A Healthy Christmas Gift Idea

On this blog, I just completed a 66-Day Experiment to Redeem Time without sacrificing the daily need to eat healthy, reserve time for Bible devotions, and exercise.

Now is a good time to extend the idea of eating healthy into Christmas gift giving.

(Fresh rosemary spiced olive oil) 


Food is a great consumable gift – after all, we all eat!

Food gifts can either be special items that the recipient enjoys but wouldn’t normally buy, regular items to help ease their budget, or homemade gifts.

Here is one healthy food gift idea.  Select a favorite healthy recipe.  Decorate a recipe card and attach part of the ingredients.

This gift is a recipe for Hearty Winter Bean Soup with dry pinto and garbanzo beans included. (For the complete recipe, look under Investigatin’ Recipes.) What ideas do you have?

Investigating Kitchen Tips for the Holidays

With cool evenings and family gatherings in store this holiday season, here are a few  hints to use in the kitchen.

  • If you cut the root end of the onion off last, you’re supposed to shed fewer tears.
  • Combining the juices from canned and cooked vegetables with soups will increase the quantity, nutrition and flavor.
  • Pour lumpy gravy in a blender and blend til smooth.
  • To eliminate spattering and sticking when pan-frying, heat your pan before adding butter or oil.

Check Investigatin’ Recipes for a Cheesy Broccoli Soup recipe that is SO GOOD.

What to do with Thanksgiving Leftovers

Happy Thanksgiving!


For an idea of what to do with leftover turkey, besides making sandwiches, try this recipe from Thyme Waves cookbook:

Layered Leftovers

1 pkg. (8oz) egg noodles

1/2 c green pepper, chopped

1/2 c green onions, chopped

4-6 oz mushrooms, fresh or canned

1 can  (16 oz) tomatoes

1/4 c black olives, chopped

8-10 oz leftover turkey

8-10 oz cheese, grated

Cook and drain the noodles. Microcook the green peppers, onions and mushrooms in small amount of water 3-4 minutes on HIGH. Drain. Mix tomatoes and olives with vegetables and noodles. Alternate layers of noodle mixture, meat and cheese. Microcook 10 minutes on MEDIUM or bake, uncovered at 350 for about 20 minutes until cheese melts.























The 66-Day Experiment to Redeem Time Finale


It’s day 66 of the 66-Day Experiment to Redeem Time!

Here are my 5 top findings:


Like the saying, “it takes money to make money,” I found, it takes time to free up or redeem time.



Cleaning out food storage areas resulted in saved time, because I knew what I had on hand and included it in my meal planning. Once I learned the latest nutritional guidelines, I focused on modifying, as needed, menus my family likes to meet nutritional needs.  A fantastic resource is Fruits and Veggies More Matters.


To include exercise in the day, if I was depending on exercising at home, I had to schedule it right before my shower or it didn’t happen. I primarily used the Debbie Siebers’ Slim in 6 DVD resource for an overall workout that only takes 25 minutes.












Ending the day with Bible and devotion reading gave closure to the day, fresh direction for next day, and allowed me to have more creative time in the morning for writing. My favorite resources are—Billy Graham’s Unto the Hills and Our Daily Bread. Becky Tirabassi’s Let Prayer Change Your Life is excellent for structuring Bible study time.







The MEOW WORKSHEET pdf and the MEOW Weekly/Daily Plan are good tools for planning healthy eating, Bible time and exercise every day. Using the timeline visually shows where you have available time in the day (Redeemed time). BUT they take a lot of time to fill out and can be dropped once a routine is established.

I hope this 66-day experiment has helped you. It has me!

I encourage you to continue to check my blog. As I discover any time-savers,  books, recipes, resources or other tips,  I will pass it along.


Sally Jo






Concluding the 66-Day Experiment to Redeem Time

63 days down and 3 to go in the 66-Day Experiment to Redeem Time!


Last week’s challenge- to read scripture, have purposeful quiet time, listen to God’s leading, and record it.

Results: My greatest impression was to pray for our nation and leaders.


This 66-day experiment is winding down, so it’s time to assess the overall results.







On August 27, the experiment kicked off. The goal was to establish the daily practice of eating meals that meet the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), reading the Bible, and exercising while regaining some time 🕐 in the process.


I researched and posted helps and suggestions, and gave weekly challenges to work on.






Here is a recap of the experiment and challenges:

Week 1

Clean out all food storage places and make a master list of food on hand.





