Mid-year update on New Year Resolutions

We’ve made it through half of 2016 already! Amazing how fast time flies by.  I made three “resolutions” this year and here’s how I’m doing so far:

Numero Uno: Decluttering my home.  Guys, I have done amazing on this!  We have donated many, many big bags of generalized stuff to charity.  I started in my kitchen and literally went through every single cupboard, cabinet, and drawer.  I’ve cleared out doubles of things I didn’t need, and oodles of items that I never used. My kitchen is now SO much better organized – and that makes me really happy. I went through the pantry from top to bottom and yes, I regretfully say I had to toss some items out.  With things better organized, I now know exactly what I have and where it is, so hopefully my days of throwing stuff out is over.  Then I moved on to the bedroom, going through my bedside table, dressers, and the closet. I parted with SO MUCH stuff that is no longer loved or useful. I cleaned out and organized under the bathroom sinks and all the cupboards and drawers in both the bathrooms.  I was UNABLE to clear out stuff belonging to my husband…. well, I could have, but that would be putting the marriage in jeopardy (I wanted to, SO badly, I’ll admit).  Hubby’s mantra continues to be: “I need everything I have”.  Obviously I strongly disagree, but… what can I do?  So, this leaves the third bedroom/office.  I am presently in the throes of working on this massive project and hope to have it in great order by the end of August.

Numero dos: Eat healthier foods.  Mixed results on this one.  I had hoped to be making my own fermentations by now, but I haven’t done it.  I AM still making my own milk kefir and not only is it delicious, it’s also full of wonderful probiotics.  When we spent two months at the Palm Springs place, I feel as though we didn’t do very well on general healthy eating.  We seem to go out to eat more down there and attend more social events.  Poor excuse, I know.  I do love this time of year when we’re getting oodles of wonderful fresh veggies which I include in our menu daily 🙂 Bottom line: I need to do better.

Numero Tres:  Compute less and read more.   Up until the past two weeks, I have done great at this I’m happy to report!  I have already read more books this year, that in all of last year (25 so far!).  Then, two weeks ago I discovered an addictive TV show (which I’m watching on the computer) called “The Great British Bake Off”.  I can’t stop watching!!  I’m on season 3 of 5 so far.  I will admit that not only is it entertaining, I honestly have learned some interesting things watching it as well.  I mean – who knew what “choux” pastry is (pronounced “shoe”)?  I didn’t, but now I do!!!  And a myriad of other interesting things too.  Hey, it’s almost like reading a “how to bake” book!  At least it’s educational. 🙂   On the book scene, I am presently in the process of reading 4 books, and loving them all.  It’s a little nutty to have four books going at once, but I guess it’s how I roll – at times. Last week I got to page 120 of a library book, thinking up to that point that it was pretty good, and then it went downhill FAST.  Some folks force themselves to finish every book they start, but not me.  That one went back to the library, pronto!  Too many good books, too little time!

So, there’s the mid-year update on my resolutions.  There is definitely still work that needs to be done and I will forge ahead!!

New Year, New Focus

 NYE SeattleHappy New Year 2016!!!  Wait.  What? 2016????  How can that be?  Seems like it was not long ago that we were welcoming in the new century, awaiting the Y2K bug, and partying like it was 1999….   yet here we are, a full 16 years later…. and happy to still be here, I might add!

Some years I enjoy documenting my New Years resolutions and this year I’m going to do just that.  To keep myself on track, I intend on doing fairly regular updates on how well I’m succeeding.  So, lets get started.

Numero UNO on my list is:  Decluttering my home.  I have spoken about this in the past, and have been marginally successful.  Maybe I should change that to minimally successful.  In the past month or so, I’ve donated two large garbage bags of clothes and the entire back end of our SUV was full of other stuff that I no longer wanted or needed. I have completely cleared out my kitchen of items I don’t use, yet there is still TOO MUCH STUFF! But friends, that is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg!  I still have closets and drawers full of (many different sized) clothes that I need to part with.  Our 3rd bedroom – AKA “the Office” – is a disaster area. From top to bottom it’s full of crap I don’t need.  Just this past weekend we gave away a large piece – a 5 foot tall “kitty condo”, lovingly made by hubby for our cat Jinx – who no longer uses it.  It’s moved about 50 miles away to our son and future daughter-in-law’s place where they have two new rescue kittens who apparently are in love with it already! 🙂  Yay!   Personally, I have found that when I clear out stuff, it makes me feel good.  I haven’t read the huge best seller book (yet) that’s out there about the “magic of tidying up”, but yes, it’s on reserve at the library. Since it’s so popular, I’ve been waiting for it for some time, but that’s okay. I understand she (the author) says that if something doesn’t give you “joy”, then it should go.  What gives me joy is seeing my cupboards, cabinets, and drawers cleared out to the point of being able to see what I have and access what I have and use what I have!  I will do some before and after photos of my horrendously messy office.

