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And we have two winners! Go to the original Child Training Bible Review and Giveaway post to see who they are!

Back a long time ago (I was about 20) I took an IQ test. I don’t remember exactly, but it seems the score was around 150. I question its accuracy, since later I took one and it was closer to 135. Still a good score. Of course, I couldn’t boast too much about my score, since my boss had an even higher one (I don’t remember his, but it put him in the genius category, which I knew he was anyway).

While it used to be thought that there was nothing anyone could do to increase one’s IQ, it is now known that this is not the case. You can increase your IQ. The infografic below tells you how:

Master Your Brain: Raise Your IQ
Created by:

Of course, IQ isn’t everything. EQ is a much better indicator of future success, but then, that’s a totally different topic, isn’t it?

Have you taken an IQ test lately? What was your score? What ideas from this graphic do you plan on using to improve your intelligence?

Guess what greeted me this morning.

It's Snowing!

Okay, so I’m not really a good photographer. I didn’t think about adjusting the focus until it was too late. But maybe you can see that it is snowing. It is, at any rate. Even though it isn’t sticking. [Added later: It never did stick.]

So what happened to spring?

If you use Facebook (and maybe even if you don’t), you have probably seen this picture floating on your news feed:

I have very strong opinions on Daylight Nuisance Savings Time. And I thought I’d share them.

First of all, it doesn’t save time at all. There are still 24 hours in a day. And on days like today, it actually steals an hour! Granted, it gives it back in the fall, but by that time, I’ve forgotten how annoying it was to have it taken in the first place. It’s like someone stealing the $20 bucks I planned to buy lunch with, only to bring it back a month later. By that time, I have long gotten over the loss, you know!

Where did DST originate? Well, since I don’t have time to research that (and since I’m sure you’ve already read something on that topic within the last few years), let’s just say that what I remember being told is that farmers needed more daylight at the end of the day to get their work done. But that makes no sense. I mean, farm equipment has lights, just like cars do. Why not just start an hour earlier in the morning? Or are those poor farmers supposed to skip an hour of sleep every night in the summer?

Not all states and countries have DST. Arizona doesn’t. I have a friend who dreams of moving there. Her health is very unstable and requires adherence to a very strict schedule. The time change messes with that. Although she changes the times on her schedule to adjust as though there were no DST, it makes activities like going to church difficult. Mexico has DST, but it starts later and ends earlier–as we discovered once when trying to attend a function at a church across the border. It seems that it used to start later and end earlier in the US, too, but someone keeps pushing the dates back to make it longer.

Growing up, we called DST “Man’s time” and the regular time “God’s time.” I still think of it that way.

I figure, what’s the point of changing it at all? Just pick a time and stick to it. The changing back and forth every year is annoying.

Thankfully for me, we worship on Saturday, so we don’t have to be anywhere Sunday morning. That makes it easier to adjust–we don’t need to lose the hour of sleep. Unless, of course, we stay up an hour later the night before!

So those are my thoughts. What do you think about Daylight Savings Time? Do you like it? Dislike it? Why? Please share!

I just saw an announcement that the book True Christian Motherhood is available for $1 today, Wednesday, March 7. I’m going to pick up a copy sometime today, but I wanted to let you know about it. At that price, anyone can afford it, and I’m sure it’s packed full of wonderful encouragement and counsel. So go pick up a copy!

Yesterday I shared about Flylady and how I have begun to establish routines. Today I want to share with you my early morning routine, also known as my before breakfast routine.

Flylady teaches that when you get out of bed in the morning, you should get dressed to the lace-up shoes and make the bed. Because I like to air the bed first–and especially since my husband is often still in it when I rise–I have moved that to a later routine. But I have found it helpful to get dressed and wash my face first thing, right after going to the bathroom (unless I plan on showering, in which case I just put on my shoes, because I don’t have time to shower before breakfast right now). So that is the first step of my routine: Get dressed and wash face. I never used to bother with washing my face, but I’m 31 now, and I think it’s about time I started taking care of it–especially since I recently noticed a couple of lines that I don’t remember being there before. At this point, I have Melaleuca’s Sei Bella facial wash and toner, so I use those. Later I plan on getting more products, like a moisturizer and a facial masque to use once in a while. But for now, I feel like I’m doing something good for my face, so I’m happy.

Then, before I leave the bathroom, I clean it. Yes, every day (except Sabbath). This consists of dampening a rag and wiping down all the surfaces. First, spots on the mirror, then the counter and sink, then the toilet. Then I hang it up to dry. It takes 1-2 minutes, and the bathroom is company-ready. I also take the time to put away brushes and toothpaste tubes or anything else that doesn’t belong on the counter. All that is supposed to be there are two soap dispensers and a container of Gislaine’s hair “thingies” that doesn’t fit in the medicine cabinet and I want to keep out of Manny’s reach (so not in the drawes). I don’t move the latter when I wipe, only the soap dispensers if I see bits of soap near them that need to be wiped up. Then I take the toilet bowl brush and give the bowl a quick 5-second swish.

