Taking Care of Yourself

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When I was a new mother, one of the first things people would say to me was that I needed to take care of myself, and that I wouldn’t be able to take care of my children if I didn’t take care of myself.  I always thought that was a pretty funny thing to say to a person who was up at all hours of the night and breast-feeding on demand.  Granted I’d always had a problem with the whole “take care of yourself” deal.  I’d always been such a low maintenance type person, that the idea of taking care of myself was completely foreign to me.  I’ve never dyed my hair; I’ve got blond eyebrows so there is little need of even tweezing them; I don’t wear nail polish so when my nails get too long I just cut them (no filing required); I shave my legs every so often (again the gift of blond hair); and I don’t usually use make-up.  Just what is this “taking care of yourself” thing?

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As I’ve gotten older, I realize that I really do need to indulge in some “self-care”.  If left to themselves, my eyebrows can get a real Gandalf thing going on.  Maybe I should try to at least look like a “grown-up” sometimes.  It’s not really okay to go years without cutting your hair, not to mention periodically hacking off your bangs, hoping that you didn’t cut them on an angle, and if you did, trying to fluff out what’s left to hide the fact.  And, I don’t really have to look like I just came up from the back 40 all the time.  This can include wearing those jeans that I have to haul up from falling off my butt since they’re as old as the hills and no longer fit.  Unfortunately, my idea of getting dressed up includes wearing what my daughter has informed me is known as “athleisure”.  My response is, “but it’s comfortable!” said with a whine in my voice.  Really, does she want me to look like the Queen?

But, all that being said, I do get the healthy reasons for taking care of yourself.  After all, I make sure that I eat right, exercise and go to bed at a decent hour.  So, I understand that part.  It’s actually anything that translates into the “looks” department that I have a hard time with.  I don’t really know where that all came from, but I’m trying.  I’ve been replacing my Elmer Fudd wardrobe with “athleisure” since it’s nice and comfy, and actually looks decent.  And, I’ve been impressed with the fact that I do need to have a few pieces that are really “dress up” clothes.

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Small steps.  I’ll report on this process as it goes on.  How about you?  What do you do to take care of yourself?

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Fresh Peach and Blueberry Pie – Vegan Recipe

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I haven’t posted any vegan recipes for quite a while now, and I thought that I’d share this pie that I made on Sunday morning with you.  My family loves it, so I hope that it’ll be a hit with you, too.

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I used the Fresh Peach Pie recipe found in my copy of the Betty Crocker Cookbook that I received upon my marriage from my Mom.  She was hoping that I would become a better cook, but unfortunately, to this day I remain a much better baker than a cook.  Here’s the recipe with one or two changes for those of us who prefer the vegan version, along with the ever important blueberries, of course:

9-inch pie:

Pastry for 9-inch two-crust pie

4 cups sliced fresh peaches (about 7 medium peaches)

2 pints fresh blueberries

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 cup sugar

¼ cup all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur flour since it’s un-bleached, but of course you can use any kind you prefer)

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon or so of almond extract

1 tablespoon vegan butter

Heat oven to 425o  Prepare pastry.  Mix peaches, blueberries, lemon juice, sugar, flour, cinnamon and almond extract.  Turn into pastry in pie plate; dot with vegan butter.  Cover with top crust that has slits cut in it; seal and flute.  Brush vegan milk on the top; sprinkle with sugar.  I put the pie on top of a cookie sheet as my pies tend to bubble over – it could just be that I’m a messy person, and make messy food, but I’d rather do that then clean the oven.  I completely cover the top with aluminum foil, as my oven tends to burn the top.  I then remove the foil for the last 15 or so minutes of baking.

Bake until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in the crust, 35 to 45 minutes.  Take out, cool and serve!

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If you do use the recipe, let me know if you enjoyed the pie.

Goal Setting and Attaining the Life You Want

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Over the past few months I’ve gotten out of the habit of setting goals for the week on Sundays.  I’m not really sure why I stopped, but stop I did.  (That sounded a little like Yoda).  And, I’m sure it’s not a coincidence that I really haven’t been working on any of my long-term goals lately, either.

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So, I wrote my goals down yesterday along with the much needed steps to get there.  One of my main goals this week will be finishing the second chapter for my children’s book along with the illustrations to go with it.  I’ve been dragging my feet on the drawings, since I’m definitely not an artist.   What are your goals this week?  Have you been working on them consistently?  Let me know.

