Thursday, December 15, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Quiet On My Blog

Things on my blog have been very quiet.

Very hush hush.

There are just too many secrets going around right now and I'm afraid my big mouth, er fingers will type faster than my brain can edit. Let's just say, I've been wicked busy, and leave it at that. ;)

There are some things I can share... like the 8 kazillion pictures to follow. I'm so happy the camera is working again! Yay!

Hope you are all happy and well, and I promise I'll be more interesting when I can. Pfffft.

We've decorated in the house and over at church.

We have our usual table setting:

Our little Christmas Winter Village:

And the mistletoe:

The "middles" wanted to be in charge of making the candy this year.

Dale and Benjamin cut our tree and brought it home Saturday, and then we decorated it yesterday.

Here Esther got her hair caught, and like any good Mama, I laughed and took her picture instead of helping her get free.

I assure you amidst all the tom-foolery we did get the tree decorated!

We have less than two weeks until Christmas. We are actually celebrating on the 24th so we can have a leisurely day in our pj's. For the services at church on the 25th we have some special music planned, and a candlelight service at night.

This week I have cards and "stuff" to get sent, projects to work on like crazy, and some special baking to do, and some wrapping, and oh yeah, there is a HUGE pile of ironing that got neglected and I haven't caught up on yet.

All semester Dale and Benjamin have been auditting a course on Baptist History and tonight is the last class. Dale wrote a short paper, and has been trying to finish up the reading.

As for our home classes, we break on the 22nd for two weeks for the holidays. I think we are all looking forward to it!

Friday, December 2, 2011

The End of National Novel Writing Month

I'm sorry to see November go! I loved the writing experience, and rekindled my old literary addiction.

I was able to meet the 50K, though around Thanksgiving, after a few days where I had trouble finding time and energy to get around to typing, I wondered if I would be able to finish up after all. It was a point of determination. I had been going strong all month and I was NOT going to lose it in the final few days and few thousand words.

So, I am happy to announce, that I am an official 2011 NaNoWriMo Challenge winner! Woot! Okay, I hit the 50K, but the story isn't over yet. I'm sorry, I just couldn't wind it up that fast. Dale said I should finish it up as I find time. Well, I haven't touched it since I hit the 50K on Wednesday, and thus begins my frustration. I really need to FINISH what I have started because I don't want to forget what all is coming next, and the event I want to happen to bring it all to a conclusion. Plus I left my heroine in an extremely precarious position, and Elizabeth, who has read up to that point said... "You can't leave it like that. It isn't fair!" (picture a teenage whine there). So, Lord willing, I am going to try and finish it up before too much time passes and I no longer have a clear vision on how the story should finish playing out.

Of course, we have hit the wonderful holiday season, and the schedule is all ramped up again, and I'm finding myself already stressing out. That can't be right, this early in the month. I've also already informed the family that if I don't get cooperation and help, I'm cancelling Christmas, and we are doing extra schoolwork and chores that day.

We did get a good deal of decorating done today, despite the fact we had to take Benjamin for an orthodontist's appointment to have his braces tightened. He could still talk after, so I guess the Doc didn't do a very good job. Tomorrow promises to be another insanely busy day. My basic schedule is up early, to the gym to workout, then to meet the trainer at 9a.m. I strained/pulled a hip muscle doing running intervals on the treadmill Tuesday, and she is going to show me some good hip flexor stretches. Then I get home, Dale leaves for visitation, and I change, and we go over to church to decorate as much as we can before Dale gets back. We'll do lunch, then we have some errands to run in the afternoon, then home for dinner, and I NEED to tackle a pile of ironing that has been sorely neglected for longer than I want to admit.

Hopefully I will get in some writing time. Somewhere, somehow.

Oh, and I've been working on some projects in my "spare" time. Ha!

Let's see I made a..... Oh wait, I can't tell you that right now.

And then there was a ..... OOOPs... can't say anything about that either.

I'm working on a..... ummm.... nevermind.....!

And a..... hmmmm... well, I guess you all will have to wait until after the holiday to see pics of that.

Speaking of pics, the camera is now working, no thanks to the Ding Bat who didn't charge the battery enough and didn't think to check it until last week.

Clever, eh?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Intensity of Intention

I joined our little local gym here back at the end of August. I have to say it is nice to have a place to GO to in order to work out. Let's face it, trying to do a cardio session in the bedroom isn't easy. For one thing it is like Grand Central Station. Everyone knows that when Mom is working out, to leave her be. But somehow there is always that "one quick question" that can't wait until I'm done, or at least in cool down, when I can actually talk again.

We have a decent area downstairs in what we call the Rec Area, but it is even worse than Grand Central Station, and in order for me to work out, I would have to move everyone from playing Wii, doing schoolwork, or whatever. Sometimes I do herd them out, but usually I opt to let them be occupied while I work out upstairs, which, as I have already stated, is met with limited success.

In a pinch, it will do. I like to do different things anyway, and spent the first 8 or 9 months of this healthier living style working out 45 to 65 minutes in my room, so I don't mind having something else to do in a different location.

When I joined the gym, I met with the trainer/owner, of course, and she set up a nice little strength training circuit, that I do two to three times a week, and I do all cardio on the other days.

Let me just say now that the trainer/owner (Barb) is a wonderfully qualified person, knows her stuff, and is very personable. I don't really "train" with her, but I meet with her when it is time to change up the strength training routine, and I get 4 meets per year with her to update my stats, so to speak. Of course if I ever have any questions or concerns, I can always call, email, or talk with her if she is there. It is a very small town gym, but I have to say, it suits me. There is a ladies' side, and a men's side. In the upstairs there is a large area and a T.V. with a DVD and a VCR player, and a some equipment, a punching bag, and a speed bag, and gloves of all sizes. I think they have done very well in the set up, and oh, it is always clean and maintained, which is a big plus in my book.

Anyway, back to my story here.

Barb was instructing me on the use of the Elliptical machine when I first joined. I love it, by the way! It is a wonderful workout, and gentle on the joints. I used that alot in the first several weeks. However, Barb was showing me a nice poster they have, and it talks about intensity level for working out. She said I want to be in the 75% zone for my weight and age, for most of the workout, except warm up and cool down.

