Life, running, fitness, weight loss, recipes and healthy living!

Life, running, fitness, weight loss, recipes and healthy living!

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Countertop Dishwashers – The Right Choice For You

Countertop Dishwashers – The Right Choice For You

Dishwashers are an essential and convenient part of a modern kitchen. They save time and are able achieve a constant standard of germ free cleanliness in contrast to manual washing. Due to their utility and subsequent demand dishwashers are available in a variety of styles and brands. They can be differentiated from each other by their suitability to different lifestyles, portability, technology, and installation requirements, including that of space.

When evaluating dishwashers, you must decide which type of dishwasher is most suitable for your home, space available, and way of life. Several questions must be asked by you. How much dishwashing needs to be carried out on average? Will the need for capacity increase? Is there enough space to place the dishwasher in kitchen? Are you living in a rented house? Is there adequate and conveniently placed water and power outlets? What is the kitchen décor? How much will it cost and is it affordable?

Once you are clear about your requirements, you should do some research online as well as offline to find the basic as well as advanced features available in a modern dishwasher and their price ranges. Here we will provide a comparison of main types of dishwashers available.

Built-in Dishwashers

Built-in under the counter dishwashers provide easy operability and permanence. They are always connected to plumbing so does not require hooking up and does not monopolize faucet attached to kitchen sink when used. Given their location and options they can be made to jell with the rest of the kitchen décor stylistically.

There is a flip side to this however. They require special and expensive installation and may even require remodeling of kitchen in some cases. They take up space since they can range from eighteen to twenty four inches in width. Given the limited space available in a typical kitchen once this kind of dishwasher is installed the user may end up with hardly any free cupboard space below the counter. Additionally because they are not portable they are not suitable for people who rent their homes. They also consume large amount of energy and water.

Free standing dishwashers

Portable free standing dishwashers in contrast do not require special plumbing and installation. They can be hooked to any type of faucet when required using an adapter. They also have the same capacity, proportions, and options, as built-in dishwashers. They also increase the counter space, but they take up floor space. You must decide whether their advantages outweigh the cramping of kitchen space. Given their capacity they too consume large amount of energy and water.

Countertop dishwashers

Countertop dishwashers also called tabletop dishwashers are usually economically cheaper than both built-in and free standing dishwashers.

They do require some counter space close to the sink when used. They are normally so constructed as to fit between the counter and the standard overhead cupboard. This compactness allows for unencumbered usage of your kitchen and avoids any need for remodeling

While their capacity is limited, it is generally more than adequate to serve singles and families up to four, or in the standard measurement used in the dish washer comparisons, they have the capacity to serve four place settings, after a meal.

Countertop dishwashers like the freestanding dishwashers can be hooked up to any faucet using a simple adapter. In contrast to both manual washing and other dishwashers water consumption is comparatively low in a countertop dishwasher, amounting to about 2 gallons of water in an average run. Energy consumption is also low compared to other dishwashers.

Most countertop dishwashers have the usual washing options expected from a modern dishwasher; several wash cycles, ability to increase the temperature of generally unreliable home hot water supply to around 140 to 160 degrees to ensure sanitation, automatic rinsing, efficient rinse aid dispensing mechanisms, ability to program a delayed start so that washing will be done at the optimum times, stainless steel durability, and quietness, among others. They are also available in variety of exterior styles so that consumers can select one suited to their own kitchen décor.

Any downside to countertop dishwashers will depend on your personal requirements and capacity of your home. If you have the required space in your home you may be better off buying a built-in dishwasher with bigger capacity even if it will cost more. This is especially the case if the built-in dishwasher brand has energy saving features so that it can wash smaller amount of dishes with less water and energy.

However given the average size of a modern kitchen and the average needs of a small household, countertop dishwashers deliver great value for money for most people.

I Used to be Skinny : A Fifteen Pound Confession

I Used to be Skinny : A Fifteen Pound Confession

I have a confession to make, I have gained 15.8 lbs in a relatively short period of time.

I tried to think of a way to lead into that confession. A way to justify the weight gain. I mean I started a new medication, that could be it, right? I battled through depression this winter, that makes it completely acceptable, doesn’t it? I hurt my knee (in the early winter time), so that justifies why I am (still) not exercising like I should, right?

Okay, so really there are no excuses to use, because they are just that, excuses, not really what happened. I am not going to blame those things. The truth is, yes I did hurt my knee which is why my exercise decreased – AT FIRST – I then stayed lazy after it healed. Another truth is I did battle depression over the winter and spring – but even after my moods stabilized – my eating habits did not stabilize.

