Thursday, May 31, 2012

Character traits of Disney Princesses that women should strive to have – Part 1

Today I start a series on what character traits I have learned from Disney Princesses.  This first installment is going to be about the very first Disney Princess:

Snow White was dealt a bad hand from the moment her father died, she had lots to be depressed about.  How would you feel if you were a servant to a step-mother who wants to kill you and then a maid to 7 men?  But here are some important things that can be learned from her.

  1. She was always singing and very seldom was down.  The first time we see her cry wasn’t really because she was depressed, but from the shock of nearly being killed!
  2. Natural beauty inside and out – she made every good person and animal love her.  She wouldn’t harm a fly if she could help it.
  3. Hard working and self sufficient – she did the housework for seven men in return for room and board.
  4. Gentle feminine ways – the 7 dwarves loved her so much they created a beautiful glass coffin for her.  Her prince charming had never met her, but because he saw how much she touched other people’s lives and that is what made him fall in love with her before they had spoken a word.
  5. Air of innocence – in her heart she was always a little girl.
  6. Motherly – she had a motherly instinct to look after the 7 dwarves, who despite their age were more like 7 children (that’s what happens when men don’t have a women in their lives).
  7. Never complained – Not once do we hear her complain about the hand she was dealt.
  8. Always assumed the best in people – even after her step mother tried to kill her, she still assumed the best of others and would see them from innocent eyes.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Addiction to the screen / secret to happiness

Something I don’t get is how addicted some people are to screens.  They always have to have a screen in front of them, whether it is a TV screen, PC screen or cell-phone screen.

I hear of people who watch every single TV series they can get their hands on, and they get so excited for the next season.  All their free time is spent watching TV series.  To quote a motivational speaker “We can’t expect them to save this world when they are caught up in another one!” – “Disconnect them from their devices and they die!”

Going back to TV series, I won’t mention the names of the series, but some of the stuff coming out into the world today is pretty dark and depressing.  I watched a season or two of a medical drama a little while back and half way through the second season I decided to stop watching because I felt like screaming at the lead character “Get over your cry-baby feel sorry for myself nonsense and live!”

How can I feel happy, alive and positive when I am surrounded by negativity?  One of the best things I ever did in my life was to cut out TV Series, not completely because their are still some classic shows that have been off the air for years that I love to watch, but enough not to get absorbed into anything new.

I’ve done the same for computer games.  I am extremely selective about which games I play.  Basically, the games I play the most are “The Sims 3” and “Plants vs. Zombies”.  Any new games presented to me must have a humorous side for me to consider them, if it doesn’t make me laugh, what’s the point?  It will most likely bring me down.

So what is my secret to happiness?

  1. Faith in God – no matter what, I know that God protects me and looks after me.  I have enough evidence of that, just look at all the blessings in my life.
  2. Gratefulness – being grateful for what I have and not desiring more than I have.  I have often wished for “things”, but once you have everything you need to be comfortable, why do you need more?  Greed, envy and “keeping up with the Jones’”  Those who are grateful for the little they have are usually the happiest people.
  3. Limit screen time – get away from that screen and do something with your hands, with people or out in God’s creation!  I work on a computer screen all day.  The moment I get home I don’t want to be in front of the computer screen anymore.  I turn my PC on so I can play music while I cook, write my blog posts and use internet to keep in touch with people.  I barely use it during the week though.
  4. Surround yourself with positivity – every time you catch yourself saying something negative to yourself, turn the phrase into a positive – practice this!  Try not to say negative things to other people.  Try not to do things that will harm other people or the earth we live on. And filter what you watch, read and listen to, don’t dwell on negativity.  I’m listening to a Celtic radio station that plays lots of Irish fiddle music – the sort of stuff that makes me want to dance.  It is doing wonders for my positivity.  Also worth remembering, nobody likes a negative Nancy, it’s okay to have down days, but when the last 10 Facebook status updates are negative you start loosing friends.
  5. Eat Right – Fruits & vegetables! Get your vitamins!  It’s amazing how much food has an effect on positivity.
  6. Get Fit – Many people won’t like this one, but something I’ve discovered is that sporty people are usually happier people.  A 10 minute walk out in the fresh air and nature often does more for a person’s happiness than anything else.
  7. Help others – random acts of kindness to other people do so much for your own happiness.  When you start blessing others, then you get blessed in return.  So give the car guard a R20 note instead of your loose change occasionally (it doesn’t have to be all the time).  Or buy him lunch while you do your grocery shopping, and feel the goodness in your heart.

