Monday Musings

So I’m gonna start today off with a rant. Why not. And you might laugh or be surprised when I tell you the rant is over…. donuts.

Yes. Donuts.

I don’t really eat them much, rarely actually.

But I do have a little thing for powdered sugar donuts. I’ve talked about them before.

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/09/22/food-choices-deprivation-or-empowerment/

Sometimes in the mornings I just want one or two. That’s it.

I don’t binge on them or eat a half a bag. I have the discipline/self control/ whatever you want to call it to have a taste and put them away.

In fact unless some of the others who live in my household eat them, I will often throw half a bag away when they’ve sat for awhile. ( here’s a nod to all the preservatives that keep them alive and well haha)

Anyway….

Since I am selective in how I eat them I expect them to be good, ya know? With the most recent purchase it appears they have somehow changed up the donut recipe, and not for the better.

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Posing with a bag of defective donuts. Why am I smiling???

The donuts are like… sponges. Chewy sponges. Sugar coated chewy sponges.

They are awful. Hideous. Not worth wasting calories on.

I’m contacting the company and asking them what they’ve done to my little white, fluffy tasty treats. I’m going to whine and cry and ask them… why?? Why did you go and mess with a good thing?

Incase you don’t know, the donut should be rather light, fluffy, and kinda melt in your mouth with the powdered sugar.

It should not be like chewing through a kitchen sponge.

I guess that’s one way to break me from them, right?

**sniff, sniff**

I’m done whining now….

Ok maybe I don’t really need them after my doctor appointment this past week.

Yes, everything is good.  I don’t talk much about this but I have hypothyroidism.

I really never mention it ’cause 1) I don’t want to be defined by anything and 2) it’s not a big deal to me as I see my doctor yearly to monitor my TSH levels and I take my meds like a good girl.  I also think eating healthy and exercise help as well.

But besides my check up on my thyroid  he runs a whole panel of blood tests. He got to my cholesterol and said “Your HDL ( the good kind of cholesterol) is 79.”

It should be mentioned here that the highest level the lab has as, I guess, an “optimal” level is 39mg.

He laughs and calls me an over achiever and then says “it’s all that exercise you do that drives it up”

Consistent, daily, vigorous exercise is the best way to help your good cholesterol levels. So if you struggle with cholesterol issues, you might want to consider trying to get more purposeful movement into your week.

It’s not only good for your cholesterol, but all of your body as well.

In my furniture adventures…..

 

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An old window screen with a few additions

 

Ok this isn’t like, furniture, but it is old and crusty. Look how cute this old window screen turned out with some additions to it 🙂

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Vintage buffet

I did score this vintage buffet this week. Other than some veneer damage on top ( ugh, which I’m removing) it won’t have much repair work to start transformation.

20180607_121008Actually this little piece will be adorable as a coffee bar or a entry way piece. There are so many ways to repurpose  buffets.

In the past few weeks I’ve finished off a few chairs and a cute table. I have several things on the list for the upcoming week, including the buffet.  Hubby has told me I get nothing else… but he accompanied me on a run for some stuff this past weekend haha

Seriously. I’m so grateful for how he supports all my craziness and adventurous ideas 🙂

I promise a peek at the buffet when it’s all done.

When I’m not doing furniture….

I’m slowly working my training back up in preparation for the duathlon later this year. I think if there’s one thing I’ve had to learn as an athlete is the ebb and flow of a training season. It is SO hard to give up a high level of fitness, to be at a peak, and then come off that and have to start building it again.

Not that I’m “out of shape”  not even being in peak condition I know I can still do more physically than most people. I have a good physical “base” to build on as I start my training. I just kinda wish I could always stay at that level although I know my ( or any athletes) body isn’t designed to always be in such peak condition.

So I’ll start increasing my training, building each week, and celebrating as I conquer new goals.

I’ll start with a brick session today  ( bike/ run) and gradually add  those workouts in twice a week. There will be specific long rides and on foot, mile repeats working on kicking up my speed a little.

And in the mix, I’ll keep up strength training to keep my body strong and balanced for my on road activities and because I like having some muscles too 😛

I’ve written a couple posts on that… find them here…….

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2016/03/03/muscles-are-for-girls/

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/05/10/menopause-muscles-and-middle-age/

Seriously though, I feel so alive when I’m out on the road whether I’m running or cycling. I’m ready to work hard and enjoy the fruit of my labors 🙂

I’m ready to take on this tough duathlon again.

Now… have I ever mentioned……

My son is in the ball python business.  Yeah. Snakes. Check out this little baby, and it literally is a baby at only about 12 days old.

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He’s being a little shy and hiding out ….

Oh no! Have I creeped you out now????

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Getting a little more adventurous now….
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I think he likes me now.

 

I may have just lost half my readers showing these photos haha

Evidently, according to my son, ball pythons are big business now days. While I was letting this little guy crawl around he casually informs me it’s a 1,500.00 snake.

Yikes!

And you may now have assessed that I’m not a girl who runs from snakes.

Here’s the deal, after raising three boys, I’ve learned to roll with just about anything… it definitely has made me a stronger woman on a lot of levels.

If you’re still with me….

tell me if you’re someone who gets creeped out over snakes or if you find them interesting?

Are you sympathetic over my donut plight ? Have you ever been disappointed in some particular food you find enjoyable to have it not measure up?

Have you tried any new foods or recipes this week ? Summer heat is in full swing and I am more about eating light foods and plenty of salads. Do you have any light, cool recipes you prefer ?

Do you have an upcoming event you are training for?

Monday Musings

Happy Monday beautiful people. Before I launch into todays ramblings, I want to pause and recognize that today here in the states, it’s Memorial Day.

If you don’t know, it is a day set aside to remember the brave men and women who died fighting for the freedom of our country.

memorial day

Amidst the BBQ’s, and store sales, there is a far deeper meaning and acknowledgement of this last day in May.  No words could ever express how we as a Nation feel for those who fought, and gave their lives for the freedoms we enjoy each day.

My dad served several years in the Vietnam war. He had Alzheimers and died from it a little over a year ago. To the end of his fading memory, he remembered he had served, he was proud of his service, and he still had pain in his heart for those he had served with in the war who didn’t make it back home.

As an American, I am grateful for those who have served, and continue to serve our great nation today.

Weekend adventures

I took off on a little road trip to see hubby this weekend.  I always have fun exploring or doing things with him in different environments.

Saturday morning started off eating breakfast at this healthy little breakfast place we found before. They use like, real food to make your breakfast. As you can tell my eggs in my omelet are that creamy yellow. It also held all kinds of tasty veggies inside of it. Add to it hearty whole grain artisan toast and leafy greens with plenty of coffee, it was delicious

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A wholesome veggie omelet. Hubby isn’t ever impressed with the greenery though 😉

After food and some exploring we found ourselves at the pool later on. I was hanging off the side, lost in thought, watching the kids bounce around everywhere.

It should be mentioned, as a writer, my mind is constantly whirling, thinking, pondering. I observe the world around me and pay attention to people… the ways they interact, their conversations, body language etc.  I can have a topic start forming in my head with just a casual observation of something.

For instance…..

I watched this little girl go skipping by in her little red bikini, blonde braids bouncing on her shoulders, goggles clutched in one hand completely enjoying the afternoon at the pool.

She was unconcerned over her body. She most likely wasn’t wondering what her stomach looked like or if she looked “fat”. She wasn’t wishing she had a bigger butt or wondering if people were looking at her judging her.

Nope. She was blissfully free. Sadly, in a few years, she may not be like that.

I began to share my thoughts with hubby who admittedly said he wasn’t sure he wanted in my head when I told him I had stuff whirling in there all the time…. haha

But he listened to my observations stating the obvious… well she hasn’t grown up yet and developed all those body insecurities.  And this is true.

