Mondays

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What is it about Monday that makes almost everyone cringe and downright cries? Is it sadness for the weekend ending? Is it the start of the workweek kicking in, and having to deal with all of the leftover work from Friday? I personally normally don’t dread Mondays. Maybe it’s me. I try very hard to be thankful for every day that my alarm goes off and I wake up. Hokey I know, but after everything that I’ve been through hearing that alarm is proof positive that so far I’ve survived to live another day. Monday is nothing more than another day of the week. It comes after Sunday and before Tuesday. Nothing to dread, nothing to be afraid of, just the next day in a never-ending rolling cycle of days. As much as I love the weekend, I love Monday because it’s back to my normal routine. I will shower, go to work, solve some problems, talk to people, drink copious amounts of coffee, have lunch, drink more coffee, send more emails, hit the gym, and then head home to my family. I love that routine, I crave that routine, it makes me feel grounded and whole. What does your routine look like, and more importantly does everyone else’s coffee consumption go up on Monday? Or is that just me?

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This is where we begin

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I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for years, in fact, a few years ago I started a blog under this same name. I didn’t publish regularly and eventually, I deleted the blog, I wasn’t ready. It was hard to think of things to share, plus really who wants to read about my life, the truth is probably no one. So what’s changed? Well, me for one. As I’ve gotten older I care less and less about what people think, and I worry less about how they view my thoughts and my life. Also, my life has changed. I’ve survived cancer and congestive heart failure. I’ve been on a weight loss journey for over a year and I’ve lost 92 pounds so far, with some hard work, lots of meal planning and a gastric sleeve that’s not a solution but a tool to help in this process. I’m still 100 pounds from my goal, and believe it or not losing that much weight can take a toll on someone both mentally and emotionally. I feel like I have things to share with the world and they are finally ready to come out.

So while I cannot promise excitement every day, I can promise to at least attempt to amuse you dear soon to be follower.

Top of the World

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The past few weeks of my life have been crazy. Finding myself, gardening, cooking and creating have been put on the back burner to job hunting. My excellent husband helped me write a resume that helped to land me a job less than a month after I started to seriously job hunt. I’m excited for the next chapter in my life and am making a few promises to myself.

1. Do not lose the journey that you are on. I don’t want to lose sight of the path that I’ve uncovered. I did that with my last job and don’t want to do it again.

2. Do something each day that scares you. Corny, I know, but in pushing my own personal boundaries I’m learning more about myself than sitting on the sidelines and staying with what’s safe.

3. Never miss an opportunity to help someone else. Enough said

4. Make some changes, become more active, and most of all spend less time doing things that don’t matter.

And last but certainly not least.

5. Love. Give it, feel it, express it. Everyone needs a hug from time to time and to know that someone cares. Sometimes the person who seems like they’d bite your head off for giving them a hug, needs it the most.

Ooops, I have one more.

6. If you are unsure of something, ask yourself, “Will I regret not having done this later in life? Am I making the most of my opportunities?”

I’ve been listening to the Dixie Chicks since my hubby got me the “Top of the World” live album. One of their little-known songs that didn’t get much radio play is called, you guessed it, “Top of the World”. I never really thought about the song before this week, but it made me take stock and look at my life. The self-made list of goals above is the result. I want to die regretting nothing and feeling as if I’ve experienced everything life had to give, and given everything I had in me.

Yard Work Day

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Today I spent the better part of 3 hours mowing, weed whacking and pulling weeds. It’s amazing how fast weeds can creep up in flower beds and gardens, even when you think you’re keeping up with them. I thought I had things under control and then last week’s 90 degree weather hit, the weeds took off, and I didn’t keep up. A few other things also took off. My kiddie pool garden finally started to look like it was growing!

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Kiddie pool garden – Beefsteak Tomato, Zucchini, Yellow & Butternut Squash, Vining Cucumber, & Pickling Cucumber.

I planted it almost a month ago, and I was to the point where I had given up hope that it was ever going to grow. I thought possibly that the kiddie pool suggestion which I found online somewhere (probably Pinterest or Stumble Upon) was doomed to failure. I also thought that perhaps my backyard just did not get enough light to grow my own veggies. That would have made me sad. To me, nothing is better then being, at least, somewhat self-relient and growing your own vegetables. It’s a good feeling to sit down at the dinner table and give thanks for what you provided with your own hands.

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Not the best picture, but this is the pumpkin plant that I mentioned in an earlier post. It’s currently taking over the back flower bed. What you cannot see from the picture is that he’s starting to grown around the lilies and has a tendril through the fence into the back alleyway.

