It’s May Day!! You know how I know?

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Every May 1st for the past SEVERAL years my Aunt and Cousin have been dropping off little bouquets of May flowers on our door step for me and the Littlest Girl.  CLICK HERE to see a small history of flowers, I sadly don’t have pictures of every bundle because my old computer sits unplugged on the floor with most likely lots of really nice pictures stored.

This year they came in two tiny white tea cups, or maybe more like espresso cups to be more specific.  I had completely forgot what day it was today. I slept not so great last night and was up around 12:30, 1:00, then watched some Datelines until just after 2:00, tossed and turned a little more.  The last time I looked at the clock it was 3:00 and I said to myself “I should get at least over three straight hours before I need to get out of bed” But during all of that I never once remembered what day it was to open my front door.  I even let Pablo out the back door last night instead of the front.

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IMG_4457Motorcycle Man even tried to give me a sign when he crawled back into bed declaring MAY DAY, MAY DAY!!!  Max!  is trying to give us May-day signals.  It still didn’t click, I just thought Max and Motorcycle man were being silly.  As I explained to Rich my sleepless night he said, “You didn’t happen to catch Aunt Lynn and Stace  while you were up last night did you?”  Then it CLICKED.  I smiled and ran to the front door.

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10:00 a.m. the hours

I submitted my 10:00 a.m. this past week and since I couldn’t decide I let Kirstin make the choice for me.  This way when Sunday came, I was not only surprised by the new live submissions but my very own as well. She choose the image below.

Tracie West LA 10 am B.jpgYou see I decided that my images would be about what I’m most often doing during that particular hour.  Since I work M-F in an office and part of my day is here, then that is what I choose to share.  I nearly broke my own rules this month because since I’m in accounting and all I was thinking my rules would be in quarters and the first quarter would be black and white and include humans, while the second quarter could be in color and maybe not include humans.  As it turns out….I stuck to my original rule.  Below was option two.

tracie los angeles 10 a.m.Let me remind you that taking images while at work is tricky business.  I don’t have a door just a really big opening and I get nervous when I set my timer and the shutter snaps!  like super nervous.  I’m always looking around before I do this but not always safe, people have walked past while I’m doing this.  Lucky they are glued to cell phones and paperwork and very rarely look my way to even say hello.  The last image is one that I “almost” submitted and I almost shifted my own rules for.  It’s a dogwood so I was told and  I though it was the prettiest tree with the most unusual and delicate flowers.

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The eight P’s

Four steps to achievement: Plan purposefully. Prepare prayerfully. Proceed positively. Pursue persistently.

William Arthur Ward  [1921–1994],
American Author, Thought Leader

 I just stumbled upon this quote by William Arthur Ward and not much is written about him that I could find but he wrote some mighty great quotes. I may sprinkle a few of them in here or there.

So Preparation. I’m going strong on my preparation. Which A) Is not easy B) hard work. And I would like to pat myself on my back for keeping this up for so long. You see on Sunday I made more glo bars for my snacks, I made heart-shaped ice-cubs of lemon and cranberry to spruce up my water. Thank you Miss Moonspinner for the fabulous idea! I rinsed my produce, cut it all up and stuffed my salad jars. I made my smoothie baggies for mornings, this week it’s a smoothie called “morning glory” and I must say, it’s pretty glorious. It’s very simple, just frozen banana’s frozen strawberries, 1/3 cup orange juice, a 1/3 cup coconut water and a dash of vanilla, this recipe is also from the “Oh She Glows” cookbook

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got super excited about this rainbow chard!

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Even this weeks kale was gorgeous

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My salad for the week.  I take Friday’s off to go to lunch with motorcycle man

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The glo bar.  I forgot vanilla in this batch but it still tasted good.  Turned out I had left over pumpkin seeds (a tiny bit) I added more coconut to this batch, she doesn’t do the coconut but I like it.

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My smoothie prep

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The morning glory smoothie.  It makes me smile and I like it better than the one with kale…of course, it’s all fruit!