I tried. I really did. But honestly, I don't work like that. Everything I have learned from the beginning was to workout with intention and intensity. That is courtesy of Jillian Michael's by the way. I am a Biggest Loser Fan. America is FAT people, and though it is a Hollywood production, I like the premise of making it a major factor in our culture now to lose weight and get healthy. That is what started me on this journey almost two years ago. I wanted to be healthy. I want to have energy. I want to play, run, wrestle, bike, play football, kickball, swim with my kids. I want to do that with my grand kids too, as far as that goes.

I can say I have met that goal, even if my weight isn't down all the way where I want it. I could easily lose another 30 to 40lbs. However, being on the healthy path I am now, I can't complain! It is indeed a life long journey.

I digress yet again... sorry about that. I haven't had enough coffee yet to organize my thoughts, and now I see what was intended to be a quick little post has turned into a soapbox. Maybe you better get some coffee too, eh?

So, Barb explained about the intensity thing and I didn't agree, but hey, she is the one with all the experience and degrees, so I gave it a try.

Well, pffffft. I didn't like that at all. You see, I am an "all or nothing" type of person. I think that is my first problem. I don't go to the gym to socialize or play, but to WORK and WORK HARD. There is limited amount of time to sweat and burn as many calories as possible, so why should I do 75%, when I can go all out or more? What is wrong with that? What if I want to do 7.0 on the treadmill instead of a 5.0, just to see what I am capable of now that I'm getting stronger? What if I want to hold it there as long as I can?

I wondered if I was a little loopy. But on The Biggest Loser the contestants are always being pushed, and pushed hard, and they have lost so much weight, and survived to tell about it. Bob Harper and Jillian Michael's are both at the top of their professions and they say to give it your all, all the time.

This morning I got this email from the Jillian Michaels free newsletter I signed up for. Everyday I get a little snippet of helpful info, or recipe, or inspiration. I like it. It is like 2 minutes with a pro. Some days she says to plan a day to pamper yourself and let your body recover. Yes, Jillian Michaels, folks! She doesn't like to admit it, but there is a soft side to her. Some days, like today, she says to kill it in the gym. Here is what I read, and what spurred this whole post.

The Rule of the Game: Intensity
If you're looking to shed stubborn pounds, the rule of the game is to increase the intensity of your workouts. I want you to be working out at 85 percent of your maximum heart rate (MHR). However, you may have heard the "fat-burning zone" theory that encourages you to work out at just 70 to 75 percent of your MHR. The outdated assumption is that your body is drawing predominately on fat calories for energy — WRONG! It's completely misleading and it's time to lay the "fat-burning zone" myth to rest.

During physical training, your body has three possible sources of energy: carbs, fat, and protein. Protein is a last resort — of the three energy sources, your body is the most reluctant to draw on your protein stores.

Whether your body takes energy from glucose, which it gets from the breakdown of carbs, or fat depends on the intensity of your workout. Training at a high level of intensity forces your body to draw on carb calories for energy — they are a more efficient source of energy, and your body goes for its premium fuel when you're working hard. If you are training at a low level of intensity, your body doesn't need to be as efficient, so it will draw on a higher percentage of fat calories for fuel.

Sounds like low-intensity training would be more effective when it comes to losing fat, right? Wrong. These physiological facts are the ones that spawned the mistaken belief that low-intensity activity is better than high-intensity activity when it comes to burning fat and losing weight. These days we know that even though the ratio of fat-to-carb calories might be higher during low-intensity exercise, fewer calories are used up overall. High-intensity exercise burns the biggest number of calories.

Barb isn't exactly "MY" trainer. I can't afford to hire a trainer full time, though I would like to for about 6 months to really learn more. Barb is sweet, full of info, but I don't think I agree with her about the intensity guidelines. Now, it could be that because there are several older ladies that work out there, she keeps the intensity level a bit lower than I like. I don't know. But the above snippet just vindicates what I think is right for me, and I'm happy to know that my instincts were right on. Of course if you are injured or not feeling well, you should modify your routines, but if all is copacetic, then let her rip!

My favorite quote by Jillian Michaels is "You have three choices: Puke, pass out, or keep working out." and... "Beatings, beatings, beatings.... and more beatings."

She's my kind of gal.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Still Writing... and writing... and writing....

I can't believe November is half over! It has totally flown by so far for me.

The NaNoWriMo Challenge is going very well for me. I am loving the good excuse to ignore as much of the housework as I can to write. Just kidding... maybe. :P I have hit and gone a little beyond the 25K mark. My story has been read by my resident literary critic (Elizabeth), and by Dale and Esther. They all give it a thumbs up so far. Elizabeth gave me a few suggestions that were helpful, and added a little depth to the plot.

Meanwhile, we are plugging along with school. I have been working on Quarterly reports, and if I have never said it before, I'll say it now officially:


I'd rather be writing.
I'd rather be knitting.
I'd rather be sewing.
I'd rather be biking.
I'd rather be having a tooth pulled.

Paperwork and I don't get along. And for some reason, this year, this quarter, has been the worst ever. Despite my efforts to organize everything at the beginning of the year, the book keeping, so to speak, has been terrible. I made up and printed Semester Schedules for everyone to have in their binders. It says what days we do what subjects. I have weekly logs for them. They fill in what they did that day, and their grades, every day, so that when it is time to do the Quarterly reports, it shouldn't be any more than finding averages and filling in the spots in my end of the paperwork.



One child didn't take one test this quarter, because... I don't know why. His correcting partner never even mentioned it to him. One child took a Bible test two weeks into the start of the year, totally bombed it. We allow retesting. This child, after 8 weeks, still hasn't taken the retest because they are "studying". There were other sundry details that slipped through the cracks and has left me totally frustrated to the point where I just might consider putting them all in public school.

Okay, maybe not.

But clearly my nicely organized logs and schedule weren't paid any attention to, and now I'm paying the price with tears, high blood pressure, and hissy fits at every turn.

Not too pleasant.

That has been my week so far.

Oh, and to top it off, after working out yesterday at the gym, I think I pulled a muscle in my hip flexor, and am limping a bit. It hurts to be sitting too long. Everything I've read points to that injury. I know I didn't stretch last night. Bad girl! My fault. I was chatting with Elizabeth, and just plain forgot, which is strange because usually I am very religious about stretching, especially after jogging. From what I have read, I can still exercise, just modified, and for pity's sake, stretch, woman!

The weather has turned rainy and it is beginning to get cooler, so we are appreciating our woodstove. I always forget how much it warms everything up, and have been trying to retrain myself not to cook us all out. That effort has been met with little success, if you could see the windows that are opened a bit here and there throughout the house.

