Friday, August 26, 2011

Men and Women and Disaster Prep

I marvel at the differences in the ways that my husband and I think....

For days now, I have been planning - not worrying - about being in the path of Hurricane Irene.  I've brought in supplies for the weekend.... we have fresh batteries for the flashlights and bottled water.  I've spent a little time gathering important documents and making sure our possessions are stowed and reasonable protected. 

My husband, bless him, has spent the last few days tracking the hurricane path.

Two days ago, we had a bit of a discussion about the chain saw and the generator.  The generator, which , by the way.... is only workable by my inventive mechanical engineer of a husband....  the generator, which causes him no end of fussing and complaining whenever he has to use it.

It cracks me up... he can only think of crises DURING the crisis :-)

But I have a trump card which I use sparingly.

We had this very same interplay right before Hurricane Isabel.   That time it was a severe disagreement which had me and my intuition versus him and his logic.  I overrode him that time and acted like a 'hysterical female'.  I bought a small chain saw the day before it hit.  And that time... that particular time.... having a chain saw was a pretty good idea.  (We lost over 30 trees on our property... 4 of which were in the house - and we were better off than most of our neighbors!)

So...... two days ago, he did indeed pacify me by checking out the generator and the chain saws (he had to get a much bigger better one within days after Isabel.. as soon as we could get out to a store).

Last night though..... again, we talked about the upcoming hurricane and he was busy giving me the track and the history of the past hurricanes which affected us and was conjecturing about how this would impact us.    What I found is that he is thinking and worrying with a sinking heart.... remembering all we had to deal with the last time...... so he'd really rather not think about it.  He feels the responsibility for our overall welfare keenly - and he will be at work today - so he will think about it tomorrow.

And, I was busy asking.. what can we do RIGHT NOW to help?  Because I am me and I handle our daily needs and comfort - and I can't justify waiting until tomorrow.

We are a funny pair. 

But today while he is handling work crises and hoping to come home early, I will be working on making our safest room more comfortable, securing the outside furnishings and plants, and digging a trench to divert water flow.

What is certain is that the worst part of this storm will hit us during the night.... and I will be alone with this man handling whatever happens.  And we will be apart from our adult children for the first time while they handle their own lives.  We will all be fine.... we learned last time that STUFF is STUFF.  Losing STUFF is manageable.

And I am blessed to have his knowledge, love and expertise during a crisis..... but I think he also might be a little bit blessed if the generator works and he knows what he has to do to make the thing work :-)

Saturday, August 20, 2011


So...... have you thought about it yet?

I know.... I know......  Christmas?

It's still summer..... and fall is almost here with its new schedule..... life is busy enough.... I don't have TIME to think about Christmas!

I beg to differ.

If you want to have ANY control over your life in December.... then exactly NOW is the time to start thinking about what you want from your holiday season.... whatEVER you celebrate between November and January!

Right now - while you have NO holiday commitments.  THIS is the time to ask yourself and poll your family..... you may be surprised at the answers

List the holidays you celebrate between now and the new year and think about these questions:

1) What is your favorite thing about each holiday?  

2) What is your LEAST favorite thing about each holiday?

3) What HAS to happen to make you FEEL like you have celebrated the holiday?

4) What are the time frames?  Is anyone coming from out of town?  Are YOU going out of town?

5) What is the money situation?  Can your family consider drawing names and buying one nicer gift instead of many small ones?  This is a good time to clarify expectations.... right now - BEFORE anyone starts shopping or budgeting or trying to return favors

6) What kind of holiday traditions would you like to begin?

7) What are your charitable expectations?

8) What do you want at the holiday meals?   (My sons HATE turkey.... one of them asked me a long time ago... why should I be thankful when we have to eat a meal where I don't like anything?  Reasonable point... we have had little pizza rolls and macaroni and cheese ever since - along with the turkey of course!)

Enough questions to start thinking!  This is not supposed to be stressful!  The most important question for you RIGHT NOW is.... What would your dream holiday look like?    Figure that part out... and we'll put our brains together and come up with ideas to make it happen :-)

Let's work together to have the best most stress-free holiday season ever!  I'm going to be thinking about this over the next few days.... and I'll come back and talk about some ideas.


Let's go!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bread Adventures (Batch 11) Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

Life is funny.... I remember when days simply DRAGGED by.... and now they are rushing past!  Just when I stop to catch my breath.... well... it's tomorrow already!

I am still driving into town 3 days a week to take my son to his martial arts classes.... which is an hour and a half round trip travel time..... too long to go back home.... so I run errands.. or sit and write cards, crochet, read.... quiet things... but the home stuff is still waiting for me when I get home (just like everyone else!)  Habits again... and LISTS - they save my life!

My grandbaby is coming to spend a couple of nights with us so my HOME time is also in a whirl of 'getting ready for a toddler'.  Seriously, she will help us figure out what needs to move out of the way... but I want to do important things like find and clean up a few beloved toys that are packed away.... and clean, of course!

Meanwhile.... the baking continues because I don't have to be HOME all day to do it!  The dough is prepared and I can make home-baked bread for dinner any time... provided I think ahead enough to allow for the 1 hour rising that is going on with the loaves I am cooking right now :-)   Remember, we are following along with  Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking

      The next loaf on my list is Oatmeal Bread .

  For this bread, I finally had to break down and order online... I could not find oat bran anywhere! I found it at a place called Nuts Online...   They are AWESOME!  Same day shipping.. incredible :-)

***(funny AFTER note....  the two things I finally ordered from nutsonline.... oat bran and hulled pumpkin seeds... I found in the store later!  I could not figure out WHY I couldn't find oat bran... I found wheat.... and then I FINALLY located it with the cereals and oatmeal.. NOT the specialty baking items.  with the exception of basic flour and yeast, NONE of the items I have had to locate have been with regular baking supplies - all are located in the organic or the gluten-free section.   The hulled pumpkin seeds.. I finally found them in the Hispanic section in the cellophane packages.  I like to get spices there because they are less expensive.... anyway.. the seeds are called PEPITAS.... and now you know :-)

It called for 2 things I did not have on hand and didn't think about in advance... whole milk and 100% maple syrup... I was so focused on hunting down the various brans that I didn't pay attention!  BOO!  Out of time (okay - out of patience is more like it), I substituted my almond milk and sugar free syrup.

This bread is dense and yummy!  But I liked the next one better...

