Reaching

IMG_5276Just like this pretty plant Sarah gave me reaches for the light I too am reaching.  I wrote a post not very long ago about obedience.  The word still sits in my heart.  I think of it every so often and I realize how important it is.  Lately health has been my main issue.  It has been about 4 years now that I have had a skin condition on my legs, itchy, scaly and as several doctors have told me, my anxiety and OCD issues do not help the cause.  All the picking that goes on.  Most people I meet would never ever know.  I always wear long pretty skirts and long pants.  However for all these years I have been seeking out a way in which they will heal.  I believe with my entire heart that they will not remain this way forever, it’s just a temporary bump in my road.  Also a few weeks ago I posted about my jeans being tight and my weight climb.  I shared how I met a great gal who invited me to a FREE fitness camp and I went, I have been going faithfully and I love it.  Dylan sometimes joins me too.  My goal is to get into shape, be healthy and strong.  TO HEAL, it’s top on the list. I’m reaching towards my good health and I’m fortunate because Rich is fully on board with me being healthy, always encouraging, Abbie is beginning to follow suit and last night as we ate our turkey tacos (my shells not fried) Abbie said, “I’m passing on the rice tonight”  later that night I walked with a friend and we brought our daughters along for the walk too, they had fun, we had fun.  It was a win/win.  I also have a 14-year-old very ambitious home fitness trainer.  We have had such fun working out together, he seems to beam while we are doing it.  We give the hi-five/fist bump at the beginning of our work out and also at the end.  We listen to some good music and we laugh lots.  So I’m still pumped up.  I have a count down on my page till end of the month to see what changes my body will make.  I have not seen the scale go down really but I can feel in my clothes my body measurements are adjusting.  It will be a long process.  I just need to STICK to it. I will be reaching towards that goal until I get there.  Once there.  I need to stay there.  That’s the HARD part.

That’s it for now.  I have a meeting with my fitness Coach Pam (the great gal), she doesn’t charge me anything, she runs a free fitness camp M, W, F at the park before work and now is adding T, Thurs evenings.  It’s free, it’s fun and I’m loving it.  She has a proposal for me, so I’m ready to hear about it, share about it later this week and excited about the possibilities.

photo (1)Last night with Dylan.  He has to make sure you all know we are the WEST’S living on the west coast.  Silly. 

photo (2)After our workout last night, he jumped in the pool. 

ONE LAST THING,  new to our nightly ritual, I read a chapter of a book to Rich called “The Love Dare for Parents” We have done it now 4 nights in a row.  I read.  He listens.  Then I say “thanks for listening” he laughs and we go to sleep.

moments in the garden AND Thursday and Friday Dinners

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This post will mostly be pictures.  It’s Friday!  Yeah!  Heading out for a brisk walk with my neighbor and I worked out 3 times this week with my morning Activate friends.  Plus a round of my own stairs.  I completed the five days of meals! I only went to the market one time this week.   No joke, I normally go to the market every single day after work and pick up what we are having for dinner.  I know it’s not the best plan but it’s what I tend to do.  So it felt sort of weird not going to the market every day.  The one time I did go it was just for  milk and soap. Here are some shots from my garden and the last two meals.  Our favorite meal of the week was the pork, which surprises me since it’s just something I never think of.

 

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Three more yummy berries.  I was told it wouldn’t yield much on its first year and I don’t expect a whole basket, especially when we are eating them as they ripen but the idea of them is so exciting to me.

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IMG_5188Drying the cilantro seeds that I let go to flower to see if I can plant these again once they dry out.

 

photo (3)Thursday and Friday meals, a little heavy on the bread for Thursday, we can tweak that in the future and the chowder was ok.  I think it feels like more of a winter or fall dish rather than summer, but maybe that’s just me.

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Thursday

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Friday

 

HAPPY WEEKEND

 

 

Itchy legs and mid week meals

I wanted to first begin to share the little things in our very own garden that made me smile yesterday.

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Our first red raspberry, not only did I smile, I yelled out with excitement.  “should I eat it now, should I let it get more juicy and red?”  

 The week has been pretty good.  Abbie has been going to Vacation Bible School with her cousin and a friend and having a blast.  Aunt Jenn has offered to take her each day and bring her home so this has been a blessing in our week.  Austin got his very first job on Monday and this news is outstanding!  Dylan decided to join me in my morning work outs on Monday’s and Friday’s. My back garden is giving us little gifts to eat and be amazed with.   I find that if I focus on the good things in my days that the little bad things seem very trivial.  Like Rich accidentally flinging chlorine on my dress and bleaching it out in spots, or the ants that began to invade the countertop, or how I wore my skirt inside out for hours without realizing it, or when there appeared to be another hole in the pool to be fixed, or the abundance of animal hair that seems to multiply even when I vacuum each day, not being able to find the hair brush and itchy legs, little irritating things like that, things that put a glitch in the day, making the day seem not so smooth but really truly when I focus on the bigger, better things it eases the impact of those little irritants.  They still exist but I don’t let them take control of my day and the direction the day is going.  I do have that choice.  Just so you know, it’s not easy and I do have weak, dark days when I DO let the little irritants take over those days are rough but this week, I have been able to focus mostly on the good.

