Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I'm Back......

For now that is. Today is one of those absolutely beautiful, Autumn days that the Midwest is famous for. So, on this day, I decided that working from home would be a good choice. My job requires a lot of marketing that needs to be done from my home and neighborhood. Life is good.

So much has happened since I last blogged. I don't even know what day of the year it is, 200 and something. I lost track, and regret that. But, I will set that aside and fill my 3 readers in on what has happened since I last wrote.

First, we have an exchange student from Spain. She will be with us for an entire year. She is wonderful and charming and a great addition to our family. We have all had to adjust, some more than others, but I think it the end it will be a great experience for all of us. I am saddened that my daughter Hannah is having a hard time adjusting. She misses having her own room, she is allowing that to get in the way of enjoying the older sister that she will only have for 1 short year. I am hopeful that maturity will bring her to reality sooner rather than later. I love her so much and hate seeing her sad. But, I also feel some frustration that her 12 year old self is making decisions that her 18 year old self will regret.

I continue to work. My hours are long some days, and short on others. I am self employed, meaning that I am only as successful as I allow myself to be. I have a quota, which is forever looming over me. I have days of fear that I will never make it. More times than not, the next day I will make a big sale that makes me feel at peace. I wonder if I will ever be fully confident in my abilities. I need to be, for myself and for my daughters. They need to see their mother successful in her chosen career. I need be successful for me, so that I can myself successful in my chose career. I fear failure, I always have. By doing this, I am facing my greatest fear everyday that I continue and don't give up. Some days are certainly easier than others.

My husband continues to work. This year, he added the role of U10 Girls Soccer coach to his already full resume. The man works harder than anyone I know, or will ever know. Still, he finds the time to coach his daughter and her team of 9 year old girls. Clearly, he has the patience of a saint. I can confidently say that I would never be able to deal with that many little girls on a soccer field. Yet, he does it.

The days continue to fly by. I wonder where the time goes at the same time feeling frustration that every day is exactly the same routine. Maybe a mid life crisis? Who knows. I feel happy and content, but wish I could add something to the day to day routine that would add something else. I just don't know what that something is. Ideas?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Days 205-224 Letting It Go

When I started doing this blog in January, I was determined to stick to it every day, not matter what! Clearly, I have not been able to stick to that the last several weeks. I wonder, is it summer? Or, is it my job? Is it because I am no longer committed to writing?

I believe that my excuse lies in the fact that I am just beat at the end of every day and have yet to organize my schedule in such a way that I can squeeze writing in when I have a spare moment. My goal for this weekend, is that I am going to sit down with a calendar, my priorities written out and my commitments listed so that I can find time each day for the things that matter to me.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Day 199 - Day 204 Update

I have decided that for the time being, I will be blogging once a week with an update of what I did to be healthier. I hope that as I get used to work, my new schedule and organize my life more, I will have time for daily blogging. But, the truth is, that right now I just don't. I easily work 40+ hours every week, by the time I get home, the last thing I want to do is get on the computer. So, this is another choice I have made to be happier. Here is a recap of what I did this week:

Sunday, Day 199 - We dropped our 2 oldest off at summer camp. I love them more than anything. But, absence makes the heart grow fonder. A week of vacation was a lot of togetherness, we all needed a separation.

Monday, Day 200 - Hydrate! It was a heat wave this week. Wow, I cannot believe how hot it really was. My best defense was to keep a bottle of water with me and keep myself hydrated. It made all the difference.

Tuesday, Day 201 - Revisit my plan to have a salad every day. Since I am doing a weekly recap, I can say that I had a salad 3 out of the 5 days. Not too bad, but it could be better.

Wednesday, Day 202 - Stay inside. Again, the heat was unbearable. We stayed inside all day, keeping cool. Wednesday was the hottest day in Milwaukee since 1995!

Thursday, Day 203 - Clean my desk. I have been employed for 7 weeks and my desk was already a disaster. I took 30 minutes before I left yesterday and cleaned it. What a difference.

Friday, Day 204 - We have a nice sun room that we never use. This morning I woke up at 5:30, made myself some coffee and took the paper out to the sun room. I have not done that in years! I am going to make a real effort to that more often. It made me very happy.

I am also going to try to start trying to keep up with the frugal things I have done all week. I used to do that when I started this blog. So, here is my weekly list of frugal acts.

Sunday - Resisted the urge to eat dinner out after dropping the kids off 3 hours away from home.

Monday - Kept the curtains closed to keep the house cool during this very warm week.

Tuesday - Left overs for dinner. Need I say more. It was easy, cheap and the house stayed cool because I did not have to turn on the oven.

Wednesday - Shop the freezer. I am trying not to go to the grocery store for a lot of stuff. We have a lot of meat in the freezer. I found some pork stew meat, I put it in the crock pot, covered it with BBQ sauce and made pulled pork for sandwiches. It was delicious.

Thursday - My husband will love this one. I visited my friends at Yankee Candle and found a candle that I wanted. I did not buy it. I walked away without buying anything.

Friday - Washing the laundry in cold water today.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Day 198 - Get Back On Track

While taking a vacation is a wonderful way to regroup, it can make one take a few steps back in regards to health. The last 10 days of fun created an environment that made it difficult to keep up with the changes that I have made in my life. Here is a list of the things I need to do to get back on track, I have written blogs about these things.

1. Exercise. I like to think that sitting by the pool counts as swimming, but it doesn't.

2. Eat healthy. Hmmmm.....this one is really off track. I need to reintroduce myself to the vegetable family.

3. Eat less red meat. Did I mention I ate bar b que, and hamburgers and steak and probably an entire cow!

4. Drink red wine in moderation. Does drinking tequila in "vacation mode" moderation count?

5. Strength train. There was no strength training on this vacation

6. Enjoy music that I love. Two words: Katy Perry. Time to get back to the music I love

7. Drink 64 oz of water per day. I was good about this one, the Arizona sun makes this mandatory.

8. Get 8 hours of sleep per night. Need I say more?

9. Drink Pomegranate juice. Nope, didn't drink a drop of it, but I did drink Margarita mix.

10. Take a daily vitamin. I skipped this one because of airline security.

My list goes on and on. I REALLY fell off the wagon and need to get back on tomorrow. Sunday is the day that my weight watchers app defaults to, so it seems like a perfect day to start. Wish me luck.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Days 187 to 197 - Enjoy My Vacation

Today I am back from vacation. It was a great week the family and while I planned on blogging during my vacation, I decided that the blog would be work. Since I was on vacation, I decided that it was OK if I did not blog. So, instead I will catch up tonight.

What did I do on my vacation? I did a lot, while doing very little. Isn't that the point to vacation after all?

First thing I did to kick off my time off was taking my daughter to see Katy Perry at Summerfest. The concert was surprisingly very good. As a 40 year old mother, I have a hard time finding the merit in her music. But, she put on a great show. She seems to have talent that does not require auto tuner to make her music tolerable. She also seems like a genuinely nice person. Sometimes it is very hard to tell if celebrities are kind at heart. Based on her performance and invitation to have fans join her on stage, I would argue that she seems like a nice person.

Our vacation took us to Arizona. What is the first thing we think of when hearing Arizona? The Grand Canyon! Seeing The Grand Canyon is a wonder that has been on my bucket list for years. I always knew that I wanted to see the Canyon before I die. I saw it and believe that it was worth the trip across the country. WOW! To those who have not seen it, please make it a priority. To say it is beautiful is an understatement. I have yet to find an adjective that gives the canyon justice.

The drive from Scottsdale (where we were staying) to the Grand Canyon gave us hours of beautiful scenery that I have never seen. Sedona is almost as beautiful as the Grand Canyon. The mountains are unbelievable and the fact that you are in the desert one minute sweating and in the mountains cold the next minute is just weird! I know that is how our wonderful ecosystem works, but I still find it crazy.

I read, a lot. In fact, I read 3 novels while I was on vacation. I loved every minute of reading I was able to do. For those who know me well, you know that reading is my first love. Being a wife and mother makes it hard to get all the reading in that I would love to do. This vacation provided me some much needed reading time. I wish I could say that all the books were book club worthy, but I did read a sappy Nicholas Sparks book that I enjoyed. However, I will be the first to admit that his books are predictable and corny to say the least.

We sat my the pool, for hours and hours! The kids swam to their hearts content. They played together, well most of the time in the pool. They acted like kids without the fear of their friends finding out that they were acting "weird" as my middle child stated. They smiled and laughed. It was a joy to see.

I ate southwestern food that was delicious! Bar-b-que sandwiches at a restaurant in Sedona proved to be the best sandwiches I have had in a very long time. We also went to a pizza place in Phoenix called Pizzeria Bianco. We had heard from the Food Network that it was the best pizza in America. I have not tasted every pizza in America, but I would agree that it was damn good pizza!

I drank Margaritas every night. Normally, I do not drink Tequila. But, while on vacation in the southwest, I decided that it was okay to partake in moderation, which is what I did. They were delicious and felt very appropriate.