So, my whining is over, and I'm going back to those awful, nassy, terrible, should-be-shredded-and-boiled-in-hot-oil quarterly reports. Ugh.

Please, if you drop by unannounced, be kind enough not to count the pencils sticking out of the wall.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

15K Goodie Goodie Dance

I'm so excited to have it the 15k milestone yesterday in the NaNoWriMo Challenge.At this rate, so I'm told by the graph on my "Stats" tab on my NaNo account, I will be done by November 26th. Well, it is early in the month yet, and who knows what can happen!

I know of a couple things that are going to intterupt this wonderful flow of literary outpour. One is going through our winter stuff, and getting rid of a bunch of unneeded items (a.k.a. - JUNK) and getting whatever the gremlins need for winter. I think for the most part, we are in good shape, but there are a few odds and ends like a pair of boots for me and I think one other child (wait, "Other"? child???? )and we need to get some waterproof gloves, and maybe a pair of snowpants for one or two of them. Not too bad, all in all! We always check the thrift stores first, and thus the clearing/cleaning/decluttering/throwing out first of our overflowing pile of winter wear in the rec area.

I was thinking back to last year, and I had already had this done by this time of year because we left for a vacation in Maine, and I made sure everyone had winter coats, etc, because well, hey, we were going to Maine in November for crying out loud. You just never know! This year we ended up not going, but had we gone when we usually do, we would have witnessed first hand, up close and personal, that North Easter that went through about a week ago. Pity we missed it! I love New England weather. Call me crazy, but there it is!

It has been gorgeous here this week. In the high 60's, even hitting a low 70 one day. Sunshine! It has felt like spring. But I know our weather can turn on a dime with nine cents left over, so it is time to get organized.

Thus, this morning, I have told myself to get moving (so why am I on here???? ) and get a start downstairs. I'll work for a while, then reward myself with writing time later today.

Of course, the other half to today's distraction, is going to the thrift stores this weekend which cuts into my "free" writing time. Saturdays are my days this month to just write, write, write, without any concept of the time. I couldn't have done this a few years ago. But now, I have older children to help out, and watch Isaac (Just because I'm at the kitchen table, in the middle of everything doesn't mean I know what is going on. When I'm writing, consider me not there at all!) and take care of whatever laundry needs to be folded or dishes to be washed, etc. Saturdays are traditionally our pizza nights, and Benjamin is our resident expert pizza maker, so that is his job. Thus, basically after the morning cleaning, I have "free" writing time. Gimme a cup of tea, and I'm off and running, er, writing.

Hey, it's only one month out of the year! Dale has given up to being a literary widower, and is good naturedly helping a alot. For example, yesterday was busy with school, laundry, and it was SO nice out we went out for a few hours in the afternoon. We play two hand touch football, tag, ball freeze tag, walked, biked, and just enjoyed ourselves. After Dale got home from work he reminded me it was voting night (Yup... I totally forgot! Good thing supper was spaghetti- quick and easy!) and after he touched up the side of the house with paint (Ummm... that is a whole different story which involves the grill and a lot of flames... nevermind about that now..) we went down to vote.

After we got back, Dale, who knew I hadn't written a single syllable yet, said "Go ahead and do some writing, I can handle dinner."

My hero!

I did, though didn't get much writing done before supper was ready. I got all tied up in some research for a very minute point of reference in my story. I don't know why I was so obsessed with it. I could have just winged it and no one would be the wiser, but it bothered me not to understand that one little detail. It isn't like anyone is going to read this tale of mine, and 99% of anyone who did read it wouldn't care probably. But, once I got that one little fixation studied out to my satisfaction, the words flew out of my fingertips and onto the computer screen quickly and I soon had more than my quota for the day.

I know what is happening next so today's quota shouldn't be too hard to fill, if I can find the time. It is shaping up to be another gorgeous day, and I may totally forget to write until after church tonight, as we will be outside again. I can't resist these gorgeous days!

So, I'm off to hoe out, clean up, declutter, throw out, whatever it takes to get a good start downstairs. I hope you enjoyed this little update as I come up from the NaNo Challenge for air.

Have a blessed day everyone!

Healthy Pumpkin and Cream Bread - 46 calories a slice!

You could even reduce calories further by substituting the sugar for stevia/splenda

Pumpkin and Cream Bread

Yield: 2 loaves (14 slices each) (46 CALORIES PER SLICE!!!!)

1-1/2 c. pureed pumpkin
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 whole egg
3 egg whites
1 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. Stevia Cup For Cup sweetener
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg

Cream filling
8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 T. all-purpose flour
2 egg whites
1 t. vanilla extract

1. For the Batter: With an electric mixer, beat the pumpkin, applesauce, egg, and egg whites on medium speed until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine the flours, Stevia, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Slowly mix the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture.

2. For the cream cheese filling: Beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, egg whites and flour until creamy and smooth.

3. Grease 2 8x4x2" loaf pans. Divide half of the batter between the two pans. Pour half of the filling in one pan and the other half in the second pan and smooth with the back of a spoon. Top with the remaining batter.

4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Don't overbake or your bread will be dry on the edges. Cool and remove from pans. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

One serving (2 slices) = about 100 calories

Found here:

(Yet another disclaimer: I haven't tried this recipe yet, but am going to very soon. It looks sooooo good! If you try it, let me know what you think!)

Low Fat Vegetable Lasagna

You'll Love This Lasagna

Pasta doesn't have to be unhealthy — this low-fat lasagna recipe brings a whole lot of flavor for very little calorie count. Don't worry, it's still cheesy, delicious, and filled with onions, spinach, and mushrooms. Think of it as restaurant style, without all of the fat! If you can, use whole-wheat pasta to make this healthy recipe even healthier!

Low-Fat Vegetable Lasagna


9 lasagna noodles, uncooked
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced thin (optional)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 tablespoon salt
1 (10 oz.) package frozen spinach, thawed, drained thoroughly
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 cups meatless tomato sauce
15 ounces low-fat ricotta cheese
3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain and cover with cool water until ready to use.

While pasta is cooking, combine onions and oil in a skillet over medium heat until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute. Spoon out half the onions and reserve for later. Add the mushrooms (if using) to the onions in the skillet. Cook, stirring over medium heat, until the mushrooms are tender and slightly browned, about 7 minutes. Add the parsley and a pinch of salt; transfer to a bowl.

Add the reserved cooked onion and the spinach to the skillet. Cover and cook over medium heat until the spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes. Uncover and cook over medium heat to evaporate any excess moisture, about 1 minute. Season with a pinch of salt.

