Winter Slipped In

We had freezing weather Monday night.  It had been comfortably warm for several weeks.  I planted tomatoes, peppers and fragile herbs. When I learned it was going to freeze, I covered every thing, in hopes of protecting the plants.  Then there was a frost last night.  The tomatoes and peppers suffered some damage, but I believe they will pull through.  I lost one basil plant, the rest did fine.  There are not supposed to be any more freezes for the rest of the spring.  One just never knows what the weather may decide to do.

My current employment petered out, so I am one of those unemployed that we are hearing so much about.  I have experience in a number of fields.  I have been a travel agent,  insurance agent, and customer service agent.  I have worked as a trainer in my field.  I was a reservation manager for Alaska Airlines.  I would like to find something where I can work from home.  Most of those positions are for computer gurus, which I am not.  I am proficient in most of the applications and take care of my own IT work here at home, but I don’t have the expertise for a profession.  I would like to obtain that expertise but it is not feasible at this time.

I am a starving artist.  I do have a web site at http://www.norasartcache.com.  Go check out.  Maybe you will see something you like.

My lilacs are in bloom.  I love how they fill the air with such a sweet fragrance.  The butterflies always come to visit when the lilacs are in bloom.  I have added a photo so you can share this with me.

 

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Another Blustery Morning

You just never know when you greet the day what you are going to find.  It was warm yesterday… 75 degrees when I got up at 5:30 am.  The stars were peeking through the clouds here and there.  A lovely morning.  We had a storm last night.  The thunder woke me several times.  It startled some barks out of Belle, my Maltese pal.  This morning it was 42 degrees with a cold wind making it feel even colder.  The clouds are all gone.  It is another blustery day.

I have my small garden planted.  I have tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, lettuce, asparagus, and kale in.  It is really a salad garden.  Someday I will increase it to include other vegetables.  I do grow herbs, too.  I have lavender, rosemary, marjoram, thyme, sage, and basil.

I wrote before about slimming down with Weight Watchers.  I am still having great results.  I am losing a bit more than a pound a week.  What is really wonderful about WW is I don’t feel like I am on a diet.  I can eat anything I want.  I just need to stay within my designated points.  That is not hard to do.

I gave up drinking cow’s milk a few years ago.  I decided it was not really good for me.  I also stopped drinking soy milk because it interferes with my thyroid function.  I settled on coconut milk.  I like it to drink and to cook with but it is high fat so I can’t drink much.  I don’t really like it in cereal, either.  It does have a healthy fat even though the media gave it bad press.  (A lot they know!)  I also cook with coconut oil because it is a healthy oil…not like Canola oil which is made from GMO rape plants.  I said all that to say I have discovered goat milk.  It tastes like cow’s milk, does not have to be homogenized and it contains those medium chain fatty acids that coconut oil has that is so good for me. Goat milk is easier to digest than cow milk.  It is closer to human milk so therefore it is better for humans than cow’s milk.  I have a local supplier so I get the milk fresh from the goat.  After looking on the internet, I find that there seems to be goat farmers (ranchers?) just about everywhere.  I suspect there is one near you, in case you are interested in a healthier milk for you and your family.

 

Slimming the Body

Over the last decade or two, I have slowly added some extra pounds.  I have made several attempts to take them off but didn’t have any long lasting results.  I always said I would not pay money to lose weight but this year I decided I probably needed to do that.  I joined Metabolic Research Center in January.  That is a very expensive program.  I was spending a lot of money buying all the supplements and protein drinks they recommended.  The diet is very restrictive.  After 2 1/2 months I had lost only 7 pounds and had spent over $1000.00.  I had expected to lose 2-3 pound per week.  I decided that was not working for me.

I had looked at Weight Watchers on line a number of times but “I wasn’t going to pay to lose weight” so what did I do but swallow a camel. Weight Watchers cost a tiny fraction of the cost of MRC.  I decided to join.  I started losing weight immediately.  I was so surprised after what I had been through with MRC.  I just thought this would be a cheaper plan and that I would go on with the slow weight loss.  Weight Watchers said I would lose 1/2 to 2 pounds per week.  I lost a pound in three days!

Weight Watchers has been a pleasurable experience.  I was given 26 points per day plus 49 bonus points for the week.

 WW wants me to use all my points each day.  They cannot be carried over to the next day.  If I use more than my 26 points in a day, I can use some of the 49 bonus points.  So far I have not used any bonus points.  I really like that I am encouraged to eat fruits and vegetables.  Fresh fruits and vegetables count as 0 toward my 26 points.  Because I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, I stay comfortably full.  I have to work at getting those 26 points in each day.
There is no food that I cannot eat.  Because my goat milk is full fat,  I thought I might run into a problem there, but it doesn’t use up many points.  I checked out the points on things like fruit pie (7 points), ice cream (5 points), wine (4 points), pizza (5 points).  I don’t expect I will be consuming much of those, but it is nice to know that I can should I choose.
The recommendation is to eat fat free or low fat foods.  I am eating cheese made from skim milk but it is not considered low fat.  I do buy fat free cottage cheese and yoghurt.
Exercise gains points that can be traded for food points.
 I put the WW app on my phone so I can keep track wherever I am. There is a bar code scanner on the app so I can scan a food to see how many points it uses.  There is a calculator that I can input fat, carbs, and fiber for foods that I can’t scan.  They thought of everything!
This does not feel like a diet at all.  I just track all the food I eat to make sure I stay at my 26 points.  I eat what I like.  The way I see it, this is something that I can do from now on.  Once I reach my goal weight I can still track to make sure I don’t over eat and gain back.  I am sure my daily allowance will increase when I reach goal and go on maintenance but I could be happy at this level.  It has plenty of food and variety.