The biggest truth of them all is the simple fact that my weight gain was caused by two factors: 1. Extreme increase in calorie consumption and 2. Extreme decrease in physical activity. Plain and simple that is HOW I gained the weight.

So it is what it is. I gained 15.8 pounds. I noticed when I gained 5 lbs. That seemed like “no big deal”, because of course your body can fluctuate up and down 5 lbs anyway, I didn’t quite take into account that meant it would also fluctuate down as well (my weight did not). At 10 lbs, I thought to myself, that isn’t “THAT bad”, thinking I had lost a great deal of weight anyway, so ten lbs wasn’t the end of the world. Now sitting at 15.8 lbs gained, I am thinking “Why in the world did I let this happen”.

Feelings of embarrassment, shame, guilt and frustration with myself swirl around in my head.  Some of my friends will probably wonder why in the world I am posting for the world to see that I gained some of the weight I lost back, but I find it to be necessary in continuing my weight loss journey. I started my weight loss journey publicly and I will continue on it, through the ups and the downs, publicly. Not only do I hope that my blogging  helps others, I also blog to hold myself accountable – and that is obviously something that I need at the moment.

So let the journey continue, but this time in the right direction.

How to Use the OBD II Scanner

How to Use the OBD II Scanner

Knowing how to use the OBD II code scanner in your car is vital in ensuring that your car runs smoothly and does not require frequent trips to the auto repair shop. Plus, the opportunity you get to detect car problems gives you the chance to protect yourself. The OBD II scanner in your car is basically a diagnostic tool. The tool gets into your car’s data processing machine in order to give you information regarding the defects that your car may be having.

The best ODB2 scanner identifies defects or errors in your automobile. You need this so that you are made aware of the things that could hamper your driving and the efficiency of your vehicle. When you know what is wrong with your vehicle you will know the next step to take. If you know how to fix the problem, you can do it yourself. If otherwise, you can take your car to the experts to ensure that the problem is fixed right.

On which vehicles can the OBD II scanner work? The scanner is meant for vehicles from 1996 onwards. Vehicles manufactured before 1996 are not compatible with the OBD2 code scanner. As such, car owners have to get the ODB 1 auto scanner to monitor car problems.

How do you use the ODB II code scanner? The first thing you need to remember is to turn your vehicle off. Next, you plug in the OBD scanner to the car’s data processor connection. Generally, most cars have their data processors underneath the dashboard, the area close to the steering wheel. The next step is to turn on the ignition and then push “read” on the device. You then have to wait a few seconds for results to appear on the auto scanner.

There are some OBD II models that will directly show the problem with your. However, there are also OBD II scanners that provide alpha-numeric codes. For this, you need to look up the meaning of the code in a code directory. The code directly could be part of the product manual of your OBD II reader or you can access one online. After that, you will be able to know what the specific issue is in your vehicle. Additionally, there are code scanners that are equipped with their own application software. The software can be downloaded onto your computer so that you can get more detailed information about your car problems.

In conclusion, OBD II code scanners are important devices to use with your beloved vehicle. If you are handy with tools or are adept in doing quick fixes in your vehicle, you can use the information from the scanner to your advantage. If you are not, you can use the information to protect you from unscrupulous mechanics who will rip you off by diagnosing problems that don’t actually exist. In short, you can use the OBD II scanner for your safety and protection. You won’t regret the amount of money you invest in such a device.

Southwest Sweet Potato Sauté

Southwest Sweet Potato Sauté

I have been gaining courage in the kitchen lately and decided to finally cook on the stove. This may seem normal for most people, but I have always been more of a television dinner kind of girl, so I am sort of just learning as I go, but I am actually enjoying creating new dishes in our kitchen, so expect more recipes in the future!

Southwest Sweet Potato Sauté


1. Whole Kernel Sweet Corn – 2 cups

2. Cooked Black Beans – 2 cups

3. Yellow Onion – 1 cup chopped

4. Sweet Potatoes – 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed

5. Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 2 TBSP

6. Mrs Dash Southwest Chipotle Season Blend Salt-Free – 1 1/2 TSP


1. Pour 2 TBSP Olive Oil and 1 1/2 TSP seasoning onto a pan over medium high heat, until it evenly spreads onto the pan.

2. Add the corn, black beans, onion and sweet potatoes in the pan

3. Cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, for fifteen minutes or until potatoes are completely cooked

This recipe serves 4. Each serving is 314 calories.

I was very happy with how it turned out and it was super simple to make. I used it as a side dish when we made spicy black bean veggie burgers and it was the perfect addition to our meal!

