Plants in Progress!

The cucumbers and squashes!

About two weeks ago I shared with you all my latest venture with growing plants indoors. I figured that I needed to start super early here in northern New Hampshire, zone 4b. ( according to the USDA map) Usually I buy my plants already started and we plant them in early June. This year I thought that I could start them indoors and transfer to our greenhouse sometime in May.

In just two short weeks the Boston Pickling Cucumbers and Straight Eights are thriving and look like they may need repotting within a week or two. Now I’m on the hunt for bigger containers to repot them before we leave for Las Vegas in late April. ( I will dedicate a post to that trip soon after)

Now I know that this process doesn’t take long indoors! I’ll plant the seeds in early May next year for a month of growth before putting in the ground. So this year we will have to try to baby them until it’s safe to plant outdoors! Thankfully we have our new greenhouse to help next month.

Happy planting friends! Have a blessed week!

All My Best,

Mary ❤️


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A New Lifestyle ( My tips on Successful Weight Loss)

Before
at 162 lbs

About 10 months later,
after at 132 lbs


Listen to me…I’m no expert nor do I pretend that I know what the right practices for your lifestyle will be. I’ll tell you what I do know and what I’m 100 % confident about as it pertains to my life. If you want to lose weight and become fit, you need to throw away the word diet from your vocabulary. Once you commit to a diet it solidifies pressure on many aspects of your life such as your eating habits, social eating, your exercise regiment, etc. This kind of deep hold on your life works but what I’ve learned is that it doesn’t last. Eventually it fizzles out!

My weight loss journey unexpectedly was launched through a stressful situation. I don’t wish this on anyone but it catapulted me into a different version of my life. It was a negative that transformed into a life changing positive. ( Thank you God) I was living from one sweet to the next with an overload of non-nutritious foods on the menu. I didn’t exercise nor did I wish to. I was sick for weeks every winter with a run down immune system. Lastly my emotional and mental well being went haywire, thrusting me into rough waters to try to swim out of.

One day I woke up…really emerged and I asked myself, is this the way I want to truly live, to exist and not thrive? That day I set a mini goal on the horizon, that I lose a little weight for my son’s wedding. Then I started eating healthier and lighter. Instead of eating a whole sandwich at lunch, I cut back to a half. I snacked on almonds, pistachios, fruit and veggies and hummus. I walked a few times a week with my neighbor Anita, not only experiencing a great workout but a mental strengthener from our enlightening conversations.

As my journey progressed, I maintained active in my garden and did yard work. I stacked wood with Tom while sucking my abs and bottom in. ( This sounds wacky but I feel it helped) I practiced my old Denise Austin aerobic/ exercise/ weight training dvd a few times a week. I journaled( and still do this) all the meals and snacks I ate so that I would see what I actually shoved in my mouth on a daily basis. It’s a fantastic way to stay accountable to yourself. This has been quite an eye opener as I didn’t realize how much I was eating. Journaling goes hand in hand with meal and snack planning. Jot down what your meals and snacks will be for the week and use this for a generated grocery list. Try a variety of foods so you don’t tire of your choices.

stin also has a website and free exercise videos here and there

One trick that worked for me was not weighing myself. In the past on my weight loss journey, I would get upset if the scale didn’t favor me so in turn I ate. This time I went for months not weighing myself but gauged my progress through how I felt physically and how my clothes fit me. As they got baggier and bigger I knew that I was getting favorable results. Now I weigh myself once a week at school for The Biggest Loser program, which isn’t a competition but an individual track of your personal weight loss.

As of yet I have lost 33 pounds and feel unbelievable! I feel healthy, fit and in turn that helps me emotionally and mentally. Knock on wood, I haven’t caught the flu or even a cold this winter! Proper sleep at night and a multi- vitamin has its benefits as well.

