Monday, April 25, 2011

Grandbaby Days

  Sorry to neglect you these days!

  I am playing with my granddaughter this week :-)

 I should be back in a week or so :-)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

53 Days to Health & Fitness Update

...53 Days left in the 60 day challenge... week in.... I am glad I took the time to get a game plan going on!

  Life threw me a couple of curve balls.... OF COURSE.. we can always plan on that!  I expected the "busy" curve balls.  Those are the ones I can count on.  The ones that derail me though, are the ones that come out of nowhere!  Especially the emotional ones.  And I had one of those that knocked my weekend out...  Not only did I have an emotional episode.... I had BIRTHDAY CUPCAKES in the house.. yikes!   Well.. you know the rest of the story...  So the weekend was really really hard.

Let's see... curveball #1... refrigerator/freezer died.... BOO!!  We are lucky - we have a dedicated freezer and an old overflow fridge in the garage.  We didn't lose any food... but we DID have to run up and down the stairs to get food... EASY to do for pizza... HARD to do for apples!

My husband played with it for a couple of days and has ordered parts.  (Sounds weird, I know... but we live SO far out that repair people won't come see us for under $200 - so we have to decide whether to pay that AND buy a new refrigerator.... or just buy a new one..)  Anyway, he got it running and we've kind of decided to be minimalistic about what lives in there.  I think I will empty it once a month or so - and incorporate what's left into meals

But thank goodness for habits!  My food plan is awesome and still working... it's one of the best things I ever came up with.  It is easy to remember and follow.

Creating my own snack packs was a good thing - both frugally & convenience-wise.  Doesn't take much time and is easy to incorporate into my weekly food management.

The other habit that is standing me in good stead is scheduling my exercise!  Even if I miss a session, the next session is already on the calendar.... so it becomes a habit and I don't miss the next one!

My net for the week was pretty good:  I lost 1.5 pounds and 2 inches.. 1.5 in one area and .5 in another.. Not so tickled to see the bicep shrink... but I will visualize that it was tightening!  The waist though....  happy, happy news!

Pantry Clean Out Update - Week 4

     Did I ever mention how much I enjoy looking things up on the computer? This pantry purge project has had me researching what to do with these odd items in my stash! 

I think I told you last week that I intend to make pumpkin -cranberry bread..... but when I looked at the recipe, it called for dried cranberries - not fresh ones!  Yikes!  So I went to my trusty search engine and found instructions to substitute -  but haven't done it yet!  Finding time to stay home and play in the kitchen is tough!

  So this last week's efforts?

   I served the salmon fillets to my gang.  My husband said they were good - so I know I didn't mess them up :-)  BUT my two sons and I shared one fillet and it is a definite thumbs down for us.   So we still have 4 fillets in the freezer.  I'll ask my husband if he wants one later for a hodge-podge night but the others are heading out to my daughter's house.  She hates fish too... but her husband likes it and she is trying to encourage her toddler daughter to learn to like it too.   Glad they will be gone!

Salads were enhanced with the rest of the Kalamata olives and bacon bits and roasted red peppers (not finished yet) The hot banana peppers spiced up my turkey sandwiches for the week.

The Italian sausage was way too fatty for me to enjoy.  Initially I chopped it up and put it back in the freezer to add to chili or marinara but it makes me choke to think about it... so I gave it to my dogs.   So now they love me :-)

Okay - on to next week - looks like I need FIVE weeks for my ambitious list!  Our schedule allows for a full-out family meal 3 times weekly so it does take a little longer to use up things!   Pumpkin-cranberry bread on the agenda... maybe for Easter dinner?  Hmmm..... I found a great deal on crescent rolls the other day.... I'll take both!

Used up in Pantry Purge!

2 cans water chestnuts
2 bags cookie mix
3/4c. barley
1 can evaporated milk
1/2 bag wild rice
1 can beets
1 pound ground lamb
1 bag tamales
1 bag raw frozen tomatoes
1 package Italian sausage
jar sliced hot banana peppers
the end of a container of bacon bits
1/2 jar Kalamata olives
1 box Schwan salmon fillets
3 open bottles lemon juice (3?)* will be allocated to cleaning and non-food uses

What's left?


bag sundried tomatoes
2 cans water chestnuts
2 cans pumpkin
1/2 c barley * will have on next list
2 bags of cookie mix


jar roasted red peppers
corn tortillas
1/2 jar Hoisin sauce
3/4 jar wheat germ
ADDED:  open jar mint jelly


1 bag cranberries
frozen orange juice (not to drink)

    large container marinara sauce

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Gone quiet

You have to watch out for me.... when I go quiet.... like a submarine in enemy waters... I'm in survival mode.  I'm usually fairly transparent but when things happen to get me all confused and muddled up... I go deep within and get very very quiet while I figure things out.

I apologize for not writing... I am convicted to only write positive things... and when I can't see above life's happenings, I have trouble doing that.  I find myself being catty and mean and that is not a behavior I want to encourage in myself or others.  I do not admire or like people who spend their time being negative or complaining and I want to admire ME.... so I wait.... quietly.

I am going to share a little bit because maybe it will help someone else... I am not the only person caught in a maelstrom of weird family shenanigans!  NOT my immediate family, thank goodness!  My children and household are pretty normal.. and we've worked hard  through a lot of GUNK to get that way.  We are committed to NO DRAMA :-)

Anyway - here is the essay  ... emotionally with no real details, of course :-)

How is it that a simple mean act can turn the accomplished adult that I am into a quivering child?

