Monday, February 27, 2012

Easter Gift Ideas....

Easter is right around the corner and with that comes those adorable baskets filled with goodies!  I went through some of my favorite Etsy stores and came up with some wonderful basket fillers that would be perfect for Easter baskets for everybody!  Hop on in and visit these wonderful Etsy Sellers and pick up some adorable, sweet, soft, pretty, lacy and just plain fun things!

This Infinity scarf is perfect for spring, use it to dress up a plain blouse or to add a pop of color.  Mona has several Infinity scarfs to choose from as well as adorable bibs and household items.  All are created by Mona, SewingGranny.

For that bigger "kid" in your house how about this gorgeous Bunny necklace by Sharla, BeadedTail.  Created with Green Lampwork beads with Peridot Swarovski crystals and an antiqued brass chain this necklace is the perfect Easter gift!

What an adorable bib for that Easter outfit.  Created lovingly by Peggy, ArrivingAngels.  Peggy has some other cute Easter toys for little ones in her shop, take a look today and pick up a few.

 Beautifully hand crocheted this little bunny doily would be the star in the middle of your table for Easter!  Delicate thread art by Maryann of CrochetbyMsa.  She has so many beautiful things in her shop!


 Have you ever seen a cuter pair of baby shoes?  Bet you didn't unless you've shopped with Annie of MyMiniMocs!  These are darling with their little wedges of watermelon!  Annie has many other pair available in her shop for little toes of boys and girls!

So, take a look at all these wonderful stores and see if you can pick up those basket fillers today!  You'll find these things and so many more!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Lifestyle Change....Some Things I've Learned.

Changing ones lifestyle, especially at my age, is not an easy thing to do.  But I'm thinking that maybe you CAN teach an "old dog" some new tricks!

Since deciding back in October, that I really needed to drop a considerable amount of weight, I've learned so many "new things".  I thought I'd share some of them with you, take them for what they are, use them if you would like or just read them and smile.  I'll start with just 3 and future blogs will go from there.

1.)  There IS a program out there that not only works but is totally FREE, (yes, no meetings, no paying for online support, nothing to buy etc. FREE).  SparkPeople has to be one of the most comprehensive websites out there for people wanting to change their lives.  The operative word here is "wanting".  You have to work at it, be honest with yourself and give it time.  It works, it really does.  The premise is if you just change 1 thing at a time and be consistent with that change it will soon become a "habit".  Then move on to the next thing.  After a certain amount of time you have an entire new set of "habits" and your on your way to a healthier life.  I started there on October 30, of today I have lost 27 pounds, I exercise 60 minutes a day 6 days a week and have just about completely quit eating meat.  And to top that all off I FEEL great...the best I've felt in years!

2.)  You do not need a gym membership to get exercise.  Personally I hate "group" fitness...I hate using equipment someone else has been sitting on and sweating all over....there is a high "ewwww" factor there.  If you have 2 feet and a floor you can get fit!  If you can't afford to purchase exercise DVD's you can rent them from your local Library.  View several until you find one (or more) that you enjoy...then shoot for saving to make that purchase.  You can find them at garage sales, church flea markets, on eBay, Craigslist etc.  You don't need to purchase new.  Many times you can find them on sale, especially if they are considered "older" DVD's.  I tried several before I found out that I absolutely love Step Aerobics.  While wildly popular back in the 80's it's still a heck of a workout, gets your heart rate up and really works you good!  My favorite is Gin Millers "Simply Step".  It's not "dancy" because I have 2 left feet, her cues are on time and she shows you the moves before she calls them...great for those of us that just aren't that coordinated.  Frankly it took me about 3 weeks to be able to work up to completing the entire 60 minute workout but the results have been amazing.

3.)  Try something different.  And that can be anything but in this case it's food.  Since dropping meat from my diet I was concerned about my protein intake.  I started reading and found tons of information on a "super food" by the name of Quinoa (keen-wa).  It is actually a seed that's grown in Bolivia.  The Incas cultivated and ate this seed 3,000-4,000 years ago.  They referred to it as the "mother of all grains".  Quinoa contains essential amino acids like Lysine and contains good quantities of calcium, iron and phosphorus as well as 18% protein and is closely related to the beet and spinach family.  I purchased mine through Amazon, it's organic and has had the outer hull removed (which can be very bitter).  You can also find it at Trader Joe's and Costco.  It comes in "tri color", red, black and white.

Quinoa is cooked just like rice with a 2:1 ratio, 2 cups liquid to 1 cup seeds.  I make mine in batches and put in the fridge so I have it on hand.  It's great in salads, soups or by itself cooked in vegetable broth with added onions, peppers and herbs/seasonings.  It's very versatile and I just made a "Breakfast Quinoa" today, it was delicious!  Quinoa has that "staying power" and keeps your blood sugar even and holds you until your next meal with no problem!

Breakfast Quinoa

2 c. Cranberry-Raspberry Juice, Light
1 c. Quinoa
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 c. Dark Bing Cherries, chopped

Bring Quinoa and juice to a rolling boil in sauce pan, cover and reduce heat.  Cook for 15 minutes and remove from heat, add the cinnamon and cherries, cover and let stand about 5-10 minutes.  Serve warm or cold, refrigerate remainder.  Makes 4 servings 1/2 c. each.  You can add some yogurt if you wish but it really doesn't need a single thing.  The sweetness from the cherries and juice are plenty sweet enough and it needs no liquids.  Enjoy!

That's a start.....more later!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Coming Of Spring ~ The "Honey Do" List.....

Picture courtesy of Clark Hamilton

Ahhhh, Spring is coming and with it comes the planning of our first garden.  We purchased our home on the lake in Missouri about 5 years ago.  Part of our reasoning in choosing this particular home was the amount of land with it that would lend itself to a sizable area for a vegetable garden.  However, upon arriving and living there a year, we quickly realized we were NOT going to be able to do that.  One of the people that lived across from us was the neighborhood cat "hoarder"....the garden idea quickly vanished.

For the next 3 years we fought to try and keep the cats out of our yard that were using it and every single flower bed as one huge litter box.  They would even get on our boat and use it along with my potted plants, front door mat, patio furniture, etc.  Needless to say by the end of year 3 I was ready to move....the smell was overwhelming and we were not even able to enjoy being outdoors let alone leave our windows open.  Flash back to last Summer when a group of us got together and decided something needed to be done.....and it was finally addressed.  A group came in and "live trapped" 28 cats and removed them.  Now, flash forward to this coming Spring, and viola a vegetable garden in the making!

Joe is always busy, I don't care what it is, where it is, what time of year it is....the man pretty much never stays still.  He is always looking for a project to keep himself busy.  He needs to look no further than the side of our yard and the list on his desk!  He is pretty much been "spoken for" for a "honey do" list that would make any grown man shudder!  Here is the start of his list:

  1.  Level area for garden, removing top layer of junk dirt.
  2.  Build raised beds for plants.
  3.  Put up fence all around garden to keep the varmits out (squirrels, deer, racoons, armadillos).
  4.  Design and install some kind of netting system to cover entire garden from on top of fencing.
  5.  Build a 2 stage, contained compost bin.
  6.  Build a compost "barrel" that can be turned as the stage 3 compost unit for final composting of organic materials.
  7.  Run new underground water line from lake up to the garden area (and that's a LONG way up).
  8.  Purchase and install irrigation pump down on the dock for irrigation line.
  9.  Order truck-load of dirt to fill beds and "git er done".

So, hurry up Spring, he has lots to do and we can hardly wait to get going!