Heat oven to 350° F. Drain the lasagna and pat dry with paper towels. Mix the oregano and basil with the tomato sauce. Spread 1 cup tomato sauce in the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 3-inch pan. Arrange 3 lasagna pieces, slightly overlapping, in the pan. Spoon the spinach mixture on top in an even layer. Spread with half of the ricotta. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the shredded mozzarella cheese.

Arrange a layer of 3 more lasagna pieces. Spread with the mushrooms, the remaining ricotta mixture, and 1/4 cup of the mozzarella. Top with the remaining 3 pieces of lasagna, 1 cup of tomato sauce and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake until brown and bubbly, about 45 minutes.

Makes 8 servings

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 1 hr 15 mins

Nutrition Facts
Number of Servings: 8
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 243
Total Fat: 7.7 g
Cholesterol: 23.7 mg
Sodium: 228 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 29.9 g
Protein: 15.1 g

Recipes Source: National Pasta Association

(Disclaimer: I haven't tried this recipe yet, but it looks almost exactly like what I normally do for healthy lasagne. I love lots of veggies! I do put in some browned sausage to appease the meat lovers in the family, so that would up the calories and fat a bit. I serve this with a hearty salad, normally. Bon Apetit!)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

10K Shout Out

I'm very happy to report that last night I hit the 10K word count mark on my story.

(This message was brought to you by the letter N, and the number 10,046. Now back to your regularly scheduled gorgeous fall day.)


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Note Of Warning....

I've decided, probably foolishly, to tentatively dip my toe into the inkwell and join the NaNoWriMo Challenge.

Aw, forget it. That's a lie.

I'm jumping in with both feet, wildly exclaiming with exuberance.

So, if you need me before the end of the month I'll be in a writing vortex.

You have been duly warned.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Eat More To Lose Weight?

This goes against everything I "assume" I know about weight loss. There is a general principle involved with losing those extra pounds, and that is to burn more calories than you take in. Sounds like simple math, doesn't it?

Here is what I have learned recently: It isn't that simple.

I've been on a healthier living style for almost two years. I started out losing weight at a very consistent rate. What I was doing was working, and I was thrilled. Then, suddenly, last fall I hit one of those hideous plateau's. At first I thought the weight loss stalled because we had gone on vacation, and, well, things weren't in their usual routines. Ahem.

There is much more to our bodies than just math. Yes, you should keep track of your calories, but let's face it, the chemistry and hormones in our bodies are each different, so what works for you may not work for me, and vice versa. Some may say, "You eat HOW MANY carbs a day? I'd weigh a ton!" and eating "X" amount of carbs is fine for you.

Also, what about sodium? I've recently discovered how much sodium there seems to be in EVERYTHING. Cheese, sandwich meats, ketchup,... everything! I'm glad we do a lot of our cooking from scratch, but even so, there is plenty of sodium in our diets, even if we didn't add it in.

Everything balances differently for everyone. And just when you think you have it figured out, it changes.

So what happened last fall? I worked through the winter and this summer with no significant weight loss, in fact I gained some back since last fall. UGH! Not a lot, but enough so I was irritated. After doing some research I realized almost all my workouts were cardio related and what I needed was some strength training. Muscle burns fat, and I needed more muscle. I'm not talking body-builder type muscle, just some toning, so don't start picturing me lifting 100lb dumb bells, okay?

I joined the local gym and the trainer got me going on a strength training program. It is circuit training style, which I really like because it appeals to my short attention span. This I started at the end of August.

Now I would love to say here that I have lost all manner of weight, but truth be told, is that I have not. I have lost a little bit, and toned up some. I feel strong, energetic (as I sit here in my pj's and bathrobe), and healthy, and that is all good. But to be perfectly frank, I want to see the scale move.

I joined over a year ago, to help keep track of calories and how much I was exercising. Now, feeling discouraged and wanting to see the numbers on the scale decrease, I decided to up my exercise to see if that would help shock my body into acknowledging all my hard work. In one week I burned 4200 calories, just exercising, not counting my BMR (Basic Metabolic Rate) calories. One pound is 3600 calories. So.... you do the math.

I got on the scale with high expectations, and after all that hard work I lost a whopping two tenths of a pound.


Ugh. I wrote a quick little post on the MyFitnessPal forum and got lots of responses, all saying the same thing: I'm not eating enough.

Here is what I thought I knew but didn't:

When I first signed up for, it asks you some questions and you fill out some information (all confidential) to find out your BMR. Your BMR is your Basic Metabolic Rate, basically, how many calories you would burn by just breathing. Then you add in for your lifestyle, whether it be very active, or sedentary, or anywhere in between. That number is the recommended caloric intake for your day. By the way, you also have nutritional columns in your diary for carbs, protein, sugar, sodium, fat, and you can customize all of it.

You also have an exercise log. You input your goals, then in tells you how many calories per day you need to meet that goal, per week. When you exercise, you fill it in, and it keeps track of it all.

All in all, a nifty little set up.

HOWEVER, there is something called the Net, which I have largely ignored, mostly because I didn't get what it meant. I kept seeing it referred to, but disregarded it. Now I was being told I wasn't eating enough, and that my "Net" should be 1200 at least. So, again, making use of the forums on the site, I posed the question, and here is the response I got:

"Here goes:
You are allowed a certain number of calories every day, say 1400. That's without exercise. It's dangerous to go below 1200 calories, again without exercise. That's just the calories needed to run your body.

Now, you exercise - say you do 500 calories worth of exercise. If you are allowed, 1400 calories of food, you've used 500 on exercise and now you only have 900 left to run all the functions of your body.

If you don't eat up your exercise calories, you are constantly running a deficit and your body will slow your metabolism to make sure that you can still function - meaning it gets harder to lose weight.

If you are allowed 1400 calories from food, without exercise, that's what you should see in the net column. Do not go below 1200 in the net.
Hope this helps. "

Hmmmm. Okay, so basically, I have put my body into starvation mode, so when I do anything, it is saying "Whoa there, toots, you ain't feeding us enough to do that, so I'm going to burn your muscle, and leave the fat because I'm reading a famine here."

I didn't mean to, really. To me, it was basic math. The more calories I burn, the more I lose, right?

It is a little more involved that that.

That was last Friday. Over the weekend I invested in The Biggest Loser Family Cookbook, got some items for high protein type snacks, and embarked on the "eating more" theory.