I don't even know how to write about it.  It's so stupid!

How can one person from your childhood do ONE mean thing... and send you spiralling back to that place in time when she had total control over you? 

You know that place?  That place where you are fat.... stupid... ugly.... unworthy.... useless.... BROKEN!  That place that has taken a score of years (MORE apparently) to climb out of...

There is a reason that this toxic person is out of my life?  How on earth did she get back in?

Well.. I know how... it was not deliberate on my part.  I got caught in the middle trying to do a favor for someone else.  It is true - that old saying that no good deed goes unpunished!

But the thing is... her behavior is predictable...  so WHY did it throw me into a tailspin?

WHY can't I call her a nasty word and just move on?

WHY can't I feel sorry for her need for poisoning others' lives... and just move on?

I am numb with the pain and have no real reason.  It is DUMB to let this person have this power over me.

Most importantly.... especially since I don't understand how I got here :-).....

How do I pick back up and not STAY in this rut?

Again... I KNOW how!  I can... eat too much for days and get so disgusted with myself that I start over.... I can... DRINK too much for days and get so disgusted (and in pain!) that I start over.... I can (and AM) pull back from life (uhhhh...... HIDE) to lick my wounds and get my strength back... 

I think the answer.... I PRAY the answer is.... what I always preach to others.  HABITS and routines..... go through the motions.... get the normal every day stuff done... hug the people you live with and be grateful for them.
So... today.... another load of laundry is husband's lunch is made... I will run a mop over the floors and walk the dog... I will take some deep breaths... and keep moving forward.  There is ALWAYS hope... and there is always recovery for those who actively work for it... moment by moment...

thanks for reading - and I hope my story helps you know that you are not alone.... dealing with toxic people is something we all must do.  It is HOW we deal with them and how we rise above it that defines who we really are.

Crochet Dishcloths #35 through #40 and the Easter patterns

These cloths have been so much fun!  The site has even asked for volunteers to create designs and I am messing around a little trying to come up with one....hmmm..... never thought about actually designing something of my own :-)

Little side story.... I mentioned to my daughter that I was playing with a dishcloth challenge and making way too many to ever use :-)  BEFORE I could mention that I would probably be giving dishcloths to everyone I knew for Christmas - she popped up and said - you can always send them my way... there is NOTHING better for cleaning kitchen or babies than your handmade dishcloths!  It made me chuckle because - before baby - she thought dishcloths were unsanitary and she always used disposable wipes.  A few more messes has changed her mind :-)

The other thing I laughed about is that I KNOW how many afghans and scarves and other things I have made for her..... and the DISHCLOTHS.... are the things she treasures most!

So... there you go.... make some - you'll see!

Anyway - here are the next 6 in the series

Bottom left - Open Shell Dishcloth.. in the bright variegated oranges & green - quick to work up, pretty AND feels like it will be a good scrubber :-)  I enjoyed working on this one!

Center Bottom is #36 - Snow Lady.... I know, it's spring already but the challenge is #1 through #365 SO... challenge-wise, it's only February :-)   This one is cute and not too hard to follow... BUT it had to sit in my sewing basket for a while until I could get the crocheted buttons sewn on and the face embroidered - so it took a lot longer than it should have!

#37 is on the bottom right.  The Textured Crochet Dishcloth in mint turned out really well.  It has a nubby texture to it that will make it a great dishcloth and the edging makes it really pretty.

The top one on the left is #38 Two Steps Forward Dishcloth.  It took me a little bit to get the technique down....basically working a double crochet stitch backwards over 2 double crochet stitches making a little cross.  The only thing I would change is the yarn.  Instead of a variegated (the pattern calls for), I would use a solid so the stitches could be seen better.  At any rate - another successful cloth that is useful AND pretty at the same time!

In the center on top is the Spiral Crochet Dishcloth in gold & a multi to contrast.  Definitely a challenge, but do-able once you get the hang of the pattern.  I loved the effect but I wouldn't recommend it for a beginner.  It's thick enough I might be tempted to use it as a trivet.

And the sixth one for this week, #40 - Plum Inspired Dishcloth.  I didn't have a plum color so I used a medium blue.  I particularly liked the edging on this one.  It was easy enough, too, that I could see making a set of two or three of these as a gift.

And... just in time for Easter,  I did the 3 Easter- themed ones that have appeared so far:

These Easter cloths turned out pretty cute!  You could easily use them as washcloths for the kids too  and make bathtime more fun!

From the left #71 - Easter Egg Dishcloth.... very easy single crochet in an egg shape with a half-double crochet edging

In the center, #80 - Easter Bunny Dishcloth - just a little tricky getting the ears shaped with front post double crochet stitches.  The bows are crocheted separately and stitched on and then the features and necklace are embroidered.

And, finally, on the right is #82 - Little Quacker Dishcloth.  Another one with single crochet in a shape - these are fairly easy to do if you are careful about following the instructions.  The beak was crocheted right onto the duck... the wing was crocheted separately and sewn on and the eye was embroidered.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

How's your Lent?

I like Lent... I also like that it is almost over!

It gives me the reason and the freedom to let my mind ramble about spiritual things.  It's a time when we go into the desert with Jesus.   Okay - figuratively speaking...  but we do without our normal daily treats.  Or, if we don't actually go without.... we are often much more aware of what we are doing.  I think even when we fail to 'give up' or 'reach out', when we are thinking about it, we are moving toward it.  We know this is Lent.

