Thursday, August 30, 2012

{ Childless by Choice }

Let me preface this post by saying that I am so happy for all those moms out there!  I am thrilled that you are happy, that you love the families you have created and that this was what you wanted for your life.  Please be happy for me as well that I CHOSE not to have children (human children anyway).  I have no regrets.
And I'm not alone. One in seven non-parents of childbearing age is childless by choice, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

Do I think I would have been a good parent?  Of course - I would have been a wonderful mother.  Do I have a maternal instinct?  I think I do.

Many women hear I am childless and have literally said to me "I'm so sorry you never had kids."  Sorry?    Please don't be sorry for me.  This is the choice I made for my life.  While I have many problems in my life right now, being childless is not one of them.

I have love.  Love for my nieces and nephews.  I really enjoy being an aunt. These 5 kids are amazing and I have been an active part of their growing up and couldn't be more grateful.  Mackenzie, Spencer, Dylan, Courtney, and Mallory are very special to me.
And then there are these gentle souls (only a few pictured below).  I have two amazing puppies and multiple cats (if that makes me the crazy cat lady, it's a title I am happy with!).  Plus the many other beloved little furry souls that have passed through my life who are no longer with me.  I couldn't love them more if they WERE human children. Many moms will - and have - argued with me about this but my philosophy is - LOVE IS LOVE. They are not substitutes.  I love them unconditionally and they reciprocate 150%. Their love for me makes my soul sing and each one holds a unique place in my heart.  Caring for and loving my animals is motherhood for me. And for me, my life is not incomplete without human children but it would be devastating without a four-legged furry kid (or 10) surrounding me.

Until next time, friends, 


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

{ I'm still here... }

I've been a bad blogger the last few days...puppies were spayed and neutered last week, arthritis flare-up....lots of excuses, but no real reason.  I vow to change that.  I want to blog at least 4 days a week and that is my new goal.

I usually love to cook and create my meals, but on those days when I don't want to cook something, these Gardein fake meats are just wonderful.  Have you tried them?  They are wonderfully vegan, low in calories, and absolutely YUMMY.  Tonight's choice was the BBQ Pulled Shreds.
I could have made a delicious sandwich as pictured, but am trying to stay away from too much bread, so popped a baked potato in the microwave and voila....dinner is served.  What do you think of my fancy china? :) 
The puppies are now recovered from their spay and neuter.  Anderson did fine and was doing pretty well after a day or two, but my girl, Suzanne, had a harder time.  My poor baby.  This is how she spent many of the days following surgery.  Yes, that's my arm she's sleeping on.
 and like this.....
Imagine my joy today when suddenly this dog toy was dropped onto my laptop.  Suzanne wanted to play!  Yay....she is back to her full self today!  Oh happy day!
 And while she with her recovery and me with my painful, painful arthritis flare-up sat on the chair and dozed and watched tv and worked on the laptop, there was (and always is) a 4-legged kid on me, around me or touching me.  I love it.

Until next time, friends, 


Friday, August 24, 2012

{ BAKED Fried Green Tomatoes }

My beautiful mom (LEFT) with her high school friend.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

{ Do You Ever....}

Do you ever have a great day, week, month, minute on plan, eating right, feeling good and then in the blink of an eye find yourself binging in front of the fridge?  Sadly, this has happened more times than I care to remember or admit.  In all my previous attempts to lose weight, the binge would have did derail all my good works for days, weeks and sometimes months.

I am not naive enough to believe that it won't happen again.  I hope it doesn't - I hope I am stronger this time, but I also must be realistic.

Now I must have a plan of action for that possible time - I need to recognize it for what it is, FORGIVE MYSELF, and get right back on track.  I must turn these mistakes into learning experiences.  I need to tackle my fears and also tackle the emotional components of my binge eating.  I AM WORTH IT.

On another note, my sweet pups, who are 9 months old, were just spayed and neutered.  Anderson is doing okay, but poor Suzanne is so sad and lethargic.  She just doesn't understand what has happened to her.  I know she'll be fine in a few days, but poor baby girl.  Here are my dog-children in their first baby picture when they came to me at 7 weeks old.  They are so dear to me.
And lastly, this picture is just typical of my day.  My heart-cat Freida needs to be involved in anything I am doing.  I have been staying close to the pups today, going through my many magazines, and sure enough, Freida needs to be right in the mix.  Be still my heart. 

Until next time, friends, 


Friday, August 17, 2012

{ Mediterranean Crockpot Stew }

I am trying must be frugal in this time of my life. So I was so blessed this week when I received some eggplant, squash and tomatoes. They were very ripe and needed to be used right away, so I put together a Mediterranean Crockpot Stew - healthy and bountiful!  Yummy!

Aren't crockpots wonderful?  Throw it in and be done with it. LOVE.
The final product turned out amazing and it made 7 wonderful meals that I stuck in the freezer for the next week or two.  I can eat it plain or add a little rice or couscous.

Here's the easy, easy recipe:


2 cups eggplant, peeled and cubed

several yellow squash, cubed
1 onion, chopped
small can tomato sauce
tomatoes, diced (or you could use canned dice tomatoes)
1 cup vegetable broth (more or less)
2 cups chickpeas
garlic to taste
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon

Cook on low for 8 hours.  The smells are DIVINE!!

