A good day

 

Remember when going to the mailbox was exciting?  When I was a teenager I had pen pals and magazine subscriptions and I belonged to a cd of the month club so the mailbox was often a source for great surprises.

These days my magazines come from the library, music is downloaded from Amazon and no one ever sends a letter. My mailbox is stuffed with credit card offers, political harassments and bills.

But not yesterday. Look at what I scored yesterday! Really good coupons from Kroger, a cd that I’ve been looking forward to hearing, a product that my fella sent me AND a one dollar bill.

All just for being me. How fun is that?

Adventure

I need an adventure. A walk along a forested trail. A drive down some road I’ve never seen before. A day of treasure hunting at yard sales. Something that is unplanned.

My life is all about planning. It’s all about seeing how much work or fun or responsibilities can be crammed into a single day. But the universe is calling my name. It’s time to go out and play.

My fella and I are both free this weekend and he’s coming here. There’s a college town nearby – our alma mater, in fact. So I think we’ll head there and see what we can get into. Thrifting? A movie? Walk along the bike path? Who knows?

An adventure doesn’t have to be expensive or in some far off distant place. It can be in your own backyard as this wonderful commercial for Nexus 7 illustrates. And by the way, I’ve never used a Nexus, don’t really care about the product and couldn’t remember the product name until I googled it so I’m certainly not suggesting you buy one. I just love the message of this commercial.

Adventure is a state of mind not a destination. 

I hope you find your adventure this weekend. There’s something fabulous waiting for us all just around the next bend. Maybe you’ll even see a dinosaur…..

Say YES

Do you find yourself saying ‘no’ a lot?

I do.

My Mr. Wonderful pointed out the other day that I say NO more than I say YES these days. So I was inspired when I saw a post by my favorite scrapbooking rock star blogger Ali Edwards on this very topic.

So inspired that I want to start saying yes more often and leave that two-letter word behind for a while. Turns out I say yes more than I get credit for. Here are some things I’m saying yes to these days.

Saying yes to walking two miles after work every day.

Saying yes to inspiring new books like “When everything changed:  The amazing journey of american women from 1960 to the present”  The first story is about a woman thrown out of traffic court in 1960 for wearing dress pants to court. I’m only a few chapters in but have a greater appreciation for my life today.

Saying yes to fresh produce! Melons, berries and beans have been on the menu for nearly every meal these last few weeks.

Saying yes to rest. A girl needs her beauty sleep, right?

Saying yes to being spontaneous.

Saying yes to the fella who means the world to me so that I never see those sad eyes telling me I’m no fun sometimes.

What are you saying yes to these days?

 

Stepping it up

It is no secret that I am trying to get healthy. Unfortunately my dedication to exercise and healthy eating comes in fits and starts. The one thing that I try to do each and every day is to walk at least 10,000 steps.

I have a fancy pedometer that measures my steps, miles walked, flights of stairs climbed and even how many calories I burn. But you really just need a cheap little $7 department store pedometer to help you track steps.

Why 10,000? The American Heart Association says this is the number of steps we need in a day to improve health and reduce our risk of heart disease. Given my family medical history, I need all the help I can get in this area.

So I try not to ever go to bed without logging at least this amount and on days of devotion to my healthy lifestyle it isn’t uncommon to have 15,000 or more. Problem is that my job keeps me tied to a desk, meeting table or steering wheel for much of the day. So I always look for excuses to get up and move or to walk a little further than necessary. Here are a few suggestions that work for me:

  • Park at least twice as far from the door as you normally would. At the mall, work, the library….wherever you go go, don’t park at the front door. I park more than a block from my office most days and enjoy a nice walk before I start the day.
  • Make housework count as exercise. Folding towels doesn’t take much skill or concentration. March in place while you fold. Take an indirect route to the next room or pace while you dry dishes. My favorite? Sweep or vacuum the floors! That’s a lot of extra steps at my house.
  • Like household chores, yard work is a great way to get in extra steps and make your home look nice.
  • Walk the perimeter of your yard on the way to the mailbox.
  • I don’t have kids but if I did we would play outside every day the weather was good! Go to the park, play tag, just move with them. You are helping yourself and promoting active living for them!
  • Along those lines, I don’t have a dog but my parents do so I borrow their dog for a walk every day.
  • Never, ever take the the elevator when there are stairs!
  • If all else fails, march in place while you watch tv.