So, I wonder... how did Lent enter your life this year?  I mean, were you ready?

Did you arm yourself with a list of impossible goals that tripped you up right away?  Those are nice... because then somehow you can give yourself a free pass for the rest of Lent because it was too hard and you don't have time to start over planning something new.

Did you decide to give up something?  How's it going?  I usually fail miserably with that one.  When I choose to stop eating something for ANY other reason, I do pretty well.  BUT when I do it for Lent.... it's like I am DRIVEN to eat it.  I go out of my way to FIND it.... so that's not a really good practice for me.  Food is an issue with me so it's better not to use it until I can handle it better.

Are you doing something more spiritual reading... or visiting sick people from your church?   I am working on an online course - and writing these reflections.... I am concerned about the time involved in the course, though I think it will work out fine... the reflections blog is actually are doing more for me.  But again, time has been a factor and I am not sure that Uncle Sam or my accountant are happy with my Lenten observances.

Did you choose not to observe Lent?  I've done that before.... which actually was a kind of observance because not only did I recognize it as part of my life  (by choosing NOT to observe it), I also thought about it the whole season.  The joke was on ME.... I think God has hold of me anyway.

When you read the different gospel accounts, I like that one writer says Jesus WENT into the desert.. and another says Jesus WAS DRIVEN into the desert.... I think Lent is like that...

However Lent came to you... whether you WENT willingly or WERE DRIVEN into it... I hope this time of thought and preparation and action and INaction brings you closer to God and better able to withstand the temptations all around you.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Crochet Dishcloth Challenge # 28 through 34

       Okay - this week's dishcloths :-)  I had hoped to have the Easter ones finished.... but, being the lazy crocheter.... there is a little finishing up stitching to do.... and somehow they are still in my sewing basket.. along with a pair of booties that will finish up a little layette that will have to wait for next week!

   #28 in the crocheted dishcloth series is called Lavender Lane :-)   Pictured on the bottom left, it is a little bit lacy and very pretty.  It uses single, double and treble crochet stitches to get the pattern.

Bottom center is #29 - Lacy Violets.  Violets are the February flower and these are really pretty.  Of course, they are made separately and stitched on.... but it was easy to do!  Big effect for a little extra effort :-)

#30 Bottom right is the Cross Stitch Dishcloth.  Using double crochet stitches crocheted over each other, it creates a little X in the pattern.  Very nice effect and works up quickly!

Top Left is #32 Evergreens in the Round - only I used royal blue :-)  I liked the technique on this one.  It was quick, easy and a surprise.  The edging is doubled - both a blue edge AND a white one.  I don't really care for for the way it turned out - I would probably just do the white if I did the pattern again.

#33 - top center - was my favorite of this batch!  The Carnation - January flower was really unusual to do.  Basically it is crocheted as a circle with the center ruffles worked at the end.  I LOVE items that are really simple and look impressive :-)

And then #34 the Snowflake... It is a basic granny stitch in a hexagon shape with a snowflake appliqued in the center.  The lazy crocheter will probably not do this one again :-)  BUT it did turn out well.  The instructions were a little tricky but once I got the hang of it - and matched against the illustration provided, it came along.

I didn't skip # 31!  The Shamrock was first shown on 3/16 - in time for St Patrick's Day :-)

    Not too much, but that's it for this week.  The other projects I am working on are still growing!

Thanks for reading :-)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Race Report! Flying Pirate Half Marathon

This race report is a little different... neither exhilarating nor grueling.... it just WAS :-)  I had not specifically trained for it... I wasn't even particularly in the mood :-)  In a way, this race and the next one - The Flying Pig in Cincinnati - are a matter of checking them off my list!

Last year was the FIRST annual Flying Pirate and I signed up to go... and didn't make it... so THIS year, I did :-)  I had a similar experience with the Pig a couple of years ago.. so I am tying up loose ends this year!

Somehow, it feels different when you train for an event... but anyway... I knew that I could walk the distance because I did walk a similar mileage a couple of weeks ago (if you remember!)  So I was confident that I would reach the end... but had no certainty about speed.  My main desire was a steady rate with no real mishaps along the way... so in that respect I did well!

My husband and I drove down to the Outer Banks the day before the race.. it's just 3 hours from our home.  It was a great opportunity for us to get away and just be together.  With our job and business issues lately... added to spring's out and inside home focus... we don't really spend a lot of time - just the two of us.  We are usually either with the kids or following our own pursuits.  So going off to my events is a good thing for us.

Our timeshare condo allows us to stay there for a reduced rate when there is room available so we were able to conserve a bit - and actually I like it better.  A 2 bedroom condo with kitchen for less than a cheap hotel room!  Sweet!.... I sure don't mind changing out the sheets and towels in the morning!

So... the race..... we went to the Expo to pick up my packet.  It was held in a nearby hotel.  While the pick-up and shirt distribution was efficient... all I can say about the vendors is .. WOW!  Too crowded (for me).. I couldn't WAIT to leave :-)  Lots of trinkets, shoes, clothes & other paraphernalia was available.. but I was pretty certain that I didn't need ANYTHING that badly :-)

We left there fairly quickly.... and began a lazy hunt for a pirate tshirt for my 3Day team.  Since the Outer Banks, NC is a super outlet for anything pirate, I thought it would be fairly simple to find some pink pirate tshirts.  Not so much!  I did find a pink tie-dye shirt that had a mildly questionable logo on it... but ultimately decided that since all 3 of us work with kids... it wasn't the best idea.  I'd like to get a shirt for us that we could wear somewhere OTHER than the 3Day event :-)  So no luck yet.  We'll be back in May for our anniversary so I can wait and think about it.