I met a long lost cousin who I had never met. I have been in touch with her for years, but we had never met face to face. She proved to be as nice and personable as I had suspected. I hope that it will be the beginning of a family relationship that neither one of us had ever had.

Finally, we came home. As we all know, the best part of a really good vacation is coming home.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day 185 - Get New Curtains

We moved into our house October 31, 2000. On that day I took the ugly curtains hanging in the master bedroom down, vowing to replace them soon. Eleven years later, I have finally taken that chore off my to do list! It was a long time coming. When I consider that we have painted the room twice since taking down the curtains, I have to ask myself what was the hold up.

To be honest, I don't know. What I do know is that I have new curtains. They are very nice, they keep the room dark and cool and the serve a purpose. What more do I need?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Day 184 - Try Not To Worry

I worry a lot! I need to get this under control. I tend to think about the things that I have no control over and worry about so many things that make me crazy. I also worry about things that are not my problem. Again, I need to get this under control. From now on when I find myself worrying, I am going to take a deep breath and try to put it into perspective. If it is something I can prevent or something that deserves a legitimate worry, I will do something. Otherwise, I will try to set it aside.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Day 183 - Get The Errands Done

I had a list of errands to run today a mile long! I was absolutely intimidated by what I needed to get done in a few short hours. But, I did it! In the past, it would have taken me more than a short window of time to get a list of "to do's" taken off my list. In the past, I had the time to take my time. No more. I need to take advantage of these little windows of opportunity so that the household can continue to run smoothly.

I had 3 hours to do several things, all over the Milwaukee metro area. Now, mine is not a spread city like Minneapolis/St. Paul. But, it can take an hour to get from one side to the other when you consider traffic, road construction and Summerfest. In short, it is not always easy navigate from one end to the other. Orange barrels are everywhere.

Today was a good day though. I learned a bit about myself. I can get things done quickly when organized, planned out and methodical. I passed on the idle chit chat that I tend to get caught up in and stuck to my agenda. I need to be like that more often.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 182 - Wear My Accesories

I wear jewelry everyday. Why? Because no matter what, no matter how badly my clothes may fit or how uncomfortable I may feel, my jewelry always fits. Jewelry is like a good pair of shoes. It will fit you perfectly, and if the jewelry is gorgeous, I feel good about myself.

Now, please do not go thinking that I have priceless gems in my jewelry box. I do not. I have a hodge podge of costume jewelry that I have collected over the years. Silpada is my favorite. But, I have pieces from Kohl's and Target, in addition to few things that my husband has bought me at a jewelry store. It is all very eclectic. Every piece feels like me, and always completes the outfit that I have on.

My accessories are not limited to jewelry. I also love purses. I have a selection that I mix and match over the seasons. Again, nice purses, that fit not matter what. They make me happy.

Recently, I have also learned to love shoes. A love I had in my 20's and gave up when I became a mother. About a year ago I became reacquainted with the love of a really nice pair of shoes. I guess I am more of a girly girl than I had thought. When I leave the house in the morning, I feel pretty put together. No matter what, I always have a nice pair of earrings on:)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Day 181 - Pass On The Bratwurst

Today there was a cookout at work. For $6.00 you could get a brat, chips and soda. I did the unthinkable, I passed on it. I sat at my desk and ate my Lean Cuisine by myself. I told myself that while I love brats that my health is number one! Brats are full of fat and other really bad things that do nothing to better my health. So, while everyone else went outside to enjoy the cookout, I ate alone. Telling myself that my health was what matter and that I had made the right choice. I really hope that it the case.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day 180 - Don't Take Things Personally

I can take comments said as a joke personally. I don't know why I do that, but I do. I will dwell on it, dissect it, try to figure out what it meant and then forget about it a couple days later. It is very funny that I am like that, because I am a sarcastic person. I know that I say things as a joke that probably hurt. I guess it is fair to say that I am a hypocrite. I need to figure out a way to get past the jokes that bug me and realize that a joke is a joke.

So, from now on my plan of action involves this. Laugh it off, walk away and let it go. Easier said than done for me. But, worth a try.

I do need to become more sensitive to other's feelings as well. When I think I am being funny I need to think twice and ask myself if I am the only one who thinks what I am about to say is funny. If I tell myself yes, clearly I need to shut up. I know that more than once I have hurt my own husband because I think I am quite the comedian, only to realize that I am being mean spirited.

Again, I am proving myself to be a work in progress. Do any of us ever get to the point of perfect health, perfect spirit, perfect home? I look at myself and find so much room for improvement and wonder, am I the only one like this. Or, do others feel like they need improvement in every aspect of their lives, like me.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Day 179 -Get Everything Ready The Night Before......

I am actually pretty good about this one. I set the coffee up at night, have the kids lunches ready, have my outfit ready(sometimes) and even have the dog food in the bowl. But, that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement. Things I can do to make my mornings easier:

1. Make sure the kids have their clothes ready to go

2. Empty the dishwasher

3. Have my workout bag packed (this one is never done!)

4. Have breakfast dishes ready and a healthy meal option for everyone

5. Take out the garbage

6. Make sure my gas tank is full (I am still working on this one from about 100 posts ago)

7. Have my laptop and cell phone charged

8. Have my lunch packed, water bottle filled and travel mug by the coffee maker

9. Have the kids stuff packed for camp

10. Any errands that need to be run that day, planned out.

Whew! That is a long list of things that I need to do to make mornings run more smoothly. I have to wonder how successful I will be. Only time will tell and of course, it is all up to me.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day 178 - Have A Family Birthday Party For My Daughter

Today we celebrated my daughter's 9th birthday two weeks early with my husband's family. We needed to do this early because we will be on vacation when she turns 9.

I speak about this party because it was difficult getting to this place. Sadly, my husband doesn't always seems to get along with every member of his family. We miss a lot of family functions because of it. My children are the one's who miss out because they have cousins and Aunts and Uncles they adore. I often feel a pang of sadness when I know we are missing out on a function that they wish they were at. I decided that this year, my daughter would have a family party with my husband's family no matter what.

Today, the party was wonderful! I think everyone had a nice time, the children played together nicely and the weather was beautiful. It turned out to be the best gift I could give my daughter. A birthday celebration with her grandparents and cousins.

Day 177 - Reconnect With Our Neighbors

Tonight we invited the neighbors over for some wine, a bon fire and some adult conversation. We had a great time and realized that it had actually been a couple years since getting together. A fact that is very sad, because we are very lucky and get along with all of our neighbors. Not a single neighbor battle in our particular neighborhood. That seems to be a situation that is unique. I guess it is due to our sparkling personalities:)

It made me realize that as I have been trying to make new friends and reconnect with old friends, I have let the obvious pass me by. I have very good friends right here, on my own block. I am a very lucky lady indeed.

Day 176 - Enjoy The Weekend

The week was long and weekend will be short. I plan on enjoying every moment of this weekend. I actually have very little to say in tonight's blog. As my only plan for better living would be to enjoy what the weekend has to offer. How about you?

Day 175 - Prioritize

Today I left for work at 7:30 am, which was crazy because I knew that I would be there until 7:00 pm. I felt a pang of guilt as I left so early, knowing that my son would alone that whole time. A decision he made earlier in the Spring, he thought that he would enjoy the time alone in the house. I knew that he was starting to regret this decision but did not want to admit it yet. Regardless, I left for work while he slept trying to figure a was to get past my guilt.

As the day went on and I found myself overwhelmed with work I was able to push my guilt to the back of mind. I did that until 5:00 when I called him and said I would not be home until 7:00. That was when I heard him break. He wanted company, he made a mistake, he wanted me to sign him up for the camps that I had offered countless times to sign him up for. He wanted me home, now! I got off the phone, overwhelmed by the feeling of "why did I do this, I should be home." I got on the computer, signed him up for camp and told my coworker about my situation. He simply said "Heather, you have to prioritize, your kids come first. Go home." So, you know what I did? I packed up my computer and went home. Work will wait, but he needed me. I don't regret it. Plus, he starts camp tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day 174 - Continue To Make Time For Family

So, I have talked a lot about the fact that I am working again. So far, we are all adjusting to the change. One thing I have failed to mention is that I have a flexible schedule. I am really lucky with that. The last 3 weeks have been a change for the kids, especially as we start summer. The kids were always used to me being home during the summer months. I have been feeling a bit guilty that I cannot give them the time that we are all used to spending together during these summer months.

My daughters have been really busy so far. Not being at home a lot because of camps that I have signed them up for. My son on the other hand, has been at home bored. He is at the age where he is a little too old for camps. He is also at the age where his friends are also at home, bored because of working parents. Because we live in a spread out suburb that makes riding bikes to friends homes impossible, these boys all seemed to be trapped at home. I feel so bad:(

Yesterday I promised my son that I would leave work at 12:00 and that we would go to a movie today. I kept my promise and at 12:00 I left work, I got home at 12:30 and we were sitting in a theatre at 1:00 to watch Super 8. It was a great movie to see with a son who loves action films.