The second loaf that used the Oatmeal dough is called Raisin-Walnut Oatmeal Bread.... doesn't that just SOUND like breakfast??

The dough makes 3 loaves.... I thought about another raisin-walnut loaf but opted to try something different.  I decided to make tiny loaves that were muffin-sized.  I decided that what would work for a large loaf in a regular loaf pan.... should work for a tiny loaf in a muffin tin...

So I split the dough in 6 sections.... flattened them out, added the raisins & rolled them up like the larger loaves.....  and popped them in a muffin tin

Another grand success!  Just like dinner rolls.. but nutty, full of fiber & moist from all those raisins!  Too good to be healthy :-)

    I tried a salad from the book..  Jamie Oliver's Watercress, Rocket, Sweet Pear, Walnut & Parmesan Salad - hmm..... first challenge... where on earth to purchase watercress & arugula (the common name for 'rocket')?  Found it first try when I went to Martin's - my first choice for new and strange items.  Well, actually Krogers is my first choice because their prices are better... but I was on Martin's side of town...

   Put it together for a lunch that my husband could share with me... he was not impressed!  I didn't think he would be but at least he tried it... so I didn't have to eat all of it!

    I thought it was interesting.... the watercress has a flavor that I really enjoyed... I think I might do it again for a large family dinner just to try something new.  So.. it was okay for me - but mostly my in-house family is fairly basic in taste.... they are not much into trying new foods!

So there you have our adventure for the week....  the book is probably in your local library but if you are like me and have so much fun you can't stand it.... you can purchase it by clicking the button to the left of this text!

Happy breadmaking!

Monday, August 15, 2011

What are we teaching our Children?

Too many times, I think we blame our family - our beloved husbands and children - for our own lack of achievement!  We say there are things we want to accomplish..... and then we don't do anything about it.  PLUS, we say we "couldn't" because we had to take care of them!

Is that really true?

I'm not so sure...

I watch myself encourage my kids to reach for the moon..... and then I sit and watch them do it.

What am I really teaching?

That children are supposed to take risks and achieve goals.......  but moms are NOT?  Yes..... I think that is what we teach!

We learned early as parents that our children do not do what we SAY.... they do what we DO!

I am not saying that I haven't achieved... in honesty, the greatest achievement I ever wanted was to be a wife and mother... and I have done that.  But have I fooled myself in the meantime?

Have I spent time and energy worrying about lost dreams I never really wanted?
     If this is the case - I need to STOP now and start expressing my enjoyment of the life I am leading!  I need to step up and take my place as a contented support person :-)

Or have I ignored dreams that I should have worked toward?
   But if THIS is the case.... I need to define those dreams and set something in motion right now to work toward them.

To teach my children to be responsible adults who are happy with their lives..... will require ME to step up and be a responsible adult who is happy with her life!

And one thing I am learning every day.... it is never to late to begin the lesson because they are always watching.......


and doing what you DO not what you say :-)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Trust The Potter

I have to tell you....

this morning I am clay...

I woke up hardly able to move..

.. much less to tackle the myriad responsibilities that make up a typical Sunday....

Today, I trust the potter

I am clay

Today, things will happen.. and

things will not happen..

and I will be upset....

..and not upset...

I will sit in the middle of the maelstrom....

doing my best to keep up

....and trust the potter....

who has the overall master plan....

..and I will trust that if I rest in the potter's hands....

..that I will serve the purpose

the potter wishes....

and my little part  will complete the whole....

I will relax

and trust the potter...

Isaiah 64:8
"Yet, you, Lord, are our father.
We are the clay,  you are the potter;
We are all the work of your hand.      NIV

Saturday, August 13, 2011

August Project - Kombucha

   Oh my goodness, I woke sick today!  One of the hardest things about being an older woman is the RANDOM sweats and chills!  Fortunately most of that is behind me.... but every now and then.... I wake in the middle of the night sweating like I am in a sauna... with a raging headache :-(  Of COURSE, I throw all the covers off.... and then start freezing...... until I try to put them back on again...    it's funny in retrospect.... but even now.. the headache is beginning to ease off... the nausea is still there.. and I am having a VERY SLOW day.....

    That said.... my habits stand me in good stead.... while I am moving slowly.... I have already done 2 loads of laundry, cleaned and froze the tomatoes waiting for me, have a loaf of cheese bread in the oven, have arranged a swim outing with the grandkids for the weekend and am about ready to go bottle up some of my latest batch of Kombucha....

..and here is the story of my Kombucha!

      The first time I heard of Kombucha was several years ago.   I lost a lot of weight working with a program from a national television show and one of the trainers that I really liked swore by this stuff.  So I checked it out online..... Okay.. I read that it was some kind of fermented tea made from a mushroom.   WHOA!  Stop right there... don't need to read any more... that must be some nasty stuff!  Obviously one of those weird health food things that don't fit into a normal life :-)

     So, the thought of it left my consciousness until sometime early this spring when a friend of mine writes on her status that she made some kombucha.   I had to check it out because I actually know her and can ask her about it.   And it turns out she really likes it..... and it turns out that there is one store I know that sells some....  and it is pricey enough for me to buy just one to see if I can drink it..... and too pricey for me to buy it very often.

  So I bought one..... a little sour.... but okay.  Maybe it's an acquired taste.  I bought another one in a cranberry flavor.... mmm... this one is pretty good! 

    There are supposed to be tons of health benefits so it's worth a second look... and... for the record, there are no mushrooms.  There is a 'starter' thing that LOOKS like a mushroom and is called a mushroom.   Nasty, slimy thing.... but kombucha works like that friendship bread starter that never dies... the "mushroom" is the starter.

Soo... there is lots of info in your search engines.... it is made by mixing sugar into boiling water... and then adding tea bags and optional flavoring.  When everything cools down to room temperature, you pout it in a gallon container.  Then add some of a prior batch and the mushroom, which is basically a yeast colony.  This sounds nasty - and it looks nasty too....

You loosely cover the liquid... keep dust out but let air in.... and set it out of the way.   I keep mine up high on top of a bookcase near the kitchen.  You let it sit for a week to 10 days..... it ferments a bit, giving it a natural carbonation effect... and another 'mushroom' forms on top of the liquid.