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Bonus photo – This is my new garden decoration. I found him at Lowes discounted last week because he has an imperfection. What suprised me is the size of the imperfection, on his face there is a tiny mark of red paint that shouldn’t be there, because of that he was marked down to $10. Oh well, I still love him.

What’s your favorite lawn or garden ornament.  Share a picture in the comments below.

Project Chicken

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I was reading a magazine a few weeks ago, and a woman gave an interview about cooking for her family. Once a week, normally on Sunday she cooks a chicken with all the extras–potatoes of some sort, veggies and (yes!) gravy. I thought this sounded like a great idea, but wasn’t sure that my husband and I would be able to eat a whole chicken in a week. Throwing caution to the wind, we bought a bird. Our first chicken came out delicious, in fact I think it’s the best that I’ve ever made.Image My gorgeous chicken!

So last week ,for Week One of Project Chicken, we made the chicken and ate it for a few days. Sunday night, we had the chicken with potatoes and gravy. Another night, I had chicken gravy and waffles. The next night I had chicken with chicken broth, ramen noodles, hard boiled egg and cilantro (that was my favorite meal of the whole week.)  It’s last journey was to become chicken tacos (my mom made these when I was a kid and I loved them! I’ve been making them now that I’m out on my own and the love affair continues. I love all things taco, in just about any form, but that’s another post.) In the end, I threw away about 2 servings of chicken tacos. I think where we went wrong, was that our chicken was just way too big for two people.

Which brings us to Week Two. This time when I ordered our groceries, I ordered a smaller chicken. Unfortunately, the smallest chicken they had was still larger than the chicken from last week! So as not to waste, I made sure to eat chicken as I picked the meat off the bone, and tonight I made Chicken Enchilada Soup in my crockpot. Image

Has anyone ever tried something like this? I know it’s normally done after Thanksgiving day, but does anyone do this every week and then live off the left overs? Do you have a favorite chicken recipe you’d like to share?  Please do, in the comments below.

Playing in the dirt

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A few weeks ago marked the beginning of the summer planting season. I patiently (or not so patiently) waited over the past two months, while the weather got warmer and all my favorite home stores started to sell flowers and plants. It took all the self-control that I had not to run to the store back in March when our first wave of 80 degree days hit and buy flowers. I love color and seeing my yard bathed in a sea of colorful flowers makes me smile. There is something about seeing flowers, that no matter how rotten my day has been can cheer me up in a jiffy. We mowed the lawn, mulched, pulled weeds, planted plants and over all just shook off all the cobwebs of winter. It’s amazing how even though we didn’t really have a winter this year the beating that our yard took and the energy we had to put into getting it back into shape. One of the things that I’m most proud of is our small garden that we started. It consists of a pepper plant, a few squash plants (green, yellow and winter squash), two different kinds of cucumbers and tomato plants. I also bought what I thought was a cooking pumpkin plant, but when I got home from the plant farm I noticed that it is a Giant Pumpkin plant, meaning possibly by the end of summer I may be able to do an out-door play of “James and the Giant Peach” called James and the Giant Pumpkin. Show times will be posted later, haha.

I think my favorite part of this time of year is the fact that everything starts all over again. It feels like a new beginning  and a rebirth not just for my garden but also for me. A chance to sweep off my own cobwebs and start afresh. Right now in my life I’m trying to figure out where I’m supposed to be and where I’m supposed to be going. I’m still searching to figuring out my purpose in life and for my new direction. Until I get all of that figured out, I’m just going to be outside playing in the dirt.

Consignment Shops

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I’ve discovered a new hobby: going to yard sales and consignment shops looking for home decorations! My Mom and I went yard sale shopping  last weekend and were disappointed with many of the items that people had for sale. I understand that one mans trash is another’s treasure, but some of this stuff was better off on the pile. However, after a disappointing morning of visiting one house after another we decided to skip ahead to the last stop on our journey, the consignment shop. I walked in the door and immediatly saw all kinds of things I wanted to take home with me, to become my treasures. My Mom (who really was a good sport about my shopping in the morning and “small” detour way out of our way when I almost got us lost) found me the perfect kitchen table with two retro looking chairs. I was in love from the moment I saw them, and more in love once I sat on one. I had happy buns! Needless to say, I came home with some goodies, and the items were very well priced. Many of the items we had seen going from house to house in the morning seemed over priced and not in the greatest condition. The consigment shop is picky; they don’t take just anything, and it shows in their stock. I can’t wait to visit again! As soon as I can, I’ll post pictures of my finds from that day.

Most importantly though, I got to spend time with my Mom. Although we talk on the phone each day, we don’t often see each other. I’m very close to my Mom and it was wonderful to have that mother-daughter bonding time that we don’t get very often. I love you Mom!