Now, because I don’t use any soap for this process, once a week, just before hopping in the shower, I clear everything off of the counter and put it in the window, then spray the counter, sink, and all of the toilet with an herbal disinfectant spray. After drying and dressing, the spray has done its job of killing all the bacteria on those surfaces, and I just need to wipe it down (since it has soap in it, I can’t leave it like lysol). I also spray it inside the toilet bowl. Once we move back to well water, I’ll add some of the Tub & Tile cleaner to the toilet bowl to keep down the limescale, but for now, our water is very soft and it never gets any build-up.

The next thing on my list is to empty the dishwasher. Whether it is full from a load I ran the night before, or whether it just has a few bowls or plates from supper, I empty it. That way I don’t have to empty it before washing the dishes. This takes less than 5 minutes max.

The last thing I do is check my to-do list. I have a list on the fridge that lists things that I need to do on specific days of the week, but not necessarily every day, from deep-cleaning the kitchen counters (meaning I move everything and spray down the counters one at a time, instead of just wiping the bare areas) to soaking beans for the next day’s meal. I also add any daily tasks I want to make sure I don’t forget, such as laundry (it’s amazing how easy it is to forget, with the washer and dryer being out in the garage), or anything else I need to remember, like a doctor’s visit or a call I need to make. These I write down on a little dry-erase board on my fridge. When I accomplish a task, I wipe it off. Then I can see what is left. I put dots beside things that I absolutely want to get done today (sometimes a phone call can be postponed, or organizing the garage can wait a few days when the kids are sick), and as I go through the day, I might put lines beside the things I want to focus on next–2 or 3 things to get done before I attempt anything else. Because, well, I have to admit I am a S.H.E–sidetracked home executive–and tend to get started with something, then remember I should be doing something else, then get called by the kids to help with something or change a diaper… so being able to refocus with a glance at my white board is very helpful!

Now, it took quite a bit to describe my morning routine, but it takes much less time to actually do it. Getting dressed and washing face takes 10 minutes if I’m slow. “Swish & swipe” (cleaning the bathroom surfaces and toilet) takes about 2 or 3 minutes. Emptying the dishwasher takes 5 minutes or less, and updating my to-do list takes about 2 or 3 minutes.

And although it’s not officially on my list, I also drink a glass of water while I’m in the kitchen. Then I either have my devotions or start on breakfast, depending on what time it is and when my husband needs to leave.

So that’s my before breakfast routine. It looks like a lot, so I will summarize:

  • Get dressed to the shoes & wash face
  • Swish & Swipe
  • Empty dishwasher
  • Update to-do list

So what do you do before you start breakfast?

I can almost hear you saying, “What is yuca?” (pronounced YOU-kuh). It is a very interesting root found in many tropical countries, from Africa to the Carribbean, Central and South America, many South Pacific islands, and parts of Asia. I learned to like it when my husband introduced me to it while we were living in Texas.

It is a very starchy, fibrous root with a kind of bark-like skin and white flesh. It cooks similar to a potato, but it is a bit drier and has a rather bland flavor. You may have heard of its other name, cassava, as it is called in many English speaking countries, such as Jamaca. It is also the root from which tapioca is made.

The other night, my husband found this site that talks about many of the properties of yuca, and we were surprised to find that it is a good source of calcium, as well as anti-inflammatory.

My son is allergic to potatoes, which makes buying gluten-free mixes and products virtually impossible. However, tapioca flour and starch can substitute very well for potato flour and starch in GF recipes, and he is not allergic to it at all.

In Texas, we used to buy it for about $1 a pound. Not terribly cheap, but still affordable. We had to remove the skin and the ends, and I learned the hard way to chop it open in the store to check for pure white flesh (instead of flesh with gray lines in it). Sometimes I would find a lot that was good, and then I would skin it all and freeze whatever we didn’t plan on using in the next few days. It could be taken from the freezer and put directly into hot water to cook, and it tasted almost the same as fresh.

Then we moved to Oregon, and the yuca here is almost $3 a pound. So we never buy it. Not to mention that I doubt it will be good quality up here. But my husband found frozen shredded yuca at a Philippino market for about $1.25 per 1 lb bag. He used about two pounds to make a yuca casserole for Christmas dinner (yuca on top and bottom with seasoned veggie burger filling), but it’s a bit expensive to use for the family on a regular basis, and takes a bit of work. However, we discovered that if we took some of the yuca (which is so finely shredded that it is more like a thick batter than anything else), added some salt, and pan fried it in small patties, Manny would devour them. He’s been known to eat more than half a pound of it at one sitting!

Lately poor Manny, who is definitely allergic to eggs, milk, and all nuts and seeds except flax and hemp, has become more and more sensitive to beans. I can’t just feed him grains–most of them aren’t a complete protein, and even if they were, the quality of protein isn’t enough for a growing child. He won’t eat greens (and with the limited amount of food he can eat, it’s next to impossible to hide greens in anything), so using greens to supplement his protein isn’t really a viable option. So we decided to try a little turkey. Daddy bought some at the health food store today. He chopped it fine, mixed it with the yuca, made the patties, and cooked them with a little palm oil (which oxidizes slower than olive oil, is flavorless, and healthier than canola oil). We started with about 2 ounces of turkey and half a pound of yuca. I’m not sure how many patties he ate, but there were only 2 two-inch patties left when he was full.

