Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Healthy Habits Week #9

Did you catch the part in Monday's post where I reported that I have lost 6 pounds and 7 torso inches since the first of the year??  Woo-hoo!!  The backwards strategy is working!   Building health will bring my body to where God wants it to be..... AMEN.. it's working!

Remember, I am not a doctor.... and I do not know what you need.  I am choosing this method for myself because it makes sense to me.  And what I suggest is not enough in the total picture.... BUT it is a great beginning.  And - for me - as I try to remember to do these things... some are becoming automatic.... some are tougher... but I do MORE because I am making myself think about it.  I am creating a life where I don't HAVE to work so hard to think about it!

This week, I add strength exercise.

Week #9 - Daily Strength phase 1 Lower Body

Here's the concept:  choose something you already have a routine for.. and ADD to it.

For me:  I have a habit of doing 1-4 loads of laundry daily.  I actually started this process last fall with just one exercise.  I did calf raises to build up my leg strength.  So as I fold laundry, I rise up on my toes and back down again.  An easy, yet functional exercise that builds strength from your toes to your behind and helps prevent cramping.  How many?  When I started I could only do 10.... per load.

I have since added squats.  Not crazy, weird exercises.  Functional.... pretend to sit in a chair and stand back up.  Keep your weight in your heels (I sometimes try to lift my toes to remind myself to keep my weight in my heels).  I want my bending mechanisms to still work well as I age.... and being strong enough to get up and down from a chair without assistance is a good thing :-)

And then.... to end it up, I now do jumping jacks or overhead arms/knee lifts for a bit of cardio action for my heart.  That's it.

And I've worked up to 30 each.... per load.  (But often I do not count - I just do what feels good)  If anything hurts, STOP!  You are slowly building and it takes time... lots of time.

My goal for this week is to REMEMBER to do these each time I fold laundry.

My ultimate goal is that when I walk into the laundry room, I automatically do some lower body strength.  Like Pavlov's dog.... automatic no-brainer.

Now - YOUR JOB - what will work for you?

Can you do calf raises while you stand at a copy machine?
Can you do a squat (an 'almost sit') each time you sit in a chair?
Can you march in place for 30 seconds when you take a phone call?

I'd love to hear your ideas!  Just remember to start small and make it EASY.  The KEY is to create success..... 10 calf raises tossed into your day is BETTER than the workout you skipped because you didn't have time...

And I am thinking..... hard... about starting an arms routine (I think in the kitchen) and a core routine.  The idea is to find a functional exercise that I can do often to keep my muscles toned.  I will add those in a month or so.

Another place to add a few strength exercises is in the shower.... that warm water makes it a lot easier!

Have fun and let me know how it goes!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Weekly Goals 9/52

Wow - this is my 300th published post :-)  Happy Monday!

So last week's goals didn't go very far!  Between my husband dislocating his knee and a first overnight visit from my almost 2-year old granddaughter... the week kind of went in the toilet!  Do you have those weeks?  I felt like I was fighting fires all week long.  I KNOW I was in the car all week long!

That said - healthy habits are still in place... I slowed down on crocheting but made good headway in my planning stage of the downsize project.   Goals and my magnificent organizing notebook went out the window... and it was a matter of day by day doing what needed to be done....  and when that happens, well.. we move through our lives but it will be a catch-up day today!  I have grand hopes that by using the 15-minute process, I can make some headway and get back on track.

On a good note - my husband is going to heal well, albeit slowly.  We had a blessed visit with our granddaughter and the house itself is fairly neat (due to her visit :-).  I lost another pound & an inch & a half.... bringing the total to 6 pounds and 7 inches since the first of the year... thanks to the coaching from the Thrive in Five program by Hannah Keeley ( AND the Novo Wellness team Greg Hottinger and Michael Scholtz with Coach Yourself Thin.. ( )  This is a MAJOR SCORE since I have not yet been able to talk myself into either following a food plan OR doing a dvd yet this year.  I AM doing little things daily and THAT is making a difference.  Goal weight?  I will see where my healthy life takes me... first goal.. was to STOP the weight climb which had me popping out of the larger clothes I bought last fall.  CHECK!  Next goal is for them to become loose enough that I can wear last year's summer clothes!

Anyway - onward and upward to the week ahead!

1. Left from Last Week (do first!)
               Add quilt strip to quilt and prepare for hand quilting


2. House focus – Master Bedroom / Bath 15 minutes daily

3.  New healthy habit: Daily Strength - phase 1 Lower body

4. Begin Lenten Project Downsize
             A) inventory pantry & freezer for menu prep
             B) start listing books on
             C) Begin identifying & sorting items for sale

5.  Do dvd or Treadmill cardio 3 X

6.  Birthday cards: personal and church

7.  Work on tax info gathering

8. Blogs:  Schedule Children’s Liturgy posts for Lent
                  Send notes to new contacts from writers’ group meeting
                  Continue Lenten Reflections
                  Catch up on Journey

            Scan photos (30 min weekly)
            BAKE new bread / crochet dishcloths
            Crochet projects
Weekly Movie night
            Desk 15 min daily – financial & personal
            Health habits: mile / green tea / salad / fruit / pedometer / outdoors/fish  oil

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lenten Project Downsize


Stuff Management (and avoiding stuff management) is taking up too much of my time and my life.  My life is about DOING, not OWNING.

A little history.... I used to be a packrat.... and still have a lot of trouble deciding how to dispose of things.  NOT letting go of things.... I have gotten to a point in my life where I give easily....  but I own a lot of things that need proper disposition.  Things that I need to learn how to deal with.

I have passed through stages in my life...  as a young adult... acquiring as we all do, the trappings of an adult in her own home (and trying to decide what to do with the stuff of youth).  Of course, I hung onto some 'dream things' that I wanted to DO later when there was time.

