A Good Bowl of Oats

I went to bed last night thinking about what I was going to eat today. What? Doesn’t everyone do that? I have a notebook on my bedside table where I write down a brief plan for the next day’s food. It only takes a minute, and then I don’t have to think so much about “what am I going to eat?” the next day.

ANYWAY, I started thinking about oatmeal. Somewhere along the way, I lost my oatmeal mojo. Then I added up the calories in the way I like it (custard oats, with walnuts and raisins) and I remembered one reason I stopped eating it. That bowl was 300 calories, and I try to keep my breakfasts under 200 calories. (Don’t feel sorry for me. I do that because I want my mid-morning snack.)

ANYWAY, I started thinking about how I could change that bowl of oats, but still make it delicious. And maybe get a little more nutrition into it? What if I made it REALLY custardy, and doubled the usual amount of egg whites in it? How about using fresh fruit instead of the raisins?

Its hard to get a tasty picture of oatmeal...

Its hard to get a tasty picture of oatmeal…

Oh yes, this was a most worthy recipe! It made a nice sized bowl of oats, so creamy and delicious, and came in at just under 200 calories, with 10 grams of protein per serving (that’s more protein than my usual breakfast fodder.) Here’s the official recipe. Best part? It makes 2 servings, one for now and one for later!

The Peaceable Kingdom

(an addendum to Her Majesty’s previous post.)

The enemy marauder has been driven from my kingdom. My manservant and lady-in-waiting snore continuously, and even the Big Oaf is more relaxed than usual. For the present moment, all seems peaceful in my kingdom. I am taking a well deserved rest upon my favorite throne.

Sophie on her double decker dirty laundry throne.

Sophie on her double decker dirty laundry throne.

(Editor’s note: We’re so glad we could be of service, Sophie.)


The Dining Room is Finished!

One week, start to finish! J. the contractor worked diligently every day to get my dining room finished in time for my “sewing ladies” to come for our monthly get-together tomorrow!

Even though I spent so long choosing all my colors, it had been a while since I did that, and in the interim I kinda forgot what a bright color I had chosen for the dining room. I was shocked when I saw the paint in the can. And concerned when the first coat of paint went on the walls. But with a second coat, and a few days to get used to it, I now love it. Its bright and cheerful.

I don’t really have any furniture for this room, because it was my sewing room for the past few years. So that is just a little gate leg table that I had on hand, and Noah’s huge crate… But look! One of my favorite things of all the construction I’ve had done–A BEDROOM DOOR! Yes, for 28 years, I lived in this darn place with no bedroom door. It seemed so impermanent, but I always thought it would be “impossible” to add a door, because the opening was so small. Then, as I said to J., “now that I know you can do anything…” And sure enough, he cut a bigger hole, moved the electrical outlet, and put in a real live door.


You can see my little messy kitchen and also the tiny bathroom in this picture. If we decide to go forward with our next stage of renovation/construction, both of those rooms will be re-purposed.


I decorated the studio walls this week too.



DSCN1149Here’s a view of the whole room:


Its been wonderful to have this room to work in and to relax in this week. It was a sanctuary from the construction. I am blessed.


Madness Indeed






(A special guest post.)

Madness indeed. My kingdom has been breached. An enemy marauder has gained access, and apparently NO ONE is concerned about this besides moi.


The big oaf waits happily for the marauder to arrive.


My manservant. What can I say? I looked up “weak” in the thesaurus, and ALL the words (there are too many) apply to him. He is useless to me.


But he has been a faithful consort, and so occasionally I grant him access to my comfortable quarters.


Bess, the traitorous lady in waiting. I don’t trust her with my dog bone, much less hoping that she would protect me in my hour of need.


And alas. When the stress gets to be too much, and I turn to my comfort food of choice, all the wonderful pink flowers are gone. (I know some of you can relate to this scenario.)


There are more pink flowers, but alas, someone has put them up high in an effort to save me from my own destruction.

DSCN1168 DSCN1169 DSCN1170

But as another blogger pointed out, a bit of sun does do wonders for a troubled soul.


Back inside, I try to regain control of my kingdom by usurping the favored chair as often as possible.


Alas, at the end of the day, there’s nothing to be done except try to forget about the day’s worries.


Being a monarch. Its a difficult road, but one must graciously accept the responsibilities dealt to them in this life.


The Madness–It Begins Again

How could I forget in three short weeks what it was like living in a construction zone?


The dining room. Not really a before picture, because J. the contractor has removed the carpet, put drywall on the ceiling, washed down the bare walls and floor, and put primer paint on the walls. The paneling boards there on one side are to see if I want to narrow the opening, which would give me more wall space. Its such a huge opening, but on the other hand, its a small house… (feel free to opine on this topic!) You can see the tiny kitchen through there–we are discussing various options for expanding the kitchen…

Anyway, living in a construction zone. It just changes your day. I have left the house twice IN MY GYM CLOTHES and never made it to the gym. I was too tired, or had too many other chores to run (Lowes, I’m looking at you.) I’m trying to be content with all the “functional exercise” I’m getting. And nary a stitch has been taken on the sewing machine. I am hopeful to sit down and sew today. I picked up the studio yesterday and cut out some strips from a set of colors I had put together. Just to make some funky little log cabin blocks.