Let me clarify, "eating more", sadly, does not mean downing a pint of your favorite ice cream. What it meant for me, was incorporating a mid-morning snack, and an afternoon snack, and even a small snack in the evening if need be.

My weigh in days are usually Fridays. For kicks and grins I weighed myself last Wednesday. In 5 days I lost 1.6lbs, and that included having pizza over the weekend, once Saturday, and leftovers Sunday night.

I don't expect that rate of results all the time, but here is what I did, in a nutshell:

Breakfast- something with protein and whole grain carb, and any veggies I can get away with, when possible.

Mid morning- a protein snack, like reduced fat string cheese, or fat free yogurt, that sort of thing, and a fruit (for a healthy carb choice).

Lunch- something reasonable. Lately I've been into whole wheat wraps with tuna, or deli cut meat with low fat cheese.

Mid afternoon snack- again, focusing on protein and carb combinations is important. This snack is especially important for me as my workout time comes after it, and before supper.

Supper- another focus on protein/carb combo, with reasonable side dishes. I've been experimenting with the recipes in my new cookbook, and I can I just say that it is much easier to cook one large healthy meal for the whole family, than cooking for them, then trying to find something for me.

After dinner snack- light in calories, but just a little bit of something to keep the ol' metabolism happy.

With good planning I had been hitting my calorie net goal, though admittedly going over a bit in the sodium department. One thing at a time though, for me.

Last night I had a little slip. My net was only around 1100, but I figured out why. I had a filling breakfast, and usually my morning snack is around 11am. I'm usually starved by then anyway, and don't need reminding. However, we had eaten later than usual, and I never had a morning snack. PLUS, my afternoon snack was just a Kashi bar, and for supper we had a filling, but low calorie meal. I shorted myself several hundred calories that I just never did make up all the way yesterday.

I figure it will balance out though as we usually make pizza Saturday nights, and that will be a substantial calorie meal.

Oh, I might add that I've dialed back the exercising a bit. Instead of burning 600-800 calories per workout, my goal is now between 300 and 400 burned calories. And I'm trying to drink more water, too, which I'm usually pretty good about anyway, but it never hurts.

So, if you made it through this whole post, hopefully my experience has taught you to really watch your calories to make sure you are getting enough! Unless you are laying in bed all day and doing NOTHING but breathing, you need more than 1200 calories per day for the long haul. You can certainly lose some weight for a while on 1200 calories, but you will eventually start eating away at muscle, not fat, and feel tired and eventually the 1200 calorie diet will fail miserable. Save yourself the frustration and eat at least 1500 HEALTHY calories, and be active. You'll feel much better! If you exercise a lot you may want to up that even more. I suggest going to and signing up. It is free, and a great way to keep track of what is going on, and there is a great wealth of encouragement and knowledge there.

If you join, I am Beehiveof8. We can "friend" each other on there, too, and encourage each other.

Disclaimer: As always, check with your dr. if you have any issues that need professional attention.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Roasted Chickpeas!

The following tip was found on MyFitnessPal.

Take a can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drain and rinse very well. Pat dry with a paper towel.

Toss with 1T Olive Oil, 1/4 tsp salt, and whatever spices you like (chili powder, curry, cinnamon, whatever floats your boat).

Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 45 minutes until they're crunchy.

These are good as snacks, or as "croutons" on a salad.

Is this not the simplest, easiest, and very healthy idea you have heard lately? I can't wait to try it!

Monday, October 24, 2011

An Award!

Thank you to IHaveBeenBlessed for this award! I am honored, and if you have found any encouragement, humor, or something to make you smile here, then even better.

Here’s what I found out about it (Thanks to Christina's research):
The Liebster award (“Liebster” is the German word for friend or love) originated in Germany. The aim of the award is to bring more attention to blogs with fewer than 200 followers.

There are a couple ‘rules’ for the award:

1. Copy and paste the award on your blog
2. Thank the giver by linking back to the blogger who gave it to you – Thank you Rachel at We Will Walk Forever Holding Hands
3. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog. (will list below)
4. Hope that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.

In essence, it’s like a chain letter for bloggers. But I am willing to play along!!!

Now I am SUPPOSED to re-award this five times, according to the rules. So, Here it goes:

1. For her lovely quilts and creations, CatLoveAndQuiltMaker .

2.The Opulent Poppy

3. The View From Hidden Valley

Well, duty calls here, and I must end this now. Looks like I didn't make the required five recipients, but oh well.

Everyone have a blessed day!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Uh Huh... There It Is Folks


*WARNING* ~ The following contains a frustrated rant.

I HATE HATE HATE the new Yahoo upgrade or whatever you call it. I certainly don't think it was an upgrade.

Heretofore, I have blithely used my Yahoo bookmarks without incident from Google Chrome. I love Chrome. It works well on our computers, unlike Internet Explorer, which is slow, and tends to lock our main PC up. Oh, and my laptop doesn't seem to care for it either, though it does better than the PC. I don't think Vista and IE get along that great, so we decided a while ago to just use Chrome which was faster anyway.

NOW.... Yahoo has supposedly "upgraded" or something. Now I HAVE to use IE 9 (not an old version of course!) to be able to access all my bookmarks. Basically, from what I can read between the lines, Yahoo is now in cahoots with Internet Explorer, and are holding every one's bookmarks hostage. Nothing like a little Internet extortion to start out the day with bang.

Let me say that again, you HAVE to go through IE9. Chrome just says you have to download to IE 9. Then you have to use it.

Well, as I said before, we haven't used the IE in a long time. I had to download an upgrade just to be ABLE TO download the "new and improved" upgrade. Then my puter of course had to restart... twice. Then it locked up. Then my mouse got broken, but nevermind about that.

So, now I am on the laptop. Thankfully, the IE on here is much newer, and the downloading process was easy. But I am still rather ticked off that I have to go IE 9 and too bad so sad for me if I don't want to.

I don't understand this. IE is free. Chrome is free. Yahoo is free. So why can I only access MY bookmarks through IE9? Seems stupid, narrow sighted, and reminiscent of some of IBM's problems years ago, and we all know how that ended up.

To the Yahoo people:


BTW... when I just typed this all out, and tried to post it, IE9 of course locked up. I had to close out IE9 and go to Chrome, to my blog, and repost this entry.

Seriously? This is an upgrade?


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011

Oh yes, oh yes!

It is that time again.