I moved into a young married.... a young mom... a newly divorced.... a single parent...  all stages that required acquisition of stuff.... and several moves.... and lots of unopened boxes that moved from place to place.  MOSTLY because I am fortunate enough to own some nicer things that, of course, mixed in with everything else I didn't use at the time.  But also because we all move through stages.... and sometimes there just isn't enough time or mental space to actually DO the DREAM stuff.

Then, remarriage.... two more children.... and my mother's death.   I had to deal with her stuff then - on top of my own.  Bless her, she made a list of everything anyone had ever asked her for (including me) - so I got rid of a lot.  I gave away almost anything anyone asked for.... God taught me then to give :-)  It was hard - but it was good.

We bought her house and moved in..... boxed up as much of her stuff as I could and moved in mine with my children.   More years went by and I diligently went through boxes of her things and mine...carefully RE-boxing things I didn't quite know what to do with.

But I'm through.  My kids are all but grown.... and it's way past time.  In the next few years as we head toward retirement, this house will either be a vacation home for my family (or perhaps rented sometimes)... [this is the dream scenario]... or we will have to sell because we can't afford (for lots of reasons including location) to keep it as we grow older.  In any case, we will move.  The STUFF must be dealt with once and for all.  It is my responsibility and shouldn't be left to others in case of my death either.

I have never really sold things on Ebay or gone to yard sales.... I have little experience with the value of items that I didn't pay for.... and it is time that I become a better steward - of things, of my time, of my gifts.  I am embarking on a journey to divest myself of as many items as I can - many of them one by one because of the various types of things I somehow have responsibility for.
SO, it's time to learn... it's time to clean out the corners and make way for DOING.

And this - however unusual - is my Lenten project.  Managing things, worrying about things, caring for things.... takes up too much of the precious life God gave me.... so, there you go.

Time to remove a layer that lies between me and God.

Friday, February 24, 2012


Up early this morning.... my hubby had a bad night so sleep was was elusive and dream-filled!  I am excited today for the beautiful weather - AND I get to pick up my youngest grand-girl for her first overnight with us.  I have a feeling that this will be more of a challenge for her mom than for us :-)  

 We will spend some of our time outdoors digging in the dirt.... turning over one of my garden plots.. getting ready to plant salad sorts of things.  And we will spend time reading and playing with her uncle's old toys.  It's kind of fun for the little girls to play with the trains and cars and things we still have around.

And, of course, time navigating the pets.... introducing them to her again.  Just one night... but a grand adventure for a two-year-old and her adults!  I have a post for tomorrow but may not have time for a personal note!  If so, I will catch up with you in a day or so :-)

Have a great weekend!


It is fitting that starting the season of Lent..... of working on my soul.... my life is undergoing so many BIG changes.

Changes happen to all of us.  We plan for them, we avoid them, we recover from them... but most of all, for some reason... we don't think they are really going to happen!

The real truth of life is that one of the few CONSTANTS... is CHANGE.   Births, deaths, marriages, vacations, dreams, jobs, re-locations, aging...  CHANGES, all.

We (my husband and I) have been dealing lately with loss of income and figuring out what we want to do next.  It is a frightening thing that so many of us have had to deal with in this strange economy... like so many, we are faced with the possibility of moving and of losing our home within the next few years as we search for employment to help us get to - and beyond - retirement.

Grandchildren..... kids in college.... and looking for work.  We may have to move out-of-state.

We are not alone.  We know this.  But it is sad to contemplate the changes.

I was blessed with a major epiphany the other day.

The changes I am facing have not really changed much.


The reality is.... that if I had all the money in the world.... I still want to live closer to my children.  As much as I love my home... and will mourn leaving it.... leave it, I will.

I am getting older... I do not want to live more than 30 minutes away from a doctor as I age.  I cannot drive at night.  I have lived with this for 15 years.. by NOT being regularly employed and by choosing to stay home or ask my husband to drive me places at night.  As I age, I would like to live where I can use public transportation or where it is not an imposition to have a friend swing by to pick me up.

If I had all the money in the world, I will still be facing a time when my last children will be gone and my husband and I will be starting over.  Whether it is here in this house or somewhere else.... the situation remains the same.  It may be a blessing in disguise if we get to do it as an 'extended second honeymoon' in another location.  We know that we will choose to come back to the area where our children are..... in a few years.  Years..... that are shorter now than they used to be!

So.... in short... if I had all the money in the world.... I will still be looking at moving within the next few years.... and I will still be dealing with change.

I have a choice.  I can mourn my losses..... or I can reach out for freedom and adventure.    Hmmm..... want to guess where I CHOOSE for my brain to GO?

Where are YOU choosing to plan and dream?  Mourning or Anticipation?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bread adventures! Montreal bagels

Pretty day ahead!!  I wore a coat on my morning walk and came back home ROASTING!  I hope that I can spend some more of my time outdoors today :-)

We will be heading out to the chiropractor soon... my beloved still can't drive (which he is not handling well).  My shoulders are still bugging me, but his need is the more urgent.  I do have to resist an urge.... men are so FUNNY when they are ill.  I need to bite my tongue to refrain from saying.... okay where WERE you these last few months when my shoulders have been acting up?  Because you, my readers - YOU know who got out the Christmas decorations and put them back.  YOU know who has been hauling boxes around... and you also know that many things simply haven't been done.

But I am chuckling about this - because I also know that he will do what I ask him to do - and I am NOT good about asking for help.  And I can't fairly PUNISH him because he IS good at it :-)  I AM discovering how blessed I am - because my DISHWASHING has doubled lately... I miss our walks together in the morning - but am enjoying my solitude too.  Changes, changes.... but all is well.

I will be working on the house this afternoon when I get back... tomorrow morning I will pick up my granddaughter for an overnight.  We are very excited but there is a good bit to catch up on after all the excitement of the week..... FLOORS to do when I get home!