For my containers, I originally used a large pickle jar because... as was pointed out to me... it was less expensive to buy a gallon jar of pickles than to buy a gallon jar (!)  Sad, but true.  Since I am the ONLY one who will eat pickles in my house... I am still working on that gallon!  I could NOT buy more pickles :-)  Lucky for me, sun tea jars are all on sale right now.... so that is now my container of choice!

So far, I have made batches with tea flavored with ginger and lemon, I have replaced some of the water with different juices.... V8 fusion was too sour.... but 100% juices work well.. cranberry is awesome, cranberry apple is good.... and I have some blueberry brewing right now.. I can't wait to try that one!

So far, my favorite is made with half green tea & half black tea with lemon and fresh ginger.   So, if you get a chance... give it a try!  If you live near me, I can give you a starter.... if you don't, you can order it online!

Don't forget to check out  for more recipes and ideas for healthy living!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Bread Adventures (Batch 10) Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

         I am getting a little tired of all the time I am spending in the kitchen!  Not because of the bread baking... but all the other summer chores!  And I shouldn't even whine.... I am not home that much.  But the tomatoes are ripening daily... and the peppers are exploding!  My freezer is filling up!   I am almost glad that one of my squash plants died and I forgot the beans.  The cucumbers and watermelon went in late.. but they are experiments anyway so we'll see what comes of them :-)

       I had to skip past the recipes for both the English Granary Bread and Oatmeal bread -  don't have oat bran, malted flour or malt flakes... honestly - locating some of the ingredients has been challenging.  The bran may be available, I have one more store to check... the malt I will have to order on line.  I want to verify about the oat bran though before I actually place the order.   I think it would not be so difficult in a more urban setting - I guess that is the price I pay for living in the country and getting to look at a river from my front porch.  The nearest stores are 30 miles away... I can get most of the ingredients.  The others I would probably be able to find within an hour and a half travel time, but I am not inclined to spend either the gas or the time when they are available here with a quick click!

First - the Oatmeal Pumpkin Bread - good but a little boring from my perspective.  Definitely not a dessert bread - I think I like pumpkin better for dessert.  The pumpkin flavor was not very noticeable.  perhaps that was because I used canned pumpkin instead of roasting my own pie pumpkins..... but tell me... even if you were so inclined to do it.... where would I get a pie pumpkin at this time of year?

Using the same dough, I made Oatmeal Pumpkin Seed Bread. Oops, I forgot the egg wash on the crust... my bad.... I am not sure what that means - but the taste of this bread is super!  I think this might be another addition to Thanksgiving.  One of the things I am enjoying the MOST is that even a kitchen dummy can bake fantastic bread :-)

The next bread - which my family has been eagerly awaiting - is Vermont Cheddar Bread. I didn't have plain cheddar to shred, so I used had large bag of shredded Monterey Jack & Cheddar instead. It worked fine though the flavor was not as cheesy as I would have liked :-)

We had a bit of a crisis with this bread.... I baked 2 loaves.. one for a potluck and one for us.  But WHILE they were cooling....... one of the loaves disappeared...  So... AFTER I talked to each of my men..... we settled on the dog as our culprit.  He HAS stolen from the counter before and is quite talented at leaving NO CRUMBS.... oh my... a very bad but HAPPY dog...

Lucky is the big dog in the back..... I wonder if he shared... or got the whole loaf in a big gulp!  I gues more of my family was waiting for the cheese bread than I thought!

My gang scarfed the other loaf... so this is another time when I had to repeat the dough to get a photo!  This time, I put the loaf into the microwave to cool!  Also I made this one with shredded cheddar as specified!

 That melt-y cheese is just oozing - oh my, is it good!  There is 4 loaves worth of dough and I am going to make rolls with some of it!

Remember to check this book out at the library..... or buy it at Amazon by clicking the link below :-) 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Book Pile.. and a favor

...My reading pile continues to grow :-)   There is one thing I absolutely LOVE to do - and that is read and learn.  With all that is going on around here, I still can't function without some reading time each day!  Some library books, one lent from a friend and some treasures on my e-reader - I usually have 3 - 4 books going at a time.

The favor?  My friend, Bev Qualheim, has a terrific site I have mentioned before.  Loaded with things that will interest anyone dealing with home and hearth.... and a TON of easy free patterns to crochet,knit and sew... most especially to create hand-made items for charitable giving (another thing dear to my heart!)  Anyway, she is trying to increase traffic to her site and I want to help... so if you have a free minute or two... check it out -!  ** I'll be re-posting this for her every day in August so bear with me!

Here's my next reading selection for your enjoyment!  I'll post another 'pile' when these are finished :-)

My pile continues to grow!  I have some books that are not library books that are rising to the top and I need to dig into them :-)

Top of the pile is one I borrowed from a friend, I Don't Have to Make Everything All Better

I am in the middle of it and it gives me so much to think about!  I love the way the authors truly help you SEE not only how I make myself crazy claiming responsibility for everything.... but also what I can do to help others learn to pick up their share!  A lot to mull over and think about.... but really useful for those of us who are busy taking care (and OVER-taking care) of others!

Next in my pile is my e-reader..... I've been ignoring it lately since I still prefer hard copy books.  It's incredible for trips but I'm still a girl who like turning pages :-)   Anyway, my brother's novel is on it - Lee, I love it!   I'm three-fourths of the way through it and am loving the intrigue between the protagonists.  Also, since I'm a big fan of historical fiction, particularly LOCAL historical fiction.... I am really enjoying the story :-)

                        Islam: A Short History (Modern Library Chronicles)  is the next one I am working on. 
I don't know enough about this religion.  I hear people on all sides making judgments and I don't know enough.  This is not the book I was looking for but this is what is in my library.  It seems fairly logical and reasoned.... but  was published in the year 2000.  Historically, it cannot be complete.... but I wanted to learn about the religion and I think this is probably a pretty good place to start.  Certainly it is not the radical rhetoric I avoid :-)

Now on to the lighter fun stuff!   The Madonnas of Leningrad: A Novel  is a wonderful story!  The tale jumps back and forth from the present day for our elderly protagonist back to the her youth when she served as a docent in a museum in war-torn Russia.   I'm not sure I would call this light reading but I really loved it!

Second in a series about a young man starting his career as a country doctor, this story is full of the daily adventures and mishaps of living out in the country.  The setting is post-world war II Ireland.  Quaint, charming and all good fun!