I have also been walking my butt off, I wish it were that literal but really since I got the fitbit I have walked 10,000 plus steps a day, minus the two days I was working longer hours and out doing some notarizing. I have burned my calorie goals, I have been drinking 84 oz plus of water a day and I added some very light arm weights, sit ups and leg exercises to the mix (the past 3 days) Each day I jump on the scale ( I know, I know the scale is evil but a necessary evil for me) I’m not losing and in fact the past few days I have gone up and don’t give me that crap muscle weighs more than fat, I have only been focusing on my muscles for three days. In my little vent session this morning out loud (bad mommy) the littlest and only girl comes up with some fantastic and very wise advice and her words filled me with encouragement. She says and I quote “It could take you a year mom! So don’t give up” So again. I’m here to say as difficult as it is and as frustrated as I get. I’m not giving up. I just thought I would be much smaller by now and much stronger too but the process is LONG AND HARD…VERY LONG, VERY HARD.

When I do my muscle training, legs and arms I look at the bulletin board above my computer blogging station.  It inspires me!

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Off to WALK to the post office, it’s tax day and when one waits until the last day, well I think we all know what that means.

preparing for the week ahead

A wise woman once told me this,” we don’t plan to fail just fail to plan”  and it couldn’t be more true.  It’s not easy either when it comes to planning, maybe even more difficult for us mom’s raising a family, when our first instinct is to make sure they have all their needs met first.  However I also know that I will not change or can’t change until I put some real true effort into the transformation.  The Fitbit is amazing.  It motivates more than I ever realized it would.  I went the entire month of March gaining first three pounds then coming back down to even it out to a complete wash.  My first week of April wearing the fitbit I lost 2.8 pounds.  I got in all my steps and met every single goal every day from Sunday until Friday when I weighed in.  I just returned from a weekend with the girls Sunday afternoon and I returned refreshed and ready for a new week.  Good friends, and mountain air has a way of doing that to you.  I decided to try two new recipes from my awesome new cookbook called “Oh She Glows” also a great blog to visit. I made her “present” glo bar for this weeks snack.

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chopped and measured my pecans then toasted them up in the oven (giggle..I see a heart in the nuts)

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Measured all my dry ingredients for the barIMG_3886

Rinsed my kale for my salads this week and my smoothies in the a.m.IMG_3889

Is this not the cutest little owl measuring cup?IMG_3892

peeled my banana’s for the smoothiesIMG_3900

Figured it would be much easier to put a majority of the smoothie ingredients in a bag and toss into the freezerIMG_3902

And this morning, let me tell you!  It was so easy to toss this in a blender and just add, almond butter, ice and almond milk.  This is also from the “Oh She Glows” cookbook.  The getting ready part wasn’t a part of it but the awesome recipe part was. IMG_3907

The recipe for the glo bars made 12 bars, my model was more than happy to hold my tray for me, first he only had his underwear on and I figured that wasn’t very appropriate so he ran into to put some real clothes on and we took the picture again. IMG_3912

My salad jars once again are filled up and ready to go.  I know, I know kind of boring the same smoothie breakfast all week, the same glo bar snack, the same salad for lunch but it’s quick, it’s easy and it makes the most sense to my checkbook.  Then for dinner we make whatever comes to mind that’s where I get my variety.  I can tell you the bars and the smoothies are very, very yummy and I can’t wait to try more recipes from the new cookbook which I also highly recommend.  My friend Alice introduced me to this cookbook and the reason I’m most interested in it is because my oldest doesn’t eat chicken, pork or beef and his darling girlfriend is Vegan.  So This mama here wants to be able to cook meals she can share with them too!

Spring Lunch in an Egg Carton

Of course this is NOT my original idea, that’s what Pinterest is for and I saw it there first.  Although my girl is in the 6th grade, she is still super-duper excited to take her lunch tomorrow.  This is how we did it.  I think it should be enough, I made four tiny heart sandwiches but also nearly another whole slice of ham cut into hearts and an addition slice of cheese, all which pretty much equal a full sandwich when you add them all up.  I could actually stuff a little more into the egg once I put the tops on.  I took this idea a step further though and decorated the egg carton.  We had the egg carton on hand, we had eggs from years and years of egg hunts, I save them and re-use each Easter and even the things I used to decorate the carton were in my craft cupboard.