Family, society, friends, social media, even strangers are all big influencers of how we can lose our care free abandonment over time… meaning when we grow up.

When we grow up and determine we aren’t adequate or our bodies aren’t “good enough” or they could “be better” or worse yet, compare ourselves to others.

Sure, with good nutrition and exercise anyone could “be better”.  But what happens that people can’t simply go enjoy life without being hung up on their imperfections, real or perceived?

We  continued to talked about how beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And really, what IS a perfect body? That will vary person to person in what they believe to be attractive or desirable or whatever you wanna call it.

Yet the pursuit of these very things ( what someone believes to be desirable)  will hinder people from going out and just enjoying life.

Really, no one cares if your thighs are super thin. No one is thinking you don’t fill out your swimsuit enough.  No one is worried about the little extra pudge around your middle. Chances are, they have their own anyway.

Guys, no one is wondering where your washboard ab’s are or why your arms aren’t bulging in your t shirt.

Yet the times I hear women young and old lamenting over their “flaws” or imperfections ( how they view it) is staggering and they are held back by these beliefs.

Those ideas hinder you from just enjoying and savoring life.

What happens along the way that we can’t just go out and enjoy things with a child abandon instead of sitting on the sidelines, watching.

I’m in decent shape for a woman close to collecting her senior citizen discounts on morning breakfasts.

I wear a bikini because I can. Because I want to.

Because I hate having a white belly. hahaha

I don’t consider my body “perfect” in that unattainable sense. I’ve had babies. I have marks to prove it. However I also have some decent muscles now in my belly that I think, trump that. I have strong powerful legs, largely a side effect to my athletic endeavors. I don’t have “skinny” legs, but then I don’t want to have them either.

Oh. And I really don’t care if some random stranger may make a judgment on me or not.

But then again, as mentioned , I’m older. I’ve had time to get comfortable in my skin and be ok being me.

I won’t sit out watching from the distance while other people are having fun and doing stuff.

I will never sit on the side watching and not doing.

So as I sat, and watched these children so happily playing, still comfortable and untainted in their skin, I wondered why that has to be lost. Why so many will go through life burdened or feeling like they are inadequate or not enough and how if ever, that tide will turn.

Can I just say this? You are enough. Really. Your body is fine and no one is responsible for it but you.

If you need to lose some weight to feel better, do it for you. Do it for your health. Do it for the way it will make you feel.

I will always support good health and wellness ( mentally and physically)

Love yourself, learn to be a little more free, and enjoy the life you have to live without being hung up on if your body isn’t some particular “way” you think it should be.

Sweet heavens. I’ve been preaching. I shall now stop that…..

Weekend exercise…

let’s be real. When we aren’t on our “home turf” it is harder to get a workout in. We may feel like we are on a break and can step away from it.

I do it most days, so time off makes me feel more tight and achy than when I do workout. My muscles are used to frequent movement!

Thus started my Sunday morning pondering what I could get in to shake out legs and a body that had driven quite a bit the day before and was begging for something.

I decided to go on a quick, brisk explore walk, 30 minutes. It was already warm and humid so it was easy to start working up a sweat. After that I decided to finish it off by running three flights of stairs for 10 minutes.

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cool down time at the top of the third landing

Let’s just say, if you wanna test your cardio endurance, go ahead and get after some stairs for awhile!

Ok so all that was great and awesome. I wasn’t thinking that later in the day, I’d be driving for awhile again and that my legs would be sitting and still.

I stopped for gas and a coffee and got out trying to not initially hobble like an old woman till they stretched out haha

Speaking of that… I had been craving an iced coffee for miles. The place I stopped is like this mecca in the middle of nowhere. It has the usual gifts, and more food than you can imagine to tempt you to take back on the road. It boasts I’m sure, a hundred gas pumps. And it definitely boasts the cleanest bathrooms anywhere on the highway.

Oh… I did mention observing people. If I had time to just sit outside and watch….

It’s an adventure unto itself to stop there.

Since no Starbucks was around for miles, I was thankfully, able to improvise with what they had for sale and settle my iced coffee craving.

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I shoulda bought two…..

Anyway, it kinda fortified me for the remainder of the trip so I won’t complain.

A holiday weekend isn’t complete without food

We will be doing a Memorial meal like most of America so I thought I’d share a couple of recipes I plan to use.

Yay for new recipes!

 

I’ve kinda really been wanting to try this, so better to do so when I have other people to test it out on .

But let’s not forget dessert….

Mocha brownies with coffee cream cheese icing. How amazing does that sound??

Two new recipes on the menu for dinner so we’ll see how that goes.

Before I go…..

As we head into a new week they are promising record breaking temps topping us into the 100+ degree range.

Ah. I know we are getting into summer months I’m just not ready for that rough heat yet.  It also means I need to be up and on the road to bike or run before that sun starts getting to high in the sky. It’s a complete sweat fest with heat and humidity combined with the work of what I’m doing.

But, it’s summer and summer in the south means blistering hot days. Ready or not, here it comes.

Your turn! Tell me something from your week. Anything new, different or fun? Or was it the same ( yet sometimes comfortable) familiar grind for you?

 

Steps To Transforming Vintage Furniture

“So, that piece you did. You just paint it, right?”  I tried not to choke and laugh all at once and instead I did some kind of unladylike snort thing.

The person was asking about a cute chair I had recently finished.

Ok.. before I go on… if you’re just joining the party this is a kind of a Part 2 to my post from yesterday, The Art Of Flipping Furniture. You can find it here if you wanna catch up, if not, continue to read on…..

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/05/22/the-art-of-flipping-furniture/

As I’ve ventured into this interesting hobby/growing side business, I’ve learned there are all kinds of interesting variables going on.

The first being, it could be assumed that I go buy a piece of cast away furniture, run home, and slap paint all over it.

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Just another sunny day dragging home some of my prizes

 

 

That being said, there are people who do that. It makes me sad to see a gorgeous piece of furniture that has obviously been hastily painted, and before paint has even dried they have snapped photos to put it up for sale.

It’s usually still sitting on a trailer, the back of a truck, in a yard or garage on concrete blocks with random junk around it.  But my favorite was a beautiful vanity piece ( originally it was beautiful) sitting in a dirt yard on cardboard with crunched up soda or beer cans behind it and a tire to the side of it.  No hardware back on drawers.

Sigh.

I am setting myself apart with other furniture artists who invest ourselves into our pieces for the pure love and joy of it understanding we will on some occasions, not get a dollar amount equal to our investment of time and resources.

We love making things once tired, bland, broken and ugly, beautiful with a fresh new life to give.

So, I thought I’d kinda conclude this topic by sharing a little of what goes into the process so when you see a unique, old, hand painted piece of furniture for sale you can also understand the price that may be attached to it.

We just don’t take it home and slap paint on it.

Get comfy, it’s time to go on the journey.

The Hunt

The first time I called it that, my family laughed. But really, I do view it as a hunt. I have several places I stalk online and really, if there is something super cool, and if it happens to be a good price, it’s gone instantly. You have to almost see it the second it’s posted to get it.

There are so many things that I don’t want, or that are not that old or even that impressive. I know what I like when I see it. I also consider what it’s flip ability is. If it’s something I want personally, well I have a little more wiggle room ’cause I don’t mind paying a bit more for something I’m keeping.

Now I’ve learned the hard way, just because I’ve found an item I want, confirmed with the seller, set a time for pick up and got an address doesn’t mean I’ll get it.

Without blinking an eye people have sold things out from under me. I try to understand if they are that desperate for money from someone else who gets there an hour before I do… well they must need it really bad.

It is still ridiculously frustrating when that happens.