Bread Adventures

More bagels from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day!  It has been fun for me to have so many of you talk to me about this book :-)  I would be curious how many books have been purchased because of this blog... but I am having so much fun learning!  Within another month or so, I will be beginning to add in some of the recipes from the authors' second book - Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

In the grand scheme of things, this bagel project moved more smoothly than the first one.... in the midst of it, however.....

...The first batch of dough didn't rise well......  I thought it might be me!

I went to make another batch to see... and noticed a typo (maybe) in the book.  It calls for 1 tablespoon of yeast (which supposedly equals 1.5 packets).  What I noticed is that the 1.5 packet descriptor is on all the breads - and they all call for 1.5 Tablespoons of yeast.  I wasn't sure which was correct.... so I did an online search.  The answer is that a packet is approx 2/3 tablespoon (actually it is 2.25 tsp and 3 tsp = 1 Tbsp) 

And then I checked the FAQ on the website and it said that you actually could use a whole lot less yeast if you wanted - it just needed a lot more time to rise.   So after 2 days, that batch number one is still pretty small.....

I decided to make another batch with the 1.5 Tablespoons of yeast and see what happened!

The end result was that both batches reached the same size... much smaller than the other breads... so there ya go :-)  It was less dough than the other batches I have made but it was also firmer and easier to work with.

I still can't seem to get the size right for bagels - or maybe they are supposed to be a monster size :-)  I used about as much as a tennis ball.... and they ended up still larger than a hamburger bun.

This batch was definitely easier to do - and hence - more fun for me!

Beautiful, beautiful bread... two batches worth so I have plenty to share :-)

Taste testers concur..... this bagel tastes a LOT like a soft pretzel that you buy.... and since it is much easier to work with than the other dough.... IF I were inclined to go to the work of making pretzels..... I will use this dough!

Yep - this recipe is a keeper!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Healthy Habit #8

Fish Oil - for me :-)  Supplements in general....

Fish Oil - a source of those awesome Omega-3s..... good for my heart - and my aging eyes..

In general, I think we should get our nutrients from FOOD.

But there are exceptions.

I don't eat fish.  I don't like fish.  I NEVER eat it.  And cold water fish is the primary source of Omega-3s.  I found a product that I can take that does not taste fishy (either going down or burping back - sorry.... but most pills I have tried come back at me with that fishy taste!)

SO I take (when I remember) my spoonful of oil.  Because I need this every day... I have a deficit if I rely on my diet.

That 'remembering' part - that is why I need to focus on this habit.

I also take a few other supplements for issues I have not been able to correct with food.

So, here we go - choose your supplement - and remember to take it!

What do YOU need to remember to get into your system?


FYI - I am attempting to write a daily Lenten Reflection at

Come and see!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Crochet Post! Items I finished up last week...

 This morning dawned bright and clear.... the snow is gone and what water froze overnight will be melted soon.  It's still quiet - the dogs aren't even awake so I have a little time to think before our daily mile :- 

I will be going to town soon, taking my hubby to the chiropractor to check out the knee injury he managed to acquire over the weekend.  I'm a little nervous about it - though he is gaining a little more use of it every day.  AND since the man was working with a chain saw.... if he walked away from it with only a knee strain, I am blessed!


I missed posting dishcloths last week - and this one too - but will get back to it next week, I promise!

Below is a photo of the Valentine hats I made for my cutie pie grandgirls!  They turned out really cute :-)

Cuter on the girl than flat on the tablecloth!

and then - for fun - several days worth of patterns from - Maggie Weldon's 2012 pattern-a-day!  Lots of little crochet motifs to applique on something... someday....  probably HATS!

..and then - I FINISHED an afghan :-)  Hooray - I LOVE finishing them!

This is the second of the afghans in the Martial Arts World colors.  All symbolic representing the different levels of belts and uniforms as students progress through the ranks.  This one is destined to be a raffle item to raise money for the exhibition team.  I will start another one soon as a gift for my son when he tests for his black belt.

What projects are you working on?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Weekly Goals 8 of 52

Last week was one of those weeks where you are busy all week and feel like you didn't get anything done.  I spent a lot of time thinking.. and 'wasting time'.  Even fussed at myself a little - but I know me... and I know that many times when I feel STALLED.... in writing, in chores, in many areas.... I am just on the edge of an epiphany.

And the epiphany is this - the crisis that just happened to us - is a blessing.  And I am blessed with the learning and the lessons that are coming.  I will write more about this later..... but I am sure that the coming weeks will bring much food for Lenten reflections (  as I navigate some new concepts and tasks I have never done before.

We start this Monday morning in a quiet place here.... my husband strained his leg the other day and is resting it.... we had our first snowfall last night and everything is closed.   It's kind of funny because the snow will be gone by this afternoon - and tomorrow I will take my guy to the chiropractor and pick up the threads of our weekly life.  Seriously nothing to be done here but RICE :-)

Today will be a blessed day at home.... preparing the weekly meals and getting started on a game plan for my Lenten project.  I've already been out for my mile walk with my dog..... actually more than a mile... the morning was quiet and she LOVES snow.  Knowing that the snow will be gone and there was no traffic.. I let her off her leash.... and had a bit of a romp trying to catch up with her :-)  We both got a little extra movement in this morning and I'll hop on the treadmill later on and catch another mile or so...

Anyway - my goals for the week are below:

1. Left from Last Week
               Add quilt strip to quilt and prepare for hand quilting (will probably wait another week due to LIFE interference!)