I also try to fit in at least a walk every evening. Sometimes just a mile, sometimes two, depending on time and weather. It sounds like a lot but walking makes me feel better physically and helps to clear my mind. Follow these tips and you’ll be cruising past that 10,000 mark before you know it!

35 things for 35 years

Today is my 35th birthday. I know that 35 isn’t old but it feels pretty darn old these days. Too much work and not enough play has left me feeling a little dull. It doesn’t help that I recently found the longest, whitest hair I have ever seen. And it was from my head.

This one has been bothering me. A lot. Perhaps because of the white hair. Perhaps because I feel like I should have done more with my life by now. Maybe it’s a little of both.

So, being the obsessive list maker that I am, I decided to make a to-do list to help me feel more productive in the coming year.

35 Goals for 35 Years

  1. Pay off credit card debt
  2. Do more freelance work
  3. Do something creative every day
  4. Become a master networker
  5. Organize digital pictures
  6. Take pictures every day
  7. Be in bed by 10 p.m. on weeknights
  8. Read every day
  9. Learn to run
  10. Lose 30 pounds
  11. Eliminate  Cut back on sweets
  12. Exercise one hour daily
  13. Start an Ebay business
  14. Redecorate bedroom on a dime
  15. Chip away at home repair list
  16. Waste no food
  17. Adopt mantra “use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”
  18. Have a yard sale and apply profits to weekend getaway
  19. Journal at least twice weekly
  20. Watch less tv and listen to more music
  21. Become an athlete
  22. Create daily and weekly routines for cleaning and upkeep at home
  23. Try a new recipe every week
  24. Replace/supplement recreational shopping with hiking, museums and other activities that feed my soul
  25. Unclutter extra bedroom and make it into a real guest room
  26. Organize craft room
  27. Catch up on scrapbooking  See #3
  28. Hike as often as possible
  29. Take a road trip  See #18
  30. Keep closet neat and tidy
  31. Go camping in the fall
  32. Dress better
  33. Learn something new every day
  34. Give up pop completely
  35. Be Happy every day

And for good measure….

36. Do something about the white hair!

Sounds like a crazy list, doesn’t it? Maybe so but I want to at least try. After all, it’s good to have goals and everything on the list is good for me. What’s on your list this year?

The cook’s guide to everything

With my birthday landing in the middle of the week this year I did a little early celebrating with my extended family over the weekend. My boyfriend’s wonderful family is always so kind to me but I have to call attention to one gift in particular that made me squeal like a little girl.

This bad boy.

With 2,000 recipes in 928 pages, this cookbook is THE authority in my opinion. If the recipe isn’t in here you probably don’t need it. Besides it would make an awfully good door stop!

Joking aside, the editors at Cook’s don’t just give you the recipe. They tell you why the recipe works. There are also great tips on storing produce and things like slicing a cake so it looks perfect.

Maybe I’m old fashioned but I just love a cookbook in my hands.Many people need only an internet connection to find a good recipe but there’s nothing like thumbing through this book for inspiration and for the perfect recipe.

I am so excited to go home and cook dinner tonight I can hardly contain myself!

Kick start your morning with a good breakfast

We’ve all heard the saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I have learned that days I eat a good breakfast I stay full longer, maintain my energy and just feel better. Eating a sugary pastry or skipping the meal altogether makes me feel terrible. So I’m constantly on the lookout for nutritious meals that can be prepared and eaten quickly.

I grew up in a household where oatmeal came from a little packet and tasted like a soupy, sugary, blended up mess. So the thought of eating oatmeal on purpose never sounded appealing until I figured out that oats can taste good when prepared quickly.

Here’s a recipe I follow:

Peachy Keen Oatmeal

1 Cup Oats

1/4 cup sliced frozen peaches, thawed

1 Tbsp. slivered almonds

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup skim milk

1 packet Truvia or other natural sweetener.

Combine all ingredients and microwave on high for one to two minutes to achieve desired consistency.

This is a very basic recipe for one that can be multiplied for a family or changed in anyway you like. Instead of peaches and almonds use berries and walnuts or try apples, almonds and cinnamon for something that packs a flavorful punch! Frozen fruits are convenient but fresh works oh so well too!

It can be prepared quickly in the morning or the night before so there’s no excuse for missing breakfast anymore!