But when I find the item I want, and arrange pick up with seller it’s time to do what I call …..

Go bag the game

As a hunter, if you’re successful you get what you’re hunting for. But here’s the deal, once I score a piece of furniture it’s rarely close by. I’ve driven one way over an hour to get pieces.

All the cool stuff is a good drive away.

So, there’s time and gas going to get the prize. I’ve gone to some seedy kind of places getting stuff. I usually am the one helping load or doing it alone ( yay for girl muscles)

I take blankets or something to put down because the furniture has usually been stashed or stored somewhere, it’s old, total filth, sometimes it has an odor and desperately needs cleaned.

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Inside the 1900s gentleman’s dresser I dragged home… waiting to get cleaned

 

I’m thrilled, load it up and head home. That’s when I can officially let my ideas start forming.

I have it.

Nothing is worse than seeing a piece I want, having ideas, then not getting it.

The preparation

Usually when I get a piece home I do an assessment of it, what it’s needs are. Some pieces are pretty straightforward and don’t need much more than a light sanding and washing down to prep them.

That is really, the rare thing.

Most pieces need anything from a lot of sanding, to sucking leaves out of the inside of a cabinet and removing years of dust, dirt and grime before I can even consider painting.

Sanding. I do most of it by hand. It’s off the charts messy.. for me and the furniture 😉

I’ve bought pieces with veneer damage so I need to set aside time to do repair work before anything else can happen.

Some areas have cracks and holes that require wood filler. Once that’s placed it has to dry, be sanded, and often filled again to the area is smooth and level.

Have I mentioned my carpentry skills have increased a 100% doing this work? haha

Old furniture is cool, but age has caused the varnish to get dry and brittle and it’s often flaking off. This all has to be sanded before any painting begins.

I’m going to use this chair that I’m currently working on as an example….

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Flaking varnish and chipped legs all need sanding.

 

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Definitely some glue and clamps coming up for repair on this leg
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You can also see because the corner is loose, the support block for seat is out and will need to be put in and glued at the same time, It looks pretty bad, doesn’t it?

 

 

 

Sometimes, as in the case of chairs, the legs or connections are loose or separated and need glued and clamped to make them more secure. The seats are usually original wood and have become weak and brittle.

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After sanding and repairs, the piece gets washed down to get all dust and grime off

 

 

New seat bottoms need cut…oh but that means a trip to local hardware store to get some plywood for new seats. Time to spend some money.

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And it’s sporting a new seat.. thanks hubby for cutting that 🙂

 

Can’t have my potential customer falling through, can I ?

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Shhhh a sneak peak of the new project. It’ starting to look a bit different now

Ah! And now, we get to paint! The chair has been sanded down removing all old flaking varnish, I’ve glued and repaired legs and support bar, washed the piece, air dried then sprayed with a Matte shellac to prevent any bleed through from dark areas.

Once that set, the chair got it’s first coat of slate blue that I love. Once it dries  ( chalk paint has a fast dry time) it will get touched up in areas that were missed, allowed to dry, lightly sanded, then I will clear wax it and go back with a dark wax that will accent and pop all of its unique details out. While that settles, I will take it’s new seat, add the new foam and fabric I purchased to make a bright cushion for it. All that will remain to be done will secure the seat back to the chair ( fortunately it had all it’s original screws)

After that, it will finally, be ready for a new home.

Other stuff in the process

 

Sometimes, on furniture a piece of hardware or fixtures are missing so I have to hunt it down which depending on age is tricky, again another cost involved in process. The perfect piece has all of its original fixtures.

Oh speaking of the hardware… all that is usually tarnished and dirty from years of neglect so it needs taken off and cleaned. Sometimes, it’s an easy job, other times it’s time consuming and frustrating.

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This 1900 cabinet has all of it’s original hardware which is stunning. It’s also been quite a challenge getting it cleaned!

 

Some pieces have bad veneer damage and I’ve made the decision to take it off.

Can you say, work? It’s a ton of work scraping off glued on veneer. However, if the surface is especially bad it’s worth the time to get to a fresh smooth surface underneath it.

Other times, I’ve tackled the veneer damaged and focused on repairing it, especially if I’m painting it.

Some pieces like a desk I did recently, require being totally sanded down, which I do by hand.

One table I recently purchased, it’s so cute, it opens up and the closes back to a half table. I wanted to try and sand the top down and re stain it and perhaps do a color on the table. Hubby got a good start on it but I’ve been working on all the edges this week, Do you know how tedious it is, sanding those edges? Or how careful you have to work with the veneer so you don’t chip or crack it in the process?

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So close to finishing the sanding on the top!

 

This is just a slow, time consuming process, but the end result will be so worth it.

Some recently finished work…..

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So back to that original question….

“So you “just” paint it, right?”  Well, as you can see the painting, new stain, or whatever look it gets, is really the last part of the process.

It’s the fun part.

Picking up and purchasing the piece, cleaning, repairing, sanding, prepping, painting, then top sealing with wax or a poly top coat, cleaning hardware, making new cushions etc. are all a part of the unique process of renovating antique or vintage items.

Besides the cost of the actual piece, the time and gas to get it, the supplies needed to do the job, and the hours  and labor the artist puts into it may help you understand better the pricing on a unique, one of a kind, piece of hand painted furniture that you won’t be able to find at your local furniture store.

Thanks for hanging out with me in this two part special! I hope this gives you a little more insight into the topic of “renovated” or “upscaled” old furniture. I hope that it has also given you a better idea of the labor of love it is for so many of us.

Do you have any hobbies or projects you enjoy that you do as a “labor of love” and enjoyment?

Monday Musings

Happy Monday you crazy kids.

I’m heading into a new week like….

new-week-bring-on-the-beast-mode-motivational-gym-quotes

Well, I wanna get back to beast mode, at least in the realm of my athletic shenanigans.

I shared in a post last week, it’s the Small Things,     https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/05/16/its-the-small-things/   that I had hurt my hand and it was hindering me from everything but running.

I did get in some runs last week so that felt good. I did try and lift one of my light little weights yesterday (15lbs) and just the weight of it resting in my palm reminded me it might be a little longer till I’m hitting heavy metal again…weights that is…. music is an every day thing 😉

Anyway, it’s healing. Two nights ago I slept without any bandages on it. It’s been a cover of “protection”. I felt so free without it 😛

Today is the first day I haven’t automatically put one on, again, it shields it from those unexpected surprises.

‘Cause like, if you’re gonna hit any part of your body, ever, it will always be the part you may have wounded, right???

So yeah, hitting the week in uh… lurching beast mode… haha

Last week though…

I was a working woman.

Well. Wait. When am I not??

From the time I hit the floor till I pass out at night, I’ve got something going on.

This work though was actually going to a … job.

One where I showed up and worked certain hours and was given some money at the end of the week.

My boss was my son. A real tough cookie haha

He has a small engine repair shop and the lady who handles the front was going to be out and kinda let him know…last minute…

Could I help some? Anything? Please?

Well, me being me and Mom, how could I not get him through the week?

True, some discussion of mechanical parts was over my head but I’m pretty fast on my feet, and I’m good with customers and talking to people. I can talk on the phone and I have no problem dealing with difficult people.

I can take charge and I can see things that need done and do it.

Being strong doesn’t hurt either as I had to use my girl muscles to help him load a generator onto a truck.

Heavy. Those things are stupid heavy.

Grateful I had at least enough muscular strength to help him handle that.

A work horse and secretary all in one.

I may have done my job too well as he’s been broadly hinting he’d love to have me there all the time….

I’ve had part time jobs off and on over the years of being married and having children. I’ve been blessed to be a Mom who could be home and run the roost and all that goes with it. There is always so much to be done!  I’ve also worked the direct sales “business” for awhile ( not for me).

