The One Thing No Country Home Should Ever Be Without

Can anyone guess?

Hydrogen peroxide!

Does everyone know why?


Probably everyone knows this, but I still hear the occasional person mention tomato juice as a skunk odor removal. All tomato juice does is make such a mess that you might temporarily forget that your dog stinks.

And everyone knows that skunks only come out at night, right? So that is most likely when your dog will get sprayed by a skunk.

And who really wants to go out in the middle of the night or very early in the morning to look for hydrogen peroxide?

One of the first time one of my dogs got skunked was shortly after I moved here. I didn’t even have a fence. I had come home from a night shift, and it happened. I had to leave my dog outside, yelling at him “YOU STAY THERE” while I drove off in search of H2O2.

About 4:30 this morning, Bess let out an alarm bark. She considers herself the early warning system for Noah. Because sometimes he sleeps very soundly. Anyway, the next thing I knew, Noah barked, followed by that horrible rotting flesh smell….

I actually managed to kind of sleep until 6am, and then the search was on for hydrogen peroxide. Under the kitchen sink? Nope. How about the bathroom cabinet? Nope, but I did straighten up under there. Maybe. Just maybe there would be some out in the laundry dungeon. BINGO!!!! I was so glad to see that ancient bottle of H2O2.

Here’s the formula, in case you haven’t heard of it: 1 bottle of hydrogen peroxide (2 cups,) 2 Tbsp baking soda, and 1 Tbsp dish detergent (like Dawn.) Mix well, and wash the skunky parts of your dog with this. Try to let it sit on your dog for a few minutes, and then rinse very well. Don’t put any leftover solution in a closed container and save it. Evidently it will explode.

Anyway, we are now all clean and relatively smell-less. It was actually very fortunate that I had decided to give Noah a bath yesterday. It was easy to identify where he stunk and just wash those parts.

Have a sweet smelling weekend everyone!

How to Build a Better Pizza

  1. If you have “issues” with pizza, like you can’t stop eating it, or you are not eating wheat or cheese or whatever, then don’t even start.
  2. If you have problems with honesty, forget about it. This is the kind of food assemblage that requires brutal honesty.
  3. But if you really enjoy pizza, and would like to have it once in a while without breaking the calorie bank, read on.

I made this pizza out of stuff I had leftover in my fridge. Look through your refrigerator and see what you have that might be good for pizza toppings. In my opinion, you need mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce for it to be a real pizza.

What I had on hand: mushrooms, onion, pineapple, roma tomatoes, a little bit of pepperoni, and some olives. I use Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza crust. I love this stuff. The dough comes pre-made in a plastic bag that you can stick in the freezer until the mood hits.

You also need a piece of scratch paper to write down the calories on all the stuff you add to the pizza. This pizza dough is supposed to make enough crust for 8 slices. But I stretched it extra thin, so it ended up making 12 nice sized pieces.

I measured out the marinara sauce (I used Contadina’s for this. I also like TJ’s marinara sauce.) Both of them are pretty low in calories. I used string cheese for the cheese. Just because they are pre-measured, and I don’t use much cheese. I thought I would only use 2 (2 ounces.) That was really pretty skimpy, so I added a third. I sliced the mushrooms and onions, and spread them on there. And then measured out a couple Tbsp of olives, and cut up one cup of fresh pineapple. And I cut the 8 little slices of pepperoni into little bits and spread it around. Oh, and then I cut up one roma tomato and added that on top.


Now here’s where the brutally honest part comes in. It would be so easy to add just a little bit more of this, or a dab more of that. But if you want to enjoy your pizza without guilt, just be honest. Only use what you measure and count.

Here’s how it added up:

  • Pizza dough:  960 cal
  • Pepperoni:     100 cal
  • Pineapple:       80 cal
  • Olives:              30 cal
  • Sauce:              60 cal
  • Cheese:         240 cal
  • Mush/Onion     45 cal
  • Tomato             15 cal

Grand total: 1530. Divided by 12, that makes it 127 calories per slice. The first night I took three slices, but that was really too much. Two slices would have been just right. The rest of the pizza was wrapped in foil and frozen for later. I reheat almost everything at 425 in my toaster oven. Just like fresh baked.