Here are some of my tips that may help you:

Start small without huge expectations and pressure

Downscale your meals at first, focusing eating a variety of fresh vegetables, a protein every meal and limited carbs like potato and rice

Eat two snacks a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. That would put you at five times a day of eating( three meals and two snacks)

Drink lots of water and stay hydrated

Start exercising a few minutes at a time every day or every other day. I started at three times a week with the dvd and now I practice it four to five days a week, 50 minute workouts every time

Walk with a friend twice a week to start. Make sure you stretch first to avoid painful Charlie horses at night. This happened to me last summer! Ouch!

I skip eating bread all but maybe a piece of toast a week and sometimes a half a sandwich at lunch. It’s been a tough adjustment as I love bread! But I’ve done it and sometimes I treat myself!

Try to not talk too much about your new lifestyle, unless it’s collaboration with a friend who is doing the same thing.  Sometimes talking about a diet to everyone puts pressure on yourself.

Try simple body moves while washing the dishes or brushing your teeth. I do a stretch where I try to keep my heels up tall and squeeze my legs, calves, thighs, inner thighs, bottom and abs as I go up and down a few reps. While washing dishes I kick my legs up on each side six reps while sucking my abs and bottom in.

My great snack ideas that have worked for me:

Carrot or celery sticks with hummus ( I love red pepper and the garlic flavors)

celery sticks with peanut butter

10 whole cashews, 15 almonds,or 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds

apple slices and peanut butter ( sometimes I sprinkle dark chocolate chips and granola pieces on them)

pretzels with hummus

roasted chick peas 1/4 cup a serving, a great source of protein!

Avocado slices and ak- mak sesame crackers

one orange, two clementines, half a banana, one cup berries are all one serving for me

one mini box of raisins


Breakfast ideas:

One piece of whole grain toast ( I buy loaves of freshly baked bread from a bakery in Vermont that sells to Shaw’s) with two tablespoons peanut butter, a half of banana or apple slices

An overnight oatmeal cup, 1/2 cup steelcut oats, 1/2 cup milk, one tablespoon peanut butter, place in a small mason or jelly jar, set in fridge overnight. The next morning add apple chunks or banana slices and more milk if needed. You can eat this hot or cold, I enjoy it cold.

1/2 cup Grape Nuts or Kasha Shredded Wheat cereal with fruit

1 cooked egg with spinach and garlic, one or two slices bacon

2 small homemade pancakes with fruit one tablespoon maple syrup

Treat yourself





One important aspect of my new eating lifestyle is treating myself! I have always savored chocolate and have adamantly decided that I will still eat it in moderation. Most of the time I treat myself three times a week, mostly on weekends so I can workout to limit the damage. Sometimes I indulge in a cup of Haagen Daas almond milk ice cream or a homemade cookie or two. Other times I have a few squares of dark chocolate or dark chocolate raisins. Don’t feel guilty if you go off track, after all you are human! Maybe a rigorous walk or workout will offset your treat intake.

freshly cut carrot sticks to roast, a delicious side dish!

I will post on this topic again as I try new things in my new life and will communicate my strengths and shortfalls. All I know now is that as a 49 plus woman ( a few months shy of the big 50), I currently feel the best that I have ever felt physically! I wish this success for you as well! I feel women need to support other women during the journey instead of tearing each other down!

Believe in yourself for you are worth changing your routine! It may take a few weeks of trial and error with building confidence, but stick with it until it becomes a positive habit.

Let me know how your eating/ exercise regiment is going. Are you committed to feeling the best you ever have? If so, take a chance and make small changes that could grow into an amazing positive lifestyle!

I made these low fat Chocolate Chip cookies with banana yesterday. All they have is two ripened bananas mashed, 1 cup oats, 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, 1/2 tsp. Vanilla. Mix together. Place in tablespoons on cookie sheet. Flatten with a fork. Bake at 350 F for ten or twelve minutes. They will be soft and need to be stored in the refrigerator.



