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Archive for February, 2012


This episode of the New Year, New You series is all about movement.  I don’t want to use the “e” word because that word comes with way too much baggage.  I kinda fell off the wagon last summer when it got so hot.  There were other reasons, too, but I’ll talk about that another time.  Now with my Babygirl’s wedding less than five months away, I decided I had better get back on it.  I have a goal size for the wedding as opposed to a goal weight.  The particular workout that I use builds lots of core muscle density while burning off pounds, so you can actually weigh more at a smaller size.  I know, right?  “Sounds kinda hinky”, you might be thinking.  I don’t blame you.  I thought the same thing when I first heard about it.  Then after 30 days of doing the 15 minute workout I lost 2 whole dress sizes (almost three-I could get them zipped up but would likely have gotten arrested if I had left the dressing room 🙂 ) and only 2 pounds on the scale.  33 1/4 total inches lost.  Honest.  It really happened.  AND I didn’t even change the way I was eating.  Cross my heart.

This workout is called T-Tapp.  It was developed by Teresa Tapp, an exercise physiologist from Florida (and just a really great human being :)).  You can check out her website for yourself here.  I heard about it on Facebook and decided to give it a try.  I was skeptical at first.  I ordered her book, Fit and Fabulous in 15 Minutes, and read it 3 or 4 times before I ordered the workout DVD.  The book has the program in great detail in it, but I needed to watch someone do it.  I think I probably watched the workout several times and watched all the interviews with the people on the DVD before I ever actually did it myself.

The first day seemed pretty easy.  The second day I was pretty sore.  On the third day I though all kinds of bad things about her (and her little dogs too!) as I was trying to get out of bed.  The fourth day I repented.  🙂  It is indeed the “workout that works”!  Anyone, no matter your size, fitness level, or disabilities can do this because you do it to your best ability.  Need to stop and catch your breath?  No problem.  Need a drink?  Go get one.  Seriously.  I encourage you to check this out.  I am not an affiliate or anything and I’m not getting paid to say this.  It’s just that good.

And I’ll keep you updated on my progress.  Nothing like a little accountability to keep me motivated!

I shared this at Monday Mania.

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In my internet browsing recently I have been drawn to several blogs about families’ adventures in homesteading.  I just love the way they are returning to the land and learning about organic gardening, animal husbandry, and traditional foods.  One of my favorites is Katie Riddle’s blog, Riddlelove.  I am living vicariously through them all for sure.  Every time I read one, my heart aches to have my very own piece of land where anything is possible and everything is allowed.

As I was reading the other day, a very disturbing thing happened.  From the deep, dark, recesses of my mind came this ugly, mean, nasty voice.  It said things like, “Don’t you think you’re a little too old for that kind of thing?”.  And, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, ya know”.  After listening to that voice for a few minutes I got really sad.  Maybe that voice was right, maybe I was too old.  Maybe a single woman doesn’t have any business living out in the country.  Blah blah blah blah blah.  I almost started crying over all the reasons this deep, heart-felt desire of mine was a bad idea.

Then I started getting mad.  How dare that ugly voice try to steal my dream!  Just who did that voice belong to anyway?  I don’t believe I’m too old!  I’m not even 50 yet!  And this old mature dog can learn just as many new tricks as she wants to, thank you very much.

Here’s what I learned through this:

1.  The Bible warns us that the devil is here to steal, kill, and destroy.  That includes our dreams and passions,

2.  It’s important that you feed your dream and keep it in front of you, and

3.  It’s really important that you guard your dream and don’t let anyone talk you out of it.

So, next time you begin to hear that nasty voice trying to talk you out of your dream go get your pointy toed shoes on and kick some devil hinny!  And dream on, Baby, dream on!

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Today I am thankful for drains that actually, well, drain.  That’s not something I think about much really.  I just run water down the drain and assume it’s going to go where it’s supposed to.   Over the weekend we had a cold snap with a few inches of snow and everything.  So much for it being mild the rest of the winter.  🙂  Anyway, whether it was frozen or just blocked I don’t know, but last Friday night the large drain out to the sewer stopped draining.  Water backed up into the bathtub, flooded the garage, the whole thing.  Not a lot of fun.  Which left us with 3 stinky people, lots of dirty dishes, and no clean laundry.  And the potty situation was just, well, eeewwwww!

Monday evening the Roto Rooter guys were finally able to get to my house.  Bless them, they apparently had a very busy weekend.  And in a matter of 20 minutes from the time they got there to the time they left, they had cleaned out the pipe so everything could flow smoothly the way it was designed.  A. Maz. Ing.  The thing that was causing such a huge mess in my life was taken care of just like that *Insert finger snap here* by someone who knew what they were doing.  Pretty sure there’s a spiritual application somewhere in this little adventure of mine.  🙂

So what are you thankful for today?  If you have a blog link up your post below.  If not, share with us in the comments.

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I know, I know, it’s Friday all ready.  I had some technical difficulties yesterday, so this didn’t get posted.  But it’s here now!  Yeah!

