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Chinese New Year and Mardi Gras

Chinese New Year and Mardi Gras

I have still been on my break, to some degree.  I have been spending time with my family and on my life habits. I have been hugging more (not always getting 12 a day), being creative, being present, yelling less (and thinking about what the outcome is when I do yell), being more giving, and loving more.

artformom sunflower laughed

Here is a piece of art I did for my mom over the weekend.

I have spent a good deal of time thinking about what I want to accomplish, not just in 2016, but in my life. I am sure that as a result of the events of the last several years and just the aging process I have become much more thoughtful as to the impact that my actions have on the entire world and universe. Everything I do and say affects not just me, but my children and the world as a whole. This is not conceit or ego talking, rather the opposite. Thinking that my words and actions affect only me is truly self-centered. That is the ego. I have some fantastic goals for 2016, and as with my goals for the past half a decade or so, they will not be static but fluid, so I will try to share some of them and the progress throughout the year, but will not hold myself to such a strict plan as to be imprisoned by them.

One of the parts of WOWMotivation that I love the most is finding and posting uplifting and motivating quotes and pictures. I am being more consistent with that, which motivates me. As I was looking through the calendar for this week I was excited about some of the celebrations that this month brings. It has brought a whole new level of excitement and motivation for me.

Today is the Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival as it’s been called since the 20th century. It remains the most important social and economic holiday in China. Originally tied to the lunisolar Chinese calendar, the holiday was a time to honor household and heavenly deities as well as ancestors. It was also a time to bring family together for feasting. This year, the Chinese Zodiac brings in the Year of the Monkey; more precisely the Red Fire Monkey. From what I have read this will be a great year for individual change and rapid growth. The ingenuity energy of this Year rewards those who dare to be different; original thinkers, with smart, unconventional solutions are destined to succeed in this Year! This year has the potential for exuberant high-speed pace to accelerate progress and change in all life areas. WOW! This is going to be an awesome year! I can already feel the energy!

Adding to that, tomorrow is Mardi Gras! Oh, yes…Fat Tuesday. I have been a fan of Mardi Gras for as long as I can remember. Pancakes, Crepes, King Cake, Paczki… What more could a carboholic ask for in a celebration day? Mardi Gras is truly a day of celebration, the last hurrah before the season of Lent in the Christian religion. Mardi Gras is a day to party and have a good time, the feast  before the fast and self-denial of the Lenten season. As I was searching for information on Mardi Gras or some quotes specific to Mardi Gras I read that the Cajun saying “Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler” (Let the good times roll) conveys the overall Cajun attitude, which is one of Joie de Vivre, Joy of Living.

That, my friends, is my overall goal; Joie de Vivre.

Today marks the beginning of my season of Joie de Vivre, the Joy of Living. My Fire Monkey has been released and my spirit is feeling the renewal of the coming Spring ~ and my heart is alive with these fabulous global celebrations!

To all of you, Laissez les bon temps rouler and Joie de Vivre!

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Sharing Morsels ~ Holiday Meals

Sharing Morsels ~ Holiday Meals

I shared that I had taken some time to just be with my family and other loved ones over the Christmas holiday time.

I did not take a rest from cooking or baking. I did plenty of that! Not the ordinary baking of candies, cookies, and goodies but cooking food for happy consumption!

Let me share the menu of just a couple of days:

Christmas Eve Menu

Shrimp Bisque

Salad

Crusty French Bread

 

Christmas Breakfast

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze

Bacon and Sausage

Hash brown Egg Cassserole (vegetarian, not vegan)

Orange juice

Mimosas

Coffee, tea

Irish coffee

 

Christmas Day with Family

Fiesta Cheesecake

 

St. Stephen’s Day Feast / Boxing Day

Ham

Turkey

Mashed Potatoes

Green Bean Supreme

Dinner rolls

 

January 2nd

Clam Chowder

Bread Bowl

Salad

5904

This was not necessarily a menu from the Low Fat section, but it was from the High Taste section!