I always like to have some kind of plain green vegetable with my pizza. Not that I make pizza all that often–I probably make pizza once or twice a year. This was so delicious!


So did you guys hear that we had a freak snow storm here on Tuesday? It dumped so much snow so fast that I couldn’t get home for about three hours. There were cars sliding off the road all over the place, and both main roads that I take to get home were closed. I was so happy to get home before dark and to find that the electricity was still on.

Noah LOVES the snow.


The view off my deck the next morning:


We took a walk before it all melted away.



The end.



Salad Central

The secret to easy salads is having all the stuff on hand.  I usually keep romaine hearts and a tub of the baby lettuce in the fridge.  And baby carrots.  And pre-cooked meat in the freezer.  And then all the fun stuff in the cupboard.  Oh, and goat cheese in the fridge.  And  balsamic vinegar and olive oil and mustard and honey.

Okay.  It doesn’t sound easy, but it really is.  The other day I bought a bag of those little frozen pre-cooked salad shrimpies.  Very good in salads, really low cal, and a good protein kick for your calorie expenditure.  Yesterday I was so lazy that I made the salad dressing in the bowl I was going to eat the salad in (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt and pepper) and added THREE ingredients.  Toss and eat.  And it was yummy!!  The three ingredients?  Romaine lettuce, baby shrimps, and baby carrots.

Today I had one of my favorite combos.  I have to give credit to Vicky for the combo idea.  Chicken, lettuce, chopped almonds, orange pieces, and goat cheese (blue cheese if you have it.)  I made the same salad dressing for this one.  Oh so scrumptious.  I took a little piece of chicken out of the freezer, and thought it was awful small, so I weighed it.  Only two ounces, but it was just right for a salad.

Other happenings around here:  I’ve been quilting up a storm.  Blogging about it over on the quilt blog.  

Spinning some yarn up:

‘Cause I’ve been knitting a lot.

My friend mentioned these little solar yard lights, and I thought it would be a good idea for my yard.  But when I looked at Walmart, they were too expensive. Then I was in there this past Friday getting some fertilizer, and these little yard lites were on sale!!  I wish I could take a picture that shows them sparkling in the yard at night.  So pretty.  And now when I take the dogs out for their ‘last call,’ I won’t stumble over the planters!

Guess who’s got a new friend?  Noah is THRILLED that Bess has initiated playtime with him.

And the traditional ear-licking at the end of play.  Dont’ ask me what that means.  We probably don’t want to know.

Happy Birthday, Big Boy!

Seems like only  yesterday that Noah the Big White Dog (he has aspirations of beating Clifford in the book stores) was a sweet little ball of fluff.

Early on, he showed keen interest in landscaping.  I should have realized then…

An early hunt for eligible sticks.

An aspiring blog writer, this is his first discovery of the fascination of the computer.

And the career as “Stick Boy the Magnificent” began!

I don’t know why I complained so much.  Noah was a cheap date.  Playing with his favorite ‘toy’ (an empty gallon plastic milk jug.)


And when no big sticks were available?  He used his imagination.

He has friends in high places (the Queen grants an audience.)

He’d like to be a couch potato.

But has settled into being a floor potato.

He’s just a darned handsome guy.

With a mom who wants to share way too many photos.

And now, he’s made his move into the world of fashion photography!!!


(I know its hard to believe, but that is not me in the magazine ad.  Okay, its not Noah either.  But where on earth did they ever find a Big White Dog that looked exactly like Noah?)

Raising Noah has been a grand adventure.  My dad always said he thought I ended up with Noah for a purpose, to learn something.  At the time, I just said something like ‘harumph.’  But I do believe I have learned more about dogs, and maybe a little about myself, from Noah, than I have in all my years of raising and owning dogs.  That said, I hope he lives a LONG TIME.  Because I don’t think I can do that again LOL!

Happy Birthday, Big Boy!  Momma loves you.


What’s the Difference?