I made a promise to myself and my family that I will not EVER put them on the back burner. When I get home, work will stay at home. When I say I will spend time with them, I will spend time with them.

Day 173 - Find Time To Work Out, No Matter What

Today I had to work 11 hours. I knew that I was going to have to put a long day in yesterday. I knew that with 11 hours at work, I was going to have to find some time to exercise. I decided that the only way I was going to find time for myself was to get up at 5:00 am and take a walk. So, that is what I did. This morning at the very early hour of 5:00 am the alarm went off and I got my butt out of bed, put on workout clothes and took a 40 minute walk with the pedometer. I heard the birds wake up and saw the sun rise. It was early, but it was a nice way to start the day.

I am not going to lie, I have tried to get up at 5:00 am, which is hard. So, an early morning workout will not be in the cards for me every day. But, I think, no, I know that on the days that I have to work a long day I can do it. I need to schedule my day to around my quest to become a healthier and happier me. If I have to carve time at the VERY beginning of the day, that is what I will do.

Day 172 - Eat Breakfast With My Little Girl

Now that I am working and the kids have camps, I don't see them nearly as much as I used to. It is hard on all of us, especially my youngest. She has Brownie Day Camp all week. So, I will see her about a grand total of 2 hours a day. That is something that is going to be hard. I decided that a good way to spend time with her would be to have breakfast with her in the morning, all summer before I leave for work. Maeghan is always up early, before the other kids, so eating breakfast together every morning will prove to be an easy way to spend time together, alone every day. I find this to be an easy way to get some extra time with my little girl as we all try to get used to this new life we are living.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day 171 - Happy Father's Day

Today I gave my husband what he thought was a nice Father's Day. I let him sleep until 10:00 am, a luxury we all know in the world of parenting. I, however, got up early and made him one of his favorite breakfast. Eggs with chorizo sausage and cheese, toast, fruit and coffee. A very yummy breakfast if I do say so myself. His gift from all of us was a nice fold out chair to take to the kids soccer games, it even has a cup holder! We went to see The Green Lantern, a movie that I loved, thanks Ryan Reynolds!

After the movie, we came home, he had a Bloody Mary with a super spicy mix that I knew he would like, which he did. I had a glass of wine and we had some quiet time, before the kids came into the room and started in on us! Dinner was a New York Strip, baked potato, asparagus and salad. It was absolutely delicious. Sorry Eric, I know you had to do the grilling, but having me grill would cause a fire. Dessert will be a tradition on Father's Day, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Ice Cream from Baskin Robbins.

I hope my husband had a great Father's Day. I love him dearly and so do the kids. Happy Father's Day to a wonderful husband, father and provider. You make us happy every day .

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day 170 -Go To Lake Front Festival Of The Arts

Today I went to an art festival on the lake front. The festival is sponsored by the Milwaukee Public Museum. Every year artists from all over the country come to Milwaukee to display their art. It is an event that I look forward to every year, and this year was no exception.

It was an absolutely beautiful day for the event. The sun was shining, it was warm and breezy. The lake was picturesque with sailboats in the distance. Just one of the million reasons why I love living in a city that is on Lake Michigan.

This year I tried something new, I attended the event with a friend and not my family. While I love doing these things with the family, the children are not nearly as appreciative of art as I am. They get very bored and tend to complain, making it very hard for me to have fun and browse the way I would like to. My husband likes the event, but since he was out of town all week, he willingly spent the day with the kids. I was very grateful to him for spending the day with them. I love my children dearly, but one week alone with them proved to test my nerves!

I had a successful day at the fair, I found the perfect fathers day gift for my own dad. I enjoyed a glass of white wine on the patio of the museum and found some spicy Bloody Mary mix for my husband to enjoy on Father's Day. I also found ice cube trays of "the scream" face. Drinks on ice will never be the same in this house again.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day 169 - Ride My Bike

Yesterday my daughter got a new bike. It got me thinking, I have a really nice bike that I used to ride a lot. I no longer ride it because clearly I am a lazy person. Tomorrow, I am going to have my husband pull that bike down from the garage ceiling so that I can start riding again. It is great exercise and a fun way for the family to spend some time together. Even if I only ride it a few times this summer, it is more than I would have if my daughter never would have gotten that new bike. Thanks Hannah for reminding me that exercise can be fun!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day 168 - Use A Pedometer

I am going to start using the pedometer that I have on my iPhone. My goal will be 10,000 steps a day, which is what fitness experts say is the perfect target. I walk a lot, but it seems like no matter how much walking I do during the day, I never get enough walking in.

So, starting tomorrow, I am going to start using the pedometer. Time to start monitoring my steps and attempting to reach a very attainable goal, if I just focus on it. Wow! I sure do have a lot of things that I continue to try to change in my life. Wonder if I will ever achieve the near perfection that I am always trying to reach? I doubt, I have never been a person who needs perfection, but it sure is fun to try.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day 167 - Walk Away

Yesterday, when I got home from work I walked into yet another fight between my oldest children. I guess my son called my daughter a dumb ass before I got home and she wanted a swift and severe punishment for this so called indiscretion. Now, I didn't think this was so bad. I can think of worse things to call your sibling, and I am sure that they have called each other these names when not in my presence. I just had the terrible misfortune of walking through the door when dumb ass was thrown at her.

My presence seemed to be an invite to try to pull me into this fight. Alec said he felt that I should be punishing Hannah for what she did to be called a dumb ass. Hannah felt that Alec should be punished for calling her a dumb ass. My only thought was I am a dumb ass for being pulled into yet another stupid fight. So, before I started yelling, I turned around and walked out the front door. I walked up and down the street a few times and then went home. When I got back Alec was in the basement, Hannah was cooking dinner and the fight was forgotten. Clearly, I am the problem. I learned a valuable lesson a little late in the parenting game. Stay out of it and walk away.

Day 166 - I Am No Longer Afraid To Be Home Alone!

Since I was a teenager I have been afraid to be home alone. When I was a senior in high school my parents would leave me home alone occasionally (no gasps please, I was 18 at the time). I would stay awake until the sun was rising and then go to sleep. I was somehow convinced that something would happen to me if I fell asleep.

When I went to college, I always had a roommate. First my dorm room mate, than a friend, finally I moved in with my boyfriend who I eventually married. I was never alone at night. If Eric left, I found a friend to stay with. That is how truly terrified I was.

When we married and he had to start occasionally traveling, I found myself terrified again. Often staying up all night, until I could see the sun rising before going to sleep. That method led to some very tired days at work. I will never forget the first time he left me alone, I was standing in the kitchen and saw the words RED RUM written on the screen. Eric thought he was being funny before departing, it nearly scared me to death. As the years have gone by, my fear was as strong as ever. I even talked my mom into visiting for a few days several years ago when Eric was out of town, the fear of being alone was overwhelming.

For the last several years, Eric travels a few times a year. Suddenly, I am no longer afraid. I like to think that it is because I am a braver person. I don't think that is the case. I think it has to do with the fact that I have older children now. I have a 13 year old son who teeters between being a child and a young adult. Having him here makes me feel safer, more secure. Good news for me, because I no longer dread being in the house without Eric. Bad news because he will be leaving in several years and I will be on my own again. No need to dwell on the future though, for this week, I have no fear of being home without my husband.

Day 165 - Eat At Home More Often

Lately, we have been eating out too much. It is taking a huge bite out of our wallets while making our butts bigger. We all know that eating out too much is not good for you. It has been so much easier to just grab a quick bite to eat at a restaurant while on the go.

Last week I talked about the fact that I want to plan meals at home that are balanced at better for us. I think it is time for me to put that plan into action. Summer is the perfect time to eat balanced meals that are cooked at home. Here is a list of our favorites from summers past.

1. Cold Pasta Pesto Salad

2. Black Bean and Rice Salad

3. Grilled Chicken and Grilled Vegetables

4. Hamburgers and Potato Salad

5. Brats and Baked Beans

6. Grilled Pork Chops and Baked Potatoes

7. Grilled Steaks

8. Orzo Salad

9. Sandwiches and Fruit Salad

10. Fish and Grilled Asparagus

A lot of the salads that we eat I make the night before and let them sit in the refrigerator for easy preparation at dinner time. I usually have a loaf of bread and fruit salad as a side dish. It makes for easy prep. and easy clean up if I use paper plates.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Day 164 - Play With The Dogs

We have 2 beautiful dogs. A Golden Retriever and a Black Lab, they are wild and rambunctious. They bring us great happiness and joy. We love our dogs. Thankfully, we have an Invisible Fence that makes it easy for them to get a lot of exercise and fresh air.

Since we are a busy family, we tend to let the open yard with the fence keep them busy and give them their needed exercise. However, we need to start playing with them a little bit more. Give them a little more playtime and attention. Today, I was watching my kids play with the dogs, and they all looked so happy. Something about seeing my kids playing with these so called perfect family dogs made me yet again realize how incredibly lucky I am to have so much in my life. Every kid deserves to have a dumb, loving dog for happiness and responsibility.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day 163 - Add Vegetables To Breakfast

Today my husband made me a delicious omelet that had peppers and tomatoes in it. It got me thinking that I should start trying to some vegetables to my breakfast at least a couple days a week. It seems like such an easy way to add vegetable to my diet. It is after all a task that I have been trying to accomplish for months now, eating more vegetables. Here is a list of ideas that I have to add vegetables to my breakfast.