The night before a race I am always a little edgy.  I try to keep very quiet.... and I don't usually sleep particularly well because of the excitement.  We had a nice carb-filled dinner at a Mexican restaurant (can you tell I was loading up to begin my health challenge on Monday?  LOL!!)  Also enjoyed a margarita - haven't had one of those in a long time :-)

Slept fairly well, for me :-)  I woke several times but dropped back off easily.  Usually I spend most of the night WILLING my body to stay put and rest for the event!

I was up by 5am so that I would have a little time to do some writing and eat breakfast.  My usually bread and peanut butter as race fuel :-)  We left around 6:15 so that I would have plenty of time before the 7:20am start time.  Don dropped me off and headed back to check out of the condo.  I am not at all fast so he had plenty of time to do that and head over to the finish.  His biggest problem was finding a parking spot... but he is particularly good and finding the best spots.

It is a strange experience doing an event in a place where you don't know anyone.  I kind of milled around in the crowd... listening.... watching others.  It is always fun to determine who the serious runners are and who is just having fun!  I DID forget my camera... so no photos :-(

Weather was good.  I was a little nervous... it was chilly and overcast and calling for rain.  But the sun peeked out fairly quickly, the breeze was just enough to keep us from overheating... and my fanny pack was big enough to hold my windbreaker.  Next time: smaller pack & smaller jacket (or just a trash bag to keep the wind off).  If I was running, I'd skip the pack... but I'm not.  I like to carry water and lip balm, my id & cell phone, a power bar and... ALWAYS..a notepad & pen :-)

I was in the last wave so we started about 7:30 after the faster group had already left us in their dust.  And most of my group left me too because I am an unapologetic walker... I don't usually even start at a jog.  But it's okay - my goal is to be steady and I passed a lot of them along the way as I continued my stride.

Good fortune brought me a companion walker whose pace was similar to mine... we walked and talked most of the way.  The course was absolutely beautiful.  It runs along the first half of the November Outer Banks marathon course through pretty neighborhoods will all the early spring blooms showing off for us.  We wound our way through some swampy areas and then along the Albemarle Sound... checking out the plants and wildlife.... and the stunning 'cottages'.  I love the word 'cottage' for some of these mega-mansions.. it always gives me a chuckle.

We spent a few miles on a woods trail.. nice and shady.. but also hilly with loose gravel and mud puddles in spots.  I began to hurt around Mile 9.. also expected!  This is the point in the race when I usually think I've lost my mind..... as luck would have it (seriously) I was in the middle of the woods and had my new friend to help me keep pace.  I definitely would have finished but maybe not pushed so hard.  The trail wound around a bit but kept leading us UP!  I didn't think it was EVER going to end... when....

BAM!  We are out of the woods and have a straight downhill shot to the finish.  And HERE is where I RAN :-)

Passed about 4 folks struggling to the end.... and finished ahead of 137 people :-)  LOL!!  I love numbers... shall I mention that 1808 people participated?  LOL!!  No.... I think I'll stay with being faster than 137....  the great news (for me) is that without specific training... I maintained my 15ish min pace.  I was 15:08 at the 10K (6.2) mark.. and finished at 15:47.   So I was strong to the end.

I might have been a little faster had I run a bit of the race - and I might try next time... but it's all good!

The end was fun - a great band and lots of people milling about.  Free breakfast... and beer, of course.  Even though many of the people had gone already, there were still too many for me.. I am such a loner!  We wandered around a little just to make sure the leg cramping stopped, got my goodies.... and a blueberry muffin and then we began the drive home.

We made a couple of stops for me to walk around and change my clothes... but other than that, the trip home was uneventful.... and it was a quick weekend getaway!

I learned that even though the pain might seem excruciating in that 9 - 10 mile spot... as long as it isn't a real injury, I am still fine - so I can keep that in my head for next time.  I am sore still in one spot... but again - it is sore and stiff - NOT an injury... so I'll be right as rain in a day or so.  Better preparation would make for better results.... but I learned... I CAN DO IT!  Any given day (at this point in time) I can walk a half marathon.... feels good just to know this!

AND.... both the race AND the state can be checked off my list for 2011!

Monday, April 11, 2011

60 Days to Better Health - My Plan

..hmm.... can I do it??

Swimsuit season is upon me..... dance recital in early June...  with my change in eating for health, I am eating higher calorie items.... (and still plenty of junk, I admit it!).. and I've been lazy with my movement lately.  It SOUNDS like I exercise a lot - because of classes and what-not... but other than scheduled classes, I am a SLUG!  I am sitting here MUCH of the time... and when I'm not... my nose is in a book or I am crocheting.   So my fingers are quite thin and fit..... but it's my torso (which houses my HEART) that I am concerned about.

Of COURSE... a little vanity in there :-)  But a little vanity is not a bad thing!

Overall goal: HEALTHY LIFE HABITS.... with some weight loss and toning up along the way :-)  I still don't feel like I can stick to a strict regimen for life..... BUT some of these habits do stick and help to maintain the weight loss.  And maybe I will pick up more habits along the way :-)  I am thinking that maybe a strict 60 days.... and then a more relaxed 60 days.... and then maybe strict again.... might be a useful pattern.  Worth a try anyway to shave off a few pounds before summer :-)

So.. here is what I have plotted out so far...