Just got back from the morning “Challenge Walk.”  The challenge being, how long can I walk without having to pee LOL?  Dang it.  Am I the only one for whom this is a problem, especially with the morning walks?  Anyway, the challenge was to go a bit farther today, which I did.  And the walk still only took 1 1/2 hours–go me.  The legs alternate between “oh something is loose in there,”  to “dull ache, just keep going” to “glimmer of hope, feeling as strong as I did a month or so ago!”

Started the walk a little earlier than scheduled, since it was gray outside and showers were predicted.  Around here, “showers predicted” can mean it stays gray all day, and then rains for about 10 minutes at 5pm.  I was hopeful that we would miss the rain.  No such luck.  It started raining before we turned around, so half the walk was in the rain.  It was fun.  for a while.

Noah thought he deserved a treat after walking that far in the rain.

So now I am speeding things up a bit again, and heading out the door to the gym at 12:30 instead of at 2pm.  Because today is a day you want to stay inside on the couch, with a nice fire in the woodstove.  If I wait too long, I might not make it to the gym.  But if I go early, there will be more couch time this afternoon.

I wanted to answer the question, “What’s the difference? between what I’m doing this week and my regular life.  Because I’ve asked that question myself.  Well, probably the biggest difference is time. I have an idea in my mind of how much time should be spent on exercise in  real life.  I am prepared to spend up to 1 hour a day, 6 days a week, because the NWCR says that most people that maintain their weight loss exercise an average of an hour a day.  Okay.  That’s more than I’d prefer to spend, but I’m willing to go for it.  So that means that if I go for the long walk with Noah, I skip the gym.  If I go to the gym, I limit the time there, because I still need to go for at least a short walk with Noah.  If you look at the schedule I set out, I designated 4 hours for exercise. That’s just not gonna happen in real life, retired or not.  I CHOOSE NOT to exercise that much.  And yet, I wanted to challenge myself to be disciplined about exercise.  To show myself that I indeed could take a long walk and go to the gym.  And on a day that I did that much exercise, I could still eat a very reasonable amount of food, as long as I chose carefully, and made sure it was fuel (delicious fuel, but fuel nonetheless.)  The other thing that’s a little different is “letting myself off the hook.”  By preparing all the food ahead of time, and making the decision that there would be no additional cooking or baking during Spa Week, and also doing the house cleaning on Saturday,  I freed up the time to concentrate on the exercise and the relaxing.  Its just fun to be intentional sometimes.

Menu for the day:

  • Breakfast:  Katie’s Pumpkin Bread in a Bowl  (sub’ing 1/4 cup of eggbeaters for 1/4 cup of almond milk.)
  • After-walk snack:  Cottage cheese, crushed pineapple, and walnuts.
  • Lunch:  Red Lentil and rice salad by Vicky
  • Afternoon snack with coffee (maybe at Starbuck’s?):  apple with laughing cow cheese wedge and walnuts
  • Dinner:  Taco soup and honeydew melon
  • Dessert:  Gluten free Coconut cashew cookies by Vicky

Got the results of my mammogram.  Most exciting words on the test results?  “There is evidence of interval weight loss. “  Oh yeah, baby.  Those words were music to my ears.  And for those of you who are keeping track, yes, my last mammogram was November 2004.  Oops.  Oh, and the result of my mammogram was “normal.”

I’m off to the gym!  Wish me luck.  I might even get in the pool.  Because the draw of those “tiny bubbles” afterwards is almost irresistible.

Blogging–What is it Good For?

How old are you people?  Who remembers the next line to that song?  


Well, thankfully, that’s not what I really think about blogging.

But I have been thinking a lot about whether or not blogging is helpful for those of us trying to lose weight or maintain a weight loss.  This is such a dicey subject.  I never want to discourage anybody or heaven forbid, insult someone.  But does anyone else think about this?  All that information out there.  So much of it conflicting.  So many are SURE that they have found THE WAY to succeed.  If you are doing ANYTHING OTHER THAN THEIR WAY, you are doomed to fail.  Leave out this food group.  Don’t forget to include that food group.  Get on the scale.  Stay off the scale.  Lift weights.  Only do body weight resistance exercises.  People eating cupcakes and losing weight–DOGGONE IT THAT IS NOT FAIR.  Don’t weigh or measure your food.  Count calories.  Don’t count calories.  Be sure to journal.  Be intuitive.  Don’t be intuitive, just be mindful.  Your body has a set point–a weight it wants to stay at–don’t bother trying to weigh less than that, you’re bound to fail.  The body is extremely complex, and there are factors working against weight loss that we don’t even know about yet.  And so much more.