1. Omelets with vegetable added.

2. Carrot juice

3. Toast with a slice of tomato and mozzarella cheese.

4. Anything with avocado

5. quiche or fritatta

Does anybody have other ideas? Clearly, I need them.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Day 162 - Use Sunscreen

Summer is here! What does that mean? Time to pull out the sunscreen. This is a habit that I should be in year round, but to be honest I'm not. My problem, is I don't burn. Okay, not a problem, but because of that I forget that even though I don't burn, I still need protection from the sun. It is a terrible habit, because even though I put sunscreen on my kids, they don't see me use it. As we all know, children are watching every thing. I am pretty sure that my 12 year old daughter who is finding her vain side is thinking that not using sunscreen will help her tan better.

Tomorrow I am planning on HUGE trip to Target for our essentials, top of the list will be sunscreen to get us through the next few weeks of camps, vacation and other summer activities that will have us spending time in the sun.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day 161 - Get Comfortable On The Phone

I need to get comfortable on the phone again. Now that I am working full time, I need to not let things get to me. My new job does entail some phone calls that I would prefer I not have to make. But, the work world never allows us not to use the phone.

When I worked in claims, I had my fair share of very nasty phone calls. I learned to let these calls roll off my back. I eventually stopped taking them personally, even though they did get to me. I am going to have to develop a thick skin, yet again, and accept it as part of my job. I am confident that in time, I will become a pro on the telephone. Knowing that in time, these calls will no longer get to me.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day 160 - Plan Meals

I need to get back into the habit of planning our meals on a weekly basis. Now that I am working again and my husbands continues to work a lot, we need to organize our meal times. I feel strongly about this for several reasons.

First of all, I REALLY believe that eating together as a family is very important. Even if meal time is only 20 minutes, it is 20 minutes that prove to be important to our family. I have talked about the conversations that we have at dinner before. I love hearing about my children's day while sitting together. It is something that we can share.

Second, I need to stop scrambling for dinner ideas at 5:00. I never used to be like that. In the last 6 months I have fallen off the meal planning wagon. I need to get back on. I am always able to throw something together, but it causes stress as well as unbalanced meals. Seriously, time to change this very bad habit.

Third, planning my meals will save us a lot of money. Going to the store with a list in hand and coupons to use, will save us all money.

The plan for this weekend, sit down with the sale flyer from our local grocery store and plan a weeks worth of meals.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Day 159 - Get Over My Fear Of Public Speaking

This one will be a work in progress. It has been a task that I have been putting off for a very long time. My friends would probably be surprised to hear that I am terrified to speak in front of a large group of people. When I say terrified, I mean scared to the point that I start crying out of fear sometimes. If I don't cry, I will turn bright red and shake like a leaf. I have always been like this and should have probably addressed this problem when I was young, when it would have been easier to get over the fear. Instead, I put it off until it just became a part of me.

Time to get over it. I see so many people who are not afraid of this simple task. This task that is as easy as getting up in front of a group of people and simply doing what I do best, talk. I need to figure out a way to get over it. I need to get to a point in my life where I do not dread the idea of public speaking for days, even weeks before I have to give a talk or presentation of some point. I have let so many great opportunities in my life pass me by simply because I did not want to get up in front of a group of people and speak. How unfortunate for me.

My question to the few people who read my blog, what can I do? Do you have any suggestions that might help me get over this truly irrational fear I have of speaking in public. I know that it is a common fear, but people DO get over it. How does that happen? Life is just too short to let something so simple keep me back and doing things that I love doing.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Day 158 - Start A New Job

My blog will be brief tonight, like the previous blogs. I started my new job today. I am tired and trying to get used to the change. I will write more later.

Day 157 - Spend The Day In The Sun Watching Some Soccer

Today was an absolutely beautiful day and we were able to spend it watching soccer. My son's game was played at a park on Lake Michigan. It was sunny, breezy and perfectly summer like. A day that we have been waiting for and loved every minute of it. Sometimes it really is the small things that can make all the difference.

Day 156 - Organize My Jewelry

My jewelry is a mess! Time to organize and get rid of the stuff I no longer wear. I actually have earring from the 80's when I used to shop at Claires! For those who are my age, you know that the fashion of the 80's was not a good look. The costume jewelry of the day was REALLY bad. I felt a need to keep it all. No more, what I haven't worn in 2 decades needs to go into the trash where it belongs. I won't even let my girls have it out of fear of what the earrings are made of. Something tells me that jewelry made in China in the 1980's is probably not the safest form of metal out there.

Today I will go through everything, throw a lot out, organize it into my jewelry box and start over!

Day 155 - Buy New Clothes

Today I bought myself some new work clothes. It is so weird to have "grown up" clothes after so many years of jeans and tshirts. It was a lot of fun to get those clothes that I have so often admired over the years. I am sure that it will take me several weeks to get over the feeling of playing dress up. In fact, I am guessing that it will only take a few months for me to tire of the new clothes and long for jeans and tshirts. But, for now I will enjoy the new wardrobe.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Day 154 - Get Hair Cut And Colored

Today I got my haircut and colored! Whew! I had a lot of grey and a lot of split ends. I need to have that done on a more timely basis from now on. I let the hair grow so much, that it eventually becomes unmanageable.

Now that I am going to be working again, it would probably be in my best interest to have a professional look to my hair now on. The ponytail is not exactly a style that screams success. My goal for the remainder of this year is to have my hair done every 3 months instead of every 6 to 9 months. Yes, I like to save money, but maybe it is time to let that savings go a bit.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Day 153 - Replace Junk Food With Fruit

Today I am going to start having a piece of fruit every time I have an urge to have some junk food. I guess I better stock up on fruit! I am making this lifestyle change for 2 important reasons.

1. I want to increase my daily fruit consumption

2. I want to decrease my daily junk food consumption.

I love fruit, so it seems like this might be an easy change. But, I have to be honest, there are certain junk foods that I do love. Let me start by saying that the person who thought to cut a potato and deep fry it is a genius. Enough said.

Today I plan on going to the grocery store and stocking up on a lot of fruit. I need to take the time to cut the berries and melon and put it into Tupperware for convenience sake. That way when I want it, it is ready to go.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Day 152 - Dry Sheets On The Clothesline

Yesterday I took advantage of the hot sun and swift wind and hung our sheets on the clothesline. Whenever I do that, I look forward to crawling into bed that night to smell the scent that only sun dried sheets seem to have.

I used to hang the clothes out a lot in the summer. My goal was to save money and energy, therefore reducing my carbon footprint. I fell out of the habit by choice. The clothes were always to stiff and towels were like sandpaper. Sadly, I also stopped hanging out the sheets. No more of that. For the rest of the summer, the sheets will be hung out on the weekends to dried by mother nature.

I use Mrs. Meyers laundry detergent when doing my wash. Using that detergent seems to make the scent even better. Right now I am using Lemon Verbena scented detergent. It smells fantastic and gives me a reason to look forward to doing the laundry. Maybe, just maybe, I will try to fall back into the habit of line drying the majority of the wash. I admit that I should be better about reducing all of our carbon footprints. Like so many of us, I become a victim of convenience, not wanting to give up the little luxuries that make life easier.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Day 151 - Get The Dogs Ready For Summer

Today my daughter and I gave our 2 dogs a much needed end of winter bath. Good grief, they were filthy! It is funny how one tends to get used to the darker hue of a golden retriever who has not been bathed in awhile. What is more surprising is that we were used to the dog smell that they both had lingering on their bodies. It was a big job, by the time we were done, I am sure that we were wetter than they were. We ended bath time with a brushing, again something they were both in desperate need of.

I also started them on their heart guard medicine today and on their flea and tick stuff. They go off that medicine in the winter. I know, some people believe that dogs should be on the stuff all year. I used to subscribe to that belief. But, the winter freeze kills everything, so I stopped giving them the medicine year round about 4 years ago. They have yet to have a problem.

Tomorrow I will call the vet to make an appointment for their yearly physicals and immunizations. Followed by a call to our local kennel so that they can have a week at the doggy spa while we are on vacation.

Now, my dogs are tuckered out after a long morning of baths, running and playing with our neighbors new puppy.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Day 150 - Get Some Sunglasses

I rarely wear sunglasses. I think that it is a habit that has never really stuck because I live in a climate that is so cold and dreary for much of the year. In the winter it is very rare that I find myself in desperate need of sunglasses. But, I know that even though I feel like I don't need them, I really do. Just the other day I heard an eye doctor talking about the damage that can be done to your eyes if you don't wear sunglasses. It inspired me to buy myself a descent pair of sunglasses to start out the summer.