Initial measurements (which I will take tomorrow - I will not share them - but I WILL share + or - pounds and inches each week)

Food:  I took my general plan listed on my 'Food Rules' page.... and gotten specific:
          Meal # 1     1-2 grain carbs, 1-2 protein, 1 fruit
          Snack #1     protein, fruit
           Meal #2     1-2 grain carbs, 1-2 protein, 2-3 veggies
          Snack #2     protein, veggie
          Meal #3      1-2 grain carbs, 1-2 protein, 2-3 veggies
          Snack #3     protein, fruit

**** I wrote down my 'usual' foods and tweaked them to fit these parameters... for instance, for breakfast I have about 3 different things I usually eat.. but I often forget the fruit.... so I will NOT forget it for the next 60 days.

**** My plan is to pack as much of the food as possible... pre-package it so it is easy to grab and transport... like baggies of baby carrots or celery with hummus.  Get as specific as possible to make your life simpler!

****Dinner is prepared for the family so I will ENJOY my meal with them but try to keep within my parameters.  I can always forfeit that last snack if I overdo.

Exercise:  Schedule in your life 3 strength sessions and 3 cardio sessions per week.  Seriously.... SCHEDULE IT.   Putting your exercise on your To Do List helps make it happen!

For me, I want to push a little harder than that so I am merging the classes I already take, my 3Day walking along with 3 upper body workouts & a minimum of 3 aerobic dvds (prob 30 minute ones)

**** I wear my pedometer so I can do less walking.
        For example, 2000 steps is approximately one mile.  If I have 3 miles on my schedule.... and I do 1 of them in my dance class, I will have to do 2 to finish up.

**** What I will be watching for is signs of overtraining.  NOT getting injured is important and so is rest.

60 Days.... takes me to June 10..... want to join me as I work through this?  What can we accomplish in the next 60 days?  If you are interested, I can post my eating and/or exercise plan.  I do have it plotted out day by day.  I usually go back and fill in the actual afterwards so I can review it later if I want.. (but I never do :-)

What suggestions do YOU have that help make healthy eating and movement part of your life?

What problems to you face that derail your efforts?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Maintaining Personal Integrity

Recently I had a great disappointment.

Someone I respected made some generalized paranoid comments that upset me.  I get a little crazy when ANYone starts making remarks about a group of people as a whole... I find it difficult to understand why we tend to lump everyone together in the same basket when we talk about motives.

This person made inflammatory statements about a group of people.... and this person is heard and respected by many... so his comments carry a disproportionate weight.  I heard the remarks reported by a friend in a group.  All the heads were nodding in agreement.... but there were no facts in the report... just rhetoric.  I spoke out and the golden moment of agreement ended.  I THOUGHT that it was mis-reported and being the devil's advocate that I am, I spoke up.

Apparently this person is known for this attitude but I never paid attention.  For some reason it never crossed my radar. 

No, I'm not going to reveal details of any of this... it would hurt my friends and if they are reading, they know what I am talking about.  The point of this article is a dilemma and a complaint.

The complaint has to do with our readiness as a society to accept information without facts and our readiness to crucify a whole group of people on the words of ONE PERSON.  That will be another essay for another day

Back to the original issue, my dilemma is this:  I have served in a ministry headed by this person for many years.

In no way can I in good conscience support this person's views.  The person is famous and not in my personal circle.  I work with friends... kind and gentle friends who are not quite as ready or quick to question and push back as I am.

The ministry itself is a good one, as far as I have been able to determine.  Certainly my little corner of it is good and filled with kind hearts.

I feel I MUST pull back some.. at least while I think it through.... but where do I draw the line?   My personal integrity demands that I renounce this kind of thinking... and apparently this person is quite vocal in the issue.  I will have to do more research and listen harder.

Right now I think that my support of the ministry is NOT the same as my support of the person - though it is touchy because the name of the person is so closely tied to the ministry.  But the ministry does much good for people around the world, especially children.

I will struggle for a bit though because I am so very disappointed.  I will have trouble serving beside my friends in this environment because they accept the words of their leader as gospel.  Part of the dilemma is that MY pulling out will ONLY affect the friends I work with... and they will be hurt.

Perhaps I can limit my support in person - and stay behind the scenes.  I may need to pull out altogether.... but right now that SEEMS like overkill (but is EXACTLY what I feel like doing). 

Sooo... what do YOU think that you would do?   How do you maintain personal integrity in a situation that no one else will understand?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Pantry Purge Update - Week 3

Here we go again!  Another week in the pantry purge!

I had grand plans for baking this week but ended up driving in to town every day... so actually didn't make much of an impact this week on the pantry :-(  Mostly I just used a little of this and a little of that in salads!

Greek salad on Sunday :-)   YUM!  Kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese & baby mixed greens... and greek viniagrette dressing

Italian salad on Tuesday....  Olives, shredded mozzarella, garbanzos, roasted red peppers, cherry tomatoes & Italian dressing

and Asian salad on Wednesday!  mandarin oranges, water chestnuts, edamame, mixed greens & ginger dressing

I also used up about half of the corn tortillas for quesadillas on Monday...... but that still leaves half of them in the fridge.

So......  what's left?  well.... the same items.. just  a smaller quantity of them.  

The roasted red peppers & the banana peppers will slowly make their way through my daily salads

I found a recipe for Pumpkin-Cranberry Bread.. but then found that it calls for dried cranberries not the frozen ones I have.  I will need to google a bit and see how to substitute :-).  I bet this recipe would make good breakfast muffins & should freeze well.