All of the food was made from scratch (not the beverages). Although I usually share as many of the recipes as I can with you, I am only going to share the menu at this time, and a little about the new kitchen appliance / gadget that was a key player in the prep of most of the meals. The Hubs and I had been discussing getting an electric pressure cooker and looking at our options. Leave it to The Hubs to announce one morning, that as he had been working late one night, he went ahead and ordered an Electric Pressure Cooker (EPC) he had seen while watching late night television. Correction: He ordered 2; one for us and one for Daughter Number One and her fiancé. Although that may (or may) not have been my choice of EPC’s it is the one I own. I have made good use of it in the short time I have had it, and as I learn more I will most likely share more with you.

The time that we spent together and the meals we shared as a family – that’s what the holiday season is about. Those memories will last not just my lifetime, but my girls’ as well.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Happy New Year 2016!

Happy New Year 2016!

Yes, I know we are a week in to 2016, but I have been on a break, as in:

  • taking a breather
  • taking time out
  • taking five (or ten)
  • coming up for air
  • pausing
  • taking a rest

The latter part of 2015 was especially taxing on me. Taking care of my daughter as she recovered from her injury was a part of it, but having lost a large number of friends and loved ones during the year took its toll over the holidays. I spent the holiday season spending as much time as I possibly could with my family. I cooked and baked family favorites and soaked up the time I had with my family.

One of the biggest realizations from 2015 is that we are not granted a tomorrow. I spent the holidays living my todays and making memories, not for myself, but for the people I love the most. If today is the last day they get to spend with me, I want the memories to be good ones.

Over the next few days (which might turn into a month) I will share some of the delicious recipes that I cooked for my family and some of the delightful memories we made together.

As for now, I will share a few habits I am adding to my world for this new year. I will get to my goals another day…these habits are much more immediately fulfilling.

  • No yelling in frustration or anger
  • Hug more (I’m aiming for 12 hugs a day)
  • Be Present
  • Be Grateful
  • Be Creative
  • Have Fun
  • Be Giving
  • Love

We have all heard that it takes 21 days to make a habit, and as it is only the 6th day it is still a work in progress. I am doing the best I can, and that is what is important.

I would love to know what habits you are adding to your life in 2016, or maybe some you are deleting. Next week we can talk about our goals for 2016! I for one, am very excited!

In closing, let me remind you to make the most of this day and every day – we are not granted tomorrow.

Tomorrow is promised to no one. ~ Clint Eastwood

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Life is Simple

Life is Simple

Now that November has passed and we are in the early days of December, I will share that my progress toward my goals did not make huge strides. I was so busy caregiving for my daughter that my goals were set aside.  http://ortsofsorts.com/2015/12/02/a-glimpse-into-me-november-recap/

I can proudly say that I paid off my car and worked on my mother’s porch area. It isn’t done, but we did get quite a few things done that took some stress off of her. I have managed to look professional (clothes, makeup, hair) every day that I needed to, including taking D2 to her appointments.

I have said this before, but I will say it again: the universe puts what we need to see, hear, experience in our paths when we need to see, hear, experience. I was feeling a little bit less than excited about the health and fitness goals. I was listening to a radio talk show and the guest was talking about losing weight. “It’s simple”, he said. The host balked at that. “You cut down on calories you take in, and expend more energy (burn more calories) by working out. Simple; not easy.” Wow. Isn’t that the truth? It is simple. It is not at all complicated. It takes effort, work, and discipline; which can be hard. I realized that is true of most things that we aren’t always successful in. Health and fitness, business, blogging, faith… all of these things can be looked at as having a simple similar success formula, but putting in the work with ongoing discipline can be hard. Once you have that “a-ha” moment where you realize that what you want to accomplish is simple and remind yourself of that it might just make that effort easier which in turn will build a practice of doing, which provides the discipline. Before you know it that thing which seemed so hard is now, not only simple, but easy.