Now that I have the glasses, I need to know where they are when they are needed. So, the store that I bought them from gave me a very nice holder. I plan to keep them in my purse, in the holder so that they are always ready to go when I am in the sun.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Day 149 - Spin Class

I started to take spin. You know that grueling bike exercise that makes you wish that you were anywhere but spin? Yep, I am taking it now. I am going to try REALLY hard to like it. Why? Because it is a really good work out. I had a 50 minute class the other day and burned more calories in 50 minutes than I would on the treadmill for over an hour. Plus, I can tell that it is working more muscle groups. I ended the class with that tired, but energized feeling that one only gets from a really good workout.

Next week I will try to go twice. After that, the number of classes will be dependent on my schedule. I would like to make it a twice a week just for consistency sake. As the summer progresses I would like to add more classes to my regiment. The classes seem to make the chore exercise more fun and easier to attain.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Day 148 - Try To Stop The Sarcasm

I tend to be very sarcastic. Not in a mean way, I am not one to try to hurt someone's feelings. But, I can definitely be sarcastic, probably causing some hurt feelings along the way. I will never promise to completely cut out the sarcasm, it is a part of who I am. Plus, there are times when it is necessary. There are times when people you know present an opportunity for the perfect sarcastic remark. I will try to be more sensitive, but let's be honest, some things require a little sarcasm.

Day 147 - Change The Oil

Today I finally got the oil changed on my car, with a coupon! I am still trying to find ways to include frugality into my blogs. While I have been trying to organize and clean my house, I have also been trying to keep my car cleaned and organized. It is always a challenge. While it seems like it should be an easy, no brainer to change the oil regularly, I find that it is not always easy to find the time. Today, when my daughter was at her math tutor, I found the time.

The place where I got the oil changed insists that it still needs to be done every 3,500 miles. I have heard from several places, the dealership where we bought my car included, that every 6,000 miles is fine. In fact, the oil change light on my car doesn't go on until 7,500 miles and that was set by Toyota. So, I think I will be continuing to go with the manufacturers recommendation, not the retailer who wants more money.

Day 146 - Spend Less Time On Computer

I have been spending a lot less time on the computer, and I have been liking it. I find that on days when I am on the computer way too much, I have a headache and I feel fatigued. Obviously, it is time to cut back. I am going to start to limit my "personal" computer time to 30 minutes a day. That's it, no more. I don't believe that there is all that much on the internet that I need to see anyway. I did make it over 20 years without the world wide web at my disposal. I think I can go even longer.

It is my hope that when my kids see that I spend less time on the computer, they will as well.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day 145 - Take A Cooking Class With My Husband

I can take something off my bucket list! My husband and I took a cooking class together last night. We had a great time and have committed to signing up for a series of classes at a local restaurant in the fall. The food was great, the wine was really great and the instructors were funny and informative. I could not have asked for a better evening.

Another bonus to the evening out was that we did not have to find a babysitter! We have 2 live in sitters for our youngest. I have said this before and I will say it again, we have to start utilizing our free labor around here! These kids have it pretty good, a few hours of watching their little sister every week will not kill them. It will also make us better parents because it is giving us some time alone to recharge and remember why we married each other in the first place. I call this a win-win for all!

Tonight I am going to a cooking demonstration with a friend of mine. So, Eric will have the honor of watching the kids this evening. I have been keeping pretty busy these days, trying to accomplish the tasks that I have been giving myself each day. Finding that the more productive I am, the happier I have been.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Day 144 - I Passed!!!

So today I passed my last exam in a series of exams I have been taking to embark on my new career, which will be, drum roll please..........selling insurance! Wow, doesn't that sound exciting?!?!?

Insurance found me. I was in the insurance biz before kids, when I left I thought that would be the end. But, after a fumbled attempt at a Master's Degree to teach History, for those who wonder why I am not teaching I have 4 words, I live in Wisconsin. Our state budget is in the national spot light and teachers seem to be losing their jobs. I saw no point in getting at the end of a long line of qualified teachers to fight for a job that I would probably never get. So, after posting my resume, an insurance company called me and presented me with an offer to get my insurance license and sell. The rest they say is History!

So, my first love, history, will be my hobby. Insurance, an industry that I know better than I should, will be my career. Life is short, I know very few people who LOVE their jobs, but I know a lot who like their jobs. I am betting I will fall into that category. I get to set my own hours, which is a plus. So, I am happy.

Day 143 - Take A Day Off From The Blog

Just a quick note that I took the day off from blogging in order to study for my last exam. Will be back later.......

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Day 142 - Fire Up The Grill

Well, I didn't fire up the grill. But, my husband did. This feels like the official start to summer. When the grill is used, and in our house it is used almost nightly in summer, warm weather is here. The smell of meat cooked on a charcoal grill is one those smells that always reminds me of summer, friends and swimming. It was a long winter, which seemed to spill into Spring. We have had a very wet and cold Spring, forcing those of us who love to grill to continue to use our ovens longer than anticipated. Tonight we had hamburgers (my first beef in a couple weeks) with blue cheese, potatoes and a salad. It was a delicious summer meal that tells me that the best of 2011 is yet to come. Here is to a fun summer that we all deserve.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Day 141-Sleep In On Sunday Without Guilt

I love sleeping in on Sundays. It is a luxury that I have always loved and will always love. Sometimes I feel guilty for sleeping in. Like I am somehow lazy and should be up at my regular time getting stuff done. What do I need to do on a Sunday? The answer is simple, sleep! I release myself from the guilt I feel every Sunday morning for having slept until 8:00 (yep that is how late I sleep, shocking). Life is too short to worry about what others might think about me spending my Sundays in bed a little later, in my jammies a little longer and reading the paper until 12:00.

Day 140 - Stay Out Of My Kids Peer Issues

This one is pretty easy and one I am more than happy to do. It is time for me to stay out of my kids problems with friends and leave it to them to take care of it. For the most part I do stay out of things. But, once in awhile a stick my nose where it does not belong. Time for that to end. They are old enough and wise enough to take care of this stuff without their mom getting involved. Further more, I would rather stay out of it. I am not in middle school, I already survived that hell so why should I put myself right back into it? Today, I am done.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day 139 - Only Eat When Hungry

I have a tendency to eat when I am bored, or finish everything on my plate when full. I know that these are very bad habits. I need to get into the mind set that I only eat when hungry and stop before I am full.

Today I try to start doing that. One thing I can do is leave one bite of everything on my plate when eating meals. Or when I feel the urge to eat something out of boredom, I find something else to do. Maybe take a walk of organize a closet. I really believe that when I start doing this, I will see the pounds drop off even more than they are now.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Day 138 - Make My Bucket List

I need to make my bucket list. You know that list of things you want to do before you "kick the bucket". I am not planning an early demise, but, my list of wants is so big, that I think it is time to start scratching things off my list. So, here is a my start:

1. Go to Paris
2. Go to Greece
3. Get a tattoo ( I am scared of needles, so this may not happen)
4. See the Grand Canyon
5. See the Pyramids
6. Run a marathon (I hate running, so this may be a problem)
7. Learn how to garden like my husband
8. Have ONE weekend alone in my house
9. Eat a French dinner while looking at the Eiffel Tower
10. Go to every state in the U.S.A.
11. See all 3 of my children graduate from excellent colleges
12.Live in NYC for 1 summer
13. See Journey in concert with Steve Perry, not the new guy
14. Learn how to knit
15. Take a cooking class with my husband
16. Live closer to my parents

This list is just a start, and some things will be easy to accomplish. Others, not so easy. Until the Middle East is safe for Americans, the Pyramids will be a problem. But, I have hope. Life is short. I am a very healthy person, with a lot of decades a head of me. Never the less, I don't want to waste a single moment saying maybe next time.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Day 137 - Keep The Car Clean, Or At Least Try.

With 3 kids and 2 dogs, my car can become very messy. Over the years I have gotten used to candy stuck in the carpet, endless juice box straws and a weird smell that can only come from kids. It has always seemed to me to be part of parenting. We accept that our car will become a dump. But, that mind set is starting to lose it's charm.

I really don't like driving in a dirty car and I think that the kids need to understand that they need to throw their junk away, or bring their stuff into the house when we are done driving. Contrary to the opinion of children every where, the car is not another garbage receptacle. Today, I work on changing my mind set and the kids mind set. We treat the car with some respect and keep it clean. After all, we spend a lot of time driving from place to place. It is always nicer when it is clean.

In December I paid to have it cleaned and detailed. I know that sounds like a big expense. But, keep in mind that the car I am currently driving is 7 years old. My youngest was a baby when we bought it. I had never paid for such a service, but vowed to have clean and detail the car yearly after seeing what a difference it made. For the first few weeks the kids were motivated to keep the space clean. But, as time went by, they forgot and so did I. We change that today, today we start to keep it clean.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Day 136 - Change The Strength Training Routine

Today I changed my strength training. I am sore! It was time for me to shake things up a little bit and give myself more of a challenge. Based on how my arms feel right now, I think it is safe to say, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

During this year long quest to better health, I have been exercising regularly. But, I am in a rut and tend to avoid pushing myself. I know that does not help in losing weight and making myself stronger. So, I finally gave in and will continue to challenge myself during my workouts from now on. This new mind set also applies to the cardio routine that I do daily, but with less effort than I am capable of.