Week 2

Introduced a MEOW WORKSHEET pdf  that included a checklist for meeting nutritional needs, space to plan to Bible time and exercise, and obligations and timeline to visualize uncommitted time; the challenge: to use the worksheet 2 or 3 times during the week, include a vegetable in each meal of the day



Week 3



Make a list of your family’s favorites—what you can count on them to eat, use the fruits and veggies more matters website and MEOW Daily Worksheet to plan healthy meals your family will eat.





Week 4

Use the MEOW Daily Worksheet and plan what, how long, and when you will exercise, try different activities for strength and core training, check out website with 10 minute workouts.





Use the MEOW Daily Worksheet and schedule Bible time, suggested some websites  (here is the link to one, see others in earlier blog) to help with study time.





Week 6

Introduced MEOW weekly/daily plan sheet with a view of the week’s obligations on top and space for specific day planning on bottom. Challenge: Use weekly/daily worksheet to plan nutritious meals, exercise and Bible time, see where any chunks of time can be redeemed.








Week 7

Pick one of the targeted areas—meal planning/prep, Bible time, or exercise—try at a different time to see if it works better in your day.






Week 8

Identify one of the three areas that most needs improvement. Set a specific goal, specific and measurable, to see if you can do better in that area.







Week 9

During Bible time, read scripture and ask, how does this apply to me right now? Be quiet and listen for at least a minute. Record findings and see at end of the week

where God may be leading.






Week 10


Evaluation time: For me, this has been an interesting experiment and has forced me to look at where my time is being spent and to tap in to the many good resources available to help save time.






My biggest finding?


What have you discovered in the experiment? Please post any revelations here or on the private Facebook page.

On day 66, November 1, watch for conclusions to the experiment.



Investigating Bible Study Time

56 days down, 10 to go in the 66-Day Experiment to Redeem Time

This is the last full week of the experiment!


Last week’s challenge was to find your weak spot in areas we’ve targeted—meal planning, Bible time, or exercise—and set a goal, specific and measurable, to see if you can do better.

Here is what I planned, and how I did:

  1. Workout using the Debbie Siebers’ Slim in 6 DVD Monday-Saturday  at 5:00 am- did it every day except Tuesday, filled in with some sit-ups in the evening

       2.With morning appointments Monday-Friday, writing time planned for 11:00 am – 5:00 pm with a lunch break- Did it, except Thursday had an added afternoon appointment, so wrote some in the evening

        3. Meal plan Sunday, shop Monday- did it

        4. Bible time, 10:00 pm- did it, but two nights I got sleepy and finished reading first thing in the morning













Most plans won’t work out exactly as planned, but having a plan helps you see problem areas or what you might modify. For me, since my afternoon exercise plans never worked, I was glad to discover I do better in the early morning.

For the final week, I’ll  focus on a fruitful way to spend Bible time by investigating the Let Prayer Change Your Life book by Becky Tirabassi.

Image result


The author was inspired to set aside an hour a day for prayer, but didn’t really know how to spend that hour. During her prayer time, God gave her an idea to develop a notebook with two parts: MY PART and GOD’S PART.

My P.A.R.T consisted of:

P- Praise- using Psalms

A- Admit shortcomings that need help with

R-Requests for self and others

T- Thanks- acknowledge his work in your life

GOD’S PART consisted of the acrostic L. M. N. O. P.:

L- Listening- be silent before the Lord

M- Messages- sermon and scripture notes

N- New Testament-

O- Old Testament

P- Proverbs

For N.O.P. she recorded verses that comforted, convicted, etc.

Last, she added a “To Do” section of things she was reminded during her prayer time to do.

I have tried this notebook plan and gradually adapted it to TRY TO GET SOMETHING PRACTICAL EACH DAY FROM MY BIBLE READING. It might be for self-help, for others I’m concerned about, and/or to portray through characters or plot line in my writing.

The challenge this week:

In Bible time this week, When you read scripture, ask how does this apply to me right now? Then be quiet and listen for at least a minute. Record your findings and see at end of the week where God may be leading.

If you don’t already have a Bible time procedure or practice, give Becky Tirabassi’s notebook plan a try.

Comment on how you’re doing here or on the 66-Day Experiment FACEBOOK private group page. (You can join here.)

Check in next Sunday, October 29, for a progress report on the 66-Day Experiment to Redeem Time.

Find your Weak Spot in the 66-Day Experiment

49 days down, 17 to go in the 66-Day Experiment to Redeem Time

       Investigation reveal:

Exercise is my downfall.

