Monthly Review: September 2018

I’m getting back into my monthly reviews but they won’t be anything fancy. The format will be a simple a list of things I’ve accomplished for the month and what my plans are for the following month.


  • I finally decided to combine development and personal stuff like recipes into a single site.  I just didn’t have the time or desire to manage 2-3 sites for myself. It may not be the best strategy for a blog, but I’m not trying to be a professional blogger or anything so I’m okay with that.    
  • Aloha Friday Words. Started working on a WordPress plugin that will easily let me share a new Hawaiian word and its meaning every week. Although I haven’t worked on it for too long, I’ve made some good progress and learned a lot. The plugin currently creates a custom post type using a Gutenberg template, automatically adds the appropriate category, a default featured image for that post type, and generates the title for the post. The only thing I need to do is click “Add new,” enter the Hawaiian word, its definition, and an example of how it is used.
  • LinkedIn Learning. As much as I want to get into JavaScript, I want to make sure I have a solid foundation of the basics.  I started making websites in the late 90’s.  Although I’ve done plenty of tinkering since then, I want to make sure I’m doing things correctly.  I’ve been working on the Become a Front-End Web Developer learning path, including:
    • Completed HTML Essential Training
    • Completed CSS Essential Training 1
    • Completed CSS Essential Training 2
    • Completed GitHub for Web Designers
    • Completed CSS Essential Training 3
    • Started Sass Essential Training
  • Tools, Tips, and Tricks.
    • Visual Studio Code. Atom has been my editor of choice for a long time but I started looking into Visual Studio Code after hearing a number of people talk about it.  I really enjoy it so far.
      • I use Ubuntu and the Alt-Click wasn’t working for multi-cursor editing. By default, it already has another behavior assigned to it.  I found an article that gave a command to run and change this behavior. It worked for me:
        gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.wm.preferences mouse-button-modifier ""
    • Live SASS Compiler extension. I’m just getting into SASS and found this extension. It makes it super easy to compile your SASS code and automatically update your browser using the Live Server extension.
    • Live Server. Automatically reloads the page in your browser when you make changes to the code. No more manually refreshing.


I’ve been more focused on fitness lately and that trend is going to continue. It was a busy month but productive! My goal is to increase or at least match the distance of the previous month.

  • Running Miles in September: 104.23
  • Total Miles for 2018: 416.69
  • Set a goal of running at least 5K a day. I’ve been doing that every day since September 12.
  • Decided to create a new Instagram account: I was originally sharing my progress for #100DaysOfFitness with daily photos on my personal Instagram account. Then I realized a problem with that – I don’t want to do this for 100 days, but until I physically can’t anymore.
  • Completed my fifth Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure on September 29.
    • Set a new 5k personal record of 23:47:34, finishing 32 out of 229 timed runners.


I set a goal to start reading more. Sometimes there isn’t as much time to read a physical book as there is to listen to something. My “reading” will also include audio books (I currently use Audible).

  • Physical: Hawaiʻi Magazine.
    Thoughts: I love everything there is about Hawaiʻi. This magazine provides some great information and amazing photos of the islands. The worst thing about it is that is only comes every other month.
  • Audible: The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande.
    Thoughts: I’m a big fan of checklists. I had previously started this quite a while ago, so I decided to start over. It didn’t take me long to finish. The book shows how checklists are good for all kinds of things, even those that may not seem like it at first. One reason I like checklists is that it makes routine things nearly failsafe. If you have a checklist for something, you go down the list and don’t have to worry about leaving out a small detail somewhere.
  • Audible: The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated) by Timothy Ferriss.
    Thoughts: So far it’s an interesting book. I’m not trying to make millions or get my work down to hours a week, but I’ve heard a lot of people recommend it.


I’m always on the lookout for a better way of doing things.

  • I tried make-ahead freezer meals for the first time. We may six meals in just over one hour. Once we make sure our family likes the recipes, it wouldn’t add much time to make two of each and have 12 meals. I’m loving these after the first time. Do you do your meal prep ahead of time and freeze it? If so, please leave a comment below with some of your favorite recipes!
  • Repeating cards in Trello.  I discovered this a while ago but really started making use of it this month. I have a number of weekly, monthly, and quarterly tasks both personal and at work. This has been an awesome addition to my workflow.


