Three Years Ago

January 10, 2016…three years ago I settled in my recliner to write my first blog post. Back then I didn’t know what to expect or if anyone would even be interested in reading it. It was the first time in a very long while that I put caution to the wind and really took a chance. Those fleeting moments of filling the page with words felt liberating. There…I had done it. I listened to my heart and invested in the possibilities. It felt like I had unleashed a woman who had hidden within me for ages, not only a married working mom, but a writer who had copious words and stories to share. This passion has always lived within me, bubbling up finally. I thought maybe no one would care. Maybe someone would. I simply trusted myself and my readers and put it out there.

Since then I’ve learned that not everyone in your life will pay attention or care. Some joke about my blog like it’s a stupid thing or that its funny. That’s okay! But some have been interested and have encouraged me along the way! They signed up for my email! They read now and then and comment, sharing in my experiences in life. Whether you are my family of friends or ones who have stumbled upon my site, it doesn’t matter. What matters to me is that you care, that you support me as I travel this special journey. I’m eternally grateful for your support, your love and friendship.

As I continue this journey and dream of compiling my penned posts, I am considering taking writing classes to learn more. I hope you all will stay connected with me. I wish you all peace, joy and love as you start this new year.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

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Spreading Kindness in the New Year ❤️

‘‘Tis the season to spread a blanket of kindness everywhere you roam! 

Here are some ideas I thought of to spread kindness! 

Pay the road toll for the person behind you.

A little bit of summer, my way of spreading kindness to you!

Let someone with less groceries to skip in front of you in the check out line. ( I do this all the time, it’s a great feeling!)

Put little chocolates in someone’s mailbox at work.

If you work at school, take a co- worker’s duty on your duty free day.

Make sure to comment someone on their haircut or new sweater if you notice it.

Listen to others and don’t listen to respond. Just really listen! 

Bake for your co- workers and friends.

 Bake for nursing homes and hospitals.

Smile at others, the simplest gesture!

Help a handicapped shopper at the store.


If we all pay attention to spreading kindness, our corner of the world would be more peaceful, don’t you agree?

All My Best,

Mary ❤️

Low Fat Snack Ideas

Over the summer I’ve lost weight due to emotional stress. From there I decided to start eating healthy and cut back on snacks. All summer I pretty much just ate three meals a day with a rumbling tummy in between. Each meal had protein of some kind ( chicken, fish, venison to name a few), a generous serving of fresh veggies and sometimes  a very small amount of rice or potatoes. I drank lots of ice water and stayed hydrated and still do at school. IMG_0138 One factor in my weight loss has been staying active. All summer I helped Tom with cleaning the yard, stacking heavy wood, walking and gardening movement. Healthy eating and physical exercise go together in successful weight loss. IMG_0156   Recently I’ve talked to Christine, our school nurse, who’s lost lots of weight and her advice was to eat snacks and small meals every two or three hours. Otherwise you gain more weight when you do eat because of going so long and of the hunger. She gave me a computer generated list of snacks 100 calories or less. I’m grateful for Christine’s mentoring, which has aided me as I continue my journey. I’ll star my favorites that I’ve had the last few weeks.   IMG_0157  

Fresh cucumber sticks and hummus

 

15 almonds *

 

two tablespoons sunflower seeds *

 

One hard boiled egg ( I’ve been having two for lunch with cucumber and hummus)

 

1 Tablespoon peanut butter

 

one banana ( I use 1/2 a banana with 1/2 cup Grapenuts cereal for breakfast)

 

one apple *

 

one pear

 

1 1/2 cup fresh berries *

 

1 1\2 cup cut up watermelon *

        My advice with snacking is NOT to buy tempting sweets, chips or candy that you can’t say no to. I made chocolate chip cookies for a care package for my son and his girlfriend in Cambridge. I had one cookie and it simply was delicious and it tasted like another. But I asked Tom to hide the rest and he was satisfied with that, as the rest of the batch was his.       Happy snacking! Plan healthy and pack small amounts for work and trips. I believe the trick is planning from the grocery list to anticipating unusual circumstances where binge or fast food would be a temptation. If you are always prepared with bottles of water, it will make your snacking healthy easier!     All My Best, Heart and Soul 💕
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This is my favorite family photo from my son’s wedding. I lost just under twenty pounds for the occasion.

I’ve Been Thinking…By Maria Shriver

 

 

I stumbled upon my latest find by accident but maybe it was a  divine intervention. My sister and I attended a Keith Urban concert and stayed over in a hotel that night. She had this book in her bag, I’ve Been Thinking…Reflections, Prayers and Meditations for a Meaningful Life by Maria Shriver. I noticed it and thumbed through it and later purchased it after my sister ranted and raved over it.

 

My sister and I at the concert. What a great night we had, dancing, celebrating life and talking most of the night. I love my younger sister so much!

 

I love Maria Shriver and what she stands for. She is a strong woman, a person who knows what she wants to do( find a cure and an answer for Alzheimer’s, her true mission),who writes poetically with her heart and soul and has featured a Facebook video in the past with Christina Ferrare. These were about a year and a half ago, focusing on healthy foods for a healthy brain and body. What I loved about the videos was that these two are obvious friends and had a charisma and humor that kept you glued to it. I miss them but I’m getting my fill of Maria by reading her book.