Today I am thankful for my parents.  I have had the great privilege of having lunch with my parents every Tuesday for the past several years.  After lunch Dad goes home and Mom and I spend the rest of the day running errands and shopping.  I am so very fortunate to live in the same town with them.  Our lunches have deepened our friendship and my appreciation for their wit and wisdom.  We have a lot of fun together and these times are very precious to me.  Occasionally one of my kids or another family member will join us when they are in town.  But as much as I love them, I have to confess that I truly treasure most those days when it’s just the three of us.

The older I get the more I understand what life is really about.  Life is about relationships.  Real, heart-to-heart relationships.  And as it is with so many other things, quantity is no match for quality.  I have determined to be more deliberate with the relationships in my life.  They are gifts from Father to be nurtured and cherished and celebrated.

What special relationships are you thankful for today?  If you would lile to share a blog post, click on Mister Linky below, or share with us in the comments.

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Resting in Him


Today is Shabbat or Sabbath.  It began at sundown yesterday and ends at sundown today.  A day of resting.  A day of restoring.  A day of reflecting on the goodness and faithfulness of Father.  It is a day that Papa, in His grace, built into the Hebrew calendar.  One day a week to rest the body and reconnect with the important things in life: family, friends, and Him.

The concept of rest has been all but forgotten in our culture.  Americans typically spend their days rushing from one event or activity to another, chronically sleep deprived and stressed out.  So much to do in the short amount of time allotted.

But what if you had permission to take one day a week and rest?  No chores; no “musts”; no “shoulds”.  Just rest.  Read a book.  Take a bath.  Go for a leisurely walk.  Relax.  De-stress.  Reflect on all that’s good in your life.  Rehearse your blessings.  Rekindle your joy.  It’s incredibly freeing you know.  To just say “no” to the world’s expectations of you, to re-claim your time.  To deliberately choose what to do with your day.

Not only do you have permission to do that, but Father earnestly desires it for you.  That’s why He put it on the calendar.  So take some time to rest today.  Don’t make it hard or attach a bunch of rules to it.  Just have some fun.  And as a friend from Texas likes to say, “Shabbat Shalom, y’all”!

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Yummy Baked Manicotti

Preparing healthier meals is one of the journeys I am on in this new year.  This baked manicotti recipe is one that I put together from several different recipes I found.  The cheeses are homemade as well as the spaghetti sauce, and the basil and parsley are from last summer’s garden.  I get my eggs from a friend who has pastured chickens which is a huge blessing!  The only thing in this that’s not so good for you is the white pasta shells.  Since we don’t eat pasta much (maybe once a month or so), and since my tastebuds seem very whole wheat pasta resistant, I am ok with the compromise this early in my journey, although when all the pasta I have is gone I hope to switch to the brown rice pasta.  🙂  You can always use whole wheat, sourdough, or brown rice pasta for yours.

Baked Manicotti Recipe

12 large manicotti-you can also use the shell shaped ones for fun

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 Tbsp dried basil

1 Tbsp dried parsley

2 cups ricotta cheese

2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided

3 cups spaghetti sauce

Prepare pasta according to package directions and rinse with cold water.

Put one cup of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish.

Pretty sauce

Mix egg, ricotta cheese, 1 3/4 cup of mozzarella cheese, basil, and parsley in a small bowl.

Mix the herbs, egg, and cheeses well

For easy stuffing, put the cheeses in a plastic baggie that seals and snip off a bottom corner.

Cheese mixture in the baggie with the corner snipped off

Insert the cut corner into the manicotti and squeeze the bag to pipe the mixture into the shell.  Be careful you don’t overfill it or it may split.  Place the stuffed shells in the baking dish.

Stuffed shells on their bed of sauce

I actually had some odd sized shells so I just stuffed until I was out of stuffing.  🙂  Now you need to pour the rest of the sauce over the shells and sprinkle with the last 1/4 of the mozzarella cheese.

All ready for the oven

Now bake this in a 350 F oven for about 30 minutes or until heated through and bubbly.

Bubbly and nicely browned

I served this with a simple salad, green beans, and garlic toast made with my Italian Herb & Cheese Bread recipe that I also use for pizza crust.

This is really simple to make.  You can even assemble the dish ahead of time and put in the oven when you get home from work.  Just let it come to room temp while the oven is preheating.  You’ll need to add about 10 minutes or so to the cooking time if you bake it cold.  Give it a try and then come back and let me know what you think!

I linked up at Foodie Friday, Monday Mania, and Simple Lives Thursday.

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Oh what a glorious day it was yesterday!  Sunny and warm with just a bit of a breeze.  What an amazing gift!  Even though it’s a few weeks early to be planting, I just couldn’t resist.  It’s supposed to stay pretty mild until spring anyway.  Or so say they who know.

I always end up with more seeds than I have room to plant, but I got most of them in the ground.  I planted my lettuce mix and green onions and spinach.  I also got my snowpeas, green beans, and sugar snap peas in along the fence.   I also got some herbs going in pots in the house.  Then I just sat and soaked up some sunshine.  My, but it felt good.   Course, now I’ll be checking every day until I see the first green shoots poking up out of the ground.  I love watching things grow.  And I love harvesting veggies.  Not too crazy about the weeding part, I’ll have to admit.  But home grown veggies are worth it!  I’ll be sure to let you all know when stuff starts coming up.  🙂

What are you thankful for today?

If you have a blog post that you would like to share, click on Mister Linky below.  Or just share with us in the comment box.

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

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