  • I’ve decided to start tracking the podcasts I listen to and make sure I leave reviews for my favorites. I’m gathering a list of WordPress-specific ones as well as a more general list.

Goals for The Month

  • Aloha Friday Words [Plugin]
    • Continue to work on the plugin and have it functional by the end of the month. 
  • Redesign Plan [Website].  The primary purpose is to learn the Underscores theme.
  • Support Forums. It’s been way too long since I’ve spent much time on the forums and I don’t like that.
    • Make time for the forums, even if it’s only 15 minutes each day.
  • Julie’s Site [Website]. My wife has been rocking it with graphic design using just a Facebook page.  That’s great, but it’s time she had a site of her own!
    • URL: Coming soon!
    • Go over her needs then plan and design the new site.

#100DaysOfFitness: 1/3 of the Way Done

Day 0, July 23, 2018.

  • Body Fat
  • Weight:
  • Chest:
    Right Thigh:
    Left Thigh:
    Right Arm:
    Left Arm:

Workouts Completed:

  • Running Distance.
    Running Time.
    Body measurements (monthly?)
    Other, such as physical activities not specifically being tracked.
    Steps taken as calculated by my FitBit.

#100DaysOfFitness Revisited with the Addition of P90X3

I had previously started the #100DaysOfFitness challenge on June 11.  I was meeting my goals but decided that wasn’t enough.  I signed up for Beach Body on Demand (BOD) and started P90X3 on Tuesday, July 24. With the addition of BOD, I reset the #100DaysOfFitness counter to 0.  It took me a while to post something because we’ve had a first responder course and a number of other things taking a lot of time the last month.

I don’t consider myself that out of shape, but I’m not where I want to be.  The command fitness leader (CFL) for our Navy Reserve unit may be switching units, leaving us without an enlisted person in that position.  I’d like to step up and fill the role, but that means I need an “excellent-low” score on my next physical readiness test (PRT).  I have been getting various stages of “good” on my last few tests, so I have to work on that.  In order for me to get an excellent on the PRT, I need to achieve the following results:

  • 1.5-mile run in 12:33
  • 60 push-ups in 2 minutes
  • 78 curl-ups in 2 minutes

I find running to be extremely relaxing. I’d go for a 10-mile run every day if I could. The hardest part for me is finding time and now I’m throwing in P90X3 on top of that. That may seem like an odd thing to do at first. Then you think about what I’m doing by adding something else. It actually makes perfect sense.

“Action expresses priorities.”

Mahatma Gandhi

I saw a quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi – “Action expresses priorities.” It’s only three words long, but it sure says a lot.  If something really is one of your priorities, you find a way. You make a way. For me this meant shifting around my schedule.  Fitness is no longer something I fit in where I can, I have intentionally put it on my calendar every day.

Updated #100DaysOfFitness Rules

For this challenge, a week will begin on Monday and end on Sunday; the exception is that I started on a Tuesday.  Every week, I want to:

  • Take at least 84,000 steps (this averages out to 12,000 per day).
    • This may change as I see how my steps are affected by doing P90X3 in place of some of my runs.
  • Workout at least 6 days using P90X3
  • Post my weekly progress (starting September 3), to possibly include:
    • Running Distance.
    • Running Time.
    • Weight.
    • Body measurements
    • Photo.
    • Other, such as physical activities not specifically being tracked.
    • Steps taken as calculated by my FitBit.
  • Share my daily progress on Instagram.  
    • This may include a photo, how many steps I’ve taken, and what workouts I completed.
    • Daily progress will be posted for the previous day so I can get an accurate total for my number of steps. Example: My steps and workout for August 20 will be posted on August 21.
    • I’ll be using the #100DaysOfFitness hashtag along with anything else that fits for the day.

Before:  Day 0, July 23, 2018.

  • Weight: 199 lbs
  • Chest: 38-1/4″
  • Waist: 34-1/4″
  • Hips: 36-1/4″
  • Right Thigh: 22-1/8″
  • Left Thigh: 22″
  • Right Arm: 12-7/8″
  • Left Arm: 13″

On your mark, get set, go!