The morning glories that are more of a weed in the way they take over things, but still I find them so very pretty and I love how it’s growing over a tiny tree planted by the birds.

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The heart I spot when I’m admiring my very first red raspberry.

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The “red zeppelin” onions I get to use in the nights meal.  Yes I bought them for their name!

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The fresh zucchini we grew also for our nights meal.

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The sunflowers that are growing at rapid speeds, I can’t wait for the flower to appear and again I will not just smile but I will make a big deal of it, I can’t help it.  It’s like this miracle before my very eyes.

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And as I promised the meal verdict for last night’s meal from last summers magazine “Everyday Food” Last night was grilled steak and veggies.  All done on the B.Q. so no big mess to deal with.  Much more of a summer plan than the last two nights with the broiler on.  It called for skirt steak.  Sort of tough and chewy but I heard if it’s marinaded for a good long while it helps with the toughness.  Martha’s recipe didn’t call for a good long marinade.  So.  It was tough.  I was like “chew your meat really, really good kids”  Didn’t want a choking incident.  Again sort of learning what we may do different from how the recipes read.  I have a very difficult time following a recipe without doing something “my way” like the grilled veggies, they called for 3/4 fresh lemon juice and a dried thyme marinade. That’s it!  Seemed like an aweful lot of lemon to me but I realize the idea is to be making healthy meals.  I added some olive oil anyway.  I normally use Kosher salt, pepper, fresh garlic and olive oil for all my veggie grilling and broiling.  Pretty good but next time either marinade the steak longer or like Motorcyle man suggested, “a good flank steak would work better”  The picture looked more like flank than skirt anyway.

So here is the whole lay out of last nights meal before preperation

photo (1)All chopped and lots of compost collected.

photo (2)Although the meat recipe didn’t call for a good marinade, the veggies did.  20 minutes at least in a ziplock bag with the lemon juice thyme (added olive oil) marinade

photo (4)Veggies first on the Q, then the meat and it all cooked very quick.

photo (5)Last night’s meal!

photo (6)I was excited that the onions and zucchini could be from our very own garden.

We also had a knife presentation from our neighbor.  She graduated high school in 2012 and has been attending Cerritos College, this is her first job selling knives and no hard pressure, just good solid presentaton. Belive me, we  WANTED all those sharp knives but our bank account just will not allow.  We are still using our nice set of German knives from way back when, a Christmas gift from my parents.  But these Cutco knives.  Wow.  really good stuff.

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Those are our “best” knives up there.  Didn’t hold a candle to her Cutco knives and their mad abilites to cut nice and easy.

photo (9)We cut all sorts of stuff, rope, leather, pennies, bread and veggies.

Someone is studying and gearing up for their first day of work.  He also had to go buy non skid shoes and some black dickies.  He is supposed to be out doing that now.

photo (8)Probably not going to be his ideal job, considering he still is not eating meat but he isn’t complaining, he is so happy he landed this job.  It’s ironically the very first application he filled out and turned in.

Let’s Ride Bikes Batman

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All thumbs up on last night’s main course!  They loved it and it was very out of the ordinary for our family, we rarely eat pork except occasional bacon.  The salad was loved by the girls only.  A little too (healthy) for the boys.  Motorcycle man wanted real salad dressing,  not the olive oil and lemon mixture it called for and he adds “a little iceberg would be nice. “ I didn’t blog about the meal last night because directly after dinner, Mr. Motorcycle man and I rode our bicycles across the street at the school parking lot.  Abbie skated, and Dylan messed around bare foot with a found baseball.  He would every so often throw with his right hand and we all got a good laugh at his lack of coordination with the right hand, being he is a lefty and all. Little Laynie Sky popped up for a ride on her long board and that part of the night was pretty rad.  The dog’s even joined us, although I don’t’ think batman was all that excited about it.

lootAll the loot to make the dinner, saving some of the pork for Friday’s meal

in ovenin the oven they go

helperwhile I was in the kitchen, Abbie folded towels like my mama taught me, and motorcycle man filled out some paperwork

saladI made the salad small cause I knew only us girls would like it

finOur dinner and we all eat on salad plates btw, even motorcycle man, been doing it this way for a while now

me pabPicture courtesy of little Abbie, thanks Abbie.  Legs still the same.  it is what it is, for now.