Rainy Saturday

What do you do on a rainy Saturday and it is just a few days before Christmas.  I decided to cook.  I found a sugar cookie recipe on Pinterest  that I decided to give a try   They are amazing.  You can find it here http://addapinch.com/cooking/2013/12/04/chewy-sugar-cookies-recipe/#.UrXi-vRDua5  I was so impressed.  Didn’t know I could make such a delicious cookie.

From cookies, I went to a recipe for rolls.  I thought the Parmesan Pull Apart bread sounded good and they are.  They are flavored with garlic and Parmesan cheese, great for those Italian and French dishes or just a snack.  You can find it here..http://foodapparel.com/parmesan-pull-apart-bread/

I sent off all my Christmas cards last week.  Thank you SendOutCards!!  I had the job done in about 10 minutes.  To learn more about how you can save time and money sending greeting cards, go here  https://www.sendoutcards.com/69473/.  You can check out my Creative Cards  blog at cardpromptings.wordpress.com.  You can send cards for any occasion and you can create your own.

I have been having a lot of fun with my Advent Calendars from Jacquie Lawson at jacquielawson.com.  If you haven’t seen those calendars, you are missing some real Christmas fun.  There is a new activity each day right up to Christmas.  It is awesome to me to see the additions that occur each day in the entry scene.  These computer gurus are just so clever.  Wish I knew how to do some of those things.

Days get busier as Christmas gets closer, so in case I don’t post again before Santa comes, I want to wish you all a

Merry Christmas

 

 

Winter Diamonds

Winter came with a vengeance last week.  My power went off during the night and came back on at noon.  My internet was down until late in the evening.  It started with sleet all day and then most of the night, turning to snow all the next day.  The trees were covered with ice and soon the weight caused limbs to break.  A cedar that lives just across the fence of my back yard collapsed from the top.  I now have a damaged fence.  It required a chain saw to clear the limbs off my fence and storage building.  I now have a pile of limbs in my back yard that will have to wait for a thaw to be moved.

It has been a few days and the temperature has not risen above freezing.  The roads finally cleared enough that I felt safe driving so I made a trip to the store.  It is beautiful out there.  The trees and shrubs are still covered with ice and  the ground is still covered with snow.  The sun was brilliant in a clear sky.  A million diamonds flashed among the limbs of the trees.

I tried to capture it on film but was not successful.  The diamonds just would not show up.  I will just have to carry that scene in my mind.  Maybe I can capture it on canvas.

Are you ready for Christmas?  Have you sent your greeting cards yet?  I can show you how to get those cards off with a lot less labor.  Go to my blog Creative Cards at  http://cardpromptings.wordpress.com/

Backyard Entertainment

Here it is the first of December and it was warmer out this morning than it has been for days.  Belle and I spent a long while on the patio while I had my morning tea.

I have a bird bath sitting on the corner of my patio.  The birds were taking turns coming for a drink.  There are several gutsy mockingbirds that hang out in my back yard.  They don’t worry if I move around a bit.  I have watched them tease my cat and dog, chase squirrels and pick on other birds.  Robins aren’t far behind mockingbirds at being fearless.  They allow me to move arms and head without worry.  There were wrens, cardinals and jays that came this morning.  I was thrilled to have a pair of blue birds come.  They are really shy so I had to be very still.

I love bluebirds.  They are so pretty and their song is so melodious.  It appears they talk to each other.  One year I hung a decorative birdhouse on a limb of my pecan tree.  It was not appropriate for a birdhouse although a couple of sparrows used it later.  The male bluebird flew in and checked it out, then the hen came and looked it over.  They sat for a couple of minutes in the tree warbling back and forth and then flew away.  I took it that she did not approve of his find.  I went right out and purchased a bluebird house and put it up in the back yard. Soon, in flew a male bluebird and looked it over and then came the hen.  She approved and they set to work building the nest.  I even got to see the babies fledging a few weeks later.

It has not always been so wonderful for the bluebirds in my back yard.  One year the female didn’t come home.  The male sat on the fence for days calling for her.  That year the babies died.  Another year a neighbor’s marauding cat killed the hen during the night.  After that it was several years before I had a pair choose that nesting box.  I was thrilled last year when a pair came and stayed.  I don’t know if it is the same pair but one has been hanging out in the back yard.  They are staying near the birdhouse.  They came for a drink this morning.

Books I Love

I know you have heard of Jack London.  He wrote “The Call of the Wild,” ” White Fang,” and other stories based in the north.  I read those two books in my youth. London had the ability to draw you into the story with his words, giving a mental picture of his tale.

Recently, a friend mentioned a story London wrote that I was unaware of.  There is an audio version on YouTube, so I listened to it.  The title is “To Build a Fire.”  This story is based in Alaska/Canada.  It is about a man’s experience traveling on foot in very cold weather.  It is a story you won’t soon forget.  You can listen to it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8WnlrUKsBU or you can download here http://www.jacklondons.net/buildafire.html to read.

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