Have you started you own fitness routine?  What are you doing to get in shape or maintain where you are? What are your goals?  I’d love for you to let me know in the comments or on Instagram!

Why I’m Quitting #100DaysOfCode and [Temporarily] Support

With the addition of a new class to my schedule, I now have too much on my plate. I’m not complaining, but I need to make some decisions.  For the most part, I’m the one that chose to do these items.

This is exactly why it’s good to know your priorities.  It becomes a whole lot easier to make decisions when you know them ahead of time.  In addition to my full-time job, I’m working on fitting these into my schedule:

  • Volunteer Fire Department.
    • Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) Training. 
      This is a new class I started a couple weeks ago.  A handful of people from our volunteer fire department are taking this course.  It’s an important one (with homework and everything!) that I want to make sure gets enough attention.  It can literally be a matter of life or death with this one.
  • #100DaysOfFitness.
    I’ve wanted to get in shape for a while, but there wasn’t time to fit it in the schedule.  Now I’ve made fitness a priority and made time in my schedule.  As of right now, my goal every week is to run at least 20 miles, do 75 push-ups, and 150 curl-ups.  
    Read more about my #100DaysOfFitness challenge.
  • Kids’ Playhouse. 
    We’ve talked about building the kids a new playhouse for a while now.  We have some of the supplies, but as I really started going through the set of plans we have, a number of small things just weren’t making sense.  My grandpa was a carpenter and wouldn’t have even needed plans.  We’ve decided instead of rebuilding it from scratch, we are going to fix up the one we already have. 
  • Cub Scouts.
    My son is just finishing up the last of his Cub Scout requirements.  We got a few months behind because our previous Den Leader decided they weren’t interested in doing the job after all.  I took over as his Den leader and we’ve made some great progress.  He’s done with his Weblo requirements but I want to make sure he finishes up his Arrow of Light since that is the one thing that transfers to Boy Scouts.  Once he moves on to Boy Scouts, he will be doing more, but I won’t be running things.
  • Navy Reserve.  
    The normal Navy Reserve stuff.
  • Development.
    I have a couple projects I’m working on, including my Mug Monday WordPress plugin.  It will allow me to share a new coffee mug from my collection every Monday.

Quitting #100DaysOfCode

After several attempts, I’ve come to the conclusion that the #100DaysOfCode challenge isn’t a good fit for me – or I’m not a good fit for it, however you want to look at it.  I love the idea, but it just doesn’t work with my schedule and priorities.

My problem has never been to stay motivated; the problem is finding the time.  I do spend time on code and development, but not consistently enough for something like this.  I have too many variables (no pun intended) in my life that can take no time one week and 20 hours the next.

I still intend to work on freeCodeCamp, but not for an hour every day.  I’ll also continue to work on my other projects and learning development when I can fit those in.

Taking a Break from Support

This is the tough one for me.  Although I haven’t had much time for a while now, I’ve tried to keep up with a little with support here and there, including moderator stuff in the mornings.  I absolutely love doing it, but with everything else right now I’m just taking a break completely for a couple months.  There are some really kind, generous people on the support team.  I may pop into the Slack channel sometimes, but that’s about my limit.

Make the Most of Your Time

I already have enough going on that I don’t like to take too much time away from my family when I don’t have to.  For this reason, my fun stuff or hobbies fit in where there can. 

Obviously, I don’t have a choice sometimes, but evenings are usually reserved for family.  I typically wake up between 4:00-5:00 am so I can do my stuff without taking away from family time.  What doesn’t fit in before work, usually doesn’t happen.

The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.

Stephen R. Covey

Nobody has a lot of time and that’s why we need to make the most of what we do have.  Set your priorities and stick with them.  Don’t waste your time, but invest it things important to you.

How to Display Hawaiian Characters in Your HTML

One of my long term goals is to learn the Hawaiian language. I know a number of words and I studied the pronunciation years ago, so I’m not terrible with pronunciation.

Hawaiʻ i is not the same as Hawa’i or Hawaii.

