What You Need for Peaceful Walk Through the Woods

peaceful hiking

I’m not much of an exercise freak. In fact, I haven’t set foot in a gym in years. I find it really stressful to be surrounded by all those sweaty people with the music blasting while I’m struggling with 20lb weights. It’s just too much. For me exercise is about more than just trying to get in shape. It’s about reducing stress and clearing my mind. Going to the gym wasn’t doing either of those things for me so I quit. And let me tell you it felt great!

My conscience wouldn’t just let me quit without picking up something else to replace my gym time so I thought long and hard about what type of exercise I wanted to do. I wasn’t particularly interested in team sports. I thought about buying a fitness DVD so I could work out at home but honestly the thought of doing so just depressed me. I eventually settled on hiking. I love the quiet of the outdoors and the clean air always make me feel great. So hiking it was. Read More



Keeping a Positive Attitude at Work

stress free

Whatever type of work you do there are going to be frustrations. You could have the best job in the world, puppy wrangler (well, this is my dream job anyhow), and there will be days where if you see one more puppy do their business in a place they’re not supposed to you’re going to use a stern voice when speaking to them. It’s unavoidable, some days are just worse than others. I certainly have my fair share of rough days and sometimes it can be tough to keep it together. But there a few things I do when I start feeling stressed and testy to make sure I don’t do anything I’ll regret later. Read More



How to Stay Healthy While Traveling

Stay-Healthy while traveling

If you travel a lot, either for work or pleasure, staying healthy while you’re on the road is a must. There’s nothing worse than being away from your own home and feeling ill. It’s especially bad if you only get a week or so of vacation a year. You definitely don’t want to feel sick while you’re on holiday. There are a few things I always do leading up to, and during a vacation that have worked well to keep me healthy.

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Exercise Without Exercising!

exercise with your dog

We all hate to do it, but exercising is so important for living a healthy life. There’s nothing tougher than getting yourself motivated to get up off the couch and go to the gym. We all know how much I dislike gyms and I don’t blame anyone else who doesn’t like to go there either. But we all need to get some exercise and even if you’re not working out by lifting weights or setting aside an hour out of our busy everyday lives to go jogging or doing push-ups or something like this, you have to find some way to get in some activity.

Fear not, exercising can be fun. A lot of fun actually. You just have to get creative and find ways to exercise without it being considered exercising. Here are a few ideas I came up with, see if you have any more great possibilities!

Take a Walk

Next time you have to do an errand or just want to grab some lunch, take a walk. Don’t take the car. Of course, if you live ten or fifteen miles from the nearest part of town, then maybe this isn’t the idea for you. But if you live in an urban landscape where everything is just a few short blocks away, why not?

Martial Arts

You’ve seen all those cool Jet Li or Tony Jaa movies and always thought to yourself you’d love to know those moves, then go take some martial arts classes. They’re a great way to get some exercise as well as learn how to do all that exciting, awesome stuff you see on screen! Before you know it, you could be starring with Jackie Chan!


Yes I said it! Sex! Couples can get plenty of exercise by “doing it”. Do you have any idea how many calories a romp in the hay can burn off? You certainly won’t be complaining about having to get your exercise in if this is how you choose to get it done. It’s fun to exercise together, which brings me to my next idea–


And you thought going out to the club on a Saturday night was just for fun. It’s a great way to get some exercise. Dancing gets your heart rate going and you’d be surprised how much you’ll sweat, especially if it’s one of those techno clubs that plays banging electronic music. Exercise doesn’t have to be boring and annoying, just go out to the club. Avoid bottle service though, that can get expensive and you’ll be sitting down all night.

Clean the House

OK, so maybe I’ve lost the point here. But I suggest this method because you’ll be killing the proverbial two birds with one stone. Start cleaning around your house and soon enough you’ll realize how much effort you’re putting out to get everything done. Sweating, moving, reaching, rhythmic repetitive actions…sounds like exercise right? It is! And when you’re done, not only will you have gotten that part done, but the house is clean too! Win/win!


