topic is actually something I've already considered as part of my employer-free life: What's your business style? Basically, are you the type who is going to go after active income or residual income? Also to consider, are you someone who needs to be with people or you'd prefer to just sit with your laptop somewhere comfy to work? Are you going to offer a service, products or both? Things like that.

I am an introvert. A huge introvert. An I've-always-disliked-the-phone introvert. Someone who could probably live fine by herself on a mountain top for quite sometime. I'm quite happy sitting with my laptop, perhaps interacting with people online. I love researching and answering questions, but also just like writing. I love helping, too. I currently teach a weekly class and while I do love the kids, my internal yearnings are to just do it all online. Both products and services, but ideally, less of my service time so that I have more time to research, write and enjoy life my way. :) These are things I've identified already about myself and I am currently working on the online French language learning school that will allow me to do just that: product (lessons) and small amount of "in-person"/online service (conversational times).

What about you? Do you already have your own business(es) going? What works for you? If you're looking at being an entrepreneur yourself, which direction do you think fits you best?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Let It Go, Let It Go

Today's (day 5's) challenge for the 15 Days to Freedom Blog Challenge is about letting go of people and habits in our life that we need to let go of. Sitting down to write this and seeing "Let Go", I couldn't help but think of Frozen.


I can honestly say that I don't have people in my life who put down my ideas, although my mother did before Christmas talk about my kids having talents (guitar and piano) and could they play something, but, to me, "You don't have a talent, do you?" (Actually, yes, Mother, which is why you were always impressed when I was growing up how easily I could learn to play things on the piano without having ever taken a lesson...) But that slip of her aging mind aside, I can't say I have anybody unsupportive in my life I need to let go of. I'm very introverted and have very few close people in my life. It works fine. One person I did need to let go of in my life I let go of about 5 years ago and since then, things have been good.

But the habits... 66 days to develop a new habit?! That's something surprising that Natalie shares in today's video. So, if you want to let go of a bad habit, which you can only really do by replacing it with a better habit, you have to give yourself over 2 months. Two doing-it-faithfully-each-day months. (Part of me is saying, "I'm doomed.") My mind is running a blank on habits I need to replace. But that could just be because it's 11pm after a long day of running around and wanting to actually do this post this morning but didn't get a chance to and I absolutely want it done before bed so I can do Day 6 tomorrow. Okay, some bad habits I have that affect my health, business progress or other:

*Snacking on bad foods in the evening before bed. As I type this, I have an empty bowl that previously contained corn Tostito rounds and some Maynard's Fruit Squirt candies.
*Getting right into work things (or online fun/distractions) instead of taking the time to properly exercise in the morning. Not only am I forgetting to do my rotator cuff exercises, but I'm not doing any cardio, which isn't helping my blood pressure at all. (Neither is the snack above, I suppose!)
*Can it be called a habit to not plan meals ahead of time?
*Spending too much time reading random things online, or evening interesting things that I just get carried away with.
*I tend not to get my Thursday class planned until Wednesday sometime and not completely prepped until Thursday morning, 5 minutes before I have to leave (if I even manage to prep everything I wanted to prep).

She said to pick 2 or 3 habits to let go of and replace them with good habits. So, here are the good habits I'm going to work on for the next two months:
*I'm going to let go of the junk in the evening and replace evening snacks with no snack (some of my snacking is just habit, not actual hunger) or with a healthy snack: fruit, veggies, some sort of whole food.
*I'm going to let go of the early morning online fun/distractions or work stuff to take care of my physical health and exercise--both shoulder work and cardio (if I'm not sick). I have a skipping rope now and some videos... Even though I might not be able to move my arms properly, it doesn't mean I can't tackle the cardio.
*I am going to let go of the Thursday-class-procrastination and actually work on it every day--at least until it's ready. Just the idea of possibly finishing a Monday evening for the coming Thursday sounds divine!

Well, I've got my work cut out for me with this one. Hopefully I'll remember in the morning what I said I would do. ;)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Distractions, Distractions... What Was I Saying?