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Change is Hard

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I thought I’d just share a little about my progress and add some positive quotes to help anyone else who is on a transformation quest.  For a long time I’ve been an all or nothing type of person.  As an example, I’ve thought that if I don’t get up at 4:30 every morning and work out it means I’m a failure and I shouldn’t ever work out.  All or nothing.  Of course that kind of thinking just dooms you to failure, since I find it’s impossible to always get up that early.  Life happens: you may not be able to fall asleep until 2 in the morning; maybe you’ve got a cold…etc.  So, are you supposed to just stop?  Well, that’s what I did in the past – if I wasn’t perfect, I’d just stop.  So, what am I doing now?  I’m putting on my big girl panties and dealing with it.  So what if I missed a day or two, or even three?  No one is perfect, so why should I be expecting perfection of myself.  After all, I don’t do anything else perfectly, (as anyone who has eaten my dinners can attest), why should exercise be the only area of my life where perfection rules.

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 Change is a choice.  We all make choices every day.  I’ve finally realized that I cannot change the people who I live with.  I can’t change their choices, their attitudes or even their habits.  The only person I can change is myself.  So that’s what I’m doing.  I’m being the change that I want to see.  I’m a work in progress. Even though I try to respond with patience and love, I sometimes get upset.  But I’m learning.  I’m not responding with a raised voice.  When I’m trying to have a conversation and if the other person only wants to fight, I’ll walk away.  I won’t engage past the point of raised voices.  I am not responsible for what others say or do.  That’s their choice and not a reflection on me.  Others have choices too.

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Live your life.  Change yourself if you’re not happy.  If you feel stuck with a situation ask yourself what you can do about it.  I’ve found that my unhappiness comes from being disappointed with myself.  If the same is true with you, find out what you can change and act on it.  Life is too short to be unhappy.

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Early to Rise

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I’ve been getting up at 4:40 am every morning Monday through Friday for the last few weeks.  At first it was easy, since the sun was also a hint in the sky.  But, since our dreaded “spring ahead” last Sunday, getting up so early has been a difficulty.

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Now, I’m taking my dogs out in the dark, and it actually feels like it’s the middle of the night instead of early in the morning.  This feeling is going to last a few weeks before the sun finally catches up with the time change.  I can’t wait for that to happen since the dark sky makes me feel like climbing back into bed and pulling the covers over my head!  So, in an effort to help motivate myself, I thought that I’d share some motivations with you, too.

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Things I Loved About This Week

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I love these lists because it ends the week on such a positive note.  So, without any further ado, here’s my list of lovely things about this week.

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Mansfield Hollow State Park – On Sunday, my daughter and I went hiking.  We wanted to try somewhere new, and so we went to the park.  We had a great time.  There are various trails for either a novice or someone with more experience.  The best thing is that the trails are marked quite clearly, which is a plus for directional challenged me.  We will be going back this weekend and trying a few other trails.  Another good thing about this park is that dogs are welcome as long as they’re on leashes.  So my Border Collie got a nice work-out, too – which is a nice thing, since true to his breed he’s a complete lunatic!

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Spring-like Weather – It hit 70° this week!  And, to top it all off, the sun was shining while it did that!  Maybe some spring buds will bless us with their presence?

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Mandarin Oranges – To tell the truth, I’ve been buying these all winter.  I love them.  I eat them for a snack, but the best thing is that when you are “patiently” waiting for your bananas to be ripe, you can put two of these in your blender, add juice and have a great tasting smoothie.  Simple and delicious!  It’s like having sunshine in your glass.

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Spaghetti Squash – Every Fall I look forward to this vegetable and eat it all winter long.  I made it for dinner last night.  I had a pretty big one, so the cutting it open took a little muscle as well as patience.  I chopped it in half, scooped out the seeds, rubbed a little oil on it, added some pepper, salt and nutmeg, placed them upside down on a baking sheet and roasted the halves for about 45 minutes on 450°F.  While that was baking I whipped up a tomato sauce to which I added garlic, onion and broccoli as well as whatever spices I could get my hands on.  Delicious!

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Fitness Blender – I discovered Fitness Blender through my daughter who has been using their YouTube videos to work out.  I can’t say how much I’m really loving Kelli and Daniel.  If you’re looking for a no-nonsense approach to fitness, I recommend their site.  (And, no, I’m not getting paid for saying this – I’m sure that they don’t know I exist.)

All in all, it was a great week!  What are you loving about your week?  Let me know.

 

Finding Happiness in Everyday Life

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So much of our lives is spent on auto-pilot. Get up, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, make dinner and go to bed. Weekends can be spent doing all the things that we didn’t get done during the week – errands, cleaning, etc.

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On Sunday, after a lousy night’s sleep, and a cranky morning, I went for a hike in a lovely park. What a difference it made. My perspective changed, and even though I had to go home to cooking and laundry I looked at those mundane activities with new eyes. Because I had done something that made me happy for a little while, I was ready to tackle those mundane tasks with a little grace.

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I hope that you had a weekend where you were lucky enough to do something that brought  some happiness into your life.