In 4 weeks I am going to see my trainer again for an even tougher routine. As the year goes on, every 4 weeks will see a change. Maybe by December my arms will be a little less jiggly!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Day 135 - Teach My Kids The Value Of A Dollar

My son has started to referee soccer games on the weekends. The pay is pretty good for a 13 year old. He gets $12/game which is $12/hour. Not bad! He can sign up for as many games as he wants on the weekends. Today it dawned on him that he could easily make $100 in a weekend doing something he loves. He is motivated and ready to work. He understands that the money he earns is his, that he will be using it for movies, clothing beyond what we will buy and anything else he wants. He gets it.

My daughter wants to earn her money as well. She is babysitter certified and has made some money this month. She wants to have cash on hand, as she likes to go to the mall on the weekends with friends. We do not just give her money to burn, so often times she is there with no more than $10. She is starting to understand that if she wants to spend, she has to earn.

I think they are both learning the value of money and hard work. While we have not been great when it comes to allowance, we have made them buy things with their own money over the years for things we do not always think they need. I know they are learning because when that happens they are happy, almost proud to buy these things themselves. I am hoping this summer they have opportunity to really earn some money that they can use to help contribute to those back to school wardrobes they will be wanting. It will mean so much more to them if it is their own.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Day 134 - Bring My Own Bags To The Store

I used to be really good about this one. In fact, I was bringing my own bags to the store when it wasn't the in thing to do. Then, something happened, one day I forgot to put them back in my car and that was the end. Time to get back in the habit of bringing my own bags to the store. First of all, I hate having all those plastic bags laying around. They take up a lot of space. Second, we all know that they are bad for the environment. So, this one is easy, bring my own bags to the store.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Day 133 - Clean The Garage

Our garage is a MESS! Wait, I can rephrase that now, our garage WAS a mess. Today, I cleaned it. I actually brought the vacuum cleaner out and vacuumed the garage. I am sure my neighbors now think I am insane. It is not everyday that you see someone vacuuming the garage, but I was on a roll and wanted it to look nice for at least one day.

Today I threw away a minimum of 5 pairs of shoes that were piled in the corner. They were old, muddy and not worthy of being worn by anyone ever again. So, to the trash they went. I found a top shelf to put snow boots for next winter. I organized the shoes on shelves that my husband built years ago for the purpose of organizing shoes, something that never happened. Next, I threw away a bunch of stuff I knew we would never use again. I also found empty containers that could be recycled, all went into the trash or recycle bin. Tonight, the garage looks fantastic and clean. I hope it can stay that way.

Best of all, I was able to park by car in the garage for the first time in a very long time.

Day 132 - Follow Up With Trainer

Today I had a follow up visit with my trainer. After much discussion, we decided that it is time for me to make my fitness program a bit more difficult. In other words, I am not working out nearly hard enough. I guess I already knew that. It appears that in order to get a good work out, I need to actually break a sweat. It took a little nudging, but I reluctantly agreed to start meeting with her on Monday to make my program a bit more challenging. Maybe, just maybe, by doing this I will start to see that weight of mine go down a bit. I will follow up on Monday after my appointment.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Day 131 - Wake Up Earlier In The Morning

I need to start waking up earlier in the morning. In a few short weeks I will need to wake up at 6:00 to be ready for work. In a perfect world I would try for 5:30 so that I have some extra time in the morning. I am going to take the next few weeks to get used to having to wake up earlier. I am going to try to remember the days when I was a kid, at the end of summer vacation I would start to prepare about a week early so that it wasn't such a shock to my system.

I do like getting up early, when I do it. I find that it is hard though. I like the warmth of my bed and I like to sleep! I have insomnia, so when I am in a deep sleep, I try to take advantage of it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Day 130 - Go To The Eye Doctor

Today I finally went to the eye doctor. Another thing I can check off of my things to do list. Every thing is fine with my eyes. My prescription has changed a little bit, so now I have stronger contacts and will need to replace the lenses on my glasses. The doctor did point out to me that now that I am "40" I may notice that I need glasses for reading. Ugh! Will everyone please stop telling me "now that you are 40" everything in my life medically is going to change. Really? Does it happen that fast? I doubt it!

The rest of my visit was good. I have a family history of glaucoma, I don't have that. Other diseases of the eye were non existent. It was a good visit.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Day 129 - Organize The Family Calendar

I woke up early this morning and decided that it would be the perfect time to organize the family calendar. This is a chore that I need to keep up with. With 3 kids in countless activities, school obligations, social stuff and work related info, a calendar is our lifeline. Usually I can keep everything in my head. I am convinced that the reason I forget so many other things is I am using brain space for our calendar.

I stress that I usually remember everything. Last week I forgot something, making me realize that I really have to have it all in one location. I forgot to take my daughter to her soccer practice. It was not the end of the world, the coach understood. But, I was embarrassed that I had made such an oversight. We have something going on EVERY night. I knew that it was odd that I had nowhere to go that night. I had a feeling something was missing, I just couldn't figure it out. Of course, had it been on the calendar, we would have made it.

I am going to start making it a priority to sit down once a week and fill in the calendar. We have such a busy life that I need to make that small step to make it just a little bit easier.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Day 128 - Start Weight Watchers.....Again

Today I logged onto my Weight Watchers account and will try this journey we call weight loss, again. Whenever I stick to the program I am successful, the program does work. My problem is that I like food. I mean I like really good food. My fat is not from McDonalds, Cinnabon or Applebee's. My fat was earned eating salads drenched in olive oil and covered with avocados. Breakfasts with bacon are a favorite as well as handfuls of nuts. I love food! I really love "healthy food", 13 almonds will never be a serving in my opinion.

I am going to give this another try. My weight loss goal is not to be a size 6, or even an 8. My goal is 20 pounds, which would put me in the healthy weight range. I believe that I can maintain that and still indulge in my favorite foods as long as I adopt moderation. I already exercise, thank goodness because I would be a house if I didn't, so I have that covered. I just want to be a healthy weight, be comfortable in my existing wardrobe and feel better about myself. It does not seem like a huge endeavor. When I hear about people who need to lose 200 pounds, it makes me realize how little I really need to lose in order to be truly healthy.

Wish me luck as I start yet another weight loss challenge. I hope that I can be successful this time around.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Day 127 - Pass Another Test

Today I passed the second of three tests that I need to take and pass my May 31! Yippee!! I am so happy to have that off my mind. I am going to take the rest of the weekend off and enjoy a wonderful Mother's Day with the family. Starting on Monday, I will start to prepare for the last of the 3 tests that I need to take. Each accomplishment brings me a step closer to creating a career and making a better life for myself.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Day 126 - Schedule To Walk With A Friend

I am now walking Friday mornings with a friend of mine. As she said this morning, it is a win/win. We get some much needed exercise while catching up. I now I keep talking about exercise and what I am doing to try to get more of it into my life. I am a work in progress! While I do work out several days a week, I am still trying to find what will work for me. I am also trying to find the perfect time of day to get my exercise in.

I do know that setting a side one day a week to walk with a friend will be an enjoyable way to get a work out in. I also go to the gym several times a week. The problem for me is that I don't really enjoy doing that. I think I need to start exercising with a friend at the gym to so that I enjoy myself.

With summer quickly approaching, we are planning on continuing with the Friday ritual. In June, I will have to attempt to talk her into changing it to Saturday mornings for a few weeks.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Day 125 - Take A Week Off From Facebook

I need to take a week off from facebook. Why? Because it makes me crazy to see how political it has become. People who are friends are fighting over things in the safety of the internet. You can tell someone off and it seems like your not because it is not face to face. Respect for loved ones and friends seems to be lost when out on the internet.

I also find that it becomes a time waster. I am a pretty busy person, so I am not out there a lot. But, when I am out there, I am having this internal dialogue with myself to find something more productive to do. In the end, that dialogue wins, but it takes a few minutes.

I am also tired of being invited to help people with their farms, mafias or pets. I don't care who needs help building their virtual barn. Plus, I have my own, real pets to take care of. A virtual pet on facebook will never take priority in my day.

Let us not forget the person who likes to give a status update about everything their kid has done during the day. I love to hear about first steps, funny things or occasional anecdotes about someone's child. I am guilty of doing that myself. But, sometimes, 5- 10 posts a day about one child can be too much. Or how about the person who likes to update us on every errand that they will be running. My favorite, 5 status updates in 1 hour about the 4 kids going to the dentist. It had me at the edge of my seat. So much so that I decided to permanently hide that friend from my wall.

Don't get me wrong. Facebook has it's many advantages. I have reconnected with a lot of old friends. That alone has been invaluable. I also like to play Scrabble with an old high school friend that I hadn't seen in years. It is fun to play a "board game" with a friend who lives a 100 miles. I also like to be able to put pictures of my kids out there for my family and friends who we don't see a lot. I also like seeing pictures of their kids. Those are all reasons why I stay on and check a couple times a day.

