Happy New Year!

Well, here we are at the beginning of another year. I cannot believe how quickly time is flying past me!

I am also a little disappointed in myself that I didn’t post as many blogs as I planned, or that I didn’t cook as much as I would have liked!  My days and evenings just seem to get away from me, working a full day usually gets the better of me with the fibro and arthritis that I have. Throw in some time to try to exercise and get my pup some exercise, housework and family, my life just seems to be moving too fast.

And that is something I want to work on!

But what is most important, is that every morning that I am blessed with, I just try to be a better person than I was the day before.

I guess the New Year always brings us thoughts of attempting to make our lives better with resolutions. I am sure I have mentioned before that I don’t usually make resolutions. I set GOALS.

Now I realize that many of you might want to challenge me that resolutions and goals are the same. I beg to differ!! To me a goal is what I strive to accomplish, it’s a “work in progress”. But maybe the REAL reason I choose a goal over a resolution is because of all the failed resolutions I have had in my lifetime.

That being said, I no longer beat myself up if I didn’t do what I really planned to do, yea it might disappoint me but I don’t stress over it.

I know most people want to eat healthier and exercise. But, so many of us fail with the high expectations that we place on ourselves. I have done it myself!

I always strive to live a life that is calm, hopeful, kind and loving. I think that is what most of us try to do isn’t it?

It just gets challenging with all of life’s twists and turns.

This year I am trying something a little different with my goals. I will try to begin each month focusing on one or two things that I want to improve upon. For instance, for January I will concentrate on my health and my family.

Start the month out by writing them down. Write down you plan too.  Sometimes putting our thoughts into words on paper makes it a little easier to follow.

Then at the end of the month, put out the list and see how you did.  If you didn’t quite accomplish your goals, just continue on with the list you made but see if you can tweak the plan to make it work.  Then try again.

I plan to focus on eating healthier, trying to stick to my schedule of swimming 2-3 times a week and instead of spending time watching a Hallmark movie I will read or do meditation and yoga. However I need to fit that in, I will definitely be working on a plan.

I am just not going wake up tomorrow morning and resolve to go to the gym and eliminate certain foods from my diet.  It won’t work, and I know it.

My plan for family is to hopefully get us together for Sunday dinners or a game night. Maybe after each night that I swim I can swing by and visit one of my kids for a little. Anything I can do to spend a little more time with my kids and grandkids.

My daily goal is to be more aware of my faith and spirituality. Concentrate on prayer to get me started in the morning, even if that is 10 minutes of meditation. My goal is to take the time to slow down and be thankful, hopeful, and mindful of my thoughts and my day, all day.

Give it a try, but remember you are human, you will make mistakes. You might slack now and then (who doesn’t), but when you do just recognize that you did and promise yourself that you will try again tomorrow.

Be kind to YOURSELF!!

LOVE yourself!!

Stress is not healthy.

I just want to wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year! And thank you for stopping in to see me! Live well and happy!!

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Less Stress for the Holiday Season

I love the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Thanksgiving might be my favorite but only because we gather to share our love, our memories, and eat a delicious meal together. So for me, there is definitely less stress, and less to prepare for. The only expectation is the meal which I love cooking!

It is also the beginning of the Christmas season. The weeks leading up to the Christmas holiday, for me, are so very beautiful with all the decorations and lights. I love listening to the Christmas music; many songs awaken lovely memories from my childhood. I also love giving gifts, whether they are made by my own hands with love, or a carefully chosen store bought gift.

But then there are all those folks that I hear complaining about how commercialized Christmas has become. Or they are complaining about all the parties to go to and the food they must prepare to take to these parties. There are also complaints about buying gifts for people that they probably don’t want and they can’t afford to buy. And it breaks my heart to hear them say they can’t wait for Christmas to be over.

Christmas is no different than any other situation in life, YOU GET OUT OF IT EXACTLY WHAT YOU PUT IN IT! So if you go into it with disgust, dislike, and grumpiness…. That is exactly what you are going to get out of it!!

I totally understand how the holidays can also be difficult to get through because we may have lost a loved one, or we might be alone and have no one to celebrate with. Been in both of those situations, I know it is not pleasant and can be heartbreaking and depressing.

So hopefully I have come up with some ideas that might be able to help you get through the upcoming holidays with a little less stress. Maybe this will help you have a little more love in your heart. And maybe you will actually learn to at least like the holidays.