And, last but not least...   for you fans of the television show about the crime writer, Castle...... I ran across this novel on my library shelf!  Naked Heat is the second of the Nikki Heat series (now I have to hunt down the first one!)  Apparently the books featured on the show have actually been written.  What fun! The only problem I had was that the tv characters were in my brain as I read this book..... that is both good and bad!  All in all, though, I totally enjoyed the experience!

Go to your library or pick these up via the Amazon links provided :-)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Crochet Post :-) Dishcloth Challenge #119 through #126 and more!

       Lots of crocheting this week!  I have started back with my 3Day Walk training which includes 2 days with long endurance walks.  Since I work at home and need to be available, I do most of that on a treadmill..... I know, YUK!  But my compromise is that I watch the television programs that I record at night and crochet patterns that do not suck up too much of my brainpower.  I can do 3 miles in an hour with all that going on!   So you will be surprised in the next week or so when I start featuring more patterns.  I am within 10 cloths of being caught up to present on the patterns that are being published daily on for Maggie Weldon's Dishcloth Challenge.

I will also be working on some projects from as I run out of easy dishcloth patterns.  Bevs FREE patterns to crochet and knit for charity are well-written and easy enough for a novice to create beautiful items :-)

So - here are the week's cloths for your enjoyment!

#119 Retro Ripple Crochet Dishcloth in the lower left corner and #120 Illusions Dishcloth in the lower right corner are both done with thin crochet thread.  The instructions specify using 2 strands of thread worked together.   The instructions are fairly easy and I did get to use up some of the thread handing around in my stash of goodies!  They still don't have the thick weight I look for in a dishcloth though they might be fine for washcloths.. I'm not sure - but they are pretty!

# 121  Poliwhirl Crochet Dishcloth pictured in the upper left corner was a LOT of fun to make!  Using the two colors and working over the color not being used gives it a bit of a thicker weight for washing up.  And it was fun to watch the colors and swirls emerge!

#122 Tulip Crochet Dishcloth in the upper right corner is worked diagonally.  This type of block crochet stitch is new to me though I can see that there are several more coming up!  I will reference back to this one as I describe the others!  I found it fun to do but am not sure about the look of the colors that I carried across.  Usually when you have to carry a color (instead of ending off and rejoining), you cover it completely so that it cannot be seen in the final product.  I was not able to accomplish this on this cloth.  Threads being carried are still visible which messes the pattern up for me.  Still and all, it was easy to do and is a nice dishcloth!

The photo below has the next 4 cloths in it

#123 Fish Crochet Dishcloth pictured on the lower left.... this one has the diagonal stitch as well, like the tulip up above.  You can see the blue yarn that is carried through the orange fish.... I think it is my perfectionism that is showing here.... because it is still a cure little Nemo :-)

#124 Mosaic Plaid Ripple Crochet Dishcloth pictured on the lower right.  Alright... this one drove me nuts!  I'm not sure I ever did get it right.  I struggled the whole way through.... Yes, it is pretty but I promise I will never do another one.  I found the instructions confusing and the pattern hard to see.  It may simply be that my brain didn't grasp it... but this will be a one of a kind creation in MY world :-)

#125 - Framed Puff Stitch Crochet Dishcloth on the upper left..... This is a pretty pattern... not hard to follow and turns out nicely.  It did take a bit more time than I like.... but the end product is beautiful!

#126 - Pink Triple Posts Crochet Dishcloth on the upper right.  I had fun with this one!  You can't really see the post crochet stitches in the photo - and honestly, the variegated yarn hides them too.  But they are arranged in a lovely pattern.  If I do this again, I will probably do it in a solid color so that you can see the stitch pattern.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pandora's Box

Somehow as I get older and I meet the adult I am today

I look back and wonder what happened to the child I was.

Where did I change or get off track?

Did I consciously decide to make the changes or did life sweep me off my feet?

Probably a little of both.    Sometimes looking back to my childhood years is frightening to me.  I was loved, surely, but my family was as weird as most families are.... and I emerged with as much baggage as everyone does..... so I made (and continue to make) changes to create the life I have and/or want.

But how much fun went out with the necessary changes?

There are many things about me as a girl that have changed....

I no longer particularly want to be a marine biologist....

or an international legal whiz.....

though the idea of being a translator still intrigues me.  I used to love to work with languages... was fluent in French, functional but SLOW in Spanish and know a smattering of German and Japanese.  I am not sure where I would be today :-).  Getting certified to teach ESL is an idea that has stuck with me if I am ever in a position to use it!

I no longer am a lonely isolated child with a lot of hours to fill....

though I STILL have my nose in a book and do some form of needlework most days!

But I wonder about all the other things I used to LOVE to do in those hours.... no internet meant that I had to do other things :-)

As a part of the 'unfinished item' quest, I am uncovering a few stashes of treasures I haven't quite had the heart to toss....

***like my dollhouse furniture....  I haven't done any dollhouse work since I was a girl... but I used to LOVE to make furniture and needlework decorations for my dollhouse.  Once, as an adult, I joined one of those kit-of-the-month clubs and I have a box of a year's worth of the KITS stashed away.  I never found the TIME to make them or the HEART to get rid of them..

***some cross stitch that I packed away when I was 40 and my eyes started to go (and, mind you, I also had an infant and a toddler in the house!)

***2 needlework kits that have ended up in my hands as a result of accepting donated yarn and projects... I used up or gave away most everything... but these two kits are of a type and style that I used to love.  One is crewel embroidery and one is needlepoint... two forms of needlework I did a lot as a girl.

***And then there is painting and drawing.  I no longer have any supplies for them.... but I wonder if I would enjoy it again...

Certainly it will be at least another year before I work through enough of the ongoing projects to get to a place where I can add these "Pandora Box" treasures to my list.....

BUT what a joy to find them and dream over them again....

You DO remember what was inside Pandora's Box, don't you?  Down at the very bottom?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Weekly Menus

Oh my.... do I have trouble with this!  I have the hardest time putting a meal on the table and I find that I harbor resentment that I have to do it.  I definitely need to deal with my own feelings about this but I want to make it easier and more of a gift for my family.

It seems like everyone else has it under control..... women like to cook and put dinner on the table, right?

Wrong here :-(  When in doubt... there's always hot dogs... My men are fine with that but I know that I am not doing a good job nutritionally for anybody!