Turkey isn’t something we’ll give him every day. What we bought today cost over $2, and I’m not positive it was organic  or free range (it didn’t say it was; he bought it pre-cooked and sliced in the deli, not raw). I can buy similar turkey from Azure Standard, only it IS organic and free-range, and costs over $6 for each 6-oz package (just under $6 each if I buy a 10-pack). I figure buying it pre-cooked is better, so I don’t have to deal with raw meat in my kitchen (a friend made that suggestion, and I totally agree with her!).

As a third-generation vegetarian, feeding meat to one of my kids is something I really hesitate to do. But we don’t seem to have a lot of options right now. I really hope that he will outgrow many of his allergies eventually, and in the mean time he really needs to avoid anything that makes him more itchy. If giving him a little turkey now and again will make that easier, then so be it.

Now if we could just move to a tropical country where yuca and other non-potato roots are staples in the diet… Hey, there’s no law that says I can’t wish, is there? :)

Seems my blog is getting found a bit more. I got an email this morning from a lady who invited me to an interview with Decorator Kelly Edwards. On November 2 early in the morning (for me–I’ll be fixing breakfast) I get 10 minutes to ask her any questions I want! I figured, Sure, why not? I could use some decorating help anyhow! And considering she specializes in budget ideas, I figured it was a win-win.

So I looked around her site and watched a video or two, and I was very impressed. I am going to be thinking of questions to ask her. But I thought, why not get my readers involved? If you could ask a master decorator any question, what would it be? Post your questions in the comments, and I’ll get some answers on November 2. If I get too many questions, I may have to pick only a few of them, but I’ll do the best I can.

I will be getting a link to the video of the interview, so you will be able to watch. I have the second slot, so our questions will be fairly early in the program.

Can’t wait to watch the video! Please help me out with questions!

My daughter came in and dragged me out to the garage to show me something a few minutes ago. When I came out, she showed me that she and her neighbor friend (age 7) had cleaned the garage. And indeed they had. They had picked up the scattered empty boxes and neatly stacked them against the wall. They had swept up the piles of some white powder (fertilizer, maybe) that had been scattered there by who knows who a few days ago, and had generally tried to make it look nice. Not that it was a terrible mess before, but it did look neglected, and now it didn’t.

I told them they had done a great job and gave them a hug. Then I decided it was time to post something on this blog, so I came here and so did. Not that I’m planning on getting back into regular blogging, but I think I can spare a few moments now and again to record a few special moments in my life before I forget them. After all, I think that’s why I started this blog in the first place.

Update: This give-away is being extended until Thursday, February 3rd. And there will only be two winners if at least 5 individuals enter.

As a way of saying Thank you to my loyal readers, as well as hopefully increasing my readership base, I have decided to host a give-away. I am selling a number of items on Bonanza, as well as a few things in my online store, and the winners will be able to choose one item from either place.

Please note that not all my items on Bonanza are included in the give-away, but only those I have selected in the widgets below. The reason is that either they are worth too much or I am selling them on a commission basis for someone else, and therefore cannot give them away. You are welcome to buy any item in the store at any time before or after this give-away.

There are 3 categories of items available: Quality used clothes, used books, and a few potholders. Here is a breakdown of the items available:

Quality used clothes:

Used books:

From my online store (sorry, no widget available; you’ll have to click).

Multiple entries are allowed. To enter, complete one or more of the following requirements, and leave a separate comment for each one. I will use a random number picker to select the winners. That’s right, I said winners. I am going to pick 2 winners. So the odds are in your favor!

Complete one or more of the following:

  1. Subscribe to my site by email (see sidebar) or rss feed (see top of page). If you are already subscribed, that counts too.This is required to qualify for any more entries. That means that if you skip this step, your other entries won’t qualify and will be deleted.
  2. Tell me what your favorite post on this site is. You can give me the post title or URL.
  3. Follow me on either Facebook or Twitter. You can follow me on both if you like, but you only get one entry, because nearly everything I feed into Twitter gets fed into Facebook.
  4. If you have a blog, do a post about this give-away and include the link.
  5. Share about this give-away on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, or any other favorite social medium. The icons at the bottom of this post can get you started. You get one entry for each place you share this link (that gives you virtually unlimited entries, by the way).

So that gives you at least 5 possible entries, as long as you do #1.

You do not have to pick your choice now, though you can tell me in the comments if you wish. You also do not need to leave me your email in the comment (spammers love it if you do), because I can see your email through my admin and no one else can. Don’t worry, I don’t spam. I will only use it to tell you if you win. {smile}

This give-away starts when the post goes live and ends the following Friday at 5:00 pm PST. All entries placed after that time will not be included. The winner will be announced the following Sunday or Monday (meaning as soon as I can get to it).

So have fun picking an item and making your entries!

This post is mentioned on Blogelina’s Blogging Buddy Blog Hop.