How many of you have heard of, or attempted the NaNoWriMo challenge? Every year November is National Novel Writing Month and the NaNoWriMo has a special site set up for writing and keeping track of your word count. You can see on my side bar that last year I actually completed the challenge after deciding, four days late into the month, to go for it. Me, and everyone around me, thought I was insane.

Well, there are 13 days left before the challenge starts. I've been contemplating all season if I should try or not. My "to do" list before Christmas is huge. My quilting list is behind. Sewing for the family is stacked a mile high. School is more time consuming this year than ever before. I've joined a gym and spend about 90 minutes a day working out 4 to 5 times a week.

Seriously, do I even have time to even think about it?


Who me?

The problem is if you are a natural-born writer you simply can't resist any excuse to create and go into what Louisa May Alcott called a "writing vortex" from time to time.

The NaNoWriMo challenge is perfect. It is 50,000 words in one month of pure creativity. Spelling doesn't count. Grammar doesn't count. Cohesiveness doesn't count. Good story lines don't even count. The only thing that counts is the number of words. If you hit 50,000 by the end of November then you get a cool NaNoWriMo challenge winner button and the satisfactions that writers are addicted to of creating with words.

They even have a children's and teen's challenge at the same time. My daughter Esther is very interested in that.

I still haven't decided for sure if I will join in this year or not.

The practical side keeps a litany of the above mentioned reasons why I shouldn't take this on. I am totally swamped this fall. It would basically cut out a month of time I have for preparing for Christmas. I really can't afford that.

Can I?

So, the wiser decision would seem to be not to give in to the urge to join this challenge. I will cheer on my daughter, and putter away at my "To-Do" list.

Yeah, right.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Free Pumpkin Ebook

Go on and get it! It is a freebie Ebook about processing pumpkins, and making all manner of tempting goodies from pies to pumpkin rolls.

Free Pumpkin Ebook

Thank you to the Homeschool Freebie of the Day for this fun resource! Now... to go and get my hands on a couple of pumpkins!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Stuff and Nonesense

Happy Monday everyone!

We finished out last week with a very busy day Friday finishing up canning applesauce, cleaning, and catching up on some laundry. The children were quite motivated because I told them if we could do all that, then Saturday could be a designated "pajama day". In other words, it was a Kick-Around-Be-Lazy type of day. The weather was perfect for it... rainy, gray, blah. You'd think that with nothing but the bare minimum to do the day would drag, but seriously, it went so fast! There is never enough time to do all the "nothing" you want! We really needed a day to just take it slow, and I for one, really appreciated it!

Sunday was our regular schedule with church services, and a relaxing afternoon. I had thought to go for a bike ride or walk after dinner, as the sun was out nicely in the morning. However, by the time dinner was over, it had clouded over, was getting darker by the second, so I opted to read and nap. Ambitious, aren't I?

We are off and running this morning and I almost feel at a loss without the usual thought process of "okay... time to make the applesauce" reverberating through my brain. Mondays are my organizing days, so it is plenty busy for sure! The sun IS out today, so I'll take the kids all out later for some outdoor activities and call it P.E..

I have been knitting and sewing whenever I can and I have finished a few projects. Unfortunately our camera woes haven't been resolved yet. Some things I can share, and some I can't, as they are for a certain holiday approaching faster than I can realize. Ahem.

I hope you are all taking time to enjoy this wonderful autumn season. Our leaves are about 90% gone now. I can't believe how fast the foliage has changed and fallen! Dale cleaned the chimney last weekend (he was the only one with any ambition) and we are all set to start the woodstove whenever we want.

There is the quick update from the Beehive. Have a wonderful day!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Finkelstein and Jesus

Finkelstein and Jesus

Jesus was wandering around Jerusalem when he decided that he really needed a new robe.

After looking around for a while, he saw a sign for Finkelstein, the Tailor..

So, he went in and made the necessary arrangements to have Finkelstein prepare a new robe for him.

A few days later, when the robe was finished, Jesus tried it on -- and it was a perfect fit!

He asked how much he


Finkelstein brushed him off: "No, no, no, for the Son of God there's no charge!

However, may I ask for a small favor. Whenever you give a sermon, perhaps you could just mention that your nice new robe was made by Finkelstein, the Tailor?"

Jesus readily agreed and as promised, extolled the virtues of his Finkelstein robe whenever he spoke to the masses.

A few months later, while Jesus was again walking through Jerusalem , he happened to walk past Finkelstein's shop and noted a huge line of people waiting for Finkelstein's robes.

He pushed his way through the crowd to speak to him and as soon as Finkelstein spotted him he said: "Jesus, Jesus, look what you've done for my business! Would you consider a partnership?"

"Certainly," replied Jesus

"Jesus & Finkelstein it is."

"Oh, no, no," said Finkelstein.

"Finkelstein & Jesus. After all, I am the craftsman."

The two of them debated this for some time.

Their discussion was long and spirited, but ultimately fruitful -- and they finally came up with a mutually acceptable compromise.. A few days later, the new sign went up over Finkelstein's shop:

(Oh come on... I know you laughed! Thanks to my hubby for sending me this in an email.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fall, Autumn, Whatever You Call It

I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air.
-Nathaniel Hawthorne

This has been my exact thought over the last several days. Our rainy Fall has relented into some simply beautiful days, in which I loathe to spend more time than necessary inside.

We have been busy however, with doing up 12 bushels of apples into applesauce. Last week we produced 135 quarts, not including what was saved aside for eating on at the next mealtime, or for snack. We are nearing the end of the 12 bushels, with only 4 or so left to go.

Over the weekend we attended the Fall Festival in a nearby town. We went to a Quilt Show, a Wood working show, the book sale at the Library, a couple of yard sales, and the local corn maze and obstacle course.

I also did the last mowing of the season. I know it is silly, but I really like the last mowing and try to finagle all the chores so I can delegate that one for myself. I love to think back over the summer and review the highlights, and remember back when the mowing was saved until after 7pm because it was so hot, and note with satisfaction that in the evening I needed my hooded sweatshirt and the air was already cool and crisp despite and unseasonably warm day.

These sunny autumn days are indeed precious. They only come once a year, and many of the autumn days this year have been rainy and gray. So, if your day today has sunshine in it, lift your face to the sky and thank God for such a simple, yet profound gift of a few minutes basking in the autumnal rays.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

If You Liked Little House on the Prairie....

You'll like the book "Caddie Woodlawn" by Carol Ryrie Brink. It is an easy read, and if you loved Laura Ingalls you'll be endeared to Caddie Woodlawn.