Now you have my secret to happiness, as well as a little rant on screens.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Menu Planning, Shopping and Programming

A few months ago I found a recipe website.  It contains a menu plan for 5 days, and it is a South African website so all the recipes contain ingredients that are supposed to be easy to find in our supermarkets.  I discovered that this is not always the case as I went to Checkers (Langenhoven Park) and couldn’t get some of the products needed for the recipe.  I went to Spar (Langenhoven Park) and found all the ingredients I couldn’t find at Checkers, except one.  That one ingredient is: KNORR Chicken Stock Pot.  Luckily the meal containing that ingredient is only being served on Friday so I’ll check out Pick ‘n’ Pay (Langenhoven Park) this evening for it.  I am a little annoyed that the biggest shop in Langenhoven Park didn’t have everything I was looking for, but the smallest shop had almost everything.

Now the question is, what is the website that contains meal plans for the work week? 

I can only say good things about the websites content.  Although from a I.T. point of view there are 2 things I don’t like.

1. I don’t like the way the welcome and logout buttons are situated on the lovely curvy green line.  It messes with the flow and looks sloppy.  I would put them next to the My Profile button above the search bar.

KNORR Website

2.  I don’t like the fact that you have to enter your phone number to update your profile.  I would like to make my name and about me public, but I would want my phone number hidden from the public.  It appears as though it is an all or nothing when choosing to make a profile public.

As for the menu plan for my week ahead, it comes directly from the website and here it is:

Tuesday:  Country Sausage Hot Pot

Wednesday: Creamy Sweet Potato and Mushroom Bake

Thursday: Chicken and Veg Pasta

Friday: Prawn, Chicken and Pea Paella

I really enjoy cooking and I’m so happy when I am in a kitchen, but only as a necessity and hobby, I don’t think I would enjoy it as much if I was there all day.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Early to bed and early to rise

For two days now I have gone to bed at 7pm and I have risen somewhere between 3:00am and 3:30am.  A lot of people will think that is crazy, but there is actually a very logical reason behind it.

I work in the Information Technology field.  There are times when I need to run tests on our products and I need to do those tests while none of our clients are using them.  Therefore I have been running tests from 3:30am to 4:30am (thank goodness all our clients are in the same time zone at the moment).

Even though the testing is now finished, I have discovered that going to bed early (7pm) and waking up early (3:30am) is fitting into my body schedule amazingly well. 

How I manage to go to bed so early:

  • Turn off technology (anything with a screen). 5pm is the last time I see a computer screen.  Occasionally I check my cell phone, but I’m not on it constantly. 
  • Eat foods that make you sleepy. I eat a supper that has a large portion of a food that makes me sleepy (potatoes). There are numerous foods that have this effect, a Google search will turn up some interesting results.
  • Read a book. I hop into bed with a book around 6:45pm.  I read until 7:00pm and by that time I am getting drowsy.
  • Use a candle. A candle is more natural light.  I use a candle instead of a bedside lamp.  The candle light is not only darker than a bedside lamp, but the colours emitted help make a person sleepy (remember we have only been using electric lights a very short time in human history)
  • Block out outside light. I use a silk scarf around my eyes to block out any ambient light coming in through the curtains, and by 7:30pm I am fast asleep!
  • Block out outside sound.  I don’t need to do this, but if you have a lot of noise going on outside, it might be useful to use ear plugs.
  • Turn your phone onto silent. There is only one problem with my method, and that is other people who are on a late night schedule.  The number one thing that takes me out of this sleeping routine are phone calls and text messages.  I now put my phone onto silent the moment my light goes out or else I don’t have good quality sleep and cannot wake up the next day.

In just 2 days I have noticed the benefits of the early to bed and early to rise method.

  • There is no rush.  I have a longer time to properly wake up in the morning.  I am not rushing to get to work on time.  I am able to enjoy my coffee, my shower, breakfast etc.
  • More ready for work.  When I get to work I am ready to focus on work.  Everything else going on in my head has been dealt with.  I am ready for the day ahead and the entire day has already been planned.  In the past I would plan my day in the first 15minutes I was at the office.
  • Nothing to do when I get home.  By the end of the work day I am tired and don’t feel like doing anything on a computer when I get home.  I am mentally and physically exhausted.  This would happen regardless of what time I woke up.  Now, because I was up early and got everything done before I went to work, I can relax in the knowledge that when I get home there is nothing to do (except maybe grocery shopping).  I can take all the time at home in the evenings to spend time with Mark, my puppy (Zoey) and myself.
  • Time to read.  I would always be busy with stuff until I was exhausted, and then flop into bed.  Now I purposefully go to my bedroom earlier to spend time with God and read before bed.  It is calming for me, and I truly believe that I get better quality sleep afterwards.

I do foresee some problems in the future.  Already I am a person who HAS to be in bed by 10pm (even on weekends) and I have lots of friends who are night owls.  The early to bed and early to rise is definitely going to affect my social life!  But all this means is that I now organize midday / afternoon events on Saturday’s and Sunday’s instead of evening events and I am sorted.