Monday, January 8, 2018

Learn Something New Every Day of 2018: Week 1

One of my goals for 2018 is to learn at least one new thing every day. 

Learning something new every day is not difficult. Being aware that we are doing so is sometimes the real challenge.

The things we learn on a daily basis range from significant to trivial, intellectual to emotional, mind-blowing to diminutive. Some days we learn things we already knew but forgot. Sometimes we learn things we never wanted to know or things we have always desired to grasp. 

Learning something intellectual, mastering a new skill, finding out something new about a friend, or understanding the world or myself a little better are just a few of the ways in which I expect I will meet this goal. I hope to recognize and record at least one thing I've learned every day in 2018. 

Learn one new thing each day calendar

Some things I learn may be worthy of being shared. 

Sometimes I may learn things that readers of this blog may also find interesting, entertaining, or informative. When I do, I will try to share them here. This could even become a regular series of blog posts - but the probability of that remains to be seen!

Here are some things I learned last week:

1. Puppies toys can come unstuffed.

Even seemingly unstuffed puppy toys may contain some stuffing! I didn't think to take a picture when the bulk of the stuffing of this toy came out. It looked a little like our puppy had created a snowstorm in our kitchen. Even after I thought this poor elephant was empty, more fluff has appeared.

The good news is that even flat and full of holes, the elephant remains well-loved!
Elephant dog toy
A new toy!

Unstuffed elephant dog toy
Not so new anymore!

2. How to unclog a vacuum.

I had to check the user manual for my vacuum to remember how to take it apart when it quite working. Yup; the whole wand was clogged! I wonder how long it has been like that? Good thing I fixed it. Christmas tree needles, toy stuffings, and puppy fur were everywhere after we took down the tree. The newly cleaned-out vacuum quickly sucked up the mess.
 If your vacuum seems to be losing suction and the bag is not full, be sure to check to see if it is clogged!

3. It's a small world. Well, sort of. 

My son left the USA on January 2nd and will be gone for about seven months. 
Flight from Helena
The purpose of his departure is a thankfully a positive one: he will be spending the spring semester of his sophomore year studying abroad, followed by some traveling. 
I am excited that he has this opportunity, yet I do feel like a part of my heart is pretty far away.
Distance from Helena, MT to Salzburg, Austria
As far as time difference goes, Austria is eight hours ahead of Montana. The physical distance between Helena and Salzburg is apparently 5,121 miles.  
Thanks to the Internet and the free phone communication app "WhatsApp" that distance seem a little less daunting. We will be able to text, call, video chat, and occasionally share photos.  
The alps of Austria
An ocean separated me from my family while I was in college, and letter writing was our only means of communication. Mail was slow, and now I'm really not sure how my mother survived it! 

4. Use vinegar to poach an egg.

For Christmas, I was thrilled to receive a subscription to Talk about a great way to learn some new things!  

Note: I am so excited about these offerings that I signed up to be a Masterclass affiliate. This means that if you make a purchase from after clicking on one of their links on my blog, I will receive a small compensation for my review or endorsement. I feel comfortable promoting this program because I am so thrilled by it, but I promise that my reviews and comments about it will always be completely honest. My compensation in no way affects the prices of the product.

The fourth lesson of Gordon Ramsay's MasterClass involves learning how to make a poached egg. I don't love poached eggs, so this was a skill I'd never bothered to perfect. 
The video showed how to bring the water in the pot to a boil, swirl it gently with a whisk, and add 2 tbsp of vinegar. After cracking the egg into a small bowl, it is gently lowered into the boiling water. My attempts have yet to yield a perfect sphere resembling "a ball of mozzarella" - but I've come close!

5. The best place to do a puzzle.

It can be hard to find the right place to do a puzzle. Putting one together on the kitchen counter or the dining room table is never optimal because those surfaces have other uses. We have a puzzle mat, which theoretically can be rolled up and the partially completed puzzle stored until you want to work on it again. We've never found that our works that well.  
In past years, I've just set up one of our card tables to do our Christmas puzzle in the living room. This year that was out of the question. Both card tables were being used as barricades to keep our new puppy away from the cat and the Christmas tree!
card table barricades
I just happened to see a wooden folding table on sale for a great price on Amazon. I decided it would be perfect for a puzzle/game table, and not nearly as tacky looking as the card tables we have used in the past. It's already been put to good use - and I love it!
Puzzle time

wooden folding table, Game and puzzle table

6. The aloe vera plant is useful for more than just first aid for burns.

aloe vera
I never knew this, but apparently an aloe vera plant can help improve air quality in a home.. When I walked past some aloe vera plants for sale this weekend, I decided to buy one. Even if it don't help clean my home, they are supposedly pretty easy to grow. 
We'll see. My thumb isn't very green indoors.

7. An interesting political idea.

Seth Myers joked in his opening monologue at the Golden Globe Awards about Oprah Winfrey running for President and Tom Hanks for Vice President in 2020. 
Seems like a good idea to me. 😉 


What did you learn last week? 

In the spirit of full disclosure, this post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of them, the price you pay will not be affected but I may receive some small compensation. All opinions expressed, however, are entirely honest and my own.


  1. I am often appalled at my ignorance. Learning something new every day is an easy task, and one I hope to continue.

    1. For me, finding things to learn is easy. Retaining that information is sometimes the greatest challenge! But I do think it will be fun and enlightening to try to identify one thing every day this year that I have learned.

  2. Love this Susan! Now I'll have to think about what I've learned so far this year. Best wishes to your son on his study abroad - being able to text and Facetime makes it so much easier.

    1. Thanks for those best wishes Lana. I think he will have a great adventure. But I am very glad I can communicate regularly. I've been thinking about how hard it must have been for the families of the Western US pioneers. To see them off without any way of keeping in touch at all must have been so hard.

  3. Lots of changes in your life, Susan. Please pass on my very special welcome to your new pup. Perfect timing to get a new member of the family now that your son is away, too. It sounds like you are starting the new year in fine form and please know that I'm immensely inspired. Thank you!

    1. Thanks Kelly. All the best to you and your sweet doggie too! One of my hopes for today is to get caught up with some of you latest writing!


Many thanks to everyone who leaves a comment here!