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I began with the carton

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filled it up with 4 heart ham and cheese sandwiches, heart cheese, heart ham, tomatoes, one strawberry, black olives, blueberries, little fish crackers and lemon wafer cookies.

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and remember when the top goes on, more can go on that side of the egg.  I will see tomorrow if this ends up being enough food for a 6th grade girl.  We could always pack an apple or other snack on the side.

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I also snuck in a little note.

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TaDa! Her most favorite color, pink of course!

the artist

aus mefavorite photo from our coffee date

I have three children.  I love them all dearly.  That’s what mom’s do; they make each one feel that they are the best thing since sliced bread.   Us mom’s also know that all our kids are so different from one another and really, that trips me out so much even still.  How on earth can they all be so very different from each other?  They all have their own styles, they all like their different music, they all have different interests and I know, I know we are not supposed to put labels on people but I remain firm in the fact that I have three A’s.  Austin the Artist, Dylan (why I didn’t name him an A name remains a mystery….much like him) Dylan the Athlete and Abbie the Actress.

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On this day my artist son agreed to have coffee with me.  It was a HOT Sunday so our drinks ended up being iced but still we talked just a little.  Not a whole lot. Just a little.  He used to be my big talker, he talked about so much, mostly if you want to know the entire truth, if he wasn’t talking he was auguring with me about something. Trying to make his point.  I would joke with him at a young age…”you will be my attorney” He had to win and he had a reason for all things.  He still does, only he doesn’t talk as much.

I worry about him.  I can tell his life is one big question mark right now.  He struggles with his future plans, he feels like he is climbing the biggest mountain ever.  He feels lost.  It’s hard to watch.  I want to keep telling him that we all had those feelings at his age but I honestly think it’s far more difficult for his generation.  It’s like there is this big, huge pressure to attend college for all these kids and you know what?  College is NOT for everyone.  What happened to all our trades taught in high school (it’s getting less and less) some kids are good with their hands, others creative.  Not all are academic and college bound.  We still need artists, we still need people who master crafts such as iron, wood, we need bakers, and we need chefs.  I just wish I could snap my fingers and take his anxiety away.  I know he must get through this.  So I’m here.  I’m here to support him, I’m here to love him, and I’m here to accept what he decides to do with his life.  I just worry.  I think that part is normal.

I like how even though we didn’t talk much, we laughed a lot, a whole lot and I love how he taught me new things, like “hey mom, you want to dip after I finish my tea?”  I was like “dip what?” He laughed and said “this is a common phrase you know” “No, I don’t know”  “I thought maybe you were talking about Tabaco or jumping in pool or something” He explained to me, it means to leave.  You know like real quick like.  The word I know for that would be let’s split, but the kids these days say let’s dip.  So he taught me that and I taught him about my hipsta app and I was shaking it all up and he was so confused about all that.  Each filter he hated and with each picture he would say, “mom you are lowering my self-esteem with each picture you take” Then we would laugh so hard!  The date came to an end and I know my request was unreasonable but I had to ask it anyway.  I asked him to promise me these things, to be good, to stay alive and stay golden” He said he couldn’t promise any of it.  He also said he didn’t even know what I meant when I said to stay golden.  I later texted him to tell him, he will always have a good heart so that good part is covered.

walk

treeThis week so far I have held up my end of the bargain with “myself”  I told myself I wanted to walk every day this week and to increase my walk by one lap. (this bit of talk about deals with myself reminds me of the movie “Best in Show”  that’s just a side note off the subject)  Today is Thursday and so far so good.  Yesterday was even better because Mama bear joined me.  She kept me company on my first lap and my first lap was my most favorite lap, it went by very quickly.  On our lap we saw the slightest rainbow through a part in the clouds, it kept getting stronger the closer we got! (sorry no photo)  The next three laps I spent with my headphones on.  I can get lost in certain songs and mostly I get lost in the sky.  I kept thinking “I had better be careful or I may trip”  I was looking up more than down and I couldn’t get enough of the sky.  It was sprinkled with clouds and they shifted and changed with nearly every step.  I watched ity bitty airplanes fly through the air, my cell phone couldn’t capture what my eyes saw.  I watched birds fly through the air into really tall trees, carrying twigs in their beaks as they were building their spring nests. I’m realizing what a blessing it really is to fit in a walk each evening.  It’s not easy fitting it in either but this week has been good.