Numero Dos is to Eat healthier foods.  It’s easy to say that, but I’ve actually made a plan.  First off, let me divulge that I suffer from diverticulitis.  I’ve found that for me, the best way to keep “it” at bay is to add pro-biotics into my diet.  Of course there are numerous ways to do this…. Some people take probiotic pills, and while that may work well for some, it doesn’t for me.  So I’m in the process of learning about lacto-fermentation and will be making my first fermented veggies (I’m starting with carrots) soon.  I’ve been drinking kefir for months, and am just now starting to culture my own kefir using milk kefir grains and water kefir grains.  Kefir and fermented veggies provide a myriad of helpful bacteria for our bodies, our immune system, and intestinal health. When you consider that one bottle of store-bought kefir is anywhere from $3-5,  I’ll save a lot of money by making my own.  I also eat Greek yogurt which also provides a few probiotics, but not nearly as many strains as the kefir or fermented veggies. I downloaded a very informative book for my Kindle for only $2.99 called Fermented VegetablesI’ll keep you posted on how my fermenting and culturing goes!  I got my kefir grains from Amazon.com, from a company called Cultures for Health.   Not only do I plan on eating probiotics, but I’m really going to try and focus on preparing our meals from whole foods, and sometimes even organic when it’s feasible (and not insanely expensive).  I guess my main goal here is to cut out extra chemicals and additives from our diet.  I will update on that quest, as well.

Numero Tres is to compute less and read more!  I find it so easy to spend an entire afternoon on the computer, and I have a feeling that I’m in pretty good company here.  Let’s face it, fooling around on the computer is probably not the best way for one to spend their free time. I truly DO love reading.  Last year I set a goal to read 25 books.  I thought that was a reasonable, attainable ambition.  I failed.  I read 22 books, (I think).  Okay, that’s not so bad, but I’m resetting the goal for 25 books again for 2016. By the way, I do NOT count books like the Fermented Vegetables book in this list of “read books”.  I’m thinking I might put a new tab on the top of the home page here where I have an easy spot to document my reading progress and yes, I’ll call it “Books 2016”.

I think the above are pretty good goals for the upcoming year.  Oh yes, there are others, but not everything is brought to life on the blog 😉      I’d love to hear what any of your goals, plans, hopes, and dreams are for 2016 – and Happiest of New Years to ALL!!!

A long post with pics!

It seems like I’ve had pretty much nothing to blog about in weeks!  Who wants to hear about my everyday… day-to-day life?  I have to wait till something at least semi-remarkable happens to blog.  Maybe that’s silly.  Maybe I really should blog about the humdrum, the run of the mill, but I don’t.  I mean, who wants to know about my latest trip to the grocery store or the outlet mall or the dentist (I did all three today!)?  Who wants to hear about the insanely dreary weather we have trudged through since last November?   I decided with all the devastating weather that has happened in recent days in the midwest, that I’d just SHUT UP about the fact that we’ve had rain all but about 10 days since last N0v.  That I’d keep mum about the “S.A.D.” (seasonal affective disorder) that ALL of Western Washington is struggling through these days.  About how downright insane people from these parts get when we actually have two days of sunshine in a row!   Who would be interested to learn that we’ve been watching hockey, hockey, Stanley Cup Hockey, (GO CANUCKS!) and soccer, soccer, soccer of late?  Maybe it’s just plain wrong for me to use “we” in that last sentence.  Instead of all that mundane stuff, I’ll share our latest news.