Anyway - what I DO like is being a homemaker... which includes the dreaded 'dinner on the table'!

So, in the interest of simplicity and frugality, I have been looking for some kind of system that will work for us. 

Per conventional advice, I tried to figure out our activities for the week... like which night could I make what.... but that started getting complicated... because it varies.  Seriously, maybe it is my perfectionism... but ONE schedule change and the train went off the rails.  And, around here, a change in schedule is the RULE, not the exception!
With the parameters that SOMETIMES the two teens join my husband and me for dinner... but I still need to think up, purchase and prepare a meal anyway..  here is my current attempt...

First I gathered information... what do we actually eat?

I asked the family for their favorites.... of COURSE the boys opted for burgers and dogs, pizza and mac 'n;cheese.  My husband mentioned his favorite chicken and rice soup, taco bake and chicken stir fry.  I love lasagna, Mexican chicken and chili.

I found that we repeat a lot of our meals - over and over.   We usually have a burger / dog sort of night during the week and sometimes a pizza night.  I usually make a soup of some sort each week and a one pot meal (but it's usually an ordeal finding recipes!).  We usually have at least one night of eating out of the refrigerator - and sometimes we can't get together so some are eating out and others are culling from the larder.  If we are not running a lot, or if there are not a lot of leftovers, I might try something different.

I think a rotating schedule would be good... like a rice soup one week and a bean soup the next.... lasagna one week, chicken pot pie the next...

So I tried a different approach..made a worksheet with 3 columns.... soup, one pot entree, sandwich, and alternate entree.   That's 4 options plus leftovers.  For 7 nights, that is a great head start for us.

For each entree, we will add 2 veggies and/or a salad.... sometimes a bread...and we will be good to go!

I did make an excel spreadsheet.  I will cross off the different meals as we eat them, ensuring greater variety in what I serve my family.  I can also do a better job of using what is in the pantry and freezer... and should have plenty of inspiration!

Let me know if you would like a copy of my worksheet... it is personalized to my family.. but may help you.  Also - if you have EASY, quick meals, I'd love some ideas!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

God has sent me on a Journey

Why I walk...

   Several years ago, I lost 60 pounds....  never mind how hard THAT was..... harder than the losing of pounds was the living with a new body.  I was over 50 and experiencing all the attention and attraction of someone much younger.  Sounds good, huh?    Not so much....  I have learned by now that all that fat made that attention go away..... so deeper issues exist :-)  Anyway... in one of my first attempts to figure out my body image issues.... I prayed and prayed.  I asked God what I should do with this new fit body.....  because owning it wasn't enough!

Of course God didn't answer me (I keep expecting a voice from heaven to tell me what to do)....  but for some reason, the Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk came across my radar.  Out of idle curiosity, I looked it up.. and found that there are 3-day, 60-mile walks held annually in 16 locations across the United States.  And, as always when I find something new, I talked about it to the friends I came in contact with.   One of those friends goes to my church and told me she had often thought about doing one.   Two others were online weight loss buddies who live near one of the locations.....  Somehow.. within days... we were registered to do the Philadelphia Breast Cancer 3Day Walk.  Pretty breath-taking considering I had never even heard of it.... nor did I know ANYONE who was a breast cancer hero.

Scary...... I really felt like I'd lost my mind but it sounded like a good thing to do... and the training schedule would keep me focused.   So I was on my way... the largest hurdle would be to find $2300 in donations!

The story only begins there.... the hand of God is all over it.

The following week, my mammogram results came back....... irregular for the first time ever.  I was nonchalant about it..... and figured it was a mistake.... and didn't get around to making another appointment.   A month later, I got a reminder notice and figured that since I was now training for the 3Day, I'd better do my own due diligence.  So I went for the second mammogram.

......which came back irregular again..... and I was sent to a surgeon.

Okay... now I am freaking out a little.   I met with the surgeon and we scheduled a biopsy..... which went so badly... that they had to do it again.....  and that one confirmed that there was something that needed to be removed..... so I am officially and totally freaked out now....   because that biopsy went awry and bruised me so badly that I had to wait another MONTH to have the surgery....  and I did have surgery...

The end (or beginning?) of the story is that I did NOT have cancer.....  but God led me on the journey.  God did answer my prayer..... but not in the thundering voice I hoped for but in the way of life... the quiet voice of every day.

While on this journey, I and my family lived with uncertainty and fear..... I dealt with the indignities to my body..... I met the people that work with breast cancer....  I walked the journey that my heroes walk...  I met valiant men and women who deal with this disease.   And I learned...

And I learned that God has asked me to pray and raise money and walk with those who struggle with cancer.

Not just breast cancer.  The Breast Cancer 3Day Walk is where I am called to raise money and participate.... but achievement in curing ANY cancer brings hope to us all.

I walked that first 60 miles in Philadelphia in 2008..... I hit 120 in Boston in 2009..... 180 miles were completed in Dallas in 2010.. and with God's grace, I will complete 240 miles in Washington DC in September 2011!

If you read this far, I thank you.  And I will ask you to help me. 

                                  I will ask you to consider donating to support me Each year I must raise a minimum of $2300 in donations to the Susan G Komen Foundation in order to participate.    You can go to my website at      and either donate online or print out a mail-in form (or I can send you one via email or snail mail if you like)
                    I will ask you to print out a donation form or share this blog entry and ask a friend to help me
                   I will ask you to check and see if the company you or a loved one works for matches charitable donations.
                     I will ask you to send me the names of your loved ones so I can pray for them too while I rack up training miles.... (usually over 400 training miles BEFORE the event)
                   AND I will ask you to pray for me!  That I can keep the energy and excitement and faithfulness that will keep me on the journey to answering what I believe to be God's request of me.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Bread Adventures (Batch 9) Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

..still baking away following  along the Artisan Bread book!  I am still having a blast :-)

The next oh so yummy bread is called  Yeasted Thanksgiving Corn Bread with Cranberries.. can you say Thanksgiving? 

  This bread uses the Broa dough with corn meal and the zest of half an orange (what the heck is that?)   It took me a while to figure out that my jar of orange peel (which I am not sure WHY I already had it) is the same as orange zest.... why not just call it PEEL?  What does ZEST mean anyway.... okay - back to baking...
   Now the jar says that 1 tsp of dried orange peel is the same as 1 tsp of fresh orange peel... but the recipe calls for 'the zest of an orange'.   Uh-oh... here I go again... how much is that anyway?

     wellll.... if zest = peel, then I suppose I can imagine how much that might be if the peel of an orange were dried and in a bowl in front of me :-)  So I flatten out my dough ball and sprinkle sweetened dried cranberries and my 'guess-timated amount of dried orange peel on it.... rolled it up like a jelly roll and popped it in the prepared bread pan.  Voila!  Time to rest and then pop in the oven!  Done!