  1. Eat & drink smart and healthy! This is so hard to do with all the baked goodies and homemade candies BUT try to resist making a meal out of unhealthy treats!  Go ahead and have that small slice of pumpkin pie or cake, have one cookie, indulge in that one piece of fudge.  But only allow yourself one treat so choose wisely!  Snack on healthy things like veggies and fruit, nuts, a piece of cheese or some peanut butter for protein.  Drink lots of water, add lemon for a little taste and detox.  Do allow yourself a holiday cocktail, or two, but alternate with water.  Waking up tomorrow with a headache or being hungover will just add to your stress level.
  2. Meal plan! As mentioned above you want to eat healthy but still allow some treats, so plan your day’s menu/diet so that you are continually eating healthy.  Especially before you go to parties!!  Make sure you are planning your family meals according to your schedule, use a crock pot or casserole recipes for busy days and nights.  Make some casseroles, lasagna, anything that you can throw in your freezer.  Later in the week you will be thankful that all you need to do is pull out a casserole to thaw in the fridge while you are at work, and then pop it in the oven when you get home.
  3. Parties! I have heard a lot of people complain and basically whine about all the parties they need to go to!  Really?  Please be thankful that you have friends and family that want to share the holiday with you, no one is promised a tomorrow.  You do not always need to say yes to every party, it is okay to say no so that you can stay home and take care of you and your family or just to rest.  If you really don’t want to go, then don’t.  We all need some alone time, but we also need our friends and families too.  Think of the memories and fun times you might have, think of some friends and families that you can reconnect with.  Visit for as long as you want, eat healthy and drink healthy, be thankful for the friendships and have some fun!!
  4. Can you bring a covered dish? Yes, you can!  You do not need to go overboard and try to be a gourmet chef!  If you like to cook and prepare something fancy, great!  If you don’t, then just take something simple like cheese and crackers, veggies, or check out the appetizers in the frozen section of your grocery store.  There are some pretty good selections to choose from!  I love to cook but there are times when I just do not have the time to prepare something, so this works out well and they are delicious.
  5. Shopping and gift giving. This IS enough to stress everyone out!  You really need to be smart here, don’t just buy a gift for the sake of buying a gift.  If that is your reason for gift giving, just stop!  First, make a list of people that you want to give a gift, then think about them and what they like, jot down some ideas before you shop.  Also, set a dollar amount that you are willing to spend on each gift and stick with your budget.  Keep receipts, jot down names on the receipt/tags just in case you need to return something, and keep them all in an envelope.  I usually suggest not giving clothes but if you are confident in that choice, then go for it!  Also, keep an eye out for sales, use coupons.  If you do not like wrapping your gifts, then bag’em!  That is the easiest and the least stressful way to go.  Keep in mind that a simple gift from the heart is all you really need to give.
  6. Teach your kids about giving and receiving.  This is a challenge for most parents.  We don’t want our kids growing up to be materialistic and greedy; and we want to teach them about giving too.  Set boundaries for what they are asking for, have them organize and clean out what they already have, show them how fortunate they already are for what they have now.  Give your family members limits on what they can spend on your kids. If you have older kids and your budget allows, have your kids donate gifts to the needy, a shelter, or sponsor a family for Christmas. Have them volunteer at a food bank or as a family take a few bags to the food bank. Living in today’s world that is so materialist, I think this is something we all need to do.  Also, teach you kids the value of saying thank you as well as how to gracefully be thankful for a gift that they just unwrapped but don’t like!
  7. Stress-less kids? This is a time that kids are super excited!  Remember when you were a kid at Christmas?  They have a lot of stimuli from all the toy ads on TV, so it might be a good idea to limit their time in front of the TV.  Sit down and chat with them about their wants, desires, expectations and then chat about giving to the less fortunate.  Talk to them about your childhood memories and realize that you are creating and shaping theirs.  Involve them in decisions about new traditions.  Make sure they are eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, limit their treats and make sure they are getting enough rest and sleep.  This can also be a busy time in school with reports and projects needing to be completed before their holiday break so make sure they are getting enough time to complete their school work.  Get them outside for exercise and fresh air!  This is also a time for the little germ carriers to be sick, not fun for the holiday.
  8. Traditions! I love family traditions!  And I love creating new traditions!  Think back to when you were a child and the things that you used to do as a family, create those wonderful warm memories with your kids!! Slow down and enjoy the holiday season, celebrate it lovingly, and involve the kids!  Look online or on Pinterest for some new ideas.  Have fun!
  9. Physical and emotional health.  Make sure you are getting your exercise too!  Get those kids outside and play, walk, hike, whatever you can find to do.  Don’t forget about your gym membership, even if you only have 30 minutes to use the treadmill or lift a few weights, or if you’re lucky enough to have a pool to swim a few laps.  Every little bit helps.  Don’t forget about your mental and emotional health.  For as much enjoyment and beauty as some find in the holiday, there is also disappointment, sadness and loneliness.  Meditate, pray, go to church, talk to friends, talk to a professional if you need to.  There is no shame in that!  Try yoga, sit and read or just sit and look at the tree and drink in the beauty and silence of the room.
  10. Keep your life and the holiday in focus.  Easier said than done, I get it.  But try.  It’s so easy to compare your holiday life to others and be sad that you don’t have what someone else has.  Life isn’t fair, but this is your life and you only have one shot at it so stay focused.  You don’t have to have a lot of friends or a big bank account to enjoy the very beautiful and simple holiday.  Celebrate with the love of the family and friends that you are still blessed to have.  Don’t get caught up in the commercialism, that’s not what the holidays are about.  Remember, what you put into this holiday gig is what you are going to get out of it.