I’m having fun with my furniture flipping and sold enough last month to pay for some car work I needed done ( I felt like such a grown up) I’m actually, finally writing a post on that topic ( not car repairs, my furniture flipping 😉 ) it should be launched tomorrow.

Finally. I know. I’ve only promised for weeks.

All that to say… my work week.

I’d be up early, go for a run, clean up, and get a couple things done before I left.

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They just don’t make a “messy, sweaty” filter. I gotta dial that up myself. haha

 

When I got home in the evening, I’d do whatever was waiting.

I’ve always given a big nod to women who work outside home and have to come in and pick up the household reins again at the end of the day.

I continue to admire you.

This week reminded me of all that goes on at home when I’m not there or what will still be waiting when I do get there.

On topic of cool things that make me smile

I’m trolling the produce dept loading up on veggies and whatnot when I hear…

“Hey girl!” and see one of the women who works back there hurrying over to me.

She said “do you notice anything different?”

I laughed and told her “Yeah you look really thin!”

It should be mentioned here, I’m not uh, socially awkward, hubby frequently asking me if I could get a stump to talk.

I sassily remind him, it’s a gift 😉

Anyway, over months this woman had asked me questions that I get sometimes.

“What do I do?”, “How or what do I eat?” “What kind of exercise do I do?” etc etc.

I’d chat with her, encourage her, as she talked to me about wanting to lose weight and get on a path to a healthier lifestyle.

I asked her what she’d been doing and she said ” all that stuff you told me to do. I’m eating more green veggies and laid off junk food and alcohol. I’m sticking to lean meat and watching my food intake”

I gave her a high five applauding her efforts as she told me she’d dropped over 30 pounds in the last 3 1/2 months.

She said “Now I just need to know what to do to look like you do” ( as she gestures to my arms kinda flexing haha)

I told her.. “You’ve just gotta get faithful about lifting heavy stuff”

I gave her some suggestions and she got ready to scamper back to work looking back laughing she said “Hey, 61 is the new 50 for me!”

You know… some days… I wonder if what I do matters.

I use my voice fearlessly.

I’m to bold for some, and yet resonate with others. I’m at an age that I don’t care if I’m someone’s cup of tea or not.

Then I get a gift like that, someone who I had casually talked with, encouraged, answered questions and applauded her efforts come to me and share and it’s so freaking satisfying to hear stuff like that.

It reminded me again, I need to just be me. Do what I do. Use my voice, be bold, be who I am.

My voice can impact the world.. I tend to forget that.

You.

You are no different. You have a voice and a personal world to touch and interact with.

Our “vehicles” might look different…. I have a health and fitness blog and a talkative mouth and an occasional… um.. attitude.. ha.. but I use of all that and then some.

You might have coffee with a friend at your kitchen table and that is where you excel and make an impact.

Use your voice in whatever way that looks like.

I’ll stop preaching now….

I finally got around to listing some of my furniture pieces I finished off last week. You may remember my fun bright pink chair?

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it was the first piece to go! Now as a creative person I know this and I do what I want to do, but there’s that “what if I have a pink chair for the rest of my life??” thought too.

This piece was so easy and I had such a clear vision for it and honestly I just let my free spirit out all over it.

I also understood that I might have to wait for another fun, free spirited person to come along and embrace it…. however long it might take.

An hour after I posted it a lady messaged me she wanted it. That it was “perfect” for her daughters desk.

And off it went to it’s new home.

Yet, the clean, “safe” neutral one that I absolutely adore and love and “want to maybe keep” that I thought would go first, is still with me.

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I think it’s just so feminine and pretty….

 

Go figure.

 

I told hubby this business will teach me patience in a myriad of ways.  It can be one of my um.. short comings… that patience thing haha

I can’t end this post without talking about food, right?

 

As mentioned, it was a busy week. Crock pots are always a hero for, well just about any time. This hooked me when it said I could “toss chicken in, whip up sauce, pour over it and leave it.”

6 hours later I steamed broccoli and made some rice and dinner was good to go.

Oh. It was super tasty too.

Oh but wait…

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Why yes, yes that’s an old weight on top of my crock pot….

So I decided to make beans last night with a ham bone left from a meal this past week.  I guess I got a bigger bag of beans than usual, and the ham bone was pretty big too. Anyway, the lid wouldn’t entirely sit flat like it needed to so I kinda improvised.  I used one of these old sanded weights that’s probably as old as I am that I had laying around… it neatly smooshed the lid down so the crock pot could do it’s magic.

Ham and beans… I’ve now neatly labeled myself for sure as a southern girl haha

A final thought….

 

Apples have been on my snack list a lot this week. Crunchy, sweet, good for your teeth and your body, I’d say they are up there on the perfect snack list.

Hmmm maybe a food spotlight on them for an upcoming post?

Ok your turn! Top my week. What have you been up to? Do you have a favorite healthy food you’d like to see me spotlight? Let me know!

Smart Nutrition

Good nutrition. Smart nutrition. It’s a topic that comes up a lot and it’s a topic I’ve fielded not only for myself, but talking with others who desire to live a healthier lifestyle in regards to foods.

 

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Colorful foods are always healthy choices

 

Add to that, for most of us, we have busy lives and schedules and food sometimes is well, an afterthought.

There could be a tendency to grab just whatever is convenient or at hand because we’re tired or worse yet, our hunger is on full blown overdrive.

I am notorious some days for being hungry, yet feeling to lazy to make myself something. This is especially dangerous when it’s been a day I’ve trained hard and my body is wanting some good quality nutrition for all it’s work that morning.

Someone, please admit, there are days you feel like that too. Hungry yet the idea of making food or even putting something together seems like to much trouble so you just skate by.

Not ideal, I know.  There are some days I admittedly feel that way.

I’m smart enough to know my body needs proper fuel not just post workout, but also for a busy day of activities.

Yours does too.

Smart nutrition where does it start?

I’ve had friends jokingly ask if I’d follow them around and slap wrong foods out of their hands or  tell them they’ve had enough at the dinner table.

It always makes me laugh. Maybe, we all want someone like that. This tough love accountability person who snatches a donut from us or reminds us we don’t really need that big Mexican platter for lunch.  This person would simply follow us around like some muscular side kick directing our food choices.

I hate to break the news but smart nutrition, well, that starts with you.

It has to start with you because really, ultimately you are the only one making the choices.

Maybe you want to blame the co-worker for stocking piling donuts in the break room or use the reason you’re to tired to not make healthy foods so you stop at the fast food drive thru.

For example….

I’ve been helping my son at his shop this week. I ran out to do some errands for him and drove through a local fast food place for lunch to take back with me.

No. Not burgers and fries.

Although, I will admit, fries are at the top of my most favorite non- necessary food items.

However, they happen to make some amazing salads and that’s what I was after.  I love salads, not as a “diet” food but as a “healthy, nutritious good for my body” food.

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Now tell me how tasty this looks…..protein, fruit, and leafy greens

 

Eating it leaves me feeling satisifed, yet also energetic and not sluggish like I’d feel from a meal heavy in more simple carbs.  I’ve eaten like this long enough that it’s a no brainer for me to go for healthier choices.

Although… why… why can’t salads smell as good on the wind as the smell of greasy foods??? hahaha

We encounter choices each day in how we eat. There can be an endless list to reasons why we don’t make smarter, healthier choices in our nutrition each day.

But when it comes down to what we put in our mouths, no one is standing there shoveling it in but us.

We are responsible for our own nutrition, good or bad.

Well where do I start?

No one understands better than I do that you just don’t magically develop good nutritional habits over night.

You just don’t.