Speaking of Little House on the Prairie, I got an email from and the editor had a mock up sock pattern, inspired by the party scene in Little House In the Big Woods. It uses the Lozenge lace pattern. It could easily be adapted to any sock pattern, and maybe I will try it sometime.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Well, it has been a while hasn't it?

A few quick updates:

The basement of the church is dried out, and we are still gradually getting it cleaned up. At least one partition, one door, and possibly a cupboard or two in the kitchen may have to come out. All the metal chairs are rusted beyond usefulness. So, I've been washing all the dishes and whatnot in the kitchen, putting them in totes, and storing them upstairs for now. The folding tables are getting the same treatment. Walls are showing mildew still, and we are trying to get that conquered. The furnace is fixed and running, but the water heater is still kaput. We also decided that while we have everything out and off the floors, once all the destruction/reconstruction is done, we'll be repainting the cement floors, which has been on the "to do" list for a few years.

We have been busy as a family as well. School is going well enough, though the first week was a bit stressful, what with a flood and all. :P Dale has been home from work for about 4 weeks, so I took advantage of that, and got some extra sewing and knitting in and opened up an Etsy shop! It is called PiecefulQuiltzEtc. There are only a few items in there, but I plan to keep adding to it. I am working on some pretty fingerless gloves now to put in, and another baby quilt.

Here is a sneak preview of the fingerless gloves:

I will also be making a pair out of a beautiful jewel toned purple as well. The yarn is Caron Simply Soft.. and it is luscious! I'm very pleased with it.

Also while Dale was off from work we were able to go up north to help his mom stack the 24 cords of wood she got for heat this winter. She has RA, and stacking wood is not in her range of ability. We also bought 12 bushels of apples. In the midst of all this, a tummy bug went through the house, and we had various kids down up to last weekend. It wasn't severe, just lingering. You'd think you were over it, feel fine, then it would reappear again.

Everyone is hale and healthy now, and when/if the rain ever stops we'll be stacking our wood here and doing some end of the season type of yard work. Today however, we started making apple sauce! I'm hoping that since now things seem to be settling down a bit I'll be able to blog more. I have some major sewing/knitting to do for Christmas, and will be jumping in with both feet and hands immediately!

We have had a sunny day here or there and one afternoon while the older children were finishing up their school work, Isaac, Jerusha and I went outside. We raked up some leaves, then they would jump in it, bury themselves, then I would re-rake, make another nice pile, then they would jump in... you get the idea. They tuckered me out, and I even got blisters on my hands!

One knitting project I was glad to finish up were Elizabeth's socks. I think I mentioned before that I was almost done with them, and had her try them on for kicks and grins, and she couldn't get it over her heel! UGH! So I modified the pattern, and now they are being worn proudly by the recipient. I have to cajole, threaten, bribe, beg, plead, sneak them off her feet so I can wash them! There is nothing like hand knit socks to make you feel all warm, cozy, and loved!

Have a blessed day everyone!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Pizza Pizza

We were sitting around the table eating pizza, and the conversation turned to the Mason-Dixon line. Don't ask how or why... you know how general chit chat can evolve. Esther then asked me why she couldn't see the Mason-Dixon line on the map. I decided that textbooks or no, it was time for a brief study on the history of the Mason-Dixon line.

While we can't see the Mason-Dixon line, I was surprised at what she could see.

"Hey look, Wisconsin and Finger Lakes look like an Indian Chief!" You have to understand that we have a large map of the United States on a wall. Wisconsin is yellow, for the record. Maybe something to do with cheese?

That wasn't all.

"And Mississippi looks like that chef on Ratatouille, the one who 'served time' and said ' I keeeled a man with my thumb.'"

Seriously. If you look at it like a profile, it does.

What was in that pizza anyway?

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Quilter's Brain

Anyone who quilts, or knows a quilter well, will love this!

(Thank you to my friend Regina from Regina's Aprons N' Things!)

Day Two in the Flood Zone

This morning we woke up without any drama. The rushing sound of water was absent, and the power was on. It was still cloudy, but thankfully the predicted once again missed us. In fact, the sun came out this afternoon!

The pumps have been pumping the water out of the basement of the church for 28 hours. There is still around 5 inches. It should have been all pumped out by now, but the water table is so high that it is just seeping back in. At one point this afternoon Dale had to change out one of the pumps, and in the time it took to switch things around, the level went up almost an inch. With two pumps going, we are barely gaining any ground. I don't even want to think about how high the water would be had we not started pumping yesterday!

The pond in our back yard is shrinking rapidly, and when I went to the gym late this afternoon, there was no longer water on the road. The neighbors yard must be somewhat accessible, as I heard them moving gravel around to rebuild the driveway this afternoon.

Shrinking "pond" in our yard:

Same road as yesterday, but noticeably less water!

We had school today, though public school didn't. And I told the kids that if we aren't cleaning over at church tomorrow, we would do "Monday", so that when we can get in to start the cleaning up process, we can take a couple days off from school without technically missing a day. They weren't thrilled to learn that, but such is life.

Dale took more of a look around, wearing rubber waders for safety, and said it is really a mess. Stuff is everywhere. The furnace ( 3 days older than dirt on a good day ) will need either servicing or replacing. The dehumidifier may be shot. That, and the stove, will have to dry out completely, then we will see what is working and what is going in the trash pile. Oh, he just informed me that he also found a dead, floating mouse. Gross.

This has been an interesting first week of school, to say the least! Poor Isaac just couldn't take it anymore at dinner tonight.

Did you notice he fell asleep with his hand in his food, and the other clutching his fork?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Got Raft?

If you have been watching the news or weather, you may have noticed some moisture in our area.

"A little moisture", as in public school was let out early yesterday, cancelled today, and tomorrow. ( What is that? "Flood days"? )

"A little moisture", as in the Susquehanna River is currently at 36 feet, and predicted to go higher when the flood waters crest later this afternoon. (Official "Flood" level is 18 feet.)

"A little moisture" as in our back yard is now a pond.

"A little moisture" as in our neighbors property is now fit for white water rafting.

"A little moisture" as in our road is now a river.

"A little moisture", as in there is a couple feet of water in the basement of the church. (Thankfully, the parsonage is still dry!)

I'm sure you get the idea.

