In The Garden

First rose of the year!


This wildflower was literally growing out of the side of a rock on my road!

The star jasmine (saved from the trash heap!) is finally blooming.


And the peacock with her beautiful headdress 🙂


My grocery store rose. Did I tell you I was too cheap to buy a rose at the nursery for $40? So I saw these rose bushes outside the local grocery store for $5 each. I bought three of them, and two of them actually lived and have blooms this first year.


Practicing my close-up shots:


All of the flowers in this shot were volunteers!


The first blooms on the “fairy impatien.” These are growing all over the yard, and they are all self-seeded from one plant that I bought last year.


My baby astilbe. Maybe I have finally found the right place to grow these…


And this is the stonework that MLG did this week for me. I kept buying more of the stones from Lowes and Home Depot, until I had a decent amount to work with, and so we extended the front courtyard(?) that I had done myself years ago. There is a slope to the land in my yard, and so MLG worked at making sure the water drained the right way.


From this angle, you can see where the travertine path comes in.


And this is the most astounding thing of all. Did I complain to you about my apple tree not having any blossoms this year? I mean, its a young tree, so I was not expecting apples for 5 years (that’s what they said at the nursery.) But I love apple blossoms, and so I was very disappointed that there were literally 2 clusters of blossoms on the whole tree. And then this morning, I was looking out the window, and what do I see but a real apple growing!! And there is a second apple–so one from each blossom cluster.


Its heating up around here. I hope you have nice weather wherever you are, and have a wonderful relaxing weekend.


Diet Fatigue… and a Maintenance Experiment

Diet Fatigue. Its not something I’ve seen defined anywhere. But I bet all of you who have ever been on a diet know what I am talking about. Sometimes it wears on you, all this thinking and restricting and counting and denying…whatever your particular form of dieting happens to be at this particular time.

I’ve been doing this for 10 years now. That is, I started this last weight loss adventure over 10 years ago. I have been “maintaining,” more or less, for over 8 years. I guess I won’t talk about anybody else’s experience, but for me, maintaining has been an ongoing tension between a diet mindset and trying to “normalize” my relationship with food. One thing that’s been consistent about my maintenance: I have consistently gained and lost between 10 and 20 pounds over the years.

So right now, I’m tired. I’m really really tired. Bah to diets. A couple of weeks ago, on my way home from church, I bought a particular junk food baked item that I love. I’ve probably had 3 of them in the past 10 years. And I ate it on the way home. 430 delicious calories. And then I proceeded to feel “bad” about that choice for the rest of the way home. And it made me mad, that I couldn’t even enjoy a treat without angst. And I remembered for the first time in a long time why I had said “I will never diet again,” and I “maintained” a weight of 257.5 (haha, I have to laugh that the .5 was so consistent when I used to weigh back then) for over 20 years. My mind flashed on all the candy bars I ate every day (that I never eat now) and I wanted to eat all of them, right now! Fortunately, I mostly got over that feeling by the time I got home. And, BTW, its only a 20 minute drive from the grocery store to my house 🙂

So I decided to try an experiment. You know how some folks say you are sabotaging yourself by restricting your calories? So I decided to try eating more. Mind you, I’ve tried this many times over the years, and sadly, it never works for me. The rules are different for the formerly severely overweight person. ANYWAY, the experiment. I decided to log my food into LoseIt. Bu I would not worry if I went a little over their calorie allotment for me. After all, that calorie allotment was supposed to be for weight loss, and that was not my goal for this experiment. My goal was to not GAIN any weight, which is a constant worry for me. And I would log ALL my exercise, and eat all those “exercise calories” if I wanted to. I would only weigh once a week to make sure this crazy plan was not leading to weight gain.

I know for most of you, this will just be another form of dieting. But for me it was reassuring to have the parameters of logging food and exercise and weighing once a week while I experimented with eating more than normal.

I’m pretty sure I ate more than I usually do, and I did eat without guilt or angst. I’m pretty sure I exercised a little more. I think LoseIt was pretty generous with their exercise calories, but I just went with it. And the result of the experiment? For five weeks I maintained the same weight. One week it would be two pounds up, and another it would be two pounds down. But for five weeks, my weight was very consistent.