But, in the last few months, things are getting pretty hot in the world of politics. So much so that people are starting to say things that I personally find offensive. I don't want to be offended by friends, especially when they don't intentionally mean to offend anyone. So, I will take a week off and see what happens. Maybe when I get back on, people will have calmed down.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Day 124 - Stock The Freezer

Today I went to Whole Foods and found a great sale on meats. If I bought the family packs I got a substantial discount, so I bought the family packs. I was able to break apart the packages that I bought into individual bags for future meals.

I need to start shopping like this more. My schedule is going to add a 40 hour work week to it soon. I really need to start organizing my time better and my home. Both are still a mess, even with all the work I have been doing. But, today, I was able to make a small step. When I was done repackaging everything I had a total of 10 meals for the month of May. I also saved a lot of money, so I was being frugal as well.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Day 123 - Pass A Test

Today I finally passed one of the tests that I need to take in order to start work in June. While I am very excited, I realize that I need to start studying again for part 2. Ugh! Will it never end? I am just so happy that I finally passed because I was beginning to think that something was wrong with me. It turns out that I really was just analyzing the material too much and that the answers were all very obvious once I slowed down.

Saturday I take part 2, I am obviously hoping for another pass. After that it will be a couple weeks before taking part 3. I just want this behind me so that I can have a life again.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Day 122 - Meatless Mondays

Time to start implementing meatless Mondays. Obviously, a day without meat. Days like today prove to be cheaper and healthier. I am going to plan that we will have a dinner without meat every Monday from now on.

Tonights meal was a Mexican Bean Soup with Tortilla Chips. It was delicious.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Day 121 - Mission Accomplished

I guess I don't need to say much about this one. We all know that Osama Bin Laden was killed this evening. I have to be honest, I feel a sense of relief with this. While I realize that his death has nothing to do with my betterment, I do feel a bit of a relief in knowing that there is one less bad guy out there who wants to do us harm.

I am not in the group of people who were cheering in the streets when his death was announced. On the other hand, I am not one of those people who copied and pasted the fake MLK quote on my face book page about loving your enemies. I fall in the middle. I am a parent who is just happy to see that justice was served and that the world seems just a little safer.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Day 120 - Drink Red Wine, In Moderation

I like to have a glass of red wine at night, while cooking dinner. I have read that a glass a day has health benefits. Here is a list of those benefits:

1. Reduces coronary heart disease
2. Maintains the immune system
3. Contains polyphenols
4. Contains resveratrol (look this one up)
5. Contains flavonoids
6. Has an anti bacterial component
7. Can reduce stress

Obviously, I am not a doctor, so I don't know if this is all accurate. But, I am going to assume this is correct and continue to have my nightly glass of wine, in moderation, to stay on the road to better health.
ReReducing coronary heart diseases

Friday, April 29, 2011

Day 119 - Watch A Royal Wedding

I am secretly a big fan of the royal family. I guess it is not a secret anymore, and my husband will probably cringe when he reads this, finding out my ugly truth. I have always been fascinated by the fact that a monarchy in this day and age still exists, and it is something about the British monarchy that I find especially fascinating.

Maybe it is because my beloved grandfather was 100% English. He was so proud of his heritage. I still remember him visiting my family the day that Charles and Diana got married. He was so excited about that wedding. I remember details about it to this day. Which is somewhat remarkable given that it was 30 years ago and I struggle to remember details about yesterday.

I have also read more historical fiction about the British monarchy than any other type of historical fiction. Phillipa Gregory has been a favorite author of mine for years. Her stories about Henry and Anne Bolyn, to name one, has given me hours of entertainment. It also causes me to spend hours online doing research about people who have been gone a long time.

I would guess my interest is also just another symptom of my love of everything historical. I have a Bachelors Degree in History (only useful if planning on teaching history which I have learned) but with that love I have found myself reading and researching topics for fun that others do only when required.

Which brings me to why I watched the wedding. Because I wanted to take part in a monumental, historical occasion. I wanted to watch that beautiful couple get married, and imagine what it must feel like to be a commoner, only to become a princess. A childhood dream for so many little girls. In 2011 it became a reality for one girl and I was there to watch it along with millions of others. I enjoyed it and it made me happy.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Day 118 - Visit My Parents

Today we took that 5 hour road trip from Milwaukee to St. Paul to visit my parents. The trip is so worth it. I don't see them nearly enough, so a long car ride is a small price to pay.

This year, like every other year, I want to resolve to make a trip to Minnesota more often than I already do. Whenever we are there, we have such a fun time. Mall of America is filled with fun activities, not to mention a grandma who is always willing to pay for rides. Thanks Grandma!

Time goes by so damn fast, I need to make seeing my family more of a priority.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Day 117 - What Is A Friend

What is a friend? I have always believed that a friend is someone who sticks by you. Someone you stick by as well. A friend is a person who tells you when you are being a great person, but will also tell you when you are being a real jerk. Friends are with you through thick and thin and will see you at your worst. A friend is always willing to accept your faults, no matter what the circumstances might be.

Recently I have had to reexamine a relationship in my life that I had once considered to be a friendship, but it really wasn't. Not at all in fact. All of the things that I wrote about above are things that were non existent in our so called friendship, probably on both sides of the relationship. After a lot of drama and turbulence, hurt feelings and anger, I decided that it was time to let this particular friendship go. For circumstances that I cannot get into, it has been hard for a lot of people besides myself. That is the thing with relationships, other people are involved and they can be hurt as well.

The friend I speak of is someone who needs constant attention, praise and admiration from those around her. No matter what one does, it is never enough. As a mother of 3, a wife and a daughter it just became too much for me to handle emotionally. So, I did what so many of us have to do for our own mental health. I let go. I am better for it. My family is better for it. The woman I let go is probably better for it as well. Sometimes, a little tough love is all someone needs to realize that their actions can lead to hurt feelings and broken relationships.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Day 116 - Have One No Spend Day Per Week

Today we stayed home, all of us, husband included. It was a rainy, dreary day and there seemed no reason to leave. It got me thinking about the days when we would spend the day together at home in order to save money. We need to get back to that as much as possible.

Time to start designating one day per week as a day when we don't spend any money. Instead of spending that day, we save. The best way to accomplish the goal is to stay home. Which was one of my tasks several weeks ago. Stay home, spend less on gas! Now, stay home spend less on gas and on stuff. Win, win.

On this dreary day, I made a bundt cake, from scratch and I am going to make a beef stew. Both of these things are being made with items I already have in the house. I also made banana waffles this morning for the family, from scratch. I find that I can make the best meals with a little creativity and available resources. Again, I also find that I am saving money and time. I didn't have to carve out time to go to the store.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Day 115 - Save Money, Wash Hair Less

This has been on my to do list since January 1. I was inspired by a friend of mine who is also writing a blog, she wrote about washing hair less often as well a couple days ago. For a long time I have known that it is not a good idea to wash your hair everyday. The simple truth is that washing too much dries your hair out. This is a task that I have tried on and off again for several years with little success because I get frustrated.

When you wash your hair you wash away the oils that give it moisture. Therefore drying it out. I find though that because I wash it everyday, I can't ever miss a day because my hair gets so oily. I am not letting things work naturally on my head because I am too impatient to let nature take it's course. In other words, the only way my hair will stop getting so oily after one day will be to allow it get oily and eventually self regulate so to speak.

For the next month, I am going to try this again. Wash every other day and see what happens. I am sure that by month's end I will find that my hair is not getting oily after one day. Also, I am betting that I am going to save some money as well. Half the washing means half the shampoo and conditioner being used. My bank account will thank me.

In case you are wondering, here is a link to my friend's post about the same topic:

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Day 114 - Happy Easter

First of all, I am catching up on my blogs this morning. The weekend was filled with a lot of activity. By the end of each day, the idea of turning on the computer was too much. I was so good about keeping up, until Thursday that is. Hopefully, I won't have another time this year when blogging seems impossible.

We went out for a nice Easter Brunch this morning. We gave ourselves a break from cooking and cleaning up. Easter brunch is always so very delicious, I think that it is second to Mother's Day Brunch. Our day will be quiet. After brunch, we are going to just stay home, enjoy some quiet time, rest and maybe play a board game as a family. I realize that it is okay to have a holiday spent at home. We have been choosing that route more and more lately, and we are all happy with it. Holidays tend to cause stress and fighting that is not worth the hassle.

Day 113 - Let Someone Else To The Grocery Shopping

I have been very busy the last few weeks. In fact, too busy to keep up with even the simple household chores that we have all grown use to me doing. When planning my weekend I was desperately trying to figure out how I was going to fit in grocery shopping. That is when it hit me, I do not have to do all of it. My husband, a man who truly loves to grocery shop is capable of this task which I hate! I even let him do the meal planning and he is planning on doing the cooking! I love him.