We need another week or so before we can do barley in soup again.... and I am looking for ideas for the sundried tomatoes :-)

One more week to see what I can do!  I have a new list coming up so I need to get busy :-)


jar roasted red peppers
bag sundried tomatoes
2 cans water chestnuts
2 cans pumpkin
1/2 c barley * will have on next list
2 bags of cookie mix
3/4 jar wheat germ


3 open bottles lemon juice (3?)* will be allocated to cleaning and non-food uses.
the end of a container of bacon bits
corn tortillas
jar sliced hot banana peppers
1/2 jar Hoisin sauce
1/2 jar Kalamata olives

ADDED:  open jar mint jelly


1 box Schwan salmon fillets
1 bag cranberries
frozen orange juice (not to drink)

    large container marinara sauce
    small container sliced cooked Italian sausage

*** = used up!
2 cans water chestnuts
2 bags cookie mix
3/4c. barley
1 can evaporated milk
1/2 bag wild rice
1 can beets
1 pound ground lamb
1 bag tamales
1 bag raw frozen tomatoes
1 package Italian sausage

Friday, April 8, 2011

Not apologizing

I think better with a pen in my hand.

Crazy, huh?

That pen is sometimes a crochet hook.

But I'm through apologizing.

I AM paying attention to what you are saying.

Maybe MORE attention with my hands moving.

With still hands, listening as hard as I can.... I might get HALF of what you say... but it doesn't stick.  No matter how hard I try... if my hands are still, your voice gets caught in the muddly jumble of all the things bumping around in my head.... groceries, things to do, family issues, current events, the latest books I am reading.... everything...  sometimes the voice can't even get IN!

With a crochet hook, your thoughts are entering my brain and I will think about them and respond.  Busy hands, for me, open the door of my brain and help welcome in your voice.

But with a PEN..... your thoughts are rolling through my brain AND getting re-interpreted and coming out the other side. Somehow, if I have a PEN in my hand, your voice is welcomed in.... and gets its own place in my head AND has a way to come through to the other side.  When I am writing, my thoughts are becoming more clear.... your thoughts are not only adding to my 'thought' collection... but also becoming part of my life.

So if I am moving around while you speak to me...

Do not get angry.

Be flattered.....

More of what you say is getting through and will bear fruit.

I am taking notes

...and not apologizing for how I am made.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Okay - I promised!  Here is a start on the arms routine.  I plan on doing them daily BUT will absolutely COMMIT to every other day.

Strength exercises - REALLY pushing - should be done every other day... simply to give the muscles a chance to heal.

Below is a start - I am not sure that it is enough... I will see how it goes and report back!

Daily - 1 - 2 sets 12-15
Pushups- usually off the kitchen counter or washing machine.  My weight is on fully on my arms and I am slanted and on my toes

Dips- backward off the same counter or washing machine :-)  Works the tricep muscles

One-Armed Row - works each arm and back muscle separately (with weight that is handy.... water bottle / can of food / detergent bottle / whatever!)

One-Arm Cross Row - engages more of the back muscle (use weight that is handy)

One of the things that stops me from exercising is thinking that I cannot do a good job because I am not in a gym or dressed properly or have the time to get out the equipment, etc.  I am determined to STOP this way of thinking.  A can of soup weighs approximately ONE pound... there is NO reason I can't take whatever is HANDY that I can get a grip on.... and do these exercises!

WAITING until I can do it perfectly will be WAITING until I lose my muscle tone!

DUMB idea :-)

So I will start here and move forward!

If you have a good idea of an exercise to add to my portable ANYWHERE ARMS routine - let me know!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Weekly Crochet Projects - Dishcloths #22 - 27 and Lovies

Still going strong on dishcloths but I am going to start adding some of the other things I crochet during the week :-)  It's beginning to look like all I make are dishcloths!  I admit though - I haven't finished much in a while... I am working on some larger projects that are taking more time.

I did crank out a few lovies for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes though... so that will help with my charitable crochet goals for 2011!

The dishcloth photo is below:

The first one of this batch (#22) is the bottom right - Country Heart Crochet Dishcloth.  This was a tough one - but only because it has been quite a while since I crocheted a pattern using 2 colors and a grid.  My heart is a little lop-sided.... but I learned enough to remember how!  And I didn't do so badly that I was willing to start over :-)  I might do this one again.... but it is not one of the quick ones to do!

The one in the center on the bottom row - #23 Holey Crochet Dishcloth.  This one looksway  more complicated than it really is.  It worked up quickly and was fun to watch it take shape!  I liked the way it turned out in blue.

#24 is the third one I did for this week.  It is on the bottom right-hand side.  I LOVE the way this one turned out!  It was fairly easy and quick and the finished product is both useful AND really pretty.  It would be a great touch to a gift package!

Back to the top left is #25 Rapid Blue Crochet Dishcloth.  The instructions call for blue & white and I used a variegated with a coordinating Williamsburg Blue instead.  This was a great one for learning (or practicing) carrying a second color because alternate rows use the different color without ending off.

Next one this week is #26 - Shell Mile-a-Minute Crochet Dishcloth.  This one was a little tricky but after I worked with it a bit and got it figured out, it was fairly easy to do.  Of course, the 3 panels are made separately and stitched together so it sat in my sewing basket for a week before I got to it!  It did turn out fine but probably isn't a favorite for the lazy crocheter.