You don’t undo or change a life time or years of eating certain ways without some determination and discipline to see it through. If you’re reading this I may assume you are wanting to eat nutritionally smarter.

Getting started requires a bit of a mental shift in your thinking. The foods or snacks you reach for. Your beverage choices. How much you eat. When you eat. It all takes some time and planning.

Oh yeah… planning helps. Some tips and tricks…

we live busy lives.  Planning somewhat is crucial to success in developing smart nutrition habits.

Sitting down and thinking about meals and snacks and ingredients needed when you aren’t hungry is the best place to start. Once you’ve developed a plan and utilized it for awhile you won’t have to think so much about what you’re doing.

Consider your lifestyle. Do you work? Do you need healthy easy meals that won’t take much time to prepare or could be prepped in advance? Crock pots and one pan dinners are at the top of my healthy recipe ideas. If you need creative ideas, Pinterest is loaded with them.

You would need to consider your work meals. Maybe you don’t take a lunch but really, it’s the best way to ensure you are eating foods that you’ve chosen and aren’t going to be subject to grabbing whatever is easy in the work cafeteria.

Food prep. Ok I’m not really into that. I know what I like and what works for me so I don’t make containers of food to keep in ‘fridge.  I’m also at home so it’s easy enough for me to make my meals based on what I want.

However, making and prepping things like fruits and veggies in advance will make it easier to grab it for lunch or to make up a easy salad if you don’t have to chop a lot of stuff, I sometimes will buy already cut and prepped veggies because I appreciate the convenience of it ( like broccoli )

Hard boiled eggs, cheese cubes, or sliced lean meats will make lunch prep quick and easy.

Try to eat foods as close to their natural state as possible. ( fruits, veggies, whole grains, etc) the more colorful, the better.

Cheetos don’t count by the way 😉

Learning to swap out high calorie or less nutritious foods is another way to being smart in making a healthy change. For example, swapping chips for crunchy veggies with ranch dip made with Greek yogurt is a way to not only cut calories, you get a little protein in with the yogurt. Greek yogurt is very high in protein and all I eat now days. I buy the non-fat plain and add my own fruit, nuts etc. or use it as a base for dips and cooking that requires sour cream.

Don’t forget your drinks. Sugary drinks contribute to your daily calories and are not a part of a smart nutrition plan.

In conclusion….

becoming smarter in nutritional choices takes time. Don’t get discouraged if you make choices you think you’ve “failed” in.

Really, an awareness shows you that you are trying and are aware of choices so that’s a good thing!

Take each day at a time, try to make wise choices in that day, celebrate your victories and learn from your mistakes.

Each day makes you smarter in your nutrition habits and leads to a healthier body and lifestyle.

Tell me… what tips or ideas work for you in regards to smart nutrition ?

 

 

 

It’s The Small Things

You know that saying “it’s the small things in life?”  Meaning it’s those things we might not think much about that really matter in big ways. Things we seemingly take for granted and don’t often give maybe a lot of thought too.

Sometimes, the small things really are big things.

For example, my week. I hurt my hand last week.  And not just “a little hurt” but hurt enough to make some things not only painful ( as in make me sick to my stomach pain)   but also super inconvenient as well.

My advice… don’t stick your hand in when two dogs are at odds with each other.  Dumb I know. It’s an unthinking move at the time.

Of course, it was my left hand.  And yes, that’s my dominant hand. I’m one of the few unique ones operating with a hand many of you still express surprise over when it’s revealed.

Ha… where… do you think all my artistic creativity comes from ? 😛

I’d never view my health or body wellness as a “small” thing, it’s just that I’m used to going through my days fairly effortlessly and without dealing with inconveniences.

I never really pondered the ease of doing zippers, buckling belts, tying shoes, doing my makeup, driving! , writing,  waking up without my hand instantly aching or attempting to grasp things with my hand.

I have now pondered it a lot.

What physical activities?

Given my hand had some serious injuries, it’s curbed me from activities like boxing, rowing, cycling, weights.. pretty much anything that requires me to have a good strong grip.

Yes, I can still run but my hand was swollen and I didn’t think it was a great idea to be out swinging it and running and all that would come along with it.

Today was my first venture back out, a short 5kish distance to see how it felt. I tried to be mindful to hold it up more and not let my arm move as freely as I usually might. I guess it worked ok ’cause I didn’t feel awful after.

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It’s a good thing I like running ’cause it appears I will only be doing that for awhile. I’m ok with the idea since there are so many ways I can adjust running to mix it up and not get bored.

Running let’s me plot different routes, distances and I can determine how easy or hard that will be.

Do I include a route where I know I’ll get plenty of hills? Or do I keep it mostly flat? Better yet, do I want to do just hill repeats which is a strength and speed workout all in one? I really, weirdly, love doing hill repeats. If you’ve read my posts before on them, they aren’t your average “hill” but literally are mountains that have been paved over. It’s really quite a nice workout.

I was picking up my mail one day and one of my neighbors was there at that time. Our conversation went like this…

“Hey! I saw you running up that big hill this morning!”

Me… “yes, yes I was.”

Neighbor… “Running. You were running up it.”

( he said it like a statement of something I may or may not have been aware of)

“Yes sir, I was running up that hill. You are correct.”

“Girl you are crazy. I don’t even think I could manage to walk up it.”

Ha I should be semi amused he called me “girl” and  it should be noted this isn’t the first time my neighbors may have referred to me as a little crazy in regards to my cycling and running on some of the tough terrain we live on.

So yeah. Hill workouts will definitely be a part of my regime as my hand heals until I can get back to that other stuff I love doing.

But I digress….

in this week as I’ve dealt with it I have thought about those things, big and small, I can take so casually. Perhaps it’s when you go through struggles or difficulties that you focus in on it more.

It should be noted, I really don’t do confinement well. I don’t do good with clipped wings. I don’t do well not being able to confidently take care of the things around me I need to.

I literally have grass threatening to grow over my head…. I need to have a strong enough hand for that push mower.

Perhaps it’s in these times that I am more aware of those seemingly small things I assume is a privilege and it’s really not.

small things

 

None of us are really, entitled to anything. Which makes the gifts we have so much more treasured and valuable.

Being able to freely use my hand to drive, to cook, to grasp, cut, lift, do my makeup or blow dry my hair, to do all of the creative artistic things I’m enjoying ( ha I’ve just sucked it up and endured some pain to keep on with a few of my projects) write something without looking like someone hijacked my penmanship, so many things I’ve found myself considering.

In the course of life, this isn’t earth shaking and awful.

Certainly people daily go through so much more. It doesn’t have to be huge to make us stop and think and reflect on what we’re given and how precious it is and how we should value the abilities and gifts we have.

It’s all about gratitude

perhaps it comes down to that. Understanding that no matter what our situation we can choose to have a grateful attitude. Not for what we’re going through necessarily, but for all the small things, big things and everything in between.

For me, it’s simply easier to stay there than focus on the negative.

So I will try and appreciate all those small things in life that I previously hadn’t. I will celebrate daily improvement getting back to “normal” ( hahaha well that will most likely never happen as I’m far from that 😛 )

I will fully embrace my abilities when I get them again to wrap my hand firmly around heavy metal and lift it. To ride my bike at swift speeds and feel my hand clamp down on the brakes slowing my speed.   To slip into my boxing gloves and sink my body weight into the bag. To be seated on the rowing machine hands wrapped around the pull as my entire body responds to the work.

Sometimes the small things aren’t so small. Sometimes it’s those very things that make us feel alive and quicken our spirits.

Tell me, how do you embrace difficulty? Have you ever given much consideration to those “small things” in your life? Can you choose to be grateful in those times or are you annoyed to be in them?