October Foodie Penpals Reveal Day

October Foodie Penpals Reveal Day

I have been waiting to post about my first experience with trying out the Foodie Penpals exchange! It is finally the end of the month so it is now time for me to reveal the goodies I received and to recap a bit about my first experience with the exchange.

I really love the concept of Foodie Penpals, it is really exciting to receive fun new foods in the mail (and actually just as fun to shop for someone else)! For the record, the person that you send items to and the person that sends you items are two different people!

My experience with the Foodie Penpal I was assigned to send goodies to:

I had a ton of fun shopping for my penpal, I put a lot of effort into picking items that I thought she would like and that were unique to my area and that were tailored around her dietary restrictions. I put a note on each item explaining why I sent it each one. I was very excited for my penpal to receive her goodies so I could hear what she thought about them, so I even sent the package out priority mail to get it to her quickly. Well, I never heard from her, I never received an email from her, not even a quick “thank you”, it honestly bummed me out. I didn’t really expect her to thank me over and over again or anything, but just a simple “thank you” would have been nice to hear.

My experience with the Foodie Penpal who was assigned to send me goodies:

Carrie (her blog is Aunt on the Run ) was super prompt with emailing me to find out my information and she was very quick with getting my goodies sent out to me! I was her first Foodie Penpal so I thought that was neat, since it was also my first month trying it out! Here is what Carrie sent me:

Carrie sent me the following: A jar of PB2 (I actually love this stuff so it was a great pick), an almond & sea salt in dark chocolate candy bar (this was devoured seconds after this picture was taken, delicious!), a Thunderbird bar (I was skeptical of this, I was a bit nervous that I would hate it, but I was actually very pleasantly surprised, it was great), a local blend of coffee from her area (I haven’t tried this yet, I rarely drink coffee at home, but it will be great for a cold winter day), a box of couscous (I haven’t used yet because of calorie restrictions in my diet, but will be great on a cheat day/high calorie day) and The Salt Lick BBQ sauce that is from a local place in her town (I haven’t tried it yet, again because of calorie restrictions, but I am actually really excited to get the chance to try it)! Carrie also included a great recipe for couscous with shrimp that I look forward to trying and a super nice card (also very festive for the month of October)! Carrie was a great Foodie Penpal! I am lucky to have had someone so excited about the exchange as well!

Overall it was fun to try out the Food Penpals, I had an OKAY overall experience. I had fun shopping, I received a great package, but I didn’t get any feedback or thank you from who I sent to.

Will I be participating in the Foodie Penpals again? Possibly. I have a lot going on in my life at the moment, so I may not participate in the month of November, I haven’t quite decided yet. But there is a very good chance that I will give it another go in the future!

Tips on How to Grow a Vegetable Garden

Tips on How to Grow a Vegetable Garden

Want to have fresh and organic vegetables grown in your own garden? There is nothing more satisfying than growing your own vegetables. They taste delicious and much healthier than any organic vegetable you get from the store. You are sure to be bowled over by the juicy, sweet flavor and lively textures of home grown vegetables.

Backyard Garden Tomatoes on VineBut not many people try their hand at growing a vegetable garden because they think it is an overwhelming task. This is not true.

Here are some essential tips that will make the entire process from choosing the right location and vegetables to getting a good yield an effortless task. These tips will show you can definitely grow your own vegetable garden easily.

Begin small

When you are just starting out, it is wise to confine the gardening to a small space. Don’t go overboard with the planting and end up with more than you can eat or need.

A favorable size for beginners would be around 16 by 10 feet. This size can easily feed four persons for the summer and leave you plenty behind for freezing and canning or for giving away.

Start with 11 rows with each of the rows being 10 feet in length. To get the full effect of sunlight make sure the rows are in the north south direction.

Vegetables to start with

If you want to get adept at gardening, it is best to start with vegetables that need very little attention but give a good yield like beets, carrots, cabbage, beans, radishes, lettuce, turnips and spinach. These give you multiple crops in a single season.

Planting tips

Sunny space: Choose an area that receives sunlight for a minimum of 6 hours a day.

Soil:  Soft soil lets the roots penetrate easily. So, choose loamy soil and enrich it with compost. Ensure there is proper drainage of water.

Compost: Spread compost in late fall season after harvesting, cover with winter mulch like chopped leaves or hay. In spring, the compost would be ripe to work for you. Apply twice a week before planting as it needs adequate time to stabilize and integrate with the soil.

Pest free soil: Plants such as onions, garlic, chrysanthemums and chives repel insects. Grow such plants to repel insects. Healthy soil can easily resist disease and pests, and you can avoid harmful pesticides. Use soil amendments and organic fertilizers, which earthworms love. These are very good for vegetable growth.