All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💕

Living One Day at a Time

My beautiful girl, Katie


It was Wednesday February 14th, Valentine’s Day…usually a day of celebrations of love and family. This year God had other life surprises in store, filled with solemn moments and bursts of reality of true acceptance. Our oldest cat Katie ( who is 15 1/2) suddenly stopped eating and drinking. It’s not that I didn’t see some startling signs, for months she’s ate with little eagerness, stopping here and there. It would take her over an hour to consume her dish of food. Maybe I was deeply engulfed in a state of denial, a steadfast belief that she had years to live.

It’s been 10 long days since the vet visit and the diagnosis of kidney failure and the acceptance of what is. Tom and I are nursing our precious kitty to the best of our ability. We’ve put bowls of water in four rooms, trying to accommodate and remind her to drink more. Since she won’t eat her regular dry food I bought baby chicken food, something she eats bites of here and there but not eagerly. Lexy brought over senior delectable liquid treats, tuna and chicken flavors. Katie started out eating them but not so much anymore. We are down to probably days or moments with her, something I thought I’d never be strong enough for. It’s a period of watching anxiously and praying for God’s guidance. Here we are contemplating when to bring her to the vets to say goodbye, to let go of our loved Katie so she can go over the rainbow into heaven.

Katie is our beautiful striped kitty, my first pet love, who we raised with our sons as part of our family. As most of you probably can imagine and relate to, it’s breaking my heart to see her this way. I keep praying for strength and peace, for her to show us signs when it’s time to let go. God is with us and Im truly thankful for that!❤️😃

Please keep her and our family in prayer. ❤️❤️❤️🌈

All My Best,

Mary ❤️

Toppled Trees

When trees coming crashing down into yards, the landscape and sometimes the roads are affected.  Monstrous branches with emerald green foliage plummet to the earth making us wonder how this tree lived for so long upright.Things come to a stand still as people wrap their brains around a sudden event. The chainsaws come out much to a working man’s satisfaction( for what man doesn’t love a good chainsaw cutting). My husband is one of those men with a lumberjack tendency.

With these unexpected falls, roads can be blocked and everyone just stops. Cars wait or turn around as road crews work their magic. Every now and then power lines whip down from the weight of bulky snow or from the piercing force of winds. A few summers ago our town had a road blocked and power out because of a tumbled tree. Our little hamlet came to a standstill for a few short hours.

Maple stood erect and towered towards the heavens with it’s sturdy branches intact. Until one day…a few years back a major appendage to this tree plummeted to the ground in a wind storm. For countless years this maple hovered over the yard, providing well needed shade and a sense of comfort to all. It witnessed many families come and go. We were just one of a few families who lived in the “cottage” at the Geneen Estate, appreciating that tree.


As Tom assessed the scope of the situation, I grabbed my camera and flashed photos. Most people overlook the significance of a downed tree or major limb. The towering tree still proudly stood but it was scarred. It would never be the same.  But as we know, humans can also be hurt and changed but they amazingly adapt, staying strong. That maple still stands proudly lacing the property, providing shade for the new young family living there.

After a couple of hours of cutting and tedious piling up heavy branches,  the yard was once again manicured, resembling a show piece. That’s what my caretaker husband prides himself on. That day as we trekked down the winding driveway, Tom and I had a new appreciation of all the towering trees, stretching our necks up to see the wondrous erect trunks and widespread branches. Their elegance framed the estate’s winding driveway, like standing soldiers guarding something precious.

Thank God for trees and the beauty, shade and oxygen that they gift us!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

How I Transformed a Dislike into a Love ❤️

Can you tell that I enjoy cooking now?

For many years cooking for my family unfortunately was one of my disliked chores. It’s not that I didn’t love serving my family but every day and night I had to rack my brain of meal ideas and then magically throw them together for their consumption. It was the constant pressure of having it done by 5:30 or 6 and no matter what was happening with the kids, it just had to be on the table for all. I can imagine many of you busy moms feel the same way, right?

Fresh sliced tomatoes. Yum!