Diet fatigue doesn’t last forever. And this experiment will not last forever. According to most experts, change in your diet and exercise is actually a good thing for long term weight loss. So if you’re feeling tired, don’t throw in the towel. Give yourself a little grace, and try something new or different.

In the Garden

Well, I didn’t think there was much new to report, but I went out to the yard, and found more to take pictures of than you might want to see! Fun.

The biggest thing is something that MLG has been doing for the past couple of weeks. I have this thing about paver stones……I like them. So I saw these rectangular travertine stones, and they seemed like such a good price, so I bought 16 of them. Had no plans or idea of how to use them… showed them to MLG, and he came up with this idea. Which I loved, but umm, yeah. It took a lot more than 16 stones…. Sigh. I have been to Lowes and Home Depot three times in the past two weeks, and brought home and unloaded about 1500 pounds of stones from my car. We have more stone plans 🙂

Anyway, I love this little path between the shade garden and the Japanese maples. Its not really as long as it looks in the picture. MLG uses a level and works hard at making the uneven, rocky ground work so the water will drain the right way.

From one direction:


And from the other direction:


After yesterday’s rain (yay!) Sophie and Bess found something extremely interesting smelling out there.


Then Bess got bored with it.


The shade garden. Pretty soon there will be some color in there.


Noah and his never-ending quest for THE LIZARDS.


Here’s a new plant I got. The foliage is really almost white. Its called Abutilon Savitzii. Its related to that Japanese lantern plant that I have.


And now for some color! I love the delicacy of the poppies.


And the brilliant color of these pansies:


These volunteer nasturtiums are already doing so much better than the ones I planted last year.


And these sweet little clover flowers come back every year. I love how they are peeping through the teacup.


These little begonias came back better than last year!


A new perennial flower I got (sorry, lost the label, don’t know the name.)


Another new plant to fill in an empty spot. This is a Lavitera. Its quite a rangy bush, but I love the flowers.


This cracks me up. Can you see that the star jasmine has vined itself up the peacock, and has provided a fancy headdress for it?


Here, you can see it better in this picture. This was the star jasmine that was thrown on the trash heap a couple of years ago. It is doing wonderfully this year.


And I was trying for one last shot, and Noah photo-bombed it!


Here you go. I hope all of you have a wonderful, peace-filled weekend!



Good Things

Who knew? I first heard about PB2 when I went to Weight Watchers. Over ten years ago. I am not eating powdered peanut butter! I told myself. I don’t even like peanut butter that much. It just sounded gross to me. Anyway, fast forward ten years, and I was in the “nutrition store” getting some of my favorite Quest protein bars. I saw the PB2 again, and noticed they had a “chocolate PB2.” The nice young man convinced me that it was excellent when you just wanted “a little something sweet to eat.” Oh, well, that’s me pretty much all of the time. And with my newfound celery love, this might work great.

Holy moly! PB2 is delicious! And only 15 calories per serving. It works perfectly as a celery topping.


Oh, and in case anybody didn’t know this trick–keeping your cut celery in a container with a bit of water in the bottom will keep your celery nice and crisp.

Okay, in the somewhat questionable category of good things, I think that single serving cookie recipes are a good thing. I no longer have to obsess over buying a whole container of cookies, which is NEVER a good thing to have in my house. Knowing that I can make a cookie whenever I want does not actually give me the urge to make them more often. Most days I decide I don’t want the sugar. If you must have a cookie, just google “single serving ______ cookie” and a recipe will pop up!


For Easter I just wanted a sugar cookie. I knew if I bought a package of them I would eat too many and feel bad in so many ways. Enter the single serving sugar cookie! It was so delicious. I’ll probably have another one for Easter next year 🙂

Nervous Little Dogs

Found this draft languishing in my drafts file. This is my all-time favorite Larsen cartoon. He MUST have had a dachshund–his cartoons about them are so dead on. Anyway, I do wish I could get Sophie to use some of her nervous energy to make my morning coffee 🙂 As I said in an earlier post, Sophie seems to get nervous when I do my PT exercises. Here’s how she gets rid of some of her anxiety when I get my yoga mat out. Maybe some of us emotional eaters could take a lesson from her–chewing on a bone has a lot less calories than that cupcake 🙂 DSCN2868   DSCN2862 DSCN2870 DSCN2866 DSCN2867

Baking and Portion Control

So I have a new recipe. I have debated over whether or not to share this recipe. It isn’t that low calorie, the portion size is small, and it is much different in texture than the traditional item. But since I’ve made it three times, I decided that other people might just like them as well.