As I start writing more Hawaiian words (including Hawaiʻ i), I want them to be correct. The ʻ , or ʻokina, is not an apostrophe, displayed as ‘. I won’t go into the details of the language here, but know there is a difference. Just as WordPress has a capital p and is not written Wordpress, Hawaiʻ i is not the same as Hawaii or Hawai’i.

Below is a chart of the letters in case you need to use them on your own site.

Letters Hex Code Entity
ʻ (ʻOkina) ʻ
ā ā ā
ē ē ē
ī ī ī
ō ō ō
ū ū ū

#100DaysOfFitness: A Simplistic Way to Get in Shape This Year

I don’t really consider myself out of shape, but I’m also not where I want to be.  I’ve wanted to do something like this for a while, but just kept putting it off.  I really don’t like push-ups and curl-ups, but my body isn’t going to get in shape doing nothing.  At least not the shape I want. Some people only do stuff to get in shape for summer.  I missed the timing for that, but I’m OK with that.  Although this challenge is only 100 days long ,this is the beginning of a new way of living.  I enjoy running, but the hardest part is finding time.

I made a change in my schedule.  Fitness is no longer something I fit in where I can, I have intenionally put it on my calendar.

Overall Fitness Goals

Since I’m only tracking number for running, push-ups, and curl-ups, it may seem like this is focused on my Navy Reserve physical readiness test (PRT). That’s important, but there are other reasons I want to be in the best possible shape.

  • Kids.  My kids are 4 and 11.  I want to be able to keep up with them as they get older.
  • Fire Department. Be fit enough to continue doing my job as a volunteer firefighter for many years to come.
  • Navy Reserve PRT.  Improve the score on my fitness test.
  • MapMyRun You vs the Year 2018.  I’ve signed up for the challenge to run 1018 KM (~633 miles) this year.  So far I’m a little behind from where I’d like to be, at 190 KM (~118 miles), with 206 days to go.

#100DaysOfFitness Rules

For the purpose of this challenge, a week will begin on Monday and end on Sunday.  Every week, I want to:

  • Run an average of 20 miles.
  • Do at least 75 push-ups. This breaks down to 15 push-ups five times a week. 
  • Do at least 150 curl-ups. This breaks down to 30 curl-ups five times a week. 
  • Post my progress, to include:
    • Running Distance. 
    • Running Time. 
    • Push-Ups.
    • Curl-Ups.
    • Weight.
    • Waist measurement.
    • Photo.
    • Other, such as physical activities not specifically being tracked.
    • Steps Taken calculated by my FitBit.
  • Tweet my progress using the #100DaysOfX and #100DaysOfFitness hashtags.

On your mark, get set, go!

Have you started you own fitness routine?  What are you doing to get in shape?  What are your goals?  I’d love for you to let me know in the comments!

2018 is my year to get fit.  I intend to post a before and after picture.  As a starting point, my day measurements are:

Day 1

  • Weight: 205.2
  • Waist: 36-1/4″

Other Resources:

Welcome to Aloha Geoffrey and Happy Kamehameha Day!

Happy Kamehameha Day!  Today is in honor of King Kamehameha I, also known as Kamehameha the Great. He united the Hawaiian Islands into a royal kingdom in 1810.  Read more about King Kamehameha Day.  It’s no coincidence the official launch date for Aloha Geoffrey is a Hawaiian holiday.

E komo mai (that means “Welcome, come in” in Hawaiian”) and thank-you for visiting Aloha Geoffrey – my new personal site.  Aloha Geoffrey officially launches today.  There may still be some changes as I figure out what works best. 

My name is Geoffrey and I’m passionate about all things Hawaiʻi.  I have a website where I share web development-related topics, but this is my place to share everything else.  Some of the things you’ll see here include:

  • Hawaiʻi-related topics.
  • Recipes.
  • Productivity and organization tips.
  • Activities and projects.

For more on what you can expect, please take a look at the Start Here page.

Have any questions or comments about anything you see on Aloha Geoffrey or suggestions on what you would like to see?  Let me know!  Even if I don’t know the answer, I’ll do my best to find it for you. Now it’s on to the exciting stuff.

Aloha a hui hou (until we meet again)!