photoI took the top image and turned it to black and white and added some words

palmI love our California palms.  When three are in a row I think of my three children

pink ribbonThe image in the sky that got me most excited was as I was finishing my last lap, I looked up to see a cancer awareness ribbon in the sky.  I darkened this image so it can be more easily made out.    I showed a friend at work and she spotted a heart too. It’s in the light part of the sky, so it was a double bonus!  I actually began to run towards it to see where my best angle would be.  Running up the side of a hill, “no”  it was when I stood between my in-laws home and my neighbor’s house that I saw the ribbon best. I felt blessed yesterday.

What do you see on your walks.  Maybe you will share a story with me or an image?  I would love to know.   Or if you have been stuck inside maybe step out and tell me what you find.  There are miracles and messages all around us.  We just need to keep our eyes open.   Try not to trip though!

I have a plan!!

So I have a game plan folks.  Everyone needs one right? Well, of course if one is not going to give up.  So this weekend I thought about my plan (as I ate way too much stuff while in the midst of my pity party for not seeing a noticeable number difference on the scale)  But that’s behind me now.  Now I can focus on my plan.  I love variety but I don’t need variety, what I need is a simple plan.

IMG_2428I consider this a heart

I did all my preparation Sunday afternoon.  I went to the market then I spent hours in the kitchen.  This included baking a cake with the littlest and only girl.  We had found a pink camouflage cake made by Duff and we couldn’t resist.  So that counts for part of the time and clean-up efforts.  All well worth it.  I have never claimed to be an elegant baker and cake decorator that talent went to another family member.  So just for kicks, here is a picture of my finished cake.  It tasted amazing though, really fluffy and soft and sweet and the inside was really pretty.  I have a confession; I sort of burnt it so I had to shave off all the dark hard bits.  My oven runs hot and since I was so into my chopping and washing and preparing, I forgot to check on it.  Still good though, I also had to stop and clean up my puzzle cause the cats did some horseplay and burnt out on it and sent half of it to the floor.  Thank goodness I had finished it or I would have been ticked.

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Okay back to the plan.  For breakfast all week-long I will have two ham and egg cups.  I calculated the calories to be about 240.  I made a dozen of these little cups.  I used ham off the bone bought from sprouts and I had left over cilantro which I love so stuck some of that inside the egg mixture with just a touch of white cheddar cheese.  I like to warm them up and put little tiny chives on top when I eat them.  Still have my cup of coffee in the morning too.

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The dozen ready to package up by twos

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Breakfast today

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The compost from the salad making and egg cups was just so pretty to me

At around 10:00 I have my first snack 16 almonds and those tiny little nuts are high in calories but very, very good for us.  So I’m okay with it.  170 calories in all.

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It’s so crazy that this tiny handful is 170 calories, but really great ones!

Lunch (around noon) will be one of my salads in a jar.  I made a whole new round of them this weekend.  I used similar ingredients but used a roasted chicken for the meat portion, and instead of radishes I put in jicama.  This jar comes out to be about 260 calories because the chicken, beans and olive oil are the major calories but even the veggies hold some calorie value too, just not a lot.

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My next snack is around 2:00ish and it’s an apple with the most amazing almond butter with maple syrup in it.  The almond butter is very expensive at spouts but I think it’s worth the treat.  It’s a no stir nice and pure and organic almond butter.  I just use one Tablespoon instead of two and the calories for this snack are 145.

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This tablespoon does not cover all the slices, just a few dips here or there

I’m drinking plenty of water out of my darling owl cup.  It helps to have a straw, I drink it quicker.

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Dinner will be whatever I prepare for my family but I will eat small portions. Tonight I’m making a tamale pie.  But I have a nice handful of calories left after my walk today!

I also plan to increase my daily walk by one more lap with is a half mile and this will be 2 miles a day and at the end of the week that puts me at 10 miles walked.  That’s my plan!