 

 

Spotlight On Eggs

In todays food spotlight we’re gonna talk about eggs boys and girls.

The incredible, edible egg.

I know… it’s not a fruit or veggie but they are such a wonderful, complete food source I though we’d take a look at these little gems the chickens offer up to us.

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Jumbo eggs are where it’s at 😉

 

They are frequent visitors to my breakfast. The solid punch of protein not only keeps me feeling satisfied, it also keeps my blood sugar levels even and keeps me from having that crash I sometimes can get with more carb type breakfasts like pancakes or cereals. Eating eggs with a healthy dose of veggies also keeps me full and energetic for hours without thinking about food or getting hungry.

Eggs are a very good source of inexpensive, high quality protein. More than half the protein of an egg is found in the egg white along with vitamin B2 and lower amounts of fat and cholesterol than the yolk. The whites are rich sources of selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper.

One large hard boiled egg contains 78 calories, 6.3 grams of protein, 5.3 grams of fat and 0.6 grams of carbs. It also contains high levels of cholesterol, and other vitamins and minerals like selenium, riboflavin, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Phosphorus, Vitamin A, and folate.

But aren’t eggs bad for you?

there has been talk in the past that eggs caused cholesterol problems, that they are high in cholesterol and therefore would cause individuals to have raised levels.

But did you know…. eggs consistently raise HDL, the “good” cholesterol?  The cholesterol in eggs actually helps regulate the two cholesterols found in our bodies.

Eggs offer a crazy amount of health benefits

  • Strong muscles: The protein within eggs helps keep muscles working well while slowing the rate at which they are lost.
  • Brain health: Eggs contain vitamins and minerals that are needed for the regular functioning of cells, including the brain, nervous system, memory, and metabolism.
  • Good energy production: Eggs contain all the daily vitamins and minerals that are needed to produce energy in all the cells of the body.
  • A healthy immune system: Vitamin A, vitamin B-12, and seliniumare key to keeping the immune system healthy.
  • Lower risk of heart disease: Choline plays an important part in breaking down the amino acid homocysteine, which is associated with the development of heart disease.
  • Healthful pregnancy: Some nutrients within eggs help to prevent congenital disabilities, such as spina bifida.
  • Eyesight: Lutein and zeaxanthin help to prevent macular degeneration the leading cause of age-related blindness. Other vitamins also promote good vision.
  • Weight loss and maintenance: The high quality of protein within eggs might help keep people energized and feeling fuller for longer. Feeling full prevents snacking, which reduces overall calorie intake.
  • Skin benefits: Some vitamins and minerals within eggs help promote healthy skin and prevent the breakdown of body tissues. A strong immune system also contributes to a healthy look overall.

That’s a pretty long list of reasons to add eggs into your daily nutrition plan!

Eat the whole egg!

Seriously, eat all of the egg. The yolk contains tons of minerals and vitamins that are good for you.

egg-benefits

 

Egg yolks contain more vitamins, and larger quantities of those vitamins than egg whites.  Egg yolks are actually one of a handful of foods in which Vitamin D is naturally found.

Other good stuff in the yolks…

A typical egg contains around 1.3 grams of phospholipids, and most of that is in the yolk. Egg phospholipids have benefits for…

  • Cardiovascular health. Egg phospholipids may affect cholesterol and inflammation levels in beneficial ways.
  • Metabolic health. One study found that phospholipids from egg yolks helped decrease blood pressure and improve vascular function.
  • Memory and cognitive function. Phospholipids may protect against Alzheimer’s Disease, although it’s always worth mentioning that rat studies are not human studies and this is still pretty preliminary.

Ok besides all that healthy stuff, they just taste good! Right?

Of course, we’d all agree they are pretty tasty in cakes and cookies haha Fried, scrambled, poached, sunny side up, in a scramble mix  however you cook them they are good.  But there are so many ways they can be prepared that makes this perfect complete protein a tasty meal or snack.

How about a few tasty egg recipes?

 

So that’s a quick review on the humble egg, the complete protein food.  Eggs should be a part of your healthy daily nutrition plan and eating them only has positive health benefits for you.

Tell me, how do you like to eat them? Do you have any favorite recipes?

The Beauty Of Adoption

Birthdays. We all have them and if we’re lucky and blessed, we will be given a good number of them as we spend our days on this earth. Kids eagerly anticipate them and often are planning them longer in advance than Christmas.

Even though I’m in the age range of “approaching older than dirt”  I guess I’m still a kid at heart.

I want presents. I want an amazing cake and my favorite ice cream.  I want balloons. I want all the good stuff.  I don’t subscribe to being old means you don’t need/get that anymore.

Nonsense.

In my family we are entering birthday season and yesterday we celebrated my youngest, my daughter.

She officially left the teen years behind. She was the last of my brood to do so.

I have grown adult kids.  Holy cow how did that happen??

Yesterday was her official birthday but we will kinda be celebrating her through out the week.  I will be making some type of wicked cake this Saturday, but yesterday we had monster cupcakes ’cause you need something to celebrate moving into a new  decade, right?

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Cupcakes are larger than they appear 😉

 

 

Kids grow up, that’s normal right?

Yep, they do. And as mentioned she’s the last one leaving her teen years so I’ve got a little practice on me with several ahead of her.

But here’s the deal.

We got her when she was 8 years old. Half of her childhood had gone by. Sometimes maybe, I have a hard time realizing she is now a young woman.  Maybe I’m still caught up thinking there should be more childhood years.

Of course add to it she’s a whopping 4’10,  I  sometimes forget that she isn’t a “little” girl anymore.

The choice to adopt.

born under my heart

 

We had children. We had three perfect, wonderful,healthy sons that we were quite happy with.  They were all big when we made the decision to add to our family through adoption. Our youngest son was 11.

We knew we were done with babies and wanted a child that could just get up and go with us and start to fit into our family. We were told adopting older children was fairly easy since there were so many and families tend to want younger children.

The labor begins

Adoption has it’s own labor as much as carrying a child and then delivering them. It’s just a different labor and delivery process.

We adopted our daughter through the foster care system. There are literally hundreds of thousands of children in the U.S. foster care. We found an agency to work with and began the classes and working on home requirements, inspections etc that were required.

There was loads of paper work.

Some of the classes were painfully boring. Some things as a parent, we already knew and were just understood yet we had to sit in parenting classes.

We told the agency about the type of child we wanted. We settled on somewhere between age 7-10, race wasn’t important and of course, we wanted a girl.

The delivery

We got the call not many days after all of our official paperwork was done. There was a young girl who needed emergency placement within a couple days or she would be taken to the children’s shelter.  She fit into our criteria, would we want to meet her?

Well, of course we did.

We made arrangement for the next day, a Wednesday, to meet her and her foster family as well as the caseworker at a local restaurant.

It is a weird experience walking in and seeing a child that you know is going to be yours. It is weird knowing you are getting someone else’s child and are picking up the reins to raise and care for them.

There are a whole lot of emotions that are going on.

And not just for us, but for her too. At 8 years of age she had been through more than a lot of children. She also knew that something was up and was trying to be her most ‘impressive”.

We enjoyed our time meeting her and told the caseworker we were willing to move forward.

That was on Wednesday. On Friday December 1, 2006 our daughter arrived with a book, one stuffed animal and a small trash bag of clothes, most of which did not fit.

She was nervous, a bit hyper and desperately wanting to do all the right things.

You see we were her fifth placement since October of that year.

5 homes in a few months through no fault of her own.

Imagine being at your job one day. Your life isn’t perfect but it’s what you know. Then a nice man shows up and tells you that you can’t go back home but you are going to go live with some other nice people. He has stopped at your home and brought a few of your things but that is all that goes with you.

You leave everything you know behind to walk into a new home and life… immediately.