Natalie Sisson's Day 4 video in the 15 Days to Freedom Blog Challenge really spoke to me. It's all about distractions, pointing out that every distraction sets us back from accomplishing what we were setting out to do. (Okay, that's assuming that we've got a goal in place of something we are trying to accomplish.) Facebook is a huge distraction for me, especially when I leave a tab open and get all of the notifications. Part of my reasoning is that if I only check once or twice a day, then I have a gazillion notifications and can't get through them all.

Well, wait a second: How many of those notifications are that important? Will I be just fine without them? Already, I don't even check most of them--and sometimes that means that the important things get "lost".

So, part of my cutting back distractions, of getting as distraction-free as possible (it's not possible to be completely distraction-free, I don't think) is going to be to, first of all, reduce how many notifications I get and second, keep Facebook closed except when I'm deliberately going to use it for whatever reason.

But, that's not my whole problem. My mind gets in the way. Yes, it does. Just as I was typing this post, I pressed something by accident, got an option to install language dictionaries for my browser, remembered a discussion yesterday about there not being Canadian English options for most things online, which led me to checking if this browser has that option--it did--intalling it AND going back to Facebook to tell the group, where the discussion had been, about it. *sigh* (I literally just sighed.)

I am now starting to wonder about my attention habits. After I sighed and was thinking about what to write next, I realized I was quite cold. So, rather than finish this post, I went downstairs, turned up the heat and grabbed a sweater. Distractions, distractions.

I can't remove my mind ;), so that's not the one thing I can remove today from my distractions. I know that Facebook is currently a problem--getting involved in conversations and playing games and all that. I'm setting myself a boundary today and that is that Facebook can be checked in the morning and then checked again in the evening, but other than that, unless there is somebody I need to get in touch with and that's the only way or I know information I need is on Facebook, I'm not heading there. And if I do have to, I will control myself and not get caught up in other things!! (I will head there right now to post this, though. :D)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Finding--and Using--Good Tools

Day 3 of Natalie Sisson's 15 Days to Freedom Challenge asks us to choose a tool to use to help with our success. In terms of a -free life, while this has nothing to do with being allergen-free or anything like that, it does have to do with being a little more stress-free, financially-free and so on. She lists some different tools in the Day 3 video and while we're not obligated to use any of the ones she uses, I decided to try out Evernote and it is installing as I write this.

In my daily life, I'm constantly writing notes--on paper. And losing that piece of paper. This happens for just about anything, including menu planning for the week. I don't lose every piece of paper, but I lose a lot of them. Or find them after I don't need them anymore, sometimes a year later. (No, I'm not kidding.) While there is a part of me that connects better with paper and writing on paper than putting things in my phone, the reality is I lose a lot of my little notes. I figure it can't hurt to try an electronic note system, even if I sometimes write things on paper first, back them up into Evernote and then if I lose the paper, I still have the backup.

And now that it is finished installing, I will see what sort of menu planning notes I have in my mind for this week. :)

Evernote is a FREE app you can get that is cross-platform--if you put your note in your phone, it will also be available through your browser on your computer or laptop. The free version is limited, naturally, but even the Premium version is highly affordable.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Figuring Out What's Important to You

Day 2 of the 15 Days to Freedom Challenge asks to identify one Most Important Action (MIA) to accomplish during these 15 days.

This is a tough one.

When we get down to the nitty gritty of what's important, we're really asking to look inside and figure out our values and what's most important to us. This takes some serious soul searching sometimes. We can get caught up in what society around us would say is important or what we think loved ones or friends would say is important. Or we can just get so caught up with life we don't even know what's important to us, not having taken the time to figure it out or just staying too distracted to connect with it.

When I watched the video of her talking about the MIAs, it hit me that even though I had originally started this challenge to get into a daily habit of blogging, that's not what's most important to me right now: the development of my online French academy is. Blogging is still important, very important, but this idea I have of developping an online academy to teach French is more important and I have been taking too long at getting the first lessons done up, the site set up and tested. A moment today had me realize I haven't touched the idea in days.