Its a “healthified” recipe for cinnamon rolls! I enjoy starting my day with a cup of coffee and a low calorie baked good. Most days this is the only grain item I will eat. I have my scones, and baked oatmeal, and I’ve tried the Scottish oat cakes (thanks, Cammy!) but I had never before tried making some sort of cinnamon rolls.

I saw Biz’s recipe, and that got me to thinking. How would I make them?

I used Biz’s recipe as a starting place, and then used the basic ingredients that I use for my scone recipe. I like oats, and I like brown rice flour.

And here’s the thing. These are small. Literally, six of them are the same size as ONE of the fancy cinnamon rolls from a famous local bakery (don’t ask me how I know this.) And that’s where the portion control comes in. If I get one of those famous cinnamon rolls, I want to eat the whole thing. Knowing how many calories are in my little cinnamon rolls, I can safely presume that those fancy cinnamon rolls come in at about 1500 calories. 1500 calories! I guess if that would hold me for the entire day it would be okay?


But for whatever reason, I am content with fishing one of my little 200 calorie cinnamon rolls out of the freezer and having it with my coffee for breakfast. (don’t worry, mid-morning, I have a protein snack.) Here’s a link to Debby’s Cinnamon Rolls recipe.

Here’s another portion controlled baked item that is most worthy. Veggie bread. If you were in a restaurant, I think I can safely say that they would serve you four times the size of a single serving of this bread. And they would probably offer it as an appetizer! But for me, it is a special treat to take one piece of this delicious bread out of the freezer for either lunch or dinner. And it is enough.


I cut the loaf into 8 servings, and wrap each in foil and put in the freezer.


Three Miles!

Its funny to me that I could be so excited about walking three miles. I used to walk 5 miles fairly regularly. But for the last couple of years, walking has been unpleasant, and so I have walked most days, but it was much shorter. More of a stroll. Just enough to keep Noah happy.

So with the steroid shot, the new medicine, and the brace, I have been looking forward to trying to walk to the end of my road again. And if anyone new is reading, walking to the end of my road is more like hiking. You’re either walking uphill or downhill.

Anyway, Friday Noah and I set off. Once we got halfway up the big hill, I knew we would make it. Here we are taking a rest stop at the end of the road:


And the road back:


I don’t know how often I will do this. The brace is for my right knee. My left knee was complaining halfway through, as well as my back and other joints 🙂 But best of all was how very good I felt about myself all day. I know its not that far. But for me it was a great accomplishment.

I’m not sure how Noah felt about it. This is how he looked for the rest of the day.


In The Garden

I just happened to look out the window right when this guy was taking a bath. And he stayed just long enough for me to grab my camera and get ONE picture.


The foxglove have done wonderfully in the ground. They never were very happy when I tried to grow them in containers. An added plus–they self-seed! I have baby foxgloves growing that will give me new blooms next year.




Again, I never had any luck with snapdragons in the past. I think the big advantage was planting them in the late summer/early fall. And maybe having a mild winter helped?


I got a 6 pack of columbine in the fall and planted them around the garden. They are all different colors, and very pretty, I think.


I planted this honeysuckle vine last year. It ALMOST gave up when it was completely over-run by the tomato forest! So I am extra happy to see it come back and do so well. I don’t think it smells as nice as the white honeysuckle, so I might have to find a place to grow one of them. I had one outside the front window for years, and the delicate smell would waft in the window in the evening. But that one had to go with all the work that was done on the house.




Carnations are my favorite cut flower. I love their smell. Its so fresh, and is not as strong and overwhelming as some flowers can be. This is the second year for this plant, and I was happy to see it doing so well. It does kind of sprawl. I wonder if that is the nature of carnations. Do I need to make them a little corral?


We (haha, I point, and MLG does the work) are doing more rock work and pavers. I am wondering if I am getting carried away with the stones. I am going to do some research this week.

And that’s this week in the garden.