#100DaysOfCode: My Challenge to Become a Developer

I tried the #100DaysOfCode challenge before, but stopped at day 54.  I was getting the coding done, but wasn’t learning very much – which was the whole point of doing the challenge.  This time around I’m doing things a little different.  I’m focusing more on learning development (especially JavaScript) than what challenges I’m getting done.  I’d much rather spend a week on a single challenge if I understand it when I’m done.

My Why

The whole reason for doing the #100DaysOfCode challenge is to learn.  Although I got off to a slow start, my goal this year is to learn the basics of JavaScript.  I’ve already made a lot of progress, but I also have a long way to go. I love coding, but when it comes down to it, it’s still just a hobby for me. For this reason, it’s harder for me to fit it into my schedule than some other things.  Doing the challenge will help me set priorities and cut back on unnecessary things.

I taught myself HTML and CSS in the mid-late 1990’s when we got our first computer. There was still a printed directory of websites at that time (think phone book for the Internet).  I’ve made various websites off and on since then, including plenty of dabbling in code/customization. Now it’s time to really dig in.

My Rules

You can view the official rules on  I’ll be following the main rules for the challenge, but adding to them.  More specifically, for the next 100 days I will:

  • Code a minimum of one hour every day.
    • If I don’t reach a full hour of code, that day will not count.  An extra day will be added on to the end of the challenge.
  • Tweet my progress every day using the #100DaysOfCode hashtag.
  • Encourage and support at least two people each day in the #100DaysOfCode challenge on Twitter.
  • Push my work to GitHub, when applicable.
  • Log my progress on GitHub, to include projects completed.
    • This is one place I am making a change from last time.  My log will be for the previous day’s work.  For example, I will be logging my day 1 accomplishments on the morning of day 2.

      This is going to help me be more consistent in updating the log.  I only missed two days of coding during the entire month of May, but only logged about half that.  I’m a morning person and wake up several hours before work.  That’s when I do most of my coding. 

      The last time I tried this, I didn’t want to do my log that early in the morning in case I worked on it any more during the day.  My evenings are generally reserved for family time.  That means when the evenings came around and we were doing something, the log was not a priority. Finishing the log the following morning works better with my schedule.
    • I’ll also be doing the condensed version of the log instead of the normal one.  I want to keep track of what I’m doing, but I don’t want to spend a lot of time on that.  The more time I spend on the log, the less time I spend coding.

My Plan

I’m a big fans of lists.  I find it’s helpful to plan out what I intend to do for the challenge. This will help me stay focused on what I want to do and learn. Creating this list at the beginning will prevent me from wasting time thinking about what comes next.


  • Complete freeCodeCamp’s Responsive Web Design Certification and start working on JavaScript Algorithms and Data Structures Certification.
    • I had worked my way through quite a bit of the JavaScript Algorithms and Data Structures while these were still beta versions. The certifications are no longer beta and I’m going to go ahead and do them again in the official curriculum.
    • Each certificate calls for 300 hours of time, but there will be a lot of review for me. I don’t expect the first part to take anywhere near that.
    • My freeCodeCamp profile: geoffreyshilling
  • Learn JavaScript.
    • This is a more general foundation.  I’m pretty good at figuring things out using reference material.  I want to continue improving my knowledge so I need to look up fewer and fewer things.
  • Learn Gutenberg.
  • Gutenberg is replacing the WordPress editor. The larger goal is to expand that to entire websites. I’ve been using Gutenberg for months on my sites and I love it.  I want to learn more about developing for it.


There are a number of projects I want to work on during this challenge.  Although I likely won’t complete them all, this will give me plenty to work on over the next 100 days.


  • I plan to spend at least five hours a week working on freeCodeCamp’s  challenges.

WordPress Plugins

The plugins I want to work on include:

  • Mug Monday. 
    A Gutenberg-compatible custom post type so I can share a picture of a different coffee mug each week.  Note:  I have made good progress on this plugin already. 
  • PRT Tracker. 
    A practical way for me to track my fitness workouts in order to improve my Physical Readiness Test (PRT) score in the Navy Reserve.  Workouts will include running, push-ups and curl-ups.
  • Coffee Tracker.  A fun way for me to track how much coffee I drink.  It will let me enter how much coffee, the brand, location, roast, and more.  Reports will be added so it will show my most popular coffee, total coffee for the year, average coffee per hour, and more.