 girls

 summer fun, so blessed to have the other West’s next door

This morning I so did NOT want to get up at 5:30 a.m. but you know I said to myself, “If I don’t DO, nothing will happen, like NOTHING. So just do.” That’s it.  So I got up and I went.  Glad I did because Wonder Woman and Robin were there and had I skipped out on our Activate work out, I would have missed it!

wonder powerswonder girlsThis family sure makes working out fun

 

Tonight, it’s BQ beef and grilled veggies!

yesterday in the city of angels

 

I got to meet up with some gals I have been wanting to meet for a very long time.  Yes they are on my dream list, I have a dream list and so this was a big deal to hug them live in person and hear their voices. We had a great day in our city of angels yesterday.  We laughed we talked we shot, we shot lots and in all of this of course I was nervous about what I may eat and trying to stick to plan. I have been to two outings with our L.A. Flickr friends and they love to stop at this awesome Mexican food restaurant on Olvera Street.  I was able to stick to plan and have a green salad with chicken no dressing and I drank plenty of water on this day and yes did lots of walking.  I was able to take Abbie and Austin along so they could see the sites of L.A. too and see what our gang does when we go out.  Dylan had a soccer game so he stayed back and hung out with Dad all day.  They had some really good one on one which is always nice.

 

I feel as though I have conquered another small hurdle with my new way of eating.  I always get a little nervous when we go out and about.  Like when Rich and I did our 300 mile ride a few weekends go on his bike all the way to Julian with a few other cool stops but Julian is all about apples and most importantly their famous apple pie.  On this outing I was able to order a salad with salmon when we all stopped for lunch and as the others went off for the famous pie and ice-cream, Rich and I walked the sidewalks and took in some shops.  So more and more I’m realizing this is possible it is very possible to be out and about and make wise choices.  Not easy, NOPE not easy but very possible.  And today I tell you this, my legs still a mess in fact a real big mess.  I had a sad session last night and a very hard sleeping because I kept picking but on the flip side, I’m now down 17 pounds in about one months time.  WOW.  Today I am 165 which is still not tiny girl but much smaller than I was a month ago.

So much fun was had and one of my favorite spur of the moments things was when Abbie and Sara twirled in Union Station.  I feel as though my girl, she can do really exciting and fun things and it doesn’t matter what others may think, we just can let go and have fun where ever we may be, even if it is Union Station with a grown up friend who also has a little girl inside her heart still and as it should always be.  Stay young.

 

Smoothies and Strange New Things

Rich and Abbie went and got that blender so we can start making smoothies for the kids after school.  My sister gave me the idea.  We were tying to come up with other non junky options for snack time.  Today we made a smoothie with strawberries, vanilla almond milk, ice and a little pineapple. We also tried almond butter on celery…only that wasn’t received as well.  Both Abbie and her buddy were not super fond of the almond butter and her friend even less fond of the celery!  But they ate what I made them to be polite.

Then there is me.  I’m on day 28 and yesterday my sister-n-law gave me some advice on things to buy for a cleanse and also to KILL the yeast maybe quicker than just eating right.  She suggested a good anti-fungal and for this I got Candex (with the advice from the gal at Sprouts) which was not cheap, like over 30 dollars! But Jenn reminded me, “it’s for your health” and health is important in the long run right?  Then we have the Psyllium which after I bought read and it’s basically like something to clean me out!  Key word, FIBER, so not exactly sure if I’m prepared for this and the Bentonite is a detox.  So I mix the bentonite and the psyllium with one cup of unsweetened almond milk this morning and took my first Candex which on the first day it’s recommend only one pill and it builds from there.  So far so good, no major bathroom trips but let’s be honest I don’t have trouble going to the bathroom anyway but this I know will be more of a clean out which sort of scares the heck out of me but I suppose it’s what I need to do.  She has lived this and done it and she knows what works.  She really wanted me to get the liquid form of an anti-fungal  but it wasn’t readily available and i didn’t want to order on line just yet.

Oh and his morning the scale read 168 and that’s going DOWN for me…so yeah, side benefit! I plan on making fish tonight with some mixed greens and spinach. Drinking lots of water as usual and plan to go for a walk with my girl today and this will be a nice time to talk and hang out.

 

 

day 27 baking, walking and looking forward to a full 30 days

Today was a regular kind of day.  I went to work but first had my hot water and lemon, then scrambled up two eggs with some fresh salsa.  I took a chunky quinoa salad to work basically similar to my other quinoa but this time I had even more goodness in it like zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and cilantro.  I love cilantro and so many things.  Got home from work and had some of the good old stand by chicken veggie soup.