If you’ve never tried it, you’ll probably love it. It gets you outdoors, you’re running around, you’re shooting at opponents. It’s simulated war in the woods and it’s a lot of fun. You’ll be focused more on taking out your enemy than you are on the fact that you’re getting exercise! Even the types of guns you can use offer exercise benefits.

Pump paintball guns get your arms moving to shoot. You can rent a gun or buy pump paintball guns right here before you go. There are plenty to choose from and when you’ve got your gear, you’ll be ready to take on the competition…and get in shape doing it!

Play with Your Kids or Dog

Spending time with your children can certainly get the blood flowing. Wrestle and run around the house or go out in the yard and throw a frisbee, a ball, just be active with the kids. It’ll be good for you and it will help teach them the value of exercise. If you don’t have kids, a dog is an even better exercise partner. They love to chase frisbees and balls. They’ll even go jogging with you!





Packing Efficiently for Exercise When You Travel

3V frontExercise is crucial to staying fit and heart healthy. But there are so many different ways to go about it. Hiking, cycling, running, all of these are wonderful choices for spending a few hours outdoors, breathing in the fresh air. A day at the gym is also a great way to getting that workout under your belt.

Maybe you’re training for a marathon and you’ll need some of the essentials to carry with you as those miles go by. Whatever your preferred method of exercise, there are a few things you must ensure you have with you to stay safe and hydrated.

But what about when you’re traveling? Just because you plan on leaving town for a few days, perhaps even for a vacation, you don’t really want to let your workout regimen suffer. So bring it with you. You won’t have to worry about overpacking too much and you’ll be glad you didn’t waste all that progress you’ve made by forgetting about your routine.

So what do you want to pack? You want the right clothes, moisture wicking clothes, the right shoes, all of the things you always use when you’re home. Just don’t forget anything vital, like fitted socks, lightweight clothing, sneaker inserts to keep your feet comfortable.

You also don’t want to forget about whatever props you usually bring along on your workout. Jump rope, bands, blocks, pedometer, sunglasses, earphones and iPod, and you may want to invest in a pair of travel weights.

Now about packing it all up. I’m going to suggest you check out some tactical backpacks. Why, you ask? Because tactical backpacks come with multiple compartments to hold all of your gear and they’re easy to carry on your back while holding all of the essentials you need to take along when you go running, jogging, hiking, or whatever. You can fit extra clothes, any props, even a second pair of shoes.

Many of these bags have water bladders that fit right inside the bag, so you can stay hydrated. These packs are designed for the military, after all. Soldiers are supposed to be able to survive out of these things for days. They’re perfect to strap to your back and take with you when you’re training for that 10K. Here are some of the better tactical backpacks you’ll find anywhere Check those out and find the size and style that fits you best. You will be glad you did.



Clean Living at Home

organic cleaning

Here’s a sad story from 20+ years ago. I used to work with this wonderful woman, we’ll call her Nancy. One day she was cleaning her house and for some reason put bleach in a cup that she was using to disinfect her toilet. Well, she apparently forgot it was bleach and took a big gulp thinking it was a glass of water. It tore up her insides and after a few painful months in a hospital she passed away. I was devastated by what happened and so was her family and everyone at work.

I was about to become a father when this happened and it had a profound effect on me. I began to worry about my kids getting in to the cleaning cabinet and drinking something terrible. I put a lock on the cabinet door and made sure it was totally secure. But then I started thinking about why I was going through so much trouble. Why was I continuing to use such abrasive cleaners? Did my toilet really have to smell like bleach to be clean? No it didn’t!

So I set about doing my research by going to the library and looking for books on safe cleaning practices. Remember, this was pre-internet when you actually did have to go to the library for research. God, I don’t know how we did it! Anyhow, I found a book that no one had ever checked out about how to make your own cleaning supplies. I took it home, and even though the wife was a little skeptical we started making our own safe-for-the-earth-and-body cleaning supplies.