With that said, the last six months I’ve noticed a change from dread to excitement with a burst of creativity. It may be because there’s just the two of us now or the fact that I wanted to transform these feelings from dread to desire. It happened slowly at first. My flourishing garden produced fresh herbs, greens, carrots and tomatoes ( to name a few), kindling my interest in cooking. As you may know, mastering delicious and healthy meals depends on fresh ingredients!

My garden from last summer!

I would pick the ingredients in the afternoon for supper that night. It was straight from our rich soil to the dinner plate. This excited me beyond belief that I was homesteading in some ways! The food started tasting more delicious, for with freshly grown ingredients and locally raised meat how could you go wrong? I experimented with pungent Basil, sassy Cilantro and lemon Thyme.

My youngest son was greatly influenced by this, learning the herb names and cutting his own for his cooking creations. His interest intensified mine and my love for cooking grew even more! There were a few summer meals we co- cooked, which was so much fun!

My veggie harvest for my dinner!

With a positive and creative outlook, my disliked chore is a loved one now! I think I got tired of the dread hanging over me and I wanted to feel good about creating dinner! Now I plan ahead with the ingredients, read cookbooks, browse Pinterest and borrow recipes from my blogging friends, all to craft delicious meals for my family. I’m truly grateful for making this change and turning meal time into love! Wow, the food tastes more delicious because of my new passion!

Is there a household chore you dread and dislike? Could you put some imagination and creativity into it to make it fun and rewarding? Can you make a game of it? Is there a way you can have fun doing it by listening to a podcast or your favorite music? Whatever it is, I do hope you can beautify this chore to something incredible!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💕

Spring Dreams

The other day the latest Gurney’s catalog arrived launching my inner gardening planner to action. Although it’s been years since I’ve purchased anything, they continue to send it in hopes that I eventually buy. As February rapidly approaches, I dreamily think of spring gardening.

Last years front yard perennial bed

Who else jots down garden ideas, browses through perennial books and sketches plots in mid winter? I do happily , while I can’t wait to dig in the earth and be connected to nature. My new spring goal is to plant a new perennial bed in front of my husbands’ beautiful barn. I am pretty excited to put up our greenhouse ( that my dad gave us) and start seeds a little earlier! I’ll keep you all posted with it all!

All My Best,

Mary 💜

Cleaning The Fridge

Are you a procrastinator when it comes to cleaning your refrigerator? Then you are like me! Join the club of many who know an organized and clean fridge is a must but honestly it’s on the bottom of the priority list. So I’m writing this to share my thoughts and hope to revitalize this chore and get it done soon!

Many times I use up leftover meats and side dishes ( see my leftovers post), but there are the times a dish gets pushed back of the lot to make room. Those times it’s pretty much forgotten until we run out of room and then I have to haul the unused dishes out. Usually it’s frozen( I’ve tried to adjust the cold settings and no matter what items tend to freeze in the back if our fridge) and marked and dated on the lid.

It’s a good idea to check the shelves once a week and I do hope I can follow my own advice. Heave old food that’s outdated. Label leftovers with a date and use within a few days, to not exceed a week. I keep a sharpie marker in my kitchen so it’s handy to label leftovers.

65858190-D30A-46F1-8F5F-4099E27B5327.jpeg

A good time to clean the fridge is when it’s empty, before you grocery shop. Take all the condiments and goods out. Wash the shelves with soapy water with baking soda. Dry with a towel and place back in. Take bins and egg crates out as well and plunge in the soapy sink. Place a new box of baking soda on the shelf to absorb odors. Replace every few months.

To prevent messes from spills, line your fridge shelves with wax paper. Once they are dirty or food ridden, either wipe off or throw away. Plastic wrap works as well but I prefer the wax paper.

If you practice doing this every month, your refrigerator won’t be a shameful embarrassment but organized and clean. Whenever I have company I hope they won’t open my fridge. True sentiments. Eek! You never know what’s living in there!

Let’s work on this together…clean your fridge and see how GREAT and organized  it looks and you’ll feel GREAT because of it!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