About Dana

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I'm a dichotomy of blue jeans, pretty jewelry, frugalista, and Southern girl living the simple rural life. I want to live my life holistically, thoughtfully, economically, and most of all gratefully, and encourage other women to do the same.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Pass the Avocado, Please

They say your taste changes every 7 years. I guess I'm going through my 6th rotation now because I've suddenly found I like avocados. (Who are "they" anyway??)

Yes, I've tried them before. Turned up my Southern nose every time.

But in the last six months I've started getting a taste for them after one day deciding to give them one more try. I read about all the good things in avocados. Yes, I know they have a fairly high fat content, but it's almost all the "good" monounsaturated fat. Good for your heart (and your skin). Just glowing, dahling.

So, I've been playing around with avocados. Sorry, hubby. Had to be done.

Here's my new healthy lunch when I'm feeling EXTREMELY, BEARISHLY hungry and just need to be full.

Peel, pit and mash one avocado. One is all you need - you'll have leftovers.
Add hemp hearts.

I usually end up using about four tablespoons of them. In case this is a new food to you, hemp hearts are shelled hemp seeds. They are chock-full of protein, amino acids, and good-for-you Omega 3, 6 & 9 fats. I buy them at http://www.hemphearts.com/ They also are available at some health food stores, if you have one nearby. Hemp seeds give my "Avocado Surprise" recipe some texture and stick-to-your ribs bulk.

Next, I chop and add fresh tomatoes.
Stir it all together and add a sprinkling of garlic salt to your taste. I don't feel bad at all about adding this little bit of sodium since both avocado and hemp hearts are sodium free.

I like to eat this mixture with organic blue corn tortilla chips or lime flavored tortilla chips. Either way, I promise you will not be hungry before dinner. I can manage to only eat half. It will save OK for about one day, but after that, the avocado turns a little brownish. So...share it with your friends right away.

To good health and happy eating,

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Staging at its Best

I'm sure you've heard of the coined term "staging," most often used when a real estate agent comes in and decorates a home for faster sale. But I think the real usefulness of the staging concept is to use it to apply to your home when you intend to stay in it.

One of my friends and PR clients is a woman (Pam) who has an eye for good design. She has been an interior designer for more than 20 years. Recently, I had her come over to my home. I only think I'm a good decorator, and the way I had arranged my small formal dining room was "unsettling," Pam said. Well.

I wish I had taken a before photo for you, but alas, I did not.

So I challenged Pam to rearrange only what I had in my dining room (or other downstairs rooms) to create a more pleasing look.

I think she did a great job.

And it cost not a penny!


Monday, January 17, 2011

Homeschooling and Chores

A part of every kids' day should be the chance to learn how to help around the house by taking responsibility and completing chores. In our homeschooling household, we feel strongly our son should work around the house just because he is a part of the family. Heaven knows, he sees me working enough that it should be second nature. But I think it's important to instill the work ethic early so that it will continue on throughout a child's lifetime.

A very experienced homeschooling mom told me when I first started out that I should have my son do any chores I want him to do at the beginning of the day. It was her experience once the homeschooling day was finished, her kids just wanted to run outside and play.

If you're a homeschooling family you know you have to gather and listen to others' advice but ultimately find the way that works best for your children's personalities. My son studies best during the first half of the day.

Money is a huge motivator for him. But I didn't want to hand out money for every little chore. We tried something along those lines but that just made him ask how much he was getting paid for each job I asked him to do. Not ideal.

Following the wise advice of author and financial guru Dave Ramsey, I also didn't want to label the weekly money as an allowance. After all, no one pays me just for breathing and existing.

So, we've created a chore chart that rotates weekly. There's a  Tier One set of jobs that he has to do just because he is part of the family. Tier Two jobs are what he must do to earn his basic weekly "commission." If he doesn't do them, I don't pay him. Simple.

Tier Three jobs get him really excited. Those are the optional jobs that he can choose to do or not to do each week for an extra $1 each. I just require that he complete Tier One and Tier Two jobs for the day first before diving into any optional jobs.

Here's a sample chore chart:

Week of January 3, 2011

Tier I Chores (every day):

     Make Bed in morning
     Pick up and put away all toys at end of day
     Set table for supper
     Feed/water dog and cat at supper time

Tier II Chores:

Monday:            Change kitty litter
                         Dust your bedroom

Tuesday:            Clean your bathroom and bathtub

Wednesday:      Vacuum entertainment room & your bedroom

Thursday:          Dust all downstairs furniture

Friday:               Help with laundry or other chore mom needs

Tier III Chores (optional):

 Wash all doors and doorways downstairs                  ______________________________

 Wash all doors and doorways upstairs                      ______________________________

My son is excited to do his chores now. I post the list on the refrigerator at the beginning of the week, and he gets to check off the job once it's completed. The Tier Three chores also need a signature from me signifying a job well done.

My house is becoming a lot cleaner...and well, I just love that!