7 Reasons to Cook at Home

Gone are the days of Father coming home to the sit-down dinner that Mother spent all afternoon preparing. With the exponential growth of dual-income and single-parent families, the elaborate, home-cooked dinner is going by the wayside. But is it worth all the fast food?Cooking at home has all sorts of benefits. If you’ve never bothered to learn to cook, think about a few of these facts – it might be worth it to watch a little Food Network every week, after all!


  1. Fast food and restaurants are expensive. Eating out and ordering in wreaks havoc on the family budget. Restaurants and take-out cost at least double what cooking from scratch costs.
  2. Eating out typically means more calories. Most restaurant meals are served in portions far bigger than what we would serve ourselves at home. Plus, the convenience of ordering off of a menu allows us access to foods we know we shouldn’t eat. If anyone in the family is trying to lose weight, drop the restaurant habit quickly!
  3. You don’t know the kitchen staff when you’re in a restaurant. If you want to scare yourself, as a few friends who work in restaurants what wrong and unsanitary things go on in the kitchen. This may be the only trick you need to start eating at home!
  4. Cooking is bonding. Cooking together is a time to pass on your knowledge and skills to your child while visiting with them in a non-threatening way. It’s a memory your children will cherish as adults (rather than everyone gazing at their phones waiting for the waitress to deliver their orders).
  5. Cooking is educational. Cooking involves math (measurement, weight, fractions) and science (chemical reactions) in a hands-on way for your children. It’s educational in a way that doesn’t feel like homework.
  6. Cooking is more than meals. Cooking can be used to make gifts for others, like a gift-wrapped batch of cookies. It can also be a way to make household items, like candles or dyed yarn. All of these projects call on cooking skills.
  7. Eating at home is private. When the family needs to discuss a difficult subject, eating at home allows a secure and private environment for families to discuss things they doen’t want everyone in town to hear

#Skillcraft #bootcamp day 5, and a lightbulb moment

The Skillcrush blog is FULL of great tipsOne of the things I looove about Skillcrush is the blog – it’s got fantastic, usable content. For example: Today, thanks to the Bootcamp, I passed the XHTML skills test on oDesk! It was painful, but I passed! However, I’m going to need a portfolio in order to get the assignments I’m looking for. Last night, I read on the SC blog about projects I can do on my own to build my portfolio myself – light bulb!!

#Skillcrush #Bootcamp Day 4/5 = woot!

Bootcamp is flying by for me, because I have a little bit of HTML experience and because the lessons are packaged in just enough information that I retain it easily.

Ya'll be nice, now.
Ya’ll be nice, now.

The best part is ….

Today I sat at my laptop and wrote some code like I knew what I was doing!

My husband was impressed. I felt like a complete badass. I needed “The Karate Kid” soundtrack playing in the background.

I had 5 different non-profits get back to me today about helping out with their websites, I sent off response e-mails to all of them this evening.

Actual Skillcrush classes (or “blueprints”) start February 9, and I will be there!

#Skillcrush #bootcamp Day 3, or how to build some experience

It’s day 3 of Skillcrush’s 10-day bootcamp, and I am still loving it! Right now we are on HTML, which I know a little about already.

The idea of doubling my hourly freelance rate is intoxicating, but I’ve got to have some semblance of a portfolio. I decided to check out VolunteerMatch and see if any non-profits needed some coding work done for free.

I saw several listings, and responded to 5. Within 2 hours, I had three agencies e-mail me back, thrilled to have my help, and one that e-mailed me my first project already!

#Skillcrush #bootcamp Day 1

Skillcrush is not a school in the traditional sense, thankfully, so there’s no registration drama (you know, you’ll need 3 forms of picture I.D., an address within the county, transcripts from places you barely remember being at, your blood type, and a recently certified family tree. By the time I get all that together, I’ve lost my momentum).

It’s got 3-4 different tracks, or “blueprints” of technical skills you can learn: web design, wordpress coding/development, and something else that escapes me right now, but I’ll add it as soon as I find it.

So Skillcrush offers a free 10-day boot camp, which I decided to start with so I could get the lay of the digital land, as it were.

Today’s bite-sized bootcamp lesson was “the internet vs. the www”. At first I thought this was going to be a waste of time, but I was wrong (it happens).

Not only was it an interesting little lesson-ette, but I love the casual, chatty writing voice – I didn’t realize I was learning anything until I had learned it!

New series in the works: Scoping out #Skillcrush

I stumbled across Skillcrush on a Facebook ad the other day, and it’s caught my interest as a committed freelancer. Skillcrush is a site which aims to teach technical skills online in an informal and social way (picture WordPress’s Blogging 101 series, but for coding).

I’ve always wanted to learn to code, largely because a) it pays so well and b) I could do a lot of things myself rather than pay someone else to do them.

So I’ll be chronicling my Skillcrush experience in the hopes that it’s helpful to others out there. I’ll keep you posted!

How #Fitness Gets DIfferent in 2015

Once we survive the holidays, we’ll be contemplating our New Year’s resolution, and for most of us, those resolutions will include commitments to fitness. Before you contemplate what you’ll do differently next year, take a look at what fitness industry experts say will be the hottest trends at a gym (or gym bag) near you.

  • You may learn to love the treadmill. Twenty years ago, spinning classes brought the wind trainers of the cycling world into the mainstream. While the treadmill is traditionally reviled by many runners, treadmill studios seek to make treadmill running a social-yet-challenging experience. Classes will be lead by running coaches and fitness instructors, depending on the gym.
  • You will still drink juice. Juice bars will continue to evolve, and many will seek to step on the toes of supplement companies by introducing formulas to drink before and after your workout. 2015 will also bring a greater assortment of at-home juicing and smoothie-making appliances so you can get your shake on at home.
  • You won’t suffer as many hangovers. That is, if you embrace the trend of healthy nightlife activities hitting big cities everywhere. Clubs and concert venues will blend DJs and black lights with dance and yoga, and replace booze with water. Check out The Get Down to see for yourself.http://www.getdownbaltimore.com/
  • You can upgrade your gym clothes. Several years ago, Stella McCartney designed a successful line for Adidas, and a trend in fitness fashion began. More designers will jump on the fitness-fashion trend in 2015, which means you’ll no longer be confined to race shirts and soccer shorts.
Your healthy cookbook!
Your healthy cookbook!
  • You’ll use Instagram for healthy recipes. Food bloggers are embracing Instagram, and the pictures are beautiful – so yummy looking, that users don’t realize they are looking at recipes that are often low-cal, low-carb, or low-sugar. If reading healthy food descriptions has turned you off on healthy options in the past, try searching Instagram for healthy foods, and check out the pictures – this may be the “diet” trick you’re looking for!