So, my one MIA for the next two weeks is really tackling that website. Figuring out the next steps and making sure that, after the morning Success Plan is taken care of, I actually work on the website development.

What about you? Are you doing the challenge? If not, you could still pick your Most Important Action: what would it be?

Another Reason I Love Lavender Oil

Yesterday was a long, demanding day for me. In the process, I did not get enough water to drink, became horribly dehydrated, started getting a headache, came home, grabbed a Gatorade, drank about half of it and had a short nap, thinking it might help.

Not so much. I woke up and my head was killing me. I was desperate enough that I took an extra-strength ibuprofen, drank the rest of the Gatorade, had a tuna sandwich for supper, and went back to the sofa with a movie on in the background, and a frozen "magic bag" on my forehead. After about 30 minutes or so, I was feeling much better. An ibuprofen alone doesn't seem to help when I'm like that, and Gatorade alone doesn't seem to help enough, but combine the two and a huge difference.

So, I thought I was out of the woods. Well...

My right eye was bugging me before getting ready for bed. I had a look in the mirror: pink eye. Shoot. (I seem prone to the viral kind.) It reminded me that I did have some unusual gunk that morning in that eye. I looked up essential oils and pink eye, learned about people finding lavender helpful--but then was so out of it and tired when I got to bed, I forgot to put any on or diffuse it.

This morning, I woke up to a bit of a cough, a sniffly nose and 2 pink eyes. *sigh* And we're talking it looked like somebody coloured the entire white of my eye a medium-light pink.

I didn't forget yesterday's post about my Daily Success Plan, so I did my morning prayer/meditation and exercise (well, just my shoulder stretches; I really feel the need for rest today which, unfortunately (haha, not) means I won't get the cleaning done I was planning on doing) and remembered about the lavender oil. I put some in the diffuser and then some around the eye along the bone, not actually coming too close to the eye.

I then moved to a new location in the house to finish my stretching and then do my uplifting/inspirational reading as part of my Daily Success Plan, but I went to the bathroom first to have a look at my eyes. The pink itself was gone, just a bit of bloodshot look. It had only been about 30 minutes since starting the diffuser and putting the lavender on. My eyes look a little like my allergies are bugging me, but that's it. Well, a little extra fluid that I don't have when my allergies are acting up. I'm not thinking the actual cause of the pink eye is going to leave sooner than normal because of diffusing and applying lavender, but if such a simple, man-made-chemical-free product can help relieve it, by golly, I'm going to stick with it! I tell people I know and I'm pretty sure I've shared here before that lavender is, imho, one of the essential oils to make sure you have on hand.

If you would like to try Young Living's Lavender Oil, or any of the other products, yourself, visit Young Living and put 1772120, my ID, in your order.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

15 Days to Freedom Challenge--Day 1

In my desire to get back into--or just into--consistent blogging, I decided to start the 15 Days to Freedom Challenge by Natalie Sisson, Suitcase Entrepreneur . It's actually a contest, so check it out. In any case, I missed the start date--which was January 15--but it's not too late to start, so I'm starting. :)

This makes today Day 1 for me. She is starting strong and having us look at our daily plan--and to create our own Daily Success Plan.

What is my daily success plan? Not what I'm doing lately. Natalie talks in her video about starting the day off strong and I know I find the same--how I start my day makes such a difference in how I feel and what I accomplish. Not only that, but I know that some of the work that I want to get done requires that I set aside time specifically to do it, and mornings, before anybody else is really up, are the best time for that.

Good Morning Greetings Ecards Clipart Wallpapers

Get Latest Greetings,Scraps

I know I function best when I get some time in the morning, at least 15 minutes, for prayer/meditation. If I don't do it first thing, I tend to not do it, to be honest, or if I do take that time after having done something else, it's like I don't connect with it well. My daily success plan, therefore, needs to start off with time by myself to pray/meditate.