Whatever goals you set out to achieve in 2015, no matter where you are on the journey to success right now, reevaluate them in the SMART goal system. Then, break them down even further if you need to, to see that the path is simple. I need to cut my intake, increase my burn / workout. Simple. Then, I need to do those things every single day. Commit to it. Not simple, but if I commit it will be easier.

How are you doing on your path to reach your 2015 goals? Is it time to re-evaluate and see how simple it is?

Life is simple; it’s just not easy. ~Anon.

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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A Glimpse into Me: November Recap

A Glimpse into Me: November Recap

I’m going to break some of my own rules in this post, so know this going in. The first one is I’m going to share personal stuff. Of course my posts are personal and about my family, but I do filter a great deal. I certainly don’t want anyone to think I live in Utopia, however, I just abhor whining and complaining and do not like to write about downsides. If what we think about (or write about) we bring about, then I certainly do NOT want the focus on negatives. With that preamble out of the way let me just puke this out: November was a hard month.

Daughter Number Two got a concussion at college. There are no cool party stories to tell, or really any stories that will be told for years to come. She hit her head on a chair in one of her classrooms and got a concussion and whiplash.  She went to the campus medical clinic and called me. She was to be on bedrest for a day or two. A few days later I realized that she was not progressing the way I had expected. So, I sent her to her primary care Doctor. The concussion was more serious than we believed in the beginning, as was the whiplash. She was told that she could not continue her classes until she was cleared by the Doctor. I did what any good mom would and I brought her back home. The Hubs and I hung blankets over the windows in her former bedroom and put Daughter Number Three back in the room with Daughter Number Four while D2 healed. We kept her in solid darkness with no tech time or sound for a couple of days before introducing a little bit of light. Gradually she reintroduced her technology and then sound. She was in a state of devastation, not knowing if she would be cleared to finish the semester or would be able to if she was cleared. She couldn’t drive so I was taking her to her medical appointments, which included physical and ocular therapy. A month has past and she is not back to her baseline, but she has been cleared to finish the semester and is back at college.

Here are the reasons I chose to share this with you. First, I was so worn out caring for my daughter that I did not take the best care of myself. I did not work out daily. I did not eat as healthily. In fact, we ate like crap. I spent the first week D2 was home making her favorite comfort foods. She is a vegetarian, so we had homemade macaroni and cheese twice, and mashed potatoes twice. Once her therapy started I was driving an hour each way from our home to her appointments, so I was grabbing fast food or picking up food “to go”; not our typical food patterns. Of course, by the time she was cleared to go back to school it was Thanksgiving ~ and we had a pie contest. So there were six pies to eat! I moved D2 back into her house on Saturday and, although I am still concerned about her, I felt an immediate shift in my energy. I got up the next morning and worked out. Even The Hubs, who is not always a fan of healthy eating (especially if he hears the words ‘clean’, ‘unprocessed’, or ‘vegetarian’) mentioned that he could feel a difference in himself from all of the unhealthy eating we did in November. I grinned and told him that he shouldn’t have said that, we’ll be eating clean until Christmas! He didn’t even give me a negative response. I guess that was his way of saying that eating all of the carbs and processed foods was too much of a bad thing, even for him.

The other part of the equation regarding my sharing this experience is to relay how grateful I am for the health of my children. Seeing my daughter in pain and functioning at diminished capacity for a few weeks was one of the hardest things I have ever gone through as a mother. To realize that there was nothing that I could do to fix her and make her better was hard. I have such a newfound respect for parents who have chronically ill children or who spend every day and night knowing their child is in pain. My daughter will be fine with time, and I am so grateful for that.

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Thanksgiving 2015 ~ Pie Contest

Thanksgiving 2015 ~ Pie Contest

One of the things I love to do is share the Thanksgiving eats that I create for my family. Daughter Number One purchased her first home earlier this year and asked if we would drive to her house, 2 + hours away, for Thanksgiving.  The Hubs said he would do that, if we had a pie contest. His rules, he would judge. Everyone (except him) would have to make a pie. He would judge. So, it was decided.