Live and love well my friends!

Making a Prayer Book

Years ago a friend of mine embellished a notebook for me as a gift.  I didn’t want to use this beautiful creation just to jot down notes and scribble to-do lists, so I turned it into a prayer book.

I wrote in some prayers but mostly it was filled with friends and family that needed prayers and support.

I remember quite a few friends asking me, after they heard me say “I’ll put you in my prayer book”, what do you mean!!

But now, after many years of praying on the book and praying for every single person carefully written with love, it’s time to start a new book.

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If you would like to make your own prayer book, here are some ideas.

Choose a notebook of your liking.  It does not have to be fancy or expensive.  You can buy a very inexpensive notebook or composition book and cover it with scrapbook paper.  You could even go all out and use a 3 ring binder.  It will be your personal prayer book, be creative , or be a minimalist like me, simple.

This time around I will be using a book that has a covering that I think is called moleskin, and I’m really hoping it is not made from the skin of moles!!!  If it is, please don’t burst my bubble!!  It also has an elastic band that can keep the book closed, holding any slips of paper with prayers or quotes or prayer cards I may find that I decide to tuck inside.

The first page will have a favorite prayer, bible verse or quote, I haven’t decided just yet but I’m leaning to The Lord’s Prayer.  I was raised on that and The Hail Mary.

The remaining pages in the book can be filled however you want.  I just simply list prayers, quotes, bible verses and names of people that I want to pray for, and I write them in pen.  If you want to use pencil and erase them once the prayer has been answered you can, but I leave them in my book.

If you want to create a section with a page for each day of the week, designating that day to pray for something particular such as  Daily for spouse and children, Sunday for family and friends, Monday for school and teachers, Tuesday for world events, etc.

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You could also make sections for Blessings, Bible Verses, Inspiration or Self Improvement.  You might even want a section to hold funeral cards from family members that list their birth and death dates.  We need to continue to pray for our loved ones even after they have passed.

You can embellish each section or page if you want, if you like to draw go ahead and doodle something in your pages.  Use colorful paperclips or flags for sections, be creative if you like.

As we enter into the upcoming holiday season of giving thanks and spending time with those that we love, get a head start and make your prayer book!  Live well friends!

Happy New Year!

May you all be blessed with laughter and joy, peace and love, health and prosperity in the New Year!

If you make resolutions, good luck but do not beat yourself up if you mess up a little, you are human and will make mistakes.  As for me, I gave up resolutions a long time ago, too much pressure!  I just try to be the best person I can be, I try to keep myself grounded & positive, and surround myself with healthy relationships.  I try to keep my body as healthy as possible with good food, yoga and meditation.  I struggle with fibro pain on a daily basis, and believe it or not…dealing with daily pain really keeps life in perspective for me.

I also keep God in my life, my religious and spiritual faith keeps me going.

I hope you are enjoying a new day filled with delicious food and family and friends!  HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Some of my Favorite Things

I haven’t posted much of anything lately.  I’ve been busy testing recipe creations but I’ve also been dealing with an upset tummy and a lack of appetite…a lot.  So that makes it a little challenging for someone that loves to cook and post recipes!  Any taste testers out there??

So I thought I’d mix it up a bit and post some of my favorite products that I like to use.

I’ll start with an Avon product, yes Avon.  I love Moisture Therapy lotion.  I use it everyday on my hands and body.