And because it makes me happy, I am throwing in this cute picture of my Baby Spike.  Looks uncomfortable to me, but he slept this way for hours.  

Until next time, friends, 


Sunday, August 12, 2012

{ Something Special Sundays }

To take my mind off my worries and stresses and even my weight for a moment, I decided to take a few hours "off" and find some things online that make me happy.  Maybe I can't afford them right now, or even need them, but looking and admiring - and sharing my finds! - is free! So {Something Special Sundays} is born....hopefully these things make you happy too!

Seriously, this dog old end table turned upside still my heart...

I think this might be my dream kitchen...

I love cast iron cookware, and this adorable cast iron apple pot is AH-mazing...

It still hovers daily between 90-100 degrees on any given day here in Virginia, so this picture is me wishful thinking.....I love cold weather...and I love these gloves!

and then there is this...a tiny little baby hedgehog takes a nap - even peeps - I saw this on Facebook and, well, OH. EM. GEE.

Until next time, friends, 


Monday, August 6, 2012

{ Who's In Control Here? }

Food.  Glorious Food.  Planning Meals.  Thinking about meals.  Preparing food.  Eating food.  Good Food. Bad Food.  Healthy food. Food that helps me lose weight.  Foods that make me gain weight (sometimes just by looking at it).

Will food ever stop having control over me?  I have treated food as a friend and I have treated food as an enemy.  I must get to the in between - the healthy place in between.

I know that my body needs - craves really - healthy, nutrient rich foods.  When I eat these foods, I feel strong, powerful and ready to conquer the world.  So why do I rush to eat binge on an entire bag of potato chips when I want to feel better?
Eventually I want to figure out why and exactly when I started eating nonstop to numb all my pain, anger, fear and insecurities.  But for today, I think there are several things I can do when the binge monster rears its ugly head:
  • Journal - whether in a blog, on paper, in a notebook, whatever works - I need to analyze the thoughts I had before, during and after the binge.  And if I make it through an event without bingeing, journal about that as well - how did I conquer it?
  • Affirmations - I love them.  I need to use them.  Check that.  I need to use them and BELIEVE them.
But most importantly, I need to be gentle with myself.  My goal is to have a healthy relationship with food and with myself.  I believe it is possible.

For today, I am in control.

Until next time, friends, 


Friday, August 3, 2012

{ Why I'm Vegan }

I have flirted with not eating meat since I was a teenager really, after a traumatic incident, but it wasn't until I was about 30 years old (I'm 47 now) that I became a true vegetarian and then only about 3-4 years ago did I transition to a vegan diet.  People always ask me why I became a vegetarian/vegan and so I thought I would share my story on this blog.
I was raised eating meat like so many others and I always finished my dinner - eating everything on my plate - like a good girl.  We didn't have much money growing up, so I learned to appreciate what was on my plate.  However, I have ALWAYS had an affinity for animals (I actually like them more than most people!) so even as a child never wanted to talk about what I was actually eating.

When I was a teenager, I would spend a few days each summer at my friends house in the country.  One summer, they had the cutest pet pigs, Petunia and Oinky (you can probably see where this is going).  Those pigs were so cute and gave me lots of joy talking to them and playing with them.  One evening, we were having breakfast for dinner - eggs, bacon, toast.  I complimented my friends mom on the great meal, and she said "Petunia tastes really good, doesn't she?".  Oh. My. God.  That night traumatized me and I have really never been the same.  I stopped eating pig at that point.

I would flirt with vegetarianism for years, but it wasn't until I was almost 30 years old that I read an expose article that described exactly how cows were slaughtered WHILE THEY WERE STILL AWAKE AND BLINKING.  That was it for me.  I haven't had meat since then and will never go back.
For years I wanted to go vegan but was convinced that I just couldn't give up my cheese and eggs  - although, honestly, I think that was more my "fat girl" mentality than any real love for those food items.  Finally, about 3 or 4 years ago, I decided that my love of animals is so much more than any love of cheese or eggs. At that time, I became fully awake and began my vegan journey.  I have never looked back.

I feel that on that Spring day when I chose to live a vegan lifestyle and honor animals, I took compassionate control of my life.

I don't push my veganism on my omnivore friends or family, but if asked, I WILL ALWAYS give my two cents.  I don't ever want anyone to feel bad about themselves and what they eat, but I do want to give them knowledge.  I do know that as easy as the change was for me, I also know that it IS a HUGE lifestyle change and not everyone can do it cold turkey (poor choice of words).   But knowledge is power.

Now my job is to lose all this weight and be a healthy vegan - an even better way to spread my message of the joys and benefits of a vegan diet.
Until next time, friends,  


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

{ The Purpose of Life }

There is a great quote out there by Richard Leider that says "The purpose of life is to live a life of purpose."  I have always loved that quote and lately I have really thought about those words.

I would hate to think that my life's purpose was just to overeat, struggle with my weight and be so unhappy.  That is NOT what I want to be remembered for.  I don't want to be remembered for my struggles.  I want to be remembered for my triumphs.  One of those triumphs WILL be to lose all this weight and BE HEALTHY.

The purpose of my life has to be about who I am and not about what I've done to my body.  Enough said.
Until next time, friends,