Now this next one was a challenge!  #27 - Ocean Wave Crochet Dishcloth - named because the sample provided was done in ocean colors (not mine :-) - was tricky.  It used a stitch I wasn't familiar with so it was a good chance to practice.  And the while the effect is beautiful but it wasn't easy for me to figure out the technique.  But at any rate, I did finish it and might consider doing another one if I see a color combination that intrigues me!

So there are the 6 for this week... enjoy!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Super Simple

I read a post today from and it mentioned an idea that really hit home for me. 

The concept of a month dedicated to SIMPLICITY..... no shopping that doesn't need to happen.... no new projects... no extra events..  Pare everything down to bare bones....  hmm..... I like the concept.  I am not sure that I will be able to truly implement it until summer though.  When you are involved in anything with children of any age.... it seems like April starts things heating up and then May is a maelstrom!

 My schedule already is starting to fill up with one thing or another.  Some fun.... I have a race scheduled in the Outer Banks next weekend (The Flying Pirate) and another the first weekend in May in Cincinnati (The Flying Pig).  And then May continues with proms, dance recitals and other end of year events.

Now that I have ruled out simplifying NOW..... (do you do that?  Do you come up with all kinds of reasons why you CAN'T do something?).... it's time to think of what I CAN do to make my life easier and simpler because it fits in with one of my resolutions and I can probably tie it in to others!

Let's see....
the FIRST thing I can think of is calling a moratorium on NEW projects and focus on finishing up what's already in progress.   Of course - finishing up EVERYTHING would not be a good goal for me... but finishing up WHAT I CAN is more realistic.  Most important to the process, I think would be - No NEW Projects :-)

SECOND - is my pantry purge.  I started it to help with finances - BUT I did not commit to NOT ADDING to the pantry :-)  I did well with the grocery game in January and February but have lost focus.  Time to get it back and go frugal again!

THIRD - my time!
        *Travel - I already bunch my errands together since we live so far out... but I DO have to go in most days so I waste a LOT of time leaving and returning.  I will think about what I can do to streamline the process.

        *Computer - man, it's hard to figure out how to budget computer time!
           Right now - I have financial work for both home and business, an online course & a photo scanning project that I can think of off the top of my head - not to mention basic emails for home & business, my blogs and we won't even TALK about Facebook :-)

  I will have to think about this one.  I already limit my game time.... and most of the other tasks I do in chunks.. some simultaneously (like writing & scanning photos).  I am not sure how to reduce it more or use it more efficiently.

Well... these are 3 areas where I could use some improvement - but the only clear things I see are:  NO NEW PROJECTS and EVALUATE all April expenditures to reduce / eliminate.  I will do this.. but I will definitely keep the idea of a SUPER SIMPLE scheduling month in the back of my head... for June or July :-) 

I'm sure glad I went to Panera LAST week :-)  Just kidding... lunch out with a friend is FUN and that is the GOAL of simplicity... to structure your life so that you can enjoy it more!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Vinegar and lemon juice

I have a bit of a mold problem in one of my bathrooms and started searching for a vinegar / water mixture to clean it with.  Boy, did I find some good stuff about vinegar!

One of the best things I found (and tried) was using it to kill ants!  I mixed up a spray bottle to use in the bathroom..... but spritzed a couple of problem areas in the kitchen.  This is the time of year when those teeny ants make their way inside and I use up a LOT of bug spray trying to get rid of them.  Nasty chemicals that don't really work anyway.

I have to say....  vinegar/water killed the ants on contact.... AND, better yet - it's been 48 hours and they are not back yet :-)  Who knew?

Along the same lines... for the Pantry Purge I have 3...count them..THREE... open bottles of lemon juice in my refrigerator.  Well, I discovered that lemon juice apparently is as versatile as vinegar :-)

I particularly like the one where you teach your dog not to bark..... THAT one has some definite possibilities for my Pomeranian

not sure I believe it so I am not quite giving up my frontline BUT if a spray bottle of lemon juice helps kill my pets' fleas..... it's worth doing!

Why am I spending a fortune on deadly chemicals if vinegar and lemon juice will do just as well??  Time to use up the old and replace with the cheap & natural.

Am I the only one who is discovering natural cleaners right underneath my nose?

Do you have favorite uses for vinegar and lemon juice?

Sunday, April 3, 2011


You remember I wrote a lot about my beautiful tree....

It was absolutely glorious this year ushering in a fantastic spring!  I am glad I had the opportunity to record and enjoy the tree because life changes too quickly.

When the blossoms began falling apart..... and the petals began dropping, the ground was carpeted

with pale pink petals.   It looked like a wedding - it was incredibly beautiful.

But it was sad..... within a couple of days, the tree was virtually bare.

But within days after that.... every branch was laden with GREEN!  All the blossoms came first.... and then the leaves appeared as the rest of my yard began to come to life.... the forsythias, the redbuds, the early daffodils.... the hyacinths are up now and I see the hostas peeking out from beneath the leaves.

The voluptuous show that my tree put on was the opening act for spring.. and the slight sadness I felt with the disappearance of the flowers was far surpassed by the joy I had sharing it with you :-)  AND the excitement NOW as each successive type of flower begins to appear.  I will have little surprises in my yard now until at least July.... and am on the prowl for summer perennials to fill in after that!