I’m doing bits and pieces of work in the garden. Yesterday I stopped at the nursery and bought a Fuji apple tree! Its hard to resist a good tree. This tree had a beautiful shape, and for $26, well, that just seems like a good deal. Sallye (the nursery owner) said I will get fruit in five years. Guess I’ll be staying here a while longer!


While I was outside, I looked up. The English Lilac has gone crazy this year! Usually there are not that many blooms on it, because its always had too much shade. Maybe it got so tall that I couldn’t reach to prune it, or it is getting more sun, but I’ve never had this many blooms on it.


In this picture you can see the whole lilac, and also the construction staging area outside.




And some close-ups of the lilacs. What a lovely scent they have!



DSCN1142(Same lilac, one picture shot in the evening, and one in the morning!) Its a little early, but I will wish you all a good weekend!



AIM: Are We There Yet?


Last month our AIM group tackled the question about that “last straw” or “AHA moment” in regards to finally losing the weight. I did a great job of answering that question. I had a very definitive answer about the EXACT MOMENT that I decided to go on a successful final diet (NOT…)

So for this month’s question, “How did you know when to transition to maintenance from loss mode? Was it a number or a size or something else? did you struggle to not want to “lose a little more”?” I will again be providing a very definitive answer (NOT…)

I love the title we chose for this question “are we there yet?”–everybody’s either asked this question or heard it asked, right? Because it almost gives me permission to be a very impatient parent who is tired of their kid asking that question. And let me just say–I am not impatient with the questioner. I am impatient with the very process itself. I am impatient with all the misinformation out there. I am impatient with the crazies promoting their version of crazy as THE ONE EASY WAY to lose weight and keep it off forever. I am impatient with the LACK of credible weight loss maintenance information out there.

Ahem… Now that I’ve got that out of my system…let me just try to answer these questions as simply and honestly as possible.

How did you know when to transition to maintenance from loss mode? I had dieted for a year and a half. It took forever to lose the last two pounds to reach 100 pounds lost. And then it took another forever to lose another two pounds. I was eating way less than was comfortable to just lose those two pounds, so I decided I was done “dieting.” But I also want to mention something else here. There is no transitioning. Whatever you are eating when you get to your lowest weight is exactly what you will need to be eating to maintain that weight. That is the truth. Do not deceive yourself otherwise.

Was it a number or a size or something else? Heavens no! (well, you know.  100 pounds is kinda cool.) But it was nowhere near my original intent. It was nowhere near my BMI or any normal weight you could find on any chart. And please. Please do not go on a diet to reach a certain size. I am still wearing clothes every day from size small to size extra large. Please do not let the size of the clothes you wear define WHO you are.

Did you struggle to not want to “lose a little more”? Yes, yes, and double yes. Sometimes I think wanting to lose a little more just helps you to maintain the weight you are! But if you want to lose a little more, and you think you are working pretty hard at that, and all you do is maintain your weight, then a certain sense of failure sets in… And that can be very discouraging.

What I want to say is this: LIFE IS FLUID. There are no concrete rules, no absolute boundaries. Because we are full of LIFE, and LIFE changes. What is outside of our life (our environment, our current life circumstances) changes. What is inside our life (our biological makeup, our cellular structure, the function of our organs, OUR AGE) changes constantly. It is frustrating, but it is what it is. Maintenance is for life. You have to adjust it as you go.

Me at my heaviest (257 pounds)

Me at my heaviest (257 pounds)

Current me, subject to change without notice.

Current me, subject to change without notice.















Be sure to visit my friends to see what they have to say about weight maintenance!

Lynn @ Lynn’s Weigh

Lori @ Finding Radiance

Shelley @ My Journey to Fit

Cammy @ The Tippy Toe Diet


Garden Celebration

I just got done doing my taxes online. Does anyone else find this to be as nervewracking as I do? When I had finally jumped through the final hoop, double checked all my answers and numbers, and hit SEND, I felt like celebrating. Thank goodness I wasn’t at all hungry. I celebrated by sending an email to a friend, and then went out in the garden to look it over. We’ve had rain for days (NOT THAT THERE’S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT!!) It was fun to look for new surprises out there.

Look what was hiding:


My New York Lily of the Valley! So small and delicate. Two more are coming up just where I planted them last year. Thank you again, my New York gardening friend!

I’ve loved maidenhair ferns all my life. And bought plenty of them over the years, with not much success. This is a new variety, which is supposed to be hardy to 10F, so we’ll see if its still here next year.


And I bought a pink bleeding heart.


I thought I had one, but the only one growing is a white one.


This is a really beautiful Japanese maple. It comes out this delicate color in the spring. But its not in exactly the right location. And it might be one that does better in the ground. Slowly, I am transplanting some of the Japanese maples into the ground. It wouldn’t hurt to move the wood pallet behind it…




The tulips really have been pretty this year. Usually, it seems to me that it is too hot by the time they bloom, and they just get all floppy and wilty looking.


Had to practically stand on my head to get this pic of the first bloom on the flowering cherry tree!


And this little Japanese maple is doing very well in its new location in the ground. That is one of the ones I grew from a seedling from my original JM. See all that empty ground in front of it? Looks like a good place for a new flower bed, doesn’t it???


Now that’s a good way to celebrate without food!