Imagine for a moment if you can, what that would feel like.  The complete uprooting of your life.

Now think of a child having to deal with it.

Is it any wonder they all have some sort of “emotional issues”?

The journey begins

It’s hard sitting here writing this, to think back to those early days when we got her, attempting to remember the way she was.

She’s always been sweet and loving. She desperately wanted a family and to be able to stay somewhere. She also was prone to immediate temper tantrums, biting, lying, and delivering words you might not expect from a child.

In the beginning any wrong move terrified her making her sure that she “would have to go”

I remember asking her one day what did she think was so bad that she could do that she’d have to leave… that we wouldn’t keep her.  In her child’s way she had all these reasons that I assured her weren’t reasons for us to get rid of her like a bag of trash.

How did that happen?

It took day after day of love, care, patience and showing her that in families people make mistakes or do things wrong but you love each other and keep moving forward. There wasn’t going to be something she’d do that would make us send her on to another home.

It took day after day of love, correction, discipline, and showing new examples for changes to occur.

Since we did the foster to adopt route and she was older with parental rights already terminated, we were able to move forward in a quick way with the adoption.

In May, 5 short months later, she officially became ours. But even then it was a long time before I think she really believed she was truly home and no one could take her or make her leave.

We had to develop routines and consistency and set boundaries. We had to show her love in ways our boys never needed it. We had to work through some negative behaviors that are really more survival skills kids pick up going through the upheavals of changing homes and being in foster care.

After about the second day of having her I realized I needed to handle her just like my own kids. For awhile it seems like you’ve got the neighbors kid and you find yourself allowing or even giving them little things they request.  So that’s what we did. If we were committing to make her our daughter then we would handle her like our own.

And then the years move by

Day by day, moment by moment you’re living life. And somehow this new life merged into ours.

Love, patience, training, teaching. helping, more patience and she began to blossom.  The more secure she became the less talk there was she might have “to leave”.

She made friends, was doing well in school was liked by her teachers and was living a normal life a kid should have.

As I contemplate the young woman she has turned into it’s hard not to feel a little proud. Her dad and I consider her no less ours than the ones that biologically were given to us.

She went through her entire high school career on the dance team, maintained awesome grades, worked, kept a close circle of friends and was an overall good kid.

She has finished her first year of college and heading into her second. She has goals set for herself. She is focused and determined. She has continued to work and has arranged her school schedule around that.

She is sweet, compassionate, loving and giving.  Oh, and she still has a strong little stubborn will too haha  But she is also always grateful, always thankful for the life she was given.

I’ve tried to show her how to be strong, how to do things for herself and how to be proud of who she is and not compare herself to others.

I want her to be a woman who knows how to get things done and can see ways to make it happen.

She always says she is blessed and grateful but we remind her we feel the same way.

Adoption.. things to know

We did it more than once. In fact we did it three times. Like pregnancy and delivery each one has their own story and out come.

If you feel led to pursue adoption consider doing it through the foster care system. A little known fact is that it costs next to nothing to adopt.  This could vary state by state but for ours it was nothing.

There are tons of myths about kids in foster care and adopting them. Yes, some do have serious issues. You would need to know and understand your level of abilities and care giving skills if you felt called to care for them.

Overall, there are more kids that are like yours but unfortunately they are in situations they didn’t ask to be put in. They’ve done nothing wrong to be there. They just want to be kids and do kid things and be safe and loved.

The children are many and they desperately want the same things your own kids do.

Love, security, family, a sense of belonging, birthday parties, friends, holiday celebrations etc.

Many “issues” are from the emotional trauma of what they’ve been through. With love, care, patience and a little time these behaviors leave.  Our daughter exhibits none of the behaviors she came with all those years ago.

You can pick the age, sex, race and level of behaviors you think you can handle in a child. You can ask for a single child or a sibling group.

We found the agency and workers we dealt with to be very helpful and encouraging. To this day I maintain connections with many of them.

Keep in mind, you might be excited about the adoption idea, but when you share it with family they may or may not be immediately on board with the idea.

Don’t worry about it.

This is about you and the calling you and your family have. The rest will eventually come along you may have to give it time. Even if they entirely don’t, this is about your family. Just focus on that. Adoption will take all of your positive energy.

Finally, adoption is simply a most beautiful way to not just add to your family but to give a child their forever family, something they all long for.

It’s a beautiful gift you both give to each other and there is nothing more rewarding than that.

Todays post is more of a life post. Sometimes I’ll spend some time sharing things that impact us in our lives. Have you had any connection or interaction with adoption?

Monday Musings

Happy Monday boys and girls… here we go again! A  week behind us and a new week of adventures ahead.

Since it’s Monday, I think it’s appropriate we talk about M&M’s.

Candy. Yeah I know.

You like hanging out with me ’cause I’m sane and sensible when it comes to health and fitness and treats are an allowable part of a good life.

But there’s a story here…

You see our local store has been hawking them like crazy for weeks now.

Why? I’m not exactly sure. But they are everywhere. On the end of every aisle and literally all down the center of store right before check outs with huge signs that say

“BUY 1 GET ONE FREE!”

They have them in baskets right where you pay with the same sign.

Ok, I just can’t be tempted that easily. You gotta come at me harder.  I mean I do have many moments of temptation in the store but can usually dodge stuff like that.

The checker the other day was prompting me…

“Don’t you want some? I mean, you get an extra bag”

Me: “No, I still have candy from Halloween, Christmas, and Easter laying around” ( I didn’t buy any for Valentines day)

I’ve managed to avoid temptation until I realized they were peddling a new flavor….  which would be Crunchy Mint.

I bought into it like a fish going after a June bug. A girl can only take so much pressure, right??

Chocolate and mint are in my opinion, have the right kind of relationship going on

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It says “Sharing size” I’m not sure about that idea 😉

This is evidently one of their new flavors you/we the public get to have a say in. Let me say this about them… have you ever had the Girl Scouts Thin Mint Cookies?

Yeah… like little crunchy, chocolate morsels of ground up Girl Scout cookies.  They are up there in ways of tasty deliciousness.  Vote for these little suckers to stay around all the time.

Ok and I may share with the fam…  maybe….

Anyone tried these?

A deep thought provoking question for you

Hubby shared something last week, one of those meme’s that said something like ” being an adult is a lot like trying to fold a fitted sheet”

Well, the topic of folding fitted sheets got more discussion than the actual funny intended meaning of the post.

Which got me to thinking… weird.. I know…

I pretty much stated how I felt about folding fitted sheets.  I find them annoying. I can fold them, my mom and grandmother taught me well. It’s just I don’t spend any amount of time trying to “get them right” or perfect or whatever.

Sometimes they might be a loosely tossed folded ball  hahaha

Not really. The point being, I find it largely irrelevant. I don’t care if they are folded right or just clean and put away.  I understand no one is patting me on the head if I do it “right” nor do I get an award for being awesome at it.

I’m to much of a free spirit to worry about many things, that being one of them.  I’d rather get on to something more fun.

Lots of people though, seemed to take their folding fitted sheets pretty seriously.  I guess the older I’ve gotten the more I seem to not worry or get hung up on a lot of things that don’t need so much of my attention. The sheet thing just got me to thinking about it.

How I’d rather get done necessary chores, in as quick a way as possible while keeping a clean, organized home, so I can get on to stuff that’s fun and enjoyable to me.

As in I like a clean house, but it’s not something I love doing.   I like the final result but  I don’t get a thrill out of.

I save that for flying off hills on my bike 😉

What camp do you fall in? Are you super particular with sheet folding? Or do you just hit it and get on with life ? Or are there other things that you prefer not to do but get done to move on with something more fun?