The Chevy Blazer

Last week we said a final goodbye to our 2001 Chevy Blazer.  It was a great car for us for several years and certainly served it’s purpose of keeping me safe in the snow and heavy rain on my way to work in the winter.  But all good things must come to an end.  With all of our vehicles rapidly approaching or reaching the 100,000 mile mark, we needed something with a bit of life left in it.  It also needed to be 4WD and able to navigate the steep hills of our neighborhood in the snow.  This new vehicle also needed to be reliable and priced fairly reasonably as well as good on gas.  Hmmmm….. what did we find that would fit all these stiff requirements?   Meet our newest addition to the family:

Here it is, on a rare sunny day, our new 2011 Honda CRV.  This car does it all.  You just have to speak to it!  “A/C on”  “Fan speed three” “Call John’s cell” “Nearest McDonalds” etc etc etc.  It has a back-up camera (ahem. how have I been successfully backing up without it all these years?!) a navigation system … AND….

What’s this????  Oh.  Of course.  No car is complete without it!  A Wolverhampton Wanderers (English Premiership Soccer) decal.  Funny thing… here in the USA we call it a “de-cal”.  Hubby’s got me calling it a “deckle” – the English pronunciation  for a sticker you put on your car.

Buying a car is always an experience that I’d sooner forget….. yet this time it wasn’t too bad.  Hubby told “the manager” that he’d pay XXX for the car and after a few minutes “the manager” knew hubby meant business, and came through with the right $$.   ONLY FIVE HOURS later we walked out of the dealership as “Happy Honda owners”.  This is hubby’s first Honda and my second.  Son #2 surely remembers Honda #1.  He was the last person to drive it in 1995 when it was totaled on a snowy road.  Son #2 was just 16 at the time.  Honda #1 was a great car.  Hopefully Honda #2 will be as well.  No teenagers, repeat no teenagers will be driving Honda #2.

On to another subject: New Years Resolutions.   You may remember that early this year I decided I’d do my best to “go through every drawer, every closet, every dusty box in the garage” and DE-CLUTTER my home.  Well, my progress toward that goal is far from complete, but I have definitely made a dent into decluttering.  So far we’ve taken one SUV-load of stuff to the Goodwill.  This week I’ve gathered another huge black garbage bag full of stuff and more to come.  A lot of the stuff is clothes.  I’m happy to report that although it was NOT one of my New Years Resolutions, I’ve been able to rid my body of one and one half STONE of F.A.T.  Actually a teeny bit more than 1.5 stone.  Twenty-two pounds to be exact.  YAY!  I’ve looked at my clothes with new eyes and discovered a lot of stuff that I didn’t want to keep.  I (very briefly) considered a garage sale for some of our castoffs.  Then I remembered a promise I made to myself the last time we had a garage sale.  NO MORE GARAGE SALES.  I absolutely love to go to them, but putting them on is a different monster altogether.  No, I’ll donate the clothes and misc and I’ll be ever so happy about it.  On the subject of F.A.T…. I’d like to lose another 10 pounds and then I’ll be fairly content.  Not that I think that will happen right away.  It took 5 months for the first 22 to come off.  People have asked me the obvious question: Has losing weight helped the pain in your hip?  The answer: NO.  I’m sure it cant hurt to have less F.A.T. pressing down on my hip, but to be perfectly honest, the darn hip still hurts just as bad.  It is seriously messed up and I think it would kill me even if I were emaciated!!!   Which brings me to another subject…. FOOD!!

Here are a couple of my favorites….

Trader Joe’s Organic whole wheat pasta …. and a steal of a deal found this week also at TJ’s – “Green Fin” Organic white wine for a whopping $3.99!! Now I don’t normally seek out organic wine, but this stuff is SOOOO good! And the price is certainly right!  If you like white wine for summertime and have a Trader Joe’s nearby, DO TRY this Green Fin stuff.  It’s great!!!

So, I made a super yummy dinner the other night.  I used the organic whole-wheat pasta with leeks, peas, prosciutto, marinated artichoke hearts, and parmesan.  Here are a couple of pics of the process and the plated results.  I used a Martha Stewart “Everyday Food” recipe for inspiration.  I also made an easy favorite… slow-roasted plum tomatoes.  We love tomatoes and these that are topped with a few bread crumbs and some grated parmesan are “to die for” delicious.

I LOVE using parchment paper when I bake these tomatoes!

So there you have it in a nutshell.  My life for the past few weeks.  Here’s hoping it won’t be another month before I have more to blog about!