2. House focus – Library 15 minutes daily

3.  New healthy habit: Take fish oil daily

4. Begin Lenten Project Downsize
             A) inventory pantry & freezer for menu prep
             B) start listing books on
             C) Begin identifying & sorting items for sale

5.  Do dvd or Treadmill cardio 3 X

6.  Birthday cards: personal and church

7.  Weekly menu: Turkey Rice Soup (2 kinds so that I can freeze some), make chili

8.  Work on tax info gathering

9. Blogs:  Schedule Children’s Liturgy posts for Lent
                  Send notes to new contacts from writers’ group meeting
                  Start Lenten Reflections
                  Catch up on Journey

            Scan photos (30 min weekly)
            BAKE new bread / crochet dishcloths
            Crochet projects
Weekly Movie night
            Desk 15 min daily – financial & personal
            Health habits: mile / green tea / salad / fruit / pedometer / outdoors

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Lent is Coming

I admit it... I am behind!

Life has been moving so quickly and with such an UP and DOWN of emotions that I am not sure on any given day whether I am coming or going.  While my healthy habits are improving.... my house decluttering is reaching a crisis mode.  NOT because it is dirtier than usual but because I have reached a point where I really have to deal with getting rid of possessions.  I have given away a lot - but I am at a point where I actually need to sell some things and I have no idea how.  So that will take time as I learn... item by item.. how to dispose of them like a good steward.

That said - life is not supposed to be easy.... where is the triumph in EASY?

Anyway, as usual, I digress.

I have lost track of time.  I had lunch yesterday with a good friend and she asked me what I was doing for Lent.  It knocked me over the head - Lent starts on WEDNESDAY.  THIS week!

And what am I doing?

Hmm..... something to bring me closer to God.... something that makes me a better person....

I took a look back at last year's blog entry.... and I can see that I was on the road to where I am now.  The things I was focused on then are more fine-tuned now but similar things.

Last year was the first time I worked systematically at cleaning out the freezers and pantry.  And I've done it a couple of times since then.... one just last month.

I took an online course about Jesus last year.  I'm not doing that this year but I AM working with a group at church to produce a passion drama... so I will count that as a Lenten offering :-)

Many years I have done 40-day reflections where I read and journalled every day.  Last year I WROTE daily reflections.  I'm not feeling quite as inspired this year as I was last... but I may try my hand at it anyway.  Maybe it's not about how I FEEL :-)

Some years I have made a concerted effort to DO something special.  That is actually how I got hooked into sending cards to people.. from the year I created a "Christmas card list" of special people and sent them "Hey, I'm thinking about you" cards all during Lent.  These days, we all get a little silly when we get real cards in the real mail!

The year I started thinking about tithing was during Lent.  Did you ever think... if we ALL tithed... we wouldn't HAVE to have the government take care of our widows and orphans?

So.. I'm kind of entering Lent in a weird space this year... not ready.  But it really doesn't matter... Lent is coming anyway.  God is waiting anyway...  I will ponder on this for the next few days and come to the conclusion that works for me in my life right now...... and you can read about it on my Reflections blog :-) 

 Have YOU thought about it?  What are you doing for Lent?

By the way, has little 3-minute retreats you can do right at your desk... great little spiritual breaks!  

Let me know what you are doing!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Healthy Habit Week 7

Go outside 10 - 30 minutes most days.

Yeah, yeah, I know... it's winter... and yucky... and cold.  But you know as well as I do that fresh air is good for you.  Getting out into God's great outdoors is healthy on many levels.  Just a few minutes can bring lungfuls (is that a word?) of cleansing air into your system.  THINK of all that oxygen entering your body and rejuvenating your blood cells!  (And then RUN back inside if it's too inclement for you!)

Seriously, regardless of the weather... a few minutes outside will give you the benefits of whatever sun is available (I hear you - but there is still MORE sun out there than INSIDE).  You also benefit spiritually by a new environment and a little mental clutter-busting.

THINK of all the germs that are cooped up INSIDE with you.... going outside is a great way to BLOW some of them away and strengthen your immune system.

As a society, we spend more and more time engaged in a SITTING position.... usually looking at an artificial light source under other artificial lights (computer, television, video game, smart phone, etc).  A few minutes of your day going back to the source light will help re-set your brain and your health.


I want to re-iterate the value of these little healthy habits.  We are conditioned to think that monumental efforts need to go into successful weight loss and health promotion.  Sometimes that is true.... but that monumental effort has more to do with SPEED than efficacy.  And with the speed..... may come success.... but you don't have the infra-structure to support it.  Your LIFE has not changed enough to KEEP the success.

Imagine going into an underdeveloped nation and building beautiful roads to get from village to village.  What a wonderful thing to do!  Now imagine what those roads will look like in a few years after you leave.... and the people go about their daily lives.  IF they do not know how to maintain the roads.... if regular maintenance habits do not become part of their daily life.... that quick success is doomed to failure.

Following the healthy habit routine is SLOW.... but it is achievable.  You can achieve success one habit at a time and can build a healthy life with a normal weight.  For me, I am finding that my spirit is happy with success.  Just a little weight loss this year - but a happier spirit.  Rather than the usual pattern of intense exercise and restricted diet, where I inevitably can't keep up (and, thus FAIL once again).... I am successful. 

7 weeks into this new concept, a daily mile walk with my dog is becoming a habit.  Coffee consumption is reduced by replacing with green tea.  A daily salad with beans ensures 2-3 vegetables and makes me think of adding others sometimes.  A daily fruit often becomes two.  Using my pedometer has taught me that I need THREE miles every day to get 10,000 steps, so I am working on other things I can do to increase my 'on my feet' time - BUT just adding the ONE mile brings me halfway to my daily goal :-)  Weights and measures every week usually brings me success in something!  Eating at the table... well, I have not had much success with that one BUT I do think about it - so perhaps am gaining some mindfulness?  And outside time has surely helped with both my attitude and my sickness this year.

More than that - as life goes on - and crises occur - I am still successful.  My 'whole program' does not fall apart because life happens.  I still have energy and I can still achieve the goals I set out for myself.

How about you?  How is it going for you?  What habit do YOU need to add to the Healthy Habit list?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Weekly Goals 7/52

Week 7 of 52
1. Left from Last Week (do first!)
                Monthly - air filters (okay so I STILL haven’t gotten these handled! yikes)


2. House focus – Dining Room 15 minutes daily

3.  New healthy habit: Go outside 20 min daily

4. Add quilt strip to quilt and prepare for hand quilting

5.  Do dvd or Treadmill cardio 3 X

6. Birthday cards: personal and church

7.  Weekly menu: Crockpot Onion soup, cook turkey breast, bake brownies and/or cookies for Valentine surprise

8. Get tax info envelope started

9.  Crochet 4 dishcloths

10. Blogs:  Schedule Children’s Liturgy posts
                  Send notes to new contacts from writers’ group meeting

            Scan photos (30 min weekly)
            BAKE new bread
            Crochet projects
   Weekly Movie night
            Desk 15 min daily – financial & personal
            Health habits: mile / green tea / salad / fruit / pedometer

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday Morning Musings

Saturday morning after a long week......  one of those weeks where most of your good intentions went right out the window!

Not a bad week really.. just off to a slow start... yet so many things happened that I was pretty much a bystander trying to hang on and figure it out.

Do you ever have weeks like that?  In control?  Not exactly....

My new-found attempts at area focus in the house.... didn't happen well at all....  But the key is that they DID happen in some capacity.  While the designated area (porches) was 100% neglected.... I did do a little sorting and tossing in other areas where I happened to be at any given time.  So that's something.. and anything is indeed progress!

Healthy habits?  Pretty good, all in all.... I did my morning dog walk (mile) and even increased my steps with an afternoon walk - not sure of the distance there.. but I have managed to end each day with over 6,000 steps.  NOT the recommended 10 - but a super improvement on the 3500 I opened 2012 with :-)  Still good with the tea and fruit and the salad.... eating at the table hasn't gone so well... but I haven't been mindlessly binging either.. so I call it a win..

I am treading water in other areas like paperwork and greeting cards.... but treading water isn't drowning.. so again.. a win....

AND I think I almost have mentally processed most of the week's events so I can prepare to make a little more progress next week.

Today we are off and running early... my son is testing for a belt in his martial arts class.... and tomorrow is church activities.  I will do my quick list of "have to's" and stick a few in here and there while I enjoy my family!

I think the best part about today is knowing that - while I did not make progress the way I planned... Neither did I backslide by eating inappropriately or torturing myself.  Things just ARE... and I am still working on goals...  Life has happened... interrupted... and I am still in the game without losing ground!

So how was your week?  Are you making it worse by beating yourself up or are you getting better about recognizing that life happens!  Life keeps on happening.... and interrupting!  Having good habits to survive the interruptions is a HUGE bonus :-)

Here's to a better week ahead!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Healthy Habit Week 6

So how are you doing with the healthy habits??

I have heard from a few folks on Facebook who are trying to do this with me..   the thinking is that if we build a life with healthy habits... (health (and weight) will follow!   How's it going for you?

In February, we are trying to gather information and face facts.  So in February, we will have two habits a week.... one fact-checker.... and one daily change to work on.  Last week, we wore a pedometer all week to learn how many steps we take in a day.  Did you figure it out?  Are you anywhere near the recommended 10,000 steps for a fit person?

You know I wasn't.  Even with my daily mile, I will need to add two more miles to get the steps in every day.  I am still wearing my pedometer and trying to figure out how to add them!  I know that adding an exercise dvd will do the trick but I'm just not ready to go there yet...  I want to build my life and I'm not sure that an exercise dvd is going to be a regular part of it.  Perhaps 2-3 times per week.. like a class that you could go to... I will think on it...

In the meantime.... this week I want you to choose a specific time to weigh and measure.  If you do both every week.. you have a better indicator of how you are doing....  what else do you think you need to check?  Your attitude?  Your energy?  Make a note... and measure the same things every week.  It will give you an invaluable resource as you create the habits that will build your healthy life.

Okay - wait a minute.... don't WAIT until you create a fancy spreadsheet or decide what to monitor.  Get a tape measure and put it near your scale and check a few things once a week.  That's it.  I check my torso measurements because I am mostly interested in health and smaller jeans :-)  I measure AND weigh because MY body seems to alternate weekly... some weeks my weight changes and some weeks my measurements do.  I like to see progress so I check all of that.  I also check my MOOD because sometimes I get really moody and I am trying to figure out foods and life choices that affect my moods.

...and the other habit is eating at the table.

Sometimes I can't do that because when we run errands, we are far from home and I take my lunch with me.  I don't mind eating in the car that way..... I really want to stop my habit of grabbing things out of the fridge or pantry and eating them standing up... or while I am walking around.  I want to eat mindfully and purposefully while I am paying attention.  Somehow I eat more when I don't pay attention..  You might not have this issue...

Anyway - that is where we are now - hope you are building your healthiest life too!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Thrive in Five Update Day 30 & Crochet Dishcloths 207-210 and 211-214

*****Thrive in Five Update Day 30*****

Today I had some really disturbing personal news that will shake up our lives all around.  I am really upset and lay in bed this morning thinking about it all.

Now I know that we all have things happen... and I know that when changes occur, life gets really confusing.  It's hard to see whether BIG changes are good or bad sometimes.  And I trust that God has us in very capable hands... and we will be fine.  But I still feel that knot in the pit of my stomach.... and I felt myself sinking into that depressed well that will not allow you to get out of bed.

You know what I mean... when there is no blood in your veins... and you just can't do it....   and the thing that got me out of bed today.... was a tiny but determined voice saying "Get thee behind me, Satan!  I will not allow you to keep me down today."  Wow... where did she come from?

That voice came from me.   That voice has been re-born in the last month and will help me stay on this journey.  That voice reminded me that after all... whatever happens now, my life will pretty much look the same... there will still be laundry to do and food to prepare.... money to save and things to clean... family to love and take care of.... it's all good.. and we are part of a plan.  And that is enough - just a little deep breathing and some long walks to take the place of the dorito diving and other things that I used to soothe my angst with!

This is the last official day for Thrive in Five - Take 1 - and the end of my blogging about it!  I am excited to see the progress I have made and am ready to start over on Day 1 with the principles and action steps that Hannah has provided.  I am sure that as I travel on this journey, I will receive more and more insight and achieve the health, strength and physical size I am supposed to have!

Remember you can purchase this health coaching system at

..... and

These are all from Maggie Weldon's 2011 dishcloth Challenge at

#207 Textured Stripes Crochet Dishcloth - pictured below on the lower left... the pink, white & green stripes.  I really enjoyed doing this one - the nubby texture is nice - and fun to do!  I think I would do it in one color next time though - it would work up a little quicker!

#208 Shells and Lace Crochet Dishcloth - on the lower right in yellow and white.  I have to admit... I detested doing this one!  It took me forever to figure it out and I'm not sure YET that I got it right.  This is one of the few that I was really glad to see finished!

#209 Ruffled Square Crochet Dishcloth - pictured above on the upper right... A fun granny variation that was fun to do - I like the lacy edging

#210 Cluster Rows Crochet Dishcloth - done in the red, white and blue on the upper left.  This one was unusual but not hard.... I think it's a repeat - though I will add an edging to my next one!

The next four cloths are in the picture below

#211 Beach Party Crochet Dishcloth - pictured below on the lower left... this one turned out pretty, though mine does not look very much like the photo with the instructions :-)  It's a great cloth though with good texture!

#212 Cluster Bobble Crochet Dishcloth is the blue on on the bottom right.  This is another pretty one that is fun and easy to do.  I recommend it!

#213 Shapely Shells Crochet Dishcloth - pictured above on the upper right... another high success pretty dishcloth.  It would be gorgeous in a gift basket!

#214 Filet Cluster Crochet Dishcloth is on the upper left.  I enjoyed doing this one as an experience.. and I like the cloth.. but am not thrilled with it.  Only THRILLS get repeats :-)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Thrive in Five Day 29 AND Weekly Goals Week 6 of 52

Monday Measuring!!

  Only down half pound - BUT 2.5 inches... woo-hoo!!  This brings the 29 day total to 3.4 pound and 5.5 inches..... awesome!  Better yet is the energy to face my days!  I am sick, sick, sick with a cold.. but still able to get out and walk that mile with my dog.... a MISERABLE mile, I admit it - but my energy now is SO much greater!

I am finding that I am more mindful in all areas of my life.  I am making healthier choices and moving closer to daily happiness.  I am taking control of my life and it is better for everyone around me.   Thank you so much, Hannah, for the Thrive in Five program!  I had already decided that little by little, 2012 is the year that I will learn how to build and lead my healthy life... and this program is giving me the coaching, the knowledge, the CONFIDENCE to back up my conviction that success is in the little things I do every day.


For a little trip down memory lane...  last year's entry on Craft Projects  

And I chuckle about this entry because I am still working on this quilt!  But I have a plan this year to use the yarn in my stash.... and I will do it - I have made a considerable dent already with the daily projects on - Maggie Weldon's site!  I look forward to the day when I get rid of enough yarn that I can justify more work in other craft media!


Weekly Goals 6/52
1. Left from Last Week (do first!)
                Monthly - Frontline & air filters (okay so I STILL haven’t gotten these handled! yikes)


2. House focus – Porches and Decks 15 minutes daily

3.  New healthy habit: Statistics
                   – weight and measurements (pick a day of the week and a time that works for you.... and consistently weigh and measure - just write it down in a place you can find next time so you can compare) 
                    NO JUDGMENTS - just facts


                 - eat at the table.  (I can do this most times EXCEPT errand-running days when I eat in the car)

                 *If it's worth eating, it's worth sitting down and enjoying*

4. Add quilt strip to quilt and prepare for hand quilting

5.  Do dvd or Treadmill cardio 3 X

  1. Movie Night

  1. Church birthday card ministry

8.  Get tax info envelope started

            Scan photos (30 min weekly)
            BAKE new bread
            Desk 15 min daily – financial & personal
            Health habits: mile / green tea / salad / fruit / pedometer

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Weekend Meal Preparation AND Thrive in Five Day 27!

Woke to face a day of catch up!  Yet my energy level is low - understandably.... 3 days with 7+ hours of riding in a car.... sleeping in horribly soft hotel bed.... yikes!

But it's a good sunny day... took my walk and felt MUCH better when I got back.  A cup of tea and a piece of fruit..... just sets me up to get going again!

I have to say that my Healthy Habits for the year are really helping build better health and life! 

I putzed around a bit trying to get some housework done... the laundry was overflowing (of course)... the pet hair has accumulated (of course)... the kitchen wasn't as bad as it could have been (thank you, boys!)... so I chased after this and that.... but mostly tried to clear the decks of the immediate issues - and get myself back in place :-)

Eventually gave up - checked the tides and went out in the sun for another walk!  How refreshing to my spirit!  I have allowed myself - in the last year or so - to stagnate inside.  I have forgotten how much 20 minutes outside shores me up and clears my head..  One of my HABITS this year will be to identify and CEMENT in place some coping strategies that are healthy.  Stepping out of the door and WALKING is an easy one of them!


Saturday is the day I try to get my food planned and prepared for the week ahead.  I don't like having food decisions to make when I am hungry!

 I usually prepare a soup or stew, a casserole, and a basic meat entree.  And I have a list of the ones we usually eat that I can rotate. 

So.... here is my strategy:

Go through the pantry, freezer, fridge, etc. and discover items that either need to be used, we haven't had in a while, or I feel like using up.   While I am doing that, I recognize that I need to dream up about 3 meals ahead - that's meals for 3 mights & leftovers for a couple..... and we will free think the others (eating out, sandwiches with the teens, etc)

With this knowledge & the knowledge of what we have eaten recently, I choose my items to make.  I usually choose a soup or stew (like chili or potato soup), a casserole (taco rice) or sandwich (burger - dog) meal and a basic entree meal (grilled chicken or turkey).  I put any additional needs on the grocery list (I go on Mondays).  I also shop AROUND the store... buying sale produce FIRST!

Then - the advance prep!  Chopping veggies, soaking and cooking beans, cooking rice.... all this can be done ahead.  Most can be cooked ahead and put in the container size you need for a meal.  After I serve meals, I preserve the leftovers in good servings to keep us from overdoing it!   Many things I do can also be frozen - so my weekend planning sometimes comes right from the freezer!

I also cut and bag servings of veggies, cut romaine & spinach for salads (keeps pretty well for about 3 days)... and I put it in serving size containers so I can grab and go.  I 'containerize' things like cottage cheese and yogurt that no one eats but me.  I am more likely to eat it if I don't have to think about it or prepare it... and eating from a container is bad news for me!

One serving in a container means I have good food to grab when I am in that hungry NONthinking place :-)

And sometimes I'll make sandwiches ahead so I can simply choose good snacks / meals.  I like having choices ready to go.

I have a small organizing container on the top shelf of my fridge with my personal-sized foods..... and, more often than not... my family is beginning to snag the good stuff too :-)   YAY!!

Have fun this weekend - and get your weekly plan done!  It will save you a TON of time and aggravation as the week goes on - and save you remorse too - when good choices are easier to make!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Thrive in Five Update Day 26 & Walking!

For my Thrive in Five Update today..... I just want to say that I am feeling pretty good!  I am tired - lots of riding in the car lately - but my body and spirit are really happy with my mall walking yesterday.    I have purposefully stretched every time I got a chance... and I have eaten pretty well.

One thing I did that I give myself HIGH MARKS for is snack packing!  My husband LOVES to munch while he drives.... and I was cooped up in the car with lots of Skittles (his fave but not mine, fortunately) and goldfish crackers.  Before we ever set out, I pre-bagged all the snacks in serving size portions.  So I did have snacks... and I did eat the WHOLE bag... BUT the bags were reasonable...GO ME!  I got to have fun with my guy AND stay on track :-)

Part of being healthy is being happy... and that is a tricky road to navigate.  I am learning more and more about what happiness means.... and what is actually NOT happy, but self-destructive.  Anyway, limiting my choices in a situation where I knew I would be weak was a SMART decision and everybody won!

I might just have to pre-bag ALL the snacks that come into the house for my men.  They don't care... and they may actually eat less of them.. I know I eat less this way.

 In honor of my mall walking yesterday (since I am in the car for 7 hours AGAIN today coming home :-) and the official wearing of the pedometer -  I want to talk about walking.

So here's the thing about walking....

you don't need to change your clothes

you don't need special equipment (except shoes and I bet you HAVE a pair of those)

ALL you need is the gumption to set your foot outside the door!

I know I said ONE mile at the beginning of the year... ONLY one mile...  but I remember... not too many years ago.... when I had NO clue how far that was...  when ONE mile was GINORMOUS.. and I KNEW I couldn't do it.

So forget the mile.  What CAN you do?

Can you walk to your mailbox?

Can you walk down the street to the corner?

Can you walk all around your block (assuming that you have one :-)?

Pick a distance you KNOW you can do.... and make a decision to do it every day for a week.  Just a week.   MOST days.   And pat yourself on the back for doing it.  Those steps are an investment in your health... and just like saving pennies will count in the long run... so will these extra steps.

When your week is finished..... revisit the issue, make a distance decision and repeat.   This is one month later - and while I am working on inserting another mile in my daily life..... my initial mile is the same distance.  No change.

And working on a walking distance goal can help you work to greater fitness and health... really!

I have read in many places that a fit person walks a minimum of 10,000 steps per day.  I don't have any idea where that number came from - BUT it's a worthy goal.  If you are like me, and spend WAY too many hours SITTING... for whatever reason... then getting up and walking is an EASY way to achieve some balance!

When I wore my pedometer for a normal week (what is that?), my numbers were PATHETIC..... WITH my daily mile, I still come up under 5,000 steps on a good day.  Between the computer and my crocheting..... I am SITting by choice.   SO I figure, health is about balance.... and illness comes when your system is OUT of balance.... so my goal is to consistently achieve that 10,000 steps.... but not right away.  I want my food and exercise to be automatic with very little brain involved.... so that I am USED to doing things in a certain way and I can STAY fit this time.

My assessment of my own life is that I need to figure out a way to add THREE miles daily to my step count.... but for now, I will keep working on ONE and sometimes TWO :-)

I challenge you to make the decision to step out your door!

To check your mileage..... here's a few thoughts:

An average mile is 2,000 steps.  (Of course, my legs are longer than average so it's 1700 for me - but it's irrelevant in the big picture)

A fun website is

It can bring up a map of your neighborhood so you can map out a route for any length you want  (Believe me, if it has MY neighborhood, including the beach shoreline.... it should have YOURS)


In case you are interested..... my last year blog entry was on Accountability  

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thrive in Five Day 25

I am going to try to keep up with the audios and action steps while I am traveling -  but will plan catch up what I miss on the weekend.  This program (Thrive in Five by Hannah Keeley at is really amazing in that there is so much meat to it that you can do it over and over again.

Some habits and processes will take days or weeks, depending on your personal situation.. but your life will improve immediately!  It NEVER hurts to remember that you are a precious child of God and are meant to be happy.  With that in your mind, it is simply a matter of tuning in and learning how to manage your life situation.  I say 'simply' but we all know that change is not simple..... but we CAN change little by little... the same way that a little stream carved out the Grand Canyon :-)

Anyway.....  I am out of town - so I have no baking to share this week.....I was up pretty early... SOFT hotel beds are terrible for sleeping.... ARRGGHHH!  Anyway, I am pretty sore and ache-y this morning :-(

So.... some stretches.... and deep breathing to get the body awake and ready to greet the day.... a good breakfast.... and then....

..we travel 3 hours to my husband's business meeting.... and were early..... so we had lunch in a nearby mall.    I am a sucker for Asian cuisine so got some teriyaki chicken with extra vegetables... but there was so much that I ate about a third of it and saved the rest for later.  It wasn't the best choice in the mall but since it was two meals, I think it wasn't so bad, either!

My husband left for his meeting and I spent the next 4 hours there.   I had brought an easy piece of crochet to work on and had a book with me..... and managed to get 3+ miles of walking in while I was there.

Hard to believe that one turn around the mall... both floors... was a half mile.   It was kind of funny but apparently a lot of people do their walking in the mall... it was kind of a club.... you could tell by the speed of the walkers.   I'd go along for a bit and then pass someone - catch their eye,,, grin.. and keep walking... WE knew who we were :-)

Anyway, by the time my husband got back to me, I was heartily sick of the mall.. and thanks to the new Bath and Body Works scents (YUK!!), I didn't spend any money either :-) Oh.. except for a cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts that just hit the spot as a treat!

And then we ordered an extra serving of veggies from the Asian place & ate our leftovers for dinner...

And then headed out for the 3 hours back to the hotel....

I was able to follow my healthy habits... my mile, salad, and green tea (though I am counting all those extra veggies today as salad - it was a LOT of cabbage!)

I did enjoy my mall time - more than I thought.  As busy as we get... it is a fantastic exercise to spend some time - getting bored.  I made tons of notes to myself.... and did a lot of thinking.... it was good.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Thrive in Five Update Day 24 & Monthly Goal Assessment

So... am running around this morning... will leave in just a bit to run errands today - knowing that I will have just an hour when I get home before we head out.  I must be a little bit crazy, I guess to tag along with my hubby.  It's just hard to get serious 'alone' time.  Even though the kids are not as physically demanding of us any more - we get in our personal ruts and don't interact as much as we should.

And, at home, well... I tend to go about my business and he goes about his.. and when we get together for meals and such.. we talk about the house, the kids, the business.  When I join him on a road trip... I can ask about the future and dreams and help him rise above the day to day a bit... and think about what happens next!

I will enjoy having time on this road trip to see what I can put into practice from the Thrive in Five program.  Will I be able to manage to eat out appropriately?  My husband really likes munchy snacks in the car... how will I handle that?

Will I remember to do some strength exercises and stretching?  With 7+ hours in the car each day for 3 days...... I BET stretching is gonna happen!


As far as monthly achievements, I've done pretty well in most areas!

I've made great strides in consistently implementing new healthy habits, working on focus areas in the house and scanning photos.

I've kept up - BARELY - with my church card ministry.. .but within a few months, I will have help!  I've failed totally with my own personal birthday card ministry so I need to work on that one!  The year is young :-)

Reading and movies - I've read some things for fun - and I've read 2 classics for educational purposes.  They were okay - but I am sure there was some significance to them to explain why they were on the list of 100 greatest novels.  So far I'm not impressed but it reminds me of when I was in school in literature classes.. and not understanding some of that either!   As for the movie list.... I am checking them out - and learning about them.  I do find brutality and horror distasteful and don't feel the need to add them to my life :-)  so I imagine that for several of the movies on the list... some info from Wiki so I can educate myself about the storyline and significance... and I will have gleaned what I need to be culturally informed. I plan to continue this process of learning!

Financially, we are still on a monetary diet - so I'm having fun playing around using up my pantry goodies.. and working down some of the accumulated treasures.  No worries yet - one of my goals is to clean out and use up anyway so this is perfect timing!  Life is simpler :-)

The 15 minute areas focuses have worked well for me... the FUN part is that my family is joining in when I'm not looking.... I find my husband working a bit in the rooms I have targeted.. and he is working on the list of things to fix / paint/ etc.  It seems like this is a winner.... and I know that we will be back in each area in a few months... but I am finding that we are still wandering around doing things in all the rooms where I have started!  We'll see how long their interest lasts - but I'll take it!

 I will not have time or money in the next month to re-do a piece of furniture but the list is growing! And we'll be ready :-) 

Maintenance habits in some areas are good (health) but in others not so much (cleaning).... BUT all in all, because of the 15 minute focus, we are getting more cleaning done than we did before!  But I still want to start creating better habits for more regular home maintenance... so later in the year, I may start a weekly habit for that.... not sure just yet!

We didn't manage a whole family gathering in January (except New Years) but I did meet one of my girls for a lunch out and had my granddaughter overnight (which translated into seeing most of my gang at church when her parents came to pick her up!)

And - if you've been watching my blog - you know I've been crocheting up a storm... but I'm proud to say I only bought 3 skeins of yarn in January (because I want to make sweaters for the grandgirls and needed something to coordinate with yarn I already had!)  So that is working well... I really want to work through the yarn and have less around (fewer projects at a time)

I've done a little on the quilt so it is far from finished but am making little bits of progress... Not much else on the crafting front - mostly crochet this month!

Keeping up with the blog has been challenging.. but good experience.  I do like writing!  I've done a few reflection pieces and need to spend a little more of my reading / thinking / praying time with spiritual reading so I can do more of them.   I feel really good about the ones I have done.

 We also joined the writers group but haven't had a chance to go to meetings yet.  I am looking forward to that.  I have done very little in the way of written entries in my journal.... maybe that is not something I am going to do.  Will try that one again in February and see what happens.

I will post monthly goals on a page of their own (still working on them!) ... and continue with the weekly list.  That has worked well for me and I feel like we (as a family) are really moving along in the way we are supposed to!  Personally I feel like I am getting more things accomplished toward my goal of simplifying my life!