The thing about most of this stuff is, it is all theoretical.  Almost everybody presents their point of view as FACT.  This kind of drives me nuts.

Then, there is the whole never-ending cyclical nature of the thing.  Here’s what I think.  90% or more of people blogging about losing weight are never going to reach and/or maintain the weight goal that they have set for themselves.  Its difficult to watch people hitting their head against a brick wall day after day.  Sometimes I think I should switch sides–go over to that HAES side of town.  But those people scare me!  They are so angry about how fat people are treated.  I never ever felt that way.

Oh I can hear you now.  “Well debby is just [frustrated/bitter/angry/sad/fill in the blank] because her weight is up and she can’t lose it.”  Possibly.  “Well, gosh debby, no one is holding a gun to your head and making you read this stuff.”  Ah, excellent point.  I even wondered today if all this negative thought was an extension of grief that I am not even aware of.  Could be.

Well, the thing is, when all is said and done, blogging has enlarged my life.  My circle of friends extends all the way across the United States!  Truly, there are many of you I would love to meet in person and would feel very comfortable spending time with you because I already know you so well.  In fact, I have had the opportunity to meet two of my blog friends in person (waves to Shelley and Pubsgal) and that has added another dimension to our relationship.  I have seen a waterfall I never would have seen and it was truly one of the delights of my life in the past few years, thanks to Loretta.  Which, BTW, Loretta is one of my true weight loss
heros. Starting out with  a tremendous amount of weight to lose, she has lost more than most of us already, and still has a ways to go.  And though it is a struggle, she continues on.  Her blogs are honest and inspiring.

Then there is my BIF, good buddy Jill.  Our friendship has extended beyond the world of blogs–SO FUN!

Miz inspired me to take my art seriously with her probing questions (what would you do if you knew you could not fail?)

Shelley recommended a swimsuit for me to order, and then ‘held my hand’ when I was intimidated to wear it in public.

Lori is always giving me ideas for dinner LOL.  Since she lives in NY, I usually check her blog at 4pm, and if I don’t have an idea for dinner, she usually has something healthy and tasty on her plate.  Check out her dinner here, and then look at what I had the same night.

Barbeque chicken salad with avocado and laughing cow, and a fresh peach.

Then there’s the whole personal introspection thing.  I have enjoyed chronicling my life through pictures.  Dare I say I have become a better photographer through challenging myself to provide for the blog?  (Hey, they’re not all art…)  I think I enjoy my dogs more because of the personalities you have assigned to them.  And I do believe I kept my sanity and Noah possibly kept his life by blogging about the trials and tribulations of raising a BIG WHITE DOG.

I probably get carried away sometimes, but I really like trying new recipes, trying to healthify some of my favorite foods to share with all of you here on the blog.  Here’s my latest creation:

Blackberry frozen yogurt!  2 cups fresh blackberries, 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt, 1/4 cup agave nectar, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp vanilla.  EXCELLENT!  Very refreshing, and if you divide it into 5 large servings, only 120 calories each.

Lastly (at least for tonight,)  I have had a captive audience to share my artistic creations with.  Here is a quilt that I challenged myself to quilt and finish in  two days (the top was already pieced.)  Did I tell you guys about the church that promotes the arts (also known as the froyo church) and that they had a quilt display, and had about seven of my quilts on display for the month of June?  That was so fun.  I think the best part of creating art is sharing it with others.  Anyway, this church is going to have a special evening to celebrate the arts and spirituality, and the woman in charge asked if I had any other quilts that they could use.  I had this top, and that is why I challenged myself to finish it in two days.  It started out as an abstract color block experiment, and then it looked to me like an empty tomb in the middle, so I finished it that way.  I really love it, and I enjoyed quilting it.  Many times I feel tortured when it comes to the quilting part–decisions, you know.