I hope you have a beautiful day and a wonderful time spotting the new gifts that spring has to offer :-)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Pantry Purge Update - Week 2

WOW!!  A super successful week on using up stuff on my list!!  Half of my time is up - and almost half of the items used.  What a fun project!  I am already identifying items for the next 4 week period!  Maybe I ought to assign rooms in my house to this kind of weekly attention :-)

Last Saturday I used two of the bags of cookie mix and made cookies for the family (much to their delight!)  They were sugar cookies and I found some sprinkles to use on them.  (Sprinkles will be an issue for another month - but they need to go too!)

Also we had the frozen tamales for dinner - which were a hit - and I tried a cheesy rice casserole (I liked it but the men didn't - so I now have several small containers of it in my freezer)  Now you know how I get so much in my freezer!  The recipe will go into my "potluck recipe" file.  I think it will work with a crowd - just not MY crowd :-)  Along with a big green salad (and some mixed veggies for my non-salad eater) it was a good meal.

A cold moved into the house overnight... so soup was now on the agenda.  The end of a bag of potatoes became Cheesy Potato Soup....  my earlier research had prompted me to consider using the evaporated milk in fudge..... but I saw evaporated milk in one of the potato soup recipes... so I used it up there.

While I was making soup on Sunday, I also used the last bag of frozen tomatoes from the garden and made a marinara sauce.  Of course, it ended up in the freezer so I am not sure if it counts as using up.  I think it does - because the marinara will disappear much more quickly than frozen raw tomatoes will!  I'll keep an eye on it and make sure it goes soon.  I also used frozen chopped peppers and celery in it!

I also cooked up the Italian sausage but it was way too greasy for me.  I blotted it and sliced it thin and returned it to the freezer to think on a bit.  I think I will use it in bits on pizza or perhaps in spaghetti sauce or chili.  I've been looking for a sale on English muffins to make individual pizzas for the freezer.. that might be a good place for some of the sausage.  Or in an egg casserole.  I will have to use it sparingly though.

On Monday night, I made Chicken Barley Vegetable Soup from a recipe I found at,2348,155182-226206,00.html

The spice mix in it was pretty good.  I did increase the liquid and decrease the amount of cabbage (1-1/4 head!)  to make it work for us.   It used about 3/4c of the barley.. but not all of the leftover box.  There is probably another 1/2c left and I will probably save that for next month.  We like the soup but will need a couple of weeks break before we do the same thing again :-)

Wednesday night was the ground lamb.  My brother was kind enough to send instructions to me and coach me through it :-)  I did them right because they tasted pretty much the way I remember from when I was a child.  But now I know why the mint jelly was my strongest memory about it - because what I liked BEST about lamb patties - was MINT JELLY!  They turned out fine - BUT since they are not a favorite for my husband or me - and they were actively disliked by my sons... they will not be a repeat (except for the 2 leftover patties)  We are SUCH NON-meat eaters!  4 adults managed to put away TWO lamb patties.... LOL!!  I think the leftover two will be dinner for my husband and me tonight or tomorrow.  And they did not end up being a help toward frugality because NOW I have the better part of a jar of mint jelly in my refrigerator!  BUT the good news is that I DIDN'T MESS THEM UP :-)

I've been working on the Kalamata olives as snacks & another can of water chestnuts in my daily salads.  But they aren't gone yet so I can't count them!

I also googled roasted red peppers and sundried tomatoes and will focus on doing something with those next week.  Need to focus on the refrigerator items next week!

So......  what's left?


jar roasted red peppers
bag sundried tomatoes
2 cans water chestnuts
2 cans pumpkin
1/2 c barley
2 bags of cookie mix
3/4 jar wheat germ


3 open bottles lemon juice (3?)
the end of a container of bacon bits
corn tortillas
jar sliced hot banana peppers
1/2 jar Hoisin sauce
1/2 jar Kalamata olives

ADDED:  open jar mint jelly


1 box Schwan salmon fillets
1 bag cranberries
frozen orange juice (not to drink)

    large container marinara sauce
    small container sliced cooked Italian sausage

*** = used up!
2 cans water chestnuts
2 bags cookie mix
3/4c. barley
1 can evaporated milk
1/2 bag wild rice
1 can beets
1 pound ground lamb
1 bag tamales
1 bag raw frozen tomatoes
1 package Italian sausage

Friday, April 1, 2011


As I sit here staring at a blank screen, I wonder what I should write about.  Of course, in the big picture, it really doesn't matter.  What matters along the journey is simply that I work on the task I have set for myself.

Baby steps, they call it.

It's like exercise..... some days I go gangbusters!  I can kick and punch, jump and swing, lift weights and run.. and I am amazing.  Some days, I can barely lift my arm :-)   But what matters is that I consistently, every day... use my body and make it work a little.  I wish I was as eager to work on exercise as I am writing!

Some days I can sit and crank out 3 or 4 essays.  Some days, I stare at my list of ideas and go blank.  I admire people who write novels.  Two of my family members are working on novels right now.... but my brain doesn't seem to want to stay on track that long.  Somehow I am compelled to write about the struggles and accomplishments of my middle aged mom place.   I DO think sometimes of writing a memoir though.... just because I have worked through a lot of garbage and think it might help others.  At a minimum, it might be entertaining :-)

I guess the trick to life and accomplishment is to keep at it.... one day at a time....  so, on that note, there is another load of laundry waiting... a couple of bills to pay... some photos to scan... floors to sweep  (anybody want to recommend good vacuuming products for pet owners?)... and on, and on, and on....  with a lunch date in the middle (I DO like having a resolution to keep up with friends!  Does that make a lunch date a baby step?  Oh yeah.....)