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I also have those dry heels that we ladies seem to have to deal with.  And I have to tell ya, since I started using Burts Bee’s Foot Lotion, I rarely have that problem!  Scouts Promise of Truth and Honor!!!  Of course there is coconut oil in there and we all know how beneficial that is!  I use the beeswax lip balm too.  I have several of them, all over the place… in my kitchen, my bathroom, my purse, pockets.  Love it!

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Next, my teeth!  My favorite toothbrush ever is the Spin Brush, its the best thing next to having a dental cleaning!  My teeth actually feel that clean. And I ONLY use Glide dental floss.  I have tried them all and thrown them all in the trash.  None can compare to Glide!

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Next on the list is my foundation.  I bounce back and forth from a liquid to a powder.  And the only liquid foundation allowed on my face is Maybelline Fit, and the compact for touch ups during the day.

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When I feel like a powder its Bare Minerals, as you can see by the practically empty jar.

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For my mascara, Its Loreal Voluminous. either the Full Definition or the Original.   I swear my lashes actually do look longer.  Even healthier!  I have a tube in my purse and one in my makeup case in the bathroom.  I don’t carry one in my purse for touch ups, its just that I am so anal about having to wear mascara that I figure if I ever get stuck somewhere and have to spend the night, I will at least have my mascara for the morning.  Sad isn’t it?

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My hair, the older I get the dried my hair gets. I use Frizz-Ease on wet and dry hair.  It does wonders!

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So there you have it, my favorite beauty products.  Just the basics, at my age and at this stage in my life these are pretty much all I need.

Live well my friends! XO

Who Needs a Shopping List? ME!!!

In my personal goal of becoming more organized; I wanted to make my grocery lists organized too (is that not crazy!)  So I have created my own “shopping list”.  And since I did I have seen some posted on Pinterest so I thought I’d share mine, guess I’m not the only one out there that feels this need.

When I write my shopping list on a piece of paper, I scribble.  And I scribble all over the page with frozen items in with the fruit items, dairy in with the paper products, you know what I mean right??  So most of the time I end up back tracking through the store frustrated and really wanting to get the heck out of the store OR I undoubtedly forget things (I’m not the only person to do this right?).  The trick however, is to remember to take it along with you when you go shopping!!!!  I don’t know how to help with remembering, I struggle too…

My list is not fancy or decorated to make it look pretty, it’s just a list, plain and simple, which is how I like my life these days.  I hope you like it and will give it a try, I really don’t want to be the only lost soul in my store with an organized list!!

Cheers my friends!

Shopping List

Niagara Falls, One of the Seven Wonders of the World?

According to our tour guide and the IMAX Theater,  I just saw the 7th wonder of the world~ which hundreds of thousands of millions and gazillions of people already experienced!  But I am still in awe of the beauty and power of the Niagara Falls! So I’m thinking I might need to see the other six!!

The Seven Wonders of the World are……………….ummm which list do you want look at?  There are the 7 Ancient Wonders, the 7 Modern Wonders, the 7 Man-made Wonders, the  7 Natural Wonders, and a few other Wonder Lists!!  And I didn’t see Niagara Falls on any of them!!!  What the heck!!!   Didn’t anyone tell Canada??  Do they even know??

I don’t want to dispute any list, or any country that thinks they are on the list so I’ll just move on…

My girlfriend and I did a bus trip to Ontario, Canada to see the falls.  Traveling by bus is a great way to travel, you can just sit there and be lazy.  You can read, nap, chat away the hours, or watch the world as you pass by.  But, you are also stuck on a bus with a lot of other chatty people.  Luckily though, there were only 14 total on this trip which was perfect!  We got to know each other and had lots of fun!  And an added plus, they napped when we napped and chatted when we chatted and nobody was noisy at all.  Whew!

The good thing about traveling on a bus trip is that your trip is completely planned for you.  We didn’t have to plan anything; we only had to worry about making sure we got up and on the bus at the appropriate time (and remembered to change out of our jammies).

The bad thing about traveling on a bus trip is that your trip is completely planned for you.  We saw some things that we wanted to do but couldn’t, like walk behind the falls; and also saw some things that we would not have chosen to do BUT we did know this when we signed up.  For instance, we saw an IMAX movie of the falls that was really not interesting, I could have googled that info, or the bus line could have bought the DVD and showed it to us on the drive up.