My energy levels--and therefore indirectly my success--are affected by my physical health. Exercise definitely makes a difference, and it's something I haven't been doing really lately. After prayer/meditation is a good time. Incidentally, Natalie says her best days are when she starts off with meditation followed by some sort of exercise.

If I were to think about my ideal days, they also have some uplifting or spiritual reading time incorporated into my early morning routine, before I get to any kind of work. These three components--prayer/meditation, exercise and reading--actually match up with Jack Canfield's "Hour of Power", doing each for 20 minutes at a time.

My days don't start like this when I get to bed too late or I have things on my mind, so an evening routine is important, too, but to really get my day going and feeling like I'm on the right track, making sure I have the time for these three things makes all the difference.

What about you? Do you have a way of starting your day that if you don't do it, you just feel off?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

5 Reasons to Do a Detox

I have not forgotten about doing a detox. But I needed a reminder of why I should commit to doing one, even if it's just for a few days. Here are the top 5 reasons I've found to do detoxes:

5) Because your're feeling sluggish. If you've been feeling sluggish for more than just a few days, your body is saying it needs help. Cleaning things out with a detox can help.

4) For overall improved health. This is both immediate and long-term. If you are constantly getting sick, a detox can be a good way of flushing things out--and perhaps motivate you to get on a healthier eating plan. But a detox can also help with things like blood pressure and other issues, especially if you detox regularly.

3) Improved skin tone. And don't we all feel better when our skin looks great? Of course, this improved skin is the result of improved health, but it's still good to think of it as a reason on its own.

2) If you are overweight, then this is a reason. A short detox might not do anything for your weight, but a well planned one that lasts longer should. Not only because of the change in food consumption but because very often, weight stays on us because our bodies are too clogged up to deal with things properly.

1) Because your body just needs a break, especially after Christmas. All the junk we eat and the harmful substances around us that get into our blood stream end up in our blood. Our bodies can only do so much detoxing on their own and with our modern life, even those who eat nothing but healthy, organic foods are still recommended to do regular detoxes. You may not even have any symptoms that a detox would be useful, but that doesn't mean your body won't get something good out of it.

Of course, the next step is to decide which type of detox and how long--and how to manage it when you are responsible for the meals in a household of people...

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Yearning for a -Free Life

There has been, naturally, discussion here and there of people not being ready to end their Christmas vacations. If you have already ended your Christmas vacation and wish you were still on it, I'm sorry to be admitting that we've had two weeks.

But it doesn't feel like enough.

I could really use another week. Or two. Or three. And I am looking inward to figure out why.

The only answer at the moment is that there is some sort of disconnect between how I am living my life and what I really want. What the innermost part of me says is how I was made to live. But what is it that I really want? Well, watching Pride and Prejudice recently, the version with Keira Knightley, I found myself going, "Yes, that is the life I would like." Not just like, but would thoroughly enjoy and love, I think. While they only show a bit of the involvement the family had in the goings-on of the household, it was all so much calmer and less rushed. Sure, there's laundry and some tending of the animals and some cooking. But other things, too. Go for walks. Hang out under trees with books. Travel by carriage--and not be in such a rush and it's not even that big of a deal if your carriage breaks down and affects your timing. Attend parties. Live fairly simply--yet still have enough to have hired staff. It was, as at least one site has described general life in the early 1800s, a leisurely life. Even for those who worked in typical lower and middle class settings.


As this Christmas season comes to an end (it's the 10th day of Christmas, by the way), I find myself really longing for that kind of a -free life: constant-rushing-free; constant-outside-demands-free; too-much-excess-free. I'm not sure at the moment what the first step to take is for that--to attain a leisurely sort of life that doesn't slip into just plain laziness--but the desire is there.

What about you? Do you have similar thoughts about your own life? Things are too fast-paced? Too full of outside demands and even too much stuff? Will you join me this year in reclaiming the simpler, -free life that your inner self is asking for?