Last week’s challenge was to pick one of the areas we’ve targeted—meal planning, Bible time, or exercise—that you might try at a different time to see if it works better in your day.

Meal planning allowing for shifts in one day or another, depending on what comes up and devotion in evening is working fairly well for me, BUT…



I’m not exercising. I’ve tried scheduling time in the morning, but that cuts into my creative writing time. I tried scheduling at 5:00 pm during the afternoon slump. That didn’t happen. Tried for 1:00 pm last week, cause that time pretty well worked when I last belonged to a gym. That didn’t happen either. So back to the drawing board.

What I know: The doctor suggested treating exercise as if it were an appointment. Before I started writing, I exercised consistently in the morning before I took a shower. Nice, cause I was done for the day–no stopping and changing clothes or getting sweaty later in the day.

The key is before I started writing. Since early morning is my creative time before the busyness of the day sets in, I feel I must write then. After lunch the afternoon sleepiness sets in. Logic tells me to exercise then.  So what’s the barrier?











I consulted The Mayo Clinic Diet book (an excellent resource) for advice:

Their answer to “I don’t have time to exercise,” (which goes right along with this experiment to redeem time) is that perhaps you have more time than you think. I should consider time watching TV, surfing the web, running minor errands—there is bound to be extra time during the day. (I shouldn’t forget multi-tasking—exercise while watching TV or reading or writing while walking on the treadmill.) AND here are some additional suggested strategies:

If you can’t find 30 minutes during your day to exercise, look for 10-minute windows. (Exercising 10 minutes, three times a day is also beneficial.)

Go for an early morning short walk. Walk for 10 minutes during your lunch hour.

Take stairs instead of the elevator.

Take regular activity breaks. Get up from your desk to stretch and walk around.

Develop a routine to do at home.

Okay, so here’s the challenge for this week.










Do you have a downfall area? Are there any of the three areas–meal planning, Bible time, exercise–where you can make improvements? Identify one, look at your next week’s obligations and set a goal, specific and measurable, to see if you can do better.

For instance, my goal for next week will be to workout using the 25-minute exercise DVD (Debbie Siebers’ Slim in 6), Monday-Saturday at 5:00 am. I have morning appointments Monday-Friday, so I will block off writing time as 11:00 am-5:00 pm with a lunch break. (Meal planning for the week will be Sunday afternoon with any shopping needs on Monday morning. Bible time and prep for next day, 10:00 pm every evening.)

Let me know how you’re doing! Comment here or on the 66-Day Experiment FACEBOOK private group page. (You can join here.)

Check with me next Sunday, October 22, to see how things went.

The 66-Day Experiment and the Family Life Cycle

What is the family life cycle?

The emotional and intellectual stages you pass through from childhood to your retirement years as a member of a family are called the family life cycle. In each stage, you face challenges that allow you to build or gain new skills. Gaining these skills helps you work through the changes that nearly every family goes through.


Not everyone passes through these stages smoothly. Situations such as severe illness, financial problems, or the death of a loved one can affect how well you pass through the stages. Fortunately, if you miss skills in one stage or are in more non-traditional life situation, you can learn to adjust.

Can you improve on the family life cycle stage you are in right now?

Of course! And you never know until you try—i.e. EXPERIMENT.

Be assured, you can learn missed skills and improve you and your family’s quality of life at any stage. Self-examination, and education, are ways to improve.

So, whether you are a single independent, a couple starting out, juggling schedules for a house full, helping kids launch out on their own, or living out retirement years, you can improve your eating habits, Bible time, and exercise at any stage.

This week I tried shifting Bible time to the evening.


Bed, Sleep, Vector, Bedroom, Furniture



Before bed I read the next day’s devotions to see if it gave me a jump start on the next day. Could I get inspiration during the night as I slept on what I read?

I can’t report any great sleep revelations, but it was a nice way to close out the day with thoughts of encouragement for a new day ahead.

I had also planned to shift exercise to 5:00pm as a pick me up instead of in the morning (which I’ve been missing of late). Five o’clock exercise didn’t happen. So this week’s experiment will be to try daily exercise at 1:00pm. We’ll see…













This week’s challenge:

Pick one of the areas we’ve targeted—meal planning/prep, Bible time, or exercise—that you might try at a different time to see if it works better in your day.


How are you doing on the experiment so far? Let me hear from you here, or on our private Facebook page.