Three Ways to Work on Improving Yourself

This work-week is finally over. Thanks for taking the time to come over. The coffee is hot and the eggnog bread is fresh out of the oven.

How was your week? Was it difficult going back to work after the Thanksgiving Day weekend, or did you have to work and please the crowds on Black Friday?

I can’t believe how quickly November flew by.

It’s been quite a week here. We are starting to get ready for the Christmas holiday: decorating the house, addressing Christmas cards, shopping for gifts, and baking goodies to share.

When I was teaching, I always had the best intentions to address my Christmas cards and get them out before Christmas, but that rarely happened. This is the first year that I will be getting them out before this year comes to a close.

What are some of the special ways you celebrate the holidays?

I continue to conduct lessons in “Life 101” (a two-year course to turn your life around and start over) with my youngest step-daughter. This week I have attempted to work with her self-confidence. Sunday, she was upset when I picked her up from work; she had been pulled off the serving line because she was working too slow. After a lengthy discussion, I gave her a morning task. Stand in front of the mirror each morning and say to your reflection, “I am awesome. I can handle anything that is handed to me.” Repeat the statement three times.

Would you be surprised to learn that she had not taken the time to speak to her reflection?

It didn’t surprise me. Friday morning, before I let her get out of the car at work, I pulled down the visor mirror and had her repeat the two statements.

Looking at yourself and telling yourself that you are “awesome, and you can handle life” is a great way to re-build the self-confidence that others have torn down.


In 2009-2010, we worked hard to get my husband’s A1C levels under control with great success. In fact, his A1C dropped from over 9 down to 5.9.


Learning how to eat and learning what to eat. I cut 3 x 5 index cards in half and recorded the serving size and nutrition information of the foods we ate. We read labels and shopped fresh rather than canned or boxed mixes. I learned to plan menus, and we cut out soda and diet soda (Artificial sweeteners spike my husband’s blood sugars, and I am allergic to them).

Moving, and the stress from moving and relocating, has had a negative effect on our nutritional focus. We’ve sunk to consuming heavy, processed carbohydrates that have slowly increased his A1C and both of our weights.

His recent blood check and my weird itchy skin the Friday after Thanksgiving had us making some strong lifestyle changes this past Monday. We are now eating almost completely fresh and working to eat mostly grain free.

Once again, it is a learning process, but one we figure will have us feeling better in the long run – in the short run as well. My energy has increased in the past week, and even Friday, with overcast skies, found me with energy. My weight is down as well.

We tried quinoa for the first time this week. Lesson ONE? When it says place the quinoa seeds in a FINE mesh strainer, they aren’t kidding. I thought my strainer was FINE mesh. I should have taken a picture of the mess I created, but I was too concerned about trying to stop the seeds from escaping down the drain.

Have you tried quinoa? It is a seemingly flavorless seed. I had to research how to make quinoa. I didn’t have chicken stock to boil it in so I dissolved two bouillon cubes in four cups of water. That was a big oops; I doubled the required water for one cup of quinoa. We realized this when I lifted the lid to the pot and the quinoa was still swimming in a vat of water. IDEA? Drain it and hope it is edible.

Friday morning for breakfast, I took a half cup of the left over quinoa and warmed it in some butter in a saute pan. Then I added an egg and some shredded cheddar cheese. For a breakfast dish, it wasn’t too bad. Taste scale (10 being the best): score of 8. At least I won’t throw the left overs out.

Thursday dinner found me putting beef kabob meat into the slow cooker for beef stew. Yup, I used corn starch to thicken the stew instead of flour. When my husband said that some rolls or breadsticks would taste good with it, I searched for something to fit that request. Grainless Italian Breadsticks sounded good, but I think purchasing almond flour/meal was the wrong choice. According to an internet search, almond flour and almond meal are synonomous, but the four/meal was more of finely chopped almonds. The breadsticks tasted good but were too dense a bread to accompany beef stew. Friday, I snacked on one. Much better as a snack; so I froze the unfinished pieces for hunger pangs.

I’ll let you know next week how our journey to eat healthier is going.

What do you do to eat healthy during the holiday season?


A few weeks ago, my step-daughter got a few days off work so her dad (my husband) could drive her back to New York to get the rest of her stuff. She seemed obsessed over her things because they were important to her. Her mother’s home had been infested with fleas and bed bugs, and I told her that she might have to get rid of some of the stuff. I don’t want extra critters in my home. She had to get her “STUFF.” She “HAD” to get the souvenir glass from her prom. She “HAD” to have specific mementos from her past, and she was worried that her mother might toss out the rest of her stuff.

As we talked, we tried to impress on her that it truly is just stuff. What would happen if those items had been lost to flood, tornado, hurricane, or fire? They are just things. It is the memory that is important.

Our conversation got me to looking at the “stuff” I own or inherited with a more discerning eye. Why am I keeping stuff that I never use, display, or only have because my mother owned it (Mind you – the things I am talking about are things I didn’t even know she owned when we cleaned out her home.).

A few weeks back, I read an article about Swedish Death Cleaning. It sounded morbid; so, of course, my curiosity was engaged. Without using the term, the concept was something my mother had been working on for several years before she passed away. The concept focuses on going through your possessions and making some concrete decisions about each object. Get rid of what you never actually use (I consider once a year on some things a factor) and things that have no memory attached. Ask yourself if your kids would want or use an item. DONATE and SELL and SIMPLIFY.

It is my focus for 2018, and I am working to set up an ETSY shop to sell the vintage and antique items.

Stay tuned for my progress.

Well, I hope I’ll see you next week for coffee, treats, and conversation on my porch. Enjoy your weekend and have a good week.

Thanks for reading.


As you move through your day-to-day activities and responsibilities, please remember to

Live Life –

Keep Things Simple –

Look for the Positive –



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