At five this morning Caleb came into our room to tell us the power was out. My brain was a little foggy, having just come out of a deep sleep, so I couldn't figure out why the child thought the power was out when I could hear the fan still on. If I could just pry my eyes open to look a the clock... Oh wait. My eyes were open. It was pitch black, and my oh my the wind was blowing! At first I thought a branch had come down and knocked the power out. I tried to clear the cobwebs from my brain, and both Dale and I got out of bed to check everything out. I went in the living room and noticed something: No wind.


I felt/stumbled my way back to the bedroom to listen. That wasn't wind. It was water rushing!

It made my spine tingle and adrenaline pump to hear that water, rushing, and not being able to see it in the dark. Dale by now had a couple of flashlights, and we could shine them a little ways into the back yard. It was enough to tell us that we now had a pond instead of a yard. I went downstairs to check and see if we had any water, and was glad to see everything bone dry.

Isaac had awakened so I rocked him for a bit, trying to get him back to sleep. Dale had lit the hurricane lamps (which, for the record we have never used in a hurricane. In face, when Irene went through here last week it was just a windy, rainy, day. This flooding was MUCH much more impressive, if you ask me.)

Dale went out with the flashlight to look around a bit. Isaac refused to go back to sleep, and by now a few of the other kids were up too. We were, and are in no danger other than getting a little wet. As daybreak hit I could see from the window where the pond had turned into rapids over the road. All the water from the rains over the last week was draining down off hills, into a stream, overflowing into the pond, and now was overtaking out yard, and the neighbors around the immediate area.

Our neighbors across the street are hit really hard. Their property is almost totally immersed, except for a little patch of grass and the house. They were up all night moving equipment and watching the rising waters.

The power came back on around 6am or so, much to our surprise. I started laundry, and filling thermoses, pitchers, and water bottles just in case we loose power again. We decided to do school work. A sense of purpose instead of pacing and watching the water would be better for everyone. Some of the kids finished early and came out to explore the new pond where the kick ball diamond used to be.

There has been a lot of traffic on our little road from people coming to take pictures of the impromptu rapids. One of the men that have lived around here their entire lives said they've seen floods here before, but never to this extent.

Oh, and there is more rain in the forecast.


If you don't see me online for a bit, assume we are bailing out the church, or on a raft making our way unconventionally down the southern tier of NY.

Pics from today:

Egg that Elizabeth found out under the water. When we shook it something rattled around in it. None of us dared open it, but disposed of it quickly.

Esther practicing for the rowing team in our yard.

Somewhere under all that is a yard.

The neighbor's driveway, across the street from us. Ironically, their pond is the one that is overflowing. The water gushing down like rapids chiseled a 2.5 foot trench along the pavement into their driveway.

Our little road masquerading as a river.

The Fellowship hall in the church basement. Note in the background, you can see the brand new fridge we got a couple weeks ago, laying on it's back in the little room in the background.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tying Up Loose Ends

Before we start school next week I wanted to take some time to finish up a few projects. Yesterday I finished culottes for Jerusha and I, Yay!

Mine look just like hers, only in my size. :P

I also finished this baby quilt. I had originally started it for a friend, then went with another quilt, and this one got put in the "to do later" pile. That was last March. So I finished it up today. Not sure what to do with it... maybe sell it? Anyone interested? Times like this I wish I had an Etsy shop!

Also FINALLY finished my Seaweed Cardigan! Here is the front and back. It is very comfortable and I'm glad it is done. I'm toying with making another one next spring.

I know I said the fleece bathrobes were "next" after the culottes but that baby quilt was on top of the bathrobe material and I just couldn't see putting off finishing it any longer. :) (Note: any excuse to quilt is acceptable!)

NOW the bathrobes are really next!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Last Pics of Vacation and Catching Up

First of all, I hope everyone in Irene's path is okay and up and running. Thank you to those who inquired about our well being... we are all fine, present and accounted for. Irene was basically and windy, rainy day here, and since then the weather has been gorgeous.

We've been home since August 21st, but I've been totally negligent of blogging!

While in Massachusetts, my mom took us to where she works, and we got a mini tour. The highlight was the Rec room. We had so much fun! It was a real novelty for us. A couple of the guys that my mom works with heard the grandkids were coming in and donated a TON of tokens to play the arcade games. Thank you so much for a great memory!

We had a safe trip home, and Monday started up with the usual routines. I also had some tomatoes from the garden to contend with. Benjamin and Dale are attending a Baptist history class at a nearby church Monday evenings, so I've switched our grocery and menu planning days to Tuesday.

We spent a few days decluttering and organizing for the new school term. The books are set up, ready to go. I have a few things to print up yet, but we'll be starting on September 6th. That is the latest we've ever started, but well worth the delay in my opinion! I wonder if I can credit all the hours boogie boarding and body surfing in the ocean as PE class?

I'm getting back into my exercise routines. I've joined the local gym so I can get some consistent strength training in. I'm doing circuit type workouts 3 times a week for strength training, with a 20 minute cardio interval at the end. The other days are just cardio. I've discovered a new love... the elliptical machine! What a fantastic work out, and so easy on the joints!

Our pool is still up, but not for long. The twins have a friend staying here for a few days and begged to use the pool. I told them enjoy it. Next week we are taking it down. The over night temperatures are dipping down into the 40's. Time to call it a day and move into Fall.

I've been trying to finish up culottes for Jerusha and I this week, and will be moving onto bathrobes for the kids. They picked out the fleece earlier this summer, but who wants to sew warm, fuzzy, fleece when it is 95 out? Now that it is cooling off and children get up and curl up in thick blankets in the living in the mornings because SOMEBODY refuses to shut windows (ahem) then you know it is time to get moving on those bathrobes. :P

I almost finished Elizabeth's socks. I was about 75% done, then for kicks and grins told her to try them on. Much to her, and my, dismay, she couldn't get it on over her heel. Where the fancy textured stitching starts on the leg tightened it up too much. In the end I frogged them out entirely and started over. I know now how to adapt the pattern so it will work. I'm almost to the gusset increases, about 5 inches up from the toes. I restarted them last Thursday, and hoping to get them done within the next few weeks.

My Seaweed Cardi has been picked up again, and all I have left is the seaming. I looked up the YouTube video on crocheting the seam, and it looks great! I'm definitely going to employ that method in this cardigan!

Because of all the sock drama, the Bella Blouse has been on hold. It may be for a while, I'm sorry to say. I have some Christmas knitting to get started on.

We are enjoying our last few days of Summer Break. All too soon they will be over!

Have a blessed day everyone!