Montly weight loss and healthy living style update

weight

March 1st 2014 not a single pound down ….THIS IS SO HARD 174 just like in February

January 1 2014

January 2014 180

It’s  that TIME again!  Time for that once a month update I promised I would give.  Let me first focus on all the good things in regards to February 2014.  Although really great things happened in February, I did not lose a single pound.  I mean at one point I did, there were a couple of days I was down for a total of 8 pounds but it went back up and stayed there.  So no weight loss this month it remains at 6 pounds total lost, and you want to know my real honest true feelings??  I’m discouraged, I’m upset, it sucks.  Yep, those are my true feelings.  I feel like giving up.  But I WILL NOT.  Don’t worry I’m still doing this.  Back to the positive things.

I walked 21 out of 28 days in February, I exceeded my goal!!

I tried the cool salad in a jar trick I saw on Pinterest.  It’s AMAZING!!

I drank plenty of water!

I have logged my calories every day for 58 days in a row on “my fitness pal”

When I have gone out to eat I order water to drink and only eat half my meal.  Because I still order things I love.

Two different gals at Bible study told me I was looking “good”  I’ll take it!

I got a tattoo!

Girl Scout cookies arrived.  I bought 10 boxes this year to support the little troopers I know and well; the thin mints sort of get me.  The rest I can pass on.

Although I didn’t lose a single pound in February, I’m newly energized for the month of March because we just started a pool at work for weight loss.  So we are competing (for money) so that will hopefully get me to think a little harder and longer about what I choose to do each day.

Lastly I will share my goals for March with you.

I plan to walk at least 4 times a week.

Eat breakfast every single day.

I plan to stretch nearly every night because I have a goal to do the splits just like my littlest and only girl.  We have a really cool and exciting blog called “Life in the 7 Cea’s”    In this blog Abbie and I share healthy snacks, and activities we do with each other to lead a healthy lifestyle.  It’s fun because it’s a shared blog with our friends in Australia Cathie and Jess another mother daughter team with the same healthy goals.  It’s so adorable, I hope you will stop by and check it out.

Salad in a Jar

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Today what I really really wanted and nearly made the stop on my way home from work was Wienerschnitzel, yes, you heard me I love Wienerschnitzel LOTS.  I know hotdogs are made out of really random crazy parts but you know what?  I like um.  So it wasn’t so much the hotdog I had in mind but the chili cheese fries, not just the original but their new bacon, ranch chili cheese fries.  I saw their add laying in the break room and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  I’m here to tell you that changing your life style and eating better does not come easy for me.  It’s really hard and it takes much effort.  This is how it feels to me.  I’m still learning basically. Now is the time where you give me a big applause because this time I made a different choice  I went against my desire and stopped at the market to get some veggies to add to things I already knew I had at home to make a salad.  I had seen on someone’s Pinterest page this idea.  So it’s not my idea, I didn’t come up with this brilliant plan.  However I’m adopting it and it’s been made, tested, tasted and it’s a for sure a winning idea. Below see how I built my salad in a jar.  It’s a lot of work.  It is!  Lots of washing, chopping and making a nice big mess in the kitchen but since it’s done all at once it makes it worth while.  I made a half-dozen jars of salads that are now easy to grab on the go and super full of goodness.

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So these are the jars I began with, 6 clean pint & half sized jars with a wide mouth

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Then I cut up some leftover chicken and some cucumbers

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Rinsed some black beans, just one can

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I love cilantro, so I cut up some of that

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Cut up some broccoli (small) this is from my home delivery

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Radishes (also from home delivery)

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Carrots (again home delivery)

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orange bell pepper and red tomatoes

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kale (home delivery)

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Spinach and not photographed but a little butter lettuce (that was also from my home delivery)

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I put a little olive oil and balsamic viniager at the bottom of the jar

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I began to layer

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This is what it looked like when I finished packing it all in.

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Give it a good shake

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Dump it on a plate

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It fills about this much of the plate and the dressing covered all the crunchy yummy salad parts perfectly (see that heart on the jar lid?)

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But you see what I mean? Big Mess

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All the lettuce I didn’t use I will bag in a large ziplock

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Okay confession, not all these dishes are from this days chopping and preparing.

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So I plan to crank some music and clean up this mess next

IMG_2302Then I put the extra’s in my fridge, the fridge in the garage, that’s why this looks so bare;)  TaDa!  I highly recommend this!