My Notes

  • My #100DaysOfCode starts today, June 11, 2018 – also known as King Kamehameha Day.
  • I will miss some days.  I don’t want to, but it’ll happen.  As much as I love coding, it’s still a hobby.  My other priorities that come first include family, being a volunteer firefighter and our department’s treasurer, and the Navy Reserve.  Sometimes all of these converge at once and there is no time left.
  • The focus is on learning, not seeing how much I can get done.
    • The goal is to still make as much progress as I can, but I’m not going to move on until I understand what I’m doing.  If it takes me a week to understand something, that’s how long I’ll spend on it before I move on.
  • I intend to keep track of “lessons learned,” as far as what worked for me, what didn’t, any issues I ran into, or recommendations I have.

Join Me?

Are you already participating in the #100DaysOfCode challenge or want to get started?  I’d love for you to leave a comment or find me on Twitter and let me know what you’re working on!  Best of luck to all of us!

Other Resources:

Month in Review: May 2018

Learning Development


I continued working on the beta version of freeCodeCamp until they made some changes and it was no longer beta.  There was no option to update/add my email address to the account I was using with my old username, so I had to email them.  We’ll see what they say.

LinkedIn Learning

I worked on a couple HTML and JavaScript courses, but didn’t get them completed.

Projects I Worked On

Island of Aloha


Purpose:  This is a new personal site for all things non-development, with a focus on Hawai’i and recipes.

Progress:  The site went live this month and I’ve moved about half the recipes over from the old site.

Mug Monday


Purpose:  A WordPress plugin that will allow me to easily share a new coffee mug every Monday.

Progress:  The initial “Mug Monday” custom post type has been created.  There are only a couple more adjustments to make and I’ll be able to start using the plugin.

Project Goals for The Month

  • Island of Aloha [Website].
    • Finish transferring remaining posts from my Household Discoveries website to Island of Aloha.
    • The site officially launches on King Kamehameha Day, June 11.
  • Mug Monday [Plugin].
    • The plugin is almost working.  It’s adding a “Mug Monday” category and “Coffee” tag to all posts, regardless of whether it is a Mug Monday post type.
    • I have a few other minor tweaks and this should be finished up.
  • PRT Tracker [Plugin].
    • The plugin will allow me to track my workouts that will help improve my Physical Readiness Test (PRT) score in the Navy Reserve.


  • Blogging. My initial goal is to start with one post every 2nd Tuesday of the month and see how that goes. Once I get a couple months out, I may bump that up to two posts per month.
  • Support Forums. I haven’t been able to spend much time providing support lately, but I hope to get back into that. I miss it. My goal is to spend at least 30 minutes each day in the forums.
  • freeCodeCamp. I had to email freeCodeCamp as I was unable to get my email address added/updated for the account I was using when I working on Hopefully it won’t take too long to get figured out (and I won’t have to start completely from scratch).  Once that gets sorted out, I’ll start working on freeCodeCamp again.
  • #100DaysOfCode. They say the best way to learn something is by doing. I had previously started the challenge – and did it most of May – but it wasn’t working out with my schedule. I’m going to make some adjustments so it works for me.
    I’m just about done with a separate post on this and I will be sharing it on Monday, June 4.

1-Ingredient Slow Cooker Caramel Recipe

1-Ingredient Slow Cooker Caramel Recipe

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Cook Time Maximum 8 hours
Total Time 3 hours 5 minutes


  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk


  1. Place unopened can on dish in crockpot to prevent rust stains from getting on the bottom of your crockpot; I used a glass bread pan.
  2. Put enough water in the crockpot to cover the can.
  3. Turn the crockpot on low; cover. Let cook for 3-8 hours in the crockpot. I let ours go closer to the 8 hour mark.

Recipe Notes

As you can see in the last picture, the can definitely left a rust ring on the glass, and even that took some scrubbing to get off. Make sure you put the can on something so it won’t stain your crockpot. I tried two different brands of sweetened condensed milk, just to see if there was a difference. The consistency of Nestle Carnation was very smooth, just like what I was expecting. I also tried Eagle Brand and it was more the consistency of sour cream, but the taste itself was similar.