Another success for the kitchen-impaired!  It is really good!  I had hoped for a new family favorite to use for Thanksgiving and I think I found it :-)  I might even attempt to take the dough and try to make individual rolls out of it...hmmmm..... getting creative in my old age!

I got side-tracked here because the men were begging for pizza again....  so I whipped up another batch of Olive Oil Dough, made some pizzas and another loaf of beautiful Olive Bread for me :-)

We tried the next whole wheat recipe - Chris Kimball's Whole Wheat.  Total thumbs up for this bread!  It is lighter than the last loaf and more family and sandwich friendly :-)   I made my husband's lunches with it all week.... he's getting noticed at work because his sandwiches are made on home-baked bread...  I'm going to have to be careful... this baking success is ruining my reputation as a non-cook!

Have you tried this book yet?  Check it out at the library to try it... and then come back here to order it from Amazon if you find you can't turn it back in :-)

btw, if you are interested in finding more family-friendly recipes... my friend, Bev, has a TON of recipes on her site -   I particularly like the breads... (I know that is a surprise for you :-)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Crochet post! Dishcloth Challenge # 111-118

             I am still playing catch up with the dishcloth challenge... though I did make a few more lovies this week.  I also sorted through a huge bag of donated yarn..... the full skeins I donated back to the crochet club at the library.... the little bitty balls and bits of yarn will make some colorful scarves to donate to the local kids this winter.  Making scarves and hats for children is the service project of the crochet club so I try to make sure I make several sets for them.  I have an idea for a scarf using the little bits.... I'll share when I finish it!  For more ideas, check out Bev Qualheim's site...    She shares many FREE quality high-success patterns for charity.  I will begin to feature some of these as time goes on.. because I have learned so much from her site!

Anyway, here are more dishcloths from Maggie Weldon's dishcloth challenge!

#111 Royal Ridge Ccrochet Dishcloth..... done in royal blue, pictured down in the lower left hand corner.. the technique is a little unusual and looks pretty.  I enjoyed trying something new!

#112 Buttered Waffles Crochet Dishcloth - pictured in the lower right corner - I think this one is really pretty.  I LOVE the way it turned out!  The yellow stripe is a long crochet chain that is woven through a white base and then the edges are stitched to make sure it stays in place.  While I enjoyed doing something new... and I also really like the result... it's probably more work than I will do again deliberately :-)

#113 - The Round n Round Crochet Dishcloth - shown in the upper left corner -I did it  in autumn tones and it worked up quickly.  Two of these stitched together would make a beautiful hot pad for the Thanksgiving table!

#114 - Scrap Crochet Dishcloth - What do you do with all those leftover bits and pieces of yarn?  THIS pattern is adorable!  I have used this technique before for winter scarves and prayer shawls.... it's perfect for the lazy crocheter because it eliminates the need to add fringe :-)  I never would have thought of doing a dishcloth this way - but I love it!

Below are the next four....

#115 - Lava Rock Crochet Dishcloth - in the lower left corner - This one was a little hard to follow but ended up cute! Probably not a repeat but it will be fun to find a science teacher or a rockhound  to give this one to!

#116 - This one is called the Blue Butterfly Crochet Dishcloth - but I'll rename mine the PINK butterfly since I used the yarn I already have :-)  This is another one that worked up quickly and turned out well.  Done mostly in double crochet, the edging is a little different and was fun to figure out

#117 - Ode to a Hydrangea Crochet Dishcloth - in the upper right corner - it REALLY looks like a hydrangea. My dishcloth didn't turn out exactly like the one pictured so I must have gotten off course... but it turned out fine anyway. 

#118 - Emerald Isle Crochet Dishcloth - I LOVE this one.  I did it in a self-striping yarn that really made it work up a bit quicker..  And it is absolutely beautiful! It's definitely on my repeat list :-)

So there are 8 for this week.....  hope you enjoy them :-)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

12 Day Body Shaping Miracle Evaluation... Post 4/4

  Net result...... 4 pounds and approximately 1 inch off most measurements...  not bad for 2 weeks!  I am pleased to have a good, healthy result...

Is the book, 12-Day Body Shaping Miracle: Change Your Shape, Transform Problem Areas, and Beat Fat for Good   effective for a major change in 12 days?  I don't know.  It seems it might be IF having a major body change in 12 days is your life priority and you follow the plan religiously. I definitely was not able - for whatever reason - to stick to the program!

Is this program good for long-term loss?  I don't think so.  I am no expert but I do not think there is enough nutritional information in this book to give you what your body will need to survive.  My body lost all energy by day 3.  I think part of this was the normal body reaction to getting rid of most chemicals.  It usually takes 3 days for withdrawal symptoms (for me)... but when day 4 dawned and I still felt horrible.... I knew I could not continue without adversely affecting my daily life.

  That said..... I do not know how much information this author gives in his other books and programs that may work better.

I DO know that:

    **This book helped me jumpstart my own life program and give me a few more ideas of things I can add to my healthy habit repertoire.

    By spending a few days being religious about portion control and food combinations, I am now 'in the mode' and can more knowledgeably create menus for myself and my family.  Most weight loss program book will give you that... I bet you have a book in your house right now that will work IF you decide to follow it for a few weeks!

  ** I DID save a couple of hundred dollars by using the library and trying this book as opposed to getting sucked in by an infomercial :-)

  What I am taking away with me .......

        I will continue my attempts to eat 5-6 times daily.... with a serving of protein plus 1-2 servings of produce.  Three times daily I will eat whole grain / starchy carb servings.

       I know I need to walk most days to get extra exercise & have a strength program 3X per week (wait, I already knew that... but have reinforced my commitment!)

      I need to pay close attention to the way foods make me feel - to determine the difference between true hunger and other emotions that play with my stomach.  One memory that has haunted me the last week or so is my mother's response to my complaints about stomach-aches.... she always ALWAYS had me eat something to settle my stomach.  I am trying to jiggle with that thinking a little.. I think that is one of those parental things that we all do to our children that surface later.