"He is not here"

Close ups:

And just so ya know, I am exercising more than ever, eating really healthy stuff most of the time, even choosing salads when I go out for dinner (SCORE!) but for now I’m  not doing enough to lose weight.  I feel better than I have in ages, mostly due to my back not hurting.

Well,  this post was all over the place.  If I was a professional blogger, I would take the time to develop my ideas more carefully.  But I’m not, so you’ll just have to muddle through with me.  Last note, I did not include all the bloggers that I enjoy and that have encouraged and cheered me through the years.  My apologies, I hope you know how very much I appreciate you.


Yep.  I’ve been pondering my own blog post.  Ever since I wrote that last one.  I feel fitter and healthier than I ever have.  But when I catch a glimpse of myself in a window or the mirrors at the gym, or horrors, some very unflattering picture that some other blogger posted on their blog (NO, I am not providing a link to that blog, LOL,) it does not match how I feel.  So can I be content with that being the image that others see me as, and only the inner knowledge that I am fit and healthy?  I think my brother’s words were wiser than I first thought–“Don’t settle.”

Yesterday I went for a walk–the four mile version.  I went for a walk the day before that. Today I will go for another walk.  I am still tracking all my activities on the  President’s Challenge:  I have earned 10,000 points since April 27.  Almost all of those points are from walking.  You have to earn 40,000 points for the bronze award.  I’m aiming to earn the bronze award by the end of the year.  In case anyone is interested, that works out to approximately 101 miles walked in the past two months.

I think a lot about my time these days.  Having three dogs takes quite a bit of time.  In and out. Out and in.  Take this collar off, put that collar off.  Really, its time to eat AGAIN?  I started feeding all my dogs twice a day.  Sophie was glad that I finally caught on that it is also best for doggies to eat small frequent meals throughout the day.  Did I ever tell you that when I went to get Mr. Monk, they had a female pug that had come in at the same time as him?  I was willing to adopt both of them, but the female had already been reserved.  Good thing for me.  Can you imagine if I had a Dowager Empress in the house competing with the Queen for top spot?

Me thinks not.

I do believe those Rocco Dispirito brownies are the best healthy brownies I have ever made.  I think Rocco went overboard trying to make healthy brownies, because I found a different recipe online that was only 53 calories per brownie, and from the looks of that recipe, that is all they would taste like.  I think he developed this recipe second.  It is definitely worthy.  I gave most of them away, to two Weight Watcher friends, to get their opinion.  One of them said they were almost too rich.  Her non-dieting husband ate all the rest of them.  He didn’t know til afterwards that they were ‘black bean brownies.’  Anyway, I found them to be rich and fudgy, and definitely satisfying to have just one.  135 calories with 1/4 cup of raisins and 1/4 cup of walnuts added.  I read somewhere about someone taking the time to remove the skins off of the beans.  This might improve the texture a little bit, but I don’t know that it would be worth the time.  I think the secret is really pulverizing those beans in the blender or the food processor.

The last brownie.

Yesterday on the walk, I challenged myself to walk as quickly as I could up the steep hill with no stops or slowdowns.  I counted the steps–275.  That’s the same as going up 11 flights of stairs without stopping!  Me and Noah did 4 miles.  That’s cause we got out before 7:30, before it got too hot.  On the way home I saw a baby bird just sitting on the road.  It looked a little stunned.  I nudged it a bit, and thankfully,  it flew up into a nearby branch.  I bet it crash landed on its first flight out of the nest.

Did I tell you I did take my first swim of the year?  that was a relief to get that over with.  And I couldn’t believe how out of swimming shape I was.  I did four laps and thought I couldn’t go any longer!  I did keep swimming for about 20 minutes.  Does anybody else have the experience of swimming making them extra hungry?

The scale seems to be moving slowly in the right direction.  I am cautiously optimistic.  I will let you know when I reach ‘goal’ again.

Well, those are the random thoughts for the past few days.  Here is Noah’s blinky face.  We need to get out for a walk before it gets too hot, and before I have to leave for my long-awaited appointment at the ortho doctor (for my hands.)

Have a great weekend everyone!