Now they took a little getting used to because they don’t smell like a cleaning product is supposed to smell like. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Mexico but a product there called Fabuloso is very popular and has a very distinct smell. People use it everywhere and when you smell it you know the place you’re in is clean.

Well, what if something smells like orange peel, ginger, and epsom salts? That’s a smell that takes a little getting used to. Honestly, it wasn’t the smell that was the hardest for us to get on board with it was the extra work required. Bleach makes everything white very quickly. Our cleaners took some elbow grease. A lot of elbow grease actually.

But we worked at it and tweaked the different formulas and are at a places we’re very comfortable with. We found the best way to improve the smell is to add some lavender. It doesn’t add any cleaning abilities but it sure does smell nice. We also use a disinfecting cleaner for our dishes especially since we don’t want any salmonella contamination from chicken or pork. And I’m happy to report that we’ve never had any food poisoning or any other illnesses from unclean conditions. If you didn’t know better you’d never guess we made our own cleaning products. In fact, the chrome looks so good you can see yourself in it!



Puppy Training Techniques that Worked for Me

Puppy training

The wife and I got a new dog last year, an adorable little Cairn Terrier named Holly. If you’re familiar with the breed, it’s the same dog Dorothy had in the Wizard of Oz. She’s a spunky and independant and a bundle of energy. While Holly isn’t our first dog, she was definitely the most difficult to train. When I say she’s independant what I really mean is that she’s stubborn. It’s one of the strongest characteristics of her breed and which is really a double edged sword. On one hand she’s good at entertaining herself and staying busy and on the other hand she doesn’t like to do anything we ask her to do. But where there’s a will there’s a way and we’ve been continuing with her training regimen even though it seems like a lost cause at times.

We keep telling ourselves she’s still a puppy and will outgrow her wildness eventually. However, we have gotten her to  do her business outdoors, she comes about half the time when we call her name, she knows not to bark, and sometimes on the rare occasion she’ll even sit when you ask her to. Now to anyone who owns a herding dog this probably sounds pretty pathetic, but to any other terrier owners out there you know how difficult it was to get to this point.

I decided to put together a few tips for anyone else out there who might be struggling training their dog. Here’s what worked for us:

Establish a Routine

This is really important for a number of different behavioral issues. First, for potty training. Take your dog outside to do their business at the same time every day. Puppies need to go a lot more often that older dogs so plan on a lot of trips outdoors in the beginning. The first month we had Holly we took her out every two hours. We increased the time between walks to every three hours the next month and four hours the month after that. We stuck to schedule and rewarded her with a treat when she went outside. If she went inside she got a gentle tap on the nose. She was almost completely housetrained after 6 months. We also gave her a spot to go indoors in case she needed it at night. It’s a pee pad you can get at any pet store.

Routines are also good for meals. Holly knows she eats once in the afternoon and once in the evening. The same times every day. Having your doggy friend bug you about dinner four hours before they’re supposed to eat can get old fast. Develop a routine and stick with it.

Positive Reinforcement

Except for the gentle tap on the snout when Holly would have an accident indoors all the feedback we provided her was positive. She seems to really like treats so we made sure to always have a little kibble on hand when she did something good. So when she comes to us after we call her name she gets a snack or if she does a good job healing on our walks she’ll get a little treat.

Learning to Sit

This has been the most challenging of our training exercises. For some reason this dog just doesn’t want to sit when we ask her to. Everyone we talked to said that when teaching a dog to sit you don’t want to push their backside down but instead want to hold your hand above their head which will cause them to look up and sit down. This works sometimes with Holly but it’s still a work in progress. And when it does work she gets a treat for good behavior.

There are a lot of different books and videos out there that can help guide you when you get a new dog. I think it’s a good idea to check out different perspectives and see what sounds best for you and then give it a try.