   I found that although I indulged in less than healthy behaviors sometimes, I did NOT indulge as much as usual.  I asked myself... do I really want more?  My brain was aware.... that is important and a GOOD behavior.... so a good change is emerging..

    I also learned that although I am trying to create or reinforce life habits... I need to look at a much shorter time frame!  Several times I was really ready to throw in the towel.... but reminded myself that it was ONLY for 12 days.... and I promised.  So I will pledge another 12 days.... keep track of my feelings.. and decide later if there is anything worth sharing :-)

AND, most importantly...  I had a healthy loss and I am ready to continue to build the life that will support a healthy weight!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

12 Day Bodyshaping Miracle - last 6 Days Post 3/4

 I am trying the 12 Day Bodyshaping Miracle by Michael Thurmond and share a record of my thoughts and progress ( or lack of!)

***Remember, I am not recommending this book at this time.  I am TRYING the program and share the results as I go along.  I will evaluate later on*** 

Day 7 - Weigh in was down 2 pounds.  Nice normal average weight loss for someone paying attention.  A good healthy weight loss.  I can't exactly attribute it to the book... but I will take the credit for paying attention and eating better.

This morning I am back on the treadmill/ 2 sets of armwork with 3 pound weights while I was walking..... one hour of walking and an episode of Castle.  I'm not sure where the sweat came from.... the exercise or Castle...LOL!!    Just kidding - my foot is killing me... I will need to change my shoes for the rest of the day.

I am following the food plan as bast as I can. I can't seem to keep the schedule - or the order I eat the food - 2 things that are stressed.  But I HAVE been keeping up with the produce intake - which HAS to be a good thing!  I really am ready to throw in the towel with this book but I promised myself (and YOU!) 12 days of trying... so I will keep at it!

Day 8 - I woke energetic today!  I am blessed to be able to stay home today and get some personal things accomplished!  I got breakfast in on time today.. and did my hour on the tm... other than that, it was a normal day - which is to say that I ate pretty healthily but didn't deprive myself or kill myself trying to eat on the schedule!  So, in the grand scheme of things, I didn't follow the program today.

Day 9 - still trying to focus on food but every tine I THINK about what I am not supposed to eat, it makes me crazy!  I think I do better focusing on what I CAN eat... but I am sure getting sick of eggs and turkey...  I ate reasonably well today and got my hour on the treadmill!  Go me!

Day 10 - my son pulled an all-nighter - and that got ME up by 3:30... YAWN....  I am tired but feeling kind of good about eating, etc.  I am learning a little bit about what it feels like to focus primarily on fruits and veggies... an empty-ish, never-stuffed feeling that I am learning to appreciate.  Note I did not say LIKE.... YET!  But my system is clean enough now that when I DO over-eat carbs, I am not comfortable.  And I am trying to remember that over-stuffed HEAVY uncomfortable feeling... so I can learn to avoid it
  Lunch out and did well - totally enjoyed myself!  But for some reason.... of sound mind and body... bought a bag of cheetos and ate them on the way home.... yep, all of them.  And snuck the bag into the trash so no one would know just like any good addict!  Unfortunately, that act set me up for later so I snagged a couple of handsful of the kids' cereal.... and then settled down (after a healthy dinner) to read and eat tortilla chips!  Yikes... THEN went hunting for something sweet and ended up with a power bar that had chocolate in it!....  Oh my... I am an idiot...
Day 11....  I feel like YUK this morning... all heavy and NOT hungry :-(  I am glad that tomorrow is the last day!  I will weigh on Day 13... and close the chapter on this process!   I did  get 7.5 miles done on my walking program - and I went to the movies with my husband and did NOT eat popcorn :-)  We grabbed a bite at Wendy's afterward and I did well there too :-)

Day 12... feeling great this morning - except a little sore from walking.  I need to make a priority of it though so I can be ready for the 3Day in Sept.  I need to schedule 2 days per week for endurance walking - and today is day 2.  Anything less than 7.5mi will do for today.

Tomorrow is my final weigh-in and measurements and an evaluation.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

12 Day Bodyshaping Miracle FIRST 6 DAYS Post 2/4

 I am going to try the Bodyshaping Miracle by Michael Thurmond and share a record of my thoughts and progress ( or lack of!)

***Remember, I am not recommending this book at this time.  I am TRYING the program and share the results as I go along.  I will evaluate later on***

Day 1 is measurements... okay this will make me sick - but I will take the measurements specified and start this process.  Strength exercises didn't take long... but my choices are easy enough to do off and on all day.  The food is good - and I need to eat mindfully every couple of hours.  I AM STARVING  (though I am eating a lot of food!)  It is several times the amount of produce I am used to... so my system is talking to me... literally... I am staying AWAY from people :-)

Busy day doing errands... so I will have to do my cardio hour when I get home... my choice?  one hour on the tm catching up with Richard Castle.... oh yeah, he's worth it... sigh....
    According to my research, the best fruit buys this week are at Food Lion... and I need 2 servings a day.... dark cherries and black plums!  Cantaloupe is the best price there too - but they were tiny!  Best price - but NOT the best deal.... will be checking Kroger (my favorite) out tomorrow

The worst part was that when I got on the treadmonster.. the satellite was OUT!  No Castle to help me out.... BOO!!  But I get points!  I managed 45 minutes reading one of my books.....

Day 2 - Made it through Day 1!  OMG!  My stomach is GROWLING!..... coffee, puh-lease!  The food plan is so CLOSE to the food plan I normally use.... except that I have NOT been using it :-)  I think that all the extra produce is rolling things around in my poor tummy..... and I am accustomed (I don't know WHY) to chowing down on crunchy processed carbs - tortilla p, crackers, etc.  to quiet the uncomfortable rumblings!  I know that is a bad habit but.....

Okay - I had a good breakfast and have done my morning chores.. trying to get up the OOMPH to get cracking!  Upper body today along with the 45-60 minutes walking....  off the computer I go!

For all my planning about the exercises, I changed tactics and I am glad I did.  The book specifies contractions of certain muscles for toning and shaping purposes.  Without actually trying them, it is hard to realize exactly which muscles you are working.  So I spent my treadmonster time multi-tasking.  I did all the chest and arm contractual movements, working on proper form and isolating the muscles that I want to work. 