Our Bible study group has dinner tomorrow night and our group decided to make breakfast for dinner for all the other groups, I volunteered muffins.  I made two dozen pumpkin chocolate chip, one dozen blueberry and one dozen banana.  Almost filled a good size basket and in all that baking I kept wanting to lick my fingers but instead I kept rinsing them in the sink water and I did sneak four chocolate chips.  After time I will work on a natural muffin, gluten free with say a natural sweetener but for now I do what I know.

I then wanted some fresh air so went for a tiny stroll.  I’m making baked chicken and broccoli for dinner with probably a big ol salad.

I remain itchy as can be and sometimes I wonder if I just don’t’ want to get better because I have major scratch attacks, I feel like I should avoid going to the bathroom at all cost because the minute I see my scabby legs I just want to scratch them and the more I scratch the more they itch and it’s like this vicious cycle.  I ask for strength but I do nothing on my part to uphold that end of the bargain.

Katie and Abbie made oatmeal raisin cookies after I made my muffins, it was so cute, they also made some hot tea and drank them out of our wedding china tea cups.  In fact they are still baking and I’m waiting to make my chicken.

One day at a time. Today is day 27.

Day of Rest

We got up and went to church this morning and when we returned it was a gray day and I was tired.  I decided to give my body what it was asking for and today that was rest.  Rich made a fire and I took a nap.  This isn’t easy for me to do, I often even though I may be tired  I will continue with my day, clean and things like that.  Today was different as I have been reading Body Ecology we are to respect this time of the month so I did.  When I woke up I felt refreshed and had some left over soup from last night.  Such a simple soup but all very good for me.  I ate up some brussel sprouts and have been drinking my water.  I’m standing at 170, it seems to be a natural weight for me because for the past 6 or so years it’s exactly where I stay.  The fact that I had climbed to 182 was so alarming and now I wait.  I believe if I continue to eat healthy without sugar, dairy or wheat/gluten I will continue to go down until my body reaches its ideal weight for my frame.  By Thursday I can add berries and apples, I can hardly wait. I also wasn’t able to get the anti-fungal today but plan to by tomorrow.  I read that Coconut oil – medium-chain triglycerides in the oil have anti-fungal activities and I use coconut oil to cook my eggs and also use it in place of a lotion.  Sometimes I’m afraid to take too many things besides anything very natural because of possible side effects but if it’s not used for prolonged periods it should be okay.  Again how would I really know this?

Oh no, little snag in the plan

Well I went 23 and a half days without “cheating”  (disclaimer) I’m human, can that be my excuse?  In-N-Out, need I say more?  In-N-Out, the single most best tasting burger in California in my opinion.  I skipped the soda and had a handful of the community fries.  I messed up on one meal.  I then went ahead and had that dark chocolate milky way, um two of them.  Darn it.  However I didn’t feel too terrible to be honest about it.  I figured that my very next meal I would be right back on track.  This morning I had my eggs and hot water with lemon.  I went to lunch with a friend and ordered a nice salad with avocado, chicken and tons of veggies included walnuts and sunflower seeds, no dressing just a little olive oil (salt and pepper) very yummy.  I have had plenty of water today and my raw almonds.  I’m back from the moment of insanity.  I feel no different by eating it or not eating it.  It’s just one meal.  Jenn my sister-n-law suggests I get on some anti-fungals like the caproyl, which I know nothing about being new to all of this.  I think tomorrow after church I will try and pick some up, we will call it phase two of the cleanse since eating clean isn’t quite cutting it, and although I took a few steps back with my little mishap,  forward I go.

On a much lighter note, I got a new pretty orange tea pot today.  I love orange.  My sister’s tea pot has seen better days and Rich will not even drink out of it because of all the floaters, so it was time.

time of cleanse

How many of you read the “Red Tent” by Anita Diamant? I read it a very long time ago but I remember not being able to set it down. The red tent title refers to the tent all women had to go when they were on their cycle or giving birth, they found mutual support from other women while here in this red tent.  I have often sort of wished we still had a place like this to just BE while we are on our cycle.  A place where all the other people there just get it. Can you guess where I’m going with this?  Yep, it’s that time for me and it explains a lot.  I get all itchy during this time, I crave sweets and I can be a little cranky.  This also explains why three days ago all I could think about was a dark chocolate milky way.  I never ate it by the way but it flooded my thoughts all day long. I just recently read in “The Body Ecology Diet” that our cycle is a time of cleansing and women should consider it a wonderful opportunity to eliminate toxins. So I’m glad today that I am here, it’s only a short while of discomfort and blah-ness.  I will give my body rest during this time as I need it and enjoy warm healthy soups filled with veggies and if we are lucky we will get a little rain by Sunday.  Sunday will be a perfect day to cuddle up by the fire and just BE.  I’m drinking my lemon water and the mint was in the “must sell by today” pile for much less money, so I picked up the mint too.  I just love the smell of mint.

Happy weekend to all.