 

Each chapter has various reflections that affect women and can strengthen them. She features joy in the home,gratitude, forgiveness, the power of positive thinking and letting go. Maria describes her battle with empty nest and where it has left her. I can relate to this as I’m experiencing the same thing.

 

I loved the chapter that focused on mental illness and how everyone has some form of it. It resonated with me because sometimes I feel like my thoughts are out of control and steamrolling the real me. Shriver says that everyone has mental problems and that it’s okay. She further says that “we all need to think about preserving its (the brain) health”. 

 

Lastly I encourage you to buy this book and rest it on your night stand. Read a bit at a time and reflect. Journal your thoughts and reflections after you read. If you enjoy short reflective chapters that make you think, then this is your book.

 

One last quote from Maria’s book that I love is,

I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.

-Carl Jung

Beautiful YOU

I love this quote because it’s so true! Many women need to accept themselves the way they are, including me!Just be yourself…for acting like someone else isn’t you. It’s fake. Do you want to be real and honest? Then just be you. Your friends and family will love you for who you are and the rest of the world doesn’t matter.

I’m placing this quote on my fridge for when I have self-doubt. Isn’t it just easier to be yourself with love and acceptance? I would imagine life will roll a lot smoother when you do this.

 

 

 

Happy summer, friends! I hope you all are enjoying it~

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Walking the Cat!

Walking the cat? Are you crazy? I can hear your surprised and amused comments and I first thought that too. Until my soon to be daughter-in-law suggested for me to start walking our cat Smokey. She walks her cat Smokey Joe outside and has been for a while.

 

 

Our two cats have always been inside cats. The reason is that we’ve lost two cats in the past, one to a coydog and one got run over in front of our house. We live on an intersection of two busy roads and don’t want to risk our cats being run over. With that said, with our cat Katie it’s always been easy. She loves being inside and secure and seems very content with her home. The few times our kids have brought her out she freaked out in fear. Our youngest cat Smokey is another story. He was born a barn cat and spent a little time outdoors with his mother before we got him. He’s always had a free spirit and would run out whenever he could.

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The last year or so it’s been worse. One time he got out and ran up our neighbors hill. I was afraid that he wouldn’t return and roam the nearby woods and find trouble. With both my sons’ help, we gathered him up and brought him back home. It was then that I knew we had a problem and we had to give him his outside time as he wishes for.

 

 

Branden and I bought a harness and leash in a pet store and started putting on the harness so he would get used to it. We take him on fifteen minute adventures most everyday except on rainy days. The funny thing is that he doesn’t even whine to go out on cloudy and rainy days. Must be that water thing…that cats just don’t like to get wet.

 

Smokey either wants to roll in the dirt, eat grass or hunt. The hunting aspect is a challenge and worry as I don’t want him to kill. There are little chipmunks around the yard and they know of his presence. One time I saw a poor little scared one tucked in between our fuel tank and the house. I felt so sorry for him that I immediately brought the cat inside. Who knows how long he/she would’ve been able to hide there!

 

So the “catwalk” continues…which really isn’t one as he walks in a low position and never gains ground as he stops here and there. There are many smells and textures of this outside world that Smokey has to learn. As he learns, I hope he can have some polite manners. Sometimes he growls or hisses at Branden and I if we take him in another direction from what he wants. The reason we do this is because of the birds and chipmunks and we don’t want him in the Poison Ivy.

After walking the cat I realize the differences between cats and dogs. I think dogs will follow you where you wish them to go, where cats have a mind of their own and get ticked off if they don’t get their way. Oh well, I signed up for this when we got our cats. I have no regrets as I buckle the harness for Smokey’s daily walk. Who knows what we will find but I do know he’s happier with the outside trek and that makes me happy as well.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

A Garden Update

It has been very hot and dry here in New Hampshire. With just a one day of rainfall until yesterday, I was becoming good friends with our new garden hose (Thanks so much to Tom and Dylan for setting up the outside faucet and hose for me). I’ve been trying to save my frail cucumber plants. Have you ever had trouble getting yours growing? I have…even with a daily watering habit the cucumbers are floppy and the stems are white. This happens to my tender plants early in the season if the weather is hot.

 

Thankfully the day before yesterday we had a deluge of rain, perking up my green plants and moistening the garden soil. It’s amazing how a significant rainfall can make a difference with their well-being. With a blink of the eye, the growth is unbelievable!

Here is our little corn patch, four meager rows. Tom and Branden love corn and I enjoy it too. I made the decision to rotate its placement.  Last year the corn rested on the East side facing, where the sun comes up and this growing season it’s on the West side.

My green beans have sprouted nicely forming an L shape in the East corner. I hope they are close enough to the fence to intertwine the vine on it. It would be cool to pick beans off the fence.

As most of you may know, I planted a bed of sunflowers for my son and daughter-in-law’s wedding in August. Here is a recent photo of one and even now, with the rainstorm, it’s a few inches taller. Next Tom and I plan to fence it in to protect it from deer and woodchucks. I’m grateful that I can do this and really hope they will be ready to pick by the 18th.

How are your gardens doing? Have you spent much time nurturing and talking to your plants as I have? I think that’s my mother-in-law’s success with growing flowers is simple, talk to them everyday and love them. You can’t go wrong with love, don’t you agree?

I hope you all are having a pleasant week. I plan to catch up and read many of your blog posts.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul