"Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love."
Mother Teresa

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Weighty Matters

I have been feeling a little depressed lately about my weight.  I need to lose about 25 pounds.  I look in the mirror some days and I am shocked at what has happened to my slim body in the last 10 years.  I was always that slender girl that could eat anything, and as much as I wanted and not gain weight.  Then menopause hit in my early 50s and everything changed.  I have become the owner of a flabby matronly body!  My bra size has grown from a B cup to a D!  What happened to my flat belly?  I saw a picture of myself recently that really hit home.  I must lose some weight.

My goal is to lose 20 pounds.  I have no time frame and I know I need to make lifestyle changes, not D-I-E-T.

I could tell you that I need to lose weight for my health, which is true.  But the real reason is that I want to look better.

I have been struggling with this for awhile.  I've tried lots of things.....eat less, no second helpings, use a smaller plate, get more exercise, cut out sugar, eat low carb, etc. etc. etc.

My husband has done Weight Watchers in the past and it works for him.  I tried counting points ( but not going to meetings) and I just couldn't seem to stick to the points.  I think somewhere in my head I am still that slim girl that can eat as much as I want....so I cheat on the points.

I believe to succeed I must increase my exercise and that is a challenge.  I have foot problems that limit how much walking I can do.  I do have an elliptical machine that I don't really enjoy but it doesn't hurt my foot as much to use.

I know I will never have my pre-menopause body back and this will be a work in progress.  I hope sharing this will keep me accountable.

I have one goal for this week.....use the elliptical every day.  No excuses!

I will keep you posted.

Have a wonderful day!

Til next time,

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Week That Was

It's been a busy week here.  We've had end of school year activities to attend for our granddaughters, soccer games, hubby's new job, and of course never ending yard work.

Our 4th grader participated in Girls On The Run this year.  It is a wonderful program that involves much more than just running.  They train for weeks to run a 5k, but the program also stresses values, positive body image, self esteem, etc.
This is Amber as she reaches the finish line to complete her first 5k!  She is proud of herself for completing a race that was harder than she thought.
Notice she is wearing number 1....every girl running wore number 1 because they all are!

After Amber's race we hustled to Hubby's new job.  He is delivering a weekly local newspaper and shopping ad packets every Saturday.  So off we went to load up with our papers.  This is a motor route and takes about 5 hours to do. I didn't realize when he said he was going to do it that it would involve me too!  It is easier with him driving and me putting the papers in the boxes.  Interestly, I found that I enjoy it.  Our route is in the area where we live, so we get to see what is happening in our neck of the woods, and maybe say hello to a neighbor or two.

We also attended our kindergartener's soccer game and saw her score her first goal ever!  Wish I had gotten a picture but we were all too excited and busy yelling at her to "kick it!".

We have enjoyed a very sunny week, although early in the week it was quite chillly with frost advisories several nights.  My mother's rule was not to plant flowers until Memorial Day because it can freeze here in late May and I've finally learned she was right.  So, I will be planting some flowers this weekend.

The weather was nice enough to take our Little Miss to the park this week.  It is a beautiful park next to a marina.

Here are some views from our walks around the park this week....

I love this view in the winter time.  The trees will all be bare and snow covered and
you can see the church steeple better....looks like a Christmas card then.

Two turtles sunning themselves

The swans came right up to the shore where we were standing...did not seem afraid of us.  I wonder if people have been feeding them?

And to wrap up the week I finally saw a podiatrist about my painful right foot.  I'm almost sorry I did.  I found out I have arthritis in that foot and other than the things I am already doing, my next step is surgery to fix the bunion, and bone graft several joints in the midfoot area, and I think he also mentioned some screws somewhere.  This would require at least 6 weeks with no weight bearing, and then more months of healing.  I am considering doing it in the fall, with perhaps trying a cortisone shot in the meantime.  
I don't like the idea of this surgery, sounds quite extensive.  I was happier before I knew all this.  I am getting more and more limited in how much walking I can do so I think I must put my big girl panties on and deal with it.

Have any of you had any type of foot surgery?  Bunions corrected?  What was your outcome?  Are you better now than before surgery?

Thanks for stopping by to visit.  Have a wonderful, safe Memorial Day weekend.

Til next time,

Friday, May 15, 2015

Knitting Mojo

I think I am getting my knitting mojo back.  I lost it a couple weeks ago and I think spring fever threw me off.  Today it is cool and damp....a perfect knitting day.

I have been knitting some easy baby tops for charity called the all-in-one baby top by Mariana Mel.  Isn't it sweet?  It goes very quickly, knit from the top down.  You can find the pattern on Ravelry HERE.

I had a sudden urge to crochet some placemats for the kitchen table a few weeks ago.  I found Sugar & Cream cotton in the perfect colors.

I wasn't liking the way the colors are pooling though.  So I tried knitting instead.  It looks a little different.

I don't think I like the knitted one any better.   Opinions please!  Which do you like better?  I do like the texture of the crochet for placemats.

I also have a shawl on the needles.  It is the Time Turner Shawl, also found on Ravelry HERE.   Right now it's in time-out.  I am going to have to frog some of it, and I think I am just about ready to do that.  I will have to post some pictures soon.

Have a great weekend!

Til next time,

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Farmer's Market Day

We took our first trip to the farmers market this year.  We live about 5 miles from the little city I call home.  About 12 miles from our house in the other direction is a somewhat larger city, still small if you consider Chicago or Detroit big. There is a large farmers market there.
There were lots of flowers and baked goods and such.  Its too early here for much local produce, but its asparagus time!
There are lots of asparagus farms around here.  I picked asparagus occasionally as a teenager.  It is hard back breaking work snapping off those spears.
We bought a couple pounds of local asparagus just to eat fresh.  I will probably get some to freeze later on.

Of course we didn't make it past all the baked goods without buying a treat...3 chocolate chunk cookies dipped on one side in peanut butter glaze.  This picture looks kind of blurry...I am using a new phone and I guess I need more practice.

As we left we drove through the downtown area.  We discovered an invasion of gigantic birds had settled in for awhile.

This last guy is my favorite....his feathers are plastic trash bags.  They are all constructed from small tree branches.  

The downtown area is undergoing revitalization with new shops and craft breweries and condos.  It is along the lakeshore and there is a lot of potential here.  I guess the birds are one more attraction.  They definitely draw your attention.

Hope you are having a good day.
Til next time,

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Flower Day

We picked a freezing cold day to go to the greenhouse for flowers.  It was my daughter's day off and she wanted to go with us.  I love to go to this greenhouse.  It is about a 45 minute drive and they have what seems like miles of flowers at very good prices.

We got a hanging basket of purple petunias for my mother-in-law,  a hanging basket of red stripe petunias for me, a flat of impatiens, some tomatoes, a lavendar plant, and a basil plant.  The impatiens will fill 2 pots on the deck and 2 hanging baskets.
I tried to limit our spending a lot this year.  We are on a budget, no impulse buying.
This is enough to add some color along with the perennials I already have.

Little Miss had a great time.  We had to visit all the birdbaths, yard and garden statues, and all the fake animals in the place.  Are these big animals to put in your yard?  A deer or a gnome, sure....but a tiger or an elephant?
(sorry this picture is blurry....no idea what happened)

A cow maybe?

Our Little Miss had to pick out a flower to take home to her Momma ( my DIL).  Pink of course!

Hope it is warmer where you are.  

Til next time,

Friday, May 8, 2015

Getting Organized and What's for Dinner

When I was working I was very organized about chores.  I got very used to having all the laundry done at the same time and the whole house clean at the same time.Now that I'm retired I don't want to spend my weekends doing chores.  I have become quite haphazard about it all.  When you are retired it's very easy to put it off another day, or two, or three. Lately, I have been feeling like things are getting out of control.  I have always been a list person, so it seemed logical to make a list.

With our 2 year old granddaughter here every weekday it's difficult to devote much time to chores...and even though she is a good helper sometimes I don't need that much help!  I also want to spend time doing fun things with her and during the summer I will be spending more time with all 3 granddaughters.
I'm going to try to clean 1 room a day, and do 1-2 loads of laundry a day.  This is what my plan is....

Monday: Clean bedroom
                  Laundry, bedding and whites

Tuesday: Grocery shopping
                  Laundry, jeans and sweats

Wednesday: Clean kitchen/dining room
                        Laundry, light clothes

Thursday: Clean bathrooms
                     Laundry, towels

Friday: Clean living room and entry
              Laundry, dark clothes

Saturday: Miscellaneous cleaning and yard work

I'm not sure how well this will work out, but I will let you know.

For dinner tonight we are having a chicken cordon bleu casserole and a salad.  I did use lowfat cream cheese and exchanged lowfat evaporated milk for heavy cream but beware; anything with a block of cream cheese is not exactly a health conscious recipe.  It is yummy though.

                           Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

10-12 oz. Penne or ziti pasta
2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into pieces
3/4 cup diced ham
3/4 cup bacon, cooked and chopped
2 cups shredded swiss cheese
1/2 tsp. Onion salt (to taste)
1/2 tsp. Garlic powder ( to taste)
1 (8oz.) Block of cream cheese (I use lowfat)
1 can Evaporated milk (I use lowfat)

Cook pasta and drain.
In a greased 9x13 pan layer pasta, cooked chicken, bacon, and ham.
Heat cream cheese over med. heat til melted.  Stir in evaporated milk and stir until combined.  Add seasonings to taste.  Stir in 1 cup swiss cheese and stir until melted and sauce is a smooth consistency.
(mine was still a little lumpy but it all blended in the oven).
Pour sauce over pasta mixture.  Sprinkle top with the rest of the swiss cheese and bake covered at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes or until heated through.

Til next time,

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Random Wednesday

I feel a bit scattered today....lots of thoughts rattling around in my brain.

I am thinking about decluttering my house.  It seems a little overwhelming but if its broken down into stages it won't be so bad.  I think I will do it one room at a time.

I haven't been doing much knitting lately....I seem to have lost my knitting mojo.  I think it's just because the weather is getting nice.

My son-in-law had a falling-out with his mother.  She said some hurtful things and he no longer wants his daughter around her.  There are two sides to any disagreement but from what I was told I can see why he is upset.  He is a great guy, not perfect, but none of us are.  It is hard to bite your tongue when it comes to adult children, but I really think she should have.  Why is it that we say things to our loved ones that we would never say to a stranger?

I can't watch the news anymore.  I hate not knowing what is happening in the world but it is very upsetting lately.  Especially the recent deaths involving police, and now Americans becoming terrorists.  How can people have so much hate?

We stopped to rent a movie on Saturday.  I had a hard time finding anything in new releases that I wanted to see.  So many violent or just creepy movies....and this is what young people are watching.  Lots of TV programs like that too.  What does that say about our society?  Gosh, I sound old!

On a more cheerful note.....I saw the first hummingbird at our feeder today.  I'm trying to get a picture but no luck today.  We also had an indigo bunting, such a pretty little blue bird.  We also put oranges out for the orioles and saw the first one today.  I am going to try to get some decent bird pictures.

And here's a picture just for fun.......I love this little girl!

Did she make you smile?  Hope you are having a great day.

Til next time,

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Pleased to Meet You

Hello there,
I want to thank everyone so much for the great comments about downsizing and moving to a smaller home after retirement.  I am sure I will revisit this topic sometime in the future.  Stay tuned.

Since I just started this blog recently, I decided I should tell you a bit more about me and my life.
I am 63 years young.  I have been married to my best friend for 41 years.  He is the one with the guitar...a keeper, huh?!

 We have 2 children.  Our son is 37 and he is stepdad to granddaughter #1 who is 10.

...and he is Dad to granddaughter #3 who is 2 1/2.
My DIL works fulltime during the day and my son works nights.  We take care of the 2 1/2 year old all day Mon. thru Fri. so Daddy can get some sleep.  She definitely keeps us on our toes.

My daughter is 33 and she is Mom to granddaughter #2 who is 5 (6 in June), our little soccer star.
We helped care for this little chick alot before she started school too.

We live in West Michigan about a mile from the Lake Michigan shore.  It is a beautiful area and we spend lots of time at the beach during the summer.

The other member of my family is a black cat named Salem that my son brought home about 12 or 13 years ago.  He was about 1 year old and had been hanging around a pizza place, scrounging. He was very thin, had worms and fleas.  I am a sucker for a sob story and got him cleaned up and took him to the vet.  Who knew, we had just acquired "the best cat in the world"!  He is very laid back and will let the girls maul him and dress him up.  He has had no desire to leave the house since the day he walked in.

I have lived in West Mich. all my life.  I grew up in a small town about 30 miles from where I currently live.  I have 1 brother who is 11 years older than me, so I'm really mostly an only child.  He left for college when I was 7 and I only have some vague memories of him as a teenager.  My parents were part of large families and I do have a large extended family.  We had lots of big family events, and I grew up with many cousins close to my age.  We all went to the same church and school.  I like to travel and see how other people live, but my roots go deep here.  West Mich. is my home.

I am a registered nurse and I spent the last 19 years of my career working at a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC).  It is a large family practic clinic and a little bit Community Health Dept rolled into one, serving mostly Medicaid, Medicare, and uninsured patients.  We provided lots of services that you wouldn't find in a private office.  We provided care to anyone and everyone, regardless of ability to pay.  We really saw some sad, sad, stories.  I spent much of my time providing education to patients and case management services.  It was stressful, challenging, and rewarding.  It was more than a job for me, it was more like a mission.  I know that I touched lives there and made a difference.

At age 61 I was ready to retire; the stress was taking its toll.  I was diagnosed with paroxsysmal atrial fibrillation about 7 years ago (age 56)  and stress is my enemy, it can trigger an episode.  Atrial fib is a cardiac arrythmia that isn't considered life threatening, thankfully.  It is a nuisance to live with though.  I am fortunate to have it well-controlled by medication and have not had a episode since I retired 2 years ago.

So...Here I am on this retirement journey and its so nice to be meeting some new friends along the way.
Hope you have a wonderful Sunday.

Til next time