I asked Daughter Number One what she would be comfortable making. She chose the turkey, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, and our family’s traditional pie; raisin cream. Daughter Number Two offered to make mashed potatoes. That left me with stuffing, green bean casserole, and homemade rolls. Oh, and we all had to decide what pies to make.

As Thanksgiving grew closer I was really pushing the girls to decide what pies they were going to make, knowing that I would have to help make pies with the 2 youngest. Daughter Number Four chose pumpkin. Daughter Number Two chose gluten free chocolate bourbon pecan. Daughter Number Three finally decided: Boston Cream Pie. Fair enough. I asked Daughter Number One what her fiancé’s favorite pie is, so I chose Peanut Butter Pie.

The food was all very good! We had an additional side dish of scalloped corn, thanks to my future son-in-law. I didn’t make any new recipes for our Thanksgiving dinner this year, because I was putting so much energy into the pies. On my house Wednesday we made one homemade pie butter pie crust for the pumpkin pie, one homemade gluten free pie crust for the pecan pie, and one chocolate graham crust for the peanut butter pie. Daughter Number Two put her filling together for the Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie. While it baked, Daughter Number Four put her filling together for the pumpkin pie. I helped both with crusts and a little with the filling, but for the most part they tackled those fillings. While those pies were cooling I helped Daughter Number Three make the sponge cake for her Boston Cream Pie. I explained to her that it would be best to let it cool overnight, so if she didn’t mind getting up early we would finish the pastry cream in the morning and do the ganache once we got to her sister’s house. She agreed that she would rather get up a little early than stay up that late. We got up early and made her pastry cream. Ah, the joys of whisking a pastry cream. Once that was done and refrigerated I made the filling and topping for the peanut butter pie. I put it in the freezer to set.

We loaded all of the food into the car and made the drive in a very cold, heavy rain. Daughter Number Three and I assembled her pie and covered it with the ganache. She also managed to cover the counters and herself with ganache. It’s pretty easy to get it everywhere!

Dinner was delish. The turkey was done to perfection. The sides were all wonderful. The girls could hardly contain their excitement with the pie contest! Daughter Number One’s fiancé also made a pie: a pizza pie! I cut little pieces of each pie and plated the bites for The Hubs and the FSIL.

The pie winners broke down as follows: Daughter Number Three won for most time spent on a pie; Daughter Number Four won the fluffiest pumpkin pie ever, and best crust; Daughter Number One won best pie based on tradition (and most improved meringue); My pie won richest pie (and the heart of my FSIL); FSIL’s pie won most creative…since It was a pizza pie! Daughter Number Two did not win due to the lack of gluten, although the pie was really good and got better over time!

We have talked about incorporating the pie contest into our Thanksgiving traditions. I’m not sure our waistlines need it, but it was so much fun!

To quote Daughter Number Two, “I’d say this family makes baking look easy…Easy as pie.”

 

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Thanksgiving thoughts

Thanksgiving thoughts

I wrote this a few years ago…but thought it should be shared again!

As Thanksgiving week is coming to a close, I wanted to share some thoughts on success, as they pertain to Thanksgiving.

The first one is to remember that we become like the five people we hang around the most. Or:

“You can’t fly with the eagles if you continue to scratch with the turkeys.” – Zig Ziglar

Stay positive! Or: Focus on the good stuff (ing)!

Be true to yourself! Or, as Popeye would say “I yam what I yam”…

popeye i yam

Sometimes it feels like we are not special, or unique, but even if “It’s not easy Bean Green” (casserole) remember to love yourself!

Stay strong and determined to finish. Positive self-talk might be necessary; “I think I cran, I think I cran” (berry).

Following these thoughts on success, you will surely get your just desserts!

pies

Now, tomorrow is a new day, a new week, and a chance to get re-energized, re-connected, and restarted on your goals!

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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