One of the things I appreciate about this book is the selection of muscles that actually NEED more work.  It says that my body type doesn't really need more calf and thigh work - and, you know, I have often felt that way.  Especially since walking and dancing are my chosen cardio options.  It is, in fact, my chest and shoulders - and, of course, my all American middle - that need the extra attention!

Day 3 - I am exhausted!  Part from the change in food - part because it's a busy week anyway.   Last was TOUGH!  Family movie night - my husband with his bag of chocolate..... my son with a plateful of popcorn chicken he microwaved to share..... geezzzz...... me sipping my tea and wishing I had a clothespin for my nose!  I didn't have one though - and kept saying to myself that I could enjoy the SMELL without adding the TASTE.  I did not convince myself... but neither did I indulge!  I had a bowl of fresh cherries after a while and that was that!

Today is a rest day - I am not sure if that is just strength or cardio too - but I feel weak and tired and I am going to do neither today.  I am tweaking my protein intake upward..... adding a protein smoothie as one of my meals to see if that will add some energy. I am really feeling tired today - though that is not unusual for Day 3 of a diet change.   Also I will probably be at a restaurant today - and will order a grilled chicken salad.... but I will eat clean and it will be fine (as long as I stay away from the tortilla chips!)    Success at the restaurant - ordered extra lettuce & ate half the chicken - brought the rest home for another salad later... sweet!  There really is a lot of food recommended but I really do feel awfully hungry.... I think the low grain carb consumption is doing it.  Hopefully things will be easier in a day or so.... but it's only 12 days, right?

Day 4...... woke still feeling hungry :-( but thinking I need to learn to live with this feeling.  It might just be normal!  I have a tendency to eat all the time.  Whenever my stomach has a feeling, I fill it.  For me, a lot of my issues are psychological - in that I need to re-train my reactions to life!  So I will plug along here for a bit and see where it leads.   I did find yesterday that a meal satisfied me (it IS more than I usually eat at a sitting - unless I am dorito-diving) but within 30 - 45 minutes, I feel hungry (or ready to eat?) again.  The calorie count is low and NO fat, so I know that is a long-term problem and I will adjust for it.
    Since I decided to train for the 3Day - checking that schedule I am supposed to walk 12 miles today and 8 tomorrow!  I won't do that yet because my body isn't ready for it - but I will see what I CAN do... for this program I am supposed to have 45 - 60 min of cardio both days - so I will probably double that.

Grand intentions - but not much luck.  I am dragging today and getting nowhere really fast!  It's been a busy week and I am enjoying putzing around the house.... I am not getting the exercise I planned accomplished!  Well... not a good day :-(  Between the excessive heat and the boring food options, I am not feeling well at all...   Finished up the day by adding some doritos and 2 slices of whole wheat bread.  I think that the very low carb nature of the food plan may not be serving me well.  I'll keep trying and see what happens!

Day 5
   oh my goodness, I really am dragging today.  I feel awful!  I am going to try to follow the food plan (or at least the low grain carb - or gluten-filled part) to see if it is the bread and chips bothering me OR the low calories..  My stomach really hurts this morning.  But I guess it's a good thing if 'my stomach really hurts' instead of 'I am really hungry'.  Maybe I am learning to differentiate.

I dragged through the day.  It is very hot and I can't figure out HOW to move enough to call it cardio :-) ...  I am not having much success eating the proper foods on schedule either.    This afternoon I succumbed to some chex mix.  And I'm a bit apathetic about things so I need to be careful today.  I will  make sure I eat the right stuff for the rest of the day.

Day 6....  I feel almost normal again... but I have not done the exercise required of the program.  I have done fairly well with the food today - but again, it's tough to make things happen in the order specified.  There was a potluck at church today - and while I did not exactly follow the program... what I am pleased about is that I chose a few items that I really wanted to try... I did not fill my plate with anything I felt marginal about.... I chose some of everything fresh.... and from the dessert table I took a piece of pecan pie... that I really wanted.   And I was satisfied.  I felt NORMAL :-)  No nagging myself... no eating things I didn't really care about... no feeling stuffed... that was good!

weigh-in tomorrow morning...

Monday, August 1, 2011

12-Day Bodyshaping Miracle Prep... Post 1/4

Note:   This is Post 1 of 4..... dealing with a weight loss product and my thoughts as I went day by day.  I have finished the program as it was laid out... (at least as far as I participated...).  I thought it might be better to break it into a few posts .. to deal with the different aspects as I went along.. The mental journey was the most significant for me... and might be helpful for you..

So - still trying to figure this food /exercise thing....


an infomercial caught my attention - you know how that is, right?  But in an effort to a) NOT buy into the magic bullet syndrome and b) NOT spend money wastefully.... I was so proud that I looked for the name of the trainer in my library database... and found a book... Michael Thurmond's 12-Day Bodyshaping miracle.

Got it out of the library and started looking it over.....

12 days.... hmmm...

I can do ANYthing for 12 days, right?

Well, not ANYthing..... if it's too weird, it will only hurt me in the long run, so it needs to make sense.

And this SEEMS to!  Taking into account your body type (which it helps you figure out), this book promotes 45-60 min daily cardio, specific strength exercises every few days and healthy low fat REAL food meals.

***Remember, I am not recommending this book at this time.  I am going to TRY the program and share the results as I go along.  I will evaluate later on***

Yes.... I thought... I can do this!  I spent a couple of days choosing the exercises and setting up the menus & preparing food.  (It really doesn't take long to cut vegetables and fruit... but it seems to take a while to set up a food plan.... which helps prevent the basic pantry / fridge grazing!)

So... okay - I spent the prep days getting my MIND wrapped around the idea of creating the new habit (while recognizing that I have a way out after 12 days!).    Cardio was an easy choice for me - WALKING!  45 - 60 min daily..... which should take care of catching up on some DVR tv programs :-)   I pored over the strength exercise listed.  I LOVE the way Michael Thurmond lays out each exercise and tells what muscle to target.   And then I laid out the meal plan - and got specific with the items in my own refrigerator.... and updated the shopping list to double the fruits and veggies.  Day 1 food is prepped and bagged... ready to go in individual portions just for ease!

Of course - spending the time planning is where I am skilled!  Now to where the rubber meets the road!  I'll keep you posted on the journey!

Tomorrow I'll post what happened on the first 6 days of the program...