Choosing the right vegetables and plants

Opt for plants that grow well in your locality and are suited to the area. Started plants are better than seeds as the harvest time is shorter. If you are partial to vining vegetables grow your cucumbers, squash and melons on a fence or vertical trellis. This is space saving and looks appealing too.

Start on the peas indoors to increase the germination rate. You will get healthier seedlings that are resistant to disease and pests. Try companion planting which keeps the plants with sufficient nutrients and even wards off pests effectively.

When you plan it appropriately, a stunning garden brimming with healthy vegetables will be much easier than you had ever imagined. You will not have to toil for hours to get the results. By combining flowers and vegetables, you can also make the landscape a potential beauty to behold.

A Leader in the Hot Tub and Spa Industry

A Leader in the Hot Tub and Spa Industry

In today’s demanding world, companies and businesses have to keep up with technology, trends and ever-changing consumer preferences and demands. In the spa market, Balboa is a company that constantly keeps itself at pace with the demands of home spa and hot tub users. In fact, Balboa is known for its quality hot tub control systems.

Balboa hot tub features

Balboa owns the patent for the M7 temperature and flow sensor technology as well as the patent for the universal control platform. The latter ensures that Balboa can create hot tub systems with greater flexibility over time while keeping the costs of installation and configuration of the systems low.

With its M7 temperature and flow sensor technology, Balboa ensures that its hot tub systems avoid damage caused by any malfunction of pressure switches. One other feature worth mentioning is the ease with which Balboa hot tubs are installed. Balboa has made installation of its hot tubs simple in such that no additional holes need to be drilled. Furthermore, Balboa hot tubs come with plastic enclosures for protection. To lessen the need for wires, connectors are built onto the circuit boards of Balboa hot tub systems. Each Balboa hot tub system has a convertible power supply as well as supports mini, duplex or standard digital panels.

Balboa hot tub types

Balboa provides a wide range of hot tub systems to suit the needs and preferences of home spa users. For instance, the Balboa Control Systems feature a control circulation pump, single to dual speed pumps, ozonators and lights. Other Balboa hot tub systems feature cords and mini ovals that include spa side controls. Another Balboa hot tub system features an alternative to the Lite Leader.

Advantages of using Balboa hot tub systems

The Balboa Heater and Digital Control Pack is a technology that does away with pressure and vacuum switches. With the Balboa Heater and Digital Control Pack, you don’t need to mess with complicated devices in your hot tub system; you avoid problems in calibrating, wrong pressure rating and pressure switch failures.

This particular hot tub management system monitors the status of your hot tub via liquid crystal displays and LED indicator lights. In short, with this particular Balboa hot tub system you can control the hot tub temperature, filtration cycles, jets, blower and light by pressing keys on a keypad. This way, you only concentrate on one thing when you get in your hot tub — getting that peace of mind and body.

Electric Mattress Pads – Stay Warm and Comfortable

Electric Mattress Pads – Stay Warm and Comfortable

Gone are the days when people used hot water bottles or warmed bricks to help add warmth to the bed, especially during those winter months. Owing to technology, it is very easy to cover your bed with bed sheets and turn on your electric mattress pad for that much requisite warmth. An electric mattress pad is the opposite of an electric blanket in that the blanket typically provides heat above the body whilst an electric mattress pad provides heat beneath the body.

Some people who tend to feel extremely cold all night long leave the electric mattress pad on all night while others simply preheat the bed before jumping in. Initially, electric mattress pads were uncomfortable since one had to be contended with the wires in the pads. While some people felt the wires were annoying, others felt laying over the wires provided ample comfort. Today, wires are getting much fewer and smaller and many people using the electric mattress pads say they don’t sense the wires as before.

It is during such harsh economic times that people would wish to conserve any extra ounce of energy. Most people do this by reducing their thermostat degrees, especially during the night when one is in bed. Sleeping in a cool room certainly helps save energy, and has health benefits too, but you sure would want to remain toasty and warm in bed.

Did you know that current electric mattress pads are energy efficient as they are able to contain heat more ably? Actually, a lot of companies claim that using an electric mattress pad for a part of the night can actually save money as one can reduce the heat to a much lower temperature. Further, it is believed that heat under the body can actually be helpful for health conditions like arthritis, back pains etc, in addition to assisting in general blood circulation in the body.

While using an electric mattress pad, just like any other electric gadget, there are a few precautionary, common sense measures that have to be taken. For instance, the mattress pads shouldn’t be used by kids, elderly folks, during pregnancy and by people with diabetes. People who are known to suffer from urinary incontinence too should avoid using electric mattress pads, since an improbable slight danger of electrocution exists. Electric mattress pads should equally not be used by pets. And a rule of thumb of course is taking great care not to bend, or better still break the electric wires.