I am going to start giving more of these mundane tasks to my family more often now. I need to let go of some control and start letting my family help more. The kids will probably fight it, at first, but as time goes on I believe that they will appreciate contributing more to the daily rigors of running a family. I know I will appreciate.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Day 112- Get A Manicure/Pedicure

I got a manicure and a pedicure yesterday. I used an old gift card and treated myself to a luxury that I truly love. My nails are forever breaking, chipping and peeling. No matter how hard I try to grow healthy nails, it is never easy for me. All those ears of biting my nails has had a lasting impact.

I am going to try to start fitting in at least the simple manicures into my routine, maybe once every 6 weeks. Not because I have this need to have perfect nails. But, because my hands are often rough and cracking in addition to the truly unhealthy nails I have. I need to find a clean and sanitary place where I can get my nails done at a reasonable price.

Day 111- Celebrate Getting Older

My husband took me out for dinner to celebrate my 40th birthday. It was a very nice night. Friends from high school came from out of town to help us celebrate. It was a great way to spend the evening.

I need to stop focusing on the number and start focusing on the way I feel. I feel like a very young, vibrant person. The simple number, 40, is not going to suddenly make me an old, grandmotherly person. I am going to stop dwelling on the number and instead start embracing my health, happiness and family.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Day 110 - Take A Deep Breath, Then Try Again

I need to take a test for the job I am going to start in June. I have taken it twice and have failed twice. I need a 70% to pass on 2 parts to pass. I have gotten over a 70% on one half and a 66% on the other half both times. I am scoring high in 5 out of the 6 categories, except 1. I am overwhelmed, tired and frustrated. A year ago, my first impulse would have been to quit. Not today.

I am taking tonight and tomorrow off from studying. Friday afternoon, I am going to start again and I will focus on the one area that I am not grasping. I will not take the test again until I am ready and I will pass the next time. I am a smart woman capable of doing this. I just need to take a deep breath, take a break and try again.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day 109 - Get A Massage

Today I got a massage. I love getting massages! Nothing relaxes me more than 90 minutes of massage. Most of the time, my massages are very painful, so I know that I am as stressed as I believe. But, the weird thing is that it is a pain that I like because I know that it is working.

I have terrible sciatica, so I have found that the occasional massage helps with working it out. Other treatments have worked for my sciatica, but nothing works as well as an occasional visit to the massage therapist. I want to start making an occasional visit to a massage therapist part of my year of living better and healthier. I really do believe that it helps. Here is a list of things that I have found that say massage is good for overall health and well being:

1. It relieves pain
2. It relieves tension
3. Relaxes inflamed muscles
4. Improves circulation
5. reduces stress
6. gives you a break from daily chores
7. enhances your mood
8. it is a way to pamper yourself
9. makes a great gift
10. it is rejuvenating
11. I have also heard that massage releases toxins. I believe it because I am always a little dizzy after a long massage.

That is a pretty good list of reasons to get an occasional massage. Today I had a coupon, so I was able to get 90 minutes for $40. That was a great price, in my opinion. Well worth the $40. I received the coupon because April is the month of my birthday. I find that more and more businesses are sending out coupons for free or reduced rate items and services during the month of your birthday. I have few more that I am using this week that I will be blogging about later.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Day 108 -Stick To My Skin Care Routine

I have been using the Aveda skin care line on my face for the last several months. It has proven to be really good to my skin. Since starting the products, I have actually, for the first time ever, stayed with a skin care regiment long enough to see the results.

When I started this blog, it was all about my frugality. My goal in life was to save as much money as possible, no matter what the sacrifice might be. While doing that, I would clip every coupon I could find and inevitably buy several different kinds of skin care products. While this saved me money, I never stayed with any one product long enough to see lasting benefits. I was also using products that were probably not the best thing for my skin as well as probably being tested on animals. Sure, I paid $1.99 for soap but I probably did damage to my skin as well as contributed to the abuse of animals. Of course, that is a talk for a different blog.

In the last year, I have let go of my frugality a bit. I am realizing that sometimes it is okay to spend a bit more for quality. Sometimes, in the end, you pay less because you buy quality. My skin care has become a priority for me. Dry skin, blotchy skin and wrinkles are starting to bother me, making me willing to spend more.

As I get older, I will continue to stick to Aveda for my skin as well as my hair. That will be a blog for later on as well.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Day 107 - Start Using Cash, More

Today I went to fill up the gas tank, which created a bit of sticker shock! Wow, $3.85/gallon is a lot by American standards. I say that because Europeans pay a lot more than Americans and don't complain as much as we do. But, I am American, so I will complain. I think that $3.85 is a lot of money for gas. I noticed that if I paid cash, that was the cost. Using a credit card was $3.97/gallon. That was all I needed to see to pull out some cash and pay that way. Of course I saved $.80 for the whole transaction, which my daughter pointed out was not even a dollar. What a disappointment! But, I figure if I continue to pay cash for all my gas this summer, maybe I can save at least $20 to $30 by the end of summer.

It got me thinking, I should pay cash for more of my daily transactions. We use our credit card for everything in order to earn points. We do pay it off every month, but I know that we would spend a lot less money if we used more cash and less credit. This is something that we have done in the past, when we were getting out of credit card debt. Since getting out, we started to use our card again with the promise we pay it off. Of course, this has led us to getting used to having a bit more to spend every month, which we could save instead.

So, starting today, I am going to use cash a little bit more and credit a little bit less.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Day 106 - Try To Run

I tried to run. Nothing has changed, I still hate it and will never try it again. My knees do not cooperate, my bladder is not up to the challenge and I have yet to find a sports bra that gives me the support I need. Walking is my sport. I can handle a treadmill, elliptical or bike, but running is not for me. Do I need to go on? Does today's blog need to be longer to emphasize the point?

After 5 minutes of excruciating pain and my boobs flopping every which way, I decided to end the workout with a nice leisurely walk on the treadmill. It is more my speed and I find it to be relaxing. Yes, I feel like a failure next to the thin, fit women who are picture perfect trophy wives, but that is fine with me. I got my daily workout in and I am a little bit more healthy because of it.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Day 105 - Learn To Forgive

I can hold a grudge! It is not something I am proud of and know that it is not a positive personality trait. But, it is part of who I am. Be that as it may, I should probably start trying to forgive those who have hurt me instead of plotting my revenge. Clearly, a woman approaching 40 should not be holding grudges over things that are not important, it is time I at least save my grudge holding for things that matter.

This is something that I have been working on for years. Since I was a kid, I could hold a grudge longer than anyone I knew. Lovely, huh? I must have been a really fun toddler! I recognize that I am in need of an attitude adjustment and embrace my willingness and readiness to change. That doesn't mean it has been easy.

When I am really mad at someone who is trying to mend fences, my husband usually, I will be telling myself that I need to let it go, but I can't. So, recently I have just not allowed myself to get so mad about the things that don't matter. I will just walk away, or find a way to avoid the situation. In other words, I don't engage in a situation that will lead to conflict. It has worked for me. I find I am happier and calmer. But, that doesn't mean I am cured by any means. Issues have a way of popping up that can cause conflict. Those are the situations that require me to develop better coping skills. I am working on it. I am evolving and I am becoming a better person and example for my family.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Day 104 - Volunteer

I volunteer every Thursday for Meals on Wheels. On those days I bring lunches to home bound senior citizens. It is an activity I enjoy and plan on doing for many years to come. In fact, when I start working in the summer, I plan on continuing with the service in the Fall when my schedule becomes a bit more flexible.

I often wonder if I am doing enough community service and volunteer work. I feel like I could do more, but I don't know where I would find the time. I feel like I have so little time to begin with. This year I want to make it a priority to find just one more hour in my week to give to a cause I believe in. Whether it be political, environmental or social, I feel like it is important for me to find a way to give more time to my community.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Day 103 - Replace Mascara

I read that you should replace your mascara every 3 months. Exactly 3 months ago I bought myself a new tube of mascara. Today, the alarm that I set on my alarm went off to remind me that it needs to be replaced again. Tomorrow, I will go to Target and replace the 3 month old mascara.

To be honest, it goes against my frugal roots to throw away a half full tube of makeup. In the past, I would keep my makeup until it was gone to the point of me adding water to it to get just one more application. I am replacing it though because mascara is a breeding ground for eye infections and other bacteria. Really icky stuff!

As time goes on, I plan on replacing all of my makeup on 3 month cycles. For now though, I will stick to mascara.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day 102 - Expect The Unexpected

Today we had an unexpected crisis. I am not going to tell what it was, it turned out to be not as bad as it could have been. Also, if the worst case scenario had been the case, my life and the life of my family would be in complete chaos right now. Thankfully, things turned out for the best.

But, that made me realize that life is full of unexpected surprises that need to be addressed without panic. In the past, I would over react. Today, I believe I did not. I just told myself that what was going on was out of my control. I did not cause it, but, if need be I could fix it. No matter what was going on, I have healthy children, a strong marriage and a good life. Life is full of the unexpected and I better start learning to expect it.