Then there’s life in the hill country

Nothing makes my day more complete than coming home and realizing two of my goofy dogs have gotten a wild hair to dig out under the fence.

Nothing really makes my day more complete than one of them coming home looking like this….

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Yep, a face full of porcupine quills

The sad thing is, he’s so goofy. This isn’t his first time. Or his second time.  I wasn’t feeling super happy with him at this point… the next day and hundreds of dollars later he came home… much happier than when he went in.

Goof head. All he had to do was stay in his safe yard and not go running through miles of rugged country and he wouldn’t have to go through that.

But before that unexpected surprise

I had been out shopping and gathering ideas for some of my furniture projects I’ve been working on

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these colors 🙂 you’ll have to see they all play out

 

 

You will just have to wait and see what unfold with this scheme 😉

Oh but I did collect some fun new goodies this week! The best part, they’ve all been super cheap.

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1930’s beverage trolley

this little piece I got from a girl selling some random things out of a storage building. I knew it was old but took it and knew I’d research it more when I got home. It was 15.00 so I was willing to take a chance on it.  It’s an old school beverage cart/ trolley. How clever right? They actually used to use carts for teas and other drinks. I love the little drawer that I guess, held utensils.  I also got a cute solid wood accent table that I have ideas for, I just need to get to it.

I’m excited to have several pieces I’m working on that will hopefully be ready to go to new homes in the next week.

Sunday I picked up some chairs that I came across. I haven’t really gone after chairs as I haven’t been sure exactly what I would do with them. But these were so cute and old and she was selling them for next to nothing, I couldn’t resist.

I couldn’t resist, especially since I immediately had ideas bouncing through my head for them.

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those legs!

ok what I love most of all is how perfectly, horribly needy they are. It’s my idea of perfect project pieces.

 

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I’ve only learned to celebrate my win when I’m actually driving home with my prize

 

Random fact

If there’s one thing I get a lot it’s comments on my smile and this week I guess I heard it more than usual.

So I’ll just say this to the questions I get often.. yes my teeth are naturally like this and no I never had braces 😛

I’m a good girl and see my dentist twice a year for cleanings, floss most of the time and eat foods that keep my mouth healthy.

Are you good about flossing? We all should be 😉

Speaking of food…..

I came across this tasty looking recipe a day or two back. I haven’t made it yet, but think it will be on the menu sometime this week.

 

Have you whipped up anything new this week?  What new adventures have you been on? What are you most looking forward to in the week ahead?

Outside Your Comfort Zone

Comfort….. a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint.

Zone…. this has many definitions but the one that may be suitable here is a region or area set off as distinct from surrounding or adjoining parts.

Welcome to todays word dialog and discussion boys and girls. Today we are talking about that invisible boundary in our life often referred to as our comfort zone.

If we combine our above definitions for the purpose of this post we could say our comfort zone is a area or distinct part of our life where we maintain a state of physical ease and discomfort. It is a zone where we can comfortably abide in our daily lives and activities without feeling pain or constraint.

I hope that’s a good working definition for this post…

I did find an example that calls it like this: A comfort zone is a psychological state in which things feel familiar to a person and they are at ease and in control of their environment, experiencing low levels of anxiety and stress. In this zone, a steady level of performance is possible.

So with those thoughts firmly in hand let’s begin our discussion of this invisible place we all know and have in our lives.

Don’t get me wrong. There are lots of ways I love my comfort zone.

Normal daily life activities that can be boring, yet are also comforting and familiar.

The consistency of daily tasks that need done.

The routine and rhythm of daily life. The things we know and understand need to be done.

All those things that make up life, when they are rolling along , keep us in that zone, right?

Let some rough times and bumps come along and we get jostled out of it. we don’t like it. We want that soothing and comfortable place back.

That level of our comfort zone is security and safety and we all need that.

But then…..

As we move through our lives we have things like jobs, education, skills, hobbies and other activities we do that challenge us and if we’re willing to learn and grow we can be pressed out of our comfort zone.

Remember, that state of physical ease I mentioned a bit ago? If we are going to grow and become more we must be willing to be pressed out of that zone of ease.

That idea was strong in my mind yesterday morning as I geared up to get on my bike. As I clicked and locked my cycling shoes into place it gave me that “all business” feeling. It’s knowing and understanding what I was about to do, slipping into my mental mindset as much as I was slipping into my cycling shoes.

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Locking down my cycling shoes, is a mental preparation as well as physical.

 

Out on the road, as the miles went by, I made intentional choices in things I did. To push a little more, to turn those pedals a little faster, to know and understand that I needed to get to the point where I started to feel it, where the work felt harder, to more effort.

You see in running or cycling or really anything physical I have my own comfort zone. These are areas I can operate in easily. I know what it takes to maintain that level and it’s not really “hard”.

On the other hand I also know that if I want to continue to grow, get faster, stronger and more powerful at what I do I have to be willing to get out of my comfort zone, that area of ease.  I  need to get into that place that makes me work harder, that makes my lungs burn and keeps my heart rate in the red zone for awhile. I need to get comfortable being uncomfortable if I want growth and improvement as an athlete.

Pushing outside our comfort zone isn’t always easy, and really, it shouldn’t be.  And the weird thing about pushing out of our comfort zone, you begin to get comfortable eventually in that new place that once seemed hard and then, well, you gotta push out of it again.

I’ve talked before about the mental aspect of our comfort zone. Your mind is a very formidable opponent and you need to be able to overcome the self defeating thoughts it can churn out. And believe me, when you are pushing yourself and your body is in a place that it’s not used to, those thoughts can come.

Your mental muscle needs to be as strong as your body, if not more so I believe. when you push out of your zone of “ease and lack of pain.”

I’ve learned so much as an athlete what it means to get out of my comfort zone. I’ve done more than I would’ve ever *intellectually* thought I could do.

Of course this applies to anything in our lives that challenges us. I’ve taught myself new things that seemed a bit out of my range.  Sometimes it’s kinda that “sink or swim” mentality in doing stuff.

I’m not sure, but maybe being a bit fearless sometimes helps too haha

Our comfort zone can cripple our dreams..

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Anytime we prefer to stay within our comfort zone, we risk not growing . We risk not learning new things or taking on new adventures. We potentially let our dreams go if we can’t or are unwillingly to get out of our level of comfort and ease and sameness that we know.

Any of my major athletic events I took on, initially scared me. Not in the sense of being frightened but more that healthy respectful fear of knowing I was going up against something I had no previous experience in. It does seem daunting when I’m considering a 50k race ( 31.7 miles) or a multi sport event as in the duathlon I did last year.

What scared me more was backing off because then I’d always wonder if I could’ve done it or if I had what it took. Or worse yet, hating myself for not having the strength to stand up and do it, for quitting before I started.

All of those things seemed worse than just jumping off the deep end and doing it.

And I did. I’ll never be the fastest or most impressive runner or cyclist or monkey juggler.

What will set me apart is that I didn’t make excuses, I was willing to get uncomfortable and in doing so, I accomplished things I never thought I’d do.

There is nothing.. that feels better… nothing.

What about you?

Are you more comfortable staying in your comfort zone? Are you comfortable staying where you feel safe?

Maybe you are a risk taker and know what it takes to reach new goals or see dreams realized and you know getting out of your comfort zone is how it happens.

No matter what goals or dreams you have, there will be continual times you are pressing out of your comfort zone, and then you’ll be pressing out of it again.

It’s an ongoing cycle if we want continued growth and want to achieve our goals and dreams.

Don’t be afraid of leaving your comfort zone behind, there’s only new adventures in front of you and those can be exciting places to go to.

Tell me, are there specific times you’ve left your comfort zone? What did you accomplish doing so? How did that change future new ideas/ adventures you encountered?