Purchasing a TENS Unit

Purchasing a TENS Unit

Many times you may have undergone treatment with TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator) unit for your severe back pain, shoulder pain or knee injuries. You know with TENS unit you can easily reduce the discomfort associated with recovery and pain. If you are searching to purchase TENS Unit at reasonable price then you must first try to search for the unit online. There are many online websites which give you reasonable discount on medical machines. Once, you purchase a TENS Unit, you can continue taking the benefits of electrotherapy at your own place only and make the therapeutic exercise less traumatic during the complete healing process.

  • After you purchase TENS unit just do the settings first by opening the outer case and accessing area under the battery. Set the “pulse width” value to 250 ranges, the “pulse rate” value to 120 ranges and lastly set the internal switch to “burst” mode. Close the case tightly afterwards.
  • Now, locate the points of body where you really need electrotherapy. Your Tens unit will treat the area generally so don’t be specific about the slightest of inches also. Make sure you dry and clean the area with antiseptic soap because it ensures longer life of the electrodes at work.
  • It is important to check your machine as soon as you purchase TENS unit so just remove the shield and apply the electrodes to cleaned affected area. Try to take help of someone else so that your cloth or hair doesn’t get stuck into the gel pad. Slowly smooth down the working pad after sometime and then repeat the same procedure with the other three pads as well.
  • Be careful while plugging in the wires into electrode pads. You must match one black and one red to each pair of electrodes and then plug in the L-shaped wire into the main Tens unit.
  • You can set the unit intensity according to your tolerance and use to for about 15 minutes to near about 2 hours after adjusting the top dials equally.
  • After you feel relaxed with the therapy, you can reverse the process. Lastly, remember to keep your electrode pads safely with the gel part upside down until you use it next.

Now, many of you want to purchase TENS unit at reasonable prices. But you must ensure that you buy the right product online at great prices. So for that you can peep into some trustworthy websites to purchase TENS unit at great prices. These websites are:

  • At this website you can select the Tens unit and purchase it at most affordable prizes. You can even sold your Tens unit here.
  • This website offers free replacement charts of electrodes. So, you can surely look out here before you purchase TENS unit elsewhere.
  • You can purchase TENS unit of latest design here and get free 5 year warranty of electrodes with it.

So, purchase TENS unit as soon as possible, just cure yourself and make your body pain free without even having the doctor prescription.

Enjoying the Fall Season and Beginning a Journey of Self-Reflection

Enjoying the Fall Season and Beginning a Journey of Self-Reflection

I know I haven’t posted in a few days, but no worries, I am still around! I have been working on transferring my blog over from to self-hosted and using wordpress software. If you were subscribed by email to receive my updates, please resubscribe on the right hand side of this page, when I switched over I lost that list!

Other than trying to be tech savvy (really I am not at all), I have been spending some time enjoying the season. I love fall, the colors, the smells, the slightly cool air.

Tyler and I went to Hueston Woods State Park yesterday, to drive through and admire the colorful leaves on the trees (and the ground). My grammy always took me to Hueston Woods when I was a child, especially during the fall season, I have so many fond memories that were created in that park. Yesterday seemed like the perfect day to make the drive there, it was a beautiful day, the weather was perfect. Tyler loved playing with the leaves and crunching them in his little hands, I loved watching the expressions on his face as he played with the leaves. I also spent a great deal of time reflecting upon my life and reminiscing about my childhood and time spent with my grammy, she was a remarkable woman, I miss her a great deal, and I especially missed her yesterday.

Today I spent more time enjoying the season. The weather has been amazing, I opted out of going to the gym today and instead strapped Tyler into the jogging stroller and took my run outside.

On my run today I saw red, orange and yellow leaves falling off of the trees and they landed all around me, I felt a slight cool breeze on my face , I heard the sounds of leaves crunching as I ran over them with my feet, I admired the yards adorned with pumpkins and other autumn decorations, I thought about the good in my life and the things that could be improved with the right amount of effort, I allowed myself to realize that I am stronger than I think I am and that it is okay to be perfectly imperfect.

Self-reflection and enjoying the season seem to be the current themes of my life at the moment. I think that is a very positive thing. I can not grow as an individual without taking an honest look at myself and my life.

My blog will continue to be focused on running, weight loss, fitness and health – as those are aspects of my life that are very important  – but I do plan on incorporating more self-reflection and tying in more bits of my life as a whole into my blog as well.

Are you enjoying the fall season? What is fall like where you live?