 

Upon our arrival in Niagara, and the trip thru Canadian Customs with a few rude customs agents, we went to the Skylon Towers for a dinner buffet.  It wasn’t too bad, considering I am not a fan of buffet style meals.  They had an observation deck that I wanted to up to but it wasn’t on our itinerary so after our meal we were back on the bus to our hotel.  The evening was to then be spent on our own.  Naturally I wanted to walk down to the falls.  It was amazing!  Pictures just don’t capture the natural beauty and power of the falls.  We eventually wandered into a restaurant/bar across the street from the falls, and waited for darkness to fall so we could witness the lights on the falls at night.  Gorgeous!

 Unfortunately, I did not have my tripod with me so my night shots didn’t turn out so good.

The next day was breakfast at the hotel and back on the bus for our 3 hour tour!  Yes some of us did sing the little tune to “Gilligan’s Island”.   We had a tour guide that did a great job informing us on the power plants that once occupied the area, we saw a beautiful seminary, and a convent that now sit empty.  I wanted to get off the bus and take pictures because the buildings were beautiful! We went to Table Rock to watch the falls from above. We saw a floral clock that completely bored me to tears. 

And then we went to the “Locks”; a ship had just come in and they were filling up one of the locks but we only had 15 minutes to spend there and we were off again.  We drove past the butterfly conservatory; I would have LOVED going in there too!

  This is at the Whirlpool where 3 rivers meet, I would have loved to take a ride over the whirlpool!!

Next was lunch on our own after which we hopped on “Maid of the Mist” and headed into the mist of the falls, or rain as we later discovered. 

We were all covered in blue plastic disposable raincoats which thankfully kept my clothes and my camera dry, the rest of me was soaked!  What a great adventure to be down in the powerful spray of the falls!

After we dried in the sun for a few minutes we were back on the bus and went to Niagara on the Lake. 

A beautiful quaint little town on Lake Ontario, I had planned on dipping my toes in the lake but we never made it  L .  So, any of you that are planning on going, let me tell you that the town is nice and the shops are unusual boutiques’, most of which cater to a higher end of shopping, had I known I definitely would have declined that visit and chosen the walk behind the falls. 

Three of us almost got stuck in Niagara on the Lake.  We waited and waited….and started to cry….and waited for the shuttle bus to come pick us up to take us back to our bus but it never arrived.  Thankfully a local told us the shuttles stop running at 6pm.  It was then 6:25 and we had to be back at our bus by 6:30.  We cried louder and wanted our Mommies!  It would have been polite for the shuttle driver to tell us the curfew time when he dropped us off.  Would have been nice for OUR bus driver to know that too!  We eventually stopped crying and walked the few blocks out of town to the tour bus location.  We were applauded by everyone else for finally arriving!  I asked them if they were worried about us and they said NO!  Geesh!  Doesn’t anybody love me?

Back on the bus and to the hotel for the night.  I’m going to let you in on a little secret….shhh, you can’t whisper a word to anyone else….we smuggled wine into the country!!!! HA!  So being the rebels that we are, we sat on the balcony of our hotel room and drank our smuggled wine for everyone to see!!  Okay,  just kidding, sort of.  We did bring wine in and my friend declared it.  But how she declared the wine was funny.  The customs agent (who’s personality was equal to a bear with a diaper rash and heartburn) asked her how much wine she is declaring, and my friend used her hands to describe the height of the box and said “about that much”.  Yea yea yea it was box wine!!!  Get over it!  Then she pulled out her metal nail file and proceeded to file her nails!  Umm Janie dear, isn’t that considered a weapon these days!!!

Oh!  I almost forgot!  There was a tightrope walker that walked from the Skylon Tower to one of the hotels.  He just zipped along like it was nothing!

The next morning…….found a Perkins for breakfast (yuck that was bad!) and back on the bus for the IMAX theater.  Again, I knew this was on the itinerary and I was okay it clearly BUT I didn’t realize how lame the movie was going to be.  We learned about the Indian legend to the maid in the mist, heard about some of the daredevils and that was it.  I don’t recommend wasting your time or money on that experience!

Back on the bus for the ride home….and the 1-1/2 hour wait to get thru US customs.  Good to know our country is safe!  They did the mirror under the bus, walked thru our bus and checked out each one of us. Had no wine to declare this time and Janie kept her weapon safely tucked in her purse.   Not sure how I would have explained to her husband that she was arrested for possession of a weapon…..

Adorable friend, fantastic trip and weather, spectacular place to visit and I am so thankful that I was able to go.  But there is no place like home Toto!